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Kog'Maw Build Guide by dbug87

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League of Legends Build Guide Author dbug87

Kog'Maw - Underdog Story of the Middle Lane

dbug87 Last updated on February 1, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 17

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 13

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Kog'Maw in the middle lane

Because sometimes, you just really want to kill everything that moves.

Score attained with THIS GUIDE:

I switched my equipment with less than a minute left in the game just to mess around with the 4000+ gold I had at the end.

I also accidentally ran Exhaust that game because I mis-clicked. Pretty sure I would have died less if I ran my flash...

The build shown makes no sense, so it's pretty safe too assume I'm telling the truth because nobody goes 31 kills in a 5 on 5 building what's listed there. This was a 5 on 5 draft pick with all level 30s, not an arranged game with bots or anything like that. Nothing pre-set up. Only had one of my friends playing with me on my team. The other team was quite skilled, too.

I'm not trying to sound defensive, I just know a lot of you would like to debunk a 31-kill game somehow, and I'm here to promise you that there was no fluke or lucky circumstance. I even got ganked a few times.

This guide has some massive potential.

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Why people say Kog'Maw can't mid

1.) They max out Caustic Spittle early, when it hurts you more than helps you in the middle.

2.) They build AS/CDR runes, when you need sustain

3.) They build AP or AD, which provides no early game resists or armor

4.) They say he's outclassed by most mid AP champs. Squishy, short ranged, complacent mid AP champs. Yup. Cool story.

5.) They say he doesn't have the mana pool to last in middle. Clarity.

6.) They say he has no escape and he's too easy to gank. Well, when you don't get your void ooze until late game, I don't particularly care to hear you whine about ganks.

7.) They say he's too squishy. The cool thing about knowing he's squishy is that you can quit *****ing about it and start to plan for it.

8.) ?????

9.) Profit.

People who say Kog is an inferior middle

Have A.) Never played against me in the middle, and B.) Have no concept of the fluidity of roles, gear, runes, and masteries. They're people who are stuck building everything ONE way, playing each champ ONE way, and they try and take that champ to another role with the same gear, runes, masteries, and summoner spells and then they want to blame the champion for their failure.

The champions are all pretty well balanced, they all have strengths and weaknesses. Take Tryndamere for instance, the single most banned champion in LoL because nobody wants to deal with endless rage. Have any of you thought to ignite him and exhaust him and run as soon as you see it? He can't catch you, and as soon as rage wears off, ignite will kill him. You just need to adapt. Nobody in the game is all that significantly overpowered. You just haven't taken a step back and gone "Ok. Hold on. How am I going to best beat this guy?".

It's the same principle pointed at all the people who want to say Kog is a terrible middle. I beg to differ, as I never lose the middle with him. Ever. I lose the middle more often with Morgana than I do with Kog'Maw. Kog is my "tryhard" champion. I bust him out whenever I'm sick of losing with Riven, who is my other "project champion".

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Regarding similarities

I'm going to go way into depth on this guide. WAY into depth. Most of you probably won't read it all. If you don't look at the meat of it, it's going to seem a lot like another guide here on mobafire. I have over 70, probably closer to 100, games under my belt with Kog'Maw and I have spent that entire time ignoring everyone else's build. Never coming to this site or any other. For instance, the one titled "On-Hit Kog'Maw, Let's Get This Party Started" by my fellow Kogger, Klarry300, is incredibly similar to mine. Posted early this year. Quite high rated, too, congrats buddy.

I've been working on my Kog and tweaking him since before that guide was ever posted. Didn't even know it existed until my brother pointed it out to me. He probably was working on it before he ever posted, too; The point I'm trying to make is that I didn't copy it, and furthermore, we have different playing styles, despite a very close build. He did a great job on his guide, people really liked it.

This guide is not that guide. There is more to a guide than an item build. So I ask that these two guides be treated as completely separate.

Anywho, I'm a writer by hobby so I tend to write a TON whenever I write anything. I'm going to end that right now and start getting right to all the key points.

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The guide starts HERE.

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The Build

Feel free to save this image or print it.

The Build: In Depth

Alternate Gear

Zeke's Harbinger - If you have an incredibly AD-heavy team and the Frozen Heart just doesn't seem to be cutting down your team fight deaths enough, try swapping it for Stark's. The life leech/regen aura could be exactly the remedy you need.

