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Malzahar Build Guide by Aqua Dragon

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Diamond Jungle Malzahar - The Void's Legion

By Aqua Dragon | Updated on October 3, 2019
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Runes:

Inspiration
Unsealed Spellbook
Magical Footwear
Biscuit Delivery
Cosmic Insight

Sorcery
Transcendence
Gathering Storm
Bonus:

+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Smite

Smite

LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #3 in
Middle Lane
Win 53%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

Diamond Jungle Malzahar - The Void's Legion

By Aqua Dragon

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Hi! I’m Aqua Dragon. I've been hovering in Diamond / Master with Malzahar Jungle for multiple seasons now! In former seasons, I was an AD Jungle Malzahar main.

I also play:
I also take people's suggested playstyles, optimize them, and then make guides on them!

Want to to discuss or watch this build?
Join our community of off-meta lovers!





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Pros

  • Powerful objective taker; Voidlings tank very well
  • Can solo dragons and rift heralds very early
  • Suppression makes ganking as easy as pressing R
  • Amazing build versatility allows teching into any composition
  • 2-second AOE silences on a 3.3-second cooldown

Cons


  • Must become adept at using Unsealed Spellbook
  • Weak ganker until level 6
  • Mana issues can limit jungling speed
  • Susceptible to multiple divers
  • QSS starts limiting ult targets
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Jung-ling



Malzahar's voidlings are able to tank a substantial amount of damage due to how many of them can be rapidly spawned. This makes it possible to clear very healthily, including not requiring health potions to finish the first clear!

The voidlings also make it possible to pull off some fun objective tricks including killing Herald at spawn and early Dragons!

Particularly useful is Malzahar's teamfight impact. Most junglers are melee, and the few that are ranged tend to have suboptimal teamfight impact due to revolving so heavily around assassination. Meanwhile, Malzahar provides silences, skillshot-blocks, a suppress, and AOE ranged damage to every fight.

Due to the high-utility nature of the build, Malzahar is not dependent on a high income to always stay relevant, no matter how poorly the game is going. Silences and suppresses are excellent at shutting down a solely fed enemy, providing more opportunities to get back into the match.
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Customizlings




Unsealed Spellbook

Unsealed Spellbook is always versatile and impactful. Glacial Augment is excessive and Malzahar's ranges can't make good use of the Glacial slows. Check out the Stage of the Game section for information on how to effectively swap with Spellbook!



Magical Footwear

Magical Footwear is difficult to go wrong with for a champ that doesn't buy boots super early. Hexflash is too conditionally useful, and not useful enough even then.



Biscuit Delivery

Biscuits provide more practical gold than Future Market's theoretical gold.


Cosmic Insight

Cosmic Insight synergizes very well with Malzahar's goals


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Transcendence

Transcendence opens up significant item versatility, and is the largest reason for going Sorcery secondary.



Gathering Storm

Gathering Storm has all-around usefulness after 20 minutes for everything. Waterwalking is great, but too niche. Nimbus Cloak couldn't be proc'd meaningfully. Manaflow is excessive.


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Scaling CDR, Flat AP, and Armor

A standard package that also uses Transcendence to turn the scaling CDR into scaling AP.



There are, of course, a number of other very tempting runes in the other trees. so why have I opted against trying those?


I did experiment with all of these options to some degree, and the results are as follows:

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Sorcery

All three keystones were found to be very mediocre. Phase Rush couldn't be activated at useful times readily, while Arcane Comet and Summon Aery scarcely added any more damage since Malz spent so much time in the jungle. The slightly increased ult burst from Arcane Comet didn't meaningfully impact any kills, and until Rylais it's too difficult to land for improved sustained damage.

Additionally, out of the runes in Sorcery, Malz only really heavily desires Manaflow Band and Transcendence. The rest are just alright. We have a name for a rune tree that has only two desirable runes and mediocre keystones: Secondary Tree.



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Domination


Predator seemed tempting because of the speed boost for ganks, but it conflicts with Magical Footwear, so one of them has to be given up. Additionally, Unsealed Spellbook can provide similarly powerful ganking summoners (including Ghost!) such as Teleport and Exhaust.

