Cho'Gath Build Guide by EmbraceProgress
Not Updated For Current Season
Tabi OR Mercs
Final Build Example (Tank-Focused)
Final Build Example (DPS-Focused)
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.
Introduction (Kinda Want You To Read This)
First off, I want to thank you for clicking on this guide. I put a lot of time and effort into making it and I'll never get feedback unless viewers like you look over my work.
I'm TheI3igDaddy, a North American summoner who finished in low Platinum before the beginning of Season 5. Cho'Gath has been my most played champ of Season 4, and since I love him so, I decided to combine all of my experience and findings into this guide to share with you all.
IMPORTANT EDIT (9/3/15):
Due to starting up college again, as well as my waning interest in League (due to, in my opinion, ****ty balance and being more frustrated than happy when I play), I may not be updating the guide as frequently.
I'm not even 100% sure I'll do ranked in Season 6; I'll still try to update the guide with new items as well as theoretical champion matchups, but forgive me if this falls by the wayside. I appreciate every view and comment from you all, and I'm glad my guide has gotten some good mileage in season 5.
I'm also going to go out and say that if you're reading this, I assume you're a level 30 who's been playing Ranked for some time, and who is familiar with common acronyms such as CC, ADC, and TP. If not, I'm not sure if this guide will truly help you.
WARNING: this guide will be lonnnnnggggg. See your scroll bar on the side? It's freaking tiny, ain't it? As you can see, I've made cheat sheets for 4, yes FOUR different roles that Cho'Gath can play, and I intend to go into as much depth as possible for each.
I'm not forcing you to read the whole thing, of course. Think of this like an encyclopedia; if you only want to know how to Jungle with Cho'Gath, jump to that section.
So if you've read some of this guide and have any feedback to give me, positive or negative, please comment. It's my first ever, and while I'd like to think that my writing skills are above average, nothing is really perfect.
On that note, let me explain how this guide came to be.
Why I Play Cho'Gath (And Why You Should Too)
(Feel free to skip this, it's just a bunch of ranting / praising of my favorite champion.)
I starting playing League in the middle of 2012, around the time that Jayce was released. I had always been fascinated with dinosaurs and other leviathan-type creatures, and one day I realized that there was a champion that could grow in size over time based on how much he ate. Not only was he a behemoth, he was an ALIEN behemoth. He looked cool, he SOUNDED cool...
This champion was Cho'Gath.
As my wee little nooblet self used him, I loved it. You could make the ground tremble, scream as loud as you could at your enemies, and if they were getting all up in your face? You'd eat them! It really felt like you were playing a giant monster bent on ransacking an entire area, leaving nothing in its wake. Having that kind of destructive power is fun. It's not the only reason I really like him, though.
He's one of the most versatile champions in the entire game. You can lane, jungle, AND even support with Cho; very few other champs can say the same ( Jarvan IV and Kayle come to mind). And even despite this, Cho is one of the most balanced champions; he has clear strengths and weaknesses that his enemies can exploit (will go into more detail in the next chapter). I've never liked playing FotM champions and those that were deemed "OP" by the community, so succeeding with Cho makes me feel awesome.
I hope that after you read this guide, you'll be able to succeed with him as well.
General Pros / Cons
|+ Extremely Versatile Champ
+ Innate Sustain
+ Strong Waveclear
+ AOE Crowd Control and Damage
+ Giant Meatshield
+ True Damage Nuke
|You can build Cho'Gath in so many ways, in a variety of roles. In solo-que, this helps out in champ select if your team isn't co-operating.
His sustain and waveclear allow him to remain in lane nearly indefinitely around mid-game.In teamfights, Cho'Gath disrupts everyone with his CC while face-tanking as much damage as possible, using his ultimate to either peel enemies off of his teammates, or to eliminate carries himself.
|- No Mobility
- Prone to Stack Health
- No Steroids
- Still Gets Creep-Blocked
- Somewhat Team Dependant
|If you're looking for a speedy champ, Cho'Gath is not for you. It's his main weakness and everyone knows it. It only makes sense that Godzilla does not have the mobility of a jet fighter.
In being huge and terrifying, keeping Feast stacks means that Cho'Gath gets more health than others, which allows users with %HP damage to have a field day. Cho does not have any combat steroids in his kit, so his dueling suffers. Pesky minions will still impede your rampage because logic is a fickle *****. Finally, it's quite challenging to carry an entire game by yourself, especially if you're the main tank. You still need to rely on your teammates to do THEIR jobs along with your own.
Cho'Gath recovers a flat amount of health and mana back whenever he kills something; minion, monster, or champion. The mana half of this gives him a free Doran's Ring passive, essentially.
This sustain passive allows Cho to sit in lane for a longass time, generally being immovable unless his opponent is constantly harassing him. It's also half of the reason he's an effective jungler. This makes CS'ing on Cho'Gath incredibly important, as he won't heal unless HE kills the minions.
I could write a LOT about this move...hm, where to begin? Mastering this skill is the most important part of Cho'Gath. What we have here is an AOE knockup that does strong base damage as well as slowing everyone hit by it afterwards. Oh, and it's ranged too. It's almost like Unstoppable Force, yet Cho'Gath can use this every 9 seconds.*
So what's the catch? It's delayed, along with the short casting animation that Cho'Gath does beforehand. Therefore, you MUST predict where your enemy will be right as the spell lands, otherwise they can simply walk out of the targeted area. Hitting Rupture in teamfights is crucial to your team's success; sometimes that's all it takes for the rest of your squad to divebomb the poor sod(s) who get hit by it.
*And that's WITHOUT any CDR!
All terrifying monsters have their roar, and Cho'Gath is no different. Feral Scream is loud enough to silence multiple enemies for over 2 seconds at max rank, which again is extremely effective in teamfights. Against team compositions that rely mainly on spells, Feral Scream is invaluable in shutting them up long enough for your team to clean house.
Since it's cone-shaped though, and also has a cast animation like Rupture, you need to make sure that you tag the right champions with it, else they may have the damage to kill your carries.
This toggled ability gives each of Cho'Gath's autos more damage in the form of spikes, which spread out to hit others around the target. Quite honestly, it's more of a second passive, since the only time you need to toggle it off is when you want to avoid hitting your opponent while attacking their turret.
This is the second half of why Cho'Gath can jungle; the AOE nature of this ability allows him to clear entire camps of jungle mobs without expending any mana! It also allows him to CS easier, which combos well with his passive healing.
Ah, Feast. This is what really makes our monster come to life. Each time Cho'Gath executes something with his ultimate, he gains size, health, and a bit of attack range. Leveling up the ultimate ability itself also makes Cho'Gath bigger, so you get two nice health spikes at levels 11 and 16. If the enemy is a minion or monster, it's cooldown is halved, making stacking a lot faster if used to farm. Once you get the full six stacks, you're free to use this devastating nuke offensively against your opponents.
