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Build Guide by Ensign Epic

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ensign Epic

How to Tank As Cho Whilst You Mow Down Foes

Ensign Epic Last updated on May 27, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

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Hey there everybody, and welcome to my guide. This here is a guide on the one, the only, Cho'Gath. Then again I assume you would have noticed that seeing how the title says it's a Cho guide and how his mug is plastered all over the top. So yeah. This guide focuses on becoming a tank with Cho. Note how I say becoming- at the beginning of a game, you aren't exactly a tank. You're more of a bulky caster then. I wouldn't say you are a tank until you finish your Force of Nature or Warmog's Armor. However by the time you hit level 18 and you finish the build, you become one of the strongest tanks in the game. I'm not going to lie to you- you're not going to be the biggest damage dealer or the guy who carries the team (most of the time). You are, however, going to be an incredibly hard to kill tank who unleashes insane amounts of damage for that role.

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Pros / Cons


  • High HP
  • Insane HP regeneration
  • High Armor
  • High MRes
  • Radical sustainability
  • Very nice farming
  • Retains damage dealing abilities while being able to tank
  • Force of Nature is a great counter to Madred's Bloodrazor
  • Great chasing capabilities
  • Excellent debuffing, especially if you take Ignite
  • Size allows for easy blocking of enemy skill shots and ult such as Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole
  • Great escape abilities, especially if you take Ghost
  • Abilities have a multitude of uses
  • Excellent at keeping teammates alive and ensuring kills
  • You just look scary and intimidating


  • Mediocre initiation
  • Easily Manastarved earlygame
  • Before you get Force of Nature, Madred's Bloodrazor will ream you
  • MRes does not scale as well as Armor unless you specifically buy it
  • Harder to carry if the rest of the team is mediocre
  • Late game you're generally not going to be the main damage-dealer, but deal support CC and damage
  • Generally shouldn't get kills, but deliver them to a carry or other teammate in need of gold
  • REQUIRES map awareness
  • Ranged harass is annoying

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Summoner Spells- In Order From Best to Worst

My Prime Suggestions

Beyond being probably the single-most useful Summoner Spell in the game, it works great with this build. If you need to be somewhere, and you need to be there fast, trigger in and then RIDE OR DIE (protip- you ride and don't die).

I love this spell. Deals true damage, shuts down healing and health regen. An EXCELLENT counter to health-casters like Vladimir and Dr. Mundo, as well as great for making sure that annoying Tryndamere bites the big one after he goes "HERP DERP ULT." Great for ensuring the kill.

Other Great Choices

If you take this, have it replace Ignite. It more or less is used for the same purpose- to ensure the kill and to shut down a certain type of enemy. This is great against lifesteal-using champions, melee champions, and squishies. The slow allows you to just cast abilities-a-plenty on them while rapping on them with your Vorpal Spikes.

A nice spell in general. You remove CC and reduce the effects of any CC casted on you. It's a nice spell and can synergize well with Ghost to allow for better chasing or to replace Ghost.

This is like Ghost in that it allows you to go everywhere at once. It's limited, however, to allied nonchampion targets. It's a bit more situational than Ghost, but it can still get the job done.

Iffy/Situational Choices

"But Ensign, EVERYBODY loves Flash!" First of all, I've seen QQers. Second of all, I like it too. However, it's just not that good a spell for Cho. I mean I suppose you can use it as a gap closer to throw down a Rupture or use your Feast but I find that's easier done with Ghost.

I don't like this spell. It's really only useful in the early game, and it just becomes progressively worse as the game drags on. It can give you some mana, sure, but you wouldn't need that mana if you kept up with your last hits and weren't careless with your casting. Also, this build has a Mana Potion for a reason.

So you need to protect your tower? Call for help. That's how you make this spell unneeded. It gives you bonus damage against minions on cooldown, which isn't always a good thing (if your lane becomes too pushed you become susceptible to ganks) and you really don't even need the bonus damage.

