Not Updated For Current Season
I'm well aware of the general response this build will receive. There is virtually no love for MET in the community right now, or at least none on the forums. However I have experienced great success with the tome and rather than attempt to argue mathematically or gold per stat with anyone I'd just like to share my practical experience with Malz and the tome. The most important thing to keep in mind when playing Malz is that you're worthless if your dead. I find that I would always rather go 0-0-0 on the mid and outfarm the enemy than get myself killed while trying pull some ridiculous stunt. Malefic visions is an amazing farming tool and it can easily replenish your mana, making it easy to stay on the lane for long periods while maintaining a good level of farming and harass. Another good thing to keep in mind is that with flash you are a godly ganker. At lvl 6 if you ever see a sidelane in trouble use malefic to push back the mid and go to help. No champ can stand up to an E,R combo from Malz if they are a couple levels below you. Especially considering you have a teammate(s) and, if you time it right, a Voidling to help drop them. If you can play smart there are almost no champs who can out DM you and your AOE Q and W will greatly help in teamfights. SO DON'T FEED
If you can't tell already, I am generally afraid of death as Malz. This stems from the fact that not only is Malz very squishy, but I am deathly allergic to feeding. For this reason I have stuck with my Fortitude Quints and Yellows to help counteract the softness. I will also preach Focus Blues for all eternity as your ult is a guaranteed kill if used properly and the more Q's, W's, and E's you can drop on enemies the better. Finally I run Insight Reds simply because in any game where you can get your build up as Malz the enemy WILL build MR so any help you can get is necessary. If you want to substitute in any AP or Mp5 I would suggest Potency Quints and Replenishment Yellows. I also go with all flat runes simply because in my opinion its better to have a greater impact from your runes earlier on, the build should provide your real stat increases in mid and late game. If I kill you at lvl 6 it doesn't matter that in 5 lvls your per lvl runes will be worth more than mine.
100% Absolutely need that 15% penetration from Archaic Knowledge, so the minimum 9 points in Offense are not up for argument, the AP and CDR leading up to Archaic are also great. One point gets thrown away on Deadliness, unless your running Exhaust but once your Rylai's is up you'll have plenty of slow from your abilities. Next is the 21 points in Utility. These are far more flexible as you may want the extra movement speed from Quickness, or the extra time with Blue Buff from Utility Mastery. However I find that all of the mana based masteries are a must have, along with the 6% CDR you get from Intelligence. I am also a huge fan of the money greed provides and the 15% Presence of the Master takes off your summoners spells cooldowns. I also take experience masteries because if you can hit lvl 6 before an enemy it's time you ****ted on them.
There are really two different ways that I start off on Malz. For 95% of the champs in the game I will buy a Meki and 2 pots. This is simply a good way to start as Malz because the Mp5 is necessary to farm well at low levels and pots are necessary to stay in the lane long enough for your next buy. On that note we move on to the second option I employ. If you are facing a champion like Kassadin, Teemo, MF, or basically someone who can harass better than Malz (this also depends heavily on your skill with Q) it is often desirable to start with boots and 3 pots. Just remember that all you need to do is stay comparable in gold and experience until lvl 6 at which point you should be able to DM almost every champ in the game (especially with the newest Vlad nerf ;P). On your first return to base I always suggest waiting until you can finish a Fiendish Codex and get Boots 1 at a minimum. If you can get your Sorc's Shoes at this point also then you've done a good job farming and will likely win the battle for mid or whatever lane you are on. Now on to your Tome.
