Kog'Maw Build Guide by Aelfinn2
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.
What is Critikill Kog'Maw?
Kog'Maw is my current favorite champion overall. He is potentially one of the most massive ranged damage dealers in the game. Whether soloing in a lane or punishing in a teamfight, he can hit anyone, anywhere. Living Artillery is arguably one of the best finishing moves in the game once you learn to place it properly. There have been some great Maw guides out there, but none of them quite suit my playstyle. Eventually I decided to make this guide.
Critikill focuses entirely on a critical strike champ build. When this build is complete, you should be doing over 2000 damage every second to most champions. That is sustained attack damage, not a burst. And while that damage isn't the highest AD you can achieve on any champion, Kog'Maw has the largest attack range of any champion when Bio-Arcane Barrage is active. You are able to stand entirely out of striking distance in a teamfight and still make your opponent's health drop to 0 in no time at all. To top it all off, when built pure AD Living Artillery and Bio-Arcane Barrage will still do massive MAGIC damage, meaning your opponents have to have magic resist to survive as well. And all of that health regen means that you are extremely difficult to bring down even with low defenses.
How to use Critikill
This is a long-range high damage build. It relies heavily on the range of Bio-Arcane Barrage, Void Ooze and Living Artillery to punish your opponents while not allowing them to come within range of you. Keep that in mind, you should almost never voluntarily get within range of your opponent. Be careful about attacking without Barrage on, as you will be putting yourself at risk.
In the lane phase you are a harasser - one of the best in the game. You can keep some of the strongest champions in their place by forcing them off of minion farm time and again with Bio-Arcane Barrage, by using Living Artillery to whittle away their health or strike them when they are nest to a turret, or by placing Void Ooze so that they have to run around or get severely slowed. If they ever let their guard down and get too close, Kog can run up just a bit and PUNISH them for being too aggressive.
With all this in mind - you are squishy, and if you are playing him solo-mid (this guide works quite well for most solomid) you have to be extremely cautious. Place plenty of wards and use Void Ooze and Flash/ Ghost to escape your opponents. If you remain aware of the battlefield, you should have no problem escaping gank attempts and punishing their gankers for even trying. When escaping, dont forget to kite your opponents whenever possible. Your high crits and lifesteal mean your opponent can go from chasing you to dead really quick, and you'll be back at full health standing on their corpse.
Another note: Critikill is a high-success build. It REQUIRES heavy early-game farm, a few early kills and a low early death ratio. If you get into a game and you can't farm gold well for whatever reason, you should have a backup build ready. I will work on adding a backup to this guide, but until then Mowen's Right Click and Win is a good, slower paced alternative.
Pros and Cons
+ MASSIVE Damage
+ Huge Range
+ Unparalleled Harass
+ Good Slow
+ Powerful Ganks
+ Almost Inescapable Finisher
+ Great Vamp
+ Able to solo Baron when built
- Fairly Squishy
- Susceptible to CC
- Requires lots of Gold (Over 20K)
- Challenging Champion
Icathian Surprise is quite th reassuring skill. It means you can stand up and pound away in fights where you feel doomed. Hopefully you can pound your enemies down enough that you can chase after and true damage them when you die. Against players who arent paying attention to you being Kog'Maw this ability is devastating. And if they are thinking about your potential death-throws, they may be discouraged to attack you first. In a teamfight, dealing 575 true damage tothe entire enemy team at once can have an amazing effect, and it tends to discourage them from focusing you. All the better, because you'll punish them for leaving you alive too. Note that when I say doomed above, I mean really doomed, not able to escape. Obviously if you can escape do it.
Caustic Spittle is quite dangerous to use in most cases because of its short range. They really should range extend it at least a little, but until they do you should ALMOST NEVER use your Q, unless your opponent has already run within range. Its a great punishing tool, but you dont want to get punished yourself. Just enjoy the passive attack speed buff and max it last.
