Cassiopeia Build Guide by koyomilikesbloods
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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.
Threats to Cassiopeia with this build
|Teemo||Any champion that doesn't need to AA for damage will destroy Teemo. He will blind you, but use that opportunity to land a Q on him for the reset.|
I like playing champions that are difficult. More than that, I like playing difficult champions that are unpopular; Cassiopeia is pick about 2% of the time, making her about the 110th-118th most popular champion, of 126 champions. So she's pretty low on the pick list, and it's because of how hard she is to play. In fact, most would say that she is the HARDEST champion to play overall. So, as such, I've taken my time thoroughly exploring her kit and findings it's strengths/weaknesses and discovered some things quite interesting about her skill set:
She scales insanely well with AP. When her passive hits 500 stacks, she scales 45% better with AP. That's utterly insane. If you get a Deathcap with her, then you will effectively scale 80% better with AP. With that being said, you can build less AP and still remain extremely powerful. That's why I tried building tank on Cassiopeia, which worked surprisingly well--with this type of build, you just need to play her like you would play a Darius because of their lack of mobility. Cassiopeia does get a 20% speed boost if she lands her Q on someone, but other than that she is rather immobile. Building her like a bruiser is very strong because of her immobility--bruisers are champions that you want to kite and keep your distance from. Going on a Cassiopeia that you can't kill very quickly will likely kill you instead. You could possibly be able to stack more Armor and MR because of how well Cassiopeia scales with AP. The reason that you can't is because it takes too long for your passive to reach it's maximum power.
Hybrid Cassiopeia is a process that is still, as we speak, improving in effectiveness. It started out as me trying out Cassiopeia in the jungle because it seems like it'd be pretty strong--and it was, but since the changes to the AP enchantments for the smite tools, it would be a lot more effective for her to be built like a Hybrid. Since the creation of the Runeglave enchantment, hybrids have become a lot stronger because of it's Sheen proc, and the way that it works. Runglave, when paired with Gunblade, becomes quite potent. Reaver and BOTRK play a crucial part in this build, but I will leave that for another time; this introduction has been long enough.
Pros / Cons
Hard To Build Against
High Amounts of Burst Damage
Mixes Damage Pretty Well
Can Have Broken Amounts of Life Leech
Very Difficult To Play
Build Is Very Easy To Mess Up
Has A Very Late Power-spike
Jungle Can Be Harsh
9 Marks of Magic Pen
9 Seals of Armor
9 Glyphs of AP
and 3 Quints of AP
I play with these runes quite often because it makes you very strong from the start without really sacrificing offense for defense. Most Champions that go Top are AD so you don't really need any MR in the first place.
9 Marks of Magic Pen
4 Seals of Scaling Armor and 5 Seals of Scaling MR
9 Glyphs of AP
and 3 Quints of AP
Every champion, except for Cho'Gath, that goes mid will be squishy just as you are. So you are effectively able to trade your MR and Armor for more damage without really losing much.
9 Marks of AD
9 Seals of Armor
9 Glyphs of AP
and 3 Quints of AP
These are the runes that I use when I play Evelynn. Farming with Cassiopeia in the jungle will be much like Evelynn except you will be spending most of your time in the jungle farming. It becomes quite a bit easier when you get some levels, but just like Evelynn, you first camp clear will be the most challenging.
The Top and Mid mastery pages are identical except for one difference: Top has the Scout mastery while Mid has the Expanded Mind mastery. Scout increases trinket range which is very useful if you are going top because you don't have to go as far out of lane to go place it. Scout is not needed in the mid because the brushes are so close to the lane, but expanded mind gives you an extra 25 mana points.
The masteries used or the hybrid page scale both AD and AP, AD is less focused because Cass needs more AP to be able to clear early. Both are important, but her twin fang will be her sustain in the jungle. Arcane blade, when paired with her mix of damage, becomes quite strong; Even though Cassiopeia scales insanely well with AP, she doesn't do damage by AA. That's the very thing being exploited here in this build.
Why Gunblade and not Will of The Ancients?
Gunblade provides its users with better stats and a good active ability that scales with its user. It gives you 80 AP, which is a lot. You don't need the AD at all, it's really just something to be overlooked as it's the only item that provides such great stats.
Why Frozen Heart instead of Archangel's Staff?
