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Akali Build Guide by Yamikaze

Middle grandmaster

Yamikaze's Challenger Akali Guide

By Yamikaze | Updated on January 9, 2020
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Runes: Conq Standard

1 2
Presence of Mind
Legend: Tenacity
Coup de Grace

Taste of Blood
Ravenous Hunter

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

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Middle Lane
Ranked #58 in
Middle Lane
Win 47%
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-Table of Contents-

Hi, welcome to my Akali guide. I'm Yamikaze, a Challenger Talon player. My peak rank is around 30 on the NA server and I ended rank 100 Challenger in Season 8.

Like most melee assassins, Akali runs Domination primary with Electrocute. For secondary runes, I currently recommend Precision.
Conqueror - Really easy to stack for Akali, allows for pretty insane healing in fights. Fleet Footwork is also very good into harder lane matchups.
Presence of Mind - Gives you an extra Q worth of energy in teamfights by midgame and an extra Q every time you get a kill. Overheal and Triumph are also good, comes down to personal preference.
Legend: Tenacity - Helps prevent you from getting stun locked in midgame fights. Alacrity is good if the enemy team has no cc.
Coup de Grace - More damage, just better than the other 2 runes imo.
Taste of Blood - Pretty insane rune for laning, adds up to 200+ hp in lane.
Ravenous Hunter - Basically a second gunblade worth of spellvamp. Better than ult hunter because Akali's high ult cd is mostly an issue early game, where you won't have ult hunter stacks anyways.
For stat runes, always run 2 adaptive force (for more damage) and either armor or magic resist in the defensive row depending on your lane opponent.
Flash - This is a MUST HAVE for Akali. If you don't run this spell, you will die to ganks, miss out on kills, and you'll get flamed by your teammates. Also lets you pull off cool combos like R-F and Q-F.
Ignite - If you're playing mid lane, you'll almost always want to run ignite for the additional kill pressure to snowball the game. Since mid lane is pretty short, you usually won't need TP to get back to lane.
Teleport - You'll usually want to run this top lane to get back to lane after a back / death, to roam bot, and to splitpush or clear waves without losing baron. Ignite is also viable top but you have to play very carefully. If you run ignite, the enemy jungler will likely camp you simply because of how hard it is to catch up if you die with ignite top (takes a lot longer to run from base to top than base to mid). However, the additional kill pressure can snowball the game, so run whichever one you prefer.
Passive:Assassin's Mark
Assassin's Mark
Damaging a champion with an ability creates a ring around them. 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.
Basically gives you additional damage, range, and energy restore on your next auto as you kite in and out of range. Usually you'll want to proc this with Q or E in fights. Especially useful if you can maintain a range advantage with Q (spam Q-AA over and over) or E out and back again for the empowered auto. Keep in mind this does magic damage.
Q: Five Point Strike
Five Point Strike
Akali throws five kunai in a narrow arc, damaging enemies directly in front of her and slowing those at maximum range. If cast with nearly full energy, Akali heals for a percentage of the damage. At rank 5, Five Point Strike deals extra damage to minions and monsters.
Your primary waveclear and ranged damage in fights. If cast above 180 energy, you heal as long as you hit an enemy target. Be careful about spamming this in fights as you quickly run out of energy. Generally, you'll want to weave in your passive as often as possible to keep your energy high enough to throw multiple Q's in a fight. Remember W restores energy so you can W-Q to finish kills if you don't have the energy. Also, you can cast your Q mid E (both first and second cast) and you can Q-F (further explained in the Advanced Tricks section). Keep in mind this does magic damage.
W: Twilight Shroud
Twilight Shroud
Akali restores energy and creates a cloud of smoke, which slowly spreads to cover a ring-shaped area. While in the smoke, Akali is obscured and has increased movement speed. While obscured, Akali is stealthed and though her position can be revealed, Akali herself can't be—meaning she can't be targeted by abilities or attacks, including by turrets. Akali can leave the smoke a few times to extend the duration of Twilight Shroud by a small amount.
If there's a single reason why Akali will be perma-banned in high elo and pro play, it will be this shroud. It can be used to reset tower aggro, to mess with the enemy backline in fights, and for escape / jukes. Going in and out of invisibility will extend the shroud duration, which fits perfectly with the playstyle - drop shroud on the enemy backline or under a turret, Q-AA a few times, drop E, and slowly kill the enemy target.It should also be noted that you can hit your E on your shroud and, even if your shroud disappears, your E will still remain where it landed (with a tiny shroud around it).
E: Shuriken Flip
Shuriken Flip
Akali backflips and throws a shuriken forward, damaging and marking the first enemy hit. The shuriken can also hit and mark the smoke from Twilight Shroud. Akali can reactivate Shuriken Flip to dash to the marked target, damaging enemies she passes through.
Shuriken flip acts as both an escape and a way to stay on a target in a fight. It can go over walls (more walls than you think! Check the "Wall-jumping with E" section for more info) to secure kills or act as an escape. This ability is kind of a double-edged sword when chasing, as if you hit your E, there's no way for the enemy target to escape and you kill them. However, if you miss your E, you're even further from the enemy target than you were previous. Thus, it's sometimes better to throw your E backwards just for the extra range. You can also E-F similarly to your Q (also explained in the Advanced Tricks section). Further, by throwing E and then flashing a bit afterwards (not fast enough to E-F) towards the enemy target, you can cancel the knockback on your E. This is especially useful for chasing. Keep in mind this does physical damage.
R: Perfect Execution
Perfect Execution
Akali dashes up to two times, with a slight delay between. The first dash deals physical damage and briefly stuns, while the second dash deals magic damage based on the missing health of the enemy.
Lots of damage, mobility, and utility packed into this ult. Hitting the slower first cast microstuns and hitting the faster second cast does execute damage, so you'll want to use the first cast to set up your combo and the second cast to finish the combo. Note there's a substantial cooldown between when you can cast your first ult and your second ult, so you can't do a R-R combo for a guaranteed 2nd R hit. However, what you can do is R-F (see the Advanced Tricks section). Also, it's important to note that your first R does physical damage and your second R does magic damage.