Electrocute is the next best option, and along with Cheap Shot and Ultimate Hunter, shows promise for much more powerful, frequent all-in combos. However, testing revealed that while this burst was okay in the laning phase, it very rapidly fell off due to lacking raw AP. Additionally, in mid-late teamfights, both of the damaging runes get spread out across too many targets to do anything meaningful since Malzahar doesn't get the luxury of only bursting down one target usually.

The Domination tree is still good, but the Inspiration tree is simply better.



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Precision

Presence of Mind is just okay. If Malzahar is going down a tree that has awful keystones for Malz and mediocre utility runes, the desired rune has be way better than just okay.


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Malzabilites



Q
-

-
W
-

-
Q
-

-
E

After this initial order, you will max:

Q
-
>
-
W
-
>
-
E

Call of the Void is maxed first because it offers the greatest camp clearing speed increase due to its very short cooldown. The silence also scales with its rank.

Malefic Visions is preferred next because Void Swarm has fairly pitiful level ups, granting a whopping 2 extra Voidling damage per rank up.

Malzahar Jungle doesn't care about overall damage that much, but the decreased cooldown and higher base damage from Malefic Visions is still ultimately better for most situations.
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Null Set



Create Item Set



You don't need any health potions to finish the first clear, though one is a nice contingency. A control ward will help spot early invade attempts.






Your core is complete!











Core


This is all Malzahar Jungle really needs to stay reasonably topped off on mana while also having a good amount of CDR. Even without Glacial Augment, the slow is very effective for catching opponents and disengaging.


Despite focusing primarily on utility above all else, Malzahar still deals some respectable damage with their constant slows and ambient damage. Sorcerer Shoes amps it up just a touch more to some useful levels.







Situational Items


Great for keeping further control of major objectives. Pop one in the very back of the Baron and Dragon pits to keep near-permanent vision of them. Great for vision when enemies are not pick-focused.



An item to slow enemies alongside GLP. Malefic Visions can slow many enemies to a crawl and long-range Q snipes can allow enemies to be slowed just enough to reach. Great against compositions with multiple melee champions.


The number of picks you can set up with this item are insane. The ghost is a premonition of death since it readily allows you the chance to catch up and ult the unfortunate target. Great if your team or the enemy team is pick-focused.


Killing objectives quickly is one of the best ways to secure them. Liandrys offers ample burn toward that purpose, though if you get fed enough to combine it with Rylais, can also deal ample damage to enemies too. Excellent if ahead and you want to secure more objective control


Straightforward. Grievous Wounds.

Dead Mans only loses the movement speed bonus if the champion autoattacks. Good thing Malz Jungle doesn't autoattack! The pseudo-permanent movement buff helps for kiting around fights, providing many more opportunities for helping teammates while surviving through dangerous damage. Great for dodging magic damage too.
Choose if you need more survivability.






Not Recommended




Several reasons against the Blades. First, neither smite bonus is really good on Malz, with Chilling Smite just being 'okay'. Second, Unsealed Spellbook occupies smite's slot a large portion of the time anyway. Third, while the blade will increase jungling speed for 650g, so will having more mana / AP from Sapphire Crystal and Amplifying Tomes for 350-435g. Without a good smite bonus, the price for the clear-boost is only worthwhile if it's significantly faster, and it's not.

Fourth, the Runic Echoes enchantment is excessive mana; the runes cover Malzahar's mana needs by that point of the game. Fifth, Runic only offers 10% CDR compared to Hextech GLP-800's 20% CDR (for similar AP too!). Sixth, Malz Jungle already clears rapidly with their AOE / Lings and doesn't need more help with it, especially because more CDR from the alternatives will also clear faster. Malz is more interested in objectives / ganks / damage / utility than farming anyway.

Seventh, Hunter's Talisman gives the exact same EXP boost regardless, so it's sufficient to hold onto that and then sell it when inventory space gets cramped or a juicy 245g boost is needed.






Malzahar Jungle is not a damage carry.

