First guide here folks so bear with me :P
This guide is, as the name suggests, a pure damage assassin kill build with some survivability, if you're not good at timing entering an exiting a fight, then this guide isn't for you, same for grabbing kills. Now onto the guide.
Kassadin, The Void Walker
There is a place between dimensions, between worlds. To some it is known as the Outside, to others it is the Unknown. To most, however, it is called the Void. Despite its name, the Void is not an empty place, but rather the home of unspeakable things, horrors not meant for minds of men. Though such knowledge is lost to the modern day, there are those who have unwittingly discovered what lies beyond and have been unable to turn away. Kassadin is such a creature, a man forced to look upon the face of the Void and be forever changed by it. Once a seeker of forbidden knowledge, he discovered that what he sought was something else entirely. Though a part of him died that day, he knows that he must protect Valoran from the things scratching at the door, waiting to get in and visit their torments upon the world. They are only one step away, something the appearance of the abomination known as Cho'gath attests. Kassadin has harnessed the power of the Void. His Nether Blade steals the magical energy of his opponents. This dark blade also allows him to fire ethereal bolts of Void energy, not only harming his enemies, but inhibiting their ability to utilize their mystical abilities. Kassadin draws energy from others' magical use, charging him until he unleashes a force pulse that both damages and slows foes. His connection with the Void also allows him to transform the damage he takes from other Champions, increasing the speed of his attacks. Kassadin can also step sideways through the world, teleporting where he pleases. He can utilize this rift-walking ability multiple times to deal more and more damage.
Basic stats and growth per level
Health: 433+78 per level
Mana: 230+45 per level(note the low early mana pool)
Move Speed: 315
Armor: 14+3.2 per level
MR: 30+1.25 per level
Mana Regen: .88+.08 per level(note this for skill build)
On to the skill build
Passive:Weapon Mastery - Kassadin takes 15% reduced damage from abilities and transforms this damage into bonus attack speed.
Q:Null Sphere - Kassadin fires an ethereal bolt of void energy, dealing damage and silencing the target for the duration.
Kassadin fires a void bolt dealing 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+.7 per ability power) magic damage and silencing the target for 1 / 1 / 2 / 2 / 3 seconds.
Cooldown 9 seconds Cost 70/80/90/100/110 Mana Range 700
W: Passive: Kassadin's melee attacks draw energy from the void, restoring 4/8/12/16/20 mana each hit. If this effect is triggered from attacking a champion the amount of mana restored is tripled.
Active: Kassadin charges his nether blade, gaining 7/15/25/38/50 armor penetration for 5 seconds.
Cost: 30/40/50/60/70 Mana
E:Force Pulse - Kassadin draws energy from spells cast in his vicinity. Upon charging up, Kassadin can use Force pulse to damage and slow enemies in a cone in front of him.
Kassadin draws energy from the Void, gaining a charge whenever a spell is cast near him. Upon reaching 6 charges, Kassadin can use Force Pulse to deal 60 / 120 / 180 / 240 / 300 (+.8 per ability power) magic damage and slow enemies by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% in a cone in front of him for 3 seconds.
Cooldown 5 seconds Cost 80 Mana Range 400
R: Riftwalk - Kassadin teleports to a nearby location dealing damage to nearby enemy units. Additionally, multiple Riftwalks in a short period of time cause them to cost additional mana and deal additional damage.
Kassadin teleports to a nearby location dealing 60 / 90 / 120 (+0 per ability power) magic damage to surrounding enemy units. Additionally, each subsequent Riftwalk in the next 7 seconds costs 100 additional mana and deals 60 / 90 / 120 additional damage.
Cooldown 6 seconds Cost 100 Mana Range 1000
SKill build order should be
Q-E-Q-E-E-R post that, priority goes R>E>Q>W
Reasonings stand as: 1. Null sphere goes up in mana cost for each level and has a smaller ap ratio than force pulse, it also stands as a mind game tool, you can wittle someone down with cheap spheres to half health without them worrying while building up force pulse charges, then jump in with riftwalk and a force pulse blast to finish them.
