Kassadin Build Guide
Silence of the Void - Detailed Kassadin Guidewritten by Reakt00r
Table of Contents
|Pros / Cons||3|
|Tips & Tricks||10|
|Working in the team||11|
|Patch Release Comments||14|
Welcome to my guide of Kassadin, the Dark Templar. Yes, I did call him a Dark Templar and screw you, that's what he is. He's a creature of the void, has a damn void blade and he can travel through the void to teleport. If you don't believe me, ask Zuratul.
This is a strategy guide for an ability power Kassadin. The reason I'm making this guide is because, and this is my opinion, the other Kassadin guides tell you to play him differently then you should. They all seem to be aimed at weaker opponents, while this guide will also help you deal with the stronger players. This means that the guide will be aimed higher level players. But because Kassadin is a snowballing champion (a champion that keeps getting on tougher as he gets more kills, but also weakens every time he dies) this will work against low level opponent's as well.
Your job is to kill champions before they get the chance to retaliate. You should roam around the map, looking for weak targets to kill and let others push forward. You're a good leader because you assemble your teams to push after you've slain a champion or two. You should never make yourself the prime target in a conflict, let other people inniate first, after which you finish the job. You shouldn't be afraid to steal kills from allies when you need them. Teamfights will be won because they will have one less champion that was wiped by you when he was jungling.
That is what a good Kassadin is, and in this guide I will show you what you should do to reach that level.
Your goal is to get a lot of ability power and mana to deal as much damage as possible and hopefully kill them by the time you end your combo.
We will not be getting any survivability because this is simply not needed. If you die, it's either because you were ganked or because you were focussed in teamfights. Both of these should be avoided at all costs because Kassadin is not a teamfight champion. For those not wanting to read the entire guide, I will put a summary of what I use with a small text of information explaining why.
Used to play aggresively and grant safe passages through enemy lands. Use this to make sure the path you want to take to backstab that lone champion is not blocked by the Might of Demacia.
Used to finish the remains of a bleeding champion. This, and to piss off any enemy Mundo's.
Because the mana regen and summoner spells are more important than the 5% damage boost.
The Greater Mark of Insight together with the Greater Quintessence of Insight runes help you get 10 magic penetration.
The Greater Quintessence of Replenishment, Greater Seal of Clarity and Greater Glyph of Clarity are for mana regeneration you will definitely need.
You can also max Force Pulse first, it depends on what you prefer. You use Null Sphere to lasthit minions and to harass.
The build you should go for every game. Don't upgrade Tear of the Goddess to Archangel's Staff before having at least 1800 mana.
Use these to compliment the standard build depending on your opponents.
Pros / Cons
Possibly the best snowballing champion in the game.
Has a blink/teleport skill with less than four seconds of cooldown.
Eats squishies for breakfast.
Very strong lategame for a caster champion.
Low amount of health.
Low amount of attack damage.
Can't do that much in teamfights.
You might get flamed for "not helping in teamfights".
Pretty hard to play compared to most other champions.
The 15% damage reduction is wonderful, but the goal is to stay out of sight and not get hit by any abilities at all. The attack speed is practically useless because you rely on your spells. This passive isn't bad, but it doesn't really fit Kassadin.
This is your main harassment tool and farming skill. The cooldown is 9 seconds, which is a bit long but you won't have any trouble annoying the enemy champions in your lane with it. The mana cost, varying from 70 to 110 each time you cast depending on the skill's level, is low enough for you to use it on a basis.
It gives you mana. Yes, this is extremely useful, but it gives you zero power in return. There's no doubt you'll face situations where there isn't a chance to attack minions so I recommend not relying on this for your mana regen.
Very strong skill, high ability power ratio and no cooldown at all. The only problem is the six spells you'll need to accumulate to activate this. You will mostly use this when you gank, so this shouldn't be a problem.
