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Akali Build Guide by Thehidde2001

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Thehidde2001

Akali mid, how to

Thehidde2001 Last updated on September 5, 2016
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Middle Lane
Ranked #36 in
Middle Lane
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

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This guide is going to be on Akali. But before we dive into the guide, I'd like to make a few disclaimers:

  • If you want to downvote this guide, you should do so, but I'd appreciate it if you'd explain in the comments why you did.

Ok, now that is out of the way, we can start with the guide.

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Why would you pick Akali

Thats a good question: Why would you pick Akali if there are plenty of other assassins available?

The answer is, because she's super fun to play. She has an insane amount of mobility and a lot of damage too. I just really love the feel of playing her. The other thing is that, unless champions like Zed or Ahri, Akali doesnt require to much skill to be played at an "ok" level. You can certainly tell the difference between a mediocre and a very good Akali player, but she isn't as difficult as for example Zed is.

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Pros and cons

  • Not to hard to play
  • Lots of mobility
  • Lots of damage
  • Good roaming potential
  • Fun to play
  • Low cooldowns on every of her abilities besides her W
  • Good sustain after you get Hextech Gunblade
  • Squishy, although that can be said from pretty much every midlane assassin
  • Her laning phase pre level 6 is weak
  • In teamfights, she gets hard-countered by Zhonya's Hourglass
  • Extremely weak to hard CC

Akali is a fun champion to play, with tons of mobility and damage, while also not being to hard to play. She has alot of sustain with Hextech Gunblade and really low cooldowns too, which ups her sustain even more.
Her downside however, is that she is a quite squishy champion, just like pretty much all other assassins, which makes her really vulnerable to hard CC, since she'll just get bursted down when she's stunned. Something else is that her laning phase pre level 6 is extremely weak, since you have to be in melee range to deal damage and you dont have access to your gapcloser, Shadow Dance, yet. Zhonya's Hourglass srews her up quite a bit in teamfights, since her target suddenly went untargetable, and since your Q and E cooldowns aren't back up yet, you can't select another target.

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Passive: Twin Disciplines:

DISCIPLINE OF FORCE: Akali's basic attacks deal 6% 「 (+ 1% per 6 AP) 」 AD bonus on-hit magic damage.
DISCIPLINE OF MIGHT: Akali permanently has 6% 「 (+ 1% per 6 bonus AD) 」 spell vamp.

This passive basicly provides you with some decent sustain, both in lane and outside lane. The damage part of this passive is nice to, it helps with last hitting and AA trading in lane, altough the opponent is doing something wrong if they let you come into melee range.

Q: Mark of the Assassin:

ACTIVE: Akali throws her kama at the target unit, dealing magic damage and marking them for 6 seconds.
MAGIC DAMAGE: 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 / 115 (+ 40% AP)
Basic attacks detonate the mark, dealing bonus magic damage and restoring energy.
「 BONUS MAGIC DAMAGE: 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+ 50% AP) 」
ENERGY RESTORED: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40

This is where almost all your damage comes from, especially in lane. This is one of the main ways to get cs in harder matchups. It's also an important part of your trading and your burst combo. You max this first, as it is, again, where most of you damage comes from.

W: Twilight Shroud:

ACTIVE: Akali throws down a smoke cover which lasts for 8 seconds, granting Sight icon sight of the target area and Slow icon slowing all units within it.
SLOW: 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 / 30%
Upon entering the smoke cover, Akali immediately gains stealth and a burst of movement speed that decays over 1 second and refreshes each time she re-enters the smoke cover.
BONUS MOVEMENT SPEED: 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100%

This is a useful ability, untill your enemies start buying pink wards. In lane, use this to get closer to the enemy midlaner or wait for your cooldowns to come back up. Its also of great use when the enemy jungler ganks you, You can use it to run away, or to combo them (Q => AA => E), drop your shroud and hide in it untill your cooldowns are back up. Sometimes by doing this a second time you can get a kill on the jungler, or the midlaner, whoever you decide to attack.

