[GUIDE] Kog'maw: The Environmentally Unfriendly Hybrid
During a new champion brainstorming meeting, Riot games realized that the StarCraft II release date was quickly approaching. As RTS fans, a quick “show of hands” vote was taken to determine which StarCraft race was the most popular. Zerg was the overwhelming winner. However, an agreement could not be reached on which unit was best. The room was divided into two camps. Half the team believed the hydralisk was the best unit. The other half believed the guardian, with its superior range, was the best unit. The debate was heated, with neither side backing down.
Harold, a softly spoken intern, enters the room with caramel lattes and white chocolate cappuccinos. The meeting participants, highly engaged in their debate, take no notice of him. The most unlikely of saviors, Harold utters one sentence that would forever change the game of League of Legends.
Harold: "What if a hydralisk and a guardian had a love child?"
Silence blanketed the room… and Kog’Maw was born.
Who is Kog’Maw?
To understand what Kog’maw is, you have to know what Kog’maw isn’t. KOG’MAW IS NOT A DPS OR MAGIC CARRY, HE IS A CASTER HYBRID. How you play him as a hybrid is up to your play style. I play a hyper-aggressive style and focus primarily on AP, and mix in AS / CDR.
"But C0heed, I CAN do so much damage with my str8 AP or AD build!"
Kog’Maw excels at one thing… and one thing only. That is RANGE. Kog (as he’ll be referred as throughout the rest of this guide) has sick range. All of his abilities (which I cover in-depth later) synergize nicely with themselves and share GREAT benefits from AD/AS/AP… etc. You do not want to turn Kog into a one-trick pony… which it what you will do if you go str8 AP or AD. Then the opposing team will counter your one-trick… and now you’ve become as useless as Eve.
Using Kog’s awesome range will allow you to out farm your lane opponent, and starve them of the gold they desperately seek.
If I die you’re coming with me! (Passive) – Instead of dying, you become a bomb that detonates after 4 seconds. You deal 100 + 25 x Level ACTUAL damage (it ignores magic resist / armor). Not a GREAT passive, but it allows you to sneak in some kills in team fights (because you will get focused) or farm some minions to help you shop in the afterlife. Be advised that you become a little bit bigger (in size) during this effect and it can make unit collision a drag. Keep this in mind when you are chasing down those fleeing low-hp heroes.
Caustic Spittle (Q)
Passive: Increases Armor Pen by 13/15/19/22/25%
Active: launches a corrosive projectile attack which deals 60/110/160/210/260 (.7 AP ratio) magic damage and doubles passive armor penetration for 4 Seconds.
This ability has 2 uses in my build… I use it before my (W) ability if I get jumped 1v1 or as a harassment tool. Either way it’s a small amount of direct damage and allows your (W) ability to shine. Because I focus more on AP, I max this ability last.
Bio-arcane barrage (W)
Your attacks gain increased range for an additional 6 seconds and deal an additional 2/3/4/5/6% (.01 AP ratio) of the target’s maximum health in magic damage.
An awesome all-around skill and the big reason I prefer AP/AS over AD. I max this skill 2nd behind the (E) ability. Each 100 AP you get increases the % modifier by 1, which is HUGE. Use this skill to constantly harass the opposing players, last hit minions, attack fleeing champs, force players out of XP range… etc. When you activate, remember its only 6 seconds… so make those seconds count! [/FONT
Void Ooze (E)
Kog pukes in a straight line, dealing 60/110/160/210/260 (.7 AP ratio) magic dmg to enemies it passes through. Leaves a trail that slows enemies to a crawl.
Your primary skill-shot, farming tool, escape mechanism, champion slayer… etc. This ability is what separates the men from the ladies. It requires anticipating the enemy champion’s movements to land effectively. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! If you are a defensive player, simply puke behind yourself and walk into the trail. If you are an aggressive player, it allows you control the lane, last hit mobs and keep the enemy at arm’s length.
Living Artillery (R)
Kog’maw channels his inna-gangsta and “makes it rain” from a great distance. Dealing ok damage to minions, and a F@#$-load of damage to champions. Increases in mana cost for each successive cast inside of 6 seconds.
An outstanding ultimate… it’s spammable and will frustrate the p!ss out of your opponents. Each level increases the range from ridiculous to redonkulous to “WHAT THE F#$!ulous”. Some tips on using it.
• Anticipate your enemies’ movements – Lead your opponents! Are they coming in to last hit mobs? Aim in front of them. Are they running away like a little school girl? Aim behind them. Is unit collision leaving them only one avenue of escape? Laugh manically as you pound them like they are the cutest fish on cell-block six. The key is to ANTICIPATE!
