Cassiopeia Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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.
Hello, I am Tyler "ecco" Spesick and I am the former mid player for the former LCS teams "Team MRN" and "Team Velocity eSports."
Cassiopeia has always been a champion that has received a lot of attention from me ever since her release because of how unique she is and how high her skill-cap is mechanically. She is arguably the most difficult champion to play on a mechanical level due to how fickle her positioning is and how messing up your combo will dramatically impact your dps. She's one of my favorite champions because of these things but because of how popular dive champions/junglers (Vi, Nocturne) are right now it can be difficult to play her at times.
- Giant bully in lane.
- Arguably the best objective ( Dragon , Baron ) dps in the game.
- Large, AoE ult that can stun.
- Overall amazing dps/burst.
- Is Katarina's sister.
- Very high mechanical skill-cap (hard to play to maximum efficiency)
- No built-in escape so very punishing if caught out of position.
- Super Fragile/Squishy
Because Cassiopeia is such a fragile champion, she pretty much only works in two team compositions.
The first team composition that she excels in is a heavy engage/dive comp. An example composition would be Jarvan IV, Riven, Sona, and Jinx. Jinx can set up the engage with her Zap! and lead into a heavy engage by Jarvan with a giant AoE wombo-combo following it all up. This works so well with Cassiopeia because if your whole team is going in at once and pretty much chain-ccing the enemy team then it doesn't matter how fragile you are because your team's focus it to burst them down as quickly as possible which Cassiopeia excels at.
The second team composition Cassiopeia excels at it is a kite/peel comp. An example composition for this would be Rumble, Jarvan IV, Janna, Varus. If you haven't noticed Jarvan is just really good with almost anything. The reason he is so good here because his has an AoE knock-up in a line as well as a he puts a giant circle into the ground which can be used very well for peeling for his team's back-line as well as zoning out the enemy team's back-line. To summarize, there is a lot he can do to create time. The rest compliment well because they are all super strong at kiting as well as re-engaging/catching. This is a very strong comp to have with Cassiopeia because she is so fragile that if your team isn't hard-engaging, they all need to be holding her hand.
Ignite and Flash are the staple summoners on Cassiopeia because of how extremely strong her laning is (definitely at early levels). Taking ignite gives you the most kill potential and therefore the most potential to snowball.
The second option you have for summoners is a more defensive approach by taking Barrier and Flash. I would only take these summoners if I had a low kill potential in-lane, such as laning against an Orianna, and the enemy team had a very heavy engage comp that included someone like Vi or Nocturne.
|...|| Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These are the standard, aggressive runes that I typically run on long-range mages that won't be doing a lot of hard-trading but more-so poking until it is time to all-in. These runes are fairly greedy as you are not taking any magic resist but they also allow you to scale into the mid and late-game while doing the most damage you possibly can. If I was against an AP champion that I was scared of dying to ( Ahri for exmaple) or one that I would be hard-trading with a lot in lane (like Katarina) then I would take magic resist blues rather than the scaling ap to make my laning safer as well as stronger.
This is the standard page I've been running on almost all of my AP mids right now. Overall it gives you everything you need for the entire game. The 21 points in offense allow you to scale as hard as you can into the late game while the 9 points in offense give you added regeneration for laning as well as reduced cool-down on your summoner spells.
The skill sequence that I run on Cassiopeia is very focused on dueling and maximizing dps from the earliest stages in the game. Something to keep in mind and also what completely convinced me to level Twin Fang first is that lvl 1 Noxious Blast and Miasma will kill casters on their own with just one spell cast of each. So with only one point in each of your AoE spells you already have very strong pushing power.
The only time that I do change my skill sequence would to get a point in Miasma at lvl 2. I would only do this if I was getting pushed on very hard or wanted to push to push on them very hard. Times where I would want to push hard would be to force them under to farm under tower to occupy their time while my team invaded the enemy's jungle.
Deadly Cadence (Passive)
Deadly Cadence is a very strong passive that works incredibly well with her extremely low-cooldown kit. Without it, you would have to build Cassiopeia similarly to Anivia so you wouldn't run out of mana every extended fight. It also helps for laning because it helps with your sustain. Once you are finishing up your core items and have completed your Athene's Unholy Grail you can pretty much keep your passive a 5-stack forever by using your Noxious Blast right before your stacks are about to fade away. Only keep it stacked if you are sieging or expecting a team-fight though as it isn't necessary to have all the time. If you have blue buff, don't worry about keeping it stacked at all because Athene's + Blue Buff will keep you full mana until the end of time.
Noxious Blast is a fairly straight forward, AoE ability that is extremely spammable. It has a ridiculously low cool-down as well as ridiculously high dps. This ability is used for pretty much everything damage and it will also be your filler that will keep your target poisoned at all times so you can spam your Twin Fang for as long as your heart desires.
The more overlooked aspect about this ability is that it actually gives you a pretty considerable speed boost. Remember when either chasing or running from an opponent to hit them with this ability! It is also crucial in team-fights to be landing this so you can be moving as quickly as possible so you can re-position yourself as efficiently as you can. Being just slightly out of position can spell certain death for such a fragile champion like Cassiopeia.
Miasma is Cassiopeia's most basic ability. She vomits out a giant pool of poison that starts out fairly small but slowly grows over time. It also has a fairly minor slow attached to it which is helpful in both kiting and chasing. It gives you a fair amount of control over a team-fight so make sure to place it as well as you can because it is the longest of Cassiopeia's cool-downs. The last thing to remember about Miasma is that it is the most reliable way to keep poison stacks on an opponent.
Ahhhh, Twin Fang. My favorite ability on Cassiopeia. In my eyes it is truly what defines her. This is the ability the puts her dps through the roof. This is the ability that will cause you to be the highest priority for the enemy team to eliminate because you pump out more damage than your ad-carry. It causes Cassiopeia to be the highest skill-cap champion in the game, in my opinion, because it gives her so much to keep track of and to also be doing mechanically.
