Cho'Gath Build Guide by WhiskeyStick
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Big'gath is Best'gath
Full Build vs Full AD
Full Build VS AP Heavy
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.
With this build, you're going to play Cho'gath as a bully in lane, and as a giant meat shield/peel and CC machine late game.
Your Vorpal Spikes are mana free, and give you a surprising amount of harass. Most people will underestimate their damage. At level 5, Vorpal Spikes do 80 AOE damage (+ scaling), in addition to whatever you do on hit. That's essentially a Blood Thrister's worth of magic damage for no gold and no mana, and it's up 100% of the time.
Nothing particularly surprising here.
- Move Speed Quints - Gotta go fast, trust me.
- Armour Seals - You're going top lane, you'll want these.
- Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs - You'll want these on the off chance the jungler is AP or their mid lane feels like paying you a visit. Also, relevant late game.
- Marks - These can be either of the following, I find AS marks make it easier to farm:
- Attack Speed
- Hybrid Penetration
You are Cho'gath, Terror of the Void! All shall tremble before your gargantuan stature, or, you know, they will, late game.
Early game you are a pip-squeak. Your advantages are as follows:
- Hard farmin' with no mana;
- Free damage on your opponent while farmin' real hard with your spikes;
- Trading small to moderate damage with your lane opponent;
- Healing back all of that damage with your last hits; and
- Good disengage after level 1.
Things that you need to be wary of early on:
- Getting burst down and hit with ignite low level;
- Having people stick to you (turning small/moderate trades into big damage from them); and
The first thing you want to do in almost every match up is auto attack the first minion wave in such a manner that it's still in the middle area of the top lane BUT have enough minions killed that you can hit level 2 very quickly as soon as the second wave arrives. Ideally, you should kill the last minion in the first wave as the second one arrives.
You now have level 2, and you have your Q. You have far more options. For the most part, a trade in your favour can be done by making sure you have more minions alive than your opponent. If this is the case, walk up and auto attack your opponent a few times, he'll attack back, minions and you will hit him. If he doesn't back off, disengage by simply walking away, Q in such a manner that you're going to walk through it if needed. Now simply heal back any damage on the minion wave and use your pots. Make sure you're near full again and go back for more! This will ware down your opponent and you'll end up with more farm since he'll be fighting the turret for farm.
Always make sure to B and come back with pots/wards, especially early game. You're going to be pushing hard and wasting the jungler's time top lane will be one of your greatest strengths.
This is your one true purpose in lane. You have one job. You're going to farm, then when you're done farming the minions, you're going to farm turrets. If you can't last hit effectively while scaling your Vorpal Spikes, you should probably look into a different champ, this is baby town frolics here.
Turret Farming Protip:
If the opposing turret is low and your lane opponent can't really do that much damage/is focused on farming, shove the minion wave under and just hammer away at the turret. Toggle off your Vorpal Spikes so you don't accidentally draw aggro from the turret.
Gettin' your noms on!
Congratulations, you've hit level 6 and earned the right to eat things for a big pile of damage. Gonna save that ult for your lane opponent? Nope, if you have <6 stacks of your ult, your ult should be on cool down because you just ate a minion (exception, you are expecting a friendly gank in the next 20 seconds).
Congratulations, you now have 6 ult stacks and have earned the right to waddle your giant, indestructible butt though the lane. Gonna save that ult for a last hit on your lane opponent? Nope, if your lane opponent is in lane, your ult should be on cool down because you just ate a giant chunk out of him. Is he full HP? Good, go hit him with a buttload of true damage and get back to farming. Rinse and repeat until he's gone, then knock over his turret.
- Minion wave control;
- Small controlled trades; and
- Under turret shenanigans;
Minion wave control
Minion wave control is your biggest friend (aside from wards, but wards are your best bro, love them forever). Your damage is going to be lack lustre, your damage and 2 waves of minions pew-pewing away while you get some CC in for them, good times. Get a big minion wave early on, use them to your advantage, it's as simple as pushing hard, but you know, not too hard?
