Akali Build Guide by CrazyNative36
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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.
Hey everyone! I have been playing Akali since lvl 1 (now lvl 30 with almost 500 wins) and I still haven't gotten bored playing this burst happy assassin. I personally believe she is the best assassin in the game when played correctly. This guide is what I have learned from the 400+ wins with Akali and hopefully it will help you guys out.
(lvl 30 solo-que)
Before I start, I will say that the best way to understand Akali is to play her multiple times. Everyone has different play styles and ideas. This is my way of playing her, which may not work for everyone. But for those of you who are just starting Akali, this is a great guide to read and consider trying. And for those of you who play her a lot and just like to read up on how other people play, please read and maybe something might stick out that you will like to try.
Pros / Cons
Extreme Burst Damage
Can 1v1 almost anyone in the game
Good escape if used correctly
Oracle's Elixir is Akali's worst enemy.
As an assassin it is a given that you should be able to kill anyone in a 1 on 1 situation. Tanky-DPS characers are usually the hardest to 1v1 but if you use Twilight Shroud correctly then it can be done. As long as the enemy doesn't have a Oracle's Elixir then you can get repeated attacks on them and taking almost no damage in return (except AOE)
Twin Discipline (Passives)
Akali's two passives(AP & AD) are very important to understand. They are huge in dealing damage/staying alive. With my build, you can obtain both passives at level 1 which helps out a lot in the laneing phase. The first one requires 20 AP which you get from just the runes alone. This passive adds a percentage of your ability power onto your melee attack. Which, when paired with Mark of Assassin, results in huge damage. This is also the passive that you will be building up throughout the game since the items are almost purely AP. The second passive requires 10 AD. That's where Doran's Blade comes in. The spell vamp gained from the attack damage will help you stay alive longer in fights.
I think these two are the best combination for Akali. Early game can be difficult if you aren't comfortable with her yet. Teleport gives you that option to go back, heal, and be right back in lane while loosing almost no xp. Once you do get comfortable enough with Akali to lane without teleport, I still think it is a great summoner spell. Usually your team will put wards to stop ganks from the other teams jungler. (if not, you can ask them nicely and they will usually put one there for you) When Akali reaches level 6, she is an AMAZING ganking champion. It is always unexpected when the other team sees you in a lane and about 5 seconds later you are unleashing all of your burst damage on them in a completely different lane. The people you are laning against won't have had time to call you MIA because they figured you just ran into the bush to get out of sight. I also use this when the enemy champion overextends past the minions to try and finish off your team mate. They will have to run back toward their tower sooner or late and they will run right into you. Having used up their summoner spells trying to finish off your ally, it will be a pretty easy kill.
Ignite is a must have for Akali. There are so many early game fights were I will melt the enemy down to almost nothing and watch them run under the tower where it would be a certain death for me if I were to follow. That's why you just pop ignite and just as they think they have gotten away they notice their health disappearing from ignite. Its also a great way to stop enemies from healing themselves which means an easier fight for you.
Flash/Ignite or Ghost/Ignite are two good alternative choices for Akali. I don't use ghost because Rylai's Crystal Scepter slows the enemy and usually it is enough to secure the kill. With Akali's ult, flash isn't needed for fights. The only reason I really used flash was for escapes but, with the proper placement of your shroud, you can escape without flash.
Greater Mark of Insight -- Akali is an AP assassin so I go with mark of insight for straight damage. Akali's passive does magic damage with every melee attack. The magic penetration will affect the damage done along with the damage all of your abilities do.
Greater Glyph of Potency -- In order to activate Twin Discipline you need 20 AP so this plus the Quintessences will get you there.
Greater Seal of Resilience -- In order to have some early game survivability I use these seals for armor and Mercury's Treads for some magic resist.
Greater Quintessence of Potency -- As described above, these are used to activate Akali's passive at lvl1.
I go with 21/9/0 to maximize damage output and give me a little survivabilty. In the offense page, you get: Extra ability power, Cooldown reduction, Extra damage output, and magic penetration. The little amount of health, magic resist, and armor you get isn't much, but it actually makes a big difference in the early game.
Doran's Blade -- Starting with this item allows your second passive to activate. It also gives you health and lifesteal which will help you stay in the lane longer in the early game.
Hextech Revolver -- Next I get boots of speed and then hextech revolver. Now that you have this item, your attacks will start doing some good early game damage to your enemies and its also a great way to heal yourself if you are taking a lot of harassment.
Mercury's Treads -- I choose this over sorcerer's shoes for the magic resist which i think is more beneficial then the magic penetration early game.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter -- This is an important item to get as soon as possible. Since Akali is pretty squishy, it is a good idea to get Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I usually start with giant's belt and then blasting wand because I like the extra health over the extra ability power. Rylai's is a good mix of health, ability power, and cc. As an assassin, most people will run instead of standing toe-to-toe with you. The slow effect from this item makes it a lot easier to chase them down and finish off the kill.
