[Guide] Kassadin the Rift-walker
After having put in more than 300 games on Kassadin, I felt that I should get around to actually posting the build I use. Seeing as this is the first "summary guide" I've written, I hope to provide some insight into why people fear me when I play Kassadin. That fear comes from Rift Walk. The other spells are just icing.
1, Force Pulse
2, Null Sphere
3, Force Pulse
4, Null Sphere
5, Force Pulse
6, Rift Walk
7, Force Pulse
8, Null Sphere
9, Force Pulse
10, Null Sphere
11, Rift Walk
12, Null Sphere
13, Nether Blade
14, Nether Blade
15, Nether Blade
16, Rift Walk
17, Nether Blade
18, Nether Blade
The reason you start with Force Pulse is because your enemies and allies (if you're laning) will be casting something almost all the time. You are charging Force Pulse from all those casts from day one. Use Force Pulse to last hit and you may score multiple last-hits or even damage opponents. DO NOT risk getting into harm's way just to Force Pulse harass enemy Champions. Focus on last-hit/farming minions with Force Pulse every time it's up. Save Null Sphere for when you get jumped/focused to buy you some time to get away; that is, until you have Rift Walk...
Boots of Speed -> Mercury Treads (Sorcerer Shoes if you aren't being focused by CC in team fights)
Catalyst -> Rod of Ages OR Banshee's Veil (depends on how stun/CC heavy your opposition is)
Tear of the Goddess -> Archangels' Staff
Sheen -> Lichbane
Marks: Greater Mark of Insight (+0.95 Magic Penetration)
Seals: Greater Seal of Clarity (+0.1 MP5/Level)
Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Insight (+0.57 Magic Penetration)
Quints: Greater Quintessence of Insight (+1.89 Magic Penetration)
Result: +19 Magic Penetration, +16.2 MP5
Offense (9 Points)
- 1/1 Cripple
- 3/3 Archmage's Savvy
- 4/4 Sorcery
- 1/1 Archaic Knowledge
Utility (21 Points)
- 3/3 Good Hands
- 1/3 Perseverance
- 4/4 Awareness
- 3/3 Meditation
- 2/2 Utility Mastery
- 3/3 Quickness
- 3/3 Intelligence
- 1/1 Mystical Vision
- 1/1 Presence of the Master
The basic items, runes and mastery build
The Full Monty
You have no more mana than I do in my build and and stacking up to 9 rift walks before going into a fight would be 4500 mana before you even did anything (I think ROA + AS gets you around 4K end game?). If you have golem buff, you are still looking at what, 1000 mana a cast and your current mana being 1000-2000 at the most? Don't forget about the 30 seconds it took you beforehand to charge it.
You can cast it 1-2 more times on top of the team. Generously, it would be 2000 damage in 6 seconds if you even got that far. Then you would be completely out of mana. OR. with 400 AP You could not waste your mana, in a team fight do a 280 rift walk, a 560 null sphere and a 620 force pulse (1460). Then force pulse in <5 seconds again for 620. Then another null sphere for 560, and you still have 75%+ mana, and you can chase down any heroes that are low and mop them up ezmode.
You are much better off with a 3 stack of rift walk in a team fight allowing you to maneuver around and cause chaos than jumping in and being done in 6 seconds.
You also have leviathan in the build. I'm extremely skeptical about that. Sure kass is pretty squishy. But you have a 3 second cooldown that literally get you away from any bad situation in the game. Why on earth do you need anymore health than a ROA 30 stack?
I also wonder why you bought dodge seal's. Kass shouldn't be face to face with melee characters often enough for those to even be worth anything.
I seriously believe that the rift walk stack was built to keep kass under control more than help him out with killing.
Regardless. I still appreciate your guide, and your insight into a different way to play this character than I normally do. Just my 2 cents.
First off, the last paragraph is a bit of humor, not to be taken as Gospel... but I will address your points.
Your suggested 400 AP is only 83 AP ahead of my 317 total with this build. Take into account Magic Resistance and that extra 83 can easily become 40. Staking a bunch of AP items to get a small increase is not worth the survivability loss (ganks can and will happen, exhaust, stuns, slows, silences are all enough to cripple you and keep you from getting away). Rift Walk is not a 100% guaranteed escape tool, but it is better than most.