Force of Nature - If the enemy is beating on you with AP, it might be wise to swap out the increased armor from Frozen Heart into something a little more unforgiving to an AP champ.

The Bloodthirster - Two names come to mind for me. Nasus and Olaf. Olaf deals true damage and Nasus's farmed Siphoning Strike is just insane. Anything along these lines that deals ridiculously heavy burst damage can be counteracted by boosting your AD and picking up some substantial life leech.

Ionic Spark - is a great early-game helper. If you're just falling behind on CS like crazy, pick up a spark. The life bonus will help you sustain better and the slash damage could help you pick up those last-hits you keep missing. Just make sure to sell it and grab Wit's End instead once the time is right. It does more damage per second, provides better bonuses, and Ionic Spark loses it's viability late game.

Randuin's Omen - Is another great sustain item if you're not partial to Frozen Heart and has a great active which supplements Kog'Maw's lack of a Hard-CC or Dash-based escape.

Void Staff - Another one where a specific name comes to mind: Galio. If you meet up with an enemy that is just stacking the bijeezus out of magic resist, the extra penetration will really help.

I intend for all of these items except for Ionic Spark to replace the end slot which is currently occupied by Frozen Heart.

A word on some other equipment...

I just can't see this item having any use. You can get the dual mitigation (armor and resists) off of much better items. The built in revive, while it seems cool, is totally useless. If you die, the enemy waits by your corpse to beat you back into the soil.

I guess I have a moral problem with Guardian Angel. It just doesn't work well for me. Ever. If you love it, grab it. But you can help your team more with other items and gain a lot more useful benefits than half-***ed dual mitigation. It's not even really that much...

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The Masteries

No fancy pictures this time, sorry.


Brute Force - The extra attack damage helps early game
Butcher - Needed to put a point to make 4 total and get to the next tier.
Alacrity - Attack speed in any amount helps an on-hit build
Sorcery - The faster you can get those abilities off, the better
Weapon Expertise - Armor penetration is neat-o
Arcane Knowledge - Almost everything you do is magic damage
Vampirism - leeching is popular these days
Summoner's Insight - because we have clarity
Expanded Mind - because Kog is a mana ***** if played my way
Improved Recall - because I don't like to get caught recalling
Meditation - because Kog is still a mana ***** from back when we discussed expanded mind
Scout - because I ward the piss out of everything
Transmutation - my magic damage now heals me
Runic Affinity - because I like blue buff and baron buff alot

Alternate Masteries
Because I understand that my masteries are iffy. My masteries, the way I have them, are EXACTLY how I would like them to be to suit my play style after MANY games of tweaking them over... and over... and over. I've explained my reasoning above with a bit of jesting, but they won't work for everyone.

Suppose you don't use your abilities nearly as much as I do?
Well then, Try this mastery setup.

Its a little more damage focused.

If you're dying a lot, try this.

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The Runes

Magic Penetration and Sustain is the name of the game.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

You'll get plenty of attack speed from your gear, which is why I don't choose to take the ever-popular attack speed runes that so many people like to put on Kog'Maw. Sure, my attack speed usually caps out somewhere around 2.0, rather than 2.5...

I'm over it. That extra .5 isn't going to cost me any sleep. As a general rule of thumb, I try and go for strictly runes possessing whole numbers. the 0.95 on the magic pen is close enough for me. But .45 attack speed seals? Nah. Not worth the IP in my opinion. .29 cooldown reduction glyphs? Seriously? Some of the runes I see people building on kog don't make sense to me. But I guess that's what works for them. Like I said, runes and masteries are fluid. Pliable, if you will.

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The Skills


It should go something like this.


Level 1: Get your E, Void Ooze. If you need further explanation, watch my videos or message me. Go leash blue for your jungler. Get your ooze at 4, 7, 9, 10

Level 2: Your Q, Caustic Spittle. 10% attack speed is nice, and it's good for making your other skills throw a little extra damage if you can land spittle. Get your spittle at 13, 15, 17, and 18

Level 3: Your W, Bio-Arcane Barrage. This is your range booster, your damage dealer, and your creep killer. Get it at 5, 8, 12, and 14.

