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Malphite Build Guide by Best KogMid NA

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Best KogMid NA

Can't Stop the Rock - A Decisive Guide to Assassin Malphite

Best KogMid NA Last updated on February 5, 2016
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 12

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 0

Threats to Malphite with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Fizz Probably to your pleasant surprise, Fizz is super easy to play against. The best way to play against him is just to harass him before level 2 and then let him push so you can farm safely under tower. Since he's melee he won't be able to attack you under tower and with your shield and ult he won't be able to jump on you. In teamfights you have two choices; focus their ADC or peel fizz off of yours. If you don't think your tank or support is capable of it you should jump on fizz when he tries to kill him and then try to stay on the outskirts of the fight until your Q is back up. Note: If you ever want to fight Fizz you need to save your ult until after he E's.
Veigar Just want to start this one by saying most Veigar players are awful; they just jumped on the bandwagon in late 2015 and never got off or they were just forced into mid lane and picked an "easy" champion. If you're ever against a good Veigar (you'll know when you face one) disregard what I'm about to say. Most Veigar's try to save their Q to farm, so the best course of action is to be as agressive as possible on them. I typically Q them and then walk up and auto them down with W active. They'll end up being pushed back so you can stand between them and the minions and do the same thing whenever they try to get close. Once you hit 6 you can 100-0 Veigar since he won't have time to E. Another great thing about Veigar is that since you focus on magic pen rather than AP his ult is pretty much useless against you (well relative to if you were playing a normal mage).
Twisted Fate Easiest lane as Malphite; throw out Q's after he autos with his W. Once you're 6 you can easily kill him no matter how fed either of you are or aren't.
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I'll start by introducing myself; I'm currently a Diamond AP Malphite and AP bruiser Ziggs main who started out in Bronze III early season 3. In season 4 I mained AP Sion mid (yes actual Sion, not the garbage they're calling Sion now) and got to Diamond for my first time, being ranked in the top ~600 Sion players according to LoLSkill. Once Sion was deleted I started looking for a replacement and went with all of my typical picks like Karma, Cassiopeia, Mordekaiser pre-rework, Kog'Maw pre-rework, Malphite, and even AP " Sion" with Deathfire Grasp. I eventually settled on Malphite, rushing Deathfire Grasp (TY DFG) until it was also removed so I stopped playing ranked altogether because **** Riot. Late season 5 I decided to get my Diamond border back so I picked up Malphite again and spammed him until I made it, ending with a 63% win rate over 60 games (all of which were played between plat 3 and diamond 5).

Now enough about me, time too get to the guide.

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So why AP Malphite?

There are three things I hate in League: Orianna, Lee Sin, and the meta. The first two aren't really relevant to this, but the meta is just a cesspool of ignorant players trying to copy pro-players in a completely different setting. Of course some champions are more OP than others sometimes, or maybe even ever since they've been released because Riot doesn't know how to balance their game (cough Lee Sin and Orianna), but every champion is OP in solo queue, you just need to know how to play them,

Why AP Malphite, isn't playing him as a tank in top is sooo much better?
Comparing the two is honestly pretty dumb since they have two completely different jobs. Malphite top is just around for his ridiculous CC and survivability while Malphite mid is meant to instantly kill at least one person and make the fight a 4v5.

What makes Malphite better than other assassins?
The main thing is that Malphite's damage should all happen less than half a second apart and will be inescapable thanks to his ult's knock-up. He's also fairly tanky and can easily escape with his Q or stall a fight with his E.

Let's compare Malphite to Talon...

-High burst
-Tons of CC
-Low CD escape
-Inescapable combo
-All damage is dealt at same time
-Innately Tanky
-Laning phase is garbage
-High burst
-Only has slows
-Long CD escape which is needed in combo
-Combo is difficult to escape, but possible
-All damage is dealt within less than a second
-Squishy af
-Laning phase is pretty strong

Of course there's more too each champion, but that's a fair comparison between both at a basic level. From that chart you should be able to deduce that Malphite excels at assassinations even compared to a champion designed to be an assassin!

