Mordekaiser Build Guide by scath
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.
Mordekaiser. Equally loved and hated, he is easily one of the least understood champs in my humble opinion.
This guide isn't meant to tell you definitively how to play Mord. You're in charge, you play him however you want. This guide is meant to offer you some ideas for how to best use Mord to WIN WITH YOUR TEAM, not how to OWN ALONE.
LOL is a team game. Your score doesn't count for f*&k all if your team loses. Deal with it.
Take a look at Mordekaiser's role description. Go ahead - go take a look right now and come back.
Fighter - Yes. He fights.
Melee - He doesn't use a ranged weapon, he has a big f#$king axe.
Pusher - Now we're getting somewhere.
That last part is the most important thing you need to know about Mord: he's a pusher. He's designed to get your team close to turrets and help you knock them down. When you and your team accept this about Mord, you'll start winning a LOT of games.
Lots of people are going to argue with this.
"Other champs do this, too."
"Other champs do this better."
"Mord is supposed to <insert task here>."
"Mord is a tank." (Good God... I'll talk more about this later, but the next time you see someone tell you this in chat, reach through the internet and slap them.)
Feel free to argue. All opinions are welcome (except the one about Mord being a tank), and there are lots of great players out there with different play styles that work for them. Again, Mord can do a lot of things.
What Mord excels at is pushing and killing turrets.
That's why he's a PUSHER.
(1) All of Mord's skills benefit from AP, and he'll do the most damage with AP as a focus. No guide will tell you differently.
(2) Mord's passive ability is fed from the amount of damage he does. The more damage he can deal continuously, the harder he is to kill. No guide will tell you differently.
(3) Mord's skills have significant cooldowns. To stay tough, he needs to keep dishing out damage from his abilities. No guide will tell you differently.
Because of these things, I put my runes together as such:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: I haven't read a guide that doesn't take 9 marks of magic pen. This, combined with Masteries and Sorcerers boots early will make your opponent hurt. I often laugh when I come back into the lane having just acquired Sorcerer's Shoes and hitting an opponent once with Siphon of Destruction. They run. Fast.
"That sh$t hurts, don't it?" -- Me.
Even a player with good early game magic resist will feel a sting when you have that much magic pen.
Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power: You can easily take flat AP seals here, it's really up to you. I rarely feel underpowered in the early game with scaling AP seals, and by the time you hit level 6 you've already earned more power with scaling seals than flat seals.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - The bulk of your early game hurt is going to come from these. Mord gets 60% of his total AP added to is Siphon of Destruction. These quints give you pretty good damage right out of the gate, and help your passive shield early.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - Most players have picked up on the fact that Mord lasts longer if he dishes out more damage. With Mord, the best defense is a kick-*** continuous offense. These glyphs, in combination with Masteries, will keep dishing out damage and thus keep you alive through gank attempt after gank attempt if you play smart.
With Masteries and Glyphs alone, Mord will start out with about %10 CDR. By end game, if you build no CDR items, you'll end up with just shy of 18% CDR. Not too shabby. Add in an option CDR Item (I'll discuss these later), and Mord has a badass damage output AND defense VERY regularly.
There are two skills that are entirely undervalued in my opinion.
Siege Commander and Demolitionist .
Why do I call them undervalued? Because I rarely - if ever - see them in a build guide for any champ.
THAT'S F*&KING STUPID. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.
These two skills on any champ are a great asset, and will help you WIN GAMES.
These two skills on Mord do two things: (1) They make him an even greater pushing threat in his own lane. (2) They make him MOBILE faster. The first point is easy to grasp, the second less so.
Remember the point of this guide: I'm offering you a guide to pushing lanes and winning games. Mord is fantastic in team fights - no doubt. He's a huge asset when he's freed from the laning phase. What makes him so very valuable on a team is the fact that he can get OUT of his lane with the opposing teams turret down FAST. What does that mean?
(1) Mord is helping you get an early lead in the overall arc of the game. The faster you push over turrets the closer you are to winning games.
(2) If Mord is finished with his initial lane assignment he can (A) move to other lanes and tear off the faces of opposing players (B) push lanes after tearing off the faces of opposing players.
I love Demolitionist on all of my team mates - we wear down turrets extremely quickly even with a small window.
I love Siege Commander on Mord - Mord can keep enemy creeps at bay with his AOE spells and debuff the enemy turret at the same time. That means
HE does more damage to the turret.
YOUR TEAM does more damage to the turret.
YOUR CREEPS do more damage to the turret.
Why not go hard offense?
