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Cho'Gath Build Guide by MGasser

Jungle Cho'Gath - A Return to a Forgotten Deity

By MGasser | Updated on November 14, 2012
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LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost


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Ability Order

In the Beginning...

...there was Cho'Gath.

Hello, all. I'm glad you've taken time out of your day to check out my build, and I sincerely hope you gain something from it. This is my first real guide and I've spent a lot of time getting it to the state it is at today. All I ask is that you read it completely and play a game with it before you cast your vote. Thanks and enjoy!

As this is my first guide, it's heavily influenced by other guides' layouts. But I assure you that the content inside is very much my own. On that note, I'd also like to point out that I began playing Cho'Gath by building from Old Spice Bear's jungle guide, which can be found here. Then as time progressed I custom tuned some key aspects of his game play. So a large thank you to him, and I implore you to definitely take a look at his guide as well!
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The Basics

As of the Early August Patch, Cho'Gath is well on his way to becoming the terror he used to be. Among the ton of buffs he received during this patch, there's one that stands out immensely. Changes to his Q, Rupture, have made his ganking potential skyrocket:
  • Casting time decreased to 0.5 seconds, down from 0.672 seconds
  • The delay used to bounce between 0.5 seconds and 0.75 seconds. This effect has been normalized to a median of 0.625 seconds.

At first, this buff may not seem like that big of a deal. But as you can see in the following video at 2:12(for those who don't want to watch the whole patch notes), the buff is just enough so that most people need to Flash or Ghost out to avoid being caught by Rupture. Ya know what that means? Jungle Cho'Gath is back, baby!

This build is going to focus on making an off-tank jungler that can take a lot of punishment while still dealing out quite a bit of damage himself. A lot of Cho'Gath builds tend to build him pure tank so that he is quite literally an un-killable entity, but the problem is that in team fights the enemy is just going to ignore you if you don't have enough damage to be threatening. So your tankiness means absolutely nothing.
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Introduction to Cho'Gath and his Pros/Cons

Cho'Gath is a champion that, until recently, didn't see a lot of jungle play due to his entire gank relying on his Q hitting, which didn't always happen. Now that it's much more reliable, his speedy clears and scary presence in the Fields of Justice prove him to be a very viable jungler.

A common misconception about jungling is that: no kill = failed gank. That is just simply not the case. Sometimes denying farm by making them back or forcing a Flash/ Ghost/ Exhaust is even more detrimental to the enemy than straight up killing them. So just remember, if your gank goes south, your key priority is to survive and make sure your laner survives. DON'T DIE TO GET A KILL.

During mid and late game, your job as a jungle Cho'Gath is to secure your team the win. That means going where you're needed when you're needed, and dying during team fights if necessary. If the enemy team focuses you instead of your carries, you did your job. Whether or not you die for it. And while going negative might not be the best feeling in the world, it's much more important for you carry to get fed than for you to get fed.

.: :.                                   .: :.
        Pros                                                 Cons

+ Great Sustain After First Clear               - Squishy at First
+ Feast plus Smite Makes               - Ganks Need to Be Practiced
   Easy Counter Jungling                           - Kind of Susceptible to
+ Super Fast Clears with                             Counter Jungling
    Vorpal Spikes                                    - Loss of Feast stacks is painful
+ Almost impossible to 1v1
   at full stacks of Feast
+ Feral Scream is a long
   range AOE silence
+ Great sustain with Carnivore
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Skill Sequence and Usage

Level 1: Vorpal Spikes
Level 2: Rupture
Level 3: Vorpal Spikes
Level 4: Feral Scream

Post Level 4, simply follow this priority list:


Vorpal Spikes

Feral Scream


Carnivore (Passive)

Description: Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers health and mana. The values restored increase with Cho'Gath's level.

32 + (2 x level) health
3.25 + (0.25 x level) mana

Explanation: This passive is what gives Cho'Gath his ridiculous sustain in the jungle. After your first clear, you will usually have enough health to go gank a lane (probably bot or mid) before backing or continuing to farm, depending on how secure you feel.

Rupture (Q)

Description: Ruptures the ground at target location. After a delay of 0.5 seconds, enemies are launched into the air for 1 second, dealt 80/135/190/245/305 (+100% of AP) magic damage, and have their movement slowed by 60% for 3 seconds.

Explanation: This is your bread and butter as jungle Cho'Gath. For a gank to go well, you need to toss the enemy into the stratosphere with this skill, and proceed to beat them back into the ground with your laning ally (or allies). During laning phase, your Rupture can (and should) initiate a fight as well as stop a fleeing enemy. Mid/Late game, a well placed Rupture can completely turn the tide of a team fight. Interrupting ultimates like Nunu & Willump's Absolute Zero and Katarina's Death Lotus can shut down a major part of the enemy team's damage output. Also, if you manage to hit the enemy carry, your team should have an easy kill and the enemies will be forced to fall back.

Feral Scream (W)

Description: After 0.5 seconds, Cho'Gath screams in a cone in front of him, silencing enemies for 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds and causing 75/125/175/225/275 (+70% of AP) magic damage.

