IntroductionCho'gath is one of the most notable tanks in the game. He applies pressure as a tank like no other and is extremely consistent compared to most. Cho'gath can basically go anywhere when it comes to laning because he can sustain extremely well with his passive (just don't abuse that fact and overdo it). He is very important when it comes to team fights, because following up with his abilities and absorbing damage for your carries is your main role as a tank.
Most mistakes I see people make while playing Cho'gath is when they just mindlessly use their abilities whenever they're up and trying to hit enemies with them (like rupture and feral scream). Sure, Cho'gath can usually regenerate the mana back easily, but sometimes its the cooldowns that really matters. What if you try to skill shot rupture on an enemy, waste feral scream just to poke, or feast to get a single stack right before a team fight (say, feasting a creep when theres baron imminent). You need to play your cards right and know when theres something going down.
Take 9 points into offensive and 21 into utililty. Get the magic penetration in offensive mastery so you can poke during laning phase a lot more effectively (you can do this with ease when you buy Doran's Ring to sustain mana). Defensive Mastery isn't as useful to Cho'gath as it is to Utility. This is because Cho'gath is already tanky as he is. Utility is better because the extra XP bonus is strong for his farming abilities (will put you ahead), the movement speed bonus (3%) for easier feasting and mobility, and for faster summoner spells.
You can go defensive mastery if you would like to be more beefy, but that is if you're willing to sacrifice mobility and stronger offensive attributes. But for Utility, lower cooldown on flash and a faster ghost is very good on Cho'gath, especially because flash+feast is OP, and doing that more often because of lower cooldown on flash and faster ghost speed will almost guarantee you a feast kill.
You don't need strength of spirit as much as you do with other masteries, because you already have a passive that grants you back HP when you last hit creeps, that is if you're not getting denied. But if all else fails, retreat to your tower and last hit creeps there (not hard with rupture and feral scream, plus you get some mana back from when you kill them). Its better to get denied in the beginning and get creep kills at your tower later than lose too much HP and dig yourself deeper into the hole. But overall, Cho'gath shouldn't have much trouble in a lane because he is dominant against almost all champions.
Pretty simple. Magic penetration reds for stronger harassing (nothing else is better), flat armor yellows to withstand harass (or if you're certain that you're going against AP, you can run hp/lol or mana regen), and MR/lvl blues for dragon fights and after, and finally flat HP quints so you can stay lane dominant (any other quints will make you too vulnerable to harass). By the way, the passive on Cho'gath is so sexy.
Get flash because it helps you feast someone instantly if they happen to get away. Its like a T-rex with flash. OP.
Get ghost because it helps you chase down people to feast, escape... pretty much an awesome summoner spell in every situation in general.
Replace flash with exhaust if the opposing team has heavy AD and/or if no one else on your team has it.
Replace flash with clairvoyance if you're duo lane and no one else on the team has it. This summoner spell will cripple you, but its worth it if you're team depends on it.
Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 34 - 68 (+2.5 each level) health and 7-15.5 mana (+0.5 each level).
One of the best laning sustainable abilities in the game. It keeps you at a safe HP when you last hit creeps and gives you back little mana when you decide to harass with W. Without this passive, Cho'gath would have an extremely hard time laning. Because of this passive, Doran's Ring is recommended as a starting item because it gives you a mana regen boost plus more damage, and this passive already gives a decent amount of health regen. This passive also helps with jungling if you decide to do that also.
Ruptures the ground at target location. After a short delay, enemies are launched into the air for 1 second, dealt 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 305 (+100% of ability power) magic damage, and have their movement speed slowed by 60% for 3 seconds.
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120mana
This is an important spell on Cho'gath. You use this spell to stun runners, when you're running, or when someone is stunning down a teammate in a fight (ex. WW, malzahar). And when a fight is about to go down somewhere (ex. at dragon), don't waste rupture for the extra damage, whereas when you miss it will be a huge waste because you won't have it for the next 10 seconds, which could determine who wins the fight. This skill seems unreliable for people at times, because they think its all about skill shots when actually... its not too hard to figure out. Use this skill to follow up with your other teammates stun/snare to guarantee you a stun (ex. taric stun, lux snare, etc.), and you will hit almost every rupture. Also, using this ability in narrow passages will guarantee you a stun as well (use rupture ahead of them, and if they want to juke it they'll have to walk back to you or stop moving.)
