Cho'Gath Build Guide by Clortho
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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.
AP MId Lane
Example Final Build #1
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.
You are cordially invited to be served for dinner.
Cho'Gath is a beast of a champion. Most people think of him as a tank but thats not all he can do. Yeah hes got tons of HP but not much else to make him tanky. On top of that people forget that he is a burst king. I three shot AP and AD carries with this build all the time. Q+W+R and they are dead. Landing the first Q Rupture is tricky, but its slow effect and the silence of W Feral Scream make it easy to catch up and destroy them with his R Feast. Why do you need to catch up? 'Cause they always run.
If you build all the Needlessly Large Rod based items your Feast will easily top 1k true damage. Thats right, over one thousand true damage. On top of that he has great sustain. His ability to stay in a lane farming while your opponent has to recall to heal means that you snowball CS faster and can take the enemy's tower sooner. Once the towers gone you can assist other lanes and carry your team to victory. If you don't have the most or second most CS on your team you aren't playing him right.
Pros / Cons
Great burst damage
Good CC abilities
A terror mid and late game
Unbeatable 1v1 late game
Slow movement speed
Mana hungry early
I bit weak before he gets his ult
Losing stacks is a real setback
No escape without flash
Rupture is a difficult skillshot and tricky to master
Probably the most interesting Pro of taking Cho'Gath mid is that no one thinks of Cho'Gath as a mid champion. While this build is pretty good top, my play style recommendations probably wont fit very well because you will be dealing with a different flavor of champion. Top tends to be tanky, mid tends to be squishy. By exploiting the narrow mindedness of the meta and forcing the enemy mid to fight a tanky champ that can also deal damage you will throw them off guard. But the real reason this works so well is you are almost never counter picked! When people see Cho'Gath in the lobby they think top or jungle, not mid. It wont do much good for the enemy top to counter pick you only to be facing a completely different champion than they were expecting.
Table Manners (Masteries)
The masteries build here is simple: AP + Tanky. Now, with this build you wont be a tank, or even an off tank, but you will have the stones to be on the front line and hold your own in a fight. Don't think you can take on the whole enemy team yourself though. You will be able to absorb some damage but mostly it will be your HP that keeps you alive. If you get caught by the whole enemy team you simply wont last. Cho'gath doesn't have an escape ability and if your Flash is on cooldown you are probably done for.
Dinner Clothes (Runes)
Runes are a funny thing. Since they cost money many people tend to skimp on them and have a weird selection available, so I wont waste space with them. Basically you want AP and Armor. Maybe CD reduction, maybe attack speed, whatever you feel you need. But always AP and Armor. Build on top of that and fill in what you can with what you have.
Fashionable Accessories (Items)
AP is your main focus, thats why I have chosen all three items that use the Needlessly Large Rod. 480 AP just from items. To start though you'll want Doran's Ring. Two of them depending on how the match is going. Some people poo-poo going with two Doran's but they are what keep you going early. Without them you will be mana starved and unable to use your abilities when you need to early game. Sell them later but only when you are out of space. If you are really on a roll you can skip the second Doran's and jump strait to Chalice of Harmony.
The Chalice is your mid game sustain item. Without it you will be useless and will require the blue buff just to keep up the pressure. With it you can go the whole game without the blue buff and not even miss it. You're jungler will love you if you tell them that you wont be needing any of their buffs.
Next that start on the Rod of Ages and don't stop until you finish it. Its most useful the sooner you get it and its already well back in your build so you have to focus it and make it your first finished final item. Next finish your boots (maybe even picking up HomeGuard if you have the cash) and Athene's Unholy Grail. Athene's will make you a mana god. You will never run out and you will be able to spam your ability without worrying about your blue bar. The AP it gives doesn't hurt either. Its restoration of 12% of your mana on kill an assists is key in teamfights.
Next comes a tricky bit as the options for this build open up. You should always get Rabadon's Deathcap but should you start Zhonya's Hourglass? Or maybe skip Zhonya's get build an Abyssal Scepter? Use your judgment. If you are wiping the floor with them (and you should be) get Rabadon's, if you are struggling to survive go for Zhonya's, if they are stacking magic resistance get Abyssal. If you go for Zhonya's get the Seeker's Armguard first then the large rod second. The rod wont do you much good if you aren't surviving teamfights. Finish the build off with the Deathfire Grasp or a Liandry's Torment or a Morellonomicon. and remember to use it and Zhonya's when the need should arise. Deathfire is great for taking down tankier opponents but shouldn't be necessary for squishier ones unless your ultimate is down. Lead off the fight with Deathfire, don't use it to finish people off. It has a very nice bonus to damage that wont do you much good if you use the item to kill your target. Going with Liandry's or the Morellonomicon will reduce the power of your ult somewhat but will make your other abilities really pile on the damage. If you find that enemy champs are escaping with low HP or that the enemy team clumps together during teamfights go with either (or both) Liandry's or the Morellonomicon.
