Mordekaiser Build Guide by norberg1
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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.
Why Jungle Mordekaiser
Is it viable?? In a word: YES. And it's been getting moreso in Season 4. The latest patch, which includes the introduction of Quill Coat and a new mechanic for Spirit of the Ancient Golem, solidifies the tanky bruiser build path for Mordekaiser by improving the value of Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
If you're here then I've managed to pique your curiosity. Mordekaiser is a unique jungler with a play style somewhat reminiscent of Shyvana, who stays farming the jungle until after the early game and relies heavily on counter gank opportunities taking advantage of movement speed alteration mechanics rather than hard CC to help lanes. As I usually do, I will rate Mordekaiser on the critical jungler characteristics.
First Clear (Level 3) - 7 / 10
A lot of junglers are viable otherwise, but have trouble making that first clear successfully. Mordekaiser, thankfully, manages to eek by if given the proper runes and masteries. He's not Shaco, but he'll come out in a lot better shape than many other junglers that get played competitively.
Average Clear Times - 9 / 10
Mordekaiser clears very fast, starting very early, and his clear times rapidly improve to Tier I level.
Sustain - 9 / 10
The main advantage he has is that because of his Iron Man mechanic, as soon as you build a little HP, you literally take 0 damage in the jungle. Post Sunfire Cape, and with a couple levels in Creeping Death, the jungle camps will just fall down dead as you walk by.
Ganking - 5 / 10
Mordekaiser is not designed to gank. Like Shyvana, he lacks any CC, but unlike Shyvana he also lacks any sort of movement speed buff in his abilities. That means he has it a little more rough than she does early on, and things won't change until you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, which is an expensive item (but will change this completely). You need to make the most out of the other things that he offers. This is why I run Teleport. If your lanes feed, at least you can stop the towers from going down. And if you are lucky and have a bot lane that can coordinate a Teleport gank you can really punish bot lane early on. Otherwise, farm hard and try to capitalize on opportunities to counter gank where your shield mechanics will allow you to out trade and take down the other 2 champions.
Lane Shoving - 10 / 10
Mordekaiser probably deserves a 9 / 10 here, but I gave him a 10 because this is really a highlight of playing Mordekaiser jungle. His ult, Children of the Grave, allows you to shove lanes extremely hard. If you manage to secure a kill on a tank, then you can have the ghost tank the tower, allowing you to build up a mega wave of minions. If you manage to secure a kill on an ADC you will be able to knock down the tower extremely quickly. All in all, it may be difficult to secure a gank with Mordekaiser, but when you do, the lane gets punished hard. A successful teleport gank be devastating.
Defending Towers - 10 / 10
Another highlight of Mordekaiser. He's basically immune to harass. He can even withstand poke from Heimerdinger at the tower just by using Siphon of Destruction on the minion wave due to the shield from Iron Man. With Teleport this means you can keep your towers up indefinitely in the early game. Having a stable laning phase can really make a difference for your team, so this is a great advantage.
Carry Potential - 6 / 10
Like most bruiser jungle champions he is not a true carry. He is really good at creating the type of pressure the rest of your team will need to finish the game, and he can be very useful in a team fight as well due to the peel that comes from Rylai's Crystal Scepter. You will, however, need a competent damage dealer on your team to a) not die and b) finish the job.
Late Game Scaling - 7 / 10
His late game scaling isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. I feel like he is a lot like Elise - AP tanks tend to have lower stats. Creeping Death armor and MR bonus helps a bit, and it'd be nice to have more spell vamp, but you'll mostly want to play him on the edge of the fight, like Elise, jumping in and out - perhaps a little closer to take advantage of the Sunfire Cape burn and the occasional smacks from your Mace of Spades. If you can manage to take a little bit of damage and duck out of the fight you'll be able to rebuild your shield once your cooldowns are up and jump back into the fray. Mordekaiser, being a heavily AoE champion, benefits from situations where the enemy team is bunched up, so he synergizes well with champions like Amumu, Jarvan IV, Syndra, Viktor, etc. etc.
So what's Mordekaiser about, anyway?
