Morgana Build Guide by
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About the Author
I am a 1.5k ELO player. Though my ELO isn't that high, I have a good grasp on mid-lane mechanics and lose my lane very rarely. I have been playing League Of Legends for roughly 9months on and off but I have a lot of past MOBA experience in HoN, which I played for 2 years and achieved 1800mmr before making the switch. I don't currently stream and I mainly play Twisted Fate mid because I think he's the best solo-queue AP carry.
Morgana, despite several nerfs, is still regarded as a viable pick and ban in all levels of play due to her amazing farming and team fight power. While she may not provide the most pressure in lane, it is very hard to gank Morgana in the laning phase due to her Black Shield(e) and Dark Binding(q). Her Tormented Soil(w) allows her to farm the lane effectively while also gaining innate sustain through her passive. Morgana is best played Mid Lane but she also works as support, however I won't be going into the support side of her or how to play her in Dominion.
Flash : ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS this. Unless you're a low summoner level and can only use Ghost then take Ghost. Flash is your escape mechanism and can be used aggressively to position yourself in the middle of a teamfight. Use it sparingly and respect the long cooldown.
Ignite : Increases your killing potential, subject to change but I run ignite in 80% of my Morgana games.
Other Summoner Spells
Since Flash is such a linchpin skill, the only Summoner Spell subject to change is your Ignite, there are many viable alternatives:
Teleport : A good alternative against high-mobility mid laners such as Twisted Fate, it allows you to counter-gank and get back to lane quickly, the latter should always be hesitated if there's a potential counter-gank in a different lane.
Exhaust : I would only run exhaust if no one else on your team is, it does synergise well with your skill set but it gives you much less kill potential compared to ignite. If you run Exhaust you have to play more passively.
The only other summoner spell worth of mention is Cleanse, I wouldn't recommend it as your Black Shield allows you to nullify stuns, however if you're against a high CC jungler and don't trust your reflexes on Black Shield OR you blow the cooldown, it can be a viable alternative against high CC junglers such as Maokai and Amumu
Dark Binding(Q): A skill shot snare that has an average/long range. Brilliant skill for following up Jungler ganks and setting kills up. It has strong synergy with your Tormented Soil and your Ultimate. Morgana's 'wombo combo' generally goes something like Q->W-> MOVE CLOSE TO THE TARGET -> ULTIMATE AND IGNITE
Tormented Soil(W) Your bread and butter farming ability, If you're running the recommended runes and masteries you will have sufficient mana to use this on every wave. Despite this being a powerful farming ability, you do need to last hit effectively too, at least for the early levels, so make sure you memorize Morgana's attack animation and last hit creeps in the Soil accordingly. At early levels of the skill, you want to aim to land this on the Ranged Creep line due to it's effectiveness at killing them. This skill is mediocre beside farming, but the reduced Magic Resist and stacking damage is nothing to be scoffed at so always make sure to follow up with this skill when you land a Dark Binding.
Black Shield: This is what makes you so hard to get out of lane. Ward cover is essential to preemptively use this skill against jungler ganks. If you're going for a kill on your opposing midlaner, use this skill after you hit Dark Binding to avoid any retaliation. Always be sure to use it on Allies accordingly, a general priority in team fights is like this : Assassin > Yourself > AD Carry.
This is subject to change in certain situations such as if your AD Carry gets caught out in team fights frequently.
Soul Shackles: Your ultimate is what makes Morgana. The key to playing a good Morgana is to use her skills effectively and this is possibly the most important skill to use well. I recommended Move Speed Quints solely because they synergise well with this skill. I would post a picture of good positioning techniques but it's subject to so much change based on a lot of variables such as where the team fight is happening.
Cheatsheet Item build
I've tried to make this as adaptable as possible, NEVER use 1 item build - there are always alternatives and Morgana is extremely adaptive:
x3 : These are your starting items in 90% of games. The only time you want to start with a Doran's Ring is if there are no skill-shot nukes to avoid by the enemy or if the lane is an afk-farm fest (Read section on Match-ups).