Cho can technically jungle, but this build is not about it. However on laning Cho this can have some interesting situational uses, such as helping a teammate steal a buff and ensuring buffs aren't stolen. Just be sure to not steal from your teammate.

Leave this to the supports. Sure extra map awareness helps but it's kinda useless to you. Not much else to say about it.

Theory time- this is good if you have an AD team. In a team fight, you throw this down and it makes your team do even better. However this is a bad spell. It only grants AP if you throw a point in the mastery, and does not move. If it were a triggerable aura and also granted AP without a mastery, this would be MUCH higher in the build, maybe even a full category higher. It has potential if it's ever looked at by Riot, but for now it's nearing worthless.

What's like Clarity but refills a pool Cho can easily replenish? This spell! It's garbage. The Regrowth Pendant you grab for your first item is better at healing you than this spell is.


I'm freaking serious. If I EVER see you use this worthless waste of a summoner spell, you will meet a sharp blade in your future.

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Lets you have great damage early on and lets you keep doing damage later in the game.

Greater Seal of Defense
Beats out the Greater Seal of Armor by level 10. This keeps going higher and higher and will benefit you more in the long run and for the majority of the game.

Also beats out its counterpart, Greater Glyph of Magic Resist, by level 10.

Greater Quintessence of Vitality
Could you tell I like per level things yet? Also beats out the flat Greater Quintessence of Health by level 10. Only gives you appx 8 HP at the start but quickly starts going up.

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I chose a standard 9/0/21 rune set. In the offense tree you can get AP, CDR, and MPen all early on. It's the standard caster's 9. You also get a point in crit chance. Note if you choose Exhaust, grab the point in that instead.
In the defensive tree you want to grab all the flat armor and Mres you can. You also grab some points in dodge (and a conditional speed boost), damage negation, health, attack speed and AP, and percent-based damage reduction. Even if you grab Cleanse, I suggest against putting a point into it- 20 seconds isn't that great.
Utility tree is nice on some champions, but I find it more or less useless on Cho. You don't die. Your regen rates are already through the roof later on, and even though your early game is probably your weakest point, it is by no mean weak. You're sustainable so you don't need to get Exp faster to compensate for deaths. I can go on and on, but I think I've made my points clear.

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Skills and Skill Sequence

Ah, Cho's passive. It's a big part of what makes him so sustainable- you farm minions, you get health and mana back that much more quickly. It's just a great passive overall and probably one of the best in the game.

I am going to state this outright- this ability is easily Cho'Gath's best. Feast is great and all, but Rupture features a good mana cost, low cooldown, high damage, 1:1 AP ratio, and 1, 2, 2 forms of CC HA HA! Learn how to use this spell, and you will be great. It's just that handy and, in my opinion, the real reason to play Cho.

A nice spell featuring an AoE silence. This is the main reason to grab points in this spell, though. Its AP ratios are subpar compared to Rupture (only .7:1), its base damage is less, AND it quickly becomes more expensive than its better brother. However it can be cast more readily while chasing, and helps prevent the triggering of any escape abilities

This is steroids for your autoattack. Shoots penetrating spikes with each attack that scale with AP. Some might ask why there's a toggle. Well if it hits an enemy champion while you're hitting the tower, it will draw the tower's aggro and the tower will be angry and OH GOD THE PAIN ;_;

It's the ult. That one people say is OP. It's great though, nice amounts of true damage that gets boosted a nice amount by your AP, and a low cooldown to boot. However, its real power lies in the little passive buff you get when you kill an enemy with it. Because of this it should NEVER be off of cooldown until you are at 6 stacks. Use it on minions and jungle monsters if you can't grab a champion for a kill, but be sure you use it. Once you get those stacks is when you will notice yourself becoming more tanky.


I max Rupture first because it's Cho's best ability, getting a point in Vorpal Spikes at level 2. At level 4 I get a point in Feral Scream, primarily for the silence. Get your ult whenever possible, starting at 6. This is even more important on Cho as every time you level up Feast the stacks give you more and more health. Once Rupture is maxed I go for Vorpal Spikes for a general increase in damage. The last ability I max is Feral Scream.

