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Cassiopeia Build Guide by GP Finn
Cassiopeia Mid Lane - Season 5 (In depth)
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Threats & Synergies
Great matchup for Cassiopeia. You should have no problem beating him in lane as long as you dodge his Lay Waste. You can out harass him, out farm him and just generally beat him in lane with few problems. Just remember that his passive will let him use his abilities after he dies so don't stand close after you kill him and move unpredictably to dodge his Lay Waste even after he dies. If you're having trouble dodging them, you should start boots or grab them very quickly.
This should be another easy matchup. You have more range than he does so you can bully him pretty easily. If you land a noxious blast and then follow up with 3 twin fangs, you're going to burn through all his pots and after a few harass combos, you can force him out of lane. He does have good damage but if he wants to all-in you, he'll be facing you so you can ult him and wreck him from there.
If you dodge her spears then there is no reason you should ever lose lane. That is her only poke and if you consistently dodge it then you're golden. If she jumps on your in cougar form either ult her or drop a miasma at your feet and start spamming twin fang.
Here's the thing about Urgot mid. You won't see it much but when you do you need to be ready for one of the only champs in the game who rivals your lane bully potential. You out-range him and if you dodge the poison then he can't get lock-on and you should be fine. Just remember his shield when you're going all in
This is another easy matchup for Cassiopeia with the only problems being that he can dodge your ult with his Decoy so if he jumps on your then appears to stand still it means he used Decoy to get away so don't waste your mana on it. If he ults you then just ult him right back and you'll kill him every time.
Later in the game his Wild Cards can hurt a lot and have a crazy range (1450) but if you can dodge those then there is very little he can do in lane. He has a very bad early game and if he teleports to another lane then just ward and take his tower.
This is not a matchup you'll have often but you should be happy if you do. You can harass him a ton early because he's a melee champ and he almost never builds many defensive items. Your miasma won't slow him when he uses his ult but you can still ult him in the face and wreck him from there.
Annie is a pretty easy matchup but you have to constantly watch to see if her stun is up. When you see her stun up let her push the minion wave closer to your tower and see if she uses the stun on something else before going aggressive. The Tibbers stun can hurt a lot but other than that you should out-range her and pressure her all game. Play aggressive when the stun isn't up.
Pre 6 you should bully him like crazy and deny him farm. He is more of an assassin so he can't harass you very much. You should be able to get a pretty substantial advantage early and even if he bursts you and tries to chase you should be fine, especially if you surprise him and turn around and ult.
If you don't get snared then you should win lane pretty easily. Be aggressive but stay behind your minions to avoid snares. Just remember that her ult as a very short cooldown and hurts a lot so be ready for it.
Start with boots and you should be fine. If you can dodge his skill shots then you win lane no problem. He has good range so he can poke you down but don't let him zone you and you'll be fine.
Now we're getting into the skill matchups. You will get behind in cs against Anivia, that's just a fact. She is one of the best farmers in the game post-6 so try to get an early kill before level 6. If you can dodge her Q then she can't put very much damage on you. She gets pretty annoying when she has her ult and don't dive her under tower unless you know she doesn't have her passive up (the egg). As someone who plays a lot of Anivia too, it just comes down to skill here and smart positioning. Play aggressive early and don't get behind too much.
I haven't played against too many Azir in my time but this is also a kill matchup. He can get some good poke onto you with his soldiers but early in the game the cooldowns are still pretty long so try to get an early kill to get ahead. You scale better into the late game than him so grab a kill whenever you can and focus on not getting poked too much as he'll try to zone you with his soldiers.
She has melee range basic attacks so you should be able to lay down some good harass on her throughout the lane phase. She gains more mobility with her ult so she can dodge your ult but if you stay aggressive early game you can get her behind and win lane pretty easily.
She is also melee so you can get ahead pre-6 and bully her out of lane early. She gains a lot of mobility with her ult but you should hopefully too far ahead for her to do much. Just don't feed her and you'll be fine.
This all comes down to skill. You can poke her like crazy early game and keep her from getting cs but once she hits 6 she can do some serious damage and blow you up if you're not careful. When she uses her e to jump to you remember that she will be behind you. The most common tactic for Katarina is to throw her dagger, jump to you and then ult. If she ults you then remember that she will probably be behind you and try to ult her back. If you land your ult, she will have no damage and no escape and should be an easy kill from there. Just don't feed or your team will hate you.
One of your toughest match-ups. She has so much mobility with her ult and the ability to fully burst you down. Cassiopeia is very immobile so this match-up is all about positioning. You have to work hard to out farm her and harass the hell out of her pre-6. After lane phase is over just try to make sure you know where she is in team fights so she doesn't blow you up.
