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Cho'Gath Build Guide by Qmonster
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Please actually read the guide for more specific information on skill sequences/summoner spells/runes/etc.
Terms I use:
Dueling: engaging in 1 vs 1 combat.
Proc: for a spell/ability to activate.
Invading: When someone tries to steal creeps from your jungle or just stalks you in it.
CC: Crowd Control: Stuns/fears/slows/taunts/knock up/knock back
1. Hard CC: Stun/fear/taunt/knock up. You cannot take any sort of action during this type of cc
2. Soft CC: Slows, Knock back. While they are annoying, you still have control over your character/actions during these.
If such tales are true, then the rumors that follow must be equally true - that one day, the Voidborn will return. Even now, something dark stirs in Icathia, perverting the summoning rituals of the League to allow the presence of Cho'Gath. It is an alien creature of malice and violence, a thing that causes all but the most stalwart to cringe in fear. Cho'Gath even appears to feed on its predations, growing and swelling as it gorges itself. Worse yet, the creature is intelligent, perhaps greatly so, making most wonder how such a monster could be contained. Fortunately, the power of the League's summoning has confined Cho'Gath's presence exclusively to the League of Legends. It is here that summoners use Cho'Gath's Voidborn abilities to help decide the fate of Runeterra. The Terror of the Void knows what fate it would choose for Runeterra, given half the chance.
Woe betide the day when Cho'Gath grows weary of the League.
Has great cc/ability to shut down their carry.
In my opinion, the tankiest champion for the amount of burst he has (without having to really build heavily tanky or AP)
Very versatile all around, he can take any lane without many problems, he can start with pretty much any item and still do well, and you can have pretty much any rune/mastery set-up you want too. Not to mention you can start your jungle lot of different ways.
Did I mention versatile?
His ganks are VERY hit or miss, if you miss Rupture then dont even bother committing after that. (NOTE, disregard this if the enemy is at your tower, because even if you miss you should have red buff and your rupture will be up by the time they are almost at their tower)
I cannot stress being able to land your ruptures enough, being able to land most of them is key to playing Cho'Gath.
Depending on what you want to do will affect your skill sequence. Cho'Gath excels at counter jungling, which you should do whenever you have the chance if the enemy team has a jungler. If you want to clear your jungle with nice sustain to gank a lot after you should level Vorpal Spikes early on. If you want to invade the enemy jungle level Rupture with points in Feral Scream when you have to.
If you are soloing top, level up Rupture and Feral Scream simultaneously with at least one point in Vorpal Spikes, it makes last hitting a little bit easier. makes sure to harass whenever you can, establishing lane dominance and zoning are Cho'Gath's specialty's. If you're against someone who has super sustain like Yorick or Irelia just stick to farming and punish them if they try to harass you.
If you are in a duo lane, I find that leveling Feral Scream for the extra silence time is, surprisingly, very effective. Putting points into Rupture when you have to and having the one mandatory point in Vorpal Spikes. I hardly find myself duo laning as Cho'Gath, though.
Feast is the bread and butter of Cho'Gath. It's what makes him so damn good at invading. Not only does it act as an extra smite, but whenever you kill a unit you gain more health! who doesnt want more health? This will be your main nuking ability and this is why carries tremble in fear whenever they see you barreling towards them!(Note: When I get this spell I usually Feast a minion right off the bat then save the next cooldown for a gank, if you find yourself unable to gank by that time then Feast another minion and use the next cooldown. basically repeat the process until you can, but if you cant gank by the time you have your 3rd Feast stack, tell your teammates to stop pushing their lanes!!).
For laning with Feast just use it on minions every chance you get, once you have 6 stacks start playing extremely aggressively, this where Cho'Gath starts excelling at zoning, your oponnent will either be forced to go back or call a lot of jungler ganks, which you should see coming with wards anyway!
From what ive experienced, its a great spell to use on him. Chasing down runners, ghosting in for a gank with red buff, then rupture if they flash away is a very effective combo. the reason I do not take flash is because ghost is much better for getting to the fight, initiating a fight, and escaping (for the most part).
Smite. ****This is for jungling****. It helps secure buffs, dragon, and baron. I cannot stress taking smite enough, if you are jungling take smite!!!!!
For summoner spells when I am soloing top I usually grab...
