Cho'Gath Build Guide by Talius
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.
Intro (READ FIRST!!!)
hey there! welcome to my cho'gath guide!
Let me start out by saying, this is a VERY in-depth guide, and if you are a Cho'Gath veteran you may just want to skip strait to Items (Phase 1) to see WTF kind of wacky weed I was smoking when I came up with this (give it a shot before you turn your nose up at it...you just might like it).
However... if you are new to cho, or are looking for my personal outlook on this champ and how to use his amazing abilities, read on, but just so I warned you, it's long. :p
I know you may look at the item builds and be like "ZOMG WTF IZ THIS CLUSTER OF RANDOM STUFF?!?!" well don't freak out... I promise it will all make sense if you keep reading, let me begin shall I?
Build #1 = This is the Generic STOMP build.Use this one if you have a good team. Even if the enemy team is just as good, stick with this one and you should be fine. A good team will be breaking even on kills (even if it's 0 - 0) up until lvl 7-8 (or your team is winning on kills and hasn't lost towers obviously).
Build #2 = The carrying build.Use this one if your team is doing badly, or if you are struggling in lane. This part of the guide will be very specific and situational. Use this one to carry a team of bads, but try to be nice to them or they're going to ditch you and leave you 1v5.
Build #3 = Wizard Cho'gath build.This is a very fun build to play when you want to play as an AP carry/nuker instead of a tank, just make sure your team has a tank before you decide to build this, it works no problem with the same masteries and runes. If your team rages at you for playing Cho'Gath AP nuker instead of Brand or Malzahar make sure you use the auto-lock!!! ;D
Build #4 = EZmoad Cho'gath.This build is for people learning Cho'Gath for the first time, you can use the masteries for Build #1 if you're lvl 30, but I assumed this is for people lvl 1 just starting up. This build will make you totally unkillable. You will have so much HP, and so strong tanking stats, you will literally never die, even if the entire enemy team ults you and you started at half, with this full build you can just rupture them and walk away. Your damage will be pretty bad, especially if the enemy team has MR, but think of this like invincibility mode. This build will let you practice your CC and skillshots in teamfights without fear of being killed.
Disclaimer: This build is actually very viable against VERY stupid enemy teams who like to focus Cho'Gath just because he's big and annoying and always in the way. Just make sure your team is smart enough to kill the enemy team when they focus you, or you're going to be useless. I personally prefer being able to totally demolish an enemy carry with one combo, that puts the fear of god into the enemy team instantly ;)
Build #5 = This build is for when you're high... Cho'ball Snow'gath!This is a snowball Cho'Gath build I blatantly ripped off from Potatisfarfar (sry...) however I did go into more detail on the item sequence, and I think my sequence is better. This sequence will get you snowballing faster, hold onto your stacks better, and troll that much harder.
Pros / Cons
my preferred rune setup is as follows
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
In depth descriptions of why I prefer these runes in specific are as follows.
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
I like these runes personally, they give you the mobility to be exactly where you need to be at any given time. Dodge skillshots, or intercept that Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole just in time. :)
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
These are also nice for new people to Cho'Gath. They will give you a little bit of a health boost at lvl 1, totaling at 78 bonus health. In late game this is really not useful at all, but helps early, I prefer the move speed because it helps both early and late, but these are still an option.
Greater Mark of Insight
These are my 100% recommended marks for Cho'Gath. If you don't like these marks you are reading the wrong guide!!! This guide is all about making Cho'Gath a powerhouse, if you want to be able to output any kind of threatening damage, get these marks, end of story.
Greater Seal of Resilience
Highly recommended glyph because of early game much needed armor. these things give you 14.5 armor!!! That is almost a free Cloth Armor. Very useful for dealing with creeps and early game auto-attack damage.
Greater seal of replenishment Greater Seal of Replenishment
These are good if you like to spam your spells very hard early game, but refuse to get Doran's Ring. an interesting seal, but I prefer the armor.
Greater Glyph of Shielding
These I like better than Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because as a general rule, you don't really need that much magic resist until the enemy mages start to get Rabadon's Deathcap or some other kind of high powered AP items. This glyph will help you much more late game, trust me.
Greater Glyph of Focus
Get these if you like spamming your spells even more... but watch your mana.
Utility mastery! yes that's right, the mastery for mages and support. Why you ask? because of 5 key elements.
-Reduced cooldowns by 10% at lvl 1!!! (free Kindlegem)
+2% movement speed (free Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed +.5)
+bonus 216 mana at lvl 18 (free Sapphire Crystal and also 2 MP5)
+5% bonus XP (2.5 free Greater Quintessence of Experience!!! this is big!)
+210 second CD flash, and 15% shorter CD on whatever other summoner spell you want (unequaled)
"but tal, why the hell don't you want the 10% more tenacity from the tank mastery?"
Because it's the only half decent talent in that tank mastery that's why.
Once cho gets rolling it's really difficult to stop him, even with lots and lots of CC. utility mastery gets him rolling just that much faster, which means more happy fun time and less time farming to try and keep up with your own team.
-extra CDR EARLY game (util mastery)
+2% Movement speed ALL the time (util mastery)
+5% XP bonus, MP5 + bonus mana (218), and longer baron/golem/lizard buff (util mastery)
+the shortest CD possible on summoner spells to be unkillable and dominate (util mastery)
-2% more LATE game CDR (tank mastery)
-3% movement speed when you haven't gotten a scratch (tank mastery)
-138 more HP LATE game again (tank mastery)
-3% bonus HP (if you have 4,000 HP, this amounts to 120 HP) and the worst case scenario of Ionian Fervor (10% tenacity) (both are tank mastery)
In short... Cho'Gath is already a complete terror late game, he doesn't need any help from masteries once he gets there, what he needs is to get to that power level as fast as possible. This is what utility mastery does, and it still keeps helping you late game, especially when you baron.
