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Build Guide by Bunnybunner

The Best Akali Guide

By Bunnybunner | Updated on April 11, 2011

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The Kinkou are the self-appointed keepers of Ionia’s sacred balance. The order’s loyal acolytes walk the spirit and material realms, mediating conflicts between them and, when necessary, intervening by force. Born among their ranks was Akali, daughter of Mayym Jhomen Tethi, the renowned Fist of Shadow. Mayym and her partner Tahno raised their daughter within the Kinkou Order, under the watchful leadership of Great Master Kusho, the Eye of Twilight. Whenever her parents were called away, other members of the order stepped in as Akali’s surrogate family. Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest, spent many hours with the young girl, teaching her shuriken techniques, and emphasizing speed and agility over strength. Akali was a precocious child, and soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. It became clear to all that she would follow her parents’ path—along with the Great Master’s son and appointed successor Shen, she would lead a new generation dedicated to preserving Ionia’s balance. But balance can be fleeting. The order found itself divided. A wayward acolyte named Zed returned, and clashed violently with Kusho, wresting power in a bloody coup. Akali fled into the eastern mountains along with Mayym, Shen, Kennen, and a handful of other acolytes. Sadly, Tahno was not among them. Zed’s transformation of the Kinkou into the merciless Order of Shadow was almost complete. But, as the new Eye of Twilight, Shen intended to rebuild what had been lost. They would return to the Kinkou’s three fundamental philosophies: the pure impartiality of Watching the Stars, the passage of judgment in Coursing the Sun, and the elimination of imbalance by Pruning the Tree. Even though they were now few, they would train neophytes to restore and grow their numbers once more. When Akali came of age at fourteen, she formally entered her Kinkou training, determined to succeed her mother as the new Fist of Shadow. She was a prodigious fighter, and mastered the kama and kunai—a handheld sickle and throwing dagger. Though she did not possess the magical abilities of many of her fellow acolytes, she proved to all she was worthy of the title, in time allowing her mother to step down and help mentor the younger neophytes. But Akali’s soul was restless, and her eyes were open. Though the Kinkou and the Order of Shadow had come to an uneasy accord in the wake of the Noxian invasion of Ionia, she saw that her homeland continued to suffer. She questioned whether they were truly fulfilling their purpose. Pruning the Tree was meant to eliminate those who threatened the sacred balance... yet Shen would always urge restraint. He was holding her back. All the mantras and meditations could quiet her spirit, but such platitudes would not defeat their adversaries. Her youthful precociousness turned to outright disobedience. She argued with Shen, she defied him, and she took down Ionia’s enemies her way. In front of the whole order, she declared the impotence of the Kinkou, all its talk of spiritual balance and patience accomplishing little. Ionians were dying in the material realm, and that was the realm Akali would defend. She was trained as an assassin. She was going to be an assassin. She did not need the order anymore. Shen let her go without a fight, knowing this was a path that Akali must walk alone. Perhaps that path would bring her back one day, but that would be for her to decide. 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When the ring forms, Akali gains a burst of movement speed towards it. Once she crosses the ring, Akali gains another burst of movement speed towards the enemy. Crossing the ring also empowers her kama, which increases the range and damage of her next attack. This attack also restores a small amount of energy. [ranked_description] => Akali's ability damage against enemy champions creates a 500-unit ring around them for 5 seconds, granting her {35/40/45/50}% bonus movement speed for {1/2/3} seconds while moving towards the edge of the ring. When Akali is outside the ring, she regains the bonus movement speed towards enemy champions and gains Swinging Kama for 4 seconds. Swinging Kama: Akali's next basic attack gains 125 bonus range, deals 39-180 (based on level) (+ 90% bonus AD) {0.7} bonus magic damage and restores {10/15/20/25/30} energy. 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[ranked_description] => Akali flips backward and fires a shuriken forward, dealing {60/90/120/150/180} (+ 70% bonus AD) physical damage to the first enemy hit and marking them. If the Shuriken reaches maximum range without hitting an enemy, or kills its enemy, it will mark the last portion of Twilight Shroud hit, if applicable. While a target is marked, Akali can reactivate Shuriken Flip within the next 3 seconds, causing her to dash towards the marked target, dealing the same initial damage. 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[ranked_description] => Akali dashes in the target direction, dealing {85/150/215} (+ 50% bonus AD) physical damage and stunning enemies hit for 0.5 seconds. After 2.5 seconds, Perfect Execution can be reactivated within the following 7.5 seconds, causing Akali to dash in the target direction, dealing {120/180/240} {0.3} magic damage to enemies hit. The base damage is increased by up to 150% (based on target's missing health), and the scaling damage is increased by up to 200% (based on target's missing health). 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LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


