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Malphite Build Guide by Dr Kasper

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This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Dr Kasper


Dr Kasper Last updated on January 20, 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: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 17

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 13

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1/20/12 - After weeks of trial and error, have consistently used this new Rune, Item and Skillset built to great effect for tanking.
Updated section on Ninja tabi to comply with Patch update.

1/13/12 - So far have traded in some items for others, very situational. But found a nice balance between early game survivability and pownage late game.

1/10/012 - Played more games with Malphite, and upon consultation with various guide gurus on this site, have decided to modify the items sequence to augment damage output, while maintiaining survivability.
I also modified the skill sequence, to better the main function of Malphite which is to initiate and kill the squishiest carry the enemy has.

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When I first saw this champion I immediately thought: "Wow, how could I ever hurt him?"
I've seen him in action in the hands of a good malphite player, knowing how and when to initiate, what his skill combos should be, and more importantly building according to his teams strengths and weaknesses.

Malphite has one of the best passives in the game, one of the best initiating ulti's in the game (they don't see it coming), and he offers a variety of versatile builds.

In this guide I will try to show you how a TANKED out malphite can be played.
Remember, tanks soak up damage, and you will to with this build.

Try this build out for yourself, and remember that the order you purchase your items does not have to be this way, but it sure helps.
If you have any comments, please let me know, so I can try different builds and modifiy this build accordingly.

Enjoy Dr. K

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Pros / Cons

This section cannot be missing from a build, so here it goes:

- Awesome passive allows maximum sustainability
- Best initiating ulti in the game
- Pretty decent damage for a tank
- His (abilities + item build) incapacitates the other team
- Offers versatile ways to play him (AP, Jungle, AD, Tank, etc)
- Excellent late game

- You need decent teamates who follow you into battle and know how to use their champion's abilities.
- In the heat of the battle, it's hard to target your Seismic Shard
- Very mana hungry early game, so hard to spam abilities.
- ****py early game

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No suprise here. I go straight for ARMOR, Magic Resistence, and Magic penetration for giving that extra umph of power when either groundslamming or sharding those squishees.

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SUPRISE! I build a little differently than most tanks, opting for a 17-13 build. First for his mana regen early game, and second for speed, extra Exp for assists (and you will get many), and keeping those red, blue, late game buffs activated longer (especially blue).

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Summoner Spells

Again, this area is completely up to you and your playing style.
Personally I have a hard time remembering to click on exhaust, spite, etc.

So I just choose something that allows me to kill squishies all day long: Ignite
And something that allows me to either chase or run away: Flash

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Quite possible the most contreversial section of any guide.
I will attempt to guide you through your item purchase, and explain why things get chosen when they do in the game.
Of course, this all depends on how the game is actually going, so after this section look for a Situational Items section.

* Doran's Shield*
+120 Health +10 Armor +8 Health Regen per 5 seconds

I start off with this great little item to avoid feeding the other team with deaths, and to help out my teamates who aren't as tough as me ;p. After lvl 6, things get interesting with my Ulti.

Your malphite is a tank correct? Therefore your damage output early game is less than ****. Sure you can harass with Seismic Shard all day long, but:
A) You won't kill anybody. (trust me)
b) You will run out of mana (without a doubt)
So instead, focus on running in and out of minion waves, last hitting minions with ground slam, and once in a while poking enemy champions with your Seismic Shard.
The health regen from Doran's is nice to sustain in lane. The extra armor boosts the power from your ground slam, and the extra health adds to more lane sustainability.
* With this build I have never had to recall before lvl 7 *

When I recall, 9/10 I have enough gold to purchase a full set of boots, and either CHAIN MAIL or SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL to start buildind my Glacial Shroud.

So dependig on you lane you will get either:

1) * Mercury's Treads * <-- Key Item against AP heavy team
+25 Magic Resist UNIQUE Passive: Enhanced Movement 2 (does not stack with other Boots) UNIQUE Passive: +35 Tenacity (Tenacity reduces the duration of stuns, slows, taunts, fears, silences, blinds and immobilizes. Does not stack with other Tenacity items.)


2) * Ninja Tabi * <-- Key Item against AD heavy team
+25 Armor UNIQUE Passive: Reduces the damage taken from non-turret basic attacks by 10%. UNIQUE Passive: Enhanced Movement 2 (does not stack with other Boots)

Quite simply, what's hurting you more? Is it that Veigar, Ryze, Lux, etc? Or is that Yi, Tryndamere, etc. Be wise and plan accordingly.

