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-   -   [Guide] Meta's Guide to a Well-Rounded Akali (http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=117057)

05-19-2010 09:21 AM

[Guide] Meta's Guide to a Well-Rounded Akali
 
Ever since Akali came out I've been extremely intrigued by the champion. She's interesting, exciting, lethal, and a ton of fun. There's a lot of debate over the best way to build her, but I find my build and playstyle give Akali several key benefits:

  • The survivability necessary to survive a team fight and be effective throughout.
  • The burst damage necessary to take out her targets.
  • The utility needed to chase relentlessly.
  • The ability to initiate a team fight when needed.

Itís important to read this entire guide, as playing Akali effectively takes a lot more than walking into a game with the right build. She requires strategy, timing, and very particular play in order to be effective.

Iíll start with the basic rune/mastery/skill/item build, and then get into some of the more complex strategies.


Summoner Spells:

My preference here is Flash/Ignite.

As a ganker, Ignite helps Akali get more kills early-on, and helps her counter healers later in the game. Itís great in situations where you run out of Shadow Dance counters, but need a little more damage on your target.

I take Flash because I find it to be the most reliable escape in situations where Shroud isnít enough. Ghost is a valid alternative here, since ghosting out of a Shroud is difficult to predict/counter, but in my experience Flash saves my life more often. In the end, it all comes down to preference between these two.


Mastery Build:

21/9/0

http://www.leaguecraft.com/masteries...00000000000000


Rune Build:

9x Greater Mark of Insight (8.5 Magic Penetration)
9x Greater Seal of Evasion (6.8% Dodge)
9x Greater Glyph of Focus (5.85% Cooldown Reduction)
2x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude (65 Health)
1x Greater Quintessence of Strength (2.3 Physical Damage)


Skill Build:

1. Mark of the Assassin (1)
2. Twilight Shroud (1)
3. Crescent Slash (1) or Mark of the Assassin (2)
4. Mark of the Assassin (2) or Crescent Slash (1)
5. Mark of the Assassin (3)
6. Shadow Dance (1)
7. Mark of the Assassin (4)
8. Crescent Slash (2)
9. Mark of the Assassin (5)
10. Crescent Slash (3)
11. Shadow Dance (2)
12. Crescent Slash (4)
13. Crescent Slash (5)
14. Twilight Shroud (2)
15. Twilight Shroud (3)
16. Shadow Dance (3)
17. Twilight Shroud (4)
18. Twilight Shroud (5)

Early-game, Mark of the Assassin will be your primary harassing and last-hitting tool. You should almost always get Crescent Slash at 3, the one exception being if youíre playing so defensive that all youíre able to do is last-hit using the ranged portion of Mark. In this case, you should grab a 2nd rank to make last-hitting easier, since you probably wonít be putting yourself in range to Crescent anyways.


Item Build:

Doranís Blade + Health Potion
Boots of Speed
Amplifying Tome + Giant's Belt
Mercury Treads or Sorcererís Shoes
Rylaiís Scepter
Sheen -> Lichbane

From here you have a few options:
Getting killed first in teamfights? Guadian Angel
Lots of enemy magic damage? Abyssal Scepter
Lots of enemy magic resist? Void Staff
Just want more damage output? Zhonyaís Ring (Comes with a great survivability active too)
Time to replace that Doran's Blade? Guinsoo's Rageblade (Getting the pickaxe first to keep your passive)

Doranís Blade + the above listed mastery/rune build gives you enough Attack Damage to get the spell vamp portion of your passive at level 1. It might not seem like much, but it actually helps your staying power a ton. The additional HP on Doranís is also great for lane survivability.

Once you get Boots 1, youíll want to mostly focus on building your Rylaiís Scepter. I generally buy the Amplifying Tome first (to get the other portion of her passive), and then go straight for Giantís Belt. People vastly underestimate the need for survivability on Akali, and getting the early HP allows you to take more risks which leads to more successful ganks.

You can get Boots 2 either at some point while building Rylai's, or wait until after. For me this is always situational depending on who I'm facing, how the game is going, and how much gold I have when I return to the shop.

I generally get Mercury Treads, even if there are just one or two crowd controls on the enemy team. Crowd Control can be a lot more devastating to Akali since getting stunned right before dropping a Shroud can be fatal. In the rare situation that thereís hardly any enemy CC, I get Sorcererís Shoes for a little extra burst.

Once you have Rylaiís, you should never have trouble pursuing people. Both Mark and Shadow Dance give the full slow on very short cooldowns. I honestly cannot emphasize how amazing Rylaiís is on Akali. Itís an absolute game-changer.

