Cassiopeia Build Guide by muggy8
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 and background
this is my second guide to cassiopiea, my first guide was theory crafting and after doing many rounds of field testing, i have now concluded with this build that i find most effective on paper and in practice.
a little background into the build:
the original theory of the original build is to use spellvamp to keep youself alive while fighting enemys. however the weakness to this is burst damage that comes out of enemy mages and anti carries that can melt you in a matter seconds and hence utilizing the to get past the initial burst and to apply a mental debuff to the opponent to prevent them to focus you first. however in practice, one is often unable to obtain GA and boots as well as WotA before late game as well the issue of mana is highly noticeable as a result a second attempt at a similar idea was attempted with the rushing of GA first followed by for a more tanky build using only runes for AP however this resulted in the lack of AP being highly problematic. which leads me into my current build which i stumbled upon one day via a miss click. this build based off both theory and practice utilizing early and mid game for both its defensive, utility and offensive stats. while still retaining the original theory of using spellvamp to keep alive during fights.
pros and cons of this build:
great early game
very high damage
can win almost any 1v1 fights
hard to use
farm dependent to a point
very DoT based
lack of burst
runes and masteries:
this is one of the more non-standard rune setups for mages and for good reason too. the reason being that cass is one of the few ap casters that doesn't need any cooldown reduction to be useful. for starter, her Q ()is on a short cooldown already and the poison duration is the same as her cooldown on her Q. the pool () remains active for the same duration as the cooldown on it lastly her E() can auto refresh its own cooldown and as a result her ult () is the only spell that will benefit from having cooldown reduction. some may argue that having your ult on a shorter cooldown is very valuable and i would agree but i myself dont really see the point in having runes that would only benefit 1 spell where as another rune would benefit all 4. the reason that this setup doesn't have any mana regen is because cassiopiea doesn't need it. early game if you dont spam your spells then there's not really a reason you should be out of mana as your primary job early game is to farm. during the teamfights you should also not be running out of mana as her passive () is a very nice tool to preserve mana. as a result, mana regen runes are not needed meaning the only logical rune setup to go for is strait up AP and mpen.
greater seal of replenishment
however if you are new to her it is very helpful to take some mana regen runes on yellow and make sure they're flat mana regen runes (greater seal of replenishment) because early mid game is when you'll need them the most and early mid game is when they are intentionally designed to be most effective.
the masteries are your tipical 9/0/21 mastery points with improved exhaust and improved flash. nothing really much to say here.
the summoner spells that i love the most on cassiopeia is exhaust and flash. the reason i run them over ignite flash, or ghost flash is because cassiopeia plays very much like a physical carry mid game hence taking summoner spells that are similar to what physical carries take. as well because cassiopeia's slow doesn't last long enough mixed with the fact that cass isn't a burst mage results in the need for alot of soft CC. therefore, another source of soft CC is very helpful all the more so if it doesn't have a cast animation. not only that its got a very strong defensive use as well as strong offensive uses making it a very powerful spell on cassiopeia.
other spells to consider if you do not like exhaust
this is probably the most common second pick for cass as it adds more damage to her however i do not find this spell to be particularly useful for the same reason most physical carries dont take it. because they can always throw another auto attack in and get the kill. same with cass, if they're almost dead but not really, throw in another E and seal the deal.
another great spell because mobility is the name of the game we're playing
this is a great spell to use when your learning how to use a champ for the simple reason that it keeps you sustained. if your new to cass i highly recommend this spell but if your an experienced cass player looking for a different build to try out then i would advise against this spell
this is a great spell to use against teams where you know they will be hard CCing you all game. this is generally a high elo ranked game spell. however if you feel inclined to take it for insurance or as a goodluck charm then by all means go for it.
tele ward ganks, game changing turnarounds we've all seen them like the monstrous irelia tele-ward gank but it requires alot of team coordination to pull off. great for premades who are on some kind of VoIP client (eg: ventrilo, teamspeak, skype, mumble, facetime, the phone).
this is roughly the core build that your aiming for. its not too expensive so its not out of the hands of the avarage player:
your starting item looks like this as you leave base:
by the time you back for the first time you should be going back to lane with an inventory that looks somewhat like this
with this setup you should be able to sustain yourself for long enough to farm out everything you need and you should have enough AP to dish out some pretty hurtful damage
the next time you go back your faced with a choice, to buy another doran's ring and buy things or to start working on your spellvamp. your choice depends on how late in the game it is. generally if its before 20 minute another duran's ring wouldn't hurt however if its after the 20min mark then skip the third ring and go strait for hextech revolver ( ) and tear of the goddess ( ) both items for obvious reasons.
your first 3 semi major items should be the following
the merc treads aren't absolutely manditory it depends on if your winning or not. if your far ahead then i suggest if your ahead but not very ahead i suggest or on the odd occasion where there are alot of physical damage coming at you through auto attacks without alot of CC building would also be smart.
