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Cassiopeia Build Guide by Monicled Unicorn

Other Monicled Unicorn's Cassiopeia Build v1.1

By Monicled Unicorn | Updated on February 13, 2013
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LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


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[This is v1.1 of this guide, last updated on 02/13/13)

[Version Notes:]
[1.1: Updated for Patch 3.02]

Hello all, and welcome to my very first Mobafire guide (as well as my first League of Legends guide)! Today, I will be showing you my approach to playing Cassiopeia, The Serpent's Embrace.

I am by no means a professional player, or even necessarily very good at League--However, I feel like Cassiopeia is a very underplayed character. She is one of my favorite champions to play, and I feel like I have a strong concept of her general style of play.
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Why Should I play Cassiopeia?

Cassiopeia is classed as a Ranged, Mage champion. She can fulfill a few different roles, but this guide will focus on playing her as a DPS Caster, Crowd Controller, and Psuedo-AP Carry.

Cassiopeia, like many champions, is not meant for everyone. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not she is for you:
  • Cassiopeia is a very squishy hero. If you like to be in the middle of a fight, Cassiopeia may not be the right choice for you. (With the exception of well placed ults)
  • Cassiopeia is skill-shot based and requires you to predict your enemies' movements. All but one of her skills is cast on a delay and requires properly maneuvering and repositioning your enemies to be effective.
  • Cassiopeia has very strong potential burst damage, if you build her for it. (This guide will focus on her burst damage)
  • Cassiopeia has an incredibly potent kiting kit.
  • Cassiopeia, even with her passive ability, is incredibly mana-dependent, and requires items and runes to compensate.
Cassiopeia can be a very fun champion to play, and if none of the above deters you, then let's continue!
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Flash and Ignite are the go-to Summoner Spells for Cassiopeia. Ignite will give you yet another DoT to finish off fleeing enemies with, and also gives an AP boost when on cooldown. Flash is a must for virtually any champion, and as Cassiopeia has no escape spells, there are many times where Flash will come in handy.

Teleport can replace Ignite, and if no one on my team takes Teleport I will take it myself over Ignite, and use Teleport/Flash as my spells. Teleport can also be a substitute for Flash, but you should only do so if Flash is not available for you yet.
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Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power -- Scaling Ability Power is more important than flat ability power Glyphs; If you play smart, you can manage in lane without early ability power, and you will have more relevance moving into the late game.

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration -- This rune is key for AP casters, this will give you a healthy start to your Magic Penetration stat, which will help you burst enemies down faster, both early-game and once things get rolling.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power -- This gives a healthy AP boost, and will suffice for your laning phase, and boost your late game damage.

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration -- As mentioned earlier, Cassiopeia is very, very mana-dependent at all stages of the game, so having scaling mana regen is vital.
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Ability Sequence

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

Why this sequence? Level 1 Noxious Blast is a strong harassment tool, and is necessary for your levels of Twin Fang that will come. Twin fang is your main burst damage tool, and will be supplemented by your DoT (Damage over Time, for the less savvy) spells. For that reason, we will max Twin Fang first, with a single level in Miasma at level 4 for bush-checking, vision, and chasing. You will take Petrifying Gaze at the standard levels of 6, 11, and 16. As Cassiopeia, your ultimate can mean the survival of your team or the destruction of the opposition in a teamfight.

Miasma is not a very strong or reliable spell, due to the range vs. casting time, and its relatively small radius. You should only use this spell when you are chasing and your other spells are on cooldown (or you are very close to the enemy), when you are being chased to get vision of your pursuers and slow them, or when you have ulted the enemy team, to add an additional DoT to their ranks.

