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KOG'MAW BUILD GUIDE: Hellfire Artillery: Diamond AP Kog'maw by tinkady

by tinkady (last updated 3 months ago)

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9
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration(+7.83 magic penetration)
9
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist(+12.06 magic resist)
3
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power(+14.85 ability power)
9
Greater Seal of Health(+48.15 health)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details

Starting

2

Full Item Build

View Item Details
21
0
9
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
9 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Icathian Surprise
QCaustic Spittle
WBio-Arcane Barrage
EVoid Ooze
RLiving Artillery
View Skill Order Details

Introduction

Hi all, I'm Tinkady, a Diamond IV player on the NA server. (wrote this guide in late S3, I'm Diamond 5 not having played much in Season 4). This guide is a place for me to showcase my current build, musings, and math on AP Kog'maw. If you want a more thoroughly detailed beginner's guide with matchups, I recommend you try RudgimusMaximus's Solomid guide Spam Happy, to which I contributed a great deal of theorycrafting and editing. At the time of original writing, RudgimusMaxmius advocated a pure AP Lich Bane build (he came back to the pen eventually!), so I'll also use this guide to advocate for my magic penetration and mana focused which I consider superior for solo queue except in cases where it's impossible to keep distance (such as ).

My favorite champions have always been poke-heavy mids: AP Corki, AP Kog'maw, Nidalee, Jayce, etc. As a general rule, this type of champion is incredibly strong in solo queue due to a lack of coordination on the other team. You may know me from my Solomid guide on AP Corki, which was sadly nerfed from its OP state. As a result, I've switched back to maining AP Kog'maw. I have nearly 200 AP Kog'maw games played with a ~80% winrate in normals, and my ranked stats are shown below:


AP Kog'maw is quite possibly the most extreme champion in League of Legends (not overpowered). A lategame AP Kog is one of the strongest hypercarries, and can deal his damage from nearly an entire screen away (2200 range). I'm not exaggerating when I say that I almost always do the most damage to champions in the game, and quite often deal double the second highest value. On two occasions, I've won while doing more damage than the rest of my team put together:


Pros:
  • Best champion in the game from level 16 onward (not in every situation, my personal opinion, etc.)
  • Longest range and most damaging poke in the game (one exception: Nidalee is stronger single-target)
  • Extremely strong sustained AoE DPS
  • Pretty good burst with E-R combo
  • Instant long range waveclear at level 9- safe farmer, and best turtler in the game (comparable to Anivia/Ziggs)
  • Can singlehandedly carry games after ~25-35 minutes (not exaggerating)
  • Unconventional- people will counterpick you as an AD Carry, and not know how to play against you
  • Lion Dance skin is awesome

Cons:
  • Very weak early laning phase and map pressure
  • Long ramp-up time
  • Squishy with no escapes if caught
  • Hurt by blue buff denial
  • Skillshot reliant- inconsistent damage and difficult to play

AP Kog'maw was buffed by season 4 changes:
  • AP Corki, which was a much safer and more effective pick, has been nerfed to the ground
  • Games last longer, with more gold
  • We get free wards/there are fewer early jungle ganks- it's easier to hit level 6 without dying
  • Inhibitor changes make comebacks easier (Kog is incredible at stalling/shoving one lane- think Anivia with more than twice the range)
  • Tanks are more common than assassins
  • More jungle gold to poach
  • Splitpushing, a big Kog counter because he can only shove one lane at a time, nerfed slightly
  • 10% less experience to level (experience gain per minion nerfed as well, but still an overall plus for Kog because he doesn't splitpush)
  • Tears now generate stacks passively

It now takes less time for AP Kog to get huge and singlehandedly carry a game, and this is harder to stop.

Runes



Magic Penetration marks are good, since we aren't aggressive enough with autos to merit hybrid pen, but hybrid is solid as well and also makes lasthitting easier.

Feel free to run flat or scaling health or armor seals- flat health is a safe choice for blind pick to help you survive. Flat armor would be better if you know you're up against an AD caster.

MR glyphs are good to keep you alive early. Scaling MR or Mpen are good options when you know your matchup.

AP Quints are ridiculously gold efficient, and strong both when you are trying to win lane or farm safely. Alternative options:

I am a fan of Experience quints (see the analysis section here). Gold Quints are also very strong as Kog'maw, as early on we are merely looking to farm up for lategame without trading. In a 40 minute game, these will provide 720 gold. Alternatively, Magic Penetration quints are about a 4% increase in damage throughout the game, and possibly stronger than AP because we have somewhat low AP scaling and stack penetration. Movespeed Quints are good against Cassiopeia, Brand, or any other mid with threatening skillshots, and slightly help chasing and escaping.

Other viable options, in approximate order of preference:
Marks: Hybrid Penetration, Attack Damage
Seals: Gold per 10, Mana Regen, Armor, Health/level, Armor/level
Glyphs: Magic Penetration, Ability Power per Level
Quints: Experience, Gold per 10, Magic Penetration, Movespeed, Hybrid Penetration, Health Regen

Masteries

mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 0/2
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
0 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
9 Utility
Standard AP Carry page, with a few exceptions. Feel free to just run a normal page- you won't be missing out on much.

