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Kha'Zix Build Guide by nanoobit
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I am a Diamond player, who has been playing league since the end of season one. I play a wide variety of heroes in all the lanes.
If you have any personal or in-depth questions (does not have to be related to this guide), feel free to PM me and I will answer when I have time.
After some thinking about how this game is changing in preseason. I will change a few things that i've found to have worked in season 3 and I think will continue to work as well as a few other tidbits. I will update trinkets when I learn more about them in practical use and which one I think works the best. Some changes that you can find below...
- Changed main rune setup from AD/ArP mix to 4%lifesteal/11 AD.
- Changed primary start from FortPot/Flask to Doran's Shield.
- Changes later in the guide relating to changes above.
- Season 4 Masteries (SoonTM when i have time to figure out what works) For the meantime I'll wipe the mastery section and redo it completely when I figure out what works.
If any of you would like me to cover some things in particular or if you want some new item to be really powerful let me know. Also with the changes to jungling I think Kha'Zix is going to be quite a better jungler since he can now have a reliable gold income.
Since his latest "readjustments" Kha'zix has had to do some serious soul searching to find his place again. His instagib potential has been almost demolished by being unable to cast Void Spike during the Leap animation. The removal of Unseen Threat from his Void Spike evolution eliminates his ability to poke down his enemy before going in for the resets. This change to Kha'Zix requires him to be almost entirely in melee range in order to kill his opponents. A common item in old Kha'Zix builds was Bloodthirster, which in a poke oriented play style is fine. However there is much more risk in going for a kill, and with Bloodthirster's stacking mechanics make this a risky proposition. Dying is now an inevitability in most games now as waiting back isn't always an option since Kha'Zix's ranged damage output is so pitiful now. This build is an evolution of original Kha'Zix builds but with a much larger focus on single target burst and 100% optimal uptime. This build no longer has room for liabilities like Bloodthirster. Instead this build combines a very accessible core that has multiple approaches, with a substantial amount of flexibility in additional offensive and defensive choices.
Most guides I have read tend to focus on the hero, matchups, general play but most importantly runes/masteries/item builds. I hope to impart all of these through this guide but also explain a lot of subtleties. Lets begin to address this with an initial mix of facts, assumptions, and questions.
- Itemization is both a skill and part of decision making as proper application requires both knowledge and in-game analysis.
- There are multiple metrics of efficiency (Gold, Time, Slot, Purpose) which beg questions that must be answered on the fly.
- Is the item gold efficient?
- Can you obtain the item(s) in a realistic time frame?
- Does the item have synergy with other items or does it help fulfill multiple roles.
- Is the item you're buying consistent with your goal or appropriate for the game?
- Effective itemization can effectively surmount gold leads, and by tailoring each build to the situation at hand both gold and purpose efficiency can be maxed out.
- By optimizing both knowledge of mechanics and itemization the only limiting factors becomes mechanical play and meta-game decision making.
My goal with this guide is to turn you into a player who can reactivly itemize to emergent threats and understand the mechanical limits and abilities of the hero to ultimately be limited solely by YOUR OWN ABILITY (Actual Mechanical play + Global Decision Making, and Itemization).
Kha'Zix has a very focused skill set designed to isolate and assassinate targets with extreme prejudice. Below I will go over skills and their various uses. A unique thing about Kha'Zix is his ability to evolve any his skills upon putting a point into his ultimate ability (levels 6, 11, and 16). These evolutions offer entirely new gameplay in some situations and add a unique chance to optimize your character even further to adapt to the game as it goes along.
Unseen Threat (Passive)
When Kha'Zix is not visible to the enemy team, he gains Unseen Threat. Unseen Threat causes his next basic attack against an enemy champion to deal 15 / 20 / 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 / 85 / 95 / 110 / 125 / 140 / 150 / 160 / 170 / 180 / 190 (+ 50% AP) bonus magic damage and slow by 25% for 2 seconds. Unseen Threat lasts until consumed and has no internal cooldown.
Kha'Zix's passive used to be one of his most integral abilities delivering massive damage using evolved Void Spikes as the delivery system. Now it serves a much diminished role but is not entirely useless. The passive is Consumed upon attacking an enemy champion and is refreshed upon the enemy losing sight of you. This passive can be used and refreshed in conjunction with Void Assault to keep an enemy slowed while chasing them down. Is more potent in top lane as you can duck into the lane brush quite frequently and constantly have the passive up. Also much more useful in a melee vs melee matchup which is very uncommon in mid lane. Very useful for winning early trades.
Taste Their Fear (Q)
Range: 325 (375 with Evolved Enlarged Claws) Cooldown: 3.5 Cost: 25 mana
Passive: Kha'Zix marks enemies that are isolated from their allies.
Active: Deals 70/100/130/160/190 (+150% bonus Attack Damage) physical damage. If the target is isolated, the damage is increased by 45%.
Evolved Enlarged Claws (Q)
Increases range of Taste Their Fear and autoattacks by 50. Additionally, Taste Their Fear now deals an additional 8% of the target's missing health as bonus damage (max 200 vs monsters). Against isolated targets this damage is increased by 45% to 11.6% of missing health.