Lich Bane -- This item is HUGE is Akali's ability to do burst damage. This passive stacks with Mark of assassin which stacks with Akali's melee passive equals insane damage.
Rabadon's Deathcap -- Once you buy this item you will notice a huge increase in damage output and with the spell vamp (Akali's passive) you will also notice you can survive a lot longer in fights.
Hextech Gunblade -- A great item for Akali. It improves both of Akali's passives and gives her additional spell vamp/life steal. It is also a great way to secure those kills that are just out of reach. Since she has such insane burst damage I use the Active ability sparingly. Most champs you can chase down using Akali's ult and slow them with Twilight Shroud. Some battles you are in late game will be hard to win (tanky/dps) and this is a nice extra burst of damage to help with that. Or, it is a good way to secure a kill that might have gotten away otherwise.
Void Staff -- By late game most people will have built up magic resist to stop you from doing so much damage. with this item you can now ignore some of it and force them to buy even more magic resist (allowing your dps characters to do better damage)
These are the items I found to work best with Akali. I have tried other combinations and looked at other people builds to try them out. While some may give your more damage and others may give you more survivability, I think this is the best balance between the two.
Sorcerer's Shoes -- This item is a good item for Akali and I see a lot of people use it on her. I will always go for Mercury's Treads because I believe the magic resist (early game especially) will help you get more kills early game and make you not as squishy.
Mejai's Soulstealer -- If you get an early game feed, then this is an excellent item. I don't like it because without out it, you are already getting focused. Then when you add this item into the mix, the team will not only put damage on you but also save there cc for you. (which means you will melt down instantly because you can not use your spell vamp to help you stay alive) It is a pretty cheap item for the potential ability power gained but its more important to save your early game money for items that are more crucial.
Banshee's Veil & Quicksilver Sash are both good item to consider late game. If you are getting focused a lot and the other team has a lot of cc then getting one of these instead of void staff can be a good idea. Usually you should wait for the enemy team to waste the cc on your tank. If you are comfortable to Akali and know what to look for, these items are not needed because all of the cc will be used up. There are those teams that are stubborn and refuse to use the cc on the tank and then you will find that these items help out.
This is (in general) the sequence I usually use. Always start with mark of assassin followed by shadow dance to pull you into melee range. Now since you need a melee attack to consume the mark, that is the next step. Some times the enemy is slow to react and you can start attacking. Other times, the enemy will start to run and that's when you throw down twilight shroud to slow them and get into melee range. If they do stick around and fight, throw the twilight shroud down after the melee attack. The champs that will stick around are heavy/dps champs. When you are invisible it completely cripples their ability to do damage to you. Now i will use the crescent slash to do some damage and heal myself some. If they run at this point, you can either chase them down alternating between marks, auto attacks, and shadow dance. Just remember to melee after every mark. If they haven't decided to run yet then they will usually stand in the shroud or around the shroud waiting for it to end. Instead of melee attacking and becoming visible, I find it better to remain hidden in the shroud until your mark of assassin is up and start with the mark/melee combo to do a great amount of damage. If these abilities were done correctly, you would have already consumed two marks and used other abilities while the enemy has really done almost nothing to you since you were invisible. Any damage taken from the enemy(usually AOE spells) won't have much affect as Akali's spell vamp keeps her at almost full health.
Before going in depth on how I play Akali, I will say that you want to be as unpredictable as possible. The goal is to trick the enemy into thinking they have you beat (whether it be in a 1v1 fight or just controlling lane). Then when they don't expect it, attack them with everything and hopefully get a kill. It is also important to be patient. Wait for the right time to strike. And when hidden in the shroud, you don't have to attack them when they are standing on top of you. Wait for your mark to come off cool-down so you can start with that again. The longer you can stay invisible means the less damage you will take.
The game play with Akali varies depending on the lane. She is an excellent choice for any lane (solo/mid/bottom). If i go solo or mid lane, I usually play passive the first level. I use my marks to last hit minions so that ranged champions cant get free harassment on me. If I am up against a melee champion i will avoid conflict with them until i have a little more power. If I am laning with someone else on my team, I can play a little more aggressive (use my marks to harass the enemy and use melee to last hit the minions) knowing that my ally will be able to stop them from pushing me. I still end up playing somewhat passive though in the early levels, trying not to take damage from any champion. When i get level 2 i get the shroud. I can use this alone to harass the enemy. This early in the game, they do not want to face an Akali that they can't even see. I can throw the shroud on top of the minions i want to kill and then last hit the minion and go back into shroud so I can't be targeted by the enemy. If the enemy does feel like sticking around in the shroud or close to it, then use the mark on the champion and follow it with a melee and you can see that you deal a good amount to early game damage. It is usually enough to get the enemy to back off a little and now you can start controlling the lane. I like to use this trick sparingly though as the shroud is a excellent way to stop an enemy gank from turning into a death. I will continue to kill minions and harass the enemy using these methods as I level up. My goal in the early game is to harass the enemy enough to hurt their Creeper Score. Since Akali is pretty squishy, there is only so much you can do and it is inevitable that they will get some. It is important for both damage and survivability that you go back and get items (hextech revolver is the most important early game) when you have the chance. While getting to level 6 as quickly as possible is very important for Akali, I still prefer getting the items and missing out on a little xp.
