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Cassiopeia Build Guide by Sahaqiel2009

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Sahaqiel2009

Cassiopeia - The Serpent's Embrace

Sahaqiel2009 Last updated on November 27, 2011
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Ability Sequence

1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
2
3
5
7
9
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
4/
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction

Cassiopeia's mobility

Cassiopeia has a great mobility advantage in her lane. Her W slows enemy targets, and if you hit an enemy CHAMPION with her Q, you gain movement speed. Now, at level 1 in her Q and W, you slow the enemy for 15%, and gain a 15% movement increase. Remember, that's also only at their level 1 boosts. This gives her an amazing advantage in mobility, and if you know how to position yourself, mobility is the most overpowered stat in the entire game. I wanted to make a big deal out of this because I think sometimes there is not enough emphasis on how truly important this is, both in laning and afterwards.

Damage Sequence

Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Miasma Twin Fang Twin Fang

Cassiopeia's most insane damage comes from the sequence Q+E+E+W+E+E. Her E cooldown is 3 seconds, however if you hit someone with your E while they are under the effects of one of her damage over time spells, it reduces this to a .5 second cool down. Now, while this is the most damaging sequence, it is not always the best sequence to use, but if you are looking for a chain of harass in lane, this is the sequence to follow, though most of the time you will stop after Q+E+E.

Typically while just giving a bit of harass, you want to just try your best to hit them with your Q, you may miss a few times, but as soon as you do land your Q, you need to go straight at them like a bat out of hell and hit them with E+E, then go back to normal farming and trying to land your Q again, rinse repeat. *Note, when I say straight at them, obviously don't sprint in a straight line at someone like Morgana who has a Spell Binding, use sense and dodge whatever is coming your way while you approach*

Of course, if you opt to max Q first, you don't need to pursue with your E+E after the Q, and I would probably recommend against it until your E gets a couple of levels, otherwise you are wasting more mana than you are taking HP from them.

Ultimate

Petrifying Gaze

Cassiopeia deals damage in a cone in front of her, and slows opponents for 60% if they are looking away, or stuns them for 2 seconds if they are looking at you. This is an extremely unique ability, and makes for the best towerdiving bait in the game. If someone is diving you, they have to be facing you, which means a free ultimate to the face, followed by Q+E+E. This is also amazing utility in a team fight, as a 2 second area of effect stun is extremely rare in LoL, and a 60% slow if the enemy is facing away isn't bad either. This thing absolutely crushes team fights if you land the stun on at least 2-3 people.

Ganking Sequence *Pre-Ultimate or Ultimate on Cooldown*

Miasma Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang

Whenever you gank, or whenever your jungler ganks, you're going to most likely use a W+Q+E+E+Q+E+E. Basically, what you will do, you will land the W on them so they are slowed, but in such a way that if they run towards the turret they are running through your slow. If your jungler is smart, this is when he will leave his brush. Now, you HAVE to hit them with the Q IMMEDIATELY after the W, the reason being is that as soon as they see they jungler leave the brush, they are going to burn their flash cooldown. Now, if you hit them with both the W and the Q, they are temporarily slowed, and you are temporarily sped up, which means that even though they burned their flash cool down, you are extremely likely to catch up to them. As you close the distance, you're going to lead with another Q (as most likely the cooldown time spent catching up due to the flash will be made up) and finish up your combo via E+E and continue Q+E+E.

This is essentially the idea/sequence you will use while ganking a side lane as well, leading with W+Q to gain that mobility advantage early, as placement is the number 1 key to winning games (mobility is the most OP stat in the game), then if they flash lead into Q+E+E, or if they don't flash just jump immediately to E+E after the initial W+Q.

