Kog'Maw, the Chewer of Champions
Last Updated December 20, 2010
When the prophet Malzahar was reborn in Icathia, he was led there by an ominous voice which thereafter anchored itself to his psyche. From within, this voice bestowed upon him terrible purpose, and though Malzahar was no longer tormented by its call, the voice did not cease its unrelenting summons. This baleful beacon's gentle flicker -- now fastened to Runeterra -- drew forth a putrid beast that ambled across a threshold it did not understand, widening a fissure between the spaces which were never meant to meet. There amongst the haunting ruins of Icathia, Kog'Maw manifested in Valoran with unsettling curiosity. The spark which led him to Runeterra teased him still, urging him gently towards Malzahar. It also encouraged him to familiarize himself with his new environment, to the stark horror of everything he encountered on his journey.
The enchanting colors and aromas of Runeterra intoxicated Kog'Maw, and he explored the fruits of the strange world the only way he knew how: by devouring them. At first he sampled only the wild flora and fauna he happened across. As he traversed the parched Tempest Flats, however, he came upon a tribe of nomads. Seemingly unhampered by conventional rules of physics, Kog'Maw consumed every nomad and any obstacles they put in his way, amounting to many times his own mass and volume. The most composed of his victims may have had time to wonder if this was due to the caustic enzymes which stung the ground as they dripped from his gaping mouth, although such musings were abruptly concluded. When his wake of catastrophe reached the Institute of War, and enthusiastic Malzahar greeted him with an enticing prospect: taste the best Runeterra could offer...on the Fields of Justice.
'If that's just hungry, I don't want to see angry.' --Tryndamere, the Barbarian King
What is Kog'Maw?
Kog'Maw, the hungry creature from the void is very good at what he is made to do: eat people. With the range from his 'W' move Bio-Arcane Barrage, the attack speed from his 'Q' passive Caustic Spittle, and his ability to finish off stragglers with his ultimate Living Artillery, Kog'maw can easily rip apart almost any champion that dares to get into his huge 750-2000 radius threat area (didn't think he had that much range did you?)
Now there are a lot of different builds around for Kog'Maw. This one is centered around him being a physical dps champion to take full advantage of his “I rip you to shreds” abilities.
So if you think you're ready to start chewing champions in a heartbeat (Tanks beware!) then keep on reading =)
Icathian Surprise (Passive):
Upon dying, Kog'Maw starts a chain reaction in his body which causes him to move faster and detonate after 4 seconds; dealing 100 + (25 x level) true damage to surrounding enemies.
Most people see 100 + (25 x level) and figure that isn't that much damage. So I will do the math for you: 100 + 450 = 550 damage. Add on the fact that because this damage is TRUE damage it ignores armor and magic resistance, and BAM that is a passive that should make people wary of killing you if they aren't at 100% HP. With this, if you ever get into a situation where you know you will die no matter what you do, try to whittle down your opponents HP as much as possible then jump on them with the passive after they knock you below 0. While dying in game is never a good thing, taking some other champions with you makes it more worthwhile. If you are lucky, you might be able to kill more than 1 champion with this should you die near the end of a team fight. Nothing is more amusing than getting a triple kill off Kog'maw exploding ^_^
Caustic Spittle (Q):
Passive: Increases Kog'Maw's attack speed by 10/15/20/25/30%.
Active: Kog'Maw launches a corrosive projectile which deals 60/110/160/210/260 (0.7) magic damage and reduces the target's armor by 5/10/15/20/25 for 4 seconds.Mana Cost: 60/60/60/60/60
At first I didn't like the change from the old Q which gave Kog'maw insane Armor Pen. However, the increased attack speed this now grants makes it so that Kog'maw easily hits max Attack Speed, which literally turns him into a champion buzz-saw.
As always I don't recommend using the active all that often as the range on it is rather short. If you can, use it on enemies who decide to get to close to you in a team fight once you have dealt with all the other carries that are in range of you.
Bio-Arcane Barrage (W):
Kog'Maw's attacks gain 130/160/190/220/250 range and deal an additional 2/3/4/5/6% (0.01%) of the target's maximum Health as Magic Damage (Max: 100 Damage vs Monsters). Lasts 6 seconds.
This is what turns Kog'maw into one of the best DPS champs in LoL. The extra range he gets from this makes it so that you can easily hit people who are running, plus the bonus damage you deal is just DEVASTATING. Paired with Madred's Bloodrazor when this skill is maxed per hit you are doing 10% of their hit points in magic damage. Add on the fact that you will easily have 2.5 attack speed, and you can kill practically any champ in 5 seconds or less (or your money back!)
Void Ooze (E):
Kog'Maw launches ooze which deals 60/110/160/210/260 (0.7 ability power ratio) magic damage to enemies it passes through.
Additionally, it leaves a trail which slows enemies by 28/36/44/52/60% for 4 seconds.
I used to want to max this ability first as it was great for farming when paired with Kog's ult. However all you really need is one level in this for the slow and you'll be perfectly fine. While it can still be quite useful, it is not as useful anymore.
Living Artillery (R):
Kog'Maw fires artillery from a great distance (1400/1700/2000). After a short delay, the artillery falls dealing 80/120/160 (0.3 ability power ratio) magic damage and reveals targets for 4 seconds (deals 150% bonus damage to Champions).
Each subsequent Living Artillery in the next 6 seconds costs 40 additional mana (Max 200).
Okay, with the “does 150% bonus damage to champions” clause, the damage output from this reads as 120/180/240 when you're firing it against enemy champions, which is actually quite amazing damage from a spammable ult. Just be careful to watch your mana. You don't want to spam this too much before a big team fight as you may not have enough mana to activate your W.