Archangel's Staff is a great caster item as it basically guarantees that you will never run out of mana later in the game, but Cassiopsia, in this case, isn't a caster--she's a bruiser. And as a bruiser, Armor is an invaluable stat that allows you to survive. Cassiopeia scales very very well with AP so sacrificing AP for a bit of tank is actually a very strong.
Spirit Visage and Spell Vamp
The main reason why I decided on grabbing Gunblade instead of a Will of The Ancients is it's synergy with Spirit Visage. They do the same thing, yes, but Gunblade will ultimately heal you for more because you will be spamming Twin Fang most of the time--Twin Fang is a single-target spell, and Gunblade is more effective with single-target spells. Gunblade also stacks very nicely with Cassiopeia's passive giving her an overall (without Visage) 20% of spell damage dealt + 16 (+ 6% of AP) health refund when E is at max rank. That's already quite a bit of Spell Vamp, but when you get Visage that healing increases by an overall 20%. Spirit Visage also gives her MR, HP, and HP regen stats that will allow her to seamlessly make the transition from being a caster to a bruiser.
Getting Luden's as her first big item gives her a large increase in burst damage just like how a Shiv would give and AD champion a spike in critical strike damage. Luden's also gives her movement speed that, when paired with the Furor enchanted Sorcerer's Shoes, will give Cassiopeia the ability to chase and kite effectively.
You are going to want to get Archangel's Staff as your second item because you need the mana stats from Seraph's Embrace and it takes a while to stack.
You can choose to get either Deathcap or Rylai's next. You'll need both eventually, but getting Deathcap first isn't always the best option. Rylai's gives you HP stats and a large slow on any abilities you land on someone; Deathcap does give you an insane AP boost that stacks way too well with her passive. You just need to be able to identify the situation you are in correctly to make the most effective item choice. You always are going to want to get these items right after each other because you need these most for late game.
Make your choice: Gunblade or Torment? Gunblade is a very powerful item that works very well with Cassiopeia's kit. Torment is also a very good item to grab because it doubles her damage output towards her poisoned victims while also giving her some HP. I'd prefer you get Torment over the latter because it's just too strong of an item not to get, but Gunblade does have it's situational perks. Some may just prefer Gunblade over Torment as they both synergize well with Cassiopeia.
Due to the changes to the AP smite tool enchantment and creation of Runeglave, I feel it pretty necessary to make Cassiopeia a hybrid. Runeglave benefits AP champions with spammable abilities as it will trigger the Runeglave passive more often. The Runeglave passive scales with AD and AP, making it incredibly strong when used with hybrids. Since Cassiopeia uses lots of mana, getting Essence Reaver seemed like the most beneficial AD item to get as it will restore a percentage of the damage that she does per hit. The itemization on the build quite literally gives her best of both worlds; There are 3 AP items (Runeglave, Gunblade, and Luden's) and 3 AD items (Gunblade, Reaver, and BOTRK). Cassiopeia scales really well with AP so making her a hybrid is nothing short of OP. With these items, she will have tons of Spell Vamp and Lifesteal as she will be getting 16 (+ 6% of her AP) + 20% of spell damage in Vamp, and 30% Lifesteal.
-Top and Mid-
You always want to max your E skill because it's where all of Cassiopeia's DPS comes from. You want to put your first point into Q because it, by itself, does the most damage. Twin Fang scales 10% better than Noxious Blast does, but Noxious Blast's base damage is the highest of any skill other than her ultimate.
Don't get W until level 4 because you won't need it. To be doing any real damage, you need your E to be level 2. You want to skill Twin Fang twice before you even touch Miasma because it allows you to farm a lot better. You should try to sit as far back as you can so you wont be harassed and can farm from a range. Remember that if you are running low on mana, then you can start last hitting with your E as it will refund you a percentage of your mana pool.
You will always skill E first simply because you will always be starting your jungle route with Gromp. The Gromp smite buff makes your AA's do poison DOT for 3 seconds after each hit; this effect lasts for 90 seconds which is definitely more than enough time to get level 2, which is when you will skill Q. You will get your W at level 3 because you need to be able to clear more quickly in order to take the least amount of damage. W does DOT in an AOE and slows enemies that it hits, at rank 1, by 25%.