Don't use this ability too much in laning phase, because the person you're going against will almost juke it 100% just because its so easy to. Use it when you think its right, but don't use it to try to skill shot them and push your creeps too much by accident. Its a waste of mana to spam in lane, whereas Feral Scream (E) is a lot more reliable to use as a poking ability. It takes practice to master this ability, and if you can make all of your stuns in team fights, you'll be a huge contribution to the team.
W: Feral Scream
Cho'Gath screams in a cone in front of him, silencing enemies for 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 3.5 / 4 second(s) and causing 75 / 125 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+70% of ability power) magic damage.
Cost 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110mana
This spell is very nice in almost all situations. It makes clearing waves of creep easy (in combination of rupture), poking in laning phase extremely effectively, and silencing enemies. This spell is pretty simple to use. Once again, don't waste it on enemies before a team fight who arn't even doing anything and you're only using it to do damage - Thats a big nono. You need to use this spell to support your teammates. Like rupture, use it to interrupt enemy spells (WW, malzahar ult) and it should be a lot easier and faster than rupture.
In addition, this spell's range is actually further than it appears. When you see the cone in which you're about to scream, champions who walk out of the area will still be silenced if you use it quickly enough. Stack this move, and then you'll be doing a lot of damage for a tank and silence the enemy for a max of 4 seconds!
E: Vorpal Spikes
Toggle: Cho'gath's physical attacks launch spikes which deal 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 (+30% of ability power) magic damage to a line in front of him.
Vorpal spikes is a great farming ability. It helps with killing champions as well, but its hardly noticeable. It makes your last hitting a lot easier than when you don't have it, but toggle it off if you feel like you shouldn't be pushing and you want to keep the creeps on your side. But usually in a game, always keep it on in fights because it provides extra damage. And importantly, be sure to toggle this ability off when you're taking a tower, because your vorpal spikes will still hit your enemies when you're on the tower then the tower will start attacking you.
Deals 300 / 475 / 650 (+70% of ability power) damage to target champion, or 1000 damage to target minion (ignores resists).
If the target is killed by Feast, Cho'Gath grows, gaining 90 / 120 / 150 maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to half (rounded up) stacks upon death.
Feast can be used in 3 ways:
1. Feast creeps to build up your stacks but don't get too ahead of yourself and feast a creep when a team fight is imminent.
2. Feast can also be used as a smite. It does 1000 true magic damage at all levels which is more than smite, and in combination of your jungler and your feast will guarantee you dragon/baron almost all the time (Cho'gath and jungle Nunu is godlike).
3. Feasting on a champion. Remember that Feast deals TRUE damage, so watch the enemies health before feasting because that can determine if they get away or not, unless feasting earlier will help getting the kill for someone else. Feast cannot go through shields (banshee's, sivir's spellshield, or poppy's ulti) so be careful who you use it on.
In a teamfight, its best to use your feast earlier than intended (especially if you have 6 stacks already) on carries which will make them panic because you just took a chunk of their health with one spell. For example, a farmed Cho'gath who ghosts then feasts an Ashe will drop her very low and it will make her hesitant on what she should do next, and it will allow your teammates to make quicker work of her. This ability is so much damage for a tank. Its like a Garen ulti without the limits of them being low.
Skill OrderQ W E W W R W E W E R E Q E Q R Q Q
prioritize R > W > E > Q
-Your ruptures (Q) main role is to stun, not to damage. So only get one point in it for now. If you stack this, the mana cost increases. Keep that in mind.
-Feral scream (W) is your primary poking ability and silence. Stacking this will increase its damage significantly and silence them longer (and its not a hard skill shot like rupture). Stack this ability.
-Vorpal spikes (E) is mainly used for farming, and since Cho'gath is a strong farmer, prioritize this ability after W so you can free farm with ease. Poking enemy champions with this ability does a lot of damage as well, so getting free hits off on them with this ability on will do nice extra damage. Plus this ability uses no mana.
