IntroductionThis is my new guide for Cassiopeia.
Cassiopeia is a very underplayed for no reason. She can be situational at times, especially against tanky and high mobility teams, but her high sustained damage combined with burst through ultimate/twin fang and her kiting abilities make her strong throughout the game, especially in early and mid. However, like most squishy APs, hard CC and spellshields can give her a hard time. Cassiopeia is one of the strongest 1v1 and 1-2v2 champs of the game.
Her laning phase is quite strong due to her high range, low cooldown, low manacost spammable nukes. That said, she is one of the strongest and most dangerous picks for mid.
- decent burst damage
- good chaser/kiter
- high sustained damage (way higher than most AP caster)
- good farmer
- good pusher if needed
- high teamfight capabilities
- high duel capabilities
- predictable autohit animation > easy to lasthit
- great range with most of her abilities
- safe harassment > easy lane dominance
- mana issues early, especially with over
- needs to hit in order to deal damage > skillshot - reliant
- spellshields and can ruin her rotation
- no real escape tools
- easily countered by CC
- high mobility and gapclosers counter her
- no real hard CC; ultimate is too easy to dodge (cast time)
- hard to play > high skill cap, can get tricky in stressful situations
- low range buggy ultimate
Is just necessary. Cass has no in-build escape and this one is the best for re-positioning and escaping.
You can get out of sticky situations and you can get in for your ultimate or to finish off enemies.
Against sustains, heals and to add to your burst. Usually best choice after flash.
If the enemy team consists of plenty of (hard) CC. You shouldn't pick Cassiopeia against such teams anyway.
Decent but won't give you much because speeds you up anyway.
Against some setups it might be nice to be able to heal up a lot more and/or gank sideless from behind.
Can be nice if your team has none and the enemy team consists of 2+ high damage ADs.
Can be used to counter certain high cooldown burst-focused enemies like .
MasteriesAll of your skills scale greatly with AP and you don't really need CDR. Thats why we can rush into Offense. It's pretty similar to S2. Pictures will follow.
Offense: pretty obvious, maximum damage, 5% spell damage should be superior to 1.5 AP
Summoner's Wrath: 5 AP early is a nice boost.
Sorcery: 3/4-4/4: depends on how many points you want to spend into Mental Force. Sometimes 1% CDR makes the difference, sometimes 2 AP right at the start.
Havoc: 2% damage are 2% damage, that's about it.
Arcane Knowledge: 8% magic pen increases all of your damage and scales nicely with everything else
Utility: 10% CDR for Ignite and Flash should outweigh 108 mana by far.
RunesMy usual rune setup:
- Flat AP (5) Quintessences. Lane Dominance.
- Manaregen/per level Seals. Lane Dominance and sustain throughout the game.
- MR/level Glyphs. Against your lane and some defense is always great. Having 54 instead of 30 MR wins you games.
- Magic Penetration Marks. Obvious choice here.
You can consider changing around everything except marks and seals. I strongly recommend taking magic penetration and manaregeneration per level.
- flat manaregen: stronger early but weaker mid game
- flat armor: for top lane
Yeah I know, alot of people (including Reginald) think flat manaregen > scaling manaregen. However, the mana costs at first levels are too low to get you in trouble usually and later on, if you don't have blue 24/7, you might run out of mana without scaling manaregen. Happened a lot of times (and yeah, happened in high elo streams as well).
Finally, this ones are up to your taste but there are reasons for both.
- Flat Magic Resistance - for strong early game casters like
- Magic Resistance per level - get better than flat MR at level 9/10, might help in mid/late game
- AP/level - not SUCH a great difference, but can help in midgame; I prefer taking magic resistance though
- Movement Speed - Cassio is a great chaser and this helps even more
- Fortitude (Flat Health) - never needed the extra survivability, can be used against for instance
- Magic Penetration as well - flat AP should deal more damage since you take at least , very situational choice
Smartcasting 2 waysIn case I didn't mention it 1000 times throughout the guide (which I am pretty sure I did):
Use smartcast on Cassiopeia!
This means, everytime you use your press shift while casting it and your mouse cursor is in the right direction/on the right target. This way your casts are used instantly instead of giving you a crossfire or pattern. This helps you using insanely fast one after another and helps your + actions.
Note: You can aswell reassign your skills' smartcast to W, E and R. Uses some practice though.
I got used to my playstyle via Shift+Key and find it more easily. I know some might find this ineffective, it's personal taste in the end.
Sources of Damage
Magic damage. Multiple targets. High range.
1s delay, 3s dot. Move as much as possible during your cooldowns so you can catch up and still deal damage.
15% slow. 50%+ uptime.
4% effective spellvamp per target.
5% HP per target
Magic damage. Multiple targets. High range.
