1mil pts Malzahar guide
Best Overall Runes
Best Overall Build
Hi, I'm LuckyGnom. I'm a diamond player from EUW. I have almost 800k pts on Malzahar on my main account and, if you add mastery points from my secondary accounts, I will get over 1m pts for sure. I started to play Malzahar back in S6 because he was a great SoloQ stomper, and I've wanted a champion that can get kills in lane. I was wrong about the second part, but I never regret picking him up. Malzahar was the champion that brought me to diamond for the first time in my life. I learned a lot of macro ideas because of him. Also, 6 seasons later, this champion is still relevant and is my go-to pick when I need to win a game from a mid-lane position.
By the way, I translate guides made by Korean pros like Faker, BDD, KurO, and make my own. You can find them on my youtube: https://www.youtube.com/luckygnom
If you feel extra generous, you can follow my stream, where I play LoL, analyze replays, and coach: https://www.twitch.tv/luckygnom
Why would you play Malzahar?
Each person has their own weak and strong sides. Some people excel at playing flashy and mechanically demanding champions. Others prefer to outsmart opponents with slow champions that require a lot of pre-planning. You can see it even in pro players. If you like players like Bjergsen, BDD, Doinb, then Malzahar might be a good fit for you.
Malzahar playstyle is super straight forward. His abilities are easy to understand and to use in the right order. You don't need to have insane mechanics to win with this champion. What you need is to constantly think about where you can get advantages on a map and how you can get them.
Ok, but why would you pick Malzahar over Viktor, Orianna, or Lux? The biggest difference between Malzahar and other mages is that his roaming is insanely strong and easy to execute. Plus, it's very easy for your teammates to understand what do you want to do and how to follow your play, which is a very good thing to have in SoloQ.
Also, Malzahar never stops scaling. The damage of other mages eventually becomes less relevant, or they get so much of it that slapping additional damage on top is just overkill. However, Malzahars' passive allows him to get away with a full damage build, plus all targets' maximum health damage keeps him relevant even in a late-game situation.
- Good if you want to learn more about macro and roaming.
- Plug & play champion: you will be useful from your first game on him.
- Easy to learn and simple to execute ability combos.
- A simple game plan that doesn't change much from game to game.
- Never stops scaling.
- Has an insane amount of damage even with one item.
- Very straightforward: your teammates know exactly what you want to do.
- Very safe and somewhat tanky.
- Relevant even if he falls behind due to all utility he has.
- Bad if you want to learn more about proper laning.
- QSS removes your ultimates' crowd control.
- Rough laning phase pre-6 level.
- It's hard to force a fight when you don't have Flash or Ultimate.
- Certain champions can clear your Voidlings with only one ability.
- Might be tricky to execute in a side lane against champions with a lot of mobility and burst.
- If the opposing mid-laner is a good player, it's unlikely that you will get solo kills during the laning phase.
Guides rarely have this part. However, I think that this part is the most important. You can build any items and take any runes, but if you don't understand the playstyle your champion excels at - you won't get good results.
Malzahar isn't the best laning champion. His most important ability, Malefic Visions, has a very short range and a very long cooldown. As a result, it's unlikely that you'll get a huge CS lead or solo kill the opposing mid-laner during the laning phase. However, he is very safe due to his passive, so you can blind pick him and expect not to lose your tower.
- Power Spikes
Early Laning Phase playstyle
Malzahar has two strong power spikes during the early game: level 6 and Lost Chapter buy. So, your early game playstyle should revolve around these power spikes.
First and foremost, focus on good CSing don't lose minions. You want to get the Lost Chapter as soon as possible. To achieve good CS numbers, don't rush into things, simply last hit minions with auto attacks, and be ready to dodge opponents' abilities.
Secondly, try not to use your abilities on the minion wave. The main purpose of Malefic Visions during the early game is to stack Manaflow Band. Every time your Manaflow Band is off cooldown, try to use Malefic Visions on the opponent when he goes for the last hit, and immediately back off.
