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Akali Build Guide by Yamikazexz

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Yamikazexz

As Balance Dictates - A Master Tier Guide to Akali Mid

Yamikazexz Last updated on November 20, 2017
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Hi! I'm Yamikaze. I started climbing in 800 elo in Season 2 and am currently Master I on the NA server. I peaked 280 LP earlier in May 2017 and am currently hovering at around 100 LP. Many of you may know me from my Talon guide. Although Talon is my main champion, I do play other assassins such as Akali quite often on my smurfs. In fact, I have a Diamond II smurf dedicated to only Akali!

This build is TF Blade's build. He is (as of August 6, 2017) Rank 1 on the NA server playing almost only Akali and Irelia. I learned Akali by watching over 50 of his replays on both his main and smurf (TFirst Blade). In my opinion, I think this is the most optimal Akali build out of all the builds I've tried. Check out his stream here! Enjoy.

Check out my discord here. I answer all questions asap and make stream announcements here.

How would I describe Akali? Well, in my opinion, she is the best solo queue champion in the game. I mean, what other champion can abuse positional mistakes and squishies getting caught better than an Akali with three stacks in Shadow Dance? Further, with this build, Akali will not only instantly delete squishies, but she will also melt tanks as well, all the while being an unkillable raid boss with healing from Hextech Gunblade and Twin Disciplines. So, my question would be, why not Akali?

Fury - Although Akali does a ton of damage with her abilities later on in the game, the majority of her damage is going to be from her Mark of the Assassin into an auto-attack. Thus, the more Attack Speed you run, the faster your combo will be! The same goes for laning, where you will get trade combos off faster and take less damage in lane. Thus, the Attack Speed from Fury is more effective than the Ability Damage from Sorcery.

Fresh Blood - Honestly you can take both Fresh Blood and Feast . It's personal preference but I prefer Fresh Blood because I hate it when enemies live with <10 health from a combo. Further, Akali already has plenty of sustain with Twin Disciplines so the sustain from Feast isn't going to be as efficient as the extra damage in trades with Fresh Blood .

Natural Talent - Akali is unique in the sense that she can make use of both Attack Damage and Ability Power due to Twin Disciplines Crescent Slash both having decent bonus Attack Damage scaling (remember that Crescent Slash also does physical damage!). Thus, Natural Talent is incredibly effective on Akali and we want all 5 points on it.

Bounty Hunter - Honestly, Double Edged Sword Bounty Hunter and Battle Trance are all fine on Akali. Use whichever one you prefer.

Savagery - Since I don't run much Attack Damage in runes for Akali, I generally struggle a bit when last-hitting, especially under tower. Savagery helps to solve this by giving your autos and Mark of the Assassin a bit more damage to minions.

Assassin - More damage when catching out a squishy. Secret Stash isn't that great because I usually start Doran's Shield, which only brings one Health Potion. Thus, Secret Stash isn't very effective on Akali. Further, since you're probably not jungling, you don't need Runic Affinity .

Merciless - Akali wants damage. Akali doesn't use the mana sustain that Meditation provides. Pretty simple choice.

Dangerous Game - My favorite mastery. This is the ability that lets you win those close, down to the wire fights where you finish one player off then just barely have enough health to kill the next. Plus, Greenfather's Gift is mostly a jungle only mastery and Bandit doesn't fit well with Akali's kit.

Precision - Similar to Natural Talent , Akali can abuse both the 6 lethality (remember that Crescent Slash deals physical damage!) and the scaling magic penetration together. Thus, what is already a very strong mastery becomes broken on Akali. Plus, Akali isn't gated too heavily by cooldowns, so Intelligence isn't very good on her.

Thunderlord's Decree - Simple choice. Thunderlord's Decree is great for single-target bursting, which happens to be what Akali's kit is built to do. Akali doesn't really need the movespeed from Stormraider's Surge due to Shadow Dance.

VS AD / click to enlarge / VS AP

Versus AP

You will want to run this setup into matchups such as: Syndra Twisted Fate Taliyah Orianna Viktor Azir Ahri Fizz Ekko and etc.

3X of these; Akali scales really well with bonus AD due to the ratios on Twin Disciplines and Crescent Slash. Further, as a melee AP assassin, it's sometimes a bit hard to last hit early in the game. Greater Mark of Attack Damage x3 will help solve these problems. We don't run more than 3 because Greater Mark of Precision and Greater Mark of Attack Speed are also very effective on Akali.

