Cho'Gath Build Guide by Pelikins
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
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.
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.
Cho is an excellent top lane choice because of his excellent scaling with gold, his ability to be very disruptive, his ability to dish sustained damage AND his ability to burst down carries rapidly.
His passive provides him with enough sustain to mitigate moderate harass while his ultimate provides him with a lot of free hp to protect him from being burned down quickly.
This can make Cho fairly immovable in the lane.
Cho also can mark first kill targets with both his ultimate Feast and Rupture while disrupting the enemy in the process with Rupture's knock up and Feral Scream's silence.
This build is best suited for a double AP team composition. It boasts high damage, and inherent tankyness while also providing two magic resistance debuffs and an attack speed debuff. The build is well balance between defensive stats to make Cho tough and offensive stats that make Cho's spells and auto attacks more frequent making good use of his high base numbers.
Pros and Cons:
Here are some pros and cons about Cho'Gath in general:
High base damage
True Damage nuke on ult
Ult provides free HP
Scales well with AS, AP, and CDR
Ult can often be used twice a team fight with max CDR
Has excellent range
Has sustained DPS
Has burst DPS
AoE cc - knockup, silence, slow
Vorpal Spikes are free!
Ultimate is melee ranged
Has a slow start
Has mobility issues
Rupture can be hard to land against high MS targets
Loses half his ult stacks on death
Is very mana hungry at start
Can pull turret agro easily (turn vorpal spikes off!)
Some key concepts:
First off, why I don't run GA:
Cho'Gath is not going to be the team's carry in the literal sense. Yes you'll be getting kills/assists all over the place and dealing heavy damage, but you aren't the focus target of the team fight. That honor goes to the ranged AD and solo mid (unless you are the solo mid, which you can do against some mids).
That being said we don't want to invest tons of resources into an item that discourages them from focusing you, when they shouldn't be focusing you anyway. Instead, we build CDR to lower the CD of Feast and allow us to regain stacks more quickly if they are lost.
Rather than just making an undesirable focus target out of a champion that is inherently an undesirable focus target...we me ourselves more effective.
We do this by:
Shredding their MR (malady and Abyssal Scepter), CDR ofr slowing them Rupture, silencing them Feral Scream, knocking them into the air Rupture, biting large portions of their hp away so they have to leave the fight Feast, Attack Spead for trying to beat on their face to make the reposition, slowing their attack speed Frozen Heart...this is your job. Make them not able to do theirs. Cho is a CC king...and murder and fear are his best CCs.
Second concept: Why I run Surge
The best reason is that Cho scales well with AP and really well with AS and even better with both in combination, which is what surge does...But a second reason that is lesser known is that surge makes you big and big Chos block skill shots for the squishy carries. There is also a psychological effect here too. Cho grows with each stack he gains and a big Cho is often a fed cho who hasn't been killed in a long while and has lots of hp. Hence, even if they could kill you, if they see a huge Cho they often go "yeah that's not happening." and think you have more stats than you actually do. Cho'Gath is a gentleman and a scoundrel.
Third concept: Roaming
Cho'Gath is an excellent roam champion. He can wipe out a wave of creeps with a single spell rotation and then go on the roam. Roaming with Cho is rewarding and beneficial to your team. If you are against a champion that has trouble farming under his turret, pushing the creeps into the turret can also hinder their farm. It's usually only beneficial to roam when you've purchased tier 2 boots. If there is a potential benefit to roam, it is often a good idea to get boots before the RoA.
First off, your ganks are brutal. Landing a rupture on a gank is usually a free kill for Cho. Coming in with 3 ccs (knock up, slow, silence) and a true damage nuke is brutal.
Second, Cho is an excellent oracles carrier. Cho's natural tankiness, plus cc, plus ult stacks, plus defensive items, make him a very undesirable target to kill. With a Cho roaming about, you can do substantial damage to their map vision.
Third, Cho is a good jungler. His ability to sustain off creeps and kill them without wasting mana makes him very good for picking up jungle respawns and for counter jungling. Doing this allows him to accumulate gold faster and hinder their jungler's farm as well. The respawn rate for the small jungle camps is so high that any jungler will miss several potential respawns each game. Grabbing camps in between clears is a great way to pick up revenue for yourself without hurting the team.
I ALWAYS run flash on Cho.
