Malzahar Build Guide by Lateraluss
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.
*Updated For Season 3!*
After some alone time with season 3 I got the scoop from some diamond players and wish to share it with ya. Don't buy dorans or start boots and 3 pots anymore! Little tips and tricks to own mid as Malzahar or possibly any mid champ. Straight forward and to the point I hope that this guide can help players out trying to learn Malzahar in this crazy sometimes bruiser mid world we live in.
P.S. This guide has been running since season 1, over 2 years now!
Introduction, Pros, and Cons
Malzahar is a difficult to play but rewarding. In this guide you will learn how to aim his spells and stack his spells so you can push your lane and lead your team to victory.
-Good pusher solo mid or in a sidelane
-Good harasser with practice
-Able to silence multiple enemies during team fights
-Able to stunlock a champion with ultimate setting up for a good gank
-Amazing team fighter, especially at the enemies base turrets/front gate
-Mana Hungry early on
-No escape mechanism
-Call of the Void can be hard to aim
-Nether Grasp can be cleansed with QSS or stopped if you are stunned/interrupted
-Spell rotation can be difficult to learn
I like to go AP Quints because they are such a boost to your early game damage and get the ball rolling for your E. The Health Seals are for lasting and being able to put up Malzahars low health pool throughout the game. The magic resist is because you will almost always go against a magic based champ. If you are playing draft or ranked and you think you will be going against an AD champ you can change out your seals for armor seals instead. The magic pen is to scale into late game and help cut threw the resistances of that pesky tank that thinks its smart to buy a Aegis.
With season 3 mid is changing, and so are the items you start with. Usually people started with boots and 3 pots. Now I like to start out with flask, hp pots, ward, mana pots. The reason is to outpoke and outlast your enemy. Bruisers are becoming more popular in mid(kha'zix, panth, zed) and are scary for casters. With this start you can outlast anyone. If you back before you have enough for large rod you can buy the book for 435 gold. But if you are doing fine in lane just buy a couple pots and keep farming for that large rod. Try to rush large rod as fast as possible. If you wanna know why just look below(also explains the ward)!
BOOTS AND 3 POTS ARE BAD!!!!(IMO)
I know various high elo players and have a diamond coach. They all are saying boots and 3 bots are done with. All champs had +25 Movement speed added and boots had -25 movement speed taken off. If you have ever noticed a champ with level 1 boots isn't that big of a difference. Starting boots over flask will give you less sustain and it doesn't benefit you much in the current meta. you shouldn't be roaming too much as malazhar until level 6 and your ranged so you can sit back and farm. Just try starting flask and all those pots and see how big of a difference it makes and laugh at the person starting boots because they will get poked out of lane by you.
I also rush DFG before buying any boots at all. If you spend the 1100 gold it costs for level 2 boots or the 350 for level 1 boots thats putting you back from doing damage. You want to get to 1600 gold as fast as possible so you can buy that large rod and start doing damage. More damage then the AP Carry you are going against that rushed sorc boots. Out damage them, kill them, or atleast force them out of lane, for making the decision of rushing boots. THIS ALSO GOES FOR DORANS RING. Riot reduced the sell back value of all Dorans items. You waste gold buying these items and dig yourself a hole if your opponent rushes a large rod. If you are behind and you buy dorans thats setting you back even furthur behind your opponent. Don't buy dorans, or rush boots. If you are having HUGE mobility problems i could see MAYBE buying level 1 boots after your large rod, before you finish DFG. But even that is rare.
this is a trick that low elo players will fall for, but it becomes harder to do the higher you get. That one ward I buy as soon as the game starts I run straight to the enemies red put the ward right in their red bush so I can see their red and if their jungler fights it in bush I can see him too. I only start ward and ward their red if I know the enemy jungler starts blue. I have never gotten caught placing this ward or had issues getting it placed. I usually get it placed around 56secs on the clock if i'm fast on buying and getting their. When you are in lane around late level two, early level 3 you will see the enemy jungler start red. Simply go side brush out of mid lane right to the red Q, ignite, E and you should kill him and get blue. Try this it works and its an aweesome feeling. Gives you a kill, gives you blue, and puts their jungle back and keeps your lanes safe.