Ganking Sequence *Post-6 and Ultimate is not on Cooldown

Petrifying Gaze Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Miasma Twin Fang Twin Fang

Now, that last wall of text was all assuming this is either pre-6 or your ultimate is on cooldown, if your ultimate is up, you will wait for your opponent to either be doing his little thing creep farming or trying to harrass you, and ultimate right in his face so they jungler has 2 seconds to close in on him. If your flash is up, you can really catch him off guard by flash+ult, use how you see fit. If you are worried about your opponent turning high tail right when you ult, you can also use a harass sequence of Q+E+E, and about that time they will try to counter harass, this is when you will hit them with the ultimate. Regardless of how you led up to using your ultimate, during that 2 second stun, you should just be slamming down on your opponent with your Q+E+E+W+E+E combo, the most damaging combo, as 2 seconds of stun time is a lot of time to put out damage. If you didn't get the kill, they will still be out of lane, which helps you and your team.

Getting Ganked

The most important thing to remember while getting ganked is DO NOT blow your ultimate immediately. A lot of people will freak out, ult the jungler, flash, make a mad dash for the turret, and hope for the best. Your best bet while getting ganked is to retreat into a position that will draw the Jungler and the enemy mid closer together in pursuit(if flash is required to do this, go for it, better to have a 255 second cool down running than to increase your death count). This is when you want to use your ultimate, to stun both of them. You are more likely to dodge being hit by some form of CC that will disable you if you can hit both the enemy mid and the Jungler. During the 2 second stun, you actually have time to Q+E and move back towards your turret, so not only did you smack them in the face with your ultimate, you can harass them a tiny bit and stay in lane, perhaps even having done more damage to them than they to you.

Now, lets assume your ult is on cooldown. As soon as you see the Jungler, throw your W at him to land the slow, and simultaneously smack him with the Q, this is your best chance of escaping the gank, as the speed difference from the slow and speed up will be significantly more than just using the slow. If the mid lane is scarier in terms of damage or disabling than the Jungler, its actually better to place the W in the way of the mid lane, but probably better to still hit the Jungler with the Q, as the W can stay in place for a few seconds causing them to run around or be slowed, where as the Q has to hit on the target, and if you try to hit the enemy mid with both W and Q, you will most likely run at the enemy mid a little bit, and running towards the enemy mid while the Jungler goes at you is just silly.


Guide Top

Pros / Cons

You should always take Q at level 1, but the question is, should you max Q first or E first? Well, a lot of that depends on your play style and your opponent in lane. Personally, I like to max E first on most occasions so that I can deal the most damage possible. However, Q is the easier harassment tool as it can be cast from far away, Q also has the advantage of pushing the lane, if you need to push your lane forwards it will take a long time and a lot of mana clearing the wave with combos of Q+E, where as maxing Q first makes it incredibly easy to push lane.

As far as which lane opponents should you take which spell, in cases of having Kassadin in lane, I always max Q before E. This is because Kassadin is a tough lane opponent, but its incredibly easy to hit him with Q and run away when he tries to return the favor. This is because A) he has a shorter range on his Q and B) when you hit an opponent with your Q, you gain extra mobility.


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Skills




Deadly Cadence is Cassiopeia's passive. "After casting a spell, any subsequent spellcasts will cost 10% less for 5 seconds. This ability stacks up to 5 times." Thats pretty self explanatory, it helps with mana, which is pretty necessary with how fast Cassiopeia uses her skills.





Noxious Blast is Cassiopeia's Q, Cassiopeia casts a small damage over time spell on the ground wherever her cursor is when the summoner presses Q. This spell works just like Karthus' Q, if you have experience with Karthus. This spell has a short delay after casting, so its important to try and lead your opponent into it or to be able to guess where your opponent is going to be standing so that they don't have time to react and dodge your Q. This is one of those practice makes perfect kind of spells.

If you hit an enemy CHAMPION with your Q, Cassiopeia gains a movement speed boost, which is very important to how Cassiopeia combos up behind landing her Q, explained in the "Using your skills" section.




Miasma is Cassiopeia's W. Cassiopeia spits out a poison that stays on the ground and gradually grows bigger. Opponents caught in the circle take damage over time and are slowed. This spell is much easier to land than Noxious Blast, her Q. This spell is mostly important for catching enemy champions, leading enemy champions into being hit by your Q, or for escaping enemy champions.





