Kog'Maw Build Guide by Willowran
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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.
Heya folks. Willowran here.
Kog'Maw is one of the less-played champions on League of Legends. I've very rarely seen another Kog'Maw, and it is even more rare for Kog'Maw to be seen playing at mid lane. That said, AP Kog'Maw is an amazing champion that scales very well across the entire game. Kog is a difficult champion to counter, and has the potential to carry a game all by itself (himself?).
Kog'Maw has been my main for a long time, and here is how I play Kog'Maw.
Feedback much appreciated.
Pros / Cons
Compared to Other AP Kog Guides
21 points in the offense tree to increase magic damage as much as possible
Instead ofdefense masteries for the remaining 9 points, instead I take 9 utility masteries.
Meditation adds on to our runes for mana regeneration, allowing for a total of 2.283 mana regen per second.
Kog has no escapes, and a slow base speed, so Fleet of Foot helps keep Kog from getting caught. The lower cooldowns granted by Summoner's Insight are aimed at fixing that same problem.
Essentially, rather than helping Kog'Maw survive getting caught, instead you should aim at not getting caught.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
The Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction stacks with our Nashor's Tooth to give us 35% cooldown reduction. With the exception of his ult, Kog'Maw has fairly long cooldowns, and these runes help mitigate that.
The Greater Mark of Magic Penetration helps increase our damage.
The Greater Quintessence of Mana Regeneration and the [greater seal of mana regeneration]] both stack with our masteries to give us 2.088 mana regeneration per second. This is primarily to help with the laning phase, as it allows Kog'Maw to harass his lane opponent without ever having to spend gold on mana items, or buy blue pots. Especially once we hit level six and start spamming our ult, having the ability to fire spells constantly is a large reason that ap Kog'Maw is as powerful as it is.
|Flash is probably the most common summoner spell ever used in League. For [[kog'maw] it is used primarily as a means to escape when you need to, though it can also be used as an instant gap-closer.||Ghost is basically Flash's younger cousin. Ghost is used primarily to chase, or escape. It is more useful on Kog'Maw than on many champions due to its synergy with Living Artillery. Using the two together allows Kog'Maw to keep an enemy within range of Living Artillery while spamming his ult to secure kills.|
Other Viable Options
Teleport increases in usefulness the longer a match goes on. Need to restore mana, but it looks like a teamfight is brewing? No problem! See a chance to help someone somewhere? No problem! Teleport gives you a limited global presence. I prefer to take Ghost over Teleport, however, as i can use it to get places faster if i need to, on a lower cooldown, and Ghost also helps during actual duels/fights.
You thought you were spamming spells before? Clarity allows you do cast whatever spell whenever you want to without ever having to worry about running out of mana. Let your jungle take your blue buffs: Kog'Maw on Clarity does not need it. That said... I personally prefer mobility, because it has more utility.
Don't get me wrong: Smite is largely worthless on Kog'Maw. However, if you ever find yourself laning against a Heimerdinger, then Smite can help take off Heim's oppressive pressure.
Now i repeat a lot throughout this guide that it is far better to avoid taking damage than trying to tank it with a summoner spell. That said, after experimenting with the minor speed boost of Heal, it has been moved from the "Why Not" section of this chapter to the "viable options." The speed boost can act as a lesser Talisman of Ascension, boosting the speed of not only your self but of all nearby allies as well. This can be used offensively or defensively, to chase or escape. It has a 10 second longer cooldown than Ghost, and also only lasts two seconds (compared to the 10 seconds of Ghost, so whether or not it is preferable to Ghost is a thing that will still need testing.
Don't get me wrong, Ignite has its uses. However, AP Kog'Maw excels at long-ranged damage dealing. Long Ranged being the key words here. Ignite has a shorter range than most of Kog'Maw's abilities, requiring you to get in closer in order to burn someone. As Kog'Maw is squishy, getting in close is generally not a recommended course of action: just pop your ult a couple times.
If not ignite, then one of these are most commonly found beside Flash on adcs and apcs alike. However, they are used defensively if you get caught. As i mentioned earlier with the mastery tree, i see high mobility used to avoid damage to be far more effective than trying to tank it with any of the above summoner spells. Kog'Maw is so squishy that late game, none of the above are likely to do more than delay the inevitable anyways.
