Kog'Maw Build Guide by BleacherCreature
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Not Updated For Current Season
Threats to Kog'Maw with this build
|Kalista||Kalista (as of 6.16) is the weakest ADC in the game. Her AS growth is garbage and for solo queue she relies a lot of communication. You will destroy her in teamfights but be wary of E stacks and her ultimate, as her teamfight is exceptional.|
Introduction/Why Play Kog'maw
Welcome to the Kog'Maw, Hybrid Destruction guide!
This guide is a in-the-works. It will look shinier and prettier later on, so please bear with me! :)
Why Play Kog'Maw?
Kog'Maw is a fun champion that, while may look easy, is difficult to master due to the intense care that the player and team needs to play around to fully unlock his hyper-carry potential. He may not snowball as hard as a Jinx or have as much AoE as Sivir, but he can damn well shred everyone on the enemy team in a matter of seconds. So without further ado, let's get into it!
Pros / Cons
Kog'maw is a hyper carry. He has a weak early game but an AMAZING late game. He's flexible with his builds, as he can go full AD, full AP, full On-Hit (in my opinion, the most rewarding and useful build), hell he could probably go full tank (please don't do that in ranked). His kit is very rewarding, and getting a kill on his ult just feels so satisfying. His passive also can force a flash out of an opponent or even kill them, meaning you didn't always die for nothing. Most builds these days are also prone to shred tanks, meaning the only people you really need to worry about our those who simply out 1v1 you such as Vayne.
While Kog'maw has his strengths, he has weaknesses. Namely, his early game is perhaps the weakest early game in the game. His W isn't that good since you don't have much attack speed, and his only escape is either team help, his E, or using a summoner spell, which isn't ideal. He's also incredibly immobile. Late game you are basically a walking turret that attacks really fast, and positioning to you matters the most among any other ADC, perhaps tied with Jinx. Most importantly, however, you absolutely NEED to play around your W. You will still do damage full build, but your W expands your safety net two fold, meaning when it's not up you are basically a sitting duck. Lastly, Kog'maw is limited to only a few team comps, mainly poke comps and Protect-the-ADC comp. An example of the Protect-the-ADC comp is here.
TL:DR, here's a quick rundown.
In the early game, start with Doran's Blade if the enemy has kill pressure (
, etc.). The extra health is nice and since the revert you won't lose some life-steal if you proc your Bio-Arcane Barrage. You can go Cull if the both sides of the lane are weak, but it's a greedy start.
You want to rush Trinity Force first, with your first items being either Sheen or Phage. If I am even with my opponent or are slightly ahead of them, I take Sheen too add kill pressure and for poke with empowereed autos. If I am behind a little or I am constantly getting poked down, I take Phage for the auto-movement speed proc's and the extra health. Stinger doesn't add much usefulness for the early game since the Bio-Arcane Barrage revert.
For boots, you have three options: Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Berserker's Greaves, and Boots of Swiftness. With the added CDR from Trinity Force and the CDR from Ionian Boots of Lucidity, you get 30 CDR%, which is very valuable on since his Bio-Arcane Barrage cooldown starts on activation, meaning it is almost always up. I don't take Berserker's Greaves much because Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Boots of Swiftness are much cheaper and you get a free Berserker's Greaves from your Caustic Spittle, so to me it doesn't help much. Take Boots of Swiftness if the enemy team has a LOT of slows.
I still rush Runaan's Hurricane because his Bio-Arcane Barrage is so damn powerful. While On-Hit builds may not be as powerful anymore, Runaan's Hurricane stacks very well with Blade of the Ruined King and Trinity Force. The added range from Bio-Arcane Barrage also is affected by Runaan's Hurricane so your safety net and kill potential hits a massive spike, even if the bolts don't apply as much damage as a regular auto-attack.
Blade of the Ruined King, while annoying to build, is also a very good item. It mixes up the damage so tanks have to build both defenses in order to survive your onslaught. As well, the active stacks nicely with your Void Ooze and the life steal you get from it also stacks nicely.
Usually, now the last two items are situational, mostly either being an offensive and defensive or two defensive items. Below are the options.
