Kog'Maw Build Guide by khaoshizon
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.
Current standard build
Sample Final Build 1
Not Updated For Current Season
EDIT: The game is slowly taking hold of my life again, and with that I've played around a bit with Rune Changes, different item combinations/item paths and others among those mentioned. I'll update the guide once I have more free time so this doesn't have to be done over work downtime. I also just broke Gold again and will post stats once they're available.
Hi, this is my first guide here in MobaFire and this is another addition to the ever growing guides of AP Kog'Maw. I'm a SEA Garena player, ended at Gold 2 and stopped playing for about a year. (You know how retirement goes. It never really happens.) Initially, I primarily played AD carry (guess who) and support from Season 2. It took me a while to work around the changes made to the Season 3 health stacking, insane bruiser meta and landed at Silver I. Even with different AD carries, my division kept on dropping until Silver 4. Decided to just have fun with ranked games rather than trying to Vayne tumble myself out of it and picked up AP Kog after seeing Froggen play him.
AP Koggles has been my main from Silver 4 to Gold 2. That's about 3-4 months of playing him (it?) nonstop, apart from the occasional support which was a very welcome break from all the acid spitting madness this fellow has to offer. And while his power pre nerf is undeniable, when properly played (and a good set of teammates who understands the playstyle of Kog) he is still a very strong pick, with very reasonable and threatening weaknesses. His threat rises exponentially per 6, 11 and 18 and will garner you kills the enemy doesn't even know from where. At level 7, he can clear caster minions with a E + R combo, dish out insane damage and dish out some more even if you die.
Another thing I want to say here is I've had success with this build on the bot lane as well, given that the mid and top goes AD. It's an uphill battle from levels 1-5, but once you hit level 6, you'll be zoning them so much you can expect the enemy jungler to camp bottom lane just to compensate for their ADC not being able to do anything.
Here's my version of AP Kog, which I just put together based on my own experience. Please bear in mind that the other mechanics I still have are from Season 3 and will definitely update the guide as time goes by.
quick edit: Not sure why the cheat sheet is only showing 400+ ap. With Seraph's Embrace and Rabadon's Deathcap passive, your AP will be sitting somewhere above 600.
disclaimer: Initially, this will be a wall of text. Most of it is being done during work downtime. It will eventually have those pictures and code most people look for in a guide.
Pros / Cons
+ INSANE range starting at level 11
+ Pretty decent slow + damage
+ Extremely underestimated
+ Only heavy counters are gap closers.
+ Surprisingly solid burst damage if jumped on.
+ Can easily mixup item choices post core based on what the team needs.
Just like his AD counterpart, Kog'maw shines during the late game. You'll find yourself mostly sniping targets off the fog of war with your Living Artillery, not giving them any chance to react and counter. Your Void Ooze sets up the poke that you can dish out mid lane, and force the bot lane to miss out a lot of CS. But basically with this build, range is definitely your core strength and is what you're going to rely on for the most part.
- Gap closers.
- No reliable escape
- Mana problems early on, and if you're not careful with spamming Living Artillery
- Weak early game
- Very item dependent
- Not the best roamer
- Extremely underestimated... by your team.
I can't think of any other con apart from the fact that he's squishy, has no real escape, no reliable cc, mana hungry if you're not careful, cause your team to lose out on a lot of damage if you're too careful and too busy repositioning, and will most definitely die if caught in a really bad spot.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Seal of Gold
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Greater Mark of Precision
(current rune setup)
This might be the most stupid or controversial rune setup that I've ever used on a midlane champion. It definitely doesn't look good in paper and even in theory, but I've had a lot of success with this setup. More that I'd actually like to believe. As I always mention, one of the main weaknesses of Kog is that once you're jumped, you're pretty much dead especially during the early stages of the game when you're not packing much of a punch yet. We put the theory here that the best defense is a strong offense, and with Kog all you need are items. So with the added gold income, and not touching the runes that deal damage, you still have the same power to kill champions, clear minion waves and get more money out of it.
