Kog'Maw Build Guide by Rasta Da Masta
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+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Champion Build Guide
This Kog'Maw Bot guide is my second written guide. This guide was written with a focus on primarily having Kog'Maw as a bot laner that primarily deals sustained magic DPS through on-hit effects and spells. So I thought about giving him a rune build similar to Klepto Kayle and an item build similar to Sorc Shoes Corki. This isn't AD Kog'Maw. This isn't really AP Kog'Maw. I'd like to call it Hybrid Kog'Maw. And maybe one day this could be the standard build for Kog in the Bot Lane!
The methodology of taking the Kleptomancy and going for a cost-efficient item build based on generating gold is having the concept of making so much money you can say "F.U." to the other players.
So before we dive in, I want to make three things perfectly clear:
Here is a shoutout to my mentor Aqua Dragon. He innovated the Artillery Kog'Maw. Here's a link to his AP Kog'Maw guide. A lot of the statistical & technical information comes from here.
- Gets exponentially stronger as the match continues.
- Generates gold fairly easy by utilizing smart trading and wave manipulation.
- Reliably farms creeps from a distance.
- Clearing waves & CSing is easy. No difficult mechanics.
- On-hit damage is really strong against high health champions & epic monsters.
- Usefulness is relevant at all stages of game.
- Atrociously weak early game. You can lose most matchups.
- Has a 3 skill-shot kit unlike most bot lane champions who have 1 or 2.
- Damage is sustained rather than bursty.
- Can become mana hungry early-game if you are spamming too many spells.
- Only soft CC is a skill shot. Difficult to use for escaping.
- No mobility. You can get punished hard if caught out of position.
Magic Penetration > Attack Speed > Cooldown Reduction > Survivability > Mobility > Adaptive Damage (AD or AP)
This guide is built around that mantra. I am aware that some people will say things like "How do you reach the attack speed cap of 2.5 without any Precision runes?" The answer here is that it's absolutely possible to get it with 3 of the best AS items in the game compared to 2 of them & 3 extra ones.
Just so you know, =50% AS + =50% AS + at 6 stacks = 73% AS + =30% AS = 203% extra Attack Speed.
And from a standard build without Nash & Sorcs but with BotRK & Zerks, you get 10% more AS to get 213% extra Attack Speed. However, in both builds, by the time you finish , your base stats multiplied by bonuses puts you at the cap around level 15. That's why having loads of AS isn't the highest priority since you will cap. And AS runes make you cap too soon anyway.
Magic Penetration is more valuable because it gives you an immediate increase in damage with your basic attacks as well as your skillshots. The more you have, the more effective you become as a carry.
Kog Benefits Very Little from AD and from AP.
Contrary to popular opinion, Kog'Maw doesn't scale well with either of the two adaptive stats. Looking at his kit, we see that he is the only Marksman champion in the game to not have any AD ratios on his basic abilities. His R only gives 65% bonus AD as magic damage. It does double to 130% bonus AD, but it is still magic damage and your target is probably dead anyway. AP isn't any better. His Q,E,and R all go up to 50% AP. The W is 1% max HP per 100 AP.
Because of the little synergy with either stat, you don't really need to stack them for damage.
Flat Mana isn't great. Mana Regen is.
Earlier, the Barrage Limit was mentioned. Namely, that flat mana only increases reserve bullets. With just the bonus 400ish mana from runes, there is slightlty sufficient bullets in reserve for most fights, as long as the Barrage Limit is not constantly exceeded. This make flat mana a priority of less wort; it only is used when really pushing the limits of the ult.
Mana regeneration is great, but limited. It needs to be sought out in other ways, primarily through killing Aqua Dragons and Blue Buff. But when these are acquired, your ult gets some very noticeable power. Every time you increase your Barrage Limit, you effectively increase your consistent damage output.
For itemization, this mostly means that building flat mana, for the sake of more mana, is not worthwhile.
CDR Helps with DPS Uptime. It doesn't help the Barrage Limit.
Maximizing the power of the Bio-Arcane Barrage is the primary objective, and fortunately for us, cooldown reduction is amazing at maintaining its uptime.
