Build Guide by wwwwwwwww
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.
Introduction to Malphite
Malphite was one of the earlier hybrid tanky-dps attempts made by riot. He seems to have been intended to be played as both a dps, and an offtank, but due to the style of his abilities, he is only good as a tank. The abilities list as follows:
*Granite Shield(Passive): Malphite starts the game with a shield that absorbs damage equal to 10% of his health. If Malphite is not damaged for 12 seconds the shield replenishes automatically. Like all shields, this bubble benefits from Malphite's magic resist and armor, so it lasts longer if you have alot of both than if you simply stack health.
*Seismic Shard(Q): Slow Missile, automatically hits target. Shard deals 70/120/170/220/270(+.6ap) damage and steals 14/17/20/23/26% of the target's speed. 70/75/80/85 mana, 8 second cooldown. Shard is used primarily for harrassing opponents and to steal speed from fast enemies to run away or chase down enemies. It does good damage by itself, and doesn't need ap, so I wouldn't suggest building ap.
*Brutal Strikes(W): Temporary stat increase, passive aoe damage on auto-attacks. Brutal Strikes was once purely a damage buff with an aoe passive, but due to recent changes and the overall play-style of Malphite, the ability was changed to add lower damage but increase armor. Passive: auto-attacks deal 30/38/46/54/62% of your damage to each enemy unit near the target. Activate to increase armor and damage by 20/25/30/35/40% for 6 seconds. Brutal strikes is ideal for pushing minion waves, hitting towers, and adding that extra force to enemy champions. I recommend using it mostly when tanking turrets and fighting physical damage champions. The other use is to increase damage to turrets. Brutal strikes increases the overall damage of Ground Slam when activated. 16 second cooldown, 55/60/65/70/75 mana.
*Ground Slam (E): AOE burst ability, Attack speed slowing ability. Ground slam deals 60/100/140/180/220 (+50% of your armor damage) and lowers attack speed of all affected enemy units by 30/35/40/45/50% for 4 seconds. Ground Slam is Malphite's main contribution to fights, his original and current job is to chase down enemy carries during group fights and ground slam them to dramatically lower their damage output. It is used for damage against some large minion waves, and near weak champions or large numbers of them. 8 second cooldown, 60/65/70/75/80 mana.
*Unstoppable Force (Ultimate) (R): Charge skillshot, Aoe, Knock Up. Disclaimer: glitches often and is not unstoppable. Randomly glitches, occasionally charges with no damage or knock up on enemies within the radius where you land. Stopped by turrets and walls at random intervals, hard to use. A multitude of other problems you will occasionally notice. Charge to targeted location, charge speed is roughly double Malphite's normal speed(so it is slow and hard to use sometimes). In a small radius around the target location, enemies will take 200/300/400 damage and be knocked up (when it works). Area of effect is smaller than the radius of the targeting circle used to aim, so target as close as possible to enemy cluster. 100 mana, Long cooldown. About 1-2 minutes depending on your cooldown reduction. Ult is used to escape enemy ganks, stop enemies from ganking an ally and helping him/her escape, interrupt devastating abilities, and most importantly to mess up enemy champions during a group fight. Unstoppable force is a great initiating ability, but due to the difficulty your allies have following and the capacity for a bad ult to cost the team a fight, I strongly recommend using it during fights that have already started or when enemies are already in turret or ally range rather than to initiate fights. Hint: it isn't how many people you hit, but who you hit and when that is important.
Malphite is primarily built with tank items, the tougher he is build, the more useful he is.
*Start with health or health regen, I recommend the Regrowth pendent because Malphite has low natural regeneration compared to other champions and the health regen is useful for surviving longer laning periods. Take a health or mana potion (preferably mana) to increase Malphite's laning presence by about 30 seconds before he has to return to base. Resistances take a while to build up, so starting with the health is more useful, even though late game your resistances are the most important part of the build. Build the ruby crystal or regrowth pendent next.
