Build Guide by Thergood
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.
Please comment and vote up. Continously updated with patches. Working on adding images and videos.
NEWLY ADDED - Updated items with the retirement of Zhonya's Ring
Thanks for checking out my Akali build guide.
It is extremely informative and in-depth. You should be able to skim it easily if you're just looking for a quick build. However, if you're really looking to master Akali, then this is the guide for you.
I'm going to start by discussing Akali's role. As is most commonly mentioned, Akali is an assassin. Her role is to whipe out enemy carrys and just about anyone else she comes across in the course of a game. Akali has a ton of really nifty tricks you can pull between her ultimate and her shroud. However, this guide is really going to focus on what she is best at; super high burst damage on important targets. The skipping around a warded jungle with her ult and teleporting out of shroud parlor tricks will be left to other guides.
I'd also like to briefly mention jungling. Many people like to say Akali is a jungler. In my opinion, she's not a jungler. She CAN jungle, but she's not a jungler. She is slower then many others in the jungle, doesn't really benefit from blue buff, has little to no ganking ability before level 6, doesn't benefit at all from the support mastery tree, and can't build any beneficial items from a cloth armor (with a fort pot being a waste of money.) Akali is much much better in a solo lane where she can farm and level as fast as possible.
TL;DR - Avoid silly tricks with her ult, shroud, etc. (at least at first) and don't jungle. Build burst AP. Destroy enemy carrys...and everyone else.
Pros / Cons
- Insane damage - Squishies will drop before they even have time to turn around.
- Great "clean-up" champ - Can finish off multiple enemies very rapidly.
- Best chaser in the game.
- Pro jukester - Shroud+Ultimate+Flash = very hard to catch.
- Squishy - Not as squishy as some, but will go down quickly if focused.
- Will occasionally be focused.
- Not much of a threat before level 6.
- Requires practice and tough to master
- Flash - With some strategic placement of your shroud, a little patience, and flash you can escape almost any situation.
- Ignite - Ignite means that you can kill nearly any champion, regardless of build, at level 6. The additional 10 AP while ignite is on cooldown can be very useful in the early levels as well.
- Marks - Flat Magic Penetration - Akali damage is magic based and we are building her accordingly.
- Seals - Health Points Per Level - Adds some decent survivability throughout the game. Maybe dodge if you're 100% you're against a ranged physical carry in lane. I'd probably still go with hp/lvl due to the RNG nature of dodge.
- Glyphs - Ability Power Per Level - Gives you your second passive at level 3. Flat AP is OK as well. However, I like the deceptive scaling early on. Hit them at level one or two and they get an idea of your damage, then hit them at level 5 or 6, especially with ignite on cooldown. You'll be doing a lot more damage then they expected. You can also use ignite at level 1 to get your passive going immediately if necessary.
- Quints - Flat Ability Power - Gives you incredible burst from the start and helps activate your passive at level 3.
- Order - Doran's Blade + x1 HP Potion, Boots, Rylai's Crystal Sceptor, Merc Treads or Sorc Boots, Sheen, Lichbane, Needlessly Large Rod, Rabadon's Deathcap, Bilgewater Cutlass (Sell Doran's Blade,) Hextech Gunblade, Hextech Revolver, Will of The Ancients.
- Completed Core Build - Level 2 boots of choice, Rylai's Crystal Sceptor, Lichbane, Zhonya's Ring, Hextech Gunblade, Will of The Anciencts.
Detailed Item Explanation
Buy Order and Items:
Start - Doran's Blade and 1 HP Pot.
For this build a Doran's Blade is pretty much your only choice. It gives you her spell vamp passive from the start and you'll have her second passive very soon. These two passive's make Akali and exceptional laner for a melee character.
1st time back - Level 1 boots, Components of Rylai's Crystal Sceptor.
Grab your boots and whatever you can afford towards your Rylai's. Giants belt if you need more survivability, Blasting Wand if not. Amplified Tome if you haven't farmed well or some combination of the three.
2nd time back - Rylai's Crystal Sceptor, Sheen.
Hopefully you can grab these two your second time back. Finishing Rylai's is the priority, but hopefully you can grab a sheen as well. Akali with Rylai's/Sheen combo around mid game is extremely powerful and snowballs quickly.
3rd time back (core item build completed) - Level 2 boots, Lichbane
If you can complete the Lichbane you're probably dominating the game already. Boots, as with most champions are situational. Merc treads are a good choice against CC and AP. Boots of mobility are also possibly on Akali because she can tear through the jungle and is an amazing ganker. Sorc boots can also be a good pick.
