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Kassadin: All the tools of the trade

Last updated on August 6, 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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The following is a work in progress. Pictures, more detailed explanations and the like are in the works.

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This guide explores the realm of solo queue solomid kassadin. Although the runes & masteries is quite different from that of other casters, This guide's focus is quite different from that of other guides. Kass is worse than most squishy casters as his aoe requires him to be nearly melee range. Although he has a great escape and positioning skill, in even games and short teamfights, it becomes lackluster. Although your kda will be amazing due to the nature of the hero itself, your team will probably, in an even game, not want to force barons, dragons or any form of 5v5 fighting.

Thus, this guide will focus on what types of games kass is good at, and how to force games to turn to such.

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When to play kass

Here's a checklist as to when to play kassadin:
2-3 squishy heroes on the OPPOSING team
Low sustain ap carry that solos mid on the OPPOSING team
Good aoe/intiation on YOUR team that allows you to pick heroes/burst when the opposing team already unleashed their cooldowns

For example, if your team has an ashe,(jungle)jarvan, soraka and rumble, while the opposing team has annie amumu janna udyr and caitlyn, you may pick kassadin. This will lock in your teams strategy as a kite team, and force pressure on you to win middle solidly vs annie. However, as kassadin, with good kiting, you should be able to win middle without much difficulty.

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Notes on Runes and Masteries

The runes and masteries are set up to win 1v1 engagements vs other casters with creeps, towers and the like. 9/21/0 is my preference as it allows me to win mid lanes in favorable situations more often than 9/0/21 or 0/21/9. The combined 15% spell pen with the def specs allow for greater lane sustain, while 1 lvl in kassadin's w will allow you the mana regen available in the utility spec.

Some players will find that not having utility spec messes with their play too much, as they may not hit 6 before their opponent, and in an even trade of summoners, their flash/ignite will come off later than their opponent. This takes getting used to, and as always, when you're in a position with unfavorable trades or where you can get one shotted, its best to play safe until such is not the case.

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Always, always, always get boots 3hp pot first.
This build will allow you to initiate more favorable trades as you can get off your q and run away much more safely.
This build will also make sure the opposing ap caster is much more likely to blue pill before you do.

The rest of the build is mainly about getting the quickest safe deathcap. Sometimes it means sorc shoes, 2x dorans rings -> deathcap, other times it means boots, catalyst -> deathcap. Use your own judgement.

Kass needs to deal enough damage with his initial burst as his cd's are higher than many ap casters (brand,annie,cass to name a few). Thus, it is imperative that an early deathcap is attained.

Afterwards, build as needed. Some games you can go straight into lichbane which is an extremely aggressive build. Others, you may have to build RoA (i prefer RoA vs banshees as banshees tends to get poked off in long teamfights. Also, RoA + defensive spec seems to allow for more all around survivability.)

Buy wards around lvl 4, as opponents will see you as an easier gank since you have to hit creeps with melee attacks.

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Skill Sequence

Get 1 lvl of w at lvl 2. Otherwise, just max R before Q before E before W. Pretty standard for kass. Although the lvl of w will weaken your burst earlier, the lane sustain it allows is more than worth it.

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Summoner Spells

Flash ignite is a necessity. In games where you'd rather go cleanse, you're playing the wrong hero.
Also, people may be tempted in going ignite/exhaust. If you're facing a team with a jungle that ganks post 6 (lower-mid elo play), this is an okay build. However, flash ignite allows for more engagements vs ap carries mid lane. Also, when using your r to go in, flashing out will save you if you end up in a bad position. Although your r cd is extremely low, sometimes it is possible to end up in situations where a flash ult will barely get you in range of your q. Also, as flash is instant, if you're just about to get stunned (projectile within the .25sec or so cast time of ult), its better to flash out than to ult out.

If the game progresses long enough and a "oh **** I just got stunned and need to flash out but am stunned, maybe I'll press this" button is needed, grab a qss.

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Laning phase

As you have the longest range non ult targetted nuke in the game, abuse it. Constantly q the opponent, even at level 1. At lvl 2, make sure you get enough mana back by autoattacking creeps while making sure to get the last hit. If the situation presents itself, autoattack the enemy hero as well.

Make sure a ward is purchased your first trip back as you're an easier to gank caster than most casters before 6.

Your goal is to make sure your opponent is constantly at around half hp.No need to dive, unless you can kill with just q + ignite. Do not make unfavorable trades as your range should allow all trades to end with you taking less damage than they do. Cast when they're backs are turned to you, as by the time they turn around and walk the 50 to 150 range difference between your nuke and theirs, they'll be silenced and you can walk away.

Always try to get off free q's, in that you null sphere them while taking minimal damage. The ability to find free q's while last hitting and positioning yourself so that jungle can not screw you over will win you the lane.

If the ap caster switches lanes, switch as well after finishing a creepwave, buying etc. If you established an advantage such that the opponents ap caster is forced to switch lanes, staying in this advantaged position will be more beneficial than ganking.

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Juking and movement

Kassadin excels at escaping from enemies. When in a brush, if the opponent's skillshots or aoe is down, it may be a good idea to stick in the brush until you can get off your e,q and ult away in a different direction.

Learning how to ult over walls is essential to good kassadin play. However, abusing the flash mechanism will put you a step above. Kassadin's ult allows him to flash as far as, well flash. If you cast your ult so your character in its entirety fits over 50% of the wall, you'll flash over the wall. This allows you to position yourself further than intended. Most of the time in the jungle, instead of using your ult in a clear position, it is smarter to ult while tangent to the wall, slightly into the wall at max range. This will move you further than simply using your ult in a clear position.

As leblanc players know, many times it is not the best idea to get off your full combo. Sometimes, you can only afford to ult just in range for a q. Other times, you can ult right next to an opponent and land your full combo. Knowing when to cast what (basically, whether its safe or not to cast your combo) will make sure you do not lose your advantage gained in early game.