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Akali Build Guide by kodama3

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League of Legends Build Guide Author kodama3

Akali Guide, by the numbers (Theorycraft)

kodama3 Last updated on December 11, 2011
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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

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

Guide Top


This is my first guide on Mobafire, however I have had the most successful Akali guide on Leaguecraft, it also being 1 of only 8 "Community Approved" guides on the site, with 93% positive votes. I have been asked multiple times to transfer this guide over to here, into a larger community. I hope the Mobafire platform, with its larger community, will further expand the guide. Please forgive my formatting, I'm working on adapting the content to this new website.

This guide was originally written over a year ago, shortly after Akali was released. At the time, there was a huge debate over building her as AD, AP, or Hybrid, and I was tired of terribly inefficient builds on Akali's at the time. I wrote this guide focusing specifically on this issue (hence the title addressing the simple numbers), however it has been heavily expanded over time through metagame development and suggestions. If you see any old information, please let me know, as the guide is huge and it's not easy to pick out every little change over each patch. If you see anything that stands out to you, please leave a comment/suggestion, I would love to hear it. Also please forgive the videos... they're old and fairly noobish, they were only used for example.

This Mobafire version should be complete, however the original guide can be found here. I am not interested in redirecting traffic to Leaguecraft, so please don't follow it if you don't need to.

As some background for me, I'm nothing special, and I'm definitely no Westrice. However I do have significant experience as an analyst and tester. I have been doing basic "theorycraft" for years, starting even with the original EverQuest beta, and many MMO's since. I make no claims of being the best Akali, Summoner, Gamer, or Writer, however I do have significant experience testing and playing games, and interesting analysis that should improve Akali gameplay. I am not a pro, I make no claims of being a pro, and the youtube videos are merely demonstration examples. In fact I am an ex-hardcore, currently casual gamer. The fact is, unless you're actually being compensated with something of value, like significant amounts of money to play this game, you are NOT a pro; no matter how good you are, or think you are.

This guide has no gimmicks or anything cool, is completely focused on numbers, facts, and my analysis of them, and less to do with my opinions. If I inject opinion in, then I will state it. As of patch v1.0.0.114, it has been slightly condensed and changes will be documented.

This has actually become the most detailed Akali guide, so thank you all for the positive votes and so much constructive feedback. A big rude gesture to all of you trolls with the negative votes with no feedback whatsoever. Down-voting for no reason will not improve this guide. Special thanks goes out to Docdead and Hostileprey, all those who have commented/critiqued, and all you LoL players, who I may have killed or killed beside. I also have to plug the main "Versus the World" radio show podcast website, where you can find entertaining discussion on everything gaming.

So on with the guide. There are two major points that must be understood, and further displayed in this guide.

Hybrid? - She is an Ability Power champ. Akali's intended design was obviously a hybrid champ, just briefly look at her skills, and take a look at her suggested items. However this is just another champ that got away from RIOT, and this guide will show that she is far from a balanced hybrid, and should not be built as one.

Burst Damage or DPS? - Akali is a massive burst damage champ, not an auto attacking melee DPS champ, so she should be built to focus on that. She could arguably have the highest burst damage of all champs, with her damage bursts rolling in waves that repeat more frequently than other burst damage casters like Kassadin, Ryze, or Annie. Never ever confuse her with an auto attacking melee DPS monster like Jax/Yi/Tryndamere.

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Patch Note Changes

Release Notes v1.0.0.130 (Volibear)
No significant changes to items or Akali, other than pots are 50hp suckier...

Release Notes v1.0.0.129 (Fizz)
Akali - Twin Disciplines
Initial spell vamp gained upon obtaining 10 bonus attack damage reduced to 8% from 10%
Additional spell vamp reduced to 1% per 6 attack damage from 1% per 5 attack damage
Initial magic damage bonus upon obtaining 20 ability power reduced to 8% from 10%
Additional magic damage bonus reduced to 1% per 6 ability power from 1% per 5 ability power
Akali - Mark of the Assassin
Projectile base damage and proc base damage reduced to 45/70/95/120/145 from 50/75/100/125/150

.....You have got to be fuggin kidding me. She has been ridiculed as a poor champ for over a year, and all of a sudden she's an instant ban? Just because Akali dominates Dominion doesn't mean you nerf her for all modes... Her current popularity in ranked games in guaranteed to draw further nerfs from RIOT.
Masteries have been remade
.....Masteries sections have been completely reworked. Input is appreciated!

Release Notes v1.0.0.128 (Shyvana)
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.127 (Graves)
Hextech Gunblade - Attack Damage reduced to 40 from 60
Hextech Gunblade - Ability Power reduced to 70 from 75
Hextech Gunblade - Life Steal reduced to 15% from 20%
Hextech Gunblade - Spell Vamp reduced to 20% from 25% and is now UNIQUE

.....Huge nerf, especially to people who like to stack these, and all because of Dominion. Calculations Updated

Release Notes v1.0.0.126 (Xerath)
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.125 (Riven)
Fixed a bug where Akali and Wu-Kong could get stuck in their dash animations
..... yup... happened to me, stuck in the wall at red...

Release Notes v1.0.0.124 (Talon)
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.123
The cooldown before Akali's next Shadow Dance charge and her current stacks are now shown in the same buff nice of them!

Release Notes v1.0.0.122
Zhonya's Hourglass combine cost reduced to 800 from 1000
.....Cheaper! Calculations Updated

Release Notes v1.0.0.121
If Akali uses Shadow Dance on a champion, she will attempt to attack the target upon successfully arriving
.....Made Akali more noob friendly
Rabadon's Deathcap base ability power reduced to 140 from 155
.....OUCH =( Calculations Updated

Release Notes v1.0.0.120 (New Skins)
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.119 (Orianna)
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.118b
Moonflair Spellblade combine cost lowered to 340 from 430
Hextech Revolver's Spell Vamp component is now Unique

.....Minor changes

Release Notes v1.0.0.118
New Item: Moonflair Spellblade - +50 Ability Power, +25 Tenacity
Mercury Treads now grant +35 Tenacity.

.....Added the Moonflair Spellblade and changed for Tenacity

Release Notes v1.0.0.117
No patch notes, hot fix...

Release Notes v1.0.0.116

Release Notes v1.0.0.115
Hextech Revolver spell vamp increased to 20% from 15%
Hextech Gunblade Spellvamp increased to 25% from 20%
Will of the Ancients spellvamp increased to 25% from 20%

.....Updated items, updated calculations, makes the Recommended build even stronger because it added 10% more spell vamp to it

Release Notes v1.0.0.114
No significant changes to items or Akali

Release Notes v1.0.0.113
Adjusted Twin Disciplines to trigger at 9.5 AD and 19.5 AP to account for rounding
.....Easier to meet activation requirements, make appropriate changes to runes/masteries
Banshee's Veil refresh time increased to 45 seconds from 30 seconds.
.....Huge nerf to the item, but still a powerful defense against magic
Doran's Blade - Fixed a bug where Doran's Blade was providing an unintended effect. Damage increased to 10 from 9
.....Removed hidden effect providing gold over time, damage runes are no longer needed at all with this change!

Release Notes v1.0.0.112
Morello's Evil Tome cooldown reduction increased to 20% from 15%
.....5% more still doesn't compare to 30% instant damage
Ghost duration decreased to 10 from 14
.....Akali's who use ghost will cry over this, but ghost needed a nerf on many champs

Release Notes v1.0.0.111
Fixed a bug where the sound of Mark of the Assassin could persist after her target died.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity cost increased to 700 from 550
.....ouch, but needed to nerf on bruisers
New Item: Morello's Evil Tome - Builds out of Fiendish Codex and Blasting Wand (Total Cost of 2350). +75 ability power. +12 mana regeneration per 5. UNIQUE passive: 15% cooldown reduction
.....added, and disappointed...