Late Game Item Choices
Akali's core build is farely dominating through the early and mid game phases. However, just the core build starts to weaken some as you get into late game. Defensive items begin to appear on enemy carrys, etc. Rabadon's Deathcap is the item that brings back the domination for late game. I almost listed this as part of the core build, because in the majority of games this is the item I plan to build after completing the core build. If you're doing your job and your team is the least bit competent then you won't have a chance to see the Deathcap. The game will end before you have the gold.
This is often listed as a core item in many people's Akali builds. I will say that with the metagame shifting to more of a "push" metagame this item does look even more attractive. If for some reason you are using Akali to push down towers, as opposed to ganking and nuetralizing carrys, then this item would be the way to go. Although, there are much better tower pushers and not many better gankers then Akali.
This item just brings a difficult choice. It's cheap, helps your spell vamp passive, and makes farming even more of a breeze. However, when I look at it's cost against the Zhonya's Ring, I have a really hard time not just buying a Blasting Wand and Needlessly Large Rod instead. The ultimate decision here will lay with your playstyle and needs.
So, somehow the game has continued on forever. You have boots, Lichbane, Rylai's Crystal Sceptor, and a Zhonya's Ring. You notice you have close to 4,000 gold hanging around and one open item slot. This is the item you want to fill that slot. Everything on this item synergizes with Akali.
Will of The Ancients:
Assuming you already have boots, Lichbane, Rylai's, Zhonya's Ring, and Hextech Gunblade, then this is the item you want to fill that last spot. The AP and spell vamp are very nice. I'll be honest, it's next to impossible to complete these 6 items in an actual competitive game, but that is the ideal build.
First 6 levels - Q,W,Q,E,Q,R Pretty straight forward. Your ultimate is priority 1. Otherwise, level your Q when available. Level E when neither Q or R are available. Level W last.
Q - This is Akali's most important skill. It's your main source of harassment when laning, and in combination with an auto attack, your main source of damage anytime. Initial Q damage + Base auto attack damage + Q consumption + Lichbane proc = Probably the highest damage, non-ultimate, single ability in the game and it has a short cooldown. As an added bonus, when consumed, it restores energy to keep you up and running.
W - Portable brush! With this Akali build her W has two main uses. The first is slowing enemies who are trying to escape or chase you. The second use, basically, is to allow you to hide. Maybe you've slipped, and you're getting focused down. Maybe you've been exhausted. Whatever the case, W can save you from dieing and help you get kills in a lot of different ways.
E - On the surface E really seems like a great ability. It's an AoE and scales off AD and AP. The problem with E is it uses a large amount of energy and using it at the wrong time could mean missing a kill or even getting killed. In this build E has three main uses. The first, and main use, is farming. E is great for quickly tearing up minion waves. The second is healing. Since E is an AoE, connecting with an entire minion wave can return a decent amount of spell vamp from your passive. The third use is as a finishing move when you can't use mark or your ultimate.
R - Akali's signature skill. The range is amazing, and it's what generally sends enemies running like crazy at the first sight of Akali. This skill allows you to stick to enemies in order to get Q + consumption combos off on them. It also does a very significant amount of damage. This is especially true when you consider the combined damage of all 3 charges which can used in a short period of time.
Tactics and Strategy
Akali should be a solo lane if at all possible. She needs to reach level 6 as fast as possible and the additional farm helps tremendously. She is generally a defensive laner. You're not going to be able to offensively harass much. Her one ranged ability does not do much damage on it's own. Her Q needs to be consumed with an auto attack in order to have a significant impact on the enemy. However, this does not mean that you do not want to throw it at your opponent. I generally try and keep the mark on my opponent as much as I can. The damage over time of several marks can be becomes significant and it means that if your opponent decides to get to close you can consume the mark with an auto attack to teach them a lesson.
Akali's W can be used in conjuction with constant Q's to zone pretty well. Throw your W on top of the enemy creep wave or the back half of the enemy creeps wave. Throw Q's at your opponent if they approach and consume them if keep coming. Then just slip back into stealth to avoid any counter harass. The whole time popping in and out for last hits on the enemy creeps. While W is on cooldown slip away into the brush or back behind your creep wave and use Q to last hit. Rinse and repeat this process.
If you're getting hard pushed, say in a 1v2 situation, then drop your shroud in front of your tower and continue with what was mentioned above. If they try to get hits on the tower then punish them by consuming a Q.
Mid Game (Level 6+) and ganking
Do anything you can to avoid leaving the lane until you're at least level 6. Tower hug and miss some last hits if necessary. Getting to 6 is that important on Akali. Once level 6 your focus should immediately shift from a defensive, farming, posture to an offensive, champion killing, posture. There are very few champions that can stand up to Akali at level 6, and that is in a straight up 1 v 1. In a gank situation, summoner spells are the only thing can save someone. Use this to your advantage!
