Malzahar Build Guide by NinjaOfEpicness
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Standard Malzahar Face-Rolling
Core Items - The Power Twins
Issues Nuking an Off-Tank?
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.
Introduction to Malzahar
Malzahar is difficult to use but if you can master him you will be hard to stop. He has massive damage output and if built correctly and he can also be tough enough to withstand focus attempts and ganks.
Hey guys. I don't know if this is true for anyone else but I always find that knowing something about someone helps me relate and become more engaged into whatever it is they are trying to share with me. I love guides on here that include an about me section so I decided to include one in my guide!
I started playing League of Legends back in Season 1 in January of 2011. I worked at a Laser Tag arena and my boss and friends that worked there were really into League so we would all bring our computers in and when we weren't working we would be in the back playing League. I was immediately hooked and even though I had no idea what I was doing at first I was trying.
I have a long history of gaming and I always get roped into playing support whether it is Priest Healing in WoW or playing Medic in Team Fortress 2 so naturally I tried my luck at support. I failed with Soraka time and time again. Then I found Sona and I absolutely fell in love. She is a support but she is also viscous. I found the builds calling for Lich Bane and suddenly I went from being the Aura carrying support character to a heavy hitting caster which I enjoyed. I soon fell in love with Annie and then Twisted Fate and Karthus but the day I found Malzahar I knew he was the champion I wanted to master.
I got very good with him and was playing him nearly non-stop but I joined the Air Force so just as I was really starting to wreck with him I had to leave for basic training. I played a bit in tech school and HOT training but then I really picked it up again when I got to my first duty station. Unfortunately I am stationed in England which is all well and good but I had to begin a new account from level 1 on the UK servers. I was here a few months then I deployed to places unknown and was unable to play for 7 and a half months. I recently returned from deployment and have gotten back into this game pretty hard and playing Malzahar came back to me like riding a bike. I hope this guide can give people the tips and tricks to be able to play him and enjoy playing him as much as I do.
Pros / Cons
Long Range Harass
Drops Focus Very Quickly
Hard to Learn
Ultimate is Easy to Interrupt
Easy to Overestimate
With Malzahar being such a power house champion I think it is very easy to get a bit over zealous at times. I find myself getting into fights I can't win on occasion because I am overestimating the damage output I have. Malzahar can single-handedly drop most enemy champions in a 1v1 but to do so he is quite vulnerable. Don't get into fights that you are unsure of. If you think there is a good chance of you dying then just retreat and be patient.
Getting kills is great but putting yourself in a bad position is not worth it.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
|Magic Penetration Marks are standard for any AP mid as they give you the ability to poke through early MR items and runes.||Armor Seals give you resistance against early game auto attack poking and level 3-6 ganks.||Scaling Mana Regeneration Glyphs give you the early and late game mana sustainability to function without mana regeneration items or stealing blue buff although blue buff is amazing on Malzahar||Ability Power Quints make you a force to be reckoned with in the early stages of the game and insure your level 6 nuke of your lane opponent.|
Remember runes really matter in early stages of the game. More than likely you will face another AP champion in mid. Just keep in mind that with this build you don't have a ton of magic resist early as you took runes to help you hurt them instead of protecting yourself so play conservative early using Malefic Visions to last hit and poke down the enemy champion with Call of the Void. You can generally get pretty good farm while remaining at a safe distance using Boots of Speed to keep that safe cushion and avoid skill shots. Coordinate with your jungler for ganks and when it is time throw a Malefic Visions on the target place a Null Zone into their escape route and then if you are level 6 Nether Grasp them in place for an easy kill.
As with most AP mid champions you want to to put 21 points into offense getting max points into every mastery that aids with dishing out damage. These masteries give you cooldown reduction, magic penetration, ability power, and finally the ability to deal 5% increased damage to any enemy champion under 50% health which helps you secure kills. Malzahar is able to nuke in late game for over 2000 damage. 5% of 2000 is 100 damage which may not seem like a lot but it can be the difference between securing a kill or allowing them to escape.
