Build Guide by MacEzy
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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.
This build is my modified version of Xalrons Akali - Ready and Willing Build. I modified the item purchasing order slightly to maximize the use of her passives and hybrid power with Guinsoo's Rageblade. Her mastery's are set up maximize early game movement speed, exp/leveling, flash cool down (for more escapes), and cool-down reduction/ energy regeneration with the use of the 30% time extended blue buff. These mastery's make her a much stronger and faster building hybrid carry.
Akali is an extremely fun hot ninja chick. Although she was until recently underrated, she seems to be becoming one of the next FotM champions. Akali excels at dealing large amounts of burst damage, arguably some of the best in the game. Her role in a team is generally labeled as an "anti-carry", someone who singles out the enemy team's squishiest and highest dps champions and rips them to shreds. And of course, Akali is amazing at what she does. This guide will tell you what you need to know to be facerolling in no time!
- Amazing assassin
- Decent farmer/laner
- Can jungle
- Deceptively strong burst
- Great chasing/juking abilities
- Snowballs well
- Squishy melee
- Countered by CC/focus/oracle's elixirs
- Skill/micro intensive
- Requires good judgment/awareness
Akali's passive is what makes her a viable hybrid. She gains bonus magic damage from AP and spell vamp from AD. With flat AP runes, Brute Force and Doran's Blade, both buffs will be activated at level 1.
Mark of the Assassin:
This is Akali's main damaging ability. Max it first. Use it to harass early game. Whenever it's safe to fully engage, wait until the cooldown is up to burn the first mark and afterward use it again for a double auto attack double mark burst. Deals tons and tons of magic damage, fast.
This is Akali's stealthing ability, unique in that it is the only stealth that activates instantly. Use it in the thick of a teamfight, for zone control, to juke, to 1v1 kite, to slow enemies, and for facechecking brushes. Be advised that it starts at 80 energy, so be careful when using it while bursting. Use it at the edge of brush or around a corner to juke. Flash out of it when death is otherwise imminent. Also don't forget that it gives Akali armor and magic resistance, so it just might save you from that DoT or turret shot.
This is Akali's only AoE ability. Use it for farming and bursting. Remember that its range is very short and easy to miss on fast moving targets. It scales off both ability power and attack damage, but only does physical damage.
Akali's ultimate is what defines her. You can do so many things with this ability. Start off a surprise gank with it, last hit that about to die creep, chase and kill steal like a pro, burst with surplus charges, and most importantly, juke. Does a surprisingly large amount of magic damage.
Standard burst rotation: Q -> R -> autoattack -> Q -> autoattack -> E -> W if needed.
Shadow Dance Techniques
Mastering the use of Shadow Dance to juke is essential to playing Akali to her fullest potential. Use it on minions to quickly disengage from a teamfight if you are being focused and need to use hit and run tactics. Use it on minions after diving to avoid turret shots. Use it on minions to gain ground (such as when a low health champ is pushing your turret) on an unsuspecting opponent and get in for the kill. You can even use it on one champion to be able get to another behind him using it again to finish a kill.
Use it for escaping ganks if you overextend. One neat little trick is if Twilight Shroud isn't enough to get away from a gank from behind, you can Shadow Dance forward onto an enemy minion, if you can't get away by running into the jungle or something, keep running a little bit and let the enemy champion catch up some, then Shadow Dance backwards (flying right past that champ) onto another minion and then run like hell. Doesn't always work, but if that's your only chance of survival, go for it. You could use Twilight Shroud at that point to slow them if you need to. This comes in handy when you get ganked with heavy CC and Oracle's Elixirs and simply running won't save you. Remember, you can dance all day. Your enemies cannot.
Akali has great synergy with jungle wards. Since you can Shadow Dance through walls, if a neutral monster camp is warded, you can use Shadow Dance on it to escape. It also makes for an extra surprise factor against enemy champions if you have sight through a ward or teammate and you Shadow Dance through a wall.
1v1 and 2v2 Techniques
1v1ing with Akali is all about being in control of a battle. Think like a rogue. Keep your enemies scared and insecure. Know what your enemies are capable of. Will they be able to hit me in my shroud, such as Kennen? Will they be able to slow and CC me if I need to run, such as Shaco? Do I even need to waste energy for Twilight Shroud on that Ashe? When should I burst with Shadow Dance, when should I use Ignite?
Example: You see Dr. Mundo trying to solo Dragon around level 10. First thing to check for is where your enemies are. If you can see them laning, it should be OK to attack. If he isn't set on finishing off dragon, hit him with a Q and back off. Make him follow you, make him think you're his prey. Bring him to an area where you can easily escape with Twilight Shroud in case his teammates start coming, such as where mid dips into the river next to the wraiths and you can escape with line of sight going up to the left or to the right (if you are blue team) or where purple side dips into the river right below golem and you can escape going up towards golem, around the bend towards turret, or down the river. Always have an escape plan in any fight!
