Build Guide by Asnei
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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.
I'm making this guide because people seem to think that no one is using Kog'Maw to his full potential. It could just be that no one likes to play him, but I find that even when I am faced against other Kogs, they unfortunately tend to suck. This is not a guide for the faint of heart, or for new players. I expect you to at least have a semblance of common sense and know what you are doing. This guide should only help you gain an understanding and insight into ONE method of playing Kog'Maw. This is not the only way to play him, and if you prefer an AD build, this is not the build for you. Do not however, expect this guide to give your Kog'Maw a chainsaw, or expect to win a 1v5.
-Excellent at defensive hugging or aggressive pushing, turret hugging is practically useless against Kog'Maw
-Extremely High DPS, even against tanks
-Zhonya allows for survivability in emergency situations
-Clairvoyance helps prevent ganks
-Can 1v1 in most cases
-Excellent at kiting
-Completely solves Kog'Maw mana problems by mid to late game.
-Lack of escape mechanism
-Hard to aim accurately and consistently
-Weak early game
-Severe mana problems early game
Note: If you are going to vote me down, please at least say WHY you are voting me down. Otherwise I consider it rude to vote someone down without at least leaving a comment.
I would say the two most important aspects about Kog'Maw are his item build, and play style. He is a difficult hero to master due to his dependence on Living Artillery and the intrinsically difficult nature of aiming, especially when enemy heroes are cartwheeling around like a bunch of clowns.
1) You must learn how to anticipate movement. This sounds simple at first, and it will be simple if all your enemy does is move in a straight line. However, smart players playing against Kog'Maw will find themselves trying to move erratically to throw off his ults, in which more creative ways of anticipating movement is needed. I recommend you observe your lane's enemy heroes and their moving style. Most players have a distinct preferred pattern of movement, and it is up to you for you to recognize them.
2) Kog'Maw requires fast reaction time. Especially at higher levels, the distance you will have to move your mouse cursor will increase when aiming your ult, and many times it may even be on the edge of your screen (this is why I almost never use camera lock). With practice, you will be able to aim his ult accurately, and quickly. This alone is not difficult for more advanced players, but when you also have to split-second "guess" where the enemy hero will be in a second from now, it becomes much more difficult.
3) Kog'Maw, like most heroes, has a sense of synergy. Figure out how his spells work well together:
Caustic Spittle: range is much less than your other abilities, so you will most likely only use it in close quarters when enemy heroes close in distance. Highly useful for it's passive, and even more useful for it's relatively high damage output.
Bio-arcane Barrage: Bread & Butter of Kog'Maw. This ability should be used in conjunction with Void Ooze; use it whenever they are slowed. It is also extremely helpful for allowing you to keep healthy distances between you and where the action is going on during team fights.
Void ooze: This will be your primary CC ability on Kog'Maw (or the closest thing to CC for Kog). Use it to slow fleeing heroes, use it to get away. Try to position it to have the maximum effect, and at times you will need to aim slightly ahead of the enemy hero. Does decent damage, and it's splash great for farming.
Living Artillery: You should be spamming (R) everytime you see an enemy hero. No hero is safe from Kog'Maw, even when they're hugging towers. This is why Kog'Maw is great for team pushes, as well as team defense. In a little bit of psychological warfare, you may sometimes be able to nudge heroes closer to you if you place the marker slightly behind them. People will often run away from the marker before they realize that there is no place to run :). Try to anticipate "hot zones" that enemy heroes like to stay at, usually at the edge of your Living Artillery range. Sometimes they will want to get the last hit on a minion, and it useful to to know which minion they are going for to allow you to aim appropriately.
Ghost: For making a hasty exit, or for catching up to fleeing enemies. Overall very useful spell on a medium cd.
Clairvoyance: For knowing where your enemies are, and to augment your Living Artillery. You have to know where to shoot to hit them :). Also very useful for preventing ganks, as Kog'Maw is pretty squishy during team fights, and I find that they usually come for me first due to my high damage output.
While it doesn't say it, please keep in mind that you will finish with over 600AP on this build.
In this build you will eventually have:
1 Last Whisper
1 Boots of your choice
You should start out with two faerie charms and 2 health pots and a mana pot. The mana pot will help supplement your mana usage since 2 faerie charms is less than other builds. However, you will build those 2 faerie charms into tears, and then archangels respectively.
I usually will head back to the store (provided I am not forced to heal) to buy both my boots and a tear in one swoop. I will usually get either sorc boots or merc treads. It's really up to you what boots you want to buy; I usually end up checking the enemy teams item set before I decide anyways, however I strongly recommend you buy sorc boots since Kog'Maw should rarely engage in close quarters unless in special circumstances.
After the tear, I will usually try to build into an Archangel, while purchasing sheen right after. Lichbane will only increase Kog'Maw's DPS beyond sheen after you have enough ability power, which is why you build it after arch. Kog'maw is an excellent farmer, so it should be fairly easy to do even if it's been a slow deadlock with few kills.
The item build should be pretty straightforward... except the last whisper. You're probably thinking, "Why in heck would he build AP with last whisper?!". The reason is because this entire build revolves around two key aspects: 1) A large mana pool, which is accomplished via double archangels, and 2) Kog'Maw can and SHOULD proc lichbane on ALMOST EVERY PHYSICAL ATTACK. At over 600AP, this means an extra potential 600 damage. PER ATTACK. Clearly, you won't be able to time it right for EVERY attack, but with a bit of practice, you should be able to get it on MOST. Since Lichbane does physical damage (not magic), it augments your primary physical attack and is therefore important to get as much damage through as possible. When taking into account Kog'Maws Caustic Spittle passive and active, you're looking at around 50%-70% armor penetration. This is also why it is relatively pointless to invest points in armor penetration in either Runes or Masteries. LW however, will not show it's armor penetration under the character sheet, I believe this is something the developers have mentioned and intend to fix (at some point).
I finish at 610 AP with this build, and that means that I do around 400-500 damage against non tanks, around 288 against tanks with 300 armor. This doesn't even factor in the additional damage from my spells and regular physical attack.
You will notice that unlike most Kog'Maw builds, I haven't included a chalice. This is because you won't need the extra mana regeneration mid to late game. Most spell casting heroes will suffer mana regeneration issues early game, and most will buy a chalice in anticipation of spamming your ult. Instead of relying on a chalice, force yourself to only fire when you're sure you are able to hit. This will drastically reduce mana consumption, and force yourself to actually aim (no point in spamming if you only hit once every 5 artillery shots).
RUNES9 Seals of Clarity to supplement Kog'Maws mr/5
9 Glyphs of Celerity to lower cd and allow you to keep a lich with every physical attack
9 Greater Marks of Insight and Greater Quintessences of Insight for bonus magic penetration, especially if you go sorcerer. Tough carries / tanks are typically the only ones that will go magic resist, and average MR for heroes is around 30-40. with 14.22 +20 Magic resist, they will essentially have NO damage reduction from your spells.
You should be able to solo the golem by at least level 9-10. Get it, you should have that buff on you at all times.
This is pretty much it, play around and experiment. The last arch angel and zhonyas are just for the extra AP... you can modify the item set and see what fits you. If you guys have any comments or questions, leave a comment :). If need be, I'll edit the guide whenever necessary.