You might be wondering why I put him this high on the threat list. It is because I have had loads of trouble against Heimerdinger. If your opponent is at least competent then he can zone you out pretty well. This is the only matchup where I would recommend leveling up your noxious blast all the way first so you can kill his turrets easier. You will never win the farm battle against him so all you can do is try to keep up and keep killing his turrets. He is pretty bad after lane phase so that's where you have the advantage but still this is not a match-up I like seeing.
This is the toughest match-up for Cassiopeia in my opinion. Leblanc is just so slippery and can burst you down so fast that it is really tough to win this one. You can try to out-farm her early and get an item advantage but it is extremely hard to land your ult on a good Leblanc. If you do by chance get her with your ult then just pile as much damage as you can on her. Otherwise just try not to get blown up. You're way better at team fights than she is though so that's your advantage.
He is just like your problems with LeBlanc. He can dodge your ult really easily and you'll have trouble trying to tie him down. Your advantage comes in the laning phase though because you can harass him like crazy because he is melee range. Be ready for him to all-in you at level 6 but if you can get ahead in lane then you should be okay.
As Cassiopeia you're going to have a lot of AP. Veigar feasts on high AP champs so his full burst will wreck you. The key is not letting him get that full burst off. He is immobile, just like you so unless you get caught by his massive stun, you can 1v1 him if you hit your ult. Harass the shit out of him early game while he tries to farm because he is very squishy and then when he hits level six just try to avoid the stun. He can delete you from the map in one combo so watch out but you are way better as team fights than he is
Do not get behind. If you get behind early thats gg. She counters your immobility but she herself doesn't have any mobility either so take advantage of that, especially early. Poke her a lot and harass her out of lane but watch out for her poke as well and don't expose yourself with low health post-6. This is a tough lane that will take concentration but it is still winable
This ends up being a skill matchup most of the time. You can normally out trade her if you land a poison and have a better 1v1 but she is great at team fights and has slightly better poke and defense. You both scale well into the late game so try your best to win lane early and roam to get your other lanes going.
Just a little bit about me...
I am the mid-laner for Team GP and have a large champion pool that includes Ahri, Nidalee and Fizz among others. I am pretty new to league (started at the end of season 4) but below is a link to a few highlights from a game just to show my level of play.
Anyway, I was turned on to Cassiopeia when I was looking at win rates and pick rates of mid-laners and saw that Cassiopeia was near the bottom of the most played champs. I like to play under-used champions and so I decided to give her a try and oh lord did I love her. I loved how she played and I began to get good with her until she became one of my mains. Her kit is fantastic and she has been buffed twice as of the beginning of season 5 so she is an extremely viable option.
So I hope you enjoy this guide and I hope you learn something from it to either begin playing Cass or change how you play her and hopefully improve.
- Great Carry Ability
- Consistent Damage
- Game Changing Ult
- Great 1v1 and in Teamfights
- Lane Bully
- High Skill Cap
- Very Strong as of Beginning of Season 5
- Fun to Play
- Hard to Master
- Not Much Escape
- Missed Ult in Teamfight = ace
- Bad if Behind
- No Massive Waveclear
- Have to Hit Poison to do Much Damage
- No amazing skins :(
These are pretty basic as Doran's Ring is the classic start for mages with the AP, mana regeneration and health. Health Potion is necessary for sustain early game and always get trinkets! Boots are an option for someone with tones of skill shots you need to dodge like Ziggs. Sapphire Crystal is kind of an unusual start but you can use it to get an early Tear of the Goddess and start getting stacks.
You need to grab your Tear of the Goddess as you need it to start spamming your spells and getting stacks to increase your mana pool. This item works great on Cassiopeia because you'll be spamming your Noxious Blast and Twin Fang a lot in lane to bully and last hit minions so you can get a ton of stacks in a hurry.
I always try to get a quick Blasting Wand after my tear to get some early AP to keep up my harass and not fall behind. It can build into several of our final items so an early one is always good.
If you didn't grab Boots to start then getting them early is also a must. Cassiopeia is slow and needs some movement speed to stay safe in mid so grab the basic boots now and upgrade later to Sorcerer's Shoes.
You can alternatively buy Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the extra cool down reduction but you'll have to grab Void Staff later to have your magic penetration.
These are the items you should be getting almost every game. You can always switch out any item you feel would be better but these items work really well on Cassiopeia and give us a snake that can carry any game.
Seraph's Embrace is one of the key parts of this build. This build gives a lot of mana and the passive on Seraph's Embrace gives you extra AP based on your mana. The item also comes from Tear of the Goddess and while this is a key piece of our build, don't build Tear of the Goddess into Archangel's Staff until you have the full stacks on it and get all the bonus mana. Plus the shield from the active is always nice to have before engaging a fight.