Bio-Arcane Barrage is crucial to this build, as it gives you highly extended range and significant magic damage. Without ANY AP, it adds an extra 6% of your enemy's health in magic damage to your attacks. At max level, it extends your auto-attack range to the furthest in the game. Use this skill to harass your opponents off of farm, to damage tower-hugging champions and to allow you to safely crush in teamfights. Read- this should ALWAYS BE ON when fighting opponents. Always. Without it on you have the same or less range as most of your ranged opponents, and are within range of a lot of melee character jumps (Master Yi, Fiora, etc).
Void Ooze is your escape tool, your CC on fleeing enemies and a decent harass (people forget this last bullet - note the 1000 range and almost 300 MD, even with minimal AP). Place this across the path of enemies who are trying either to attack or retreat. Hit them directly to harass. This slow is not just movement speed, but a total speed debuff, so use it to reduce the auto-attacks of the enemy AD champ and protect yourself and your allies. An important point - The ooze actually starts on the entirety of Kog-Maw's body. This means you can slow melee enemies who are attacking you from the OPPOSITE side of where you cast void ooze. Why would you care? This means that when running from combat, it may be smarter to cast void ooze where you are running than directly at your opponents if they are melee. it will slow them immediately just like casting at them and they will have to run along it for longer to chase after you.
Living Artillery is your big finisher. Unlike most other ultimates, this doesnt do extreme damage and have a long cooldown - rather, it does moderate damage and has almost no cooldown. It also has ridiculous range, quite a bit of AOE, and cant be blocked like some similar long-ranged finishers (Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow or Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole). This skill's spam limit is purely based on your mana, as the cost goes up sharply, and with clarity equipped you can spam away. Due to the ridiculous range and the vision provided, this can be used to safely check Baron and Dragon, clear bushes and keep an eye on opponents. Also, you can use it to constantly harass. Even the strongest enemies dont enjoy taking the ~250 magic damage this provides every hit, and you can cast every 6 seconds without causing your mana to drop or engaging your opponents at all. When I hit level 6, almost without fail, I stop taking any real damage from my opponents and they stop receiving minion farm, all because they cannot handle being pounded by artillery fire.
The skill sequence is simple: get a point into Void Ooze first to prevent early game ganks and gives you some quick lane control. I have gotten many level-1 first bloods by simply using void ooze and attacking as quick as i can. After that, Void Ooze will max at level 13, mainly to increase the slow.
The first skill you need to max is Bio-Arcane Barrage. Each level extends its range, increases its damage, and makes you more and more powerful.
Point 4 goes to Caustic Spittle to get an attack speed boost early and to allow you to cause a little bit of armor reduction. Then ignore this skill until the very end unless people are often getting too close or you are unable to land your Void Ooze marks and the AS would be more beneficial.
Obviously, take Living Artillery at 6, 11, and 16
Quick Item Breakdown
Again, critikill focuses heavily on critical strikes and critical strike damage. Note that by the end of the build, you will literally crit every single hit for 260% damage. This is turning critical striking from getting lucky hits into making it part of our standard damage, and the effect is brutal. In order, we have...
Boots of Speed and triple Health Potions is my favorite start. Kog does better with the early game movement speed: it secures more kills and makes it far easier to escape nasty situations. You will need to remain as fast or faster than most opponents all game - start now.
Doran's Blade provides a decent damage bonus, a small vamp, and a bit of bonus health, all great early game as with any Doran's item. However, I only get this item if I am having difficulty in lane. DO NOT go back for it if you dont need it, stay in lane and farm minions instead.
Berserker's Greaves gives a little early game attack speed, allowing you to start seeing some real damage from Bio-Arcane Barrage early. Again, you need to be faster than your opponents anyway - get level 2 boots first.
Vampiric Scepter is what gives you some early game sustain. Even with this in hand, you should still buy a few pots to keep yourself in the fight.
The Bloodthirster I am usually able to sustain in lane for a long time with just the vampiric scepter and some smart play, until i can farm up enough gold for this Bloodthirster. Consider going back at the BF sword mark to greatly increase damage.