E: Crescent Slash:

ACTIVE: Akali flourishes her kamas, dealing physical damage to nearby units.
PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 (+ 40% AP) (+ 60% AD)

This is a pretty bland ability. It has some nice damage and can be usefull for picking up cs under turret. Ever since it doesn't proc her Q mark anymore, it has become nothing more than some damage. It is on a ridiculously low cooldown at later levels so you can clear waves with it easily, as long as your in range. That means that when getting sieged on, it has no waveclear, it's mainly for splitpushing. It also gives you some nice sustain after you have got some spellvamp, since its so spammable.

R: Shadow Dance:

PASSIVE: Akali uses a stock system on this ability; she stores an Essence of Shadow periodically and upon taking down an enemy champion, up to a maximum of 3 stored at once.
ACTIVE: Akali dashes to the target unit, striking through it and dealing magic damage. Upon arriving, she will immediately attempt to land a basic attack on her target.
MAGIC DAMAGE: 100 / 175 / 250 (+ 50% AP)
The strike-through distance increases the closer Akali was to her target before dashing, and is halved against targets affected Mark of the Assassin.

This is your bread and butter, you'll recieve an enormous powerspike after unlocking this at level 6 since it allows you to close the gap and come into melee range for your Q and your E. On top of that, it also does some pretty decent damage. Keep in mind that you're going to end up a bit behind the enemy when you use your R. You should also keep this in mind when playing against Akali, so you can hit a skillshot on her right after she jumps on you. I've seen so many times that i dashed onto someone and that my target aimed his skilshot incorrect because he didn't keep this in mind. There's not much more to say here, since its pretty much just a dash.

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Summoner spells

THIS SPELL IS A NECESSITY, you take it EVERY game. Its simply to good of a spell, it allows for sweet outplays, clutch skillshot dodges, simply getting out of a sticky situation and MUCH more.

For your second summoner spell, you have some more options, being:

  • Ignite:
    Great in easier matchups, it gives you ALOT more kill pressure in general. I wouldn't pick it in harder matchups though.
  • Exhaust:
    Great versus AD assasins like Talon or Zed. For example, whenever a Zed ults you, you
    just press exhaust and you just won the trade since he isn't going to be able to deal
    nearly as much damage.
  • Teleport:
    This one is really usefull in matchups where you expect to get pressurered/poked down alot early on. When playing against Vel'Koz for example, it allows you to go back to base, buy some more items/potions, Teleport back into lane and not lose a single minion. Later in the game it is also really usefull when you want to splitpush, or just in general.
  • Cleanse:
    Yep, even this one might be usefull. Pick it in matchups where you're going to get screwed
    over by cc, against Annie or Morgana for example. If you all in Annie without this, you're probably just going to get stunned and killed. Not when you're running Cleanse, since with Cleanse you can simply shrug of her stun and go on with your combo.

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For Runes, i personally run:

  • 9x Hybrid penetration mark
  • 9x Armor seals
  • 9x Magic resist glyphs
  • 3x ability power quints

Hybrid penetration marks, because Akali does mixed damage so it simply provides more damage then magic penetration marks. They also help you wih last-hitting minions. But if you dont have the IP for hybrid penetration marks, magic penetration marks will also work quite nicely.

Armor seals, because you're likely to get AA'd alot in lane, since you're a melee champion and most midlaners you face will be ranged, and the melee ones will most likely be AD champions anyways so there they are also useful too. You can switch these out with health seals too if you want to. Unless you're playing against an AD champion (e.g Zed or Talon), then you NEED the armor seals.

Magic resist glyphs, since, again, most of your lane opponents will be AP champions. If you're playing against an AD champion, you can change these out with scaling AP glyphs or normal AP glyphs, since the Magic resist isn't going to be usefull anyway. General rule of thumb here is:
  • Am I playing against an AP laner: if yes, 9x Magic resist glyphs, if no, next question
  • Does the enemy team have at least 2 other AP damage dealers (e.g Lissandra top, Corki ADC, nidalee jungle), if yes: 9x Magic resist glyphs, if no, next question
  • Does the enemy team have 1 AP damage dealer, if yes, 4x scaling/flat AP glyphs and 5x MR glyphs, if no, 9x scaling/flat Ap glyphs.

