IntroductionHey, Laserpig here, this is my first guide for LoL, so please feel free to let me know if I forgot anything by adding/messaging me on League (I play on NA servers, so you won't find "Laserpig" in any of the EU servers, or at least not the right Laserpig =P). As a long-time Cho player who loves him AP mid, I recently began to look for another AP mid Cho guide in an attempt to see if anyone else was doing this, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. I was sorely disappointed by the results that came up: The top hit guide on google had not been updated in almost two years, and many of the others either focused on building him tanky with a bit of AP as a supplement, or just plain failed to go into any type of depth, leaving you with nothing but runes, masteries, and skill order, with a few outdated item tips tacked on to the end, including ridiculous choices such as Malady, Wit's End and Guinsoo's Rageblade. This guide is being created to correct that sad truth. This guide is not about "the best", "the easiest" or "the most consistently good" way to play Cho'gath, so don't rush to downvote just because you think Tank Cho is more viable or that Frozen Heart should be part of the build (all of those are matters of opinion anyways). This guide is about how to play AP Mid Cho in a manner that, if you play well, will allow you to carry the team with ridiculous amounts of AOE CC damage and potentially instant-kill AD carries (always useful in teamfights). If you are new to Cho, I suggest you take the skill usage tips from this guide, but for items start out with a different guide: Purely AP cho takes practice and experience to play, and is more an expansion to your repertoire of "ways to play Cho'gath" than a way to learn him at first (Though it is possible to learn him this way as well, please, do it on a smerf!). That said, he can be ridiculously fun and horrifically overpowered, so let's get started.
The beginning of season three was a sad day for Cho'gath. His silence duration was decreased by .5 seconds at all ranks, and Nashor's Tooth no longer grants Mana Regeneration. This, combined with the preseason nerf to his early-game passive and Nashor's CDR punches a decent-sized hole in some of the key things that made him such a powerhouse in Midlane, but never fear: Choggers lives on! My best advice to compensate for these things is to bump Ionian boots of Lucidity up on your list of viable boots for the extra CDR, something that I should have added to the guide since ive been doing it ALOT lately. As I have found out the Morellnomicon kind of sucks, the only way to compensate for the removal of Mana Regen from Nashor's is to be a little less liberal with your spell usage. In the meantime I will continue to test out other possible ways to compensate for these nerfs, but please be patient as I only have so much time for testing.
Upcoming Updates: (as of 3/1/2013)
The chapter comparing the Morellnomicon with Nashor's won't be coming out anytime soon, and here's why: Morellnomicon SUCKS compared to Nashor's and should not be considered a substitute in any way shape or form. The farming capacity granted by the attack speed of Nashor's gives you far outweighs any possible benefit of the Morellnomicon. I still hope to add to the collection of replays at the end of the guide as I play more games that effectively demonstrate the concepts outlined in this guide. In the meantime, your patience is appreciated, and remember to have fun! Laserpig out.
HIGHLY RECCOMENDED READINGSHere are a few links to guides/channels that have helped me with understanding the game, changed the way I thought about how League is played, or just straight-up MADE ME BETTER. If you take away one single thing from this Cho'gath guide, dont make it anything about Cho'gath: Make it THIS LIST OF LINKS. Read this guide, but make sure you go read/watch everything you possibly can at the other end of these links too. It WILL make you better.
Why Break the Meta?Mid Cho is not a new thing, to make myself perfectly clear. I DID NOT COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF CHO'GATH GOING MIDLANE. This guide is about breaking the Meta of building Mid Cho to be tanky or offtanky character, and instead building him with a little bit of health and ALOT of Ability Power. Why? Like bulleted lists? Too bad, you're getting them =P
- Total AP ratio of 270%
- Insanely long-range Q for pokes, with direct scaling that turns it into a fully viable offensive teamfight ability later in the game.
- A hard-to-dodge W that silences the casters you encounter frequently in midlane for up to three seconds at max rank, with .7 scaling that works well into the mid-late game, and assists well in teamfights due to being a powerful AOE ability as well.
- A horrifically powerful single-target true damage ability as an Ultimate, which when combined with CDR, has a relatively small cooldown for it's power.
- Tankiness that gives HP levels that allow you to come out ahead in even-damage trades with enemy casters mid, not to mention Stacking that prevents you from being insta-nuked as easily as the vast majority of AP casters.
- A sustain from his passive ability unmatched by most other champions in the game.
- An advantage in attack damage + his vorpal spikes over most other AP mids that allows him to last-hit much more easily than them in the early-game.
- Once his AP is high enough, his Vorpal Spikes allow him to partially function as a bruiser while his spells are on cooldown in the lategame.
- Can clear creep waves extremely fast.
- Three CC effects spread over two AOE abilities, allowing you to disable entire teams at once for significant lengths of time when bunched up.
- Skillshot reliant.
- Stack dependent for survivability while Ulting, which leads to my next point-
- Ultimate has an extremely short range.
- Few escapes
- Mana Hungry, especially early-game.
- His passive means he does better laning against burst champions than constant, sustained damage.
Although these lists make the Pros seem larger than the Cons, some of the Cons can turn the game, so learning how to deal with them is a huge part of being able to pull this clownsauce off. That's what this guide is for: Maximizing your usage of the Pros and learning to deal with the Cons well, just as you would with any other champion.
MasteriesMasteries are crucial parts of any game, especially extremely early and late-game. As an AP mid Cho, you may be tempted to sink points into defense, thinking that you should capitolize on your natural tankiness; RESIST THIS TEMPTATION: To go deep enough into defense to make a difference lategame will sacrifice a plethora of offensive capabilities that make AP Cho so good at what he does. I run 21/0/9 masteries in order to maximize damage output at all stages of the game.
My usual run, Reccomended:
If you truly like to use spellsword, it can be your choice whether to take Summoner's Wrath or a fourth point of Sorcery, but Summoner's Wrath is usually the way to go. After that, just use the generic AP nuker masteries in offensive tree: 3 points in Havoc due to the sheer amount of damage you'll do lategame, with Archmage and Executioner being the final goals to finish up your 21 in red. Spellsword is pretty useless since even with a thousand ability power (usually unobtainable) you only gain 50 attack damage, so avoid it unless you REALLY hate that extra 1% CDR or Summoner's Wrath. *PROTIP FROM SERI*: Taking one point out of mental force for spellsword will only cost you 2 AP, so autoing once between spells will cause you to break even on damage while making last-hits easier.
As far as the utility tree goes, Summoner's Insight is nice to have for Flash, and the mana masteries allow you to actually use your abilities frequently: three levels of Meditation goes a long way when you need those extra 4 points of mana to survive a gank or finish a kill, and Expanded Mind allows you to use your abilities slightly more frequently in the early-game without running too low. Biscuiteer is a matter of personal preference, allowing you to jump back in the lane and farm up with your passive when you normally couldn't due to damage taken from an early-game trade. Finally, Cho'gath is one of the slower champions in the game, so Wanderer in at least one rank helps him out a ton. As an alternative to Summoner's Insight, Improved Recall also works decently well, although its utility is limited.
Red: The standard "I put 9 in red to add some attack power" AP masteries. Little explanation should be needed for this.
Blue: Generally used for Maximizing tankiness and HP while mitigating some CC with relentless. It is your option to swap two points from Hardiness/Resistance to Perseverance for extra sustain.
What's the difference???
Taking the defensively oriented masteries will leave you low on mana regen. Period. There is no way to circumvent this without building Athenes, so as much as the tankiness is attractive, sacrificing a huge portion of your offensive masteries and forcing yourself to build a specific item first isn't usually worth it. Option one is almost always more viable, unless your team is extremely low on tankiness and has another AP champion that will be fulfilling your role.
UPDATE: At the moment I'm trying to come up with a mastery page that strikes a balance between these two pages for a heavy-hitting tanky ap cho, probably to be used for top lane, but this is still in the testing phase. I should at least have the theorhetical page out in the next few days, but it will be pretty untested.
Runes on Cho are another key part of being able to fulfill the standard role of an AP mid. You should be heavily focused on offensive capability, with mana sustain and early-game help as high priorities. Cho is weak during the early-game, so your runes and masteries should be focused on beefing him up early so you can work your way through it as a fully functioning character. Defensive seals are an option, but not recommended unless you truly cannot afford more useful seals or find yourself being harassed too much in the early-game by auto attacks.
My usual page:
9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration is really the only useful option on any AP mid, just keep in mind that it shouldn't be your only magic penetration: more on that in the items section.
9x Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration is my usual run, and heres the reason: Cho is heavily mana-hungry early-game, and relies on consistent pokes to be able to burst down opponents for a kill, escape ganks, and occasionally clear a wave instantly. Even with a Dorans and Meditation, aggressive players may find themselves running low early without these.
9x Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration is also an option, however this leaves you slightly vulnerable and defensive early-game, while lategame Cho tends not to run out of mana as much. Your personal preference may lead you to these, and they are viable, just keep in mind that you may be sacrificing some of your early-game power for late-game sustain.
9x Greater Seal of Armor is only useful if you truly cannot afford the other seals mentioned here. You completely sacrifice mana regen to protect yourself from auto-attacks when most of the AP mids you will be laning against have low attack damage anyways. Only use these if there is no other option or you truly need them (ex. enemy team picks Talon as their mid and you are the counterpick).
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power is quite useful, scaling as you level and contributing to the "snowball effect" of leveling your skills. A solid choice, these should not be overlooked.
9x Greater Glyph of Ability Power is another option. Slightly less useful that Scaling AP glyphs after level 6, they provide a solid base of AP in the early-game stages that can allow you to claim the advantage, or even secure a quick kill if you play your cards right. Another solid choice that is definitely viable, I run these almost every time.
9x Greater Glyph of CDR/Scaling CDR are both options, although I have never used them myself and so cannot predict how useful they will be on AP mid Cho, they seem viable. Cho's cooldowns are long and that tiny extra buff may help. A niche choice that should be avoided before you know how to play this build well, these are nevertheless still options that could potentially be used.
9x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist should be your last choice: you are an offensive character, and the tiny bit of damage reduction from enemy pokes is unquestionably outstripped by the effects of the other glyphs mentioned here. Use these only of you cannot afford the others.
9x Greater Glyph of Flat Magic Resist is a defensively oriented choice, helping to negate some of the damage from early-game pokes from your lane opponent. A viable option, this is not reccomended: your role as AP mid Cho requires you to be heavily offensive at almost all stages of the game, and many of the other options for glyphs help out with that more than these ones.
3x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is what I usually run, since Cho is one of the slower champions in the game. Between repositioning to dodge skill shots, escaping ganks and chasing down enemy champions, these quintessences prove their worth time and time again. Assuming you can afford them, these should be your ideal quints on AP Cho, especially if you only took one rank of Wanderer in your masteries as opposed to two with no biscuiteer.
