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Akali Build Guide by Xalrons
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I made this Akali guide because I was simply not satisfied with the other ones out there. Everyone has his or her own opinion on what is best, but I found my favorite way to play The Fist of Shadow, and sharing is caring, so without further ado...
Akali is an extremely fun hot ninja chick. She was popular a few months ago, but since the Gunblade nerf and what not she has been underplayed. However, with the patch on April 18, 2012 she got a slight buff. I feel like she will be seen a lot more after that. Akali excels at dealing large amounts of burst damage, arguably some of the best in the game. Her role in a team is generally labeled as an "anti-carry", someone who singles out the enemy team's squishiest and highest dps champions and rips them to shreds. And of course, Akali is amazing at what she does. This guide will tell you what you need to know to be facerolling in no time!
- Amazing assassin
- Ok vs. most lane match ups
- Can jungle somewhat
- Deceptively strong burst
- Great chasing/juking abilities
- Snowballs well
- Squishy melee
- Countered by CC/focus/oracle's elixirs
- Skill/micro intensive
- Requires good judgment/awareness/decision-making
Akali's passive is what makes her a viable hybrid. She gains bonus magic damage from AP and spell vamp from AD. With AP runes+2/3 Mental Force and AD runes+3/3 Brute Force, both buffs will be activated at level 1.
Mark of the Assassin:
This is Akali's main damaging ability. Max it first. Use it to harass early game. Whenever it's safe to fully engage, wait until the cooldown is up to burn the first mark and afterward use it again for a double auto attack double mark burst. Deals tons and tons of magic damage, fast.
This is Akali's stealth ability, which gives her the control she needs to dominate her lane. Use it in the thick of a team fight, for zone control, to juke, to 1v1 kite, to slow enemies, and for face checking brushes. Be advised that it starts at 80 energy, so be careful when using it while bursting. Use it at the edge of brush or around a corner to juke. Flash out of it when death is otherwise imminent. Also don't forget that it gives Akali armor and magic resistance, so it just might save you from that DoT or turret shot.
This is Akali's only AoE ability. Use it for farming and bursting. Remember that its range is very short and easy to miss on fast moving targets. It scales off both ability power and attack damage, but only does physical damage.
Akali's ultimate is what defines her. You can do so many things with this ability. Start off a surprise gank with it, last hit that about to die creep, chase and kill steal like a pro, burst with surplus charges, and most importantly, juke. Does a surprisingly large amount of magic damage.
Standard burst rotation: Q -> R -> auto attack -> Q -> auto attack -> E -> W if needed.
Shadow Dance Techniques
Mastering the use of Shadow Dance to juke is essential to playing Akali to her fullest potential. Use it on minions to quickly disengage from a team fight if you are being focused and need to use hit and run tactics. Use it on minions after diving to avoid turret shots. Use it on minions to gain ground for a surprise attack, such as when a low health champ is pushing your turret. You can even use it on one champion to be able get to another behind him using it again to finish a kill.
Use it for escaping ganks if you overextend. One neat little trick is if Twilight Shroud isn't enough to get away from a gank, you can run forward and let the enemy champion catch up some, then Shadow Dance backwards (flying right past that champ) onto a minion and then run like hell. Also, you can use brush and corners to hide yourself until the very last second as an enemy approaches, then dash to a minion. These tactics come in handy when you get caught and simply running won't save you. Remember, you can dance all day. Your enemies cannot.
Akali has great synergy with jungle wards. Since you can Shadow Dance through walls, if a neutral monster camp is warded or a teammate is nearby, you can use Shadow Dance on it to escape. It also makes for an extra surprise factor against enemy champions if you have sight through a ward or teammate and you Shadow Dance through a wall.
