Malzahar Build Guide by Phil Collins
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Hello friends, and welcome to my rewritten guide on Malzahar. Malzahar is a very underrated caster in the League of Legends. He is able to deal very high burst damage along with significant range and lockdown.
Malzahar is a very unique mage in the aspect that he deals damage over time over burst damage, he damages before he stuns (unlike Annie or Brand), and that he can shred tanks easily with Null Zone. Malzahar can bring a lot to teams and can be an absolute monster if left to his own devices.
I hope you will learn a lot about Malzahar in my guide. He was the first champion I decided to main, I reckon I have around 400 games with Malzahar.
EDIT: Yes, I changed the guide title to match my other guides.
Malzahar Champion Spotlight:
Pros / Cons
+ Great burst damage
+ Huge AoE damage
+ Great pushing ability
+ Powerful harass due to Malefic Visions
+ Able to shred tanks ( Null Zone)
+ Strong duelist if Nether Grasp is available.
- No escape (I solve this by taking Flash)
- Requires farm to be effective
- Easily countered by one item
- Ultimate can be interrupted
- Pushing with Malefic Visions can lead to dreadful results
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for a synergy with Sorcerer's Shoes, which can bring you close to dealing true damage to champs with 30 MR.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration Since Malzahar has early mana return from Malefic Visions, it is better to settle for these seals for a better late game.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist For the extra defense in lane.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power Even though most mages scale the best in mid-game, that does not mean you should go all out AP/lvl runes. These quintessences will help you early game to harass more.
Malzahar is a carry, therefore he must maximize his damage output. The masteries will be 21/0/9.
After casting 4 spells, Malzahar summons an uncontrollable Voidling to engage enemy units for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 + (50 x level) Health and 20 + (5 x level) and (+ 100% per bonus attack damage) attack damage.
Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
Voidlings attack the target affected by Malzahar's most recently cast Malefic Visions.
This is a great passive that can assist you in many ways. One of the glaring ways is that it can aid you in restoring mana with Malefic Visions. The voidlings are attracted to targets with Malefic Visions. The voidling can also aid you in your nuke combo of Call of the Void + Malefic Visions + Null Zone + Nether Grasp + Ignite. A round of your spell combo will summon a voidling to help you kill your target.
Another useful fact is that it can block skillshots that are coming your way. You never know when that little guy can block an incoming Sonic Wave or Dark Binding.
However you will need to manipulate your voidling in a good way, as the little guy might trail behind you when you are running away, which means the enemy will know where you have went. Also, when attempting to gank people from the brush, refrain from having a voidling with you as it can give away your position.
Call of the Void
Malzahar opens two portals to the void. After a short delay, they fire projectiles which deal 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+80% of ability power) magic damage and silence champions for 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 / 3 seconds.
A great spell for Malzahar, it has many uses throughout the game. This skill is essential to learn as Malzahar, it can make or break fights. For example, if you see a Brand coming in to kill you, cast Call of the Void in front of him, so that he will walk right into it and become silenced, allowing you to either get away or to unleash your full combo.
Remember to use this skill wisely early game, it will cost you a lot of mana for nothing if you use it and miss. Sometimes I put Call of the Void slightly behind the enemy. A natural instinct for most people is to run backwards, thus they run right into the spell.
Don't forget, Call of the Void reveals the fog of war. If you think there's a sneaky Udyr in the brush trying to gank you, use Call of the Void in that brush to see if he is there.
Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy for 5 seconds. The zone deals 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 % (+1% per 100 ability power) of the target's max health as magic damage each second (damage to monsters is capped).
A skill that is just a killer late game, Null Zone can destroy entire teams if enough people stand on it for too long due to the health percentage damage. However it is underwhelming early game, so I only use this early on to combine with Nether Grasp, or to help myself pick up kills if they have Malefic Visions and Ignite on them.
Late game, try to use this right when your tank initiates. For example if Galio flash/ults, you can put Null Zone under the enemy to deal lots of damage to their team and proceed to kill them all.
