Morgana Build Guide by Cauldrath
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.
First things first: if you are looking for a build that can get you a lot of kills, this isn't the guide for you. If you aren't willing to spend every moment of the game ready to fend off a gank attempt within a second, this also isn't the guide for you. If you want to crush your opponents' spirits and end the game 4 levels higher than everyone else when the other team surrenders because you never left your lane and no one could push you out completely, read on.
This build focuses on pure sustainability, making use of her Spell Vamp passive. After you get your Tear of the Goddess and Chalice of Harmony, you should never run out of life and never run out of mana, as long as you play safe and play smart.
Pros / Cons
1) You should wind up with a very high creep score and more experience than anyone else.
2) You are extremely hard to gank unless the enemy team is fed.
3) Very strong until other people start hitting level 18, especially in the mid lane.
4) Extremely durable, especially if you choose Frozen Heart for your last item.
1) You will only get kills when your opponent does something very stupid because you have almost no burst damage.
2) You can't really carry a game if the enemy team is fed, unless you change your build completely from the one I've listed. Swapping out items for additional Archangel's Staff can work, though.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration Magic penetration is one of the best ways to increase your spells' damage output. Because damage is life for Morgana, any way to increase damage helps.
Greater Seal of Armor On the other side, armor will drastically improve your survivability, with flat armor giving you a large early-game advantage. You need to build a level advantage as soon as possible, so any help in early-game survivability is important.
If you want late-game survivability, Greater Seal of Evasion is a good choice. Black Shield will allow you to survive attacks from most mages, but Morgana can still be vulnerable to auto-attacks, and these runes will directly counter them.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction Morgana's cooldowns are a bit long, and her abilities are all good when timed exactly right, so the more chance you have for that timing, the better. Flat CDR helps her more early in the game and also isn't wasted by the cooldown reduction cap.
Another way to take care of CDR is by buying an Elixer of Brilliance, which will put these runes above the cap. So you may want to consider something like Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, or Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power; the first for more early-game survivability or the second for some late-game punch.
For quints, you have a lot of options. Magic penetration and flat AP will increase your damage early. AP/level is also a good option. Bonus exp is also nice, because you will be getting a ton of it, this will let you really push that mid-game advantage. You could also consider dodge, move speed, or more armor.
Start out by buying a Meki Pendant and two Mana Potion. When you're first starting out, you may want to grab a Health Potion instead of two Mana Potions, but you should be trying to learn to safely use Tormented Soil as your primary source of health.
Once you have the gold and have just enough mana for one more Tormented Soil, throw it on a minion wave and then recall. While generally you should be buying a Tear of the Goddess first, giving it more time to grow, if you feel like you aren't doing that well, you can get the Chalice of Harmony first. Teleport back and start laning again.
While its generally best to wait until Teleport is back off cooldown to head back to shop again, you will probably have to recall once to refill your mana and then hoof it back to get your second item, buying some extra Mana Potions on your first trip back can delay this a bit. I list 5, but that is what you need to be able to go full blast on your offensive skill usage until Teleport comes up again. The best time to do recall without Teleport is when you have enough money for both your second item and the Boots of Speed. You shouldn't ever run out of mana again once you have both the Tear and the Chalice, at least once the Tear has built up a bit.
The Hextech Revolver will give a good enhancement to your passive's Spell Vamp, and then Spirit Visage will give you some much-needed Cooldown Reduction, plus a multiplier for your Spell Vamp and some defensive stats. Will of the Ancients gives you a little more Spell Vamp for a cheap price, plus will, of course, help any allies. This gives you a total of 63.25% Spell Vamp.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are, of course, for the Cooldown Reduction.
After this you'll be working on your Archangel's Staff, but you're pretty much build complete at this point. The AP boost will make an obvious difference in your damage and healing, but you should be functional without it.
After that, I put Rabadon's Deathcap, but there's a lot of possibilities for here. Rabadon's is a good choice if you are the obvious dominant force in the game, as it just makes you more dominant, but you may consider an Abyssal Scepter if you have an AP carry who is doing well, Zeke's Harbinger for an AD carry if they are really dominant, Frozen Heart if the enemy AD carry is doing well. If you wind up getting a Frozen Heart, you should also trade in your boots for Sorcerer's Shoes, Mercury's Treads, or whatever seems most important, so you aren't wasting that slot on capped CDR. Elixer of Brilliance is also a great buy late game. If the game starts going really long, you can start replacing items with more Archangel's Staff, starting with your Chalice of Harmony, then Spirit Visage.
Remember to stay adaptable, even with the build order before the last slot. If you are getting into a lot of team fights, getting more CDR will be more important than getting your Spell Vamp up, so you might skip the WotA if you don't have other casters or even the Hextech Revolver to rush your boots or Spirit Visage. This build is relatively tanky already, so if your tank is getting too underfed to do his job, you can fill in by rushing Frozen Heart.
