Malphite Build Guide by AP WormMaW Mid
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+10% Attack Speed
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
My main account profiles can be found here: EUNE, EUW
Even though, my main role is midlane, there were times, when top was my main role instead and I still do actively play it, keeping my ability to play it close to my ability to play midlane.
My main motivation for creation of this guide is, that I feel like Malphite is really strong situational soloQ pick, that is not too hard to play, while being efficient for climbing in soloQ. Even though, he might not be hardest champion to play, I found out that many players don't really know, how to proceed with itemization on this champion, so hopefully I will be able to share my point of view and possibly show you strengths, that you can use during your games.
Account that I used for this experiment can be found here.
For commentary, I wasn't able to get latest data from op.gg, because they removed all preseason data one day before season started, which I didn't really expect, so I didn't really get winrates and KDAs from there, but I kept one screenshot, that I took during process (for such cases). You can see final results taken from lolskill.net (last screenshot).
As you can see, at first I was able to keep up quite decent winrate, while it started to drop later on snowly. I am sure that there would be people, who can make even better winrate, since I am not really toplane main and I didn't play toplane for quite a while + I am not perfect player either. But still, I think that I managed to get quite decent KDAs and winratios with mentioned champions.
I was playing Dr. Mundo way more, because he is harder to counter and because it was my go-for pick, when I didn't know my opponent, which might lead in harder matchups sometimes, while I tried to keep Malphite mostly for matchups, where I knew my opponent, so it was basically easier to keep up decent winrate and KDA ratios.
My final elo was Plat 2, I was nearly in promo and I was getting around +25 for win and -15 for loss, which means that my MMR was somewhere around Diamond 5.
In case that you had some doubts about these champions, then I hope that I provided you with at least some valuable information, in case that you would be deciding if you want to pick some of these champions, in order to add them to your champion pool.
+ Great initiation
+ Heavy counter for certain champions
+ Really tanky against certain teams
+ Great teamfighting potential
+ Ability to stop most of splitpushers
- Weak when getting hardcountered
- Inefficient against AP sustaining champions
- Tricky to play, without followup
- Difficult decision making engage-wise
To wrap up points, said above, Malphite is really great situational champion, that can really destroy certain toplane champions and he is definitelly strong teamfighter. But at same time, he has quite obvious weaknesses like being inefficient against heavy AP teams. Last important thing is, that if you play Malphite, you are mostly responsible for fight initiation, which means that either way you do it properly and everyone will love you, or you engage in a wrong way, it doesn't work out and everyone will point his finger on you, which might be annoying.
Except for that, I think that Malphite is definitelly not hard champion to play and I am certainly sure, that he is worth keeping in champion pool, expecially if you want to counter some champions (mostly AD-based).
For that reason, you should mainly aim for this pick if you either way see, that you are playing against heavy-AD comp or if you want to counter certain champion(s). Nice example might be picking it into stuff like Fiora, Camille or Tryndamere, to have tool to stop their splitpush.
Another situation, where it's good is, when you want to stop some strong adc like Twitch, Jinx, etc. You need to count with the fact, that you need followup as well, but in case of Twitch, it's really great that you might give your team chance to react, if you are fast enough and you ult him instantly after he gets out of stealth.
Another situation, where I find Malphite quite decent is when you are facing AD assasin on midlane like Zed or Talon, because not only that you are able to deal with these guys in lane. You should be as well able to follow them without worrying about their assasination potential too much. Obviously early on, they might still beat you with their all-in if you are not careful at all, but generally you have tool to deny them during laning phase and then possibly even deny their burst on your carries, by using your ultimate.
Even with increased AP ratios, I feel like full-AP Malphite is just inferior for multiple reasons. First one is, that he becomes way too squishy, so you might be very good in terms of harassing and picking people, but once when you come into teamfight (and unless you hit their entire team at same time), you will just die instantly right after doing your combo. I have seen this happening too many times, that our Malphite got strong, with many kills, but then he became useless, because he was dying way too fast.
Another problem comes, when you start having problems one****ting people. Basically even assasins or ADCs are building some sort of health/MR, if they see real threats against them. For that reason, you might not be able to burst down people anymore.