Now that that explanation is over. I buy DFG because it's amazing to combo with your ult and dot. Rabbadon's I shouldn't have to explain. Void staff is for the amazing magic pen. Now after void staff theirs a gray area. You could go Zhonya's if their melee heavy, or you could go GA's if you feel like your being targeted too often. Either way their both good pickups and will both be purchased eventually. If you need some magic resist because they are ability power based by Athenes Unholy Grail instead of Zhonya's.
I went the normal caster route picking up the important things and improving flash. The cooldown reduction and magic pen is a must.
Ghost/Flash: As Malzahar you need all the help you can in escaping or getting to your target because the range on your ultimate is very short. Honestly which one you take is personal preference. I like Flash because I feel like it can set you up for ganks better. If you run in with ghost your target will turn and run and if you set down your AoE he will run out before you can catch with ultimate. If you flash in, drop your AoE and catch him with your ultimate he has alot less chance of getting out. Also flashing over walls to escape is an awesome Anti-Gank tactic.
Ignite: You can use Ignite while channeling your Ultimate. If your ultimate will bring your target just shy of dieing you can ignite to finish off, also stacks with Malefic Visions for an awesome double dot effect.
Don't Forget Ignite Stops Healing by 50%!!!!!
There is honestly no other skill combos I could see being viable on him, you would lose too much if you dropped either of these summoner skills.
Why did I pick the skills in the order I did? Well people might tell you to level Null Zone and Malefic Visions first. Well I disagree. It is right to max Malefic first so you can stack curses and stack with your ultimate. Call of the Void is a very high damaging spell. It will get you killing blows and it silences. It can be used to Harass and do alot of damage early on. Null Zone is too avoidable. what if he gets out of Null Zone before you can get your ultimate off. Null Zone could be used for farming minions but that's why you have Malefic Visions and auto-attack. Now if you have a harder hitting Call of the Void you can open with Call of the Void, Ultimate. PLUS Null Zone does damage on the percentage of max health.
Passive - Summon Voidling
(Passive) Summon Voidling - (Innate): After casting 4 spells, Malzahar summons an uncontrollable Voidling to engage enemy units for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 + 50 x lvl Health and 20 + 5 x lvl Damage.
Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
How to use Summon Voidling - At the start of the game you get Call of the Void first so you can setup for a summon right away. Start casting your Call of the Void at the begining of the match while sitting at base. Cast it Four times so that when you get to your lane if you are going for an early gank you only need to cast Call of the Void to summon a voidling which will help you get First blood(on a side note I don't recommend trying to get an early gank in mid-solo, if you are in a side-lane try to lane with someone who has a snare or stun remember you are squishy and you could end up being killed instead). I don't really pay attention to my voidling. If i'm going for a gank I do try to set it up so he will be summoned but because of your need for mana early on it might be a waste to pre-cast to setup for a gank without a way to get back mana. He does help tank turrets, he is targeted over you by turrets as long as your dots aren't on an enemy champion.
1st Ability - Call of the Void
Call of the Void - (Active): Malzahar opens up two portals to the Void. After a short delay, power erupts from the portals, dealing damage and silencing all enemies caught between the portals.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
How to use Call of the Void - Use it to harass the your lane enemy. CotV makes you lead your target because of its short delay, the only way to get better at it is practice. Remember that how you are standing in relation to your target is how you have to hit them with void, meaning that if you are coming at them from a side lane you have a better chance of hitting them with a CotV thats parallel to their escape route. Use this to your advantage! When there is an enemy hiding in one of the corner bushes stand so your CotV will hit the whole bush, don't make it so your CotV only hits 1/4 of the bush. CotV is also cast-able over trees in jungle and even over some walls in the lanes. If an enemy is running away from you in jungle lead him and cast over the trees, I get alot of finishing blows this way. Also when you're team is pushing at their base gates this spell is very valuable to cast over the wall or just out of range of a turret to silence multiple enemies that may be sitting around the turret trying to guard it. If you can setup and silence and have your tank rush in and your team follow you might even be able to down the whole team and turret(also great for defending your own gates). CotV will also kill minions instantly when you hit lvl 12/13+ great for taking out a line of creeps.
