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Cho'Gath Build Guide by wither

Cho'Gath - The Terror of the Jungle

By wither | Updated on May 27, 2012
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LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost


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Ability Order


Welcome to one of the weirdest (but still viable!) Cho'Gath builds out there.

I'm wither and this is the first mobafire guide I have written, so any criticism will be apreciated. Feel free to give feedback, opinions, etc. Anything will be nice. Also, do explain why are you downvoting or upvoting the guide - it will help me tremendously!
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Now that is a question I will be asked... A lot.

See, Cho IS very strong if played as a typical AP or tanky ap char. He can jungle very well as an ap/tank. The point here is to try something new.

The idea behind the build - Cho has the highest attack damage (without items) in the League. He also has this rather insane skill that deals 80 AoE damage in a cone in front of him. So, why not combine those two nice things and build a new type of Cho - a jungle as/ap monster?
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Pros / Cons

.....................................Pros and Cons......................................................................

..........................................Insane AoE autoattack damage...
..........................................Kinda tanky...
..........................................Not as much as tank Cho
..........................................Feasts on squishies...
..........................................Easily kited
..........................................Very good ganks...
..........................................Item and buff dependant
..........................................People will think that you are trolling
  • Insane AoE autoattack damage - will rip through most champs in a matter of seconds.
    Simple maths: 170-ish damage on your normal attacks+about 120 on your Vorpal Spikes, 2.3 attacks every second. That means (if the enemy has no armor and mr at all) that you will be dealing 3335 damage every 5 seconds. Even better, it will be mixed magic/physical and a third of that will be AoE.
  • Melee - simply put, to deal all that damage you will have to get in close.
    That means, unless if you can land your Rupture on them, don't go in like a madman. Ranged chars will drop a large potion of your hp pool untill you reach them. So, cc first, go in later.
  • Kinda tanky... - at level 18 you should have about 3k (with full Feast stacks) hp at averagely 60% physical and magical damage resist. So, you should be able to drop that ranged ad carry before he KO's you.
  • Not as much as tank Cho - well, the top Cho guide out there (tanky ap) plainly has more armor, mr and hp than this one.
    Just forget about tanking with this build. You can fill in an offtank role, but dont use the build if you have no main tank to take all the damage.
  • Feasts on squishies... - Malady+spell pen quints = nearly 0 mr for enemy squishies. The kill should take about 3 seconds. (average, if they stand and fight)
  • Easily kited - imagine going up against a Caitlyn and missing your Rupture. She will deal dmg to you, lay a Yordle Snap Trap, then dash away and continue shredding your hp. So, if they can kite you, cc them first.
  • Very good ganks... - his Rupture works as a 1 second stun + 3 sec slow, he has silence, a perfect finisher with his utimate and red buff turns him into a slowing melee monster.
  • Item and buff dependant - jungling without blue buff is rather slow and ganks without red depend heavily on good skillshots/cc from somebody else. Also, if undefarmed (kinda hard, since he farms like a boss) you will be next to useless since your basic attackspeed is laughable.
  • People will think that you are trolling A very nice thing when winning. However, fail even a bit and they will start flaming at you. You got 3 man ganked at double golems and your bot farmed away? Your fault, you noob, look at your n00bzord itemz.
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Already I'm starting to feel that I will get many questions on this one too. So, let me lay it down and explain myself.

As you see, I have split the points between the defense tree and the offense one. Reason? Well, Alacrity is good, but it isn't that essential. The same, though, can be said about Juggernaut . Remember, you are not the tank and you don't need to go full defense. So, I would rather do 4% more damage than have 3% more hp. Cho's hp is enough as it is.

If the mastery setup bugs you, I encourage you to try with either full ofense with going up to Veteran's Scars into the defense tree, or something completely different, like full defense and only up to Arcane Knowledge in offense. Post up your results and I may very well change the masteries.
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Speed is good 99999.
SPACE ..............
Most of your damage is magical.
SPACE ..............
All around armor and mr pen.

.............. greater seal of replenishment
If you have mana problems.
SPACE .............. greater seal of defense
You are supposed to be able to tank a bit.
SPACE ..............
More damage. MORE!

Use rupture and scream more often.
SPACE ..............
Now you aren't so easy to nuke.
SPACE ..............
For that extra bit of damage.