Release Notes v1.0.0.110
Twin Disciplines no longer deals bonus damage to towers.
.....damn, they noticed...
Doran's Blade - Cost increased to 475 from 435. Damage increased to 9 from 8
.....crushed Doran's items, especially the blade
Fixed a bug with Lich Bane where the cost was inadvertently increased and the mana gain lowered
.....don't even know what this means...
Rabadon's Deathcap cost increased to 3600 from 3400
.....more pain...
Veteran's Scars health reduced to 12/24/36/48 from 15/30/45/60
.....and more pain...
Quintessences of Fortitude reduced in effectiveness by about 20%

Release Notes v1.0.0.109
Ardor - Now provides all of its benefit at level 1 rather than half at level 1 and the other half scaling up to level 18. Fixed bugs where Ardor was not counting Ability Power and Attack Speed from many sources - essentially anything that wasn't an item. Fixed a bug where Ardor and Zhonya's Ring/Rabadon's Deathcap were double multiplicative. Clarified the tooltip
.....Double multiplicative? No wonder it was so effective!
Rabadon's Deathcap cost increased to 3400 from 3300
.....Too good to be true I guess
We have changed how critical strike and dodge chance work. You will now get fewer ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’ streaks where you get no critical hits/dodges in a row, or a lot of them in a row. Your average chance to get a crit is the same as before though – if you have a 50% crit rate, and you make 100 attacks, you’ll still crit about 50 times.
.....Major change to those of us who are tired of lucky/unlucky streaks. I no consider dodge a viable option.

Release Notes v1.0.0.108
NEW ITEM - Ionian Boots of Lucidity - UNIQUE Passive: Reduces ability cooldowns by 15%. UNIQUE Passive: Enhanced Movement 2.
.....added, great item
Zhonya's Ring has been decommissioned.
NEW ITEM - Zhonya's Hourglass - +100 AP +50 Armor. UNIQUE Active: Places your champion into stasis for 2 seconds, rendering you invulnerable and untargetable but unable to take any action. 90 sec cooldown.
NEW ITEM - Rabadon's Deathcap - +155 AP UNIQUE Passive: Increases Ability Power by 30%
Phantom Dancer attack speed increased to 55% from 50%
The Black Cleaver - Damage reduced to 55 from 75. Now adds 30% increased attack speed. Unique Passive - Now shreds 15 armor per stack from 12 but has a maximum of 3 stacks from 5.
Will of the Ancients ability power granted to the owner increased to 50 from 40

.....all changed
Exhaust now reduces (auto/basic) attack damage by 70% and ability/item damage by 35% instead of the blinding for the duration
.....No longer completely blinds targets, but now can save you some damage from AP carries

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Summoner Level / Skill (Opinionated)

I have received lots of questions asking at what Summoner level one should play Akali. Unfortunately there is no solid standard advice I can give for this. While her abilities seem simple, she is extremely difficult to play effectively (survive). Her incomparable burst damage dominates a team of squishies, but she is absolutely terrible against a team full of experienced tanks and bruisers.

Things to consider...

Player skill level - If you have played a lot of Defense of the Ancients or Heroes of Newerth before, then you can pick her up easier than most.

Opponent skill level - If you are experienced, and playing against a bunch of complete noobs, you will dominate to the point where it's embarrassing. Many regard her as a pub-stomper, and rightly so.

Summoner level - Surviving with Akali is a lot easier with the right runes and masteries, obviously you need levels and IP for this. I also don't recommend buying runes prior to level 20, because it's a waste of IP up until you can buy Tier 3 runes.

For this reason, I don't recommend playing her below Summoner level 20, and I strongly suggest waiting until at least the upper 20's. Feel free to smurf it up and tear apart noobs though, as most inexperienced players don't understand her amazing burst damage, or ways to counter her. I do have to warn you; there are lots of other smurfs out there, that do know how to counter her, and as a smurf you don't have runes or masteries to fall back on.

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Theoretical Test Builds

I have expanded the test build sections in the guide to further theorycraft/analyze builds. This guide will often refer to these 4 builds (Ability Power/Attack Damage/Hybrid/Recommended), 3 of which are completely theoretical, but they effectively demonstrate the play of numbers, and are specifically designed to do only that. It will demonstrate the inefficiency of stacking AD, in any significant amount, including within a Hybrid build.

I repeat, the first 3 are "theoretical" and fully stacked. Take note that I have used TWO stack items on the Attack Damage and Hybrid builds, giving them an obvious advantage. Also note that all of these builds do not contain any Runes or Masteries, to be a fair comparison of only item builds, not full builds.

Ability Power

Focused entirely on Ability Power, while still activating Attack Damage passive
(715AP / Bonus 40AD / 33% Spell Vamp / 124% AD damage bonus) 16235 Gold


Attack Damage

Focused entirely on Attack Damage, while still activating Ability Power passive. Note two fully stacked items giving an obvious advantage when compared.
(70AP / Bonus 385AD / 91% Spell Vamp / 16% AD damage bonus) 15889 Gold



Balanced Hybrid build full of hybrid items often seen on Akali, with roughly half AP/AD. Note two fully stacked items giving an obvious advantage when compared.
(325AP / Bonus 215AD(Total 326AD) / 62% Spell Vamp / 59% AD damage bonus) 13734 Gold



Focused mostly Ability Power, secondly Spell Vamp. Note, while I have only reached this build a handful of times due to cost, I have never lost a game when attained. I believe this is because there are no stacks to be lost, she will continue to perform at this level even after a death or two.
(585AP / Bonus 40AD / 58% Spell Vamp / 102% AD damage bonus) 17100 Gold

Guide Top

Akali's Skills


Discipline of Force

- Upon obtaining 20 additional ability power, Akali's hits deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 ability power gained thereafter.

Discipline of Might

- Upon obtaining 10 additional attack damage, Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 5 attack damage gained thereafter.

Patch v1.0.0.99 has completely changed her passive ratio. Her passives used to be incredibly inefficient to stack any Attack Damage, however now the Discipline of Force passive is viable. They nearly tripled her ratios since Akali's release to correct their design flaw. It is still not enough to change Ability Power being superior, and the Damage Comparisons below prove it.

Patch v1.0.0.129 has nerfed her passives, immediately after the release of Dominion. This has further depreciated the value of stacking AD to boost her spell vamp.

There are still very important things to consider and understand about utilizing this dual role passive.

#1 - All of her abilities are boosted by Ability Power, only one ability is Attack Damage based, and NONE of her abilities boost her auto attacks. I cannot repeat this enough, she is not designed to be an auto attack champ. Stop stacking Attack Speed and Attack Damage on her. Champions that are best for this have abilities that increase their auto attack damage, attack speed, crit chance, etc. A built in Sheen effect from stacking massive AP is not comparable. She is far more like Kassadin than Master Yi.

#2 - What is the point of 100% spell vamp on abilities with no damage boost? The ratio of percentage of Spell Vamp to additional Attack Damage is strong, but it still is a mistake to focus on this much beyond the first 8%. With a fully stacked 511 Attack Damage build with +400 additional Attack Damage at full stacks, her Spell Vamp from just the passive will be an incredible 73% (400 - 10 = 390 [first 8%], 390 / 6 = 65% [additional 1% per 6 dmg]. On the full damage build, she has a total of 91% spell vamp, but her Mark of the Assassin will only do 175dmg. On the full AP build, the Mark does 389dmg. She is more like Vladimir than Warwick.

#3 - If you want lots of spell vamp for survivability, then stack Ability Power to maximize her damage from her abilities, then add some spell vamp from those now viable abilities. Would you rather do 788dmg and spell vamp 70%(551hp), or do 360dmg and spell vamp 113%(406hp)? It's basically the same thing as stacking AP on Warwick for more lifesteal, except Warwick has a much better ratio on his ability. The numbers simply don't justify stacking AD for more spell vamp.

#4 - Discipline of Force bonus damage is a percentage of her Attack Damage, not her Ability Power. This immediately brings up the assumption that you should stack Attack Damage to boost this as well. Well, her base attack damage is not very high, but by no means should it be considered low. Stacking AP for a higher and higher % of her base damage by boosting this passive is more effective than stacking Attack Damage. Remember, gold you spend stacking Attack Damage is gold you can't spend stacking Ability Power, and again, ALL of her abilities are boosted by Ability Power. This ability combined with Sheen early game makes for a very surprising boost in burst damage.

#5 - The percentage of Discipline of Force bonus damage can exceed 100%, which is reached beyond 572 Ability Power. I usually break 400AP in a game, and sometimes break 700AP, so don't think it's impossible. Once she completes Lich Bane, her swings will deal this +100% bonus Attack Damage passive, as well as possibly 400+ bonus AP damage proc. Each swing every 2 seconds after an ability is devastating.


Mark of the Assassin

CoolDown: (6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds)
Akali deals 45/70/95/120/145 (+40% Ability Power) magic damage and marks her target for 6 seconds.
If she hits a marked target, the mark triggers dealing 45/70/95/120/145 (+40% Ability Power) magic damage and restoring 20/25/30/35/40 energy. Costs 60 energy.

