Malzahar Build Guide

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Malzahar, The Advanced Prophet of the Void

written by Noemro

Malzahar Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    The very first time I played Malzahar, I knew I had a new main. Malzahar has so much to bring to the table in team situations and is a force to be reckoned with in solo situations. I decided to write this guide because recently there have been a few changes to Malzahar that slightly change the way he is played (particularly with your Voidling), and also to go over some basic and advanced techniques in order to master the Prophet of the Void to his fullest potential. I haven't read many of the Malzahar guides here, but I wanted to share the play style that works for me, and works very very frequently I might add.

  • Pro's and Con's

    Pro's:
    Great Farming 
    Great at nuking down a single target 
    Great at damaging and disabling grouped up enemies 
    Amazing pushing and holding back enemies at and behind their turrets


    Con's:
    Slow movement speed
    No escape options other than summoner spells
    Cooldowns can seem a little long during team fights
    Vulnerable while channeling ultimate

  • Changelog

    Patch v1.0.0.131


    Patch v1.0.0.108


    Patch v1.0.0.107

  • Abilities

    Summon Voidling
    I often see Malzahar users who do not seem to even acknowledge the presence of their Voidling. I think it is a very underrated passive, under/misused, and also the hardest of Malzahar's abilities to master. Before, the Voidling was almost completely uncontrollable, but as of a few patches ago, the Voidling now attacks the target affected by your most recent cast of Malefic Visions. Two rules you should always keep in mind regarding your Voidling...

    Rule #1: NEVER underestimate the power of your little void creature! There have been many times early and mid game where my voidling has done at least half of the damage to an enemy before I go in for the kill shot.

    Rule #2: Your Voidling is expendable! The lifespan of your voidling is short, so make use of him to his fullest potential. Harass your enemies! Let it take a few hits from a turret so you can widdle away at it, every bit counts. You can also use it for diving an enemy without the turret re-targeting to you as long as the Voidling has done damage to your enemy while under the turrets line of sight. (this takes practice)


    Call of the Void
    This ability has a few uses, and proper use of this skill will give you a distinct advantage in team and solo fights. Since it can hit multiple targets, placement of this ability is critical. Silencing a whole team is a great way to give your team opportunity to initiate and use more crowd control abilities before the other team is able to. In solo situations you can use this before your ultimate so your enemy does not have a chance to escape. At higher ability level with enough AP, you can kill a minion wave with one cast, which is a great way to farm. Previously, this skill used to only double hit if the enemy was standing in a certain area. Now, the only reason it won't double hit is if your enemy is moving through it fast enough, or if you only contact them with the very edge of the ability.


    Null Zone
    One of Malzahar's weaker abilities until late game, but still not to be taken lightly. Since it does a percentage of health as damage, naturally it can be very effective on high HP characters and tanks. Normally when you lay down a Null Zone enemies will try to avoid it, unless committed to a fight, which is when it is most effective (especially in team fights). When harassing an enemy or enemies all the way back to their turret, using this ability can prevent most characters from trying to poke at you while attacking their turret. One of my favourite uses is laying down a Null Zone and trapping the enemy in it with your ultimate, Nethergrasp. This combo along with an initially cast Call of the Void and Malefic Visions, can deal heavy damage and most likely kill your target, or leave them within an inch of their life.


    Malefic Visions
    This is by far my favourite ability of Malzahar's. It can enable you to easily last hit minions, farm, harass, and regenerate mana, all in one cast depending on its skill level and your AP. At level 1 (if you choose this ability, which I normally do) it will not do enough damage to fully kill a minion. In order to use it effectively, don't immediately cast it or you will have wasted mana. Weaken the minion with a few basic attacks, cast on it, then proceed to attack the closest minion to it so when the original dies, it will jump to a weakened enemy. You probably won't be able to kill every minion with the ability affecting everyone unless you have a lane partner, but as the skill levels up it should get a lot easier to farm minions with it. If you have been solo mid, your malefic visions will deal a very good amount of damage to your under leveled enemies, especially the squishies. So keep that in mind in case you are doing well in mid and have time for a gank. Delaying the cast on a dying enemy can also be a good way to kill them if they are trying to escape out of your range


    Nether Grasp
    This is your super powered, single target, suppression ultimate. This used to just stun the target, but a recent update makes it a suppression, so enemy summoner spells cannot be cast while you are channeling. The only way your enemy can escape your grasp, is with a quicksilver sash. In a team situation, a stun, silence, fear, or a knock-up can interrupt your channeling. If an enemy has a homing/ballistic stun/silence/fear (like Sion, Taric, or Kassadin) if their ability is in mid flight as you cast your ultimate, it can interrupt your channeling, causing you to do maybe 1 or 2 ticks of damage, wasting your ult. So be careful when you cast it against characters like this. Using this skill to top off your spell combo can kill almost every character that isn't a tank or have a ton of HP (that's another story if you are under leveled and under farmed). Later game in team fight situations, this skill should be used to single out a prime target for your team (such as a main dps or support character) so they can be focus killed quickly and make the rest of the team fight a breeze, although you are slightly vulnerable if your team has no means of protecting/shielding you.


