Akali Build Guide by
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
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.
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.
NOTE: THE 4 EXPERIMENTAL BUILDS WERE REMOVED BECAUSE MOBAFIRE IS BUGGING THE MASTERY BUILDS
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.
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)
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 10% magic damage applied on auto attack, and 10% spell vamp respectively. These passives do increase in potency as your extra ability power and attack damage rise (in a ratio of 5points 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.
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.
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. Space
Space Exhaust - This is my preferred second choice. First, you don't have to surrender a point in Sunder if you try an experimental build. Second, it provides a great escape mechanism. Third, helps with chasing. Fourth, decimates AD carries. I can't tell you how many 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. Space
Space Ignite - I have toyed with this some... And I think it loses to exhaust. 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 10 ap 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, and this will not help you survive, while exhaust potential is still there. Space
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
Space Deadliness3 points to have a 2% critical. It is a better sink of 3 points than other options. Plus a critical every now and then on an auto is nice. SPACE
Space Cripple 1 point here if you prefer Exhaust. Otherwise IgniteI AM COLOR THAT NOBODY SEES Space
Space Archmage's Savvy 3 points here. AP gained. Nothing more to say.WHY SO SERIOUS? WHY SO SERIOUS? YOU FOOL! Space
Space Sorcery Additional CD is really nice, but it is really for a prerequisite to Archaic Knowledge. Space
Space Alacrity 2 points here for filler. This tiny bit can be used to auto attack faster after a Shadow Dance to proc your LAQ
Space Archaic Knowledge 15% magic penetration, enough said.OR IS IT?? DO YOU SEE ME? I SEE YOU Space
Space Sunder 3 points here. Filler mainly, but the 6 armor penetration is nice.I KNOW YOU CAN SEE ME. IF YOU DO SAY "Darker than night!" IN THE COMMENTS Space
Space Brute Force Sink 3 here to mitigate the runes you need to activate your attack damage passive of Twin Disciplines. Space
Space Havoc Some people say 4% to physical and magic damage is nothing. And I say on Akali where thousands of damage gets put out in a few seconds, several hundred more slides in nicely. Space
Space Good Hands Sink 3 here to reduce that downtime of being dead after you have caught dead. Why here? Read on. Space
Space Perseverence 1 point here. This applies 2%/3%/4% of an increase to your current hp regen. So with Akali's amazing 18hp/5, 2% = .36 gain, 4% = .72. This is minimal, and in fact, if you choose Teleport or Ghost for a summon ability, I would recommend a single point to either of those instead. Space
Space Awareness 4 here. Because exp bonus > mana on Akali YOU ARE AWARE AKALI HAS NO MANA RIGHT? seewhatididthere? Space
Space Utility Mastery 1 point here. Final point, this allows your ancient golem buff to last longer. Can't complain. Space
Note: If 9 into the utility tree just isn't your thing, I would advise leaving 3 into Good Hands and placing the last 6 into Hardiness and Resistance.
Greater Mark of Strength
Greater Mark of Insight
Greater Seal of Vitality
Greater Glyph of Potency
Greater Quintessence of Potency
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 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) Havoc does not apply 4% ad or ap to your req. This is magic and physical damage, not the same thing.
With that being said:
Space 3 x Greater Quintessence of Potency. This has the best bang for your buck, supplying 14.85ap. Space
Space 7 x Greater Mark of Strength 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 Insight completes the remaining 2 marks with a little magic penetration. Space
Space 9 x Greater Glyph of Potency not only will this activate your ap passive on Twin Disciplines, but it gives you a little more early game burst. Space
Space 9 x Greater Seal of Vitality these will help mitigate some of the squishiness Akali brings with her. Space
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 5 Greater Glyph of Potency for 5 Greater Glyph of Force. Your early game will be less powerful by a small amount, but at end game you will end up with around 13.455 ability power more (including Rabadon's Deathcap passive). This roughly equates to a 4 damage bonus at level 1 (on a burst) vs several hundred base (before resistances applied) in the end. By the end, you probably won't need it, and some people in the beginning feel that all damage is the way to go. It is up to you.
The reason why it is recommended to go with 9 Greater Glyph of Potency is that I find it extremely helpful for people to get firmly accustomed to Akali's damage and then tone it back and adjust it how they see fit.
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.
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 (10% -> 25% 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 Strength, 4 Seal of Strength, 4 Glyph of Strength, 1 Quintessence of Strength and 2 points into Brute Force. Simply put, it isn't that much of an ip sink (1450) and it will look like this:
Mark of Strength
Seal of Strength
Glyph of Strength
Quintessence of Strength
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Start with Mark of the Assassin and focus that above all, save ultimate.
Drop one point into Twilight Shroud at level 2.
Drop a point into Crescent Slash at level 4
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.
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.
This section works with the chapter: Tips-and-Tricks to fully explain how to make the most of Akali.
Space Twin Disciplines Akali has an extremely unique passive, with two activations.
Upon accumulating 20 extra ability points, Akali gains 10% 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 5 ability points gained after 20, adds an additional 1% of damage to the mix. So for example, if you were to have say 618 ability power (what you will end up with from the standard build), this equates to roughly 130% of each auto-attack damage being applied again as magic damage.
Upon accumulating 10 extra attack damage, Akali gains 10% spell vamp. Every 5 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 25% spell vamp (passive + Hextech Revolver) to 47% spell vamp (10% runes/mastery, 25% passive on Hextech Gunblade and 12% from the +60 ad on the gunblade). So in essence, this nearly doubles your spell vamp, and gives you 20% life leech to boot. Space
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.