Kassadin Build Guide by Spider72
Not Updated For Current Season
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.
This is actually my third rebuild of this entire build btw.
I retreated and progressed back and forth out of the "AD Kass Stigma" repeatedly. Revelation finally came out of getting some good builds and results with Pantheon. I had realized that Pantheon was essentially the counter to AD carry type champs, while Kassadin was the anti-ap. Well somewhat anyways. They have a tremendous amount in common. So I took what I learned, and... pa-ping. I now favor Kass primarily because of the high level of usefulness of ALL of his powers.
Things most people don't realize about Kass
I'm pretty sure at level 18. Kass is actually THE highest base attack damage champion in the entire game. Higher even than Tryn. The reason is although the initial damage isn't huge. His increase per level (3.9) is highest in the game.
Also, his nether blade ability, adds an absolutely massive amount of magic damage to his base attack. A mighty +90 at level 5. Kass does not need much at all additional attack damage. In fact i've quite intentionally added almost none. It is very important to note that force blade adds MAGIC damage which does not crit. Because of this attack damage and crit are low priority stats.
Finally. With this early item build, kass becomes an absolutely superior jungler. The reason is his ability to port medium distances over walls right into creep camps for maximum jungling speed. Kass is also probably the best champion there is at deep jungling into enemy territory. This build is fast and hits minions hard. There is nobody he can't escape from. Plus his teleport opens up nocturne-like ganking.
After very great deliberation I've concluded that exhaust and fortify are where its at. Both of them are improved in the mastery tree.
I think exhaust kinda goes without question. The defensive help against hard hitting ad champs is extremely powerful plus the slow is useful anytime. A fantastic spell.
Fortify was the harder choice. Its basically great because it offers a great team benefit and frankly can save alot of your towers. Once improved its a potentially dangerous offensive weapon during run and hide operations. I also didn't want something that I'd have to target and click. Many of Kass's abilities require careful targeting and clicking to work effectively and this gets hard in big battles.
If I had a third choice it would probably be heal. Really a pretty weak spell, but its more a comment of useless the others are. Ok maybe ignite (frankly I just was never impressed with ignite). Ghost and flash are right out. I know a lot of people think they are great, but this build comes with a bunch of movement speed. I hate being slow. You just dont need them. Teleport same thing. Clairvoyance isn't bad either. Just not as good as fortify.
So the initial part of my item build is quite offensive. Frankly in most games I add very few defensive items. For really unbalanced enemy teams, ie all ad or all ap. I would definitely think about adding a chain vest or negatron cloak about my 4th item. Build that later into a Banshee's veil, atma's, thornmail. w/e.
Probably my biggest revelation in this guide is actually the mastery tree. When I finally hit on it, my results with Kass just skyrocketed. It just absolutely suits kass perfectly. You see, Kass is really quite squishy. He is vulnerable to being stunned and blasted out of existence. Alot of people compensate for this by building out of the red or green trees then taking the cleanse skill. Problem is, it just never quite seemed to work for me. Neither of those trees are really all that synergistic with Kass either. The red tree is too AD oriented, and Kass is really a hybrid, and the heavy cooldown reduction of the blue tree, well just didn't help that much.
With a full blown solid defensive build, and a little help from items, that problem just seems to go away. I can consistently eat the stun, take the hits, but still manage to teleport away, heal, re-engage, w/e. The defensive tree also has a lot of solid anti-physical damage abilities. Dodge, damage block, armor. Its just perfect for the ad vulnerable Kass. The second to last tier ability Ardor is also absolutely perfectly suited for kass. Ability power and attack speed. Exactly what he needs and lots of it.
Kass's teleport is ENORMOUSLY powerful and useful. It enables kass to penetrate deeply into enemy territory, take risks, and still escape.
The final note is that Kass's passive ability to the 15 percent magic damage reduction, is really the fundamental compensation against his static and relatively low late game magic resistance. Is this ability, a strong defensive mastery tree, and just a bit of armor from wriggle's lantern a sufficient defensive build? In most cases i'd say yes. Kass is fundamentally a caster killer.
With this build I've augmented Kass's late/mid game defense with Guardian Angel and later Lichbane. Both of these items work together brilliantly and are absolutely perfect for Kass. At full strength he will have a bit more armor than mr, but is compensated by the %15 percent magic damage reduction from his innate, making him just about equal on both sides. Guardian angel basically keeps you from dying during that brutal oh **** I did something dumb, got stunned then ff'd hard kinda moment. Pop up and teleport away a few seconds later. Works perfect. He really keeps a solid level of protection with this build.
Kass's fundamental laning move is to cast Null Sphere just slightly out of range, then auto move to within range and instant cast. Your enemy takes a good chunk of damage, like 280 at level 5, completely unbuffed, but most importantly is now silenced for three whole seconds. This is tremendously scary for anyone and puts you at a huge advantage. You can move to melee range and safely engage creeps, teleport in for an aggressive kill, escape, w/e. You might think this is an ad kass build. But it isn't entirely. I'm picking up a good chunk of AP from masteries and then alot more later. At the end of every game I am almost always highest total damage output with a slight edge to magic. It makes you hard to defend against. Plus most people expect that you are a caster.
