Hello, and welcome to my Cho'Gath guide. This is intended to be a reasonably in-depth, all-purpose guide to Cho, Covering the three main build types, tank, off-tank, and AP.
First off, let’s start with the basics, what is a Cho’Gath? Cho’Gath is a terrible monster from the void, and hence the cutest **** thing you ever did see. Yes he is. Yes he is. Seriously though, Cho’Gath is a fairly unique Champion, with a built in health steroid, an auto-attack steroid that scales with AP, and two rather long range spells that scale with AP. And his passive is an absolutely wonderful thing that lets him lane ludicrously well.
First off, Runes and Masteries, there’s several mastery setups on Cho that I’ve found to work:
The first one is what I use currently, strength of spirit, and the utility tree let him lane pretty much indefinitely unless awful things happen, and the CDR allows you to hit that ever so important 40% cap very easily. The second one is good if you’re really aggressive and want that extra magic pen to give your Q,W,E and that extra oomph. The third one is to make you BRICKS. SO MANY BRICKS. YOU IS ALL THE BRICKS.
Summoner Spells: Ghost + Flash, or Flash + Ignite are your staples. Flash is very important for Cho, it allows you to do RIDICULOUS things with Feast. And it allows for chasing with rupture more effectively, flash -> Rupture -> Scream -> Feast is absurdly good. Other options are Ghost + Exhaust, or Flash + Exhaust. Flash + Voy is also an option, because Clairvoyance is good on EVERYONE. Do not underestimate the power of vision.
9X Magic Pen Reds
9X Mana regen per level yellows
9X CDR per level blues
3X Health Quints
These are what I use since I’m primarily off-tank and caster in the groups I run with. And once again, CDR is ever so important for Cho. Presumably, there are tankier rune pages that people like to use as well. I however, have never bothered with them.
Now, let’s go over his abilities. Skill order will be covered in the laning section, as optimal skill order for Cho’Gath is situational.
Passive: Carnivore “Whenever Cho'Gath kills a unit, he recovers 40 - 82 (based on level) health and 8-16 mana.”
This passive pretty much defines your laning phase, it’ll also teach you to be a better farmer. Low on health? Last hit with Rupture or Scream. Or just last hit a poor melee minion that got too close to your back line. This synergizes very well with the fact that Cho’Gath is an AMAZING farmer
Rupture: “Cho’Gath ruptures the ground at target location popping enemy units up into the air and slowing them.”
Mana cost: 90/90/90/90/90
Damage 80/135/190/245/305 (+1*AP)
This is a wonderful ability, knockup, huge AoE, good damage, and a slow. The one downside however is that it’s SLOOOOOW. So slow, that hitting with Rupture in laning is pretty much an art. It’s an ability that takes a long time to get the hang of. The range on this thing is absolutely incredible, and it allows you to control lanes very well if you can land it, more importantly though, the range means you can last hit with it to get back health and gain money and exp. Combined with his passive, if you’re pumping rupture you are almost impossible to deny effectively. You can also throw it down to cover escapes, block escapes, etc. There are so many uses for this ability it’s ridiculous.
Feral Scream: “Cho’Gath unleashes a terrible scream at enemies in a cone, damaging and silencing enemies for a few seconds.”
Damage: 80/130/180/240/300 (+.7 AP)
Mana cost: 70/80/90/100/110
This ability is also amazing. The silence duration is MEAN, three seconds at level five. The damage is VERY NICE and the range is also quite good. With this ability you can control the flow of a fight very well, rendering people unable to use their abilities at important moments for a good long while. Also, if you’re going AP it hits like a car.
Vorpal Spikes: “Cho’Gath’s attacks passively release deadly spikes, dealing damage to all enemy units in front of him.”
Toggle: Launches spikes which deal 20/35/50/65/80 (+.3 AP) damage in an AoE in front him.
This ability is very interesting. The spikes go quite far, and don’t do A LOT of damage, but they do some, and depending on the amount of AP you have, they may or may not have a noticeable impact in team fights. What this ability really is for though, is farming. Get a point or two in this during laning phase, and your last hitting will be infinitely easier. This also makes harassing with auto-attacks more threatening, allowing you to do just that little bit more during laning. Don’t rely on these to deny though, as 20/30/40/50/60 damage can be regened right back. You can use them to get several last hits at once too, it’s great. And it lets you free farm if you’re pushed to your tower. You can always get last hits early on with Vorpal Spikes under the tower. You don’t have to fiddle around with hitting the ranged creeps once before the first shot. Or anything like that.
