IntroductionMalphite is a tank that hits hard, and moves quick. Don't let his rocky appearance fool you, if you are being chased by one, it is rare that you will escape if he manages to get his seismic shard off. He is great for damage output, and has one of the best and most damaging initiations in the game. While not a carry, he is one of those tanks that can be a strong reason why you can't down the enemy team if he is there.
Despite Malphite's simplistic play-style, many lack the proper positioning with him, and aren't as aggressive/defensive enough to properly play him. The reason for this guide is to help others with him. While I'm not the best out there, he is one of the only champions that I've been constantly complimented on, and he was the second champion I actually purchased (a week before he became flavor of the month), so I have a fair amount of knowledge of this champion.
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MasteriesI put 21 in defense, making sure to add extra to life, as well as armor and magic resist to make him a little bit tankier early game. the MR helps with his low base MR, though it won't make any major game changes. Arnor synergizes will with Malphite, and Tenacity is a must on all tanks.
The 9 in Utility increases his mana regen and pool, which helps his harass early game, especially with the help from the runes he has.
RunesI focus heavily on mana regen runes due to Malphite's low mana pool, and high costs early game. Much of his lane sustainability relies heavily on early game harass, and with this, he can throw out a few shards to worry foes, as well as having a safe amount for any trouble that you might run into. This works wonders with getting and having the mana to use your ult once level six if present in lane the majority of the time.
Movespeed quints are pretty versatile for each champ, and work wonders in Malphite's shard poking ability.
This is for a more offensive style with Malphite, and ignite is pretty situational. I do it to ensure first blood at six. Hitting your ult , alongside ground slam and shard , with an ignite usually drops most squishies. In addition, it will help for those one on one encounters. Exhaust is another good choice here, though I prefer it only when knowing what the enemy team will be, or if my team lacks one.
Ghost is obvious for its uses. It will greatly help Malphite rush into battle, and make use of bad team positioning. In addition, he can chase an opponent down, and shard them to make sure they don't get away. In addition, if you are caught overextended (which is pretty rare, since it is very difficult to successfully gank Malphite), you can easily escape to safety. However, you should not find this a reason to get cocky. While it's hard to kill Malphite without two or three people, it's not impossible.
Optional spells are...
- Flash : A good escape and a great way into range for another skill. It's really not that hard to advance with Malphite though, so I don't use it that often.
- Fortify : Typical defensive skill. I don't particularly like using this, but if you are used to playing super defensive, an ult with this will work wonders
- Clarity : Something okay to use for your lane partner, and if you lack runes. You can drop ignite for it, and it will help sustain a lane early game if you can't afford T3's yet.
- Clairvoyance : I've seen some Malphite's use this, and it can work with bush-checking, but it's not as conventional for him, though works well for your team still.
- Teleport : Another ability I prefer to stay away from on him, but it does help him stay mobile around the map, and he can teleport into wards for secret ganks.
Passive: Granite Shield
Malphite is shielded by a layer of rock which absorbs damage up to 10% of his maximum health. If he has not been hit for 12 seconds, this effect recharges.
Explanation:A very good passive that should be taken advantage of. Early game, make sure to not overextend and keep this constantly up. If it breaks, fall back a bit. It's basically an extra burst of health that will regen constantly. You can tell if it's down by your characters sprite, it will variate from it's original appearance. The standard will look sort of like a fire-esque version, much like the image I have above.
Q: Seismic Shard
Deals 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and steals 14 / 17 / 20 / 23 / 26% movement speed from the target for 4 seconds.
Cost 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90mana
Explanation:Definitely Malphite's core skill (outside his ult). He is most known for this, and this will be the majority of his harassing. Early game it hits hard, and late game it might not be as effective in damage, but it is still useful. It's a skill that you can safely hit, and run away from, as it will follow an opponent through any maneuver they make. This means that if they flash away after you click, you will get that hit. A real good skill to finish off that enemy that might get away. In addition, it will be the core of controlling the enemies positions after initiation, as well as setting up for following skills such as ground smash. The shard steals speed from the user, and can be strategically used to escape dangerous situations, and should be. Overall, most reliable skill, and it's versatility is why it should be maxed ASAP.
W: Brutal Strikes
Passive: Malphite's attacks hit units near his target for 30 / 38 / 46 / 54 / 62% of his attack damage.
Active: Increase Malphite's armor and attack damage 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40% for 6 seconds.
Cost 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 / 75mana
Explanation:IMO, not that reliable as a skill, but sets a good balance for how powerful his other skills are. This really does help for late game farming, and wave clearing, though by that time you should have a sunfire to do this anyways. Late game, it should be used right before initiating fights, and it will keep you strong for a few seconds to follow. Obviously not that effective on AP champs. It is picked last due to it's splash effect that will unwillingly push lanes. Late game, pushing is encouraged, and thus it's a late game skill.
E: Ground Slam
Malphite slams the ground dealing 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+50% of his Armor) magic damage to surrounding enemies, reducing their attack speed by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% for 4 seconds.
Cooldown 8 seconds
Cost 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 mana
Explanation:Ground slam is a very good wave clearer, and damage dealer. This skill really has an ironic damage output, as it scales off armor, yet deals magic damage. Due to Malphite's tank status, this will most likely be the core of your damage late game, though it really is difficult to land a hit on someone trying to run. This skill should always immediately follow your ult for maximal damage on the enemy team. Mid and late game, this will be an ability that will be as frequently used as shard.
R: Unstoppable Force
Malphite charges towards the target area, dealing 200 / 300 / 400 (+100% of ability power) magic damage and knocking enemies into the air for 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 seconds.
Cooldown 130 / 115 / 100 / 110seconds
Explanation:Malphite's signature move that really makes him as a champion. Unstoppable force is an AOE dash that will hit the spot your click inside of the blue ring. If you click outside the blue area, it will run until that point is in the targeting circle, and dash towards it. All foes in the impact circle will be knocked up for a brief moment. For an initiation, it does awesome damage, and definitely starts a team fight well. In fact, unless your team is drastically losing, a well placed ult, will end the fight in your favor. Due to it acting as a blink, it can technically throw you over walls, as well as away from a given point, meaning it can be a good escape, as well as a secret attack from over the wall. Late game it's cooldown is roughly a minute, and if you are in a situation to be picked, use it to escape, as it will usually be up in time for the next fight.
Skill OrderThe skill order it fairly obvious. Max shard to decrease its cooldown, and increase its damage. Mana cost will also increase, but with your runes, its consumption is far less noticeable. Ground slam follows, and will give you that situational push opportunity. Place into your ult whenever possible to set Malphite up for early initiations, and early kills. As mentioned earlier, brutal strikes is always last to be placed into for unwanted pushing prowess, and it's usefulness not being as prevalent as other skills.
Items BuildsStarting Items: Doran's Shield or Doran's Ring or Cloth Armor + 5 Health Pots
Doran's items are usually preferred due to their extra health, which in turns adds more to Malphite's passive. Depending on their team (and how I aggressive I want to be), I will choose shield or ring. Ring really helps while duo laning and holding harass on opponent. A 2v1 lane usually requires the shield to for sustainability.
Boots: Sorc Shoes or Mercury Treads
The boots are opponent dependent. If they don't have any real hard CC, grab Sorcerers shoes for increased damage on opponents. Many underestimate what his damage is, and having that increased penetration will definitely make you hurt more. This is a rare situation though, and you will most likely be using Mercury Treads for the majority of games.
Core Items: Sunfire Cape + Force of Nature + Frozen Heart
Sunfire synergizes well with Malphite and increases his farming potential and overall damage output. Rushing this makes it really easy to clear waves, especially when brutal strikes isn't taken till late game. Force of nature is always a good choice, and will keep his health consistently at good levels, it also makes up for his low starting MR. However, this item isn't a priority when the source of their damage is from AD carries.
An update on 8/19/2011: I changed out Randuin's for Frozen Heart. Randuin's nerfs made it sub-par to the resourcefulness and usefulness of Frozen Heart. I used FH at the beginning before Malphite nerfs, and it really worked well on him. The increased mana pool allows for a great supply of harass, and the cooldown reduction works wonders for picking off stragglers and maintaining frequent ults in supply. In addition, the armor is more than Randuin's would give (in which we all know is a very good attribute on Malphite) for a cheaper price, and better items prior to the completion of the item. Another thing is the attack speed slow it grants on hit will work well if you are successfully maintaining agro of the enemy team.
Against Physical Team: Thornmail and Randuin's Omen
As usual, thornmail is an easy counter to physical champions, and with Malphite's high armor, it will increase his resistance as well as damage output. Carries like Ashe will find it difficult to kite him at this rate, especially with his ability to close gaps extremely fast.
An update on 9/19/11: Randuin's Omen. Formerly, Randuin's belonged to core build, but I have experimented and felt that after the nerfs of Randuin's, it works better situationaly. The armor is a good asset to Malphite, and the active is great late game, especially when a full build is near completion. For a build order, I usually prefer getting Warden's Mail prior to the HoG, but if money is a problem, build the early HoG for the extra cash.
Against AP Team: Banshees Veil
Another high MR item that offers protection from a spell. Kind of a no brainer here.
Situational: Guardian's Angel + Zhonya's Hourglass + Abyssal Scepter
Most of the aforementioned items also fit into here, but are definitely required against certain teams, thus their positioning above. Guardian Angel, while good, is really only necessary if you are sustaining heavy damage, and falling rather quickly after initiation. For the most part, I find Banshees more useful than this. Zhonya's is really only if you are destroying the other team. It's definitely a 5th or 6th item, with previous items being much more potent on him. Very good if you are carrying as Malphite. Abyssal Scepter is in a similar situation with Zhonya's, except with more preference to assist your team. In addition, it will help greatly against AP team comps.
Build OrderStart: Doran's or Cloth Armor + 5 Health Pots
First Back: Boots or Chain Vest (if you have enough money). If you are forced to back early, pick up a ward and some health pots .
Second back: Gaint's Belt + Health pots + Wards . If heavy harass from AP, Negatron Cloak.
From there, you will start to finish out your core items, starting with Sunfire , and then proceeding into Randuins or FoN , whatever is more necessary at the time. If they lack any noteworthy AP, skip FoN for late game, and get Randuins followed by either Banshees or Thornmail .
T2 Boots follows your first finished core item.
After two of your core items are built, or nearly complete, feel free to dig into situational items, as it will usually be this time where you understand the strengths of your opponents, and necessities of your team.
Early GameDespite Malphite's reputation of being a "super-pusher" early game, he doesn't really fit that role. Despite being a tank, he is surprisingly easy to burst at level 1-2. In such case, you should be aware of your positioning and opponents. If you are going against AP users, try to keep away, as you lack proper MR to tank much damage. This is also the most critical time to maintain your passive . When your armor is broken, step back, and just stay in EXP range. Remember to occasionally shard the more susceptible opponent as well. If you are against a Sona+Alistar combo, don't worry about sharding them, just focus on the minions, because you won't be able to take them down unless they make a stupid mistake.
For item's, Doran's shield is best for a solo lane, and Doran's ring is best for a duo lane.
After you get past level 3, you start to achieve that tankiness, and if you are laning against squishies, you should be able to zone to an extent. Just watch positioning, and continue to shard . A technique I frequently use, is the shard and run. Click an opponent that is out of range of your ability, and let Malphite run and start the attack, immediately proceed to run away, as you will steal their speed, and safely escape, offering free harass. Keep pressure on a single opponent, and watch your mana, making sure to keep around 50-80 in reserve.
At level six, you will get your ult , and you can end that harassed opponents life usually. If they are at full health, just start picking away at them. With a jungle gank, or a partner, you will usually be able to kill them with ease. Once you start getting a feel for his damage output, you can even solo an over-exteneded opponent, with a combination that goes Shard > Brief Pause > Ult > Ground Slam > Shard > Ignite . Most of the time, it won't require the full attack. In addition, it is this time where you can push with relative easy, without fearing a gank. You have ult to escape, the damage to ward off opponents, and the tankiness to take the damage - so get out there and use those traits.
Don't feel inclined to immediately use the ult upon receiving it, as it can be a life-saver for a solo lane. If they are pushing hard, wait for them to make the mistake of hitting you in turret range. Ult in and proceed to unleash hell. Ult should also be used in-case you are dove, and there have been times where I have gotten double kills off of opponent cockiness.
Mid GameMid-game is a situational stage, that depends on your teammates standing. Most of the time, I find it a good time to farm minion waves (with ), especially as it will be close to where I grab Sunfire cape . If your allies are still well-off, and laning, don't bother too much going out of your way to get ganks. An occasional one is good, but I prefer to push and farm to get the tanking items that will really keep me strong.
However, if your team is constantly getting into fights of two or three, back out and help them. In some cases, you may have to save farming until you even the odds with the enemy team. Unless they are insanely fed, you can still prove a force to be reckoned with by having your ult. And unless you are by yourself, many won't dare pushing.
Late GameLate game should be the time where you lead pushes with your team, and stay relatively close to your carries. You will be leading teamfights with your ult , and most of the time deciding picks. With your versatility, you may very well end up being the leader of battles. Occasionally you can wander and push lanes. Since Malphite is rather good as escaping ganks, he can split push well with his ability to clear mobs in a few seconds late game. Having 3-4 mid, will pushing a side lane works wonders.
In addition, make sure you protect from picks, if you have to, ult in and shard to ward off an attacker or two. Be wary of your initiations and keep a good eye on the map. Don't always try to attack every opponent you see, because though you are a damage dealing tank, it doesn't mean you should be playing dumb, especially late game, where you plateau in damage.
Team FightsTeam fighting follows his standard burst procedure with a small variation. Typically it is: Brutal Strikes > Ult > Ground Slam > Shard squishy. And from their you protect your team, as well as constantly fire out ground slam and shard. Most of the time you will gain aggro from your ult, which what you want.
Try to land your ult on groups of three or more, or two bunches squishies. Rarely should it focus on one person, unless you are going for a pick. If you must, use it to save an ally.
A good thing to watch for is counter ganking with your ult . Pay attention to any movements, and subtle baits. If you suspect that a few could be in a bush, let your team know then ult. I have had a few games where I ult into a bush where all five of them are, and we ace them with no causalities. This surprise usually disorients them, and sends them fleeing rather than trying to fend off and fight.
Overall, he isn't hard on how to preform skills, it is primarily practice and knowing how to position him that will make you better in team fights.
JunglingWhile he can jungle, it isn't preferred. He is slow, and really only is good for his sustainability from attackers, as well as post-level 6 ganking. He constantly is forced to go back, and is always in need of blue to work his rounds. Also, why would you pull a super-laner out of the lane?
Final CommentsIn essence, Malphite isn't really a hard champion, just one that needs to be toyed around with a little. Play a few games with him, follow what I have mapped out, and you'll be that person that consistently gets first blood if no one else gets it by your level 6. Thanks for reading, and remember, stay rock hard :).