Not Updated For Current Season
Hello everyone and welcome to my first and probably only guide for Season 6!
Before I move on to the guide I would like to clear out a few things:
- I used to be decent at bbcoding. However, more than one year has passed since the last time I coded something and right now I do not have the time to relearn everything. That being said, I will use some basic coding throughout the guide but there are probably going to be some walls of text too.
- This is supposed to be a Kog'Maw guide, not a generic marksman one. This means that I won't be including a lot of generic information on marksman gameplay, item builds etc. If you are not familiar with the ADC role, then I highly recommend reading another guide first that covers universal marksman play and then coming back here.
- No matchups. I used to analyze matchups in my previous guides but I came to the realization that while there are indeed some specific tips, tricks, and play alterations against certain champions, in most cases you end up doing the usual stuff. Should you have any questions about dealing with a certain champion, don't hesitate to ask in the comments and I'll make sure to explain everything. Note, though, that the presence of supports on bot lane influences the outcome of the laning phase a lot.
Now that those things have been clarified, let's move on to the more important parts!
1.1 Summoner Spells
Flash is mandatory on a champion with no built-in escape or gap closer such as Kog'Maw. It allows you to escape from ganks, reposition yourself in fights, dodge skillshots, chase and kite. Heal is the best secondary summoner spell for bot lane because it heals both you and your support which is crucial in fights and the MS boost is useful when being ganked. I'd never replace these two with anything else. Some may claim that Barrier or Exhaust, for instance, could be used in some cases but, honestly, they're just really suboptimal.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
I am pretty much running the universal ADC rune page.
AD Marks allow you to last hit with more ease and trade more efficiently. They outclass every other offensive stat such as AS or ArPen on marksmen.
The damage you take on bot comes primarily from the opposing ADC and is physical. Thus Armor Seals are more effective than Flat HP ones, which are preferred versus magic damage. They enhance your durability in trades and fights.
I like to run AS Glyphs instead of MR ones because of how AA reliant Kog'Maw is. These boost your damage by a lot and outclass MR glyphs in trades and fights when playing against a duo with mediocre or low magic damage. MR Glyphs are also viable. In fact, they're essential versus bot lanes with high magic damage such Corki+ Sona.
It has been proven that AS Quints are superior to AD ones on ADCs due to higher stat efficiency. On champions such as Kog'Maw, who rely heavily on AA, they also bring more damage to the table in all stages of the game.
Fervor of Battle is a beast on Kog'Maw and by mid game you will be able to proc it really easily thanks to your insane range and your high AS. You generally opt for masteries that will boost your physical attacks. Vampirism and Feast offer much needed early game sustain. The only talking point in the Ferocity tree is splitting the penetration. As Kog'Maw you deal mixed damage so this is a really legitimate thing to do. Since you dish out slightly more magic damage, I believe that taking 3 points in Piercing Thoughts outclasses 3 points in Battering Blows .
The Cunning tree is the best filler for the rest 12 points mainly because of how much of an impact Merciless and Dangerous Game can have. If you feel like you're too squishy early on then you can also run 18/0/12 masteries.
|Superficially, you don't want to die at all. But getting rewarded with a kill or assist after an unsuccessful tradeoff is fine. This can also force some Flashes and Heals and you can also use it to prevent enemies from chasing down your allies since they will take a considerable amount of damage. Just make sure to stick to them after you die.|
|The offensive use of this spell is really straightforward. Damage, waveclear, keep enemies in range. What's more important and not so obvious is utilizing this ability defensively. It is most effective when not having been reached by the enemies already. For example, if you notice an opponent is trying to reach you or a teammate throw Void Ooze at them. The slow makes it impossible for him to get to you and simultaneously he becomes vulnerable to kiting and ranged attacks. If you're already in an enemy's attack range, you should turn your back to him and throw your E in your own escape route to make the most out of the slow's form and duration.|
2.2 Skill Sequence
Since the AS passive from Caustic Spittle moved to Bio-Arcane Barrage you don't want to put any point in your Q until you actually have to, at level 13. This is generally the time when you will start confronting tanky opponents anyways. If you're facing a really tanky team then you can put one point in your q earlier, though. E is superior to Q in every stage of the game due to it's multiple uses.
Max your W because it's your cornerstone ability.
Put a point in your ultimate whenever possible.
