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Malzahar Build Guide by Vapora Dark


Vapora Dark In-Depth Mid Malzahar Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on October 9, 2019
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Summon Aery
Manaflow Band

Magical Footwear
Cosmic Insight

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


LeagueSpy Logo
Middle Lane
Ranked #3 in
Middle Lane
Win 54%
Get More Stats

-Table of Contents-

Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.

I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.

Sorcery & Inspiration

Summon Aery
Summon Aery: Malzahar doesn't have any kind of CC that makes it easy to land Arcane Comet until level 6 and even then it's on a long cooldown, making Summon Aery the best offensive keystone for him.

Manaflow Band
Manaflow Band: More mana and mana regen is fantastic for a mage who has high mana costs. Neither option in this tier can compete.

Transcendence: More CDR is always nice. Being able to always have 30% CDR means that just a blue buff gets you to 40% after you have your Luden's Echo.

Scorch: Makes your poke hurt just that much more. Most efficient in laning phase, falls off later on but is still nice.


Cosmic Insight

Magical Footwear
Cosmic Insight: All mages benefit greatly from CDR and Malzahar is no exception. The reduced cooldowns on summoners and item actives is just an added bonus.

Magical Footwear: This gives you a free pair of boots and decreases the cost of your boots upgrade by 50g, which basically puts you 350 gold ahead of any enemy that doesn't take this mastery by default, which is pretty sweet. You should replace this with Perfect Timing in matchups where you're likely to need the stasis and want an early Zhonya's Hourglass however.

9 Adaptive Force
9 Adaptive Force
15-90 Health

Flash: This is the best summoner spell in the game, almost every champion takes it and it's completely irreplaceable. It's the best defensive summoner and the best offensive summoner all at once. The fact that you see all 10 players take this in 99% of games just goes to show how strong it is. Malzahar is of course no exception to this.
Teleport: This is the second best summoner spell for Malzahar, in my opinion. It makes it so you can easily countergank and roam to lanes instantly when the opportunity presents itself by allowing you to Teleport there, either preventing the enemy mid laner from being able to follow you as quickly because they don't have TP themselves, or alloowing you to follow them almost instantly no matter what the situation because you can TP in as soon as they arrive.
Heal: Alternative summoner spells are only really for when you're taking Unsealed Spellbook. If you're taking Unsealed Spellbook you should not start Teleport, since you get a shard at 2 minutes and can switch back to Teleport on your first back if you need to TP back into lane; and instead you'll have Heal or Barrier during the early lane just in case you need it to keep you alive. Heal is generally the best since it gives you movement speed and also gives you the option of healing an ally if necessary, such as your jungler.

Barrier: This is an alternative to Heal, mainly used in tough matchups where you need the extra survivability to survive and you know your opponent is probably taking Ignite, such as when vs Zed or Talon. It's worse than Heal against enemies that don't take Ignite since while it protects you from slightly more damage, its in the form of a low-duration shield rather than a heal, and you don't get the speed boost or the effect on an ally.
Cleanse: You'll need to take this summoner spell against enemies with high CC, especially early-game CC (whether from the mid laner or the jungler) and especially if its targeted CC. Excellent examples of champions you need to take this against are Twisted Fate, Elise and Sejuani, and champions you should strongly consider it against are Ryze, LeBlanc, Ahri, Veigar, and even Ashe and Varus. Whether you take it or not vs these champions depends on how much more CC their team has overall, and partially personal preference.

void ****
-Skill Order-

> >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Passive: Void Shift

Void Shift: This passive makes Malzahar a very hard champion to engage on, and a tough champion to beat in trades since he'll block some of the initial damage. When you want to engage on a champion with Nether Grasp you'll want to be sure that Void Shift is up if possible since it'll make it a lot harder for alies of your target to knock you out of Nether Grasp with CC. And make sure to play aggressively in lane while it's up.
Q: Call of the Void

Call of the Void: This spell is a strong counter to any spell-based champion, which are the kind of enemies you'll generlly be facing mid lane. Once you get some CDR it starts to have a very low cooldown and you can cause some insane disruption in team-fights if you can constantly land it and keep enemies constantly silenced, as the silence scales up to a 2 second duration.