A less than 6 seconds cooldown blink skill. It's great. This will allow you to gap great distances in a few seconds during your early laning phase, and it will skyrocket your damage output during the late moments of the game. The 0.4 ability power ratio might not seem like much, but this multiplies for each Riftwalk. When following this build, you're mana pool will be large enough to charge 5 Riftwalk's and then some, turning the ability power ratio into 2.0. Doesn't seem that weak anymore, now does it?
Note that the damage radius isn't as large as the circle of the skill indicates. They changed this quite some time ago. The correct size is now about half the width of the circle.
There are two main builds to use, but they depend on whether you want to level Null Sphere (Q) or Force Pulse (E) first.
This one starts out maxing Null Sphere (Q).
And this one maxes out Force Pulse (E) first.
The choice between either build depends on your preference of the skill. It doesn't matter THAT much, so I'm leaving this decision to you, although I'll give some guidelines.
Null Sphere (Q) is a targetable skill. Unlike Force Pulse, you don't need six spells and it has a longer range.
Force Pulse (E) is a cone-type skill that requires you to charge up six spells. The advantage of this skill is that it hits more units and, starting from level 4 Force Pulse, a higher damage output.
Personally, it depends on where I'm laning. When going solo in the middle lane, I'll always be taking the Null Sphere path. When I'm not laning, it depends on the champions I'm facing. When they have a healer of some sorts and my damage is only poking them, I'll be going for Force Pulse, because I'll only be using Null Sphere (which has an increasing mana cost each level) for lasthitting the minions. In any other case, I'll use Null Sphere.
Nether Blade (W) is taken last because you will need as much damage as possible early on, and Nether Blade just isn't giving you that. Some might argue that you should take an early rank to get Force Pulse up, but you don't want to spam it, you want to use it when you're going to gank and your appetite of destruction grows out of control .
Riftwalk is obviously taken whenever you can, because it is your ultimate, and for a good reason. This lets you fly over the map and gank people. Just take it. TAKE IT.
Because my preferences in terms of Summoner Abilities go out to Clairvoyance and Ignite, I choose this path.
To get enough points for the next set of masteries.
Free ability power is always useful.
Why wouldn't you want cooldown reduction?
Just to get some extra punch from your spells.
4% of total mana and health regeneration is practically nothing, and on most champions I would just pick Good Hands, but with all the mana regen this build has it can go up to a 100 mana regen per 5 seconds, and adding 4 to that is worth more than the few seconds I have available thanks to God deciding I could pass the traffic.
You still need one point for the next set of masteries, and we're not going to be using Teleport or Ghost.
The few seconds you earn getting to level 6 faster than your opponent might just give you first blood.
This has been on my mind for quite some time. Greed, on one hand, only offers 1 gold every 10 seconds. This is 6 gold every minute. 30 gold every five minutes. 60 gold every 10 minutes. 180 gold every 30 minutes and since a game typically last less than an hour, you won't even reach 360 gold you'd get at the 60 minute mark. This is nothing. So I started thinking it was useless getting this skill. But when you think about it, the 180 gold you get for being 30 minutes into the game allows you to affort two Observer Wards.
If I had to pick between extra 1,25% of your maximum mana, or increasing the mana regen by 0,33 each second, then I'd definitely pick the two free Observer Wards.
Greed seems useless, but remember, there are masteries that are even less useful.
Seems like the next best thing after maxing every other mastery I needed.
You might not be jungling alot, but at some point you might want to tackle on the Golem just to get the buff if there is not much else to do. There will also be plenty of times where you'll kill a champion and get their buffs. 30% longer buff duration means both the Golem and the Lizard Elder buffs, which normally last for 2 and half minutes, or 150 seconds, will now last 3 minutes and 15 seconds, or 195 seconds. Nashor changes from 300 seconds to 390 seconds.
