Cassiopeia Build Guide by xLessThanThree
[11.20] Ultimate MASTERS+ Cassiopeia || Build Exodia and 1v9
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Runes: Key to Immortality
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Standard Leveling Up
Threats & Synergies
Skill matchup, bait out her Charm and dodge Q. dont trade level 1 if you see she leveled W and has electrocute. You can kill if she misses charm. Slowpush for 2/match wave
You can dominate her pre-6 as long as you dodge/bait out E. You have level 2-3 kill pressure. Slowpush for 2
Dodge this matchup or just play for your jg and to match waveclear. Jg diff matchup.
He is useless against you. Dodge/bait out Q and then all-in. Ping and monitor his priority. Try to deny him priority at all times. Keep him in lane in 1v1 as much as possible.
Can poke you but hes not the best early game, making him a smaller threat in lane than Xerath/Velkoz, but unlike them, unkillable even with jungle assistance due to his E safety. Its better to dodge this matchup.
Actually a decent Cass counter. Just match waves with him and stand away from your own minions so you're not set on fire by his E
Slowpush for 2 and use your range advantage. Try for level 2-3 kill if she disrespects your control
Takes a bit more skill to outplay a good Ekko, as he can punish you hard for missing Q. You must predict his E movement to land consistent W and Q, and R. Otherwise very easy matchup push for 2 and pressure him off wave.
He hard loses all-in trades with you. if he goes for a trade at any point, remember that his damage is COMPLETELY frontloaded, so run him down, dont run away. Chase him to his tower! Try to keep him in lane as much as possible by posturing aggressively then pushing in waves so he can't roam. Use W to cancel his tp. Similar to TF, ward and pressure so he can't easily R to sidelane.
Strong threat but he is melee and can be skillgapped/abused. Use W on yourself as you expect his Q, so he can't E immediately after Q.
Piss all over this guy
Skill matchup at the end of the day, but Cassiopeia's kit is very well equipped to deal with Irelia, especially with ignite. This can turn into a hard feeding matchup either way. But overall Cassio favored and a good Cass can hard skillgap and Irelia
For low elo, this is a 1 or 2. High Elo (Diamond+) its a 4. If the Jayce is good he can take noncommital burst trades or poke you down, and generally controls the pace of the lane.
Perma-ban or dodge. This matchup is not playable. I can't help you, God can't help you.
If given an early lead, Kass can snowball out of control. However, due to his weak laning and early pre-6 weakness, he can be abused and snowballed into similar to other melees, just a little bit more durable than most.
Skill matchup to an extent, but Cassio has the upper hand. Get level 2 first and go for zoning her off the wave. Remember that her Q auto-pushes wave, so force her to use it to farm instead of last hitting. Use your W on where she lands after shunpo to prevent her for dashing around.
Kayle scales quite well and has a very safe laning phase in the midlane when played by a skilled player. While she doesn't exert much pressure over you, she is a ticking time bomb that is not to be underestimated.
You must respect his level 1 give him full control of the wave if he pressures you, but you can kill him level 3 on the bouncing wave
Very Easy matchup, she is same range as you. Your W cancels her E, you can time R right as she takes an aggressive E towards you.
Annoying because he just instapushes waves. Personally hate this matchup since you can never snowball into it.
Realitively easy matchup if you can dodge abilities. Once you get riftmaker its free
Use your E to cancel his spellshield before using Q or R. Your W doesnt care about his spellshield
One of the hardest cass counters in the game in high elo. In low elo, maybe a 3 difficulty.
Relatively challenging. Must bait out her root, then you can play very aggro.
She has control of the lane, but you can do much more than she can in skirmishes and early fights, so take advantage of this and participate in as many early 2v2s and 3v3s as you can!
Traditionally, this is Cassio favored, but Ryze is not really a champ you can kill on repeat like some others, hence this is an "even" matchup. He wins burst trades while you win extended trades.
Extreme easy you can run him down all game just make sure he doesnt get prio and free roams
Does good damage if he lands everything, but is easy to dodge.
Bait him to jump on you, throw W on the floor, then run him down once his E expires.
If she is a good qiyana, she will perma-abuse grass form. This is impossible to counterplay, so just focus on farm, staying alive, and avoiding walls post-6. Try to keep her in lane and stop her from roaming. Hard punish roams by pushing.
One of my favorite matchups! Your W stops all of his movement abilities from going off and he has 4 of them!
