Build Guide by Rawblin
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
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 to my Guide for playing Malphite, the 'Riot Punch!' tank.
Malphite is an extremely singular champion in LoL, and is who I choose constantly for my gaming fun. The great thing about him is that he fits into a bunch of team makeups, so solo queing becomes just that much better.
This guide will be extremely detailed, and concerns only the tanking aspect of being Malphite. Please do not misunderstand and think that you will be useless for damage. Malphite does amazing damage, and you don't even need damage items. Read on to understand how this champion is meant to be played.
Edit: A secondary build order is now available, as I have been experimenting. This alternate build is viable when magic damage is not a large concern from early through mid to the start of the end game.
On to the guide!
Flash is both your defensive and offensive summoner spell. Great for escaping from an initiation that goes badly, a teamfight that swings into their favor, or a gank on a sidelane that almost gets you. It is also useful for chasing a fleeing opponent to get a decisive Seismic Shard on them that allows you to catch up, or to suddenly pop into range to be able to use your Unstoppable Force.
Clairvoyance. It is in my opinion the single most handy summoner spell for your entire team. You can support your allies by showing a gank that is about to happen when enemies are miss, you can check bushes without using your face, you can check the baron/golem/jungle/ANYTHING! And the best part is, with the Utility tree you bump the cooldown to 42.5 seconds, with a 10 second duration. ~30 seconds between the Eye of Sauron. The most important part of this spell is to USE IT ALWAYS.
Malphite is shielded by a layer of rock which absorbs damage up to 10% of his maximum health. If he has not been hit for 8 seconds, this effect recharges.
A wonderful passive that allows not only great tanking later in the game, but the ability to maintain your lane at the start of the game, as long as you play intelligently. It takes 8 seconds for the shield to recharge, whether it is completely used up or not! With 1000 HP, you have a 100 HP shield. If someone autoattacks you for 70 damage, you have 30 shield left for 8 seconds. Back off for those 8 seconds, and never even dip into your health pool.
Deals 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and steals 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30% movement speed from the target for 5 seconds.
Cooldown 8 seconds | Cost 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana | Range 700
Your first ability to put a point in, and the first one you will max out. (There is ONE rare instance where you won't) Many people think of this as only a snare. Enemies overlook what it actually does, and that comes in handy quite a bit. You steal 30% of the enemies movement speed. So if you both have Speed 2 boots of some type, and they pop Ghost to get away.... Seismic Shard will literally steal Ghost from them, and give it to you instead.
For laning, this is your harassment tool. It is expensive, does quite a bit of damage, and is targeted instead of a skillshot, so it will hit as long as you can click. Use this intelligently to keep the enemy wary. Give yourself time between shards to let your mana regen, as early on your regen runes are lacking.
Passive: Malphite's attacks hit units near his target for 30 / 38 / 46 / 54 / 62% of his attack damage.
Active: Increase Malphite's armor and attack damage 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% for 6 seconds.
Cooldown 16 seconds | Cost 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 mana | Range 400
This ability only really scales well at the end-game. You will grab it up as your second ability, because the passive gives a bit more damage on minion waves, and you can then use it with Ground Slam to increase its damage a bit.
This skill is also good as a defensive buffer against physical dps, as it ups your armor a bit. The cooldown is fairly long compared to his other normal abilities.
Ground Slam ("Riot Punch!")
Malphite slams the ground dealing 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+70% of his Armor) magic damage to surrounding enemies, reducing their attack speed by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% for 4 seconds.
Cooldown 8 seconds | Cost 60 mana | Range 300
Malphite's mainstay. His defining ability. I have nicknamed this "Riot Punch!" on account of the Riot fist that gets left on the ground at the center of the Ground Slam. But on to its uses! The mana cost is low, the cooldown is low, the damage is amazing, the debuff destroys physical carries!
You will use this DIRECTLY after your Unstoppable Force, every time, no matter what. Ever. Any time a champion strays too close to you, use it. Any time they decide to chase your squishy lanemate, use it. When you have your Innervating Locket and have some health missing... use it!
The only drawback to this ability at present is that after a recent patch, they have changed the animation. It not shows a splash area far larger than the area that is damaged by the ability. When this is fixed I will update you.
Malphite charges towards the target area, dealing 200 / 300 / 400 (+100% of ability power) magic damage and knocking enemies into the air for 1.5 seconds.
