Build Guide by Neopolis
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.
"Pip pip, Cheerio!"
Cho'gath is an amazing champion. He's my most played champion in Ranked, and I've got a win rate of about 75% with him. He has a cool concept, an interesting array of abilities, and a pretty awesome skin, too.
I was disappointed to find that, upon checking Mobafire, the top builds were all tank builds. While Cho'gath is a decent tank, a lot of his true potential is wasted this way. He has amazing AP ratios. With proper building, he can nuke like a mage, but still be incredibly tough to take down. How, you ask? Well, that's what I wrote this guide for. Want to be as bulky as Malphite while nuking as hard as Veigar? Here's how.
Pros / Cons
- Huge burst damage
- Hard to take down
- Capable of protecting squishies
- Excellent CC
- Ridiculous laning power
- Good farmer
- No cooldown reduction
- Can be kited
- Not as bulky as tank Cho, obviously
Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 34 - 68 health (+2.5 each level) and 7 - 15.5 mana (+0.5 each level).
This is a great passive for laning. You get health and mana for every unit you kill. Since you're capable of racking up loads of unit kills, this means you'll be able to stay in lane very long. If you can use Rupture to kill several units at once, do it.
Ruptures the ground at target location, popping enemy units into the air, dealing damage and slowing them. Ruptures the ground at target location. After 0.75 seconds, enemies are launched into the air for 1 second, dealt 80/135/190/245/305 (+1) magic damage, and have their movement speed slowed by 60% for 3 seconds.
Cost: 90, Range: 950, Cooldown: 9
This is a very powerful skill. It has 1:1 ap scaling, meaning for every point of AP you have, it does 1 extra point of damage. As if that wasn't awesome enough, it also gives enemies a 1 second stun and a 3 second slow. Now before you QQ OP, the downside is that there's a 0.75 second delay, meaning it can be dodged.
W: Feral Scream
Cho'Gath unleashes a terrible scream at enemies in a cone, dealing magic damage and Silencing enemies for a few seconds. Cho'Gath screams in a cone in front of him, silencing enemies for 2/2.5/3/3.5/4 second(s) and causing 80/130/180/240/300 (+0.7) magic damage.
Cost: 70/80/90/100/110, Range: 300, Cooldown: 13
Another powerful nuke with good AP scaling. De silence lasts a total of 4 (!) seconds at level 5. Casters will run when they see you coming: 4 seconds is more than enough for Cho to finish them.
E: Vorpal Spikes
Cho'gath's attacks passively release deadly spikes, dealing damage to all enemy units in front of him. Toggle: Cho'gath's physical attacks launch spikes which deal 20/30/40/50/60 (+0.2) magic damage to a line in front of him.
Range: 150, Cooldown: 0.5
While often mockingly referred to as "Bad Spikes", this skill is nowhere near useless. As you can see, I put a rank into this at level 2. Admittedly this is situational. If you want to get an early kill, or you need to shut up some annoying spellcaster, take Feral Scream first. If you just want to farm like a boss, put a rank into this. It'll help your farming and pushing abilities greatly.
NOTE: Turn this ability off when pushing towers with an enemy champion nearby! If the spikes hit the champion behind the tower, the tower will target you!
Devours an enemy unit, dealing a high amount of damage that ignores magic resist. If the target is killed, Cho'Gath grows, gaining maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to half stacks upon death. Deals 300/550/800 (+0.5) true damage to target champion, or 1000 true damage to target minion (ignores resists). If the target is killed by Feast, Cho'Gath grows, gaining 90/120/150 maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to 3 stacks upon death.
Cost: 100, Range: 100, Cooldown: 60
This is it. This is the reason you're known as "The Terror of the Void". This is what makes you so incredibly bulky. This is the reason squishies will wet themselves when you approach. This is why anyone stepping in your Rupture is already as good as dead. This is Feast.
