Mordekaiser Build Guide by aqueousme
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Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hey there, Mobafire! I'm aqueousme, and I play Mordekaiser religiously. He has been my main champ for well over a year and a half now. Mordekaiser is ridiculously fun to play, very versatile, sustainable, and a great addition to just about any team composition.
Over the past year that I've really gotten into him, I've read just about every single Mordekaiser guide here on Mobafire, as well as on other build sites. Most of them have been infinitely helpful to a certain extent. Of course, nearly all of the higher-rated builds/guides here on Mobafire are very solid builds, but after trying them all and adding my own tweaks, I'm proud to display my build for you here.
So if you're an experienced Mordekaiser player, or still trying him out as a new champion, I hope this guide proves to be helpful to you. Feel free to comment, upvote, show your friends, and give credit where it's due if you put any of this to use! Also, constructive feedback is greatly appreciated, as this is my first guide. Hope you like it!
Change Log & Updates
February 24, 2010 - Mordekaiser is released!
March 16, 2012 - Build published!
March 20, 2012 - Guide title changed (included "offtank")
March 27, 2012 - Added endgame photo in "Items and Lane Sequence" and match history example in "Introduction."
August 6, 2012 - Updated runes (replaced Glyph of Ability Power with Glyph of Magic Resist), updated item build. Also updated a lot of the content, changing grammatical errors and such. Changed guide name...again.
August 7, 2012 - Revamped item build, shortened some of the content and created new chapters to better organize information.
October 21, 2012 - Re-revamped item build, separating into builds for both mid and solo top lanes, created a couple of extra chapters to better separate and organization for mid and solo top lane sequence.
Before You Begin, READ THIS FIRST!
Just a little note to all you potential Mordes out there:
Please note that, as you'll see when reading through the guide, Mordekaiser is a very versatile champion when it comes to his item build and functions as part of a team.
Even more importantly, know that in most cases, but not all, Mordekaiser can only be as good as the rest of his team. This requires communication, organization, and map awareness, among many other things. If you're solo top or mid, and another lane feeds early game, loses their turret, and their lane opponents come to your lane, there won't be much that you can do without a full team cooperative to help you continue your item build and farming progress and be helpful enough for your team to claim a victory.
This doesn't at all mean that you should blame other teammates for a bad start, or a bad game overall. Read the section Wards, Your Mini-Map, and Team Communication near the bottom of the guide for some tips to better ensure domination, and potentially provide for a fun game experience overall, whether you win or not.
The Pros/Cons of Playing Mordekaiser
+ Highly sustainable champion early game with Iron Man and Creeping Death.
+ One of the best farmers in game with Siphon of Destruction
+ Can easily turn a 5v5 team fight into a 6v4 with Children of the Grave
+ Doesn't require mana! You'll never run out of energy to power your abilities, you can spam them as much as you like, and it's encouraged that you do so, because not only will it help your farm, help your team in fights, and help to take down enemy turrets, every ability used that causes damage to any champion, minion, or monster, amps up your passive shield, which is described in more detail below.
+ When the game permits, can carry the team to a victory when the odds seem out of your favor.
- No CC whatsoever, unless you grab Exhaust as a summoner spell, which I don't recommend.
- Easily harassed, especially by champions that have CC abilities and know how to properly counter a Mordekaiser in lane.
- Can sometimes be heavily focused in team fights to prevent use of Children of the Grave.
Mordekaiser must have a solo lane to ensure leveling quickly and farming effectively. If you farm and poke early game, like you should be, your end game CS should look like this:
This rune is pretty self-explanatory. Although Mace of Spades utilizes attack damage as well as ability power, it is the only Mordekaiser damage-dealer that is partially based off of attack damage. Magic penetration runes are much more viable and provide the greatest deal of damage to Morde's attacks.
Mordekaiser not only to serve as a bit more protection and sustainability in lane early game, but also to add to the armor you'll be building in your mid- and late-game phases with Randuin's Omen, not to mention the 6 armor you gain from the beginning by placing 3 mastery points into Hardiness .
Also note that if you feel more comfortable with less armor and more health, or if you'd prefer to have a higher health regeneration in mid- to late-game, you're more than welcome to substitute this rune with either Greater Seal of Health or greater seal of regeneration.
I won't go into too much detail about every single mastery, but I'll just have you know that my mastery page displayed on this guide provides great balance between dealing damage and being protected, without taking too much from one and putting too much into the other.
