Build Guide by MrSomeBacon
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.
How to Play a Successful Akali
Hi guys! This is my tutorial/guide on Akali and how I play her.
I will also include to play AGAINST Akali at the end of the build. If you're new to League of Legends, here are some terms that may be used in this guide and many other guides that would help to know. They aren't necessarily in alphabetical order.
CC - Crowd control (stun/fear/slow/knock-up/snare)
AoE - Area of Effect (such as Amumu's ultimate)
KS - kill steal (getting the last hit on an enemy to take the title of killing them)
CS - creeps slain (minions killed, numbers of last hits)
AD - Attack damage stat
AP - ability power stat
Nuke/Burst - A lot of damage in a short period of time, usually not sustained
Carry - damage dealer, usually easily killed if focused
Tank - Bulky champion, soaks damage for team, disrupts enemy team, doesn't do much damage
Squishy - easily killed, not much health/armor/magic resist
Quick Section on Armor and Magic Resist:
For those of you who may be new to League of Legends, I'll explain how the armor stat and magic resist stat works. It is put into a simple formula to determine the amount of damage you take from a certain attack. The formula is the same for armor and magic resist, only armor applies to physical damage and magic resist applies to magic damage.
Here is the formula:
Armor/(Armor + 100) or Magic resist/(Magic resist +100)
Say you have 100 armor. 100/(100+100) = 100/200 = 0.5
This means you take 0.5, or 50% less damage. An auto attack from a Tryndamere that would do 300 damage only does 150 damage. Big difference right?
But there is a trick to this equation. So, starting from 0 armor, you buy 100 armor worth of items. You have effectively decreased all physical damage by 50%. But if you buy another 100 armor worth of items, 200/(200+100) = 200/300 = 67%. What?! You just spent the same amount of money and you only decreased physical damage by 17%?
Exactly. So, up until around 100 armor and magic resist you have been effectively getting the worth out of your items. But past that, you're wasting money. It's arguably more effective to buy health items after 100 armor and magic resist if you want to be tankier.
Okay, back to Akali. I have to say, Akali is definitely not a champion anyone can pick up and roll with. She will require at least a couple of games to master, and is by far not the easiest champion I've played or learned to play. Good news, she's also not the hardest.
In general, this is what I think of Akali. It's not her abilities that make her difficult to play, but rather her role as an assassin. I stress this repeatedly throughout this guide because it is so important. Unlike Tryndamere, it's not the abilities, timing of abilities and when to use them that makes Akali hard to play, because the abilities are fairly straight forward and there isn't too much debate about which skills should be prioritized over others. I'll save the rest of my lecture for later, for now, let's get into the technical parts of playing Akali.
Akali as a Champion
Akali is an assassin. This means she darts in and out of battle trying not to get noticed and doing as much damage as possible to the enemy team. Not their champions, their team. This means killing their damage output and destroying their formations.
Pros and Cons
Strong both mid and late game
High sustained damage
Takes minimal damage in battle
Good and ksing/preventing ksing
Not TOO expensive...3150
Nice body :)
REALLY REALLY SUPER AWESOME FUN TIME
Weak levels 1-5
Squishy before the Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Is nothing without items and tons of AP
Strong late game, but not exactly comparable to, say, Tryndamere
Vulnerable to CC
Runs a low energy system (Cannot spam spells in battle)
Does not have heavy build in CC
Good all around spell. Not a must have but a highly recommended spell. With Akali is all about getting the kills and finishing the job quickly and efficiently. Ignite saves you the mess of diving or chasing, and bonus AP from the mastery is highly useful early game. Akali is reliant on kills early on for gold, as she can get zoned out quite easily without sustained high damage.
Excellent escape tool or chasing tool. Combined with Akali's Shadow Dance and Twilight Shroud Flash provides a great juking potential, seeing that Akali is relatively squishy. I usually use Flash, but there has been a lot of debate over removing/changing Flash so it might be safe to not rely heavily on it. Also, if you Flash after getting slowed, they're probably going to catch up to you anyway.
Cleanse is a good all around spell. I often see enemy players exhaust the carry, or in this case maybe Akali, right off the bat at the beginning of a team fight to shut down that champion for a few precious seconds. And anyone who's played League of Legends knows that a few seconds is very, very valuable. Someone like Akali in a team fight might get CC dominated the second she pops out of her Twilight Shroud. Quicksilver Sash is a good alternative for cleanse, and I don't know why, but I just DON'T see it on very many players. It's a great mid game item to have, especially against a CC or AP heavy team.
