Mordekaiser Build Guide
Affliction Foreverwritten by Slaughterlouse
Late Game / Luxury Items
- Iron Man
- Mace of Spades
- Creeping Death
- Siphon of Destruction
- Children of the Grave
Runes for Mordekaiser
Masteries for Mordekaiser
Table of Contents
|Actual On-Topic Introduction||2|
|Masteries + Runes||5|
|Starting and Early Items||6|
|Item Shortlist and Explanations||7|
|Working in the Team||10|
|Pros / Cons||11|
Welcome to what might end up being the most pointlessly digressive and awkwardly introspective guide on Leaguecraft. I'm your spirit guide, Slaughterlouse, and I will take you on a vision quest to learn about the trooest and most brootal champion in the League: Mordekaiser, the Master of Metal.
Before you read any further, know that I am an underachiever at best in LoL just like I am in most games. I'm not at all committed to playing competitively and I have no idea what my Elo rating is, or if I have one, or anything. I'm also too lazy to check my W/L right now and too stupid to remember it. So I'm roughly 2:1 with Mordekaiser. That says nothing about how hardkore or brootal or prüfezzionale I am at this game, and I won't say anything about it either, because all of those games were against plebs like me.
However, I am an unparalleled genius, and I casually theorycraft in pretty much every game I play. I know what the good things are that I should be doing. I just fail at them. Repeatedly. Hopefully you won't. Those who can't do, teach, and all of that bumper sticker foolery. So, read my guide, take in my thoughts, and if you don't like it then you can make your own damn guide, can't you?
Actual On-Topic Introduction
So you just read all of that, and you're wondering if there is actually anything in here about LoL. Here's that stuff.
Mordekaiser has long had an eerily cult-like fanbase. A lot of people just love them some Mordycakes. Obviously Mordekaiser hates "love" almost as much as he hates being called Mordycakes, but that hasn't stopped anyone. The reason for this devotion is a function of Mordekaiser's strong lane presence, his pubstomping power, and his undeniable goddamn badassery. He's just cool. It doesn't matter that he's low-tier, always has been, and probably always will be. He has no CC. He doesn't even have a move speed thing or a flash or none of that useful garbage. He's just cool. I bring this up because if you are a new or newish player who decides to "main" Mordekaiser, you should know that once your Elo rating is high enough, people will not really want you to play Mordekaiser. If you get good (which you will if you read my guide; I know that because I haven't read it yet, and I still suck!) with Mord then you will have to explain that you know what you're doing. You will also have to pick a different champ sometimes, because Mord is low-tier primarily for the lack of CC and support he brings, and you bring the losses on yourself if you continue to choose him when your team clearly needed more CC and support.
Now, Mordekaiser's archetype has been debated by the weird, creepy pedants like me that play this game ever since he was introduced. Some people think he's a tank because he has a shield. Some have called him a carry or somesuch nonsense because all of his abilities deal damage. Some think he's really a melee fighter who wasn't designed properly. Why don't I answer that burning question for you?
He's a mage, dammit.* He has a bunch of AP-based magic burst damage with some survivability dust sprinkled on top like some kind of fairy. I don't care if his passive makes him harder to kill. I certainly don't care that his sprite is carrying a really big weapon. He's a mage, but a tough mage, not unlike Swain for instance. Just like Swain, though, he can tank in blind pick mid-and-lower-Elo games just by showing up with a bunch of health and armor and smacking people with Siphon until they think it's a good idea to kill him. This means that he can perform one of two roles--AP burst damage and offtanking--or a mix of the two. This guide will cover all of them. It is fairly dense, it's meant to be read all the way through, and if I repeat myself it's because I'm saying something important or I was too lazy to delete it.
*Also, it really, really doesn't matter what his archetype is. Also also, check the item shortlist and summary for the Nittier Grittier Guide.
Iron Man The defining aspect of Mordekaiser as a champion, and the near-constant target of Riot's nerf/buff squad. Currently, 35% of the damage done by your abilities is added to this shield, which has a max health of 120 at level 1 and 630 at level 18. It goes up by 30 per level. Also, due to a recent patch, it generates half the normal amount when used on minions, which hurt Mordekaiser's laning a little.
Note that Iron Man doesn't take true damage; it's affected by armor, magic resistance, armor penetration, and magic penetration. That means that investing more heavily in armor and magic resistance makes both your actual health bar and your shield bar more durable. You'll still want some health if you're building tanky, but you'll get more total mileage out of armor and MR until they're packing Last Whisper or Void Staff.
Mace of Spades Capable of awesome destructive power if anyone actually gets close enough. You won't want to get Mace early because it's by far the least useful skill Mord has for laning, but when you get it later, take it, hold it, and love it. Also, it scales with both AP and AD, which can be brutal and makes a lot of different builds Mace-friendly.
Also note that at max rank, its cooldown is only 4 seconds, which is 2.4 seconds with max CDR. Given its strong scaling, it becomes immensely damaging late in the game.
Mace is an "on next melee" attack, which makes it straightforward. If you read my skilling order, I never take this until level 8, sometimes not even until 13 if I'm strictly tanking. This is because it's worthless in the laning phase, especially when your W and E are so good. Despite this, it becomes extremely powerful in team fights and against towers if you build for it. It scales very quickly with AD and has awesome synergy with Sheen. Keep in mind that when you have Sheen, you always want the Sheen effect to apply to Mace, not a melee attack after Siphon or anything like that. There is a very important reason for this: you have about 30 magic pen from runes and shoes, and 0 armor pen, and Mace does magic damage. If your Sheens don't synch with your Maces, you're reducing your damage (note with max CDR you'll end up Macing so fast it won't always happen). Also, since Mace does magic damage, it can't crit, so don't even try to build Critkaiser.
Creeping Death Creeping Death is a many-splendored ability with several uses. It also has a much higher AP ratio and base damage than any of your other abilities (excluding COTG which has a % base damage) assuming there's actually someone standing in it the whole time. You'll get this early, just after Siphon, and it takes priority over Mace until at least midgame.
Creeping Death has a wider variety of uses than any of Mord's other abilities.
