Malzahar Build Guide by TygoVe
It is in motion - Beginner in-depth Malzahar guide [11.20]
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Runes: Vs AP ranged
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+8 ability haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
This matchup is pretty doable for Malzahar. Make sure you always stand behind minions, even when have your passive up, because she can easily break it and charm you. Respect her early burst potential and just play safe early on. As long as you do not give her kills you outscale her easily. If you are scared you can consider taking Nullifying Orb, as it will deny a lot of her power. You can even take phase rush, because almost all her damage is based on skillshots and you can dodge them more easily then.
Pretty easy matchup, he lets you breathe and scale up pretty decently, if he is bad you can even bully him a bit in lane.
She gets the better of you in the early game, has roaming potential and will also scale well. Annoying to deal with, as long as she doesn't get many early kills, you should be okay.
This little guy is pretty strong right now. Your passive does absolutely nothing against him, if I am not mistaken it will only block the slow from his ult, meaning the damage and knockup still happen, and he can just burst you down before you even get the chance to ult him. He can also just turretdive you and E back out while taking barely any damage. Take Nullifying Orb, and buy an early stopwatch. Use stopwatch before the shark comes up, not after. you might even want to go Zhonya's first item if he is a big problem, otherwise take it second. If I am wrong and your passive does block his ult, please tell me in the comments, he would be a minor threat.
In lane you should just play safe, make sure your passive is up for her E (stun). It blocks the stun but it does not block her mark. You can pretty much deny her early threat by staying under turret and using your Q when she tries to engage. Use R on her in most teamfights. Make sure you don't let her 1v1 you early on. Ping her when she roams.
In lane you can try to bully her with autoattacks, but try to watch out for her burst with ignite. She is not a big problem for you early on, but often you will see that she will get about 300 kills at your botlane, then she becomes a problem. Build Zhonya's Hourglass unless she is very much behind. Try to stay near your carries in teamfights and ult her as soon as you can
You both have different advantages over eachother. Ryze is stronger than you in the early levels, but later on he will have to (almost) come into your ult range in order to deal damage to you. The problem with Ryze is though, that he can easily kill your voidlings with his EQ, and he also matches your scaling. If he buys a QSS, thid might be a big problem
He is stronger than you in lane, he is stronger than you in midgame, he is stronger than you in lategame, he will always outdamage you and have a low cooldown stun. The worst thing is, he stacks his passive of your voidlings. So do not use your W unless necessary, take Nullifying Orb, buy Zhonya's, and pray your team will just kill him when you ult him.
You both don't really hurt eachother a lot, he is slippery so it is hard to ult him sometimes. Pretty even in every phase of the game. Buy Oblivion Orb after your mythic or Lost Chapter, depending on how much of a problem he is and how much other healing champs they have. Build it into Morellonomicon as a third item or so.
He can't do anything against you in lane, you outscale him and your ult does wonders against him in teamfights, basically just a free matchup. Only thing that can go wrong is that he will get a bunch of kills on his roams, but you can still easily destroy him in teamfights.
He might be able to kill you in lane because of his gap closers and easy turretdive with his E. He snowballs insanely well and can escape your ult if timed well with his E recast. Just very annoying.
Fairly annoying, you can't match his roaming potential, and he can poke you down and easily dive you in lane. Take stopwatch in runes or buy it early on. You should build Zhonya's Hourglass as a second item. Don't stay in lane low, try to make sure he doesn't hit level 6 before you do.