3X of these; Similar to Fury , Akali benefits greatly from Attack Speed. However, we don't want to run too much Attack Speed as there's definitely diminishing return to this stat for Akali as we run it for a faster Mark of the Assassin into auto attack combo, not for prolonged auto attacks. Thus, Greater Mark of Attack Speed x3 suits Akali very nicely.

3X of these; Since Akali does mixed damage (does both physical and magic damage), both Lethality and Magic Penetration enhance her burst damage. This is especially true if the enemy target is only building one type of resistance (e.g. only armor or magic resist). Thus, we want Greater Mark of Precision x3 to help amplify our burst throughout the game.

Since most AP mid laners don't deal much physical damage aside from their weak auto attacks, we don't really need any Greater Seal of Armor. Thus, we are free to run Greater Seal of Scaling Health x9. These runes are VERY rune slot effective, meaning they offer much more in stats than other Seals. Akali often dives into a fight and must survive long enough to get her burst off. The extra health from these runes will help Akali survive and secure kills.

These glyphs also offer very high rune slot efficiency. Further, most AP mages will deal primarily magic damage so it is vital to run these runes. Without them, the enemy laner will deal 10-20% to you more damage throughout the game. This can easily be the difference between a win and a loss.

As explained with the Greater Mark of Attack Damage x3, Akali needs bonus AD for her Twin Disciplines and Crescent Slash bonus AD scaling. Further, this extra AD will help you last hit in lane and win early trades.

Versus AD

Same as above.

The difference vs. AD mid laners is that we need to run Greater Seal of Armor x9 to reduce their physical damage. Similar to the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x9 that we run vs AP mids, if we don't run Greater Seal of Armor x9 vs. AD mids, they will do 10-20% more damage, potentially deciding the game. Further, since most AD mids don't really deal magic damage, we can replace them with another rune slot effective glyph that is Greater Glyph of Ability Power x9. The AP will benefit Akali's AP scaling on Twin Disciplines Mark of the Assassin Crescent Slash and Shadow Dance (well, basically every ability except Twilight Shroud!).

Same as above.

This is a MUST HAVE for Akali. If you don't run this spell, you will die to ganks, miss out on kills, and you'll get flamed by your teammates. Also gives you the ability to Flash into Shadow Dance for a long gap closer.

I run this into most matchups as Akali is a melee mid that can get poked down by mid laners such as Taliyah and Orianna. This summoner spell lets you take a quick back if you got hit by a lot of poke and can't stay in lane. Further, this spell amplifies your mid game roams as you, quite literally, roam from mid lane. Just remember not to use Teleport right in front of the enemy laner as they will either poke you down or stop your Teleport with hard crowd control.

I run this into most melee matchups. Akali does very well into these matchups due to Mark of the Assassin being much easier to walk up and throw against melee champions. Further, Mark of the Assassin into an autoattack will enable you to win most trades in lane.

Akali's first two attacks have bonus effects. Akali’s first basic attack heals her for 5-60 (+0.6 bonus attack damage) (+45% of ability power), while the second deals 10-100 (+0.5 bonus attack damage) (+75% of ability power) magic damage. A few seconds after her first attack, this resets.

Akali's first auto attack heals her and her second auto attack deals additional magic damage. This will be most of your sustain throughout lane. Importantly, the SECOND auto attack of Twin Disciplines gives additional damage. This means that it's best to hit this auto when trading. An easy way to do this is with Shadow Dance. You can auto attack a minion and then use Shadow Dance onto the enemy, enabling your next auto attack to do extra damage. Further, it is important to note that the damage from the second part of Twin Disciplines COUNTS TOWARDS a Thunderlord's Decree proc.

Akali spins her kama at a target enemy to deal 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 / 115 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and mark the target for 6 seconds. Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will consume the mark to cause 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+50% of ability power) magic damage and restore 40 energy.

Akali throws her kama at a target unit, dealing magic damage and marking them for extra damage on her next auto attack. This is where most of Akali's insane burst and lane trading comes from. Against melee matchups, spam this off cooldown to quickly poke them down. Try to avoid trading with ranged mids early on as your Mark of the Assassin will not be able to out-trade any ranged mid laner. Further, it is important to note that the mark portion of Mark of the Assassin lasts for 6 seconds. However, the cooldown goes from 6 seconds to 4 seconds as you level it up. This means that when you have Shadow Dance, you want to throw Mark of the Assassin on the enemy laner, wait for your Mark of the Assassin to come off cooldown, auto attack a minion to proc the first half of Twin Disciplines, and then go in with Mark of the Assassin off cooldown for huge burst.