1. Using Creeping Death on yourself is the most efficient use if you're within range of enemy champions. The damage restores your shield constantly, and the armor/MR bonus makes your shield stronger. If a melee tries to 1v1 you in the early game, the combination of high damage taken and low damage dealt will usually get them to back off, if not get you a kill outright. Later on in team fights, the same principles applies, but it only gets stronger. Creeping Death keeps AP Mord alive in team fights, so don't save it for later unless you aren't being targeted. Self-targeted CD also helps you farm. Remember that the first tick of damage hits as soon as it activates, so when you're farming a lane, move to the ranged minions, pop CD once you're in range, and Siphon to finish them off, then move to the melees. Earlier, before you kill minions this quickly, you can just activate CD and melee a target. Wait until they're softened up enough and Siphon for free gold. Note that in the early game, if your lane opponents are melee or just afraid of you, you can deny experience easily by popping CD (make sure you already have some shield to work with) and walking to their ranged minions, then just auto attacking. Don't push intentionally. Just keep them away from the minions and Siphon them if they get all brave and heroic.
2. Using Creeping Death on an allied champ gives them an armor/MR bonus and AoE damage, and it regenerates your shield as normal. Do this if you want to pseudo-support and ally in the laning phase by reducing harass damage, particularly if they overextend and have to run through minions. They will take less damage, and your shield will regenerate, giving your more breathing room to keep enemies off them. It's also helpful to cast Creeping Death on a champ with strong chasing to make a kill more likely. You might get accused of killstealing if you do this. I don't care, and neither should you.
3. Using Creeping Death on your pet is useful at turrets, because turrets prioritize pets. Creeping Death will soak up an extra hit or two, allowing your pet to tank longer. Also, if your pet has high movement speed, then you can use it to chase with Creeping Death on for extra damage.
4. The most finesse-y use of Creeping Death is in the laning phase. Casting it on allied minions can soft deny the enemy by disrupting their last hit timing. They'll still get the kill most of the time, but they have to stay out of position for a longer period of time to do it, and that can cause them to either back off or take harassment from you or your lanemate. When you're laning against a melee, put this on your melee minions to force them to take damage if they want any last hits at all (and then you Siphon them of course). When you're pushing and your minions start to move forward, put Creeping Death on a melee minion, preferably one with full health to make it last longer. Enemies will be forced to either take damage, stay there to kill the minion quickly, or get out of the way. The final use of Creeping Death on minions is to make siege minions tank for longer. They already take reduced damage from turrets, and putting CD on them makes them last even longer. The icing on the cake is that tower-hugging melees are forced to either watch the siege minion tank their turret and deal damage, or take damage themselves to destroy it quickly and save their turret some hit points. Note that casting Creeping Death on minions tends to lose effectiveness after your opponents have enough damage to kill minions in two hits anyway.
Siphon of Destruction Siphon is your most important ability. If you play Mordekaiser, you should see in your dreams every night. Learn to use it properly, always take it first, and skill it up every time.
It's a very powerful pushing tool once it's been skilled up, which is very nice in the midgame and late game, but it also means that you need to be careful not to push inadvertently in the laning phase.
Also straightforward, much like Mace, though there is a certain amount of finesse to it. Always keep in mind how many targets you're hitting with Siphon, and whether they're minions or champs, so you know how much shield you'll get out of it. Always hit multiple targets in team fights or you're wasting Siphon's potential. When you last hit with Siphon, remember that it tends to push naturally, so don't hit too many minions with it if you don't want to push. When you harass with Siphon, you usually want to dip into range, Siphon, and quickly retreat, except against melees. If they can't defend themselves, stand just behind your minions and blast as many minions as possible while you hit them, and don't move back. Make sure they're aware that you know how much of an advantage you have. Continue to punish melees as hard and as often as possible with Siphon during the laning phase.
Children of the Grave A very awesome but often hit-or-miss ultimate. With the right timing and some help, this will ace the other team quickly and violently. Without it, you'll gain a little health and blow an important cooldown. Always pair with Ignite to prevent them from regenerating through it.
COTG is mentioned so many times in this guide as is that most of what I could put here would be redundant, so here's a quick summary:
-The AD carry is almost always the best target
-Always pair COTG with Ignite unless Ignite is on cooldown, COTG will kill instantly, or you know there's no chance of survival (and health regen is a factor)
-If you're playing AP, you're a mage, and a mage can't afford to fail with his ult, so don't do anything stupid like putting COTG on the tank
-If you have a carry for a pet, kill every enemy champ in sight
-If there are no enemy champs in sight, kill a tower
-30 seconds is not as long as it sounds, and if you honestly can't do anything constructive with the pet, just kill a few minions or jungle a little bit
-One last thing that's not mentioned elsewhere in the guide: COTG makes you virtually impossible to tower dive. If you find yourself in an aggressive lane, whether you can actually deal with it or not, it can pay to simply let them push, and then wait for a dive. Put COTG+Ignite on whoever is taking turret damage, activate Creeping Death, and hit that target as hard as you can. Once the pet is out, you kill everybody, always starting with the one taking turret hits. This also works later in the game, if you're ever the last man standing after a team fight and three enemies think that a lone Mordekaiser is not enough to defend a turret. Most of the time, you are, as long as they're not all tanks and offtanks.
Why is this so far up in the guide? Because it's important and very, very simple.
My philosophy is this.
All day, every day, absolutely every game, no questions asked. All ganks must be initiated with Ghost or your opponent will get away 100% of the time. All ults must be followed with Ignite unless the target will die instantly. There is a small exception regarding Ignite, since it has a much longer cooldown than COTG. When Ignite is not up, and you want to ult someone, you have to be absolutely sure you'll get it done. Remember that Ignite doesn't just add another DoT during your ult: it also reduces regen, which mitigates your ult.
Now that I've said that, here are some alternatives, which are always bad ideas.
Exhaust Okay, you slowed them. Now you have three seconds to smack them to death with melee attacks, assuming they have no Tenacity, if you catch up to them at all. There should always be an Exhaust on a team for gimping the carry in team fights, but giving it to Mord will cause his otherwise beastly midgame to suffer.
Flash Pretty similar to Exhaust. You use what, a 4 minute cooldown, just to appear next to someone? It does nothing for you that Ghost can't do at least as well and more often. It doesn't help you gank because it's essentially 1 to 2 free hits. Ghost lets you move in quickly and actually stay on your target, which is particularly important if you want to do any damage with Creeping Death. Ghost is also a perfectly good escape mechanism for Mord because he can afford to take the first few hits before he's out of range, unless it's used too late. The only reason to use Flash over Ghost on Mordekaiser is if you already know your team is heavy on slows, and you expect to have plenty of AP farmed to make surprise attacks worth it.
