Malzahar Build Guide by wRAthoFVuLK
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Malzahar ~ The Prophet of the Void
He's boss. 'Nuff said.
If you want to learn all about Malzahar, including how to build him, how to use his ability combo properly, and more, look no further.
Be sure to leave any comments and constructive criticism below, and be sure to vote :)
Team 1 vs Team 2 Malzahar Item Builds
Team 1: Flat Magic Resist Reduction (for squishier enemies)
Team 2: Percent Magic Penetration (for tankier enemies)
The difference between the item builds are either Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff, depending on the build. If you have squishier enemies, you should get the Abyssal Scepter, since you gain the MRes for yourself and the MRR aura (which is not as potent to a single enemy as Void Staff, but if they are mostly squishy, this should be no issue). For tankier enemies, since you will want the more potent MPen, get the Void Staff.
Please see the "Items" section below for more information about this item build and purchasing order, and why I get the items that I do.
Abbreviations Throughout the Guide
CC = Crowd Control (Stun, fear, slow, snare, etc)
AP = Ability Power
AD = Attack Damage
MPen = Magic Penetration
CDR = Cooldown Reduction
OOM = Out of Mana
HP = Health/Health Points/Hit Points
DoT = Damage Over Time
AoE = Area of Effect
MRR = Magic Resistance Reduction
MRes = Magic Resistance
Pros and Cons
-Deals extreme amounts of damage with his abilities, on low cooldowns
-Great in teamfights for AoE % of max HP Null Zone and AoE silence
-Great anti-tank for the % of max HP damage with his Null Zone
-Can restore his own mana using Malefic Visions
-Amazing mid and ganker for the above reasons
-Has a pet (Voidling) that actually deals nice damage and is easy to obtain
-SQUISHY (before end of build)
-Best at focusing one enemy to kill, although has the aforementioned AoEs that are great in teamfights
-Usually focused when channeling ulti, and as such can get downed pretty quickly in teamfights if not built and played properly
-Since you farm so well and eliminate waves of creeps quickly, you will push lanes quicker; if you are mid, this will result in a harder time for your jungler (if existent) to gank, and it will be slightly harder to pick up creep kills while at their tower, as well as staying in the XP zone. This is why you need to try to control your lane well, and let their minions push a little before you begin popping your abilities to farm (see "Farming" section below). This way, the enemy will be pushing equally, but with much more force, and you have the ability to turn that around and push hard whenever needed.
Thanks to Jebus McAzn for reminding me of that lane pushing issue.
Malzahar is one of the BEST farmers in the game. Not only does Malefic Visions deal a lot of damage and have a low cooldown, but if the enemy it is on dies, it passes to the nearest enemy if one is in range, and applies the DoT as if it were a new Malefic Visions being casted. If this is not enough, it also refunds a nice amount of mana every kill it gets. What does this mean?
It means, even at level 2, when you first learn Malefic Visions, you can pop one on a wave of minions, standard attack them a few times, and you get the last hit. And then it pops onto the next minion. And so on.
If you get a few of these on a wave of minions, they will die almost instantly, with you reaping in the gold from all of the last hits. In combination with your Voidling, which is attracted to Malefic Visions, and as such will hit whichever minion has a Malefic Visions on him, you will dominate the scoreboard in Creep Score.
If you need a little extra oomph for your Malefic Visions to successfully bounce around, especially early game when you don't have much damage from your Malefic Visions due to low AP, pop a Null Zone under the wave. This way, not only are they getting damage from your minions, your Malefic Visions, and possibly your standard attack and Voidling, but also now the Null Zone, which drops a % of their max HP. And don't worry, if you successfully take out the minions (which you will), you will be refunded most (if not all and more, depending on how many minions were in the group) of the mana it cost to cast these spells, thanks to your Malefic Visions bouncing around.
This is also helpful if you want to push a lane, just Null Zone, Malefic Visions, and you are at their tower before you know it.
However, as said before in the previous section, you have to be careful with your farming if you do not want to push a lane. Quoted from that section, "Since you farm so well and eliminate waves of creeps quickly, you will push lanes quicker; if you are mid, this will result in a harder time for your jungler (if existent) to gank, and it will be slightly harder to pick up creep kills while at their tower, as well as staying in the XP zone. This is why you need to try to control your lane well, and let their minions push a little before you begin popping your abilities to farm (see "Farming" section below). This way, the enemy will be pushing equally, but with much more force, and you have the ability to turn that around and push hard whenever needed."