The cooldown is far too long on this summoner spell to be of any value.
A barely used summoner spell as-is. That said, Living Artillery acts almost the same way, and has a cooldown of less than 5 seconds.
Abilities and Skill Sequence
|This spell does not get a lot of use for Kog'Maw, compared to his other abilities. Being a straigh-line skill-shot, it can sometimes be intercepted before it reaches it's intended mark. While its base damage is fairly low, it increases all damage against the target by up to 28% for four seconds- which allows you to shred tanks with ease, and significantly increases your damage output. Early game its usefulness is limited, and acts essentially as a minor poke if you need it, and giving extra procs on the Lich Bane.
|This ability is your primary harass tool, as well as the closest thing Kog'Maw has to an escape. It deals high damage, and slows anyone standing on the slime-trail, making it much easier to follow up with your other abilities. If you need to escape, cast the spell directly in front of you (as you run away), and run along its length to maximize the slow on anyone who follows. During any conflict, I usually suggest opening with this ability, and dealing as much damage to the opponent(s) as you can while they are slowed.
NOTE: The range of the skill-shot is slightly longer than the displayed range.
|Next to Void Ooze, this ability is Kog'Maw's primary source of damage, and makes Kog'Maw (debatedly) the highest source of sustained AP damage in the game. At full build, each of Kog'Maw's autoattacks will deal 10% of the enemies maximum health as magical damage. Coupled with the massive range Kog'Maw can deal absolutely insane amounts of sustained damage to pretty much anyone.
I like to compare this ability to Elise's Neurotoxin. With a lot of ability power, Elise can expect Neurotoxin to deal about 25% of the enemies max HP. Kog'Maw can deal much more than that over the course of only a couple seconds, and from almost twice the distance away.
|This ult can be hard to use, but fantastic under every circumstance. Unlike nearly every apc ult in the game, Living Artillery has a cooldown of only 1 second (or less than a second, with the CDR in this build). This means two things. On the down side, AP Kog'Maw's burst is not as high as most regular APC characters. On the up side, also unlike those regular ap carries, [kog'maw]'s lesser burst can hit with frightening regularity, and if you don't get out soon enough, the extreme range of Living Artillery will mean that you cannot escape at all.
One thing to note: There is a short delay after you cast the spell before it lands. This is why i suggest opening every engage with Void Ooze, as it is much easier hitting opponents when they are moving slowly.
Void Ooze is your primary source of early-mid game damage/harass, as it has a high base damage and scales well with less AP.
Bio-Arcane Barrage is your second skill to master, as it allows you to spit in the eyes of your enemies from a great distance- which is the best armor a Kog'Maw can use against his enemies.
Take Living Artillery whenever you can, for each level dramatically increases your range (and thus killing power).
Caustic Spittle comes last, as the damage buff is most effective late game when you have the items to deal the damage.
Items: Why I Choose What I Chose
| Lich Bane gives Kog'Maw everything he needs for his burst. Typically, an ap Kog'Maw burst is:
Lich Bane gives the auto-attack extra damage, whilealso increasing the damage of all other spells, giving extra mana, and also grants extra movement speed- which is essential on Kog'Maw due to being naturally slow. Additionally, due to the spammy-nature of Living Artillery, it is natural to proc Lich Bane several times through any engagement.
I've experimented builds in which i do not rush a Lich Bane, but it gives Kog'Maw a significantly weaker early game. Early-mid game, Lich Bane is simply far too powerful on Kog'Maw to give up.
|On AP Kog'Maw this item is God. On most adcs, i see the Runaan's Hurricane as being a sub-par item. Dealing only 50% of your AD to the extra targets, instead i would usually recommend a Phantom Dancer, for much higher damage to a single target. The beauty of Runaan's Hurricane, however, is that it applies on-hit effects. On AP Kog'Maw, on-hit effects make up 90% of your damage output. Bio-Arcane Barrage, Nashor's Tooth, Wit's End... all of these deal damage via on-hit effects. So wielding Runaan's Hurricane, Kog'Maw's damage literally triples in a team fight. Your full magical damage will be dealt to your target, as well as two other enemy champions, allowing you to shred tanks without even needing to focus them, focus up to three enemy carries at once... and all from the uniquely long rang of Koggie.|
||One of these two items, alongside Lich Bane make up your core build. Your auto-attacks with Bio-Arcane Barrage will be dealing more than 10% of your opponent's maximum health, and all of the extra attack speed will allow you to hit almost twice every second. This makes Kog'Maw's sustained ap damage probably the highest out of every champion in the game.
