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Cassiopeia Build Guide by Aminumbra
A complete and detailed guide to master the Snake (**WIP**)
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Threats & Synergies
Depends on the Ahri's skills. You don't have any dash, so you'll have to be well positionned in order to dodge the Charm. She pushes faster than you and roam better. She can easily dodge your Q and R with her 3 dashes, if you miss your Miasma.
You hard bully her before her 6. However, after this, you have no way to reveal her in her W, and if she reaches you, with the minimal range of your Miasma, she'll kill you. She dashes behind you with her R, so be careful with your R. Your goal will be to bully her enough before 6 to feel safe and be able to trade when she dashes on you.
Painful matchup, as you have no dash to pass her wall or to dodge her Q, and as her R reduces greatly your kiting capacities. You are very squishy, so one Q + E can force you to retreat. However, she has a weak early game, relies on items/blue to waveclear, and you outdamage her in long trades. Pressure early, and try to get a fast banshee.
You outrange her in the first levels. Be careful when she reaches 6, you don't have enough HP to survive a combo, and not enough range to be safe from a flash + R. Stay safe, build magic resist, farm and you'll outscale her by far.
Run Stormraider Surge. You'll have to dodge his Q, and your Q movespeed + stormraider should be enough to dodge his Stars. Be careful of his early roams, as he pushes way faster than you and roams way better.
Another scaling hypercarry. His E is easily countered by your W, he isn't a threat before his first items, you sustain his poke easily. He outranges you, and pushes a bit faster, but he isn't a real threat. Keep in mind that he is a very good lategame teamfighter, even if you win the late 1v1.
More or less the same idea as Annie. You'll need to dodge his stun, which can be hard because you have no dash. But you outscale him, he cannot dodge your Q easily, and isn't a roaming/pushing threat. Can kill you lvl 6 with a full combo : play safe until your first defensive items.
You outrange him, you aren't supposed to take his Q with your natural movespeed + your own Q boost. Hard to kill early on because of his sustain and your high mana cost. Get magic penetration, and you will destroy him. If you can't dodge his Q and if he's close enough to R you, use your own ultimate to stun him and run away to kite.
Hard matchup. He pokes well, pushes well, roams well, has a good range, and clearly outdamage you early on. You'll need to surprise him with a flash + R, or wait for him to commit on you, to kill him. Get some HP, as he deals hybrid damages.
You can play this lane the same way you'd play against Akali. She bursts a bit less and has a slightly higher DPS than her, allowing you to survive the first burst and sustaining into killing her. Get magic resist, play safe after 6.
Melee champion, your W makes him unable to use E or R. His slows are painful, you must dodge his Convergence Zone ( W ), but you can destroy him. Keep in mind that your W do not block the 2nd dash of his E, which is an autoattack side effect and not a movement abiity. Get a banshee.
You can pressure him pre-6. However, once he reaches 6, you have no way of dodging his R, your W does not block his E landing, he can dodge your Q, and his own Q dashes though you, making it hard to land your ultimate. To sum up, if he has his ultimate up, you're virtually dead. Take your W lvl 3 to be safe if he decides to allin, get a quick banshee, run barrier as you'll have no window to exhaust him.
Easy matchup. He can't kill you, you're W blocks his ultimate, he is an easy target for your R when he uses E, as he cannot change the direction he faces. Kite, and you'll kill him as soon as you have magic pen + mana. Don't trade early on, he is naturally too tanky to be driven out of lane, and your mana pool is too small.
He pushes you too hard in early game, you can't trade at all. However, you farm well under tower, you don't need to be agressive early on as you outscale him, with a bit of AP you W + E ( + E ) his towers almost instantly. Hard to dodge stun, he can kill you with a good combo in his turrets range. You can destroy him if you dodge his grenade, as you run faster than him, outdamage him, and he has no real weapon to threaten you.
Stay behind minions to dodge his Q+E in ranged form. As long as you dodge it, he can't kill you, and your W slows him enough if he tries to rush you. Easy target for your R when he jumps onto you, but missing it means you're dead as he bursts enough to kill you and you have no way of escaping his Hammer form once he's in melee with you.
She isn't supposed to kill you, but it is an absolute pain to play this MU as you cannot kill her and she'll poke you. Not a real threat though, with a few MR/HP items her poke becomes irrelevant, unless she goes full AP : in this case, do not stay in range of her W, or she'll kill you. However, being full AP means she cannot survive your DPS. Play safe, farm, you outscale, don't try to trade anyway.
Easy matchup. You outDPS him, he cannot escape if you land a Q, you sustain his early poke, you can stun him if he tries to channel his R near you. He can't kill you at all, while you can easily. Wait for tear to trade, his very first levels are even with yours. He cannot get in range for his E to damage you, you kite him too much. Get a Zhonya, as his R is the real threat you cannot dodge. You won't need any other defensive item specifically against him.
