Cho'Gath Build Guide by Temzilla
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Hello and Welcome to my guide to Cho'Gath.
Inside, you will learn the wonders of AP Cho'Gath.
This is a guide to playing Cho'Gath as an AP Carry in mid lane.
Bro'Gath is a pretty freakin sweet champion, and if you play well, he's a monster in the lane and in team fights.
Pros / Cons
Pros of Cho'Gath as an AP carry.
-Very powerful AoE Nuke.
-Strong Utility even if you get a little behind.
-Naturally beefy because of bruiser mr/armor scaling and the health from his ultimate.
-Has a 1000+ true damage nuke on a medium cooldown, 36s with 40% cdr.
-Gets you funny looks! :D
-Almost never runs out of mana when played properly.
Cons of Cho'Gath as an AP carry.
-Not the 1v5 machine that Tanky Cho'Gath is.
-When you're behind, you are significantly less beefy.
-Has mana problems if not carefully managed.
-You rely on a lot of damage from Rupture, which is unreliable.
-Your team might think that you are playing Tank Cho'Gath, and will instantly transform into helpless fools.
I try to maximize my early game potential, because it lets cho'gath naturally snowball.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration- These bring you to ~9 magic pen, and with sorcerer's shoes, you do almost true damage to the 30 mr squishies.
Greater Seal of Armor-Once you get rolling against an AD character, you can pretty much free farm because of passive, these speed up that process, you could replace these with Mana/5 and be a lot more aggressive in lane i guess.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist- These, along with a null magic mantle are an almost sure trip to freefarm land against an enemy mage.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power-You can swap 1 flat AP glyph for a magic pen glyph so you have 10 magic pen and 10 ap, but i prefer ap for the very early game damage.
Again, i rune to snowball into late game, i counter build whatever lane i think I'll be in.
I go 21/0/9 because it's the highest dps of all the tress, you will miss the CDR from Defense/Utility, but Honestly, Cho'Gath scales better with AP as a nuke caster than he does with CDR.
If you really miss the CDR of the old masteries, then you can build a instead of
I take Ignite on AP Cho'Gath because it helps me get kills that often elude me because of fairly long cooldowns (You either kill them, or they get away with 100hp and you have no ability to damage them any more).
I would use Exhaust, but i really don't feel it's worth it in the long run.
Lets talk about AP Cho first.
The first item you get when you leave base is either a cloth armor and 4 mana potions (5 hp if you think it's gonna be a hard lane.) OR a Null-Magic Mantle, a mana potion, and a health potion.
I've also been known to use a Doran's Ring instead of cloth armor/null magic, or boots. The main reason to do this is if you are against a high damage lane, or a lane that you have to push against (i.e. spam Rupture/Scream.), or if you want to play extremely aggressive.
The reason i use this start, is because against most AD lanes, it lets me harass them freely with scream, and last hit with E, And against mage lanes, the Null-Magic means that E allows you to freely regenerate your health and mana through your passive, so that you can scream at people for harassment instead of farming.
With your huge farm from basically sitting in lane for free for the first 10-12 minutes, you can go back, and buy boots, possibly sorc shoes, and a Needlessly Large Rod.
Most casters stack doran's rings, but honestly i don't feel that Cho'Gath needs the health because of his naturally high resists, and shouldn't need the mana regen, and the ap isn't worth the money.
Deathcap is roughly 200 ap, and makes all your AP items worth more AP later, it's the logical first item for cho'gath, seeing as much of his damage is from his high AP ratios, he doesn't require immediate defensive items, and he has fairly weak synergy with CDR as a damage stat.
Void Staff is the standard second item for an AP caster, and it helps him do more damage to all his targets.
If the enemy has 30 magic resist, then your flat penetration has already taken them to 1 resistance, and if the enemy has more than 79 magic resist, void staff will reduce MR more than Abyssal Scepter.
Considering that Banshee's Veil and Quick Silver Sash, the two most bought MR items for squishies are both 50+ MR, then we can conclude that Sorcerer's Shoes + Void Staff is the most effective method of reducing the MR of a "carry" character.
Combined with your Void Staff and Deathcap, this brings you to 400 AP, and will make your combo a lot more deadly.
Lich Bane does physical damage, so it's not improved much by Void Staff, but essentially, it adds a lot of additional AP scaling to your combo by adding an extra spell to your character basically.
I like to Rupture, Auto Attack, wait for proc timer to reset, Feral Scream, Auto Attack, and by then your target should be dead, if not, you have a 1k+ feast.
