Build Guide by Tegiminis
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.
2-28-2011: Started guide
3-1-2011: Updated items, added alternate build for those that prefer Null Zone
I picked up Malzahar recently after playing him while he was free, and I subsequently found my one true love. One of the strongest casters in the game, Malzahar deals ridiculous amounts of damage at the cost of utility. In a good team composition, Malzahar fits the role of nuke, and he does his job exceedingly well. He's also one of the strongest 1v1 characters, as he can take down almost any character (even tanks!) on his own.
This particular build greatly emphasizes AP and damage. There's a number of minor variations that can be used to increase your AP more at the cost of a few auxiliary stats, but for the most part, this build is the best route to go if you intend to nuke people. Keep in mind, however, that this is a team-oriented build. Without decent tanks (preferably ones you are running arranged with), you will never be able to survive an onslaught. Then again, you are a caster, so why should you?
Note that I have won almost every single game that I have ever played with Malzahar using this build, and it is my standard build. I do, however, primarily play in arranged teams with friends. Your mileage may vary.
Pros / Cons
- Deals heavy damage to all champs, regardless of level or archetype
- Excellent at harassing/farming
- Fantastic in duels (1v1) and catching runners
- Free tank thanks to passive
- Only hard disable is ultimate
- Requires fair amount of skill to hit with Q and W
After casting 4 spells, Malzahar summons an uncontrollable Voidling to engage enemy units for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 + 50 x lvl (1100 at 18) Health and 20 + 5 x lvl (110 at 18) Damage.
Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
The voidling is one of the more unique passives in the game. Much like or , you get a bonus after casting so many spells. In this case, every fourth spell will summon a cute little voidling from the nothingness between dimensions. As it is passive, its costs no mana and can not be controlled. Any kills obtained by the voidling count as your kills, which gives you the gold and such.
The voidling is, besides being unique, one of the more under-appreciated passives. After all, it can't be controlled directly. However, there are two methods to controlling the little guy. First, he will attack any enemy that has on them. Second, he will automatically attack any enemy which enters your threat zone, regardless of status. You can use this to catch some champions unaware or even get a few early hits on a minion wave.
This is also probably a bug, but the voidling will automatically taunt to or , regardless of actual taunt usage or any other potential targets. The taunt only lasts about 3 seconds (the normal duration of a max level taunt) and will only re-taunt if the champion leaves the voidling's threat zone.
Useful in both a harassment and tanking role, the voidling has a number of easy combos. You can spawn the voidling in the absence of a friendly creep wave to tank damage from a turret while you attack it. You can cast and have your creep beat down on the champion while he is helpless. You can spawn multiple voidlings (effective limit of 3) to build your own little squad. It's got a fair number of uses just waiting to be explored.
Malzahar opens up two portals to the Void. After a short delay, two projectiles are fired, dealing damage and silencing all enemies caught between the portals.
Cooldown: 9 seconds
Cost: 80/90/100/110/120 Mana
Damage: 80/135/190/245/300 Magic (+0.8 AP Ratio)
Silence: 1.4/1.8/2.2/2.6/3 seconds
Call of the Void is your Q, and is one of your strongest abilities if aimed right. With the potential to deal ridiculous amounts of damage on top of silencing enemies, it's a very strong ability for both farming and taking out enemy champions. It is, however, not your bread-and-butter. As useful as it is, it's also extremely easy to dodge if the player is expecting it.
First is the farming potential. For quick, early-game pushing, Call of the Void is best used in conjunction with . Simply place a on the caster minions and hit them with a Call of the Void. The weakening from Call of the Void is usually enough to cause minions to die to a Malefic Visions. At later levels (especially after itemization), you will be able to kill entire creep waves with only a single cast.
While some use Call of the Void in an initiator role for champions, its real strength lies more in its range and thus its ability to kill runners/stop pursuit. If your target is still alive after taking damage from your nukes, Call of the Void is enough to finish them off as they run, as they will invariably run into it if you cast it immediately after ends. If enemies are in pursuit, you can cast it (and ) to delay enemy champions enough to escape.