Hard matchup. You cannot poke him enough before 6 with his shield + passive, and after 6 you'll have trouble landing any Q or R on him. However, he doesn't have enough damages to 100-0 you early on, so you can replicate if you manage to land some skillshots. Do not think you're safe thanks to your W, he has too many dashes to be disturbed by it.
Skill matchup. You can pressure a bit before 6, but be careful as she has a lots of damages and can force you to back, which would be terrible. You can try to predict her dashes by Q-ing onto a dagger, or W-ing a dagger when she dashes on it to stick her there, but if you miss you're almost dead as you won't have any DPS if you miss Q and she'll chase you to death. Keep your R for her own one, as you'll miss it if you randomly cast it, she has too much mobility. Get HP.
She pushes well, but you win 1v1 at any point of the game if you land your R. If you land it before her, you can kill her in less than 2 sec, and if not, you have a free Q onto her and you're DPS is higher than hers anyway. The early lane is hard to play, as she'll sustain more than you and poke you, and get you under your tower. Play safe until 6, ask your jungler to come and she's dead, you're 2v2 potential being better than hers anyway.
You win lvl 1, and may be lvl 18. Otherwise, the duel issue is on her. You cannot survive her burst, you cannot kite with her ( double ) chain, she can easily dodge your R, she pokes and pushes more than you. The solution is in teamfights, where you are way more useful than her. Get banshee and HP.
She is too low range to be a real threat, her E is easily countered by your Miasma, and she cannot push you 'too hard'. Run cleanse, keep her in midrange, and she cannot win the trades.
You can dodge her slow skillshots with your natural mobility. You will have troubles killing her, as her range is too high for you. However, she cannot normally kill you, as her CD are too high so you can sustain, and her burst too low before her 6. Run barrier and get some MR if you fall behind anyway. Keep in mind that stunning her during her R casting time doesn't cancel it. You outscale her by far.
You'll have trouble playing against a Malzahar, as he'll push you too hard, he'll silence you if you try to all-in him with a higher range than you, his R allow him to temporize the time of a Q that you might land, his passive makes it hard to engage him with R ... He is a kill threat, and you're weaker than him for a long time in duel. Farm up until you survive his full combo, and don't force early fights.
Nothing special to say, she'll push hard and can block your R but she isn't a threat to you. Run cleanse.
Really hard matchup. She pressures you a lot, at any level, pushes and pokes in the same time, and she does it better than you. You have no way to dodge her R, she has too much range to be harassed or even all-ined without flash. Get magic resist, as you'll take a lot of harass. If you somehow manage to land a Q and is she doesn't have her CD up ( W especially ), you can trade for a few seconds. Don't make it last too much, as your DPS isn't high enough in early game to go through her shield, while her Q+W destroys your HP pool and isn't dodgable as Cassio.
You outrange him, by far. He hasn't any sustain to survive your harass, he doesn't waveclear so much early on, he also has high mana costs : his weaknesses are more or less the same as yours, except you have sustain + range while he has a CC that he isn't supposed to land on you. Run cleanse or ghost.
I would tend to say that this is the worst MU you can possibly have, and as it is a notorious fact, you'll probably often face it. She outranges you, waveclears more, you cannot dodge her stun, you cannot survive a combo that includes her R, you cannot reach her. Get banshee, play safe, ask for your jungler to come if he is tanky; if he isn't, don't ask, or she'll just QWER one of you and take a kill and survive. Run cleanse or exhaust.
Skill matchup. She pushes more than you, has AoE damages, is incredibly strong in midgame fights, but you should be able to take the 1v1. Her main threat is her W, which can almost 100-0 you with her E and Q to follow, but her E isn't a threat otherwise, as you have no dash to trigger it. She is also unable to dodge your R during her Q.
He is a real threat after 6, and can kill you level 2/3 if you are greedy and bad positionned on your lane. His burst is insane and you have no way of tanking it, but you should control the lane pre-6 as his gapcloser is a short one. Don't forget armor runes ! Get a quick zhonya. Run exhaust or barrier, not heal.
Easy matchup. Your natural mobility is enough to dodge his wildcards, you have more range than his autoattacks, and his W and his E rely on them. You can block his R with your Miasma, he cannot really escape if you chase him. Run cleanse, as a flash + gold card is the only threat he represents, especially in teamfights.
Surprinsingly a hard matchup. Despite not being able to trade back in his early levels, he becomes a real threat quite fast as you rely on kiting and his cage makes it impossible. Pressure as much as you can pre-6, invest into some magic resist early on or get a zhonya if you are running cleanse. Later in the game, always keep an eye on him during fights, as he'll OS you or making you totally useless for seconds with his E.