About the offense, tree, it should be self explanatory, but I'll list the bonuses here anyway:
+buff your surge, your exhaust, and your ghost.
+easily reached CDR talent
+10% spell penetration = nuke harder, nuff said
Flash (Highly Recommended)
This summoner spell is the absolute best spell ever for Cho'Gath. As a tank, you'll probably get caught in nasty situations quite a bit, and usually you can get yourself out with rupture/scream and some careful item usage, when that's not enough Flash is your best friend. This spell is also amazing offensively, as you can quickly flash up to a silenced low HP target and nom them up with Feast.
Exhaust (Highly Recommended)
Best spell for a tank, shuts down carries instantly. Stops those pesky auto-attackers, and effectigely eliminates a nuker's burst. This spell is also nice offensively to pin down a runner.
This spell didn't seem like it was that great to me at first, but I'm liking it more and more. This spell in my opinion is the best spell to jungle with on cho because it has double synergy with Vorpal Spikes, and Feast is a built in Smite. Use this spell before you unload your rupture/scream/feast nuke combo, it will surprise the enemy team and usually turns the tides of an entire teamfight. at lvl 18, this is effectively an extra Needlessly Large Rod and a Recurve Bow together when you need them.
A good spell for if you're a coward, lol. Well, in all seriousness, this spell is great for escapes. Having both Ghost and Flash in your arsenal will make you almost impossible to kill. It offers very little offensive capability outside of chasing someone down (which you should leave to your assassins, aka Kassadin/ Talon/ Vayne/etc...), but it's defensive power is second only to Flash, and in some cases it's actually better.
If you can't ever seem to keep up with your team, or if you have fights going on in two places at once, that's where this spell really shines. Got a support and a carry pushing two of your teammates on bot while their mage and tanks are bugging your mid? Teleport in on one of those lanes, punish/kill those pesky pushers, and then clean up the other lane with your teammates you just liberated. This spell is also really great if you have the whole map warded and you happen to see someone go off all alone. Teleport in on them, jump out of the bushes and eat them fast. If that doesn't leave the rest of the enemy team absolutely terrified to go into even their own jungle, nothing will.
Note: This spell is NOT for new people, proper use requires good knowledge of gameplay progression and movement.
This spell is meh oh Cho'Gath. There are many better spells you can get, but this one does offer a healing reduction as well as some decent true damage throughout the game. Usually I leave this spell to the assassins and carries. Not a bad spell, but not a good one either.
This spell is for those of you who are having trouble managing your mana supply. philosopher's stone should be plenty to help keep you going as long as is necessary, but if you're still burning all your mana, and then finding yourself needing your spells when you're OOM, this one can be helpful.
Smite (Jungle only)
For junglers who don't think they need a spell that will help win teamfights. I don't like smite even in jungle because Cho'Gath has Feast which is better than smite even at rank 1. If you like smite on your jungle, go for it, if you've ever wanted a champ that didn't need smite to jungle, let me introduce you to Cho'Gath!!! (or Nunu...)
Note on jungle: The time it takes to jungle Cho'Gath with my runes and masteries with smite is as follows. Blue buff (ancient golem) > wolves > wraiths > small golems > shop > wolves > wraiths > small golems > red buff (lizard elder) > then gank. at gank time game clock will be at 5:45 with smite, and 6:05 with surge long as you move immediately from one step to the next. The time difference is 20 seconds, you pick which you like more.
Clairvoyance (You're not support)
Cho'Gath doesn't need a visual on his enemies to hit them, you're not Caitlyn or Vayne so don't worry about being able to see your target. Rupture and Feral Scream are both AoE attacks that you can nuke your enemies with even if they're in the dark, use this to your advantage, sometimes Clairvoyance can even blow your cover.
You are Cho'Gath... the king of sustain, tanking, and punishment, you have no need for heal. This spell will give you around a 700 heal if you waste a talent in the tank tree. 700 healing is chump on it's own, that's 2 auto-attacks from a fed Tryndamere with his annoying Undying Rage up. You wanna survive? Shut them down with Exhaust or run like hell with Ghost, this spell won't save you, not a chance.
Promote (better on a champ that can't push)
Vorpal Spikes is all you need to easily push out a lane, if you want to clear it faster, use Feral Scream. Making a big fat tank minion go kill a tower isn't necessary, wait for a creep wave to bunch up, clear the enemy creeps fast as you can, and ditch the lane. That swarm of creeps will force the enemy team to send someone to stop it or lose a tower for it. If you like to split push towers, get Teleport, and if you like to backdoor with Cho'Gath (you sly dog you...) get Surge and atmogs, lol.
I know it sounds wierd to hate on this spell when Cho'Gath is a tank... but let me lay something on you, you are supposed to be getting CC'd, that's what tanks do, they soak that garbage up so their carries don't get stuck with it. Run in there, blast your nukes, and then the enemy will CC spam you while you're on cooldowns, so those CC really didn't hurt that much now did they? Here's another thing, Cho'Gath doesn't have a sprint/charge/blink/stealth ability, so again, no need to be breaking the CC that's thrown on you. Cleanse is best on champs like Kassadin, Ezreal, Vayne, etc... because they have abilities that they must use to escape quickly or die, and CC stops them from making that escape. Cho'Gath is tough and durable, he can survive those CC/burst moves and then Rupture/ Feral Scream kite away and still get back in time for tea, cheerio!
Revive (u serious?)
DO NOT DIE!!! if you die and lose your Feast stacks, you are screwed anyway. Revive is not going to erase your failure, and if you actually had a useful summoner spell like Exhaust, Flash, or Ghost to help you survive, you wouldn't need this **** spell in the first place. Don't even use it if you're new, don't get used to it, don't even try it, end of story.