Less kite-able with these.
SPACE ..............
Shred their mr like no tomorrow.
SPACE ..............
The build kinda relies on speed.
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Summoner Spells

Smite: You are jungling. And though your ult can be used as smite, you still need this!
Flash/ Ghost Your escape mechanism of choice. I would go with ghost, but it is totaly switchable.
Exhaust/ Ignite: If you are absolutely certain you will not need an escape mechanism, I suggest going with one of these.
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Skill Sequence and Explanation

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

  • Carnivore: The passive allows you to jungle, healing you up for every kill. However, it doesn't grant that much - 68 hp and 8 mana on lvl 18 will mean that you will have to clear quite a minion wave in order to fill up your vast hp pool. Still nice to have early game, especialy in the jungle.
  • Rupture (Q): Your ganking tool. The knockup and the slow do not change with levels, so there is no point in lvl-ing it up past level one. Spam only if you have blue buff. Interrupts channgeled spells. Also useful for escaping - just put in on their path. It will either force them to dash, or to move around and waste time.
  • Feral scream (W): A nice, quite long silence to help you gank and farm. Can also be used to interrupt channeled spells, like . Again, spam only if you have blue buff.
  • Vorpal spikes (E): The bread and butter on this build. On lvl 5 it deals 80 damage to units in front of you - extremely useful both in teamfigths and in the jungle. By the time you reach lvl 9 and max this one out, you will be dealing terrible terrible damage to squishies. The ap ratio is rather low, though, so you will need quite a lot of ap to make a noticeable difference. Not so great late game and near useless vs good tanks.
    (!)Remeber to turn it off when you are attacking a turret and there is someone under it. You don't want to attract the turret's laser guided affection.
  • Feast (R): Your ultimate, one of the best finishing abilities. Even without ap, it deals scary damage, and it is true - so you can feast on that very low Malph, no worries - his mr wont mean anything. Also, the passive is great and allows for some free tankiness. AND it deals 1000 true damage to minons and monsters alike, so it is basicaly a buffed smite on a shorter cooldown.
    Keep feasting on minons untill you reach max stacks, then only use it for finishing champions. Baron and dragon are exceptions to this rule. Also note that with blue buff the cd will be rather low.
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Core items

Core items

  • Madred's Razors: Well, you kill mions realy fast due to your Vorpal Spikes. However, without these dragon will be hard. It has slowing attacks, remember? You jungle rather fast, but you can always jungle faster, after all.
  • Boots of choice: I would heavily suggest going for Mercury's Treads. Simply put, if you are good, you will be cc'ed into oblivion and we want to avoid that. However, if you want more damage you may go for something else, like Berserker's Greaves or Sorcerer's Shoes. Don't go Boots of Swiftness. If you want speed, pick up the speed quints. Those boots add only a bit of ms and have no other uses, making them one of the worse choices for any champ, Cho included.
    Merc's will enable you to withstand more damage and thus, survive and win fights. A dead carry is useless. So, I would pick them.
  • Nashor's Tooth: Ability power, cdr, mp/5 and attack speed all in one sweet, and rather cheap package! Remember to start with Fiendish Codex. That way you will fool them that you are going for a more traditional build.
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Offensive items

A list of the items I would pick if I want more damage:

  • Ionic Spark A underused and rather good item for anyone who stacks attack speed and wants a bit of health to go with the package. The passive will also help your damage output.
  • Malady Again, a underused item. It is great for any chars that deal mostly magic damage and rely on autoattacks... And that would be you. With this and your runes/masteries+ Starcall or Abyssal Mask= the mr of your enemies may very well dip into the negatives.
    One reminder, though - Malady works only on your primary target, not on everyone hit by vorapl spikes
  • Madred's Bloodrazor: Built from Madred's Razors and a nice all around item giving you much needed armor, attack speed and some damage aswell. The passive is useful vs. high hp champs but you don't want to focus those anyway.
  • Atma's Impaler: I won't go for this item, since you don't have any other items for crit damage. But, if you require more armor, atma's can be a nice option - after all, you have high hp for its pasive.
  • Void Staff: If you don't get Malady, the Void staff is a good idea - it ignores 40% of the enemy's magic resist. A nice thing to have, but for me Malady simply offers more. You will be foucsing squishies and they usualy don't stack that much mr for the Void Staff to reach its full potential.
  • Rabadon's Deathcap: Erm... you have AP, right? This is an all around good item for ap casters, but is of limited use to you. Still, it is an option. Also, for lower prices you have items that are more useful with this build.
  • Guinsoo's Rageblade: Yes, that is a good one. I would get it instead of Madred's Bloodrazor if no one on the enemy team has that high hp.
  • Trinity Force: Supposedly, that item works everywhere. It has its uses for you too, but the passive of Sheen and the crit chance aren't that good for Cho, so I would rather skip it.
  • Frozen Mallet: A thing to consider if you can't gank too well and enemies escape you. Still, no ap and no attack speed make the big ol' hammer rather ill-suited for your needs.
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Now your feral scream will slow them aswell. Less effective than Frozen Mallet, since you will want to autoattack, but on the other hand, this one offers ap too.
  • zeke's herald: The new and reworked variant of a classic item. It adds some lifesteal that is always welcome, though you will regen more from minion kills. All the other stats are rather nice, so this item is viable, just not what I would prefer. Let a support get it.
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Defensive items