If it looks like your whole team is getting rolled, start organizing everyone into getting aura items. You'll have Will of the Ancients, Frozen Heart, and possibly Abyssal Scepter. Make sure someone at least gets Aegis of the Legion. Even Zeke's Harbinger will help you out a little bit, but you should try to get an AD champ to grab it. If you go this route, make sure everyone sticks together. It won't matter how many auras you have if everyone is all over the map.
Teleport - this is the most important summoner spell for this build. It allows you to go back to town and immediately return without losing much laning time, and lets you travel to another lane quickly if you are needed. (or if there is just a huge cluster of minions to drop Tainted Soil on)
Your other spell should be some sort of anti-gank spell, because you will inevitably be pushing your way deep into enemy territory and will need to be able to survive whatever they throw at you.
These are the primary choices:
Cleanse - I use this one because of its short cooldown. While Black Shield will stop disables while it is up, there are times when you will get attacked before you can react with it. In those cases, hit Cleanse, then immediately hit Black Shield, and make a run for it. It also leaves you more free to be aggressive in team fights while shielding allies, who generally will need it more than you.
Ghost - this is another good anti-gank spell, best against characters who are good at chasing, rather than ones that are good at disabling
Flash - the general favorite escape spell. It can, of course, also be used offensively to set up your ult, but that isn't what this build is focused on. It has a really long cooldown, though, which is why I avoid it.
Heal - probably a bad choice, but it can be good for team fights, or if you want to be a little more aggressive at level 1. It can still save you from a gank, which is why I put it on this list.
Clairvoyance - in a completely different way, you could use this to avoid ganks by knowing they are coming. It has a nice, short cooldown and lets you help your allies, as well. Taking this really depends on whether another teammates took it.
The basic idea is that R>W>E>Q, except for a single point in Q as level 2.
Dark Binding is normally a good skill to invest in for raw damage, but you aren't really trying to kill anyone. A single point lets you grab someone and get an auto-attack or two to let them know that you will be more than happy to get that kill if they hang around with no life for too long, though, plus it helps you peel off chasers.
Also remember that you don't need line of effect or vision to hit a target with this. If an enemy rounds a corner in the jungle, try to predict where they will be and shoot Dark Binding through the trees. If you see it disappear before max range, it hit, so immediately drop Tormented Soil there, which also does not require vision.
Similarly, you can use it to brush check. Fire it along some suspicious brush and, if it stops, Tormented Soil there and either run in to try to finish them off with your ult, or avoid it if you don't think you can.
Tormented Soil is what really makes this build work. Throw it on a minion wave and watch your health skyrocket. Once you have 3 points in it you will also be last hitting all of them at once, as well. It is also good for controlling space and throwing down in the middle of a melee.
Keep in mind that this is not only good for putting where enemies are, but where they want to be. If you just hit someone with Dark Binding, don't just put Tainted Soil directly on top of them, try to predict where they are going to want to go once they get loose. Generally if you are laning and hit someone with it, they are probably going to want to run backwards to get away from you, so put it behind them so only the very edge is touching them. Likewise, if someone is chasing you down trying to gank you, throw it closer to you, so they will need to run all the way through it to continue the chase. Either they go through it and take some extra damage and, thus, give you some extra life, or they break pursuit, either of which is a win. You can also use it to discourage an attack. If it looks like someone is going around to attack you from the side, throw a puddle down on the path they look like they are going to attack from. Most players won't be willing to initiate by running through Tainted Soil.
Black Shield and Soul Shackles are great anti-gank tools, as they will allow you to avoid crowd control and stop an entire group of enemies chasing you. Soul Shackles has the added bonus of alerting you of nearby enemies, so you can brush check by walking near the brush with it, or detect where a stealthed opponent is. If you see it light up, you can either choose to immediately run, or you can attack with it, aim along the stream of light with Dark Binding, then throw Tainted Soil on it to really ruin their day.
Dealing with a ranged AD lane
Morgana is extremely good against other casters, with AP-heavy LeBlanc and Kassadin the only ones with a real chance laning against her, but strong auto-attackers with long range, such as Caitlyn and Teemo can give her trouble, especially if they stack armor pen or ad runes and grab a Doran's Blade or two. In these cases, you'll definitely need to change up your build a little bit. Grab a Chalice of Harmony before Tear of the Goddess, and buy Cloth Armor. Play more conservatively than you normally would, especially before you get your armor.