*Malphite should begin building his boots after he has ruby crystal and regrowth pendent. If at any time you can afford the Giant's belt for Warmog's, get that instead, but otherwise finishing mercury treads is top priority. You should NEVER get boots other than mercury treads, the cooldown reduction boots can be useful, but Mercury treads are crucial for the magic resistance and the crowd control reduction.
*Finish the Warmog's as fast as possible. Health is hard for enemies to deal with early game, and it takes a long time for resistances to pay off. (I prefer resistances though).
*Start frozen heart or force of nature depending on enemy team comp. Frozen heart is usually better at this point because with these runes/masteries/boots you lack armor at this point and armor improves Ground Slam. Malphite is also more useful to the team with cooldown reduction. At this point the only concerns should be armor/magic resist and health regeneration. (For those of you who don't realize, the strength of spirit talent increases your health regeneration by 3% of your mana. Frozen heart actually gives 15 health regeneration when it is completed, and your natural health regeneration will be substantially increased with this talent.
*If you still are getting hit hard by physical dps after frozen heart is completed. (not suprising at all with this build.) Start on thornmail immediately. Thornmail says to your opponents: "Do not hit me with that auto-attacks" and will push your armor up to over 270. Getting thornmail on a tank without a taunt seems counter-productive since it pushes enemies to focus the squishies more. But it increases your armor and increases ground slam's damage by 50. You should be free to run straight up to the dps and supports and damage them as much as possible, which lowers the damage they do to your team by enough that it doesn't matter that they're going for the dps. Ranged carries/casters/supports are the easiest to shut down since they worry more about running away from you than anything else and they sometimes forget to damage you or your allies or heal/otherwise support their teammates as they worry about their own skins.
*From this point finish force of nature if you haven't already done so, then get the second frozen heart. Only the armor and mana from Frozen heart actually stack, but you get more health regen and armor (staying power) and you run out of mana less frequently. Pushing the limit on resistances is your main priority as a tank.
For those of you experienced with tanks, you may be wondering why I recommend so few items and leave out Guardian Angel, Randuin's Omen, Sunfire, and Banshee's. I've been tanking for a long time and will go through the reasons why below.
Guardian Angel: Still good with this build and you might just want to replace the thornmail or the second frozen heart with this item, but at the points where you get it, resistances are your top priority, and GA just isn't very cost efficient. The resistance race is important late game, so I just do not have much reason to build this item. Especially since I survive so long that I don't need it unless I play really stupid.
Randuin's Omen: Tanky-dps item, that is my reason. It provides good health, but tanking is mostly about reducing the damage you take. Randuin's Omen used to be a core of my build, but the reduction to armor weakened it beyond the acceptable armor/magic resist parameters a tough build requires. Warden's mail is still good because it has the slow and good armor for it's cost, but the cost to upgrade to Omen is just no longer worth it. Until Omen gets a buff, or a change to be more armor heavy, I absolutely refuse to use it. Warmog's+other armor items is just more efficient.
Sunfire Cape: great item, but the Giant's Belt is expensive and the armor doesn't increase with upgrade. Warmog's is more efficient for health and provides regen, Sunfire is expensive to build and takes a while to get while other armor items can be more viable.
Banshee's veil: People seem to love this item for multiple reasons. Health+mr from same item and a spell shield. But the item has many problems. It costs roughly the same as Force of Nature for roughly 2/3 of the magic resistance. The health regeneration from Force of nature provides the same or usually more health than banshee's veil over time. The mana and health on Banshee's are very low anyway. Building high resistances and health regen works very well on tanks, and there are very good health-exclusive items like warmog's that help you survive better early game. By late game, resistance stacking is important, and Force and even Quicksilver sash keep Malphite up much better for their cost. A good tank probably shouldn't take banshees to be honest. Force of nature is just really good, and it is still highly stackable when more magic resistance is needed.
