Cho'Gath Build Guide by sortitusa
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VS AD Teams
Elixirs and Enchantments
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.
The (Frozen) Heart of this Build
My discovery of the Frozen Heart rush on Cho'Gath is what prompted me to start playing him more and write this guide, so I'd like to compare it to the traditional rush item on Cho'Gath and other mana items.
Rod of Ages gives a lot of Health, Mana , and AP, with a nice sustain passive to boot. The only problem is that Cho'Gath doesn't need that much bonus Health, has a lot of sustain from his passive, and other items give Mana with more useful secondary stats late in the game.
Seraph's Embrace gives a ton of AP with a free Barrier spell.
Iceborn Gauntlet gives you Armor, a little bit of AP and CDR, and more area slows.
Frozen Heart gives tons of CDR and Armor, plus a passive that will hurt any AD character, as Twitch, Kog'Maw, and Tristana don't often stay at exactly max range while attacking. There's almost no reason to take Randuin's Omen on Cho after patch 4.10.
Max Cooldown = Full Stacks
Getting a 48 second cooldown on your ult (24 if it kills a minion) as soon as possible allows you to use it for the free health from
or extra damage in trades. The threat of Cho's ult is hugely magnified by cooldown, as the enemy can pretty much assume that it's up unless they just barely saw you use it. Not always trying to use it as an execute also makes you less predictable.
While I like the Frozen Heart and Athene's Unholy Grail rush for the Mana sustain it gives you (it's hard to run out of mana with just these two items), there are other viable ways to get the 40% CDR you need to keep your stacks at maximum.
Note that in the 4.20 jungle, it hurts your jungler a lot if you tax them, so make sure that you only grab a smaller monster as you run by if you're wanting a free stack while you walk to lane. Just let them know what you're doing so they don't think they've been counter-jungled by an idiot.
The 4.21 patch change to the ult's cooldown (80/40 base from 60 seconds) has made Cho less of a damage threat to champions, but now there is no reason to not use your ult on minions as much as possible. You also get half of the Mana back when you eat a minion. I'm not a fan of the changes, but they do make maintaining full stacks super-easy.
Bootstrings AP Bruiser/Support
Cho'Gath's health stacking and high ratios let him become a decent bruiser without using much gold on HP. I'd say he has a better mix of durability and damage than most AD bruisers right now. You can get a full build at just over 15,000 gold, which is pretty close to what most supports need to complete their builds, and Cho usually has a lane to himself.
Cho can take any support item to the bot lane, but I prefer one of those with Mana sustain to make up for the lack of an early Sapphire Crystal. Also note that you're squishier and have less sustain than most tank supports early on, so the tank or poke support items can be a little risky. Just make sure to eat caster minions when you need stacks so your ADC doesn't hate you.
And who ever said no to an extra smite living next to the dragon ?
General Cho Tips
Don't spam spells early in the laning phase, as you need them to escape.
If you're against a melee champion, put Rupture on yourself if they're coming in for an engage. If they continue in, you get some free damage and can probably just walk away. If they back off, you're probably safe until it's off cooldown again. With a 100% AP ratio and 5.4 second cooldown at 40% CDR, it's also a nice tool for clearing waves.
Feral Scream can help you land Rupture if you're having problems with your opponent flashing away or being Riven. Keep it available for all-ins and ganks from either side, as it has a 44.44% longer cooldown than Rupture.
Turning off Vorpal Spikes is usually better than walking into the enemy's side of the lane to avoid messing up last hits. Don't be afraid to push your lane with Vorpal Spikes and roam repeatedly, as you have a high base movement speed and probably brought Teleport.
Your ult is not an execute (you don't get bonus damage for the enemy being low), and has one of the lowest cooldowns in the game. Don't be afraid to use it on cooldown against minions or champions. The true damage also makes it worthwhile to use against most tanks (this is a good way to get Dr. Mundo to use his ult). With the recent extension of Feast's cooldown, you can't use it in teamfights quite as often, but don't be afraid to use it immediately on anyone you think your team might be able to kill since you don't get the chance to be in melee range with anyone but the enemy tank very often.
In teamfights, don't worry if your knockup doesn't hit many people. Just make sure you're using it to prevent your squishies from dying or assisting your team in getting to the enemy squishies. Your silence should be saved until you can get a few key targets with it, but even one is good if they have a very threatening spell or two. Your peeling tools have decent range, so you can still protect your carries if you get stunned and the enemy team passes you. Again, ult anyone who your team might be able to kill ASAP. Save flash to secure kills or get out of sticky situations after your team makes an exit.
Where's the Pen?
You may notice that every item in the main sets of this guide give tanky stats. Tank Cho'Gath's main threat is his CC and true damage, so penetration is superfluous. Liandry's Torment is the only pen item I'd build as a tank, since lots of your magic damage is outside the range of Abyssal Scepter and you don't need to blow anyone up with a Void Staff. Cho also needs Tenacity and/or slow resistance really really badly, so Sorcerer's Shoes are a no-go here.
4.20: Due to the change in the passive, Athene's Unholy Grail is no longer a good first item without some mana to back it up. Have at least a Mana Crystal before getting the item.
4.21: Ult cooldown increased to 80 from 60, making cooldown slightly less important to rush. Prioritize resistances over CDR, but the final build remains the same.
5.1: Zz'Rot Portal can replace a defensive item if you need pushing power. The new Ohmwrecker is also a decent pickup, since both help you dive and defend turrets well with the huge movement speed boost.
Cho'Gath is a difficult champion to keep down as long as you're competent, and he's one of the few that can excel in any lane or in the jungle. His weakness is his immobility, but his high base
can compensate for that if you get some tenacity. Also note that he's moderately squishy before 6 and needs resistance rushes.
Thanks for reading :)