Another problem comes, when people start buying stuff like Banshee's Veil, which doesn't only offer protection against your magic damage in terms of MR, but it as well makes it really hard for you to make real engage on enemy team and pull off your combo. And if people are smart - especially on higher elo, be sure that they will buy such items, just to deny you.
Next thing, that is worth to mention is, that Malphite has enough damage in his kit and his strength is, that he is able to spam his abilities quite often and attack. As tank, you survive in fight way longer, which means more used abilities, which means more damage in general. As you all know, you don't deal damage if you are dead, so keep that in mind.
This is probably going to be the last thing. There is obviously possibility to run some sort of hybrid between AP and tank, when buying some hybrid items like Rod of Ages etc. that offer you both health and AP. Problem with these builds is, that once enemy team builds MR, your AP out of these items will basically become worthless, only making you more squishy without any real added value. Yes, if people on lower elo don't understand how to protect themselves or rest of your team is AD, you might consider buying that. But in general, my preference is to just build full-tank Malphite, that will offer team reliable initiation with possibility to become that brick wall in front of your team, because remember - your carries can be as much fed as they want to, but if you don't allow them to deal damage, they won't do it. For that reason, if you keep attention of your enemies and force them to attack you, rest of your team will have free hand to do whatever they want (usually win teamfight).
|Previously I was playing with Arcane Comet for quite a long time. But recently Sorcery tree prove itself to be rather useless due to lacking tankyness and trading potential early on. For that reason I started to run Resolve because it provides you better farming potential and trading in lane against most melee matchups. Generally it feels more consistent than just spamming Q with Arcane Comet up.|
|Previously my preferred rune, but as mentioned above, since Sorcery tree doesn't really allow you to trade that well early, where against better players you usually just get bullied out of lane.|
|Currently my preferred rune over Demolish, since it provides you some really decent damage and stats, especially early. What you need to do is to just wait for your Granite Shield which is something that you should be doing frequently in your lane anyways, since it's your only kind of sustain.|
|Conditioning is my preferred rune in this row, since it provides me some really nice scaling in terms of stats, while not losing that much early, since you are able to withstand most of matchups even before this rune kicks in.|
|Bone Plating might be again decent rune for early trades. It as well provides you some defense against burst damage, but again generally it feels like it gets outscaled by conditioning and for most matchups you don't really need it.|
|Overgrowth is the only rune worth mentioning here. Basically it's rune that adds up scaling power and due to insane amount of armor/MR that you have, each point of HP gives you a lot of effective health. In addition to that, we need to remember, that your Granite Shield scales with health. For that reason it's not really needed to consider other runes in this row, since they aren't really comparable.|
Main reason, why I prefered Sorcery over all other secondary trees is that you need Manaflow Band to keep up your mana. Without that, you will just keep running out of mana continuously, especially when they changed some mana items like Abyssal Mask, not providing you with mana anymore. Since currently your only option is Frozen Heart, it's way harder to keep some reasonable mana pool for longer fights. Except for that, you can obviously choose other rune rather than Transcendence, even though I find this one to be the most useful, since shorter cooldowns allow you to have ultimate up more often as well as having better uptime with your Seismic Shard.
