IntroductionKassadin is arguably one of the best midgame champions that has a great chase and escape mechanism (notice the similarity with Akali? :P no hate Westrice). Thus, he is also one of the safest casters to play.
Kassadin is often a KSer, a cleanup caster that can pick off high threat/squishy champions with ease and get away with impunity. He is, from seeing other players play him, one of the best and most versatile casters when played skillfully. In my opinion, he is the best anti-carry of LoL. A good Kassadin is awesome in low Elo and remains very viable in high Elo; a good champion to pick up might I say!
I'll take you on this journey to widen your knowledge about this, if you allow me, WONDERFUL AND MOST ENJOYABLE champion that is Kassadin.
Note: In the drawings included in this guide, the blue/purple dot represents Kassadin, the arrows point to the Riftwalk direction.
Masteries21-0-9 for early harassing power that scales into late game
It is a regular masteries set up optimized for laning and harassing. The masteries taken are quite selfexplanatory and are picked to complement your burst caster/assassin role.
Always aim to get Golem buff in order to profit from your 20% increased duration mastery. It will also make you evolve into an untouchable and nightmarish blink machine for the duration of the buff.
RunesThe rune setup presented makes you less reliant on item while not sacrificing much survivability i.e. AR or MR as you are, after all, Kassadin, the blink caster. I decide to play a safe Kassadin and thus prefer to pick RoA + runes for my early-midgame AP instead of Mejai's which is not as reliable.
The AP runes are especially useful for an extra oomph early game harass and makes you a midgame beast (even more than Kassadin usually is). Buying only a Blasting Wand will result in having over 80 AP by 12-15 minutes which is quite decent considering Kassadin's high AP ratios.
MP5/lvl yellows are very useful in those situations you cannot last hit safely without being harassed by the opposing laner; you can use it to last hit at maximum range without depleting your mana pool too fast. If you find yourself in the opposing situation - harassing him more heavily than he is harassing you - feel free to spam Q on him while last hitting.
Self-explanatory; double flash is epic awesome. You can Riftwalk in, Flash out in a risky dive, double flash away and pop miles away from your opponent, catch up a faraway foe; the possibilities are endless and I'll let you experiment with them. Flash+Cleanse/Teleport is also acceptable. Ghost is decent as well.
Ignite is useful for those early kills and to counter pesky healers that might kill your burst.
Passive: Void Stone
Kassadin takes 10% reduced magic damage and transforms this damage into bonus attack speed.
Great little passive, basically makes you naturally more tanky to magic damage. The attack speed is great if you can capitalize on it in a fight for getting those very important extra hits off after a combo (BE 100% SURE YOU ARE SAFE i.e. not getting ganked IF YOU AUTOATTACK or you will need to kill or escape very quickly)
Example: Laning phase, your enemy harasses you from your creep line casting both a spell and an autoattack; he starts to take creep damage. In this case, I would engage him with Q and E combo and the massively increased attack speed gain from the passive.
Q: Null Sphere
Kassadin fires a void bolt dealing 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and silencing the target for 1 / 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 seconds.
Cost 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110mana
Shutdowns casters, great damage, interrupt. Very handy spell, don't be afraid to spam it on the enemy champions to harass. Combos well with Force Pulse to insure damage without much retaliation. Use it on channeled abilities to interrupt them.
Since the patch, it does as much damage as Force Pulse at level 5.
W: Nether Blade
Passive: Kassadin's melee attacks draw energy from the void, restoring 8 / 11 / 14 / 17 / 20 mana each hit. If this effect is triggered from attacking a champion the amount of mana restored is tripled.
Active: Kassadin charges his nether blade, gaining 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 (+0.15 ability power) bonus magic damage dealt on hit for 5 seconds.
Cost 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70mana
Good skill to have at level 13, for an extra Force Pulse charge (you can combo into Force Pulse with only 3 stacks!) It does around 100 extra magic damage on hit around mid game/late game.
