Cho'Gath Build Guide by Famine519
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.
Now with colour
Progression of items
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.
This guide is long, and thorough, and is meant to be for advanced players. That being said if you know how to play with Cho, the only things you have to read to understand this build is the "Who is afraid of the big bad Cho?" section and the item list. Sections 4-6 are there to give a step by step guide for decision making and jungling with this build. Unless you need that, don't waste your time with the wall of text. Sections 12 and 13 are common sense, Section 14 is my reasons behind the items used, if you don't need to read them - don't.
If you are unable to get a good start this build will fail. Most of the items required are very costly and will require a steady stream of income from kills to pay for it. If you start to fall behind then change your plan as how you want to play Cho.
So some general notes about the above information, this build is highly effective as a jungler, but can also bottom lane very well - if you can break out of the support + ADC thinking. I often use this build when playing with my team, and I go bottom with either a Nidalee, or a Diana (I will discuss this in the teamwork section). If you chose to lane, sub out Smite for either Teleport or Ignite. I prefer Teleport to get back into lane quicker after recall and also since then Distortion will then apply to both summoner spells. Abilities and Masteries have notes attached, rune page is strongly suggested but not required.
2. Items Subs
Most people do not use or like Manamune, however it has a three part purpose here. First it adds quite a bit of mana (usefulness described later). Second the unique passive adds a reasonable amount of damage to basic attacks and finally, passive abilities (such as vorpal spikes) will charge manamune with basic attacks! Such passives (like Teemo's poison) don't charge Archangel's so using Manamune will get you S. Embrace a lot quicker. This may be due to a glitch, and may be patched, but before the season three balancing update it works - I haven`t tested it since then (haven`t had a team able to withstand this build long enough to finish it). Also as of testing archangel's staff will transform first out of the two, as long as both are bought. A side note to this is I always get Tear of the Goddess, then buy a manamune (full price ei: keep the Tear you already had) then finish off with archangel's before the 750 cap. I don`t know this makes a difference but to be complete I figured I would state this.
Despite Muramana`s pros, the few people I have taught this build to still dislike including it. So there are a few things you may wish to sub in if you are one of these people.
Z. Hourglass - Gives armor and a shield as well as a nice spike in AP(the shield is a good counter to burst damage and feasts)
Abyssal Scepter - Gives alright AP, magic resist and magic pen.
R. C. Scepter - Gives health, good AP and the slow.
Second R.O.A. - Gives mana, more health then RCS and a good amount of ability power.
Anything other then these is in my opinion a waste. A Hextech Gunblade might be justifiable if you also use the active, solely due to the spell vamp and Life leech.
All further Chapters will assume the use of Muramana, unless otherwise stated.
Brace yourselves for some math:
0: Base at 18
26: Rune page
60: S. Embrace
390: Total AP
Not a lot right? Lets take a moment to calculate mana:
1000: S. Embrace
1115: Base + Runes
Now lets recalculate Ability Power:
200: 5% total mana (S. Embrace + Muramana)
147.5: 25% total ability power (Rabadon's)
Now since I rounded down a little bit on Mana, we are going to round up a little bit on the total AP for easier numbers later on - making the final AP of this build to be 750. Now that seems a little glass cannon like if you ask me, so lets figure out Health.
1880: Base at 18
150 x 6: Feast stacks
Hmm... maybe not a glass cannon after all. That is a lot of health for an APC... but what are the resists like? 82 Armor, 52.5 Magic resist that isn't to great, but better then a Teemo or Ev (sucks to be nerfed) or some of the Arhi's out there - and with 3.5k HP, few can burst damage you to death.
4. Welcome to the Jungle
Start game you want to be in the jungle, if you can get a good leash, consider getting a ward instead of the mana potion, and start on blue. ALWAYS be careful of invaders. I personally like to sit at wraiths until I see a few enemies show up in a lane, then I will go back for blue. If no one shows up in a lane then I will invade their blue with the leasher and take that. With blue on you should be able to kill wolves for level two (2)if you don`t already have it (leasher took a minion) and then wraiths before needing to recall. Once you recall get the flask and jungle at will. If other team likes to gank, anti jungle or go MIA, consider asking support to get ruby sight stone and place a ward at the key gank points on bot, and you yourself buy wards to ward the top half of the river.