For offensive items, you have 5 options: The Bloodthirster, Mercurial Scimitar, Mortal Reminder, Guinsoo's Rageblade, and Infinity Edge
The Bloodthirster, after the 6.19 revert, is now very strong on due to the Bio-Arcane Barrage no longer halving your physical damage output. 30-32% lifesteal is nothing to scoff at, especially on a champion as immobile as . However, it is very situtational. I only buy this item if the enemy team runs a similar Protect-the-Carry composition or they have very very risky ways to get into the backline. If you are going against an assassin such as or , it is much more useful to buy two defensive items than stack more damage.
Mortal Reminder adds more on-hit, but it's more utility than on-hit. The #1 counter to Kog'maw damage is heals since this build does not have built in Greivous Wounds or Armor Penetration. Mortal Reminder is best used against Soraka, as she has the most potent healing ability with her Astral Infusion and Wish. Combine the Greivous Wounds with Runaan's Hurricane, and you guarantee that the frontline and possible a mispositioned ADC will have the healing nullified.
Mercurial Scimitar is quite obvious: if they have a lot of point-and-click CC such as 's Frozen Tomb, 's Twisted Advance, etc, you buy this item and wait for them to dump every CC they have onto you. The extra damage and life steal is nice to survive extended teamfights with full health as well, but you should only buy this item if you have two slots left. IT does not fare well to buy this as a last item with no defenses.
Unfortunately, due to the changes, I do not buy Guinsoo's Rageblade as much anymore since your last two items are so important for either adding more damage or more defenses. With Trinity Force, Runaan's Hurricane, and Blade of the Ruined King, you will already shred tanks no matter what point of the game you are in. Guinsoo's Rageblade with this build will put you at near 2.5 attack speed, which means you are extremely immobile, which is not ideal. It is STILL VIABLE to go Guinsoo's Rageblade, but to me stacking either crit damage with an Infinity Edge, utility with a Mortal Reminder, or two defensive items to survive the inevitable 26-2 is much more worth it. Build at your own risk.
Infinity Edge means you are primarily going a more AD-heavy build, which as Kog'Maw can also be bad since that means you will have to spell-weave even more to proc Trinity Force passives and play around your Bio-Arcane Barrage to penetrate the enemy frontline. If you do decide to go Infinity Edge, I find it best to run Ionian Boots of Lucidity to decrease the cooldown of Bio-Arcane Barrage so you woun't have to play around it as much.
Your last item could very much be a defensive item such as Guardian Angel, Banshee's Veil, or anything else. Here are the following defensive items I would recommend if the situations above are not in effect.
Frozen Mallet is also incredibly viable as you get a lot of flat health and the passive you get from it makes it very very hard to escape due to how much slow he will dump on the enemy.
Spirit Visage will give your lifesteal more umff and will give you around 140-150 magic resist, which is very good against AP assassin's such as Diana, Katarina, and LeBlanc. However, Banshee's Veil may be better against these assassin's since they will cancel out the initial damage (such as Bouncing Blades, Crescent Strike, or Sigil of Malice
Randuin's Omen is best against crit-heavy AD carries or a because of the damage reduction passive. Generally, I would only buy this against a . , and due to how much they utilize crit chance.
Frozen Heart is something I would use against a very AS heavy champion such as , , or any composition that relies a lot on AS or has an AS steroid. Also helps with spamming ult, if you somehow need too.
A Kog'maw is useless without a strong support! The support should help ease the early game, whether it be through heals and shields, engage for trades, zoning to allow Kog'maw to farm, or escapes!
While all of the supports are useful for in varying stages of the game, there are a few that stand out and fit in a team comp.
As an ADC, Ferocity is your tree of choice (unless you are Corki). First off, as Kog'maw, Fury is first. It'll grant you more AS for trading and CSing. Standard.
Next, you can take either Double-Edged Sword or Expose Weakness . If your team doesn't have a lot of penetration or if you are the sole carry, I would take Expose Weakness over Double-Edged Sword , since being the sole carry means you want to take as little damage as possible. You may get more damage from Double-Edged Sword , but gradullay that 1.5% extra damage will add up, and to me it's just not worth it.
Vampirism and Natural Talent are both good, but are better in different phases of the game. Vampirism is better for the laning phase since it stacks fairly well will Doran's Blade and Kog'Maw's abilities. However, Natural Talent can give your Bio-Arcane Barrage a bit of a % HP damage boost. I personally prefer Vampirism since the extra life steal is valuable during your weak early game and can stack late game, but if you are worried more about the late game, you can take Natural Talent instead.
