Malphite Build Guide by Yanahma

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Yanahma

Malphite - Between a rock and a hard place

Yanahma Last updated on October 8, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Veteran's Scars

Defense: 18

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 3

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Hi everyone - welcome to my first build. I play a fair amount of Malphite and win a lot of games with him. Even if I lose, I still have a good game. He is probably the easiest tank to pick up and play, and has a nice learning curve. If you are looking for a good tank to learn with, look no further than Malphite.

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Summoner Spells

Your job as a tank is to not only soak up damage, but to protect your team. Malphite has a whole range of CC at his disposal for both offensive and defensive use. Taking Exhaust just gives you another way to protect your team by shutting someone down for a few seconds.

This helps you secure a kill by getting in range, surprise an enemy by flashing then ulting, or just escape when things turn bad. A very valuable skill.

You may also consider:

Does everything flash does, lasts longer and helps with chasing enemies. Doesn't blink over walls or dodge skills though. Honestly, it comes down to preference, and if you don't have much experience with either Flash or Ghost, try them both and choose for yourself.



Both are valuable support skills, and if you are more comfortable taking one of them when no one else does, feel free to. Remember, Summoner Spells are all about preference. As a tank you naturally fill a support-like position, and these spells will benefit your team.

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I take 9/18/3, and already I can see you raising an eyebrow. Allow me to explain:

Offensive Tree:

Pretty standard here, I take improved exhaust and work my way up to Archaic Knowledge for the 15% magic penetration. This will help out massively with dealing damage and getting early kills. This build revolves around aggressive play and dealing damage so that come late game your enemies will have a reason to focus on killing you. This will be explained more later in the guide.

Defensive Tree:

Here is where it gets a little strange. I max both of the lowest tier masteries for bonus armor and magic resist. Then I max Strength of Spirit, which is a fantastic mastery. In most games you will build a fair amount of mana, and this mastery will just boost your health regen when you do, which is never a bad thing. I also take Nimbleness, which will save your life more than you realize. Then I max Veterans Scars for a flat boost to Health, which will improve your passive as well as your general survivability.

So already I hear the question, why don't I max Defensive Tree? Well, in my opinion it just isn't worth it. That is, in comparison to what I spend the other points on. The final mastery of the defensive tree blocks 4% of all damage. That means if you get dealt 4000 damage, it will block 160 of it.... yeah, it isn't exactly a life saver. Whereas;

Utility Tree:

Good Hands. 10% reduced death timer. As a tank you will be dying a lot, and that is where you will feel the bonus effects of a reduced death timer. The effects of this will mastery are much greater than 4% reduced damage.

Of course, just like Summoner Spells, these come down to preference. If you would prefer to run a normal 9/21/0, go ahead. I just use what works for me.

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Magic Penetration Marks
Flat Armor Seals
Magic Resist per Level Glyphs
Flat Health and Flat Armor Quints

I don't feel like I need to explain this too much. Basic tank runes, helps your survivability. Can be replaced by whatever you prefer, or can afford. I find these to work out really well though.

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A fantastic passive, it pretty much makes you immune to harassment. Whenever someone breaks the shield, just back off and wait for it to recharge. Combined with your early Health Regen item, you can stay in lane almost indefinitely, only returning to base to buy your items. A very valuable asset.

Your main harassment tool, but not to be spammed early on. Malphite has some serious mana issues early game, which is something you have to adapt to. Only use it to either scare an enemy that gets way too close, or to ensure/enable a kill. Spamming it for harassment purposes will leave you mana deprived and will rob you of first blood chances.

Once you have bought Philosopher's stone Philosopher's stone and eventually Eleisa's Miracle, mana becomes less of a problem and you can start using it more often. Remember not to over-do it though. I max this first because it is a great single target damage spell, and is fantastic for chasing. It not only slows them, but speeds you up.

A good passive, great for farming. You can also use it to take down a turret faster, or in the middle of a team fight to increase your tanking capabilities. I max this skill last because it just doesn't have the utility of his other skills, but it is definitely not to be overlooked.

This is an amazing all-purpose skill. It deals good AoE damage, allowing you to finish off a low health enemy or farm minions with ease. It reduces nearby enemies attack speed for 4 seconds, which can completely shut down an AS heavy champion such as Tryndamere or Jax. At highest rank it reduces their attack speed by 50%, which is amazing, and can also be combined with the effects of a Frozen Heart for a whopping 70% attack speed slow. Their Ashe carry will go from shooting 2 arrows a second to shooting a single arrow every 2 seconds. Fantastic.

It also scales off of Armor, so when possible try to prioritize getting lots of Armor over Magic Resist. A Sunfire and Frozen Heart will make this skill really hurt.

The best team fight initiator in the game. Certain combos of skills may out-do it for a team fight starter, such as an Ashe Arrow followed by an Amumu Ult, but for a single skill this really does it all.

Wait until the enemy team bunch up too much, try to catch at least 3 in the ult area. This not only gives the signal to your team to charge in and attack, but it also completely disorientates the enemy team. I usually follow this straight up with a Ground Slam, and then hit the likeliest looking target with a Seismic Shard. If you are in a good team, this will give them the advantage they need to win a battle.

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This is what will keep you in lane. Combined with your passive and some smart play, you should almost always be at full health, unless you go in for a kill. The health potion is just insurance, just in case you get caught off guard. Remember though, they fool you once, its shame on them. Get fooled twice and its your own fault.

Others may want to start with a Doran's Shield, but with this you are essentially wasting your starting money on an item that cannot be built into anything else. The stats are good, but ultimately not needed with careful play.

