Kassadin Build Guide by King Kassadin
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Final Build #1
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Hello, I'm DrunkSchnauzer. I'm a Platinum mid laner and Kassadin is my main champion right now. I've played over 500~ games with him right now in Season 3 Ranked and have a 65% win ratio with him.
The reason I play Kassadin is because when I first started playing mid, I used to play assassins like LeBlanc and Fizz mid-way through Season 2. I really took a liking to LeBlanc and she was my main for the rest of Season 2, but the problem I found I had with her was that I would go scores like 25/2/9 or 22/0/4 and not be able to carry. I was rather new to competitive play back in Season 2 so I didn't know as much as I know now about the mechanics of League of Legends. The fact of the matter is, LeBlanc is a burst-caster who is capable of eliminating any champion with her full combo in team-fights, but once she bursts down that one champion she has a hard time participating in the rest of the team-fight.
The one champion that I found I had difficulty with as LeBlanc, the one who could out-roam, out-damage and out-sustain her all throughout the game, was Kassadin. I started playing him at the beginning of the season and soon realized that Kassadin was the burst-caster that LeBlanc couldn't be late-game, as well as the best AP anti-mage in the game.
Pros & Cons
|+ Can burst down multiple champions in a team-fight
+ Silence, slow and built-in flash
+ Massive power spike at 6
+ Very good roam
|Kassadin is the scariest mid lane to get after he reaches level 6. Enemies are going to want to poke him and bully him in lane as much as possible, because at level 6 his power spikes and he becomes an absolute beast. If he gets camped by a jungler it will delay him from roaming or winning lane, but it is nearly inevitable that Kassadin will roam and screw up other lanes even if he's losing his own lane. He has so much crowd control which will allow him to be able to 1v1 almost any champion on the Rift, and will shred towers late-game with Lich Bane.|
|- Weak laning phase
- Constantly mana-hungry
- You won't feel invincible until late-game
- Difficult to farm with early-game
|Kassadin's pre-6 is one of the weakest laning phases of any mid laner, which is really his only weakness and the only thing that will typically stop Kassadin from getting fed. Once Kassadin gets Riftwalk he will be able to engage or disengage any fight, but until then he will get poked down by the majority of mid laners who are ranged and will not be able to duel most melee champions. Farming may be a bit tough as all of his skills except Nether Blade cost a lot of mana to use, but auto-attacks leave you vulnerable to poke. Until you get your first few major items you will probably have a hard time killing fed AD Carries and top laners due to the fact that you won't be able to one-shot and you'll be low on mana after one combo.|
Reduces magic damage and converts it into attack speed.
Void Stone is Kassadin's passive, which allows him to take reduced magic damage and converts it attack-speed. Players are likely to take Kassadin's passive for granted and not realize the true potential of it, especially in lane. It can be the difference between you killing your opponent or you dying, because if they silence you and you can't combo, you're going to be relying on auto-attacks.
Silences target and is Kassadin's primary damage source.
Null Sphere is Kassadin's main initiate and damage-dealing spell. Against an average mid laner your Q will do around a quarter of their health in lane, and paired with Riftwalk, you will jump onto your target, silence them, slow them and kill them without them being able to do anything because of the insanely long silence from Null Sphere.
Increases magic damage on hit for 5 seconds and its passive gives mana for basic attacks.
Nether Blade is Kassadin's only non-ranged move. It buffs his auto-attacks and gives them bonus magic damage for 5 seconds as well as giving an insanely good passive that restores 8 mana whenever he hits a minion and 24 whenever he kills a minion. It also gives 24 mana per hit on a champion. Paired with Lich Bane, Kassadin will be able to take towers in less than a dozen hits late-game.
Slows target and deals damage after Kassadin casts 6 spells.
Force Pulse is Kassadin's secondary crowd control and damage source. It is hard to use in lane since you'll have a hard time getting to 6 stacks to cast it, but in team-fights it will almost always be up because other people around you casting spells does help charge it up. This will help secure any kill on a target trying to escape and will save you from champions who are charging at you like Rammus.
