Kassadin Build Guide by dehunter456
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.
Hello there! Welcome to my first guide! Now I'm no great big Platinum player and I'm still learning new things everyday. Why should you read this guide? Well for one thing, I do make a mean Kassadin player. I have been playing him since I first started LoL and since then, I have gained a lot of knowledge about him. I do main Kassadin (though I don't use him much in ranked due to my team wanting mid forcing me into another role) and I want to share my experience with you guys. This guide will give you my months of experience with Kassadin!
Note: I'm new to MobaFire so this guide might not be very ascetically appealing.
Another Note: Everything I post in this guide is just my opinion. If you disagree with something in the build and would rather build something else, then that's perfectly fine. So I'm not saying that this is the right way to build Kass, but it is a way I like.
Pros / Cons
Pros and Cons
Kassadin has natural resistances to magic damage as well as a long silence and a spell that can be casted based on the abilities casted around him, making him a strong anti-mage.
With a full item build, Kassadin can easily 100-0 a carry with his full combo, turning fights into his favor.
With Kassadin's Riftwalk, he can get to one place to another in an instant as well as jump into the back of the fights to assassinate key targets. If he gets in a sticky situation, he can easily jump back out to avoid death (unless your Lee Sin). His high mobility also makes him a great roamer!
-Fun to Play :)
If you hate jumping around all over the place, then something's seriously wrong with you.
-Horrible Laning Phase
As a squishy melee caster, with high mana costs, you're bound to have a really bad laning phase.
-Weak Against AD
Though Kassadin is naturally strong against AP Casters, his naturally low armor makes him a sitting duck to AD Casters like Talon, Pantheon, Wukong, etc.
-High Mana Costs
Like I said, Kassadin's high mana costs can easily get you killed, as riftwalking too many times in a short time period can burn your mana quickly and leave you vulnerable.
Before we can get into owning people, we need to buff ourselves up. Proper runes, masteries, and summoner spells should do this.
For the Offensive tree:
I prefer taking Summoner's Wrath and Sorcery as Summoner's Wrath gives some pretty awesome buffs to your standard offensive spells. For ignite, it gives 5 extra physical damage and AP when it's on cooldown, so when you use your standard combo (we'll leaarn that as you go into this guide more), you can easily finish someone off with Nether Blade and auto attacks faster. Sorcery is pretty self explanatory as it gives some CDR (cooldown reduction) which everyone likes.
Again. Pretty self explanatory. I take Blast as it gives a free Amplifying Tome at level 18 without taking up inventory space. You can take Destruction if you like it, but I really don't think Kass would benefit from the pushing power.
I take Arcane Knowledge for the magic penetration as it is always useful for AP (ability power) Casters. Then, I take 2 points in Havoc as extra damage from everything you do is nice. I only take 2 in Havoc since I like Executioner, but if you want 3 points in it, then that's fine.
Taking Mental Force is a big must as you benefit from the AP. Take Spellsword too as once you get some AP from items, you'll hit hard when you have Nether Blade on and start auto attacking a champ.
Pretty self explanatory here as more AP is nice from Archmage .
Executioner is good for finishing people off with the extra damage to people below 50% health. You leave this and one more point in Havoc , but I prefer this.
For Utility Tree:
I like taking Summoner's Insight as the buff from flash is always nice to have. I also put 3 other points in Meditation as I really don't have anywhere else to put the points in.
I take 3 points in Expanded Mind as it gives a free sapphire crystal at level 18 that takes up no inventory space. Then, I take a point in Mastermind since the CDR on summoner spells is good. You can also take a point in Improved Recall instead of Mastermind , but I really don't think that going back to base a second faster is worth it when you can get more CDR on your flash or any other summoner spells you might take.
I finally take a point in Runic Affinity since you will need the blue buff and it's going to be more useful if it lasts longer.
With that said, you can also go 9/21/0 if you think that you'll have a hard time against someone in lane. You can follow these masteries below.
These are my runes I like taking. It provides plenty of early game power so you are a big damage threat in laning phase.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: These are the only viable marks on an AP Caster. You should take it as it is common sense.
Greater Seal of Armor: AD (attack damage) is Kassadin's weakness. Getting these will help against an AD Caster if you are up against one until you can get more armor.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power: The flat boost gives a lot of early game ability power to stomp your lane opponent and make them wish they could surrender at 5 minutes :). I prefer these as getting an early advantage over your opponent is vital as you are a very snowbally champion. Getting a few kills early means that you'll be pretty fed later on.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Again. More ability power is awesome. With this, you'll have 26 AP excluding the bonuses from masteries. That will make your abilities hit hard early on and you can easily force your lane opponent our or even better, kill your lane opponent early on.