3x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power is solid, especially if you chose scaling AP glyphs. These help shore up your early game with extra damage on pokes, and generally provide extra firepower, making them as useful as the movespeed Quints.
A summoner spell that is heavily useful on most champs, Flash is a solid pick on Cho. General gank escapes are made easier, obviously, but as AP Cho your unique skillset expands it's utility in some interesting ways, which will be discussed later in the strategy portion of the guide. To sum up: Never leave the lobby without it.
A personal preference, Exhaust has amazing utility. Early on, it can be used to keep an opponent in range of your auto attacks until your Q recharges for a second burst to finish them off, slow down a jungler during a gank to escape, or initiate a fight against your lane opponent by making it easy to land your Q. Combined with Summoner's Wrath, this can be a great tool to help burst. Later in the game, Exhaust can turn teamfights if used on an AD carry. Definitely a solid choice that should be seriously considered.
Another solid choice, Ignite is useful for finishing enemies off, adding to your total burst when you don't quite have enough to finish an enemy off, and generally help out with kills. Theres not really much else to say here that you won't find out by just reading the description, except the increase to your AP and AD from Summoner's Wrath helps out a bit early-game, so bursting an opponent at level 2 with your Q-W combo, then igniting them can force them to burn potions while increasing your overall firepower.
Midlane is a short walk from the spawn, so using teleport upon recall or death is kind of a waste, however in the early game, this can help you support other lanes during ganks, defend their towers if they die and are being pushed, or even initiate your own gank (If bot lane has warded their bush before being pushed to the tower, for example). Later in the game, it will allow you to backdoor much more quickly, or gank enemies if they attempt to farm too far out of their base. A decent choice, Teleport is definitely a viable way to keep up the pressure on other lanes.
AP Cho tends to get focused around midgame, and continue to be focused for the rest of the game. Cleanse is an excellent choice for survivability during ganks, negating silences and slows that can prevent you from bursting down enemies or escaping, and making tower dives easier vs. enemies with crowd control. Having this spell and knowing when and how to use it can turn the tide of a fight in your favor.
This spell can help negate some of your mana burn early, but drops off lategame as your sustain from your passive picks up. Only use this if you are a heavily aggressive early-game player who constantly runs out of mana. Still partially viable, this spell is not reccomended. Just take the mana masteries and runes please!
What are you, a support? Yes, it can be useful. No, it isn't great. In some situations, Heal can be a lifesaver, but at best it's a crutch, and you should know how to play without it, as it can easily be outdone by other spells.
Like Flash, but less useful. Not a viable alternative to flash, but it can give you escape power when taken in addition to flash. You will cover more extra distance over time than flash with this spell, but being unable to jump walls is a serious downside. Nevertheless, it can help with dunks and passing minions, so it makes the medium picks category. Just barely.
Generally considered a troll spell, Revive ALMOST belongs in the Bad Picks section. Its redeeming quality lies in the lategame, specifically when your base is being pushed, or you died to win a teamfight and your team is about to Baron. This quick pick-up can be a game-changer, but only in specific situations. Avoid this spell as much as possible.
"I COULD do something useful, like secure a kill with exhaust or ignite, but instead I'm going to reveal a tiny area of the map for a measly 4 seconds". Leave it to the support, or just get a ward like normal people.
"WOOOOT AN EXTRA ONE CREEP SCORE EVERY 70 SECONDS!!!" Don't troll please. Not a good laning choice. Cho is already a monster built to farm.
Why are you playing AP Cho in dominion? He's slow, mostly useful lategame, and weak during the phase of the game that decides who takes the lead. Pick a different champion please, you won't have time to finish your build.
Like heal, only harder to know when to activate and non-permanent healing.
SkillsThe standard section with skill descriptions, a few usage tips, and some screenshots of usage.
Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 20-71 health(depending on level) and 3.25 + (0.25 x level) mana.
Carnivore (passive): Cho'gath's sustain comes from this. As long as you are skilled at last-hitting, you can theorhetically stay in your lane indefinitely. This allows you to outlast and outlevel other mids, practically forces you to CS well and gain gold to build, and secure the advantage in a lane. Combined with your AOE damage from your Q and W, this makes trading bursts with an enemy in the middle of a creep wave not only feasible, but advantageous: you GAIN health from doing it, almost to the point of totally negating your opponent's damage or beyond. Mana sustain, Health sustain, Creep Score: what more do you want?
This requires little explanation: Just make sure you CS well at all stages of the game, and you can sustain yourself for huge periods of time and come out on top in poke fights. The more minions you kill, the better you do. If you are wounded and can't go back to the base because of a teamfight coming up, don't be afraid to burn your combo on jungle minions to restore some health: it can make all the difference in the world. This restores increasing amounts of health and mana as you level, so it stays useful all game.
Active: ChoGath stomps the ground, causing the target area to quake with the animation being visible to both teams. After 0.65 seconds, spikes emerge at the location. Enemy units in the area immediately take magic damage and are knocked up for 1 second, and when they land are slowed by 60% for another 3 seconds.
Cost: 90 mana
Cooldown: 9 seconds
Magic Damage: 80/135/190/245/305 (+1.0 per ability power)
Your high-range, high-damage, directly scaling AOE poke. Use it to force your opponent off the creeps, initiate a combo, slow down a ganker to escape, initiate your own gank, force an opponent away from their tower, check bushes, farm, target carries in teamfights, save a teammate... pretty much everything actually. This is Cho'gath's go-to skill in almost any situation. At 90 mana, it's cheap and spammable. That said, yes, this skill is powerful on AP Cho. No, it is not even remotely useful IF YOU CANT HIT ANYTHING WITH IT! Certain portions of the Early, Mid and Lategame sections will be about something that will make or break your ability to play AP Cho: When and How to hit your Q!!! In the meantime, here are some useful tips: Just because placing your Q at the extreme edge of your bubble of coverage gives it insane range doesn't mean you should always try to place it there the second enemies come into range. Playing passively when you know you could hit them conserves mana, lulls them into a false sense of security, and generally allows you to surprise them when you DO decide to use it and hit your combo. Allowing them to close a bit and attempt to farm gives you an idea of where they're going next, and generally helps you avoid being kited. When possible, try to drop it on both the enemy champion and minions to make the best use of your passive. Using this from a bush or over a wall can be devastating: they don't see it coming, and total surprise is achieved.
W: Feral Scream
Feral Scream - Cho'Gath unleashes a terrible scream at enemies in a cone, dealing magic damage and Silencing enemies for a few seconds.
Silences enemies in a cone for 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 second(s) and deals 75/125/175/225/275 (+0.7) magic damage.
W- Feral Scream:
A close-medium range AOE silence that's hard to miss, and is one of the main selling points of AP mid Cho: you're going up against casters, and at level 5, this skill will shut them down for a complete three seconds, as well as doing some great damage. The scaling causes it's value to drop slightly later in thegame, but only due to your other skills doing more damage. The long cooldown means you should use this skill wisely, but it's solid. At a full three seconds once maxed, this ability is one of the most powerful and longest AOE silences in the game. Used wisely, it can completely destroy a group of enemies' ability to strike back at your team for a significant length of time. This is quite the simple skill shot, although mis-estimating the range or (truly embarassing) using it in the wrong direction and missing completely is quite the mistake to make. Once used, if an enemy is within the cone, they will be hit by it, regardless of whether they walk out of it before Cho'gath completes the cast animation: Flash is the only counter to this. Just make sure they are actually within your cone when you click to set direction on this, and you have a deceptively huge range with this. Long cooldowns make missing costly, so use it wisely.
E: Vorpal Spikes
Vorpal Spikes - Cho'Gath's attacks passively release deadly spikes, dealing damage to all enemy units in front of him.
Toggle: Basic attacks launch spikes that deal 20/35/50/65/80 (+0.3) magic damage. Spikes grow wider as Cho'gath levels.
Cost: No Cost
E- Vorpal Spikes (Toggle-able Passive):
This skill is decent on AP Cho. Once you grab a rank of it, it allows you to last-hit creeps earlier than usual, win trades in the early levels, and even harass your opponent by hitting creeps and allowing your spikes to continue past them to hit them as they CS. The utility drops off rapidly during the middle of the game, and does not pick back up again until later in the game: the 0.3 scaling may seem puny, but with high enough AP, these can do around 250 EXTRA damage on top of your attack damage once you're built. A decent passive ability that can be toggled on and off, this is generally used more to assist in creep score than anything else. Uncomplicated and easy to use: Just auto attack! These make creep score easier to acquire by adding to your total damage on an auto attack, allowing you to hit creeps earlier and still kill them, without risking ALMOST killing them, only to have your minions take the kill. Turn these off when pushing a tower that has enemies under it: Hitting them by accident will trigger turret aggro! Other than that, these should be on all the time.
Feast - Devours an enemy unit, dealing a high amount of damage that ignores defenses. If the target is killed, Cho'Gath grows, gaining maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses half of his stacks upon death.
Hungrily devours an enemy dealing 300/475/650 (+0.7) true damage to Champions, or 1000 (+0.7) true damage to minions.
If the enemy is killed by Feast, Cho'Gath grows, gaining 90/120/150 maximum Health (maximum 6 stacks). Loses half of his stacks on death.
Cost: 100 Mana
R- Feast (Ultimate):
A close-range true damage targeted ability, this makes AP Cho's burst simply amazing. Stacks give you health, which is always good, and allows you to survive long enough to use this again. With a scaling ratio of 0.7, it's horribly overpowered at all stages of the game. More on when to use this later. Classic Cho'gath, this is a heavily intimidating single-target true damage ability that scales well and give you bonus health. Stack to Win! No really: STACK. STACK. STACK. Unless you sense a gank or teamfight coming, use this to kill the first thing you run into, unless you already have full stacks or your lane opponent is low enough to kill with one burst and you want to try to land it. Health is a huge deal on melee champs like Cho, and this can provide health almost equal to a Warmogs, WITHOUT taking up the item slot. Don't be afraid to burn this early in the engagement: it can scare enemies enough that they can't continue the engagement safely, and watching a giant chunk of your health disappear in half a second (the exact cast time is .5 seconds, I'm not just making that number up.) is pretty demoralizing. This is also an excellent tool for securing or stealing the baron and dragon buffs, as well as the enemy blue/red if you happen to be in the area and think you can pull it off.
Skill OrderFIRST SKILL: Rupture: Early bush checks, AOE, damages, pokes, escapes. everything you need to counter potential invades and poke early.
SECOND SKILL: Feral Scream: The silence lasts for a pull two seconds at Level one on this skill, so you may as well use it ASAP! not as much damage as it does when leveled, but still decent.
THIRD SKILL: Vorpal Spikes: Easier CS for your passive, and you may as well have it.
FOURTH SKILL: Feral Scream: Because it's your most consistent damage source during the laning phase, so you want to max it first, which also extends the silence duration.
FIFTH SKILL: Feral Scream again: Same reasons as above.