Level 6: Your Ultimate, R, Living Artillery. Your straggler killer and bad-*** harassment tool. As with all ultimates, get it at 6, 11, and 16.

Jesus, I'm starting to sound like Phreak... Yuck.
Does that guy play anything besides the Jungle?

"This is Soraka. I play her in the Jungle."
(you know we all love you Phreak.)

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The Gameplan

The middle is only the start.

Your goal isn't to plow the middle lane all the way to the inhibitor in 10 minutes.

What if I told you that I don't want you to "win" the middle lane?
Obviously we don't want to lose it, but we don't want to play an A-Game in the middle either. Here's the thing: The sooner you break the middle lane down, the sooner the lane phase ends. Kog'Maw is incredibly efficient at starving the ever loving gonads out of the enemy team if you play him correctly, and so the longer the lane phase lasts, the more he can hurt them.

I can kill the middle towers about 3 times over by the time I actually do it, I choose not to, because it's a better strategic option. I want that lane phase dragged out as long as we can drag it.

Jumpstart your Jungler

Have your jungler go to blue wolves. Ask them to hit the wolves first, and soon as they get the aggro, launch your ooze to damage and slow them. get a hit off on the big wolf and run down to the bushes by blue. Your jungler should finish wolves and head down RIGHT as blue spawns. Oooze from behind the cul-de-sac, and throw about 5 hits at blue. Watch to see if it turns around to regenerate, if it does, keep hammering it or your jungler is going to die. Once blue has very little life left, head to the the wraiths that hug the middle lane, ooze them and let your jungler get all the kills. At no point should you be close enough to gain any experience from any of this. Your jungler is now FAR ahead of theirs and you're positioned at the middle lane just in time to see the enemy minion wave at your tower. Start last-hitting.

Versus the enemy middle/Ganks

You need to harass the **** out of the other middle laner. Be the most aggressive middle they've ever seen, but do NOT over-extend without map awareness. I always grab wards as soon as I go back the first time, at about 1350 gold. Some people place them in the bushes on either side of the middle, I choose to walk through the bushes and put them about half a screen further down the river, so I can REALLY see who's coming up on me. Now that you have map awareness, you still shouldn't be overextending.

The goal here is to make the enemy recall about 3 times and kill them about 3 times before you even get to the tower. Yeah, obviously you can hit it earlier, but as long as you're crushing the middle lane, why not milk it for more minions and champ kills? The outside lanes, unless they're very smart, will not abandon their lanes to help the middle if the middle doesn't seem like it's failing. A few deaths in middle are expected, but if that tower starts taking heat, they're going to assume something is up. If they go look at the tower and the tower is fine, "oh, I guess middle is doing his job". Also, last hit the **** out of minions. ALWAYS be watching for low health bars. if they out-CS you, they're going to stomp on you. The above scenario is ideal, and happens about 85% of the time... but if something goes south, you need to be able to adapt. Play passively if you have to.

To see how to handle ganks, check the surviving section.

While the enemy is recalled

You shouldn't have the need to recall nearly as much as they do with your pots and your clarity. Feel free to grab more pots as needed. I go through about 15-20 a game. It's really not that much of an extra expense. While they're recalled, you should be diving into their jungle, harassing their jungler if you meet him, stealing their buffs if you don't. I don't care about the little guys. Kill the big wraith, the golems, the big wolf, the red and blue buffs, and keep that dragon warded early.

If they're counter jungled, go dive on the top or bottom lane. Not really for a gank, because that probably wont happen successfully, and don't farm either because the lanes need it, but attack the enemy, force them away from their minions, help starve the other lanes. Also, this forces the enemy to play very defensively, which can help drag out the laning phase as long as your team doesn't go in for the kill and capitalize. Between you and your jungler, the enemy is hopefully going to be afraid to go anywhere. You can even throw your ooze down a line of incoming minions for another lane so they're easier for your buddies to farm.


(skirmish: a teamfight that doesn't involve all of the members of either team)

You shouldn't be initiating. You should approach from the outside and crowd control, rain artillery, rain bio-arcane barrage, and pick off the stragglers with artillery. Later game when you do insane damage, you should be focusing your fire on the tank and support. You should not throw your ooze into the fight, but rather, on their escape path so they need to pick an alternate route. Know how to time your artillery. You literally need to learn to be a sniper with that skill. It will make or break you as a Kog.


