Akali Build Guide by Nurse_Akali_NA
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.
12-14 minute mark
Post Core choices:
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.
Threats to Akali with this build
|Yasuo||Every time his shield is up, pop it with Q. If you can dodge a skill shot, this is an easy lane.|
|Fizz||Very easy match up. You can mitigate most of his Combo with Twilight Shroud while you out damage him in every trade. Plus, you can use Zhonya's Hourglass to negate his ult, once you finish that.|
|Karthus||Stay with your minions to halve the damage from his Q, and when you engage for a kill, make sure one of HIS minions is alive BEHIND you. You can then use the refreshed ult charge to escape his passive.|
|Ryze||Bully him out with near constant Q-> E combinations before 6, then enjoy the free kills. This should be a very easy match.|
|Nasus||Another champ who you destroy early game. And for Nasus, you need to win early. If he gets rolling, it's hard to feed on him. Just be a bully in lane before he gets his ult. Make sure to hit 6 first!|
This season I'm focusing a lot more on League, trying to become one of the forefront Akali players in North America (Huge ambitions!), streaming on Twitch TV from Tuesday-Friday starting at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.
I finished season 4 in gold 2, with the least deaths/game of the top 20 Akali mains by games played and a spotlight in Protatomonster's Top 5 Pro plays in the middle of the season, And I'm bringing in season 5 with this guide, which has been a long time coming. Lots of hard work and long hours have been put into this, so I hope you enjoy the read!
Akali is very easy to pick up and do decently with, but every game you play, there is something you could have done better on her. She takes a while to master, and has a lot of room to outplay opponents.
Pros and Cons:
||+ Very strong burst damage
+ Easy to learn
+ Energy as a resource
+ Semi-flexible build order
+ All the pentakills are yours.
|- Melee, with a hard early game.
- Below average wave clear, especially early.
- Falls behind against tanky enemy compositions.
- Pink wards and sweepers everywhere
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells:
Greater Mark of Precision
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
• Building AD gives you spell vamp, and building AP gives you magic damage on auto attacks.
• This passive makes last hitting easy in the early game, gives you a ton of sustain, and gives you a huge chunk of magic damage on hit later in the game. The damage stacks with Lich bane's proc for huge numbers, and this passive is the reason we build in the order we do (more on build order later).
Mark of the Assassin
• Medium range skill which does damage and marks. Auto attacks will detonate the mark for more damage!
• This skill is pretty much your bread and butter for laning phase. You can use it to harass enemy champions effectively, and should max it first every single game. Using it primes your lich bane effect, which does damage at the same time as you detonate the second half of Q. Seeing 1k+ damage end game off Q->AA is not uncommon.
TIP: The mark lasts for 6 seconds, which is longer than the cool down. Q somebody, wait for the CD to come up, then AA->Q->AA for insane burst in any stage of the game.
• Grants stealth and movement speed, while slowing enemies and granting vision.
• This is a very complex skill with many uses. The primary use is stealthing yourself for a duel, or to escape an attempted gank. However, Twilight Shroud also grants you movement speed, which allows you to harass in lane phase, chase, or escape easier. You can also use W to get close enough to minions to last hit if your lane is terribly difficult.
TIP: Twilight Shroud grants vision. If an enemy flashes over a wall, you can W on top of their location, then ult to them if you're fast enough. This saves yourself the flash. You can also W->R around the jungle to save time later in the game.
• Deal damage in a small area around yourself with a slightly larger range than an auto attack.
• This skill does your only AoE damage,
TIP: Once you get Hextech Gunblade you can clear caster minions by auto attacking each one once and then using E. If this doesn't clear the wave, you are behind where you should be, which is useful information as well!
• Dash to an opponent and deal magic damage!
• This is really the skill that makes Akali the danger that she is. This skill has a relatively long charge time at the first rank, but by rank 3 is up often enough to use it to move around the map pretty safely. Note that this skill does NOT trigger your Q mark, so you need to use an auto attack
TIP: You are given 1 charge when you take your ult at level 6. In addition, you will respawn with max charges after death.
TIP: The dash from Akali's ult allows you some pretty amazing jukes. You can dodge almost any skill shot ultimate if you dash to the enemy and move to the other side of them the moment before they cast at where you were.
Pre 6 Combos:
As of patch 5.2, this no longer works. This entire combo now just becomes Mark of the Assassin into an auto attack, which isn't really a combo. I hope and pray that Riot reverts this change.
Mark of the Assassin --> WAIT --> Auto Attack --> Mark of the Assassin --> Auto Attack.
