This is my first guide, so I decided to have my favorite champion be featured. I do expect that there isn't much variation from other guides since an Akali build/guide is fairly cookie cutter, but I will explain how I always played her. I will only cover mid lane play, although it is quite common to play Akali top lane as well.
- Easy to Snowball
- Can clear waves quickly
- Can escape ganks easier than others
- Her passive provides great damage and sustain
- Doesn't need a lot of AP to be effective
- Doesn't rely on Blue Buff like other mid laners (No Mana)
- Incredibly fun to play
- Melee range versus most Ranged AP mids
- High health/resistance targets shut her down
- No significant CC
- Oracles/Vision Wards shuts down plays with Twilight Shroud (W)
- Chance that she falls off Late Game
- Laning Phase until 6 is rough
A quick video showing some of her mechanics and why she is really fun to play.
Masteries for Akali are critical to obtaining maximum potential with the champion. Because of her passive, you need 20 AP and +10 AD in order to have them active.
- Summoner's Wrath 1/1 - Always helpful if you run ignite as the extra AD and AP will benefit your passive.
- Sorcery 4/4 - Because of being a manaless champion, you have more free-reign to chain your skills together in large succession. CDR helps with this
- Blast 4/4 - Any thing adding more AP will help your damage output.
- Arcane Knowledge 1/1 - % Magic Penetration had gotten significantly better after the Season 3 patch, and even before it was a fantastic stat to have. Don't need to worry about pesky Magic Resistance now.
- Havoc 3/3 - As an assassin champion, burst damage is critical. Thereby, any amplification you can add is very good.
- Brute Force 2/2 - A critical mastery to ensure you can activate "Discipline of Might" passive
- Spellsword 1/1 - A new addition to Season 3, and very strong for Akali as she auto attacks frequently.
- Archmage 4/4 - More AP is fantastic.
- Executioner 1/1 - More damage for your burst is even better.
- Durability 4/4 - Extra health will make sure you aren't super squishy and capable of getting one-shot.
- Resistance 3/3 - Being against AP champions mid, Magic Resistance is good to mitigate some of their damage
- Hardiness 1/3 - Armor is also a good thing against basic attack poke.
- Veteran's Scars 1/1 - More health is good.
Greater Quintessence of Potency x3- In order to activate Akali's passive, you need to have 20 AP. Using just these quints gives you 15 AP, which is one step closer to activating the extra magic damage on attack passive. These are a must.
Greater Mark of Strength x7- With these marks, you get 7 AD, which when matched with the +3 AD mastery in the Offensive tree, your Spellvamp passive, "Discipline of Might" is now active. You are playing Akali wrong without these.
Greater Mark of Insight x2- As you deal primarily magic damage, extra penetration on their resistance is a good thing. Fill the last two with these.
Greater Seal of Vitality x9- Most AP's will pick up mana regen, thus still remaining squishy. Capitalize on their mana-handicap and get thick with these.
Greater Glyph of Force x7- Initially, these runes will not start to shine until middle phase of the game. But when they do, your damage will surely show.
Greater Glyph of Potency x2- With only 15 AP from the quints, these two will provide 2 more AP. Along with masteries, you will reach 20 AP to activate your extra magic damage passive, "Discipline of Force". These are great for increasing your damage at any point in game.
Ignite- The typical summoner spell to use against champions. Very helpful and recommended to get when against champions that rely on spellvamp, massive life regen or have heals (Swain & Nidalee for example).
Flash- Helps to get in and out of fights as well as chase down enemies who are out of range of your Shadow Dance. Very beneficial when being ganked and Twlight Shroud is on CD.
Ghost- Good to help chase down enemy champions that have a gap closer/expansion. Very situational.
Exhaust- Can help with chasing down enemies and silencing the ADC in team fights. However, as an assassin, using this on high priority targets will be a waste once you burst them down.
Cleanse- Helpful to break CC's when pursuing or evading a target. But as an assassin role, this seems trivial.
Law of Inverse Ninja Strength:Ninjas are more effective when they work alone. -1 health for every allied ninja. This applies only to the ninja characters: Akali, Kennen, Shen and Zed.
Passive: Twin Disciplines
Upon obtaining 20 additional ability power, Akali's hits deal 8% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 6 ability power gained thereafter. Doesn't affect turrets, but does inhibitors.
Upon obtaining 10 additional attack damage, Akali gains 8% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 6 attack damage gained thereafter.
Helps Akali scale to any part of the game, due to increased AP per level and each new item that is built on her. The early spellvamp helps provide sustain against mid lane poke, keeping you in lane longer than your opponent.
Q: Mark of the Assassin
Akali spins her kama at a target enemy to deal 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and mark the target for 6 seconds.
Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will trigger and consume the mark to cause 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and restore 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 energy.
Cost: 60 energy
Cooldown: 6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4 seconds
Akali's bread and butter: Harass/poke, extra auto attack damage, all on a low cooldown. Use this to constantly have damage on the enemy mid player. If they get too close, auto attack them in order to pop the mark on them and begin an engagement. It also gives energy back when you detonate the mark.. Ain't that handy.
W: Twilight Shroud
Akali throws down a cover of smoke that lasts for 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 armor and magic resistance and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies inside the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 / 30%.
Cost: 80 / 75 / 70 / 65 / 60 energy
A great move to help get out of sticky situations. By placing it down, you become stealthed and gain a good quantity of resistances. Helpful if you're being bombarded by AoE and to escape or sneak up on an enemy. It is to be noted that you retain stealth for a margin of a second when you exit your shroud. Use this to your advantage to enter a bush that might be next to your shroud.
E: Crescent Slash
Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 physical damage (+30% of ability power)(+60% Attack Damage).
Cost: 60 / 55 / 50 / 45 / 40 energy
Cooldown: 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 seconds
Your only ability that deals physical damage, but that isn't the main goal of it. Being AoE, with good ratios and damage, you can clear waves quickly. In addition, the damage from this works with Spellvamp, thus healing you for a good % of the damage done.
R: Shadow Dance
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100 / 175 / 250 (+50% of ability power) magic damage.
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow on kills and assists as well as every 25 / 20 / 15 seconds up to 3 total.
Cost: 1 Essence of Shadow
Cooldown: 2 / 1.5 / 1 second
One of the best mechanics around; Katarina is jealous.
Your ult does significant amounts of damage and charges up at a relatively fast pace, and is affected by CDR (both charge time and cooldown). Use this to initiate attack onto your enemy after marking them with Q. Keep in mind that Akali will begin to auto attack once she jumps. Helps snowball you during team fights as when foes fall around you, your ultimate will keep recharging.
Obviously you will always pick up your Ult at level 6 / 11 / 16. Mark of the Assassin (Q) should be your first move that you have maxed at level 9. This is because it is your best way to poke down champions and help nuke them to zero. Following, your Crescent Slash (E) will be next for extra damage and wave clearing potential, as well as more spellvamp from your passive. Twlight Shroud (W) then is last based on it being more a utility spell than an offensive move. 10 Armor/Magic Resist should suffice until level 14.
Level by Level note: " at lvl 2 or 4"
There is some debate whether to have Twilight Shroud at level 2 or at 4. I personally will take it at 4 and not over push my lane until then. However, if you are worried for the enemy jungle, if they are one to play aggressively (Maokai, Alistar, Nunu) then pick it up early to help survive an early level gank.
+ (455 gold): is a safe starting item buy that has transitioned from Season 2 to Season 3. Sustain and mobility are two good stats to have early game.
+ (470 gold): this build is if you plan to go aggressive and the enemy team might not have a strong jungle presence. With the addition +25 base movement speed each champion got for Season 3, this is a safe gamble.
