Build Guide by malencius
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Hi this is Malencius, with my first guide, this one for Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace. Cassie is a great mage champ to play, albeit rather hard for first time players to do well with. She's not really a nuker mage, since she deals damage with poison and combo spamming. I'm not really a pro with her, but i have gotten used to using her and i'm proud to call her my number 1 mage character. So, lets get into this, shall we?
Pros / Cons
Great Laning/Ganking Partner
Rather Good Escape Mechanisms
Synergizes with other poison champs (i.e. Teemo, Singed, etc.)
Great Combo user
Not that amazing in 1v1 due to squishyness
Hard to Master
Landing attacks (especially q) requires to be in tune with movement of foes
Most abilities are DoT - requires lots of AP to do more bursty damage
5-9: Build officially created
5-11: Situational items updated, runes reset, worked out bugs/mistakes
Yeah, these are my standard runes for pretty much any caster. I go Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for magic pen, as well as Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration. This helps add a little extra damage early on, especially with her combos.
For Seals, i go Greater Seal of Replenishment. Despite her passive, which lowers the cost of consecutive casts, early game Cass can still run out of mana somewhat easily, and that can lead to some serious hurt. These can be substituted with other mana regen items such as Meki Pendant, however i prefer to build a larger mana pool with my Catalyst, then my RoA, rather than spend money on early game regen. You could also go Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration, which provides better regen late game, but by then mana regen is almost useless due to her passive, so i prefer to go flat mana regen for early game effectiveness. I also went for mana regen in my masteries (see below), so it gives a little extra kick to her early game laning efficiency.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction upgrades the spammyness of your abilities, which really helps. Cassiopeia thrives off of her ability to land long combos, so lower cooldown helps with his. You can also go with CDR per level with Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, but by the end the natural CD on her abilities is so low, along with the flat CDR you already would have from your runes. In this respect, CDR per level doesnt make that much of a difference, but to each his own.
For masteries, i go standard caster, with 9/0/21. On the Offense tree, i gave her the extra AP, as well as CDR and some magic pen. Meanwhile, on the Utility tree, i go for the mana regen, more CDR, and an improved flash for easier escapes. Once again, this is very standard, and you've probably seen thes masteries MANY times before, not just on Cassiopeia, so I dont think i really need to go into super detail here.
I just listed summoner spells that can be used well with Cassie, ranging from best to worst.
Ignite - Goes well with her poison, and helps to pick up kills. Great skill.
Flash - Can be used to escape all sorts of ways. Great for lining up her ulti too.
Ghost - Can replace Flash. It's all up to preference really.
Clarity - Sometimes useful, especially early game, but with the size of the mana pool you build, it eventually becomes completely useless.
Cleanse - Useful if facing CC-heavy team. Perfectly fine choice.
Heal - Can be used to survive ganks and/or support, but is not always useful, and other abilities are more efficient with Cassiopeia than Heal.
Teleport - If you like being able to get somewhere really fast (seeing as Cass isn't super fast), then its fine. But Cass works better with offensive spells, so i would take other ones.
You ALWAYS want to start out with a
Doran's Ring. This is a must for casters, as it provides a little mana regen along with health and AP. Then i get my
Boots of Speed, eventually working towards a
Catalyst the Protector Catalyst the Protector. From there, you get your Blasting Wand and finish your Rod of Ages.
You should now build your Sorcerer's Shoes for extra speed and magic pen. You should now get your Giant's Belt, then another Blasting Wand. After that, finish your
Rylai's Crystal Scepter. By now you should have a good amount of health, mana and AP.
From there you can get a Needlessly Large Rod, which gives a nice AP boost. Now build your Zhonya's Hourglass, which gives a great amount of AP, as well as armor and an incredibly useful active.
Now is the time to get a Banshee's Veil, which is an amazing item. It give health, magic resist, and a godsend of a passive. I don't know how many times i've been saved by Karthus' Requiem by Banshee's Veil.
Now's the time to finish off you're build. Buy yourself another Needlessly Large Rod, and then build it into your very own
Rabadon's Deathcap. Once you get this (if the game manages to last that long/ you get fed that much) you should be doing insane amounts of damage with your combos, even just with your poison.