  • Masteries + Runes

    My Masteries are a standard 21/0/9 for casters
    how I usually build my masteries:
    External Image

    explanation:

    The Offence Masteries should be pretty self explanatory. I take the point in summoners wrath over the 1 AP in Mental Force because it's a difference of 4 AP when ignite is on CD. No big deal either way though.
    In the Utility tree I prefer improved recall. This has saved my hide and it will save yours. You can tweak these masteries how you want but mana regen is a big necessity on Malzahar.

    Runes:

    Greater Mark of Insight x9
    Pretty much no substitution for magic penetration. Without penetrating magic resist, you won't being doing a whole lot of damage. 'Nuff said.

    Greater Seal of Clarity x9
    Having a lot of mana regeneration is very good for Malzahar because if he can spam, he becomes a big threat

    Greater Glyph of Celerity x9
    One thing I really hate is when all of your abilities are on cooldown. You become vulnerable if you are being attacked. These help prevent that to an extent. Generally, cooldown runes are good for almost any Champ.

    or if you are fine with your cooldowns:

    Greater Glyph of Force x9
    the extra ability power is nice and can help if you are lacking in your AP items.

    Greater Quintessence of Insight x3
    I like having Magic penetration quints as it helps with the early game damage before you get your Sorc Shoes

    substitutions:

    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude x3 (for more survivability)
    or
    Greater Quintessence of Potency x3
    or
    Greater Quintessence of Force x3

    most per level runes overtake their flat stat counter types by level 6 or so, so its up to you whether you want a really strong start game, or a stronger mid/late game.

  • Summoner Spells

    Primarily, I take Flash and Ignite. Flash provides a great escape mechanism from turret dives (although you will take damage as of patch v1.0.0.107) and to flash through a wall where your enemy would otherwise have to run around it, giving you plenty of time to run away. Also, it allows you to quickly get into position for your ultimate in a gank situation. Ignite used in conjunction with malefic visions, is a great way to burn down your enemy who is at low hp. Even if they run, it is in vain. Ignite can also be used while channeling Nether Grasp, but if your enemy is out of range, DO NOT USE IT! It will interrupt your channeling. Also note, your summoner spells contribute to your passive.

    Other spells to consider (although I recommend none):

    Ghost - Some people prefer to use ghost over flash because you can close distance on your escaping enemy to cast some more spells, possibly for the kill shot. Also, it's a great escape spell. Either Ghost or flash is great and sometimes I use both.
    Clarity - If you are going with a Call of the Void first build, then you might want to get this for early game. Other then that, it's not tooooooo useful because of the mana regen on Malefic visions. Support-Malz friendly spell.
    Heal - This could possibly turn the tables in a solo battle, most likely 1v1 in mid. If you win a fight like that, don't expect to win another in the same way because your enemy has probably caught on. If you are going support-Malz, this may be good to choose.
    Cleanse - I have never taken this spell on Malzahar and probably never will, but I guess it has some uses in a support build for escaping and I'd imagine that's pretty much it.
    Teleport - Good if you want to quickly teleport to a lane and farm down a big pile of minions, or push an enemy turret that's near death. Not really a great Malz spell. Best to leave it to the pushers.
    Clairvoyance - If you are support Malz, you may want this. I really like this spell as it can have a very short cooldown and can reveal possible ganks very often as well as spot a fleeing enemy. I wouldn't take this spell in an AP build though.

    All other spells you should disregard, as they are crap for malz.

  • Skilling Order

    Most of the time, my skilling order is to get Malefic Visions first, max Call of the Void second, and Null Zone last.

    so that would be:



    This build is very good for farming early game. It's definitely my recommended build.

    --------------------

    Another build that is also viable is Call of the void first. You can sit at the pool at the start of the game and cast it a few times to charge up your passive, incase you are planning on making a gank with your team, or just with your lane partner.

    so it would be:



    This is more of a nuke reliant build, and is pretty mana costly earlier on. If you can get one of your team to help you kill golem, you'll be owning shit up :)

    note: The reasoning for leveling up Null Zone last is that it's AP scaling is the lowest of all Malzahar's abilities and it doesn't deal a lot of damage til late game anyway when characters have a lot higher HP.

  • Item Build

    Firstly, I'll go over how my core build usually works out, then I'll recommend certain situational items depending on how your game is doing. If you wish to skip my explanations (which I don't recommend) and you just wanna see some final builds, skip to the bottom of this section.

