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Malzahar Build Guide by Janitsu

AP Carry Malzahar - I Have Seen Your End

AP Carry Malzahar - I Have Seen Your End

Updated on June 29, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Janitsu Build Guide By Janitsu 39 4 352,569 Views 91 Comments
39 4 352,569 Views 91 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Janitsu Malzahar Build Guide By Janitsu Updated on June 29, 2014
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Pro et Contra
Summoner Spells
Thanks To

Hello everyone! Gold I player, and I have been a mid main from late Season 2. This Malzahar guide is just here to guide the new Malzahar players on their journey to higher elo so do not strictly follow this guide, think of the itemizations and which ability to max and other things such as them and you'll do just fine.

If you have something to say, or I've goof'd up in the guide, send me a PM or comment about it :)!


+ Has really good mana sustain and harass, especially after the first back (if you manage to get some items)
+ Malzahar is able to burst most of the mids to death when he hits level 6
+ Very good trading power
+ Has really high CC
+ Voidlings deal quite a bit damage


- Can be hard to roam, especially if the enemies are warding a lot
- His Voidlings and Malefic Visions might screw up your farm
- You need good placement
Don't read pls
I told u no read

greater mark of hybrid penetration
I just remembered (Thanks to XeresAce) that greater mark of hybrid penetration exist. They really increase your and your voidling's damage. They do also boost your damage in the early game because most mids I've been against are running at least Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. You can also take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, it's more of a personal preference. Take the ones you have or decide.

These are pretty much like the basic runes. It makes minions deal less damage to you and if you are against an AD mid or against someone who often harasses you with his/her autoattack these will help you quite a bit. If you think you don't need these then you can pick Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration.

Greater Seal of Health got buffed in the rune change patch and that makes them really worth choice. You should take these especially against AP opponents (I prefer having a page with armor/health and health seals page = 2 pages). General against anyone page would be 5x Greater Seal of Health and 4x Greater Seal of Armor.

You will need these because support deals magic damage, jungler and top deal at least some and mid deals quite a bit magic damage. These are always needed and there is no reason why these won't have at least some use to you. You can also take Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power if you want to scale better to the late game.

These quintessences add your damage late game as they scale well to that state of the game. Optional runes are Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. You can take those if you are against strong early game mid.

Offensive Tree

I usually go 21/0/9 because I don't really think you need anything from the defensive tree. I will explain some of the mastery picks now. Sorcery is for the cooldown reduction. It is also the best choice if you want tier 2 masteries from offensive tree. Butcher makes last hitting a bit easier. Feast gives you some more sustain, and with Doran's Ring and Malefic Visions you don't really run out of mana. Arcane Mastery gives you some early game damage. Executioner gives damage against low health targets, and since your Malefic Visions is a DoT spell, it might increase its damage if it stays on the champion for long enough. Archmage gives you some more AP, especially late. Arcane Blade increases damage output, harass and makes farming easier. Devastating Strikes are pretty self-explanatory. It gives your spells more damage. Havoc just increase your damage.

Utility Tree

I can't really say much about the utility tree. It gives you some utility. You can take Phasewalker if you want to recall faster (might save that inhibitor with just a sliver of health). Meditation 's mana regen is pretty high, especially early game. Summoner's Insight allows you to Flash and Ignite more often. Alchemist makes potions even more cost-efficient. Runic Affinity makes your blue buff and baron buff longer.

Good Summoner Spells

I ALWAYS take Flash because it really helps you flee and kill people. In the early game you can Flash and throw Call of the Void to prevent him from escaping, then you'll throw Malefic Visions and Null Zone and then Nether Grasp which will kill most of the targets. You can also flee from a gank that would've killed you.

Ignite really increases your kill potential and it also reduces healing. I take it in 98% of my games and I have never regretted it. If you don't take it and enemy's mid has it, you will lose if you go all-in because Ignite really hurts and you enemy quite likely has it thus leaving you weaker than he/she is.

Optional Summoner Spells

I take Teleport if I know I will win my lane hands down or I am against someone who mostly runs Teleport like Ryze. It really increases your presence over the map and it fixes some problems Malzahar has when roaming, like the fact that you are really slow without boots and you need to be close range to actually kill someone.

I take Barrier when I am against people who can easily burst you down. When I am against Zed this is really necessary due to the fact that most of them leave you alone when you have like 100 hp and their ult's mark on you. This might surprise them big time.

