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Akali General Guide by Grapheon

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Grapheon

Akali : As Balance Dictates

Grapheon Last updated on February 17, 2013
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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

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Akali is the champion that combines the melee assassin style with amazing sustain, is fun to play with, can escape bad situations easily, has amazing juke potential and if played correctly even 1 kill can make her snowball. When i fist saw akali at around lv10 i wasn't impressed. I still dont know why i bought her at that time, maybe i was drunk :P , but i am totally not going to regret that because when i started playing her i fell in love with her play style , animations, lore and even the sound effects. Since then i have played countless games with her based on a guide in mobafire and in time devised my own build, which i present to you here. So have fun playing Akali and enjoy your snowballing ;).

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Pros / Cons

  • Has good lane sustain with passive
  • Can escape bad situations easily
  • Small cooldowns
  • Snowballs easily
  • Can do well in all stages of the game
  • She's a flippin' ninja!
  • Highly item dependent
  • Stealth detection = death at most cases
  • Getting focused a lot if doing well
  • Getting targeted by CC destroys her
  • When countered, too hard to farm because she is melee

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Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Seal of Ability Power

So basically the main purpose of the runes is to help fully activate your passive, so here we are:
Greater Mark of Attack Damage x9 gives you a 8,55 boost to your ad.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power x3 gives you +14,85 ap.
Greater Seal of Ability Power x9 for an extra 5,31ap giving you a total of 20,16 ap just from the runes.
Last but not least Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction x9. Now i would like to stay a bit more on that. Most players prefer scaling mr glyphs Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. I believe these are fine as well vs an ap mid, but akali has bonus mr and armor inside her Twilight Shroud which makes up for the loss of mr in the runes and she also benefits greatly by cooldown reduction and here's why:
  • With more cooldown reduction you can harass better since Mark of the Assassin is off cooldown more frequently
  • You can pull off 1 extra combo before the Twilight Shroud wears off
  • You can use your Twilight Shroud more frequently to zone your opponent
  • The cooldown on your ultimate Shadow Dance becomes less than 1 sec on rank 3 and you can stock up essence of shadow faster since storing them up is affected by cdr
The only disadvantage of those runes, is that you are going to be out of energy if you dont trigger Mark of the Assassin roughly 70% of the times you land it.

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The masteries are pretty much the obvious 21/9/0 except some small differences
  • Summoner's Wrath x1 since akali benefits from both the ap and ap bonuses
  • Sorcery x4 for the cdr which i mentioned how awesome it is:)
  • Blast x4 blah blah ap :P
  • Arcane Knowledge x1 mpen is awesome;)
  • Havoc x3 +2% extra dmg is always good especially with Akali's burst
  • Brute Force x2 and thats how your passive is fully utilized +3 ad here and +8,55 from runes giving us a total of 11,55 ad
  • Spellsword x1 you are melee and you will auto-attack a lot since you also use ad for your passive and thats a sweet bonus
  • Archmage x4 +5% ap is too much to ignore
  • Executioner x1 because ... well its the tier 6!
  • Durability x4 extra hp is good for early game in which you are squishy
  • Hardiness x1 + Resistance x3 you can adjust that to 2-2 or 3-1 if u want. It depends on what opponent you have ( on draft pick you should know whether you have an ad or ap in your lane )
  • Veteran's Scars x1 yay! more hp

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Summoner Spells

For summoner spells i always go with Flash and Ignite.

Ignite comes handy when finishing off enemy champions or when they can heal with lifesteal or actual healing spells, which halves the amount healed.

Flash is propably the best summoner spell in game as it allows you to escape or chase down enemies. In Akali's case, flash has another use. It can be used as a gap closer before you get your ultimate. You can just use q and flash to finish them off.
Alternative Summoner Spell choices
Teleport can be used to travel through the map to help your teammates or to go back to base and return to your lane fast. Akali though has high mobility so you will propably want to pass on Teleport
Heal is a good summoner spell especially now that the healing done to your teammates is 100% of the heal you do to yourself instead of 50% on previous patches, but with Ignite being so popular and with the spell vamp you have as Akali i would not recommend it.
Exhaust is a viable option to take Ignite's place since it makes easier to grab kills before lv6 and in late game enables an easy 1v1 with the enemy adc. If i had to neglect Ignite i would definately pick Exhaust.
Cleanse is a bad spell to pick in blind pick but in draft pick if the opposing team has tons of cc i would recommend it.