Finally, your boots. I generally go with Homegaurd simply because it gets you back into the fight faster and is very valuable to have mid game (if you can afford it that soon). Furor is not to be overlooked though. Go with what fits your needs.
Light Dinner Conversation (Abilities)
Carnivore, Cho'Gath' passive, is your sustain. You get a little bit of HP and mana with every minion you kill. Always be sure to get the last hit in so you pick up that little boost and the gold.
You may be wondering why I focus on Feral Scream and later Vorpal Spikes over Rupture. Rupture is just a CC or poke ability in this build, not a main damage dealer. Because it is difficult to land due the slowness of its cast and is easily dodged by many champs I feel that it has reduced utility compared to your other abilities. Its also difficult to master. I had to play a lot of Cho'Gath before I could land it reliably. You must either cast it centered directly under an enemy when they are stationary and hope they are slow enough that they can't get out of the way or lead your aim in their direction of travel and hope they don't change course. That said, use it whenever you have the mana. It does great damage early game and is very useful when chasing down enemies plus it has the shortest cooldown time of your castable abilities. In a pinch it can also help you escape a fight with its slow, but that is an unreliable outcome. Its just that I feel your other ability are better when leveled compared to Rupture.
Feral Scream is your bread and butter ability. It does great damage mid and late game, can silence opponents and has much greater range than most people think. While many ability's hit boxes stop before the animation does, Feral Scream actually extends slightly farther than its animation. You can use this to pick up some extra damage against opponent that get too close or to wipe out an entire minion wave if they are low and you position correctly. Its cooldown is a bit on the long side so its best to use a hit and run tactic when you are laning. Lead with rupture, rely on its slow effect so you can close in and cast Feral Scream. Once its off back away and get out of range of the enemy before the silence effect wears off.
Vorpal Spikes is your farming ability. You should max it next after Feral Scream. If you position correctly you can damage entire minion waves with it or even damage incoming minion waves while attacking your opponents tower. Its basically a damage over area ability that casts every time you land a basic attack. This is what gives Cho'Gath his pushing ability and even lets him pile on damage in team fights when low on mana. It passes through all enemies and objects. Just remember to turn it off if you want to damage a tower with an enemy near by without pulling aggro from the tower.
Last, but no where near least, we have Feast. Feast is what makes Cho'Gath truly scary. Each use that kills its target, champion or minion, give you a stack. Maxing out at 6 stacks with this ability at level three gives you 600 extra health! With this build maxxed it does over 1k true damage to enemy champions and over 1.6k true damage to NPCs! This can be invaluable when going for Dragon/Baron or a stealing a jungle buff. Using Feast to finish a Q+W combo is almost always a death sentence against a squishy target and will even give tanks pause. A full stack of HP disappearing from a single hit will make anyone think twice about staying in a battle.
Setting the Table. (Laning Phase)
Laning with Cho'Gath mid can be tricky. Hes a bit squishy early on, mana hungry and hes mostly a melee champion which means you can end up low on HP and zoned if you aren't careful. He also doesn't have any natural escapes so ganking can really ruin your day. But his tankyness, burstyness and sustain can really help you snowball.
Generally I like to use my Feral Scream early and often to pick up minion kills, push the lane and whittle away at my opponents HP. Many people freak out if you push the lane, especially junglers, who complain they can't gank for you when pushed. Just remember to reset yourself when you push. Don't stay to watch your minions die waiting for the enemy jungler to gank you. Once you've cleared the enemy minions, step back and wait for the enemy and their tower to push the lane back. Remember, while a tower killing one of your minions will give the enemy XP it wont give them any gold! Make their own tower their own worst enemy. Push the lane, let the tower kill your minions, maybe use Rupture a few times to interrupt their farming and then pull back before the jungler shows up.
Remember that Feral Scream as a bit longer range than most people think. Use that to whittle away at your enemy. Once you hit level two use a Rupture+ Feral Scream combo to pick up easy damage. Q to pop them up and slow them so you can move in, W to pile on more damage and silence them and then pull back before the silence wears off so they can't do anything more than basic attacks in response. Don't even try for a basic attack, just hit and run.
