Build Guide by BoxOfAids
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Hey there, guys! This is my first build that I've put up on mobafire, so feel free to rip it apart and post comments etc! Make sure to vote it up if you like it! The stuff is split into sections, with explanations for how to play, my reasoning behinds items and runes, etc.
Alrighty, the basic idea of this build is to make Cho into the meatiest glass cannon in the game. His abilities already do some hefty damage in the early and mid game, but his Ultimate, Feast, is the only ability with good damage output in the late game, and it's melee range. However, with enough AP, he'll still be able to do some sizable damage with his other abilities in the late game, making him a burst damage fiend that all enemy squishies will try to avoid!
I start my game off with a Meki Pendant (or Doran's Ring if you prefer, but I like Meki) as well as an HP pot or two. Many people like to go with a regen item like regrowth pendant, but remember that Cho gets hp AND mana back when he last hits enemies, so by taking Meki pendant, you can use Rupture more, which should help you to get last hits, thus replenishing your health and mana. If you ever get in trouble with HP due to aggressive enemy champions, just pop a health potion and stay back a bit, moving forward to drop a Rupture now and then do speed up your regen.
The next time you're at base with enough money to get Boots of Speed, get them. If you have lots of money at that point, go ahead and grab your Catalyst or if you can't quite afford it, the Ruby Crystal. When you can afford it, make sure to finish the Rod of Ages. RoA is a great item on Cho because it gives him lots of HP (which complements his already huge HP) as well as a good amount of AP. Once the bonuses max out, you'll quickly notice yourself becoming a burst damage powerhouse.
Now, for boots, the Boots of Swiftness are really just a suggestion. Since I gave him move speed quints AND ghost, it might be a bit of overkill to get BoS. Sorcerer's Shoes are also a good choice. You should also be building boots according to what the enemy team has. If they're auto-attacker heavy, grab Ninja Tabi, if they're magic or CC heavy, grab Mercury's Treads. If neither, Boots of Swiftness or Sorcerer's Shoes. Boots you should NOT be getting, under any circumstances with this build are Boots of Mobility and Berserker's Greaves. These 2 items are BAD on Chogath in general, but they're especially bad on this build. Don't get them on AP Cho. Ever.
Moving on, the next item on the list is a Void Staff. Many people will tell you to get an Abyssal Scepter instead. Abyssal Scepter is good for some champions (FIDDLESTIIICKS), but not AP Chogath. Why? Well let's take a look: [It costs more money. It gives the same AP as Void Staff. Instead of Magic Penetration, it gives an aura of lowering Magic Resist of nearby enemies. It also gives Magic Resist.] Now let's think about this. You have to be close to enemies to take advantage of the lower magic resist aura. The only reason you're going to be close to enemies is to Feast them, which does True Damage anyway, meaning it ignores the target's magic resistance and armor. So that aura is completely useless to us. Now what if the other team is 4/5 physical DPS? Now the Magic Resist is mostly useless to us. What does that leave us with? We're paying more money for an item with the same AP and no magic penetration. Now, that's not to say you should NEVER get Abyssal Scepter. In fact, if the situation was reversed and the enemy team had 4/5 magic damage users, I would say that either one of the 2 items would be fine. In that situation, the Void Staff would end up giving you more damage, but the Abyssal Scepter would give you more survivability, so it would really be player preference at that point. But in the majority of situations, Void Staff wins out for AP Chogath.
After Void Staff, the game is probably getting close to over. If it's not and you have the chance to build more items (which happens more often than you think for reasons I'll explain later) then you should build the obvious choice of Zhonya's Ring. This will give you (if your RoA is maxed) around 270 AP. Now, your abilities all have a ratio of over 0.5 with an exception of Vorpal Spikes, but that doesn't really matter. At this point, your rupture will do well over 500 burst damage AND slow your target. That gives you ample time (especially if you grabbed Boot of Swiftness or activate Ghost) to close the distance to your target and get in a ~500 damage Feral Scream and an over 900 damage Feast. All told, that's around 1900-2000 burst damage if you can pull it off. That's enough damage to kill most squishies, and if they do manage to survive, you can always drop exhaust on them to try to wait out the cooldown on some of your abilities as well as keep them in auto-attack range (with your Vorpal Spikes active of course) to hit them a few times at over 100 damage per hit, since you'll be at a pretty late stage in the game.