It's very important to remember that hitting Call of the Void on a target affected by Malefic Visions will have Malefic Visions' duration refreshed. If you learn to properly abuse this you can almost double the damage from Malefic Visions. It's also useful to keep in mind while waveclearing in early levels.
W: Void Swarm

Void Swarm: In lane, this can be very good for bullying melee champions, but against ranged champions it's fairly lackluster as harass unless the enemy just walks into them or at the very least doesn't run away from them. So vs ranged champions you're better off holding onto this and only casting it once the enemy is actually playing aggressively, or if you can lock them down with Nether Grasp. Overall though this is a huge part of Malzahar's damage, so you'll want to be able to cast them before Nether Grasp whenever possible. And remember that you can use Void Swarm to block skillshots like Death Sentence.
E: malefic visions

Malefic Visions: The hardest part about this spell is getting it to constantly bounce from minion to minion, it requires setup and constant auto-attacking. You'll get a lot better with practice and experience.
R: Nether Grasp

Nether Grasp: Also known as the "outplayed" button. Just like Call of the Void, this also refreshes the duration of Malefic Visions, but it's not as useful since Nether Grasp is comparatively short ranged and enemies aren't just going to walk back into your range with Malefic Visions still ticking.

This spell is rather limited in what it can do without your Flash if the enemy stays far enough away from you, since if they stay close to you you can easily ult them to set up an easy gank for your jungler. However, if the enemy doesn't give you the respect necessary, you can indeed set up easy ganks for your jungler with Nether Grasp, or if your enemy is below approximately 50% HP you can hit the enemy with your entire combo and Nether Grasp should guarantee that they stick around for enough damage from Void Swarm and Call of the Void to die to your combo.

After laning phase you'll want to constantly keep an eye on the enemy team's items to check for enemy Quicksilver Sashes, since you don't want to waste Nether Grasp on a target that's just going to instantly cleanse it.

Doran's Ring

Doran's Ring: The best starting item for almost any mage. All the stats it gives are great for a mage in the early-game, and it allows you to pick up 2 Health Potions to sustain yourself with.
Luden's Echo

Luden's Echo: The extra damage on poke or extra waveclear alongside a lot of mana/CDR and AP makes this item a must rush every single game. You can delay it for a Seeker's Armguard if you went Perfect Timing because you're against someone like a Talon or Zed but even then you should still fully finish this item first.
Sorcerer's Shoes

Sorcerer's Shoes: The extra damage you get from these makes them the best boot in almost every situation. You don't really need defence boots thanks to Void Shift and other options are simple too weak right now.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Rylai's Crystal Scepter: This is another item that works wonderfully on Malzahar thanks to his Malefic Visions DoT. Hitting an enemy with Malefic Visions will cause them to be slowed by 20% for 5 seconds, which is insanely more effective than any other champion's synergy with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This will also increase the effectiveness of Liandry's Torment's DoT.
Liandry's Torment

Liandry's Torment: Together with your ultimate Nether Grasp and Rylai's Crystal Scepter you'll completely melt squishy and tanky targets alike. On most champions this is a niche item, but like Zyra or Brand it's a core item. You can buy it before your Rylai's if you don't need the extra burn but this item is significantly more expensive.
Void Staff

Void Staff: By this point the enemy team will almost always have some MR going. Void Staff boosts your damage by an insane amount against targets that are building MR, and it's cheaper than the alternative of Rabadon's Deathcap. Even the targets that aren't building MR will still have some MR for you to penetrate with Void Staff. Only build Rabadon's Deathcap before it if the enemies just have literally no MR.
Rabadon's Deathcap

Rabadon's Deathcap: It may seem weird to leave building Rabadon's Deathcap for so late, but since it increases your AP by a percentage, it's most effective once you already have some other items going. Despite still giving the most AP in the game even sooner than this, the gold cost makes it hard to justify building sooner than cheaper items. Nevertheless, once you have 2-3 items it becomes worthwhile to build Rabadon's Deathcap if you want to build more damage.
Zhonya's Hourglass

Zhonya's Hourglass: In many games you'll want this even if you don't need the armor simply because it's so amazing at helping you survive against divers. If you're playing against an AD mid laner like Zed you'll even want to rush it to avoid most of his damage. It'll usually replace Rabadon's Deathcap but it can replace Void Staff instead if the enemy team is building literally no MR.