Well, if you've seen his passive, Iron Man, that pretty much sums up his play style. Mordekaiser is a health cost AP bruiser who achieves part of his tankiness through a unique mechanic whereby he gains shield points from magic damage dealt. You can think of his second bar as a sort of extended HP bar that goes up based on the damage you deal with your abilities. So if Mordekaiser has 1000 HP, but 250 energy, he actually has 1,250 HP, and this 250 HP may be constantly restored as he deals damage with his abilities. This is actually an *incredible* mechanic - largely due to the fact that every ability Mordekaiser has is an AoE damage ability. However, keep in mind that his bar does have a capacity - that means that it's more effective to deal consistent damage over time to restore the bar as it is being depleted, than it is to burst all your damage at once. This is why you want to build CDR with him, and why he works so well in situations where you can hit multiple champions with AoE. AP will help you, and is necessary, for sure, but it's difficult to build him an assassin in the jungle. The key is to maximize the durability of the HP and shield strength you have instead of trying to extend it. I do build a lot HP with him, but I consider this to be a buffer for you to work with while expending your abilities to try and keep your shield in place. A note about damage over time. Creeping Death and Sunfire Cape, unfortunately, do not contribute to Mordekaiser's shield.
Mordekaiser needs to be in close to do his thing, and it helps if there are a few champions bunched up for him to hit with his spells, so he suffers in situations where either he gets stunlocked and burst down before he can cast his spells, or where the other team is so spread out and can kite him very easily.
One of the reasons I like Mordekaiser so much is his baiting potential. People don't understand your shield mechanic, and it's very hard to predict how hard you will be to take down since it is so heavily based off the damage you deal, and how many targets you hit. In lane, you get extra shield from the AoE spillover onto the minion wave! If you properly bait a gank bot lane you might get the enemy duo to go onto you, only securing a kill for your laner when they find they can't take you down and it's cost them 50% of their HP in the process.
How to Jungle
You can start blue or red, it doesn't really matter. Starting red helps you a bit if you get a good leash because blue will deal you less damage, but then blue gives you that extra CDR to keep your shield up through use of Siphon of Destruction more often. It's really up to you - I find there's not much of a difference which route you take. This allows you the flexibility to make it more about strategy - change it up depending on how the lanes look or where the enemy jungler started so you are in the right place at the right time.
After your first back you should be able to clear the entire jungle without losing a single net hit point. That's a load off, isn't it? You'll still want to grab a few health pots when you back so you can use them to get back into the jungle after a hairy engage.
Since the introduction of Quill Coat there's actually a pretty reasonable build path with him. Rylai's Crystal Scepter was always the best second choice item on him, since it gives you so much utility. It both a) allows you to chase, which becomes a problem around the time you are building it, and b) allows you to gank, which is huge in helping to snowball your lanes. Before it was hardly worth because getting more HP at this stage in the game really doesn't help you as much as building a little armor.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem now provides this armor. Further supplementing Spirit of the Ancient Golem's bonus HP makes it also more worth now, and the subsequent Sunfire Cape pick up rounds it out nicely. At this stage Mordekaiser should be quite tanky, but also pack a nice punch. The lack of MR item pickups at this point won't matter because of your scaling MR blues, and the fact that Mordekaiser innately possesses high MR.
You'll need to pick up some magic pen to keep his damage steady, and seeing that we're running a bruiser build, it doesn't really make much sense to try and build straight AP, so forget about Rabadon's Deathcap. Instead, build Liandry's Torment, which will give your AoE a really nice burn, in addition to adding magic pen, synergizing with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, *and* tacking on a nice bit of bonus HP from Spirit of the Ancient Golem.
The last item is heavily situational. Usually Abyssal Scepter works very well - it gives you that little bit of extra AP, while helping all 3 of your burns ( Sunfire Cape, Creeping Death, and Liandry's Torment) quite a bit. If you're finding you can't sustain during a fight, consider Will of the Ancients. Or, if the other team is heavily bursty, it's possible either Randuin's Omen or Guardian Angel will be a smarter pick. Spirit Visage might also help amplify the bit of spell vamp you have, while giving you a bit more tankiness, extra CDR, and a healthy chunk of MR.
I always thought Mordekaiser was a kickass champion and I wanted to see if I could get a build to work for him in the jungle, which is my main. I find it to be a lot of fun to try this with champions, and I do it fairly often. I am sometimes disappointed, and let's be honest - Mordekaiser is a weird pick, amirite?! So I didn't have high hopes for it - but Mordekaiser jungle really blew my expectations away. He's not a conventional jungler - but then, jungling isn't just all about ganking. I am convinced he has a lot to offer, and can be extremely strong if played by a team with the proper comp.
Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to hear any suggestions for improvements, your thoughts, or reactions to this guide. Good luck to you, and happy Munglekaisering!!!