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.
Why Mordekaiser and Taric
Bot Lane Modekaiser
Most importantly, Taric is able to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with Mordekaiser lending his armor and stacking damage and effects from Harvesters of Sorrow ( W ), making the pair a formidable team to engage and try to take down.
Other Team Considerations
Placing Mordekaiser bot-lane has some important ramifications for your team. It is highly recommended that you try and get a Blade of the Ruined King elsewhere on your team, or at the least have a competent marksman in another position. Kindred, Quinn, Teemo or Kayle are all viable options, as they can be run effectively Top, Mid, or Jungle and can easily build to include BORK in their itemization.
You also want to be sure that your team is prepared to push Dragon effectively. This means warding and being prepared to contest dragon, every time it spawns. Even if your team couldn’t care less, just by picking Morekaiser, you are guaranteeing that the enemy team will be watching dragon EXTREMELY closely.
Regardless of the outcome of Dragon stand-offs, be prepared to see some camp from the enemy Jungler, the enemy mid, or even 5-bot, as the enemy team looks to shut Mordekaiser down before he gets out of control. The best advice I can offer here is to play defensive. If the enemy team tunnel-visions on Mordekaiser, that can lead to mid and top having nearly uncontested lanes. If you have to back off and let bot tower go early, do it – and let Morde farm an extended bot lane – rather than feed kills into a team that is willing to sacrifice their other lanes to shut down Morde. Ward and don’t over extend. Even early, Morde can get to be a powerhouse with Taric behind him… but he won’t do well getting caught under turret aggro. Be prepared to Farm, Farm, Farm, until Morde has at least Phage, Boots and Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Recommended for Taric:
Nothing gets the snowball started like a Taric Stun followed up by an exhaust. especially if the enemy duo decides to all-in. Alternately, saving exhaust for inevitable ganks can turn a shutdown attempt into an enemy team disaster.
This is the standard go to for play making (or bacon-saving) mobility. Allow you to re-position in an instant. In Taric's Case, Flash, E, R can be a Game Changer.
It can be very tempting to drop Exhaust given Morde's ability to slave the dragon to your teams siege efforts. However, if you are doing well enough in lane that you feel confident taking down dragon without the rest of your team, chances are the enemy team is going to be watching for a chance to gank the piss out of you and will punish you dearly. If you don't need the team support for dragon, then smite would just be wasted anyways. You shouldn't be jungling much and your wave clear as a duo is ridiculous. Leave this one in the jungler's hands.
Recommended for Mordekaiser:
Nothing says "feed me" like an Ignite on a carry. On Morde it doubles as ult insurance and a hedge against enemy healers.
This is the standard go to for play making (or bacon-saving) mobility. Allow you to re-position in an instant. In Morde's Case, Flash Q or Flash, Q, R can make sure he is removing the right target, before the real fighting even begins.
This is actually a valid option to Ignite. Once you start bullying lane, you can expect a lot of ganks. Flash + Ghost can give you multiple options for escapes if you get camped hard. Conversely, you have both of your best mobility options open if you are looking for a sudden engage, or chasing a fleeing enemy team.
After using an Ability, Taric's next two auto-attacks will swing with increased attack-speed, deal increased damage (scaling with Level and bonus armor) and reduce the cooldown of his other abilities. Multiple ability use will reset these 2 hits, but do not stack additional hits if previous ones are unused.
Starlight's Touch [ Q ]
Every 15 Seconds this ability will gain a charge to a maximum of 3. When activated, Taric will consume all charges to Heal himself and nearby allies, gaining bonus healing for each charge consumed beyond the first. Bravado empowered auto-attacks net additional CD reduction on this ability.
Bastion [ W ]
Link: Taric and a nearby Ally become linked. All abilities cast by Taric will be mirrored by the linked champion with the linked target as the Source. Abilites that overlap gain NO additional bonus. This effect will persist until Taric selects a new target or moves out of range.[/color]
Passive: Taric and his linked teammate will have bonus armor scaling with Taric's total armor.