Rabadon's Deathcap is another key item for all mages who want a huge AP spike. The 120 AP is huge and then the 30% AP increase is just like our passive at full stacks (I'll talk more about that later) but this essentially gives us a 60% increase in AP late in the game.
Will of the Ancients is another item that works extremely well with Cassiopeia's passive. Her passive grants her spell vamp with her Twin Fang at a certain number of stacks and with the extra 20% spell vamp from Will of the Ancients, you can spam Twin Fang against champs for some great dueling potential or use it to farm minions for some good recovery and sustain. The AP and cool down reduction are also great. (More on this item later)
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is the final part of our core and is Cassiopeia's main item because of the slow. You can chase people down really easily with that slow and the health makes us less squishy.
In terms of a build order, I like to start with an early Hextech Revolver to get some early spellvamp and get ready for my Will of the Ancients. Now comes a choice. You can either hold off on finishing Will of the Ancients for a bit and start working on your Rylai's Crystal Scepter or you can just finish the Will of the Ancients and get more spellvamp and cooldown reduction.
After those two are complete you should be looking to build Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap or even look at finishing your Seraph's Embrace if you have full stacks on your Tear of the Goddess.
Other Offensive Options
Many of you might be wondering why I left Zhonya's Hourglass off my core build. Don't get me wrong, it is a damn good item on almost all mages and you should try to get it almost every game. My reason for not having it in my core is it shouldn't be your first priority. But regardless, I still get it as my 4th or 5th item every game.
Morellonomicon is a good item with the cool down reduction and AP plus the passive sets up some easier kills as well. Overall a good item but not something I take super often.
Like I said earlier, Void Staff is a good item especially if the enemy team is stacking magic resist. This something I buy late game if I'm satisfied with my AP and I didn't take Sorcerer's Shoes. I've topped 900 AP multiple times without my full build so while the magic penetration certainly helps, I'd rather build a defensive item at that point to stay alive. You can have all the AP and magic penetration in the world but if the enemy team focus you first every time, you can't do much with it.
____________________________________________________________________________________________ Defensive Items
I try to take at least one of these every game unless I'm doing really well and just want a ton of AP.
Banshee's Veil is my item of choice against a team with lots of AP (or if they have a Veigar). The shield is great for negating a really tough spell and the HP is great to stay tanky.
Guardian Angel is something I buy if I'm doing well. The armor and magic resist help stay tanky and then the passive lets me keep my kill streaks going and not get shut down. Also, it's a great feeling when the other team focuses you and blows some ults and then you come back to life and wreck them ;).
Rod of Ages is something you can buy in any game and feel good about it. You get a little more meat on your bones and some more mana to go with your Seraph's Embrace passive. If you're going to build it though you have to build it early to start gaining stacks.
Abyssal Mask and Athene's Unholy Grail are both items that you can build against AP team compositions. I always grab Abyssal Mask against Katarina and other close range AP champs.
The exact final build you use comes down to how the game is progressing, the enemy team composition and personal preference but this is the build that seems to work the best for me.
Seraph's Embrace a fantastic item on Cassiopeia that you should always aim to get. Spamming Twin Fang and Noxious Blast will use up a ton of mana so the huge amounts of mana you get from this item plus the extra AP you'll get from the Seraph's Embrace passive make this an item you need to have every game.
Will of the Ancients and Rabadon's Deathcap are the other two items that you should aim for every game as they give you some great spell vamp and cool down reduction and a massive AP spike respectively.
Sorcerer's Shoes are a must for a mage as you need that movement speed and the magic penetration for late game. You can, however, get Ionian Boots of Lucidity for cooldown reduction and just buy Void Staff later for the magic pen. I like to take furor because of the single target effect and it can be spammed with Twin Fang. You can always grab homeuards instead if you're behind or just wanna be super fast for a few seconds.
The last items really comes down to how you're doing and how tanky you feel like being. If you want more AP and health then take Rylai's Crystal Scepter as your final item. If you want magic resist then Banshee's Veil is gonna be what you want to get. Out of everything I recommend Zhonya's Hourglass or Rylai's Crystal Scepter as your final item after the core and the boots. You can also grab Rod of Ages for a great for an all around item.
Passive: Aspect of the Serpent
Holy cow this passive. It's one of the best in the game in my opinion for mages and here's why. You gain 1 stack every 6 seconds (so 10 stacks per minute) and 1 stack for every second an enemy champion is poisoned by Noxious Blast or Miasma.
- At 100 stacks, you gain 5% bonus AP and Twin Fang starts to heal you for a percentage of damage dealt
- At 250 stacks, you get 10% boosted AP and 25% cool down reduction which is pretty sweet.
- At 500 stacks... well now you start to get really scary. You get 30% AP boost plus everything you got before. So at 500 stacks your passive gives you a free Rabadon's Deathcap passive, spellvamp on your Twin Fang and some great cool down reduction. Like I said, one of the best passives in the game.
