Build Guide by Uvuriel
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This is my Hybrid build for Kog'Maw. I love this champion, but I got really tired of becoming fodder for the other team if one of them had CC or some other form of kill-him-and-beat-him-down-before-he-can-get-away. I decided to see if I couldn't neutralize his weaknesses a little without giving up too much damage.
And in fact, you can. I've gotten a penta-kill with this build... And I was so excited that I didn't even think to take a screenshot of it... =(
Other than that reason, here's why I build Kog'Maw hybrid.
AP Kog'Maw is pretty much useless if the other team stacks any Magic Resist. His attack speed is too slow to use his auto attack (and BAB) to any really strong effect, he can't push turrets, and is generally useless to the team. In order to have a really strong amount of AP, Kog'Maw is unable to get items that *really* help his survivability. Sure, you could get some of the tanky-AP items, like rushing a Rod of Ages or getting a Rylai's, but that's just going to give you a few extra hit points. Given, this certainly helps, but it probably won't help you 1v1 any of their carries.
On the other side of the coin, if Kog'Maw goes AS/AD, he's a great turret pusher and he can certainly tear through enemies, but you don't take full advantage of his ultimate. It still does a good amount of base damage and it's good for scouting. However there is something to be said for the amount of damage an ult with some AP will do since it's a splash-attack (as opposed to his BAB which is a single-target attack). Building some AP and increasing his mana pool and mana regeneration will allow you to use BAB and Living Artillery at the same time, as opposed to using BAB on one target and trying to snipe occasionally with BAB. Without the mana pool & regen, you simply can't spam your spells and do as much total damage. Also, if your target champion leaves your sight range, you can't target him with BAB, but you can with Living Artillery.
Also, you still haven't built a whole ton of survivability. If you get a madred's and a gunblade, you're on the right track, but this still isn't the most effective build. You have almost zilch ap for the gunblade's spellvamp to feed off of.
If you build him as a careful hybrid, the little guy has a lot more survivability than straight lining one way or the other, and the crossover between his ult and his auto attacks can be absolutely brutal. We'll be grabbing a few items that give us a well-balanced mix of AP and AD/AS, *and* a surprising amount of both survivability and chasing ability.
What Hybrid Kog'Maw does:
Before I actually get into this build, I should explain what it's supposed to *do*. This way, you'll understand my reasoning for every item, every skill, and every mastery point.
A) Survive. Kog's biggest weakness is his ability to get out of a team fight alive if he gets focused. (Icathian surprise, anyone?) My main goal for this build is to allow Kog'Maw to A) flat out kill an enemy champ, B) survive long enough for help to arrive, or C) be able to get away. If you aren't alive, you can't do any damage.
B) Kill. A lot. A well-fed Kog'Maw, as I have found, is an amazing late-game harasser, bringing several of the enemy champions standing under their turret to 2/3 health or lower before your team even initiates. He can even become a halfway decent initiator himself, quickly slowing and killing whichever member of the enemy team steps out too far.
C) Keep your own team alive. This part isn't so much his build as much as it is how you play him. Kog'Maw is really great at helping your teammates get away alive at low health. He can kite surprisingly well, and if you know how to place his Void Ooze, it makes it really hard for you to be chased down late-game when that spell slows a champ by 60%.
Before you even pick him, you need 3 things.
A) At least 2 stuns/suppresses/knock-ups/taunts/etc on your team. The more, the better.
B) NOT a squishy team. Koggie does not do well on all-carry teams. You need a solid tank and a bruiser (heavy DPS) who can take some damage and fend the enemy champions off of you.
C) Don't take Kog with a blue-buff dependent team. He needs a blue buff 100% of the time mid- to late-game, and if Warwick and Fiddle and Mordekaiser keep stealing it (for the CDR, man!), you're gonna be screwed halfway through a teamfight when your mana pool runs dry.
You have got to have a team that is willing to say, "Yes, if Kog is our carry, we will strive to protect him." Teams where people leave you behind or split off from you or don't notice you're being chased by a bloodthirsty Nunu are not teams you will fare well with. You need teams who will specifically keep an eye on you.
You'll end up kill stealing. Your team needs to understand that sometimes, you literally cannot help this. I find that, during a teamfight, I'm spamming my spells so fast that a lot of times, a killing artillery shot is already in the air before I realize someone else was about to land the killing blow. But really, the more kills you get, the more you'll be able to kill. A well-fed Kog'Maw is really hard to stop, especially with a good team.
Why am I going to pick the runes that I do? Well, Kog'Maw's attack speed is really slow at the beginning of the game. With Marks and Glyphs of Alacrity, it boosts his attack speed substantially. This means Kog can farm way better, which is absolutely crucial to getting his core items faster. Also, if I'm careful up mid, I will get the first tower down 75% of the time. Then I can waddle over to whichever lane needs help and help them take down a turret.
Seals of Evasion--why? Because physical DPS champions are your bane, and it also helps a lot with getting the Golem's blue buff earlier in the game. Trust me, by level 11 (if not sooner), you will absolutely require it for the rest of the game.
