Cho'Gath Build Guide by Nerbert
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.
Is this the most Pro, OP Cho'Gath build on the market? No, probably not. Is this going to let you blast people in half while you shoot them into orbit? Nope. Are you going to explode heads with your screams? No sir. Bite someone literally in half and kill them? Lord no.
Are you going to have a ridiculous amount of fun rampaging the map, hurting everyone you meet, ruining their day and make them scatter like leaves before your rage? In my experience, yes. Oh hell yes.
This is my build for playing the unranked Queue. Playing in the unranked queue without the benefit of team friends is, as all of you know, frustrating. This build with this character was my attempt to have fun playing LoL by myself or with one or two other friends, where we could easily get screwed over by bad team mates. I wanted to have fun anyway.
This philosophy of fun is based around a few principles. The first is survivability, this Cho needs to be able to stay alive under a lot of focused fire, because you never know when your team will abandon you. The second is aggressiveness, I want to be pushing, I want to bring the fight to the enemy, I want my team to want to be right on my heels, because I am where the action is. The third is leadership, if I am staying alive, and I am pushing and doing damage and getting kills and assists, my team will want to follow me.
Hopefully you too will appreciate and enjoy the Oh No Cho. I am by no means a pro, but I am a relatively experienced player, who has never been bored running this build.
To be honest, a lot of the rune selection for this build is probably a matter of taste. This is what I run with, and it works for me.
Spell Penetration Marks - This build relies on Cho's spells more for their status effects than for their damage. That being said, spell penetration is always nice and it gives a good damage boost early game when your spells are strongest. Attack speed would be another set to consider for these slots.
Flat Mana Regeneration Seals - Cho is very mana starved early game. Between and early philosopher's stone and these seals, you will be able to keep the ruptures coming. You will still need to be diligent about last hitting, Cho gets most of his mana from kills, it is his passive and his true super power throughout the early and mid game.
Flat CDR Glyphs - More spells, more often, needless to say. Cho's Ult never goes to waste and you'll want it as much as possible. The scaling CDR runes don't surpass the flat runes until level 12 I think, which is much too late to be meaningful. If you're not at 6 Feast stacks, you're dying.
Movement Speed Quintessences - That little extra movement speed makes a huge difference. Its that fraction of a second that you sneak in Feast before they get away. Its those last few hit points you have left before you get out of tower range.
Nothing remarkable here to say really. Extra CDR and spell penetration from Offense. Survivability from Defense.
The key thing about taking defense is being able to push towers incredibly aggressively. This Cho build is dependent on being stupidly close to the enemy at all times and taking a ton of damage, and then walking away from it all. It feels great.
Super early philosopher's stone. This is key in finishing the item build for me. You might have better luck farming than I do, but I find that these random queue games tend to be a free for all when it comes to minions and it can be hard to get in there and for minions with a Yi or Ashe or Corki. I would argue one shouldn't be competing with them at all, let them get fed, you're the tank.
Boots of Swiftness. Cho'Gath needs to be able to catch fleeing enemies and Feast on them. If you can't keep up, and even so it can be difficult, you won't be able to finish off those silly carries who got too close. Generally mobility is always great, you can change lanes, defend towers and be where the action is.
Warmog's. The thing about having more health is that it improves the effectiveness of all your armor and magic resist and vice versa. Once this baby is fully charged you can withstand a stupid amount of damage with just a negatron cloak and a chain shirt for support. Fortunately you'll have a lot more than that in a fast hurry, but that is all you need to be scary and nearly unkillable. Buy this as soon as you have your boots, and don't be afraid to farm. Eat hearty.
Frozen Heart and Force of Nature can be purchased in any order depending on what is killing you. Chances are picking up a Chain Shirt and then a Negatron cloak is the way to go but you have to take a look at the tactics. In the end you'll definitely want both. Frozen Heart lets you hang around under towers and laugh off the damage. Force of Nature will help keep you in lane, and the magic resist is essential.
The last two items are where things get interesting for me. By the time I am this far in my item build, I am pretty much unkillable. As long as my team mates are doing reasonable damage, I can rush towers defended by 4 people, I can hang around under the towers, take hits and get away without dying. I can run into the middle of a team fight to start wontonly disrupting everything and sending them scattering. But I don't do much damage.
I could focus on spell power. Cho's ratios are scary and a 600 HP rupture is no joke. My problem with this is that I find, by the end of the game, even with a stack of AP, my damage is pretty much negligible, I'm hamstrung by cooldowns, and I can't hurt towers.
I like Wit's end because it provides a very nice amount of attack speed, it provides magic resists which bolsters my tanky theme, and it has a fantastic proc and passive. It synergizes well with my Vorpal Spines.
Then I sell off the philosopher's stone to buy Atma's Impaler. I have all that health and I'm bolstering my attack speed there's no reason not to take the extra damage, its just so good. There are other items that do comparable damage without costing a lot more. The key difference is that Atma's also provides armor.
Nothing is more fun for Cho' than belly punching the enemy carry behind their own lines for 200+ per second. Is it a lot? Nope. Does it hurt, oh yes. And it makes them run, which is the key. Because now that they are all running around, trying to avoid wasting cooldowns on the unkillable Cho who is rampaging through their ranks kicking everyone in the coin purse while my team lays down the hurt, their tower is vulnerable
Cho's normal DPS is enough to dent a tower, but nowhere near enough to be dangerous. Once you have Wit's End and Atma's, you'll be bringing the hurt. While you're taking tower shots. While their entire team is wondering what they can possible do to stop you. And they're right there.
Rupture is top priority. That stun is key and it has the fastest damage progression, which you need early on. Also, you need to learn to get good with rupture. If you're whiffing it, you're not going to be able to do your job of poking and team fight disruption. Get it early, advance it often and practice practice practice.
Take Feral Screan once nice for the silence effect, ignore it otherwise. Use it for last hitting minions. It doesn't cost much mana, but you should not be trying to spam it unless you can nab a good number of enemies during a team fight. They'll all scatter, its glorious.
Vorpal Spines is for farming, DPS and generally just being a ****. You'll want to advance it as soon as possible after you've maxed out Rupture. Once you're in the middle of a melee throwing attacks and spines everywhere, people won't even want to be nearby. And when they're running, they're not casting. If you get close to a support or a carry, start slamming them. Your job is to be an unignorable source of constant pain and disruption. In the middle of all their best stuff.
Fortify is a great spell because it helps you get last hits early on, which is key for farming. Its also just a useful spell for someone to have on any team. I take it mostly for the passive effect. Teleport is great for mobility, but Cho' stays alive so well and runs pretty fast normally, so its not as much of an issue. Flash is great, but you should honestly be able to survive almost anything and catch almost everyone just with your own two feet.
Exhaust. Pick the enemy you want to kill and lay this on them. My favorite thing to do is to Exhaust someone trying to tower dive me. A sliver of health is all Cho' needs to get kills. Never underestimate those last 100 HP. If he brought a buddy, expend Fortify, its so much fun.
To conclude I want to bring up some pointers.
This Cho build is not actually immortal, nor should it be. If you get caught by the entire enemy team and yours isn't a round, you will die, sorry. If you're in the middle of them, and they decide to all five focus fire you, hell you'll probably die. The idea is that your team mates will punish them severely for it, but they probably won't.
This is key because if Cho loses his Feast stacks, he becomes very weak. I used to make the mistake all the time of being just as aggressive with 3 stacks as I was with 6. Its a great way to die fast. Don't lose track of your stacks, and when you're below 6 don't be afraid to play conservatively. You'll have enough time for reckless stupidity once you're full again.
Timing is key. It takes a lot of practice to figure out how much damage Cho'Gath can actually take. The answer will surprise you, because it is a lot. However, it is still important to get out of dodge before you die. Its easy to lose track of when you have tower focus. Those shots get scarier over time and before too long they will kill you. If your dive into the enemy team and your friends don't follow you, you have to run away. All you can do is show them the door.
Don't think of yourself as a tank. People will call you a tank, but you're not. You don't have any way to peel enemies off your friends, you don't have any natural escape or closing mechanics. You are there to disrupt, and disrupt a lot. Throw down Rupture to cut off escapes or to stop a pursuit, silence everyone as frequently as you can. Use Feast liberally, if you have 6 stacks don't be afraid to just use it on a support or a carry. Losing half of your health bar before you've even fully engaged is scary and it helps to get those kills.
As you have probably guessed, this build would not work well for high ELO or pro competition. At that level most of the psychological advantages are gone.
I play this build all the time, I don't always win, I don't always get a lot of kills, but I never die more than 3 or 4 times, I always break even, and I have a ton of fun.