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Akali General Guide by Talathar

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Talathar

Akali - Top lane Assassin [S3]

Talathar Last updated on March 19, 2013
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Top Lane
Ranked #10 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
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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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Prologue: About this guide

Hello there! I'm guessing you're here for 1 of 2 reasons: A. You want to learn how to play Akali; or B. You are a veteran Akali player looking for tips. Whatever your reason, I hope you enjoy the guide, and find what you're looking for. I'm not really very good with intros, so let's get right into it, shall we? I'll leave the key table here.

AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
CC = Crowd Control
CD = CoolDown
CDR = CoolDown Reduction
ADC = Attack Damage Carry
APC = Ability Power Carry
HP = Health
MR = Magic Resist
+ (when not used mathematically) = per level (eg. MR+ = Magic Resist per level)

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Chapter 1: Pros and Cons


+High burst damage
+Quick kill potential
+Good mobility
+Lots of escape mechanics
+Easy to learn
+Snowballs when fed
+Good sustain with passive
+Fun to play


-Squishy all game
-Focused a lot
-CC stops you from doing anything
-Can't kill tanks easily
-Hard to master
-Hard to come back when losing

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Chapter 2: Explaining the runes

greater mark of hybrid penetration
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power is great on Akali because it gives us +5 AP. Since we have 3 of them, we get +15 AP. AP is the main stat we're going to focus on, so these are required on Akali, if you don't take these, you'll do a lot less damage.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power are amazing on any AP carry. Akali is no exception. These glyphs will amplify your damage by giving you +1.5 AP per level. At max level, they give +28 AP. These also help with snowballing which Akali is also very good at.

Greater Seal of Armor are your survival gear. Most champions at top lane will be AD so these will help you survive the early-mid game and also help against the enemy ADC in late game. These are pretty much a staple on almost every champion. Not taking these is like walking out on the battlefield without armor.

Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration is your key to destruction. These are how you get past your opponent's armor and magic resist so you can destroy them where they stand.

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Chapter 3a: 21 in the offense tree

We take 1 point in Summoner's Wrath because we are using ignite. Ignite on it's own will reduce the enemy's healing effects. This is mandatory for us to kill the non-squishy champs easier, like the bruisers and the tanks. We also take 3 points in Sorcery because we need 4 points to advance to the next tier in the offense tree, and Sorcery is the skill we can benefit most from.

In the 2nd tier of the offense tree, we take 4 points in Blast because it gives us even MORE AP.

In the 3rd tier of the offense tree, we take 1 point in Arcane Knowledge to add some oomph to our hits. 8% Magic Penetration is nothing to sneeze at. We'll also take 3 points in Havoc because since we are an assassin, we want to deal as much damage as possible. Increasing our damage by +2% is a great way to help us achieve that "assassin" goal that Akali is meant to be.

In the 4th tier of the offense tree, we take some more AP in the form of Mental Force . It will give us +6 AP since we are putting 3 skill points into it. That's +1% bonus magic damage on our basic attacks. We need 1 more point to get into tier 5, so we put it in Spellsword . +5% magic damage in our basic attacks. It's already used as our passive, so why not improve it?

In tier 5, we take 4 points in Archmage . Increasing our AP by 5% isn't a bad idea at all.

Lastly, in tier 6, we take 1 point in Executioner to add the increased damage to low health targets.

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Chapter 3b: 9 in the defense tree

Now that we have 21 points in the offense tree, we need some survivability. We get this by increasing our health and armor.

In the 1st tier, take 4 points in Durability . This will help us look a little less squishy on the battlefield.

In the 2nd tier, take 3 points in Hardiness for extra armor. We need 1 more point to move the the next tier, so we put that in Resistance to help reduce the damage from the AP carry on the enemy team.

In tier 3, we take our last skill point in Veteran's Scars . This will give us +30 HP. It will help you stay alive.

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Chapter 3c: 0 in the utility tree

Some of you might want to know why I didn't take any points in the utility tree. It's actually quite simple. Akali doesn't benefit from anything in the utility tree. The utility tree is pretty much there for the support to get some bonus help.