What you have stated is that your entire combat initiative relies on having both Null Sphere and Force Pulse charged and not on cool-down. Why force yourself to be dependent on you longest cool-downs? With this build, I can Rift Walk twice before Null Sphere is ready again (2.64 seconds versus 5.94 seconds).
I understand your points, I used to be an AP Kassadin, the glass cannon. I just evolved the items to match a better play-style, gaining more survivability and options, instead of falling prey to DPS Syndrome. Sometimes, more damage isn't the best option.
Lastly, Rod of Ages was one of two possible item builds, as it depends on the opponents you face. Plus, it takes 15 minutes AFTER it's completed to reach it's full potential. With this build, you are putting fear into your enemies, which grants your team map control. Your team decides when pushes happen.
Most players seem to focus too much on how effective their damage/CC is, and not enough on the macro game. Map control is huge in this game. Hence why Clairvoyance is one of the skills. Knowing where enemies are and forcing them to respond to your team's aggression is a very sweet place to be. You aren't duped into playing defensively all the time. The enemy has to answer your moves, not the other way around.
EDIT: The hardest thing for an AP Kassadin player to do, is to change the mind-set and play-style. You cannot play this build like you would an AP build. They are two pretty distinct styles. Theory-crafting is fun, but try playing the build and changing your play-style and see how it works before you pass judgement. =)
I was just using the 400 ap as a simple base line example for the situation. You can still do plenty of damage with it, granted it takes longer to do so. In the complete builds we are looking at a difference of 416 AP VS 820 health. Much more than a difference of 83 AP I used in my example. My build however costs about 500g more.
In team fights force pulse is always charged, but you are correct on waiting on the cooldowns. Rift is such a good gap closer though. You have the ability to bust into the team fight burst then get away without talking massive amounts of damage and then just do it again in <5 seconds.
I always run flash/cleanse. With that, you can get out of pretty much anything.
I understand what you are talking about with map control and that's the only reason why I would take Clairvoyance over those other two. But I still find both to be extremely invaluable to getting kills and getting out of crappy situations.
Edit - Also with the AP build. When you get LB. You can do 600 damage to towers with melee. EVERY, 3 seconds because of rift walk. On a rush to their base or if you back door you can destroy turrets disgustingly fast.
Yeah, the Sheen/Lichbane is why I said that the enemy team has no choice but to constantly react to what you do. You can cover the map so quickly, that you can apply pressure when and where you want to. they can hardly keep up because you can clairvoyance their movement from tower to tower, as they come to defend/gank you.
Let me know how the transition to this build and play-style work out for you. It's difficult to change from the more defensive play that AP forces you to play (squishy) and get used to building a few charges (2-3) and Rift Walk-ganking, using your other two cool-downs to hit as many people as possible (not nuking just one person and maybe hitting others) and null Sphering the player that would cause the most damage before you make your retreat/advance.
So, how does one have their guide hot-linked in the Comprehensive List of Guides?
It seems much to difficult to have riftwalk constantly charged, would run out of mana too quickly. Plus the two top Elo Kassadin's I know of go AP.
The guide isn't centered around keeping Rift-walk "charged". The guide is designed to allow you to Rift-walk multiple times, in quick succession, to either change a team-fight or hit-and-run harass/snipe. Without a large mana pool, you are crippling Kassadin's true power.
I'm not marginalizing Null Sphere or Force Pulse, they are both very effectives spells. I'm simply offering a guide to those who seem to struggle with the glass-cannon AP builds and the play-style associated with it. I compare AP Kassadin to Nidalee.
Nidalee is a very effective hit-and-run pressure champion. Cougar pounce in, swipe and use your cooldowns, pounce out of the fight, pop out of Cougar and heal if necessary, pounce to re-join the fight. Kassadin works the same way. Rift-walk in, Force Pulse the most targets possible, Null sphere the target that needs to be silenced, rift-walk out. Wait for Rift-walk's cooldown, re-join the fight.
RW is a chase/escape ability and nothing more. I guarantee my Glass Cannon Kassadin owns yours unless you blow your entire wad of mana stacking RW's to kill me.
@Empyron, I'm not looking to "start a fight". I keep my posts constructive and discussion-oriented. I clearly stated that this build was for those who have difficulty utilizing the typical AP-glass cannon build. Every guide has a target audience. There is no "best" guide. Each player plays the game differently. I don't understand why people get hostile and elitist when someone doesn't play "their way". Have fun with the game, it's not a job. =)
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