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Kassadin Build Guide by Ye Ol Pipeweed

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ye Ol Pipeweed

A Fresh Take on Kassawin (Including Thoughts on Pre-Season 5

Ye Ol Pipeweed Last updated on November 5, 2014
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

Threats to Kassadin with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Karthus Yey Karthus. Sure he is a bit annoying early with his constant harass. But it's low damage if played right, can be dodged, and can be sustained with flask. He is also almost a free kill post 6, enjoying no mobility at all.
Rumble Izy Mode. Dodge all his damage early while harassing him, you can even all-in him early if you time it just right. After 6 this becomes such a joy.
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Welcome to Ye Ol Pipesmoker's Kassawin guide. This will be a guide on how to play the modern post-Olaf'ing Kassadin to some fraction of his former success, by exploiting how the new Kassadin works.
Basically what any player looking to take Kassadin to the rift needs is a comprehensive gameplan, a well thought out build (provided Above), as well as some theorycrafting about how to mechanically utilize kass best, so that he *gasp* actually does damage after all these nerfs. All of these I'll provide in the next sections, Enjoy.

Feel free to comment and rate, but please don't downvote without actually trying the suggested build and playstyle.

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Where is my RoA!?

The one thing that is different in this build compared to any other Kassadin build is that there is no Rod of Ages involved. This is a key difference that IMO is necessary for the success of new Kass.
Imagine this Standard Midgame Item build: RoA at 5 minutes, Sorc shoes and Large rod. This provides decent stats, with good HP, some regen when getting levels, and a good mana pool. But at this point in the game, with only 150AP Kassadin will be dealing next to no damage compared to many other midlaners with much higher ratios. They could buy the same items even, and would get much better usage out of them. But there are no other AP assassins that benefit from a large mana pool like Kass you say? well think again:
On Old kass this was true, as you would oftentimes stack Riftwalk 4 or 5 times without thinking about it. But Old Kass also had ridiculous base damages, and higher ratios to make up for the time spent getting mana.
On New Kass it doesn't make sense because time spent farming for mana is essentially wasted. you NEVER ever want to have more than one riftwalk stack before engaging a fight. It doesn't matter your mana pool. As Boromir would say,"one does not simply take a 1200 mana cost lightly".
The only way of maintaining mana on new Kass is W. And this can be done with or without a large mana pool. Thus it is more efficient to be at midgame with: Lich Bane, Sorc's and a Large Rod.
This provides a fourth AP ratio, that with good comboing can occur twice in a burst of damage, as well as more immediate AP. It comes at the cost of tankiness, but honestly: a Kassadin without riftwalk doesn't survive unless he has a zhonyas.

So my New Kass is basically an effectivisation of his build. You build pure damage with the progression being Lich Bane => Zhonyas => Rabadons, rather than the awkward RoA => Zhonyas => Lich Bane => Void Staff => Rabadons, or any other iteration of that (the last three items can change places). That build is awkward, as it's real power spike actually only comes with the last item. At any other time the build will be inferior to what other AP mids are running at the same time.

Now How to Use it:

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Early game laning.

First up will be a summary of how to play the new kass. There are some basic laning mechanics, comboes etc. that need to be taught.

When you spawn on the rift you will normally bring two things; Crystalline flasks and an ignite.
The first thing means that you have to play a different style from how most people (starting with dorans), approach the laning phase, and a style that may seem counterintuitive to people thinking of kass as "a weak early laner".
Basically what you wanna do is trade. Trade all the time, but dont trade mindlessly. Stay back for the duration of CD's, exploit the enemies CD's, use Q to dodge harass (always use it on the champ, then last hit minions with AA), but by all means trade ALL the time.
You want to trade early on kass, as this will let your jungler gank a low opponent, potentially snowballing you, while you sustain with flask.
What you want to avoid is all'ins. Even on half HP many strong early laners are more than a match for an early game kassadin; Think Darius, Riven, Nocturne, etc. But if you can simply trade, then that is optimal.
The second thing, ignite, means that you have to ALWAYS be on the lookout for that opportunistic kill. It's very easy on Kassadin to forget his W damage and E as they are rarely available for use, but always look for that "flash-AA-W-Q-E-ignite" opportunistic kill that will snowball you, and secure the lane. Dont mind blowing your flash for a kill. As long as you force your opponent out of lane on it, chances are you will have Riftwalk available before you need it again.

So much for the Early laning phase. Enter Midgame.

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Sir Gankalot.