Quints of Swiftness. If I really need to explain this one, then we have a problem. Kog'Maw is slow, and anything we can do to boost his speed (both for getting away AND for chasing enemies down) is really valuable.
Every single thing in the utility tree--no joke--every single one of them will help you, whether it's mana regen, mana pool size, movement, or cooldown.
The only one that was a dump spot in the Attack tree was the point in Deadliness (critical chance), since we don't focus on crit chance with Koggie. Other than that, everything in the attack tree is beneficial, as well.
With these masteries, we bring our cooldowns, increase our mana regen and pool size, we get a little extra attack speed, movement speed, and magic pen that will go nicely with our Caustic Spittle (Q).
I almost always take Teleport and Clarity.
Teleport gets you to where you need to be. Kog'Maw can defend a turret really well with his range, so if you can port in and hold the enemy team off for the five or ten seconds it takes for your teammates to get there, great.
Clarity--because Kog'Maw needs mana. This will even help you late game, if blue wore off or got stolen by another teammate or an enemy champ. It won't be that great, but it's certainly a temporary stop-gap measure.
You could take flash or ghost, sure, it gives you a little survivability. But honestly with this build, if I can't get away, then Flash probably won't help me. Yes, our focus is survivability, but getting the items that will allow you to survive is more important than a summoner spell with a long cool down.
Teleport and Clarity should allow you to stay mid longer, farm more, and lose out on very little experience when you need to go back.
Juking and Void Ooze
Learn to juke like a pro. It will keep you alive. Run into a bush and run out exactly the opposite way you came. It might confuse the enemy for that two seconds you need to slow them with your void ooze and make your getaway. Head back towards their jungle if you're being chased--they'll usually expect you to run for home, which makes sense, but if you're far away, you probably won't make it. So throw them off and go in the direction they don't expect, that doesn't make sense.
Void Ooze, as I've mentioned, is Kog's only escape mechanism. Thus you must learn to use it well, young grasshopper. Use your void ooze situationally. If there's an enemy RIGHT on your tail, spit it in front of you so that you can zip over it while they either have to move around it or go right over it (slowing down either way). If there are enemies behind you, spit it behind you so they've got to walk over the whole thing to continue chasing you. If they are all across the lane, head towards one side and spit it right across the whole lane. If you're being chased through a forest, duck into a bush, spit it at whoever is chasing you, and run right back over it (towards them). The longer they stay on it, the longer they are slowed. If you're having trouble figuring out how to use it, set up a custom game with some friends and just have them chase you all over the map. Practice where the ideal types of places to spit it are, and when. This will save your life many, many times.
Icathian Surprise... This should automatically tell you how bad Kog'Maw is at getting out of gank situations alive. Apparently he is expected to be killed often enough for this to be a viable passive. (And often, it is.)
Hopefully this won't come into play very often, but everyone has a bad game. Or a bad run of games. Try to take out the low-health champ from the fight if you die. Also, killing an enemy champ who has buffs with Icathian Surprise WILL cause you to gain the buffs once you come back up.
This doesn't need a whole lot of explaination. The way I figure it, you'll probably be midding. You should be in almost every case. Kog'Maw is very effective in side lanes--you'll want to balance your goal between farming and harassing, though, instead of mostly on farming.
Void Ooze is a great farming tool and your only escape mechanism, which is why you will be leveling it first. Bio-Arcane Barrage is a great harassing tool. Learning to use them *together* will net you kills. Wait for an enemy to get a little too close to you. Hit them with Void Ooze and then activate BAB. They will likely panic and probably try to run straight away from you--right over your Void Ooze, giving you more time to hurt them.
I don't take Caustic Spittle until much later for a few reasons. First of all, our goal is survivability, so we need to be leveling up Void Ooze first. Secondly, it's great for melting tanks. And you shouldn't usually be needing to melt tanks until you're in teamfights mid- to late-game. Lastly, this puts you in super close range to whomever you're using it on, meaning that it's our last priority over our longer-ranged attack spells.
Sniping (Living Artillery)
Sniping. This is personally the entire reason I play Kog'Maw. I love sniping, in any video game, and Kog'Maw is the only *real* sniper in this game. (Caitlyn can go eat a brick, lol.)
If you can learn how to place Kog's Living Artillery shot, you will wrack up double digits of kills no problem. You'll snipe enemy champions at low health while they're under their turret, you'll kill people as they are running hopelessly back towards their base. You will be cruel.
The biggest thing to remember with sniping is this: Most people click waaaaaaay ahead of their character to move. They pick a spot on the map that they would like to head to, and they beeline for it. Their beelining is your friend. You just keep popping your ult down right in front of them and they'll keep running right under it. Once they learn not to do this, you'll have to learn to judge where they will move, which is harder--but do-able.
Characters you can more or less give up on if they aren't CC'd are champs like Akali, Kassadin, Kennen, anyone with an ability that lets them jump/move quickly very randomly around your artillery shots.
Anybody else is as good as dead. Once they start moving around, give it a second to watch where they are tending to move. Are they zig-zagging? Then try to predict their next zig or zag. Characters can only move so far forward in the time between your artillery shots, and can only move so far left or right. So try to aim your shot to cover the most possible options and the widest possible area they could potentially move to.
