Cassiopeia Build Guide by Valkyrjan
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Standard Final Item
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.
Before starting on this guide, I strongly urge you to read League and Psychology by tapobu. Hopefully, it will shed a lot of light on why certain positions are taken in both this guide and the thousands of others that are out there. It will honestly change your entire outlook on the game, and it's surprisingly accurate.
I have always been a fan of Cass and between her free cycles, I could not get enough of her. Finally, I went ahead and bought her and never looked back. Somehow, I ended up with a method that worked every time, but I could not find the original people whose information got me to the point I am to today. After playing with this lovely lady many many times, I decided to go ahead and give back what I learned through playing her. She is incredibly bursty, on par with champions such as Syndra, Malzahar, and Annie.
Usually, very new summoners will search up guides, as I know I did when I first tried playing, and find themselves immersed in new vocabulary that flies right over their head sometimes. Hopefully, this section will clarify some of the LoL terms that can be of use! Included also are links to pages that can further explain each term.
Pros & Cons
While playing as Cass, one should know that her strengths and weaknesses are greatly different. Even knowing these when playing her can give anyone from Bronze to Platinum ways to understand how to both play her and counter her more efficiently.
||- Initially squishy|
||+ pokes and debuffs||
||- easily spammable|
||+ slows, strong CC||
||- requires position awareness|
||+ can be a game-changer||
||+ Excellent spell synergy||
||- No true escape mechanism|
||+ AoE slows||
||- Skillshot reliant|
||+ Excellent farm||
||- Mana-dependent early on|
||+ High kite flexibility||
||- Positioning is key|
||+ High range and movement speed||
||- Focused more|
||+ Lane dominant||
||- Not initially bursty|
||+ High damage||
||- Easy to push lanes|
||+ Great harasser||
||- Difficult to play|
||+ Strong throughout the game||
||- Her classic skin is kinda scary..|
Playing as Cassiopeia
Deadly Cadence Reduced mana costs for spells
Cassiopeia's passive essentially allows her to spam somewhat easier, especially in conjunction with Twin Fang. Reduced costs + low cooldown gives her an excellent burst to utterly annihilate pursuing champions.
Noxious Blast Gives movement speed if hits champion
Noxious Blast is Cass's main farming tool early game and a heart attack late game. Fully ranked, it deals 235 + 80% of her ability power and by hitting a champion, she gains movement speed and can use her Twin Fang now with no CD and reduced costs for an easy kill.
Miasma Slows and poisons chasing enemies
Miasma's range continuously grows and damages and slows those who pass through it. While mana costs are high in the beginning, it can be used as an escape throughout the game as not many champions want to go through her Miasma. If they do, it's fairly easy to turn around and spam your Twin Fang and Noxious Blast.
Twin Fang Damages enemies with low cooldown
Twin Fang is a key part of Cass's abilities, but not the main part. It's a combination of them as a whole. For fleeing enemies or extensive team fights, pair it up with Miasma and your team has the potential to walk away and progress objective-wise. She is capable of high damage with it, but the trick is to watch your mana early on, and know when to back off.
Petrifying Gaze High damage with stun/slow
Cassiopeia's ult, capable of deafening your ears and tickling your funny bone at the same time, can halt your enemies or prevent an onslaught while you and your team shred into them. Providing stuns/slows, it is definitely a must-have in all teamfights. However, it is also the ability of hers that you must take care with. Positioning is key. You are a squishy carry, after all!
For quintessences with Cassiopeia, she is slow early game, or at least until she gets her boots.(Where she puts them, I have no clue..) By taking movement speed quints, she gets an additional 4.5% movement speed that greatly benefits her. It is possible to alternative movement speed quints for AP quints if you want that extra early burst of +14.85 ability power.
The only runes you should ever consider for any APC are the marks of magic penetration. The early damage you get from them are irreplaceable and probably some of the most crucial runes any APC could use.