Skill sequence for solo lane
This sequence is for running solo top or solo mid as Cho'Gath. In this scenario you are in your prime. You're ready to farm to the max and score as much gold as possible from those creeps then stack your Feast up fast as you can. We will be skilling up Feral Scream and Rupture together so that they will be doing similar damage. Reason is because if they are skilled up together, they nuke harder than if you max out one of them, but only have a single point in the other, and still hit with both. Another bonus to having both skilled together, is that you will have a backup plan. This means if you miss with Rupture, the opponent is still afraid of your Feral Scream harass, and after you harass with Feral Scream they will be afraid to chase because they might get nuked by Rupture, savy? If you prefer to be more risky with your bacon, you can skill up Vorpal Spikes before Rupture but I like to play it safe and ensure my enemies are plenty well nuked before I close into melee with them.
Skill sequence for jungle
This sequence we get Vorpal Spikes first because as jungle, you have no need for harass or nuke at lvl 1. Vorpal Spikes will nuke down the ancient golem surprisingly fast when paired up with Surge, or Smite if that's your thing. After this we get two ranks in Rupture to assist in clearing creep camps as quickly as possible, and with as little mana wasted as possible. After this we max out Feral Scream because it pwns.
skill sequence for duo lane
This sequence is ONLY for if you're in lane with a coordinated partner, preferably one with a hard CC, like Taric, Sion, Renekton, Ryze, Leona, or even Malzahar or Warwick once they get their suppress. When you see their stun/snare/suppress about to hit an enemy champ, plant your rupture under that poor stunned chap and watch their health drop. This nuke is actually harder than if you skill up scream and rupture together, but rupture is very likely to be dodged by any competent enemy unless they get stunned or snared ;)
Skill sequence for Bruiser
This sequence is for my new "rightclick and win" build for Cho'Gath. I've found this build to be very rewarding, fun, and effective. You want to be maxing Feral Scream while you lane because of the burst/harass power it holds. After that, you want to be maxing out your Vorpal Spikes. Why? Because they are powered by attack speed, and that's what we're getting to make you a monster! Rupture is maxed last because it's there for utiltiy, not damage.
This is one of the most powerful sustaining abilities in the game, an amazing passive. I used to think this ability was meh, because it wasn't direct lifesteal, but this ability is nothing to be sneezed at. It encourages you to last hit minions, not only for the gold, but also for the awesome heals it gives you. Getting harassed in your lane? Have no fear, fall back to your tower and wait for the creeps to come to you. Have had several games where I got spammed with Parrrley by Gangplank... but then I ate some minions and it was k.
This ability is Cho'Gath's bread and butter skill. This is the one that does the most damage and pops the enemy up into their air like a leprecaun on viagra. I highly advise using this entirely for defense early game, and save offense for Feral Scream. This ability does a 1 second knockup, stunning effect. This interrupts anything that is channeled or cast, like Drain, Absolute Zero, or Bullet Time. It also comes with a 60% slowing effect that follows the stun. This is what makes Cho'Gath such an amazing kiter, if you plant this behind you, the enemy team MUST go around it or they're all going to be stunned and then slowed so terribly that there's no way in hell they'll catch you. Late game this becomes your initiation ability, as well as an amazing tower zoning skill. just basically spam this move at the enemy team, aim for their carries if possible, and when you hit, run up and follow up with scream. This crippling combo will leave that carry in a perfect position to be easily picked off by your own carries/assassins, or yourself if you have Feast ready for them.
This is your primary attack early game, and becomes a bread and butter skill late game. Early game, use this ability as a harass, try to catch the enemy champ and as many minions as possible in the cone of pain. Use it intelligently depending on who you're fighting, sometimes it's better to charge in and scream them agressively, and sometimes it's best to use it as a reaction to the enemies agression. Someone to attack with it would be like Kog'Maw, however you'd want to use it reactively VS LeBlanc when she runs at you to hit with her sigil of silence. Late game you want to be careful of how you use this ability, if the enemy team has champions like Nunu, Miss Fortune, Fiddlesticks, etc... be sure you have your silence to counter their channeled abilities, Absolute Zero/ Bullet Time/ Drain. In all situations, try to position yourself so that you will hit as many enemies as possible with your cone of silence, this is where your movement speed will come in handy. If the enemy team charges you, try to land your rupture first, take a step back, then scream at them as you continue to kite. This combo leaves them heavily bruised and incapable of responding to you.
This is your auto-attack booster. Without this ability, Cho'Gath would be absolutely no threat in melee range at all. Once you get this ability maxed out, your spikes will actually be hitting very hard, their damage caps out at 80 (+.3 AP). With Cho'Gath's auto-attack doing around 130 damage physical + the vorpal spikes, it's almost like a double attack, and it happens every time! The best part of these flying needles is that they are AoE, so they make an ignored Cho'Gath a real pain in teamfights, if they let you freely whack away at their carries with these spikes flying at the whole team, they'll quickly realize just how evil you really are.
note: DO NOT ATTEMPT to win a 1v1 autoattack war with a carry like Xin Zhao, Ashe, Vayne, etc... just because you have Vorpal Spikes!!! You probably won't win unless you have Thornmail, and even then it will be close. You want to be sure they are heavily nuked and almost dead before you try to peck them down with your auto-attacks. (Lifesteal is a *****)
This is the big daddy of all your abilities. This is the ability that defines Cho'Gath, and makes him the monster that he is. This ability will end up giving you 900 bonus HP at max rank with 6 stacks!!! Not only is this the best max HP generating ability in the game, it is also the hardest hitting True Damage nuke in the game! This ability has the bonus benefit of making Cho'Gath big, I mean really big. You can use this to your advantage (or your carry's advantage for that matter) by having a ranged character like Caitlyn or Malzahar hide under you and freely shoot the enemy team while you spam Rupture and Feral Scream. Your massive body will serve as a shield against enemy right-click-to-win champs like Tryndamere, Ashe and Master Yi who really wish they could click your Caitlyn and kill her, if she wasn't shooting sniper bullets while hiding under you. :p
Team support! = Warding, Jungle buffs, and Oracles
Before we even start getting into item builds, I'm going to tell you a thing or two about something that will become your best friend.