A list of the items I would pick for more survivability:
  • Wit's End: All in all, the nicest defensive item there is for this build. A good attackspeed buff plus magic resist. And it also isn't too expensive.
  • Rod of Ages: Mostly, when getting this, I would be taking it for the hp+mana. The ability power is nice, but it isn't the important thing in this package. Requires some time to develop it's full potential, but it is still a very good Cho item.
  • Zhonya's Hourglass: High armor values when you don't want a purely defensive Thornmail and the enemy focuses on physical damage. Otherwise not that useful.
  • Abyssal Mask: You will want to be in melee range, so the aura will be aplied to many targets at once. The ability power and mr make this item a very good choice.
  • Force of Nature: If they are very biased towards magic damage you should consider this, as well as...
  • Banshee's Veil: If you can't stand the heat of spells thrown at you. Still, you are a big target and will get hit by poking, so the passive isn't that effective.
  • Quicksilver Sash: If you don't get Mercury's Treads and they are focusing you a lot, the sash is a good option.
  • Thornmail: Purely defensive and does nothing for countering magic damage, so I would only buy this if they are running 4 or 5 ad champs.
  • Warmog's Armor: You have enough hp and this is not a tank build. Still, if you must, buy it. You will be farming up its bonuses extremely fast, so can be purchased relatively late.
  • Frozen Heart: Mana, armor, cdr and a sweet passive? A great defensive item for Cho!
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This is a jungle guide, so this section is obligatory. However, Cho's jungling is mostly standart. Start with Cloth Armor and pots. Go for the wolves camp. Get some damage from your mid or top teammates if you can - it always helps. Next, go for blue. Chuck a potion if required. The proceed to wraiths->double golems->red.

If unusre, there you go, a map!

By this point, it should be around 4:00, and you should start looking for ganks. Of course, you should look for oportunities always, but Cho's ganks are much weaker without red buff. If there is nothing you can do now, go back, heal up and buy Boots of Speed. Return to the jungle and hack away at monsters, always looking for a gank. If a lane is pushed by the enemy, go there immediately and gank it.

Ganking for Cho relies heavily on getting that Rupture right. Wait for an apropriate moment and jump on them. If you are ganking a lane with a stunner, like Taric or Sion on it, wait for them to stun and then go in. Then just Feral Scream and autoattack till the enemy dies. Of course, Feast to finish them up, when your ultimate is available.

Remember to /all OMNOMNOMNOM

In the rare event when your teammates are dominating and pushing all their lanes, try to counter the enemy jungler. With Feast and Smite both available you should be more than able to steal dragon and/or baron.

Also, remember that early on Cho has problems taking on dragon. So, just to be sure, you might want to call some help for taking it down faster.

You know what is better than a map for jungling? Videos. Courtesy to stonewall008.
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Here we discuss what happens after the early game. During midgame junglers start roaming rather than sticking to the jungle and waiting for ganks and small fights start breaking out. You core is rather cheap so you realy should have it before midgame starts.

With this build Cho is a monster at shredding minion waves. Being a jungler, I often end up having the highest minion slain count from my team. So, when you see an opportunity, don't hesitate.

Your job during midgame and lategame, beside the ocasional push and buff hunt is to accumulate kills and disrupt the enemy's carries and nukes. You do the same thing as in ganks during teamfights, you just have to remember to always focus the squishies. If there are none available, feel free to chip away at their tank, but don't chase him and don't spend your precious mana and cooldowns on him.