Akali throws down a cover of smoke which grants vision in the area of effect that lasts for 8 seconds. Casting Twilight Shroud places Akali's other abilities on a 0.5 second global cooldown. While inside the area, Akali becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her for 0.65 seconds. Akali gains 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 % bonus movement speed while inside her shroud. Enemies inside the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 / 30 %.

Akali blinks to a nearby location after a 0.25 second delay, leaving a smoke cover for 8 seconds at her previous location. While in the smoke cover, Akali gains movespeed and is invisible. This is Akali's primary disengage tool. Usually, you want to save the cooldown to escape from a gank or to safely farm a large wave under tower. However, it can also be used as an engage as Akali gains a burst of movespeed in Twilight Shroud. Keep in mind that Akali cannot cast any other ability for 0.5 seconds after casting Twilight Shroud, so don't try to immediately Shadow Dance after using Twilight Shroud.

Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 70 / 100 / 130 / 160 / 190 (+60% of ability power) (+0.8 per attack damage) physical damage. If Crescent Slash kills a unit, its cooldown is 60% refunded.

Akali flourishes her kamas, dealing physical damage to all enemies around her. Crescent Slash's cooldown is reduced if Akali kills an enemy with it. This ability is Akali's primary wave clear throughout the game. However, you don't want to spam it off cooldown. Since the cooldown is reduced if you kill a minion, you want to start your waveclear by getting one minion low so you can spam Crescent Slash until all the minions are cleared. However, keep in mind that Crescent slash costs between 60 and 40 mana per use (depending on how many points you have in it) and you will quickly run out of energy if you spam it quickly.

Akali moves through the shadows to quickly deal 50 / 100 / 150 (+35% of ability power) magic damage to the target and appear next to it. Akali gains an Essence of Shadow once every 30 / 22.5 / 15 seconds up to a total of 3, affected by cooldown reduction. The time to gain a charge doesn't count when at maximum charges. Additionally, Akali gains an Essence of Shadow for a kill or an assist.

Akali dashes THROUGH an enemy, dealing magic damage. This ability can store up to 3 stacks, with each cast expanding one stack. Akali gains one stack per kill or assist or passively once every 30 seconds to 15 seconds (depending on how many points you have in Shadow Dance). This is Akali's primary engage tool post-6. However, it doesn't actually deal very much damage (50 / 100 / 150 at levels 1, 2, and 3 with +35% AP scaling). Thus, we cannot simply spam Shadow Dance to kill an enemy.

Usually, in lane you want to combine Twin Disciplines and Mark of the Assassin to set up for a Shadow Dance as described above. In teamfights, you want to avoid using Mark of the Assassin before Shadow Dance as the travel time of Mark of the Assassin will cause it to land AFTER you have already auto attacked once Shadow Dance has finished. Remember you can also use Shadow Dance to jungle camps and minions. This can help if you are running from an enemy champion in the jungle.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

> > >

Akali maxes Shadow Dance first as it is her ultimate ability and the reduced cooldown for stacks on Shadow Dance allows her to engage more often. Second, max Mark of the Assassin as it is your primary poke and burst in lane and throughout early to mid game. Then, max Crescent Slash for more damage and to quickly clear waves. Last, max Twilight Shroud.

Starting Items

Akali starts Doran's Shield into matchups where you get poked down in lane. This would, of course, include most mid laners. The reason for this start is that Doran's Shield is very effective as a lane sustain item, which is strong on Akali as she tends to have a weaker laning phase. Since Akali uses the energy system, you don't need to start Doran's Ring.

In certain matchups where the enemy laner doesn't have much poke (such as Zed Fizz), Akali doesn't need Doran's Shield. Rather, you can start The Dark Seal and a Refillable Potion for stronger lane trading. Further, don't worry about the mana that Dark Seal gives. Plenty of mana-less mid laners will start The Dark Seal as it is still a cost effective item even without the mana.