    To start:
     This is a very good start item. The extra HP is the main reason I get it. When you have an HP bar with very few bars on it, it tells the enemy you are weak and can be killed easily. Which btw is pretty true, you don't want to be blown up and give away first blood, or even the mid lane for that matter. I'll usually just last hit minions with basic attacks until I have enough money to back and buy  and a  or two. When I'm ready to back I'll push the lane quickly with Q and E then recall and buy.
    now depending on how well you are doing there are a few build paths to consider. If you are doing bad you might want to get another  and turtle for a while until you can get a gank from a side lane or a jungler. If you are doing better, then you will want to get either  or . Get the shoes if you are having trouble harassing your enemy (or the enemy attempts to gank you often) and if not, get the catalyst for improved sustainability.


    So if you are doing not so well:


    Doing well, but could use more harass:


    Doing well, but could use more Sustainability:

    If you choose to build catalyst first, consider wether you need more HP or more mana.
    I usually would rather use the HP in which case I'd get Ruby Crystal first.


    Now what items should you add on to your build?

    My Recommendations:


    Rod of Ages - Typically I would build this as my first main AP item. But if you are doing very well, you might just want to grab a Needlessly Large Rod or Mejai's Soulstealer if you are feeling lucky.

    Rabadon's Deathcap - This should be in every caster final build! If it is not, your build is possibly retarded. Just sayin'.. Anyway though, if you are not having problems with survivability get this before Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I'll usually grab this right after Rod of Ages if I'm not having too many problems with dying.

    So a great core build would be:


    (sell off the Doran's ring to make room for upgrades when you see fit)

    Situational Recommendations:

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter - This item is pretty good for extending your survivability and bringing some added utility to your team with the slow. The slow effect isn't too great for Malzahar since all of his abilities are multi-target but the 15% slow is still a nice added effect. 

    Void Staff - This item is great vs Galio and other champs who are stacking magic resist. you should already have a lot of magic penetration from boots, runes, and masteries, so adding another 40% penetration is hefty. I'll usually only get this item if there's more then one person stacking magic resist. If your team is all casters for some reason and no dps, get this.

    Will of the Ancients - This item technically gives 200 AP, but only 80 to you, and 120 split amongst the rest of your team. The 25% spell vamp is nice as well for keeping your team up in battle for longer. I'll get this depending on how many AP reliant champs are on the team. Rule of thumb is usually 3+.

    Abyssal Scepter - Great item if you are having trouble with enemy casters. Adds a good amount of Mdef and technically Mpen. Great team item.

    Zhonya's Hourglass - Usually I will get this if the enemy team is AD-heavy or if I get focused a lot. Good amount of AP and armour. The active is great as well to avoid enemy AoE in teamfights. I have a hard time remembering to activate it though.


    Less recommended items, but still a tad viable:

    Mejai's Soulstealer - I usually don't buy this item, but if you do get many stacks on it, you will do very well. Only buy it if you are not dying a lot.

    Archangel's Staff - Stacking these and topping it off with a Rabadon's Deathcap is the highest source of AP you can get. Doing so also leaves you with no survivability. But for this item to fit into this guide, the only logical place would be to scrap the rod of ages at the beginning and get a Rylai's after for the much needed hp. depending on how fast you can get a rod of ages after an Archangel's staff, you could avoid Rylai's and just get Rod of Ages. Remember, it takes around 10 minutes to get the full effect of Rod of Ages. 

    Deathfire Grasp - I don't really like this item, seeing as how Malzahar is primarily long range, and for this to be used effectively you need to use it as your first attack, otherwise, the damage is pretty much crap. But, some people still might like it, and maybe you could use the active as a last ditch effort to do some damage on someone before you die. It gives some mana regen and cooldown reduction, but not really enough for me to want it.

    [item=Soul Shroud] - Great cooldown reduction and survivability. Giving mana regen and reduced cooldowns to your team. This is more of a support caster item then a Malzahar item, but if you wish to throw off your enemy a little and support using your suppression from Nethergrasp, silence from Call of the Void, and % damage from Null Zone then this item is good. Would be good to use in conjunction with Will of the Ancients and Frozen Heart.

    Frozen Heart - If you wish to build support Malz, this item is great for melee heavy teams. Gives you a nice chunk of armor, great cooldown reduction, and slowing attack speeds of nearby enemies. If you have this, soul shroud, and Will of the ancients, you will be a great asset to your team in team fights.

    Banshee's Veil - Another support caster item. I don't really advise getting it in your AP build, unless that bitch Ashe keeps targeting you with her arrow >:( but it's a pretty decent item to get in your support build.

    Mercury's Treads - Yes these are great for their crowd control reduction and are used in many high elo matches, I do not recommend these if you are going strictly AP Malzahar. You need magic penetration in order to do decent damage, and without it, you're a crap heap. That being said, these are very nice if you are going support Malz.

