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Cassiopeia - There's a Snake in My Boot
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***Updated as of 11/19/11***
So I was deciding what to do with all my IP that I'd been building up and I took interest in the "New Champion" that was going to be released soon. Her abilities appealed to me, she seemed like a DoT mage that had a spamable attack similar to Urgot's Acid Hunter (I have not played as Urgot but I imagine that ability is pretty fun to use). At first, from just the description, the ultimate seemed to be just another one of those win-game AoE stun ults. However it ended up much different. I purchased her after much thought about buying her, I had heard from the forums that she was underwhelming, but I was up for a challenging champion.
Quick Notes: (These will be assimilated into the rest of the build over time, but for now they will remain somewhat disorganized. Just a few explanations and tips I have for my build.)
After a few practice games trying out items for her, I decided to take an item path somewhat similar to the recommended build, but with some changes.
I personally like getting Doran's Items to start, so I grab Doran's Ring
My first ability is Q, Noxious Blast, it's great for harassing, with a mechanic similar to Karthus's Lay to Waste. With this ability, it's important to lead your target and not be too obvious that you are about to use it against them. It's also good for farming when the minions are close together. When you get lvl 2 get Twin Fang, which goes well as a harassing ability with . It's a great combo to use then , your CD on E becomes .5 seconds if they enemy is poisoned. However, it's not completely necessary for the enemy to be poisoned to use , but it is much more efficient. Whenever you need to recall, my second item I purchase is boots. Then I get rylais. One of her more important items to get is Rylai's, it gives her some AP, some HP to make up for her squishiness, and gives her Slow. If you feel like you need more AP first, get the Blasting Wand and Amplifying Tome first. Or, if you need more survivability, you can get the Giant's Belt first. Once you have your rylai's scepter Rylai's Crystal Scepter, you should be able to harass very well, your will slow the enemy a good bit and your will slow alot. For your next item, you can finish off your Sorcerer's Shoes, since you already bought the . After this, I work on a Deathcap to draw in a lot of AP. Next get a banshee's veil for more survival. Then get Zhonya's hour glass for more survival too, plus lots of AP. Last you can get w/e you want, but I like to get Lich Bane. This item gives Cassiopeia more movement speed, MR, some AP, and it makes your auto attack deal alot more damage after casting a spell. Cassiopeia fires an auto attack in between using Twin Fang and Noxious Blast. This passive will help your damage output quite a bit. If you are lacking in Magic Penetration, you can stick a Void Staff some where in there if you feel it is necessary. Another option is Abyssal Scepter
If you feel like you're dieing too much, or you'd prefer to have more HP, you can build a Rod of Ages, but keep in mind that the earlier you buy this, the better.
Remember, Cassiopeia is a squishy champion, you cannot try to only rely on health or summoner spells to make up for poor positioning decisions. Keep out of harms way, use your abilities from a distance, and avoid any CC. If you're getting hit hard and you feel like you're about to die, use your Zhonya's Hourglass active, it could buy you enough time for your team to help you out, or for you to avoid an ultimate such as Fiddlestick's Crow Storm or MF's Bullet Time. Being a DoT champion, you won't be able to blast any one down to 0 from full HP instantly, but your DoTs are not to be underestimated. I've been able to snatch First Blood on many of my games as Cass, your Q and auto attack can be vicious harassment, and mixed with E can bring a squishy to very low health. I usually Flash + Ignite if I see an opportunity for a kill that is getting away. Keep in mind, Cassiopeia's autoattack has some pretty decent range, and although you're not building any AD or AS, you can use it to harass every now and then. When you get the Lich Bane, your auto attack is better, but until then you can just throw it out whenever.
Basically, with your abilities, E>Q>W, and of course get R whenever you can. W, however, is not to be considered a useless spell. I level it up pretty evenly with the others, but the other abilities do take priority over it. For runes I just used the ones from my Malzahar rune page, they seem to work well for him, and he's also somewhat of a DoT mage. Masteries are standard 9/0/21 for casters. For summoner spells, I get ingite to add to your DoTs, and Flash for getting around quick. You can also flash to position yourself for your Ult.
Some basic tactics for effective uses of Cassiopeia's abilities include the following. For farming, Q and W work very well, drop W in a group of stationary minions, I usually use it on the caster minions in the back row, and spam Q at them once or twice, along with the melee minions. For harassing, hit an enemy champion with Q or W, then follow up with E until they are no longer poisoned, in which case, you repeat the process. Personally, I find her ult to be one of the most difficult to use in the game. Where most AoE stuns are used once you're in range, with Cassiopeia, you have to make sure your target is facing you. The range on it is decently small to begin with, so you most likely wont be able to stun an entire team, unlike Amumu or Galio's ult. One thing I once did, if you flash infront of a retreating enemy and turn around at them and ult very very quickly, you can get them with it, but this is still a very tricky ultimate that I am still learning how to use.
Here are a few games played by Vantia, showing how well the build works!
Can synergize with other champions that have poison abilities
Passive allows for much ability spamming without much mana cost
Has decent escape mechanisms
She's a snake
Ult is very hard to time correctly
Harassing requires you to be dangerously close to enemies
Q can be hard to master, especially against faster moving enemies
Her damage seems to fall later in the game
No real form of burst damage, all abilities are DoT that you must persistently use against your target, which can lead to over extension and death.
(Innate): After casting a spell, any subsequent spellcasts will cost 10% less for 5 seconds. This ability stacks up to 5 times.
This passive will allow you to spam your abilities (within reason) and not have to worry much about your mana. Early game it's not quite as useful because you have fewer abilities to keep the passive in effect. There's not a whole lot to say about her passive, it helps out in the background.
Q: Noxious Blast
Cassiopeia blasts an area with a delayed high damaging poison, dealing magic damage over 3 seconds and granting her movement speed for 2 seconds if she hits a champion.
Cooldown: 3 seconds
Cost: 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 Mana
Magic Damage: 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+0.9 per Ability Power)
Movement Speed: 15 / 17.5 / 20 / 22.5 / 25 %
Noxious Blast is an excellent harassment tool. While the damage is not instant, it can inflict good damage to your enemy. It is somewhat hard to master this ability, one tip is to place it behind your enemy. When the enemy sees that you've used an ability, their immediate reaction is to retreat backwards, right into your . Remember that this ability grants movement speed, so it will help you chase an enemy if you continue to hit him with , you can also use it to run away. This ability has good range too, so although it is an instant ability, like Karthus's Lay Waste, keep in mind that you can spam it from a long distance. While it is a fun move, if you find yourself unable to score hits with it, then I recommend upgrading Miasma prioritizing over Noxious Blast. This will allow you to still be able to poison your enemy so you can procede to spam Twin Fang at them.
As mentioned in the champion spot light (one of the few things mentioned), you can use Noxious Blast to check bushes or check for stealthed champions. If you see the movement speed buff added to your status, then that means you've scored a hit. However, you still won't be able to see through the bush or see the stealth champion.
Cassiopeia releases a growing cloud of poison that lasts for 7 seconds. Any enemy that passes through it is poisoned for 2 seconds, dealing magic damage each second and slowing them. Continual exposure renews this poison.
Cooldown: 9 seconds
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 Mana
Magic Damage: 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 (+0.15 per Ability Power)
Slow: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 %
Miasma is a good utility spell. While it does have potential for damage, and it's good for farming stationary creeps (I generally use it against caster minions because they stand still most the time), I primarily utilize the slow and poisoning effect of this ability. The slow can be used to save team mates or chase down enemies. You can also slow an entire creep wave, if you put it through their pathway, they will all be poisoned and slowed. You can also use this ability to poison enemies so you can spam Twin Fang at them. Once you have your Rylai's Crystal Scpeter, will slow for a very good percentage. You can use it in team fights to zone enemies or hinder the enemy team's movement by a good amount. As far as damage goes, don't expect Miasma to deal alot of damage, however it does help to some extent.
E: Twin Fang
Cassiopeia deals magic damage to her target. If the target is poisoned then Twin Fang's cooldown is reduced to .5 seconds.
Cooldown: 5 seconds
Cost: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 Mana
Magic Damage: 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+0.45 per Ability Power)
Twin Fang is one of my favorite abilities that Cassiopeia has. It is spammable with an insanely low CD, provided that your target is poisoned. Basic harassment consists of + + autoattack if you can throw one in. If the enemy is still in comfortable range, you can fire another and then repeat the process. While Twin Fang can be used when your target is not poisoned, I don't recommend doing this, as the CD is 10 times as long. Later in the game, be careful while spamming , its range is not very good so you may end up too close to the enemy, and you could be focused and killed. In team fights, harass squishies with your + + combo. Keep your eye on the enemies movement and stay out of harms way. Especially keep away from enemies who could potentially stun you.
R: Petrifying Gaze
Cassiopeia deals magic damage to all enemies in front of her. Enemies facing her are stunned for 2 seconds while enemies facing away are slowed.
