Not Updated For Current Season
A True Hybrid
This guide is a work in progress and I am posting it somewhat as a reference for myself as well. Please be fair in judging it as I tweak it out, add pictures and make it easier to read and understand.
I was fairly slow to embrace Akali...of all the champions when I was still trying them out, she was one of the last I ever tried and I never imagined I'd end up playing her as much as I have. I have logged many many games on her and this has been a proven build not just by myself, but my friend as well in normal and ranked games (official credit should go to him, he is the original creator of this build. I borrowed it and altered it to my own play style.)
Enough with the formalities though lets talk Akali. The original idea that got me interested in Hybrid Akali was by reading a theory crafting guide that was on Leaguecraft.com (If you want to reference the numbers for yourself you can find it here: http://leaguecraft.com/strategies/guide/2676-akali-by-the-numbers-theorycraft.xhtml). One of the beautiful things about this champ is that she hasn't been touched or altered much in the past countless patches so these numbers are very accurate still. I'll get into my reasons a bit more in detail during the summery at the end.
I know some veteran Akali players may look at this and find the build a bit odd...but bear with me for a bit there is some solid reasoning behind this guide.
For video reference I was very picky and wanted to find something that showed her using her ulti exceptionally well that also had some tower diving. I believe this illiterates Alaki very well.
Pros / Cons
An incredible ganker
Very good at singling out enemies
Hard to escape from (exceptional at running down opponents)
Very fun to play
A single stun can shut you down in a team fight
Energy can run out fast when fighting multiple opponents
Some level of skill is needed to play properly
Abilities and Overview
To be able to effectively play Akali you need to have a basic understanding of her role and her abilities. You'll find that Akali is one of the most effective gankers in the game. Mid-Late game, an opponent with flash means nothing to her.....If you are able to get your full build (most of the time people surrender before I can get my third item) you'll find that it will be nearly impossible to 1v1 you. You'll have an arsenal of slows, the ability to leap to your opponent, incredible health regen during a fight, and lots and lots of burst damage.....and if necessary....the ability to flee safely. The proper use will come with practice...but you'll find she is picked up quite easily.
Twin Disciplines - Upon obtaining 20 Ability Power, Akali's basic attacks deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 Ability Power gained thereafter.
Upon obtaining 10 Bonus Attack Damage, Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 5 Bonus Attack Damage gained thereafter.
-This passive is amazing as it is one of the few passives in the game that gets better as the hero gets stronger. This compounds and will add to your over all damage as well as your Life steal and spell vamp later on in the game. Needless to say it is essential to have these activated as early as possible....if you are laining in the early game and you don't have even ONE of them activated you are already playing her wrong. If you aren't runed properly and can't get both her passives activated....that means you are only playing with half your passive and your putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Mark of the Assassin:
Akali throws her kama at a target enemy to deal 50/75/100/125/150 (+0.4) magic damage and mark the target for //// seconds.
Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will consume the mark to cause 50/75/100/125/150 (+0.4) magic damage and restore 20/25/30/35/40 Energy.
Cost 60/60/60/60/60 Energy
-You'll find this to be your core ability and where most of your Damage comes from
Akali throws down a cover of smoke that lasts for 8/8/8/8/8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10/20/30/40/50 Armor and Magic Resist and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies inside the smoke are slowed by 14/18/22/26/30%.
Cost 80/75/70/65/60 Energy
-This is not just a life saver it also will assist you in ganking, slowing down an opponent. Leaping into a team fight and throwing this down not only increases your armor and keeps you stealthed...this will allow you to focus on an enemy while the enemy team has a hard time focusing on you...especially while your team is laying down hurt on them. Finally in a situation where your running from an enemy or enemies it can serve as a nice ranged AOE slow to throw down from a safe distance helping you escape
Akali flourishes her kamas, slicing nearby enemy units for 30/55/80/105/130 (+) (+0.3) physical damage.
Cost 60/60/60/60/60 Energy
-Just a basic AOE ability....nothing to special about it other than the fact that it is AOE. It can be nice if you need to quickly deliver one last hit before making an escape. Other than that this will mainly be used to farm.
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100/175/250 (+0.5) magic damage. Akali recharges Essence of Shadow charges both periodically and upon kills and assists, max 3 stacks.`
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow on kills and assists as well as every seconds up to 3/3/3 total.