This is one of the best passives in the game, if you ask me. These guys deal a ton of damage in the early game and they also help you with farming when you are using Malefic Visions and they often block some skillshots and/or single target abilities if they are right next to you.
Tips & Tricks

This ability deals quite a bit of damage, thanks to its great scaling ratios and the high base damage. It also silences your enemies. You might find it hard to land this at first, but you will get used to it soon. You usually want to start with this ability, if you want to know why check "Tips & Tricks".
Tips & Tricks

Against some beefy champions staking health like Zac or Dr. Mundo for example? If you have this and Liandry's Anguish they are literally losing more than 300 health per second in the late game. I really like this ability because it scales so well to the late game.
Tips & Tricks

This is Malzahar's best ability. It gives mana when you kill minions which have it on them and it deals quite a bit of damage too (Total Magic Damage: 80 / 140 / 200 / 260 / 320 (+0.8 per ability power)). In teamfights if you can burst person who has this on them you ca have two of these at the same time on different people.
Tips & Tricks

This ability is the reason why Malzahar has an assassin tag. He can immobilize a target for a long time and you can usually burst him/her to death if you just use all of your abilities. It doesn't really do any damage alone but with voidlings, Null Zone and Malefic Visions it deals so much damage
Tips & Tricks

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This is an alternative ability sequence if you feel like you want to max Null Zone after Malefic Visions.

Starting Items

I start like this in most of my games because it gives you so much more mana sustain and health and damage. If you are new to Malzahar start with this start, if you are pretty good with Malzahar, start with this start (some exceptions apply). With Doran's Ring and Malefic Visions you can sustain your mana forever really.

If you start with this start you have to harass and trade often. Otherwise your potions are complete waste and you have just wasted like 300 gold early game. GG surrender@20. I wouldn't recommend starting like this if you are new to Malzahar because it can set you really behind and you might not use the potions effectively.

Core Items

Gives you mobility and some early magic penetration which are needed. You can roam better and this will make your opponent's Greater Glyph of Magic Resist weaker against you. You can take Mercury's Treads if you are against a hard CC team, but even then Sorcerer's Shoes is a good choice.

Haunting Guise is really good item on Malzahar because it gives you magic penetration, health and ability power. It also upgrades to Liandry's Anguish which is a godlike item on Malzahar. You can get this before or after Rabadon's Deathcap. If you are dying a lot, get it before and if you are dominating with 0-2 deaths get Rabadon's Deathcap.

After Core

I usually don't get this item on mages, but Malzahar is an exception. Malzahar's Null Zone deals more health% damage, his Malefic Visions deals a ton more damage and his Call of the Void also shreds tanks even more. I take this item in most of my games.

Void Staff is another item every mage should get in every game, if the enemies have enough magic resistance. I put it in the optional items because the game might end before you get it or they don't have that much magic resistance and your Haunting Guise is enough to deal enough damage. If the game lasts long enough or they are starting to stack magic resistance get this item.

Morellonomicon gives you AP and cooldown reduction which are good stats on Malzahar. You can take it if you don't want to/don't feel like you would use Athene's Unholy Grail or if there is an enemy who has high health regen like Zac or Dr. Mundo.

In my opinion, Zhonya's Hourglass is both defensive and aggressive item. You use the passive usually after you have ulted enemy's carry to prevent dying, but you can also bait their abilities and then you can deal more damage than they are able to deal. You should get this in most of your games, especially against bursty AD champions like Talon

Rylai's Crystal Scepter is probably the best item if you want health because it gives Ability Power, too and its passive makes your Malefic Visions even better because it slows the target for a long time. I don't usually get this item because I find Zhonya's Hourglass superior compared to Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

Every mage should get Rabadon's Deathcap because it gives most AP and it also gives you 0.3x bonus ability power due to its passive. I would never leave this to be the last item, but I don't advice getting it as first or second unless you are really fed.

Athene's Unholy Grail is very good item because Malzahar can easily run into some serious mana problems and it gives magic resistance, ability power and cooldown reduction, too. I'd get this item against sustained magic damage teams.

If you are spamming all the time, you can get early Tear of the Goddess, but I do not recommend this build path for the new Malzahar's due to it's riskiness. It gives no armor nor it gives magic resistance. The shield isn't too good because you probably don't have full mana when you use it.

