Kassadin Build Guide by Ahpulzz
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Riftwalk n' Roll
Start with one of these + pots
Final Build 1
Final Build 2
Not Updated For Current Season
Sup :D! My name is Ahpulzz and have been playing Kassadin since I began the game at the dawn of Season 2, and have witnessed a wide range of his different playstyles, strategies, and updates. However, with his Pre-Season 4 patch I decided to make an account and put a piece of my mind on this site in the form of my first guide ever. Even though his main spells (specifically q, e a bit less) were nerfed a hella ton, the changes to both his Riftwalk and his other skills opened a new, difficult yet rewarding way to play this incredibly unique void assassin!
Whether it comes to diving turret and the back lines to take out a carry, a Flash + Riftwalk across the entire early midlane to finish your low hp lane opponent, or baiting + kiting the enemy like no tomorrow, Kassadin still delivers and remains one of the most enjoyable and effective champs to learn and play. And I will make note that, although Kass is no longer the carry he used to be, he still maintains great capabilities as an assassin and can be an awesome force in the right environment.
This guide will be covering a brand new way of utilizing this newly reworked champion and focuses on unlocking the hidden potential behind his nerfed numbers and new abilities. I hope it helps all those who are eager to try him in normals, and in ranked after finally not being banned 99.99% of the friggin games!
This is not an obligation, of course, but as a masters support main I'll be playing a few ranked games everyday. Although I haven't established a set schedule as of late, I'll try to stream as many of them as I can for you guys! If you're interested in watching, use the highlighted link below or click on the big, purple Twitch logo to the right and enjoy!
Usually on somewhere around 8pm-12am EST.
My Friend's YouTube Channel:
(Click here to visit his channel.)
_____Also feel free to check out my friend's YouTube channel! He's a support main who's videos range anywhere from unorthodox supports to funny in-game moments. Most of his videos made around our group que's with both us and other friends, meaning I'll definitely be in there either in game or on skype chat :D. If you have a moment and want to see some newer League videos, click on the link above and enjoy!
Click here to view my guide on Support Trundle!!!
_____My third guide is up! As said on my profile I'm more of a support main rather than mid, so this guide definitely reflects some of my newer knowledge. If you enjoyed this guide or would like to learn a very off-meta yet very effective way of playing of Trundle, the undisputed king of trolls, you can click the link below the header and browse away!
Pros / Cons
Runes and Masteries
|You are an AP Carry. These are the only marks you need. ^_^|
|Since the nerf on yellow armor runes, Greater Seal of Health is the best choice when it comes to survival. However, if you find yourself against an AD-Mid, you can still choose Greater Seal of Armor to make sure your lane partner at least isn't doing true damage to you. If you're confident in your matchup, Greater Seal of Scaling Health skimps out on health early but will provide much more later on in the game.|
|Scaling AP glyphs are complementary with your already great innate scaling and adds to your damage as you level up. On the other hand, when faced with high-damage match ups like LeBlanc, Brand, and Anivia, you're passive's magic damage reduction often won't cut it. In these situations, switch those glypths out for 9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist, instead. In addition to helping you fare better in lane, these runes will also help reduce your need for magic resist later in the game by working in conjunction with your passive, Void Stone, to give you free resist that remains effective throughout the majority of the game.|
|These are the best quints for Kassadin, as 15 AP is a lot to get for just 3 slots and has a nice impact on your early game damage. However, one noteworthy mention would be Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, as the 4.5% extra movespeed actually comes in handy in many situations and makes it easier to maneuver, thus leading to more control during laning phase and beyond.|
_____This is more or less the standard Kassadin mastery that most people use. Precision and Intelligence are both good masteries to pick up, so choose based upon your preference. The extra damage from Thunderlord's Decree leads to a stronger burst combo that sometimes may be enough to net a kill or at least make the enemy reconsider fighting you. The only two downsides to this keystone are that you need to hit the enemy 3 times to proc the bonus damage, and once activated, it requires a 20 second cooldown before it can be used again. However, this won't be too difficult as your main combo itself is 3 strikes, and your Riftwalk can even be used to activate it.
_____Essentially damage vs. more sustain in lane, choose the former if you want more damage later in the game or the latter if you want to better secure your early game. I will mention however that Feast was recently nerfed, but is still not a terrible mastery and the decision remains yours to make.
_____New to Kassadin or want consistent, reliable damage right from the get-go? Opt for Oppressor - the slow from Force Pulse is long enough for you to throw out the rest of your abilities and even if you don't have your E, the bonus damage will still apply if somebody else CC's your target. Bounty Hunter is plain and simple - get kills, get damage. However, this requires you to kill each member of the enemy team at least once, meaning multiple kills on the same target and assists will grant nothing. This makes it a riskier alternative, but if you need to carry a game and know you'll be getting kills one way or another, then this mastery may be a better choice to help you do that.
_____Similar to the Double-Edged Sword vs. Feast comparison, you have the choice of going for better sustain or more damage. Assassin may seem like free damage, but oftentimes you won't want to dive into an enemy team alone as it's likely you'll die without backup lest you got fed beforehand. Secret Stash is probably the safer option out of the two, but the choice, again, is ultimately up to you.