Zeal gives movement speed, attack speed and is your first critical striking item. Get it next to keep yourself quick.
Infinity Edge should be an obvious build choice. The bonus crit damage is beautiful, the bonus damage is beautiful, and you need the crit chance.
Phantom Dancers speeds you up again and further increases your critical chances. You should have this before level 18, and it will ake you have critical strikes more than half the time.
The Black Cleaver drives your attack speed up further and deals with your opponents who should have started building some armor to counter you. When this is complete, you can easily bring down baron with the aid of a decent tank.
Phantom Dancers is important for the exact same reason it was important a moment ago. You should be flying across the map by now, very difficult to hit and very difficult to escape as well, with constant critical striking
Trinity Force I usually get last as it is expensive and not core to the build. However, everything about this item is useful. It exactly brings your critical strike chance up to 100%, it allows for nice damage bursts following skill activation (which means that your first hit after using Bio-Arcane Barrage is sickening), it provides some movement speed as compensation for selling off level 2 boots, he slow is useful, the AP is useful, the AD gives a nice bonus, you get a little more attack speed. However, if you were to remove one item from the build, this would be it. Either keep the boots or...
Other Items to Consider
Mercury's Treads add a little bit of defense and a lot of CC reduction, both things that greatly benefit Kog'Maw in the right situation. Take these against Malzahar, Ryze, Cassiopeia or similar. If you know you'll be facing these opponents, you may want Cleanse pre-game as well or in place of this.
Frozen Mallet doesnt fit too great with the build as a whole, but the bonus healthh and slow can definitely help you secure kills and survive a bit better. Besides, the damage isnt too shabby.
Madred's Bloodrazor is a perennial favorite for Kog'Maw and does well with high attack speed, but we get no vamp from the damage and we have no magic penetration so it usually is not worth the effort. Take it only if you absolutely need extra magic damage to bring down their tank.
Guardian Angel This build can be very difficult to play as is - you are quite the glass cannon and certain champions can't be slowed or can jump over your slow ( Master Yi and Olaf ). Tryndamere has that, and you cant finish him off by standing your ground (Tryndamere is the devil). You may need to take Guardian Angel to help avoid issues from these champs if you are having trouble.
Zhonya's Hourglass is what i would suggest for the ***** crowd that dies again cant get their team over to rescue them when they fall over hen wearing Guardian Angel. While traditionally an AP item, you benefit well from it as the 100 AP gives you a whole extra 1% on your Bio-Arcane Barrage. Plus, the active can save your life if you learn to use it properly.
Last Whisper - Unless you are facing an entire team with insane armor, never get this. I've explained why later. I'm only listing it here because I knw people will wonder about my choice.
The Bloodthirster - I know the bloodthirster just got nerfed, but it remains the highest damage increasing item in the game (once you have one Infinity Edge) and still provides beautiful lifesteal. Besides, now that you don't lose all your stacks on death it doesnt require you to be playing a perfect game to be effective, and you dont have to farm heavily before you can start fighting again.
The Black Cleaver vs Last Whisper - I actually started this build with LW, figuring it would be better against tanks. Some number crunching has caused me to realize that, at least for my build, BC is MUCH better against everyone. There are a few reasons for this. When full build, a relatively low-health tank (say 3500 hp) takes about 100 damage a hit from Bio-Arcane Barrage (assuming 150 MR), and higher health makes this more effective. BC also provides 15 more damage, which our critical strikes turn into 38 more damage, every hit. These damages benefit highly from the attack speed buff of BC. Together, it means a 3500 health tank needs over 230 armor AND 150 MR to make LW do more damage. While there are plenty of tanks that do surpass that number, people forget the next step - BC decreases their armor, not jsut allows you to penetrate it meaning that all of your allies do extra damage to the target as well. Even if you are the only true AD champion, 45 armor reduction can make a HUGE difference when your team focuses someone. For every character excluding the tank with less armor, BC is far and above the better choice. And the earlier it is into the match, the better BC is.