He outranges you, you'll have trouble dodging his bump, you cannot escape if he R you, he pushes better than you, especially when maxing W ... Your only chance to kill him is to keep your R to stun him when he uses his own one, or at least to force him to cancel it. Run barrier or ghost, not exhaust : he bursts a lot, but from too far, and deals true damages.
He has a huge waveclear, a great mobility with his Q which will make it hard for you to allin him, a good sustained DPS when his R is up, and a good zoning ability with his W. You have to dodge his E and run ghost or flash to go through his W if you want to allin him. Take care of his huge burst. You outscale him in a pure 1v1, but he is at least as good as you in teamfights. Nothing special in build, but I suggest to run ghost.
You cannot kill him, and he shouldn't be able to kill you. In laning phase, he sustains more HP than you sustain mana, so don't poke him early on and try to force him under tower as he cannot last hit well. Be extremely careful to his lvl 6 all-in, as he has enough damages to kill you, and can dodge your ultimate with his pool. Build a morello, after RoA or instead of it depending on the team compositions. May be the only MU where ignite could be good, but I'd rather play ghost anyway.
More or less the same problems that the ones caused by Orianna or Syndra : he outranges you by far, and even if he is skillshots-reliant, you cannot really dodge them. He pushes really fast, and pokes too much. You won't be able to reach him without flash, or at least a ghost. Try to last hit under tower, and ask for your jungler to gank as he cannot burst one of you as much as syndra/orianna. Run ghost, or cleanse if their jungler is an Elise/Sejuani/heavy CC champion.
Easy matchup early on, despite his wall blocking your W and E. Your W totally denies him, he cannot dodge every Q due to your low CD, and one E is enough to proc his passive before trading for real. Be careful of an early all-in. Don't let him gapclose to you, or you'll be in deep troubles, but as long as you keep the distance it is a free MU. Run ehxaust, get zhonya, no need to rush it though.
Between Yasuo and Talon : melee with a better gapcloser than Talon, he will burst you less than him because your R can "counter" his own one. Don't try to be too agressive early on, as he has no mana and a very good last hitting under tower. He can kill you at any point of the game, but you can destroy him too if you land a good W or your ultimate. Run exhaust, and get quickly a zhonya.
Despite being a long range champion, his Q are easily dodgable. He won't try to kill you, and you won't be able to kill him. Farm and outscale. Run ghost.
Thx for feedbacks, any remark is appreciated !
I MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO DO REGULAR UPDATES UNTIL ~ 2ND WEEK OF AUGUST 2017
Incoming, in this order :
- Builds, and build order
- Laning Phase
- Midgame role and fights
- Lategame role and fights
- Tips, tricks for advanced players : some weird powerspikes, all-in strategies, mechanical moves ...
If there is anything else you'd like to see in such a guide, let me know : for example, I don't plan to include videos but I could if this seems important to a lot of people.
To sum up up, I will try to be as precise and complete as possible, for beginners aswell as confirmed Cassio players who might want to try some new things with the Snake !
Cassiopeia is a mid-range AP champion. She has a huge lategame, and a weak early game. She is mainly used for her single target DPS, which is one of the strongest in the whole game.
Due to her unique passive and kit, she is a very interesting champion to play, and requires good mechanical abilities.
She is really versatile and can be useful in very different situations, with and against many different team compositions or matchups.
To understand each point of this description, we'll focus on Cassiopeia's spells, to determine what builds, runes or masteries are the most interesting for her to run, what could be her strengths and weaknesses and why, how to deal with them, and how to finally make the best use of this beautiful champion !
Serpentine Grace (P)
This passive is really, really powerful. Even if it might look underpowered at first sight, it grants Cassiopeia movespeed, making her being able not to buy boots, and so being able to purchase a sixth combat-item. Her movespeed is slightly higher than what other champs get with upgraded boots ( ~ 380 for most champs ) at level 18, and becomes quickly effective.
The capacity to build 6 items without having to buy boots is one of the reason which gives Cassiopeia a huge lategame power.
Noxious Blast (Q)
Noxious Blast is an AoE delayed ( ~0.3 sec ) skillshot, with several effets :
- It deals a few damages to ennemy hit : it is a DoT, lasting for 3 second.
- It grants Cassiopeia movespeed if one or more ennemy champions are hit
- It poisons the ennemy ( minion, monster, ennemy ... ) : the ennemy is poisoned for the DoT duration ( 3 sec ). The poison use will be detailed in the Twin Fang explanation.
