Malphite Build Guide by Sp4c31nv4d3r
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
Not Updated For Current Season
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.
WELCOME! Sp4c31nv4d3r here with a build of one of my personal favorite champions, Malphite! He was the first champion that I bought oh so long ago and is my go to champ if need be. You don't have to be a great tank player to play Malphite, you just have to have a lot of time on your hands (which I did apparently). So without further a due, the rock man himself Malphite!
This is a build that I probably will be updating as patches come out. This will be necessary with all the changes that happen in LoL. Stay tuned for updates as they come.
Also, if it is requested, I will post the AP tank/Straight AP Malphite build(s) as well, but only if the community would like them.
Additions and subtractions will be stated here.
8/2/2012 - Guide Created
8/3/2012 - Masteries updated. Situational Items section added. Tactics section added.
8/7/2012 - Tanky DPS Lane Tactics added.
8/19/2012 - Guide clean up started. It is driving me crazy.
8/21/2012 - Headers and spacers inserted.
4/1/2013 - Updated to S3 (sorry for the delay)
11/23/2013 - Updated to S4!
1/17/2014 - Added AD and AP Malphite build by request in the comments section. Enjoy them!
Pros / Cons
Just like everyone else Malphite comes with his ups and downs. He is a great tank (or AP tank of need be). This build will just focus on the tank build, but I may put up the AP Tank build that I have used a few times.
1. Good tank champion
2. High health. Great for those long team fights
3. High Armor and MR. Perfect for any situation
4. Counters auto-attacks pretty well. Thank you Granite Shield.
1. Low movement speed. Don't plan on getting anywhere fast. Unless you are using Seismic Shard in which case, you will be getting somewhere fast.
2. AD and AP are low. You abilities like Seismic Shard won't pack as much of a punch.
3. Mana regeneration is low. Plan accordingly in and out of fights.
Tier 1 // CRD on Malphite is critical for him to perform well. Don't skip out on these points. Plus Butcher helps with last hitting.
Tier 2 // For AP tanks like Malphite, extra AP goes will with his builds very well.
Tier 3 // More AP is good to help with that early game poke damage and, later on, you ultimate.
Tier 1 // Reduced damage from champions and percent increase in armor and MR is a no brainer.
Tier 2 // Even more damage reduction? Why not! Also, take the bonus health in this tier as it will help with you passive.
Tier 3 // I like Oppression on Malphite because it works well with his Q. More health for a better passive and armor for a stronger E are also great additions.
Tier 4 // Health regen is great, not just for Malphite but most tanky top laners now.
Tier 5 // Bonus armor and MR based on enemies is great for team fights. It will let you be a bigger rock than you already are.
Tier 6 // CC reduction is great for getting past that pesky front line and beating on those back line squishes.
I will say that a possible 9 points of into Utility instead of Offense if you want a bit more mana and move speed sustain in lane (or you fell like you need it).
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Malphite's rune build is pretty simple for me. You want to put the emphasis on his defense since he will be played as a tank but still be able to be a damage source for your team.
This little extra boost of AP will make your abilities hit harder in the early lane phase as well as add more punch to your late game power.
This is pretty self explanatory. Most tops are AD based and this will help you sustain a bit longer in lane and/or survive an enemy gank.
For my Marks choices, I have gone with the Greater Mark of Magic Penetration. This might be a bit off standard but I find it to be quite effective.
Just like with the armor reds, this will help you last in fights and help if you are top against someone like Elise or Vladimir.
I have always had a tough time picking which spells to get when it comes to any character I play. With Malphite there are a couple of different ways you can play these. I, personally, take Ghost and Teleport, and here is why.
This is a standard spell on most champions and Malphite is no different. He can use it to escape or re-position himself to get a good fight initiation or catch a running enemy. Either way Flash is a great choice.
This is the miniature version of "Get somewhere really freaking fast." Your team can't always wait for you to lumber across the map to get in place for a fight or gank. Teleport allows you to get there fast and be a benefit to your team instead of the one who is always late.
Clarity: If you are still afraid of running out of mana, you can grab Clarity. This is a back and forth. If you have an AP carry on your team who has it, there is no need to grab it because chances are, you will be next to them when they use it in a team fight.
Ghost: This is the close cousin to Flash. You can go either way with this one. It is completely up to you in this case.
Ignite: If you want to be the one who weakens the enemy out, you can grab Ignite. The true damage is nice but hard to pop sometimes in a 5v5 team fight since you will more than likely be worried about other things around you. Again, this is up to you as well.
Seismic Shard: This is my favorite Malphite ability. Not only does it slow and do damage to the selected enemy, it gives you a portion of their speed. This comes in hand when you are trying to either
1. Catch a runner for your team or yourself in a fight.
2. slowing down someone who is after a teammate, allowing you to take the agro away from them and place it on yourself.