Midgame is where this kassa excels. Find, and join every single skirmish after you get you sheen + boots. Turn up where people dont expect you to. It doesn't even matter if you lose top turret for it, just make sure you take objectives + kills elsewhere. Particularly if you got a lead through smart play in the laning phase.
Certain things that can be done in the midgame are classic kassadin cheeses:

A: Riftwalking over a wall to instagib a low person recalling. This classic can be done a thousand ways, and is one of the best ways to cause people intense frustration, as well as getting fed.

B: Find the enemy jungler in his own jungle when he is low. Noone can escape a Kassadin, and you will almost always get away on top of that.

C: The Kassadin lane gank. Recall in sight of the enemy and then charge up a lane, suddenly riftwalking on top of a pushed up bot team. Particularly effective if you have homeguard boots.

One helpful tip for the highest possible damage midgame is to proc sheen twice, as well as gaining highest possible mana returns on w. This is done by Riftwalking on top of the champion, AA'ing once for the sheen proc, followed up by Q-E and then a W. Most people W on the autoattack once they end riftwalk, which means they will not quite get a second proc when bursting, and also not get partial refunds of the Q and E mana costs.

Another thing to note when playing Kass: Buy wards. it pays off every time you spot an enemy in the wrong spot. You have the mobility to utilize them very, very well. So buy them, and place them.

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The Endgame.

Kassadin can fulfil two roles in a teamcomp:

When teamfighting you can seek to actively bait enemy abilities through "mispositioning". When the enemy uses a key ability you engage through riftwalk dodging the ability, and wasting the cooldown. At this point you should not Riftwalk away as most kass'es do, but rather engage with the Riftwalk on top of a Carry.
They will now dump even more AoE ults on your face, while you Zhonyas and proceed to laugh maniacially over curse voice. If your team follows up of course. If they don't you're honestly screwed, but hey that's yolo queue.

The second role is that of a split pusher/XPeke master.
It is no weird thing that XPeke made one of the most celebrated league plays on Kassadin. In fact he wouldn't have gotten that nexus on any other champion. The Lich Bane procs to take down turrets, as well as the mobility to avoid and juke pursuers, make for one of Kassadins most celebrated ways to play the game.
This is best done when ahead, as Kassadin is Melee, and thus any smart person will just send someone with a bit of wave clear to the lane, frustrating him, if he cant actually kill the person under turret.
But if you are ahead, and they send two, or even three people to get that shutdown cash money, then proceed to spam laugh while your team is doing Baron/taking inhibs/doing something else that is worthwhile doing.
And if they decide to fight your team. Well then it's time to do the XPeke dance on their base.

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A Final Note on when to play Kassadin.

Unlike in the old days one shall not always pick Kassadin. He is not OP. He is not Broken.
Their are definite rules as to when picking Kass is good or not, and they should be followed. In order to understand them you need to know which comps Kassadin works well in:

Multiple Threat Comps.
This is probably one of kassadins best Comp options. Pair him up with a Kha'six, Rengo etc. in the Jungle, and a Twitch, Kog'maw etc. in the bottom lane. What this does is allow Kassadin to be part of an assassin roaming squad in the midgame, feeding your snowbally characters, as well as forcefeeding your hypercarry into lategame. This, combined with a suitably tanky peel support (Braum, Thresh or Janna optimally), and a support/zone control midlaner such as Orianna, Azir, Galio, etc. Makes for a deathball in which there is no right or wrong choice for your opponent. They either focus the diving assassins, and get blown up by the hypercarry, or try to dive the hypercarry, leaving there backline open to two high mobility assassins.

The Split push + Siege Comp.
Kassadin works great at getting a siege comp ahead, allowing them to effectively 4v5 if kiting properly, while you take down objectives elsewhere on the map, or vice vers, you being chased and them taking objectives sieging 4v4 or 4v3. Also kassadin thrives in these high poke comps even when with the team, because of his great followup once enemies get too low.

When not to play Kassadin.
When your team has no consistent damage threat: Ezrael ADC?, high CD teamfight mage mid?
Kassadins not your man. This will result in a low damage comp, that doesn't afford much snowball, or assassination potential.
Also don't play Kassadin when your team does not have sufficient engage, and followup engage. It's important for kassadin to have something going in with him when he dives the backline, and draws people CD's. Or otherwise they will simply blow him up with basic abilities once he's out of zhonyas. And you probably wont even have a kill to show for it.

That's that for this guide, I hope you enjoyed, and I'm looking very much forward to seeing my new Kassadin in the LCS (As if.).