Jumps to target destination and deals damage (stacks up to 10x if used subsequently)
Riftwalk is the ability that makes Kassadin unique. A lot of champions have moves that are similar to Flash, but Kassadin's does an insane amount of damage as well. Every time Riftwalk is used within 8 seconds of the last use, it will stack. Every stack makes it deal more damage, but also cost a lot more mana. If used unwisely it will run Kassadin out of mana very quickly.
Kassadin's skill sequence isn't very debatable, there's really only one skill sequence for him. Always max Null Sphere first because it increases the damage (and it is your primary damage skill) and increases the duration of the silence.
Second you'll want to max Force Pulse, which is your slow and also does quite a bit of damage. You won't want to max that first simply because you'll rarely be using it before level 6 in lane because it takes 6 skills being used (either by you or by someone near you), meaning you won't be using it too often unless you're playing against an enemy who uses a lot of skills (i.e. Karthus, Orianna, Zyra, Zed).
Do Nether Blade last because you won't be taking down towers and fighting their AD Carry until later in the game. Those aren't its only uses, by far, but they're the main things you're going to be doing late-game. If you do choose to go the Lich Bane route you won't need to have it maxed until later anyways.
Max Riftwalk at levels 6, 11 and 16 as usual.
Marks of Magic Pen are really the only viable option for Kassadin right now, because playing Kassadin will almost always force your opponent to build some sort of early magic resist. It will stack with your Sorcerer's Shoes and Void Staff (if you choose to build it.
This is key for roaming. In 99.5% of games the enemy will have an AD Carry that you will want to roam to bot lane (or top if they swapped) to kill, but if you don't have any armor, they'll likely kill you. It's also very good to have against AP champions at mid, because they'll be harassing you with their auto-attacks before you reach level 6, and having armor will at least get rid of some of the damage. If your enemy at mid is an AD champion, all the better for you.
I prefer flat AP to scaling AP on Kassadin because having any extra damage in lane will be ideal before level 6. Scaling AP is just as good, however, it will just make your laning phase a bit harder, and you probably won't need the few extra points of AP once it comes to mid-late game anyways.
15 AP flat at level 1 is such an advantage. These 3 quints stacked with your glyphs of AP will be a nightmare for your enemy mid laner. These are also a must-have, and there aren't really many viable options for Kassadin besides these.
- Greater Mark of Magic Resist (I don't highly recommend this)
- Greater Seal of Scaling Health
- Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
- Greater Quintessence of Health
Take Flash on Kassadin regardless of the situation. Flash is a must-have. Every Kass player at one point in their journey will think "I have a 5 second cool-down flash at level 6, maybe I can just play safe and not need flash!"
If you do this, you will run an even greater risk of being camped pre-6, which you will, trust me. A good jungler will know that Kass has no escape pre-6 besides flash and will gank constantly to give their mid laner at least some sort of chance to win lane. Also you can make some pretty sweet plays with flash.
For instance, you could R into Baron/Dragon pit and go for a kill or a steal and then safely escape using your flash, or if you go out of mana you can use it to pick up kills. The main use of flash is that pre-6 engage/disengage, however. If you can get first-blood in your lane, it's either because the enemy went too aggressive and didn't anticipate your W damage, or because you had flash Q up.
Now for your second spell, you're going to decide between:
Ignite is my most used secondary summoner spell. It is great for getting first-blood or getting early kills, and can be the difference between winning a team-fight and losing a team-fight, especially against champions who heal a lot.
I use Teleport in around 25% of my Kass games, and I've been using it more now than ever. If you watch the professionals play League of Legends, a lot of the ones who play Kassadin (when he's not banned), such as Xpeke and Ocelote from Europe, will take teleport on Kassadin. Xpeke takes teleport to backdoor and take towers and gank lanes early, whereas Ocelote uses it to gank after he sits at base for a minute stacking his riftwalk so that it does over 1.5k damage and can one-shot their AD Carry.
Barrier isn't that good on Kassadin because you'll be starting Rod of Ages, so you'll already be decently tanky enough that you shouldn't be in a position where you'd need barrier. But, if you're against a caster who can potentially one-shot you, barrier isn't completely out of the question.
Exhaust is good if their team has a lot of dps champs, or multiple AD Carries such as Vayne top and Corki bot. Rarely will exhaust be a good idea unless you know for a fact their AD Carry is going to give you a lot of trouble, or you're laning against an AD Carry like mid Caitlyn.