Twin Fang is Cassiopeia's E, and her most damaging spell. This puppy is where Cassiopeia really destroys opponents. This is Cassiopeia's only point and click spell, however, it MUST be used in conjunction with either Noxious Blast, Miasma, or both. Twin Fang is a single target nuke with a 3 second retimer, however, if you hit an opponent that is currently under the effects of Cassiopeia's damage over time spells (I.E. Noxious Blast or Miasma) then the cooldown is reduced to .5 second. This essentially gives her a nuke that hits as fast/faster than most autoattackers, this is why she is very similar to an AD carry in my eyes.





Petrifying Gaze is Cassiopeia's Ultimate. Cassiopeia does damage in a frontal cone that deals high damage and stuns opponents who are facing her for 2 seconds, and slows opponents who are facing away from her for 2 seconds by 60%. This ultimate is absolutely insane in team fights, as 2 second AoE CC is incredibly rare in LoL. It also makes her amazing tower dive bait, as people who tower dive her have to be facing her, which means a 2 second stun under a turret and Cassiopeia's relentless damage. Most people will not successfully dive Cassiopeia if her ultimate is up, regardless of her HP.


Guide Top

Skill Order

You should always take Q at level 1, but the question is, should you max Q first or E first? Well, a lot of that depends on your play style and your opponent in lane. Personally, I like to max E first on most occasions so that I can deal the most damage possible. However, Q is the easier harassment tool as it can be cast from far away, Q also has the advantage of pushing the lane, if you need to push your lane forwards it will take a long time and a lot of mana clearing the wave with combos of Q+E, where as maxing Q first makes it incredibly easy to push lane.

As far as which lane opponents should you take which spell, in cases of having Kassadin in lane, I always max Q before E. This is because Kassadin is a tough lane opponent, but its incredibly easy to hit him with Q and run away when he tries to return the favor. This is because A) he has a shorter range on his Q and B) when you hit an opponent with your Q, you gain extra mobility.


Guide Top

Using your skills

Cassiopeia's mobility

Cassiopeia has a great mobility advantage in her lane. Her W slows enemy targets, and if you hit an enemy CHAMPION with her Q, you gain movement speed. Now, at level 1 in her Q and W, you slow the enemy for 15%, and gain a 15% movement increase. Remember, that's also only at their level 1 boosts. This gives her an amazing advantage in mobility, and if you know how to position yourself, mobility is the most overpowered stat in the entire game. I wanted to make a big deal out of this because I think sometimes there is not enough emphasis on how truly important this is, both in laning and afterwards.

Damage Sequence

Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Miasma Twin Fang Twin Fang

Cassiopeia's most insane damage comes from the sequence Q+E+E+W+E+E. Her E cooldown is 3 seconds, however if you hit someone with your E while they are under the effects of one of her damage over time spells, it reduces this to a .5 second cool down. Now, while this is the most damaging sequence, it is not always the best sequence to use, but if you are looking for a chain of harass in lane, this is the sequence to follow, though most of the time you will stop after Q+E+E.

Typically while just giving a bit of harass, you want to just try your best to hit them with your Q, you may miss a few times, but as soon as you do land your Q, you need to go straight at them like a bat out of hell and hit them with E+E, then go back to normal farming and trying to land your Q again, rinse repeat. *Note, when I say straight at them, obviously don't sprint in a straight line at someone like Morgana who has a Spell Binding, use sense and dodge whatever is coming your way while you approach*

Of course, if you opt to max Q first, you don't need to pursue with your E+E after the Q, and I would probably recommend against it until your E gets a couple of levels, otherwise you are wasting more mana than you are taking HP from them.

Ultimate

Petrifying Gaze

Cassiopeia deals damage in a cone in front of her, and slows opponents for 60% if they are looking away, or stuns them for 2 seconds if they are looking at you. This is an extremely unique ability, and makes for the best towerdiving bait in the game. If someone is diving you, they have to be facing you, which means a free ultimate to the face, followed by Q+E+E. This is also amazing utility in a team fight, as a 2 second area of effect stun is extremely rare in LoL, and a 60% slow if the enemy is facing away isn't bad either. This thing absolutely crushes team fights if you land the stun on at least 2-3 people.