3.1 Starting Items and Cull
|Doran's Blade, 1 Health Potion is the standard way to start for every marksman. While Cull and Long Sword starts do offer more effective HP, they provide you with less overall combat stats and most importantly they do NOT offer any source of tankiness. As a consequence, you're really susceptible to all ins and much easier to get zoned.|
|Although Cull is not a suitable starting item, that does not mean that you should not buy it at all. In fact, as an item it serves a very specific purpose. If you are forced out of lane early and cannot complete Recurve Bow, then you ought to buy Cull over Dagger or Null-Magic Mantle. The base stats help you with laning and you earn slightly more gold by buying it, completing the passive and then selling it than you initially would have.|
3.2 First Item Rush and Core
Until recently people have been rushing Guinsoo's Rageblade on Kog'Maw. Guinsoo's is indeed a great item: Kog'Maw makes use of all the stats and thus gains a huge powerspike by purchasing it. In a way, it's more or less like the old Trinity Force. However, there are two issues.
- First of all, what makes this item stand out and what Kog'Maw benefits from the most is the passives, not the base stats, which means that you will not gain the much needed powerspike until you have actually paid the whole recipe price. The item components don't offer much on their own.
- Secondly(and in strong association with the first issue), the item is very expensive and even the recipe price is quite high. As a consequence your powerspike will be delayed.
The new Wit's End rush trend solves these issues. Now, Wit's End's true power just like with Guinsoo's lies in its passives. However, it's far more inexpensive and easier to complete. While you won't be as strong as with Guinsoo's Rageblade, you will reach your powerspike faster and be still powerful enough for any mid-game encounters.
All in all, the Wit's End rush in the great majority of cases. Honestly, I would only go for Guinsoo's Rageblade if I am able to complete it on my second back(having bought Recurve Bow in the first one).
|No matter what you ended up rushing you should now build into Runaan's Hurricane. This item has some niches that fit perfectly with Kog'Maw's kit. The width of the arrows scales with AA range and you do reach insane amounts of range with your W making it really easy to hit multiple targets. The bolts also apply on-hit effects and thus your AoE damage skyrockets. With Runaan's Kog'Maw is much more of a factor in teamfights and can clear waves much faster. Berserker's Greaves are the most cost efficient attack speed item in the game right now. Because of this you want to build them immediately after you complete your first main item. If you think that you need the AoE from Runaan's, though, then you can sacrifice the instant single target damage for the sake of it and upgrade your boots later.|
3.3 Breaking down the Situational Items
3.4 Damage Items
|Obviously, choose the item you did not rush and build it. Guinsoo's Rageblade offers really high damage against all targets and even at this point it gives you a great powerspike. Wit's End provides you with a considerable damage increase as well and with some durability against mages.|
|Blade of the Ruined King excels versus bruisers and tanks due to the % current HP damage. It also helps you with kiting thanks to the active, while the lifesteal adds a respectable amount of healing. You should not be in BotRK's active range and only use it along with Void Ooze to kite if an enemy jumps on your face.|
The order in which you will build these two items depends on the circumstances of each individual game. Buy Blade of the Ruined King first against tanky teams and/or bruisers who try to reach you in your team's backline( e.g. Udyr, Warwick). If you need raw damage build Wit's End or Guinsoo's Rageblade.
3.5 Defensive Items
Unless incredibly ahead you should always have a defensive item in your inventory. You don't necessarily have to purchase them as your final item. If needed you should prioritize defense over damage after your core build is completed.
Maw of Malmortius and Mercurial Scimitar serve the exact same purpose as HD and QSS, only they provide some stronger base stats along with the crucial passive/active. Purchase Banshee's Veil is a universally strong defensive items as the shield allows gives you room for one positional error. Smart teams, however, will try to trigger the shield first and then use their important spells only when it is down. Guardian Angel and Sterak's Gage both serve the same purpose: saving you from assassins with little counterplay such as Rengar, Talon or Zed. GA is stronger right now since it guarantees that you are going to live even if they manage to "take you down". However, it is quite unreliable in solo queue because of how teamwork reliant its passive is.
Unless you're facing a bot lane with hard poke(i.e. Karma+ Caitlyn, you should push the first minion wave in order to gain level advantage. Reaching level 2 before your opponent translates into an ability advantage. Kog'Maw does not exactly have a level 2 cheese but Void Ooze along with 2-3 auto attacks empowered with your W should do the job. You should start preparing for this already before hitting level 2 and take a position where you are not that likely to take much minion agro. If you are confronted with one of these hard poke lanes, then you'll want them to push so that you can farm safely near/under your turret.
