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AD Malzahar - The True Power of the Voidlings
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Introduction - Why AD Malzahar?
Malzahar is a very flexible champion and a lot of people haven't realized because he is quite underplayed. The most common type is of course AP, and the other highly underrated way is AD.
In this guide I'm going to explain the way I play AD Malzahar. The reason why AD Malzahar is viable is because his Voidlings actually scale 1.0 of Malzahar's Bonus AD and they benefit from Malzahar's Armor Penetration. It's not stated in any in-game tool tips and the damage done doesn't show in the Voidling's HUD when you hover over it in-game but you can easily see a damage increase if you purchase AD or Armor Penetration items.
I don't build too many AD items in this build because Malzahar doesn't benefit a lot from many of the current AD items. Critical Strike, Attack Speed and Lifesteal items doesn't benefit Voidlings and therefore a lot of AD options are eliminated. When you are fighting Champions you would need as many Voidlings out as possible and that is why I build Manamune so you can spam skills to acquire Voidlings for a limited time. Cooldown reduction is also needed for more Voidlings on the battlefield. The Brutalizer/ Black Cleaver are some of the best options for cooldown reduction if you want to focus on building AD.
This guide in particularly focuses on bot lane AD Carry Malzahar. However he is also viable as a mid laner, top laner and jungler. However in different lanes you might consider buying a couple of different items.
NOTE: I recommend you to at least try this build out before voting.
I put this video up for some "proof" that this build is actually viable and not just a troll build.
- Has one of the highest damgage outputs per second with two or three Voidlings up.
- Can deal damage while moving, i.e. chasing or running away from enemies.
- Less cooldown dependent and stronger early game compared to AP Malzahar.
- Enemy single target crowd control that gets used upon Malzahar doesn't stop a lot of your damage output because the Voidlings will still be attacking.
- The Voidlings will dance if you "/Dance" when a voidling is spawned.
- Bad chasing and escaping potential unless your team have some kind of speed boost or hard cc.
- Champions with long range can sometimes be a problem because the lack of gap closers from Malzahar.
- It's hard to play with a support you don't know. I recommend you to play as a full premade or just queue with someone who can support you in bot-lane.
- People might think you are trolling when you're building AD but just show them that you can win games with it.
Overall the only problem is a high mobility team and sometimes teams with long range.
The Voidlings is your main damage output in this build. They are only affected by your Armor Penetration and 1.0 bonus Attack Damage (not by life steal, attack speed, critical strike or spell vamp).
- The Voidlings Prioritize attacking champions in this order: Target affected by Nether Grasp > Malefic Visions > Malzahar's Auto-Attacks > The most nearby target/random target.
- The Voidlings will not draw tower aggro to Malzahar if you don't attack an enemy champion with any of your magic damage skills or your auto attacks. Attacking an enemy with auto-attacks before you enter tower range while having one or two Voidling(s) will cause some heavy damage to the enemy champion if you just walk with the Voidling(s) when you enter tower range so that the Voidling(s) won't deaggro the champion. At the same time your champion won't take tower damage doing this correctly.
- With two to three Voidlings up Malzahar is an exceptional dualist with just your core items. If you have Exhaust or Nether Grasp it is really rare that you will end up dying to anyone 1v1 and you can end up winning a 1v2. The Voidling's DPS are often stronger then most other people's DPS.
- If a target gets infected by Malefic Visions and moves out of ally sight range into the fog of war (e.i. a brush or behind an obstacle) the Voidling(s) will not follow them into the fog of war and will just attack the most nearby target instead.
Call Of The Void
- This spell can be used for scouting the fog of war (e.i. checking bushes for champions or checking if jungle monsters are up).
- As AD this spell is mostly useful for the silence and for charging the Voidling counter. However it deals some decent AoE Magic damage if you hit multiple targets and can be used for last hitting minions at a long range.
- Use this skill at the spawn pool at the start of a game to have a Summon Voidling on the next or 2 next spell casts.
