Kog'Maw Build Guide by Dukktete
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Yes it's a Homestuck reference
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Hello. Today we'll be discussing my personal favorite champion.
Kog'Maw, mouth of the abyss
Now, I know what you're thinking; "Dukktete! There are already so many Ability Power Kog'Maw guides, why make another one?"
Simply put, I haven't found a guide that builds him this way. Of course, there are probably a couple out there, but most of the guides on Mobafire build him like a Caster. Which, yes, is perfectly viable. But I feel as though he can do a lot more. And with the increase in the mana cap on his Living Artillery, it makes it difficult to do consistent damage without running out of mana fairly quickly.
This is my first guide here on Mobafire, so please forgive me if it's a bit lackluster.
And if you want something added to the Match ups section, please feel free to leave a comment so that I can add it in.
His passive: Icathian Surprise
Upon dying, Kog'Maw starts a chain reaction in his body which causes him to move faster and detonate after 4 seconds; dealing 100 + (25 x lvl) true damage to surrounding enemies.
This passive is what makes Kog'Maw so unforgiving. However, it can be tricky to use. If you find yourself in a fight that you know you're going to lose, do not try to run away. Nine out of ten times you won't survive anyway. So instead, turn and stand your ground. Deal as much damage to your enemy as possible and try to pick up the kill with Icathian Surprise. This will often either get you a kill or burn their Flash. It also means that if you get picked off fairly early on in a teamfight, while not gamebreaking, it will still allow you to do a bit of damage to the enemy carries.
His first ability: Caustic Spittle
Passive: Increases attack speed by 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 %
Active: Kog'Maw launches a corrosive projectile which deals 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and reduces the target's armor and magic resist by 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 for 4 seconds.
This, I feel, is Kog'Maw's most under-rated ability. While the range, yes, is too short to make active use of it, with the rise of bruisers with gap-closers in the current meta, I think that Caustic Spittle is far from useless. It has decent damage and great scaling. And as well, the debuff will allow your other abilities to do more damage. Not to mention that the passive means you don't have to build so much attack speed and can focus more on other stats. Use it to last-hit or harass in lane. Throw it on an enemy if they get themselves in range. But remember to Never get yourself in range to use it.
I'll level this first most of the time. Simply because it helps a lot in lane.
His second ability: Bio-Arcane Barrage
Kog'Maw's attacks gain 130 / 150 / 170 / 190 / 210 range and deal an additional 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 % (+1% per 100 ability power) of the target's maximum Health as Magic Damage (Max: 100 Damage vs Monsters). Lasts 8 seconds.
Arguably his most useful ability, this is one of the things that Kog'Maw is most known for. At max level it will give him 210 bonus attack range. This allows him to safely position himself away from pesky bruisers and still do damage. However, the % health damage increases by only 1% for every 100 ability power. This means that stacking only AP is inefficient to say the least.
I usually level this last, as you won't use it for much other than harass in lane. Alternatively, you can level it second if you feel you need the added damage earlier. Or first when facing an assassin like Akali or Katarina, when you would need to stay out of range to be able to farm safely.
His third ability: Void Ooze
Kog'Maw launches ooze which deals 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+70% of ability power) magic damage to enemies it passes through. Enemies hit are also slowed by 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52% for 1 second.
Additionally, it leaves a trail which slows enemies by 20 / 28 / 36 / 44 / 52% for .25 seconds. This slow duration is refreshed if the enemies stay on the trail.
There isn't much to say about Void Ooze. It has a good scaling and decent base damage, as well as a slow. If enemies are chasing you, cast it in front of yourself and keep walking. If they continue chasing, they'll be slowed by the trail, while you can walk over it fine.
I usually level this second, but you can level it first if you want to apply a lot of pressure in-lane. Don't spam it too much early on, however. It costs quite a bit of mana and will leave you OOM (Out Of Mana for those who aren't hip) if you cast it to often. And as well, it will push the lane if you harass with it too much. And with little to no escape, overextending in lane is a bad idea.
Kog'Maw's ultimate ability: Living Artillery
Kog'Maw fires artillery from a great distance. After a 0.6 second delay, the artillery falls dealing 80 / 120 / 160 (+30% of ability power) (+0.5 per bonus attack damage) magic damage and reveals targets for 4 seconds. It deals 125% bonus damage (225% total damage) to Champions. Each subsequent Living Artillery in the next 6 seconds costs 40 additional mana (Max 400).
Warning: Do not spam!
This is the ability that kog'maw is most known for. It makes him nearly impossible to escape , and turns him from a threat into a nightmare. With an AP scaling of 67.5% towards champions, even with only 300-400 AP you're going to be doing Tons of Damage. And with 2200 maximum range, running from Kog'Maw is not an option. However, do be wary of the increased mana costs. Unless you're going for the kill, try not to exceed 3 uses of Living Artillery in a row. Otherwise you'll quickly find yourself out of mana.
Use this to poke down carries before teamfights. Or to pick off anyone trying to escape from one.
It has a longer range than most any other non-global ultimate in the game.
Use it. Abuse it.