Oppressor is next. Bounty Hunter stops after 5% increase, which is simply awful. Instead, taking Oppressor when you have Void Ooze is simply more useful. In addition, since most champions have some form of CC, it stacks well with your teammates as well.
On to the weird part of the guide, I take 2 points in Battering Blows and 3 points in Piercing Thoughts . Considering that Kog'maw's damage is hybrid with a preference towards magic damage, taking magic pen masteries will crank up Kog'maw's damage even more. However, taking full points in one and ignoring the other is just as viable.
Lastly, the great debate between Warlord's Bloodlust and Fervor of Battle . Both have their perks, and both have their weaknesses. Kog'maw's weak early game makes Warlord's Bloodlust makes it viable on him, however the trade you can get from Fervor of Battle is worth noting as well. In all honesty, I have played with both, and both are good. So take whichever you feel is more important. However, I will say this. If you are playing against a lane-dominant champion such as , take Warlord's Bloodlust . If you are facing a similar lacking early game champion such as , take Fervor of Battle .
To start off, I am a fan of going 18/0/12 or 18/12/0. The Resolve tree can give some tank stats and increase the healing you get from the likes of , but the Cunning Tree will give you a bit more utility to work with. For the purposes of this guide, I will be focusing on the Cunning aspect.
Wanderer is more useful for returning to lane.
Secret Stash for me is more useful since you'll get slightly more from health pots. Runic Affinities is just as good, but do not take Assassin .
I prefer going Meditation since Kog'maw has very bad mana burn. You can't use your Living Artillery much without mana, so more mana regen is good. But both are viable.
Lastly, I prefer going Bandit over Dangerous Game since the gold generation can be nice, especially with the Cull passive, but again, any of them work!
The Kog'Maw Strategies
Over the years, Kog'Maw has two unique compositions to catapult him into the late game and redefine the purpose of Hyper-carry that no other champion yet has been able to compete in. I am talking, of course, about the
In this composition, the team sacrifices a multiple-carry composition and solely focuses on allowing Kog'Maw to fire away from afar while keeping him protected. This composition differs from the Jugger'Maw composition where the team lacks disengage but solely relies on engage and hard CC to protect the Kog'Maw from the enemy carries and CC.
Generally, this composition runs Tank Top Lane, Jungle, and Support, with a utility midlane. The utility generally is or . has good CC with her ult and still provides protection for the should he need it, and is also a good back-up carry in the event that falls. , however, straight up keeps the enemy from attacking and puts Pixie on him to have him fly all over the place.
Here are viable champions should you go this composition
|Top Lane||Jungle||Mid Lane||Support|
Generally, if is off the table, I like going a utility or in the mid lane. They will have enough utility to make sure they will be able to help even if they are behind, but they won't hard carry the game unless gets behind.
The second comp is perhaps one of the hardest compositions to pull off in the entire game. This composition is only recommended for 5 man premades, and the player playing needs to be extremely courageous and be able to kite and hyper carry the game.
I am, of course, talking about...
SPACESPACESPACESPACESPACESPACESPACE The Jugger'Maw
There it is. The Jugger'Maw. One of the most original concepts in the game yet one of the hardest to pull off. What's hard about this composition is that there's so many needs that are required. The composition falls apart without , there's not enough disengage without , and while you can substitute , her ultimate and shield are invaluable to . The most flexible position is jungle, since you can flex between Nunu size 25, , etc.
Basically, Jugger'Maw makes the sole damage source from the team. The speed buffs provided by and will make it so can kite incredibly well and makes an immobible tower, well, mobile. will disengage with Monsoon for to add some distance between and the enemy or save should the Wild Growth not be enough.
The reason why this is strong is because late game will shred tanks. What happens is speeds up with Whimsy while uses Eye Of The Storm to boost his damage. The enemy team will have no choice to either turn around and fight OR accept the damage. This composition is very siegey and scales insanely hard.
Generally, counters to this build are flankers like , , , inexperienced players, kite failures, or simply slow reactions. One Rocket Grab can ruin the composition and the game. One Death Sentence can yoink in the enemy CC and prevent the team from enabling Operation Jugger'maw. Thus, I would only recommend this build for experienced players and 4 or 5 man premades.