After Rylai's, I get Sheen and then build it into a Lich Bane. These items are amazing for Akali's burst, which is what she's all about. Some people opt to get Sheen before Rylai's, but I prefer getting the utility and survivability early on.

Of course, itís essential with any champion to be flexible with your build. If youíre getting blown up by a specific damage type, be sure to grab armor or magic resist to counter it. If you feel a certain item would be more useful earlier in the build, feel free to buy it earlier. Always buy wards as necessary. Akali spends a lot of time in the jungle and moving around for ganks once she hits 6, so sheís a good candidate to spread wards around the map. Later in the game, use extra gold to buy Fortitude and Brilliance Elixirs.


Laning:

Try to lane with a ranged champion if possible. Prior to level 6, Akali has very few ranged options. Her saving grace is that sheís very good at defending a tower by herself. However, there are certain champions that can make laning a nightmare for Akali, including Zilean and Soraka.

At level 1, youíll mostly have to play defensive and last hit with Mark. Level 2 is where the fun starts. The wonderful thing about Shroud is that the cooldown is almost the exact amount of time between minion waves. As minion waves meet, drop a shroud over the enemy minions and move inside. If the enemies stay nearby, Mark the squishiest one and hit them for powerful harass. Smart opponents will usually move back to prevent this. In this case, use Mark on minions instead for last-hits. By using this strategy, youíll prevent your enemies from last hitting and potentially get yourself very farmed. Shroud can also be used to check brush without being seen.

Akali is a phenomenal last-hitter with Mark and Crescent. There are many games where Iíll outfarm solo-mids early game. Itís important to harass when possible though, as this keeps enemies on the defensive and prevents them from farming.

Try not to auto-attack, and encourage your lane-mate to do the same. If you get too close to the enemy tower, your Shroud/harass strategy will become worthless. Akali isnít a very good tower pusher early game, so I generally focus on harassing and farming.

In the event that youíre being out-harassed and cannot use the strategy above, simply stand back and last-hit using the ranged portion of Mark. As the enemy moves into your tower, drop Shroud on top of the enemy minions. If the enemy stays to damage the tower, harass them using Mark/Crescent. If they back up (as they likely will under the pressure) then quickly eliminate the minions to ensure minimal damage to your tower. Using this strategy, Akali can potentially hold a 1v2. However, I donít recommend it, as smart opponents will use zone control to neutralize you.

Akali isnít the best candidate for protecting her lane-mate, but there are a few things she can do. If your lane-mate is getting charged, immediately drop a Shroud on or in front of the enemies. The slow is small, but itís often just enough to allow your partner to escape. If youíre not in danger, immediately begin counter-ganking the squishier enemy. There have been many times where my lane partner has been doomed, but Iíve been able to use the opportunity to kill one of the aggressors.

Prepare yourself and your lane-mate as you near level 6. You can use the element of surprise to quickly ult into the enemy for a gank if theyíre low enough. An immediate Shadow Dance + Mark + Crescent + Ignite is often enough to take down a squishy opponent. If there isnít an easy gank opportunity, continue harassing/farming and allow your Shadow Dance charges to fill.


Jungling:

Usually between levels 6-8, Iíll start moving through the jungle. With her Spell Vamp passive, Akali can jungle very effectively. Take Lizard when possible, and try to get Golem for your teammates. Akali can take Golem, but I find itís better suited on a caster. Generally you spend more time waiting on cooldowns and Shadow Dance charges than waiting on energy. Also, once you have Rylaiís, Lizard is generally better on a ranged DPS or someone who lacks a slow.

Akali can generally take dragon by herself around levels 9-10, but not without losing quite a bit of HP. Youíre better off tanking it for allies whenever possible.


Basic Skill Combo:

Upon Hitting 6:
When possible, open up at range by using Mark on your target, then immediately Shadow Dance -> Auto-Attack (consuming the mark) -> Crescent Slash. If you open with Shadow Dance, then Mark, your target will usually be out of range by the time you try to auto-attack. However, sometimes itís important just to get in range of the enemy ASAP (ie: as theyíre going around a corner), so use your own best judgment.

Itís often tempting to spam Shadow Dance on your target when youíre waiting on other cooldowns, but try to resist this urge whenever itís not necessary to secure a kill. Youíll never know when another enemy will approach, or when itíll come in handy for escape.

Upon acquiring Rylaiís Scepter:
After getting a Rlyaiís, you can begin opening up with Shadow Dance. The slow will be enough that you wonít have a problem getting in an auto-attack after your Mark. Fighting and chasing becomes much simpler with a Rylaiís. You wonít have to worry as much about keeping in melee range, so you can generally just spam your Mark/Crescent every time theyíre up.

