Cho'Gath Build Guide by CastleCrashr
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.
Hello and welcome to my Cho'Gath Guide!
First I want to mention that both of the 5v5 builds work very well, but the one I like to use when team composition allows is "MORE AP", so that is the one I will be writing most about. This guide is meant to be short but sweet, so let me know if your still doing a lot of scrolling around or having trouble finding stuff.
This is my very first guide so excuse me if it comes out a bit wordy and boring but I will be adding more when I update it, as well as cutting down some of my walls of text.
All comments focused on productive discussion and on helping improve the guide are welcome and much appreciated. I do realize that it wont be perfect right off the bat but updates are coming!
I've put a lot of time and effort into this so please show your appreciation by simply reading through it before you comment/vote, I promise its full of useful information!
Why Pick Cho Top Lane?
Cho'Gath is a master of three things that make him completely unique in the League of Legends. His balance (dealing and taking damage) and sustain (what b button?) are legendary, and on top of that he may well be the most flexible champion in all the League.
When deciding which champ to be top lane, you should decide according to what your team needs. Top lane is a fill in for your team, meaning that if your team is in need of a tank or more damage, then it is your obligation as top to fit that role (This is where Cho's flexibility comes in). However, solo laning can be tricky because if you happen to get counter-picked then it becomes extremely hard to win the lane.
As I said before, he is so flexible he can fill whatever role your team needs; has such great balance that even if he builds completely AP he is still naturally tanky (more so early game); and has so much sustain that he can out-lane just about anyone. These factors are what make counterpicking him so difficult, and make him such an excellent choice for top.
Cho'Gath- The Destroyer of Lanes!
How To Destroy Your Lane
Tip #1- The best way to get the most out of your farming is to set some sort of a timer or a goal for yourself to reach, for instance I go to base the first time when I reach a little over 700g and buy a Philosopher's Stone and mana pots, then I teleport back to my lane and stay out farming till the teleport CD finishes (300sec/5min), then return to base again and teleport right back. Doing this you will not only get several levels on everyone else, but loads of gold too. There's always someone who is constantly going to the base with a measly 1k or so to buy the next item in their build, just to find they are worse off than they were a minute ago. Be that guy and you are sure to get left behind.
Tip #2- The key to winning the lane is not to be a "zoner" (playing aggressive/forcing enemies away even if it means losing some cs), or to push to their turret really fast and go gank mid while they push back. The key is to stay out and cs even if it means turret hugging, while at the same time harassing whenever the opportunity arises.
You generally want to conduct yourself to the opposing top laner in a way that will make him feel helpless (By generally I mean there are champions like garen that this strategy won't work on). The way I learned to do this is to farm and seem like you are playing passively, never backing away or moving past the minions. Whenever they come near to farm/harass, Rupture right before they get to the minion. You have to do this every time they come close and do it consistently, eventually they will be at 30% or 40% health and will go b or turret hug, if not, you can always go for the kill. By conducting yourself this way you tell them that you will farm and there is nothing they can do about it, and that if they come near you or the minions they will get hurt. This is all easier said than done of course but it will become a habit after a while. (careful not to get arrogant and get baited or a ganker will probably be waiting for you).
*Note: One thing to remember about Cho'Gath is that his only real damaging move is Rupture early game. Not till after you get Feast at level 6 will you really be able to get a constant flow of kills, and because of this people are often overaggressive when they can't back it up. Also, Cho'Gath's abilities are usually more viable for harassing than doing the kind of crippling damage that champs like Veigar can do.
> Rupture is useful for both chasing and escaping
>Has great silence and slow
> Vorpal Spikes is a good way to farm without the use of mana
>Has sustain like no other thanks to his passive, Carnivore
>His Feast deals true damage, another word for easy kills
>Can deal and take damage well
>Did I mention he's FUN AS F*** to play!
>Long CD's so brawling gets tricky
>Very balanced, meaning he excels at neither defense nor offense early game (this isn't necessarily a con though)
>Mana starvation can be a problem early game
>Feels sluggish, which is why I use Boots of Swiftness
>No real escapes so ganks can be a nightmare
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
I use this for all champs. Move speed is never a bad thing and makes for short chases.
Greater Mark of Insight
Magic Pen. is essential for any AP champ looking to deal damage, also the best Mark rune for AP's (in my opinion).
Greater Seal of Armor
To me runes are meant to give you that early game edge, which is why I picked a flat Armor Seal. Really the only choice IMO. Armor never hurts even if you're full AP. I use it for all champs.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Again, I use runes to give me an edge early on so I go with flat AP glyph instead of Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power. Flat and scaling AP Glyphs are what I'd recommend but if your building more tank then Glyph of Magic Resist isn't a bad choice either.