0,5-1s delay, adds 2 ticks if standing in it. Adds vision.
25-30% slow. 15-80% uptime.
4% effective spellvamp per target.
3,7-11,7% HP per target
Magic damage. Single target. Medium range. High mana cost. Abuse
15% slow. 20-100% uptime depending on poison/CD reset.
12% effective spellvamp.
Magic damage. Can hit multiple targets. Low range.
Stunning @90° but sometimes not even at @0° (= facing you). High risk, high reward spell, shouldn't be used for damage only unless you can't kill your target another way.
65-70% slow if not stunned. ~2% uptime.
4% effective spellvamp per target.
5% HP per target
Passive: Deadly Cadence
After casting a spell any subsequent spellcasts will cost 10% less for 5 seconds. This ability stacks up to 5 times.
Amazing passive. Since you will use a lot of abilities for one kill and in teamfights, this will come in handy. You will need mana regeneration seals too, inspite of this passive.
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.
One of the hardest to hit abilities with a LOT of damage. The hit radius is quite high so get used to it. You can get a lot unexpected kills out of it. Try to get used to your enemy's avoid and dodge behaviour, so you can predict his movements at some point in the game and hit a lot, usually drawing him/her from lane time to time and getting advantage - if not even get a kill out of it. Try not to push while farming minions with this too much. Until level 6 you are very vulnerable to ganks.
Its quite a nice harassment tool, but consider the self sustain abilities of some champions.
Noxious blast is also an incredible chasing and escaping tool, thanks to its speed buff. This can also be used to avoid retaliation after a quick harass.
See also: Video 2.
Cassiopeia releases a growing cloud of poison that last for 7 seconds. Any enemy that passes through it is poisoned for 2 seconds, dealing 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 (+15% Ability Power) each second and slowing them by 15% / 20% / 25% / 30% / 35
% contious exposure renews this poison.
One of the most underestimated skills in the game. The damage is decent even on rank 1. You should use this to block paths, chase down runners, slow down someone whos after you. In Teamfights, try to hit as many opponents as possible. Useful to farm caster minions too, just throw it in the center of a group of 3 caster minions.
Remember, the less room for your enemy to move, the better for you. Try to deny last hits or block pathes and force them to move on a certain path, making it easier for you to hit with . You can also use this defensively when someone dives you or while being chased - a small choke behind you is the place where you want this to place.
You can use this in conjunction with x1-3 to finish off low opponents.
You might want to consider that this spell is probably the highest duration-damage over time spell in the game (maximum: 7 seconds).
See also: Video 4.
Use this to check certain positions, since it reveals its location - especially useful for dragon, baron and brushes.
E: Twin Fang
Cassiopeia deals 50 / 85 / 120 / 155 / 190 (+55% Ability Power) magic damage to her target. If the target is poisoned then Twin Fang's cooldown is reduced to .5 seconds..
Decent burst damage with effectively 0 cooldown if done right. Assure you have ALWAYS a poison ( and work as well) up to land this. Rather wait and execute Q first instead of spamming E all the way, ending up with a missing noxious blast and 4 seconds cooldown. You don't want this, believe me. Having a poison on your target is always worth delaying it by 1 or 2 seconds.
Can be used to finish off opponents which flashed away right before the animation so try to use this as much as you can if you're unsure whether a flash is about to go off or not.
If you are not sure whether you can get a kill through your skillshots, use this if you are absolutely certain you can kill your target with it.
R: Petrifying Gaze
Petrifying GazeCassiopeia deals 200/325/450 (+60% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies in front of her. Enemies facing her are stunned for 2 seconds while enemies facing away are slowed by 60%.
Its either a "get out of the jail free card" or "I flip out and kill some people" - spell. If you can land its stun, you should usually kill anyone afterwards. Even if you only slow someone, it helps alot.
Winning teamfights is usually this: number of enemies hit by stun times 20%. This is one of the reasons Cassio is a real beast in teamfights. It works well if
- the enemy team is chasing you
- you are able to flash right in front of them while running from your team, but hard to land and very risky
- the enemy team is chasing one of your allies in front of the brush where you are awaiting them (works very often!)
- youre fighting in a small choke
- an enemy tower is about to go down and some of them are still standing there - you can flash in and ulti directly after, followed by your usual rotation
Remember you are squishy, even with this build. So don't get to confident while getting in position for this OR dealing damage while its off (and you stunned successfully). In most cases you should get a safe distance, from where you can start dealing and .
It has a casttime of roughly 0,5-0,7 seconds so prepare that your stun could miss.
Skill OrderI max right away to farm and harass safely, followed by for more burst damage in midgame and after getting an early point in at level 4, maxing it last. Skill whenever possible of course.
You can go the other way around when you feel confident to get early kills with maxing first. Then it would look like this:
Item BuildsThe release of new items made Cassiopeia a scarier monster than what she already was. I re-arranged a lot of stuff and put in alternatives to the previous build, which contribute far better to her skillset and make you a very dangerous mage in late game as well.
+ - I usually run this.
You can also start with against low harassment champions or melees.
This does even make more sense now since boots only give 25 MS and your brings you up to speed with your opponent, if not above.
Boot Enchantment (end of mid game):
or - more kiting, more chasing. The only thing except less CD via you might want to have.
Abyssals passive and the combination of decent AP and defense make up for a great mid game item, which should help you outtrade mid lane. Since Cassios base damage is very high, the passive will make a difference.
A couple worthwile items:
Use your own judgement when to buy this or not. It's only effective when the spell vamp can make a difference in surviving a lot longer - AP wise, it's an expensive item. If the enemy team has lots of burst and CC, you might rather invest in something that will make you tanky.
This is AMAZING for Cassiopeia, as you will constantly attack your opponent. This makes you a late game monster. It's always easy to hit someone with a few spells, but the impact is now far greater. Especially with your whole multi-target damage, this gets very nasty. On top of that HP and spell penetration, which is far stronger after patch. Lets you even deal high damage while kiting someone. Keep in mind: the damage decreases over time and focusing CC'ed enemies with it will double the impact.
Obvious choice, but get it after you reached something like 200 AP. It has become expensive for the stats it gives (pure AP only) and since you aren't the only damage dealer in your team, and you need other stats as well, consider this a late mid or late game item. Spell penetration should do it until then.
Has become a lot stronger since the spell penetration rework. Getting this early along with a few flat magic penetration items might be considered by you. Use your own judgement. It's generally wise to pick up when more 2+ enemies have 100 MR or above. After obtaining a reasonable amount of AP, of course.
Will delay your build about some time, but buying it early lets you farm more easily and get a lot earlier.
Nice active for teamfights and assassins and a huge manapool and AP boost. This one makes a great late game item. However, this item gives you ZERO defense unless you have the active - which CD is quite high.
In case of getting focused, 1 extra HP/Def item is never a bad idea. If enemy burst mages or AD Casters burn you down fast, HP is the way to go:
gives you a decent amount of mana, health and AP. Nice extra damage with .
gives you another chunk of health and AP. The reason for this item is simply the amazing slow from it. Every spell slows your opponent, so they have a hard time escaping you. Deadly choice when combined with .
You need tenacity? Get one of those. The latter adds some HP, baron/drake damage and sustain, you might want to consider that.
I usually get if they have someone with hefty burst or if they have a lot of ADs. Surviving the initial meltdown and retaliate right after is priceless. But since you can't cast within this, and Cassio is an active mage using a lot of spells, it doesn't come in so handy like it would for other AP Champions. Consider whether it gives you more than the alternatives. Nice against any overfed AD/huge burst setups though.
against certain debuffs like 56 MR sounds much but it's only worth it against certain CCs (suppressions, stuns) and of course, debuffs.
if they always focus you no matter the cost. This will help either you (you get ignored) or your team (you get focused and the enemies are using a lot of spells and summoners exclusively for you and you still can deal some damage after the initial burst).
Cassiopeia should go mid or solo top, as you need as much farm as you can get to be fully effective. If you MUST go duo lane I recommend someone with either hefty crowd control or something supportive (, , e.g.). But usually it is the AD Carry that gets bottom lane.
Never overextend, especially if there are misses (this includes the enemy jungler). You can zone opponents but do this while you know where everyone is.
Never ever push to far. You want the enemy to stand rather near your tower (without denying you) than at his. Try to farm as much as you can - last hitting via autohit should be enough for the first minutes, sometimes you can kill the caster minions through +. Set up a or two to avoid being ganked by a jungler and/or sidelanes.
Harassment, Facechecking, Zoning
Spare at least enough mana to finish off one opponent and harrass when you hit level 2. You should normally harass with a combo of ++++, so your will work out rather than pulling off a now and then.
However, this will change when you got your , which will give you much more freedom regarding mana. Try to have up if you want to someone.
If you can force someone back to base, its quite good. You must not kill them to take advantage. Always try to be ahead in gold, xp and even tower HP if you can effort it.
See also: Video 3.
You can check brushes with (buff!) and (line of sight).
If you are getting for a kill, try to first stun them with . After that, throw on them but the center of it right behind so they are slowed and poisoned at the same time. Use + and move towards your enemy after every spellcast. Try to cast into their way, not onto them. If your enemy's flash is on cooldown, you can flash+ignite in certain situations, but when you do so or even towerdive, make sure you get the kill or it's not worth it at all.
Don't forget to autohit them while using spells, it can make a difference between getting a kill and your enemy escaping.
See also: Video 1.