To avoid this situation, do exactly as just mentioned before: wait for their minions to push a little bit, then start farming with your abilities, and rinse and repeat. You always have to ability to push harder if need be.
All this gold you will be farming, from early to late game, will help you buy your items quickly, and have an edge over your enemies. Which is nice, right?
And this, my friends, is why I like to call Malzahar the "Young Money" of League of Legends. :]
Your Voidling and You
Yes, I decided to dedicate a whole section to this little bugger. Why? There is so much to say about the amazing Voidling :)
Your Voidling spawns after 4 ability casts, and lasts for 21 seconds unless killed. It is attracted to Malefic Visions, meaning if there is an enemy with Malefic Visions on it near the Voidling, it will attack it.
As mentioned in the previous section, "Farming", your Voidling is a terrific help in farming. When you cast a few Malefic Visions and possibly Null Zones on a wave of minions, he will magically appear and attack whichever minion has a Malefic Visions on it, ensuring that it will die, refund some mana to you, and pass on to the next unlucky victim. The Voidling just lets you wipe out minions waves that much faster :]
As well, Voidlings help when ganking and attacking in teamfights. Remember, it spawns after 4 ability casts. And remember, you have 4 abilities. This means, no matter what, if you just spawned a Voilding and need all 4 more casts to get your new one, or you only need 1 more, you will get it if you perform a skill combo (see the sections titled "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" and "Skill Combo/Ultimate Usage Videos" for more information on your skill combo). And don't underestimate these guys, they actually deal a nice amount of damage: 20 + 5 x level damage per hit, and Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed), to be exact. This results in your enemies crying.
Don't believe me? Watch the videos, and note how a Voidling spawns in the video in which I perform a full skill combo (first video).
I must say, Malz's Voidling is one of my favorite passives in the game =] It actually finished off kills for me before that I would've not otherwise gotten! =D
Beginning Game Voidling Spawn
Generally, what you want to do is cast your Q, which you learn at level one, three times while still at base, before you leave. This way, when a level 1 fight starts, or just right once you get to lane, your voidling will spawn on the next ability cast. This is great for extra harass early game, in particular. And it doesn't cost you anything, right?
Team Work/Your Purpose On Your Team
You have a silence. This can be used to save teammates who are getting wrecked by someone, to silence someone such as Twitch or Kat who would be able to easily escape from your team, etc.
You have an AoE % of max HP drain. Just pop your Null Zone under the enemies to give your team the upper hand. If you are in the midst of a big teamfight, popping a Null Zone can drop your enemies, who most likely will be focusing on the fight too much to instantly notice the Null Zone. Even if they are on it for a second or two, especially late game, this can DROP their health. Null Zone is also a great anti-tank, since it deals damage based on the enemy's max HP. You can lower a tank before and during a teamfight, so that they can drop quickly and you can do away with the rest of their team.
You have a stun/suppress. If someone is chasing a teammate, you can stun. If someone is running away, stun. If you want to all focus someone and make sure they don't run away, stun. Having a total stun and disable on your team is soooo helpful for teamfights. 'Nuff said.
You are amazing 1v1. Similar to as mentioned before, you have an ability that drops % of the enemy's max HP, a silence, and a stun, and Malefic Visions as a high-damage DoT. As you will see in some of the videos below, against a single target, especially late game with more AP, you can DROP (and I mean DROP) the life bar of ANYONE.
Same goes with ganking, you can easily gank by silencing and stunning.
-He deals a ton of damage.
-Great ganker as mentioned earlier and will mention in this section as well.
-Can push easily if being pushed/need be.
Harassing is easy mode for Malz. How do you harass with Malz, you ask? Your Q is a silence and long range. Just pop it when they get close enough to force them to run back (due to the silence) and get some damage dealt to them as well. Null Zone is also a great tool for harrasing: if there is an area where you don't want your enemies to stand, for instance, in front of a tower...just pop a Null Zone under them and they will be forced to either stay and lose a large chunk of their health and possibly die, or move back. Also, your Malefic Visions have a relatively short cooldown, even early game, and doesn't cost that much mana, so you can pop a few of those on your enemies for some nice DoT. When your Voidling spawns, that will deal a nice amount of damage to them as well, if they get close enough.
Please see the section titled "Farming" to learn how to farm with Malzahar, one of the best farmers in the game.
Of course, when your get your ulti is when the harassing phase turns into the killing phase. Please see the sections titled "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" and "Skill Combo/Ultimate Usage Videos" to learn and see in action how to kill using your combo with your ultimate.