Malzahar infects his target's mind, dealing 80 / 140 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+80% of ability power) magic damage over 4 seconds. If the target dies during this time, the visions pass to a nearby enemy and Malzahar gains 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 mana. Malzahar's Voidlings are attracted to affected units.
This is Malzahar's bread and butter ability. You can use Malefic Visions for a lot of uses (farming, harassing, kill stealing, etc.).
Malefic Visions is a great tool for controlling the lane due to it being able to bounce to different enemies when it has killed one. If you find yourself being pushed at, outpush your opponent back by casting Malefic Visions on the creep wave. Keep autoattacking the minion with Malefic Visions on it so that it can pass on to the next one.
Another good thing about this skill is that it also regenerates mana as well. Simply push it through a minion wave if you need some mana back.
To harass champions, Malefic Visions + Call of the Void will suffice.
Malzahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy to suppress the target (stuns and disables summoner spells), dealing 250 / 400 / 550 (+130% of ability power) magic damage over 2.5 seconds. The damage is applied in ticks, every half second.
One of the best ultimates out there. Mainly because it is a 2.5 second suppress and it has a 1.3 AP ratio. Need I say more? It damages enemies highly and you can easily pin down targets because of it.
When you've utilized this ultimate to it's fullest, you will become one of the best Malzahar players. The key to knowing how to play Malzahar is mastering his ultimate. First, you need to know the skill combo, which goes something like this:
Silence with Call of the Void, apply Malefic Visions, lay down Null Zone, fire off Nether Grasp on the opponent, trapping him under Null Zone. Use Ignite if needed, Ignite does not interrupt Nether Grasp.
Next, you must know that you CANNOT move during the suppression. If you do, you will cancel the suppression and lose potential damage output. Only cancel when needed. You can however, use any summoner spell except Flash. You also need to know that even though Ignite does not interrupt Nether Grasp, it has a shorter range than Nether Grasp. So you must stay within 600 range to use Ignite, or else you will stop channeling and will walk up to the enemy to cast Ignite.
And lastly, remember you can use your ultimate defensively as well. For example when someone turret dives you, you can Nether Grasp them so the tower proceeds to take a beating on them.
Call of the Void is taken first. Why not Malefic Visions first? Well, first of all Call of the Void is AoE and has a silence, which is better for level 1 teamfights. They also deal the same damage at level 1, it's just that Call of the Void is better at level 1.
After that however, Malefic Visions becomes more powerful, so we max Malefic Visions first. It provides you high amounts of DPS with a mana return due to the pushing mechanic, also it has a very high base damage at level 5. Your harass will be significantly higher with Malefic Visions maxed.
During levels 1-4, level up Call of the Void first. Put two points in Malefic Visions before putting a point in Null Zone, as it has little benefits for us early game.
We then max Call of the Void mainly because it nukes people hard and it has a 3 second silence at level 5, which is one of the longest silences in the game.
We max Null Zone last because it is the most powerful at late game because of it's percentage health damage, therefore it is only natural that we leave one point there until maxing it last.
I usually run these summoner spells against most teams. I haven't found much moments that I had to reconsider my summoner spells, I feel that these are perfect for Malzahar. Flash is because it is the best summoner spell in the game. Use it to escape, pick up a kill, juke fast skillshots like Sonic Wave, the possibilities are endless. Ignite is because it stacks with all your DoT damage you will be dealing.
+ Easy escape
+ Closing gaps
- Short range
- Countered if enemy has Flash as well.
+ Great early game damage
+ Stacks with your abilities
+ Healing debuff
- Falls off late game
- Short range
Only take Ghost if they have no ganking CC whatsoever, you somehow hate Flash, you think there will be skirmishes you need to get to in game or if you just want an extra escape. Replace Ignite with Ghost if you feel that one escape is not enough. Replace Flash with Ghost for the reasons listed above. I generally don't take Ghost over Flash though, you are too squishy for the movement speed boost to be effective.