Brutal Strikes: This is a great ability. The passive is great for dealing with minions and other monsters if need be. Once activated, the armor and attack damage increase is great at 20/25/30/35/40% and 30/38/46/54/62% per level, receptively. It gives you that little extra tanky edge.
Ground Slam: Malphite has yet another slow though this is or the short AoE type. This, unlike Seismic Shard, is an attack speed slow. Hit "E" during a team and you can slow the Master Yi or Varus that keeps hitting your teammates.
Unstoppable Force: This is Malphites other ranged ability. Unstoppable Force has the ability to deal AP damage as well as knock up the opposing champions in the selected area, thus stunning them for a brief time. This can be used as a team fight starter or as a way to keep an enemy champion off the heels of a teammate who is avoiding death.
The first three levels of skills are interchangeable based upon how you play. I go Ground Slam, Seismic Shard, and then Brutal Strikes, but if you want to change them based upon the lane you are in you can.
Once you have Ground Slam maxed, go for Seismic Shard.It is a great tool to help slow down enemy champions in order to help your teammates get fed, and get you gold for assists.
This may be interchanged with Brutal Strikes in the leveling order if you are more in need of minion farms or slowing that enemy melee DPS.
Make sure that you get Unstoppable Force as soon as it is available. It may not be extremely useful when you first get it but you will mostly likely use it in that first team fight. It is a great skill!
*NOTE* I have not given a complete build in items for a reason. In some games you may need to build these items out of the given order to have the greatest benefit. not all games are the same!
Malphite is a very versatile champion to build with. For me and my tank build, Mercury's Treads, Sunfire Cape, and Spirit Visage are a necessity. It is the basic start for your armor, magic resist, and health. There isn't a match where I don't have these three items in my stash when I play Malphite. They are great items that get the basics covered. If need be, Ninja Tabi can be substituted for your boots.
From here, I get Randuin's Omen, an Iceborn Gauntlet, and an Abyssal Scepter. This gives you more health, armor, and magic resist as well as some bonus AP and ability effects.
+7.47 Health regeneration
+270.5 Armor (without runes)
+189.5 Magic resist (without runes)
PHYSICAL EFFECTIVE HEALTH: 12,704 HP
MAGICAL EFFECTIVE HEALTH: 9927 HP
TOTAL EFFECTIVE HEALTH: 11,316 HP
Since I said that no two games are the same, one must be prepared for all possibilities. Here are the three routes that I take depending on the circumstances. We have the AP Tank Build, the AD Resist Build, and the Magic Resist Build. Each does their own for the given game. All we have to do now is make sure you get the right one!
AP Tank Build: As stated above, I will always get Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi, and Sunfire Cape first. These are the basic items that make a great base in all situations. From here, I get Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Zhonya's Hourglass, and an Iceborn Gauntlet. This gives me more health for Granite Shield as well as some finally AP to help with your abilities. Also, there is a little bit of mana given from Iceborn Gauntlet, as well as a nice passive.
AD Resist Build: Now this is for when you have an enemy Zed, Fiora, Xin Zhao, or any other pesky AD champion on the enemy team that is making you look completely silly. If you want to counter this, first make sure that you got Ninja Tabi instead of Mercury's Treads though I am sure that you already did. For maximum armor protection, I suggest getting the three following items: Frozen Heart, Locket of the Iron Solari, and an always popular Thornmail. These three items will give you all the armor you will ever need, as well as some good passive protection and mana. You have slows with Frozen Heart, a shield with the Locket of the Iron Solari, as well as recoil damage with Thornmail. These items will be able to shield you from the inconvenience of an AD trolololol-ing you in game.
Magic Resist Build: This is what you are going to need if you have a Malzahar or Karthus breathing down your neck with all the AP damage you can think of. For this situation, I roll out with Banshee's Veil, Abyssal Scepter, and Maw of Malmortius. These items will be the bulk of you magic resist. I don't want to forget about Maw of Malmortius thought! This is a great item. you are going to gain some AD for your Brutal Strikes as well as the magic resist that you were looking for, not to mention a great passive. Maw of Malmortius will block ONE magic attack that would put you at less than 30% health and gives you a little shield to let you know "Hey, someone almost killed me. I should do something." From here you can either chase down the bugger or "Fight to run away" as Captain Jack would do. All and all, this will give you plenty of magic resist and a few extra bonuses to help you along the way.
Malphite Variation: AD Malphite
Thanks to Wickd over on the EUW server, the AD Malphite build has taken off into popularity. With this new craze, I have tried many different build type and item to try to get the best out of the things that make AD Malphite do what he does. Though I usually play this build out of the jungle, I have still had great success with it in top lane, even earning myself a penta-kill.