You kill him easily in early game. Cant 1v1 him later on due to his mobility and range, but abuse him early.
DODGE THE GAME
DODGE THE GAME!!!
You outscale him to the point where he will do zero dmg to you but early if hes good he can really make your life difficult. Play around his W cooldown. punish his useless level 1-2. respect his 3-6
Very hard matchup if she plays at range. If she does not play at range, it can be very easy as long as you dodge bubble.
Champion Build Guide
I am a Masters aspiring Challenger Cass/Zed main and midlane coach. But do you care about my life story? It is unlikely you came here to listen to some pissrandom rant about himself. Chances are you're in champ select and locked first time Cassiopeia, now frantically trying to figure out what to even take on her while the timer counts down and the portrait of enemy Yasuo inspires more dread into your soul with each passing second.
If that's the case, I'm going to go ahead and use my Master tier foresight to predict you take the L on this one. However, if this is not the case, and you have the time to go through and read this guide, be you a beginner Cass or an experienced Cass one trick - you will find tremendous value that could change the way you see and play this champion forever.
Enjoy the guide, my friends.
There are many things about Cassiopeia's identity that need to be discussed up before we proceed.
1. Cassiopeia is NOT a control mage
Control mages are defined by their ability to control/manage waves and control areas of the map, but generally are weak in 1v1s, weak in early skirmishes, rely heavily on items to get going, and not strong sidelaners/duelists. Cassiopeia does not fall into this category.
She suffers counters in almost all control mage mirrors due to her lack of wave control, but on the contrary to mages has a very strong early game, strong skirmishing, excellent 1v1s throughout the game and good sidelaning.
2. Cassiopeia is NOT a "scaling" pick
The concept of "play safe and farm for items" simply does NOT exist anymore. Champions that can accomplish this playstyle are Vladimir, Kassadin, and Kayle. Cassiopeia is NOT one of these champions. If Cassiopeia does not play aggressively, taking advantage of how strong she is early game, then she's wasting insane potential and the champion is being played incorrectly.
3. Cassiopeia is an early game lane bully, duelist, and sidelaner, with strong teamfighting and excellent objective control
Cassiopeia is stronger the closer her enemies are to her, winning almost any 1v1 in the game with ease given proper ability usage. Her sidelaning, especially with this build, is unmatched. Her ability to 1v2, or 1v3 her opponents, is also difficult to match. Playing her to get an early lead, then transition that lead into objectives, abusing the enemy jungler, forcing 3v3s and the like, pressuring sidelanes post lane, pushing the pace of the game and forcing enemies into objective fights, is how you play this champ.
Resolve secondary is the key to making Cassiopeia and this build truly shine, everything in this build is crafted and optimized with each item and rune working in tandem with one another. Conditioning/Overgrowth are a vital part of making it work.
To understand why Resolve, we must understand Cassiopeia's weaknesses.
1. Cassiopeia has relatively low range for a ranged champion
2. Cassiopeia is squishy due to low base resistances and lack of HP items
3. Cassiopeia is immobile
4. Cassiopeia has "global taunt" and is a prime target in teamfights
Rather than try to amplify her strengths, this build was made to target her weaknesses and cover them - and it does so to great effect.
Making Cassiopeia more DURABLE is the most important thing she needs, and it covers her weaknesses. If Cassio cannot be bursted, she can counterattack once tanking all enemy damage. It does not matter if she is immobile, if enemies come to her. The fact that she has global taunt but is incredibly difficult to take down, means she can soak a ton of pressure in fights and drain enemy resources, opening up opportunities for your team!
Addressing alternative options:
Cassiopeia is already very strong in lane, and as such, does not need Taste of Blood, though it is a "nice to have in some matchups", it does nothing past 10 minutes.
Cassiopeia struggles most past laning phase, which is when she becomes vulnerable to being bursted and one shot before she can get her damage off.
Ravenous Hunter's healing does not do much if you are dead before you can cast your abilities.
Manaflow Band is a "beginner trap" and a crutch. It offers zero value to a player who knows how to masterfully manage their mana pool. Learn to manage your mana rather than rely on this rune to help you.
Gathering Storm takes too long to come online.
Scorch is not needed as Cass is already a dominating force in lane and her trading style is heavy/all-in trading, not poke.
Transcendence is nice, but 10AH alone does nothing to cover your weaknesses.
The value of Resolve vs Sorcery is incomparable.
We need not discuss inspiration secondary, I hope.
