Not Updated For Current Season
Malzahar is one of my favorite champions to play. I've seen a lot of people play Malz different ways and found this is my favorite way to play him. I apologize if this is a lengthy guide, but I hope it is helpful. Also, any input is appreciated :)
I use Greater Mark of Magic Penetration because it is helpful not only early, but late game as well. Early game most people start with a low Magic resist so having almost 10 magic pen is very beneficial. Late game many people tend to stack some magic resist. Again this 10 magic pen can be very useful in breaking through their defenses.
I use both Greater Seal of Cooldown Reduction and Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction for cool down reduction because I love having Malz's ult up as much as I can. It also is nice later game when I am able to create two voidlings because my moves have a shorter cool down. Normally one voidling is in its third stage while the other just got summoned. One of my favorite things about cooldown is not only can I use malefic on a creep wave, but late game I can also use it on an enemy not too long after casting it on their creep wave. It allows for me to harass my enemy while simultaneously farming minions.
Lastly I get Greater Quintessence of Ability Power because I like to have some ap early game. With Doran's Ring I max my ap at 30, which can really help get first blood on occasion. They are also helpful because I don't like to get a lot of ap right away making me much weaker without them.
I use 9/0/21 for my masteries for several reasons. Firstly, the 9 points in offense give me both some AP, more cooldowns, and my favorite, 15% spell penetration. This spell penetration can really help if I am facing a tankier team. Secondly, the 21 points in Utility help with mana, exp, cooldowns, and clarity. I find that putting one point in insight can really help my teammates out if I am laning with them or later game if I need to push and they are out of mana. Also with both runes and masteries I have just around 20% cooldown reduction at level 18 which I find really helpful.
I like to bring both Ignite and Clarity as my summoner spells. Ignite to insure that I can get kills if my combo doesn't bring someone down and for just doing damage when in team fights. Clarity I like because I use my skills very frequently causing me to burn through a lot of mana. Also Clarity is very helpful if I am laning with someone because I put one point in Insight, which allows Clarity to give the same amount of mana I recieve to my nearby allies instead of cutting it in half. Clarity helps me stay in the lane early game as well as helps me and my teammates push late game. All too many times have people on my team run out of mana and have to recall causing us to not get a tower down and or inhibitor. It can also be beneficial if I have a healer on your team who is spamming heals and runs out of mana in the middle of a fight. I have tried other summoner spells, all of which have their benefits/downfalls and found that these two are my favorite.
Skill Explanation/Skill Sequence
Every fourth spell Malzahar summons a Voidling that lasts for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 + (50 x level) Health and 20 + (5 x level) Damage.
Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
Malzahar's passive can't be controlled directly. The voidling attacks whoever has Malefic Visions on them. His voidling can be extremely helpful when I am trying to take down a tower or harass and enemy. If it is in his third stage when I start attacking a tower I can easily chip away a lot of the tower's health. Therefore when I am pushing and get to the tower I make sure to not use Malefic Visions. This will allow my voidling to attack the tower instead of creeps. However, I have to be wary if there is an enemy champion near the tower; my voidling will attack them instead even if I didn't cast Malefic Visions. I will sometimes cast Call of the Void in order to summon and let my voidling level. Especially if I'm going after a tower mid/late game because they can do a lot of damage. I try to time summoning the voidling when the creep wave gets a quarter of the way into the lane, meaning the caster creeps are just out of the enemies turret range. This allows my voidling to hit stage two or three without pulling tower aggro. I make sure let my creeps go in first because the tower will switch to my voidling as soon as the creep it is attacking dies.
Call of the Void
Any enemy between the two portals takes damage and is silenced.
Area of Effect:
Cost: 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 mana.
Magic Damage: 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+0.8 per ability power).
Silence: 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 / 3 seconds.
This is a great skill for harassing because it not only silences but does a decent amount of damage throughout the entire game. I try to lead my enemy with it in order to hit them, meaning, if they are running away I put it a step or two in front of them so they get it by it instead of it going off behind them. The same goes for if they are chasing me, I put it a step or two in front so it hits them as they are running at me.
Malzahar lays down an area in which all enemies take a percentage of their health as damage each second for five seconds.
Cooldown: 16 seconds.
Area of Effect:
Cost: 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 / 130 mana.
Percentage Damage: 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 % (+1% per 80 ability power).
This skill is great against high health characters, and awesome late game. Early game it is generally only useful when its underneath someone you have caught in my Nether Grasp or occasionally I like to use it along with Malefic Visions to quickly burn through a creep wave that has a siege minion(the one with a cannon) in it allowing me to push and sometimes take a tower if there is no one in the lane.
Malzahar infects a target dealing damage each second. If the target dies while under Malefic Visions its duration is refreshed and it is passed on to a nearby enemy. Whenever it is passed on to another enemy Malzahar gains mana.
