Build Guide by JunglingMalphite

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author JunglingMalphite

Drive-by Jungling Malphite

JunglingMalphite Last updated on November 11, 2010
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 1

Veteran's Scars

Defense: 19

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 10

Updated 11/11/10!

(with new jungling guide, masteries, and cool images!)

Malphite has been known in S1 as a very weak tank, who has extremely long cooldowns, high mana costs at low levels, and not much utility once he's used Unstoppable Force / Ground Slam. I've been playing Malphite a lot recently, and I've talked to top Malphite players to better learn how to dominate with this champion. The main thing I've come across while playing Malphite is that he's very reliant on gold early/mid game.

With this guide, you should have no issues at all generating a steady amount of income, or dominating your opponents past level 6 with a tactic I like to call "drive-by Malphite".

Needless to say, this is a jungling guide - if you play Malphite with a fair amount of grace, you will have a great amount of success, and you should be able to dominate any other jungling champion (XZ/WW/Shaco).

Some people like to refer to Warwick as being the king of jungling. If that's the case, Malphite is the Overlord.

Pros & Cons of jungling on Malphite:

  • Great gold farming potential, very easy to get your items built
  • No need to return to base after level 4, once you have Ninja Tabi and Golem
  • Able to keep up with the mid carry and solo lane in level, and giving you a tremendous level advantage over your opponent
  • No issues dominating other jungle champions under level 6
  • Great map presence and full map neutral camp control (including your opponents)

  • Very reliant on a team that can handle two solo lanes
  • Requires an extreme amount of communication to be played effectively
  • Depending on how skilled your 1v2 carry is, you may lose a tower fairly early in the game (<15min)

Summoner Spells:
Exhaust: Great for fighting high damage melee carries. Useful for stopping someone from dealing damage during a team fight. Not very useful for much else.
Ghost: Good for running away and moving quick during team fights, but you can still be slowed and stunned. I don't recommend using this.
Heal: Use this until you're comfortable with jungling. It's a great way to save yourself trouble if you encounter an enemy in the jungle, but you shouldn't need it at all when you're experienced. Use a more defensive summoner spell in place of this.
Revive: Useless for you since you shouldn't have more than 3-5 deaths a game.
Smite: The best spell for you as a jungler. You cannot jungle without this, and people will probably just think you're a noob for picking it. You can show them later in the game.
Teleport: Useless for you since there will be zero allied hubs in the jungle.
Cleanse: Somewhat useful, but I prefer Flash to this, as it really helps to get in and out of combat quick.
Fortify: Useless since your team should have no issues holding towers. You're not a support champion.
Clarity: Vital for laning as Malphite, but useless for jungling. Jungling Malphite has no mana problems.
Ignite: Good for killing mobs quicker, and finishing off enemies after you do a drive-by Malphite, but useless for everything else. Your main job is to initiate, debuff, and not die.
Rally: Another good jungling and support spell, but due to the long cooldown, it's useless for you.
Clairvoyance: Great for support classes, but not for you.
Flash: An excellent escape and initiate spell. I can't recommend anything other than this paired with Smite.


Take all of the defensive damage reduction talents, and the +HP from Veteran's Scars, Improved Smite in the Offense tree, and down to Utility Mastery in the Utility tree. Greed is (in my opinion, since you're only going to be getting an extra 270 gold from a 45 minute match) a waste of a talent point, but since we're going to be jungling, none of the other talents in the first 3 tiers really help supplement our build. If you are completely against taking Greed, put the point in Meditation for the 0.33mps.

Rune Build:

I build full flat armor for jungling on Malphite, for the improved damage through Ground Slam, and for the damage reduction you get at low level. It works well if you're new, since they're the cheapest T3 runes you can get, and give you a lot of early game potential. I use 3 flat health quintessences for the added survivability, and the extra 9.7 shield you get through your passive. If you were to change anything, I would recommend dropping the Greater Glyph of Resilience for Greater Glyph of Shielding.

Skill Summary:
Passive: Malphite is shielded by a layer of rock which absorbs damage up to 10% of his maximum health. If he has not been hit for 8 seconds, this effect recharges.

This is one of the two abilities that makes you extremely good at jungling. 10% of your max HP as a shield that refreshes every 8 seconds without being hit is great for early game ganking and jungling. It allows you to make suicidal tower dives look like nothing, and it also makes you one of the best harassers in the game, coupled with his Q ability. Since no right-minded team commits Malphite to a lane, we're just going to say it's great because of the damage absorb.

Q: Seismic Shard: Using his primal elemental magic, Malphite sends a shard of the earth through the ground at his foe, dealing damage upon impact and stealing movement speed for 4 seconds.