You should place your remaining 9 points into the utility tree with Malzahar grabbing the masteries that aid with mana regeneration, summoner spell cooldowns, and neutral monster buffs. Between Mastermind and Summoner's Insight your Flash will be ready when you need it and Ignite will come up that much faster allowing you to insure kills more often.
|Ignite is an absolute must have. It helps you finish off enemies that resist your initial nukes and more often than not it can help you secure a kill by at least level 6. Early game wait until your lane opponent is trying to escape then ignite them to secure your kill and late game communicate with your team and place it on a target that is tough enough to withstand your initial bursts and is able to heal throughout the fight.||Flash is always my second spell of choice because of its versatility. Flash can close distance quickly great for catching an opponent off guard, tower diving, or chasing an enemy down. It can also help you escape quickly removing you from bad situations or allowing you to quickly re-position yourself in team fights.||Ghost is an acceptable replacement for Flash as it is good for catching people off guard, closing distance, or escaping, but in my opinion it is not as versatile or useful as flash. It all really depends on your personal preference and play style.|
Skill Breakdown and Sequencing
|After casting four spells, Malzahar summons a Voidling to fight for him. Voidlings last for 21 seconds getting stronger every 7 seconds they are alive. At 7 seconds the Voidling will grow gaining 50% bonus armor and damage. At 14 seconds they go into a frenzy doubling their damage. According to the description Voidlings are uncontrolable meaning you can't CTRL click to tell them what to do but they will attack your target and they will always go after any enemy afflicted with Malefic Visions. Another very cool aspect of Voidlings is that they gain 1 attack damage for every 1 attack damage that Malzahar has. This led to a cool altered build for him which was a pure attack damage build. While effective and very fun and different, I don't see it as a viable build against skilled opponents and ranked teams.|
Call of the Void
|Malzahar opens two portals to the void. After .6 seconds, they fire projectiles which deal damage to anything in between them and silence enemy champions. This skill takes a while to learn how to use properly. You should always lead your target a bit since there is a delay between casting it and the damage. Keep in mind this spell casts in a straight line perpendicular to the direction Malzahar is facing. When you cast it, the portals themselves on each side of the line reveal fog of war for .6 seconds so you can use it to scout bushes or other areas you can't see. This spell has a very long range so use it to poke and CC your lane opponent but don't use it too often early or you will run out of mana very quickly. This skill is also great for securing kills. Because of its long range you can normally place it into your targets path as they try to escape if they have somehow survived your nuke. Take a point in this at level 1, use it to charge up a Voidling before you leave base, and max it out second at level 13.|
|Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy that deals a percentage of enemy max health every second. Since this spell deals damage based on percentage of maximum health it won't be a heavy hitter early game but late game it is one of your main sources of damage. Try pacing this in the middle of team fights to maximize its damage and always try to Nether Grasp your focus in the middle of this spell for an effective nuke. You can also use this spell in conjunction with Rylai's Crystal Scepter to slow multiple champions during chases or retreats. Get one point in this at level 4 and max it out last at level 18.|
|Malzahar infects his target's mind with visions of their untimely demise dealing damage over time. If the target dies while afflicted the visions jump to a nearby enemy refreshing their duration and refunding mana to Malzahar. This is Malzahar's best laning skill and one that many people underestimate. Try to use this to farm easy last hits from enemy minions allowing it to guide your attacks and jump through waves of minions eventually jumping to your lane opponent slowly eating away at their health. Try to cast this only when you are sure it can kill several enemies before it dissipates because you want it to refund as much mana as possible before it disappears. If more than 1 Malefic Visions afflicts the same target one dissipates so try to only ever cast one at a time to ensure you aren't wasting mana. Voidlings are attracted to enemies afflicted by this spell so use it on focuses and always try to apply it before you Null Zone/ Nether Grasp your nuke target. Put a point in this spell as often as possible starting at level 2, maxing it out by level 9.|
|Malzahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy to suppress the target and deal damage over time for 2.5 seconds. As long as you are channeling this spell the target us unable to do anything. It disables their abilities, movement, and even their summoner spells. While you are using it you may activate any item abilities and use your summoner spells such as Ignite. The exception to this is Flash because moving during channeling will cancel this spell. Used in conjunction with Null Zone this spell makes for a fairly ridiculous nuke. This spell is absolutely amazing and you will run into plenty of people raging about how amazing it is but as great as it is it has its weaknesses. Nether Grasp is channeled so it can be interrupted quite easily by a stun or knock-back ability which is why I almost always get a Zhonya's Hourglass to protect myself while I am casting it. The target of this spell is also able to use activated item abilities however such as Quicksilver Sash so be mindful of who you are casting it on. The other downside to this ability is that although the target is unable to do anything you are also rendered immobile and for the most part quite useless so try to get out all your damage spells before you Nether Grasp your focus and be mindful of your position before casting. The last thing you want is to begin channeling just in time to die and waste all the damage you would have brought to the fight if you had retreated a bit before casting.|
Items - Build Order and Explanation
||I almost always begin with Boots of Speed, 1 Health Potion, and 2x Mana Potion. Malzahar is rough on mana early game, as all of his abilities cost nearly 100 mana from the get go, so you want to have the sustainability to keep pressure on and still have mana available for early ganks with your jungler and your level 6 nuke which will, at the very least, send your lane opponent scurrying back to his base with his tail between his legs. The Boots of Speed will give you the speed you need to avoid early ganks, dodge skill shots, and keep pressure on your opponent without putting yourself in a bad position. I also prefer this build to others because you can grab early Sorcerer's Shoes.||
|I have noticed other guides recommending this start so I wanted to include it along with my thoughts about it. I have started like this before and while it keeps you in lane for a long time and although the sight ward keeps you safe to about level 4 or 5, you lack the ability to dodge skill shots and escape ganks that your ward didn't see coming. This build has more sustainability but less survivability as potions are slow and no number of Health Potions will keep you alive if you can't dodge a a well aimed snare or get away from a well timed gank.||
Core Items - The Power Twins
||You should be able to remain in lane long enough to afford Haunting Guise on your first trip back but if not at least an Amplifying Tome and a Ruby Crystal. With Haunting Guise you now have the health to survive early level encounters, the Ability Power to dish out damage, and the Magic Penetration to counteract early game Magic Resist such as Mercury's Treads.
After that I always get Sorcerer's Shoes. Early speed is great on Malzahar because it gives you the ability to gank top or bot without being noticed as gone for too long. They also help in early chases. By this point in the game most people shouldn't have more than Boots of Speed and will be hard pressed to escape you.
As soon as you have a Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes you can move onto the the Power Twins, as I like to call them, and the real damage output of this build. If you return to base before you have the cash to afford the entire Rylai's Crystal Scepter, getting a Giant's Belt will give you more survivability, allowing you to remain in the fight longer. Remember all the Ability Power in the world does your team no good if you are dead. Get Rylai's Crystal Scepter first to give you the toughness to stay alive long enough to be useful in team fights as well as giving your abilities a much needed slowing effect. With this slow well placed Null Zone or Call of the Void can slow enemies long enough for your team to either catch up, securing a kill, or get away preventing unnecessary losses. Keep in mind the slow on multi-target spells is only 15% as opposed to the 35% on single target spells so if you need to slow only one person Malefic Visions is your best bet.
Get a Liandry's Torment next and you will start rolling faces. With Rylai's Crystal Scepter anyone that takes damage from any of your spells is slowed. That pairs with the passive on Liandry's Torment and puts a free massive damage DOT on anyone that your spells hit. Paired with Malefic Visions your already annoying DOT now becomes a massive slow worth nearly 1000 damage or more depending on the champions current health. Keep in mind that Liandry's Torment will be dealing 12% of the champions current health and is reapplied every time one of your spells harms them so you should attempt to put Malefic Visions on champions with high health in preparation for team fights or ganks because the higher the health when Liandry's Torment is applied the more damage it will deal.
|After the Power Twins I like to get Rabadon's Deathcap for the massive Ability Power. With all the runes and the items you have built up to this point adding Rabadon's Deathcap to the mix puts your Ability Power at 344 meaning your Call of the Void is now worth over 500 damage, your Null Zone now deals 11% maximum health per second, your Malefic Visions now deal 600 damage over 4 seconds(and it jumps upon death), and your Nether Grasp now deals over 1000 damage. As soon as you have Rabadon's Deathcap your DPS will skyrocket and you will be a force to be reckoned with. With all the damage you are now dishing out it is normal that you become the focus target in team fights.
