Malphite Build Guide by theWurm
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.
Not Updated For Current Season
Howdy there. The purpose of this guide is to show how to transform Malphite from a pretty good tank(really good if used right) into a pretty excellent tanky-dps, who excels at getting into a fight and spreading large amounts of damage across the enemy team, disrupting ranged units, and altogether giving enemy players massive ulcers. It attempts to answer some of the major problems with Malphite, such as:
Not enough sustained damage
The first thing you should know about these build's is that it is not a tank build! There are 3.2 billion(roughly) tank guides for Malphite on this site alone. It also isn't an AP Malphite guide, because let's face it, every tank has an AP build. We've all seen AP Nunu, AP Amumu, I've even seen AP Taric and AP Shen(in case you were wondering, they kind of sucked). It's so last month. This is an attack damage build.
If you're wondering how a slow rock like Malphite could possibly use an attack damage build, I have two words for you= Brutal Strikes. This gives him a 40% boost to attack damage at level 5, which allows him to hit as hard as Xin Zhao with only a few attack damage items(though not as fast, obviously). Add the passive and Tiamat, and he's hitting everyone within five feet that hard. Couple that with the defense items and he can run around a fight with virtual impunity.
The vision of this guide is to create a character who can get into a fight and soften up the enemy enough for the rest of your team to wipe them off the map. In-between fights, you'll be killing entire minion waves in 4-5 hits(which is extremely satisfying).
So anyway, let's get ready to rock this rock.
Pros / Cons
great for farming
impressive sustainable damage output
extremely difficult to get away from
hard to kill
great pusher (especially with early
Depends on farming/kills for money, if you don't get those, you're in trouble
Much easier to kill than full tank builds
easy to get caught in middle of enemy team when your allies are running away, which sucks.
This is the section of the build that I'm not so set on. I personally prefer things like Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage to Greater Mark of Attack Damage, due to the late game power, but if you prefer having the flat stats over the increase over time, just use those.
That being said, having armor seals of either type is a no-brainer on Malphite, since it powers up his Ground Slam and makes him harder to kill. The Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and Greater Quintessence of Health are there to beef up his defense, so if you want to go pure damage(haven't tried it, wouldn't recommend it, but hey, it's your choice) I'd switch those for AP glyphs and maybe attack speed quints.
As for the marks, attack damage makes sense, but attack speed or armor penetration might be better, I'm not too sure. If you think so, go ahead and say it in the comments(Like I can stop you.)
I've been using a 16/14/0 build, and it's served me pretty well so far. One obvious change you might make to this list is Cripple. If you don't use Exhaust, don't grab Cripple. get a point of
I'm not quite sure what to say about it, but if you have any questions let me know.
This is where the build begins to seriously diverge from conventional Malphite builds. Most builds have either seismic shards or Ground Slam as the first skill to max. I go with Brutal Strikes. This is because you need the splash damage to farm successfully. after that I grab Ground Slam for even more area damage. between these two skills and Tiamat, you can push all the way to a turret without your minions even stopping for breath, making money all the way. Get Unstoppable Force every chance you get, it's pretty much the greatest thing ever.
As an added note, early Brutal Strikes is excellent for pushing lanes, since you don't need to use your mana like most pushers. If you want to push really fast,(say the enemy team is busy mid and you want to grab a turret) add in Ground Slam.
This is my original build concept, before I bothered to realize that Tiamat stacks on itself. This build awards aggressive play, (which is why I start with a point in seismic shards)so if you're certain you'll get kills/assists early in your lane, definitely do this build. Conversely, if you're forced to camp your tower for the first 8 minutes or so, the 2nd build is better.
Cliff Notes on this build:
great farming/pushing once you get
more aggressive early but
more tanky late game
relies completely on farming/ champ kills for gold
very hard to escape
I start with Rejuvenation Bead and Faerie Charm because they build into Tiamat and because they help keep me in lane for a long time. If you play aggressively, you might want to grab a mana potion instead of the health potion. Grab some Boots of Speed your first time back at base and start into the main build, which begins with:
This is the core item of this build. It has good regeneration for health and mana, as well as the fifth or sixth highest boost to attack damage on any single item in the game. But the passive is where this item and Malphite go together perfectly. this passive deals 50% of your attack damage to nearby enemies on top of the 62% from Brutal Strikes. This means you do slightly more damage to the guy next to your target than you do to your target, without triggering things like Thornmail or Randuin's Omen(I'm pretty sure it doesn't, if you know different go ahead and tell me). This item is so important to the build that I actually put it in the tags.
Boots of Swiftness
These boots are really good on Malphite, since he needs to reach the enemy before he can punch them. you might also want Ninja Tabi, but if you do grab dodge masteries as well. If you need Mercury's Treads, get them.
It's got health, it's got armor, it's got a sweet passive that'll help you farm just that much faster. what's not too like? This item is really useful for survivability, though if you have the cash you might want to trade it for a Randuin's Omen.
Force of Nature
Because almost every team you fight has some heavy magic damage, and because the movement speed will help you get to that ranged carry behind the enemy tank. also, awesome health regen.