Armor pen/ magic pen are actually much better against low resistance targets. So getting the health early and stacking resistances as fast as possible from then on keeps tanks up much better. Once armor reaches about 270, last whisper starts to lose its effectiveness and stacking more armor than that keeps physical damage characters from killing you well. The 193 magic resist may not seem like much, but magic damage is usually burst damage and despite the ability to ignore 55% of magic resist, the health from warmog's will make the difference that keeps you up as you just scare the caster off.
Magic resistance runes are actually the best right now because with flat rune you get +42, and scaling runes can push you much higher. They are also cheap to buy and can make up for the serious lack of magic resistance in many tanking builds. I recommend a full magic resistance rune page on most tanks just for the durability early game and because the lack of extra armor and health can be overlooked if you build items well.
For masteries, always get strength of spirit on Malphite and put at least the 9 points I have in defensive. Usually Malphite increases his mana pool rather than getting mana regeneration, and clarity can fill you up or you can port when you need. Utility is the most useful tree since some defensive masteries don't seem to work properly or effectively and the masteries in utility are the most useful in the game.
Clarity is a must on Malphite. The easiest way to die on Malphite is a lack of mana early game, and more often than not your team will have some people with mana problems. Malphite's toughness helps ensure that he's there to refill the team when needed to keep his mages and other allies in the fight. Early game Malphite is plagued by mana problems, and his abilities provide most of his usefulness and ability to escape.
An escape ability is usually necessary on characters, and Malphite is no different. Since Ghost works well with Malphite's ability to steal speed, Malphite can get very far on Ghost. Flash is just too short of a distance for it to be worth it on Malphite anyway, and Malphite needs the chasing ability from ghost to get around in emergencies.
How to play Malphite.
Malphite is a low damage champion that can do well when built with lots of toughness. When built with resistances and health regen, he survives a long time against most teams (even all 5) mid-late game and he only needs to be out of the fight not taking damage for a short time to heal much of his health back with this build. (as a bonus he can refresh his passive)
Most ranged carries, mages, and supports will run when they have a character bearing down on them, even if the character is low damage. So in most group fights the best strategy is to ult the casters/ranged and keep hitting them until they run back. Do not stray far from the team, just keep hacking away at them until they run or stop casting. You want to disable as many champions as possible so that your team can kill the enemy dps and even the tank while the high damage characters are busy running. Its ok to chase a mage or a dps as long as your team is handling whatever is left behind, just do not stray too far and if an enemy carry is still near the fight you need to change your target to it.
Against towers with low health, Malphite can tank the tower for quite a long time, just ping the turret and have your team focus it and if the other team starts trying to mess your team up, make certain that you are the first player on your team near the turret to hit an enemy character.
-Turret aggro focuses players that damage players on the turret's team first and foremost.
-The turret does not lose aggro on an enemy champion that has hit a player on the turret's team until the enemy moves out of range. So even if you just hit the other team once first you will be tanking the turret for your team until it is dead or you leave it while your team is free to kill the enemies.
-Do not waste time under a turret, if you are not hitting the turret, or the enemy champions will not die, leave turret range when it is focusing you.
Most tanks do not build high enough resistances. You can probably kill them in a running fight, even if they have more damage than you.
Advice: Malphite can take alot of punishment when he has the health and resistances to do it. You will be able to tank from mid-late game. Also, with this build you can heal up outside of fights, it might take anywhere between 5-20 seconds, but you will be able to run in and out of fights to tank and harrass/damage when needed. 30-40% health will be enough to tank for a short time in most cases without fear of dying. You can also heal up to fast while running so you are virtually unkillable late game.
Advantages: Moderate damage output overall, benefits greatly from tough builds, Shard is great for harrassing early game. Good aoe damage overall. Good farmer.
Disadvantages: Low resistances early game, low mana regeneration, vulnerable to sustained damage early game. Cannot tank for long periods until late game. Low damage output in fights for the first half of game. High mana costs, low mana pool early game, shard is only high damage ability for most of the game. Only 2 regular damage abilities.