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Malzahar Build Guide by Piksel4o

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Piksel4o

Malzahar - Come mortal, witness your demise

Piksel4o Last updated on July 21, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Hello guys, this is my first guide here on Moba, and it is about my favorite caster - Malzahar. Here I'll explain how I play Malzahar, and will give you some tips about him.

Thanks to Searz for the awesome guide format! You can find it here.


(for any abbreviations you don't understand)

Here I'll present you a quick version of my guide. Usefull, forsay, when you are in champion select and have 30 seconds until game starts, and you have decided to play Malzahar, so you are unable to read the whole guide. This is in short what you need to know:

Runes" 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration; 9x Greater Seal of Replenishment; 9x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction; 3x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. Any other runes that focus on survivability are also a choice.
Masteries: Standart 9/0/21, but please don't take Perseverance.
Summoner spells: Ghost and Flash, both improved from masteries. Ignite is also a good choice.
Skill order: Start with Call of the Void. Put 1 point in Null Zone at level 4. Max Malefic Visions first, followed by Call of the Void. Take Nether Grasp whenever possible.
Farming: Easy - Malefic Visions, with help from Call of the Void or Null Zone if needed.
Harrasing: Call of the Void, sometimes Malefic Visions.
Standart combo: Malefic Visions-> Call of the Void-> Null Zone-> Nether Grasp-> Ignite, if you have it.
Items: Focus on AP, and some survivability with an item like Banshee's Veil

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Pros / Cons

+ Awesome nuker
+ Good AoE dmg
+ AoE Silence
+ Anti-tank (Null zone
+ Fairly good CC (Silence, Suppress)
+ Excelent farmer
+ Great Harrasser
+ Comes from da void

- Squishy
- Usually focusued first
- Vulnerable to CC
- Pushes lane really quick... which is bad, cuz your jungler won't be able to gank, and you'll be an easy target for anyone
- No escape
- Voidling can sometimes give out your location (ex. you hide in a bush, but the Voidling just refuses to go inside and stands out... kinda frustrating)
- He floats.

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As you probably saw, I go 09/00/21

I feel this is the only masteries you can get on him.

The 9 points in Offence are just like any other caster - Mpen, Cooldown, and AP.
The 21 points in Utiliy. Few things to mention here:

  1. Do not take Perseverence . It's just not worth it. You have enough Mana Regen, and even if you didn't, the stats you get from this mastery are misserable compared to the 10% reduced Death time from Good Hands
  2. Same goes for Expanded Mind. Just no. I'm not big on statistics, but if I remember correctly, it gives something like 40-100 mana at lvl 18(correct me if I'm wrong). Exp is much better.
  3. Quickness is important, as your speed isn't great at all, and you haven't got any good escaping mechanisms.

Take the improved versions of your summoner spells (if you're not taking Ghost, you can put 1 point in Perseverence .)

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Summoner Spells

As you have no escaping skills, this will sure come in handy. Good for positioning in fights for the perfect Nether Grasp.

If you are feeling that you need a bit more damage. However, I don't usually get this, as I feel that about lvl 6, my target should be decently harrased for me to kill without the use of this spell, and much more preffer to swap it with Ghost.

All of your skills require positioning, so this will really come in handy. It can also let you escape.

Another spell to consider about your escaping tools. Usefull versus teams with heavy CC

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Greater Mark of Insight
Best reds you can get, Mpen is always good. There are no other Marks that are even worth considering for Malzahar, you MUST have these, they make a huge difference.

Greater Seal of Replenishment Greater Seal of Replenishment
Yes I know Malz can refresh his mana with Malefic Visions. But the extra Mana regen will let you harras SO much. I preffer these runes to AP or AP/level, mainly because the AP you get from yellows is just.. well.. not worth it.
SPACE Greater Glyph of Focus
Cooldown reduction, you need it. With the extra CDR with this runes, you'll be able to easily reach the 40% cap.

Greater Quintessence of Potency
15 Ap early game is really nice. Malzahar can really make the most out of these runes, so I feel almost obliged to take them.