Sadly it can't be said the same for Living Artillery having a very low cooldown. Because the 10-second lockout at the end of the ult does not change with CDR, all CDR does is marginally increase how fast the ult shots go out.
CDR is useful for the other three abilities in order to effectively utilize Kleptomancy procs. However, because the bonus stats you get for going over the CDR Cap with Transcendence isn't very useful, it's not good enough to justify investing too much itemization into.
The ultimate’s mana cost goes up almost exponentially. Shooting 1 ult is a pitiful 40 mana, but shooting a full barrage of 10 bullets requires an enormous 2,200 mana.
This poses a problem. Continuing to fight requires constantly shooting, but constantly shooting drains mana. To maximize your time poking, you need to shoot just enough that your mana regen will have replenished more than the mana expended when your artillery stacks reset to 0, accounting for ult cooldown.
The number of bullets it takes to break equal with your mana regen is what is termed as the Barrage Limit. In the recent examples, the barrage limits were 2 and 3 respectively.
It's a bit more than 10 seconds because the ult does have a 1-2 second cooldown between shots, and there's also time needed to line up the next shot.
Your Barrage Limit can be considered your guaranteed bullets. The rest of your mana bar is considered reserve bullets. The Barrage Limit eventually becomes instinctual, but initially requires a lot of conscious thought.
A final note: the Barrage Limit is not an exact science. You'll often find that you will lose 20-60 mana per barrage even if you stay at the Barrage Limit. However, it functions as a serviceable estimate. You can find out increasing the barrage limit later in the next chapter.
The Barrage Limit has been & will be mentioned several times in this guide, so now is the time to learn how to increase it.
Keep note that the Barrage Limit is not an upper limit on how many times you should shoot in a fight, but a general guide on how to maximize your consistent damage. As you play Kog more, the Barrage Limit starts to become more instinctual.
Barrage Limit starts at 0 and increases depending on these 3 sources:
Can't +2. No mana item.
Goes +3 after level 11.
When not hit.
Since we are not building tear, the highest amount your barrage limit can reach is 6
There are times when it's time to stop holding back and go past the barrage limit. Blow out a full 10-ult barrage and cripple opponents... and yourself.
Realize that pushing past the barrage limit too much will make you useless for any further fighting. As such, it makes sense that the barrage limit should only be exceeded when something can be secured or defended.
That can mean a several things including but not limited to:
- Securing a kill
- Securing an objective
- Securing a kill to secure an objective
- Defending a turret from low-health opponents
- Keeping a small area scouted while taking a ward
- Taking blue buff quickly, since the mana will regenerate
- Holding off opponents from defending an objective when it is almost dead
- Stopping a baron/dragon attempt; remember that baron shreds magic resist!
- Rushing a baron/dragon where your team plans to peace out after securing it
This is almost the standard skill sequence for Kog'Maw in the bot lane. I take Void Ooze second in order to more reliably stack Manaflow Band as well as push the wave. Having even a small waveclear advantage over your opponent that might not have any (Ezreal, Kai'sa, Vayne, etc.) can help you win the war of wave manipulation.
Take note that the skill you start with is entirely situational and should be based on events that happen within the first 90s of the game. If your team or the enemy team (or both) is invading, having the persistent slow from E or the resistance shred from Q is beneficial in a 5v5 level 1 fight. In most cases, you want to start lane with W though. Q or E start is also fine for laning with.
Icathian Surprise This is your last-ditch "Kamikaze" true damage nuke that can be used to secure kills or in some cases blow sums like Flash or Heal. If in a rare scenario where you get surrounded by the enemy or are in a situation where you are guaranteed dead, stand your ground & fight so you take someone with you after you die.
Caustic Spittle Passively, you get some decent attack speed. 30% is worth 3 daggers so that's 900g of value. The active is what makes you a nightmare against tanks with high resistances. But even against carries with low resistances, this can be a death sentence since you deal essentially true damage with your magic damage on-hits.
Bio-Arcane Barrage This is the primary source of damage. One of your greatest tools is having 710 range for 8 seconds and being able to do %HP damage. And since we run Kleptomancy, it's so easy to do short trades since it has no cast time & applies immediately when you hit someone. And you can use your other spells during the duration for more Klepto procs at a range where your opponent is less likely to retaliate.