Kha'Zix's (Q) Taste Their Fear is now his evolution of choice. The missing health damage component regardless of isolation along with its increased range make this the skill that kills. This skill combined with the active on Muramana on an isolated target does immense amounts of damage and can easily take out 50-75% of a targets health in a single go. This skill has a very low cooldown and in a fight should be used as soon as it's off cooldown. Since the bonus damage from this skill scales with % of missing HP, that portion of the damage scales ONLY with armor penetration. An interesting thing to note is Taste Their Fear can be cast while in the animation of Leap, technically allowing you to overshoot a target with Leap while still getting a kill extending the distance traveled considerably. Generally want to pick this evolution first.
Void Spike (W)
Range: 1000 Cooldown: 8 Cost: 55/60/65/70/75 mana
Fires exploding spikes, dealing 75/115/155/195/235 (+100% bonus Attack Damage) physical damage to all nearby enemies and slowing them for 20% for 2 seconds. Heals Kha'Zix for 40/70/100/130/160 (+50% Ability Power) if he is within the explosion radius.
Evolved Spike Racks (W)
Void Spike fires three spikes in a cone.
Kha'Zix's (W) Void Spike used to be his evolution of choice. However with the removed of his passive damage on hit this evolution is clearly the worst out of the four choices, as it isn't even close between Void Assault and this. Primarily used now for wave clear and sustain as it was before, however with out the evolution it is very hard to get to the back wave without sacrificing positioning. Useful for applying a ranged slow and a stack of black cleaver, but there really isn't any interesting gameplay with this skill anymore. The nerf to not allow Void Spike to be cast while in leap has significantly hit Kha'Zix ability to 100-0 targets like he did before with ease. However this skill can often mean the difference in securing a kill. Only evolve this skill in ARAM where melee champions are almost entirely useless.
Range: 600 (900 with Evolved Wings) Cooldown: 22/20/18/16/14 Cost: 50 mana
Leaps to a target area, dealing 65/100/135/170/205 (+80% bonus Attack Damage) physical damage.
Evolved Wings (E)
Increases Leap's range by 300 and causes kills and assists to refresh Leap's cooldown.
Kha'Zix's (E) Leap in its evolution is what makes Kha'Zix the monster that he is. Everytime you get a kill or a reset you can get in and out and back into teamfights at a speed that few other champions can match. The sheer mobility at 900 range is just insane and creates a giant zone in which anything can die at an instant. Due to rather wide AoE damage radius this also becomes a rather unknown source of massive damage in a clustered teamfight. It can easily deal upwards of 600 damage to a single target if hit by multiple Leaps. Famous for the Goomba Stomp effect. Generally take this skill second as you want to be able to kill things first, however there are a few matchups in which the increased ranged can catch people off guard when taken first.
Void Assault (R)
Cooldown: 100/90/80 Cost: 100 mana
Passive: Each rank of Void Assault allows Kha'Zix to evolve one of his abilities, granting it an additional effect.
Active: Kha'Zix enters stealth for 1 second, gaining 40% bonus movement speed while stealthed. Leaving enemy vision grants Unseen Threat. Void Assault can be cast a second time within 10 seconds at no cost.
Evolved Active Camouflage (R)
Allows Void Assault to be cast up to three times. Kha'Zix takes 50% reduced damage while in stealth.
Kha'Zix's (R) Void Assault as a skill is not extremely powerful its passive that allows the evolution of his other abilities are what make this skill an absolute must take at levels 6/11/16 simply because so much power is gain through evolution. This turns leap from a decent escape into one of the most powerful abilities and possibly the best gap closer in the game. Its physical use is far less exciting but none the less useful. In close trades the stealth can disengage the fight momentarily allowing you to get cooldowns and Unseen Threat back so you can strike back. The speed boost and stealth combo makes juking in and out of brushes and effective way to escape even if leap is on cooldown, and also chasing fleeing enemies a breeze. The evolution adds a third and grants 50% damage reduction while in stealth. These new properties help make Void Assault an even more potent chasing ability but also allowing Kha'Zix to survive through massive AoE based fights. An amazing skill to aid in duels. Should be taken 99% of the time as the third evolution.
Runes are a very important part of winning the game especially at higher levels. The runes I listed above and below are a generic set that most everyone should have. Below I will go over alternative runes that can be just as good if not better in certain situations. There are tradeoffs as with anything when choosing your runes. It is recommended if you want to have the optimal advantage it is advised to own many rune pages and have multiple alternatives, allowing you to adapt to any picks in champion select.
Primary Rune Setup
|space||Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage One of these quints gives us an easier time last hitting in lane as well as helping our early game damage output.|
|greater quintessence of lifesteal||space||greater quintessence of lifesteal The two lifesteal runes will help you stay in the lane along with the rengen from Doran's Shield.|
|space||3X Greater Mark of Attack Damage These marks are very good and the reason of running a mix of them is to maximize efficiency in damage output. 6X greater mark of armor penetration are used because flat penetration combines well with the penetration from both The Brutalizer/ Black Cleaver and Last Whisper as well as the mastery Weapon Expertise .|
|space||Greater Seal of Armors are the best seals in the game bar none. They simply cannot be replaced and have no alternative. The extra armor help early game and still scales decently into the late game and protects from AD threats. These are easily the most important runes for laning mid. By severely mitigating early game auto attack harass from ranged champions and minion damage you can help eliminate the one big early advantage they have over you.|
|space||Greater Glyph of Magic Resist are the generally the most versatile glyphs, helping to lane vs mages early as well as provide decent protection along with Kha'Zix natural scaling magic resist. Can easily be swapped with Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist when laning against minimal magic damage.|
Some alternative rune setups that I've had experience are:
Running Full Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration and Greater Mark of Armor Penetration runes in the Quintessence and Mark Slots.
- This setup sacrifices a lot of early game power for a massive power spike if you rush an early The Brutalizer. Can also be a quite powerful start if paired with an Elixir of Fortitude. Provides the most lategame damage provided you can survive a rough early game
Running Full Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist instead of flat Magic Resist runes.
- This is just a personal preference and is completely superior granted you can stay away from severe magic damage until later levels.
Running Full Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage and Greater Mark of Attack Damage instead of AttackDamage/ArmorPenetration mix.
- This setup focuses on maximizing early game damage. Is especially potent when paired with an Elixir of Fortitude and 21/9/0 masteries for a starting ( with elixir ) 34 bonus attack damage, making that famous level two all in very scary.
For right now what i have listed above will work, but I'm not sure what is ideal yet.
|space||The most versatile of all summoner spells. Can be used both defensively. A thing to not is when trying to dodge skill shots (think jump over a bind) Leap can be interrupted while Flash cannot. Commonly used in conjunction with Leap to close to a target. A MUST TAKE.|
|space||Ignite is the easy second choice, the extra killing power is very beneficial for assassin type characters. In conjunction with Summoner's Wrath very strong for the level two all in attempts. Less useful lategame in terms of damage but healblock is still great utility when trying to kill ad carries or sustain mages like Vladimir or Ryze|
|space||Another useful spell, can come in very handy for setting up ganks. Combined with evolved Leap you can come from out of view on a ward to surprise and kill your enemy. This spell is a good choice for farming matchups where kills are not likely, such as Fizz or Elise.|
|space||Only useful versus extremely heavy crowd control, in which Mercurial Scimitar would probably be a better choice. Still a good option if you don't plan on building the scimitar.|
My main goal was to test and prove the most generally efficient build that can emphasize strengths and shore up the weaknesses of Kha'Zix new playstyle. With this build LIFESTEAL IS NOT REQUIRED.
|space||Manamune while always a good item on Kha'Zix is now a rush item because of the changes and increased difficulty in stacking up the Tear of the Goddess/ Manamune. However the change in the active toggle on Muramana to phyiscal damage, making it benefit even more from armor penetration from Last Whisper and Black Cleaver, more than makes up for the increased difficulty in reaching its evolved state.|
|space||The Changes to armor pentration in season 3 brought about an unholy synergy for both bruisers and assassins between The Brutalizer and Last Whisper. The two items in tandem allow these types of characters to not on shred tanks but also demolish squishy champions with their amazing base damage and innate melee tools.|
|space||While The Brutalizer help the cut down squishy heroes in their tracks. Last Whisper is what needed to be able to kill tanks and get any reset you can see. Also when carry type heroes start buying Chain Vest/ Guardian Angel and Seeker's Armguard/ Zhonya's Hourglass this item is needed to kill them.|
With this holy trinity of items Manamune, The Brutalizer and, Last Whisper Kha'Zix hits a massive power spike where he has to ability kill anyone on the rift aside from super fed tanks regardless of mastery choice (9/21/0 or 21/9/0). There is very little decision-making involved upon getting to this point, however I will go over a few exceptions later on but first to talk about why these items more in depth with a focus on gold efficiency. The main benefit of this build is the sheer price points at which you can start to really kill people at. (2100 Manamune + 1337 The Brutalizer + 2300 Last Whisper)5737 gold for a very potent offensive core is extremely cheap.
While this build may not have as much raw damage as other builds,it is the most versatile in killing a wide a variety of enemies from Armor Tanks to Health Tanks to Squishy carries and anything in between. The weaknesses of this build are solved through the filler items, but if you are looking for a core, for ~6k including boots, there is no better option on Kha'Zix that I've yet to see.
To see this gold efficiency in action we must compare other builds used to reach a similar state on Mid Lane carries (even in top lane Kha'Zix is still very much similar to a mid lane carry). A common AP Based Build consists of a Laning (Mana Regen Item), A raw damage item, and a penetration item. Lets look at two different heroes from the mid lane that use this generic template. First we'll start off with Karthus whose normal build consists of a mana component ( Rod of Ages), a damage item ( Rabadon's Deathcap), and a penetration item ( Void Staff). This generic sample build covers all areas generally agreed upon.
For the purpose of data lets compare two more mages. Also more mid-game oriented ones, and use the same assumptions in the previous paragraph. Lets consider a classic Ahri and Diana builds consisting of 3 items and compare them to the Kha'Zix build above.
Both of these builds fit similar builds with the Kha'Zix. They fit their characters bill in stats needed to kill people, however they still both cost over a thousand gold each compared to the Kha'Zix build. The one thousand gold can easily be used to purchase a large defensive item and boots to make up for lack of durability in the build, and again allows Kha'Zix to get a head start and an early birth into the mid game. While this example is not as extreme as the one above it shows the difference in itemization between midgame powerhouse assassins and late game hypercarries. In this type of matchup you will be competing against these champions to fill the same role - Set the game up for an easy carry by your teammates in the late game.