Teleport Again, similar to Exhaust. You teleport somewhere and then... do what, exactly? The only possible use of this is to kill someone who's already going to die with COTG so you can have a pet to push with. That situation might come up and actually be useful once a game. You probably won't take the tower because nobody is wandering alone and vulnerable to this tactic by the time you do any damage at all to turrets, and if your opponents are that bad at map awareness, then you would have won with just about any set of summoner spells.
Surge This is... admittedly not too bad on Mordekaiser. Pop this just before hitting someone with all your abilities, then Ghost and chase them down. It lasts for 12 seconds, so you'll get more than one of each spell off. However, since you have to give up Ignite for this (it's completely useless if you can't chase), you'll want to make sure you're on a well-coordinated team that can properly focus fire the carry (who should be your COTG target). All I'll say is this: if I see you playing Mordekaiser in solo queue, and you have Ghost+Surge instead of Ghost+Ignite, I probably won't fly to your house and spit on you in person.
Cleanse You're very vulnerable to CC, but Cleanse doesn't get you where you're going any faster. If you want to play risky and probably overextend a lot, you could run Ghost+Cleanse and chase your COTG targets down to try and make up for the lack of Ignite. This is a much less useful combo in the laning phase, because Ghost+Cleanse can't kill someone who's tower hugging.
Clairvoyance Not your job.
Masteries + Runes
Masteries are always personal taste to an extent, and there are several ways to go with Mordekaiser in theory. My Mordekaiser masteries keep in mind a few specific things:
1. Magic penetration is king on Mordekaiser unless it goes over the cap. More damage becomes more shield which becomes a longer fight which becomes more damage.
2. I always run Ghost+Ignite. Always.
3. Mord has no natural initiation. Every bit of % movespeed is helpful, especially in Ghost.
4. Mord likes armor and MR more than health because it affects his shield, effectively giving him more mitigation.
21/0/9, 9/21/0, and 9/0/21 all work. Quickness and Initiator are both important to Mordekaiser. Quickness is better because you will eventually lose Initiator during the laning phase due to health costs. You always want magic pen from Offense. Deep Offense also gives you Executioner, which has great synergy with your ult. Awareness from Utility is nice for helping you hit your midgame stride faster. Defense is mostly good for armor and MR that help your shield at low levels, and 9/21/0 gives you a little more CDR at high levels than 9/0/21. Utility's capstone mastery is useful (15% CDR on summoner spells) because Mordekaiser relies on summoner spells a lot.
My current rune setup is this:
2x Movespeed quints
Two movespeed quints are enough to bring your total movespeed bonus to 5% with Quickness. You end up with 324 speed at level 1, and I believe 404 with level 2 shoes. That allows me to do exactly what I need it to do, which is why I take two instead of three.
1x Flat health quint
Probably suboptimal, to be honest. If you carry two movespeed quints, you can put whatever you want here (extra armor, MR, or health regen are all good options), or you can add another movespeed quint if you don't care about all the little bitty numbers.
9x Health regen/level seals
This brings down the amount of pain you cause to yourself in the laning phase. I run per level instead of flat because the health costs are insignificant at level 1 with the right starting items, and the per level versions catch up quickly. A tip on getting used to these: run a custom game without them, then a few with them, and pay attention to how you can time your Siphons to avoid losing health over time.
9x Magic pen marks
No-brainer. This works with every build.
9x Magic resist glyphs
Per level and flat both work fine. Flat MR glyphs frontload your durability so you can take a little more in the early game. I currently use per level because Mordekaiser's base MR increases with level (not all champs are like this) and I like watching them both build up together.
Other Good Runes:
Flat armor seals
These are good on everyone. This essentially keeps your shield sturdy in the early game, but you lose more actual health over time without the regen seals. Since the shield is easier to keep up in the laning phase, I favor health regen. Both are basically tied for optimal options in my opinion. Note if you play 3v3, these are almost certainly better, since you'll be fighting a lot earlier.
Flat CDR glyphs
This is dangerous compared to MR glyphs because you lose MR and will be tempted to spam more often, meaning you'll lose more health over time and you'll take more damage from harass. However, since it can be hard to build CDR on Mord, and it's very strong with Mace, you can use these to power up your midgame Mace. Only do this if you use a 9/0/21 or 9/21/0 mastery build and have plenty of CDR from it. (Note: CDR per level glyphs aren't worth it. They don't even equal flat CDR glyphs until your midgame is already peaking, and by the end of the game they exceed it by very little.)
Any flat defensive quints (armor/MR/health/% health)
If you don't like movement speed quints, then continue the defensive theme of your runebook. I wouldn't recommend mixing them; pick one type of quint and stack it for maximum effect. I realize this contradicts my own quint setup somewhat, but I've already explained why I don't just take 3x movespeed.
Magic pen quints
You could take three of these as a sort of just-in-case measure to help your late game, or you can replace the flat health quint from my setup and keep the movespeed quints.
Flat health regen quints
I've strongly considered these, myself. Three of them gives you another 8.1 health per 5, which is great for laning sustainability. What stopped me is the lack of movespeed that I crave. If you agree with my philosophy about health regen but not movespeed, these are an excellent option. (Note: Don't even think about the regen per level quints. They don't equal the flat quints until level 10, and they don't provide enough during the critical rank 3 phase when your spells start to cost a lot.)
I rarely see these used by anyone, but if your Mord play is strong--meaning you can make do without other quints--and you want to peak faster, I could understand this choice. Personally I've never even considered buying these for anyone.
Spell vamp quints
Three of these will give you 6% spell vamp, and with the mastery, you end up with 9% spell vamp. These won't keep up with the health regen quints, since all of your damage is AoE and spell vamp only returns 33% on AoEs (though single target Maces return full spell vamp). Also, spell vamp requires you to actively use abilities, so you'll never offset the health costs of your abilities with spell vamp masteries and runes alone. But they help your sustainability more than nothing at all, and they stack with your . If you want to run these, do some math so you know how often you can Siphon with your base health regen without losing health.
Ability power runes (except marks)
Very aggressive, but what the hell. It's your runebook.
Starting and Early Items
Below is your core build for all games.
That's the one completely non-negotiable item for Mordekaiser. Magic pen does too much for him to be ignored. Yes, you like movement speed. Yes, you hate CC. But you absolutely LOVE magic penetration. If you really need CC reduction, just get something else with Tenacity.
