Cassiopeia Build Guide by Misentro
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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.
Cassiopeia is easily my favourite champion in the game, as well as one of the most underrated. She's not going to burst someone from 100 to 0 like Annie, but she is able to constantly use her spells instead of killing one target and backing off. With Cassiopeia you are always dealing great sustained damage and have a lot of utility. She is one of the more difficult champions to master, but with practice can easily turn the tide of any battle.
Also getting triple kills with poison is always fun.
Results: (More to come)
I feel like the standard 9/0/21 masteries don't suit Cassiopeia, and prefer to take 9/7/14. This may seem odd, but it's worked very well for me. The 15% MPen from offense is one of the best choices for any caster, and I go into utility for the mana regen, improved Flash and all the other goodies. However, instead of going all the way down utlity, I prefer dipping into defense. Cassiopeia has a surprisingly high base armour, and the extra MR helps as well, but the real aim here is Strength of Spirit. Along with Meki Pendant, your regeneration will be able to keep you in your lane almost indefinitely. 9/0/21 is still a very strong choice, especially for the spell and summoner CDR, but I find that defense increases her already very powerful early game exponentially.
I use fairly standard caster runes. MPen marks are pretty much required, AP/lvl glyphs will give that extra boost late game, and Mp5/lvl seals make your mana bar essentially disappear by mid game. CDR, CDR/lvl or flat AP glyphs are also good choices, but her cooldowns are already so low I find them superfluous. The quintessences are debatable, but I like to have the extra health early game, with a slight edge on movement speed. These could easily be substituted with any other caster quints, such as AP, MPen, etc.
Simply amazing. Lets you position offensively, chase an enemy, escape a gank, jump a wall, anything. Always use this on Cass.
This is a great spell for finishing off enemies, particularly early game. It also cripples champions who are reliant on healing such as Mundo, Swain, or anyone with a Soraka or Sona on the team
(Always replace Ignite if choosing one of these.)
Great spell for map control. Lets you stop backdoors, set up ganks, or just return to your lane quickly after recalling. This is particularly good in a solo lane. Make sure to switch a point from Perseverance to Spacial Accuracy.
Good for extra chasing/escaping power, but I feel that her Q and W respectively are enough. Make sure to switch a point from Perseverance to Haste.
Great against CC heavy teams, especially against someone like Amumu or Shen.
I don't feel like this is necessary on Cass with her W and Rylai's slows, but if nobody on your team has it it can be a very good choice, especially against champions like Tryndamere. Make sure to switch a point from Deadliness into Cripple.
Passive: Deadly Cadence
After casting a spell any subsequent spellcasts will cost 10% less for 5 seconds. This ability stacks up to 5 times.
This is one of those passives that you don't actively notice, but rather works constantly in the background and allows you to do things you otherwise couldn't. A lot of people recommend always using spells in lane to keep this stacked, but I prefer to just let it do its thing. Using spells constantly will (albeit slowly) drain your mana and push the creep wave excessively, possibly messing up last hits.
Q: Noxious Blast
Cassiopeia blasts an area with a delayed high damage poison dealing 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+90% Ability Power) over 3 seconds, granting her 15% / 17.5% / 20% / 22.5% / 25% increased Movement Speed if she hits a champion for 3 seconds.
This is what makes Cass so great early game. It works like Karthus' Q, automatically casting wherever you have your cursor. The AoE is deceptively large and painful. In nearly all cases this will let you push the enemy away from your creeps, and whenever they try to return you can place one in front of them to either damage them or simply scare them off. The speed boost is also great, letting you escape or chase easily. You can cast this into a bush to check for enemies - if the speed buff appears, you've hit someone.
Cassiopeia releases a growing cloud of poison that last for 7 seconds. Any enemy that passes through it is poisoned for 2 seconds, dealing 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 (+15% Ability Power) each second and slowing them by 15% / 20% / 25% / 30% / 35%. Continuous exposure renews this poison.