Other Viable Options
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana RegenerationIf you are new to Kassadin, then grabbing these is a good idea, since new players might find themselves mana hungry.
Greater Glyph of Magic ResistWhen against high harass opponents such as Swain or LeBlanc, it's always nice to have these.
Greater Quintessence of HealthDon't really like these, but provides a lot of early game survivability.
A great spell on a lot of champs. Use it to go over a wall and escape with only 10 health, or to chase an enemy over a wall if Riftwalk is on CD. You can also use a flash, Riftwalk combo to catch a running enemy a great distance from you and ensure he doesn't get away. Overall, a great spell on Kassadin.
A pretty awesome spell on Kassadin and other casters. Gives extra AP when on CD, and cuts healing by 50% so heals will only heal a pitiful amount. Use it to finish off the opponent.
Another viable spell on Kassadin. If you are ignited, you can save yourself by shielding and negating most of the damage. It's also a good spell to turn 1v1's around. It can save you in sticky situations like flash can. Another great spell to take, but I prefer flash.
Other Viable Options:
Gives a lot of map control and can be used to get back in lane quickly. If you think you'll be against a hard matchup, you might want to take this. I just find that Kassadin has better options, but it isn't a bad spell.
This can wreck squishies easily as the boost from Summoner's Wrath makes it so it reduces armor and magic resist making it easier to kill. The support should already have this so no need to take it, but if the support has something else, you might want to consider it.
High mobility in team fights and can be used to chase and get away, but Kass already has riftwalk for this so no need to take this.
If the enemy team consist of champs like Skarner, Malzahar, Morgana, you might consider taking this. I don't take this a lot as I find that an early Quicksilver Sash solves the problem.
Barrier pretty much does the same thing, except it isn't affected by grievous wounds. Better for the support to take it.
It's ok early game, but I don't see any use for it mid to late game. Don't even take it.
Revive makes you go really fast.
While smite lets you kill fast.
This is only for the support. Doesn't benefit you in any way.
Doesn't exist :/
If there are any spells I left out, they go in the "Don't Take" section.
Spells and Explanations
Kassadin takes 15% reduced magic damage (applied after magic resist) and transforms this damage into bonus attack speed.
Kassadin's passive is one of the good reasons on what makes him a good anti-caster. He takes 15% reduced magic damage. This is taken into account after magic resist is applied. A lot of people just like it for the 15% reduced magic damage so they can build tons of MR and not die at all, but let's look at the second part. Kassadin transforms this damage into attack speed. This is one thing that a lot of people look over. His 15% damage he didn't take is converted into attackspeed. So let's say that Kassadin is shot with a spell that deals 100 magic damage. He only takes 85 magic damage and gets 15% more attack speed. At level 18, you can get 229.1% bonus attack speed by taking 1300 magic damage. With nether blade, and a full build, you'll deal a lot of damage with auto-attacks. That is why Kassadin is such a great anti-caster.
(Active): Kassadin fires an ethereal bolt of void energy to a single target, dealing 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+0.7 per ability power) magic damage and silencing the target for 1 / 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 second(s).
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
Cooldown: 9 seconds
This is your bread and butter for Kassadin. This will be what you will use to harass your lane opponent since this will chunk a lot of their HP bar with your runes and masteries. Also provides a silence too, so use it to cancel channeled ultimates such as Fiddlesticks Crowstorm, Katarina's Death Lotus, or Karthus's Requiem. You should USUALLY max this first.
PASSIVE: Kassadin's melee attacks restore mana. This effect returns triple the mana when striking champions.
ACTIVE: Kassadin's basic attacks deal bonus magic damage for 5 seconds.
MANA RESTORED: 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20
MANA RESTORED PER CHAMPION HIT: 24 / 33 / 42 / 51 / 60
MAGIC DAMAGE: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+ 30% AP)
When you're skills are on CD and you need to auto-attack, activate this to kill them pretty quickly. It provides constant DPS and mana sustain allowing you to easily regain mana if you just need some to Riftwalk over the wall. I like to take a point in this at level 2 for the mana sustain. Leave this to max last.