- Try using this skill when out of battle if you don't have a Voidling on next cast. This can help your damage output once a fight occurs (Only do this if you can afford the mana cost, don't do this a lot early game if you haven't got your Tear of the Goddess yet).
- Deals quite nice magic damage over time even without any AP.
- Try using it on your opponent before you use your ultimate, Nether Grasp for maximum damage output.
- You can also use this before a battle to charge your Voidling counter. However Null Zone has a longer cooldown compared to Call of the Void. The good thing about using Null Zone to charge Summon Voidling is that it doesn't stop your movement.
- I max Call of the Void second because the duration of the silence gets longer on each level up. The damage from Null Zone is a lot stronger late game due to enemies having more HP and therefor it's usually better to max last.
- I max this skill first because the cooldown is reduced on each level and you can get more Voidlings out that way. It is also the second easiest way of controlling your Voidlings and you gain more mana back if a target dies with Malefic Visions for every point you put into this skill.
- Early game this is the skill you mainly use for harass, farming and obtaining Summon Voidling stacks.
- Always use this on the enemy you want to focus. Your Voidlings will go straight for them and they have to back up if they don't want to get easily focused fired by your Voidlings.
- In team fights it's usually best to use this on a target affected by crowd control as enemies can quite easily run or Flash away from your Voidlings if they are not held in place by crowd control.
- If you are being chased, using Malefic Visions on the enemy chasing you allows your Voidlings to damage them while Malzahar can run away and not having to auto attack to deal damage back (this works best against melee champs but works against ranged champions too). If other ADCs wants to deal damage while moving then they have to kite more instead of just running which puts Malzahar at an advantage as he covers more ground then other ADCs who doesn't have escape mechanisms.
- This skill is not mainly used for the damage part when playing AD Malzahar. It is mainly used for the utility it grants and has great synergy with Voidlings. It shuts down almost any champion that doesn't have a Quicksilver Sash or allies with hard-cc whom can interrupt you from channeling it. Champions that have a Silence, Knockup, Knockback, Fling, Stun, Suppression, Fear, Taunt or Charm can interrupt you channeling your Nether Grasp. Try to avoid using your ultimate on Gangplank, Olaf and Alistar because they can cancel Nether Grasp with Remove Scurvy, Ragnarok and Unbreakable Will.
- It's always nice to let the Voidlings get into range of your target by using Auto Attacks or Malefic Visions and when they are right at your target you use Nether Grasp so that Voidlings don't have to waste any time walking to your target during the suppression.
- Sometimes just using Nether Grasp before a fleeing enemy can escape will allow your team and Voidling(s) to focus the enemy down.
- Use this skill on a champion in range of a tower who have or is about to take tower aggro for free damage on that champion and usually a kill if your ultimate doesn't get interrupted.
If your support doesn't pick Exhaust it is also an okay substitute for Barrier as it helps you make people over commit trying to kill you.
Ghost is also a viable option because you can more easily chase enemies or escape from enemies. Utility is one of Malzahar's weaknesses and Ghost helps him improve that.
Teleport is a decent option as you can use it to split push very well late game. Not the best summoner spell for killing potential early in your lane though.
Cleanse is an option too, personally I would only pick it on Malzahar if they have a ton of lock down from crowd control. If they don't have that much and just some then the tenacity from Mercury's Treads should be enough or a potential Quicksilver Sash if the enemies have suppressing crowd control.
Remember to swap the improved Summoner Spells around if you are not using the same ones as me.
I find that Armor Penetration tends to be more effective in comparison to the attack damage counterpart at least for the marks. Since you will already be buying The Brutalizer it is better to stack it with as much Armor Penetration as you possibly can.
Greater Seal of Armor
More armor makes you survive the enemy's physical damage.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
I prefer these over the flat ones because bot lane usually deals more physical damage and the magic resist is a lot more useful mid to late game when you start to fight the enemy magic damage dealers more. I also have a second page with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist and it's usually worth having both if you have enough rune pages if the enemy bot lane has a lot of magic damage.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction and Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction are both viable options especially if they don't have a fully dedicated AP Carry on the enemy team which tends to happen from time to time.
