Malzahar Build Guide by Ellrric
Not Updated For Current Season
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Not Updated For Current Season
PurposeHello, I am Ellrric and welcome to my Boss Malzahar guide. I have been playing Malz as my main for over a year and have figured out a build with which I can dominate consistently. Malz is a tough hero to master and most people don't play him. This is why he appeals so much to me. I don't like obvious heros like Tryndamere or Caitlin or even Karthus, where kills seem to be assured with very little skill. Dominating with Malz takes a lot of skill and practice and the proper build. If Malzahar appeals to you, try him this way and see how it works for you. I have found that using this build, I can defeat every hero in the middle, and since the middle lane is the backbone of any 5v5 game, this is an important role to fill.
Pros / Cons
He's Scary (More on this later)
Squishy in the Extreme
No Health Regeneration
Hard to Coordinate his abilities properly
Timing and positioning are everything
The best rune build accentuates Malzahar's strengths and helps shore up his weaknesses. With this in mind I take a balanced approach. Much of my Rune selection is along standard lines but there are a few important differences.
Marks: 9x Magic Penetration. This is pretty standard for most if not all Malzahar builds. Magic penetration is vital to making sure your abilities do the most damage, especially against foes with inherent magic resist like Heimerdinger or those pesky players who play Middle with all Magic Resist runes.
Seals: 9x Gold per second. This is very unorthodox and so bears explanation. A big piece of my being able to dominate with Malzahar is my ability to outpurchase my foes and my fellow teammates. To that end, the first purchase I will make after taking Doran's Ring is usually Kage's Lucky Pick, which gives 5 gold per 10 seconds. I use the seals, therefore, as an amplifier for Kage's Lucky Pick. The seals, while in themselves not very significant, improve the effect of Lucky Pick by nearly 50%. Together these will add nearly 50 gold per minute of play and over the course of a 30-45 minute game, will bring in over 1000 extra gold that you would not have had otherwise. That's the price of a Void Staff or a Rabadon's Deathcap. Getting to purchase these items faster than your foes (and faster than they can purchase counters) can make all the difference in a game. I've tried every other Seal combination I could think of but I keep coming to Gold. To quote Gordon Gecko, greed is good!
Glyphs: I again take a balanced approach. 3x straight Ability Power helps the early game. 3x Ability Power per Level makes you progressively stronger over time. 3x Magic Resist per Level toughens you as the game progresses. This differs from other Malzahar builds in that most other builds I've seen use 9x Magic Resist per level. While I see the merits of this strategy, I want to use my Glyphs to also help me pack some extra punch. I'm ultimately in it to get kills, not to be as hard to kill as possible.
Quintessences: 3x Ability Power, very standard and makes one deadly right out of the gate.
Taken as a whole, the Rune build above strikes a nice balance between Ability Power, Magic Resist over Time, Magic Penetration, and Gold over Time. You end up with a strong Malz who hits hard, is resistant to magic, and builds Gold faster than he otherwise would.
The Boss Malzahar Mastery Page in Conjunction with the Rune Build is How I dominate!
The key again is Balance. There is more to being an AP carry than just AP. This is why 21/0/9 or 21/9/0 Mastery trees don't work as well. You have to compensate for Malzahar's weaknesses. He is the squishiest of the squishy, and has no natural means of escape other than running (floating, whatever). You can make up for this somewhat with Flash, but I prefer Teleport over Flash. It seems only logical, therefore, to add health, Magic Resist, Damage Reduction, Extra Mana and Speed into Malz's build, while still giving him a solid core of AP and Magic Penetration necessary to bring down the enemy.
Combined with the Runes, It all adds up to a Cocktail of Death and Devastation for your foes!
Offense I take the most critical 11 points, giving Malz extra AP, Magic Penetration, Cooldown Reduction and Extra Damage Dealt.
Defense This is where I make my Squishy guy much less Squishy. The 11 points I spend here give Malz Magic Resist, some Armor, plenty of extra Health, and all-important reduction of incoming damage which gives him just enough tankiness to survive most ganks and keep him in the game where other Malz builds leave him dead in the water with just a sideways glance from the likes of Caitlin or Garen or Tryndamere. Another big advantage of spending these points in Defense is that once the enemy figures out you aren't an easy mark like most Malzahars, they tend to run away from you rather than swarm you for the easy kill! The psychological game is one of the most important aspects with Malz -- you simply cannot have a weak, squishy, easy-to-kill Malzahar! A tanky Malz is terrifying!
Utility The 8 points spent here give you much-needed extra mana, a little reduction in time spent dead (never a bad thing although hopefully you won't be dieing much), and 2% extra speed which can be a game changer all by itself; both allowing you to catch and kill a weakened enemy, and to escape pursuit and avoid feeding the enemy.