Detailed Explanation: This is the main skill for the burst damage, as a triggered mark will deal a total of 80% Ability Power in additional damage, as well as deal the triggering auto attack damage, Discipline of Might passive damage, and Sheen/Lich Bane/Trinity Force damage. It is also the main skill for extended combat, because triggered marks return a large portion of expended energy, and with 4-6 seconds on the cooldown and an 80% Ability Power damage ratio, it is one of the highest AP damage returns per second in LoL.

Damage Comparison:

Ability Power and Recommended have no comparison for damage against Attack Damage and Hybrid, even when factoring in Spell Vamp.


Your standard burst damage combination is, use Mark of the Assassin first, and catch up to the airborne kama using Shadow Dance and immediately melee attack to activate the Mark.

DO NOT ALWAYS follow the combination with Crescent Slash, unless you have Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Some champs can run far enough away while you spin immobile on the ground, that you can't hit them with a second mark. Always make judgment on their escape ability before adding Crescent Slash to the combo. Rylai's Crystal Scepter's slow allows you to connect easier with Crescent Slash, and just remember it will eat your energy faster as well.

This is also your main champ harass and last hit creeping skill in the laning phase. If harassing isn't working very well, focus on last hitting creep with by Marking, then Activating for easy last hits, a significant energy return, and healing from Spell Vamp.

Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin Technique

This is extremely important.
Notice is that the mark lasts 6 seconds, which is the same duration as the level 1 Cooldown.

If the target is marked initially but combat and attacks are delayed and timed correctly, two auto attacks in a row can set off two Mark of the Assassins dealing very heavy damage. This cooldown decreases as you level it (6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds) making this task easier to do at max skilling.

This technique is key to maximizing initial burst damage. Combat can be avoided by kiting, hiding behind creep, hiding in a Twilight Shroud, etc. To maximize chances of using this technique, you must appear non-threatening, or even weakened. Lure them into a sense of comfort, or even better, into overconfidence. Then tear their face off.

This combination is brutal even at level 1 with no Ability Power or Attack Damage. After the initial 45dmg from Mark of the Assassin, an additional 267dmg can be done within the first 2 seconds of combat taking nearly every starting champ to half health or lower, and the numbers are even more shocking with the Recommended build.

Notice that this is not including any of the other damage skills. Including that damage would be an additional 516(1x Shadow Dance) + 217(1x Crescent Slash) + 2712(original damage) = 3426dmg total (358dmg from the initial mark, and 3068dmg in the first 2 seconds of entering combat). 3068dmg in 2 seconds? It's this shocking burst damage that sends nearly all champs fleeing nearly instantly, of which Akali excels at taking down runners.


Twilight Shroud

CoolDown: (20 seconds)
Akali throws down a cover of smoke for 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10/20/30/40/50 armor and magic resistance and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies in the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14/18/22/26/30%. Costs 80 energy.

NOTE: This is very important for defense and escape, but should be the last skill to fully level. Maxing Mark of the Assassin first is the most important goal to maximizing burst damage.

FLAME: For the love of God, do NOT start your ganking DPS combination with Twilight Shroud. It is not some kind of void pit of death that immediately consumes your target, don't use it as such. I have seen countless Akali's open their ganks with Twilight Shroud, and as expected, had zero successes in their ganks, failed to solo assassinate anyone, and pretty much failed the entire team. Not only does this waste half their energy on something that does no damage for opening DPS, but they are wasting their only defense mechanism by anchoring at a pointless location. Their target will simply and obviously move away from it, since no one wants to knowingly stand next to an obvious trap. Chasing them could lead you into their trap, with no ability to defend, or into their major burst DPS combos like Ryze's snared ball of death, again, with no ability to counter. So, unless your goal is to chase away enemy champs and not gank anyone, or to chase them and feed, please STOP.

Tips: There are many many tricks to using this skill, and it is EXTREMELY important to learn them.

A perfectly timed Twilight Shroud can evade a ton of damage. Use it at a turret or when you know for sure a major attack is coming. If you see an incoming stun, drop it immediately and they won't be able to directly target their stunned victim. You may be stunned by Sion's gaze of doom, and get hit by his shield explosion, but at least you've avoided auto attacks, and you have increased MR while in the shroud. This makes a huge difference... In this video you can see that Ryze is unable to launch his deadly skill combo, and even if he is able to throw his [spell_text=Spell Flux], the in-combat stealth removes Akali as a target for successive bounces. Once they waste any of their skills in their combo, you can usually hit them back for massive damage, if not get a kill.

It can also be used to effectively harass and provide creep denial in the laning phase. Throwing your shroud forward into their creep, then quickly move into it. This extends your zone control far into their area, like adding your own personal shrubs/brush into the lane. To make it most effective, using the "Delayed Mark Activiation" tactic, mark an enemy champ first, then drop the shroud forward and hide in it. If they remain anywhere near the edge of the shroud, time your activation, hit them again with another Mark, then activate it again, ending it with a Crescent Slash if available. It will do a massive amount of damage and will definitely push that champ back.

Be very crafty with placement when escaping, and remember that you do not immediately unstealth when you leave the shroud. Pin the edges near walls, corners, and brush. Moving in the opposite direction of the enemy into a brush, around a corner into the fog of war, or even flashing through a wall makes a huge difference. Try to leave the Shroud on the opposite end from enemy champs to get the maximum slow effect.

You can also assist other allied champs in escaping using the slow properties, just remember to throw the entire shroud AHEAD of the chasing enemy champs. You need the full diameter of the shroud to effectively slow them.

Twilight Shroud can be used in combat to throw off enemies. It is the only un-delayable in-combat stealth in the game, so use it to your advantage against high damage autoattack champs. Damage, stuns, snares, knock-ups/backs/loop-di-loops do not stop her from stealthing while within the shroud, and the only way to pull her out of stealth is by removing her from the Shroud(Blitz's Grab/Gragas's Ult) or by being taunted. Summoners cannot react quickly to a target that quickly goes in and out of view, and they lack the burst damage Akali has. When engaging a high damage autoattack champ, apply the "Delayed Mark Activation" technique to the best of your ability. Mark, run for a few seconds, then engage to activate the Mark, Mark again, activate Mark, Crescent Slash, Twilight Shroud... wait for the Mark to refresh Cooldown, then re-engage with the same combo.

Also in my opinion, almost never use it to slow escaping champions. Take notice of the cost of 80 energy, nearly half or your 200 energy total. It is almost always a waste of energy, which you need to burst damage with. The slow at low ranks is also very weak, and is such a small area that it rarely is enough to make a difference. That's not to say to never use it...
- Are absolutely positive that the slow will ensure the kill by you or a teammate
- If you are chasing through other enemy champs to drop their aggro.
- Use it if you have energy to spare


Crescent Slash

CoolDown: (7/6/5/4/3 seconds)
Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 30/55/80/105/130 physical damage plus (+30% Ability Power and +60% BONUS Attack Damage). Costs 60 energy.

Detailed Explanation: This is your major farming skill once it reaches skill level 3+, as it will hit ALL surrounding units for respectable damage.

Damage Comparison:

Attack Damage build has superior Spell Vamp, but comparable damage.


There is no energy return from using it so be careful. Starting from full energy, you can only do this a total of 4 times, and that's not using any other abilities that cost energy. Overuse will leave you with little to no energy to do your job of burst damage assassinating champs.

Using this ability at a tower will proc your Sheen / Lich Bane / Trinity Force for significantly more DPS on the tower, as well as cut down surrounding enemy creeps. Akali will tear apart turrets and inhibs once she is stacked AP proc'ing Lich Bane

An extremely common misunderstanding is that stacking Attack Damage instead of Ability Power will significantly boost Crescent Slash. It seems obvious since it has a higher ratio, but it is simply wrong... not only will it lower overall total burst damage, but it will also not effectively boost this skill. Many guides will tell you to focus on Attack Damage to boost this ability to mow down creep and for DPS group battles, but it is simply flawed in assumption and the Damage Comparison proves it.


Shadow Dance

CoolDown: (2/1.5/1 seconds)
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100/175/250 (+50% per ability power) magic damage and consuming an Essence of Shadow. Costs 0 energy and 1 Essence of Shadow.

Akali stores an Essence of Shadow once every 25/20/15 seconds, and earns one for each Champion kill or assist, up to 3 total. She gains a single Essence upon activating level 1.

Detailed Explanation: With a 50% AP return and a 1-2 second cooldown, this is a major addition to the burst damage. Once acquired it makes the Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin technique much easier, and significantly more damage. With the stacked 575AP build, it could theoretically add 537dmg to the opening Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin technique combo, as well as re-trigger the first Lich Bane proc if timed out.

