Mordekaiser Build Guide by CharBroiled
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Welcome to my first Mobafire Guide. This guide is about Mordekaiser, the Master of Metal. I hate guides with unnecessarily long, or explanatory introductions, so let's get right into it.
Mordekaiser is a heavy-mage; mixing great damage output with unexpected survivability. His damage is high with very few truly offensive items (just 200-300 AP will do), and it's quite bursty. He's best built as a heavy-mage. My build, via Runes, Masteries, and items focuses on primarily: Magic Penetration, Spell Vamp, Armor, Magic Resist, and Movement Speed, while picking up small amounts of Ability Power (he scales really well, and doesn't need much).
Mordekaiser is best played as an off-tank, able to get into the think of a fight, do "tons of damage" (as Phreak would say), and get out with nary a scratch on his shiny and o-so-spiky armor. He excels at crushing his way through the thick of it and bursting down squishy, half-dead targets. His build, while maintaining a specific 3-to-4-item core, is actually quite flexible.
He can be built as a squishier AP carry, should your team be lacking damage and already be pretty tanky. If tbe rest of your team is "the squish", he can pass as a main tank, but his lack of CC and a solid initiate make this ill-advised. Before his somewhat recent nerf, he did so much damage without offensive items that I would build him purely tank and consistently engage 1v4+... and win. Who needs an AoE stun when you simply take no damage and deal tons of it? Sadly, he has been nerfed somewhat in line now and cannot be built as a pure tank effectively.
Naturally there are other options out there, but this is MY guide, and this is how I play Morde... and I find it works damn well. Try it for a half dozen games, if you are having issues with it please leave me some constructive comments here that we may improve the guide. But tbh, I had something like a 9/1 W/L record with the old Mordekaiser and I'm at like 7/1 and climbing with the new...
Mordekaiser should be built and played as a heavy-mage; to this end his runes are designed to give him both strong offense and defensive advantages.
Greater Mark of Insight x3
There is no question about these. No ifs, ands, or buts. Mordekaiser does not need much AP to generate tons of magic damage, but his ability to kill and stay alive depends on his ability to actually DEAL that magic damage. To this end, this build focuses heavily on Magic Penetration in every category.
Greater Seal of Resilience x3
This will enhance Mordekaiser's ability to tank damage, most notably in the early game (hence flat armor, not armor/lvl), as his early game is particularly weak. Later it will be explained that Mordekaiser's survivability revolves around regenerating health, and his shield (via his passive: Ironman), and not on having a large hp pool. The idea is to mitigate as much damage as possible, not soak it and try to survive.
Greater Glyph of Shielding x3
Again, these will help to build up Mordekaiser's survivability. Since the majority of the damage you will be taking early game is physical, it is okay (even advised) to take MR/lvl as after like 5 levels these Glyphs will surpass the flat MR glyphs.
Greater Quintessence of Insight x1
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness x2
While some people may advocate the use of health or ability power Quints, I would highly recommend this seemingly odd set of 3. The Magic Penetration will push you just over 10 MPen which is, again, critical. With this Rune/Mastery/Item Build, most champions will effectively have 0-10 Magic Resistance against Morde going into the mid-game; which is where he excels. In addition, Morde lacks any significant movement-enhancing abilities; the additional movement speed from these (along with your Masteries and sometimes item choice) is paramount to being in or out of the fight when you need to be, as well as allowing you to chase down and assassinate crucial targets on the opposing team. Do not skimp on either of these, I cannot tell you how many times that extra 5 or 10 movement speed has made the difference between getting that important kill and watching it slip away.
Again, my build is very Spell-Penetration-centric. So first we build into that, Mastering both our summoner spells along the way and taking any relevant caster choices. Then realize that there are not very many good offensive caster choices in the Offense tree for a champion like Morde who does not need much ability power to hit like a truck, so let's move to another tree.
Now Defense does offer a few tempting choices, but remember we are building as OFFTANK, not main tank. We will have tons of survivability through our choices of runes and items: skip it. The rest of our points go into Utility.