That comes later, though. I almost always start my games with and x1.
Keep in mind that the potion isn't necessarily for fighting. Mord doesn't fare well in straight fights in the early game unless his target is already injured--50% health at most, unless it's something like an Annie with no defensive runes--and hopefully overextended. If you manage your shield perfectly, then the potion is very useful for offsetting the rising cost of healthwear. You'll probably end up using it somewhere between those two extremes, though. You've taken two or three unshielded hits, and you need to chug to stay in the lane. It's cool. You have pot. Also, if you're playing tanky, the Regrowth Pendant can later become [item_icon=Force of Nature] if appropriate.
You could also start with and a stack of health potions.
This works on the same principle as the Regrowth Pendant above, but you'll need to use at least two potions for pure sustainability. The others should be saved for gank attempts, or you can just sit on them until you need them. The Bead builds into and eventually , which is a very nice item to have as a tanky Mordekaiser. Adding AoE crowd control to a team is always a bonus.
However I start, I always buy Sorcerer's Shoes all at once when I go back the first time. The movespeed and magic pen can't be passed up. After this, you start to build toward either AP or offtanking.
If you're going AP:
needs to be in your hands as soon as possible. If it would give you enough money to finish putting it together, sell your Regrowth Pendant; the spell vamp does its job, anyway.
Now you have a choice to make. You want to finish your early so you can utilize the slow, but if you're already having durability problems--problems that keep you from doing the grim work of murdering everything in sight--you can benefit greatly from some added defenses. Assess the situation and determine who it is on the other team that's getting you all down and blue. Get a , a , a , a , a , or a accordingly. If you started with a Bead, and you're starting to think you should play more of a hybrid, a Chain Shirt can be built into Warden's Mail after your Gunblade. If you don't have a Bead, there are still helpful things to build later with basic defensive items (Quicksilver Sash, Haunting Guise, and Zhonya's come to mind). Regardless, finish your Gunblade before midgame starts so you can use your natural midgame upswing to your advantage.
If you're going tank:
Hextech Revolver is still quite useful to you, but you'll want to save it for a little later unless you're intentionally disguising your build or just really dominating people. As with the above, get a Chain Vest, Negatron Cloak, or Giant's Belt, then build it into something. Finish the Revolver with excess gold because of the quasi-synergy with Iron Man, then keep building your tank items. Note the synergy between and as you do so: between the two, you get plenty of armor, MR, and health, and Abyssal Scepter's passive increases the effect of Sunfire Cape's passive.
If you're doing a little of both:
Build Hextech Revolver, then make a choice based on these questions:
1. Does the main tank on the team have a strong midgame?
2. Did our carry win his lane and get his farm on?
3. Is there another champ other than the tank on the team who peaks in midgame?
4. Is there anyone on the other team who needs to die RIGHT THE HELL NOW?
5. Is Slaughterlouse as good in the sack as he is at making Mordekaiser guides?
You don't have to answer the last one. These questions plus your own judgment will determine whether you want to be Superaggrokaiser or Idontfeelpainkaiser for the midgame phase. Refer to the shortlist below and the notes above, and always remember that if you build hybrid, you are not the tank and not the carry, so don't do anything stupid unless you have a dream and God tells you that it's all good. Either way you build, if you're intent on building hybrid, don't go too far over 90-120 armor or MR if you can get some more offense or more actives on items. If your team is expecting you to disrupt, but not kill, and soak, but not tank, then you have to act according to the plan.
Item Shortlist and Explanations
Good AP Items
Hextech Revolver/ Hextech Gunblade
Sheen/ Lich Bane
Good Tank Items
Warden's Mail/ Randuin's Omen
[item=Force of Nature]
Sorcerer's Shoes: Already explained.
Hextech Gunblade: Practically non-negotiable for AP builds due to the sheer power of a 300 damage slow and a boatload of AD, AP, lifesteal, and spell vamp that makes all your skills stronger, doubly so for Mace of Spades. I almost always get this.
Rabadon's Deathcap: Simple enough, bought for the same reason as it is on any other mage. You get massive amounts of AP, and every other AP item gets 30% better.
Sheen/ Lich Bane: The mana might be wasted on Mord, but the Sheen effect is not. A Sheen or Lich Bane Mace of Spades can easily do 4-digit damage toward the end of the game, and will keep you competitive during what is otherwise Mord's weakest phase. Mace allows you to use Sheen against towers as well, though it doesn't discharge against the tower. Always remember to pair Sheen with Mace and nothing else, since you have magic pen but no armor pen, and Mace is magic damage.
Abyssal Scepter: This is one of my favorite items in the game. Solid magic resist, lots of AP, and an MR reducing aura. This is a top pick for a hybrid build, since it gives you virtually everything you could ask for.
Sunfire Cape: This is also one of my favorite items in the game, and it pairs wonderfully with Abyssal Scepter. You get a bunch of armor and health, and 40 magic damage per second just for being near enemies. The synergy with Abyssal Scepter is nothing short of amazing, and brings a single, sentimental tear to my eye: you are provided a pool of 450 health, which is protected by 45 armor and 57 MR, and you reduce the MR of everything near you while dealing magic damage to everything near you. You also gain 70 AP, which means that when you have Creeping Death on, Abyssal Scepter and Sunfire Cape both make it much deadlier than it appears. My hybrid build will most often consist of Gunblade, Sunfire, then Scepter, followed by Lichbane or Triforce.
Randuin's Omen: This is normally a lower priority item than Sunfire Cape due to the lack of damage, and therefore lack of "threat," and it's also a little more expensive. However, if the enemy AD champs are strong, and they're targeting you, trading 100 health and 35 magic damage from Sunfire for an extra 30 armor and passive slow on Randuin's is worth it. The active on Randiun's really takes some getting used to as far as range and timing go, and it's really gimped by Merc Treads. It can be useful, but it's not in the same league as the reliable and damaging Gunblade.
Warden's Mail: If you started with a Rejuvenation Bead and ended up with an odd Chain Shirt, perhaps from beefing your AP Mord's defenses up a little during the ganking phase, they can cheaply be made into Warden's Mail. You get only 5 more armor, but 20 health per 5 means a few extra hit points gained while you move between ganking targets, and the passive slow is occasionally useful against the fools who try to fight back. Never go out of your way to build this with AP Mord, but sometimes the stars will align and you might as well grab it. If I'm hybrid Mord, I tend to build a Sunfire Cape for health and armor regardless.
