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Akali, the fist of shadow

Last updated on June 22, 2013
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strategy, skills and build usage

Beyond rank 1, the Mark of the Assassin debuff lasts longer than the cooldown, allowing Akali to cast Mark of the Assassin followed by Shadow Dance, then finishing with another Mark of the Assassin for extremely high bursts of damage.
More specifically, Mark of the Assassin --> wait for the cooldown --> Shadow Dance --> autoattack --> Mark of the Assassin --> autoattack.
If you are under level six, you can surprise enemies low on health by substituting Shadow Dance with Flash to net a kill.
Due to the low cooldowns of Akali's damaging abilities, the constant usage of Mark of the Assassin followed up by auto attacks can prevent her from running out of energy.
This also allows her to heal more due to her innate spell vamp.
The stealth and slow of Twilight Shroud can be used offensively to provide cover and allow her to chain skill combos on the enemy more quickly, but can also be used defensively to prevent drawing enemy focus during team fights and to provide aid in retreating after team fights or running from ganks. Be wary of Oracle's Elixir, vision wards, as well as champion abilities that may reveal you.
Twilight Shroud is great for running from enemies in the jungle, especially near brush, as you can overlap them to break vision with both the brush and Twilight Shroud to juke enemies. You can drop a Sight Ward over a wall and use the vision provided to Shadow Dance to a monster over the wall.
The ability can also be used to check brushes for enemies as the stealth prevents you from being seen by enemy champions in the same brush.
Shadow Dancing to nearby minions can be useful to quickly disengage.
The armor and magic resistance bonus from Twilight Shroud may not be significant but can be enough to save you from abilities like Requiem, so keep this is mind as well.
Crescent Slash is great for farming gold by last hitting minions and pushing lanes as it deals AoE damage.
Crescent Slash can be used to proc her Mark of the Assassin if an enemy is just out of range for an autoattack or when you are blinded.
Be careful of the high energy cost at low ranks to avoid being caught without enough energy for Twilight Shroud.
Akali's strength greatly increases once she gains access to Shadow Dance. Before level six, you will oftentimes not be able to get close enough to enemies to proc her main damaging ability, Mark of the Assassin.
Once you hit your first 3 stacks of Shadow Dance, look around the map for an easy gank. Akali is an excellent roamer due to her burst damage and chasing power.
If an enemy is out of range, you can use Shadow Dance on an enemy minion to close the distance, allowing you to catch up with Flash or another Shadow Dance.
Build usage Edit
Hextech Gunblade is an essential item for Akali and should probably be purchased as a second or third item. The additional attack damage and ability power is useful for Twin Disciplines as well as built-in life steal and spell vamp.
Getting an early Hextech Revolver is beneficial for early game sustain, along with Twin Disciplines.
Akali can deal a massive amount of burst damage with Lich Bane combined with her passive by auto-attacking an enemy marked with Mark of the Assassin.
Since Akali is an assassin capable of dealing heavy burst damage to a single target, she is heavily countered by the target's magic resist. Therefore, purchasing a Void Staff and/or an Abyssal Scepter will ensure she can take out targets and keep her damage relevant throughout the game. Either item probably should be purchased after boots and Hextech Gunblade.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a great item to get because the slow is applied with her Mark of the Assassin and Shadow Dance, allowing her to stick to targets better and reducing the chance that they get away. The additional health also helps keep her alive longer during teamfights or small skirmishes.
Liandry's Torment may be an excellent choice especially when paired with Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Akali's Twilight Shroud. The percent health damage is doubled for any target that is slowed. With her low cooldowns, Akali can maintain the debuff on an enemy constantly.
Because the base damage and ability power ratios of Akali's abilities are fairly poor, Rabadon's Deathcap is highly beneficial, granting her more ability power and further complimenting her damage with Twin Disciplines.
Purchasing Mejai's Soulstealer early can make you very powerful late game if you are able to earn a decent number of kills without dying. Although this is extremely beneficial, it is situational, relying on your early game performance and continued success.
Getting Guinsoo's Rageblade allows you to make full use of Akali's Twin Disciplines; its passives also allow you to do more damage and stay in prolonged fights longer. Choosing this instead of Hextech Gunblade is based on if you want the attack speed/damage passive of Guinsoo's Rageblade or the spell vamp of Hextech Gunblade.