Fill in the Utility Tree as fast as possible avoiding anything relating to Mana, Summoner Spells we don't have, increased Ward vision (which I think everyone agrees these days is junk anyway...), etc. You end up with one floater point around the middle of the tree but there aren't really any good options... take Sage or Greed as you like; it really wont matter much.
Okay I'm sure many people are going to disagree with my item choices. The nice thing about Morde is that he works with a variety of builds and therefore is VERY flexible to countering the other team. I'll tackle this by breaking his item purchases down into "Start", "Core", "Mid", "Late", and "End-Game".
Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions, without a doubt. Mordekaiser has a particularly WEAK early game. You don't need to win your lane, you don't even need to tie in your lane... just don't die. Because of this, and because your damage is very bursty, early movement speed is a must. You need to get in, clip the minion wave / champion with your abilities and get out. I cannot stress how important these are off the start. Since your abilities consume your health, the health potions will allow you to stay in lane for a while, provided you're not getting beat on (which you shouldn't be, with your high mobility and if you're making use of your passive properly).
Hopefully by the time you are first forced to recall, you've either farmed enough minions to have about 850gold, or picked up a kill. First, upgrade your boots to Sorcerer's Shoes, use the rest to buy a few more health potions, and a ward if you can afford it. Once you have your upgraded boots, you'll notice your damage shoot up; in particular your E, Siphon of Destruction, will hit like a damned truck. Use this to wreck your laning opponent(s). If you begin pushing the lane too far, use the ward to keep an eye on the river so you are not ganked. At the first sign of trouble, pop Ghost and run... fast. The rest of your core consists of two spell vamp items. As fast as you can build a Hextech Revolver, upgrade it to a Will of the Ancients, and then build ANOTHER Hextech Revolver. WIth your core built you will have a ton of speed, enough spell penetration to make your opponents feel every E you clip them with, and enough spell vamp to stay in lane indefinitely if need be.
Entering the mid game you should have Sorcerer's Shoes, Will of the Ancients, Hextech Revolver, and then come your defensive buys: Chain Mail + Negatron Cloak. Pick the order that suits your best, or if you're having a real issue in lane you can even pickup one before finishing your second hextech revolver. Either way, going into the mid game you should have 2 spell vamp items, boots, and BOTH of these defensive items. This will give you the survivability you need to enter any team fight and come out laughing. You'll notice I don't recommend upgrading either of these until you have both; unless you're facing a 4 AD team or something: feel free to build your AR up into a thornmail or something.
As the mid-game goes into the late game, turn your Negatron Cloak into an Aybssal Scepter. Along with your boots, masteries, and runes, this will effectively reduce the magic resist of your victi-... err... "opponents" by 50 + 10%. This is around when people are buying magic resist items if they're going to, and is the perfect time to up your penetration. This will also increase your team utility (AP Carries will thank you!), your own magic resist slightly, and give you some of the last ability power you'll need to wreck the end game. Also upgrade your Chain Mail into an appropriate armor item: Sunfire Cape is most common followed by Thornmail (if they're heavy on AD and auto-attackers). I wouldn't recommend Randuin's Omen or Zhonya's Hourglass, but situationaly they might be just what you need. Decide on and begin building your last item; for most teams I'd recommend Rylai's Crystal Scepter for the additional health (you don't need much, but 1.7k wont cut it end game) and slow, super useful in chasing down people as they run for their lives.
Those last 3 spots are usually filled with some combination of:
Abyssal Scepter (about 90% of the time for me; I'd almost include this as part of your core)
Sunfire Cape (50% of the time)
Thornmail (65% of the time)
Rylais Crystal Scepter (60% of the time)
Lich Bane (10% of the time)
Finish whichever last item you selected (e.g. Rylai's), and then go BACK to your Hextech Revolver... and spend 2.4k on upgrading it to a Hextech Gunblade. The Attack Damage and Lifesteal are nominally useful at best (though you are a melee-range combatant... you just use spells in that range for 90% of your damage), but the increased ability power, spell vamp, and especially the Use effect are amazing. If anyone was able to survive your burst and chasing abilities before... they can forget it once you have this. with any extra money you have leftover, elixir up (Blue > Red > Green > Pink) and have fun wrecking absolutely everyone.