Alongside this, the CDR granted from Nashor's Tooth allow you to be more spammy with your spells, and the magic resist from Wit's End helps mitigate some of the return poke you'll be taking from your opposing apc. Usually try to get Nashor's Tooth first, but if you are falling behind in lane, then the magic resist is the way to go.
You should only ever build one of these, and I would reccomend Wit's End of the two. Despite not granting you CDR or AP, Wit's End offers a MR shred that scales better into late game than Nashor's Tooth
||After you've been guaranteed massive auttoattack damage, it's time to increase your poke. No apc should ever be seen without these two items, in my opinion. Rabadon's Deathcap grants you an immense boost in all ap damage (including your autoattack, due to Nashor's Tooth. Zhonya's Hourglass gives you almost as much ability power, as well as an active ability that can save you if you get jumped in a teamfight. Not much else needs to be said about these. You should aim to get these last.
Of these three items, i personally suggest Void Staff and Zhonya's Hourglass. Despite the sheer AP of Rabadon's Deathcap, the Magic Penetration of Void Staff makes it a better one-on-one ap item into the late game. Coupled with Wit's End the two items offer a large amount of MPen.
|| Berserker's Greaves might seem like an odd choice on an apc. However, the majority of Kog'Maw's damage comes from his autoattacks, and so. These should be the second item you build, after Lich Bane.
Late late game (and very few games ever reach this stage), after you have built everything else, you should sell your shoes for a Zephyr. Late game you want to get more damage... and this is the only way to get it, and still move fast enough to not be a liability. With Zephyr, Caustic Spittle, Nashor's Tooth, and Wit's End, Kog'Maw get's pretty damned close to the game's maximum attack speed, firing over two autoattacks per second, which (with all of the magic damage your autoattacks deal) grants you one of the highest dps out of the entire roster of LoL champions.
The largest difference between my AP Kog'Maw and the other proposed AP Kog'Maws is in my focus on AP autoattacks, instead of raw ap.
This is because Kog'Maw's burst will never be as strong as a typical apc. He will never be able to outburst someone like Annie, Brand, Ziggs... Those are characters that play the game around their harass, followed by burst. Kog'Maw can beat most ap carries in the harass game, but his burst will never equal a strong apc's.
Therefore, It is not adviseable to try to build Kog'Maw for a massive burst. Kog'Maw's primary source of teamfight damage comes in the form of Bio-Arcane Barrage. The builds that offer more ability power sacrifice Kog'Maw's attack speed, for an average of adding a (maximum of) 2% damage to Bio-Arcane Barrage. The attack speed granted by Nashor's Tooth and Wit's End offer significantly higher damage, as it almost doubles your attack speed. Two attacks of 9% damage via Bio-Arcane Barrage deal significantly more damage than one hit with 11% damage. Add in the extra autoattack damage granted by Nashor's Tooth and Wit's End, and you're dealing at least a hundred extra magic damage per autoattack on top of your percentage based damage.
AP Kog'Maw: How do I get Fed? An in-depth Analysis
Kog'Maw is an apc that can easily start to snowball, and can get some early kills fairly easily. This chapter may be a wall of text, but every part is uesful!
Generally speaking, there are two types of opponents you will face in lane. Confident opponents, and Cautious opponents.
Confident Opponents are preferable out of the two options, if a little more risky. Confident opponents are just that: confident in their abilities as a mid APC, and possibly even doubting yours (since Kog'Maw is not a traditional apc).Confident opponents are also usually more aggressive opponents. They want to farm, sure, but they also want to kill you. Confident opponents are more likely to stay in lane with lower life, which makes them much easier to kill than cautious opponents.