Let me introduce you to the Sight Ward.
These little surveillance cameras will give you map control throughout the game. You should try to keep a slot in your items open for sight wards if possible. Now, lets look at the where, when, and why to ward.
I know the map key is a little difficult to see. you can save the picture and view it in full size, or I have a key here.
Blue = Map Control Wards
Black = Dragon/Bot Ward
Red = Baron Ward
Purple = Bot Tri-bush Ward
White = Solo Mid Wards
Yellow = Solo Top wards
These are the wards that should be in place depending on where you are laning. If you're duo lane bot, only ward the tri-bush if it's closest to your tower, same deal goes for solo top. Try to keep baron and dragon warded any time that you know they're going to be spawning soon, or if they're already spawned. the solo mid wards are obviously for if you're solo mid, it's a good idea to keep these areas warded if a good deal of teamfights are going to be taking place in the area. Lastly, the Map control wards are to give you sight of your enemies movements, and prevent an ambush/gank. If you have all the map control wards up in these places, it's very difficult for the enemy team to make a move on your team without you knowing about it in advance. Place map control wards near the area you intend to be pushing/teamfighting to give you a great advantage.
Remember this, as Cho'Gath you want to stay alive as much as possible because stacking Feast sucks. Placing wards, even if it SHOULD be the support's job, will save your life time and time again. One on one, you're almost impossible to kill, but 3/4/5 VS you, and you're going to be in serious trouble, having a warning before the entire enemy team shows up for a cheap cowardly gank on you WILL save your life, promise.
Why is Cho'Gath a good warder/roamer? Namely because if you happen to get spotted by a lone enemy in the jungle while you ward, you can quickly hit them with your Rupture+ Feral Scream combo, and eat them before they even have a chance to call for help. If you happen to get caught by more than one enemy, you're pretty tanky even without many items and your ability to CC and kite is AoE, so you can effectively immobilize several assailants and make your escape. Whatever the case, make sure your stay in the enemy jungle is brief, the enemy team may have wards, and your team will need your presence in teamfights, so don't run solo for too long.
When you are laning, keep your wards up ALWAYS!!! I can't stress this enough, make sure you come prepared with at least 2-3 wards after your first B. Remember that Cho'Gath has great lane sustain, and you want to have at least 6 minutes of safe farming before you have to recall to replace those wards.
After the laning phase, keep baron and dragon warded whenever they are spawned. It's a good idea to ward them even before the laning phase is over, but this should be taken care of by your jungle. If you don't have a jungle, the enemy team is likely to baron after they've killed bottom lane champs/tower, and if this happens there's usually not a lot you can do to stop them from getting it unless you and your remaining teammates are very fast/good.
Map control wards should be placed after the laning phase. Try to encourage your teammates to assist you in helping replace these wards in the proper locations, as the price of these buggers can add up quickly, and hurt your personal late game if it drags on that far. If you have Flash/ Ghost ready, you are usually safe to make a run through the enemy jungle and place your wards, just be aware of where the enemy champs are on the map, if they are mia, wait to ward until they pop up in a lane. If your Flash/ Ghost is down, try to get your team to follow you through the jungle as you ward, just in case you happen upon more than one or two enemies.
As the game draws to a close, and you start to make pushes for the enemy inhibs/nexus, wards will be less important, except for the baron ward. Also, as the game drags on, you will likely end up needing this final item slot to make you more tanky, or more deadly. Cho'Gath is a tank after all. Make sure you're the most powerful tank late game, even if you have to sacrifice your ward slot for it.
About Jungle buffs
There's 3 big jungle buffs to be aware of.
The main buff for Cho'Gath is crest of the ancient golem , this buff is basically infinite mana and 20% CDR (22% with util mastery). This nifty little buff makes you MUCH more powerful and dangerous. Get it when you can, the only thing which might have priority on this buff over you is a high powered mage like Malzahar, Annie, or Xerath. Non-mana based assassins/mages SHOULD NOT be taking this buff over Cho'Gath, examples include but not limited to: Vladimir, Akali, Katarina, or Kennen. Don't rage at people who get this but have no mana when you're on your Cho'Gath, just steal it before they get the chance next time. Unless for example, a Malzahar on your team (for whatever insane reason...) says he doesn't need blue, please relinquish the buff to the mage. If someone who REALLY doesn't need blue is trying to take it and you're near, I advise you steal it from them... if for no other reason than just to prevent them from handing it to the enemy. (odds are someone who plays Garen or Ashe and thinks they need blue, probably won't be smart enough to hang onto it for very long.)
This is the gank buff. The only time I really suggest actually taking this buff on purpose for Cho'Gath is if you are jungling. This buff is much more powerful on a ranged champion, and the only thing you 'really' need to gank with Cho'Gath is a well placed Rupture. Red buff is the thing you want Caitlyn or Graves to have so that they can slow down their target forever. It's true that Cho'Gath can benefit from red buff, it will make your rupture a guaranteed hit and your melee attacks much more scary, but red buff is MUCH better on a ranged carry.
This is the big one, and the best part is, everybody on your team gets it. This buff on your team means that you have a tremendous advantage in teamfights. If the enemy team has it, beware, and play defensively. Best way to counter this buff if the enemy team gets it, is with sight wards. If you happen to spy an enemy all alone, and definitely separate from their team, organize your team to jump him and eliminate him quickly. This will terminate his Baron buff, and be sure you remember the same thing when you have this thing on yourself. Don't get caught alone.