Start by raining artillery on the battle. Get your bearings on how the fight is going. If their carry is chewing up your carry, focus him. If the tank is getting focused because your team is ******ed, focus the tank because you can kill it fast enough for your dumb team-mates to not get killed because they focused the tank. Your job is to pick off key players to turn the tides. If your team is losing because of heavy CC, kill the one throwing the CC. This is why you stay back and artillery for a second- Figure out WHO is really a priority target. Your shining point is in picking off a single enemy very quickly, so get in there and get to it.

When do I take the middle tower down?

You should have control of it the whole game (the enemy can't get to your tower or keep theirs safe). Once your lane is pushed and you've comfortably established to yourself that you can take this turret down anytime you damn well feel like it, you should only come back to your lane when the enemy middle is successfully pushing out past the river or if there is more than one enemy in the middle lane. The first middle tower should fall at no later than 15 minutes. Preferably at around 12-14 minutes. The second one can be left alone until the teamfight phase.

So essentially, you mission is to break their life down until they don't feel safe straying out or they recall, and then go screw with everyone else for a little bit. Come back, bully them until they throw their keyboard, and go mess with everyone else's day. Repeat.

It is for this reason that I say you need to have your /joke with Kog'maw on a hotkey. I have mine set to Z. If you aren't blowing the battle horn every time you arrive on the scene or every time you pull something shady (kill enemy red buff and stroll off right as the jungler shows up.... /joke, scurry off) Then you're failing with Kog'Maw. You aren't playing him to nearly the trolling potential he has.

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Most importantly, know the range of all your skills, especially Void Ooze. Try and stay at exactly the distance of the optimum range of your void ooze from enemies at ALL times. this is a good gauge because within the range of void ooze, all of your other skills (that you use frequently) can hit the enemy, but they can't hit you.

Always last hit minions. This requires you to also know how much attack damage you're doing versus how much life the minions have. If you need 5 shots to kill a minion, your attacks do 1/5 of their life in damage. It seems elementary, but I always see people attack a minion down to like 1 HP and then a minion steals the kill, and therefore the gold. You really have to keep your eyes peeled for low minions, and pick them off at the last second. CS is everything in the middle. Know how much damage you do, and make sure you don't attack in such a way that you leave a minion at low enough HP to be killed by another minion. Let the minions do all the work. This frees you up to juke, dodge, and land your shots better on the enemy champ. It provides a lot less distraction and will make you more able to focus on playing smart.

Passive Aggression kills.
The enemy is a lot more vulnerable when they're running from Kog'Maw. Getting the enemy to chase you is a good idea, because if you're fast enough, they'll give up and begin to turn away. You need reflexes. The MOMENT they turn away, use void ooze on the path they're walking, and hammer on them with your bio-arcane barrage. If they turn to face you, hopefully, they'll have a path of ooze to walk over to catch you and you can still get away. It's a good way to score free damage. Just make sure you know where his team mates are, because if they close in on your retreat, you're going to take a few hits, if not die.

Assess a situation before committing to it. Use your Living Artillery to scout ahead of you and to the sides of you. Have wards in all key areas near you. In other words, if you know you're setting up camp in the side lane for a while, ward both of the buffs on that side (one team's red, one team's blue) and the prime buff on that side (dragon or baron) as well as a little ways down the river. Nobody can sneak up on you if they can't sneak at all.

Do not start seeing red. Just because you've gotten an enemy down to 1% of their health doesn't mean you should hunt them down for the kill. You find vayne out by herself, and you beat her down within inches of her life, she starts running back at about 12% life. You land an artillery shot, now she's at 4% of her health. 3 of her team mates show up with full health. Vayne got you down to about 65%. You can probably catch up to her JUST enough to get ONE more artillery shot and end her life. Do you chase her? Hell no. You'll get destroyed by the rest of her team.