Kog'Maw's early game poke is centered on Void Ooze. It is a longer ranged skillshot that will hit everyone in its path. Now confident opponents are also usually more skilled opponents, so they will likely be moving erratically. Try to save Void Ooze for when they stop moving side-to-side. For example, when they stop to last-hit a minion.
Now, a thing i have said before and will continue to emphasize: when playing Kog'Maw you want to deal damage at range, and take nothing in return. Laning phase is the best time to practice this. For example, Void Ooze has a longer range than most harass you will face in the laning phase. Whenever your lane opponent moves closer to you, you know that they are trying to get in range to poke you. Watch your opponent: you will see what i mean. Each time they run in close, case Void Ooze, and walk away. Because of the slow, 9 times out of 10 your opponent will not be able to poke you, and you've just dealt them some damage. For added harass (once you get Sheen), hit them with a couple rounds of Bio-Arcane Barrage as they turn around and run back.
Rinse and repeat.
Once you hit lvl 6, Living Artillery gives you the chance to finish them. Wait for a chance to catch them in Void Ooze. Try to do this from a fair distance away, as if you start to move in on them they will hide at their tower. Ideally, you want to cast Void Ooze and Living Artillery almost simultaneously. As soon as you do, chare forwards with Bio-Arcane Barrage. Pop Living Artillery as often as you can, to get extra procs off of Sheen. Most opponents, confident or not, will be in full retreat by now. Remember to lead your target with Living Artillery to ensure hits.
The best part? Due to your extreme mana regeneration, if you do not succede you can just wait 30 seconds and do it all again. A couple times doing this, and you will either get a kill, drive the opponent out of lane, or at least burn a flash.
If your lane opponent is hovering in your lane with less than half health, you need to make sure you ward. Kog'Maw is susceptible to ganks if you don't see them coming, and you are more likely to get ganked if your lane opponent is not doing well.
These opponents are not very aggressive, and may be sitting in lane passively farming. Or maybe they're just Kayle. Whatever the reason, they are playing too safely for you to get your early game kills in lane. In cases like this, try to last hit minions as often as you can. Watch your opponent, figure out how they move. Once you hit level 3 and get your second point of Void Ooze, it is time to go on the offensive. Not too aggressive until you hit six: don't burn through your mana. All you're trying to do is zone your lane opponent, or (better yet) drive them back to their fountain. Rather than staying in lane with low life, a cautious opponent would rather go back. This is good. Once you have Living Artillery, you want to drive them out of lane. Then go roaming. Whichever lane is more pushed, that is the lane to gank. Kog'Maw is actually fairly strong at ganking: he has no gap closer, but he doesn't need to close a gap to unload his damage. Either you succeed in your gank, or you do not. Whichever happens, go back to mid. Rinse and repeat: Drive opponent out of lane: roam. Eventually someone on your team should start racking up some kills.
A Note About Ganking: How Does one Gank with Le Kog?
Typically, a strong gank has some form of CC, and a gap closer. Kog'Maw has a slow with Void Ooze, but no stuns, and no gap closer. Why then, is Kog'Maw still an effective ganker?
Typically, when ganked, a player's reaction is "run away to the relative safety of my turret." For top and bottom lanes, players often run through the bushes, to keep from taking damage as much as possible. Living Artillery is especially effective for ganking if you hit it, because it provides vision. Thus, running through the bushes, you can still attack them with Bio-Arcane Barrage, as well as your lane allies.
Kog'Maw's Void Ooze is also a strong gank spell, as it neatly cuts off a player's escape: It is a slow, that does not need to hit the enemy to actually slow them. Watch the lane as you go in. Do they start to retreat? If so, then you have been seen through a ward. Rather than charging the opponent(s), try to cut them off. Casting Void Ooze between them and their tower will slow any lane opponent who tries to escape, as they have to run over it (or use a dash/flash). This helps to set up your allies in the lane, giving them a chance to deal more damage damage. With your long range, and constant Living Artillery casts (and getting the unique passive off of Sheen, you can deal a substantial amount of damage while they are too busy running away to deal any damage to you in return: the perfect Kog'Maw fight scenario.