Build Variation Example 1
First is top lane in which some laners like Shen, Malphite, or Zac can begin to stack lot of armor very early on, in the form of rushing Sunfire Cape or Warden's Mail or similar items. Rushing a Last Whisper skipping The Brutalizer is a must. Looking at some relatively gold equivalent comparisons we can see which items are effective against which.
- The clear winner in this item contest is the Sunfire Cape. With only Manamune and a Long Sword the enemy can simply out trade you by standing on top of you. Without any form of sustain outside of the weak heal from low level Void Spike the burn from the cape will wear you out and you cannot trade back.
This scenario creates the first opportunity to test out reactivity. Assuming the Shen/ Malphite/ Zac continues to build tank only items thier next course of action would be to build health of some sort most commonly Warmog's Armor or Randuin's Omen. Last Whisper is STILL required to get through the Sunfire Cape so in order to have any kill potential we will have to invest a minimum of 1900 gold to finish Last Whisper. The Enemy will either have a Giant's Belt and Ruby Crystal or Warden's Mail. Whatever the item combination at this point in time if the fight is played correctly Manamune+ Last Whisper has a chance to win because of the mechanics of evolved Taste Their Fear dealing percent damage based on missing health, thus the health build against your damage and penetration combo is less effective in the end. Some things to look out for are gold sinks in enemy itemization. Thankfully for Kha'Zix a lot of his damage comes from Taste Their Fear and NOT auto attacks so this makes Ninja Tabi an ineffective item in mitigating your damage and a relative waste of gold.
An important note to make is while we're trying to maximize gold efficiency for our purpose, killing a top lane hero (in this example), we should also pay attention to our enemies gold inefficiency and take advantage of poor itemization by forcing more trades that will end up favorable, or if we are not strong enough yet simply ignoring them until we reach a state that we can. We can consider Ninja Tabi a mild gold sink and something we can use to our advantage. In another example lets say enemy Shen is confident in his ability to win the lane so he starts to build Wit's End which is generally considered a superb item on him because of his high innate magic damage as well as his sunfire cape. Wit's End is a sizable investment at 2400 gold and the components do not really help at all until the item is complete. If farm again is held equal we will have complete our last whisper for 1900 gold well before Shen can amass the remaining 500 gold required to complete his item. (In case you are behind the times Wit's End instead of just granting bonus magic resist on hit now steals MR and grants the bonus, working in effect like magic penetration). Remember that these situations are hypothetical and may not end up exactly the way I describe however the main point of these examples is to illustrate how itemization battles go, and by knowing more about item prices and what certain heroes build you can determine break points in which you can fight and kill your opponent while they are waiting on some gold. Be careful and remember that they can take advantage of you in the same way so pay attention when someone comes back from lane to determine if trades will end up with a favorable result or not. Let's now move on to the next example.
Build Variation Example 2
Second, another common scenario to deal with reactivity occurs in the mid lane. Similar to Kha'Zix a lot of champions would rather have some items before other defensive side choices in order to function in lane. An example of this is Lux or Karthus who like to have mana items instead of the Seeker's Armguard which is the bane of AD assassin mid lanes because of the hyper efficiency of the item as well as its very powerful and accessible build path. By going for an early Chalice of Harmony or catalyst the protector they leave themselves very vulnerable to smart aggression in item choice. In this situation both mid laners start all consumables, the enemy starts with Crystalline Flask and you start with an Elixir of Fortitude. After laning and expending all resources both laners come out even and go back to shop with 1400 gold. The enemy opts to come back with a Chalice of Harmony with the idea of being able to spam out spells, push the lane, and harass. In addition to the chalice they decide that Boots of Speed and a few consumables will round out their purchase (880 Chalice of Harmony + 325 Boots of Speed + 75 sight ward + 105 Health PotionX3 = 1385 gold total). Instead of coming back with a tear and a longsword, The Brutalizer can take serious advantage of a their no armor purchase, for effectively the same amount of gold. However when making the purchases the time factor has to be assess if you can secure a kill or not. Often times the other build with Tear of the Goddess + Long Sword is much better because the enemy is not killable or the jungler has been camping.
- This situation is much more grey than the last one. There isn't a clear winner if the enemy plays passive and allows no opportunity for you to delete them. Also the time you spend not stacking up your Tear of the Goddess will much delay the power spike you get from evolving your Muramana. You will need to take an advantage of this item mismatch quickly.
- In an alternate universe let say that both laners made it to 1350 gold then hit level 6 and had a massive fight and the enemy ended up netting a kill. Lets say this time instead of coming back with some laning item, they instead come back with a Needlessly Large Rod. In a reversal of fortune a normal laning buy, or even one of the ones listed below could be potentially disastrous, in this type of situation a Hexdrinker will allow the most safety while still having some level of kill potential. Always assume the enemy knows you have your shield up, but in the event that they forget about it you can easily capitalize on a simple misjudgement.
