So you wanna play Cho'Gath. There are a million great guides on here, so why pick this build? This is not your typical build. This is not a build for those new to Cho. This will not earn you a high K/D ratio. This will make you the scariest, most unkillable character on the map. When people see your red alien mug trundling down a lane, they will turn their tails in fear for the stomping you are about to conjure. This build is called the "Pressure Cooker" because you will place the other team under enough pressure that, when they see you coming, they will **** diamonds.
Cho is by and large one of the most versatile tanks in the game. His Rupture does great damage, disables a hero for a full second, procs a slow, and is AoE. His Scream also does good damage, silences an enemy for a fair duration, and, too, is AoE. His Spikes add damage to each attack, and are essentially a free Tiamat; making his basic attack, you guessed it...AoE. His Feast is a true-damage dealing damage-burst that, if it scores a killing blow, earns Cho free HP, up to 6 times. In this build, you will exploit his amazing survivability and AoE to move champions effortlessly, amass hordes of minions for lane-charging, and to make your enemies disappear by sponging damage like a Sham-Wow while your team obliterates everything around them.
- Damage taken is extremely reduced.
- Health Regen is maximized for minimal base trips.
- With practice, mana is always available.
- Great collateral damage during large party encounters.
- Substantial disabling effect.
- Don't need "uber micro" to still play well.
- While presence is maximized from teleport, mobility is minimized.
- Mostly ineffective alone.
- Requires a fair amount of talent to maximize utility.
- The incredible amount of pressure Cho provides can diffuse situations too quickly.
- Requires a fair bit of team coordination.
Your early game starts with a DPS. Dual-tank, or a Tank/Off-tank situation will not do. You are ubertank, only someone who can put on some hurt will do. You'll start off with Rupture. Cho has little mana, but, as he kills minions, his passive heals you a little and returns a slight amount of mana. Coupled with your regrowth pendant and talented/runed armor, "ticking you down" will be impossible, and bursting you will be just as close to that. As a result, your job is to get ALL UP INS. Start in the bushes. When you get your first opportunity, spike the nearest hero. If your buddy is on it, he should be able to dive him down, and either kill him or de-lane him. If your fast, this can be done before the minions even spawn, giving you a crucial XP advantage. If he's not on it, or the other team is MORE on it, this may backfire, but, in either event, this is good. Now, one of two things will happen: The other team, now thoroughly intimidated by your aggression, will play conservatively. This will give you lane pressure to build up stores of gold and XP by killing minions. Or, this will ratchet up your players to an utra-aggressive frenzy. In this case, let them push you to your turret, and, when the timing is right, charge forward. They will attack you, thinking they can kill you, but your lane mate should have them long dead before that can happen. When you have them on you, pop your Rupture. This will fling them in the air, disabling them for about a second. It'll also add a slow. All the while you should be nom nom-ing their face. They will either die running(very slowly) in fear, or stand and die. Always keep enough mana for a Rupture, but if you have some extra mana, and the enemy champ is either in range of a rupture or there is a mass of enemies with a hero out of reach, pop a rupture on them. This will earn you free health and mana, and if your lucky, a little tick of damage off your opponent's life bar. Don't be afraid to keep Clarity on cool-down, regular, judicious use of Clarity will keep Cho's paltry mana pool topped and always available. Keep this bait-and-kill, minion-stomping aggression up until mid-game.
Once Cho hits level 6, his tactic changes. It's now time to feast. Feast is on a 60-second cooldown. For the next 6 minutes and some odd seconds, your mission is to feast. Feast! Whenever it's up, until you have 6 stacks, eat everything around you. With timing and precision, you can utilize it's 300 true damage to easily last-hit pesky champs. Alternately, its 1000-base minion damage can help with laning pressure by instantly destroying the tank-minion. By this time, you should be making full use of the Rupture-Scream combo. This consists of getting a well-timed rupture off. As they fall, position and execute a Feral Scream. This will keep heroes essentially ineffective. It's great for getting pesters off your back for a few seconds to feast, regen, and kill, and it's great to initiate for your lane mate, who should be able to pounce and own the crippled foe. If you've played it right, you should have 6 stacks of Feast, a destroyed turret, your Force of Nature and starting your boots.
Most people want you to rush Warmog's, for good reason. Cho is a killing machine, and this feeds the armor well, and early. But, because of his Feast, and his carnivore, Cho already has ample health. Some argue that setting the hard and fast "Mercury or bust" rule on any character is bad, but your runes and talents make up for the lost armor from Tabi, and the reduced immobilization is vastly more useful than the dodge, even against AD-heavy champs.