Being able to flash into a feast target is very powerful. It also is nearly necessary for a top laner to avoid ganks. Cho has limited mobility and flash really helps him with that.
My second summoner isn't as set in stone however.
I enjoy Surge on Cho. Vorpal Spikes scale well with AS and his base damage is very high. Free AP isn't a bad thing either.
My second most used option is Exhaust. I run this depending on my lane opponent. If he is an auto attacker, this is a great choice!
My third option is Ignite. I run ignite against champions that can self heal tons like vlad, volibear, and ww. And against really squishy but fast champions that would like to kite a Cho with a sliver of hp (burn Teemo! BURN!!!)
My masteries for Cho'Gath are designed to help him survive the early game and excel afterwards.
I go 21 offense 9 defense on Cho.
I feel that the offense tree provide Cho with more appreciable stats than the defense tree beyond the 2nd tier. While I see little benefit for Cho in the utility tree.
Hence I grab as much AP, AS, magic Pen (cho's main 3 offensive stats) from the offense tree and additional defensive stats) from the defense tree.
I begin the game with Feral Scream.
This ability is very easy to land against an opponent. It's a decent harass that can be used to harass and last hit. The silence stops channeled abilities and can ruin certain opponent's combos to limit their harassment and effectiveness.
I will usually grab Vorpal Spikes level 2:
The biggest reason is that Cho has some serious mana issues early on and doesn't last hit especially well. This spell will really help Cho to last hit (be careful not to push the lane with it). It also can be a very nice harassing tool as you can spray the opponent with spikes during last hits and your pokes are more brutal.
I finish my kit grabbing Rupture level 3:
Rupture is a very devastating ability, provided you can land it. Early on, Cho will be mainly turtling and will be using this ability defensively to keep enemies from abusing him. This is done by casting it around him or just in front of him when his enemy gap closes on him. The ability provides heavy damage, an uncleansable knock up and a slow. Later on, this becomes an amazing team fighting tool and farming ability.
I then max Feral Scream first, Vorpal Spikes second and Rupture last (leveling Feast when available)
I max Feral Scream first for a couple reasons:
The first is that it is an easy ability to land (unlike Rupture) this provides a steady and reliable source of damage. The second reason is that the silence duration increases with level while rupture and vorpal spikes don't get any additional effects. The long silence duration is greatly beneficial to the rest of Cho's kit.
There a few combos the need to be mastered for a successful cho.
The first tactic is what I call Rupture priming. The goal ultimate goal is to land rupture. The problem is that many champions have positioning abilities to quickly move their champion which can be used to dodge rupture. The solution to this problem is silence them disallowing the use of any spells and hit them with rupture while they are silenced.
In order to do this, especially at low levels, we need to be quick. We need to basically cast feral scream and rupture at the same time (rupture technically first). Aiming both skills successfully in rapid succession takes practice, but its a skill required to play Cho.
It goes q immediately into w! QW!
As I said, Cho'Gath is a gentleman and a scoundrel. There is an unseen benefit of this. Rupture has a very distinct noise accompanied by a graphic on the ground at the target location. Feral Scream also has a distinct noise and a cone of noisy waves. By casting both at the same time, you can mask the noise and the graphic of Rupture with Feral Scream. This will often subtly lower your opponents reaction time to dodge Rupture often leading to hits that would of been simply walked out of if the spell was cast by it self.
The second skill combo is what I call the flash nom! Basically we use this as an initiation tool for a team fight. The idea is that we fish for a Rupture hit at max range. We want to harass with rupture as long as we aren't going to get a fully committed initiation from them. If they are going to jump on your team save rupture for the team fight. But if we are at the river exchanging harass at mid this is a good tactic.
So we are fishing for a rupture hit, especially on a carry. Let's say that good ol' Ezreal runs up to toss a Mystic Shot. We toss a Rupture at him and, for whatever reason, he fails to dodge it and gets shot up into the air. This is where the flash nom comes in handy!
First thing we do is use Flash to get as close to him as possible. We then need to land Feral Scream on him (and anyone around him,especially with a cc) before he hits the ground. If we are too slow on the silence, Ezreal casts Arcane Shift and we wasted flash. So we flash and feral scream. Ezreal can't flash or shift or anything except waddle slowly for 3 seconds (with 0 tenacity). That is a long time! We close on the poor little guy and finish him with a nomnomnomnomnom!