It can be difficult to land sometimes, and requires a bit of practice. But it's probably the most rewarding ability in his kit to master.
Aside from the recommended build at the top, there are quite a few other ways to build.
If the enemy team has an abundance of gap-closers, or you are laning against a melee assassin, it's definitely worthwhile to take this instead of Void Staff. If not, though, ask your tank if he can build it for you. The MR reduction will greatly increase your damage output.
This is a great item if you're being focused down early on in teamfights. It adds a lot of survivability and a revive. Take this in place of Rabadon's Deathcap if you feel you need it
If single-target damage isn't your thing, and you think you would benefit more from the added attack-speed, then go ahead and take this item in place of Nashor's Tooth. I don't take this item because it's a very hit-or-miss pick. The passive hits the nearest target, so often-times you'll be hitting the tanks, or just minions, with the extra bolts. If you find that, more often than not, teamfights are happening in the jungle, rather than in lanes, I'd take this. Overall though, I think it's a pretty nice item for AP kog'maw, but one that's hard to use effectively.
Another great defensive pick. If you find yourself being targeted often, or if the enemy team has a lot of DoTs (Damage Over Time) or AoE (Area of Effect), then it's worth it to take this item in place of Rabadon's Deathcap
Match ups: Easy
As with any champion, Kog'Maw has both good matchups, and bad ones. These are what I have found to be the eaasiest.
Teemo, the Swift Scout
In lower ELOs you'll see this guy a lot. Not so much in mid-lane, but occasionally you will be put up against him. When this happens, just play passively and try to avoid his poke until you can get to level six. Once you have your ultimate, poke him down and try to zone him out. Most of the time Teemo will not build much survivability. And because he has no sustain, he's easy to poke down if you can land your Living Artillery
In this match up, you will want to level Void Ooze first.
Nidalee, the Bestial Huntress
Infamous for her deadly spears and slippery escapes, Nidalee can outrun and out-damage most mid-laners. The difficulty of the match up largely depends on personal skill level. As long as you're good at dodging her spears, you're going to have a good time. You outrange her by a lot, so try to poke her down from behind your minions. The trick here is not to try to kill her, but to poke her down enough that she has to wear out her mana spamming Primal Surge. If she tries to Pounce onto you, use Void Ooze to slow her and step back. You can't fight her head-on.
In this match up, you should level Bio-Arcane Barrage first.
Karthus, the Deathsinger
Karthus' great game presence with his ultimate, Requiem can make him a nightmare to play against if he isn't shut down early. However, he has a very short range and little to no mobility to be able to dodge your Living Artillery. Always alert your team when he hits level six. Poke him down from afar with Living Artillery whenever you can, and try to farm with your Bio-Arcane Barrage. Consider investing in a Zhonya's Hourglass or Banshee's Veil to negate his Requiem
In this match up, level Bio-Arcane Barrage first.
Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil
Veigar's short range means that he won't be able to do much to you unless he can stun you with Event Horizon. If he does manage to trap you in there, don't run. You'll just get stunned. Instead, stand your ground and try to fight him. His early game damage is fairly weak. Harass him as much as possible so that he can't farm up his Baleful Strike.
In this match up, level Bio-Arcane Barrage first. And consider taking Cleanse.
Match ups: Intermediate
Most of these match ups come down to skill. If you can out-play your opponent, you're going to have a good time.
Cho'Gath, the Terror of the Void
I hear all the time that Kog'Maw is supposed to counter cho'gath, because kog'maw does % health damage and cho'gath is a health-stacker. And while this may be true late-game, in-lane, cho'gath will out-damage Kog'Maw, and his cc will make it very difficult to farm effectively. Try to dodge his Rupture at all costs, as that's usually his opener for his combo. If he uses rupture to farm, harass him while it's down with your Bio-Arcane Barrage. Keep in mind it has a cooldown of 9 seconds at all levels. Once the ability is back up, back off. Just like with Nidalee, you can't fight him head-on.
In this match up, level Bio-Arcane Barrage first.
Modekaiser, the Master of Metal
Mordekaiser is one I've always had trouble with. His passive, Iron Man, will completely deny you harass. And you can't fight him head-on, because he will wreck you. The best course of action is to play passively, farm what you can, and only poke when you see his shield get low. Because he's melee, it's worth it to get an Abyssal Scepter in place of your Void Staff
In this match up, level Caustic Spittle first.
Morgana, The Fallen Angel
Where do I even begin... Morgana, as well, is someone I've always had trouble with. She can deal heavy damage if you don't dodge her Dark Binding. Her Tormented Soil will make it difficult to farm well, and her Black Shield will deny a lot of harass. Typically, you'll want to stay on the move. Dodge her Dark Binding at any cost. And remember that Tormented Soil does do damage. Don't stand on it. Remember that the cooldown on Black Shield is fairly long. So harass her with Living Artillery and Bio-Arcane Barrage while it's down. And again, always be ready to dodge Dark Binding
In this match up, level Bio-Arcane Barrage first. And take Cleanse if you don't think you can reliably dodge Dark Binding.