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
I still prefer these over Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage because they stack well through out the game and it's easier to obtain high AD items in comparison to high flat armor penetration. The changes to penetration makes flat armor penetration more beneficial when combined with Last Whisper
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
I may take 1 or 2 of these if I feel the added mobility is needed.
Normal AD Carries commonly use AD marks and Quints to help last hitting minions early game and too boost their potential damage early game but the armor penetration runes will help you scale better as you will already get The Brutalizer. In my opinion you don't need easier last hits once you get used to Malzahar's attack animation and his skills. If it is your first time you can use 15 AD in runes to get some nice early game damage to help last hitting.
sight ward + 6 pots of choice or no ward and 8 pots
Most common start among ADCs. Decent start, you are very mana hungry early game and the only form of sustain to your health you have with this starting build is the 5 HP you get on-hit. You will most likely pick up 1 or 2 Doran's Blades even if you don't pick one up as starting item.
Good start if you need to dodge skill shots while still having some good health sustain from 4 Health Potions. Again no mana sustain, if you feel like you won't need the Health Potions you can swap 1 or 2 out for Mana Potions
Usually the safest start with up to 750 extra health from Health Potions if you go for 5 of them while still having the mana regen from Faerie Charm and either 4 Mana Potions or 1 Sight Ward and 2 Mana Potions.
An okay start, similar to Start 1. Not much to say here. Better sustain with 300 HP from potions compared to 100 flat HP and 5 HP on-hit.
You want to stay in lane until you have a good moment to go back to base without losing out on any/too many minions.
Work against a Tear of the Goddess and pick up Boots if you haven't already. If you have more gold then consider 1 or 2 Doran's Blade if they have a lot of burst in lane or if you want more early game. You should now start working for The Brutalizer and once you have it you should be able to have a lot of killing/bullying potential in the lane with your Summon Voidling.
The time people choose boots is different from game to game. The boots I usually go for are:
I usually take Mercury's Treads if the enemies have a lot of CC. Ninja Tabi if they have a lot of AD on their team or a lot of auto attackers. Boots of Swiftness is quite good as the speed benefits you greatly for escape and chase to cover your mobility weakness. Swiftness is best if they have a lot of Slows like Nunu & Willump and not much hard CC. Ionian Boots of Lucidity is the best boots to increase your damage output but not usually the safest boots. I never buy Berserker's Greaves because you rely on Voidlings' attacks, not your own and I feel the other boots help way more.
I normally upgrade Tear of the Goddess into Manamune around now if you can't instantly afford a B. F. Sword after you've gone back to buy. You want to max the Manamune as early as possible but it is not as important as Muramana isn't very beneficial on you since it only drains more mana and you have no other way of applying more damage except for auto attacks. It can be worth it to activate when a team fight or skirmish starts though. (Using it while not fighting champions is a complete mana waste since you probably will have mana problems keeping Voidlings up.)
Bloodthirster is your next goal since it's the item that grants the most AD.
Now when the core is finished there is a lot of optional items that you can get depending on how the game is going and the enemy team composition.
Bloodthirster You can get double Bloodthirsters if you really want to opt for as much damage as possible. It's however often better to opt for some defensive AD Items.
Maw of Malmortius Usually only get this if I want Magic Resist and a shield against magic burst but it gives a nice amount of AD and no stats are wasted. The passive AD bonus is often utilized during fights too.
Last Whisper I always build this item as long as the game doesn't end early. The percentage armor penetration stacks very well with your high amount of flat Armor penetration. This Item grants more percentage armor penetration/reduction compared to the Black Cleaver which is why I buy Last Whisper over Black Cleaver.