In offense: three points in Archmage give us about 20 AP after buying all our items, which is only about a 1% increase in endgame damage. Instead, I take Double Edged Sword (you deal tons of damage and don't take very much), Expose Weakness (1% damage for your entire team? Cool), and Feast (additional regen).

In utility: take Strength of Spirit because we stack mana. Strength of spirit has around 100g gold value early/mid when we buy a tear, and about 335g gold value endgame. If you know you're going to start with a flask, you can take Alchemist over a point in Summoner's Insight.

Summoner Sets

Barrier & Flash
Flash is an incredibly valuable summoner spell on AP Kog, and 100% required. You should almost never use it offensively, but rather save it to escape from assassins and divers.

[b]Heal]/b] is is strong for mitigating damage to allow you to continue to output DPS. I take it on AP Kog for the same reason I take it on an ADC- you have more burst and longer range, but are still a squishy, sustained damage carry. Except against extremely skilled opponents, people will rarely account for heal, so it is a valuable tool for baiting the enemy; you can go all-in and use this at the last minute, or use it to block the last ranged attack as your opponent fires off what they think will be the last needed. Just be careful to not use it too late. It is decreased by ignite and other heals (no more than 2 per team or 1 per lane), but is essentially a barrier with a mini-ghost attached, and applies to two instead of one. The speed boost is very useful- use it to kite away, or even help a teammate gapclose.

Ghost & Flash
Ghost is a viable alternative to barrier, and is good for escaping jungle ganks and divers.. It's weak against gapclosing burst damage, but if Kog gets caught he's often screwed anyways- ghost can be your best bet to stay out of range, especially against somebody like an Udyr or Shyvana who you can simply outrun. Ghost has a shorter cooldown than Flash, so you don't need to avoid using it offensively- it's good for chasing down enemies when you would otherwise be slightly out of range for an ultimate. It can also be used to avoid skillshots if you anticipate them in advance.

Ghost is definitely a strong option on AP Kog- I always ran it before the addition of barrier, and Faker recently used it against Gragas in solo queue.
Cleanse & Flash
Cleanse is a solid option against lanes/teamcomps with strong CC, or any team with a Fiddlesticks or Rammus on it. It's a great summoner spell for those who are used to it and can react instantaneously to CC- I merely dislike it personally, because I've never bothered to develop the reaction time on it to make it worth using over barrier. This is a high skillcap spell, yet generally isn't better than a straightforward barrier- even pro AD Carries don't run cleanse anymore.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Standard
2
Need Sustain
2
Bursty AD
4
Safe Farm Lane
3
If you feel safe enough in lane, Doran's ring is an extremely strong starting item due to the gold value of its stats. Definitely run this if you want to win the early laning phase (i.e. against a Kassadin, Katarina, etc. or when smurfing/confident).

Flask and potions is a strong start, as you'll usually just be farming until at least level 6 and have no other major sources of health sustain. Feel free to tweak the balance of potions as needed. It is possible to start with 4 potions by simply waiting outside spawn for an additional 10 seconds. Make sure your top laner gives your jungler a good leash, but leashes aren't really necessary from mids in S4 because the first camp is smited and you miss CS by doing anything more than a love tap. If you want to leash, invade, or defend, starting with three pots (3 health or 2 health/1 mana) is totally fine.

Think of flask as a gold item- it sacrifices about 200g worth of gold in your first purchase (while still providing a lot of sustain) but, assuming you sell later, it pays for itself after only 3.82 drinks (with Alchemist) and is thus worth more the longer you hold onto it. Feel free to sell at any time after your second tear.

If I was playing against mid Riven and jungle Lee Sin, for example, I'd definitely start with a cloth armor. If you don't think you'll get instabursted, flask is actually better effective health. Depending on the game scenario, you can leave the cloth armor unupgraded or turn it into an early Seeker's Armguard , to be sold lategame or turned into Zhonya's .

Warding trinket is mandatory, and perfect for a passive, squishy lane like Kog who wants to stay safe. The ward is also useful to keep track of your laner's roam, as they will likely try to do so if they can't kill you.
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
This is the build you should end up with in 90% of games. In the other 10%, build one of instead of Athene's. If your team has heavy peel and CC (particularly permaslows) and you're good at aiming ults you can replace Rylai's instead. If you're afraid of dying, don't limit your DPS by buying a defensive item on top of - just maintain a safe position far behind your tankline.

You should buy the homeguard upgrade for your boots, as it's the strongest upgrade and is even better than normal on Kog because he runs out of mana after any prolonged engagement.
Build Order
Here I have outlined an example build order. However, always remember to build adaptively, and nothing I say here is absolute law.

I almost always get Tear of the Goddess on my first back- you need to start building up mana stacks as soon as possible. Remember to use skills while waiting in fountain or walking to lane.

Build Chalice of Harmony, Sorcerer's Shoes, and Haunting Guise interchangeably. it is usually better to finish Guise before boots when possible because it helps to survive burst damage, but the boots can help you roam or dodge skillshots. Depending on whether blue buffs are being stolen and how much you're having to spam skills, you can buy Chalice right after tear or after your penetration items.