Cooldown: 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 / 7 seconds.
Cost: 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120 mana.
Magic Damage: 80 / 140 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+0.8 per ability power).
Mana Restore: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 .
This ability is great for farming creeps as well as harassing your opponent. It can also be used before my ultimate if someone has a spell shield in order to get rid of the spell shield so my Nehter Grasp doesn't get wasted.
Malzahar suppresses and deals damage, every half second, to his target for 2.5 seconds. Moving or casting any spell will cause Nether Grasp to end early, not doing full damage or suppressing target the entire time.
Cost: 150 mana .
Cooldown: 120 / 100 / 80 seconds.
Total Magic Damage: 250 / 400 / 550 (+1.5 per ability power).
Malz's ult is sometimes tough to use. It suppresses my enemy but I also can't move or cast unless you want to break it off early. This can be dangerous in team fights because most people switch focus to me as soon as I cast my ult. I make sure to use it on an enemy that does a lot of damage or has a lot of interrupts/silences in order to allow my team to easily beat down the enemy team.
I always start with Call of the Void(Q). Then while still on the platform I use Call of the Void 3 times so my next cast creates a Voidling. This Voidling can really help whether I are laning alone or with a partner. My Voidling can help clear the first wave of creeps as well as do some damage to your enemy. This can sometimes get me first blood because people tend to ignore your Voidling until they realize that its doing a ton of damage to them.
Next I get Malefic Visions(E) because this helps farm creeps faster as well as supply me with mana. I always try to use it on the creep that my creeps are focusing on so that it bounces to another creep giving me mana and allowing me to push more easily.
At level 4 I get Null Zone(W) both for the occasional creep wave and more importantly so I have it when I get Nether Grasp. At level 5 I get Malefic Visions again because after the third rank in it I am normally able to keep it going the entire wave, thus giving me quite a bit of mana back.
Of course at 6 I get Nether Grasp(R). After my ult I like to get another two ranks in Call of the Void because it can do a lot of damage and is a great harassing tool. From there I normally pick my skills according to how the game is going. I then get my fourth rank of Malefic Visions for both the mana and damage. I alternate between leveling Call of the Void and Malefic Visions putting one more rank in Null Zone once I have one skill maxed out. I hold off on Null Zone because it is much more effective later game or during team fights for two reasons. It is not very beneficial to get several ranks in it early on because Malefic Visions and Call of the Void have a much higher damage output earlier game. Also Null Zone does a percentage of the targets total health in damage making it do much more damage later game, when people have more health.
My item build for Malzahar is generally very similar if not exactly the same as Riot's recommended build. I always start with Doran's Ring because its has ap, health, and mana regen. All great things for a caster. From there I work to build Catalyst the Protector.If the enemy is doing a lot of damage I'll start with a Ruby Crystal and two pots, or if I'm having mana problems I get a Sapphire Crystal and either some Health Potion or an Elixir of Brilliance. I find that Malz tends to be focused on a lot because he has a silence, suppression, as well as an aoe. Therefore, I like to build him with a little more hp right off the bat. Catalyst the Protector is also great because I gain mana and health whenever I level, allowing me to stay in my lane longer without having many problems.
Seeing as how most people buy boots fairly early I pick up Boots of Speed next so I can chase or run away. Following my boots I finish my Rod of Ages. Once i have this I am generally able to stay in the lane for a very long time which allows me to both gain a lot of experience and accumulate quite a bit of gold.
I finish my Sorcerer's Shoes next in order to enhance my overall damage, because I now have about 30 magic pen. Following Sorcerer's Shoes I like to start building Rylai's Crystal Scepter by getting either Amplifying Tome or Blasting Wand. Because Malz has decent ap ratios I'm normally able to still get kills relatively easily without stacking a lot of ap earlier.
I always change my item build from there depending on how the battle is going so I split my item build into Three parts labeled A,B and C.
A: Surviving troubles
Ideally I like to finish my Rylai's Crystal Scepter before buying another item, however if I'm having problems surviving I'll either buy a Negatron Cloak or a Chain Vest. If I ended up buying a Negatron Cloak I upgrade it to either an Abyssal Scepter or Banshee's Vail. If I ended up buying a Chain Vest I'll upgrade it into Zhonya's Hourglass or on rare occasions if I'm being focused on a lot I'll upgrade it to Thornmail. I generally don't like to get Thornmail because I then lose out on ap, but it can give a lot of armor and since I have almost 3k health in the end it can do quite a bit of damage to attacking enemies.
B: Enemies stacking Magic Resist
If the enemy is stacking a lot of magic resist I hold off on my Rylai's Crystal Scepter and get a Void Staff instead. From there I'll get Rylai's Crystal Scepter and move onto a Rabadon's Deathcap.
