Akali Build Guide by DIrolex
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
A wild Wazhy has appeared! ....with a guide! >.>
I made this Akali guide because I was simply not satisfied with the other ones out there. Everyone has his or her own opinion on what is best, but I found my favorite way to play The Fist of Shadow, and sharing is caring, so without further ado...
Akali is an extremely fun hot ninja chick. Her potential in solo queue/NA meta is really starting to shine. Akali excels at dealing large amounts of burst damage, arguably some of the best in the game. Her role in a team is generally labeled as an "anti-carry", someone who singles out the enemy team's squishiest and highest dps champions and rips them to shreds. And of course, Akali is amazing at what she does. This guide will tell you what you need to know to be facerolling in no time!
- Amazing assassin
- Decent farmer/laner
- Can jungle
- Deceptively strong burst
- Great chasing/juking abilities
- Snowballs well
- Squishy melee
- Countered by CC/focus/oracle's elixirs
- Skill/micro intensive
- Requires good judgment/awareness/decision-making
Akali's passive is what makes her a viable hybrid. She gains bonus magic damage from AP and spell vamp from AD. With AP runes+3/3 Archmage's Savvy and AD runes+3/3 Brute Force, both buffs will be activated at level 1.
Mark of the Assassin:
This is Akali's main damaging ability. Max it first. Use it to harass early game. Whenever it's safe to fully engage, wait until the cooldown is up to burn the first mark and afterward use it again for a double auto attack double mark burst. Deals tons and tons of magic damage, fast.
This is Akali's stealth ability, which gives her the control she needs to dominate her lane. Use it in the thick of a team fight, for zone control, to juke, to 1v1 kite, to slow enemies, and for face checking brushes. Be advised that it starts at 80 energy, so be careful when using it while bursting. Use it at the edge of brush or around a corner to juke. Flash out of it when death is otherwise imminent. Also don't forget that it gives Akali armor and magic resistance, so it just might save you from that DoT or turret shot.
This is Akali's only AoE ability. Use it for farming and bursting. Remember that its range is very short and easy to miss on fast moving targets. It scales off both ability power and attack damage, but only does physical damage.
Akali's ultimate is what defines her. You can do so many things with this ability. Start off a surprise gank with it, last hit that about to die creep, chase and kill steal like a pro, burst with surplus charges, and most importantly, juke. Does a surprisingly large amount of magic damage.
Standard burst rotation: Q -> R -> auto attack -> Q -> auto attack -> E -> W if needed.
Shadow Dance Techniques
Mastering the use of Shadow Dance to juke is essential to playing Akali to her fullest potential. Use it on minions to quickly disengage from a team fight if you are being focused and need to use hit and run tactics. Use it on minions after diving to avoid turret shots. Use it on minions to gain ground (such as when a low health champ is pushing your turret) on an unsuspecting opponent and get in for the kill. You can even use it on one champion to be able get to another behind him using it again to finish a kill.
Use it for escaping ganks if you overextend. One neat little trick is if Twilight Shroud isn't enough to get away from a gank from behind, you can Shadow Dance forward onto an enemy minion, if you can't get away by running into the jungle or something, keep running a little bit and let the enemy champion catch up some, then Shadow Dance backwards (flying right past that champ) onto another minion and then run like hell. Doesn't always work, but if that's your only chance of survival, go for it. You could use Twilight Shroud at that point to slow them if you need to. This comes in handy when you get ganked with heavy CC and Oracle's Elixirs and simply running won't save you. Remember, you can dance all day. Your enemies cannot.
Akali has great synergy with jungle wards. Since you can Shadow Dance through walls, if a neutral monster camp is warded or a teammate is nearby, you can use Shadow Dance on it to escape. It also makes for an extra surprise factor against enemy champions if you have sight through a ward or teammate and you Shadow Dance through a wall.
1v1 and 2v2 Techniques
1v1ing with Akali is all about being in control of a battle. Think like a rogue. Keep your enemies scared and insecure. Know what your enemies are capable of. Will they be able to hit me in my shroud, such as Kennen? Will they be able to slow and CC me if I need to run, such as Shaco? Do I even need to waste energy for Twilight Shroud on that Ashe? When should I burst with Shadow Dance and when should I use Ignite?