Cleanse is very very VERY situational. The only reason you should take cleanse is if they have a lot of crowd control, or you're against a champion like Lux, Morgana, Zyra or Annie in lane who can burst you down in one shot if they land their stuns/snares.
I actually used to do Boots of Speed, 3 Health Potion and 1 Mana Potion up until close to the end of Season 3 when I realized that Sapphire Crystal and 2 Health Potion are a much better start. Kassadin's base movement speed is good enough that you probably don't need to grab boots until after a few items. Having Sapphire Crystal will give you enough sustain to stay in lane for a very long time, because it negates one of Kassadin's early pre-6 problems, which is always being low on mana. This also helps you get Catalyst as early as possible, which you're going to be getting on the first back most likely. If you don't start Sapphire Crystal and you're against a champion that counters you or has good early zone (which is every ranged champion until Kassadin gets 6), you're going to have a hard time farming since you won't be able to use your Q to free-farm.
This is your primary starting item on Kassadin. Whether or not you decide to go the Seraph's Embrace route is up to you, but this has to be your first item. Getting catalyst the protector and Blasting Wand in lane are both necessary for you to be able to do damage and take damage early into the game.
Rabadon's Deathcap will most likely be the item in your build with the most flat AP. I like to get it directly after Rod of Ages, but if you're planning to build a Seraph's Embrace you could maybe sneak that in before.
Archangel's Staff/ Seraph's Embrace is one of the most controversial items on Kassadin. I've heard a lot of Kassadin players say it's great, and a lot say it's terrible. My opinion on it is that it's situational. I build Tear of the Goddess on Kassadin almost every game just to open up that realm of possibility mid-late game. Should I want a Seraph's Embrace later in the game, I'll have a fully stacked Tear of the Goddess ready to go. If I decide not to build it, I can sell it later in the game and it served it's purpose by giving me a ton of extra mana early game. The main deciding factor in building Seraph's is if they do a lot of damage, but don't have the crowd control or focus to merit building a Zhonya's Hourglass.
These items are some of the best items to build on Kassadin, and you will definitely build them at some point in your Kassadin career.
My favorite item on Kassadin late-game, because it will allow you to win a trade with a fed AD Carry, take towers in a few hits and stay in team-fights after your skill combo is down just by using your auto-attacks.
I build Void Staff when the enemy team starts to build a lot of magic resist and it becomes a problem for me to one-shot them later in the game. It isn't a very good defensive item, so a lot of games I won't end up building it over Seraph's Embrace, Zhonya's Hourglass or even Guardian Angel, but against teams that are losing or are just stacking magic resist to screw you over, build this item for sure.
I build Zhonya's Hourglass as a last or second-last item in the majority of my games. It is a very useful item for team-fights, as it will allow you to jump in, pick off a few targets and then hide from the rest of the oncoming damage while your team cleans up the fight. It also gives 100 AP and 50 armor, so paired up with Lich Bane no AD Carry will be able to touch you in a 1v1 or even with their support.
Deathfire Grasp is a good item for straight damage on Kassadin. You can do without it since there are better utility items for Kassadin, but it's okay to have straight damage if you're winning your lane hard already.
I'm going to put this text in red because I can't emphasize enough how risky Mejai's Soulstealer is. It only costs 1,235 gold, but that can put you so far behind early on into the game. How Mejai's works is that when you get a kill or an assist, the item gains one stack. It stacks up to 20, and each 1 stack gives you 8 AP. It sounds good in concept, because 8x20 = 160 AP, and if not for this next part, I would build it every game because it would essentially be 160 AP for just over 1k gold: Mejai's Soulstealer loses a third of its stacks upon death.
Buy Guardian Angel if you're in a very long game where you're being heavily relied upon in team-fights to not die. Do not build this over Zhonya's Hourglass if you don't have to.
Spirit Visage is a decent item to get if the enemy team is heavy AP (I would say at least 3 AP champions on the enemy team would be necessary).
Same thing as Spirit Visage, except this is probably a better item to get because it will also protect you from poke.
If you're being focused a lot in team-fights and don't have Cleanse, Banshee's Veil or Spirit Visage, get this.