-Take feast whenever it is up, as when you level it up, the true damage increases (300/475/650)
Generally, get Doran's Ring when taking a solo. It helps maintain your mana when you poke enemy champions with your W and the additional health is always nice. Plus your passive makes a great contribution to getting the damage and mana regen from getting the ring rather than Doran's Shield. However, if you know you're going against a ranged AD in a solo lane, Doran's Shield will be better. You will lose the mana regen, but you can get back at least some from your passive.
In cases where you must get Doran's Shield is when you're going against 2 champion (bot lane) or AD carry in a solo lane. Doran's Ring will not help much against two champions, because you will get poked to death when you try anything, and your passive will not be enough to maintain the lane (so don't prioritize poking them with W here, play safe).
Mercury Threads is an all around great item (self-explanatory). Don't get anything else besides Mercury Threads and Ninja Tabi, which is only good if they're heavy on AD, but chances in high ELO is slim that this will happen. Sorcerer's Boots is great for the damage, but as your role as a tank... you will not be effective as you will have a harder time getting around places in team fights, so don't get these.
Catalyst is extremely good for Cho'gath, especially for a farmer. Look at singed, he farms like a beast with catalyst and maintains his lane without much trouble. Same with Cho'gath, he can stay in a lane with Catalyst for a long period of time. Keep catalyst for a good while, except when you're getting Rod of Ages because the other team lacks CC. But until you think the time is right (a team fight lets say) turn it into a Banshee's Veil if they have a decent amount of CC.
Against Heavy AD:
Games are always situational when it comes to item builds. You shouldn't revolve yourself over just one build game by game. Do they have heavy AP or AD, or a balance between both? Do they have a lot of melee or ranged? Are they CC heavy?
In a case where the enemy team is heavy on AD, Frozen Heart is prioritized (but you don't need it if someone else is getting it, like Ryze. But in most cases, it should be you getting Frozen Heart). The Cooldown and armor is especially good for Cho'gath, plus the passive that slows down enemy champion's attack speed. Get Thornmail for obvious reasons. And get Sunfire Cape if you feel like you need more HP and magic damage. Don't prioritize yourself to have a bunch of HP (Warmogs for example), because you have enough HP as it is from your feast stacks, so build for your team.
Against Heavy AP:
Force of nature is a great item. Its like a mini ghost, it lets you run up to enemy champions and feasting them easier. Abyssal scepter should be somewhere around your last item if your team needs it. The extra AP and MR is great, and the passive for reduced magic resist for your teammates is also a great support feature.
Normal Build (against AP and AD balanced):
+ into or (depending whether they have hard CC)+
If you decide to get Rod of Ages, build it a lot earlier than if you decide to get Banshee's Veil. If you decide you want Banshee's Veil, hold onto Catalyst until later. If you decide you get both, then thats fine too.
General Gameplay TipsCho'gath is a beast. Use him as a distraction and tank everything for your team. You're like the mother bear, and you have to protect all your little cubs. Use your abilities smart and know exactly how to follow up using your rupture. Silence the right targets and at the right time.
1v1 Kill Attempt: Rupture + Feral Scream + Feast (best used if they're below [300/475/600])
5v5 Fights: During teamfights, try to rupture enemy champions that are crowded together. If you can't get any clear ruptures, then just follow up with your teammates after they snare/stun someone. ALWAYS use rupture and/or feral scream on enemy champions who are on your teammates and beating on your carries, because rupture/feral scream will disable them for a short time and can save their lives.
Always be there for large team fights. Don't prioritize farming creeps over leaving your team. Be there for them when theres about to be a dragon fight or a baron fight.
Don't forget to ward ward ward ward ward for your teammates. You're support tank and a strong farmer. You should have no problem buying them.
Oracles are good for Cho'gath. The other team would be stupid enough to focus you (unless you get caught). And if you fully Pot up, the oracle eye animation on top of Cho'gath's head is extremely hard to see, just something cool to think about. Always scout out for wards if you have the free time.
Final CommentsWhat should people want to know to be good at this champ?
Read this guide about 2 times and be anyone's friend. Then you'll be there.