All of this is what you are looking for in a mid, right? Amazing farming, damage output, and harassing abilities. You also gain a level advantage against most of the other enemies, so when you gank and attack people, it will hurt them a lot more than they can hurt you. However, if you chose to side lane, he works there too, and you can harass and make enemies cry there just as well. But, then you won't have the level advantage as well as the easy opportunity to gank when needed.
This ties in with ganking. You deal a lot of damage, and along with your level advantage, you will laugh at how quickly enemies die.
Malz is an amazing ganker, as mentioned previously, due to his silence and stun. Along with your teammates, you can gank enemies so easily it is not even funny.
How do you initiate a gank? When you get to your enemies, you generally want to wait for them to push a little. Then, when you think the time is right (up to the discretion of you and your teammates, you WILL know when the time is right), UNLEASH YOUR SKILL COMBO! Please, once again, see the sections titled "Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo" and "Skill Combo/Ultimate Usage Videos" to learn how to use your skill combo.
Greater Mark of Insight : All of Malz's abilities are dealt as magic damage, and as such you want magic penetration. This extra MPen is very helpful along with your masteries (if you follow my setup) and the MPen and MRR from this item build. All of the MPen and MRR will allow you to slice through enemies easier than a sword can slice through air.
Greater Seal of Force : With these, it is quite an easy choice. Besides these being half the price of the flat Seals of Potency, they give a little over 3 times as much AP at level 18. Scaling Seals of Force also have a larger amount of total AP per rune turnover once you hit level 6, which, since I mid, I hit quickly, and even side-laning you hit quickly. Flat AP seals are only really helpful for jungling with, say, Fiddlesticks, or other AP junglers, since they only grant more AP really early game, and we are not jungling with Malz in this guide :)
You want AP seals for, well, more AP. You can never have too much AP! And, since we are not stacking Archangel Staffs and Rabadon's Deathcaps, you will not get an extreme amount of AP without some AP runes (around 600 from items only using either build, considering you get a full Archangel's, and not factoring in masteries nor blue elixirs). In total, 9 of these seals give a little over 16 extra AP at level 18, which helps a lot considering you don't have to spend any gold in-game to get the extra AP, and it works with your Rabadon's Deathcap passive to give you that much more.
Greater Glyphs of Celerity or Focus : This is a little different than the Seals. Use scaling if mid, since the turnover on these is at level 13 which is hit pretty quickly if mid. I prefer to mid with Malz, so I usually take these, but if you choose to side lane, take flats, since you will not hit level 13 nearly as quickly. Scaling is fine to take if you are going mid, since the early game effect from flats is not very drastic, or very helpful (a little under 6% CDR from 9 flats). The CDR is more useful later game, when you will be fighting more than farming, so scaling comes out as the victor in this situation.
You want cooldown reduction glyphs on Malz since it will allow you to cast your spells more often -- your silence, % max HP damage per second Null Zone, Malefic Visions which can help restore mana if you are in need of some, and your ulti. This helps a load for laning, ganking, and teamfights. The CDR also lets you farm with your Malefic Visions more often. You will also be able to have your ulti up more often, great if you get caught in a situation where a stun and suppress would save you or a teammate, a stun is needed for a gank, in teamfights, to pick people off, etc. The CDR from these runes helps even more in conjunction with your masteries (if you follow my setup), as well as blue buff when you pick it up (which hopefully you will a lot), blue pot when you buy it, and Mejai's Soulstealer if you buy it and get all 20 stacks.
Greater Quintessence of Potency : These quints are amazing to take with Malzahar. As mentioned previously, any extra AP you can get helps immensely, and these runes work with your Deathcap as well. I take these over the scaling Greater Quintessence of Force because they affect early game a lot (around 15 AP right off the bat, without any items, just from these runes!). Along with your Deathcap, these give a lot more AP to you than if you didn't take them with you, throughout the game. I take these instead of scaling for this extreme change early game. It would be one thing if scaling gave over 3 times the amount of AP at level 18, as with the Seals, and the turnover were really early game; however, unlike the Seals of Force, flats are much better in this case for Quintessences. Once again, they give an immense amount of gold-free AP early game; at level 18, scaling only wind up giving around 8 more AP, which won't have nearly as much of an effect late game than 15 AP from the start does early game. As well, the more-AP-per-rune turnover for these runes is pretty late, at level 12. Even though this is not much of a problem if you are going mid, remember, the early game effect from these is immense.
