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Malzahar Build Guide by Pixel Pocket

Middle [11.3] Malzahar Mid & Top

Middle [11.3] Malzahar Mid & Top

Updated on February 18, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Pixel Pocket Build Guide By Pixel Pocket 79 5 329,585 Views 2 Comments
79 5 329,585 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Pixel Pocket Malzahar Build Guide By Pixel Pocket Updated on February 18, 2021
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Pixel Pocket's Featured Video

Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Malzahar
  • LoL Champion: Malzahar
I am updating this guide, and all my others, as soon as Mobafire allows. Some icons and items are not yet available. I'm sorry if this makes it feel incomplete and I'll be working as quickly as I can to make sure it's up to scratch for you guys!

1. Introduction
Who am I?
Where am I from?
What do I do?
2. Malzahar!
Who is Malzahar? What he can do, how he can do it and what this means for his playstyle and role
3. Runes
A in-depth look at rune choices to help you decide what to play, when to play it and how to use it best

4. Builds
A look at your build choices, why each item works and how you can itemise according to matchup and gamestate
5. Playstyle
Laning phase
6. Thanks!
A thank you to all that view my guides,
follow me on twitch and
subscribe to me on youtube
This guide comes with an In-Depth video!
In it we go over some of the more abstract concepts that are harder to convey over text to really help you master Malzahar and I suggest giving it a watch!

Hi guys! My name's Pocket and I'm a League of Legends guide creator. I make video guides on YouTube as well as doing VOD reviews with an assortment of high ELO co-hosts on Twitch, and sometimes I even get chance to play the game myself. If you want to check out my YouTube, Twitch or come hang out in Discord click the links below!


If you're here, you've probably already decided to play him, but let's talk a little about what Malzahar can do and what makes him work.

So to start, Malzahar is a mage. More specifically he is a battlemage. This is due to his mid-range, sustained, potentially AoE damage rather than the short damage of a Burst Mage like Annie or the long range damage of an Artillery Mage like Xerath.

Alongside this sustained damage he has AoE Soft CC in the form of the silence on his Q - Call of the Void.

He can summon pets in the form of voidlings on his W - Void Swarm.

He can apply a DoT burn in the form of
Space Aids his E - Malefic Visions

And last but certainly not least he can apply a 2.5 second suppression and DoT burn on his R - Nether Grasp. This is potentially the strongest CC ability in game and something that makes Malzahar and absolute monster in certain scenarios.

By using his kit wisely Malzahar can be a versatile champion, one of the best laners to accept a gank due to his massive CC after level 6, yet also capable of shoving the lane in quickly and easily in order to roam and perform ganks himself. Into the midgame the transferable nature of his Malefic Visions and the strength of his CC make him a fair teamfighter, yet his strong waveclear also allows him to splitpush effectively and set up map pressure easily when needed for objectives such as Drake and Baron. This means that players with a keen eye for win conditions and macro can make great use of Malzahar whatever the game calls for.


Sorcery is a fantastic tree for Malzahar and Summon Aery is a fantastic keystone. It works great with his Damage-over-time E, being able to hit multiple times, even in relatively short trades as well as giving access to a great selection of runes in the Sorcery tree.

Arcane Comet is viable, and it does do more damage initially but because Malzahar's only hard CC is his Ult Nether Grasp mobile champions or even just those with boots and higher movement speed can often avoid the damage from Arcane Comet. Summon Aery however, is guaranteed damage and also has a shorter cooldown so it is my suggested pick
Malzahar's abilities have great cooldown scaling with level, so this and the fact that he builds a fair amount of ability haste in both runes and items means that Manaflow Band is an absolute must. It keeps his manapool healthy and it stacks extremely quickly due to his ability to poke safely and regularly in lane.
Transcendence is great on Malzahar, he loves the ability haste and it gives consistent and strong power spikes at level 5 and 8. It also helps to refund your basic ability cooldowns in teamfights as takedowns give 20% cooldown refund to basic abilities after level 11!
My usual Malzahar playstyle is a scaling build, and this is always my build on toplane. Therefore I prefer the similarly scaling Gathering Storm rune choice here. Into match-ups where you must get an early lead however, Scorch will be the better choice.


For our secondaries we will usually use the Precision tree with Presence of Mind and Coup de Grace. Presence of Mind offers great mana sustain while also giving us an extra 500 maximum mana (which Seraph's Embrace will convert into an additional 15AP) and if that wasn't enough it also gives us some of our Ult charge back on both kills and assists.