Active: Taric links with a targeted teammate and each gains a temporary shield based on each of their maximum health.
Dazzle [ E ]
After a breif delay, Taric fires off a line-burst in a direction originating from himself, dealing damage which scales off his ap and armor. All enemies caught in this line AOE are stunned.
Cosmic Radiance [ R ]
After a 2.5 second delay, Taric and nearby allies become invulnerable to most forms of damage for 2.5 Seconds.
12.5% of damage (doubled if he hits enemy Champions) is converted into an absorption shield which is capped at 25% of Morde's max health. This shield decays by 2% of his base health per second to a minimum of 6.25% of his max health.
Mace of Spades [ Q ]
Morde's next three basic attacks deal bonus damage scaling on AD and AP, with each hit increasing by a multiplier of x2/x2.25/x2.5/x2.75/x3 of the previous attack. This ability resets his auto-attack animation.
Harvesters of Sorrow [ W ]
Creates Auras around Mordekaiser and an Allied Champion for 4 seconds. They gain 75 bonus movement speed when moving toward each other, and the Auras deal magic damage around each character (which stacks if the Auras overlap. The Pair are healed for 33% of the damage dealt (tripled vs monsters and Champions).
Siphon of Destruction [ E ]
Deals Magic damage scaling on AP and AD in a targeted cone. This ability also generates an additional 3.75% of his max health to his shield from Iron Man per enemy champion hit.
Children of the Grave [ R ]
Passive: Dragon Force* (Detailed Below)
Active: Mordekaiser deals a Burst of Magic damage and marks them with a DOT. If the target dies while marked Morde gains a Ghostly clone of the Champion, under his control.
*Dragon Force [ R - Passive ]
Mordekaiser's abilities and auto-attacks curse the Dragon for 10 seconds. If the dragon is killed by Mordekaiser's team while it is cursed Mordekaiser gains a Child of the Grave clone of the dragon. Any other Ghosts under his control are immediately destroyed, and he cannot use his [R] until the enslaved dragon expires or is destroyed.
Notes on Itemization and Gold Income
The best start for this lane is Double Relic Shield. It Offers a good amount of Health and heals for both Mordekaiser and Taric. Also, having Relic Shield on Morde, allows Taric to run tankier than usual runes and masteries without running Gold/per 10sec traits and still scale into mid and late game. You will find that just by skirmishing in lane, Taric will inevitably pick up more farm (and Kills) than he would in a traditional lane. In fact, Taric will likely scale throughout the game to become nearly as scary as Morde.
These are not bad things! Yes, Taric should still be supporting and warding… but more gold for Taric also mean more gas for Mordekaiser (or any other nearby Allied Champions).
Items for Taric
Taric should Start Relic Shield as is typical for his role in support. Your heal is good, but not spammable (mana and CD), and these charges are often the difference between bullying the lane early and fumbling your start.
Sightstone and Boots of Swiftness are your priority 1st items. You will probably get camped and, as such, warding is a necessity. Once you have Lv1 Boots and Sightstone, I suggest starting on Zeke's Harbinger to maximize your skirmish potential in lane. Upgrading to Eye of the Equinox is optional but can wait till after you have finished Zeke's, depending how the lane is going. Your First 3 Items Should be Eye of the Equinox, Zeke's Harbinger, and Mercury's Treads.
Once you are in mid-game, you can turn your attention to stacking health and more armor, or building up some additional magic resist depending on enemy composition. I highly recommend Dead Man's Plate for the additional mobility it offers. Alternatively, Randuin's Omen has merit if you are seeing heavy skirmish from AD Champions. Versus any type of AP based threat, the unilateral answer is Locket of the Iron Solari. Locket and Aegis are classic Taric staples that solidify your place as an Aura based champion, offering stat sharing with nearby champions and providing your team with an extra shield buffer during heavy engages. Iceborn Gauntlet Is a luxury Item after you have Zeke's, but one that you should try to get whenever possible on Taric.