Rylai's combines with Rupture's slow to halt any kind of movement, and makes feral scream a reliable 15% slow, and makes your E a 15% slow as well.
It adds a bit of hp beef, and some ap.
WotA is just overall a really good item for 90% of casters, it adds AP, and gives you 25% spellvamp on your huge AoE damage.
It works on his E, as well as his R, and makes him really sturdy in fights, and allows you to recover from teamfights without having to go back to base.
Some Situational Items:
Force of Nature: Enemy Kog'Maw buys a Bloodrazor? Get this, and get back to eating him.
Abyssal Scepter: This is a good item if you are getting killed by mages a lot, or are against a bruiser who isn't buying magic resist.
(Shouldn't be happening really, but if it does, this is a good buy.)
Zhonya's Hourglass: This is a great item against AD heavy teams, and if there is otherwise unavoidable damage(Pantheon Ultimate, Nunu Ultimate, Morgana Ultimate, that sort of thing.), this is a good way to avoid it.
Frozen Mallet: If someone on your team has a WotA, or you simply don't feel you need it, then Frozen Mallet is a good tool, you can auto attack someone, and get the Rylai's slow as well as the Frozen Mallet slow, and it's very debilitating to the enemy.
I level up E first, and at level 3, because it greatly reduces the chance that i miss my last hits, and as cho'gath, last hitting is your first concern, as you are greatly rewarded for doing so by your passive, and gold is awesome!
I level up W first, as it is much more consistent damage, and the silence gets longer when you rank it up.
I level up Q secondly, because it starts to do a lot of damage in team fights, and the slow gets better as you level it up.
I level up E last as it does enough damage with 2 ranks to last hit with, and you really don't get a chance to utilize it effectively in team fights.
Rupture: The best way i've found to land this skill is to think to yourself "If i was the dude in this lane, and i heard the rupture noise, where would i immediately run?" and then i use rupture in that area.
5 times out of 10 they run directly there, not even realizing where you placed your rupture.
Another effective method is to bait someone with an allie.
For instance, an allied Riven is laning against Udyr.
If Riven starts to harass Udyr, Udyr can either stand and fight, or run away.
If he stands and fights, you can just rupture at his feet, if he runs away, you can predict his movements very easily and land rupture consistently.
Feast: This is a true damage nuke that can reach 1000+ damage, and can make quick work of anyone that underestimates your damage.
You have to weigh out the risk of using Feast on a champion, and not getting a kill, and using feast to gain a stack on a minion thus losing out on a lot of lane pressure.
It's just something you learn after practice with Cho'Gath.
Mid Lane: How you deal with common mid picks.
The big blue bird isn't too much of a problem for Cho'Gath.
She does big damage, but until level 6, she really can't consistently land her combo, and has to poke at you with auto attacks, and will probably end up losing farm, as you will push her to her tower at low levels.
Past level six, she becomes more of a problem, pushing you back to your tower, forcing you to possibly level up E farther, or spam W for CS.
Overall, it will be a fairly locked lane, where neither can kill each other, and both lanes can't leave for fear of large tower damage.
This little girl does big damage, but Cho'Gath can handle it.
This lane is similar to Anivia, in that it gets a lot harder once she reaches 6, but if you use her passive to your advantage (Some annies will start to last hit with Auto Attacks because their passive is charged, and will usually lose some farm.) and let her waste mana on harass.
You need to abuse your passive to the fullest so you are full health at level 6.
This is another locked lane, where one side can't kill the other (Assuming the annie isn't bad.) but different from anivia, Annie takes awhile before she gets to the stage where she can farm waves fast and efficiently.
Overall, a fairly easy lane, you just have to be careful because of annies large range.
Fire man is a tough guy to go up against.
He can't whittle you down with E's, but he can easily chunk your health with EWQ combo.
You can kill brand fairly easily if you land a good rupture or two, but keep in mind that it's slightly easier to land Pillar of Flame than it is to land Rupture. But keep in mind that brand's usual W>E combo to kill caster minions actually takes a significant time to cast, use that time to hit him with a rupture.
Past level 6, he may try to burst you down with ultimate, if you can, run away from any minions so ultimate only hits you once.
Overall, Brand is a fairly aggressive lane where either champion can kill the other and farming is dangerous.
Lady Snake pretty much stomps on Cho'Gath because of how much damage she does early, but if you can push her back to tower without dying, she will suffer heavily in terms of farm, and will be out of mana trying to farm under tower.
Cassiopeia's main weakness in my eyes is her Auto Attack animation, and how poor her last hitting is under tower without spamming E and wasting a lot of mana.
