AD Jungle Malzahar
Situational Objective Control
A Note For The Preseason
I have yet to update it for the updated Void Swarm. I need more time to understand its full impact. In the meantime, here are my preliminary thoughts.
and a video
Thanks for your time!
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New to AD Malz? A Primitive Abridged.
AD Malzahar is a top-tier objective taker. By abusing the high AD scaling on Voidlings, AD Malz can solo dragons, rift heralds, and even barons.
AD Malz lacks as much teamfighting damage as their AP counterpart, but makes up for it in superior utility, versatility, and objective control. The item choices reflect these strengths.
- Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
- Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction x2
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed x1
- Kill Dragons, Heralds, and Barons often and frequently
- Gank with the ultimate to secure kills
- Avoid focusing solely on raw damage or teamfighting power.
- Support teammates with silences and suppresses when behind
AD Jungle Malzahar?
Why Go AD?
AD Malzahar Jungle sounds like extremely unintuitive, until you realize that Voidlings scale with 0.3-0.4 of total AD. This provides superior sustained damage to stationary targets, making AD Malzahar one of the strongest objective controllers in the game.
Your job as AD Malzahar is to pump out a veritable army of Voidlings to destroy objectives, provide silences/suppresses, and teamfight as a mid-range summoner. More notably, AD Malz has more utility than AP Malz. This may seem strange, but note that AD Malzahar is free to use all abilities purely for their utility instead of having to compromise between damaging a target or silencing it for 2 seconds. These two choices often, but do not always align, and AP must often compromise.
Although this is AD Malzahar, autoattacks are not your primary source of damage. It is more important for you to run from enemies and kite them while letting Voidlings shred through their health bars. This means your build will consist of items leaning toward excessive AD, slowing utility, massive armor-pen, and light tankiness.
- Immensely fast baron, dragon, herald, and camp clearer
- Spells can be cast purely for their utility
- Extremely strong peeler
- Able to solo dragon by level 2, solo rift herald by level 4, and solo baron with a cheap build.
- Able to successfully duel nearly anyone
- Extremely strong post-6 ganks
- Powerful pushing power
- Outstanding versatility in the build path after the cores.
- Pitiful damage without any Voidlings
- Requires CC from the team to reach full damage potential in teamfights
- Weak pre-6 ganks without chilling smite; high damage but no CC.
- No escapes; must often sacrifice self for objectives
- Pushing towers is limited by inconvenient lane minion timing
- Savvy opponents can focus voidlings to mitigate power.
Why Not AP Instead?
First, AD Malzahar is able to clear objectives faster than AP Malzahar by a longshot, and that’s saying something. The Voidlings scale with 0.1 of AP, which initially may seem to favor building AP on Malzahar for the voidlings. However, AD Malzahar is able to strongly maximize Void Swarm without "giving up" the spell damage benefits of maxing Malefic Visions, which AP Malzahar 'wants' to do but mostly can't in the jungle.
Additionally, while AP is cheaper than buying AD, it is only 1.6 times more gold efficient, when the AD scaling ratio is 4x that of AP, making AD the superior choice for stationary target damage (objectives). This objective-taking speed forces opponents to always play around Malzahar’s existence, often putting them into awkward positions just trying to defend from the presence of these objective threats.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the jungle is inherently low-income. AP Malzahar, like most mages, has a fairly expensive build path that the jungle is not as suited to support. Meanwhile, AD Malzahar's core build is literally two items, which works well with this income limitation. Then they can pick from over 20 situational items which AP Malz mostly cannot. Finally, AD Malz can always use their silences and suppresses for utility, never having to compromise the optimal-utility case to deal teamfight damage, especially since AD Malz maxes Call of the Void second (longer silences) unlike AP Malz. AP Malz, with a similarly priced build, has only a pittance of total AP + damage, and must gain an early lead to succeed.
Why the Jungle?
Malzahar has a couple of weaknesses in lane. Their biggest weakness is the non-existence of any escape; they're often a campsite with marshmallows on the pit. The passive can be taken out with even a single autoattack, putting a death sentence with a following gank. Expect to be ganked forever.