2nd Ability - Null Zone
Null Zone - (Active): Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy for 5 seconds. The zone deals magic damage to enemies inside it. Damage is based on either a flat damage value or a percentage of the target's max health, whichever is greater.
Cooldown: 16 seconds
How to use Null Zone - Null zone is a pretty basic AoE. It will help you stack curses(a trick I will teach later in the guide) and is great on tanks with high HP. This will also be in your rotation when you throw down your ultimate. Don't rely on it too much to kill creeps tho, casting this can be a waste of mana because you want to rely on Malefic Visions as your pushing spell. Also is great to throw in Akali's stealth bubble and when you think your about to get hit by Warwicks ultimate. Later on you can use it to keep enemies away from certain areas during a team fight, kinda like throwing it under your tanks feet or under your healers feet to scare off enemies.
3rd Ability - Malefic Visions
Malefic Visions - (Active): 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.
How to use Malefic Visions - This skill will be your main pushing spell you will also use it in your rotation right before your ultimate. I don't start useing Malefic Visions on mobs until level 3+ because your ranged attacks are enough to get last hits and push. Wait until a mob gets low in health and hit him with MV start auto attacking him and when he dies watch it jump to its next target and just follow it with auto attack. If your lucky the next wave will walk up and your MV will jump to them or maybe even an enemy champion. Now there is a special trick that I like to call stacking curses.
3rd Ability Curse Stacking
When you are at a stand off with the enemy team don't stop putting your curses on enemy minions. When you do place your curses space them. One on the front minion and one on the back. After you get two curses in the enemy mob try to lay a third curse on one of the enemy champions that are farther back in the enemy team. If your curses jump right you could get 2 to 3 champions with curses on them doing 1/4-1/3 of damage to an enemy champion. It doesn't sound like much at first but it could be the difference when the stand off turns into a team fight, or in picking off an enemy champion with focus fire. Also if you have Ryali's you'r slow effect along with the curse can help your team get a gank.
Another way to use MV late game is to run to a lane cast it on a group of minions and leave. MV will do the work for you while you go back to help your team push another lane, it is great way to push without having to stand there worrying about getting ganked. Also a good tool to harass but can be costing on your mana if you don't get jumps.
4th Ability - Nether Grasp
Nether Grasp - (Active): Malzahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy, dealing damage each half second while stunning for 2.5 seconds.
Cost: 150 mana.
How to use Nether Grasp - Nether Grasp is your tool for ganking. Now how I setup for my first kill is harassing my lane enemy. Hit him with a CotV once or twice to lower his health, maybe even a MV. Try to get him below 70%/60% health. If I'm in the corner I try to go into the bushes and wait. If you have Deathfire grasp try to put it in your first slot, its active is a must use when ganking and you can use 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 on your keyboard to activate skills from items depending on what slot they are in. Make sure you have at least 350+ mana because you will be throwing down alot of spells to make this work. Wait until your target walks within range of your CotV. Hit him with CotV, Flash in close or walk out if he is close to you, hit your deathfire grasp which if you have it in your first slot should be 1, drop nullzone, hit him with malefic visions, then nether grasp and finish off with ignite while hes in nether grasp, if hes gonna live after all of that get lined up with a call of the void while you channel nether grasp and hit him on the way out then try to get another MV on him. If you don't have alot of mana don't use null zone.
If someone tries to tower dive you IMMEDIATELY use Nether Grasp if it is up. The turret and your special should put him down. If not he will be very close and a MV or CotV will finish him off.
So your rotation should something like this:
You should work on playing using your keyboard to use your skills. Clicking on your abilities is slow and takes you're cursor off the game screen which add's delay from your spells being cast and your ability to target and move your character.