If no one else has this on their team, take Exhaust. I don't take Exhaust on AP carries however as Malzahar kills people in one blow, not through sustained autoattack damage. You also have Nether Grasp to prevent the enemy to attack you.
Take Teleport if you think you are going to need to go back a lot, or you want better map control. In this case, make sure there are wards on the map you can Teleport to.
I've never taken Heal as Malzahar since the heal won't save you from burst damage, but I suppose you can take it if you like to heal bait a lot.
There are many ways to build Malzahar. Most may build him as an AP nuker in mid-lane, some as a mid-ranged Tanky AP at top-lane, others will simply have fun building as AD Malzahar.
The Core Items of AP Malzahar are:
I take those items in almost every game I play. Why do I do so? Well, these items basically provide EVERYTHING you need. Malzahar needs:
- High AP
- Able to resist being focused
- Ability to shred tanks
First of all, Rabadon's Deathcap is the core item on ALL casters. It gives a very high amount of AP when bought, and with your runes, masteries and double Doran's Rings with Rabadon's Deathcap, you can reach 300 AP with no problems whatsoever. On its own Rabadon's Deathcap give you 182 AP. Amazingly powerful for it's price. The good thing is that whenever you buy AP in the future, your AP will increase furthermore than what the future item will give you thanks to Rabadon's Deathcaps passive.
Secondly, Zhonya's Hourglass really help you when you get dived by the enemy. By casting DoTs on an enemy and using the active from zhonyas, you can win duels. The extra armor is also a great help to divers.
Finally, Liandry's Torment is our killer item. When the enemy starts building magic resist, you can easily negate that with Liandry's Torment. It also helps you greatly in damage due to the passive dealing DoT %health damage, which effectively stacks with Null Zone and will make you a killing machine.
General Item Building
As Malzahar you do not have versatile build choices unlike Skarner or Lee Sin. There will be lots of times where you will be building the same things all over again.
I start Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions. Why? This is the most versatile first item choice for almost all champions. You can run away from jungle ganks, have sustain from the 3 potions, dodge skillshots, and you can easily gank other lanes. Rarely have I ever started with something else other than Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions.
As Malzahar, your main focus should be maximizing damage output, building items like:
These items are efficient on Malzahar due to them being highly offensive in power and giving you the ability to nuke people down. When looking to build Malzahar defensively, go for some items like:
These items will give you some power along with a defensive ability to help you survive fights or duels.
Build items not mentioned in the previous chapter: Greater Mark of Magic Penetration and will make you deal near true damage to squishy targets.
This item will help you a lot in both defense and offense, giving you 100 AP and 50 armor. The active however, is the most important aspect of this item as it is really gamebreaking. You can literally activate this when their Akali jumps on you, and your team will be able to kill her before she can kill you.
A great new item for mages, combined with Athene's Unholy Grail, you can resist other mages and win duels easily. But the real deal about this item is the active, it gives Malzahar CC that doesn't stun himself.
I recommend rushing this item as soon as possible. This is because Malzahar needs to spam his skills often and this item will help greatly. The CDR, MR and AP is also welcome to Malzahars overall effectiveness.
Void Staff with this item.
Rod of Ages.
Malzahar is not one of them. You will already have insanely high mana regen late game anyway, and the fact that you're not Karthus or Cassiopeia means that it will take forever for you to build up the mana. Only get this if you want it for pure power/maximum mana sustain.
catalyst the protector is not enough for sustain at top
Idol of Durand, Curse of the Sad Mummy, Impale, etc.
Malzahar is a dominant mid laner, able to harass easily and have excellent lane control. You should always try to balance harass and farming in order to keep yourself at an advantage against your enemy. However, sometimes you would want to harass more, since Malzahar does so much damage early game. You should be able to push your opponent out of lane easily.
Always remember to LAST HIT! If you just keep hitting the minions you will indeed push your lane and make yourself an easy gank target.
