Kog'Maw Build Guide by Vlasec
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Introduction: Why the hell jungle Kog'Maw?
ONE SLIGHT WARNING: THIS IS NOT A BUILD SAFE FOR EVERYONE. Have you seen LCS players kiting the jungle monsters? You must do just that to be able to jungle with Kog. Learn to kite with him in bot games or customs and don't play him in ranked games or rate my build before you do. From a comment of Vynertje, it's apparent the monster-kiting skill is not common even in diamond league, so don't feel like a bad player if this fails for you.
So why Kog? Thanks to Feral Flare, some long forgotten junglers can shine again. However, some of champions not known as junglers (yet) can have a great use for its properties. I haven't played jungle Kog before this item was introduced. However, after some games with Warwick, I though, "What if I applied it with Runaan's?" After some thought process, I came up with Kog'Maw who I played a lot on bot-lane and his huge range, magical damage on-hit and magical damage from all other abilities makes him an ideal candidate for on-hit builds.
Lantern's transformation to Flare requires 30 big monsters to be killed. It could be done on mid lane as well, by buying machete or razors on first recall and farming your or enemies' wraiths. However, Kog'Maw is not one of the strongest laners, so you might find it quite hard even without sacrificing gold for a jungle item. Jungling, on the other hand, is quite easy once you learn how to kite the monsters, and you can complete it in less than 15 minutes if your team doesn't whine too much that they need ganks.
Last, but not least, it's fun. I always liked to break the meta and Feral Flare gave me quite an opportunity to do so. Your enemies laugh when they see a jungle Kog, but then you laugh and they cry.
Early game - farming the jungle
Farming the jungle is a high priority task. Even your ganks require you to be a damage dealer and you deal a lot more with Feral Flare completed. Don't spend too much time trying to get fed by kills, all the nutrients you need are found in your (or enemy team's) jungle. However, if your allies are hugging the turret, make sure you gank them and don't make them angry or sad, it can cost you a game, especially in SoloQ.
As for the farming itself, you should learn how to kite the monsters. There is a spot near the camp where you can hit the monster, but it can't hit you and doesn't regen either. You should especially kite all the kinds of golems. You can also kite the dragon and kill him on lvl 5, but this is quite tricky and I didn't find a reliable way of doing it without letting him to regen huge chunks of health almost instantly, so I prefer doing it with help of at least one other team member.
As for the ganks, your only CC tool is your E, so the laners should all have some CC themselves. If not, gank only if they are hugging the turret. However, you have one slight advantage compared to other junglers - you have huge range, so you don't need the gap closer to hit them. It's pretty much possible that you'll have to take the kills instead of giving them to the lane, but since you are basically a jungle carry, it shouldn't be an issue.
My jungling route to start depends on map side. You start on the buff where your bot lane is, be it blue or red. Then you continue through the mid lane to wolves/wraiths and the other buff, continue by golem/wight, wolves/wraiths again (as they respawn a while after you get back there), then clear the other side of map and you probably have 850 gold, so you can recall for Madred's Razors and a Dagger, farming the jungle much faster from now on.
Mid game - ganking, first fights
Once you complete Feral Flare and buy Runaan's Hurricane, you have a great wave clear and sustain, you can also hit more enemies at once. If it's still laning phase, it can be soon over with your help - come to a lane, kill or zone the enemy, help the laner clear enemy minions and take the turret down from a safe distance. Any kills or assists will now increase the stacks on Feral Flare, so if there is anything happening anywhere on the map, go there. If you see no kill potential anywhere, farm your jungle some more, the stacks will count later.
Once in a teamfight, you have to realize you are still quite squishy. Before the boots upgrade and purchase of Warden's mail, you can't take too much beating or dive turrets for some prolonged duration. So play it safe and try to let someone else initiate the fights, then melt the enemies before they can harm you.
If your AD carry has long range (Caitlyn, Ez with his Q, ...) and has better result than you, leave the red buff to the carry, otherwise take it every time it revives, the slow makes chasing much easier. As for blue, give it to your mid unless he's manaless or ******ed.
