[Guide] Morgana - a Comprehensive Guide to Gameplay and Strategy
Hello, everyone, Bernkastel here. I've been playing as Morgana since I began League of Legends, she's easily my favorite champion, and having taken myself all the way to level 30 with her, I feel like I've grown sufficiently comfortable with her to write a detailed guide on playing her. The mission of this guide is not, strictly speaking, to simply provide you with a potential item build for your random, on-a-whim-pick champion on free week. The mission of this guide is to provide an in-depth look at Morgana as a champion, give insight on how to play her regardless of where you're currently standing in the game, from the newest newbie to the most hardcore level 30 player.
I'd first like to point out that, speaking strictly of player stats, I'm not that impressive yet - if you're looking for a guide by a player backed by good credentials based on how many wins they have, kindly take your eyes elsewhere, as you probably don't want to be taking advice from someone that hasn't broken 200 wins yet. With that said, I have only said that I'm 'comfortable' with her style, not that I, as a player, have perfected my game yet. This guide is based on my experiences with Morgana, but there is also a good deal about playing her that I can talk about, but can't necessarily pull off myself all the time.
With all the formalities out of the way, allow me to get to the whole point of this thread; the guide. I have titled this as a 'Comprehensive Guide' to playing Morgana because I feel that there is a lot to cover. I will be detailing standard things like runes, masteries, skill orders, and item builds, but I will also be covering less concrete concepts like strategy, play mentality, and field awareness, as well as more generalized concepts that anybody will find useful, not just aspiring Morgana players.
Due to the long-winded nature of this guide, I have taken the liberty of breaking it up into easily-accessible sections, which you can access with the use of your browser of choice's 'Find' function.
Table of Contents - You can use the Find feature of your browser to skip to any section you wish to, for quick reference.
[MOR-01] Overview of the champion
[MOR-02] Morgana's Abilities
[MOR-03] Options for Summoner Spells
[MOR-04] Setting up Runes and Masteries
[MOR-05] Tank vs. Mage
[MOR-06] Item Builds
[MOR-07] Gameplay Walkthrough
[MOR-08] Advanced Concepts and Strategies
EDIT 8/12/10: Updated rune book.
EDIT 7/29/10: Updated item build order.
EDIT 12/1/10: Updated skill tooltips to reflect patch changes.
EDIT 1/9/11: Updated item build to reflect loss of Zhonya's Ring.
Overview of Morgana as a Champion
Okay, so you woke up this morning and said, "Right, I feel like picking up Morgana today." Congratulations, I already like your style. Here's what you need to know about what you just got yourself into. Morgana classifies in League of Legends as a Support/Mage, and she is just that - a character that doesn't charge through the entire game on her own, but rather works together with her team to outplay and outmatch the enemy. You are not a DPS character, you (generally) aren't a nuke. You're not the one that drops champions in half a second flat, that's your team's carry's job. You are not some point-and-click Mr. Happypants who only uses their keyboard hand to activate a skill or two to kill something faster.
You are Morgana. Your job is to keep your team alive, to keep the game under control, to keep your lanes pushed, and to serve up enemy champions to your team carry on a silver platter. More on the 'How' later.
Generally speaking, when you play as Morgana, you are only as good as your team's ability to coordinate and work together. I find this aspect of Morgana to be highly appealing - LoL is a team game, after all. It's 5v5 (or 3v3, if you really feel like you have room for a support champ in TT), which means you are not the center of the universe. I have no problem with the Gank mindset, and grabbing your favorite lulzy DPS and pubstomping your way through a solo game because you're insecure about the idea of, oh, I don't know, playing as a team in a team-based game is all well and good if you can get away with it, but it becomes prominently more important as you progress through summoner levels and into mid/high ELO to sacrifice your gigantic ego for the betterment of your team as a whole, because I don't care how ridiculous you are as Master Yi or Xin Zhao or whatever, one player is never going to be able to take on 3-5 enemies that are even remotely close to their skill level. Especially at higher summoner levels where CC becomes more prominent.
I'll repeat it in case you missed the message the first time: Those four other champions running around on your minimap? They really do exist, and you're going to need them if you want to win.
This is why you are Morgana. That whole teamwork thing is the primary clause in your job description. You are here because you mean business, you want your team to win, and you're not too selfish to sacrifice KDR as long as you get to hear that nexus explode and see that victory screen.
Morgana's skillset, AKA What you will Spend the Entire Game Doing Because her Auto-Attack Sucks Hardcore
The projectile is big, glowy, and relatively slow-travelling, which makes it easy to notice and easy to evade if predicted. It's also deceptively wide, even compared to how big it looks, and looooooooooooooves minions. If there's creep even remotely close to the champion you're trying to hit, you can pretty much forget about it, as roughly 80-90% of the time the shot will latch onto any minions that are standing near the champ unless you really stagger the shot on the far side of their position. And even then it doesn't always like to cooperate. This would be a good shot to take to a couple practice games to get the feel for before seriously using. In fact, scratch that, this thing's important enough to dedicate some serious practice time with until you get confident enough with it. This skill is half of the difference between "Morgana" and "OMG ****ing god-**** Morgana!!!1!!1!"
If you happen to be going the AP path (more on that later), it's nice to note that Tormented Soil has a 0.2 AP scaling ratio, but due to the fact that it ticks five times, it's 'true' AP scale could be theorized at 1:1. This is fine for creep, but when you factor in that no champion is going to be dense enough to actually stand in the puddle for the full five seconds, you can estimate its AP scale to be roughly 0.4-0.8, depending on whether or not you snare them before hand. Good placement of a puddle that's aimed at champions will usually force them to take 2 ticks as they run out of it, and at level five your Dark Binding can hold them inside the puddle for 3 seconds, plus the additional 1 tick as they escape after getting free. Generally speaking, though, you won't be casting Tormented Soil on champions except under somewhat situational circumstances.
