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Akali Build Guide by TexasDeviant

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League of Legends Build Guide Author TexasDeviant

Akali: The Consummate Executioner

TexasDeviant Last updated on November 30, 2011
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Middle Lane
Ranked #36 in
Middle Lane
Win 46%
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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: 30

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Update Log

Updates incoming pending on my time to work with the new changes, both in the nerf to Akali, and the new masteries and summoner spells. They are being implemented as I have time, and in fact, the next set of changes are out!

This is the list of sections to change (right now, more are subject to it as well):

DONE - Character Sheet (Masteries, Summoner Spells, Runes, Items (abyssal scepter))
DONE - Summoner Spells - take out old, input new (surge), talk about nerfed primary spells
DONE - Runes
DONE - Remove Experimental Masteries and Rune Alternatives - no longer needed, possible alternates are explained in their respective section

DONE - Items - Update (Gunblade Rush no longer needed)
DONE - Item Explanation (move gunblade, standardize abyssal)

DONE - Supplemental (swap void and abyssal)

Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis (rework).

%age changes for the nerfs.

Update to come pending the new changes, both in the nerf to Akali, and the new masteries and summoner spells.

I have put in my main build now as the leading page. This will eventually be explained when I get some time to write it. Also, +2.5ap/level is really nice. And Hextech Gunblade finally loses out to the Lich Bane Rabadon's Deathcap route.

Update: The changes for Hextech Gunblade are out and now discussed. In total, every stat got hit.

Attack Damage is now 40 from 60 (this was the most surprising actually)
Ability Power is now 70 from 75 (woohoo. Truthfully, I thought this would resemble more of the change Attack Damage got, while Attach Damage would be like this one).
Life Leech down to 15% from 20%.
Spell Vamp down to 20% from 25% and is now unique.

What does this mean for Akali? Well, I ran all the charts again, and they are updated.

The spell vamp is down to 38% from 47%, so is kind of a significant change.

The damage loss end game is almost non-existent. 200 Damage in total on a nuke after resistances. However mid-game is a bit more balanced.

This drops the difference between choosing Hextech Gunblade early over Lich Bane. See the charts for yourself. Hextech Gunblade still maintains the advantage of being chosen before the others, it just has a bigger gap separating the damage once you get Lich Bane and Rabadon's Deathcap completed.

So now the choice is yours which way to go, as there is no definitive answer any more. Hextech Gunblade is still completely viable, so don't fret too much.

Furthermore, the traditional build is thrown up as the second champ, as well as a third route that takes a more middle of the line approach between the two builds.

Update 10/12/2011 - Added a new section: Countering Akali. This will help others learn how to shut her down, but at the same time, help Akali players identify weakpoints and learn to minimize them.

Also added the fact that you should use the Hextech Gunblade active in the item section, and explained a bit more in the escaping with Twilight Shroud section, particularly where the fog of war prevented clear intent on how to follow the arrows through walls.

Update 10/11/2011 - Added more to the supplemental items. Boots of Swiftness, Boots of Mobility, Quicksilver Sash in particular. As well as fixed a few typos found. Also, thanks for the 2 recommendations, and top spot for a little while at 92% within the first day of publishing the guide ^^. More is planned to be added at this point. See the first comment for planned implementations.

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NOTE: This is a sequential rework. See the update log section for information. Right now up to and including the runes section has been reworked.

Hi, I am TexasDeviant and welcome to my comprehensive guide for Akali, in what I feel is aptly named as:
"The Consummate Executioner".

Now the name? Well I chose it because I have found Akali to be unparalleled at assassinating other champs. What she lacks in crowd control (CC), she more than makes up for in burst. And boy does she burst like you wouldn't believe.

Now for what can you expect to see in this guide.. Numbers, comparisons, alternates, and what I feel will be a full comprehensive guide for my favorite champion, Akali. Please note that there were 4 Akali builds under team 2 that were experimental. These will be referenced later on in the rule and mastery alternates section.

I did spend a lot of time on this, and so I would appreciate it very much if you would upvote this if you like it. I worked hard so that anyone who comes to this guide, Akali player or not, can gain something out of it. And if you want to leave a comment, do so and I would be more than happy to respond. : )

Now there are a few great guides out there for Akali, and believe me I have read a bunch of them, and gotten some inspiration from them. There is even one that is recommended now! So what can I hope to give to Akali players that these great guides do not? Read on.

As I progressed with Akali, I found a few subtle differences in the way I would play her, and now I would like to pass this information on.

I play Akali for at least 90% of my matches, against people who have decent ranked scores and those who don't. All in all, I will try to compile a full set of information that will show you the mechanics of this champion, and who knows, maybe you can improve my game as well with your feedback.

One Final Note

This will be a LENGTHY, and very verbose guide. Expect a lot of reading; this is to compliment the choices that I have refined on Akali over hours and hours of play time, coupled with hours of theory crafting and number crunching.

If you do not have the time to currently read this in full, as in you are joining a game as Akali. I would refer you the the cheat sheet, ability explanation, and item explanation chapters. This should give you a brief entry point into Akali and describe what you should do, with minimal explanation. I do encourage you to come back at some point when you have more time to get the full in depth experience. Moving on.

I feel that there are two sides to learning LoL. Learning your champ, and learning the fundamentals. Such concepts as zoning, and wards, would be considered the fundamentals to LoL. The in depth information on a champ, is of course, learning the champ. The primary focus of this guide will be on the champion Akali. I will go into some areas of fundamentals, but for the most part will pull out what I feel is most important to the scope of this guide, and reference the rest.


Without further delay, I present my take on Akali
The Consummate Executioner

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Pros / Cons

The concept for any champion is to maximize the potential of their pros, and to mitigate or remove completely the negative potential of their cons. Every champion has them, and these are Akali's


  • Great Early game harass
  • Competitive Farming Abilities
  • Can Solo just about any champ 1
  • Easily able to stack MRes without surrendering the burst
  • An amazing ganking champion
  • One of the highest single target bursts in the game
  • People will learn to FEAR her


  • Squishier character type, there are ways to mitigate this
  • Is best played starting with both passives active, this can be solved
  • Some may feel the runes to activate her passives cost her late game, this is debatable2
  • Lack of CC, especially a stun. unavoidable. This is offset by Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and I easily believe a stun on Akali will break her.
  • A learning curve applies to this champ, mainly when to stay and when to run.

1 - Akali can arguably solo any champ out there. This requires a sharp mind, quick wit, right build, and an intimate knowledge of your champ, and a mediocre-at-least of theirs. I will explain this in the details.

2 - Some people state that the runes it requires to activate Akali's passives early off, hurt her late game. I will admit that this is true... but I can also say that this is minimal (at best), if at all (dependant upon the build)

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Below is a link to a list of common glossary terms for LoL.

Glossary of LoL Terms

The few pulled out below are for emphasis to this guide, and a few of my own for reference to the future terms in this guide.

AD - Attack Damage.

AP - Ability Power.

Burst - a large amount of damage in a short amount of time.

Carry - A carry is a person, often times weak early game, and extremely powerful end game. There are variants though. Some are ranged, while others are melee. Some have good survivability, while others don't. Some have a strong early game, while others don't. And last, some focus on AD, and others on AP.

Crowd Control - aka. CC, a category of status effects which limit movement or actions. Realize that Akali possesses no action or forced action modifiers (taunt, stun, fear, knockups). These all keep a champ in place. Akali.. has a slow, with her shroud. Now, this is important for chasing or escaping in general, and this slow is supplemented with a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. So, no stuns.

Gank - to ambush opposing champion(s). There are certain champions that are better suited at this than others. The ones that tend to excel with it usually include, but are certainly not limited to, Assassins *hinthint*

Harass - to put pressure on an enemy champion, most commonly by causing damage to them. This is a key concept, throughout the entire game, not just during laning.

Tank - Oh tank, you so funny. These people tend to laugh off damages from most champions.. And usually do not go down unless under focused fire for quite some time. So in a general sense, you avoid targeting these guys like the plague, with few exceptions. Also. Akali IS NOT A TANK

Potion (and Stacking) Potions!!! In the beginning game the ones you will be concerned with are health potions. And guess what, now they stack!!! Note, this does not increase the potency of the potions, it merely says at the end of the 20 seconds for applying the first potion, immediately start applying the second. This is useful for sustaining during laning. Later on, your friends will become the potions that cost 250g, namely Elixir of Brilliance, Elixir of Fortitude, and Elixir of Agility.

WARDS - If you read a quarter as much as I do about this game, then you will undoubtedly come across comments such as this:

"noob, ward or suck"
"If you leave town with gold > 75, you're doing it wrong, buy a ward"

I want to take a few seconds (before we get to the section on warding) to point out that these have a point. Wards are your friends. They work for you, and will help you. They are cost effective 99% of the time, and trust me. They separate the good from the great, and the great from the excellent.

Now for some terms that apply directly to Akali and/or are terms of my own.

Akali's Passives - Akali has two passives Twin Disciplines, activated upon obtaining 20 extra ability power, and 10 extra attack damage. These passives will supply 8% magic damage applied on auto attack, and 8% spell vamp respectively. These passives do increase in potency as your extra ability power and attack damage rise (in a ratio of 6points to 1%)

Combo's - This will become a major section later on. I am mentioning these here, because you will want to reference these from time to time. Well here you go. Don't worry to much about memorizing them just this second, you will be back.

To assist with this, here is a video of the combos on some bots (golem in the case of the nuke). For a little more actual gameplay from the combos, see the video section near the end of the guide.

LAQ - lich, auto + passive, q proc. This is a single hit on the target. It will happen based on three conditions:
1) You have already marked the target with Mark of the Assassin
2) Lich Bane's passive is activated
3) You hit the enemy with an auto attack, and technically, your ap is >= 20.

This single hit does the most damage out of any skill in her arsenal.

Burst - Quick and to the point. Extremely painful for the amount of time it takes to execute, and perfect for a variety of scenarios.

The sequence: q + r + laq + e
Mark of the Assassin -> Shadow Dance -> LAQ -> Crescent Slash

Delayed Burst - Critical timing is involved here. This is the process of using Mark of the Assassin, waiting a few seconds (2-4), and then performing the rest of burst, but with another q + laq on the end. Finally, another r is optional if you have enough time.

The sequence: q + delay + r + laq + e + q + laq + r

Mark of the Assassin -> delay -> Shadow Dance -> LAQ -> Crescent Slash -> Mark of the Assassin -> LAQ -> Shadow Dance

Note that if you perform the ending too fast, you might not get the second proc of Lich Bane off. There are times when this is ok, and other times where you might want to time yourself real well. There will also be times you forgo the last Shadow Dance, and others where you switch it around with the last LAQ to ensure that the Lich Bane proc occurs.

Nuke - This combo defines Akali. The champs that can do this amount in such a short time are limited for sure. Based on full cooldowns, Akali has the potential to perform this every time.

Now, a few things about this. Things go wrong. The other champs are people too, and as such they will react. One of these reactions is dying. If they die in the middle of your combo, who cares about full damage. Next target please. Action and forced action CC will interrupt this.. And if you are in the middle of a crowd when it happens, you are probably dead provided they focus you.

Often times it is much more convenient to use the other combos, or variations of this one during actual fighting. The true purpose of this combo is so that you have a base line of the amount of damage you can dish out when the situation calls for it.

This is why Akali fears no one in 1v1

The sequence: q -> (preferable delay, not necessary) -> r -> LAQ -> e -> q -> r -> LAQ -> e -> auto -> r -> LA

Mark of the Assassin -> Shadow Dance -> LAQ -> Crescent Slash -> Mark of the Assassin -> Shadow Dance -> LAQ -> Crescent Slash -> auto -> Shadow Dance -> LA

Please note: there are many variants to support here. Perhaps I could throw another Mark of the Assassin in at the end, and under no stress you certainly can get many more auto attacks off, but its really situation-based. Sometimes, you will extend this combo far beyond, sometimes you will stop short because you run out of energy. I had to pick a cutoff point, this is it. It takes account of some of the stress and confusion in battle, and for the most part, you can achieve this reliably.