This is a long rotation and you can substitute certain skills out depending on mana and health of the enemy. For example maybe hes so low you don't need to hit him with a CotV to start out with or even drop Null Zone. You might not need to waste your ignite even. It all depends on the situation but that rotation will get you kills. Now if they cleanse it off they will either run or start to attack you. If you think you can pull off a kill try to hit them with CotV and run while throwing skills over your shoulder. Now when you get to team fights Nether Grasp is a great way to focus a enemy champion. Tell your team that you are going to use your ultimate on the first champion that gets in range and you need your team to focus that champion. Or you can even try to focus certain champions, but I have found it easier to hit whoever comes closest because you should be sitting further back then other champions. Also if you are getting ganked you can turn it around by throwing down Null zone, Malefic visions, then Nether grasp. I have killed many Eve's this way. Don't forget your Deathfire active, it does 30% of the enemies current health with only a minute cooldown.
Tactics - Mid-Solo Early Game(levels1-6)
As soon as you load into the match cast Call of the void four times to setup up a summon. If your trying to ward their red as explained above you can forget about trying to setup summon and just rush their red after buying with your ward. Make sure you watch for invades, they are most common on teams that have a alot of lvl1 CC, or if you have an amumu or another champ with a weak early jungle. Last hit minions with your auto attack for gold and harass the enemy with CotV. If you are laneing against someone with a stun be careful and play a little more defensive, the whole goal of middle is to outfarm and level your opponent if you die you are not accomplishing that.
Tactics - Mid-Solo Mid Game(Levels 6-12)
If the enemy is not at your turret port back to base and buy your items and get ready for a gank. Tell a teammate(try to get one with a stun/snare or high dps) to come to mid and wait in the side bushes. Make sure your teammate is not seen going to mid by his laneing enemies. Have your teammate use their stun/snare and when they do run up and start your Ultimate spell rotation. If you have a teamate their all you need to do is make sure you get Null zone, Malefic Vision and Nether grasp off. don't forget ignite during your ultimate and possibly Call of the Void if they live. If you kill your mid lane oppenent have your teamate help by pushing mid turret hopefully doing some good damage to it. Keep setting up ganks against the person you are laneing against. Always try to have a teammate help so they can get some gold for an assist. If the side-lanes are getting pushed hard setup a side-lane gank with your team and push back. You need to watch all lanes and decide where you can get kills and help your team push, just don't head for a side-lane right infront of an enemy or enemy minions. You don't want the enemy to know your comeing so back up a little bit then head to a side-lane for a quick gank. If your mid-lane enemy is a fast pusher like teemo, sivir, or twisted fate you might want to have a teammate from a different lane go farm middle while you go gank and push a side lane. Don't forget to finish your Deathfire as soon as you have enough gold too. Try to keep mid on lock down and your goal is to get that first mid turret down.
Tactics - Endgame Team Fighting/Pushing (Levels 12-18)
At this point you need to stick with your team, you are too squishy to go out on your own and you will most likely get jumped by 3+ enemies if you are trying to push by yourself. Use the tactics I explained in the skill section to get kills and keep your enemies away. Use CotV to silence multiple enemies and kill a group of minions for some extra gold. If your team is at a stand off against the other team at their gate dive into another lane quick and get some Malefic Visions off to help push another lane. Don't stay in a side lane too long or away from your team. Push enough to get your minions line moving closer to the enemy base then get back to safety, don't hand out kills to the enemy team. Remember if you die your team has one less person to go against the enemy team. 4v5 is going to be hard missing an important dps. At this point the games gonna come down to your team pushing and winning or being pushed and losing. Win or Lose remember what you did wrong and what you did right take it into the next game and improve.
-You are a pusher, if your team is having problems getting past the enemy gate and downing an inhibitor try to push a different lane solo, just be very cautious and don't stick around for more then 2 or 3 waves of minions.
-Watch for backdoors your strong AoE's can help push a twisted fate out of your base and keep him at bay.
-Don't forget to stack curses when you are at a turret faceing off with the enemy team.
-Don't Be Stupid the more you die the less you are in the game, which is less time getting kills and gold.
-Try to use your Call of the Void over walls, the better you get at predicting movement the more crazy things you will pull off.
Malzahar is a very effective character and if used properly can help your team win. This is my first time writing a guide and I would love feedback on what you think about it. What should I include, takeout, or change. Tell me what you think.