: Only buy this as a starting item in the above situations. Otherwise buy 1-2 of them on your first base port OVER buying a Catalyst. You want to build Doran's over a Catalyst if you're not going for Rod of Ages(RoA). Don't go for RoA if the enemy has no gap-closing abilities and you're under no threat in teamfights (usually if your team is good/coordinated, 100% don't go for RoA if you're playing with a competant group of 5 on VoIP).
: This is such a strong item as it already adds to your innate sustain and gives you a bit of much needed health and mana. You shouldn't have to leave the lane until you have completed your Rod of Ages, which you should usually buy before completing full boots.
: If you went for Catalyst after starting items. Get this before completing your boots so it can stack up faster. I regard this item as one of the strongest items in the game for champions like Morgana who often have to get in the thick of things. There are situations (explained above) as to why you wouldn't get this, but in MOST solo-queue games, this item is the ****.
: Sometimes you have to man down and adjust your build to your team composition. Building a raw Negatron Cloak then building other big items is good in situation where you know you'll take a lot of magic damage (Against double AP mostly). it builds into an Abyssal Scepter but it isn't always essential to immediately follow it up with one since you might want to build a Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash (don't get these as your first big items). If you're getting a Negatron Cloak I would buy it after getting Sorc's and 1-2x Doran's Ring.
: Like the Negatron Cloak, this is a cheap way to bolster your stats. Build it adaptively in situations such as AD mid (Talon is a frequent counter-pick to Morgana despite the fact he's garbage) or if there's a good AD jungler. It builds into Hourglass but I would recommend just leaving it raw with 1-2x Doran's Ring until you get a different big item. You can go Zhonya's first if you feel that you need the invulnerability, but this is down to individual play-style.
: Almost every AP's key item. This makes you hit truckloads and I would get this in almost all your games, the only times I wouldn't is if you want to build very tanky but even then it's a decent late-game pick-up.
: Good vs double AP, also good if you're running a lot of magic damage HOWEVER if you're running double AP, usually your top-lane AP champion would buy this, DON'T get 2 on the same team. Don't discard it if this criteria isn't met though because the AoE Magic Reduction is strong with your ultimate. Despite the nerfs this is still a great item.
: Self explanatory, gives your spells a bit more whack in the early game and allow you to snowball better but they taper off when enemies start building Magic Resist. You should buy these almost always, the only exception being if you want to build tanky, in which case build Mercury Treads. NEVER build Ninja Tabi even if they're running 5 AD, a Chain Vest is more than sufficient and Mercury Treads are only a viable alternative because of the Tenacity they give.
: Get this after (and rarely before) Rabadon's Deathcap. You will want to buy it immediately after Rabadon's if the enemy team is running a lot of AD, otherwise you can delay it. This item synergises well with Morgana because you can position yourself a lot more aggresively and then use it to become immune. I do however think it is slightly over-rated on Morgana due to the fact that you shouldn't be getting focused and the enemy can always walk out of your ulti and you can't follow them if you can't move - HOWEVER it's still good!
: Almost every game, the time you buy this varies but a good rule of thumb is to look at what the enemy is building and adjust accordingly. You never want to build this before Rabadon's but it's often a viable pick-up immediately after. By late-game you should have this item. MAGIC PEN SO GOOD.
: I DON'T LIKE THIS ITEM. Your spells gain a very small benifit out of it, but if you want to build tanky and like the slow effect for whatever reason on Morgana then go ahead.
: Ashe Arrows getting you down? built Negation but no abyssal? NO PROBLEM, Banshee's Veil is always a viable item because the nullify effect is so strong. Even if you block a minor spell like Mordekaiser's E, you're still reducing the damage you take by A LOT and ontop of that you get a bit of HP and Magic Resist.
