Mordekaiser Build Guide by Exitialis
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.
7/28/11 -- Added a Ranked Play section, expanded the Team Work section to include more about Team Fights.
Mordekaiser, The Master of Metal. There are many misconceptions around Mordekaiser, one of the main ones being that he is a great tank. Mordekaiser can take a TON of damage with spell vamp, CDR, and his passive, but he is in no way a tank. Why is this you ask? He has 0 CC, no knock up, no stun. He doesn't even have a slow until Rylai's or nabbing a red buff. He's also easily CCed due to not having a gap closer, and if he gets stunned (AKA unable to generate his passive shield) he drops like a rock. Because of this, Mordekaiser is a great off-tank and bruiser. He can tank, but will need an initiator on the team.
He is very versatile, being able to build straight AP and scale it well to snowball into a killing machine, build tanky if he is being focused, or a combination to deal out a bunch of damage while taking a bunch too. Because of this, there are many options for Mordekaiser, and I will elaborate on them further in the guide. The at a glance build is the one that I most often end with in games, it is not set in stone and a player should always be adapting as the game progresses.
Constructive criticism is always recommended, and try out the build before you knock it!
Red - Marks of Insight for the MPen. Pretty straight forward here. Morde does magic damage, needs magic pen. Magic Pen is harder to come by than straight AP, so use all your red runes for MPen.
Yellow - Couple choices here. You can go with Armor/Fort/Vitality/Health Regen per lvl. I don't often choose Armor since Morde is usually going to be going in a solo lane. With his Siphon harass and early game pots and Hextech+Spirit Visage he simply doesn't need the armor. Fort isn't used because its just no good late game, and isn't as good of sustain as other yellow options. Vitality and Health Regen per lvl are the best choices here. Regen seals give .99 health per 5 sec at level 1, and go up to 17.82 per 5 sec at level 18. This is boosted by the recommended Spirit Visage. Vitality gives 9.72 health at level 1, up to 174.96 at level 18. Since you should be able to resist pokes well with your shield in a solo lane, Regen is better. It will allow you to stay in lane longer than Vitality runes. By level 18 you should be pretty beastly already so Regen and Vitality even out then, but since Regen wins early game, I choose Regen.
Blue - 3 choices here MR per lvl/CDR/AP per lvl. CDR you already get from items and 21 points in utility, no point in even more. MR/lvl is for straight tanks. You usually cruise through mid game, when Mages are their strongest, so MR/lvl is unneeded. AP per level is nice -- getting ~28 AP just for farming to 18 (which you should hit before ANYONE else in a normal game).
Quints - A ton of choices here. I go for 2 Fort Quints and 1 AP Quint to help with Mordes mediocre health pool in the beginning and the fact I don't pick up a Doran's item. As one gets more experience with Morde though, the more defensive Fort Quints can be swapped out for Insight Quints (as stated before, AP is easier to buy than Mpen) or more straight AP quints for a stronger laning phase and some extra oomph even in late game. Even swiftness quints can be used.
9/0/21. Flash mastery since it is hands down the best summoner spell in the game. The CDR from utility helps Mord immensely and having Summoner spells up more quickly = more kills. Don't take any of the mana masteries (Morde uses health...duh) but the extra Health Regen is nice. Standard 9 points in offense for Archaic Knowledge.
Boots +3x Health Pots are my usual starting items. The move speed is nice in the start for harass and getting away and the health pots help with sustain. If going against a tougher champion (Yorick, Lanedyr, etc.) it is okay to go with a Health Regen Pendant and 1 Health Pot. Your first trip back should always be to get a Hextech Revolver, the spell vamp is great for your sustain and the AP is both defensive (adds to your shield) and offensive (better pushing in of faces). From here on out though, the build diverges:
1) You are dominating your lane, you have already poked down and gotten a kill. Way ahead on CS -- Go for sheen. Sheen adds a bunch of damage if you get it early and will let you snowball even harder and dominate your lane even more. If the jungler is stupid enough to try and gank you while youre poking your laning opponent, kill them both.
2) You are about even on CS or are losing your lane -- Get a spirit visage. The MR helps against most champions and the passive is great for you, it'll get you ahead in your lane.