Overall, because both Malefic Visions and Void Shift have a very long cooldown, you might be forced to give up some last hits. You might also be forced to give up lane pressure, especially in hard matchups that outrange or out damage you. This is fine! Keep calm, farm with auto attacks, use abilities to trade with opponents.
With that being said, sometimes you would want to freeze the wave near your turret or to hard push it into the opponents' turret. In this case, you can use your abilities on the minion wave. You can also use abilities on the minion wave when you're forced to farm under the turret. Just be aware that you'll lose a lot of mana by doing so.
Playstyle after you got Nether Grasp and Lost Chapter
This is part where Malzahars' playstyle becomes super easy.
First of all, don't try to get solo kills. If your opponent runs into you and wants to die, then just kill him, but it's really not worth it trying to force anything. The only reliable way for you to force kills is to use Nether Grasp - Flash combo (R-Flash), but it's worth it only if your jungler came to gank your lane.
Secondly, focus on fast clearing the minion waves. The moment minion waves collide, just use your abilities on them. A lot of people use the Malefic Visions - Call of the Void - Void Swarm combo (E - W - Q) to fast clear the minion wave with 3 Voidlings. However, this combo is not that good because your opponent can safely walk up and kill Voidings duo to your abilities being on cooldown. Instead, try to use the Malefic Visions - Void Swarm combo (E - W) and keep Call of the Void (Q) for the moment when the opponent will try to walk up to the minion wave or to refresh the Malefic Visions on the minions.
Overall, your goal is very simple: just push the minion wave with your abilities. Why does it work? Well, if the opposing mid-laner uses his abilities to clear Voidlings, then he can't use them at you. This allows you to repeat what you just did. If he tries to use his abilities at you, then you just walk away while Voidlings clear the wave. Win-win situation.
Fast clearing the minion wave allows you to do the most important job: to interact with your jungler (and, hopefully, support). Start keeping attention to what your jungler does. Help him when he fights in the river, help him when he invades opponents' jungle (if you think it was a good idea), help him when he gets invaded, gank side lanes together with him. Don't be afraid to be the one calling the plays. Ping your jungler. Constantly suggest him to make plays and always show that you'll be there to help him. "Assist me" and "On the way" pings are your best friends in winning games as Malzahar and as a mid-laner in general.
Here is a simple to-do list after you cleared the wave (from most important to least important). Look if it possible to:
- Ward opponents' jungle;
- Counter gank the side lane;
- Dive the side lane or opposing mid-laner (if your jungler agrees to do it);
- Gank the side lane;
- Take objectives;
- Steal opponents' camps;
- Farm your junglers' camps;
- Recall and buy an important item.
How to roam
If you want to have success as Malzahar, you have to learn how to roam. I've analyzed a lot of SSG Crown soloq replays back when he won Worlds 2017, and the biggest difference between him and me was his roaming. I didn't roam at all while he tunnel-visioned on roaming. When Balagan reached the top 1 EUW, he also did it because of his roams.
However, roaming is a very difficult topic and deserves a separate guide. So, here is a guide made by T1 Faker and translated by me on roaming basics. This information should be a great point to start with.
Mid and Late game
The mid-game starts after the first tower die in any lane. Your goal as a mid-laner is to be in the side lane and apply pressure by pushing the minion wave, maybe even threatening to take the turret. This is the rule to which side lane you should farm:
- If you have Teleport, farm the lane that is furthest from the next objective.
- If you don't have Teleport, farm the lane that is close to the next objective.
This is the map of the influence zones in the side lane. In this example, you're on the blue side and all turrets are alive. Green is a collection zone. Collection zone is a place where it's completely safe for you to farm minions. Yellow is a neutral zone. Neutral zone is a place where you can run into some troubles while farming minions. However, you're unlikely to die here if you're playing safe. Red is a pressure zone. It's the most dangerous place to farm minions. You can't be here unless you know where all of your opponents are, or you have good ward coverage.
In general, when the minion wave is coming into the collection zone, you have to be there to farm it unless there is an incoming important team fight.