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Chapter 4a: The ultimate passive. (Twin Disciplines)

Akali's passive has 2 sides, and she can benefit from both of them. For the first side, She has 6% bonus magic damage for every basic attack and every 6 AP Akali gives her +1% bonus magic damage when using a basic attack. The second side is that she has 6% Spell Vamp and gains +1% Spell Vamp for every 6 bonus AD. I'll explain this more in-depth throughout the rest of the guide as we look at the build. The important part is, you have 6% spell vamp at level 1. That's like taking 3 Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp and having +15 Ability power in your passive.

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Chapter 4b: The first of many. (Mark of the Assassin)

This is your main ability. You will be spamming this like you've never spammed before. This ability will harass your opponent in lane, and set up your combos in lane and in team fights. I will explain this ability more in the gameplay section.

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Chapter 4c: Disappear into the shadows. (Twilight Shroud)

This is your main escape tool/mechanism and you shouldn't use it foolishly. When, and how you use this is extremely important.

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Chapter 4d: Strike them all. (Crescent Slash)

Crescent Slash is for doing 2 things. 1: Farming, and 2: Detonating the mark from your Mark of the Assassin.

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Chapter 4e: Catch your prey. (Shadow Dance)

Shadow Dance is your main chasing tool and can also be used as an escape tool given the proper circumstances.

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Chapter 5: Let's learn Akali! (The laning phase)

Akali has one of the most difficult laning phases, as you can't really kill them until level 6. You should start by farming. Wait for a minion to get low enough in health that you can last-hit it, then kill it with a basic attack. As soon as your enemy gets close enough, throw your Mark of the Assassin at them. If they come near you, hit them with a basic attack and walk away. Immediately go back to farming as soon as they walk away too. If they chase you, they'll miss out on farm, and possibly take a turret hit or two. Continue farming and harassing until you reach level 6. Once you reach level 6, try to wait until you have 2 stacks on your ult, then perform the combo. (I'll explain that later)

Losing your lane?: If you aren't winning your lane, that's ok. You're not really meant to until after level 6. Simply farm under your turret when necessary and use your Mark of the Assassin to harass them while you farm. You can also use Mark of the Assassin to last hit minions from range if you can't get close enough to basic attack them.

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Chapter 6: Learning the combo. (mid-game murder trials)

Above, are the images showing the order of Akali's combo (for convenience). To explain, the combo begins by adding a Mark of the Assassin to your opponent. Once added, you'll use Shadow Dance to catch up to them. Immediately use your Crescent Slash or basic attack to detonate your mark from Mark of the Assassin. Usually this combo will do ~40-50% of the opponent's health in the early stages of the game. This is the most common use of Akali's combo.

As an additive, you can also begin the combo with the active from Hextech Gunblade or Bilgewater Cutlass, then use your Mark of the Assassin and follow it from there.

Another alternative is to use your Mark of the Assassin > Shadow Dance > Crescent Slash combo and follow it up with your Hextech Gunblade/ Bilgewater Cutlass for extra damage and a slow to help you chase. Rinse and repeat this combo for best results.

Note: If you need to combo, but you can't get in range to use your Mark of the Assassin, try to use Hextech Gunblade instead to apply the slow and then follow it with your combo, or use your Shadow Dance to get into range, then use Twilight Shroud to buy you some time to find your target, then hit them with your combo once your Shadow Dance comes off CoolDown (about 3 sec. max.)

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Chapter 7: Team-fight (or split-push?)

It is key to know when to team-fight, and when to split-push. I can't tell you when to team-fight and when to split-push. That is a decision you will have to make. I can tell you how to do it though. When split-pushing, simply stay in 1 lane and continue pushing it. This will cause 1 of 3 things to happen, and I am going to provide you with answers to all of these things.

Option 1: They sent 1 person to deal with your split-push. If this happens, ask yourself, "Can I 1v1 this person?" If the answer is yes, kill them and continue your push. If the answer is no, run away to somewhere safe, and recall. This means whoever they sent to deal with you, won't be in the next team fight if your team starts fighting as soon as you get back. You will have a 4v5 that hopefully ends in your team's favor.