Because your ultimate, [spell_text=Rift Walk] (R), slurps mana like it's gasoline, the Golem buff is extremely valuable to you. Cooldown reduction always helps, especially if it's 25%. The mana regeneration is useful for Void Walking and getting stacks for your Riftwalk. Getting two points in this mastery allows you to keep these buffs 30% longer than normal, and you definitely want that.
Even though you don't necessarily need it, movement speed helps roam around the map faster, and a few extra points never hurt. It's a good mastery, and since we're going for the top in the Utility tree we're gonna take this along as we go.
Even more cooldown reduction than Sorcery? Yes please!
Presence of the Master
This is what we were going for. Together with Mystical Vision, this brings the cooldown of Clairvoyance to 42,5 seconds and it brings Ignite to 153 seconds. The best mastery available for you.
This is used both as a defensive and as an offensive spell. As Kassadin, you want to roam the map, trying to encounter some low health champions for you to pick off. This can be used to find said champions or, when you are waiting for others to come and ambush someone, to scout if no one else is coming to help him. All together a great spell for Kassadin.
When Kassadin is done casting his spells, you're pretty much a sitting duck, waiting for your spells to become active again. Ignite helps you finish off those champions that might've ran away. It also helps you counter healers and Dr. Mundo.
Kassadin is EXTREMELY mana hungry. His ultimate drains your mana with ease and this helps you get some back to continue on your path if you don't have any left.
This might seem weird, but hear me out. Squishies with low health left will often towerhug. By having flash you can still kill them without getting alot of damage from the tower. Another reason is that you often teleport in with your ultimate to deal damage, leaving you vulnerable until it's back up, or, in the worst case, not having enough mana to cast it and being stuck walking out untill the Riftwalk stacks go away. This, in most cases, will help you escape from the battle and come away safely.
Cleanse is needed on champions that deal out consistent damage. Kassadin is not that type of champion, so I don't feel like he needs it. It's definitely useful, but you'll have dealt your damage before you're being stunned or rooted. You can take this if you don't feel the need of Flash or Clarity.
Decent, but not recommended
Exhaust isn't too bad, it's just that you don't really need it. Sure, it can slow someone down for a few seconds, but is that really what you want out of a summoner spell? You already have a slow, and with your Riftwalk you can easily follow them. There are very few moments where a champion can escape on his own from our Voidwalker in which he would've been dead with Exhaust. Most of the time you'll see yourself using Exhaust during the moments when your spells are on cooldown, so you're not likely to get much damage in anyway. I would just stay away from this one, and choose something better.
I have tested this, and it's not that bad. The Golem buff is really important to you, because it enhances your damage output and ganking ability. I stopped using it though, because not only will it cost you a Summoner Ability, more often then not there is someone else on your team who can use the Golem buff as well and has less trouble getting them. Especially when there's a jungler in your team.
Well... You can use this to make you faster, but why? We have Riftwalk for that. It's definitely not terrible, but I see no use in this.
You would only pick Revive if you think you will die. You don't want to die. That's why you should NOT pick this.
As venomenom on the GameFAQs board said: "Any plan that includes your death is hard to rationalize. In your hypothetical situation, it has to be worth 150 gold you are giving them.
So you're taking a spell slot, for something that might work, in the right conditions, instead of a spell you know you can use effectively everytime the cooldown is up."
It's a one-time heal (per fight). It won't help you much because there are not alot of moments where Kassadin would survive a fight by just 300 or so health points.
You don't need Teleport because thanks to your ultimate you already have an ability that allows you to move great distances in little time. And it's not like Kassadin can do anything to defend a turret that's being pushed by three other champions.
You don't want to stand still. You're Kassadin, and you want to be on the move. It also gives you Attack Damage. Attack Damage. The stuff you don't need. So yeah.
A tank that uses any form of taunt can use this. You, on the other hand, can't. Why waste a Summoner Ability for five seconds of tower invulnerability? I have no idea.