You want the extra AP from Mental Force. Since you will be taking Ghost, upgrading that with Summoner's Wrath would be useful (that is, IF you decide to take ghost, which I highly recommend, as explained below; however, this point also upgrades Ignite and Exhaust and Surge if you choose to take those). Then, you want to take the CDR so we can get to the magic pen mastery (since we don't need attack speed, and CDR is always helpful), and then the extra magic pen for obvious reasons. Everything following that gives you a significant amount of increased damage dealt to targets as well as extra AP for yourself, all very helpful on an AP carry.
In this tree, we reduce the cooldown of Flash, increase our mana pool and mana regen, decrease recall time, and increase neutral buff duration. This all helps for our sustenance in and out of lane, less time out of lane and a higher chance to recall to avoid death, and a longer duration of the blue buffs that you should be picking up during the game.
Skills, Skill Sequence, and Skill Combo
Summon Voidling: This passive is crazy good. Please read the section titled "Your Voidling and You" to learn all about this little guy. But basically, it spawns after 4 spell casts, and deals nice damage. It also is attracted to Malefic Visions. Please read the section previously mentioned to learn more about the Voidling.
Call of the Void: This is your long range silence. As mentioned in the section "Team Work/Your Purpose On Your Team", your silence is great for teamfights, as it is an AoE, meaning it can silence a whole group of enemies at once if you aim it correctly. This can be battle-changing, as it can prevent enemies from casting abilities that might otherwise change the whole flow of the battle against your team.
The silence is also great if you are escaping, as you can silence the enemies from behind you and deal damage while you are running away (also known as kiting) so they cannot cast on you. This can also be used to protect allies who are getting attacked.
Likewise, you can use this ability for chasing certain champions. For instance, enemies that have an easy escape ability, such as Katarina's Shunpo or Kassadin's Riftwalk, can be stopped from escaping you due to your silence, allowing you/your teammates to go in and kill them.
For all of these reasons of the silence's benefit, I learn this ability first, in case I need to silence an enemy if they are giving me trouble or I am getting level 1 ganked. However, I only learn this ability for the silence first, and I max it second, since your Malefic Visions deals more damage with the same additional AP (+0.8 of total AP) bonus, has a lower cooldown, and attracts Voidlings; yet I level it before Null Zone since Null Zone can be easily avoided if not used in conjunction with your ultimate, leveling it up only increases % max HP drop per sec by 1%, and maxing Call of the Void first is much more important due to the longer silence duration per level, which reaches a whopping 3 seconds at level 5. It also is runner up in base damage to Malefic Visions, and only has a slightly longer cooldown.
Thank you to Furber for reminding me to level this 2nd, as the silence duration increases each level up ^_^.
Null Zone: This is an amazing AoE % of max HP damage dealing ability. It lasts for 5 seconds, and deals a portion of the victim's maximum HP per second that they are standing on it. This can theoretically damage a whole team, if they don't notice it right when you put it under them, and/or if they are idiotic enough to all stand on the circle ^_^. This ability is what also makes you a great anti-tank, since it is not base damage but % of the enemy's max HP damage.
For instance, if you use it on a Veigar with 2000 health when the ability is at level 5 with no additional AP bonus damage, and the Veigar stood on the Zone for all 5 seconds, it would deal 9% of his max HP per second for 5 seconds = 45% of his max HP = 900 damage.
Likewise, against, say, a Shen with 4000 health, when the ability is at level 5 with no additional AP bonus damage, and the Shen stood on the Zone for all 5 seconds, it would deal 9% of his max HP per second for 5 seconds = 45% of his max HP = 1800 damage.
THIS is what makes Malz such an amazing anti-tank.
This of course does not account for magic resistance; however, you will have a lot of magic penetration and magic resistance reduction if you follow the item build in this guide.
When using your ultimate, you want to try to stun your target while they are on top of the Null Zone, as a large portion of, if not most of the damage dealt to them will actually be coming from this ability late game against beefier enemies.
For these reasons, I learn this ability once before my ultimate, and max it out last, since, as mentioned before, Null Zone can be easily avoided if not used in conjunction with your ultimate, leveling it up only increases % max HP drop per sec by 1%, and maxing Call of the Void and Malefic Visions first is much more important, for multiple reasons. The cooldown on Null Zone is also the longest from your Q, W, and E. Also, enemies generally tend to get beefier later game, so leveling up this ability once this occurs, so you can deal more overall damage to them with the Null Zone (since they would have more max HP) makes sense.
Thanks to Furber once more for reminding me of that vital information that I surpassed -- that champs get bulkier the longer the game progresses :P.
