Akali Build Guide

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Pro Guide: AP Akali VS Hybrid Akali (theorycrafting)

written by Sanrensei

Akali Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello players! I'm Sanrensei and this my first guide. I've played Akali since a long time, I was seduced by the hybrid side of this cute ninja. Then I have tried a lot of builds, AD builds, AP builds and Hybrid builds. I was tormented by a question: What is the best build ?
    That's why I mathematically studied this amazing champion. Studying and building Akali was so interesting for me that I decided to share my experience here. But a lot of really comprehensive guides have taken their place on leaguecraft, so I'll talk a lot about AP/AD maximization and a little about the rest (runes, mastery tree, summoner's spells, gameplay).
    However, I'll begin with a short summary about my personal itembuild, runes, masteries, summoner's spells for players who just need some fast help to begin a game with Akali. This summary is not comprehensive, it only shows my own choices.

    The other guides I recommend:

    Girlstar Medikai Guide

    Akali by the numbers

  • Itembuild, Runes, Masteries, Summoner's Spells

    If you are a very AGRESSIVE player, take:
    -Full AP Akali
    -Runes which activate both of your passvies
    -21/0/9 mastery tree

    If you want to get more SURVIVABILITY, take:
    -Hybrid Akali
    -Runes which give you health
    -9/21/0 mastery tree



    Begin with:

    Doran's Blade
    Health Potion

    The Core items:

    Mercury's Treads ***/ Ninja Tabi ***/ Sorcerer's Shoes/ Boots of Swiftness
    Mejai's Soulstealer
    [item=Zhonya's Ring]
    Lich Bane

    The last item depending on the game:

    Deathfire Grasp if you have a nice APM which allow you to activate several effects in a teamfight. In most cases, you can remove nearly a third of your opponent's life if he didn't stack magic resist. Use it to get your kills faster but don't use it on the opposite tank in a teamfight because even if it's a prepared tactic, it's not great to focus the tank.

    [item=Rylai's Scepter] if you really need more survivability. Honestly, in early game you won't survive with +500hp. Your only ways are Zhonya's effect and Twilight Shroud. I'm not kind of this item in this build even if I know a lot of players are. You don't need it to chase your opponent, you already are a good chaser with Shadow dance and exhaust. You don't need it to slow your opponent because if your opponents catch you, they will stun you and kill you in 2 seconds so you won't be able to flee.

    Abyssal Scepter *** +57 magic resist is a great help against a lot of magic casters. and 20 magic reduction increases your magic damage by nearly 17%. As your magical damages are half your total damages, you can consider abyssal scepter increases your damages by 8.5%.

    Void Staff Obviously, Void staff is great against players who stack some magic resist (Force of nature, Guardian angel, Banshee's Veil ect... It's less expensive than Abyssal scepter.

    Elixir of Brilliance if you feel it's the last rush, the last fight, the last chance and you just have 300 gold, don't hesitate :) Don't underestimate Elixir of Brilliance. I'm not a fan at all in early and mid game because Akali doesn't get the full potential due to her hybrid kind. However, at level 18 it provides you more than 80 AP => 1AP = 3.75 gold. Trust me, it's an incredible price... Even a full stacked Mejai can't be compared.

    This itembuild provides you:
    475 AP (with 10 stacks on Mejai)
    6 AD (+5AD from runes and masteries)
    Total cost: approximatively 11570 gold

    Very agressive itembuild, it's maximized to deal a maximum amount of damages. It's not focused at all on your survivability. Just unleash your anger until you win. However, don't forget you are less and less efficient through the game due to your natural squishyness so be very agressive in early and mid game. Run through the map to gank and chase. Kill even if you are going to be killed. Don't care for Mejai's Soulstealer, as I said it's profitable with only 4-5 stacks. You need to be used to your role of assassin and then you'll learn how to survive in most cases with Zhonya's Ring, Twilight Shroud, Shadow Dance to escape ect ...


    Begin with:

    Doran's Blade
    Health Potion

    The Core items:

    Ninja Tabi ***/ Mercury's Treads ***/ Boots of Swiftness
    Guinsoo's Rageblade
    Hextech Gunblade
    Mejai's Soulstealer

    The last item depending on the game:

    [item=Rylai's Scepter] *** same than Full AP build except stacking HP and slow effect is definitively more consistent in a survivability-oriented build.
    Deathfire Grasp same than Full AP build
    Abyssal Scepter same than Full AP build
    Void Staff same than Full AP build

    And if you don't want to rely on Mejai's stacks, play [item=Zhonya's Ring] with no last item

    This itembuild provides you:
    333 AP (with 10 stacks on Mejai)
    106 AD (with +5AD from runes and masteries)
    Total cost: approximatively 11570 gold

    Very interesting build, nice burst even if it's less than a Full AP build. But more survivability especially if you choose Rylai's Scepter for last item. With this build, you are able to fight and survive easily.