At this point you can turn your chalice into an Athene's Unholy Grail, or if you don't necessarily need the MR or mana regen you can leave it for later.
Void Staff, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and Liandry's Torment should be built next along with your Athene's, but there is freedom to the order. Giant's Belt is good to mitigate burst damage, and Rylai's is good for self-peel/survivability and if your team needs more CC. It also provides additional damage, as it amplifies the burn from Liandry's if you have that already. Athene's provides valuable CDR and mana regen. Especially if you're being denied blue buff against an AP lane, you can consider rushing Athene's directly after Guise/Sorc Boots or even before- it's a strong item for Kog overall.

Finally we build Seraph's Embrace, as the mana is much more important than the AP or shield. You can finish this item directly after Rylai's if you need more help mitigating AD burst damage.

Homeguard boots can be bought whenever necessary, after a few core items are completed.

Situational Items

Athene's Unholy Grail
Note: this is in the main build now.
Although Muramana is listed in the main build, this is an extremely strong item. You should likely buy this item when you didn't rush an early Archangel's and start stacking a second tear- otherwise, it'll take too long to build up mana stacks. Athene's has no tear charging time and is thus more flexible in when you can buy it, and offers substantial mana regen, but is much weaker in teamfights where you want to use as many ultimates as possible. Faker rushed this item (then ) when he played AP Kog in a patch 3.13 solo queue game (video below).

For a comparison, see some math I did in season 3 (so it might be somewhat off):

Muramana over Athene's:

+8.3% damage per ulti
83 AD
+1000 mana
+3.3 hp5 (strength of sprit)

-30 AP
-8 mp5
-40 MR
-200 mana on kill/assist
-20% CDR
-8 to -63 mp5
+17 to -113 mp5 with blue
Muramana
Note: I don't buy this anymore.
This is a bit of a surprising purchase and deserves more explanation:

Kog's ult scales with AD in addition to AP. He also benefits from autoattacking when in range. If we want to buy two tears, we can turn the second into another Seraph's or this. Here is the comparison:

Seraph's #2:
+3 Mp5 (180g value)
+60 AP (1306g value) (18 ult base dmg) (84 on Q-E burst) (~11 from W onhit- 2500*60/100/100)*100/(125*.6-38+100)

Muramana:
+76 AD (2736g value) (38 ult base dmg) (~35 onhit- 76*100/(125*.92+100))
Onhit physical damage toggle starting at 168 and dropping fast (we almost never use this)
600g cheaper

Both are viable, but I believe that Muramana is the stronger choice.

Don't buy this item if you're being blown up before you can use your ult to its full potential- an AP or defensive item would be better in this case.

But won't a second tear delay my power?
Nope. A completely unstacked tear, costing 700g, has a gold efficiency of 500g (250 mana) + 420g (7 mp5) = 920g. Furthermore, we buy this after a completed Seraph's, so we can add in another 163g from the Seraph's AP passive, giving a total of 1083g. This isn't the #1 best item to buy midgame for instant power, but it's quite gold efficient when we already have a Seraph's, and stacks up to huge lategame power (over 3000g value) even before you upgrade to Muramana.

On the other hand, if you don't expect a game to last much longer, the more immediately hyper-efficient Athene's (or just a Chalice) is a better purchase than a tear.
Lich Bane
Note: this got nerfed.
I don't like this style of play as much as a poking build, but this is not a bad item by any means- if you're against or in general any teamcomp where you will just not be able to keep your distance, it's not worth going for a full ulti-only build.

However: I consider this (paired with Deathcap) a non-ideal item path. Here's a quick estimate of endgame ultimate damage that shows why I prefer my build to a Lich Bane build:
My Build:
((90+24+70+80+50)*.3+80*.5+360+.06*2500)*(100/((125*.6-44)+100)) = 492
AP Build:
(1.3*(15+90+24+70+120+80+80)*.3+360)*(100/((125*.6-23)+100)) = 359
Note that if you don't account for Liandry's burn damage at all, the magic penetration build still wins.

Building AP with Lichbane and Deathcap causes Kog'maw to do less poke damage, but likely more theoretical damage when autoing and using all of your spells. However, my build does more damage when staying far back and doing 90% of damage with just your ultimate's incredible range. Consider two scenarios:
1. You are winning/not threatened by dive. An AP build would do more damage in this scenario. However, regardless of your build, you are playing AP Kog'maw and ahead, and thus most likely going to win the game unless you throw. One way to throw would be to get blown up early in a teamfight, which is more likely with an AP build. Regardless, a magic pen build will still do more poke damage, and more damage than the rest of your teammates.
2. You are losing/threatened by dive. The ideal playstyle here is to stay as far away from the fight as possible using the range of your level 11 and 16 ultimates and slow of your E. For this playstyle, you will actually do more damage with Liandry/Rylai's/Athene than with AP items. You will do a huge amount of AoE damage, and it will be much harder to kill you than if you stray into auto range for Lich Bane procs.