While they control a lot of space with their zone of death around them, they can't zone you out completely. If they stand in the middle of their minions, you can still farm and harass them at the same time with Tormented Soil. Usually, though, they'll stand around 45 degrees away from the minions and towards your side of the lane, so they can maximize the amount of space they control on your side within the experience line. Don't bother with Dark Binding, because they'll have plenty of time to dodge it unless you are so close that they can shoot you for way more damage than you would do to them. Just move to the other side of the minions from them and stay just inside the experience line, get some last hits in when it looks like they'll be busy with their own. If they come after you, that's when you go for the Dark Binding. It's important to have the threat of it to keep them from charging you down and completely zoning you out to your turret.
Learn to last hit under your turret, as well. Personally, I'm terrible at this, but melee minions are two turret shots, one autoattack, and casters are one autoattack, one turret shot, one autoattack. You can hit all the casters once while the turret is shooting the melees, then finish off the melees before moving on to the casters.
There's a good chance that you'll be behind in CS as you reach level 5, but that's when you can start making up for it. At this point, it's completely impossible to zone you out of last hits, because you just need to walk up and throw Tormented Soil down, then walk back while it does its thing. Because your build includes items that build into mid-game items, you should be able to start taking the lane back at this point, while their Doran's Blade is starting to taper off in effectiveness.
While this Morgana is specifically designed to be able to lane well without any help from allies, she has all the normal tools to help out in a team fight. Also, keep in mind that sustain dominates lanes, but it also is useful in team fights. This build is extremely strong in the poking phase of team fights, as her mana regen, spell vamp, and Black Shield can let her outpoke multiple enemy champs at once, especially since she can control a lot of space at a good range with Tormented Soil. Her Dark Binding can also lead into the real team fight happening with a huge advantage if you land it on one of their ranged champs trying to take a swipe at you.
Once the actual team fight starts, remember that you are going to be healing yourself of a lot of damage over the course of it. You don't want to eat heavy burst from a melee assassin, that's the tank's job, but getting the ranged AD carry to take a couple shots at you instead of someone else is a win, because, as long as you have a little life left, you can potentially get it all back. Identify the opponents that do a lot of continuous damage and get their attention. Dark Binding them and then autoattacking is a great way to do that. Once they get free, you can run back behind your tank. Hopefully they'll chase you, setting up a situation where you can just walk up and ult the whole enemy team because their ranged dps stepped out of position.
Tormented Soil does a good job of controlling enemy movements, unless, of course, they decide to ignore it, in which case they will be taking tons of damage from not only you, but from your allies due to its MR shred. If a melee opponent is moving in to attack, throw a puddle in their way. If a ranged opponent is trying to back off, throw a puddle in their way. If there is a huge melee, throw a puddle on it. If you need some life back and there are some enemy minions hanging around, throw a puddle on them and keep on going. Sometimes you can even tank a melee opponent by standing in your puddle and letting it do its thing while they auto-attack you.
More obviously, you can use Dark Binding to peel off enemies chasing down a nearly-dead ally or trying to flee, and throw Black Shield on allies trying to escape or looking to initiate. Dark Binding also works well as an initiation or a counter-initiation.
As this isn't a Flash+Zhonya's+AP build, you won't be trying to use your ult to instakill the entire enemy team. It still has some good uses, though. Even without a lot of AP, it still does a lot of damage, and 3 seconds of slow followed by 1.5 seconds of stun is incredibly disruptive to an enemy team, and is plenty of time for an AD carry to get in and wreck some people. This build is relatively tanky, especially with a Frozen Heart, so you can use it as a way to draw the enemies to attack you instead of squishier targets. It can also help an ally flee just as much as it can help you. If you really need just a slight bit more damage on a fleeing enemy and your other spells are on cooldown, you can use it to finish them, or at least leash them so you or your allies can catch up.
If you look at the second Morgana build, this is a variant of the first, but redesigned for Dominion. First of all, Chalice of Harmony is no longer needed, as the Crystal Scar buff will take care of your mana regen needs. (It is actually the same as the Chalice of Harmony unique, but doubled.) You still start with Tear of the Goddess so that you can give it time to grow before turning it into Archangel's Staff for a lot of relatively cheap AP. Keep in mind that you can cast spells before the match starts to build up the Tear, so take full advantage of it and spam as much as you can. Just remember to space them out to no more than 2 every 6 seconds. I usually leave the spawn with 64 bonus mana.
Because of the more frantic pace of Dominion, auto-attacks are much more important, and Frozen Heart directly counters them. Currently, physical dps characters are much more popular, and this is one of the best counters to them.
Spirit Visage counters the health regeneration debuff of the Crystal Scar, making your passive able to do its job much better. Note that this stacks multiplicatively with the debuff, so you will be getting 92% healing, rather than the 95% you would get if it was additive.