Malefic Visions: Please see the section titled "Farming" for more information on this ability. This is your core damage dealer when you aren't using your ultimate, your harasser, and your farmer. In the section called "Laning/Ganking", I talk about how to harass with this ability; in the section named "Farming", I discuss how this ability works for farming. Please read those sections if you haven't already. Malefic Visions also attract Voidlings to them, so if your Voidling is up and an enemy has a Malefic Vision on it, it will attack that enemy. Malefic Visions also bounce to the nearest in-range enemy once the one it was on died (within the 4 seconds it stays on them). Each bounce refunds you some mana, all which makes Malzahar a terrific farmer.
I learn this skill second but max it out first due to it being the lowest cooldown ability and most damaging other than your ultimate that has a set amount of damage (unlike Null Zone, which depends on the enemy it is being placed on/underneath). It is also your farming tool and main harasser.
Nether Grasp: Wow, is this ultimate awesome. It stuns AND suppresses your target for a flippin 2.5 seconds, as well as deals 250 / 400 / 550 (+1.5 per Ability Power) damage (a lot of damage).
This is what makes you the victor in most, if not every, 1v1 situation -- just use your ulti when they are silenced, with a Null Zone underneath them, and they will be as done as burnt waffles in a toaster, especially later game when you are nearly done, if not already finished with your item build.
Please see the section titled "Skill Combo/Ultimate Usage Videos" for videos on how to use your ultimate, with your skill combo and without.
Learn this ability when you can.
This is how you should approach your attacks with Malzahar, assuming that your keybind is QWER for your abilities in that order:
Q (for the silence, so that your target cannot escape with an escape ability, ie Flash, Riftwalk, Shunpo, etc) --> E (for the damage and your Voidling will be attracted to it when it spawns) --> W (where you will stun them on) --> R (stun to deal the damage from your stun and Null Zone) --> ignite if need be, you have it as a summoner spell, and you are within 600 range (see below)--> Q again if they are almost dead --> W --> E, and so on and so forth. Just rinse and repeat Q --> W --> E (in order of range, longest to shortest) if need be. Also, use flash to flash in to initiate your combo if you need to and you have flash with you as a summoner spell.
Ignite has 100 range less than Nether Grasp. Meaning, if you cast ignite while channeling your ulti at the farthest range you can cast it (700 range), it will break your ulti. However, feel free to cast ignite while channeling your ulti if you know you are within 600 range, if you are close enough to them that you know you won't break the channel. If you aren't sure, wait until the channeling is up to cast ignite if you need to and you have it with you as a summoner spell.
Similarly, since Malz's ulti is channeled, that means any ability other than summoner spells such as ignite that are casted on an enemy will break the channel. In other words, normal spells will break the channel -- meaning, don't cast anything other than ignite if you are within 600 range while you are channeling your ultimate, OR IT WILL BREAK.
Please see the videos below to watch this skill combo in action.
Ability Range Screenshots
Skill Combo/Ultimate Usage Videos
NOTE: I did not use flash or ignite in this video, it is solely to show you how to cast the skill combo; if you have a need for flash or ignite, use them as such.
Why flash, you ask?
If you have watched the video in which I used flash, you saw how it saved my *** and helped me obtain a kill. How you should use flash can be broken up into a few different ways:
-Escape. The classic "flash-out-of-a-sticky-sitation" usage of Flash. It has saved endless lives on the League of Legends battlefield, including me in that video. ^_^
-Chase. Flash in, and quickly spam your combo and get them stunned. Flash can help you just get in range to land that combo and stun, and get you that kill you have always wished for.
You can also pull off a classic Fiddlesticks ulti kinda thing. Hide in a bush or somewhere in the enemy's fog of war, and when the time is right, flash in, and unleash your spell combo.
So yea, flash helps. A lot.
This is a great spell to take as well, you can take it with flash or ignite. Since Malz has no natural escape/chase mechanisms, this + flash is great to use, for chasing, escaping, getting in range to land an ability, etc. It can be used in conjunction with flash to get away/chase even quicker, and get in range of an ability if need be. Also, if you decide not to take flash, then definitely take this, as you need some form of escape/chase with Malzahar.
Quote from Jebus McAzn about Ghost:
Most of the time, in lane, your harass will have gotten them to half health or under, meaning that you won't ever need that ignite. Ghost, on the other hand, remains useful all the time.
So yea, ignite is still helpful, mostly early game, however, for when a situation similar to what Jebus mentioned doesn't occur, or during ganks, but it should be considered to take into the battle before ignite, and as such is in the main build. Don't get me wrong, though -- ignite is still amazing for Malzahar in many situations, mostly early game however.
Great for finishing off enemies. Especially early game this is helpful, to tie in with your skill combo to finish off people you might not have otherwise gotten. You combo might just not be enough against tanky enemies early game. However, mid through late game, if you follow the build presented in this guide, you will have enough AP, MPen, and MRR that you could down anyone, tanky or not. However, ignite might get you those few kills early game that you wouldn't have otherwise gotten, which gets you more gold to get your items sooner, too. Take this if you chose not to take flash and/or ghost.
Exhaust is another nice summoner spell for Malz. Usually I take two of the following: Flash, Ghost, Ignite; I still recommend taking two of those. However, I have tried this before and it isn't too shabby for Malz. If someone is faster than you/ghosting away when you want to perform your skill combo, and they are too fast to stay on your Null Zone long enough for you to land your ulti on them while they are on the Zone, just exhaust them, and then go on wit yo bad self.
If there were a fourth summoner spell spot, this should be your choice. :)
Getting CCed after pwning someone's face? Cleanse and escape/flash (if you can) out of there.
Why? Just pop a Malefic Visions on a wave of minions to get a good amount of mana back. Quickly, at that. This build also has mana regen masteries, and you should be picking up blue buff often (please see the section titled "Blue Buff"), which regens mana as well.
Unless you are upgrading it with the mastery point located ALL the way at the bottom of the Offense mastery tree, which would give you a mastery setup not nearly as helpful for Malz as 9-0-21 is, JUST for the extra AP that this item would then give, I would not recommend taking this spell. Without the upgrade, it increases attack damage only. Which...you don't really need. Unless you are building AD/DPS Malz...which would be a whole different guide, my friend.
Here is where I will tell you when to get what items, explain why I use the items that I use, and the effects of them on Malzahar.
NOTE: The only difference between the two item builds, as mentioned earlier, in the section titled "Team 1 vs Team 2 Malzahar Item Builds", is either getting an Abyssal Scepter OR Void Staff. If you have squishier enemies, you should get the Abyssal Scepter, since you gain the MRes for yourself and the MRR aura (which is not as potent to a single enemy as Void Staff, but if they are mostly squishy, this should be no issue). For tankier enemies, since you will want the more potent MPen, get the Void Staff. Any item in blue refers to the Squishier Enemies Item Build, whereas any item in green refers to the Tankier Enemies Item Build. Please only get the items for the build that you are following.
ANOTHER NOTE: Try to buy Elixirs of Brilliance whenever you recall right before you know a teamfight is going to happen and you have the extra gold, or if you just built or bought an item and have some gold to spend. You can even buy one of these elixirs if you recall and don't have enough gold for any other items that you want to get yet (just don't go overboard on the elixirs, as you still need enough gold to buy your main items). The elixir gives you some more AP and some CDR, which, for a measly 250 gold, doesn't hurt at all. This is especially helpful early game, where that 25 or so AP plus the CDR has a huge effect, when your AP is low and CDR is measly.
Sorcerer's Shoes : These boots are terrific for Malzahar. They give you extra MPen, allowing you to deal more overall damage to enemies, including tanks. These boots, along with your MPen runes, masteries, and items further along in the build, allow you to literally slice through enemies, even tankier ones, as if they had no magic resist whatsoever.
Mercury's Treads : This item is great for Malzahar. If he gets focused while channeling his ulti, and CCed, this reduces the time that CC lasts. Why are we not getting sorc boots in this tankier enemies build? Because, the % MPen from the Void Staff mixed with the flat MPen from the sorcs lessens the effect of the Void Staff drastically. So, we use these boots instead! The CC Reduction is, once again, terrific for Malz.
Archangel's Staff : This item is great to pick up early on, as you need to farm it up, so the late game effect is drastic; it gives amazing AP in conjugation with your Deathcap and a lot of mana and mana regen too, so you can afford to spam, if you have blue or not :)
Assuming you get the full maximum mana bonus from this item, it will provide a total of about 130 AP with either full build, not including the Rabadon's bonus.
Rabadon's Deathcap : This item is just amazing. You want to rush this for Malz so you get the insane amount of AP that it grants (140) plus the passive 30% increased AP as soon as possible. Getting this item early also means that every item that grants AP that you get after it will have the additional 30% extra AP added to it right off the bat. The 30% of your total AP bonus from this item will turn out to be a little under an extra 140 AP at the end of this item build with a fully loaded Archangel's Staff. That is JUST from the passive, not to include the base 140 AP from the item, resulting in about 280 AP total from this item alone, not including masteries nor blue elixirs. A must-have for Malz, as well as for many other casters in the entire game.