Ganking Sequence *Pre-Ultimate or Ultimate on Cooldown*

Miasma Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang

Whenever you gank, or whenever your jungler ganks, you're going to most likely use a W+Q+E+E+Q+E+E. Basically, what you will do, you will land the W on them so they are slowed, but in such a way that if they run towards the turret they are running through your slow. If your jungler is smart, this is when he will leave his brush. Now, you HAVE to hit them with the Q IMMEDIATELY after the W, the reason being is that as soon as they see they jungler leave the brush, they are going to burn their flash cooldown. Now, if you hit them with both the W and the Q, they are temporarily slowed, and you are temporarily sped up, which means that even though they burned their flash cool down, you are extremely likely to catch up to them. As you close the distance, you're going to lead with another Q (as most likely the cooldown time spent catching up due to the flash will be made up) and finish up your combo via E+E and continue Q+E+E.

This is essentially the idea/sequence you will use while ganking a side lane as well, leading with W+Q to gain that mobility advantage early, as placement is the number 1 key to winning games (mobility is the most OP stat in the game), then if they flash lead into Q+E+E, or if they don't flash just jump immediately to E+E after the initial W+Q.

Ganking Sequence *Post-6 and Ultimate is not on Cooldown

Petrifying Gaze Noxious Blast Twin Fang Twin Fang Miasma Twin Fang Twin Fang

Now, that last wall of text was all assuming this is either pre-6 or your ultimate is on cooldown, if your ultimate is up, you will wait for your opponent to either be doing his little thing creep farming or trying to harrass you, and ultimate right in his face so they jungler has 2 seconds to close in on him. If your flash is up, you can really catch him off guard by flash+ult, use how you see fit. If you are worried about your opponent turning high tail right when you ult, you can also use a harass sequence of Q+E+E, and about that time they will try to counter harass, this is when you will hit them with the ultimate. Regardless of how you led up to using your ultimate, during that 2 second stun, you should just be slamming down on your opponent with your Q+E+E+W+E+E combo, the most damaging combo, as 2 seconds of stun time is a lot of time to put out damage. If you didn't get the kill, they will still be out of lane, which helps you and your team.

Getting Ganked

The most important thing to remember while getting ganked is DO NOT blow your ultimate immediately. A lot of people will freak out, ult the jungler, flash, make a mad dash for the turret, and hope for the best. Your best bet while getting ganked is to retreat into a position that will draw the Jungler and the enemy mid closer together in pursuit(if flash is required to do this, go for it, better to have a 255 second cool down running than to increase your death count). This is when you want to use your ultimate, to stun both of them. You are more likely to dodge being hit by some form of CC that will disable you if you can hit both the enemy mid and the Jungler. During the 2 second stun, you actually have time to Q+E and move back towards your turret, so not only did you smack them in the face with your ultimate, you can harass them a tiny bit and stay in lane, perhaps even having done more damage to them than they to you.

Now, lets assume your ult is on cooldown. As soon as you see the Jungler, throw your W at him to land the slow, and simultaneously smack him with the Q, this is your best chance of escaping the gank, as the speed difference from the slow and speed up will be significantly more than just using the slow. If the mid lane is scarier in terms of damage or disabling than the Jungler, its actually better to place the W in the way of the mid lane, but probably better to still hit the Jungler with the Q, as the W can stay in place for a few seconds causing them to run around or be slowed, where as the Q has to hit on the target, and if you try to hit the enemy mid with both W and Q, you will most likely run at the enemy mid a little bit, and running towards the enemy mid while the Jungler goes at you is just silly.