This is the basic build you are gunning for. Depending on your opponent's, you'll most likely want something before you upgrade your Tear of the Goddess to Archangel's Staff, because the 4% mana to AP item ability is probably not beneficial enough at that point.
I always start with this. The reason I start with [item_text=Meki Pendant] over Sapphire Crystal is because it not only helps you spam your abilities to harass your opponents, it will also let you lasthit minions with Null Sphere (Q) if the champions you face are harassing you a lot.
First trip and follow-up
Depending on the gold you have and the opponent's you're facing, you should get either Tear of the Goddess or Mejai's Soulstealer now. For example, if you've already gotten yourself a few kills and you're pretty certain the number on the left in the upper-right corner will increase by a few points you should get Mejai's Soulstealer first. If that number is still on zero, just take Tear of the Goddess. You should get your Boots of Speed after getting one of those two, but don't bother upgrading to Sorcerer's Shoes until you actually have both.
Grabbing your first major item
Here is where you should decide which item to go first depending on the champions and itembuilds your oppponent's have picked. If you see some champions in the opposing team getting an item with magic resistance, get Abyssal Scepter. Are they actually stocking up on them? Get Void Staff. If for some reason they think you're not a big treat and they get no items with magic resistance at all, just start saving up for [item_text=Zhonya's Ring]. Lots of tanks or high health champions? Get Deathfire Grasp and make them feel like they were level 1 again.
Important but hard to place
As soon as your mana pool starts to hit the 2000 mark, try building up for Archangel's Staff since it will be gold effecient, but more on that in the specific item's section of this guide. This means that this item is pretty much dependant on the situation, and as such, can't really be put anywhere in the item build guideline. You can count that by the time you've grabbed the first major item, you can start saving up for this and have enough mana to make it effecient, so keep that in mind.
If your damage output is high enough to obliterate anything in your path, you can opt to go for some survivability. If you do this in the form of Banshee's Veil, you will get some great magic resistance, a spell shield, some health points and mana you can use to charge your ultimate. On the other hand, Guardian Angel will allow you to jump into a few champions with your ultimate and kill a few, without having to worry about dying, because after you've respawned with it's effect you'll be Riftwalking out of there. Together with the armor and magic resistance you're getting dying itself will already be slowed down.
The deal with Archangel's Staff
This item converts 3% of your total mana to ability power. This means you need a big pool of mana to some out of it. It also means getting it as your first major item is not that useful, because you won't get your gold out of it. To make sure we're getting as much mana as possible for the effect of Archangel's Staff, we're always getting Tear of the Goddess as one of the first items. With math, I'll show you what the best moment in the game is to upgrade said item to make Archangel's Staff cost-efficient.
The very first thing you need is something to compare it to. I'm using the most gold efficient base item, which is Needlessly Large Rod. It gives you 80 ability power for 1600 gold, which means you pay 20 gold for every ability power.
Now we need the cost of the item. Since we already established we should get Tear of the Goddess as soon as possible, we should figure out how much it costs to upgrade said item to Archangel's Staff.
Now we divide the gold cost for Archangel's Staff by the base value of one ability point, which we figured out was 20.
Archangel's Staff gives us 45 native ability power, so we substract that from the total ability power needed.
Now we take the mana Archangel's Staff gives us. It's 400. But since Tear of the Goddess already grants us 350, and we don't want to complicate it and ignore it each time we look at our mana, we will take the difference, which is 50, and figure out the ability power that gives.
We substract the 1,5 ability power Archangel's Staff natively gives us from the total amount of ability power.
We now transfer the 46,5 ability power into the required mana.
This means that you need 1550 mana to make Archangel's Staff cost-efficient if you use a base value of 20 gold.
Archangel's Staff also gives you increased mana regen and 50 extra mana (which is removed in the equation to figure out the total mana before getting the item). Figuring out the cost-efficiency of mana regen is hard, because mana regen deteriates over time, so I will just theorize about that.