Now, for your last item... you can really build whatever you want. I just threw in a Guardian Angel because it's always a good choice for Cho. It annoys people to no end when a 3000+ HP Chogath finally goes down, only to pop right back up with a big chunk of HP left. Also, at this point in the game, you should be aiming at having a constant Blue buff for mana and CDR, so you can go ahead and sell your meki. You now have 2 slots for items, since you don't have to take Guardian's Angel. There are LOTS of good choices for end-game items, pick the ones that best fit the situation:
-Deathfire Grasp - more AP, a nice chunk of CDR, and a nuke that scales with AP, which you have lots of. Great for if the enemy team is HP-heavy.
-Atma's Impaler for some AD - Admittedly not the best choice. You should have some decent HP, and this would make you at least somewhat useful for auto-attacking while your abilities are on cooldown, plus it can make you actually useful when pushing their base, since Vorpal Spikes doesn't affect buildings and you'll be doing barely any physical damage.
-Banshee's Veil - just to make you even MORE annoying to kill, you would really only take this over Guardian Angel if you were against a Magic-DPS heavy team
-Frozen Heart - Go with this only if the other team has lots of Melee DPS and they all seem to going after you. The armor and passive attack speed reduction on enemies will give them a hard time. The CDR helps you, too.
-Hextech Revolver (mabye Gunblade too) - Again, more AD will help your push on enemy buildings since your damage is low naturally, but the main reason for getting this would be the Spell Vamp. Combined with your Carnivore passive, you can literally recover HUNDREDS of health by popping a Rupture on the neutral wraiths through a wall while you just happen to be passing by. This makes for a great retreating mechanism if you're being pursued by enemy champions in mid lane, just stay somewhat close to the side of the lane and stop for a split second to drop your rupture and continue on. You can, of course, so this without the spell vamp, but it's less effective.
-Lich Bane - More AP, more MR, more Move Speed! Move speed and AP are the big winners on this one, being able to chase down opponents for a Feast is important, especially if your Rupture misses/is blocked and Exhaust is on cooldown. Also helps for running when you're low on HP.
-Needlessly Large Rod - Fairly cheap compared to the rest of these, and gives you more of that lovely burst DPS. Keep in mind that you have a Zhonya's, so any AP items are worthwhile
-Randuin's Omen - Health, armor, CDR, and the ability to slow nearby enemies. Need I say more?
-Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Now this item makes things interesting. Your Rupture already slows, but only for a few seconds. What if your team is chasing some meatier champions and you can't really stop them? Well, now you can slow with Feral Scream, too! And if you Feast someone, slowed again! You can be a slowing machine! Okay, the slow's really not that useful, but it comes with AP and HP, so it's worth considering.
-Soul Shroud - HP, CDR, and Mana Regen. This is a great item for late game AP Cho. Now listen, because this is important. If you buy this item to fill your last slot, you can immediately sell your meki. The mana regen from Soul Shroud pretty much completely nullifies the need for meki, especially if you maintain Blue buff, so that worthless meki can be turned into cash for yet another item!
-Sunfire Cape - HP, Armor, a bit of pulsing magic damage... overall a decent choice, especially against melee-heavy DPS teams. Though unless you're getting hit a lot at melee range, the pulsing damage isn't going to be helping that much. There's probably better choice than this in most situations, but if you're finding yourself being harassed by AD Yi or Xin or Jax or something, you should consider picking this up
-Thornmail - Probably the best item to get against those Melee DPS teams, since it gives you the armor you'll need for survival as well as returns their large damage right back at them, possibly lowering their health just low enough for you to unload all your skills and take them down. Since they'll be stuck in one place from auto-attacking you, you can simply pop them up with a guaranteed-hit Rupture, blast them with a Feral Scream, then Feast them for tremendous damage. Coupled with the health that they've lost from the Thornmail's return damage, this will likely be enough to take them down.
-Will of the Ancients - Really only good for if your team is mage-heavy. More AP and some Spell Vamp can make a group of casters very deadly and hard to kill.
Keep in mind that you should have SOLD your meki pendant before this (you should be able to keep blue buff and you have lots of max mana, so you don't really need it any more), so you can use that extra money to pick TWO of these items, preferably the ones best suited for taking down the enemy team.
