Build Guide by 5HITCOMBO
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Chogath doesn't get a lot of respect as a champion, probably because only a few people are willing to invest enough time to learn him. Most people learn the MF Chogath build and think that it's the only way to play him. Here's a secret, though:
Chogath is not a tank.
Chogath is a caster with high HP. If you play him like a tank, you're just playing a second-rate tank hero with attributes that don't match a tank mindset. As a tank, you want to take all the damage and be the one that dies for your team. You don't want to die with Chogath, because if you do, you lose all your feast stacks. If you lose your feast stacks you can't tank. So, what's the solution?
Play him as a caster with CC/silence/nukes.
Here's the build:
3 points into AP, 1 point into smite, 4 points into cooldown, 1 point into magic pen. 3 points into hardiness, 1 point into resistance, 5 into evasion and nimbleness, 5 into defensive mastery and harden skin, 4 into veteran's scars, 1 into improved cleanse, 1 into ardor and 1 into tenacity.
You will be taking the mid with smite+ and cleanse.
Red - magic pen
Yellow - Mana regen/5
Blue - CD Redux/5
Quints - Flat HP
The point is that your lategame is based off of your farm early, and your farm early is based off of your mana regen. You don't need to spam rupture, but you will be rupturing about once a wave on the casters then last hitting them all with Vorpal Spikes. Your passive, your masteries, and your runes will allow you to do this.
Cleanse and smite+ are great on Chogath because of rupture and his passive. Take mid and camp the wraith spawn. Rupture at 1:39 to hit all the wraiths, attack one of the small ones, and smite the big one. Kill the first one, hit the second one twice, rupture again and hit the other one twice. You should kill them all and be at 4/5 health and 3/4 mana. Walk to your lane, kill 2 minions, and you're level 2 when your opponent is level 1. From then on, save smite+ for the tower minion each other wave (the cooldown matches perfectly) or golem/dragon. If you really need a few hp when you're running away from something, feel free to smite a random creep for your passive regen, but you probably shouldn't rely on it.
Open regen pendant. Chogath has ridiculous staying power with a regen pendant. You don't need mana regen because of his passive and your runes/masteries, and basically you're going to farm about 3k gold before you are ever forced to go back. It takes a bit of judgment to know when to shop, because honestly, you can easily get to 4k without ever having to leave your lane.
Your first trip back should be for a Mejai's Soulstealer and Boots of Mobility. Being able to move super fast is crucial for Cho, because you will be doing things like grabbing golem buffs and running into teamfights while farming your lane.
Your next item is a Leviathan. Basically, this allows you to sit around catching assists while stacking feast, mejai's and leviathan. When you hit 20 on leviathan--easy because of the rework (edit: a little harder now that it's one stack per assist, but it's still worth it with the build)--you become nearly unkillable, which allows you to stack out mejai's to 20 too.
Your next item is a Warmog's. It's standard on Cho for good reason. After Warmog's, get a Guardian Angel. This is not as much a tank item as it is a "save your stacks" item. You don't ever want to have to use it, but tell your team that you have it and they'll follow your gigantic character model anywhere. Next, get a Lich Bane. Lich Bane procs for 500~ if you've got full stacks on Mejai's, which is amazing. The game usually won't go this far.
Keep Guardian Angel if you still haven't got 20 stacks. If you do have 20 stacks, though, or as soon as you get it, skip/sell the GA for a Zhonya's Ring. Zhonya's is ridiculous with Lich Bane and Mejai's, and the whole statue ability thing is pretty nice.
Your first skill is rupture, always. There is never a reason not to take rupture. Kill the wraiths and go mid.
Your second skill will be Vorpal Spikes. People say not to get this because you push your lane, but honestly, you're going to be last-hitting every minion anyway, and when a lane is pushed in the mid it makes it harder for your opponent to farm. It gives you time to go and kill wraiths or grab a golem buff. It makes fighting with you hard, because your attack damage is huge at the early levels. On top of that, if you take QWQWQ you will 100% always be out of mana in your lane. Anyone who says otherwise isn't using W anyway, so you might as well take E first.
Depending on the champion, I max rupture or put one point into Scream. If I've been hitting my ruptures, I will max rupture and put two points into spikes. If I have been playing against someone that needs to be silenced, I will take one point into scream. For the early game,
QEQEQR is pretty standard for me, but sometimes I like to go QEWEER so I can spam a little more. I do this vs champions like fiddlesticks who have a move that I need to disrupt or a silence--in this case drain, which you silence as soon as he does it or rupture when he's doing it, plus he has dark wind which silences you, but not vorpal spikes. You're not trying to kill him or anything, just try to make it hard to farm. If he gets close, you're doing almost double damage with your auto-attack thanks to vorpal spikes, so maybe try to take him in a straight fight, but in general you don't want to engage unless you're 100% sure you can kill someone even if they exhaust you or bust a heal.