Void Ooze This is your only crowd control. The slow isn't very potent until you rank it up... which also drastically increases the mana cost up to 120. Because we max this last, we don't need to invest in heavy mana sustain... just a moderate one. When escaping pursuers, shoot in the direction you are walking to force them to walk around your ooze or lose distance from the slow.
Living Artillery This is one of Kog'Maw's most underrated skill used by other players who play him in the bot lane. With the right spell effects, this is the most powerful DPS tool in the game on the shortest cooldown from the longest range. However, the focus in this build is to have this as a secondary form of damage. Knowing when to shoot and how many shots to fire are very important.
When Kog has Rylais, they gain access to one of their most powerful and flashy tricks: chaining. In this guide, we do not get Rylai's as one of our core items. I would recommend it as a situational pickup though.
Chaining is using CC to ult a target back-to-back with Living Artillery.
Normally, chaining is hard. An opponent is able to dodge Living Artillery simply by stepping outside of the landing spot. But with Rylais (or other CC), if Kog lands just one artillery, it almost guarantees that the next artilleries will land.
After landing the ult, continue aiming the ult a little ahead of the opponent’s running direction. This forces two decisions: get hit by yet another ult or momentarily stop.
Stopping is no safety. A person who has to momentarily stop has put themselves closer to Kog. If they stop sufficient times, Kog will be able to reliably land an ooze-spittle combo, killing wounded opponents almost instantly.
Chain opponents down to secure kills in teamfights or on fleeing opponents.
Season 9 changed how runes give stats. There are no more awesome Trait names that are based on your rune choices for Primary/Secondary. Instead, you get to choose your stats in 3 areas: Offense, Flex, and Defense. For this Kog'Maw build, I put emphasis on mid and late game strength more so than early game dominance.
Why No Precision?
Why No Domination?
Why No Resolve?
The big rune is preferred. The lesser ones are optional
Throw Spells. Smack Fools. Get Money... PROFIT!
Kleptomancy is the whole point of this guide. Being able to generate a gold lead without much gold investment eliminates the tradeoff of not running runes that helps you win lane (i.e. Precision)
FREE AIR JORDANS!
Magical Footwear handily stomps the alternatives, no contest.
Mmm! Delicious Biscuits!
Biscuits extend the laning phase, drastically increasing gold and EXP gain.
It's Time to G-G-G-G... G-G-G G-Fuel! (Not sponsored by G-Fuel)
TWT is the go to synergy for Klepto & Free Boots. The extra mobility is a nice plus, and it beats both alternatives readily.
The Alternative Band
We take MFB because we don't build and we need some mana reserve.
Cull has been known as an inferior starting item since it's inception. The stats you get compared to [Doran's Blade] are heavily outclassed by a majority of the users. However, there is an exception for this specific Hybrid Kog'Maw build. Due to the lack of AD for the first 15 minutes of the game, the "lifesteal" you get from Cull is actually worth more than Doran's. In order to break even, you need at least 100 AD to heal 3 health from 3% lifesteal. Cull is the superior starter due to it's more relevant sustain option and profitable RoI value when you sell it after acquiring 100 CS.
Health potions are for people who get into range to be hit. Since trading is involved, expect to take some damage in the first part of laning. However, we aren't wasting more than 50g on potions due to a diminishing return on invest (or RoI). By not buying excessive potions, you essentially give yourself a 25-100g lead against the enemy laner & support. This allows you to upgrade with less gold. You can start with a control ward and/or red trinket for more vision control.
Remember, your goal is to throw spells after extending your attack range so you can get some easy gold. If you are able to proc all of your Klepto stacks and/or come out with less health lost, you can back off and repeat the process.
Control wards are always mandatory. Buying extra potions is up to your discretion. It's not mandatory to have, but can be useful in a hard lane.
→ → → → → → →
While a controversial opinion, Kog'Maw doesn't necessarily need to purchase Blade of the Ruined King. Mostly due to lack of synergy with raw stats. I personally don't build it and almost always prefer Nashor's Tooth. My issues with are many. Unless you are particularly fond of the physical damage it offers, I highly suggest avoiding it.