Lets also assume that you elected to push the wave before backing, and you see what your laning opponent picks up and you see he has gone to augment his laning and has not bought any defense against you. You still only have 1400 gold and can make three solid decisions. First is stick with the build you know opt for a Tear of the Goddess and Long Sword in addition to consumables. While that start certainly will pay off in the end other options can be taken to exploit their itemization decision. There are at least two other solid options, first off lets consider they have a weak ganking jungler like Shyvana who would much rather farm than waste her time trying to kill a laner with an escape. Since you have little fear of the jungler's presence and with 1400 gold, you could purchase a The Brutalizer along with some health or mana potions. With the extra armor pen and attack damage you all of a sudden have massive kill potential over someone who did not respect your damage. The Alternative to this is if you're scared of their jungler you can opt for triple Long Swords and the same consumable set as them.
Choice of Boots
|space||While not quite a choice per say, picking up boots in not as mandatory as most people still think. Because of the way evolved Leap works tier one and often times no boots are needed at all to win games. Best picked up when you have leftover money after complting a core item or buying a major part (something like a Pickaxe or The Brutalizer). However in 99% of games you will want to have completed the Manamune before even thinking about boots.|
|space||As with most reset heroes, crowd control is the best way to shut them down. So how do we counter that? Mercury's Treads are the #1 choice by far, if running defensive masteries these boots have decent synergy with the Tenacious mastery to further reduce crowd control. The extra magic resist on top is just icing.|
|space||Best used when the enemy team has a lot of auto attacked based champions. An example team composition would be any ad carry with Thresh, Tryndamere top, Master Yi jungler, and Diana as a mid laner. Although maybe not that extreme, these boots can help you win a lane and are fairly cheap.|
|space||A very common enemy today is the Blue Ezreal, he will slow you to no end with Iceborn Gauntlet. These boots can help mitigate the slowing effect and allow you catch up to him. Also good for roaming around with the extra speed.|
|space||If for some reason every lane needs help these boots are amazing for roaming as you can push a lane gank a side lane, and be back in time not to miss anything if things go well. A solid choice if your team needs some real assistance. A must pair with Enchantment: Homeguard because together you can go really fast.|
|space||It is difficult to recommend building this item, however it does have it's purpose. In the event that you do opt for some sustain past health regeneration and Void Spike Hydra offers a lot of burst potential with the active and also offers a lot of lane pressure in terms of fast wave clear. A Leap combined with the active can decimate large creep waves instantly. Ravenous Hydra is also a safer alternative to Bloodthirster because its power is maximized on purchase and retains its power through death. Great item for split pushing and dueling and adds overall okay damage into teamfights.|
|space||Bloodthirster remains a very powerful item, however the movement away from a poke oriented playstyle leaves little room in a build for this item. While certainly a good choice when ahead, if the game has a momentum shift, this item becomes much more of a liability due entirely to the stacking mechanics. In light of this, fully stacked Bloodthirster offers both immense damage and sustain.|
|space||This item used to be a lot more useful when evolving Void Spike was all the rage. However it remains a very efficient item. It does have its uses in heavy objective based games where evolved Taste Their Fear totally decimates objective monsters.|
|space||With a unique mix of stats and high overall gold efficiency in addition to building out of the new Spectre's Cowl. This item is decent versus double AP compositions and really shines when you opt for a sustain build with either Bloodthirster/ Blade of the Ruined King or Ravenous Hydra. This is the much more defensive alternative to Hexdrinker/ Maw of Malmortius, however the CDR component also gives a boost to damage.|
|space||An early Dblade can be a useful pickup, but its limited use and item slot inefficiency make it a very situational pick up. Best bought when forced to back early in the lane and not enough to buy major items. An example of this would be backing with around 1000 gold. While Not quite enough for a Tear of the Goddess and Long Sword in which the Doran's Blade and Long Sword combo would be much more powerful when compared to either a tear and consumables or double longsword buy.|
|space||Doran's Shield while never a bad item is especially useful against mages with high auto attack harass from early on and even into the late game because mages generally do not build additional attack damage. The shield is also very effective versus bruisers but becomes less useful against them as time goes by because of their increasing attack damage. The 100 health and 10 health regeneration are decent stats by themselves but since the rework what really makes this item shine is its passive that blocks damage on auto attacks. This passive has amazing synergy with the Indomitable and Block masteries but still is a perfectly fine item even when paired with offensive masteries. It is a decent starting item in both mid and top lane versus mage champions like Kennen, Nidalee, and Elise or against auto attack based bruiser heroes like Tryndamere, Jayce and Irelia. Like any doran's item it should not be sold unless to make space for a larger item simply because of its good stats and gold efficiency.|
|space||Maw of Malmortius is probably one of the best items in the game on Kha'Zix for many reasons. First it has one of the strongest build paths in the game with Hexdrinker being an amzing item on its own, but also with the passive bonus AD at low HP that hits it peak kicks in when the shield is activated. Great item against heavy AoE compositions or heavy single target burst like Syndra and her ultimate Unleashed Power. While you won't always get to finish this item, most games you will have the option to upgrade to it at any time.|
|space||Banshee's fills a very defensive slot in the inventory but is extremely useful in certain scenarios. When getting caught out can instantly cause a loss, Banshee's Veil gives a certain degree of protection against slight (or not so) positional errors. The stats are very solid and its build path with the new Spectre's Cowl make it a mildly attractive choice. Be careful as this in not a get out of jail free card.|
