Cho'Gath Build Guide

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An all-inclusive guide to the Terror of the Void by Stompystomp (Dmark91)

written by Dmark91

Cho'Gath Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Cho'Gath, the Terror of the Void is one of the 40 original Champions, and one of my favorites. He was the very first Champion I ever played, and he has the most awesome legendary skin in the entire game. Gentleman Cho'Gath, where he receives a nice British accent, a whole new set of quotes and a fancy suit! If you are a fan of the Terror of the Void, and love playing him, I strongly recommend you support Riot Games with a little cash and buy the skin :)

    But on to the actual guide. I will try incorporating a little something about his every aspect, tanking, AP carrying and Off-tanking with magic damage. No, I won't even mention DPS Cho'Gath beyond this point because it's just a goddamn waste of time to build items on him that don't even complement his skills.

    If you are looking for a guide from which you can copy-paste a build, this is not one of them. This guide is quite extensive and you need to read every part of it to use the builds properly because they require some background knowledge. Please rate if you like my guide and give constructive criticism if you don't, but don't troll. Nobody likes a troll.

    To be added:
    - Better description of Mage playstyle
    - Better description of Off-Tank playstyle

    Changelog: Uploaded and released the guide. Clarified how awesome a spell Rupture is and added a little something about Attack Speed in the build guide for Off-Tank. Added a section explaining the different phases of the game (early, mid and late game), a section analyzing the three builds in terms of damage, soak, balance and aggressiveness in a scale from 1-10. Also updated item builds to reflect the changes to Doran's items and the removal of Zhonya's ring. Moved Changelog to Introduction section, making it more noticeable, gave the guide a more personal touch and updated rune build. Also added overall to the Analysis of the builds. Corrected some spelling. Added Thornmail as an item that's possible to use in Pure Tank and Off-Tank Mage Updated Off-Tank Mage build to something a little more 'Off' tanky. Started experimenting with new ways to build the Mage. At last an update! I apologize for all the waiting, but I've had lot of homework lately. Updated Tank build due to recent changes in tanking items such as Sunfire Cape. Added Atma's Impaler to Tank and Off-Tank builds because it's a pretty amount of damage received from it. Updated Tank Build Example to reflect the new build. Updated Tank Build Analysis to reflect the new Tank build. Added to be added section. Corrected some grammatical mistakes and some mis-spellings.

  • Abilities

    Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 34-68 Health and 8-16.5 Mana.

    I'm not gonna lie to you. This passive is not the best, nor is it the worst passive. Due to the nerf it got in patch, it was brought from slightly overpowered down to just perfect. This is in good unison Vorpal Spikes. The awesomeness of this is in the fact that it lets you stay in the lane for, like forever! I actually just had a game where I could push a Tryndamere AND a Heimerdinger 'till level 11 AND get two kills, only because of my passive.

    Ruptures the ground at target location, popping enemy units into the air, dealing damage and slowing them.

    Seeing as my Summoner name is Stompystomp, I like to call this my signature move. (Every Summoner should have a signature move). Cho'Gath stomps the ground and the target location trembles before his awesome power before rupturing into spikes, that trow enemies at the location into the air, slowing them and dealing huge amounts of damage.

    Rupture is perhaps one of the hardest skillshots to learn how to land properly in this entire game, except for the fact that it's a medium sized AoE spell. The delay has recently been reduced to 0.75 seconds, which was just enough of a buff to make it even more worthwile to use. The added bonus about this is that it stacks 1:1 with AP! You can with an effective build make this deal way over 800 damage to each target, and this is one of the reasons why AP-Cho'Gath actually is viable. The Crowd Control part is one of the reasons that he is able to tank through teams, adding Crowd Control like a boss.

    This is also your main skill for saving teammates as a tank. Always remember the delay, though. Place the AoE a few pixels from the place your target is now, and practice, practice, practice.

    I really want to ramp up the consciousness about this spell and it's damage output. I mean, seriously, it's 305 damage if you have NO Ability Power AT ALL! If you've got, like, 500 Ability Power, Rupture gets ramped up to a freaking 805 damage! That's a pretty insane nuke, which doesn't only do damage, but also slows enemies by 60%, add in the fact that you most likely have a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and it gets to slow people even more!!!