Additionally, one of AD Malzahar's greatest strengths is their objective control. The jungle offers ample opportunity to take objectives. Barons aren’t slain, nor fell, nor melted; they are evaporated, and Malz has several objective tricks like the level 3 dragon, Minute 6 rift herald, and solo baron. Laning makes taking advantage of this strength more difficult, and at that point, it may have instead been better to just play AP Malzahar.
Masteries, Runes, Abilities, Skill Order
Surge is taken as the Keystone instead of Thunderlords because the extra damage granted by Thunder is rarely felt to be relevant compared to movespeed
- Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage: More Damage for Voidlings late game! Every point of AD increases Malzahar’s damage output so much, so these are extremely useful.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Armor Every second you live, another second for the Voidlings. Scaling is preferred over flat because armor is most necessary mid and late game when dueling is common. These are good when first learning AD Malz Jungle.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration: More Mana = More total Voidlings = Less backing! Malzahar is intensely mana hungry and benefits greatly from the extra spells that regeneration provides.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: More Voidlings, more damage! These will let you hit 45% CDR by the time your core items are finished.
- Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction: To round out 45% CDR by level 14, two of these are necessary. This way, only Boots of Lucidity and the Warrior enchantment are necessary to reach the CDR cap instead of being forced into a third CDR item which takes up valuable item space and versatility. You will note that with Lucid/War, you actually hit 50% by level 18. This is intentional. You don't want to wait 40 minutes to reach 45% CDR, nor want to make another CDR item, so this allows a compromise to instead hit 45% by level 14 with a little excess.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: One of these is a great choice. The thing you need to do on Malzahar more than anything else in fights and duels is move and position. Every second you kite a target is another second the Voidlings have to rend them. If scaling CDR wasn't so valuable, then these would take up all three slots.
- Greater Mark of Attack Damage - Malzahar isn't taking many objectives in the early game nor fighting often enough to make use of the early damage. By the time more damage is relevant, scaling AD will have provided more than flat. Armor pen is also strictly superior.
- greater mark of armor penetration - Scaling AD is always mathematically superior unless you are building a Black Cleaver. However, BC is a situational item, and spec'ing in runes for a situational case is bad practice. If you don't have scaling AD, armor pen is still the next best choice.
- greater mark of hybrid penetration: The spell pen grants only about a 20-50 extra burst damage, even assuming really good case scenarios, and is 10-30 less sustained damage on the voidlings compared to flat armor pen. For a more detailed writeup, head here. It's a suboptimal tradeoff considering the burst is, at minimum, in 5 second intervals and in many cases not guaranteed
- Greater Mark of Attack Speed - You are rarely autoattacking, and especially not often enough to take advantage of more attack speed.
- Greater Mark of Critical Chance - Same as before.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana: Malzahar throws out mana in small doses at a time instead of in one big flurry. Mana regen is more handy than scaling mana for this purpose.
- Greater Seal of Armor: Malz has a tricky, but powerful first clear. Early armor thus becomes less useful than scaling armor.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Malz is rarely dueling casters early. Early MR thus becomes less useful than scaling magic resist.
To clarify, the first four levels are W > Q > W > E.
- Very useful for tanking initial dragon hits at lower levels
- Powerful for ganking, as it impedes attempts to slow the gank
- The CC immunity lasts for a quarter second after popping. Use for powerful flash-ults
Call of the Void
- The two-second silence is its primary function for AD Malz.
- In fights, cast to silence, not to damage.
- Provides vision along the length of the spell.
- Every level up increases the silence duration.
- The spell slightly persists after cast. Enemies walking into it are still silenced and damaged.
- The bread and butter of AD Malz. Head over to the Understanding Voidlings section!
- Voidlings have no leash range. Lay them down to clear camps as you continue moving.
- If you'd like to see how much damage Void Swarm is doing, check out this calculator!
- Swarm can be used to block skillshots, though note Voidlings take roughly a second to appear after casting.
- Only Nether Grasp has a higher voidling-target priority.
- Voidlings will gain 100% movement speed when malefic visions is out.
- The duration of malefic visions can be extended by landing Call of the Void. Use it to keep Voidlings on a target longer.