Exhaust is a good defensive, offensive, and supportive summoner spell that I think can work on any champion, although some better than others. Its slow and damage shut down can turn a fight completely around, shut down that enemy carry that you can't quite kill with damage, chase down that fleeing opponent who's just out of range, or slow down a chasing enemy champion just enough that you can get away. On a champion with their own slows or heavy CC, exhaust is a good alternative and a supportive spell to aid your team in a team fight. On Akali, it would work. This would interchangeable with Ignite, based on your preferences. This would generally mean more late game dominance.
ANY OTHER SPELLS ARE GENERALLY NOT RECOMMENDED.
Why? I'll just use one spell as an example. Ghost. Okay, this spell is undeniably awesome. But before you put it on Akali, think about what you're doing here. Akali is for killing specific members of the enemy team. She's not that tanky DPS Xin Zhao chasing down the last survivors of the enemy team. Once she's done her job, she's done her job, period. You can have a Flash to get out of the chaos once you've annihilated their carry, but you won't be needing the Ghost AS MUCH to chase or flee, because if you're CC'ed and chased, you're dead anyway. TL;DR - Not as efficient as other spells. Now granted, a Ghost and Flash combo of spells would work well for a safe style of play and I don't see any problem with playing safe :).
This will be the last "technical" portion of playing Akali. After this I will explain some more about gameplay, items, team coordination, and generally What-to-do. Because it's not all about the build and the items.
Mark of the Assassin
Akali spins her kama at a target enemy to deal 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and mark the target for 6 seconds.
Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will trigger and consume the mark to cause 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and restore 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 energy.
You throw the kama at an enemy champion, and it does absolutely nothing. 50 base damage plus their resistances renders the throwing kama's damage at level 1 useless and not a good spell to harass with. This spell however is Akali's main damage source. Because, after that kama throw, your auto attack triggering that mark will do incredible amounts of damage.
Cost: 80 / 75 / 70 / 65 / 60
Akali throws down a cover of smoke that lasts for 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 armor and magic resist and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies inside the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 / 30%.
What makes Akali an assassin. Stealth, then suddenly out of nowhere tons of damage released on your enemy. In a teamfight, you can sit there for a second to safely lock on to your target. This is the ability that gives you safety. The slow effect on enemies is just a bonus bit of awesome :).
Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 physical damage (+30% of ability power) + 60% Attack Damage.
This is just another spell, nothing too crazy about it. The AoE is nice in a team fight or farming minions, but all in all level it to gain the additional damage.
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100 / 175 / 250 (+50% of ability power) magic damage.
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow on kills and assists as well as every 25 / 20 / 15 seconds up to 3 total.
Literally a spammable ulti...on a champion with energy?! Pure amazingness, and has got to be one of my favorite ultimates in the game. This ultimate has gotten me numerous kills I wouldn't have gotten without it, allowed me to juke like a pro, and can be used rapidly in succession. How AWESOME IS THAT!? More on the utility of this ability later.
Upon obtaining 20 additional ability power, Akali's hits deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 ability power gained thereafter.
Upon obtaining 10 additional attack damage, Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 10 attack damage gained thereafter.
At first this passive seems kinda confusing. What is Riot talking about here? Basically it's like this: The more attack damage you get from items, you'll get some spell vamp. At the same time, the more ability power you get, your auto attacks do an additional amount of magic damage. So if you can get 10 attack damage at the begining of the game, you'll have 10% spell vamp to heal you and keep you in lane. In this guide however, we'll be more closely focused on the ability power portion of this passive. Because the extra magic damage is completely in synergy with her Mark of the Assassin. There's no real way to utilize this passive, just play normally and let it run in the background.
After reading multiple MobaFire guides myself in trying out new champions, I have always felt that the authors don't put in enough of their own playstyle. When I first started this game, it was only through many many repeated games that I learned to do certain things. I feel that giving you a summary on Akali and just telling you, oh, here's the items I used and the skill sequence, have fun!, isn't going to help you a lot. So, I'm going to go through a typical Akali game! I hope this will help and that you can pick up on maybe some things that I do differently than you. Feel free to take my suggestions and/or giving me some suggestions. Enjoy!