This is your interceptor spell. You should only skill this up after you've maxed out Ground Slam. At rank 5, this spell does an amazing amount of damage, and steals 30% of your opponents movement speed. This is great for catching up to fast champions, such as Master Yi, Ezreal, etc. If your opponent is just out of your range, use Seismic Shard on a minion to help close the gap and get your Randuin off.

W: Brutal Strikes: (Passive): Malphite's attacks hit splash for a percentage of his attack damage. (Active): Increase Malphite's armor and damage for 6 seconds.

The passive provided by Brutal Strikes is immense for jungling. It's basically like having a Tiamat effect for the entire game. The only reason we skill this up last is because of the steep mana cost at each skill level. Rank 1 is enough for us until level 14, since you won't have enough armor to make the active really worthwhile (unless you're very well fed, in which case you may want to trade out a couple ranks of Seismic Shard for this, but that's only if you're fed and you're feeling like you'll die a lot in team fights. I wouldn't really recommend this, but it can be viable mid-game.)

E: Ground Slam: Malphite slams the ground sending out a shock wave that deals magic damage based on his armor and reduces the attack speed of enemies for 4 seconds.

This is the first ability that you get for jungling. It's a great AoE ability, and is the reason why you're a great jungler. The AoE armor-based damage is amazing, and the attack speed slow is awesome when you're tackling Ancient Golem at level 3. Late game, this ability is going to shut down hasted melee carries (think Yi, Xin Zhao, Twisted Fate, and Tristanas) with a -50% melee haste debuff. It's also a great spell for soloing mage carries, who have very low HP and magic resist. When you've completed the build (it's fairly easy to do in a 45 minute game, with around 2-6 kills and 10-12 assists), you'll be hitting for upwards of 800 magic damage every 5 seconds as an AoE. While jungling however, this spell MUST be used in conjunction with Brutal Strikes, or else you'll be wasting time, and in this case, the more time you waste, the lower level you'll be, and the less gold you'll have.

R: Unstoppable Force: Malphite ferociously charges to a location, damaging enemies in a small range and knocking them into the air. Malphite cannot be stunned during his charge.

Unstoppable Force is your initiate. It's a great spell that will allow you to deal superb amounts of damage early game (a level 6 SS, UF, BS+GS combo will hit for around 450 damage, along with a 4 second slow and a 1.5 second stun/knockup is around half of a melee or ranged HP pool, aka a "Drive-by Malphite"). Unstoppable Force is also great for luring the enemy team away from a specific place that your team is at, or stopping the enemy from catching your low HP teammates. It's a long-ranged initiate and a tool for getting away from a bad situation. You can use this ability to get away through open fields, and through thick walls.

Item Build:
  • Cloth Armor
  • Health Potion x5
  • Cloth Armor builds into Ninja Tabi
  • Health Potion x1
  • Heart of Gold x5 (you'll be coming back during the 6-12 levels to get these)
  • Ninja Tabi are sold to purchase Mercury Treads if necessary
  • First Heart of Gold builds into Randuin's Omen
  • Second Heart of Gold is sold to purchase either Force of Nature or Thornmail, depending on if your enemy is heavy on magic or melee
  • Third Heart of Gold is sold to purchase Frozen Heart, bringing you to 40% cooldown reduction
  • Fourth Heart of Gold is sold to purchase a Banshee's Veil, for the added mana and HP, along with the amazing spell negate
  • When it comes time to sell your last Heart of Gold, the game will be almost over. You shouldn't purchase a Warmogs, since you won't have the time to farm creeps to get the stacks up, and the only stacks you would get from champion kills would be ones to counter-ace. I highly recommend purchasing Frozen Mallet here for the melee slow and HP boost. If you don't feel comfortable getting it, pick up a second Randuin's, FoN, or Thornmail, depending on your playstyle.

Jungling Guide:

This is a very straightforward jungling strategy, I've done this in numerous matches and it works the same every time. It relies heavily upon your skill in being able to counter another jungler, and your map awareness. If you can do both, you will have no issues. If you can't, you'll have some problems with level 5-6.

  1. Starting off at base, purchase a Cloth Armor and five Health Potions.

  2. As per the above image, the stars are the starting locations for their respective sides. The way the early jungling setup is as follows (from 0:00-1:55):

    For Purple -
    • The bottom lane players should be making sure the bottom bush (at the intersection of their lane and the river) is free of enemies. They can also pace back and forth between the entrance to Ancient Golem and this bush.
    • The middle carry should keep sight on the river bush near dragon. The jungler can also stay with this player, to allow more support for a counter-gank.

