If you’re a regular League of Legends player, you surely know about Malzahar. He’s purple, has an army of bugs, and most importantly, his infamous Nether Grasp R ability.
Throughout his time as a champion, Malzahar has caused stirs among the community. When he’s a strong meta pick, he’s brutal to play against, and even when he’s not, his ultimate can be the bane of people’s existence. As a result, Malzahar is an overall great League of Legends champion to have at your disposal.
Why play Malzahar?
For some, the main draw of playing Malzahar is his R. This is definitely a great selling point, but he offers so much more than that. First off, his kit has great utility. The R is the most obvious one, as it suppresses a target, but with a silence on his Call of the Void (Q) and his Malefic Visions (E) synergizing well with Rylai’s Crystal Scepter’s slow, Malzahar has many tools to disrupt enemy teams.
Secondly, the Prophet of the Void has great wave clear. It is largely dependant on your Void Swarm (W) voidlings, which can die easily to some other champions, but nevertheless can be oppressive and easily help him gain priority in a lane. This gives him the chance to roam and impact other lanes, a trait that is especially useful in the current meta.
Furthermore, he’s a relatively safe pick. Like other immobile mages, he can be countered by super high mobility and range, but his Void Shift passive spell shield allows him to stay safe. The shield, along with his wave clear, can make it so Malzahar can get the farm he needs to without putting himself in harm’s way.
Last, but not least, Malzahar has great scaling. At three items, he becomes a huge damage threat with his damage-over-time E. He can cut through enemies like butter if given peel, and can completely shut enemy threats down.
Runes and Summoner Spells
Starting off with the runes, Summon Aery is the most common choice for Malzahar. The rune itself is good because his E can proc Aery’s damage twice if at the right range, but also gives access to the Sorcery tree. Here, the three minor runes are all fantastic on Malzahar. Manaflow Band helps the champion sustain with mana and keep wave control. Meanwhile, Transcendence and Gathering Storm help his scaling immensely.
In the second tree, Inspiration is the best choice. Some players variate on choices here, but Biscuit Delivery feels great to run, as it gives you more freedom to trade early on and keep up your mana pool. Cosmic Insight is nice too for the minor benefits it brings. Besides that, the smaller runes are standard, as Malzahar doesn’t need anything fancy in those slots.
As for Summoner Spells, Flash and Teleport are the staples. Flash is a given, as its a crucial escape and engage tool, but Teleport is usually important too. If things go wrong in lane, either with a trade or because you blew through too much mana, it lets you back and return to lane quickly. It’s good for getting to other lanes too, or catching bottom lane farm in the mid-game if need be. But for more aggressive players, Exhaust or Ignite are viable options, depending on the matchup.
Unlike some other League of Legends champions, Malzahar’s build path is fairly set in stone. Upon starting the game, you should build Doran’s Ring and pick up two potions. After that, your first full, completed item should be Luden’s Echo. It grants Malzahar everything he needs, including mana, AP and CDR.
Sorcerer’s Shoes are the primary boots option for Malzahar, as they give the magic penetration all mages love. Some do choose to go Ionian Boots of Lucidity though, because those have general CDR and Summoner Spell CDR in them.
The next two items you need are Rylai’s Crystal Scepter and Liandry’s Torment. You can choose to build either one or the other first, though you should put some thought into it before you do. Liandry’s provides a lot more damage, which is great for snowballing if you’re ahead, but Rylai’s brings the utility that is useful if you’re behind or have champions you need to kite against.
After these three core items are complete, there are many options. It’s wise to go for a Zhonya’s Hourglass or Banshee’s Veil, as they provide defensive capabilities and push you up to 45% CDR if you don’t have Boot of Lucidity. Void Staff is a must versus enemies with a lot of magic resistance, while Rabadon’s Deathcap makes it so you hit like a truck. Of course, Morellonomic is another essential against healing-heavy teams, so make sure you consider all options carefully.
As soon as Malzahar loads up onto League of Legends‘ Summoner’s Rift, he should have two things on his mind. The first is surviving and getting level 6. The second is to poke the enemies with spells to stack up Manaflow Band. Remember, Malzahar is a scaling mage, meaning he doesn’t need to make any flashy plays in the early game. Farm up, finish Manaflow so you have the sustain, and get 1300 gold for your first back.
1300 gold is a specific number for a specific reason. This amount is sufficient to purchase Lost Chapter, a component for Luden’s Echo. It is important to it pick up ASAP, because it provides AP, mana, and a passive that grants mana on level-up. It’s critical for your laning until you can buy Luden’s.
Besides that, Malzahar can utilize his wave clear to gain early priority in certain matchups. With it, he can assist his jungler in pressuring the map or simply taking Scuttle Crabs. In addition, at level 6, he can set up ganks with R, if the jungler decides to come mid for the free kills.
You might struggle in lane sometimes as Malzahar, but in the mid/late-game, you can thrive. At this point, his wave clear is truly online, which means you can rotate at will. This applies to you if you’re still hunkering down in the mid lane or have moved to a side lane, as either place is viable for Malzahar to be at after the 15 or 20-minute mark. If you have teammates with your or nearby during these rotations, your ultimate is a valuable pick tool. Enemies in the river and jungle are prime victims for the point-and-click fun button!
Though you can be in the side lane, try not to be there too much once the game goes late. Malzahar is good at pushing towers with his voidlings, as they do decent damage and can tank shots so your minions survive longer, but his low mobility makes him susceptible to enemy teams collapsing on him. Therefore, its fine to do in the mid-game and to outer towers, but not so much when its past 30-ish minutes and the remaining towers are closer to the enemies’ base.
At this late-game stage, team fighting is the priority. Though your ultimate can be an engage tool, its better to not stay in the front line, as you can die easily or simply be CC’d and have your ultimate stopped. Positioning is very important, so keep your frontline in front of you and save your R for priority targets that get in range. Malzahar prospers in longer fights, where his DOT has time to ramp up and devastate enemies. As such, don’t always worry about bursting a single target. Calculate your movements at all times and you should be successful.
Though we’re nearing the end, there are some more things to keep in mind if you’re planning on learning League of Legends‘ own Malzahar. The first is that, when you’re about to Nether Grasp someone, you should make sure you put click your W and E before you cast R. That’s because once you start the R cast, any abilities you use will cancel your suppression. It’s a silly mistake that many beginner Malzahar players make, but be vigilant with this or you’ll probably get a lot of question mark pings from your team.
Secondly, Malzahar’s voidlings give him gold and XP when they kill minions even if Malzahar isn’t right next to them. You can’t be a whole map away, but if you E and W a wave, you can instantly move down the river, for example, and get the drops from killed minions. Knowing this is optimal, as it lets you both move instantly to potentially game-changing plays and maximize your efficiency.
In the end, Malzahar is a fantastic champion for mid laners to pick up. He has bad matchups, sure, but every League of Legends champion does. The big thing is that he will always offer utility and is a consistent pick in the right hands. So get out there and smack some people with the most annoying point-and-click crowd control in the game!