Oracle's Elixir and you
This item makes you a detector. A spy hunter, if you will. This potion will allow you to detect and destroy enemy wards, and makes you a DEADLY counter to enemy stealth like Akali, Twitch, Shaco and Talon. Oracle's Elixir is often used by support, but in my opinion is BEST placed on a tank. Why a tank? Because people with Oracle's Elixir tend to be a target, and you don't want the enemy to be focused on your Zilean or Soraka, no, you want them to be focused on your juggernaut self. This will also encourage your teammates to follow you around like puppies, especially if there are enemy stealth lurking around.
Build #1 = The Tank build
Use this build: when the teams are even, or if you have a good team backing you up.
Pros: Very effective and to the point build. Makes you into the tank you were meant to be as quickly as possible.
Cons: not as effective early-mid game as Build #2. If you get ganked a lot, killed a lot, or harassed out of lane a lot, this build will be shut down, and you will take a long time to get tanky enough to support your team.
This is my favorite solo lane starting item. Gives you some starting HP and MP5.
My 2nd favorite starter for solo. A little better counter to a lane that you know for certain is going to be AD, but you won't be able to spam your spells as hard. This item is great for a 2v1 lane.
This is a good starting item combo to help you rush your philosopher's stone. A risky start... but still a good one.
The best way to start when you are Jungle, or if you know you're going to be harassed alot, but never nuked from 100% to zero.
1st Trip back
I get these two first to be sure I have enough tenacity to foil a gank, and some mana to let me keep up the harass on the enemy champ. If you have some extra cash, pick up Ruby Crystal as well, or substitute it for the mana crystal if you're worried about your HP (but if you're worried you should be using build #2 tbh).
Your build should look like this:
Catalyst the protector
Once you reach this point, it's time to make a choice, are you a killer or a defender? It's all about playstyle young one, learn which you're better at and capitalize on it. If you're more concervative and defense is your thing, first go for Guardian Angel followed by Giant's Belt to build into Rylai's Crystal Scepter (sell your Doran's Ring). If you're a more agressive little monster, the path for you my child is Glacial Shroud followed by Abyssal Scepter. If you're like me, and want some middle ground between offense and defense, get Guardian Angel and Haunting Guise. Guardian Angel and Haunting Guise route WILL cost you about 450g punishment in the end, but if you play your cards right with this build, you'll have enough attack/defense/and HP to end the game super fast all by yourself.
Notes on Rod of Ages: Don't upgrade your catalyst the protector just yet... you may want Rod of Ages and you may not, wait a bit for the game to progress and get what you need out of it. You'll be kicking yourself if you upgrade to Rod of Ages and find yourself needing Banshee's Veil more later on.
Your build should now look like one of these three:
Catalyst the protector sight ward
These builds will usually be the final items you're using when the game is settled, win or lose. If not, continue with the build as you need it. I tend to go more offense and follow up with Rylai's Crystal Scepter after I finish my Abyssal Scepter, and end up getting my Zhonya's Hourglass and Rod of Ages last.
More defensive balanced:
Rylai's Crysal scepter
Build #2 = The Bruiser Build
use this build: When you are looking to carry your team as Cho'Gath. This build is designed to make you into a bruiser, aka, tanky DPS.
Pros: Very solid DPS, is also a mix of both magic and physical making it difficult to counter build. Melee DPS supplemented with ranged CC/nuke. You can literally solo an entire team when your full build is complete (if you're smart about it of course...).
Cons: Less tanky than a full tank build; Very expensive to finish
This build is designed to make Cho'Gath into a sort of "rightclick and win" champion with very powerful utility and tankyness. With this build, full feast stacks and mastery setup, your HP should be well over 4,000. In addition, you'll have around 150 armor, and your MR should sit at 132 once you get in 4 auto-attacks. Offensively, you'll have a VERY fast attack speed as well as about 250 or more AD, and 100 or so AP. Your job is to walk right up to the enemy squishys and kill them... and eat them.
In this setup, you'll want to change your strategy to use spells more as defensive and utility moves instead of as your primary attacks. Use your Feral Scream to make it more safe to attack mages, and bypass enemy tanks so that you don't get CC locked or nuked before you can do your job. Use your Rupture to prevent fleeing or to assist in an escape once you've secured a kill.
The order is as you see it.
Boots of Speed > 3 Health Potion > Recurve Bow > Mercury's Treads > Ruby Crystal > Wit's End > Chain Vest > Giant's Belt > Atma's Impaler > Phage > Warmog's Armor > Vampiric Scepter > Trinity Force > Hextech Gunblade
These items in this order are to be purchased as you need/can afford them. If you're struggling in lane, don't hesitate to get Heart of Gold or philosopher's stone, as these will help you recover from a low creep score or getting harassed out of lane a lot. Once you get Wit's End you're a functional rightclick damage dealer. Remember what I said earlier about Vorpal Spikes? This build changes that completely, once you get Hextech Gunblade you are unkillable, you'll vamp off your spells and your very speedy and painful auto-attacks while you recover HP from your Warmog's Armor passive. If you can, try to cycle your spells so that you proc Trinity Force as much as you can during a teamfight, and make use of Hextech Gunblade active to prevent fleeing or to assist you in landing a Rupture or escape (or both). As a damage dealer, you want to be focusing the squishies, even though you are not heavily built into AP, your Feast will still hit ******edly hard, use it to surprise that enemy AD carry with an instant death from half their HP.
Also remember, nobody expects Cho'Gath to be a melee beast, use this to your advantage as many AD carries will try to win a rightclick war with you, let them fight you, you have lifesteal AND spellvamp AND armor, you'll win unless they are wayyy more fed than you.
Grim as having a bad team is, this build has helped me carry my team time and time again, and makes you feel like a complete monster as you approach the enemy team and they all suddenly start to back up in fear.
Soooo... Pretty much this:"I AM YOUR GOD NOW, BRING ME YOUR VIRGINS!!!"