While laning, I almost always use null sphere to establish myself at melee range on the creeps and put the enemy champs at a disadvantage. My goal is just to grind out a bunch of gold, jungle on the side, and get the superior overwhelming gear set. Wriggle's lantern and later zeal and phantom dancer fit this mindset perfectly. Wriggles perfectly addresses an early game armor deficiency, adds punch, lifesteal, wards, and farming. It one item I consider absolutely must have. You might say that force pulse could be substituted for your farming skill and negates the need for this item. I say no. I want to have my force pulse charged absolutely all the time. While I'm farming up creeps and jungling I'm scanning the map looking for gank opportunities, teammates to save, and getting ready to teleport to safety in the case of a gang rush. Force pulse saves lives. It is NOT for farming. Ward placement should be a significant responsibility of kass since he can penetrate deeply into enemey territory. But w/e. A well placed ward is like handing your team a couple free ganks.
Many kass builds just really suck at early gold farming. Its compensated by getting mana items and casting alot. But frankly with a fast attack speed and constant meleeing, Kass has zero reason to ever need mana. Like ever. Attack speed is extremely useful on Kass and basically replaces early mana items in their entirety. In addition, many Kass builds have absolutely zero lifesteal or spell vamp. This is totally foolish imo. With attack speed and the lantern, Kass can very quickly melee a wave of creeps or some neutrals, regain a bunch of health, and be right back into the battle.
I have changed my mind about boots a fair amount. I'm currently using Sorcerors boots. Gives your early spells a lot more pop. I initially starting using berserker boots, but I think they overemphasize the melee side of Kass. I've really tried to address every portion of his effectiveness with this guide. I think you could frankly make a pretty good case for any of the boots frankly with the exception of the pure speed ones. Kass just doesn't need it with this build given that you are adding both phantom dancer and lichbane later on. Build situationally? Magic pen is awfully solid tho, and helps Kass the whole game.
I put zeal at a solid third on the list. Its just great, makes you quite fast, crits, better farming, good pop to your offense. It is definitely a must buy and a solid upgrade into phantom dancer.
Sheen is also an absolute must buy, but not until 4th item. It took me a long time to get over making trinity force but here is why. Kass has almost zero need for a slow, nor crit, nor attack damage. Lichbane is just better, the 80 ability power is amazing, its cheap, and the movement and magic resistance are just butter. Sheen gives you 25 very useful ap points, and an absolutely priceless proc. Ironically the extra mana does synergize with your health regen mastery. Isn't that handy? I'm also against buying the brutalizer as well. I was initially tempted, and that cooldown reduction was pretty exciting. It just doesn't quite work as well as other stuff tho. Kass already has fast cooldowns. Teleport is extremely quick, and does proc sheen. Force pulse will also be on a quick cooldown during big team fights. Your other abilities, especially netherblade, will also be procing your sheen.
After you have established strong jungling, attack speed, and your sheen proc. Its time to get serious about building your ability power. 0.15 percent of your ap does get moved into your force blade skill and you will almost never melee another champion for more than 5 seconds. Your strong melee will continue to get better, and your spells will continue to be dangerous. The final item is pretty much a gravy item by this point. You could go rabadons, zhonyas. I liked void staff because its pretty cheap and brings a bunch of pop. For an extremely long game i'd replace the boots with another phantom dancer, then replace the lantern with a rabadons, or something full of ap and very hard hitting.
He really isn't AD Kass. Its really a hybrid. Snarky dangerous offense, good penetration, ganks, jungling. Ability to initiate, strong harassment. Strong gold generation.
Well obviously he isn't a tank. But the guardian angel, lichbane, lantern, strong defense runes, and full defense mastery make him awfully durable in team fights. A null sphere or perhaps even a force pulse can be safely gotten off against a dithering foe group tho. I've already talked about the importance of placing wards.
If the enemy team is split into a 2-3 or something. Kass is really at his best. He can provide strong support to any teammate and be very dangerous. I've found it very useful to be able to teleport over a wall, get in some good hits and then move into another area. With this level of defense Kass can safely do melee damage under a fairly wide range of circumstances. Force pulse just comes alive tho. Short range, but useable in all but extreme danger situations. That melee is gonna hit hard. Its true I haven't added any health items, but he does have teleport. Its just awesome.
Just about everyone knows that Kass is probably the best weak champion pursuer in the game. I guess it doesn't hurt to say it again tho.
So two major perhaps overlooked points here. Kass is absolutely excellent at saving fleeing champions. Move in, force pulse aoe slow, port out. Saves lives.
So in a big team fight, the build presented has tremendous melee offense, but obviously isn't a tank. If you get focused hard you have to port out, and thats fine. But nothing is stopping you from going back in. The goal is really to prevent the enemy team from focus firing someone down. So keep them interested, unfocused and confused. You also have tremendous ability to get to a squishy and do that to theirs, especially with Kass's absolutely superior mobility. Use it.
I've become a major fan of taking a single lane with Kass. He's extremely strong against many of the standard single lane champs. Opens up solid gold farming, side jungling, and ganking.
So thats it. I'm 2-0 in single entry ranked now. Edit: I actually went through a period of trial with my old build, then had some solid new ideas contained here. Just went 10-3-18 with this build in single entry ranked.
Edit: summoner spells fixed. some language fixed. runes added.
May the Forceblade be with you. Always.