Explanation: In both ganks and team fights, this skill can make or break the encounter. The synergy with Rupture is out of this world. Once the enemy is popped into the air, try to quickly approach and silence as fast as possible. This ensures that they can't flash away for at least 2-3 seconds, which is hopefully enough to secure the kill.

Vorpal Spikes (E)

Description: (Toggle) Cho'Gath's physical attacks launch spikes which deal 20/35/50/65/80 (+30% of AP) magic damage in a line in front of him. The width of these spikes increases the larger Cho'Gath is.

Explanation: This is what makes you have one of the speediest jungle clears in the game. Sometimes it's more useful to attack smaller minions, so that your AOE hits them all. Your first clear should go so fast with your 9 x Greater Mark of Attack Speed that you'll probably have time to gank even before your wolves come back up. This extra time is very useful, considering other jungles have to sacrifice some farm time to gank lanes. Although, if you're taking a turret and ignoring enemy champions, make sure to toggle it off before attacking so you don't gain turret aggro.

Feast (R)

Description: After 0.5 seconds, Cho'Gath devours an enemy unit, dealing 300/475/650 (+0.7 per AP) true damage (1000 to minions) that ignores armor and magic resist. If the target is killed, Cho'Gath grows, gaining 90/120/150 extra health (max 6 stacks). Each stack of Feast gives Cho'Gath 8.3 attack range, up to 50 bonus range. Cho'Gath loses half his stacks (rounded up) upon death.

Explanation: In the beginning, USE THIS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. You want to get to 6 stacks as quickly as humanly possible, right? So use it. A lot. The most effective way to use feast is as follows:
  • Right when it comes up, run to enemy the enemy Big Wraith
  • Check to make sure its HP is <1000
  • Click the Big Wraith, press R
  • Return to own Jungle
  • 'lol' at their lost farm
After you have 6 stacks, still use it to steal Big Wraiths until your team and the enemy team is consistently slaying Dragon . After this point, always save your Feast and Smite to uber-secure Baron Nashor and Dragon .
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Summoner Spells - Not Much of a Choice

Smite, despite what some people might say, is a complete necessity. Yes, you have Feast, but what's better: 1000 true damage to a minion, or at 1445-1870 true damage to a minion? 'Nuff said. It speeds your clears, gets you extra gold from Summoner's Resolve , and can really help secure a Baron Nashor or Dragon . There really is no other option for your first summoner spell.

Your second summoner spell, however, is extremely situational. In general, I believe that your default choice should be:

Ghost really helps out in a pinch. It's great to close the gap after using Rupture so you can get off the swift Feral Scream. It's also pretty nice when you walk into a bush full of bush-wookies and you REALLY need to get outta there.

There are a few VERY situational picks to switch out Ghost for:

This one is more of a personal preference replacement. If you're a good juker, and you spend a lot of time cutting close corners and staying close to walls, this spell might be better for you. Being able to run through a Baron Nashor or Dragon pit to flash the wall is a pretty darn good escape. In the open, though, it won't get you too far out of danger.

This usually won't be necessary. However, if your mid is for some reason not running ignite, it's always good to have at least one ignite on the team. Another situation would be if the enemy has someone that relies on health regeneration, like Dr. Mundo or Volibear, and your mid is the only one running ignite. With two, you can completely shut down their health regeneration during a team fight, which severely hinders their usefulness.

This is barely a better option than ignite, and should only be used if both your support and your solo top are not running exhaust. If, for some reason, neither of them has this summoner spell, you'll probably need it if you want successful ganks.
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                                         For quick jungle clears, there really is no other option besides attack
       9 x Greater Mark of Alacrity        speed reds. Nothing else is really needed. Greater Mark of Desolation                                                           is a substitute if you really think you're going to need the armor                                                           penetration.

                                         Absolutely no substitutions. The armor gained from this helps you keep
       9 x Greater Seal of Resilience     a lot of sustain in the jungle. The creeps don't hit you as hard and it                                                           makes for smooth clears.

                                         As with the seals, there really are no substitutions for MR glyphs.
      9 x Greater Glyph of Shielding     MR runes OP OP. We take levels instead of flats here because during                                                           laning, you don't need much MR, but you'll need it a lot in late game.

                                         I personally think that Swiftness Quints are the most
     3 x Greater Quint of Swiftness     effective choice for Cho'Gath. He really benefits from the                                                          speed boost and it helps gank lanes. However, both                                                            Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed and the ever popular                                                            Greater Quintessence of Desolation are good substitutes.
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There has been a TON of controversy over which masteries seem to synergize best with Cho'Gath. So here is what the majority of people I've been talking to have decided upon:


All-in-all, you guys were totally right that the 21 offense mastery page I was running before is unnecessary. This build is already quite expensive, and due to that has a ton of damage output innately. Therefore, getting to just Weapon Expertise in the offense tree is plenty.