This spell is unique thanks to his passive capacity ( even if it is similar to Poppy's W ).
It is an AoE ranges skillshot, with a minimal range ( ~300 ). It poisons the ground in an arc of a circle, with clouds lasting for 5 sec. Ennemies caught in the clouds take damages as long as the stay in them, are poisoned, and can't use any movement abilities. Like the Q, it has differents effects :
- First, it deals damages. However, this is not a spell you'll use to damage your ennemy, and unless they stay in it for seconds, this won't make a huge difference.
- But it also poisons ennemy : if you miss a Q spell, which can be easily dodged, you can use Miasma to poison you ennemy and be able to DPS them with Twin Fang ( cf next paragraph ).
- Finally : As long as an ennemy stay in the clouds, he cannot use ANY movement ability. Lee Sin's Q ( first and second activation ) for example, or any channelled movement capacity ( Zac's E) but also Fizz's E, Twisted Fate's R, Ekko's R, LeBlanc's W ( first and second activation ) are amongst the interesting one.
Twin Fang (E)
This spell is the first you'll upgrade and max, always. This is your main DPS tool.
Twin Fang is a targeted abilty, dealing damages to ennemies. Its damages are greatly increased if the target is poisoned.
The main strenght of this spell is its ridiculously low CD ( 0.75 sec, down to 0.45 with 40% CDR ), making Cassiopeia one of the ( if not 'the' ) highest single-target DPS in the game.
It also allow Cassiopeia to sustain, as it refunds her HP, increased when the ennemy is poisoned. Combined with a Rod of Ages, it gives Cassio a great survivability during squirmishes or even teamfights.
During the laning phase, it is an excellent tool to farm, as its mana cost is totally refunded if the target is killed by Twin Fang.
NB : Mana cost is refunded even if the target dies during the animation ( which is different from Irelia's Q, for example ).
Damages are increased on ennemies that are poisoned by an ally ( Teemo's "shrooms", Singed's Q ... ), making it easier for Cassio when played with one of these champions.
Petrifying Gaze (R)
Another unique abilty in the Cassiopeia's kit. This is the only hard CC she has, but it is a very powerful one : Petrifying Gaze is a non-targeted ability, with a short casting time. In a cone in front of you, ennemies are damaged, slowed, and those who are facing you when the casting time ends are stunned for 2 sec.
As it has a short casting time, ennemies may react to the sound + animation and turn away from the Cassiopeia. However, it also allows Cassio to Flash during the animation. If so :
The Cassiopeia's orientation do not change with the flash, no matter the direction she chose. The ultimate will be "launched" from the point she flashed to, allowing her to Petrifying Gaze + Flash to suprise ennemies that are far from Cassio, or to stun someone fleeing in front on her by casting her R behind her, and then flashing in front of the ennemy.
You will always start with Twin Fang (E), since the rework in S6, and the E not needing to be land on a poisonned target to have a low CD, there is no interest in starting with Q.
You will always take Noxious Blast (Q) level 2, as it gives you some push potential, and a good trading capacity. Theoretically, if you empty your Mana pool with Q/EEE/Q/EEE [...] you'll outtrade every single champ in the game.
The only debatable point is whether you should take a second point in your E, or take your third spell (W) when you up level 3. Here is what I suggest :
- If you play against someone whose champion doesn't have any movement ability ( Syndra, Annie, Lux ... ), and the ennemy jungler doesn't have one either, or if you're certain that he won't gank you, and you want to have the biggest trade potential to all-in : take a second point in Twin Fang.
- However, if you think that you might get ganked, or if the ennemy is a Fizz, a Zed, or anyone with an all-in potential with a dash at level 3, take your W. The slow will allow you to survive more easily to any gank, and the disable of movement abilities makes you safer against any all-in.
After this, upgrade your spells following the priority order given earlier. Taking a third point in Q before your lvl 9 is not advisable, as it will delay your first powerspikes, and the damage + movespeed gain won't make a huge difference compared to your E max.
This gives us a direction to give to our builds and Cassiopeia will need :
- Amplifying Tome AP and magic penetration, obviously, as her job is to deal damages. But also
- Sapphire Crystal Mana, to be able to make fights lasting long; the Twin Fang mana cost, despite being low, shreds Cassio's mana pool as it burns 160 Mana pts per second with ~40% CDR.
- Fiendish Codex CDR, to maximize her damages. This point will be explained more precisely later.
- Ruby Crystal HP, and more generally defensive statistics, to survive to burst and outdamage her opponents during longer trades.
- First, as she relies a lot on her (Q) to poison the ennemy and deal damages, and as it is a skillshot, missing a Q without CDR means that Cassio's damage output will be extremely low for 3.5 sec, while this duration is reduced to 2.1 sec with 40% CDR. The time gained, ~1.5 s, is enough to cast three Twin Fang, which is HUGE
- But it also multiplies the Cassiopeia's DPS by almost 1.7
Imagine what could a LeBlanc with 40% CDR do in a fight compared to a 0% CDR one. They'll both use Distortion at the same time, then Shatter Orb, etc. But, when the first LeBlanc will recover her Distortion cooldown, she might not be able to use it immediately. She has the potential to (W) faster than the other LB, but she might have to wait to use it in the best way. Thus, the 40% CDR gives a lot of potential to LeBlanc, but her damage output, in certain case, might be the same with or without CDR.
This explanation goes for many champions : the idea is that sometimes, you have to wait before using an ability, to make the best use of it.
For Cassiopeia, the situation is different. Indeed, she can, and she will, spam Twin Fang whenever it is available, as you don't have a "best way of using it" or any requirement : if you are in range and you want to DPS, you can use it. So your DPS phases in fights will be multiplied exactly by your CDR : the formula is simple, as having X% CDR means that your CD are reduced by X%, thus making you able to cast them 100/X times more in the same amount of time. If you have 40% CDR, you use your spells 100/40 = 1.66 times more, making your Damages Per Second multiplied by almost 1.7 with Cassio as you effectively use your spells as soon as they are available.
You see that CDR, for a Cassiopeia, is a fundamental statistic : not only it gives her access to the (Q) movespeed, (W) zoning or (R) CC more often, it also multiplies her DPS more than any other stat. Thus, in our runes and build, we will try to get 40% or at least 30% CDR without the blue buff.
+ Ranged champion
+ Huge scaling
+ Unique gameplay and kit
+ Gamebreaker ultimate
+ One of the highest single-taget DPS
+ Very interesting to play, outplay potential
+ Can destroy a game alone
- Squishy without defensive items
- Low escape
- Relies on good mechanics, especially kiting
- Weak early game
- Has some very hard counters
- Based on skillshots landing
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power * 3 These are the standard quintessence you'll run with an AP midlaner, nothing really special there.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration * 9 These runes allow you to deal damages in early game, compensate the MR runes of your ennemy, and will synergize later with Void Staff or Liandry's Anguish.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction * 6 Having 6 of them grants you 10% CDR at lvl 18, and as I explained in a previous point, CDR is one of the best offensive statistic for Cassiopeia. Combined with a Morellonomicon and another 10%CDR item, or the blue buff, you'll reach 40% CDR.
- Greater Glyph of Magic Resist * 3 The goal is there to reduce the early damages of your opponent, who is most likely to be AP in the midlane, and later on, any upcoming magic damage from jungler, support or toplaner.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Health * 9 These runes become very effective as the game goes on, are way more useful than Armor Seals against an magic damage-dealer opponent, and allow Cassiopeia to survive the burst she will have no way to avoid due to her low escape capacity.
Against a physical opponent
- You MUST take Greater Seal of Armor * 9 instead of the HP Scaling one. Cassiopeia base armor is quite low, these opponents ( Talon, Zed ... ) often run Lethality runes and tend to build physical penetration-based items. They also are assassins, or at least good duelist, and will try to kill you. Running HP against them will be inefficient, as their penetration will allow them to deal true damages to you and destroy you.
- You might want to change your three Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist, or Greater Glyph of Ability Power depending on the magic damage you will be facing later on the game. This is not fundamental, as they will always be some source of magic damage in their team, and you only have 3 runes of this type anyway.
Against lategame team composition
In this case, the point is that you won't be useful early on no matter what, as a Cassiopeia. One idea could be to run flat runes to try to snowball quickly, but another one is that your lategame will be hard so you have to be as powerful as possible yourself. In other words, you let your team decide what the early/midgame will look like, and you will try to carry them later.
In this situation, you might want to skip the Morellonomicon in order to get more offensive items ( Void Staff ... ) and some real defense ( Banshee's Veil, Zhonya's Hourglass ... ). By doing this, you lose 20% CDR without the Morello, and need to compensate this loss in your runes.
I suggest you to run :
- Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction * 1 along two flat AP runes
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction * 9
This allow you to have +20% CDR at lvl 18, which can become a 30% or 40% with one or two other items, or the blue buff.
This page is quite specific, and gives you a terribly weak early game. However, you become a scaling monstruous DPS machine, with a massive AP/Magic pen build where CDR isn't a stat you need to invest on.
I will first compare every step of the two first trees, and the 4 first ones of the last tree, in order to give a precise explanation. I will then give a few examples of pages, refering to their keystone, rather than presenting every point for every set.
The little conclusion after each mastery is not a "must-follow rule", but only what the usual choice would be !
