Mordekaiser Build Guide

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Carrying with style, metal style

written by Randomage

Mordekaiser Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - not your usual guide

    This aims to be an advanced yet somewhat unpopular guide, noobstomp guides will just focus on stacking defensive items and get maybe a couple of offensive items, relying on some flat Magic Penetration to actually do damage. That will leave you exposed when people will buy one Negatron Cloak and deny enough of your damage to make you useless.

    Trust me, I played a long time as Mordekaiser and played versus MANY other Mordekaiser players, ONE Negatron and they are pretty much safe to ignore.

    So, ruling out the all-too-easy-to-counter full tank+flat mpen build, and the wannabe carry (other champs are better equipped for it, what remains?

    We'll be working on a semi-tank champion (off-tank) that is meant to do damage while holding the center of the fight, able to harass very easily while dishing serious damage and baiting the opponent team initiation, sparing the suffering to squishier champs and possibly surviving the first focus fire.

    For this we will skip the usual Warmog's Armor/Sunfire Cape/[item_text=Force of Nature]/Frozen Mallet combo, as it works only versus less experienced players, decent players will grab appropriate defenses (and trust me, they come cheap for how good they are) and laugh at your incapacity to make any difference in the fight.

    The result is a more complex Mordekaiser, more versatile, and way harder champion to play, but a more rewarding one as well as opposed to that one trick pony that is able to survive mostly due to the fact that no one actually cares about killing you (once they got a little bit of Magic Resist).

    So let's focus on:
    * Cooldown reduction (spamming more means more damage and armor is up more often)
    * Mitigations (armor, magic resistance, cc reduction, dodge)
    * Ability Power/Magic Penetration (again, those are your sources of damage and armor refills)
    * a little bit of HP
    * a fair amount of mobility.

  • Changelog

    2011-03-19: preV1.0.0.113 update, fixed some incorrect information, yet another nerf to spirit visage
    2011-02-18: preV1.0.0.111 update
    2011-01-21: V1.0.0.109 update
    2011-01-04: V1.0.0.108 update
    2011-01-13: Summary added.

  • Quick and Dirty copypaste

    For you tl;dr smelly trolls.

    *** Runes ***
    9x Greater Mark of Insight
    9x Greater Seal of Evasion
    9x Greater Glyph of Focus
    3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
    *** Masteries ***
    Twisted Treeline 9/0/21 OR Summoner's Rift 9/0/21
    *** Items ***
    + = // => + = //
    *** Summoner spells ***
    + on TT, + on SR.
    *** Skills ***

    Disclaimer, this won't work always, read the whole guide you lazy bum.
    To be updated for .111

  • Abilities

    Iron Man
    This HAS to be the reason why you play this champion, if it is not, play another one.

    Iron Man has NO SCALING whatsoever, plus spells that fill your armor will drain your hp, so in order to make every point of armor worthwhile we will get as much armor and mres as possible without losing too much threat potential.

    Mace of Spades
    PROS: Resets the swing cooldown (basically a double hit, a free Sheen), low cooldown on high ranks, scales with your naturally high AD.
    CONS: Demands a lot of exposure, doesn't fill armor as well as the other skills do, low AP scaling, considered multi-target by Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

    Just get a rank on level for and forget this spell until 14.

    [spell=Creeping Death]
    PROS: synergizes extremely well with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, provides a nice defense boost, can be used to harass at extreme range (put it on someone else, like a minion), fills Iron Man rather quickly, can damage runners by hugging without losing ground with cast or attack animations, potential of 1.2 AP extra damage for a 6 seconds hug.
    CONS: high CD, need to hug the enemy to deal damage, considered multi-target by Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

    Some tricks:
    * Put it on a mêlée minion who's about to engage enemy targets.
    * Put it on a minion to discourage mêlée champs to use their lifesteal to recover HP by attacking minions, specially when you've pushed them under their turret.
    * If you're being chased, run to the nearest lane (always a good idea with Mordekaiser, you might find minions to siphon) and put Creeping Death on a minion, chasers will usually follow in a straight line, get hit by Creeping Death, slowed by Rylai's effect and you're safe to run from your now slowed chasers.

    Siphon of Destruction
    PROS: average range, AoE effect, fills Iron Man very fast with several targets, useful to scout bushes or spot stealthers, average AP ratio.
    CONS: average range, highest cost in hp, most effective on multiple targets.

    Some tricks:
    * Its the range it has can match most ranged champion's autoattack, so fill armor and punish harassers.
    * You CAN hit a WHOLE minion wave with some shepherding although it's not as easy as it might look.
    * The range is sloghtly higher than what the template shows.