To count:
2 Mark of the Assassin's (2 marks, 2 procs)
2 Crescent Slash
3 Shadow Dance
4 auto attacks
3 Lich Bane procs

Twilight Shroud will not be discussed here, but as a foresight... this will influence your combos.

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Summoner Spells

Let's get the easy one out first.

The Good

Space Flash - The penultimate of summoner abilities. I believe this to be non-interchangeable when choosing Akali. This synergizes extremely well with her Shadow Dance. It provides another avenue of escape, as well as an extra jump (chasing). Also, it makes for a great pre-ultimate jump to proc your q. In other words, this has amazing capability to get first blood. Note that this received a nerf in Season 2. The range has reduced to 400 from 450, and the cooldown has increased slightly. This doesn't inhibit it at all, just makes other choices more viable.
Space Exhaust - This is my preferred second choice. It provides a great escape mechanism. It helps with chasing. It decimates AD carries. I can't tell you how many Tryndamere, Xin Zhao or Master Yi have jumped Akali thinking that they can solo her. If the match is even in items, it is up to whoever gets the jump first, unless you pull off some decent Twilight Shroud coverage. But exhaust can turn the tide easily. Funny part? Akali being ap based doesn't suffer so badly from these effects as an ad carry does. The nerf has been an entire second reduction of the spell (from 3.5 to 2.5 seconds). This hurts, but it doesn't negate the usefulness of the spell. You just have to be smarter in how you use it. Space
Space Ignite - I have toyed with this some... And I think it loses to exhaust, even in Season 2. While I feel at least 1 person on a team should have ignite to handle the tanks and so on, this has limited capacity compared to exhaust. The 5 ap and 5 ad while Ignite is on cooldown just doesn't justify it in the masteries. And end game, it just won't matter (with the exception of reducing heals) because you typically don't have any problem chasing. Also, this will not help you survive, while exhaust potential is still there. Space
Space Surge - I have used this a few times, just for the sake of working with it. Akali being hybrid in damage makes both sets of bonuses from this spell useful. I believe it is more viable than Ignite, but after testing it still seems to lose out to Exhaust. The attack speed bonus is very helpful in early game ganks (I have used it to secure double kills in the side lanes at level 1 multiple times now). However, with its long cooldown time and decently long lasting power (12 seconds), it traps the user into wanting to save it for this epic moment. They can happen, but I believe using other spells bring better utility to the game. Space

The Bad

Space Teleport - This is always a nice summoner spell to have. If we had three summoner spells to choose, this would always be my third. Now, even though Akali doesn't mid very often (although viable under a few circumstances), she can still use teleport for a variety of reasons. Teamfights, tower defend, backdooring, and ganking are her best opportunities with this. Protip: have someone ward a bush in a lane. teleport back under the bush, and your gank is ready : ) Space
Space Ghost - Some people prefer flash, and others prefer ghost. This is definitely viable, and is a potential replacement for Flash. The only problem is that you lose the instantaneous part to flash (for early jumps), you can't go through walls with this. And if you get CC'd, you have almost no chance of leaving alive. Space

The Ugly

I do not believe any one of these able to replace the other two tiers. At least not on Akali. Obviously mana ( Clarity) is useless to her, leave supports to get the ones like Clairvoyance, Revive is a no-no, just as is Promote.

Now Cleanse and Heal are decent. I am not trying to imply that these spells are worthless. They just do not synergize as well with Akali as the first 2 tiers do. These do belong in other summoner's choices though.

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Space Summoner's Wrath A solid point well spent. This contains a slew of offensive summoner spells. Most notably are the Ignite Exhaust Surge and Ghost improvements. (Which is all of them :D) SPACE
Space Brute Force This is a definite improvement for low level summoners. You can work for that passive gain sooner! 3 points here. SPACE
Space Mental Force A nice addition to the masteries. 4 points here for some early game help. Also, note that the inclusion of this skill (along with the ap/level later on) concludes the ability activate the ap based passive of Twin Disciplines all with ap/level blues! A great boost. Also, if you have 4 points into Blast and Archmage (which you should), you only need 2 points here in order to achieve the level 1 passive active. The other two are for a little early game help, and I believe this to be more effective than being spent elsewhere. I am currently testing the benefits of this over say, 2% life leech, or +4 armor or +4 mr. SPACE
Space Alacrity 4 points here. It doesn't help all that much, but it is a prereq for a very nice mastery. SPACE
Space Sorcery Cooldowns are nice, and this is a prereq for something greater. So put 4 points here. The difference between this one and Alacrity is that if you wanted to spec for a 21/9/0 or 21/0/9 tree, you would drop Alacrity over Sorcery. SPACE
Space Weapon Expertise The inclusion of this new mastery balances out the visual gain ability power spells had over the attack damage skills. This is nice for the AD champs, and it is also nice for all those hybrids out there. I currently choose this mastery (instantiating a 30/0/0 mastery) tree instead of a 21/9/0 (as seen in Obtains build) because this provides some major abuse with Lich Bane's passive (which deals physical damage) later on. This also substitutes for those 3 points in Sunder we shall now be missing. SPACE
Space Arcane Knowledge has persisteed across the seasons, and has reduced to 10% from 15%. Nonetheless, this is a very viable mastery. Get This. SPACE
Space Havoc Now but a shadow of its former self, Havoc gives a 1.5% damage boost when maxed instead of 4%. This is supplemented by the many powerful damage modifiers present in the mastery tree, and the fact that it is no longer the last skill to pick up. As such, this provides a good 3 points in which to boost your way down the mastery tree. SPACE
Space Blast I was happy to see the change in this mastery. It has improved by granting a full .4 more per level than it used to, and it now has a steep investment in the mastery page to get to, but this mastery is nice! It now gives a full +18ap over the course of the game instead of 10.8, and what's more, couple this with your ap/level blue runes and you will be getting +2.6565 ap per level (including Archmage , 2.53 without). This leads to a very nice increase in damage as you are leveling, making you stay painfully relevant without having to retreat to town. On this tier is Vampirism . This seems like a nice skill to invest SPACE
Space Archmage Another extremely positive change. This has switched over from the defensive tree, and made its home deep in the offensive mastery tree. Take the extra 5% ap boost this mastery will give you in return for 4 points. If you were to have 600 ap (you will have more by end game) by using a Rabadon's Deathcap, this skill will provide you with a 23 ap boost. Essentially 5 ap for every non modified 100 ap that you have. Not bad. SPACE
Space Executioner A mastery without a doubt worth getting. 6% extra damage to a unit under 40% hp is not to be trifled with. Not to mention the extra 1.5% you already maintain from Havoc . I love the mechanic of this skill. It really introduces a bursty mechanic in the masteries, allowing many champions a new level of gameplay. Do not pass this up. SPACE


It is too early to be definitive yet, but this is the best set up I have achieved results I like with. It produces them more reliably than the following build styles:

1. 2 or 3 points into Vampirism , dropping 2 or 3 from Mental Force
2. 9 points into defense tree, focusing on the hp gain
3. 9 points into utility, focusing on the buff increase (1% spell vamp isn't worth it, and the energy gain is bleh, so skip that mastery too)
4. 10/11 points into utility, focusing on the spell vamp (2% or 3%, dropping Executioner and 1 point from Archmage )

I can use more testing here, as some of it seems viable, but I think it is just too expensive to invest for the spell vamp. The hp is mitigated with my hp/level runes (although stacking both seems pretty nice). Besides, the loss of Executioner is not something I am really willing to give up.

Of all the people claiming Akali should go nuke or bust, here is your chance to reliably sink 30 points into masteries to do just that.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Ah yes... The runes. First of all, I can tell you I have fidgeted with this quite a bit, and have discovered a few important things.

1. You want your passives right out the door
2. You want to start with Boots of Speed and Health Potion
3. In the end, full mag pen is a negligible difference, but is a weakening factor early game
4. Energy per 5 seals ARE NOT WORTH IT

The last one I experimented with. After a 9x[810] IP sink, I can conclude that the Ancient Golem Buff is the object of your desires. Not only does this reduce your cooldown, which when you consider Sorcery and Elixir of Brilliance puts you at or near the cap, but it drastically increases your energy per 5.

Anyone who tells you that Akali can't make use of a blue buff is full of ****. The same thing goes for red, however, red is a much lower priority for Akali. I won't say that she replaces a true mana hungry champ's need for the buff, but she certainly comes close, as the results are amazing.3

3 Note Akali's item build, and her lack of cooldown in it.

Some other interesting things to note about Twin Disciplines:
1) The damage rounds up for activation. You only need an extra 19.5ap, and 9.5ad.
2) Brute Force applies an extra 3ad to your passive.
3) Mental Force applies an extra 4ap to your passive.
4) Havoc does not apply 1.5% ad or ap to your req. This is magic and physical damage, not the same thing.
5) The same thing goes for Executioner as Havoc
6) Archmage does apply an extra 5% to your current ap, and this does go towards the passive.

With that being said:

Space 3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. This has the best bang for your buck, supplying 14.85ap. Space
Space 7 x Greater Mark of Attack Damage grants the Twin Disciplines ad passive. Note this is the minimum amount you can use to do it. Space
Space 2 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration completes the remaining 2 marks with a little magic penetration. After running the damage numbers, the extra 1.9 mpen gives better damage than the +1.9 ad. Space
Space 9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power not only will this activate your ap passive on Twin Disciplines, but enables a ~2.5ap/level gain when combined with masteries. This will keep you relevant, longer, in lane without having to back for items. Space
greater seal of vitality Space 9 x greater seal of vitality these will help mitigate some of the squishiness Akali brings with her. Space greater seal of vitality

I believe this setup to work best with her, consistently (that word is key). Her boots are paramount to the early game. It makes it so she can effectively harass ranged people (helps to kite, run through bushes and more), and it helps her to survive late game.

A very viable alternative is to swap out Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power for Greater Glyph of Ability Power. Your early game will be more powerful by a small amount, but you will start to lose out mid-game to late-game, not to mention the fact that you don't have an awesome 2.5ap/level gain ^^.

Now some people might consider a full damage build (I know I did). So I put some work behind and ran some numbers. What I found was that a complete makeover of her runes to focus on magic pen while still activating her passives did not provide a great distinction end game vs. what you get with this setup.

I do explain this in greater detail in the Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis section of the guide.

One last note, is the yellows. I happen to love the hp/lvl runes, and that extra 176 hp has helped in significant ways that you wouldn't believe. Some people like running armor flats for yellows and that's fine. I love maintaining my dominance over other ap champs with hp to supplement the high magic resist I have. It isn't inconceivable to spec stronger against armor though.

Alright. For those of you that are under level 20, this will probably be the only, if not extremely rare time, that someone will say - "You can buy t2 runes for this champ."

"WHAT!?! Why?", you ask.

Her passive Twin Disciplines, specifically the spell vamp one, is awesome enough to sink some ip into if you want. It greatly up's Akali's early game, providing sustainability and survivability. This also will allow you to have a decent spell vamp ratio (8% -> 23% with Hextech Revolver) until you get the Hextech Gunblade and this is important.

So what runes do you get? Well first, the earliest level you can get the passive is level 14. You will need 5 Mark of Attack Damage, 4 Seal of Attack Damage, 4 Glyph of Attack Damage, 1 Quintessence of Attack Damage and 3 points into Brute Force . Simply put, it isn't that much of an ip sink (1290) and it will look like this:

Mark of Attack Damage

Seal of Attack Damage

Glyph of Attack Damage

Quintessence of Attack Damage

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Ability Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Prioritize: Shadow Dance <- Mark of the Assassin <- Crescent Slash <- Twilight Shroud

Some people and guides say to hold off on your first spell selection until you get to lane. The idea is that you may choose Twilight Shroud as your level 1 skill as opposed to Mark of the Assassin. It just depends on who you lane with.