Black Cleaver Voidlings can proc the percentage armor reduction on this item so reducing the enemies armor with it is quite easy. I tend to save The Brutalizer until my last item before I upgrade it to Black Cleaver. If you are the only major physical damage dealer on your team then you might consider buying Youmuu's Ghostblade. The critical strike percentage on this item is quite wasted but the extra flat armor penetration it grants is very nice against low armor enemies. The active is also good even if it's more beneficial to melee champions.
Maw of Malmortius
One of the better AD Items for Malzahar if you also need some magic resist. As mentioned before no stats are really wasted. If you need some early/mid MR you can always rush a Hexdrinker and leave it be for a while.
Pretty good MR item. Was better before when you could take use of the extra mana it added to use more skills and convert the mana into some AD. Still good for the added shield against rough initiates e.i. Rocket Grab, Enchanted Crystal Arrow or Unstoppable Force.
The 20% cooldown reduction this item grants is just too good to pass up. The added healing percentage only affects your lifesteal but the cdr will help you get a lot of voidlings out. I prefer this over Banshee's Veil in a lot of situations just because of the cdr.
Situational MR item. Good against some strong enemy Ultimates that you can fully or partly deny with this item. Good against Warwick's Infinite Duress, Vladimir's Hemoplague, Mordekaiser's Children of the Grave and Zed's Death Mark among other ultis. Don't forget to upgrade this item to Mercurial Scimitar when you have full build.
One of the better single defensive items in the game since it grants some nice armor as well as magic resist. Especially good on AD Malzahar since his Voidlings will keep attacking when he is reviving from it's passive.
If you need armor, this is probably the item you should be looking for since it has a lot of armor and the 20% cooldown reduction is so sweet. It also grants a bit of AD from your Manamune passive.
Even if you are mainly building AD this item's active makes it one of the best defensive items in the game. If you throw down Malefic Visions and pop Zhonya's Hourglass then your Voidlings will keep on attacking your enemy while you are invulnerable (same tactic goes for Guardian Angel). The AP is not going to waste either as your AP scalings are pretty high.
Good chunk of health and some AD. The slow is nice as you can kite and let your Voidlings stick to your target more easily.
A lot of health. If they have a lot of true damage you should probably get this or Frozen Mallet.
One of the most important things about AD Malzahar is that you need to make sure you get at least up to 30% cooldown reduction but preferably max it out to 40%. There is no 100% solid route to get there and you will probably find yourself using different CDR items every game.
Core item and getting it pretty early in the game with 10 % cdr. Not much cdr but every bit counts and the only AD item that grants cdr apart from Zephyr, Spirit of the Elder Lizard and The Brutalizer upgrades. You can either upgrade this item late game but it doesn't increase the cdr and you also have the option to switch it out, especially if by then you dont need this item for the cdr.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
You really need to plan during the game or pregame in championselect if you are going to get these boots or not. If you do get them then you just need 15% more if you don't then you need 30 %.
Spirit Visage and Frozen Heart
Based on the enemy team composition you should decide if you want Spirit Visage or Frozen Heart. Magic damage heavy -> Spirit Visage Physical Damage heavy -> Frozen Heart. If they are pretty split on damage output its based on what you prefer. I would probably choose Spirit Visage since the extra health it grants is always nice to have, the mana from Frozen heart just isn't as useful even if it grants some bonus ad and lets you cast a few more spells. In some rare situations you might decide to get both of them.
Athene's Unholy Grail
This item could potentially be one of your cdr items. If you find yourself teamfighting/skirmishing/pushing turrets as a team without going back to base for a while you would probably be out of mana pretty fast since the mana reg from Manamune isn't enough. If your mid laner doesn't need blue buff then you can of course grab it instead but if not then you can buy Athene's Unholy Grail. Also good if you need magic resist and the AP is not wasted at least. You buy this mainly for the 20% cdr and the immense mana regen.
Otherwise just keep on farming. Push in the right moments, if the enemies went back or if you have to go back so you can deny the enemy farm/save your own farm. If you are ahead you can always look to freeze the lane if you have an aggressive support.