Alternative choices:

Greater Glyph of Potency
These will make you a bit stronger earlier. However, I do feel that CDR is much better than 9 AP. Take them if you like them. space
SPACE Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
If you preffer to stack on some extra HP for your early game, you can try out these runes without hesitations.

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Skill Sequence

Q > E > E > W > E > R > E > Q > E > Q > R > Q > Q > W > W > R > W > W

My priority is maxing Malefic Visions First, as it gives you the most reliable dmg source, and it is also your main farming tool.

Below, I will give short explanations and tips about each skill.
Passive that summons an UNCONTROLABLE minion to fight for you. It evolves over time, gaining Health and Attack speed. This little guy is pretty amazing. If you cast Malefic Visions on someone, the little fella will go after him. This combination allows you to easily farm.

It also can really annoy enemies early game if it gets them. A good combo is casting Malefic Visions on the enemy when your next spell will summon it. This can do quite a lot of dmg, and is great for pushing enemies back a bit.

Later in-game, with enough CD you'll be able to get two or even three of these guys on the battlefield. They are also very nice at taking down turrets. Finally, it can sometimes save you from skillshots if it happens to walk upon their trajectory.

Have in mind that Ignite counts towards the spells needed to summon a Voidling.
This skillshot wall silences and deals dmg. An overall great spell. In teamfights, you can pull of a 3 sec silence on pretty much everyone, if you're lucky. It also allows you to finish off fleeing enemies, and due to its long rage , harrasing has never been easier. I max this skill second.

Since it has a brief delay, always try to lead your target when casting it. Practice a lot.

It also reveals Bush, so you can use to safely check bushes any time.
This is the skill that tanks hate. It deals a % of enemy's HP per second for 4 seconds. Good placement of this skill can turn the tides of battles. Your usuall combo for nuking someone is Malefic Visions -> Call of the void -> Null Zone -> Nether Grasp + chase if needed.

However, if the target you want to nuke is not near the centre of the battle, it is sometimes better to spread dmg. Ex: Null Zone a place where the most people are standing, or where u are sure u can get most of the dmg from it done. Call of the void on the casters, and then focus your target(which should usually be the enemy carry). Due to the fact that Malz doesn't need milions of AP to be effective, a decent amount of AP combined with Mpen will sometimes allow you to finish squishier targets without using your full combo.

However, it is not that usefull early game, so I put one point in it at level 4, and max it last.

Note: The first "tick" of dmg is applied the moment you cast the zone. You can use this to your advantage, for example when chasing a really low HP enemy, and you either have no mana for your other skills, or are somehow out of range for them - Null Zone can get you the kill
A damage over time spell, which renews it's duration,returns you some mana and passess to a nearby target if the previous one died while Malefic Visions was on. Also, Voidlings will always focus the target with Malefic Visions on, provided that the enemy doesn't move too far away. This is your main farming skill, it allows you to easily clear entire minion waves. It is also on your shortest CD, and most reliable damage spell, that's why I max this one first.


If you overuse in early game, you will end up pushing your lane too far, and thus leading to you being ganked easiliy,and your team unable to gank.

Sometimes, you'll be able to get two or more Malefic Visions on a wave/teamfight. Keep in mind that if two of them land on one enemy, one will simply dissapear.

Note: At rank 5, with about 100 Ability power, Malefic Visions can kill a melee or caster minion on it's own. Lastly, some extra info : on rank 1, it takes 6 minions kills to compleately refund the mana cost. On ranks 2,3,4 and 5, you need to kill 5 minions in order to fully recover the mana.
Your ultimate pins down a single target for 2,5 secs, dealing damage over time. It is a channeled spell, meaning that if you get CC'd, it will end. You should know that Tenacity and Cleanse do not help against your ulti. But, Quicksilver Sash does. That's why you hate it.