Kog'Maw's laning phase is pretty weak until level 4-5 when he gets 2-3 points on Bio-Arcane Barrage. Until then you should prioritize farming at the max of your base range. This will make it harder for opponents to harass and you and they will take more damage from your own creeps. Should you get zoned, try to farm and push with Bio-Arcane Barrage and Void Ooze. This way you will still get some gold and break the enemy's lane freeze. Keep in mind, that even after reaching the point in the game when you start to have a stronger lane presence, there is a remarkable decrease in your kill potential when W is on cooldown. Opponents will try to play around Bio-Arcane Barrage's cooldown and attempt to trade with you when it's off so that you won't be able to return the damage. So use it wisely and make sure to cause some substantial lane pressure whenever you activate it.
Kog'Maw excels at extended trades, where he can land multiple attacks with his W. In a brief tradeoff of 1-2 AAs and a spell you will lose to any marksman. For that reason he synergizes particularly well with supports that can force extended trades such as Braum and Thresh or those who can protect you while you're forcing these trades yourself. Some examples are Janna, Lulu and Morgana.
That does not mean, of course, that you should opt exclusively for prolonged trades but when you are going for a short trade you must guarantee you're going to win. The most common way to achieve this is attacking the enemy carry when he is about to last hit a creep. If he tries to trade back he will lose gold, otherwise he will lose the trade. Since Kog'Maw's base range is relatively low you should ensure that you're not going to take damage from the enemy support and much minion agro in the process.
At level 6 you get a powerspike and you finally have some pure kill potential on the enemy thanks to Living Artillery's excecutional strength. This is a good time to actually try to force an all in 2vs2 fight with your support, given that you're not in huge disadvantage. If the enemy duo attempts to initiate first, avoid the hard CC and the first damaging spells by flashing away and fight back with W.
The most crucial factor when teamfighting as a marksman is positioning. Ideally, you want to maintain a position in your team's backline, where you're almost impossible to reach yet you can easily attack the enemies. Move between attacks to become less susceptible to skillshots and engages and focus the most threatening to you target.
Kog'Maw's DPS is heavily dependant on Bio-Arcane Barrage and the on-hit effects. You really want to make the most out of both so that you can dish out the highest amounts of damage possible. You do understand that keeping up as many stacks as possible for as long as possible is crucial. If you've managed to maintain the stacks from Guinsoo's Rageblade, Wit's End, Fervor of Battle etc., then you should activate your W right away. If not auto attacking 3-4 times without your W to gain these stacks, and then going into Bio-Arcane Barrage mode brings more damage to the table. However, given your squishy and immobile nature, attacking from just 500 range is really risky. You do not utilize the range advantage either. It's really up to you to decide whether you're going to try to pull this off or not. Personally, I only go for this when there already is an opponent within 500 units. Trying to reach someone like that is incredibly dangerous.
The other key point is the use of Void Ooze. Are you going to use it along with Blade of the Ruined King to kite a bruiser, who's trying to reach you? Are you going to keep it until the very end in order to escape/chase the opponents? Or are you going to throw it in the middle of the fight to limit the enemy team's actions? Making the right decision depends only on the very specific circumstances in each particular fight.
Living Artillery should be utilized exclusively on low hp targets, that you can't reach with AAs and ideally once your W has expired. It's incredible for clearing out fights.
4.3 When to pick Kog'Maw
You really want to avoid picking Kog'Maw against team compositions with multiple gap closers, hard CC and high damage. For instance, a team consisting of LeBlanc mid, Vi jungle and Leona support can put you into great trouble, if your teams does not compensate for it by picking champions with enough peel and good disengage. Lanes versus strong early game supports+marksmen can also be incredibly painful. To make up for your little counterplay against this particular type of champions, you're incredibly strong versus tanks. In fact, Kog'Maw is arguably the best champion in the game at taking down the enemy frontline.
For your team, you need tanky allies with good initiation and some peel, since you can't really peel for yourself. In lane you synergize best with supports who can protect you and simultaneously force extended trades or protect you while you're forcing them yourself. With the right team composition Kog'Maw's power skyrockets and few champions will remain a problem.
All in all, because of his dependency on his teammates to reach his hypercarry potential, Kog'Maw is not the safest ADC pick in soloqueue.
Thanks for reading! Should you have any questions, remarks etc. don't hesitate to comment in the discussion box.
Special thanks to MissMaw and Emikadon for the awesome line divider.