There is a wide dispute on whether Magic Resist glyphs are better than Mana Regen glyphs. If a mana item, such as a Tear of the Goddess or Chalice of Harmony, is taken early game, mana problems are essential eliminated. Of course, spamming Twin Fang can deplete you early on, I've personally found it more beneficial to take the magic resist glyphs.
I prefer taking Armour seals to Mana Regen seals, mostly because it will help you against ganks from the enemy jungler, auto attacks, and in team fights late game. Cass also benefits from these runes against AD mids, such as Talon or Jayce. If you know how to manage your mana well early on, then these runes are optimal for any level of play. However, if you are wanting the mana regen runes, I highly suggest taking scaling mana regen seals, as they catch up and exceed flats at level 4.
Masteries & Summoner Spells
Utility-Based Cassiopeia Masteries
Power-Based Cassiopeia Masteries
|Flash: Flash is indefinitely and unarguably the best spell for any AP mid, especially with those who don't have the best speed. Whether it's to escape over walls or zip over and strike down the enemy team, every champion has a use for this spell. It is a must on Cassiopeia, but there is one drawback: Never charge straight at the enemy to Flash and THEN perform . It's expected. Cassiopeia's positioning must be precise in combination with Flash and her .||Ignite: Ignite is another VERY usefull spell on Cass, whether it's toggling it so the enemy doesn't escape with that last little bit of health and claiming first blood, to picking out the stragglers of a team fight. Also performing this on enemy APC/ADCs gives them reduced healing, which in turn makes the Support's job harder.||Exhaust: Exhaust is the only other spell I would ever take on Cassiopeia, as it can help hold the enemy down, in case they have higher mobility or are trying to make a break for it, giving you enough time to finish the job.|
When building Cassiopeia's skill sequence, you have to take into account how her spells work together. Initially, I will put my first point in her Q, Noxious Blast, for farming early on. Then, the next 2 points, I put into Twin Fang because the enemy mid will engage and it gives you decent poke. For her 4th point, I put it in Miasma, which gives her an escape in case the jungler tries for an early gank, or if your opponent is highly aggressive or happens to have a gap-closer, such as Talon. It also assists in speeding up farming. However, you should be mindful to not waste it, as mana is direly precious early game. 5th point is going to go into Noxious Blast again for both the additional speed buff you gain, and to apply more heavy poke to your enemy. Per the usual, your 6th point is going to go into your ultimate, Petrifying Gaze.
For levels 7-11, I put my first two points into Twin Fang, and then the next set of two into Noxious Blast. The fifth point will go into your Petrifying Gaze. The reason why I put the two points into Twin Fang first, is to help defend yourself against enemy junglers and other lanes ganking. Team fights often start hashing out in the middle, so it's good to usein terms of escape or smaller scale shuffles. However, these four points should be arranged to play style, I believe.
I put the first point into Twin Fang to make it out, solely for damage-dealing purposes, and then quickly follow up with maxing out Noxious Blast. From there on out, points 14-15 and 17-18 are used for maxing Miasma. Point 16 goes into maxing out your Petrifying Gaze. The reason that I choose to delay maxing out Miasma is because the damage dealt is fairly low. Yes, the slow increases per point, but you also have your Noxious Blast's speed buff and a 15% slow from Miasma already, plus your ultimate.