SIXTH SKILL: Feast: BECAUSE ULTIMATE. Burn this on a minion immediately unless you're going for a kill. This will also make it come back up at around the time blue respawns, assuming your jungler started there and youve been gaining experience in lane consistently.
After that, max your skills in this order of importance: R/W/Q/E. Maxing your W first gives it a level of power in the mid-game that it enjoys at no other time (unless you're REALLY fed and the enemy team has no tank). This is your main source of damage during this period, and its aforementioned deceptively long range makes it hugely useful and easy to hit. After that, your Q is simply more useful than your E, and since it has direct scaling, the benefits of maxing this second far outstrip the benefits of your E.
Visual reference: > > >
Item BuildsFinally, we get to the good part. I make some highly unorthodox picks in here (Please, read my explanations on the spell vamp items before downvoting), but hundreds of games worth of experience with AP Cho lay behind them, and having had time to build pretty much everything, I know what works, even if you may not expect it.
The What: AP Cho's core build should consist of: Nashor's Tooth, Rod of Ages, and Rabadon's Deathcap. Viable options for your other Items (including boots!) are gone over in the third section of this Chapter, while the second section goes over the reccomended items to take and their orders.
The When: This is the section where I tell you when to build certain items, not why. Each of these items (and other significant items) will be gone over in detail later in the chapter.
Starting items: Doran's Ring should be taken as a starting item almost every time. Health, Mana Regen and Ability Power: it has everything an early Cho needs to get in the lane and stay there. Boots and pots should only be taken if you are unskilled at last-hitting, and only for as many games as it takes you to become skilled at it, or if you are fighting a difficult opponent. Ideally, Cho never touches a health potion, and should be maximizing his passive ability as much as possible.
Early-Game: You have your Dorans, and you've either grabbed a kill or met a gruesome end. Take basic boots first, then either a Fiendish Codex or two Amplifying Tomes if you dont quite have enough gold for it: Mana Regen and CDR are a huge help, not to mention the AP. If you still have enough gold after the Codex, grab another Amp Tome: It will fold into the rest of your build later. After that, take a look at what the enemy team composition is, whether you are getting fed or not, and which enemies are getting fed to decide your tier two boots. Ideally, you want to be able to take sorcerer's shoes when fed, which helps negate early enemy MR and synergizes well with your marks and masteries to continue to be useful throughout the game. High CC enemy team? Not doing well? Merc's treads time! These sacrifice a bit of offense in order to give you survivability when being ganked and counter your lane opponent's spells. Really love CDR? Ionian Boots of Lucidity will guarantee you hit the cap of 40% once you finish your Nashor's. Final viable option: Ninja tabi! Is the enemy ADC 3-0? 4-0? 5-0? The passive and armor may not help much against your lane opponent, but it can make a huge difference during teamfights if the enemy ADC is the main source of damage. If you're super-fed and have enough gold after your second amplifying tome, go ahead and upgrade your Fiendish Codex into Nashor's Tooth. 25% CDR makes a big difference, the ability power is always a plus, and the attack speed means more frequent last-hits, helping you farm.
Mid-Game: Finish your Nashor's Tooth if you haven't already, then grab a Catalyst the Protector to start your Rod of Ages. After that is when you make a major decision that can make or break a game either way: To Mejais or not to Mejais? A good way to tell whether it's a mejais kind of game is your K/D/A when you hit 5 kills: 5/2/1 is the borderline here, more assists is a definite yes, no assists is still borderline. More than two deaths means you are only doing average, and should not grab this item. Fewer than two, and you should be safe grabbing it, so long as the enemy team isn't tanky. More in-depth analysis of Mejais strategy later. After your Catalyst, finish your Rod and possibly grab a Hextech Revolver if you're building Gunblade/WOTA. If not, grab a Giant's Belt and work on a Ryalais from there.
Late-Game: Rabadons Time! Start with Needlessly Large Rod for the best GP-AP ratio, then finish it immediately. After that, depending on the enemy builds and who you need to build against, either grab a zhonyas hourglass, Guardian Angel, or finish that Revolver into a Gunblade/WOTA (ideally this is done last). Liandry's is also a viable sixth item, especially if you find yourself auto attacking alot. Feel free to switch your boots to Ninja Tabi if the enemy ADC is a problem, or swap to Sorcerers if they've become a moot point now.
The Why: This is the section Where items are broken down one by one to let us see what makes them tick, how AP Cho uses them, and what other items they should be paired with, as well as why NOT to build certain items. This will be a long section, so let's begin.
Abyssal Scepter: A solid choice if the enemy is stacking MR, although your runes, masteries and boots should be more than enough to handle that during the course of the game. Normally considered a must on AP Cho, I believe that there are definitely some better options on AP Cho, and this should not be part of your normal build unless you truly need the MR.
Archangel's Staff: A decent pick that essentially makes mana problems obsolete, this item has some value, but there are still better picks out there. Your cooldowns are a bit too high to make full use of this item. Don't do it.
Athene's Unholy Grail: Similar to archangel's in that it solves your mana problems to some extent, this is another good alternative pick, but should not be part of your core build, and should only be built if you have constant, crippling mana problems. If you are learning this build on a smerf and do not yet have the mana runes and masteries, take chalice and upgrade it LAST.
Banshees Veil: A nice pick that helps counter enemy casters and increases survivability if you are being initated on frequently, this nevertheless belongs on a tank Cho, and should rarely be built unless playing against heavy AP teams.
Bilgewater Cutlass: Use this ONLY as a stepping stone to Hextech Gunblade, and ONLY if you know for certain that you're going to finish it SOON.
Blasting Wand: A great stepping stone item, this is a safe bet anytime during midgame due to the huge variety of strong AP items it builds into. Remember to upgrade it and you'll be fine here.
Deathfire Grasp: The November 2012 nerf heavily reduced the effectiveness of this item, and you may find yourself working hard to figure out when to use it. Only build this when you need the extra burst against a heavily tanky team.
Doran's Ring: Good starting item, but this shouldn't be stacked early-game.
Fiendish Codex: Use this as a stepping stone to Nashor's, but after that steer clear of it.
Frozen Heart: Another popular item on Tank Cho, the effectiveness of this is reduced drastically on AP Cho. It provides zero boost to your AP, and has the same CDR as many AP items. The only time I would consider taking this item is as a 6th when my only CDR was Nashors and the enemy ADC was a threat OR there were 3+ enemy champions who use AD. Other than that, STEER CLEAR: otheriwse your enemies won't be the only thing slowed down by it.
Guardian Angel: A solid sixth pick in most situations, especially in back-and-forth games where surviving in teamfights becomes a priority. Very little on the Fields of Justice surpasses a 6-stack Cho for pure intimidation value, but a 6-stack Cho with a giant halo around him is one of them. A frequent pick, this should always be considered in the later portions of midgame and beyond, but never early: Your best defense early on is a strong offense, and most of your early deaths will be because you got caught out by a gank with no support, and a quick revive won't prevent the enemies from just bending you over again right away.
Hextech Gunblade: A great upgrade from the Revolver, this provides heavy spell vamp and makes backdooring easier. The active ability makes it insanely easy to land your Q on fleeing enemies or finish off carries at the end of a combo when Feast is down. Expensive, but entirely worth it if you can afford it, this can cause Cho's auto attacks to restore significant amounts of health when clearing minion waves. Combined with his passive, this can give you an amazing ability to recover from near-death experiences without going back to base. A strong pick that should only be taken once your other AP items have been built.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity: These boots aren't a bad pick. Take these if you REALLY like CDR.
Liandry's Torment: Although most of your abilities are AOE, having Rylais with your vorpal spikes suddenly causes this item to make you an auto attack monster capable of trading extremely favorably with enemy tanks, and adds to your damage output as well. Generally good for increasing your output while your spells are on cooldown, this item is definitely a solid choice, if a little niche.
Lich Bane: Most people dislike building this on Cho because of his extremely long cooldowns, but when combined with the CDR and attack speed bonus from Nashor's Tooth, one of your core items, the high AP scaling makes this item a viable option if you find yourself autoing after your combo alot, although there are better ways to build. Skip your CDR and build this, and you will find yourself at a huge deficit for almost no gain.
Mejai's Soulstealer: High-risk, High reward. Stack this well, and you can find yourself snowballing hard. Fail to stack well and die frequently, and the burden of keeping up with both your Feast stacks and Mejais stacks can make you sweat. Never build this when you're losing, but if you believe you can stack it, the rewards can be insanely high. Balance building smart and building to snowball. Enough said.
Mercury's Treads: Strong anti-cc boots that increase your survivability and add a bit of MR, these are a good pick in most situations.
Morello's Evil Tome: Decent CDR, nice AP. A good pick if you can't afford anything else, and the passive is a nice counter to Mundo's ult or an enemy ADC with lifesteal up the wazoo. This item can potentially substitute for Nashor's Tooth, but only if it fits your playstyle, and additional CDR is reccomended.
Nashor's Tooth: This item should ALWAYS be not only in your core build, but one of the first you finish. The attack speed, ability power, mana regeneration and CDR make this item something that supports every single one of Cho's weaknesses and buffs all of his strengths except health. Having the highest single-item CDR in the game, Nashors is key to making pure AP Cho maximize his damage output.
Ninja Tabi: Take these to counter a fed enemy ADC and hopefully survive long enough to nuke
them, escape, or both. A strong pick.
Quicksilver Sash: Not too common a pick, this can have some good utility against high-cc teams, functioning similarly to cleanse. Only take this if enemy crowd control is completely OUT of control.
Rabadon's Deathcap: A must on pretty much every AP mid except Ryze, your Deathcap is one of the key components of your core build, buffing every other item you take. Completely and utterly indispensable for a pure AP Cho.
Randuin's Omen: Usually reccomended for Cho, this item is useless to you. As pure AP cho you are prevented from taking proper advantage of its active, and it provides no boost to your damage. Leave it to the real tank.
Rod of Ages: A decent pick, this can help with sustain and health during midgame, and can be built ontop of Ryalais, but when choosing between the two, Ryalais is a stronger pick in most situations. Take this if you feel you need the extra tankiness or are not CS'ing well in your lane, then take Ryalais on top of it.
Ryalais Crystal Scepter: One of your core items, this should almost always be built directly after ROA. The extra slow on your spells is an amazing tool for keeping yourself engaged or forcing enemies to back off, while the health you build for it comes at exactly the right time in midgame, when you're dangerous enough to be focused and most definitely have the attention of the enemy team.
Sorcerer's Shoes: The boots that you will take in the ideal situation, stacking with your marks and masteries to give you some awesome magic penetration and negate the hard work of the enemies building against you. A strong pick.
Thornmail: Generally a tank Cho item, this is only useful on AP Cho when the enemy ADC is completely out of control. The passive means that you can occasionally cause them to impale themselves on their own firepower when they ambush you, negating lifesteal to some extent and allowing you to burst them down and survive... barely. Be careful when you build this, as it can go to waste if you don't immediately focus the ADC.