The Masteries I take from the Offense Tree are meant to help your early game (with some extra AP, magic penetration and cooldown reduction), and give you some extra pushing power when you've used your DOT (ignite) to kill a runner.
You've got to take some points to get to Demolitionist, and by the time you're there, the CDR and magic pen talents are open - so take em!
Mord isn't a carry. He can carry (almost any champ can if they get fed), but he's not designed to be one.
Yes, you'll fill your shield faster, but remember that all of his abilities except his ult are multi-target damage abilities. Your shield gets charged based on 35% of the TOTAL damage you do to ALL targets. My point is this: You can't fill your shield more than the cap. If you're already filling your damage shield with just one hit from Mace of Spades or Siphon, what do you need more damage for? You're already fulfilling your role of being a sustained pusher. Let the other guys DPS the group target down and get to the turret - instead, be the thing that keeps the opposing team away from your DPSers out of pure fear.
Mord's passive gives him not just more life, but more sustainability. Remember, your shield uses all of your defensive stats (resists).
Most importantly, think about this:
If Mord is meant to push - and he is - he can do that best by taking skills that better help him accomplish that goal; and those skills are NOT in the Offense Tree.
Oh, wait. You want to kill more people and steam roll the other team single-handedly? Sorry, that's not this guide. This guide is meant to help you help your team win games, not help you feed your ego.
So lets talk about the Defense Tree.
"You said Mord isn't a tank."
I did. That doesn't mean you should leave him squishy. If he's already using runes to buff his damage output and sustain, then take the points available to help him take some early hits.
+6/+6 Resistance / Hardiness - these not only apply to Mord, they apply to his passive shield as well.
Durability - Yes. Mord's abilities drain his HP. So does taking hits. More HP means more damage output and survivability.
Vigor - This is the best possible option for a place holder in my opinion. You are, of course, free to disagree. Reduced damage from minions? Why. Mord won't take much damage from minions because of his shield, and he'll wipe most of them out because quickly because that's what he's designed to do. A little HP regen never hurt, and it works well with Mord's attack mechanic.
Veteran's Scars - 30 HP doesn't seem like much for 1 talent point, but it the difference between life and death when you're soloing top lane and the enemy jungler jumps you from the bush in the early game.
Initiator - Speed is life; ask any real soldier. Be where your enemy thinks you will not be, when he thinks you will not be there. This talent will help you get there. Your shield will help you stay 3% faster for longer.
Enlightenment - As I mentioned earlier, Mord is hard to kill when he can dish out damage constantly. I can't tell you how many times I've survived 1v1 or even 2v1 by staying calm and using my abilities to keep my shield up while damaging the opposing player. I swear to God, I can hear them through the internet screaming "WTF! BULLSH*T!" when I have 10 hp left having just killed a decked out carry that "had" me dead-to-rights. Those moments are the sugar in my coffee.
I love you, frustrated player that I just killed by keeping my damage output constant and my shield fed.
There's bound to be some controversy here. Remember, I'm not trying to tell you how to build Mord definitively. You've gotta roll with the punches and fight the opposing team.
You and I have seen so many players lock themselves into "killer builds" that are expensive. They build long-term, which is fine, but lack pragmatism which will save you and your team.
If you see an opportunity for some item that isn't in my build but will really help you - BUILD THAT SH*T. If there's an item combination that works for your Mord build and no one has thought of it yet - BUILD THAT SH*T.
You've got a brain (unless you think Mord is a tank, in which case please uninstall LOL and go away), so use it! I deviate from my build as necessary. You should, too.
My basic build starts with a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion. My goal is two fold:
1) Push the lane - get creeps under the enemy turret and try to get in close enough for Siege Commander to up their damage output. Do this a lot - it works. That being said, don't be stupid: if you can't get close to their turret safely, don't go in. Simple.
Kills don't matter as much as the turret, so stay alive!
2) Farm. Mord is a beast farmer. Period. Don't be a **** - share with your lane partner. Your lane is stronger if you're both well geared.
The Regen item and the Pot are meant to keep me in the lane until I can afford at least the Sorcerer's Shoes. Ideally, I'll come back with an Amplifying Tome to help my damage output as well. If you can get that much by 6, "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad."
A lot of people are going to question the Hextech Revolver - that's fine. I'll elaborate on this a little later, but suffice it to say that you'll get HP back from each target of your AOE spells and feed your shield faster. Overall it should help you sustain well and keep you pushing the lane longer than your opponents can stand. The goal is to kill where you can, and pull down the turret.
Once those items are done, your basic early-mid game AP output is done. You should have enough AP to keep your shield reasonably full with just one use of Siphon on a creep wave. By now, you should also have pushed over a turret.
