Akali Build Guide

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Akali: The Hot But Deadly Killer

written by Wanderan

Akali Build

Table of Contents

  • Abilities

    Twin Disciplines
    Ahh...this passive just plain rocks. Once you get 20 bonus AP, you'll hit even harder with your auto attacks and once you get a bonus 10 AD, you'll get spell vamp. Pretty sweet deal right? This passive can be reached with masteries and runes so don't worry about getting a screwed up build.

    Both passives help immensely and if you play your cards right, both passives will allow you to stay in lane for a long time if you are careful. I can't begin to tell you how long I've stayed in mid as Akali thanks to these passives. Apart from the spell vamp component, the bonus magic damage from your auto attacks assists with the burst damage that you'll dish out, especially if you slap on a Lich Bane.

    Mark of the Assassin
    Alright, this is a skill that people don't really tend to use to its full potential so I'll explain this in detail. Before I say anything about it, this skill is what makes Akali such a batshit insane burst dps. Anyways, right down to the mechanics:

    You throw this, it will mark them and dish out some damage. This damage scales with AP and it will trigger your passive spell vamp. While that mark is on the target, if you hit them with an auto attack, it will explode and dish out more damage. This damage is a combination of magic damage and also physical damage. Pretty sweet skill right? It gets better.

    An advanced technique you can do with this is wait for the throw to cooldown. The mark will last longer than the cooldown of the skill after rank three or if you have cooldown reduction of any kind. If it cools down, you can "double tap" the enemy by quickly auto attacking to consume the mark placed on the target and then proceeding to mark them again and repeat the process. This dishes a LOT of damage, especially with AP builds.

    Twilight Shroud
    This skill is AWESOME for escaping your enemies and also for surviving in fights. When you're in the shroud, it gives you bonus armor and magic resist so even if you just stay in shroud while a fight goes on, you'll take less damage. This doesn't mean you should sit around in a teamfight in your shroud because Akali is pretty squishy. It's good for reducing the damage of things like an incoming Requiem or Trueshot Barrage. I can't tell you the number of times this skill has kept me alive from situations that would ordinarily spell disaster.

    Use this if you get caught in a bind and you need to get away or avoid your enemies. This skill is especially useful if used in brush as they will have no idea where you are going unless they have a vision ward or an Oracles Elixir. Use it to juke your enemies because you will still be stealthed for a short time after you leave the shroud. Sometimes, the slow on this skill can help your team catch up to them or also help them escape by slowing down their pursuers. Use your discretion with this skill and try not to waste it.

    Crescent Slash
    This is what spells death to minions. This skill is absolutely brilliant for farming and also adds to your burst. Though the damage isn't that much compared to the rest of her skills, Crescent Slash is not to be taken lightly. This skill is what you will mainly use to proc Lich Bane or Trinity Force. Besides being used to proc and obliterate minions, this skill doesn't have much use in the average game. It however should've be counted as useless. Imagine jumping into a huge cluster of minions and then using this when you have at least 40% spell vamp. Yeah, you can imagine the possibilities. It's also pretty cool that this skill scales off of AD and also AP, which makes hybrid builds slightly more viable.

    Shadow Dance
    Ahh...this skill has so many uses but the first and foremost use for it is to get you up close and personal with your enemies.

    This spell dishes out some damage once you reach your enemy and it has a LONG range, easily capable of leaping over most walls in the game. This spell can also be spammed but bear in mind that you only have three charges of it. This spell is also what will mainly trigger the effect of Rylai's Crystal Scepter which helps you IMMENSELY with chasing your enemies.

    This skill is also brilliant for escaping. Use it to jump to the nearest minion or enemy champion to get away from a gank or from a fight that may go awry. Unfortunately, jumping to things like wards or mushrooms will no longer be possible since the last patch but considering how fast Akali is, that shouldn't be a problem. If you decide to run through the jungle and there's a few wards up or someone with Clairvoyance, you can "camp hop" throw the jungle to get away from a gank; her range is more than enough to get over the walls.

    You need to use the charges wisely and try to avoid spamming them to stack up damage; if you end up being unable to slay your enemy and you need to get away, you would have lost the absolute best way to escape.

  • Introduction

    Hello fellow summoners! I've been playing Akali for a long time now and I can safely say that she is probably my favorite assassin champion to play out of all the others. She's probably the only champion that I will play and never get bored of. I'm writing this guide in the hopes that I can help all you new Akali players and even those who play her currently get an idea and insight as to how she can be used to maximum effectiveness. I'm covering Hybrid and AP builds in this guide so do not fear; I got your back here.