I absolutely love this move. It deals true damage, meaning that Galio who's been stacking MR will be taking just as much damage as the 1200 AP Veigar. It also allows you to grab jungle creeps easily. But let's not overlook the bonus HP! You always want to have 6 stacks of this. Unless you're fairly sure you can use it to get a kill within the next minute, use it on a creep.
This is the rune build I've decided to use...
9 x Greater Seal of Insight - Unless the enemy team is very low on CC, you probably shouldn't get Sorcerer's Boots, so these runes will be your source of Mpen. Pretty much a given for a caster build.
9 x Greater Mark of Clarity - Scaling mana regen. Some prefer flat mana regen, as Cho can be somewhat mana-hungry early game, but through Vorpal Spikes and your passive, that problem can be averted.
9 x Greater Glyph of Force - Scaling AP to help your ability power for lategame. Speaks for itself. May be exchanged for flat AP glyphs if you want a stronger early-game.
3 x Greater Quintessence of Potency - This and Doran's Ring will give you a very powerful early-game.
Standard 9/0/21 caster masteries! While the tankiness of this build might make people want to put points in Defense, the Magic Penetration mastery is just too good to pass up. Short elaboration....
Archmage's Savvy 3/3 - Some bonus AP. It's like a free rune!
Deadliness 1/3 - A fairly worthless talent, but it's better than improving two summoner spells you don't have.
Sorcery 4/4 - A bit of cooldown reduction is a very good thing, as this build doesn't really give you any CDR items.
Archaic Knowledge 1/1 - And this is the reason we're going into offense: 15% magic penetration. It's not much against people with no added MR, but once people start getting Banshee's Veil, this will really be a huge advantage.
Perseverence 3/3 - Health regen, mana regen, what's not to like?
Spatial Accuracy 1/1 - Improves Teleport. If you're not taking teleport, put 1 rank in Good Hands to cut a whopping 2 seconds off your respawn time.
Awareness 4/4 - Very powerful mastery. I don't even need to explain this, faster leveling is good.
Meditation 3/3 - More mana regen! This will help your early-game.
Utility Mastery 2/2 - Golem buff is very powerful on you, and you want it to last!
Quickness 3/3 - For chasing down that damn Ashe that keeps slowing you.
Blink of an Eye 1/1 - For blinking up to and eating that damn Ashe that keeps slowing you. Replace with a rank of Expanded Mind if you don't have Flash.
Intelligence 3/3 - Moooore cooldown reduction!
Presence of the Master 1/1 - More Teleport, more Flash. Pretty awesome mastery.
There's plenty of possibilities. I usually run Teleport/Flash, but let's look at our options.
Teleport is my favourite spell on Cho'gath. It'll maximize your lane time, allow you to save towers, stop backdoorers, and quickly return to the battlefield to save your teammates.
So, you have an ultimate that requires you to get close. Why not support it with a summoner spell that allows you to get close easily? It can also be used to escape, should things start to look bad.
Used for the same things as Flash. Initiating and running away. Which one you prefer is up to you.
While getting a Quicksilver Sash solves CC problems better, Cleanse might be handy if you're having trouble with CC.
If no one else has it, you could take Fortify. It'll discourage tower diving, give you some bonus damage to minions, and allow you to hold your lane even longer. Still, not an ideal choice.
As I said before, you shouldn't have any mana troubles with Cho'gath. If you find yourself having trouble with mana anyway, or if you can't afford mp5 runes, Clarity is a viable option.
Exhaust will allow you to chase down runners, or prevent you from being chased down. I generally find Ghost and Flash to be more useful for this purpose.
Then there's Ignite if you want to get lots of kills, Smite if you want to jungle, (But you should probably look at another build for that) Heal or Revive if you're dying a lot, and Rally if... well, there's really no reason to get Rally. Buff that spell already, Riot.
Up until now, everything's been fairly standard, but here's the interesting part... Items!