    *** => the item I generally choose

    For each build, you can skip Doran's blade in order to build your core items faster, you won't lose your burst but you will have a lack of survivability in very early game lvl 1-6.

    Very important:
    If you play Full AP Build, you will inflict 50% physical damages and 50% magical damages.
    If you play Hybrid build, you will inflict more magical damages.
    If you look at your stats and don't recognize these numbers, don't forget Akali auto-attack minions a lot and it increases your physical damages.
    Playing Sorcerer's shoes is not so efficient because even if you play Full AP, your damages are not Full AP at all !!!


    1 * Greater Quintessence of Strength
    3 * Greater Quintessence of Potency
    6 * Greater Mark of Insight
    2 * Greater Mark of Potency
    9 * Greater Seal of Evasion
    9 * Greater Glyph of Potency

    Except for your dual passive activation, your runes doesn't change your gameplay a lot. I tried to get balanced runes. If you don't want to activate both of your passives, you can get Greater quintessences of Fortitude.

    Potency and Strength=> Dual passive activation
    Insight=> More damages especially in lategame. (Stacking magic penetration is generally better than stacking AP)
    Evasion=> Survivability, you can get more health instead of evasion (flat if you want to be very agressive or per level if you aime for an easier lategame)


    Masteries 21/9/0

    Very classic 21/9/0 with improved exhaust and ignite to be the most agressive possible in early game.

    Masteries 9/21/0

    Classic 9/21/0 which focus on your survivability and adds you 60hp especially important for getting a first kill.


    The two I recommend are:

    If you want to be very agressive in early game:

    If you want to be balanced between escaping and chasing capacities:
    Flash or Ghost

    If you want to jungle:

    If you want a jungle escaping mechanism:

    The following spells need to be taken by someone but I don't think Akali is the good choice.

    [spell=Fortify]=> Save towers, avoid pushes.
    [spell=Rally]=> mmm, seriously I don't like this spell, use it if you want :)
    Heal=> it can't be bad, can create a surprise if your opponents are low-ELO.
    Teleport=> someone need it to save towers or kill towers by surprise.

    The following spells are bad for Akali.



    Honestly, defining a skilling order for Akali in early game isn't so simple as we can think. As far as I'm concerned it depends on your opponents and your strategy at level 1-7.
    Whatever happens, you have to max
    Mark of the Assassin
    Crescent Slash
    Shadow Dance

    Now we want to know when we have to take our first Twilight Shroud knowing that we'll take all the other points in late game.

    If you want to be very agressive and KILL, try to get it at level 7 after your first return.

    If you want to play subtly, take it at level 2. Like this, you can harass very effectively and deny them xp and gold.

    If you are playing against TF or any middling (right word ? -_-) champion who can hardly gank you, get it at level 4, your opponent should have got his ulti.

  • First equation

    First of all, we need to calculte how much costs an AD and an AP point.

    Average cost of an AD point.

    Infinity Edge/ The Black Cleaver/ The Bloodthirster/ Sword of the Occult
    give you 310 AD for 11714 gold.

    => 1AD=38 gold

    Average cost of an AP point.
    [item=Zhonya's Ring]/[item=Rylai's Scepter]/ Mejai's Soulstealer(with 10 stacks)/ Lich Bane
    give you 460 AP for 11270 gold.

    => 1AP=25 gold

    We have to assume a player spends nearly 11500 gold for AD and/or AP items in a classic game. this assumption gives us our first equation:

    11500 = 38X + 25Y


    Y = -1.52X + 460

    This equation gives you a constraint which will help us.

  • Maximizing an Attack Sequence

    Secondly, we have to calculate how much damages Akali deal in an attack sequence (defined just after).

    I, arbitrarily (and with my experience), decided that an attack sequence is composed of:

    2 Mark of the Assassin [300+0.8Y]
    1 Crescent Slash [130+0.3(X+111)+0.6Y]
    3 Shadow Dance [250+0.5Y]
    2 Auto-attack [(X+111)(Y+530)/500]

    We define Z(X,Y) the function of damages with X=AD and Y=AP

    Z(X,Y)= 1513 + 3.7Y + 0.3X + (X+111)(Y+530)/250

    We change Y for -1.52X + 460

    Z(X,Y)= -0.0061X^2 -2X +3654.6


    Z(X)= -0.0061X^2 -2X +3654

    This equation gives you the amount of damages Akali can deal with an attack sequence.