I feel like this is a mistake. I am very much a fan of that early game harass, and without Mark of the Assassin there isn't anything Akali can do. Her auto's don't do enough to sustain that.

Furthermore, Twilight Shroud has a long cooldown. If you are out-zoned by a ranged char such as Ashe, Twilight Shroud will not be the solution to your problems. Every once in a while you can throw it, run in, and slash a weak minion, and then be shot when you appear. Mark of the Assassin will allow you to farm defensively, safer, from a distance, and still allow you to harass. This is at level 1 of course. Upon hitting level 2 you should have a point in Mark of the Assassin regardless of preference.

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Ability Explanation

We are now getting to the fun parts of the guide. With all that boring **** of "Oh ****, I got to look up a guide before the game starts and figure out what to do" stuff out of the way. This part will teach you how to be effective with Akali.


Space Twin Disciplines Akali has an extremely unique passive, with two activations.
Upon accumulating 20 extra ability points, Akali gains 8% of her attack damage applied to her auto-attack (including bonus damage, such as that from Hextech Gunblade) as magic damage. Please note, the amount of ap you have determines the % of auto-attack applied as magic, and the ad you have determines the base rate that percentage applies. Furthermore, every 6 ability points gained after 20, adds an additional 1% of damage to the mix. So for example, if you were to have say 600 ability power , this equates to roughly 105% of each auto-attack damage being applied again as magic damage.
Upon accumulating 10 extra attack damage, Akali gains 8% spell vamp. Every 6 extra attack damage (read, not normal attack damage. So her growth in levels, and ad, does not apply towards this passive) will constitute 1% more towards spell vamp. This means that getting the Hextech Gunblade will take you from 23% spell vamp (passive + Hextech Revolver) to roughly 35% spell vamp (8% runes/mastery, 20% passive on Hextech Gunblade and 6.66% from the +40 ad on the gunblade). So in essence, this increases your spell vamp by about 50%, and gives you 15% life leech to boot.


Space Mark of the Assassin An extremely misleading skill if your enemy is not paying close attention. Akali will throw one of her Kama's at the targeted enemy. This will do some damage, and leave a floating revolving Kama above the enemy's head, called the mark. If you were to hit this person or minion with mark still active (lasts 6 seconds), you will do damage again (plus your auto attack), removing the mark and gaining energy back. This is a great farming ability, a great harassing ability, an ultimate burst ability, and so so much more. If you proc your mark, you will only lose 20 energy at level 5 (which at a static energy regen of 5/sec, means it costs virtually nothing). Space

Space Twilight Shroud Need to run? Use twilight. Need to slow? Use twilight. Want a bit of mres/armor? Use twilight. Want to give me $10,000? Use twi- hah, well I wish. Anyways. This is an extremely versatile skill. Use it in the middle of combos. Use it to escape. Use it to slow a group of people down that you are chasing. Use it to fake, decoy, lure, catch your breath, whatever. This is a circular skill that can be cast at a decent range to your heart's content. The implementation possibilities of this skill alone warrants it its very own section in this guide. Please read there for how to make the most of Twilight Shroud. Just remember this skill costs energy, and has a long (20s) cooldown. This will cut out vital energy for comboing, and this can be on cooldown when you need it most. Space

Space Crescent Slash Oh, hi skill that makes use of attack damage. What's that? You make use of ability power too? Alright. This skill is your aoe attack, and late game it makes a great farming ability, when combined with Shadow Dance. This is a little mana intensive though, and you don't make a return on it upon connecting with something, so use it wisely. Also, this deals physical damage, not magical. Space


Space Shadow Dance It entertains me when people call Akali easy mode. And this is the skill that makes her -seem that way-. She can stack up to 3 charges of this ultimate, and at level 3, only has to wait 1 second before consecutive casts, and 15 seconds for a new charge. There is a lot to be said for this skill, as it provides great chasing, positioning, combo-initiating, and even to help escape, although that can be limited. This has a huge range, and is a really nice ultimate to finish off Akali's arsenal. Did I mention that you get a charge for every champion kill/assist Akali gets? : ) Space

And now you know the basics of her skills. So far, you should know how to select Akali at the champ screen. What summons, runes, and masteries you want... and you should be able to have a decent understanding of your skills.

But there is more, and this is where Akali starts to outshine the other champions that think they can take her.

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Item Explanation

Welcome to the opinionated version of the guide. Unfortunately, with the recent changes to Hextech Gunblade and other nerfs, etc. My original build is no longer the best route. I find that 12% spell vamp and 15% life leech is a nice increase, but it costs you too much in potential damage versus the sustain you receive back. Note: Less magic damage means less base rate to steal back.

Starting the Game

There is little variance here. As I have said for most the guide now, Boots of Speed is the preferred choice of beginning with Akali. The three Health Potion, coupled with the automatic 8% spell vamp you have, make you able to sustain pretty decently.

The optional alternate to this is to start with Doran's Blade. I do not think this compares. You will get attack damage needed from Doran's Blade. But you are slower. You harass less efficiently. The 3% life leech is nothing for Akali as most of your harassing and damage is from magic, and you are basically trading that awesome move speed and health potion sustainability for 100 hp. However, if you don't have the attack damage in runes and masteries, this may be the item you are looking for.

Also note that you could start out with an Amplifying Tome and remove the need to have a lot of ap in your runes. This will allow you to stack magic penetration in the runes. But believe me, it really just doesn't make a good trade-off (it's worse). See the Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis section for more information regarding this.

First Return

sight ward

Why Mercury's Treads over Sorcerer's Shoes?

I used to get Sorcerer's Shoes 90% of the time. Now, I get them only when I am in bot games. The only time you would ever get Sorcerer's Shoes in a match is when the team is entirely AD without any CC whatsoever. Not likely, and even then you might get ninja's tabi.

Why? Because at your full build with the 30-0-0 masteries and set rune build you will do a trivial amount of damage at each point in a game, compared to your overall damage. If you look at the chart in the Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis section you will see a minimal increase in damage (based on the current version at the time. See the note at the top of the damage section for current relevance of numbers). On a full nuke against anything non-tank, they will die, regardless of mres at or below 150. Against a tank, you get a 150 damage increase with the provided values. Worth it on a 4.5k nuke? Probably not. And on a delayed burst even less so.

The only point I would consider, provided the numbers, is the level 6-11 range. This adds 70-130 on the low end and 70-230 on the high level end, on a nuke though. The setback is that during this time you will mostly be performing delayed bursts. So your return is less than expected.

The tenacity and magic resistance you will pick up from Mercury's Treads is a much better choice. Also, this starts your stacking of magic resistance. Lich Bane will help with this as well.

But if you decide to get Sorcerer's Shoes, I would recommend swapping them out for Mercury's Treads end-game.

One final note on this section is that you might decide to get Mercury's Treads before Hextech Revolver on the rare occasion that you are losing the laning phase badly, and think the magic resistance can help curb off the slaying power of your laning enemies more than the hp restore the Hextech Revolver will give (provided the lane is AP based). I'd say I would choose hextech over mercury's 19 times out of 20.


At this point Akali is bursting for nice damage. You might fall a bit behind on damaging a tank if it is fed, but in most situations you should be a harassing force to be dealt with carefully. So what do we want? Survivability. As mentioned, you will hurt, so now that you are starting to take focus, you need hp. And what better way than getting a Giant's Belt as your first item into Rylai's Crystal Scepter. After that, pick up a Blasting Wand or Amplifying Tome (which ever you can afford when you go back to town). Then finish off Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

As mentioned in the previous section, there can be a little deviation here. The scenario is that your team isn't doing so hot, or you are taking a lot of focus fire from AP and just aren't lasting in the team fights, or maybe 4 or 5 of the enemy team champs are AP. At this point choose to a) get Giant's Belt buy magic resistance, b) buy magic resistance. My favorite is if you notice they are building heavy ap damage ( Sorcerer's Shoes and some heavy ap items). Get Giant's Belt Null-Magic Mantle Negatron Cloak. This will allow you to have a head start on your Lich Bane and you can choose to build into Abyssal Mask later with your Negatron Cloak.

By the end of a magic resistance focus, Akali will have 150 magic resistance, with an abyssal staff instead of a Void Staff by end game. And most of your magic resistance will be completed before mid game starts. If they focus you, you will just soak the damage up like some kind of freak off-tank. (2600 hp + 150 magic resistance = 6500 base magic damage. After their reductions you might achieve something like 4600 damage to soak.)[/color]

Mid-Game No-Longer Crisis ... q.q

Oh woe is me. This section is outdated. The nerfs to Hextech Gunblade has pretty much cemented midgame build. The damages and survivability no longer match and you are safe with the basic build. It saddens me that they have removed some level of dynamic play from Akali, but what can you do? Adapt and move on. So here it is... Simplistically:

Finish your core. Move right into Lich Bane starting with Sheen (or Null-Magic Mantle if you need that magic resistance). After that, focus Rabadon's Deathcap and you will be laying the hurt on. Complete your Hextech Gunblade and pick a 6th item.

The below section remains, even with the new damage values the outcome is the same, so they will not be reworked unless the numbers change drastically.

The 5th Item

Now, the order of the last two items Rabadon's Deathcap vs. Void Staff.

At this point let's bump to level 18 and set the armor value to 80. A quick assessment is below, the table in the Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis section.

Base - Mercury's Treads, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Hextech Gunblade, Lich Bane
5th Item = Rabadon's Deathcap
5th Item = Void Staff
SPACE Damage = 2708
Damage = 4092/color]
Damage = 3495

So ends the numerical analysis of items on the main path. As is clearly shown, the obvious choice is Rabadon's Deathcap.

With that old section out of the way. Comes my new addition. Void Staff versus Abyssal Mask. This is a close one. Unless the team has a high average of magic resistance, say around 100-120, you should be getting Abyssal Mask. In many cases below 100 magic resistance, the Abyssal Mask will do more damage. Not to mention this comes with a nice magic resistance parameter of its own, and the fact that its aura will benefit all magic damage dealers in the vicinity.

If you need the magic resistance, it is typically a safe bet to go with the Abyssal Mask. Sometimes though, you just need to get dirty. If you are against a particularly beefcake team, the Void Staff may be your solution. You will hurt like no other. And you will die. Sometimes you just have to be the person to get the job done. Go in, eliminate the number 1 and/or 2 threats in the fight and try to live. Sometimes you fight till you die and ensure that your team is the victor of the team fight. This is a tough choice though. You have to be quick about what you do, resolute in your actions, and above all, communicate your intent to the team. (please use something a little more descriptive than "i go die nao k?").