I'd also advise getting some sort of CD reducer with Cho since most of your damage comes from Rupture and Feral Scream which have longer CD's, so it may be a good idea to get Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, but I prefer to just buy a CD reducer in-game.
The most effective mastery setup I've found is the one shown above, but if you know you're going to have a tanky team (like if you're in a premade) it can be good to build more in Offense masteries than Defense to compensate for any lost damage. Masteries like Archmage and Executioner are awesome for a full offense Cho since Executioner is perfect for things like Cho's feast. You should still buy at least a Warmog's Armor or something similar, or you will be about as squishy as any other mage and probably lose your Feast stacks often. If this is the case, you will be condemned to being tiny and inadequate in stature for the rest of your pathetic life... just saying. :)
Also If your wondering why i only put 2 points in Tenacious , its because getting Block was just more important. My reasoning is that before level 6 your opponents abilities generally wont be a big problem since the damage they do will probably be around 2 or so bars of your HP and you can just heal up with a few minions using Carnivore. However, if you get charged by someone like Yi or Irelia and end up in a brawl her basic attacks can deal serious damage if they commit and try to go for the kill. In short, Block will give you the early game edge and be more helpful than the tenacity buff you get from the last point of Tenacious .
Choice of Boots:
Boots of Swiftness
To tell you the truth these boots aren't actually as good as Mercury's Treads; though the more move speed you get from boots, the more you get from the Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed buff. I get these more as a preference than anything, they are a personal touch and are my favorite boots. If you have no personal preference besides performance then go with Mercury's Treads. Why play if you're not having fun though right?
These are actually a much better item than Boots of Swiftness overall. This is the only item for Cho that has Tenacity (unless you're jungling and have Spirit of the Ancient Golem). If the enemy team is stacked with cc's then these are a must!
Only get these if you are building full AP (not a great idea though). These boots are undoubtedly powerful and will give your damage a nice boost. I still wouldn't recommend them but I can't really talk since I get Boots of Swiftness anyway :D
Don't get greedy, you will need lots pots which you should buy every time you go back to the shop. If you have some experience with Cho'Gath then you probably wont ever need a health potion so just stack up on 5 or so mana pots when you go to base until you can buy Catalyst the Protector.
Philosopher's Stone Philosopher's Stone
This is a big part of Cho's sustainability, your Carnivore passive is not enough (especially since its been nerfed).
Rod of Ages
RoA is a prime example of a perfect Cho item, it gets you a ton of AP to give your abilities a kick, a ton more of HP to give your enemies abilities a bit less of a kick, and an ocean of mana to draw on so you never have to worry about it again. Never blow off this item.
Possibly the second most important item in my build. 100 AP is just what you need for people to start taking you seriously. CD reduction is a must if you want to be able to keep your stacks and get kills, and even if you lose stacks you'll be able to recover them that much faster. Lastly, the active is just excellent. As long as you remember to use it, the active is raw power. The more HP they have the harder they go down, it will stop champs like Olaf in their tracks.
Having a massive health pool is a trademark of Cho'Gath and as if the 1000 HP isn't enough the health regen is just crazy. by late game you will be regenerating about 70 health per 5, not counting anything but the Warmog passive. If you decide not to get a Warmog, then the best alternatives to get are either Zhonya's Hourglass or Sunfire Cape.
I'll keep this one short for obvious reasons. More damage and more tanky, that is the definition of Cho. Also since he is in fact a melee champ that uses AP, passive auras just don't get much better than this.
Nothing says OMNOMNOMNOM quite like a deathcap. Enemies will cower in fear, doing anything they can to not get caught in one of your Rupture; and if one is unfortunate enough to misstep, they will resort to fleeing, only to be shamefully chomped and devoured by the void that is Cho'Gath... nuff said.
Other Possible Items
Frozen Heart, Spirit Visage, Lich Bane, Nashor's Tooth and Zhonya's Hourglass are common in Cho'Gath builds. All three of these are excellent items, but when you get down to it just how much do you benefit from them?
Frozen heart IMO this item is overrated for Cho. Not that it's a bad item but I would usually only buy it if either the enemies had an AD carry/carries that seriously needed to be taken down a notch, or you completely took out Rod of Ages, replacing your main source of mana with frozen heart and finding a different source of health for your early game survivability needs. (I have tried this while testing items for the build. It's not a good idea to leave out ROA ever.)
Spirit Visage This item is surprisingly good for Cho. Its passive works with Carnivore, which is nice, but more importantly it will also work with Warmog's Armor's passive which is great for someone with a giant health pool like Cho. On top of that, it has a ton of MR and 15 CD reduction to help out with the long CDs. I don't use it much but it does come in handy when there's a fed AP nuker around.
Lich Bane While it is a great item, I (personally) would never use it in my build because I like to use my Rupture immediately followed by Feral Scream, usually not basic attacking between casts. Also when i cast spells i often just use them to harass the enemy, not going in to utilize the basic attack passive buff from the item.