There are two methods of using Feast; peeling and killing. I tend to do the former when I build tanky and the latter when I build to carry (A.K.A. Mage'Gath). Generally if someone wants my carry dead, they may commit to flying past me in order to kill them. Not on my watch; Feast allows Cho'Gath to chunk them hard and hopefully provide enough extra damage to eliminate the threat before they can do harm. On the flip-side, if you know your ult can murder an enemy carry (indicated by the spikey-looking icon that appears around them when they're at low health), you can quickly eliminate them from the fight.
- Use Rupture and Feral Scream in tandem with each other for a lethal CC combo!
- Again, there's no real need to turn off Vorpal Spikes, so keep them on!
- TRY NOT TO DIE; Cho'Gath loses half of his stacks upon dying!
Viable Summoner Spells
As with any champion, picking the right summoner spells for Cho'Gath is important. Here I've listed the GOOD and the BAD spells for you to consider.
Flash is the most popular summoner spell in the game. An instant blink in any direction is invaluable to have...on some champions. The only time I take Flash is on Mid'Gath, since I'm not building to tank. I generally tend to go for...
Ghost is the mobility spell that I use everywhere else, and I feel that it's a bit superior to Flash on Cho'Gath. Why? Well, let me be blunt: dying on Cho'Gath isn't fun. You LOSE tankiness, and need to stack up Feast again. With Flash, there's always the chance that it won't save a slow, lumbering champion like Cho, as there are many champions with far superior mobility that will still catch up to you and kill you. With Ghost, you get a 10 second speed boost where you can hopefully outrun your enemies to relative safety.
It also lets you catch up to fleeing enemies so that you can tag them with Rupture easier, netting your team kills that otherwise wouldn't have happened. Therefore, I prefer Ghost on Cho about 90% of the time.
And plus, doing this will have many of your enemies pissing their pants:
Teleport is an amazing summoner spell that I run top 99% of the time. Having this spell up gives you map-wide presence at the push of a button, especially considering how important dragon is to get. It also allows you to quickly port back to lane if you need to save your tower. It truly is too good to take anything else in its place.
Ignite is definitely good, but its use on Cho'Gath is generally minimal. Like Flash, I generally only take Ignite when I play Mage'Gath, where it's kill first, ask questions later. You CAN still use this in top lane if you prefer to play aggressively from the start, but the lack of Teleport might be a bigger hindrance then you think.
I'm quite a fan of Exhaust, really. I run it on every single support that I use, Cho'Gath included. For top lane, however, I feel that it's outclassed by Teleport again, although it will still prove useful against melee ADC'S like Tryndamere and Fiora.
And of course there's Smite, but for obvious reasons, the only time we take this is to jungle. Not much else to say, really.
Barrier is generally bought by squishy champs who are afraid of burst damage. You are neither squishy nor at risk to getting bursted down in half a second, so there's no reason to take this.
As much as I think Clairvoyance is nice, it's currently outclassed by a ******* trinket. And even then, you're better off taking a bunch of others over this.
Clarity is taken by new players who haven't learned mana conservation yet. Plus your passive gives you mana back. No need.
Cleanse is only taken by ADC's when the other team is loaded with CC, and even then, they generally prefer Heal over it. Your tenacity and tankiness make this a waste.
At level 18, Heal restores about 350 health. You know what else does? Killing like five minions. Seriously.
Tank'gath. This is generally the most common way Cho'Gath is played, for good reason. With the same build as other tanks, Cho has nearly 1000 extra HP thanks to Feast, making him a giant, fat brick to the enemy team (unless they have a Vayne...then you become a damn pincushion). His AOE CC allows him to disrupt the enemy team long enough to pick off their carries or peel for his own. Cho'Gath also excels at blocking a LOT of damage with his increased size; it's both hilarious and badass to be able to stand in front of a teammate while taking an entire The Culling to the face and being able to walk away unscathed.
There are two ways to play Tank'Gath: aggressively with the use of Ignite and most likely a Doran's Ring start, or passively with Teleport and a defensive item. This section focuses on the latter; I personally feel that Teleport is a much better summoner for the team, especially when it takes a while to move Cho's fat *** all the way over to Dragon from top lane. He also wants to farm as much as possible, so that he can stack Feast and turn into a giant behemoth. Teleport allows him to both farm and go to teamfights once they break out.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Marks: Cho does roughly 75-80% magic damage throughout the game, so taking Greater Mark of Magic Penetration will make said damage stick to enemies. For lane Cho, there's not really an alternative.
Seals: I literally always take Greater Seal of Armor for Cho, regardless of playstyle. It mitigates minion / jungle mob damage, as well as making you a bit beefier with your extra health. Never sub these out.
Glyphs: Both Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and Greater Glyph of Magic Resist work, depending on your lane opponent. Obviously if they have heavy magic damage, choose flat MR over scaling.
Quints: There are two options here. Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed give Cho a much needed speed boost, and help him at all stages of the game. Grabbing Greater Quintessence of Ability Power, however, will give his early damage a slight boost. If the enemy team has a lot of mobility themselves, take the MS quints.
9/21/0 is my preferred set-up when I go top. Sinking 9 into the Offense Tree gives you some CDR and AP. Expose Weakness is a good mastery to grab, considering all of the AOE that's in Cho's kit. He'll easily be able to tag multiple enemies at once, letting your allies take them down juuuuust a bit faster.
Obviously, put the remainder into defense to cement yourself as a tank. Taking Swiftness over Recovery is a win-win; Cho's passive will heal him enough, and the former helps his immobile nature, especially during ganks. The rest of the points shouldn't surprise you, though I believe that Oppression is an underrated mastery. Cho will take reduced damage from anyone who's movement-impaired, regardless of who hit them. Also, according to the wiki, attack speed slows count, so buying Frozen Heart will reduce damage from anyone in range! Legendary Guardian rounds out the tree, giving Cho a whopping 15 armor and MR in a full-scale teamfight, which is amazing.
With Tank'Gath, there's no perfect skill order. It's entirely dependent on your lane matchup; this is another reason why Cho'Gath is so versatile.
Against champions with poor waveclear: >>>
With this, Cho'Gath's Vorpal Spikes will quickly grow in damage, which push waves very hard as well as hurting whoever tries to get into melee range of him. You'll repeatedly shove the wave into their turret, forcing them to use mana to CS rather than hurting you.
Against enemies that are mainly ability-based: >>>
Feral Scream is very strong against casters, and after leveling it a few times, it really starts to sting as well. Use this to shut up enemies while hacking them down with Vorpal Spikes. If they're not very mobile, you can choose to max Rupture second. Take note that Feral Scream is your most mana-intensive move, so don't spam it too frequently.
Against ranged enemies with low innate sustain: >>>
Cho'Gath just hates it when ranged opponents repeatedly shoot him in the face. Therefore, maxing Rupture first allows him to harass right back. This also allows him to set up his QW combo once his jungler comes to gank. I mainly use this skill order against the likes of Jayce, Ryze, and Teemo.
Rod of Ages is core for top lane, and you should rush this every game. Its passive heals you every level-up, as well as giving you a big chunk of HP, mana, and AP. This is what makes Cho'Gath immovable in lane.
As of 5.13, RoA now gives less health, but more AP. A slight nerf to Tank-Gath, but of course the AP doesn't go to waste.
These are all of the armor items that work on Tank'Gath.
Generally, you always want to take either Frozen Heart or Thornmail every game. The former grants a large debuff aura, along with giving you more mana and a sexy 20% CDR. Grab Thornmail if their ADC is ludicrously fed or they have a bunch of auto-attackers on the enemy team.
Randuin's Omen has always been a strong armor item, and despite its recent changes, it's still very good. It traded a nerf in defensive stats for a bonus reduction to critical strikes, as well as increased CC duration. This is obviously the best anti-AD item, and it's best to purchase this if their ADC is fed or they have multiple sources of critcial damage (I'm looking at you, ******* Tryndamere).
Dead Man's Plate is a new, situational item for Cho. I say situational, because it's much more of a bruiser item, and Tank'Gath needs to sponge up as much damage as possible. The Momentum passive, however, is very good for keeping Cho on the move, and it's a great way to lock enemies down in Rupture if you can auto them in the face beforehand.
I haven't extensively tested it, however, so use it at your own discretion. In general though, I do like the item a lot.
Sunfire Cape is also situational, as you don't really need its passive thanks to your Vorpal Spikes doing a lot of residual magic damage already. Only grab it when you have a bunch of enemies constantly in your face.
You have slightly more choice with magic resist items.
Abyssal Scepter is a great MR item that also gives you a nice chunk of AP as well. The debuff gives a magic resist reduction to all within 700 units, which benefits your team if they have a lot of magic damage.
Wit's End is one of my favorite items to buy on Tank'Gath. It lets him attack much faster, as well as STEAL magic resist from enemies, making it synergize very well with Vorpal Spikes. The fact that buying health isn't a priority on Cho gives us another good reason to pick this up.
You still have Spirit Visage, Banshee's Veil, and Locket of the Iron Solari to round out the beefier MR items. They all do work on Cho, though I tend not to get more than one. Against heavy AP teams, I'd generally pick either Banshee's or Locket; Spirit Visage is more of a selfish item in my opinion. Tank'Gath needs to block skillshots, and Banshee's Veil lets him ignore at least one. Locket of the Iron Solari's active grants his team a nice shield that helps against teams with high burst damaage.
And then we get to these items. All are situational on Tank'Gath; it's pure health, something we don't really need. These three items do give useful bonuses, however.
Warmog's Armor was always the go-to item for health regeneration. Warmog's Heart, though, is a new addition to the item, which is only acquired once the wielder gets more than 3000 health. You know how easy that is to get on Cho? Definitely consider this if the enemy team lacks a lot of %health damage.
Sterak's Gage is somewhat odd to put here, but two things work out well for Cho. For one, Cho'Gath has one of the highest base AD values of all champions, so the passive bonus will help his autos hit just a tad harder. The Primal Rage passive will give him a strong shield that scales off of all the health you'll have, as well as giving him even more AD. Definitely a nice tool to soak up damage and get really pissed off in the process.
And finally, Titanic Hydra defers from its older brother in that it gives health over lifesteal, with less AD. The cleave damage DOES scale off of maximum health, but then again, Vorpal Spikes already gives you a cleave effect. AD is one of the few stats you don't really need on Cho...but it can work, honestly. Somewhat. Maybe. ....Eh.
You're Tank'Gath, therefore you need tank boots. Simple, right? I tend to buy Mercury's Treads more often than Ninja Tabi; the latter I only tend to get if I'm facing a heavy AD laner. Otherwise, the tenacity you get from Mercs is invaluable in teamfights when crowd control gets thrown everywhere like confetti.
As for the enchantment, Enchantment: Distortion works amazingly well considering that both Teleport and Ghost benefit from it. Enchantment: Furor is decent if you're consistently auto-attacking, and lets you keep up with enemies as they flee. The fact that I get Ghost sorta makes this boost redundant. Enchantment: Homeguard is great when behind, as it lets you quickly restore your health / mana at base, and as Tank'Gath, you tend to have a lot of both.
Tank'Gath Throughout The Game
Early Game: Right at the start of the game, you need to worry about farming and not dying. I cannot stress this enough; DO NOT DIE. Cho's lack of steroids mean that if he gets behind in lane, it's very difficult to harass his opponent without taking a ton of damage in return. If your enemy is a lane bully, you may need to sacrifice some farm in order for the lane to push towards you. Also, WARD the river (and the tri-bush if you're on Red side) to be able to see if the enemy jungler is coming.
Once you hit 6, start eating whenever your ult comes off of cooldown, unless you can harass your enemy low enough to eat them instead. You want to grab six stacks as soon as possible, so that you can always use it offensively.
Mid-Game (1 or 2 Towers Have Fallen): By now, you should have Rod of Ages, Boots of Speed, and are working towards your first major defensive item. If your tower has fallen, you most likely had a rough time in lane; keep your farm and Feast stacks as high as you can.
If THEIR top tower is gone, proceed to push the lane out and roam mid to help the rest of your team. With either scenario, make sure that Teleport is up whenever the dragon spawns, so that you can jump over to aid your team. Getting the first two dragons will give your team a great advantage, and if you have to, you can use Feast to secure it. Stick with your team as often as you can, only going top when you can safely push the lane.
Late-game (First Inhibitor is Destroyed): Builds are being completed, full-scale teamfights are the norm. You MUST be with your team 90% of the time. You're the tank, and if the enemy sees you in a side lane, it gives them the perfect chance to dive on your teammates without you being there to protect them. They can also see an opportunity to bring over 2 or 3 members to kill you. Picking you off can mean a lost baron , dragon or even an inhibitor, so only split-push if your team agrees to it.
This should be the time of game where Cho'Gath shines. Stand between your carries and their team, look them all straight in the eye and say "I DARE you to walk past me..."
Rupture carries, silence the assassins, and get in the way of everything the enemy team wants to do. You may end up being the deciding factor of who wins the game.
Along with being an effective solo laner, Cho'Gath can also jungle. The two big reasons that he can are his passive, Carnivore, and his manaless jungle clear with Vorpal Spikes. With these, he can stay extremely healthy in the jungle, while barely needing any mana to clear it!
Not to mention that Feast was buffed during the Season 5 pre-season to halve it's cooldown if Cho eats a minion or monster. Along with this, Feast does a base 1000 true damage to jungle mobs, giving him a powerful second smite in the jungle along with having very good objective control with Dragon. The only champion that can out- Smite a Cho'Gath is Nunu, and that's only if his Consume is at max rank.
With Jung'Gath, Cho can avoid duking it out with champions early on, and stack to his heart's content. In time, he'll become just as tanky as Tank'Gath. You can, of course, build him more mage-like in the jungle, using Enchantment: Runeglaive, but I do not play Cho'Gath that way and as such, that will not be in the guide.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Marks: Greater Mark of Attack Speed marks are necessary to jungle with. The majority of your clear will be your E's splash damage, and attack speed increases this DPS.
Seals: Armor again. Without it, the jungle will destroy you.
Glyphs: I take 6 Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction in order to grab 5% starting out. This is personal preference, and if you don't want them, simply take 9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist instead.
Quints: MS quints are very important for Cho's jungle, as it lets him navigate the map faster and get to lanes to both gank and counter-gank. If you reaaaallly want, you can grab Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed instead, but I think movement speed is superior by far.
I personally prefer to go 9 into Utility over Offense. He moves faster, Summoner's Insight reduces the CD of Smite and Ghost, and Runic Affinity lets him hold onto those sexy jungle buffs for slightly longer. If you want to go 9 into Offense instead, I'd suggest 4 points into Fury and Sorcery , with the last going to either Double-Edged Sword or Butcher .
The 21 into Defense is very similar to that of Tank'Gath, yet we swap out 2 points in order to get Tough Skin and Bladed Armor , the jungling masteries. Keep all three points into Hardiness , as the jungle mobs do solely physical damage. If you're new to Jungle Cho, you may want to put 2 points into Recovery to keep yourself relatively healthy on your first clear, though personally I don't recommend it.
There's only one way to skill Jung'Gath, in my opinion:
Obviously, you need Vorpal Spikes first in order to clear the jungle without issue. Rupture works better second, as it provides a strong knock-up to stun the camps, as well as providing good damage in ganks. You can also level Feral Scream second, if you so choose. The silence is another strong gank tool, but it won't stop your enemies from running away.
(Disclaimer: I repeat myself a bit due to Tank'Gath and Jung'Gath's builds being quite similar.)
Here, you'll find a wide assortment of jungling items that Cho'Gath can use. Each jungle upgrade helps in different ways.
Stalker's Blade provides you with a movement speed steal similar to Seismic Shard, which can help engage and disengage from ganks. Against many immobile enemies, tagging them during a gank and then popping Rupture under their feet will say 'Either you burn Flash, or you die, your choice'.
Skirmisher's Sabre was originally the least useful of the three, but I didn't give it enough credit. Considering that my playstyle involves lots of DPS with Vorpal Spikes, the on-hit true damage isn't wasted. Additionally, having 20% damage reduction against the target of your choice is very useful for a tank, allowing you to survive long enough to hopefully kill them first.
Ranger's Trailblazer is the clear-centric item; while Cho'Gath has no issue clearing camps, the 15% missing heal on cast will give you back nice chunks of health in the mid / late-game. I honestly don't see a reason for this, and for Cho'Gath, the aforementioned others outclass it.
...I might as well make a comment about Poacher's Knife, right? Well..it sucks right now, which is why I didn't bother to add it in. I'm not sure how long Riot will take to balance it with the others. Hopefully you'll be useful some day, little guy. :(
Anyway, Enchantment: Cinderhulk is the standard enchant for tanks, and Cho'Gath is no exception. It provides %bonus health and a Sunfire-esque aura that ramps up over time. For most tanks, this change from Juggernaut was to help tanks with clears; however, Cho'Gath had no problems beforehand. The jungle becomes extremely trivial once you get this item.
However, Enchantment: Devourer is also viable, as it's the jungle version of Wit's End. Once you fully charge the item, it becomes Sated, giving you additional on-hit effects. The big problem with Devourer on Cho is that Vorpal Spikes isn't considered an 'on-hit' effect, it's an 'on-attack' effect. So...yeah, it's a bit misleading. It doesn't synergize terribly well with Cho anymore, since he doesn't normally build on-hit items aside from Wit's End.
So, I feel like Enchantment: Cinderhulk is more viable now, but you can still use Devourer in your games if you really enjoy it. As I've said a bunch of times, Cho'Gath is very versatile, and a lot of stuff CAN work.
Look familiar, right? Jung'Gath still wants to be tanky, so grabbing at least one armor item is a must. Frozen Heart and Thornmail are better if you picked up Enchantment: Cinderhulk, while Randuin's Omen / Sunfire Cape / Dead Man's Plate are generally better if you went Enchantment: Devourer. The choice is yours, however; if you feel that your health from Feast stacks is enough, grab more resistances.
The magic resist items are the same as well, though like the armor items, what you buy should generally be based on your jungle enchantment.
Abyssal Scepter is again a very nice MR item that also gives your skills an extra punch. If you team lacks a ton of AP (AD top, AP mid, ADC and tank support, for example), you may want to leave this item alone, though.
Wit's End is a great item for Cho'Gath, yet you probably want to avoid pairing it with Enchantment: Devourer as they do the same thing. But hey, if you want to become a Vorpal Spikes machine gun, be my guest.
And then you get to the big MR / health items. These are more practical to buy if you didn't get Enchantment: Cinderhulk, though I still tend to lean towards Banshee's Veil and Locket of the Iron Solari. Spirit Visage would still pair kinda nicely with the heal from Ranger's Trailblazer, though.
If anything, I would generally buy Warmog's Armor more often on Jung'Gath than I would on Tank'Gath, but it's still a situational item. It CAN be good if you went Enchantment: Devourer into Frozen Heart; the chunk of health would help you out very well. It also pairs well with Spirit Visage in general.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter makes an appearance for Jung'Gath; the health and AP make it too similar to Rod of Ages, so I don't really build it on Tank'Gath. It allows your Vorpal Spikes and Cinderhulk aura to perma-slow enemies, which works out well if your team lacks a lot of crowd control.
Righteous Glory is an okay item to buy, but I honestly wouldn't grab this every game. It does have its uses; namely when you need the strong initiation active. It's also nice to use said active to go in, and save Ghost to run away, should you need to. This will keep Cho quite mobile.
The same boot choices as Tank'Gath apply for Jung'Gath, with one addition. If you're a big fan of Boots of Mobility, you can pick these up to fly around the map faster. I personally don't like them ever since they were nerfed to make you slower than -normal- in combat. Now that the Juggernaut enchant has been replaced by Cinderhulk, it no longer gives tenacity; therefore, you can pair either boot with Cinderhulk / Devourer, based on enemy teamcomp.
I still prefer Enchantment: Distortion over the others, as it really makes Ghost a lot faster. Enchantment: Furor and Enchantment: Homeguard also work. You should never really fret about buying these early on, as they're mainly late-game purchases when everyone is finishing their build.
Jung'Gath Throughout The Game
Early Game: Evaluate your team's lane match-ups; who needs help most? If top needs the first gank, start at the southern-most camp. If bot needs it, start at the northern-most. If mid needs it, either start can work. The buffs from both Gromp and Krugs benefit Cho'Gath well on his first clear.
Typically, go Smite-> First Camp -> First Buff -> Second Buff( Smite). From there, you can gank or continue to farm. You must always watch the lanes for the enemy jungler; if you're close enough, you can counter-gank and possibly come away with a kill for your team.
There are two ways to gank, depending on what direction you come from. If you come straight up the lane, you should start off by using Rupture BEHIND them once they see you. Follow up by walking closer to Feral Scream them; your laner(s) should have started wailing on them already, and with your crowd control combo, they shouldn't be able to get away.
If you're flanking or coming in behind an opponent, start off with Feral Scream. Hit them once or twice with Vorpal Spikes, before using Rupture in the direction they attempt to flee. If you don't kill them, you may be able to burn their Flash or Ghost, allowing an easier gank in the near future.
Before mid-game begins, the first dragon will most likely be contested. Try not to stay top lane very often after levels 6-8. If your bot lane can kill theirs, immediately try to take Dragon. Your Smite + Feast equates to massive true damage, and you can even kill two birds with one stone and finish it off with Feast, giving you another stack.
Mid-Game (1 or 2 Towers Have Fallen): Continue to farm as much as you can, keeping your Feast stacks relatively high. Gank where appropriate, and help your teammates down towers when you outnumber the enemy. If your team is behind, try to group earlier than normal in order to win skirmishes. You'll be able to get back in the game, as well as possibly taking more dragon s to buff your team.
Obviously by now, you should have a large chunk of armor if against a lot of AD, and a bunch of health / magic resist if against heavy AP. For the majority of your games, you're still going to want to balance armor and magic resist, so try to buy what you currently don't have.
Late-game (First Inhibitor is Destroyed): You need to stay with your team at all times, and NOT be caught out. You lack Teleport and instead hold Smite, so killing you can mean a free baron for the enemy team. On the flip side, you should look to pick off the enemy jungler for the same reasons, or outright ace the enemy team in a teamfight.
You're essentially Tank'Gath 2.0, so the same rules apply. Bodyblock as much as you can, peel for your teammates, eat whoever the biggest threat is. Put out consistent damage with Vorpal Spikes; the damage will add up against squishies. Make them fear your presence, and the game is most likely over.
I honestly think that Mage'Gath is underrated. The majority of players view Cho as a tank first, and a caster second. What people fail to realize is that Cho has very nice AP scalings on most of his abilities, including a .7 ratio on Feast. That will hurt anyone who's on the receiving end of it. Feast may do 1000 true damage to minions, but with Mage'Gath, that same damage can wreck champions as well.
Cho still retains his tenacity and waveclear in mid lane, forcing his opponents to stay in lane or risk losing farm / turret protection. This makes him an ideal pick against assassins with poor waveclear.
This build is has a lot of surprise value, as many will brace for the Rupture, yet they won't expect it to do that much damage...
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Marks: There's no substitute for Greater Mark of Magic Penetration. Mage'Gath wants damage, and these are core on any AP mid.
Seals: Armor once again. You're melee, so trading will pull minion aggro to you.
Glyphs: Since you're most likely going to go up against an AP opponent, take Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. And if not, scaling glyphs work against AD champs.
Quints: AP is also mandatory for Mage'Gath. These give your skills a bump in damage early on, and will quickly tell your opponent that you're not to be screwed with.
Mage'Gath requires 21 in Offense in order to strike terror in his foes. Double-Edged Sword benefits Cho'Gath more than other AP mids; he's melee, yet has ranged spells to harass with. Executioner increases all your damage to low health targets, making Feasting easier. Dangerous Game is worth a point, considering that Cho will always have high health. Lategame, you should still have around 3000, so killing champions will instantly restore ~150 health along with your passive. Good stuff. Arcane Blade works VERY well, as it allows your Vorpal Spikes to hit REALLY hard despite you not having the best attack speed. It also works on turrets; Vorpal Spikes do not.
95% of the time, you want Mage'Gath's skill order to be the following:
Chances are, you'll be up against someone that's ability-based, whether they be AP or AD. Feral Scream not only chunks their health bar, but it also obliterates minion waves. Rupture should generally be second; the AP you buy will allow your QW combo to hurt really badly around mid-game. You still want one point into Vorpal Spikes to allow yourself to CS when your skills are on cooldown.
Most of the time you play Mage'Gath, you want to start with Doran's Ring. The only reason I'm putting a starting item in this section is to warn you NOT to stack them. Some mages can do this, Cho'Gath shouldn't. Why? It gives you health and AP, but so does Rod of Ages, and buying multiple rings will delay it. Also, remember that Carnivore essentially gives him a second Doran's Ring passive.
Like Tank'Gath, Rod of Ages is your bread and butter item for lane. Rush it ASAP in order for it to start stacking. The great thing about this item is that along with all the health and sustain it brings, it also grants 100 AP once stacked fully. Mage'Gath loves all that juicy, juicy AP.
These are the two mana regen / CDR items that you should pick ONE from. I typically want to buy Athene's Unholy Grail for a handful of reasons. The magic resist pairs nicely with all the extra health that you have, and its %recovery passive works better if you've built mana, which Rod of Ages provides. The 30% max recovery on kill / assist is also amazing in teamfights, as Cho'Gath's AOE damage can activate this multiple times. With this item, you straight up don't need blue buff, unless you want the CDR.
Morellonomicon is still a perfectly fine item; it gives more AP and a nice healing debuff against weak enemies. I still think Athene's Unholy Grail tops it, however.
In my opinion, these are the main three AP items that you should shoot for every game, because Mage'Gath wants as much AP as possible. Rabadon's Deathcap provides a whopping 120, ALONG with even more AP through its passive. Zhonya's Hourglass is generally the only source of armor that you buy, and its active puts you in stasis to avoid taking damage while your spells are recharging.
Void Staff is what you need to buy once the enemy team realizes that they need some serious magic resist to ignore your damage. It will pierce through a good chunk of said magic resist, allowing you to stay relevant in late-game teamfights.
I told myself that I'd have to make some comments on Luden's once it came out, so here it is.
Quite frankly, I feel that Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass are superior because of its lackluster passive on Cho'Gath. The main issue I have with it is that you can't build charges by auto-attacking, since Vorpal Spikes is a toggled ability. And of course, when you think about it, Luden's passive is essentially a single Vorpal Spikes attack. I feel that the %MS attached to it doesn't make up for the % bonus AP and stasis that the other two AP giants bring.
The following are all possible replacements for Void Staff IF the enemy team, for some reason or another, does not choose to buy a ton of magic resist for you. This might happen if you're the sole source of magic damage on your team.
Abyssal Scepter is great against teams with high magic damage, and the debuff acts as pseudo-magic penetration to close range targets.
Nashor's Tooth is an aggressive item that gives a whopping 20% CDR along with making your Vorpal Spikes hit like 16-wheelers. Unfortunately, I'd only get this if we're stomping the enemy team, and the game might end before I can finish this.
Lich Bane provides valuable movement speed and 80 AP, and also gives you the sexy Spellblade passive. With this, Feasting someone and then immediately smacking them in the face will do MASSIVE damage.
Twin Shadows is also viable to pick up due to its passive. Mage'Gath is slower than the other builds, and being able to tag fleeing enemies with #SpookyGhosts can possibly secure kills for your team.
And of course, Guardian Angel is there for when you're hard-carrying a match, and you simply CANNOT die. Plus, your enemies will be scared: you're huge, powerful, and yet need to be double-tapped in order to actually die.
Sorcerer's Shoes are honestly the best boot choice. You want these like 95% of the time for the flat magic penetration. However, if you want to spice things up a bit, you can always grab Ionian Boots of Lucidity. With these boots, your mana regen item, and the 5% from Sorcery , you'll perfectly hit the cap of 40% CDR. Mercury's Treads aren't really the best buy on Mage'Gath, and only work if the enemy team is littered with AP and crowd control.
I generally prefer Enchantment: Alacrity on Mage'Gath, giving him a slight boost of speed in general. This makes up for the lack of Ghost and Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. Still, Enchantment: Homeguard is always good when you're behind, and Cho'Gath needs to be able to move his fat butt over to the rest of his team.
Mage'Gath Throughout The Game
Early Game: You normally want to start with Feral Scream upon going to lane. Try to level up as soon as possible, as SAFELY as possible. Take Vorpal Spikes at level 2 in order to last-hit easier; you need to stay healthy or else your opponent may try to all-in you when you're at your weakest point.
Once you hit 6, evaluate the lane: do I have kill potential with Feast? If so, hold onto it and try to combo them with Rupture into Feral Scream. Your full combo chunks your mana early on, so check it before attempting to kill them. If you don't think you can kill them, eat a minion, but understand that they know Feast is now on cooldown, and might try to be more aggressive.
Oh, and you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS want to do two things. You must have at least one of the side bushes warded AT ALL TIMES, and try to keep yourself to that side. Mage'Gath is slow and prone to push the wave (A.K.A. Mordekaiser syndrome); this makes you jungler food. If you're up against an assassin that wants to roam ( Katarina, Zed, Fizz, etc), you must ALWAYS tell your team when they're M.I.A. Cho'Gath cannot roam himself very easily, so he won't be able to rush over in time to prevent ally deaths in the side lanes.
Mid-Game (1 or 2 Towers Have Fallen): Your Rod of Ages should be completed, with you aiming for your mana-regen item and Sorcerer's Shoes. If neither mid tower is down, continuously push your minion waves into their turret to deny your opponent farm. When this inevitably gets a bit boring, you can try to roam bot in order to kill their ADC and / or support.
Keep your lanes warded, and group with your bot lane and jungler when dragon is to be contested. If it's a freebie, tell your jungle not to Smite it, and instead Feast the dragon once its health dips below 1000. You get a free stack, your team gets the dragon, everyone wins! If you can get their mid tower down, push the wave out again and stick with your other teammates unless the enemy team is trying to siege your own mid tower.
Late-game (First Inhibitor is Destroyed): The most important part of Mage'Gath, by this stage in the game, is this:
YOU ARE NOT THE TANK.
Make sure both you and your other four teammates all understand this. You may be big and mean-looking, but you drop a lot faster than the other builds. Therefore, you shouldn't be riiiight out in front, but back enough so that you can still hit people with Rupture.
With Rod of Ages and Athene's Unholy Grail, you pretty much have an endless supply of Ruptures. Throw them all over the place and force the enemy team to constantly be on their toes.
Mage'Gath's burst combo is as follows: Rupture--> Feral Scream(you may have to Flash right on top of them beforehand)--> Feast--> Vorpal Spikes auto + Ignite.
Done right, this is a disgusting burst combo, especially considering that Feast will generally be able to chunk anywhere from 1/3rd to half of a squishy's healthbar instantly. On that note, Ignite may possibly be overkill, so you can save it for someone else nearby in that case.
The real beauty of Mage'Gath, is that not only can Cho'Gath's kit disrupt carries, but he also has the damage to obliterate them himself.
I'm going to make a disclaimer to all that read this section. I don't play Support Cho'Gath.
I normally play tanky supports when I go bot lane, namely Braum, Taric, and Alistar. And since I consider myself to be a pretty great support, I think that it's safe to put this section of the guide in. Cho'Gath can support...not very well, but he can. And theoretically, he'll still be able to turn into a strong tank for your team. You just have to get past his piss-poor early game.
So yes, Supp'Gath doesn't have experience behind it, so use this as a forewarning. I put this in because IF god forbid you have a teammate in champ select who WON'T support, you can offer to support after picking Cho'Gath.
It's all about being a gentleman.
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Marks: You want to be as tanky as you can from the start, so you can ignore more damage from their ADC and support. Therefore Greater Mark of Armor is generally the best pick-up. You can also go for Greater Mark of Magic Penetration if you feel like you won't have a hard time.
Seals: Since we take armor Marks, I feel this is the only time that you can drop Greater Seal of Armor for their scaling counterparts. They give you 27 armor lategame as opposed to 9, which is a nice little boost. Of course if you opt for Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, you probably want to take the flat ones.
Glyphs: Flat MR from Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are generally the best, as they help to mitigate the magic damage that most supports typically have.
Quints: MS is generally what you want. You want to go full tank support, and MS will allow you to move around teamfights easier, as well as roam around to ward. You ARE planning to ward, right?
The standard set-up I use for my supports. 9 in Defense is mandatory in order to grab Juggernaut , which is always useful on Cho due to his health stacking. Recovery or Swiftness is your call, based on what you prefer. Putting the remainder into Utility gives Cho'Gath higher starting gold and gold generation. It also gives him a nice chunk of movement speed out of combat via Wanderer , which can generally let you delay upgrading your boots in favor of more defense.
You can always decide to go 9/21/0 or 0/21/9, but do take note that you won't be able to start with the same items as I do on the cheatsheet.
With Supp'Gath, you generally want to zone their bot-lane from your carry, and the best way to do this would be to max Rupture first:
Rupture has a flat 90 mana cost and thus should not be spammed until you've purchased some mana (such as Frozen Heart). If you continuously hit them, you should be able to protect your carry from receiving too much damage. It's also a great move to start off a jungle gank. Feral Scream works second to prevent Flashing and other movement abilities, while Vorpal Spikes is generally last since you're not the one who's trying to CS.
The core of any support is Sightstone. You MUST rush this every game, no exceptions. Don't give me any other **** reason; vision wins games. Since you're a tank support, it also goes towards making you, I don't know, tankier. Don't upgrade it to Ruby Sightstone until late-game; you need to buy resistances anyway in the meantime. Remember to grab Sweeping Lens once you buy Sightstone.
Out of all three support items, Face of the Mountain is by far the best on Cho'Gath, because you're already a mountain and you want to show it. The main two reasons you buy this are the shield active and the healing charges. With this, you have a way of helping your carry despite having nothing in your kit to do so.
Since you'll be inevitably stacking Feast post-6, you can choose to leave this item at Targon's Brace until you've built, say, a Warden's Mail or Negatron Cloak to soak up damage easier.
Generally out of all of the armor items you should get on Supp'Gath, I think that Frozen Heart tops them all. It gives you a huge chunk of mana and CDR (giving you 35% straight up with Face of the Mountain and your masteries). The other options can still work, though since there isn't really an MR equivalent to Frozen Heart / Thornmail, I tend to grab health via my magic resist item.
The lone addition to this list from the other Item pages is Mikael's Crucible, which offers you another way to help your carries out in fights. It also gives you some nice mana regen and magic resist.
Abyssal Scepter is the most offensive item you could buy for this slot, and generally works well when your team has a strong amount of magic damage to benefit from the debuff aura.
Banshee's Veil is still primarily bought to negate lethal skillshots like Rocket Grab and Death Sentence.
Locket of the Iron Solari provides a strong shield to all of your teammates, and in conjunction with Face of the Mountain's active, can REALLY protect someone from incoming damage.
And then we get to THIS item. New to Season 5, the Zz'Rot Portal can be a great item for Supp'Gath (it's even Void-related!). It provides both armor and magic resist, along with an active that spawns kamikaze voidlings to blow things up. The only downside to Zz'Rot Portal is that it's quite expensive, and would probably only be bought late-late game.
The age-old debate over boot choice. And of course you have Boots of Mobility for Sonic fans. I typically aim to Mercury's Treads because tenacity is a pre-requisite to tank. Supp'Gath can use a handful of enchantments, based on what you prefer. Unfortunately, they're probably the last thing on a support's shopping list, and games rarely drag on long enough for a support to get their full FULL build. Hell, I'd rather grab Ruby Sightstone before I worry about my boot enchantment.
Supp'Gath Throughout The Game
Early Game: With Supp'Gath, you have a serious dilemma in that your Carnivore passive is largely useless early on. You can't farm, your carry needs to. Relic Shield's charges alleviate this somewhat, allowing you to heal yourself and your carry from time to time. You must always be warding whenever you can, and once you grab Sightstone, keep one at either dragon and/or the tri-bush.
Supp'Gath will struggle the most with poke lanes; he has little way of sustain as previously mentioned. Along with this, he can't harass back that frequently, or he will run out of mana by casting Rupture too often. You need to communicate with your carry and tell them to play passively until post-6; once you get tankier with Feast, you should be able to ignore enough poke to be able to fight back.
With all-in lanes, he has a slightly easier time due to neither side really committing until one sees an opportunity. In lanes like this, Cho'Gath needs to disrupt the enemy CARRY (not their support) with Rupture, following up with Feral Scream to prevent abilities and summoner spells. With this, you can win trades or even outright kill the enemy laners if you're lucky.
And then there's the dragon again. Free Feast stack, anyone? How embarrassed will the enemy team be when they realized their jungler was out- Smited by your support? Considering how important the first one or two dragons are, it may be worth burning Feast, rather than using it for the ensuing brawl.
Mid-Game (1 or 2 Towers Have Fallen): You should be using up all of your Sightstone wards before every recall. You should also be buying Vision Wards alongside them. If you're losing / lost lane, only roam to ward and do it quickly. A slow Cho'Gath is easy to take down in groups. Try to stay with your carries as often as possible and pop your Face of the Mountain charges via minions, as well as Feasting when appropriate. By now you should be relatively tanky and can start being a factor in skirmishes / teamfights.
Late-game (First Inhibitor is Destroyed): By now you're the only one on the team with an item slot dedicated to wards, so KEEP WARDING. Remember that Rupture grants vision of the area it's about to hit; use this to check un-warded bushes safely. With your item build, Supp'Gath is more apt to protect carries, rather than focus on eliminating theirs. Activate your shields and make sure that YOU take the brunt of the damage. Although you may die, should your team pull out on top, it will mean a free baron , inhibitor, or even the game.
Lane and Jungle Matchups
Well, when I first set out to do this section, I was originally going to painstakingly do every matchup that Cho'Gath COULD face. Considering this guide does top, mid, AND jungle, I felt that this would take like 5 or so years to finish. So I'm deciding to place all champions into groups of the same difficulty level, and explain why they're in said groups.
For top, mid, and jungle, I'm going to section off opponents into Easy, Medium, and Hard matchups, placing them in rows that show the easiest of the group on the LEFT side, and the hardest on the RIGHT side.
Take note that obviously, you're trying to build tankiness first and damage second when going top lane, and as such, your main goal is to survive the lane.
These are the generally the match-ups that you shouldn't fear at all as Cho'Gath. Most in the beginning are tanks that have just as poor early games as yourself, but also lacking sustain and / or damage. Thus, they have very low kill potential on you 1v1, allowing you to hit 6 to start Feasting.
After these, you have a few champs that don't have impressive early games (with the exception of Pantheon), and choose to build damage first and tankiness second. Poke these champs down with Rupture or repeatedly smack them with Vorpal Spikes if able. You then have ranged laners that also lack sustain; try to avoid as much damage as possible while returning some back.
Rounding out the list are a few champs that will generally keep up in sustain with you; neither champion should really die in these match-ups, which is good for you.
This tier is the biggest one; it was a bit challenging to organize them all. We start off with Azir; I view him as a more difficult hybrid of Heimerdinger and Ryze. You can't eat his pets, and the only way you'd actually be able to kill him is if you land your full QWR combo on him. Azir also will transition into a powerful lategame mage that can put out ludicrous damage.
Next, we have a few tanky champs and AP bruisers like yourself. Neither you nor they will really die unless a jungler is called up. They will deal decent damage back to you (all of them have %HP damage in their kits, besides Rumble), so these lanes equate to punching the **** out of each other without any real outcome.
The next large chunk of enemies all have one thing in common; high early damage. Many are also resourceless, so you need to both manage your mana and play defensively early on in order to not feed them. If you die even once in these lanes, it's very difficult for Cho'Gath to trade evenly with them anymore; you'll have to cower at your turret like a little ***** for the remainder of lane phase. If you can grab Rod of Ages and your first big defensive item without dying, you can safely say that you win lane.
Dr. Mundo, Nasus, and Warwick may confuse you; don't these guys have bad early games? You're right, except there's one issue in that they benefit from a farm lane just as much as you do. Once they get Spirit Visage, almost all of your damage will be brushed off. Your teammates determine the game; if they lose lane, and you can't stop your own opponent from reaching their late-game fantasy, it will be very difficult to win.
These are all of the champions who Cho'Gath does NOT like, and you should avoid playing against them if possible. Of course, this is where Cho's versatility comes in; PLEASE do ask your team if you can play a different role after locking him in and seeing these picks.
Singed starts off the list; he's similar to the last group of the Medium tier, except that his Poison Trail can get annoying to deal with early on. He'll eventually stop giving a **** about your damage while he quite literally runs around you in circles. Late-game, it's VERY easy for Singed to catch you out and allow his team to hunt you down.
The next group are all of the bruiser duelists. They all have two things in common; they'll build moderately tanky along with getting Blade of the Ruined King to kill you with. Trundle is the worst of the bunch, as his Subjugate will take all of your precious resistances away and turn the troll into a demi-god. (The reason that Fiora and Tryndamere are not here is because they tend to build solely glass-cannon, which is slightly easier to deal with via Thornmail and Feasting them).
The remainder of this group are all (mostly) ranged enemies that will generally harass the HELL out of Cho'Gath while he tries to farm. Swain and Vladimir aren't very mobile, but they can out-sustain you hard post-6, healing back whatever harass you try to deal them. The others lack a lot of innate sustain, but trade that for being extremely mobile. They'll all kite you for days; Gnar is probably the easiest to deal with, as he wants to build tanky so that he can function as a CC tank via Mega form. The others will keep shooting you in the eye, and the amount of rage from them walking out of Rupture over and over will make you want to throw your monitor out the window.
With Mage'Gath, you're obviously going to be able to put out a lot more damage to enemies at the expense of tankiness. The great thing about going mid, is that a lot of your opponents are also ability-based, so they won't really have the early damage to push you out of mid-lane easily. Many mages lack sustain, unlike bruisers and tanks. In saying this, Mage'Gath does not have that many bad matchups.
As you can see, Mage'Gath doesn't fear a bunch of champions. Some lack waveclear, many lack sustain, and the majority of them aren't really known for their early game. The only time these lanes become difficult is if their jungler camps you, which will usually happen when you repeatedly push waves into their turret.
This list ends with the AP assassins that are commonly found mid-lane. These are the champions that want to push the wave and roam bot to try snowballing off of your other laners. Mage'Gath's immovability prevents them from doing this, unless they feel like losing a lot of farm.
Understand that just because these are the easier matchups doesn't mean they can't kill you. Pre-6, you still aren't able to take a whole lot of damage, and the only way you regenerate is via farming. Once you start Feasting, though, they generally should stop bothering you, especially if you've been eating THEM and not minions.
This next group is a handful of champs where the lane can really go either way. Those in front all typically want to get either Tear of the Goddess, Rod of Ages like yourself, or both. This makes their early game easy to deal with, but come mid-game, you might lose your ability to burst them down if you haven't gotten fed. Their waveclear will also tend to match yours, so these lanes may end up being based on whose turret drops first.
I decided to stick Zyra and Brand in this section because they typically have strong poke that you can't really avoid due to your own immobile nature. Brand has his passive, Blaze, and both also have a tendency to buy Liandry's Torment; monsters HATE fire.
This list ends with the common AD assassins you're bound to find in mid lane. They're slightly more difficult to lane against, seeing as less of their damage is negated by Feral Scream's silence. Still, you'd generally want to hold your ground as long as possible, and quickly warn both side lanes when (if) they try to roam.
While these are still survivable lanes, the champions in this section just loooove to constantly throw stuff at you. You'll only able to get the upper hand when they start getting low on mana, but once they inevitably purchase their regeneration item, this period will be less frequent.
Calling your jungler early and getting a quick lead can usually keep the lane in your favor. If THEY manage to get the lead, however, you need to play defensively until you start accumulating Feast stacks. The good thing about these matchups is that they'll rarely build tanky, and opt for pure damage, so you'll hopefully be able to burst them down with a bit of help.
With Jung'Gath, the difficulty levels are based on risk of counter-jungling. Some champions bother with it, others don't. Since Cho'Gath is known as a tank jungler with a weak early game, his jungle can be exploited.
If you're facing one of these junglers, in most cases don't expect to see them try to run into your jungle early. The beginning of this list are a lot of tank junglers just like yourself, who want to farm the camps in peace before attempting to gank.
The next few are mage junglers who generally want to powerfarm to 6 and then gank whenever possible. Their pre-6's aren't very impressive and work a lot better with their ultimates.
Completing the list are a handful of junglers with sub-par early games, yet as the game progresses, they'll be too tough to handle just by yourself.
The middle tier is mostly composed of champions that aren't very scared of you in general; they may not counter-jungle, but if you see each other in the river, they might try to pick fights. This is a lot more relevant when dragon is close to being contested. The last few on this list, in my opinion, would be the most common counter-junglers of the group. If your lanes are losing, they might feel an urge to go play Monster Hunter.
Most of these champions fit into at least one category: either they plan to counter-jungle you from the start, or they're not afraid of your early game and will fight if given the chance. Those who fit both are near the end of this list.
It's important that at the start of the game, you ask your team to help you figure out where they're starting. This could be via a fake level 1 invade, or someone can tell you which laners have lost health or mana (in helping the leash). Regardless, it's important for you to ward your second buff right before you do it; if the enemy jungler strolls nearby, ping him / her out to your teammates so that they can close in on a kill.
Conclusion & Thank You's
That just about does it for my Cho'Gath guide! If you decided to read the entire thing, hats off to you, I hope you enjoyed the past hour.
I want to thank the user jhoijhoi in providing me with her Karthus Build Guide: Making a Guide, along with The BBcode Guide.
I will continue to update this guide throughout Season 5, always making sure that you all know how Cho'Gath can be played. Please give me any kind of constructive criticism for my guide; it's much appreciated.
"DEATH IS NOT THE END FOR YOU. I HAVE SEEN TO IT, FOR ETERNITY! YOU ARE MIIIIINEEEE!"
1/22/2015 - Guide Published!
2/25/2015 - Removed Revive from Summoner Spells (Patch 5.4)
3/13/2015 - Edited Jung'Gath; replaced Juggernaut's enchant with Cinderhulk. (Haven't tested Luden's Echo on Mage'Gath just yet.) (Patch 5.5)
3/26/2015 - Finally got off my lazy *** to add Luden's Echo into Mage'Gath's possible item build.
4/27/2015 - Edited Jung'Gath builds to compliment the current Cinderhulk Tank meta.
5/28/2015 - Small stuff. Bleargh.
6/13/2015 - Wow, more than 100k views on the guide! Sincerely, thank you for checking this guide out.
6/30/2015 - Changed Mastery pages for all four roles, as per the 5.12 changes.
7/9/2015 - Quickly edited the items section to reflect the 5.13 changes.
7/15/2015 - Updated Devourer changes. I also hit Platinum today!
9/3/2015 - Finally got around to adding in some of the new Juggernaut items.