: A VERY GOOD ITEM, it did recieve a huge nerf of 200g shockhorror! and a bit of MR taken off but think of it like old cleanse. A summoner spell in an item is so strong and you should get this item against a lot of champions, to name a few : Mordekaiser, Malzahar, Warwick, Shen, Ashe.
: I would NEVER get this. Only get this if you're smurfing and the enemy team are stupid enough to feed you. The reason this item is so bad is because it needs 6 stacks to break cost effectiveness, even then it only gives you pure AP and no other stats. You have to preemptively build it and a lot can happen from when you get it (and presumably doing well) rendering it useless if you get no kills and assists. It also delays the other sexy items.
Side Note : The game phases indicated by levels are subject to change, game phases change based on when the precusory events take place - for example midgame can start as late as level 10.
Early game(1-8~) : You have absolutely 0 kill potential until you hit 6. Unless your opponent is caught out of position and you can Dark Binding during a Jungler gank, don't even think about killing your lane opponent. Instead, focus on farming as much as possible, Morgana's creep score should be the highest in the game, rivaled by Champions such as Mordekaiser and Singed who are regarded as the strongest farmers in the game. Morgana's early game is weak, which is why I chose to run flat MR glyphs - by the time MR/level glyphs catch up in effectiveness, you will have a lot of sustain.
Mid game(8+) : Mid game is where your team start taking objectives and pushing together. This is where Morgana shines. Her ability to nullify spells on a target through Black Shield makes the assassin champions on your team very happy because there is absolutely nothing their team can do to protect them from the initial burst. Her ultimate is devastating in team fights and it is very versatile (see section on Skill Usage). Her ability to roam is good because of your ability to push your lane. This is a basic mental formula to roaming.
Will I miss over 2 waves of creeps? if no continue
Are the creeps pushed to the enemy tower? if yes continue
Has the lane which I want to gank got summoners up (ask your teammates, if they don't know shout and curse at them loljk) if no continue, if yes make sure to bait out key spells when you initiate, this can be done by using your Binding which will usually make them flash to avoid it IF DONE WELL.
Prioritise the Bottom Lane for roaming. This is for 2 reasons -
1# The bottom lane is undoubtedly the best lane to do well in, AD carries scale into all phases of the game, do best in the lategame and your ganks will help them get their lategame build faster. and a fed AD carry is the best carry, REMEMBER THIS when you're about to complain about KSing.
2# After killing or severely wounding the bottom lane you can more than likely get a free dragon kill, the enemy team usually won't contest it if their bottom lane is dead/based and if they do, just make sure your Jungler smites well and deny them from stealing it.
Late game (16+~) Late game is when your team are grouped up and are pushing as a solid unit for objectives together. Since Morgana isn't a good split pusher due to her lack of escape, she shouldn't be taking towers on her own. Remember to always support your teammates with your abilities but also remember that if you're dead you won't be able to do anything, so adjust your Black Shield targets accordingly. Your ultimate remains devastating throughout the entire game
Your jungler should be giving you Blue buffs. Usually he'll either give you the second or the third one (rarely the first, usually if it's Shyvanna or Lee). If he doesn't, ask him for it! usually your jungler will comply unless you're feeding and he's mad at you or your jungler isn't very good. Even if you're not doing too great, blue buff is important to allow you to constantly push your lane and chug your spell in teamfights or objective contests. so try sweet talk your mad jungler into giving it to you.
Think of Morgana as a supportive AP, as opposed to an 'OMG 2 SHOT KILL LOL' AP carry who will use their burst and deal moderate damage after. You can constantly chug out spells on a relatively low cooldown and you remain a threat source even after your ultimate. Obviously you want to be using as many spells as possible during a teamfight so it's extra extra important to keep alive. I can't stress this enough, you want to die LAST if your team gets wiped out.
You are not an initiator! Morgana has very strong counter-initiation and follow-up but you should NOT be the first one in.