This was drunk theory gaming where my mana regen is not something you should worry much about (because you should be using them wisely anyway, plus the large mana pool of mana you'll eventually have) nor does it help kill and survive. With the movement speed quints, that's a totally different story altogether and is something that's worth risking if you're going to get your core items much faster.
(old rune setup)
The rune setup I have at the cheat sheet is something I'm comfortable using. The risk of running the same is that you're not patching up one of the main issues of Kog -- being squishy. It does take care of the mana issues, and you're not going to do a lot of damage early anyway so the AP per level runes will scale properly during the latter phases of the lane (lvl 7ish). You could, however, choose to replace these with armor and mres runes if you're more comfortable with them. Starting with Doran's Ring would then be mandatory, as you'll be left with subpar starting AP.
I wouldn't suggest any other mark, and while normally for quints I would also say don't use anything else since this build doesn't depend on Rylai to be effective. The 4.5% (+0.5% from masteries) movespeed makes all the difference in effectively sniping runners who've been in your range, and for dodging pesky skill shots in lane.
(note: I'll play a bit more and update this as necessary, especially with the alternate rune options.)
NOTE: You can still run the traditional hybrid marks, armor seals, ap per level glyphs/mres glyphs and ap or ms quints.
Pretty standard 21-0-9 caster mastery setup. Nothing to see here.
Under no circumstance should you ever play Kog without Flash. It simply is not doable, practical nor logical. Just... don't.
Now running two mobility based summoner spells might seem unreasonable, but since your main goal is to be able to reposition properly, this is the other best option. I've had NUMEROUS games where Flash -> Ghost saved me since it enabled me to escape any bad ganks, outrun most debilitating CCs while repositioning myself towards an aggressive stance and continue to throw whichever spell I currently have active. Deal damage from a safe distance.
Other notable options
This is another option you can take against a heavy burst mid (cough Kassadin LeBlanccough) to sort of help you survive their combo cycle. I personally have not used this much since you can not outburst them anyway, and even if you are able to turn barrier on, you can expect another wave of Riftwalk to destroy you.
Max out sequence: R > E > W > Q
The sequence is pretty straightforward: Max Living Artillery whenever it's available, max Void Ooze then Bio-Arcane Barrage BEFORE even taking a point in Caustic Spittle
This is quite opposite of what I believed in and how I've always played with Koggles. The risk here is that you won't have that extra spell to Caustic Spittle dying creeps under tower, nor will we have that reliable point and click burst if someone decided to jump you early on. The tradeoff though, is that you will be able to harass more safely especially with the fact that at level 11, you will already have 3 levels of Bio-Arcane Barrage, enough range and added damage to actually make a difference vs. a level 2 Bio-Arcane Barrage and a level 1 Caustic Spittle or vice-versa. This sort of makes 1v1 matches one sided, and gives your non existent roaming presence a better chance of succeeding.
This is where I sort of change things up from the other guides.
Max out sequence = R > E > Q > W
Obviously, you want to take Living Artillery whenever possible and then max out Void Ooze. Now, the reasons why I max out Caustic Spittle instead of Bio-Arcane Barrage are:
1. More reliable burst damage when you get jumped. You normally want that big, sudden burst rather than trying to run away and microing your way out of a bruiser who can stick with you.
2. They won't have that much health yet at this point in the game, so for me, having a sure shot one burst damage when they get within range is a better deal especially if it gives more armor/mres shred and can also boost the attack speed of my bio arcane barrage.
You'll rarely find yourself in auto attacking range, even with bio-arcane on, below level 11. You normally DON'T want to be in the enemy APC or ADC range in the first place. In the off chance that you miscalculate their range, having that backup burst will help more rather than gambling your position with Void Ooze > Living Artillery then getting in dangerous range because you're trying to chunk them off with Bio-Arcane Barrage. It's a different story altogether if you have max range on Bio-Arcane Barrage, but not at level 3. Past level 11, you will start sniping them off anyway for this to be a viable tactic, hence, max Caustic Spittle second.