- Try to land as many poisons as possible on the enemy champion to get stacks quickly
- Once you hit 100 stacks, you can stay in lane for a lot longer because you get get health and mana back by last hitting minions
Q Noxious Blast
This is your primary poke too. It's automatically on smart cast (I'll talk about smart casting soon) and you can get some good poke whenever you opponent stands still to last hit. It does some pretty good damage but it is mainly a utility ability to set up Twin Fang spam.
- Whenever you see your opponent stand still to last hit a minion, try to land the poison on them
- Every time they get a little too close, try to land you poison so you can spam your Twin Fang and do tones of damage
- Never engage an enemy unless you land a poison, either Noxious Blast or Miasma.
- This ability has a pretty long range so use it for some safe harass
- You also get a speed boost by landing it successfully so use it to run away or catch up or check a bush (if you get a speed boost then you know you hit someone in the bush)
This is another utility ability to help poison the target for a Twin Fang spam. The thing that makes this one different is the fact that it does less damage and has a shorter range but slows the enemies that walk through it and the poison has the potential to last a while if they stand in it.
I usually only use this if I miss my Noxious Blast or if I need to escape. It's also good for when someone all-in's you so you can drop this at your feet and spam Twin Fang forever.
This has a much longer cool down than Noxious Blast so don't use it to harass as much.
- Use the slow to get away or catch up
- Because of the short range, use it as your close range poison or to help last hit minions
- Use this for protection if someone all-in's you or if you land your ult
- The slow from this plus your speed boost from Noxious Blast will let you escape a chase pretty well
E Twin Fang
Your entire kit revolves around this one ability. This is how you do everything as Cassiopeia. This is your harass, your sustain, your main damage source, you assassination, your everything. At first glance it just seems like a pretty good ability with mediocre AP ratios. But when you factor in the fact that you can hit your enemy with FOUR of them every time they get poisoned... the amount of damage you can do is incredible.
You can end up using a lot of mana by spamming this ability but with our build, you won't really have to worry about mana very much, especially after we get a few core items.
- Never use Twin Fang on a non-poisoned target unless you are last hitting a minion or getting a kill. It will go on full cool down (5 seconds) so for those 5 seconds you are left without your primary damage source and are essentially doomed if they decide to focus you
- Use it to harass in lane if you land a poison. You can essentially force your opponent to leave the lane and miss experience and farm
- Focus squishy targets in a team fight as Twin Fang will completely wreck them
- Once you shoot 3 Twin Fang, try to land another poison before spamming again so you can avoid having it go on full cool down
- Once you become more comfortable, you can try to land 4 Twin Fang if you poison them with Noxious Blast and even more if they are poisoned by Miasma, especially if they stand in it at all
- Don't be afraid to spam it!
- Make sure you put it on smartcast or you will never be able to do enough damage
R Petrifying Gaze
This is your game changing ult. You shoot our light from your eyes in a somewhat awkwardly shaped cone. If any enemies inside the cone are facing you, they are turned to stone and completely stunned for a couple seconds and if they have their backs to you, they are severely slowed.
This is a very powerful ultimate, especially in team fights. If you can ult even just two people on the other team in a teamfight, you should usually win it no problem. You can also ult someone if they go all in on you. It is some intense CC and lets you go immediately on the offensive.
- Don't waste this ult and risk missing it but also don't be afraid to use it
- You will miss some ults and people will probably laugh at you but once you get used to the range you will be very scary to the other team
- Ult in a teamfight when you can comfortably hit at least two enemies
- You can ult someone who is chasing you to escape pretty easily
- If someone like Katarina for example jumps on you and ults, just ult her right back and throw down a poison and then wreck her with Twin Fang
Cassiopeia is a champion that you NEED to use smartcast with. She was the champ that taught me how to smartcast and now I use it on everyone I play. For those of you who don't know, smartcasting is an option you can turn on in settings in game which allows you to use abilities simply by clicking the key on your keyboard and holding your mouse over your target. This is will make your casts more efficient and allow you to land sooooo many more Twin Fang and do so much more damage.
One recommended strategy strategy for farming whole waves is to lay down a Miasma on the caster minions and then once they hit around half health use Twin Fang to clear them very quickly.
Also, if you escape a teamfight with low health, farm some minions with Twin Fang or a jungle camp to get your health back quickly.
As for this build in particular, try to build a Tear of the Goddess first and then build two or three AP items like Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Will of the Ancients and save your tank item for last or second to last.
This build may take some getting used to and I cannot guarantee results right away but as someone who mains Cassiopeia, I think this build is one of the best for mid lane.
Thanks for reading this guide! Hopefully you learned something and please leave feedback! It really helps improve the guide and lets me know what you all think of the way I play Cassiopeia.
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