Champion Build Guide
Easy to play midlaner
Scales great into the lategame
Can be countered by Quicksilver Sash
Great gank setup
Mana problems early game
Consistently good in the meta
Not really a champion before level 6
Still useful when behind
Not good at punishing scaling champions
Passive - Void Shift
|Malzahar’s passive is rather simple, but far from useless. After some time without receiving damage or cc, you will get a shield, which will block the next attack from an enemy champion, you will take minimal damage and no cc. This can be very good in the laning phase, you will take less damage from poking and champions will have a hard time going all-in on you. In late game it can also save you from being sniped by for example an Ezreal Trueshot Barrage..|
Q - Call of the Void
|A nice ability for sure, the short summery is an AoE silence + damage. You basically deal damage and silence opponents in a rectangular area. Beware that this ability has a short delay, so take that into account when casting this spell. This ability has a lot of range, so it can be a nice poke. This spell is also very good in teamfights because you can silence a big part of their team, and if you have Rylai's Crystal Scepter, they will also be slowed. You will max this ability second because it is a strong poke and becomes stronger with levelling, but you are simply more reliant on your E.|
W - Void Swarm
|A quite simple, but useful ability. You spawn 1 to 3 voidlings that will attack for you. They live for a very short time and have very little HP, but they deal a fair amount of damage. These voidlings are an easy way to proc your Summon Aery or Arcane Comet. Some opponents will kill your voidlings as soon as possible, other opponents will simply ignore them. You can make use of both situations. If your opponent ignores your voidlings you can use them to bully your opponent and to clear waves. If your opponent puts a lot of energy into killing them you can poke them with your E or Q while they are distracted by your voidlings. An important thing to note is that the number of voidlings that are summoned is controlled by the amount of abilities you used before your W. If you used zero abilities you will summon one voidling, if you used one ability, you will summon two, if you used two or more abilities you will summon three voidlings. It is important to keep track of this because summoning one voidling is just a waste of mana. You can see the amount of additional voidlings summoned in the left bar above your abilities. Another important fact is that turrets always target voidlings over chamoions or minions, you can make use of this while destroying turrets. Another useful trick is placing voidlings behind you when you are about to get hooked or shot by for example a Bone Skewer or Mystic Shot. You will max this ability last because its strength is not increased by a lot when it is levelled.|
E - Malefic Visions
|This ability is very important. It deals a high amount of damage over time, and if the target dies, it is moved on to a next target. It is good for waveclear, but also a great point-and-click damage source. In lane you can use it whenever an enemy gets too close. Once you’ve bought your Liandry's Anguish and Demonic Embrace this ability will burn enormous amounts of health of your enemies, and likely use Summon Aery twice. This ability is, as I mentioned, very good for waveclear, since it could be passed on through an entire wave if you kill the minions fast enough. Always focus the minion that is affected by your E. If a target dies an amount of mana is also restored. If you use E, and then W, the voidlings will target the minion affected by your E, and you will likely be able to clear an entire wave. If an enemy is out of range for your E you can also use it on a minion, and when the minion dies, the E could be passed on to your opponent.|
R - Nether Grasp
|Your ultimate. A point-and-click suppress with a ton of damage, who doesn’t love that? There are many different usages for this ability. In teamfights, you can ult the most important champion from the opponents, and it will be focused and killed by your teammates, you can use it when an opponent turretdives, you can use it in a 1v1. There are many possibilities. In a 1v1 I usually press Q—>E—>W—> Ignite rapidly before ulting, this is almost a guaranteed kill since your voidlings will swarm around your opponent, they will receive true damage from ignite, and a lot of magic damage from your E and R. The only problem with your ultimate is that it can easily be countered by the item Quicksilver Sash (In this guide referred to as QSS). So keep looking at your opponents’ item bar.|
Sorcery is the best main rune line for Malzahar.
Okay, so as our primary runes we will use Sorcery. We have a few options everywhere and I will talk about everything.
- Summon Aery
I usually take this, it is easy to proc on Malzahar and you can even proc it multiple times in one Malefic Visions if you play well and have the right items.
If you are out of mana you can also proc it with basic attacks, which can be useful to remember. It just overall provides better pokes and better trades on Malzahar. This rune is better against melee champions, as you can easily harass them with basic attacks, also on average, melee champions have a higher base movement speed, so Arcane Comet would be easier to dodge.