Last but not least now is the moment to analyse thoroughly how the game is going and to buy the according items. You realy shouldnt stick to the same items in every situation.
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Tips 'n Tricks

Just a rather small (for now) number of screenshots and advice on playing a sucsessful Cho.
Starting out
Now that is the place where you want to begin at:Stand there and wait. If the enemy comes in force, fight (if your team is with you), or flee. You don't want to get surprised, while in the middle of doing blue buff.
Also, rather stupid of me, here I picked directly Vorpal Spikes. Be aware, though, that if this isn't a bot game, like this one, you shouldnt be picking your first skill untill you start your jungling. Rupture will be much more useful in a lvl 1 teamfight.

Don't forget to ping! Realy. Your teammates might be focused on farming or just reluctant to go in. Ping them once or twice, just to be sure. Even ping if they are obviously aware of your presence and select the target prior to engaging.

That's the way to do it!
If you use your Rupture like this, the enemy has three options:

So, either way, it is a win/win/win situation. If they go towards your teammate(s), he or they will pick them up. A gank that has forced them to use up Flash is a sucsessful one and even if they dash away, you can still chase them and push them off their lane. If they chose to go around, you and your teammates will be able to catch up to them much easier.
Comboing 101

An obvious thing, but still, in case you want a tip, there it goes: Rupture> Feral Scream>Autoattack with Vorpal Spikes>Anything to bring them low enoguh, e.g. Rupture and Feral Scream again, or Ignite, or even Deathfire Grasp> Feast. If your enemy survives all this, you are probably focusing Galio. Which you shouldn't be doing.
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As a jungler you are the second person that should be warding. Of course, idealy, the support will be puting up the most wards, but you should be helping out aswell. There it goes, a map for warding (courtesy to Apotheosis's excelent Trynda guide)

If the author sees this and wants it removed, I will be happy to oblige.

Baron and dragon wards. Those are the most important ones. You want to have wards at those spots during midgame (for baron) and earlygame (for dragon). Keep those wards up untill the very end, they change games! Better use Vision Wards here.
Buff wards. The jungler's favourite wards, in my honest oppinion. Those make counterjungling realy easy.
Offensive and defensive wards. If the support does not ward these, ask him to do so. If he refuses, or if you have no support, carry around sight wards and place them at these spots.
River wards. Help for ghanks. In general, I would ward these if baron/dragon is taken.
Lane wards. If you are warding these your team is rather cheap and you are probably the only one placing wards. Still, ward them as map control=game control. Remember that those are the most often warded places during earlygame, so early Vision Wards can tip the scales in your favour!
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Q: Are you mad, this won't work!!!
A: Yep, I'm sark raving mad.

Q: Is this the best Cho guide around?
A: No. But one of the weirder ones that are still viable.

Q: Why are you taking item X when you should be taking Y?
A: My core items are pretty much obvious and all the other items are subject to change.

Q: You are in elo hell, aren't you?
A: Nope, I'm not. I am a mid elo player and this does not contribute that much to the viability of the guide anyways.

Q: Why so many gramatical mistakes?
A: Written in one sitting and not by a native speaker. Point them out and we shall unroot them!

Q: Shouldn't I lane as Cho?
A: Not with this build. Check up the other fine guides around mobafire.

Q: Is this viable in 3v3 or Dominion?
A: Yes. People will still tink that you troll though.

Q: People q-dodge when I say what I am going to do!
A: Then suprise them! And take the consequences...
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Thanks for reading through this mess of a guide. I hope it didn't cost you much effort. Again, point out my newbie mistakes and I will fix them. Comment and rate! I don;'t mind downvotes, but argumented ones will be more apreciated.

My deep thanks to jhoijhoi for the tips on creating a guide and parts of his great template, which you can find here.

Credits to Apotheosis and his guide for the (unasked for) warding map.

Credits should also go to stonewall008 for his jungling video.
DruoxTheShredder for the awesome song that you can see just below!
Also, gg wp and good hunting! Keep on omnomnoming.
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A Tribute to Turrets

Imagine being a turret. Standing all game long in one place, forced to attack minions even when your life is at peril and having a 50% mortality rate. Not the nicest job it the league, but the most unapreciated one. How many times a turret has saved us? They deserve some more love. So, there it goes: for the turrets!
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21.02.2012 - Set up the guide.
22.02.2012 - Some minor item changes.
.....................Added tips'n tricks section and a jungling map.
.....................Added the tribute to turrets!