Build #3 = Wizard Cho'gath Build
When to use it: When you feel like playing Cho'Gath as a full AP nuke/carry instead of a tank.
Pros: Strongest flat nuke in the game, no lie. Dat true damage, lol; both AoE nuke moves come with CC.
Cons: Not as tanky as you should be; if your feast stacks are up high, you will be a very high priority (and easily clicked, lol...) target; Can be hard to dodge skillshots since you don't have move speed from Force of Nature (and because you'll take up half the lane); kinda long cooldowns on nukes.
This will be your generic build for being a wizard cho. Your basic strategy will be to run up to your target(s), plant rupture under them, shoot Deathfire Grasp active at the thing you want to die (preferably BEFORE the rupture pops them up), then do feral scream, then feast them up. This will insta-kill almost anything you target, even a tank (espcially if you have void staff). The idea behind this build should be self explanatory, you're the nuker/mage. You let your tank initiate and get everyone grouped up, and then you drop both your spells on them and watch the fireworks. Very funny and rewarding when you pull it off and their entire team's HP just drops. Be sure you remember to use Feast on carries primarily, only eat tanks if they're the only target left not dead or if everything else fled stupidly far away from a lone tank.
Optional items instead of Rylai's Crystal Scepter include: Lich Bane, Zhonya's Hourglass, or Guardian Angel. Pick the item that suits you best, Lich Bane is for even more nuke, Zhonya's Hourglass Is for when you are getting focused hard by enemy AD champs, and Guardian Angel is for when you are just getting focused wayyy too damn hard by everything, this item will make you more tanky and deter them from trying to kill you. I personally like Rylai's Crystal Scepter because it offers a little more beefyness, more easily landed Rupture and still gives good ability power.
For Wizard Cho'Gath, Rod of Ages is a must have item, because you are already dependant on your team to make things easier on you instead of the other way around. You can Rush Rod of Ages instead of Rylai's Crystal Scepter in this build if you like, totally up to you.
Build #4 = EZmoad Cho'gath
When to use: When you are learning how to play Cho'Gath
Pros: Almost unkillable, with or without Feast stacked
Cons: Damage is terrible; no mana; ignorable; can't 1v1
This build is, as I've said, is for new people to Cho'Gath. This build will make you pretty much invincible, and will give you plenty of practice trying to hit your ruptures and catch as many people as possible in your scream. It will also give you time to stack up feast, and punish you less for initiating teamfights and tanking towers. However... the damage output of this build is very low, so teams that have a brain will ignore you and focus your squishies. But against teams that are very low ELO or below LvL 30 will not know any better than to just focus you because you're big, annoying, and in the way.
Use this build until you can confidently predict where and when to rupture/silence your enemies.
Note: DO NOT ATTEMPT to 1v1 anything with this build, you WILL lose. Even something that can't kill you 1 on 1, will just sit there and tank your damage (yes, even a squishy mage can tank you with this build) until their teammates show up and kill you, slowly and painfully. Use this build to help you learn how to rupture and how to kite. Once you get good with your spells, move on to making your build more spell powerful.
Build #5 = Cho'ball Snow'gath
When to use: When you're high
Pros: Helarious; Synergizes well when playing with Singed/ Zilean on your team; Makes trolling fun, especially when listening to the Benny Hill theme or the Trololol song; can still kill things very easily; can still tank things very easily.
Cons: Totally not viable at all; one death is a massive setback; you will be focused and you really don't wanna get killed when snowballing, lol.
This build is designed to troll the enemy team. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you do...), is to stack up your Mejai's Soulstealer and Leviathan as quickly as possible, and then play as you would normally play Cho'Gath, except more cowardly if the enemy team is obviously focusing the hell out of you. If you see them all target you and spam you with CC's and their ults/nukes, run, it means successful troll is successful and you must engage in a foot race with them XD. One thing of note... this build is actually extremely tanky once you get everything stacked up. You'll have over 5,000 HP and 15% bonus damage reduction on top of your armor/MR, which means you can do stupidly trollish things to the enemy, as if you were playing Singed. We use Ghost for this build to give you a special quality of fleeing that is especially funny on a champion as massive as Cho'Gath.
Items part 1 = What and why?
In this chapter, we'll go over some of the items and I'll explain why we use them and when.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Pros: Best AP item for strait up beefy tanking; 500 HP; 80 AP; Kiter's swiss army knife.
Cons: No bonus mana
Ah, first thing's first, lets look at Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I love this item because it helps you guarantee your Rupture hits. One hit from Vorpal Spikes will put a slow on everything hit by the needles and make it very difficult for them to avoid a Rupture placed under them. I look at this in way of a sniper rifle, if you've only got a few shots, think of Rylai's Crystal Scepter as the scope for your rifle, and Rod of Ages is just a massive magazine with extra bullets. No matter how much mana you've got, there's only so much CDR you can get, so you're not going to Rupture rapid fire. As a nice bonus, you can also use Feral Scream as a means to kite, similar to Talon's Rake, which is extremely helpful to yourself AND YOUR TEAM!!!!
(*bashes fist on the "save your teammates" button*)
Notes on mana(READ THIS YOU Rod of Ages crybabies!!!): Early game, catalyst the protector or philosopher's stone is ALL YOU NEED for mana, I'm quite serious. If you're running out of mana and you have either of those items, you are doing it wrong. Don't spam your abilities like crazy, use them to punish your opponent at critical times. Late game Frozen Heart is all the mana you'll ever need, if you need more, upgrade catalyst the protector to Rod of Ages late game, or philosopher's stone into shurelya's Reverie to give you more mana, but...*sigh* again I say you won't need that much mana if you use Rylai's Crystal Scepter's amazing slowing ability to ensure your spells hit and kill the enemy the FIRST time you fire, instead of the 20th time... /end rant
Mercury's Treads VS Boots of Swiftness VS Sorcerer's Shoes
Boots are always necessary imo, but which ones to take? Mercury's Treads are a universally acceptable choice, they're almost always helpful. If the enemy team is really low in the CC department, or if their only CC is Nether Grasp, Infinite Duress, Impale, and/or Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser, (take note that ALL of these CC are suppression effects and are not mitigated by tenacity) get Boots of Swiftness to help your ability to initiate, position, and flee. If you are feeling especially agressive, or are playing wizard Cho'Gath you can also use Sorcerer's Shoes, just remember these boots have zero defensive capability.