I only go one direction with these, and it's Teleport and Ignite.
Ignite is the most critical, and should be taken with every hero who wants to make killing other people a priority, as this is the Summoner Spell that does DOT and will get you a ton of kills. Ignite simply put is pro. It doesn't do a whole lot of damage but it doesn't need to. It provides that little extra kick-off-the-cliff that makes the difference between nearly getting the kill and actually getting the kill. The importance of Ignite cannot be overstated! Pros take Ignite, and Noobs take Heal. Noobs want a vain hope of staying alive (which almost never works) and Pros want to kill people. It's really that simple.
Teleport Is really a personal choice. I can see the merits of Flash, and a lot of people use Flash very effectively. If you're one of these, feel free. Exhaust also has merit and is very useful. Clarity to me is Noob for a middle player. Although it's very useful to have an extra shot of mana every so often, all this does is keep you in the field longer, and you can't buy any items from the field. It also does nothing for your Health and you are a squishy! Better to go ahead and let your mana run down, hit B, restore both your life AND your mana, and then use Teleport to get you right back into the action, after buying a nice tasty item or two to help you devastate your foes! Teleport is also perfect for getting you to virtually any location of interest on the map. With Malzahar in particular, it makes Malz just a little bit more like Twisted Fate, and therefore helps fix Malz's weakness in mobility. So that's my big plug for Teleport: It will help you farm better, get to the action better, be better, without qualification. But again, this is where the build has some room for customization. If you're a hardcore Flash/Ignite guy, so be it. Nothing wrong with it. But above all else, take Ignite, and stay the heck away from the likes of Noob Spells like Heal, Clarity and Ghost. Remember, the object of the game isn't to try and stay alive, it is to GET FED! The best Defense is a great Offense!
I can't count the number of times I watch some hapless enemy pop Heal and get some flaccid little insignificant health boost that does nothing but prolong their life for an extra half second and then it's DIE NOOB DIE! Not trying to beat a dead horse (and heal does have its place with a tank or support), but it has absolutely no place in an AP mid build. Nuff said.
Start by taking Doran's Ring. None of this Speed Boots/3x Health Potion stuff. In the early game, it's a nearly total waste if you do this (sorry Phreak). In fact, I don't buy health pots at all. Ever. If you are a mage who needs to drink potions, you simply aren't good enough at not getting hit. So get BETTER AT NOT GETTING HIT, and save your money for items that will actually help you kill people (again, I emphasize killing people not trying to stay alive). By the way, all that setup earlier with the Runes and Masteries have already given you both extra speed and extra HP, so you really shouldn't need pots and boots out of the gate, it's already in your build. Take the RING OF POWER, it gives you even MORE HEALTH, MORE AP, MORE MANA REGEN. This will help you get the coveted FIRST BLOOD, more times than not!
Next on the list, more times than not, is to take Amplifying Tome and then upgrade to Kage's Lucky Pick. I do this over 90% of the time. The reason for this is simple; the earlier you get Lucky Pick working for you, the more money you get from it, the quicker you get better and more powerful items, the more you dominate.
In probably 10% of the games I play, where I'm getting outpaced as far as running speed and/or I have a foe in the middle who is very resistant to my Abilities, I will instead take Speed Boots first and then upgrade to Sorceror's Shoes, which gives fast speed and Magic Penetration.
So depending on the situation, it will either be Lucky Pick first and then boots, or sometimes Boots and then Lucky Pick.
With Ring, Boots, and Lucky Pick out of the way, it's time to start building the Major items.
Start with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It gives a decent AP boost, a huge health boost, and the added benefit of slowing the enemy with your spells (yummy).
Next you can either build Rabadon's Deathcap and then Void Staff, or if you are up against a very resistant foe build Void Staff and then Deathcap, depending on whether AP is more important to your early-into-middle game or Magic Penetration.
Please Note: At some point in the process of building the staff and the cap, I'll sell the Doran's Ring to make a major purchase possible. Have Blasting Rod and Needlessly Large Rod and 900 gold? Sell the ring immediately and get your Deathcap. Have Blasting Rod and 1400 Gold? Sell the ring and get Needlessly Large. Just make sure you're trading the ring in for something more powerful and it will be a good decision. Don't ever sell the Ring if you can't buy something good with the resulting gold.
Past this point, I usually build a Rod of Ages because it makes you tough to kill, but sometimes I don't like Rod of Ages because it doesn't give you all that much AP. Building a second Deathcap is often a great idea. They stack. Lich Bane is also a great choice because it not only makes you deadlier in general but also makes you float a whole lot faster.
