Malzahar Build Guide by Shadow Palm
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.
Malzahar is a arguably the best 1v1 champion in the game. Between his Ult (the almighty Face Lazer), a nuke/silence, 2 heavy DoT spells, and a vicious pet to wail on your enemies he can deal out a massive nuke hit including a full-on suppress over the course of roughly 3 seconds, reducing most enemies to a writhing pool of muck. His weak side, however, is against multiple opponents, as he has only 2 multi-target spells; both of which can be easily dodged if you are unskilled or distracted. In my build, I play Malz as not just a powerful nuke, but a powerful multi-opponent combatant capable of winning 2v1 in most scenarios.
Why should you use my build?
With my Malzahar build, I go more for effects than strait AP, and although I end up with less AP than I could, I do end up with the following effects:
15% slow effect on all abilities +3 seconds after they are over
25% spell vamp
Ignoring (15%)50MR in my target
All in all, I find that it works great to be able to still hit hard and also Spam/Heal/debuff constantly against my enemies.
Pros and Cons
Great pushing capacity due to Malefic Visions
Has an epic nuke/disable ability for an ult
Great pursuer/team fighter due to mass slows/silence/DoT (with Rylai's Crystal Scepter)
Great mid hero very capable of turning ganks even early game
Doesn't need large manapool/mana regen if Malefic Visions is used well/correctly
With spell vamp, not as vulnerable during Nether Grasp (Face Lazer)
His Call of the Void is a cheap but Huge nuke
Great harass in his Malefic Visions
Relies on good placement of all abilities to shine in combat
Nether Grasp disables him
Small mana pool
My item choices are fairly simple, but I will give a quick rundown:
Morello's Evil Tome- 20% CDR and 12 mana per 5 make for a good item, 75 AP is just Icing on the cake.
Sorcerer's Shoes- 20 magic pen in a pair of boots is a caster's dream come true.
Will of the Ancients- 25% spell vamp gives you the survivability to stay in lane and also take hits from assassins, and have a nice heal during your combo. 80 Ap rocks. Bonus: 30 ap and 25% spell vamp to your entire team.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter- giving a 15% slow on Malefic Visions means they can't get away, and make easy targets for your entire combo.
Abyssal Scepter- This gives you MR which is nice. The 70 Ap gives you some more punching power, but more importantly, an aura that reduces MR by 20. MPen rocks, but reduction lets your team hit harder too.
Rabadon's Deathcap- this needs almost no explanation; you have Ap, and this makes the number much bigger.
Runes and masteries
9/0/21 for Magic pen and a little CDR and Ap. grabbing more cdr in the utility tree.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration- mpen from this and the quint means with Sorcerer's Shoes you have 30 mpen (and 15%). need I say more?
Greater Seal of Armor- 13 bonus armor from lvl 1 (aside from a free Cloth Armor) gives you a little bit more damage reduction, which is nice for casters.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction- this, Morello's Evil Tome, and masteries makes 38% CDR at lvl 18. Nether Grasp has a 49 second cooldown in this situation.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power- 10 Ap is nice to give a little extra oomph beginning game.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration- almost 2 mpen just adds to the pool.
Ghost and Ignite make for a good Malzahar combo. Ghost lets you get in quickly for good skill placement ( Flash is just one shot, where Ghost gives you 10+ seconds to run around killing things) Ignite gives a little bit more of a hit during your ult. An alternative to Ignite is Teleport. It gives you nice map mobility which is always good to have, if you don't need the extra damage.
Before I begin, for any of you who don't want to read a big detailed guide on how I combo and play with Malzahar here is the short and sweet version:
Clearing creep waves:
Hitting heroes: Malefic Visions and Call of the Void to harrass. Don't use Null Zone unless you need to quickly kill creeps, are in the jungle, or are full comboing.
Killing Heroes: Call of the Void to start. Once it hits, Malefic Visions followed by Null Zone (lead them a bit) and when they are on the pool, Nether Grasp them in the face.
Beginning game, I grab Meki Pendant and 2 health potions and head mid. This gives me the ability to start out aggressive against almost anyone. The reason I grab Malefic Visions first instead of Call of the Void is because, yes you can get your minion out on first cast with Call of the Void in lane, but Malefic Visions is just more consistent, does the same dmg lvl, and most importantly, if played right can still kill multiple guys (you get more gold as well as mana back). The big part of the way that I play is using Malefic Visions as your all around ability. Harassing, pushing, and voidling control (I'll address this later).
The most important thing about Malefic Visions however, is that playing with it right takes care of most mana issues you will have. The trick beginning game, while the damage is small, is to auto attack enemy minions that aren't getting hit by your minions. When the focus of your minions' aggro is near death, throw visions on it. It will die very soon after and refund you a little mana. More importantly, it will jump to the nearest enemy minion with its timer reset. If you are doing it right, this minion will now also be close to dead. Attack it if your minions don't to guarantee that it dies, then the entire process begins anew, refunding you a little bit more mana. Once you get the system down, and throw visions first on the creep farthest forward, the average battle will see it hopping from one creep to the next until not only are they all dead, but you gained more mana from Malefic Visions than you originally spent to cast it (giving you much room in your small mana pool for missteps and harassing). When you add your minion into this equation, it works much faster and hits 2x as hard (if not more).
