Malphite Build Guide

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Drylix's Malphite Guide

written by Drylix

Malphite Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello everyone. My name is Drylix, and I have been playing Malphite since beta, and he is, by far, my best and favorite champion. The purpose of this guide is to educate players on how to play Malphite, and maybe improve builds of other champions by showing them a different approach to their builds.

    This is my first guide, so please be kind, and please use this build in a few games before you rate it, as many players that see my items early game and react like most players do, by saying things like "Wow. Look at our Malphite's items. What a noob." or "Guess our Malphite hasn't ever played him before, because he's not building him right." Don't be one of these players, and give it a shot before you judge it. You will see why I have chosen the items I have, and you will see why I was able to start 9/0/0 in one game, and get a Quadrakill last night, followed promptly by having 9 players send friend requests at the end of a single Solo Queue game.


    Malphite is almost always used as a hard Tank, which is fine, but he loses some of his potential if you buy nothing but resistance items. It makes him hard to kill, but reduces his damage output outside of Ground Slam. This guide will improve his overall damage output, including Ground Slam, but from a different angle. It uses some Ability Power, Armor, Magic Penetration, and Magic Damage from Sunfire Capes. All of this makes him MUCH more dangerous than just the initial burst from his Unstoppable Force/Ground Slam combo.

  • Abilities

    Granite Shield
    This passive isn't bad, but it's not going to save you mid-late game once everyone has their main abilities up to rank 5, and have some decent items to bolster their offense. It will, however, help you very much in the laning phase. If you are hit by one or two auto-attacks early, it will break, but it will most certainly help against enemy minion attacks when you are harassing the enemy champions in your lane. Also, if you find yourself being harassed early, and it breaks Granite Shield, you can fall back a bit, wait for it to reset, and then get right back to what you were doing.

    Seismic Shard
    This is Malphite's main harass and escape ability, and it is the first to reach rank 5. Every chance you have to put a rank in this, do it. The damage, speed reduction, and speed enhancement all get a decent boost with each rank, and the cooldown is fairly short. The range is where this ability really shines tho, as it's range of 1200 can poke just about anyone before they are within range to use their abilities. It most certainly keeps melee champions away from you, and it helps Ignite polish off champions that try to run when they are at very low health. If you are ganked early game, don't hesitate to use this ability on an enemy minion to get the speed boost needed to get away, and along with Ghost, very few champions can catch you.

    Brutal Strikes
    I have found that this ability is only good for taking down towers, or adding just a little bit of extra damage to champions that you catch up to in order to melee/Ground Slam. I don't get a rank in this until later in the game, once Seismic Shard and Ground Slam are maxed out, as it is not affected by Magic Penetration or AP, and you won't have enough armor to really benefit from it.

    Ground Slam
    This ability is the "2" in Malphite's 1-2 punch. Use Unstoppable Force, and then while they are in the air, follow it up with Ground Slam for added damage and attack speed reduction. This will also be your main farming ability during the game, which is why I max this second behind Seismic Shard. Late game, make sure you activate Brutal Strikes before you use Ground Slam on enemies to get the extra damage when it increases your armor.

    Unstoppable Force
    The best initiation ability in the game, bar none. This ability is amazing for ganking as well, as it has very decent range, and it can go through walls. With all the added Magic Penetration, and it's 1:1 AP ratio, it will be doing extremely good damage by itself, but activating Brutal Strikes and Ground Slam, and Sunfire Capes, you will be doing around 700-900 Damage to everyone in the radius. Can't argue with that. Don't be afraid to polish off a single enemy champion with this ability, because the faster you get kills, the less experience that champion gets, the more gold you receive, the more items you get, the faster you get the idea. The only exception to this is if all of the enemy champions are MIA, and you aren't sure if you will need Unstoppable Force immediately. If you are unsure, save it.

  • Masteries + Runes

    Here is the link to the entire build:

    Like I said in the Introduction, my build is a bit strange. This is reflected also in the Masteries and Runes that I have chosen. Both would indicate a Caster setup, with my Masteries setup as a 10/0/20 setup, making sure to pick up [Mastery_Text=Burning Embers], [Mastery_Text=Archaic Knowledge], [Mastery_Text=Haste], and anything that will help Malphite's mana regeneration. Malphite has major mana problems in the laning phase if you can't somehow get more mana regeneration. Except for Chalice of Harmony, there really isn't any sort of mana regeneration tied to tanking items.

    This is also reflected in the Runes that I have used. Greater Mark of Insight ensure that my Seismic Shard deals nice damage during the laning phase, as well as Ground Slam and Unstoppable Force when you hit level 6. Everything hits harder with magic penetration, making you a little more dangerous than those Malphite builds that use tanking Runes for Marks. I find that Greater Seal of Clarity and Greater Glyph of Clarity help his mana regeneration so much that you can almost spam your abilities from level 1. Greater Quintessence of Potency are to add some extra damage to Seismic Shard for the early game, and it seems like this build has just enough early AP to make Seismic Shard extremely hard to deal with.

  • Summoner Spells

    The Summoner Spells I use 9 times out of 10 times are:

    This is a really deadly combination on any champion that wants to deal a little more damage and gives a great escaping/chasing option. It also helps to add speed to your Seismic Shard.

    Other decent choices are:

    but those are not my preference.