Upon acquiring Lich Bane:
Once you have Lich Bane, try to pace your attacks out a little more so that youíre getting the maximum number of procs possible. Lich Bane has a 3 second cooldown, so try to use that length of pacing against tankier targets. Obviously when just beginning a team-fight against a squishy, your number one priority is to do as much burst as possible, so donít spend too much time waiting on cooldowns in this situation.


Survivability:

Survivability is an important aspect of this build, but items will only get you so far. Twilight Shroud is your primary survivability mechanism. It can be difficult to be aware of when youíre stealthed and visible to the enemy, so this can take some time to get an appropriate feel for. The important thing to remember here is pacing.

When inside Shroud, try to blow your entire burst at once. Mark->Auto-attack->Crescent almost simultaneously, then stop auto-attacking and wait on cooldowns. Move around inside your shroud to avoid AOEs. Moving around between burst combos will also make you more difficult to target. Often enemies will queue up an ability to drop on you and try to hold their cursor over where they think you will be, so try to be unpredictable.

It can be tempting to run into combat immediately and drop Shroud, but often this will leave you vulnerable later in the fight. If you have another initiator, wait out the first few second of combat. Move into a position where you can quickly get to an enemy squishy, then jump in once you feel safe. Hopefully after a few seconds most of the AOE and CC will be blown. Use Shroud wisely, and donít drop it until necessary. I canít count the number of times Iíve been trigger-happy with Shroud, only to wish I had it later on.

Despite popular belief, Shroud is actually amazing for escaping. The key here is mind games. If possible, drop shroud near a corner or a piece of brush. This way, youíll open up more than one exit and your enemy wonít be able to monitor both escape routes. Once youíve dropped the Shroud, take a few seconds to watch your enemy and predict their actions. I canít emphasize this enough: Try to be unpredictable. I canít count the number of times where I was dead to rights, but managed to escape using trickery. It should be noted that thereís a short fade-in time after you leave your Shroud, so you wonít become visible to your opponent right away. Use this to your advantage, try to get around corners and get out of sight.

Shadow Dance can also be used to escape, but itís very situational. Enemy minions can be a good target, as well as jungle minions if thereís not a risk that theyíll kill you (Wards can assist with this, since they can allow you to see jungle creep on the other side of walls). In situations where a team-fight is spread out, you can use Shadow Dance to move from a dangerous opponent (such as a melee dps) to a less-dangerous one (such as a support champion).


Initiating:

Akali is actually a viable initiator in some circumstances. If you have another initiator on your team (ie: Ashe with her ult up), then you should usually allow them to do so. However, if you see a good opportunity or donít have any better options, Akali can get the job done. Shadow Dance to your target and IMMEDIATELY drop Shroud. Many opponents will react by quickly dropping AOEs and Crowd Controls on you, which allows your teammates to move in safely. This might get you low, but since youíve got a lot of HP from Rylaiís it generally wonít kill you. If your team takes control of the fight and you have a fair amount of HP left, feel free to come out of stealth and begin nuking.

However, there are some situations where youíll need to move backwards behind your team, and simply wait to finish off runners. If you find yourself having to initiate a lot for your team, getting a Guardian Angel can make this job much easier.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Iíve seen elsewhere that Attack Damage builds are better. Is this true?
Attack damage builds will provide increased sustained-damage, but inferior burst. Youíll have to put yourself in more risky situations, spend more time-autoattacking (ie: Not stealthed), and generally wonít have as much survivability. I find that Guinsooís provides me with all of the AD/AS I need.

What about Haunting Guise?
I used to take Haunting Guise when I first started playing Akali. Itís actually really great item on her, since it makes jungling even easier and gives her some early survivability. However, the problem I have with it is that thereís just that much more time before you get your Rylaiís. After Rylaiís, itís not really worth getting since Magic Pen is more of an early-game stat, and jungling becomes trivial after level 10 or so.

What about Boots of Swiftness?
I've tried Boots of Swiftness, but I honestly don't usually notice them. With Rylai's, I always move faster than my target anyways.
The one thing I could see Swiftness being useful for is catching up to a fleeing enemy that's out of range of my Shadow Dance. I actually toyed around with Boots of Mobility once for this functionality, and it had some cool moments (coming out of Shroud very quickly, catching up to enemies, etc) but it just didn't seem that great most of the time.
If I were to pick up Boots of Swiftness, it would only be in situations where I would otherwise be buying Sorc Boots. I would never substitute them for Merc Treads.