After I upgrade my boots I start building towards:

* Glacial Shroud *
+425 Mana +45 Armor UNIQUE Passive: +15% Cooldown Reduction

This helps me keep my ulti on a low cooldown so I can use it more often, and the mana and armor are a welcome addition to my arsenal.

After I have these 3 articles I go ahead and look at the other team. If they are very AD heavy, I go straight for FROZEN HEART. If they are balanced and their AP isn't much of a threat I got for FROZEN HEART as well. If their AP is hella fed, or really good (like a fed viegar, ryze, morg) I would rather purchase a NEGATRON CLOAK first.

* Frozen Heart * <-- Must have item on Malph
+99 Armor +500 Mana UNIQUE Passive: +20% Cooldown Reduction UNIQUE Aura: Reduces the Attack Speed of nearby enemies by 20%.

* Negatron Cloak * <-- Must have item on Malph if team as 2 or 3 AP champs.
+48 Magic Resist

Again. We ***es the situation. If the team is AD heavy start building THORNMAIL. If the team's AP caster is owning you in team fights, then please, be smart and build FORCE OF NATURE first.

* Force of Nature *
+76 Magic Resist +40 Health Regen per 5 seconds +8% Movement Speed UNIQUE Passive: Restores 0.35% of your maximum Health every second.


* Thornmail *
+100 Armor UNIQUE Passive: On being hit by basic attacks, returns 30% of damage taken as magic damage.

After these items, I like to boost my HP gain, Mana regen, and gime some TENACITY baby!

* Eleisa's Miracle *
+25 Health Regen per 5 seconds +20 Mana Regen per 5 seconds UNIQUE Passive: +35 Tenacity (Tenacity reduces the duration of stuns, slows, taunts, fears, silences, blinds and immobilizes. Does not stack with other Tenacity items.)

This is great when you get Ninja Tabi + Eleisa's because even though you are missing 25 MR points, you make up for it with your Armor + Mana + Awesome health regen + Awesome Mana regen + CDR.

My last item is used to scale off my armor.
There is a great explanation of HP/MR/ARMR cost effectiveness on I suggest you check it out.

* Warmog's Armor *
+920 Health +30 Health Regen per 5 seconds Passive: Minion kills permanently grant 3.5 Health and .10 Health Regen per 5 seconds. Champion kills and assists permanently grant 35 Health and 1 Health Regen per 5 seconds. Bonuses cap at +350 Health and +10 Health Regen per 5 seconds.

My Damage output from my ground slam is my bread and butter, because my skill sequence is usually:
ULTI --> Activate BRUTAL STRIKES in the air --> land and GROUND SLAM --> SEISMIC SHARD whoever has the least life, but I usually go for the squishy --> IGNITE the squishy --> Run the hell away and get either kill from ignite or hella sweet assist.

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Situational Items

Wait a minute! I'm getting owned by that DPS GUY!
(highly unlikely)

* Very simple, you leave behind Magic resist items, and start building Armor and Health regen intense instead.
For Example:

*Thornmail x 2*
+100 Armor UNIQUE Passive: On being hit by basic attacks, returns 30% of damage taken as magic damage.

and you can add late game...

* Warmog's Armor x 2 *
+920 Health +30 Health Regen per 5 seconds Passive: Minion kills permanently grant 3.5 Health and .10 Health Regen per 5 seconds. Champion kills and assists permanently grant 35 Health and 1 Health Regen per 5 seconds. Bonuses cap at +350 Health and +10 Health Regen per 5 seconds.

Of course, what if those pesky AP's are getting the better of you, AND you're getting hella nuked. Don't get Frozen Heart, instead get....

* Hexdrinker *
+35 Attack Damage +30 Magic Resist UNIQUE Passive: If you would take magic damage that would leave you at less than 30% Health, you first gain a shield that absorbs 300 magic damage for 4 seconds (60 second cooldown).

(Just so you know, this item was in my original build instead of Force of Nature. It has less magic resist and health regen, but now you have 3 shields that absorb damage with Banshees veil, with a low cooldown I might add)

Lastly I would like to add this small section for an AP Malphite. I love him like that, but the skill order is completely different and your role as a teamate changes drastically.


* Start off with DORAN'S RING*
Move on to bigger and better things, by building towards:

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
+500 Health +80 Ability Power UNIQUE Passive: Dealing spell damage slows the target's Movement Speed by 35% for 1.5 seconds (15% for multi-target and damage-over-time spells).

* Reason: Your Granite shield scales off HEALTH, guess what we are doing with our AP and Health build? An AP champion with extreme survivability!

After this item I usually end up building a:

* Lich Bane *
+350 Mana +80 Ability Power +30 Magic Resist +7% Movement Speed UNIQUE Passive: After using an ability, your next basic attack gains bonus physical damage equal to your Ability Power (2 second cooldown). Does not stack with Sheen or Trinity Force.

Then I go for a FROZEN HEART!

You can end the game with any combination of VOID STAFF, RABADON'S DEATHCAP and MORELLOS EVIL TOME (to cool down your ulti and other abilities).

Oh and I almost forgot... ALWAYS GET BLUE!

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Skill Sequence

How you plan on building your items, will depend on how you build his skill sequence. This is important to keep in mind, so with this build start building this way --> Slam - Shard - Brutal Strikes.
*But most of the time I just alternate Slam and Shard till I max them out.*

Granite Shield (Innate): Malphite's skin innately (passively) produces a layer of rock as a shield which absorbs damage of up to 10% of his maximum health. The shield will recharge if Malphite has not received damage in the last 10 seconds

*One of the games greatest passives, and what makes him an awesome initiator.

Seismic Shard (Active): Malphite sends a shard of the earth through the ground at his target, dealing magic damage upon impact and slowing them for 4 seconds. Additionally, Malphite will increase his own movement speed for 4 seconds by the same ammount of flat movement speed that the target lost.
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Range: 625
Cost: 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 mana (a little high for my tastes early game, so don't spam it!)Magic Damage: 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+0.6 per ability power)
Movement Speed Stolen: 14 / 17 / 20 / 23 / 26 %

*Your main harass tool to get those pesky AP's to turn back, those fast DPS guys to leave you alone, and what helps get those kills when enemies try to run away. Do NOT SPAM THIS ABILITY. Malphite best damage comes from activating brutal strikes, using your ulti, ground slam,THEN shard enemies that are trying to run away and ignite them throughout game. Learn how to live without using it for everything and youll be happier.

Brutal Strikes (Passive): Malphite's autoattacks will splash, dealing a percentage of his attack damage to nearby enemies.
Splash radius from target: 200
Splash Damage: 30 / 38 / 46 / 54 / 62 %

(Active): Increases Malphite's armor and attack damage by a percentage for 6 seconds.
Cooldown: 14 seconds
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Attack Damage & Armor Bonus: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 %

*For some reason overlooked in alot of builds. The cost is relatively cheap and it just gets crazy if you level it up full blast. The whole point is to activate this ability while going into a wave of minions and slamming all to death. Or... activating this ability before you ulti in and demolish the other team.

Ground Slam (Active): Malphite slams the ground, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies and reducing their attack speed for 4 seconds.
Cooldown: 7 seconds
Radius of AoE: 400
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Magic Damage: 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+50% of total armor)
Attack Speed Reduction: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 %

* A very nice counter to DPS's. Also does quite a bit of nice damage to farm minions. And even maxed out this ability only costs as much as Seismic shard does on LVL 1! And if you've done your math once you reach lvl 6, and you get your frozen heart that's almost a 100% reduciton in attack speed, which effectively semi-stuns your opponent.

Unstoppable Force (Active): Malphite charges to the target location, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area, knocking them into the air and stunning them for 1.5 seconds. Malphite cannot be interrupted during his charge by anything except his own demise.
Cost: 100 mana
Range to center of AoE: 1000
Radius of AoE: 250 (estimate)
Cooldown: 130 / 115 / 100 seconds
Magic Damage: 200 / 300 / 400 (+1.0 per ability power)

* God I hate the cooldown... It's still the best initiating move in the game, knocking into the air, stunning them, AND malphite cannot be interrupted!!!
Make sure you hit it though, cuz the cool down stinks on it.

I level up Ground slam followed by Seismic Shard first. I find that Malphite is better used in the fray of the fight. Not necessarilly initiating, but ganking and smacking their squishiest champion in the face. If I have a ranged fighter or mage on my team, I'm usually in front protecting them, but as soon as they release their CC, I go ahead and target AND ulti their weakest member, while using my ULTI --> BS --> GS --> SHARD --> IGNITE combo on them.

Don't go out by yourself though, cuz you don't do much damage apart from your Ulti and ground slam so enemy teams will target you and kill you fairly easy 4 on 1.
Signal your team back, and farm until your ulti is up again and you can help your team in a more efficient manner.

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* Malphite is a pretty good tank, with decent damage.
* Whatever your build may be, just have fun and don't try to do too much with your items.
* Whenever possible... farm!
* Hide in the bushes and initiate with an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE, your enemies won't know what hit them!
* Protect your squishes! Stand in front of them and let the other team target you.