In team fights, Call of the Void is your main damaging ability, with being a close second. Spamming Call of the Void in the middle of a team fight deals incredible amounts of damage with the proper itemization, and can lead to a quick win. Once again, it's also useful for chasing down runners that attempt to escape from the team fight due to low health.
Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy for 5 seconds. The zone deals magic damage per second equal to a percent of the enemies' HP.
Cooldown: 16 seconds
Cost: 90/100/110/120/130 Mana
Damage (Minimum): 25/35/45/55/65 Magic
Damage (Percentage): 5/6/7/8/9% Magic (+0.8 AP Ratio (1% per 80 AP))
Your least-powerful ability, Null Zone is your W and the primary weapon in your arsenal for dealing with tanks. Enemies have too much magic resist for your other abilities to deal enough damage? Too much health? Null Zone will even the odds a bit, especially when used in conjunction with other abilities.
The first, and most obvious, use of Null Zone is to lay it down immediately before a . A tank that is suppressed on a Null Zone will take incredible amounts of damage, even with stacked magic resistance.
The second is in more of a harassment role. Cast it near an inhibitor turret to force enemies to back up, or use it to delay pursuit as your would-be assassins avoid the swirling purple pool of death. In a team fight, it's also a great way to force the enemies to soak damage, especially if you have a tank with a good AOE crowd control like or .
Malzahar infects his target's mind with cruel visions of their own demise, dealing damage each second. If the target dies while afflicted by the visions, they pass the curse on to a nearby enemy unit and restore mana to Malzahar.
Cooldown: 15/13/11/9/7 seconds
Cost: 60/75/90/105/120 Mana
Damage: 80/140/200/260/320 Magic (+0.8 AP Ratio)
Replenishment: 10/14/18/22/26 Mana per Kill
This is your most important ability, bar none. Excelling at finishing off hurt champions, squeezing out that early damage, and keeping you in the lane, Malefic Visions is one of the strongest tools in the game. It combines the irritation of bombs and the damage-over-time of into one beautiful, annoying little package.
In early game, Malefic Visions is the primary way to keep yourself in the lane. As most of Malzahar's abilities cost quite a bit of mana, the replenishment from bouncing (which occurs whether or not you last hit the target) is enough to keep you active and pushing during the whole early game. On top of that, it can easily bounce to an enemy champion, dealing a significant amount of damage in the starting phases of the game. For this reason, Malzahar is a fantastic mid. It also causes the voidling to attack the target, which is fantastic for early game champion harassment.
In mid-to-late game, Malefic Visions transitions from your main farming and pushing ability to your main damage output. It has a short cooldown, can't be dodged (either through good positioning or items), and bounces from target to target. If laid on a hero, it can do a significant amount of damage, potentially killing said hero if they are at low enough health. If used in a team fight, it can be used to get one straggler and potentially more if said straggler runs into another low-health champ as they die.
Finally, Malefic Visions is a great ability for knocking off or . Doing so costs you some extra damage, but the damage dealt by a full Malzahar combo is more than enough to justify losing a single spell for a few seconds.
Malzahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy, dealing damage every half second while stunning and suppressing them for 2.5 seconds.
Cost: 150 Mana
Cooldown: 120/100/80 seconds
Damage: 250/400/550 Magic (+1.5 AP Ratio)
Malzahar's ultimate is one of the strongest damage-based ultimates in the game. Functioning much like a caster version of , Nether Grasp suppresses the target and deals a plainly ridiculous amount of damage in the process. It has an insanely high AP ratio at 1.5, and at full itemization can deal half of a tank's health in damage in only a few seconds, all while making them helpless.
