Mordekaiser Build Guide by dana44

League of Legends Build Guide Author dana44

Mordekaiser is the Juggernaut King of Death

dana44 Last updated on October 29, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

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Mordekaiser is what Riot calls a juggernaut. He can take a beating like a tank and do damage like a carry.

Riot compensates for those strengths by making him slow, weak at the start, and void any form of crowd control, initiate, or escape.

This makes him hard to play well, but he is well worth it. No other characters play like him. You're free to blast your abilities as fast as your cool down allows because you have no mana to worry about. When you can kill an opponent with your ultimate active on them you get a ghost version of them to control with the ALT key. You can even get a ghost version of the dragon simply by doing damage to it in a battle your team wins, even if your ultimate is on cool down! As great as it is to play the game 6v5 due to having the dragon on your side it is even better to turn a 5v5 fight into a 6v4 by killing an enemy. With that kind of advantage your team can't help but win.

At the extreme end of dominance once you've hit level 2 on your Children of the Grave and have a couple damage items you can solo the dragon and then use that to solo the baron!

At the end when you roam around annihilating opponents with your OP damage and a pet dragon the entire map is your domain - you're the Kaiser!

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Pros / Cons

    + How fun is it to do 6 vs. 4?
    + ghost dragon will usually push over a tower
    + great wave clear with W and E to split push late
    + can solo the baron with lvl 2 ghost and two damage items
    + tanky
    + makes your team better

    - no crowd control
    - can't initiate
    - terrible mobility
    - no escape
    - short-ranged / kiteable
    - weak start
    - difficult to come back with
It is important to understand that although he is a bit tanky he is a juggernaut, not a tank. He needs to be able to go in and destroy despite being hit - he can't sit there and soak up damage. You need to spend your item slots on ability power, not on armour, magic resist, and HP like tank. Your ability to tank comes from raising your max health and recharging Iron Man shield in a fight. The more damage you do, the more shield you have! With enough ability power landing your Siphon of Destruction on a pair of champions will basically refill your shield.

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Top or Bottom

One year ago, late 2015, he was reworked to be a melee carry in the bottom lane. One of his powers is his unique ability to earn bonus XP when last hitting with other champions around. This will let him out level the other team's carry and lead your team to victory.

The current bonus is only about 17% more experience from minions that he last hits. This doesn't speed up his leveling fast enough to overcome his weak start to be a good bottom carry. As I update this guide for the 6.19 patch there are generally better carries for your team out there, despite his Harvesters of Sorrow XP bonus. Take him top.

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AD vs. AP

Mordekaiser is extremely flexible. There are jungle builds. There are AD builds. There are AP builds. There are hybrid. There are tank builds. There are builds for the top and bottom. He can do anything, but he does best when built as a juggernaut that amplifies your team. Let's look at how his abilities scale to find out how to build him most effectively.

Siphon of Destruction scales equally well off AP and AD, but Harvesters of Sorrow scales purely of AP. Children of the Grave's damage scales (very poorly) off AP, but the damage your ghost does only gets a bonus from your bonus AP.

The real reason AD builds can work is the Mace of Spades scales better off AD. Each point of AD you add gives your basic attack one more damage, of course. Pretty much every time you attack you have Mace of Spades activated, which has a 90% AD scale vs. 60% AP. In other words each AD point is worth 1.9 while each point of AP is only 0.6. The third hit is 2.8 vs. 1.2, making AD even more dear. And if you get in a 4th hit or want to take down a structure AD is 100% valuable while AP is completely worthless.

With nearly triple the damage per point you can see why AD and hybrid builds are popular!

But this makes you a one trick pony. All you can do is bonk a target three times. Since Mordekaiser is so slow a good opposing team will simply never engage you. Good luck against a Teemo or any other champ with range or escape. They'll just chip away at you and counter play your single technique to neutralize you. This doesn't help your team.

You need AP so you can use your other spells effectively.

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Harvesters of Sorrow

Harvesters of Sorrow is what can make Mordekaiser a great champion to have on a team. It isn't the Sunfire Cape style damage this does that makes it great, it is that you can heal yourself and an ally for 190 + 30% AP or 380 + 60% AP if you can catch two champions in a team fight. Injecting hundreds of HP to both you and an ally in a team fight is a game changer.

It provides a speed boost to get Mordekaiser closer to an ally. This lets you follow your team's initiator into a fight or follow an ally away from a fight if things go poorly. Use this to get close enough that you kill their ADC at the back with Children of the Grave on them.