Nashor's Tooth I've been told so much that it's a silly item to buy for Cho and doesn't fit him at all, I assume this is because they see it's an attack speed item, but don't underestimate the value attack speed has with Vorpal Spikes. Not to mention the 65 AP it gives you along with the CD reduction which is so crucial for maximizing Cho's damage output. Also if you are building tanky and stay in melee a lot then this is the item you want in place of Deathfire Grasp.
Zhonya's Hourglass Such an amazing item! If you keep getting aimed down before you can react, this is your best friend. The active will not only protect you but it will screw up the enemy, making them scramble for another target while you are invulnerable. It's stats are just massive, giving you 100 AP and 50 armor which is reason enough to buy it even without the active.
(Foot note): Items like Zhonya's Hourglass and Frozen Heart are good Cho items, it's just up to you to decide when the team comps call for them.
> > >
First things first, max out your Rupture. Excellent slow, and your best damage (besides feast of course).
Next I generally max out Feral Scream. This fits with my play style much better than maxing out Vorpal Spikes simply because I like to go in, harass a bit, and get out. Maxing Feral Scream will give you burst damage which is how I like my damage to be (Don't use Feral Scream to harass before you at least have Catalyst the Protector).
Of course, if you are not comfortable with this or keep running out of mana, then feel free to max out Vorpal Spikes second instead.
I'd recommend Teleport anytime you play Cho in 5v5. Teleport is basically a must, the second spell I recommend is either Flash or Ignite. Between those two its up to you which you want your second to be, though it's always good to have an escape.
Teleport- Your favorite spell for Cho in 5s. Good for farming, good for ganking.
Flash- Your "Get out of jail free" card... or go chomp someone down rq card.
Ignite- Helpful for early game kills so you can get your lead early.
Ghost- A 27% move speed buff never hurt, but its a bit less helpful for Cho than other champs like AD Sion or WW since they rely on landing their basic attack for lifesteal.
Exhaust- About as useful as Ghost, doesn't hurt, but you can do better.
Heal- Meh... might save you and your precious stacks early on but doesn't really do sh*t later on.
Cho VS The League
I saw people do this in other guides and thought it was a good idea so here it is.
*(Difficulty ratings out of 5)*
Not as tough for Cho as for other champs, but if you've faced her top before you know to keep your distance. Bear in mind that Riven is a snowballer so if you die once start playing defense/turret hugging, die a second time and she is about to get really f****** tough. Also Her stun + Q combo hurt like hell and can lose you the lane if you get surprised even once. Riven is very unforgiving and does strong damage.
FTW- Stay at range and Rupture till she's at a little less than half health, then go in close to the minions and farm with your basic attack and Riven will back off, keep using Rupture on her till she either returns to base or dies.
Garen is often underestimated due to his generally weak late game, but laning against him will be rough. He is one of the worst champs to face as Cho. One silence-spin combo and you will find half your health gone. Worse yet if you don't cast Rupture before he silences you, you will be stuck in his spin with nothing to escape with. Also if you get his HP down, he will just sit back a while and regen till he's good as new. Not to mention his ulti is as dangerous as Cho's.
FTW- It can be tough to pull off but go in and farm minions with your basic attack, when Garen comes at you (and he will) cast Rupture before he reaches you and move away before he can get you in his spin. Also try to get the edge at level 1 or 2 when your pretty even.
Not a problem, Wukong is a very predictable champ. All of his abilities are melee, but unlike Garen he has no cc.
FTW- If he is moving too much for you to land your Rupture normally, then wait till he tries to attack you and Rupture a little in front of yourself. Rinse and repeat.
Of course, Olaf will be Olaf and make you feel like there's an axe or two lodged in your brain (he will give you a headache, in case you didn't get that :3). His Undertow and your Rupture are very similar, both slow and have good range. The only difference is he can throw them much more often. Never engage in brawls because his Reckless Swing takes surprisingly large chunks out of your health. Also his ult will make your slow useless on him. This does not mean the lane is unwinnable.
FTW- You will want to focus on dodging his axe then countering. Olafs often overuse their axes and get mana starved. If he leaves to heal at his base, you farm up and let Carnivore heal up your HP and mana. If he stays, his abilities wont be too much concern just keep harassing and farming.
Even less of a threat than Wukong so I won't write a FTW section. His abilities don't hurt a whole lot before level 6, and you have the advantage of range. Basically, don't get ganked and don't try to brawl with him and the lane is yours.
I faced Malphite top a while ago and at first I was shocked. I still managed to beat him but unless you change your tactics a bit, you won't even be able to hurt him. What would happen is I'd hit him with Rupture and take out his shield, and while I was still on CD his shield would come right back up and I was back to square one. The good news is that he is not a hard top otherwise.