Option 2: They are all coming for you. When this happens, ask yourself, "Can I escape this?" If the answer is yes, do your best to try and escape. Remember to use your ult to jump to enemy minions if necessary. If the answer is no, do your best to kill at least 1 person even if it's their support. Either way, your team should be trying to push down a tower somewhere else on the map.

Option 3: They leave you alone. If this happens, try to push as fast as you can. Hit the turrets constantly and don't let up unless 1 of the 2 above scenarios occurs.

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Chapter 8: Helping your jungler (be nice to him)

I've seen a lot of Akali's go "OMG my jungler is ganking my lane and I'm not level 6. What do I do?!" Well, that depends on how the game is going. For further reference, refer to the following video. Please note, this video is FOR junglers and it explains how to gank top lane. We are watching it because if you don't know how your jungler is ganking, you won't know how to help him.

PART 2: /league-of-legends/ability/mark-of-the-assassin-250

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Chapter 9: The build.

In this section, I'm going to explain why I build the things I build. If you want the "TL;DR" version, just check the build at the top of the guide.

If you are following this guide's build, you started with boots of speed and 3 health pots. The reason you start like this is so you can catch the opponent when you are trying to land your Mark of the Assassin for harass, and so you can move to the minions quicker to get those last-hits. The potions are for extra sustain.

As soon as you have 1200 gold, go back to base and buy a Hextech Revolver. If you don't have enough for the whole thing, buy an Amplifying Tome and 2 Sight Wards, and if you need it, maybe a couple Health Potions too. The reason you want Hextech Revolver is for the Spell Vamp and bonus AP it gives you.

Once you've completed the Hextech Revolver, you want to amplify your damage. In order to do this, we need magic penetration. We find that in Sorcerer's Shoes. It increases our damage, and, as a bonus, lets us move faster.

Now It's time to work on Hextech Gunblade. We'll get Vampiric Scepter first for the bonus AD and lifesteal it gives us. Then, turn it into a Hextech Gunblade.

Now that our core items are finished, we need to build some more damage, but we also need some survivability. I've found that Abyssal Mask is the best way to accomplish this. It gives you +70 AP and reduces the MR of nearby enemies by 20. Now we have 35 magic penetration in items and 6 magic pen in runes. That leaves us with 41 magic pen. and let's not forget the 8% magic pen we have in our masteries. If they have 50 MR (like most people at this point), our magic damage will only be reduced by 5. Additionally, Abyssal Mask also gives us +45 MR, which can help us survive against many other AP carries. Another reason this is good is because you'll be focusing down the ADC in fights usually. If you can kill their ADC, you'll only have to survive their APC's burst damage and you're practically home-free.

Note: From here forward, you can get your tier 3 boots enchantment at any time.

By now people have probably noticed you're going to kill them on-sight, so they will be trying to run away from you before you can get to them. Well, that's not going to happen because the next item on our list is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item alone will provide enough of a slow that you'll be able to catch who you want, when you want. If that's not good enough, get the Enchantment: Alacrity.

Now that we can catch people again, it's time to build some more damage to make ourselves feel more like an assassin. That's where Rabadon's Deathcap comes in. This item will boost your Ability Power by a significant amount.

Lastly, we build Lich Bane. This item helps finish off our build by giving us more AP and MS, and helps with our overall damage.

Post-build Items: If you're not sure which enchantment to get, that's ok. It's not hard with Akali. You get Enchantment: Alacrity when your team is winning or when you're split pushing. You get Enchantment: Homeguard when your team is losing and you have to constantly go back and defend the base.

Other items: Elixer's are good. Elixir of Brilliance first. Then Elixer of Fortitude. If you really need one, get Oracle's Elixer. You can also get any of these if you have some spare gold and you already have wards, and if the next item on your list isn't too cheap or too expensive.

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Chapter 10: Mission complete!

This concludes my guide on Akali. I hope you can now go out and have fun playing Akali. You can send me screenshots of your success and I will post it in the section below. Thanks to JhoiJhoi for all the help. I couldn't have wrote this guide without her. I'd also like to thank everyone who supported me in writing this. And lastly, I'd like to thank you for reading this guide. -Talathar

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Screenshot Success!

(Empty for now. Send me your screenshots so I can post them.)

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FAQ: Question and Answers

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Change log

3/19/2013 - Guide released


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