    Summoner Spells that you could use, but only if they are not taken by other champions are:

    but they are better suited for support champions in my opinion. Your job isn't to support the team, more than it is your job to initiate/carry your team.

    The Summoner Spell that should never be taken is:

    I mean, how selfish is this summoner spell, and do you plan on dying a lot? Seriously?

  • Items

    This is where most people will wonder about my build. Even with the Masteries and Runes that I have chosen, you can still get all those nice tanking items straight out of the gate. I don't do that. Here's the build order:

    Doran's Ring + Health Potion are the items I start with. The reason I start with these is due to the result of countless games, and countless starting item combinations. Doran's Ring is THE BEST item to start with for Malphite for 3 reasons. It helps your passive, it helps your mana regeneration, and it helps your Seismic Shard. A lot of players start with Sapphire Crystal, Doran's Shield, or Ruby Crystal. I have tried all of these, HUNDREDS of times, and none of them work better than Doran's Ring for the laning phase. Sapphire Crystal gives you more mana, but it's basically 1 or 2 additional uses of Seismic Shard before you run out of gas, and then you are even more vulnerable to enemy attack because you don't have the additional health that other items provide. Doran's Shield is the most popular, as it adds pretty decent survivabiliy in a single item for early game, but it doesn't provide you any means of mana or mana regeneration, so you run out of fuel much more quickly. What's the use of staying in the lane if you can't do anything while you are there? Ruby Crystal is used quite a bit, as it turns into many items that Malphite may want to purchase mid-late game. There will not be a good mid-late game for Malphite if he can't seem to do anything in the laning phase. Sure, he may not die, but he won't be getting many minion kills either if he can't stay close to enemy minions through harassing, so you will not be able to get the gold you need for those items very quickly anyway. Doran's Ring provides a lot more to Malphite's laning phase than any other item. It allows you to constantly harass your opponents from range, which means you won't be taking much damage from them anyway. Try it out, and see what I mean.

    The next item I get is my boots. I choose between 2 boots. My first choice is Sorcerer's Shoes, but if my opponents are using a lot of stuns or disables, I use Mercury's Treads. Those are the only 2 boots I use. People ask "They have a lot of Physical Damage. Why didn't you take Ninja Tabi?". Well, Sorcerer's Shoes adds a lot more to Malphite's survivabiliy than you may realize. If you throw a rock at someone that wants to hurt you, they may or may not stop to think about it. You throw a larger rock at them, and they will most certainly stop and think "Damn! That guy hits hard." Also, it helps with all of your main damage output. Seismic Shard, Ground Slam, and Unstoppable Force are all magic damage, so are affected by Magic Penetration.

    The third item I buy is depends who my allies are, and who my opponents are. If my opponents deal a decent amount of Magic Damage, or my allies deal a lot of magic damage, I choose Abyssal Scepter, grabbing the Blasting Wand first. Abyssal Scepter is amazing on Malphite, as it provides survivability from Magic Resistance, it provide AP for your Seismic Shard and Unstoppable Force, and it reduces everyone's Magic Resistances around him, making his Unstoppable Force and Ground Slam that much more effective. If my opponents deal a lot of Physical Damage, or my allies don't really need the help of Abyssal Scepter, I choose Sunfire Cape, Grabbing the Chain Vest first. Sunfire Cape is great on anyone who is going to be in the center of the fight, but with Granite Shield, Ground Slam, and getting deep into the heart of the opponents with Unstoppable Force, it makes him a prime candidate for one. Of course, regardless of any outside influence, I always grab whichever item next of these two choices that I didn't already choose.

    After I have my Doran's Ring, Sorcerer's Shoes (or Mercury's Treads), Sunfire Cape, and Abyssal Scepter, I go for Guardian Angel. This will make you a beast because you can attack without worry pretty much, as you will most certainly deal massive amounts of damage at this point in the game. And, if you are lucky, you can recover from Guardian Angel into a Ground Slam, and hopefully finish off a couple more of your attackers. Don't forget that Sunfire Cape's passive is still happening while you are within Guardian Angel's ability. So, while your opponents wait for you to jump back up, you will have dealt an additional 2 or 3 more ticks from Sunfire Cape, and then Ground Slam, that's a nice bit of damage to use to take out enemies that are probably on the verge of going down themselves.

    The next two items I buy will also follow the same rules as the 4th item. If the opponent's are dealing a lot of Magic Damage, I will go for Banshee's Veil, and if they are dealing a lot of physical damage, I will go for either Frozen Heart if they are melee attackers, or Thornmail if they are ranged attackers. Then I sell Doran's Ring for a [Item_Text=Rylai's Scepter], a Void Staff, or a [Item_Text=Zhonya's Ring], depending on what your opponents are doing. Most games will never get to this point, but it never hurts to know what do buy with the extra gold that you may get in those really tough matchups.

  • Summary

    Well everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my first guide. If you see any way to improve upon the guide, or the build for that matter, don't hesitate to post a comment. I have been working on this build for a long time because I see a lot of Malphite players out there that seem to fail horribly, and with him being my favorite champion, I would love to see more of him out there. Please try this build out before you give it negative feedback, as this was a result of a long trial-and-error process.

    Thank you again, and send me a friend request if you want to play.

    Take care, good luck, and have fun!

    - Drylix

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