    Lich Bane - This item has its merits, but I've never seemed to be able to fit this into my build. Possibly because it costs so much and I have better things to spend my money on. But Malzahar does have quite long range basic attacks, so it could be used to effectively poke at targets who are hugging their turret. Also a little extra damage while your spells are on cooldown in team fights. 


    Some final builds to consider:


    For Fairly Balanced enemy teams. Good survivability and good damage.

    or
    For caster-heavy enemy teams or if you are being targeted by crowd control quite often.

    Once you get better with your positioning and know which targets to prioritize, you won't need as much survivability and can just stack AP and add in spell-vamp if you want. After the core build, it all depends on the enemy teams composition.

  • Mastery

    This section is pretty much the main reason I wanted to write a Malzahar guide. Mastery of his abilities and tactics will yield very positive results, even if you have a crappy team in random queue.

    Malefic Quick Jump:
    When an enemy dies to your Malefic Visions it will jump to the nearest target, including enemy Champions. If the enemy is standing to close to you and you want to tell him to back the f*** up. One way you can accomplish this is just casting malefic visions on the lowest hp minion near him. This is most easily executed when there is only one enemy minion left and it is surprising how often enemies will forget that your spell will jump to them if they stand near their minions. Always keep this effective harassing tool in mind!

    Turret diving with your Voidling:
    As I went over in the summon Voidling summary, it is possible to turret dive with your voidling. If you want to make a kill, you should consider the following:
    how low HP is your opponent?
    What stage of growth is your Voidling and how much HP does it have?
    and are there enemies nearby?

    Here's an ideal situation for diving: Your enemy has just run out of minions in front of their tower, they are mid-low HP, your voidling has fully grown, has nearly full HP, and will frenzy within a few seconds, and all of your abilities are off cooldown.

    Of course it can't always be like this... But you can do everything in your power to make it happen. Anywho, now to execute your enemy! The moment you can, cast malefic visions on your enemy and retreat from the turrets fire. if you let your visions pass, you can quickly move in with your voidling, letting it take the damage of the turret (you may have to take a hit from the turret depending on how far your enemy is), and since you have recently cast malefic visions on your enemy, your voidling will commence the frenzy on your foe! You should be able to freely attack your target, using your spell combo with your ult to burn them down fast, and then gtfo! :D

    Pressure Pushing:
    This isn't very hard to pull off, it's what you get your team to do while you push. When Malzahar has blue buff, he can spam his amazing abilities like no tomorrow, effectively forcing the enemies behind their turret, as you can attack them without even being hit from the turret. Using Null zone keeps those melee and tanks way back very effectively, and your constant silencing will make those casters think twice about coming forward. The silence is only half of the threat, by the time you are team pushing like this, your Call of the Void should be doing significant damage to your enemies. It's very easy for one of your teammates to sneak off and backdoor a turret, and all it takes to draw out the rest of their team is one ranged character who thinks they can poke at you (I'm looking at you Teemo!) and catching them in your nether grasp. As soon as that happens, your ranged, and usually your Mordes and Garens will charge in, effectively focusing down one enemy very fast, and killing or scattering the rest of the team so you can destroy their coveted turret.

    Solo Defence of Your Turret:
    There have been many times where I have been all by my lonesome and there are three enemies trying to harass you and take your turret. Don't fret! You're Malzahar! Your enemies may think they have the advantage but they are wrong. They don't know your team is only right behind you >:) When your allies are almost within the enemies line of site, Nether Grasp! The enemy WILL charge you, but your team is there to back you up, something the enemy has not expected and they are overextended. Now, you may or may not die in this situation, depending on how effectively you've executed the maneuver, and how much cc you team has. If you have an Amumu, those three just died.

    Minion Grouping:
    This is something that I discovered rather recently which I should have known all along. Often times when you are casting malefic visions on minions, the other 3 minions will be too far away for the malefic visions to jump. A good solution to this is simply attack the enemy champion since Malz has good basic attack range and the minions will chase you, grouping themselves closer together. I don't recommend this though if you aren't near full HP or if your enemy is playing aggressively or oppressing you. Other then that, the damage from the minions should be negligible.


    I hope and plan to update this section of the guide with video examples and images. I'll also be adding more tactics you can use to effectively master the Prophet of the Void.

  • Conclusion

    I've been writing this guide longer then I've expected and now it's time for me to enter the League and fight for the Void! I'm always learning new things with any champion I play and I especially like to share my knowledge with the Champions I know I am accomplished with. This guide is not yet complete but it is very close and I will be updating it whenever I find something new. I'm publishing it now because I can't wait to share it with you all. I hope you are enlightened and thank you for your comments and polite suggestions. If you liked this guide, don't be hesitant to rate it thumbs up :)

    BOW TO THE VOID, OR BE CONSUMED BY IT!



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