This is also a great move to be used in team fights. If there is anyone attempting to run, just start shooting this at them and you may be able to kill them. With it's 2000 max range, it is usually hard to miss. However when you do this you need to remember three things:
- You need to lead your target, so that where the ult hits, is where you think they will be when it hits.
- Keep track of your mana, as this ability eats up your mana stores quickly.
- Always keep track of Kog'Maw. I have countless times tried to chase someone down with this only to realize “crap I made Kog'maw walk right into the rest of their team....”
For my Mastery build I have the tree set up in the form of 21/0/9
3 points in Deadliness, 1 point on Armage's Savvy
4 points in Sorcery
1 point in Archaic Knowledge, 3 points in Sunder, and 2 points in Offensive Mastery
3 points in Brute Force
3 points in Lethality
1 point in Havoc
3 points in Good Hands, 1 point in Haste
4 points in Awareness
1 point in Greed
Ghost – Ghost is a helpful summoner spell as it gives Kog'Maw the escape mechanism he needs in order to escape combat. In the laning phase you need to be careful when you use this though. If you use it too often it might be on cooldown when you need it most and it'll possibly cause you to die. I would always use this with Kog'Maw. To me, Ghost is non-negotiable.
Flash - Beforehand I recommended Cleanse or Teleport. Now I find Ghost/Flash is the best spell combination for Kog'Maw. Flash gives you that extra bit of range if you need it to kill an enemy champion, as well as giving Kog'maw easier means of escape. I have found that Flash has saved me countless more times than Cleanse ever did.
Some other Summoner Spells you could consider using are:
Teleport – Normally I use Teleport with every champions I play. However with Kog'Maw, Flash/Ghost is just a better choice in my opinion. Usually you should only use Teleport if you feel you will be B-pilling quite often, which most times you shouldn't be as Kog'maw.
Exhaust - While I hate that this summoner spell causes you to get into closer quarters, it can be used as another way for Kog'Maw to escape people.
My Rune build is pretty straight forward:
Marks - Attack Speed
Seals - Attack Speed
Glyphs - Attack Speed
Quints - Attack Speed
Do you see the trend in my runes? Basically with these runes you start off with a bonus 38.1% attack speed, which makes it so you don't need to buy as many attack speed items to get to that wonderful 2.5 cap.
R > W > Q > E
Start with W, as it is super powerful, usually eating one block of hp per hit, which can help you to get an early fb if you have help, or are helping someone (ie. your jungler).
Between levels 1 and 6 you wanna learn your abilities in this order:
W, Q, W, E, W, R
This give you some decent attack speed, your slow, your ult, and then a lot of bonus damage when you throw your W on. In most cases, not many mid champs I have faced have been able to hold up against Kog at level 6. And if they survive the initial assault, usually they won't escape your Icathian Surprise
Afterwards try to level your W to max, followed by your Q. E should be the last thing you max. Also grab your ult whenever it is available.
As I said earlier, this build is a physical damage build. The main reason for this is that I find that Kog'Maw doesn't have high enough AP ratios and low enough cooldowns to be a straight AP character. With that said, I also don't like using a hybrid build, as it takes the awesomeness that is a physical damage Kog'Maw build and halves it because you are also making room for AP items. Anyway, on with the item build....
There are two different ways for you to start the build.
Option one - Baller's Grab:
If you feel comfortable with your ability in using Kog'maw and you don't want some extra hp to help with the beginning, get yourself Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potions.
Option Two - Comfortable but Effective:
If you'd rather go along and give yourself some buffer space while laning, grab Doran's Blade and a Health Potion.
Whichever Option you choose depends on your play style. The only major difference is that with option one you can get your items a little faster since you already have your Boots of Speed. However the speed in which you get your items is so marginal it doesn't really matter all that much imo.
The first item you want to get yourself after your starting stuff is a pair of Berserker Greaves.
After you get the Greaves do you best to rush Madred's Bloodrazor. If you have over 1000 gold when you go back to base, get the Recurve Bow instead of Madred's Razor first as the attack speed is 99.999% of the time better than the armor and damage.
Once you finish the Bloodrazor, it all depends on what you want to do from here. If you want to move quicker to chase down your enemies better, start and finish Phantom Dancer, followed by Starks Fervor. If however you want a little more survivability, then get Starks first, followed by the Dancer afterwards.
To finish off the build simply build a Frozen Mallet and a Black Cleaver.
The main thing you need to remember when playing Kog'Maw is that he's fragile. If you're using Flash as a Summoner Spell you might be able to afford making a few bad decision without it badly effecting your team. However do your best to keep Kog'Maw alive. Just because his passive turns him into a walking bomb after death does not give you an invitation to jump into the middle of anything expecting to blow people up. Kog'Maw is VERY item dependent so every second you spend dead cuts you out of gold and decreases Kog'Maw's usefulness.
With that said, early game, your goal is to farm like a mad man. Last hit every minion you can to get as much gold as you can. If some champion kills present themselves, work together with your teammates to make sure the effort isn't wasted, just remember, don't ever over extended. I myself have over extended countless times. You know what happens? Kog'Maw DIES, and even worse, their usually isn't even anything for me to explode into.
Once the game develops into all out war, you need to do your best to be at every team fight possible. Be prepared to get assists. While Kog'Maw definitely has the capabilities to be a killing machine, most of the time he gets champions low enough for others to jump in and finish them off. Remember that you can attempt to kill runners with your ultimate if they are low enough. And once again, NEVER OVEREXTEND!!!! The best thing about Kog'Maw is the huge range his is capable of. So if you can afford to be back just a little bit further, then move back further.
As long as you have a competent team and are careful you should do well with Kog'Maw. Now then, get out there and start eating!