What about Hextech Gunblade?
This item looks appealing for Akali, but I feel that it's VASTLY overrated. If you're already getting Rylai's, the slow functionality is fairly pointless. Even the 300 damage is pretty meager compared to the damage output you'd get from a Lich Bane. The fact is, this item accomplishes the same things that all the other items in my build do, but not as well. It's also very expensive for what you get out of it.

What about Snowball Items?
A lot of people recommend Soulstealer or SotO for Akali, but I don't. My reasoning for this is that if a game is going so well that I'll be able to quickly stack a snowball item without any sort of survivability or utility items, then it's probably a game I would have won anyways.
However, in close games I feel like these items don't end up being worthwhile. For example, many close games result in both ranged physical carries getting farmed enough to be EXTREMELY potent. In this case, it's Akali's job to try to take the opposing ranged carry out of the fight. If Ashe is 3-shotting my team's squishies, and I can sacrifice myself to kill her, I'll do it in a heartbeat.
The one situation I would take a snowball item is if I was getting extremely fed and had already purchased my Rylai's. In this situation, I might grab a snowball item to speed the process along.

Is Akali effective in 3v3ís?
The vast majority of my games have been on Summonerís Rift, which is why this guide is tailored for that map. Iíve played several games with Akali in 3ís, and find that she can be effective on that map, but I wouldnít recommend her over other champions. That map is much more about having champions that are strong fighters at all points in the game, and I find her too weak at levels 1-5. With that said, I could be wrong here since generally 3ís arenít my strong-suit.


Conclusion:

Thanks for reading my guide, I hope it was helpful. If you have any questions, suggestions, or criticisms please feel free to post them here. I feel I do very well with Akali, but thereís always more to learn and I am always open to feedback. Iíll try to keep this guide updated as I learn more and as future patches come out.

My guide is also on Leaguecraft, for those of you who prefer that format.

Sentient 6 05-19-2010 03:43 PM

Well written guide, i've been meaning to try Akali out and believe I may use this.

Although one thing i'm wondering about is leaving T2 boots till after rylais. Rylais is not a cheap item, and it seems to me like finishing the whole thing before getting your T2 boots is a bit odd. T2 boot upgrade is not very expensive and offers fantastic buffs, if survivability is an issue than why not just get belt first instead of finishing the item in one go?

Just something I was wondering, like I mentioned I have yet to play Akali so i'm not an expert when it comes to her.

Anyways good job all together.

05-19-2010 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sentient 6 (HozzŠszůlŠs 1341945)
Well written guide, i've been meaning to try Akali out and believe I may use this.

Although one thing i'm wondering about is leaving T2 boots till after rylais. Rylais is not a cheap item, and it seems to me like finishing the whole thing before getting your T2 boots is a bit odd. T2 boot upgrade is not very expensive and offers fantastic buffs, if survivability is an issue than why not just get belt first instead of finishing the item in one go?

Just something I was wondering, like I mentioned I have yet to play Akali so i'm not an expert when it comes to her.

Anyways good job all together.

Thanks!

My build order while building Rylai's is actually very situational. Depending on my need and how much gold I currently have, sometimes I'll pick up Boots 2 after Giant's Belt + Amp tome. There are some games where I'll grab the Rylai's though, if I have just enough gold for it.

I feel like Boots 2 does less for Akali than it does for other champs.

I'll update the guide to be more concise on this point.

Raccool 05-19-2010 04:32 PM

Good job, Meta. Well written and informative. I especially like the Survivability section. I'll start pointing my friends to the thread.

05-19-2010 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raccool (HozzŠszůlŠs 1342292)
Good job, Meta. Well written and informative. I especially like the Survivability section. I'll start pointing my friends to the thread.

Thanks!

I actually put a lot of extra focus into that section since it seems like that's the part most new Akali players have troubles with.

Threads like this make me die a little bit inside.

Raccool 05-19-2010 04:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meta (HozzŠszůlŠs 1342325)
Thanks!

I actually put a lot of extra focus into that section since it seems like that's the part most new Akali players have troubles with.

Threads like this make me die a little bit inside.

That thread just made me develop an eye twitch...


Oh, quick note: Golem buff reduces cooldowns; still not worth it? (I know someone's going to mention it so I thought I'd make sure it got put on the first page.)

05-19-2010 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raccool (HozzŠszůlŠs 1342464)
That thread just made me develop an eye twitch...


Oh, quick note: Golem buff reduces cooldowns; still not worth it? (I know someone's going to mention it so I thought I'd make sure it got put on the first page.)

Still not worth taking over other casters, no.