Difficulty: 3/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

In my opinion, Malzahar is a hard counter for Ahri because when Ahri has used the first part of her ultimate I usually throw Call of the Void, Null Zone and Malefic Visions followed by Nether Grasp. You should start using smart casting, if you don't already use smart casting.

Difficulty: 5/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Anivia is annoying matchup because her Flash Frost has so slow missile speed that you either delay your Nether Grasp or use it and get stunned instantly. Thank god Anivia isn't really that played champion. If you can, don't play this matchup, but if you have to you should really just farm and get her egg off and ask for ganks so she has to prioritize other one of you.

Difficulty: 5/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Annie usually loses if I play Malzahar because you can interrupt her combo and Annie is usually a hard matchup because of her low cooldowns that allow her to fight very well. Haunting Guise gives you some health which is a good stat against Annie.

Difficulty: 4/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Only thing that makes him dangerous is that his Sear might stun you after you have started your Nether Grasp. Other than that, I really feel like he is weak against you because you just have to dodge some skillshots and that's about it. In teamfights try to burst him down before he is able to use his Pyroclasm

Difficulty: 6/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Cassiopeia is somewhat hard enemy, and if she times her ultimate well she can stop Nether Grasp. When you are going in the first time, make sure she isn't using her ultimate and you aren't standing in her poison pool. You can trade with her but be careful because Cassiopeia can easily outtrade you.

Difficulty: 7/10 - Counters Malzahar: Yes - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Fizz is probably the hardest AP carry I have played against. He is agile and his ultimate can stop yours due to the delay. Then again, if you delay your ultimate he can burst you down. Try to use your autoattacks on him in the early game because that is easy and cheap harass against him, which he can't response to. Try to push a lot because Fizz doesn't farm well under turrets.

Difficulty: 4/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Gragas' is spamming mage who wins long fights. In the late game he also has some burst, too. Try not to use Nether Grasp when his Explosive Cask is airborne and you will most likely be fine. Don't stand near the minions in the laning phase because then he has to choose between farming and harassing you, and if he comes to farm with his autoattacks, autoattack him so he loses at least some health. Try to punish him for his mistakes as much as you can.

Difficulty: 3/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Heimerdinger is fairly easy matchup due to your range on Nether Grasp. Heimerdinger is a good champion against mids who are melee or close range. Try not to use Nether Grasp when his grenade is airborne because it might cancel your Nether Grasp which will leave you defenseless.

Difficulty: 4/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Karthus is easy matchup if you ask me. He can't really do anything to you because when you trade, Call of the Void silences him for a long time and when you are going all-in he is suppressed there. When he dies just simply run away from his ghost because Karthus is able to deal quite a bit of damage that you can't deny anyhow but running away when he is dead.

Difficulty: 9/10 - Counters Malzahar: Yes - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

Kassadin counters most of the mids, even the ones that are AD because of his silence, slow and Flash every few seconds. I'd try to avoid this matchup, but if you have to be against him try to use Nether Grasp when he is in your Null Zone and has some voidlings hitting him. If he survives that, he might be able to kill you. Really hard matchup.

Difficulty: 2/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

You can trade better than she is able to, you can stop her ultimate, you can also farm better than she is able to, she is melee, she doesn't have so good base stats for a melee, she needs early snoball to become a threat in the late game.

Difficulty: 6/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Her burst is pretty high but if you initiate fight with Null Zone, Malefic Visions and Nether Grasp she will probably die because she is so weak with her poor defensive stats. Be aware when you hit lvl 2 with her because she will outtrade you at that point.

Difficulty: 5/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Lissandra is control/burst mage which makes it annoying playing against her. She isn't easy to win, but your ultimate is better because she can't really stop your ultimate (hasn't stopped my ultimate ever) and you can trade and sustain better than she is able to. Get Haunting Guise because I see some Lissandra's getting early magic resistance because they are always in the middle of the fights.

Difficulty: 3/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

No way to stop your ultimate, but she has longer range. Dodge her Q and then kill her. You might want to invest in some magic resistance because she has high base damages. In the late game try to ult her in the teamfights because she can kite and deal damage with her long range and high ratios.

Difficulty: 7/10 - Counters Malzahar: Yes - Item to get: Haunting Guise

Orianna is bursty control mage like Lissandra. The difference is that Orianna can counter Malzahar's Nether Grasp easily even if it isn't intentional. Orianna has high base damages and she scales extremely well into late game and the only way to counter her is mobility or hard lockdown.