- The duration is also extended at start of Nether Grasp, though is not extended further from the ticks of damage it provides.
- Declares its target to be the top priority attack target for Voidlings.
- Provides you with the easiest way to win a duel if you’ve gathered four voidlings and your enemy is nearby
- The ultimate will lock an opponent in place even if they were using a dash or flash toward a new location. Nether Grasp has 0 cast time, making the lockdown instant. If you use Nether Grasp on a target that's out of range, then when they dash into range, they will immediately get suppressed.
- The cooldown on Nether Grasp is relatively short; don’t be afraid to use it in any situation possible, even if it just is to keep the enemy jungler from smiting, or to interrupt a channel and immediately letting go.
- You can smite even while suppressing a target. More notably, a suppressed target cannot use smite. This can be used to guarantee objectives.
Items and Build Order
Stalker's Blade - Warrior
Stats that AD Malzahar loves with a smite that maximizes kiting power.
Boots of Lucidity
Helps reach the critical 45% CDR point.
Situational Item Chart
With just the cores, AD Malz will retain relevancy for the rest of the match. Now it's time to fill out the remaining 4 slots.
AD Malzahar synergizes well with an amazing variety of items. Even with three free slots, it still might feel a little cramped in the inventory. A more detailed analysis of each item is right past this subsection. Items are organized by their primary niche for AD Malz, though a lot of overlap exists.
CC / Assassin Survivability
Ridding Excess CDR
Filling up the Last Four Slots
Starting from items meant for offense and progressively going down toward the defensive items, the choices are:
Lord Dominik's Regards
You have multiple enemies to tank-bust down.
Edge of Night
The primary threat is a critical CC.
For peeling and killing multiple bulls charging at carries.
Maw of Malmortius
You often need to duel with casters.
You need general defense, enhanced mobility, and stronger raw damage all at once.
Survivability against mostly close-range physical-damage based compositions.
Survivability against mostly magic-based compositions who cannot easily pop the spell shield.
Dead Man's Plate
You need physical defense and kiting power, but Randuins would be insufficient.
Duskblade of Draktharr
Good for leading the charge to contest an objective
A melee champion is contesting a split push.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
You are taking on a supportive peeling role.
You are constantly dueling close/mid-range opponents, or are being dived on by a squishy assassin with no escape.
Banner of Command
You intend to heavily split push without much contest.
You intend to be the obstacle against an opponent split pushing.
You are ahead and you can predict a critical teamfight may soon occur that you must win.
You have a fed teammate to fully support and are against a team with a fed high-sustain champion.
You have a fed teammate to fully support and are against a multi-champ high sustain composition.
You have a fed teammate to fully support and are against a high CC composition.
You are extremely extremely behind
You want to maximize your vision with objectives
elixir of wrath
A critical objective fight is about to occur, barons and final pushes especially.
If You Get Over 45% CDR
If an item grants you enough CDR that you are at least 10% over, you can swap out Boots of Lucidity for one of these two choices.
Move fast, kite fast, rend more. Generally good when Mercury Treads are not needed.
Live more, kite more, rend more. Get if your optional items don’t provide enough resistance to CC.
Items Not to Consider
You will rarely get to autoattack in the heat of battle.
You will often find yourself unable to land the slow at good moments.
Infinity Edge and Essence Reaver
Completely outclassed by equal-damage counterparts.
Lacks purpose, making it outclassed by other survival options.
locket of the iron solari
The voidlings benefit from the MR, but not enough to justify the cost.
Outclassed by Zz'rot Portal
Voidlings gain AD at the time of spawn, making the bonus shield AD wasted. Without that, outclassed by Black Cleaver and other defensive itemization.
Reduces adaptability; mana mostly excessive; outclassed by Warrior Enchant.
Malzahar has a good first clear and doesn't need a ton of health, so refillable gets the job done.
If going for the level 3 dragon, get
Continue by getting
After building the cores, follow up with four situational items.
Should be easy enough to make a good choice.
Understanding all the nuances about your Voidlings is critical to maximizing their potential, and their damage should not be underestimated. Check out this calculator if you'd like to see for yourself!
Here’s the details about their facets.
