Not Updated For Current Season
Malzahar is underplayed and often poorly played Champion. He is able to solo nearly all other champions in the Middle Lane, obliterate opponents in one of the Side Lanes, and win team fights as long as he and his partners know what they are doing. I have been playing Malzahar since the day he arrived at the League and have watched many others take up this Champion, albeit not always successfully.
Malzahar is a mixed bag. He has amazing AoE damage output, the ability to summon a minion (though his Voidling is often underrated), and a stun that is almost guaranteed to remove an enemy Champion from a fight. On the other hand, Malzahar has literally no escape mechanism. The only thing he can do without Ghost or Flash is to silence pursuers, and this method is only useful in a few situations. Additionally, Malzahar is, like most casters, squishy. A good team will recognize this weakness and vigorously attack him at any possible chance in a fight. Lastly, the Prophet of the Void has horrible mana management in the early stages of the game. Though Malefic Visions does restore a fair amount of damage, it is far too unreliable, and a mediocre (or worse) Malzahar will often find himself out of mana and will waste a summoner spell by choosing Clarity.
There isn't much to say about Malzahar's masteries. They are fairly obvious and fairly basic for a ranged Ability Power-based Champion. Basically, emphasize his Cooldown Reduction, Ability Power, and Mana Regeneration. Movement Speed is also a good choice.
Ignite: For any caster, Ignite is an excellent choice for a Summoner Spell. With it, Malzahar has two DoT spells at Level 1 and can use both effectively to gain First Blood in a Side Lane. The often ignored Healing Regeneration Deduction component is amazing when taking down Champions who regain their Health speedily such as Warwick, Dr. Mundo, and Vladimir. Whether you are aiming for First Blood, a kill on a turret, or just harassment in general, Ignite is one of the best choices for Malzahar.
The next Summoner Spell is more open-ended and largely depends on one's playing style.
Ghost: Ghost is a great spell. Defensively, it will serve as the only way to get Malzahar out of a gank or flee from an incoming and destructive Champion. Offensively, Ghost enables Malzahar to quickly engage, cast, and kill an enemy; and using Ghost he can kill fleeing Champions with an easily positioned Call of the Void or Malefic Visions. Either way, this is a great choice for Malzahar.
Flash: Flash is the best alternative to Ghost. By using it defensively, Malzahar can escape enemy champions. Conversely, he can leap from the jungle onto an unsuspecting Champion and utilize all of his abilities very quickly. When deciding between Ghost and Flash, remember this: Ghost is a better ability for finishing off enemies while Flash is the best for engaging them.
On the other hand, there are Summoner Spells that one might consider for Malzahar but are actually useless.
Clarity: This may seem like a tempting choice since Malzahar has such horrible mana management early game. However, note the phrase "early game". After Level 8 and with an Archangel's Staff, Clarity is completely obsolete. Both early and late game, Clarity can and will never give you the same amount of kills you would get with Ignite or Ghost/Flash.
Exhaust: With the limited range of Nether Grasp, it seems logical that you want to slow enemy Champions to get into range. However, Ghost does the same thing. And, should you kill the Champion that you have Exhausted, you are vulnerable to a counter-gank. On the other hand, Ghost's ability will not have depleted yet, and you will be able to escape. By experience, I know this as a fact.
Marks: Grab Greater Marks of Insight. Magic Penetration ensures that even tanks will feel the burn of your spells.
Seals: Seals are more open-ended. To help my mana regeneration at the game's beginning, Greater Seals of Clarity are highly effective.
Glyphs: There are no alternatives. To be effective, Malzahar must ensure that Nether Grasp is off its cooldown as often as possible; the long cooldowns of all his other spells also require Greater Glyphs of Focus.
Quintessences: Similarly, a good Malzahar ought to increase his Cooldown Reduction by investing in Greater Quintessences of Focus. On the other hand, if you are struggling with serving in team fights long enough to annihilate with your spells, you should probably equip some HP quints.
I start the game by ensuring Survivability and Mana Management with . The main disadvantage is that Riot recently increased its price so that one cannot buy a immediately. If you want a good alternative that will give you some of those juicy Health Potions, grab . This will also enable you to build faster, thus moving you more quickly along to . At the next opportunity, buy your . Although some guides will still tell you to equip , remember that Cooldown Reduction has a far greater priority than Magic Penetration, unless of course you are facing a team with a surplus of Tanks. Next, buy or if you can, . Not only does this item solve your mana problems, it also packs quite the punch. In fact, stacking this item is one of the best methods of maximizing Ability Power in the game. With Archangel's Staff in hand, Malzahar arrives at a crossroads. If he is facing either (a) squishy, weak, and/or beginning Champion(s), Malzahar ought to focus on buying . One needs only to look at its stats and abilities to realize why this is an excellent choice. Conversely, should you be facing (a) harassing, damaging, or resilient Champion(s), is the perfect hybrid of Offensive and Defensive capabilities to help you. After that, pick up another Archangel's Staff. This will increase your Ability Power significantly and ensure that you can spam spells with little mana downtime. Thereafter, buy the item that you did not previously. If you got the Deathcap, buy Rylai's and vice-versa. For your final item, evaluate the enemy team. If most of their Damage is being done by more tank-ish Fighters or you are constantly targeted by Casters, grab for both its Defensive and Offensive capabilities. However, if the only thing stopping you from reaching your potential comes from enemies interrupting Nether Grasp, is the best choice. If your team is destroying or your enemies are stupid enough not to immediately aim for you, buy another Deathcap.
Malzahar should never, ever, under any circumstance, choose or first. allows you to farm, gain mana, and harass enemy Champions at Level 1. Call of the Void will destroy your mana very quickly; the same goes for Null Zone only more-so. At Level 2, get Call of the Void for its harassing potential (it is an AoE silence and nuke after all); do not level up Null Zone before Level 5 because it is completely useless without your Ultimate. Switch off between Malefic Visions and Call of the Void except at Levels 5, 10, 15, 17, and 18 at which points Null Zone is the best choice. Needlessly to say, select whenever you can.
: Every four spells, you get to use a very underrated passive and summon a Voidling. Every seven seconds it grows and increases its strength, but the Voidling only lasts for 21 seconds. Its uncontrollably in a technical sense, but keep in mind that it will attack whomever has or has been affected last by Malefic Visions.Summon Voidling is extremely versatile; use it to harass, farm from a safe distance, take down a turret, whatever you want. And, if you can spam your skills fast enough, you can have multiple Voidlings alive and wreaking havoc.
: This skill is a versatile, silencing nuke. Even better, it's an AoE. This is Malzahar's main damaging move and can also function as a mid-to-late game farming mechanism. Basically, Call of the Void is an engager and a finisher, so use it whenever you can. Be wary, though, before approximately Level 7, as this skill is a giant drain of mana. Other effective uses of Call of the Void are to scout bushes and interrupt channeling abilities (e.g. Fiddlesticks' ultimate before the teleport and Nunu's as his slow is occurring).
: This skill seems to be horribly used. First of all, it is a complete waste of mana early game unless you can drop it beneath Nether Grasp. Farming with it is a terrible idea; it is not, say, Morgana's AoE. Remember that it does damage based on the maximum health of those standing in it. Hence, it often tends to tickle minions at the cost of a significant slice of Malzahar's mana. Null Zone has two primary uses: use it under one of your turrets under siege to deal damage to your enemies tanks, who will take a generous amount of damage; additionally, use when enemies are impaired from moving or are about to be (from, say, Nether Grasp). To add to your harassment, drop this skill under someone about to resurrect from Guardian Angel or Zilean's ultimate.
: This skill is a gem. A good Malzahar employs it as a farming, harassment, and killing mechanism. At early levels, make sure it passes from minion to minion at all costs to restore your mana. This ability to jump makes Malefic Visions a helpful spell for you and a dangerous one for your enemies. Use it on fleeing enemies with a few drops of blood left; only good things can result. I've gotten a pentakill with it from fleeing, wounded Champions who decided to stack with my Malefic Visions on one of them. While this is an extreme example, you now understand the utility of this spell.
: A long, damaging stun is an excellent addition for a team, and Malzahar has one. The only downside is that it also stuns him himself. This can be countered by planning head (i.e. using your skills before casting, especially Null Zone and Malefic Visions). In team fights, Nether Grasp essentially guarantees a kill. However, do not be greedy. If the other team sports a powerful, skilled, and/or fed Champion, feel free to stun him with this skill to temporarily remove him from the fight. Such a strategy can change the tide of a team fight. I must give a warning, though. Nether Grasp CAN be interrupted. This CAN ruin your day. A Champion with a silence/stun/interrupt may therefore take priority. If you find yourself tearing your hair out because someone always seems to ruin Nether Grasp, get an early Banshee's Veil.
Malzahar is a pretty straightforward Champion. Farm with and harass with or both. Once you reach Level 6 though, you will focus completely on killing enemy Champions with a well placed . These are basic directions for preparing complete devastation.
First, preheat the oven. No matter how awesome may be, you will not instantly kill someone with it. To ensure a kill, begin by harassing enemy Champions by DoTing them, hitting them with Call of the Void, or even popping underneath the feet of Turret-Huggers.
Second, constantly check that you are cooking them properly. Be patient. Do not engage immediately; look for opportunities. Perhaps an ally has come to help you kill the Champion and is waiting in a nearby bush. He will replace the harassment stage; initiate with as soon as possible. Additionally, be mindful of enemy Summoner Spells. Do not unleash hell only to find that the target has healed and flashed away.
Third, cook until well-done. Now that you have weakened your enemy and have found the perfect time, obliterate him. Drop a underneath him, cast if you can, and destroy him with . Hopefully, your Voidling is assisting you in this endeavor and is rapidly increasing your damage output.
Fourth, remove your masterpiece from the oven. If your opponent has barely escaped from your onslaught, finish him with another or a well-placed . Congratulations, you have discovered the ease of Malzahar's destruction.
Team Fights: Always be there for your team when (hopefully) your tank engages. Stand far enough away from the action so as to dodge AoE attacks while being close enough to devastate the other team. Use to silence Casters and other Ranged Champions; cast underneath the battle, specifically underneath Champions with surplus maximum health. If your team is in danger of a fed, overpowered Champion, be sure to him. It will buy your team the time it needs to either eradicate him or focus on the rest of the team. If you are not in this situation, cast Nether Grasp either on a Squishy opponent and guarantee a kill or use it against a Champion who has been trying to kill you the entire fight. Obviously, spam your spells; use them whenever their cooldown expires to ensure a victorious team fight.