Once you have Vorpal Spikes you can really start farming. Once you have your timing down you can clear a lane of enemy minions very quickly. Use Vorpal Spikes plus your passive to keep your HP and mana topped off and keep then lane pushed so the enemy tower takes half your opponents CS.
Generally I don't buy wards but if this style of play is new to you, you will be well severed in having some. Buy one with the extra money left over when you get your first Doran's and pick up one or two every time you go back if you have the gold and the space. After awhile you get a feel for when the ganks will come and you'll know how much damage you'll be looking at absorbing. Just because a jungler has popped out of the bush doesn't mean you are in any danger. A well timed Rupture will kill their forward momentum and allow you to get back to safety without eating too much damage. A wave or two of minions plus your passive and its like it never happened. Still, try to keep Flash off cooldown. Only use it to escape or pick up a confirmed kill. Waste it at your own peril.
Once you've picked up Feast the kills will start rolling in. 300 base damage to start off with can go a long way. By this time you should have 1 point in both Rupture and Vorpal Spikes and 3 points in Feral Scream. Your Q+W+R combo will be complete and picking up kills will become much easier. At level 6 you can easily do about 700 damage with that combo and most mid champs wont have a whole lot more than that around the same level. If it looks like you wont be picking up a champion kill anytime soon use Feast to kill the siege minion in one hit and start building your stacks and keep the lanes pushed.
As the night wears on... (After Laning Phase)
if you're doing it right you should be the first or second lane on your team to take its tower even without help from your jungler. Once its down push the lane good and hard and start roaming. Its generally a good idea to help the bottom lane first but if they have things well in hand give top some assistance. Periodically return to keep the enemy away from your tower but spend most of your time pushing other lanes, getting towers and picking up kills before the teamfight phase begins. Sometimes this takes awhile, sometimes you have no time at all.
When grouped for teamfights use your Rupture to poke the enemy, reveal bushes and push the lanes. If your AP is high enough you can kill all three of the range minions with one shot. Even if it doesn't finish them a single basic attack with Vorpal Spikes is generally all thats needed to clean them up. A Q+W combo and also generally take out the 3 melee minions as well. Q is also handy for slowing the retreat of an enemy that has ventured too far from their team. Many an unwary champion has lost their life when my Q has caught them unprepared only to have the rest of my team pounce on them for an easy kill.
Use Feral Scream in teamfights. Its cone of damage can hit their entire team if they are standing close enough together and it will interrupt any channeled ability like the ultimates of Shen, Katarina, Miss Fortune or Nunu. Its cooldown is longer than Q so try not to waste it.
Vorpal Spikes should be left on almost at all times. The only time you show ever turn it off is if you are attacking a tower with an enemy champion near by and you don't want to aggro the tower by damaging that champion. You might also be thinking of putting points into Q instead of E at this point but don't do it. Your spikes can pick up quite a lot of damage in a teamfight simply because of their area effect. That little extra damage can be the difference between your team getting an ace and you team getting aced.
Party Guests (Enemy Champs)
Who will you meet mid lane at tonights party? Lets see who is on the guest list...
These champs generally are easy fights. They are squishy and easy to kill if you catch them. You should not lose your lane to them unless they are well above your skill level or they get lots of help.
|space||Stay away from his stun card (yellow) and call mias when he roams/ults (if he is any good he will at least try). Don't bother following, you aren't fast enough. ALWAYS call MIA. Dodge his skillshots and combo Q+W+R and hes dead.|
|space||His slow and escape can be annoying but you should be tanky enough to handle his damage. Get him a little low and land a Q+W+R combo and you'll be picking him out of your teeth. Just be sure to let the other lanes know if he goes on walkabout.|
Not pushovers but not real threats either.
|space||Ryze can dump on the damage, has a ranged basic attack and is a bit tankier than most mids but he doesn't have the sustain to truly beat Cho'Gath there. Keep him at a distance with Q and W so you can farm and wait for your chance to strike.|
Tricky to fight but quite doable if you know what you are doing.
Do you're best to make sure they aren't invited.
You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.
Thank you for reading my guide. Its my first effort so its not as snazzy as many of the guides out there but I (hopefully) will keep working on it and jazz it up a bit more in the future. If you have any suggestions or question please feel free to comment. Good luck and I will see you on he Fields of Justice!