Void Staff: Only build this when winning handily while the enemy team is stacking heavy MR. There are better options out ther for you. Still viable though.
Will of the Ancients: A nice alternative to the Gunblade, this is cheaper, and accomplishes almost the same thing: you sacrifice the active ability and some backdoor potential, but the spell vamp is still the same. If you need more sustain in a hurry and don't have the cash for Gunblade, this can be a nice option. You can also offer to "double WOTA" with another spellcaster on your team, where you both pick up this item to double the buff, which benefits everyone involved.
Zhonya's Hourglass: A strong AP item with some armor and a good active, this can be your second line of defence against an enemy ADC after ninja tabi. The active ability greatly increases your survivability during dives, both on enemy turrets and under your own, as well as helping to "dodge" ultimates while fleeing at low HP from champions such as Karthus, Ezreal, Ashe, or Lux. Definitely a strong option, just remember to use your active!
Why the Nashor's?Recently I've been getting alot of laughs during the early-game for building attack speed on Cho, and people keep asking: "Why the Nashor's?" Well, in the words of Equinoxian Lord, "No, the Nashor's isn't a joke. It's a ******* NIGHTMARE!" Want to know why? Read on.
+65 ability power
+50% attack speed
Unique: +20% cooldown reduction
The Ability Power:
AP is good on AP Cho. while not the most AP-efficient item in the game, 65 is significant, especially in the early game. This is actually one of the weaker points of the item.
The Attack Speed:
Cho ties for the highest base AD at level 18 with Skarner, having 156. Combined with the Proc from his Vorpal Spikes, this makes auto attacks a viable source of damage, and attack speed can help you clear jungle camps and minion waves extremely easily without burning your precious mana or using spells with long cooldowns. My personal record is about forty minions in four auto attacks once fully built, AKA ten CS per second. Oh, interested now, are we? The wave had stacked up significantly, but you get the point: Procs with E, makes you a farming machine. Farm wins games. End of story.
The second-best selling point of the Tooth, CDR is godlike on Cho, allowing you to fire your skills alot more tightly timed than normally, which is a HUGE part of turning Cho from a slightly AP-based Tank to a full on wrecking crew with fat damage and combo sucessfully. This procs EVERYTHING, even turning your ultimate into a slightly spammable ability, allowing you to stack more often, kill more often, rupture more often, disrupt more often, and generally be more of a nuisance to the enemy team, which wins games.
I consider the moment I learned to swap Frozen Heart for Nashor's Tooth from some random stranger back at level 12 the moment my career as mid Cho truly took off, as I immediately went on a ten-win streak and bumped myself into the realm of semi-skilled normals players, which allowed me to actually hone my skills in a normals ELO level where teamfights didn't consist of auto attacks and MAYBE the occasional ability, and junglers started to exist too. Before this, I was playing Cho mid because I liked solo lanes and top wasn't solo all the time. Afterwards, I started to play Cho mid because it MADE SENSE. I would say it's worth it's weight in gold, but it's digital: It has no weight. So it's worth the weight of your 1995 desktop in gold, and then some. DON'T GET RID OF YOUR FREAKIN NASHOR'S: IT LOVES CHO, AND CHO LOVES IT: YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOR BREAKING APART THIS AMAZING ROMANCE IF YOU DO.
Early GameBe careful in your lane early, as getting significant portions of your health taken away early can reduce your ability to farm safely, making it impossible to CS for your sustain and leaving you vulnerable to further pokes and even being forced out of your lane. Don't overextend yourself, or you leave yourself vulnerable to ganks and possible death. Try to secure kills if you feel safe in the lane, but you WILL be weak before level 8-9, and keep that in mind. Remember to stack as often as you can, as survivability is your priority. Other than that, everything else has been covered in the other sections. Not much cross-lane combat happens here, but watch for mias. Farming is your main priority here, as AP Cho doesn't become useful until he has items. Your ability to CS early will make or break your ability to play AP Cho well more than any other factor.
Most AP mids start out with boots and 3 potions, or a Dorans Ring. If they chose a Dorans, your job just got a whooole lot easier: drop that sucker right on top of them as they go to last-hit. Chances are, youll be able to disrupt their farming process, get some good damage in, and maybe grab some CS in theprocess. At level 2 and beyond, following up with your W can be absolutely devastating: disrupted farm, heavy damage, and an inability to strike back immediately due to the silence leaves your enemy weakened and makes you dominant in the lane. The strategy changes only slightly if they chose boots and potions: give them a tiny bit of a lead when you drop your Q, but not too much. That extra speed means enemies at the edge of the radius can easily reverse direction if you over-lead them. It also gives approximately the same results when you land it, with the side effect of forcing them to burn potions or play defensively. If you miss, back off: auto attack trades may come out even, and as AP Cho you aren't interested in a fair fight.
Early-game Feral Scream
This is your main damaging ability as well as your follow-up to your Q if enemies are too far away to hit directly with it. If they are within range of your W, go ahead and use it: Generally, they begin to run away, and being silenced and moving predictably is a great way to get hit with Cho's Q as a follow-up attack. Be sure not to over-extend yourself while attempting to use this as a follow-up to your Q though: It makes you susceptible to ganks, and if they are far enough away the tables may turn, with YOU being the one getting hit with a burst, or worse, ganked while your Q is on cooldown.
Early-game Vorpal Spikes
Useful for creep scoring, as in all other stages. Other than that, hitting minions your enemy is in front of will allow you to CS and harass in the same action, and will win you some auto-attack trades and help finish off low-hp enemies.
This ability adds a huge chunk to your burst potential, but you should be using it to stack as often as possible to increase your survivability. You lose half your stacks on death, and the counter rounds up (ex. a 5-stack Cho that dies will respawn with two stacks), so be careful: Tiny Cho is cute, but he dies more easily. You can also try to conterjungle if your lane opponent has recalled: simply go through the river into the enemy wraith camp, check the health on the big Wraith (making sure it has less than 1k before you ult!), and eat it, leaving the enemy jungler with only a fifth or so of the gold they would usually get from the wraith camp without fully clearing it and allowing them to respawn. During ganks, if the enemy jungler is at less than half health, or if you simply think you can burst them down, hit them with your combo and use this as follow-up: GANK AVERTED, with a possible kill thrown in there for good measure.
Mid GameTeamfights become more common at this stage, and you should be strong. Rack up as many kills against your lane opponent as you can here, FARM FARM FARM, and watch for opportunities to roam with or without your jungler to help yourself to bot/top, as well as counter-gank. The sudden appearance of a giant godzilla-cookie monster combo from a bush can discourage enemies form turret diving and save an ally, while a well-placed Q can secure your team multiple kills and send the laners and the gankers running for their tower. Get fed, remember to call your mias, and generally help out other lanes. Ask your jungler to help steal the enemy Blue, or help Botlane with the dragon as much as possible. In all of these situations, survival is your top priority: Losing stacks in the midgame can cripple you, and stealing the enemy blue is useless if you get killed directly afterwards. AP Cho is an excellent diver when stacked, and you can use this to help push lanes by killing defenders. Watch for ambushes, and increase your map awareness: AP Cho is a big target, and teams will occasionally realize that you're becoming a problem for their mid, pulling tri-man ganks that can kill you quickly.
This is where things start to get slightly tricky: your opponent has level two boots now, allowing them to dodge from almost anywhere in your radius. To offset this, your direct scaling makes the times you DO hit this shot more devastating, and you may have some cooldown reduction as well as mana regen, allowing you to use it more frequently. If it is your only option to initiate, dropping it slightly behind your opponent works well: Their first instinct when seeing you use an ability is not likely to be to run towards you, but this forces them to do exactly that or get hit. Time this well and walk forwards, and even if they manage that, you're close enough to use your W. You can also start to play passively, allowing your opponent to move up to the creeps... and trap themselves into having to maneuver around them to dodge. Tiny advantages like this start to add up in this stage, grab any you can get.
Mid-game Feral Scream
Generally the same as early-game strategy, although if you are roaming at this point, you should be initiating with a different ability during your ganks and only using this as a follow-up: the reverse is true when YOU are the one being ganked. Start with your W to prevent an initial burst, then use your Q and haul your giant godzilla-cookie monster combination butt out of there, or close the gap and finish one of them off, depending on the situation.
Mid-game Vorpal Spikes
These are almost entirely useless for anything except creep score. They provide a minor buff that can help against squishies, but generally you'll have leveled other skills unless you did something foolish, like level these early as an AP mid. The AP you have at this stage is not significant enough to affect the low scaling here.
Ideally at this point you have 6 stacks, and if you don't, keep working towards it. Other than that, follow the same rules as early-game as far as when to use your ultimate. Just remember that in the middle of the game, teamfights become more common, so if the teams group up and appear to be engaging, don't stop to ult a minion before you join the fray: KILL THE CARRY. When working with others to gank, don't be greedy: ult before it will kill the enemy in order to allow your carry to take it: they have a higher damage output lategame, and it's good form.
Late GameUse your Q to poke before teamfights, try to assassinate any enemies that farm too far out from their base, and generally terrorize the enemy team. Feel free to try to use your flash+ult to steal the enemy baron buff, it works extremely well and you can usually do it before the enemy jungler uses smite, since your ult deals more damage than smite. Your ADC will start to do more damage than you, don't worry: it's supposed to happen that way. You should rarely be in your base unless you die, buy, or are on the defensive: your sustain is too high for that. Watch the enemy ADC's build, and change your own accordingly. Hit your skill shots, push lanes, and survive teamfights as much as possible to come out ontop.
TEAMFIGHT TIME! Things become slightly less complex at this stage: drop it on the biggest, squishiest group of enemies you can find to maximize your damage potential and disrupt enemy combos, and hope that a few of them don't quite dodge in time. Use this to help follow up on initiations by your team, counter an enemy initiation, poke around a turret to dive, help a teammate escape disaster, or help yourself escape disaster. Keep in mind that at this point the entire enemy team will probably have been heavily bruised by your Q at one point or another, and will be aware of it: utilizing the element of surprise is key, so try to hide in bushes too.
Late-game Feral Scream
The utility of the silence is still great, but your damage scales off, at least in comparison to your Q, making this a secondary skill. Highly useful when you need additional damage on AD carries or want to shut down a caster. Other than that, follow the general tips and time it well: that cooldown STAYS long.
Late-game Vorpal Spikes
This is where the spikes tend to pick back up in usefulness: you're leveling them because everything else is done, youre picking up significant amounts of AP that will finally start to affect the puny scaling, and your base attack damage at level 18 ties with skarner for the highest in the game at 156, making auto attacks once again a viable source of damage, a rarity for AP mids. Squishies beware: Cho doesnt need to feast you after his Q-W combo anymore, because his auto attacks do like 300 extra damage!