after that your goal is to finish out the following items in order:
your next big item is very tricky. this is where you make or break the build. you must look at what item is most suitable for the situation. you have about 6 options to go from here and i will list them all to the best of my abilities.
gives your E and extra bones. it also offers alot of health
second most common:
this gives massive AP its for when your team protects you very dearly.
counter to counter building:
this is if the enemy team is stacking alot of MR against your team.
a somewhat defensive build:
offers MR reduction, AP and MR great item
another semi defensive build:
this is gotten for obvious reasons. the armor also helps alot
the very defensive build:
this goes back to the very original theory crafting build.
items that are good but shouldn't really be considered at this point
though these items are not normally considered in your average game, they all have individual uses and can be considered as the third major item under some circumstances.
after that your next item is entirely up to you. most of the time its a toss up between deathcap and voidstaff, banshee is also nice and so is lich bane. if you ever get this far your no longer doing the carrying as now is about the time when the carries actually start carrying. around this time just position right drop the pool to create a good safe zone for your allies and most of all remember to use your ult. just because it doesn't stun doen't mean you shouldn't use it. it does alot of damage meaning if even if you dont stun cast it just for the damage.
got extra gold?
here are some helpful items to go for if you got extra gold on hand and its not really enough to buy anything big but not small enough to let it sit:
this is one of the best things to spend your extra gold on. the only down side it isn't not permanent. because of that you want to keep this in your inventory until you need it. the 10% cdr mixed with your 9% from masteries will give you 19% cdr. with the addition of blue buff you can get the full 40% cdr easily. not only that this item also gives a fair amount of AP to hurt even harder.
sight ward this is one of the must underused items in lower to mid elo for the simple reason that people dont have perfect map awareness to be able to make full use of this. however learning to use this effectively can be paramount to the success any player. it is a very wise idea to learn how to do this through either watching streams or just playing supports.
i do not believe this item needs an explanation
i do not believe that this item needs an explanation as well
how to farm + skill sequencing:
the way cass farms is relatively similar to mrgana's farming style. place an AOE DoT spell on the rear minions and watch them melt. much like morgana's tormented soil (), cassiopeia's miasma () will do enough damage to a still minion to kill it excpet you only need 2 points in miasma to be able to wipe out an entire minion's health where morgana needs 3 points in her soil to be able to farm effectively assuming she doesn't have AP runes and an ap staring item. not only is this an effective way to farm, you also get to force your opponent into an awkward position as if they walk into the pool they will take at least 35x2 damage and probably more becaues of the slow it adds and take the risk of you going into their face and free casting twin fang () and taking chunks out of their health.
as a direct result the skill sequence directly affected forcing you to take 2 points in miasma early. this can happen as early as lv 3 however it is very not safe to not have all 3 of your spells by lv3 and thats why 2 points are put into miasma at level 4. prior to level 4, you can clear the back minions with a combination of Q + W ( + ). one thing to note when doing the Q + W combo is always do Q before W because Q sets off your passive which reduces the mana cost of W allowing you to conserve more mana than if you went W and then Q. although its not alot, it adds up and after 10 Q + W combos you saved roughly 70 mana where as you would have only saved 35 the other way around. after placing 2 points in W you want to rush your E () as it is your primary source of damage and alot of damage for that matter. therefore by level 9 you will be able to hit just as hard as the average lv 16 ashe giving you a fairly frighting early - mid game. after 9 you can max either Q or W or max them at the same time obviously trying to take a point in your ult whenever you can.
here's a quote i found on the forums and i find it to be very true however i do not rember the user who said it so here goes: being good at cass isn't about being good at her, its about knowing what your opponents can do.
your Q is probably one of the better harassment tools in the game. if your able to land it with success frequently enough then it can easily forve the opponent to go back to base or chug health potions early. the trick to using it is to always lead them. if they're coming closer put it in front of them. if they keep going they take free harass if not then you just prevented them from farming or prevented them from doing something.
as well a well positioned miasma is very very annoying and forces someone out of position easily.
her ult is used as a follow up spell. after your initiator initiates, its very wise to follow up with your ult which results in a very long AOE stun. is one of the few spells that can stun for longer than annie's passive . and generally after your tank initiates they are most likely facing you to launch a counter initiate therefore making full use of your ult. remember positioning is everything.
know when to disengage. dont continue a losing fight. its better to play safe and defend a turret 3v5 than it is trying to do it 1v3 cass can esily clear minion waves and that is generally enough to prevent a tower dive to get someone or the turret.
some ults cannot be stunned out of. ezreal's and lux's finales funkeln are such spells while others can be stunned out of. its best to know when to dodge and when to stun and this goes back to statement good cass knows her opponents.
it took alot of trial and error to come up with this build starting with just a basic idea. i hope you guys are able to have as much fun and success as i'm able to have with her. and always remember, knowing your opponent is half the battle.