You're starting off with a Doran's Ring. It's got everything Cho needs in his early-game. It helps his mana problems, give him some extra durability, and lets him hit harder. This means you'll start with no healing potions, but with your passive, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
If you insist on getting some potions, other options for starting items include Amplifying Tome, Boots of Speed, Null-Magic Mantle and Sapphire Crystal.
I don't think I should explain this. Get some boots on your first trip back, before you start building your first REAL item.
OMG WHERE'S THE ROD OF AGES?!
There's no Rod of Ages in this build. While most caster and even tank builds have a Rod of Ages on Cho, I much prefer getting Rylai's Crystal Scepter instead. Let's compare the two for a second!
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
+80 ability power
Slow on hit
Rod of Ages
+450 (630) health
+60 (80) ability power
+525 (725) mana
While Rod of Ages will leave you with more health and a whole lot of bonus mana after 10 minutes, I still feel Rylai's Crystal Scepter is better. While 700 mana may seem alluring, lategame Cho shouldn't have any mana problems. You can get free mana by taking down minion waves, your runes will start kicking in, and if that's still not enough, you can get the Ancient Golem buff. Since Rod of Ages is mostly a lategame item, the extra mana won't be very important. Unless you have mana problems, get Rylai's instead.
So why is the slow so important? Don't you already have a slow? Yes, Cho'gath has a powerful slow on his Rupture. But since his most powerful ability has very short range, it's essential that people do not get away from you. Keep in mind that the slow also effects Vorpal Spikes, essentially giving you a Frozen Mallet with AoE for free.
Mercury's Treads. Gives you some MR, helps you get out of snares quickly, this is what you'll get most of the time. If you're facing a team of Ezreal, Corki, Gangplank, Mordekaiser and Tristana, or something similarly low on CC, you can get Sorcerer's Boots or Boots of Ludicity instead.
Now everything after this is situational. Rylai's is the only item I always get, the rest depends on your team and the enemy team. Still, most of the time you want to get a Deathcap right about now.
Your midgame is stupidly powerful. If you just leveled up Feast, it can take more than half of a squishy's HP. That means you want to rush some AP. This, your runes, Doran's Ring and Rylai's, should give you over 400 AP. This means 200 bonus damage on your Feast. Nom nom nom.
What's that? Having trouble surviving? Best get a Banshee's Veil first!
What a lovely item this is. In addition to giving you health and mana, it'll also block spells for you. Get this if you want to make Karthus cry.
If the enemy team has a lot of physical damage, get this instead of Deathcap. It'll give you a decent amount of armor, allowing you to take more hits. The active isn't that great for you, but it can save your life sometimes. If the enemy team has a balanced mix of magic and physical damage, you can get this after Deathcap and Banshee's Veil.
There's plenty more items that are valuable on Cho-bro. Let's look at a few others!
Ability power, magic resistance, and a magic penetration aura, too! Abyssal Scepter is excellent for Cho'gath, especially when facing magic-heavy teams. This is a nice midway between Rabadon's Deathcap and Banshee's Veil, so you can get it after Rylai's.
Mejai's Soulstealer can help you end games quickly. If you quickly realize that your enemy team is awful, and you're probably going to end this game 14/0/8, get this as your first item. Don't get this too often though. If you're doing poorly, it'll be a waste of money.
Behold, the most underrated item in the game! In addition to giving a nice chunk of magic resistance, Quicksilver Sash will clear any buff from you. Not just CC, anything. Zilean's annoying timebombs, Vlad's ultimate, Ignite, just about anything. Be sure to get this if the enemy team has Malzahar, so you can escape from his ultimate.
Grass grows, birds fly, and brother, Cho'gath eats people. Force of Nature will give you movement speed, magic resistance, and lots of health regeneration. A lovely anti caster item with the added bonus of making it easier for you to close in on people.
You can get Haunting Guise quickly ifyou want some cheap health, ability power, and magic penetration. It'll give you a very powerful early-game, but it's not all that good in the long run.