This spell is a ****must have**** if you are soloing top. Just incase you need a quick back, need to defend a turret from a creep wave, get to your team, dragon, baron etc. assuming you have those warded of course (which you should). If i am jungling, i do not take this for it ruins the element of surprise, which is the reason i take ghost instad.
the buff put this spell over the top, early game this spell is a musthave. its good at baiting fights, keeping your sustain up (anywhere, jungle top duo whatever), just a great spell since they buffed it. heal/teleport makes you a brickwall, you will never die. period. the only cons really is the 5 minute cd and it falls off a bit late game, but its worth it for the amazing early game prowess. make sure you spec into the mastery talent to make it even better.
Flash is an amazing spell on Cho'gath, i take it for many reasons when i solo top. Mainly so i can close the gap when i go for a gank, if a gank goes wrong i have another means of escape if Rupture fails, if i want to get out soundly if i turret dive, etc. The reason I differentiate ghost and flash for jungling/solo top is because ghost is way more effective if you have the element of surprise and red buff, if your jungler ganks top you can simply rupture, scream, and nom his face off, and flash to counter his flash, turret dive him easier, or even escape a turret dive.
**EDIT** after a bit of contemplation, ive decided that this spell works just as well as ghost does (even after the nerfs to it) in the jungle. So if you're a flash type of guy, you should take this.
Others that can work well.
Not a bad choice at all, your ap carry is better off with it though and i wouldnt advise it for jungling. but if you're against someone with stupidly annoying heals like Tryndamere or Vladimir then this is a great choice, remember to always keep your options open!
It could work, it would be combo'd really well with your Vorpal Spikes and it would make you a force to be reckoned with if you decided to build wit's end. Skip this if you're jungling, though. flash/ghost is better because you take smite as your 2nd
Im not a fan of pushing my lane as cho'gath, but it happens and what better way to ninja that tower quicker than with promote? Dont cross this off your list yet. Again, though, skip this if you're jungling
Summoner Spells that I strongly advise against
You shouldnt be having problems with sustain at all! if you are, grab a philosopher's stone instead
While its not a bad summoner spell at all, leave this to your support. Getting this would mean giving up mobility( Flash, Ghost), or Smite/ Teleport. which just isn't worth it.
Like Clairvoyance, this isnt a bad pick so much as it isnt worth it. if the enemy team is chain CCing you they are wasting cc on you instead of your carries, which is a good thing. It's just not worth losing my top 4 picks over.
Debatable, but still not worth it. While the damage reduction and slow are nice to have, you are Cho'Gath!! you are disruptive enough on your own, and the slow from your rupture/redbuff should be sufficient to gank.
maybe on dominion, but this isnt a dominion guide.
When it comes to starting items, Cho'Gath is in my opinion the most versatile champion there is. You can effectively start with a Regrowth Pendant for a philosopher's stone, you can start Ruby Crystal if you want to build a quick catalyst the protector, you can get Cloth Armor and a sight ward if you want to invade early, Doran's Ring if you just want to play it safe. You can pretty much start with anything on cho and still jungle efficiently!
These are the core items I find myself using on Cho'Gath
philosopher's stone this is your first item, the sustain and gp5 is amazing for him. i usually spend my first teleport to go back and grab this item depending on how well my lane is doing. in jungle i grab this on my first b 100% of the time.
if you're confident that you can farm your RoA before 20 minutes, then grab this. more GP5 always helps and the extra health is a nice bonus as well.
This is the item you want to get 100% of the time on cho. it provides nice AP, health, and mana. Not only that but it gives you mana and health regen whenever you level up, who wouldnt want that?? The icing on the cake is that this item "levels" up every minute, so to speak. giving you even MORE AP, mana, and health!!
The CDR this item provides is invaluable, not only that but it gives you armor to protect yourself from their carry, an aura that slows their carry's attack speed by 20%, and even more mana, which is always a good thing! This item is just too good to pass up even if they only have one AD champion on their team. (Quick note, you do not have to build this item right away, you can build a Glacial Shroud and have that for a while incase you need to build your banshees veil first.)
What can i say? More health, mana, and ample magic resist to protect yourself from their AP carries. Not to mention a free spell shield every 45 seconds. (Note: Even though it doesnt say so on the tool tip, the effect of catalyst the protector still procs on this item)
I was kind of privy at first, and I was going to add it to my situational list but this item is just so beast on cho, especially if you have someone like Zilean on your team. In my opinion, it gives good armor and good MR and the proc is pretty nice too, also meaning that they are going to have to deal with you again if they are stupid enough to focus you down. If the team is pretty light on AP build this before a bveil, I guarantee you wont regret it. This is mostly an alternative to banshees veil if your not against an AP heavy team or if their AP isnt threatening to you.
this item is amazing on cho. double on hit with spikes is deadly no matter what way you look at it, and the attack speed and extra MR makes it that much better. grab this instead of bveil if they arent heavy on AP because its much more cost efficient than bveil is in that kind of circumstance.
I will start by listing boots, because you need to build a pair according to their team composition.
Is what i find myself building most of the time, CC really brings cho down and the magic resist is very nice too
I only grab this if they have more than 1 auto attacker (I.E a Nocturne and a Tryndamere on the same team) the dodge is invaluable to a comp like that and the armor is great as well.
Another viable option, the two boots above are better for most situations, but you should always keep your options open.
Now, onto the situational items
This item is a must have for heavy AP teams. It gives you more AP, more magic resist, and an aura that reduces the enemies magic resist by 20. This item would be core to cho but its too situational for its cost in my opinion.
Quite possibly the most underrated item in my opinion (besides Hexdrinker maybe). it removes anything from CC, Debuffs, dots(including ignite), slows, supresses. Get this instead of an Abyssal Mask if they have they have 2 AP carries, the second AP carry being Mordekaiser or Malzahar, it even works for Warwick too but he wont be surpressing you, unless hes doing it wrong. (NOTE: there is a bug as of now where Quicksilver Sash does not remove Mordekaiser's ultimate, Children of the Grave. I will remove this note once the bug has been patched/fixed)
It is an amazing item for Cho'Gath, not only does it give you 140 more AP, but 30% more of your current AP as well. I've decided to list this item as a situational item because the farm needed for it is too much and you already have stupendous damage even without it, but if you feel you're able to farm this item without much problem then by all means do so!
Another great item for heavy AP comps, personally i dont find this item as useful as the ones ive listed above. The reasoning behind this is because you should already have sufficient sustain with your philosopher's stone and passive and Abyssal Mask and Quicksilver Sash fit much better for him. but hey, like I've said many times, always keep your options open!
There are many many more items that i could list, which i will be doing soon!! i will be updating this guide very often, I feel these are the most important items to look for on Cho'Gath once you are done with your core build, though
I go an offensive AP (21/9/0) for Cho'Gath. I like to optimize for maximum DPS output and the tankiness in defense is great as well.
Get anything that increases your AP or damage in offense
and in defense grab the extra armor, hp masteries, and smite mastery (take a point in less minion damage or magic resist if you're not a fan of 10 extra gold). You could also make due with Tough Skin and Bladed Armor if you're jungling, but personally i would rather have the extra HP.
You can be tanky, it works just as well as AP offense especially late game. go for a 0/21/9, grabbing the mana regen and health regen for extra sustain, the armor and MR, and all that good stuff.also make sure to take summoners resolve and summoners insight for improved teleport/heal/smite/flash.
Like your items and masteries, the choices you can make are very versatile!!
Personally, i pick
x9 of these for early bulkyness, it makes invading and being able to take harassment/minion damage a lot easier.
x3 of these because I feel like early game is where Cho'Gath shines brightest and we need all the damage we can get early on.
x3 move speed is always good and 3 of these suckers give cho a good 15-20 movespeed (too lazy to actually look up the exact amount), but these are expensive. so just take AP quints if you cant or dont want to get these.
x9 For the same reason as my quints, i feel the early damage helps a lot more. it helps you clear your jungle faster, and it makes harassing much stronger.
x9 Magic penetration is just great all around the game, theres no reason not to take these. i take these solo top
x9 i take these for jungling for a faster clear time, and better sync with spikes/wits end.
Other viable options.
greater seal of vitality These would be good if you want a tankier late game. Choose these if you are not looking to jungle as Cho'Gath, because I wouldnt recommend them if you are.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist you can choose these to be even more of an "anti mage"!! Take flat magic resist if you want to dominate even harder early game, and take MR per level if you want a tankier late game.
greater quintessence of vitality Greater Quintessence of Health great substitutes for the AP quints if you want to be more of a tank, pick according to whether you want a better early game or late game.
Yorick: Even though you hardly see this guy, the few times you face a good one he will give you a fight, being able to constantly harass you early on, and even more so when he gets his tear drop. i advise against playing aggresively early on because he WILL beat you, instead wait for your ultimate and punish him for trying to harass you instead of trying to zone him.