Morgana's Black Shield does not prevent application of all 'negative status effects'. It only prevents application of Crowd Control effects such as slow, stun, or fear, not debuffs like DoT, Poison, or modifications in Armor and Magic Resistance. In Poison's case, the poison will apply damage to the shield until either the shield breaks from damage or expires from its time limit, at which point the poison will carry out the remainder of its damage on the victim. Crowd Control effects also cannot be removed with Black Shield, only prevented. You don't have Cleanse in a Can. It's more of a preemptive measure.
Another rather important thing to note is that Black Shield provides absolutely no defense against the Summoner Spell Ignite, which is logical in that one, Ignite is a Debuff, and two, Ignite is True Damage, not Magic Damage. It's annoying, but it makes sense, so just be cautious and factor that into your gameplay.
On the upside, if you're going the AP route (more on that later again), Black Shield boasts a 0.8:1 AP scaling ratio, which allows it to potentially absorb fairly significant amounts of damage. Additionally, even in the event that you get hit by a significantly damaging CC ability, like for example an Ashe that has taken leave of her senses and gone AP (just for the sake of example) for her Crystal Arrow of DOOM, Black Shield prioritizes CC Effects before damage. What this means is that even in the event that the attack deals significantly more damage than your shield can block out, CC Effects carried on the attack will still be prevented, although you will still take some damage.
You may notice that I've carried on at great length about this skill, and that is because Black Shield is pretty much the most important factor of Morgana's game, and is the other half of the difference between "Morgana" and "What the Hell We just wasted all our CC moves and their Carry Still got away". It's your anti-initiation, anti-gank, anti-chasedown, damage mitigation, and it's cheap. Get good with this skill. It's purely judgment based, and your reflexes and intuition will have to be fast and sharp, but a well-timed Black Shield on an intended unfortunate victim will leave your teammate running away scott-free and the enemy raging at how BS your BS is. These aren't your everyday puns, kiddies, these are Morgana Puns.
Offensively speaking, you can pop it off in the beginning of a teamfight to apply some damage, a bit of slow to help your team get into positions, and force the enemy team to play out their end of the fight differently, preferably by making them attempt to scatter to get away from the echoed damage and more importantly, the stun. (Remember, kiddies, getting stunned in any situation past level like, 3, means you're almost guaranteed to die, and quickly. It's practically one of this game's golden rules.)
Unfortunately, using Soul Shackles in this manner has a tendency to backfire, as rather than scatter and run away from you, they may decide to turn around and rip your wings outta your back before the second half of the skill can kick in. Now you're dead, not supporting your team in the middle of a fight, and all you have to show for it was a bit of damage on their team while you painted a big red X on your ample chest and yelled "Punch my teeth in PLZ!" That being said! There can be some merit to this tactic if you've gone the more tanky build and have a bit of meat on your bones. You can pop your ult, mark yourself as a prime target, throw your shield on yourself to hopefully live a bit longer, toss a puddle somewhere, I don't know, maybe a Dark Bind on one of their melees if you can line up the shot, and hopefully, your team can run in and deal some major damage while the enemy team is focused on taking you out of the picture. You usually end up dead in either case here, and hence why I don't much care for this tactic.
A more viable option (in my humble opinion) is to tag along with your team but stay well out of harm's way in team fights like the good little support caster you are (you know, supporting your team by casting things. From as far away as can reasonably be allowed), then run in about say half way through the fight and pop your ult when it's likely to randomly kill someone. This will have the added bonus of causing panic in the enemy team, and give them more incentive to try to run away from you rather than punish you for daring to show your face. This way you can enter 'cleanup mode', leading your team in chasing down the scattering enemy. Pick someone you reaaally want to land the second half of your ult on for the stun, grab someone else with Binding, and let your teammates go to work. Ideally, you can get a kill and two assists under your belt with this tactic, and your awesomeness is a testament to the team.
That said, don't underestimate your passive's usefulness. With your propensity for spamming Tormented Soil early game, even the little bit of health you do Leech back will add up quickly over time, making Morgana able to outlast most champions without the aid of health regeneration items. If you're even reasonably good at placing your Soils correctly, you should be able to last in your lane just about indefinitely, or at least until you can afford to go back and grab your first items. Late game your passive will be a bit less noticeable, mainly becoming visible when you Dark Bind something or pop your ult off on an enemy team.
Options for Summoner Spells AKA How to Maximize your Supportive Usefulness
Summoner Spells are an important factor in any champion's play, and perhaps for nobody more so than the team support. I'll start by listing the top couple spells to choose, and continue from there, going over all of the spells, their merits, and their drawbacks. Remember, Summoner Spells depend somewhat on your team composition and your teammates' Summoner Spells - rather than strictly sticking to anybody's recommendations, closely examine your team's makeup and decide for yourself what the best course of action is.
Spells to Love
Teleport - Always, always get this. Ignore that bit I said just a second ago about not always following recommendations. Teleport is amazingly useful for any number of reasons, from getting back to your lane quickly, to saving a teammate in another lane in an emergency, to setting up a surprise attack from behind, to saving a tower that's about to get torn down by a built up creep wave later on in the game. Remember, your role is to support the team, and the easier it is for you to access the entire map very quickly, the better you will be able to fulfill your role.