Please NoteSometime in the process of completing your final build, when money isn't much of an issue any more, sell that Lucky Pick because it's really just for money. Eventually you will need to substitute something with more Punch. Again, do this when the resulting gold will allow you to buy something better and more powerful, timing is everything. This is very situational and will vary from game to game. In an ideal game, when I'm getting fed like crazy and killing people left and right all over the place, Gold becomes less and less of an issue very quickly and so I may sell the Lucky Pick early to grab something really nasty that will allow me to dominate more. Typically, I'm going to let Lucky Pick run for 25 or 30 minutes to reap the full benefit of all that added gold.
Final Build will definitely include Crystal Scepter, at least one and maybe as many as 3 Deathcaps, Sorceror's Shoes, and Void Staff. Depending on the situation there will be Rod of Ages, Lich Bane, or maybe even Thornmail (for instance, if there's an especially persnickety Tryndamere running around) Once the core is built, tailor the remaining item(s) to suit the situation.
Start, as many have said before, with your Q, CoTV. It has great range, does decent damage, and silences. It's a tough skill to master because there's a delay before it discharges and so it's very much a skill shot. Placement and timing are everything. You will learn over time if you need to place CoTV right on someone, or behind them, or in front of them, and in what situation. Landing your Q properly is one of the things that separates the ****py Malzahars from the Pro Malzahars. As the Q isn't your primary damage dealer, however, take one point in it lvl 1 and then forget about it for a while.
Next, you need to build your E, Malefic Visions as quickly as possible. Max it ASAP. Your E is your primary Source of damage, your major farming tool, your source of mana regeneration, and the thing that will get you the majority of your kills. Your E is what makes you scary. When people hear that sound and see that beehive thing buzzing around their head, it scares them and they almost invariably run. Master the E. Throwing it on an enemy is good, but bouncing it onto an enemy by way of one or three minions is much better.
Four Amazing Things about Malzahar's E:
1. If anything dies while the E is on them, you gain mana. So when farming, throw it on the minion closest to you and let it worm its way thru the crowd. try to use your W and your Q to help your E get as many kills as possible. Malz is a very mana-intensive hero and so you can't have enough mana.
2. If anything dies while the E is on them, it will jump to the nearest target. This is so great. I couldn't even tell you the number of times I've gotten double or even triple kills up to fifteen seconds or more after dieing, because my E jumped onto a weakened enemy and killed them, then onto another and then onto another! as long as there is another target to jump to, the E will last indefinitely. Does this add to the "scary" factor? You darn right it does! This is why enemies HATE a good Malzahar. The E is really the gift that keeps giving!
The E makes your Ult much more deadly, and your W Likewise
Try to get the W on the ground right before you throw your E on somebody, then root them into place with your R which will suppress them. If you can successfully accomplish this diffcult maneuver on an enemy, the W will do significant damage, at the same time the E is ripping them down and the R amplifies the whole effect. What it all adds up to is, it's usually GG for them. And all they can do is rip their hair out IRL while it happens to them. They can't DO anything about it! They will think twice before getting near you again, you can be assured of that (and really, getting to the person behind the pixels is a huge part of what Malzahar is all about).
4. The E is the only way you can control your voidling
The voidling, Malzahar's passive, gets a bad rap because people don't know how to harness it. This is where the E comes in because although you can't control your voidling per se, it will always attack whatever has the E on them. And the Voidling will help you farm faster, and if it's in its fully developed stage (with the glowy feet) it can do really significant damage to an enemy and get you a kill! So time it right, wait until your little crab is about to get the glowy feet, pop the E on your foe and watch the crab get after them! Then when they are almost dead and start to run, throw ignite on them and cast your Q behind them so they run into it, and GG.
Lvl 4: Take your W Null Space This spell doesn't do much damage early on, but by endgame it is absolutely devastating. max this after you max your E. The best thing about the W, again, is its ability to get inside the enemy's head. Use your W to control your enemy's movements, to block your retreat (even early on, the fear of the spot on the ground will stop people in their tracks), to cover the retreat of an ally (a very sneaky way of being a team player that has the same effect as Morgana's shield w/o actually shielding anyone). Simply put, your W adds to the terror factor of Malzahar.
After E and W are Maxed, then Max the Q last of all. The Q therefore, is the first and the last skill chosen.
Although Malzahar really can't be a proper Jungler because 1. He's squishy and 2. he lacks self-heal, this nevertheless bears mention. From lvl 6 on, venture into the jungle often. Your W will do significant damage to golems, wraits, wolves etc. The Blue Buff will add a huge advantage to your game, and everything else in the jungle will add to your money supply which you can never have too much of. You can take out the wolves in about a second and a half by first throwing down the W under them, then hitting the lead wolf with E and then quickly nail all of them with your Q. Wolves gone, gold acquired, time spent minimal. Use your voidling as a mini tank and retreat from the blue golem, and let it pound the voidling and not you. This allows you to get the blue buff while taking minimal damage.