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Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Akali's skill set is what makes her for me the best assassin. Her burst is on par with other assassins in game but her sustain and survivability exceeds that of the others.Twin Disciplines
Your passive ability which is the only reason everyone is making such a fuss about Akali's runes and masteries. On bonus 20 ap you deal 8% bonus magic damage on each auto-hit, which increases by 1% for every 6 additional ap you have (after 20) meaning that on 26 ap you deal 9% more dmg on auto-hits etc... The other half passive (my favourite) is what keeps you alive on teamfights and also keeps you in lane for a loong time. On 10 bonus ad you gain 8% spell vamp, which increases by 1% for every 6 additional ad (after 10).
Mark of the Assassin
This is your burst, your poke, your harrass, your everything! Since its a tagret skill and not a skillshot or an aoe like Crescent Slash, it is the most appropriate skill for you to pick at lv 1 and use it to harrass. Be careful though as it costs a little less than 1/3 of your energy and when you use it in a fight you must make sure to also trigger it to benefit from the energy it restores.
Twilight Shroud
This skill is one of the reasons Akali is so feared. Every assassin has a burst, which when executed then leaves the user unable to do anything more (except ad assassins like Talon Pantheon etc who can just auto-attack). This skill is what connects your combos with each other.Also this skill makes sure you will never die from ganks unless opponents can reveal you. The slow on this skill is a beneficial factor as well but not in early ranks and you normally max that skill last, so i don't recommend using it just for the slow before lv15 as it devours almost half of your energy.
Crescent Slash
This ability is the little extra dmg in your combo, or your way to farm since it deals a lot of dmg and can clear you a wave of minions in late game. What i like most about it is that when you are chasing an enemy and you are out of stacks on your ultimate and you are not close enough to land an auto-attck its range is sometimes just enough to pick up a kill as it also triggers your mark of the assassin. Moreover its your main source of utilizing your spell vamp on minions as Crescent Slash is an aoe ability.
Shadow Dance
And last but not least the skill that makes everyone admit that Akali is op. Its range is ridiculusly long and you can use it a maximum of 3 times?!?!?!?!? But wait! There's more! on champion kills or assists you gain 1 essence of shadow, meaning that in a teamfight you can potentially use your ultimate 8 times or maybe even more depending on how long the teamfight will be. An amazing skill for hunting down champions regardless of their mobility, since you are going to use it only after you land a q on them, meaning you will kill them before you run out of essences (most likely).Also it is a great escape mechanism as you can use it on minions to escape ganks or for leaving tower range after performing a towerdive.Btw you may not want to initiate a trade in your lane before getting at least 2 stacks on your ultimate.

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For starting items i prefer
It is actually the best purchase you can make because of mobility to chase or escape and lane sustain, since those items will propably keep you in lane at least till lv6, when you will propably get your 1st kill. Even if that doesn't happen you should have enough gold to buy a Hextech Revolveron your first backing to base. Right after the revolver you should buy a Sheen
Your core items are , although i prefer upgrading the boots later unless i need the magic resist.
Next you should buy the Pickaxe.This will add to your burst as it increases the dmg from procing the Sheen, but will also help towards your survivability by granting you an additional 4% spell vamp.You already have enough dmg so its time to boost your survivability a little more with Giant's Belt.After that you are going to just complete items. 1st comes the Hextech Gunblade, next comes the Rylai's Crystal Scepterand after that the Lich Bane, which makes your burst superhuman even without rabadon's deathcap to boost it. I really can't explain in words how important this item is for Akali. After buying this item your potential grows by the same amount as when you hit lv 6 and get your ultimate. and finally the Rabadon's Deathcap and the Guardian Angel, but the game rarely advances so much with Akali in it:).

Situational Items
  • Void staff. If the opponents are stacking mr
  • Thornmail. If the enemy adc or ad bruiser is snowballing and focusing you (with Rylai's Crystal Scepter you have enough hp to be able to use armor).
  • Abussal scepter. When you definately need some mr while gaining some ap. It also has a mr reduction aura so it comes in handy. This is the item you would propably like to build instead of Guardian Angel.
  • Ninja tabi. When laning against an ad assassin like Talon or Kha'Zix.
  • Sorcerer's Shoes. When you are really snowballing and opponents have only minor cc.
  • Zhonya's hourglass. On very rare occasions, when you are getting focused and the Guardian Angel is not enough.
  • Mejai's Soulstealer. I never use raw ap. As you saw even the Rabadon's Deathcap comes late in my build and in rare occasions the game advances that much. It is although an item you can use but only if you are legendary in 10 mins of the game and you will need to sell it in late game because you will most likely die:).
  • Liandry's torment. This item is a good option considering that with Rylai's the opponent is always slowed. On the other hand i believe this item is most suited for inflicting dmg once at a time. Akali is about bursting your opponent so i wouldn't recommend it since there are better choices. Your call though;)

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When you towerdive to grab a kill and are in low health, instead of flashing out or walking, you can Shadow Dance to a nearby enemy minion. If you do, you also benefit from spell vamp so if the tower's finishing blow is reaching you, there is a possibility that your spell vamp will keep you alive so you can try and combo the minion you jump with the hope of that keeping you alive. Dont worry about not having any stacks on your ultimate as you will gain 1 from the kill, even the assist on the towerdive.