[item=Force of Nature]: This is sort of the MR version of Randuin's, in that I like it, but I prioritize Abyssal Scepter over it most of the time. They both cost almost exactly the same amount (Scepter is 40g more expensive). Force of Nature provides 19 more MR, which is nothing to sneeze at, 40 health per 5, 0.35% max health per second (which is 1.75% per 5), and 8% movespeed. This makes it a powerful ganking tool, since you're moving and recovering from fights more quickly. In team fights, the movespeed is less important, and the regen is less helpful against strong burst damage. This is why I take the Scepter: it gives me stronger attacks, and it also gives my allies stronger attacks. There's never a time when that doesn't help. Either way, FoN is a good item to build on tank Mordekaiser.
Will of the Ancients: You don't really work best as an aura platform, but WotA comes with AP and spell vamp for a good price. This is an effective choice when your team is heavily AP, you're really fed, or you're tanking with a Hextech Revolver and it's working well for you. Just don't sacrifice any needed armor or MR for it.
It's been brought the my attention that the WotA aura overlaps. I haven't tested this and I'm not sure if it's still true, but if it is, then WotA is a better option than Gunblade when you're AP and someone else is already building a WotA.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: For some reason, everyone recommends this for Mordekaiser these days. It's firstly an expensive item. Second, if you want mitigation and damage at the same time, Abyssal Scepter and Sunfire Cape are clearly better (and they have excellent synergy). Third, most importantly, you can't apply the 35% slow with Mordekaiser. It might be possible with a single target Mace, but those are nonexistent in team fights because somebody is always in chain range, which is usually better for you anyway. So, all of your abilities apply a 15% slow for 3 seconds. If you get this really, really, unbelievably early, that's pretty good. Otherwise, it's a waste in team fights. Either way it gets less useful as the game progresses. Note, however, that if you do get right on top of your opponent while carrying Rylai's, Creeping Death will keep them in range easily. Consider this if you get an early kill or two and you want to keep the kills rolling in.
Frozen Mallet: Same as above regarding the efficiency of its 500 bonus health. The damage is also pretty poor; even Mace of Spades doesn't scale THAT well (actually it kind of does against single targets). However, its big shiny claim to fame over Rylai's is that it applies a 35% slow, but on melee attacks instead of casts. Given Mordekaiser's range, there isn't much of a difference, since the item-granted ability to stay in range is more powerful than any to get in range. And there is a reason for that: you can be slowed and kited easily at long range even with Rylai's, but if a fight is initiated properly, you'll get there with help from teammates. At that point, you need to stay near enemies to keep dealing damage, and Frozen Mallet does that better than Rylai's.
Haunting Guise: You can fit this into any build under the right circumstances. Once you have spell vamp, the magic pen keeps it strong, and the health gives it a bigger pool to feed into. Just remember that its 1485 gold cost is heavily invested in its 20 magic pen, so only get this if at least two of your high priority targets build MR items, or if they have naturally high MR. Void Staff is a better idea if MR is stacked.
Void Staff: Simple. If it's late and they're stacking MR, get it. It's generally worth getting even for a tank due to the effect of enemy MR on your shield. Just remember % reduction is always applied last, so it has an antagonistic effect on Abyssal Scepter's aura. You might want to sell the Scepter if you get the Staff. Keep in mind your MR drops when you do so.
Zhonya's Hourglass: This can fit into AP and offtank builds. Get it on your AP build if you want the ability to lay waste to the enemy carry and then use the active to get out more or less intact. This obviously works well against AD heavy teams, especially those with more than 1 non-tank melee, since the AP and armor both work against them when they're within your effective range.
Thornmail: But for the love of Satan only get it if you're actually being attacked, and remember that attentive AD carries may stop prioritizing you if you have it, making the passive less useful. You can use this to your advantage in an AP build, but wait until you're at least done with Deathcap and Sheen to do so or you're putting too much reliance on it.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity or Mercury's Treads: CDR boosts your Mace in the late game, which eventually becomes your strongest attack. Merc Treads fulfill the same purpose as ever: keeping you from getting eaten alive by CC. Neither ever takes priority over Sorcerer's Shoes alone, but if you end up building a Haunting Guise and your opponents stop getting MR, getting some new kicks is a possibility.
Guardian Angel: This one is a real conundrum for Mordekaiser. On one hand, he always favors armor and MR over an equal amount of effective health via bonus health because of his shield. On the other hand, he can die still having done his job, and 2600 gold is just too much to spend on mitigation for an AP build. However, there is one excellent use of this item that bears mentioning: if you play an offensive/defensive hybrid and build Mejai's very quickly, GA can protect your stacks. You should get several during midgame alone, and with smart playing and good teammates, you can keep them forever. Just don't get cocky when you're using Guardian Angel. It's all too easy to tower dive with it for that one last kill, only to find out 2 minutes later that it's much better at not getting YOU tower dived.
Mejai's Soulstealer: It can be hard to fit this into a lot of builds, which is its primary disadvantage. You really want the Hextech Revolver for its reliability, spell vamp, and because it can build into the Gunblade. However, if you're not worried about spell vamp--for example, if you get the chance to recall just before you're needed for the ganking phase--or you're not building Gunblade, you can get this instead, or at the same time if you have lots of money and expect to get some stacks out of it in your midgame prime. Again, this item does tend to conflict with the more important Gunblade, but if you really have the extra cash to fit it in while you're still a killing machine, it's a very efficient way to build AP.
The Bloodthirster: I know, I know. I can scream "mage" until I'm blue in the face, but Mace still scales with AD diabolically well, and it becomes the strongest attack spell in endgame. If you're building AP or hybrid (or an endgame tank with nothing better to buy) then this adds monstrous damage to Mace of Spades, not to mention lifesteal for the basic attacks between Maces and better turret-murdering potential. Just don't do it too early or at the expense of items that you REALLY need.
Trinity Force: Obviously, Triforce conflicts with Lichbane, which is a much better option if you're going AP. However, if you're a hybrid, Triforce gives you movespeed, health, attack speed, crit chance, AD, and a chance to slow, not to mention its Sheen effect. Occasionally, you'll find that Triforce fits perfectly into what you've already built as a hybrid (or you're an endgame tank with nothing better to buy). If that's the case, give in to the temptation.