Damage of Spells at 18

**IMPORTANT: These calculations are purely number crunches based on AP. This does not include the effects of items, nor does it take Magic Penetration or Magic Resist into consideration. These calculations assume you have all the items you are intended to buy by following this guide.**

Noxious Blast will deal 813 magic damage over 3 seconds and increase movement speed by 25% for the duration, provided that she hits a champion.
Miasma will deal 173 magic damage per second, each poison lasting 2 seconds and the Miasma lasting 7 seconds overall. Miasma will also slow enemies by 35%.
Twin Fang will deal 587 magic damage on hit, and the cooldown is reduced to 0.5 seconds if the target is poisoned.
Petrifying Gaze will deal 883 magic damage on hit, stunning/slowing all enemies hit.
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Cassiopeia's potential is tied heavily to her items. I will break down each stage of the game for clarification:

Initial Items

Item Sequence

Health Potion 50
Health Potion 50
Mana Potion 0

At the beginning of the game, you will want to go for Boots of Speed, along with 2 Health Potions and a Mana Potion. You will need the boots to be able to move quickly enough in the laning phase to position yourself to cast your Noxious Blasts, otherwise you will be less effective at harassing. For that reason, I very rarely start with a Doran's Ring on Cassiopeia, until I have laned for a bit.

Early Game Items

Item Sequence

Tear of the Goddess 850
Sorcerer's Shoes 1100
Haunting Guise 1600

Once you have laned for some time, you will begin working towards your early-game items. I prefer this sequence because it gives a dramatic increase to your regen. Tear of the Goddess is an incredibly vital item on Cassiopeia, and the sooner you have it, the better. I prefer to get this item before Sorcerer's Shoes.

Haunting Guise will add on to your already-strong magic penetration, and give you some survivability. It will also later build into the powerful Liandry's Torment.

Mid Game Items

Item Sequence

Archangel's Staff 3200
Liandry's Torment 3100

We are now in the midgame. At this point, you now have the basis for your spellcasting, your mana allowing for plenty of harassment. We can now start to give our spells some real 'oomph', by getting into our AP items. In addition, we will set up our mana pool that will last us until the end of the game.

Start off with a Blasting Wand, building into your Archangel's Staff. It's important to note that the charges you've earned from your Tear of the Goddess will carry over to the Archangel's Staff, as they have the same Unique passive.

Once you have the Archangel's Staff, we'll add on some nasty on-hit effects and additional AP with a Liandry's Torment.

End Game Items

Item Sequence

Rylai's Crystal Scepter 2600
Zhonya's Hourglass 2900

This is where we will really shine. We've held off on our Rabadon's Deathcap until now, and not without reason. As you build this item, you will notice a significant increase in your damage output. Your enemies will take notice too, but not before you surprise them with your heavy damage increase.

[Note: Your Archangel's Staff will likely transform into a Seraph's Embrace early on in this stage.]

Once you have the Deathcap, we will work on our Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This item has excellent synergy with our Liandry's Torment, and will give us a nice AP boost, as well as health for survivability, should you get caught in a teamfight.

Finally, we will get another item that will also add some survivability, Zhonya's Hourglass. This will add some much needed armor as well as a stasis active ability, plus the recently increased AP bonus from the item is always nice.

Final Stats

Assuming you follow the item build to this guide exactly (which isn't always the strongest choice), this is what your final stats at Level 18 will look like:

Max Health 2530 Max Mana 2330
Attack Damage 104 Ability Power 739
Attack Speed 0.828 Mana Regen 44.13
Armor 133 Magic Resist 30

Additional Effects:
  • Hitting an enemy with a spell will burn the enemy for an additional 10% of their current health over 3 seconds (1.5 for DoTs).
  • Hitting an enemy with a spell will slow them for an additional 35% movement speed.

Alternative Items

The item build I have shown you will not always be ideal, as every game is different. Here are some items to keep in mind as you play:

If the enemy team if building heavy Magic Resist to counter you, a Void Staff is a perfectly acceptable alternative. If the team is heavy AP with only a small amount of MR, then the Abyssal Mask is also acceptable.

A Lich Bane is an odd item for Cassiopeia, but at this point, you will have around 700+ AP. The Lich Bane grants additional Mana for our Archangel's Staff, additional movement speed for our slows and Noxious Blast, and will cause our basic attack damage to skyrocket dramatically. This item is not very often used, but it can provide some large DPS for pushing towers in the late game.
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Quick Notes and Tips