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You have me curious, now what's with your magic pen fetish?

Just imagine you're level 6, you have 3 points in Seismic Shard, 1 in Brutal Strikes, 1 in Ground Slam, and 1 in Unstoppable Force. Right now your combo or Q + R + E will have a base damage of 430 magic damage and a scaling of 180% AP (ignoring the small amount of armor scaling he has). To reach 430 magic damage from just those three spells you would need 238 AP at level 6, which isn't going to happen, so it's better to focus on utilizing Malphite's insane base damage. Once you start getting to late game it's likely that every enemy will have some form of magic resist so magic pen will be even more useful.

Another thing to take into account is the cost of magic pen verse flat AP. Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes are super affordable ways to get a solid amount of magic pen, and even the finished items like Abyssal Mask or Void Staff are extremely cheap for finished items. Malphite's farming ability is pretty abysmal so you shouldn't expect much gold income unless you're getting double kills nonstop.

Note: Flat magic penetration is better than % early on so rushing Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes is better than going for something like a Void Staff. I highly recommend checking out this wiki page regarding magic penetration for a deeper understanding.

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Pros and Cons


+Fairly simple kit
+Tons of burst
+Tons of CC
+Able to win a fight with a single skill
+Snowballs like a monster
+Useful even when behind (base damage OP)
+Innately tanky
+Low CD escape with Seismic Shard
+Cheap and fairly versatile build
+Ganking is as easy as pressing R
+Easy to get kills, and everybody loves kills


-Laning phase is awful against a lot of champions
-Hard to deal with Banshee's Veil
-Farming is horrendous, especially when your teammates come mid and take it
-Sometimes you need to save your spells and deal with your teammates whining about you not ulting in 1v5

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I already gave a brief description in the build section, but here I plan on going far more in-depth with each item choice.

Starting Items

(Note: I'm not a fan of any of the starting items at the moment, but I'll explain my opinions on each)

- Doran's Ring: The HP lets you stay healthy for a longer time, especially considering it will increase your passive Granite Shield The extra AP is nice, but it doesn't make much of a difference since your Seismic Shard is too mana hungry to spam without Crystalline Flask. The passive is pretty great but isn't very noticeable compared to Malphite's mana costs.

- Corrupting Potion: Gives really nice damage early on; I always pop it right before I use Seismic Shard to get some unsuspected bonus damage off. The sustain is pretty good, but I usually prioritize the bonus damage over the extra health.

(Note: Regarding the last two items I'm not sure which I like better, I've been building Corrupting Potion more frequently recently, but am still undecided.)

- Spellthief's Edge: I'll admit I haven't given it a fair shot yet, but the amount of gold you'll make from it considering you shouldn't spam Seismic Shard and the enemy will be able to back off when they see you haven't been farming for the past few seconds.

- Amplifying Tome: I really want this to be my go to starting item, but the lack of HP and mana regen it has is too risky to use in most match-ups.

null magic mantle

- Cloth Armor/ null magic mantle: Either of these defensive starts should only be used if you're planning on rushing an Abyssal Mask or Seeker's Armguard in which case you need to play conservatively since you'll be skipping Chalice.

Core Items

- Chalice of Harmony: Probably my least favorite thing about Malphite are his ridiculous mana costs, and now that Crystalline Flask and Mana Potion are removed from the game you need a cheap source of mana regen. Chalice is pretty much the perfect fit for this since it has a mini Athene's Unholy Grail passive and it's MR helps you start alive against annoying mages.

- Haunting Guise: I already explained why magic penetration is so good on Malphite in my 3rd chapter so I'd recommend reading that if you haven't already. The fact that it's cheap, gives Malphite a ton of damage, and helps him stay alive in laning phase (200 hp, whoop whoop) makes this essential.

This is much more important than getting a Chalice of Harmony, but if you don't have enough for it when you back there isn't any point in buying it's components over one.

Sorcerer Shoes

- Sorcerer's Shoes: Already explained in my 3rd chapter, but basically cheap magic pen is good.

