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Kassadin Build Guide by SpinTo

This build has been archived and is for historical display only.

PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.


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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author SpinTo

Kassadamn, How to kick Kass like a Pun-isher.

SpinTo Last updated on January 3, 2013
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Ability Sequence

1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
4
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction

Welcome to The Void.


Kassadin is an assassin-mage who excels at taking down other AP Carries thanks to his silence via Null Sphere, his slow via Force Pulse and his amazing chasing/escaping utility of Riftwalk.

Oh, and Kassadin is FUN.


This guide was inspired after following some of the top Kassadin guides out there and getting three shot by a Tryndamere before I could Riftwalk out. I realized there had to be a way to make Kassadin more survivable without gimping his play.


In this guide I'm focusing on a build that gives you some survivability, enough mana to get the job done, as well as the AP to deal the damage you need to, and CDR to play like a guerrilla jumping in and out with Riftwalk. I've also tried to make sure this guide is realistic for play, and that you'll have the gold to actually build the items you need, when you need them, to scale and be effective throughout the game.

Also, bear in mind this is not a glass cannon build. It's not designed for you to jump in and blow someone up by dumping your abilities on them. It is capable of that, but it's primary purpose is for you to be able to get in and out of team fights and survive, deal a lot of damage, and most importantly be disruptive.

Please remember this is a guide. I feel it works well about 80% of the time, however there are situations in which you need to deviate. Sometimes you need damage. Sometimes you need defense. Build the items you need in the order you need to beat your opponent. Don't build the items just because I suggest them and then complain that the overall concept doesn't work because you failed to be adaptable.


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Season 3 Notes

Since Season 3 started I've been making a great effort to become a much more rounded Summoner. As such, I've been playing a lot of other Champs other than Kassadin. While Kassadin is my first love, this guide has not seen the love it so richly deserves (and needs) since the new season begain. However I will soon be setting this right and while I've not yet fully considered the Rune and Mastery options, the updates from Season 2 are in place and I've updated the text of my guide.


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Pros / Cons of Kassadin

Pros

  • Easy to land silence makes enemy AP cringe.
  • AoE Slow with good damage can save and destroy lives.
  • Riftwalk makes him a great ganker and very difficult to gank.
  • Fun to rift walk around the map.

Cons

  • Squishy (especially early)
  • Difficult to play well.
  • Levels 1-5 are a challenge.
  • Not the best farmer and needs farm


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Pros / Cons of This Guide

Pros

  • Good synergy of the items
  • Excellent mix of damage and defense
  • More forgiving than glass cannon builds
  • Plenty of Mana, Regen, and CDR as well
  • Realistic cost

Cons

  • Isn't the largest possible damage output
  • Difficult to play well
  • No big damage early
  • Still needs farm or kills


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Runes

Runes

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
9

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
9

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3

9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration For the much needed magic penetration so you can do what you do and deal damage.
9 Greater Seal of Replenishment To help your early game harass and late game Riftwalking. You can use the per level runes, but with this build, mana isn't an issue late game, so the early boost is better.
9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist Since we're going to be getting more armor items than magic resist we're going to make up a little bit here.
3 Greater Quintessence of Health To help your early game squishiness.


Note: We'll get enough CDR from Glacial Shroud/ Frozen Heart and Sorcery that cooldown runes are not necessary.



Reasonable Alternatives

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power for some extra AP. The per level glyphs are the best choice because by the time you're ready to gank the per level glyphs are on par with the flat AP glyphs. However, this build is for survivability over damage, and I think the magic resist glyphs are the way to go.

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration for the extra magic penetration. There's not a lot in this build. I think it has enough, but if you want more this is a way to get it. I still favor the extra health, because it really helps you be a little more aggressive early game.


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Masteries

Masteries
1/5
4/1
4/5
2/1
1/1
3/1
1/1
4/
1/
2/5
3/1
3/5
1/1

This section is still a work in progress for Season 3. I'm currently trying out a more offensive mastery build even though in the past I've favored a defensive build. More details to come later.


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Summoner Spells

Best Options


Exhaust

Gives us a good way to deal with ADs, by cutting out their damage as well as reducing their magic resist thanks to Summoner's Wrath from the Offensive Mastery tree.
......

Ignite

Is very helpful to close your ganks without exposing you to any more danger than necessary. Also, don't forget about the healing reduction. This will stop a lot of annoying sustain abilities, health pots, and Ults like Tryndamere's and Zilean's.


Reasonable Alternatives



Cleanse

I rarely take this because I usually have Quicksilver Sash to fill this roll. However, if you're going another item route than using the Sash (see Items below), this can be useful.
......