6 stacks is a must at this point, the enemies do too much damage for you to have low health. Tack this on to the end of your burst, or use it as an opener whenever you can. The 0.7 scaling combined with true damage pretty is a good tool to negate the magic resist many squishies build in lategame and keep your damage potential up. In conclusion: NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM! "You have slain an enemy!".
Cho's basic combo, allowing you to CC enemies from afar and walk forward to silence them, leaving them unable to respond effectively while you reposition to re-cast.
Best used when beginning at close range, this prevents enemies from flashing out of your Q and actually keeps them engaged longer than your Q-W combo: Hitting them with your Q second allows you to walk up to them again and stay on their tail for longer. Another interesting piece to this combo is that it means both of your skills will come off cooldown at around the same time.
Your "NUKE THE ADC" combo, used for taking out enemies quickly before they can respond. Best used when assassinating enemies that are about to flee or bursting down enemy carries before they can do any damage in a teamfight.
++Auto attacks + OR + +
Only really usable with high CDR, this is used for when you need to finish off a lane opponent and a single burst is not enough. This is your most difficult to execute combo, and it takes some time, not to mention resources, to pull off. The flip side to that is that it has a RIDICULOUS amount of damage, so your chances of getting a kill are high.
"I'm in a bush. oh look, Teemo is walking towards me!" <- Your thoughts right before using this combo. And it really is Teemo every time. Using your feast first A) makes the cooldown happen sooner for those tight-timing situations. B) Saves your CC for when the enemy is trying to run away and C) Scares the living hell out of people. Unfortunately, this is usually only usable when enemies facecheck a bush.
+ + + ()
YEOW! This aggressive, gap-closing combo can leave enemies slack-jawed with amazement while they stare at their respawn timer. Flashing to initiate is a time-honored hilarious move that will catch many enemies off guard and allow you to chomp away at them for that extra half-second that you needed. This is also useful if you need to get out of the melee to assassinate an ADC that's trying to pick your teammates off while you're "stuck" with their tanks.
Calculating your burst potential: I did it for you!This is another really fun part: Figuring out who you can instant-kill with your combos! Efficient application of firepower is a key portion of gameplay with high-cooldown casters, and even more so with skillshot-based ones like Cho. Attempting to insta-nuke an opponent who is simply too tanky to take out can get you killed by said opponent, costing you stacks and time, and giving the enemies gold while making you look like an idiot. Oh, you're paying attention now? *PSSST!*: That was a subtle hint for you to pay close attention to this section. This is a not-so-subtle one. Now let's get started. This section assumes you are using the reccomended rune and mastery pages discussed in earlier chapters. I will be covering the early game in the most depth, as it is the most predictable item-wise and also the time when four health can make a huge difference since everyone has so little. After that I will cover levels 11, 16 and 18.
130 base AP damage, 80 from the skill, 50 off your AP. A standard poke during invades or the early laning phase. Why are you trying to kill someone this early?
241 base AP damage. Not enough for a kill unless your lane oponnent is super-squishy and you poked frequently at level one.
If you took ignite. 241 base AP damage plus 110 true damage. Not a bad early finisher, but again, only if you poked frequently at level one and your opponent is squishy.
LEVEL 3 
243 base AP damage. Not a ton of kill potential, but a decent poke.
++ 1x Auto attacks with Vorpal Spikes+ -
276 base AP damage plus 66.7 base AD damage plus 130 true damage. Vs. low-resistance enemies playing with offensive masteries at about half health, this has kill potential. Just barely.
LEVEL 4 
294 Base AP damage
++ 1x auto attack +-
325 Base AP damage plus 71 base AD damage plus 150 true damage
LEVEL 5 [++]
350 base AP damage
350 base AP damage plus 170 true damage. This has real kill potential against squishy opponents.
LEVEL 6 [++]
352 base AP damage
352 base AP damage plus 340-ish True damage. Yeow.
352 base AP damage plus 530 True damage. If youve been poking well and have the mana, DO IT! High kill potential.
LEVEL 11 [+++] 120 AP assumed
~679 base AP damage
~679 base AP damage plus 550-ish true damage
~679 base AP damage plus 950 true damage.
LEVEL 16 [+++ 240 AP assumed
~988 base AP damage
~988 base AP damage plus ~818 true damage. At this level your ignite will add 410 True damage
LEVEL 18 [++++]
500 AP assumed.
1450 base AP damage
1450 base AP damage plus 1000 True damage. Your ignite will add 440 True damage to this burst.
That about wraps up this section, just remember that anything I put as "base" damage WILL be affected by enemy armor and magic resistances, so be careful!
Team Fights: Roles to play: NOT THE INITIATOR!Tank Cho initiates. AP Cho *DOESN'T*. GET THAT IN YOUR HEAD RIGHT NOW. Here's why: When AP Cho initiates with his Q-W combo and the team piles on, AP Cho panics because his main AOE damage skills are on cooldown now. With your skills on cooldown during the stage of the fight where enemies bunch up the most, you sacrifice HUGE damage potential for a quick poke. AP Cho is much better off waiting for the tank to initiate, then piling on as enemies bunch up, and smashing into the largest and squishiest group of enemies like a ton of bricks with giant teeth to boot. If you're cleaning up a straggler and can safely pick them off the back of the pack, go right ahead: other than that, let the tank do their job. You are playing Cho in the traditional role of the AP caster: First, make sure your team knows that, and secondly, ACT LIKE IT. Survival is a priority, as losing stacks can hurt, but don't be afraid to die to save the carry or secure an ace that will allow your team to push towers. Besides these basic tips, there are three major strategies you can use when teamfighting as AP Cho.
Being a Bodyguard for your carries is slightly easier, and better done when your team is not winning. It involves using your Q, your W, and your gigantic size and health to protect your carries from enemy abilities and prevent them from being assassinated. Crowd control is great for this, and your huge hitbox means it may be hard for enemies to even click on your carries. You may not be a tank, but a quick counter-burst can force an enemy assassin out of the teamfight, or even into the realm of the dead.
The second strategy is that of the disruptor, and is one you should actually be using as much as possible. Disruptor Cho uses his silence and knockup to make life hell for enemy champions that require channeling for their ultimates (Galio, Nunu, Katarina, Fiddlesticks, etc.), as well as counter enemy initiations and prevent escapes to allow your team to finish low-hp enemies off. If your team backs off right before Fiddle uses Crowstorm and he is forced to run up to you, dropping a Q right in his path can turn the entire teamfight. A Katarina that shunpos into the middle of a brawl and begins to ult, but gets silenced immediately is a huge save for your team. Disrupt your enemies as much as possible to maximize the effectiveness of your entire team.
The third and final main role that AP Cho'gath plays during teamfights is the frontline Nuker. Nuker Cho should be played when you are either heavily farmed, or fed and farmed, and always only with maximum stacks. As the name Frontline Nuker implies, you'll be sticking your neck out there with the tank, capitolizing on their initiation to run up and land your Q on the enemy carries, dealing massive damage and following up with your W and your ultimate to take them out of the fight, leaving the rest of the enemy team stranded with a crippled damage output. After that, you should follow in the footsteps of other high-cooldown casters: reposition during cooldowns, then cast again, or attempt to finish off low-hp enemies while chasing them away from the fight. Frontline Nuker Cho is vulnerable to focusing, so MAKE SURE your tank is the one to initiate, and that the rest of your team is following up too. You can wreak havoc among the enemies, but not if you die immediately.
Ideally, a well-played AP Cho will fulfill all three of these roles in a teamfight, often simultaneously. Cooldowns are key, and timing will be everything for you. Remember: NO INITIATION!
Team Fights: Skill TargetingImagine you are in the lategame portion of the game, and are in the situation pictured below: You are the light blue dot, your teammates are purple, the enemy carries are bright pink, the other enemies darker pink.
Because you're such a clever little AP caster, when you saw your team about to engage by going above wolves, you positioned yourself below them to flank your enemies. The clock is ticking, and you need to engage now. So, where do you put your Q? Do you hit MORE enemies, or do you hit the enemies that aren't already being engaged? (In case you havent caught on yet, the green and red circles represent the two options for Q placement!)
Option 1 (Green circle)
In this situation, you hit the carries. Nuking/comboing them in this situation will heavily cripple the enemy team's damage output and force them to back off the teamfight or die. Then, you walk in behind the main brawl and panic the bruisers and tanks, who will most likely scatter and be picked off, winning the teamfight.
Option 2 (Red circle)
In this situation, you nuke the clump of enemies already engaging your team. Your distance from the fight means that you cannot engage them immediately afterwards without walking past the carries, and you may be doing more potential damage, but they are also tankier, and will have more resistances. You may secure your team one or two kills by disrupting them in this fashion, but you leave the enemy carries free to crank out their entire damage output unmolested, reveal your position to them while totally unprotected, and essentially ensure that you will get focused. This all assumes that you continue the engagement: If your team needs to disengage because your ADC is still trying to catch up with you all, taking this option and immediately disengaging while your team follows suit is the way to go, but this will NOT win you the teamfight unless they disengage or your bruisers break the line and hit the carries with some hard CC.
Both options are extremely viable, but situational. Experience more than anything will allow you to make calls like this correctly in real games, but this section is here to help you out.
A third option for you more aggressive types, or for if your team refuses to disengage when they need to, and an act of unprecedented aggression is needed to swing the teamfight: Q the red circle, Flash over the wall along the blue arrow, Exhaust the ADC and W the orange square to silence both carries, then eat one of them (preferably the ADC).
This is an EXTREMELY risky move, but will have the effect of A: Disrupting the enemy bruisers and tanks while leaving yours unmolested. B: Disabling the ADC at a critical moment and possibly eating them as well, and C: Making at least 2 out of 5 of your opponents change their underwear afterwards. A giant, beefy truckload of CC damage just crashed through their lines and disabled their main sources of damage while disrupting everyone else simultaneously, and from a completely unexpected angle: through a wall. Pull this off and you look like a god. Fail, and you look like an idiot. use this strategy sparingly, and only if you are an experienced player who KNOWS they can pull it off.
Matchups- EnemiesThis is the section of the guide where I go over possible matchups you may encounter in the mid lane, as well as enemies to watch out for in general, either as potential threats or quick snacks.
General: Cho'gath's passive means that he generally heals off bursts from enemy champions, and trades well with his Q-W combo. Squishies are generally easy to kill, as well as champions with low auto-attack damage. Cho has issues with constant, sustained damage from champions, which prevents him from taking advantage of his passive while farming and forces him off the creeps. Tankier champions also cause issues, as he simply takes longer to kill them. Shorter-range champions have trouble against Cho, while longer-range champions do well when poking back and forth.
Matchup ratings from easiest to hardest: Super-Easy, Easy, Easy-ish, Medium, Hard
This made-for-kiting squishy can be bursty and slightly problematic until you stack up. Her charm can make it difficult to escape ganks in time, but if you manage to poke her well you can force her out of the lane fairly easily, and if she's foolish enough to ult towards you while your W is up, you can destroy her combo ability very quickly, not to mention eat her. Use minions to protect yourself from her charm, and dodge her magic ball, and you'll do fine.