Clairvoyance - Ah, Clairvoyance. Probably the most under-appreciated useful Summoner Spell in the game. I love this little toy. It's easily the most versatile summoner skill in the game, and with it's low cooldown, you can have your eyes in all the right places with a little bit of intuition and foresight. It's a gank aid, anti-gank, free jungle check, free brush check, and free enemy champion item build check all in one. Especially fun is to drop a Clairvoyance in the enemy fountain about 6-10 seconds after the game starts and hit tab. You can check out the enemy team's first item picks, and depending on timing, even get a preliminary guestimate as to which lanes they're going to. Better yet, with it's low cooldown, by the time you get to your lane, you can drop another clairvoyance in one of the side lanes' brush to both confirm enemy lane layout and prevent an annoying level 1 brush jump. Seriously, It's good stuff. Highly recommended.
Clarity - A decent alternative to Clairvoyance, especially if you're a more aggressive player. While Morgana isn't really 'spammy' with her spells, she can definitely burn through a lot of mana when in actual combat, and there's nothing worse than running out of mana right before you were about to pop your ult on an unfortunate victim. Also, if your team consists of a lot of mana-hungry champions, they'll likely appreciate a little pick-me-up in the late game where they'd have to recall otherwise.
Other, more Situational, or Outright Bad Stuff
Exhaust - Between your ult and your Dark Bind, you should have no problems controlling a target's movement or escaping from even the most persistent gankers, but the extra little oomph can come in handy if you don't think you'll be able to rely on your teammates to catch stragglers that you designate for butt-kicking.
Ghost - Again, this would only really see practical use for chasing or getting the hell out of a bad situation, and Morgana is already plenty good at both.
Heal - Meh. This isn't really your purpose, even though it falls into line with your supportive role. It could probably be useful, but not as much as something else.
Revive - 9 minute cooldown.
Smite - If you feel like being tricky by clearing out creeps and putting a Dark Binding through the gap, want an itty-bit more pushability, or really want to tear down Golem for that tasty buff that much faster, I guess it could be useful. Again, a more situational pick, if for some reason somebody else decided to grab clairvoyance and it's not needed.
Cleanse - Black Shield should do you just fine unless the entire enemy team is personally out after your blood, in which case you've probably got more problems to worry about than just getting CC'd too much.
Fortify - I haven't really played around with fortify enough to discern its usefulness, but I suppose in an emergency if your towers are getting pushed and Teleport's not up, you could pop this off to buy some time.
Ignite - Generally speaking, you don't care too much about killing enemy champs. That's not really your primary role in the first place. Chances are at least 2 other people on your team have it already, anyways.
Rally - Another one I haven't tinkered around with much. If you want to turn into a creep-reliant superpusher late game or want to surprise an early-game opponent with a random creep rush mid-scuffle, then I guess I can see this being kinda fun to play with.
Flash - Generally speaking, this is just another escape mechanic, which you don't generally need, but there is a little bit of synergy here with your Ult - the Shackles still apply when you flash in mid-spell, so if you want to add a bit of extra panic-mode to your ult by flashing after determining their 'scatter-routes', you may find some use here.
Fine-Tuning your Support Angel with Runes and Masteries
Let's talk about Runes for a couple of seconds here - it's pretty basic all around, but there's a bit of room for customization. Here's your basic book set-up.
Marks: Flat Magic Penetration. You don't care too much about damage, but there's really not much else to fill the space with.
Seals: Scaling Mana Regen. The mana regen isn't much early on, but it could keep you in for an extra spell or two, especially if you can control your mana output in the first few levels, and as the regen grows, you'll gain noticeably more stayability in your lane. By level 5, once you get your level 3 Tormented Soil, the mana regen will be sufficient to supply you with enough mana to cast Soil indefinitely, so long as you keep it to one soil per minion wave and don't cast any additional spells unless you've calculated the mana cost into your mana expidenture/creep wave.
Glyphs: Flat CDR, or CDR/level if you're anticipating a more drawn out game and think you can handle yourself well enough in the early game without it.
Alternatively, Flat AP, along with flat AP Quintessences. The extra kick this will give you in the early game will ensure that your Tormented Soil can put mage creeps in one-hit range at rank 2, and wipe them on it's own with ease at rank 3 for much, much lonnger without requiring any additional AP right away.
Quintessences: Flat Health. This'll give you an extra 80 health, which combined with your passive, tendency to stay out of direct combat, and snare will make you a highly undesirable target for all but the most damaging champs/team ups.
Alternatively, Flat AP, along with flat AP Glyphs. The extra kick this will give you in the early game will ensure that your Tormented Soil can put mage creeps in one-hit range at rank 2, and wipe them on it's own with ease at rank 3 for much, much lonnger without requiring any additional AP right away.
As for Masteries, you'll be going 9/0/21 for the most part, although there's a bit of room for shifting a couple of the individual points around.
1/1 Spatial Accuracy - You use teleport, so a better one is always a plus.
3/3 Perseverance - 4% Health and mana regen. Caster is happy.
4/4 Expanded Mind - Increases your mana by 5% of your max mana. Caster is happy.
4/4 Awareness - 5% bonus experience. Take this if you feel you can dominate early/mid game and want a little extra edge. If you're more of a late/endgame mindset person, ditch this altogether and look for the italic options.
3/3 Meditation - increase mana regen by 1/1 second. That translates as 5 mana/5 seconds, since the game likes to put things in terms of 5 seconds. This, combined with Flat Mana Regen runes if you got them, is effectively a passive Meki Pendant.
1(2)/2 Utility Mastery - For that lovely lovely Golem Buff. Grab both points if you ditched Awareness.
