Build Guide by zBA Cronus
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Cho'Gath, The Terror of the Void
The reason I write this is to show that Cho is an amazing Tank/AP Damage Hero who, in mid to late game, can easily 3 hit most squishies (Ryze, Ashe, Teemo, Soraka, ect...), becoming an unstoppable force who has the potential to get 20+ kills. The problem that most people have is they play him just as a tank. Cho'Gath is more than a tank, he is a nuking beast with high damage output and if you use this build as a guideline, you will be leading your team to victory every game.
Disclamer: This build is not for beginners. If you have not played Cho for a while and are not used to his skills, you will probably not do well. You have to practice with Cho in REAL games and get good with Rupture. Doing practice games is NO help simply because BOTS move completely differently then real players and they will let them hit you with rupture.
I have zero points in Defense simply because Cho'Gath doesn't need it. With the correct build, the small amounts of defense from the tree will be pointless and not noticeable. What Cho really needs is Magic Penetration, Cooldown Reduction, and Mana Regen.
Magic Penetration: The 9 points in Offense covers this. Useful because the majority of your damage will be from Magic. Getting this gives you that much more damage output early game which could decide getting a kill or not.
Cooldown Reduction: The 9 points in Offense as well as the 21 Points in Utility covers this one. Useful because all of Cho'Gath's skills have a relatively high cooldown. Reducing them just makes Cho that much more dangerous especially since all of his skills (Except Vorpal Spikes) have the potential to do over 500 damage, Feast able to do over 1000. Also, the Summoner Spell reduction is AMAZING for Cho, I will explain a little more in the Spell section.
Mana Regen : The 21 points in Utility cover this. This is what Cho'gath needs the most. Early game, you will notice using Rupture burns through your mana. There have been many games where I originally used the Defense tree and every time I was about to get a kill and the only thing that would reach the fleeing enemy was rupture, I was out of mana. Switching over to Utility solved this. Now I am able to spam Rupture a little more early game which makes all the difference.
I have seen some people go with a pure HP setup or a pure AP one but I really believe that a more Hybrid setup makes Cho a real monster.
-Greater Mark of Insight: As explained before, the magic penetration gives you that little extra damage early game to help you get first blood.
-Greater Seal of Clarity: The magic regen allows you to spam more of your skills early game which greatly increases your chances of getting a kill.
-Greater Glyph of Force: Once again, the added AP early game (Level 3-4 it starts to show) makes you that much more dangerous.
-Greater Quintessence of Fortitude: The added HP allows you to lane longer, farm gold longer, and to chase a fleeing enemy in to a turret, get the kill, run back, and survive early game.
Most people when writing guides recommend maybe about 4-5 different spells the champion can get to do well. For Cho'Gath, the only 2 spells you get no matter what are Ignite and Ghost.
-Ignite: As mentioned above, Cho'Gath has the potential to 3 hit most squishies 3/4 to full health. However, this is only true once you reach around level 13 or so if you are having a descent game. With Ignite, after level 6, players with around half health are dead. Rupture, Scream, Ignite, Feast. Most are not surviving after that. And whats great about it is that most people think they are safe with around half health and are at a distance. Catch them with a Rupture and its completely over for them. Even at level 1-6, this added damage is great for getting kills and with full Utility, you can use it that much quicker every time.
-Ghost: Cho has a LOW movement speed. He cannot chase. Once you do your 3 hit combo and the enemy is still alive but barely, it is VERY HARD to catch him. I have tried builds to give him better movement speed, they are expensive and it takes away other items that benefit him more. This is where ghost comes in. This is going to be your best spell and you ALWAYS NEED IT. Use it to run, use it to chase, and use it to enter a battle. A charging Cho at full speed IS SCARY. If you are facing 2+ opponents mid to late game and you hit your rupture, use your ghost and if you are good, you will get all the kills because they simply wont even have time to run away from you. With the points in Utility, it makes you faster, makes it last longer, and it reduces the cooldown. The more times you can use this in a game means the more kills you are getting.
Summoner Spells You May Think Are Good But Actually Aren't
Flash: Just no. YOU HAVE LOW MOVEMENT SPEED. Flashing in to an enemy, or even a group of enemies IS STUPID. If you fail, you die because their speed if greater than yours. A Cho that dies and loses his stacks is USELESS to his team. He will need another 5 minutes to build up his health again before he can really help.
-Heal: Always a useless spell. If playing a game smart, this is pointless especially for Cho who, with my build, can take a large amount of damage and be fine. And with ghost, you should always be able to escape if in danger.