I've talked enough about magic resistance, time for some armor items. A Frozen Heart will give you huge chunks of armor, and give you some CDR. This is particularly useful if you're dying a lot, as it'll let you Feast more often. It won't take as long to reach 6 stacks of Feast again.
Thornmail, the bane of all auto-attackers. If the enemy has a lot of auto-attackers (Yi, Tryndamere, Tristana, Ashe), get this item.
This'll give you a little bit of every defensive stat, as well as a passive that revives you after death. I'll be honest, I rarely get this item, but some people seem to have good experiences with it, so it gets an honorable mention in this list.
Lich Bane, while no doubt powerful, is overshadowed by Deathcap. It's a good item for Cho'gath, who will be in melee range most of the time, but you'll rarely be able to get this. Still a viable choice for long games.
Look closely at your team composition and at the enemy's. Do you have a jungler? Do they have a jungler? If your team has a jungler, but they do not, you are very much capable of holding the 1v2 lane, and still getting lots of unit kills. Since you have powerful single target damage, you can even get hero kills in a 1v2 lane, since an overleveled Feast is very powerful. If there is no 1v2 lane, you should always pass the solo lane to a hard carry. Don't take mid from Ashe, even though you're very much capable of holding the lane. If they need someone to take a solo lane, go ahead, but otherwise, go 2v2.
Are you in a 2v2 or 2v1 lane? Consider getting First Blood. If you have a teammate with powerful CC or burst damage (Ignite and Exhaust are bonuses!) you might be able to get a pre-game kill. Rupture is quite powerful at level 1.
After minions have spawned, waddle around your lane, using Rupture for harrassment and for pushing. Last-hit units if you get the chance. If not, you'll have to use your abilities to get unit kills, which is entirely possible due to your passive. Take care you don't push too hard, or you'll open yourself up to jungle ganks.
If a champion gets caught in rupture, walk up to him and Feral Scream if you get the chance. This will take a good chunk of health, and might scare them into staying back, thus giving you more precious unit kills.
You got your ult! Congratulations! Now you can grow big! If you're in a 1v2 lane, you could go for a kill. Combo Rupture with Feral Scream and Feast, and that should be enough to kill the enemy, who should probably be level 4. If you want to be more cautious, feast on some minions until you're big enough.
At this point, people will start wandering. Cho'gath is not a great ganker. If people stand in his rupture, he'll probably get the kill... But if people see Cho'gath coming from the brush, they'll probably run, making it hard to lock Rupture. You'll probably want to stay in your lane. If your lane is empty, this is your chance to push. You can push incredibly hard with your AoE abilities, so make sure to punish them. You could also decide to get Golem buff.
If another lane is struggling, Teleport in and scare everyone away. If you see a teamfight about to break out, get over there and Feast their squishy. If they aren't running away yet, be disruptive with Rupture and Feral Scream, auto-attacking them in between cooldowns.
At this point, people have stopped laning entirely, and everyone is probably mid. From now on, there'll be little ganking, mostly team fights. Unless your team has a very good initiator such as Amumu or Malphite, you can initiate teamfights. Try to poke the enemy with Rupture. Anyone stands on it? Feral Scream, Feast, an enemy has been slain. Now that it's 5v4, your team will likely follow behind you, giving you an advantage in this team fight.
If you aren't the one to initiate, run in and pick out your target. Your favourite targets are squishy damage dealers, such as Ashe. Feral Scream as many people as you can, preferably hitting any nukers, before rupturing your target. They can either dodge (meaning they'll waste time not attacking) or stand in it. If they were hit by Rupture, this is your chance to Feast them. While it might not kill them, it'll certainly tear down a good chunk of their health. At this point they'll either run or be finished off by your team. Without that powerful damage dealer, their team will be at a severe disadvantage.
If you're doing Baron, (make sure to ward the area!) save Feast for the last 1000 hp. This will prevent the enemy from stealing the kill, and greatly speed up your progress. This also goes for Dragon, obviously.