Difficulty level: Easy-ish
This ninja generally meets her match against AP mid Cho. Her smoke cloud is fairly useless against a champion whose main abilities are AOE spells. Watch her burst, and burst her down as much as possible with pokes and combos, and youll come out ahead in this lane.
Difficulty level: Easy-ish
This trollish overgrown pigeon is annoying. With a built in Guardian Angel as a passive and multiple slows ontop of a terrain modifier and a stun, Anivia can be truly impossible to kill in the early game. Farm it out, and burn her passive ability when possible, but don't overextend yourself or you may find yourself back at base with frostbite. Poke her as hard as possible and DODGE THAT Q. Attempting to silence her when she ults is a great way to make her burn mana if you can pull it off.
Difficulty level- Medium-Hard
Her stun is a mild annoyance, but other than that she generally gets owned by Cho. Just watch for the Tibbers-Stun once she has her ultimate. Poking and silencing is devastating, and auto attack trades will put you ahead and force her to burn potions or back off. Balancing aggressive attacks with farming withdrawals to prevent lane pushing, and you'll get fed easy.
Difficulty level- Super Easy
Not something you generally see after level ten, Mid Ashe doesn't exist for a reason. Watch for her ult and warn other lanes if she ults towards them, but other than that, just eat her. Lack of an escape ability and low health make her an easy target.
Difficulty level- Super Easy
Not a bad opponent, Brand's combos can be a problem for Cho. He farms well and can clear the lane quickly, has the ability to stun you if you're not careful, and is insanely bursty. Your best strategy against him is to poke him as much as possible, then burst quickly during a friendly gank. Farm it out during the rest of the time.
Difficulty level- Medium
Different from my previous assessment of this champion, Caitlyn can be problematic for Cho. Her constant damage makes it hard to farm, which when combined with her zone control with traps and long-range pokes can allow her to win the lane. Try to farm this matchup out, burst whenever possible, and watch for headshots: those things freakin HURT. Remember that her ultimate has a long range and high damage, so staying in the lane with low healths is a BAD idea. Your best bet is to hope that the enemy's lack of an AP carry will tip the scales later in the game.
Difficulty level- Medium
A mildly speedy poison Champion, Cass has good harass and zone control abilities, as well a pretty scary stun for an ultimate. Play carefully here, and keep up with your creep score WITHOUT standing in her poison. Farm it out and poke when you can. *PROTIP FROM SERI*: When poisoned, attempt to land your W or Q on her so she can't spam her Q on you for sustained damage. faery charm/pots/ward apparently works well for starting items here.
Difficulty level- Medium-Hard
This matchup is amusing at first, especially if you play Cho better than the other guy, but quickly becomes boring as a mirror lane. Stack more than he does, and kill him more often. Dodge his skill shots (duh).
Difficulty level- You're seriously asking ME? Go find out how good you are!
Between her pokes and strength in sustained engagements, Diana can be problematic for Cho mid if played correctly. Punish her for attempting to CS with your pokes and combos, then disengage quickly, and keep your creep score strong to keep your health up. Watch for ganks as her crowd control abilities combined with the jungler's can destroy your ability to escape.
Difficulty level- Medium-Hard
Draven is not a common mid for a reason. Ive run into him before, but his spinning axe platforms and general squishiness practically scream "Q me!!!", making him very easy to beat up and get fed from.
Difficulty level- Super Easy
This transforming champion is more often seen top or jungling than mid, however when you do see her, just use minions for cover from her stun skill shot, and remember that she can become untargetable for a few seconds to escape from the lane or avoid your dive. Poke her to death and force her out of the lane: she has very little farming ability under the tower. Be careful of ganks and don't feed her, and you should be fine.
Difficulty level- Medium
A squishy stealth champion, the most challenging thing about facing Evelynn as an AP mid Cho is having to call "mia" whenever she is far enough away to be invisible. Her spells require her to be close to you, she has little in the way of crowd control, and has no sustain. Once silenced and hit with Rupture a few times, she becomes a side note in the lane while you farm creeps.
Many contest that AP mid Ezreal is completely un-viable in competitive gameplay. I'm not here to debate that with anyone, simply say that he's definitely not viable vs AP mid Cho. His blinks can be a problem, but other than that he simply cannot compete with your farming ability or damage output. Dodge his skill shots early and harass him throughout the lane and you may find yourself with a nice dunk set up.
While his silencing harass can make it hard to take him by surprise when switching from farming creeps to bursting him down, Fiddlesticks is nice and squishy. Well, crunchy. Whatever. His main way of taking down champions involves standing still and channeling, which is another ability that screams "Q ME!!!!" almost as much as Draven's spinning axe, and you can almost always disrupt his Ultimate before he can cast it in the same way.
A melee mid opponent, Fizz's strategy involves a balance of kiting and bursting that can be hard to counter effectively if you are inexperienced in it. Silences will be key to your ability to land your skill shots on him, and he is one of the few mid champions that can potentially outmatch Cho in an auto-attack trade, so long as it is kept short. A general rule is to passively farm, and let him do the same til level 3, then hit him with your full burst and one auto attack, back away, and repeat. This works particularly well against Fizz since he is a melee champion and must get close to creeps to last-hit. Avoid diving him while his dodge is up and your health is low, he can simply dodge your shots, then burst you down while the turret does the rest.
A strong, tanky antimage, Galio can be quite annoying. His heavy slow harass is harder to dodge than your Q, meaning he has the advantage in the early game. Poke him down and silence him as best you can, and be aware that his abilities favor his jungler during ganks, so the tide can turn quickly during a gank, even when he is low on health. Watch out for this one: Galio is one of the strongest counters to Cho'gath out there.
Another tanky, melee mid to counter. Generally heavy on crowd control with a nice area denial ability as well (his Q), Gragas will cause some problems for you if you allow him to bypass you in creeps or dominate the lane. The sustain from his W means that trying to run him out of mana is nearly useless. Poke early, poke often, and dont be afraid to burst him hard.
Shut down his turrets and burst him well, and youll be fine. Both Cho and Heimer push the lane, so you don't have to worry as much about pushing too far accidentally, making farming a breeze as you poke this slow, squishy mage to death.
The only difference between her and Annie is that I've never met a karma who could abuse a stun by spamming abilities, and Karma has less damage output. The only thing to watch out for is the boost to her AP as her health drops due to her passive. Don't let her hit you, farm your creeps, and occasionally stop to eat her.
Everybody's favorite 5-rabadonsinthespawn pentakill champion takes the stage as a mildly annoying poker that loses all ability to hurt you if you destroy his health early in the laning phase and farm as you please. Watch the Q-spam and work around it to farm, and he may as well be dumping his mana out the window for all you care. He picks up during midgame after he grabs a Tear or a Chalice to really spam, so after that stick to ranged pokes unless you're going in to finish him off with your ultimate. Make sure your entire team knows when his ultimate is up, and disrupt it whenever you can by using your Q or W: You may save a teammate's life.
Oooohhhh boy. Always a fun matchup, Kassadin's teleporting, silencing burst can leave Cho'gath useless in midlane, unable to respond while Kassadin cheerfully saunters away. Kassadin is another champion that makes trading auto-attacks a bad idea: His Nether Blade hurts almost as much as your Vorpal Spikes, as well as giving him mana sustain to rival yours. Your only chance is to take him down repeatedly in the early-game, the stage that you're weakest at too. Avoid this matchup wherever you can: If he knows how to play, you'll lose. Period. End of story.
A bit of good news after that segment on Kassadin: Katarina gets the living hell beat out of her by Cho'gath. Both your Q and your W shut down her ultimate, she has to be within your range long before she can strike you with anything (barring a shunpo initiate, which is simply foolish since it leaves her totally at your mercy). Poke her down, force her out of the lane, and eat her when you feel like it. Occasionally I call GG the second I see Katarina mid vs. AP mid Cho: I've never been wrong when I do.
Not something you see too much, mid kayle's greatest strength vs. AP Cho is her heal, closely followed by her ultimate. why? Because those are the only two things that keep her from feeding hard. Spam your pokes and farm up well my friend, just remember not to dive while her ultimate is up, and build your stacks. Not much should happen kill-wise here, but you'll win the farming war and come out ahead if you play well.
The Heart of the Tempest can kite you pretty badly, so be careful with those skillshots. Your W is a nice choice for an opener here: use it as he runs in close, and his escapes are out the window. Hit him with that Q as he is forced to back off, and youve just sucessfully counter-Kennened. Be very aware of his stacks on you, a stun can turn the tide of a fight VERY quickly.
I have never personally run into an AP Mid Kog'maw, and there's a good reason for it: Kog'maw is too squishy and has no escapes. Watch out for Bio-Arcane-Barrage, poke frequently, and burst him down hard to get some nice feed in this lane.
Generally going mid vs. a LeBlanc is hell for a champion. Not so with Cho: The best she can do is kite and burst you, but after level 3 it's fairly easy to simply heal up with your passive ability and zone her out of the lane. Watch out for her rush, as it can be slightly problematic when she dodges ALL of your skillshots first by rushing, then teleporting away from the second one. Poke at random intervals and keep her off the creeps, don't get ganked, and generally be your usual bursty, tanky self. NO DIVING.
Lux can cuase a few problems for Cho if not handled correctly. She has excellent zone control and farming abilities, her E can match the range of your Q, and she has a shield that can annoy the living crap out of you when you go to burst her down. Her passive ability will cause issues for you if she manages to trigger it in the early-game. Your best strategy here is to zone her out and farm like theres no tomorrow. Poke often, burst when you can, chomp on her whenever possible. Her abilities can destroy your escape plans during ganks, so try not to push the wave too much. Other than that, she's generally squishy (and yummy to boot). Eat her lots.
Almost never seen, Mid Malphite's biggest counter to Cho is his passive: it negates a large portion of your poke. The best counter to this is to turn your pokes into bursts with your W in order to actually lay down some damage on this tanky champion. Farm as you please, zone him out, and call for ganks if you need assistance in achieving a kill (you won't be getting many otherwise).
One of the stronger counters to Cho, defensively played Malzahar can keep you off the creeps AND stay safe at the same time. Malz's strength comes from his wide AOE silence, his "muzzle", which can keep you from CS'ing effectively without having his voidling come after you, and his pool-ulti combo, which is a giant pain in the balls, not to mention the HP bar. Since his pool deals %HP damage, your stacks don't counter it, and in the early levels his voidling can cause some serious issues while you attempt to farm. Nuke this guy whenever you can if you get stuck laning against him, and force him out wherever possible. When picking, try to avoid this matchup: It's heavily unfavorable.
This is generally a laid-back lane for Cho. Farm, Poke, Repeat. Watch his shield, dont get Ult-Ignited at low hp, and generally zone him as much as possible. No tricks here, just straightforward Mid Cho strategy.
That frickin shield... Sorry, gets me every time. Whether she's running away to escape your finisher or allowing the jungler to be immune to your abilities while they gank, Morgana's E is the biggest problem here. Other than that, Squishy, Squishy, Squishy: Poke her. Silence her. Nom her. Don't stand in her pool, don't depend on crowd control for dives when her E is up. Dodge her lockup and keep in mind that she can clear creep waves almost as fast as you can.
Squishmaster fishy reporting for duty! Aqua Prison is her only useful ability vs AP Cho, and it has about the same range as your Q, but it takes longer to actually strike once cast and is easily dodgeable. Her ratios are extremely low, so she can't do much to you, and what she does is easy to heal back with your passive. Her ultimate can help the jungler secure a kill on ganks, but that's about it. Fish for dinner!
Use the minions for cover, 'cause that freakin spear HURTS. Don't step on the traps, farm well, and oh yeah: dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge! Once again: That spear HURTS. Zone her out, poke her, and eat her: she's semi-squishy.
AP mid Nunu it kind of funny. His E has a horribly short range compared to your Q and W, meaning it's almost impossible for him to try to poke you without getting hit by a full burst from a very ticked off void monster. While his sustain is great and can keep him in the lane for awhile, it can only do so if he gets near the creeps. zone him out, smash him with your burst when he tries to poke, and generally run rampant over the yeti that tried to midlane against a Cho.
AP mid Orianna can kite you, but that's about it. Her pokes can be dodged and farmed off easily with your passive, and she's squishy enough to burst down pretty hard. Watch for ganks and be careful when diving, as she can keep you under the turret for a LOOONG time with her ultimate and AOE slow effect once you trigger turret aggro. Around midgame her farm picks up, so take the lead in CS early on.
Scary. His spammable Q allows him to put damage on you every time you go to last-hit, negating your passive to some extent, and he can be ridiculously hard to out-sustain once he has his ultimate. Poke often and attempt to force him out of the lane, call for frequent ganks, and be careful when farming: no creep is worth half your health. Avoid this matchup when you can.
AP mid Shaco... The only danger here is that you might die laughing. Besides a small fear from his box, Shaco has nothing that can threaten you, and he's extremely squishy too. Eat him lots and get fed. No special tips needed for this one.
Farm it out with a few pokes thrown in for good measure. He's too tanky to burst down effectively without putting yourself at risk of getting stuck in his poison cloud and taking constant damage, and his flip can cause HUGE problems during ganks. Luckily, he doesn't have much that can be used to burst you down, so if you don;t do anything stupid, you'll out-sustain him. Don't take any chances, just take the creeps and leave it at that.
Sustain, sustain. Not much will happen here because you both have so much of it, but if you manage to play agressively enough in the early-game stages to keep him low, then burst him down, you can take the lead and run away with this lane. Win the farm war, win the poke war, eat him. His crowd control can be annoying during ganks, so obviously watch for those too, and don't let yourself fall behind on the creeps or health.
Super early in the game she's strong, but around mid-game she drops off rapidly. farm it out and poke til then, and hitting her with burst can't hurt either. She's pretty squishy, and has almost no sustain, so you'll outlast her in the lane. Farm to win.
AD mids can be a bit tough on Cho: The constant damage instead of burst can both prevent him from farming and make it hard to farm fast enough to keep up with the damage you're taking. Talon is a decently strong counter to Cho's early-game, and only scales off well into lategame: watch out for him, poke and farm as best you can, and don't take risks: feeding him is the worst option you have. Avoid this matchup where possible.
Someone tell Buggs that it really is Wabbit season, because Teemo gets chomped on pretty hard vs AP mid Cho. Squishy and stealthy, which is pretty much useless against all of Cho's AOE. Your Q will knock him out of his stealth and make him an easy target, while his blinding dart is useless against a champion that mainly focuses on using abilities, not auto-attacks. The only thing to consider here is his strong harass: take too much of that and you may need some help, but work around him and farm well and you'll do fine.
Speedy and squishy, a TF-Cho fight can go either way. Hit your skill shots and you may find yourself forcing him out of the lane for health again and again: fail to see him pick a gold card and get ganked, and you'll find yourself fighting a losing battle. The key to taking down TF is passive farming balanced with aggressive burst whenever you can land it. When he picks a gold card while being pushed, fall back immediately: it means a gank is incoming, and you're about to get caught in it, so back off! Generally Cho wins this fight, just hit that Q.
Twitch isn't usually seen mid, but he can be an issue for Cho. The constant harass from autos combined with his poison make creep score hard to get, and nullifies your sustain too. Farm as best you can, call for frequent ganks, and try to take advantage of their lack of an AP heavy hitter later in the game.
This notoriously squishy nuker doesn't stand a chance against AP Cho: he gets nuked and silenced too easily early in the game, and his only option is to kite and be forced off the creeps, depriving him of the farm he needs to abuse his Q like a good Veigar should. Avoid running into his stun cage, don't stand under his bomb, and generally farm as you please. The largest threat in this lane is the jungler.
This semi-squishy master of techmaturgy can be mildly annoying, but it's hard for him to interfere with your ability to farm, and pokes can force him to play defensively, giving you the advantage in creep score. Don't stand in his W, and recognize an attack pattern in order to dodge his laser whenever possible.
The sustain this champion has can be annoying, but frequent pokes will ensure that you take the advantage early. Once he has some spell vamp, not much will be happening kill-wise here without a gank by either side. Farm up, and punish his mistakes with bursts whenever you can. His strong harass means you should be careful in lane, and call for ganks when necessary.
Xerath is one of the few champions in the game that can out-range Cho's Q, which makes him a problem early-game. Move laterally to avoid his pokes, back off whenever you are "marked" for a stun, and poke back as best you can. Silencing him when he connects to a source of power can be hilarious, allowing you to land a free Q on him. Don't be aggressive until mid-game, that's when you start to take the advantage. Watch his range and keep your health high: Xerath can burst like crazy, especially when landing his stun.
Another AD mid... great. Poke him, watch for him to pop his shadow and throw shruiken, and avoid trading auto-attacks. Don't get caught in the combo, and remember that he's extremely strong early-game. Be careful with this champion.
Master of the poke, Ziggs is another champion who can outrange Cho in the middle. Avoid his harass and dodge as best you can, poke back, and attampt to farm. His zone control abilities rival your own, but once he's burned them, his skills have decently long cooldowns, so if he misses, don't be afraid to close the gap and burst. Farm as best you can without taking massive damage, and be aware of his passive in the early-game: It makes his auto-attacks a viable source of additional damage when poking.
Generally seen in the support role, AP mid Zilean can be oddly effective. His speed boost means he can kite you extremely effectively, and his un-dodgeable bomb turns into a constant, debilitating poke around mid-game, making it difficult to farm effectively. Try silencing him first, THEN using your Q to poke, and back off. Farm as best you can, and counter-burst him where possible. Call for ganks!!!
Cho'gath may prefer not to eat his veggies, but he makes an exception for this AP mid. Zyra is extremely squishy, and cannot win trades that you initiate, allowing you to farm pretty easily and restore lost health. Many of her skill shots are easy to dodge, and you can simply wait for a minion wave to distract her plants to kill them, making them a waste of mana. Failing to do this can lead to harassment during the wave that prevents you from sustaining well, so be careful of all her zone control! Burst hard when she comes within range, and dodge her slow as best you can, and you'll grow up to be a big, strong void monster. Now eat your spinach before it starts to bite.
Matchups- Team SynergyThis is the fun part: Figuring out who your teammates should be in order to combine your abilities into brutal, mind-numbingly bursty combos.
General: Cho does well when paired with supports. Cho does EXTREMELY well when paired with tanky supports with crowd control. Toplane and jungle teammates depend on what champion they pick, and Cho stays away from running around next to the ADC unless he's guarding them, with a few notable exceptions. Sustain from the heals of teammates, tanky CC, and initiations are Cho'gath's favorite things.
Synergy ratings from lowest to highest: Nonexistent, Low, Medium, High, Brutal, Godlike.
DUOS: Short descriptions of good pairings.
Alistair: Cho enjoys partnering up with the minotaur for a plethora of reasons: He's tanky, he initiates, he has crowd control, and he has a heal. This is an amazing combination.
Amumu: One of the dirtiest gankers in the game, Amumu loves to play with Cho, and the feeling is mutual. Between his Q and his ultimate, you'll be landing your Q frequently and can pick and choose which enemies you'd like to hit with it, or just plain take them all down.
Anivia- While not a matchup that seems awesome on the surface, Anivias crowd control abilities make landing your Q a breeze, so pairing with her is a nice way to nuke the living hell out of teamfights.
Annie- Generally a mediocre pairing, Annie's stun nevertheless makes her a worthy partner that will allow you to land your skill shots on a regular basis.
Ashe- Generally Cho stays away from pairing with ADC's, but he LOVES to fight side-by-side with Ashe. The slow from her Q and W combined with her ultimate's stun make it easy to hit your skill shots. While not super-duper-tanky, this matchup is nevertheless extremely powerful in smaller engagements.
Blitzcrank- DEM GRABS! I automatically give teamwork honor to any Blitzcrank who hits his grabs consistently, and for good reason: Blitz is a tank with strong crowd control abilities to rival your own, and pairing up with him can keep the enemy you initiate on off-balance, knocked up and silenced for a ridiculous length of time.
Brand- Not a pairing that Cho loves, but not one he hates either. Brand's stuns and AOE abilities allow you to nuke pretty hard when fighting next to him, but he's squishier than you and it can be hard to combo with him without your stuns, plus theres not alot of tankiness in
Caitlyn- When she's fed, the extra damage she dishes out can be a lifesaver, and the threat of an ADC can keep people from initiating on you, while her Yordle Snap Traps can immobilize opponents for an easy Q. A decent pairing.
Cassiopeia- This pairing has zone control up the wazoo, and her ultimate can be hilarious when paired with your combo, but you generally lack in tankiness.
Darius- The main selling point of this matchup is Darius's pull, allowing you to land your skill shots very easily and making it difficult for enemies to escape once engaged. His general tankiness and the fact that he is percieved as a threat due to his ultimate's pentakill potential mean that you won't be focused too hard when working with him.
Diana- What's better than one tanky, melee AP character with crowd control effects? How about two! Diana and Cho work great together, keeping enemies engaged for a significant length of time and dishing out massive melee damage as well.
Dr. Mundo- Tank, Tank, Tank. His cleaver can make it easier to hit your Q, and his tankiness is great when you need a meat shield, but theres not much else to say about this matchup.
Evelynn- Ugh. This matchup is just asking for trouble. Cho doesn't do well when paired with squishy stealth champs, and Ev is the squishiest of them all. Avoid this, or you may find yourself alone after she is quickly focused down.
Fiddlesticks- His crowd control and themagic resists reduction from his passive is nice, with his fear making it easy to hit your Q, but you do tend to be worried about health levels when working with him.
Fiora- A nice melee tank, Fiora can be a great pairing for Cho, providing a high-damage focus point for enemies so that they bunch up just in time for your Q. Her sustain is nice, so this duo can stay in the fight for quite a long time.
Fizz- A weird combo, theres not much to say here. Your abilities don't really combo well, so really all you can do is try to overlap your bursts with his and hope for the best.
Galio- A fun matchup, Galios CC and buffs are great when paired with AP Cho's massive AOE damage potential. Galios heavy slow and speed boost, not to mention his ultimate, make hitting your skill shots a breeze.
Garen- With a Frozen Mallet, Spin2win Garen is nice to play with as Cho: he provides a focus for your enemies, and his chasing ability is great, allowing him to slow down enemy champions who would normally get away from your Q. This is a nice matchup.
Hecarim- Basically all of Hecarim's kit is Crowd Control and initiation, so Cho does nicely when paired with him. A solid matchup.
Irelia- The DPS and sustained engagement on this pairing is great, With some nice tankiness to boot, and her stun is awesome later in fights that started when you were outnumbered.
Jarvan IV- A great matchup. His ultimate creates and arena that oddly enough seems to be about the size of your Q, making it a perfect way to land an easy skill shot. Tanky and an initiator, Jarvan works well with Cho. If enemies are close to the outer edge of his arena, you can ult them through it, but only at 6 stacks or close to it.
Jax- More tanky crowd control with great intiation. His stun is great, and he is percieved as enough of a threat to be focused while you burst down as many enemies as you can.
Kassadin- Although their lore disagrees, Cho and Kassadin work pretty well together. Their combined slows and silences allow them to burst enemies for an extremely long time and keep them engaged as well, while Riftwalk can be an awesome intitation.
Kayle- Cho loves Kayle's heals, he loves her ultimate, and he loves her Q. A great matchup, especially if she builds beefy AP.
Lee Sin- His intiation is a pretty nice way to start a fight and force enemies to bunch up, while his ultimate can cause enemies to panic and run into your Q when trying to flee.
Leona- Dear god, THE STUNS! An amazingly tanky intiator with horiffically OP crowd control abilities, Leona is another awesome matchup for Cho. These two work insanely well together.
Lux- Your combined zone control is amazing, and AOE damage is the name of the game when nuking a teamfight. Her lockup makes it insanely easy to hit your combo. This matchup comes highly reccomended.
Malphite- His Q works well when trying to land yours, he's tanky, his ult his hilarious. Another good matchup.
Maokai- Cho likes to work with Moakai: His crowd control keeps enemies engaged and staying still for awhile, and his tankiness makes him a good shield.
Morgana- Generally not awesome due to lack of tankiness, Morgana's lockup and the stuns from her ultimate nevertheless make her a good partner, while her shield makes you practically invincible for a short period of time, allowing you to finish kills without getting hit with CC.
Nami- Cho loves the League's resident goldfish to play with him. She has a stun, a heal, a speed boost, and an ultimate that makes hitting all of your skill shots and full-bursting an enemy who thought he was out of range a breeze. Just make sure to remember your Loch Ness
Cho'gath skin for this pairing!
Nasus- His slow works well with Cho's skill shots, and his ultimate makes him extremely tanky, allowing you to work together to initiate and burst down opponents or push a lane pretty hard.
Nautilus- Dredge Line is a great initiation technique, and his passive makes it alot easier to hit your skill shots. Tanky enough to shield you, with some slows and a knockup with his ultimate make Nautilus another good pairing for Cho.
Nunu- E-E-E-E-E! His slows, his speed boost, and his tanky sustain make him another good partner for Cho later in the game, allowing you to close the gap and burst down opponents with ease. This is a partnership to be reckoned with.
Olaf- CHUCK DAT AXE MAN! Between his slow and his immunity to crowd control with his ultimate on top of his tankiness, olaf is a great initiator that provides a focus point for your enemies while you nuke them, and chases down runners very well.
Orianna- Her slow and her Ultimate can make a devastating combination when AP Cho is around to nuke, but other than that these two don't really have alot of synergy.
Pantheon- Tanky, with a stun and a poke, Pantheon can be a good takedown partner.
Rammus- Everyone's favorite mutated armadillo rolls onto the scene very effectively, with his ball curl and taunt being a great initiation combo that keeps enemies right where you want them during your combo and stops them from fleeing. Definitely a strong combination.
Sejuani- All of her slows combined with her ultimate make Sejuani an amazing partner for Cho'gath, and she tanks well too. Definitely a good partnership.
Shen- Shen's taunt can be a great intitation technique, and his tankiness combined with the shield from his ultimate can keep you alive for a long time when being focused. Need there be more?
Singed- Crowd control, tankiness, and even a flip, Singed is another great intiator and chaser to work with. Definitely a positive pairing.
Sion- The group lifesteal from his ultimate can keep you alive in teamfights, and his stun is ridiculously spammable and will allow you to land skill shots with ease, while ontop of all that, Sion can dish out damage with the best of them.
Skarner- The main selling point of this matchup is Skarner's ultimate, making him another great tanky initiator.
Taric- Tanky, with a heal, a stun, and extra armor for you, Taric is a support worthy of working with Cho'gath any day of the week.
Trundle- One of the few champions with a terrain modifier, Trundle works well with Cho'gath, although the only other thing he has going for him is tankiness.
Udyr- A tanky melee dps character with a stun, Udyr works well with Cho, allowing them both to combo and take down single targets quickly and effectively.
Volibear- A tanky initiator with a flip that can destroy an enemy's ability to escape, Volibear is an awesome partner for Cho, keeping enemies engaged and slowed for quite awhile.
Warwick- His ultimate is a great tool for initiation, allowing you to land a free Q on whichever enemy you want, and tanky as all hell.
Wukong- This hilarious monkey's ultimate can make it impossible for enemies to escape your Q, and he makes a nice initiator with his tankiness and his rush. This is a pretty nice pairing.
Xin Zhao- The notable portion of this matchup is the initiation power of his ultimate and the knockup from his Q, but other than that Xin and Cho don't really combo well together.
Yorick- The gravedigger can allow you to "Survive" teamfights even after death with his ultimate and coninue to dish out damage for ten more seconds, which combined with his tanky sustain and his slowing effect makes him a strong partner for Cho'gath.
Zilean- Everybody loves Zilean's ultimate, and his speed boost can be nice too, and when he casts it on an enemy your Q is ridiculously easy to hit. Although he lacks in tankiness, this is nevertheless a pretty nice matchup.
TRIOS: Just a few suggestions.
Blitzcrank-Ashe: The Holy Trinity of Epicness, the sustained engagement power of this trio is amazing, turning your little knot of friends into an inescapable back hole of crowd control. Balanced damage, initiation, tankiness, CC. This is an ideal Trio.
Blitzcrank-Alistair: Another nice combination, there's something odd about this trio: with high CDR and good timing, these three can keep an enemy either knocked up or silenced for a full ten seconds or more, a ridiculous length of time that should be more than enough to kill them in.
Galio-Nunu: These AOE ulters can dish out massive amounts of damage when using them in combination on their own: Tack an AP Cho into the mix on their side, and just call it an ace. A great combination.
Jarvan IV-Sion: "Oh no, theres an enemy straggler!" Sion stuns, Jarvan ults, Cho combos hard, good-bye enemy ADC.
Volibear-Blitzcrank: Slightly lower on damage that some other team compositions, this matchup is still insanely OP, keeping enemies engaged long enough for you to get a second burst in easily.
Sejuani-Leona- The stuns and slows on this combo can make escape impossible for enemies: Anyone else starting to notice how well Cho works with tanky CC on his side?
Blitzcrank-Leona: Once again, everyone loves tanky crowd control combined with heavy bursts. Another partenership that can keep an enemy stuck in the black hole for a dozen or so seconds.
Jarvan VI-Leona: Last Leona synergy description, I promise. Maybe. Jarvan's ult combined with Leona's E is a great initiation combination, keeping enemies off-balance and separated for the beginning of the fight.
Malphite-Singed: Their slows and constant damage output make them great partners for AP Cho. Definitely a reccomended partnership.
Wukong-Jarvan IV: Similar to the Jarvan IV- Leona combo, Wukong's rush combined with Jarvan's ult is a great combo. If Wukong ults in the middle of Jarvan's arena, everyone caught in it
gets nuked hard, especially with AP Cho nearby.
Singed-Alistair: Constant damage, tankiness, a flip, a heal, and a bunch of slows. Nice for making enemies THINK they can escape while beating them into the ground.
Okay people, I think you get the point: Tanks and Crowd Control teammates are the best to have with AP Cho. Feel free to come up with your own synergetic combinations and message them to me, if they're actually legitimate they'll end up in here as soon as I can get them here, and you will get credit for your work.
Links to Example matchesI will be attempting to fill this section with links to and descriptions of replays of my gameplay using this build in order to prvide a visual example for those of you who didnt quite get the full picture of some tricks from just the words, as well as tie everything in the guide
Mid vs. Swain, thirty minute game
I admit to being a cocky bastard and buying a mejais LAST after getting fed during this match. Don't copy me. Disregard the large amount of stacks I gained in the last four minutes. Mejais isDIRECTLY after ROA or you don't have time/aren't fed enough.
Mid vs. Ahri, forty minute game
She kites me pretty well post-6, showcases a "buy GA" situation.
Mid vs Katarina, Fifty minute game
Intense back-and-forth action, a three-warmogs Fiddlesticks, and an unofficial lee sin pentakill POST-nerf (props to Just1A12Name123! damn not having boots at forty minutes... =P). Also showcases build swapping, and im pretty sure elixirs are used too. Unfortunately, Enemy focus was strong, so I end up getting nuked alot lategame. Fortunately, they were focusing the 4k hp Cho, so the rest of my team was able to counter-nuke them. I don't think counter-nuke is a real phrase but I'm using it anyways.
Closing NotesIt's been fun having you all for this, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this build. Remember, this build was designed as a playstyle, not an optimum; Full AP Cho may not be for you, and that's OK, just don't downvote me because it's not your style. An adapted version of this guide for solo top AP Cho will be coming somewhere down the line, so keep an eye out, but feel free to use the same item build for it as long as you know how to counter top champions as Cho. Special Thanks go out to the following Summoners for their assistance and encouragement as I wrote this guide: I could not have done it without you. Well I could have, but it would have sucked. So without further ado, thank you to: Luciditydream, Equinoxian Lord, Deney4, Count KicksALot, Grumpybostonian, Rakarra, and everyone else who showed their enthusiasm and support when they found out I was making a guide for my Cho build. I hope to update this guide pretty frequently, and if I forgot something you'd like to know, please tell me, and I'll get started on it ASAP. Have fun with the build, and remember: NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!