As for the build, I start by rushing the Phage to really help with farming and early damage. After this, it is right into Berserker's Greaves then finishing off the Trinity Force. After this, there is some leeway in the items that you can build next though I 99% of the time follow the above stated item order going Frozen Mallet, Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer and then finally finishing off with an Atma's Impaler. You can sure change these up to your liking but this is how I roll in my items.
As for masteries, I run a hard hitting 21/9/0 in order to get the most out of the damage that you will be able to put out at any time in a fight. You can also run a 9/21/0 if you are a bit cautious about playing a "glass cannon" Malphite.
Your runes are going to be standard AD reds and quints, armor yellows, and scaling MR blues. Like normal, this is pretty balanced and will help you early in lane.
Here is a little post game screenie for you with this build.
Malphite Variation: AP Malphite
As for the AP Malphite build, I find this to be very situational, and for that reason, I would not recommend doing this build very time you play your favorite rock man. If I do however play AP Malphite, I am sure that I get the high health ap items to help with your passive. This is because AP Malphite isn't going to really take you out until there is a team fight and then wild Unstoppable Force appears.
For items, if you are not going to roll out with a Rod of Ages and a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, which even I don't do that often, you are going to look for item that provide AP and well as armor as you main goal throughout the game. This mean that items such as Iceborn Gauntlets and Zhonya's Hourglass are critical items for you in your game. I like to follow these up, after I have a RoA, with an Abyssal Scepter and a Void Staff. This will provide you with a good aura for your ultimate and some bonus penetration for your ultimate engage in team fights, and with Unstoppable Force being a 1-to-1 ratio for AP, it is also a good show as your opponents get have their health bars dropped right in front of their eyes with nothing they can do to stop it.
Again for masteries I run a 21/9/0 set, but again, you can use a 9/21/0 or 21/0/9 lay out if you feel like you like that better (I don't know what you like best so all I can do is offer suggestions).
Finally with your runes, I use MPen reds, flat AP quints, and again, flat armor yellows, and scaling MR blues. Pretty standard, but feel free to change this up for your play style.
Tactics: Where to Start
First things first. One must know where they are supposed to be, if one does not know this then they have already lost. This is where you are going to be:
Top or bot is your new home for the next 45 to 65 minutes of your life. Don't try to go mid. You aren't playing Kassadin or Karthus now. Let the mids to their job. Now, as I say that, there are some exceptions that I have for the style of which I play Malphite. Those are the places where I like to go trolling on enemy champions in ganks and sneak attacks. They are as follows (All positions are give so marks are for both sides of the map based upon your starting position):
Let us get these random circles straight now shall we?
Mid River Circles: If your team is rolling without a jungler and you are AT LEAST LEVEL 6, this is a great way to help out your mid. Since you have a fantastic long range ultimate in Unstoppable Force, you can let the opposing mid get a little bit of a push, pop the ultimate, and let your mid reap the benefits of getting a free kill.
Top/Bot River Bush Circles: Here is where I like to come from for the gank after going bak to base or coming back from a gank at mid. These bushes are quite the handy little bugger. If you have Unstoppable Force up, you can hop right on through the walls and catch the enemy champions by surprise. If they try to run, throw out a Seismic Shard to slow them down not for just for yourself but your lane partner.
Tip or Trick (depending on what you think): I have done this before, and it can work if need be. If the enemy champion is running away and you CANNOT get to them with Seismic Shard, you can "cheat" and hit a minion with it. Yes, you will not get as much speed as you would if you hit someone like Master Yi but that little extra from that minion can be used to catch the fleeing champion. I DO NOT recommend solely relying on this, but it can work in a pinch.
Circles between outer and inner lane towers: This is one of my favorite places to cause havoc. If you and your lane partner and kill both champions in your lane, you can push up to one of these places and gank them as they come back. As Malphite, you will be the initiator. Pull them back into the bush where your lame mate is waiting and cause UNFORSEEN HAVOC! You will not be able to use this multiple times a game so use it wisely. A smart tactician is priceless, a stupid one feeds.
Tactics: In the Lane
Since you are going to be in a lane for most of the game, you have to know how to do it correctly. I focus on a couple things when I am in a lane. They are as follows:
1. Make sure you are not over extending. This is killer. If you push too far too early, you are asking for it. With Malphite you can lay back a bit more than usual. Most champions WILL NOT focus Malphite because he can be a pain early when you only have one or two abilities. So, relax with some lemonade.
2. Protect you lane partner. At the beginning, your lane partner is going to be much more squishy that you are. If you want to have them do well, you are going to have to protect them! If you see an enemy champion getting ready to focus them, move over there and give them a hand. At the beginning, you will be able to use Ground Slam to slow their attacks and Seismic Shard if they begin to chase them. At this point, you are playing a "support" role. Keep them alive.