Too many times I see Akali players continue on through mid game like they're a late game physical carry and need to farm for 25 minutes. This is a big mistake. Akali absolutely dominates the mid game and you must play her accordingly. After you hit 6, assess the situation in your lane and determine your chances of getting a kill if you stay in lane and get some charges on your ult. If you feel you can get a kill, then stay and do it. If not then go back, get your items, and immediately check the map and look for gank targets. If there is nothing available, then go back to your lane and try and set one up for yourself by letting your lane be pushed.
If there are ganking opportunities then let your teammates know you're coming and not to push back. I'm not going to talk to much about general gank strategy because that's a whole guide in itself. However, there are couple things to know for Akali.
1. Position yourself appropriately - Akali's ganks are very dependent on your positioning. You want to avoid using your ultimate as your very first skill in a gank. You want your Q to be thrown first and then to use your ultimate to close the distance and consume the Q. Try and position yourself behind the enemies so that they have to run by you to escape. This ensures they'll be in range for a Q.
2. Have your teammates initiate first - Have your teammates rush the enemies so that there attention is focused on your teammates. Just after they initiate is your time to strike.
3. Think about tower diving beforehand - Akali has a unique skill set that allows her to tower dive in some unqiue ways. Ulting in for the kill and back out again if creeps are positioned correctly. You can also ult your way past a tower to a fleeing enemy. These are tricky propositions and should only be attempted after a lot of experience.
After initiation happens and you come in, your combo is Q -> R -> Auto attack. This is generally your optimal initiation combo. Immediately after this throw your W on the ground in the enemies escape path just in front of them. This is important, do not drop it at your feet or directly at their feet. Drop it a step or two in front of them. This ensures that they are slowed for the entire distance of the shrowd. This keeps them in range while your Q cools down. Of course if they are really low feel free to just finish them off with another ult and/or an E before Q cools down. As soon as Q cools down, repeat the above combo. Often times you will be able to pick up a second kill if you're ganking a duo lane with a well placed ult.
Continue to gank, gank, gank. Stack up your item build and farm lanes after successful ganks. If another gank opportunity presents itself, leave tower pushing to the others, and go for it.
Late Game and Team Fights
If you've had a successful mid game you will scale pretty well into late game. You WILL need to be more careful. Everyone else has been getting stronger offensively while you haven't been getting much more defensive at all. Akali cannot initiate team fights or jump in with the front line. She's not a tank and she's not a stout physical DPS like Xin or Olaf. When focused she will go down very quickly.
Your plan needs to be to wait until both teams commit and then strike. Your targets are the enemy squishies. Decide on the most high value target and go for them once everyone is engaged. With practice, you will be able to recognize this moment and strike very quickly. I've had occasions where a Sion initiates with a stun and I'm already flying at their carry while the stun is still in the air. You get a feel for when both teams have committed and the enemy has chosen their focus. That's the moment to go. You should be able to wipe their squishies out very quickly. At the very least they will need to run and any benefit they bring to their team will be gone.
Often you will be the clean-up crew. You eliminate the enemy carry and then bring your damage to everyone else. You continously gain ult charges with kills and assists so you can just bounce from target to target finishing them off.
You will run into situations (pun intended) where you've either come in too early or your team messed up initiation. You need to be able to recognize these mistakes ASAP. If you are getting focused drop your shroud and take a second to assess the situation. Is your team actually going to reinitiate and keep fighting or are they backing off? If they are reinitiating you may just want to wait in the shroud until focus is off you and start attacking again. If your team doesn't immediately reintiate you need to quickly plan your escape. Remember, the shroud increases your armor and magic resistances, so it's OK to sit in there and be patient for the most part.
There are a lot of neat tricks you can do with your shroud here and I'm not going to get into all of them. Flash over the wall you dropped your shroud next too is a great escape technique. Teleport to a safe location as TP has a 4 second cast time and your shroud lasts 8 seconds. Your are still stealthed for a brief moment after leaving the shroud so go for that brush that's just a step off the edge of the shroud, etc. You get the picture. Think ahead and experiment. It will become second nature after a while.
This should be everything you need to get started mastering Akali. A big part of really playing Akali well is knowing how much damage you do at any given time. This only comes with experience and eventually it will become instinct. Once you can play Akali instinctively and make very few mistakes you begin to dominate games.
Happy hunting! Please vote and comment. I'd love to discuss strategies or field any questions.