|space||Against high auto-attack focused teams there is no better choice than Randuin's Omen. The raw stats combined with its active/passive allows Kha'Zix to still fight mele carries like Master Yi and Tryndamere as well as chase down and assassinate common AD champions like Caitlyn or Graves.|
|space||Although this item has generally fell off in the competitive scene Warmog's Armor remains one of the most potent defensive items on Kha'Zix because of its amazing interaction with his passive. The Massive 1000 health gained from this single item becomes close to an effective 1500 health because of the passive on evolved Void Assault. Active Camouflage proves an amazing 50% damage reduction while in stealth. A great item for teams with heavy mixed/true damage.|
|space||This item have a number of amazing qualities the most iconic being the second life it grants upon death. This item also has a number of subtleties that are just as valuable. Having the second life and basic immunity to large cooldown burst ultimates, this item creates an unseen (haha) level of pressure in that enemies do not want to focus you as you rip open their teammates and Taste Their Fear. The hesitation this item can induce, in addition to being able to go balls deep can easily mean the difference between a teamfight loss or win. With the recipe now including a Negatron Cloak with only a minimal increase in overall cost, the already sizable resists have become even better leaving this as one of the most compelling defensive items in the game for carry heroes. However when the active is down this item becomes more of a liability for its five minute cooldown.|
|space||The Maw of Malmortius and Mercurial Scimitar are similar items but fulfill their tasks in very different ways. While Maw is all about soaking up raw damage, Mercurial Scimitar requires much more skill to use, and adds the ability for you to outplay your enemy and completely avoid damage of any type altogether. The Active is the best clease in the game, and has a surprising synergy with Void Assault enabling you to cover a massive amount of distance when breaking out of CC. This massive burst of speed can catch people off guard and out of position if your team is ready to follow up. An Amazing item against teams with heavy crowd control.|
Back in the day, the old Kha'Zix could just spam Void Spike and clear waves and be a happy bug. One day, Morrello said that people don't like bugs so he used a can of raid and thus bug was sad.
Laning now is not too much different as the early all in Kha'Zix is sometimes enough to deter over harassment, however some matches that were hard before are now near impossible. However I will attempt to describe how I personally lane with Kha'Zix VS the not too problematic matchups in a very general sense.
Mid and Top Lane: Start and Early Lane
Generally starting items can vary widely on matchups but can also depend on your objective. I think for the majority of players the latter is the better way to gauge which starting item will net the best results.
|space||With this start you can begin with 6 assorted potions and a single sight ward. This is the best start if you want to straight up rush a tear to get it stacking as soon as possible. Tear first is also a very powerful start vs strong lanes because with the mana pool you can spam Void Spike at range to try and keep up in CS. The single sight ward offers a decent level of safety. Alternatively you can opt for only 4 potions but start with two wards.|
Capitalizing on an opponent's lack of armor can be a difficult matter as they are likely aware that they have little armor and will attempt to stay out of your range. Simple mental games have served me through gold and platinum leagues into diamond, and should do the same for you. Your initial "posturing" can do a lot to set the tone for a lane. For example lets look at some playstyles.
- If playing really far back the whole time you are...
- Losing lane.
- Sending signals that a jungler might be nearby.
- not playing to the strength of an assassin.
- Playing semi normally until level 2 then exploding in all out aggression burning summoners in an attempt to kill you are...
- Creating an extreme liability for your team by going all in so early. ( the earlier and harder you lose the more it will set you behind)
- All inning also requires the use Elixir of Fortitude for optimal effect, which sends a signal to the enemy jungler sayings "I have no vision".
- With a more advanced and versatile laning style allows your opponent to read very little you are...
- Lulling your enemy to sleep in order to create opportunities for aggression.
- Maintaining a consistent posture to divert jungle pressure and mask your own junglers movements across the map.
- Patiently waiting for a misstep or slight over extension, usually to get cs. To do this and capitalize on it requires close management and attention to the creepwave and enemy junglers movements
- "Leaving" lane often to apply even more pressure regardless if you actually roam or not.
Thinking About Matchups
Making generalizations about laning matchups like you see into other guides is not an effective way to view how one champion does against another. What rather makes the biggest differences are two distinct points. One is player mental game and perception. Second is the junglers, and their play. While certainly some heroes do well against others in general, that does not mean they should be getting kills. Instead adjust your play to account for their advantage. Conceptualizing both the 2v2 matchup between laner + jungler on both teams and trying to understand your opponents mental game is important to decide if you can possibly pull out a win in lane.
First lets talk about mindsets. Regardless of how one hero does against another players have certain playstyles that they tend to stick with. While none of this is concrete, I will break up the player base into a few generic character types. While people tend to fall into groups certain champions also fall into general groups and cam influence the players general disposistion to fighting inside the lane.
- The Farmer - This type of player tends to prioritize farm over trying to secure a kill. Hard to identify and differentiate from the Opportunist early on but later can more easily be identified by him/her leaving lane and taking the wraith camp often. This player most of the times will only try to take the kill if the jungler is there or the enemy laner makes a huge mistake. Dealing with farming types can be difficult as they also tend to play passive and want to shove the lane. Counter shoving if they go to take wraiths and roaming to other lanes is the best way to deal with them because a lot of the time the game passes them by as they are too busy trying to get gold that may or may not be useful later. Very sturdy playstyle.