3/3 Good Hands
2/2 Utility Mastery
1/1 Greed (floater point, meh)
1/1 Presence of the Master
3/3 Archmage's Savvy
1/1 Archaic Knowledge
Reasonings: Previously, I felt that a full complement of offensive mastery was the way to go with kassadin, but I've had my eyes opened recently to the power of meditation for laning and all around mana preservation, it's huge, it really is. Since that change would require me to lose Havoc in the offensive tree, I figured a more or less full change to utility would benefit me more than the deeper offensive points, and it has proven quite effective, your damage is slightly lower, but sustainability is much much higher.
Your choice really, but myself personally I stack 85 AP at 18, it gives a lot of early damage, and calculates to about 5 AP per level.
Recent Change: currently working on optimizing the page and as of now I have the marks replaced with Mpen, everything else stands the same for the time being until I see a better reason to get rid of the other ap runes. Considering health quints, but honestly, you don't need a whole lot of health and with those you lose a chunk of AP.
Exhaust and Ignite; I can't begin to describe how many times these two spells have saved me or gotten me kills, Ignite is primarily useful for adding a lot more early game power which Kass is in dire need of against anyone with a brain use this baby to finish off your targets or prevent any heals from reducing your burst to a harmless poke, also bear in mind that using this spell gives you a Force Pulse charge, wonderful combo being Rift Walk, Ignite, Force Pulse when you're at 4 charges and you're worried that annoying Yi will back off. Exhaust is taken due to keeping a target there for you to whack on longer and to improve the damage of your spells thanks to cripple, along with helping fights against physical carries, which are your bane if they're equally powerful in a team fight, 1v1 you can smash most physical carries, but in team fights, any physical carry worth a **** WILL target you, and he WILL eat your face.
On to the major point of the guide.
First off, if you're new to kass at all, you want to avoid soloing if at all possible, kass is MUCH better off with a strong lane mate to pick up kills early game, a kass deprived of kills early game is useless. BUT, if you are skilled with kassadin, and have a hefty amount of experience with him, soloing is really your best bet, Kassadin is nigh useless before 6(or 9 with an ap build, that burst from force pulse is needed), just play defensive pre 6, try to farm with last hits as possible, and if against a lane that won't allow it, then feel free to use null sphere to last hit, with meditation mana shouldn't be an issue.
Two Major strategies are here.
Kass the Soloist: Try and last hit as much as possible, but odds are you're against someone who can smash you if you get close, so feel free to use null sphere to farm, the trick here to winning in a lane, is to get 6, then instantly jump down your enemy's throat with a rift walk and prepped force pulse, using exhaust and ignite directly after the riftwalk and before the pulse of course, to maximize the burst. At that point you should either have sent them home, or killed them, good job, you've established dominance, from that point on, farm happily and blast them if they show up, be wary of ganks though, good teams will do their best to keep you down, if someone goes mia, hug that tower for dear life until they return.
Kass the Dual lane rapist:
First off, your best friends in a lane.
1. Blitzcrank: the pull into a force pulse and null sphere will net you kills near every time, combined with ignite and exhaust to ensure a kill will go far for you.
2. Rammus: same deal really, he powerballs in and taunts, you get a free punching bag to rape.
3. Soraka: now this lane doesn't allow much kills early depending on who you're against, but you get infinite mana and health, allowing you to farm and harass constantly.
4. Taric: same deal as soraka effectively, but the stun can potentially allow you to kill, of course here you don't get a buttload of mana, but if you use it at the right time you'll get your fair share of kills.
Effectively, your best friends are tanks with stuns, in lane, wait until about 3, and start the fun, let your lane mate initiate and go to town, there's very few combos that can survive, much less fight you, as long as you and your lane mate play well, you'll be rolling in gold. With the introduction of so many burst heroes, it is very viable to be in a dual burst rape lane paired with someone like Akali or Garen(Garen is huge, double silence can be destructive). I'll put in detailed reasonings on various heroes as I start to get back into playing Kass 24/7 again.