As soon as Mundo follows you to his demise, proc your Mark, use Crescent Slash, and throw down Twilight Shroud. 1v1ing with Akali is all about bursting and making sure your opponent can't retaliate. Kite him around your shroud, and make sure he isn't hitting you with Agony or Cleavers. Throw a Q at him, still avoiding damage, and wait until it is up again. Then autoattack -> Q -> autoattack for that double mark burst, and use E again. Then disappear in the shadows. Repeat until he uses his ultimate. Then use Ignite, followed by your standard rotation, having saved all 3 Shadow Dance charges for as much burst as possible to finish him off.
Keep in mind the same rules for 1v1ing as when you are 2v2ing, except remember that when 2v2ing you have a partner too. Don't let your enemies kill your partner while you are sitting hesitantly in your Twilight Shroud. For engaging, start off on their squishy with Shadow Dance followed by a quick Q and immediately pop Shroud and let them waste their CC on you, such as a Sion stun or Ryze prison. Wait for your teammate to attack and Shadow Dance in, proc Q, Q again, E, Ignite, saving a Shadow Dance charge for securing the kill. Boom, easymode. Don't forget that kills/assists give you a charge back, so you can easily switch from one prey to the next.
Flash: I feel that Akali is too squishy and doesn't have enough defensive options without Flash. Flashing through walls or out of Twilight Shroud will save you SO many times. Flash + Shadow Dance als
Ignite: +10 AP helps get your early game rolling hard. I'd say I get about an extra 3 early game kills I wouldn't have gotten without Ignite. Helps to finish off that last tiny bit of enemy health on good escapists. Also, burn it on healers (lawl, pun unintended) to reduce their healing/regen so your burst doesn't fail and make it easier for your team to help kill them.
Exhaust, Ghost, Teleport, and even Clairvoyance (synergy with jungle getaways) can all be used with great effect.
As far as masteries go, I feel that Akali needs some extra points in Defense, since she is a squishy melee champion she needs all the survivability she can get. Also, the rest of the Offense tree doesn't seem to be worth it for Akali. The magic pen and improved ignite masteries are necessary. I am a huge fan of Nimbleness and I highly recommend it. 1 point in Brute Force is required for your passive, however, if you don't use Ignite or if you just want 9/21/0, then sub in a Greater Quintessence of Might for Potency for your passive. I prefer the extra AP and Armor Penetration over Ardor and Tenacity.
x9 Greater Mark of Insight - More magic damage
x9 Greater Seal of Evasion - Durability and synergy with Nimbleness
x9 Greater Glyph of Potency - Adds damage to Q, E, R and helps activate Discipline of Force passive
x3 Greater Quintessence of Potency - Same as above
Magic Pen marks are best, dodge works well against carries and with Nimbleness, and the glyphs give you a large early game advantage. No runes should be changed, unless you prefer to have Tenacity and Ardor instead of Burning Embers and Sunder, in which case you want an AD Quint.
You'll want to get these three items every game.
Any lane works for Akali, though mid is always the most satisfying! Start off with your Doran's Blade and x1 Health Potion. Doran's Blade is used for the survivability and extra 8 AD to activate your Discipline of Might passive. Try to keep your cool early on and don't fight toe to toe. Just farm/harass with Q. Use Twilight Shroud if you need to extend your safety zone for farming. Punish enemies if they stand too close to your shroud with a double mark combo. Zone them with the shroud if they are hurting badly and deny them farm/exp. You can really start bringing the pain with those double mark combos as soon as you get your ultimate.
Your next two items will be Boots of Speed followed by Hextech Revolver. After much testing, I have found I like rushing this item most over similar items like a Sheen. Rushing the revolver gives you tremendous early and mid game survivability and decent AP increase for cheap. Not much can stop you at this point in the game with massive spellvamp, Flash, Ignite, and Twilight Shroud (assuming no one has Oracle's already). You could try for some ganks at mid and bot, if successful help push or kill dragon. You can heal/jungle pretty effectively with the extra spellvamp!
However, it is also viable to ignore the revolver at this point if you want to rush your Rylai's Crystal Scepter as fast as possible.
As you head into mid game, you need to upgrade your boots. Since you have Ignite and not Exhaust, a little more defense is nice. Even though I listed Mercury's Treads in the item sequence, Sorcerer's Shoes are equally as good. It really just depends on the kind of team you are fighting. If CC isn't really an issue, their team is full of squishies, or your team just needs you to do more burst damage, then take the Sorcerer's Shoes. Unlikely scenario, but if they are just crawling with physical dps, Ninja Tabi can work.
If you are going to want a Mejai's Soulstealer now would be the time to get it. It's too early before this point, in my opinion, to know whether or not snowballing will work. I personally don't take it because, well, it's a risk, and you might not get any stacks. If you are completely facerolling, you'd probably still be facerolling without the 20 stacks and huge e-peen. If you go this route, it helps a lot to finish the Hextech Gunblade right after Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Your first completed core item is going to be Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item is just too perfect for Akali. +80 AP, 500 Health, your ult slows, and you can kite with Q. Absolutely necessary. No Rylai's, no Akali. Your job mid game is to tear apart their squishies and make them wish they'd never been summoned. Gank them as often as possible, harass like mad. Help slow runners for your team. Pop your shroud if you are in danger or get targetted. Use it to confuse and disorient enemies. Be on the constant look out for Oracle's Elixirs for the rest of the game.
