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Mordekaiser Build Guide by Baxxie

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Baxxie

Bringers of the Apocalypse: Mordekaiser, the Lord of Misery

Baxxie Last updated on September 24, 2011
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Team 1


Team 2

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Alright. So, eventually, I have figured a good name for my guide. Perfect.

Now, about the champion and this guide: I think Mordekaiser is one of the most misplayed champions. I hate to see Mordekaisers building tank or just rushing Warmog's Armor over any other item, and I really feel sad for this champion for being misplayed as greatly. While health is good on Mordekaiser, with Warmog's Armor being your only/first item, you will be extremely squishy and your damage will also be extremely low; you will be useless in teamfights.

For tank Morde; while it will make you unkillable, you will, again, be useless in teamfights. As a tank, you will be expected to protect a carry, so he can deal damage. So, as a tank, your purpose is to protect carries, not to damage enemies, but how can you do that with Mordekaiser? You simply can't. He has no CC; you won't be able to pull off any assassin out of your carry's face, and by building tank, his passive gets pretty much thrashed.

So, here, I will cover two paths for Mordekaiser; full AP Mordekaiserand off-tank Mordekaiser. The full Ap build will be for when you are fed, your enemies can't deal damage to you, you outfarm everyone else by huge numbers, etc. Off-Tank build is something you could also get while being fed, if you think of ahead(late game), and is something that will always work for you if you prioritise items correctly. However, I will get to cover those points later in this guide. Hopefully, Mordekaiser will be a car that you will perfectly drive.

I think, that I should also mention, that this is my first build ever. So, yeah.

(Note: Information given may vary if you are fed enough to go in Rambo mode and tank 5 while killing 4.)

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Patch Updates


Iron Man:
  • Shield generation changed to 30 % at all levels from 25 / 27.5 / 30%.
  • Shield generation is now only half as effective versus minions.
Mace of Spades:
  • Bonus magic damage when used against a single target reduced to 65% from 75%.
Siphon of Destruction:
  • No longer adds additional shield for each unit hit.

So, basically...

I have been enjoying maxing Creeping Death over Siphon of Destruction until these changes, because I found the shield generated by Creeping Death sufficient as it secretly blocked a good amount of damage, as long as I was surrounded by minions. However, with the change on Iron Man(reduced shield generation vs. minions), I really think Mordekaiser now has to aim his damage on champions rather than minions, and can no longer approach an enemy champion safely at lane without taking damage(since he won't be generating as much shield from minions as he walks through them into the champion). This means he will need to be played ranged while on lane, and this calls for maxing of Siphon of Destruction. With that spell, you can keep harrassing/filling shield without having to walk into an enemy.

Now, walking into an enemy with Creeping Death activated won't be as useful as before, because the point was having your shield up by the time you are standing next to your enemy. It is likely that ranged spells will harrass you, or an unexpected initiation by him may destroy you.

Other than the important part, I think the nerf was on place.

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Here's the trick that makes you click

  • Mordekaiser's ultimate, Children of the Grave is countered by Quicksilver Sash. If your enemies grab that nasty item, use your ultimate for last hitting.
  • For Mordekaiser, spell penetration usually works better than ability power, unless we are speaking about a build that includes Lich Bane.
  • Mordekaiser is extremely weak against ganks, but he compensates for it with his farming skills. Do not hestitate to grab several wards before going to your lane.
  • Try to play smart, do not get kited easily.
  • For Mordekaiser, best defense is offense, as his escaping/kiting abilities are really poor. Playing him a lot, you will eventually get the feeling and realise which fight you can survive, and which you can't. Usually, your enemies will be attacking you to take your 200 health down, without realising your shield of 600 points, which makes you equal to a champ with 800 damage with immense healing from spells.
  • If you don't have Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Frozen Mallet, avoid fighting alone because you will get kited, or your enemy will just easily escape you.
  • Do not necessarily follow the guide in all cases. For example, if you are facing a full AD team(ex: Renekton, Garen, Lee Sin in 3v3), it is obvious you will need Thornmail. (If you are getting fed enough, however, you should prioritise Frozen Heart over that item anyday.) Same way against magic damage enemies(ex: Warwick, Jax, Annie in 3v3), you may'd like to get Force of Nature, and perhaps also an Abyssal Mask.
  • Mordekaiser is number one.

