Build Guide by
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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.
For those who think: tldr; the following is a short summary:
For summoner skills, I chose ghost for travel (chase and escape), and clairvoyance to assist in aiming long range ults. You wouldn't believe how useful clairvoyance is on Kog.
You will finish with around 600AP (it doesn't account for arch angel's increased mana pool).
This build revolves around proccing lich on nearly every attack. You will being using your abilities (primarily your ult) to accomplish this.
You will have a massive mana pool due to double arch angels, this will allow you to sustain your ult even at 5x, as well as having an enormous mr/5.
CD Reduction is lost on Kog'Maw. A little is good, but too much is unsustainable, so there is no point in getting it. CD Reduction benefits ult minimally, and other abilities still have long cd even with 40% reduction. Items are better spent elsewhere than Nashor.
Kog'Maw requires not only fast reaction time, but also precise aiming. In addition, you must anticipate enemy movement. This becomes infinitely more difficult at high tier play, when enemy heroes will try to move chaotically to prevent being hit. At first it seems this way, but watch how they move carefully: most players end up moving in a circular pattern, or side to side. Once you identify a pattern of movement, anticipate accordingly. Most players do not take the extra step to predict patterns of movements, and this is absolutely VITAL with Kog'Maw. Pay attention to corners, chokes, and objectives that an enemy may travel towards when either running, or chasing.
Last Whisper augments Kog'Maws passive armor penetration, allowing you to get the most damage per lich proc.
--- end of tldr; ---
For some reason, I rarely play against other Kog'Maws, and when I do, they usually aren't very good. I think part of the reason is that, Kog'Maw can be difficult to play, and is extremely item dependent. Kog'Maw can also be extremely mana dependent if you spam his ult and don't manage mana effectively.
Most Kog'Maws I see use a full on AP build, or full DPS. I've also seen variations of Phreak's hybrid/dps build but they usually don't fare very well. I have yet to see a Kog'Maw that matches my build.
In this guide, I will outline typical strategies I use and my thoughts as I progress through a game.
High consistent DPS, effective use of ult can lead to great harass of enemy heroes even at turrets
Very large mana pool, allowing you to spam ult for extended periods of time if needed
Fast cd on ult (with over 15% cdr runes+mastery) will allow you to proc lich on almost every attack. This results in MASSIVE DAMAGE when you are at 500+ AP.
Very squishy, you will want to watch sides, as since Kog'Maw is usually a bit behind the main group, it leaves you open to ganks from behind.
This build addresses (IMO) some of Kog'Maws most glaring weaknesses as a hero. First off, he is extremely mana consuming in terms of abilities. Most builds go chalice to remedy this problem, but I argue that not only is chalice a waste of money with less value in terms of mp5 return versus higher consistent mp5, the item is a hindrance late game, when it is no longer as useful as early game.
First off, you want to grab two faerie charms. Why two you ask? Because you will eventually build them into two archangels (yes they stack). This will eventually serve you well late game, as you were virtually not run out of mana. Two health pots provide insurance against ignite, as well as allowing you to last longer in your lane. The single mana pot is because your two faerie charms will only provide a +6mr/5 compared to the typical +7mr/5 that a meki would provide. All in all, negligible difference, but I do find myself tending to run out of mana at least once at some point. Provided you aren't forced to prematurely recall for healing purposes, you should stay in your lane until you have enough money to upgrade your faerie into a tear, as well as purchasing boots. I usually will upgrade my boots to either 'zerk greaves or sorcerer's depending on the enemy teams items. I usually will go sorcerer if I see low MR values or mostly squishies, and the former if people are getting MR (because then sorcerer's are a lost cause due to diminishing return).
Get the Mana Golem at around level 10 (or earlier, if an ally is able to help you get it). You should definitely be able to solo the golem by level 10. The golem will help tremendously in both mana regen as well as cd reduction. If you intend to spam your ult early game, it is absolutely vital that you get the mana golem ASAP.
After getting your tear, you should get sheen, and then build into lichbane as fast as you can. Lich offers substantial increase to DPS when used in conjunction with your ult. You should be proccing lich on nearly every attack). Considering that this build will typically build to around 600AP, that's potentially an extra 600 PHYSICAL damage every attack.
Pretty much once you get lich, you can continue finishing the build at your leisure.
General Kog'Maw strategies:
Void Ooze is your friend. Use it to slow enemies, use it to get away. Kog'Maw has no natural escape abilities, so this is the closest thing you get.
Use Bio-Arcane Barrage whenever an enemy is slowed to get the most from it. Late game, you can shoot from a comfortable distance, so use it when you need to keep a healthy distance.
Caustic Spittle is on a faster cd than your other main abilities. You should use it whenever you can because it does quite a bit of damage :).
You can aim slightly past what the game indicates the range of your ult is. Use this to your advantage.