SEE? THAT SIEGE COMMANDER/DEMOLITIONIST SH*T WORKS!
Now we're building towards mid-late game goals, with some survivability to get you there.
You could very easily enhance Mords CDR with an item like Kindlegem, working towards Shurelya's Reverie. Both items are a perfect fit for Mord, but there's a tradeoff here: if you build the Kindlegem, you're removing the possibility of a late game 6th item that either beefs you up (like Warmog's Armor) or cranks your damage output (like Rabadon's Deathcap).
That said, Shurelya's Reverie gives Mord good CDR, but also gives him and his team an escape - something you may find sorely lacking from the build without Flash. It's 2k+ gold, and I rarely build it, but I tend to not blow my cooldowns quickly.
Now, about your survivability
Depending on what kind of damage the opposing team is putting out more of, I'll build towards either Thornmail first or Force of Nature first. If there's a clear balance between the two, I build towards both equally, but rush neither.
I know some of you are spitting at the Thornmail; I'll get to you folks in just a second.
I prefer to build toward both evenly, taking a piece at a time from each until I can complete one of them comfortably but still have cash on hand for wards and such.
The Force of Nature is a fantastic item for all players, but Mord really benefits. Added mobility, HP regen and MR - this item has everything a healthy pusher needs. It'll help you get in and out of fights fast and keep you alive if you have to run.
Alright, lets talk about Thornmail.
I've seen a lot of bullsh*t about Thornmail in a lot of build guides. The rationale of course is the diminishing returns on increased Armor Rating. Yes, math works. I still like Thornmail for 2 reasons:
1) 100 AR - that's badass. This is the only AR item I need to be heavy enough to offtank with the best of them. Remember that added AR applies to both Mord AND his shield.
Now, pay attention here
2) Remember I said I'd have more to say about the Hextech Revolver? Look at Thornmail's passive - Returns 30% of the damage from regular attacks before armor reduction against the attacker as magic damage. AS MAGIC DAMAGE.
Now remember that the Hextech Revolver gives you 12% spell vamp. That means 12% of magic damage that you do gets returned to you as HP.
That includes magic damage done by Thornmail.
This is called synergy.
When Cait starts hitting you while you're closing on her late game, she'll realize two things if she's paying attention:
1) She's actually getting hurt. A lot. (~300hp for any hit that *should be* a 1k crit). Her MR will reduce the damage per hit, but if Cait is building high damage and crit chance she's probably not that invested in MR.
2) You're not getting hurt for nearly as much as you should be. This is because you have amazing AR AND you're actually getting healed for some of that damage.
Now you say "12% of 30% isn't that much"? You're right; but it's still more than 0. Add in the regen from both your Force of Nature, the spell vamp from the damage you're doing to any creeps or other enemy chaps in the way, and possibly the heal from your ult and she's in for a very big surprise: You're not dead, your shield is working fine and you're angry as F*&K.
We'll talk more about the benefit of an inherently tanky Mord in a minute. Remember that my goal isn't to build a tanky Mord, it's to build a pushy Mord. He's just becoming a tanky threat along the way.
When Mord builds Rylai's Crystal Scepter, the pain goes up 10 fold. Your AOE abilities now slow. So does your damage shield. So does your ult. Now your speed, inherent survivability and damage output make you a focus target. You're doing lots of great damage, healing yourself with everything ability you've got, and slowing everything you hit.
PS, your team loves you. They're picking up team kills everywhere, you're zoning people off of turrets, and with Siege Commander and Demolitionist you're moving faster and faster along the victory arc of the game.
The 6th item is your call.
If I really wanna piss off the other team, I'll build Warmog's Armor. Having very high AR/MR Mord, with his badass shield AND high HP makes the other team cry.
Again, this is the sugar in my coffee.
Remember, this Mord isn't a real tank: he's just tanky. His real value is pushing, keeping other team off their own turrets and helping your team knock them over. This helps your team win.
Alternatively, if you have a great tank on your team and want to up your damage output, you could build a high AP item ( Rabadon's Deathcap comes to mind). You could also build an MR debuff item (a Void Staff fills this role nicely).
As a very late game upgrade - and I build this so very rarely, since the team (if it's working well) has won already - you could upgrade the Revolver into the Hextech Gunblade for the added spell vamp and insta-slow.
Remember - use your brain. This is just my basic build. I deviate as necessary all the time. If I'm really steamrolling early I'm not at all afraid to build a Mejai's. If I get 20 stacks, it's game over. If I need to be tankier sooner, I'll build Warmog's before Rylai's. If there's another item that I haven't even mentioned here that fits the situation better, I'll use it instead.