When you hit level six you can use the same trick as mentioned above just with more chance of the enemies sticking around for the Voidling to molest your enemy. Wait until you have a Voidling in stage two or three or if you even have two Voidlings up. If you can, try to make the Voidlings walk close to your enemy by aggroing them with auto attacks or Malefic Visions so that the Voidling(s) don't waste any time walking up to your enemy during your Nether Grasp. Be careful on which lane opponent you use it on though since they one of them will probably have some CC that can interrupt your channeling, try to use it on the enemy that has the CC so that their ally can't interrupt you. If they both have CC then wait for one of them to use it and try to take advantage of their cooldowns.
You can force quite early towers if you manage to kill your lane opponents since Voidlings deal quite a lot of damage to towers and they can tank 3-4 turret shots. If you however expect that you can kill them more you should probably wait to take the turret down since you can get more fed if you don't kill it immediately.
If a high priority enemy happens to get out of position you should try to combo them with your skills (mainly Nether Grasp) if you have your team to back you up or think you can get the kill by yourself.
If you are pushing a lane solo and there is just one enemy who comes to save their structure. Then you could most likely kill them since you will have two voidlings and Nether Grasp. If possible try to get out of tower range and if they follow you just use your spells at them when you think the moment is right so that they can't escape with a Flash or something similar after your Nether Grasp.
A good support for Malzahar. Can heal you and your Voidlings at the same time. The CC combo can be brutal along with one or two Voidlings beating the enemy up.
Good killer lane support. A lot of burst in this lane and some sustained damage. Also at level 6 you both have pets which allows for a lot of tower killing potential.
A decent support for Malzahar. His grabs however be best when you have a Voidling up since that is your main damage output.
Good killer lane support. Both Malzahar and Fiddlesticks benefit from his magic resist reduction passive A Harmless Scarecrow. His Terrify is one of the best single target cc's in the game and it allows Malzahar and his Voidling to deal a lot of damage without much retaliation.
One of the better supports for Malzahar. Janna's skills synergies quite well with what you want to do and since you have no escape Janna whole skill set helps Malzahar with some of his flaws. The AD boost on Eye Of The Storm is very nice as the Voidlings will deal a lot of damage while it's active.
I haven't played so much with the new Karma as support after the rework. I can imagine her potential set up with her Q slow into W snare and a mantrad E speed boost shield on top of a Voidling would make up a deadly combo.
A good killer lane support. A lot of offensive potential. If Lee Sin goes in for harass with Sonic Wave into Resonating Strike then he can Safeguard back to the Voidling. At level 6 you can quite easily set up a kill with Lee Sin getting behind the enemy ADC or support with Safeguard to a ward and then kicking them back with Dragon's Rage to Malzahar and his Voidling(s).
A meh support for Malzahar in my opinion. Can work well if you manage to snowball. If you however fall behind it is quite hard for Leona to help without making all ins.
A very nice support for Malzahar. She gives a lot of effective Health back through the shield Help, Pix! and the Ultimate Wild Growth which stacks well with the armor and MR that you usually get in some amount. Her Slow is really strong and helps you and your Voidlings to catch up or stick on a target. Polymorph and Speed boost is always a nice bonus.
A mediocre support in general. If Lux manages to land snares you could win this lane if you manage to punish them enough each time the snare lands. Lucent Singularity can be used to make enemies unable to de-aggro your Voidlings by entering bushes. The shield is an okay aspect but it doesn't shield your Voidlings unfortunately.
An okay support. A bit like Leona in terms of all in but support Maokai tends to build more AP and can poke with his Sapling Toss. Twisted Advance into Arcane Smash with a Voidling is also very deadly.
Good support which brings a lot of everything. Counters a lot of Malzahar's flaws movement speed boosts and cc. The heal helps with the lack of sustain also.