Here it is. The attempt to sell Morello's to the critics. I buy the Tome over DFG for one simple reason. Gold. I respect the argument that Kage's Lucky Pick provides enough gold to cover some of the difference in price. I also understand that the active on DFG is powerful and provides a great anti-tank weapon that is very useful to a character like Malz. All this taken into consideration, I find it much easier to finish MET and get a kill with it than to wait to finish DFG or try to get a kill with a Pick and a Codex. The money that I get with these early game kills then helps pay for the rest of my build. And lets face it, everything in a build for a caster like Malz is leading into Rabadon's. My other defense for MET is that while 2 Mp5 may be insignificant from a Gold per Stat perspective, I really feel the difference in the lane. Back in the days where I ran DFG I would consistently find myself OOM in situations where one more Q or E would result in a kill. And finally, 15 AP is 15 AP. It's not life changing, but on a character like Malz who scales so well with AP (80% on Q + E and 150% on your R) that translates to a good amount of damage. Especially when you consider the number of times your E is going to proc. If Malefic Visions bounces 2-3 times per cast you are getting that 80% scaling for every one of those targets. This is also worth considering when taking into account that your Q + W are AOE damage. Again the Mp5 and AP are not the reasons why I value MET, its the drop in price. If you want to substitute DFG for MET you may perform better or see very little difference. But with my style MET is a great item and a slight improvement over DFG.
After the MET (or DFG) your build becomes extremely self explanatory. Rylai's is next as it provides you with some health that will really help keep you alive if the enemy team tries a gank or if an early teamfight starts. It also gives you a slow you can use to pick off squishies with and some decent AP to improve your damage. Next is the real turning point in your build. The Hat. Rabadon's provides you with amazing killing power, you will immediately gain the ability to obliterate any dps on their team in a one vs one. It more importantly vastly improves your ability to harass before team fights. Once their tank has taken a couple hit and runs from your Malefic he will immediately lose a good deal of his will to fight. Also by now your Null Zone has a few points in it and will tick for some amazing percental damage during a teamfight.
Now comes the flexible part of the build. This will completely change depending on the enemies team comp and how well you are performing. If you find yourself the center of all the focus (quite possible when you consider how much people hate your ult) you may want to build some tanky items in order to keep yourself throwing out pain as long as possible. For these I suggest Zhonya's Hourglass and Banshee's Veil. Not only does Zhonya's provide you with good armor and a useful active but it also helps your deadliness. And let's face it, if you're fighting against AP DPS a Banshee's Veil is arguably the best counter. In case you aren't being focused or if it just doesn't scare you, you may finish the build as I've shown above. Will of the Ancients not only provides you with AP, but its aura will help your team and Spell Vamp combined with multiple Malefic Visions ticking (Yay CDR) is some great survivability. Void Staff is important late game to cut through some of the MR your opponents are bound to have by now.
Other items you may want to consider include:
Lich Bane - Very powerful item that gives you multiple useful stats including a passive that can mix some good AD damage into your rotation. I rarely build it due to the expense but that is hardly a reason to reject it, especially late game when you should have plenty of farm money. Very much so worth your investment.
Abyssal Sceptor - Especially if you are having trouble dealing damage or if enemies are running in on you. The AP combined with the Magic Pen aura can help turn around a dangerous situation.
Archangel's/Rod of Ages - Both very standard caster items you can use. However, I don't find that you scale well enough with them in the early game.
Mejai's Soulstealer - I really only build Mejai's if I know all four of the people I am playing with and I trust them. I generally dislike being unsure of how much damage I am putting out and the fluctuating stacks tend to mess up how well i adapt my rotation to different situations. That being said, Mejai's is obviously one of the most potentially powerful items in the game. However I do not believe a build that relies on a snowball item is trustworthy most of the time. Its very rare that you will always be fed enough to merit the money, unless you are a KS'ing ******.
Deathfire Grasp - Been there, covered that. Great item, build it instead of Morello's if you really want it. No downsides if you prefer it over MET.
Obviously I won't cover every item that you could put on Malz. These are just the one's that I give the most consideration to.
Pump that E. Putting your first point into Call of the Void is generally the safest way to start the game as it is your best harass at lvl 1. After that its all about the visions. Visions is the best ability you can have pumped because to be honest it is constantly underestimated. I find that on multiple occasions I can get some free damage on an opponent because they stand carelessly close to a visions plagued minion. It is also far more reliable than your Q because let's face it, horizontal delayed skill shots aren't the easiest things to pull off. And every time you miss with your call its precious mana down the drain. Also enemies that are at full health will often stand in the lane even with a rank 3 Malefic ticking on their faces. This leads up to my favorite kill method. Hit a full opponent with a Malefic (directly or with a bounce it doesn't matter). Now wait for your Malefic to come off cooldown. Throw up a Call of the void just behind your enemy, if they run into it (now they are really hurting) you have just been given a kill. Immediately Flash, E + R. That's a total of four spells. This means that even if you aren't trying to time it, chances are a Voidling is up. With a pumped Malefic ticking under your ult and a Voidling pounding their face, you win. Even on the rare occasion that a champ survives this you should still be able to throw one final Q or just auto-attack with your Voidling for a kill.
Now to the part most people will disagree with. Leave Null Zone alone. The fact of the matter is that with the little AP you will have before your Rabadon's, Null Zone is not very powerful. It is also alot simpler to kill someone on mid when all you have to aim is your Q. Also Null Zone is not good enough harass or farming to merit early pumping, it is a great skill that will do awesome damage but you should wait until your Malefic and Call are pumped before you move on to Null Zone.
I will put these in the order of their usefulness with my build. Clarity is obviously not as important in a build with Mp5 runes or a more mana intense item selection, but mine is neither of these.
Flash - NEED IT. NEEEEEEEED IT. Flash will not only give you the ability to face roll squishies who think they are in the clear, it will also provide a "Save your ***" button in many situations. Once you start getting your rotation speed up, Flash will allow you to drop Malefic and Nether Grasp on an opponent before they can even Flash out themselves.
Clarity - Not only does Clarity allow you to stay in the lane before your Malefic is strong enough to refill you mana pool, but it also adds an extra element of surprise along with Flash. An enemy with half health will feel very confident facing a Malz who is not "in range" and who is "OOM". However, both of your summoner skills can change that situation very quickly, and any opponent at half health is just plain food to Malz.
Ignite - Not only is ignite true damage that can be activated without interrupting your ult, it is also a great tool against champs like Vlad who have the ability to regen through your harass. It is also worth considering taking the Burning Embers mastery for that extra AP. (Although that would mean going 10-0-20 since losing Archaic Knowledge is out of the question).
Teleport - Always good if you consistently have trouble staying healthy in the lane. Go buy your next item but don't miss out on any experience. Also useful for teleporting to a ward for a gank without a MIA call. Generally useful, but not specifically any good for Malz.
Ghost/Cleanse - Meh, they have their uses. I will always take Flash over Ghost for Malz though. Also Cleanse is just a skill I was never fond of.
Clairvoyance/Exhaust/Fortify - No
Heal/Rally/Smite/Revive - **** No
I sincerely hope you are on mid. Malz can sidelane but I can't think of any situation where I would prefer the sidelane. Assuming you are on mid you want to chill out. Take some CS with your auto-attack and throw your Q 2-3 times for harass before you hit lvl 2. Now its time to start the Visions. Begin the mega-farm. Keep your Malefic bouncing so you have the mana to Q harass, and focus on getting money faster than your opponent. Rinse and Repeat until lvl 5. Now you have 3 points in your E so your ready to prep your first kill of the game. Keep in mind that you never want to commit to anything on mid unless you can see four enemies on the mini-map. Its nice to have teammates who call MIA's but who gets what they want nowadays. Throw E on your opponent once or twice while continuing to farm. Here's an important point of observation, after you eat through their pots, do they leave when start dropping their health. If they do, let the denial commence. Simply settle for outfarming unless they get careless and give you a great opportunity. If they do stay out in the creep wave despit being hurt let the slaughter commence. Make sure to keep their health somewhere between 2/3's and 3/4's until you are about to hit lvl 6. Make sure to clarity a second or two before the lvl and make sure your Voidling is prepped. Now once your do lvl, grab your ult instantly and pull a Flash, Malefic, Nether Grasp combo. Between the two abilities and your Voidling a kill should be a simple task. Especially if you have a Codex up, since the CDR should allow for a parting gift on an meaty opponent if they manage to survive. Now go buy whatever you can afford (wards are ALWAYS nice on mid if you've got some change left over) and start glancing at sidelanes for possible gank opportunities. If none show themselves continue to push the issue on mid. your recall means you missed out on causing tower damage but more importantly it means you won't lose your advantage because your gear is very much up to date. If all goes well you have just entered Easy Mode, at least until laning phase ends.