Runes and Masteries
The masteries are pretty straightforward. Most of the offense tree is full of crit chance, attack damage, etc. All stuff that we don't need. However, there's a few things up near the top there that warrant putting some points into it, like the CDR and magic penetration. The utility tree is where most of our points are going, simply because the bonuses there are too good to pass up. The most notable things that we're taking from there are the monster buff length increase (since you should have blue almost constantly) and MORE cooldown. AP Chogath with lots of cooldown is absolutely devastating, since it allows you to unload your large burst damage more often. His ult is also on a one minute cooldown, so getting that down to tolerable levels can make him even more deadly. In case you haven't noticed, I have quite a bit of move speed on this build. Cho is kind of slow normally, but with this build you should have to trouble quickly getting to where you're needed, cutting off enemies, and being able to make a quick escape so that you can pop up somewhere your opponents aren't expecting. Being mobile with lots of burst damage makes this Chogath build very much like Shaco; he comes out of nowhere to do lots of burst damage or gank, then when you try to chase him, there's not much you can do (chogath probably outspeeds you with this build, and shaco can go invisible to run away). I also made sure to grab the mana regen mastery to be absolutely sure that you have enough mana to make it through early game without too much trouble.
Magic Pen marks - Pretty standard on caster DPS builds. There's not much else for marks that would benefit you as an AP magic damage champ, maybe health just because his health is already huge. This is pretty much the only real choice for this build
Flat Mana Regen seals - Why not take scaling mana regen? Because Cho's biggest problem is his early game where he'll be desperately mana-starved, even with mana regen items and his passive. In the later game, he'll have Blue buff enough that he won't need the mana regen any more, so scaling mana regen won't really help anyway. Plus if you don't/can't get blue buff, you can always just head back to base and come back to the front lines fairly quickly due to his move speed quints, masteries, and ghost. If you're great at last hitting, feel free to swap these out for dodge seals or something, but I'll stick with my flat mana regen, thanks.
Flat Cooldown Reduction glyphs - You could just as easily replace this with scaling Cooldown glyphs, it's not that much difference. I like getting the bonus cooldown early so I can max stacks on Feast earlier, leaving me at lower risk of getting killed. If you feel you don't need CDR that much, you can swap these out for Magic Resist or even more Magic Penetration. But please, for the love of GOD, do NOT take AP runes. They are TERRIBLE. It's an insignificant amount of AP, you're far better off with CDR, Magic Resist or Magic Penetration.
Move Speed quintessences - Probably going to be the most questionable thing on this build by many people. "Why not HP quints?" Because Cho's health grows VERY quickly, if you just play defensively until level 6 you should be able to go without dying. By that point, the 100 health from those quints will be practically worthless. Move speed remains useful for Cho throughout the game, allowing a normally slow champion to become somewhat mobile, especially with the move speed mastery and Ghost. If you really hate this choice that much, there's really only a few decent choices: HP quints, AP quints (*shudders*), CDR quints, and maaaaybe even XP quints. But really, for a character whose help from HP quints diminishes so quickly, I maintain my stance that Move Speed quints are the best choice.
How to play AP Chogath
This is probably the time where you'll have the most trouble. You really don't have much early game power, except in Rupture. Try to lane with either someone that can heal you or someone who doesn't need to farm that much to be powerful, since Cho NEEDS last hits to make it through the laning phase. Remember that last hits give you back both HP and MP, so by getting kills you can continue using your Rupture and occasionally Feral Scream both for harassing and amassing more last hits. If your opponents are smart, they'll be harassing you as much as possible, knowing that Cho needs those last hits both to build up gold and keep his HP and mana up. If you get shut down by your opponents either due to them being very good players or your lanemate getting killed or being bad, just stay back as far as possible while staying in XP range. When you can, move up and shoot off a Rupture and try to get at least 1 or 2 last hits with it. This will refund some of the mana cost as well as give you back a chunk of HP. You should have bought an HP pot or two, so use them as necessary. If you die or head back, either grab a Ruby Crystal or Boots of Speed. You can then use Ghost to quickly get back to your lane, another reason you've got those move speed quints. When you hit level 6, you'll have Feast. Use this on minions as much as possible, unless you've got an enemy champion in your lane who's under half health and doesn't have ghost and/or heal (which isn't very likely). In the even that this happens, you should try to nail them with a Rupture and quickly get within melee range for a Feast (use exhaust if you need to). If successful, they'll probably die, giving you a stack of Feast and a kill. Don't attempt this unless you're fairly certain that you'll succeed, it's not really worth it to waste a Feast on not getting a kill when you could have grabbed another stack for more max HP. When you can, grab yourself a catalyst and eventually build up to a Rod of Ages. Don't forget to build up your boots, too. Swiftness, Sorcs, Tabi, and Merc's are all good choices.