All the explainations are made in the paragraphs, so read them if you want to understand when and why these choices are the good ones !
vs Sorcery : Nothing special to say there, as you are obviously scaling on AP more than AS :
5 points in Sorcery
vs Feast vs
: The real debate does not involve
, as you are the main damage dealer of your team, and you mainly deal damages to one target at a time.
I personnally prefer Feast, as it gives a very interesting sustain during the laning phase, and combined to your Twin Fang sustain, you'll be able to farm safely for hours.
However, in some very easy matchups ( Ryze, Karthus ... ), or some MU where you are seeing for pre-6 pressure ( typically vs all-in melee champ, where sustain won't change that much : Akali, Diana, Yasuo ... ), Fresh Blood can be a very good option :
1 point in Fresh Blood or Feast, depending on the matchup.
: Both choices are fine. I prefer to spend 5 points in
, that gives spellvamp which gives a huge sustain in lategame fights, combined with Rod of Ages + Twin Fang.
Natural Talent is useful only for its AP part, and you are already reaching enormous AP amounts, so I do not think it is necessary :
5 points in Vampirism .
Double Edged Sword
: I always use
, because as you are not looking for an instant burst, you'll end up quickly fully using its bonus, even in early game trades.
Meanwhile, Bounty Hunter requires you to kill a lot of different ennemies to be effective. As Cassiopeia do not roam that much, it is not really worth the price.
Finally, Double Edged Sword only makes you more vulnerable to early kills, for only a few percent more damages than Battle Trance :
1 point in Battle Trance
: Nothing interesting here, as you are doind almost 100% magical damages, even with Liandry's passive or Luden's one :
5 points in Piercing Thoughts
Fervor of Battle
: Even if there is no real choice there, as
is the only one interesting for us, I'll explain why it is a good mastery :
It is the keystone which will bring you the most damages in lategame. Moreover, with Cassio, your DoT ( Noxious Blast, Miasma ) and your AP amounts thanks to your 6 items will make it even more effective. It will be refreshed constantly with your E spamming, thus making it a permanent DPS buff. Combined with Liandry's Anguish, your poisons will end up doing almost 1.5 times more damages than what they should :
1 point in Deathfire Touch
vs Savagery : As you will get stuck onto your midlane if your opponent decided to roam faster than you ( for example, Ahri, LeBlanc ... ), you will need extra movespeed to join the incoming fight, which can be a terrible 3v2 crush if you cannot manage to be there in time. Plus, the extra damages given by Savagery are not really necessary, as you will last hit pretty easily with Twin Fang :
5 points in Wanderer
: you won't benefit much from
as you will probably wait until your first blue buff, and you will never take the red one. Thus, this is not a good investment.
Secret Stash can be good, but you will need to buy some potions to make it efficient, and this is not likely to happens as your innate sustain is enough in easy lanes, and Corrupting Potion is there in hard ones.
Meanwhile, you will stay in midlane for a while, and so will be playing in duel :
1 point in Assassin
: Both masteries are useful to play. As it depends on your playstyle more than the other masteries ( afk farming or seeking for kills ), I do not recommend anything special as long as you play according to the point you chose ( farming with
, trading with
). Another viable option is to split the 5 points you get, and this is what most people do :
3 points in Merciless , 2 point in Meditation
: You won't autoattack that much, and are a ranged champion, making
Greenfather's Gift might be good toplane, as many bushes are along the lane, bu it midlane you will almost never be able to use it.
Dangerous Game allow you to sustain both mana and HP during fights, as you will probably get some assists or kills, or it might allow you to survive a DoT that would have killed you after your opponent died :
1 point in Dangerous Game
- Precision vs
: Despite being extremely efficient on Cassiopeia, the extra-CDR given by
is not enough to justify its price.
Indeed, the magic pen will scale extremely well with your build, as you will probably get a lot of AP before buying any magic pen. Moreover, it will give you a flat ~10 Magic Pen at level one, multiplying your damages more than 5% CDR.
To be precise, 5% CDR will give you, ultimately ( lvl 18 + full stuff ) more damages than the 8.4 magic penetration, if your ennemies build Magic Resist. However, even at this point, the difference won't be much, and having a decent early game will be a lot easier than betting on super lategame fights :
5 points in Precision
: as you have no shield or heal towards allies, the third keystone is definitely useless.
Stormraider's Surge is extremely powerful. You will have no problem using it, as you can (Q) + 3*(E) during the 2.5 sec needed to trigger it. The huge movespeed + slow reduction given by the keystone, combined to your Noxious Blast's MS, and sometimes Ghost, will make your ennemies go mad, as you will be running way too fast for them. However, it requires good mechanics, as it won't be easy to kite well ( not too close, not too far ) and to dodge skillshots. If you just move randomly at 600 MS, this is a bad use of the keystone !