_____Strangely put, many of you may be wondering why I would choose an AD-giving keystone over the defacto Thunderlord's Decree . However, unlike regular Kassadin, building tanky CDR tends to skimp you out on AP, making the burst from TLD a fair amount less than normal. However, because you're tankier and have a bunch of low cooldown abilities you can now opt for more drawn out trades with enemies. This is where Fervor of Battle excels. The stacking mechanism is incredibly easy to stack with Kass; if all of your skills land and you auto-attack once afterwards, you'll almost if not already have full stacks of Battle Fervor. This amounts to anywhere from 10 bonus damage to basic attacks at level 1 all the way to a whopping 80 at level 18. Once you reach full build along with this mastery, only the hardiest of duelists and bruisers will be able to beat you in a straight 1 verses 1, and even if you don't win outright, your tankiness combined with the frequency of Riftwalk will give you a free exit ticket.
|There is nothing as broken as having a blink... except another blink. Seriously though, this summoner spell is very, very useful(broken) and pre-6, will pretty much be the only thing able to save you if you mess up in lane or get ganked.|
|Dot True Damage. Along with almost all other assassin/mage champions, this summoner spell can help you nab kills that otherwise would have walked away with slivers of hp. As it is simply extra damage, it goes on to enhance your dueling and killing potential in lane and is a general counter to champions who abuse healing.|
|If you're starting out with Kassadin, I'd recommend forgoing this summoner spell for the moment and picking up Ignite as your 2nd spell, instead. Proper use of teleport requires good vision, good map awareness, and the knowledge to decide when and when not to tp. Use it incorrectly, and you'll probably find yourself either not using it enough or using it so frequently that you never have it when you really need it. However, when used at the right time, you can expand your presence towards multiple different areas of the map and can put extra pressure on the opposing team through split pushing, turning even fights into unfair fights in your favor, and even sneaking behind enemy lines to quickly knock down a turret or inhibitor. And although any champion could technically run teleport, Kassadin can be especially lethal with it because of his ability to quickly close gaps and chase down enemies immediately after tp'ing. Overall, Teleport is a difficult summoner spell to master but can surely pay for itself if you can learn how to use it.|
|Meh. Learn 2 Rift. Stahp being such a wussy AP carry... These summoners really aren't necessary, especially since you should at least have either a Rod of Ages or a Zhonya's Hourglass if not both at the same time.|
|Not a usual go-to summoner in most matchups. However, in some tough matchups where a single combo can mean your death (i.e. Talon, Zed), Exhaust can help ensure you don't give away any free deaths early on. Although you lose burst from Ignite and map pressure from Teleport, Exhaust will make you much harder to duel against throughout all parts of the game, especially later on.|
Wat... (v ._.")
Kassadin fires an orb of void energy at the target enemy, dealing 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 / 170 (+ 70% AP) magic damage and interrupting channeled abilities. The excess energy forms around Kassadin granting him a shield that absorbs 40 / 70 / 100 / 130 / 160 (+ 30% AP) magic damage for 1.5 seconds.
Spoiler: Click to view
PASSIVE: Kassadin's basic attacks deal 20 (+ 10% AP) bonus magic damage.
ACTIVE: Kassadin's next basic attack gains range, deals 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 (+ 70% AP) magic damage ( passive + active ) and restores 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8% missing mana of his missing mana, quintupling to 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% missing mana against champions.
Spoiler: Click to view
PASSIVE: Kassadin draws energy from spells cast in his vicinity, gaining a charge whenever a nearby champion - including himself - uses an ability, capping at 6. Upon reaching 6 charges, Kassadin gains the ability to cast Force Pulse.
ACTIVE: Kassadin emits a pulse of void energy, dealing 80 / 105 / 130 / 155 / 180 (+ 70% AP) magic damage to all enemies in a cone and slowing them for by 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90% for 1 second.
Spoiler: Click to view
|Cooldown: 6 / 4 / 2
Kassadin blinks to the target location, dealing 80 / 100 / 120 (+ 20% AP) (+ 2% maximum mana) magic damage all to nearby enemies on arrival.
Each subsequent Riftwalk within 15 seconds doubles its mana cost and increases its damage by 40 / 50 / 60 (+ 10% AP) (+ 1% maximum mana), stacking up to 4 times to a maximum of 240 / 300 / 360 (+ 60% AP) (+ 6% maximum mana) total damage.
Riftwalk. Not much to say other than that this skill defines Kassadin. It alone is what makes him such an effective mage/assassin and an utter nightmare for the other team when used correctly.
This skill has so many different uses that I really wouldn't be able to go in depth with it without making an entirely new section, so we'll let this bad boy simmer for now.
Riftwalk n' Roll Skill Order
Kassaninja Skill Order
When starting off the game, the logical decision is to begin with Null Sphere, as your W and E will give you a rather inefficient leash, and Q will allow you to poke early + last-hit out-of-range minions.
When situated in lane, proceed to get Nether Blade at level 2 in order to sustain your mana and make it easier to last hit with auto's._From here, you can choose to max either Null Sphere or Force Pulse based on your needs in lane:
Null Sphere - Better trading against AP Laners, majority of the enemy team is AP.
Force Pulse - You can survive without needing extra shield, against a hard-pushing opponent, against an AD opponent, better utility/ganks both in lane and after lane ends.