- Arcane Comet
This is also a viable option. It provides some nice burst, which is good of course, but Summon Aery works better in a lot of situations. Arcane comet deals more damage but it can be dodged and has longer cooldowns, and is less easy to proc. So I take Summon Aery but taking Arcane Comet is not completely idiotic at all. It is better to take into more immobile enemies, especially mages, than Summon Aery, but
- Phase Rush
Phase Rush is pretty decent on Malzahar, but I think in most situations you will want to take either Arcane Comet or Summon Aery. Phase rush is used for escaping ganks, bad trades, teamfights, or for chasing enemies. It is fairly easy to proc on Malzahar using a basic attack and two abilities. If you are playing against a matchup that can be hard for you earlier on, or if the enemy jungler has a early gank champion (Think of Lee Sin, Elise, Xin Zhao etc.), then you should consider taking Phase Rush. Or just if you want to be extra safe and scale up.
- Nullifying Orb
Gives you a shield that absorbs damage when you drop below 30% of your health through magic damage. I would not recommend taking this in most games, however it can be very useful against heavy AP damage comps and/or matchups. But in most cases Manaflow Band is better. Do not take this into physical damage matchups, you could only consider taking it into heavy AP burst mages, such as Syndra or Zoe. I also would only take this if you are confident you can play around a smaller manapool.
- Manaflow Band
I usually take this. It provides permanent mana when poking an enemy champion, until you’ve gained 250. Than you will restore a small amount of your missing mana every 5 seconds. This is very useful since Malzahar can experience some issues with mana in his early game. And it makes sure you will have little to no issues with mana in your lategame. A Malzahar without mana problems is able to destroy waves and turrets rapidly, and it will be much more easy to kill enemy champions and defend yourself.
- Nimbus Cloak
When you cast a Summoner Spell you will gain movement speed for a few seconds. This is relatively weak on Malzahar. I would not recommend this. You will usually take Flash and Ignite or Teleport, with Ignite Nimbus Cloak will be close to useless, with Flash it can be useful, but it still is very underperforming compares to Manaflow Band and even Nullifying Orb in most situations.
Gives Ability Haste at Level 5 and Level 8. At Level 11 you will reduce the cooldown of your remaining abilities on takedowns. Ability haste is great on Malzahar, you will always need your Nether Grasp, so the shorter the cooldown, the better. And the shorter the cooldowns of your basic abilities, the better you can poke your enemies and destroy minion waves.
Movement speed bonuses are more effective. Just don’t take this. Movement speed is rather irrelevant on Malzahar, and you won’t be building any movement speed, aside from your boots. Just don’t take this.
- Absolute Focus
This is an okayish choice. You get some AP while you are above 70% of your health. You will spend a lot of your time above 70% of your health, so it can be a good choice, but the amount of AP is rather underwhelming, so I would not recommend this rune.
But it is not an awful choice.
This is a good rune on Malzahar. It works very well, because it gives him some early game poking power. When you land a damaging ability (so any ability for Malzahar) lights enemy champions on fire, and deals a little bit of magic damage, depending on which level you are. This has a very low cooldown (10 seconds), so since you will poke your enemies a lot, this can add up to a fair amount of damage. But in lategame it is not very likely that 35 damage or less will make the difference in a duel or teamfight. So if you want some early game power I would recommend this rune, but if you want to scale more, I would settle for Gathering Storm.
Gives movement speed and adaptive force while in the river. You should not take this rune. As a midlaner you will spend little time in the river, and movement speed, as mentioned before, is not the most impactful thing when it comes to Malzahar. The adaptive force is also not that much. This rune is just not what you want on Malzahar.
- Gathering Storm
This is actually a very powerful rune. Every 10 minutes, you will gain an increasing amount of adaptive force, so ability power for Malzahar. At 30 minutes you will gain 48 ability power, which is quite a lot. At 40 minutes you will gain 80 ability power which is honestly a lot for a non-keystone rune. But at the start of the game the ability power this rune gives you is quite underwhelming, so if you think you will need some early power, you should consider taking Scorch instead.
Now we can still choose two secondary runes from another rune path. The other four rune paths are Domination, Inspiration, Resolve and Precision.
I will discuss al of them except Resolve, because I see no reason to take it on Malzahar. I will also not discuss the keystones, as you will take a Sorcery keystone.