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Supplemental Items

Space Void Staff- This item now takes a backseat to Abyssal Mask for me. I prefer the living opportunity that Abyssal Mask gives, and truth be told, if your targets aren't stacking major magic resistance, this won't be a help anyways. However, sometimes things need to die quickly. This can be done with Void Staff. If you need to destroy a very tanky target, here's your item. SPACE
Space Abyssal Mask- Correction! This item is now my main 6th. It has replaced voidstaff, but the information here is still viable.This is the item that shall be the most prevalent deviation of the main build. This will replace the Void Staff. The idea here is that the enemy team is heavily stacking ap damages, and may be neglecting magic resistance of their own. This still offers magic resist reduction, while giving magic resistance of its own. You will still make people feel remorse in solo fights; you will just have a tougher time with the tanks. Also note that the Negatron Cloak that is used in this build can be bought earlier game during the laning phase for almost 150 magic resistance mid-game, making this an easy choice. SPACE
Space Zhonya's Hourglass- This item is perfect for Akali when a little more survivability is needed. It offers a good ap boost, while giving some defense against ad champs. After checking the numbers, the damage is pretty on par with that of using an abyssal staff. So team stacks ap, choose abyssal staff, ad, choose Zhonya's Hourglass. Don't forget the active on this thing provides 2 seconds of invincibility. If you find yourself the object of focus, whether because you initiated when you shouldn't have, or what have you, this should soak up the initial burst. Also, with the S2 masteries, please for the love of whomever, get the armor item Chain Vest early game to help with your survivability. It goes a long way. SPACE
Space Ninja Tabi- Be very wary of this selection in the next few patches. DODGE IS BEING REMOVED. What the replacement idea for these boots is remains to be seen.These boots are used about as often as the Sorcerer's Shoes. But, mostly in 3v3. When a team is primarily AD and without heavy CC, this item is typically nice. For example, if you are 3v3'ing against Jarvan IV, Xin Zhao, and Heimerdinger, these boots may have a spot in your build : ) SPACE
Space Boots of Swiftness- If you know ahead of time that you shall be performing a ganking heavy route, then these boots may be for you. My difficulties with justifying this is that the only bonus this 1 move speed has over other choices is helping you escape. In battle you can move around just fine because of Shadow Dance. And when you are escaping, the main reason you die is due to CC, so why not go with Mercury's Treads? Regardless, they do help and if this is your preference, here you go. SPACE
Space Boots of Mobility- If you are going the route for speed, I believe these boots are needed to produce the desired result. These lose their bonus in battle sure, but as mentioned previously, you can chase just fine in battle. This, however, gives you the mobility boost for roaming effectively. Provided you are assuming the roll of a roamer, you might also find it more beneficial to take ghost and/or teleport as well. This is a different playstyle than what the main build focuses on, so be open to adjusting summoner spells and the like. It isn't that the main build cannot roam effectively, it can, but the main build focuses more on survivability to help out in the team fights. You typically find that if you position yourself right, you can be present for more team fights, and furthermore, you will see that many people opt out on ideas like boots of swiftness and the like and go with their main boot of choice. This is simply because of the fact that their positioning at all times allows them to mitigate the need for that extra movespeed. If you are going this route though, a utility mastery tree emphasized build probably isn't a bad idea either (for the move speed increase of course). With the new masteries setup, this doesn't require too much investment to get the movespeed bonus. SPACE
Space Guardian Angel- I used to switch out items on a tough game, and go for an Abyssal Mask + Guardian Angel approach to handle certain teams. This was in the lower levels though. As the game changed into higher rated teams, you find that you have to stick to your champs playstyle more, and deviation outside of that has heavy consequences. For Akali this means losing the ability to burst 95% of all champs down with a single nuke. And dropping 2 items, means you lose this ability by a great deal. However, if you just want to throw this item in at the 6th, it doesn't do too bad. Don't worry about soloing tanks at this point, it will be a waste of your time unless you get some focus help. Also, the passive revival is nice, the trick is coming alive and bursting a person with weak resists to get you that little bit of extra health, its either that or do some serious running and Twilight Shroud coverage to help you escape. SPACE
Space Banshee's Veil- This item isn't too bad on Akali. It might take a backseat to Abyssal Mask in a lot of cases, but the extra hp coupled with magic resistance and topped with the ability to ignore the first CC move is pretty decent. Use this if you are just plain getting focused by too much CC and need to live so that you can do damage. Keep in mind, the ability to decimate any champ in less than 5 seconds is useless if you only live for 2, and spent that entire time in a hold. SPACE
Space Quicksilver Sash- A truly underestimated item. In fact, most people (especially the newer ones, not very induced to rank as of yet) often don't even consider using it! However, there is a very important lesson to take from this. Items that aren't typically considered can easily be a huge advantage lost to your team. This one in particular has its specialty. First of all, 56 magic resist, leading with a Negatron Cloak for early game usefulness. At only 1440 gold this can be bought early on. It doesn't sacrifice as large gold sink like Banshee's Veil and gives 6 more magic resist as opposed to the 375 hp gain. Now the next key difference. Banshee's Veil blocks a spell every 45 seconds, while Quicksilver Sash is like a Cleanse that removes any negative status effect on you. This includes any damage over time spells like Ignite and Mordekaiser with his Children of the Grave as well as any CC effects whatsoever. If you accidentally become the initiate and soak a bunch of CC (stuns snares and so on) you can use this active once every 90 seconds to save your life. And believe me, it will. Of all the times I mention CC being the downfall of Akali in this guide, this item is a huge step in mitigating most of it. Highly underestimated, so give this a try sometime for those pesky CC teams. SPACE

If you want to see some explanations on more situational items, leave me a comment. The truth is, there aren't many that work well outside of these few, compared to the ones listed.

Finally, I did not discuss the melee side to Akali or even a more hybrid approach. Simply put, the results aren't viable. If you want to build an ad carry, it can be done with Akali but you would be very weak in the terms of survivability. Hybrids don't do much better.

In fact, if you visit the later section: Know Your Champion, you will see that Akali has at least a mediocre backdoor ability with her main build. (Hint: she can use the lich proc to help her, even without minions around).

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Items to Not Get!

Space Mejai's Soulstealer- Please don't. The honest truth is there is no room in this build first of all. Each of her items serve a key purpose. So the only item that this could compare to would be Rabadon's Deathcap. But even at full stacks this will give less than Rabadon's Deathcap. So why get Mejai's? The problem with this is that it is unreliable. If you are snowballing early game, chances are you don't need Mejai's Soulstealer to do it with. Plus, once you pick this up, you are definitely a focus target if you weren't before. So in any decent game, your Mejai's will actually be working against you; dying makes this item useless. Since your damage is dealt by being in their face, YOU WILL SOAK DAMAGE. This WILL get you killed, I promise. SPACE
Space Guinsoo's Rageblade- As tempting as a hybrid approach to her seems, in truth, it doesn't work out so well. As it is now, Akali does about 40% of her damage via physical power. The thing is, a lot of the damage comes from activating Lich. You lessen on the AP side and you are giving up major damage all around. Items like this one just cost her too much ability-wise. Furthermore, if you truly build hybrid, enough to make her do viable damage, there aren't many hp items that will work for you. So you will be too squishy. Plus, using Crescent Slash while attacking a tower will activate your Lich Bane proc and give you an extra 500 damage on a hit as it is, so there is no need for this. SPACE

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The Start

Well what lanes are viable for Akali? I have found after all my playtime with her, about the only roles you don't want to put her in are babysitting a carry, and jungling. She just doesn't perform up to spec of some of the other champs. That being said, with proper play, Akali makes an effective mid, solo top, and part of a duo bottom. Later on, I can include ways to fight against specific champions if you wish, and you can provide your feedback on such examples.

Regardless, these are your gold cut-off points. 1. 1200 2. 2050.

Let me explain. Your goal is to stay in lane and farm as much as possible. Akali is excellent at harassing and last hitting thanks to her being an energy champ, and her Mark of the Assassin having very nice range. This doesn't mean stay out there to the point of dying. It just means if you are safe, stay and farm. If not, return and work towards the items.

Once you hit 1200 gold, this is a good point to return if you want. This means if you have them pushed to the tower, or can take a quick break from the lane, return and get your Hextech Revolver. If you are dominating the lane, you can consider staying until 1950. This will allow you to return and get your Hextech Revolver and Mercury's Treads at once.

I would not advise staying out past 2050 gold much because you will start to fall behind in items at this point and time. Also, do realize that the Hextech Revolver will set your spell vamp up to 23%. You can really notice the difference with sustainability.

Another note: If you have more than 75 gold running back to the lane, invest in a ward. If you have about 200 gold, invest in 2 wards and a health potion, or maybe just a ward and several health potions. As long as you remember to use them, these won't be wasted.

Where to place your ward this early? Place the ward in the brush on the river if you are fearing being ganked. If they are pushing hard, or use a lot of bush coverage (as you should be), place it in the bushes next to the wall of whichever side will help most. I.E. if they are defending hard from their side of the bush, place it on theirs. If they are pushing hard, place it on yours. If you are in mid, place it on the side you are most likely to get ganked from. This may be an aggressive side lane going to mid, or it could be a jungler. For junglers you want to place it on the side of their most important buff. For example, if it is Xin Zhao or Nocturne place it on the side closest to their red. If it is Fiddlesticks, place it on the side closest to their blue.

If you are playing against another stealthier champs, such as Twitch or Evelynn or Shaco grab a Vision Ward as soon as conveniently possible. Encourage your laning partner to do so as well.

Drop these where they frequently stealth, and rest easy :).

Now, if you are fighting Akali. Get yourself a Vision Ward, and hold on to it! Lure the enemy Akali into using her Twilight Shroud (this is typically done with heavy harass of feigned facechecking of the brush). As soon as she drops shroud, shoot the ward between her and her tower, and it should have line of sight into the shroud. Proceed to destroy.

Going into Mid Game

You have your beginning setup. You are able to start ganking effectively at this point. There are some instances where you can get away with not having your Mercury's Treads, but in all honesty, the perfect ganking level for Akali is level 6 with the Hextech Revolver and Mercury's Treads finished. If your team needs the help a little sooner, Hextech Revolver will give you damage and spell vamp, and you can always use Flash to pull off a perfect Delayed Burst sans the ultimate.

Mid Game

The choices here are to either a) continue laning, or b) start roaming. Akali makes an excellent ganker and as such can fill the roaming task quite well. Once you hit about level 9, or 11 especially, grab blue buff if there isn't a more pressing issue, or someone with a higher priority. At 11 you can solo dragon reliably, although it is better if it is a team effort.

Late Game

At this point you should really be able to see how you are comparing to the rest of your team. If you are having a REALLY bad game, you will notice. But please don't fret. Calm down a little bit. And just focus on doing what you can. Play more defensively, farm as much as possible with little to no over extension (unless you are 100% positive you can get away with pushing a little) . I have had a match (the first one after a long day) that I went 0-9-6 in by just after mid game. I ended up turning the match around and we won, with my score finishing at 23-14-17. So practice a little woo-sah, farm some waves, and help out in team fights when possible with the mindset that you are there to assist in damage, burst any weak targets, and in general not get caught doing anything focus worthy. Do this enough, and it is possible to turn your feeding game into an average game with a positive score in the end.

End Game

There will be a few instances where you get your full build. In some ways, this is extremely fun. In others, it can be a curse. Let me explain. When you have your full build... you can kill almost any champion in just a few short seconds, including the tanks. There are times when it is super easy to jump in the middle of 5 of them by yourself, kill 3, and run away from the last 2, or even all 5. Coming in at the middle or end of a team fight? Quadras are so easy its not even funny.

So why is this a curse? Well sometimes you get a little euphoric as anyone does at being able to destroy anything by looking at it. That sense of, "which person do I want to make rage by just clicking my mouse on their champ a few times" can really go to your head. If it truly a close game, discipline yourself to not put yourself at too much risk, and probably more importantly, keep yourself close enough to your team so that you can engage in the team fights.

If you just got done pushing mid's creep wave back, and see that Miss Fortune trying to push back bot's minion wave, be wary of the possibility of the other 4 champs pushing on your inner tower, and currently wiping out your other 4 teammates.

Sure, you probably get the kill on Miss Fortune. And if you are fast enough, might get there to cleanup the remnants of the team fight, but, not likely. The deal is, a person can go 30-3-1 and still end up being the person who cost the team the game, simply because they just focused on killing anything that moved instead of playing the strategic team game.

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Damage Numbers, Tables, and Data Analysis

A lot of this will just be blots to certain people. If you have an interest in the numerical analysis of things, this is the place though. This section will contain all the numbers backing up the numbers you see throughout the rest of the guide.