-Exhaust: Cho'Gath does NOT have a high attack right. He does not need one. All his damage comes from his skills. Slowing the enemy just to get 2 extra hits (thats really all it will give him) will NOT make much of a difference, especially late game. Yes, it will make it easier to land a rupture but if you practice, landing a rupture will already be easy. Let a teammate get this and stick with Ignite.
-Cleanse: Yes, it sucks getting trapped. This is why we get Mercury's Treads. With the amount of health and damage reduction Cho will get, the boots are good enough.
-Clarity: I know I said Cho has trouble with his mana early game. So maybe Cleanse could be good. However, mid to late game he is fine making this useless. Stick with with Ignite and Ghost which are USEFUL FOR THE WHOLE GAME.
Out of the 6 items listed, there are really only 4 that are a complete must. The rest are situational.
-Regrowth Pendant: Probably the best item to get first for Cho. Allows you to lane longer which potentially gets you more gold and more kills. You may think to get an AP based item first but you will get gold fast enough where this is more useful.
-Mercury's Treads: 8/10 times you do want to buy this. If you see the enemy team has 2+ stuns/snares and are good (This is usually the case), this is a must. There is nothing worse then getting trapped by an enemy only to get trapped once again right afterwards by another and getting killed. As I said before, a killed Cho who loses all of his stacks is useless. Getting these boots reduces 40% of the time stunned which makes all the difference. HOWEVER, if you see that nobody really has a stun or they just are a horrible team, you can go with Sorcerer's Shoes. The magic Penetration gives you that extra damage output and any little extra always helps.
-Mejai's Soulstealer: An absolute MUST for Cho. This is what allows you to 3-4 hit most enemys. A full stack here makes you a beast and gives you cooldown reduction and is very easily attainable. If you are having a great early game, by all means, get this BEFORE boots. You could have this by level 6 if so and thats when you start doing the majority of your killing.
-Leviathan: Once again, if you don't have this, you can't be a beast. The added health PLUS 15% damage reduction makes him ridiculously strong. You should have around 5-8 stacks in Soul Stealer by the time you get this and having that added AP makes it that much easier to add stacks to this one.
-Warmog's Armor: I always consider this a must when playing Cho. The added health and regen makes your survivability rating go up greatly. Try and get this after Leviathan.
Any item listen below is your choice. Decide what works best for you and what will work best against the team you are facing. I will not go in much detail about them, I will simply list them and then you can figure out during the game what you need.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: For added damage and survivability if needed.
Randuin's Omen: Great against players with high DPS (Garen, Warwick, Udyr, Jax, ect...).
Atma's Impaler: With full stacks this gives you a little under 100 added damage plus the added armor and crit. Not a must simply because of Cho's low movement speed and attack rate. The added damage is great for taking down towers but you wont be getting too many hits on players. However, if your team is doing well, and you don't feel you need extra AP/health, its still a great item to get.
Thornmail: A cheaper alternative to Randuin's Omen which works great against hero's like Garren, Udyr, Jax, Warwick. I usually get this over Omen if I am facing a few of these guys simply because I can get it faster and the added damage is amazing (Considering Cho already has over twice as much HP as most Hero's with this build, 1v1, by the time anyone gets you low, all you have to is feast and they are dead because they were attacking you).
Force of Nature: Always a must if you are facing a few mages with nukes (Ryze, Twisted Fate, Veigar, ect...). In some cases, I have stacked on 2 of these as my last items because there were a lot of them and they were good.
Zhonya's Ring: Well, if you want to do over 1000 damage with feast, about 700 damage with rupture, and about 600 with scream and the game isn't over yet and you don't need survivability, go for it. You will be able to take on 3+ at once, live, and probably take them all out. You could potentially do a little under 3000 damage in a matter of seconds BY YOURSELF if you add ignite in to your 3 hit combo late game.
Just a quick review of the skill order you should be getting and how to use them.
-Carnivore: A great passive that gives Cho amazing lane control. Simply put, it heals you and gives you mana whenever you get a skill. This is extremely good late game considering your Rupture will kill a group of minions in one go. Always keep this in mind.
-Rupture: ALWAYS get this first. This is your number 1 harasser, damage dealer early game, and your main way of healing (Rupturing a group of minions and killing them heals you due to your passive). HOWEVER, do not spam this. You have limited mana early. Use it when it makes sense. If you know you are going to kill a group of minions to heal, use it. If you could potentially kill an enemy, use it. Even if you know you can hit someone just to drop their hp its fine. Just don't go non stop with it. Practice this, learn to predict where the player will move. 9/10, if you center the target over the player and press it, the rupture WILL MISS. It is easy to spot and has a delay. Learn it. This is your first skill you will be getting to level 5 at around levels 9 or 10.