Once hitting level 6, put a point in your ultimate - Riftwalk, and continue to do so whenever available. If you went with the Riftwalk n' Roll pathway, take whichever skill you maxed in lane and continue with it, maxing the other one afterwards, and lastly maxing Nether Blade. Alternatively, if you chose the Kassaninja build, start maxing Nether Blade after level 6. By the time you finish that, Lich Bane should arrive around the same time, rewarding you with a one-shot-wonder Nether Blade strike.
( Arcane Blade = Auto-Attack)
A lane harassment combo when you have Force Pulse available.
Riftwalk is optional. All you need to do is catch your opponent out with Force Pulse so you can Null Sphere them while they're slowed. This will also give you your Q shield after your combo, which can be helpful if they decide to counter-harass right after.
If your opponent is very overextended/close enough + doesn't have strong melee range abilities, you can try to manually close the distance and hit them with Nether Blade while they're still slowed.
> > > +
This is your standard gank-lanes or surprise combo whenever your looking for an opportunity to secure/set-up kills. This is best done with teammates nearby, who can benefit from a slowed target and will protect you for the short duration of your combo.
As a general rule of thumb, you usually want to throw out your Force Pulse first for most of your combos so your stacks refresh as quickly as possible. Once you rift in and throw out your ranged skills, move up into melee range for a Nether Blade hit. For the most damage, auto-attack first once in range and activate Nether Blade right after - this cancels your next auto-attack animation and lets you strike immediately, adding in a bit of extra burst to your combo.
Doran's Ring, 2 x Health Potion forms the standard openning for Kass.
Cloth Armor, 4 x Health Potion is your start against a difficult AD matchup, like Talon or Pantheon.
Boots of Speed, 4 x Health Potion is my start against any harass-y, skillshot based champions, like Ziggs and Lux.
Corrupting Potion is an interesting start on Kassadin. You can't buy more Health Potion, and it offers no actual stats. It does, however, give you a guaranteed 3 charges of health and mana restoration after each time at your spawn fountain, and also comes with bonus DoT damage after you use a charge. I can't say for sure when to use this yet, but if it suits your play style or you simply enjoy having it on had, by all means go for it.
| Kassadin has no form of health sustain, whatsoever. Even so, you are guaranteed to take damage and will eventually be left with two options:
1. You could use up precious time and recall without buying any extra items...
OR2. You could use 2 or 3 Health Potions and stay in the field of combat to help out teammates, earn more gold, and work towards securing objectives. The choice is yours.
First Back + Post-lane
|I tend to get at least one simply because of the cost-efficiency and the free stats. If you ever feel like you're falling behind, buying another ring will help you get back into shape.|
catalyst the protector
|Health and mana are both nice to have on Kass, but the real reason most people rush this item is the great sustain from it's passive and its buildup into Rod of Ages. This item will keep you going as you climb in levels while out of base.|
|Unfortunately not as viable anymore due to cooldown nerfs and such, but can still be good. Buy this first if you plan on rushing Archangel's Staff, so the stacks can start filling up earlier.|
|The extra mobility may seem small, but these slight differences in mobility are all it takes to decide the outcome of some situations - take these and be safe, not sorry.|
|This item can be a great transition from your laning build into your main build if you intend to rush either Lich Bane or Iceborn Gauntlet. For only 1.2k gold, you gain fair stats and an awesome active that'll add roughly 90 extra damage to Nether Blade on its own.|
Main Core Items
|_____Combining survivability, mana, and damage, Rod of Ages is a very cost-efficent and reliable item to have on Kassadin. Additionally, the passive from catalyst the protector is kept in RoA, granting you access to free sustain until you finally reach level 18. Thanks to recent buffs, RoA now costs slightly more but give much, much more AP than it used to, with all other stats retaining the same amount and scaling.|
|_____This item will spike your damage output, but won't do anything for your surviability until it transforms into Seraph's Embrace. However, once transformed, Seraph's Embrace gives a truck-load of AP along with an extremely useful active shield that can both save your life or bait unwary enemies. The cost of building this with Tear of the Goddess already purchased is only 2350g - a lot less compared to other big ability power items.
_____The tricky thing with this item are the Tear stacks prior to the onset of Seraph's Embrace. Rushing an Archangel's Staff without having close to full stacks a bit inefficient as you're granted AP and mana but no shield, and must wait for full stacks while it remains in your inventory. Instead of waiting, let your Tear stack while building up other parts of your inventory first (ex. Lich Bane, Sorcerer's Shoes) and then buy Archangel's Staff, resulting in both a relative damage spike and an earlier availability of the shield.
|_____For the entire existence of League of Legends, Rabadon's Deathcap has remained the item AP casters turn to when looking for a hefty damage spike. After completing Rod of Ages, get this as soon as the situation allows for it. If you're getting focused or had a rough start, a Zhonya's Hourglass prior to RabCap may be a better decision.|
|_____The alternative to Lich Bane, Luden's Echo can also spike your damage and help you roam better as Kass. The main benefit from this item is its passive which not only adds damage to his combos, but helps out Kassadin with one of his largest issues: waveclear. The extra burst is applied to 3 extra targets as well as the original target, allowing you to spend less time dealing with minion waves and more time roaming around the map.|
|_____Take your Nether Blade. Add Lich Bane. Make it OP. This item really emphasizes diving and getting into melee range of a target - it's difficult to use consistently but can reward you if you get close. This is the core item for the Kassaninja build. Asides from burst, you can proc the active multiple times by spreading out your abilities over 2 second intervals for the most amount of damage.