When you get enough points in Malefic Visions, always push extremely hard to the enemy tower and back off until the lane resets, so that the enemy will have less of a chance to farm.
Remember to scout brushes with Call of the Void if you think someone is inside trying to gank you.
Mid game is when Malzahar truly shines. Once you've reached level 6, look for a lane to gank. Push your lane and head there. Once you've gotten to that lane, immediately unleash your entire combo against them so that your ally can kill him. Malzahar has great gank synergy due to Nether Grasp. Also, during team fights try to silence the most people with Call of the Void.
At this point Malzahar is also a potent duelist. Look for someone to kill. Act like a scared little squishy mage when they attack you. This will make them charge straight at you. However, you can easily turn the tables by unleashing your full combo and instantly killing them.
At this point of the game, you can also try out CasterMaster's Infamous Bush Combo, by sitting in a bush and waiting for an unaware opponent to come in, immediately unleash Call of the Void + Malefic Visions + Null Zone + Nether Grasp + Ignite. Guaranteed success!
This is when games are truly decided. You should try to stay behind your team at all times when fighting, and attempt to deal the most damage possible. Also, NEVER GO OUT ALONE! You never know when the entire enemy team is in a brush and you end up being killed, resulting in a free inhibitor/baron for the enemy team, or even a win for them.
In teamfights, Malzahar's role is to disable the enemy team with Call of the Void, and attempt to nuke the enemy squishies with your range. Certain scenarios apply to what you must do in teamfights as Malzahar.
Your Galio initiated with a flash + Idol of Durand. What do you do? Put down a Null Zone and silence the biggest group of enemies with Call of the Void. Apply Malefic Visions to their squishiest target and even Nether Grasp them if you feel that you won't be interrupted.
You are losing the game, the enemy Amumu initiates with a Bandage Toss + Curse of the Sad Mummy. What do you do? Flash away immediately to prevent yourself from dying, Call of the Void behind you to silence enemy divers and make a run for it. Malzahar is extremely squishy so you must avoid dying at all costs.
Your team and you are hiding in a brush near baron. The enemy team comes in. What do you do? You silence them with Call of the Void immediately, and do a Malefic Visions + Null Zone + Nether Grasp on the closest and squishiest target. Since you've caught the opponent by surprise, there should be a small chance of you getting interrupted.
You've just found the enemy team at dragon, and they are all badly positioned. What do you do? Immediately silence with Call of the Void and put down a Null Zone under enemy groups, while waiting for the right moment to pull off your combo with Nether Grasp.
Needless to say, there are many situations to adapt to as Malzahar and you should find the right moment to do something.
- Try to stay farther behind minions to avoid Orb of Deception and Charm
- Ahri has low movespeed, which makes Call of the Void easy to land.
- If Ahri uses Spirit Rush against you, immediately unleash your combo.
- Ahri is short ranged, Malefic Visions can destroy her.
- Akali is a melee, making Call of the Void and Malefic Visions harass very easy.
- If Akali shrouds herself in Twilight Shroud, lay down a Null Zone in it.
- Watch out at level 6, be ready to combo Akali before she bursts you.
- If Akali tries to harass you with Mark of the Assassin, return harass with Malefic Visions.
**** this champion.
- Watch out for Flash Frost + Frostbite, it outharasses your damage early game.
- Try to push the lane hard with Malefic Visions as Anivia cannot farm well under her turret pre-6.
- Play passive when she hits 6, as the double damage from Frostbite will become much easier to land.
- Don't get too reckless, her Rebirth can bait you into a gank.
- Annie is very squishy and has short range, you can harass her hard.
- Don't engage her if her Pyromania stack is available.
- Watch out at level 6, she can gib you with Summon: Tibbers.
- When engaging, you must silence her with Call of the Void before unleashing your combo.
- Brand is only lethal if you don't dodge his skillshots.
- Malefic Visions can damage him hard.
