NOTE: AKALI GUIDE V.2 IS RELEASED AND CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=1785
Akali is a great early game champion that has great chase and escape mechanisms. Akali shouldn't be picked in draft mode all the time, because depending on what the opposing team gets, Akali may not contribute to anything end game (Hard stuns or team too tanky).
She is sort of the "clean-up killer" and the "KSer." Extremely high damage output if built right but is easily shut down when it comes to Oracles. Akali should probably never be built as AD, only enough AD to activate her passive. Other than that, Akali's damage output is mainly through AP. Akali is one of the most underrated champions in the game that has so much potential if played right.
Take 21 in offensive and 9 into utility. 21 in offensive because she is an assassin, her main job is to do damage, and with the 3 points in Brute Force you will have the AD Twin Disciples passive at lvl 1 (assuming you followed the rune page). Her shroud is enough defense for the early and mid game. Also, get 9 points in utility mastery because Akali is a farmer and in some cases, suicidal, thus having more XP and quicker respawn time essential.
Akali NEEDS her passives to be strong. You have a minimum of 20 AP through runes for her magic damage passive, and a minimum of 10 AD from runes ans masteries. Doran's blade may work if you don't have the minimum 10 AD because you don't have enough IP to buy AD runes. Akali is probably the only champion in the game that may require her own rune page (that is if you want to start boots).
Get flat AP runes because you need to do a lot of damage early game. It is really important to land those Q abilities on creeps for when you're getting zoned out, and the extra AP provides this. Also, your Q + autoattack will do an insane amount of burst damage if your opponent ever decides to get up close to you. Usually with this rune setup, if anyone ever tries to get near you, you will punish them by taking 1/3 of their hp in one combo (before 6). But depending on your play style, you may want to get AP/lvl if you decide you want to play more defensively before level 6. Hp/lvl is crucial to have, because it will be your only source of HP (if the opponent sees you with only 4 bars of health, then good luck...)
Get ignite because it really helps with your burst early game as well as the additional +10 AP from your mastery build.
Get flash because it is great for juking ganks after you shroud on the ground or on a brush. Flash also helps land your Q if you don't have any ultimate charges left (make sure to wait half a second before jumping in prior to your Q mark to ensure a trigger on the first auto attack).
Passive: Twin Disciplines
Upon obtaining 20 Ability Power, Akali's basic attacks deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 Ability Power gained thereafter.
Upon obtaining 10 Bonus Attack Damage, Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 5 Bonus Attack Damage gained thereafter.
It's best to have both passives at level one, so you can focus on core items rather than having to go a different direction just to cope with it (follow my rune page and masteries page). Healing passive and damage passive is crucial for Akali in laning phase, both survivability and damage output
Q: Mark of the Assassin
Akali throws her kama at a target enemy to deal 50/75/100/125/150 (+0.4) magic damage and mark the target for 6 seconds.
Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will consume the mark to cause 50/75/100/125/150 (+0.4) magic damage and restore 20/25/30/35/40 Energy.
Cost 60/60/60/60/60 Energy
This skill is your primary damage ability, alongside with your R ability. It's focused on your ability power and does an insane amount of burst. The mistake that most people make is using Q and then instantly using R, arriving at your opponent too early resulting in a wasted auto attack and a late Q trigger. The cooldown on this move is short. And the duration of the mark on the enemy is higher than its cooldown by a few seconds. So to surprise your opponent and fully use your damage output, do this: Mark your target, wait for the cooldown to be finished, use your ultimate, trigger Mark, Mark again, trigger second Mark. You bascially trigger your Q move twice under a second.
W: Twilight Shroud
Akali throws down a cover of smoke that lasts for 8/8/8/8/8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10/20/30/40/50 Armor and Magic Resist and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies inside the smoke are slowed by 14/18/22/26/30%.
Cost 80/75/70/65/60 Energy
It's good for almost all situations. Just be careful, when you use it carelessly and get caught with your pants down because your shroud is on cooldown, you're forced to either use your ultimate (most cases, you wouldn't ulti at their minions towards their tower) or worse case scenario, flash. Use Shroud to last hit minions if you find yourself getting stomped by your lane opponent. And if you control the lane, use Shroud to push your opponent back out of XP range. Use Shroud on the edge of brushes to highly increase your juking. If they try to find you, their going to be near your shroud and not on the very end of the brush that that Shroud was attached to. Don't keep spamming this move, because you're going to eventually need it when you're getting ganked. Also, Shroud increases your MR and Armor, so sit in your shroud when Garen spins near you, a tower shoots you, or if Karthus is using his Ulti. And lastly, while in a lane, when you use Shroud to run towards your opponent to Mark them with your Q move, run away while you're still temporarily visible. And then the INSTANT you become invisible again, you run back towards them to get a close shot to trigger your Mark. You run away while visible in shroud to make them think that you're retreating, but when you go invisible again, run back towards them to trigger your Q. It's fun when it works out in the end.
Akali will continue to auto attack as long as she is UNCLOAKED in the shroud. However, if she becomes CLOAKED note that she will STOP auto attacking, which can mess up your combos at times (primarily your Q+hit)
E: Crescent Slash
Akali flourishes her kamas, slicing nearby enemy units for 30/55/80/105/130 (+) (+0.3) physical damage.