- A Voidling will spawn whenever another Voidling kills any unit (monster, lane minion, or champion), whenever a Voidling attacks a monster (small, large, and epic), or whenever a Voidling attacks a champion.
- Each Voidling can only spawn one Voidling each. They work as a train; if the last Voidling that was spawned dies, no further voidlings will spawn even if the currently living ones are attacking or killing.
- After 8 seconds of being alive, Voidlings will stop spawning other Voidlings.
- While there is technically no limit to the voidlings spawned, because each Voidling can only spawn one other Voidling, it is essentially only possible to get 7 voidlings from one Void Spawn cast.
- With 45% CDR and Rank 5 Void Swarm, it is possible to briefly get 10 Voidlings.
- Voidlings deal mixed damage. Their AD scaling portion is physical, the AP scaling is magical.
- Voidlings deal triple damage to lane minions below 25% health.
- Voidlings always die in one hit to tower shots, since they are so squishy.
When Voidlings initially spawn, they have the following stats:
(0.3 - 0.4 Total AD, based on W Rank) + (10-30, based on W Rank, + 0.1 AP)|
105 + (15 x Malzahar’s level)
(~90% of Malzahar's Movement Speed)
For reference, Malzahar has 55 base AD at level 1 and 106 base AD at level 18. This means, without items, Voidlings will have 17 AD at level 1, 26.4 - 35.2 AD at level 13 (Based on Void Swarm rank), and 42.4 AD at level 18.
For reference again, Malzahar has a base MS of 340, meaning Voidlings have base MS of 306. With the runes and mastery setup, Malz has an out-of-combat MS of 355, meaning Voidlings have a movement speed of 321.
Voidling stats are set each time they spawn, not at the beginning of the Swarm cast. If Malzahar casts Void Swarm and then gains bonus AD, AP, or MS after the second spawn, only the Voidlings past the second spawn will receive the bonuses.
If three voidlings are alive at the same time, all voidlings gain 100% Attack Speed (1.000 per second). However, if the number of voidlings drops below three, they will all lose this attack speed
Voidlings don’t just wander aimlessly. You are able to control them by understanding what they decide to target. In order, Voidlings prioritize:
- Targets hit by Nether Grasp
- The nearest Malefic Vision on a Champion
- The nearest Malefic Vision on a minion
- The nearest enemies next to the Voidlings
Voidlings will not chase targets they cannot see or that they lose vision of, through stealth or bush. When a visible target exists with Malefic Visions or Nether Grasp, Voidlings will gain 100% movement speed. This does not stack. Additionally, when Voidlings are chasing any target, whether it is hit by Malefic Visions or not, they gain a roughly 10% MS bonus.
Voidlings will aggro anything nearby, regardless of whether the target can see the Voidling or whether the camp has been aggroed. When a target is nearby, they will chase it until it gets out of range or until another target gets closer. Voidlings do not minion block and can stack on top of each other, but will spread out when attacking a target.
Voidlings will spawn between Malzahar and the Voidling that summoned it, to a maximum of roughly 350 units (slightly shorter than Void Swarm's cast range). Voidlings take roughly a second to appear after casting Void Swarm. If cast on a wall, they will spawn at the closest wall, effectively allowing the spawn distance to be increased (like using flash on a wall).
When you are pushing a turret and there are minions nearby, turrets will always prioritize the Voidlings over the minions. This makes it very difficult to take turrets, but head over to the Tower Taking Section to see how it's done.
When Voidlings kill a target, Malzahar gains the experience, even if Malzahar is not next to the target.
There is a lot of confusion about what exactly Voidlings benefit from and proc.
The short version is that voidlings do not proc any on-hits or spell effects (except Rylais, which is not technically a spell effect) but Voidlings will proc anything that has the wording "on-physical". No item can directly boost Voidling's movement speed.