Use the flask sparingly, as getting kills will give you health from the camp, and from your Champion Passive. Get red after your second recall, make sure you have smite, but don`t save it either. When you get it use it. After you get red, your blue should have just ran out and you should be at about level four (4) this is about the time where people need to recall. If your team mates are good and don`t need you then continue on with jungling. If you are needed in lanes, be cautious ganking, it is often better to just come from your turret and kill minions. Once you reach level six it is time to make a choice.
5. To gank or not to gank
If the enemy team is pushy and trying for kills, ganking is a good option, if the other team is hugging the turrets to much, stay in the jungle.
If you need to stay in the jungle, get the second tier hunters machete, the one that gives you mana and health regen and jungle to about 8 (feasting enemies, should have 3-5 stacks) then go and kill the dragon. Continue messing around in both jungles now, either trying to get there jungle or just stealing red and blue. When going into the other jungle, make sure you have flash on you and all of your abilities ready. If you see their jungler and can kill him WITHOUT chasing him deeper into their jungle and WITHIN ten seconds, do it. If there are MIAs, you could lose the fight, don`t have your abilities or are to far away from an escape route, run away. Also if you don`t kill him after using your abilities get out before you get ganked and killed. If you don`t meet their jungler then rupture + scream to kill all but the big monster, then smite and attack till he can be feasted and conclude with an eat and run.
If you get trapped on their side:
If at blue run behind Golem, attack the Golem if you have time and would like to aggro him at the other team, then flash over the tree line. You will be right next to the river, run to mid if your team has better control run to your red if they have better control. Consider ganking mid if the champion is at mid-low HP and you have abilities and health/can get back up from your team mid.
If at red, run to dragon/baron and flash next to him run bot/top (respectively) if it would be good for a gank or run to your blue if bot/top isn't in a position to be ganked.
Try to get to level 12 and then reassess ganking/pushing full time. Of course ganking and taking over someones lane well your team recalls is needed no matter the case.
Now on the other hand, if you are able to gank and get kills easily then do so. Feed as much as you can to get the build set up. Make sure you have feast ready whenever you gank, be cautious about where their jungle is and about MIAs. Also know where wards are if you can, or wait a few minutes after a ward is placed to go in for the gank. Ganking from their side of the map can often be a good alternative, sit in a bush between their turrets and if someone on their team needs to go back they will often come running right past you and you can rupture from within the bush for the kill.
If you are going to join a lane to push/get a turret kill, either join your team before engaging or go right after their champions to scare them off and make them recall for health. You need to know your abilities and how much damage you can do in order to pick the smarter choice.
6. Bunching up
Once a few turrets are destroyed, and you are at level 12(ish) your team should initiate the team fighting phase. Group up in a lane and push, forcing them to do the same. If they bunch up first, depending on factors such as team skills and build progress your team should either hold lanes and take out turrets or bunch up as a result.
If holding lanes, as the jungle go to the lane that needs the help and camp the turret, poke and dodge harassments, take turns going back to base for health and don`t leave the safety of the turret. This includes if you are at low HP and must recall, unless you can see all five of them, you are safer recalling at your turret then running past dead space and a bush. As Cho you have a responsibility here, if any of their team is going in for a poke or kill shot on your recalling team mate then silence them. If anyone walks in for the kill rupture them. One of the best things to do is let them run in and get a champion hit, then rupture them will in turret range. The turret will get at least one extra hit on them.
If team fighting then check the Team work section.
7. Q - Stop I say!
Rupture is an amazing ability, but I see far to many people who play on Cho missing the Rupture. Your target has half a second to “GTFO” before they get knocked up (careful on female champs, you don’t want babies). Similar to Blitz’s Q (the pull) landing a rupture on a target, especially if they are alone, often is a kill condition. The one (1) second air time plus three (3) second slow often stops even the fastest (Teemo) of champions in their tracks. So a couple of tricks to rupture:
Think about where the target is moving. Simple enough, most people do this when sniping on COD, aim where the person is going to be.
