Kog'Maw Build Guide by Blatysce
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Kog'Maw is a deadly carry with Bio-Arcane Barrage letting you auto attack from so far away PLUS deal damage as % health. I build him as an AD carry because at the moment that is how he best fits into the metagame. This build focuses on building AD, because with a lot of AD you can poke more efficiently with Living Artillery AND kill squishies in 3 or 4 hits. I no longer like building Madred's Bloodrazor because it is easily countered by magic resist, and you simply get more damage output by taking advantage of his innately high attackspeed and building AD.
I would like to thank Restrictnine, as he is the one that showed me this build. I have been playing Kog for a long time, but he opened my eyes to building this way. :)
- Upon dying, Kog'Maw starts a chain reaction in his body which causes him to detonate after 4 seconds (he can move in this time), dealing 100 + (25 x level) true damage to surrounding enemies. Kog'Maw will gain additional movement speed upon entering this state
Run at people when you die, you blow up and deal true damage (cannot be mitigated). I would like to point out to keep this in mind if you think you will probably die from a gank. You can turn around and get one of your gankers low enough to kill them with your passive. By no means TRY to die, but keep it it mind.
- (Passive) Increases attack speed (Active) Kog'Maw launches a corrosive projectile which deals magic damage and reduces the target's armor and magic resistance
When you use the active the passive does not go away, so there is no reason not to use it if you can. Since a recent patch it has been buffed to also reduce magic resist which makes it GREAT for this build, and you should use it every time before you start dpsing a target. I start with this first because it will help you last hit, and the mr / armor reduction is good for lvl 1 fights.
- (Active): For 6 seconds, Kog'Maw's attacks gain additional range and deal a percentage of the target's maximum health as magic damage (max 100 damage to monsters).
The wording here confused me when I first started playing Kog. From the wording it sounds like this effects his skills (caustic spittle, void ooze, living artillery) but in reality it only increases the range of his auto attacks. So do not use it to try to finish off people with your ult! :) This is the bread and butter of attackspeed Kog. This is what you should use every time you start dpsing in a fight, and to harass in lane.
- (Active): Kog'Maw launches a peculiar ooze which deals magic damage to all enemies it passes through and leaves a trail for 4 seconds which slows enemies who stand on it.
Nothing much to explain here. I will go over positioning of this later.
- Kog'Maw fires a living artillery shell at a great distance dealing damage and revealing targets for 4 seconds. (150% bonus damage to champions).
* Cost: 40 Mana (each subsequent Living Artillery in the next 6 seconds costs 40 additional mana, capping at 200 per cast)
* Area of Effect:
I just wanted to note the extra mana cost for Living Artillery's used in quick succession, and that it has a small area of effect (aoe). I will go over positioning of this skill later, it is very vital to success. After a recent patch this now scales with BOTH ap and ad, which with this build makes it great. We don't rely on this for the majority of our damage, but with this hybrid build it can do significant damage to fleeing enemies.
Early Game (1-8)
(going against a heavy AD harasser mid)
I greatly prefer Boots of Speed route. It lets me dodge in and out to last hit, AND lets me harass my enemy with my W more effectively. The boots + movespeed quints will give you a real advantage in speed, and in a sense helps you be more survivable. However, I understand that some people may be uncomfortable without true survivability on Kog, so I have included the Cloth Armor and Doran's Shield options. Build the cloth armor into Madred's Razors if you choose to go that route.
Attackspeed Kog is very weak early game, but he needs farm. Look at the other team. Do they have strong mid heroes / mid heroes with gap closers? (ex: Miss Fortune, Caitlyn, Annie, Kassadin, Akali) Try to guess if these champs will go mid. If you think they're going to go mid or a Clairvoyance let's you see them mid, please, do not go mid, they will own you because all you have to counter them is Flash. However if a passive champion is going mid such as Ashe, Malzahar (just don't get close when he's 6), or Tristana you can go mid.
I honestly believe the best spot for Kog is being bot with a good babysitter (ex: Janna, Soraka, Sona) that will let you have all the creep kills. However if this is not an option you might have to take your chances in mid because Kog NEEDS early game farm.
IMPORTANT! Keep in mind if you're going mid against a heavy harass ad champ ( Miss Fortune, Caitlyn, Vayne) to get a Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potion's for your starting items. If you're going against a tough mid AP you might want to get Doran's Shield for extra health.
I don't usually bother harassing until level 4 or 5. If the enemy is being dumb and getting up in your face then by all means, hit them a few times with your W active. Once you hit 4 and they are within attack range throw out your E, your Q, then activate your W and hit them a few times, but don't chase them too much and get attacked by their minions. Keep in mind this combo is very mana intensive so don't waste all your mana doing this over and over.