After dying, you get a couple of seconds to move and will blow up to deal true damage. Please don't see this passive as part of your regular toolkit and pull kamikazes. It just helps you secure a kill, or burn an enemy's summoner spell if they're too paranoid about dying to it.
Pretty simple point and click direct damage, armor + mres shred and added attack speed. Very useful when opponents miscalculate your bursting ability and decide to go all in on you.
AD Kog's bread and butter. This, however, still works wonders for you. Since the skill scales with AP, this will still tear off a lot of the target's hp since it's based on the target's max health.
Pretty heavy damage, pretty long range and slow. This spell is going to be your skill to get CS WHILE trying to harass champions. With Living Artillery active, this will let you get the CS and if the champion gets slowed and decides to move back, and maybe 2 or 3 Living Artillery on top of them.
Most of your game will revolve around this skill. Use it to snipe, check bushes (please do it. A face checking Kog is a very sad and dead Kog) build up your Tear of the Goddess, harass, annoy. Be mindful of spamming this; the mana cost stacks per cast so you could easily find yourself OOM if you're not careful.
The spell lands at about 0.6sec delay. This means that you need to anticipate where they will be rather than dropping it directly on their heads.
I've dedicated a separate chapter for this. Smart casting is an option in LoL where instead of pressing the skill then left clicking on the target, the spell gets casted over where your mouse cursor is. There are two options to smart casting: Range indicators turned ON or OFF.
I can't stress enough how impossible it is to effectively play AP Kog'Maw without having smart cast on. Sure, you can get your combos in but with a bit more fumbling here and there. Nothing's more frustrating than trying to hit a moving target and failing just because you're two clicks too slow (having no tissue paper inside the toilet when you need it might be a close contender)
Two things you need to remember with his skills and smart casting:
1. When casting Living Artillery, Kog will walk to a spot where landing the artillery on the target area permits. This could easily put you in a lethal position, especially if you're aiming for the carries. I've found myself in the middle of bruisers when not being mindful of this fact.
2. When casting Void Ooze, Kog does not walk to a spot where the range will get maximized. He will cast it where he's standing, towards the direction of your mouse. This could easily result in people laughing at you if you were expecting him to walk and somehow hit them with the slime.
How I start my Item Build
Faerie Charm, Health Potionx4, Mana Potionx2, Stealth Ward, Greater Totem
This gives you the most sustain in lane. Choose this build if you're not yet comfortable with your range and the spell ranges of your enemy champion.
More aggressive start:
Doran's Ring, Health Potionx2, Greater Totem
I'm personally leaning more towards this start now. Added hp, decent amount of passive mana regen, added AP. At level 9, you can clear caster minions with the Void Ooze+ Living Artillery combo.
(please keep on buying Stealth Ward in between)
This is where it sort of changes. Try not to stick to one path when working on a build.
I now almost build my Seraph's Embrace as my first item. I spend almost the same time building it when going Rod of Ages first and it gives me that early game oomph. I then work up towards my boots, Rod of Ages then go straight to Lich Bane. This path synergizes well with the current setup that I'm using with the runes and with the spell path. Having that extra nuke from far away is always welcome, and it rattles most all in bruisers who decide to jump you.
This build focuses on not being just a Living Artillery Kog, so I focus more on AP items. More often than not, I build Void Staff after Lich Bane then proceed in building a Rabadon's Deathcap.
Normally, this is how my purchasing order looks like:
Doran's Ring, Health Potionx2, Greater Totem, Tear of the Goddess, Archangel's Staff, Rod of Ages, Sorcerer's Shoes, Lich Bane, Void Staff Rabadon's Deathcap
OFFENSIVE ITEM OPTIONS
I sometimes use this to replace Lich Bane when I want to change things up a bit. This will make your Bio-Arcane Barrage hurt a lot, and sort of gives you more sustained damage in between Living Artillery downtime.
Only use this when you have two or more HP heavy opponents. This usually is a bit risky and you would need to have a solid wall of teammates because when Bio-Arcane Barrage is down, the item is pretty useless.