|Tear of the Goddess works extremely well on Cassiopeia, enlarging her mana pool early on by 250. It also gives you 7 regen and with every spell, you get a further increase of 4 mana.|
|Chalice of Harmony doesn't offer the same mana pool Tear of the Goddess offers, but offers the same 7 regen and additionally gives a boost to regen for every 1% of mana missing.|
|Sorcerer's Shoes are some of the best shoes on Cass, especially with her Quintessence of Movement Speed. This eliminates the need for Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility, with a boost to magic penetration|
|Will of the Ancients gives Cassiopeia an early boost of 80 ability power and also gives you 20% spell vamp that also acts as an aura, benefiting those around her where SotSW cannot.|
|Spirit of the Spectral Wraith was an item I originally used on Cass before switching to Will of the Ancients and have had success with both. With a lower gold cost of 2000 instead of 2550, it gives a small amount of regen and CDR, along with the extra AP and spell vamp.|
|Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives an additional feel of tankiness to Cass, especially once your team has undergone several team fights and allow you to stay longer, plus the slow debuff!|
|Liandry's Torment is an excellent asset to Cassiopeia, especially with its passive. In combination with Twin Fang it will help bleed your enemy as your are spamming your abilities. Plus, you get a boost of AP and health as well.|
|Archangel's Staff will be the finishing item to your Tear of the Goddess. It will give you a total of +1000 mana and additional AP. See the first mana section on how to choose which one you should build.|
|Athene's Unholy Grail gives you heavy regen, but with your passive, you should be careful when taking this item. It will give you an additional 20% CDR and 15 magic resist.|
|Zhonya's Hourglass is my standard go-to item during most normal games. With the additional +120 AP, +50 armour, and few precious seconds of golden goodness, it can save you against AD enemies and from being bursted down.|
|Rabadon's Deathcap is very good if you aren't being focused as much and your bruisers are peeling very well. With the burst of an additional 120 AP plus 30% AP, your Twin Fang is extremely deadly.|
|Deathfire Grasp is an item that I would take in a very dominant game. It is not my first choice, but the additional health damage and AP make it very useful on Cass.|
|Banshee's Veil is a exceptional item on Cass, especially while laning against champions such as Veigar, LeBlanc, and Ahri. However, it will hurt you if you pick it up against Galio! Be mindful of your enemy!|
|Void Staff is an excellent go-to item for Cass, especially with it's +35% magic penetration and an additional 70 AP. If the enemy is building magic resist, I recommend fitting this into your build as it applied to your entire AP stat.|
Counters & Synergies
When Draft-Picking, whether for Ranked or Normals, it's somewhat easy to counter the enemy. This section is dedicated to giving a heads up for those Cassiopeia counters, is countered by, and works extremely well with! Cassiopeia is also one of four champions that utilize poison in League, which heavily increases her synergy with certain champions. For Cass, ▲ indicates that she has the highest synergy or the greatest counter to that particular champion. The ▼ means that these are her greatest counters. The explanation will offer more details.
|▲||Singed, when enemies run into his Poison Trail, it allows you use Twin Fang as if you had poisoned them yourself, thus giving you the .5 seconds CD on the ability. Additionally, your passive stacks with this as well, so it is literally a double-edged sword for the enemy team.|
|▲||Teemo, while generally considered annoying to most players, is another champion that Cass synergizes well with. His Toxic Shot poisons the enemy, leaving you to ravage the opposing champion. This works extremely well if you are able to roam up to top lane after zoning your own. His Noxious Trap, provided it doesn't kill the enemy first, does massive damage and poisons them,even if he isn't near by. By forcing enemies into his traps and your Twin Fangand Noxious Blast, it is a heavy blow to morale.|
|▲||Twitch is the fourth and final poison-using champion within League. As a carry, he is already (hopefully) packing some punch. His passive Deadly Venom poisons enemies via auto attacks, so if he lands those on enemy champions, feel free to swoop in and help them get the kill. Not only do you get the gold for the assist(s), but you also help feed your ADC and that summoner can carry the game. If your ADC also is lacking in kills and/or farm compared to the enemy ADC, they are limited late game.|