There is a lot of ambient damage in the build that must be respected in fights, but ultimately, Malz Jungle is foremost about objective control and utility. There are a wealth of better jungle champions to play if the primary goal is just to deal damage. All of these options are selfish, expensive choices that focus on making Malz Jungle a carry at the expense of their primary goals.

Additionally, the jungle does not offer much gold for an expensive build, and the utility options don't deal 'that' much less damage anyway.




The actives are really good, but they veer so strongly into utility that not enough combat power is generated for good objective control. More impact can be made with the other affordable choices.


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The Lings of War



Understanding all the nuances about your Voidlings is critical to maximizing their potential, and their damage should not be underestimated.

Here’s the details about their facets.

  • Voidlings always die in one hit to tower shots and champion autoattacks
  • Malefic Visions causes them to deal 300% damage to minions
  • Malefic Visions does not increase their damage to monsters
  • Voidlings deal 50% damage to Epic monsters
  • Every rank-up, their damage increases by 2
  • Every two ranks, their duration increases by one second (8/8/9/9/10)
Voidlings will aggro anything close by, regardless of whether the target can see the Voidling or whether the camp has been aggroed (even when you're trying to hide in a bush...). They will chase until the target gets out of range or until another target gets closer. They also have no hard leash range, meaning they will not teleport to Malzahar no matter how far away they chase (in contrast with Leblanc's clone). However, if the Voidlings are not currently chasing or attacking a target, they will attempt to move very close to Malzahar.

But Voidlings don’t just wander aimlessly. You are able to control them by understanding what they decide to target. In order, Voidlings prioritize:
  • Targets hit by Nether Grasp
  • The nearest Malefic Vision on a Champion
  • The nearest Malefic Vision on a minion
  • The nearest enemies next to the Voidlings
Voidlings will not chase targets they cannot see or that they lose vision of, through stealth or bush.

When Voidlings attack champions, any nearby enemy minions will be aggroed toward that Voidling (not to Malz). Additionally, when you are pushing a turret and there are minions nearby, turrets will always prioritize the Voidlings over the minions. This is useful because so long as there is one minion left alive, the turret will not gain back its Reinforced Armor damage reduction; the Voidlings can tank nicely for minions. Voidlings give Malz experience upon killing anything, even if Malzahar is not nearby.

Voidlings do not work with everything.


Voidlings proc:


Voidlings do not proc:
  • Manaflow Band's mana bonus
  • Conqueror stacks
  • Any On-hit effects (Frozen Mallet, Executioner's Calling, Lich Bane, etc.)
  • Black Cleaver (Voidlings only deal magical damage)

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The Path is Clear



Malzahar has a few unique advantages for the first clear. They don't need any health potions to complete it, and they can do a full clear for every single camp without getting dangerously low on health. Start blue regardless of which side of the jungle you are on.

Blue
Gromp Wolves Raptors
Red
Krugs Scuttle

The biggest takeaway is that Malzahar tanks the large monster at each camp for a little while, then backs to time the monster attacks with the Voidlings' inevitable deaths. Additionally, Call of the Void is positioned to hit every monster at the camp, maximizing the raw damage output.

Remember that Call of the Void also disables the Scuttle's super-armor. Although Scuttle is listed on the first clear, feel free to skip it if it seems risky or if a gank opportunity with Red Buff seems more useful.

Because Malz doesn't need health potions, a control ward is the consumable of choice instead, granting significant anti-invading power. The mere presence of it can often be enough to scare off an opposing jungler.

If they are doing a Level 2 steal at Red Buff, it's often best just to let them. The time it takes for them to steal Red and escape often isn't very worthwhile for them, as you have plenty of other camps to kill anyway. It's not a travesty to lose only the Red Buff.

If it is a Level 3 steal at Red Buff, you will usually be in the area to contest. The important part is to maintain vision near the Red Buff bush using Call of the Void and to avoid starting Red Buff until you are absolutely certain they've left the jungle. Focus on taking the Raptors or Krugs instead; the longer they wait for Malz to start the red buff, the more time they are wasting.
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Ganks For the Memories



Ganking before level 6 is fairly tricky. Without Red Buff, it's often not worth the effort unless the enemy is particularly extended.