Okay, so you've just spawned at the fountain with 4 allied champions. You click the store, and buy a Doran's Blade. Immediately half of your passive will be activated from the +9 attack that stacks with the +1 attack in the masteries. If you have AP runes, then now you've already fully activated your passive without additional items.
Are you running a jungler? Does your team have a mid? Because Akali can solo or mid. It's not uncommon for lower level players to not be always running junglers, but when you do, you'll have to figure out a champion who can be relied on and can hold their ground. Now, as Akali, if you see the opportunity, go ahead and take mid or the solo lane.
Okay, you're in lane now. You'll 90% of the time be putting a point into Mark of the Assassin. DON'T use it to harass. Use it to last hit minions. It's pretty easy, especially since it has a relatively fast animation. Or, you could mark a minion and auto attack it to proc the mark. It is very easy to last hit with Akali. When the cooldown is off, you don't want to waste this spell by trying to hit an enemy champion because it won't do too much damage, and it's too risky to try to move closer and get the proc off. Focus on getting as much gold as you humanly can. This will pay off HUUUGELY later on.
You get ganked, and you are killed. You swear at yourself because you're thinking you've just given up first blood and precious time to be gaining levels and farming. And this is when focusing on last hitting will pay off. A lot of times in low ELO play players tend to want to get a bit of additional damage off on the enemy players. As Akali, this is not important. Gold is important, because you are heavily dependent on items and lots of AP.
Early game as Akali is boring. You don't have enough damage or bulkiness to 1v1 other champions, can't tower dive, and have only decent ganking potential. What your goals are for early game are
2.ASSISTS OR KILLS
Number one is easy to do, number 2, not so much. Try to call for a gank, and you can use that Ignite or Exhaust to guarantee that kill. Even if it's an assist, you'll get a large boost in gold. Early game is setting the stage for how well you do late game. Even if you're not getting kills, as long as your enemies aren't either and you farm better than them you'll still have the advantage. For Akali, I usually think that "early game" ends when you're...
LEVEL 6 OR Rabadon's Deathcap****
Most likely level 6 before the Deathcap. But if you farm well enough, you can rush that deathcap very quickly and still be able to grab some Boots Speed. Feel free to sell the Doran's Blade if you need too, but you should be trying to calculate how much gold you need before going back to buy an item. You should memorize that Boots of Seed cost 350, Blasting Wand costs 860, and Needlessly Large Rod costs 1600. If you have 1800 gold, and you really want to go back for the Needlessly Large Rod, why not farm that extra 150 gold so you can pick up boots also? You want to stay in lane for as long as possible, so calculating your gold income is very helpful. As your recall takes 8 seconds, you can count on having that 8 extra gold by the time you reach the fountain, so you can leave at 1590 gold instead of actually farming to over 1600 gold.
At level 6, you should be getting ready to rack up some kills. Decide which lane to push/gank based on:
1. How much that lane has been pushed forward/back...Has the turrets been destroyed yet?
2. How many enemy champions are in that lane? Is it safe to leave the lane alone?
3. How many allied champions are in that lane?
4. How many enemies are MIA? Might they try to gank that solo laner pushing on top lane?
Once your ultimate is up and ready, you can go through an entire combo, which will deal CRAZY damage. Usually it'll be like this....
--> --> AUTO ATTACK --> --> AUTO ATTACK
Why didn't I include Akali's ultimate or her E ability? Here's why:
At level 6, your E ability doesn't do that much damage. For sustained high damage, during combat E will just waste your precious energy and limit you from spamming the damage dealing Q ability. Later on, feel free to use your E ability, but for now, you're really only capable to dealing rounds of Mark of the Assassin in rapid succession.
But wait, TWO TIMES in rapid succession? How does that work, because when you Q then auto attack the cool down hasn't refreshed yet, right?....Right!...But here's the trick: Before you go into the battle, you'll want to "harass" by throwing that Q at them. The mark will stay on them until AFTER the cooldown refreshes. So what do you do? You wait until the cool down refreshes, maybe ulti to get to them, auto attack to proc the FIRST Mark of the Assassin, Q them, auto attack to proc the SECOND mark. This allows you to do massive damage in a short time. This will be your main combo throughout the entire game.