When to Choose Kog'Maw/Draft Strategies
has many exploitable weaknesses that can be abused by a lot of champions, however with the right team
can destroy the enemy team. A smart
player always knows the good times to pick him. So here's when you pick
based on your teammates and enemy team,
|If your team has/needs...
||SPACE||If the enemy team has/gets countered by...
Excuse my awful photoshop skills. I'm not a graphic designer. As well, I understand that LCK and LCS games do not accurately reflect the chaos of solo queue, however addressing how a competitive team thinks around a team comp could help solo queue players. If you disagree, then move on :)
In the first example, Kog'Maw is drafted as the fourth pick by KT Rolster in their first game against SKT in the LCK Semi-Finals.
In this game, KT have drafted a rather typical Protect-the-ADC composition. They have three tanky front liners ( , , and ), a utility midlaner 9 0, and a high-damage hyper-carry ( ). You get the engage/disengage from Explosive Cask, Starsurge, Voice of Light, Glacial Fissure, and Parallel Convergence. All of this CC will allow the front line to tank the damage while Kog'Maw fires safely from afar.
However, a very keen problem arises, and that is . Because of Void Shift, can avoid all of the CC that is thrown at him for a quarter of a second and simply ult and shut him down. In addition, SKT have three champions that can by-pass CC (though in varying degrees): 's Spell Shield, 's Twisted Advance, and as mentioned above, 's Void Shift. While they may have very small windows of invulnerability, one mistake from KT Rolster's CC-chain can ruin the teamfight and may be forced to burn summoner spells or get killed. In addition, SKT's draft on is brilliant as he can give a decent time of invulnerability that completely nullifies 's damage and wastes time on his Bio-Arcane Barrage thanks to his Cosmic Radiance.
KT Rolster lost the game due to a final fight at the end of the game, where they misposition super hard and gets caught out by a Cosmic Radicance infused Maokai and Rek'Sai, a brilliant punishment by SKT. You can watch the game here.
Continuing on in the series, SKT decide to take for themselves in Game 2 and succeed this time, however the draft was slightly different.
This draft from SKT is, in my opinion, superior to KT Rolster's draft in Game 1. They have great engage with and , while adding protection for the with 's Nether Grasp and 's Devour. In addition, is a superior back-up carry compared to , espcecially in the hands of Faker.
The composition is also great against what KT Rolster drafted in Game 2. cannot outdamage late game, the only way can reach is if uses Explosive Cask or if Bang got caught out. The only real threat against is a full-item running at him under the influence of Cosmic Radiance. While KT Rolster does clearly have a poke composition with 's Piercing Arrow and 's Ricochet, they lack hard engage and as mentioned by the casters prior to the game beginnning, ' Explosive Cask is best used as a disengage.
If you have ban duty in your games, here is a quick list of who you may want to ban! All of these are viable bans, but it is up to you who to ban based on personal playstyle, general distaste for a certain champion, or one that can really ruin a team composition.
(FoTM stands for Flavor of the Month. This champion is currently popular and is often played and can counter Kog'Maw pretty hard, so it is possible you may run into this champion more often if they are considered FoTM or FotP (Flavor of the Patch), and is thus recommended moreso than other ban suggestions on this list!)
HWR stands for High Win Rate (according to champion.gg). Please bear in mind that these win rates are for Platinum players and higher and may not accurately reflect the entirety of the League community. These champions may be slightly stronger in the current patch but may not be played much, so watch out!
Since this guide is a work in progress, I've resorted to adding on to this guide in chunks rather than try to finish it all in one. While this may make the guide seem incomplete, it will make the guide better in the long run and will give me to time to ponder on what could make the guide more appealing. So far, here is a list of what I personally want to add to the guide in the long run, most likely going in priority. Realize how these thoughts are not final and are bound to be updated or deleted at some time, so please be patient! :)
- A draft "quiz". Generally, this would mean that I would have some scenarios on screen to quiz the reader on if it's an appropriate time to pick a Kog'Maw. I am unsure how I would like to do this, whether it be in simple video format or pictures on the guide with a spoiler clicks. This is #1 on my priority list for this guide but will take the longest to complete.
- How to properly play Kog'Maw. It's one thing to tell people what to build on Kog'Maw and another to show them how to play Kog'Maw. It is true that LCS games and solo queue teamfights can be similar, however the laning phase and mid game is almost always wildly inconsistent. To add on, my experience and advice will not help much since I am only a Silver 2 pleb :P.