Mid-Late game: once you have your base items, and you're past lvl 9, gank, gank, gank, gank, gank, and gank some more, get golem when you can, and just look for someone to kill. Never, ever, ever initiate fights though, you'll get killed, and unless they've used all their disables, try to avoid riftwalking in, in case you get targeted and need to get the hell out of the fight. Effectively, the point of your existence in fights, is to wait for it to start, find a target, nuke him, and get out if you get focused. rinse and repeat, and when the chases start that's where you shine, a well played kass will catch, EVERYONE.
Doran's Ring first, every time, kass is a wuss early, he really is, he needs the extra hp, and the ap/mana regen doesn't hurt at all in the laning phase, beyond that lvl 1 team fights happen quite a bit at higher brackets, Doran's items are the only way to go for those.
Catalyst(though recently nerfed, it still provides some of the best staying power, if not the best, in the game)
Boots later upgraded to tabi or merc treads if their team is heavy on phys/magic and if you're not doing so well
Here is where the build diverges slightly.
If doing well:
Mejai's soulstealer(after the recent nerfs some would question getting it, it used to be a core item, but now it is highly dependant on being able to never die, and still get your faire share of kills and assists, but, if you are doing quite well for yourself, point for point, this item is the most powerful ap item in game early/mid game)
Catalyst->Rod of Ages
Deathfire Grasp(replace doran's ring here so it's in the number 1 item slot)(core is finished here)
Again a slight change of plan, since taking Mejai's, you can no longer fit both Frozen Heart and Zhonya's Ring here, take whichever is needed, if you're not getting pounded by physical dps, go Zhonya's all the way, but if there is a physical dpser that has it out for you, Frozen heart is by far your best bet.
If you're struggling:
Catalyst->Rod of Ages
Deathfire Grasp(again replace doran's ring)
(small note here, if the enemy team has heavy MR gear before you can farm up both DFG and Void Staff(which generally happens if you're not doing so well), feel free to switch up the items, and get the Void Staff before the DFG.
Also folks, bear in mind that after the core itemset, usually after the Deathfire Grasp for me, elixiring up is never a bad idea.
UPDATED ITEM THEOREM
I'm leaving the old build around because they're still plenty viable choices in a game where you're doing well, but some things have changed.
I've come to the conclusion that honestly, if you're playing kass, you need to be good enough to play with a mejais, sorry n **** but if you find yourself dying habitually, kass just isn't your hero.
Burst has become about 100x more prevalent in the time I've been gone, so much that riot felt they needed to reinstate kass's MR per level gains.
That said, Kass has some incredible potential to turn into a monstrous tank while still putting out more than sufficient damage vs casters.
Anti-caster(aka wtf I can't nuke him aka tankadin) Build
For when there's waaaaayyy too many nukes on the enemy team combined with CC so you can't just dodge getting nuked with good timing.
Doran's Ring or Shield(preference really, shield is more staying power with being able to move into melee range occasionally, Ring helps you use null sphere to farm)
Boots 2(sorc boots if the enemy isn't the best or you're just rocking that hard, otherwise Merc Treads, heavy lean on merc treads for this build)
Catalyst to Banshees
Reasonings: this build provides a fairly significant amount of burst while providing a large bulk of AP and more MR than you can handle, I believe it's about 70% MR from items and levels, combined with the passive, and you'll have around a 3-4k HP pool at full itemization. Also if you got sorc boots, you'll have 60 flat Mpen from items(effectively, counting abyssal aura) along with the Mpen from runes and the 15% mastery.
The new Ninjadin Build(pure burst minor HP)
Doran's Ring/Shield(reasoning still stands)
Will of the Ancients
this is where it may diverge, if you're feeling like you need more HP, grab a rylais replacing that doran's, if you feel like you can stand to poke on occasion, Lichbane is your deal, just want fat burst and you're good with clickables? Grab that Deathfire and go to town.
Reasonings: Simple really, put out as much damage in one fell swoop as you possibly can imagine, and pray you can get out before they nuke you(of course you can, just play smart!)