1v1 and 2v2 Techniques
1v1ing with Akali is all about being in control of a battle. Think like a rogue. Keep your enemies scared and insecure. Know what your enemies are capable of. Will they be able to hit me in my shroud, such as Kennen? Will they be able to slow and CC me if I need to run, such as Shaco? Do I even need to waste energy for Twilight Shroud on that Ashe? When should I burst with Shadow Dance and when should I use Ignite?
Example: You see Dr. Mundo trying to solo Dragon around level 10. First thing to check for is where your enemies are. If you can see them laning, it should be OK to attack. If he isn't set on finishing off dragon, hit him with a Q and back off. Make him follow you, make him think you're his prey. Bring him to an area where you can easily escape (where there are a lot of corners) with Twilight Shroud in case his teammates start coming.
As soon as Mundo follows you to his demise and your Q cooldown is ready, proc your Mark, use Crescent Slash, and throw down Twilight Shroud. 1v1ing with Akali is all about bursting and making sure your opponent can't retaliate. Q and hit him again while kiting him around your shroud, and make sure he isn't hitting you with Agony or Cleavers. Repeat until he uses his ultimate. Then use Ignite, followed by your standard rotation, having saved all 3 Shadow Dance charges for as much burst as possible to finish him off or for a getaway if his teammates come.
Keep in mind the same rules for 1v1ing as when you are 2v2ing, except remember that when 2v2ing you have a partner too. Don't let your enemies kill your partner while you are sitting hesitantly in your Twilight Shroud. For engaging, start off on their squishy with Shadow Dance followed by a quick Q and immediately pop Shroud and let them waste their CC on you, such as a Sion stun or Ryze prison. Wait for your teammate to attack and Shadow Dance in, proc Q, Q again, E, Ignite, saving a Shadow Dance charge for securing the kill. Boom, easy mode. Don't forget that kills/assists give you a charge back, so you can easily switch from one prey to the next.
Ignite: Ignite pretty much is the only choice for Akali. She needs as much burst as possible to fill her assassin role. Ignite really helps early game and to finish off that last tiny bit of enemy health on good escapists. Also, burn it on healers to reduce their healing/regen for an easier kill.
Flash: I feel that Akali is too squishy and doesn't have enough defensive options without Flash. Flashing through walls or out of Twilight Shroud will save you SO many times. Flash + Shadow Dance also gives you amazing chasing prowess.
Exhaust, Ghost, Teleport, and even Clairvoyance (synergy with jungle getaways) can all be used as well.
As far as masteries go, Akali has the best synergy with full Offense, since that is her primary role, KILL! Basically grab all the ap stuff. 1 Point in Brute Force for her AD passive and 2 points in Mental Force for her AP passive. 9 points in Defense is much more useful that 9 in Utility.
x9 Greater Mark of Strength - Activates AD passive combined with Brute Force
x9 Greater Seal of Vitality - Extra health for survivability in all cases
x9 Greater Glyph of Potency - Adds damage to Q, E, R and helps activate Discipline of Force passive
x1 Greater Quintessence of Potency - Same as above
x2 Greater Quintessence of Fortitude - Extra early game survivability
This is the most efficient setup for activating both of Akali's passives at level 1 and having the most balanced survivability.
Any lane works for Akali, though a solo lane is the best idea as Akali gets real strong with levels. Start off with your Boots of Speed and x3 Health Potions (or x4 if you wait at spawn). Boots are useful for last hitting without getting chased down. Try to keep your cool early on and don't engage unless you have to. Most ranged champions can hit you easily without repercussion. Use your Q to farm without getting harassed. Use Twilight Shroud for more safety while farming. This can also zone enemies away from their creeps and you can punish them if they get too close with a quick Q + auto attack. If you can secure a kill using Flash to proc a mark, go for it!
Your next two items will be Hextech Revolver followed by Null-Magic Mantle if you need the sustainability. Also get some Sight Wards to protect your lane.
It can work to rush straight for your Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Having a Rylai's around level 10 can truely turn the tide for your team in early fights! Revolver is great if you are being extra aggressive and aren't team fighting much (probably top lane).