It should be common knowledge that the less resistances you have, the more value each individual point of resistance grants. Cassiopeia has quite low base resistances, and as such, having the resists from Conditioning + Gargoyle + the % stacking passive from both Gargoyle and Conditioning, make an ocean of difference on her survivability.
Overgrowth is the difference between life and death in countless situations, where you tank the full brunt of enemy damage, then counterattack with a volley of your own. It is not your objective to do more damage with Cassio, it is your objective to survive in order to be able to get your damage off. Bonus HP also scales on Gargoyle Stoneplate's active shield in a 1:1 ratio, making this truly the "mathematically correct" Cassiopeia build!
For further evidence behind why Resolve, the "math" is below:
Why did I name the 4 item core of Riftmaker, Archangel, Gargoyle, Mejais as "Exodia" build? It is because if Cassiopeia has a lead or a snowball by the point in the game where she reaches this 4 item core, the game very quickly slips out of the enemy team's control given a single good fight.
With the amount of survivability this build and rune setup offers, getting Mejai's stacks is easy and keeping them is easier. Quickly stacking up from 10 stacks to 25, Cassiopeia with this build can force any objective, take any teamfight, and close out the game.
There are countless situations where simply getting to these 4 items, allows me to go from sidelaning and getting objectives to breaking down enemy nexus towers while killing enemies on repeat under their fountain in a matter of minutes, tanking towers and healing through all enemy damage.
This is the optimal way to snowball on Cassiopeia, with little enemies can do to stop you once you get there.
However, just because this build has the opportunity to be an extreme snowball build, does not mean it HAS to.
While this build has the potential to become an unstoppable snowball, it is not the only path you can take.
Another benefit of this build is it's ability to adapt to nearly any and all situations in the game.
If you are behind: Going Void Staff instead of Mejais, will give you the damage needed to come back into the game.
If the enemy is any breed of damage composition: You can itemize against them using diverse set of options - Randuins against critical strike users, Anathema's Chains for major carries, Frozen Heart against auto attackers, Spirit Visage into heavy AP.
If the game is truly, utterly difficult at 6 items, you can get Rabadons, Rylais, or Cosmic drive 6th item instead of Mejais, if you can't keep the stacks.
If you're hard snowballing out of control early on, you can get Mejai's immediately after getting Aegis of the Legion, were you to feel that you are relatively safe.
After Mejai's you can choose to either go a second defensive or to go Void Staff for more damage.
You are not locked into any build path beyond Riftmaker -> Archangel, making this build one of the most flexible.
It also allows you to alternate what kind of playstyle you need to have from game to game.
If you are on a team with massive frontline, then perhaps going more into damage items will be the play.
In a situation where your team is full damage, and you have no frontline, become the frontline, build double defensive, positioning forward, making plays, and soaking enemy damage.
Just look at how much damage you can soak and tank if need be.
You can fight teamfights and reliably sidelane with this build. You can play a slow and calculated objective focused game or a fast paced game, taking scrappy fights, tower diving, and forcing objectives.
Beyond my core start and 2 items, I rarely have games back to back where I go all the same items by 5 items, in the same order. Adapt to each individual game as you see fit.
The next advantage of this build is that it's limits far surpass that of the Liandry/Mage item build.
The amount of things you can pull off and do with this build far outmatch what can be done with any other Cassiopeia build. You gain agency over your games, that cannot be dreamed of by Liandry Cassio build.
Just look at this.
These examples should speak for themselves.
But here's more, just in case.
The best way to learn the limits of this build is to play it, and try as much aggression as you possibly can. You will be surprised by what you can get accomplish. This is a build that requires a very different playstyle to be optimal from Liandry cassio, but ultimately one that is far more rewarding.
With this build, you do not need to rely on peel and frontline. You are your own frontline while also dealing out massive damage and making aggressively, proactive plays. Learning this build will let you take control of your ranked journey.
This build does not cover basic ability usage, and if there is demand, I can update the guide to include more in-depth analysis of the abilities.
The main purpose of this guide was to focus on the runes and items, and how they interact together and what the playstyle difference is.
As mentioned before, I do comprehensive midlane coaching and specialize in Cassiopeia/Zed.
Please add me on discord if you are interested in affordable coaching or have questions (questions are always free!) LessThanThree#9520
All of my clients who have received coaching from me and are using this build are seeing tremendous success with 64% winrate average!
My OP.GG is:
And my twitch.tv is:
Best of luck my friends, may we meet again.