Cost 60/60/60/60/60 Energy
This move is usually only good for farming. Never spam this move when you're chasing someone or in a big team fight, because before you know it, you barely did any damage with it and you just wasted all of your energy. But it is also very situational to use it to gank someone, unless you absolutely know you're going to kill that person under 5 seconds, then knock yourself out using E for that mini damage. Keep using this move to a minimum in team fights. Your Q does 5x more damage than your E and also does not refund energy.
R: Shadow Dance
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100/175/250 (+0.5) magic damage.
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow on kills and assists as well as every 25/20/15 seconds up to 3/3/3 total.
Cost 1/1/1 Essence of Shadow
This is a great juking ability. And when used in combination of "Mark of the Assassin," make sure you wait half a second before leaping at your enemy with R, because if you leap in too soon after a Mark, your Mark wont trigger until after your second auto attack, assuming you want to attack right away. Make sure you don't spam this move, especially early game, because the refresh timer on an additional Essence of Shadow is very long. Ganking with only one Essence of Shadow in most cases would be a bad idea, because you won't have a second to when they Flash/Ghost. Keep in mind you gain an additional Essence of Shadow for a Kill/Assist too. Later into the game, you can use this ability on creeps or other enemy champions to catch a wounded champion.
Your Q ability is your primary damage output ability, so maxing this first is best. Put only 1 skill point into W because it would be your only early defensive mechanism, then prioritize E second (for faster farming and damage).
I have tried maxing out W before E but I didn't see much come out of it. I couldn't farm as well if I don't max E after Q. W's main purpose is to cloak yourself, not mainly for the extra slow (which you can get from Rylai's) or extra defensive stats.
For the extra Health Potion wait 10 seconds after minions spawn. You should get to lane in time before the first creep dies (assuming you're not level 1 fighting in this case you will go Boots of Speed and 3 Health pot).
Since you should have both passives at level one, Boots is the general starting item for almost most cases (mobility and least chance of getting denied). If you're going against a melee champion without ranged harass and without boots, then getting Amplifying tome would be best because you usually don't have to worry about getting denied (and if they try, you will punish them hard with your Q combo). Doran's blade is still ok if you didn't have the green passive before (healing passive), you just lose the extra potions which i find crucial in laning phase.
You can get a Hextech Revolver early (before Rylai's) if you find yourself backing earlier than intended. I find Revolver to be very useful throughout most of the game, because its cheap and its recent change made it a strong spell vamp (stacks with passive). Rylai's is a MUST, it helps you chase down runners AND you can Q people chasing you to slow them down to prevent them from catching up to you. Lich Bane is priority because the passive on it provides one of the best synergies with Akali's Q. I find Moonflair Spellblade very useful because then you can buy Sorcerer's Shoes and still withstand stuns, snares, etc. just as well.
If you feel like your team is reliant on you rather than your other solo laner, then get Guardian's angel. But if you feel like your main job is to just killing the opposing carry without a huge downside of killing yourself, then Rabadon's (ex: your Ashe on your team is buff and can do the rest).
If you don't feel like building or finishing Hextech revolver into Hextech Gunblade then buy anything else referring to what would be necessary (ex: the other team is stacking MR so you would get Void Staff, enemy team AD heavy so get hourglass, etc.).
About Guinsoo's Rageblade: Its a good item to have, but the money is usually spent better elsewhere. Akali is not an auto attack champion. All you do is auto attack once after your Q move to trigger the AP damage. It's one hit then you're done and out. (May only be good for backdooring towers). The recent nerf with Akali damage output to towers is significantly lowered, so back dooring as Akali won't do much. I get this item sometimes when I don't have AD runes to cope.
General Gameplay TipsAkali is a great 1v1 Champion. Use Shroud efficiently while 1v1. Your Q is your MAIN source of damage. So Q then auto attack your opponent, hide in shroud and wait for Q cooldown, then you Q and autoattack again.
Akali is never a 5v5 team fight initiator, unless you are absolutely CERTAIN that they don't have an Oracle. Still very risky, but its better in few cases if you want to kill off one of the easy squishies in the front.
Tower diving with flash can sometimes have a good outcome, Especially because your Ultimate makes you leap at them. Q your opponent, wait for the Q cooldown, R your opponent, trigger 1st Q Mark, Q your opponent again, trigger 2nd Mark. After that, your opponent should be dead. Don't dive with them being over 50% HP, unless its a squishy Kog'Maw.
(Akali General Combos):
Setup Full Burst Combo: (Q) + (wait for CD) + (R) + (auto hit) + (Q) + (auto hit)
-Usually not good in teamfights.
-Only in a duel most of the time when the enemy doesn't see it coming.
Quick Poke Far Range: (R) + (Q) + (auto hit) + (E)
-When you're desperate to kill off someone.
-Instant R then Q. General combo.
Kill Running Enemy No Ulti: (Q) + (wait .5 seconds) + (flash onto enemy) + (auto hit) + (E)
-When you have no ult charges left.
-Use only if guaranteed a kill. Otherwise not worth it to burn flash.
-Sort of hard to do, so get used to doing this.
Generally, you can use combos out of these orders because situations sometimes vary. Also, using W to slow down enemies before initiating can be sometimes good (don't waste if you're prone to a gank), but you shouldn't use it if you already have Rylai's because that provides enough Slow Effects for you to catch up. Using Ignite (if it's up) before a full combo is best, because you get the extra 10 AP from your masteries, and thats more damage output to your combo.
Final CommentsWhat should people want to know, to be good at this champ?
Read this guide about 50 more times, and be best friends with Westrice. Then you'll be HALFWAY there.