Whenever the target is poisoned and hit by Twin Fang, it reduces the cool-down of Twin Fang to half a second. This is why you /have/ to make sure that your target is poisoned for as much time as you possibly can and if for some reason you miss your Noxious Blast and they aren't suffering from Miasma then you /do not/ use Twin Fang. With how much cdr you are stacking, Noxious Blast will be back up much quicker than a raw Twin Fang so just wait for it! If you Twin Fang when they aren't poisoned your dps drops soooooooooooo much that it is just completely dreadful.
Petrifying Gaze is what pulls Cassiopeia's kit together and makes it complete. It is either used in conjunction with your initiation, used as a peel mechanism to help yourself as well as your back-line help survive the onslaught, or saved for the opportune moment in an extended fight to hit their priority targets. Whenever it is used and how it is used is all relative to how the team-fight plays out. Hitting multiple targets is typically the best thing possible and should be your goal but if you can catch one of their priority targets facing you without Cleanse, Quicksilver Sash or Mercury's Treads then you should probably just ult them and melt their faces off.
A Doran's Ring as well as a couple of health pots has become extremely standard for mid-lane recently. It gives you pretty much everything you need and the only thing it loses to is an all consumables start ( Crystalline Flask + 3x Health Potion). The reason it loses to an all consumables start is that even if they are trading in-efficiently it doesn't really matter because they have so much more sustain than you do they can afford to. In the long run they'll win the war of attrition so make sure to play safe against that start.
On your very first back you should look to picking up a second Doran's Ring as well as an Amplifying Tome. If I back with more than this, typically I'll get Boots of Speed as well because it makes it easier to force trades. The reason that this is what I'm buying on my first back is because Cassiopeia is extremely strong in laning so obtaining a lot of AP early will help emphasize this strength and give you a ton of kill potential at level 6.
Next I will stack a lot of early magic-penetration. Stacking early magic-pen causes a champion's early to mid-game to be as strong as it possibly can be so that will be your focus! Pick up Sorcerer's Shoes and go ahead and turn that Amplifying Tome into a Haunting Guise. It will make you a dueling god with your ability to burst them as well just overall having the ability to deal out a ton of damage.
To wrap up your core items you're going to build an Athene's Unholy Grail. Typically this is built first on an AP mid if you're going to build it but due to Cassiopeia's insane early to mid-game it is stalled a little bit. Athene's gives you pretty much everything you need by contributing a decent amount of AP, a large amount of cdr (which increases your dps a lot), as well as mana-regen. Overall the best mid-game item you can pick up.
Closing out the game you are pretty much only stacking on as much damage as you possibly can with a pinch of survivability. Next you build a Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff for as much damage as possible. Then, picking up a Zhonya's Hourglass gives you survivability and a way to help combat against heavy dive and burst compositions (as well as a whopping 120 AP!). Finally, you go back to your lonely, little Haunting Guise and evolve it into a Liandry's Torment to help your damage against tanks.
Cassiopeia has a lot of strong match-ups due to her incredibly strong damage and bullying potential but there are a few match-ups where she has some trouble. Mostly, these match-ups are those that deflect her from being very aggressive due to them having extremely strong laning/defensive abilities or because they can burst her. I'll go over the major ones below.
Orianna: Orianna is just a pain in the ***. Her shield makes it difficult to harass her, her auto-attacks hurt dearly, her wave clear is as good as yours, and she can duel you extremely well because you have no real way of dodging her ball consistently.
Gragas: Gragas is just ugh. You beat him fairly hard prior to level 4 but then the match-up just becomes very difficult. You have to be very careful to never mis-position and let him get a body slam on you or he can crush you. Then once he hits 6 he can burst you and with the damage reduction from Drunken Rage it makes it difficult to burst him back.
Ahri: Even after the recent nerfs she still has the potential to one-shot you if she lands a charm. You can bully her pretty hard pre-6 as long as you don't get charmed or get hit by many double Orb of Deceptions but you /really/ have to be careful once she has her ult.
As I've said before in this guide, Cassiopeia's laning is one of the best in the game. She is an insanely strong bully with great pushing power from early on as well as some of the best trading and burst. She is pretty much the complete package of damage with her only weakness is getting cc'ed and bursted.
|...||Starting from level 1, starting poking with your Noxious Blast. Hit them with it as much as you can mostly have the wave pushing against them at all time. You can safely farm from far-range if you end up having to so don't be worried about that. With your constant pushing and aggressive positioning, one thing you /do/ need to be weary of before you get wards out is getting ganked and dying. You have no real escape so if you get cc'ed during a gank you are probably dead. Try and pay attention to your opponent's positioning and queues to try and pick up on when you're getting ganked and then position yourself safer in that time. If you end up getting in a bind and you do get ganked from behind, don't be scared to just blow your flash. Jarvan IV coming behind you and his E -> Q combo is about to hit you? Flash that sucker and just walk away. It isn't worth risking your life because if you die and behind in lane as Cassiopeia you can get punished over and over again because you will no longer be stronger and therefore not the bully which allows them to take advantage of your small health-pool. Once your flash is down, just play a bit safer until it is up and ward defensively.|
Once the mid-game arrives, your team should be forcing stuff as 5. Cassiopeia is best at straight-up team-fights due to her large AoE ult as well as her insanely high-dps. Her low mobility makes it very risky for her to be in small skirmishes without her team there to hold her hand.
When sieging towers, make sure to always be spamming your spells. You can use Miasma as a road-block that they can't walk through to clear minions as well as Noxious Blast as a form harass. Bait them into engaging into something where they are poked down or get free towers.