    Feral Scream
    Cho'Gath unleashes a terrible scream at enemies in a cone, dealing magic damage and Silencing enemies for a few seconds.

    Feral Scream is another awesome spell that lets Cho'Gath tank like most other tanks are unable to. 3 seconds silence is made of pure GOLD in teamfights if you are able to land it on just 2 of their Champions. Along with Rupture, this spell can completely shut down entire teams. It also has a 0.7 AP ratio, which makes it a very good choice for when you are an AP carry.

    Vorpal Spikes
    Cho'gath's attacks passively release deadly spikes, dealing damage to all enemy units in front of him.

    This actually shouldn't need much explanation. At max level, it deals 80 damage (plus 30% of your AP) to all targets that are in your immediate front arc. If you get enough AP, autoattacks actually become worthwile in teamfights. However, I only find that this is useful in laning phase and it is absolutely useless in teamfights as a tank.

    Devours an enemy unit, dealing a high amount of damage that ignores magic resist. If the target is killed, Cho'Gath grows, gaining maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to 3 stacks upon death.

    This used to be one of the best ultimates in the game, if you ask me, but in patch, Riot nerfed it from doing 800 true damage + 50% AP to deal 650 true dame plus 70% AP. This made it way easier to play Cho as off-tank and as a mage, which took away my lust for making the best Cho'Gath guide on Leaguecraft, since Cho'Gath in my opinion is supposed to be a tank, but they took away his main damage source if you tank, but increased his main damage source when he's a mage. It would have been way better to just increase the cooldown on Feast and not touch the damage. The main purpose of Feast when you play tank still persists, though and you still receive those lovely 900 extra HP, which make it up for an HP item, so you can get more resists.

  • Aiming with...

    Rupture is the skill that needs special training to hit properly with. Hell, I've been maining Cho'Gath for over a year now, and I still miss 1/10 of my Ruptures.

    If you want to get a quick start guide on aiming with Rupture, though, read on, my friend. When you chase, place the AoE marker with the backside in front of your opponent, and when being chased, it’s an awesome escape mechanism. Just place the AoE marker in front of yourself if it’s a melee Champion, or if it’s a ranged Champion, place it centered on yourself. Take note in the fact that there are many factors that will change how you position this, such as slows from auto attacks or stuns.

    Again, I really want to stress that you learn how to hit with Rupture, since it will be your main damage source as both tank, mage and off-tank!

    Feral Scream
    Feral Scream is pretty easy aiming on the other hand due to the fact that it is a cone. Just point it in the direction you want it and press the mouse button. A small thing to remember, though, is that Feral Screams damage and silence range extends slightly beyond the cone you are shown. I have often used this to grab a kill if someone was about to get away.

    Simple point and click adventure. Just click your target AND WATCH AS THEIR HP IS SUDDENLY GONE!

  • Masteries + Runes

    Build 1: Pure Tank
    For masteries, I run a standard 9/21/0, focusing on durability and a little bit of damage.
    My runes are a bit strange, however, going for a mix of Magic Resistance, Armor, Ability Power and Magic Penetration.
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    9x Greater Glyph of Replenishment
    9x Greater Mark of Replenishment
    3x Greater Quintessence of Warding

    The reason there's no HP runes in this build is because Cho'Gaths' naturally high HP allows one to build for a higher effective health.

    Build 2: Mage
    Masteries are pretty standard mage ones, here too. A standard 9/0/21 is what I go for, focusing on cooldowns, mana regen and defense penetration.
    Runes are standard caster runes, taking Magic Penetration, Mana and Ability Power.
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Glyph of Replenishment
    3x Greater Quintessence of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Replenishment

    Build 3: Off-Tanky Mage
    This buid is quite awkward in terms of masteries and runes, but I think I have found something that's likely to work for most poeple. My masteries are a 9/17/4, focusing on damage reduction and spammability.
    Runes focus on the same thing, but with more damage than spammability, which the items will be focusing more upon. I use a
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Glyph of Warding
    9x Greater Seal of Resilience
    3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

  • Summoner Abilities

    The summoner abilities also vary from build to build. Although tank and mage both use Clarity, they differ in the uses of it. I will explain more of this later.