Once you hit level 6 and get Living Artillery (R) it will become even easier for you to harass and get kills. I usually have trouble getting kills before level 6, but it still happens sometimes. When positioning your ult make sure to aim it a little behind, or to the side of the enemy (whichever way you think they'll run). I typically don't use E when I harass with R. I find it easy enough to hit the enemy roughly 50% of the time, and if you always wait 6 seconds between casts of your R you shouldn't run out of mana too fast.
Note how I try to get Ashe in the middle of my E so that as she runs she'll remain slowed for longer.
See how I am it just a little behind Ashe? Her natural instinct when she sees my ult coming will be to run backwards, right into where I actually aimed it! If you notice they aren't paying attention and REALLY bad at dodging, don't do this.
If I have farmed well I will get a Recurve Bow. If not I will get Berserker's Greaves. If your team isn't buying wards and you have some spare cash, pick up some sight wards. However, it would be optimal for you not to have to buy the wards since you are a carry, and need your items ASAP!
Here is a guide to effective warding if you are curious where to put them!
If you have the opportunity to gank, Kog is a formidable ganker. However, you do not always get this chance if you're playing against a strong mid champion that you cannot manage to kill. If you do kill your mid counterpart and have at least half health, you can go ganking!
Head up to top or bottom lane (whichever one is either giving your team more trouble or the enemy has pushed up too far) and sit in the brush by the river. If you know there is a ward be prepared to run in (hopefully with ghost) and try to surprise them as best you can. Make sure your team is ready, ping the target you want to focus, and go in!
Throw down your E in such a way to ensure they run into it while they're fleeing and get slowed. Start pounding them with your Q + W. Once they are out of your slow and still might get away use your exhaust if you can. If they run into the brush to avoid you throw a R in their direction to get sight on them and keep hitting them with your W. Still not dead? Finish them as their running away with your R. Keep in mind during this time your teammates should be helping you kill them as well, so this should be easy as cake if you do it right. See the pictures below for positioning references.
I have just popped out of the brush and the enemy was past the river. So I use my E in a way to ensure they will run into it and be slowed.
Here I'm chasing Ashe and trying to finish her off with my R. When you're doing this ensure you lead the target with your ult so that you calculate the delay with where she will be at the time in lands. You will have to change this based on their speed, you will just have to guess and get used to it.
Mid Game (9-14)
Working on farming up your Madred's Bloodrazor ASAP. You should have it around the beginning of mid game, and now you can start wrecking some fools! Keep ganking when you can, but for the most part you are going to stay in mid lane and keep up the farm. Try to at least force the enemy you're laning against to go back and heal (or face the wrath of your R!) so that you can go ganking.
Be sure to participate in team fights if they need you. There's no point in farming if you're letting the other team get fed because you aren't helping with team fights / defending towers. This phase is all about map awareness and knowing where to be and when.
Try to get Red Buff if you can. This will be a great asset in ganking and team fights in general. I would suggest getting this buff at least until you get your Frozen Mallet, and if there's no one else that it is good on just continue taking it for the extra damage.
Blue buff isn't very good for you. You don't use too much mana and your cd's are relatively low, but hey if no one else wants it I guess you can take it and spam away with your R!
Kog's Role in Team Fights
You are the carry. You are the one that picks out the highest priority target and murders them. However, you are also very squishy yourself. When positioning for a team fight make sure to stay behind your tank and melee. Even when you're running around try not to bunch up or stand on top of your tank. Stay safely behind the front line, probably along with your support / casters.
If the teams are duking it out seeing which one should initiate first, poke a little with your R. It won't do too much damage so don't spam it and blow all your mana, but even a little damage and sight on the enemy team is very beneficial, and you have the range to pull it off.
Once the fight is initiated throw a slow in the middle and pick out your first priority target. Usually this will be the enemy carry or mage (ex: Caitlyn, Vayne, Brand, Fiddlesticks). If they are not in range of you to safely dps them with your W, switch to the 2nd top priority kill. Maybe this is a support or offtank. Prioritize Melee carries over range carries because it will be much easier and safer for you to kill a melee. If an assassin or another carry comes and tries to kill you Exhaust them and teach them a lesson.
Make sure to finish off fleeing champions with your R if you can, but remember don't chase too far and leave your team still fighting without their carry. It is very vital for you to keep dishing out sustained heavy damage during the team fight.
Late Game (15-18)
Late game is all about sticking together and fighting / pushing / defending as a team. Like I mentioned in the Team Fights section, when roaming around make sure to stick behind the tank. If you are farming, don't be far from your team, and don't be in lanes far away from turrets. If you get caught with your pants down it could mean gg for your team because it will be hard to win a team fight 4v5.
By now you should be able to melt almost anybody on the enemy team. Because of this the enemy team will be really keen on killing you first. This is why it's so important to get survivability items and stay behind your tanks / melee. If you are having trouble staying alive consider buying a guardian's angel on top of your Banshee's Veil.
