Build Guide by Exitusx
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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 is actually my second build as Akali, but now that I have been using her a while at level 30, I think some changes should be made in comparison to my first one. That, and alot of items have been changed, so it's only logical I change the build as well. Please note that the stats viewed above are incorrect. She will actually have:
Roughly 2500 health
closer to 514 ap (574 with Rageblade at 8 stacks)
216 Attack Damage
1.067 Attack Speed (1.29 with Rageblade at 8 stacks)
438 Movement Speed (assuming you acquire boots of swiftness over other boots)
21 Armor penetration
around 70 armor at level 18
around 90 magic resist at level 18
less than 1% crit chance
- Utterly insane burst and sustained damage, especially late game.
- Team Coordination can lead to some epic and effective nuking & juking.
- Not as squishy as most builds due to lifeteal and spell vamp.
- Can farm to heal rather than going home mid and late game.
- Able to mid against most champions.
- Able to sustain longer in the laning phase.
- Capable of Jungling.
- Early game is difficult, although some flat runes and masteries remedy this a little, it's still a bit of a problem at times.
- The primary target in most team fights (although she is no matter how you build her).
- Reliant on her abilities and playing economically can sometimes be difficult, although overcome.
Now to Move on to the Build..
I normally grab 21/0/9 so I can get as much damage as I can from ability power and attack damage while trying to avoid critical strike based talents (other than the 1 point in Deadliness to get past the first row). I go the rest down utility grabbing 1 point in Good Hands as a point filler and 3 points Perseverance because it is affected by Lifesteal. I grab awareness because Akali is very reliant on having all of her skills as early as possible, and if you decide to Jungle and you can use Awareness to get to level 2 early on the golems. Greed is just icing on the cake, and can be spent somewhere else if you feel the need to do so. Replacing Deadliness with Improved Smite is necessary for jungling.
I normally try to lean toward Flash and Ignite. Flash is incredibly useful on Akali when you are trying to juke someone with Twilight Shroud. It can however be replaced by another like Ghost or Exhaust if the team needs it and you feel more comfortable (however, you should change your mastery to benefit from them if you choose to do so) but Flash is strongly recommended. Ignite is a must have with the Improved Ignite talent. This will allow you to reach her Discipline of Force passive at an early stage when you decide to use it, and having the extra true damage and heal cutting can help in team fights. However, if you plan on jungling it may be necessary to replace one of the summoner spells with Smite. If you prefer effectiveness in team fights I recommend Smite and Ignite. If you prefer surviving team fights grab Flash and Ignite.
For runes you should only grab what's necessary for her passive, and the rest going into survival early game considering playing Akali early game can sometimes be a challenge.
Quintessence: You only need what is necessary. Grab a flat attack damage quint so Doran's blade can activate her spell vamp passive. An ability power quint so her Ignite can get her magic damage passive early as well. The other should be health for early game durability.
Marks: aim for Armor penetration to make farming minions easier, killing low armor champs easier (especially early game), and increasing the effectiveness of Lich Bane.
Seals: Aim for flat Health Seals. Normally I would recommend dodge but you don't have Nimbleness here, and the flat health will help out early game.
Glyphs: Here you actually need 2 types of Glyphs. You need 6 Ability Power Glyphs so you have just over 10 ap (including your quints) at the beginning of a match, allowing Improved Ignite to get you to 20 for the passive when activated. The rest should be magic resist because casters have a tendency to be annoying, and every champ in the game does some sort of magic damage. All of them, even Attack Damage Champs like Xin or Garen.