Banshee's Veil : This item can be a lifesaver against certain enemies, such as enemies with CC like Morgana and Kennen, as well as enemies who have an "inevitable ultimate", ie Vlad's ultimate and Karthus's ulti. It blocks a negative spell every 45 seconds. 'Nuff said. Getting in a sticky situation, your Banshee's might just save you enough time to get the hell outta there, and might block an otherwise lethal ability cast on you.
Besides these situational benefits, Malz is also very often focused while channeling his ultimate (considering it is a channeled spell, and as such he doesn't move during the duration of it). Having a Banshee bubble on you will greatly reduce the risk of you getting CCed/nuked to death while channeling for those short but possibly deadly 2.5 seconds. This item also grants Health, mres, and mana, the first two which help a lot with your squishiness and being focused while channeling your ulti as well, and the latter gives more mana so you can cast more often, and this mana converts into more AP from your Archangel's as well.
Abyssal Scepter : This item is amazing to get for Malz. It gives AP, MRes (great to reduce damage you take even further while channeling your ultimate), and a nice MRR aura to nearby enemies. I get this with squishier enemies because it grants MRes, as well as a flat MRR aura that applies to all nearby enemies. It gives you more stuff overall, however, if you are against tankier enemies, you want to get Void Staff, since the larger amount of MPen is more urgent to get, so you can really damage the tanks/tanky enemies you attack. If you are against squishier enemies, the 20 MRR aura + MPen mastery point + sorcs is plenty of MPen, but with tankier enemies, you may need a little more oomph. The MRes provided from the Abyssal Scepter is great against squishier enemies as well, as they will be dealing more damage to you.
Void Staff : This item is great against more tanky enemies who have a lot of MRes. It penetrates 40% of their MRes, as well as grants 70 AP. The AP is great for you, obviously, and the MPen from this item, in addition to the Marks of Insight, the Arcane Knowledge mastery point, and the sorc boots, will let your abilities slice through everyone, even tanks. This is more important to get for tanks, since you will want to penetrate more of their MRes, obviously. The Abyssal Scepter just won't cut it. Time to whip out the real deal :)
Zhonya's Hourglass : This item is great. It adds more AP, and gives you armor as well. This armor is terrific to reduce damage you might take when channeling your ultimate. As well, the active is terrific when against enemies such as Karthus (his ultimate), especially if you might die from it, as well as AoE and CC ultimates such as Kennen's and the second burst of Morgana's ultimate (to prevent the stun). It also works great when you are using your ultimate in a big teamfight, you can pop the active once you're done if you are taking heavy damage/getting focused, and let your teammates come and push them away from you. You can also use the active if you need to get away from someone, you are about to die, etc. Since you will most likely get focused while channeling your ulti, this is great to pop right after using it (not during, as it will cancel the channel). This might give you vital time to flash away, ghost away, or let your teammates get to you, as mentioned previously. Amazing item to get late game for Malz.
Elixir of Brilliance : This is the item to just keep spending your gold on if the game is STILL going and you have completed your item build. If you have all 6 item slots full, as you should if you are buying this item at the end, it will automatically be consumed for you. It gives some nice AP and CDR, which doesn't hurt at all. :)
A question you might have: Why so much MPen/MRR???
Because, magic pen and MRR = more damage than AP can provide later game against most enemies. From a guide about MPen (with some MLA legal quote edits by moi):
In general you can see, that there is never a point in going for pure AP, even if your opponent had only that theoretical 20 MR...So, if you face enemies with high MR during the late game, feel free to sell an AP items for [Magic Pen items]. It will boost your effective dmg incredibly.
If you want to see more of this, including graphics with proof, check out this guide:
I am in no way shape or form affiliated with this person, I actually happened to come across this guide today and I thought, "Hey, this would really help me explain why I get so much MPen and MRR!"
So, yea. :)
I have some people asking why there is no Rylai's Crystal Scepter in this build. At first I thought it wasn't a bad item on Malz. And it's not. However, consider this:
There are better ones. If you come to think of it, the slow is pretty minute (15%) for a short duration (1.5 seconds) on ALL of Malz's abilities; other items deem more helpful for Malz.
This might be a different discussion if he didn't have 2 CCs, or if one of his abilities proc'd a 35% slow, but he has 2 CCs (stun and silence), and all of his standard abilities only apply a 15% slow since they are all AoEs or DoTs, so 3000+ gold on a Rylai's for a 15% slow on all of his 3 standard abilities for 1.5 seconds isn't really necessary.