_____With the rework of Sheen, Lich Bane now has CDR! Given that all other stats were retained, this makes it a much more cost efficient item; when paired with Ionian Boots of Lucidity, you easily reach 20% cooldown reduction without having to waste a slot on a Morellonomicon or some other CDR-oriented item. And as always - with more CDR comes more spells, and with mores spells comes more Lich Bane procs and a lot more damage.
|____ Zhonya's Hourglass is one of the best items you can purchase as Kassadin. Coupled with large amounts of AP and armor, the active stasis is an amazing addition to Kass's kit. This active makes enemies think twice before trying to dive you even when Riftwalk is on CD, because any all-in on you will be stalled for two and a half seconds, giving you and your teammates enough time to react and counter. If you can master the use and timing of the active, you can bait the opponent to waste entire combos, ultimates included, allowing your team to follow up on your defenseless opponents. This item is not solely for defensive purposes, however, and can allow Kass to pull off some very ballsy maneuvers in order to give his team the advantage. Click here to go to the Tips and Tricks chapter for a special tactic involving Zhonya's Hourglass.|
This item can also serve as your first main item given the correct circumstances.
When to purchase Zhonya's Hourglass:
- Armor becomes a necessity.
- Getting fed but not enough to warrant a Deathfire Grasp/ Rabadon's Deathcap rush.
- Planning on abusing stasis against certain champions. (i.e. Brand, Zed, etc.)
Anti-Magic Resist Finish
By now, the late game should well be on its way and if things went well for you beforehand, the other team is going to have much more magic resist than before. In order to compensate, you can buy either of these:
Void Staff causes all of your magic damage to ignore 35% magic resist, allowing your combos to cut through heavier amounts of magic resist built by the enemy team. You should nab this item if most of your enemies' have a magic resist value close to 90, especially their carries. This would also be a better choice then Abyssal Scepter if the other team happens to lack any ability power, in which case the MR from Abby would be wasted.
Abyssal Scepter is your goto item for whenever the enemy has a heavy-hitting caster, little magic resist, or a lot of AP-based champions. In terms of reducing MR this item is not bad, as a 20 MR reduction aura is a nice addition - only when your enemies reach around 70 mr and higher will Void Staff surpass it in magic penetration. The aura itself shouldn't be the purpose of buying Abby because Kassadin will not last very long if he stays close for too long, and in many instances will be roaming alone and picking off single targets.
_____This item as viable specifically for use in the early game as a substitute for catalyst the protector. Say you want to follow the Kassaninja build, but are against a difficult AP opponent. In this case, instead of using up a lot of early gold for Catalyst, you can buy Chalice of Harmony for 320 less gold and for the same purpose - survivability and mana fixing. 25 extra early magic resist combined with your passive will make it very, very difficult for an ability power laner to burst you down. Though it gives no standing mana, the mana regen and passive effect will sustain you for at least the earlygame towards the beginning of the midgame.
|Asides from Sorcerer's Shoes these are two other options to consider when building up Boots of Speed to the 2nd tier.|
Viable Defensive Items
|_____This is the goto item for when Veigar has 1000 AP and can literally one-shot Primordial Burst you from existence. This item is one of if not the best counter to any fed AP caster, and although it gives 0 offensive stats, the big chunk of health, huge MR boost, and the god-send spellshield will save you big time in these situations. Also, you can use it offensively and deal some quick damage to champions you normally wouldn't be reach safely due to certain abilities.|
|_____ Guardian Angel is a nice defensive buy when you are being focused hard and the enemy comp is balanced between AD and AP. Gives good resists and makes you an undesirable person to target as the enemies' damage could potentially be wasted on a champion who can resurrect and blink away right after.|
|_____This item is very situational as it gives nothing other than MR. The active is the sole reason to build this item, as it is a powerful counter to specific champions that rely on locking down their targets (i.e. Malzahar, Warwick, Morgana etc). Take Quicksilver Sash whenever you feel you need it and swap it for a Banshee's Veil when you're full build and can afford it.|
|_____Along with a good chunk of mana, this item gives loads of armor as well as some CDR. The active effect is similar to that of Lich Bane but instead goes off of 125% of your base AD and applies a small AoE slow. With this item, you can expect to stick to your targets and stay alive longer when diving.
This item forms the cornerstone of a breed of Kass that I'd like to dub, Tankadin, which I use specifically to counter AD-centered teams.
Early Game + General Laning Tips
Your #1 priority during laning phase is to stay alive and reach level 6 as soon as possible.
These tips are general ways on how you can solidify yourself in lane and keep your opponent at bay while you gain experience:
- *Watch the minions* And when I mean 'watch the minions', watch ALL of them, including your own. When a minion gets low, the laner on the opposing side will often opt to move in to last hit. Because this forces them to come closer to the other laner while having their own attention averted, this becomes a prime opportunity for the other laner to harass. This works very well with a short-ranged caster such as Kassadin, and will be essential in keeping your opponent at bay.
- Keep yourself at a reasonable distance from the other laner if your skills are on cooldown. If you remain close and attempt to farm while on CDs, you become a punching bag for a short duration and will take unnecessary, free damage while being unable to fight back. However, if you do have your abilities ready, don't get all up into their face the whole time and try to harass them. Not only will you likely end up getting hit harder, but your constant strafing won't be affecting the lane much if there are no minions for your opponent to last hit. You want to use your abilities to deny your opponents the luxury of farming safely or playing aggressively, not to create a futile attempt of zoning out your opponent.