Damage Comparison:

Ability Power build is double the damage of Attack Damage, but the lowest of all builds for Spell Vamp.


Be very careful with consuming the Essences, I know it's tempting with such a short cooldown, but even at its fastest CD 15 seconds is far too long to wait for a final blow while chasing. Spam it only when it's a life or death situation, and you absolutely need your target to drop or backoff. With the Season One patch, you now also earn an Essence for killing or assisting. Feel free to use it to last hit fleeing champs, you'll get the expended Essence back anyway. Not a balanced change in my opinion, but I'm not going to complain when I get a triple kill my second game after the patch...

If your target is low enough health, open with Shadow Dance for the surprise attack. Shadow Dance's range is significantly farther than Mark of the Assassin, and since the target is low health, you will definitely have enough charges left to finish the job.

It is an excellent tower diving skill because of its long range and ability to pass through walls. Use the fog of war to your advantage and pick off low health champs at the tower.

These videos have been the target of significant trolling on Youtube. These videos are only to display that it can be done in the right time and place. I am not posting these videos to show how awesome I am... The low-level tower diving was done in a single game I played because it was a request. Perhaps luck had something to do with it, but luck has something to do with everything, and again, I cannot stress any more that these are examples, not proof of how wonderful I am...

Guide Top

Total Damage Comparison

I have added this section after the Version v1.0.0.99 patch. This section is an overall damage comparison over the first 5 seconds of combat including crits.

This is not using any special techniques, summoner spells, or Twilight Shroud. An extremely simplified blow for blow comparison.

Ability Power build has more damage, however Attack Damage build has nearly triple health regen. In my opinion, Hybrid build is the obvious winner here.

Unfortunately this is over simplified and completely unrealistic. You cannot melee attack and use abilities at the same time, especially not all of these attacks in 5 seconds. In fact, you are realistically and typically only able to get off as many auto attacks as you expend Shadow Dances, especially when the Attack Damage build has no slows except a 3 second active on the Hextech Gunblade. Builds with Rylai Scepters are more likely to connect with more and more successive auto attacks.

Here is a far more realistic and typical damage comparison.

With realistic numbers here, you can see the gap widen between Ability Power and Attack damage builds. Ability Power has superior damage, and Attack Damage has superior lifesteal/spell vamp, but I would rather do 2600+ more damage, than to regen 603 more health in the first 5 seconds of combat. Hybrid has only 895 more damage than Attack Damage, but Ability Power has over 1915 more damage than Hybrid. Ability Power still has 715 more damage than my recommended build, but only around 565 less health stolen. In my opinion, Ability Power build is the winner.

Again, unfortunately these are FULLY STACKED theoretical builds, and I'm comparing them to a realistic and dependable build. My recommended build doesn't count on stacks, and it doesn't matter how many times I'm killed in a group battle.

Here is a comparison of my recommended build against different stack levels on the Ability Power build.

As you can see, once you drop below 10 stacks, Ability Power build has lost its edge on damage, even moreso than it's loss in health stolen. If you die and lose all of your stacks, it is probably beneficial to replace your Mejai's Soulstealer with a Will of the Ancients

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Recommended Masteries and Runes (Opinionated)

There are many ways to setup Akali with both passives, however I have listed a few of the most efficient setups. The most efficient use of rune types is listed in Aggressive setup.

The first listed is designed for those new to both LoL and Akali, however it easily builds into the most aggressive and most efficient build, so I highly suggest it if you are willing to admit you are learning. It provides a lot of wiggle room in the laning phase. Please remember, last hitting creeps for the gold, is AS if not MORE important than early kills.

Extreme Early Game Sustain Setup for new Akali's [NO SUMMONER BONUS] (15/12/3)

3 x Greater Quintessence of Vigor = 8.1hp/5sec
9 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage = 8.55AD
9 x Greater Seal of Vitality = 9.72HP/lvl or 174.96HP at lvl 18
9 x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist = 13.41 Magic Resist
Start Items - This build only activates the Disc of Might passive(Spell Vamp), and should start with Doran's Blade or Doran's Shield
Runes/Masteries - At level 1, it provides 11.55AD, 4AP, 36hp, 11.1hp/5 health regen, 3% lifesteal, 8% spell vamp, 6 armor, 15.41 magic resist, and 10 extra energy
Focus - Sustain is the word of the day, and FARM is the goal. This build focuses on extreme sustainability and farming ability, but not on burst damage early kills. Her biggest weakness is her squishiness, which is typically why new Akali players feed in the laning phase, which then continues on into end game. Farm early, carry hard later. You can also take a point from Brute Force and put it into any Summoner bonus you want

Early Game Sustain Setup for starting with both passives [Summoner's Wrath] (15/12/3)
3 x Greater Quintessence of Vigor = 8.1hp/5sec
9 x Greater Mark of Ability Power = 5.31AP
9 x Greater Seal of Ability Power = 5.31AP
9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power = 8.91AP
Start Items - This build activates both passives with Doran's Blade
Runes/Masteries - At level 1, it provides 2AD, 23.53AP, 8% bonus damage, 36hp, 11.1hp/5 health regen, 3% lifesteal, 6 armor, 2 magic resist, and 10 extra energy
Focus - This build is very sustainable and also starts with both passives, and sort of between the Extreme Sustain setup and the Pro Aggressive setup. This is not the most efficient use of her runes or masteries, but for those who are not new to Akali and still struggle in the laning phase, this might be a good option.

Aggressive Setup for starting with both passives [Summoner's Wrath] (21/9/0)
3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power = 14.85AP
9 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage = 8.55AD
9 x Greater Seal of Vitality = 9.72HP/lvl or 174.96HP at lvl 18
9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power = 8.91AP
Start Items - This build activates both passives with NO AP or AD items, and should start with Boots of Speed with 3 health pots.
Runes/Masteries - At level 1, Runes alone provides 8.55AD, and 23.76AP at lvl 1.The bonus from Brute Force adds an additional 1AD, pushing it over the minimum (9.5AD). Bonuses from Mental Force, Blast, and Archmage gives you a total of 30AP at level 1 (46AP + 5% at level 18). Bonuses from runes, Durability, and Veteran's Scars give you an extra 46HP at level 1 (313HP at level 18).
Focus - The biggest advantage to this build is you start with boots and 3 health pots, making you more mobile, but still sustainable, and 30AP with no items = a massive early game threat. This build is very aggressive and lacks sustain without pots, but very strong if played well. You can also swap some of the points from Blast to Havoc, as both are great investments late game.

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Mastery Listing (Opinionated)

Below I have listed each mastery's usefulness to Akali, seperated and graded by tree. Prior to Season 2, the Offensive tree masteries were not geared toward AP carries. Now that they have changed it, it has become viable to go down the Offense tree without wasting ANY points. The Defensive tree has changed quite a bit, and some very nice masteries can be reached in only tier 3. The Utility tree is a mess, and is hard to get past tier 1 without wasting a point. Tier 3 holds some very nice spell vamp, however you would need to spend a total of 11 points in the tree to get it, leaving only 19 points for the Offense tree. You cannot max out Archmage , and you cannot reach Executioner , so losing these would only be viable if you need the Utility benefits for Jungling.

OFFENSE TREE: 53/85 personal rating
Summoner's Wrath - 4/5 Why not 5? Because although it's great to have, Akali doesn't need this ability.
Brute Force - 3/5 Why not 5? Because she needs to stack AP, but this is great for activating her passive.
Mental Force - 5/5 1 point per 1 AP! Most important stat, and makes activating her passive easier.
Butcher - 2/5 Helps last hitting, but does not directly boost her abilities, and is only effective on auto attackers.
Alacrity - 1/5 Akali is not an auto attacking champ.
Sorcery - 4/5 Cooldown reduction is great, but it also means she runs out of energy faster.
Demolitionist - 1/5 Akali is not exactly the tower pusher. Lich Bane/Sheen procs will do more damage.
Deadliness - 0/5 Akali is not an auto attacking champ. Do not waste even a single rune or point in crit.
Weapon Expertise - 3/5 Armor Penetration can be good because Lich Bane and Sheen procs are also AD.
Arcane Knowledge - 5/5 Absolutely.
Havoc - 4/5 3 points for 1.5% damage is great but mainly scales extreme late game. On a level 1 300dmg burst, it will increase her total damage by 4.5dmg, and in a 3000dmg burst, it will increase her total damage by 45dmg.
Lethality - 0/5 Crit damage... no.
Vampirism - 3/5 Lifesteal is great, but Spell Vamp is much better.
Blast - 5/5 Stack more AP! Unfortunately like Havoc, it scales late game, however the level 1, 1AP point can help you activate Akali's passive.
Sunder - 3/5 Armor Penetration again is good, but not worth focusing on.
Archmage - 5/5 Very important to max because of the late game effect, as well as the early game bonus to activating her passive.
Executioner - 5/5 Great for getting those killing blows, and four times as effective as Havoc for 1/3 the points.