    Children of the Grave
    Ulti sweet ulti. This is what lets you drain your own hp to kill enemies and not care about it at all. Coupled with Ignite it will deal unexpected kills or at the very least, force the champ to leave the lane.

    With the amount of cooldown reduction this guy will get you, do NOT be afraid of spamming it, it will usually be up at the beginning AND the end of long teamfights.

    With Rylai's Crystal Scepter this spell will also turns into a 10s 15% slow adding a third option to the menu, so use the ulti to:
    - finish up people and getting a brand new teammate
    - drain high hp enemies to sustain yourself and endanger them
    - snare targets/initiate on them

    After the round of patches, this skill lost much of his survivability/pseudo-initiation aspects (the hp regen once it has hit isn't as sweet as it used to) but it has become a quite reliable nuke.

  • Masteries

    You NEED cooldown (and mobility) more than you need anything else, so we'll go with a classiccaster 9/0/21.

    For Twisted Treeline.
    For Summoner's Rift.

    The XP boosting mastery and movement boosting masteries will be incredibly useful, specially early on, I'm also a fan of Ghost on TT and Teleport on SR, but if you feel like using Clairvoyance, Flash, Exhaust or Smite feel free to move a point around here and there, there's a lot of space to do it.

  • Runes

    Since we need several different stats, we'll focus only on primary runes to get the most bonus from them.

    Primary Marks are all aggressive stats, most of them for physical damage dealers. While Mordekaiser is more than able to dish out autoattack damage, his spells are much more relevant, so stick with 9 x Greater Mark of Insight and enjoy the magic penetration.

    9 x Greater Mark of Insight

    Apparently HP regen might be a good stat for Mordekaiser, but in teamfights it's substantially useless, and other defensive stats will come in items form, so I usually go for dodge.

    Why dodge? Because there's no player that will willfully avoid to autoattack you and while a Last Whisper can reduce the armor (being more effective the more armor you have), almost no one will buy and use a Sword of the Divine just to attack Morde (specially since I almost never get Ninja Tabi), the dodge is never denied, whereas armor and magic resistance are subject to penetration and reduction.

    9 x Greater Seal of Evasion

    We need CDR. But which CDR?

    Flat CDR runes are surpassed by per-level CDR runes at level 13, and you will pass most of the game in the pre-13 phase usually. Past level 13 we'll try to have other items to get you CDR, and with a best case scenario build you can easily get to 40% even without any Greater Glyph of Celerity. So instead take:

    9 x Greater Glyph of Focus
    8 x Greater Glyph of Focus + 1 x Greater Glyph of Celerity if you want to hit 40% CDR

    There are infinite possibilities in quintessences, there is stuff like Greater Quintessence of Swiftness that REALLY makes a difference.

    Old build

    In my experience, with 0 points in the Defense mastery tree, Morde is a tad squishy early on, and he's also a little short of "mana" (remember, he uses hp to cast spells) during the first levels, so my personal tip is to go with flat hp quints.

    Consider that as of 1.0.98:
    1 Greater Quintessence of Fortitude ~= 6 Greater Seal of Fortitude
    1 Greater Quintessence of Evasion = 2 Greater Seal of Evasion
    so it's better to have hp on quints and dodge on seals.

    3 x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

    New build

    Due to various nerfs to my core build items I started investigating a rune build with Greater Quintessence of Swiftness, and it rocks, I'm getting some HP from Doran's Shield anyway, so go ahead and take

    3 x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

  • Items - Core

    As you might have already noticed, my whole strategy revolves around giving Mordekaiser some Crowd Control capability using Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Frozen Mallet also gives some cc, but it relies on people being hit by you, which is easily avoidable and best left to people who can actually dish serious damage with autoattacks. So, in the sake of versatility and team usefulness I shall never speak Frozen Mallet's name again in this guide.

    * Starting items

    On the average game your ideal start is Doran's Shield, but if you foresee the need of more staying power you can switch to either Cloth Armor or Boots of Speed + a bunch of Health Potions

    While Doran's Shield doesn't get built into anything, it's fairly cheap and provides some armor until you can get better armor items.

    * First trip back

    In TT:
    You should only go back if you're risking to die (with no ulti ready to refill you, or a LOT of incoming people), or if you have a LOT of money to spend and no minions are there, you'll be running back using ghost before you lose all the fun.
    In SR:
    You should go back when you have 1200 gold or if you're in a tough spot and have at least 350 gold, kill a couple jungle minions if you need them to hit 350.

    Now, it's REALLY important that you get mobility, in SR it can allow you to clear the wraith camps during minion waves if you are mid, and overall it'll help you on keeping pressure up in your lane.