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Middle Lane
Ranked #36 in
Middle Lane
Win 45%
Get More Stats


I don't take any credit for this build, the full build can be found HERE.

I put this guide on Mobafire because a baby penguin dies every time a Akali builds wrong. With this build you will have arguably the highest damage output in the game, and I will prove this throughout this guide (not the penguin part).
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Important Note

So on with the guide. There are two major points that must be understood, and further displayed in this guide.

Hybrid? - She is an Ability Power champ. Akali's intended design was obviously a hybrid champ, just briefly look at her skills, and take a look at her suggested items. However this is just another champ that got away from RIOT, and this guide will show that she is far from a balanced hybrid, and should not be built as one.

Burst Damage or DPS? - Akali is a massive burst damage champ, not an auto attacking melee DPS champ, so she should be built to focus on that. She could arguably have the highest burst damage of all champs, with her damage bursts rolling in waves that repeat more frequently than other burst damage casters like Kassadin, Ryze, or Annie. Never ever confuse her with an auto attacking melee DPS monster like Jax/Yi/Tryndamere.
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Helpful Tips and Tricks

Your standard burst damage combination is, use Mark of the Assassin first, and catch up to the airborne kama using Shadow Dance and immediately melee attack to activate the Mark.

DO NOT always follow the combination with Crescent Slash, unless you have Rylai's Scepter. Some champs can run far enough away while you spin immobile on the ground, that you can't hit them with a second mark. Always make judgment on their escape ability before adding Crescent Slash to the combo. Rylai's Scepter's slow allows you to connect easier with Crescent Slash, and just remember it will eat your energy faster as well.

Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin Technique

This is extremely important. Notice is that the mark lasts 6 seconds, which is the same duration as the level 1 Cooldown.

If the target is marked initially but combat and attacks are delayed and timed correctly, two auto attacks in a row can set off two Mark of the Assassins dealing very heavy damage. This cooldown decreases as you level it (6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds) making this task easier to do at max skilling.

This technique is key to maximizing initial burst damage. Combat can be avoided by kiting, hiding behind creep, hiding in a Twilight Shroud, etc. To maximize chances of using this technique, you must appear non-threatening, or even weakened. Lure them into a sense of comfort, or even better, into overconfidence. Then tear their face off.

This combination is brutal even at level 1 with no Ability Power or Attack Damage. After the initial 50dmg from Mark of the Assassin, an additional 282dmg can be done within the first 2 seconds of combat taking nearly every starting champ to half health or lower, and the numbers are even more shocking with the Recommended build.

Notice that this is not including any of the other damage skills. Including that damage would be an additional 516(1x Shadow Dance) + 217(1x Crescent Slash) + 2713(original damage) = 3446dmg total (363dmg from the initial mark, and 3083dmg in the first 2 seconds of entering combat). 3083dmg in 2 seconds? It's this shocking burst damage that sends nearly all champs fleeing nearly instantly, of which Akali excels at taking down runners.
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Masteries and Runes Explanation

Using a Greater Quintessence of Strength produces 2+ Attack Damage needed to activate Discipline of Might. There are many combination's of runes to reach this, however the best rune, Marks(Physical Damage Runes), will take at least 3 of them. This allows me to choose 9 other Marks.

For these Marks, I use 9 x Greater Mark of Insight, which produce the highest Magic Penetration, more than 3 x Greater Quintessence of Insight, 5.67 Magic Penetration. This is the best combination of runes to accomplish simple high Magic Penetration.