    Pure Tank Summoner Spells
    My personal preference for tanking is to also support my teammates, meaning that Heal and Clarity are a great choice. They also increase your staying power by a huge amount. Other good choices could be Ghost, Flash or Exhaust.

    Clarity and Heal are used for helping out your allies in the midst of a teamfight if they go OOM or are low on health. I have often saved a teammate or two by pressing my D.

    Mage Summoner Spells
    For mages I nearly always use Clarity and Flash. Clarity aids a whole lot in laning phase, while Flash allows you to position yourself a whole lot easier in teamfights, making you able to land that perfect Silence or Feast the enemy carry when he's at low health. I would not recommend any other spells for any mage, though. (If anyone have some suggestions on this, though, I'd love to see them.)

    The use of Clarity for you is more selfish. You use it whenever you need mana. Of course, you should go out of your way sometimes to help your teammate throw their spells around, but use it whenever you need it.

    Off-Tank Summoner Spels
    I personally like Ghost and Exhaust for Off-Tanking. Exhaust combined with Silence and/or Rupture can entirely shut down the enemy Carry, allowing your team to have a much easier teamfight. Ghost can also be replaced by Flash, also allowing for better positioning.

  • Skilling Order

    Build 1: Pure Tank

    The reason why Feral Scream is not prioritized highly is because you want to have more staying power early game, especially if you happen to be in a 2v1 lane.

    Build 2: Mage

    As you see, the mage build completely bypasses Vorpal Spikes. This is because your build won't make you durable, at all, thus needing you to stay behind, throwing spells at everyone.

    Build 3: Off-Tanky Mage

    The Off-Tank build requires an insane amount of balance in both playstyle and build. Your entire team will depend on you disabling the enemy carries and making the teamfights go smoothly.

    Truly, any of these can be applied to any of the builds, but I have found these skilling orders to be most effective.

  • Items

    This is the second-most important part of every guide. The item builds make up about 30-40% of how to play a Champion. Therefore, I will include and in-depth example of the three builds I use and alternative items for every build.

    Build 1: Pure Tank, In-Depth
    The game starts out with buying a Doran's Shield, then heading into the lane, laning for as long as possible.

    Usually when I go back I have about 3000 gold, allowing me to buy a Mercury's Treads because I hate Crowd Control, and so do you. That's 1200, 1800 left. Buy the ingredients for Aegis of the Legion. Head back into the lane, or if you have already pushed the first turret, go help in the other lanes.

    From here, it's pretty hard to say when in the game you will have enough gold, but I'll tell you the order of the items you will have to get for this build.

    Finished Aegis of the Legion
    Guardian Angel
    Randuin's Omen
    [item=Force of Nature]
    Any of the items listed below.

    Last items: (NOTE: I have listed the items in preferential order!)
    Frozen Heart
    Banshee's Veil
    [item=Soul Shroud]
    Abyssal Scepter
    Atma's Impaler

    Alternative items:
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter
    Rod of Ages


    Build 2: Mage, In-Depth
    This build needs more mana and Ability Power, obviously, so you'll start out with a Doran's Ring. Go to your lane and stay 'till you feel you need to go back. You should for no reason jeopardize your life unless you can get a double or triple kill.

    In my experience, it differs hugely from game to game how much gold one has when one recalls, so therefore I will just list the items in priority.

    Sorcerer's Shoes
    Rod of Ages
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter
    Rabadon's Deathcap
    Zhonya's Hourglass

    Last items: (NOTE: listed in order of preference!)
    Abyssal Scepter
    Archangel's Staff
    Will of the Ancients

    There are no alternative items for this build.

    Build 3: Off-Tanky Mage, In-Depth
    This kind of follows the same routine as the Mage build in the beginning, but then goes over into a more tanky build. Starting out with a Ruby Crystal because this is a very expensive build.

    As with the Mage build, it is very hard to say how much gold you'll have when you return, so I'll again just list the items in preferential order.