Early Game

On your first back, you want to rush Hextech Revolver unless you plan on buying a Hexdrinker (see below). It’s quite simple why this item is better than Bilgewater Cutlass first. Not only does Akali have more AP scalings than AD, you will be spamming Mark of the Assassin in lane, which ONLY has AP scaling. Thus, early AD is not as efficient on Akali than early AP.

Start building this item after Hextech Revolver. It gives good lane sustain and AD to help win melee range trades. Further, the active prevents you from getting kited after you use Twilight Shroud.

Generally, buy this item whenever you have the gold (for example, not enough gold for another Amplifying Tome or Long Sword).


Usually, you want to buy these boots against AP mid laners unless you’re really far ahead (see Sorcerer’s Shoes below). This means that you will actually be buying these boots for most of your games. This is a good thing as Mercury’s Treads synergize very well with Akali. Since Akali dives the backline, she will often be hit with peel and cc. The tenacity from Mercury’s Treads greatly helps to prevent being cc-locked to death.

Buy these boots unless you’re really, really far ahead against an AD mid laner. Even when you are ahead against an AD mid laner, they can usually still turn the tides at level 6 and kill you. Thus, you want to buy Ninja Tabi unless you are absolutely certain they cannot kill you. The armor from this will negate any lethality the enemy laner might be building (or, negate virtually all of Yasuo’s damage), giving you the upper hand in trades.

As mentioned, I only buy these boots when snowballing and when really far ahead. These boots will help further your burst when ahead and, most importantly, the enemy team is too behind to quickly burst you down.

Core Items

This item should be rushed on Akali for numerous reasons. First, it gives Akali both AD and AP, both of which Akali needs for her burst. If she only buys AP, her Crescent Slash and her auto attacks in her combo won't do damage. If she only buys AD, her Mark of the Assassin and Shadow Dance won't do damage. Second, the active allows for additional single-target burst on Akali, who is a single-target assassin. Third, the passive on Hextech Gunblade allows Akali to heal from her burst, helping her stay alive in a fight. Finally, both Hextech Revolver and Bilgewater Cutlass are excellent item components in lane, meaning you are still hiting minor power spikes when you complete the components for Hextech Gunblade.

Always your SECOND item after Hextech Gunblade The reason for this is that, as Akali, your role in a teamfight is to dive the backline, kill a squishy target, and not be blown up in the process. The hard part isn't exactly killing the enemy squishy. Rather, it's surviving after your initial burst. Being able to kill the enemy ADC means nothing if you simply die right afterwards. Zhonya's Hourglass helps to solve this with an active that makes you invulnerable for 2.5 seconds after your burst. With Hextech Revolver's healing and Zhonya's Hourglass's active in a teamfight, your chances of surviving go up exponentially.

Usually, this is your THIRD item after Hextech Gunblade and Zhonya's Hourglass. With just Hextech Gunblade and Zhonya's Hourglass alone we can kill any squishy target in 1 combo. However, the problem is staying alive when being focused by the enemy team. Rylai's Crystal Scepter provides both tankiness (+300 hp) and a slow. However, the slow isn't for keeping up with enemy squishies. We already have Shadow Dance for that. Rather, it is for Liandry's Torment, which we will build as our FOURTH item. Read below.

As mentioned above, this item is usually your FOURTH item. Make sure to buy it AFTER Rylai's Crystal Scepter as the passive damage is amplified by the slow. Not only does this item give you further tankiness (+300 hp), but it also has a passive that deals 4% of a target's current health in damage-over-time magic damage. This is HUGE. As mentioned above, Akali will not ever have a problem 1-shotting squishy targets. However, what Akali struggles with is fighting tankier targets such as Maokai or Cho'Gath. This combination of Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment completely solves this problem as not only are you tanky enough to dual tanks, but you can also shred them with the % damage from Liandry's Torment (which is amplified due to the slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

Once we hit our FIFTH item, however, we will have to branch out. Generally, the choice will be between Guardian Angel and Spirit Visage Against heavy AD enemy compositions, we want to build Guardian Angel. This item has a nice build path that, once again, allows you to be a bit tankier with the extra armor. Further, the AD will help with the Twin Disciplines and Crescent Slash AD scaling. However, the most important part of this item is the revive passive. The revive passive isn't JUST a revive. It also gives you time for your cooldowns to come up and, most importantly, acts as a deterrent for enemies. Why would they waste their burst on you if you're just going to revive?