Zhonya's Hourglass is a great fifth item for the added toughness and its activated ability which pairs nicely with Nether Grasp making you invulnerably to anything that could possibly interrupt you or kill you before all the damage is dealt. If you run into a team with lots of stuns or other such skills that can interrupt your Nether Grasp I recommend building Zhonya's Hourglass before Rabadon's Deathcap. The same applies if you are getting focused early in the game and need the additional defense to stay alive.
This item is always situational. Try to stay away from constantly building the same 6 items and try to get used to looking at how the other team is building so that you can counter them with your build. As you get better you may even start taking a different fifth item or counter building into your sixth item early game to counteract your opponents.
|If you are rolling faces with no issues grab a Deathfire Grasp and keep on keepin' on. This item gives you an active damage dealer that then increases all damage they take by 20% for the next 4 seconds which is just long enough to get a nuke off. Generally use this on an off tank focus target such as Olaf, Mordekaiser, or Pantheon.
If you are up against a good caster who has it out for you and you need a bit of extra Magic Resist go for an Abyssal Scepter. It also reduces the Magic Resist of all champions within a range of 700 so grab this also if you are up against a team where everyone has Magic Resist. Keep in mind that this passive aura is unique so if you were to make two it would not stack but if you and someone else on your team get the Abyssal Scepter it will stack.
If the majority of the other team is stacking Magic Resist you want to get a Void Staff for the magic penetration. If you get an Abyssal Scepter and that isn't cutting it don't feel bad selling it for a Void Staff.
Early game if you are absolutely wrecking the enemy team and you think you can keep it up, an early game Mejai's Soulstealer is a great investment. Fully stacked it offers 180 ability power which more than any other item in the game and it doesn't cost much. There are a few negative things to keep in mind about with this item though. While this item is amazing fully stacked, dying removes a third of your stacks and if you manage to get about 10 stacks or more you become a huge target for enemies. Personally I prefer not to get this item because it is very inconsistent but if it suits your play style go for it.
If you are new to Malzahar you may experience early game mana issues as he is a very mana intensive champion. Grab a Chalice of Harmony early then late game into an Athene's Unholy Grail which will give you a nearly unlimited supply of mana to do as you please with. I used to use this build but as you play more you will learn to use Malefic Visions to manage our mana and you should be able to work with your jungler to get blue buff quite often.
Banshee's Veil can be beneficial if you are having issues with combo heavy champions such as Brand, Morgana, or Annie. On rare occasions you will run into a poorly planned team with 4 or even 5 AP champions. In cases like these I suggest taking a Banshee's Veil and an Abyssal Scepter over Zhonya's Hourglass because although an all AP team is quite squishy, they deal massive amounts of damage, and if you can't survive the initial burst of damage then it doesn't matter how squishy they are...because you are dead.
Another acceptable item to take against combo or snare heavy teams is Quicksilver Sash. I personally prefer Banshee's Veil because it automatically blocks a spell but in certain situations it is more beneficial to be able to remove all snares at once instead of blocking one every 25 seconds. If you aren't quite to the point in the game where you are used to activating items just keep in mind this item only works if you activate it so don't forget.
Farming is everything and Malzahar makes it easy. You always want to max your Malefic Visions first so that you can farm down all the creeps last hitting every one of them with ease. If used properly Malefic Visions in conjunction with your Voidlings will get you over 100 minion kills before most opponents are able to get 70.