Not as useless as before, still not as important as the other spells. Free mana is good, but mana regen and good management will keep your pool ready for teamfights. The extra damage component is cool and much stronger than its previous version of armor penetration, albeit not as strong as your other two nukes. It is still a least priority skill. Take note that the extra magic damage on hit affects both the nexus and inhibitors but not the towers.
E: Force Pulse
Kassadin draws energy from spells cast in his vicinity, gaining a charge whenever a spell is cast near him. Upon reaching 6 charges, Kassadin can use Force Pulse to deal 60 / 115 / 170 / 225 / 280 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and slow enemies by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% in a cone in front of him for 3 seconds.
Low mana use, short CD, AoE, 50% slow, great damage and good AP ratio. This is Kassadin's bread and butter skill. In teamfights, that spell can and should be spammed on as many people as possible as often as possible.
A quick combo out of Q and E can easily take off a huge 60% chunk out of a squishy's health pool.
Note that you can cast this spell with only 4 stacks if you have Riftwalk, 3 if you have Nether Blade. 4 stacks + R+Q = 6 so you can combo with E thereafter. Make that 3 if you press W beforehand.
Its damage, AP ratio and cooldown were nerfed in the most recent Kassadin patch. It still remains the strongest nuke in your arsenal.
Kassadin teleports to a nearby location dealing 60 / 90 / 120 (+50% of ability power) magic damage to surrounding enemy units. Additionally, each subsequent Riftwalk in the next 7 seconds costs 100 additional mana and deals 60 / 90 / 120 additional damage.
Cooldown 6 / 5 / 4seconds
Riftwalk is Kassadin's signature move. Long range, about 1.5x Void Sphere range; you can move over every wall I know on Summoner's Rift. Great for moving around, adding some extra burst, repositioning, escaping. Possibilities are endless. Since the latest Kassadin patch, it does quite a bit more damage late game; very useful for a finish kill or an initiate on a 1v1.
Once you get Catalyst and later on, move back to your lane or elsewhere by using Riftwalk as soon as the extra stack effect dissapears for minimal mana use.
For wall jumping, most of the time, when you try to Riftwalk over a wall, aim your mouse on the center of the wall, it will take you directly over it even if the actual distance traveled is further than your spell range (the trajectory ALWAYS stays as a straight line so you can Riftwalk with a slight angle to walls when you move around to gain some speed and to escape enemies). For more details, see 'Various tactics and basic strategies'.
I take 2 points of Q early for the laning phase. Level 2 Q gives enough damage output to harass a squishy champion to very low health in no time. Past level 2, Void Sphere takes more mana than Force Pulse as well. Since the latest patch, Void Sphere does more damage than Force Pulse at level 5; however, it is unquestionably better to level up Force Pulse rather than Void Sphere for a few reasons. Mainly, each Force Pulse level gives a bonus 55 magic damage while Null Sphere gives 50 magic damage, both at the same AP ratio. Force Pulse's progression is faster; you will gain more damage earlier by leveling up Force Pulse rather than Null Sphere. In addition, it is a stronger AoE nuke as well.
I do not take any level of W as I feel it is a gimmicky spell, you don't really feel its effect early or late game; rather boost your damage from your Q and E. Since the latest Nether Blade changes however, the damage output has increased significantly. It makes you a lot more able to kill neutral monsters. This skill is still too risky to use in teamfights; you will not melee off opponents unless you have won the teamfight and wish to finish them off in which case your other spells are stronger anyway.
E is your main damage ability; max it first. One of the best thing about it is that the low mana cost does NOT increase with levels. That is one of the reasons why it is so useful early and late game. It also does the most damage which is another incentive. E uses less mana than Q and does more damage, is on a shorter CD and slows considerably.
I take 1 level of R at level 6 but NOT at level 11. Reasoning; -1s CD is nice, but it only marginally increases your damage output if at all. I feel the extra Q level gives me more burst and the extra silence is neat as well. Most of the time, you will not use your R to deal damage; as stated above, you will not wish to melee opponents as it will likely get you killed off.