Small controlled trades
Small trades are best achieved by walking up and auto-attacking your opponent a few times. That's it. He hits you for ~250 damage, you hit him for ~250 damage. He's gonna chug a pot, you're gonna last hit a few minions and get free HP from your passive. Enjoy, you've just made a successful trade. Rinse and repeat. Aim your spikes to try and offset any of his healing during the time between trades.
If, for some reason, he comes at you and starts going HAM, scoot and shoot until he loses interest, or drop a Q in your chase path. Either he turns to dodge the Q and the fight is over, or he gets hit by the Q, in which case the fight is over and he took some damage for no reason.
Under turret shenanigans
This is more about playing your opponent than their character. Some people will feel very uncomfortable if you have a giant minion wave under their turret and you're sitting there auto attacking it. These people will chase you out instead of farming the minions that are there, this is good, they have chosen saving their turret instead of farming. Meanwhile the minions are hitting the turret and you're stopping them from farming.
This doesn't always work, lots of time people will ignore you and just farm the minions. This is great too, knock over that turret, their priorities will switch when it gets low.
A Note About Killing your Lane Opponent
If you kill someone in your lane with ghost/teleport you really haven't killed someone; they have killed themselves on you (excluding ganks obviously). Cho'gath's damage in this build is slow and predictable, you hurt, but only after a while, they should have just known better but they wanted to keep farming.
Cho'gath is best with ghost. Ghost is a better spell for him. Why? Flash is a tiny gap closer/maker. Ghost lets you run through everything for a long period of time.
"But what about the flash ults?!" ~ Everyone ever
I don't care, ghost is better. It requires a bit of foresight and can be more proactive than reactive, but it's up more often, and flash is only useful if your opponent is afraid of turrets. Guess what, you're Cho'gath, terror of the void, and if by some miracle there is a turret then just walk under it. Else, just stick to them like glue with ghost.
Late game, ghost ult is even scarier, 6 stack Cho'gath has a hard time pathing through an enemy team, right until he can just walk through them and chase the AD carry out of the fight since your ult will do about 1/3 of his HP.
Another reason to take ghost, no one can catch you.
The idea here is sustain, I know I plan to be top lane for awhile, you should too. If they have to go back more often than you, you get level advantage and typically farm advantage.
Since you get a lot of HP from your passive, building restances first is more beneficial. If your lane is AD, get a Warden's mail (and Ninja Tabi's if a lack of CC allows) early. If it's AP then get your Spectral Cowl and Mercury Treads first.
Your Second smaller item should be resistances against the jungler, if the jungler is AD and your lane is AD then build Warden's Mail into Randuin's Omen, if they're both AP go straight for a Spirit Visage.
After that, look who scaling out of control and buy accordingly. Aim to buy a Warmog's around 5th or 6th item. Buying Warmog's before this will have much less impact since you won't have the resistances to back it up, and the total health scaling on your Feast passive is better late game.
You really only need 1-2 offensive items. I'll often opt just for 1 since I find Cho'gath far more effective late game in peeling for your high damage team members and absorbing skill shots with his gigantism.
Your go to's are Wit's End which you can typically build fairly early (after 1-2 major items + boots), you'll do a lot of auto-attacking in team fights and this allows you do some damage while shrugging off some more of the AP AOE's you're going to get hit with (since you're giant).
Blade of the Ruin King is also handy since the active lets you stick to people and the attack speed works well with your Vorpal Spikes. The %HP damage also makes you a bit more relevant if you have to knock down a tank faster.
I included Liandry's Torment here, it's not the best choice, but it's certainly not the worst. Only get this if for some reason the rest of your team is full AD and the other team is stacking armour, this will help you shred though it a bit more.
Some people may have noticed that Rod of Ages isn't on the item list, it's because the item doesn't lend it self to this style of Cho'gath play. It has 4 stats:
- Health - You're better off building resistances, it gives you more effective health;
- Mana - Scaling Vorpal Spikes first allows you to trade/harass with little mana investment;
- AP - Sure, it's got some AP, but your ratios aren't the best so it's not amazing; and
- Health/Mana Regeneration on level - Last hitting already gives you this, it's not really a big deal.