The combo for killing heroes is to start with Call of the Void. with Rylai's Crystal Scepter this slows them down and makes them easier to hit with the rest of the combo. You will then hit with Malefic Visions, Null Zone and finally Nether Grasp. For chasing enemies, Malefic Visions with Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a perma-slow which allows your team to get there if you are unable to finish them.
In team fights, you want to start with Call of the Void lead the other heroes by a little bit, and as soon as the engagement starts, lay down your Null Zone. The damage and slow could be enough to either turn the tide, or prompt the other team to split away to avoid the damage. Either way, throw your Malefic Visions on the squishiest and/or most dangerous enemy (example Ryze, Annie, Ashe, Caitlyn etc). The spell vamp from Will of the Ancients will keep you alive during Nether Grasp. Be sure to get your ult off immediately, and don't be afraid to initiate along side your tank as long as you go for the other team's burst/ carry with your ult.
Often, squishy heroes such as Karthus who usually don't get much MR will drop immediately to Malefic Visions and Nether Grasp. If you can get a quick stab at them and then get back, you can easily turn a 5v5 into a 4v5.
How to use your Voidling: the Minion from Hell
Many people say that your Summon Voidling is nearly useless because it is not controllable. However, when you get down the patterns it follows, you can accurately predict its actions without using Malefic Visions. Usualy your voidling will follow this list for it's priority of targets:
1. Regardless of what the current behavior of the voidling is, once cast it will aggro to the closest enemy possessing the Malefic Visions debuff.
2. If it has no current target, it will aggro to whatever is taking auto attack hits from you if it is close enough (roughly with 2-3 spaces).
3. If it has no current target, it will aggro to the nearest enemy unit.
Even if it is engaged, it will break aggro from whatever it is fighting (regardless of the reason) if you leave a certain radius from it.
Naturally, the most usual way to use your voidling is to have it come out when the front-most minions are at less than half hp. Throw Malefic Visions on the first one. Your voidling will get stronger as time passes. If you are able to get this to begin close to tower, you can clear the creeps and begin to attack the tower. Your voidling will quickly begin attacking the tower as well. Due to it's fast attack speed and decent damage it can deal very nice damage to the tower during it's last 7 seconds of life.
Against enemy champions, if you can, either place your minion about 10 seconds before you will combo. If such preparation is not possible, try to save it for your beginning spells. Getting your voidling out early can add alot of damage to your combo.
Your minion makes for a good harass along side your malefic visions. If your voidling is about to hit it's final transformation, throw Malefic Visions on your lane friend and watch them run back to tower to avoid getting face-raped by your minion. This can push them back and/or out of lane or just deal enough damage for you to ghost in and kill them (even near tower if you do it right). Remember, your ult has a decent range and I can't tell you how many early kills I have gotten just barely out of range of tower.
Now you may ask me why, although it is a huge AoE nuke, I leave Call of the Void at lvl 1 for so long, focusing instead on Malefic Visions. Simple. They both scale the exact same with Ap (80%). With Call of the Void, you get increased damage and mana cost per level, and a slightly increased silence timer. With Malefic Visions however, you get more mana return (which balances out the higher mana cost except when it overcompensates), increases damage, and over 5 levels, drops the cooldown by over half (15 seconds to 7). Also, Malefic Visions is imperative to lane pushing, and is more consistent for hitting heroes. Especially early game, you get the same bonus for Call of the Void as leveling up by simply getting ability power.
The reason that Null Zone is kept at level 1 until the last is because it has horrible increase per level. It increases less than double damage for the 4 extra levels. Grabbing only 100ap will equal the benefit of one more level of Null Zone, whereas a level in Malefic Visions or Call of the Void will give other benefits (CDR/DMG/Silence/Mana Return).
Things to Look out for
Even with nice caster survivability items, you still aren't invincible. So some specific heroes to look out for are:
Alistar: His ult will remove all of your debuffs (including your ult) making him a bad target while his ult is up. on top of this, he has 2 stuns/disables. This is bad news because spell vamp does nothing without you casting spells.
Olaf: His ult allows him to move during your ult and get away. Don't waste your ult when it won't do much.
Anyone with Quicksilver Sash, this will remove your ult, but it has 2x the cooldown as long as you have close to max CDR, so it isn't a huge deal. Jut pick targets who don't have this if you can.
LeBlanc: The most dangerous assassin for you, (simply because of a 4 second silence). Other assassins can just be comboed on and they will die. Leblanc, if played right, will jump in and leave you quiet and dead. If you can take her by surprise however, you can deal with her faster than most.
Veiger: no special explanation needed here. His ult just kills any Ap stacker.
All in all, I prefer playing Malzahar with item effects over straight AP, as it helps with more consistent kills and keeping you in lane and keeping your abilities deadly. Malzahar is an amazing 1v1 champion, but with the right items, he can 1v2 without much problem. When played right, he is an incredible asset to a team.