Regardless of whether it could theoretically do more damage, pure AP Kog is risky and incredibly unforgiving of bad positioning ability in teamfights. It might be better for Froggen, but is not better for nearly anybody who is reading this guide.
Banshee's Veil
Good defensive 6th (or 5th) item in three scenarios: fed AP assassin(s) that will instantly kill you, high poke (only AP Nidalee and AP Teemo really merit this), or a single hard engage spell like Malphite ultimate or Blitz hook. You can build an early or against a hard AP lane.
Guardian Angel
Are you winning the game, but getting focused down too easily, especially by mixed damage? First, ask yourself whether you can simply position better. If not, pick one of these up as your 6th item, or 4th/5th if struggling. I don't recommend this when your team is behind- you are squishy and immobile, so if this procs, you are unlikely to do anything after you get out of it unless the other team is already retreating.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Scared of a fed , or something similar? Buy this, ideally as your 6th item but as early as your 3rd item in some cases.

This is a somewhat high skillcap item, but quite rewarding in situations where you can dodge spells or merely stall your death for 2.5 seconds. It's especially effective against squishy divers when your team is not too far behind, as the diver will simply be bursted down before they can kill you. It's viable against AP assasins as well as AD, but definitely less optimal and a Banshee's is probably better.

The AP on this item is not bad at all, as it increases your close-range burst, and you'll generally be fighting in close range when you need to buy this.
Zephyr
If you're at 6 items with plenty of cash to spare, you have the option of selling boots and buying one of these, just like an AD carry. You sacrifice the homeguard effect, some speed, and some magic peneration, but in return get CDR, attack speed, attack damage, and tenacity. Unlike on an ADC, this isn't a shoo-in. I'd get this if I was being dove hard but not instantly bursted, and skip it if winning and/or keeping my distance.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
I'm personally a huge fan of Rylai's on Kog'maw.

Rylai's isn't mandatory if your team has a lot of CC, particularly permaslows such as Olaf/Lulu/Mundo/Karma. It also helps if you have chase potential such as Karma/Lulu/Sivir. W does not work with Rylai's- onhits such as Teemo's e never do. Only Q procs the 35%, which is nice against divers, but the 15% slow is actually really strong: it will be done from 2200 range in a huge AoE, and can turn Kog into a teamwide engager/disengager. He doesn't have much self-peel, and the health and slow help a ton in survivability.

The biggest plus to Rylai's is that the 15%, although low, allows you to chain ultimates with a much higher success rate. You will need to stop to shoot your ults, so unless you are much faster, you will not be able to chase down somebody while ulting them. The 15% also makes it much easier to land an ult once you land one. It also amplifies your damage by a surprisingly large amount once you already have a Liandry's- more damage increase per ult than if you bought a Deathcap
Rod of Ages
If I wasn't going to build , for the reasons listed above, then I would likely build this second, directly after , then upgrade to - refer to the Zamphira build.
Rabadon's Deathcap
Do not buy this item unless you previously bought a Lich Bane, and are taking the AP route. This is a tempting item to buy in place of Athene's or Sorcerer's Shoes endgame, but math shows that this is a suboptimal route (the Muramana build favors Deathcap even less).

First, Sorcerer's Shoes vs. Deathcap:

((90+24+60+70+80+50)*.3+360+.06*2500)*(100/((125*.6-44)+100)) = 475

(1.3*(120+90+24+60+70+80+50)*.3+360+.06*2500)*(100/((125*.6-29)+100)) = 481

Conclusion: barely an increase at all, not worth the missing movespeed and extra cost.

Athene's vs. Deathcap:

((90+24+60+70+80+50)*.3+360+.06*2500)*(100/((125*.6-44)+100)) = 475

(1.3(90+24+120+70+80+50)*.3+360+.06*2500)*(100/((125*.6-44)+100)) = 518

This is about a 9% damage increase on average ultimates, and more on regular skills (these matter much less) or near-simultaneous/very low health ultimates. What are we giving up for this? 20% CDR- already a more than 20% increase in DPS- a good amount of magic resist, and our only significant source of mana regeneration without blue buff. Without Athene's, we are more blue dependent than Anivia. With it, we can actually do things after teamfights and aren't useless in extended engagements if we blew 10 stacks from the start. Furthermore, the 12% mana return on kills or assists often allows for an 11th ult during a teamfight, which itself matches the 9% damage increase.

As you can see, Deathcap really is an overrated item on AP Kog when using my safe, superior (for solo queue) playstyle.
Nashor's Tooth
I haven't done any testing or mathcrafting on this item, but it probably deserves a mention for situations where you are dealing with two or more hyper-tanks that you can safely autoattack.
Stealth Ward
Even though you have a trinket, buy a ward whenever you have extra cash. This is especially true if your flash is down or if you plan on pushing your lane. This is also true lategame until you cap out on items, since the support can't singlehandedly cover the map anymore.
Vision Ward
It is a common myth that season 4 pink wards are useless. The primary use of these wards is to be placed defensively- if placed in an uncommon spot for an enemy, they can stay up for a huge amount of time. You should have one on the map whenever you have extra gold, and encourage your team to do the same. Here are some nice spots, courtesy of Bischu:



Also pick one up if you're going to do dragon/baron and neither your jungler or support has one.
Elixir of Brilliance
Once you have 3-4 items, you can start to pick one of these up before teamfighting or contesting objectives, and you should always have one active once you cap out on items. Get red elixir too in the latter case.