This spell is great when laning against a melee champ. Drop this on their melee creeps, and they won't be able to come in for last hits without taking damage and you'll easily get last hits on theirs. Most people underestimate how large it can grow. It's great for blocking off crossroads or narrow spaces, or simply zoning enemy champions. If half their lane is covered in poison they're generally not going to step in it, making landing your Q much easier. This is also great for harassing enemies at their tower, by dropping it in front of your creeps so that it grows and pushes them back; just be sure not to go in tower range or the DOT will immediately pull aggro.
E: Twin Fang
Cassiopeia deals 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+55% Ability Power) magic damage to her target. If the target is poisoned then Twin Fang's cooldown is reduced to .5 seconds.
Later in the game this becomes your main source of damage. I almost never use it if the enemy isn't poisoned, because the cooldown is very long without the reduction and the pause to cast can hurt you more than it helps. If an enemy ever runs into your W, punish them for it. I always use smart cast for this spell, allowing you to cast without clicking (default is shift+E). I don't usually use this after landing a Q in lane unless they're very close; early game the damage is pretty small and it uses a lot of mana.
[*] Note: The cooldown reduction on this spell works with other poisons besides Cass'. Try laning with Singed or Teemo (Twitch's doesn't work).
R: Petrifying Gaze
Cassiopeia deals 200/325/450 (+60% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies in front of her. Enemies facing her are stunned for 2 seconds while enemies facing away are slowed by 60%.
I love this spell. It takes a while to get used to aiming this, but it will become second nature with time. In team fights you should try to get as many people caught in it as possible, but don't be afraid to use it on one person. I find this comes off cooldown much faster than expected, and can turn any fight in your favour. While the slow is amazing, always try to use this when your enemy is facing you. One of the best ways to do this is to run into a bush with them following, then as soon as you're hidden cast it before they have time to react. If you're being chased nobody expects you to suddenly turn around, stun them for what feels like ages and proceed to completely destroy them. This skill is great for escaping as well as attacking, just make sure you aren't afraid to use it.
Levelling Noxious Blast first will give you extremely potent harass in lane, especially with its great scaling. I get a point in Twin Fang at 2 and in Miasma at 4, then leave both for as long as possible. One rank in Miasma is enough until late game due to its poor scaling and relatively small slow; it's mostly needed for zone control and applying poison. I level Twin Fang second to maximize my damage. You could level Twin Fang before Noxious Blast, but the cost will quickly drain your mana and you're reliant on hitting the initial Q to do any damage.
I start with a Meki Pendant and two health potions, because in combination with Strength of Spirit and Mp5/lvl seals, you can stay in lane much longer than most opponents. Doran's Ring is also a good choice, but I prefer the increased regeneration, potions and quick Tear.
Next I get a fast Tear of the Goddess. If you can, it's often worth it to recall early and begin building the passive on this. Congratulations, you will almost never have to worry about mana again. Getting your Boots of Speed quickly is also important due to the low movement speed of casters and your reliance on mobility.
I always rush Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item will take you from powerful to absolutely deadly. If you're fed and get this early, it's very easy to snowball into a serpentine demigoddess. Most of the time I get the Giant's Belt first to increase my survivability greatly, but if the game is going particularly well feel free to get the Blasting Wand and Amplifying Tome first. If you're doing well you can also get a Mejai's Soulstealer, hoist your team onto your back and carry them.
After this you'll want to upgrade your boots. Generally I go with Sorcerer's Shoes, but Mercury's Treads are a great choice against heavy AP or CC teams. Boots of Swiftness are also a good option, but you may need to get a Void Staff to compensate.
Unless your game is going badly, getting a Rabadon's Deathcap will give you the AP you need to completely destroy. You already have a slow, health and speed, and this just puts the icing on the cake. However, if you're not doing so well, getting a different late game option is often the better choice.
Late Game Options:
Moonflair Spellblade: Very good choice against enemies with some CC, but not enough to warrant Mercury's Treads.
Banshee's Veil: This can save you from being bursted down by champions such as LeBlanc or Malzahar, and in general makes you a much less attractive target.
Abyssal Scepter: This is great against teams with very powerful AP champs, while also adding to your whole team's damage.
Void Staff: If the enemy team is building a lot of MR or you didn't get Sorcerer's Shoes, this item will increase your damage dramatically.
Zhonya's Hourglass: Amazing item, especially against heavy AD teams. It's pretty expensive to build, but the AP and armor are very strong and the active is amazing.