AP quints, because they just provide you with some nice damage. If you're planning on roaming alot, then you might want to consider switching 1, 2, or 3 of these in with movementspeed quints.

For masteries, i went 12/18/0

In the ferocity tree I picked:
  • Sorcery over Fury , since attack speed is useless for Akali, while the extra damage on abilities is really nice.
  • Double Edged Sword over Feast, because the extra damage on double edge sword is really nice. In matchups where you expect yourself to get poked down alot, the extra sustain from Feast is really nice too.
  • Vampirism over Natural Talent , since 18 AP and AD, even though Akali makes good use of both stats, at level 18 simply put isnt that much, while Vampirism helps us alot in lane with the added sustain.
  • Oppressor over Bounty Hunter , because you're guaranteed to have the extra damage from Oppressor , since your Hextech Gunblade slows them. But your not really likely to get all that much from Bounty Hunter , since most of the time you'll almost only kill your lane opponent (the midlaner), or the enemy AD carry, since their both high priority targets in teamfights and you're playing midlane so any kill in lane will most likely be on him.

In the cunning tree I picked:
  • Wanderer over Savagery, since the extra damage on minions isn't really usefull, unless your playing jungle Akali obviously, which is perfectly viable, so if you're addicted to playing Akali you can pick her jungle too. But the extra movespeed out of combat is really nice for getting back to lane just that tiny bit faster and for roaming it's really usefull too.
  • Secret Stash over both Runic Affinity and Assassin , because in lane, the better potions are really nice in keeping your HP high. If your in either a really easy matchup, in which you dont need the better potions, or in a matchup where you expect to trade alot, against melee's like Zed for example, Assassin is a good choice too. Because in easy matchups, you just get some extra damage, while in trading matchups, you get extra damage in trades, which is really nice.
  • Dangerous Game over Bandit , because the extra HP after killing a target really helps your teamfighting, but Bandit doesnt do a whole lot since 1 gold per missed cs is really not that much.
  • Precision over Intelligence , since your cooldowns are already low enough. Also, Akali uses both the armor penetration and the magic penetration really well so it's just a great mastery on Akali
  • Thunderlord's Decree over Stormraider's Surge and Windspeaker's Blessing , since Akali has no shield for Windspeaker's Blessing to have any use, and you don't need the movespeed from Stormraider's Surge , because you already have 3 dashes with your Shadow Dance and a slow with Hextech Gunblade.

    I chose to go into the cunning tree since Deathfire Touch , the only real other option for a keystone mastery, got nerfed heavily a few patches ago. It has been buffed a little bit, its still not good enough to justify picking it over Thunderlord's Decree .

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Leveling order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
This is quite simple, when you level up, check this:
  • Can I put a point in R, if you can, do so, if not, next question
  • Can I put a point in Q, if you can, do so, if not, next question
  • Can I put a point in E, if you can, do so, if not, put a point in W

We prioritize Shadow Dance first, since its our ultimate, Mark of the Assassin second, since it gives us the most damage, Crescent Slash third, since it does damage, and Twilight Shroud last, since it's only utility.
The slow/movespeed isnt why you use Twilight Shroud, its the invisibility. So if you rank it up it only gives you cooldown, while leveling up Crescent Slash doesn't only give you cooldown, it also gives you damage.

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Item build are one of the most important things in the game and no good guide can go without them. Akali's buildpath doesnt allow for to much flexibility, since so many AP items just aren't that good on Akali. These are my prefered items:

Hextech Gunblade:
The reason this is such a great item on Akali is that it gives some nice AP and AD, which we both put to very good use, but on top of that, it gives you some nice sustain to keep yourself healthy AND a great active for even more sticking potential and even more burst.