- Cheap Shot
This appears to be a fine choice on Malzahar at first sight. When you deal damage to enemies effected by Crowd Control, they will be dealt 10-45 bonus true damage. This can be a good choice, since Malzahar has two types of Crowd Control in his kit. The silence of his Call of the Void, and the suppression of his Nether Grasp can both be used to proc Cheap Shot. But an important thing to note is that the ability itself won’t proc the true damage. And since the silence of your Call of the Void doesn’t last that long, you will have to land another ability very quickly in order to proc your Cheap Shot. A basic attack would also work. But overall it is not that easy to proc but you could take it for some laning phase power.
- Taste of Blood
Damaging an enemy champion will heal you for a bit. It sounds good but in my opinion it is not that great with Malzahar. An important thing is that it has a 20 second cooldown. This is very long. So this will likely only be used in pokes every once in a while. It doesn’t give you any more lane pressure, and likely will not make a big difference in duels nor in teamfights. So personally I would not recommend this.
- Sudden Impact
Malzahar does not have dashes, you will literally use this 0 times in your games. Do not take this.
- Zombie Ward
Killing wards gives adaptive force. You won’t kill many wards so do not take this.
- Ghost Poro
When your wards expire they leave behind a Ghost Poro which grants sight for 60 seconds. This is only when the ward expires and not when the ward is killed by an enemy. But the interesting part is that every Ghost Poro spawned gives 2 AP, up to 10 stacks, when you will gain an additional 10 AP. So you could be able to gain 30 AP with this rune. Which is quite a lot. You will have to be careful for enemy Control Wards though. It also will likely take some time before it is fully stacked. But it could be worth taking for some scaling.
- Eyeball Collection
You will collect eyeballs for enemy takedowns. Up to 10 eyeballs. The amount of ability power you will gain is the same for the expired wards from Ghost Poro’s. So this can be fine, but you have to look at the matchup and think if you will place more wards or get more kills early game.
All three of these keystones are viable for Malzahar. Summon Aery is the one you can use most often, you can use it to bully melee champions a bit with your autoattacks and abilities, Arcane Comet is better against ranged champions, as they usually have a lower movement speed, and are harder to bully with your basic attacks. Phase Rush is a more safe option, which i will have to test a bit more You will almost always want to take Manaflow Band here, the only exception is when you are against a high AP comp, or a AP burst lane and you think you will have a hard time, then take Nullifying Orb. Never take Nimbus Cloak You will always take Transcendence here, the extra ability haste is a lot, and it really helps you as a mage. Absolute Focus would be bad because you want to be diving in with your ult, and you will lose HP there. I won't even explain why Celerity is useless. You will usually take Scorch, as it increases your early damage output significantly. It helps you a lot in poking, trades and fights early in the game. Gathering Storm is also a good choice, but in the first half of the game it is pretty useless, and as Vex is a mid-game champion, and not an insane scaler, scorch will usually do more work. You should always take Scorch or Gathering Storm, Waterwalking is never worth.