Moving onto the defense tree, I feel like the spread of the points is kind of just common sense. The stray point into Summoner's Resolve is too good to pass up with the bonus 10 gp EVERY time you smite something. Since you're in the jungle, Hardiness is the best option due to their physical damage. You'll eventually work your way towards Bladed Armor and Veteran's Scars . Being able to get BOTH of these along with Weapon Expertise and Runic Affinity is slightly OP.

Again, the utility tree is a VERY general allocation of points. You basically just need to get to Runic Affinity , and the best way I feel to get there is to gain some movement from Swiftness .
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Items and Reasonings

You should start off your jungle Cho'Gath career with a Regrowth Pendant and one Health Potion. This will give your already ridiculous sustain a little extra kick.

When you get around ~800 gold, you're going to want to back and pick up your Philosopher's Stone and Boots of Speed.

After a while, you'll accumulate ~825 gold again. Make sure to get back as fast as possible. Every second you waste without your Heart of Gold is some gold lost.

I feel like with the Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, secondary boots aren't a high priority. But attack speed always is, so I pick up a Recurve Bow and THEN I follow up with some nice Mercury's Treads. If the enemy isn't heavy on CC or AP, you can always pick up some Boots of Mobility or Berserker's Greaves instead.

Now you get to start becoming scary. Before you pick up a Wit's End, throw in a Glacial Shroud so that you can complete your Frozen Heart as soon as possible. I used to build a Frozen Mallet on Cho'Gath, but I realized from some comments that Frozen Heart is just too good to pass up. The fact that you're in the fight for so long makes it so that the 20% reduced attack speed your enemies receive is crippling.

I pick up the Sheen portion of my Trinity Force first because I believe the Rupture proc works out well. The Trinity Force helps max out your DPS to a very high level.

After that, we pick up a Randuin's Omen for those team fights when enemy carries get to be a little annoying. A few other guides I've looked at seem to favor Shurelya's Reverie at first, yet I view this as an item that the support should have already picked up. So we'll save that upgrade for last, as we spend our final coin on a Shurelya's Reverie.
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Jungling- Path and Strategy

Alright, the crem della crem. The entire reason for the hours I put into this guide, how to jungle efficiently.

You should start off your journey at Ancient Golem (Blue Buff), this way you can be level 2 by the time you head to Wolves . Use your Smite to finish off Blue Buff, and right when you turn the corner to Wolves , Cast your Q into the pit to knock them up. If you get the timing down, you should be able to get one or two auto-attacks on them before they can attack you. This can actually save you quite a bit of health.

Cross between your two outer turrets in mid and enter the Wraith camp. As before, pop your Q on them to get a little extra damage before they can attack you. At this point, you should look over to mid and make sure they're still doing okay. If the enemy is pushing hard, move into the lower river bush. If there's an opportunity, let your ally know what's going on and then Rupture the enemy into the air and rush in to get the Feral Scream silence on them. Whether or not the gank was successful, head back to your jungle and move towards Lizard Elder (Red Buff). Your Smite should be back up by now, and you can use it to last hit again to secure the buff. Move down to the Golem camp and take them out as quickly as possible. Check for any more ganks in mid/bot lane, or recall to pick up some items. If you're feeling safe, you can just continue to jungle, because your sustain is so high.

You'll continue to follow this same path throughout the rest of your jungling life. Post level 6, you'll want to remember to Feast whenever it's up, until you get six stacks. Always be watchful of your mini-map. If enemies are out of position, punish them. As the game progresses, make sure to pick up some wards when you have the cash. Dragon should ALWAYS be warded after the first one is taken (by either team). If you feel the presence of counter-jungling during your paths, ward the entrance to the Wraith camp. Just remember, vision is always a good thing. And whenever you feel like the enemies are getting strong enough to take a Baron Nashor you better have that entrance warded at all times. It's not fun to lose a game because the enemy got Baron buff without you being able to contest.

While warding, here's a map of some nice places to throw them down:

(Courtesy of my buddy 50Puppys in his guide for Fiora mid)
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...In the End

Overall, Cho'Gath has quickly become one of my favorite junglers, and I really hope that you give him a try. You definitely won't be disappointed.

I'm completely open to suggestions on the guide, and if you plan on down-voting it for something small, I'd really appreciate if you'd instead message me so i can fix it and get an up-vote from you. :)

Thank you to everyone reading this, and I hope it has helped in some way!
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Success Stories

Feel free to screen cap your successful games (Make sure you get your Summoner name in it) that you had using this build, and I'll throw them up here for people to see! :)

If you have LoL Replay, you can find a video of me going 14-1-18, with this guide, here.
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To Do List

Due to being freshly moved into a University, I don't have as much time on my hands as I'd like. But I plan on keeping this guide as up-to-date as possible. So if you leave suggestions in the comments, I promise I'll look at them and take them into consideration. :)
  1. Work in an AP Cho section, for those not liking an AD oriented build
  2. Adda section about junglers who counter/are weak against Cho'Gath
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Last Update / Change Log

08/03/2012 - Created entire guide.

08/22/2012 - All moved into college, started work back on the guide. Added some suggested changes.

09/27/2012 - MAJOR rework of the masteries section. Also followed up on some item tweaking.