DEFENSE TREE: 46/80 personal rating
Summoner's Resolve - 0/5 I really hope no one takes this.
Resistance - 4/5 Extra MR is great for Akali, however her build already has a lot of MR.
Hardiness - 5/5 Extra Armor is very important, and her build has none unless you build a [item_text=Guardian Angel]].
Tough Skin - 3/5 Great for Jungle Akali, however you should negate creep aggro with Twilight Shroud.
Durability - 5/5 Extra health per level is great for Akali.
Vigor - 4/5 Stacks very well with her hp/5 quints for sustainability, however is not efficient.
Indomitable - 3/5 More damage reduction which would be great for jungling.
Veteran's Scars - 5/5 Flat HP boost at level 1 helps a lot.
Evasion - 2/5 Twilight Shroud's MR bonus is much higher than 3%.
Bladed Armor - 3/5 Again great for jungling.
Siege Commander - 0/5 Akali is not a tower pusher.
Initiator - 3/5 Movement speed is extremely important pre-6, however try not to initiate group fights.
Enlightenment - 3/5 Cooldown reduction is great, but she runs out of energy faster, this is far down the tree.
Honor Guard - 2/5 Nice but now we're getting way too far down the tree.
Mercenary - 2/5 Great for racking up the gold, but again, we're getting way too far down the tree.
Juggernaut - 2/5 Very nice, but I hope you never get this far down the tree.

UTILITY TREE: 39/80 personal rating
Summoner's Insight - 2/5 Great for the Flash Cooldown reduction, but not much else.
Good Hands - 1/5 Try not to die...
Expanded Mind - 5/5 Extra Energy is great, especially for the price.
Improved Recall - 0/5 Waste of a point.
Swiftness - 4/5 Movement speed at tier 2 in the tree is great.
Meditation - 0/5 No.
Scout - 4/5 Always a bonus, and always ward.
Greed - 3/5 I love GP5 but this is tier 3 now.
Transmutation - 4/5 If only it was higher in the tree.
Runic Affinity - 4/5 Especially wonderful for jungle Akali.
Wealth - 1/5 You need to max out Greed first.
Awareness - 4/5 Always great but too low down the tree.
Sage - 2/5 Okay but too far down the tree.
Perseverance - 1/5 It was weak even when it wasn't tier 5.
Intelligence - 2/5 More Cooldown reduction way too far down the tree.
Mastermind - 2/5 Way too far down the tree to be viable.

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Rune Listing

Per level runes with (#) show the level it exceeds the flat rune.

Attack Damage
3 x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage = 6.75
3 x Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage = 0.75/lvl or 13.5 at lvl 18 (9)

9 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage = 8.55
9 x Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage = 1.26/lvl or 21.87 at lvl 18 (7)

9 x Greater Seal of Attack Damage = 3.87
9 x Greater Seal of Scaling Attack Damage = 0.54/lvl or 9.72 at lvl 18 (5)

9 x Greater Glyph of Attack Damage = 2.52
9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Attack Damage = 0.36/lvl or 6.48 at lvl 18 (7)

...Marks have the highest flat and per level AD runes, however Marks also have the highest penetration, and the flat Quints aren't so bad in comparison.

Ability Power
3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power = 14.85
3 x Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power = 1.29/lvl or 23.22 at lvl 18 (12)

9 x Greater Mark of Ability Power = 5.31
9 x Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power = 0.9/lvl or 16.2 at lvl 18 (6)

9 x Greater Seal of Ability Power = 5.31
9 x Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power = 0.9/lvl or 16.2 at lvl 18 (6)

9 x Greater Glyph of Ability Power = 8.91
9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power = 1.53/lvl or 27.54 at lvl 18 (6)

...Quints have the highest flat AP, but Glyphs have the highest per level AP.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Desolation = 9.99 Armor Penetration
3 x Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration = 5.67 Magic Penetration

9 x Greater Mark of Desolation = 14.94 Armor Penetration
9 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration = 8.55 Magic Penetration

9 x Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration = 5.13 Magic Penetration
...Marks have the highest Armor and Magic penetration, but we need to focus on Magic penetration.

Cooldown Reduction
3 x Greater Quintessence of Cooldown Reduction = 4.92%
3 x Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction = 0.39%/lvl or 7.02% at lvl 18 (5)

9 x Greater Mark of Cooldown Reduction = 1.44%
9 x Greater Seal of Cooldown Reduction = 2.61%
9 x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction = 5.85%
9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction = 0.45%/lvl or 8.1% at lvl 18 (8)

...Glyphs have both the highest flat and per level cooldown reduction.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Energy = 16.2 Energy
9 x Greater Glyph of Energy = 19.8
9 x Greater Glyph of Sapience = 1.449/lvl or 26.082 at lvl 18 (14)

...Glyphs have the most flat energy, but the per level Glyphs have a terrible efficiency.

Energy Regen
9 x Greater Quintessence of Meditation = 4.725/5sec
9 x Greater Seal of Meditation = 5.67/5sec
9 x Greater Seal of Lucidity = 0.576/5sec/lvl or 10.368 at lvl 18 (10)

...Glyphs have the highest energy regen, but the per level Glyphs are fairly inefficient.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Health = 78
3 x Greater Quintessence of Vitality = 8.1/lvl or 145.8 at lvl 18 (10)

9 x Greater Seal of Health = 48.15
9 x Greater Seal of Vitality = 9.72/lvl or 174.96 at lvl 18 (5)

...The Quint has the highest flat HP, but the Seal has an amazing efficiency, catching up to even the flat Quints at level 8.

Health Regen
3 x Greater Quintessence of Vigor = 8.1/5sec
3 x Greater Quintessence of Regeneration = 0.93/5sec/lvl or 15.12/5sec at lvl 18 (9)

9 x Greater Seal of Vigor = 3.87/5sec
9 x Greater Seal of Regeneration = 0.99/5sec per lvl or 17.82/5sec at lvl 18 (4)

...The Quint has the highest flat regen, but the Seal has an amazing efficiency, catching up to even the flat Quints at level 9.

3 x Greater Quintessence of Evasion = 4.5% Dodge
3 x Greater Quintessence of Evasion = 12.78 Armor

9 x Greater Seal of Evasion = 6.75% Dodge
9 x Greater Seal of Armor = 12.69 Armor

...Seals and Quints are the only source for dodge in runes, Seals being the stronger one. You can also use armor seals if you like jungling, although I feel she's a much stronger laner.

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Summoner Abilities (Opinionated)

In order of synergy

Flash - has many tricks to it, as I use it in early levels in place of Shadow Dance, and especially defensively with Twilight Shroud.
Ignite - Works wonders early game with Summoner's Wrath , the bonus 5AP and 5AD can help trigger her passives, and it also really shuts down lifesteal and regen carries
Exhaust - Akali has no viable slow at low levels before she finishes Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Surge - Massive boost to her AP for first blood, or late game in a team fight.

Smite - Is a must for a full jungling Akali, but I think she belongs in the lane.
Ghost - Great for escape and chasing, however Flash is far more confusing to the enemy, especially now that it's been reduced to 10 seconds.
Clairvoyance - Works well with her Shadow Dance allowing her to wall jump to jungle creep etc...
Teleport - Great for laning, but Akali is best at trolling between lanes assassinating.
Cleanse - Great for brushing off CC's, but I like flash better
Heal - With lifesteal and Spell Vamp, Akali should have little use for this
Promote - Uhmmm, no...
Revive - Uhmmm, no too...
Clarity - I'm not even going to bother...

Garrison - Always a great spell for Dominion, but I think Akali is better at killing, then capping.

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Skilling Order

Typical skilling order, all you need to remember is to max out Mark of the Assassin as quickly as possible, take Rank 1 Twilight Shroud at level 2, then max out Twilight Shroud last.

I take Twilight Shroud early because Crescent Slash is very weak at Rank 1, and you will harass and defend far more with an 8 second duration Shroud at level 2 than a weak AoE. Level 1 Crescent Slash will only do 40dmg per target, and spell vamp 1hp per target, at that level.

I typically put my 3rd point back into Mark of the Assassin instead of taking Crescent Slash, when opposing strong harass champs. You need stronger harass to return fire, and Crescent Slash is definitely not the answer.