Item BuildsThe item build used is quite simple.
The starting items chosen are quite classic; Sapphire Crystal+2 HP pot or Doran's Ring gives you more harassing power. Since you do not have the two starting potions on the latter option, you have effectively 280 less HP (2x200 hp pots vs +120hp Doran's).
My play usually revolves around aiming for a safe but aggressive play and thus get as much AP as possible the earliest as possible.
It is advisable to get Catalyst ASAP which will allow you to lane longer which is required to build RoA.
Additionnally, a starting Regrowth Pendant into an early Philosopher's Stone or Boots of Speed with 3 HP potions both are good starting game items set up. I would advise to try them all and choose your preferred style.
Thereafter, if you have a few kills/a lot of farm and if you can buy RoA straight away without boots, do it. Else, buy boots 1 and build RoA next; Kassadin can be allowed to delay his boots as he, as you guessed, can blink which slightly compensates this movement disadvantage.
Then, rush Rabadon's Deathcap and Sorcrcerer's Boots while you build Deathcap.
The next items are situational but Banshee's Veil, Zhonya's Hourglass, Abyssal Scepter/Void Staff are usually good late game alternatives, especially when combined with some Elixirs. All in all, try to build at least a bit tanky as carries are getting progressively stronger and tankier.
It is also viable to forgo RoA and rush Rabadon's Deathcap after Catalyst. Your mana pool will be severly reduced, however. It becomes required to build Banshee's as soon as possible and to maintain, as usual, blue buff as much as you can.
Y U NO TAKE MERCS?
If the opposing team has less than 3 stuns, I rarely bother getting Mercury Treads as only 1 stun will rarely kill you, and if you get combostunned/CCed, you are as good as dead; Mercs or not. Of course, take it if you see the enemy team has an unreasonable amount of CC. I might also switch Sorcerer's Shoes late game for Mercury Treads for the extra survivability; late game, it becomes more important to stay alive as long as possible since dying late game leads to a swift defeat.
As an alternative build, disclaimer: it does not have as much damage early game but you should accumulate stronger late game power, both in AP and tankiness, with the following core build:
or only is enough.
Finish boots into Sorcerer's Shoes if not done by now.
Then build full out defensive items, be it armor or magic resist i.e. FoN, Thornmail, etc.
Early GamePick a solo lane (be sure to warn your team beforehand; Kassadin can still work in a duo lane but it is a lot less preferable).
Early game, focus on last hitting. Do not hesitate to fling several Void Spheres early at the enemy champion. Do not use your Force Pulse yet; level 1 Force Pulse does less than an autoattack and is quite useless except for the slow provided if your jungler comes to gank.
By level 3, your Void Sphere will be level 2 which is the level we will keep it at mostly for the duration of the laning phase. Keep flinging. Keep using it on the enemy laner, it does a very good amount of damage by now.
Dislodging the enemy laner
Once you hit level 4, your Q-E combo does quite a lot of burst; you should be able to bring a squishy down to ~50-60% HP easily. Do not use the combo yet (it is your trump card, only use if you are guaranteed a kill) to preserve mana and to avoid scaring the opponent out of lane.
Once the enemy hits ~30% HP, which might be around when you're level 4 or 5 if you've laned well, you can either Q-E him into oblivion, use Ignite if you are not 100% sure you will get the kill.
If the opponent is scared nonetheless but stays back, you can fake going for last hits. If he approaches a bit closer, use Flash, combo Q-E and use ignite if needed. You thus have basically nearly double range. Executing this combo as fast as you can press the keys is crucial; else the enemy might have time to flash away or escape by other means.
If worst comes to worst and that you, no matter what, cannot outlane your opponent; do not fret. Just go back to base after pushing a wave off your tower and heal up while getting a few potions and, maybe, a ward. Dying is probably one of the the worst options one can take in LoL and this is even more true for a snowbally champion such as Kassadin.