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Runes & Masteries


Marks: Magic Penetration, AP/level
Seals: Armor, AP/level, Dodge(Useful, if you have dodge masteries, for movement speed and for dodging a deadly crit from Tryndamere.)
Glyphs: Cooldown Reduction, Ability Power, Magic Resistance, AP/level
Quints: Magic Penetration, AP, AP/level, Cooldown Reduction, Movement Speed, Armor, Magic Resistance, Dodge

Here are some useful runes you should consider using. The bolded ones are the best runes of choice, in my opinion. Others with normal font are either situational, or not as strong choices as others, but still can be useful in a lot of cases. I won't go ahead and reason for these runes, because they are pretty much self-explanatory. If not, I am sure they have been explained several times through the guide.

For masteries, I go for 9/0/21. I think spell penetration mastery from Offense tree is essential, and utility is almost always the best spec to go. You may'd like to consider defense for dodge, etc. But that is not what I would do.

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Items & Builds

Here's a quick information about building Mordekaiser that you should keep in mind. I will explain it by taking one of my builds as example:

First of all, you should keep in mind, this build order is especially good for 3v3 games and will leave you dealing either a bit too less damage, or being a bit too less of a tank in 5v5 games. Second, the both builds I added above(the main ones, as you could call them) are to show you how I progress my Mordekaiser through a game. I will further argue with possible builds and viable items, along with what Mordekaiser needs or does not need, here.

Now, the first build is to synergize with Morde's farming abilities, while not pushing him off his limits by purchasing items expensive for early game(ex: Hextech Gunblade).

Items I have bought for Mordekaiser are pretty much self-explanatory, in my opinion. He needs that spell vamp to refund his spells, and let Creeping Death heal himself at the same speed with which it fills his shield. He needs spell penetration because his spells have awesome base damage values and spammablity, pretty much better than his AP ratios. He needs Rylai's to be able to catch enemy carry in his embrace for once and all, constatnly slowing her with AoE effects from Creeping Death and other spells. Overall, he will need these items for more health(of course, one of the things he will need most), armor, magic resistance, magic penetration and maximized AP.

Also, as I said, Mordekaiser's AP ratios are not so good, but compared to his low cooldowns and resistances gained through spells and passive, they are good enough. Either ways, he still has awesome base damage values on his spells, and this makes Void Staff highly replacable with Rabadon's Deathcap, in my opinion. As I said before, synergizing with his base damage values can be great!

Oooh, and you may consider some cooldown reduction, if you wish.

This item is awesome for early game, but is pretty optional due to its price(and the fact you can buy a Giant's Belt instead). However, if you get it, especially in a 3v3 game, you can feel the difference. I prefer this item right after Hextech Revolver and Sorcerer's Shoes.

Here are some examples of builds to let you tinker with your Mordekaiser build further

(Discluding the build at top)

This will give you good regen, spell vamp, health, armor and even magic resistance. With spell penetration, you won't have to worry much about lack of AP. In my opinion, this will be especially good for countering those people who grab Banshee's Veil or Force of Nature to counter your AP mid.

This is an example of how I'd build in order not to be squishy, and be able to shrug off some good damage. Actually, you may consider either swapping Lich Bane with a Will of the Ancients or a Hextech Gunblade to maximize your sustainability, or swapping Void Staff with a Rabadon's Deathcap to maximize your damage from Lich Bane.

With this build, I was able to self-cast W(alt+W) once in 7 seconds, and it had a duration of 6 seconds. This means a lot of cooldown reduction, also letting you to cast your Q about once in two seconds. This build also gives enough armor and magic resist, and your damage is still at top! Well, I suppose everything that has to be said has been said! To sum it up, you can catch carries in your AoE(W) and constantly slow them, thanks to CDR, along with dealing huge damage from your E and Q nukes, even though they are nothing compared to the constant damage from your W!

This is, of course, a squishier choice but will let you nuke like... Yeah. Either ways, getting past the problems of "squishiness," let me explain you the build. Will of the Ancients is there for being a cheap spell vamp item, but that does not necessarily mean it will stay there forever. You can swap that item with a Hextech Gunblade anytime(probably when your inventory is full, but you still have some nice amount of gold). For the rest; Rabadon's is for maximizing your damage, especially the one from Lich Bane, and Void Staff is there also for maximizing your damage. It should allow you land your spells like Gangplank lands his Parrrley. However, since you have no escaping or initiating mechanisms, this build will leave you rather weak, especially in 5v5, and it is not recommneded for building even in 3v3 unless you are winning.

