Build Guide by vonEagle
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Welcome to vonEagle's guide on how to play Mordekaiser.
Last Updated: 07/15/2010
Update Notes: Changed heal for summoner skill, changed masteries somewhat. Cleanse still works if you want.
Before we begin, this is not a guide that is assuming you will net 3-5 kills without a single death, on the contrary, early in the game I usually maintain a roughly even K/D ratio.
Mordekaiser is not a DPS. He is not a Tank. He is not a caster. He is not a carry. He is a Fighter, he has more survivability power than a carry, more damage than a tank, with renewable HP. This character requires an aggressive play style and a pair of steel balls to effectively play.
The best defense is a good offense. The best offense is also a good defense. This guide will focus on maintaining a reasonable defense and offense, focusing on early Magic Penetration, with Armor and Resists for a long lasting shield. Playing Mordekaiser effectively will allow you to maintain a regular amount of extra HP in a fight, and prevent harassment in lanes through effective use of his spells.
Cleanse/Heal/Ghost and Ignite
You will be targeted in group fights. It is inevitable. Cleanse keeps you moving, Heal keeps you alive, Ghost lets you chase, take your preference.
Ignite is to be used exclusively in tandem with your ultimate to prevent heals and to add a potential 500 damage to them.
My primary item build is a versatile build, which allows me to cater my items to the enemy team. I do however, build the same 4 items for nearly every game which I play. Order is the only difference, and you should adjust accordingly.
You should have in an average, low-death and low-kill game, all of these items by the 18-23 minute mark, with approximately 100 creep kills. Mordekaiser is a VERY effective farmer, and should be able to get 3-6 creeps per wave.
Reasoning behind items:
Haunting Guise: 20 spell penetration, 200 HP, 25 AP. Not as amazing as it used to be, but the HP and spell penetration are too useful.
Sorceror Shoes: 20 spell penetration, is amazing against anyone without spell resistance (rolling almost 50 Magic Penetration by this point)
Warden's Mail: Cheap, upgradeable, survivability (good HP regen and armor, and chance of slow against enemies)
Force of Nature: Move speed, lots of magic resist, HP regen to boot
Randuin's Omen: You have approximately 190 Armor and 160 Magic Resist at this time. CD reduction and a 3+ second AOE slow will help everyone around.
Hextech Gunblaade: Spell Vamp, Lifesteal, Damage and AP, with a one-shot ranged slow.
Note: My item build only goes to 5 total items often times the game is over or nearly over by this point. Consider being a ward ***** at this point in time, as you can bring 6 wards along, with solid items.
Follow-up items for long games: Youmuu's Ghostblade, Stark's Fervor, Bloodthirster, Madred's Bloodrazor, Atma's Impaler, Frozen Mallet, and Rylai's Scepter.
If the enemy team just isn't dying, Madred's Bloodrazor or Youmuu's Ghostblade. This will also allow you to target tanks with a high effectiveness.
If your team needs a slow, get an Atma's Impaler, a Rylai's Scepter, and/or Frozen Mallet. I have a preference to the Rylai's Scepter, but Rylai's and Frozen Mallet work quite well together. Atma's is useful with Rylai's if you have problems with enemy DPS.
Stark's Fervor and Bloodthirster are useful for stand up fights against enemy DPSers that do not run, and/or are melee. The lifesteal and damage/attack speed will help in heavy fighting.
Items not included in my build:
I see the uses of it, and I used to run it for a long time. Its cost to usefulness in my mind is of little value. I will *occasionally* run it, if my enemies are *all* mages and tanks in place of the Warden's Mail. For it's price, the healing is of little use when put in comparison to Force of Nature (Negation Cloak and Regrowth Pendant give more resist, and similar HP regen), the magic resistance isn't enough, and CD reduction can be taken care of with a Randuin's Omen and/or Youmuu's Ghostblade.
You are not a tank. While you can make people realize you as a threat, you are not able to withstand heavy amounts of punishment. Occasionally add this in if your enemies are very DPS heavy, otherwise the slow on Randuin's Omen will be the superior choice.
Your shield provides more than enough effective HP in major engagements. By stacking armor and resists, you allow that shield to provide you even more HP than a warmogs can provide, that stacks better, and does not encourage your enemies to get a Madred's Bloodrazor just for you.
You do enough spell damage, you farm well enough, you don't need much extra HP, and the armor can be acquired later on.
You are rarely attacking individual targets, except in group fights. Its usefulness is low, its cost is high in comparison with other items (Haunting Guise is 1485, Sheen is 1260).
Mercury Treads, while useful are the reason why you have Cleanse. If Cleanse can't save you, Mercury Treads won't. Other shoes pale in comparison to the damage output you can deal in the midgame with Sorceror Shoes.