I try not to get tanky items, but if it's absolutely necessary Force of Nature and Frozen Heart can be viable.
The laning phase is easily Cass' strongest point, but she continues to be great through the whole game. I prefer taking a solo lane with her, but she doesn't take priority over champs who need a solo (eg. Malzahar, LeBlanc). She can hold her own in almost any lane; you can even successfully harass and potentially kill in a 1v2 lane. I generally find that solo top > solo mid > duo bot > 1v2 top, but it's not a huge issue for you to go mid over Ashe, as long as you know you can farm. The bushes in top provide a great way to shoot out your Q unexpectedly and keep your opponent scared. Generally you don't want to go against someone with stong CC, a gap closer or high burst damage, but this obviously isn't always possible. Always ward your lane, as Cassiopeia is very vulnerable to strong gankers like Nunu.
Cassiopeia has top tier harass. Abuse this. And then abuse it some more. Use your Q every time you think you can get a hit, and if possible throw in an E afterwards. She is able to easily deny farm to almost any champ, while her poisons allow her to pick them up herself.
Against melee champions:
Place your W on top of their melee creeps. This will increase your ability to last hit them, and blocks the opponent from running in to last hit yours. If they do, you can freely spam E and Q until they smarten up. Try to put a Q in front of them every time they come near your wave, but be especially careful of overextending. If they have a gap gloser (screw you Xin Zhao) and you can't escape in time, you'll have to burn Flash or your ult. It's best to only go for the kill if they get cocky and initiate on you when you're at high health. If this happens (especially under your turret), hitting them in the face with your ult and getting a Q and W under them while they're stunned will almost always ruin their chances. Even at low health you're deceptively powerful with the ability to ult, Q, W, Ignite and run.
Against ranged champions:
These are harder to deny farm, but it can still be done. Here you'll want to place your W on top of their ranged creeps in order to force the enemy backwards or trap them on one side. Once they're blocked off on one side it's easy to lead them into a Q. If you are able to force them back from your creeps then make sure you place a Q in front of them every time they come back for last hits to do damage and scare them off. If they go too far towards you, you can run at them and place your W slightly behind them. If they run back, they'll be stuck in a slow and poison and you can spam your Q and E. If they run forwards, try to land your Q and spam E before they get out of range. Flashing forward to ult is difficult, but if done properly can almost guarantee a kill if you've been harassing properly.
By this point you should have your Rylai's and (hopefully) be winning your lane, if you haven't gotten their turret already. The game with start shifting from laning to team fights, and making this transition is essential. In laning you're focusing on landing your Q and harassing.
Whenever possible you should be farming, whether in a lane or the jungle. Cass is very good at going to a lane, trowing a W and a Q, then leaving while getting all the gold and exp. You can also clear the wolf and wraith camps in seconds. Getting blue buff, while not top priority, will certainly help. Just make sure you don't take it from someone who needs it more.
At this point your job is primarily to disrupt the enemies as much as possible with your W and R, spamming Q and E on their squishies. Never run in front of your team or you will absolutely melt. Your damage isn't the greatest at this point but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to rack up as many kills as possible.
Now you're starting to rack up the AP. Always stay with your team, as a solo Cass late game is begging to be ganked. While Cass can't really backdoor, she can push creep waves incredibly fast, so try to run to a lane, kill a wave and then leave ASAP whenever the opportunity arises. It's still very important to always be farming, but it's much more dangerous.
Your role in team fights is now more oriented towards damage, while still keeping your great control. Use your W to block off paths or slow a squishy, then obliterate them with Q and E. If the enemy team is clustered together throwing a W in the middle of them will disorient and separate them, and allow E spam. Your ultimate can be as game changing as Amumu's, but when to use it is up to you. If the fight is in your favour, using it before you expect them to retreat will leave them with no more options. If it's in their favour, you can guarantee a safe escape. Try to hit as many as possible, but prioritize the carries if necessary. It's also perfectly reasonable to use it on a melee focusing you. If Xin dashes to you in the middle of your team, stunning him there will make it a 5v4 instead of a 4v5.
Then kill their Nexus.