- When you hit level 2 and you notice your opponent is hard pushing you towards turret, spam Nether Blade every time you can on either a last hittable minion or a minion that is not yet about to die. This will help balance the minion ratios, maintain your CS while pushing, and keep your enemy from forcing you towards your turret.
- In most cases you will be a fair amount lower than your opponent in CS. Don't worry about it... keep focusing on farming what you can until level 6.
- Occasionally, you can use Null Sphere to last hit an out-of-range minion.
- Peek at the map occasionally to stay informed. (Ex. The enemy jungler is ganking another lane - I can play more up front... or My jungler's in trouble at Lizard Camp, I need to help him...)
- As emphasized before, always buy Health Potions and Stealth Wards when you can.
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If you are still laning and have aqcuired Riftwalk, use it sparingly. There are two very good reasons not to be spamming Rift while laning:
*A smart Kassadin will continue to harass using the same tactics pre-6 while occasionally using Riftwalk to do so at the same time, effectively throwing off his opponent.*
2. Mana. Probably the most simple yet important aspect while playing Kassadin or any AP Carry, rifting constanly will starve you of mana. People who abuse their ult during lane will definitely forget once or twice to not use Riftwalk while there are still stacks ticking down, and will jeopardize the use of their ultimate when they actually need it.
Here's a clip I found rather quickly that shows the different types of places around midlane that you can put down wards once you acquire them. I like this video a lot because he explains the pro's and con's of each spot as well as the situation in which you'd place your ward there.
Lane Opponents and Counters
As mentioned earlier, laning is a crucial time for Kassadin and is usually when enemies try to take advantage of the situation and shut him down early.
Here is a list of champions that you may face in the mid lane. I put a rating from 1-5 based on difficulty and added tips below each champ explaining how I deal with them and survive both in and out lane:
(The number on the left is for lane difficulty, while the number on the right is out of lane difficulty)
And one more thing! Clearly there are more mid-laners than listed below, so if you'd like to know how to counter a specific champion who isn't currently listed, comment or message me and I'll make sure to put'em up whenever I can. :D
(In the interest of saving time, I'm now only going to write about how countering champions in lane. Again, if you want extra information regarding someone specific, let me know.)
How to Walk the Riftwalk
Upon reaching level 6, Kassadin's horizons widen exponentially as he is now provided with a way to get next to his targets, escape deadly situations, steal Baron Nashor, and much, much more...
BUT. As the great, Cliff Robertson once said...
Even with its low cooldown, Riftwalk is not an ultimate to use carelessly, especially now due to the changes on its damage and mana consumption. How you use it will have a tremendous impact on your own success, your team's success, and the game as a whole.
There is a lot to using this ultimate correctly, but from my point of view, I can boil them down to three important aspects:
1. Mana Management
Mana Management and Riftwalk
|Probably one of the biggest issues most people have with this ultimate nowadays is the scaling mana costs of Riftwalk, which can completely run you dry of mana after a couple consecutive casts. The time it takes to reset these stacks is equally as impactful, as a full 15 seconds is more than enough time for your opponents to regroup, reset their own cooldowns, and catch up to you for a kill.
During the early stages of the game, you would want to avoid rifting at all while you have stacks. Unless a situation becomes dire, do your best to stay safe to avoid any emergency Rifting and save yourself mana. Be especially mindful of both your mana and surroundings when using Riftwalk aggressively - its fine to soften your opponents up every now and then, but it's better not to be caught low on mana when important situations suddenly arise (i.e. ganks, dragon contesting).
Later in the game, you can afford to Riftwalk multiple times for a time being with your much larger mana pool. However, don't use this as an excuse to ignore your stacks, which can completely sap your mana upon reaching the third and fourth levels. The number of times you land Nether Blade on enemy champions will be crucial in deciding the total amount of Rifts you can use before you're forced to fight on foot, which can be very important in prolonged late-game engagements.
2. Battlefield/Map Awareness
Battle/Map Awareness and Riftwalk
Keeping constant track of the enemy on both the minimap and the field of battle can open up numerous paths of action that you, as Kassadin, can take advantage of. With proper vision, you can discover opportunities to ambush foes, capture objectives, and reveal abusable flaws in the enemy team's formation.
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Map Awarenessis all about how well you pay attention to the minimap and how you react to what you see.
Kassadin, being the mobile champion we know, relies heavily on both his teammates' info and info from the map in order to use his mobility to the greatest extent:
Asides from use with Riftwalk, your minimap can help to decide how you act while laning, specifically based on the location of the enemy jungler. When the majority of the map is fogged up and the jungler is nowhere to be seen/you see them heading towards mid lane, you may want to play a bit further back knowing that Kassadin lacks any reliable escape from ganks pre-6, bar Flash. If you do see the enemy jungler and they're either far off in their own jungle or ganking a different lane, you can now afford to play a bit more aggressively and move closer to the wave to catch up on CS + attempt some harassment.
Credits to Jhoijhoi, this image provides a good idea of the general degree of safety you have in each part of the lane.