Pros: Extremely versatile tanking item; Makes you more courageous, lol; can allow you free access to enemy carry if the team ignores you.
Cons: Smart teams will tend to avoid focusing you
This item is an amazing tank item, it gives Armor, MR, and a very nice passive that should give you balls of steel. The armor and MR are beneficial for obvious reasons, and the passive will save you from ******** deaths like an ignite that BARELY gets you as you flee. As a bonus effect, smart teams will tend to avoid focusing you because you'll just come back to life if you die. This can be a bad thing, since you're the tank, however, because Cho'Gath has such a powerful nuke, you can demolish their carry and teach them why they can't ignore you :p
Pros: +70 AP/+57 MR/ -20 spell pen arua
Cons: The aura doesn't stack with other Abyssal Scepters
There is really no negative side to this thing, I LOVE this item! It is tanky, it's got AP for nuking, and it's got a MR reducing Aura!!! That aura makes you into a support as well as a tank! Yay for you!
Pros: 20% CDR/+99 Armor/+500 mana/AD nerfing aura
Cons: um...idk, they didn't round the armor up to 100?...
This item is a god mode item, nuff said. This item is so amazing that it's recommended for use on many mages as well as tanks, even if the tank has no mana. The Attack speed nerfing arua will punish the enemy team while you're in range of them, the CDR buffs your ability to repeat your nuke, and the 500 mana from this item is all you'll ever need. Oh yea... and did I meantion it's got 99 armor on it?!?!
Force of Nature
Pros: Best MR in the game; Boost mobility with 8% movement speed; Greatly increases late game sustain/synergizes with Cho'Gath's high HP
Cons: No offensive stats other than the utility from the 8% movement speed.
This item will make it pointless to harass you late game, making you a very difficult tank to push back. The high MR on this thing will make any pokes from the enemy mages nothing more than a tickle, and the INCREDIBLE regenerative powers this item gives to Cho'Gath in specific are truly a sight to behold. You can have lost 50% of your total HP, and just run around in a circle for about 30 seconds and all that HP will come right back. The movement speed is even more icing on this delicious cake, it will make it easier for you to initiate, reposition, and flee if necessary.
Pros: Gives a very high boost to AP; +50 Armor; Amazing defensive active
Cons: Isn't Zhonya's Ring anymore.
Armor and AP with a passive to let you have more breathing room between your nukes, this item is a wonderful little timepiece to have on Cho'Gath. The Active on this item works very similarly to Guardian Angel, in that it will give you 2 seconds or so of being "IMMUNELOL!!!" to everything anyone might try to do to you after you've unloaded your nuke combo.
Rod of Ages
Pros: +630 HP; +700 mana; +80 AP
Cons: Takes 10 minutes to "grow" to its full power; No defensive abilities other than the high HP.
This is a very nice stat stick. It will give you a little bit more HP than Rylai's Crystal Scepter in the end, and definitely gives you more mana. You shouldn't need the mana if you get a Frozen Heart, but if you find yourself having more trouble with your mana pool than with actually getting the enemy to hold still while you Rupture them, this may be the item for you. You can also get both Rylai's Crystal Scepter AND Rod of Ages together to become a VERY beefy tank, just remember your armor and MR could be a little higher if you got another item instead of this. DEFINITELY get this item instead of Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy team doesn't go for Void Staff or Last Whisper.
Pros: Highest AP booster in the game
Cons: Zero defensive ability
This is the #1 nuking item in the game. Tack this item in where you can if you really need to carry your team as a tanky nuker. This item will definitely make you hit like a Short Bus (******edly hard, lol).
Pros: Very powerful early game
Cons: not so powerful late game
This little trinket is the early game *** kicker of all items. It drops the enemy MR effectively to zero and makes you spells hit for what might as well be true damage. It also buffs your HP by a good chunk, and gives you AP to boot. One or two encounters with you while you've got this baby and the enemy team will quickly learn to fear you. Get this item to help your team get back on their feet before it's too late.
Pros: Amazing mid-game Item; very nice CDR; good sustain stats; HP boost; amazing active for fleeing/chasing (buffs/supports your team)
Cons: Not as OP late game as some items, but still viable on Cho'Gath
When your team needs serious help, this it the go-to item. It gives you a good boost of 330 HP, it gives you +30 HP5 and +15 MP5 to help out your sustain, and the amazing active can save not only your ***, but the ***es of your entire team all at once. Great jack-of-all-trades item.
Pros: CDR, AP, MP5, and a nifty active max HP based nuke all in one convenient package
Cons: Slightly weaker stats in all fields than Morello's Evil Tome except for the active.
This item is for Mage Cho'Gath only, don't try to get this item on a tank build. The boosts to the stats are really nice, but the main purpose of this item is for its active. Shoot that deathfire ball at somebody right before your rupture hits and you can almost feel their heart sink just as low as their HP dropped.
Pros: MAGIC PENETRATION!!!
Cons: stats suck
This item is for Mage Cho'Gath only, don't try this on a tank build. Get this item for if the enemy team has stacked a bunch of Magic resist because being eaten alive is starting to annoy them. This nifty little stick will make all that hard worked magic resist melt pretty heavily, and let you continue nuking and omnomnoming effectively.