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Icathian Surprise
QCaustic Spittle
WBio-Arcane Barrage
EVoid Ooze
RLiving Artillery
All three abilities are viable at level 1. Q is usually the best choice- it has the highest base damage and can be landed without pushing the wave. Take E if you want to push the wave level 1, and take W if you want to bully a melee/push slightly harder.

Max Q second, as it is an additional nuke with nice utility. If you are bad at landing skillshots (why are you playing AP Kog'maw?) it is viable to max this skill last in situations where you feel safe autoattacking.

Max W last, because its %-health damage doesn't scale all that well until lategame.

Max R first, your most important skill by far. You gain a large amount of range and base damage per levelup, and in general your power level is heavily tied to whether you are pre-6, 6-10, 11-15, or 16-18.

Max E second, for long range harass and farming. Leveling this increases the slow percentage significantly in addition to giving additional damage.

After this you have a choice: max W for stronger and longer range autos, or max Q for more close range damage/attackspeed/shred against divers. Depending on the level of dive, I generally max W or take 2-3 points in W and then max Q.

Skills

Icathian Surprise
If you're going to die, don't run away. Fight it out while staying next to your target, and then use this passive to take one with you. This does true damage in a somewhat large AoE, and will catch a lot of people off guard.

Alternatively, if you won't be able to do any meaningful damage, YOU CAN DANCE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DANCING.
Caustic Spittle
This skill has been reworked into yet another skillshot, and a much more impactful ability than the preivous iteration, which had far too little range to be useful other than for lasthitting and peeling divers.

If possible, use it when your jungler ganks for you, or in teamfights on targets being focused, because it shreds armor and MR. This shred affect does not work on Baron or Dragon, but it does work on jungle monsters, so lead with this when taking camps.

This is good for lategame peeling because it procs the full 30% slow from Rylai's, being your only single-target ability. It can also lead to some nice catches with Rylai's- land your easily hit E slow, and then follow up with an additional slow from Q.
Bio-Arcane Barrage
This gives your autos some nice range and additional damage, which is great for farming safely from a distance. I personally am terrible at lasthitting, so I often use it to empower my autos to reduce the chance of error.

This skill can also be used for auto harass, primarily against melees. Your pre-6 is weak, but in many level 1 or 2 matchups you are free to auto harass melees to your heart's content.

Always activate this when attacking Dragon or Baron- the %health damage shreds them quite quickly.

This skill is also a convenient way of charging your tear while walking to lane due to its lack of a mana cost.
Void Ooze
Your main waveclear and harass tool pre-6. Early on, save this for if the wave is shoving towards you (lasthitting under tower early on isn't great) unless you want to back or know where the enemy jungler is and aren't afraid of getting ganked.

At level 6, you can clear the backline of minions with E-R-R. At level 9 (or 7 if ahead in levels) you will be able to oneshot the backline with just E-R, and it is usually a good idea to do so and then roam or farm jungle camps.
Living Artillery
This is an incredibly fun and powerful skill. At levels 11 and 16, you can demolish enemies without being anywhere near retaliation range.

One good tip is to aim this slightly behind the opponent, as they'll often dodge by running away. This is especially true when you pair it with an E, as the first instinct is to run away from the ooze.

When chasing or retreating, remember to move in between spellcasts.

Use this skill to check brushes instead of facechecking them. It can also be used to check Baron or Dragon over the wall.

This skill can also be used for safe farming, similar to a Karthus Q.

It takes practice to learn how to manage stacks properly. Lategame, you can use 10 or 11 chained ults in a teamfight before you run out of mana. If the situation allows, use 8 or fewer before waiting 6 seconds for them to reset. When poking, don't use any more than 2-3, or 4-5 with blue buff. A chart of mana costs is shown below, and its a good idea to have a general sense of these numbers.

Individual / Cumulative:
1: 40 / 40
2: 80 / 120
3: 120 / 240
4: 160 / 400
5: 200 / 600
6: 240 / 840
7: 280 / 1120
8: 320 / 1440
9: 360 / 1800
10: 400 / 2200
11: 400 / 2600

Champion Matchups

Fizz
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Assassins:
They are strong against you. Just try to farm from a distance, and ward heavily so that you know where they're going when they try to roam. If you don't know them already, I recommend looking up the cooldown times on their gapclosers on LolWiki before the game, just so you have an idea of their capabilities. If they're playing overly aggressive, pay attention to where they're warding and ask your jungler for a gank. Usually, things will get a lot easier at level 11 when you can farm from long distances.
Lux
Difficulty
Favors Enemy
Pokers:
These lanes are often tough, but very winnable. You will win these lanes as time goes on. If behind, focus on clearing the wave and going elsewhere to avoid getting poked too hard.
Ryze
Difficulty
Favors You
Farmers:
You love these matchups. As a general rule, nobody scales harder than you. Not even Karthus. Still be careful though- you lose most of these matchups pre-6. Do your best to poke them out of lane while not denying yourself farm.