Below, you will find a list of all champions/abilities that can somewhat counter your ultimate
  • Alistar's Unbreakable Will can cancel the surpression, and will take almost no damage.
  • Tryndamere CAN activate Undying Rage while he's surpressed. (meaning that his health cannot drop below 1, but he is still surpressed)
  • Gangplank's Remove Scurvy will cancel the surpression, but he will continue to take damage until he walks out of spell range
  • Olaf's Ragnarok cannot be cast while you have ultied him. However, if he has used it already, and you try to surpress him, it won't happen. He will still take damage if he is in spell range however.
  • Morgana's Black Shied will protect anyone from both surpression, and damage.

You should use this spell when you have gotten your enemy into your Null Zone in order to max the damage you deal.

You CAN use all of your summoner spells, except Flash. Flash will end the channeling. Also, you can use the active on Deathfire Grasp, Hextech Gunblade, but if you use Zhonya's Hourglass, you will interrupt the spell.

Also, you cannot use your other spells, this ends the supression too. Same happens if you move.

And now it's time to introduce you to your standard combo:

Malefic Visions -> Call of the void -> Null Zone -> Nether Grasp

You start off with Malefic Visions due to the fact that it is your most reliable dmg source, and it is also on the lowest CD (and if you just summoned a voidling it will now focus your enemy for just some more dmg). Continuing with Call of the void for silence and some heavy dmg. Null Zone should always be cast before your ultimate, as it is really easy to avoid. After you have placed your Null Zone, Nether Grasp your enemy. If they are still alive, your Malefic Visions should be ready to cast, and soon so shall Call of the void. Chase target until he dies.

If you have taken Ignite, use it while you are channeling your Nether Grasp
. The active on Deathfire Grasp should always be used at the beggining of fights, but it's not a great shame to use it later if impossible to do so earlier. But, I usually save Deathfire to take down Tanks or Off-tanks.

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A word on Smart Casting

I've decided to write a chapter on this one, as it can really improve your gameplay.
First off, some of you might wonder : "What IS Smart casting?"

The answer is simple: Smartcasting is basically auto-casting an ability at your mouse location, no need to click. It clicks for you. Used for spamming spells without needing to aim - turns your skills into Irelia ults, or Karthus/Cassiopeia Q spells.

"And how do I use this?"

If I am correct, by default smart casting can be achieved by holding SHIFT + ability hotkey, and it instantly casts the spell on the target/area that your cursor was over.

Examples: To smart cast Call of the void, you will need to have your mouse in spell range , hold SHIFT and press Q. This will create a spell on the area you wanted it to. The procedure with Null Zone is the same (SHIFT+W).

Another example: Let's take a look at your non-skill shot abilites, shall we? With Nether Grasp , Malefic Visions, possibly Ignite, you will have to have your cursor EXACTLY over your target, not just the area. The other is simple - Malefic Visions - SHIFT + E; Nether Grasp - SHIFT + R;

Note: If your cursor is not in spell range, the champion will first walk (or float, in our case) until the spell target/area is in spell range

So how can you use this to your advantage with Malzahar?

First off, Call of the void can become easier to land. But, in order to do this, you must know well the spell range. It also allows you to be more QUICK. That means your enemies will have less time to REACT. Since you want to kill your enemy af FAST as possible, smart casting can help you with this.

Lets take a closer look on a normal situation on mid:
You have your lvl 6 ,and you are about to Flash in, and nuke your enemy to death. I've had a bunch of times, when after my Flash, due to my innability to cast so many spells at once, my enemy either runs away, flashes away, or sometimes even kills me (that damn Annie). Even if I kill them, it is quite possible for the to quickly leave Null Zone

However, if you know Smart Casting, and are good with it, you can actually flash in, do your combo in a matter of secs, without your enemy even knowing what happened. I'm in the process of yet mastering this skill, as I feel it brings gameplay to a whole new pace.

So, let's get the Pros and Cons of Smart casting, shall we?

- A lot quicker
- Sometimes easier to land skillshots
- You feel like a ninja
- Awesome for ganks

- Requires a lot of knowledge on the champion, his abilities, and your enemies
- Sometimes a simple missclick might fail you (I've had times when I Ultied a Minion, Ignited someone who I wasn't focusing)

Remember, if you don't find the SHIFT key convinient, you can always change it from the in-game menu!

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Starting Items

Doran's Ring
I Think this is the best starting item for you, as it gives you HP, AP, and mana regen - all the stats you would want early game.
Amplifying tome
If you wish to go more risky, feel free to take this. Don't forget to take 2 Health Potions, because you WILL be squishier if you choose this item.
Boots of speed
I've seen people starting with these, but to be honest, I don't think that this item is good for a start.

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Core items

Rabadon's Deathcap
A mage's best friend, this is the item that gives you your main weopon - AP! And a lot of it! Try to finish it as fast as possible, it is vital to your gameplay.

Sorcerer's Shoes
Again another item that you love. Not only it will give you movement speed, but it will also give you some neat Magic Penetration in order to take your damage output to the max.
Void Staff
At late game, stacking tons of AP isn't such a great idea. However, this item provides you with the solution - Must take!

Banshee's Veil
Going full AP build with no survivability is NOT a good idea. Grab this item, It is the item that I think fits Malzahar the best!

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Preferred items

Rod of Ages
Excelent item to take after your Rabadon's Deathcap. Provides you with a nice set of AP, Health and mana.

Zhonya's Hourglass
Another item for AP, and it gives you a really nice passive to help you survive in teamfights.

Mercury's Treads
What's that? You need some Magic Resistance and a way to deal with CC? Have no worries - you can swap this item with Sorcerer's Shoes without doubts.

Abyssal Scepter
If your enemies are not building MR, take this item instead of Void Staff. REMEMBER TO NEVER MIX THOSE TWO ITEMS!!!

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Other viable items

Haunting Guise
Good mid game item, will provide you with some HP, and will make sure you deal almost true damage to your enemies. Sell it if you get to late game.

Moonflair Spellblade
Since its release, I haven't seen anyone using this, or its similiar items. I would most deffinetely get this in case I got Sorcerer's Shoes instead of Mercury's Treads. Try it out sometimes, It is a great item for early gameplay.

Mejai's Soulstealer
If you had an unremarkable early game, and you wish to snowball your way to victory, this is the item for you. Be carefull though, it can easily backfire.

Deathfire Grasp
I like to get this item when facing a very tough to take down guy. Combined together with Null zone, it can achieve some great things.

Will of the Ancients
This item gives you a nice set of Ability Power and Spell vamp that both yield possitive results. Farming minion waves with it can restore a ton of HP and Mana.

Morello's Evil Tome
Good item if you want to cap that 40% cd reduction, the Ap is also nice.

Archangel's Staff
Decent item for Malz, will get you tons of AP, and should solve all of your mana problems.

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Early Gameplay

Game starts. Put one point in Call of the void, and cast it three times so that your next spell will summon a voidling. ALWAYS try to take mid. Malzahar is in my oppinion one of the best mid laners. Reasons?

  • Good farm
  • At level 6 very very few champions can resist your nuking power
  • Combines good with gankers (silence, ulti)
  • Thanks to voidling can do some serious dmg to towers if he decides to push.

Last hit. This is so important for you. As I said earlier, don't relly on Malefic Visions and Voidling getting all your minnions kills, because that way you will find yourself at the enemy tower, getting quickly ganked. Instead, you should let your enemy push a bit, then farm the next 2-3 waves with Malefic Visions, let him push a bit, farm again etc etc. During all this time, you can safely harrass your enemy with Call of the void. Tagging them with Malefic Visions and sending a Voidling after them at about lvl 4-5 is also a good idea. At level 6, your enemy should have at least half of his hp missing. If possible, ask your jungler for assist. However, if you are confident in yourself, you can Flash in, and do your combo. Garen-teed success.

However, not every game is perfect. Sometimes, you might see that your enemy is beating you in 1v1 ,and you can't really do anything to him. WHAT TO DO?

Relax, the mid lane is not about getting the most kills. Remember, you are alone out there, so you can't blame anyone if you die. So if you see that your enemy is clearly stronger than you, don't focus on killing him. Instead, farm more minions, play more deffensively, ask someone from the other lanes to swap if needed, or simply wait for your perfect time to gank. IF you played more deffensively, the minions should have pushed you to your tower, and your enemy will either be away of XP zone because he's scared, or be in tower range ,which means easy easy gank.