Level 1-4 I try to last hit like normal conserving mana for poking at the enemy champion and early ganks. At level 5 you have 3 points in Malefic Visions and can start using it to mop up minion waves. It is best to use Malefic Visions when you have a Voidling charged so early game I like to poke and CC with Call of the Void until I have a Voidling ready to go and then use Malefic Visions. You can use it earlier but it eats up mana and if you aren't using it correctly it will dissipate early and not refund the mana it cost to cast in the first place. Every other minion wave has a "tower buster" minion in it and you should try auto attacking him down to about half health before placing your Malefic Visions on one of the front melee creeps so that it is able to eat through all 7 minions without too much trouble. If you have a Voidling charged it makes getting the final hit on the minions completely mindless just apply Malefic Visions and let it guide your Voidling and your auto attacks.
Late game when minion waves are stacked up against your turrets one Call of the Void will easily wipe away all the ranged minions with one shot. I don't recommend using Null Zone to farm because although it is an AoE spell and it has descent damage it is meant for champion encounters and is too mana intensive to be used practically for farming. Your best bet is to stick with charging a Voidling then using Malefic Visions to guide your auto attacks and wipe up minion waves last hitting with ease.
Early Game Flow - Laning Phase
When the game starts I buy my Boots of Speed, Health Potion, and Mana Potions then charge a Voidling with Call of the Void while I am still in base. Then I head to blue to aid my jungler. Coordination with your jungler is essential to running a good team and a good Malzahar.
After I aid my jungler with blue I head to lane and focus on last hits and poking at the enemy champion. Normally around level 3 or 4 my jungler and I will try to coordinate for a gank but don't force it. A poorly executed gank can end in a negative result instead of a positive one so if lane position doesn't permit, don't worry about it and just continue laning until level 6.
Once you are level six you should be able to nuke down your lane opponent fairly easily. Wait until your mana is high enough to put down a Null Zone and Nether Grasp your opponent. Preferably you want to time it so that your Malefic Visions jump off a nearby minion to the target during the nuke and then Ignite them at the end to insure your kill. If mana permits and you aren't sure the damage will be enough pop a Call of the Void into the enemies escape path to pick up the kill. It takes practice to get this nuke right but execute it properly and you will get the kill 8 times out of 10 and if you don't get the kill they will definitely be running back to their base allowing you to push lane and back to buy if need be.
Beware of pushing your lane too hard. It is very easy to push with Malzahar and you don't want to push up into enemy turrets too early because that is just asking for a gank. If you know the whereabouts of all other champions by all means push a bit but don't assume the enemy jungler is bad because more often than not if you find yourself pushing mid turret early there is a gank headed your way.
Coordinate with your jungler and they should allow you to get blue when it comes back up and that will give you the mana you need to have free reign over your lane. If you notice people over extending change lanes and gank and if your jungler gets into trouble you can normally turn over confidence in the pursuer into a quick kill if you do it right. Set your Nether Grasp on them while your jungler turns around and damages them then Malefic Visions them and at least you will chase them off or pick up an quick kill. I try to stay on the side of my lane that my jungler is nearest to just in case they get into trouble.
By about level 9 you should be past the laning phase as teams should have begun pushing towers and ganking. Now you are probably nearing the phase when teams begin clashing and there are a few key points you need to remember if you are going to successfully contribute to your teams victory.
Warding is essential to victory. Having visibility of enemy movements and key points on the map will give your team the upper hand. Whenever I am back and buy items if I see I have 75-150 gold left over I purchase a sight ward or 2. If you are against a stealth champion like Shaco or are having issues dealing with Teemo mushrooms spring for a Vision Ward. The role of warding normally goes to the support and jungler and they should cover most of it but everyone should be constantly buying wards to insure map visibility. Key points to ward are red and blue buff, dragon, baron, and bushes the enemy team could easily set up ambushes in.
Be Aggressive but Stay Alive
In team fights you want to be aggressive enough to wear them down but conservative enough not to get caught up in a situation you can't deal with. If you are fighting a team with snares don't move in straight lines and make your movements random and keep moving at all times. Remember that you are squishy and you should hide behind your tank and tougher champions to ensure you don't get caught out in the cold. A great way to extend your range is to throw Malefic Visions on a minion near you and allow it to jump through the ranks to an enemy champion.