The full list is as follows:
Voidlings benefit from:
- Malzahar's total attack damage
- Malzahar's ability power
- Malzahar's extra movement speed
- Malzahar's armor penetration
- Malzahar's magic penetration
- The Merciless mastery
- Locket and Aegis' MR bonus
- Champion Minion buffs (such as Sivir’s On the Hunt and Nunu’s Bloodboil)
- The scuttle crab area-based movement bonus
- The bonus damage of Lord Dominik's Regards
Voidlings do not benefit from:
- Malzahar's critical strike percentage (they cannot crit)
- Malzahar's attack speed
- Life steal or spell vamp (Neither stat heals them or Malz)
- Phantom Dancer's passive
- The Sorcery mastery
- Banner of Command (they cannot be promoted)
- Frozen Heart's attack speed slow (it affects them)
- Baron buff
- The burn of Mark of the Elder Dragon
- Black Cleaver stacks
- The Grievous Wounds of Mortal Reminder and Executioner's Calling
- Death's Dance physical vamp (it will only heal Malzahar)
- Elixir of Wrath's physical vamp (it will only heal Malzahar)
- Hextech Gunblade's Omnivamp (it will only heal Malzahar)
- Randuin's attack speed slow (it affects them)
Voidlings do not proc:
- On-hit effects of any kind including Frozen Mallet, Tiamat, Essence Reaver, Muramana, and Iceborn Gauntlet
- The burn of Liandry's Torment
- Any version of Deathfire's Grasp
- Any procs for Thunderlord's Decree
- The Red Brambleback buff.
Malzahar's First Clear is pivotal to success, but is extremely tricky. This is not a champion you can leap into the first clear without preparation and hope to do well; effective Voidling management is critical to not dying. Note too that generally you want to do the Level 3 Dragon instead, but if for some reason you can't, this is a good alternative.
Gromp (Smite), Blue, Wolves, Raptor (Smite), Red, Krugs
Take note of how voidlings are used.
- Malzahar tanks part of the initial damage so Voidlings more quickly get their 50% AS bonus
- Call of the Void hits every monster at every camp. Combined with the Gromp poison, this makes it possible to quickly eliminate every monster.
- Autoattacks are interspersed between each monster so Call of the Void eliminates each monster at the same time
GrompPay extremely close attention to where Voidling Swarm is cast in the video. The circle of its cast is touching the edge of the purple ground. This places the Voidling far enough from Gromp that Malzahar guarantees aggro, but close enough that it can autoattack Gromp without moving. Three hits are tanked by Malz. After the swarm ends, Gromp is kited back a step after each autottack, maximizing the poison's effect.
Blue GolemVoid Swarm is cast behind the buff, ensuring that they will not accidentally focus the Sentinels by mistake, and allows Malzahar to tank two hits for the Voidlings. If every Call of the Void hits the small sentinels, the sentinels will die to the poison without ever having to be autoattacked a single time. The golem is kited back a step after every auto to maximize the poison, and toward the direction of the wolves. If possible, avoid landing a final autoattack until its is around 53 HP or less; the Poison and Talisman effects cannot kill the Blue Golem, so an executing autoattack will be saved this way.
WolvesStand behind the large wolf before summoning the swarm. Before that Voidling attacks, autoattack the large wolf to draw the attention of the small wolves onto Malzahar. This will ensure the Voidlings primarily focus the large wolf. Try to balance autoattacking each monster so that one final Call of the Void is all that's necessary to kill all three in a single slice (or if especially fast, just with one auto).
RaptorsSummon the Voidlings onto the other side of the wall upon approach. Stay in the bush momentarily before approaching. As always, make sure Call of the Void hits every target. This time though, focus every auto on the large raptor, since the small ones will die to the Call of the Voids.
Red BramblebrackRead the section on Blue Golem. The exact same thing applies here, except the small bramblebacks will require one extra autoattack to finish off.
KrugsToss all focus into killing the large krug. If it dies, it will guarantee Level 4, providing enough mana to finish off the small krug for one last Void Swarm before recalling.
People see Malzahar and often think "easy invade." There are a number of ways to handle this, depending on the type of invade.
The Jungler is After my Red!
If you suspect the enemy jungler might invade your red, At around 1:10 you should very explicitly ask the team "Could somebody ward my red buff?" If there is no response, you should explicitly demand a trinket from a specific person such as "Support, could you trinket ward my red buff?"
Try your best to save the trinket to place it down in the bush next to the red buff. If the enemy jungler decides to invade you at your red buff, call your team for help! Stay in a bush and do not start your red. You can hide in a brush and wait for your team to start an organized surround on the invader, often burning their flash or securing a kill in the process. Do not start your red until their jungler has completely left.