Late game you can build whatever suits your needs, but keep an eye out on health and armor based items for the additional benefit to your tankiness and passive scaling.
Items for Mordekaiser
As mentioned before, Mordekaiser should start with Relic Shield. It offers lane sustainability and health and allows Morde to keep his lane partner healthy and share farm as they are skirmishing in lane.
The first Item typically seen on the new Mordekaiser is typically [Trinity Force]. Sheen offers you good burst on autoattacks, Phage gives you some bonus AD and burst mobility, and Zeal gives you a base movespeed upgrade and some additional crit-chance, which plays well with Zeke's Harbinger from Taric.
However, you tend to be squishy as Mordekaiser, until you get a good rotation of abilities going. You should consider the benefit of additional health. I recommend getting A Giant's Belt before you finish Triforce, and aim to build Zeal last, once Taric has finished building Zeke’s.
Regardless, you should absolutely be building Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This is a Mordekaser staple and is part of what helps making you tanky, while allowing you to stay on top of targets in fights. Rylai’s also now offers you a good amount of AP without having to spend on a full Rabadon’s Cap. The heal from Harvesters of Sorrow ( W ), opens up the opportunity of departure from classic Morde builds, as you are not staticly REQUIRED to Build Spellvamp. However, any of the new Hextech Items can be used to effect, and I would recommend getting one of them after Rylia's if you can.
Once you Have Rylai's Crystal Scepter, I highly recommend looking at Tankier Items rather than offensive ones. That said, Titanic Hydra is a nice in-between which allows you dramatically increase your AD from stacking health. If you are taking too much damage, Randuin's Omen is a good fallback versus AD champs. If Locket of the Iron Solari isn’t doing enough from Taric, you can opt for Spirit Visage.
Build as needed… but take special note… avoid the temptation to stack too much AD. The three-hit bonus damage from Mace of Spades looks smexy up front, but it only scales from bonus damage. You would do far better to stay alive in fights, or get more benefit from AP, than you if to try and stack all your damage on your Q.
Notes on Playing as Mordekaiser
Remember always that you should be camped. Try not to overextend without wards, and always plan your routes to be nearby a teammate. Even under a tower, you are very vulnerable alone. Only once you are really fed do you have a decent chance of dueling without a partner. Even then you try to focus down one enemy with your R, and then use their spirit as a conduit for your W.
The real trick to Morde is timing out your abilities so that you always have one of them near cooldown. Whatever rotation to are running you want to hit one skill, wait a bit, hit another, wait, hit the 3rd, and have the 1st back up soon. Obviously this is not always possibe to do indefinitely until you progress through the game... but you can plan out your movements though these chains -- advancing while you have abilities up, and moving off when your chains are becoming harder to maintain. If you ever hit someone with a full burst out of rotation, you should be backing off *** soon as your third auto comletes (or sooner if you aren't going to kill.
While this seems obvious on most champs it is more important on Morde because of the role his bonus armor plays in his kit. Having all abilities on Cooldown not only a lack of damage output but also a lack of defense, as you have no way to refresh your bonus armor until something comes of CD, and even the armor you have from the one big burst will decay over time.
Harvesters of Sorrow Is going to be your bread and butter throughout lane phase. It turns you into a vacuum cleaner for farm. Also, overlapping the aura with your partner amplifies its effect. If there is nobody nearby it can be cast on an allied minion but tends not to last very long in skirmishing. Rounding it out, It also offers a speed boost to you and your ally as long as you are moving toward each other. This allows for some neat rubber banding and escape tactics as long as it is up.
Dragon Force is a little buggy, but it is hands down one of the best siege tactics in the game. Any time you get a dragon, you should be sending it to a lane to siege a turret, try to plan your team rotations and dragon fights to account for this. On the other hand, throwing yourself unprepared into a dragon fight is usually not worth it. Even if you get the steal, the spirit dragon wont do enough to turn a bad fight around and it would be better to push another objective to trade advantages rather than throwing more gold at the enemy team.