Anything with AP:
Mordekaiser's AP ratios are atrocious. The only reason we even consider a Rylai's is from the spell slow and HP, and a Hextech Gunblade is for the spell vamp and non-AP benefits. If it has AP, leave it at home.
Your job: the basics of what you should and shouldn't do
If there is a jungler on your team, immediately take second solo lane. Allow a quality carry to take mid. Take mid if nobody else wants it, as you can hold it quite well. If you do get second solo, play passively until level 2, when you get Mace. This will allow you to keep a reasonable shield charge at all times.
If not, 1) Play with a champion that you can communicate well with, that does a REALLY good job at last hitting single creeps. You split the creeps with them, take the ranged ones for yourself, let them have the melee ones.
2) Play with an aggressive character, and/or one with a slow/stun. This will allow you to keep your lane fairly clear with harassments and gank attempts. DO NOT GO FOR BLOOD unless the opportunity arises. If they leave your lane, you are doing a good job at preventing them from farming.
3) A ranged character and/or mage, who is decent at last hitting (but not AOE farming). The ranged character will allow you to set the tempo of harassment, with them to follow up.
When laning, your job is to try to deny them access to last hits as much as possible, and/or make them pay for it with HP (Siphon). Use your siphon regularly to charge up your shield. This will make their harassment much weaker, or possibly ineffective.
Pro-tip for harassment: If you have a nearly full shield, and are in front of their tower, Siphon them and run away. Your shield can usually shrug off a *SINGLE* tower hit, two if you are lucky.
On tower diving: Do not do it. You are not a tank, you can't shrug it off, not till mid/late game. If you have ignite and/or Siphon on an enemy, the tower will auto target you, and you will die.
Farm, farm, farm, farm as much as you can because you are good at it. Once you hit level 9, the real farming begins. You can Siphon and Mace the back line of a creep wave, likely instantly killing all of the ranged creeps there. If not, you can follow up with Creeping Death.
Mid game (Level 9-14)
Even if you were in a double lane, you should be a level or two ahead of your enemies. Use this opportunity to push towers and help on ganks. If you can effectively gank someone alone, nearby a tower, you will be able to use the ghost to tank the tower. Abuse this privilege, destroy as many towers as possible.
Late game (30+ minutes, level 15+)
If you are ahead of the curve, continue playing an aggressive game, but stay in or near your group. You may be durable, but are not invincible. If you are down on your luck, stick it close to your teammates, try to run screens for them and keep them safe.
Your job in teamfights is simple. Attack the biggest threat OR the lowest magic resistance that is not a tank in the battle. Also, take down any veils for your teammates (your spells are spammable and AOE).
Engage your target and chase them off or (preferably) kill them. Move onto the next target(s). You will have enough HP, Armor, and Resistance to effectively pick your target at will. Any target without a stun or slow is the best target. If you can, get an enemy ghost out of it with your ult, and turn back to the rest of their team for mop-up duty.
The second option in teamfights is to engage the masses of individuals. If the enemy is fairly close ranged or bunched up, you have a lot of AOE spells at your disposal. Slowly nickel and dime your opponents away, and ult/ignite a low individual for the ghost if you can.
If there is a constant source of slow on the enemy team (Ashe, twitch, lizard buffs, frozen mallets) you may not be able to effectively destroy that individual. Consider popping your ult or try to enlist help of someone to catch that person, or go for a different target that is closer.
What to do if...
...the enemy keeps ganking you: Proceed to join in with your own roaming gankteam. You are an aggressive player and cannot be kept nearby a tower. If there are only two enemies, consider a stand up fight if it is fairly early in the game, and if you have your ult. If your foes do not have magic resistance, you can deal a surprising amount of damage! This damage translates into your shield, which prolongs your life. Use your ult at the beginning of the battle if you stand up and fight.
...the enemy are all running cleanse: Use ignite on an enemy who is slowed or stunned. They will likely use their cleanse, then you can use your ult.
...the enemy focuses fire on me: Pray the rest of your team can mop-up. Pop your ult as soon as humanly possible on the highest HP individual on the enemy team. If they are focusing on you, they will destroy you reasonably fast, but the ult should buy your team time. You will last 2-3 times longer than your DPSers and Mages, which will likely survive and win you the team fight.
...the enemy camps towers: This is one of your largest problems, towers. Get your team to run dragons and/or Baron Nashor. Have a friend (or even yourself) play bait in a lane. Lure them out to the best of your ability, and try not to tank the turret. Alternatively, ward their jungle and gank anyone who shows up.
...you're in a room full of rookies: Be nice, teach them, help them, and enforce a no-retreat rule in groupfights. Play "Follow the Mordekaiser" with everyone to ensure people stick close and engage.
I hope this guide helps!