When you are damaged during the laning phase you just go for a stroll to the nearest jungle camp and activate Harvesters of Sorrow. You can leave the monsters for your jungler, you just want to get a heal from them.

Harvesters of Sorrow makes Mordekaiser look deceptively close to death. Iron Man shield converts a significant portion of the the ability power damage he does a shield, so with Harvesters of Sorrow up he has good resistance to damage.

All this health and healing makes him a juggernaut, not a tank. If you need a tank there are better tank champions out there. However he works great as an off-tank to rotate in with the primary.

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Mordekaiser really builds off his ability power. If you can land your third Mace of Spades you'll kill anything other than their tank. However we can't be a glass cannon, we need a bit of a balance.

For offence we need three Ability Power Quintessences and nine magic penetration Marks. The penetration will reduce the ~30 magic resist every champion has to ~22. With the Abyssal Scepter you'll reduce a range carry's mr to zero so you can delete any target foolish enough to get close to you.

To stay alive, especially late game we should have all the HP we can get, so get the scaling HP seals. More HP also allows your Iron Man shield to be more effective. Armour runes can work for an early game boost, but generally we can just be careful and use the jg to recharge HP.

Late game the biggest source of damage is ability power and we don't want to build MR items. Scaling magic resist Glyphs allow us to be a juggernaut late game. Cooldown Glyphs can be nice since you can use your abilities non-stop without worrying about mana, but late game the other team is likely to have a powerful mage and staying alive is more useful than using an ability slightly earlier.

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If things go well and you build Rabadon's Deathcap you can end the game with 600AP. This makes Deathfire Touch seem like a fantastic keystone for a mage like Mordekaiser. However his abilities are all AoE and only receive half the benefit. 12.5% more AP is truly nice as it means you almost always get your ultimate to land, but it is not the best. Stormraider's Surge is best.

This speed boost lets you stick to your opponent to get the third hit. More importantly it lets you escape after the kill if you need to.

Working back from Stormraider's Surge we can skip obvious choices and review the advantages of the ones that require consideration.

Bandit vs. Dangerous Game has no clear winner. Restoring 5% of your missing health and mana is only going to help in a multi champion battle where it lets you get a kill and stay alive for one more hit. This situation almost never happens. It is basically a wasted selection in most games. Bandit on the other hand gives you more gold to get another item every single match. It is especially useful against another melee champion.

Savagery over Wanderer is another tough choice since you always need more movement speed. The extra damage to make last hitting minions during his handicapped start easier makes Savagery the winner.

On the Ferocity side we take Oppressor because once you get Rylai's Crystal Scepter that is a free 2.5% damage boost.

Natural Talent wins over Vampirism because if you need health you'll just walk into the jungle and steal some. Natural Talent 's bonus AP and AD is like a free bonus set of Runes.

Double Edged Sword is best in the next set because we want to finish our opponents off quickly when we engage. We don't need more heal because we have that built in.

Sorcery is better than Fury because this makes all his abilities better, not just his mace of spades.

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All champions have weaknesses and Mordekaiser is a no exception. This is a classic optimization problem of bringing up the bottom or ignoring the problems and raising the top even higher. If we focus on the fun of making his his strengths even stronger and ignore his problems you'll end up dead. The first priority is to make his weaknesses less of a problem.


It's got to be Doran's Shield at the start. Relic Shield if you want to go bottom lane. Doran's Shield will get you to the point you can build a defence item you need to beat your opponent.


The first problem to solve is Mordekaiser's fragile start. Sometimes you have a great start, play against a champion mordekaiser counters, or the match making system has paired you against a much less skilled summoner and you can go straight after rylais. But it is far more common you need survivability. This comes in the form of either a bit of magic resist from Negatron Cloak or armour from Seeker's Armguard. If you aren't sure what your opponent is attacking you with just click on the opponent champion to see their stats. If their AD is up get armour, if they've got AP items get MR.

Although these build into more powerful items don't finish them yet. We just need to solve his weakness and we cannot afford to be delayed on our path to Rylai's Crystal Scepter any more than necessary. If the opposition's jungler is harassing you it may make sense to buy both defensive items at the start so you can stay in your lane.

His second and third weakness is his lack of escape and engage. Boots of Swiftness addresses both. Sorcerer's Shoes are very popular. They're good, especially if you're ahead, but the slight advantage they offer in terms of offense doesn't offset not being close enough to land your third Mace of Spades and get out alive.