Ignite is great for runners, and with the added bonus from the Mastery, there's no downside for me. Others may prefer Flash or Ghost for an escape. Take the Spells that make you comfortable. There are few that don't fit Mord.
If you're going to lose Ignite, then place the stray skill point in the Offense Tree somewhere else.
I love Teleport on Mord. Being able to knock down an opposing champ, buy some items and come back to the lane as fast as they can really pisses them off, and keeps me rolling in XP. In the mid to late game, it helps me get to my team to support them.
Again, go with the spells that make you most comfortable.
Mord is an effective soloer either 1v1 or 2v1 provided he gets help from the jungler.
I really can't stress this enough. Your jungler needs to assume that Mord is going to get harassed if he's soloing top lane. Mord is slow, and in the early game his shield isn't that tough. The jungler must, must, must keep an eye on the map and help the top lane whenever possible.
Every time the jungler and Mord can empty the top lane, Siege Commander and Demolitionist will help Mord drop the health of the enemy turret drastically. I have played games where the top turret has gone down within the first 5 minutes with support from my jungler.
If Mord is left alone, unsupported by the jungler, he'll be food for the enemy team if he doesn't drop Ignite in favor of Ghost or Flash.
To be fair this is true of anyone laning top, but some champs have built in escape mechanisms , like Teemo's Move Quick, and are naturally better at evading attacks regardless of build.
Mord, with a good partner, really shines.
Ideally, Mord should be partnered with a champ that has reach - a ranged dpser (ideally an AD champ, since Mord is primarily AP) that can help harass. There's great synergy between Mord and Ashe, Caitlyn, and others.
Mord can also really punish opponents with high AD Melee champs like Darius. His Apprehend coupled with his passive Hemorrhage is absolutely killer.
With Garen, he can push almost infinitely.
As I've mentioned countless times before, Mord's goal needs to be to knock over turrets, starting with the one in the lane he's assigned to. If he's in the bottom lane and can sit on the turret, he'll be finished with the laning assignment very, very quickly.
Mord in the Middle
I have to say that with very few exceptional situations, I really dislike Mord as a mid lane champ.
Mord suffers from a reach problem: he doesn't have a sustained long range attack, and is very susceptible to pokes from champs like Caitlyn. This is true in any lane, but your team is going to pay for it most in the middle.
This is a trend: there are far too many mid champs that have better range and mobility to make him viable in the middle. There are exceptions to this, but they are (in my opinion) few. For instance,
Mord will do fine against mid Akali, provided you understand how she works. If you can read her play early and understand the mechanics of her skills, you can push very well against this champ.
By stark contrast, Mord versus Swain is a losing battle on all fronts. Against Veigar, you're potentially losing the whole game for your team.
Mord *can* mid. Read the matchups. If there's a champ in a lane that can reach out and touch Mord with impunity, don't assign Mord to that lane.
Indeed - Don't assign any players to lanes 'just because'. Be smart, and put Mord in a lane against champs he can overwhelm. He doesn't have to be able to kill them a lot, he just has to survive and get under the turret.
Interesting ability usage - for fun and profit!
Mord's skills compliment his innate role very well. That being said, there are some simple ideas that a lot of Mord players overlook that I'd like to shed some light on.
First, Mord's damage shield has both an offensive and defensive component. This is important, because it can be used in so many ways.
1) It helps him farm. He can throw it on himself and wipe a minion wave very, very quickly.
2) It can help him survive. It not only damages attacking enemy champs, it also increases his AR/MR AND adds to his shield.
3) It can help his TEAM survive. You can place the shield on a team mate to help them survive, or kill a running champ.
4) It can help you knock over a turret.
That last point is something I've only ever seen 3 or 4 Mord's realize.
When I'm pushing a lane, if a tank minion gets close to a turret, I'll throw my shield on it. This will (a) help kill surrounding enemy creeps (b) wear down enemy champs that get close to it (c) help keep that tank minion stay alive longer because of the AR/MR increase (d) help the rest of your minion wave survive longer because it will pull the aggro from an opposing creep wave away from the weaker creeps. Overall, this will help your minion wave do more overall damage to the enemy turret.
If you can get in close enough to the enemy turret to let Siege Commander take effect, those creeps will do more damage still.
Be aware: If your damage shield does damage to an enemy champ while you're in range of a turret, the turret will focus you. If you can't get in close and survive, don't bother going in at all.
Children of the Grave
First, the most basic numbers. Children of the Grave is percentage based: at Rank 3, it does a base of 34% of the enemy's HP. That's 1/3rd of their life - 1/6th of it is immediate, 1/6th of it over time. Base. Add in some AP, and you're probably doing more like 40% even without an item like Rabadon's Deathcap in your inventory.