The toplane runes. These maximise your sustain and allow you to take full control over you backs (especially when combined with Teleport), meaning you can CS extremely well while poking down the enemy toplaner who will either be forced to back or become extremely vulnerable to a gank due to your Ult Nether Grasp. Taste of Blood works great with your DoT and by paying close attention to the cooldown timer on the right hand side of your buff bar you can time your pokes/trades with E so that it will be off-coldown before the DoT effect wears off, ensuring you maximise sustain efficiency. On top of this, due to you being a low-cooldown ability spamming mage Ravenous Hunter works wonders, especially given your strong waveclear and ability to roam midlane (or even botlane wiuth the use of Teleport) which allows you to stack it rather easily.

Finally we will take Double Adaptive Force and a defensive resist to suit the matchup as the early game AP power is more important than the ability haste!

Sorcerer's Shoes
The core boot choice on Malzahar, the magic penetration is highly desirable and these are what I'll build in 90% of Games

Plated Steelcaps
The first and most common defensive choice. Personally I only build these into full AD comps but I always build these into full AD comps. Even when ahead these are just a fantastic build when the enemy are all physical damage auto-attackers and bringing your own damage down a little to absolutely nuke their's is an awesome trade, so don't be afraid of this even when you're ahead

Mercury's Treads
Honestly, I find myself building these very rarely in this meta. While they do give you the only buyable tenacity for a ranged champion, full or even heavy AP comps are becoming more and more rare. For that reason I find little use for them and often Sorcerer's Shoes are the better pick. That said if they do have a full AP comp then just like with Tabis, pick yourself up some Merc Treads

Mythic Items

Liandry's Anguish
The core mythic item for Malzahar and the item I am currently taking 100% of the time! It now gives mana and ability haste, with a lost chapter based build path which is great to start out with. It's damage-over-time passive synergises well with your E and Demonic Embrace (which we will talk about soon). My personal go to!

Liandry's Anguish
Luden's is the burst damage item for Malzahar. While I prefer Liandry's in lane for poking the enemy down easily and winning trades, Luden's shines when you want to accept ganks and kill the enemy laner as much as possible, or for burest damage to avoid tower dives! It's also great when you intent to sp[lit push a LOT because it's better in a 1v1 scenario!

Luden's Tempest
Luden's Tempest is a viable mythic for Malzahar, while it doesn't have the same damage-over-time as Liandry's, it does have 10 magic penetration as well as a mythic passive that grants even more magic pen! This makes it a better burst item, but frankly I prefer Liandry's in every scenario right now! If they have the tanks to warrant more magic pen, then you'll prefer the max health damage that Liandry's offers!

Core Items

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
A very nice item on Malzahar. It has great base stats with a whopping 90AP and some health which is desirable on squishy champion, but it really shines due to it's passive slowing ability. As we've mentioned, Malzahar is a Battlemage, dealing persistent and consistent ability damage to the enemy. This means that with Rylai's you can persistently and consistently slow the enemy, which is huge for both you and your team. Now not only are you a 2v1 Monster due yo your Ult but you're a high damage teamfighter with utility to boot. This item should always be on your radar.

Demonic Embrace
As we talked about, Malzahar loves damage-over-time due to his E and alongside Liandry's Anguish this makes for a killer combo! All the damage-over-time effects stack! This means that if you manage to hit an enemy champion with your E, they're in for a world of hurt, and you can back off easily knowing the trade was won! This item also offers health and grants bonus armour and magic resist while someone is affected by the burn. This can really help to keep you alive, and the more enemies you affect, the more resists you get, so it's great with your huge AoE Q!

Rabadon's Deathcap
A great last or second-to-last item. It provides no utility but absolutely huge AP scalings. Personally I like the utility of Rylai's and the passive damage of Liandry's before I even consider Rabadon's, and even then I may pick up a Void Staff into tanky comps or a [Morellonomicon]] into sustain first. However, after these item's it's passive that gives you an extra 40% AP is utterly monstrous and needed to keep you relevant into the late-game

Situational Items

A must buy into heavy sustain enemy teamcomps due to it's Grievous Wounds passive. It's your only way to shut down oppressive healing and should be absoluely prioritised into enchanters or fed toplaners such as Aatrox and Mundo. It also gives a nice amount of flat Magic Penetration which is good into squishy teamcomps with little to no magic resist and on top of all that it gives some health too.
Overall a great pick, but a situational one.