As Kassadin, mana regen per 5 seconds is really important, but not as important as ability power at this point. That's why we can safely remove about a hundredfifty mana from the needed requirement to make the upgrade worth it, making the required mana a solid 1400.
So now we've come to the conclusion. After getting both Tear of the Goddess, Mejai's Soulstealer and Sorcerer's Shoes, bet on it that you won't have 1400 mana yet. Try getting your first major item first, then start going for Archangel's Staff.
The deal with Zhonya's Ring
So when does the 25% ability power increase make it worth buying this? I'll show ya.
It's easier to figure out this one, since the only numeric enhancements the item gives is ability power. We also don't have to take other items into account, because you're building this from scratch instead of upgrading it from an item you should already have. Anyway, let's figure this out.
Again, we're using the most gold-efficient base item, Needlessly Large Rod. 1600 gold for 80 ability power, which is 20 gold for every point.
The description of [item_text=Zhonya's Ring] says it gives 120 ability power, but the actual effect of increasing AP by 25% works on this.
The cost of the item in total is 3460 gold. Let's divide that with the 20 base gold value.
This means [item_text=Zhonya's Ring] needs to give you 173 ability power. We already have 150 from the item, leaving us at 23. We now multiply this by four, because only 25% of your current ability power is converted into extra ability power. This brings us to 92 ability power, which you will probably have after getting all of your required items and having some stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer.
The deal with Abyssal Scepter and Void Staff
It's starting to get hard now since Magic Reduction and Magic Penetration are getting into the picture.
When I started writing this I began comparing both by gold-effeciency like the other items, but then I realized that was useless. They both give 70 Ability Power, so it doesn't matter, even if the item cost is different. The main part is comparing the types of damage increase it gives. One gives a reduction of Magic Resistance, and the other gives you a percentage based Magic Penetration.
So what I did was compare the effectiveness of these items based on the number of magic resistance the target has.
We first need to know what the formula is to figure out how to tell the damage reduction percentage. It goes like this:
For the sake of simplisity, this is what the letters mean:
X = total Magic Resistance of target
Y = total Magic Resistance of target after reduction
Z = procent Magic damage reduced
We now have to figure out how to turn the X into a Y to solve the formula. What we also need to keep in mind is in which order the different kinds of magic reduction is factored in to these equations, which is as following.
Percentage Magic Reduction > Flat Magic Reduction > Flat Magic Penetration > Percentage Magic Penetration
Since you'll be having your Sorcerer's Shoes the moment you buy either of these and you should have the magic penetration runes in your book, I'm including these in the calculation.
We will now try to make two formula's, for both of the items in question.
For the Void Staff formula, we'll have to add in the 40% magic resistance. Because percentage based Magic Penetration goes last, we'll have to substract the flat magic penetration you already have first. This means the Void Staff formula goes as following:
Because Abyssal Scepter works differently, the formula also changes. Flat Magic Reduction comes before the Magic Penetration. Let's see now:
Now that we have the three equations needed. We can calculate which works better on certain conditions. Because it's a pain in the ass to manually calculate everything, I fixed a graph and a calculations table that shows makes it a lot easier.
Do note that when figuring out how many points of Magic Resistance a champion has, every champion starts with 30 Magic Resistance (which is the reason we get the magic number of 30 with our runes and the Sorcerer's Shoes). Some champions also gain Magic Resistance per level, not to mention one of those is our friend Kassadin. They gain 1,25 Magic Resistance each time they level up, and this will total to 51,25. There are also skill-based Magic Resistance champions can gain, like those of Garen and Galio.
I think it's pretty self-explanatory. The first column is how much damage your spells will do without having either Void Staff or Abyssal Scepter, but it does include the 30,44 magic penetration you should already have. The second one is with Void Staff and the third is the Abyssal Scepter.
Now that we've done the math, let's make a decision. Void Staff starts to get better when your opponent's have more than 81 Magic Resistance, as the chart shows. But this is based on just one champion. If you'd want the item ability to be effective, you would want at lesat three champions to have that kind of Magic Resistance.