As you head into late game, work towards your Sheen for Lich Bane. Remember to use abilities for the procs when pushing turrets and inhibitors.
After Lich Bane, get your Needlessly Large Rod and work towards Rabadon's Deathcap. Before the release of 22.214.171.124, this used to be the Zhonya's Ring. With the loss of the active component of the item, you have to play a lot more carefully.
Don't dash into a group of enemies or they will focus and kill you. Single out lone squishies after enemies have used their first cooldowns on your teammates. Hit and run if they switch focus to you. Never be the first one to engage in a teamfight. Wait until the tank's engage and the enemy team has their sights on one of your teammates. Then pounce their squishy and roll face, hard. Don't just stay in the thick of things if you are under fire. Hit and run. AoE abilities will kill you fast. Keep your Twilight Shroud and Flash ready for any emergencies, making sure there aren't any Oracle's Elixir out there.
Your priority targets should be low defense high damage enemies with little to no hard stuns or silences. Perfect examples are Ashe, Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Karthus, Kog'Maw, Yi, Miss Fortune, Nidalee, Sivir, Sona, Soraka, Teemo, Zilean. You should be able to kill them so fast their teammates have no time to respond. Wait a few seconds after the teamfight starts, and jump their squishy using the following rotation : R -> Q -> Lich Bane + Mark autoattack -> E -> Q -> R -> Lich Bane + Mark autoattack -> E -> Q -> R -> Lich Bane + Mark autoattack -> E. Save Twilight Shroud/Flash for when your enemies start coming towards you. You have to be aware of the entire battle and everything going on around you! If you get hit by 1 CC spell and you aren't in your shroud, you'll get focused and well that's pretty much a death.
If the enemy team has Oracle's Elixir be careful about engaging enemies such as Cassopeia, Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Ryze, Sion, Swain, Tristana, Twisted Fate, Veigar. They can CC very effectively and wait until their team comes to kill you. This build focuses on a strong early game and obviously dying is not a goal, but if you have to sacrifice yourself to get your ranged carry fed or to win a teamfight, it's perfectly all right.
If you manage to make it past Deathcap, there are many options. If nothing in particular was a thorn in your side this whole game, Hextech Gunblade is great for hybrid dps, burst active (and don't forget it!), and lifesteal/spellvamp survivability. You can very quickly heal off minions and jungle creeps with it. This item helps a lot with being able to last longer in teamfights and not having to dash in and out. Still, don't be the first to engage a fight.Instead of the Gunblade if you aren't feeling the need for the AD or extra survivability. Or if you just need to be more of a team player, this is a good item to get out of that Revolver.Great if their whole team went balls to the wall on magic resist. Take it last (provided you don't have a Mejai's). Worth more if you didn't take Sorcerer's Shoes. You'll be killing squishies for sure with 1 rotation at this point. Pay attention to what items your enemies are building and decide whether or not you really need the magic penetration to fulfill your role. If not, consider the items below.A very good item if you have been dying to physical based champions often, the armor helps a ton. One of the best AP increases out there, and the active is still great. Don't forget to use it though, move the item into your first equipment slot if hitting "1" is easier to remember.A good balanced AP item. Situational like the hourglass, but get this if you are dying to magical damage. The extra magic resist helps a lot. It also reduces enemies magic resist, so it's a good alternative to Void Staff if the enemy team isn't stacking magic resist.Is always good if you are fighting combo *****s such as Anivia, Blitzcrank, Leblanc, Morgana, Pantheon, Rammus, Ryze, Singed, Sion, Swain, or Veigar.If you just can't seem to do enough burst damage. Either they have a lot of healing, are just plain tough/high HP, or are equally bursting you out.I like Guardian Angel if I am fighting that tryhard AoE team. They either get scared and pull out or blow their load and deal with your reincarnation.Chug these when a team has baron, before a hard push, or before a gank to ensure a kill.
Things to Remember
1. Last hit only and don't push lane, harass and zone enemies.
2. Delayed Mark of the Assassin double activation to burst.
3. Try to buy a health pot and a ward every time you recall, AP elixir before big fights.
4. Gank often. Then push and/or do dragon. Use Lich Bane procs for pushing.
5. Juke with Twilight Shroud and Shadow Dance.
6. When 1v1ing, kite around shroud, use double mark hit + E + Lich Bane procs, be bursty.
7. Don't start teamfights, don't stick around if you get targetted, hit and run tactics.
8. Whenever you see an enemy champion check for Oracle's, abuse shroud when you can.
9. Twilight Shroud, Flash, and Z-hourglass (if you get it) for emergencies.
10. Kill lots of squishies.
Thanks for reading! Try it out, comment on your thoughts, and throw me some thumbs up. :D