Notes on Playing as Taric
The hardest part of understanding the new kit on Taric is having faith in how good his trades. The Cooldown Reduction on Bravado allows you to weave autoattacks into your other abilities with startling effects. In a good rotation Taric can keep auto-attacking with the frequency of an ADC, as long as he has mana. The flip-side is that if you are trading heavily, you are depleting your mana fast. Mastering Taric is about balancing your desire to trade with your available Mana Pool.
Dazzle Is your major burst in fights. Leveling it up first is good for trading and maximizing the stun duration.
Starlight's Touch will never be an amazing heal until late game. However, it does work by blunting the damage output of your enemy while being the fastest ability to CD in your ability rotation when chaining auto's.
Remember that you have to link with someone before chaining abilities to use them as a source. Changing targets while one of your abilities is on delay will not change the final proc of the previously cast ability.
Getting used to using you linked partner is key in using your abilities to best effect. Lane phase this will be mostly Morde... but in groupfights you can usually put the link on your adc to ensure your backline is getting the benefit of your casts, while you stand as a souce for the frontline.
Laning / Game Progression
Got your Items and head out to the map. Be prepared to Leash for your jungler by placing your W on him and walking away. The last thing you want is to steal the camp because your Auras overlap and you get priority damage.
This is the primary reason Taric is the best support for this build. You need a TANKY skirmish support that will fight SIDE BY SIDE with Mordekaiser. Taric's heal ( Starlight's Touch)can keep the team topped off between skirmishes, and his stun ( Dazzle) can create opportunities to trade, or stop a gank in its tracks. He shares his armor with Morde, and they both have similar move-speed and combat patterns.
Mordekaiser doesn't need a cheerleader tossing him heals from the bushes. The primary source of strength for Mordekaiser in lane, is his support. He is at least 50% less effective in lane if he is alone, and squishy/pokey supports are going to become a liability when the enemy team starts looking to counter-engage.
From this point forward be extremely cautious of Taric running out of mana, and start watching like a Hawk for enemy ganks.
At 6, you should be keeping a third eye on Dragon as the enemy team will almost certainly come to gank you and take dragon before you do. If your team can prep and do dragon... even better. But don't for a moment think that the enemy team is going to let you take 1st dragon without a fight.
While this may seem obvious, I can't understate how Fixated the enemy team will be on dragon with a Mordekaiser on the field. Try to use this to your advantage. You can try to force the enemy team into a bad engage... or you can play it safe and let other lanes push turrets if the enemy team positions first and over-commits. Don't be so hasty to throw yourself in a failed Dragon attempt if you can use the enemy's fixation to down a tower elsewhere on the the map.
Level 7 onwards:
Most importantly, wherever Mordekaiser roams, make sure he is nearby another member of your team. He should never be off by himself unless he is obscenely fed. Without a Teammate, Morde is missing a full third of his KIT and will be vulnerable to enemy picks. Taric can't possible be with him always... but always try to have someone nearby.
Lastly, remember that Mordekaiser is a hard engage Champion. Once in a fight, abandoning him can be a death sentence. He needs someone to cast his W on for sustain, and the enemy team will waste no time in taking him down if he engages and his team runs away scared. Perhaps, even more significantly... you want to engage with Mordekaiser, not wait to be engaged on.
To Be Continued...
I originally wrote this guide with the season 5 juggernaut update and have been meaning to update it since the rework to Taric and subsequent changes to Morde. If anything the rework to Taric made the match-up ridiculously stronger through most parts of the game.
Now that I have updated it to S6, I will hope to get more matches in and make adjustments, but as ever, your feedback and input is welcome. If there is anything you would like to see, leave it in the comments and I will try to get it in with my other updates.
Thank you for Reading, and don't forget to tell me what you think!