> >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Max your ult first for increased damage and reduced cooldown. Max Q second for waveclear and extra damage in fights. This also reduces the energy cost and increases the % heal. Max W third as the extra energy restore, movespeed gain, increased duration, and reduced cooldown is much better than the increased damage and reduced cooldown from E. Max E last.
Starting Items
Doran's Shield

A good starting item for almost every lane as Akali is an energy based champion that doesn't need mana (so Corrupting Potion isn't very useful on her). The lane sustain is great for both poke lanes and sustaining through trades in melee matchups.
Long Sword

If you're playing a matchup where you want to go for an early first blood or just feel like you don't need the extra sustain from Doran's Shield, you can also start Long Sword (plus refillable if it's an easy lane and 3 pots if you need the extra health). Starting Long Sword accelerates your Hextech Gunblade power spike and deals more damage than Doran's Shield in lane.
Early Game
Hextech Revolver

On first back, you want to start building Hextech Revolver unless you plan on buying a Hexdrinker (see Situational Items). Once this item is complete, it will be your first big power spike in lane.
Bilgewater Cutlass

After Revolver, buy a Cutlass to build into Hextech Gunblade. The active helps get you in range for kills and the extra AD will still be useful as all of your abilities have both AD and AP scaling.
Boots of Speed

Generally, buy this item whenever you have the gold (for example, not enough gold for another Amplifying Tome or Long Sword).
Core Items
For Akali's core items, there's one must-rush item (Gunblade) and 3 items you can build in any order you want. Generally, you'll want to buy Gunblade into Hourglass when fed (you want survivability over extra damage when ahead) and Gunblade, Lich Bane, and Morello when behind (you need extra damage over survivability when behind).
Hextech Gunblade