    But which boots should you get?
    Boots of Speed this is THE priority.
    Mercury's Treads my favorite boots, Morde is a sitting duck when cc'ed so unless there is NO ABSOLUTE NEED for cc reduction and magic resistance, get these.
    Ninja Tabi great, in theory, but phys damage has much better counters in Warden's Mail and Thornmail that I don't really like them as an option, used only in TT if the enemy has a team with JUST phys damage and the CC is either a Suppress or no CC at all is there.
    Berserker's Greaves The worst boots ever, for any champion, 25% attack speed is something you can find anywhere else, and Morde has surely no use for it.
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity CDR is always welcome and 15% is a LOT, but we're allowed to venture there only if Mercury aren't necessary.
    Sorcerer's Shoes A really interesting option, a possible 3rd choice if you REALLY have to move away from the treads, but there are better places to look for Magic Pen.
    Boots of Mobility Not enough burst damage on Morde to have them on, you get in fast, you get hit once, and you're stuck with no real further bonus. People with burst damage have a use for them since once they are in the can get a quick kill before the target flees. Not morde.
    Boots of Swiftness Interesting option, can work when the enemies have no form of cc, or it's a negligible one.

    So Mercury's Treads over Ionian Boots of Lucidity over Sorcerer's Shoes/ Boots of Swiftness over Ninja Tabi over any other boot.

    * Furthermore

    I mistakenly typed FurthermorDe, freudian enough?

    Spirit Visage try to go for this one if you have the money for it and magic resist is something that doesn't end up being completely useless.
    Kindlegem/ Ruby Crystal if you're a little short and the damage type you're under is mixed
    Null-Magic Mantle if you are really strapped for money and know that magic resist will get you more hp saved than most things
    [item=Heart of Gold] if you KNOW you will have a hard time farming and want the gold generation effect on.
    Thornmail if there is a disproportionate amount of physical damage with at least one dangerous autoattack champ in the field (like Jax)
    Warden's Mail can be nice when paired with a Kindlegem/Ruby Crystal/[item_text=Heart of Gold], you could even sell the Doran's Shield to get the combo as you're getting a strict improvement of all its stats.

    Now, some people hate Spirit Visage and will tell you it's a waste of money, that [item_text=Force of Nature] is so much better and whatnot, but face the facts, it gives you cooldown reduction, hp regen (increases the hp regen of Doran's Shield and later on, of Randuin's Omen/Warden's Mail), and magic resist, basically everything you might possibly want. And it's much cheaper. All other options to reduce cooldown are only relevant in situational occasions and only give up to one other useful stat (with one being mana most of the time).

    As your third item you might want to go for a
    Giant's Belt
    and FINALLY make your
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

    On occasions this might not be possible, like if you're having an exceptionally bad early game, in which case look at the complete builds and work toward something that's affordable enough and go for that, but try not to get any items you'll have to sell eventually, it's really something that as a Mordekaiser player you should be able to avoid (like Doran stacking).

    * Now it gets REALLY tricky

    At this point of the game you really need to get a feeling of how the match is going, a simple, no-brain build might be:
    Randuin's Omen
    Abyssal Scepter
    Void Staff

    In the listed order.

    Elixir of Brilliance is ALWAYS welcome, if you're having a farming bonanza (easy to get there with Morde) you can ideally keep one up from as early as level 6.

    But sometimes the enemy players are actually competent and start getting magic resist soon, so you'll have to rush the Void Staff, or the Carry starts getting fed as he should and you need to counter him with a Thornmail (specially good to negate Lifestealing stackers or really fast autoattackers, ALWAYS keep an eye on enemy items).

    On occasions you might even find that they are really light on the Physical damage and therefore you might want to skip Randuin's Omen and instead go for an early Negatron Cloak to be built into a Quicksilver Sash or Abyssal Scepter or even a [item=Force of Nature]. Remember that skipping Randuin means losing Cooldown Reduction, but there are ways to compensate.

  • Items - Detailed

    ... the plot thickens ...

    * Rounding up the build

    Again, this is more of an art than a science, you need to keep an eye on how the game is going and work toward some objectives:

    Cooldown reduction
    When it is relevant: Pretty much always, particularly useful when your fights include a lot of kiting and harassing, being able to spam your ulti twice in a teamfight is amazing.
    When it is NOT relevant: If teamfights are super-short and super-brutal, with long intermissions at fountain to regain hp.
    How to get it:
    External Image Crest of Nature's Fury Rabid Wolf buff (green) on TT is 10% CDR + Attack Speed, remember that Morde has a nice base Attack Damage, so the Attack Speed is enjoyable too.
    External Image Crest of the Ancient Golem Ancient Golem Buff (blue) on SR is (16+level*0.5)% CDR
    Spirit Visage 10% CDR + Mres + HP + HP Regen, hardly ever useless.
    Randuin's Omen 5% CDR + Armor + HP + HP Regen + A little of utility, nice to have, not that much CDR after the further nerf tho, get it if the rest of the stats aren't completely useless to you
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity 15% CDR + Movement, really sweet item, if the enemy team is light on CC, these are REALLY nice to have, consider them instead of Boots of Swiftness to free up slots, another option is to buy these in the early game and replace them with Mercury's Treads later in the game.
    Elixir of Brilliance 10% CDR + AP, since they nerfed all the tanky CDR items and lowered this item's cost, you should consider having one up even during the mid or even early phases of the game.
    Deathfire Grasp 15% CDR + AP + Mana regen (sigh) + Free nuke, in case you feel like renouncing randuin or visage for any reason, this won't give you survivability but the active + some harass + your ulti + ignite = very sad opponent.
    Deathfire Grasp 15% CDR + AP + Mana regen (sigh) + Free nuke, in case you feel like renouncing randuin or visage for any reason, this won't give you survivability but the active + some harass + your ulti + ignite = very sad opponent.
    [item=Morello's Evil Tome] 20% CDR + AP + Mana regen (sigh), little more AP than Deathfire Grasp, little more CDR, but no nuke, I think it's still a worse option later on in the game, but if you're doing EXTREMELY well you can get it and sell it once you can afford Elixirs.

    Note: to hit 40% CDR you need 25% from items and buffs, if you get Deathfire Grasp or Ionian Boots of Lucidity, you'll just need the extra Elixir of Brilliance, whereas you'll need BOTH Spirit Visage+Randuin's Omen+Elixir of Brilliance if you decide to use tanky items to reach 40% CDR, with Morello you'll hit 35% CDR.

    When it is relevant: When autoattacks or skills that do phys damage are kicking your metallic rear, which is generally pretty much always.
    When it is NOT relevant: When you already have some and getting other stats will benefit you more.
    How to get it:
    Doran's Shield 8 Armor + HP + HP Regen, one is enough, and you usually get it at the start, in fact, sell this once you have cash for better items that give stats just as useful.
    Randuin's Omen 80 Armor + CDR + HP + HP Regen + A little of utility, one of your staples, it won't change your life on his own, but with a good set of other items it will make it much easier.
    Thornmail 100 Armor + payback is a female dog with low morals, hard counter item, can turn a game around.

    Magic resist
    When it is relevant: Almost always.
    When it is NOT relevant: When the opposing team has 0 magic damage, or when you have a decent amount already and realize that killing them might stop them from hitting you back.
    How to get it:
    Mercury's Treads 25 Magic Reistance + Movement + CC reduction, OH how I love this item. Get it. Now.
    Spirit Visage 30 Magic Resistance + CDR + HP + HP Regen, perfect for Mordekaiser, should be in the staples.
    Abyssal Scepter 57 Magic Resistance + AP + Spell Penetration aura, used to be in my staples, but the AP isn't that amazing and I already take a lot of other magic resistance items, plus 20 points of Magic Resist Reduction isn't too great, basically this item is overshadowed by the existance of Void Staff, but still interesting sometimes.
    Quicksilver Sash 56 Magic Resistance + Über Cleanse, this is extremely situational, but in those situation it works, it does MIRACLES, sort of a Thornmail for debuffs in terms of effectiveness, basically consider this if you're tempted to take Banshee's Veil instead.
    [item=Force of Nature] 76 Magic Resistance + lots of HP Regen + Movement, more Magic Resist than you are actually looking for, the HP regen is nice, but it won't make huge differences in teamfights, the interesting bit is the Movement speed bonus, much more relevant now thanks to Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
    Lich Bane 30 Magic Resistance + AP + Mana (sigh) + Movement + Extra DPS, situational yet extremely effective, the Movement speed is the deal broker (broker, NOT breaker) here.