The other option for our FIFTH item. Buy this against mixed or magic heavy teams. Once again, we are looking to boost our survivability in teamfights. Further, Akali heals a LOT from her Twin Disciplines and Hextech Gunblade. Spirit Visage's passive will help her heal even more in fights.

Situational items

A situational item that you usually buy before or after Hextech Revolver and leave in your inventory. You buy this against heavy burst mid laners such as Syndra Fizz LeBlanc and etc. The reason you rush this item is so you don't instantly die to 1 combo once they hit level 6. Further, you don't upgrade the item as Maw of Malmortius is not a very cost-effective item on Akali.

A situational item that should be bought as your FIFTH item. Buy this when the enemy squishies are stacking lots of magic resist and you are unable to burst them down. Tanky items like Spirit Visage and Guardian Angel are good, but only if you can already 1-shot squishies in the first place.

Akali's Combos

NOTE: In this section, aa stands for auto-attack and Q W E R are abilities.

FURTHER NOTE: P stands for passive proc, meaning you auto attack a minion to proc the first part of your passive so your next auto will do bonus damage. Remember that the second part of Twin Disciplines counts towards your Thunderlord's Decree proc.

EVEN FURTHER NOTE: (GB) stands for Hextech Gunblade's active. I put it in parenthesis because you might not have this up or even have the item while using this combo.

Combo #1
Trading in Lane WITHOUT Shadow Dance
NOTE: This can also be done without the Twilight Shroud or Crescent Slash at level 1. Do this by simply walking up to the enemy if they get in auto attack range.

> > > AA >

Combo #2
Stronger Trading in Lane WITHOUT Shadow Dance
NOTE: Throw Mark of the Assassin on the enemy laner, wait until Mark of the Assassin comes up again, and THEN go in so you can proc the mark twice!
*Wait until Q CD comes up

* > > > AA > > > > AA

Combo #3
Lane Solo-Kill Combo With Shadow Dance
*Wait until Q CD comes up

* > > > AA > > > AA > >

Combo #4
Basic Teamfight/Skirmish 1-Shot Combo
NOTE: You can skip the passive proc if you aren't near minions for this combo.

> > > > AA >

Combo #5
Advanced Lane Solo-Kill Combos
NOTE: Use this combo if the enemy laner is standing behind his melee minions. Use Shadow Dance to the nearest minion, Mark of the Assassin and Twilight Shroud (make sure to use Mark of the Assassin first as you cannot use it after Twilight Shroud for 0.5 seconds), then auto attack into Crescent Slash.

* Use this Shadow Dance on a minion.

* > > > > AA > >

Proper Shroud Usage

Escaping Ganks

  • Use Twilight Shroud when you are ganked by an enemy.
  • When using Twilight Shroud to escape, always begin walking in one direction then use Twilight Shroud and walk in a different direction. This will leave enemies confused as to which direction you are going. Generally, you want to walk towards the opposite side of the lane and then use Twilight Shroud towards your tower (or vice versa).
  • Further, you can run away from the enemy minion wave and then Shadow Dance to the enemy minion wave to juke the enemy.

Stopping Displacements

Chasing Enemies

  • You can use the blink and bonus movespeed of Twilight Shroud to help chase down an enemy champion.
  • Remember that, once you cast Twilight Shroud, you cannot cast any other ability for 0.5 seconds.

Escaping Tower Aggro

  • You can use the blink of Twilight Shroud to auto-attack an enemy champion under tower and then escape without being hit by the tower.
  • Make sure you use Mark of the Assassin first for bonus proc damage.
  • In order to not take tower damage, you must time your Twilight Shroud so you use it the instant the auto attack damage goes off. This takes practice to perfect.

Jumping Small Walls

Thank you for reading. This guide is in a WIP state and is being updated. Videos and more sections will come soon. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like for me to add!

Please leave an upvote if you found my guide helpful. Further, if you want to support me or my guide, an upvote is enough. If you downvote, please tell me why and I will do my best to fix any issue you may have with my guide.

I stream sometimes (usually Saturdays). Tune in here and say hi!
Once again, please feel free to join my discord. I answer all questions asap and make stream announcements here.

Special thanks to missMaw. This guide wouldn't have been possible without her help. Check out her guides :) !

Ordinary thanks to Sir Celery for inspiration. He's an okay person who has helped me a bit. I strongly recommend checking out his stream here if you're interested in learning Jungle.

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