ACTIVE: Kassadin draws energy from spells cast in his vicinity, gaining a charge whenever a spell is cast near him, including his own spells. Upon reaching 6 charges, Kassadin can use Force Pulse to deal magic damage and slow enemies in a cone in front of him for 3 seconds.MAGIC DAMAGE: 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+ 70% AP)
SLOW: 30% / 35% / 40% / 45% / 50%
COST: 80 mana
A nice spell that provides good wave clear, CC, and just a lot of damage in general. In teamfights, this will probably be charged all the time, so you can burst down that pesky carry. If you are in lane, or roaming mid game, make sure to have at least four charges of this so you can do your full combo. Take this at level 4 and max it second, UNLESS you are against a champion that tends to spam spells ( Karthus, Evelynn, Lee Sin). In that case, take it at level 3 and max it first.
ACTIVE: Kassadin blinks to a nearby location, dealing magic damage to enemy units surrounding the destination area. Each subsequent Riftwalk in the next 8 seconds will cost 100 additional mana and will deal additional damage. The cost and damage increase can stack up to 10 times.
BASE MAGIC DAMAGE: 60 / 70 / 80 (+ 80% AP)
ADDITIONAL DAMAGE PER STACK: 60 / 70 / 80
COOLDOWN: 7/6/5 seconds
COST: 100 mana
COST OF USING EACH NTH RIFTWALK (n x 100): 100 / 200 / 300 / 400 / 500 / 600 / 700 / 800 / 900 / 1000 / 1100 mana
This is what makes Kassadin, well, Kassadin. You are a monster once you get this. Use this to roam around the map as well as escape sticky situations. Laugh as your enemy wastes their flash only for you to Riftwalk away. Just don't initiate fights with this, or you'll get blown to shreds.
The Early Game Harass
This is what you will usually be using when you're harassing. Make sure you have 5 stacks of Force Pulse for this. This will usually chunk a lot of their health bar. With luck, they might have to waste a potion to heal up.
The "Can't Touch This!"
Once you reach level 6, this is what you can use to harass. Use the "Early Game Harass" Combo, but Riftwalk away before the enemy can retaliate. Though this leaves you pretty much unharmed and untouched, this combo is quite mana-expensive so make sure you have a tear, or blue buff.
The All In
> > > > > Autoattack
When you reach level 6, you can easily use this combo on an opponent to get an early kill. With your early game burst (via runes), you will be able to chunk most of their health for you to ignite the enemy and Nether Blade autoattack them. (Use this when the opponent at half health, or else it will take longer to finish the enemy. This might draw enough attention for the jungler to help, putting you in a bad situation). You can also use this to gank and secure a free kill for the team. Flashing at the beginning of the combo can close the gap and secure kills.
> > > >
LOL DIS COMBO HELP ME MOVE FROM WOOD V 2 WOOD VI PLS USE THIS TO WIN GAME HUEHUEHUEJAJAJA (lolno)
Though Kassadin isn't very dependent on items early game, he is super dependent on them late game, so it's crucial to get beneficial items to dominate late game.
If you don't feel like looking at the items, use some of the builds I have listed here.
The Newbie Build
This is a good build for beginner Kassadin players. It provides AP, survivability against enemy AP, and general stats that make the enemy team want to cry. Be careful when using this against AD casters since this provides little to no armor.
If the enemy is stacking MR, replace the Lich Bane with a Void Staff to make them want to throw themselves off a cliff. If you're super fed, replace your Abyssal Scepter with a Guardian Angel and feel free to make it the fourth item. Now your enemies will want to kill themselves xD. Build your items in the order that they are in, but take a Tear of the Goddess on your first back, so you can charge it and get it to a Seraph's Embrace quicker.
A build for more experienced Kassadin players. This build gives him a lot of survivability to dive carries, makes the best use of his Void Stone, and still makes him deal a lot of damage. This build is very expensive, so it's highly unlikely you will finish it, and it provides no mana regen so if you can't manage your mana, then this build isn't for you.
If enemy team has 3 or more stuns, build mercury treads as your tier two boots instead of Sorcerer's Shoes.
AP Powerhouse huehue
Feeling balsey and overconfident? You can use this build to wreck people's faces. It provides a lot of AP, though almost no survivability. Avoid using this in ranked since this will get you killed.
DIS BUILD CARRY MEH FROM WOOD V 2 WOOD IV HUEHUEHUEJAJAJA.
TAKE Revive AND Clairvoyance TO WIN GAME.
Now for actual items you can build...