With a bit of protection and speed we can finally move on to Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This gives you more health to make your Iron Man shield better, a ton of ability power, and, most importantly, a form of crowd control by slowing opponents you hit with an ability. Even when your ghost hits the slow applies! You'll almost never be able to take full advantage of your Mace of Spades on an opponent that wants to escape unless you've got support with CC before you buy this item.


With your core of 0-2 protection items, boots, and Rylai's Crystal Scepter you've got to pick the last items based on how things are going. Usually this is to get both Negatron Cloak and Seeker's Armguard to handle the mix of damage targeted at you in team fights followed by finishing upgrading Negatron Cloak into Abyssal Scepter then getting one of Sterak's Gage or Liandry's Torment.

The only time I ever upgrade Seeker's Armguard into Zhonya's Hourglass is when I want a cheap 6th item. Its active just isn't worth its cost.

Abyssal Scepter on the other hand gives you everything you can you use; ability power, cool down reduction, magic resistance, and a reduction on magic resist for enemies close by. This is a great item because it weakens the enemy so your entire team enjoys a benefit from you having this.

Sterak's Gage is often the best choice. Expect to be targeted in team fights. The shield from this is like putting on a free suit of Warmog's Armor! Furthermore Moredakiser has the highest base attack of all champions. The 25% AD bonus is bigger on him than any other champion. I buy this in most games.

Liandry's Torment gives almost as much base HP as Sterak's Gage, but instead of the huge HP bonus shield to be a tank you get more ability power to take down a tank. It gives you magic penetration to get through those pesky magic resist items and does percentage HP damage to prime those tanks for a take down. It synergizes well with Rylai's Crystal Scepter to do double bonus damage. Build this instead if your team is counting on you to do enough damage to take down tanks.


Usually at this point there is just one slot left to fill. My three usual items are Nashor's Tooth, Rabadon's Deathcap, or Void Staff.

Nashor's Tooth is great when you're ahead of everybody else in the match and want to carry. 50% more attack speed and a 15% AP on hit is really useful. The 20% cool down reduction is icing on the cake! This item pairs very well with Sterak's Gage.

Rabadon's Deathcap is the go to choice when you need more ability power. Mordekaiser is all about ability power, so this is often the perfect item for the end. This will make your Harvesters of Sorrow heal that much more for both you and whichever ally initiates the team fights. I only tend to chase this item if I've gone for Liandry's Torment.

Void Staff is needed for those rare times your opponents have a lot of magic resist. An enemy tank with a couple MR items can be be extremely difficult. Add this item to your mix and watch him melt. This is situational as the combination of your Marks of magic penetration, Liandry's Torment, and Abyssal Scepter get through just about everything and Void Staff is overkill.


Finally, there will be rare times you need to tank up because you've got a terrible team composition or you're behind. It is extremely rare you'll want to switch into more of a tank role, but it does happen and Mordekaiser can do it with these as a 5th and 6th item. Dead Man's Plate is great against physical attack damage with its armour, a lot of heath, and a useful passive. Thornmail is the choice against a fed AD auto attack character like Jinx. Banshee's Veil add a lot of magic resist and health. The only time you need this is when you're in a very bad spot and its passive ability to block an enemy ability is the kind of Hail Mary play you need to attempt to pull off for the comeback.

In the crazy land of your team is counting on you for the one in a million comeback is Banner of Command and Zz'Rot Portal. Banner of Command would only be useful if the opponents only have mages, but Zz'Rot Portal can hold things off for a little longer while you farm. If you're building these items I feel bad your team won't just /surrender.

n00b traps

There are many items that appear good, but just don't seem to work in practice as a general recommendation. These work in special cases, not as a general strategy for winning. I consider pretty much any AD Mordekaiser build with items like the Trinity Force to be sub-optimal.

The two most devious items I see for general builds are Hextech Protobelt-01 and Hextech Gunblade.

Hextech Protobelt-01 seems like a perfect fit for Mordekaiser. More health, more AP, and more importantly it is basically a second flash to engage or escape, which solves one of his biggest problems. On paper it seems like it was designed specifically for Mordekaiser to build as one of his first items. However I have never seen this work well.

Hextech Gunblade is another fine item, but it simply isn't as valuable as the other items for Mordekaiser. It has bonus AD which stacks very well, but somehow not enough. It has a slow to catch enemies, but often you already can get them with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I can't see a time to recommend this instead of rushing the other items.

Finally Mejai's Soulstealer/ The Dark Seal deserve a mention. If you're a top level player these are great. However when you're not one of the best in the world and on a great team these are almost always an unreliable investment. Save them for when you want to show off against bots.