And this build is for building both offense and defense at the same time. With unique abilities from Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel, you will be able to shrug off some of your or teammates' mistakes without much burden. Above, you may see this as the second Mordekaiser build I have added, but that does not mean I suggest this build above others, as with the first one. This build was put there to show you my progress with items while playing Mordekaiser.

Is Frozen Mallet and Rylai's Crystal Scepter combo really worth?

I think yes, at least sometimes. Going for these two items is most likely to change your overall build dramatically, but fear not, because change isn't necessarily for worse.

With Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Frozen Mallet together, you will be catching your enemies with ease, and with such a build, I really think Lich Bane becomes even more viable. Into enemies that can not escape, feel free to swing your mace furiously. Also, if you go for Lich Bane, you may'd like to grab Rabadon's Deathcap for synergizing with its passive.

So, eventually, your build may look like this: *This is not the building order, the build order will be up for you to decide, at least for the most of the time.

How about skipping Rylai's Crystal Scepter?

If you do this, you should keep in mind that you will be even more easily kited, and most of the time outran by enemies. You will have no CC, unless you go for Frozen Mallet instead. Also, if you do not get Frozen Mallet as well, you will have a low pool of health. However, instead of Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Frozen Mallet, you can easily go for heavy AP items and enjoy your game just as good. Sometimes, not sustain but the burst is the key to the victory, and that is when you skip Rylai's Crystal Scepter and/or Frozen Mallet.

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Purchase Helper

Now, this chapter's purpose is to help you with building Mordekaiser situationally. As you see, there may be times where you are winning easily, times where you are on par with your enemies, and times where you are losing.

The Golden Age

When you are smashing your opponents so easily, that they even stopped dealing damage to you, you can go for an AP only build. The only flaw with AP build is, that you need a lot of items bought and ready in your backpack to be efficient; so, the progression towards your full AP build is where you are weak at, but once you finish your build, your efficiency increases by great amount. (However, by playing smart, you can play full AP Mordekaiser and do it successfully even when you are not fed. It is just a bit of a harder trick to pull, and won't make your damage as constant as that of an off-tank Mordekaiser. In fights, you will prefer to avoid going in first and also avoid getting focused, and this can reduce your team's total damage output, even though you will nuke much better.) By leaving your enemies far behind you and getting fed, you get the chance to build your Mordekaiser full AP without much need to worry.

Otherwise, you can go for a balanced build; this won't make you ace any teamfight as easily, but will make you survive through it. Keeping up with your currently planned build is always good, even when you are fed, but always prioritise damage items over defense items while winning, so you can win harder and start building your defense items when they actually get a chance to catch up. This way, you are thinking of ahead; in case the game extends for longer than planned, and other people start finishing builds too, you will be relatively weak as an AP Morde. If you think of ahead, and make a balanced build, you won't get outclasses as easily.

When things are on par

When both teams seem equally effective against each other, and everyone is seeking out one another's mistake, playing can get exhausting. However, if you know what to buy in such situations, you should be doing okay yourself, unless you do stupid mistakes(we all do, sadly).

In such situations, you should look at your team; if your team needs magic damage, you should prioritise a magic damage item over others that are on your purchase order. However, in case when both your AP carry and AD carry are doing their job just fine, you should grab an AP item or two(these, or at least one of these, having semi-defensive stats such as health, spell vamp, armor or magic resistance) and then build some items to counter the neemy team's main damage output. I realise things may get blurry if their AD and AP carries are doing just fine, just like your carries, and you are getting hit by mixed damage. In such cases, you may'd like to grab some health, but it won't make you tanky enough. (I assume we both know why Mordekaiser does not benefit from extra health enough; the shield benefits from armor and magic resistance, and that is what matters.)

So, against mixed damage, you may'd like to buy both Negatron Cloak and Chain Vest, and start building one of them into another item. When you have both Negatron Cloak and Chain Vest, you should upgrade one of them according to their solo top player. Against champions like Jarvan IV, Renekton, Nasus, you will benefit more from armor than from magic resistance, because only their AP carry will be dealin any note-worthy magic damage. Against champions like Rumble, Jax or even another Mordekaiser, you will surely enjoy magic resist. Keep in mind, however, magic resist to counter that solo topper should not make you forget about their AD carry. (Usually, a Warden's Mail or Glacial Shroud should suffice until you grab your mres, because you will benefit both from that bit of extra armor and their passives.)

When **** is going down

In a 3v3 game, it is easier to counter your enemy. Against most melee champs that deal physical damage, Frozen Heart will make you tanky enough. But the question is, when do we get that item? I usually rush Hextech Revolver and Rylai's Crystal Scepter for both offensive and defensive stats, and then grab my Frozen Heart, Force of Nature, Abyssal Mask or whatever, in order to counter my fed enemy.