Usually Akali has to wait on only cooldowns. Casters have to wait on cooldowns AND often have mana problems. I'd give it to an Ezreal/Ryze/Karthus/Anivia/Annie/etc.

However, taking it yourself is better than letting the enemy team have it... it's all situational.

Temlam 05-19-2010 05:45 PM

love the guide and someone that can appreciate twilight for the runaround tool it is.

My first thing, do you think boots of swiftness is inferior to other boots? I personally love the extra run speed and mercury always seem to be pointless because even with 40% reduction, CC does too much damage too fast to me all the time.

also, how the hell do you get more items ><. I've killed a lot of minions, jungled well, gotten very fed and still have had only enough for tier 2 boots, rageblade and a rylais heh. Not that I really need much more but come on! heh.

Also, thank you for teaching people twilight a little. People always complain sometimes when I use it, never realizing it :
1) slows enemies
2) armor is nice in a 1v1 some times, I wasnt trying to avoid you but win you stupid TF
3) watching you enemies can be priceless (especially with speed 3 boots) because I generally run the opposite way they think I will when they're confused. Even if they notice where I go I'm usually far enough away to outrun them or make it to where they feel uncomfortable following still :)

Initiating...that I have to disagree with. If absolutely necessary you can try, but don't expect to be viable if not dead when your team finally realizes whats happening. I've specifically told teams I'm going to initiate only to see them running to a turret before the battle begins but after I shroud into all the enemies. People just don't feel safe with an akali starting things.

05-19-2010 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Temlam (HozzŠszůlŠs 1342950)
My first thing, do you think boots of swiftness is inferior to other boots? I personally love the extra run speed and mercury always seem to be pointless because even with 40% reduction, CC does too much damage too fast to me all the time.

I've tried Boots of Swiftness, but I honestly don't usually notice them. With Rylai's, I always move faster than my target anyways.

The one thing I could see Swiftness being useful for is catching up to a fleeing enemy that's out of range of my Shadow Dance. I actually toyed around with Boots of Mobility once for this functionality, and it had some cool moments (coming out of Shroud very quickly, catching up to enemies, etc) but it just didn't seem that great most of the time.

I'm not sure I quite understand your statement of "CC does too much damage too fast". This seems like all the more reason to get Merc Treads. If you're dying a lot, you should be getting more survivability rather than just accepting the fact that you're going to die. Akali NEEDS to be alive until the end of the fight, because the end of the fight is often when she gets most of her kills.

I could be wrong about the Swiftness boots. However, I'd still only probably take them in place of the Sorc boots, not Merc Treads. I'll have to play around with it more the next time I see a game with low CC (whenever that is...)

EDIT: Thanks for the good question though! Added it to my FAQ.

Quote:

also, how the hell do you get more items ><. I've killed a lot of minions, jungled well, gotten very fed and still have had only enough for tier 2 boots, rageblade and a rylais heh. Not that I really need much more but come on! heh.
If you look at my recent games, you'll see that my kill count is usually VERY high. Some recent scores include:
15-3-8
15-4-21
11-1-1

Usually I spend a lot of my early-game farming (taking the occasional gank opportunity) until I get Rylai's. At this point, that's when I start racking in the kills.

I just got done with a game a few minutes ago where I laned against a Zilean that really made my life miserable. I was playing poorly (running on low sleep atm), last hitting horribly, died early-on, and just getting frustrated. I was 2-2 by the time I got my Rylai's, but once I got it I almost immediately went on a Rampage. I ended the game 7-3-5. When I say Rylai's is a game-changer, I'm absolutely serious.

Quote:

Initiating...that I have to disagree with. If absolutely necessary you can try, but don't expect to be viable if not dead when your team finally realizes whats happening. I've specifically told teams I'm going to initiate only to see them running to a turret before the battle begins but after I shroud into all the enemies. People just don't feel safe with an akali starting things.
Your complain seems like a problem with your teammates, not my strategy or Akali's ability to initiate.

Obviously all of this is situational (I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record when I say that), but in those games where you can really tell that you and your team are on the same page, give it a try.

Also, Akali is often better at initiation in smaller battles. I can imagine she's probably better at it in 3's as well. It also depends on your opponents. Obviously if there's a Corki on the other team then you don't want to be initiating (Corki counters Akali HARD... thank god I don't see him much nowadays).

Sacrolicious 05-19-2010 06:37 PM

Lol, nice guide meta, I just noticed it after I posted mine and was like "****it! He beat me to it."

Mines a little more condensed though :)


A lot of time and effort was put into this and it looks pretty brilliant. Good work.


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