- The Killer - This archetype loves to get down and dirty and will try at every opportunity take kills even when there is heavy risk involved. Generally these types of players will default onto one dimensional assassin type heroes like Zed and LeBlanc. Aggression in general naturally shoves lanes, so the best way to counter this is to either set up jungle pressure or deal with it in other ways. This type of player will try at all costs to snowball with kills and if the player cannot score kills in your lane then he will go other places. Beware of quick doublebacks and baits. Ward both sides and push the turret as hard as possible to punish him for roaming. Pay attention to when he leaves the lane (don't be caught with your pants down doing wraiths) or else backup might arrive in time to hold the lane or it will be to late to help the lane the player went to anyway.
- The Opportunist - This player is the most hard to establish besides noticing that he seem nonchalantly menacing in his positioning and you don't know where he wants to go or what he wants to do. Since this type of player is generally the best on most heroes the best way to deal with this type is to try and mimic what he does. In this mathcup let the junglers dictate the lane. This requires you to be perceptive of what is going on in all the lanes and be at the right place (either the lane with the action on on top of the enemy turret) at the right times. Some of the techniques these types of players can use were listed above.
- Cannon Fodder - These types of players are my favorite to deal with. Whether they don't like playing solo lanes, were forced on this role, or are support mains who are terrified of actually laning against someone they most of the time don't have a clue what they are doing. Being perceptive, either looking at their most player champions before the game loads or seeing how they move these players are the easiest to kill and are the easiest to put on tilt because generally they do not want to be playing this role to begin with. We call these players free food.
Second on the list is understand the interactions between respective lane and jungle combinations. Understanding 2v2 fights, when kills are most easily scored, and knowing when you can, and more importantly when you should press an advantage are all important fundamentals to improving gameplay. This relates also to builds and items, with power mostly coming from items, although sometimes, and especially with Kha'Zix, with levels. Knowing the item breakpoints where either you or the enemy has become strong can help you when calling for jungle help. You really should only ask for help if you know that the jungler can either score or a kill or force the enemy to recall allowing objective control. Nothing is worse than wasting your junglers time, as that his is most limiting resource. Lets move onto some matchup examples.
Let's Consider a Mid Lane Matchup...
- Exploit the ultimate reliant champions with pressure before level six.
- Avoid counterganks with warding.
Let's Take a Look at a Top Lane Matchup...
- Early Aggression before Kayle gets Intervention
- Extremely defensive sight ward placement and conservative play. (Trade off here is you'll most likely be behind in farm and lose turret if Zac comes up to dive.)
Let's Examine a Mid or Top Lane Matchup...
- Junglers will likely not set up any ganks but rather be there to clean up, so this is a relatively isolated matchup.
- The lane environment (top or mid) determines risk of the jungler cleaning up.
- Aggression, both early and all in is the only way to keep Ryze down, even post nerfs.
This is just a framework to thing about this aspect of the game. The best way to acquire lane knowledge is to get out there and play the games and see what you can do. Just because a champion is supposed to win does not mean it will. Every time you go into game you should be asking yourself a few questions...
- How does my hero generally fare versus the other hero, and what starting items can I buy to help me out.
- Who is the enemy jungler and do I need to buy early wards. (This can also affect the lane if you need to start with wards)
- How does my hero and my jungler fair against their laner and jungler.
- Barring misplay, At what item point/level state can I possible get a kill, and how do I coordinate my jungler to help me.
- Does my hero scale better? (This dictates whether or not you need to actively seek out advantages to secure. For example if you need to end game early if they have something like Tryndamere, Vayne, Karthus insane lategame.) Or if you can just wait for advantages to come to you. (If you have the superior late game composition.)
Those are just a few, there are many more, but to begin thinking like this will net you a large advantage. If you can identify a goal in your game, it can easily set the stage to help you make only decisions that help you to that end.
In this section I will attempt to address how to lane versus enemies who Kha'Zix in his current state has a very hard time dealing with in lane. Again this is from my own experience and you guys may disagree.