Alternatively, if you suspect they may invade red, just go and take a Level 3 Dragon instead (more details in a later section). It is a worthwhile tradeoff to give up the red buff in exchange for a dragon. Don't fret too much if you lose the red buff.
Because Malzahar isn't terribly item dependent, you can periodically buy vision wards and put them at popular ambush spots like the bush underneath wraiths, the bush across the wolf camp, or the river bushes.
My Blue Buff Was Stolen...
If the opponents have successfully stolen your blue buff, your first order of business will be toget your red buff quickly before the other jungler can steal it too. Clearing camps will be a bit slower but possible, and your insane clear speed will catch you up quickly.
Buy vision wards often; it is likely the other jungler will ambush you repeatedly. Don't worry if vision wards put you behind in gold initially; you just need a safe place to speed-farm and you will easily catch up.
The clears after the first are much easier, but that's no reason to be lazy.
Take note of the following:
- Voidlings are left behind to clean up the camps while moving onto the next camp. This is truly what gives AD Malzahar their superior clearing speed.
- Similarly, it's possible to recall while Voidlings clean up. There's no need to wait around with them.
- Malefic Visions is primarily being used to regain mana, rather than for its damage. If it won't bounce, don't use it.
- Call of the Void is used sparingly, only enough times to get camps just low enough for Voidlings to finish the job.
- Scuttlecrab tends to be a poor time investment, since it takes a long time for the Voidlings to kill. Avoid it unless you have Gift of Heavy Hands (Krug smite).
Choosing the right smite bonus can be tough. Here are guidelines for using smite charges.
Always have a smite charge ready to use on a champion, except in emergencies when smite is used to secure a big objective like a buff or dragon.
Avoid using smite just because you're about to go back. Because smite has a 75 second cooldown, you'll have already returned to the jungle before the charge has recovered.
With your extra smite charge, go down the list and smite when the condition can be met:
- If the enemies don't have vision of dragon/baron or lack range to contest, do not smite. Otherwise, smite Dragon/Baron as you take it. Always a high priority.
- If you want to take a buff but need a little more mana/hp, smite Blue/Red, though you should probably just avoid being too low of either.
- If you are not trying to heavily farm, smite Razorbeak for Razor Sharp, for stronger objective control and anti-invade presence.
- If Razorbeak is not alive or was taken, smite Wolf for Spirit Wolf, for stronger anti-invade presence.
- If the previous two can't be taken, smite Krug for Gift of Heavy Hands, to more easily secure scuttle crab for minor situational objective control.
- If all other cases are accounted for, you're free to smite Gromp. The useless punk.
Ganking and Blue Buff
Ganking before level 6 is fairly tricky. Chilling Smite won't usually be completed in time, making ganking mostly relegated to overextended targets with teammates that have crowd control to offer. This weak pre-6 ganking power is fine because Malzahar is usually too busy taking objectives to gank much early anyway.
Before ganking, try to make sure you have the Razor Sharp smite bonus from the Razor Camp When the opponent overextends or commits, you can run them down. If they are smart, they will attempt to juke you through the bushes to avoid damage. Your Voidlings will not chase a target they do not have vision of, so use Call of the Void to gain vision and keep the voidlings hot on their tail.
Generally, you want to move in either when your laner has locked down the opponent so you can combo a silence in, or when the opponent has engaged on your laner so you can move in and easily land the silence. Make good use of the passive to stay in front of the opponent as they run away, so you can reliably summon Voidlings to keep hitting them.
This is fairly straightforward. Keep Razor Sharp handy and wait in a river bush or lane bush (preferably lane bush). You will usually have Chilling Smite at this time which greatly accentuates the power of your ganks.
There are a few goals while ganking:
- Your passive will eat up the first instance of damage, usually CC. Use this to cut off enemies from excaping while moving in.
- Silence prevents flashes; use it force a preemptive flash or to set up Voidlings for the following lockdown
- Don't just immediately suppress. It's better to give the Voidlings time to ramp up, especially by waiting until you're close enough that each Voidling will spawn on top of the target instead of having to walk up
- Voidlings benefit from Malzahar's movement speed. Chilling Smite steals movement speed. We clear?