As Akali, when you are about to receive dmg you can't avoid like Requiem or Hemoplaguethat would kill you, utilize your spell vamp to the fullest and right before the explosion jump into your Twilight Shroud, which gives you considerable bonuses on mr and armor. In cases of dot spells like Children of the Grave or Toxic Shot, when its usually not safe to jump back right into the minions just rush to your jungle and combo+instant Twilight Shroud the nearest camp (prefer wraiths or wolves), or if you dont have enough time just Twilight Shroud and wait for the dot to fade.
Lastly, its best for you to position your Twilight Shroud well especially when caught into the jungle. The best way to position it is so that you have access to as many bushes as possible. Also keep in mind that the invisibility is actually a buff with 0,5 sec duration which instantly refreshes when it fades if you are inside the circle. That means that you will not be instantly unstealthed when you leave the circle but you have 0,5sec time the most to enter the bushes and become invisible too your enemies once more. Btw i dont think anyone can time their movement so that they get the full 0,5sec of invisibility out of Twilight Shroud

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Possible Matchups

Akali is a champion like everyone else. She is not the god or something so like every champion she has her counters.Without further delay let's inspect some possible matchups based on the fact you are laning at mid.

At early lvs you should be focusing on your farm and avoiding her q when possible. Dont try to go farm close to the minions because she has better dmg with just q and passive. As i said focus on your farm and hopefully you will hit lv 6 sooner than her.If that happens feel free to trade but be careful of her w now, not q. don't ever let it fully detonate and u win the fight.
A very hard lane indeed. You can't farm at all without taking heavy dmg so you need to let him push and farm at your tower. Also you have to call your jungler as Mordekaiser is very weak to cc. You can still last hit using yous q but still you will lose a lot of cs. Also if you have to fight him do it somewhere isolated so that he can't benefit from his passive on minions and try to bait his ultimate, jump to a minion and when his ultimate fades you can fully engage.
Lee Sin
If you are laning against this guy pray to god and pm me to come and pray with you. You can't run, you can't hide. He will hunt you down and kill you.A call on your jungler is mandatory.The good news is that you can farm easier than you could vs morde but still laning vs Lee Sin with Akali is a desperate situation. If it is draft pick and you see lee sin on enemy team dont bother picking akali.
Zilean is a good lane vs Akali since he can double-bomb you and use his speed buff to run away before you can land a combo.Before lv6 he is deadly because he can kite you. After lv 6 if he isn't fed, you can still kill him as akali but beware of his ult. When he s low dont hit him, or you wasted all your previous efforts to bring him low.You need early mr even if you dont use it on a tier item.
Katarina can harass easier with her Bouncing Blades, but your harass deals more dmg. Make sure to punish her if she shunpos to you and afrter lv 6 you should be able to kill her.
This matchup is almost as hopeless as leesin.If you decide to trade you should stay near your minions as this will reduce his dmg significantly.The good news here is that Kha'Zix is weaker than akali before lv6. Make sure to take advantage of that and send him back or kill him before he hits lv6. We are currently waiting a nerf on him:P
Before lv6 he has lower dmg than you and i recommend harass him before he does. Each time he comes to kill a minion use your q on him and trigger it. He will propably try to kill you at lv6. If he does try, dodge his ultimate if possible, if you cant throw down your Twilight Shroud, then wait for his ultimate to knock you up and then you can begin your combo. If on the other hand you initiate the fight with Fizz, if he Playful / Tricksters your q, dont bother fighting as you lose a great amount of your dmg. just Twilight Shroud, wait until you have it again and go all out.
Swain is a hard champion to lane against. My suggestion is focus on your farm until you get your ultimate. At that point you can normally kill him by going all out. Usually the forst thing he is going to try is snare you. If he manages that be sure to instantly activate Twilight Shroud so that he cant target you with any of his other abilities (even his ultimate hits only visible units). Also don't try to engage him without your Ignite up, or when your minion wave is next to you , as he will heal more hp. If you are alone, there will be only 1 crow bouncing back and forth from his Ravenous Flock and will therefore heal less.
The rest matchups are from normal to extremely easy so you dont need any special strategies to face them (unless there are more champions im forgetting right now:P, so if you want a matchup featured in the guide just leave it in the comments)
P.S. Since the meta is constantly evolving you should consider the possibility of having to lane mid versus an ad champion

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To sum up, Akali is a very mobile champion with an amazing amount of dmg and sustain and i would highly recommend playing her. Dont forget to hit the upvote button if this guide helped you as it does help the guide catch more attention and help more summoners learn akali. Of course don't hesitate to vote down the guide if there is something wrong with it. Either way please take some time and write your thoughts or suggestions in the comments, as this is my 1st guide and i would like to learn more:). Thank you for reading my guide and have fun in "The Fields of Justice"

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Change Log


  • Added Tips/Tricks chapter
  • Added Fizz and Swain in Possible Matchups chapter
  • Corrected some typos
  • Added Change Log :P
  • Added a couple more items on Items chapter

  • Added Liandry's Torment on items section and some more details on specific items


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