• Watch Your Mana – “Making it Rain” is fun… Being OOM is not. Spamming L.A. on full HP champions is not a good idea. Using it with V.O. to farm minions every 6 seconds… Good idea! Try to only use it EVERY SIX SECONDS unless you are burning an enemy down. Otherwise you are wasting valuable mana.
• Standing in Puke? TIME TO SHOOT! – E + R = Win. As soon as you roll out the puke carpet ,(and hit an opponent) you should be carpet bombing. Void ooze makes it incredibly easy to land your living artillery… exploit this simple fact.
• SCOUT with your ULT! – If a champion is MIA – assume they are coming for you. Scout every bush, every golem, every dragon, every lizard. You should never be out of position with Kog, because you should know what lies in every bush next to / behind / in front of you.
• Apoligize for “Kill Stealing” – As Kog, you are going to be “KSing” a lot of teammates with living artillery. Good teammates will recognize that a dead champion is good for the team and you mean no harm… you are simply using your range to effectively murder the opposition. Bad teammates will not recognize this fact. They will whine/complain until you acknowledge them. Acknowleding them with an “FU Noob” response lowers the % chance of the VICTORY banner being displayed on your screen. Placate the whiny teammate by apologizing to them. After you have won the game, then you can argue all you like. Masteries
Nothing special here… your standard 9/0/21 will do just fine. You want Magic Pen and lower cooldowns.
Kog has ZERO escape mechanism outside of void ooze. Because Void ooze is also your primary farming tool, Kog has ZERO escape mechanisms. Ghost is vital for running away and chasing enemy heroes. You can debate a lot of things about Kog… I don’t see a valid argument for NOT getting ghost.
If you play defensively, find yourself out of position a lot or the focus target…. Cleanse is for you. There’s nothing funnier than seeing Sion leading a 5 man gank squad straight at you, getting stunned… then popping Cleanse + Ghost. LOL @ the opposing team the whole way back to your base.
If you play aggressively, they have a DPS carry, or you want first blood… get exhaust. If you don’t get middle… first bloods are cake with a semi-competent lane partner. Exhaust + Void ooze + auto attack = Win.
This is a joke to see if you are paying attention. If you get revive on Kog, I am not responsible for the hate your teammates will rain down on you.
Runes are up for debate. I’ve run several different rune setups on Kog… all with various levels of success. I have to say Magic Pen Reds are a must and the rest is your playground. Currently my favorite (and I know I’m going to get flack for this) is Magic Pen reds and then straight AP/level runes for the rest. Doing this has allowed me greater flexibility in my item builds. Otherwise, I go MP5 yellows, flat HP Quints, and CDR blues. Open to suggestions though.
Pretty Standard…Max Void Ooze (E) first, then (W), skill up Living artillery at every level it’s available
(Disclaimer) This is just my general template. I vary it according to my opponents, whether or not I’m in a solo lane, and whatever rune build I’ve decided to try.
Solo Lane build
Meki Pendant, 1 health potion, 1 mana potion
Farm until cash for Chalice + lvl 1 boots
If the game isn’t over… zhonya’s ring or other situational items (frozen heart, banshee’s veil)
Duo Lane Build
Mana crystal, 1 health potion, 1 mana potion
Farm until Catalyst, or catalyst + lvl 1 boots
Rod of Ages
Lich bane or Nashor’s tooth
Situational items if game isn’t over
Early Game Strategy (LVL 1-5)
If you get the middle lane, your job is to starve the opposing champion of last hits on minions. Early on I only try to last hit minions. I do not autoattack, and I do not void ooze unless I think I can hit the enemy champion and his minions. Do this by positioning yourself next to your casters and aiming a straight line through the opponents caster line, and hopefully him.
Once you hit level 2, it’s time to ratchet up the aggression by using Bio-Arcane barrage and Void ooze. Wait for your opponent to come in to last hit mobs and then harass him/her. If you hit him with VO, activate (W) and auto-attack the champion until he moves out. Then go back to last hitting mobs ONLY… you do not want to push the minions too far forward in the beginning. Otherwise the enemy champion will simply farm last hits next to his/her tower, making it difficult not only for you to get last hits… but difficult to harass the enemy champion without getting pounded by the tower.
Use the same strategy in the Duo lane except try early for a first blood. Again I use kog’s superior range to harass enemy champions with void ooze, allowing you and your partner to farm last hits and out level your opponents. If you get an early kill (or kills), put a lot of pressure on the lane. Auto-attack minions and push the tower. Use Void ooze at the tower to slow incoming enemy minions and to keep your minions on the tower. Continue this strategy until Lvl 6.