Difficulty: 3/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Athene's Unholy Grail

He has no way to counter Nether Grasp so you are free to use it in all-in whenever you please. He has high burst and he has snare which lasts for a while so be aware of enemy's jungler. Push and farm because early on Ryze can't farm so effectively under his turret.

Difficulty: 6/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Haunting Guise

She has spammable harass and high burst and stun. You need to be careful when using your Nether Grasp because her E and Q combo can interrupt it pretty easily. Getting some health and magic penetration against her is good, but remember that she is pretty spammy so she needs blue buff. Advice your jungler/bot to ward their blue, or ward it yourself and then go and steal it with your jungler if it is possible.

Difficulty: 8/10 - Counters Malzahar: Yes - Item to get: Zhonya's Hourglass

You should avoid this matchup if you can. Talon is a really hard counter to Malzahar and only way Malzahar is going to win is by harass and ulting before Talon ults. Otherwise you are pretty dead. You should get Zhonya's Hourglass because you can prevent huge amounts of damage. This is pretty much of a skill matchup.

Difficulty: 5/10 - Counters Malzahar: No - Item to get: Zhonya's Hourglass

If I didn't know better I'd say Zhonya's Hourglass was made to counter Zed's ultimate. He has no way to cancel your channeling when you are using Nether Grasp but his ultimate might hurt a bit. When he uses his ultimate throw Null Zone and Call of the Void right under you and then spamclick Malefic Visions and Nether Grasp on the area around you. This makes his ultimate practically useless.

Early Game

In the early game, you want to focus on farming minions. It isn't too hard after lvl 3 when you have lvl 2 Malefic Visions. You also get Voidlings to help you with the farming. Don't use your Malefic Visions early game to harass enemy's mid because it costs a lot of mana and it doesn't really do any damage. If you use it on a minion, you will push a little but you will gain some mana back from it and if you are pushing enemy's mid will either lose some farm or push harder back which allows your jungler to gank early on. You should really ask your jungler's help if you are against single target ability harassing mid because you can't really trade before lvl 5 because your Malefic Visions starts doing some damage at that point. If you really have to trade use your Call of the Void. It silences the enemies it hits and also deals some damage. Remember to not overextend too much because you are an easy target for enemy jungler before you start actually dealing any damage.

Mid Game

Mid game is the phase where Malzahar is really good. You are able to burst enemies from 100% to 0% with your whole combo at this moment. Your Malefic Visions also deals quite bit of damage. You should look for objectives like Dragon or turrets. If you are going to do Dragon tell the jungler to let your Voidlings to tank it so you can still fight if the enemies come to the Dragon pit. You should also start roaming because Nether Grasp has quite low cooldown. When you are roaming always try to get close to the enemy and use your ult so you can get an easy kill. This will set enemy's top for example really behind. I don't really like roaming to bot because my bot usually focuses the other one while I burst down the other one.

Be aware of junglers as they are really strong when they get their ultimates. Also, get Stealth Ward or two to cover yourself/your buffs/ Dragon . This is really important, especially due to the changes that limits the amount of wards you can have on the map.

Late Game

In the late game you probably have much Ability Power and thanks to your high scaling ratios, you can still burst most of the enemies down. With the cooldown reduction you have your ultimate has 60 seconds cooldown, meaning that you can use it twice in a long teamfight.

At this point you should look for good teamfights and objectives like Baron to get a lead in gold and to gain vision you need to destroy their turrets - which are also high priority objectives.

In the late game teamfights you usually want to throw your Malefic Visions on the weakest champion who is going to get bursted/killed first because you can have two Malefic Visions on the enemy team in teamfights.

I'd really like to thank the following people:

-fashionblellama for making the banners and line divider, they look really good. You can find art/signature shop here!

-Meiyjhe for telling me opinions about my guide ("sexy")

-jhoijhoi for the coding guide, once again

-People for reading the guide and helping me with making it

I will put these in DD/MM/YYYY format:

-Published the guide

-Added more matchups
-Fixed mistakes with my grammar D:
-Fixed/edited some coding

-Edited the items
-Edited/Deleted/Added item builds/paths

-Deleted Crystalline Flask start as it is not efficient anymore thanks to the new mastery which makes your potions better.

To be added:
- Pictures
- More Matchups

Thank you for reading :)!
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