Oh yeah - it also heals you for that same amount.
That's FEPIC. (read F*&KING EPIC)
Second, if Mord's ult is on a champ when they die, Mord gains control of that champ as a pet. He gains a percentage of their stats, and he in turn enhances the pet's stats. That means that a fight that was 5v5 now becomes 6v4, NOT 5v4.
It still stuns me that people miss this fact. If your team sees your ult on a target, they should kill it asap. Numbers count in this game - 6v4 is an easy equation to solve.
That being said, it's your responsibility to pick your targets judiciously.
Some things to keep in mind about target selection:
1) Ult'ing and killing a high DPS target will probably net you a second kill once you're comfortable controlling both yourself and the pet. These targets should be first priority in team fights, and your team needs to help drop them. If your team has a habit of focusing the tank, find a new team. Ron White will tell you why:
2) Ult'ing the opposing team's tank isn't always a bad idea. Children of the Grave is percentage based - it'll do a significant amount of damage to the tank and will help keep you alive if you're being focused. Not only will this feed you more HP, it'll do a good base amount of damage to (presumably) the toughest opposing champ on the field. In the late game it often scares the sh*t out of the opposing tank, often enough to make them withdraw (even just temporarily), which will make the lives of your team mates that much easier.
Now, remember that I mentioned we'd talk about the benefits of an inherently tanky, pushy Mord? Mord gives back to his pet - He gains from it's stats, it gains from his. So if Mord is tanky and pushy, the pet will be tankier and pushier.
That 170AR isn't looking so bad now, is it? The pet won't get all of it, but it'll get a lot.
Mord isn't a tank
At this point, the least intelligent of you must be thinking "This Mord is a f*cking tank, I don't care what you say. He's got a shield, he's got high AR/MR and HP. TANK."
Tanks have High AR/MR AND CC. Mord has no CC. No taunt. Nothing.
This means that Mord can offtank, but should never primary tank. Why? Mord can't lock up opponents, and can be stunlocked himself.
This is Mord's most inherent weakness.
I know, I know - these same people are saying "What about Rylai's Crystal Scepter?" Rylai's effect is a slow, not a stun - the opposing team can still focus and stunlock you. Moreover, Rylai's doesn't apply its effect unless you use an ability, something you can't do when you're stunlocked.
If Mord gets stunlocked, he's done. Shen, Amumu, Leona, Maokai... all the real tanks can CC some or all of the enemy team in some way and in doing so prevent the opposing team from stunlocking. Mord cannot. Moreover, think about all the advantages your team loses if Mord goes down in a team fight:
1) SUSTAINED AOE SLOW
2) SUSTAINED AOE DAMAGE
3) TURRET DAMAGE
4) MINION WAVE CLEARING
5) 6v4 TEAM FIGHTS
Losing anyone in a teamfight isn't great - losing Mord (especially late game Mord) is a complete waste. Your team needs to understand this and help you help them. If they're asking you to tank, they're stupid.
And as I mentioned before YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID.
So here you are. At the end of this guide. Some of you like it, some of you hate it.
Some of you think I'm an idiot.
I'm fine with all of that.
I'll conclude by reminding you of some things to consider when you're building Mord or any other champ, and I hope you'll take them to heart. I would love to see the level of play in LoL improve, even at the lowest levels.
1) LoL is a team game - play accordingly. I can't stand playing PuGs where some or all summoners plays solely for the kill-count, and then point to it as a measure of their skill and competence.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
High-lighting your kill-count in the face of defeat only tells the intelligent players on your team that you're an idiot that just doesn't get it.
Welcome to our ignore lists.
2) Siege Commander and Demolitionist are two of the best Masteries available to help you win. It stuns me that I have yet to see a single guide that highlights these talents as must-haves. Use them.
3) Know your roll. Mord isn't a tank. Ashe isn't a tank. Both can take very high AR/MR/HP items, and they're still not tanks. Regardless of the champ you play, if you're going to be successful as a team member you have to know what the strengths of each champ is and use the champ accordingly. Help your team, not yourself, by understanding what you can do to improve the play and position of your team.
4) Prioritize the win, not the kill. Anyone that still buys into this nonsense has got to get away from the idea that kills predicate wins, or that kills demonstrate skill. I have won plenty of games where the opposing team has had a drastically higher kill count, but played poorly together; they whine about how they played best because of the disparity in total kills between the teams - and how they had more.
A win is a win, and it's all that matters.
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