Malzahar Build Guide by Trugy
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.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Many men have gone mad beneath the glare of the Shurima sun, but it was during the night's chilling embrace that Malzahar relinquished his sanity. Malzahar was born a Seer, blessed with the gift of foresight. His talent, though unrefined, promised to be one of Runeterra's greatest boons, but destiny plotted him another course; his sensitivity to the roiling tides of fate allowed other, unwelcome things to tug at his subconscious mind. In his dreams, where the veil of separation is thinnest, a sinister thing beckoned. For some time, Malzahar was able to resist its prodding, but with each passing night the voice grew louder, or perhaps deeper, until he could withstand the call no more.
He ventured into the desert without supplies, drawn by the lure of a specious charm. His destination: a lost civilization to the east, known to ancient texts as Icathia. Few believed such a place ever existed, and those who did were certain that the sands had long since devoured whatever remained. When Malzahar's cracked feet finally failed him, he found himself kneeling at the base of a bizarre crumbling obelisk. Beyond it lain the alien geometry of a ruined city and the giant decaying idols of dark and horrific gods. His eyes, seeing what others cannot, and what none should, were filled with the essence of the Void. His once shifting visions of the future were replaced with the immutable promise of Valoran beset by creatures of the Void. Standing alone, but not alone, amidst the echoing dunes, he noticed the familiar voice escape his own lips in a parched rasp, bearing three words whose weight trembled his knees: League of Legends. Now infused with the power of the void itself, Malzahar set off to the north to seek his fate.
"The land may melt, the sea may swell, the sky may fall... but they will come!" -- Malzahar
Malzahar is best played as a opportunistic nuke, who relies on positioning and teammates to unload crazy damage. Malzahar is easily one of the highest dps characters in the game, and is unique in he has 2 CC abilities, and incredible range with 3/4 of his abilities. He is currently a 6300 IP character. Newcomers will find a steep learning curve in playing Malz, and this guide will help lessen that curve.
Cotv: Call of the Void (q)
NZ: Null Zone (w)
MV: Malefic Visions (e)
NG: Nether Grasp (r)
Pros / Cons
Malzahar is one of the more difficult champions to master, but the pay off is very nice. His aimed abilities take time to learn, so plan on taking a few matches as practice.
High AP ratio with spells
Great team fighter with AoE and silence
One of the best 1v1 champs in game with NG suppression
Good mid game farming.
Can have Alladin skin, I mean come on, who doesn't want to murder people as a disney character?
No CC that doesn't stop you --> no escape abilities
Prone to ganking and interrupts
Hard to aim some abilities
Spells can be mana intensive early on
Summon Voidling (passive)
After casting 4 spells, Malzahar summons a Voidling that will attack the target of your malefic visions for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 + (50 x level) Health and 20 + (5 x level) Damage.
Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).
Voidlings attack the target affected by Malzahar's most recently cast Malefic Visions.
Voidlings are very nice for harassing and farming in early game. If you see a champion in your lane overextending to last hit mobs, you can pop MV to get the voidling out and follow up with Cotv, ignite, and auto attacks to get an early kill. Because this combo has no CC, it rarely gets the kill because they can run, but its a great at preventing last hits and making them heal.
Call of the Void (q):
Malzahar opens up two portals to the Void. After a short delay, power erupts from the portals, dealing damage and silencing all enemies caught between the portals.
* Cooldown: 9 seconds
* Range: 900
* Area of Effect:
Cost: 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 mana
Magic Damage: 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+0.8 per ability power)
Silence Duration: 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 / 3 seconds
Cotv is Malz's best late game ability for 3 reasons: 1) The AP ratio is huge on this, and will do crazy damage with high AP (>300). It becomes the one shot kill, a lot like Ryze's overload. 2) It is an Aoe ability in its line of fire, and there's no damage reduction for hitting multiple targets. 3) The silence is the icing on the cake. This is why its such a great opener, whether its team fights or 1v1's, because it gives you the upper hand if landed right away. In team fights, you should throw one of these after the initiator has landed on his target. Usually there will be 2-3 melee enemies grouped up, and not only will you do damage to all of them, but the silence will really help your tank and other melee. It will have relatively low cooldown, so don't worry about using it on targets your not focusing. Towards the end of the battle, after you've landed your other abilities, you can use it to finish off any enemies left, with its great range it becomes a sniper for running enemies.
Null Zone (w):
Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy for 5 seconds, dealing magic damage per second equal to a percent of the enemies' HP inside it.