One of the things that can really screw you up as Kassadin is a bad match-up before level 6. If you're against someone like Zyra, Lux, Ahri, etc... before 6, you're going to get harassed if they know even remotely what you're capable of after you have your ult. The enemy is going to want to get as much of an early-game lead as possible, and since you're a melee AP caster, ranged champions will have an easy time farming and stopping you from farming.
The best way to counter this is by asking your jungle to come mid if the enemy is being too aggressive, but if they won't help you or your enemy just simply doesn't care, you're going to have to farm with your Null Sphere and Force Pulse. This will cost a lot of mana and will be hard to last-hit with, but if you can get enough gold to get some parts of your Rod of Ages it won't matter after that.
If you know you're going to have a hard-time in lane but also know that your enemy won't be able to kill you while you're farming under tower, grab a Sapphire Crystal or Crystalline Flask as your first item, as well as some potions.
If you're pushed up, the enemy jungler will gank you. Even if you think you're playing safe enough or the jungler's engage isn't that good, don't get cocky, because most junglers will gank a Kassadin into the ground before level 6. Buying a ward along with your Sapphire Crystal or [crystalline flask]] isn't a terrible idea, but buying one on your first back is crucial.
The Mid-Game is also known as the "Roaming Phase" for Kassadin. At this point you've most likely won your lane, so you should begin roaming to other lanes to get kills for your top lane and AD to get them snowballing along with you and secure the game.
If you lost your lane, it is still a good idea to roam. If you're against a mid laner who's ahead of you in gold, you're probably still able to 1v1 them because of your skill-set, but if they're that far ahead that you can't even go near them, the wise thing to do is to go to bot lane and kill the AD and support to help you catch up on gold.
The easiest lane for you to gank is bot lane. Riftwalk allows Kassadin to gank from nearly anywhere on the map, because no wall is impenetrable for him. Bottom lane is the easiest to gank, however, because there are two people there to assist you, and the AD and support will almost definitely be squishier and easier to take out than a top lane bruiser or tank.
If your top lane does enough damage and are not against someone who's too tanky to 2v1 ( Malphite, Shen, Renekton, Nasus), then try to get your full combo off and let your top lane do most of the damage. Kassadin's crowd control will come in handy and if you constantly silence and slow them your top lane should be able to do the rest of the work.
In a game past 45~ minutes, where every respawn timer is over a minute long, catching someone out will almost certainly be good game. Make sure that you have the right items to take out your target or you might end up throwing the game for your team instead. This late in the game you'll probably be full-build, which means unless they're more fed than you are, you can probably take out most of their team in a 1v1. Aim for the AD or the AP carries, but make sure you have the area where you plan to kill them warded or you might end up getting baited into an ambush.
Kassadin is very good at staying alive, but his kit isn't ideal for taking out Baron Nashor, so something you can do while your team takes Baron is distract the enemy team. To do this you have to know for a fact (either by plenty of Vision Ward or an Oracle's Elixir) that the enemy has no idea your team is taking Baron, or they'll ignore you and go right for your team.
If you followed this build you'll have a Lich Bane towards the middle of the game, so you'll definitely want to use it to its full potential by sneaking towers when the enemy team is distracted. You can also backdoor better than most mid laners, so if your team loses a fight and they're rushing your base, you can try to force them to recall by backdooring an inhib or even their nexus (Xpeke!).
If you're looking to counter-pick Kassadin there are plenty of ways to do it. If Kassadin counter-picks you then you'll want to build items like Hexdrinker, Abyssal Scepter, Spirit Visage or Banshee's Veil.
Diana vs. Kassadin is more or less a skill match-up ever since she got nerfed a while back. Her damage output is still good, but her cool-downs are the main thing that make her vulnerable to Kassadin. Crescent Strike is a good counter to Riftwalk because she can use it twice in rapid succession if used when Kassadin has Moonlight on him. Most Diana players will almost always build Abyssal Scepter and Zhonya's Hourglass, especially against a Kassadin.
Fizz is good against Kass because he's one of the few champions who doesn't need Flash to keep up with Kassadin. He will be able to zone until Kass gets his Riftwalk and his roam is very strong. Fizz is one of the easier counters to deal with, because if he gets behind in lane he can be bursted down in one combo. Chum the Waters is also very easy to dodge with Riftwalk.