Guide Top

Postitioning

One of the difficult parts of playing Cassiopeia is that your primary damage comes from a rather short ranged spell, your E. One of the mistakes a lot of people makes as Cassiopeia (this includes myself) is that the second you land your Q on a target, theres a lot of temptation to rush past your team to land your E+E. It is always important to remember that until most people on the enemy team are dead, and even some times when most are dead, its always possible for a fight to turn around and bite you in the ***. That being said, you cannot charge in to a fight without someone with a mega HP bar going first. If you get their Singed to low hp, and that E+E was all that was needed to do the deed, even if you kill him, you are endangering the entire fight, and trading Cassiopeia for Singed is like trading your Queen for a Knight. Never risk dying to finish up a target if your heavy guy isn't in front of you, because as soon as you die, your team just lost probably the most damage on their team.

On the other hand, you cannot sit in the back like a lot of other mages can (such as Brand or Orianna) because A) your primary damage (Twin Fangs) is shorter ranged and B) your ultimate can be VERY harsh on the other team if you land it on 2 or more targets, and the range on your ultimate is VERY short. Cassiopeia's best placement is very close behind your tank, as he can eat the brunt of damage and CC but still allow you to deal damage and land your ultimate.


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Smart Casting

Smart casting as Cassiopeia is almost a requirement for success, if you are uncomfortable with smart casting, you should at least set her E to smart cast. Her W and R can be left as normal cast, but smart cast on her E will allow you to capitalize on her .5 second cool down 1000 times better than regular cast. Please take smart casting on E.

If you don't know what Smart Casting is, essentially it works exactly like Cassiopeia's Q already does, you don't have to press Q and then click your target, it just already casts where your mouse is. For a spell that requires targetting, you just hover your mouse over the target. This is important for Cassiopeia because instead of Q+E+Click+E+Click it is brought down to just Q+E+E+Q+E+E, it is 1000 times smoother once you are used it. If you decide to set all of your spells to smart cast, basically your cursor acts as the center of your W spell when you try to set it, and for your ultimate, Cassiopeia just faces the direction of the mouse.

By default, Smart Casting is set to shift+ QWER, however to capitalize, you should change at minimum your E to make it Smart Cast without shift. To do this, while in game, press ESC, go to Keybindings, grab the scroll down on the left and move down (you can't just use the mouse scroll, because for some reason you can set keybindings to scroll wheel) and find where it says smart casting, then click the little blue box and press your new smart cast key.


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Summoner Spells

Flash
Flash is pretty typical for most AP mages, especially in terms of being able to retreat to a safe place, however it is also important for Cassiopeia because her ultimate can sometimes be difficult to land, so its quite possible that your team is chasing an opponent on the other side of a wall getting away and you can flash over that wall in front of them to hit them with your ultimate.

Ignite
Ignite has great synergy with Cassiopeia's Damage over Time theme, landing a Q+ignite right before an enemy flashes away can lead to a kill a lot.

Teleport
I wouldn't replace Flash in any case, however if you are comfortable using Teleport, and you would prefer to take this over ignite, this is also a good spell to have, as it provides great map control.

All other summoner spells should be taken either by someone who fills a different role on your team, or should just never be used as Cassiopeia.


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Items

The example build I give at the top of my guide goes Dorans Ring > Needlessly Large > Sorc Boots > Deathcap > Rylai's > Void Staff > Banshee's > WotA. This is just a sample build, as your build is going to depend a lot on how the other team is built and how you are doing in lane. Now I pretty much only start with Dorans, the only exceptions are when I'm worried the enemy mid will have a mobility advantage over me, which can't really be dealt with by Cassiopeia's W+Q combo until level 4, then I will take boots. At that point you need to base your decision on how your lane is doing. If you are CSing, harassing, able to hold the lane with little difficulty, I advise rushing a needlessly as soon as you can for amazing damage output. Cassiopeia needs this bite of AP because she is a low cool down mage, so building that early AP on her is essentially rushing a B.F. Sword for AD, Cassiopeia is very much like an AD carry, because of the way her E works, you can consider her E to be like her autoattack. Other mages like Brand need more survivability because of longer cooldowns.