FTW- Go in melee range, careful not to get slowed by his Q and not be able to catch him. Basic attack his shield down, go back at range and harass. Rinse and repeat.
The only reason singed got this rating is because he never has to stop moving, making landing your Rupture difficult; and if you miss a lot and don't take him down early he will become the most OP champ you've ever topped against. Laning against him is so boring and tiring just because you can't stop harassing for a second or you will notice him become more and more formidable before your very eyes. If you can see the pattern in his movement though you will realize he is no more than a mosquito buzzing around thirsting for blood but being too weak to get it.
FTW- Farm as you normally would, when he tries to flip you or use his poison just Rupture where you predict he will be and it can also be good to use Feral Scream if he hasn't used poison yet. Do not let him get behind or flip you, and do not stop harassing. Save all your Ruptures for him and don't use it to farm since you will probably be missing some. Also, don't get flipped into the turret.
Mundo is really not a hard top to beat, the only thing he has is sustain but before level 6 when he gets Sadism Cho will beat him at that as well. His Infected Cleaver will be the only thing you'll need to worry about since it deals damage based on your max health, making it especially effective against Cho. Luckily, he will have to get around minions since unlike Cho, Mundo need a clear path to harass. The last thing to mention is that he is probably going to be playing defensive till level 6, when he gets his ulti. Still won't be much of a problem but you may as well not bother to harass a whole lot since he will just ulti and regen the HP back. At that point just use your Rupture for mass farming.
FTW- Get him down early and keep him down. Use minions to shield you from Infected Cleaver and farm up. By level 6 when he gets Sadism, you should be enough ahead that it won't be any problem at all.
Darius really isn't that tough if you know how he works. I gave him a rating of 3.5 because if you do happen to get grabbed by him, it can spell disaster. Darius deals MASSIVE damage and if you're grabbed after he gets his ult you can be taken down from full health before your CDs even finish.
FTW- Simply stay at range, harass and get him on the defensive. Careful not to get grabbed under the turret.
Fiora can be tough, but Cho handles her better than most other champs. Her abilities and basic attacks deal more damage than yours, and if you Rupture while she's flying at mock speeds you will be defenseless and beat to a pulp as you retreat.
FTW- Use your Rupture when she goes to farm a minion, or after she flies at you and settles to basic attack. It's not hard it just takes time to get her down and become manageable. Do not let her farm no matter what.
I probably lane against Irelia the most and win the lane just about every time. Watch out for her charge-stun combo or she will pick at you for days. Don't go into brawls with her unless it's just to quickly use Rupture and finish her with Feast. The most annoying thing about her is that she can just heal the damage you deal thanks to Hiten Style if you aren't guarding the minions. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T LET HER FARM, if you fail to stop her she will become a monster!
FTW- Stay close enough to the minions that she won't come near unless it's to farm one with her Bladesurge. When she does, pop her up with Rupture and maybe throw in an auto attack for good measure if you're feeling confident. You will have to be relentless or she will keep healing. Do this correctly and before you know it she will be on the defensive.
Like Garen and Olaf, Lee Sin may well be you're worst nightmare. If you are laning against anything but a noob Lee Sin, you're in for a bumpy ride. His charges/escapes are basically full proof due to his Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike, and if you have around half health when he does charge he will probably cast Tempest / Cripple, slowing and probably ending you before you can make it back to your turret.
FTW- I can't give much advice ATM since more often than not Lee Sins are junglers or mid. I will update with an answer though, you can count on it. (Feel free to leave a comment about this.)
Jayce is a jerk to lane against. Acceleration gate will make it very hard to feast or land rupture on him, Shock Blast has ridiculous range, and his Thundering Blow does damage based on % of health so it hurts Cho more than others, due to Cho's above average health. You should still be able to out-lane him though.
FTW- Whenever you see Acceleration Gate or hear him switch weapons, be ready to dodge a Shock Blast. As long as you pick at him with your Q and can dodge Shock Blast he will be at low health in no time.
Easy, only thing about Pantheon is his Spear Shot and Aegis of Zeonia. He will constantly be throwing spears and when you try to Rupture him he will probably dodge it via Aegis of Zeonia, leaping on your head or on a nearby minion, and stunning the target.
FTW- Farm normally, when you're about to use Rupture move to max range and cast it. Don't brawl and try to avoid unnecessary Spear Shots, though you will get hit it won't hurt much if it's not happening constantly.
Help Me Help You!
All comments welcome whether to let me know what you think about my guide, ideas to spice it up a bit, or just some general discussion on Cho.
Keep an eye out for my next guide, gonna be a guide on either Lux, Sivir or Warwick. Between those feel free to let me know your preference and i'd be happy to oblige :)
THANK YOU ALL AND DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!