Example: You see Dr. Mundo trying to solo Dragon around level 10. First thing to check for is where your enemies are. If you can see them laning, it should be OK to attack. If he isn't set on finishing off dragon, hit him with a Q and back off. Make him follow you, make him think you're his prey. Bring him to an area where you can easily escape (where there are a lot of corners) with Twilight Shroud in case his teammates start coming.
As soon as Mundo follows you to his demise, proc your Mark, use Crescent Slash, and throw down Twilight Shroud. 1v1ing with Akali is all about bursting and making sure your opponent can't retaliate. Kite him around your shroud, and make sure he isn't hitting you with Agony or Cleavers. Throw a Q at him, still avoiding damage, and wait until it is up again. Then auto attack -> Q -> auto attack for that double mark burst, and use E again. Then disappear into the shadows. Repeat until he uses his ultimate. Then use Ignite, followed by your standard rotation, having saved all 3 Shadow Dance charges for as much burst as possible to finish him off or for a getaway if his teammates come.
Keep in mind the same rules for 1v1ing as when you are 2v2ing, except remember that when 2v2ing you have a partner too. Don't let your enemies kill your partner while you are sitting hesitantly in your Twilight Shroud. For engaging, start off on their squishy with Shadow Dance followed by a quick Q and immediately pop Shroud and let them waste their CC on you, such as a Sion stun or Ryze prison. Wait for your teammate to attack and Shadow Dance in, proc Q, Q again, E, Ignite, saving a Shadow Dance charge for securing the kill. Boom, easy mode. Don't forget that kills/assists give you a charge back, so you can easily switch from one prey to the next.
Ignite: I like Ignite a lot, but I think Exhaust is equally as good depending on what your teammates take. Ignite really helps early game and to finish off that last tiny bit of enemy health on good escapists. Also, burn it on healers to reduce their healing/regen for an easier kill.
Flash: I feel that Akali is too squishy and doesn't have enough defensive options without Flash. Flashing through walls or out of Twilight Shroud will save you SO many times. Flash + Shadow Dance also gives you amazing chasing prowess.
Exhaust, Ghost, Teleport, and even Clairvoyance (synergy with jungle getaways) can all be used with great effect.
As far as masteries go, Akali has the best synergy with full Offense, since that is her primary role, KILL! Basically grab everything except the minion damage and crit damage. With the recent Havoc buff, she can put out tons of damage. You can get away with 9 Defense instead of 9 Utility, but Awareness is near essential for solo lanes. If you prefer Exhaust over Ignite don't forget to take Cripple.
x7 Greater Mark of Strength - Activates AD passive combined with Brute Force
x2 Greater Mark of Alacrity - More attack speed for Gunblade AD bonus and easier Q auto attacks
x9 Greater Seal of Vitality - Extra health for survivability in all cases
x5 Greater Glyph of Force - Adds damage to Q, E, R and helps activate Discipline of Force passive
x4 Greater Glyph of Potency - Same as above
x3 Greater Quintessence of Potency - Same as above
This is the most efficient setup for activating both of Akali's passives at level 1 and having the most end game damage.
You'll want to get these two items every game.
Any lane works for Akali, though solo is the best idea as Akali gets real strong with levels. Start off with your Boots of Speed and x3 Health Potions. Boots are useful for last hitting without getting chased down and an easier time harassing. Try to keep your cool early on and don't engage unless you have to. Most ranged champions can harass you too easily without repercussion. Just farm/harass with Q. Use Twilight Shroud if you need to extend your safety zone for farming. Zone enemies with shroud and punish them if you can with a Q auto attack proc. If you can secure a kill using Flash to proc a mark, go for it!
Your next two items will be Hextech Revolver followed by Null-Magic Mantle. Also get some Sight Wards to protect your lane. After much testing, I have found I like rushing the revolver over Sheen. Rushing the revolver gives you tremendous early and mid game survivability and decent AP increase for cheap. Not much can stop you at this point in the game with massive spell vamp, Flash, Ignite/Exhaust, and Twilight Shroud (assuming no one has Oracle's already). You can usually afford to be very aggressive in your lane at this point. You can heal off creeps very effectively with the extra spell vamp.
It is also viable to ignore the revolver at this point if you want to rush your Rylai's Crystal Scepter as fast as possible.
As you head into mid game, you need to upgrade your boots. I recommend Mercury's Treads, as it goes best with a Void Staff. With Hextech Revolver and Merc Treads, you can become quite sustainable. It really just depends on the kind of team you are fighting. If CC isn't really an issue, their team is full of squishies, or your team just needs you to do more burst damage, then take the Sorcerer's Shoes. Unlikely scenario, but if they are just crawling with physical dps, Ninja Tabi might help (again, unlikely).