3/3 Quickness - If you didn't grab Awareness, might as well grab this. Speed is never bad, especially with how slow on her..dress...thing...Morgana is.
3/3 Intelligence - 6% Reduced cooldowns to help mitigate Morgana's relatively long recast times.
1/1 Presence of the Master - 15% CDR on Summoner Spells? Yus plz! This will make you even more of a dominating presence as a support champion - moar teleports, moar what-have-you's, moar Clairvoyan-wait, no! I said I'd be impartial to Summoner Skills past this point! Grr!
1/1 Mystical Vision/Insight/Blink of an Eye, depending on which one you want to go with. With Presence of the Master, Clairvoyance becomes absolutely spammable combined with its mastery. Insight gives your Clarity more of a support presence, and can all but fill up some of the less mana-heavy champions' mana in one casting. And of course, More Flashing means more rofls with your ult, if you're really that silly.
3/3 Archmage's Savvy - .6 AP/champion level isn't much, but it's still something.
1/1 Deadliness/Cripple/Plentiful Bounty - Deadliness is completely irrelevent, but there's no other real option - unless you went with Exhaust or Smite, in which case, use one of their respective Masteries instead.
3/3 Sorcery - Another 3% CDR. Yay. With this and Intelligence, you have 9% CDR with your Masteries alone. Add in your CDR Glyphs, either in flat or per-level flavor, and you can get between 15-20% CDR without buying any items whatsoever (keep in mind that CDR caps at 40%)
1/1 Archaic Knowledge/Burning Embers - 15% Magic Pen is almost universally better than a wimpy little 10 AP after casting Ignite, but hey, if you think you can pull off something fancy, go ahead and try it. Just beware, as grabbing Ignite means you're out for blood, which changes your playstyle and judgment, something very dangerous for a support champion.
Support Tank vs. AP Morgana, a Careful Comparison
Given that Morgana is a fairly versatile support champion, it goes without saying that there are a few different ways you can play as her, depending mostly on your team composition and what you personally feel fits your style better. Your options basically boil down to two things - how confident you are with your ability to get out of a hairy situation, and whether or not your team has a hard tank, like for example Rammus or Amumu.
First let's take a look at Tank Morgana. This playstyle places heavy emphasis on Morgana's already formidable (for a mage) survivability and makes her virtually impervious to interference and/or random damage she may incur in team fights when the heavy AoE spells start flying. An advantage to Tank Morgana is that several items that help make her tanky also naturally give lots of Cooldown Reduction. This opens you up to quite a few options when playing.
For one thing, since you are big and beefy, you don't have to get quite so timid about running around once you get a bit built. This allows you to be reasonably safe even if you're off on your own grabbing golem or something like cleaning up an incriminating creep wave.
For another thing, once your CDR caps out at 40% (which it will towards mid/late game), once you've got your core build, something kind of silly happens - for one, your Black Shield will start to be spammable once it hits level 5 to the point where you can keep it up on someone basically perpetually, with less than a second or two of vulnerability in between when it wears and when you can recast it. For another, your level 5 Dark Binding, which has a snare time of 3 seconds, hits a 6 second cooldown, which means you can hold someone in place for 50% of their time, provided you can keep sharp with your skillshot aim. Your ult also becomes much more frequently available, which is saying something because it's already on a fairly short timer.
The major flaw in the tank build is that in the late game, your damage will almost certainly become nigh-unnoticeable to the enemy team (although for some reason they will almost always waste time trying to skirt around your Tormented Soils...), and your usefulness will be relegated to spamming Black Shield on anything that moves and has a name with a green healthbar under it, preferably starting with the Carries or whoever on your team randomly falls out of formation or takes maybe one stray step too far out of the group during the team phase, and also initiating with your Dark Bind, as well as grabbing anyone that tries to run from your team with it.
It's also important to note that if you've got all your core items, that little "run into the enemy team during fights and yell 'HIT ME!' with your ult" tactic becomes not only quite doable and justifiable, but practically the only way to get a significant amount of attention attracted to yourself so your team can do its business. Heck, with all of the health you'll have at this point, you might even survive. Wouldn't that cause some rage? I think it would.
All in all, if you decide to go the tanky route, the perks are that you will be much safer and less fragile, and also be able to really annoy your enemies to no end with the crazy CC you can pump out. You won't get many kills this way, but your assist count should climb quite steadily as the game progresses, since every Dark Bind you land on someone once you've grouped up should result in that champ getting absolutely murdered by your team.
Of course, if the Mage aspect of Morgana is more appealing to you, or you happen to have a very 'beefy' team already, say a heavy duty tank coupled with a soft tank or a Soraka, and preferably only 1 gank if any, as they are squishy and tend to get picked on unless they get fed all game, then going support-tank might not be quite as efficient as turning yourself into a pseudo-nuking, hyper-shielding menace.
AP Morgana only really became viable in my eyes recently, with the small nerf to cleanse and Mercury Treads and, more importantly, the reworking of her Dark Bind into a Burst move instead of a DoT ability, given the popularity of Merc Treads in higher ELO. How it boils down is basically this: If you look carefully at Morgana's skills and account for reasonable circumstances, all of her abilities have a very high AP scaling ratio, with her defensive Black Shield coming in lowest at 0.8. (Again, if you account for reasonable circumstances on Tormented Soil, you can call it a 0.6:1 to 1:1.)