Late game - monster mode
By the time it's late game, you should be quite tanky already. The build is quite cheap, so a full build in 35-40 minutes is quite common. You have some use for both elixirs and big monster kills still count in Flare's passive, so farm the jungles in your free time (while you wait for someone to respawn or so) and push the lanes only if your allies completely ignore the minions nearly pounding on your buildings.
You are now able to dive turrets for kills, since Feral flare heals you for (stacks+10) x3 health per autoattack (provided that there are enough enemies including minions), so don't get scared away by the sight of a turret. Take the objectives and secure your win as early as possible. Once you can't buy anything else than some elixir, you aren't getting much stronger anymore (other than by flare's body count), while they still have some items to increase their damage or defenses, becoming harder to kill every minute.
Your role is somewhat between a marksman and off-tank. You deal huge (magical) DPS and you are still pretty much tanky, yet you have no CC and you should stay slightly behind the real tank. So when the initiator starts a fight, walk straight in and try to hit as much enemies as possible, also sniping the ones low on HP with your ult.
You should try to remove the major damage dealers from the fight and then your sustain should make it easy to outsustain the rest of them. Other users of Feral flare might be a problem if there is no other enemy near them with feral flare and your W just went on cooldown, in that case, throw a vomit carpet in the direction you want to run away, and run till someone helps you or there are some other enemies near the scumbag.
If you take the squishier build, play it a lot safer, always relying on your team's CC to make sure you don't get hit too much - you still have great sustain, but your armor and resist is much lower, making you an easy kill if CCed.
Ranked Play - Who is Vlasec?
I am just some Gold IV player on EUNE, so you probably don't know my name. However, if you find me on op.gg, lolking or somewhere else, you can see that I'm going up and I have quite a good win rate with Kog'Maw jungle (and in the games I lost, I usually just had a bad team with almost no CC, missing tankiness or so). You might not believe me this works, but try it and surprise yourself and more notably, the nine players you'll will play with.
I tried it in some team ranked games as well, but the team was just made recently, so I don't have enough experience to tell if it works even in some higher leagues. However, I won all three games I played there, so it seems viable for teams, too.
Who are your enemies?
You should consider banning or picking Nasus. Kog has no escape ability and both the reduction of movement and attack speed will be fatal for him.
Another very important champion is Kayle. As an enemy, she can save someone from Kog and the on-hit won't even proc the healing when used on an immortal champion. If you play against her and someone has ult on him, flash away or hit something else, even minions, to save yourself. However, if you play with Kayle in your team and you aren't seriously behind, she can help you greatly. If she ults you when you have some HP missing, you will heal in the meantime, so it's possible to even win a 2v5 fight unless your enemies can use some CC chain on you.
Some junglers may prove to be trouble, for example, if Kha'Zix kills you, you can't just explode him with your innate if he runs away with low health. Nocturne can leap at you from a great distance kill you while you are running erratically in fear. Evelynn is a nightmare of basically everyone, with her great speed and hate spikes twice a second. Nunu slows your MS/AS significantly and makes it hard to run away even with flash ready, unless you flash over a wall.
Basically any jungler will cause you trouble, you will probably have to burn your first flash or two on escaping someone counter-jungling you and it's probable that you die if counterjungled a lot. They might as well laugh to you, that you are no jungler. Don't get taunted by that, you will make them regret later in the game.
Kog'Maw is a strong DPS champion that can deal heavy damage even without items. However, he lacks mobility and hard crowd control. If your team composition makes up for that, you can become a serious threat after farming the jungle for 16 minutes. However, it requires a team that doesn't lose turrets too fast, which can prove to be a problem in lower leagues like bronze or silver. In gold and platinum it seems to work properly with high win rates.
Anything you miss?
This build doesn't cover everything you'd like to know, I'm sure about that. If you want me to add some section or make some section more verbose, just tell me in the comments.