Mordekaiser: if you're having problems after mordes unneeded nerf, then i dont know what to tell you.
Rumble: Hes the biggest lane bully riot has ever made. For that reason, most rumbles focus on outzoning their opponent than actually farming. It is very tricky to punish him for harassing because he doesnt actually need to be in melee distance to harm you. Just try your best to stick it out till about level 9 and you will definitely be able to hold your own against him
Galio: I dont see him a lot, but when you do, its troublesome. Another tankish dps who has as much, if not better, AoE than you do! If he tries to harass, dodge his spells so he uses a lot of mana, focus on farming for the most part against tanks like this because you wont be able to zone them. His build synergizes with countering you as well, so harassing him isnt really an option if you see him building magic resist.
Irelia: Shes not terribly annoying anymore, shes actually very easy to outlane as Cho'Gath. Just punish her severely for trying to harass you because your Rupture isnt affected by her passive and try to keep her from farming as much as possible. the reason shes so high up is because shes still a common solo top and you cant duel her because she will win.
Cho'Gath: It happens sometimes, just establish dominance as soon as you can and you should win the lane, try to predict where your opponent will be landing his rupture and avoid it. Not much else to say to be honest, avoid ruptures and zone him hard early on and you should be golden.
Singed: This guy is a huge pain in the *** too, you cant really stop him from farming and his poison does a ton of damage, i find buying some MR early on helps deal with him very well, but he has a way better chance of killing you than you do of killing him, so be careful
Garen: Lol stay away from bushes. Joking aside, if there is even the slightest notion that he is coming toward you. Rupture!!!!! if rupture fails scream in his face and prey you can run to your tower fast enough because if he lands that silence, he is garenteed(lol see what i did thar? i so fanneh) to spin ontop of you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it at that point. And seriously, if you know he is in a brush call MIA and for the love of god do not go near that brush, CV from your support helps a lot too!
Renekton: Like with rumble, this guy will just be hell-bent on harassing you early on, and he does a damn good job at it. Not to mention this guy is one tough son of a B to hit with your Rupture. Just counter his harassment with harassment of your own, he wont be able to handle it if his Slice n dice is on cooldown.
Udyr: I felt compelled to add this because of the recent udyr-top FotM. The first thing you do NOT do is let him near your face, he will rip it off. if he tries to come in, predict if hes feigning or if he is going to try and kill you and land ruptures accordingly. Try to keep him from farming as much as possible, because once udyr gets his wriggles he is extremely difficult to push out of lane. At that point you will just want to farm and call for ganks on him as much as possible
Jax: Hes annoying, but beatable. His early game harass is nasty, even after all of his nerfs. Like other melees, just punish them for coming in and try to zone them hard. Once he gets his ultimate, do NOT duel with him because you will lose ESPECIALLY if there are creeps around you!
Alistar: He is literally unkillable, with a regrowth/philo + Self heal + ultimate that literally MAKES him unkillable, theres not much you can really do. For the most part, just farm because although you cant kill him, he shouldnt be able to kill you either since his AP ratios got hit so hard, boring i know but its the best way to deal with him.
Xin Zhao On occasion I've soloed top against him, most good xins jungle though. Hes probably one of the easiest champions to deal with up top because if hes laning he relies on kills for gold and since you are an immovable object and you excel at dealing with melee champions, just zone him hard because his passive cannot sustain himself unless he repeatedly attacks something, which will push your lane, which will actually help you.
Vladimir: He usually takes mid, but I occasionally have to lane against him. Just do your best to zone him before 9 because at that point he becomes unkillable. But then, at that point, so do you as well. When it gets there, just farm and if you see an opportunity to kill him take it.
Urgot: this guy is mean, and the only reason hes at the bottom of my list is because hes so underplayed, but if your against a good urgot you will get bent over. Avoid his gas AT ALL COSTS!!! if you even get hit by one, he is already one step closer to out laning you. You either have to focus completely on zoning him or just on farming, you cannot do both with this guy. trying to zone urgot is very tricky so dont do it unless your opponent is clumsy.
Orianna: Nerfs smacked her a lot harder than i'd imagined, zoning her shouldnt be a problem at all since her range is pretty mediocre now.
Jarvan IV: Poor guy just isnt the same since his nerfs, hes a joke to lane against now. just avoid his flag + lance combo and you should be fine. you should be able to zone him with ease post level 6.
Shen Like J4, this guy just got butchered by nerfs, you should be able to zone him easily because he doesnt do good damage and his only lane stay powers are from attacking you/minions.
