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CASSIOPEIA BUILD GUIDE: THE "OP" IS THERE FOR A REASON by sofakingsneaky

by sofakingsneaky (last updated over a year ago)

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9
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration( +7.83 magic penetration)
9
Greater Seal of Scaling Health( +9.72 health per level (174.96 at champion level 18))
9
Greater Glyph of Ability Power( +10.71 ability power)
3
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power( +14.85 ability power)
View Rune Details
Summoner Spells
View Summoner Details
21
9
0
mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 2/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
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mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
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mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/4
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mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
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mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
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mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
View Mastery Details
Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Aspect of the Serpent
QNoxious Blast
WMiasma
ETwin Fang
RPetrifying Gaze
View Skill Order Details

Runes

Masteries

mastery 1 mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 2/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/1
21 Offense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 1/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 4/4
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 mastery 3 1/1
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
9 Defense
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/4
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/2
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility

Skill Order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Aspect of the Serpent
QNoxious Blast
WMiasma
ETwin Fang
RPetrifying Gaze

Champion Matchups

Updates

07/04/2013 - Changed DPS build and "Do Not Build" section of Items Chapter
06/30/2013 - Starting items updated. Added alternative CDR build with explanation and item analysis. Updated Rylai's analysis to include Riot's change regarding Cassiopeia's Twin Fangs ability. It now registers as a single target ability and will receive the full benefit from items that differentiate between single and multi-target abilities.
01/16/2013 - Item build updated to reflect patch effects on . Increased cost no longer lets us start flask, 5 pots, and a ward. However increased healing from flask is a good balance towards the increased cost. You should play slightly more cautious due to the lack of the ward start.

Introduction

Cassiopeia was the first champion I ever decided to get "good" at. She is one of the strongest mid laners in the game and has amazing chase, engage, and disengage. The trade-off is that playing her can be somewhat difficult as her damage relies heavily on being able to land that Noxious Blast. I highly recommend Cassiopeia if you're a player who enjoys going hard as soon as the game starts as Cassiopeia does an unparalleled amount of damage ~level 2-9.

Note: It is very important to play Cassiopeia with smartcasting enabled. I will get into this futher in the skills section.

This is my first time trying to write a guide so any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated.

When to pick Cassiopeia - Strengths and Weaknesses

Cassiopeia is a strong character that can fit into many team comps. However, she is most effective in a team with at least one other AOE hard cc. She works incredibly well with champions such as Amumu or Sona as they allow her to get into position to use her ult without burning her flash. This is very important as Cassiopeia is a pretty squishy champion and prioritized quite high to be taken out by the opposing team and will often need her flash to escape danger.

Strengths:

-Very Strong Duelist
-Fast Lane Pusher
-Great Initiate and Disengage
-High DPS
-AOE Hard CC
-Very Strong Early Game
-Safe Harass
-Dominates any champion that stands still to do damage (swain, vladimir, ryze, etc...)

Weaknesses:

-Squishy
-High Skill Cap (Damage combo relies heavily on hitting your Q)
-Very weak against gap closers
-DOTs can be countered by potting and shields
-No escape outside of flash
-Shut down by CC teams

Masteries

[http://i46.tinypic.com/eqd0e9.png]

  • Offensive Masteries:

Summoner's Wrath (1/1) - the 5 extra AP really comes in handy during those early level trades when your ignite goes down for the first time in the game.

Butcher (2/2) - Helps a lot with csing and is more useful than maxing out Sorcery

Sorcery (1/3) - CDR does not really affect Cassiopeia too much as her E casts are on a 0.5 second cooldown no matter what. Point here just to make it to tier 2 masteries

Blast (4/4) - Free AP. Best choice out of the tier 2 masteries as it is the only one that affects our damage output.

Havoc (3/3) - Only damage increasing mastery for this tier.

Arcane Knowledge (3/3) - Magic penetration is always a good stat to have on an AP caster. And again, it is one of 2 masteries available to us based on tier 2 decisions.

Mental Force (3/3) - AP. Obvious choice as an AP carry.

Spellsword (1/1) - One of the strongest single mastery points after the season 3 changes. It doesn't sound like much but since Cassiopeia is a ranged champion, your auto attack harassing will really start to add up with this mastery point.

Archmage (4/4) - More increases to AP. Take it because it directly increases your damage output.

Executioner (1/1) - More damage increase. Pretty good on Cass b/c she attacks really quickly and will do that much more damage after you drop someone under 50% health. Really good for poking as well.

  • Defensive Masteries

Durability (4/4) - Health is now the strongest defensive stat in the game. This just gives us that much more.

Perseverence (1/2) - Only other option that applies to our laning as Tough Skin does not reduce damage from minions.

Resistance (3/3) or Hardiness (3/3) - Take whichever applies to your lane. If you're against bruisers like talon or pantheon, you take armor. If you're against mages like Brand or Swain, you take MR.

Veteran's Scars (1/1) The mastery we want the most out of the defensive tree. Health is the best stat as stated earlier. This gives us a lot more survivability during the early levels. And works well with our health per level seals.

Summoner Spells


USE THESE SPELLS! About 99% of the time this is what you'll want to run.


is just an amazing summoner spell all around. It gives you options both aggressively and defensively. And as Cass has no reliable means of escape, especially against gap closers, this spell can mean the difference between a close call and almost certain death.

works great in unison with both your Noxious Blast and Miasma skills. It reduces the healing so that your skills can do their job properly and does true damage to the target for the extra oomph that you may need to guarantee that kill. Especially useful to deal with those situations where champions flash out of your combos and just barely survive. Throw ignite on them and watch it work it's magic.

Possible Alternative

This can help immensely against a team with multiple hard CCs as Cassiopeia has a lot of trouble against such teams. At the same time she is quite good at interrupting the aoe CC chain with her ult and if you feel that will be necessary to winning, then it may be good to take cleanse and turn the fights around for your team. Keep in mind that your laning will be somewhat weaker and you may drop a few kills here and there. Ultimately just a very situational summoner.

Why don't I take any of the other summoner spells?

While survivability is important, it's much more reliable to make sure you kill them before they kill you. It's a pretty strong summoner but not for you as a mid laner.

What do you want to look at? Provides no use for you in lane and your wards should cover your curiosity about where the enemy jungler is at.

NEVER, EVER, EVERRRRRR, TAKE THIS SPELL! Learning to play mid means proper mana management, not picking up a useless summoner spell that gives you mana. Not to mention the fact that you have both flask and blue buff to keep you pumped full of mana. If you oom you're doing something wrong and should take the time to figure out what it is as opposed to picking up clarity.

I mean if you're smurfing and you dont have Flash yet then this spell combos into your Noxious Blasts so well. To the point that you should just never miss if something is exhausted. However, because you ARE lvl 30 and you DO have flash, this spell is just unnecessary. Practice hitting your Q on moving targets and keep flash/ignite for their utility.

I will admit that taking ghost on Cass lets you absolutely wreck things in a 1v1 environment pre-6. There is no way that they're out running you if you hit your W and mark them with Q for that movement speed boost. I've gotten more kills than I can count while leveling up an account using only Cassiopeia and prior to getting Flash. However, losing flash means losing the option of Flash->Ulting something and taking them completely by surprise. Because Cassiopeia has such a strong burst aspect and can take an enemy team completely by surprise, Flash comes out ahead of Ghost in this comparison.

Just don't. Cooldown is way too long and will save you maybe once? You'll come back to lane and you'll be back to square one. If they have ignite then your heal isn't even going to heal you for much. You're looking at a net gain of maybe 25 hp for a cooldown that is significantly longer than that of ignite's. Ignite serves the same function as heal (winning trades) better in every single way and is a direct counter to heal.

You're not Karthus. You don't have a global. You're gonna pair it with teleport. And if they're in your base and everyone is pushing down your nexus, Revive won't stop them. This spell is useless to you.

I mean take if you want to jungle Cass. Actually have a pretty high clear speed. Faster than you'd imagine. Unfortunately that's not the point of this guide so don't take this.

Where do you even need to go that you would give up either the survivability from flash or the damage from ignite?

Runes

[http://i50.tinypic.com/zmxn4w.png]

My choice of runes may need some explanation. The scaling on Cassiopeia's Q is insanely high. I play a very aggressive Cass early game and attempt to snowball through all of mid and late game. The idea is to always GO THE FUCK IN! Very few champions can match you for your early damage or survive harass for long. The yellow scaling health runes are for the added defense and scale better into late game than 5 ap early game (brought to my attention by lilaznkid. thanks) As usual, take Magic Penetration Reds as they are the best option for reds. This rune set allows you to become increasingly more tanky while having a lot of AP to work with early on. The flat AP blues and quints are very effective for those level 1-3 trades when health pools are small. Not many characters can out damage you in a straight up trade and even fewer that can hit skills on you effectively outside of your Q range. That being said, there are very bad matchups for you and you should rune accordingly. Against hard matchups like Diana or Lux, flat MR blues are a must and the loss in damage is definitely necessary. Same goes for armor yellows in place of AP yellows if you find yourself in a lane against a Talon or Pantheon which is very common now in season 3. However, against the weak early laners such as Kassadin or those you just completely counter like Swain, this set of runes can make their laning phase a living hell and relieve pressure on your other lanes by forcing their jungler to pay attention to you. In the end, the important thing is to know your play style and to rune accordingly.

Skills

Passive: Deadly Cadence

After casting a spell any subsequent spellcasts will cost 10% less for 5 seconds. This ability stacks up to 5 times.

Explanation:

This passive is amazing. It makes Cassiopeia a very strong champion throughout long engagements without going oom and allows her to play more liberally with her skills due to the decreased costs. Cassiopeia gains a strack from each of her spell casts within 5 seconds of each other and maintains those stacks as long as she continues to cast. Each stack reduces her mana cost of all subsequent spells by 10% less. This works extremely well with her Twin Fang casts and you're just spamming them and building stacks very quickly.


Q: Noxious Blast

Cassiopeia blasts an area with a delayed high damage poison dealing 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+80% Ability Power) over 3 seconds, granting her 15% / 17.5% / 20% / 22.5% / 25% increased Movement Speed if she hits a champion for 3 seconds. Be sure to lead your Q and place it where they're heading or where you think they'll dodge to as you walk towards them. Hitting this skill is imperative to playing Cassiopeia well.

Explanation:

This is Cassioepia's main source of damage. Everything starts with this skill. After landing a Q on your opponent, you can just continuously spam E until you need to reapply the poison again (ie: 3 seconds later). This is your primary harass spell and is very safe to use in lane. It outranges many other AP champions as well as bruiser mids and does a lot of damage. Use it to clear waves and zone out the opponent.

[http://i45.tinypic.com/29f5jep.png]

W: Miasma

Cassiopeia throws a growing cloud of poison that last for 7 seconds and provides vision over it for the duration. Any enemy that passes through it is poisoned for 2 seconds, dealing 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 (+15% Ability Power) each second and is slowed by 15% / 20% / 25% / 30% / 35%. Continuous exposure renews the effect.

Explanation:

Mostly just a utility skill. It slows and gives vision in fog of war so use it to check bushes instead of walking into them. It's most effectively used as a starter to help guarantee your hitting with the Noxious Blast which is the brunt of your damage. Although the damage on the skill is high, it doesn't really shine until team fights and you have the opportunity to stun multiple people as they stand in it. During laning phase you can throw down Miasma and immediately ult to get the full benefit out of the skill.

[http://i45.tinypic.com/350v2p4.png]

E: Twin Fang

Cassiopeia deals 50 / 85 / 120 / 155 / 190 (+55% Ability Power) magic damage to her target. If the target is poisoned, Twin Fang's cooldown is reduced to .5 seconds.

Explanation:

It is absolutely essential that Cassiopeia be played with smartcast enabled because of this skill. This skill has a 0.5 second cooldown, starting when the twin fangs hit their target, if that target is poisoned. While in a solo lane the only ways to apply poison are through hitting them with Noxious Blast or Miasma, however the 0.5 second cooldown can also be achieved using poisons from Teemo's toxic shot, mushroom, as well as Singed's poison trail. This is what makes Cassiopeia an incredibly strong sustained damage champion as the casting is essentially non-stop if you keep the target poisoned.
Now registers as a single target ability and will receive the full benefit from items such as Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Will of the Ancients

[http://i50.tinypic.com/rvhw82.png]

In regards to smartcasting you can either hold shift as you cast your spells or just completely rebind them entirely like I did. Simply go to key bindings and scroll down until you see "Smart Cast Spell #" and assign those keys to your normal spell keys: Q,W,E,R. I find it also helps to have your ignite on smartcast because sometimes you're just a split second from getting it off when they flash and smartcasting helps to eliminate lag time.


R: Petrifying Gaze

Cassiopeia releases a swirl of magical energy from her eyes dealing 200 / 325 / 450 (+60% Ability Power) to all enemies in front of her. Enemies facing Cassiopeia will be stunned for 2 seconds while enemies facing away are slowed by 60%.

Explanation:

This ult is one of the strongest ults in the game and can either make or break team fights. It will stun all champions within its range that are facing you and significantly slow any that are facing away. This synergizes incredibly well with Cassiopeia's kit and allows her to do an enormous amount of damage uninterrupted. It is important to use this properly in team fights by making sure you stun their top damage dealers or squishies. Obviously it is most effective if you find yourself in a position where you can stun all 5 opponents at once but such occasions are rare. Immediately after your ult, throw down your Miasma on top of as many people as possible and pick a target to blow up, ideally their AP or AD carry. Make sure you keep using Q to reapply poisons to as many people as possible while they're stunned. A proper ult should allow your team to take out 1 or 2 people and turn the fight into a 5v3.

This skill also makes any jungler or mid think twice before diving because if they draw tower aggro and you ult them, it's over.

[http://i47.tinypic.com/24cyys2.jpg]

Skill Order

Max ASAP. It is your method of harrass, farm, and damage during combos. Max second to be used in conjunction with your and pick up at level 4 for the utility it provides through it's slow. As with all champions, put a point into at levels 6, 11, and 16.

Skill order should look like this:



Some people like to max before . I honestly don't find it as effective and it's riskier since the cast range on E is significantly shorter than on Q and requires you to get closer more often. It's also a lot more mana efficient to farm if you max Q first as the damage applies to everything it hits as opposed to a single target.

Item Builds

Starting Items: crystalline-flaskhealth-potion2mana-potion

Early Game: dorans-ringx2 + sight-ward (more health-potion if you ran out before this purchase)

Mid Game: sorcerers-shoes + rylais-crystal-scepter

After the double doran's ring purchase you have one of two choices. If you think you're absolutely crushing the opposing mid, you can go into a blasting-wand immediately and push that advantage. This allows for very aggressive gameplay as you will be doing a ton of damage off of just your Noxious Blast without even any Twin Fang follow-ups. The other option is to pick up the giants-belt which allows for very safe play. You become much tankier and can survive ganks that much more readily.

This is there things get interesting. I've played two builds that I think both work very well for Cassiopeia. The first is the standard high dps damage build. You build as much AP and magic pen for as much damage in as little time as possible. The second puts Cassiopeia at 40% CDR dropping her ult from a 110 second CD to a 66 second CD. The second build is very useful if your team lacks any really strong initiation or if you feel that you need to be the one to initiate for your team in say a solo queue game.

Final Items DPS Build: sorcerers-shoesrylais-crystal-scepterspirit-of-the-spectral-wraithrabadons-deathcapvoid-staffzhonyas-hourglass

Final Items CDR Build: sorcerers-shoesrylais-crystal-scepterathenes-unholy-graildeathfire-grasprabadons-deathcap (zhonyas-hourglassorguardian-angel)

rylais-crystal-scepter is hands down the best item on Cassiopeia. As a combo caster, Cassiopeia's damage output relies on hitting skill after skill without any misses. While it is entirely possible to do this without a Rylai's, the slow proc from Rylai's makes it incredibly difficult to dodge Cassiopeia's combos. The slow synergizes amazingly well with Cassiopeia's Noxious Blast passive. We go faster, they go slower, done deal. I have killed countless champions without ever using ult simply because they can't outrun you with Rylai's procs. This item let me chase down a shyvana from wraith camp to wraith camp. If Shyvana can't outrun you, you know you got a pretty nice slow.
Cassiopeia's E is now registered as single target spell and will gain the full benefit from Rylai's slow! Hurray!

spirit-of-the-spectral-wraith With the fix on Cassiopeia's Twin Fang to now be registered as single target damage, Cassiopeia can benefit fully from the spell vamp items. Spirit of the Spectral Wraith gives Cass a little bit of everything she needs and a hefty 20% spell vamp to boot. It's enough spellvamp to make a difference and the perfect item to not waste any of the stats to do so. The reason this item is a better buy than Will of the Ancients is due to both the lower cost (500g) and the mana regen and CDR it provides. WotA may however be a better option to buy if you're playing on a team that can benefit from the aura effect such as an AP top laner or an AP jungler. Otherwise, Spirit of the Spectral Wraith every time as far as spellvamp items are concerned.

athenes-unholy-grail I only build this if I choose to go for the CDR build or if I'm feeling completely overwhelmed in lane against a hard AP matchup. It's a pretty nice item that gives you a little bit of everything and I've survived more than a few times against caster mids thanks to this item. The 20% cdr is amazing and actually quite noticeable despite your low CD spells. It really helps to increase your presence in lane with the mana regen and you won't be the only one to notice as you continuously spam at your lane opponent.

deathfire-grasp Cassiopeia is already a high burst champion and this item really helps to make that attribute shine. 120 AP straight up and an active that deals damage and amplifies damage taken from you. If you intend to use both your ult and DFG, make sure you ult first. Guaranteeing the stun is more effective than getting the 20% damage to tack on to your ult. Opening with DFG may give people with a quick reaction time enough heads up to turn and avoid the stun from your ult. The damage will still be insane because of the 20% increase on your ult but frankly it's unnecessary due to the high damage output from your normal Q->W->EEEE combo. I believe it's just better to just guarantee the stun from ult and capitalize on damage thereafter.

Other Items to Consider:

rod-of-ages not something I normally build on Cassiopeia but when the going gets tough and you need absolutely need to stay alive to kill every last fucker on their team, this item synergizes great with your Rylai's. Especially now that health scales so incredibly well, having the bonus health from Rylai's AND ROA makes you insanely difficult to kill. Couple that with the scaling health runes and you may as well be a tank instead of a carry.

morellonomicon CDR is really great for Cass as I mentioned earlier. Morellonomicon is a pretty strong item with a 20% CDR but I feel it may lack the AP needed for Cass. The heal reduction passive is generally not necessary because of the sheer amount of damage Cassiopeia is able to deal in a very short period of time. However, this item may be a huge help if you find yourself against fed champions with insane amounts of regen such as Swain, Dr. Mundo, and now Aatrox. This and ignite should take care of such problems fairly easily.

archangels-staff While Archangel's Staff isn't that great on Cassiopeia, it's evolution into Seraph's Embrace can be quite useful in many situations. The shield is a real life saver against comps with high burst damage or gap closers. This item will let you live and reposition yourself properly to either survive or continue to do damage from your new location. Especially good when used in tandem with your ult for counter initiates.

Do Not Build:

lich-bane you never auto attack, at least you shouldn't be. Every time you auto attack you could be spamming Twin Fang instead for way more damage, even if you get LB procs. Especially now with the spellsword mastery point which is essentially a mini lich bane anyway, this item is just a waste of money.

liandrys-torment it may seem like an awesome idea since "hey, I have 2 DoTs and ignite, may as well add another". This item has neither good health nor good damage. It's expensive and doesn't fit into the build order at any time. The DoT is completely unnecessary given that your Noxious Blast does an insane amount of damage already and you're not really lacking in the DoT damage department.

Early Game / Laning

Cassiopeia is an incredibly powerful laner able to zone and farm at the same time very effectively. As you farm, make sure you pay attention to your opponents dodge habits and cast your Q where you think they're going to dodge to. The explosion range on Q is quite large so there is a relatively large margin for error. Once you hit it, you can either head in to tack on a few Es or just let the dot tick if you feel like playing safe. Since you're maxing Q the damage is incredibly high and opponents will more often than not feel pressed to pop potions after just 1 or 2.

Cassiopeia can play more aggressive than ever now thanks to the flask start. Very few champions will be able to trade with you if you can land your Qs as most trades will result in a loss for them if you have your poison ticking. Once you hit level 6, flash ult is very powerful. Even if they react quickly enough to turn around, the base damage on ult is pretty high and the slow is significant enough that you should be able to land Q and get your combo started.

The most important thing while playing is to be mindful of their jungler and his synergy with the opposing mid. If they're both packing hard ccs then you need to be more careful and ward more. Characters with suppressions like WW or Skarner will generally only be effective at ganking you after level 6 so you can feel free to play aggressive until then. However against junglers like lee-sin, xin zhao, or maokai, getting engaged on can mean immediate death if you're not careful.

Mid Game

Mid game for Cassiopeia starts immediately after completing her Rylai's. By this time you have all the necessary tools to gank side lanes efficiently and you should do so immediately. Push your lane all the way to tower and head towards whichever lane is easiest to gank. Remember to keep track of wards that the opposing team may have placed and maneuver around them accordingly. Ganking from behind the enemy's turret is highly effective as Cass as it forces the champions into either running into your ult and getting stunned or running back towards your lane mate and forcing the fight under your conditions rather than their own.

Should you find yourself doing exceptionally well in mid lane, take out your tower ASAP to put more pressure on mid lane. Keep in mind that you must keep warding if you do this as the available paths for ganking you increase significantly. I would suggest pushing down mid tower early only if you can fight off their jungler and their mid at the same time. You don't have to kill them but you should be fairly confident in escaping a coordinated gank. Of course if you're so far ahead that you can just kill them then by all mean keep pushiing. Forcing their mid to stay mid as you roam around and crush their team is always a good deal.

Make sure you keep objectives like Baron and Dragon warded both in front and behind. The great thing about Cass is that her ult goes through walls as does all of her skills. She also does enough damage to squishies that she is able to kill them instantly (within the duration of the stun from her ult). If the enemy team attempts to interrupt your team's attempt at an objective, be ready to ult through the wall and blow up whoever's standing on the other side. This is especially effective when their team attempts to simply steal the objective rather than engage in a fight to contest it.

Late Game

By Late Game you should have completed your Deathcap and hopefully two other significant item. I would suggest one strong defensive item at this point whether it be an abyssal scepter, zhonyas, or guardian angel. If you have spare money and not enough to start buying your next item, buy a blue pot for some extra oomph and either force fights at objectives or push safely depending on the situation you find your team in.

Avoid needless engagements unless they're guaranteed. The important thing that many players seem to forget is that kills don't win games. Pushing towers and taking their nexus is the only requirement for winning. If you keep wasting time and fighting useless battles and end up recalling after, you're just giving the enemy team more time to build up their items to eventually win a fight. Fight whenever you can gain something out of the engagement, whether it's a buff, or a tower.

At this point, it is increasingly more important for you to land your ults properly. Many champs will have finished 4 or so big items and will be doing quite the amount of damage while being more tanky than before. Your ult is absolutely necessary to turn the tides of a fight or catch someone who's wandering out of position. Losing one team mate can mean losing Baron buff and many towers this far into the game.

If you haven't for some reason already been buying many wards, now is the time to do so. Your jungler and support can't ward the entire map by themselves. By late game it's a team effort to give vision throughout the jungle and lanes. Good ward coverage can make a team fight go incredibly smoothly. Having all the bushes around baron warded is very good for Cass as she can continue the chase and never lose vision of her target despite them ducking in and out of bushes.

Team Fights

This is where it gets fun and where Cassiopeia players can unleash their true potential. As a Cassiopeia player, you're going to want to fight in small enclosed areas such as Baron and Dragon pits or within the jungle paths. Your kit is all about that high AOE damage and control. Fighting in small areas allows your skills to hit more people and gives them less options for escape in regards to your ult.

Depending on the enemy team comp, you may not want to initiate with your ult. There are times where it's better off saved for peeling for your adc especially if they're more fed than you are. Take into consideration a team against Amumu, Jayce, and Diana. All three champions will likely make an attempt at shutting down your adc immediately when the team fight starts. If you ult first you may or may not be able to kill them since all three are quite tanky. However if you save your ult and pop it when they attempt to dive deep into your team to get at you and your adc, you can ult them to stop them in their tracks and close in on them.

Cassiopeia's positioning is incredibly important when team fights become more and more common. If you're caught and blown up or need to ult simply to save yourself, your team will be at a pretty large disadvantage. Not having Cass ult will make the enemy team more aggressive and allow them to engage your team much more easily and under their own terms.

Tips and Tricks

Cassiopeia is a very mobile killer. She's constantly moving whether it be to continue her Q -> E combo or to kite and space properly. As such it's important to know how to maneuver properly with Cassiopeia.

-As soon as you mark someone with Q and you intend to go in for some more damage, start walking towards them between E spams so you stay in range. Make sure you lead your Q and cast it on cooldown so you can keep the poison ticking for more E. Early levels, you can kill champions with roughly 2 Q casts and 4 E casts. Pretty strong for a level 2 combo.

-During team fights, your positioning is incredibly important as well as your ability to both initiate and counter-initiate. If their team has a hard engage like Amumu or Hecarim, it's your job to ult them as soon as they try to set their team up for the fight. A well placed Cassiopeia ult can instantly turn an engagement by the other team back onto them. As with all champions, the key in team fights is position position position.

-During ganks in side lanes, approaching from behind the opponents turret is very effective if you can't get into the lane bush on your side. It forces them to either walk back into your team or face tank your ult. Cass is a very strong ganker regardless of your other laners but those with hard ccs will almost guarantee a kill because of the insane damage output cass can put out alone.

-UTILIZE BRUSH! Nothing is more devastating than walking into a bush with Cassiopeia ready to ult you. It's instantly over. If you see your lane opponent leave lane to try to gank another lane. Ping your lane to retreat if you can't make it to them in time and wait in the brush you think is most likely for your lane opponent to pass through on their return to lane. Even better if you can move ahead of them and cut them off before they even get to your team mates.

-Make sure the areas around both your own and the enemy blue is warded. Cass is very blue buff dependent and losing it too many times may significantly impact your performance. Good players will try to time and deny your blue every time because let's face it, Cass with unlimited spam is pretty terrifying.

-Fight in small enclosed locations such as in the jungle paths or inside baron and dragon pit. Cassiopeia excels highly at aoe damage. Small enclosures lets Cassiopeia maximize her number of targets hit and damage dealt with Miasma and Noxious Blast. Touching Miasma does little damage but standing in it is absolutely devastating. Smaller paths also means less dodging options for people trying to avoid your ult.

-Once you have your Rylai's, running away from pursuers is incredibly easy. As you run just keep tossing out Miasma and Noxious Blast behind you. If you hit with anything the Rylai's proc will ensure that they will never catch you. If for some reason they continue the chase, there are many times you can just turn and blow them up.

Spell Combos

Basic Combo (pre-6):

Basic Combo (post-6):

Casting before increases the amount of time they spend standing within miasma. It's not always necessary but sometimes every little bit of extra damage helps.

Matchups

Before I go into Cassiopeia's matchups let me go over what qualifies a matchup as either "good" or "bad" for Cassiopeia. The champions generally all have something in common that groups them into either category.

Good Matchups:

-Low Mobility
-Stands still to do damage
-Low health
-Lack of a good hard cc
=Low range

Bad Matchups:

-High Mobility
-Strong hard cc
=Long range skills
-Shields
-Tanky

As strong of a laner as Cassiopeia is, she has some pretty awful matchups. Anyone who is tanky, long ranged, or extremely mobile such as Galio, Lux, Ahri, Diana, Lux does very well against Cass. On the other hand, anyone that does damage by standing absolutely still such as Ryze, Vladimir, or Swain is just easy pickings for Cass. Hopefully I can shed some light here on how to deal with your common "counterpicks" as listed by championselect.net

Don't bother harassing him. This is a champion you'll never kill. Focus on farming and push hard to buy yourself time to gank side lanes. Minions arrive in mid every 30 so be sure to push quickly and be back in lane for the next wave so as not to miss any experience. After he hits level 6 be mindful of a flash ult and play more safely. When the game progresses into team fights, position yourself so his ult can not catch you, and use yours to stop his ult immediately after it starts.

Not that bad of a matchup early but quickly takes a turn for the worse at level 6. The silence is incredibly strong due to the fact that you are a combo caster. Try to harass early. Your Q outranges her Q by 150. Use this to your advantage and just poke her down with Q. Do not attempt to go in to E as she will get her combo off on you. Against LeBlanc players, you may want to build a third doran's ring and opt for the giant's belt immediately. Early negatron is also good here so you can survive her burst and return the damage.

A really annoying matchup for a combo caster but thankfully Troll Pole can't nullify dots. Just focus on poking him down with Q. As a melee champ with no ranged poke he's not that hard to deal with. If for whatever reason he tries to come at you with his Q (dash attack) ult immediately on reaction. It will stop him and you'll more than likely be able to just kill him on the spot there. This is a match you should just poke relentlessly in and not give him any breathing room. If he uses his escape then just chase him down. Not even fizz can beat you in a 1v1 straight up damage trade.

This is bad for Cass like it is for every AP caster. He pushes just as fast as you and your only real advantage early on is again the fact that your Noxious Blast outranges his Rake ability. I would suggest getting that third doran's ring and early giant's belt here as well. Play safe and wait for jungler ganks. He'll burst you down before you know what happened if you let him get too close. Just poke poke poke and farm. If you can get a level advantage early in this matchup you'll be much better off. Ask your jungler to apply pressure and see if you can push him out early. Hitting 6 a second before him can make a very big difference in how the lane plays out.

This is perhaps one of the only matchups that gets significantly worse when you both hit level 6. Her ult makes her so incredibly mobile and you'll need to be very careful about not missing with yours. At the same time you have to be careful to dodge her taunt or it's just over. She'll be in and out taking very little damage from you. Most good Ahri players won't face you with their dashes so you'll have to either position yourself so that she can only get in range of you with her ult if she dashes towards you or to flash and ult on reaction. Even hitting her with the slow part of the ult and not getting the stun is still helpful. The slow is incredibly strong and you should still be able to tack on a Q and at least 1 E before she's out of there. I suggest pushing this lane hard and going for an earlier 6 to try to kill her off early.

Lux is incredibly annoying and is one of the only champs who has skill that significantly outrange your own on all 4 counts(yeah, even her shield). Not only that but she has a shield that procs twice to lessen the damage from your Q. She also has an ult with incredible range and a really short cooldown. In this lane just farm and be careful not to get snared. The amount of damage you'll take from getting snared once is ridiculous. Also be mindful of her just ulting the lane repeatedly. It does a surprising amount of damage for such a low cooldown. Lux players are also notorious for stealing your blue buff with their ult so make sure you watch out for that when you leave lane to take it. Cass is highly dependent on blue and if you lose it, the lane gets that much harder"

Another shield champion. Diana's Q has essentially the same range as your Q. Shorter by 20 but that's not enough to matter. What's worse is that she's packing a gap closer and has high base damage. She puts out a mix of very high burst and sustained damage thanks to her double Lunar Rush and passive ability. Try to harass her to get her to use her shield then go in when it's on cd. If she Lunar Rushes to you with her shield on cooldown drop Miasma at your feet and ult. It's possible as well to catch her with your ult while she's airborne using her own. If you can react quickly enough, that is a very good opportunity to trade up or even kill her. Make sure you ward in this matchup, her kit makes her very good at allowing her jungler to gank.

Manaless champion with one of the most ridiculous pokes. Zero aim and all of the damage. Stay away from your minions in this matchup. Bouncing blade damage adds up way too quickly for you to be getting hit all the time. This is still a matchup you'll win if you hit her with Q. She can't do enough damage to trade with you if you have your dot rolling for your Twin Fang spam. If she shunpos to you and begins to ult, be mindful of the direction she's facing. Good Katarina players will always turn away the split second before ulting rendering your ult useless from the direction you cast it. At that point your only option would be to flash away or flash towards the direction she came from so that you're facing her once again and ult from there. This is a much riskier alternative but has a large payoff if you do it correctly. The most frustrating thing about Katarina is that even if you dominate her in lane, it only takes one good team fight for her to get back into the game. As such, you want to make sure you spend some time ganking other lanes to keep the rest of her team on lock down. If you lose lane, leave and try to make up for it by getting kills for yourself or your team in other lanes. If you win lane, do the same.

DESTROY HIM! This champion is essentially useless pre-6. Make sure you spend all your time denying him farm. Good Kassadin players will generally give up a ton of farm to guarantee a safe path to level 6 and only farm with Q or E when it's up. Use this to your advantage to get very far ahead in gold and buy some defense. Push this lane hard to force kassadin to farm under tower and to buy yourself time to apply pressure in other lanes. Also ask your jungler to gank mid early to try and push kassadin out of lane. This is another matchup where hitting 6 seconds before him can result in a kill for you instantly. Triple doran's ring is pretty good here as well. After he hits 6 Kassadin becomes a much bigger pain in the ass but with good reaction time you can ult him out of his ult before his Q comes off. If you land the ult you can kill him immediately. If you were a little late and he gets the silence off while you ult him. Just hit him with Q and an E or 2 and back off.

Final Comments

Cassiopeia is a very strong champion throughout every phase of the game. Though she takes a fair amount of skill to play effectively, she is a champion worth learning and mastering as she is able to bring a lot to the table for nearly any team comp. I hope you guys enjoyed and learned something from this guide. Please leave any feedback you feel would help me improve this guide.

Comments

August 31, 2013 - 11:05 PM #1

[On Liandry's Torment]

"The DoT is completely unnecessary given that your Noxious Blast does an insane amount of damage already and you're not really lacking in the DoT damage department."



I see your point. I feel the same about, for example, building the Deathcap on LeBlanc. She isn't really lacking in the burst damage department, so why build AP on her? I prefer to build a mix of AD and tank items, that way she's versatile.



No, seriously. Are you kidding? Cassiopeia's primary strength is her DoT and Liandry's Torment adds a huge amount to that. By that incredibly stupid reasoning, we shouldn't build AD on AD carries "because they have enough AD already" and similar idiocy. I've tried it and Liandry's Torment is Cassiopeia's equivalent of the IE -- it's the damage spike, the one big item that makes you from a wimpy mid lane poker to a terrifying late game AP. Rush this item at any cost.

August 23, 2013 - 07:09 PM #2

It depends on how well they're doing. In the Kassadin and Leblanc matchups I like to push my strengths early and develop a substantial lead if at all possible. Against more adept players, this usually just results in a farmfest where you come out ahead in cs by like 20 to 30 and nothing too significant. So when champions like Kass and LB hit 6 they're still a threat. In these cases, I either finish up my Rylai's or postpone it and grab a negatron cloak which i later turn into an abysal. The health from Rylai's and the MR from negatron really help to nullify some of the damage from these high burst assassins. The rest just comes town to playing properly like ulting LB if she's trying to combo you through dash or hitting kassadin with your ulti if he tries to ult towards you.

August 2, 2013 - 01:07 AM #3

Would you rush BV against Kass or LB, considering it completely denies his ability to burst you? I mean, chances are you're getting negatron's post-6. That or NMM. So would you just stick to building chalice and going with the CDR build?

July 4, 2013 - 06:07 AM #4

Yeah I've been meaning to update the "Do Not Get" items to drop Archangels because as you said Seraph's is pretty good at times on Cass. However, Liandry's is useless. It costs too much money and doesn't fit at any time into Cassiopeia's build order. You sacrifice a lot to build it and it's not needed given how much raw damage Cassiopeia can do. The burn from Liandry's isn't worth the gold. Many of the top Cassiopeia players in the world have however built a Haunting Guise early on. Although I dislike putting off Rylai's, a Haunting Guise is not a bad buy early on if, say, you forgo one of the Doran's Rings or something to spare some cash towards it. Just because Cassiopeia has one ability that can activate the secondary condition on Liandry's isn't enough of a reason to buy it. Base stats are also kinda shitty for what you're paying.

June 30, 2013 - 07:21 PM #5

I disagree with your "Do not get" items. Archangels and Liandrys are both really good on Cassiopeia. The active from Seraph's Embrace is really useful on a champion like Cassio who can get caught easily and Liandrys synergizes great with her skillset. Her W ticks multiple times for Liandrys passive, so does her Q and her E can just get spammed to give it multiple ticks aswell. One of the strongest Cassiopeia builds is Rylais, Seraphs and Liandrys.

January 24, 2013 - 03:03 AM #6

masteries chapter needs work. Her Passive, Q and W still need work. there isn't enough information there.

January 15, 2013 - 12:56 AM #7

Where is your masteries chapter? where is the skill order chapter? both are required for approval consideration.

Remove all champion images from your runes chapter, and write in their names. those images are just wrecking the structure of the chapter.

Flash and ignite need better explanations. her passive to her E in skills need better explanations as well.

January 14, 2013 - 08:30 PM #8

good guide

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