The most useful things to keep in mind for the ganks:

  • Call of the Void's silence will disable Flash
  • It also provides vision inside bushes it is cast inside
  • and its range is way longer than you think it is
  • Voidlings will not chase targets they cannot see
  • You will need Malefic Visions to direct Voidlings toward the target
  • If possible, enter with Void Shift ready to go
Keep all this in mind, and it's possible to pull off an early gank. Still, be wary of spending so much time trying to gank that level 6 becomes delayed significantly.

Ganking with the Nether Grasp becomes a lot more interesting. You still follow the above principles, but now you have a few more things to keep in mind.

  • Don't just suppress immediately. Silence first, suppress right after.
  • If an ally CC's during the suppress, let go! Then silence!
  • Voidlings prioritize suppressed targets above all else
  • Both Call of the Void and Nether Grasp will refresh Malefic Visions
  • However, Malefic Visions is only rank 1. Silencing takes priority.
  • Throw in an Unsealed Spellbook summoner to help out, like Ghost.
  • After a successful gank, see if a dragon, tower, or herald can be secured.
  • With the ult, Malzahar is a scary counterganker. Anticipate.
  • You have space to always have a control ward handy. Use them.
It's tempting to just gank nonstop once the ult is available, but that is not Malzahar's win condition. Their main power comes from their powerful objective control. Kills are not the end goal, they are just the method to secure objectives.
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Staying Objective




Minute 5 Dragon

It is possible to solo the Aqua, Cloud, or Mountain dragons at at spawn. It takes a while though, so it's often best used against junglers who won't steal the rest of your jungle (Amumu) or against unwary foes going for early ganks.

The three biggest pointers. First, keep casting Void Swarm even if it's not at max charges yet; the extra damage taken from waiting an extra second hurts much more. Second, the biscuit heals based on missing health. You must use the biscuit when you are as low as possible because its healing is dictated at the time of its usage. Third, tank the initial hit or two so the Voidlings will have their deaths timed with the dragon's attacks.

You cannot solo the Infernal Drake until level 6; that's the level when Voidlings can finally survive two hits from its attacks.



Rift Herald at Spawn

Rift Herald hits pretty hard when the jungler is alone. Thankfully, Malzahar is never alone.

The instant the Rift Herald spawns, Malzahar is able to take it. It just requires a bit of skilled dancing and proper caution (make sure there isn't a juicy scuttle nearby to tempt the enemy jungler!)

Start off by using Call of the Void a little outside the arena, so the Herald crashes into the wall. From here, keep autoattacking as much as possible (The eye opens more frequently as the Herald is autoattacked). Try to keep it close to the center of the arena to maximize maneuverability.

However, at the ~1800-2000 health mark, stop hitting it! Once it goes below that threshold, it won't open its eye anymore. That would stop it from getting hit by a eye-smite combo to instantly kill it.

Avoid using Malefic Visions. The mana cost is too high for the low amount of damage it adds. Of course if the Herald is below the critical health range, feel free to blast away with full force.


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The Stage is Set




Early

In the early game, your goals are to
  • Complete your first clear
  • Rush farm for level 6
  • Take a dragon and herald
Objectives are the win condition: Kills are cool and all, but the games where you get all the dragons and the herald are the games you are most likely to win. All thoughts should be focused on how to secure the objectives no matter what, often through securing a lane kill through a gank.

Avoid Using Malefic Vision on Most Camps: Until later in the game, it costs so much mana and deals such little damage that it's often better to just wait. The missing-mana regeneration from Talisman will keep Malz topped off without Malefic. Though, Krugs and Raptors are still worthwhile to Malefic due to all the potential bouncing.

Gank Wisely: Refer back to the Ganking section of the guide up above to get good tips for a successful gank.

Use Call of the Void to scout: Many unscrupulous fellows will try to kill Malz in the jungle. Since Call of the Void provides such strong vision, it can be used regularly to check around bushes or corners in case of a threat.

Rush for level 6: Malzahar doesn't have awesome pre-6 ganks, so the faster Level 6 can be reached, the faster that ganks will be more meaningful

Use Blue Buff to Solo Dragons: With blue buff, the dragon becomes very feasible to take out alone, regardless of which element it is. Particularly useful on the top right corner since it's right across the pit; kill the scuttle, throw down a control ward, and get to work!