Thunderlord's Decree is also viable. In laning phase, you can proc it very easily with this combo:
Noxious Blast -> Twin Fang + Autoattack
This might help you to pressure easy lanes, with the same idea that I already explained in the first tree for Fresh Blood . However, once the game goes on, this little burst won't make a huge difference, and deathfire touch would be a better choice to deal damages later in the game :
1 point in Stormraider's Surge
: You won't stack a lot of Magic Resist or Armor, besides your basic statistic or runes. Thus, you have no interest to play with
5 points in Recovery
: if you are playing with this tree, you are facing a ( very ) hard lane. Thus, you will try to use the defensive masteries of this tree.
Siegemaster might look as good option, however you will usually have enough range not to be poked while under tower : the danger will come, precisely, while you are out of your tower's range.
But Tough Skin will be useful for every autoattack trade you might take in early game, and above all, it will reduce the damages coming from the minions :
1 point in Tough Skin
: Both choice are viable. If you fear the early game, go for
. The bonus sustain given by
is not neglectable either, but you might look for earlier stats if you are spending that much in the Resolve Tree :
5 points in Veteran's Scars
vs Perseverance vs
looking pretty good at first sight, having your flash 45 sec earlier won't always save you. Plus, it is not as teamplay oriented as a toplaner having its Teleport 45 sec before the ennemy one, and using it to make TP plays.
Perseverance can also look great, but you won't have that much problem sustaining from low life. Moreover, you will not try to stay in lane vs lane-bullies with less than 25% life, thus making it hard to use effectively.
Meanwhile, Fearless grants you huge capacity to survive bursts :
1 point in Fearless
This is almost viable in any situation, as your primary role is to be an AP carry.
Deathfire Touch is the keystone that will grant you the maximum damage output during fights, if you manage to survive long enough to DPS !
This mastery set is more effective against tanky compositions, where your team already has peel for you ( you are playing with Shen, or Lulu, or other 'disengage' or peel champions ). It is also good when you don't try to take an early advantage by yourself, or to outplay your direct opponent, but when you are seeking for midgame or lategame teamfights, or when you follow your team.
To sum up, it is not that much a "soloQ" keystone, as it won't allow you to outplay your ennemies, and if you somehow manage to get fed, you might be hard focused while your team doesn't react - remember these games where you were 5/0/3 and your allied Shen decided to ALWAYS ult your feeding ADC instead of you.
This is my standard masteries page, and should be yours too. I already explained some of the advantages of the Stormraider's Surge in the dedicated paragraph, but I'll explain there which team composition makes it optimal :
You will make the best use of this keystone in games where most of the opponents are squishy ( so you can proc it easily - forget it against a Shen/Maokai/Galio/adc/Blitz draft ), and where you excpect yourself to outplay your ennemies : you rely on the extra movespeed, which is not a combat statistic in itself, to dodge/kite/reposition during fights.
This is also good against "diving bruisers" composition ( Irelia, Riven, Fiora, and more generally Diana, Akali ... ) where you will be focused even if you position well. Running Stormraider's Surge will allow to hit-and-run easily and to survive a violent bruiser chasing you.
To sum up : always a good choice, as it allows you to outplay people, can be used offesively or defensively, and does not rely on teammates or items to be effective. However, it needs a bit of training to be used, as it might surprise when it triggers, and requires a bit of "mechanics".
Not a keystone I recommend, however it can be useful in some very specific situations : if you clearly have an advantage over your ennemy midlaner, and if you don't think you'll need the extra damages from Deathfire Touch or the extra movespeed granted by Stormraider's Surge , you can run it in order to destroy quickly your opponent, to snowball.
However, as Cassiopeia is not that good in lane-bullying, you might not be able to snowball hard and end the game alone, so you may think that taking DFT would have been better to DPS.
To sum up, it can use to snowball a game quickly, not playing according to your usual playstyle as a Cassio or to the team composition as a whole.
18/0/12 or 0/18/12 : Resolve Tree investment
The choice between the three keystones is up to you, according to my previous explanations.
However, the missing 12 points won't be invested in the Ferocity or Cunning Tree, as they would have been ususlly, for ONE reason : you are terrified by your direct opponent burst ( aka Syndra ), or by some super-hard engage + burst composition ( for example, Malphite AND Alistar AND an assassin ).
However, as hard engage composition are usually tanky, the damages and sustain given by the first two trees is not neglectable, thus reducing the 12 points in Resolve Tree only necessay in one case :
The BURST. As I already explained in this guide, this is the first threat you are facing as Cassiopeia. Then, you will invest 12 points almost only to have access to Fearless .