    External Image

    Come on guys...you can't tell me that she isn't at the VERY least cute :D

  • Summary

    As anyone should know, Akali is meant to be an assassin. No, that's an understatement. Akali is the very definition of assassin. She is absolutely amazing at taking out champions in very little time due to her insane burst damage. People believe that Akali needs to be nerfed but let's face it, in order to get that ridiculous burst out, you need to get kills and farm like crazy. Once you get fed however...you will and I mean WILL carry your team to victory if you truly master the art of the assassin.

    This guide will highlight how to use her abilities properly and also a few techniques on how she can be an amazing escape artist. Not many assassins in the game can escape as well as she can and not many players realize this fact. I'll also give you my view on the ever famous "Hybrid or AP build". AD doesn't even qualify to be here...I just plain dislike it but if it floats your boat, have fun with it :D

  • Pros / Cons

    -Amazing Assassin.
    -Great at escaping from trouble.
    -Batshit insane burst damage.
    -Hard to tank due to mixed damage.
    -Easily capable of carrying if allowed to get fed.
    -Is able to jungle or mid, something that not too many assassin type characters can do well.
    -Works well with almost anyone in a lane.
    -Incredible at tower diving.
    -She blows shit up and she's incredibly hot...good combo if you ask me.

    -Useless if focused.
    -Not very good against pure magic resist teams (Galio is pretty much the anti Akali) due to the majority of her damage being magic damage.
    -Can be shut down by other burst damage dealers (LeBlanc is especially one who spells death to Akali).

    All these cons can be canceled out if the player is skilled enough to know their limits and when to do their job.

  • Masteries + Runes

    Alright, let's get down to business with the building of Akali. Akali is pretty flexible in terms of runes and masteries but one thing should remain absolute with playing her:


    A LOT of Akali players out there never do this and they don't see the utility it brings in having both passives. Having both the ability to smack your opponents harder and being able to heal off of your abilities is something that EVERY Akali should have, especially from the start as her early game isn't the best out there. I seriously don't understand why ANYONE would play Akali avidly and not do this.

    Alright enough about my bitching now and let's get right to it.

    There are two ways to go about getting both your passives and this is entirely your preference:

    1.Using AD runes alone or to combine with your masteries to reach 10 bonus AD.


    2.Using AP runes to get 20 bonus AP.

    Neither of these are very hard to attain. I personally prefer getting the AP runes but if you have AD runes, it simply means that you start out with a different item. No sweat really.

    If you want to go the AD rune route, I would normally go with:

    3x Greater Quintessence of Might= 6.75 bonus AD
    8x Greater Mark of Insight and 1x Greater Mark of Might= 0.95 AD
    9x Greater Seal of Vitality/9x Greater Seal of Evasion/9x Greater Seal of Regeneration
    9x Greater Glyph of Celerity/9x Greater Glyph of Force

    AD from from this build will net you a total of 7.70 AD from the runes alone. Simply combine this with the 3 bonus attack damage you get from your masteries and you've got the passive.

    I know this rune build is quite varied but I tend to go with different builds depending on my team. If I know I'm going to have a lot of gankers on my team, I'll go the offensive way. If I know that I'm going to need survivability, I'd adjust accordingly. Take an Amplifying Tome to get your AP passive at level 1.

    If you want to get the AP rune route, I currently use:
    3x Greater Quintessence of Potency= 14.85 AP
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Vitality/9x Greater Seal of Evasion/9x Greater Seal of Regeneration
    9x Greater Glyph of Potency= 8.91 AP

    Total AP from the runes alone will next you 23.76 AP from the start.

    I'll mix it up sometimes with 6x Greater Glyph of Potency and 3x Greater Glyph of Celerity simply because I like cooldown reduction but this is purely my preference.

    In this case your total will be 20.79 AP, which is still enough for your passive. Simply take Doran's Blade or Long Sword for your AD passive when you get these runes going.

    Now then, why do I suggest so different types of defensive runes?

    The vitality runes are for obvious reasons; Akali is beautiful but she's fragile too. Giving her a bit more HP will help her survive immensely.

    Dodge runes are pretty good on her as well if you're up against people like Ashe or Caitlyn in mid. If you're one of those players who likes the defense tree, you can imagine how this can work combined with [mastery=Nimbleness].

    Regeneration runes are for those times when you know you'll have to tower hug and will allow you to stay in lane longer. It's not noticeable of a difference at first but trust me, you'll start to see that you will have to go back less and less as the game goes on.