What this means is that with some AP stacked, while you will lose your spammability due to not grabbing the extra CDR, a couple of different things will happen instead. One, your Dark Bind, while not quite as trigger happy, will hit like a solid punch in the face at the least (and consequentially drain that much more health from your passive, yay!), and a full-speed collision with a semi at the worst (like when aimed at squishy mages or ganks, or anyone that's less-fed than you). Two, your Black Shield will see some actual action outside of just reflexively canceling out CC moves. It's 0.8:1 AP scaling means that instead of breaking like glass if a single spell hits it, it will generally be able to block out almost all, if not all damage from a burst damage spell, if not maybe even two! The extended durability of an AP-powered BS is not to be underestimated.
That said, AP Morgana is not without her flaws. While she's definitely more powerful, albeit slightly slower than Tank Morgana, she will also be much more prone to collapsing like a house of cards in a strong breeze if the enemy team so much as looks at her funny. With your being role being support of the team and all, it's not exactly conducive to your job description if you just get focused down first in every fight because it's easy.
In short, here's what the two builds boil down to:
Tank Morgana: Nigh-invulnerable if you keep yourself well-positioned and with your team buddies, BS is flimsy but spammable (more anti-CC oriented), spammable Dark Bind means more opportunities for your team to teach unfortunate stragglers why they shouldn't dare show their faces within a square mile's radius of you.
AP Morgana: Still quite difficult to catch as long as you keep yourself properly paranoid of your surroundings, BS is not quite as spammable but is much stronger (more anti-caster/anti-nuke oriented), Dark Bind hits like a truck in addition to its snare, your ult is more prone to induce hysteria and panic in the other team when you pop it mid-teamfight.
Item Builds and Orders, AKA the TL;DR Crowd Shouts FINALLY!
Alright, so you've started your game. You've gotten a good look at the enemy team composition, their mix of summoner spells, and you've made your important decision to go tank or AP. "So Bern, what do we do now?"
Well, I'll tell you what to do now. Now you will grab a Doran's Ring. This'll give you a couple extra spells to last you for your first adventure out into your lane of choice due to your mana regen, as well as give you enough health to be an absolute nuisance to try to take down. From there, you still may have to make a last minute call on whether to go tanky or AP, depending on your judgment of the enemy team's performance for the first few minutes.
Thankfully, you don't have to make that decision for a good four or five minutes! You see, in keeping with the theme of remaining as flexible and adaptable to your environment as you possibly can, I've centered your first items in either case around the same item. So, as soon as you've saved up 1325 gold from your first trip, go back and grab Catalyst the Protector.
That's right, boys and girls, you're first items are going to be Banshee's Veil or Rod of Ages.
"But Bern, a Banshee's Veil? Isn't that jumping the gun a bit?"
Now, hold on there for a second. There is a major factor tying these early-game choices together for us, aside from the aforementioned flexibility you gain from making this decision. Health and Mana. In the early game, grabbing a Catalyst does a lot of things for you. It makes you beefy for your level, gives you a bunch of mana to play around with, and the relatively fast pace at which levels are gained in the early/mid game synergize with it's restorative properties on leveling up to give you almost unlimited lane presence as long as you keep your wits about you.
Once you amass enough gold, it's time to make your choice between whether to turn that catalyst into a RoA or a Veil. Use your intuition, make a judgment call based on how the match has been going. Past this point, there's no going back.
Catalyst the Protector (in one go unless you're getting absolutely stomped on, in which case it's okay to just grab the Ruby Crystal first)
Glacial Shroud (in one go if you can manage, if not grab the armor first, then build from there)
Boots 1 -> Mercury Treads
From here, do a quick recap of the enemy team and what they seem to be pumping out at you and your team.
Are they stabby?
Giant's Belt -> Soul Shroud
Warden's Mail -> Randuin's Omen (MOAR CC EFFECTS AHAHA!)
(Optional) Glacial Shroud -> Frozen Heart
That Catalyst will stay as such until you find yourself starting to really need some anti-CC, at which point you will turn it into a Banshee's Veil the next chance you get. Even Stabby teams have at least a bit of it, usually, and even with stacked armor and health, you wanna try to stay away from their pointy knives and arrows as much as possible.
Are they flashy-go-boomy?
Catalyst the Protector -> Banshee's Veil
Giant's Belt -> Soul Shroud
Negatron Cloak -> Force of Nature
Are they fairly well-rounded?
Catalyst the Protector -> Banshee's Veil
Giant's Belt -> Soul Shroud
Guardian Angel (in one go if possible, if not, go for the Chain Vest first again and build from there)
...Do they suck?
Grab a Leviathan and then continue to fill out your item list as detailed above.
Catalyst the Protector (Grab the Sapphire Crystal first if you can't afford it all at once and you're at base for some reason)
Catalyst the Protector -> Rod of Ages
Boots 1 -> Sorcerer's Boots
Tear of the Goddess
Oh look, it's time to branch out again. Check out the other team and their items again, and make your decisions based on what you see.
Are they stacking Magic Resistance because they fear you?
Blasting Wand -> Void Staff
Tears of the Goddess -> Archangel's Staff
Blasting Wand -> Zhonya's Hourglass
Are there a suspicious number of mages among them? Or do they have to get close to you to attack?
Blasting Wand -> Abyssal Scepter
Tear of the Goddess -> Archangel's Staff
Blasting Wand -> Zhonya's Hourglass
Are they actually managing to hurt you a bit?
Tear of the Goddess -> Archangel's Staff
Blasting Wand -> Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff (see above conditions)
Giant's Belt -> Rylai's Crystal Scepter
...Again, and conversely, are they mooks?
Tear of the Goddess -> Archangel's Staff
Blasting Wand -> Zhonya's Hourglass
Blasting Wand -> Archangel's Staff (O look, 2 Archangel's Staffs and a fully-charged RoA. Rofl.)