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Items and Purchasing Advice

My Suggested Items

IMO the best boots for Cho. Allows you to rapidly move across the map, chase, run in front of attacks, and just do your job better all around.

Easily one of the single best items in the game. VERY few champions don't benefit from this item in some way, and those champions tend to all be manaless or use AD. Nevertheless, on any caster this item is nearly a must, and with Cho, a tank who casts, this is no exception. This item is what gives you your damage, and you want to grab it as early as possible.

Oh, this item. How I love it. This item fits PERFECTLY with Cho, granting health regen, movement speed, and MRes (the single biggest supplier of MRes in the game, in fact). It's nearly essential on any balanced tank.

Has always been a good choice on Cho, what with his mad farming skills. It gives health and health accessories (namely regeneration) and interacts well with Force of Nature because of this.

Aww geez, it's the legion. This item provides a good mixture of defenses as well as giving your allies those same benefits. A tank's job is to help keep your allies alive, and how better to do that than buying the team an aura?

People tend to love this item, mainly for its passive. I tend to like it more for its mixture of armor and Mres. I really just view its passive as showy- if it triggers, it's more likely than not you're just delaying the inevitable- you're probably gonna get the hammer dropped on you after you rise from the grave. Really the only exception to this if you die surrounded by your team and you're the single casualty of the fight on your team. Needless to say the passive is an EXCELLENT intimidation factor, and the when opposing team sees this they might just surrender, even if the game has been even.
A small note if you ever play against someone who grabs this early- with proper timing you can hit them with your Rupture right after they revive. If you're great, you can time Feral Scream with that too, especially if they have an ability that will allow them to escape.

Other Options

Quicksilver Sash is a free Cleanse with the added bonus of MRes. A great item, and oft overlooked.

Thornmail is good for a team that has a ton of autoattackers. I would not suggest this against Kog'Maw however as his autoattacks don't hurt- it's Bio-Arcane Barrage and Madred's Bloodrazor that do, and they do magic damage.

Frozen Heart is another good choice against autoattackers as it slows their damage. It also allows you to cast that much faster.

Randuin's Omen is another final choice if you need armor and to mess with autoattackers.

Leviathan and Mejai's Soulstealer are good if you're getting fed and the other team just won't surrender.

Rabadon's Deathcap is also great if the enemy team is doing terribly. If you have no fear of death because they're doing badly, get this and get ready to have simply radical amounts of damage.

Mercury Treads are nice if you're facing tons of CC. However I generally stick with Boots of Swiftness anyways because the speed granted tends to mitigate the effectiveness of slows and such while combined with Force of Nature.

Purchasing Guidelines

As a foreword, items that I have listed before the completed items are what I feel is what one should buy when facing a well balanced team. Never be afraid to purchase Sight Wards if the enemy has a jungler and you're playing solo top or Vision Wards if the enemy has a stealth champion. Another thing to note is that buying an Oracle's Elixir as soon as you feel you are tanky enough is never a bad idea when there is a stealth champion on the opposing team- just be wary of the cost.

I start with a Regeneration Pendant for increased sustainability and a single Mana Potion to help with mana problems in the early game. If I need to run back to base before I have enough for Catalyst the Protector, I go ahead and buy a Sapphire Crystal, again helping with mana issues. I build Catalyst the Protector and then, depending on how aggressive the enemy team is and how much gold I have, I get Boots of Speed for aggressive teams or Blasting Wand for more passive teams. If you have your Rod of Ages before 20 minutes, you're generally in a good spot. The faster, the better. Earliest I ever got one was 11:30, and that team fed me like no tomorrow. Then finish your Boots of Swiftness. Afterwards, against most teams I go for a Negatron Cloak to keep my MRes up and follow that up into a Force of Nature. However if they are very AD heavy I will go for Warmog's Armor as your armor naturally scales well. If you get Force of Nature first get Warmog's Armor after, and if you got Warmog's Armor first get Force of Nature afterwards. Even if they don't have much magic damage I tend to always get Force of Nature as it also grants movement speed, excellent health regen, and DAT UNIQUE PASSIVE. I then get Aegis of the Legion to grab even more armor and Mres and for the aura, as it makes your team even more strong. Finally, finish off with a Guardian Angel for another nice boost in armor and Mres.

