Kassadin Build Guide by fosil
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Little note about this guide
Hi, I'm fosil and i have been a league of legends player since a month after the release and have been playing Kassadin as my main since. I must tell you from the beginning, if you are looking for a conventional build most players play, this is not the guide for you. I have experimented with multiple item builds, masteries, and rune combinations and this is the best way I prefer to play Kass. This guide might seem unusual to you, but i will try my best to explain why I chose everything so please bear with me.
- Kassadin is an amazing mid game / late game ap carry who can take on any team as long as he has a team that will fight with him.
- Amazing mobility which allows him to gank bot and top before the enemy team realizes you aren't in your lane
- Great at stealing enemy buffs/ stealing dragon / baron
- Best hero in league of legends for juking
- Kass is useless without his ultimate (more on this later)
- He drinks mana like a 1960s muscle car drinks gas
Flat HealthKass is extremely weak until level 6 and flat health quintessences gives him the perfect amount of survivability until that point. Also when people see you with more health than them, they are less likely to think they can take you and therefore will focus less on trying to be offensive specially considering you have a silence and a slow.
Magic PenThis is very standard for most AP carries and not much explanation is needed
Mana RegenThis is also a very common choice between most AP players. In my opinion this is the most important rune for Kassadin. Kassadin is one of the biggest mana users in game, and these runes are what makes you survive until you get your Tear of Goddess / level up your Nether Blade. If you don't have enough money to purchase runes and have to choose between which runes to buy, but this first!
Cooldown ReductionCooldown reduction is very underrated in League of Legends but fact is it happens very often where the 1/2 of a second cooldown timer difference is what makes or breaks a team fight.
When it comes to kassadin, cooldown comes with many benefits:
- You can Riftwalk more often ( if you follow this guide by late game your ult should have roughly a 3.6 second cooldown)
- The more often you can keep the charge of your Force Pulse up
- The more you can keep your enemies silenced (which in the long run gets them to fear you and avoid you)
Why 21/6/3 ?
Some AP carries rather run a 21/0/9 or 9/0/21 mastery set. Something to keep in mind is Kassadin DOES NOT require survivability masteries simply because he has a 7/6/5 second cooldown built in flash as his ultimate. The combination of his ultmiate and the runes and items ( that i will explain later) will mean he does not need more defense.
In the other had we need to keep in mind that your role is the AP carry, therefore you want to be able to do as much damage as possible and rely on your beefier team mates to absorb the damage for you. I always felt that an offensive mastery tree is more reliable for your role, and I have even more reason to believe so after the new mastery trees introduced in season two.
Why 6 points in defensive tree?
Kassadin is a unique hero that is able to perform stunts no other hero in the game can, but much of these stunts are only reasonable if you live through it. The extra armour and magic resist gives you the extra beef you need to perform the stunts you want to do.
Why 3 points in Alacrity?
This might seem like a waste to a lot of Kass players, but the combination of this mastery with you "Nether Blade" and you passive ability outputs more damage that you would get out of any other mastery tree
I experimented with many different summoner spells for Kass, but nothing worked as perfectly as teleport and ignite.
Teleport is a great skill for kassadin for a few reasons, main reason is, kass has a weak early game + weak lane presence until mid game. This usually is not much of a problem unless you are facing someone with high sustain, and high pushing ability mid ( AP Sion, Morgana, Swain, Fizz, Mordekaiser, and the occasional pointless AP soraka)
In this case Teleport becomes very handy.
Other Benefits of Teleport
As a good Kass player, you should be able to decide 1 thing very early during laning phase, weather you can take your opponent 1 v 1. If the answer is yes, you will be busy getting kills in your lane / keeping Mid distracted / pushed (I will explain later), in this case you will have some free time in your hand, which gives you time to check on other lanes, If you see a team fight coming up, teleport in as soon as the team is committed. Given Kass' slow, silence, and chasing power, you are almost guaranteed to tip the scale to your favor and earn your team one or two kills.
In the other hand, if you decided you cannot take your opponent mid, you sit back and try to farm which is a slow and mindless task, which gives you a chance to look around the map and do the same.
Ignite is a common choice between kass players, mostly because it works greatly with Kassadin's burst, but also because casting it counts towards 1 charge for your force pulse which gives a great advantage in a 1 v 1, 1 v 2, or 2 v 2 fight.
Other good options
Flash: This is a common option for most Kassadin players to be able to Riftwalk in for a kill, and flash out. I personally do not recommend this because using item guide i use, flash wont be needed.
Ghost : I think if you want an escape method for Kass, ghost is more reliable than flash. I recommend ghost if you are facing fast, ad heavy champions such as Master Yi, or Olaf. These heroes CAN CATCH UP TO YOUR RIFTWALK. The only way to lose them without ghost is to juke them through walls and bushes. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, ghost is your friend.
Cleanse also seems to be a popular option between Kassadin players, the chances of you needing it is not likely enough to waste one of your summoner spells on it, specially on blind pick. You might pick this on draft pick if the other team seems CC heavy, but i personally rather use Quicksilver Sash because i get to keep my summoners AND have a cleanse, plus Quicksilver has the bonus magic resist that you will very likely need against CC heavy teams anyways.
Skill and Abilities
Kassadin's Abilities :
Void Stone (Passive)
A truly Great passive. It gives you 10% free magic resist, and who doesn't love free magic resist? But not just that, it converts that damage into attack speed. This ability + Nether Blade + attack speed gained from your masteries can turn a losing 1 v 1 battle into a winning one.
Null Sphere (Q
A strong silence with a rather low cooldown, one of the reasons people consider Kass OP. This ability makes Kass great against AP carries, Supports, and anyone with a channeling ability.
Nether Blade (W)
Gives you mana steal passively when you use your physical attack, and actively it does extra magic damage with every hit.
Note : Active ability does NOT disable the passive, therefore it is always a good idea to use the active whenever it is available for 3 reasons : it keeps your Force Pulse stacks up, and once you have Tear of Goddess it increases your base mana for you, and with 25 mana cost, you have no problem spamming this skill.
Force Pulse (E)
Your main damage output and the first skill to max out. Apart from the great slow and good damage, it is very easy on your mana. The down side is that you need 6 stacks to cast this spell but a good Kassadin should not have any problem with that.
This is what makes Kassadin OP, and using it correctly takes some time to master. This ability is a (if you follow the build correctly and maintain the proper cooldown reduction) 3.6 second cooldown flash, with almost twice the range, and a good damage output. Keep in mind, consecutive Rifwalks in a row have increase mana cost, BUT also increased damage and what makes a good Kass player a great Kass player is using this to your advantage.
Why is my skill sequence different from most guides?
The most common skill sequence for kassadin is R > Q > E > W but however I much prefer R > E > Q > W for a few simple reasons:
- Leveling up your Q increases its mana cost which will decrease your sustain early game as Kass already has problem handling his mana. In the other hand, E has the same mana cost despite its level so leveling it will give you the exact same damage output with less mana cost.
- Since Kassadin is a melee champion, he will have to use his Q for farming from far away because sometimes it isn't safe to get closer to auto attack minions. Leaving your Q at a lower level allows you to do that without worrying about mana too much.
- Leaving your Q at a lower level makes you seem weaker than you actually are to the enemy team when u harass them. Which causes them to over extend and over commit to a fight they can't win. When they do, you can use your E (which will be at a higher level) to burst and slow them, and it will be too late for them to escape
- Leveling up E first will make the slow from the ability much stronger which quite useful
Here I will try to tie everything up together with the item choices and will try to explain why I made the unusual choices I made.
Open up with a Meki Pendant and a mana and a health potion
The combination mana regen from Meki Pendant, runes, and masteries and one mana potion will sustain your mana needs from levels 1 through 4 which is when you get your Nether Blade and finally get to gain some mana back on your own. The one health potion helps you survive some beating.
At level 6 depending on who you are facing, and how many ganks you have gotten from your jungler, you might or might not have kills. What you defiantly should not have, is deaths. Mainly because Kassadin is such a fragile champion until he gets to level 6 that you should be playing 100% safe, let the enemy push a bit if you have to. Miss a minion or two if it means you wont take pointless damage, it isn't worth it, and just wait until you get to level 6.
Weather you have kills or not, at level 6, waste the last of your mana to push the lane back as much as possible to keep the enemy occupied while you go back. As soon as you get back buy yourself a Tear of goddess (If you farmed right, you should at least have enough money for this) and instantly active your Riftwalk and Nether Blade in the health pool to start increasing your base mana off the bat. Then if you have more money, open the shop again, if you have money, buy yourself basic boots , use your extra money to buy some potions. I personally prefer 2 health and 1 mana. Use your Nether Blade and Riftwalk one more time in the health pool and start getting back to your lane.
Try to save your teleport if you can, however if your tower isn't getting pushed, walk / Riftwalk back. Keep in mind your mana base is still very low, so don't let the passive effect of Riftwalk stack on itself as it wont be worth the mana cost.
At this point you can start being more offensive. Whenever your Force Pulse is up, use your teleport to go in and use your E and Q instantly to burst the enemy down. Most champions aren't capable of reacting fast enough to hit you back which at this point gives you complete advantage. If you see an opponents over extending (roughly 40-50% health on none beefy ap units) get your force pulse up instantly and commit to a fight, combination of slow, silence, ignite and the burst damage will result in your opponent make the mistake of attempting to run away, which is a big mistake because Kassadin is the game's best chaser. If in the other handle if they decide to fight you back, every ability used on you (although it reduces your health) will make your Nether blade stronger, and give you the needed charges for another Force Pulse, which again gives you the advantage.
If you are having trouble in your lane, keep your eye in other lanes, while staying at a safe distance, and as soon as you see a fight breaking out (Specially in bottom lane) Teleport to a minion closest to their side of map in that lane and join the fight.
Another important thing to remember, is mana buff is EXTREMELY powerful on Kassadin, given the chance, ask your jungler to take the buff, or steal the enemy's buff (if safe)
As soon as you have enough money for a Mejai's Soulstealer , go back and buy it. Once you have Mejai's take a bit more chances for your next kill, if you know you can get a kill but it will get you killed, do it, because the exchange of kills will be in your favor. Simply because through you both earn a kill, you will also gain two stacks of Mejai's which makes the exchange better for you.
Why Mejai's and not Deathcap?
The rest of this build is built around a Mejai's. Through Deathcap is a good replacement for it, it is much more expensive which means it will take much longer to obtain. Also since the rest of the items are rather defensive, it makes it really easily for you to gain 20 stacks of Mejai's over the length of the game which gives you the extra cooldown reduction boost.
Once you have enough money for Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Why Boots of Lucidity and not Srcerer's Shoes?
The cooldown reduction you gain from these shoes makes you much more versatile, it makes you better at juking, it makes you better at catching enemies, and it makes you be able to attack more often, keep in mind Kassadin without his skills is as good as dead. Most games don't last long enough for opponents to build enough magic resist to stop your damage, and therefore 9/10 games, you will hurt the enemy team more if you can use your skills more often, than when you have extra Magic Pen.
Next you have a choice to make depending on who you are facing. If you are having trouble with lots of CC or high burst damage, build a Rylai's Crystal Scepterfirst as the health will let you survive through it in case you get focused, plus the passive will help you catch and run away much easier.
In the other hand, if you are having trouble with large amount of consistent damage while not much CC, buy zhonya's hourglass first and make sure to use the active effect when needed.
Once you have both of those items, build yourself a Guardian Angel The timer it takes for Guardian Angel revive you is roughly the same as your level 3 Riftwalk's cooldown which is a perfect opportunity to escape.
Last but not least, you upgrade your Tear of Goddess to Archangel's Staff
Why not upgrade Earlier?
Mainly because there are more important items for Kassadin than some Mana to AP conversion. Also this gives you some time to build a large amount of base mana before you build Archangel's so at least when you finally but it, it is worth your money.
Other Item Options
If you are having trouble with a CC heavy team, build this item. I recommend buying this item After your boots, and instead skip out on buying Guardian Angel.
If you are roughly around 30 minutes in the game, and have 7 or less Stacks of Mejai's, it isnt worth it for you to keep it anymore. As soon as you have enough money, sell the Mejai's and buy a Deathcap instead. An alternative to this would be to build Archangel's Staff Earlier.
Rod of Ages
If you need health quicker than Rylai's Rod of Ages is a good choice. Since you don't have to save up straight for a Giant's Belt you can start gaining sustainability earlier.
Advanced Tips for Advanced Players
Starting level 4, get into habit of spamming your Nether Blade
As mentioned in the top, this is extremely important, as it allows you to keep your Force Pulse ready, and once you have a Tear of Goddess, it increases your base mana continuously.
There are a few situations however, where you shouldn't use your Nether blade, first if your force Pulse is already up and you have no Tear of Goddess yet (which is common sense)
but also when you are planning to burst a hero down, keep you Nether blade Until the last moment. Use it AFTER you used Forced Pulse because the slow from it makes Nether Blade more effective and the use of Nether Blade gives you a stack for your next force Pulse if the fight continues.
It is often better to keep your force pulse charges at 4-5 rather than 6
The reason being, A the enemy team doesn't know how many stacks you have, all they know is when you have your full 6 stacks because of the animation change. Therefore it is easier to get them caught, and when needed all it takes to earn your force pulse is a Void Sphere or a Rift Walk.
Another reason to keep your charges at 4-5 is to keep tab on incoming junglers. If you keep track of your skills, and your enemy skills, you can tell when you have more stacks then expected. Force pulse has an exceptionally large radius for charge gains (comparable to Sivir's Ultimate's radius), therefore you can tell when you have an enemy around hiding in a bush or in the fog of war.
When Riftwalking from inside a bush to another bush, the only visible particle to the enemy team is the exit particle
Let me rephrase this, when Kassadin Riftwalks, he creates two sets of particles. The first is where he Riftwalks from, and second is where he Riftwalks to. When this is done inside the bush, only the first particle is visible. This used in smart ways can help you position yourself in a bush near opponents without them having any idea. It can also help you escape fights Riftwalking from one bush to another, to fog of war, or to the other side of the wall. and your enemies will now know which path you took.
Zohnya's and Gaurdian Angel were designed for Kass
Ok that was a lie, but it sure feels like it.
If you have anywhere over 25% cooldown reduction (which following this guide should be a given) both the time you get frozen with hourglass, and the time it takes GA to revive you is enough for you to be able to reuse your Riftwalk to get out of sticky situations.
Kassadin can go through ALL walls in the map
Here is the rule of thumb for Kassadin: if the range of Riftwalk can cover even a bit over halfway through the wall, you can Riftwalk through it.
You can use Riftwalk with walls to go through the map even faster.
As described by the last point, if your Riftwalk covers over half the wall, you can go through it. This means the wall pushes you outwards. You can use this trick to travel through the map faster. Here are some examples of the jumps kassadin can make:
Jungle is your friend late game
The combination of walls and bushes makes the jungles a Kassadin "safe zone" late game. When in a team fight, Stay hidden in the bushes, or behind a wall, and until the enemy team commits . When Running away, take the path you DONT want to take and get the enemy to follow you, then teleport through the wall back to the path u DO want to take, making it impossible for your enemies to follow you.