|Recently, when I started to run Resolve as primary tree, Doran's Shield proved itself to be more than useful, since it gives you better last hitting and sustain for early levels. It increases your health pool, which helps with extra shield value on your passive and it as well gives you some extra health regeneration. Generally it just feels better than Corrupting Potion and I basically run this always. It might be decent to run Corrupting Potion in ranged matchups, but usually this is the way to go.|
|This is pretty much my only choice, when I go for boots. Reason for that is, that I tend to pick Malphite into AD champions, which is why I mostly aim just for Plated Steelcaps to make you more durable expecially against autoattack champions.|
|This is second possibility in terms of boots. If you are facing a lot of magic damage dealers, you can go for these, even though the fact, that you are playing Malphite into many AP champions means, that you did something wrong during champion selection, even though it can be sometimes beneficial to play him even into a bit heavier AP items, since Malphite provides great initiation, which might be great against variety of poke champions like Xerath, Vel'Koz and so on.|
|This one is still somewhat viable target, even though currently it doesn't really provide ability haste anymore. It's still way better when it comes to increased damage output in longer fights, where it excels over other mythic options.|
|Force of Nature should be your mainly prefered option, when it comes to magic resistance item. It gives you very reasonable defensive stats against magic-damage oriented champions, paired up with extra movespeed, which is always very beneficial for any melee champion.|
|Even though I didn't really like this item in the past, because it got simply outclassed by old Iceborn Gauntlet, that had Sheen effect included, currently it's pretty much the only reliable source of mana, paired up with decent defense against AD champions. In general Malphite gets very weak, once he gets out of mana, so just try out how you can survive without it and if you find yourself without mana too much, this item is the way to go!|
|Many people might not consider this item too great for Malphite, but main thing is, that even if you have really great Armor/MR, you still need high health pool, to increase your amount of effective health. Except for it's high amount of health, second big benefit is, that you can simply tank several tower shots during siege, then backing off, getting health back and proceeding again with full health. Even in teamfights, sometimes it's possible that if you get on low health, you can just walk around for a bit of time, letting it give you some health, while waiting for your Granite Shield and then returning back into teamfight, being able to eat additional damage.|
|Even though in the past Randuin's Omen used to be mainly item against crit-based champions, nowadays it could be used as general anti-physical damage item, since it provides very good armor value, paired up with extra utility and even though it still has certain bonus against crit-based champions, it's benefit isn't so insane, to think that it would be waste to build it even against AD-assasins or bruisers.|
You should take this item primarily against targets, that are having huge sustain. Nice examples are Fiora, Tryndamere or any AD-carry that is building a lot of lifesteal. To some extent, it can sometimes deny even champion like Vladimir, but for that reason, he needs to be autoattacking you, depending on his own inability to understand the game properly or simply by doing mistake, so don't really build it into things like that, because you will simply rely on their own mistakes.
Except for healing reduction, it provides really nice damage, that is going back to targets, that are autoattacking you, expecially when you have so much armor.
|Since the new season, this is great option for Malphite if you already have decent health values, to support it with mixed defense against AD/AP damage. In the past it was giving extra health pool on active effect, which reduced your damage by certain amount, but since it got turned just to shield effect, that isn't reducing your damage potential, it's really great item if you want to be more durable during teamfights.|
|Since in the past, there were other better options for armor, I didn't really prefer this item too much as Malphite. But since general rework of tank items, this item got in way better spot and it allows you to be more mobile, allowing you to stick to chase down your target or possibly engage teamfight more efficiently.|
Seismic Shard is ability, that I max as first one. Reason for that is, that it allows you to poke your opponent from relatively safe distance, without being forced to go into face-to-face trade, since it gives you movespeed buff, while reducing movespeed of your opponent, so even if someone attempts to trade, you can just move away from him.
Second benefit is, that you don't have to push, while harassing, compared to Ground Slam. Pushing like that on toplane is mostly dangerous and leads to you getting caught by enemy jungler and then complaining about yours.
Last thing is, that it has pretty decent AP ratio, so after you build up your Doran's Ring + Dark Seal (unless you omit Doran's Ring), you end up having around 60-70 AP, increasing efficiency of this ability even further.
There is one important note to mention in here - I don't exactly remember at which patch was it introduced, but Riot basically added mechanic, that enemy minions will start attacking you after using single target point click spell, which includes Seismic Shard. For that reason, whenever you are going for poke, after using this ability, make sure that you start running backwards to lose aggro of minions. In addition - always keep in mind that ranged minions may attack you, possibly resetting cooldown on your Granite Shield. So generally speaking - keep this in mind and always think about moments, when you want to go for poke and when you just want to give it up.
Some people are actually wondering about this one - why do I max Brutal Strikes over Ground Slam even against champions like Tryndamere or Jax?
First reason for my decision is that if you max Brutal Strikes, you receive additional damage for your autoattacks, that together should do generally more damage than maxed Ground Slam.
Another benefit is, that it increases your armor value a lot, expecially if you have your Granite Shield up. Trading 20% additional Armor for 20% of extra attack speed reduction (these are values, that you receive after you max up either way Brutal Strikes or Ground Slam), where these 20% of armor become actual 60% with your Granite Shield. That is actually a lot of armor, and we have to remember, that these armor bonuses have 100% uptime (20% bonus armor does), while attack speed reduction only applies for 3 seconds, with 7 seconds cooldown on ability (without cooldown reduction). Even with 40% CDR, you will not get 100% uptime. Another situation is, when you are getting hit from various directions - expecially from distance. In that case Armor applies on all of that damage, while Ground Slam attack speed slow applies only on those, that are next to you.