Zhonya's Hourglass:
Even though the damage on this item got nerfed in patch 6.9, the active is still way to strong for Akali not to build. It's really usefull in teamfights since it can help you survive to kill somebody else after the stasis has worn off. It can also be used to dodge huge abilities like a Veigar ultimate. Overall its just a really usefull item.

Sorcerer's Shoes:
The boots you want, more damage, MORE DAMAGE. I have to note here that if they have loads of cc, you might want to consider getting mercury's threads for the tenacity, although if you get stunned your most likely dead anyways.


Rylai's Crystal Scepter/ Void Staff/ Rabadon's Deathcap:
Before patch 6.9, most of the times you used to go Abyssal Mask here, but after the damage on it was nerfed, together with the aforementioned nerf to Zhonya's Hourglass's damage, you just can't afford to build it anymore. That's why most of the times you should build a Void Staff, a Rabadon's Deathcap or a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Most of the times, I find myself building a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, simply because it provides good stats. 100 AP is nothing to laugh at, and the 400 health gives u just that tiny bit of extra survivabilitie, which is really usefull in teamfights. Also, the slow is kinda nice for sticking onto high mobility targets, a Tristana or an Ezreal for example. If the enemy carry's are building alot of MR, e.g. Abyssal Mask for mages or Mercurial Scimitar for ad carrys, a Void Staff is probably your best bet. If you really don't need the survivabilty and the slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter, AND don't need the MR pen from Void Staff, you can buid a Rabadon's Deathcap, because in that case it just provides the most damage.

Lich Bane:
TONS OF DAMAGE, and some CDR. Thats what lich bane is. Although the mana goes to waste, the spellblade effect, in conjunction with some nice AP lets you do TONS of damage. Only build this if you've already got some AP under your belt though, since its effect will otherwise not do to much. Picking up an early sheen, sometimes even before your zhonyas, is never a bad idea since it lets you deal quite some damage during lane trades or midgame teamfights.


Unless you feel like you really don't have enough damage after already having build 5 offensive items, which should only happen if the enemy carries are building really defensive, you'll most likely want a defensive item as your last item. I these 2 are the best ones to get:

Guardian Angel:
2 lives, GREAT, kill somebody in a fight, die, respawn, kill someone else. Why not. This is most likely going to be your last item, unless you have to hard-carry and your so far ahead that you can stall out buying more damage without being punished for it. In that case, you can buy this item earlier.

Banshee's Veil:
The spellshield is great. The health is nice, the MR is nice. This is simply a solid last item for any midlaner. You'll have to evualate yourself if the spellshield + the higher stats on this item compared to Guardian Angel's second life is better or worse, decide what item to buy using this evualation. When you have enough gold and your Guardian Angel is on cooldown, it might be a good idea to switch Guardian Angel out for Banshee's Veil since it has better stats, and switch back once the Guardian Angel cooldown is gone (the cooldown keeps running if you sell the item).

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Laning phase pre level 6

Akali's pre level 6 laning phase is extremely poor, especially against ranged opponents. Try to last-hit minions with your Q when you can't safely reach them. Against melee opponents you can try to trade by using your combo (Q => AA => E) and then dropping your shroud to avoid getting damage back. You can also wait for your cooldowns to come back up and then re-engage, altough most people will back off when you drop your shroud and go invis, since they know you can just combo and go invis again. When getting ganked, use the same idea to maybe net you a nice kill. If you cant get the kill, you can just retreat. It is also smart to have the shroud be in the sidebush with just a tip of it, so when the enemie isnt in the bush, you can get out your shroud without them seeing it and then just walk away.
But aside from that, PLAY SAFE, try not to die, most matchup will favor the enemy pre level 6.
Also, make sure you have VISION, you should have vision in at least one sidebush and its better to have in both. Instead of warding the sidebushes, you can also ward the pixel bushes, since this gives you vision further up the river, while still being able to see somebody entering the sidebush. If you only have one sidebush warded, hug that side. You do this because you can see them coming from that side and quickly back off, while you stay as far away as possible from the not warded side, so you have the most time to react if you get ganked from that side. NEVER EVER engage a fight with a ranged champion, since he/she is just gonna kite you around for days if you dont have acces to your ulti. You should be looking to back after you hit level 6 and have 1200 gold or more to pick up a hextech pistol.