Early game she benefits from health regen, which is needed even more because they lowered the HP and lifesteal from Doran's Blade. So 2 x Greater Quintessence of Vigor creates 5.4hp/5sec, more than 9 x Greater Seal of Vigor = 3.87hp/5sec. This allows me to choose 9 other Seals.

My rune combination selection chooses the most efficient use of all types of Runes, giving me the most bang for my buck so to speak.

My masteries build is Defensive focused, which has much needed Durability as well as good Damage. Now I know at first this doesn't seem to make sense, but the problem is efficiency. The Offense tree has too many near-worthless masteries to Akali that you must take to reach the bottom. Remember she is a burst damage AP champ, not a physical damage auto attacker. Notice that I have retained three very important masteries in the offense tree, Cripple, Archmage's Savvy, and Archaic Knowledge, so there is little reason to go further down just to get Havoc.

(Yes now you can activate her passive with Brute Force and a Doran's Blade, however it's still a waste of 3 points to get there)
There is far more benefits in the Defense Tree than the Offense Tree. Everything taken with the Defense focused build is directly beneficial to Akali. What you must understand is that while maximizing all damage is nice, boosting her weaknesses can be just as good. When you throw in efficiency, the choice is obvious. There is no way to get down to Brute Force or Havoc without wasting 3-5 points to physical damage focused masteries.
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Summoner Abilities and Skilling Order

Flash - has many tricks to it, as I use it in early levels in place of Shadow Dance, and especially defensively with Twilight Shroud.

Exhaust - I prefer Improved Exhaust over Improved Ignite because of the resistance reduction, damage reduction, but mostly the slow. Akali has no viable slow at low levels before she finishes Rylai's Scepter. Since they removed the blind effect and only gave it 70% reduction in attack damage, Ignite has regained some appeal, but again, no slow until you have Rylai's. (On the bright side, you cannot be blinded with exhaust, and left unable to activate your Mark)

Typical skilling order, all you need to remember is to max out Mark of the Assassin as quickly as possible, take Rank 1 Twilight Shroud at level 2, then max out Twilight Shroud last.

I take Twilight Shroud early because Crescent Slash is very weak at Rank 1, and you will harass and defend far more with an 8 second duration Shroud at level 2 than a weak AoE. Level 1 Crescent Slash will only do 40dmg per target, and spell vamp 1hp per target, at that level.
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Early Game Laning

Akali is the most difficult to play at level 1-5 because she lacks long range harass without Shadow Dance to close the distance. It is extremely easy to feed with her, like all squishy melee champs, and these levels are critical to setting the platform for the rest of the game, so it is important to play smart.

Akali can solo mid and also hold the 2v1 lane, however it is not easy and I don't recommend it unless you're very comfortable with her. It is almost always a bad idea to be over-aggressive with her when she's solo. Usually the best tactic is to hug the tower, last hit creep, and harass the champs when they go for the tower... that is until you're 6! It is extremely important to fully utilize her Twilight Shroud as a harassment/defense tool in a solo lane, so before you try this, I highly recommend that you wait until Twilight Shroud becomes second nature. You'll need to be able to react very quickly with it, and thinking about it takes too long.

Here is an example of Akali holding the 2v1 lane while Fiddlesticks jungles. She has to hug the tower at all times, so never push out of it, just stay within exp range, and close enough that you can last hit creep from a distance with Mark of the Assassin. Pay extra close attention to how I am able to harass both champs even with a 625 range champ present.

Akali again, is very squishy, and I cannot say this enough, yet the best way to play her early game is by aggressively harassing enemy champs. She is very good at pushing them back off the creep, robbing them of experience and gold. If you can get your partner to stop pushing the lane forward, and only last hit creep, you will cripple your opponents in your lane.