As I've explained earlier, the neutral zone is a little bit dangerous, but Malzahar has an advantage in that he doesn't need to be near the minion wave to farm it. When you want to farm the wave in the neutral zone, you can use all of your abilities on the minion wave and run away, letting your Voidlings clear the wave by themselves.
Usually, after you clear the minion wave in the neutral zone, you have two options: either move into a pressure zone or group with a team and try to force a fight with a number advantage. The reason why you'll have a number advantage is that your pressure zone is the opponents' collection zone, so one of them will be forced to come to the side lane and farm the minions. What if no one comes? You don't need to force anything until someone shows in the side lane. If no one decides to come, you don't force anything. Regardless you're in a win-win situation because opponents will lose gold and experience from the minions you pushed.
When and how do you move into a pressure zone? You come into a pressure zone only if you want to threaten to destroy a turret. To do it, you need to know where at least 4 of the opponents are. You also need to be able to 1v1 the opponent that will show up to defend the turret. On top of it, you need to have a deep vision or set it up before attempting to hit the turret.
Malzahar is really good at destroying turrets because of the Voidlings. However, because of the reasons I described earlier, going into a pressure zone is a very situational decision.
What you also need to understand about zones is that they move when turrets get destroyed. Let's say you destroyed the tier-one turret. As you can see zones moved a little bit. To understand where these zones are, take the distance between your furthest turret (tier-one in this example) and opponents' furthest turret (tier-two in this example), and divide this distance into three equal zones. The reason why zones moved is that now it's more dangerous for the opponent to farm the minion waves without the safety of his turret unless he has a deep vision.
Everything in the mid and late-game revolves around playing in the correct side lane in the correct zone.
How to teamfight as Malzahar?
Teamfighting as Malzahar is just as simple as everything else in this champion. Before the teamfight starts, you can try to poke with your Call of the Void (Q) because it has a surprisingly high range. Be sure that your passive is up tho.
Another thing that you need to do before the teamfight is to check which of the opponents has QSS and what teammate is the most fed. The reason for the first check is obvious: QSS removes crowd control from Nether Grasp (R) (damage will be applied anyway). The reason for the second check is that the easiest way for you to win a teamfight is to simply help this person.
You want to play teamfights in a simple front-to-back style, just like an ADC player would. This is possible because you deal a lot of damage that relies on targets' maximum and bonus health. Simply hit the closest target with your Malefic Visions (E) and Void Swarm (W). Use your Call of the Void (Q) to separate the teamfight or to silence the key targets. Use your Nether Grasp (R) to peel for your most fed teammate.
What if all of your teammates are weak? In this case, you have to keep your Nether Grasp and use it to kill the most fed member of the opposing team. Usually, you do this with the Nether Grasp - Flash combo (R - Flash).
What if the most fed member has QSS? Well, you hope that your damage will be enough to get them or that they use it for something else.
You can use a lot of different rune pages on Malzahar. I will list the four most popular and explain what is the point of each one of them.
Small rune shards.
I will start with small rune shards because they are the same for all rune pages.
Health is the best scaling option in the third slot, but it doesn't give you anything for the lane. This option is good only in very easy matchups. Armor is the best choice against AD champions, while Magic Resist is the best choice against AP champions.
Adaptive Force is the most common and logical choice in the second slot. However, I saw Showmaker taking second Armor or Magic Resist shard in very tough matchups. This is a viable option, especially, if you start with the Sapphire Crystal.
Ability Haste is the best scaling option in the first slot. Technically it's the best option overall because Malzahar likes Ability Haste. However, a lot of pro players use Attack Speed here. The reason is wave management (more auto-attacks on the minion wave) and trading in the early game (auto-attacking with Corrupting Potion). Also, a lot of players take Adaptive Force, which makes sense because Malzahars' abilities have great Ability Power scaling. Plus, Ability Power allows Malzahar to deal more damage to the minions, subsequentially pushing the wave faster.
The Basic rune page.
This rune page is the most popular between SoloQ and pro players. Also, the variation of this rune page was used by the Israeli Malzahar one-trick player Balagan to reach the top 1 of the EUW server during season 11. By no means it's the best rune page. It's just the most stable page that provides the best options possible for the laning phase.