- Since Brands combo starter is short ranged, he should be very predictable. Call of the Void if he seems like he wants to kill you.
- Don't push the lane too hard, Brand works well with co-ordinated ganks.
- Stay mobile at all times to dodge Noxious Blast.
- Silence her before attempting to apply Malefic Visions, to prevent a stun combo.
- Immediately Flash away if she Flashes towards you, as it is likely that Cassiopeia was trying to use Petrifying Gaze.
- Retreat if you become poisoned.
- Fiddlesticks' main damage output comes from Drain. Silence him when he channels it.
- Calls MIAs often as Fiddlesticks is a beastly ganker with Crowstorm
- Fiddlesticks is a horrible farmer, push your lane often.
- If Fiddlesticks does not come back to his lane after you've killed him, he might be trying to kill you with a surprise Crowstorm.
- Fizz very squishy with low health. Malefic Visions will eat up his life quite hard.
- Be prepared to dodge Chum the Waters.
- Don't be afraid to use autoattacks to harass Fizz, he's very squishy.
- Try to push your lane, Fizz can't farm well.
Difficulty: Extremely Hard
- Request a lane switch if possible, Galio will counter you hard.
- Don't try to harass him, it is a waste of mana since he stacks MR.
- Be prepared to dodge Resolute Smite, it will damage you a lot if you don't.
- Don't push your lane, he can Flash + Idol of Durand with an allied ganker if you are not careful.
Difficulty: Somewhat Easy
- Gragas is a melee, you should harass him hard.
- Be prepared to dodge Barrel Roll.
- Silence Gragas if he starts channeling Drunken Rage.
- Don't get caught out of position, he can Explosive Cask you to your death.
- Always push your lane to prevent Heimerdinger to push with his turrets.
- Stay behind three minions at all times to dodge his Hextech Micro-Rockets.
- If Heimerdinger walks close to you, unleash your combo.
- Ask your jungler to gank him often, Heimerdinger pushes too hard.
- Karthus has no escape and is very squishy, ask for ganks often.
- Harass him often to prevent the godmode Karthus everyone hates.
- Don't stay around at low health for too long, he can finish you off with Requiem.
- Alert your team when Karthus hits level 6.
- Kassadin counters mages, you are not an exception.
- Attempt to silence him to prevent a Null Sphere.
- Push your lane hard, Kassadin can't farm well.
- Be prepared to play defensively when Kassadin hits level 6, you will get raped if you don't.
- Katarina is a melee, harass her often.
- Stay behind minions to prevent Bouncing Blades
- If she uses Shunpo on you, back off and silence her and her ult.
- Call your MIAs, Kat is an unstoppable roamer.
- Stay behind minions to dodge Thundering Shuriken
- Don't bother harass Kennen too often, his sustain will negate it.
- Refrain from using Nether Grasp if Kennen is using Slicing Maelstrom at the same time, you will get stunned.
- Silence Kennen if he uses Lightning Rush towards you, it is likely that he wants to ult.
- You must be skilled at Malzahar to have a chance of winning.
- Try to harass with Call of the Void and push with Malefic Visions to prevent LeBlanc from farming and roaming.
- Once LeBlanc hits level 6, be very cautious.
- You need to pre-empt LeBlanc's combo. This is very hard to do so however, I recommend silencing her every now and then. If she uses Distortion to dodge it, either you Flash out or immediately Nether Grasp + Ignite her, then Malefic Visions after.
- Lux has skillshots that are easy to dodge.
- Pushing your lane will hamper Lux's gold income.
- When on low health, prepare to dodge finales funkeln
- Harass with Malefic Visions often, she is very squishy.
- Malzahar can do the exact same things you can do, so you must plan ahead.
- When engaging, make sure to be the first one to silence the opponent.
- Don't hesitate to not use Null Zone when engaging if you fear that the opponent will Nether Grasp you quicker.
- Keep pushing with Malefic Visions to balance out lanes.