Your lane partner makes a massive difference to you doing very well or just plain terrible. If the two players have no synergy, Akali harasses but her partner retreats/partner is far too aggressive Akali retreats, Akali will die, over and over and over. Notice I said players... She works fine partnered with any champ, so what matters most is the players. So many times I will feed early game because I am harassing, yet for no reason my partner will retreat to the tower when they have full health. Or better yet, my partner will dive in on full health champs for no reason, and I die trying to save them. If you notice your partner doing this, immediately stop aggressive harassing, because you cannot count on them to support you. Focus on last hitting creep, and that's it. My cutoff is 2 deaths/near-deaths. It should be apparent how bad your partner is by this point. You will make up for your feeding once you leave the lane, patience is key...
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Working in the team

Akali is a true glass cannon, and very squishy so you need to take care of her while leveling. It will be very easy to last hit creeps in a lane, so try to control yourself and don't rob your lane-mate of all of the much needed gold. Focus on creep/experience denial and harassment first, then last hit creep once they back off. Your opponents in the lane should be either pushed off the creep wave and out of gold/exp range, or overextended to your tower so that your jungle/mid can easily gank them.

She does very well in the jungles, so be sure to take out the jungle creep between swapping lanes. It leaves more gold and exp to those laning, and overall more gold and exp for the team. But obviously, don't spend all of your time in the jungles, Akali is an assassin, so go do some assassinating and take out unsuspecting champs in lanes. Spending some time in the jungle after the laning phase intimidates all lanes while you're MIA.

In a group fight with Akali, knowing when to jump in is the most important decision. She should never ever initiate the group fight as she will die in a split second against a prepared group. It's a different story if they are unprepared...

Once the group fight starts and you see a decent amount of sparks fly, immediately Shadow Dance to the squishiest highest DPS champ and take them out with your high burst damage. With her burst DPS it will only take a few seconds. If the team is good, most of them will quickly turn their DPS to you and you will see your HP start to fall, but since you waited, most of their skills are on CD and their DPS will be lower, so immediately drop Twilight Shroud and do nothing. This is very important because you will stealth in combat and it will temporarily confuse them. They will blindly throw in skill shots, and waste AoE's, hopefully saving your team from most of that damage.

This confusion is critical to Akali in a team fight. With her speed and intimidating burst damage, enemies will want to hold their skills to use on you, yet the longer they hold them, the less DPS and CC they are doing to the rest of your team. In a short moment, the confusion will quickly turn to panick, and their team cohesion will weaken. They will be less likely to focus on one target, and will spread the damage more evenly across your team.

Again hold your actions until you see a few sparks fly, then burst damage down the next highest DPS squishiest champ. If their team is good, you will likely not survive the next wave of damage, however you alone took out a large chunk of their DPS. My Akali is frequently the only casualty on our side of a 5v5 group fight, with a total wipe on their side. Absolutely worth the death in my opinion.

If you are utilizing this tactic effectively, very often your opponents will buy an oracle potion or a vision ward! Pay attention to this counter tactic, because unfortunately, it works very well...
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Akali cannot sustain full map lane pushes if she uses Crescent Slash a lot. It will eat her energy extremely quickly, and it is energy that she needs to defend herself or to dash into combat. Her best ability to farm long term is Mark of the Assassin, and limit Crescent Slash to once/twice per single wave.

When she encounters a very large creep wave, Crescent Slash can obliterate them very quickly. This skill does the best spread of damage on the wave when the wave is mobile. Once the ranged creep fan out across the lane it will not hit them all. Sometimes it is best to wait for the wave to push through your creep and become mobile again. Once they group up, Shadow Dance to the creep at the center and immediately spam Crescent Slash.

Remember when soloing the golem or lizard, level 8, rank 2 Crescent Slash, and Sheen makes a very big difference. Before this, be careful to have near full HP when getting the buff. Without Smite you will be left with only around a hundred HP.
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Damage Comparisons (The Math)

Heres the math showing AP vs AD vs Hybrid vs My Build

Mark of the Assassin

Crescent Slash

Shadow Dance

Total Damage Comparison

Unfortunately these are FULLY STACKED theoretical builds, and I'm comparing them to a realistic and dependable build. My recommended build doesn't count on stacks, and it doesn't matter how many times I'm killed in a group battle.

Here is a comparison of my recommended build against different stack levels on the Ability Power build.
As you can see, once you drop below 10 stacks, Ability Power build has completely lost its edge on damage. If you die and lose all of your stacks, it is probably beneficial to replace your Mejai's Soulstealer with a Will of the Ancients.