    The offensive runes are pretty obvious as well. Magic Penetration is great on Akali because it synergizes well with all of her abilities as they deal mostly magic damage.

    The extra AD and AP on either build will let you hit harder during your early game in addition to triggering your passives.

    I take the cooldowns simply because it's purely my preference. It also shortens how long Akali takes to charge Shadow Dance. I don't usually get cooldown items on Akali and I love having my three charges as often as possible so again, my play style.

    Alright, let's talk masteries. My build is kinda unusual because I try to make Akali balanced rather than just solely offensive. It's not good to have full offense in my opinion because Akali can die A LOT if she doesn't have the tools she needs to stay alive. As beautiful as she is, everyone wails on her because they see how much of a threat she can be if she gets fed. Your good looks won't make everyone spare you.

    If being offensive floats your boat, I got you covered here too so don't feel left out of the discussion.

    For those who choose the AP rune build, I go with this:


    For those who choose the AD rune build, I would go with this:


    If you're one of those players who don't believe in playing defensively, I recommend these two builds here:

    For those who like more utility.

    For those who like to go all out offense.

    The first build prioritizes the use of Ghost and Flash in addition to giving Akali a bit more of an edge in the laning process in terms of leveling. The second build prioritizes the use of Ghost and Ignite and gives her more of a punch. Both builds give you bonus AD and AP so you can use either to grab your passives at level 1.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Your summoner spells really depend on which mastery build you take.

    If you take the utility build, I highly recommend getting Flash and Ghost.

    Flash is great on Akali because it has a lot of uses. You can flash to tower dive a low hp champion or flash over a wall before proceeding to use Twilight Shroud to get away or even use Shadow Dance to jump to a target for the escape. Flash also allows you to get that last auto attack in on a marked target which can score you the kill or your teammate the kill and you the assist.

    Ghost is good on Akali because she has a pretty fast starting speed. Ghost allows her to chase almost anyone down combined with Shadow Dance. It also allows her to escape well because you only need to get in minimum range of a target to Shadow Dance to it and then run away. Both spells allow Akali to chase and escape almost any situation combined with her skills.

    If you take the offensive build, I highly recommend Ghost and Ignite. I already explained why Ghost is great. Ignite is good for dishing out more damage and also to reduce the healing of pesky targets like Mundo or Sona. The bonus 10 AP you get from using it also helps your burst. I normally go with this set of spells because I never end up using Flash because Shadow Dance fits that bill for me.

    Again, take whatever you're comfortable with. Every other summoner spell in my opinion has no use on someone like Akali. Heal is the only viable option but even then, it has no use late game while the others do.

  • AP Item Build

    Alright let's get down to the real business here: items.

    I always play AP Akali because the AP build just has much greater burst damage compared to that of the hybrid build. However, it doesn't mean that the AP build is superior to the hybrid. Hybrid builds power up her spell vamp passive even more which allows her to survive better and the damage is more mixed, which makes it harder to tank.

    Here I will show you the usual AP build and hybrid build and tell you why each item is important.

    For the average AP build, you're gonna be rolling with this end game:


    I left the last slot blank because the final item tends to be situational. The items that you get there are the best in terms of giving you as much of a burst punch as possible. You will tear through anyone who lacks a lot of magic resist with that.

    Occasionally, I prefer to get something else instead of Mejais simply because you could have an off game and not get the stacks. In that case, I tend to roll with this:


    Alright, reasons behind the items here:

    Rabadon's Deathcap is just batshit insane. Your abilities will nuke the living bejesus out of the hapless sap you target unless they have a lot of magic resist. More damage also means more heal from your passive. This item is what adds the bulk of your burst in this build.

    Lich Bane is what makes Akali such an insane burst damage assassin. Imagine having over 700 AP. You throw your mark and then shadow dance onto them, dish about 900 damage with just that. This thing procs and you proceed to smack them for your attack damage, the damage for consuming the mark, your AP passive and then the damage of Lich Bane all in one smooth attack. That is a LOT of damage and this combo tends to nearly one shot squishies. This item is ESSENTIAL to the AP build as the damage it provides is VITAL to your burst of death.

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter is what allows Akali to chase down champions effectively. It gives you a pretty decent chunk of AP and also gives you much needed HP to survive. This item works very well with Akali seeing as she pretty much shuts down anyone who tries to escape her with the slow.

