Kog'Maw Build Guide by NerdChieftain
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.
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.
Welcome to my Season 3 Kog'Maw guide. I have been frustrated by some of the things out there other guides say about Kog'Maw. The most noobish of which is giving Kog a "standard" ADC build. If you do this, you aren't really paying attention to Kog's strengths.
Kog's strengths are that he is a hybrid hero. His skills all do two things, making him versatile but harder to play. Additionally, he CAN use ability power, cooldown reduction, and mana regen. So we should not exclude those attributes and focus on just attack damage. He is good as ADC, but his abilities give him great utility to a team for team fights and ganks. Kog's biggest strength is Bio-Arcane Barrage.
This is balanced by Kog's biggest weakness, he is squishysauce. So we need to balance out Kog's weakness early and plan to give him items for late game perfection.
I intend this guide to be brief and offer an alternative viewpoint on playing Kog.
This is titled "Late Game ADC / Hybrid." That's because a Hybrid Kog plays a perfect ADC role.
Item Changes and the MetaGame
The best first item for Kog in Season 2 was Wriggle's Lantern. This dramatically helped with armor and farming (for last hit or sidestepping into Jungle). In a long game, you could sub out Wriggle's Lantern for The Bloodthirster.
The two big items in Season 2 a good Kog player would get were Mordred's Razor and Phage, building into either Frozen Mallet or Trinity Force. Nashor's Tooth was my favorite hybrid item for Kog.
Season 3 has changed by eliminating Mordred's Razor, replacing with Blade of the Ruined King. This is probably better for Kog over all, because it gives extra health regen/life steal.
Alt Choices Build
A second build is included to demonstrate alternate choices you can make for Kog. This isn't a separate build, but shows all the alternatives. In other words, masteries/spells, runes, and items are interchangeable with first build.
How to Play Kog
Kog is not a Gankster. He can't be aggressive for kills like Ashe. He's a little slow and famously squishy, so he's everyone's favorite ADC to focus fire in the Meta.
(1) Spring forth when least expected
Kog has to stay back, then jump forward and unleash unprecedented damage. Staying back in this game is hard. It's counter-intuitive. It makes or breaks Kog players.
(2) Don't run.
Another reason I don't like Cleanse is that if you are getting ganked, the only way you MIGHT survive is to fight back. Drop W and pray for some life steal and a smart laning partner. When you die, you can usually get a revenge kill with Icathian Surprise. Don't forget to move. This means early game, you will lead in death and assists, with a kill or two. That's life as Kog. Now, the haters will call you noob. Your laning partner will realize he is being fed as much as the enemy. You also get gold when he kills.
(3) Team fights.
You want to stay back. You can come in and level heavy damage, but only if you aren't easy to hit back. DO NOT INITIATE.
You may be tempted to drop E Void Ooze to mess up the enemy and deals some AOE. Don't do that. Save it for someone trying to escape. Alternatively, you can cast it across the back, where the enemy will try to run. Your auto-attacks with Bio-Arcane Barrage ends the fight. You can use Q Caustic Spittle especially late game for team armor and magic penetration on a tank. Not that the damage is bad either.
(4) Don't use Living Artillery to do damage. It slows your auto-attack. It has its uses, but in a straight up shoot out, auto-attacks, Bio-Arcane Barrage, and Runaan's Hurricane do a lot more. And gives you life steal.
Some players say this is worthless without AP. But, the armor AND magic penetration is really great in early team fights.
This is a very imaginative way to take ADC carry and make it ridiculous: scaling bonus magic damage based on target's health. Tanks are anti-ADC. Well guess what? [Bio-arcane barrage]] is anti-tank.
I put this chaing ability on 2, so it is right above W. EW combo now becomes EW2 or W2 combo.
Void ooze deals damage as it rolls out. Any hero hit is slowed for 4s, even if they run out. Any hero to cross the grey goop is slowed until the spell's 4s is up.
This is great for crowd control in your lane. Also, slowing with E enables W to get more hits in a chase, making the famous Kog'Maw EW combo. Cutting off escape with void ooze is almost as much a psychological weapon as true weapon. People just don't want to walk into puddles of AoE.
Note that E can go through walls, so you can cut off the escape from where they can't see you.
This spell has many uses.
- First, scouting bushes. (Scout bushes so you can shoot people hiding in them -- the vision lasts for some time.)
- Second, last hit the cheap bastards running away (skill shot).
- Tag a hero running away to see if there is a trap set up OR help teammates find them.
- AoE on minions/enemy champs.
- Scout Baron from safety.
- Harass in your lane.
Many players will encourage new Kog players to use Living Artillery a lot. You can't because of the mana involved. Also, you can noob it up hard.
You don't want to use Living Artillery to do the following:
- Harass before a team fight. You will scare them away.
- Harass before a gank. You will scare them away.
- Drop in on a team fight to help. This will tell them you're coming and slow you down. Your auto-attack owns.
Skill priority: WER, 1 point in Q at level 4.
Putting 1 point in Q Caustic Spittle gives you attack speed when you need it most: early lane farming. A lot of guides tell you to save this until the end, but they ignore how much Q can help to fight jungle monsters or team fight a tank.
With all things, this is a suggestion in my guide. My advice is not to underestimate Q.
Kog'Maw is famous for R Living Artillery. It scouts bushes, it can last hit, it can harass. Reportedly, it chops, dices, and slices vegetables, too. However, one strategy I often employ is delaying to get R until level 10. So at level 11, I have level 2. Why? (1) Range and damage to make the mana worth it. (2) More importantly, I get to rank up E Void Ooze sooner, which can mean lots more kills with increased slow.
As is the usual LoL Groupthink, if you don't have Living Artillery at level 6, some noob will tower dive and then get mad you didn't get the kill when he dived with Living Artillery. They'll think you are an absolute moron for waiting on Living Artillery. However, I feel that early game, I need mana for EW combo. That's it. No more. Playing bot, Living Artillery is great for playing peek-a-bush. But so is a 75 gold ward. Also, E Void Ooze will hit them and reveal them.
Don't get me wrong, Living Artillery has its uses, and a pro Kog can really use it to damage, reveal, and get vision for launching Bio-Arcane Barrage into the bush on bot.
That's why it is a CHOICE. If you are having good success with EW takedowns, keep ranking E up. Also, if you start roaming into jungle and ganking other lanes, you'd rather have E for the level 9 mega-slow.
For Kog'Maw, there are two excellent Mastery selections, reflecting the summoner spells Heal and Cleanse.
Heal with Summoner's Resolve gives 5 health per level, helping sir squishiness get on with things. Heal also gives you early game survivability and team utility. Perseverance is a controversial choice, because it's considered a weak talent. But it grants extra health regen, when health is low, which is precisely squishy's problem.
Alternatively, a build others strongly recommend, with Cleanse, you can get Veteran's Scars for more health. Cleanse is a great escape tool, but I find I have a hard time using it. Also, it doesn't help much early game, not like a Heal or Flash can. Going for Veteran's Scars means you can't have Summoner's Insight for Flash cooldown reduction.
Marks give us a few choices:
The best choice is for Attack Speed. This best synergizes with Bio-Arcane Barrage. Armor Pen would be better long term than Attack Damage, and almost equal in effect (+10% vs +8.55 damage). Attack damage helps with killing minion farm, but that doesn't justify it when we have Quintessences for that.
We need Greater Seal of Armor to survive.
Glyphs don't help AD Kog much. Best to go for defense with Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist. Cooldown help is a compelling possibility, but squishy is our #1 problem.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed is ideal for Kog. However, a good second choice is Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration. The latter may help more getting last hits for early game farming.
I use Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage, because I have other heroes use that rune, and I have already bought them. (I am still building rune sets.) It's just not optimal, not that it's bad.
Also, in the alternate build, damage and penetration will help you kill heroes if you get 1 or 2 shots. High attack speed can't do more damage by giving you 20% more speed -- you actually have to land that next hit (theoretical partial hits do not count). Arguably, this is better early.
Here's the secret to playing Kog: W Bio-Arcane Barrage is the most ridiculously OP on-hit effect in the game. Every choice you make should exploit it or synergize with it. That is why standard ADC carry is noob. ADC carry adds damage, which pales compared to Bio-Arcane Barrage.
We need to focus on hitting our enemy with Bio-Arcane Barrage. For item prioritization, that means speed and slows to chase, attack speed to hit more often, then attack damage, then ability power.
I also believe in the rule of 3 items. Your build should use the best 3 items in the game for your hero first. So, in early and mid game you do well. Also, in season 3, going for a tier 3 item right away may not be the best, because they are more expensive when looking at the stat bonuses per gold. (The designers said they did this on purpose.) Let's take a look at our plan for Kog.
(1) Berserker's Greaves
Synergy: attack speed and chase
Normally, I wouldn't level up my boots first. However, Kog needs attack speed and chase.
(2) Runaan's Hurricane
Synergy: amplifies on-hit attack
Many people will argue this is not an ADC carry item. Oh, so 100% bonus AD damage in a team fight is a bad choice for ADC? I don't buy that argument. Except for health and armor, Kog most needs attack speed early to take advantage of Bio-Arcane Barrage and to kill minions for money.
This item applies on-hit effects. Bio-Arcane Barrage is an on-hit effect. This items doesn't double Kog's damage, it gets somewhere in the 2.5x range with multiple opponents.
According to the wiki, the following are on-hit effects.
- Life Steal
- Armor Penetration
- Bonus Attack Damage
- Red buff (true damage/slow)
- Phage and Frozen Mallet
- Wit's End
- I might have forgot an item or two.
This item is also farmtastic. Finally, ADC can auto-attack and get gold. This item owns the jungle.
(3) Vampiric Scepter
Synergy: life steal to survive, works with Runaan's
(4) B. F. Sword
Synergy: more damage and life steal, works with Runaan's
In this build, we are teching to get Infinity Edge, because of the synergy with Runaan's Hurricane. The increased crit damage is just too good NOT to have.
Alternative to getting B.F. Sword is Stinger. Attack speed and cooldown reduction mean more Bio-Arcane Barrage. This also techs to Zephyr for move speed and tenacity, which helps chase and survivability.
Past the big 3
Getting Infinity Edge is quite a feat. Next comes Phantom Dancer for crit and speed.
With Zephyr, you've got speed, get Frozen Mallet for the chase. Don't forget Frozen Mallet is an on-hit effect.
Blade of the Ruined King
on-hit extra lifesteal works with Runaan's
complements Bio-Arcane Barrage to kill high
health enemy champs
built in activated slow/speed boost for chase
Trinity Force is a great well rounded item for Kog. He's hybrid and it has everything. Spellbalde is an on-hit effect. Zoinks!