    Now we must study this function to determinate how to maximize our amount of damages.

    Z'(X)= -0.012X -2
    Z' is always negative because X which reprensents our AD is always positive
    So we can say Z(X) is decreasing.


    This function culminates for X=0 so Akali makes a maximum of damages while stacking AP

    For example:

    with X=0 AP=400, Z(X)=3654.6
    with X=295 AP=0 , Z(X)=2533.7

    We didn't talk about item secondary effects because it complicates our calculations too much.
    You have to take it into account when creating your own build. However, I want to specify that:

    A] AD items

    - Infinity Edge is really good but not for Akali. We don't get Attack speed with Akali because we don't want to stay close to an opponent due to our squishyness. Without Attack speed we can't amplify the secondary effects like crit chance or crit hit.
    - The Black Cleaver is an awsome item that we can't magnify for the same reasons than Infinity Edge. We can't get stacks fast enough to make it profitable.
    - The Bloodthirster is the only viable AD item for Akali because it has an awsome competitive price (AD=32) and a decent healing capacity. However, it's not better than Hextech Gunblade for Akali.

    B] AP items

    -[item=Zhonya's Ring] is a must have. If you stack, AP you must get it as soon as possible to make it profitable. His active effect is one of the most usefull in the game.
    - Mejai's Soulstealer is profitable with 4 stacks or more. Generally, players think they need a lot of stacks to make it profitable, that's why they don't take it. It's a mistake. I, generally has 10 stacks on my Mejai's, it gives me 100AP=>125AP if coupled with Zhonya's for 1235 gold, that means 1AD= 10 gold. It's totally amazing.
    -[item=Rylai's Scepter] is the less usefull AP item in my opinion. Getting HP or healing capacity is less important than getting more burst capacity. Slowing your opponents can be important in order to escape them. However, you already are one of the best chaser of the game, slowing your opponent is not so important.
    - Lich Bane is a must have. It improves your attack sequence damages by nearly 800 dmg.
    You need it to kill towers and inhibitors so fast that your opponents can't save it.

  • Maximizing our Healing Capacity

    We proved Full AP build is the better than any AD build to maximize Akali's burst. Though, AD can heal you better than AP build. The difference is tiny and it's really not important.

    Now we define a function which gives you how much heals you gain in an attack sequence (defined before)

    H(X,Y)= (1350+3.1Y)(X+90)/1000

    We substitute Y for (-1.52X + 460)


    H(X)= -0.0047X^2 +2.35X +249.8

    Now we want to know if T(X) decreases or increases.
    H'(X)= -0.0094X +2.35
    H'(X)= 0 if X=250
    H(X) culminates for X=250


    The healing capacity of Akali is maximized with X=250 and Y=80

    For example, she heals herself for:
    570HP with X=250 and Y=80
    273HP with X=10 and Y=445

  • What about Hybrid items?

    Theorem: Full AP Akali is better than all others combination of AD/AP build.
    Assumption: 1AD nearly costs 38 gold and 1 AP nearly costs 25 gold.

    Is this assumption right for AP/AD Hybrid items (Guinsoo's Rageblade, Hextech Gunblade and Trinity Force)?

    I] Guinsoo's Rageblade

    +45 to 93AP (with 8 stacks)

    Typically, 35AD=1330 gold and 45 to 93AP=1125 to 2325 gold knowing it's really easy to stack AP in fight. With a correct price, Guinsoo's Rageblade should cost 2455 to 3655 gold.
    Its real price is 2235 gold !It's definitively a competitive price. Better than typical AD or AP items.

    II] Hextech Gunblade

    +15% life steal
    +12% spell vamp
    Unique: +300magic damage + slow

    Typically, 60AD=2280 gold and 75AP=1875 gold. With a correct price, Hextech Gunblade should cost 4155. Its real price is 3625. In term of AD and AP price, it's like Guinsoo: so competitive. In addition to that, this item has really nice secondary effects. You can gain nearly 350 hp thanks to the lifesteal and spell vamp. It gives you a 300dmg slowing nuke which is very interesting for Akali who has naturally a lack of CC.