I would actually start with E and a Null Magic Mantle, and hard rush a Wit's End and just push middle all game.
IF you can deny Cassiopeia farm for most of the game, you will greatly reduce her potential later game for damage.
Beware Cassiopeia at level 6 however, if you're low on health, she will be able to kill you pretty easily.
Overall Cassiopeia is a tough lane, but if you can push her back, you should win in the long run.
Barrel Man is very similar to Anivia, you will push him to tower at low levels, but he last hits under tower fairly well because of W's AD steroid, and his fairly substantial base AD. This forces him into melee range however, and forcing people to walk into rupture is easier when they are melee.
Level 6 just gives gragas the ability to punish you for tower diving, so you know, don't tower dive him.
Barrel Roll Is pretty easily avoided, and in the early levels, you heal through it's damage, so don't worry too much about it, but if you get low health, beware of a Barrel Roll> Body Slam combo with ignite gragas.
Overall a lane you should win, but gragas has a better late game than you usually anyways because of how good his ultimate is.
Zombie is a pretty easy lane if you start with null-magic mantle.
You can pretty much push as fast as him, and you can steal his jungler's wraiths, so it's a pretty easy lane.
Most karthus' i've played against run pure ap runes, and have 30mr and very low health for the first half of the game.
If you hit karthus with Rupture past your first buy, you should be able to kill him in a single combo (I usually wait for 1600 or 1950g and go back to lane with a NLR or Boots.) of W>R and maybe an auto attack or two.
Karthus at 6 is a joke, because you can silence his ultimate if he casts it near you.
Overall, Karthus is a very easy to beat lane, but karthus will probably get farmed in any case.
Kassadin is a very weak early lane against cho'gath. Because of his E skill, Cho'Gath can win most trades of Q just by last hitting minions.
You can usually by using the Cassiopeia method. Push him to his tower, and force him to put an early point in W to farm correctly.
Also, as with all melees, he is pretty easy to hit with rupture.
At level 6, kassadin can usually escape your combo, but he won't be able to burst you down any more.
Overall, Kassadin is a lane where you farm, and he gets hit with a combo if he isn't using Q to farm.
LeBlanc's early level burst makes this lane pretty difficult.
LeBlanc has two weaknesses that make her a fairly bad lane against cho'gath.
Firstly, she can't push effectively, so she loses lots of gold from minions to her tower, and secondly, her cooldowns are very long.
You should be able to sustain her damage for the first few levels by just killing her minions, and then forcing her to pick between farming with Q/W and harassing you.
You can harass with W, but your W, but Rupture will be difficult because of her flash.
At Level 6 she has a lot of burst, but probably shouldn't kill you if you start Doran's Ring or Null-Magic.
Overall, LeBlanc makes for a rough enemy, but you will ruin her ability to farm and she will be fairly useless late game.
Malzahar is annoying in the early game because of how hard he pushes his wave, and how unmoveable he is in terms of mana, but his abilities are fairly easy to dodge, and you should be able to heal through the occasional E that hits you.
Be very careful of being at low health against malzahar, because if you go back, he will push the wave really hard and you'll take a lot of tower damage.
At level 6, malzahar is a fairly major threat, ***** Beam + Gank = Dead Cho'Gath. You are probably best suited playing this lane pretty safe after level 5.
Overall, Malzahar is a hassle after level 6, but you can get double Null-Magic Mantle and then continue with your build. He can push you just about as hard as you can, so you will have to worry about Tower damage as well as him roaming all over the map.
Tree is very much like gragas and anivia in that you will push them to tower in the early game, and like Anivia, he will have trouble farming. Also, he is melee range and you can hit rupture more reliably because of this.
Sapling Toss has to potential to do insane amounts of damage. It's fairly hard to get hit by actually as long as you keep moving, but you have to stop to kill minions, so it's fairly unavoidable to get hit by one or two of these.
Try to treat this lane like a free farm, and just last hit all of his minions for health, and then harass with W.
Maokai is a pretty easy lane, but if you are careless, he will use his massive burst damage to his advantage.
Overall, you should either free farm, or be able to flat out kill the maokai depending upon his runes/masteries/items. And then you will be stronger than Maokai late game.
Morgana is super freaking op guy, you have absolutely no chance against her.
Okay, so Morgana is Anivia 2.0, with a better ultimate.
The good news is, Cho'Gath should be able to just right click the minion wave and beat morgana.
The bad news is that no matter how hard you stomp Morgana down in lane, she will most likely still be a major threat in team fights because of how ridiculous her ultimate is against people who don't have a lot of team work.