|Amumu works extremely well with Cassiopeia, as his Bandage Toss and Curse of the Sad Mummy both stun enemy champions, allowing Cassopeia to hit them with Noxious Blast initially, then simultaneously throwing down Miasma while Amumu jumps in and gently spamming your Twin Fang. You also have your ultimate to initiate with, giving you up to 5 seconds of risk-free kills.|
|▼||Veigar is just someone I would never put Cass up against. He destroys APCs by turning their own ability power against them, via Primordial Burst. If you can deny him last hit, it will reduce his Baleful Strike's effectiveness, as he doesn't get the additional 1 AP for each last hit. Ganking him early on can help you get a foothold against him, but over-extending almost means certain death.|
|▼||Galio is who I consider to be one of Cassiopeia's greatest counters. His passive by itselves, Runic Skin, absorbs magic resistance and it gives him AP. His Resolute Smite is his early farming too, but it can still hurt, especially late game. It in fact scales similarly to Noxious Blast. His W, Bulwark, gives him additional magic resistance and for every attack you throw at him while his shield is up, heals him. Yeah, HEALS HIM. Next think you know, you are out of mana and he's full health. That's no fun in itself. Righteous Gust can do quite a bit of damage and any enemy that passes through it will gain additional speed. If you see Galio prep or perform this, back up. The enemy jungler could be trying to close in. Idol of Durand, Galio's ult, can unfortunately destroy you if you are low health. Don't attack him during this, as it just offers more damage reflected back onto you when it finishes. Just get the heck out of dodge.|
|▼||Fizz is much like Talon where he can easily dispatch mid lane champions. He can gap-close with his Urchin Strike, so be prepared to throw down Miasma and then a Noxious Blast to either distract him or get behind a turret. Be mindful of his Playful / Trickster, as he can use it to dodge your ult or anything else you can throw at him. His ultimate, Chum the Waters, can be dodged, so once he hits level 6, watchout for it. Calling MIAs are essential on him, as he can swiftly bombard any lane and snag a kill. Cassiopeia scales better then Fizz in all aspects and is a terror herself late game,but you have to get there first.|
|LeBlanc is supposedly a counter to Cass, but I personally find her easy to play against. Regardless, one should take care around her. She is extremely mobile, so rushing health or mana items can be helpful. We weary of ganks and if you deny her kills, she MUST search elsewhere, so warding is essential. She may leave you in lane, but there's no downfall to forcing a 3v2 if she tries to help a line while one enemy beams back to base. Ganks will be your friend, but her Mirror Image can be tricky to deal with. Just keep on your toes!|
|Ahri is an extremely mobile enemy, but is killable pre-level 6. Once she gets her Spirit Rush, it intensifies even more, so beware. She is hard to play against, so stay behind your minions so her Charm snags them, not you. Save your Petrifying Gaze for when you absolutely need it most, and call your MIAs on her.|
|Talon is one of those champions where the seals of armour really come into play. He dominates against AP champions, so play very cautious and if you are low, just beam back to base. Any kills he gets are just one more step away from victory. Ganks are effective against him, but be wary of his own jungler. He can harass, so starting with a few Health Potions are good. If he uses his Rake, smack him with your Noxious Blast to counter the slow and get away. His E, Cutthroat, can gap-close you in a heartbeat. Once he hits level 6, pick up a Vision Ward to counter his ultimate, Shadow Assault.|
|Katarina, dearest sister to our little Cassiopeia, is somewhat of a middle-easy match-up. With careful positioning, it should be a fairly quick kill pre-level 6. While she has the ability to dodge your Petrifying Gaze with Shunpo and higher base speed, I would save it for when she attempts to perform her Death Lotus. This will instantly cripple her, whether against you or in a team fight, turning the tide of the game. Taking Exhaust or Teleport would be beneficial against her, but make sure to call out your MIAs!|
|Anivia is fairly simple to play against, provided you can dodge your Flash Frost and remember to kill the egg she leaves behind. Denying farm and poking are the best ways to deal with her early, as it's best for her to sit back and passively farm. Stealing her blue buff can render her ineffective.|