Feast: “Devours an enemy unit, dealing a high amount of damage that ignores magic resist. If the target is killed, Cho'Gath grows, gaining maximum health (maximum 6 stacks). Cho'Gath loses up to 3 stacks upon death.”
Deals 300/475/650 (+0.7*AP) true damage or 1000 true to target minion.
Health Gain per stack: 90/120/150
This ability is probably Cho’Gath’s biggest crowd pleaser. Feast makes people so happy. And it makes Cho happy. It fills his belly and makes him nice and fat. It gives him the survivability he needs if he’s going AP, and if he’s going tank it lets him not have to deal with that silly “build health” nonsense. The damage is also incredible, the base is very very high. And it’s how tank Cho initiates.
Now let’s talk about laning.
Let’s start off with the simplest, 2v2. Now, we’re going to hold off on skill selection till we see who we’re laning against, and with. Our first pick of skill will be either be Q or W. If the opponent can outrange scream easily, and if they also outrange your lane mate, then you will want to pump Q for this laning phase. Otherwise, pump W. Use your own judgment when deciding what skill to use.
Generally it should look like:
Cho’Gath has amazing lane presence, and your goal will be to deny the opponent farm while making money yourself. And you are very good at it. If you’re pumping W, just scream at them whenever they go near you or your minion wave. If you aren’t afraid of their CC, and if you have them on their tower (which you will, eventually, no matter what you do) scream at them in between tower shots. Or threaten to scream at them in between tower shots. It’ll make them back off your minions and allow to keep denying, to a degree, even when they’re pushed to their tower.
An important note, when denying wait till the creeps are as low as possible before lasting. Yes, Vorpal Spikes lets you last hit earlier, but just wait a tick, really. Shutting down the poor ******* on the other team is worth waiting a millisecond or two. Also, try to avoid hitting the creeps with your scream.
There will be a subsection at the end of this section for those who have decided to pump rupture.
Once you hit level six it’s time to start feasting minions. And THEN, once you have six stacks, you can pretty much feast the enemy champions whenever you feel like it. If however, you have one of the enemies in the lane dangerously low, say 600-500 health, you can start gunning for a kill. Poke them with scream, or rupture, and try to get your lanemate to get a poke in or two as well. If done successfully, you should pretty much be able to flash+feast for a kill. It’s magnificent for tower diving. Other uses for feast are getting them to back off your lane mate by taking a big bite out of them.
About baby-sitting: Cho isn’t the best baby sitter, he needs to last hit often to sustain his mana if he wants REAL control of the lane. But it can be done. You’ll have to change your focus to keeping the enemy champs health low, and threatening them with damage if they so much as look at your carry.
Cho’Gath is a very strong 2v1. And it is probably the best place for him. The main difference in 2v1 is that your skill order is most likely going to be Q->E->Q->E->Q->R->W. This is because it’s difficult to zone two champions at once with W if one of the enemy champions has any kind of range whatsoever. And the extra point in vorpal allows you to last hit on the tower for free. If you’re feeling confident about things, you can try using W, and it has paid off for me more than a few times. Now, the reason we’re pumping Q is because it has RANGE. And by using it to last hit creep waves from absurd distances, you can ensure that you maintain health, farm, and level advantages in some pretty terrible situations. The one exception this seems to be when you’re against something like Kennen and Gangplank. Ugh. Nightmares. Ugh.
This is pretty much identical to 2v2 with a few exceptions. In general, W is AMAZING for 1v1. Guaranteeing deny against most champs in the game. It will even allow you to sustain yourself against Vlad (When he goes in for transfusion, scream, then threaten autoattack during silence) be aggressive and if you’re low, position yourself so the next scream will hit Vlad and minions for health.
BONUS SECTION: Rupture and YOU
So you have decided to pump rupture have you? Let’s talk about leading ground targeted AoE or GTAoE for short. Hitting with rupture in laning requires you to have a good memory, and strong observational skills. Remember how they moved last time when you missed, and last time when you hit. Also try to keep in mind their most common reaction.
We will begin with the simpler cases. First off, it’s very easy to catch people by placing rupture behind the spot they’re standing in and walking at them. Most of the time you don’t even have to walk at them. This is probably how you are going to be landing the first few ruptures in your lane. Be careful, some people like to run AT you or stand in one place when you rupture, if this is the case, plan accordingly. Above all though, go with your gut. You’ll develop an intuition eventually. Eventually, they’re going to start varying up their movement patterns, common patterns are straight sideways, or diagonal “hooks” to evade your rupture. A diagram has been provided indicating, what, in my experience are the areas people tend to run to, with blue being the most common, red being the least. Black is where they’re standing initially. I made you a flower? Isn’t it pretty?
Another solid option is to place a rupture in front of their path if they act as though they are going to approach you or they look like they’re going for minions. A good spot is right in the middle of a big group of minions, people will miss the smoke a lot of the time and just get hit. A good thing to keep in mind is that you're trying condition your opponent's reaction to your stomp.
Mid to late game!
Now then, onto mid-game with Cho’Gath. The way you will play mid-game will be determined by your build path. We’ll start with AP Cho, then talk about Tank Cho, then move onto Off-Tank. We’re doing off-tank last because it’s a very broad category. And it’s uses are many.
AP Cho hits like a truck. A really really angry truck. Covered in spikes. Rupture has a one-to-one ratio and has 305 base damage it also knocks up, and sets up scream which has 300 base damage and a .7 ratio. Unfortunately, he’s also a lot harder to play correctly, since one of your stronger nukes is melee range, but that’s not really too big an obstacle. Your goal mid game as AP Cho is to wait for your tank to initiate then follow him in. Since you should have six feast stacks by this point, you’ll be survivable enough to be the second or third one in. The problem with AP Cho is you still have to be pretty careful. You need to use Rupture and scream to basically force an opening, THEN you go in for feast. This is the opposite of tank Cho, where your feast should be best used as an initiation. As a bonus, vorpal spikes both have AP ratios. You won’t be in the melee a lot as AP Cho, you’re a bit squishy for that but if you’ve done enough damage to their carries and have high enough health, it might be worth it to run around in the fight and throw down some VS. You’ve basically got to play him as a standard caster with a BIT higher than average survivability.
Aside from team fighting, your job is to run around and push lanes with rupture. And with it you can push pretty **** hard. A single rupture with some AP should be taking out all the ranged creeps, and a scream follow up will kill the melees.
AP Cho items
To establish mid-game dominance, you’re going to want to rush Deathcap on AP Cho. It gives the AP you need to kill the enemy team’s squishies in a single burst cycle. For boots, you’ll want Ionian Boots of Lucidity. After this, at your discretion, you’ll generally want to buy from the following:
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter
A surprisingly good choice on AP Cho is Morello’s Evil Book. Giving him a decent amount of AP and maxing out his CDR. If you don’t want Morello’s Book on Cho, then I would recommend a Glacial Shroud, or if you’re feeling cheeky, Deathfire’s Grasp.
Lichbane is also an option on AP Cho, allowing you to Rupture -> Autoattack, Scream Feast -> Autoattack for a ton of damage.
Tank Cho is very very straightforward. You ideally want to be the first one in the fight, and the last one out. You’re also very big. A good trick with Tank Cho is to sit on friendly squishies, forcing the enemy to target you instead of them. Initiating outside of flash -> feasting the carry is tricky. Essentially, you want to land rupture and be close enough to follow up. If you can do this, you’re golden. Another much more painful option is to just bait the enemy team into jumping on your face, and putting a rupture right on top yourself or really close to it, then screaming afterwards. If they take the bait, your teammates should then be free to pile in and wreck face. During the team fight sit on your carries and throw around ruptures and screams to disable high priority targets and protect friendly ones. If you don’t feel like sitting on a squishy, be sure to throw lots of autoattacks down to keep them hurting. If you’re too CC’d to do any of the above then congratulations, you STILL probably did your job.
Outside of team fights you generally want to to lead pushes. You also of course, want to tank towers if necessary. You should also be the one wandering around in the jungle ahead of your team. If your team is prone to doing such.