You absolutely need to finish Nashor's Tooth first. The on-hit damage you gain upon completion is an immediate 27-32ish magic damage. Assuming you are usually around levels 6-9 by then, this is the highest damaging on-hit item you can have at that point of the game. The argument for Sorcerer's Shoes is the increase in damage to not just your basic attacks, but every part of your kit.
Guinsoo's Rageblade is the next likely item & is ideal for a second big completed item. The stats offered are very nice, but the best value is the 15% Magic Penetration. With a combination of 18 flat & 15 percentage, penetration is exceptionally powerful. What this means is that if your Caustic Spittle reduces your target's MR to less than 25, you will essentially do true damage to that target. This is the strongest 2nd item to get.
Before you continue on with the rest of this Items chapter, I want you to know that for the sake of this "Hybrid Kog'Maw" build, this is the 2.5 mandatory item core build order. Every game, you get these specific items in this specific order (while also allowing for [Control Ward] opportunities of course). You will ALWAYS do this sequence because you WILL lose dps if you change up the order. Similar to how Yasuo players ALWAYS goes Berserker's Greaves → Zeal upgrade → Infinity Edge and how Kai'Sa players follow whatever item build is most optimal at the time, you MUST get these three completed items in this order.
Suppose you go GRB > Sorcs > Nash. The issue here is that GRB keeps your adaptive stats on physical damage. And when you buy Sorcs, you get a heftily decrease in DPS due to lack of separation between physical and magic damage. Nash makes your adaptive magic which does get increased by penetration. This is why it's so important to have a fixed first 3 items.
Elixir of Sorcery is the most efficient item in the game for damaging towers... and champion damage too. Comparing it to Amplifying Tome, you get 150% more AP for only spending about 15% more gold as well as having mana regen & bonus true damage.
Deciding when to buy Sorc Pot depends on the state of the game. I would recommend purchasing one after you finish your 2nd item: GRB. If your team is snowballing in the mid game, this is definitely a good way to get an even bigger gold lead & close out a game early.
When it comes time to decide what to get for a 4th item, that is when it's time to get flexible. Know this, when you reach this point you need to assess the state of the game. Here are a bunch of typical conditional statements that can determine what items you want to buy and what order to buy them in. The items are as follows:
- Oblivion Orb offers flat penetration that is good at dealing more damage to towers, champions without much MR (MR < 40), and minions. The stats aren't very good, but the pen is worth it. Make this 4th if you are positive that no one is stacking MR and you can be okay with a slight delay on WE. DO NOT FINISH!
- Wit's End gets it's strongest powerspike at level 14. Depending on what level you will be on it's completion it could be a boon to either finish immediately or after another component. Make this 4th if level 14 can be secured upon completion.
- Runaan's Hurricane is going to very rarely be a good alternative. In a very specific situation where you absolutely need to hit multiple targets, you would want to buy this. Most of the time, stick with the other options.
You will usually come to this possible 6th item list if you found a reason to not take all 3 items from the previous list. These are all suggestions to forego buying wards to fill the 6th item slot:
- Blade of the Ruined King does fill a niche as a possible item. It's not mandatory, but an optional niche buy. Assuming you get to a late game scenario where you need to deal with high HP stacking tank, then yes. Get this item. But for the other 95% of the time, forget about it!
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter will give you access to the ultimate artillery technique: Chaining. Being able to chain multiple shots in succession from a range where there is no retaliation is the core part of AP Kog'Maw. In this Hybrid build, it's less powerful, but still potent and still deadly.
- Quicksilver Sash Is here for those times where you have to deal with suppressions or other dangerous CC.
- Banshee's Veil can be a situational for surviving one crucial spell that means death.
- Stopwatch does not have very many optimal uses since you lose your ability to actively deal damage & re-position your character.
But it is worth it in your quest to ball so hard that a MF has to fine you for a bounty.
Check this video out for a preview into what the Tower Taking chapter will look like. I will explain how you do things like this:
Again, much love to Aqua Dragon. Please check out his guides & stream.
And much love to you the reader for checking this guide out.