Galio is a very defensive AP champion. His damage can be good, but typically most Galio players will build a bit of magic resist because Galio's main attribute is that he has a lot of base magic resist and passives that make him essentially immune to most magic damage. Galio won't be able to kill Kassadin in lane, but good luck killing him.
Kha'Zix simply out-damages Kassadin in lane and has a terrifying advantage pre-6. Taste Their Fear will do around a third of Kassadin's health unless an early Seeker's Armguard is built. Once Kassadin gets Lich Bane he will probably be able to out-duel Kha'Zix but that won't be until very late in the game.
Mordekaiser is very difficult to deal with in laning phase because of his constant shielding and all of his skills have low cool-downs and no mana cost, which allows him to poke and farm creeps. His team-fights are lacking and unless he can get Children of the Grave onto your team's AD Carry and kill him, he's going to be doing minimal damage in fights and his mobility is quite poor.
Pantheon is probably the hardest counter to Kassadin right now. Most people would say Talon, but I would say Pantheon can dominate lane much harder and roam much quicker with Grand Skyfall. Most of the Pantheon and Talon players I see in solo queue are only playing those champions solely to counter-pick me and have no experience with those champions, but I don't have trouble with inexperienced Talon players. Pantheon is very easy to pick-up and if you land the stun on Kass, he's getting the full combo. His block and Spear Shot will make Kassadin's laning phase very difficult and will zone him out fully.
Swain is good versus most match-ups at mid because of his insane sustain at level 6. Like Kassadin, Swain gets a huge power spike at level 6. Though he has no real escape, his skills provide heavy cc and his Ravenous Flock will make him essentially gank-proof unless you catch him in a very bad spot. If Kassadin jumps on him, he will just cast Nevermove and use his full combo.
Talon is the obvious counter-pick for a lot of AP Carries, but Kassadin is the person he counters the hardest. His rake allows him to dominate lane against Kassadin pre-6, and if he starts Hexdrinker the lane is most likely going to be over and will force Kassadin to roam. He can jump onto Kassadin and instantly silence him with Cutthroat, allowing him to get his full combo off without Kassadin being able to do much about it. If Kassadin jumps towards him, he can use Cutthroat to stop the combo.
Zed counters Kassadin because after level 6 he can ult onto Kassadin the second he sees Riftwalk happen, which leaves Kassadin vulnerable to being instakilled. Zed also has a very strong pre-6 as he doesn't use mana which allows him to farm and escape with his Living Shadow if needed, and also poke Kassadin with his Razor Shuriken.
Q: Does AD Kassadin work?
Most things work, and yes AD Kassadin does work, but it is not viable in ranked play and you will most likely get yelled at by your teammates in any game-mode for doing so unless you're some kind of God. All of his skills scale on AP, including Nether Blade, making it very impractical. If you're going to go Kassadin bot lane just build ability power - even if you're short on gold from lack of farm, it's still better than AD Kassadin.
Q: I play support and I don't know how to ward against Kassadin's ganks?
There is only so much you can do to ward against Kassadin. Ward up-river near dragon and near mid lane so you'll know if he's coming. If you're on blue side, a ward on the bush behind red buff would be good. If it becomes too much to ward everywhere, ask your mid lane to start warding those areas, because chances are they don't want Kassadin getting fed either. If he gets teleport, you're going to have to buy a lot of vision wards and place them in the bushes in the areas near where the creeps are going so that your AD Carry won't have to worry too much.
Thank you for reading my Kassadin guide! I hope you either learned how to play Kassadin or have a better understanding of how to play against him (I hope that you don't play me soon because now you know my playbook). Obviously there's only so much I can teach you about Kassadin from this guide, the next step is to get out onto the Rift and play him for yourself!
Please feel free to comment and tell me what you liked and/or disliked about it, what you would like me to add and what guide I should do next! I put it on C2V (Comment to Vote) not because I don't want people to vote it down, but because I would like to know why it got voted down. If you have constructive criticism, feel free to include it, just try to be nice or I'll use Null Sphere on you.
jhoijhoi, for his guide on how to make guides, as well as the BBCode templates he provided