Quick Nav Menu

  • 1. Complete Damages
  • 2. Rune Alternatives - MPen vs Standard Build
  • 3. Mercury's Treads vs Sorcerer's Shoes
  • 4. Hextech Gunblade vs Lich Bane vs Rabadon's Deathcap
  • 5. Lich Bane vs Rabadon's Deathcap
  • 6. Rabadon's Deathcap vs Void Staff
  • 7. Void Staff vs Abyssal Staff vs Zhonya's Hourglass vs More
  • 8. So which is it? Hextech Gunblade + Lich Bane, or Lich Bane + Rabadon's Deathcap.

1. Complete Damages

This section pertains to giving the viewer a quick glance at the damage values one can expect to see from Akali at different points in her build, and at different resistances of the enemy. Most of it is self explanatory, but here is a quick legend:
  • Auto
  • Passive
  • MotA
  • CS
  • SD
  • Lich
SP Auto Attack damage, this is physical
Twin Disciplines damage applied to auto attack, this is magical
Mark of the Assassin, this is magical
Crescent Slash, this is physical
Shadow Dance, this is magical
Lich Bane passive, this is physical

2. Rune Alternatives - MPen vs Standard Build

This section will discuss the topic of rune choice. I understand that some people like to go for the most damage sometimes, regardless of survivability. There are a few things you should know, and we will show this on a low level analysis.

First, let's talk about quints and glyphs. The choices are between:
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power or Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power or Greater Glyph of Magic Penetration.
space 4.95 ap or 1.89 mpen.
.99 ap or .57 mpen.

For this example, we will only show the result of a 1 rune difference. It is simple enough to show you the winner in this decision:

Both the glyph and quint replacement actually lower damage. Understand that this is a trivial amount because only 1 rune was changed, not the entire build. The results are more drastic the further you apply this change.

Lastly for this table, note that this doesn't account for Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power which would make the option of mpen replacements even less useful. I don't even need to mention this throws a wrench in your plans if you drop below the 19.5 ap threshold on a game start (no more passive).

The final path is, well, what about replacing my mark runes? I can tell you 2 things about this:

1. It is the most damaging build of all, but not by much. Replacing your 7 Greater Mark of Attack Damage, which actually changes your auto attack, passive auto, and Crescent Slash damage will drop your base damage by 72, your after resistance damage by 42-52. But it will produce a slight increase with the extra 6.65 magic penetration, to the tune of 64/48/31/7 damage total for enemies with 30/50/80/150 mres respectively.

As with the glyph/seal case, any enemy not close to or above the 150 mres mark will drop like a fly to your combos regardless of the rune swap for magic penetration (where you will see the most gain). So that leaves a measly 7 damage!!! Against an enemy with 150mres and 80 armor. That gap would be larger with a higher armor value on the target, but the argument is the same. Out of 4100 damage at end game, you would fight for that -maybe- 20 damage you get?

Probably not, once you realize that this will put a dent in your early game. You would have to start with a Doran's Blade as opposed to your Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion.

3. Mercury's Treads vs Sorcerer's Shoes

This will shed some light on the Sorcerer's Shoes vs Mercury Treads debate.

Some important things to notice compared to the base damages are the following:
  • 1. The damage values in game aren't worth it. Anything below 150 magic resist and tank hp is going to die anyways, and for the most part, even the tank will on a nuke.
  • 2. The early-mid game values you may consider worth it. At level 6 you add 100 damage to your nuke on average. The problem though is that you will mostly be using burst or delayed burst during this time, negating a full effectiveness from the boots. In general, it is just safer to go with Mercury's Treads.

4. Hextech Gunblade vs Lich Bane vs Rabadon's Deathcap

Choices. Choices. This dilemma was covered in the MidGame Crisis section. So here are the numbers to prove the selection.

5. Lich Bane vs Rabadon's Deathcap

A quick look at the values to expect between choosing your 4th item.

6. Rabadon's Deathcap vs Void Staff

Just a measure of completeness, here are the options for your standard 5th item. This should persuade people going for Void Staff as a fifth item as a bad idea.

7. Void Staff vs Abyssal Staff vs Zhonya's Hourglass vs More

The last item to complete the build. Look here and at the supplemental section to decide what your last item should be. As you can see, only a minor (but noticeable) amount of potential is lost on Akali when choosing a different item than the Void Staff. The last section is essentially your damage with the first 5 items, so Guardian Angel and Banshee's Veil would fit there.

8. So which is it? Hextech Gunblade + Lich Bane, or Lich Bane + Rabadon's Deathcap.

First the graph:

Now the explanation.

The Hextech Gunblade and Lich Bane combo costs 11400.
The Lich Bane and Rabadon's Deathcap combo costs 12575.

So with the 1175 gold cost more, Hextech's formula was given a Blasting Wand. (This will leave several hundred left over.)

As you can expect, the combo of having the AP boost from Rabadon's and the passive proc from Lich Bane is the main power behind Akali, and Rylai's gives the ability to keep your enemies within your field of damage.

So why would you swap Rabadon's out to rush Hextech Gunblade? Well comparing the facts, you will drop about 800 damage in total on a nuke, but gain 300 hp more in recovery. These numbers (both) will drop when you used delayed burst over the nuke, but the choice boils down to this:

Akali with the Hextech Gunblade will dominate an Akali who moves to the Lich Bane right after Rylai's. And this will continue right up to the point that Akali gets her Lich Bane + Rabadon's Deathcap. Until then, she will do much more damage, steal more hp, last longer, and help more in lanes (solo top viable) and do better in team fights, giving you that nice ability to continue fighting even at extremely low health.

The only point in time that the standard (RCS -> LB -> RD) build trumps the rush on Hextech Gunblade is for the 2425 gold that it will take in order to get the Rabadon's Deathcap from that point of the Hextech Gunblade rush. At the end of this, both builds are even again, as they will have the exact same items.

Truthfully it's up to you. But I prefer the massive early game damage boost and sustainability (more likely to get kills, lane longer, higher cs, more exp and so forth) over that slight period of time where my damage is exceeded by 600 on a boost (I am still stealing double the amount of hp).

I encourage you to try it out a few times, and make your own choice : )

Update - as of the new Hextech Gunblade stats, these ranges are further than previous values (it use to be a 600 damage difference instead of an 800). Also, 300 hp recovery is lost as well. Because of this, it is a very fine line over which path to choose. Up to you to decide.

I also included a third path here. (See the third build up top). It grabs Hextech Gunblade, Sheen, and moves into Rabadon's Deathcap. The cost is comparable to the other two, but gives a more middle of the road approach. Keep in mind though, you will be stuck on the same slow damage gain as Lich Bane + Rabadon's Deathcap because of Rabadon's Deathcap having a slow build into damage (few items that cost a lot of gold).

Guide Top

Twilight Shroud - Advanced Utility


Finally, we can leave the supposition and heavy data behind and go to the practical uses of this champion. Until now, the skills have been given what I feel has been rudimentary basis to the champ. Judging by the length of the guide at this point, it certainly is quite a bit of information, but let's be serious: A lot of it has been over stuff that is behind the scenes to everything else you are doing in game.

There is a reason why there are many Akali guides out there with different item builds, and they all do pretty well in their own way. Almost every single one of them has a screen showing match history, and this one shall too, highlighting some of the better points of gameplay, which is a consistent behavior I get from this build.

What I am really trying to say is: You can deviate from the item path, yet still do particularly well based on skill alone of this character. Now, half the battle is knowing what your opponents are doing and countering that. Always be a counter to your opposition. But the other half?

Knowing how your champion performs. Sure, it is pretty nice to get a feel for those combos I mentioned. Especially the delayed burst, it provides a lot of potential, but now we need to talk about how to survive.

Play with Akali enough and you will quickly realize what all the survivability gets you, and what it doesn't. You can't live if you are CC'd, and most times if you are taking burst of any kind you will be in pain, regardless of life steal. One major difference in a feeding Akali and a good Akali is the proper use of twilight shrouds.

First, let's cover things not to do:



You know it is wrong when you:

  • Lock yourself into thinking there are specific scenarios where you cannot use Twilight Shroud usefully.
  • Underuse Twilight Shroud. There are many viable situations where this can be used.
  • Expect to be invisible around vision wards or oracles (this does not make Twilight Shroud useless though).

So when do you use Twilight Shroud?

  • 1. Use it to escape.
  • 2. Use it to soak damage in fights at towers.
  • 3. Use it to zone your opponents.
  • 4. Use it to lead fights (early game).
  • 5. Use it to assist your fights (mid-late game and most solo fights)
  • 6. Use it to facecheck brush.
  • 7. Use it to slow opponents.
  • 8. Use it to defend your tower.
  • 9. Use it to buy time for your team.

1. Use it to escape
The quickest thing that comes to mind with this skill, is using it to escape from your foes. Whether it is in the thick of battle, or as you are already fleeing, a little misdirection typically helps with the escape.

This is especially useful when taking turns that lead into multiple areas of escape, and especially when running under the guise of brush. Please see the next few images over a few choice areas to perform some escapes.

Also keep in mind, if you are a bit overextended past the minion wave, and get in a little too thick for comfort, you can drop a shroud to buy a little time, take a few steps towards the enemy minion wave and Shadow Dance out, then run like mad.

The above is an example of the directions you can go. This extends to almost any place on the map. For example, a Twilight Shroud on the ramp leaving a rive r path presents multiple directions to run.

Another example, is at any neutral minion camp. Use Twilight Shroud at any intersection of paths, and then choose one depending on what you feel is the best bet. Coming this with a ward in the area to Shadow Dance through the forest wall onto an enemy minion as needed.

Below are some visuals of what is described above:

A concern was brought up about the line that extends into the minion camp while it is under fog of war. What this line indicates is that you can either use Flash to escape to it, or if you have a ward with you, you can throw it through the wall and then use Shadow Dance to jump to a minion provided they are spawned.

2. Use it to soak damage in fights at towers.
This utility is for the enemy tower in general, but don't avoid using it at your own as well. The ally tower defend is explained further in point 8.

This section is to explain a good use of the defense and magic resistance Twilight Shroud gives. Note, you are not using this for the stealth effect, but mitigating a little incoming damage from enemies, minions or champions. Attacking a tower that is going to be down in 5 hits, but you have an incoming champion ready to cause havoc on you? Drop the shroud in close vicinity to the tower where you can still hit it. Please note that while in enemy tower sight range, you will be detectable inside your Twilight Shroud.

Be your own judge here. If it would be more beneficial to navigate around the tower between swings drop it directly on the tower. This leads into some good positioning. You can time the hits so that you will be on the far side of the tower by the time it destroys. As soon as it goes, you will turn invisible and be able to pull of a quick burst combo on your assailant. More on this later.

If you feel like it would server better purpose in your escape opportunity, you may drop it near the edge of where you are attacking. This serves multiple purposes as well. Not only does this soak damage while you get those last few hits on the tower, but 1) that energy is recovering while you swing, and 2) your cooldown is reducing before hand. So your would be assailant will not only have to hit you more within tower, but not too long afterwards when you are retreating, you should be able to have Twilight Shroud back in your arsenal to continue using.

A final note here, a difference between this and the zoning version is that you typically are not trying to attack the opponent while you are still under the zone of the tower. There are times where you may do this, but it will be discussed further on in zoning.

3. Use it to zone your opponents.
In the interest of trying to decouple the activities between the zoning of your Mark of the Assassin and your Twilight Shroud, an emphasis will be placed here to show the effects of Twilight Shroud alone, and will be touched again briefly to assist in the zoning section.

Twilight Shroud carries its own aura of intimidation when it is cast. Any Akali worth her salt will employ this use to punish people who get careless, and as a warning factor for others who might be thinking it. Now this isn't to say drop this when 3 champs are running after you and expect them to stop dead in their tracks. A more efficient use to achieve this goal would be present in the laning phase. Drop this between a current enemy objective and them. This helps being close to brush as it extends your area of zone control greatly, and allows you to dodge in and out as you see fit to keep your enemies guessing.