Nunu & Willump
Situational support but quite good for Malzahar. Nunu & Willump can use his Blood Boil on Malzahar's Voidlings for insane damage output and along with Nunu & Willump's Ice Blast the only thing that can really escape from the Voidlings is CC removals and dashes.
In general good support. You benefit from both parts of the offensive aura Hymn of Valor (AP and AD). The heal offers great sustain and the speed boost also benefit your Voidlings. Crescendo is very useful for landing your full combo on enemies before they can retaliate.
Good in terms of keeping you healthy and keeping your mana at top. Though since she has no hard cc/speed boost she can't help your already weak escape/engage when Nether Grasp is on cooldown. Because of her great sustain in both mana and health you can force early damage items instead of rushing Tear of the Goddess. As cdr item Spirit Visage would probably be the best since you increase the effectiveness of Soraka's heals.
A decent support for Malzahar, can heal both you and your Voidlings if needed. The armor aura helps you survive and the armor debuff can be a real pain for enemies. The stun makes it easier for your Voidlings to catch up and kill your target. Malzahar benefit from both parts of the offensive aura Radiance (AP and AD).
A good support for Malzahar. Thresh has a lot of cc that he can utilize at range to set up more time for Voidlings to deal damage. Dark Passage can also help you escape sticky situations.
A good support. A lot of zoning potential with all of Zyra's spells, her plants and Malzahar's spells and Voidlings.
The best supportive item to AD Malzahar. Your support or someone else on your team should get this item. Preferably someone who stays close to you or your Voidlings during a fight and usually doesn't die so early in fights.
This item increases the total AD of all your Voidlings by 15%. For every 100 AD that Malzahar obtains the Voidlings will get 115 AD instead with Banner of Command due to Voidlings scaling with 100% of Malzahar's AD. Let's say that Malzahar has 300 AD at level 18, that means that the Voidlings will have 345 AD with Banner of Command. This is a huge damage boost especially if you have 2 to 3 Voidlings up at once.
Your support or different champion should try to obtain this item when you have managed to buy and stack Bloodthirster. This is usually the time you try to optimize for defensive items and cdr so you won't get much more AD anyways.
Increases Voidlings Magic Resist by +20 and hp regen by +10 per 5 sec. The old Bulwark and Aegis was a lot more useful since it increased the armor as well as even more magic resist. However this still helps the Voidlings to survive against mainly enemy aoe magic damage spells. This is still a quite common item so supports or junglers usually get it if the enemies have some or a lot of magic damage.
Very nice for your Voidlings since their movement speed is increased greatly by 20% which means that they can spend more time attacking if your target is also moving. Either Malzahar, a front tank/bruiser or a back line support should get this boot enchantment. The extra movement speed for champions is only in effect when walking towards the holder but the increased movement speed for minions and pets is active in any walking direction as long as the wearer is in roughly 1100 range.
Comments are always appreciated :)
2012-03-29 *Guide Created
2012-04-05 *Made Mastery section more clarified
*Changed some opinions about laning with Soraka
*Added a montage to more or less prove that the build works
*Updated the Item section to display the core instead of just an item pattern
2012-05-05 *Updated the "Skills Explanation / Tips and Tricks" and "Summoner Spells" Pages to be more convenient.
2012-05-14 *Updated every page to hopefully be more grammatically correct and look nicer
*Changed "Laning Phase" Page to "Early Game" and "Mid and Late Game"
2012-08-04 *Updated the entire guide to be more correct since Malzahar got an important buff in the Mid-July Patch.
2012-08-07 *Fixed a couple of spelling mistakes.
*Added Teleport and Ghost to the "Summoner Spells" Page.
*Added some optional masteries.
*Added a Last Whisper and Bloodthirster comparison.
2012-08-24 *Made Last Whisper and Bloodthirster comparison more correct.
*Fixed some typos.
2012-10-04 *Updated Karma in the support section.
2012-10-10 *Fixed some typos.
2013-09-02 *Finally updated the full guide (every chapter more or less).
2013-09-12 *Added the chapter "Team Supportive Itemization".