Ganks and tower dives on you
If you are getting ganked, use and to escape. If you think you can't make it to your tower just in time or you would get hurt too much while running away, try to kill one or scare them off. Sometimes its better than dying frightened of your enemies. You can kite certain enemies around your tower if you manage to hit them with and/or .
Use between the wall and your tower to block the path and run around back and forth.
Always remember you deal some damage over time. Enemies often make the mistake of not running back soon enough and die on while retreating.
If you can take advantage of your lane, feel free to gank a lot. Push your lane as hard as you can while your enemy is dead/at base/hugging the tower scared of you while you run over the map and help your mates. Assuming your stuns, you should be able to get a kill/assist or two.
Be patient. You will destroy most of your enemies in 1v1. If you are not in range for 20 enemy minions or the enemy tower, you will usually get kills of any cocky enemy that is trying to kill you. Exceptions: , , .
Counterplay and CounterpickVery easy:
Mid Game and Teamfights
Regarding wards and laning
Dragon should be warded, special crossroads and red/blue buff maybe too.
You shouldn't leave your lane too often, since you must farm. Try to help your lanes though if necessary.
Positioning in teamfights,
Teamfights should now occur more often. Try always to stay at the back of your team, but make sure you can chase down runners. If you decide to its mandatory you hit as many enemies with your stun as you can. Stunning 3-5 of them usually results in an ace or a lot of kills. Of course, + should hit as many as possible.
Depending on the situation, you don't want to be hit by Area-CC and never get caught off-guard, which means if they have a Malzahar/Warwick/Annie etc. you don't want to be in range for their hard-CC. The only reason to sacrifice yourself for a kill is when their 20-0-10 (e.g.) Twitch is showing up and you know you can destroy him in your ulti duration. In every other situation you must stand on a safe position and nuke a squishy target from the back, but don't hesitate to kill a cocky tank that is far out of position, like charging into your team without backup. If the Teamfight goes well, go into a more aggressive state and prepare to hunt - with your skills and you can excel at chasing runners and prepare kills for your team/yourself.
In case you get focused - Cassiopeia has a map wide area taunt with the duration of a game's length - make them pay for it so your team can finish off the leftovers. If nothing helps, and are always an option.
At the very start of any teamfight, pick a squishy target (mostly their AD or AP Carry) that you will focus down without endangering yourself - alternatives are assasins diving onto your AD Carry. Punish them for that. If they don't and no one is going to CC or focus you, it's most likely a free kill, depending on your movement prediction. Cassiopeia is capable of high dmg without a real cooldown, so feel free to just steamroll your opponent. But don't get cocky on that. Experience is the key to estimate the damage you can take and how long. If you get in a bad position, this might not be worth it.
Everyone that is in melee range or close to that should be an easy target. Try always to nuke as much as you can since Cassio is a very active Champion and never an unpoisoned target. If you can make it near an harmless enemy without endangering yourself, it makes pulling off your rotation of a lot easier.
Nothing new here, except that warding and taking baron and dragon is key. You should analyse which enemy is the greatest threat to your team and kill him right off - it usually should be their AD Carry. Just ++++ him/her right away and try to stun as many opponents as possible without overextending too much.
Never ever run solo across the map though (well you shouldn't do this in mid game as well), since you will likely get ganked. Don't ever check brushes if you don't know whether you survive the initial burst of all enemies missing.
Your team should ward a lot of key spots. Try to bait them into the jungle or setup an ambush at baron or dragon. Make sure there are no wards that could make your plans obsolete (oracle!).
If you are able to pull it off, you can stun the enemy team while either defending your turret or while you dive them.
Defense and Offense
Defense becomes more important, since you can spread havoc with 400 AP (well you should have more now) like no other AP Caster is capable of. Try to get one or two pieces to counter the strongest enemy champ. Or make yourself a less attractive target with and . You can easily pentakill teams if you survive. Make sure you focus the same targets as your team. I made the experience that Cassio synergizes well with heavy AP nukers - they get everyone low, you finish them off thanks to your constant DPS and "fill the gaps".
From mid til lategame, you should be able to take enough damage from one enemy, survive, and get him down. However, you shouldn't tank. Just keep in mind that it's better to rather nuke someone instead of running. Since most of your spells have the potential of hitting multiple enemies, you should take advantage of this. There aren't many exceptions, but depending on your itemization you should come along against most champions. Certain champions like and will take you down in no time, so make sure there is always some kind of CC from one of your teammates around you.
Video Section 1Video 1: Flash Ultimate Kill
Video 2: Noxious Blast
Final CommentsThere is only one way to make Cassiopeia effective: practise practise practise! At the beginning, Cassio can be very frustrating, but the effort to learn and master her pay off if you show patience.
At last, give me feedback so I can improve this guide as much as I can!