Early Game

Depending on the matchup, you are most likely going to just play the farming game until level 6 or when your jungler ganks. Try to focus on getting every single CS much more than harassing. On the other hand, Kog is similar to Kassadin in that, pre-6, it's fine to miss creeps if you stay in exp range and it means that you can prevent getting harassed out of lane. It's most important to play scared and survive until level 6, gold will come easily once you're high enough level.

Tell your jungler that you are going to need blue buffs, and time them in chat (if blue is taken at 2:15, write "oB 7:15") if he doesn't do it himself. Also warn your jungler about your pitiful early damage, and that he's free to gank but generally should't camp you expecting a kill.

Mid Game

At level 9, you can oneshot the wave with a single E-R combo. At this point, you can try to poke your opponent out of lane, but often it's better to just shove and farm wraiths and wolves, and sometimes roam.

When your laner roams, you need to ping missing and call out where they're going (try to keep vision) and then either shove your lane hard and take tower, or follow them. Staying in your lane and pushing tower is a surprisingly viable option- you will lose skirmishes as Kog, and often will just bait your team into dying or get caught in transit. You have potent roams if the enemy overextends- you don't have a gapcloser, but you do have high damage and a moderately strong CC in your E- but you should roam less on Kog'maw than you would on a Gragas or Ahri simply because if you run into somebody alone you will often die.

Make sure you always have dragon vision, and call for your team to do dragon with you whenever you have a big advantage, particularly if the enemy jungler shows top. The best time to do dragon is after a successful jungler gank and double kill botlane, but don't ignore the midlaner- mids are much stronger than botlaners in midagme, and dragon damage can simply set you up to be triple killed. Always keep timers on dragon if your teammates don't- if dragon is taken at 10 minutes write "16:00 dragon" in chat.

Late Game

Once you hit level 16, it's time to win. Tell your team not to fight if you're about to hit 11 or 16, and once you do try to force engagements. I'm not kidding. Be bossy and tell your team to wait. One of the best ways to carry solo queue is by shotcalling.

At this point, you should almost never be alone. Stay with your team, especially a teammate that can disengage for you. Always check bushes with your ults, and highly prioritize not dying over taking risks, because you can singlehandedly hold off a siege.

Time your blue buffs' spawns, and tell your team that they need to group and poke+fight whenever you get a blue. Unless way ahead, tell your team to avoid fighting until you've softened them up with poke first.

With Rylai's, you can often get a chain of ults on a single target and will be tempted to go totally ham to finish the kill. Fight this urge unless you have vision of the area and know it's safe to chase- if you're ambushed, you're useless. However, this is a very good way to initiate a teamfight when winning- if you land an ult on a squishy with no escape and your team is with you, they're dead.

Baron is, as usual, an important objective, and once you get it you can go siegeing which Kog loves. One caveat: more so with AP Kog than with other champions, try to avoid situations in which you are taking baron and can get caught in the pit. I recommend standing off to the side, away from the approaching enemy, or if you have flash up you can simply stand in the back of the pit and jump over when in trouble. When doing baron, you often want to turn on your W auto steroid (percent health shreds baron) and then simply use E and R to scout and zone anybody coming. When the opposing team does baron, you are at a very large advantage because you can poke them quite easily. They will group, and can often be funneled into certain paths in the jungle.

One of Kog's core strengths is his ability to stall. When the other team is grouped up and pushing, with a simple E-R you can clear the entire wave and make it much harder for them to siege towers. Once again, highly prioritize staying alive- if you die, there's nothing to stop your towers from being taken. Your team will often lose hope because they don't realize how good Kog is at stalling until he oustcales. Tell your team all about this, and always be a positive influence in chat (although don't chat too much).

Teamfights

Stay as far back as you can while hitting groups of people or important carries with your ults. When somebody walks towards you or they group up nicely, throw an E in the mix. Teamfights are wonderful for you, because players will tend to clump up and not pay attention to dodging your ults.

When getting dove, lead with Q and kite backwards over your ooze while autoing. It is quite easy to land ults on people trying to kill you because you know exactly where they will go next. However, you only have so many ults per teamfight, so don't ignore carries/grouped targets in favor of hitting the thing in front of you. The beauty of Kog's point-and-click mechainc and enoromous range is that you can focus whoever you want, regardless of whether you're about to die.

If you're winning and have Rylai's, you can initiate teamfights by making catches from long distance surprisingly well, as mentioned above.

Gameplay

Here are some games from season 4 (you'll need to download LolReplay):

First, an easy game: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wqaoknbyxm4ikhz/Tinkady%20-%20Kog%27Maw%20%2896%29.lrf

In this game I got ahead early so had a pretty easy laning phase. Gold evened up at around 28 minutes but by then they'd gotten outscaled heavily. I flashed a Malphite ult at 11:08, that was fun. I did the most damage ingame, although Singed did about 80% of mine so it was nothing unusual.

Here's an example of a harder game: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ls0emia3wuhcfxz/Tinkady%20-%20Kog%27Maw%20%2893%29.lrf

I pushed up too far early and Eve got Fizz first blood. He continued to snowball but I kept up my farm while he roamed and killed my team. I insisted that we were fine despite my team wanting to surrender and report me- we were from 5k to 9k behind in gold throughout the game, and were behind in gold until we started taking nexus turrets to end the game- AP Kog just scales incredibly well. Sivir DCed for a minute and a half at 29:30, but when she came back her team was still 6.1k gold ahead so that was pretty insignificant. I had only the 3rd most gold on my team, but did twice as much damage as the second highest damage dealer.