By this point, grabbing more armor or magic resist is becoming impractical (you'll be blocking around 60% of the damage, and getting much higher takes a lot of armor) you should stack some health. And since this is a damage build, why not get Frozen Mallet? Just remember that if you don't get this then Atma's Impaler loses a lot of power.
finish up the build with a big boost in damage as well as some extra power for your Ground Slam.
Play Style (suggested)
This build benefits from aggressive play in the early game, and thus benefits from an aggressive lane partner. Irelia and Nocturne both make excellent lane partners. If you can manage to get a few kills in lane before you head back, it'll set you up nicely for the mid game.
Once you get Tiamat, start farming your brains out til you get Sunfire Cape or Randuin's Omen and Force of Nature. Now you've got your core build, so you're all set for team fights.
When you're in a fight, this build set's you up for the Search and Destroy play style. Basically, you find the ranged carry/caster, you run up to them(this is what the Boots of Swiftness are for) and you keep punching them til their feet stop twitching. If they run, use Seismic Shard to stop them. After that, pick another target and repeat. remember to use Ground Slam to cripple AD champs then Brutal Strikes to strike them down. As for Unstoppable Force, I may or may not add a section dealing with the many uses of this ridiculous ultimate, if I feel very energetic, maybe.
I've been trying out this second build for a little bit, and it shows some serious promise. This build doesn't rely on farming as much as the first, since you get two gp/5 items. It trades in the chasing potential of the 1st build for heavier damage with less survivability.
Cliff notes on this build
Starts tanky, but ends with higher damage than the first
Allows for a cautious play style early game
let's you jump in and deal massive damage to entire enemy team
super fun end game, sort of lame early game (sometimes)
Start with a Regrowth Pendant and Mana Potion. once you have 715 gold, you can go back and grab Boots of Speed and philosopher's stone. Next time your back at base, grab a Heart of Gold. After that, start on your build with:
all around good boots, but if you're completely unconcerned by enemy cc's you can get one of the others from the 1st build.
Force of Nature
Same reasons as above. Even when I fight a completely AD based team, I still get this item for regen and speed. too good to pass up.
pure gold for Malphite, the active stacks with your Ground Slam to shut down enemy dps champs. Use as part of your initiation combo.
Yay Tiamat! start off the damage portion of the build right with all the beauty of extra splash damage.
Nice to get some attack speed on this rock, and you might as well share the love. If someone else on your team get's this, get a different attack speed item instead. I can't decide which would be best, but I'm leaning towards The Black Cleaver.
Yay other Tiamat! since the passive can stack, why not get two?
Play Style (suggested)
This build start's out with a more traditional style for Malphite, which allows you to help your tank out during the early game fights. This is really helpful for Leona, for instance, who kind of sucks early game. Once they have their build up and running, you'll be able to start stacking some serious damage for the mid-end game. I still grab Brutal Strikesfirst, which allows you to farm as well as getting gold from philosopher's stone and Heart of Gold.
With two Tiamats, this build calls for the brawler play style. Once your team is engaged in a fight, find the biggest group of enemies, jump in and use Ground Slam-> Randuin's Omen-> Brutal Strikes-> punch their faces in. remember that with all that aoe damage it's the more, the merrier as far as enemies are concerned. Let your allies focus them down, your job is to deal as much damage as you can to as many enemies as you can.
Go crack some skulls.
In either build, farming is important, so even though I've already talked about it, I think it deserves it's own section.
Whenever you aren't in a team fight, you should be looking for minion's to punch. This can mean either jungle creeps or lane minions. remember, Brutal Strikes hits everyone around the target, so try to work it so you can hit as much of the creep camp/minion wave as possible. use Ground Slam at creep camps and on large waves to mitigate damage and farm faster. If you want to go even faster, activate brutal strike's. You can solo Dragon pretty early, (around level 8 or 9, maybe even earlier) but you'll want your teams help anyway, since soloing takes forever. just use Ground Slam and Brutal Strikes at every opportunity and you'll be amazed how little damage he does.
Yes, you can technically jungle with this build! Just remember to get a health potion at the beginning and to start at the twin golems. Get Ground Slam first, and don't fight the blue golem til you have at least three potions(only need two, but why take chances?)
I wouldn't recommend doing this, of course, since you'll be agonizingly slow until you get Tiamat. I just thought I should mention it.
If Your Entire Enemy Team is AD...
But what if, you might ask, I'm fighting Master Yi, Gangplank, Tryndamere, Olaf and Ashe? how do I deal with that much damage?
If you're ever fighting a team with three or more melee/ranged AD champs, congratulations! You are 90% of the way towards winning the game! Malphite is the perfect counter to AD champs. Just get Thornmail, Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart. The rest of your build hardly matters, with these three items your enemies will stare in anguish as you lead your team to victory on a road paved with their mangled, useless corpses.
Just remember to leave an extra large donation at the church of your choice next Sunday, cause the Big Guy is really on your side today.
So anyway, though Malphite is often looked upon as a somewhat lackluster tank, the buff from Brutal Strikes allows him to be an extremely effective off-tank damage dealer. This is an entertaining style of play for the Shard of the Monolith, as their is nothing more satisfying then punching Master Yi in the face (With the possible exception of punching Twitch in the face. That's pretty good too).
Trust me, you'll love it.