DEFENSIVE ITEM OPTIONS
You normally don't need much since you'll be out of range anyway, and when assassins decide to jump on you once you have your core up, normally you should be able to burst them down with Q > E > R > W combo. But of course, that doesn't always happen. In case you're having some problems, here are some viable options for defense. I normally swap it out with the Void Staff but as with any game, use your better judgement.
Zhonya's Hourglass (for obvious reasons, this is the best go to item. You need to determine early on if you'll need this item more than a Rabadon's Deathcap. Lich Bane and Void Staff are too important of items to skip IMHO.)
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Eventually, I'll turn this into a more comprehensive laning phase section. Right now, I'm assuming that people who will use this have already had experience with Koggles, and has a good idea how the mechanics of the game works.
Regardless of which starting items and runes you take, the only rule here is PLAY DEFENSIVELY. Like its AD counterpart, you are almost useless this early to the game. Focus on getting last hits, and use your Bio-Arcane Barrage to get those hard to reach creeps. With your mana regen, don't hesitate to use your Void Ooze to get some last hits in conjunction with hitting the enemy champion. If you see them retreating, you can activate Bio Arcane to get some additional hits in. Never prioritize harass over CS though.
Farm up for a Tear of the Goddess, a Stealth Ward and maybe normal boots if you can before going back. Take your blue with the jungler's help once it's available and start building your tear stacks. Once you hit level 6, you can carefully try pulling off your most basic combo: E + R. Zone them as much as mana permits. I usually would throw 2 - 3 Living Artillery then stop to let the stacking cost of the spell refresh. You can almost be sure to force the enemy champions, either mid or bottom, to farm under the tower. Just make sure you're warded properly and never put yourself in a risky position when you don't have Flash and Ghost up.
If you're running mid, Kog's ganking is subpar pre level 11 but this doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. If you hit them with your Void Ooze + Living Artillery combo and that other lane has some form of CC, most probably the enemy champion will go down.
TEAMFIGHTS: MAXIMIZING DAMAGE EFFICIENCY
This is where it get's a little challenging. If all you do during teamfights is spam Living Artillery, your damage output won't be that strong as a team and most probably, your teammates will go down and the enemy will be able to chase you down. What you want to do is to snipe them with two or three Living Artillery early, and maybe a bit more once you have your Rod of Ages and Tear of the Goddess. When a clash erupts, try to hit as much champions as you can with Void Ooze and SNIPE the AP or AD Carries. This will be much easier during the latter part of the game but this is one of your advantages as an artillery champion. Don't waste your Living Artillery too much on the tanks (unless they're really low) because your AD Carry should take care of that tank, and you should snipe whoever carry is within your range. If you get them with Void Ooze, more often than not they're sure to go down.
If you choose to get Lich Bane, activate your Bio-Arcane Barrage and get an auto attack whenever possible. If you don't do this, you've seriously gimped your team's already unreliable sustained damage. If you went for the attack speed option of Nashor's Tooth and Runaan's Hurricane, spam your spells then fire away. NEVER FORGET TO KEEP AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.
Your range is your strength. Farm safely, clear minion waves and harass when range permits. You do not want to be in range of anyone early on. Only be in auto attacking range once you have your Seraph's Embrace, Rod of Ages and Lich Bane.
When someone jumps you once you have your key items, please learn to micro. Q > E > R > W + auto attack as fast as you can, flash/ghost if you need to and reposition WHILE throwing R's and autoattacking once you're in safe range. They're already underestimating your burst, at least have faith in your damage.
AP Kog is a very fun champion to play. It WILL take a while to get used to his range, the idea of using you other spells instead of just spamming Living Artillery and to numb the flaming of your team for not picking a burst heavy, insane roaming AP Carry or not using him as AD Carry when you go bottom. As long as you keep the cash flow steady and you're able to get the core items (which will happen every time) you're going to be okay.
Insert witty ending paragraph here, time to get back to work.
"Time to feast!"
Thanks to jhoijhoi for her wonderful guide. I always wondered how the skills and champion information showed up whenever you hover your mouse over it. :D