Doran's Ring/Shield(Seeing a pattern here? you should)
Sorc Shoes/Merc Treads(ohnoes a pattern)
Reasonings: Got way too many tanks with way too much MR on the enemy team? I've got your answer right here, stack up that Mpen gear and laugh, all else fails, hey, you've got AP, and if they've got so much MR that even Veigar is crying his eyes out that he can't do damage, Lichbane solves all your needs giving you a heavy physical attack to make up for your inability to true nuke.
Pokeadin(Melee kass wut?)
Doran's Shield(no pattern here, this item will help for a long time when you plan on being in the line of fire for a while in fights)
Ninja Tabi/Merc Treads(got phys? dodge em. CC? shorten the time)
Bilgewater Cutlass->Hextech Gunblade
Masteries change as well for this build.
I'm just going to assume you have a freaking idea of what you're doing here, don't get any crit based masteries though, you won't be critting alot with this build.
Reasonings: I honestly haven't tested this build yet, this is all theory, but looking at things this should be the most effective, if you feel like cutting the **** out, Trinity and Banshee's are your biggest friends. You effectively play the same as AP, just with a bit more sitting around and poking like a mofo. I'll update this more as I test it.
In every single one of these builds if you're facing a particularly pesky ashe/trist/xin/udyr/ezreal/(insert aggravating physical champion here) feel free to replace an item with Frozen Heart, Frozen Heart really is a highly underused and underappreciated item, it solves any problem kass could ever dream of when it comes to mana, cooldown reduction or annoying phys heroes, along with lessening the problem they pose to your team, please, if you're facing a phys heavy team, grab that frozen heart early, right after mejais even, your team will thank you, and you won't get blasted for 600 damage a shot by that trist with IE.
BUT MOMMY I LIKE ARCHANGELZ MANA SO GUD!
Get the **** out of my guide, you're bad and you should feel bad. 1. Mana, is Kass's indicator for when he should stay in, or leave a fight, if you have too much, you're going to try and use rift walk as damage, and you're going to go oom without noticing, and get blown the hell up, and I will laugh at you for being a complete idiot. 2. Golem, hey, guess what, that fiddles? that warwick? that anivia? yeah, they can go die in a fire, you do 20x more with golem than them(well, maybe not anivia, but that's dependent on the player) 3. You select idiots that grab archangels, tend to do it first, NO, NO, NO, you see that Morg? You see that Rammus? That shen maybe? Yeah, they're all saving their disables for you, guess what, if all you have is an archangels mejais and boots, they're going to taunt you and snare you, and you're going to DIE, mana != HP, you can't cast if you're disabled, and if you don't have atleast 2k or so hp, when you get disabled, you're gonna ****ing die. 4. It's horribly cost inneffective, all you get, is mana, and ap, whoooop deee dooo, no pen, no health, nothing else, just mana, which you can make up for with golem/smart play, and ap, which you'll be getting in spade anyway. 5. Rift walk, is NOT, damage, period, it's like when that kennen rushes in with lightning rush or whatever his **** is called and tries to hit everyone with it for it's pitiful damage before he pops his ult to do any actual damage, and thus gets popped. Same **** for you, just because your only escape/entrance mechanism does damage, doesn't mean you need to use it as such, sure, if someone's like 100 HP and you need to finish em off, feel free to rift walk and dance on top of their corpse, but get the silly ideas of 1000 damage rift walking into a fight to magically nuke everyone out of your head, it has a pitiful aoe, and when you do that, guess what? you're oom and fresh meat.
tl;dr Archangel's is for idiots who don't have any sense of strategy, if you're an idiot, gtfo my guide.
That's about it for now folks, if anyone feels like there's something missing, feel free to let me know and I'll be sure to add it
Edit: Updated for the patch, changed a lot for kassadin in terms of itemization, and I found a better build mastery wise.