Due to the nerf with health potions in the latest patch, this is the next best starting choice if you aren't going to get a tear. After 7 uses, it becomes cost efficient. Using all your charges in teamfights is really helpful, as 360 health and 180 mana restored is nothing to scoff at.
x5 sight ward
Another viable start which provides mana regen, health sustain, and again, vision. This allows a tear rush if you're going to build Archangel's Staff.
Though not as good as it was in season 2, it is still a viable start. The only faults in this is that it provides no vision (leaving you vulnerable to ganks) and low sustain (3 potions probably won't get you through laning phase without going back). It does provide extra mobility early on allowing you to dodge skill shots with ease, and roam once you hit six.
The perfect item for you. When fully charged, it provides 500 hp, 500 mana, and 80 AP. Provides everything you need: survivability, mana, and damage.
Though nerfed in season 3, it is still a good choice of boots on all AP Casters. Take these if the enemy team doesn't have a lot of CC.
The so called "AP Infinity Edge". Will make your AP skyrocket once you buy this. A solid item on almost every AP Caster (except for Ryze. screw you Ryze).
Other Viable Options
A cheap item that provides survivability and extra damage. If the enemy stacks MR early on, go ahead and buy it, but DO NOT UPGRADE IT TO LIANDRIES. Instead, sell it for a Void Staff later on.
Enemy stacking health? Buy this and watch their healthbar burn. Burn. BURN >:D. With its active, watch your enemy's health disappear. Solid item on all AP assassins.
Since Kassadin is a melee, and has a high physical damage stat at level 18, it's a good item on Kass. This will make killing the carry much easier since it's passive will deal a lot with your core items. Good item on him.
Take this item if the enemy stacks MR, and watch them cry. When assassinating the ADC, you will probably deal close to true damage once you get this. If the enemy doesn't stack MR, then this item just isn't worth it.
/ An item that provides a lot of late game power as well as a good active. If you're new to Kassadin, this thing will be your best friend as you will usually find yourself running out of mana. Just make sure to buy an early tear to charge this to a seraphs quicker.
An alternative to Athene's Unholy Grail, with a passive useful against people like Master Yi or Swain, but it's better for the support to take.
Another good option for boots. Gives cheap CDR to run around faster with Riftwalk. Make sure to buy a Haunting Guise to make up for your lost magic penetration.
If you're going to roam a lot, this will help you put a lot of pressure on other lanes. Make sure to buy a Haunting Guise to make up for your lost magic penetration.
Tons of burst killing you? Buy this as this can save your life if you make a mistake. Press this and it should give you enough time for riftwalk to come off CD and jump out of the situation. If you're up against enemy AD, buy an early Seeker's Armguard to make your life easier.
Though the league of warmogs is no more, it's still a useful item on Kassadin which allows him to use your passive Void Stone to it's full potential. You can also survive dives for the carry much easier with this item, so get it! (note: make sure to buy a deathcap first, so you're an actual damage threat rather than a tank)
If the enemy team has a lot of AP, building a little magic resist is fine since Void Stone is still going to go off, but it won't be as effective. This provides a lot of magic resist as well as an offensive aura that allows you to burst down people quicker. Good item on him as well.
A decent item on Kassadin. It provides a lot of mana regen and CDR, which is really useful, but 60 AP just isn't that good. If you want to get this, make sure to get an early chalice.
Karthus trolling you with Requiem? Not anymore with Banshee's Veil! Provides health and mana like the rod of ages as well as magic resist and a decent passive, so a solid item to get on Kass.
Now you're probably thinking "WTF omg troll report pls" (maybe not that), but 70 armor and 30 ability power with a passive that provides a lot of utility is something you can't turn down. If you're getting blown up by AD, then this might be a good idea.
Provides sustain and an aura that is semi-useful, but just not for Kassadin. Don't get me wrong as it's still a powerful item, but Kass doesn't need spell-vamp. Skip this and leave this for Mordekaiser (hue).
ADC's can't handle this cause they'll just kill themselves in the process when trying to kill you. Always a good item choice on everyone if the enemy team has plenty of autoattackers.
This actually blocks more damage than Thornmail due to it's aura, but it's so expensive, that Warmog's Armor or Thornmail are usually the better options to get.
/ If you have some hard CC/suppressions on the enemy team, then getting a Quicksilver Sash will save you from a lot of trouble. Once you finish your build, upgrade your QQS into a Mercurial Scimitar for the lolz.