So long as your lane allies follow up, someone is almost guaranteed to get a successful kill, and you are probably leaving with either that kill, or an assist. In either event, return back to your mid lane, drive out your opponent (or kill them) and gank some more.
Remember: whenever you want to gank, go for whichever enemy lane is the most pushed. The more pushed they are, the easier it is to get a kill.
Team Fights: who Should i Focus?
Well you have the items, you have a general idea about what spells do what on Kog'Maw... now what about how to use them in a teamfight?
Kog'Maw is a glass cannon: he packs an extremely hard punch... but cannot take any hits in return. He specializes in hammering the enemy from outside their range. In a team fight, you must not put yourself within range of any of the opposing champions. The first thing to perfect in a team fight is positioning.
As Kog'Maw, you should always be dancing around the edges of the conflict. If any enemy characters come for you, do not feel like you need to stay: turn tail and run away. If they chase you, then your team fight is still 4 v 4 (and thus balanced). If he chases you away, then turn's back into the teamfight, then you can unleash yourself upon his retreating figure. Chances are, they should usually not make it back into the teamfight with much health left (if any at all).
If they are not focusing you, then aim for the highest damage-dealer on their team. Whether ADC, APC, or even Tank, Kog'Maw has the highest chance on your team for taking that character out in a teamfight due to extremely high dps. Your ult has a small AoE, so try to get it to hit as may people as you can. If any enemy tries to disengage from the teamfight, try to secure the kill with Living Artillery.
Lane Matchups: Who to Fear
Request a lane change
|Ahri is the worst possible champion you can face on the mid lane. Kog'Maw is a squishy champion that deals insane damage from a distance. Ahri will jump in close and pummel you with magic damage. If you flash, she will keep dashing in close. She ignores your Void Ooze and just keeps dashing until you die. If you get caught in a single Charm, you die. Ahri counters you so hard, if she is mid you had better ask for a lane change|
Difficult, but Manageable
||The assassins. All of these characters have a high burst, and an instant-gap closer, making them all the generic enemies of a Kog'Maw. That said, each of them can be dealt with so long as you play very safely. Keep just far enough away that their gap closer will not completely close the gap between you and them and you should live. I'd argue that Akali is the worst of these, due to being able to hide in her Twilight Shroud as you're about to kill her, and then melt you down before you can finish the job.
If these characters are in lane against you, just bully them from as far away as you can. If they get the drop on you, you're toast.
||Weird to see in a "hard to lane against" segment, but these champions are annoying. They can't kill you, but for variosu reasons, you can likewise not kill them. Malphite and Cho'Gath are both too tanky for your early game harass. Heimerdinger's H-28G Evolution Turret will drive you away every time you go for a kill, and Kayle will simply pop Intervention each time you try to finish her.
These opponents will probably keep you from getting any early game kills.
Difficult, but Manageable
As Kog'Maw, warding is more important than ever. Until mid game, you should be warding your lane constantly, as Kog'Maw is especially vulnerable if ganked, due to being very squishy. Each time you go to fountain, pick up a Stealth Ward. Late game, try to upgrade your trinket and pop wards whenever it is up. Warding is a thing that everyone on your team should be doing, and is unfortunately a thing often overlooked- especially in a lower elo. Vision protects against ganks, and opens up opportunities for your team to gank.
Every time you're in base, if you cannot afford a larger piece of an item, then you should be spending the money on wards. Vision wards AND stealth wards. Ward your entire jungle. Dragon pit and Baron pit. Ward bushes at the sides of lanes when you push to ensure you aren't ambushed. All in all, MAKE SURE YOU ARE WARDING AT ALL STAGES OF THE GAME
Thanks guys, and feedback much appreciated.
2014-05-25: Chapter added: "How to Kill with Kog'Maw: an In-Depth Analysis"
2014-05-29: Heal summoner spell moved to "other viable options" from "why not...?"
2014-06-03: Added a comparison between my Kog'Maw build and other average raw ap builds.
2014-06-11: Runaan's Hurricane added to main build. Lich Bane moved to "Alternative Options"
2014-08-31: Void Staff moved to primary item build. Lich Bane returned to primary item build. Descriptions modified accordingly.