Teleport

Really helps Kassadin get where he needs to be quicker since he tends to roam more than other champions. I'd still take Exhaust over this, but possibly give up Ignite since it falls off more late game.
......

Flash

Is not a bad spell with Kassadin, especially pre-level 6 to help avoid bad situations. Occasionally a double Flash/ Riftwalk is useful, but usually there are better options and most games you'll never use it past level 6.
......

Ghost

Can be nice to help get into position to gank or possibly get out of a bad situation when your mana is low, but you should always be paying attention to your mana and know how many stacks of Riftwalk you have so that you can get out alive.

I'm still testing the potential of Surge to help increase your burst for your guerrilla warfare tactics, and think it may have a better end game potential than Ignite. I've not spent enough time with it to say definitively, but it has potential.


Summation


Take Exhaust and Ignite.
Sometimes replace Ignite with Teleport.


Guide Top

Abilities

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


Void Stone (passive): This reduces incoming magic damage by 15% and converts it to attack speed. This is the reason we want to build more Armor than Magic Resistance. We're already naturally predisposed to surviving AP attacks.

Null Sphere (Q): This is your bread and butter early game. You're going to use it to harass and last hit. You want to keep your enemy around half health with this ability pre-6 so that when you do hit 6 you'll be primed to Riftwalk in, combo, and start your feasting. The silence on it let's you harass without getting countered if you're laning against an AP Carry. So you can be more aggressive. If you're against an AD Champ, you need to be a little less aggressive and use it primarily to counter-harass (for more details see Laning below). Max this first.

Nether Blade (W): Active, this ability increases your auto-attack damage based on your AP. not a big deal early, although it can help with that early kill. However the passive is the reason you'll want to put a point in this at level 2. The mana regen from auto-attacking isn't great, but it definitely helps with your sustain early, and is worth the point.

Force Pulse (E): This is your fight changer right here. You can turn the tide of a team fight with a Riftwalk in, well placed Force Pulse, and then a Riftwalk out. Once you get it at level 4, you'll want to use your Nether Blade to charge it and keep it active if you aren't going in for a gank. Popping this on a gank attempt against you is too useful to help you get away. You're most likely not going to try and get a kill before level 6 anyway, so there's no reason to not get your point in Nether Blade first, and wait until 4 to grab this.

Tip: If you're smart casting, wait until you've finished Riftwalking and completely reappeared before popping Force Pulse or you're going to cast it behind you every time.

Riftwalk (R): This is what makes Kassadin who he is. Learning how to appropriately use this skill will mean the difference between being a scrub who feeds, or being the most feared character in your game. with 40% CDR, you're able to use this every 2.4 seconds, but be careful because multiple Riftwalks will eat your mana like Cho'Gath on minions.


Summation


If you're paying attention, with this build you're going to end up with a 2.6 second silence on Null Sphere and a 2.4 second cooldown on your Riftwalk. This is how you destroy AP Carries. You Riftwalk in, silence them, deal a ton of damage, and get out before they are even able to cast again.

Usually you want to Riftwalk into range, but not on top of enemies to prevent them from hitting you. Some exceptions to this are using Riftwalk to pop Banshee's Veil's bubble so that your silence, slow, and damage are not blocked instead. Another is if you have blue buff with this build you'll have plenty of mana and regen to stack Riftwalk (cast it multiple times to get that extra 120 damage per cast) so that you can absolutely blow someone up. Just make sure you have enough mana to cast it again to get out of danger!


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Items

The Core

8515 gold
....................

Rod of Ages
......

Sorcerer's Shoes
......

Archangel's Staff
......

Glacial Shroud
.....................

Usually I find a game doesn't make it much past these items, but they give you a good combination of survivability, mana, CDR, and AP. They also snowball, becoming more powerful as the game progresses without the risk of true snowball items like Mejai's Soulstealer.

This raises the question, why not use Mejai's Soulstealer? Yes, Mejai's is a very powerful item, however I'm not a fan of snowball items, because they're very unforgiving of making mistakes. I also don't like playing Kassadin being afraid of death. I feel this build gives me enough AP to get the job done without the risk of mejai's, I prefer the Armor I get from the CDR of Glacial Shroud and Frozen Heart, and quite frankly everyone has bad games and it's easier to come back from mistakes without Mejai's. There are plenty of Mejai-Kass builds out there, but this isn't one of them.


Building Your Core

Due to the nerf on Null Sphere's range, I now recommend you start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions every time. This will allow you better harass and sustain against counter harass. After that you still want to rush your Rod of Ages, but if you go back earlier, pick up the catalyst the protector. Thanks to your greater seal of replenishment and a level 2 Nether Blade point, I've not had mana issues with this route.

After that you want to get your Archangel's Staff so you get the mana and AP to deal damage. Now that Archangel's Staff transforms into Seraph's Embrace at full mana build up, it's an even better option than before, giving you a defensive active. Although between building your Tear of the Goddess and before finishing the AA Staff, I suggest you go ahead and get your Sorcerer's Shoes for the extra speed and Magic Pen. After that the Glacial Shroud gives you armor, mana (and AP due to Archangel's passive), and much needed CDR.

At no point during this is an Elixir of Brilliance a waste of gold. The AP and CDR are always welcome. Especially since this build doesn't stack a lot of AP early. In short, unless you're short on cash, pick up some pots throughout the game. You shouldn't be dying much so you should get full use out of them.


Should The Game Continue...


The next item I suggest you build depends a lot on playstyle and preference. All are viable.
..............................................
Quicksilver Sash
......
Banshee's Veil
... or ...
Guardian Angel
..............................................

All three allow you the extra edge to get out of a bad situation.


Quicksilver Sash ...... 1440 gold
This is what I usually take in games, because it allows you to get out of jail free on YOUR call. It replaces Cleanse and allows you to shrug off suppression and Ignite if needed to get away. It's on a 90 second cooldown. And it's cheap at 1440 gold.

Banshee's Veil ...... 2715 gold
This is a great item, and the blocked ability is nice, but it's too easy for an enemy team to knock down that bubble and leave you vulnerable to CC. It's much more expensive than Quicksilver Sash but does have that bonus HP and Mana which is nice, but all in all I prefer the ability to use the Sash when I need it, and if I was going to spend this much I'd prefer GA.

Guardian Angel ...... 2600 gold
I prefer this over both the Sash and the Veil ideally. However it's the cost and cooldown that tends to make me lean towards the Sash. The armor and magic resistance are nice. Especially because with this build I intentionally take more armor due to Kassadin's innate ability to shut down AP, as well as his passive, Void Stone, already reducing Magic Damage an additional 15%. However the high cost and CD of GA tend to make Quicksilver Sash more realistic, but when you get revived by GA's passive you're almost assuredly able to Riftwalk out of danger.



If you're totally steamrolling and/or the enemy team has little to no CC, you can opt out of all of these for Zhonya's Hourglass. The armor of that and Frozen Heart make you damn near untouchable by most AD, and it adds a nice punch of AP, as well as a still fairly handy survival passive. However if you're making enough gold in a game to afford it you probably don't need it, and it should be the last thing you build.


Really? Still not done?

.........................................
Rabadon's Deathcap
......
Frozen Heart
......
Elixir of Brilliance
......
Oracle's Elixir
..............................................
Now we can throw on a Rabadon's Deathcap to make the AP jump up, and upgrade your Glacial Shroud into a Frozen Heart to help shut down the ADs as well as finish off your CDR maximization.

If the game still isn't over, remember to grab some Elixirs, like Elixir of Brilliance. You're also a good candidate for an Oracle's Elixir due to your map mobility and survivability to take out those pesky enemy wards.


Summation

This build gives you enough armor to survive ADs, and the CDR and AP to dominate other AP Champs. There's not a lot of Magic Pen in this build, but with your low cooldowns and the ability to get in and out, it's ok if you need an extra trip in to get the kill, but you should be played like a guerrilla diving in and out rather than jumping in and expecting everything to die on the first trip.


Guide Top

Actual Stats

I believe the math here is all still accurate for Season Three, but I haven't double checked it. If it is off, it's not off by much ( Seraph's Embrace may throw off the final numbers.

Let's say you just completed your Core Item build of Rod of Ages, Sorcerer's Shoes, Archangel's Staff, and Glacial Shroud. What would your Mana and AP be at 18? We'll also assume a measly 250 extra mana from your AA at this point and a full RoA.
Mana: 2840
AP: 233

Now, let's say your AA is up to 500 extra mana and you've built your Rabadon's Deathcap at this point.
Mana: 3090
AP: 495

Full build?
Mana: 3665
AP: 517

You get this with 2700+ Health, a lot of Physical and Magic Damage Reduction (176 Armor and 105 MR plus your passive and Mastery bonuses), 32% CDR without Elixirs or Golem, 28.55 flat plus 10% Magic Penetration, and 10% Disable Reduction.


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Laning

Going Mid


This is where you should be. I've included brief statements about playing Kass in other lanes, but unless you're very low Elo, sub-30, or want to be hated by your teammates, play the Meta and take Kass mid.

Last hitting with Kassadin is tough, because you are melee against range usually. In order to last hit you need to be aggressively poking with Null Sphere. You did take Nether Blade at level 2 didn't you? Because that really helps with your mana sustain to poke like you need to so you can get in and last hit. You basically want to counter poke with Null Sphere and take advantage of the silence to get last hits.

Basically, levels 1-5 have two purposes. First, you need last hits, and a lot of them. Secondly, you are setting up your first kill at level 6. You want your opponent to be a little under half health so that as soon as you hit 6 you can Riftwalk in for the kill. Sometimes this means you're going to want to hold off on harassing at level 5 a bit so they don't go back and push out a little. Scaring them off prevents you from getting fed.

It doesn't take much to be overextended against Kassadin. If they're midway and at half health you should be able to poke once more with Null Sphere, back off, wait for your CD on Null Sphere to be up again then Riftwalk in, E + W + Q (in this order to start recharging your Force Pulse). If necessary, Exhaust and/or Ignite as needed to secure your kill.

After you secure your first kill, you should finish off your current minion wave so you go MIA. If you absolutely have to B, do so, but if you can go to top or bottom and gank wherever is most ripe, you should be able to get your team an early lead. You're going to want to continue pushing mid back and roaming between lanes at this point to give your team the advantage.

At no time should you ever forget to keep up your CS (Creep Score). I cannot stress enough how important it is to ABC: Always Be Creeping. Depending on what stage of the game you're in, two waves of creeps is nearly equivalent to a Champion kill. Remember that. Write it down. Last hit everything.

Troublesome Foes

Be careful against Ranged AD Champs, especially those with a dash like Vayne and Graves that can be equally aggressive, close on you quick and come out ahead in the exchange. Your best bet is to play a bit more conservatively and counter-harrass until you have a health advantage. Last hitting minions with Null Sphere isn't a bad option versus these champs to stay out of their auto attack range. Left in for nostalgic reasons. Remember way back in Season One when AD champs would go mid? Meta <3

Other champs that provide issues are those with good sustain, such as Fiddlesticks or Vladimir. Fiddle you can run out of mana if you force him to drain his health back enough, but Vlad you just have to keep poking. He makes for a slow back and forth lane, but he hates your silence. Make sure you get last hits (again, use Null Sphere if you have to), and try to keep his Transfusion on minions not you.



Solo Top 1v1

Kassadin is better mid, because before level 6 he's susceptible to ganks unless you've taken Flash or Ghost which aren't my top choices due to their fall off with Kassadin after level 6. However solo top 1v1 is doable if you're careful, but not recommended because usually your opponent up here will have better sustain than you.


Solo Top 1v2

Don't do it. You don't have enough escape mechanisms, sustain, or harass before level 6 to effectively last hit and you'll end up gold starved or first bloodied.


Duo Laning

This is going to depend a lot on who you're up against and who you're with. You're best in mid, but you lane well with someone who can harass and help set up a kill, or someone who can help sustain you. Your real challenges in a Duo Lane are going to be opponents with sustain, which you'll find a lot of here. But laning with a Soraka who can keep you manaed and healed is fun if you're not too serious.


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Results (Score Screens and Clips)






Short game play video with commentary:



Later in the same game, a near-miss on a pentakill:

/league-of-legends/item/quicksilver-sash-94


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Full Game Video


This game is far from perfect and I'm not proud of my CS at all, but I made up for it with a lot of kills, and it's a pretty entertaining match that I end up 28/4/12. You'll see a lot of what you should do as a Kassadin, and a few times you'll see what not to do.

Pay attention early for me to fail to watch my mana and miss a gank on Pantheon at top because of it. Also, I get greedy a couple times and it costs me and/or my team. The Anivia in mid played poorly and allowed me to dominate this game.


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Final Words

Thanks for reading. This is my first guide and I'm still making edits to it (and always will be). I feel comfortable with the actual item build, as well as the choices of Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells. Later I'll add more, but this is the basic build, and it is pretty devastating.

I feel this build compensates for Kassadin's weak early-game, gets him what he needs to have a solid mid-game, and by end-game you'll have plenty of AP, Mana, Armor, and CDR. You should be blowing up just about everything and getting out without being touched much. Following this you should make people cuss and rage, and you'll have a blast doing it.

If you disagree with something I said in the guide, please first remember that while I believe this is a well rounded guide, it is only a guide and may not work in all situations. Secondly, please leave me a comment before voting down and give me the option to review the fact that you may be a better and smarter player than I am and give me a chance to change the guide and make it better. If I still refuse and don't change the guide, feel free to flame and downvote. I'm a big boy, I can take it, and if you need to vent, get it out!