If you just want a video of AP Kog without any downloading, here's a game by Faker in Korean solo queue at the very end of season 3.

Conclusion

If you've gotten this far, you are now a master of AP Kog- enjoy your freelo. If you disagree with any of my points, or have any new ideas, let me know- I love theorycrafting and doing mathematical analysis. If you enjoyed the guide, like it and leave a comment. Thanks!

Comments

March 20, 2014 - 12:31 AM #1

Hi,

I found this guide very helpful.

I've been trying out CDR glyphs with decent success (just Silver). I'm not sure whether they do more damage than secondary Mpen Glyphs. If you've done any math on this, I'm quite interested in the result since my goal is to maximize damage. I actually feel that some of the health from Rylai's is a bit wasted and I'd much rather have more damage. The way I play Kog emphasizes unanswerable damage, not engages. That's after all, the reason we get Double-Edged Sword too.

I find it odd getting MR glyphs when going a poke build because unless they have an incredible gap closer, I can farm safely enough near the turret and clear waves almost instantly with E-R once 6. Besides, I usually get Chalice right after Tear and that's a decent amount of early MR. I could understand getting MR glyphs if we weren't building early MR anyway but it just seems like I don't benefit enough from MR glyphs outside of levels 1-5. If they are in range to do heavy magic damage, I'm usually dead anyway and the extra R might save me just as much as the 12 MR.

I'm not 100% sure that CDR glyphs or Mpen glyphs are better but I'd just like convincing reasons why not to go for CDR glyphs over the others. (BTW, I use AP quints)

Thanks!

January 23, 2014 - 08:35 PM #2

Great guide, been a fan of AP kog since mid season 2. I'd love to see some ap kog highlights as well as the full games. definitely deserves my upvote

January 22, 2014 - 07:13 PM #3

Ah, I would Love to tell you how my avatar is working, but I have no clue. It just never broke...

My IGN is Piromiru, was plat last season, but my placements went horribly this season... Gotta grind back up...

I was considering W purely for the AA range it gives combined with an attack speed item like Nashor's for sustained long ranged harass that they can't really do much about, but I was mostly playing devil's advocate to see what you thought. I agree that it is situational at best, but I always like to at least consider weird things like that.

Your views on the buff are pessimistic, but as much as I hate to admit it, you might be right. They might change other things than the ult though. I'm thinking E might get lower base damage and maybe a narrower shot to hit his team fight AOE damage some. Hitting his E would be understandable now that they can move more power to his Q as a single target spell I think. I don't think they will touch his ult much at all, but they might lower it's AP ratio a bit if anything. I suppose they could hit it's base damage and up it's AD ratio to hit AP Kog and not affect AD Kog much... I don't think they will touch it's range though since it has always been such a core part of Kog'maw's identity as a biological siege weapon. I suppose they COULD normalize it's range between levels, which could be either an overall buff or a nerf that breaks him depending on what range they normalize it at. If they set it at rank 1 range for all 3 ranks, I would probably break something in apoplectic rage... If they set it at Rank 2 for all 3 ranks though? I might could live with that, but I wouldn't like it... Rank 3 range would be unabashedly over powered if all 3 ranks had it... Dunno. There are few other skills in the game that actually change ranges based on rank, and Riot has said they don't tend to like them since they are 'hard to learn' for both the user and the enemy. I suppose Kog'maw's is a bit different since his is always telegraphed though.

January 21, 2014 - 11:38 PM #4

By the way, how did you get your forum avatar to work properly? Mine's broken. Also, what's your IGN?

Also, there's absolutely no reason to ever max W before E, and even if you were going for an onhit build you'd want the increased slow to keep them in auto range- I'd max Q last in that case. Furthermore, since W is maxed last a Nashor's tooth would not be a good early buy.

January 21, 2014 - 08:43 PM #5

Ooh, I should start a discussion on the buffs in the comment section. I don't actually like this change. Its fantastic, but helps AP Kog much more than the already-weak AD Kog, andg once they buff Q they'll have to nerf other aspects of the champion- most likely his ultimate base damage or range. AP Kog is already in a good place, and I'm afraid that buffs will just get him neutered like AP Corki.

A useful comparison on the change: the new Q has the width of an Ezreal Mystic Shot (Q), but has 1550 missile speed instead of 1900 and 950 range instead of 1100. Anyways, here's my theorizing so far:

The pre-6 value of AP (and mana regen/mana) has been increased significantly. I will probably switch to AP quints, although Exp quints haven't been nerfed at all so are still very good. They got buffed, even- gaining levels in Q now has more power.

I will definitely start with Doran's ring whenever possible, although flask and the occasional cloth armor will still be needed often.

I will almost always max R>E>Q>W now, except maybe maxing W third against a team with two hyper-tanks (although MR shred is also useful against them so maybe not even then, I need to do math). The w damage is strong, but doesn't scale up until lategame- percent health abilities should usually be maxed last. I suppose we could max Q first, but it's harder to hit than E, worse utility than E (slow good, waveclear great), and shredding resistances isn't helpful if we don't have follow-up damage. The only time I might is if I wanted to bully early while freezing the lane by my turret, which isn't likely against good opponents.