In a 3v3 game, however, I strongly recommend getting both Negatron Cloak and Chain Vest, then building Chain Vest into either Glacial Shroud or Warden's Mail, and then figuring if you need more magic resistance or not. If the answer is that you don't, go ahead and upgrade your armor even more.

Now, that we got our items to counter the fed enemy, there is one last thing to do; turning on the music and facerolling the hell out of them!

Staying in tune with your team

This is also something you should do both on 3v3 and 5v5. In 3v3, however, it is a bit harder to do and players are more dependent on this golden rule.

In a 5v5 game, you should look at your jungler. Supposedly, your AP carry is taking the midlane, and you have a support and ad carry bot lane. So, taking damage will be left either to you or your jungler. If your team needs some tankiness as soon as possible, you should try to go along with that. I usually build Sorcerer's Shoes, Hextech Revolver and sometimes Sheen. Without Sheen, but with AP quints, I have around 70 AP, but if you don't have AP quints, you will reach that amount anyways if you get Sheen. After getting those items, I usually tend to get a Giant's Belt for health and start building a Rylai's Crystal Scepter. You can also consider Sunfire Cape since its AoE damage is equal to a half Creeping Death. ( Creeping Death deals 80 damage per second and Sunfire Cape deals 40 damage. To increase your AoE damage per second by 40, you either need 200 AP or just Sunfire Cape.) If you do not like getting health or Rylai's Crystal Scepter, or just do not like getting them that soon, you can always go for Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak. These items can be built into many others including Guardian Angel, Warden's Mail, Abyssal Mask, Force of Nature, Glacial Shroud, Zhonya's Hourglass.

In a 3v3 game, however, you need to check on both your teammates. If they are getting early damage, you should do so as well; if they are getting early defense, you should do as well. You should prioritise your items in a way you both won't be the only tank in the team and do not be the only damage dealer in the team, this way your team will win anyways as your enemies' won't know who to focus.

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As I said before, Mordekaiser is not a good intiiater in 5v5. He does not have a charge, crowd control effect or whatsoever, and will need to wait for someone tankier to initiate. If you build your Mordekaiser as a tank, he will still lack initiating power and his enemies will just run back to towers, rather than getting caught in a surprise attack by someone unkillable and unescapable.

Either ways, in a teamfight, your purpose is to deal damage to ANYONE as soon as you can, in order to keep your shield and health up. When your W is down, you may prefer to go out for a bit, spam E from a bit of a distance, and go in as enemy focuses someone else. When enemies split, try to aim their carry, but you'll also want to make sure their tank is too busy being ******ed with others(chasing someone low and trying to get kills, not caring about their other teammates at all). If you can go unfocused, you can chase their carry off, but if he does not run, slap your ulti in her face in order to swap your health(which is at %30 because of previously dealt damage) with hers(which is at %80 or so). Now, she should go down and you should be able to clean out the rest of her team either with bonus damage as you stole a part of her AP, or just through using her basic attacks.

Uh, you may also use your ulti on a tank with a lot of health for a burst healing on yourself, just in case they are lacking a good bit of magic resistance.

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In case you wanted to see my stats. I am not implying I am incredibly good, but I know what I am doing has carried me to 1400 elo from 1100 already, and I think that is, well, good for me?

Well, not "Pics", but "The Pic".

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They forgot to ban Morde, gg.

Mordekaiser is a decent champion that needs to deal damage; unlike many other champs(for ex: Rammus, Malphite) he has no CC, nor can he initiate with a surprise attack. He stands in the middle of a teamfight, hitting everyone, only sometimes having to go out and avoid focus while cooling his W down. Mordekaiser is a champion that can build AP, but still tank(unless heavily CC'd). Lastly, Mordekaiser is a champion that is fun to play with; he has great strengths like being able to steal opponents' hit points with his ultimate, being able to shrug off damage with shield created by his passive and being able to farm incredibly good.

One final thing to say; you can freely contact me either ingame or here, and I play on EU West server.

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Bonus Chapter: How to pick Mordekaiser in a ranked game

Lately, I've been using this very special tactic. As soon as I am in a ranked champion selection, I quickly say, that I play only AP Shaco or Mordekaiser. Then everyone is suddenly willing to avoid banning Mordekaiser, and even eager to swap him with me. This fixed my problems with some people who just ninja'd away my Morde, and you can totally try this on your own.