Nasus: Hes the most simple to deal with, KEEP HIM FROM FARMING!!!!! Thats pretty much all there is to it, just harass him non stop so he cant last hit but make sure he doesnt receive minions at his turret.
Lee Sin: usually jungles, like udyr. Make it your mission to dodge skill shots and dont duel him because of his tempest/cripple.
Now, im sure i forgot a few others, but im not even going to bother with listing squishies as lane opponents because if you are getting zoned by a squishy then something is definitely wrong.
As for ganking, i dont have a tendency to gank until i have red buff, but you can go early if you want because you get your primary ganking tool at level 2 anyway. It is critical that you are able to land ruptures, because if you dont it will be the deciding factor between a hit and a miss.
And now i will list a few junglers I commonly see or are just too good to ignore (while there are many others, i am only going to list the ones i see a lot) and how to deal with them.
Lee Sin: This guys cho'gaths equal in versatility, he can start at so many different places, can gank quite early, and invade/duel very efficiently. Protect your jungle against him as best as you can, and pay attention to where he will be starting. Also, warn your teammates that he has the ability to gank early, it helps a lot. keep in mind that he can give his ap/mid carry blue very early since he doesnt need it for sustain or faster clear.
Udyr: Hes pretty good at controlling his own jungle, and his clear time is stupidly fast as phoenix. CV is your best friend with this guy, if hes going tiger he will seek to gank your team more than farm, if hes phoenix he will clear his jungle then gank at his own pace. Hes not the best invader though, so if he sets foot in your jungle kill him.
Trundle: His ganks are amazing, his jungle control is amazing, hes a great invader/duelist. the only thing that makes him balanced is his lack of hard CC. If he invades you, the best way to deal with it is to do some counter jungling of your own or to gank a lane. If he tries to duel you call for help, you wont win alone.
Nocturne: Hes annoying for a champ that relies on CC like you. If you two duel he will win for sure. Hes pretty weak early on though, so if you can catch him before his first clear that will help you a lot. Hes a pretty weak invader too, therefore he doesnt handle being counter jungled as well as the champions above do, meaning do it as much as possible. Oh yeah and he has arguably the best ganking tool in the game at the moment.
Warwick: Yet another strong duelist (surprise surprise). He basically AFK farms until level 6 most of the time, because his ganks even with red before then are pretty bad. Hes a pretty strong invader due to his sustain and his ability to clear mobs stupidly fast with his auto attacks, just keep him out of your jungle or invade him back to deal with him. Dont see him much anymore though, guess hes just outclassed now.
Gangplank: Counter jungle him. he has no sustain besides vamp scepter and hes not a good invader.
Amumu: Pretty much like GP, he just cant handle being invaded/invading in general. If he runs blue route try and take his double golems because it will mess him up pretty badly.
Shaco: His recent buffs/bug fixes put him back up there. Hes a pest, nothing more. he can invade, but he is in no way or shape durable. if he tries to duel you punish the living **** out of him and show him you're the man in the relationship. His jungle control is OK, that is, if hes smart and he puts boxes around his jungle.
here are some videos to help you understand better, it sums up basically everything about cho's jungle ***CREDIT FOR THESE VIDEOS GOES TO STONEWALL008, HE MADE THEM NOT ME***
I hope my guide helps you and I hope you enjoy this amazing champion as much as I do!! :D
Feedback is completely welcome, so please feel free to suggest things to me that I havent already mentioned
8/25/11: Guide has been published
8/26/11: Changed up some BB codes that were too big/small. Added color to some portions of guide.
9/17/11: Changed the name to less emphasize jungling and more of every other aspect I cover in this guide. I also polished the guide a bit better and gave the farming/laning portion a lot more love.
9/22/11: After some contemplation, i decided to add GA to the core build as an alternative for banshee's veil.
9/23/11: Made some more tweaks to the guide, gave the jungling/creeping portion a complete overhaul.
11/13/11 havent updated for a while, so i added wits end to the situational items after seeing it work well with cho. also updated the lane portion.
11/21/11 updated mastery tree to properly reflect the new tree, removed fortify for surge and added promote as another viable option. Also cleaned up the guide a bit more as well. Also redid the mastery portion.
12/24/11 i reconsidered heal, seriously it is ****ing strong now. use it. moved wits end up to core, and updated the item purchase part for people too lazy to read my walls of text. also updated masteries and runes a bit.