ITEMS and GAME PROGRESSION
It is incredibly important to understand that order is important based on the team you are fighting. Although the item is build is usually the same, the order in which you acquire them is often different based on your performance. However, the beginning is always the same. Start off with a Doran's Blade and Health Potion. Doran's Blade should make Akali's Discipline of Might activate, and the extra lifesteal and health with the health potion will allow you to lane against most opponents, even in the middle. On top of all of that, grabbing Doran's Blade with Smite can allow Akali to be an affective jungler. When you have around 350-450 gold, you have to make a decision. If it seems you are getting harassed a bit (which is usually rare if you're good) it may be wise to invest in a Vampiric Scepter to keep yourself up, as well as a quick health potion or two. If keeping yourself up is not much of an issue, just grab the first pair of boots, then invest in Vampiric Scepter soon after. However, if you are jungling, just get Vampiric Scepter. Trust me, it will be a worth investment when you destroy the Blue Buff Golem followed by the Red Buff Lizard (or vice versa) with full health and ready to fight. After grabbing those items just grab a Pickaxe for extra damage and spell vamp, working toward the next tier of boots afterwards. The boots you grab depend heavily on what you are doing and who you are fighting. If stuns and magic damage are an issue or will be an issue, grab Mercury's Treads. If it isn't an issue and you are laning, grab Boots of Swiftness. If you are jungling, grab Boots of Mobility. Boots of Mobility is actually effective even in the laning phase considering the extra speed takes 5 seconds of being out of combat to work, and the Twilight Shroud lasts 8 seconds... It's obvious where I'm going with this. After that work up to Hextech Revolver for her passive to be active without Ignite being on CD, and the extra 15% spell vamp stacks on her already existing 15% (say hello to 30% spell vamp). After that is done, just work up to Hextech Gunblade and say hello to 20% lifesteal and roughly 45% spell vamp and 25% extra magic damage per hit with her passive and the active effect from the Gunblade itself. The next item depends entirely on how well you are doing. If durability isn't an issue and you don't think it will be anytime soon, work up to Lich Bane starting with Sheen. If durability is a little bit of an issue, work up to Rylai's Crystal Scepter starting with Giant's Belt. After you have acquired Rylai's Scepter, begin working on Lich Bane starting with Sheen. After you have Lich Bane, sustaining yourself and killing enemies will be a ton easier, and the more ability power you get, the better it gets. Not to mention the magic damage you receive from her passive, and getting huge burst from her damage with her lifesteal will literally heal you for close to half her health in a single Mark of the Assassin. At this point you should be working up to Zhonya's Ring followed by the Rageblade. It may seem ironic to grab Zhonya's first if you feel like pushing towers, but it will actually be a little better, because using an ability like Crescent Slash near a turret will make Lich Bane go off, and having god-knows how much ap will literally rip towers and inhibitors to shreds. Rageblade is just icing on the cake to finally end the long match with the extra attack speed, damage, and ability power. At this point, keeping yourself up and killing enemies will be easy (at Zhonya's it should be gg).
SKILL SET AND ROTATION
When you first start, place your first point in Mark of the Assassin whether you are midding, laning or jungling. It's good for last hitting and using your spell vamp to heal. The second point should almost always be a Twilight Shroud unless you are jungling, in which case you should grab a Crescent Slash instead. Always grab Mark of the Assassin when it's available with the exception of Shadow Dance. It helps a ton with healing and is probably one of the better damage dealing abilities she has. People may think it only scales by 35% of her ap, but it actually scaled by 70% considering there are 2 parts to every mark. Every other time should be a Crescent Slash. Don't work on shroud too much until later, but when you are jungling it may be wise to put the first point in it at level 4 in case you need to book it.
Unfortunately, her rotation isn't really viable until she has boots of some sort and Shadow Dance. This is why it is hard to play as Akali early game, she basically can't do too much to defend herself and fight back until level 6. But after that level, she can turn around and completely destroy your opponent. One cool way to set up is throwing a Mark at an opponent, waiting for its cooldown to return, run up to them with a Shadow Dance and consume the already existing mark, reapply the mark and consume the Mark again, Crescent Slash, then protect yourself from harm with a shroud right after if and only if you have to. After that rotation run around like a madman, juking abilities or kiting melee when you have to, and turn around and do it again. Another way is to continuously attack the enemy with Mark of the Assassin, do a few things in between and do another one, rinse and repeat. In team fights it's simple: find the weakest/most important champion, bide your time if you have to (never initiate, especially if they have oracle!) because the idea is to wait for their main support/carry to put themselves in such a spot that you can jump to the back and own them hard, then pop Twilight Shroud when the their teammates notice you are beating the snot out of their carry and turn around to help.
Here's what usually happens if you get this right: