Hi, I'm Logich from EU West. I'm a 2,3k elo player and my main role is the top lane. I started out playing Cho'gath in the top lane, but after trying him mid I found out that he was way more reliable there. Cho'gath is a champion that excels at CC'ing and bursting down champions. The reason i chose to write this guide is that I haven't seen any Cho'gath's mid, even tho how strong he is. I really think it's just a matter of time before he becomes a main pick/ban in ranked in all elo's. This guide will not include much about common sense in mid lane and basic knowledge of the game. You could say that its made for informing you about Cho'gath, and not basic mid lane stuff.
He is a monster in the mid lane and I think you should give him a try!
Why play Cho'gath mid instead of top?
I will tell you my opinion on Cho'gath mid compared to top but first take a look at the overall pros and cons for Cho'gath mid.
1. High sustain in lane
2. Loads of CC
3. Great burst
4. Insane wave clearing speed
5. No real counters, only harder matchups
6. Good objective control
7. Fun to play
2. No escape
3. Weak level 1-7
4. Skillshot reliant
When we go into deeper analysis of these pros and cons, we will find some interesting things. We can start buy looking at "pro" number 2:
Most top champions will buy therefore reducing the amount of CC which is one of the strongest aspects of Cho'gath. In mid I have through experience only encountered a few people who have built against me. Having that 3 sec silence from lets you order them around as you want.
"Pro" number 3:
In the mid lane the enemy usually go mostly for ability power + some magic resistance and not very much health or sustain. Cho'gath has a much higher sustain compared to the other mids. Cho'gath also has a long range on his allowing you to be the first one to throw down your burst. Either they get killed, forced back or gets silenced so they cant trade back. Most top champions do a bruiser build, which includes going health + resistance against the lane opponent. Its very common to go get sustain items. This allows them to fight back even when taking huge amount of damage. When your feast is on cooldown you lose much of that burst potential you had. Many champions will bully you in this period.
"Pros" number 4 and 6:
These two pros are actually the same. When you clear the waves in the matter of seconds, it leaves you a lot of time to roam around the map picking up objectives, ganking, or just letting you have a presence on the other lanes. There are some mids that can keep up to your wave clearing phase such as etc. Even tho, you should always be the first to clear the wave, since you use your spells on the minions, not leaving much space for the enemy to clear the wave from. Clearing the wave a slight 4 seconds before the enemy may actually let you come to a fight earlier or reach a objective earlier. Also, when your feast in on cooldown and you are clearing all the minions just seconds after they come mid, it takes away the advantage the enemy has on you when you don't have Feast. They will be forced to farm on their tower and not abusing you. In top lane you wont have the same objective control after clearing a wave. This is because the lane is simply not as central as mid. Many top champions also have the tankiness to tank a wave of minions until the next one arrives. This means that you have to go super far up in the lane to kill the next wave. Cho'gath is really a very easy target to gank then.
"Pro" number 5:
In mid lane there aren't any real counters to Cho'gath(look at the "matchup" chapter further down). As for top there are quite the few champions that do really well against Cho'gath. for example. She has a weak early game, but she is one of the strongest late game champions out of the common top laners. As you can see in the cons, one of Cho'gath's weaknesses is that he is weak from level 1-7. This means that you wont be able to shut down Irelia, and she will become bigger than you late game. Same goes for . Some champions that can really abuse your early weakness are: . These champions will make you so butthurt you wont be able to comeback without massive help from jungler. They will basically just own you the very first few levels and then become much stronger in terms of level and items. You wont be able to trade them very well when you hit your stronger phase.
"Con" number 2:
The bushes are closer to the lane and the distance to chase is larger. Cho'gath does not have any speed boost or jump and hates to be chased. Whilst in mid there is not much room for chasing and the bushes are further away from you.
"Con" number 4:
If you miss your skillshots, it will leave you in a very weak spot until you get your cooldowns back up.
I will be very brief here, the reason I go 21 in the defensive tree and not in the offensive tree is that Cho'gath is a melee champion and defensive stats gives you some much needed tankiness as Cho'gath is almost just as much a tank as an AP carry. The CDR you get through the defensive masteries are also very important. Other than early health and the CDR, most of the other points are basically about personal preferences.
9 x Magic pen: Gives you a lot of damage both early and later on and are pretty standard runes for mid.
No really good alternatives.
9 x Flat armor: Allows you to take auto-attacks from enemy mid in lane without being punished too much.
Amor per level is also an alternative here if you think you wont need the early armor.
9 x Flat mr: You need this resistance. Basic for mid.
If you wont need the early magic resist I would recommend ability power per level.
3 x Flat ap: Good damage early on and helps you clear waves faster.
Movement speed quints are also pretty good. Its more about personal preferences on this one.
This is the standard mid summoners. Flash to make plays and escape. Ignite for extra damage.
This summoners might be good if you are familiar with using it, something which I'm not. This gives you a higher presence on the other maps and can be used efficiently since Cho'gath can push out his lane super fast and help other lanes. You lose some kill potential, but you will be able to help other lanes in a larger scale.
This is by far the best boots. In mid they give you magic resist to minimize the damage output from the enemy mid + the CC-reduction.
Buy this if you are playing versus an AD champion mid unless the enemy team has crazy CC.
Only buy this boots if the enemy team has ZERO CC. As Cho'gath is supposed to soak up damage and CC in teamfights, this boots will hurt you a lot compared to if the enemy has a decent amount of CC.
Dorans ring is a pretty strong item on Cho'gath because it gives him a lot of damage + extra health early on and of couse the much needed mana regeneration. You don't really NEED it tho so you can rush instead which is what I prefer.
This item is core for Cho'gath because he simply benefits so hard from all its stats, especially the CDR. It is a bit expensive based on the stats it gives, but in Cho's case its very much worth it.
This item is super strong for mid. Its pretty cheap compared to the amount of magic resist it gives and damage through ability power and magic pen. I used to go for this item after , but after the "Late August patch" it isnt necessary to rush it anymore. Buy it as one of your final items if you need more magic resist. Building more than one of this item on a team now isn't that bad either since the aura is so small.
Once you have this item you can probably burst anyone on the map with one combo, tho its only worth the buy if you can use it before you use .
Dont buy this item if you went for or if someone else on your team is planning to build it. Also remember to either have this item or or both if you are playing vs heavy AD team. If the enemy team is heavy on AD you should skip the DFG and buy this item instead. You wont need the mana from it at this point, but the other stats are exceptional.
This item gives you an insane damage output. I buy this item third or fourth because buying it earlier will make you an easier target to kill and keep down your stacks. This item also gives a larger ability power boost at this time because of the % of your AP.
A second life is always good to have. Also gives a lot of much needed defensive stats and its actually a very cheap item compared to what you get from it.
Build this item if the enemy team is super heavy on MR. I don't usually build this item because is true damage. In a single burst combo at level 16, about 50% of that will be the true damage from feast.
This item is only good when playing vs a team with many heavy tanks. Its only good if are in a position where you cant reach the carries and end up auto-attacking their tanks.
A very good option to , if your team already has a . Build this vs a team with heavy AD when your team already has a .
Optional when playing against
Dont buy this item. You already get health through your Feast stacks, so buying this item instead of resistance + ability power item would really hurt his tankiness. This item also has to be bought really early to be at its best, making you even weaker in your weakest phase of the game and also preventing you from getting that early cooldown reduction.
Passive: Carnivore Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 34 - 68 (+2.5 each level) health and 3.5-7.75 mana (+0.25 each level).
This simply gives you a lot of sustain in lane and is one of the reasons he is so good mid, almost no one can harass him out of lane. Not much more to say about it.
Q: Rupture Ruptures the ground at target location. After a short delay, enemies are launched into the air for 1 second, dealt 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 305 (+100% of ability power) magic damage, and have their movement speed slowed by 60% for 3 seconds.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120 mana
With 40% CDR this spell's cooldown is 6 seconds and lets you CC several targets at once in teamfights. It also does a great amount of damage and has a good ap-scaling. It can also be used for the sole purpose of zoning targets out of teamfights. It can be hard to hit beacuse of the delay.
W: Feral Scream Cho'Gath screams in a cone in front of him, silencing enemies for 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 / 4 second(s) and causing 75 / 125 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+70% of ability power) magic damage.
Cooldown 16 seconds
Cost 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
High damage with a good ap-scaling. 3 sec silence at rank 5 which can totally shut down the other AP carry both in lane and teamfights. This is easy to hit with and Cho's most reliable form of damage.
E: Vorpal Spikes Toggle: Cho'gath's physical attacks launch spikes which deal 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to a line in front of him.
An early rank in this allows you to last hit easier and also push out your lane faster in early game when you are short on mana. At rank 5(lvl 18) this will add a great amount of damage when auto-attacking low magic resist targets.
R: Feast Deals 300 / 475 / 650 (+70% of ability power) damage to target champion, or 1000 damage to target minion (ignores resists).
If the target is killed by Feast, Cho'Gath grows, gaining 90 / 120 / 150 maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to half (rounded up) stacks upon death.
Cooldown 60 seconds
Cost 100 mana
This spell gives Cho'gath a lot of health at 6 stacks. At rank 2 and 3 it adds a sick burst to your combo. Keep in mind that this spell has a brief cast delay and that enemy champion can flash out of it, tho not setting your spell on cooldown.
R > W > Q > E
W is simply better to max prior to Q, because W is a lot easier to hit and W also has both its damage and CC improved with each rank, unlike Q which only has its damage improved with each rank.
The reason I put one point in E at level 4 is that it helps you CS early on and also push out your lane in the early game when you are often short on mana.
This chapter is very important to use the full potential of Cho'gath's CC.
The skill combo you should learn to execute is
Doing this combo will allow you to silence the enemy first, preventing them from using speedboosts/escapes setting them up for an easy This is the average combo for teamfights.
Keep in mind that has a longer range than , so when you are not in range to do this combo:
Also do this combo if the target is already CC'd and have no way of escaping your
If you catch an enemy alone by a hook-spell like blitz's, you should always try to use prior to . This is to silence them so that they cant flash away.
The ultimate escape:
Throw down and as soon as they get knocked up away. This creates a insane gap between you and the enemy. If they enemy is a gap-closer, wait for him to jump you before using the combo.
Early on you should avoid trying to bring up trades. All of your damage is AOE, and you dont want to push your lane before you get a ward. As long as you are up to the same farm as the enemy laner you are on good terms. Focus on CSing and if your lane is getting pushed, throw a when they come up to harass you. Try not to use since you cant afford to lose the mana and you are very vulnerable to ganks when its down.
Once you hit level 6 you should instantly a minion. You main goal after level 6 is to always stay at 6 stacks (Something to think about is that in a game where you get level 6 at the average time and a minion as soon as possible, then you should have up just at the same time as blue buff spawns, letting you solo it in like 5 sec). Always have a ward up at one of the sides(preferably bot side). Once you get you should start trying to hit the enemy champion and the ranged creeps with , silencing the enemy. Use to kill the melee minions. By level 10 you should be close to 6 stacks of and you should start to look for opertunities to harass/kill the other mid. Try to avoid using for offensive plays unless you know 100% that it will lead to a kill. is your only escape so treat it carefully.
*Note: Look at "Matchups chapter for early game gameplay.
Once you are at 6 stacks you can start using the feast for killing champions. Staying at 6 stacks is really the core to mastering Cho'gath. With 6 stacks of you get a lot of health and you can focus on ability power and resistance. A full combo of +++ can probably kill most champions once you hit level 11. If the champion you are laning against is very tanky, you should just try to do your full combo minus , which is best to save for the killing blow. Doing this will often forces the enemy champion to go base letting you gank freely or do objectives. If they were to stay in the lane just continue to harass them. You should always just push out your lane in an instant and look for gankable lanes or objectives to do on the map and always remember to have a ward up. Always remember that one of the most important things with Cho'gath is that you stay alive during mid game and keep up those 6 stacks at all times.
Proper mid game lane control:
Going for the enemy carries.
This is the most common thing to do in teamfights because of Cho'gath's insane zoning/bursting abilities. This means trying to burst down the enemy AD/AP with the skill combos described above in the guide as well as soaking up some damage. You will rarely find yourself getting focused down first since you are so tanky.
Landing a under the enemy AP/AD carry will either knock them up allowing you to burst them, or it will zone them out. Often in teamfights people wont hesitate to use escape spells like and Corki Valkyrie when you put your under them. This is to your advantage. The few seconds of liberty you take away from the enemy carries away will make a huge impact on the teamfight.
2k1 ranked game, offensive team fight gameplay
Protecting your AD carry.
This is a very smart tactical play in some cases, which are if your AD carry is super fed or you know that he will be able to do a lot more than the enemy carries, even when they are left alone. Also, when the support on your team is one of these: this tactic is probably the best because they cant do much to protect their AD. What you want to do in these teamfights is to be a meat shield for your AD. Silence enemy approaching you AD and try to land . If the enemy has a gap-closer who you know will jump you AD, wait with until they jump. This lets your AD create a gap between the enemy and himself, whilst the enemy's gap-closer spell is still on cooldown.
Always the champion focused by your AD.
*Note, you dont need to wait until you can kill with feast, just feast as soon as your AD gets in trouble.
2k1 ranked game, defensive team fight gameplay
The reason that these champions are harder to play against is that they have a very good harass the first few levels. This will set you back in CS and eventually level. They aren't very hard if you get past that early stage from level 1-7.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: When I write push him back in lane, I'm referring to when you have the mana and wards to do it. Head to "Play style" chapter for more info.
Farm with all your might, if he uses AOE spells, hit him back with . Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Try to dodge her Q's, farm as good as you can. If she hits you with Q stop her from using E with . Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Always be ready to dodge his root. You wont be able to CS much against him the first levels. Ask your jungler to help you out killing him. He dosnt have any speedboost or jump so hitting him with is an easy task. With the help of the jungler you should be fine. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Not particularly hard to beat it lane. Just keep up wards and always be suspicious of offensive play as jungler often ganks through lane. (jungler coming from their tower in the lane).
It's in lategame where Malzahar is really a problem. When you try to be that tanky front line he can just shut you down with his team in the matter of seconds. Go for when the team fighting starts unless you know that he will save the ult for someone else.
Medium difficulty matchups
Farm farm farm. Be sure to keep her back in lane mid game so that she cant gank. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm. She cant do much against your magic resist stacking build. When she jumps you, use followed by a . She is f*cked over by your pushing mid game. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm. Watch out for Q, even tho they arent particularly dangerous. If you get her down to egg, you should finish her off pretty easy if given the time to auto attack. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
2k1 ranked game vs Anivia in early laning phase.
Farm farm farm, when she jumps you at level 6, use and back away. She clears really fast so keep a ward for top and bot so that you can see when she goes to gank. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm lane. Eve will harass with her Q, but your passive will sustain you with ease. It can be tricky to lane vs Eve later on when she gets really fast and hitting both and can be hard if she utilizes her speed. Should be a easy kill if you have someone to land a stun first so that you can do the follow up.
Farm farm farm, if he auto attacks you, auto attack him back and continue farming. When he mans up and Q you, use before he can use E. Follow up with and auto attacks. He will also be f*cked over by your pushing and he is not close to as strong as you are late game. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
2k1 ranked game vs in early laning phase. (Fixing the shaky stuff, youtube bug)
Farm farm farm, if he auto attacks you with his W up, back away and let him take creep damage. If he uses spells on you, fight him back with . If you see him playing very aggressive he is probably plotting a gank with his jungler. Fall back for the time being so you dont get ultied far into the lane. He is not particularly bothered by your wave clearing speed. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
2k1 ranked game vs Gragas in early laning phase.
Farm farm farm, he shouldn't be able to harass you out of lane because of your sustain. He will have a hard time if you push the lane hard. When harassing, make sure to use before so that he cant use E. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
He will deal a great amount of damage to you early, but that will also make him push the lane. CS to keep your health up and he will be easy to gank for your jungler since he cant avoid Q. He wont be bothered by your wave clearing speed. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm. She is actually very good against Cho'gath since she can farm just as good and avoid your spell combo very easily. She is a stronger late game champion than Cho'gath. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm. Easy to hit with . Not too bothered by your pushing. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm, you sustain from is enough to keep you up. When harassing always use into to prevent him from pooling away. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Avoid her skillshot root. Stay away from plants, they deal a lot of damage. Farm as best as you can. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm, he gets owned by you mid game since he cant escape . If you get ganked by the jungler, silencing will hurt his damage output a lot. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm, kassadin cant kill you when you stack magic resist, he is bothered by your pushing. Start every harass attempt on him with into a . Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm, she might be bothered by your pushing depending on her item path. In team fights, always have ready to interrupt her ult unless someone else has taken that job upon them. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
He can harass you pretty good when he gets to level 7-8, but then on the other side, you can burst him a lot harder. The range on his spells is short and he will stand still while casting, so hitting both and is extremely easy to hit. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Easy lane, she does no damage versus your MR and she has no way to escape .
Farm farm farm. He cant escape and when he throws his W card you can hit him with . If you see him use his ultimate, instantly throw a under him and walk towards him, if he walks away, use to stop him from porting at all. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Farm farm farm, own him by the time you have enough magic resist to tank him. Continue mid game as described in the "Laning phase" chapter.
Junglers to be extra aware of.
When playing against these you should be extra aware of the map and always keep wards up.
These champions are scary because they have crazy CC. If they camp you mid, dont hesitate to buy two wards. is scary because her W gives her insane movement speed making it hard to hit . When you get ganked by her, wait with until she is just about to auto-attack you. In most cases they will go for the auto-attack and get knocked up.
If you get ganked and know you wont survive unless you use flash, use "The ultimate escape" (skill combo chapter).
I really think Cho'gath is a very underestimated champion mid. I hope you will enjoy playing him. Please comment if you have any questions or advice and give the guide a thump up if you liked it.
Cho'gath power demonstration!
25.08.12: Guide released
26.08.12: Added more details to the teamfight section and generally made the guide look neater. Also added this chapter.
27.08.12: Added more info about playing Cho'gath mid compared to top and a bunch of matchup info.
28.08.12: Added several gameplay videos to the guide.
28.08.12: Guide featured.
01.09.12: Updated information regarding Abyssal Scepter "Late August Patch" nerf.
just played against a karthus, while mostly following this guide and ended up having 18-3-9 by the end of the game, it worked really well and even when the jungler and top came to gank, was able to make it through alive because of the cc and merc treads. anyways thanks for this guide it really helped alot
how would you face against kayle? i know it isnt a common mid but i feel like she really strong against cho cus of her ulti and amazing early game harass. should you build health mr or armor? and would an early cat help with sustain?
@juufro It might be right that he falls of in terms of damage compared to other AP mids, but I don't feel there is any problem with it because you bring so much more to a team fight than just raw damage.
In season 2 I didn't play Cho top for the simple reason that people would just pick Irelia and have about equal to free farm and then become stronger late game in terms of ability to carrying your team.
As for season 3 I don't play him because I don't really find him that fun top, and there are many other champions that I feel does a better role as the top lane. At the moment, my two current loves are Rumble and Olaf, just because both are extremely hard to counter in lane and both bring very much to both mid and late game team fights.
@TurtlePerson2 I haven't had too many matches as Cho mid recently, mostly due to the fact that Black Cleaver was so OP until now that I was afraid of getting oneshot lategame by AD casters from mid and top. I do't feel like there is much to change on the item build after the patch.
@howhow I don't know, but I haven't deleted any comments.
@leechitho There's not much for me to write about Annie, because I haven't played versus an Annie in years. What I can say tho is that going something like Mercs - Athene's - Abyssal Scepter would probably be the safest considering her burst potential.