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On the Elixirs

I have them all on there for a reason- once your build is done, there is no excuse not to buy them. With the exceptions of Oracle's Elixir, they all provide nothing but boons in every situation. The order that I have them listed is the order of importance they are in general. Elixir of Brilliance gives you more damage period, and better damage and CC capabilities due to CDR, so this is the top priority to buy. Elixir of Fortitude gives you a bit more health and attack damage. It is of lesser importance because the major benefit to you is the Health, and even still it's not that much. Elixir of Agility is probably the least important of the bunch. It provides attack speed and crit chance. While attack speed is kinda useful because of the spikes, it isn't that important, and crit chance is not really important to a casting tank. Oracle's Elixir is a situational buy. If they have a stealth champ or Teemo, prioritize this over the other Elixirs. It is FAR more important to see the stealth champs or Noxious Trap shrooms than it is to gain mediocre buffs. If they've warded, buy it after the other elixirs to help your team gain map control and to cut the enemy team's map control. If they don't have any stealth or wards, Oracle's isn't needed. However, I tend to buy it anyway as I tend to have enough gold lying around. I do it primarily for scare tactics- it means wards are useless, and they should not even bother trying to regain map control. It also adds to how you look- a giant red monster who is surrounded in white light who also has a glowing purple eye over his head- I'd be scared to death.

However, this is not to say that the order they are listed in the guide are the order you should use when purchasing them ALL at once. In fact, when purchasing them all in bulk, I suggest you buy them in REVERSE order. That's right, reverse. Why? Because you want the more important buffs to last longer. If you buy Elixir of Brilliance before Elixir of Agility, the buff from Brilliance will run out first. Therefore, you want to start with Oracle's Elixir, as it lasts until death. That way, you waste no time of the other buffs. Then go for Elixir of Agility, Elixir of Fortitude, and Elixir of Brilliance. This means Agility will run out slightly before Fortitude, which runs out slightly before Brilliance. Most pushes don't last for 4 minutes, but better safe than sorry. PLEASE NOTE- THIS PARAGRAPH ONLY APPLIES TO WHEN YOU ARE SPENDING 1150 GOLD ON ALL OF THEM AT THE SAME PURCHASING TIME.

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In-Game Statistics With Full Build At 18

Without Elixirs

    5245 Health
    1650 Mana
    186.7875 HP5
    8.45 MP5
    138 Attack Damage
    0.784 Attack Speed
    94 Ability Power
    8.55 Magic Penetration (Flat)
    15% Magic Penetration (Percentage)
    433 Movement Speed
    210 Armor
    213 Magic Resist
    2.0% Dodge Chance
    .66% Crit Chance
    3.00% Cooldown Reduction
    1.5 Physical Damage Blocked

With Elixirs

    5480 Health
    1650 Mana
    190.9 HP5
    8.45 MP5
    148 Attack Damage
    0.927 Attack Speed
    136 Ability Power
    8.55 Magic Penetration (Flat)
    15% Magic Penetration (Percentage)
    433 Movement Speed
    210 Armor
    213 Magic Resist
    2.0% Dodge Chance
    8.66% Crit Chance
    13.00% Cooldown Reduction
    1.5 Physical Damage Blocked

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So that was my guide. I'd like to give a special thanks to the MOBAFire user hell_pet for making the guide I first used when I got into this champion. I'd be open to any questions or comments about this guide, however I'd like to ask you to refrain from voting until you try it out. ESPECIALLY if you're just going to instantly downvote. I wish you luck in the League, regardless of whether on not you use this guide, or even whether or not you use this champion. Thanks for reading.