Hexdrinker: This can be a very useful item, particularly against Karthus, but most of the gold cost is invested in the passive. This means that if you want the item to be anything but a waste of almost 2k gold, you need to buy it a) JUST before it's important to have and b) only if it won't delay your build, or it will make a big enough difference to justify a delay. Note that Hexdrinker can also ruin Warwick's day, as he'll often proc Hexdrinker's active with Bloodrazor, making it impossible to kill you with Hungering Strike.
Maw of Malmortius: Since this was added, my attitude toward Hexdrinker has changed a little. If you're facing a team that depends on magic damage, or there's an AP target on the other team you want to be able to shut down personally, Hexdrinker is a great choice and should be built into Maw of Malmortius later in the game. Try to pick up Hexdrinker around the same time as Hextech Revolver, don't invest as much in MR, and once your important items (Deathcap? Gunblade?) are done, upgrade it.
Quicksilver Sash: Like Hexdrinker, except you're worried about CC instead of damage. You'll probably find yourself packing this more often because CC is much more of a threat to you than simple damage. When wearing Quicksilver Sash, remember to enter the battle at the correct time, and use the active when it will actually accomplish something. If your team is expecting you to tank, this isn't necessarily worth buying; as long as you're taking the damage, it doesn't matter if you're stunned while it's happening. However, if they know they can lock you out and prevent you from tanking, buy this to prove them wrong as turbulently and gloriously as possible. In any case, always remember you have the active at your disposal. If you don't, you just spent 700 gold to upgrade your Negatron Cloak from 48 MR to 56 MR.
Spirit Visage: You don't cast COTG purely for the lifesteal except maybe once per game, during the laning phase, and only when you've been playing very stupidly. However, it is cheap, and it has CDR and minor tank stats, which are often hard to come by at the same time. If you already have a Ruby Crystal or Null-Magic mantle sitting around, it's worth considering.
Deathfire Grasp: A low-priority item at the best of times, since the mana regen you have to build for it is a pointless waste. However, if the game goes on for 40+ minutes and you're having trouble getting kills even with COTG+Ignite+Gunblade, adding DFG can put the teeth back in your ult. Don't do this if you're having trouble surviving team fights; you need to be alive for your ult to matter, so durability is better in that situation.
Window Shopping (items not to get)
Aegis of the Legion: The passive no longer affects minions, so it doesn't help you push nearly as much as it used to. The aura is still useful, but it's almost always suboptimal now and should be ignored.
Atma's Impaler: Just don't.
Warmog's Armor: Unless you're very new to the game (and so are your opponents), this will do nothing but put more little lines on your health bar, thereby giving your opponents something pretty to look at while they ignore you and kill the rest of your team first.
Leviathan: It will never build quickly enough, and you don't need health that badly anyway. Even in 3v3 it's just not worth it.
Rod of Ages: If you want roughly the same stats for roughly the same price, and immediately instead of 10 minutes later, buy one Rylai's and get one slow for free.
If you're in low Elo and want to tank, do this:
Nothing else to it.
(Nostalgia note: Playing Mordekaiser in the laning phase used to be an absolute cakewalk. Back in the glory days, Siphon returned extra shield for hitting multiple targets, and your abilities returned 100% of the normal shield value against minions. Not to mention, there didn't used to be so many champs who can harass and even push all day without worrying about sustainability. In any case, Mord is still strong in the laning phase, but must be played more conservatively than before.)
The laning phase is pretty straightforward with Mordekaiser. He's capable of 1v1 and most 1v2 lanes because of his sustainability and pushing power. Playing Mord in the laning phase is mostly a matter of Siphoning melee minions and trying to catch champions in the same Siphon. Remember that while Mord has a shield, he also has health costs, and your health will automatically be going down over time, especially after rank 3 of Siphon. This means that you never want to take direct damage to your health bar. Only let them hit you if it's in the shield (and make sure they can't follow up with a health hit) and you have a good reason, like you'll get a last hit or two from Siphon. Don't sacrifice last hits for harass unless they're really begging for it (i.e. if they repeatedly allow you to Siphon them), especially at solo mid or solo top, but also remember to lighten up on the Siphoning after you get rank 3. It will start to eat not only minions, but your health bar, and you don't want to spam it every time it's up. That will lead to your being overextended and with less-than-optimal health.
Always consider your laning partner (if you have one) and your lane opponent(s).
-Carries make Mord's range look poor by comparison, and it is never worth taking a hit to your actual health bar just to Siphon them. Mord must wear his opponents down during the laning phase, not trade hits. Against characters with COMPLETELY AND OBVIOUSLY BROKEN RANGE like Caitlyn, you will have to sit back for the first 2 levels and farm shield by Siphoning melee minions from max distance and putting Creeping Death on your own melee minions if you want to prevent a push. By level 3, you'll have rank 2 of Siphon and maximum shield, and you can afford to get more last hits and harass in with Siphon.
-Mages are not usually a problem. Their damage is predictable, and for the first few levels, it's also pretty low. On top of that, their effective range is either equal to yours or only slightly higher, which usually makes for easy harassing. The icing is always their poor defenses. Most competitive players will pack MR glyphs, but their base health is minuscule and every Siphon should take a satisfying chunk out of their health.
-Melees of all kinds are usually very easy for Mordekaiser. If they have to close to 125 range to last hit, you can punish them for every single last hit they go for. If you end up with kills during the laning phase, they're going to be melees most of the time. Also, one of the cruelest tricks I ever learned on Mordekaiser is to cast Creeping Death on allied minions. Champs who have to last hit at melee range are forced to take several ticks of damage, and since Creeping Death increases armor, it can also disrupt the timing of their last hits. Against a melee who shows inattentiveness and a disregard for his health bar, feel free to start playing aggressively and going for kills after you've softened them up with some harassment. However, having said all this, keep in mind that some melees do have mid-range skills to harass with, and you don't want to try harassing with Siphon only to take a direct health hit and gain a tiny bit of shield for it. Jarvan is particularly dangerous because his little flag harass activates instantaneously and I believe outranges Siphon slightly. So as always, make sure you have enough shield to withstand counterattacks before you harass.
