Build Guide by TommyMann
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Warning: Don't use the build listed items on top until you've read the guide.
I decided to build this after entering a game where a guy playing Shen begged me not to play Cass. I quote "Cass is so fail."
Cassiopia like LeBlanc is a midgame carry. The physical dps is going to carry the endgame. Your goal playing Cass is to own once the laning phase is over.
AoE (great farmer)
Consistent Damage Output
Q and E can tower harass very well
Late game damage output not so hot
Useless in 3v3s
Flash and Clarity
Flash allows you to stay in position in team fights or jump forward for nuke kills. Once you have the Rylai's, that in combination with your Q will make you an impressive chaser.
Clarity is a must have for Cass. Since your passive makes your abilities cheaper by the dozen, you don't really need the huge mana pool that an archangels or mana items would give you. Plus clarity allows you to refill your teammates mana, since late game you'll have somewhat of a support role. In teamfights you'll probably burn through a whole bar killing two guys so the clarity allows you some more finishes.
I don't recommend:
Exhaust: With a Rylai's you already slow quite well, and you shouldn't be using it to crutch one v one's. Wait for the tanks.
Teleport: I find tele is better for tanks, Teemos, and Shacos. Use your Q on jungle neuts to speed your way to team fights.
The others are pretty unacceptable.
Flat CDR runes really help the early game farming.
Mp5/18 allow merciless late game spammage.
Mag pen, duh.
The swift runes are the only thing controversial. I like them on this char because matched with Q and flash gives you tons of escape or chase.
Hopefully you'll get mid. If there's an Ashe or TF, give up mid, they need it. You'll be fine on the side. The reason you want mid is so that mid game you can drop tons of damage, late game carries will catch up in level by late game, but that early bonus few levels can cause a level 13 quadrakill for you.
Open with the Doran's Ring and a health pot. Grab your Q ability. You want to use the Q to try and hit two caster creeps and the opponent with each hit. This allows you to simultaneously harass and farm until you pick up your W.
Now you start farming like a boss. Use the Q to still harass and hit mage creeps, then drop W a little in front of mage creeps. Q all three mage creeps. Try to autoattack the mage creeps you miss with your Q.
Once you have your E, drop it on your opponent everytime they are both poisoned and in range. Hopefully they'll be heading back to fountain quite often or you'll flash over the creeps for a few early kills.
You'll probably push them back to their tower. Be very map conscious or buy wards at around level 6.
During this go back as little as possible. A good time to leave is as soon as the enemy has shown back up at the tower if your lane is pushed up. Walk into the side grass and down into the river bush and B. This accomplishes a few things. It gets the enemies calling mia immediately. So if you do decide to gank on the way back, the lane will probably have forgotten about the call. Second the guy you're laning against may fear a gank and play more conservatively giving you more time to get back to the lane.
You'll definitely want to build into Sorc shoes and be mostly done with your Rylai's. The Rylai's is the core of your build. You get damage, survivability, and chase/escape.
As soon as the laning phase is over get a blue golem. It will help immensely. Show up to the golem and Q, W, then spam E. Hitting Q and W whenever their cooldowns are up. Don't be afraid to burn clarity since the golem buff will make up for it. This is why I suggest some ranks in Utility.
Your strategy for owning team fights. Harass with Q and W staying behind tanks until initiation. As early as possible drop the R. You're looking for the moment when tanks collide melee dpses try to get past your tanks and ranged ranged dpses stand a little too close. Your R is awesome as an early teamfight move. It will allow your team to hit a shock and awed disoriented team and you can pick your focus fires easier. Similar to Sona and Amumu, but you don't have to be as nancy as Sona or die as much as Mumu.
Once you've stunned them, hit them with tons of AoE and step back behind your shield wall. Make sure to spam E and Q on the lowest health to highest dps ratio enemy. Finish kills.
Mostly do what carries do, hide behind tanks and snipe down the nearest squishy. Or KogMaw. Kill that guy. Everytime. He's got no escapes, why isn't he being focus fired? Sorry, PTSD flashback.
At this point you need to really think about build. You must be very reactive. You'll have to watch what the other team is building, and pay attention to team composition.
Here are the builds depending on what's happening:
They have a Rammus or good tank: don't build Lichbane or Nashor's. If they haven't built mag resist build a deathfire grasp. If your tanks are not walling you off build a Quicksilver sash to end rammus's taunt flash away and kill more people. They will probably build mag resist once you have a grasp so then build a Void Staff.
They're stacking mag resist: Build an Abyssal, then Void Staff.
Your team doesn't have a physical DPS. Occasionally you lock in and then the Ashe switches to Kennen. You must build the Will of The Ancients second. Then and abyssal. Your goal is to make teamfights successful, not necessarily to get all the kills. Although you'll get tons.
If you don't feel threatened at all and you're under level fifteen: get a Soulstealer to secure a 25 minute win.
If all you do is die: either remind your tanks to stay in front of you, or make sure you're not being foolish. Use flash better and stay back. You can't off tank. If you pick up a GA or Thornmail you've basically made yourself useless. Just be careful you can comeback. Rod of ages is super expensive, so I'd get an abyssal to protect from nukes. Perhaps a Philosopher's Stone. Get the Will of the Ancients so your team can reap some benefit from you. The Shurelia's Revelrie is an ok late game item for you to help the team fights. Update: another guide said Frozen Heart. If you're playing Cass right then enemy won't be close enough to you for the passive to be worthwhile. Don't get it. Stay in position.
The Lichbane build described on top is for a fairly neutral game with nothing exciting going on from either team. The bonus damage from lichbane and nashor's just does what you do best, make you a consistent damage dealer. The Nashor's also maxes your cdr. Your E doesn't scale super with AP. Actually none of your abilities do super like some other chars, so the Bane allows all that AP you've bought to be a hair more useful.
Don't rush to Zhonya's, it's too expensive without individually purchasable components for someone who needs to rock hard between level 8-17.
Also Will of The Ancients is great because SpellSteal rocks on Cass.
Late Game/Long Game
You're now not as threatening, but still can take people down, you just don't do it as quickly. You should focus on using your Q to slow W to zone out phys carries who don't want damage. Still spam that E. Don't die, run if you're at less than 30% health or entire team is less than 50%. B and heal. If your team dies, you don't get aced and can do a decent defense of a tower. If they live, rejoin the fray quickly.
Please let me know what you think. I'm not the world's greatest player and I design my builds to acommodate the nondeities who probably need the guide most.
Other Useful Guides
First Class Cass
BravoAMF's combos section is a worthwhile read for those new to Cass.
Switched out Zhonya's for Gunblade as I've been finding the spell vamp more useful in really long games.
Added other useful guides section.