3. Minion farms. If you are playing a support role with Malphite, let your lane partner get the minion feed. Yes, you will not get as much gold but you AD carry Caitlyn will thank you later after they have a B. F. Sword by level 5. Do not fret though fellow Malphites, your gold will come in the manner of a large number of assists that you will get by supporting the lane partner who you let get a good feed.
4. Tower takeout time. When you are taking out an enemy tower, make sure you go first between the two of you even if there are minions present. This way if an enemy champion comes back and starts to attack your ally and they are forced to retaliate, you can quickly hit Ground Slam and draw the tower off of them as you begin to focus the enemy as well. Now the best thing to do is usually start to pull back as the enemy comes back, but if need be. Be the all the tank you can be.
Tactics: That Tanky DPS Lane Opponent
Thanks to Riot deciding that the only good new champion is a massive DPS tank style character like Darius, one must take care in their actions against such opponents. Personally, I hate laning against someone like Darius or Draven, but one must overcome adversity to achieve greatness. So, this is what I do.
1. DO NOT PUSH EARLY! I don't care who you are, DO NOT push early. Especially against Darius. This in not going to end well for your Malphite or personal sanity. Early game you need to play under control. Smart but not passive. That means lay back but do not take a nap.
2. WARD YOUR RIVER BUSH! This is a must! Especially if you are playing solo top. There is nothing more frustrating than having a Shaco or Amumu come out of no where and get your lane opponent fed. This is what leads to team rage which is a no no.
3. PLAN AHEAD OF TIME! Whether it is an attack of a quick return trip to base, make sure you have all your bases covered. These are things such as:
Make sure your opponent CANNOT push your tower.
Make sure the minions CANNOT push your tower.
Let your team know. Especially your jungler. It could lead to a free kill if it is someone like Twitch or Evelynn who have a stealth.
Know how long it is going to take you to get back, Whether with Teleport or by running, get back ASAP. Your team will thank you whether you are solo or with a lane partner.
4. IF YOU ARE LANING WITH SOMEONE, PLAN TOGETHER! This is going to make things so much easier for both of you. Do not be that guy who just randomly attacks enemy champions. This will get then fed faster than you can imagine.
5. DO NOT GET COCKY! Whatever you do, DO NOT GET COOCKY! This is the biggest downfall that people have, myself included. Be a solid player but do not get wild and crazy. Just do not do it! (or I will find you!)
Tactics: Team Fights
Once late game hits, and everyone wants to bash each other's heads in, it is time for you to switch to team fight mode. In a majority of team fights, you will be the instigator. You should be the first one in IN ALL 5V5 TEAM FIGHTS. As the most likely the heaviest champion on your team Malphite is needed to be that beginning troll that everyone goes after while your Xin Zhao or Ziggs takes everyone else out. Here are a couple of tips that I have learned from team fights.
1. Start it off with a bang. If you whole team is ready and their team is in a group, start the fight off with a good old fashioned Unstoppable Force. This is going to hold their team down for 2 SECONDS right at the beginning of the fight. That gives your team plenty of time to start racking up the damage before the enemy team can even begin to fight.
2. Know your enemies. Prepare ahead of time in your head. After you hit Unstoppable Force, there will be no time to say "Hey guys, timeout for a second. I have to think." DO NOT BE THAT GUY! If you know that the enemy has high attack speed, hit Ground Slam. If they are going to be bunched up on you, hit Brutal Strikes, (you should do that no matter what actually). This will lower the AS of those pesky Master Yis and give you a bit more survivability as you get attacked.
3. Stop the runners. Towards the end of the fight, the enemy team will try to book it out of there faster than a six year old after cake at a birthday party. DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! You still have Seismic Shard left. Use that to slow the runner for your team. The ally who get the triple kill and up will thank you for the aid.
Thanks for reading guys and gals. I hope that this build helps you in the ways of the rock. On a statistical side note, I have done some number crunching and this build SHOULD give you about the following game play results...These numbers take armor, magic resist, and other factors into account.
Physical Damage Health: ~13K HP
Magical Damage Health: ~10K HP
Effective Health: ~11.5K HP
ALL BUILDS SHOULD GIVE ~13,000-15,000 EFFECTIVE HP. PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH ACTUAL HEALTH. THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT NUMBERS. I DON'T WANT TO SEE ANY FACEPALMS OUT THERE!
Damage given in 1 second: ~110-120
Damage given in 5 seconds: ~550-600
Granite Shield at full strength: ~425 damage absorbed
I have been staring at my screen for the last eight and a half hours to finish this bad boy so if there are errors, please let me know! My eyes are starting to fail me!
As always, voice your opinion! Good, bad, or ugly; it all helps at the days end.
Also, Thanks to all of the constructive comments people. They really do help nail down all the loose ends. If you have any questions or comments, leave them and I will get back to you as soon as I can! :D