-Supports... you shouldn't run into many except at lower Elo because they'll normally be paired with carries, and it's unlikely that you'll be given carry status by your team and paired with a support. In any case, supports tend to be disruptive to Mordekaiser, but they play passively. If they only bother hitting you when you overextend, then you can pretty much ignore them and farm as long as you don't push too far. Some supports such as Janna have extremely long range to go with their highly disruptive CC. Always make sure you have brush control against them. Buy a ward if you have to (though if you're doing carry/support bot your support should do it anyway). And remember that if they can heal, you probably can't kill them. Don't give up on harassing--you have to apply pressure and hopefully force them to heal either themselves or their partner--but know that your poor chasing, combined with their healing/shielding and CC, usually means you can't kill them.
Ganking/Early Team Fighting
Optimally, you'll be at least level 9 when this phase starts, so you have Mace of Spades at rank 1 and Siphon is maxed. If you're playing AP, your Gunblade should be finished early in midgame or slightly before it. Your role at this point is to assist in ganks (though you can now do them alone with Gunblade if they're squishy enough), start pushing, and farm as much as possible. It's imperative to not die in the midgame as Mordekaiser. First of all, you need to be up constantly, continuing to gain experience and gold, so you don't lose your inherent midgame savage brütality. Second, your pushing power is normally at its peak relative to your opponents' during this phase, and you must take advantage of that. Third, and as much as you hear this in competitive gaming there is still some truth to it, there is a psychological effect. Everybody knows that Mordekaiser is at his most be@zt during this stage, and if they don't, you'll teach them. That means that if they kill you, they're likely to take initiative since they know one of the strongest champs is down, and they will also feel more confident about engaging you. This matters less to Mordofftankekaiser because you generally want them to target you, but Mordbreakyourfaceekaiser does not like having his face broken and must be the one doing the brütalizmo.
This can start at a different time in each game. You want it to start early, since you're at your best when your opponents haven't counterbuilt you yet and they're all in the same place, ripe for the slaughter. If it does, it's usually a simple matter of marching in (go first with Ghost if you're the team initiator, or second if you're not, saving Ghost for chasing) with Creeping Death on and Siphoning as many targets as possible. Prioritize the carry. Don't let Caitlyn or Tristana or Graves survive in any team fights. Always make sure your team focuses the carry, and COTG+Ignite+Gunblade them the second you can do it without letting them escape. A dead carry isn't getting kills and probably not even assists, nor is he getting experience. A dead carry who was killed by Mordekaiser is now getting kills for the enemy team, and doing it very effectively. ALWAYS try to get the carry with COTG unless there's another target who would make a better pet (which is only the case when the carry is gimped already), you know the carry will escape before he dies (which you usually can't do anything about), or a particular target just needs needs needs to die and it doesn't matter how. Also, if you're packing Gunblade, stack the active with COTG+Ignite unless the damage is overkill. Otherwise, save it for another squishy target. Try to use it in the same instant that the champ's player is thinking "I should probably go now."
Late Game Crap
If you're not already winning, then Mordekaiser will usually not make a huge difference at 40+ minutes. Do whatever you can to maintain or increase effectiveness. You're probably not a priority target anymore (maybe if you're AP you are), so you might as well build any items that will help you kill towers, or items that have actives to give you more of a presence in team fights. This can be a great time to get a Bloodthirster for more Mace damage and better turretslaying. If you're playing tanky and don't have Sheen yet, it can also add Mace damage and kill turrets. Just do whatever you can to win the game as quickly as possible. Get a Deathfire Grasp to combo with COTG+Ignite if you have to. Take it from someone with lots of Mord games: you absolutely can turn a win into a loss with Mord if you drag the game out for too long.
Working in the Team
Some of this has already been covered in the Game Phases, How to Use Skills, and Item sections. This section will go into detail for each build, with a quick reference checklist for when to pick Mordekaiser.
Checklist: When to Play Mordekaiser:
+If your team already has a strong initiator, Mordekaiser becomes more viable.
+If your team already has strong CC, particularly soft CC like slows that can keep enemies in range, Mordekaiser becomes more viable.
++If your team has both of these, plus a genuine tank champ such as Rammus or Alistar, Mordekaiser can play to his full potential and should be built as AP or hybrid depending on how the game turns out (build Gunblade either way).
+If your team still needs a mid or solo top, Mordekaiser can play both lanes very effectively and benefits from the extra experience, which causes him to hit his midgame stride earlier.
+If nobody is packing Ignite, at least you are. Remember that if you're being expected to stop heals with Ignite, you'll have to either use COTG on a suboptimal target or hit the AD carry even harder to make sure you get your pet.
-If your team lacks an initiator, do not play AP Mordekaiser. You can still play tank or hybrid Mord and be the initiator, but you must use Ghost and your team must be aware of this.
--If your team is AP heavy, all Mordekaiser builds become less viable because opponents are more likely to counterbuild with MR, and even tank Mordekaiser needs to deal damage to remain threatening. Also, many AP champs are like Mord and peak in midgame, which makes your team as a whole weaker if the game goes on for too long.
-If your team tells you to pick a "tank," reassess the team. If there's already strong CC as mentioned above, Mord is tough enough to do what they're really asking for. If there isn't, he probably can't unless you get very lucky with the enemy team composition.
-If there's no good lane for Mord, he becomes less viable. Already a solo mid and solo top? Now you have duo bot, probably with a carry. Now you're denying each other CS and experience. Gimping both the AP and AD carries will gimp your whole team. However, if you're playing tank Mord, then this doesn't matter as much. Just make sure you don't deny the carry.
Working in the Team as AP Mordekaiser:
1. First and foremost, you need to kill people in the ganking phase and in team fights. It's okay if someone else like the carry technically gets the kills as long as you're ensuring them. This can be a difficult thing to do against teams with lots of CC and flashes or flash-like skills. As AP Mord, your entry has to be timed correctly to keep enemies from running away, which means you either use Ghost or you don't enter first (though as a mage, you shouldn't be counted on to initiate anything but ganks anyway). If your team lacks an initiator, you probably shouldn't play Mordekaiser at all, but especially not Fragilekaiser.
2. It's imperative that your team recognizes the above. If you're AP Mordekaiser, you're there to maim and slaughter, not tank. Always make sure your team knows you're planning on playing AP before you lock in as Mordekaiser, and also make sure they understand you won't be initiating team fights as AP Mordekaiser (unless you end up really fed).