Now i know you don't need to follow a build exactly. God knows I don't :P. You have to be able to adapt to the kind of team the enemy has. Here, I will give some examples and advice on how to adapt to teams based on the champs they have.
For heavy AD teams:
Here you need to be careful. Cass is ridiculously squishy, especially early game. Just remember to be careful until you've amassed enough money to buy items.
Now that you've started your build, i recommend getting armor after your
Rod of Ages by rushing a Zhonya's Hourglass. Not only does this give you a boost in AP, it has some decent armor and an amazing active. Another good item for AD heavy teams is Frozen Heart. It gives a good amount of armor, as well as its freezing passive. The CDR it has isn't amazingly helpful (well, maybe except for early game, except you shouldnt have it super early), but it can slightly help with your ulti's cooldown. I'd more buy it for the armor though.
If this team has a lot of CC users, you can buy some Mercury Treads. However, having some magic pen would be better, and the Merc Treads are magic resist items beside the CC reduction. They can be viable, but better for hybrid or AP teams.
The problem with building armor on carries/mages is that much of their damage comes from good builds. If you build too much armor (unless you get armor with other good abilities, like Zhonya's Hourglass) you cant build damage or magic pen or whatever you need to kill the enemy. I recommend playing smart with Cassiopeia (as well as any other squishy) rather than lessening her effectiveness as a damage dealer by getiing too much survivability.
For items that stack health, they are mentioned later in this section.
For heavy AP teams:
The good thing about stacking MR on Cassie is that a lot of those kinds of items have other effects that have pretty good synergy with her AP and such stats (much like other casters). If you find yourself against a team with a lot of AP, Banshee's Veil is always a good item to get, with the MR, health and mana buff. It also helps prevent ganks, etc., with its passive.
Mercury Treads are a viable choice to get MR, especially if the other team has a lot of CC. The same thing can be said for Quicksilver Sash, which gives more resistance, as well as defense against CC. The difference between the two is that the Treads work on Tenacity (which reduces debuff times), while the Sash works the same way as Cleanse, as it has an active that completely heals any debuffs.
If you must get something that involves defence against CC, these two items are most effective. You can choose between the two as you wish.
Some other items came out with the recent patch also improve Tenacity, but I haven't got around to trying them out, and Mercury's Treads still have the most Tenacity (Tenacity doesnt stack, so dont even try buying a buch of tenacity items, it just chooses the highest value). You can use them too, if you like, but i don't know how well they work.
A good item against AP teams is Abyssal Scepter, which give resistance, AP AND magic pen, so it can really help in game. Lich Bane can also be used too, with it's magic resist, AP, Movement speed and extra mana. However, i don't normally use this, as you shouldn't be relying on your auto attack to be doing your damage.
For Hybrid Teams:
Theres not much to say against hybrid teams. Just look at what kind of damage they will do most as a team, and coordinate according to that. There are some items like
Guardian Angel and that help defend against hybrid teams by having both armor and resistance, and you can use these if you must. Just play smart and coordinate with your teammates to avoid being caught and slaughtered because you cant make up your mind on what to focus on.
Here are item suggestions categorized based upon certain stats that are important for a Cass that can survive. Some aim more towards survivability, while some focus on offensive capability.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Rod of Ages
ARMOR: (Not many good armor picks for Cassie, so this section is kinda limited when it comes to effective items. Refer to the part on facing AD teams for a fuller opinion on armor.)
Aegis of the Legion
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Rod of Ages
Rod of Ages
I don't know how many times I've said this by now, but these items can be chosen according to preference, but remember to be considerate when picking items. I've seen some people just stick to the build they read completely, by order and everything. This is somewhat ******ed, so i want you to remember: THIS IS A STRATEGY GAME. IF YOU ARE NOT THINKING CONSIDERABLY ABOUT PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING, YOU NEED TO BE.
Ok now that my lecture is done, i'll get back on track. Sorry, I've seen some potentially great player become feeders become they were inflexible with their build. Just find some way to make sure you pay attention to the enemies actions and items, and plan accordingly.
Whoo, that section was long. :P