Cost 1/1/1 Essence of Shadow
- While this may not cause a lot of damage this ultimate puts a lot of pressure on an enemy, in particular one that's trying to escape. You'll often see them burn everything they have to put as much distance between them and her as possible as a Akali with 3 stacks ready to go is near impossible to escape from
My runes are a fairly standard for most Hybrid Akali's and many Akali veterans will be able to relate a lot to this rune page. The true object behind this is to activate one of her passives at the very start of the game without any items. I have seen builds that activate both passives at the start, however to do this you have to sacrifice all the magic pen that this build brings to the table which you will find is quite essential for early game kills. Going with Flat AP Glyphs and 2 AP quint's will bring your AP just over 19. You will get that last AP point from mysteries leaving you to stack Magic Pen Marks to really bring hurt onto a early game champ.
As for Glyphs and that remaining quint. I have seen a lot of different things done. I have done Health, straight health regen, flat dodge glyphs.....All of which have proven effective. This will really come down to your own play style as far as what you want there. I personally perfer the dodge and the health regen giving me better lane sustainability in the early game. As well as a Insight Quint to tack on a bit more magic pen.
Most people are inclined to throw down a typical Offensive Mastery Build. If you looked at the numbers in the theory craft guide I linked (that and from my own testing) that the extra damage isn't worth compared to how squishy and vulnerable you make yourself. I have found that increased defense and health Akali gets (maxing Ador to further help activate her passive) is far more worth while to her. As far as the offensive tree goes. There really isn't that much in there that helps her much. Akali isn't a big auto attacker. She isn't a Tryn and shouldn't be played like one. If your one of the people that looked at her champion spotlight......you have been mislead.
Going all out in the offensive tree isn't a horrible option...but it isn't practical if your trying to get the most out of her.
I start out with a Long Sword to complete my passive, grab a potion and head for bot or top lane. If you don't have the runes to achieve your AP passive than I recommend starting out with an Amplifying Tomb instead as this will help give your Mark the needed punch will need. As well as the extra damage from your normal attacks. Every little bit helps.
About every other game I run into a Akali player that questions why I am not rushing the gun blade. They further ask me why I am bothering with a Trinity Force. I always tell them. The next time they play Akali....grab a Shen and than see how much they hit an opponent with Mark of the Assassin on them...Trinity Force is an AMAZING item on Akali and if you haven't tried it I encourage you to. Additional health, a slow on hit, and 150% dmg to a target after using an ability you'll find will wield incredible damage on a target with mark on them. Most squishes will die incredibly fast. With the buff of Trinity Force you can hit an enemy around your level for over a quarter of their health with Mark on them. What makes it even better is that by the time you throw your next Mark you'll be able to repeat it.
After I get my boots I than typically get a Crystal Scepter. This is more for the extra survivability that she is going to need at the enemy carries start really bringing damage to the table in the mid game. You can get the gun blade at this point if it suit's you. However I prioritize staying alive over getting kills hence why I push the survivability on her Immediately after I start working on the gun blade. No hybrid hero should be without it and has to be in the build somewhere.
Once you have those items your core build is essentially complete. If your team is doing well I like to get the Rage Blade, followed by a Void Staff for awesome magic pen.
If your team is having a rough or the enemy team is proving to be difficult. I recommend a Banshee's Vail in place of the Rage Blade.
Her sequence of attack is fairly straight forward. I typically open up with her ultimate to close the distance than immediately throw down a smoke bomb (Twilight Shroud). I than assault the target with Mark of the Assassin and a few attacks. As the targets turns to run away I follow up with another ultimate and repeat the process, using crescent slash to deliver the final blow if they continue to run.
My summoner spells of choice are Flash and Exhaust. Because of Akali's Ultimate, flash is more of a tool used to escape when needed and Exhaust can help with the melee enemies that will get up in your face as well as preventing someone like Tryn, Ezreal or anyone with flash from getting out of range of your ulti when they attempt to escape.
After grabbing your initial items your going to want to head for either bot or top lane. If you have a early stunner on your team try to secure a lane with them as this will increase your odds of a First Blood. During those first few levels your going to mainly be tossing that Mark to harass as often as possible. The main reason why your maxing it as quickly as you are is so you can maximize it's power.
For the advanced players you might want to consider taking mid this will put you in a better position for those early game ganks. Be careful though because champions with excessive range like Caitlyn will counter Akali's early game very effectively and will make life difficult for her.
During Mid game you should be ganking as often as you can. While during a team fight carefully selecting who your going to single out. Ideally a enemy that is slightly separated from his group is the best target. Just as good would be any squishy that will fall within a couple Marks. This is where Akali really starts to shine. Her abilities to tower dive also start to take form here. By late game it's all about team fights and working with them focusing down your opponents as fast as possible. All though it goes without saying that if you see a 1v1 opportunity you might want to take it as late game you will be very very very hard to kill