Remember that Malzahar has a descent amount of range on him so you can hang back at the beginning of team fights without sacrificing damage. Work with your team to figure out the enemy champion you want to focus with your ultimate. Once your nuke focus is in range check to make sure you aren't too vulnerable and pop Nether Grasp on them. If you find yourself caught up in the middle of the fight Flash is a great way to re-position yourself to a safe distance. Go with the flow. If your focus is too far away to nuke but their tank over extends don't put yourself in a bad place just to nuke the focus. Sometimes a well timed Null Zone and Nether Grasp can drop the enemy tank to an unsafe health sending the other team into a panic.
DON'T DO IT! There are times when you know that you can chase down an opponent but be careful and be sure you know where all the other champions are. Also be aware of the items the enemy champion is carrying because they could have a small amount of health left but with enough life steal, chasing until they have their abilities back is a horrible idea. If you can chase and get the kill quickly go for it but if you are chasing for more than 2 or 3 seconds turn around and stay alive. A game can quickly turn around when people go barreling off to meet their demise for a kill they can't secure.
Monster Buffs and Auras
Be aware of neutral monster buffs. Note which champions have which buffs and check who is building heavy aura items then plan your team fights accordingly. If you see a support with 4 or 5 aura items it might be a good idea to try to get them down early in the fight. If the enemy gets baron best to back off and only engage under a tower. Baron is an extremely powerful buff and can turn an otherwise fair team fight into a massacre very easily.
Know Your Role
Late game it is important to know your role and play accordingly. With Malzahar you are an AP Caster and should play as an AP Caster. Stay back and don't overextend alone. You may see a tank or jungler go off alone but don't follow suit. You have neither the health nor the mobility to escape if a gank comes your way. As a key damage dealer your main job above all else is to stay alive because if you go down at level 18 that is a minute that you are useless to your team. If you are low but you want to keep fighting because the other team is getting low just retreat and let your team handle it. Staying alive is more important than risking sticking around to maybe assist with a kill your team can handle on their own.
If you notice all the enemy champions near a certain lane and you are in a position to push a different lane do it. Split pushing is a tactic that some teams understand and some teams don't. When the other team is moving as a group all the time split into 2/1/2 or 2/3 and split push lanes forcing them to either break apart at which point you can easily win fights, or lose turrets. Be very careful split pushing because it is easy to get caught overextending but if your team can execute it properly it is a great way to beat teams that you have trouble team fighting against.
I can't even begin to stress how important teamwork is to this game. League of Legends is a team based game, play it accordingly. Individual skill means almost nothing if you can't work with your team mates and effectively communicate.
Stay calm and don't rage at your team if they mess up. It is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and while you may be a flawless player, eventually you too will mess up and it is important that you move on and don't get mad at each other. I have a pretty bad temper when it comes to people doing dumb things but when I blow up it gets me nowhere. Instead I try to give people constructive criticism and tell them good job when they do well.
Communicate with your team as much as possible. Be sure you are calling your MIA/SS and if you note that a champion is missing that another lane didn't call just call it for them. Coordinate ganks in advance don't just appear in a bush and expect your team to know what is going on. Ask if enemy team has warded before you waste your time, push your lane up, discretely sneak away while your team allows them to creep forward. A few well coordinated ganks are better than a bunch of sloppy or failed ganks.
Talk with your jungler to set up early mid lane ganks and get blue buff. With Malzahar being such a great lane pusher ask your jungler if he minds you stealing wraiths while your lane is pushed up to maximize your experience gain.
In review if you take nothing else from this guide just take these few key points. Malzahar's core item build should always include the Power Twins; Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment and coordinating with your jungler and the rest of your team for that matter is key. You can be the best Malzahar in the game but unless you are a team player you won't be of any use. I hope this guide has offered insight into parts of Malzahar that maybe you hadn't thought of before or has given new people a good enough understanding of him to give them a fighting chance. Thanks for reading and please rate and post feedback. I'm always open to a good suggestion. I will be adding video and Additional Match Up info in the future so if you are looking for that kind of stuff check back in a few days.