I strongly recommend Mercury's Treads, as crowd control is Akali's biggest weakness. Getting a Void Staff makes up for the lack of Sorcerer's Shoes. Ninja Tabi can be good against strong physical damage teams and goes well with Nimbleness in the Defense tree and Dodge seals (if you're playing ranked, you can always change your setup depending on the enemy team composition).
Your first completed core item is going to be Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Hextech Gunblade. It depends on preference and team comps, sometimes the sustain is more useful, but other times the health (maybe vs. high burst damage) and slowing is more useful.
As you head into late game, work towards your Needlessly Large Rod for Rabadon's Deathcap. I choose this item over Lich Bane because I feel it gives me a little bit more damage through fast ults and doesn't waste the gold on a mana crystal.
Finish your Rabadon's Deathcap and then either finish your Hextech Gunblade or get a Guardian Angel or both, getting Void Staff when you need the magic penetration.
Quicksilver Sash is a situational item you might want vs. combo champions like Anivia, Blitzcrank, Leblanc, Malzahar, Morgana, Pantheon, Rammus, Ryze, Singed, Sion, Swain, or Veigar. Some other options are Zhonya's Hourglass (for champs with ranged stuns or slow moving projectiles like Brand's ult or Karthus's ult),
Don't dash into a group of enemies or they will focus and kill you. Single out lone squishies after enemies have used their first cooldowns on your teammates. Hit and run if they switch focus to you. Never be the first one to engage in a team fight. Wait until the tank's engage and the enemy team has their sights on one of your teammates. Then pounce their squishy and roll face, hard. Don't just stay in the thick of things if you are under fire. Hit and run. AoE abilities will kill you fast. Keep your Twilight Shroud and Flash ready for any emergencies, making sure there aren't any Oracle's Elixir out there.
Your priority targets should be low defense high damage enemies with little to no hard stuns or silences. Perfect examples are Ashe, Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Karthus, Kog'Maw, Yi, Miss Fortune, Nidalee, Sivir, Sona, Soraka, Teemo, Zilean. You should be able to kill them so fast their teammates have no time to respond. Wait a few seconds after the team fight starts, and jump their squishy using the following combo: R -> Q -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E. Use Twilight Shroud/Flash to avoid getting focus fired. You have to be aware of the entire battle and everything going on around you! Constantly watch champions with hard CC, if they use it on a teammate, it is a lot safer to engage.
If the enemy team has Oracle's Elixir be careful about engaging enemies such as Cassiopeia, Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Ryze, Sion, Swain, Tristana, Twisted Fate, or Veigar. They can CC very effectively and wait until their team comes to kill you. If you know you cannot retreat, do as much damage as possible! It can be OK to sacrifice yourself to win a team fight.
Things to Remember
1. Last hit only if you are losing trades, zone with shroud if you can.
2. Delayed Mark of the Assassin double activation to burst.
3. Buy a ward or two every time you recall, AP elixir before big fights.
4. Gank often. Then push and/or do dragon. Proc push with Lich Bane (if you buy it).
5. Juke with Twilight Shroud and Shadow Dance.
6. When 1v1ing, kite around shroud, use double mark hit combos, be a ninja!
7. Don't start team fights or stick around if you get targeted, use hit and run tactics.
8. Whenever you see an enemy champion check for Oracle's, abuse shroud when you can.
9. Twilight Shroud, Flash, and Z-hourglass (if you buy it) for emergencies.
10. Kill lots of squishies.
After the 4/18/2012 patch, I think we will be seeing a lot more Akali play. The patch nerfed Atma's, Wit's End, and Doran's items, which indirectly helps Akali. She also got buffed stats and the buff to flat ap glyphs allows her to get her ap passive with only 1 flat ap quint, so she can get more survivability with 2 Health, Armor, or MR quints.
Thanks for reading! Try it out, comment on your thoughts, and throw me some thumbs up. :D