Now you've got some more punch to your spells as well as some respectable HP. As soon as you hit level 11, your health gets another boost due to the stacks of Feast becoming worth more HP. While we're on that subject, ALWAYS KEEP FEAST AT MAX STACKS. Here, you'll be building up for a Void Staff most of the time, or maybe an Abyssal Scepter if facing a Mage-heavy enemy team. At this point, ganking will likely start to occur. To be honest, you probably won't get ganked, since... well, who would try to gank someone with huge HP, a cone-area silencing spell, and an ability that does lots of burst damage while ignoring armor? In any case, just be ready for a gank just in case, though you shouldn't have too much trouble surviving it if you've been staying alive and keeping your stacks up. Once you max Rupture or even when you're close, you can go ahead and grab Blue buff from your side's golem. Now you should have some decent movespeed, low cooldowns, and LOTS of mana regen. That means it's time to go hunting! Whenever you see a nice target in a side lane, go ahead and set up in the grass next to the lane, and try to hit your target with a Rupture. This should slow them down just enough for you to Feast them. If your allies aren't braindead, you should have no trouble taking someone down, especially if you go to the lane opposite where you started, where it's likely to be a 2v2 situation and you'll now have 3 champs focusing on a single slowed enemy. When team battles start to break out, try to hang back if your Ghost is on cooldown. You can just spam Rupture while you wait. If Ghost is ready, then once the team fight breaks out, you can pick a target (preferably a squishy support or ranged DPS), try to Rupture them, and if successful you can go in for the kill with Feral Scream and Feast. If they survive, exhaust them and ping the hell out of them to make sure your team notices that they're easy pickings. As for the rest of the team fight... well, if you're high on HP, you can just stay in the middle of it and be a damage sponge for your team. If not, just back off in a direction where you're not likely to be followed (though it shouldn't be a problem, since you should have a few seconds of ghost left) and just stay away from the fight while spamming Rupture whenever it's off cooldown. If you get VERY low on HP, find a safe spot and head back, or as I mentioned earlier, you can go jungle for a bit and toss a Rupture on wraiths or wolves and go in with Vorpal Spikes active for some quick kills that will give you back some HP from Cho's passive. Make sure to head back when you get enough money to build up items, since more AP makes Cho more deadly.
You're now king of the jungle. You should have enough AP that Rupture one-shots all the wraiths at once if aimed correctly. Since you can cast it through walls, you can kill them every time you pass by them in mid lane either purely for gold or for the HP from his passive. You should now be doing so much burst damage that a single Rupture or Feral Scream will wipe out entire minion waves. You can take advantage of this to push lanes or simply to farm there. Either way, you can get lots of money very quickly, so take advantage of this to build your last couple items, which should give your team the edge you need to win. You should constantly have Blue buff from golem, especially with the masteries that increase neutral monsters' buff lengths. Because of this, you can sell your meki pendant - it gives enough mana regen that you don't need the regen from meki any more and it'll just be hogging one of your slots. As soon as you get to the point of "oh I don't have space to buy that", sell that meki. In one game that lasted about 50-60 minutes, I had so much money that I had all of my core items (meki, Shoes, RoA, Void Staff, Zhonya's, and Guardian Angel) and I still had about 4,000 gold leftover, so I sold my meki and replaced it with a Soul Shroud for more health and to cap out my CDR when I had blue buff. The mana regen and CDR on Soul Shroud was enough that I almost didn't even need to have blue buff any more, but when I did have it I was spamming Rupture and Feral Scream like a madman and not really losing MP since it regenerated so fast.
Remember, this build is NOT a tank build. There's minimal armor and magic resist on it, so the only thing tanky about this build is the HP. If you want to be at the front lines, destroying buildings and soaking damage for your team like a tank, there are builds that cater to that, but this is not one of them! This build is meant to be played like a mobile ganking mage, staying behind the front lines until an opportunity arises and lurking in the jungle in the meantime. It's tough to play early game with this build, but then again Cho has a tough early game in general. However, once you get past that, AP Cho's damage and usefulness rises at a pretty steady rate, keeping him useful from early mid game to the very late game. Looking at the numbers, this build looks like an EXTREMELY small amount of HP for Cho, but keep in mind that you're not at the front lines that much, and the fact that the guide doesn't take into account the fact that you can get 900 more max HP from Feast stacks.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, and I look forward to comments and critiques! I would certainly love to hear about your success stories, as well as any suggestions you might have. Good luck and have fun!