Post 6 Combos
Hextech Gunblade--> Shadow Dance--> Mark of the Assassin-->Auto Attack--> Shadow Dance--> Crescent Slash--> Mark of the Assassin-->Auto Attack
This still works as of 5.2, but is a little bit harder without DFG being in the game, and with the reduced range on our Shadow Dance post 5.2, that being said, we can also start doing this right around 12 minutes in the game.
There is almost zero variation in this build for me.
The three health potions allow you to stay in lane a little bit longer, while the AD lets you last hit easier, and also gives you spell vamp thanks to Twin Disciplines.
In addition to that, taking long sword first allows you to get an earlier Bilgewater Cutlass
However, sometimes Cloth Armor and Health Potion x5 is a good start. If you're against heavy AD lanes that are going to be hard for you, such as Riven, Pantheon, and Renekton, then consider this start.
Lets look at the stats the we get from each item:
|+ 25 AD
+ 8% Life steal
+ 4% Spellvamp (from Twin Disciplines)
+ Active effect: Deals 100 magic damage and applies a 25% slow for 2 seconds.
|+ 40 AP
+ 12% spell vamp
+ +6% of your AD as magic damage on auto (from Twin Disciplines)
Good! Now lets look at what that means for our laning phase pre-gunblade.
With Bilgewater Cutlass, we get +25 damage to minions, as well as a little more damage in our Crescent Slash and our auto attack. We also get a little bit of life steal, and some spell vamp. Since Akali's total damage output is about 55% physical, we make good use of the lifesteal.
With Hextech Revolver we get more damage on our Q and E, but the +6% on auto attacks is about 5 extra damage per auto. The sustain over time about matches what you end up getting out of cutlass, since only about 45% of our damage is magic. You also lose out on a strong active by taking revolver first, making you weaker in duels.
Akali's damage throughout a game is actually about 56.4% physical, 44.6% magic.
However, when going for kills, you do mostly magic damage. This means we make pretty good use out of lifesteal!
This is our lord and savior. Hextech Gunblade is roughly 125% gold efficient without even considering it's passives or actives. With the active, gunblade moves to an entirely new level of unfair.
This is our first item in 95% of games. Rush it. Then the moment you have it, you need to be going for kills. Even if the enemy has more farm than you do by time you get it, you're probably stronger.
Don't forget to use the active!
Tons of damage, an alright amount of armor, with an active that make you untouchable for a couple of seconds. This is now my second item. The duration of Zhonya's will usually let your Mark of the Assassin and Crescent Slash come back off cool down, allowing you do get right back into doing damage.
A whole lot of AP, with bonus AP as a passive. This is the must have item for pretty much any mage, but we end up waiting till 4th item (usually) to take it. If you go back and have 1600g after your core is done, start on this one.
Post Core Options:
This is our replacement to Deathfire's grasp. It brings 120 AP, 7% movespeed, and gains charges from movement, which is pretty darn spiffy. Deals damage like Static Shiv on spell cast, which really helps our burst damage. For that extra 100 + 15% AP burst, this for sure takes a spot on our core items page, and I really appreciate the extra burst it brings to the table. By time we have it (3rd or 4th item) it does roughly 175 damage when it procs, which makes our full combo that much more lethal.
Oh Lich Bane. This item was pretty hard for me to place. You're paying so much for the mana and the active components of it, so you really need that passive to have some punch. To justify buying lich bane, I usually want to have at least 650-700 AP before buying. This usually places lich bane at 5th or 6th item. Allows you to hit insane numbers with the second half of Q. I've seen 1.5k's before, which are always fun. After patch 5.2, this item is more useful since we are forced to auto attack to proc Mark of the Assassin. Still though, I normally don't pick it up until after Death Cap, as the extra AP really marks this item pack a punch.
If 4 or more enemies have over 80 Magic Resist, you want this. Alternatively, if at least two of them are above 150 Magic resist, you still want this. If neither of those conditions are met, delay this item a while. The percent magic penetration gets better later in the game, as enemies start stacking magic resist against you.
Like most boots, these bad boys are 100% gold efficient. That means you are getting exactly what you paid for. Sadly, you don't get anything over that. Boots are a pretty situational pick for me, and hear me out. The 15 Magic penetration is nothing in the face of any other huge AP item you could take. The damage you get from having boots in a slot is just wasted potential. Yes, they give you movement speed, but once you get used to roaming (and your sense of timing improves) you find your ult more than enough for sticking to people. I'll take them if we're getting behind and I fear homegaurds need to come out soon.
Quick edit for patch 5.2: After the range of Shadow Dance was reduced by 100 units, I find boots to be a bit more useful in closing that last distance I need to do my long range engage combos. It's still a situational pick, and if the enemy has a few ways to negate stealth, I typically just use Twilight Shroud offensively for the movement speed and skip on boots for a little while. Still much more common for me to take boots right after Zhonya's Hourglass now.
Oh, you don't have boots? Well thank god for this item. This is your excuse to not need boots. Paired with your almost non-existent cooldowns on Q, and your gap-closing ult, you don't even miss the movement speed any more. I mean, their boots arn't doing anything for them now. Plus, this delightful makes you a lot tankier and packs a wallop with a delicious 100 AP.
Do you have 1 to 2 deaths and it's mid-late game? Do they have a couple of people on their team that make you say, "Wow, I wish I had armor AND magic resist!" Well this is your item. Go ahead and pick it up if you're destroying their team and don't need more damage. If you're behind in gold, this item is just something I'd skip over, as the revive is often wasted.
Try to be in mid as soon as the minion waves meet. You want to get as much early gold and experience as you can before the other mid shows up.
Most of the time, you won't be getting many kills before you have Shadow Dance. Just try and keep a good creep score (CS) and watch out for ganks. I usually take Twilight Shroud at level 2 just in case I need it for a quick getaway.
Harass your enemy with Mark of the Assassin as soon as you see them, and don't stop spamming it. Detonate it for bonus damage whenever they get close enough to hit with an auto attack. You should be able to last hit just fine with your autos attacks. If you absolutely have to, use the energy on either Q or E to get that minion. Every creep matters!
Once you've gotten into this stage of the game, immediately look at your other lanes. If you can manage a gank in bottom (either off Teleport or just walking) it can often end in a double kill for either you or your AD carry. Both situations are massive wins, and you can then typically take dragon right after (if your jungle is nearby).
Your focus mid game is to put yourself as far ahead as you can, and try to get your team fed in the process.
As an assassin, Akali can sometimes find trouble getting a lone target to kill at this stage in the game. In these instances, wait for the team fight to be well engaged (you typically won't initiate one yourself, unless you can catch a carry alone).
Once a fight has started, try and jump on their highest priority target as soon as the enemy team has blown their crowd control on your tank (or anybody other than you). Remember that Shadow Dance gains a single charge for every kill or assist you get. You could feasibly pull off 7 shadow dances in a team fight if you tag each target, which shouldn't be too hard with the AoE damage from Crescent Slash.
I'll be adding more match ups (particularly for top lane) over the next couple of weeks.
Tips and Tricks:
• Flash Can be used as an aggressive gap closer pre-6 to get you a surprise kill while you don't have Shadow Dance. The following combo is an example, the actual timing of flash changes base on how the enemy reacts to your aggression.
• The movement speed from Twilight Shroud can often get you in range to proc the second half of Mark of the Assassin early in the game. Be wary doing this too much though, as it does leave you vulnerable to ganks.
• If you are chasing an enemy and they Flash over a wall, you can quickly cast Twilight Shroud and Shadow Dance to them to prevent from having to burn your own summoner spell. You do need a pretty quick reaction time to manage this though.
• When trying to escape in the jungle, cast Twilight Shroud such that it overlaps a brush or one of the jungle camps to give yourself easier outs. You can either Shadow Dance to the jungle camp, or simply walk out through the brush if the enemy moves far enough towards the other side of your shroud.
• The range of Shadow Dance is actually a fair bit longer than the range on Mark of the Assassin. If the enemy is playing overly safe, you can reverse the order of your main combo for a longer range engage: Shadow Dance-> Mark of the Assassin-> Auto Attack and then walk away for some great burst damage with usually very little retaliation.
• Boots are optional. Seriously. If you need movement speed, tenacity, or the homeguard enchantment, then go ahead and grab them. Otherwise, Rylai's Crystal Scepter provides enough slow for you to stick on most people until you get the kill.
• As stated earlier in the guide, if you get ganked and their jungler is closer to your tower, you can Shadow Dance to them to escape easier.
• Keep an eye out on the enemy items. If they have a couple vision wards or upgraded sweeper trinkets, try to bait those out before committing to a fight, or at least realize that you will not be able to rely on Twilight Shroud.
I would like to thank all of you who took the time to read this guide. Many good days went into making this what it is, and I will be updating it regularly!
If you enjoyed the read, have any questions, or have spotted anything incorrect, please let me know! And if you are interested in chatting about Akali or League of Legends in general, or just watching the game, you can catch me streaming on Twitch from Tuesday-Friday starting at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.