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Build Order

Again, remember Akali only needs ONE Attack Damage item to maximize her burst damage while still activating both passives. Or, if you stacked up AD in your runes, then you only need the Amplifying Tome to activate her second passive. Or, it's possible to activate both passives using runes and masteries alone, but it takes a lot of investment in runes, and it's not the best setup to learn Akali. Akali needs as much AP as possible, so focus on the highest AP items.

Start: = 475g
The Doran's Blade is a reliable starting item. With one of the proper rune setups listed above, I have enough AP to activate the Discipline of Force, and the 10 Attack Damage is enough to activate my Discipline of Might. Akali needs the added HP, Lifesteal, and Spell Vamp for early lane staying power. I don't sell this until much much later in the game.
Start: = 470g (Omit Doran's Blade and save 440g from below)
The Amplifying Tome is also a strong starting item, but very aggressive. With the proper rune setup listed above, the Discipline of Might is activated, and no money is wasted toward any AD items. Unfortunately you can only take one health pot, so it's riskier.
Start: x3 = 455g (Omit Doran's Blade] and save 370g from below)
The Boots of Speed is a very strong starting item, making you very mobile from the start (which she needs), and you can start with 3 health pots making your lane staying presence very strong. Unfortunately a lot of IP needs to be invested into the proper rune setup, and without the extra HP and lifesteal, it's noticeably squishier.

Strong Laning Phase: = 2045g
Weak Laning Phase: = 1985g
As soon as you are able to shop, if you are dominating your lane, finish Sheen first, but if you are struggling, or are against an opponent with a lot of sustaining power, you'll need the Hextech Revolver. If you need to recall or you die before you can afford it, make sure you get Boots of Speed to not only return to the lane faster, but to increase your threat mobility. Also if you don't have Discipline of Force already, pick up an Amplifying Tome and pot up.

Strong End of Laning Phase: = 3283g
Weak End of Laning Phase: = 3095g
If you are dominating early in a normal game, always pick up a soulstealer, as it will typically land you an early surrender. However if it's ranked or not low elo, it's safer to pickup a Hextech Revolver. If you're absolutely sucking, take the extra health as soon as you can, and avoid feeding (CS counts); don't worry, you'll need it later anyway.

Strong Early-Mid game: = 4615g
Weak Early-Mid game: = 4430g
If you're doing well you want to keep stacking the AP, but regardless of how you're doing, finish the Rylai's Crystal Scepter at this point for the survivability and slow.

Mid game vs typical CC's: = 7240g
Mid game vs Strong AD Carries: = 6890g
Mid game vs Magic Resistance: = 7140g
Mid game with CD Reduction: = 7090g
Decide what kind of boots you want around now. If there is a lot of stuns, silences, snares, etc, then finish your Mercury's Treads. Ninja Tabi is also a viable option when you're not doing well vs heavy AD DPS monsters. Some may prefer the Sorcerer's Shoes for added damage, or Ionian Boots of Lucidity for faster bursts, but all forms CC are Akali's enemies. If there is little to no CC, then definitely take the higher damage shoes, but really, how rare is that? Also finish the Rylai's, no matter how you're doing in the game.

Strong Later-Mid game: = 8875g
Weak Later-Mid game: = 7640g
Here the builds will break up again. If you are doing well, keep working toward that Rabadon's Deathcap by buying that big shiny Needlessly Large Rod. If you're not doing well, then work on your Lich Bane by starting with the Magic Resist. The Lich Bane has increased Magic Resistance(combined with the Merc Treads, around 100MR), and any further AP you stack will hit like a truck.

Strong Early-Late game: = 10875g
Weak Early-Late game: = 9450g

Late game: = 13085g
Most of my games end here, but if they don't, you have multiple options.

* Your AP will be near 400AP ([80 + 80 + 140] * 1.3 = 390). At 390AP you will be doing 84% bonus magic damage ([390AP - activation 20AP] / 5) = 74%, plus the activation 10%. It is now worth upgrading for more AD, so I finally sell my Doran's Blade. Work on replacing it with Bilgewater Cutlass.

* You could go for the new Zhonya's Hourglass for the active ability to survive extended combat after your Shroud fades. If you notice you're taking a pounding with nowhere to hide, hit it and watch them panic again as they are forced to withhold abilities for you, but still are deep in a team fight.

* You could also focus on defensive items, one of my favorites on Akali is the Guardian Angel. She has the ability to dash out or stealth when revived, as well as spell vamp a good portion of her health back when revived.

Very Late game:
Most games end long before here, but they don't on occasion. Start working on the Hextech Gunblade because it will turn your single damage item into even more AP. If you've lost stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer, then sell it, or finish the Hextech Revolver to Will of the Ancients for even more Spell Vamp. Check the damage comparison section to see how stacks affect her DPS.

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Early game - Sheen VS Hextech Revolver

The question is, which is the best first item, Sheen or Hextech Revolver? There has been debate over this, and even a vulgur guide pointing this out. There should be no doubt that Hextech Revolver has more lane sustaining power, allowing Akali to sit and farm the lane much longer. There is however doubt that the Sheen actually does do more damage, which is proven completely false below, no matter how you want to spin it. However I would like to focus on the efficiency... and unless you know how to use Sheen, it will not be efficient.

Below are some theoretical calculations projecting damage and spell vamp. The first two columns are done with Akali's stats at level 6, and the standard skill sequence for that level. The second two columns are done at level 18, but still with no additional items (since we're not comparing them). The Sheen's status is on the far left. NOTE: The timing between each row is not an exact 1 second for 1 row exchange, it is just a typical order of execution.
Here you see that a standard spam rotation of skills, will get one Sheen proc per rotation. Akali will only do 84dmg more, and will spell vamp 119hp less. Having a 2:3 ratio is not good, and it only gets slightly better at level 18 with a 3:4 ratio. NOTE: Adding more AP will further diminish this ratio, so Sheen instead of Hextech Revolver becomes very bad late game (which is why it is only strong Early Game).

Here you see a theoretical timing rotation to perfectly interleave Sheen procs when it leaves cooldown. Now in 2 rotations, the Sheen can do an additional 224dmg, but will still spell vamp 119hp less. The untimed 2:3 ratio has become an 11:6 ratio when abilities are timed. NOTE: This is theoretically perfect and unattainable, however it shows that timing Sheen procs drastically affects the efficiency.

So in conclusion... if you are going to go ganking, you'll want to do more damage, so take Sheen. If you want to stay in your lane and farm, then you'll need sustainability, so take the Hextech Revolver. It is a matter of player preference, and situational. If Akali is solo laned and against someone with very high sustainability, she cannot leave the lane, and needs to match their ability. Leaving the tower to gank would only leave it defenseless against someone who you can't remove from the lane. The only correct answer at this point is to farm CS.

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Item Review (Opinionated)

I have added this because of a lot of confusion as to "why or why not?" on certain items. Each item is critiqued on Cost, Burst Damage, Crowd Control, and Survivability. I have given each item a stamp of Required/Situational/Terrible.

This section is mostly opinion, however I believe it's worth the read. Please, if you're going to read it, keep an open mind. This area should be discussed, improved, and not flamed.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity 900g [Situational]
Cost - Cheapest CDR you'll find
Brst - 15% CDR means bursts more often
CC - None
Surv - Tier 2 movement
Until this item was added, there were no viable CDR items for Akali (everything AP'ish has mana regen or mana). The Kindlegem was the most useful item, but it doesn't build into anything that Akali really wants. This option comes with the same warning as the Sorcerer's Shoes, make sure your opponents have little to no CC first. Also always remember, CDR on a ninja means they run out of energy faster, and there is no viable option to regenerating it quickly to keep up with your hasted consumption. Stacks nicely with CDR glyphs if you took them, and CDR in the Offense tree as recommended in the masteries. With all of these, grab the blue buff and you're sitting less than a percent from max CDR (and blue regenerates energy!).

Mercury's Treads 1200g [Required]
Cost - The most expensive Tier 2 boots
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - 35 Tenacity / 35% less duration on movement altering effects
This item is a must against any team with disables, which is pretty much every single game. Akali needs to be mobile and up close and personal. If she cannot close the distance to squishies, she will fail. If she cannot move, she will die. Stuns and Silences are the worst.

Ninja Tabi 850g [Situational]
Cost - Cheapest Tier 2 boots
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - 25 Armor, 12% dodge chance, stacks well with dodge runes and masteries for around 21% dodge total
This is only viable when there is little to no CC to lock you down, and you're facing heavy AD DPS carries. I originally did not support this, but since they have normalized dodge "chance", I consider it a viable option.