Placing too many points into defense would certainly make you much more sustainable, but it would greatly hinder your damage-dealing abilities and make you a far less viable team player.
Mordekaiser is not a straight tank. We want him to deal great amounts of damage, get kills (not just assists), and be an integral part of his team, including a carry, if need be.
This spell is a must for Mordekaiser. Not only can it help pick off a kill from an escaping enemy champion who is faster than you, it can almost guarantee a kill when combined with Children of the Grave.
Mordekaiser is not the fastest champion, even with upgraded Sorcerer's Shoes. Since you also don't have an ability spell that allows for a quick getaway, like Move Quick or Powerball, this spell is lifesaving in most cases. You can quickly jump over most walls when running from enemy champions, or jump back under your turret during a gank attempt in your lane.
A viable spell when running from a faster champion, but Flash is much better in my opinion, and you'll have active slow in mid- and late-game from Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Hextech Gunblade; if you choose gunblade over Will of the Ancients, that is.
Also a good escape option. Can be used in place of Flash, so whatever you feel more comfortable using is entirely up to you.
Great for when you are solo laning (which you should be) and need to quickly go back to base to heal or buy an item, and return to your turret without risking turret damage or a pushed minion wave. Although this is a great spell, especially when you have a Teemo on your team, allowing you to teleport to any Noxious Trap and initiate or quickly join a team fight, I feel much safer grabbing a spell that will help me to survive ganks and chases, like Flash or Ghost.
Good on other tanks, but with your build, you'll have more than enough health and health regeneration to justify taking this spell over Flash or Ghost.
Mordekaiser is not a jungler. Enough said.
You're not a support, and you're not a tank. If you feel that enemy CCs are a problem in mid- to late-game, grab Banshee's Veil.
Leave this to your allied support champion to take. If you're that curious to know where enemy champions are throughout the game (and you should be, actually), grab a few Sight Ward every time you base to heal or buy an item.
Passive - Iron Man
His passive ability is what makes Mordekaiser unique. Your passive is what will keep you in your lane far longer than your opponent and can save you from enemy abilities that would otherwise be debilitating, not to mention ganks from junglers and other lanes.
Q - Mace of Spades
Note that this ability is based off of both AD and AP damage. Because of this, it could be a good idea to upgrade your Hextech Revolver into Hextech Gunblade, instead of Will of the Ancients, mid- to late-game, which not only provides ability power, but also a little attack damage, life steal, spell vamp, and a decent active CC slow which is always helpful late game. When I use this while farming, I try to get close to the enemy champion, who's usually located behind their minion wave, while I focus the spell on the minions, as the enemy champion will sometimes be indirectly hit by a damage-dealing shard if they're close enough, and it can also pressure them to back away from the wave to prevent being hit again, giving you more domination over your lane.
W - Creeping Death
This will be your second max when leveling in game, and it's probably my favorite of Morde's abilities, as it's so versatile and serves many functions. Creeping Death will increase your armor, magic resistance, and at the same time dish out a small bit of damage to any champions or minions/monsters next to you. As soon as I put a point into this ability at level 3, I spam it at any given opportunity. Even if you're not planning on harassing and dealing damage to your lane opponent, or if the minion wave is pushed far enough, Creeping Death can still be slapped on any time an enemy is close enough to see you, since most of the time, the sight of the shield of metal shards flying around you is enough to make them think twice about harassing. Also, this shield is not just your shield, you can place on any other nearby allied champion or minion, which can save their life or grab you an assist if they make a kill while Creeping Death is still active on them.
NOTE! Creeping Death does damage to turrets! Any time you're tanking a turret or inhibitor, always, always use Creeping Death. It can be the difference between taking down a turret in one go and having to leave a turret with 300 health left because a group of enemy champions is coming your way to protect it.
E - Siphon of Destruction
This ability is your bread and butter. You'll take your first level point in this spell, and you'll be maxing it first. Besides your ultimate, Siphon of Destruction does the most overall damage, can be used from a somewhat safe distance rather than requiring super-close combat, and affects many enemies at once.
This spell is also your main farming tool. After level 15, or if you've gotten a ****load of kills and assists before then and have progressed quickly along your item build, it's easy to focus an entire wave of enemy minions and take nearly all of them out in one hit.
R - Children of the Grave
This, your ultimate, is an absolutely devastating ability spell, not to mention ridiculously fun to use. If an enemy champion hit with this spell dies before the 10 second time limit is up, their soul will become your "pet" for 30 seconds, and can not only be used to turn a 5v5 team fight into a 6v4 team fight, but to tank turrets when your minions are nowhere near or to have them harass turret-hugging enemies (throw Creeping Death on your pet when you direct them to the turret), chase enemies away when you're escaping with little health, even land you a quadra- or pentakill in some situations.
- Another use for a pet: if you're nowhere near a turret to gank or you aren't involved in a teamfight, you can direct it into nearby bushes if you happen to be in the jungle, just to ensure your safety before you run into the bush yourself and get surrounded by a gang of enemies waiting to pounce.
- Of course, it's suggested that you save this spell for a time when you absolutely know you will earn a kill from it, but sometimes, when I've hit level 6 and the enemy turret in my lane isn't down yet, I'll use this spell to confuse my lane opponent and turn them away if they've gotten me down to low health. When using this spell to earn a kill, always Ignite first at close range, then hit them with your Children of the Grave as they run away, since your ultimate has a farther range and Ignite may be missed if they flash away after you ult. Children of the Grave is a very decent spell on it's own, but when combined with Ignite, it's downright deadly and has a much higher chance of landing you a kill.
NOTE! To control your pet, hold down the ALT key and right-click.
ANOTHER NOTE! Keep in mind that if you direct your pet away from you, to chase an enemy away, for example, the pet will only go so far before returning back to you. So if you want it to go a far distance, you'll have to follow behind it.
What's up with all these damn notes? Also keep in mind that if you direct your pet under an enemy turret to harass or attempt to kill an enemy champion that's hugging, make sure that you're out of turret range. As soon as your pet starts attacking an enemy champion, the turret will focus you, not your pet.
Mid Lane - Early Game Items and Lane Sequence
If I'm going mid against another AP champion, I tend to grab the Regrowth Pendant and one Health Potion, but you may also opt for Boots of Speed and three Health Potion.
If you're a more advanced Mordekaiser player, you may as well even pick up an Amplifying Tome and one Health Potion.
Playing mid-lane against another AP champion is not at all difficult, but my starting items are usually based off of how comfortable I am with whoever I'm up against in each game.
No matter what lane you're in or what champion(s) you're facing, early game is all about earning gold, not about getting first blood or putting yourself in a sticky situation by harassing too much and paying for it with an early death. So don't worry about the enemy champ before level 6. Ignore and dodge their harasses, poke them a little if they get too close, and farm, farm, farm.
Solo Top Lane - Early Game Items and Lane Sequence
If I'm expecting to solo top against an AD champion, I'll grab the Doran's Shield, only as long as I know my jungler can gank early so that I can go back to pick up a couple Health Potion. Of course, the choice is yours, and there will be instances where a Regrowth Pendant or Amplifying Tome may prove to be more beneficial to you when playing solo top.
I'll repeat what I mentioned in the chapter above about the early game lane sequence. No matter what lane you're in or what champion(s) you're facing, early game is all about earning gold. Again, ignore and dodge their harasses, poke them a little if they get too close, and farm, farm, farm
Of course, in any situation and in any lane, if your jungler arrives for a gank, and all of the odds are in your favor for a quick and easy kill, go for it!
First Recall - Mid/Solo Top
No matter your lane, you have an option when your minion wave is pushed to the enemy turret. If the enemy champion is dead or MIA, you can either go for the turret, or attempt a quick gank at other lanes that may be getting harassed. I usually choose the former option, as the quicker I get my lane's enemy turret down, the sooner I can focus nearly all of my time to help push other lanes. Also, if you've played safe but poked just enough to scare the enemy champ into keeping a distance from you, you'll almost always be the first lane to down an enemy turret.
Rush either Sorcerer's Shoes or Hextech Revolver first. Given that you'll hopefully have been keeping your shield full as often as possible in your early laning phase, your enemy champion would have quickly realized how difficult it is to actually lower your health even just a tiny bit with harassment. Because of this, it's more often than not that you'll be focused less than your other allied champions in early team fights, and having that decent spell vamp from Hextech Revolver early, as well as a good bit of burst damage, will not only help you to survive, but help your focused allies to earn the kill majority, perhaps with all of them staying alive.
Mid Game Core Items
Below, I've listed other viable last items to replace Void Staff, and described the situations you may be facing when you'll want to consider grabbing another item instead. Keep reading for a list of alternatives.
Situational Items For Tweaking Your Build
If you're facing heavy magic damage from the enemy team, take this item. It will still give you a little bit of damage to deal, but it can also keep you in team fights much longer to deal said damage and help to protect your allied champions. It grants 70 ability power, 57 magic resist, and it also lowers the magic resist of nearby enemy champions by 20, meaning you're more protected against them, and at the same time you're making them more vulnerable to your own damage.
If you can do without the little damage earned from Abyssal Scepter, and are more worried about ramping up your magic resistance, grab this item. It will also grant you more health, and even though it grants 7 less magic resistance than Abyssal Scepter, it completely blocks all damage from one enemy magic ability (with a 45-second cooldown). I would honestly say that spec alone is worth sacrificing the 7 magic resist and ability power gained from Abyssal Scepter, but both are excellent items to choose, and the choice is entirely up to you and what you're facing in your current game.
140. Ability. Power. Holy hell. This item pretty much speaks for itself, and if you are just dominating the game, crushing enemy skulls together while bellowing "HUEHUEHUE" from deep within the brush of the jungle and making your opponents wish they had just done their homework instead of playing League of Legends, but ended up being stuck playing against the beast of a Mordekaiser that you are, take this. Pretty simple.
If you want just under the amount of damage to devastate your enemies as you'd get with [rabadon's deathcap], but with a little extra armor oomph, plus a pretty handy active stasis, grab this item. One trick I've learned with this item is to run into an enemy group at the start of a team fight (making sure your team is right with you, that is) and activate the stasis. A lot of the time, even though the stasis lasts only 2 seconds, the enemy team will focus you and allow your allies to get a few undisturbed hits on them before your active wears out.
If you or your team are feeding the enemy's AD carry, get this. It may be the only hope for humanity you've got left.
This is a good item for Mordekaiser as it allows a physical attack (your basic attack or your Mace of Spades) to deal 100% of his ability power in bonus damage. I've used it, and I don't mind it, I've just always believed that other items could be more useful to me, and that procs all of my abilities, not just my basic and my Q, like Zhonya's Hourglass. I use my abilities more than I attack with my basic, and even still, I spam Siphon of Destruction more than my Mace of Spades in team fights, so this item has never been a must-have for me, personally, but if you like this item and use it often on other similar champions, go ahead and take it for yourself.
Avoid These Items When Tweaking Your Build
WARNING!: Do not use the following items on Mordekaiser. Some of them are suggested in other build guides, and some of them can be viable choices. I'll agree, one or two on the list may make sense on your champion, but there are far better item choices to fill that coveted spot on your item build. If your game even lasts long enough for you to complete your full item build, I explain below why I do not grab the following items:
This item can mean the difference between winning or losing a team fight. However, know that the odds turning in your favor are extremely rare. Although this item allows you to be brought down to zero health, only to respawn in the same spot with 750 health, it's hellishly easy for an entire group of enemy champions to stand around you while they wait for you to respawn, and take you down yet a second time. The effects of this item are more of a slight nuisance to the other team than a possible lifesaver for you. Also, this item has a five minute cooldown. Most of the time, this item is bought when it's basically already too late. You find yourself buying Guardian Angel only after you've been heavily focused or died a few too many times in team fights. In my opinion, it is technically a viable item on Mordekaiser, but would I risk using my last item slot for something that may not even help me in the long run? Absolutely not.
I've seen AP champions rush this item early game and end up doing very well with it, but because you can't know early on whether you will feed or be fed, I wouldn't want to waste precious time and gold buying it, only to return it later. Even if you end up grabbing a few kills early game, buying this item won't guarantee that the killings will continue into mid- and late-game. Besides, there are other items that, when combined in a full build, can provide just as much, if not more, benefit to you in the long run. Also, buying this item is almost like running towards the enemy, spamming "KILL ME PLZ! :P" in /all chat. It just brings too much attention and focus onto yourself, and, more often than not, it's just not worth the risk.
The 99 armor you'd gain from this item is pretty tempting, but you've got way more than enough from your Seal of Armor runes, your 3 mastery points in Hardiness , and your Randuin's Omen. Also, the 20% attack speed reduction on nearby enemy champions is still not enough to convince me to replace any other viable item with this. Usually, an enemy team will have one DPS champion, sometimes two. Unless the enemy team happens to be trolling with an Ashe, Graves, Caitlyn, AD Teemo, and Vayne, I may consider rushing this as my very first item in the game, not so much to protect myself but to balance the trolling between both teams. Regardless, not worth it in my book.
The week that this guide was published was a free Mordekaiser week, and I'm still trying to figure out why half of the ones I've seen so far are rushing Mercury's Treads early game. Although magic resistance is a good thing, sacrificing precious magic penetration is not. Choosing not to opt for Ninja Tabi should be pretty self-explanatory, if you've read anything from the rest of the guide regarding armor, or even if you've read the first two sentences of this paragraph.
Although this is a decent item, keep in mind that we're trying to go for a balance between armor, health, and ability power in our full item build. This item would appear from the outset to do just that, but because this item is used more by mana-hungry champions, and is bought very early in the game, it's not worth it for Mordekaiser. Other items like Hextech Revolver and Rylai's Crystal Scepter are much better early game. On top of that, Rod of Ages takes 10 minutes to complete it's health and ability power stacks. I'd much rather grab items that instantly grant magic penetration, health, and ability power the second I buy them. Time is of the essence.
Even though this item is a hell of a lot cheaper than Warmog's Armor, and provides some magic resistance and a small bit of cooldown reduction, as well as 15% increase in health regeneration and spell vamp, I still think that the ridiculous amount of health and regeneration gained from Warmog's Armor is a better deal, especially when I've had a good farm early game and can afford, not to mention when laning against an AP enemy champion that also doesn't have their own full build or game-changing AP items, either. If you like this item, use it instead of Warmog's Armor, but once mid- and late-game hit and the team fights start going down, don't say I didn't warn you against it. It's just not worth it in the long run, in my opinion.
You don't need more armor, and extra health is always nice to have, but at this point in the game, you honestly won't need it, I promise. This item only deals 35 magic damage per second, and even when added to your other ability damage in team fights, I just don't see it as worthy of your last item slot when compared to other items, like Zhonya's Hourglass or Void Staff.
This item is just too damn expensive and still wouldn't be worthy on Mordekaiser if it were half the price. It doesn't offer enough health and ability power to convince me of its value; you don't need attack speed or deal critical damage, movement speed is not an issue and not something you should find yourself concerned about; your Rylai's Crystal Scepter and your Hextech Gunblade already have active slows, and Trinity Force grants an additional 150% of your base attack damage to your basic attack. Please don't consider wasting time, gold, and your last item slot on this item.
Wards, Your Mini-Map, and Team Communication
This is something that should be (or should become) second nature to you in any game, with any team composition, and when you're playing any champion: communication is key to organizing your team, making it as efficient as possible, and thwarting enemy advances of any kind.
Wards are a must. Whether you have a jungler or a support, or neither, always buy wards for yourself instead of expecting someone else to do it for you. Below is a map that shows the best ward placement, use it wisely and in relation to the lane you're playing in.
Oracle's Elixir to sniff out any Noxious Trap, Jack In The Box or Sight Ward/ Vision Ward in the jungles and lanes to regain control of the map and give your team the upper hand.
Know that wards alone cannot save you or your teammates throughout a game. Constant vigilance over your mini-map and constant communication with your team over enemy movement from lane to lane, in their jungle or yours, or warnings of incoming ganks, can be the difference between a win and a loss. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Also keep in mind that League of Legends is a video game. It's nothing to be taken seriously if your team is losing horribly, or if one or two of your allies are feeding tremendously. Everyone has bad games, and even if all of their games are bad games, practice makes perfect, and bot games are too predictable and useless to really gain valuable skill and experience when testing a new champion. Be nice to others, please.
Conclusion and Acknowledgments
I know that some people use these guides merely for a quick rune page or mastery touch-up, or a quick item build summary.
If you're reading this, it most likely means that you actually took the time to read the valuable information I have to offer when it comes to playing Mordekaiser. This is my first build, and probably the only one I'll ever make, because Mordekaiser is my favorite champion and the champion that I am honestly most confident playing and have the most with.
I put a lot of time and effort into creating and organizing this guide to the best of my ability, so please consider upvoting if you've found any part to be of use to you, and if you downvote or disagree with anything in the guide or item build, I am completely open to questions and suggestions regarding the information I deemed to be sensible and valuable! I am always up for constructive criticism if it can potentially turn me into a better Mordekaiser, or a better League of Legends player overall.
A huge thanks go out to:
corruptsoul for the much appreciated feedback on the content and layout, as well as clarifying a hiccup I made regarding spellvamp stacking. His Morde guide is pretty damn sweet, too. You should check it out, also.
Thanks for reading, good luck with Mordekaiser, and, most of all, have fun!
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