Come level 6 and Riftwalk, however, your minimap will turn into your own gank "gps" by pinpointing any enemies overextended in different lanes as well the pathing of your own opposing laner, allowing you to ping out and quickly react to their movements. By paying constant attention to the map and consistently reacting to what you see during the midgame, you give your team an advantage through effective ganking and prevent the opposing team from doing the same. Your Riftwalk will allow you to intercept incoming enemy ganks on your teammates before they occur by either hampering the ganker with Force Pulse or safely damaging them while they're on route to the point where ganking becomes too dangerous.
The next couple images displays what map awareness can provide Kassadin when effectively utilized:
Right after the laning phase, I return to my turret-less lane to catch up on much needed farm when I notice on my minimap (with help from good warding) that Vayne and Karma are attempting to take their red buff. (If you're wondering why I called bot-lane my own lane, it's because I was forced there due to a duo-top and the other guy calling mid before I did, lol...)
I quickly mouse over and the second I see that Karma has left and Vayne is getting quite low from tanking the camp, I immediately stop farming and head over using Riftwalk, knowing that Vayne will likely recall after she takes the buff.
Though most other champions wouldn't be able to make the distance in the 6 seconds it takes to recall, it's a different story for Kassadin if you utilize your ultimate and move in early.
With Kass's great post-6 mobility combined with attentiveness to the minimap and quick reacting, I earned myself an easy kill, extra gold, and a free red buff.
In this case, I could afford to get a bit low on mana while having 2 active stacks on Riftwalk because I still had Flash to put me over the dragon wall in case someone dove me afterwards, which did happen thanks to the enemy Nocturne's Paranoia.
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Battlefield Awarenessis your assessment of teamfights.
This includes knowing when to dive in or hang back, setting priorities, and finally, paying attention to both your allies and your enemies:
First and foremost, one of the most basic elements of teamfighting is knowing when to back up, when to stand your ground, and when to engage the enemy. Countless times I've witnessed long, even stalemates turn lopsided in a heartbeat because a single person made the right or wrong decision. However, this seemingly simple aspect of team engagement is where Kassadin players finds themselves scratching their heads the most. His skillset demands him to get into close range of his enemies in order to deal damage, yet at the same time his fragility and lack of an escape after using Riftwalk seem to make Diving = Dying.
There are many different scenarios when it comes to teamfighting, but here are some key points to remember before you decide where to position yourself with Riftwalk:
- You are not an intiator.
The last thing you want to do when both teams are standing by is to be the first one to throw themselves into the mosh pit of death.
- STAY HIDDEN.
You may not have the opportunity to do so all of the time, but it is a proven fact that...
"The unseen blade is the deadliest." - Zed.
If you can stay off of the enemy's radar, they'll never be able to confidently predict your location and will have to make the decision to either consistently play safe or take the extra risk when playing aggressive. They will only be able to focus what they can see, and you will have a much, much easier time jumping into fights with Riftwalk when they're dead-focused on a different threat.
- Be Useful!!!
At the same time while you prowl the outer edges of a soon-to-be engagement, make sure that you will be able to return to your team in an instant, as well. If the enemy team has too many peelers or rifting in for the carries is a hazard by default, you're better off sticking with your own carries and stamping out any attempts to kill them. You have no use straying so far from your own team that you can't support them if they get jumped on first.
How to Set Priorities and Choose Engagements:
Both before and during an engagement, you want to formulate and maintain a solid idea of what you're fighting for. Whether it be a gank, turret siege, or dragon/baron fight, there should always an objective either at the present or in the future that is worth fighting over.
What are some examples of objectives to keep track of during fights?
Finally, the last portion of battlefield awareness and Riftwalk lies exactly in the name...
BE AWARE DURING THE BATTLE!!!
Knowing locations of all allies and enemies during the heat of battle and predicting enemy movement is quintessential towards playing a successful Kassadin during teamfights.
The following clips form a basic representation of what I mean by being aware while fighting:
Here I'm being pursued by a Riven and Wukong into the jungle. Riven's Wind Slash was just used to kill one of my teammates, so she still needs to get into melee range for a kill. I use Riftwalk once to get out of danger, but all the while I'm keeping my eye on the Wukong, who is below half hp and has very little mana.
*There are two very important things I did prior to my next few moves:*
- I placed a Stealth Ward at the entrance that gave vision of all possible pathways they could take while chasing me.
- I PAYED ATTENTION TO THEIR CURRENT STATUS. The only reason I did what I did in the next couple clips was because I was able to catch a glimpse at Wukong's extremely low mana. He's a great bruiser, but he needs mana in order to do anything substantial.
(*An aerial view*)
Predicting Their Movements - The pale arrow represents the direction they think I'll travel in order to escape, while the green arrow shows where I actually go. Riven takes the path on the left directly towards me, while Wukong splits off from Riven and takes the path on the right, in case I flee that way.
With Riftwalk ready, I lose their vision on me (shown by the red lines) and strafe within the small corridor above the wolf camp. At the same time, I choose an area (marked by the red X) to blink towards from the fog of war and prepare to ambush Wukong.
**Without vision, they can't make an accurate prediction of my next move and react accordingly.**
As soon as he's far enough from his teammate, I riftwalk onto Wukong and combo + ignite him just as he enters the brush. -- Meanwhile Riven (who thinks I'm still on the run), uses Broken Wings to jump over the wall in hopes of finding me there - she now has no chance to reach me.
Instead of panicking and rifting away entirely, I used my observations to my advantage, kept my cool, and remained patient with my ultimate. Because of this I was able to escape safely AND score an unexpected kill.