3. COTG now scales pretty well with AP, which gives you a wider timing window when you use it. You can pop it earlier for an instant kill due to higher initial burst than with other builds, or you can pop it a LOT earlier and just let the target's health go down while they get focused. Since you have these options, however, you might be tempted to blow it too early and end up petless. You're supposed to be a mage, and mages are NOT supposed to fail at their ults. Learn the rules of COTG before you break them.
4. Do your damnedest to hit multiple targets with Siphon unless there's only one serious threat on the other team and you can hit him only. All of Mord's abilities are AoE, except his ult. Use this to your advantage, even if it means walking for 1.2 seconds to reposition.
5. Creeping Death has an extremely high AP ratio. Activate it when it can hit many targets reliably, and remember you can always cast it on an ally with strong chasing skills. Akali is one of my favorite targets. Warwick also works well, and you can also stack ults with him to virtually guarantee a kill in 3 seconds or less.
Working in the Team as Tank Mordekaiser:
1. You must initiate with Ghost unless you're tough enough to just not care anymore. Hopefully you won't be the sole initiator, and make sure your team knows this. An offtank or a support should go in with you if you're the sole initiator and Ghost is down.
2. Be prepared to die in the late game--possibly often--but make sure they have to put a lot of effort into it. If they spend 8 seconds killing you, your carry has been putting in work for 8 seconds, and they probably lost the fight.
3. COTG is still important, even though it's weaker than it is with AP and hybrid builds. The damage portion can give you the extra health you need to tank longer, and the pet is not only a killer, but another pusher. This ends up being useful virtually every time in late team fights, since a few of your allies probably died or had to flee the battle, and an extra pusher mitigates this.
4. Only do this in low Elo. Mord is not a true tank.
Working in the Team as Hybrid Mordekaiser:
1. Everything from the above sections applies, to a different extent based on your build.
2. Since you probably have Gunblade, your playstyle will be more similar to AP Mord than tank Mord for much of the game, but you still need to soak damage. Get in the fight early (preferably just behind a better initiator) and stay in the fight for as long as possible at as close of a range as possible. If your team has the chasing and CC to take the carry out even if he starts running (or flashing), then activate Creeping Death and Mace, Gunblade+COTG+Ignite him, and start wrecking his beautiful face as hard as you can. Even if you don't end up with the kill, you'll be soaking up his attacks, and you have taken him out of the fight. Remember that you can't chase, so if he gets too far out of range, you can leave the chasing to someone else, turn around, and do the same thing to the next biggest threat. Mages will usually have a hard time dealing with your Mace in the late game, and supports can be good targets if there isn't any more damage for you to soak.
3. Because you do less damage than straight APkaiser, make sure your teammates understand rule #2 above. Someone on the team, preferably a ranged carry or assassin, will have to pick up some kills when your wounded targets try to run away, and this will happen more often as the game goes on. Recognize--and teach your team to recognize--that you are more likely to batter 3 targets than kill 1 without a COTG+Ignite.
With any build, remember that items are only part of the equation. You have a job that you're expected to do, and you must do it to the best of your ability.
Pros / Cons
+Exceptionally easy laning
+Exceptionally easy farming
+Your ult can quickly cause an ace when timed correctly, and/or take a turret.
+None of that mana crap
+Easy to build creatively and adaptively
-Extreme team dependence. As Mordekaiser, you lack all of the CC and utility brought by other mages and offtanks, excluding item actives. Your team must have enough CC and utility without you before he's a good choice.
-Your ult is completely useless if it's not timed properly.
-Very poor chasing and escaping without the aid of a teammate or at least Ghost.
-You become irrelevant in very long games unless you're already winning.
-Vulnerable to CC in the worst possible way
-Reliant on Sheen/Lichbane/Triforce/Bloodthirster to damage towers
+Burst damage is often surprising
+With CDR and positioning, sustained damage is even more surprising
+Gunblade adds one more damaging slow to your team, and provides your only CC
+COTG does pretty terrifying damage
-Surprisingly squishy (base HP at 18 is only 1861) and has the damage to create a shield but not the armor/MR to maintain it
-Still unbelievably vulnerable to CC
-Risks peaking too early if not enough is accomplished in midgame
+Shield gets incredibly durable with enough armor and MR, effectively fixing your current health at whatever it is plus 35% of anything you do
+Less CC vulnerability due to sheer lack of giving a damn (and lots of mitigation to make it matter less)
+Still packs the power of % based damage from COTG
+Can punish melees incredibly hard between Creeping Death/Sunfire/Abyssal Scepter and CDR'd Mace of Spades without having to buy non-tank items
-No CC and no true utility, both of which are hallmarks of actual tanks
-Probably no Gunblade either
-Even more irrelevant in very long games, since opponents lose incentive to target you as you lose damage
-Simply DOES NOT WORK in high level, competitive gameplay. Don't get used to playing Mord as a straight tank.
+Probably the strongest midgame of any Mordekaiser, who always has a strong midgame
+Hurts enemies more than tank Mord, can ignore more hurtin' than AP Mord
+Less predictable, more adaptable, and can sometimes cause inaccurate counter-itemization
+The best build philosophy in my opinion
-Hurts enemies less than AP Mord, can ignore less hurtin' than tank Mord
-Still largely irrelevant in very long games, moreso than AP Mord, and less so than tank Mord
As Mordekaiser, you lack CC and utility of any kind, but you can give and receive a lot of damage. Your laning phase and midgame are both extremely strong, allowing you to win games early.
In lower Elo pubs, Mordekaiser is a strong pick that will kill everything in sight. Once you rise through the ranks, you will become a less important part of the team.
In blind pick games, he's never a really terrible choice, but there's almost always someone you'd rather pick for ranked draft mode unless you become the Greatest Mord of All Time, or you are literally the shogun.
Mordekaiser can hold virtually any lane and is capable of dominating most 1v1 matchups in lower Elo games.
Mordekaiser is monstrous in 3v3 (which is otherwise not mentioned in this guide).
Mordekaiser is fun to play and easy to pick up, but if you're new to the game, make sure you play other champs, or you'll get too used to the shield, the lack of mana, and the strong harass, making new champs more difficult to learn.
Despite the detail I go into in this guide regarding items, Mordekaiser is not all that item dependent. Your midgame is strong as long as your level wasn't gimped by laning phase failure, and your late game will pretty much always be your weakest phase. Build to keep your edge, and build to counter.
When in doubt, just buy a Sunfire Cape. This can only possibly backfire if the opposing team is all AP.
Submitted by Slaughterlouse
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