- Mordekaiser is a squishy melee early game, harass him often.
- Stay out of range so you won't get constantly hit by Siphon of Destruction.
- Retreat if he uses Children of the Grave on you.
- Use autoattacks to deplete his shield before harassing with abilities.
- Most Morganas will push with Tormented Soil, counter this by pushing with Malefic Visions
- If Morgana is seriously outpushing you hard for some reason, use Null Zone to help you push back.
- Don't bother harassing back, Black Shield will negate your harass.
- Always be alert to dodge Dark Binding.
- Orianna has superior range in this matchup, try to farm more than harass.
- Be alert to stay away from the ball.
- Wait until she has used Command: Protect before harassing.
- Take your wraiths if you are being denied subsequent minions.
Difficulty: Somewhat easy
- Ryze has no range compared to you, harass him often.
- Deny Ryze farm so he can't be tanky later on.
- If he rushes a Banshee's Veil, push your lane.
- Try not to get caught, his Rune Prison can set you up for death.
- Harass Swain from a distance, he has no range compared to you.
- Retreat if he uses Torment on you.
- If engaging for a kill, always use Ignite to counter his Ravenous Flock.
- Dodge his Nevermove often.
- Harass Talon often, he's melee.
- Avoid his Rake as it damages squishies by a huge amount.\
- If you find yourself losing the lane, push the lane hard.
- Don't let Talon get too farmed or fed, or he will one-shot you in every fight.
- Deny Veigar farm for his Baleful Strike, or he'll one-shot everybody.
- You can still move and attack inside his Event Horizon, just don't touch the edges.
- If you seem to be dying too often to Veigar, consider an early Banshee's Veil.
- Ask for jungler ganks often, Veigar is squishy.
Difficulty: Somewhat easy
- Viktor only beats you if you stay within his range.
- Harass with Call of the Void often, the range will keep you from a safe distance.
- Avoid skirmishes with Viktor, he can silence your Nether Grasp with Chaos Storm if you are not careful.
- Remember to check his item build to see which Augment he is building.
- Vladimir has a terrible early game, capitalize on that by harassing him hard.
- Null Zone will destroy him if you constantly combo him.
- Try to bait his Sanguine Pool before attacking him.
- Your DoT's last through his Sanguine Pool, so be sure to land a Malefic Visions + Ignite combo for an easy kill.
(Meet my second most played mage!)
- You can never reach a good Xerath, so stay back and farm.
- Be prepared to dodge his Arcanopulse.
- Avoid skirmishes with Xerath, he can stun you while you are using Nether Grasp if you badly timed it.
- Push your lane with Malefic Visions if he harasses you too often.
- Like Xerath, you can't reach a good Ziggs most of the time.
- Dodge his Bouncing Bomb often, it is his main source of damage.
- Ziggs lacks a reliable escape ( Satchel Charge requires precision timing), so ask for ganks often.
- Be prepared to Flash out of the Mega Inferno Bomb radius if you are low on health.
Thanks for reading my most in-depth guide I've ever written on my most played champion Malzahar. Sometimes I consider Udyr to be my main, but I can never forget my first loved one, Malzahar.
~ Phil Collins
Soon to come:
Who is Malzahar? Why Malzahar?
Screenshots (I'll try to do so on the weekend).
Credits to jhoijhoi for some of the templates, which you can find here.
May 14 2012: Guide published
May 15 2012: Added "Changelog chapter", added changes according to feedback.
May 16 2012: Overestimated LeBlanc, changed her matchup section.
June 8 2012: Added screenshots
July 19 2012: Added changes according to feedback.
Sept 14 2012: Removed Rylai's Crystal Scepter from the core build.
Oct 3 2012: Edited Anivia in the matchups.
Nov 19 2012: Added some info on runes.
Nov 21 2012: Changed guide title
December 12 2012: SEASON 3 UPDATE! Also, I removed all top-lane Malzahar sections as it is simply not viable now.