Lots of times items are situational late game to counter specific heroes / teams. I will discuss situational items later.
How to Use your Ult like a Pro
So there are many uses of Kog'maw's Living Artillery. A lot of people overlook the great scouting opportunities your ult gives you. Here are some examples of how to use your ult like a pro!
You can snipe people turret hugging with low health. This is doable at every in-lane turret by hiding behind trees, or even just sniping them from the lane. If you are hiding in the forest be careful because their turret will still attack you if you are too close when you hit them.
Use it to check brush for possible ganks when enemies are MIA. Also check brushes that some teams like to sit and wait for you to walk by such as the brush by blue buff and baron.
Check to see if important neutral creeps are still up such as Dragon, Baron, Blue Buff, and Red Buff. Hopefully you should have wards to see if they're up but this is a good alternative if you don't have wards at all of these.
I've shown this earlier but I just wanted to reiterate the importance of leading your target when you're chasing with your ult. Keep in mind if they're ghosting / have a speed increase you will have to aim further ahead. This is roughly the distance you will need to aim ahead if they are just running with only regular boots as a speed increase.
Core Item Explanation
With this build, you will have 2.1928 attacks/second (Thanks Frag for testing this!). The attack speed cap is 2.5 attacks/second. Sadly, Kog'Maw has a poor attack speed gain from levels so it is very, very hard for him to hit this cap. Because of this we are going to get more value in building some health and survivability so that he can last longer in fights, therefore dealing more damage, rather than trying to reach the attack speed cap.
Some clarification on item choices:
Why don't I get sorceror's shoes? Interesting thing I learned from this page on LoL Wiki is that Kog's Caustic Spittle and Malady both count as "magic resist reduction" rather than magic penetration. Magic resist reduction is applied before magic penetration, and while magic resist reduction can reduce a target's magic resist to below 0, magic penetration cannot. Kog's Q + Malady + mpen marks reduce the target's magic resist by 57.55. Most champs base MR is 30, then say they get Mercury's Treads, this will give them 55 magic resist, so you will still be reducing their magic resist to 0. However if it gets to late game and they have some serious magic resist, you might consider selling your greaves for sorceror's shoes.
I never bought this item for a long time because of the crit, but after experimenting with it I love it. The movespeed combined with your quints lets you secure so many kills with R, and get lots of hits with W on fleeing enemies. The reason I get it first is because if you can get more kills with R early game you and your team will snowball better into late game.
It has GREAT synergy with your W, and again, is affected by magic pen. I build this first because I feel like it gives Kog the biggest dps boost out of the dps items. Even though it will take longer to build this than Malady, you will see more benefit out of it, and by the time you finish building it you should finish maxing out your W for maximum benefit.
You need more survivability, and now you should have enough attack speed (and move speed with your quints) to effectively chase with this item. The slow is a great way to ensure kills.
Ability power to boost your spells, attack speed to boost your W/Madred's, and magic pen. It's pretty much the perfect item for you, and cheap too!
This is a good survivability item for everyone, and I feel like it is quite helpful as a last item. Late game fights are all about surviving burst, and this well help you do it. As I mentioned above I feel like survivability is more worthwhile than more attack speed at this point.
You will notice that I advocate replacing Stark's Fervor for most of these situational items. Stark's is the most situational item on this build (which is also why I put it last on the build) and many of the items in this list are just as worthwhile as stark's depending on the situation. Keep in mind to be flexible with your build, and to always examine the enemy team / your team to decide what to build.
- - -
If the team is very high in cc, especially if they have assassins that will come for you such as Kassadin or Irelia these are a very good option. Oftentimes people will sell their Berserker's Greaves late game and replace them with these if they are having trouble being cc'd to death.
Only get these late game if the other team is stacking serious MR. Like I explained in the section on why I chose Berserker's Greaves your Q + Malady + mpen marks should take care of most enemies mr. Sell your Berserker's Greaves lategame if you need the extra mpen.
More attack speed, lifesteal, more health regen, and reduced armor for the enemy team. You are no tank but you can't be shut down so easily now, and you are buffing the rest of your team too! I like this item because not only does it help Kog (who is your magic damage carry) but also will help your ad characters as well. However, you should coordinate with your team to see if anyone else is planning on building this item. If your offtank wants to build this item let them do so, and switch it out for a situational item listed below.
Get this if you are having trouble facing heavy life steal / health regen heroes such as Dr. Mundo Warwick Swain. It is preferable that your AD dps get this item, but if that is not an option replace Emblem of Valour / Stark's Fervor with this item.
Are you getting owned by dodging heroes such as Jax, Nidalee, or Sivir? This is the solution to those problems. Replace Stark's Fervor with this item, but build SotD where you would normally build malady.