This item should be rushed on Akali for numerous reasons. First, it gives her both AD and AP, both of which are useful for Akali. Second, the active is really strong and can help you hit both your E and R. Third, Gunblade's passive allows Akali to heal from her burst, helping her stay alive in a fight. Finally, both Revolver and Cutlass are excellent item components in lane, meaning you are still hitting minor power spikes as you complete the components this item.
Zhonya's Hourglass

Buy this as your second item when ahead (as you won't really need the additional damage from Lich Bane when ahead) and third if you bought Lich Bane. This item is fantastic on Akali because your role in a teamfight is to dive the backline, kill a squishy target, and not be blown up in the process. The hard part isn't exactly killing the enemy squishy. Rather, it's surviving after your initial burst. Being able to kill the enemy ADC means nothing if you simply die right afterwards. Hourglass active helps to solve this by keeping you alive long enough for the enemy to have to focus your team instead.
Lich Bane

Lich Bane's passive synergizes well with Akali's kit as she has to proc passive multiple times in a fight (your passive autos also proc Lich Bane). When buying this item, you'll generally want to buy Sheen first if you can build the whole item. If not, build Aether Wisp > Blasting Wand > Amp Tome (in that priority). Don't worry about the extra mana from Sheen as Lich Bane is still cost-efficient on Akali without the mana.

Lots of damage (AP + mpen), grevious wounds, and some tankiness to boot. Buy this for extra burst versus enemy squishies and rush it as a second item if the enemy team has a healer you want to shut down (e.g. Dr. Mundo or Soraka). Your build order for this item should be Oblivion Orb > Blasting Wand > Oblivion Components.
Situational items
Rabadon's Deathcap

If you're fed and want even more damage, Deathcap is an excellent option. It literally does nothing but give you more damage.
Void Staff

Build this if the enemy team is stacking MR or if you're behind and want extra burst along with Lich Bane and Morello.
Guardian Angel

Buy this when you're really far ahead and the enemy team's win condition in a fight is to burst you down. This passive basically denies the enemy's win condition as Akali has lots of healing and options with W once she revives, meaning it's hard for the enemy team to simply kill you again once you revive (unless you suicided 1v5 :P).
Spirit Visage

If you're looking for a tankier option to survive enemy magic damage, Spirit Visage is a good option. You get a lot of healing from Gunblade's passive and Q (plus Ravenous Hunter if you ran it) so this will keep you very healthy in fights.

A situational item that you usually buy as your first item and leave in your inventory. Buy this against heavy AP burst such as Syndra or Fizz so they can't 1-shot you once they hit 6.
Maw of Malmortius

Usually you want to sit on the hexdrinker until midgame. Then, you can upgrade to Maw if you still need the magic damage shield. The passive is quite good on Akali as she can make use of the AD, spell vamp, and lifesteal. Plus, if you combine this with Spirit Visage versus a heavy AP team, you're basically impossible to kill.
Generally, you'll want to either build defensive boots or sorcs on Akali. The choice is pretty simple. Build defensive if you want either of the passives and/or the armor/mr, and build sorcs if you want more damage.
Ninja Tabi

Buy this into heavy AD comps and / or team comps with lots of auto attackers (for example, you would want Tabis over Mercs versus AP Kaisa or Corki).
Mercury's Treads

Buy this into heavy AP comps and / or when the enemy team has a lot of CC that you want to reduce. The tenacity helps prevent being cc-locked to death.
Sorcerer's Shoes