Advice for farming/harassing
If the enemy harasses you a lot, you may have these options:
- Keep harassing him back to bring him low; you almost assuredly have more burst than him (still very risky)
- Recall to base to buy more potions (might not be feasible if you leave your tower uncovered)
- Stay afar and fling Q on creeeps to last hit, some on the enemy to harass.
2nd and 3rd option are probably best.
The main way to harass a range carry without being harassed in the laning phase is to wait for the opponent to go for a last hit, you then use Q on him as his auto attack will be on cooldown as, early on, attack speeds are quite low. The same concept applies for casters; wait for them to use their damage ability then use yours on them.
If there is a caster with a shorter range than you but threatens you with his spell to bully you into not last hitting, use Q on them while going for a minion (at the same time mind you, start moving before the spell is cast); they will not be able to cast the spell to harass you while you get a free last hit.
If you use Force Pulse on creeps and they retain a sliver of HP, a single well placed Riftwalk is handy to farm this gold.
Time could display anything from 11:00 to 18:00.
You could be anywhere around level 7-8 to level 14.
By now, you should have either Catalyst+Blasting Wand or RoA, in addition of Boots 1. Your AP should be near 100 as well.
I advise to start wandering off to gank some lanes; it is truly great by this point. You do a great amount of burst (you could *almost* solo a squishy, instagibbing him with ignite if he is 80% HP or less). Try to cooperate with your team to get Golem buff; you are often the one whom is the most efficient with it.
If you are mid, top lane is a good gank from either top jungle three-way-bushes. Alert your teammate to your intention then blink over the wall and execute a R-Q-E combo as fast as you can click. Follow up with melee hits and, hopefully, you or your teammate will get a kill. Be sure to blink as close as you can to your target. The same applies to a mid and bottom lane gank.
My recommended gank routes are A for top lane ganks, B for mid lane ganks and C for bot lane ganks.
Note that you can one hit the caster creep backline with your E (Force Pulse) at this point for easy gold.
Late GameLate game is all about teamfighting, controlling buffs (even more) and scoring towers with the advantages gained by the former or the latter. Keep maximum Golem uptime on yourself.
Dragon is essential but not paramount to victory; Baron is far more important so keep it warded at all times if no one else wards it.
At this point, you should always roam around with your team. Kassadin's main strength, his burst, has been somewhat weakened in late game as champions are generally more tanky and deadly. As fights are typically longer, you will have to engage later rather than first and back in forth into the fight.
Finishing the game
Winning requires destroying the enemy Nexus and inhibitors after pushing towers. Killing Baron greatly facilitates this task. Thus, gaining Baron buff is paramount to quickly overwhelming the opponent with an huge advantage.
Attacking Baron is usually done after winning a teamfight to force a disadvantageous fight for the opponent. Thus, warding and your role of picking off stragglers is extremely important.
Imagine the following situation. You have warded the Baron area and the opposing team comes in to ward it as well. They ward then leave the area and go to the top red buff. At this time, you could wait for them to pass you and pick off the last champion in the line. Most of the time, the backline is composed of squishies so you will have an easy time taking him off making it either a 4v5 teamfight and/or a Baron buff.
Thus, do not hesitate to attack the last follower of the enemy trail with a quick R-Q-E combo if your team is around; it could mean the difference between winning a teamfight resulting in Baron buff and losing the game after getting aced by their carry.
Use every opportunity but, first of all, keep in mind that AS SOON AS YOU DIE, YOU ARE AT A TERRIBLE DISADVANTAGE. The bottomline is: don't try anything *too* risky, stay safe. Respawn times sure are a bitch.
Team FightsKassadin's role, in teamfights, is mostly to spam Force Pulse as many times as possible on the most champions as possible keeping them 50% slowed and making them tank loads of damage.
You might want to poke around a bit with your Q (Void Sphere) and then retreat with Riftwalk; even if they stun you, projectile stuns will stun you at a safe far away position, hopefully into your team e.g. Sion or Taric stun.