When you get to about level 8, start getting more points into Scream, but only after you've maxed rupture. Sometimes I take one point in scream a little earlier and just don't use it, saving it for an unexpected champion kill. Feast minions, but always be aware of when you can hit a rupture, walk up and feast a champion for the kill. Don't make it too obvious that you're going for a feast, and ALWAYS keep an eye on how much HP they have. Make sure you get the instant kill with it because there's a slight delay after you feast where you can't attack again.
You'd be surprised at how easy it is to kill someone mid with feast.
Even if you don't kill them, be satisfied that you made them retreat to fountain. Cho can be low on HP and safely farm mid if you send a champ back because you took regen pendant and his passive regenerates for him. Just keep tabs on where everyone is and watch out for people like Gangplank, TF or Karthus.
Your first fountain trip should happen before the end of the gank phase and before the teamfight phase. (Note: The metagame is slowly changing, healer teams like Nidalee/Ezrael/Soraka/Warwick/Shen are becoming more common, and the concept of a "phase" is becoming less and less useful.) You should have a regen pendant, boots of mobility, a mejai's soulstealer and maybe a ruby crystal or a leviathan by this point. Start playing your game, you are a CC/disabler with a 550~ damage nuke. You don't want to be taking all the hits quite yet, but if your team is running, don't be afraid to turn and hit a rupture to save them. You should be able to get out still with your mob boots, especially if you are any good at predicting where to rupture.
During the teamfight phase, you should be around 10 stacks on mejai's and leviathan. Your goal is to make this into 20. If you are getting focused really hard and have to b before your team gets the kills, consider getting a guardian angel at this point for the armor and rebirth. Sell it when you hit 20 stacks, because now you're a machine.
Grab sheen and turn it into a lich bane when you get the chance. If the game goes on past this point--usually it won't--get zhonya's. Now you have around 500-600 AP and feast is hitting for about 1.1k. With Lich Bane, walk up to someone, rupture them, hit them, scream at them, hit them, feast them and in general they die. Your main combo is rupture scream feast. With 20 stacks on mejai's that kills most squishies and even takes tanks down to like a third of their hp.
The rest of this game is up to you. I gave you the build, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't hit ruptures or you don't know how to stay alive. Get out there and practice these things. I have around 500 games with chogath under my belt at this point, and I'm just starting to get the hang of him at the higher ELOs. It might take some time before you can pull this off.
A little bit about matchups:
Any melee besides Mordekaiser and Kat
Any caster besides Karthus and Fiddle
Rupture does so much damage early on that it's really hard for squishies to avoid it if you have good prediction skills. It has a long range, so you can hit them at the tower and be out before it targets you. You can literally harass them behind their tower. Squishies die really quickly to you once you get feast. Anyone that relies on a vampiric scepter for their staying power is severely gimped by rupture, and usually they're weak enough early on that your defensive masteries, regen pendant, and passive can keep you at near full health while they auto-attack you. If they start to get you below 3/4 hp, back off and harass a bit. As soon as you hit 6, try to open up a feast kill. If you don't think you can get it, feast a creep. Always try to have a feast up in a situation where a squishy is under half hp.
Side note--my main focus in mid lane now isn't to stack out feast ASAP, because having feast up for a kill is clutch. I pretty much only feast golems and lizards for their buffs and occasionally a creep when there's no chance I'll be in a feast situation soon. Otherwise I keep it up, even if it keeps me small. This is me, though, and I know Chogath inside and out.
Ashe is a joke because of cleanse, and you should never die to her 1v1 if you have any brains at all. Just save cleanse for her ult and run if you can't kill her. This is seriously the world's easiest matchup.
BAD matchups for chogath:
If you know one of these champions is going to be mid, let someone else take it. The only ones you'll consistently see are Karthus and Ezrael, but Fiddle and Kat do sometimes too. Ez and Kat are hard to hit with any of your skills because of their flashes and ranged skills, and Mordekaiser is just straight-up unkillable 1v1 early game if you are chogath. Fiddlesticks is a tough matchup because of fear/drain/dark wind, but what really puts it over the top is his ultimate. Your movespeed isn't fast enough to get away from it, silencing doesn't stop it, and you will pretty much die if he gets you with it. Consider sticking to your tower after fiddle hits level 6. That usually loses, though, so if you see a fiddlesticks mid just let someone else take it.