    Boots of Mobility: For all you Akali player out there who are skilled, you know how to dodge and prevent yourself from getting hit. These boots allow you to gank more often, especially if you're in mid. You can also outrun a lot of other champions combined with Ghost.

    I'm going to be honest when I say this. This item is not for everyone and the reason is that for new Akali players, you may not have the skill to prevent yourself from getting hit to allow the maximum usage of this item. Until you get skilled enough with Akali, you should take Mercury's Treads or Boots of Swiftness instead because Boots of Mobility can be a big risk for you if you don't know what you're doing.

    Zhonya's Hourglass is great for Akali. You get a huge chunk of AP, armor and a few moments of invulnerability. It's a good replacement for those of you who don't like using Mejai's Soulstealer. You should know how to use this to full effect on someone like Akali. That Karthus about to Requiem you? Laugh at him when you pop this before proceeding to dance away while he wastes it after you've blown him to smithereens.

    Mejai's Soulstealer is brilliant for Akali simply because of the huge amount of AP it gives you in addition to the 15% cooldown reduction you get once you hit 20 stacks. Combine that AP with the rest of the build and you're gonna be packing a good 900 AP end game. Imagine the possibilities of this build with Lich Bane under your belt.

    Alright, that does it for the AP build. Bear in mind that the last item can be completely situational. I'll give you a few good suggestions for that last item:

    Hextech Gunblade: Yes, I'm suggesting a hybrid item in an AP build. Why you may ask? Think about it. Spell vamp, lifesteal, AP and AD plus a slowing bullet that does 300 damage? Yep. Don't question it. This item gives you more punch and survivability in one item. Excellent item to have if you need that extra push.

    Banshee's Veil: Gives you magic resist, HP and the ability to block one spell? Yes please. This item shines in games which have a lot of casters rolling against you.

    Abyssal Scepter: It's a pretty decent item if you're looking to be a bit more of a supportive assassin. It lowers the magic resist of your enemies and gives you AP in addition to magic resist. This item lets you hit harder and do more damage while making your enemies more open to the casters on your team. Pretty good item if you ask me.

  • AP Pros/Cons And Comments.

    -Maximum Burst Damage. You will deal insane damage with this build.
    -Deals mainly magic damage considering you are putting in little to no AD whatsoever. You'll be a nightmare to those who don't stack magic resist.
    -Allows you to deal mixed damage due to the effect of Lich Bane which can make it difficult to tank against. The more AP you have, the more physical damage Lich Bane can deal.

    -Magic resist will screw you over. You'll still be able to dish quite a bit of damage, but it's probably gonna get reduced drastically.
    -You'll lack the spell vamp compared to the hybrid build which means less survivability.
    -Veigar is your worst nightmare.

    The AP build for Akali is the better of the two in terms of sheer damage output but it's easier to tank due to the damage being almost purely magic with the exception of your auto attacks, the damage from Crescent Slash and the proc effect of Lich Bane. The AP build also allows you to backdoor effectively due to the proc effect of Lich Bane whenever you use Crescent Slash to proc it. You can two shot towers if you have enough AP to use with the effect.

    I normally play this build because I find the damage to be fun considering I'm the type of player who sticks to one role. I don't believe in stacking survivability items on Akali because she's so great at escaping that you don't need survivability if you're skilled enough. I choose this build because it suits my play style but again, this is purely my preference.

  • Hybrid Item Build

    Alright, here's the other build that people do with Akali. This build definitely outclasses the AP build in survivability but the burst doesn't quite measure up to that of the AP build endgame. It however is very effective if you want to be a balanced Akali player rather than a straight assassin type who's sole purpose is to blow up a target.

    The average hybrid build looks like this:


    For those of you who don't like Rylai's Crystal Scepter in this build, here's two suggestions for builds for you:

    For you awesomely skilled players who love snowballs:


    For those of you who prefer not to take the snowballing risk:


    Once again, the final item of any Akali build is completely situational. Here's why these items are used here:

    Guinsoo's Rageblade: This item is one of the bread and butters to any hybrid build. Akali can use this to maximum effectiveness due to the fact that most of her abilities have such a low cooldown that you can maintain the stacks very easily. It also gives you attack speed, which helps with downing turrets.

    Hextech Gunblade: I covered that earlier in the AP section in the suggested items.

    Trinity Force: This item is essentially the "Lich Bane" of the hybrid world. It gives you everything you need in terms of stats and then some. Slowing effect plus the Sheen like effect it gives? Awesome addition to your items and is essential for any hybrid build of Akali.