You are now an important part of your team, now is your time to shine. Do your best to keep your CS up while simultaneously keeping your team on the winning side of the territory battle. Try to go everywhere with someone tanky or with support abilities as you are very susceptible to multi-man ganks, Malz is not well liked by enemies. At this point your ability to weaken your opponents with Malefic bounces before fights really helps, also if you ever get a clear, safe shot you can go for an assassination on any squishy available (except GP, **** GP). This is also where my introduction really comes into play, a dead Malz is a useless Malz. Concentrate on not giving up any free kills and your CS and any kills you can manufacture will move your build along really well. Try and get Blue whenever you can as CDR is king in teamfights. If a teamfight starts, wait patiently behind your meatsacks throwing any AOE you can and dropping Visions at every opportunity. The second that one of their DPS or anyone your team is focusing extends into your range, Ult the little prick and watch him crumble under the weight of pure unadulterated focus. The second you start getting focused make sure to take what punishment you can, drop Null Zone on yourself and take the free easy to aim Call of the Voids at the clumps of people on their way to kill you. Then just as it gets dangerous Flash out (I understand this doesn't always work, but as long as you know what the enemy champs are capable of you should be able to see trouble coming). Once you've got some distance throw your Q + W one more time and if they are still coming for you, let the kiting commence. Just focus on staying alive at this point, if the enemy is really that committed to hunting you down then the cleanup should be cake for the rest of your team. Call of the Void and Null Zone are easiest to aim at targets blindly running forward and the silence from Call should keep you alive for the few precious seconds your team needs to kick ***. And considering how strong your Malefic should be, you will never be short on kills or assists in these situations. If you are not the target of focus your job just got even easier, sit still just within range of the fight and lay waste to the enemy. Put Malefic on the targets that seem closest to death and with good focus you should be able to have it ticking on 3-4 of the members of their team simultaneously. Focus centering you Null Zone on tanks where it will do the most damage, and throw your Call wherever a hit seems most likely. Hitting squishies with your Call is nice but its hard to aim and a hit is a hit, take the damage you can get on clumps. Congratulations, you hurt people like a mu****er.
The difference between late game and mid game is almost imperceptible. There is only really one change. BE EVEN MORE CAREFUL. As the game progresses this build becomes less dominant, especially if you don't have another strong DPS on your team or if the opposing team has multiple meaty champions. This is mainly due to the fact this build doesn't have too many ways if bringing your AP above 700. The most I have finished a game with was 741 in a 5 man arranged game where I built a Mejai's early. What this means for you is that you have to wait for opportunities instead of creating them. You are much less likely to be able to kill someone without taking a good amount of damage yourself and if you get one kill but die as a result then your team just lost some serious AOE DPS (since Null Zone is always going to be relevant) in exchange for one enemy squishy. Bide your time and play smart and you will still manage to be a contributing member of your team. 4-pot and win.
I find that if I can simply avoid dying too often, this build is easily achieved. Especially since the advent of Morello's, the amount of money it takes is relatively low considering Malz's farming capability. Haters gonna Hate though, let the trashing of an MET build begin.
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