- Luden's Echo: So you're probably thinking "Ermehgerd Best KogMid NA, this isn't magic pen?!?!?" and I just have to say that you aren't wrong, but that's not the point of this item. There are a few reason I buy this item so I'll just make a little list...

-This item excels when you only need to burst a single time, which is exactly what you do!

-After you burst you're going to be walking around on the outskirts waiting for Seismic Shard to be off of cooldown, and by the time it is you'll have Luden's up again.

-By the time you get this item you should be sitting on a Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes and the enemies won't have enough MR for void staff to be very useful so it's a great "in-between" item.

-The extra mobility is great for roaming and lets you easily disengage or chase after using your combo.

Rock Solid Items

- Athene's Unholy Grail: Since you already have a Chalice of Harmony in 90% of games this is an obvious buy, but why this over something like Morellonomicon? Well for one the passive on Morello's is pretty useless considering you're all burst. Even if you manage to get someone like Dr. Mundo below 50% HP with your full combo you won't be able to kill them so what's the point? Athene's also gives a nice amount of MR which helps to make up for the lack of MR in my normal rune page. The only thing you're missing out on over Morello is the 20 AP which is hardly worth the extra MR or mana regen.

- Abyssal Mask: This is a great buy against champions who are a serious threat early game, and mid-late game it's just a nice extra bit of magic penetration. It's passive is also nice if you have any other heavy magic damage dealers on your team.

- Void Staff: 35% magic penetration sounds insanely good, and it is as long as the enemy is actually building MR. I'm not going to get into the numbers, but if you're versing a team who isn't building any MR you should just skip this and go straight for some flat AP like Rabadon's Deathcap; if need be you can always sell it and buy a Void Staff late game.

- Zhonya's Hourglass: Your kit scales off of AP and armor so of course something that gives a ton of both is good (inb4 IBG is god tier)! In all seriousness the stats that Zhonya's Hourglass gives are great and all, but the best part about it is the passive. After you've used your full combo and maybe waited half a second, just to make sure they're fully dead, you can pop its active and wait out the cooldown on your Q while you're invincible. This makes for some pretty great escapes and gives time for your allies to close in after you engage.

- Liandry's Torment: The passive burn is useful when poking with your Seismic Shard but that's about it; I usually get this as my last item since Haunting Guise is already amazing without being upgraded.

Situational Items

- Rabadon's Deathcap: If you're ever in a situation were the enemy team is building little to no MR you should go straight for one of these after your Luden's Echo. Haunting Guise and [Sorcerer's Shoes] give you enough magic penetration for this situation, Void Staff will basically be worthless, and you'll end up dealing more damage with this than an Abyssal Mask.

- Lich Bane: I haven't done enough testing with this to really say when it's consistently the best time to get it, but I've always felt it should be an important asset. The downsides to getting this are that it gives a small amount of AP, no magic pen, the passive will only be used 1 or 2 times per fight, and the passive scales with AP which you don't buy a lot of, but with the small amount of AP you will have, the passive will still hurt. A lot of times when I engage on semi-tanky targets mid-late game they end up getting away with very little HP since Ignite has such a long CD, having this extra bit of burst seems like a great way of finishing them off. Currently I would only recommend getting it when you end up buying a Rabadon's and are extremely far head already.

- Banner of Command: I love cheesy strategies where you have minions win the game and for that to happen you need this and/or a Zz'Rot Portal. With this item you're missing out on extra damage, but gain CDR (which is amazing on Malphite) and extra tankiness. If I end up buying this it is always my last or second to last item so that I don't disrupt my core build.

Defensive Items

- Thornmail: My typical defensive item aside from Zhonya's Hourglass/ Abyssal Mask. Honestly I wouldn't say this is a better item than Frozen Heart, but it's my favorite item in the game so I usually prioritize it. The passive makes you less of a priority target so you can get in and get out safely.

- Frozen Heart: My second choice defensive item aside from Zhonya's Hourglass/ Abyssal Mask. It doesn't give quite as much armor as Thornmail, but the mana and AOE slow arguably make it better. Against champions like Vayne or Kalista this should be your go-to defensive item.