HOWEVER, if you are not doing well in lane, you're being out harassed, lower on CS, and perhaps even zoned, you should rush a catalyst instead. This will give you good sustain and counter your squishiness. If you do get this, you should build it into an early RoA, and later in the build you will skip over the Rylai's.

At some point during all that above, its important that you get your Sorc boots, its something of a judgement call to decide when to go for your Sorc boots, but you should probably finish it before your Rylai's or after your RoA, depending on which path you decided to follow.

Now, after you have your roa/deathcap or your deathcap/rylai's, you need to look and see if the enemy team is already building MR to counter you. If the answer is yes, get the void staff. While survivability is very important, Cassiopeia cannot sacrifice her damage output for it, similar to how most AD's build their defensive items later in the game, and as I said before, Cassiopeia is very much like an AD carry. If the answer was no, or you have completed your void staff at this point, you need to decide what type of damage is the most important to counter early. If you decide magic damage is the main concern, banshee's or abyssal scepter are both really great items, if you decide physical damage is the problem, Zhonya's Hourglass is a total bro. After this item go ahead and build that Void Staff if you didn't in the first place.

At this point you should have a RoA or Rylai's, Sorc Boots, Deathcap, Void Staff, and an mr/armor item. Your last item will need to be more mr/armor if the enemy team is still killing you harshly, or if you are finding you stand up pretty well during the fights, you could instead build a WotA. I love this item as it gives you good survivability in fights, improves your dueling abilities (which Cass is already an amazing duelest) and it helps out your team mates with the aura. If my team picks AP heavy, I sometimes get this earlier in my build, but that is pretty rare.

So TL;DR

Items are going to vary completely based on pace of the game, however here are some samples of builds you might go with

against magic heavy team
Sorcerer's Shoes Rabadon's Deathcap Rylai's Crystal Scepter Banshee's Veil Void Staff Abyssal Scepter

against physical heavy team
Sorcerer's Shoes Rabadon's Deathcap Rylai's Crystal Scepter Zhonya's Hourglass Void Staff Thornmail

against balanced team
Sorcerer's Shoes Rabadon's Deathcap Rylai's Crystal Scepter Here I would pick an item based on which is the most heavily fed, an AD or an AP, so judgement call Void Staff Will of the Ancients I like will of the ancients against a balanced team because healing yourself via dealing damage is sort of a counter to all damage types, just to a lesser degree than building MR or Armor


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Runes

I am still trying out runes myself, I currently run the set provided at the top, pretty typical set, MPen reds is the obvious one for reds.

Mana regen per level seals, this is in case you find yourself without blue buff, which is an extremely important thing to have as Cassiopeia, but you never know when the enemy team might have snuck into your jungle to steal it from you. I also don't build the RoA very often, and normally stick to Rylai's. As Cassiopeia, you spam your skills very fast, your fingers have to fly around quite a bit, that being said, your mana will fly pretty fast too. This is why I prefer the mana regeneration seals.

I use AP per level Glyphs, this is great especially for a long laning phase, you can actually build a bit of damage without having to B out and buy, plus the per level catch up to the flat AP glyphs pretty quickly.

I use flat AP Quints, the AP per level quints don't catch up until level 10 or 11, so having flat AP quints gives you a much better early-mid game compared to per level, which is very important as your duty as mid is not only to farm creeps but to push your lane up and get out to those side lanes and lend a hand. I don't get more magic pen quints because if I find the enemy team building MR I like to go ahead and build a Void Staff, so the flat AP just really helps out a ton in early game.


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Masteries

With the new masteries, best route is 21/0/9 unless you have problems sustaining your mana and you want to go 9/0/21 for perseverance. To be honest though, most of utility line is lack luster, offense seems to be where its at


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Screenshots


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Changes made to guide

9/27/2011 - Published
9/30/2011 - added positioning chapter


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Summary

This is it for now, as I said before, Cassiopeia is an extremely underrated mage, very consistent rapid damage, with great utility. If you have any questions about Cassiopeia or my guide, or have anything you think I should add to the guide or things I have incorrectly stated in my guide, go ahead and leave a comment below.