|A very nice item, helps you with mana problems and lets you deal more damage to minions. This item also allows you to take two potions with you, which may come in useful.|
|Starting Sapphire crystal with a Refillable Potion has become more popular on certain mages, as it helps you get to your Lost Chapter very early on, especially combined with Future's Market and Teleport this is very strong. You also do not really need the Doran's Ring, so this is actually very viable.|
|I don’t like this item that much as a first item because it is good for snowballing, and Malzahar is not a champ that will get an enormous amount of kills early on, most of the times. And on top of that, he has no mobility at all, so chances are that you will die to a gank or slight mispositioning in a teamfight, and lose all your stacks. But if you are very confident you could start this item with a Refillable Potion|
First back counter items
|This is a very strong item to buy on a first or second back if you're faced against an AD matchup, you will notice you're opponent dealing much less damage to you. Buying this can be very impactful, do not underestimate it. You can build it into Zhonya's Hourglass later on, but you don't need to. Buying this does have disadvantages, as a consequence of buying this item you will miss out on your early Lost Chapter, and reach your Liandry's Anguish powerspike much later. It also received some nerfs this season, so I would rather recommend buying it after your Lost Chapter or buying Plated Steelcaps. But if you are really hard losing, you should still buy this.|
|Exactly the same as Seeker's Armguard, but against AP champions, also same disadvantages. And obviously it doesn't build into Zhonya's Hourglass, but into Banshee's Veil (which I by the way, do not recommend building, see below).|
|This is just the best mythic for Malzahar in this meta, and probably always. It gives mana, AP and ability haste, and on top of that it gives a strong burn, which synergises insanely well with your E. Always take this|
|This is a pretty strong item, the active does not help you a lot if you are alone, but it can be strong to engage or disengage a fight. The base stats are also quite good, especially with the recent changes in which they added Kindlegem to the building path. So building this is not a bad choice, but due to how well Malzahar synergises with Liandry's Anguish, I still would not buy this.|
|This is not a bad pick, it gives some nice burst damage. It just is definitely a worse item than Liandry's Anguish on Malzahar, so I would not recommend buying it ever.|
|Magic penetration. I take this almost always. If you are unsure just buy these.|
|These boots can be very strong, as they give ability haste, which allows you to spam your abilities more, as well as your gamechanging R. They are also a tad cheaper than Sorcerer's Shoes, so that can also be a reason to build them.|
|Buy these into heavy AD teams, or when an AD opponent is very much fed. This won't be very often, but do not underestimate the difference this item can make.|
|Buy this into high AP comps, or when they have a lot of opponents with cc, think of Lissandra, Ashe, Amumu, Leona, etc. Once again, this will not be often, but you still will want to build it sometimes.|
|I personally love this item. It gives some HP, and also a lot of AP, another burn and it will also give you armor and magic resist based on how many champions you are burning with this item. If you have Liandry's Anguish + Demonic Embrace, your E by itself will already burn a big chomp of your opponents health of. I almost always buy this after my shoes. This item is great because it is offensive and defensive at the same time.|
|Interesting item, it gives you AP and Magic penetration. This item is better to build as a fifth or sixth item, or just not at all. Often it is best to choose between this item and Rabadon's Deathcap. You will usually have to choose Deathcap, but if the enemies are stacking magic resist, or if you are just poor, you should go for Void staff.|
|I usually take this as a last item if our team is on the winning hand. Sometimes I buy it a bit earlier if I am having a big gold advantage. If you manage to buy this item you will be much stronger, because of the AP and scaling.|
|This is the situational pick I have to take most often. It is a nice item by itself, since its base stats are very nice. Since the passive applies grievous wounds, take this into high healing teams, or against fed champions with lifesteal builds. Think of Aatrox, Dr. Mundo, Samira, Yasuo, Yone, Soraka etc. You can also just buy an Oblivion Orb, but sooner or later it is best to upgrade it to Morellonomicon.|
Another fine item by itself, but its true power lies within its active. You should definitely be building this into high burst assassins as Zed, Katarina, Qiyana and such, but even of they do not have assassins, it is still a great item, you can even consider it a core item and build it every game. The stasis will save your life so many times if you use it correctly.
|I don’t take this item often, but you could consider buying it because it gives a lot of AP. It also has a lot of ability haste. This can be strong if you need to use your R a lot.|
|I personally would not recommend building this item on Malzahar in most cases. This item gives you AP, ability haste, magic resist and a spell shield passive that blocks an ability. I dislike this item on Malzahar since its passive is almost the same as Malzahar's passive, making it almost useless. If you really need more magic resist than Mercury's Treads you could even consider buying an Abyssal Mask instead of this.|
|Teleport is a great pick. You can use it to roam, get to teamfights early, and to get back to lane quickly. Also, it is very strong if you take Future's Market, so you can just farm a bit in lane, rush Lost Chapter, Teleport back, and poke the enemy a lot. I recommend taking Teleport on most mages, especially Malzahar.|
How to position
One of the most important things in teamfights is your positioning. Malzahar is a mage who does not have a lot of extra survivability except for his passive, because of this you will want to mainly keep yourself at the backline, and move forward to throw spells whenever it's safe. When your passive is up, or you have Zhonya's Hourglass or a Stopwatch ready, you can move forward a bit more freely. You can also try to position yourself around your ADC and try to peel for them a bit.