- Iceborn Gauntlet: I don't build this often since it's similar to the whole Lich Bane fiasco, but thought it deserved an honorable mention. It gives great chasing potential for after your Seismic Shard wears off and the AP/armor combination is amazing on Malphite.

- Zz'Rot Portal: Great for a cheesy minion win just like Banner of Command although I prefer this one. The only reason I left it in Defensive Items is because it's hard to use properly, especially against higher elo players.

Trash Tier Items

- Rod of Ages: If you're playing top lane and need to be tanky this is a great item, but for this build it is just horribly counter-intuitive. It takes way too long to scale even though Malphite peaks level 6 until the beginning of late game and it doesn't give enough AP to make it worth the wait. Also health isn't that great of a stat for this build compared to something like armor.

- Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Slows don't stack anymore so your Q is all you need. Also health isn't that great of a a stat for this build compared to something like armor.

- Morellonomicon: Passive is worthless against every squishy champ and once you waste your full combo on a tankier one like Dr. Mundo you won't deal enough damage to kill them anyways. You also get less defenses and less mana regen than Athene's Unholy Grail in exchange for a measly 20 AP which you don't need.

- Nashor's Tooth: Shouldn't have even added this honestly, but I thought maybe someone would want to try it out with his Brutal Strikes. The item itself synergizes with your kit well, especially that 20% CDR, but if you want to go for a more DPS build it would be better to focus more on tanky items.

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Summoner Spells

Ignite is great for getting off that extra little bit of damage to finish off whoever you jump on or just to cut off healing on a Vladimir, Dr. Mundo, or unsuspecting ADC. If Malphite had just a tiny bit more damage *cough* DFG *cough*, Ignite wouldn't be necessary to take, but sense he doesn't I take it almost every game to secure an early lead.

Teleport is what I really want to take on Malphite, but getting an assured easy lead with Ignite is safer. Back in my days of Sion maining I would take Teleport, walk down to bot lane, pick up a kill or two, and then tp back to mid without missing a farm. The same thing is possible with Malphite, albeit harder to do, and if you pull it off properly you can pretty much win the game before 10 laning phase ends. Another thing to take into account is that roaming before level 6 with Malphite is pretty much pointless unlike with Sion who could only needed his Q and W.

Flash is 100% necessary since there is no worthy substitution. Flashing into an ult is a great way to catch out unsuspecting enemies by killing them, stealing baron, stealing dragon, etc. It's also a great escape, but you already know that.

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Laning Phase

Malphite's level 1-5 are absolute garbage; you can't fight, you can't roam, even if your jungler ganks all you can really do is press Q and hope he can dish out some nice damage.

Unless I'm playing against someone who I'm completely confident against (I'd recommend looking at my match up section) I basically play around my shield. If it's up I can go up to get some farm, maybe throw out a Seismic Shard if I'm feeling frisky (although this kills your mana), and then back off once they poke it off of you.

If I am playing against someone who I'm confident against I play extremely aggressive; i.e. I'll walk right up to them, Seismic Shard them, and then auto them down with my Brutal Strikes up until they run away. Once they're low enough they'll back off so you can stand between them and their farm, repeating the same thing if they ever come close. The downside to this is that you're extremely susceptible to enemy ganks so make sure to keep your eye on the map.

Either way you'll eventually end up being shoved under tower at some point, so you need to know how to farm properly in that situation. Melee and ranged minions both take a different amount of damage to kill: melees take 2 tower shot and 1 auto, ranged take 1 tower shot and two autos. You also have to take your own minions damage into account so it does get pretty difficult. If you aren't confident in your ability to do this you should risk staying in the middle of lane to farm while getting poked.

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So I'm nowhere close to done with this guide, I just thought I should put it out there and periodically update it.

Future plans include, but aren't limited too...

    Roaming Guide
    Skill order
    Masterty explanation
    Rune explanation

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- Updated Corrupting Potion vs Doran's Ring