Finally get some boots. Usually sorc boots, but if theyre CC heavy go for Merc Treads, team of auto-attackers go Ninja Tabi.
Build a Rylai's. Seriously. Do it. Gives you a much needed CC and offers enough health to make you relatively tough. From there:
1) You're beasting the other team; when they don't see you on the map they hug their fountain and pray for mercy -- Get a lich bane (Movement speed, MR, Magic Resist, excellent passive). This will let you deal incredible amounts of damage, especially if you catch someone alone so you can Q them.
2) You're doing okay; you got ganked hard in top a few times so you may have died once or twice, you're about even or slightly negative -- Get a mixed defensive/offensive item. AD - Zhonya's Hourglass. AP - Abyssal Sceptre. Both items can turn the tide for you, and most teams don't expect a mid game Zhonya's. You can build these before Rylai's if you're being gunned for, but build a Rylai's at some point.
3) You're getting pubstomped -- Get a defensive item. AD - Thornmail, Randuin's. AP - Banshee's, FoN. Note: Don't wait for all the gold necessary to build the entire item, get a chain mail or negatron cloak, both help immensely against teams and offers options on what to build into.
You should be hitting 18 before almost every champ in the game. Mordekaiser is a beast at farming. Build a lich bane for end game damage if you haven't already done so. From there:
1) Still crushing the enemy team, you 1v3 them consistently -- Get a Rabadon's Deathcap just to rub it in some more. Not to mention seeing your Q hit for some serious amount of damage.
2) Doing pretty well or getting pubstomped still -- You're doing something wrong as Mordekaiser. Fill the last spot with a defensive item, and try again next game. See above section for item choices against AP and AD teams.
You can also use your last spot to add a Guardian Angel, adds both MR and Armor and makes it so that if you die with a ghost up you can come up with it still there. Not to mention it gives you a second chance to get in a team fight.
All Throughout the Game and Really Really Late Game
If you're afraid of getting ganked, other team has some stealth champions or a great jungler get some sight and vision wards throughout the game if your jungler isn't already doing it for you. Carrying around a pink ward if there is a fed Akali is also a good idea.
If your support doesn't clear enemy wards and the other team has them all over your jungle, get oracles and clear the jungle. You'll lose farm time, but it will be easy to make up as Morde.
If at any point during the game the opposing team starts to build so much MR that it begins to trivialize your damage, pick up a Void Staff or Abyssal Sceptre. Abyssal if you want to help your team out and they do magic damage, or Void if the opposing team is building MR just for you (be proud!).
As for really really late game, buy pots. Same with any champ.
Also, you can finish your gunblade at some point in the game. It isn't a huge priority since Rylai's provides CC. Most games end before I finish my gunblade.
R whenever possible, it is a great ultimate and can turn tides.
E first for farming and harass.
Q and W can be interchanged, Q if you are doing well and need more harass, W if you need to be slightly more defensive and sustain longer.
Flash - Best in the game
Ignite - +Ultimate usually equals a dead champion
Exhaust - Viable over ignite. If using, take one point from deadliness and put it in cripple. I usually run this if no one else on our team is.
Ghost - Shoddy version of Flash. Use only if under level 12.
Teleport - If you're European? Or if you think a lot of action is going to be going on bottom lane and don't want to take 10 minutes walking there from top.
Don't take anything else. I suppose CV is a choice if nobody has it, but you should probably just berate one of the bottom laners until they take CV.
Exhaust/Ignite - You are playing at a low elo or started a new account. Go crazy with kills.
Flash/Ghost - The other team is composed of multiple people that can come out of nowhere.