Last and probably most hidden reason is, that if you get additional Armor, it doesn't only increase your defenses, it increases your offensive potential as well. With Brutal Strikes having additional 15% of total Armor scaling and Ground Slam having additional 40% of total Armor scaling, if you max out Brutal Strikes, you actually get benefit for both of these abilities together, beating benefit of maxed out Ground Slam.
Since I gave my main explanation above, I will try to keep this description short. For above reasons, this should be your last ability, that you max, since the only thing, that you get is a bit of damage and extra attack speed reduction (20%), which is not that insanely great.
Another thing is, that Ground Slam has way bigger radius, forcing you to push, while trading near minions and exposing you to ganks.
|This ability is probably most important reason, why you would possibly want to play Malphite. It offers you great initiation tool for either way engaging fights, catching your opponents or even finnishing up someone, who is trying to run away. You can as well use this ability as escape tool, even though it mostly feels awkward, but it's still better than dying.|
Let's start off with early game. During early levels, you are going to struggle with your mana, since you don't have sufficient mana sustain yet. For that purpose, you need to choose whether you want to poke since level one or not. If you are able to farm with autoattacks, always try to poke down your opponent, while if you know, that you are going to get punished for every single cs, try to rather save your abilities to last hit otherwise unreachable minions.
Always utilize your Granite Shield, because that is the reason, why you are able to stay in lane for such a long time. If you use it properly and sometimes even give up some minion, you will be able to survive your opponent and create pressure through your poke, being able to freeze wave on your side of lane, while denying your opponent even further.
With this build you don't have to be afraid to fight your opponent face-to-face, but always choose short trades, so you don't lose too much HP and that you utilize mainly your Granite Shield. Usually prefered way is to go Q -> Autoattack -> W with auto reset and possibly then E if needed. Obviously if you don't need to use Q and someone runs at you, you can just E -> Auto -> W.
After harassing your opponent to lower amount of health, don't get greedy. Just freeze wave and last hit freely while zoning your opponent from it. He is mostly low and scared of your all-in with Unstoppable Force, but remember, that his jungler might be waiting somewhere nearby, so be careful. Remember - when your opponent doesn't get any farm, he won't do much later on - he is the one, being forced to come, not the other way around. Just wait until you have idea where is enemy jungler and then proceed to all-in with your entire combo. Always watch out, whether you approximately have enough damage and more importantly, if you have enough mana to pull it off.
After you reach 2 items, you are mostly strong enough to do whatever you want in lane, unless you are facing some counterpick or unless you are incredibly behind compared to your opponent.
If you are behind, try to go for some picks with your Unstoppable Force and if you don't have it, keep farming on your side-lane to scale up. You can even do it generally, if your team does well, but you should always look around the map to use your Unstoppable Force.
If you are ahead, you have pretty similar choices. You can ask your team to group, to siege and possibly go for some dive, if you find right situation for it. Otherwise, you can as well pressure certain side lane and generally splitpushing, if you are able to destroy enemy laner, that you countered (or simply destroyed). In that case, always keep in mind, that you need to create yourself a vision around enemy jungle, to see incoming threat.
Late game as Malphite is mostly really difficult. Yes, you are strong with your Unstoppable Force, but with great powers, comes great responsibility. In late game, any lost teamfight might mean, that you lose game. For that reason, it's crucial to understand when to engage and when not to engage, it's simply double-edged blade.
If you make some fancy catch on some important target and you win game due to that, everyone is going to love you. If you attempt to catch someone and it somehow doesn't work, everyone will blame you and try to report you for whatever reason. This is probably most frustrating part about playing Malphite - you rely on too many aspects, where biggest part is your team's awareness. You might do some interesting engage, but if your team reacts way too late, they will blame you for it anyways, so be careful.
Another thing, that might be valuable to do (expecially against enemy assasins like Talon, Kayn and so on), is to hold your ult and wait with it, until someone tries to oneshot one of your carries. In that moment, you basically ult that target, peeling for your carry and mostly destroying one of their important targets, but that just depends on teamcomp and situation. Just remember, that whenever you go in and you don't know where is their entire team, you risk, that you leave your carries behind, leaving them wide-open to flank by some dangerous target.
But except for that...