At other times, it might be prudent to save your silence for a dangerous channeled spell (such as Amumu, Karthus, Katarina, or Nunu) or for a high threat caster such as Annie, Ryze or Anivia.
Kassadin usually does not initiate 5v5 teamfights (he rather does 3v1 ganks or similar scenarios) although he may in special cases.
Once your tank initiates on their team, immediately Riftwalk near a squishy caster or carry, whoever your team's target is, at an untypical angle and cast your Q-E combo. You might find that you are being focused at some points in a teamfight; run away/Riftwalk away from your chaser (optimally out of sight) and, in 90% of cases, he will simply run back towards the fight. You can then just move around to attack then 4v4 fight and make it 5v4 as you are quicker than the vast majority of champions in teamfights.
Terrain is rather useful for Kassadin; he can pop over walls easily and thus can attack unexpectedly in the fray of battle.
Various tactics and basic strategies
Your usual combo should be R-Q-E. It allows you to avoid the escape of your target. R-E-Q can be used for the absolute fastest combo. However, it is more difficult to pull off in the heat of the fight.
Sometimes, you'll want to pop directly on someone when you're not sure in which direction he will flee; say in a 1v1 situation. In those relatively safe cases for yourself, it is preferable to use Q and immediately follow with a Rift Walk directly on target (or the opposite). This combo will make you land about at the same time as your silence ball. Then, after waiting for about half a second, cast E as soon as the escape direction has been determined. This is explained by insuring a 100% slow + melee followthrough e.g. if you want to gank a solo laner (relatively safe) with 2-3 allies.
It is generally preferable to hop over a wall than to Riftwalk directly in front of you. Your chaser probably has a means to slow you or increase his speed; losing vision is a great incentive to abandon chase. Aiming diagonally allows you to increase the distance travelled with Riftwalk. The red dots are where you should aim your Riftwalks. The pale purple dots are the ending locations for the Riftwalk aimed.
A is the best escape route, followed by B and C respectively.
Threat zones and initiating
When attacking an enemy champion, always be aware of every champion that possesses CC. Imagine the following scenario:
The red formation is one that might be adopted while dancing around waiting for a teamfight. Your target is the red dot with a crosshair, say, MF. The red dots with the 'X' are champions possessing stuns, perhaps Taric and Sion.
A safe way to initiate, or harass, would be to Riftwalk to position A and to combo MF; you are only threatened by her and since you silence her, only autoattacks can hit you. Afterwards, walk directly away from the angle of attack.
Positions B, C and D are increasingly dangerous and should not ideally be attempted; you enter the threat zones of 2-3 and more champions with CCs. If they are half decent, you will die before being able to escape; Riftwalker into 5 enemies is thus a big NONO.
Position E would be used to poke the front; silence "Sion" and chip at his HP safely. Stay aware that some champions might Flash/stun you.
In teamfights, popping on the side of the enemy team and moving directly away from the side (as in position A) is preferable and may be used for initiating; most of the time, people do not react and lose attention very quickly. Repeat your combos and Riftwalk sideways as much as you can until you win the teamfight.
Instantly killing off a squishy straggler is also a good way to initiate; Kassadin is one of the champions best suited to do this.
Final CommentsI hope you had a good time reading this as I had a good time writing it. It is perhaps not 'THE' best way of playing Kassadin; adapt your play accordingly to the game, but it is one that I have found very successful and effective against the opponents I played against.
Feel free to ask any questions below. Any suggestions are very appreciated!
Keep playing and improve, never be discouraged; perhaps you can find your way to becoming the best of the best, and I'll then be glad to have participated in your progress.
Good success to you, reader. May you always enjoy playing the champions you love, and remember:
Most of all, LoL is a game and, no matter the circumstances, do your best + HAVE FUN! :)
Note: I'm not actually 2000+ elo but I'll do my best to get there when I get the time to play more ranked :D
- Updated guide to reflect Kassadin changes.
- Updated TACTICS chapter
- Updated SKILLS chapter
- Updated SKILL ORDER chapter
- Guide created.