- A General Idea to Remember -
A saying that reciprocates my mindset prior to diving someone is: don't know, don't go. Lest your target is a 100% assured kill with 1 or 2 of your abilities, don't be too tempted to dive forwards when the rest of the enemy team is MIA, specifically the members with high burst damage, heavy shielding/healing, or hard CC.
-- If you've ever played against a Kassadin yourself, you'd know that one of the best ways to catch him out is by simply baiting his Riftwalk with a squishy or injured champion and ambushing him afterwards.
3. General Knowledge
General Knowledge and Riftwalk
Exactly what it says - knowing a lot about the game!
Not really too much I can actually help with. If you intend to know everything there is to offer from League of Legends, you might as well open up LoLWiki and cram yourself to your heart's content...
That's right! You DON'T got time fo' dat!!!
\ \(._.)/ / >>> PLAY DIFFERENT ROLES!!! <<< \ \(._.)/ /
As Kassadin, this will make you role of an assassin much easier because you can predict the thoughts and actions of whomever you're up against and adjust accordingly to abuse any open weakness.
Roles - Advantages of Playing Each
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_____At this point in the game, the stakes are much higher in terms of life and death. Despite how fed you may be- playing safely, helping your teammates survive, and making smart decisions will become your main concerns and your best bet to coming out on top. Simply follow everything you learned in the previous chapters with an extra sense of caution, and you should be set for this portion of the game.
A couple things to emphasize towards late game:
- Try to deal damage, but keeping yourself alive is #1
- DO NOT INITIATE
- Don't dive if there's more than 1 enemy unless you have the active from either Zhonya's Hourglass or Seraph's Embrace
- Keep your carries alive
- If you're well ahead but your teammates aren't, try not to nab all of the kills - give them to your teammates if you can allow it
Tips and Tricks
Lich Bane Proc'ing
____This is a really simple way to maximize the damage you deal when a single burst won't cut it. After you Riftwalk onto someone, instead of blowing all 3 of your abilities, use only Nether Blade and either Force Pulse or Null Sphere. Once you melee your target with the 1st Lich Bane proc, you'll notice a dark-blue refresh indicator on the Lich Bane icon - this tells you the time it takes for Lich Bane to proc again. What you want to do is hold on to whatever spell you have left and fire it off as soon as the timer refreshes. Doing this gives you a much faster 2nd Lich Bane proc and results in more damage when compared to a regular combo.
____One thing to mention, however, is that this tactic is mostly for levels 15 and under. Upon level 16, your maxed out Riftwalk has a total CD of only 3 seconds, meaning that by the time you finish a combo, you're proc should refresh around the same time as your Riftwalk, thus rendering the previous tactic obsolete. However, if you still want the extra proc and can't afford the mana to Riftwalk again, you're always free turn back to this little tactic. The same case applies to moments where you need greater overall damage but want to save Rift in case things go awry.
The Infamous Kassadin-Zhonya's All In
____With the addition of the Nether Blade active and the lowered cooldown of Riftwalk, a Kassadin with Zhonya's Hourglass can pull off one of the deadliest and most effective dives in the game.
____Given that at max rank Riftwalk's cooldown is reduced to just 3 seconds (no CDR included) and that the total time of Zhonya's stasis is 2.5 seconds, you have the ability to dive into the enemy team to kill or severely wound an important target with little repercussions.
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How to Pull it Off
1. Locate a target and pay attention to their position with respect to your own - you want to be in Riftwalk range the second you get an opportunity to dive.
2. When the opportunity arises, Riftwalk on top of your target and blow everything you have.
3. After your combo, IMMEDIATELY POP Zhonya's Hourglass, regardless if your target is dead or not.
4. While in stasis, find the direction furthest away from the enemy team and spam R towards it - Riftwalk might not always be instantly up the moment you break stasis, so make sure you use it the second it refreshes.
Example of a Proper Zhonya's Hourglass Dive
(Click the spoiler for step by step clips.)
Typical Solo Q chat log...
If you plan on picking Kassadin for Solo Queue, remember that the extent you can use him depends heavily on what the other team has to offer. At times, this may prove difficult with the wide variety of both mid-lane and general champion counters to Kass, especially if you pick him 1st or 2nd.
>>> When to play Kassadin:
- Little CC on the enemy team.
Specifically the types that render you unable to cast Riftwalk.
- Your team has sufficient tankiness.
This helps your team maintain the ability to initiate + teamfight effectively while you scale up.
- Your team has wave clear + pushing power.
Kass is relatively weak in this area and is bad at defending sieges.
>>> Be on the lookout for:
- Hard CC. Ranging from stuns, knock-ups, roots, and suppresses, this is probably your biggest concern when deciding whether or not to play Kass. The extent can vary, though - from the manageable, difficult to hit Counter Strike to the instant, auto-lock Infinite Duress. If you see 2 or more instant/auto-lock hard CC's on the enemy, you may want to rethink playing Kass.
- Peel. Apart from regular CC's, my definition of peel is anything that can directly help a teammate survive like heals n' shields, stat boosters, and other commodities like Intervention. These all make diving their team both hazardous and for the most part unsuccessful when your surefire-kill prey gains massive amounts of health or takes 0 damage from you combo.
- Burst. Not very Kassadin friendly in general. In most cases this will be unavoidable within any team comp - just know that it will make your life harder to highly differing extents.