Cooldown: 120 seconds
Cost: 120 / 160 / 200 Mana
Magic Damage: 150 / 275 / 400 (+0.6 per Ability Power)
Slow: 40 / 50 / 60 %
Stun: 2 Seconds
This is one of the harder Ultimates to use in the game. One reason is that it requires you, a squishy caster, to get dangerously close to an enemy. If you wish to stun more than one person, you put yourself into even more danger. Another reason is that the enemy must be unaware that you are about to use your ult. Most competent players know how the ult works, and due to the delay on the ult, they can easily turn around, get slowed, then turn back and kill you. The damage on this ability is sub-par to other ults that focus on damage. So you maybe be thinking, 'gee Furber, how do I use this ult well?'. Well the way I see it, unless the enemy team is ******ed, you cant just run up to the enemy team and freeze them all. This ult is good for turning a push around. When your team is retreating from their team, look for an opportunity to turn back quickly and ult their team. If done correctly, the result will be similar to an Amumu ult. Your team can turn around and beat on the enemies for 2 full seconds. This should be enough to gain the advantage in the team fight, and hopefully you will win. Reptiile also point out that, on a smaller scale, you can help save a friend that is running away from an enemy. Turn quickly and stop the pursuer. Then you and your ally can either continue running away, or turn and fight the enemy.
As far as a 1v1 ult goes, if you're able to hit your enemy with it, then you will do well, but being on a 2 minute CD, it is not always optimal to use this in a 1v1 situation in the open field. I've found it to be amazing against face checkers. Stay in the bush until they get right up to it, then Ult them in the face, and proceed to spam your abilities on them until death. In terms of ganking, you will need to use Flash to position yourself where the enemy should retreat. Allow your ally to make the enemy begin to retreat, then flash in front of them and ult. This must be done very quickly, or they will avoid your ult.
These summoner spells are in order of most recommended to least recommended
Ignite: Ignite goes hand in hand with Cassiopeia's DoT spells. After poisoning your target and spamming E, throw Ingite on them to insure the kill. It gives her a little boost to her DoT capabilities.
Flash: When you find your self trapped, find a wall to flash through as a quick and effective escape strategy. You can also use Flash to set up your ult. Flash infront of fleeing enemies and ult them to cut off their escape.
Ghost: Ghost can be used as an alternative to Flash. The speed upgrade will help Cassiopeia retreat quickly from a dangerous situation. You can also chase people well with it. I personally prefer Flash, but if Ghost is your favorite, feel free to use it instead.
Exhaust: Exhaust can be used to slow an enemy that is chasing you or that you are chasing. It also blinds the target, so this is a good ability to use if an autoattacker targets you.
Clarity: Deadly Cadence should take care of your mana problems. However, if you find the need for extra mana while laning, use Clarity to keep up your mana.
Clairvoyance: If you are one of those players who uses Clairvoyance alot, then feel free to use it. I see no particular synergy between Cassiopeia's abilities and Clairvoyance, but it is good if you can spot a gank and escape before it happens.
Teleport: Cassiopeia is not particularly fast, if you like being able to move around the map quickly, use Teleport.
Cleanse: If Cassiopeia is CCed at all, she usually dies pretty fast. Cleanse can help prevent you from being stunned and focused quickly, but it only breaks the stun or whatever CC it may be, you can still get focused and die very quickly.
Heal: Heal is a spell that I would rarely recommend for Cassiopeia. The amount of hp gained usually would not make much of a difference, but if heal is the way you like to go then use it if you'd like.
Fortify: Fortify is not particularly good on Cassiopeia, but once again, if you like getting this spell then be my guest.
Revive: If you die a lot, then you can revive yourself. Really, this spell is pretty pointless so I wouldn't bother using it on Cassiopeia.
Rally: Cassiopeia doesn't need AD at all, I wouldn't use this on her.
I go into Offense 9 points to get the Magic Penetration, as well as some to get some CDR.
The rest of the points go to Utility for things like Mana, Mana regen, CDR, a little movement speed, improve Flash (you can get the Ghost mastery if you use Ghost instead). I chose to get the improve Neutral monster buffs for the Blue Buff. I always go for the blue buff whenever I get the chance, it makes Cassiopeia's spam alot more efficient and frequent during team fights. With the 25% CDR and increased mana regen, you can spam out your abilities even more than before.
For Marks, I get magic pen. All of Cassiopeia's abilities are damaging spells, so the more magic pen you have, the better.
For Glyphs, I get straight CDR, this allows for more frequent spam of abilities, as well as a slightly lower CD on your Ult. AP runes can be used as an alternative to this.
For Seals, I get mana regen per level. This helps him keep up his mana, Cassiopeia's spam can eventually run you dry of mana.
For Quintessences, I choose magic penetration. This makes your abilities penetrate even more of the enemies magic resistance. Other options for quints include: Straight HP, Straight AP, CDR, or whatever you prefer to be your caster runes.
My first item is a Doran's Ring. I personally like a balance of AP HP and Mana Regen.