Mordekaiser is not an initiator. In no way is it sensible to face check bushes or run in and start a fight with your ultimate or trying to whack someone with Q. Let someone else start the fight, jump in and crush a squishy -- preferably an AD carry with your ult on them. Even forcing them out of the fight is a success, making it a 5v4 in your favor. If they die? 6v4. Use your ult early and often. Using it only when a champion is at 10% health is not a good idea and wont allow your ult to do its full potential in damage. The ult also steals health for you, making it safer for you as a melee in team fights. Placing your W around whoever is in the thick of things or adding DPS to your target is a great idea, that way it hurts just to be around you. Use E to hit runners and if they flash through a wall, a well-placed E can still secure the kill. Often times it is best to team fight while they have minions around so that your E can replenish your shield, but if there are no minions around a Q should do the trick. If a champion is dumb enough to turn tail from a team fight chase them down and hit them with Q for 1400. If your team loses the team fight and begins to retreat, don't stick around. You can't do much for your team like knock them up. If you have red buff or Rylai's at this point though you can do a quick 180, drop a E, and then continue fleeing. Don't always immediately turn tail and run in a team fight if your health drops low though. Morde is deceptive. If you can ult someone and get off a quick string of EQW your health will go up, your shields will charge to full and someone on the enemy team will take a lot of damage.
You are an excellent laner. If your mid is doing badly and your top opponent is bad, switch with them. Farm farm farm. Morde should have well over 200 CS in even short games which should let you carry your team until they're sufficiently farmed as well.
As a bruiser/melee-mage you should be taking top lane solo. You aren't fit for either the support or AD carry role bottom lane. The runes and items I recommend allow for constant harass against whoever is in your lane. Spam E to hit the enemy champion and minions. Be forewarned though, if the opposing champion is giving up CS and playing defensively your lane will inevitably push due to the fact Morde needs shield to prevent harass. This leaves you overextended and open for a gank. Buy wards for yourself or ask your jungler to ward up the river for you. If you end up against a ranged AP/AD in top lane (sometimes occurs) then try and switch with whatever solo lane has their tank. If this is not possible, play defensive. Use E on a minion wave as you see them coming in for harass to get your shield up. Focus on last-hitting while staying safe.
If you end up being stuck in middle through some means, all the better for you. You are safer from ganks and you can farm even more with impunity. Go ahead and steal enemy wraiths and your wraiths when you can.
If you are going to end up in bottom lane, don't pick Mordekaiser. Any ranged will do better in that lane or you can play a support. Don't pick Mordekaiser as your team's only initiator or as the only AP carry. He is an amazing off-tank and bruiser and that is the position he should be expected to fill. While he can carry a game as AP, "true" AP carries like Brand, Annie, and Mal'zahar will fill that role better with burst that is ranged and CC. Mordekaiser can be the tank of the team, and will be in many cases (jungler doesn't build tanky or is a fiddle), and should be the first person into a fight in this role, but never the reason the fight begins. Mordekaiser can NOT initiate. It is not any good team fight where Morde initiates. Don't do it. Ever.
Also, taking enemy wraiths is not the only thing you can do to hurt the opposing team's jungler. With a few well-placed wards it is not difficult for Morde to wipe out enemy minion waves to push a lane and then sneak in to the enemy jungle to gank at blue or red. This can often lead to a first blood if you can estimate when their jungler is going to be going for red and then a gank. This should not be attempted on safe junglers (junglers who do the entire thing at high health). Worst possible target would be an Udyr. He'll stun you and his team will collapse on you. No worries though, he's banned in every single game.
Creeping / Jungling
Mordekaiser can jungle, but it isn't recommended. Probably the worst ganker imaginable. If playing mid, take wraiths and enemy wraiths whenever you can and when your jungler isn't going to get angry. Taking red can also be beneficial if no one else on your team benefits from it more. However you should try and leave it for your jungler or an AD carry, you'll get it often enough from the other team. If your lane is doing well enough you should and you have them sufficiently pressured, you can take Dragon early, around level 7 or 8 solo. By this point it should also let you kill any neutral monster camp without having your health drop aside from skill use as well, if you want to take on the role of counter-jungling.
Learn to do this well as Morde. Learn to last hit like a pro and position E to last hit minions as well as the enemy champion going for CS. As said earlier, Morde should always get at least 200 CS in a short game as long as he is in a solo lane. Except against some extremely tough champions, Morde should never be the first to back in a lane. Good farm = Good items = Good kills = Good game.
So this is my general build for Mordekaiser. Please read through it and give it a shot before rating. As stated in the introduction, the at a glance build is my usual end game build with Mordekaiser, but is not set in stone.
That having been said, get to rocking with Morde.
PS: Morde played with Pentakill or Lord Morde skins give him approximately 1000% better chance of being amazing in a game.