Edit: I have/had a livestream up at www.livestream.com/kijik with a few good saved videos on it, try not to mind some of the various shenanigans in terms of blinking and if you don't like my voice there's a mute button, but in any case, I won't be adding onto this livestream for the forseeable future due to not having a very stable internet connection right now, and I have basic training soon, 28th of feb, to be exact. rawr. Update: Livestream is not being updated for now, a few very epic videos still exist, but I'm currently stationed in korea and the internet here is less than suitable for streaming so I won't be updating for a good year.
Update: Rehashed the guide a fair bit and brought things up to speed with what I've learned since my return, expect to see me stomping my way through your Elo soon enough(once I get off of this akali kick, shes so fun! if you like kassadin and you've gotten to the point where you stomp every game so hard its boring playing kass, give this girl a try, reference Meta's Guide for a few tips on play and building, it's excellent)
This is incredibly similar to my (and The Senate's, who I mega props to) build. Its good though because it has been updated for the the current environment. A few suggestions though. The boots really need to be more of a situational choice. While mercury treads are very good, if they only have a few stuns or roots (which can be blinked out of btw... just discovered that.... *facepalm*) they are not necessarily the best choice. Boots of Mobility allow you to home in on stragglers very fast and can seriously save your life when you're getting chased as well.
On to the summoner skills. I love the choice of Ignite, I have used it in a few recent games, and it KICKS ASS. On the other hand, Exhaust feels like a weaker choice to me. You already have a slow, a silence, a blink, and a mana drain, so you really don't need any more chasing ability, and really, if you need Exhaust to escape, you'd probably be better served by the boots of mobility. I feel that the ability of teleport to instantly move you to a potential kill, or a team mate/tower in need is invaluable, and will win games more than exhaust (though it, admittedly, won't give you a better K/D ratio).
Final thing depending on the game, maybe the rod should come before the void staff, as its power grows with time.
All in all, killer guide, very detailed and accurate. Bravo.
I believe Exaust was to ensure an early FB and a kill or two more before you hit 6. Before 6 Kassadin is pretty weak and considering his endgame relies on him killing as early as possible, exaust is a great idea.
Also Kass + Exaust + Lanemate with a stun = FB a lot of the time.
thanks senate that means a lot coming from you considering our guides are similar and I liked your guide quite a bit :P
and quickslide, that's exactly the idea, especially since in top tier games lvl 1 fights happen quite often, exhaust and ignite can net you a kill, with the former potentially saving you from being first blooded, or a team mate.
Just throwing a differing opinion out there:
1. Ignite can be good to grab kills, but I find its very lackluster in late game team fights. Personally I prefer flash. Its situational on Kass, but the situations where it comes in handy may be more than you think.
2. I personally like Utility over offense. If I were 30, my build would most likely be 9/0/21. I don't find myself auto attacking enough in my games to justify dumping 11 more points into a tree to get 5% more damage when utility talents such as utility mastery and presence are just as strong to me.
3. Null Sphere - I think the inclination for most is to just dump this along with your other nukes into a soft hero, but a well placed null sphere elsewhere can win fights. IE if the other team has a Kayle, Null Sphere him and then blow your dps on their squishy.
Nice guide though, I like the item build, its very close to mine and a great basic build for Kass.
Beyond you have a decent point on null sphere, while I still feel that Null Sphere should be maxed after pulse(mainly due to force pulses better scalin[though getting nerfed next patch] and the aoe damage combined with it not ramping in mana cost) I do agree that situationally if they have a lot of powerful saving heroes(kayle/zilean etc) it can be a boon to level early depending on how early team fights are happening and how many disables/silences you have on your team, my only issue is it's slow travel time so it can be hard at times to effectively silence them.
True enough on the ignite criticism, late game it is fairly lack luster(in need of a buff on that end imho perhaps additional 100-200 damage at 18) I still can't stress how powerful it is early game, but with summoner spells it generally is a matter of taste, this guide mainly was written to stress the item build and the playstyle.
Utility over Offense does make a fair amount of sense, it offers a lot more boon in long stressed fights, my simple reason for preference for offense is for the extra burst, one of these days I'll have to try Utility when I'm playing with one of my teams.
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