Early game your build should look like this:
Next, you want to get Catalyst of the Protector. This helps with your squishy-ness and aids in your lane sustainability. You will eventually turn this into a Banshee's Veil, or you could make it into a Rod of Ages
Third, I pick up Boots of Speed. Boots will help you move faster, which aids in chasing, retreating, and dodging enemies. Cassiopeia's base movement speed is pretty low, so these boots will come in handy.
At this point, your build should be:
catalyst the protector
Your 4th item is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. With this item, your abilities will slow the enemy, allowing you to spam them endlessly, continuously slowing them. Your W will slow for a very good ammount, you can use it to escape or catch up to enemies. Also W can be used to slow creep waves alot and because they will stay in the poison field longer, they will take more damage. Cassiopeia's spam requires you to be pretty close to your enemy, so the HP will help you stay alive if the enemy decides to turn on you. Depending on how you are doing, you can either get either the Blasting Wand or the Amplifying Tome first, lets say if you need more AP. Or, if you're in need of survivability items, you can get the Giant's Belt first.
After that, you can finish your boots into Sorcerer's Shoes. This will provide some magic pen to your abilities, as well as increase your movement speed.
You should be hitting pretty well with this build:
catalyst the protector
The next item is Rabadon's Deathcap. This will give you a ton of AP to boost your strength.
Next, you go for Banshee's Veil. This item will greatly help your survivability with it's shield. HP+MR also helps a lot too.
Now I would like to insert that you should have sold your Doran's Ring at least by this time. I usually sell it if I am only around 200 gold away from an item.
You'll be hitting hard with a build like this:
My next item is a Zhonya's Hourglass. This will give you lots more AP as well as good armor. With good HP from BV + Rylais, the mitigation from BV and Zhonya's hourglass should make you bulky enough to not explode instantly in teamfights if you get caught out of place. If you DO get caught out of place, you can use the Active of Zhonya's Hourglass to try to buy time. Also good for surviving Karthus ult or Fiddlesticks' Ult
Last item is really your choice, I prefer to get a Lich Bane. My reasoning for this item is that A) It gives you movement speed so you can be quicker about moving around while in combat. B) It gives you +80 AP which helps your ability strength. C)The passive that affects your auto attack. When using your + + combo, you fire an auto attack immediately after using each . Getting this passive will make that combo much stronger, as now your autoattack will do damage based on your AP, which by now should be very high. This is still a bit of an experiment though, because usually games do not last long enough to fill the entire build. A safer route would probably be to just get an Abyssal Scepter.
Other options include items for more Mpen like Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff
Your final build should look like this:
There are a few other items that other Cassiopiea players consider getting. I will give my opinion on these items.
Rod of Ages
Good HP, Mana, and AP. Imo, It's more of a bulky caster and AP tank item, for characters like Kassadin and Cho'gath. I prefer to upgrade my catalyst the protectorCatalyst into a Banshee's Veil to get my bulk. It's a good item on Cassiopeia, I just take BV for defense instead because I feel that the Shield passive for BV is one of the most helpful defensive stats you can get. Simply stacking HP doesnt actually do that much for your survivability, you would need mitigation too to make the HP really worth it. Banshee's Veil gives MR, which helps the HP it gives also have mitigation. If you do choose to build this item, then you should get it early rather than late. It has to build up some of its stats, so if you want to get the most out of it, make sure that there is time for it to build up. It's definitely an option for your build, I just choose to build different items instead.
Will of The Ancients
This item gives AP + Spell Vamp in addition to an aura that can help allies. I've seen more people consider this item, I suppose it could work out pretty well. The AP ofc is helpful, and the spell vamp can increase your sustain, as well as potentially help you in a fight. Good item, I just prefer other items instead.
Gives you some AP, MR, Movement Speed, Active that enhances your autoattack. If you utilize the passive of this item, it can potentially be very strong. Using an auto attack in between a Q and/or E can be pretty powerful if you have this item. However, this is pretty hard to pull off, it would require a lot of effort. If you're really dedicated and you utilize the passive, this item may be worth it, but other wise I wouldn't bother buying it.
This is a great item to get if the enemy team has a lot of CC. If you don't want to substitute Mercury's Treads for your Sorcerer's Shoes. Gives good AP too, which is always welcome for Cass.
Morello's Evil Tome
Great item if you're looking to build lots of CDR. Combined with Boots of Lucidity, you can quickly max your CDR and be able to spam your abilities like crazy. Remember though, if you plan on spamming abilities a lot, you'll need enough mana and mp5. Overall definitely a good item, I just choose other items instead.
This item is good for HP AP and spell pen. It's a pretty small inexpensive item, so if you just need that little extra boost, you can get this item. However, late game if you have all 6 items, you should sell this item and get something better like a Void Staff.