Most people underestimate the range of Rupture, sometimes just standing behind minions and casting at a champion who is just outside the range (remember the rupture extends a little bit farther out from where you click) is enough to get the hit.
Sit in a bush! I have never missed a Rupture well being inside a bush, champions often just stand there if they can`t see you and don`t even think about the little red circle of death forming around their feet.
Wait till the person is standing still. If someone is unfortunate enough to not be moving, by the time they notice the circle, move there mouse and click it will be to late for them.
So now you can hit with Rupture, what else can you use it for?
Checking bushes: Rupture will show you any enemies within the bush.
Escaping: Rupture on top of yourself, or just behind yourself and for the one second you spent to cast it you get about 3 seconds back.
Stopping opponents from getting minion kills: Rupture one of your own minions before they can get in and last hit it (works best against melee champions).
Herding enemies: Rupture at one of the escape routes to force an opponent to take damage (not likely) or walk into a gank.
Target the invisible guys: Wukong, LeBlanc and Shaco to name a few. Those pesky champs who disappear and run away. Next time a Twitch uses ambush, think about where he would head, and rupture that area. If you hit him, by the time he hits the ground, chances are invisibility is about to be gone... running at 60% reduced speed for the next three seconds, good luck getting away.
Harass: This is Cho's only harassing move, it is semi expensive and middle length cool down, so use it wisely, but the damage is worth it and the range is one of the best.
8. W - Burst damage? What burst damage?
Ever had a Diana or a Lee Sin jump on you from a mile away and melt your health away? Yeah, me too. Fortunately when you see that Diana jump into your team, or that Vi start charging up her lunge punch, Simply feral scream "No" at them. That awkward moment as Diana when you think to yourself: "Oh, I will just jump in there like a **** and use some orbs, pull them all into said orbs then ulti five (5) times in a row." and you jump in, then your combo stops. Thanks for special delivering the free kill to me, you`re dead before your team gets here and then it is a 4v5 team fight... Problem burst damage newbs?
Other uses for W are:
Team fights: Of course, if you can silence the whole enemy team it isn't hard to win.
Antiganking: Know someone is in a bush, Scream in the bush then walk in. Hard to be killed by mere auto attacks.
Interruption: Got a Yi recharging HP at the back? I think not! Go and give him a peace of your mind with your harsh words and that will stop his meditation. Stopping those Shens and Pantheons from using there ulti to get across the map is also effective
Stop targets from getting away: Wukong can`t decoy if he is silenced. Nidalee can`t jump over walls, Caitlyn can`t shoot through walls and no one can flash around them if you silence them... let them run into the corner at Baron Nashor (it is a circle but you get the idea), they have two and a half (2.5) seconds of "Deer in headlights" before they are going anywhere.
9. E - Throwing transport trucks at enemies
Don`t touch the E, it should always be on. UNLESS you are attacking a turret or a minion under a turret and don`t to accidentally hit a champ and get targeted.
The only two things about the Spikes are:
A) Line targets up so that your spikes hit as many targets as you can.
B) If a champion is almost dead and everything is on cool down, hit a minion so that the spikes can finish off the kill.
10. R - Nom nom nom
Two words, true damage. Here are two more, over powered. How many times have you thought to yourself that 1000 health was enough that you didn't need to recall? Lot's of people think that 1000 is their lucky number and that no one can insta-kill them. Some champions barely break 1500 before level 18. So sitting at 2/3 health is no big deal. Till you get flash feasted.
Feast should NOT be saved for just champions. Use it on blue or red or Dragon as often as you can, if you have to, feast a wolf to get another stack. Each stack increases attack range and max health, and makes you more scary. I back away from a Cho'Gath that takes up 1/4 of my laptop screen and so do most other people - get a skin too... everyone fears the skins.