However, a pre-made team gives you the opportunity to ignore champion-specific downfalls and focus on the benefits that these champs can offer to one another. For Kassadin - a champion with stark strengths and weaknesses, there are many areas that can be either enhanced or remedied easily by certain champions.
Unlike his mini-plethora of counters and limitations, Kassadin's overall gameplay can also be boosted by certain champions and their complementary abilities:
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_____This will be the end of my Kassadin guide, and I hope you all enjoyed it! More importantly, I hope that you figured out your own way of playing Kassadin and any other champion you've gotten to play - it's what inspired me to put all the time into this guide a long time ago, and continues to drive me today.
If you liked reading through this guide and would like to see more of my content, clicking my name will send you straight to my profile where everything is displayed within the Content tab. Enjoy!
Have Confidence, Have Creativity, and HAVE FUN!!!
Kassadin Matches by Myself and Others!
Here I have a collection of some of the better games I've done as well as games sent to me by others who used this guide.
**If you happen to get a good game while using this guide, go ahead and 'PrntScr' the ending scoreboard and post it either to me or in the comments!!!**
Thanks for Reading!!!
THANK YOU for reading this guide!!! If you have any more questions regarding Kassad0nger please feel free to ask! :D :D :D
Also, if you really enjoyed or found this guide helpful, go ahead and ^ Upvote ^ this guide!!!
*Kassadin/Guide Updates* (New Patches, etc.)
- Patch 4.6
(Creds to myself... I was so happy about these buffs that I had to make the image.)
- Mana per level increased to 70.
- Movement speed increased to 350.
- Null Sphere's shield raised from 40/70/100/130/160 (+0.3 ability power) to 40/80/120/160/200 (+0.8 ability power)!!!
- Nether Blade damage raised from 40/65/90/115/140 (+0.6 ability power) to 40/75/110/145/180 (+0.7 ability power)!!! THX U RIOT <3 <3 <3
- Realized Zhonya's Hourglass is especially core on Kass - Deathfire Grasp can be built later. (Redid Itemization)
- Patch 4.7
- Kassa-D0nger 2 stronk. (o-o' v) --> Null Sphere's shield was nerfed back to its original values...
- Added Skill Sequence chapter
- Added LeBlanc to Lane Opponents
- Patch 4.9
- Nether Blade damage reduced from 40/75/110/145/180 (+0.7 ability power) ⇒ 40/65/90/115/140 (+0.6 ability power)
- Though you wouldn't necessarily call this a "nerf" because it backtracks to an original value, at this point they pretty much gave all of his extra buffs just to get people to play him and took them away as soon as he became more popular. This is sad on their part since I used to believe that the changes made to champions were meant to balance out the game, not add popularity. :L
- Seraph's Embrace is the new preferable starting item due to overall stats and cost efficiency (Changed build order of main items)
- Began taking away annoying colored text and shortening/organizing info (y)
- Added Tips and Tricks chapter.
- 50,000 views!!! I was doubtful the guide would be looked upon this much, so thanks for taking the time to either read or glance over this guide and keep on learning!
- Added Pantheon to Lane Opponents
- Guide's getting big! - Added in Banners!
- 100,000 views!!! :D
- Added Lich Bane Proc'ing to Tips and Tricks
- Big Change: Made two separate builds based on Rabadon's Deathcap and Deathfire Grasp.
- Moved Rabadon's Deathcap from Alternate Items to Main Core Items
- Added a comparison section between Rabadon's Deathcap and Deathfire Grasp in Main Core Items
- W - Nether Blade
Cooldown 6 seconds ⇒ 9 seconds
- E - Force Pulse
Slow duration 3 seconds ⇒ 1 second
Slow amount 30/35/40/45/50% ⇒ 50/60/70/80/90%
Ahhhhhhhh..... I can't even... Rito pls ;_;
- Added Yasuo to Lane Opponents
- Riftwalk's relevant stacks now take 20 seconds to wear off instead of 12.
- I'll be completely honest, I think that this is a great way to finally "balance" out Kassadin - I just wish that they would've done this sooner rather than nerfing everything else about him before finally thinking of this...
- 300,000 views!!!
- Added builds Tankadin for top lane and Survival-Caster Kass for tough matchups or high-elo Kassadin playing (it's pretty much his older S2-S3 builds).
- 600,000 views... and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! ;D
- Big changes regarding my old build path + Rod of Ages
- Deathfire Grasp REMOVED.
- Null Sphere - Damage reduced by 10.
- TEXTURE UPDATE!!! SO GUD.
- Riftwalk - Mana cost reduced to 50.
- Riftwalk - Range increased to 500.
- Riftwalk - Cooldown reduced to 6/4/2.
- 800,000 views!!!
- Riftwalk - Given an initial AP ratio of (0.2).
- Riftwalk - Additional cast raises the AP ratio by (0.1), capping at (0.4), for a total of (0.6).
- Nether Blade - Cooldown reduced to 7 seconds from 9 seconds.
- Nether Blade - AP ratio increased from .6 to .7.
- THE AMOUNT OF CHANGE IS TOO DAMN HIGH!!! I honestly have no clue what's going on right now but I'm trying my best to stay on top of these changes and present something that actually works. :S
- Finally redid the mastery section to cover newer masteries.
- Rewrote Conclusion.