Ignore your passive. It would really like you to think it's ok to die. Ignore your passive until you actually get 100% legitimately killed- Like there was nothing you could do about it at all. Twisted fate teleported right within range of you, gold carded you, Alistar knocked you towards the tower, and rammus taunted you as soon as you landed within the tower's range. Vayne has 9 and a half phantom dancers and comes in and cleaves you to death. Game over. Oh... here, have an explosion.

Watch your mana. Nothing is worse than the enemy diving on you and only being able to get 1/4 of your nuke out. (nuke: when a champion uses all of their offensive abilities on a single target)

You should not be auto attacking before you have your wit's end. Understand that almost every single champion can completely hack down Kog'Maw, he's NOTORIOUSLY squishy. Your void ooze out ranges 90% of them. Your auto attack doesn't until [[bio-arcane barrage] is on about level 3 or 4. I've found that somehow my games line up PERFECTLY to the point where I have Wit's End ON the level that I end up getting bio-arcane upgraded that far. So I use my Wit's End as my mile marker to let me know when I can start safely auto attacking. My bio-arcane is on a good level, I have defense from Madreds and resists from Wit's end, so I should be good. Other than that, I rely a lot on ooze and artillery to keep me at a safe distance for most of the early game.

Get yourself out of any gank. If you get ganked and they can secure you, you're going to die. Period. Void ooze happens to take effect very close to essentially UNDERNEATH Kog's feet. If you pop void ooze, everything that was attacking you, or at least most of them, are probably slowed. Flash out and run your little butt off, either for a tower or for your team whichever is closer. If you CATCH them coming at you for a gank, and you have that extra .75 seconds to react, fire void ooze at the higher threat to keep them off of you. For instance, if Akali is in the middle, and lee sin starts to gank you, Akali is going to hurt you a LOT worse. In that case, you wouldn't slow your ganker, you'd slow the laner and deal with the ganker. After one is slowed, flash towards your assistance, either your team or tower, whichever is closer. If you're past level 6, artillery directly on yourself while you're running. By the time it lands, if they're chasing you, they'll be where you were. If you can land enough of them, you can either turn for the counter kill, or watch as they break off their chase. Hit a bush and recall.

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Dealing with problem champions

As with any champion in this game, certain champions WILL act as an effective counter to Kog'Maw.
You just need to know how to beat them.

And then there's Galio...

I'm not gonna dedicate a whole image to him because you don't see him a lot. But when you do, either swap out the middle and go to the top solo lane or bottom, or build AD. An on-hit champ against Galio is just ******ed. He blocks magic damage. That's his whole gig. His entire purpose in League of Legends is to laugh at champs that build like you or your friendly neighborhood AP carry. That's what Galio is all about. So why give him the satisfaction of being made to deal with a champion type he specializes in dominating?

I have beaten Galio in the middle lane, but he wasn't a very good Galio and it wasn't worth the frustration.

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Fun Stuff To Do With This Build

Bring Janna With you

If you bring janna with you and trollcamp the middle lane and there's a solo top, solo bottom, and jungler on your team, the enemy will probably ragequit. You both have such insane range that they simply won't be able to move at all. if you have the river warded, nobody can sneak up on you without taking crazy damage. Janna buffs Kog's already insane damage and she can heal him as well. The middle lane doesn't stand a remote chance. Destroy it in less than 10 minutes and move on to smoking the other lanes. GG. Janna and Kog were MADE to troll together.

I'll add more to this as I see new things working well.

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Thanks/Further information

Thanks so much to JhoiJhoi for making guides a little more bearable to look at, including this one.

Thanks to Klarry300 for obviously being another experimenting Kog player. There needs to be more experimental summoners like you in league of legends.

I'll be adding a LOT of videos and further information to this guide over the coming weeks/months. This, unlike my other guides, is more of a guide I can use to record my experimenting, as well as help my friends learn Kog. If it's a hit, it's a hit. If not, then I'm OK with that.

Upcoming sections: Problem champions, alternate strategies, dominion, jungling on-hit kog, playing this build in the bottom lane or solo top

and a lot more once I think of it or it is suggested.

I would like some help, if anyone knows how:

I have no idea how to record footage from my games. I have the league replay program, but I can't export anything from it, and if I try and record it with another screen cap program, all I get is a recording of a black screen. Any help would be AMAZING.

Enjoy the guide, everybody!