Sorcerer's Shoes 1100g [Situational]
Cost - Second most expensive tier 2 boots
Brst - 20 Magic Penetration
CC - None
Surv - Tier 2 movement
This item can add more burst damage for sure, but the question should always be asked, "how many disables do they have?" Any stuns, slows, and snares will stop Akali from her job of burst damaging. The less mobile she is, the easier of a target she is as well. There are very very few games that I will buy Sorc shoes over Merc Treads.

Hybrid Items:
Guinsoo's Rageblade 2235g [Terrible]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 45AP boost, additional 40AP and 32% Attack Speed once 8 actions have been taken
CC - None
Surv - None
Terrible Akali item for two reasons, Stacking and Attack Speed. To maximize effectiveness, Akali has to do actions like auto attack and using abilities to build up stacks. By the time the item has maximized AP, she's already blown her load. This is not synonymous with "burst damage", and neither is Attack Speed. These stacks are temporary and are quickly lost.

Hextech Gunblade 3625g [Situational]
Cost - Very expensive for an early game item
Brst - 300dmg active, 70AP boost
CC - Slow on active
Surv - 15% Lifesteal and 20% Spell Vamp
Great item that fits perfectly with Akali, but it's too expensive early on. Even less cost efficient now that they nerfed it after Dominion. The active is a single use burst damage click, and the slow is only for 3 seconds, not to mention it must be activated manually, adding another click to your combo slowing your initial burst damage. Lich Bane has far higher and repeatable burst damage, and Rylai's Scepter has a better repeatable slow effect.

Trinity Force 4070g [Terrible]
Cost - Extremely expensive
Brst - Extra 150% Base Attack Damage after cast (upgrade to Sheen), 25AP boost
CC - 25% chance to slow on auto attack
Surv - None
Not nearly enough damage for the price. Very little AP boost, only a 25% chance to slow on auto attacks, and like Sheen the bonus damage is 150% of her BASE attack damage, not her total AD. Akali does not need attack speed, crit chance, or mana.

Ability Power Items:
Abyssal Mask 2650g [Situational]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 70AP, -20MR to surrounding enemies
CC - None
Surv - 57MR
This item is a great idea if your opponents are magic heavy. Every enemy target will have at least 20MR, so the aura is not dependent on what your targets are building.

Deathfire Grasp 2610g [Situational]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 60AP, Deals 30% of current target health in magic damage, -15% Cooldowns
CC - None
Surv - None
High HP Tank-buster. Mana regen is pointless, however cooldown reduction and the 30% burst damage is an excellent addition when dealing with high HP champs. Keep in mind that their MR still affects this attack, so it will only work on champs that have high HP but not high MR.

Lich Bane 3470g [Required]
Cost - Very expensive for an early game item
Brst - Extra 100% Ability Power Damage after cast (AMAZING 100% ratio)
CC - None
Surv - 30 Magic Resist, 7% move speed
This item is Akali's main source of extra burst damage when she is stacked with AP. It gives her a 100% AP ratio on her melee swing every 2 seconds. Once her AP exceeds her BASE AD, it's viable to switch, although it is even more devastating when it's very high. There isn't a single item in LoL that can match this boost in repeating burst damage. Extra MR and move speed are just icing on the cake.

Mejai's Soulstealer 1235g [Situational]
Cost - Cheap for even early game
Brst - 20AP, 8AP per stack, 15% CD reduc at 20 stacks, completely dependent on game success
CC - None
Surv - None
This item is a must for Akali, even after the AP/stack ratio nerf. It is entirely dependent on how well the game is going, and if you can survive fights. Any deaths severely impact your progress, and after each death, you should always consider selling the item for something else. However the avalanche effect from this item has ended more games than any other single item.

Moonflair Spellblade 1200g [Terrible]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 50AP
CC - None
Surv - 25 Tenacity / 25% less duration on movement altering effects
This is a new item and is respectable due to the cost, however I would still suggest Mercury Treads over these because of Akali's tendency to be focused. Unfortunately there is also no magic resist...

Morello's Evil Tome 2350g [Terrible]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 75AP, -20% Cooldowns
CC - None
Surv - None
This is a new item and has interesting stats, as great AP and CD reduction are appealing, however when compared to the Deathfire Grasp, it's a no brainer. Both have wasted mana regen, but Deathfire Grasp has a 30% instant damage. Tankbuster wins...

Rabadon's Deathcap 3600g [Situational]
Cost - Very expensive item, but AMAZING
Brst - 140AP, and 30% AP boost (totalling 201AP with no other items)
CC - None
Surv - None
This item is the primary replacement for the removed Zhonya's Ring. This item is a requirement for any champ intending on stacking AP. While it is quite expensive, it's absolutely worth it in every instance. Unfortunately for this boost in AP amazingness, it lost the 2 second invulnerability, now given to Zhonya's Hourglass.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter 3105g [Required]
Cost - Expensive as a first item, good price for mid game.
Brst - 80AP boost
CC - 35% 2 second slow on ALL single target abilities, 15% on AoE's
Surv - None
This should never be your first item, however the slow is incomparable. All other AP items that have a slow component are single use and unrepeatable, or inconsistent and based off a chance to proc. Rylai's Scepter procs on every single damage ability. The melee equivalent is the Frozen Mallet but it only boosts 20 Attack Damage, and is more of a health boost than a DPS boost. Rylai's gives both DPS from 80AP(one of the few high AP items), and 500hp, a fairly tankish item. Since she's melee, she absolutely needs a slow component of some type to be most effective.

Sheen 1260g [Required]
Cost - Great price for an early game item
Brst - Extra 100% Base Attack Damage after cast
CC - None
Surv - None
Great early game item to proc an extra 100% BASE Attack Damage every 2 seconds. She doesn't need mana, but it's built into the Lich Bane, which is the real target item. Early game Sheen makes a surprisingly large difference in her burst damage, and has great synergy with her Discipline of Force passive. Note that it is 100% of her BASE Attack Damage, so boosting her Attack Damage further doesn't affect this proc.

Void Staff 2295g [Situational]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 70AP, 40% MR penetration
CC - None
Surv - None
This item is a must if your opponents are stacking MR, and will only be truly effective if they are doing such. If the majority of your targets do not have MR stacked up, don't even consider this item.

Will of the Ancients 2400g [Situational]
Cost - Great price
Brst - 80AP
CC - None
Surv - Team Proximity 25% Spell Vamp
Great cost to AP ratio, and the Spell Vamp has GREAT synergy with her passive Spell Vamp. The Hextech Revolver used to make this item is also a great alternative to Mejai's Soulstealer.

Zhonya's Hourglass 3100g [Required]
Cost - Very expensive item, definitely get Rabadon's Deatcap first
Brst - 100AP
CC - None
Surv - 50 armor, 2 second stasis with 90 second cooldown
This item was added as the secondary replacement to Zhonya's Ring. They have added armor and lowered the AP, but while I will miss the 2 second stasis from the old ring, I will not go out of my way to acquire this. This has become more of a defensive item than anything, and is still very expensive. I would only consider this item when up against a heavy AD team, for the armor and confusing stasis effect.

Attack Damage Items:
Infinity Edge 4080g [Terrible]
Cost - Terribly expensive for a full damage item
Brst - 75AD, 20% crit, 250% crit damage
CC - None
Surv - None
Akali is not an auto attacking champ. She does not need crit chance, nor a boost to her crit damage. This is not defined as burst damage.

Phantom Dancer 2895g [Terrible]
Cost - Extremely expensive for a full damage item
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - 15% move speed
Again, Akali is not an auto attacking champ. She does not need crit chance or attack speed. This is not defined as burst damage. The move speed is a nice bonus, however there is 0 burst damage qualifications to this item.

Sword of the Occult 1369g [Terrible]
Cost - Good price, but more expensive than Mejai's Soulstealer
Brst - 10AD, 5AD per stack, completely dependent on game success
CC - None
Surv - 15% move speed at 20 stacks
I would rather spend the gold on a Mejai's Soulstealer. One stack item is risky enough, two stack items could be disastrous. You could replace your Doran's Blade with this item and still retain the Disc of Force passive, however and again, stacking Attack Damage does not boost her burst damage when compared to stacking AP.

The Black Cleaver 3065g [Terrible]
Cost - Extremely expensive for a full damage item
Brst - 55AD
CC - None
Surv - None
Again, Akali is not an auto attacking champ. She does not swing repeatedly to lower her targets armor. This is not defined as burst damage.