    Mercury's Treads
    Rod of Ages
    [item=Soul Shroud]
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter
    Shurelya's Reverie

    Last items: (NOTE: listed in preferential order!)
    Frozen Heart
    Abyssal Scepter
    Nashor's Tooth
    Atma's Impaler

    (NOTE: Thanks to Summoner Heckhound for suggesting the use of Nashor's Tooth and Malady for more attack speed. They have been tested and implemented. Frozen Heart and Abyssal Scepter are still higher priority, though, since they give off resistances, too.)

    The idea of those two last items is to ramp up your damage, and at the same time give you some Attack Speed to let you fully utilize Vorpal Spikes, giving a sweet surprise to anyone who doesn't consider your prescence to be a threat.

    Again, there are no alternative items in this build.

  • Build Example

    For this part, I'll only use the most used builds, so that will equal three different builds.

    Build 1: Pure Tank, Example

    Build 2: Mage, Example

    Build 3: Off-Tanky Mage, In-Depth

    Please bear in mind, this builder does NOT count in the extra 900 health from Feast, resulting in more Effective Health than shown.

    The sharp eye might catch that Pure Tank prioritizes Magic Resistance over Armor, while Off-Tank does the opposite. The reason for this is because the Main Tank goes in first, then comes the Off-Tank, meaning that the Main Tank gets all nukes thrown directly at him, while the Off-Tank will take more physical damage than magical damage and vice-versa.

  • Working in the team

    Pure Tank

    With the item build already given to you, this part is really easy. Just make sure that you go into every single fight as the first, and that you have your team covering your ass. And for God's sake, never initiate a battle if you don't feel confident that you can win this one.


    Just like with any other mage, you should stay in the background and play spellslinger. Hurl your spells everywhere to achieve max damage. However, it would only pay off if you flash into position to take out a few carries along the way.

    Off-Tanky Mage

    This is a good mix of the two above. Make sure you go in as the second one, focus their carries and deal some good damage. Not much else is to say.

  • Farming

    About farming, there's only one strategy. Last hit minions early game, but mid and late game, throw a Rupture under the main hub of minions and a Feral Scream in their general direction. Blood and gold will be raining everywhere with that combo, I promise you.

  • Playing in every phase of the game

    Pure Tank
    Early Game (lvl 1-6)
    In early game, your mana is low and you don't have much resistances, even though your HP is high, this means you won't be able to take all that much damage. Play rather defensively and spam a lot of Rupture's to weaken the enemy champions. Once you reach lvl 6, walk up and eat a minion.
    Mid Game (lvl 7-11)
    Now your HP starts to shoot into the air like a rocket, which will allow you to play more offensively. Knock some health off of people's bars with a shitload of different spells and some auto-attacks. See in teamfights section for more on late game.
    Late Game
    This is pretty easy. Just go start a lot of team fights and push those towers, so you can win the game before that enemy Tryndamere becomes strong enough to eat your soul with 7-8 hits.

    Early Game (lvl 1-6)
    Compared to the tank-build, you'll be able to spam much more. Play aggressively and force the enemy to retreat to their tower.
    Mid Game (lvl 7-11)
    Both your mana and your health will be skyrocketing. Just go crazy and rack up those kills!
    Late Game
    Just follow your tank around and help him push. After all, he won't be able to win teamfights or push towers without you and the other carries, but neither will you without him. Always remember that.

    Off-Tanky Mage
    Early Game (lvl 1-6)
    Your HP is extremely high compared to most Champions in general. Go ahead and play more aggressively than you usually do.
    Mid Game (lvl 7-11)
    Just as with the tank.
    Late Game
    Just as with the mage.

  • Analysis of the builds

    Pure Tank
    Damage: 3
    Soak: 9
    Balance: 6
    Aggressiveness: 6
    Overall: 8

    Damage: 10
    Soak: 5
    Balance: 6
    Aggressiveness: 10
    Overall: 7

    Off-Tanky Mage
    Damage: 7
    Soak: 7
    Balance: 7
    Aggressiveness: 8
    Overall: 7

  • Summary

    All in all, Cho'Gath can be the single largest threat on the entire battlefield, but he can also be the strongest tank in the entire game if you talk in terms of Crowd Control and nukes.

    I hope you loved reading this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please rate if you liked it and give constructive criticism if you think that there are some parts that needs tweaking or if you think I missed some important points, but don't troll. The only good troll is named Trundle and you ain't him.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Dmark91

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