Tank Cho items
The core of your build is:
Ionion Boots of Lucidity
Rushing Rod of Ages IS an option on Tank Cho, and I would honestly recommend it over rushing Warmog’s, it’ll make your threat level A LOT high for most of the game. Then, depending on team comp you should look at these items:
Force of Nature
These are the major big purchases you’ll want to be making as Tank Cho. Given your high built in health, you want to start building MR and Armor instead of health, until you hit a certain point. After that,if you need health get a Rylai’s, it synergizes with spikes and gives you even more CC. A guardian angel is also decent at that point. Another good set of options, if you’re looking for that oomph, is Zhonya’s Hourglass or Abyssal Scepter. CDR is absolutely vital to tank Cho, and Cho in general. Without it he can’t cast his disables as often, and as a consequence, his teammates die. Especially when he’s tank Cho, because after his nuke cycle, you can ignore him.
Off-tank Cho is great for a lot of things. It’s basically the swiss-army knife of Cho builds. Have lots of Tanky DPS but no main tank? Off-Tank Cho is actually a very good choice. Generally if you need survivability AND damage you want to start looking at a more off tanky build. You won’t do a TON of damage, but you’ll do enough to be a threat. And the other team will have incentive to focus you, because as an AP/Tank hybrid you’ll have enough AP that you’ll be killing squishies if they ignore you. You won’t be blowing them up COMPLETELY with a two nuke cycle, but you’ll make them back off. Generally, the playing style should be like AP Cho but more aggressive, follow your tank in first and stay near the middle of the fight, try to protect carries with your face and hit squishier targets with your nukes, aim for kills. For a build you’ll want to get one of these three first:
Off-Tank Cho items
Rod of Ages
This is also a different, very effective core that you can use:
Needlessly Large Rod + Chain Vest + Negatron Cloak (You don't care about slot efficiency this early)
Depending on how the game is going. After this look into these as your other main purchases:
Force of Nature
It’s going to be up to you to decide whether you want more AP or survivability. Are you dying or coming close? No? Then get more AP. Generally though, you want to avoid pure AP damage items, and go for items that give hybrid Tank/AP stats whenever possible. Once again, your main boots are going to be Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Merc Treads is also a pretty good option with this build, because you’re a bit more vulnerable than tank Cho. In fact Merc Treads are always good, if the other team is CC heavy. Once again, use your discretion.
And that’s pretty much it for my guide. I hope it was helpful.
While I do not entirely agree not a bad guide overall.
I have found Rupture to much of a mana waste to be effective leveling anytime early. Yes you account for adjusting to an opponent. While you are adjusting though you are burning a lot of mana for nothing. With Scream you have something much easier to hit with and much easier to zone your opponent out with.
Also you should level vorpal spikes more by max level early you have an auto attack that hits for the same amount as someone's special ability. If you are zoning then you can toggle them off or attacking a tower toggle it off to not cause Champion hitting agro. Leveling Vorpal spikes I have zoned out any melee champion combo 1v2 everytime. Fight with your minions and face so that you are killing their minions thus reducing their dmg and regening at the same time.
Also while AP Cho is a monster in general you will be expected to tank 9/10 games soloing. I always pick up an AP item when tanking. I just adjust what I get depending on my opponents and I get something that provides defense as well. Also something that gives you more mana is a must so BV or RoA usually. If I get and AP item late then I get one that gives me MRes or some other stat that helps against my opponents as needed.
You might consider a section on jungling.
Cho is a surprisingly good jungler who stays at near full health during most of the run. Furthermore he is one of the few Jungling Tanks that isn't permabanned.
I start with Spikes since its 20 damage aoe per attack for no mana.
I take attack speed red runes(for better jungling) and whatever else.
Cloth+5pots works nicely and he can finish his route and stillhave full health for gank.
Ghost/Flash + Smite is typical.
Instead of starting at blue, CHo can easily start elsewhere. I usually go Wraiths, to wolves, to blue, then onto their side of the jungle to take their wraiths, red, 2golems.
If they have a strong jungler, you can take the safer route of your wraiths again, 2golems, redbuff, then go gank.
You avoid the usual Razors and I typically grab Boots, a few more pots, and an amplyfying tome and just hold onto the cloth.
Then you can build as usual, keeping the cloth for merc treads, or an Aegis or whatever. I like to build a Soulstealer since I am already adverse to dying due to stacks. That gives me a chance of getting decent AP.
From there, I focus on tanking stuff starting with Banshees, then Aegis, and Glacial Armor (in most cases due to its CDR boosting my offensive power). Theres plenty of good choices though.
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