Now once I hit level 6 I can become a lot more aggressive. I will start to focus more on harassing the enemy rather than Creeper Score because the easiest (and most rewarding) way for Akali to earn gold in by killing the enemy champ. When the enemy gets close enough I will use the skill sequence, talked about earlier, on the champion. Note that the goal usually isn't to kill them in one go. After the first sequence they will hopefully be around 2/3 - 1/2 health. Keep harassing them until they are in between 1/2 - 1-3 health. They will usually start to play a little less aggressive since they are lower in health, but they will stick around to gain xp/creeper score. Now the idea is to be patient and lure them into thinking they are safe. Usually I will wait until I have all 3 shadow dances stored up to go for the kill. If the champion runs back every time you try to get close enough to use the mark of assassin then wait until they are in a vulnerable position and open up with shadow dance. Since you have been using your mark to start all of the attacks, they won't expect an attack starting with shadow dance. Now you use the skill sequence that best suits the situation to secure the kill. Whether you start with mark of assassin versus starting with the shroud is something you will have to decide while in the moment. Usually if you can get the mark on them and still keep them in range, that is the better choice. If they slow you or flash then the shroud will slow them down. As you push the enemy back to the tower or kill the enemy, you can start ganking for your teammates. Instead of rushing the tower and destroying it, I like to run/teleport to the other lanes to help my teammates and we can pick up some kills in the process. I will keep harassing my enemies, always changing between passive/aggressive and throw in some occasional ganks to keep the enemy team guessing. If I can get them to worry about me every time I am not visible on the map, then I am doing my job. Once the laning phase is over and we start getting team fights, I tend to stay in the back row. This way they will be forced to focus the tank and the melee dps with their CC. I will then jump in the battle using the sequence talked about earlier. If I have to I will start with Shadow Dance to get into the battle quicker and a little more unexpectedly. In 1v1's i generally hide in the shroud to reduce the damage I am taking. In team fights, I tend to use the shroud more for the slow effect rather then the invisibility. If they start to focus me then I will throw the shroud down to stop the attacks.
By now you should have a decent amount of kills and the enemy team will definitely be watching your every move. The enemy team will still be trying to get creeper score and occasionally you will see one of them overextending. This is usually a good time to jump out and kill them but keep in mind it could be a trap. Now your team should usually be moving together which will give you extra protection and your main job now is to just focus on the squishy champs in team fights. Talk it over with your team about who they want focused. Sometimes the support is more important to take out then the DPS and it is your job as the assassin to melt them down as quickly as possible. As long as you can work with your team and can keep the other team from focusing you, the game will usually end in a win.
keep in mind that map awareness is huge for Akali. If you see the enemy team over extending in one of the lanes. Don't wait for that lane to ask for help. Teleport to a ward and set up the gank. Also if there are people mia then don't play really aggressive and get caught by a gank while you are over extended. Use team work to take dragon every time it comes up and don't be afraid to buy wards for you or your teammates.
Being such a squishy champion, it's never a good idea to go into a 1v2. Yes if you get fed then your spell vamp will over power the damage they do and you can get a double kill. Most the times though, it is not a good idea. This is where saving the twilight shroud becomes a huge factor. Any time you get ganked, save the shroud so that you can enter it at the last possible second. Usually this will result in you running right past the enemy as they are slowed by the shroud. It is also important to throw down in intersections when being chased. The enemy won't know which way you went. Sit in the shroud and wait to see which way they run and then you run the opposite way. It is a great tool for escaping and with practice you can escape from almost any situation without needing flash. The last trick I have for escaping is probably the most effective. When you are getting ganked and are going to loose a battle, lure the champion towards their tower. Then throw down the shroud and make them think that you ran into a bush or into the river. Then as they come into your shroud, ult past them onto one of their minions and run to the safety of your tower. These tricks all take practice and as you play with Akali more, you will see that they start to become easier and more natural.
Akali is an amazing champ (my favorite champ to play) when you take the time to get comfortable with her. It does take some time getting to know how much damage she can take versus how much she can regain with her spell vamp. But there is nothing more rewarding to see a full health champ charge you (who only has 1/4 health) and still come out victorious. Another key thing is to get used to how long the shroud lasts. Using every last second of it definitely helps and if you know how long it lasts, you know when you should be exiting out the back of it to stay out of harms way. Other then that I would say just try to keep the enemy team guessing and try to stay unpredictable. Feel free to try out this build and let me know what you think!