|Swain is easily dealt with pre-level 6, and just like Anivia, if you can steal his blue, he's useless without any mana supply. It is also very easy to out-sustain him, especially with excellent mana control. Ganking is the preferred way of dealing with him post-level 6, just in case he gets the upper hand. His Nevermove will snare you, so be sure to dodge and just keep farming. Denying him farm will also give you the further advantage over him.|
|Karthus is continuously a walking target for Cassiopeia throughout the game. By dodging his Lay Waste, killing him a few times before team fights start will make him hurt, but beware of enemy junglers trying to gank. Watch out for his Wall of Pain if you overextend, but ward, ward, ward! Once you have killed him, back away from his Death Defied.|
|Mordekaiser should be very afraid if he has a Cassiopeia countering him. She is one of his natural counters and thus, if you play it right, can absolutely dominate the lane. Watch your Miasma and use it to escape if need be. If he kills you while you are affected by Children of the Grave, he can control you and that's not really fair. Keep a fair distance from your minions and only come in to last hit. Once he reaches level 6, be even more aware of enemy ganks, and unless you are comfortable with Cass, don't attempt to 1v1 him right off the bat.|
Laning Phase & Post-Laning
The Laning Phase is general 10-20 minutes long, and ends once a few of the outer turrets come down. Champions are starting to build items, rack up kills, and begin focusing on neutral objectives. There are a few key things to focus on yourself, as Cassiopeia:
- Focus on farming, deny where you can.
- Poke where you can, but continue farming
- Even if you happen to die, try and match your lane opponents' farm.
- Watch the enemy jungler's level and make sure you have wards out when he/she hits level 5-6.
- Try and zone your enemy out of lane with Miasma and Noxious Blast, and roam when you can. Every bit helps!
Come Mid-Game, we enter the Post-Laning Phase, the largest portion of the game. Ganks should be taking place and you should hopefully have a few kills under your belt. Team fights will start to break out, but it's not quite 5v5.
- Always keep Dragon and Baron Nashor warded. Your Support will appreciate it!
- Controlling Dragon is critical. Take it when you can.
- Watch for lane changes.
- Crest of the Ancient Golem buff is essentially a must-have on Cassiopeia, so make sure to snag one with the help of a jungler, whether it be your own or stealing the enemy's.
If the game extends to Late Game, it nearly always comes down to objective control and team fights.
- Always try and keep Baron Nashor and Dragon warded.
- If you think they might try and gank you, back up.
- Try to not stay away from the group, or take someone with you.
- Let your bruisers peel while you take down the squishes!
If something doesn't feel right, back up.
I cannot stress that enough for Cassiopeia. Over-extending can result in death, or having to give up farm, and could possibly help the enemy take Dragon , buffs, or even Baron Nashor late-game. She is an APC and will be targeted for the massive amounts of damage she carries. Positioning is key for her, so stay behind your bruisers and tanks, because you are still a squishy!
Because Cassiopeia's abilities synergize very well with each other, she has a consistent burst throughout the entire game. Note that on the second combo,the one you will mostly use for team fights, won't always include Cass's ultimate, Petrifying Gaze, because of cool down purposes.
I was a little hesitant about originally publishing this build, but it has served me well since I started with Cass. One that that further pushed me into doing it, was not being able to find the build that I originally used. It still kind of sucks, but I do hope others are able to find the information I have presented both insightful and a joy to read. Cass has quickly become one of my favourite champions and I personally believe she is highly underplayed.
Please take into consideration that I will be constantly updating this guide, whether based on finding an item that assists Cass even more, or by suggestions. It will always be changing! If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, I will be happy to address them or explain my reasoning. I am definitely open to criticism of any sort, and it would be appreciated! I hope those of you who test this out find it exciting and have even more success with it than I have! :D
Changelog & Credits
I'm a newblet when it comes to formatting things on MOBAFire, so props to jhoijhoi's Making A Guide and Hawkken's BBCode Codex, because MOBAFire's Elements and Planner style is completely foreign to me. I found IceCreamy's How To Use Columns and Astrolia's Column Guide post both enlightening as well. Why can't it be HTML? BBCode is the worst evar~