Does this mean you shouldn't bother getting Void Staff in most games? Well, this depends entirely on you. The reason you should still think about getting Void Staff is purely the ability power effeciency. For that reason I thought the gold-effeciency was important. Still not important enough to calculate though, because there's no need to. They both give 70 Ability Power, and one costs more than the other, so the cheaper one is obviously better for ability power. The difference is 355 gold. It might not seem like a lot, but it helps us get some wards, or it will decrease the time in which we get our next major item.
"So wait, he DOES wants me to get Void Staff even when it's worse than Abyssal Scepter? I'm confused." Is what you might be thinking right now. Well, there are some positive things to be said about Abyssal Scepter too. For one, it gives quite some magic resistance as well. You don't really need it, but it's always useful. And, when considering the difference of gold between the two items, really cheap as well. Two, this gives you an aura of magic reduction. This is good for two reasons: Magic Reduction can actually go under zero, giving you increased damage. Also, it's an aura. This means allied champions benefit from it as well. As said in the calculation, magic reduction always goes first. This means the only time you'll actually benefit from the fact that it goes below zero is when you have allied champions that have one or more abilities that also give magic reduction. The second part is also less useful then you might think: as Kassadin, you often work alone or out of range from anyone that can benefit from the aura.
You might be even more confused at this point, because I've now given good reason to get either of the two. I will help you make a decision by making it really simple.
When you see two or more enemy champions that have over 80 Magic Resistance (press Tab to check their items) just go for Void Staff. In any other case, build Abyssal Scepter. If for some reason they start stacking up big amounts of Magic Resistance, you can just get a Void Staff with it.
Tips & Tricks
This is how I named the technique I use to quickly move around the map. You basically use the ultimate, Riftwalk, to move around faster. The idea is to wait 'till the stack you get from Riftwalk has dissapeared so you can use it again. This way it will only cost you 100 mana per cast and thanks to the mana regen items and runes the moment you hit level 6 the regen will be enough to practically allow you to keep on Void Walking.
Wall jumping is pretty straight-forward. It's just flying over walls with your ultimate. If used on certain places, you can even lengthen the distance of your Riftwalk (R).
- Press your TAB key for an overview of the game. It will show you important things you need to know about your opponent's, like their Summoner Spells and
- The Silence on your Null Sphere (Q) also disables the use of Summoner's Skills. Use this to your advantage if you know the player you're ganking utilizes Flash.
- Because of Ezreal's passive, every time Ezreal uses a skill it actually gives you TWO charges for your Force Pulse instead of one. This makes laning against (and with) him even better.
Working in the team
Your job in a team is to take down the squishies, either during, or, preferably, before the teamfight starts. You will want to distance yourself when a teamfight starts, and jump in when you think you can safely deal damage or kill, but not get focussed on.
Before Kassadin gets a large mana pool, he has limited farming options. Because I'm also running mana regen runes, using Null Sphere (Q) to lasthit minions will help you farm in hard lane match-ups. This is also one of the reasons I choose to get Meki Pendant first.
Creep jungling is not recommended as Kassadin. It does work (check out this video) but not only are there better junglers out there, Kassadin's lane presence is much stronger.
Patch Release Comments
TotalKhaos - Helping me spot some typing errors and creating the graphs.
Prototype - Fixed some typing and language errors for me.
Robocop - For being a "prutser".
Version 1.4 [12-07-2010] - Updated the items section by adding the "The deal with Abyssal Scepter and Void staff" and adding some tips to the Tips & Tricks section.
Version 1.3 [10-07-2010] - Started finishing the items section, added the "The deal with Archangel's Staff"
Version 1.1 [09-07-2010] - Fixed some typing errors and lay-out bugs
Version 1.0 [09-07-2010] - Published this guide
Submitted by Reakt00r
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