Cassiopeia needs her passive to be able to function correctly, and she can't do that in the jungle--this means that you will need to be ganking whenever possible. The easiest places to gank are Top and Bot because of their Tribrushes. Camp Bot lane if you are Purple side, camp Top if you are Blue side; always walk in through tribrush and always make sure that your team knows that you are there. You should probably gank after you've done a full clear and backed. When everyone starts grouping up in the mid, you want to follow and stay grouped up with your team until you've hit at least 250 stacks on your passive. If at that point you still need to farm, you can go split push if you haven't got anyone split pushing.
Securing Dragons and Barons should be pretty easy for you because you can keep them at bay with your ultimate; it does tons of damage they will think twice before trying to go for a steal.
I said when takling about skilling order that you need to start Gromp every time. The reason you need to start Gromp is because of the smite buff that it gives you: Your AA's apply a poison DOT on champions, minons, and creeps for 3 seconds; this buff lasts of 90 seconds, so this gives you ample time to clear one quadrant of the jungle. Clearing one quadrant is all you need to be able to get to level 3, which is the point where your clears get a lot faster.
You aren't going to need, in fact it's better if you don't, to get Ranger's Trailblazer because your clears are just fine without it. Once you hit level 2, your jungle clears will quite good, in fact you wouldn't really even need to smite anything once you hit level 3. The reason you need to get Stalker's blade is because of the slow that the smite gives you; slowed targets are easier to land skill shots on, and Cassiopeia has some of the most difficult skill shots, if not the most difficult, to land in the entire game. It would be a good idea to get Skirmisher's Sabre, but only if you have another way to slow your enemies other than your abilities.
The path you will take in the jungle will be Gromp=>Blue=>Wolves=>Wraiths=>Red=>Krugs because if you didn't take this path you would be wasting time running from Blue to Red--time that could be spent farming. That being said, you are gonna want to keep your Red buff warded so that if you get invaded, it can be turned into an advantage instead of a situation where you are forced behind in EXP, gold, and a buff. You could start Krugs, but the Bot lane would need to give you a very good leash and you would need to have your Blue buff warded. Blue buff is too important to you to give up unlike a Red where you don't REALLY need it, but farming it would be advantageous. The only reason you would start Krugs would be if (1)The enemy jungler is starting Krugs as well, or (2)The enemy jungler has really slow clears and you can steal their buff or kill them at the buff camp.
Gromp is the whole reason why Cassiopeia is able to farm easily in the jungle; Gromp's buff saves you lots of mana and cooldown by basically making it so you can use your E constantly for 90 seconds.
D.D. Tank Cassiopeia
D.D. stands for Double Damage; what I'm referring to is Liandry's Torment and the fact that it makes you do twice as much damage to targets that are CC'd. This build turns Cassiopeia into a Champion with tons of CC, some moderate damage, and lots of sustain as she will become quite tanky. Because of the way that she scales, you can can really not build much AP for her to still do some good damage.
The whole point behind this build is for her to become a target. You want to be targeted because once you will be tanky, you will hurt, and you will be incredibly hard to kill because of all the spell vamp you will have. You will be very hard to kite because of the slows that you have, Ghost, Rylai's, Frozen Heart, and Stalker's Blade. Tank Cassiopeia is something to get used to, but if played in the right team comp, can be very very potent.
The Team Composition and You
There is a time and place for everything. I will give an example of when each of these builds can be used. They aren't absolute--they are just outlines.
This team comp is great for Cassiopeia because their team fight is strong, they've got a good mix of damage (because Cassiopeia scales very well), and they've good some pretty solid engage. The Other Team actually has better engage, but Team OP is really able to flip fights around because of the Alistar and Jarvan initiation combo.
With this Wombo-Combo team comp, Cassiopeia will be able to do some crazy damage. Sivir ults, then Malphite, then Annie, then Cass, then Gnar. It's quite likely for the Other Team to grab some QSS' but with the amount of CC and damage output coming from everyone, it'll be difficult to survive their onslaught unless acted upon immediately. Cassiopeia Mid thrives off of things that help her set up her ultimate since it's quite a difficult thing to land effectively.
This is the classic Super-Wind-Wombo-Combo. Everything is centered around creating opportunities for Yasuo to use his ultimate. As Gnar is going mega he needs to jump in, at the same time Braum needs to throw out his ultimate. While they are knocked up, Cassiopeia throws her ultimate, and then Gnar ults everyone into a Kalista ultimate, knocking everyone up for Yasuo to jump in. All of this needs to be done quite quickly in order to prevent any chance for retaliation.