|space||Her range and mix of damage make it very hard to itemize against early on, and if you don't have any jungle pressure or the Kayle ward intelligently theres is almost nothing you can do versus her shoving power. Her base damage is also much higher than ours early on so the only hope is to eek out lane and try to farm early and get some items. Luckily for us Void Assault works as good tool to wait out her ult as the duration on Intervention at low levels is very short. This lane is winnable, but don't expect to have a fun time before around level 11 if your turret can live that long.|
|space||Zed is another hero that I enjoy to play, and I'm quite familiar with this matchup, and not much of it looks good for Kha'Zix. The reason being the moment Kha'Zix tries to play aggressive Zed can dodge the damage and more than answer with his own through Death Mark. With no leap available Kha'Zix will have a very hard time dodging the damage from Razor Shuriken and Shadow Slash. This leaves Kha'Zix playing with a defensive mentality the entire time when up again Zed in a 1v1 matchup. Playing assassins like that is not a way to win, so try to avoid the duels unless you are massively ahead or the Zed sucks.|
|space||Elise is bad news for almost anyone to go up just because of her absurd damage and ability to disengage. Dealing with her can be very difficult if both players are of similar skill. Items like Hexdrinker and Spectre's Cowl that prioritize magic resist over raw HP are extremely useful. For the most part you just want this to devolve into a farm lane. Be careful of jungle ganks as her follow up is nearly impossible to get away from.|
|space||Riot pls rename from butcher of the sands to butcher of top lane summoners rift. This guy just eats squishy heroes alive if given half the chance. This matchup requires a lot of finesse and cannot be fought until an item threshold has been reached. Renekton does absurd amounts of damage with no items and will be unkillable until a different trinity of items has been reached. The combination of Manamune, Last Whisper and Randuin's Omen is really a benchmark to set if you can stay somewhat close to him in gold. Surviving laning phase for nearly 7.5k Gold is no small task, and will require every trick you can come up with, but if you do you'll definitely be a stronger asset to your team.|
|space||This is matchup purely based on how well the players play it as it can go either way. Kha'Zix can snowball incredibly hard on Kennen but he can also do the same albeit not as hard. A Doran's Shield and defensive masteries are a must in this matchup. Play smart and bait out his ult if you can. When Slicing Maelstrom is down he has little protection beyond Lightning Rush. If you can catch him without both then hes as good as dead.|
|space||Fizz similar to Elise is no fun to lane against. His early damage and trade potential and ability to disengage a fight at anytime with Playful / Trickster has little counterplay. While Fizz is extremely strong early on he becomes very killable later on granted you don't fall too far behind. An early Hexdrinker is a very useful item in this matchup.|
If you would like me to examine a certain matchup more in depth drop a comment below and I would be more than glad add to this section.
In teamfights Kha'Zix functions a little bit different than classic assassin heroes like Zed, Akali or LeBlanc. Classical assassin theory suggests you attempt to kill the highest priority target which is completely true. Those three heroes above are bound to that role because of their primarily high single target damage output meaning they cannot refocus a fight after their spell rotation. Kha'Zix has a huge advantage in this aspect because although he is an assassin he functions much more like Katarina or the old AP Master Yi in that his first target should be who he can kill the most easily. Leap grants Kha'Zix the ability to refocus his damage after killing one target and the low cooldowns on Void Spike and Taste Their Fear is what makes him more than a typical assassin.
Before I go over how teamfights work out under generic circumstances, I want to go over some important details.
- Positioning is important when setting up for a teamfight. Flanking is always a powerful tactic but can backfire if your opponent knows where you are. It is imperative that you either have Oracle's Elixir or knowledge of where enemy vision is.
- Being aware of general team strength is important. Understanding how strong champions are with their current items/buffs is important to choosing the right target.
- Don't be the first to jump in. A nice thing about Leap Is it resets on kill OR assist so tagging the front line tanks and relying on your team to finish them off before jumping in can save you if you go to deep and can't get out.
- Killing the tanks first isn't always a bad thing. With massive percentage damage from evolved Taste Their Fear Kha'Zix is also one the best tank killers in the game.
A common misconception again is that you always go for the biggest threat and try to take them out. However like one of Kha'Zix lines, "isolate and devour", it's often times better to pick out targets you can kill and try to focus down the threats later. A couple of checklists should be met before you choose and jump onto a target.
- Does the target have an escape available? ( this includes Flash )
- What kind of peel does the target have? ( Exhaust is the biggest killer here, and keeping track of its cooldown can create kills. )
- Can I kill this target? I feel like this simple question is often overlooked when playing assassin champions simply because of the all in mentality. If the answer is no, wait for some help, or the focus the shift.
- With Guardian Angel target prioritization can change a little, as more risk can be taken on. However be careful of going too deep and dying in a bad place. Guardian Angel is only a powerful item if used correctly, and similar to Karthus with Death Defied requires proper positioning to get the most use out of it.
This decision making process is integral to doing well as Kha'Zix, and is something i cannot explain entirely as much of it is intuition from playing the champion. I have identified what information is important, the rest is up to you. When you go out there and play you can use my framework to help you make them, but ultimately you are the one who decides what to do. With that lets move onto the conclusion.
Many of you have asked good questions in the comments, and through PM or league client, but I've realized its a pain and/or impossible for a lot of you wade through the rest of the comments so I will include them here. My answers have also been edited to make sure they're quality, quotes have not been as I do not speak for other people.
I hope through reading this guide you have become learned something new. I wish good luck to anyone who puts faith in my guide to try Kha'Zix out. Also a big thank you goes out to everyone that put the time into read this guide. It means a lot that you have at least tried to understand a lot of my sometimes convoluted logic.
Thank you to summoners: trz, nosku, and imahuntard (whose guide can be found here) ; for help in editing/proofreading and general advice during the creation of this guide. Your valuable input is greatly appreciated.
I would also like to thank my long time friend and mentor. Single handed he has taught me 95% of what I know, without him I would not be anywhere near as good as I am today. Thank you to all my friends along the way who have contributed to my growth as a player.
Any comments / suggestions are welcome in the comments section. Hopefully I've done a guide right this time. If you have any person questions regarding the guide or would just like help or to chat about the game I would be more than willing to talk to you. :)