You won't really be able to kill morgana after level 6 because of her ultimate, but if you can get her low enough Feast goes through Black Shield, and her escapes are very weak without her ultimate. (I would still recommend early sorc shoes as apposed to deathcap rush because you need to be faster than her to kill her.)
Start with Null Magic Mantle and some health potions, and there should be no way to lose the lane against Morgana.
Most Morgana's will build tanky, so if you are absolutely wrecking her, she will probably come back to lane with a negatron cloak.
Overall, you should beat morgana fairly easily, but she will probably be a better pick for late game. (If you see Morgana in the lobby, someone should pick Janna, Gragas, or some other displacer so her ultimate is less effective.)
Ryze would seem like a very strong pick against Cho'Gath, he does tons of damage, can effectively itemize against you, and can run away fairly easily with his Rune Prison.
In the early game, the "push to tower and watch them flail for cs" strategy is golden, and he won't be able to do anything about it because his base AD is ~50.
Ryze who doesn't get farm is fairly useless, so just push to all hell, and be careful about ganks, and you should be golden.
Ryze is very scary late game, but you will be doing more damage, be almost as tanky, and will be killing him fairly easily, between void staff and feast.
Overall, you will probably beat Ryze in lane, and deny him a lot of CS, but don't get too cocky, Ryze has a very powerful kit.
Arnie has a very bad early game until he can kill caster minions with his Shield, but after that, he is an extremely good farmer, and a sturdy AP carry.
As an AP Carry, Sion has tons of burst damage, and can effectively harass Cho'Gath.
If Sion is foolish enough to waste his mana on you in the early game, you can farm his wave for health, and just out last his mana pool.
At Level 6, beware of Sion baiting you into his Ultimate, Just because he is AP doesn't mean his ult isn't effective at level 6.
Overall, You probably can't kill/beat sion in lane, but he has a meh early game as AP, and you can free farm off of him then, and come back with big items.
Veigar has an extremely bad early game, where he has no mana for Q, and his stun is over before he can hit you with anything, but if you abuse him in lane, he might call for an early jungle gank, and will make you look like an idiot.
Veigar is an extremely dangerous and an extremely easy lane at the same time. Veigar with cage and q at level 2, with a jungler means you are probably first blood. But at the same time, veigar at level 2 with q and cage is useless without that jungler.
When laning against a good veigar who has a good jungler, be prepared to be ganked endlessly, and killed a few times unless extremely careful.
At level 6, Veigar can do a massive amount of burst damage to you, but if you've been farming his minions, he should either be out of mana, or you should have too much health for him to 100-0 you.
Overall: You really need to either kill Veigar, or force him to recall in order to shut him down. He can't be allowed to free farm Q, or you lose the lane.
Xerath is awaiting a rework, I will write the guide after that is live.
Currently, you can get free ruptures whenever he goes into Locus of Power.
Time Beard is actually a really good pick against Cho'Gath.
He does massive burst damage with his double bomb attacks, but then after that he is fairly useless.
As long as you can farm his minions, you should be able to put him in a situation where he needs to bomb for CS instead of harass.
If you can't push Zilean back, then you'll have to actively land W and force him to go back before you do.
At 6, Zilean will basically be impossible to kill because he uses very little mana in lane, and shouldn't be low enough that he won't be able to just ult himself back to life.
Overall: Zilean falls off very hard in the late game, survive laning phase, and the game should be in the bag.
Big Overall: Generally, Cho'Gath beats mages in the Mid Lane, and mostly is a better late game champion.
Tips and Tricks.
Playing as Cho'Gath:
-Rupture can be used to land a long string of auto attacks, and feral scream can be used for standard harassment.
-Try not to be too overconfident, you are very weak directly after rupture misses.
-Your passive is very powerful, you can kill the enemy wraiths at a low level in the mid lane.
Playing against Cho'Gath:
-When killing dragon or baron, Cho'Gath's Feast can be used to do large amounts of burst damage to baron and dragon.
-Be very careful to avoid Rupture, as it sets up a combo of Rupture>Auto Attacks that does a lot of damage.
-Harassment isn't very effective against cho'gath because of his passive, large burst damage is effective in the early levels.
-Killing cho'gath reduces his feast stacks, and it takes a while to get them back.
10/26/2011 - Pruned out jungle section and build.
10/30/2011 - Added "Mid Lane: How you deal with common mid picks." Chapter.
Thank you for reading my Cho'Gath guide, here's hoping you can be a true terror to the enemy team!