    III] Trinity Force

    +25% attack speed
    +12% crit chance
    +12% move speed
    +130% attack damage boost

    Trinity Force is an item which gives you a lot of effects and a few AD and AP. To calculate AP/AD cost is not a good way to evaluate the efficiency of Trinity. Personnaly, I think this item is not good enough for Akali. We don't need attack speed and crit chance. Movespeed and slow are interesting but we already can have slow effect with Rylai. 130%attack damage boost can be interesting with a Full AD build but we concluded that a Full AD build is less powerful than a Full AP build. I personnaly don't like at all Trinity force and I don't recommend it.

    2 of the 3 hybrid items are really interesting giving us lots of AD and AP for a very competitive price. Now, we want to know if these 2 items can constitute the core of an effective hybrid build. Pro: We already have 2 items at very low cost. Cons: We can't decide the AD/AP ratio, we lose our flexibility.

  • Maximizing an Hybrid build

    We want to create an hybrid build with Guinsoo's Rageblade and Hextech Gunblade

    We already get:95AD and 120 to 168AP (I'll take 168 AP for my calculations because I consider that a good player will get Guinsoo's stacks very fast when needed. If you don't stack fast enough, don't play Guinsoo) for a 5860 gold.

    We have 4140 gold to improve our build. As we said, Trinity force can't take its place in an hybrid build so we have to use pure AD or AP items with classic costs (1AD=38 and 1AP=25)

    We can write: 38X+25Y=4140gold


    Y = -1.52X + 165

    It's exactly the same thing than the beginning. We need a constraint which will help us for the next equations to determine the best AD/AP ratio.

    Now we want to adapt our attack sequence damages function.

    Z(X,Y)= 1513 + 3.7Y + 0.3X + (95+X+111)(168+Y+530)/250

    We change Y for -1.52X + 165

    Z(X,Y)= -0.00608X^2 -3.12X +3484.7


    Z(X)= -0.00608X^2 -3.12X +3484.7

    This equation gives you the amount of damages Akali can deal with an attack sequence.

    Now we must study this function to determinate how to maximize our amount of damages.

    Z'(X)= 0.012X -3.12
    Z' is always negative because X which reprensents our AD which always positive
    So we can say Z(X) is decreasing.


    This function culminates for X=0 so Akali makes a maximum of damages while stacking AP

    For example:

    with X=0 Y=165 => total AD=95 total AP=333 Z(X)=3484.7
    with X=109 AP=0 => total AD=204 total AP=168 Z(X)=3194.5

    To complete and maximize this build, we have to find 165 AP for 4140 gold. I think it's possible with:
    [item=Zhonya's Ring] which gives you +192AP for 3460 gold.

    Mejai's Soulstealer+ Deathfire Grasp which give you +160AP for 3845 gold
    Mejai's Soulstealer+ Abyssal Scepter which give you +170AP for 3885 gold
    Mejai's Soulstealer+ Void Staff which give you +170AP for 3530 gold
    Mejai's Soulstealer+[item=Rylai's Scepter] which give you +180AP, slow and 500HP for 4340 gold.

    Do you remind the healing function ? :) Nevermind, I give it again!

    H(X,Y)= (1350+3.1Y)(X+90)/10004 with X=total AD and Y=total AP
    H(95,333)=442.5 (+170HP compared to Full AP heal)

    With no surprise, Maximized Hybrid build gives us a larger amount of heals than a Full AP build.

    Finally, the best hybrid build deals less damages than the best pure AP build. However the difference isn't big (= -170dmg), we can say our Maximized Hybrid build is definitively competitive because it gives some benefits:
    - You don't need to get an effective Mejai's Soulstealer while saving a ton of gold to buy Zhony's Ring. We can say we are more flexible than with our Full AP build.
    - We gain a 300dmg slowing Nuke with Hextech Gunblade
    - Hextech Gunblade and Guinsoo's Rageblade are composed by easy and cheap items. It gives us more flexibility again.
    - Our healing capacity is improved.
    The only bad thing is the loss of Lich Bane which is so important to push, backdoor and more. We lose 800 dmg in the attack sequence.


    Thanks to improved Hextech Gunblade, Hybrid builds are now competitive as well as Full AP builds. And it's a good thing! Discovering several ways are playable is always a pleasure for a real player who likes diversity.

  • Final Conclusion

    Finally, we can conclude that:
    - Full AP build and Hybrid build are both playable and competitive builds.
    Maximized Full AP provides more damages => +18% (+750dmg/attack sequence)
    - Hybrid build provides more survivability => +67% (+520HP/attack sequence)

    Conclusion: Akali is an amazing Hybrid Champion !

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Sanrensei

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