    Mobility advantage
    When it is relevant: Early on you want all the movement speed you can get (early boots), later on you want Rylai's slow to manage speed differences, further speed is only interesting if they have a REALLY high mobility team that manages to escape fights quickly while still preventing you from pushing.
    When it is NOT relevant: When you're so fast that the rest of the team can't keep up with you during the main fight, getting movement speed to catch up with runners is only acceptable if their team is built around that, and even then think hard if playing better won't fix that...
    How to get it:
    External Image Blessing of the Lizard Elder (Twisted Treeline, Summoner's Rift) Lizard buff (red) is a on hit slow+dot effect that will increase your dps AND make you a great chaser.
    External Image Crest of Flowing Water Ghast Buff (white) on TT is 30% Movement Speed, WAY sweet, remember you're a great jungler.
    Boots of Speed ~15% Movement Speed, get them as your first trip back item, you might even be tempted to get at the start, specially vs a stun heavy team in Twisted Treeline.
    Mercury's Treads ~25% Movement Speed + Magic Res. + CC Reduction, get them asap, if they have 2/3 stunners in Twisted Treeline, get them before ANYTHING else. I'm deadly serious, CC reduction is something you can't forgo, period.
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity ~25% Movement Speed + CDR, Should the enemy team appear light on the CC side, you might be tempted to get Boots of Swiftness but there are more appealing movement speed items than CDR items.
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter Slow Effect + AP + HP, Not strictly a movement buff for you, but everything is relative right? Slow them with Children of the Grave and other spells and see them squirm trying to get away from your vicious grip.
    Randuin's Omen Slow Effect + Armor + CDR + HP + HP Regen + A little of utility, the good thing about this is that people REALLY don't expect Morde to slow THIS much (not unless he's got a Frozen Mallet) leading them to critically underestimate you, can lead to nice kiting along with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, be careful tho, as the cooldown is higher than you'd expect.
    Lich Bane 7% Movement Speed + Magic Res. + AP + Mana (sigh)+ Extra DPS, I only bought this a couple of times versus teams that abused their mobility to keep me at bay, this puppy WORKS like a charm on Morde, diving you extra DPS, extra reach and a tiny bit of resistance to top it off.
    [item=Force of Nature] 8% Movement Speed, Magic Res. + lots of HP Regen, this item was much more viable when Randuin's Omen provided enough CDR for me to sell Spirit Visage and get 40% CDR with just Randuin + runes + masteries and an Elixir of Brilliance, right now it's hard to place Force of Nature in a build, there's a lot you'll have to sacrifice, and you need to make darn sure it's worth it.

    Ability Power
    When it is relevant: When you got your tanky things together to survive, your best bet to get out of teamfights as the winner is to actually kill them, while you don't need insane amounts of AP as traditional casters do, but recent patches increasingly buffed Morde's AP ratios while decreasing base damage, to get back to "old school" amounts of damage you need more than 100AP, so keep that in mind.
    When it is NOT relevant: When you don't have enough survivability to resist burst damage, or not enough utility to actually LAND those spells (cooldown reduction, mobility...)
    How to get it:
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter 80 AP + HP + Slow Effect, mandatory, get this as your first dps/tank item hybrid, only rarely you'll have to wait to get this (for instance they have insane amount of Magic Resist and you already rushed other survivability items, in which case check the next option)
    Void Staff 70 AP + Magic Pen., a semi-staple, decent teams WILL get magic resist against you, you WILL need this to get over it, massing AP always lose the fight to massing Magic Resist, so be the smart one, and get the ONLY item you'll ever need to balance the scales.
    Deathfire Grasp 60 AP + Mana regen (sigh) + CDR + free nuke, interesting items to add a free nuke, a little AP (sadly, really little) and a TON of CDR, one of his other redeeming qualities is that building a
    [item_text=Kage's Lucky Pick] early will pay sweet gold.
    Lich Bane 80 AP + Movement + Magic Res. + Mana (sigh)+ Extra DPS, This puppy is hard to squeeze in, but if you can, it will make you SO happy you did, besides Mana (sigh, duh) ALL the stats are VERY interesting on Mordekaiser, including the ulti

    Magic Penetration
    When it is relevant: A fair amount of magic penetration/magic resistance reduction is ALWAYS nice, but that's what runes and masteries are for. Larger amounts become necessary once the opponents realize you actually do a lot of damage with my build.
    When it is NOT relevant: When the opponents didn't getting any Magic Resistance items (yet).
    How to get it:
    Void Staff 40% Magic Penetration + AP, the ONLY item that does this right, Sorcerer's Shoes are really not an option when compared to other boots and [item_text=Haunting Visage] is an early game item that becomes obsolete really fast.

    Health Points
    When it is relevant: When you need to buffer some of the enemy damage in order to get your damage out and your shield back up, also as the ONLY counter to True Damage abilities.
    When it is NOT relevant: When you don't have enough mitigation to make it worthwhile, the must be a balance between how much mitigation you have, how much hp you have and how much DPS you do, too often I see Mordekaiser players that are easily shut down by a single Negatron Cloak or devastated by spells that do HP% based damage like:
    * [item_text=Madred's Bloodrazor]
    * Deathfire Grasp
    * Devastating Blow
    * Despair
    * Infected Cleaver
    * Demacian Justice
    * Bio-Arcane Barrage
    * Null Zone
    * Children of the Grave
    * Fury of the Sands
    * Crescent Sweep

    Scared straight yet?

    Not to mention that any champ with a Frozen Mallet and a nice amount of lifesteal can keep you under focus until you die unless you have enough damage to take him down and armor to mitigate the incoming damage, also the longer the fight, the less useful you'll become.