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Laning phase after level 6

So you've reached level 6, got yourself a nice pistol, what now. In most matchups, you will have pressure from now on. You have 2 options: trying to kill your opponent, which certainly is possible as level 6 or higher Akali, or you can push out your lane and roam to other lanes to help them out and net you some kills.

ALWAYS push your lane before roaming, to prevend your turret from taking to much damage. before you roam, check what is the easiest lane to gank, or if any lane is gankable at all. For example if botlane is pushed into their turret, you probably cant gank them and it would be a waste of time to try to do so, but toplane is pushed into your turret, which makes toplane an easy gank target, In this case, you would want to go gank toplane.

Vision is still as important as it was before though, so keep making sure you have vision.

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after laning phase

When the laning phase has ended, you have a few options. If you're really strong, you can try to splitpush since you're most likely able to 1v1 anyone on the map. When splitpushing, always have good vision in their jungle, since you're most likely going to be pushed up to their turret, so you have to be able to see the enemy team if they are trying to gank you so you are able to back off in time. If you see them all coming to gank you, you can tell your team to go do baron, while you just stay and die while maybe killing somebody on their team to. Your team gets a free baron, only because they all ganked you. Even if you die without killing anyone, thats 100% worth it.

The other option you have is to group with your team. When you have Zhonya's Hourglass, your teamfighting is ok, just make sure you dont go in alone. You can also use your insanely high burst damage to set up picks. sweeping baron pit and the topside pixelbush can lead to the enemy team thinking you're doing baron, so they go and check it, but meanwhile, you're all hiding in the pixelbush, and when someone comes close, you just instantly kill him. When teamfighting, your job is to assasinate an enemy high priority target, most likely their adc or midlaner. Before the fight starts, think about who you want to take out. Their midlaner might have zhonyas, if he/she does, you should instead go for the adc, since you're most likely to take him out. The midlaner is 5/0 but the adc is 0/7, the midlaner certainly is a higher priority target, go for him/her.

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Tips and tricks

you have a few main combos:

  • pre level 6 laning phase quick harrass combo (only if in melee range): Q => AA => E => W => back off
  • post level six harrasment combo: Q => wait untill your Q is almost back up => R => AA => Q => AA => E => W => back off
  • post level six all in combo: Q => wait untill your Q is almost back up => hextech gunblade => R => AA => Q => AA => E after this spam R and all your cooldown when they are up, if you have ignite/exhaust, use it.
  • assasination combo: Q => hextech gunblade => R => AA => E once you have enough AP you can skip the Crescent Slash, if you have ignite, use it.

A few other tips:
  • You can use your Twilight Shroud to gain vision in fog of war. Use it to check bushes for example. What you can also do by abusing this mechanich, is, when you're chasing someone and he/she flashes over dragon wall to use your Twilight Shroud over the wall to get vision on your target and jump onto him

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Closing words

This was my guide, i hope you enjoyed it, if so, please leave an upvote. Im not a native English speaker so if i made any grammatical/spelling errors, please let me know. If you have any tips to improve this guide, please let me know. Im planning on updating this guide when needed.

If you have any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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  • Patch 6.3:
    The speed on her ultimate and the energy restored after proccing your Q's mark have been increased this patch. This isn't to big of a deal, but it is nice. Nothing more to say here

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  • 27/1/2016: Guide created.
  • 28/1/2016:
    • added masteries .
    • improved general coding.
    • added changelog.
    • changed the pros/cons section.
    • changed grammatical/spelling errors.
    • changed 'combos' to 'tips and tricks' and added a tip.
  • 12/2/2015: added the "patches" chapter
  • 5/4/2016 : changed the "introduction" chapter and fixed alot of spelling errors
  • 21/5/2016: Changed the "items" section according to patch 6.9
  • 5/9/2016: changed Luden's Echo for Rabadon's Deathcap in the item part and improved spelling/language in the guide