-Feral Scream : Not needed within the first few levels simply because it wastes too much mana when combined with rupture. However, you do need it before level 6 so when you do get feast, you can do your 1-2-3 combo and get some kills. So at level 4 get 1 point in this. And use this wisely. It has a silence on it, you don't always need to use it with rupture. If you know an enemy is about to die and has a good escape skill (Shaco) USE IT. He will be going nowhere. This also has great damage output on it mid to late game. This is your second skill you will be making level 5 at around levels 13 or 14.
-Vorpal Spikes: A great second level skill simply because it will help you farm that many more minions regening health and mana. I usually only get 1 point in this until I max out everything else HOWEVER, there have been times where I was being pushed and 1 level wasnt enough to get that many minion kills to heal. If this is the case, get a second level before level 6. It will help.
-Feast: This is your main kill skill. At level 6, when you get this. LOOK on the map. Look at your lane. If you see a potential kill and you WON'T die in the process, go for it. If not, go to the golem buff and get your first feast stack. Now with the cooldown reduction, whenever Feast is ready, USE IT. The only exception is if you believe you can get a kill within the next 10 seconds or so, otherwise, find a minion. Reason being, you want as much health as possible, especially early game. If you get the golem buff, then stand around waiting 3 minutes for an enemy who is running around his tower to come to you, you are wasting that buff. You could of had just about 4 stacks already if you simply went for the minions. Once you have reached 6 stacks NEVER waste this one a minion. You are a fool if you do. Also, keep in mind, just because you have that added health doesn't mean you are invincible. Don't play like a tank and don't be one of the first rushing in to a team battle if there is one early game. You will die and have to get your stacks back all over again.
Key Tips To Playing a Successful Cho'Gath
-Early game, always try to find a solo line whether it be mid or one where you partner wants to jungle. The faster you level up past your enemies drastically increases the kills you get. However, don't make a big deal if you can't have a solo lane, just match yourself up with someone who has a trap/stun and you will do fine.
-Around levels 1-10 or until you get your stacks up (Feast, Leviathan, Soulstealer) NEVER play like a tank. You will die and I said it twice before. A dead Cho'Gath with 0 stacks on feast IS USELESS. Play safe, use your rupture and if the enemy team is getting pushed back, go in. If your team is being pushed, don't try to change that, you can't yet. Run, and if possible, use your rupture to slow down enemies who are trying to get a kill on your team mate.
-Always try and get the Golem's buff especially if you need to get some Feast stacks. The cool down time is amazing and will give you that much more health in no time.
-If low on health, jungle for a minute or so. Don't waste your time going back. If you think you're safe you can easily get back to full by killing some neutral monsters and gain some gold in the process.
-Late game, especially if you have full leviathan stacks, don't be afraid to tank a turret for your team. Never waste time waiting for the minions to take the damage. By the time it goes down, you won't even have lost 1/4 health.
-Always make sure your feast is up before trying to solo 2+ enemies and always go for the squishy first because they tend to go down the quickest but deal the most damage.
-Learn when to use Feast. Late game, there is nothing more satisfying then seeing a Temmo with a little above half health, walking up to him, using Feast, and killing him. Then watching him get all pissed off. It is possible. If you are unsure that you will kill him from his health bar, click on him and check his health out because the longer you wait to use Feast on someone, the longer it will take for you to use it on someone else.
-Always remember your summoner spells. Ignite will get you lots of early kills and late kills (Does 500 damage at level 18 damage). Ghost will get you places faster to save team mates and help you run away. If you see they are up, set yourself up to use them.
Well, that's about it for this guide. Just a basic little thing to start players in the right path to Cho'Gath. Didn't want to write a step by step guide that showed what players should be doing every minute simply because everyone has their own way to play and you will ultimately get better figuring it out yourself.
With that said, thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the Feast, and here are a few last key things to remember:
-Don't play as a tank early game
-Get your feast stacks up as fast as possible
-Learn how to predict where players will go when using rupture
-Learn to determine by the health bar if Feast will kill them or not.
-Rupture and Scream are great skills to escape and help team mates escape, do not have to be used together.
-Learn to always be looking at the map and help team mates in need.
-Have fun!... unless you lose which you shouldn't be in which case, practice more.
Note: At full stacks, Cho'Gaths health is increased to a little under 5000 with the item setup listed.