In my main build, I build Will of the Ancients, but you'll likely get less use out of it here, as large team fights are rare. A Hextech Revolver is still a nice boost for the money, though, but there are other items I get first. I would upgrade it into a Hextech Gunblade before Will of the Ancients because of how often you'll be auto-attacking, but only if all your other slots are full of maxed-out items.
I choose Mercury's Treads over Ionian Boots of Lucidity because you'll already have 30% CDR from Frozen Heart and Spirit Visage. Sorcerer's Shoes are weaker compared to Summoner's Rift because of the 5% magic penetration from the Crystal Scar buff, but you could get them if you notice your opponents aren't building any MR items.
Rabadon's Deathcap is, of course, for raw damage output.
Note, also, that I go with a tankier mastery setup, the same I use for tank Morgana. This helps her defend the points better and synergizes well with her healing sustain, since mana sustain isn't as important.
The skill sequence is changed as well, as you'll be dealing with a lot less burst magic damage in Dominion. One point in Black Shield for CC immunity is all you really need, unless you are facing a team with a lot of magic damage. I keep Dark Binding and Tormented Soil even, as Dark Binding is much more valuable early on in Dominion than in Summoner's Rift, and being able to really threaten a hard hit is important.
Dominion Role - Pusher/Defender
Morgana's role on Crystal Scar is best described as pusher and defender. Your goal is to protect one point while constantly threatening one right next to it. To do this, you'll want to push the minion waves to the opposing point. Once they are there, Promote one of them and poke at the defenders. Always keep an eye on your point, though, and run back if someone tries to cap it.
What this does is keep one point tied up in your team's favor, and one or two of your opponent's tied up trying to prevent you from capturing their point. What this does is free your teammates to focus on the top 3 points and 4v4 or 4v3.
Morgana's sustain is such that she can keep poking at a sole defender and will eventually wear them down to the point that they will need backup. That's when your teammates should start mowing down the top points.
If you do take both bottom points, your job now changes. You're primary job is now to defend the forward point, but also run back to help if the back point is under attack. The other job is to choke off the bottom half of the map from enemies coming out of their base. Ah, spawn camping.
Morgana is extremely good at controlling space and Dark Binding is best against opponents that need to move in a predictable way. The ramp up to the base is perfect for her to throw a Dark Binding, Tormented Soil combo on, making it extremely difficult for enemies to get out that way without rushing out as a group, which is a perfect opportunity to ult them. This limits their access to the bottom half of the map because the direct route is cut off, which helps the rest of your team control the top points.
While the base build in this guide is tanky in a long-term kind of way, that isn't what you need if you need someone to just outright be a tank.
So, why play tank Morgana? Well, what does a tank, as traditionally thought of in LoL, need?
1. Burst mitigation: Black Shield will cover you for this if your opponents have a reasonable AP/AD ratio.
2. Initiation: This is where she is a little weak, but landing a Dark Binding is often a good way to initiate.
3. Ability to draw attention: Soul Shackles is extremely good at this. Similar to Galio, her ability to draw attention to herself is limited by her ult's cooldown, though hers isn't nearly as long as his.
4. Maintain constant threat throughout the fight: CC with Dark Binding, constant damage with Tormented Soil, and strong support in Black Shield are all good reasons to want Morgana dead as a fight continues on.
Unlike many other tanks, she is also extremely good at farming and in lane, which will allow her to generally build defensive items much faster.
Now, on to explain the build. Look at the third Morgana build. Note the use of hybrid defense-caster items. I not only do this to get her defensive stats without compromising her spell-casting as much, but it allows you to do a transitioning build. You don't need to be tanky from the word go, so you build the caster side of the hybrid items first, so that you will be a caster at that point, then grab the rest of the item later when a tank is needed. If you're doing extremely well early on, you can take this further by building the Hextech Revolver and Blasting Wand components of Will of the Ancients and Abyssal Scepter early.
Remember to stay flexible with your itemization. While Morgana tanks mages well innately and, thus, doesn't need to rush as much MR as other tanks would, if there is lots of magic damage going around, you may want to rush Abyssal Scepter, for example. If, on the other hand, there aren't any other mages on your team, pushing Will of the Ancients to the end or swapping it out entirely for Aegis of the Legion is a good idea.
Tank Morgana should be played roughly the same way as sustain Morgana in team fights, with the exception of being much more aggressive. Walk right up to the enemy carry and ult the enemy team when they collapse in to stop you. If they don't, Dark Binding and Tormented Soil on their carry should remind them that, even with low AP, Morgana is still a huge threat. After your ult ends, just keep supporting your team and attacking the enemy, but do it from the middle of the enemy team. It should be really easy to hit with Dark Binding when they are right next to you.