When you can burst off half a champs life in half a second and run away with one or two hits done to you, you begin to establish a clear zone of hostility that enemies will be wary when attempting to breach. Use this to your advantage. And remember, if things go bad, cut your losses and retreat. Sometimes the few seconds you can buy with this will slow that attacking force long enough for assistance.

4. Use it to lead fights (early game).
The utility of this section will change as the game progresses (see next point) but there are some extremely helpful benefits to dropping a shroud to initiate a team fight in the beginning.

First of all, dropping it, running out from the brush through it to your enemy (especially when combined with the last point [your shroud between them and their tower, their objective now being to retreat to safety]) and perform a quick burst on them sans your ultimate. This can be extremely devastating, and even more so if you lead it with a delayed burst (q from brush, shroud into zone effect, run through, proc your mark with an auto, quickly q -> auto again). Not to mention, this will secure so much free harass that it would be silly not to use it to your benefit.

5. Use it to assist your fights (mid-late game and most solo fights)
The switch from the last point to now, is that you have your Shadow Dance, which for the most part eliminates the need to throw cover stealth down on the way to your target. And furthermore, the higher levels on skills reduce the cooldowns thus allowing the few seconds gained by holding the shroud to enable several more skills to be added to your damage output.

So what do I encourage under this point? As always, lead off with Mark of the Assassin. If you can pull off a delay on this, more power to you, but if they wise up, they will realize your intent and start running. Whether from brush or direct conflict, get in range, blink to them with Shadow Dance and make a decision.

Do you drop shroud?

The answer is yes when a) you are facing heavy enemy champs within your face, b) you are soloing someone without fear of dying but want to reduce some damage input, c) you are facing a champion that will not die off the initial burst, and more. You will get a feel for this as you go along.

Times when you may not want to use this are when you have one champion that will die to a quick burst, but 2 more close behind, so much that they will be within fighting distance once you kill the first. Here it is more beneficial to save the shroud, by dispatching the first target, and dropping shroud based on your intent to continue fighting or escaping.

I did touch on a special point above though. Option (c). Sometimes you may fight champs that will not die on the initial burst. A lot of melee AD carries such as Xin Zhao Jax will definitely be a true counter to you if you are careless. So why do I run in boldly to destroy these people who could so easily do the same in return?

The initial lead in my burst into an immediate shroud will cause the champion to get off 1 maybe two hits on me, depending on how long I prolong my initial attack. After that I stealth for a few seconds and make some quick decisions.

During this time your Mark of the Assassin is coming off cooldown. You can choose to fight, or run. If they are alone, and you are in good standing after that initial attack, you will probably attack. Wait for the cooldown to come off, and quickly lead another Mark of the Assassin->LAQ-> Shadow Dance-> Crescent Slash. The last one is optional (the damage return isn't always worth the extra amount of time you will remain unstealthed). With decent cooldowns (level 5 Mark of the Assassin + ancient golem buff, it is not uncommon for me to get off 4 Mark of the Assassin over the duration of the shroud.

And I would have to say Jax is the one I find myself doing this to most of the time. He has a bulky quality to him that sometimes going face first into fighting is stupid. Employ your utilities and take them out with assurance and minimal risk.

6. Use it to facecheck brush.
This one is pretty simple to grasp. Use this to bridge the slight bit of opening space before heading in to the brush. The key is to have small overlap to maximize your potential for zoning, while maintaining the ability to be stealthed under brush (in case your facecheck happens to yield that which you are searching for). This is easiest to see with the two side brushes, as shown in the picture below.

7. Use it to slow opponents.
This utility tapers off towards the end of the game, but isn't completely useless. This is essentially an AOE slow that operates at a decent rate. In early game, cast this in front of fleeing opponents for a little more time on getting that next charge of your ultimate, and making that Shadow Dance before they get out of range.

Running away? Depending on your lead from the incoming party, you should place your shroud in front, on, or behind you. If you have a distinct lead on the opponent, but they seem to be gaining on you, and have some CC abilities that would be detrimental to your health, throw it between you and them. Note, it is important not to run back towards them for this. Just slightly behind you should give them the added slow without losing much time in running away.

If they are closer, and a jump on you is imminent, toss it down, almost centered on you, but slightly towards where you intend to escape, whether this is brush, an alternate path, or even a double back towards them with a Shadow Dance onto a minion wave, keep your options open, and be mindful of possible alternate routes as you run.

If you need to maximize the potential of the shroud with enemies close behind, toss the shroud directly in front of you, and move! Consequently, what you are hoping for is the tip of the ring to be touching you (for immediate stealth) and giving you the largest walking distance away. Note this contains further expansion on your ability to escape with shroud (as in point 1), but this all brings to focus the capabilities of escaping with the added slow.

The difference here is that your movement will be far more predictable as you will not be in an optimal spot to cast the shroud, but the slow should help mitigate this with a bit of a distance creator.

8. Use it to defend your tower.
Earlier we saw Twilight Shroud and its use for soaking damage. But there is another aspect to this when considering defending your tower. Here, a focus is placed higher on the visibility aspect. You will use this a lot more in the early games when your lane gets pushed heavily to your tower, especially in scenarios where you are soloing a duo lane. Pop the shroud to avoid minion damage and harass from the enemy champs, and last hit what you can with Mark of the Assassin or do a little counter-harassing of your own. Note that in late game, where champs can tower dive easily, the visibility serves as a defense on your life. However, it also might cost your tower to soak a lot of damage, and in some cases you may switch the utility to providing a damage soak while you enact some retribution on an otherwise defenseless tower.

A final note is that this is thrown with one edge of the ring touching the tower (you can hug the base of it, allowing easy maneuver around it) and the other towards your enemies. In the laning phase this would typically be aimed towards the enemy side of the lane.

9. Use it to buy time for your team.
There are 2 utilities to note here.

1. Patience.
2. Patience.

Truthfully. You will most likely be using this to escape at this point. But have a less than preferred positioning in which to do it (like 4 enemy champs parked inside your shroud, waiting for you to move in a single direction).

You can have patience, and hope some of your teammates help you out (provided enough are close to you, a nice team battle may ensue).

Or you can have patience and wait for that optimal opening (a wave of minions passing by for a life-saving Shadow Dance to ensure at least a few more seconds of your survival). This is especially funny if it is actually another passing enemy champ that saves you : )

Overall, realize that you have 8 seconds to make a decision based on if they can detect you or not. Sometimes there is just a no live situation. Maybe you overextended a little too much and got caught off guard, but sometimes you are just going to die. If this is the case, go out with a bang. Use this as a short timer to select a target, wait for the opportune time, and release a torrent upon that silly Ashe, who with any luck, will die before the team can react. Sure you died, but at least you are recovering some of that loss by making yet another victim suffer.

Another important option for waiting is when you get Exhaust cast on you. If you are running away or jumping in, a well placed Twilight Shroud will enable you to conserve your energy while you wait for exhaust to end.

This was a list of some of the major utilities I have discovered with Twilight Shroud. There are a few nuances here and there that can be improved, and even discovered. If you would like to see any of these examples on video, or in better detail than what they are now, please drop a comment and I will do my best to supply. And most certainly, if you have utilized this in a major way that I have not described, feel free to drop a comment, and I may add it (with credit of course) : )

Guide Top

Zoning with Akali

This is actually highly coupled with the section on zoning, simply because the utilities of any stealth provide a massive ability to zone your opponents. First off, I would recommend this video as an introductory to zoning in particular. If you can make it through the voice, it is very likely you will find good information in there. This video is by Shurelia, not myself.

So with Twilight Shroud covered, how can we apply this to Akali, and more importantly, her zoning?

Well my focus in this section will be divided into 2 parts, and it will be easy to see which examples can extend beyond the section they are in (such as an example on brush control applying to anywhere in the map).

Zoning Sections

  • Lane Control
  • Tower Control

Lane Control

  • Minion Wave harass
  • Brush Harass
  • Minion Wave Deny
  • Brush Deny

Minion Wave Harass

This scenario is your typical setup. You have gotten to lane, the minions have spawned. You are behind your minions, they are behind theirs. At this point, you will be using your speed advantage with your Boots of Speed to quickly move in and last hit an enemy, or throw a Mark of the Assassin at the enemy. If you are not last hitting, you should be harassing. Stay out of range, until it is time to quickly duck in and throw it at them. If you are against some very dominant ranged opponents such as Caitlyn you may play a bit more defensively. Use this time to last hit minions for all you are worth, and believe me Akali can last hit. Even in duo lanes, it is not uncommon for me to be on par with a decent mid, or 20-50 behind a good mid. A strong game for me ends with 200+ minion kills, and with as much as your items cost, you will need it.

A tip for the strong ranged ads though. Bide your time until level 6. Take minimal risk and let them push for all their aggressiveness. As long as you maintain your last hitting and get to level 6 with plenty of hp / health potions, you can easily jump in with Shadow Dance after leading a delayed burst and pick up an easy kill. In other situations you may be pushing hard, constantly near your line of minions. If this is the case, focus on last hitting everything, meleeing the close ones, and Mark of the Assassin on the far ones. Any champ that steps close to the line that isn't an ally should receive a Mark of the Assassin, followed by a proc of that mark if they didn't heed your warning.

Push hard enough and you will end up at the tower. Read on for that section.

Brush Harass

This is a slightly more involved form of the previous section. Some may think it is easier to harass from the brush, but that is just because it disguises the complexity of it. You have the advantage of being stealthed, but this also provides an added sense of security when in truth it can get you in trouble. When you are standing in the open, you tend to calculate things at face value, recognizing that those 2 champs running straight for you will alter your day drastically unless you move. In the brush, a more daring version of you may think of ganking that person. Maybe you misjudge exactly how much damage you will do, or how your opponents will react, and then, it is dead you.

But there is an advantage to this. Stealth, patience, and surprise. Last hitting by throwing your Mark of the Assassin at any weak minions or quickly running in and out will supply your farm. But this offers a strong position to zone as now the enemy has to be wary of you. Aside from several champions facechecking at once, this is a great way to set up your delayed burst.

Your focus should be:

Last hit minions, while concurrently keeping the mark from Mark of the Assassin up over your intended target. You don't have to proc every mark, and you don't have to fret because your energy recharges. Just bide your time, waiting for the correct opportunity. You'll get the feel for it, and you will know when they have overextended just a little too far. Maybe they got some courage from their ally being there to run in with them. But the fact of the matter is, this champ is probably around half health, running right towards you, with a mark over his head. Engage, proc the mark, throw the next Mark of the Assassin, use Crescent Slash, proc the mark again. And they are most likely dead. If not, and you have your ultimate, use it. Odds are, they are dead, and if not, retreating as quick as possible. So now you are slightly damaged, but with a fresh kill, versus a fresh enemy.

Make a conscious decision here. If it is someone like Singed, you will probably retreat, throwing your marks as necessary as long as you stay out of his flip range. If it is a squishier character, you might decide to fight back. This could go either way, but the main sign you are looking for is for the enemy to flee. Once they start running away this is your shining moment.

At level 6 and beyond, Akali is a great champ to chase fleeing opponents, and dishing out soup bowls full of agony, especially once you have Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Akali has a major weakness, getting attacked (most do actually). And as long as she isn't taking damage, there is nothing telling her not to use all of her skills on the enemy. So unload on them, if you get a kill, hooray, if you don't, it most likely ends in them backing to base. Just be wary not to rush into a trap. A last note here is that you might want to keep an eye on how many ultimate charges you have. Sometimes saving that last Shadow Dance for a quick blink back to the minion line can save your life.

Minion Wave Deny

This is more complex than the previous. It takes more risk, is very situational, and can be extremely rewarding. The difference between this and the first point is that you are now on the opposite side of the minions.