A flash nom is also a great dueling tool in the lane. IF you have them low enough for a single spell rotation, this can be used to score a kill.
For runes I run:
Magic Penetration quints and marks
Magic Pen will make great use of Cho's high base damages. Penetrations also increases in value each additional point as your target takes larger and larger percentages of that type of damage.
The armor seals and MR/level compliment cho's naturally high hp, his regen and the ult stacks he gains and make him more sturdy in the lane.
I begin the game against most opponents with a regrowth pendent and a Health Potion.
This gives Cho some needed sustain in his early game to allow him to absorb some harass for last hits.
Upon my first shop return I grab a philosopher's stone and Boots of Speed. The philo is amazing for Cho. It even further increases his regen rate on hp and provides him with mana to cast more spells to get more last hits to get more mana and health making a nice infinite loop of farming and harassing.
I then purchase catalyst the protector this further increases Cho's sustain while also buffing his hp from burst. I then rush a Rod of Ages out of the catalyst.
Rod of Ages is a very cost effective way to get a large mana pool while also bolstering hp and granting some desired AP. This item is very cost effective for the stats and it will continue to grow in power as the game progresses.
I now upgrade to teir 2 boots. Some would say this is a bit late. But building the rod early to get it rolling is important. I build either Ninja Tabi or mercury treds on Cho depending on their amount of CC and auto attackers.
I next purchase a Malady at this point, Vorpal Spikes should be near max level and it deals a devastating amount of damage provided Cho has enough attack speed to support it. Cho's abilities are powerful but have long CDs. This means he needs the sustained damage of Vorpal Spikes. Malady will shred MR off your target for your AP carry and for yourself. It also bolsters your AP and provides 50% AS for a relatively small cost.
After malady is completed, I begin building tank itemization. I build a Glacial Shroud provides both armor and CDR. I then grab a Negatron Cloak. I then upgrade the shroud into a Frozen Heart for the AS debuff, more armor and more CDR.
I then upgrade the negratron cloak for further MR shredding with an Abyssal Scepter. (Your AP carry can deal tons more damage against a target with 44 MR shred off it!)
My final upgrade is a shurelya's reverie. Its ok if your support already has one of these. Having you own will insure that you'll have it when you need it. As one of the team's main initiators its nice to have it on your command anyway. The item will bring you to the CDR cap as well as provide additional hp, hp regen, and mana regen. The biggest perk is definitely the active.
General Play Tips:
The best part of playing Cho is the team benefit that he brings.
A good Cho player can single handedly prevent the opposing team from fighting in the jungle.
The other team will need to spread out their carries to keep you from being effective. This makes positioning against Cho difficult.
A very popular team setup is to have what is called an initiator.
The initiator is a very tanky champion that has at least one skill helps them close rapidly on the opposing team and one that hinders the enemies ability to fight.
Amumu Malphite Alistar Sejuani and Leona are good examples of these.
Cho'Gath excels at counter initiating.
To counter initiate we want to hit the opposing team with rupture and feral scream when the intiator hits your team with his ability (usually his ult).
This trade hugely favors your team as your skills do heavy damage and their initiator is now way out of position, alone and no going to receive support for some time.
If you sucessfully stop the rest of their team's advance, you can now turn on their initiator, nuking it with true damage and shredding it's resistances for an easy kill and any easy 4v5 against a tankless team.
Since jungle lanes are narrow, hitting multiple targets with feral scream and rupture is simple and that make this strategy both easy and extremely effective. When their initiator commits they will have to advance. Lead rupture ahead of them. They will either have to retreat to dodge it or will get hit by it.
If they decide to advance despite you hitting their carries with heavy damage, pop surge and go to town on their carries.
You can make really short work of a carry with feast and few auto attacks. Surge will provide huge amounts of AoE spiking that will decimate a team in mere seconds. You'll be so threating that the 4 of them will either have to try to focus you and let your carries do their work or they will have to dps around you making them constantly reposition.
Thanks for reading my Cho'Gath guide!
I hope you picked up a few tips and you're stoked to try a new spin on an old favorite!
Feel free to comment and vote!
Feed back is always encouraged.
If you picked up some tips here, you may also want to read some of my other guides.
They are listed on the right!
+reps are always appreciated!