If you're backdooring a turret, you should probably be the one to tank it. You have lots of HP, and even if champions come to stop you, you can probably escape with the Rylai's slow and Rupture.
Use your huge model to hide your carries. Stand in front of them so the enemy will have trouble targetting them. It's a dirty trick, but it works!
While Cho'gath functions well in a solo lane, there are some champions he'll gladly lane with.
Janna can shield you, blow enemies away from you or towards you, and her typhoon synergizes nicely with your Rupture. Also, passive movement speed!
Soraka means you'll never have to go out of lane. She'll keep up your mana and your health. Consider her a mobile potion dispenser, because it's all she can do. Still quite useful.
Nunu speeds you up and slows the enemies, ensuring that nobody escapes your jaws.
Blitzcrank and Cho'gath are a deadly combination. With no less than 5 (!) CC's, it won't be easy to get close. Enemies that are Ruptured can be easily targeted by Rocket Grab. Say it with me: THE TIME OF MAN HAS COME TO AN END.
Sion,Taric,Amumu andPantheon all have powerful ranged stuns that allow you to initiate your combo of death.
Much more important than your lane partners, however, are your enemies... The following champions check underneath their beds for Cho'gath every night.
Akali is feared as a squishy-killer. Cho'gath is feared as an Akali-killer. Her burst damage isn't enough to take Cho'gath down easily, and Rupture ensures she can't stay close. If she hides in her Shroud, cast Rupture and Feral Scream on it to do her some damage.
Tryndamere can be hard to kill due to his ultimate... But Feast does so much damage, will he have time to activate it? Not many Tryndamere players will use Undying Rage while their health is around 40%. Feast decisively, and you might be able to kill him before he has time to click!
Heimerdinger is annoying until level 6. After that, however, you can eat his turrets. Bon appetit!
Veigar,LeBlanc andRyze are both powerful mages that melt squishies in one combo. There are two reasons why Cho'gath isn't affected by this. A: He's not squishy and B: They have to stand still while performing their combo. Target them with Rupture, and they'll either have to move and abandon their combo, or be hit and promptly eaten. Just make sure you stay out of Veigars stun.
Warwick,Irelia,Master Yi and other champions that often survive through lifesteal. Now, obviously, they can't steal any life when they're dead. Huge burst damage will take them down a notch, so unleash your combo on them, eat them alive, and watch them QQ in all chat.
Vladimir,Fiddlesticks andSwain also rely on lifesteal to survive, albeit the magical kind. Feral Scream prevents them from escaping, while Feast puts a damper on their healing.
However, even Cho'gath has enemies he'd rather not lane against...
Kog'maw, your fellow void creature and arch-nemesis. His ultimate allows him to harrass you from a distance, and Bio-Arcane Barrage can take out much of your precious HP. Handle with care.
Lux has very long-ranged spells, meaning she can hinder your farming without being at risk, herself. If she tries to proc her passive, however, you might be able to make her pay.
Teemo is a very annoying rodent. His Toxic Shot makes it hard to get close, and his Move Quickly means he can probably outrun you. His mushrooms are annoying, consider getting Oracles. Incidentally, you can use Feast on his mushrooms. Delicious.
Maokai has a powerful laning phase. His saplings can be rather annoying. If you're laning against Maokai, buy and upgrade your boots quickly so you can dodge his bombs.
Malzahar's Void Pool does damage in percentages. He might not be able to take you out from full health like he does with squishies, but if you've taken some damage, he's going to do some serious damage on you. Consider buying a Quicksilver Sash.
So that's Cho'gath, the tanky mage! I think I've pretty much said everything that needed to be said already. It's an excellent build for people who like to do burst damage, but who don't want to be glass cannons. Considering the fact that glass cannons are pretty popular and that this build counters glass cannons, bulky AP Cho'gath can work quite well.
All used images courtesy of Riot Games
Guide written by Neopolis (EU)