The most common time you will see this opportunity is when you push to their tower, and let them fight it back while you have been harassing them. The wave pushes, and you duck into brush to let the fight go back out to middle. They remain at the tower while you are in-between them and the minions. You should be close enough to the minions to last hit when you need to, but will remain close to their tower. Any time they draw close, punish them with a harassing Mark of the Assassin. As soon as they draw in, go for the kill. Played right, they will cower for fear of your burst, and let you deny them not only gold, but exp as well.

Several things can ruin this opportunity. A gank from the river (so it is good to have a ward up), or the enemy gets wise to you, and flat rushes you. Do not fret, just abandon the post and retreat behind the line. Any exp you deny works in your favor, so don't reset it by dying.

Brush Deny

Like the second section, this involves playing from the brush. This is a bit more challenging as your zone doesn't cover the entire lane this way. So the difference between here and the last section is that you will actively be employing your Twilight Shroud in the middle of the lane, running and last hitting and harassing, and ducking back in to brush.

This enables you to deny sooner, with more ease (but with energy problems if you aren't careful), but in general it is less effective because of the fact that you can't actively maintain your direct positioning between your enemy and the minion wave.

Tower Control

  • Zone from behind the tower (Defend)
  • Zone around the tower (Defend)
  • Tower free harass
  • Deep tower harass
  • Enemy approaches while you attack tower
  • Enemy hugging tower
  • Enemy fleeing tower
I can say that the feeling is weird, because the important part of zoning comes during the laning, and yet is more straightforward than working the towers. Once you have pushed to a tower, the amount of situations multiply, and you have to choose which one is the correct one at the right point in time.

Explained throughout the rest of this section are a few major ones that come to mind.

Zone from behind the tower

This is the first of the zoning points I would like to touch on with the tower. In this situation your tower is being attacked. You will be running towards your tower while an enemy or several are pounding on it. There are a few things to check on here.

1) How low is the hp of the tower. (always assess this first!)
2) How much damage are the present enemies capable of doing. (will you drop like a fly upon entering?)
3) How much utility can you provide to the situation. (is it worth it?)

These all combine to form a single, simplistic looking decision. Should I stay and fight, or should I go and run. Those three points weigh differently and will directly influence the answer to this question.

Is the hp of the tower low compared to the amount of damage the tower is receiving? (I.E. if you run in on a tower, can you count on it supporting you while you take on the adversary?) Some cases this is no, and if you aren't able to solo the situation (or overcome the challenge with anyone else that might be present), it won't help if you rush in and just feed the guy who destroyed the tower.

At the same time though, a guy who could easily solo you may also find it extremely challenging to do so if you use the tower to your advantage. Jumping in with Shadow Dance and throwing Twilight Shroud before starting a burst on the champ will do a number of things for you.

1) Notice the difference. Shadow Dance first. You use this to get into position the quickest. Now you are in the thick of things.
2) You then drop Twilight Shroud, during this time the enemy will do one of several things. Fight you, run from you, continue attacking the tower. In the case of multiple enemies, each will face this decision. Twilight Shroud ensures to soak some of the damage and buy you time to make your next move, while preventing the enemies from juggling the tower shots while taking you out.
3) Now you choose who to burst from the safety of your shroud. Pick the highest priority target, based on threat to you, threat to tower, or the assured kill. If a person is low on health go for that one, in most situations. To think of it a different way, judge who will die the fastest (a 25% hp singed may not go down as fast as a 100% ashe), and start working. If they fight, they now have to deal with tower.

If the tower gets too low, you need to think about running.

The third option is a bit of an exception. If you have a team already there trying to fend it off, how much utility can you provide? Mostly the answer will be yes in this scenario, because your team needs you almost 100% of the time. Pick your target, even if the tower is low, and react based on the priority of your team. Keep an eye out to see if they are battling or running as well.

Zone around the tower from the river

This is an improved version of the previous point, but it comes with its own set of disadvantages; however, it is often the better placement due to positioning.

First, you must have map awareness at all times during this. Realize that cutting into the jungle can have its own hidden surprises, or even leaving another lane to run down the river. So, aside from the gank potential, be sure to react to your opponent.

Sometimes they have wards in the river, or brush and will have advanced warning of you coming. Put this into where you run to engage, if you even chase, as sometimes all you are looking for is for them to leave the turret, while you dismember the minions stacked around it.

But provided everything else goes accordingly, you will get the surprise on your would-be destroyer-of-your-tower. Couple the information in the last point with the Twilight Shroud section, specifically the parts of when to engage, and the fact that you are now a force to be reckoned with standing between an objective and them. This allows you to position right in their escape route (for example, if they are running from another ally who happened to coordinate with you), and enact your punishment.

Tower free harass

Now we are on to the offensive side of zoning. You will see a few subtle references to countering the previous two tower zoning points with the remaining points.

In this situation, you have been aggressively pushing the lane and are near the range of their tower going off. All this section details is that you should be using Mark of the Assassin to harass enemies inside the tower, while you remain safely outside the range. Don't bother procing the mark unless they come charging out of their safety area with the tower. And be mindful of river ganks.

Deep tower harass

A more involved version of the free tower harass. In this you are doing a small dive into the territory under the assistance of your minions to harass the enemy champs further back. You will have to get adjusted to the length you can dive and get out without being shot, but this is simply a means to get those champs that may be hiding deeper into tower territory. Note if they are running out of the tower range before you attack them, this is a different situation entirely, and you should read on. As with the previous section, you aren't attempting to proc your mark unless you are both out of tower range.

Enemy approaches while you attack tower

Finally a situational zone! A person is running at the tower from whatever direction (hint hint, first two points, hint hint).

The first is anticipating which direction a person can come from. Be mindful while you are downing a tower of what people can be seen, what people can't, and how long you haven't seen them.

If you think a storm is coming, get out. Otherwise if you stay, you might notice an incoming enemy. This is the second important goal. Detect the incoming enemy. Use wards, watch your mini-map and so on.

Once you have identified the enemy, assess what you shall do. If you don't believe you have the ability to down the tower without dying, or kill the champ in the tower without dying, start running, live to fight again another d.. (well what I mean is so that you don't have to respawn).

So the final conditional. You may find the tower is low enough health that you can safely kite the enemy champ (and not hit them) until the tower is down and then direct your entire focus on them if they stuck around. Or you may decide to down the tower and run.

Or my personal favorite. You notice the incoming enemy, so you position yourself on the tower in-between hits to be on the same side as them. So if they are running up their lane to the tower (as in tower point 1) you circle around to the inside of the tower.

As soon as they get close, walk off the tower a bit and Shadow Dance onto them, and begin your burst. This should put you outside of tower range, and beginning that horrible life ending damage on them. Some will turn around and flee. Being mindful of traps, this can be an easy kill. Some may run to the tower. Depending on hp of the champ, and hp of the tower, you may be diving and killing them or the tower. I will leave that up to you, or the next point...

Enemy hugging tower

Whether this is an extension from the last point, or there is just someone hugging in general, you wind up here.

What will almost always happen before this is point 3, free tower harassing, if only to lead into a delayed burst. At this moment in time you have decided you are tower diving on the enemy, and you need to be able to do as much damage as possible, so use everything you can to your advantage.

-Insert large amount of possibilities here.-

Let's begin. Unless you are coming from the last point, you should be diving with a wave of minions, (another caveat to ignore minions would be if you are sure the enemy will drop very quickly). You will be taking tower hits here, so be sure you will live too.

Using the minions when possible, start with a deep tower dive, using Mark of the Assassin if you haven't, and then Shadow Dance onto them and begin your burst.

The enemy will react in a number of ways. Stay and fight (at this point consider your chances of living while taking tower damage, and move based on that). Run to the tower, where you can choose to either a) continue attacking and try and get the kill, or b) jump out. Depending on how far in the tower you are, this will either be to Shadow Dance on a minion closer to safety and walking or flashing out depending on the severity of the issue, or the amount of health you wish to preserve. The alternate could always be to walk or flash out the opposite side, but the typically puts you in bad positioning to continue (typically involving you to walk around the back through the river).

The last, and most favorable way for them to react is to flee. They will run or flash outside of tower range, in which you can chase to your content, catching up with Shadow Dance and continue your burst, tower free.

Enemy fleeing tower

The last is a small nuance of positioning from the end of the previous point. In this you are chasing a fleeing champ, and they run through the tower. In this case, you typically will wait for the best point to jump the person to try and limit the amount of shots the tower will have on you. This means to jump when you are assured they are running through it, and position yourself to be at the best possible vantage.

A final note to remember is that flash increases you range of jump in any direction by a drastic effect. Use it to extend your zoning and accomplish what you need to do at an efficient rate. Play around with this a little bit and pretty soon you can judge when you should flash and when its merely better to save it and Shadow Dance your way out of, or into, the thick of things.

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Wards - Why You Should Use Them

This section will be a reduced composite of my take on how Akali should be focusing her ward usage. Please refer to this Beginner's Guide by Dotter for a more comprehensive warding section.

1: These are early game wards. I usually have at least 1 or 2 after my first return from town and will place them in the lane I am in. There are 3 spots for each side lane (or the brush in mid).

The order of importance is situational, with the river brush typically being the highest. After that the side brush is only if needed (they are frequently making use of it) and how aggressive they have been (should you place it in to the close or far brush).

If you are in mid (note the ward numbers are actually 5), place the ward where you are most likely to be ganked from. If it is a jungler that will be ganking (instead of a side lane), place the ward in the brush that is closest to the buff minion they are likely to be coming from. For example, place the ward closer to their Red buff if the jungler is Xin Zhao or Nocturne, and closer to their Blue buff if the jungler is Fiddlesticks.

2: These come at a later point in the game. Either they are pushing (place a ward on your side of the lane) or you are pushing (place on their side of the lane) when a tower is under threat of being attacked.

This coupled with the river ward placed in #1 make for good coverage of incoming opponents.

3: These are alternates (and typically much more viable spots) for wards in #2 where available. This allows you more sight into the directions enemies are going through, and the brush coverage is nice.

4: These wards have a huge priority (highest in fact). And should be kept up consistently when possible. Gives great coverage of river activity, and allows you to predict enemy movement (and potential legendary minion attacks).

5: These I find to be a little more optional on Akali. If you are in mid, or are in the mind to help mid out, drop a ward in the side brush every now and then. Also, if you prefer having a closer look at the legendary minions (you can see it as it is attacked) you can place a ward closer as an alternative to the number 4's.

The goal of this is that you should be doing your part. Everyone on the team should be helping out really, tanks and supports typically more than others. But put it this way, if no one does it, you are better off getting some every time you go back to town. If you want to be one of those people that can carry a team, this is an important task that should not be avoided.

Even if 1 ward in every 4 nets you a new kill, it breaks even (scaled down kills and kill streak bonuses aside). Even if your teammates get one, that still proves the value of the ward. It will save your life on many occasions (even if it is someone else noticing an enemy coming to gank you while you are in the middle of a battle, so he pings to let you know to run away). And it will get you kills and sometimes even minion steals, dragon and baron are so much fun in the aftermath of a fresh steal :)

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Know the Champion

This section will contain some information relating directly to Akali and her capabilities that I felt was best not inserted elsewhere into the guide (added to much coupling between two sections that I didn't want to risk the need for repeating information, or in other cases, helped to keep the section smaller even though it is still large.

1. Chasing - Akali has amazing chasing abilities. In fact, even though she doesn't have a stun, taunt, snare, or any forced action CC available to her, her spamming of abilities that trigger Rylai's Crystal Scepter will keep the enemy slowed a majority of the time once your focus is set. Furthermore, to counter the up-close and personal style of auto-attacking, proccing her Mark of the Assassin, and using Crescent Slash, she has an amazing range on her Shadow Dance which contains 3 charges at max, and refreshes about every 15 second at max with a little cooldown mixed in, or on kill or assist. This, combined with flash, equals no getting away from Akali without assistance of your teammates. Often times an enemy exhaust or flash will be wasted because the enemy couldn't quite get out of range in time.