Once you have 6 stacks then don`t feel like you need to save feast for the finishing blow either. Unless you are like Darius who steals EVERY kill with his ulti, then save it for the final blow. At the same time tho, use feast as your last ability as it has the longest cool down.
Feast can also be used to scare people off, if you feast a champion and take half of their health away then start walking away very seldom will they chase, unless you are at low health.
Also if you are going to die, try to land a feast on a champion so that your team mates can get the kill and you the assist. Your feast will be back up before you get back into the action.
ALWAYS remember that your feast does true damage, always know what your feast will do to another player (damage wise) and count their health bars, each bar is 100 health. so if you see three bars, don`t think that their magic resist will save them, go for the feast!
11. Who is afraid of the big bad Cho?
This is where the magic happens. The basic combo of Cho is this: Rupture, auto attack, Feral Scream auto attack, Feast, auto attack. Not a lot of Champions make it to the last auto attack, unless you are fighting a Mundo on ulti or a very very luck Volibear, there health will melt away. It should also be noted that Feral Scream might be better to use first, especially if the target is already slowed or snared.
It is important to have self control here. As tempting as it is to button mash all your abilities, you need to give lich bane the time it needs to cool down before spamming more buttons. It drastically increases damage.
Speaking of Damage, more math:
Rupture: Deals 305 base damage +100% AP
Our rupture will thus deal 1050 damage
Feral Scream: Deals 275 base damage +70% AP
Our scream will thus deal 800 damage
Vorpal Spikes: Deals 80 base damage +30% AP
Our spikes will thus deal 305 damage
Feast: Deals 650 base damage +70% AP
Our feast will thus deal 1175 damage
Lich banes ability gives us 50 +75% AP bonus damage
Our mastery gives us +5% AP bonus damage
We get a few bonus damage from masteries
Muramana gives us 6% of our current mana in bonus damage
So, the hardcore math (Orange is magic damage, Green is physical damage and Red is true damage):
Rupture deals: 1050
Auto attack deals: 150 + 650 (% ap) + 305 (Spikes) + 240 (Muramana)
Scream deals: 800
Auto attack deals: 150 + 650 (% ap) + 305 (Spikes) + 220 (Muramana)
Feast deals: 1175
Auto attack deals: 150 + 650 (% ap) + 305 (Spikes) + 200 (Muramana)
Totals: 450 5375 1175
So, being generous with the opponents resistances, we will say they take 1/2 reduced damage from physical and 2/5 (40%) reduced damage from magic.
Now we 225 3225 and 1175
Giving us a grand total of 4625 damage to our target... So again I ask: Health? What health?
Now this damage is to a single champion, however, Q, W and E are all AOE abilities, so to people to close you deal 2155 damage which then has to go through their magic resist.
12. Team Work
With regards to team work and team fights there are a lot of different roles you can fill. The best ones are tank buster and crowd control. You can burst your way through an enemy tank quite easily or silence, stun and then slow the whole other team. Or kill two glass cannons before they knew what hit them. Most of the tricks to using Cho in fights is above in the ability overviews, taking those suggestions into team fights is mostly all there is to it.
A few things you may want to try are as follows, these are more personal experience types of things so feel free to pick and choose or add to what you will do when it comes to team work. The list will get updated as I think of more things.
Bot lane double poke: With the Diana or Nidalee (as mentioned above) we will typically target one of the opposing laners and I will rupture, then Di will Crescent strike or Nid will get a full length spear well they are in the air. Easy way to take half health away from a champion early game. On a side note, most throw on a potion of healing at this point, any healing early game should get countered with ignite from one of the laners (unless only one has ignite) as ignite will reduce their healing effects by half, and do damage, otherwise nullifying the potion.
Saving team mates: When a team mate is surrounded by enemies, or can`t run away fast enough, throw down a rupture to let them get back to safety.
Giving a carry kills: rupture and silence an enemy and if needed feast them so that a carry on your team can basic attack or ignite to finish them off.