Muramana will definitely be replaced with Athene's. I realized regardless of the buffs that I chose Muramana during the super-long games of the 3.14 patch, and that in 3.15/4.1 it is possibly weaker than Athene's. With the buff, we have more incentive to build CDR and Athene's is just an overall solid item. This change will likely make DRing or flask > tear > athene's > seraph's my primary build.

Now it might seem like the AP/Lichbane build has been strengthened more than mine. I'm not convinced that this is the case (once I put Athene's back in). We have even less incentive to be in autoattack range than before now that Q outranges even our empowered autos, and the base damage was increased while the AP ratio was not, which favors magic pen. Kog's AP ratios are actually much better than I gave them credit for, so building Deathcap and/or Lichbane will be quite viable with this change, but I still think they'll be somewhat situational purchases against dive heavy teamcomps.


Regarding your ideas: an AP onhit build was strengthened less than a poke and kite build. Still possibly viable, but I haven't tried it really. I don't see why you'd build it over AD Kog, but I could be totally wrong- show me some math. Anyways, I think Lich Bane is much stronger than Nashor's for Kog, and as a 7th item Nashor's is possible but I think Zephyr is probably better because it sacrifices very little movespeed.

January 21, 2014 - 05:27 PM #6

Gotta ask, are you drooling over the Q change like I am?

Incase you somehow don't know about it:
Q - Changed to a skill shot, range increased from 625 to 950, and projectile speed increased from 1500 to 1550.
Stays 60 mana at every rank, and got it's base damage boosted by 20 at every level (80/130/180/230/280) and (.7) AP.

I think I can confidently say that this will affect our skill order, possibly drastically. I still think we will max E first for wave clear, range, and since it hits multiple targets, but I can Easily see us now maxing Q second and only taking 1 point in W at level 1. Clearly this change benefits the Lichbane build more than your ulting build, and promotes CDR more in all situations, but it's still a crazy buff!

With that base damage, cheap mana cost, and nice range, we can almost pretend we are Nidalee chunking spears with her trap tied to them every 8 seconds... Ganks for us just got a lot more dangerous if we rank Q first. If your lane opponent doesn't build MR, they are taking true damage from you and have half of their armor gone early game for your jungle... THAT is scary...

I might need to try a build that prioritizes Q and W over E and rushes a Nashor's tooth or Lichbane... Would be insanely less mana hungry early on, but It would still need a tear badly. Still too long of CDs on the abilities with good ratios to really justify a heavy AP build, but said build will be stronger (significantly) since it now actually has a forth spell to use!

Maybe something like Tear -> Nashor's -> Sorc Shoes -> Haunting Guise -> Void Staff -> AA -> Liandry's -> Rylai's -> Lichbane (Sell Boots)? W would be doing around 9.5-10.5% of their health per auto at either true damage or near and LB procs would be doing 360 bonus damage on Auto. Q - 560 E - 540 R - 480. Would be unable to sustain a long chain of Rs, but would be stronger against mobile opponents who can dodge your ults and would allow you to shred tanks to nothing very quickly... Nashor's + Spellblade would also be doing 80 additional damage per auto. Still has the same flaw of you being squishy as hell, but Kog's ranges should let him just ulti from behind his team until someone uses their gap closers then he could shred them safely (Ideal situation obviously, shit happens).

Speaking of team fights, I hadn't even considered how much of a buff this is for them! With the range buff, we will be able to reliably Q the tanky initiators taking our a chunk of their defenses for our whole team, unlike before where we were literally Never in range to use it... hmm...

Again, I just remembered that we will not have a reliable single target spell that has range for a full application of Rylai's... Geez, this is more awesome than I thought!

January 20, 2014 - 07:32 AM #7

Thanks Twixy, they should be working now.

January 20, 2014 - 12:10 AM #8

I can't download the replays, could you upload them again using another site?

January 14, 2014 - 10:13 AM #9

Yup, Jarvan's pretty tricky. Not a terribly difficult lane if you survive the earlygame, but he can zone you out for a long time, and is one of the initiators that can sometimes get on you lategame.

January 14, 2014 - 03:12 AM #10

Well I wanted to see the laning phase a few times to get a feel of how to play. I'm one of those people who have a better understanding of something after seeing it instead of reading it. Plus, vids are awesome. I know you say to have as passive a laning phase as possible, and that's what I try to do. I also feel like any trading at all as you try to disengage is often dangerous.

I also feel like j4 is your cancer, as both a laner and a jungler.

I'll tell you though, I do feel like a god when late game rolls around. I haven't tried Double Tear (I dub thee the "QQ build"!) because I feel like most of my games end before I get the 2nd Tear stacked (which has happened a few times) so I've just been opting for Lich Bane if winning. If I get any peel at all from divers I can just melt their whole team (with or without Lich). I've played AP Kog before, but it feels different than I remember. Perhaps because I got both Athene and AA's (no Seraphs at the time), I dunno, but I do know that I feel really powerful come late game.

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