2. Delayed Burst - I have mentioned this periodically throughout the guide, but Akali's delayed burst is one of the most effective combos I have ever seen on a solo champion. The potential to lure someone in with a mark over their head is so devastating, it is insane the enemy doesn't learn sooner sometimes. Let's hope people don't become to wise to this tactic. I mean, other than you of course.

3. Skill Utilization - I mentioned in the beginning that nuke was just a baseline for measuring damage. The reality is that this will fluctuate wildly. It is not uncommon to get off 4 or more Mark of the Assassin on an enemy with around 7 auto attacks as well. You can imagine the number of lich bane procs too, (hint 0<lich<8...). The best thing you can do to learn how effective you can truly be is pay attention when you are attacking enemies. Look at their health and resistances before and after a fight.

4. Backdooring and Pushing - Despite initial appearances, Akali takes towers quite well. Using her Crescent Slash to activate her Lich Bane proc even while nothing is around makes quick work. Late game she is also able to backdoor effectively as well. Her hp should be hitting around 2600, and coupled with the armor from Twilight Shroud the tower is gonna have to shoot you for a while. Not to mention, 400 hp back from a Mark of the Assassin on a minion helps as well.

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1. What is this section for?
To answer questions that may have merit for the guide, but do not have the continuity I feel is needed to find a spot in the guide. Or most probably, just a second place to mention answers to questions of commenters, after they have been brought into the guide.

2. Will you keep this guide up to date?
Yes, I will aim to keep this guide relevant for quite some time. If something is missing, please feel free to leave a comment.

3. Will you explain more visually upon requests as well?
Sure. If you describe what you would like specifically enough, I would be more than happy to capture an example of it. Such as, could you put up a video on zoning an incoming enemy, the part where you circle around the tower, to lead to a fight outside of the tower.

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Countering Akali

This section has been added as an update to the guide. It contains some notes and measures on how to counter Akali. Now, this may hurt some Akali play, but then again, even Akali players should read this in order to patch up weaknesses they may have, or in exploiting others.

The below is a listing of the options you can implement to help you counter Akali, with a bit of my notes and experiences mixed in.

Vision Wards

One or two Vision Ward in your possession will go a long ways to shutting Akali down, especially early game. For champions like Shaco, Evelynn, and Twitch, wards should be placed in key pathways to discover their movements.

The key to countering Akali is that you are not trying to drop your Vision Ward while Akali is unaware. You hold onto this until it can serve you immediately. Since Akali can situationally drop a Twilight Shroud, you should reserve the right to situationally drop a Vision Ward.

A time where this may differ, is if you are playing with the intent to harass Akali early game any time she gets close to the minion line. Drop the Vision Ward where the line focuses most and deny her from standing close to it. Generally, it is better to save it for the previous style though.

Lastly, when do you use the ward? Ideally, you save it for a situation when you can kill her, but you can also drop it if it will help you live.

Crowd Control

Crowd control is paramount here. You can drop a Vision Ward on that Twilight Shroud and then perform a snare with confidence to escape or kill. You can use this to focus Akali at any point. Use this to harass her, prevent her from getting close, and with snares and stuns you can prevent her from using Shadow Dance in general.

Mentioning that, be mindful of her Shadow Dance range and if you are fleeing, be careful when running next to minions that she can use to Shadow Dance onto and then again onto you.

Count Her Ultimate Use

Count the times you see her use Shadow Dance in an engagement. This is typically true for Tryndamere and his ultimate Undying Rage for example, and it should be done here too.

Start from 4. The max amount Akali can save is 3, but this will include any variations of recharge time (such as recharge over time through battle), and will put you on the safe side of things. Subtract 1 from the count every time she uses it. Add one for every kill or assist she achieves. Do not go over 3 at this point once the battle has started.

Look for behavior that would show that she is out of Shadow Dance and react accordingly. Again crowd control works great here, and look for her to drop that Twilight Shroud. An Akali without her Shadow Dance is limited in chasing ability. An Akali without Shadow Dance and Flash can hardly chase at all.

AD Carries

AD Carries should always carry a Vision Ward if they do not already have an Oracle's Elixir. The major source of kills that I get when soloing even fed carries is that they let me burst them in Twilight Shroud.

Be mindful of her Exhaust and your own as well provided you have it. The damage reduction is phenomenal, but know that a good Akali will set up a delayed burst while waiting in Twilight Shroud for Exhaust to dissipate. So have a ward!

Avoid Fighting in Her Shroud!

Do Not Fight In Her Shroud. Do Not Fight In Her Shroud! DO NOT FIGHT IN HER SHROUD! I see this happen all the time, and it is a downfall to any single champion that isn't a tank, preferably with taunt, who wants to do it. She gets 50 armor and 50 magic resistance at level 5 with Twilight Shroud when fighting in it. Combine that with her Exhaust on you, and even a fed AD carry will actually be healing her.

Coax her out. If you want to fight, whether you have a ward or not, stand a few steps out of her Twilight Shroud, or walk away while you attack her. This is especially true if she is being stealthed every half second because of her Twilight Shroud. Remember to keep your positioning in your mind. Use it to cut off her escape route, or provide a route to escape for yourself depending on what is needed. A little map awareness of incoming enemies or allies helps too.

Stack Magic Resistance

This can be easy or hard depending on the champ, but magic resistance does go quite a ways for you. This will be extremely effective early game, and late game Akali gets pretty weak when she has to fight 3 champs with 3k hp with 100+ mres.

Crowd Control... Again!

Seriously, I can't stress this enough. On Akali, I absolutely hate crowd control. Champs who can take a hit or two, deal damage AND mess up her positioning or capability of moving are great assets. If Akali doesn't have a Banshee's Veil, Quicksilver Sash and/or Mercury's Treads, absolutely punish her with crowd control focus.

Early Game Ranged Counters

While ranged types suffer later on to Akali, extreme early games allow ranged types to be hard counters to Akali. Such as Caitlyn pre-level 6. Be extremely aggressive when you can and prevent her from getting to the minion line. Obviously a Lee Sin can be pretty effective in shutting her down too due to his Tempest / Cripple.

Despite all of this and the tons more I can write, this still only makes a good Akali player's life mildly difficult. There are ways to counter most of these techniques if they are employed and perform extremely well with them.

One such explanation is Caitlyn. A good Caitlyn should harass Akali every chance she gets in the lane, preventing Akali from getting to the line, and hopefully preventing exp. Akali should play defensively before level 6, using Mark of the Assassin to farm, and Twilight Shroud to last hit minions on the line. Akali should let the Caitlyn push the waves to the tower to ensure that Akali gets exp. Furthermore, Akali should only harass the enemy champ if the champ makes a mistake in positioning and basically ensures a free hit.

As soon as Akali hits 6 the tables turn. This is the reason for playing defensively and conserving as much hp as possible (and minimizing having to go back to town). At level 6, Akali becomes the assailant, leading with a delayed burst while baiting Caitlyn to chase her away from the tower. This typically results in lane dominance for Akali as the kills just start rolling in from Caitlyn.

So what is the number 1 way to counter Akali?

Never Fight Akali Alone

Have map awareness and identify where Akali is as much as you can. If you are farming a minion wave late game by yourself and see Akali on the horizon and you know you cannot solo her without a doubt, get the hell away. Do not stay for those last few minions. That 100 gold won't count for anything during the next 50 seconds you spend dead.

Remember she can Shadow Dance to the minion wave and then to you. And even if you snare/stun her at this point, she can and will probably Shadow Dance to you again, and if you are far away, you stand the chance of her using Flash and again Shadow Dance. She is amazing at chasing.

There are two counters that work well against Akali.

The first is for late game tactics. Use an Akali player's confidence against them. Bait her into brush were several allies are waiting, CC her, focus her, and kill her. Removing her burst from a teamfight, or even before it begins will be a great advantage to your side.

In the laning phase, there are several combinations of champions that are exceptionally good counters that can shut her lane down. As long as they play smart, Akali should stay behind in levels and overall ability to help.

An example of this is Vayne and Alistar or Taric.

Lure Akali out of position. At this point, Alistar should use Pulverize to position his Headbutt which can then be used to throw her close to a wall. Vayne will be attacking the entire time, but along with the Headbutt, Vayne can Tumble in and use Condemn to stun her on the wall, all while procing her Silver Bolts.

I guarantee at this point Akali will be looking to drop her Twilight Shroud. So while Akali is pinned to the wall, Alistar should be positioning himself to cut off her escape back to her tower. Vayne should Tumble to stay in range and continue fighting. Here is typically a good time to use a Vision Ward and just decimate that Akali.

But please do not lock yourself into a linear progression of thought. Even the above can be countered (notice I didn't mention anything about her laning partner) and even then, your side can get arrogant with it and overextend, providing the reverse effect.

Above all, you must be malleable in your choices, and you most certainly cannot focus your entire team on countering Akali while neglecting the other 4 champions on her team.

Quite bluntly, there are millions of ways any scenario can play out. The team and individual players to recognize currently used patterns and strategies sooner and change to counter them are the ones who will win. And the team who does this the best throughout the game will win the match most of the time.

A good Akali will identify the counter and play against it, continually exploiting weaknesses in new strategies. An off the wall strategy is the following:

If the Akali is starting to get fed and therefore taking focus every time she steps into battle in order to shut her down, she can make a subtle switch. Akali can focus heavy defense / magic resistance sooner depending on the need. She will do less damage of course, but she wasn't getting kills with all that focus in team fights anyways. But now she can initiate with confidence, and soak up that initial burst, letting her team gain the advantage while she runs off to survive another day.

I will leave you with one last analogy to sink the point in. This applies to any League of Legends game in general.

A League of Legends game is like that of a torrential rapid. The idea of cementing oneself into the sediment and bracing the rapid with brute force will be punitive when compared to a team that builds a trench to direct the current of the rapid through subtle adjustment. Do not be routed from the sediment and carried away.

Be Aware. Adjust. Counter. Anticipate. Repeat.

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Match Results

We are finally coming to a conclusion of this guide. As most people want to see, below are some of the match results I have had with Akali. If you would like to leave your results form seeing this guide, feel free to do so, and I will add it : )

The 19-16-21 in particular was a game I fed 0-9-6 in before returning.

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Miscellaneous Akali Videos

Additional Combos in PVP


Low HP Tower Dive

Flash is actually off cooldown in this video. LoL replay fast forward glitches the timer a little bit due to speed adjustments. I felt this displays some of the exemplary things Akali can achieve if played well.

Low HP Team Fight

A bit fed here, but this is to demonstrate the capabilities of Akali at low hp. Get a feel for how much damage she can do, and ensure you don't take focus, and a lot of team fights will play out like this. The part this video starts at is just after 2 champs forced me to flee into the brush. I saw the teamfight happening, and went to help.

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Thank You's

Thanks to JhoiJhoi for her awesome help, feedback, and multiple works of art, her Guide To Creating a Guide, and so much more. I really would have to write a wall of text to fully express my gratitude, but I think we can settle on this. Please visit her stuff: especially if you are trying to make guide. She can do a lot for you. Jhoi's profile

Thanks to Axl4002 for the edit. This was long, and his dedication for editing this in just a day's time was very appreciated.

And to the rest that made it this far:

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Akali is one of my favorite champs in LoL. So much so that I have poured quite a few hours into making a guide for her that is so in depth that others may be able to take their playtime as Akali up a notch or 2.

This guide is comprehensive, but things do change over time. Please vote as you feel accordingly, and let me know if there is something I need to add. Got a question for the FAQ? Got a suggestion? So on and so forth, leave one in the comments and I will do my best to make the changes I see fit.

And that's it. I kindly ask if you would please upvote this guide if you like it, so that others will see it too. : ) If you have any feedback on what you think will make this guide more useful, or for any questions you may have, leave a comment and I will respond.