For attacking Turrets, use any ability and then hit for bonus damage with lich bane. If you hit the enemy teams minions then your minions will target the turret instead making it quicker to take down the turret. General rule of thumb, when you have either one (1) full health minion or two (2) half health minions it is time to go. Unless the turret is at half health and you can finish it quickly. Don't be a try hard for turret kills, they aren't going to heal you can come back to it if you need to run away for a few minutes.
For attacking the Nexus, you get a really nice surprise to give the other team. Simply flash over the wall (to avoid being seen by minions) or wait for them to pass and then walk over to the Nexus and use the same technique for turrets on the Nexus. Try to save your feast for that champion that tries to be a hero, bite him and then attack the Nexus. If you have been terrorizing all game he will run for health giving you more time to finish the game. Don't try for the kill, it is better to just finish it.
It is also a good idea to note that most enemy champions will be protecting a lane to their Nexus, if you are able to put the Nexus to 1/4 health but your team dies, run away. Go into the jungle, flash over their wall and target the Nexus. With anything under a third of it's health the Nexus wont live long enough for the enemy champions to kill you.
14. Items 2 - Synergy
Here is the reasoning behind each items:
Boots: Every champion needs them, although if the other team isn't very map aware consider adding in a R.C.S. to slow them allowing you to keep up. The extra damage and HP is never a bad thing.
Rabadon`s: Lots of AP plus a boost from other items giving AP
Lich bane: Over powered auto attacks, AP for Rabadon's, Mana and movement speed increase.
S. Embrace: Big mana boost, AP for Rabadon's, more AP based on Mana, and shield which can take up to 1k damage
Muramana: Big mana boost, more powerful auto attacks and more AP based on Mana.
R.O.A.: Plus to mana, plus to health and AP for Rabadon's
Note that Muramana's and S. Embrance's 1000 mana boosts work together, as do their AP based on max mana. The large spike of mana from Muramana gives an extra 250 damage to S.Embraces shield. ROA gives more mana to this (as does lich bane) and ROA gives health. Everything gives AP to Rabadon's
which then boosts the damage from Lich bane. The only thing that doesn't feed into this gross item combo are the boots, but having the magic pen boots will increase your damage by quite a bit. I just use mobility so I can gank each lane with minimal wasted time and so I can save team mates quicker with rupture.
Upon teaching the carrier Cho to a friend, (1v1 proving grounds), we determined that this build was way to hard to kill, so we set out to find some ways in which we could effectively beat the build. Before getting to that I would like to share what was learned from OP Cho vs OP Cho.
Rupture is the most important spell to initiate with. When we fought if one of us missed our Q and the other landed it, that person won.
Starting with silence - bad idea. When getting hit with silence and then rupture by the time I hit the ground I was able to silence him. Thus I stopped myself getting feasted allowing me to rupture, silence, auto attack feast.
When playing against a champion with under 4k hp, auto attack between rupture and silence was not needed. if the feast wasn't enough to get the kill in the combo above then the next auto attack was.
As for another build taking on this Cho. Keep him at a distance! Don't get ruptured either. Keep flash ready to dodge abilities.
Using Veigar who does more damage based on AP, a stun and then ulti can nearly insta-kill this build.
Also Lux and Ryze with their snares are very effective at shutting Cho down.
Don't let him stay with six (6) stacks of feast.
Don't feed the Cho.
Use Z. hourglass to shield before an ulti, if near minions then Cho will feast the minion instead and you are safe.
Mana barriers or Poppy's champ passive also help due to the nature of the damage done.
Kayle's ulti will save you, just make sure that you are doing high damage so that you can kill him before the shield wears off.
In conclusion, this build is able to deal out lots of damage well still being tanky. I normally wouldn't have put this up as I don't like playing against this build, but I am sick of people telling me that you can't have a carry Cho. Any feedback is welcome, and thanks for taking the time to read this. Anyone who has found another way to counter this build please let me know and I will update this, also any other roles in team fighting would be nice. I would like to publish this for quick feedback, depending on the feed back I will make this a little nicer to read by using codes and colours, maybe a picture or two.