Cooldown 130 / 115 / 100 / 110 seconds | Cost 100 mana | Range 1000
An all around wonderful Ultimate. This is great for initiating. It is great for killing a an enemy that is alone, and very, very rarely you can even use it to run away if you get into trouble. (I do not recommend using it defensively this way almost ever.) Note that you cannot be stopped AFTER this ability is in motion. Silence before you use it, a snare, root, stun, or anything before you actually use the ability will keep it from being used. You are only unstoppable once you are in motion.
The cooldown is fairly low for an Ult, and combined with Riot Punch! you actually dish out quite a bit of damage to whomever you hit. I try to get a Seismic Shard on the target, then Unstoppable Force onto them, then Brutal Strikes+Ground Slam, and continue to melee hit until Shard is up in a couple seconds.
Invariably, if you use this to initiate and do that damage combo... someone is going to be low on health on the enemy team. And they are going to run away. Give them a Shard for their trouble, and keep bringing the fight to the enemy while your team whittles away at them.
A standard 9/0/21 is called for with Malph. And since I hate when people just say that and move on, here is the explanation.
You go into the Offensive tree simply for the CD Redux and the 15% Magic Pen (All of Malph's real damage is magic) You will never stack AP, but you do melee quite a bit, so you get the crit chance, and only put one point into the AP/lvl. Its a waste, but that's life.
Most people would think that the defensive tree is for tanks, and it usually is. But we forgo this in favor of the Utilty tree, because it really shores up Malph's weaknesses more, and offers synergy with the Summoner Spells you will be using. The mana regen is needed and tasty, movement speed is great, faster summoner spells is always better, and more CD redux.
The mainstay of this Malphite build is the Innervating Locket. Most people will do a quick double take here, and then refuse to believe anything I say after that. I will ask you to abstain from your forgone conclusions about the Locket, and hear me out.
The Locket has changed quite a bit in recent patches, and for Malphite, it was for the better.
Start off the game buying a Mana Manipulator. This will give you the needed mana regen for early harassment, and will also help your lanemate if they use mana. This builds into the Locket. When you go back for the first time, you want to buy at LEAST your Boots of Speed and a Ruby Crystal. If you can afford it, just go for the Catalyst the Protector. After that, complete the Innervating Locket.
Next up is to finish your boots, and you will be going for Mercury's Treads. Most people flake out "Ohhh he uses armor for damage get Ninja Tabi!!!". No. The amount of CC in this game is gigantic. The likelihood of you going up against a team of 4 AD carries with no CC and a Tank is astronomical. Buy the Treads, and thank me later.
There you go, you are now a force to be reckoned with on the field. You have great HP and mana for this state of the game, you can heal yourself enough to maintain a lane when harassed, and you are as fast as you will ever be.
Next up is a Sunfire Cape. When this is completed you can now farm minion waves/jungle creeps with wild abandon, and the gold will roll in. After that, you will need your Force of Nature to negate a large part of the enemy teams magic damage, as well as buff your health regen. More staying power is always a good thing!
(To Note! If the enemy team is composed of purely Magic Damage, go for the Force of Nature before the Sunfire Cape. You will be infinitely more help to your team if you can survive your initiation, even if your damage and farming will suffer for a bit longer)
Most games will end around this time, but if it continues for some reason, another Sunfire Cape and then a Warmog's Armor will finish you off. I prefer the extra tanking ability of the Warmog's in games that go that far, because most people will have a ton of items even if they were doing badly, and even a bad mage with a bunch of items can dish out a lot of damage. If you are feeling frisky, however, you could always use an Atma's Impaler.
Being the Riot Puncher
(Skill up thus: Q, W, Q, E, Q, R, Q, E, Q, E, R, E, E, W, W, W, W)
This part is all about harassing with Shard while keeping yourself from dipping too far into your health pool. Use your passive to the fullest extent. When you get hit, drop back for 8 seconds and regen that shield!
Keep pressure on the enemies in your lane with Shard. It does an amazing amount of damage for the laning phase after it is level two and above. Be smart about who you are Sharding... against Mundo and Annie, Annie would be the obvious choice... etc.
During this time, be wary of any times other lanes have someone MIA. Yes, this takes getting used to, but you have Clairvoyance, and so now this is part of your job. When your lane is pushed forward to their tower harassing the **** out of them, and bott or mid is suddenly MIA, use Clair to watch your back. The same goes for the other lane though. Watch out for your teammates! If they are pushing a lane and someone from your lane or mid is miss, give them a Clair in the bushes that lead to mid. Let them know that they are safe to push, or that an enemy is sneaking up on them.
When attacking a tower, use Brutal Strikes for the little extra DPS. And you should definitely be hitting the tower on occasion. Malph can help make people go back to spawn often, if not kill them and make them come back that way. That's a lot of time where your lane is 2v1. Ignore the enemy when you can at that point, and take a few potshots at his tower. This works really well with a ranged companion.
You have your Locket and Boots by now, and should have at least the Armor or Belt that lead to Sunfire. You are not a ganker by any means, but you are definitely a primary part of your team. So do not wander around in the bushes hoping to gank someone, instead go and help when the enemy groups up to push a tower. Add your support and swing the battle in your favor by knocking some health off with Shard, and killing the creep waves with Ground Slam so the enemy champs cannot get close without the tower hitting them.
If you are alone however, and someone gets ballsy and tries to push your tower with you there, let them know that is a bad idea. A Shard on them, followed by a Ult+Strikes+Slam on them will kill most of the creeps they were using as a shield, knock off quite a hefty chunk of their HP, and make them retreat. If they attack you, the tower will be on them, and you can chase to kill with Shard again.
Focus on defending your towers from both creep waves and enemy pushes. Remember to still use Clair almost every time it is up to expose enemy gank setups and cover any pushes your team is trying for. Leave the Blue Buff alone, as you do not need it. Let a teammate have it. Trust me, there is someone on your team atm that can make a lot more use of it. If you do not have a physical DPS carry (Which shouldn't be often), you can nab up the Red Buff, as it makes your initiation+attacking of the lowest champ that much more of a death sentence.
You have your Sunfire and Force of Nature at this point, and the enemies DPS means little to you as long as you are playing it smart. You will be initiating teamfights left and right. Make sure your team knows this, and make sure YOU know to wait until they are all close enough to capitalize on it. Otherwise you are going to make a very public, and very flashy suicide attempt.
The best times for this initiation is when all 5 members of each team are in mid, trading pot shots at each other. Contribute by using Shard on the squishies, and get them to a decently low amount of health. When they are, Ult in and Slam them. The amount of times this does NOT result in a kill can be counted on one hand. Now it is 5v4, you've done damage to their entire team (or at least 3 of them), and they are in a world of *****. Proceed to mop the floor with them.
Unstoppable Force should always be used on at least 3 people WHEN INITIATING A TEAM FIGHT. Read that again, and please do not misunderstand. You are more than welcome to use your Ult on just one person, in fact I encourage it. But not for team fights. When some crazy person on their team pushed too far, and your people are closing in behind him... cut him off and then Ult/Slam/Shard. Your teammates catch up, they die, and now you can go push a lane with only 4 of them to stop the 5 of you.
Be intelligent, be aggressive, but do not be suicidal. Malphite can tip a battle into his friend's favor quite easily. He will help chase down people at low life, get those squishies to low life in the first place, and interrupt enemy channels with his Ult.
Please read this guide in its entirety at your leisure, and rank it as you see fit.
I will continue to update Patch notes that involve Malphite below here, and the guide in general as necessary.
Malphite Patch Notes:
Patch Notes v1,0.0.106
* Seismic Shard damage reduced to 70/120/170/220/270 from 80/135/190/245/300
It was bound to happen sooner or later with all the attention Malph has been getting recently. At least the nerf was to Shard's damage, and not any of his true damage abilities.
November 8th, 2010:
Coral Reef Malphite is released, and the world is a better place for it! Finally, a true and decent skin!
Patch Notes v1,0.0.104
* Fixed a bug where the Unstoppable Force wouldn't last long enough. Unstoppable Force now stuns for 1.5 seconds up from 1 second at all ranks.
* Magic resistance per level increased to 1.25 from 0
Patch Notes v1,0.0.103
* Seismic Shard cooldown reduced to 8 from 10
* Unstoppable Force cooldown reduced to 130/115/100 from 140/125/110
* Fixed a bug with Ground Slam causing it to look like it had shorter range than it actually did
* Warmog's Armor
* Combine cost reduced to 980 from 1100
* Base stats increased to 920 health from 770 health
* Bonuses now cap at 450 health and 15 hp/5
* Unique Passive changed to: Permanently gain 4.5 health and .15 health regen per 5 sec per minion kill. Champion kills and assists grant 45 health and 1.5 health Regen per 5 sec. Bonuses cap at +450 health, and +15 health Regen per 5.