Important Note: For both builds, at any time when you find yourself lacking in change or need that little extra burst of gold for your next item (Post RoA/Veil, that is), ditch the Doran's Ring, as it becomes fairly insignificant except in the very early levels.
Gameplay and basic Strategy, AKA Let's Play!
First off, try to get mid, but don't be too insistent on it if someone really impressive wants it, like say Anivia. Despite being a support champion, Morgana is actually a very efficient and powerful soloer as long as it's a 1v1 fight, and can outplay most 'standard' mid lane champs (Ashe mid makes me lol). If you can't get mid, try to get paired with a melee champion and proceed in exactly the same way as I'm about to outline for mid.
Before getting too far into a solid skill-up order, there are a couple things you want to take into account. You will always be going Dark Binding, Tormented Soil, Tormented Soil, but at level 4, you need to take into account what you're up against. If your enemy/ies have any form of CC - any form of CC, grab a level of Black Shield. If not, devote level 4 to another point of Dark Binding. Level 5 is your third level of Tormented Soil, then at level 6, pick up Soul Shackles. Past this point, prioritize Soul Shackles > Black Shield > Dark Binding > Tormented Soil. If you're going the Tank route, you'll need a fourth level of Tormented Soil at level 7, and I'll explain why in just a few moments, under the Early Game section.
To start, grab your Ring and run out to your lane. If you're one sexy beast and grabbed Clairvoyance as your second summoner spell (you did pick Teleport, right?), do some quick recon to give your team a good preliminary feel for what they're up against.
Come the first creep wave, skirt around a bit and try to last hit creeps as best you can with your autoattack, reserving that level 1 Dark Binding for if your opponent has balls of steel, and is by extension incredibly stupid, and tries to rush you. Depending on positioning, you may even be able to lure him juuust into your turret's range while you pretend to flee from his manly ego in pants-wetting terror, only to snare him and force him to eat a turret shot or two. This will usually kill him, and you'll get the credit. Well done, you are a smooth actor.
Level 2 is when you start being in business. Now you've got your farming tool. Now things are happening for you. From this point onward throughout the early game, you will be utterly ignoring the champion opposing you, and focusing exclusively on casting Tormented Soil on the caster minions and whatever else you can fit into that targeting circle. If your opponent (whom you're still ignoring, by the way) is ranged, and they almost always will be in mid lane, they will most likely be hanging around in the general vicinity of the caster creeps, so catch them in the Soil too. They'll take 1, maybe 2 ticks of your Soil while escaping, during which time they won't be last-hitting and during which time you were just doing what you do all the time anyways, so you almost always come out in a favorable position, slowly whittling away at the enemy champion with incidental ticks of Tormented Soil.
Now, remember when I told you to change your skill order based on AP or Tank Build? Here's why. By the time you get Tormented Soil to level 3, you should be able to one shot the caster creeps with it for a couple of waves, but they will soon be able to just barely survive it. If you're AP Morgana, this is no problem; a dash of AP on your spell and they'll start melting with one cast again. Tank Morgana, however, doesn't get AP, so she has to compensate by grabbing a fourth level of Soil. Get it? Good.
As soon as you have the gold for it (and maybe boots 1 if you got off a lucky kill), Blue Pill back to grab your Catalyst and port immediately back to your lane to press the advantage. You and your esteemed foe should be hitting level 6 at around this time, and once you do, a little clash may occur. You may kill them, they may kill you, who knows. It's still an early, unpredictable phase of the game. Generally speaking, you can manage to eek out a victory, especially if you have Catalyst and they haven't had a chance to port back or don't have the gold yet. Get your lane sufficiently pushed up to their turret and then pack your bags for your first support/gank run, because mid game is fast approaching.
By this time, the side lanes should be starting to develop dominant and losing sides. Communicate a bit, ask who needs help. If one of your lanes is seriously hurting, go there and help them out. Don't wait too long for an opening to gank - if there isn't a fight happening as you arrive, you shouldn't wait for one to break out for more than a few seconds, otherwise you're losing valuable farming time. 3v2 isn't as nice as 3v1 or even a double kill due to your surprise attack, but if it'll help turn things around a bit in your hurting lane, then it'll have to do.
If both of your lanes are doing okay, on the other hand, head off to the one that's doing better and work your magic to help your team claim its first tower victim. If you want, push that creep wave right on up to the inner turret and then get the hell out of there. Buy yourself some items as you can, congratulate your teammates on a nice push, and then proceed into roaming phase. Go wherever you're needed, or where the enemy team least wants you. The teammates in your further-pushed lane should be causing mischief all over the map, and you should be the ever-watchful eye that makes sure the enemy never pulls off anything sneaky. Full-on team fights should be occurring at around this time, if not earlier, so make sure that all of your lanes stay properly pushed so you have ample time to focus on keeping your team alive without having to worry about creeps randomly tearing something down.
As things shift into the really brutal phase, you're going to want to start warding/killing Dragon, keeping an eye on Baron, and grabbing Neutral Monster Buffs even more than usual. This tends to be the part where your build, whether you went tank or AP, really starts to shine at what it does. If you're AP, be aggressive in team fights while remaining conscious of your positioning. Your ult triggers out of nowhere with just about no warning, so if you can randomly snipe an enemy mid fight, do so. Randomly having an intense 5v5 instantly turned into a very staggered 4v5 is extremely demoralizing for the enemy, and due to the fact that they're slowed, at least two or three more of them should fall in short order if your team has their game together.