The Bloodthirster 3200g [Situational]
Cost - Extremely expensive for a full damage item
Brst - 60AD, 1AD per kill (40max)
CC - None
Surv - 15% lifesteal, 0.25% per kill (10%max)
This item is very expensive for her one damage item. It's far more efficient to spend this gold on AP to stack more burst damage. The Hextech Gunblade has far more synergy with Akali than this item.

Youmuu's Ghostblade 2687g [Terrible]
Cost - Expensive for a full damage item
Brst - 30AD, 15% crit chance, 20 Armor Pen, 15% CD reduction
CC - None
Surv - Active 20% move speed
Again, Akali is not an auto attacking champ. She does not need crit chance, attack speed, or armor penetration. This is not defined as burst damage. The move speed and CD reduction is a nice bonus though.

Defensive Items:
Banshee's Veil 2715g [Situational]
Cost - Great price for mid to late game
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - 375HP, 50MR, Blocks one spell every 45sec
This item is awesome vs enemies that have a lot of magic damage, and greatly boosts your survivability. If you are getting rocked by champs like Annie, Morgana, Kassadin, this is the item for you. Keep in mind that it's your job to take these champs down, so don't forget to stack AP and/or Spell Penetration.

Guardian Angel 2600g [Situational]
Cost - Great price for mid to late game
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - Rebirth every 5 minutes!
This item is amazing when you are being focused in group fights. Combining this with Zhonya's Ring gives her 2 extra chances to avoid death. If you can't seem to stay alive for longer than a few seconds, definitely get this item.

Leviathan 1275g [Situational]
Cost - Good price
Brst - None
CC - None
Surv - 180hp, 32hp/stack (640hp max), 15% less damage at 20 stacks
This item is beastly, and by that I mean it really belongs on tankish beasts. It can add great survivability to Akali, but again, two stack items on such a squishy champ isn't a great idea.

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Early Game Laning

I have received some feedback stating that players are having trouble with Akali in the early game laning phase, so I have added this section to further explain it.

Akali is the most difficult to play at level 1-5 because she lacks strong long range harass without Shadow Dance to close the distance. She has very strong early game damage, but it is extremely easy to feed with her, like all squishy melee champs, and these levels are critical to setting the platform for the rest of the game, so it is important to play smart.

She is best in a solo lane versus a carry. She can farm up on creep, and possibly get a kill or two on their carry. She needs to have a strong laning phase, and carry hard early game through mid game. She just cannot carry and survive late end game, simply because she's melee and focused too much. Eventually they will get smart and buy an Oracle's, or 3... Your job at that point is primarily to take out low health champs, and sometimes kamikaze against their carry so they lose their DPS. You will die more often end game... and your wonderful "carry" k/d ratio will plummet.

Akali is a strong solo mid and can also hold the 2v1 lane, however it is not easy and I don't recommend it unless you're very comfortable with her. It is extremely important to fully utilize her Twilight Shroud as a harassment/defense tool in a solo lane, so before you try this, I highly recommend that you wait until Twilight Shroud becomes second nature. You'll need to be able to react very quickly with it, and hesitating to think about it takes too long.

Solo mid, she excels at shutting down squishy carries, by zoning them out with the threat of massive burst damage. Using Twilight Shroud, you can tactfully deny CS and experience effectively. She is weak against champs with silences like Kassadin, targetable long range harass spells like Teemo, and champs that have a ton of shielding/healing like Mordekaiser. If you're facing a champ like this mid or in the 2v1, humbly bow out and accept the limitations of the Akali, not yourself.

Inserting solo mid video here...

2v1, Akali has to hug the tower at all times, so never push out of it, just stay within exp range, and close enough that you can last hit creep from a distance with Mark of the Assassin. Here is an example of Akali holding the 2v1 lane while Fiddlesticks jungles. Pay close attention to how I am able to harass both champs even with a 625 range champ present. Yes yes, they're not pros, but neither am I =P
Akali again, is very squishy, and I cannot say this enough, yet the best way to play her early game is by aggressively harassing enemy champs. She is very good at pushing them back off the creep, robbing them of experience and gold. If you can get your partner to stop pushing the lane forward, and only last hit creep, you will cripple your opponents in your lane.

Inserting partnered laning video here...

Your lane partner makes a massive difference to you doing very well or just plain terrible. If the two players have no synergy, Akali harasses but her partner retreats/partner is far too aggressive Akali retreats, Akali will die, over and over and over. Notice I said players... She works fine partnered with any champ, so what matters most is the players. So many times I will feed early game because I am harassing, yet for no reason my partner will retreat to the tower when they have full health. Or better yet, my partner will dive in on full health champs for no reason, and I die trying to save them. If you notice your partner doing this, immediately stop aggressive harassing, because you cannot count on them to support you. Focus on last hitting creep, and that's it. My cutoff is 2 deaths/near-deaths. It should be apparent how bad your partner is by this point. You will make up for your feeding once you leave the lane, patience is key...

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Working in the team

She does very well in the jungle, so be sure to take out the jungle creep while roaming (obviously if there is no jungle). It leaves more gold and exp to those laning, and overall more gold and exp for the team. But obviously, don't spend all of your time in the jungle, Akali is an assassin, so go do some assassinating and take out unsuspecting champs in lanes. Spending some time in the jungle after the laning phase intimidates all lanes while you're MIA.

In a group fight with Akali, knowing when to jump in is the most important decision. She should never ever initiate the group fight as she will die in a split second against a prepared group. It's a completely different story if they are unprepared...

Once the group fight starts and you see a decent amount of sparks fly (specifically targetable stuns/silences), immediately Shadow Dance to the squishiest highest DPS champ and take them out with your high burst damage. With her burst DPS it will only take a few seconds. If the team is good, most of them will quickly turn their spells to you and you will see your HP start to fall, but since you waited, most of their spells are on CD and their DPS will be lower, so immediately drop Twilight Shroud and do nothing. This is very important because you will stealth in combat and it will temporarily confuse them. They will blindly throw in skill shots, and waste AoE's, hopefully saving your team from most of that damage.

This confusion is critical to Akali in a team fight. With her speed and intimidating burst damage, enemies will want to hold their skills to use on you, yet the longer they hold them, the less DPS and CC they are doing to the rest of your team. In a short moment, the confusion will quickly turn to panic, and their team cohesion will weaken. They will be less likely to focus on one target, and will spread the damage more evenly across your team.

Again hold your actions until you see a few sparks fly, then burst damage down the next highest DPS squishiest champ. If their team is good, you will likely not survive the next wave of damage, however you alone took out a large chunk of their DPS. My Akali is frequently the only casualty on our side of a 5v5 group fight, with a total wipe on their side. Absolutely worth the death in my opinion.

If you are utilizing this tactic effectively, very often your opponents will buy an oracle potion or a vision ward! Pay attention to this counter tactic, because unfortunately, it works very well...

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Akali cannot sustain full map lane pushes if she uses Crescent Slash a lot. It will eat her energy extremely quickly, and it is energy that she needs to defend herself or to dash into combat. Her best ability to farm long term is Mark of the Assassin, and limit Crescent Slash to once/twice per single wave.

When she encounters a very large creep wave, Crescent Slash can obliterate them very quickly. This skill does the best spread of damage on the wave when the wave is mobile. Once the ranged creep fan out across the lane it will not hit them all. Sometimes it is best to wait for the wave to push through your creep and become mobile again. Once they group up, Shadow Dance to the creep at the center and immediately spam Crescent Slash.

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If you enjoy playing mind games, instilling fear and confusion, and like playing glass cannon champs, Akali is for you. Akali is an amazing burst damage champ, however she is very squishy so you need to be careful. Speed and deception are your allies, so make good use of Shadow Dance, things like Flash, and in-combat stealth. Always underestimate her survivability, else she will drop like a rock if you don't take care of her. Respect her, love her, and she will put a smile on your face and at times a cackle in your laugh as you tear through enemy champs.

I have spent more time on, and included more in, this guide than I had intended, so I hope you all enjoy it. Thank you for reading through my guide. Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

In summary, I hope I have clarified these points...

#1 - Akali excels at being a burst damage champ, so she should be built and played as one. She is not an Auto-Attack champ like Jax and Yi who do massive amounts of damage even without pushing a button. Timing her skills and attacks is critical to maximizing her damage output, while also minimizing damage taken.

#2 - Akali is not a balanced hybrid champ. Stacking Attack Damage in equal amounts to her Ability Power cripples her burst damage ability. She only needs one Attack Damage item, and building up that single Attack Damage item early is a mistake.