As you enter the grouping phase, Cho's pressure will really start to show. With a bevy of champs at your back, your prerogative is to initiate and absorb. Playing a little forward will cause the champs to recede. This will either peg them at the tower, or cause them to initiate on you. When they're pegged at the tower, use spikes to whittle down health. When they initiate on you, pop the group in the air and silence them. This should give all the momentum your team needs. As you enter late game, you should now feel the power of your invincibility. Force, Treads, Angel on your back, you should never die.
Entering into late game, your job will be to bait and push. Once you have your Warmog's, your job will be to position your team ahead of you. You will push a lane, feeding your armor as you press forward, and wait for their mass of team to stop you. You are scary and nigh-unkillable, so they will not be able to send a solo hero after you. Wherever you walk, you will suck the other team to you. You will then charge in, pop Rupture and Scream, and watch your Pincer devastate them. You will then push forward, tanking all in your path, as you ravage their lanes. They will know your tactic, but be impotent to stop. If they don't stop you and hunt your team, you'll destroy their structures. But, if they come for you, your team will destroy them, and you'll destroy their structures anyway. If you find them pushing on your lanes, then you must re-assert your dominance. Push as much as you can. If this does not draw them away, teleport in, rupture/scream, and let the carnage begin. Once you've ace'd them, pillage, plunder, and destroy. End Game.
Your core items will never change. How you build them, when you build them, any items in between, and your items afterward may vary wildly game-to-game, but your 4 core items will always be the same.
Items NOT to Get:
- You should ALWAYS start regrowth. This will keep you in lane, keep you scary, and keep them pressured. Rushing this into a Force of Nature allows you to keep that pressure up, absorbing skill damage like it was so much water to a tree. The massive health regen will allow you to push to your last breath, and gain most of your life back without ever delaning.
- Mercury Treads will further increase your skill absorption, a crucial trait as an initiator. This will also reduce mobility debuffs, letting you run back faster, and pulling them into your scrum for their inevitable demise. Because of your runes into armor, Ninja Tabi are unnecessary. Building into a Guardian Angel around the same time should also amplify your armor enough to, again, nullify the necessity of Tabi.
- Guardian Angel will not only help you with baiting (by luring heroes into thinking they can kill you), it will also serve as some protection to your feasts and level out your resistances.. Because Cho's feast imparts so much health, and his regen and Carnivore heal so well, health-amping items should come last, after you've built up a substantial resistance.
- Warmog's Armor as your final core item will give you a serious health boost for late-game initiation, as well as the little kick to health regen you'll need as damage and levels inflate. And, with Cho being able to pressure so heavily, the armor should be fed relatively quickly.
- From here. around this point, nearing 200 Armor/Magic Resistance, the returns begin to diminish dramatically. If you do need survivability, adding more health is ideal. Rylai's is a good way tack on some health as well as add slow to your AoE attacks. This is invaluable when fighting highly-mobile heroes.
- Because Cho's feast scales at 1:2 with AP, and deals true damage, you should always stack AP. If you are looking to start piling on some damage, help your team with collateral effect, grabbing Rod of the Ages and Abyssal Scepter will give you increased survivability while scaling your damage to boot.
- If Disables are keeping you back, then a Banshee's veil may be in order. This will further increase your survivability while also helping prevent you from getting locked.
- Leviathan - Counter-intuitive, I know. Lots of builds have you picking this gear up, which isn't bad. It's just that Feast is a just as good for health, and if you never get your 20 stacks, you will never fully realize the benefit of Leviathan. If you think you can feed a Leviathan well, it may be worth rotating in somehow, but honestly, it's just too much work for a reward easily realized in more tangible ways.
- Frozen Mallet (or any +AD item, really) - Looks good on paper, but Cho's spikes (both Rupture and Vorpal) are his real damage dealer. They scale well with AP, and are AoE. Adding AD is just not as beneficial, regardless of the health
- Soul Shroud - If you run out of mana, you're either not using your spikes right, not using your clarity right, or not killing things well enough. Practice makes perfect!
- Leech/Vamp items - Your damage output, while enough to exert good pressure, isn't enough to make these items worth while. It might make sense on a more DPS-y build, but this focuses more on survivability over DPS.
- Chalice of Harmony - It's tempting to add. It'll let you Ruture/Scream more, adds resistance, and is cheap. It could be useful to slot it, but you should be getting enough mana from Clarity and Carnivore that this should feel like too much.
- Aegis of Legion - Don't know if I should actually be advising against this item, but it's ROI is pretty low, especially in non-group settings. At 1925g, it's hard to justify over other items. This build isn't about team survivability, it's about you pressuring them into attacking you, and your team cleaning up.
That's it! Hope this is informative, or an interesting take on the character we've all come to know and love! Post comments and any scores this build has won you!