If you are going to want a Mejai's Soulstealer now would be the time to get it. It's too early before this point, in my opinion, to know whether or not snowballing will work. I personally don't take it because, well, it's a risk, and you might not get any stacks. If you are completely facerolling, you'd probably still be facerolling without the 20 stacks and huge e-peen. If you go this route, it helps a lot to finish the Hextech Gunblade or start Guardian Angel right after Rylai's Crystal Scepter for more durability.
Your first completed core item is going to be Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Try to start with the Giant's Belt. Rylai's is just too perfect for Akali. +80 AP, 500 Health, your ult slows, and you can kite with Q. Absolutely necessary. No Rylai's, no Akali. Your job mid game is to tear apart their squishies and make them wish they'd never been summoned. Gank them as often as possible, harass like mad. Help slow runners for your team. Pop your shroud if you are in danger or get targeted. Use it to confuse and disorient enemies. Be on the constant look out for Oracle's Elixirs for the rest of the game.
As you head into late game, work towards your Needlessly Large Rod for Rabadon's Deathcap. I choose this item over Lich Bane because I feel it gives me a little bit more burst and doesn't waste the gold on a mana crystal.
After Rabadon's Deathcap, the build can branch off several ways. The item sequence at the top is what I use most often, but the order can vary. You can go straight for Void Staff if the enemy team has very high magic resist. You can get Guardian Angel if you have been dying very fast in team fights. You can get Hextech Gunblade if you need a little bit of both damage and survivability.
Banshee's Veil is a situational item you might want vs. combo champions like Anivia, Blitzcrank, Leblanc, Morgana, Pantheon, Rammus, Ryze, Singed, Sion, Swain, or Veigar. Some other situational items are Zhonya's Hourglass (for champs with ranged stuns or slow moving projectiles like Brand's ult or Karthus's ult), Quicksilver Sash (for Malzahar ult or Warwick ult etc.), or Will of the Ancients if your team needs one.
Don't dash into a group of enemies or they will focus and kill you. Single out lone squishies after enemies have used their first cooldowns on your teammates. Hit and run if they switch focus to you. Never be the first one to engage in a team fight. Wait until the tank's engage and the enemy team has their sights on one of your teammates. Then pounce their squishy and roll face, hard. Don't just stay in the thick of things if you are under fire. Hit and run. AoE abilities will kill you fast. Keep your Twilight Shroud and Flash ready for any emergencies, making sure there aren't any Oracle's Elixir out there.
Your priority targets should be low defense high damage enemies with little to no hard stuns or silences. Perfect examples are Ashe, Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Karthus, Kog'Maw, Yi, Miss Fortune, Nidalee, Sivir, Sona, Soraka, Teemo, Zilean. You should be able to kill them so fast their teammates have no time to respond. Wait a few seconds after the team fight starts, and jump their squishy using the following rotation : R -> Q -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E. Use Twilight Shroud/Flash to avoid getting focus fired. You have to be aware of the entire battle and everything going on around you! If you get hit by 1 CC spell and you aren't in your shroud, be ready to Flash out if you get low.
If the enemy team has Oracle's Elixir be careful about engaging enemies such as Cassopeia, Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Ryze, Sion, Swain, Tristana, Twisted Fate, or Veigar. They can CC very effectively and wait until their team comes to kill you. This build focuses on a strong mid game and obviously dying is not a goal, but if you have to sacrifice yourself to get your ranged carry fed or to win a team fight, it's perfectly all right.
Things to Remember
1. Last hit only and don't push lane, harass and zone enemies.
2. Delayed Mark of the Assassin double activation to burst.
3. Try to buy a health pot and a ward every time you recall, AP elixir before big fights.
4. Gank often. Then push and/or do dragon. Proc push with Lich Bane (if you buy it).
5. Juke with Twilight Shroud and Shadow Dance.
6. When 1v1ing, kite around shroud, use double mark hit combos, be a ninja!
7. Don't start team fights or stick around if you get targeted, use hit and run tactics.
8. Whenever you see an enemy champion check for Oracle's, abuse shroud when you can.
9. Twilight Shroud, Flash, and Z-hourglass (if you buy it) for emergencies.
10. Kill lots of squishies.
My Latest Games With Akali: