Kassadin Build Guide by
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Not Updated For Current Season
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This is a Kassadin build that I find to be particularly useful for ranked play. There is specific emphasis on warding, which I feel like something all good Kassadin-players should be doing. The item build is largely open, so feel free to build what you like.
Kassadin should NEVER INITIATE fights. If you flash/rift walk into a group of enemies, you're going to be quickly CC'd and decimated. The rift walk CD is not the best for a quick escape if you make a bad entry. Your role in the game is to be a "ganker" or a "janitor". You should be looking for people who by themselves being stupid with their **** in their hand OR be cleaning up team fights where people are trying to get away OR come into the middle of a team fight while the enemy team is focusing one person when you can vomit your Force Pulse and shoot your Null Sphere on their more vulnerable heroes.
If the enemy has someone with a channeling-type skill, always save your Null Sphere for them! (Karthus ult, Nunu ult etc.)
I find that 9 Marks of Insight give you an adequate amount of magic penetration (with Sorc. Boots as well)
I typically use 9 Greater Seals of Replenishment to give an adequate amount of early game mp5. If you're good with mana and you play a bit conservatively, I see no reason why these runes can't be switched with flat armor runes or HP/level runes to give you a little bit of early game survivability.
For glyphs, I like to roll with 9 Greater Glyphs of Force. Overall, they contribute much more AP than flat AP runes and by level 12 (I believe,) they reach parity with flat AP runes.
For Quints, I think flat ap quints are good, but once again you could potentially switch these for mag pen quints.
Kassadin should ALWAYS start off with a Meki Pendant and 2 HP potions. The mana regen is absolutely crucial for early game harass and even for CS. I typically last hit creeps with Q if I can't hit them and having enough mana to Q always puts a little bit of pressure on your enemy. From the Meki pendant, you should quickly rush towards building a Tear of the Goddess to start building towards an Archangels. The fact that you gain mana (and conversely AP) from every action that you perform is very advantageous to Kass. This also utilizes his Force Pulse really well, as you can build mana (+ AP) and a Force Pulse counter with every action that you perform. While you're building your Archangels, it would be wise to build your Sorc. Boots - while Kass isn't entirely dependent on his movespeed (you have your Riftwalk), it always helps to be fast and the magic penetration from Sorc. Boots is something that only works to your benefit - that being said, in games with heavy CC pressure, it might be prudent to buy Merc. Treads instead, play it by ear.
Once those two items are built, rush for a Needlessly Large Rod to start your Rabadon's Deathcap. The Deathcap leaves you with a really nice amount of AP to give you a great midgame presence, which is when you should be dominating.
Typically, as Kassadin, I always buy 5 wards when I'm working through my core items (Rabs, Archangels, Sorc Boots). With your Riftwalk, Flash and Cleanse you should be able to effectively ward the jungle without encountering any problems. You SHOULD always be buying wards - other heroes can't effectively ward without the risk of death.
ALWAYS BUY WARDS.
Once all of this is done, and you approach lategame, I find that it isn't absolutely necessary to buy AP because your enemy has probably started to build magic resist. Lich Bane is a really nice item to get just since your melee attack gains about +300 damage (from AP) in addition to the bonus of your Nether Blade (W). The movespeed bonus, and the slight magic resistance from Lich Bane are also quite useful.
Sometimes, rather than Lich Bane, I am inclined to buy a Banshees (for CC mitigation) or even another Archangels (for more damage).
Really, after your Rabadon's buy something that maybe specific to your particular game or playstyle. But always be BUYING WARDS.
Why do I not level up Null Sphere to level 5 straight away? Because Level 4 Force pulse does more damage than Level 4 Null Sphere. And by the time you're at level 9 - you will be at midgame and you will be able to build up Force Pulse charges, no problem. In addition, with Rift Walk, you should be able to land all of your Force Pulses.
Nether Blade is a great skill but in my opinion it's not super necessary til late game. You should never be in a position to melee down anyone but late game it helps to chase people.
CLEANSE is MUST.
If you do a bad rift-walk and get stunned, just cleanse and your rift walk should be out of CD to let you get out.
FLASH is meh.
I like using flash because I might be able to pull off an early kill with it (it's kind of like a pre-6 rift walk).
Other valid summoner spells: Ignite (if you're afraid of not getting the kill) or Teleport (for map control)