Who to focus
Your focus is very dependent on the game, but usually you will either want to focus their ADC or Midlaner. Since the ADC is squishy they are fairly easy for you to kill, and they also tend to deal the most damage, this is usually your main focus. But let's say the opponent has a fed Yone who can just dive into your team and kill all of you, you will want to focus him. As a general rule of thumb you will usually want to focus either the biggest threat, or the easiest to kill. This is not always the case though, for example if your team is (except for you) full AD, and the opponent has an armor-stacking tank. It might be worth to focus them,
How to use your Q
If possible, it is the best to hit as many enemies who are stacked on top of eachother, but this is not always possible. If this is the case you can either just use it to spam damage, or you can use it to silence champions who are very reliant on using abilities. Think of mages, enchanters and assassins. This can shut down all their threat temporarily.
How to use your W
In a teamfight, you basically just want to spam your W. It is best to do it if you have 2 stacks, usually after you cast your E. Just make sure there are a lot of them running around, so they will either deal a ton of damage, or waste a few seconds of the enemies' time.
How to use your E
You want to use your main damage spell as often as possible. So usually you can just use it when it is up and someone is in range. It is of course best to have a proper focus, but as a mage you can also just put your spells onto anyone. Often you will stay out of range of enemy spelles, shortly walk in to E-W someone, and quicky walk out.
How to use your R
The toughest one, there ar many ways to use your ult in teamfights.
One way is to ult someone who is very mobile, like a Yone, Katarina or Irelia, so your team can land damage more easily on them. Bruisers are also a great choice, so they can't heal themselves back up again. And of course the damage dealers are always great to ult. A lot of the times you will just want to ult anyone in range of you, to get a free kill and create a numbers advantage. In some cases you can't really ult someone, because it will leave you too vulnerable, this is fine.
Basically, you're a mage, so just spam your abilities onto people of your liking. As long as you don't step too far forward and consider the opponent's means of engage, you should be fine.
This is actually a pretty nice patch for Malzahar, with Irelia, Zed, Akshan and Graves getting some nerfs, and Lucian being moved over to the botlane, a lot of strong midlaners are being nerfed, giving you a bit more safe laning phase against these champions. The only midlaner that was buffed is Lissandra, and it is only a small buff, so that shouldn’t hurt a lot.
Wow, big patch. A lot of buffs and nerfs, but not really a lot happening in the midlane, a few important things to pay attention to:
- Talon, Qiyana and Zed have gotten buffs for in the jungle. For Talon and Qiyana these go paired with a small nerf, so yay! Zed however, stays the same.
- Yone has gotten a buff on his W shielding, it won’t hurt a lot in lane, but it can be huge in skirmishes and teamfights, he is definitely worth to consider a ban for , as he already was annoying
- AP Kog'Maw got a buff, I have not played the matchup yet, but I suppose it will be fairly annoying, but I don't think it will be severely broken.
- Fizz got some adjustments, his R now deals less damage, but his W more, so not a huge change, but worth to note.
This is a pretty big patch
A lot of changes are being made in the midlane, since this is Worlds patch, and besides that, Vex is being released. These are the other buffs and nerfs happening in the midlane.
- Ryze is getting a nerf on his Q damage and E cooldown
- Akali is getting a small buff to her HP and HP regen, not a big buff, so not a big problem
- Fizz's 11.18 changes are being reverted, and on top of that his E cooldown is decreased. This is a fairly big buff, so watch out for him.
- Sylas' manapool and mana regen are being buff, so he is able to spam his abilities a bit more in lane, but also not the biggest buff.
11:20 is a pretty small patch. The only real difference in the midlane is that Irelia's lategame damage is nerfed a bit, which is pretty nice if she gets fed off of roaming kills. Besides that, some early ganking junglers are being buffed, which is probably more in your favour than a problem, because Malzahar is not often pushing early, so it is hard to get ganked by the enemy, but easy to get ganked by your team.