If you're tank, conversely, fling those Dark Bindings around like a professional sniper on a full pot of coffee. Same goes for Black Shield. Use it often on whoever you think they're gunning for, both as a countermeasure and as a preventive gesture. Believe it or not, sometimes just the act of casting BS on one of your friends, whether or not the enemy was planning anything, will get the message across - 'I'm mama bear, *****es, and it'll be a cold day in hell before you pull off any of your tricky bull**** on my team'.
If you continue to play confidently, yet cautiously, and make sure your team is properly working together, you should be able to ride all the way to victory with very little trouble. Give yourself a pat on the back, because your superior intuition, foresight, and awareness of your and your friends' surroundings has just been made a testament to how rewarding it is to play a Support Champion.
Advanced Concepts and Strategies, AKA Minor Tricks to Help Give that Extra Edge
Okay, so that covers the basics of how the game should generally 'flow'. "But Miss Witch," you may say, "How do we actually go about doing what we do?"
It's actually a lot simpler than it sounds, although the finer points will take practice, practice, practice to polish and shine. First off, I'll make one more shameless plug for Clairvoyance, because yes, it is just that great of a tool. Use it to scout jungles whenever you can, or suspect someone to be up to something in there. If you drop Clairvoyance skillfully, you can often even reveal two neutral camps at once - even Blue Lizard and Dragon at the same time!
And guess what, if you spot someone on their own in there doing something that looks to be taking some time (like say grabbing a neutral buff or soloing Dragon), bring a friend or two along and give them a nice little surprise party to congratulate them for thinking they were being sneaky.
On that note, the jungle is great, and by mid game Morgana is great at jungling. If you're on your way to a lane or somewhere and happen to pass by the wolves or the wraiths (mmm, I especially love the wraiths), drop a soil for some easy, fast experience and gold. For the most part, you can spare two or three seconds on your way to wherever you're going to do this, and it really adds up over time.
When enemies are MIA all over the place in mid/late game, it's usually safe to assume that they're sitting in a bush nearby waiting to absolutely murder your team if they pass by. Similarly, if you see a single champion running around after team fights have started, their friends are usually nearby waiting for you to come along in pairs, trios, or heck, all of you, to gank the poor loner, and knock your socks off from a nearby hiding spot right when you've committed and escape is cut off. Don't fall for obvious bait! If you have clairvoyance and you're getting ready to start an attack on a loner, drop Clair into the most suspicious-looking brush to make sure it's safe.
Buy Wards and convince your team to do the same! One person grabbing three is cost prohibitive, but five people each grabbing one hardly makes a dent in anyone's wallet. In the early game, clever placement of five wards can give almost total vision of the potential conflict zone. Much like your Clairvoyance, Wards are great for checking jungle creeps, preventing ganks, and setting up ganks at the same time, and if all five of you consistantly grab one each and set them up across the map, your dominance of field vision will allow you to very easily and efficiently outmaneuver the enemy team.
Oh, also, you can 'port to Wards. Specifically, you can port to wards that an enemy champ has unknowingly passed by. Take a second to think about the ganking and ambushing implications that that carries, especially with a bit of team coordination.
A nifty thing to take note of is that Morgana has a pseudo-Oracle Elixer built into her Soul Shackles. If a stealthed champion wanders close to you, or if someone's hiding in a brush near you, you can discern their presence by noticing that your ult has become active. Use this defensively to get away or offensively, triggering your ult in hopes of scaring everyone off, but please make use of it. There's no reason for Morgana to get stealth-ganked past level 6.
Most importantly, Stay Calm. Not every game goes smoothly, some go horribly roughly, but panicking leads to bad decision making, and that can only dig your grave further. If things are looking bad, do some brainstorming with your team, get your **** together, and try to come back from it. It certainly beats giving up and having no fun for the next 20 minutes as you watch a fed enemy team slowly rip their way into your base.
Right, so that covers everything. Like all guides, don't follow some of the finer details I've outlined here exactly every game - Like I've stressed earlier, flexibility is an important aspect of League of Legends, and there will always be times when you need to adapt to some unusual circumstance or another. Use your head. Stop thinking about this game on fighting terms - you are not a fighter. You are a strategist and a tactician. You are Morgana.
Use what you've learned, get out there, and make me proud.
Wow I can't believe I read through the entire thing.Took me 20 minute's but it's finally done.
But none the less, it was well written with incredible tips and tricks for the Morgana's of the community ( Me! ). I thank you for these extra tips, but most of these I naturally learned. This is really great start for anyone looking to main Morgana.
Thanks for helping me and a bunch of other Morgana's!
I actually read the whole thing! Very well written sis! I figured I'd give it a read anyway.. and with the servers going down abruptly (well... they WERE warning it for the last hour, I just figured a 5 minute warning or something would happen, not just out right getting kicked from PVP.net...) I figured now was the perfect opportunity. That being said. I'm going to bed for tonight. As I'm sure you've already done the same. So I'll hopefully see you later today or tomorrow! ^^-
Thank you for taking the time to read all that, and providing me with such positive feedback! It's a real honor to know that I've managed to produce something worthwhile with my experiences. This guide is meant to be as accessible to newbies as it is to veterans of the game - maybe moreso, even, so I apologize if most of it may have seemed obvious. I feel that we can become a greater community if we show enthusiasm in supporting our new members, and eventually lead to many more competent users playing the game.
Thank you also, ricklessabandon, for noticing that little typo in particular. I've fixed it, and will be on the lookout for any other mistakes I may have made due to having written most of this post-2 am.
My ultimate goal is to become a great Morgana player and help anyone that so wishes to do the same, so any criticisms, alternative ideas, or questions regarding my guide are, and will always be greatly appreciated.
