Champ of the Week: Malzahar wrapup


My week with Malzahar was probably the most successful Champ of the Week I’ve had so far, though Nunu may have edged him out. In any case, I can only remember having one truly bad game with him, and that was this evening in a post-cookout haze. Malzahar is just an incredible pick for an AP carry, offering a solid mix of utility and damage without really falling short anywhere.

One of the biggest things to learn about Malzahar, and something I haven’t quite mastered, is when to use his ultimate. I know it sounds simple enough, but that ultimate is devastating, completely shutting out an opponent in most cases, and it can be used on a variety of targets if played right. There is that unspoken rule – never focus the tank – but if the tank has all of the enemy CC and made a misstep near a tower, a quick Malzahar ult can give your team 5v4 advantage and allow you to steamroll down a lane. The flipside is knowing when not to use your ultimate. Using your ultimate during a teamfight can cost you a lot of damage. A stun or silence and you’ve missed out on a crucial part of your kit.

Even without his ult, though, Malzahar still devastates teamfights. His AoE silence has excellent utility and the percentage based damage from Null Zone grows quickly with AP. Malzahar has no problem farming, either. At level 3, Malefic Visions hits hard enough to easily farm creep waves with a few auto attacks. With a Voidling proc, Malzahar not only burns through creep waves, he also becomes a strong side pusher that requires two people to gank.

If I could change one thing about Malzahar it would be the AI on his Voidlings. I lost more to towers than I wanted, and they often danced back and forth in the lane instead of defending me in the midst of a gank. The Voidling deals heavy damage, especially once it levels up. Having a little more control of that damage would probably make him a bit OP, which I honestly think he’s on the verge of, anyway.


Champ of the Week: Early Malzahar impressions


I got to play a few games over the holiday weekend with this week’s Champ of the Week, Malzahar, and I’ve been having a really good time. Malzahar is an incredible farmer, and when left alone for too long, he becomes an incredible pusher as well.

My basic strategy to this point has been simple: build enough survivability to get by and then stack up mass amounts of AP. In about half of the games I’ve picked up a Rod of Ages early (12 minutes in one case) and moved to Deathcap from there, but in others I’ve been less worried about the health stack and just picked up Catalyst before moving on. I’ve had roughly equal success both ways – the basic lesson seems to be ‘don’t overdue the survivability.’

I had sort of forgotten the massive buffs Malzahar received since his release. The last time I gave him any serious attention his ult could be Cleansed, it had a much shorter range, and it didn’t have the suppression bonus. Those changes have given Malzahar the ability to fight at great distance with devastating power.

If I’m having trouble with one thing, it’s remembering to keep my Malefic Visions up in team fights. The cooldown gets very short with a golem buff or enough CDR, making it totally feasible to have a couple spells ticking at the same time. I’m slowly improving on that, though.

I’m really curious where Deathfire Grasp could fit in a Malzahar build. I don’t know that it’s any more efficient than a raw AP stack, but the active and the extra cooldown reduction could be interesting with enough AP. I think I underuse Deathfire, even though it is one of my favorite items in the game. If I can get ahead of the enemy farm and pick one up, it’s an almost Veigar-style insurance that one of my enemies won’t get to participate.

Check back later in the week for more Malzahar impressions.


Champ of the Week: Malzahar


The more I play League of Legends lately the more I’ve fallen in love with AP characters. There’s something so satisfying about using a skillset to melt opponents that doesn’t quite translate in the auto attack kills of physical carries. Every team in the Dreamhack qualifiers relied on an AP champion for the utility, control and incredible burst potential those champions offer. This week, I’ll be playing a champion that has long frustrated me as an opponent, one that I have rarely played at length, and a champion that many believe to be underrepresented This week, I’ll be playing Malzahar for my Champ of the Week.

I’ve always been frustrated to play against Malzahar, largely because it’s so hard to shut down his farm. He’s not particularly deadly at early levels, he’s just super deadly to minions and has nearly infinite mana thanks to the kill bonus on Malefic Visions. Malzahar can also melt champions like no other, thanks to the percentage based damage of Null Zone. When coupled with AoE CC like Amumu or even Jarvan, Null Zone absolutely shreds the enemy. To round out the kit, Malz has an AoE silence and a pet for extra damage. Malzahar punishes enemy mistakes with devastating efficiency and provides both push and anti-push to his own team. In short, he’s a great pick.

I’ll be focusing on build order, Summoner Spell selection, and relative power on low-CC teams. Obviously Malzahar shines when his targets are held in place, but how well can he perform in less than ideal circumstances? My guess is extremely well. I think it’s safe to say that the only caster I fear more than Malzahar is Anivia.


Karma bundles and skins announced

The official bundles and skins post is up for today’s patch. For Karma, we’ll be seeing Sakura Karma and Sun Goddess Karma. As for the two other skins, today brings Lion Dance Kog’Maw, a Chinese New Year inspired skin that had been leaked on the forums, and Djinn Malzahar.

The Malzahar skin is expected, to say the least. He suffers as Xin Zhao does from a lack of originality regarding skins. It’s only fitting that we got a Djinn skin, I suppose. The Kog’Maw skin, on the other hand, looks really good. Kog’Maw has to have one of the best skin sets so far. His release skins were just recolors, but he’s since gotten Monarch Kog’Maw, Reindeer Kog’Maw, and now Lion Dance Kog. Good stuff.


The state of Malzahar

Malzahar Ulting.I haven’t written a “state of the champion” post in a long time, and though I just posted some negative vibes about Miss Fortune, I’ve got a few left over for Malzahar.

When Malzahar launched I really enjoyed him. He was very mana efficient, a great farmer, and he had an ult that could really decimate some people. If they took Cleanse or bought Mercury treads, though, he dealt little to no damage, which is why I stopped playing him. Riot gave him some range buffs to help his survivability in team fights, which I thought was understandable. It seemed just about perfect, too. He wasn’t so far away that your teammates couldn’t get to him but he wasn’t getting smashed the instant he stepped in the fight.

Fast forward to today, when not only has his range been buffed to one of the longest in the game, it also gets suppression, meaning you have no way to escape it unless you buy a Quicksilver Sash. He retained his incredibly long attack range and his Malefic Visions is still a ridiculously efficient farming tool. After playing him a few times and laning against him quite a bit, I think it’s safe to say he’s been overbuffed. His ult has become a source of great frustration, both because of the stun duration/damage and the fact that it is completely unavoidable.

As it currently stands, you basically can’t be on the same screen as Malzahar without either a teammate present or a tower between the two of you. Between. That’s important. Even if you’re at your tower he can easily put you to the gray screen without much risk to himself. His Null Zone also means that he can take golem easily, bringing his ultimate down to a very low cooldown. You’ll see it every fight for sure, and usually from a distance that will make you scream.

Thing is, I’m not sure what to do about Malz. I think they could lower the range on his ult and maybe reduce the duration. They could also reduce its base damage and give it a small AP bump so that he isn’t such a “level 6, you’re dead” kind of toon. Whatever the case, they need to do something. He’s at the top of my list of toons that are incredibly unfun to play against.


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