Welcome to my Malzahar guide! Malzahar is a great choice if you need a solid ap champion that won't fail you game after game. I am particularly fond of Malzahar in solo queue ranked games, and I'll tell you why.
A. Malzahar is an auto farm champion. Farm is key, and with a single malefic visions you can easily last hit every creep in a wave without putting yourself in danger by straying out into the lane.
B. Malzahar is a good counter to those pesky assassins, heavy hitters, and anyone who needs to be shut down in a team fight. It's tempting to use his ult on the squishiest enemy champ for an easy kill, but it's best for shutting down the enemy who will do the most damage to your team so they can clean up un-harassed.
C. He can be a strong choice for small skirmishes. Anyone coming at malzahar 1v1 should be careful. With a well placed w-e-r combo, you could find yourself dead before you have time to react. It's this versatility I like best about the champion. In solo queue, you never know what to expect. You may find yourself constantly in team fights, using his ult to shut down a Tryndamere or Akali, or you may find both teams are often scattered, in which case he is still very viable for those smaller fights.
Call of the Void - I start with one point in Q. It's helpful to have the silence right away, as well as the ability to scout bushes. This is also a decent multi-target hit. If you find yourself in a level one team fight, this will be much more helpful than malefic visions. I max this ability 2nd.
Malefic Visions - This is your farming ability. I take my first point here at level 2 and max it first. If a target dies with malefic visions on it, the spell jumps to another target, whether or not Malzahar got the kill. It's helpful in team fights to try and toss malefic visions on enemies who are low and trying to run. It will often secure the kill and bounce to another enemy. That being said, you should be attempting to do as much damage as possible, so don't hold the spell until the end of the fight. The best use is to throw this spell on whichever target you are going to use your ult on. Your voidling will also automatically attack whoever has malefic visions on them. This provides a little extra damage in team fights and is helpful for getting those last hits on minions in lane.
Null Zone - I put one point in this ability at level 4 and max it last. Ideally you want null zone placed underneath whoever you are suppressing, but it can also be helpful to simply throw it down where several enemies are piled in fighting. Since it is percent based, null zone combined with a void staff can be devastating to tanks and tanky dps. For example, Singed is one of those champions who can decided a team fight with his constant damage, tankiness, and harass. When I face Singed with Malzahar, I often toss my null zone down and ult Singed. I keep him out of the fight while my team deals with the squishies, and I can often get the kill thanks to null zone/void staff.
Nether Grasp - Malzahar's ult suppresses his target and does a lot of damage. It can turn a team fight easily in your favor, but positioning is key. It won't do you any good if someone cc's you to interrupt your ult, or if they focus you down quickly while you are unable to move. I try to stay at max range and wait until the team fight has started. Initiating with this ability is almost never a good idea unless you can catch an enemy out of position. I like to think about who could do the most damage to my team, then I stay out of view as the team fight starts and wait until that champion enters the fight. For instance, If the enemy team has an Annie, I know she will be lurking nearby, waiting until we all pile in close for the Tibbers stun, so I try to position myself so I can jump out and ult her as soon as she shows up. I will note here, that it is highly situational. The best way to know exactly when and who to ult is to play Malzahar A LOT until you get a feel for the champion.
I start Malzahar with a Doran's Ring for early health, ap, and mana regen in lane. I follow this with basic Boots of Speed to give me some mobility. Next I like to pick up a Hextech Revolver for some early game sustainability. I find the spell vamp works well with malefic visions as it is already giving you back mana as it hops from minion to minion. Aditionally having some spell vamp late game can keep you alive if you are ulting an enemy and another champion starts attacking you while you are immobilized.
Next I upgrade my boots to Sorcorer's Shoes and then pick up a Rabbadon's Deathcap for some powerful mid game damage. Next, a Rylai's gives me a little more survivability, damage, and a nice slow to keep those pesky enemies from running away.
At this point I add a Void Staff for extra damage and a Banshee's Veil for more survivability. I like to hold on to my Doran's Ring until I can sell it and buy a Catalyst. This way I don't lose the health.
Lastly, I upgrade my Hextech Revolver to a Will of the Ancients for more spell vamp and a nice aura for the team.
Many of you may be wondering about my summoner spells. Flash is an obvious choice since Malzahar has no escape move. But why not ignite? Well I'll explain my choice.
I think ignite is a solid choice for Malzahar, and if you want to take it, go right ahead! I simply found that I don't usually need it to secure kills. And, if you remember, this guide was specific to solo queue. You can't always count on your jungler to hold your lane, or another tower may be left unattended, so I like having teleport to cross the map quickly. I also find Malzahar is an excellent ganker. Once you reach level 6, you can easily push your lane and head out to gank top or bottom. Teleport ensures you can return quickly without giving up much damage on your own tower.
Ghost is also a viable option for Malzahar, but I would only take it WITH flash, not INSTEAD of flash. Flash will still save you in a pinch by allowing you to hop over a wall and run to safety. Additionally, don't hesitate to flash if you are caught out of position. It's tempting to wait and see if you can escape without wasting the spell, but if you live, it wasn't a waste. Malzahar is very squishy, and if he is caught with cc he will probably be dead before you have the chance to flash.
One spell I think is entirely useless for Malzahar is clarity. I see many people take it and they tell me it is because of mana problems in lane, but unless you are spamming your abilities (which you shouldn't be) You should NEVER run out of mana in lane. Every time a minion dies with malefic visions on it you get mana back. All you need to do to farm is send out one malefic visions and watch it kill an entire creep wave. If you are using your q and w to kill minions, you are doing something wrong. Ocassionally I use a q to quickly finish off minions before the enemy champion has time to move away so they will pick up the DoT for some good harass, but that won't run you out of mana. Seriously, I've tried running Malzahar out of mana in lane... It's hard.
I opt for standard 9/0/21 mage masteries for Malzahar.
For runes, I take magic pen marks, ap per level seals, and flat AP glyphs and quints. You can take ap per level glyphs instead, but I prefer being a bit stronger in the early laning phase.
And that is my Malzahar build! Hope you enjoyed the guide. As with all champions, the best way to improve is to play them often. If you are bad at them at first, do what I do. Go into normal after normal and keep playing them. Oh, and be sure to /ignore all so you don't have to listen to the ragers while you feed. ;)