- After a successful gank, see if you can set up a dragon or herald for the team.
Who am I Giving Blue Buff To?
AD Malzahar is not immensely mana hungry, and is able to freely give blue buff because the jungle gives ample time to head home for mana.
This doesn't mean giving it is necessarily the smartest choice. There are a number of reasons you might want to keep it for yourself.
- Your mid laner is resourceless and may not need it
- You are a lot more fed than the mid laner
- You want to get a dragon soon and don't have time to go back
- The mid laner is dying repeatedly in lane
- It appears that the opposing jungler may be laying around waiting to snatch blue
Master of Objectives
Level 3 Dragon / Five Camp Dragon
Gromp(Smite) -> Blue -> Wolves -> Dragon -> Gromp -> Wolves
Gromp(Smite) -> Blue -> Wolves -> Raptors -> Red -> Dragon
AD Malzahar's signature trick. It is possible to kill the dragon incredibly early with little cost.
You will need to alter the starting items a bit. Get a talisman as usual but instead of getting a refillable potion, get three health potions instead. At around 1:10, inform your team of your plans. "I'm going dragon after wolves. Don't let the enemies leave lane." is an example of one such sentence.
The most important parts of doing the level 3 dragon is to avoid taking damage from every camp. Recall the information from the Clearing section, but kite far more than usual. The usual first clear is focused on speed, but here, health is more important. If you take too much damage during the camps, it is impossible to do the level 3 dragon.
When the dragon first rises up, it releases a knockback that will proc the passive or reset its timer. You can avoid this by autoattacking it, moving slightly outside of the pit, and summoning Voidlings before the dragon lands an autoattack on Malzahar. Void Shift will be up in time for the dragon's first autoattack, mitigating significant damage.
You can minimize the chances of being spotted by using the Warding Totem in the river bush, which will alert you to any incoming danger But if spotted, don't panic! If the dragon is almost dead, finish it off. Otherwise, just walk away and head into your jungle. If the dragon is not near death, you will still have plenty of mana to do Wolves and Gromp before transitioning into your next clear.
Despite being called the Five Camp Dragon, some of the easier dragons will leave behind enough mana to get some extra camps like Raptors (on red side) and Krugs (on blue side).
This is the initiation rite into the cult of AD Jungle Malzahar.
Level 2 Dragon
Although technically possible, it's not recommended against the more versatile Level 3 Dragon. It's only twenty seconds faster but ultimately costs more time from not clearing subsequent camps, and is extremely risky against particular dragons.
Still, it's very important to keep the toolbox loaded, so its presence should be noted.
Level 3 Rift Herald
The Rift Herald hits like a tank, but Malzahar is able to let voidlings take the brunt of the damage in order to maximize the true damage proc from its eye.
The Rift Herald is very impatient. Every time you switch aggro, it loses patience. Once it runs out, it recovers an absurd amount of health. However, if the Herald doesn't move from its initial position, it recovers only a small amount of health, and this is abused to maximize the clear speed.
The first time Void Swarm is summoned, it's quite easy to land a hit on the eye since Herald will definitely turn around. After that, it becomes a careful minigame of evaluating where the eye will face next, which is incredibly difficult and largely down to luck and quick reflexes.
Try to avoid autoattacking except to hit the eye, or you will quickly find how annoying the autoattack windup is when trying to deal the true damage.
20 Minute Duo Baron
It's possible to duo baron with an extremely small amount of gold, provided the top laner is reasonably tanky. Summon Voidlings until the baron dies, and keep moving around so that the Voidlings don't clump up in one spot.
Soloing baron is also similarly possible, though is more conditional. With either Death's Dance or Hextech Gunblade, combined with most any other item, it becomes possible solo the baron. Just like with the Duo Baron, keep summoning Voidlings until it dies, moving around to stop a clump.
10 Minute Vilemaw
Something fancy on a field of sorrow and darkness. Vilemaw is fairly simple to do.