Unsealed Spellbook has an overwhelming variety: For early summoners however, you should primarily be using Ghost if a lane gank looks likely, Teleport if a countergank or telegank seems possible, or Clarity if needing to jungle a bit more or to push a turret.

Biscuits regenerate based on missing health / mana: That means they should be used when low on either. Additionally, they restore based at the time of consumption. That means eating a biscuit, followed by spending more mana, will not increase the regeneration.

Keep a control ward handy: Malzahar is not as dependent on gold as many other junglers, so there is no excuse to be lacking a control ward at pretty much any point. They are the ultimate objective securer.







Mid

As the laning phase ends, the raw utility in the build shines
  • Disrupt at critical moments
  • Keep control wards handy
  • Stick with teammates
Objectives win games: this is difficult to overstate.

Focus on picks and peel: Malzahar Utility effectively plays like a second support, and every spell should be focused on maximizing disruption through silences, suppresses, and skillshot-voidling-blocking.

Silence then Suppress: It's often preferable to start with a silence instead of ulting immediately, because a silence can always be followed into an ult but not the other way around.

Preserve Void Shift Against Monsters: At this point, Voidlings can do almost all the tanking, so long as you do a little kiting. Try to avoid taking a monster hit too quickly before a gank, or you won't have Void Shift up in time for it.

Let Voidlings Finish Off Monsters: Where possible, let the Voidlings just clean up the camp while you move onto more important things. Voidlings are particularly ravenous against Scuttle. There's no need to overkill the monsters. This skill takes practice though, and you'll likely start off accidentally letting Gromp live with one hp at times. Not that I'd know.

Unsealed Spellbook continues its usefulness: Big candidates for swapping are Heal, Exhaust, and Barrier which can largely be used interchangeably. Clarity can be useful if trying to hold a tower alone. Largely avoid swapping to Ignite or Cleanse outside of some very specific situations.

Void Shift stops the Honeyfruit slow: Malz is one speedy fruit eater! Gorge up!

Be careful with Voidlings when giving buffs: The Voidlings are voracious and may often take it by accident if not careful.

Sold biscuits still give the permanent mana: Useful to know if you can't find a time to use them before the inventory starts getting full

Smite has no Unsealed Spellbook swapping cooldown: This means if, for example, you have Smite replaced with Heal, and you use Heal, Smite will immediately be available to use rather than having a 10-second lockout like all the other summoner spells!

Check Regularly for QSS: If you've ulted the same person at least twice, be sure to regularly check for an incoming QSS purchase. It feels awful to ult someone, only to suddenly be punched in the face anyway. However, a QSS is pretty awful against the silence since it's difficult to time, so you still have one disable on hand.

Enemies cannot use Smite while suppressed: However, you still can! This is one of the things that makes Malzahar so good at securing objectives because they are in such a strong position to win the smite duel.






Late

In the late game, it's more of the same, but better.
  • Peel for fed members on your team, and summon Void Swarms to tank skillshots when possible
  • Dance around the outskirts of teamfights and keep casting a nonstop barrage of spells
  • Save your flash-ult when possible for when you absolutely know that it will gain your team an inhibitor, baron, or nexus; Avoid using it just to get kills.
More of the same: However, in the late game, every pick and every death is more impactful. Be on guard and adjust itemization to stay alive.

Don't be afraid to let go of your ult: It's on a relatively short cooldown, and survival is more important than the extra damage.

More control wards: Many teammates will start having trouble fitting control wards into their inventories. However, both paths for Malz Jungle offer ample inventory space to keep purchasing more and more.

Unsealed Spellbook practically replaces Smite: Any of the summoners are good at this point besides Ignite and Cleanse, which tend to be really situational.

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Lots of stuff to take in! I've put in a tremendous amount of effort into this guide and hope you feel ready to pull Jungle Malz off!

Don’t hesitate to ask questions or write us messages! I'll be happy to answer anything, and likely will include any frequently asked questions into the guide itself.

Thanks for reading!