Your game plan for the laning phase is the same as we talked about in the "Early Laning Phase playstyle" section. However, the main strength of this page is that you can trade with the opposing mid-laner and come up at least even.
Roaming rune page
This rune page enhances your roaming. Malzahar players used this page back in the day. For example, Faker was a big fan of this rune page. Maybe it's time to bring this page back. Especially because players are already using this rune page on Veigar.
This rune page is all about roaming. Predator will allow you to be the first one in every play. This is a huge advantage. However, you lack damage and sustain, so try to avoid trades (especially extended ones) or trade only in your minion wave. You can achieve that by standing near your ranged minions.
Your game plan for the laning phase is very simple: relax, farm, and don't force anything. If your opponent will try to force a trade, use abilities on him and back off. Let your ranged minions do the damage for you. Focus on getting quality roams after you get your boots.
Utility rune page
For the longest time, it was the most popular rune page for Malzahar. Even after the Unsealed Spellbook changes, pro players kept using this page. The idea is that with proper pre-planning, you can have the best summoner spells for every situation.
Your game plan for the laning phase is similar to the Predator rune page. You can be a little bit more aggressive, but I recommend against it. The cool thing about this page is that you can swap for the Ghost and get a good roam.
Scaling rune page
This rune page gives the most damage in the mid and late-game. It also gives you a lot of healing. I really like this page, especially, the Domination tree. However, I suggest using this page only in the easy matchups or in the low elo, where people don't punish your weak early game.
Your game plan for the laning phase is similar to the Predator rune page. However, you can be more assertive in stacking your Manaflow Band. Every time your combo of Manaflow Band - Taste of Blood - Arcane Comet is up, look to take a short trade with the opponent.
Flash is a mandatory spell. It allows you to escape in difficult situations and to force plays yourself.
Malzahar has a very weak laning phase. Teleport helps him to overcome this weakness. Also, Teleport creates additional split push pressure in the mid and late-game.
Two situational summoner spells that you can take instead of Teleport are Ghost and Ignite. The problem with ignite is that its range is lower than your Nether Grasp (R) range. So, you're always in danger of canceling your Nether Grasp if you use Ignite after it.
Ghost is an old-school summoner spell for the Malzahar. It creates a lot of roaming opportunities and allows Malzahar to be more mobile in the teamfights. However, it doesn't provide much for the laning phase itself (except for additional safety against ganks). This is why players stopped using it. I do think that Ghost might have its place after the Teleport nerf, but so far nobody showed it.
You can use Ghost in easy matchups and in games that are lower than Diamond elo. I think the best rune page for this summoner is the Basic rune page. Also, with the introduction of the Predator rune page, Ghost kind of lost its value. Why would you take Ghost instead of Teleport, if you can take Teleport and Predator, which is another version of Ghost?
- Summoner Spells
You always max Malefic Visions first, Call of the Void second, and Void Swarm last, while taking Nether Grasp every time you can. The only thing you can vary is to do E-W-E-Q or E-Q-E-W instead of E-W-Q-E during the first 4 levels.
I like the first option (E-W-E-Q) against melee champions because it allows me to hard push the third wave and get priority for the crab. Also, Voidlings allow me to fight back against level 3 all-in that a lot of melee characters love to do.
I prefer the second option against ranged champions because most ranged champions can clear Voidlings with just one ability. Also, having Call of the Void (Q) early on gives me the option to use it to stack Manaflow Band. Especially against super-ranged champions like Vel'Koz, Lux, Xerath. Basically, against champions that are almost impossible to reach with Malefic Visions (E).
- Skill Path
Technically, you can build the same items every game. There are two reasons for it. The first one is his passive Void Shift. It provides a lot of safety in most situations, so you can just build full damage. The second reason is the feeling from the first four core items. You just can't achieve as much damage with any other items, and this is addicting.