About her ultimate... Shadow Dance is not a damage doer. It's a utility spell that just by chance also does damage. Q--> Auto attack-->Q-->Auto attack will take up enough time and do enough damage that you do not need to feel like you need to spam your ulti on them for extra damage. Your ulti is for chasing or juking, DON't waste it.
Mid game is where Akali will start to shine. You've picked up the Rabadon's by now, and this gives you a massive boost to AP and nuking power - but not to survivability. You might think that I'm crazy to say you should save up for an entire Rabadon's Deathcap before buying some defenses. I'd say you're right, except that's NOT what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that you NEED the extra AP early on for kills, but this is COMPLETELY dependent the how well you/your team/enemy team is doing. This is also why you rush CS and gold. So that right after Rabadon's Deathcap and Boots of Speed you can quickly grab Giant's Belt toward the Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Here's a helpful tip that you've heard MILLIONS of times: BUY A WARD (or 2)!!!
*Omg wards are like 75 gold and only last a few minutes I don't need it I'll save up and get better items* NO. WARDS ARE WORTH THE GOLD, Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Get into the habit of thinking, oh, I have 200 gold leftover, I'll pick up 2 wards. Placing a ward at the bush to the lane pretty much GUARANTEES that you can't be ganked as long as you are map aware. Especially if you're looking to push a tower, placing a ward down can alert you to an approaching enemy and give you a headstart back to your turret. It's dangerous to stray so far from your own turret without something to keep you notified of the enemies' positions. Please don't feel that you're wasting money, because if you think about it 75 gold is just 3 or 4 minion kills which as Akali will take around 10 seconds of farming.
Normally you'll have your Rabadon's Deathcap by mid game as well as either Mercury's Treads or some other upgraded boots. You may or may not have sold the Doran's Blade to get an item, because if you're about to get the Rylai's Crystal Scepter then the 100 health isn't too important. You might be wondering, well, what about the spell vamp part of Akali's passive? Well, to be honest, spell vamp is not important if when you sell the Doran's Blade you can buy your Rabadon's Deathcap. You can always get some attack damage later or just grab a Hextech Revolver. Spell vamp isn't too helpful anyway as you're not the fighter that continuously pumps out damage and can use the spell vamp to heal quickly enough.
There's not much to tell you from here on out, it's pretty much straightforward get your core build:
, , and
When you see a build for a champion, you think, "Oh, that makes sense, those items seem like it would fit well with that champion," but THREE ITEMS ARE LIKE F***ING MAGIC ON AKALI OMFG. Sorry for my enthusiasm, but let me explain. Okay. You have your Rabadon's Deathcap. This provides you a ton of AP with just one item even if it's costly. However, the passive on the Deathcap is what's going to keep you driving. When you get your Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you get it for the slow and the health, both of which are really effective. The nice amount of AP you also get from it boosted by 35%! Now you have a LOT of AP, good HP pool, AND a slow when you jump onto an enemy champion, securing your kills MUCH more easily. Now finally for the icing on the cake: Lich Bane. This item is just amazing on Akali. Why you don get it sooner is because you need the basic stats provided by the Rylai's and the Deathcap for Lich Bane to be effective. Anyway, by now you have several hundred AP. You Mark of the Assassin the opponent, which procs the Lich Bane passive. Now when you auto attack, you get:
1.Auto attack damage
2. Mark of the Assassin proc damage
3.Your AP in damage!
Wow. Just think about that. And remember your AP is being boosted by 35% because of the Rabadon's Deathcap. I simply cannot stress how great these 3 items are for Akali. You've just added HUNDREDS of damage with your Q spell with one item. GG.
Anyway, this is the end of the guide. It's not the longest guide, but I felt that I pointed out the important parts of the guide, especially with the Deathcap-Rylais-Lich Bane item combination. I see a lot of Akali's getting some hybrid items, but when you can do what can with this item combo, WHY would you otherwise? A lot of other builds that I tried out tells you get the Hextech Revolver first, but that just slows down Akali's true potential.
Please try out this build before voting or commenting. I didn't include a lot of items, because most games you won't even finish your Lich Bane, so it's up to you which defensive items to get later on. I hope you took your time to read this guide, or skim it and pick up on the important details. Akali is truly a great a fun champion, and I see a lot of Akali's do very well but with these items that just don't make sense. Gl and Hf!