To sum up : use this page when facing Syndra.
Flash is a must-have summoner spell for Cassiopeia. Not only allowing you to lane safely and preventing you from dying during a gank, or a bad trade, it gives you a way to reposition yourself during fights as you have no dash/blink in your spells. It will keep you alive if you react quickly enough after an assassin all-in, or when a bruiser tries to dive the backline of your team.
It also gives her the capacity to engage through your Flash + Petrifying Gaze combo. This technic, as a move requiring a bit of practice to be used properly, will be detailed in a following section dedicated to this kind of micro-moves.
The second summoner spell
Here, many choices are up to you :
Ghost will be your main summoner spell after Flash. It combines very well with the Cassio's natural ability to kite, which still can be a bit limited to survive to an Irelia, or a Riven who decided to kill you. With your spells having a good range - Miasma even having a minimal range - you will be able to maintain a ~500 to ~700 units between you and the opponent you are hitting, even if he tries to run away or to chase you.
During fights, you should be able to dodge most of the incoming skillshots that might hurt you or CC you, with Ghost, your passive, and easy-to-land (Q) in a 5v5 situation.
During laning phase, it is quite a weak summoner though, not giving any combat power comparable to Ignite or Exhaust. Nevertheless, you can try to roam way better than what you could without Ghost, to apply pressure to a sidelane. After having enough items, you could even 1v2 the ennemy botlane, during a weird roaming timing where no one would except you to go alone to the botside of the map.
Exhaust is a good summoner to run, and can be used in almost every situation. However, the Ghost might be sometimes more useful, but your Exhaust will never be a "bad choice".
Indeed, this spell has two main effects :
First, it reduces the physical and magical damages dealt by the ennemy you exhausted for a brief time, this effect being instantly effecive as you cast Exhaust. Thus, as you will outdamage almost anyone during a long trade, running this summoner allow you to survive to any initial burst and so winning the duel, as you will sustain and DPS more than your ennemy once he has burnt his abilities. You can also turn easily a 1v2 situation, using your ultimate Petrifying Gaze on at least one of them, and exhausting the one that might not have been stunned. You can then kill one or the other, as they will have no real counterplay.
Secondly, Exhaust slows your target. This cool side-effect will allow you to reposition yourself if you somehow get surprised by a dash-in or a flash-in, or to keep an eenemy in range for your Twin Fang. Above all, it gives you a free Noxious Blast on the targeted ennemy, if he has no dash, as he will run too slowly to dodge it.
Matchups where this is a must-have :
Akali, Katarina, Yasuo, Zed
Matchups where this is a good choice nonetheless :
Ekko, Jayce, Kassadin, LeBlanc, Syndra, Talon ...
Cleanse, for the same reasons, is a pretty good summoner spell.
As you are mostly vulnerable to burst damages, you absolutely don't want to be hit by a CC during which you could easily dive, thus not doing your long-term damage dealer role.
The Cleanse will allow you to escape a painful CC you were hit by, and to reposition quickly with the movespeed buff.
However, if you are too slow to react, or if you are already caught in a bad place, you will also need your Flash or at least your ultimate to escape or to win the fight, as you have no inner dash to reposition yourself after having cleansed the CC.
Matchups where this is a must-have :
Galio, Morgana, Lissandra, Twisted Fate
Matchups where is a good choice nonetheless :
Ahri, Anivia, LeBlanc, Ryze, Syndra, Veigar
Barrier is not as powerful as exhaust to avoid burst damages, but it doesn't need to be cast on your ennemy, thus allowing you to survive to long distance damages. You will run it if you don't need ghost, and if you think the only real theats will come from long-range champions, or to untargetable champions. More specifically, it can be good against True Damages.
There is not any matchup where you must run it, but some are pretty easier with this instead of Exhaust or Ghost
Matchups where you can go for a Barrier:
Fizz, Lux, Orianna, Talon, Vel'Koz, Xerath
I would not recommend to play with a Teleport, even when playing a hard lane, because you won't be able to teleport behind a fight, to flank or destroy the backline : you are too squishy and too easy to be focused.
I would not recommend to use an Ignite, as you don't need extra damages to kill : even in 1v1 situation, Exhaust is better as it gives you a free (Q) and thus extra damages with your Twin Fang spam. May be, against a Vladimir or a Swain, but even there, I prefer to go for a Ghost and rush a Morellonomicon or ask my ADC to do a Mortal Reminder.
Heal can be used as a substitute to Barrier. As you are more or less subject to a lot of Morellonomicon users in the midlane, or some champions like Katarina reducing your heals, I do not recommend it either.