* Cooldown: 16 seconds
* Range: 800
* Area of Effect:
Cost: 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 / 130 mana
Health To Damage Per Second Ratio: 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8% (+1% per 100 ability power)
Although I level Null Zone last, it's still a very important ability to learn. It's a key element when doing Malz's full combo, and therefore your must learn to lead your enemy with it by just a little. Late game, it becomes a very powerful Aoe Dot because of its % health damage, which can bring even the mightiest of tanks to their knees if need be. There will be many tricks you learn with NZ as you learn Malz, like popping one by a turret so melee champions have to reposition to try and take the tower out, but these tricks aren't essential to a good Malz. What is essential, especially late game, it being able to place your NZ so that when you channel NG, your target is standing on the pool.
A personal preference of leveling this skill before Cotv as come to my attention and I fully understand the reasoning. If you find yourself in 1v1's or ganking more than straight laning, you should level this first because it will be a big part of your main kill sequence. My personal game uses more of Cotv than Null Zone, but either is correct.
Malefic Visions (e):
Malzahar infects his target's mind with cruel visions of their own demise, dealing damage each second. If the target dies while afflicted by the visions, they pass the curse on to a nearby enemy unit, refreshes the duration and restore mana to Malzahar. Malzahar's Voidlings are attracted to affected units.
* Range: 650
Cost: 60 / 75 / 90 / 105 / 120 mana
Cooldown: 15 / 13 / 11 / 9 / 7 seconds
Magic Damage: 80 / 140 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+0.8 per ability power)
Mana Restored: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26
Malefic Visions is Malz's most used tool. Whether its early game harassment, farming, mid game killing, or late game burn down, MV has a use in every situation, so I broke down how's its used in each part of the game:
Early game laning: Whether your soloing mid (which you should) or with a partner, MV can be used to last hit minion waves along with your auto attack. Its also a great harassment tool so if you can land it on an enemy champ, either by casting directly on them, or killing MV's current target and having it pass onto them, it's worth the mana to throw it down. When by a friendly turret, MV will usually pass onto the new target of the turret, so it can be an effective to use your turret's fire power to regen your mana.
*Until you have rank 5 MV and about 100 AP, you can't rely on MV to push through a whole creep mob without auto attacks. But even at low levels, MV + Voidling can be a great way to push through a creep wave and get plenty of gold. I usually use this to push the lane and last hit almost every creep, collecting about 50g or more. Very useful until late game.
Mid Game farming: Because you level this skill first, it becomes even more effective at farming, and should be constanly used to push through waves of creeps. Remember, when you have rank 5 and 100 AP, MV will kill a minion from 100% health, so you can sometimes cast MV, and leave the lane while it does the work for you. Use this to your advantage to gain extra gold, and launch you into high AP items.
Mid Game champ fights: MV will be your hardest hitting spell in mid game, so it should always be on your current target. Its strong enough to burn most squishy characters, but smart players will run away when they see the black goo all over them. Cast it as much as possible against champs, and use your other abilities like NG to keep them in range.
Late Game: Now that your a full on nuclear missile, MV will hit very hard, and along with the other abilities will help you kill anyone and everyone. With cooldown reduction, you will be able to get multiple MV's up in one fight, and you should take advantage of this. You cannot put multiple MV's on one enemy, and if you cast it on an enemy who already has the DOT, it will just reset the timer. In team fights, if everything else is already on cooldown and your initial target is gonna go down for sure, go ahead and start a MV DOT somewhere else.
Nether Grasp (r)
Malzahar grips his target in an engulfing void of energy, dealing damage every half second while stunning and suppressing them for 2.5 seconds.
* Cost: 150 Mana
* Range: 700
Cooldown: 120 / 100 / 80 seconds
Magic Damage: 250 / 400 / 550 (+1.3 per ability power)
Malz's ultimate is many times accused of being over powered, because when used right it can kill almost anyone. But in fact it will be more the skill of the Malzahar player (or stupidity of the enemy) that acquires the kill, not the ability. NG actually doesn't do that much damage, but when combined with NZ and MV, it hits like a tank. To maximize it's effectiveness, only cast NG when your enemy has MV and is standing on the NZ pool. With all 3 of these abilities doing damage, it's highly doubtful your target won't taste the dirt in the end. This will be your main combo for damage, but because of NG's long range, relatively low cooldown, and ever so valuable suppression, there's a few situations that you should look to use it.
YOU CAN USE ITEMS AND SUMMONER SPELLS WHILE CHANNELING NETHER GRASP
Mid Game Ganks: Lets say your laning against and enemy and only have a couple hundred mana, but one of your teammates has come down the river to gank. You don't have enough mana to land all 4 abilities, and he could escape before you connect with everything anyways. Let your ganker come in and do whatever CC he can, and then when the enemy looks to run, NG him. It will give your teammate time to get into better position to chase, and maybe even let his CC cooldowns reset, guaranteeing that the enemy dies.
Turret assist kills (mid game): This is probably the most satisfying for you and enraging for the guy on the other computer. I don't know how many times I've made a Warwick smash his computer from dying to this. Let's say you have low health and you're being chased away by a melee. Many players are so greedy they'll try to tower dive on you if you have a small health bar, no matter how many creeps or how close to the tower they have to get. So here's what you do, lay down NZ right by the tower, and if you have time, throw a quick MV at them. If they keep pursuing, bait them to stand right where the NZ is by standing 2 inches behind it. Right when they get to it, NG them, and the combo of whatever damage you do and the turret will put them in the ground, Leaving you standing, victorious, with a puddle of health. This is a high risk, high reward, so don't take it as an automatic kill. But I promise you, if you pull it off, it might be the highlight of your day.
Tank Suppress (any time): In a few situations, it can be useful to throw q, w, and e at a squishy character, but the turn around and NG their tank. This is helpful when they're tank as enough CC to create havoc for your team's DPS. Rammus and Shen's taunts can really being annoying in team fights, and by suppressing them you're giving the rest of your team a small window to get to the squishier enemies. Now this is very situational, because the NG's damage is pretty much being thrown away, and the enemies you want to kill first will most likely just move out of NZ, but I really like to do this to a couple characters to help my team out. If the team has a good Rammus, Shen, Tyrndamere (when he pops his ultimate), Nasus (ultimate), and Renekton (ultimate) all can be neutralized for a few key seconds, which can either save your team from and ace, or help them take out the stupid Veigar hanging out in the back. I caution new comers to Malz from doing this, because its a VERY situational thing, and can be a complete waste if done wrong. Try and gauge its pros/cons before doing it.
Chasing: If your team has just won a team fight, and the stragglers are fleeing, they aren't always low on health. This usually happens to tanks, because they bail on the fight when it's apparent they can't win. Cotv and NZ have long ranges, but most likely won't get the kill. If you have a few teammates chasing with your, go ahead and NG the running enemy. The suppression will allow your teammates to catch him, and although you probably will only get an assist for blowing your ultimate, you'll make the internet a better place with your generosity.
: I always take ignite with Malz because it can be casted with NG. Adding a third DOT to your combo can make the difference between making someone heal and making them wait out the death timer.
or : The difference between these seems to be personal preference, but they both serve the same purpose; survivability. Malz is extremely prone to CC, especially without Banshee's Veil. These may help you survive a runaway. I take flash personally, but either one works.
: Exhaust can be useful for keeping enemies within a NZ, or making aiming your Cotv easier, but the above choices are better.
No other summoner spells have synergy with Malz, but that doesn't mean they're not useful. I suggest any of the above, but summoner spells are more about the personal choice.
Masteries and Runes
I only go with the above 9/0/21 standard caster build for Malz. Magic penatration, cooldown reduction, and ability power in offense. Malzahar doesn't deviate from this very much because he relies on the standard Mana and AP stats for damage.
Marks: Standard for almost all casters
Seals: Malzahar can spend a lot of mana quickly, so any mana regeneration is welcome. I do mana regeneration per level because I find myself gaining less mana back mid-late game from MV kills, mostly because I'm farming less and team fighting more.
Glyphs: Here is where runes will deviate from player to player, but i find cooldown reduction more valuable, especially late game, than anything else, and I focus more on AP items. Flat cooldown reduction glyphs are equal to per level glyphs at level 13, so if you do more killing before then, take Focus Glyphs , but I tend to do most of my ability spamming between 15-18. AP glyphs are also viable, but then you should pick up some cooldown redction items.
Quintessence: Same reasoning as glyphs above.
I take a Sapphire Crystal
and 2x Pots
to start the game. Doran's Ring
is better for farming creeps, but I tend to try and harass early game, so potions can save you a lot of times. Sapphire Crystal will go straight into Catalyst the Protector Catalyst the Protector, and adds a bit of mana for early game casting. When you have catalyst, you should be using one MV for every mob. This is a great farm tool, and you'll lose virtually no mana between the mana return from MV and leveling up catalyst.
Mejai's is very good for Malz, and I do take it every now and then, depending on how the game plays out early on. I caution myself because rushing Mejai's can be a mistake if you don't get the stacks, but if you're a player who likes to rush Mejai's, then you should grab an Amplifying Tome right away.