Basic Position Techniques in teamfights
In the ideal world, you'd be in the middle of every single one of their players while they're attacking a bruiser-type champion stood immediately next to you. THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Most competent players immediately recognize Morgana as a high threat target and will either burst you down or CC you. The key to a successful Morgana ultimate is to hold back and use your ranged spells until you see key spells being used - such as strong stuns/snares. Use your ultimate in 2 situations:
1# If you're able to land a binding on the AD Carry, immediately go in and cast your shackles. If you can't land a binding on the carry,
2# stand near to your AD Carry and in all probability the enemy team will go deep on him, when they do smash your ultimate, this allows you to protect him and hit key targets. Never tunnel vision onto a priority target.
The reason you hold back is because your ultimate has a channel time before it takes effect, if the enemy blows all their hard damage on you, you will most likely die before your ultimate does anything. In almost all teamfights, the enemy will look to pin key targets early on by using their biggest nukes, YOU ARE A KEY TARGET. You always want to be ready for a teamfight so make sure you POLITELY ask your support player to keep ward coverage up.
There's no point me writing out another warding guide to the many available so instead I'll link one HERE. Credit goes solely to the author of the guide.
Wards are so important for your laning because they allow you to prepare for jungler ganks and almost always prevent them. You should ward both Brushes next to the mid lane, often ward the ramp outside the Wraith Camp and buy them whenever you have excess gold and room in your inventory.
Against exclusively ganking champions (Kassadin, Le Blanc etc) a good idea is to place a ward approx. 3/4 the way from your tower to theirs. This will allow you to see where the enemy champion is going without a creep wave and allow you to warn your teammates. If you're playing against a stealth jungler (mainly shaco) a Pink ward in the center of the lane is a good idea. If dragon isn't warded by 10 minutes, take the initiative to ward it yourself (Push up before warding and don't put yourself in danger of being ganked!) If your blue buff is under threat of being stolen, ward the brush next to it so you can gank the thief.
You shouldn't be the primary warder but you should help when possible!
Morgana is very strong vs almost all champions, not because of her ability to kill them but her ability to be able to farm against them. There are a few champions you will have to adjust to however :
Mordekaiser - Your Black Shield will just melt and if you do your ulti combo he will most likely be able to turn on you. Just farm in this lane and buy a Quicksilver Sash, encourage your AD carry to buy one too!
Ahri - Her ultimate allows her to outrange yours and come back in for the kill, despite this you should be able to outfarm her and subsequently win your lane. If she tries assassinating you, use your Black Shield to block her Charm, AVOID CHARMS! avoid fighting her 1v1. Middle of lane ward recommended
Katarina - For the same reason as Morde but with the potential to escape your ult, you should still be able to outfarm her. Harass her with auto attacks and try hit her with Dark Bindings as she creeps, she'll have a hard time CSing if you do this right. Middle of lane ward recommended
Fizz - Fizz is a bastard, he'll dodge your perfectly lined up wombo-combos and turn it against you. JUST farm against him and when he ganks push your lane up. Fizz lacks the ability to push well and if you can outfarm him and deny him kills, he'll be even more useless lategame. PATIENCE! Middle of lane ward recommended
Gragas is arguably strong vs Morgana due to the fact he can knock you away and ruin your ultimate. There are 2 ways to bypass this - by Black Shielding his ultimate OR by waiting till he uses it then going in. The fat man isn't a big deal really!
A lot of people think Talon is good vs Morgana, and he is! but only at being able to counter your abilities as he can ult to counter your ult and all his spells are physical, rendering your Black Shield useless. you can still outfarm him and as far as assassin champions go his damage is very low so he isn't a high threat once you exceed laning phase.
There are probably other soft-counters to Morgana, but the point I'm trying to get across is that against ANY champion you will still be able to farm which is your number 1 priority during the laning phase.