Early Game

At level 1 you'll want to take Malefic Visions since the damage is more guaranteed and higher than the damage of Call of the Void, as well as costing less mana. When you get into lane you should begin shoving in your enemy with auto-attacks and bullying them as they go for CS. You won't want to cast Malefic Visions on minions this early on since it's not strong enough to cast as waveclear, and instead use it to harass the enemy mid laner whenever possible.

At level 2 you can take either Call of the Void or Void Swarm. I strongly recommend to take Void Swarm against melee champions, or against ranged champions that you think will either all-in you because they're winning trades, or just generally benefit from extended trades, since in all these circumstances your voidlings have a good chance to do a lot of damage. In a lot of ranged matchups though your voidlings will barely have a chance to even reach your opponent if they only focus on very short trades, making Call of the Void the optimal spell to take to make you stronger in trades. Your trading pattern should be casting Malefic Visions and auto-attacking once, backing off unless minion aggro is in your favour, and waiting a few seconds before casting Call of the Void, since if it hits it'll refresh your Malefic Visions duration.

At level 3 you should then take whichever spell you didn't take at level 2, usually Void Swarm, and use Void Swarm if your opponent ever chooses to fight you in an extended trade. Your laning pattern should stay the same at all levels until 6.

At level 6 you obviously level Nether Grasp, which actually starts to give you some kill potential and makes Void Swarm useful in matchups where the enemy mid laner won't get close enough for your voidlings to hit them without being locked down. It's hard to actually kill your lane opponent if they're smart though since they should start to keep a healthy distance from you to avoid being hit by Nether Grasp in situations where they might get ganked, or where they're low enough that you can one-shot them during the suppress duration.

Because of the fact that your enemy laner will usually start playing a lot more passive, rather than wasting your time trying to really force a kill that might not happen, you'll want to start perma clearing minion waves to shove the enemy mid laner under tower, since at this point your waveclear should be really good.

You can clear the wave before the enemy mid laner since they need to be careful about walking too close while looking to clear the wave. This is called having lane priority, meaning that if you want to roam, either ganking a lane or helping your jungler collapse on the enemy jungler in the river, you have priority over the enemy mid laner and can leave lane first since they're further away and still have a whole minion wave under tower that they'd be missing out on if they were to leave. It also makes it so you're most often in a position where you can easily TP gank a lane since you won't have any minions to clear and you'll be out of the enemy mid laner's vision, so they won't be close enough to cancel even if they could see you.

Out of Lane

Outside of laning phase, you'll just simply want to group with your team. As Malzahar you're most effective moving around with your team so you can set up plays with Nether Grasp.

There's 2 different ways you can use Nether Grasp: on a carry or a frontliner. It may seem obvious that you'd rather go for a carry than a tanky frontliner, this isn't always possible if the carries don't over-extend, especially in situations where your team is sieging so the carries don't really have any need to walk too close to you.

If you're going to use Nether Grasp on a tank to engage a fight, you'll either want them to be low enough that your team can burst them down within the suppress duration, or for your team to just have so much burst or chain CC that you're sure your initial Nether Grasp engage can burst the tank down before they have any real contribution to the fight.

If you're going to use Nether Grasp on a carry, basically the only way to do this unless they colossally screw up is to Flash on them.

The combo for when you want to use Nether Grasp is Void Swarm -> Malefic Visions -> Nether Grasp. Call of the Void should not be used since while it would add more damage to the combo, its cast time delays your combo by a lot and you don't want to give the enemy a chance to react in time and Flash out. Once Nether Grasp is over you can also cast Call of the Void afterward and if they don't Flash it it will refresh the duration of Malefic Visions.

Sometimes you may also want to skip using any spell other than Nether Grasp, if you think your team has enough damage to easily kill the target while all you have to provide for them is the lockdown, giving the target a smaller opportunity to react in time and Flash away.

Besides your contribution to team-fights through Nether Grasp, you should be placing Malefic Visions and Void Swarm on enemy frontline, since you can help burn them down pretty fast with your damage + Liandry's Torment. As for Call of the Void you should try and cast it onto the enemy backline, especially the mages, if you can reach them, otherwise just use it on the frontline too since it's extremely spammable and will be up again shortly if you get a chance to use it on anyone else.

Hopper is Bae

That's it for my Malzahar guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Malzahar as well as you want to.

Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding, as well as some input on info. (Go check her shop out!)

If you ever want to see me play, make sure to follow me on Twitch. I'm currently streaming every day between 3-10 PM GMT.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Malzahar Guide