What about "MIA's" and "ss"? Always say when you have the chance to. But don't flame your teammates if someone from top or bot ganks you. You should always be aware of the map, who is missing and who not. And let's think a bit, if they ganked you, you have probably overextended at least a bit. Try to avoid that.

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Mid Gameplay

After you hit lvl 7-8 it is time to start either pushing or ganking. If possible, ask your jungler for Blue buff(skill spam ftw). you should already have at least Needlessly Large Rod or Sorcerer's Shoes ready. If you see that all is going well, and you are optimistic, you can invest your gold in a Mejai's Soulstealer. If you have spare gold, ward the map.

Small fights should beggin to occur, and your role in them is to FOCUS AND KILL THE EASIEST TARGET. That means you have to judge your enemies. Don't go rambo, stay at the back and throw your spells from there.

You have a great pushing potential. After a successful gank where hopefully both of the enemy champions died, it is time for the remaining members of your team on that lane to push to their tower. Hopefully, even if you don't take it, you'll be able to do some serious dmg to it.

Whenever you're not pushing or ganking, farm. It's what you do best. You can also organise your team to do a quick dragon, but before that be sure to put some wards down so you don't get caught.

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Late Gameplay

By that stage of the game, you have a decent amount of AP, great Mpen, and you have found out that you are so so squishy. And you don't like it when you're focused, but you always are. Here is where you should play most cautiosly. Stand at the back, and focus the carry, or the person you think deals the biggest amount of dmg or is the main threat for you/your team. But sometimes it seems like there is no real person to focus, as they all play a key role in they're team setup. As I said earlier, it is good to sometimes spread dmg - Silence the casters, Null Zone and Deathfire Grasp the tank, pin down the carry, things like that.

Farm large minion waves. Try to always have Blue buff. Ward the map. Help your team with baron and dragon. Do not roam the map alone, you are very fragile.

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Quicksilver sash

It happens by surprise, really. Here's what happens:

You are quietly waiting in the bush, thinking what you'll buy with the gold from this extra kill you are about to get. Heh, you killed that guy like 3 times in a row, time to go on a rampage! Ok, here he comes... this will be a piece o' cake, simply flash in and EQWR and type "lololo" in all chat. He has no way of dealing with you at all. Here goes.

You flash in, and EQWR like mad. Heh, gg. Wait... what's that white circle around him? WHY THE F*** IS HE NOT SUPRESSED?!? WTF IS HAPPENING?!? You panic. You throw off skillshots in the air, while the strangely-not-stunned-target simply kills you, as you just can't understand what happened. During Death recap, you take a look at his items. And you see....

Well, it probably isn't like that, but that was when it first happened to me, I remember every part of it... :D

So, yes, Quicksilver Sash is THE item that counters you. It removes your ulti. It removes your silence. It shakes off Malefic Visions of the target, including Ignite if you have it.

That means... if you see someone taking this item, by all means, DO NOT FOCUS HIM. You'll feel so stupid, trust me.

So what can you do against this? Well... simply hope. For our luck, a lot of people seem to either don't know , forget, or under rate this item (which I don't see why).

IT is your nightmare.

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Closing words

Thank you for reading through my Malzahar guide. I appologise for any grammar mistakes that I could've made while writing this. Please let me know what you think about my Guide, and don't forget to write a comment - critisism is encouraged.If you have any suggestions or tips, please feel welcome to share them. Goodbye, and remember....


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Change log and achievments

Here I will post any changes or "achievments" that this guide comes over...

16 June 2011 - Guide released.
28 June 2011 - Fixed some grammar mistakes, and added more Items to the item section.
29 June 2011 - Added a chapter on Smart Casting, and still some grammar fixes >.<
06 July 2011 - Added a quick summary chapter, as well as some more updates and colour fixes.
20 July 2011 - Remade the guide using Searz's awesome looking guide template :P