    How to get it:
    Doran's Shield 120 HP + Armor + HP Regen, since I stopped using Quintessence of Fortitude I HAD to start with one of these, keep it on until some better item demands the slot or the money.
    Ruby Crystal 180 HP, not too interesting on his own, nice to have as a stepping stone for other items.
    Giant's Belt 430HP, excessively expensive item, build it only on your way to make a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, possibly as a first item (by the time you get it, your hp will start being a little low for your situation)
    Kindlegem 200 HP + CDR, cure items for Morde, builds into Spirit Visage and gives a hint of Cooldown Reduction really early on.
    Spirit Visage 250 HP + CDR + Magic Res., read up for why you should like this item.
    [item=Heart of Gold] 200 HP + Armor, stepping stone for Randuin's Omen, the gold generation effect is nice for difficult situations, and overall it's a nice tool to resist phys damage champs even early on.
    Randuin's Omen 300 HP + Armor + CDR + HP Regen + A little of utility, more HP than you'd expect, check the other parts of this section for further details on why this item is so sweet.

    HP Regen
    When it is relevant: When casting your spells is draining your HP too fast.
    When it is NOT relevant: When you lose hp due to damage, your ulti (boosted by a nice amount of CDR) can refill you if you need lane-staying power. Also learn how to dodge skillshots and use your armor to shield damage.
    How to get it:
    Doran's Shield 8 Health Points every 5 seconds + Armor + HP, should be enough for the early game.
    Spirit Visage +15% to Regeneration effects + Magic Res. + HP + CDR, the hp regen on this is far from shocking, considering you are only boosting your natural hp regen (which is boosted by masteries btw) and Doran's Shield's in the early game, but later on that 20% becomes much more relevant.
    Warden's Mail 25 Health Points every 5 seconds + Armor + utility, this baby seals the deal, once you have this and the Visage, you can pretty much spam all you want.
    Randuin's Omen same as Warden's plus the usual benefits listed before.
    [item=Force of Nature] 40 Health Points every 5 seconds + 0.35% of your max HP every second + Magic Res., this item is deceptively good, it gives you a LOT of HP Regen, and if it was a stat you consistently needed it'd be perfect, but it ends up being a more expensive Spirit Visage with no CDR, better leave this item for later in the game, if you REALLY need it for his magic res and his movement buffs.

  • Items - Misc information

    It HAD to be a trilogy, right?

    * Bottom's up

    Mordekaiser is a GREAT farmer, and you're going to have a LOT of cash on your hands, that means drinks are on the house.

    So here's what I do. I buy all 4 elixirs whenever I'm stumped on what else to get (or out of inventory space, which happens often).

    Yes, even [item_text=Oracle's Elixir], even if there's no stealther around, just to spot enemy wards.

    If you can't afford them all, prioritize in this order:
    [item=Oracle's Elixir] if they have strong stealthers (a nicely fed akali, eve, twitch)
    Elixir of Brilliance
    Elixir of Fortitude
    [item=Oracle's Elixir] if they have weak stealthers (teemo, shaco, an akali that is still manageable on her own) or if you suspect they are abusing wards to control the map
    [item=Elixir of Agility]
    [item=Oracle's Elixir] if no stealther is around

    * What NOT to get

    * Warmog's Armor, it will only mean that enemy carries with [item=Madred's Bloodrazor] will get through your Iron Man armor faster.

    * [item=Force of Nature] (in the early game) useful later on, earlier on, you need utility and cooldown reduction more than you need REALLY EXPENSIVE regen or movement speed (after all slowing people and spamming Children of the Grave IS a form of regen and movement speed).

    * Frozen Heart is interesting in theory, but if you need the CDR so bad, take Deathfire Grasp and if you need to counter phys carrys, take a Thornmail, leave this to people who use the mana stat.

    * Mejai's Soulstealer classic caster item, but Morde NEEDS the CDR, it's not optional, less than 20 stacks and you'll need other items to get CDR, plus as an offtank you'll be too often in the heat of the fight to reliably fill this up.

    * [item=Morello's Evil Tome], the new clone of Deathfire Grasp, it's cheaper, has 15 more AP, 2 more MP5 (yay) but lacks the active effect, considering how good Morde is at farming, not worth it.

    * Haunting Guise Negligible amount of AP, a tiny fraction of HP and some decent Magic Penetration, perfect, in theory, but the amount of stuff it gives is really too small, while it might be effective early on, as soon as you get further, you'll find that the slot it occupies is far more precious than the stats it gives, getting Rylai's Crystal Scepter + Void Staff will ALWAYS be better, even if it means getting 2 items. I might consider this item the day they put CDR on it.