ALSO. As of current, the LoL Database is not giving information about cooldown times, and I'd like to add a brief analysis on those as well in the skill section, would anyone happen to know where I could find an up-to-date listing of Morgana's skills' natural cooldown times for all levels?
1) Main Morgana, with a 70% win rate and a 2/1/4 K/D/A
2) Read a whole lot of LoL guides - too many, frankly, and
3) Write for a living (I'm a lawyer).
This is, both substantively and stylistically, the best guide I have read about LoL. Certainly the word on Morgana, particularly for less experienced players.
I, like others, don't agree with everything, but **** near close enough. And none of it is bad advice for inexperienced Morganas. None.
Fantastic job. Thank you for your contribution to the community.
Thank you for all giving such positive responses to my guide! I believe that the main point that comes into disagreement is probably the way I'm building my items, particularly towards the start of the game with Catalyst the Protector. On this point, please allow me to explain in a bit more detail.
I've tried a few starting items in the past, including Doran's Ring for a while for extra health, AP, and mana regen, then I experimented for a while with starting with a Meki Pendant once I grew confident enough in my ability to avoid damage in the first few levels, which would then continue to build into Chalice of Harmony as my first 'built' item, and as of last month I found myself mostly rushing Tear of the Goddess for the early game mana boost, and the late game 1k addition to your my mana pool, as well as the possibility of turning it into an Archangel's Staff somewhere down the line.
Over the past month I've taken on a new mentality placing emphasis on flexibility to change playstyle based on the situation, as well as self-preservation and survivability for the sake of being able to better serve my team without dying all the time. The Catalyst route allows me a lot of extra durability and early game mana, and gives me the option of changing my mind about which build route I wish to go based on how my team is faring and what we're seeming to lack. It may not be the most *optimal* way to start if you end up going the AP route as it takes a lot of time to build the Rod of Ages, but I feel the earlier you can get it, the earlier it can max out, and the earlier, therefore, that it can fully synergize with your eventual Archangel's Staff.
This guide (specifically the item build section) will get tweaked as I continue to experiment with different builds and find orders and items that work better and receive feedback. I will of course always be open to alternative suggestions when they are given, and if in my testing I find something that works better, I'll be sure to make an appropriate update. I have no intention of recommending something that I wouldn't use myself.
So i read this when you first put it up. I now get Dorans ring as i like the extra health. Then i rush RoA as you suggest. Im thinking of changing ignite for teleport too.
I do disagree with your reasoning on Ghost though. I think it is a very useful skill for morgana. You can use it to avoid a gank which you do mention, but its also good to use to save an ally thats a little bit further out or to catch someone up to DB them so your team can wipe them out. The amount of times ive just caught someone before they get in turret range due to ghost and gotten the kill/assist is huge.
Apart from that i think it is a very good guide. I am not however sure about Morg running mid personally. She can do the job and farm like crazy, however 1v1 is not her strong point. Not with minions around as her best skill is impossible to hit a good player with solo mid. There are many better mids that can harass the enemy better. However 2v2 due to both teams constant movement and zoning she is amazing to out zone the enemy and to often get first blood. Out of the last 4 games ive played with her i went side lane with both and got First blood twice and of one of those got another kill straight after.
I believe that Morgana is quite competent at harassing almost any standard midder using the method I outlined above. The harassment comes purely out of her Tormented Soil - other than that I ignore the enemy champ and focus on farming. I feel that, for midding, farming is infinitely more important than harassment anyways, as the main reason to mid is to gain gold/exp faster, and the range on your farming/harassment tool is so large that you should be able to stay out of reach of almost all harassment anyways. The only time I really pay attention to the enemy champ in mid is at level 6, when I start gauging whether or not I can kill them in a fight making use of my ult.
Another thing to consider is that most teams like to stick their carry in mid, and given Morgana's ability to outright shut out almost anyone in mid, making them inefficient at farming due to running around escaping your Soil and trying to predict a Dark Bind that...well, you'll probably never throw at them anyways, but it's nice to act like you are to force them out of position and make them waste time.
Considering my more defensive mentality, I don't generally worry too much about killing champions outside of her natural ability, so spending a valuable Summoner Spell slot on something that you may be able to make an extra kill/assist with once every couple minutes doesn't seem worth it to me. On top of that, such a tactic is incredibly ballsy-sounding, and open to making someone play recklessly and screw up, or get counterattacked somehow.
On the other hand, I am not about to discount Morgana's zoning and supportive ability in the early game. I'll give the Doran's Ring into Rod of Ages build a couple games, and I'll side lane and give Ghost another shot too. If I like the results, I'll look into mentioning it as a more specialized tactic.
My problem with mid is that i used to play ashe and although i couldnt kill a good morg i could hold my own easily making it very even. Reason for this is DB cant get through the minions and most mids are ranged so can keep back far enough so TS wont really hit them. She also kills minions too quickly with TS meaning she is sat at the enemy turret mid on her own unless you just sit back till they kill the minions.
On the side its very easy in comparison to hit with DB due to your team m8 making them move about too. This means they lose health quite quickly and have to go back to base more often (Side lanes dont often have Teleport to get back quickly) so they lose cash and exp.
As for ghost. Reason i prefer this over Clarity is that after i get catalyst i never really have mana problems. It can lead to doing stupid things but generally its just to chase down people that are low health before they can escape. Defensively its saved my arse many times too especially against yi or garen.
The Dorans to RoA instead of going straight for RoA is just really my preference but might be due to being side lane the extra health is more useful lvls 1-6.
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