Here are a few quick tips for actually playing as Cassiopeia:
  • Early on, stay back as much as you can until you begin to pull ahead on HP. Use mana wisely, and cast Noxious Blast only when you are likely to get a hit--in addition, last hitting with Noxious Blast while harassing will help immensely.
  • Once you reach level 2, and more so level 3, you have the proper burst damage to push your opponents out of lane, or even kill them if they are reckless enough. Land your Noxious Blast to bring them down, and if they get too close, pepper them with Twin Fang until they fall. It is important to hold on to a good portion of your mana so that you have enough for successive casts of Twin Fang when you go in for the kill.
  • Always lead your Twin Fang with Noxious Blast/Miasma in order to reduce its cooldown. Twin Fang's cooldown is rather long if it is not reduced, and you will lose a lot of your damage potential. (Twin Fang's cooldown is 1/10 of its normal cooldown when reduced)
  • When you have the mana to spare, or you are weary of a gank/looking for enemies, use Miasma to check bushes and over walls/around corners. You can also use Noxious Blast (especially at the beginning of a game) to check bushes, as you will gain a movement speed buff if you hit a champion (which tells you they are there). *Do not face-check bushes as Cassiopeia, as you have virtually no escape options at close range!*
  • As mentioned previously, close-range is never where you want to be as Cassiopeia, unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that you can burst down your enemy before they can kill you. Cassiopeia's slows and movement buffs are much less relevant if there is no distance between you and your pursuers!
  • Do not be afraid to cast your spells in rapid succession, as they become more cost-effective the more frequently you cast them. If necessary, you can use well-placed Noxious Blasts to farm enemy minion waves to keep your passive going. (This will also build a healthy amount of charges for your Tear of the Goddess.)
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Things to be Weary Of

There are a fair number of champions that Cassiopeia has to play cautiously around:

Difficult Opponents
Blitzcrank is one of your more difficult adversaries, and early game you will have a *very* difficult time playing around him. His Rocket Grab will instantly close the gap between you and the enemy team, leaving you little time to react and few options for escape. Luckily, if you play mid or top lane you will not be laned against him often, and will only have to be wary of ganks or being forced into a teamfight by his grab.
Amumu is a dangerous foe much for the same reason as Blitzcrank, his Bandage Toss will close the distance between you and him, and it is difficult to escape from him. His ultimate, Curse of the Sad Mummy, can be deadly to you as well, but a well placed Petrifying Gaze can nullify Amumu's crowd control, so long as you can avoid his Bandage Toss.
Riven does not have a "pull" like Amumu, Blitzcrank, and the like, however she does have a very high mobility, both to escape with and to chase with. Landing your Noxious Blast can be difficult when she uses Broken Wings and Valor, and escaping from a pursuing Riven can be difficult for the same reason.
Darius, if he is on an opposing team, will likely lane against you. He will be more one of the more difficult laning opponents, if played well, as he can pull you next to him, and his Hemorrhage passive will burn through your health and prevent you from escaping. His Noxian Guillotine will also pose a big problem if not properly checked, and you will have to take care to stay far away from Darius in teamfights.
Talon is dangerous in the early laning phase, but should also be avoided in 1v1 situations. In the early game, stay out of range of his Rake, and if he tries to overextend with it, punish him. Cutthroat is pretty much the bane of your existence, and will likely end with Shadow Assault. Make sure to keep your distance from Talon at all times.

Moderately Difficult Opponents

Kassadin is not as difficult of an enemy as the above mentioned, but his long-range silence and ability to teleport can make him difficult to chase or escape from without surprising him or using your ultimate.

Cho'gath can be difficult to play against because of his long-range silence, Feral Scream, and his crowd control. His first skill can be dodged by feinting your movements, but it will take patience and practice, and when running you will not always be able to avoid it.

Galio is not as difficult as you might first think, as Cassiopeia can actually burst him down through his Magic Resist. However, he can be very difficult to escape from in a team fight, and his buffs can help his team keep up with you. Make sure to keep your distance to avoid his Idol of Durand.

Veigar can be very dangerous, but only if he catches you in his Event Horizon. If you are caught in his crowd control, you will likely quickly die to his burst damage.

If played correctly and carefully, it can be very difficult to counter Cassiopeia, so long as you stay behind your team and make your spells count.
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Final Notes

Well, this is the end of this guide! This is not currently finished, and I am working to add visual aids to this guide, and I hope to make it better in the future! Good luck in all your games, and show your adversaries the power of Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace!
League of Legends Build Guide Author Monicled Unicorn
Monicled Unicorn Cassiopeia Guide
Monicled Unicorn's Cassiopeia Build v1.1