Pros: Proc that nukes every 2 seconds; Bonus mana; bonus AP; bonus Movement speed; bonus MR
Cons: inferior to Trinity Force without Rabadon's Deathcap
This is for if you wanna be more hybrid Cho'Gath. This is a viable option instead of Abyssal Scepter especially if someone else already got one, or plans to get one. Make sure you get Rabadon's Deathcap to synergize with this item, you can still use a tank build that involves both Lich Bane and Rabadon's Deathcap. If someone else on your team has an Abyssal Scepter I would definitely suggest getting this, as it will only make your nuking power that much stronger without hurting your defensive stats too much.
Items part 2 = Counter building
In this section we'll explore how to counter unbalanced enemy teams that build deliberately to **** YOU ( Cho'Gath in specific...) up.
Rightclick and win...
if the enemy team is loaded up with 3 or 4 "rightclick and win" champs, examples include:
Tryndamere, Master Yi, Caitlyn, Ashe, Vayne, Sivir, Kayle, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Nasus, Shyvana, etc...
These guys ALL have an entire strategy book that includes "Rightclick, rinse, repeat." written on every line of every page.
Two simple items will tip the scales against these facerolling children.
Getting these two items to compliment a Guardian Angel will leave these guys scratching their head wondering why rightclicking isn't working so well. even if they do magic damage with their autoattacks, it still gets returned by Thornmail, this will usually negate their lifesteal if they have it, and Thornmail is especially complimented by Abyssal Scepter so that the full magic damage return goes through.
My build against a full rightclick to win enemy team would go something like:
If the enemy is REALLY unbalanced (meaning they stupidly went with ALL AD champs) you could always sub out Guardian Angel for Zhonya's Hourglass, but that's a bit more on the risky side imo.
DO NOT confuse this with characters that are AD but are nukers or AD casters like:
Talon, Graves, Corki, Wukong, Pantheon, Olaf, and Riven.
This tricky bunch uses Attack damage to fuel their abilities, just like a "rightclick and win" champ, BUT they don't have to rightclick you to kill you. Graves and Talon are probably the most notorious of these as nukers. A single combo of Rake and Shadow Assault or Buckshot and Collateral Damage can leave almost any carry with nothing more than a sliver of health and running for the hills. Granted, this couple of items will frustrate their damage... but these nukers aren't going to proc your Thornmail so it's better to get something else, like Frozen Heart or Zhonya's Hourglass.
wtf?!?! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! (a look at nukers)
Nukers can be annoying if the enemy team has 2 or 3 of them, if their team has 4... I hope your team has a good assassin. AP nukers include:
Annie, Brand, Malzahar, Xerath, Veigar, LeBlanc, Fizz and full AP Gragas or Cho'Gath.
to some lesser extent, also these guys:
Cassiopeia, Anivia, Fiddlesticks, Morgana, Lux, Katarina and Orianna
Now... my normal build should help you out a good deal against these bursty pests, especially if you still have Guardian Angel, but if this stuff is just not enough, one item will terminate them.
This tricky little necklace comes with one of the most annoying passives to ever frustrate nukers to the point of committing seppuku with a frisbe. Just remember that the shield is designed to give you a window of opportunity, make sure that when it's up, that's when you make your charge. Use the bashee's bubble to rush into their cluster of nukers and demolish them as quickly as you can, it is only going to mess up their death combo for a few seconds, after which they will just do what they've always done and blow your team up.
My build VS a nuke heavy team would look something like this:
Do not confuse nukers with AP DPS like:
Ryze, Akali, Karthus, or Swain
These guys don't care if you have Banshee's Veil. Just stick to the regular build and your magic resist should be high enough to endure these guys more sustained damage long enough to kill them rather easily in a teamfight.
OMG cho'gath OP everybody buy Banshee's Veil kthnxbai!
This item... Banshee's Veil is actually a serious problem for Cho'Gath. It gives carries enough MR to seriously hurt your ability to punish them with your spells unless you get Void Staff which is an absolute no-no unless you are going full mage. If you see 2 or 3 Banshee's Veil's on the enemy team (namely on their damage dealers and support, who cares if the tanks get these), you should consider adjusting your build away from being a nuker and focus more on either hybrid offense, or strait up defense. Both paths are viable in this situation, as the enemy CARRIES are building to be defensive. Defensive carries are easy to bully, and VERY easy to be out-tanked by Cho'Gath, lol.
and the last item should be one of these:
or or / combo
Strategy: Guess what? You're a melee warrior now!!! You guessed it, Rightclick and win, go get em' champ. Pick out their MAGES and SUPPORT in specific and target them as priority, use your spells primarily as CC instead of nukes and peck them down. Use Trinity Force for maximum melee offense, use Rylai's Crystal Scepter for more HP and annoyance, use Madred's Bloodrazor if the enemy team is all bruisers like Wukong, Lee Sin, Nocturne, Olaf or any combination of champs where you see Warmog's Armor on 2-3 enemy champs that actually do decent damage. If you're using Madred's Bloodrazor, trade your Wit's End for Malady.
Strategy: You're an all out tank with this build, your spells are there to disrupt the enemy, use Rupture and Feral Scream to be as annoying as possible, and desperately try to get in the enemy team's way. with this build I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you use Rylai's Crystal Scepter to make yourself an endless pest with your AoE slow from Vorpal Spikes. Remember, as an all out tank, your weapon is being annoying, not damage.
I've already explained how to use your abilities time and time again in the above mentioned builds/styles/items lists, so honestly there's nothing more I can tell you to improve your gameplay... However, I can show you.
MAKE SURE YOU ENABLE ANNOTATIONS!!!!
Cho'Gath instructional video
MAKE SURE YOU ENABLE ANNOTATIONS!!!!
The opening white text is broken, yes I know. This is because windows movie maker sucks. The rest of the text is all done through youtube.
Here's a video of me fighting players if you need some more tips/tricks.