Also a reasonable choice instead of Banshee's Veil It is kind've up to preference whether to get this or Banshee's Veil. I usually go for BV but if you aren't having too many problems with CC you could go for GA instead.
This is now a pretty decent item on Kog. The reason being if you hit the CDR cap you can have nearly no downtime between your W spells. Replace Frozen Mallet or Stark's Fervor
A great item if you are in need of magic resist because the other team's mages are owning you. I would suggest getting this earlier rather than later.
- I like this spell for both ganking and survivability, and if their assassin gets up in your face during a teamfight you can exhaust them. I've also had many situations where an enemy tries to kill you as you're fleeing. If it is a 1v1 you can often turn around and kill them with exhaust as long as you aren't TOO low.
- Flash is really good for saving your butt since you have no mobility without summoner spells. It also lets you reposition yourself easily in teamfights. It is simply the strongest summoner spell right now, as it gives you protection early game from ganks, and lets you escape those assassins that come after you during teamfights. Keep in mind you can Flash over walls when you get pinned in a corner.
Since we go down the utility tree, keep in mind Ghost and Flash will be on relatively low cd's, don't be hesistant to use them if you're afraid you're going to die.
Optional Summoner Spells:
- I like this spell for both ganking and survivability, and if their assassin gets up in your face during a teamfight you can exhaust them. I've also had many situations where a stealth character tries to kill me in my jungle, and exhaust let me win the 1v1.
- A reasonable choice since kog is pretty slow. It can help you be in the right place at the right time. However, I don't like it because it doesn't help you during fights which is where you will need all the help you can get as Kog.
- Cleanse + Ghost or Flash could be useful on Kog. Don't take it if you don't take an escape spell.
Greater Mark of Desolation - You are building AD, so you will want armor pen to do more damage. You don't really need magic pen for your W, it is more icing on the cake than the focus of your damage.
Greater Seal of Clarity - Even though kog doesn't need much mana to take heroes out this will let him farm with his spells more efficiently without having to go back as much.
Greater Glyph of Shielding - Kog won't benefit enough from cdr or ap runes for this build, so I choose survivability.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation - Again, AD damage, so you get armor pen. You have a significant boost in early game damage with the armor pen quints + marks.
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness - This will make you a real nuisance early game and help you harass with your W. I find that it helps me a lot when chasing / harassing. Also since you have survivability runes for your seals and glyphs it makes it more viable not to take health quints.
Greater Mark of Alacrity - This is really the only other viable mark in my opinion. You aren't at the attackspeed cap and it will also help you early game. However, I find it less noticeable lategame.
greater seal of armor - If you prefer these over dodge, go ahead and take them, they're both good.
Greater Glyph of Force - These will give you an AP boost once you are 5 and a little more AP late game, again, I find survivability more worthwhile, this will not be very noticeable lategame.
Greater Glyph of Alacrity - Will boost your attackspeed, but make you squishier.
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude - Especially if you're a new player or just new to Kog these can be very valuable. They will help you stay in lane early game and survive harass. I have tried both and since I am an experienced Kog'maw player I can live without the extra health, but he is rather squishy, and these runes are great for giving you that early game survivability boost.
21/0/9 - You need the exhaust mastery and extra damage to make you a force from early to late game. Utility tree is ok but is much better if you're taking ghost/flash.
I get only 1 point in perseverance because the gain from going to the 2nd and 3rd point is just too minimal and better spent in Good Hands.
5/31/2011 - Switched around build order. Changed recommended boots to zerker greaves because of recent change to Q. Removed Build 2 because of recent change to Q. Updated a lot of sections to reflect these changes / new patch changes for Kog / general playstyle changes I have come to (mostly early game).
2/19/2011 - Switched seals from dodge to mp5 and added the summoner spells section. Added clarification about build 2 / copying in intro.
2/20/2011 - Changed Masteries to 1 point in perseverance and 2 points in Good Hands.
8/4/2011 - Changed Malady to Phantom Dancer in main build.
11/13/22011 - Completely reworked build in accordance to current Meta. Focused on AD damage rather than magic damage / magic pen.
I hope that this guide helps both newbie Kog's and experienced Kog players alike. I find this build very successful in carrying in my experience, and I also think it's fun. Please don't say "oh I like AP kog better so this build is bad" or **** like that because that's not what this build is about, the playstyles are completely different.
Thanks a LOT to Lord Fragamacrunch for helping me with calculating attack speed, posing in pictures, and all that good stuff. YTB! :D
Thanks to Searz for in depth feedback and suggestions that have made my build better.
Thanks to Restrictnine for helping me reevaluate my build on a more competitive level.
I am looking to continually update this guide, have a nice day, and a GG!