C: No problems surviving/no magic resist
If I'm not having any problems surviving and the enemy isn't stacking Magic Resist I'll finish my Rylai's Crystal Scepter and move on to buying a Needlessly Large Rod. I upgrade this to a Rabadon's Deathcap. Lastly I like to get a Void Staff. However, if the enemy has bought very little or no magic resist I like to get an item that offers me more ap or protection such as Archangels Staff or Zhonya's Hourglass, sometimes even Deathfire Grasp for the active, which can be used without breaking my ult.
If I get into a very lengthy game and or have gotten fed enough that I can buy another item I sell my Doran's Ring and buy something to help me survive, break magic resist, or just do more damage depending on the game.
A Quick Explaination of each Item:
This is one of my favorite starting items. You can't buy a health potion with it anymore, but since I have my voidling ready for the start of a battle, I generally am able to do most of the harassing without taking much damage.
Rod of Ages
I buy this item is great for survivability and staying in my lane longer. Since in team fights people almost always turn to me once I ult I need some kind of health to withstand a hit or two.
These are great boots for casters because these along with my runes gives me about 30 magic penetration, which is what most peoples base magic resist is without items.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
This item not only gives me more damage, but it also gives me more survivability. Since I don't take ghost or flash and Malz doesn't have any escape abilities, I tend to build him a little bit more hp heavy than most would. Lastly, it is a great item for not only team fights, but chasing someone down. The slow may only be 15%, but that is normally enough to allow me and or my team to either get away or catch up to someone.
This item is pretty self explanatory. A lot of ap which means a lot of damage.
This item is great against people or teams who stack a lot of magic resist. Along with my masteries and my boots it gives me 49% spell penetration and 30 magic penetration.**It is important to take into consideration how useful this staff will actually be!! Remeber that magic penetration is applied in a specific order. It reduces the 30 magic pen first and then takes the % off of their magic resist. Click anywhere to be transferred to the magic penetration wikia page**.
Abyssal Scepter Thornmail Zhonya's Hourglass
These items all have different uses and are not meant for every game. These are situational and I tend to swap them out with either Rabadon's Deathcap or Void Staff depending on each game.
Earlier game I like to focus on farming creeps with the occasional harassment of my enemies. Its possible to get kills, especially if I are laning with someone, before I get my ultimate, but his ultimate is normally where I get my first couple kills. Once I get my ultimate Its very simple to get kills assuming an enemy doesn't break my ult. When using Nether Grasp I try to make sure the enemy is close enough to me that I can cast Malefic Visions right afterwards. If the enemy is right in the edge of my ult I most likely wont be able to get Malefic Visions on them which can sometimes allow them to live with very little life. I continually use Malefic Visions on creeps not only for mana and gold, but also because it can transfer to an enemy if they aren't paying close enough attention. Sometimes If I'm pushing too hard and am afraid of the enemy ganking me, or if they have a jungler I use Malefic Visions only when the creeps are closer to my tower. Malz is a fast enough farmer that he can generally clear a creep wave before it ever reaches his tower. In these scenarios I use Malefic Visions on any enemy that gets in range and then switch to using it on creeps when they are closer to my tower. Its a great harassment tool and can help get a kill, especially if used with Ignite. I make sure if I end up laning with someone that I am courteous and try to share creep kills. Meaning I don't always cast Malefic Visions or Call of the Void. Its nice to get a lot if creep kills but it can also take away from my teammates gold intake which can potentially harm my team late game.
Mid game can be a bit more challenging because most teams start ganking and since, as previously stated, I don't have any escapes I try to play a bit more cautiously. Whenever there is a team fight I make sure to throw Null Zone down in the middle of it. It may not do a lot of damage at this point, but it can turn the battle around sometimes. I also use Malefic Visions right as a team fight starts because it is normally refreshed by the time someone is almost dead, allowing me to use it on them and have it bounce to another enemy without them expecting it. Nether Grasp can be a life saver for both me and my team in fights. For example if Twitch appears and uses Spray and Pray it can devestate a team, however, if as soon as he appears I use Nether Grasp on him, my team can easily kill him and take minimal to no damage from his ult. Malz is like a lot of casters, in which I try to stay in the back of a fight so that the other team has a hard time focusing on me.
Late game is when Malz is amazing. His Null Zone along with his Nether Grasp do a ton of damage and can devastate teams when in a team fight. Null Zone can severely damage enemy tanks who stack health which can allow my team to more easily kill the enemy carries. Call of the Void also does a lot of damage and silences targets for three seconds which can be very beneficial to me and my team. Call of the Void can stop several peoples ultimates too! For example, Katarina's Death Lotus, or Galio's Idol of Durand. Malefic Visions can also burn through an enemy team if they are low on health allowing meto sometimes kill one or more people if they stay grouped while running away.