An ok item for Kass that provides both health and AP, but it's passive isn't that useful on him. You already have a slow, so this would kinda be overkill. Only consider this if you're the only CC on your team.
If the enemy has three or more stuns, you should get these instead of your sorc shoes. Make sure to get a Haunting Guise to make up for your lost magic penetration.
If the enemy team is AD, then getting this might not be a bad idea. Make sure to get a Haunting Guise to make up for your lost magic penetration.
Don't get these items
This item simply isn't good on Kassadin. The damage scales on health, and once you burst someone down, they'll probably be low, making this passive almost useless. Replace your haunting guise with a void staff.
Unless you're smurfing or stomping your lane opponent hard, this is just a waste of money. Though it provides a lot of AP, it's a bit inconsistent. If you die, you lose a lot of stacks and have to recharge them by looking for kills. Just not a good regular item.
Hi! I'm Phreak and I build Triforce on Kassadin for Tons of Damage!
Any other items that i didn't mention should not be built on Kass.
Warding is absolutely important, as these magical objects can protect you from ganks, as well as help catch someone out of position.
Good Warding Spots:
These spots can help protect you from ganks, catch people out of position, and prevent any counterjungling.
As a squishy melee caster, Kass's early game is utterly horrendous. CSing is an art as Kassadin, since he isn't exactly a farmy champion. For CSing, activate your Nether Blade and CS to make sure you get the minion. At the tower, you can get easy CS by remembering this:
(keep in mind that this is as if the minions were at full health)
Melee Minion:2 Tower Shots and one Auto-Attack
Caster Minion: 1 Tower Shot and one Nether Blade Auto-Attack
Siege Minion: ??? Tower Shots and a Null Sphere (siege minions are worth a lot in S3, so it's important to get their gold)
Harass your opponent to a little less than half health. Why not really low health? Well, when you harass someone to low health, their first instinct is to go back to base and heal. Sure they'll lose a lot of XP, but they won't be gone for as long as they would be if you kill them. At half health, people feel confident that they can survive. So this gives you the perfect oppertunity to use the "All In" Combo I mentioned in the Skills section. Feel free to go back after killing the opponent and pushing the lane. Enjoy your gold advantage :).
-If your opponent starts playing unusually aggressive, this usually means an enemy jungler gank is coming. Get out of there now!
-If your wave is pushed, take your jungler's wraiths (if your jungler isn't around) for some extra XP and Gold.
When the first tower goes down, this mean Mid Game has started. Pushing is no longer a bad thing, and opens opportunities to snowball other lanes. As Kassadin, roaming is your thing. Go down to bot or top and help get some kills, and maybe a tower! Dragon is a main goal for the team, since it's global gold and XP gives a huge boost to your team. Killing the enemy bot opens up a chance to kill it. Make sure to have a pink on it, or else an enemy might steal it! Teamfights will start, so make sure to kill the carry to turn the fight in your favor.
Remember!: Always look for opportunities to take objectives such as towers and dragon. When winning a teamfight, go for towers, or get the dragon to put you even further ahead. Don't just actively pursue for kills to make your KDA look awesome. Kills eventually will mean nothing due to how much gold the enemies are worth after killing them so many time.
You fall off a bit late game since everyone is starting to build defensively. By now, everyone should be looking at Baron. You shouldn't stray much away from your team, other to push an incoming wave back, or to buy items. Teamfights are always going to be happening. Again, go for the carry and win. If a few high priority targets are down, go for baron, and win the game. Make sure to help ward, maybe buy an oracles to clear enemy wards, get dragon too, and you should have some free IP/LP.
As an assassin, your main goal is to burst down the ADC and APC. Don't initiate fights or else you blow up. Wait for the tank to initiate (or for the enemy team to initiate). Stay behind a wall and jump out when the ADC passes by. Catching them off guard will allow you to burst them down quickly. After the ADC, go for the APC. Then, your work is finished.
Let's say we have a team consisting of Rammus, Irelia, Katarina, Sona, Miss Fortune. Here is the proper focus.
Miss Fortune (top priority), Katarina (second priority (if she used her ult, be sure to silence her)), Irelia, Sona, Rammus.
Though I am not a pro, my knowledge of Kassadin is fairly high. I hope this guide helped you, and good luck on the Fields of Justice :)!
5/1/13: Updated some of the items, added explanations to the runes. Also added Warding, Early Game, Mid Game, and Late Game. More coming :)
4/27/13: Released guide (Yay!)