This isn't to say that Nether Grasp is not without flaws. As it is a channeled ability, you can be knocked out of it. Silence, stun, fear, taunt, and knock-up will all knock you out of it. Slow and snare will not, as they only stop movement, not casting. Doing anything besides a few select summoner spells and the active of will also instantly end the ultimate. Thus, you want to get out your abilities first. My general order (which is different than most, I realize), is:
The and combo ensures that you will be dealing almost triple damage with your ult, while can be used to catch them if they escape. You must always, if possible, trap an enemy on a Null Zone to get the best damage output. As I tend to favor a more mobile Malzahar, I generally do not get , but that is also appropriate. You can also likely lay another if need be.
Flash is one of the best summoner spells in the game, and (in accordance with this) incredibly useful on Malzahar. You can use it to teleport to a runner to get a quick kill, jump from bushes for a surprise ultimate, or for running away quickly. Regardless of build, Flash is an absolute essential for Malzahar. However, keep in mind that a silence will keep you from flashing away, which makes champions like especially troublesome.
While it may seem a bit silly to take Ghost when you have , the simple fact is that you are slow. even if you flash away, chances are a quick hero (such as or ) can catch you. In these instances, Ghost can keep you alive. It's also very useful to counter , which invariably goes up on the squishiest champion in team fights.
Malzahar's abilities use lots of mana, especially in the early game before you get . If you find yourself being mana starved all the time, Clarity is an excellent choice.
Ignite adds and extra damage-over-time ability as well as reduces healing done to the target. It synergizes well with , but I generally do not use it. It's better to simply have another champion take it and coordinate usage. Note that Ignite is the only way to effectively shut down ultimate, as Mundo is perhaps the only tank that can actively stand in your pool without issue.
Useful for catching runners and saving yourself from a chase. You already have two anti-chase abilities, however, so taking Exhaust can be a bit of a waste. It definitely stops auto-attackers, though, so against attack speed or Trynadmere, it can easily save your life.
While teleporting around is great for getting around quickly (which Malzahar definitely can not do), you should rarely be put into a situation where you have to abandon a lane in the middle of an attack.
You don't have any long-range abilities that benefit from Clairvoyance, which means it's only good for seeing gankers. Just use instead. Still, it has a short cooldown and thus has its uses (scouting baron/dragon being the most important).
Breaks CC on Malzahar, but as you should be positioning yourself away from CC as a squishy caster anyway, it's essentially useless. Don't bother unless you really like it.
Why are you taking Heal on a caster? You're there to deal damage, not take it. Play better.
Useful for stopping turret push while out of lane, but given the extreme situational nature (and lack of talent spec), completely worthless.
Why are you taking Rally on a caster? You deal magic damage, not physical.
You never jungle, so never take this. Simple.
Good for a joke, but not for a caster.
The masteries I have picked should be fairly obvious. You want to get to level 6 as quickly as possible for your ultimate, which can easily win you the middle lane. You want magic penetration, mana regeneration, and ability power for all very obvious reasons. Cooldown reduction and extra move speed also help as well. This mastery tree can be switched around slightly (for example, putting points in neutral monster buff), but it's a good general template for a heavy damage Malzahar.
The item choices should also be very obvious here, but I'll go ahead and cover them in-depth. Note that I am only covering the end results, not the intermediate items. Tailor any intermediate items to your current situation.
The only acceptable choice on Malzahar, for obvious reasons. The +20 magic penetration works wonders against most heroes. All other boots simple do not compare. If you really must get another kind of boot, get
Another simple choice. Essential for almost any caster, it gives you the highest static mana regen in the game, a fair amount of ability power (100+ after including the extra mana it gives you), and tons of mana. It turns you from a situational caster into an ability spammer, which makes your voidlings come out faster and exponentially increases your damage output.
You can get this before or after , depending on whether you are getting enough kills. With a whopping 180 AP at full stacks, it gives you the second most power out of any item in the game as well as a bit of cooldown as a bonus. That is, of course, assuming you are playing smart and not dying regularly.