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Skill Sequence

If you are in the bottom lane with champion like Blitzcrank, Thresh, or Volibear that has a pull go for Mace of Spades first. The other 99% of the time you start with Harvesters of Sorrow first for the healing. Against a melee champion Mace of Spades is good to get next. Against a range champion or a conservative opponent second is Siphon of Destruction so you can have a bit of poke and keep your Iron Man shield full. Use Siphon of Destruction as much as your cool down allows - consider it a basic attack.

Max Harvesters of Sorrow so you can surprise your opponent with how much damage you do and how little they can hurt you in the laning phase. Follow that up with Mace of Spades for maximum killing power.

When I need poke I'll bump Siphon of Destruction up a bit earlier since level 2 of it is so much more effective at doing damage than level one.

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There are five potentially viable spells; Flash, Teleport, Ignite, Heal, and Exhaust. As far as I'm concerned when playing Mordekaiser Flash is a must. It is either Exhaust to provide you with a bit of Crowd Control to utilize your Mace of Spades ability or Teleport. Teleport's ability to get back in your lane or cross the map to a ward in the opposite lane to help your team and then get the dragon means you almost always want this.

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Ranked Play

The biggest challenge with Mordekaiser is the start. There are only a few rules:
1) Be patient. No, really. Stay alive!
2) Don't push.
3) Use jungle camps to heal.
4) If you know you're only going to get one hit then prime your Mace of Spades by hitting a minion or two so you hit the enemy with the third hit instead of first or second.

You will spend the first few levels doing your best to last hit minions and chip away at the opponent. Only engage an enemy if you can cast Harvesters of Sorrow on a minion the enemy will have to stand next to while your Mace of Spades lands three hits.

Once you've got 1020-1250 gold you can do your first back and then teleport back to the lane. You'll need to buy whatever combination of Boots of Speed, Negatron Cloak, Seeker's Armguard, Ruby Crystal, and Needlessly Large Rod makes sense. By then time your team is ready to go for the dragon your teleport should be ready again so you can get a ghost dragon and help knock down the bottom turret.

Mid game watch the lanes. Each wave of minions is worth ~1/3 of a level. Once you hit mid game and you've lost a turret in one lane or another watch for an opportunity to push a lane from your turret to theirs. Mordekaiser's wave clear is fantastic, you'll be able to clear almost as fast as you can walk. By the time your lane is where it is supposed to be you'll have gained a level from XP that otherwise would've been wasted on your turret.

Beyond that TastyPotatoX is a Mordekaiser player that streams on twitch. Watch his games.

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Twisted Treeline

I've recently started to enjoy Twisted Treeline since you can get a couple games in per night. It is really a nice condensed version of the full Summoner's Rift match, especially after the 6.14 patch brought them more in line.

The biggest game difference is the inability to buy wards. Because warding is one of the most important things to do in SR purists find this map too different. However pretty much everything in this guide for SR applies to TT . Since you start with 850 instead of 500 gold my favourite start is a Doran's Shield and Ruby Crystal for extra health.

The build order is always a defence item for your lane, boots, finish Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and then the other defense item.

The two special items you need to be ready to buy are Wooglet's Witchcap and Moonflair Spellblade. Moonflair Spellblade is a decent item that makes you tankier, gives you AP, and most importantly Tenacity. Instead of buying Abyssal Scepter after Negatron Cloak Moonflair Spellblade is a decent alternative as you can pack enough armour and MR for the match into a single item, freeing up one item slot. However I find I only buy this if my opponents' CC is too much.

The main reason I don't get Moonflair Spellblade is because Wooglet's Witchcap exists and I can build Seeker's Armguard into this instead. Wooglet's Witchcap is basically Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass rolled into one silly OP item. This isn't on SR for a reason!

The final difference is to take Exhaust instead of Teleport.

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Be patient! Unless your jungler does exceptionally well you won't tilt things in your favour until mid game. Just keep using the Siphon of Destruction to keep your Iron Man shield full and Harvesters of Sorrow to keep your health up until you've got Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Then next thing you know you've won the game for your team!

With the immense healing of Harvesters of Sorrow, a refilling Iron Man shield, a bit of armour, and MR you're practically a walking turret destroying anything foolish enough to get close. In case that wasn't enough to make your opponents run, just wait until they get a taste of your ghost dragon with its ice fire breath to slow them in their tracks. You can walk around taking all the objectives and killing anything that gets in your way. You are the king of death.

If you've read this guide and my advice works for you please give me a vote. Leave me a message about how well it works. Or what didn't work. We'll fix it. You can't kill Mordekaiser.