If your team is pushing a turret, you should be spamming your ult (you should ALWAYS have blue buff by this point of the game) at everyone under that turret. Aim it either for as many people standing close together as you can (quantity), or for the squishy (quality). Either is acceptable. Forcing their squishy carry to have to blue pill before the team fight even starts is fantastic.
Use your ult to scout. Check every bush before you enter it. I don't know how many times I've checked a bush and saved myself or my entire team from a gank--sometimes even giving us the advantage and wiping them.
It allows you to see whoever you directly hit with it for a few seconds, which can be really helpful for a variety of situations--like landing that last killing blow. Also, you don't have to target them directly--it's a skill shot. This is one of the reasons I favor this build over ones that focus on BAB, because if you can't see them, you can't use BAB. You don't need to see them to hit them with Living Artillery.
Don't forget that you can kite with living artillery, as well. If you've got some good distance on an enemy champion chasing you (or maybe an injured teammate), start popping down shots right in front of them. If they want to catch you/your teammate, they'll have to beeline for you, which makes landing your shots easy. And if they are REALLY greedy and really want that kill, they could end up half health or below by the time they get to you, at which point you get them with your Gunblade and spam every spell you've got.
And here is your bread and butter.
First item will be a Vampiric Scepter. This will give you a little bit more survivability in the lane, and it builds into an item you'll get later. I dislike getting Doran's items because you need to spend every gold piece you have carefully, and Doran's items don't build into anything. You can do without.
General tip--yes, Kog is a great harasser, but you need to be focusing on farming, not harassing. Kill those minions, don't be afraid to ask your teammates for a gank against someone who's giving you lots of trouble up mid, and try to stay in the lane until you can either buy your next item, or until your teleport spell comes back up. Use common sense though--if the enemy midder can dive you and get a kill, blue pill and walk back. Better that you lose a turret and they get some gold than you give them a kill.
As SOON as you hit 1000 gold, you need to go grab your Tear of the Goddess. (Teleport, ho!) Sometimes this will change, depending on who you're fighting (ie people with CC, you might want to grab boots first to dodge it), but for the vast majority of the time, you want to get started on your Tear as soon as possible.
Next, you'll grab boots. Full Boots of Swiftness, if you can afford it, but it's not a bad idea to just grab your Boots of Speed if you go back (or get killed) and have the money for them.
The next thing you'll build is your Manamune. Grab the sword before your Boots of Swiftness if you need a little extra damage. Manamune is great, because it gives you a substantially larger mana pool to draw from, and the bonus damage to your auto-attack is great.
So, now that you have your Boots of Swiftness and your Manamune is being stacked up, you'll work on your Hextech Revolver. You've already got the Vampiric Scepter for a little lifesteal, and at this point you should have your ultimate, so you need the spellvamp. Build it into a Hextech Gunblade--get your Bildgewater Cutlass next, then the full Gunblade.
Once you have the Gunblade, don't forget to use its active!!!!! If you forget a lot, then go to a custom game, grab it, and practice using it. Every. Time. It. Is. Up. You HAVE to be able to remember this, as it's a huge part of building into Kog's survivability, and it can turn the tide of a teamfight.
These are your core items. The spellvamp and lifesteal will help you stay alive really well. You should basically be focusing on a champion with your autoattack/W and spamming the entire enemy team with your ultimate. Between the damage from your autoattack and manamune's 2% addition and your void ooze, bio-arcane barrage and ultimate's magic damage, you should be sitting very prettily.
Next item will be, depending on the enemy team, either a Rylai's Crystal Scepter (for AP) or a Frozen Mallet (for AD). Both give a lot of health and a slow. Get the Giant's Belt first, as you'll need the health by this point. Suddenly it will be a lot harder for anyone without a jump ability (IE, Akali, Xin Zhou, etc) to get to you before you do a lot of damage, between your weapon's slow, your void ooze, and the Gunblade's active.
If you actually get to this item, then you are either well fed, or it's a long freakin' game and you're not feeding. Nashor's Tooth. You'll probably be able to buy it straight up at this point. It gives you mana regen and CDR, which are both fantastic at this point. With blue buff, you can spam your ult literally once every second, and with manamune maxed out, you should have the mana pool and mana regen to keep this up for the whole fight, no matter how long. Oh, and the attack speed will help you knock turrets down really quick.
The last item is almost a joke. If you get this item, you are absolutely owning, and it's kind of just adding salt to the other team's bleeding wounds. Extra of everything you need. What's not to love? I don't take this any earlier, though, because it's a nice buff to everything you have--but you need to have those things first.
I know it's not the typical bloodrazor build. I've never found that I *NEED* it to be ridiculously effective with this build though. Every one of my items builds towards one or more of my goals, and getting a bloodrazor (including the items it's built from) just doesn't help Kog'Maw meet any of those goals well enough, along the way or once the item is completed, to justify it over the items I've suggested for my build.
So give it a few tries before you judge it--even if you think another guide is obviously better. Let me know what you think. =) Also, if you think this is a well thought-out and well-written guide, please give me a good rating!