    * Sorcerer's Shoes It's not that they are bad, it's that other boots are better on Morde, plus by the time you get boots (which should be soon) you'll be needing survivability more than you'll be needing dps.

    * Hextech Revolver(and family) There are several things that disturb me about this item: it has no added utility (specially in the mobility advantage department), the spellvamp is reduced on all AoE spells (which means everything but the ulti for Morde) and the amount of AP it gives is less than shocking, the only occasion in which this item becomes relevant is if a teammates bought Will of the Ancients and is giving out the aura.
    * * Hextech Gunblade is better, but still redundant/not reliable enough to keep you up during the fight, I guess the added slow is the redeeming quality of this item, I might end up buying it sometimes, but almost everything else I suggested does a better job at making you effective, give me a seventh slot, and I'll consider it, or give it CDR :P.

    * Also stay away from anything else with attack speed or other aggressive items, going for other caster items is going to leave you way too squishy to do your job, and if you want to play Ryze, don't pick Mordekaiser, make a Morde skin for Ryze instead. Same if you want to play Warwick.

    * Honorable mentions

    Rabadon's Deathcap should you have a lot of free slots (usually 'cause you got Ionian Boots of Lucidity instead of Mercury's Treads) and not much need for further utility, this fellow gives a metric ton of AP, which might be nice.

    Zhonya's Hourglass whereas the old ring wasn't too interesting, this baby is now the brother of Abyssal Scepter but geared toward armor and with a defensive rather than offensive unique, will have to playtest it a little.

    Banshee's Veil is a nice item for heavy magic cc teams but I think the other options are just as good and they don't force you to spend point on a useless mana bonus.

    [item=Soul Shroud] is an option instead of Randuin when the other team has literally NO autoattack damage and you have mates that would contribute from the mana regen, just don't count on your partners having it, as you need your cooldown reduction maxed at ALL time, even if you're on your own. I personally never ended up taking it, as I'm not that much of a nice guy, auras are for support champs in my opinion.

    Sunfire Cape, stacking ton of armor isn't going to help vs a decent team who will rip it apart with Last Whisper, the hp bonus is denied as I said before and you already have a damage aura ([spell=Creeping Death] at level 5 is worth 2 Sunfire Capes), but this might be nice to have if they have a lot of true damage (Cho'Gath going AP, Irelia going attack speed+mallet, Olaf with insane amounts of cooldown reduction) that somehow can resist your insane damage output.

    Leviathan the only pure hp item I'll ever mention, might be nice even earlier on if you're confident you can get it to 20 stacks, less than that, it's useless.

    Guardian Angel only relevant in situations where you have to stay and die or to protect leviathan stacks, or for a last push to close the game denying them a last kill that would protract it even further.

  • Build Examples

    I promise not to textwall you here. Just remember to add Elixirs to most builds.

    You core setup

    The average build

    Versus a Physical-only team

    Versus a mixed team with really strong carry

    Versus a Magic-only team

    Versus a high mobility team (like Gragas+Ezreal+Kassadin), specially in TT

    As you can see I rotate quite a lot of items while trying to keep the core concepts I need to make Morde work, try to mix and match items, but remember, items are there to empower your gameplay, not to justify your inability to position well or kite properly, don't try to make your items do all the work (for instance by going too tanky or taking too many escape systems (see Zhonya) as they won't help once you start facing competent opponents and you didn't mature the necessary skills to make it on your own.

  • Skilling Order

    Due to various nerfs and retooling the only reliable spell Morde has is [spell=Creeping Death], but one point in Mace of Spades will help by resetting your autoattack timer, and Siphon of Destruction is always nice to harass.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Mordekaiser has an insane sinergy with Ignite, be it to cut the enemy healers capabilities, or in the classic combo with Children of the Grave, it's a summoner spell you will hardly do without. I used to run Cleanse instead of it, since ignite was a big problem when placed on me, but since they nerfed it (it used to remove both the Children of the Grave debuff and the ignite one), it'll be insane not to abuse the utility of the now-uncleansable ignite.

    So here's my suggestions:
    Ignite always. Or pretty almost always.
    Teleport always in Summoner's Rift, you're probably going to be mid or 2v1 (in fact you should insist to be) and teleport is the only thing that lets you shop/recover without losing experience or cash.
    Ghost very useful in Twisted Treeline, it works as a teleport on steroid in that map, it brings you to battle fast, lets you escape ganks and finish up runners.