Usually, you'll want to buy these when you get ahead early and want to snowball your lead quickly. You can also buy them if you just want extra damage.
Use gunblade if you have it.
This is where you can auto attack in passive animation, see tricks section.
E1 stands for first E cast.
UE2 stands for second E cast.
R1 stands for first ult.
R2 stands for second ult.
The thing about Akali is, well, you're almost never going to be using the same combo every fight. Instead, it's important to understand the role of each ability and how each ability fits in a combo. Thus, in this combo section, I'll go over combo parts. Then, it's up to you to combine these parts in a fight based on the situation. Of course, I'll provide an example combo.
Probably your most common combo part. Simply Q, walk slightly back (unless you've hit a perfect tipper Q (see Advanced Tricks), and walk back in to proc passive. If you're getting chased by a melee champion, you can actually kite by using Q-AA, backing off and repeating the process. Generally, you can Q-AA, drop your shroud, and repeat Q-AA in and out of stealth until the enemy target dies (you want to use at least one Q before W because of the energy restore).
Since it's pretty vital to hit your E on a target, you can throw your E right after gunblade. The slow basically guarantees the E hit unless the enemy target has a dash to escape.
Similar to Gunblade-E, since your R1 has a microstun, you can R1 and then immediately E them to guarantee the hit.
Again, same concept as the previous two. Since your tipper Q will slow the enemy target, you can throw Q-E to make it hard for the enemy target to dodge your E.
When you're dashing back onto a marked target with E2, you can actually cast Q as you're travelling. Pretty useful to sneak in extra damage in a combo.
Useful in melee range. Basically sneaks in a Q before the R1 for extra damage.
Standard 1-Shot Combo
The way this combo works is, R1 to close distance or stun, immediately Gunblade and Q E (the Gunblade slow will remain on the target for your E1 since it lasts for 2 seconds). Then, as you cast second E, Q midair before you land, sneak in a passive auto, W for energy restore and Q again. Finally, R2 to execute the target. You can skip some Q's, add autos, and even R1-F depending on how much health the enemy target has and the amount of distance you have to close..
New Akali has a lot of advanced mechanics that I'll cover here. I chose to put this section before any gameplay sections because of how important I believe these tricks to be.
Similar to Lee's R-F or Gragas's E-F, if you use Q or E and then immediately Flash afterwards, your Q/E will actually come out from where your F ends rather than where you stood before you flashed. Useful for faking out the enemy players as they won't have as much time to react to Q-F than F-Q. Basically, as long as you flash before the Q or E comes out of Akali's hand, it will go off where you are after the flash. Otherwise, it will go off where you were before you flashed. Keep this in mind as sometimes you'll want to slightly delay your E-F so you can throw your E but not lose out on chasing distance.
I already mentioned this in the ult description but, since most people skip that part anyways, I figure it's worth putting here as well. The mechanic is similar to Shen's E-F, where if you flash on top of an enemy target near the very end of the dash, the stun / damage also hits the enemy target. This works on both first and second ult. The timing is a bit hard to get down at first, so I'd recommend practicing this in practice tool before trying it in ranked.
Due to a game mechanic where, if a skillshot hits nothing, it will expand slightly at the end of the skillshot, it's actually possible to use Q at the very edge of passive range and get the passive instantly (as you're standing out of the passive range). As SSB players might notice, the nickname I gave this is inspired by Marth's tipper mechanic.
Ok, this one seems a bit obvious at first but it's a bit more complicated than you think. Of course you can get over short walls like Riven's 3rd Q with Akali E, but, the trick is, as long as your E puts you over halfway over a wall, Akali will travel through the entire wall. This lets you travel much farther than you otherwise would. However, be careful as many walls require very specific character, mouse, and camera placement to cross and won't be easily reproducible without much practice. To be honest, I'm not sure if some of the bigger jumps (like crossing the thick wall on the end of both side mid bushes) are even 100% reproducible (but it's really cool when you do pull it off!).
When you drop your shroud in a tight area (e.g. parts of the jungle) and there isn't enough room for the shroud to spread out, it will change shape to fit the area you're in. Thus, your shroud can actually spread to areas of the jungle that aren't visible from the center of the shroud. Use this to your advantage when escaping in the jungle by leaving your shroud at spots where the enemy player does not have vision of you.
Hopper is Bae
Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you notice any outdated sections or errors and I will do my best to fix them asap.

Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding.

Lastly, if you enjoyed this guide, feel free to check out my other guides!

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Yamikaze Akali Guide