- Item Set
Right now, Corruption Potion is the overall best starting item for the mid-laners. It just gives too much sustain. Also, Corruption Potion has a great synergy with the Basic rune page and Attack Speed shard. However, you can start Corruption Potion with any rune page. It's just that good.
You can start with Doran's Ring, but this start forces you to play a little bit safer than usual. Technically you can start Doran's Ring with any rune page. However, this start has a great synergy with Taste of Blood and double Adaptive Force shards.
Sapphire Crystal is a very weird and niche start. It allows you to rush Lost Chapter, but it also makes you deal no damage during the early laning phase. I saw Showmaker starting with Sapphire Crystal together with the Utility rune page and double defensive shards. If you start with Sapphire Crystal, I suggest taking 3 Health Potions, like Showmaker. However, if you're greedy, you can take Refillable Potion instead. Sapphire Crystal has a great synergy with Future's Market rune. More on this in the video below:
Your best first buy is Lost Chapter. However, when you're playing the Predator rune page, you want to rush tier 2 boots.
Generally, you want Sorcerer's Shoes. The amount of damage they give is just too big not to take them. Some players take Ionian Boots of Lucidity. They give you a lot of Ability Haste and lower your Flash cooldown timer. These boots have a good synergy with the Cosmic Insight rune. Plated Steelcaps and Mercury's Treads are good into hard matchups.
Your core items are Liandry's Anguish and Rylai's Crystal Scepter. These two items give everything you want: damage, Ability Haste, slow for the better kiting, and a little bit of Health for the additional tankiness.
After that, you build items depending on the in-game situation. Void Staff if opponents started to build Magic Resist. Rabadon's Deathcap if they didn't. Morellonomicon is good against teams with a lot of healing. Zhonya's Hourglass is good against teams with more than one assassin. Shadowflame is good against shielding items and champions like Sterak's Gage, Gargoyle Stoneplate, Immortal Shieldbow or Lulu, Karma, Janna.
If you don't need any of the situational items, Demonic Embrace is a good final item for maximum damage. Mejai's Soulstealer is good only if you bought Dark Seal and have 10 stacks on it. Horizon Focus can be used if the opposing team has only one threat. Banshee's Veil is good only against teams with 2 or more AP assassins. Cosmic Drive is good if your only way to win the game is to split push.
Matchups and Synergies
Malzahar doesn't have any combos, but there are a few things that you need to know about his abilities.
- Try to always have at least one stack of Void Swarm (W). This will let you do Malefic Visions - Void Swarm combo (E-W) at any point and get 3 Voidlings out. You can get a stack of Void Swarm (W) by casting Call of the Void (Q), even if doesn't hit anything.
- Your Voidlings die very fast, but it's actually them dealing a huge part of your damage. Try to have 3 Voidlings out during the fights as often as possible.
- You can use Voidlings to block the incoming skill shots.
- Your Nether Grasp (R) doesn't deal damage without Voidlings and Malefic Visions. If you want to deal a huge amount of burst damage, be sure that you used Malefic Visions (E) and got 3 Voidlings before using the Nether Grasp (E - W- R).
- You can buffer your Nether Grasp with Flash. Press R, click onto the opponent out of Nether Grasps' range and click Flash towards the opponent. Malzahar will use his ultimate immediately. This combo is impossible to react to.
- Malefic Visions (E) is your main damage source, so it deals a good amount of damage. However, if you will refresh Malefic Visions with your Call of the Void (E -Q), the amount of damage will break all records. This is especially important for the fast wave clear. Let your Malefic Visions (E) tick for 2 or 3 seconds and only then refresh it.
- The fastest way to clear the minion wave is to stand to the side of the minion wave, use Malefic Visions (E) onto the ranged minion, use Call of the Void (Q) onto all 6 minions, and spawn 3 Voidlings with your Void Swarm (W). However, you can do it only if there are no opponents nearby.
I hope you enjoyed the guide and learned a lot. Remember, following guides is important, but what is also important is to be creative. Good luck and have fun with your games!
LoL YouTuber, streamer, coach. Ex-StarCraft 2 pro player & personal coach. Ex-WarCraft 3 team coach & manager.