+ (1350 gold): on your first back, getting a Hextech Revolver gives you more spellvamp than most extra AD and gives you the AP to make your attacks hurt even more. Sight wards are the most important thing you can buy, as it will help predict jungle ganks. Buy a ward, save a life.
Your future goals (mid game):
(2200 gold) + (2600 gold) : These two items will help you be the assassin you were born to be. With this set up, you will have enough damage and survivability to jump into the line and shut down the opposing AD carry or AP carry.
(750 gold) : Around this time, you should purchase your next tier of boots. At any time that you find yourself with extra gold, be sure to potentially pick up an enchantment; (650 gold) is my personal preference due to the chase capability that you will have.
(2900 gold) : in case of fleeing champions, the slow from this procs from each of your abilities, thus making you very exceptional at chasing. This should be picked up if you notice that you are being instantly shot down, giving you the extra health for thickness. If anything, the (1000 gold) will be a suitable alternative to the whole item for this point in the game.
(2295 gold) + (3200 gold) : Each of these items are pure offensive so you'll be able to burst down an opposing carry faster. The order of each of these should be compared to the enemy team's item composition. If Magic Resist, then Void Staff; otherwise, Rabadon's Deathcap.
Ideal End Game build (15495 gold):
Other Offensive Items:
(3000 gold) : This item is seen to be the best item on Akali, and I do agree to some extent due to your auto attacking. However, when you look at higher tier play, if you are beat down by the time you get the the enemy carry.. Then you will lose out on the damage you longed to achieve. This is my personal preference to play defensively. Feel free to drop one of the other items in order to pick this up if you want a glass cannon strategy.
(2900 gold) : One of the new items of Season 3. Providing health and flat magic penetration, this is a very good item for AP players. Despite saying this, I feel that it is misplaced by having it on Akali. Unlike other champions that will rely on skill shots and other forms of consistent poke damage, Akali is focused on quick burst. Pick it up if you want to.
Other Defensive Items:
(3100 gold) : This item is a solid choice for a chunk of AP and some armor to withstand the Bruiser & AD carry attack. The active on this item is good for awaiting a cooldown or time for your energy to refresh. However, every second you are frozen in gold then you aren't dealing damage, and once the duration ends then you will be easily focused down. The same thing can be said for Guardian Angel, so feel free to switch out this for that.
(1200 gold) : In case you are constantly CC'ed on your kill path to the enemy target, these boots will help your escapade. The MR will help in lane against other mids, while the tenacity will ensure you aren't fully halted by enemy resistance. Situational.
(2650 gold) : See below section.
Void Staff vs. Abyssal ScepterThis is a hot topic for AP players. The huge point the scaling of each of the items, and each of the perks they provide:
- Rips through magic resistance like butter
- However, it is single target
- If the enemy buys more magic resistance, you still can go through it
- Target's effective MR vs Void Staff (With two Negatrons , 90 MR) = 59 MR
- AoE magic resistance reduction
- Provides yourself with extra resistances
- Does not do well against champions stacking resistances
- Target's effective MR vs Abyssal (With two Negatrons , 90 MR) = 70 MR
The math is essentially this:
(100 - your % magic penetration) * Enemy's Magic Resistance = Enemy's effective Magic Resistance
Therefore, when an enemy has lower magic resistance would be more susceptible to the effects of Abyssal Scepter rather than an enemy with a higher magic resistance.
High MR target = Void Staff
Lower MR target = Abyssal Scepter
Mid Lane Matchups
Team Fights: The Role of the Assassin/Anti-Carry
Final CommentsI want to thank you for reading this guide, and I hope that I can at least have one player do well in a game because of me.
If you have any comments on my build, or what I stated, or if I was completely wrong about something.. Please leave what you have to say below in the comment section, and I will be sure to respond.
Enjoy playing as the the "Fist of Shadow"!
Logs[12/5/2012] Added YouTube video, finished sections on Skills/Runes/Masteries/Items; Went live.
[12/xx/2012] Added Gameplay strategies.