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Why do I have this in here you may ask? This item gives you much needed HP and a GURANTEED slow effect. You don't have to get this one but I recommend it regardless.

    Infinity Edge: Why this item you may ask? Think about it. Huge AD which gives you more spell vamp, you get more crit chance and your crits do 250% instead of 200%. What would happen if you critted while consuming a Mark of the Assassin? Yeah...thought so. Great item.

    Rabadon's Deathcap: Went over this before but in this build, it serves to ensure that your damage is spread out which is the goal of a hybrid build. It also makes your spell vamp more effective as your abilities dish more damage and ergo, more heal.

    Mejai's Soulstealer: Same reason as above.

    Sword of the Occult: This stacks a LOT of attack damage. That movement being added to what the rest of this build gives you makes it almost guranteed that no one will catch you when you decide to flee the scene. The attack damage also makes your passive more effective. You do the math here.

  • Hybrid Pros/Cons And Comments

    -Great survivability.
    -Very mixed damage, making it hard to tank against.
    -Pretty good burst damage despite the lack of AP.
    -Makes Crescent Slash very effective for farming and also for damage.

    -Less damage compared to the AP build.
    -Apart from the spell vamp, you don't have much survivability
    - Mark of the Assassin and Shadow Dance will not dish out as much damage compared to the AP build.

  • Working in the team

    Your role on the team is to take out the weaker champions or to take out the squishiest ones. Prime targets are healers like Soraka or Sona. If you're able to take out the carry of the team, that's even more of a plus. Target only those you know you can kill; there's nothing more stupid than attempting to take out that Cho Gath only for him to chomp you.

    Know you limits and know when to strike. Bear in mind that Akali can get shut down by disables easily so adjust your attack plan accordingly.

    You need to bear in mind that you're also not meant to stay in the fight; the longer you stay in there, the more chance they're gonna focus you and the more chance that you are going to die a most painful death. See a Veigar raring to dish some hurt? Try and take him out before he can even begin to cast a spell. See a tank around? Leave it to your Xin Zhao, Vayne or Warwick; killing tanks is not your job unless he's the only person left. If your burst is massive and they were for some reason retarded enough not to build a proper tank? Feel free to make them regret their foolish decision.

  • Deciding On What To Do (Laning, Midding, Jungling or Soloing)

    At this point, you need to decide what you're going to do: Mid, Jungle, Solo or Lane. Akali is capable of doing all four due to how flexible she is as a champion.

    She can mid well due to her spell vamp giving her staying power in addition to Mark of the Assassin being able to last hit minions from a distance. She can also use Twilight Shroud to avoid getting hit. Once she gets Shadow Dance, mid becomes a breeze as she is able to start dishing her massive burst damage. It's even easier if you play defensively as you can tower hug but due to Crescent Slash, you can take out the minions crowding around your tower quickly.

    She is an excellent person to lane with due to her high damage output and she doesn't have to be protected as much as other champions due to her ability to stealth and somewhat keep herself healed. She works exceptionally well with a champion who can stun or snare as it allows her to get up close and personal to them to dish her damage. Akali can also assist in escapes by throwing her Twilight Shroud to slow pursuers. The only unadvisable champions that Akali shouldn't lane with are those who have no disables and even then, it's not that much of a drawback.

    I don't usually Jungle as Akali but if the need arises, she is able to if you know what you're doing. Jungling Akali is VERY uncommon but it can be done. Obviously, it will be difficult due to her being unable to sustain herself as well as a champion like Olaf or Warwick but it's very possible. I would however not advise taking this route as you will definitely have to take Smite which destroys Akali's utility for the rest of the game. If you don't need one of the spells I listed above, have fun with it but you've definitely got your work cut out for you. Look on youtube for GiRLSTAR's Jungling guide although it may be out of date due to Doran's Blade now costing 475 gold, which makes getting a pot impossible unless you sit and wait for 35 gold before you start, which is a big waste of time in my opinion.

    Soloing as Akali can be tricky depending on who you have to solo against. It will be difficult to solo two ranged champions but it can be done if you play completely on the defensive. If you decide to solo, ensure that your jungler will gank as often as possible as it is difficult to push lanes as solo Akali. It's almost required for you to be very skilled with Akali to even attempt this so try to see if you can lane. If there's no other alternative, lemme put it to you this way: That tower is the teddy bear and Akali is very scared at night. She has to hug it...ALL THE TIME. Not fun at all.

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Submitted by Wanderan

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