    Runner ups:
    Cleanse pretty darn useful if you know you'll have to 2v1 a stun heavy team like Taric/Sion, it will deny them that last hit that would've killed you, forcing them to go home to rec mana.
    Exhaust shutting down a phys carry is reaaaally nice, slowing down chasers is also a good pro, as is snaring the runners, it's a little redundant with all the other stuff, but it's still a decent-ish choice in some situations.
    Clairvoyance I LOVE it. Really I do. But you have no space for it, so if you really really really feel like you need it, and no one can spare the space for it (I'm looking at you soraka) you might take it, but... meh.
    Smite most people have no idea what smite is for. Smite is not (mainly) for junglers, Smite exists to steal buffs. The ONLY solid use for this spell is that one, waiting for the minion to drop low enough, and then smite it, people WON'T be able to steal any buffs if you can use Smite right. That said, I don't think that Morde is the guy who should be jungling full time, while he's good at it, you're wasting one of the 2 best pushers in the game (the other being Sivir) in a place where other champs excel. In other words, you can't sacrifice ignite for smite.

    Not recommended
    [spell=fortify] If you need this to defend a turret, you picked the wrong champion.
    Revive I really don't know why this spell is still in the game. Or at least I used not to know, then I faced Eve players with SorakaBot's setup on. Oh-my-god. Shame that you are not in such a position.
    Clarity Sure, I like being a team player, but not THAT much.
    Flash awesome spell. Wrong champion. Flash is useless on Morde, ghost does what flash does but better (in the case of Morde)
    [spell=Rally] Really, you CAN put a mordekaiser skin on warwick, try that instead of making morde AD.

  • Creep Jungling

    Luckily most neutral creep camps have a lot of mobs so you can use your multitarget spells to quickly get the armor up, you should usually focus your autoattack on the target with most hp remaining so you still benefit from hitting the other targets with spells, basically try to avoid fighting them 1 on 1 as long as possible.

    As per "when" to creep jungle, well, you should be able to clear most minion camps with 2-3 spells, so whenever you have a chance to, go jungle, even if a teamfight is about to happen, go get that quick last farm, you'll have the money from it AND the remaining shield, part-time jungling is also a nice way to pass the time when it's too risky to stay in lane due to too much people being MIA (of course you need to be smart on the target of your jungling efforts, the idea is to get safer, not even more exposed).

    Something that I don't see done enough by my teammates (usually when I solo queue) is moving the neutral minion, this is crucial, when you're tank'n'spanking a large minion try to move it in a safer place, by safer I mean a place that prevents enemy from both ganking you AND stealing the buff at the last time. Sometimes it makes sense to put yourself between the minion and your opponents, to stop those pesky skillshots from getting what's yours.

    Considering that most of Morde's DPS comes from his spells, whenever spell are in cooldown you're free to move around baiting the mob in a better position without losing too much DPS, but if you can, DO turn around every once in a while to land some autoattacks while moving it.

  • Farming

    In Mordekaiser's case it might be tempting to forgo any attempt at last hitting while focusing on pushing like a baws but shield generation and decay has been nerfed so much that generating shield should be reserved just for when you foresee incoming damage, the rest of the time you use a spell you should consider that:

    * pushing the minion wave means that the opponent will have the safety of his turret while fighting you back
    * it might also mean he loses last hits to the turret if you keep harassing well enough
    * if you place it correctly Siphon of Destruction can hit an entire minion wave (really not as easy as it sounds)
    * a good last hitter might end up outfarming you if you use your spells carelessly and forget to mix in some autoattacks and focus on lasthitting as well
    * you're putting a lot of points in creeping death, a cheap spell that will generate a TON of shield without exposing you to damage, also really good at last hitting on his own, shame for the high cooldown tho
    * the key to success is to mix farming with harassing and part-time jungling
    * with wards and a good amount of map awareness (which includes you checking which opponent has flash, they could use it to wallhack) you can STILL play it oldschool and push like crazy
    * your early game was hurt BADLY, consider playing it safe until you get your beloved items
    * casting Creeping Death and to a smaller extent Siphon of Destruction from bushes is a REALLY safe way to farm
    * should you incur in the risk of losing a last hit to a minion while your autoattack timer is in cooldown, you can cast a quick Mace of Spades to squeeze an extra hit
    * Mordekaiser has an insanely good Attack Damage on his own, so any autoattack you can land ends up in a lot of damage, that translates is pretty easy last hits and more harass in case you can hit the enemy champ
    * that also means that being blinded kinda sucks
    * on the other hand his attack animation isn't too great, so, when chasing try to hold back on autoattack as they will slow you down, usually "hugging" your opponent with Creeping Death up is a safer way to land reliable, constant DPS to runners, I call it "doing the Singed", it also works for minions, running among them with Creeping Death up charges a LOT of shield and easily racks up last hits

  • How to kill...

    This is my "fan mail" part, if you try my build and end up having troubles handling a champion, ask me in the comments and when a solid strategy is defined, I will put it up here.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Randomage

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