Lux, the Lady of Luminosity
The sister of Morgana, Lux is a very similar match up. Her Light Binding is harder to dodge and her burst can hurt a lot. When you're matched up with Lux, consider buying a Zhonya's Hourglass Other than that, she plays fairly similarly to you. Abusing her long range to harass without taking any herself. Turn the around on her; whenever she comes to farm or harass, punish her with your Living Artillery and Void Ooze. Just like Morgana, it's important that you dodge her Light Binding at any cost. Especially once she hits level six.
In this match up, level Void Ooze first, and take Cleanse.
Karma, the Enlightened One
Underplayed and under-appreciated, Karma is a champion you'll very rarely see. Much less in mid-lane. Because of your low mobility, you'll have to be careful of her Inner Flame. If she can get off her Focused Resolve on you, try to back off. If she manages to root you, she can put off some heavy damage with Soulflare. A good Karma will be able to deny you a lot of harass with her Inspire. Do not try to turret-dive her unless you know for sure that her Mantra is down. Otherwise she'll just heal back up with Renewal and possibly root you under the turret.
In this match up, level Caustic Spittle first.
Match ups: Hard
In these match ups, you're advised to play very safely. Farm what you can and try to make it to late-game.
Leblanc, the Deceiver
Leblanc's early-game burst and mobility with Distortion mean that you're going to have a bad time. Come late-game, as long as she isn't fed, she'll fall off, while you're just starting to really shine. Don't be afraid to ask your jungler for help. And remember to never push your lane past the halfway point.
In this match up, level Caustic Spittle first.
Akali, the fist of shadow
Until level six, Akali can't do much. She's melee and has no gap closer other than her ultimate. Know this, and play aggressively until she hits six. Never let her get in range and punish her with Bio-Arcane Barrage and Void Ooze. After she hits level six, fall back. Turret hug if you can. Never get within range of her Shadow Dance.
In this match up, level Void Ooze first.
Fizz, the Tidal Trickster
Fizz, just like Akali, is melee. But he has a better start than her. He's very mobile, and so you won't be able to hit him with Living Artillery. Once he hits level six, you will want to play very cautiously. Staying next to your turret and lane-freezing if possible. If he tries to dive you, slow him with Void Ooze and try to deal as much damage as possible. If you die, you'll probably be able to take him out with your passive, Icathian Surprise.
In this match up, you'll want to level Void Ooze first, and take Barrier.
Match ups: Just give up now.
Notice anything about all these champions? They're all assassins who like jumping on squishy carries. And Kog'Maw does not like being jumped on. If you get one of these lanes, ask for a lane switch with either the AD carry or the top lane if you think you'd do better there.
Kog'Maw's lane phase is difficult. If you don't play right, you can be shut down very easily. Before level six, you want to be careful, last-hitting and farming are your priorities. The goal at this point is to get as much gold as possible and hit level six quickly.
Once you do hit six, though, things start to change. The range on Living Artillery allows you to be one of the best harassers in the game. This can allow you to easily zone out your opponent if you manage to poke them down.
Normally I'll recall to get my Tear of the Goddess as soon as I have 700 gold. However, if you're falling behind, don't. Just keep farming and try to at least break even before going back.
Your goal by the end of the lane phase is to at least have your Nashor's Tooth and Tear of the Goddess.
Around this point you should be starting to do some damage. In teamfights, you want to always stay in the back, behind tanks. On Kog'Maw, you'll quickly find that, probably more than any other carry (AP or AD), you need to have good positioning. Your lack of sustain means that you won't be able to recover from any damage you take. And your lack of escape means that, unless your team can actively and effectively peel for you, getting caught overextending in a teamfight will get you killed.
Before a teamfight, when both teams are waiting to initiate, you will want to continuously poke with Living Artillery. Aim for squishy carries, but don't put yourself in a bad spot just to hit them. Once the teamfight starts, activate Bio-Arcane Barrage. The added range will make positioning easier, and if one of the enemy carries gets within range, burst them down by chaining your Caustic Spittle, Void Ooze, and Living Artillery together. This will deal a lot of damage and possibly remove them from the fight, if not kill them.
Huge range with Living Artillery and Bio-Arcane Barrage.
Decent burst potential.
Can still contribute with Icathian Surprise even if he dies quickly in a teamfight.
High skill-cap: Always room to improve
Monarch Kog'Maw is the best skin in the game
Lack of sustain means you have to play carefully
No built-in escape mechanisms
Can be difficult to land Living Artillery
In all, I don't think that I see a build like this very often. Which is sad, because it's amazing on Kog'Maw. The 400 Ability Power this build provides is enough to make his Bio-Arcane Barrage deal 10% of the target's maximum health in extra damage with every auto-attack. The attack speed brings it up to almost two attacks per second. Which, yes, isn't the most you can get, but it's still a lot. Combine that with all the Magic Penetration in the build, and late-game you'll be dealing 20% of their maximum health every second unless they're stacking Magic Resistance. And even then, with the general lack of large Magic Resistance in Summoner's Rift, you'll still be doing quite a lot of damage even if they do.
So please, give my build a try. If you have any ideas for how to improve it, please feel free to leave a comment!