No question, for this build, BC wins.
The Black Cleaver vs 2nd The Bloodthirster - I found some build which spout the second bloodthirster as a choice, and it is nice. The 100 bonus damage cannot be beaten in straight numbers, and the extra lifesteal can be amazing. After some number crunching, and some experience in game, I've personally decided to stick to the Black Cleaver. Using BC means you aren't as hindered when you die - you come back still dealing most of your damage. Also, no matter what armor your enemy has, BC just does more damage. Around 260 more DPS on a standard enemy champ (3000 hp and 150 armor). And again, you arent just reducing their armor for yourself, but for all your friends as well. The only reason I'd consider double BT is for the lifesteal - against a standard champ you should be getting around 260 health per second from The Black Cleaver- The Bloodthirster and 460 health per second from double The Bloodthirster. If you dont need the extra damage, this trade off may be worthwhile.
Clarity is my first spell choice for a few reasons. I love clarity in solo lane because it allows you to have the mana to sustain. Later game, clarity allows you to spam Living Artillery when the time is right for it.
Even with the Nerf, flash remains the best escape/attack spell in the game. If you learn how to properly wall escape, flash can be amazingly lifesaving. If you learn how to gank following a wall flash, it can be amazingly devastating.
Note that both of my Default spell choices are benefitted by choosing Summoner's Insight . Remember to move that point if you select alternative spells.
Cleanse can be a huge lifesaver for Kog, who is crippled by just about any CC. However, Cleanse is one of the hardest spells to properly utilize in LoL. Unless you cleanse RIGHT at the beginning of the CC it usually is not worthwhile. However, if you feel you will be up against a high CC team this is a must-have.
Exhaust is a great spell choice for any AD carry. I stopped carrying this for the same reason i dislike his Q: the range is too short for your normal attack pattern, so i wasnt getting enough chances to use it. Regardless, this combined with Void Ooze will bring your enemy down to 24% movement speed, a complete cripple, ensuring a kill.
Ignite is another great choice for any carry, and should help secure kills as well, but again the range is too short to use consistently and the Damage it does doesn't remotely compare to your damage.
Ghost is always a choice for those who dislike Flash. I find that this Kog'Maw build moves extremely quickly already, so this is rarely useful.
Promote can actually be terribly useful on Kog'Maw. Solomid, it gives him a meat-shield that earns extra gold, and you can focus your opponent if they try and bring down your buffed minion. If they ignore the minion it will push the lane to the tower and tank the tower for you, allowing you to bring towers down faster. When bottom lane, promote means you can more readily leave lane for dragon without the enemies being able to push back too hard.
Surge can be quite effective as well, especially since Kog's auto-attacks benefit from the AP boost. Early game this boost can be absolutely devastating. However, at higher levels Surge drops off in effectiveness, especially since this build very nearly reaches the max attack speed at full build and then utilizing surge puts it over the top. The result is that it adds greatly reduced speed (0.14 aps instead of the normal ~0.25)
A tip of the hat to Mowen for the current top Kog build Right Click and Win, which is what started me on AD Kog. This build is similar but focuses more on critical strikes and truly bringing out Kog'Maw's damage potential. I highly suggest looking to his guide for extra playstyle tips if you are just learning to play Kog.
Astral's damage calculator was utilized for all the damage calculations listed in this build. While I believe he is still adding to it, it is already by far the most complex and accurate damage calculator I have found anywhere. You can get it here.
- Jhoijhoi's aids to guidewriting have helped every aspect of this guide - formatting, content, and flow of information
- I heavily based a lot of my work and ideas off of her guide template which can be found here.
- I also have utilized her dividers a few times throughout the guide. See her shop for more information on her work.
- Thank you so much jhoijhoi!
Some data and descriptions taken from the League of Legends Wiki. Thanks to all the contributors to that wiki and its Nautilus entry.
26 MAR 2012 - v 0.5 - Original Guide release
27 MAR 2012 - v 0.6 - Added Summoners spells, some Damage calculations and minor edits