Cho'Gath Build Guide by CholeraToxin
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.
As a tank your role in the game is very much like a support. Whereas supports will push the team by giving bonuses to allies or disables to enemies, a tank has to support his theam with his resilience. You will have to lead the charge and soak up all the damage from your teammates, trigger as many enemy skills and ults as you can to get your allies into a better position. No matter how fed your ADC is, an enemy assassin will always be a threat to them. It's your JOB to make sure that that enemy assassin can never get in position to strike.
Quite straightforward if you ask me. Marks could be swapped for more armor, but that would not be cost effective. Also Quints can be swapped for magic resist if the enemy is selecting heavy AP.
Since we'll be doing most of the damage with our abilities, only take some AP and magic damage raising Offensives and save the rest for more tankyness.
You should aim to be as annoying for the enemy team as possible. Other than health and armor and some AP, you should get items that give bonuses to allies or hinder enemies without you having to hit them. As you are difficult to kill, enemies will try to evade you and get to the easier and more impactful targets. You should do all you can to make them feel like they can't just pass you by. Become such a hurdle for them that they need to get you out of the way first.
Doran's Shield is still the way to go as your first purchase even after the recent nerfs. Don't worry about getting only one potion, your passive should keep you healthy unless you get up against a very aggressive lane.
Your first purchase should be the basic boots as you lack mobility.
Rylai's is a good first item to build to get your early health boost and skill damage up to speed. The passive also works wonders with all your skills, especially E, which will slow everyone in front of you on every autoattack, practically keeping the attacking enemy team in a perpetual slow.
Ninja Tabi give a nice amount of armor that you always need. Much later on, when the serious teamfights begin get captain on it to give an edge to your team.
Sunfire Cape not only gives the health and armor, but it's passive is just what you need in teamfights.
Liandri's Torment also gives both HP and AP and it's passive synergizes well with Rylai's passive: All enemies your spells hit will be slowed by Rylai's, causing them to have impaired movement, doubling Liandri's damage to 12% current HP. Combine this with your W and E in a teamfight to wear down an entire enemy team very fast.
Frozen Heart will take you to the next level with the massive amount of armor it provides. Again, mind the passive. It will slow attack speed of enemies considerably.
Warmog will give you the health boost you need to tank through the late game.
You should get Q first and then forget about it. It's a good spell that has many uses but leveling it up doesn't give any bonuses to area of effect or duration of the knock up. The worst part is the delay that will have even the more experienced players miss with it every now and again and this is something you can't risk in the early game when you still have to mind your mana. Use this skill to get an overeager enemy laner off your back.
You would normally max W first. It has does only a little less damage and will take effect instantly, resulting in much fewer misses.
If your enemy is very passive in the lane preoccupied with farming rather than going after you, you can opt to put more points into E first. It's an awesome skill for farming, making Cho'Gath one of the best farmers in the game. You will be outfarming practically anyone by level 5. Not only will all your AAs get AoE damage, but the spikes fly out with a very small delay, making the skill correct your missed last hits for you. A passive lane is a won lane for Cho'Gath.
Your Ult is a real nuke and will net you lots of kills when used wisely. The most important part of managing it is to know when to use it and when to reserve it. Keep in mind that you're a tank and as such need as much survivability as you can get. I usually eat up cannon minions in lane whenever I feel relatively safe. You have to collect those stacks as soon as possible for the max health boost of 900 hp at ult lvl 3. Only forgo feeding on minions if you see an impending fight. Untill you have max stacks you should definitely prioritize feeding for stacks than feeding in fights. I will sometimes decide to eat a minion even if I know a fight is inevitable, but I think I can easily run to safety afterwards.
You ult is your only weapon that can do enough damage to break an enemy. You need to reserve it and use it wisely in fights. It's great for baiting an enemy into believing he's winning an 1v1, then you suddenly hit him with 800 true damage, turning the fight around.
Keep in mind, your main job in game is not to rack up a bunch of kills, but to CC and soften up enemies for your adc and fighters. When in team fights always assess the situation in terms of how your teammates are doing. When you see and ally and enemy fighter in a balanced fight, throw a Q under them to give your ally the upper hand. Silence their AP-s with W when they try to attack your ADC. Hit their tank with your R to help the ADC kill him faster. In late game only use your skills to benefit yourself when noone else is around. You have all that health and armor so you don't need to defend yourself with skills.
The role of the tank is an ungreatful one. You will not be scoring the big kills, and because of that your contribution to the games will sometimes be overlooked.
What you need to keep in mind is that although everyone wants to be that shining star with 30-0-0 stats who carries the whole team to victory, this is a 5v5 game and no single player can accomplish such a feat without the other four clearing the way for him. Good players will always realize the contribution you made to that victory, and in my experience it's more fun to take up a role that's deeper than farm farm farm rightclick.
Playing supports or tanks allows you to influence the outcome of the game without actually killing the enemy. That's what makes it uniquely fun.