Building the boots next is key because you'll need the extra speed for when enemies try to gank or chase you. Plus the spell pen will help with your damage.
After shoes, finish up Rod of Ages , this will give you good AP, and also mana and health, which will allow you to remain farming and fighting longer.
Next thing you build should go towards building an AP item. I go straight for Needlessly Large Rod , into Rabadon's Deathcap the majority of games. Malz is very good at getting an early "Rape"adon's because he's and excellent farmer with MV. If you've entered team fighting stage early now, make sure your still putting MV on creeps when you can, this extra bit of gold can really help you in between fights.
As the game continues, the enemy team will be focusing you more and more, which is exactly where Banshee's Veil comes in. The health, mana, and magic resist is nice, but the true value lies in the passive. By resisting a negative effect, enemies will have a much harder time CCing you, and you can escape a lot easier. Between this and Rod of Ages, you should be farely tanky, but make sure you're still in good position in team fights (back of the team). The last item is mostly personal preference, but I usually get Zhonya's Hourglass . This item is very useful, and all casters need to learn how to use this tricky bastard in end game. You can also pick up a Void Staff if they're stacking MR, but if your team is well balanced this shouldn't be a huge problem.
If the game is STILL going on, the last spot is for whatever your heart desires. A good trait of a LoL player is assessing his item situation every game. Understand why your team is winning or losing team fights, and buy accordingly.
Other items to consider:
Rylai's Crystal Scepter The AP and health here are good, and the slow can help with lining up Cotv and NZ.
Deathfire Grasp All the stats here help, but you're more paying for the activate ability. This can be activated during NG, so many players will take it, but it's a personal preference for me to stack straight AP.
Guardian Angel This is a good choice if you want more survivability, but I wouldn't build it before any of the above items.
The most important thing to consider when picking items is what really helps Malz's damage. I rank stats this way:
2. Cooldown Reduction
4. Magic Pen
6. Magic Resist
Malz's highest damage combo is this:
-> -> -> -> -> ->
Open with Cotv to damage and silence the enemy, followed by a quick MV application. (The reason you open with Cotv is because when the combo is done, you want it to be ready to cast. Cotv is what you'll use to pick off the last bit of health if they're not dead.) They most likely will retreat or at least move, so lead them with NZ, and as they walk into the pool, and pop NG to suppress them right on top of it. 3 of your abilities will be hitting them at the same time, and as long as you didn't pick a tank to focus, they should die.
When you're ultimate is on cooldown:
Opening with Cotv means it will come off cooldown to pick off runners. Try and and save NZ for when the enemy is CC'd, so that they stay on top of the pool for the maximum amount of time.
* A very important thing to note with the 2 above skill sequences is that Cotv is NOT necessary in damaging the opponent, and should only be used for utility purposes. If the target it running away, forget Cotv and do the rest of the combo, because they will die to the 3 DoTs, but not to a single Cotv.
In team fights, without your ultimate ready, there's no real sequence. Use Cotv and MV as much as possible, trying to focus down one of the enemy DPS champions. Use NZ when you can hit multiple enemies, or when an enemy is CC'd, otherwise enemies will simply just move out of it. I usually end up throwing this under the enemy tank, because of the % health damage, and he is usually pretty static in the melee.
By taking Cotv and MV, you can farm and harass very well in your lane. Focus on last hitting mobs with you auto attack from levels 1-3, you can use MV to gain mana back from the mobs you kill, but be aware that in early game it's not very reliable in getting you the last hit. At about level 3 or 4, start really using MV to push through mobs, this will give you a good amount of gold while keeping the enemy champ out of the mob. Kepp farming/ harassing like this until level 6.
Depending on whether you're building Mejai's or Rod of Ages, your mid gameplay will change. Without Mejai's, I usually keep laning, but act a little more aggressive against the enemy champ. You now should have all 4 abilities, so if they get to close, go ahead and pop q, e, w, r, ignite sequence from above (only use r and ignite if you're going for a kill). It may not kill them, depending on which champ you're laning against, but it will at least keep them at bay. If you take Mejai's, you should be looking to gank other lanes, using NG to get at least an assist. The stacks are very important early on.
By now you should have large amounts of AP, at least 300, and should be a huge threat. Stay with your team so you don't get ganked, and let your tank initiate. After the battle starts, go ahead and unload all you can, but keep your distance. Enemies will usually focus you down because of your huge damage potential. Staying safe within your team is something that all Malzahars must learn.
I would like to give a special thanks to Furber, I used his Malz guide when first learning the champ.
League of Legends wiki contributors for the info on each ability.
Mobafire forum contributors for helps in guide formats
All those who rank and comment