Mid-game (LvL 6-11) Strategy
Solo lane – farming minions is a walk in the park now. Launch L.A. on the caster minions and puke (that’s void ooze) straight through all 6 (or 7) minions. This should kill all the caster minions and leave the melee with 1 or 2 hits. You should regularly be last hitting no less than 4 minions per wave. Continue to use Void ooze, living artillery and Bio-arcane barrage at MAX range to harass the enemy champion. I find that the more pressure you put on the champion, the more inclined they are to make a mistake. You can safely drop L.A. on the enemy champion next to his/her tower. Either time your L.A in between tower shots, or launch it from outside of the tower’s range. Remember to punish the champion. You should be using your range to frustrate your opponent. This will force them to either blue pill back, which should allow you to take the tower down…. Or you are killing them.
Once you’ve downed the tower, go help your partners and work on ganking one of the other lanes. Use Void ooze to cut off escape routes and remember to punish the champions with your superior range!
Duo lane – Same strategy except work with your partner! Kog is excellent bait! You should be punishing/frustrating the other lane partners...and they’ll just be waiting for you to make a mistake. So get yourself “out of position” and wait for them to try and gank you. When they do attempt to…. Either cleanse (if they stun you) or exhaust one of the opponents. Then either
A) puke behind you if you are in trouble… pop ghost and laugh in their face while ur teammate smashes them or
B) puke across their escape route and put out as much damage as you can. Remember to pop your Q ability before W for more damage.If you are doing to die… JUST FIGHT! Do not try to run away. You want to do as much damage as possible.. .because you get one more chance to kill the opposing team after you die! Dying with Kog is only bad IF YOU DON’T take someone with you!
Late Game (12-18)
Late game you need to be very careful. You should not be wandering alone as you are an easy target for ganks. You should be roaming with your teammates and you SHOULD NOT be leading the pack. Most of the fights will be team fights and you do not want to be the first target they see. In team fights, a properly placed Void ooze and living artilleries are often the difference between winning and losing that fight.
It’s very important to learn positioning. Remember to scout bushes beside your teammates, and always be aware of your surroundings. While Kog can do a ton of damage, he is not very good if he’s the focus target. You do not want to be the Kog player where the only thing you contributed to the team fight was blowing yourself up!
In team fights… don’t be afraid to SPAM Living artillery. In fact, you should be spamming it. Champions will be grouped together and you should be able hit multiple targets with your Ult.
What to do when things go wrong…
I’m not going to lie, when you first start playing Kog, you are going to die…. A lot. Well, I shouldn’t say that…. I DIED A LOT when I first started playing him. Kog requires careful planning and positioning to do well. If you wait and try to REACT to situations instead of anticipating them, you are probably dead. This meant (for me) playing a lot more defensively until I got comfortable with void ooze and scouting with L.A. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, Kog plays great as a tower defender after level 6. So if you fall behind in kills and a couple towers…. HUG A TOWER and farm! Use Void ooze to slow incoming minions to your tower, Living artillery… arcane barrage…. Repeat! Just remember to hug the tower. If a champion tries to jump your tower, simply Void ooze, run through your own puke, and laugh as the tower pounds away at the champion. If you have exhaust… even better!
This isn’t Kog’maw specific, but I figured I would add it anyways. Kog’maw requires solid teamplay in order to be successful. While he CAN have success in 1v1s, it is definitely not his strong suit. With that being said, you need to cut ALL negativity out of your game when you are playing Kog. Because Kog requires anticipating and planning more than other heroes.. you have to communicate this with your teammates. Telling your teammates “I would’ve killed him if you weren’t such a F#$@(& noob” will result in you spending more time alone… and more time dead. Do your best to communicate effectively and positively with your teammates.
Kog’maw is an outstanding caster hybrid champion. He’s a challenging character that requires excellent skill shot, planning, anticipation (not reaction) and team play in order to chalk up a victory. Winning feels very rewarding and losing can be equally frustrating. But with some patience, practice and a little bit of luck, Kog’Maw is the most fun you can have on a champion IMO.
Pretty much everything said in this guide are the reasons I'm saving up for this guy. When he was free, I never grabbed Chalice however - I just rushed Fiendish Codex and grabbed a Golem whenever I could. I could see how having Chalice would help farming with Kog, however. I would also grab Guinsoo's Rageblade, seeing as how he can build up stacks quickly... but I'll have to try switching that with Lichbane when I buy him and see how it goes.
I play AS/AP hybrid as well, and I agree with most of your guide, but I find it odd you made no mention of the Rageblade. It has all the offensive stacks you need and is pretty cost-effective. Rageblade stacks also last 8 seonds, so even if you're only using LA without carpet bombing you can keep the stacks up in fights, and it also makes for a deadly B.A Barrage.
It is a nice guide but I do prefer a different setup.
I start with:
**Soulstealer if the game is going well and ill grab stinger for the quick AS**
If the game is still going upgrade tear into archangels.
Just a question: Why don't you get Madred's Bloodrazors in this guide? It gives him even more attack speed and it stacks on his w. I personally build razors as my third major item as kog after sorc boots, chalice, and rageblade.
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