Other Optional Situational Items
Quicksilver Sash : This item is good against enemies with a lot of CC (Kennen, Morgana, Lux, Vlad, etc) if you do not have cleanse with you (or even if you do -- double cleanse FTW!). It is cheap and has a cleanse-like active. It removes ALL debuffs from your character. Yes, this includes things that cleanse won't remove, such as damaging debuffs like Vlad's ulti, Malz's ulti, EVERY single debuff to you. Just use the active and get out of there, flash if need be as well if you took it with you as a summoner spell. Keep in mind, if they CC/debuff you again right after you use the active, it won't have a reduced effect as it does with Cleanse. BE CAREFUL OF THAT. This item also gives a good amount of MRes, which is nice against these types of enemies, as well as helping you take less damage when getting focused while ulti-ing in a teamfight, etc.
Mercury's Treads : This item is also great against a team of CCers, just keep in mind it would supplement your sorc boots, so you will have slightly less MPen. It might be worth it to have slightly less MPen, however, if it means that you can get CC reduction against a team full of CC that could mess you up otherwise.
Mejai's Soulstealer : Nothing else at this price (let alone most other items) can provide this much AP. Plus, with the deathcap, not even including the bonus % AP masteries, the total 180 AP from this item with full stacks turns into 234 total AP. And getting stacks, especially with Malz, isn't as hard as it may seem. Your abilities are so devastating early through late game that you are guaranteed to get a lot of kills and assists. And if you lose some, just get them back! Once you get full stacks, you get 15% CDR, which, with you CDR glyphs, and blue pot and blue buff when you can grab them, will allow you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. This includes spamming your skill combo with your ultimate.
However, this is NOT the most reliable item, use at your own risk. If you are having a good game, try to pick it up early. If not, don't bother risking to lose an item slot and a lot of AP and some gold.
You want to try to grab the blue buff whenever you can with Malzahar. Not only does it gives you more CDR so you can cast your silence, stun and suppress ultimate, and other abilities more often, but it also gives you more mana regen which equals an easier time spamming all of your abilities that are on a lower cooldown.
So yea, if you have a nice team, they should be able to let you grab blue whenever it is up.
And if you have a jungler and the enemies do not, try to grab theirs when you can, and when you know it is safe. Ward their jungle, including their blue (obviously), if this is the case. Also, going with a teammate in case of emergency can never hurt.
If you both have a jungler, you can live without the buff for a little while. Try to talk your jungler into letting you take it later game when he doesn't need it as much, and try to counter jungle the enemy as much as possible, so that maybe you can take their blue when they don't go for it, or your jungler can take theirs and you can take your team's blue.
That is as in-depth as I am going to go into jungling/counter jungling to pick up blue. If you want more info on this, I would suggest checking out Hahano's Jungling 202 Guide and/or Xenasis's Jungling 101 Guide.
If you used my guide and got a good score (which you will), feel free to post the direct link of the screenshot of your score in the comments below. I will try to get it up here ASAP. Thanks! :)
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3/26/2011 1:15 AM EST -- Guide released.
3/28/2011 2:00 AM EST -- Change up items a bit: Added Mejai's Soulstealer to each build, and made it an option to take either Void Staff OR Abyssal Scepter, not both. Changed text in guide for this change accordingly.
3/28/2011 10:00 PM EST -- Changed sorc boots to merc treads in 2nd build using Void Staff, and changed text to apply to that.
4/2/2011 4:45 PM EST -- Added "Go to top!" link below.
4/4/2011 3:30 PM EST -- Added "Why no Rylai's?" sub-section to "Items" section.
4/5/2011 9:40 PM EST -- Added "Hey...you know solomid.net?" section; also, changed some minor errors and justifications.
5/24/2011 9:30 PM EST -- Major revamp: put AA staff in place of Mejai's in both builds, edited Items and Other Optional Situational Items and Runes sections accordingly; changed skill sequence as well.
7/2/2011 10:15 AM EST -- Moved some sections around and edited some text ^^
7/11/2011 1:30 AM EST -- Edited all math and descriptions relating to Rabadon's Deathcap for the change from 155 to 140 base AP, removed any math mentioning Mejai's, and factored full Archangel's to calculate total AP from this build and from Archangel's alone in a few sections.
7/23/2011 11:45 PM EST -- Added "Beginning Game Voidling Spawn" subsection to "Your Voidling and You" section.
11/16/2011 2:55 AM EST -- Masteries reworked. Changes to the guide made accordingly.