This one is obvious. 155 AP + 30% = 201.5 AP. That isn't even counting all the bonuses you get to your other items. Get it. As soon as you do, you'll be wrecking like nobody has ever wrecked before.
Magic resistance, magic penetration aura, and ability power all combined into one delicious package. However, if you are going for more ability power, this can safely be switched out for another item. I don't particularly recommend over this, as the aura here helps your teammates as well as you, and this is primarily a team-oriented build. You can get a if you want, though (see below).
AP, armor, and an active that can save you in a team fight. This is also another item that can safely be switched out. Another or is usually a good switch, especially since the passive on the staff stacks.
Gives extra health, ability power, and adds a slow to all of your spells. Not the best item we'd choose, but it's definitely a good option if you find yourself being a little too squishy and allowing enemies to escape a lot.
The only real defensive option for Malzahar, Banshee's Veil gives you health, mana, magic resistance, and blocks one negative spell. All of this greatly increases your ability to survive. If you find yourself being targeted a lot and your tanks being unable to save you, grab this to even the odds a bit.
The active gets incredibly strong as you build up your ability power, and all the other stats are good for a caster. Ideally, however, you should be dealing percentage damage with a pool, not an item active. Only get this if you are used to activating it or are having trouble with tanks.
Spell vamp on your spells will give you ridiculous amounts of health, and the extra ability power isn't half bad either. If two enemies are standing on a pool in late game, this item can make you regenerate health obscenely fast. It's also a team bonus, which is always a plus.
A that removes the active and adds mana regen and ability power instead. Grab this if you don't particularly care to use actives all the time.
A fine alternative to the , the Void Staff sacrifices the flat aura magic penetration and magic resistance for a high percentage magic penetration. If you find most of your enemies using a ton of magic resistance, this is probably a better item to go with than the , as the percentage will help out more than the flat. I personally prefer the because of the survivability addition and team bonus, but that's just me and arranged teams talking.
Early game as Malzahar will be taxing, as you must resist the urge to leap into fights. While you certainly deal more damage in the early game than most, you also take a lot more damage as well. Watch for gankers attempting to shut you down, especially cloaked heroes such as or .
Thanks to his high damage output, replenishment (through ), and minion spawning, Malzahar is an excellent mid. It also means that he will level quickly, which means a strong ult. Given his penchant for excellent harassment, you can easily drive players out of the mid lane and level past them while they heal up. If not mid, Malzahar should get a solo lane (if there is a jungler) or a lane with a hard CC character.
As soon as Malzahar hits level 6, he should shift to mid-game strategy.
Malzahar in mid game is an extremely strong lane pusher and champion killer, as his abilities tend to come into their own faster than everyone else's. Push hard, and use or to get away if you see a gank coming. if you feel comfortable enough doing so, take blue buff to give yourself that edge in mana regen and cooldown reduction.
Malzahar, much like , can be an extremely scary ganker in mid game. Thanks to his ranged suppression, he can pop from bushes in top or bottom lane to quickly annihilate champions that dare to venture too far forward. As he deals ridiculous amounts of damage, he can often open up players to attacks from their lane opponents if he doesn't outright kill them.
Around the time you have taken your first or second inner turret is around the time Malzahar shifts into late game.
Malzahar in late game is around for two things: picking off stragglers that attempt to backdoor or 1v1, and decimating enemies from a distance in team fights. Under no circumstances should Malzahar ever engage in an unbalanced fight in late game, as he can quickly get demolished by large groups of people once ultimates and items are up. Conversely, he still does ridiculous amounts of damage even after levels and items have been accounted for, which makes him an excellent nuke. After fully itemized, he also does a significant amount of damage to turrets thanks to his high AP.
Assuming you go Baron or Dragon, keep in mind that Malzahar has low health and deals less damage than your typical attack speed/Bloodrazor hero ( for example). He's not really needed for these fights at all.
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