    For Blue -
    • The middle carry goes into the river bush by Baron, allowing him or her plenty of room for escape in case of a gank.
    • The jungler should pace back and forth on the parallel wall of Baron, looking for the other team coming from the top lane. The top lane players can also hide in the bush that intersects their lane and the river.

    Once your opponents are visible on the map, you should be free to continue following the guide. Until they are, keep your eyes open. Following this position setup allows you to create a very defensive atmosphere in your jungle, giving you ample resources to perform a counter-gank on the opposing team.

  3. Kill Ancient Golem, you should use Ground Slam two or three times here, depending on your damage. Use a Health Potion while you're in combat, and finish it with Smite.
  4. Head to Wolves once your shield recharges, and kill them.
  5. Wraiths are next, they should be easier to kill since they can't lifesteal through your shield, pop a health potion and down them.
  6. Walk to the lesser Golems, kill them (Smite will be up by now, but don't use it!) with a Health Potion running.
  7. Clean up the Lizard camp quickly with Smite, use your second to last Health Potion if you need it.
  8. You should have enough gold now to recall and purchase Ninja Tabi, along with another Health Potion. Do this, and head back out.
  9. Clear Wolves and Wraiths again, you shouldn't need to use your Health Potion.
  10. You should be level four by now, which means you'll have almost all the tools you need to gank (Q and Red, minus your ult), so if you want to gank a lane, you can do that now.
  11. If you decide not to gank, go to their jungle and get Blue and/or Red (make sure to grab their lesser camps as well, Wolves/Wraiths depending on the side you enter from).
  12. After you've successfully (or not, that's okay) ganked, or cleared their jungle, your jungle camps should be up again by now. Go clear them and you should be level 6.
  13. At level 6, you can go back to start building your first Heart of Gold (via a Ruby Crystal), and you can comfortably gank with your ult, Q, and Red. If you don't have the chance to do that yet, go kill Dragon to provide a massive experience and gold boost for your team.
  14. Repeat the above and stay in the jungle until someone on your team needs you to hold their lane, or your opponents overextend.

Initiating Team Fights as Malphite:

The main thing you should be paying attention to while using this build on Malphite is positioning. Your job is to stun as many people at a time as possible, to apply your Ground Slam and Randuin's Omen debuffs. Late game, your Randuin's Omen debuff should last around 5-8 seconds, depending on your magic resist, and it's extremely important that you hit as many people as possible with this. Make sure you're activating Brutal Strikes beforehand to reach your maximum slow duration from Randuin's Omen. Usually, my team fight initiates look something like this:
  • Unstoppable Force
  • Brutal Strikes
  • Ground Slam
  • Randuin's Omen
  • Melee a low armor carry
  • Ground Slam

After you've completed this rotation, it's time to either back out with Flash, or stop the remaining enemies from killing your carries. You're a champion who is built to sacrifice himself so your teammates can live. If you have to die, you should die, but don't be suicidal about initiating. Play smart and communicate with your team, and this strategy will work wonders for you.

Due to the nerf to Armor Penetration runes, I cannot recommend that you jungle without Smite. You'll level slower without it, and you'll lose a lot of counter-jungle utility if you don't have it. If you feel the need to do it without Smite, feel free, but I recommend using it.

Update - 09/29/10 - Jungling without Smite, pros/cons, runes, summoner spells, and strategy:

[*] The other team won't know you're jungling
[*] The other team may think you're AFK if they don't look at scoreboards
[*] Freeing up a second summoner spell slot for Exhaust or Ignite

[*] Unable to "snipe" last hits on greater jungle minions or Nashor
[*] A tad slower vs using Smite

To jungle without Smite on Malphite, you'll need to change your rune page a bit. Switch your marks to armor penetration for increased damage (you should have 18 armor penetration, equaling up to about 13-14% increased damage to Ancient Golem), and leave your armor seals and glyphs as they are.

Summoner Spells
Dropping Smite allows you a few combinations. I won't go too in-depth here, since it's really personal preference. Flash/Ignite (early game), Flash/Ghost (escape and mobility), Flash/Exhaust (locking down melee carries)

[*] Cloth Armor + 5 HP Potions & Ground Slam
[*] Ancient Golem, Ground Slam and melee until dead (HP Potion when you first take damage)
[*] Wolves
[*] Wraiths
[*] Lesser Golems
[*] Lizard Elder
[*] Wolves
[*] Wraiths
[*] Lesser Golems
[*] Recall for Ninja Tabi, HP Potions and a Mana Potion or two

You should have no problem repeating the above jungling pathing if you're fairly slow, however, if you're moving fast in between camps, after you come back from your first recall (Ninja Tabi), you can race to the Wraith camp before Ancient Golem respawns.

Thanks for reading!