Keep moving around and summon voidlings very far away from each other. Keep in mind that Vilemaw attacks the arena in thirds at a time. If a voidling is in the left third, summon a new one in the right third, as you stay in the mid third. As long as you avoid getting hit much by the huge AOE attack, Vilemaw will fall.
Taking towers is very tricky. Voidlings always die in one hit to the turret and have higher priority than minions when targeting. Additionally, Voidlings do not spawn further while hitting the turret, meaning they die rapidly.
To get around that, the Voidling Swarm must be prepared underneath the turret while the turret is focusing down a siege minion. Wound the upcoming minion wave in advance if possible, and then allow the Voidlings to start a train from the furthest minions to the ones closest to the turret. This will spawn an army of Voidlings rapidly that can deal immense damage to the turret.
On outer turrets, the Siege minion wave does not arrive at a convenient time, so you usually will want a wave to have built up in advance. The tier 2 turrets are more convenient; your siege wave will arrive right as the enemy's next wave does, making it feasible to gather up Voidlings on the other side.
Normally this power is only possible with Siege waves, but using Banner of Command makes any Melee minion as durable as a Siege minion, making it possible with any wave.
Stage of the Game
In the early game, your goals are to
- Complete your first clear
- Ward up your jungle
- Take dragons and herald
Note that the Rift Herald buff only lasts on the ground for 15 seconds. Don't wait too long to give it to a laner or else you risk nobody getting it at all! Even if you can't give it to a laner however, the Herald is still a kill's worth of team gold (50 per person, 250 total).
Gank lanes when you are have the ultimate. Malzahar’s lane ganks are incredibly frightening, so head through the lane bushes and wait for a chance to ambush.
Don't be afraid to wait for long periods of time when ganking people. Malzahar has such insane clear speed that they will always manage to catch up even if you had to wait 2 minutes waiting in a bush to give a successful gank.
As the laning phase ends, your role as a ganker will be superseded toward more of an objective grabber.
- Group with the team
- Keep things warded
- The opponents will now also fight for dragon; contest it!
- Start choosing your situational items
Be cautious when giving buffs to your teammates. The Voidlings are voracious and may often take it by accident if not careful.
Note that if you're on Red Side, you can take Dragon without even having to enter the pit! Just keep summoning Voidlings on the other side of the wall until the Dragon dies. Only do this if you know the enemy has no vision however. Note too that the Scuttlebug Vision does not extend into the pit itself, in case you want to be even more stealthy.
Be very careful about your mana. Just because you can use your mana doesn't mean you should. If you can take a jungle camp, a tower, or a creep wave without having to cast further spells, do so unless time is of the essence.
In the teamfights that will begin, you will
- Focus on throwing your Voidlings at any nearby opponents
- Ult targets that are trying to dive into the middle of your team.
- Aim silences at critical moments on multiple people.
- It's often preferable to start with a silence instead of ulting immediately, because a silence can always be followed into an ult but not the other way around.
In the late game, your role as an objective taker remains, but your goals in the teamfight switch.
- Peel for fed members on your team, and summon Void Swarms to tank skillshots when possible
- Dance around the outskirts of teamfights to try and get the squishier members.
- Save your flash-ult when possible for when you absolutely know that it will gain your team an inhibitor, baron, or nexus; Avoid using it just to get kills.
- Don't be afraid to let go of your ult! It's on a relatively short cooldown, and survival is more important than pitiful damage.
Outside of the team fights, there are still a few choices to make.
- Force barons with your team and make the baron disappear in an instant.
- Against teams with lots of wombo, consider creating a split team comprised of yourself and one other, and a second split team with the marksman and other two. Send the teams to push at the same time, and at least one turret is essentially guaranteed to fall.
- If put into a corner, consider a last ditch solo baron attempt to get back into the game.
Lots of stuff to take in! I've put in a tremendous amount of effort into this guide and hope you feel ready to pull AD Malz off!
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Huge thanks to Emikadon for helping with the graphics and code for the banner Table of Contents, along with helping immensely in improving the guide's presentation in general! Be sure to check up their guides :)
Don’t hesitate to ask questions or write us messages! I'll be happy to answer anything, and likely will include any frequently asked questions into the guide itself.
Thanks for reading!