Zhonya's Hourglass
A must buy into full AD comps and/or fed assassins. It provides a good amount of AP aswell as armour and ability haste. It also has a fantastic active that can seriously shut down AD Assassin's (such as Zed or Talon and their ability to kill you. If you don't need to active to survive an assassin but the enemy is still heavily AD then you can build Seeker's Armguard and stack it in lane for a cheap and efficient defensive item which you can build into Zhonya's later on

Dark Seal
A great item when you're ahead, it gives AP, mana and is great in conjunction with Refillable Potion when you have a very poke heavy lane matchup as it increases potion healing by 25%. Turn it into a Mejai's Soulstealer when you're very fed to absolutely run the enemy over.
Laning Phase

Levels 1-3
This is a stage of the game that depends heavily on the specific lane matchup.
Personally into easy and even matchups I like to freeze, pushing back when they push, but not shoving in if they don't. This is because after a big push there is often a period of downtime in lane and we do not want this to occur as we hit level 3.
What we want is to be able to shove the enemy in as we hit 3, leaving them to deal with a wave (preferably a large one if you have been able to freeze and create a big wave) while we can either get a free early back for Dark Seal into easy matchups or Sapphire Crystal if we want an early tear to scale. We could also help our Jungler with scuttle as well. Into difficult matchups I usually let them shove me and focus on CSing properly. Very few matchups that are hard at level 3 can outscale you (An exception to this is Fizz) so simply CSing well and not dying may be all you can ask for before you get your Ult

Levels 3-5
Once again matchup dependent. If it's a difficult matchup or maybe they're just doing better than you, continue to CS well and focus on yourself. It's hard to let them roam but sometimes you really cannot follow.
If however you are doing well and especially if the enemy has no waveclear, keep them shoved for the entirety of this. The purpose being to reset to wave at or near level 6, luring them from tower and setting up for the Malzahar Specialâ„¢, a 2.5 second level 6 suppression that will kill pretty much anyone. If you're into a harder champion to gank such as a Zoe with Cleanse or a Fizz then simply shove them in once you hit 6 and try and look for an opportunity to roam. You're a monster at accepting ganks but you're also pretty good at executing them yourself too, don't forget this.

Levels 6 onwards
Pretty much been said at this point, shove, CS, roam when you can, ping ganks when you have ult and otherwise try to be as oppressive as you can safely be.

The Mid and Lategame


This is actually a really complex decision, and it requires an understanding of gamestate's, matchup, capabilities as well as the intuition to predict your enemy. Therefore I won't be going over when to teamfight and when to splitpush, as that could be it's own guide alone, 3x the size of this one, but I will look at the pro's and con's of Malzahar's ability to do both into the mid and lategame.
Teamfighting: Malzahar can be a monster in 2v1s, but in teamfights he needs the utility of Rylai's Crystal Scepter to really shine in my opinion. The huge AoE slows on top of his fantastic AP damage make him great and with quick thinking and a good understanding of threats and enemy capabilities, your Ult on the right enemy at the right time can swing a lost fight into a stomp instantaneously. It really is key to ult the right person at the right time, so you must be thinking along the lines of: Who is the biggest threat? Will my team be able to backup my CC yet? Will I get assassinated if I root myself for my Ult right now? answer these questions and you'll be the most important member of your team. Splitpushing is simultaneously very easy and extremely dangerous on Malzahar. You need to be able to, at minimum, 1v1 the most likely enemy you meet before you venture off alone into the late game. You have no mobility, very little tankiness and actually rather poor single-target damage if you're behind as much of your damage lies in your great AP scalings. Therefore you must not splitpush blindly and without safety. If you are aheady however, and capable of 1v1ing or even 1v2ing the enemy, then by all means splitpush. You have an amazing ability to shove quickly, efficiently and deal significant turret damage, allowing you to be a real threat that the enemy must react to, else you will end the game alone. If they do react to your map pressure though, it leaves drake, rift herald and baron up for grabs by your team.
Thanks for reading!
I really hope this has been helpful to you and if you've got any questions come hop into my twitch stream or my discord server and I'm sure I can help you out!
League of Legends Build Guide Author Pixel Pocket
Pixel Pocket Malzahar Guide
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[11.3] Malzahar Mid & Top

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