Philosopher's Stone

This is what you want to build on your first trip back to base. It will cost you just over 700 gold, and will give you the advantage in laning. If the lane is at a standstill and your lane partner/jungler can cover for you, go back as soon as you can and get these. The mana regen is much needed and the boots give you a huge boost when combined with your Seismic Shard, allowing you to catch and kill enemies with ease.

Here come those funny looks again. Yes, I know you aren't an AP carry. Yes, I know it isn't the tank's job to get kills and deal damage. However, enemies need a reason to attack you. If they see you building full tank, they will leave you alone. With these boots, you will see a huge increase in damage and will be able to kill squishies early game. Once this gets combined with your Sunfire Cape, people will either have to focus you or get killed.

Note that this is the only item that detracts from a normal tank build. You will still be able to soak damage like a boss, and with the new tenacity item (See below) you will still get the reduced CC that you would from Merc Treads.

A good upgrade to the Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's stone. Gives you even more mana regen and gives reduced CC. For only 400 gold it is an absolutely steal. Build when you can. You lose the +5 gold per 10 seconds, but it is completely worth it.

Once you have built this you will become unstoppable. You can now farm like a boss by just walking into minions, auto attacking a bit and then Ground Slamming. Jungle creeps are also incredibly easy to farm, just remember not to be greedy. If you have a Jungler, or a Carry that is behind in gold, make sure you let them take the gold unless they specifically allow you to.

I consider this the core item for this build. You magic penetration in combination with your skills and this item will really make your enemies run in fear. You should of already gotten a few kills before this item, and once they see it on you they will focus you down. Of course, as a tank, this is exactly what you want. If you die but your team scores an Ace, you have done your job.

This can be built before the Sunfire Cape if the enemy team is CC/magic heavy. However, the Sunfire gives such a huge boost to Malphite that you should focus on getting it as soon as possible.

Not much to say about this item other than it is the essential Magic Resist item. Not only that, but it gives you mana and health, both of which are always good to get. If you don't feel it necessary, you may skip this item. However, this is heavily dependent on the enemy team. If the Melee champions of the enemy team are the ones causing the most pain and there is little CC and Magic Damage being thrown about, you can skip this and build another tank item.

This stacks with your Ground Slam. Not only that, but it also gives great armor and mana (Which gives health regen because of our Masteries). Get this if the enemy team is not only Melee heavy, but also Attack Speed dependent. You can completely ruin someones day with a combination of this and your Ground Slam because it reduces their Attack Speed by 70%. That is enough to shut down any Melee Champion and protect your Carry. If you skipped Banshee's Veil because the enemy team was Melee Heavy, this is the item you want to get next.

Much the same as you may encounter a Melee Heavy team, here is the item to get if the enemy team is Magic Heavy. Gives amazing Health Regen and plenty of Magic Resist. Combined with your Banshee's Veil even the biggest nukes will only be able to scratch you.

Enemy team has a hard hitting glass cannon like Tryndamere, Master Yi or Nocturne? This item will give you the advantage if they start attacking you. Combined with your Attack Speed debuff they will most likely just give up on you, but if they keep at it you may even win the fight, with your moderate damage, Sunfire and Thornmail. Just prepare for the consequences if you beat a Tryndamere 1v1. By consequences, I mean players shouting in the chat about how OP Malphite it.

Remember that this isn't a set sequence of items. Pick and choose what you need depending on who you are up against. The higher up I have placed it, the more helpful and essential the item is. Sunfire should always be included at some point.

Situational Items:

If you are in a team with a lot of Magic Damage and already winning by a wide margin, this item will just boost you and your teams damage output. Really great item and by this point it pretty much ensures victory for an already one sided match.

The nerfs to this item have made it non-essential to tanking. It is fairly expensive and doesn't give much for the price, but it still has a good passive and active effect, and if you ever needed more Armor then feel free to grab it.

Often I won't get this item simply because the skills that it counters won't be used on you. However, if you are up against a team with a Mordekaiser, Malzahar, Vladamir, or other champions with skills that can be hard countered by this item, and you are getting harassed and hit by the skills in question, don't hesitate to grab one of these. In the right hands it can be almost game breaking.

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How to play Malphite

Well, I can't tell you exactly what you should be doing, not without a lengthy video and commentary, but if you have read the guide up to here you should have picked up on a couple of tips that I have dropped. Here is a brief summary of how I personally play Malphite and what should be happening in each part of the game:

Early game:

-Don't spam skills until you have a Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone.
-If you are getting harassed, make sure you wait for your passive to recharge before returning.
-Don't be afraid to go for early kills. If you are with a partner, ping to let them know a target then slow then with Seismic Shard and follow up with a Ground Slam.
-Prioritize getting a after finishing your boots. It will help out a lot.

Mid game:

-Farm a lot. Malphite is an amazing farmer both for Creeps and Monsters in the Jungle. Remember to give them to someone else if they need though.
-Don't be afraid to tower dive and chase for a kill. You are tough, fast and have good damage.
-Always initiate a team fight. If things are at a standstill, just ping a target and charge in with Unstoppable Force.

Late game:

-Always stay with your team, but try to engage when the enemy team least expects it. Use brushes to your advantage.
-Protect the Carry. If the enemy team has an assassin, be sure to prevent them from succeeding in killing your Carry.
-As your Ground Slam scales with Armor, it will continue to be a good damage dealer even late game. Make sure to hit as many enemies with it as you can.

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Malphite is an amazing tank, especially against Melee teams. Learn to use him well and you will not only be able to take massive damage, but also deal it. Your enemies will run scared as you effortlessly squash the squishies and disable the assassins. He is an unstoppable force that can be harnessed to win games time and time again.

Please leave comments on what you think works and doesn't work, your own experiences with this build, and if you vote negative please explain it.

Thanks for reading