[center][img=http://i.imgur.com/yv4k99E.jpg][/center] Hi there! My name's Geoff, a.k.a. Geoffazor. My homeland's Australia and I main mid lane, with Katarina as my main champion. I'm a Gold ranked player on the OCE server, however due to circumstances involving the consistency of my internet, I am unable to play as much ranked as I would like to, which has left Normal games as my only salvation. In Normal games, I am frequently matched with Gold, Platinum, and Diamond players of all tiers, and have over 200 positive wins in Normal Blind Pick, if that provides any indication of my skill level. I have over 3000 total normal games played in total, with ~300 games played on Akali. My ranked win-rate on Akali has always been consistently high, peaking at around 70% over the course of 30 games. I love playing assassin champions because they add a certain thrill to the game that you won't find with any other class of champions. I love them because assassin-style champions are such high-risk, high-reward champions - split-second decisions can mean the difference between acing an enemy team and dying without having any real impact. Akali is definitely one of the strongest assassin champions in solo queue, but also one of the easiest to shut down. She excels in unstructured environments: teams that don't actively try to shut her down will quickly fall to her invisibility, sustain, and damage. With that being said, she can easily be countered with cheap items. I decided to pick up Akali after I discovered my love for assassins. Her high mobility, incredible burst damage, and surprising sustain makes her one of the strongest single-target assassins in the game. Being able to burst a squishy target in a matter of seconds is one of the most awesome, satisfying things in the game. She reminds me of Katarina (my favourite champion), in the way that she relies on jumping into fights after they've started and wreaking havoc, dropping one enemy and then snowballing within the fight. [title]Pros[/title] [.]Ridiculous burst damage [.]Snowballs hard [.]Energy resource [.]Relatively safe laning [.]Strong mid game, even when behind [.]Super strong skirmishing ability [.]Slippery - ult [.]Easy to play, hard to master [.]Pubstomp [title]Cons[/title] [.]Melee [.]Difficult laning [.]Needs major items [.]Easily countered against coordinated teams [.]Team fights can be problematic I also have a featured Katarina guide uploaded to Solomid.net that explains the ins and outs of the champion in-depth. You can find it here: http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/33323-katarina-build-guide-apc-by-geoffazor
[b]R > Q > E > W[/b] As per every champion, ultimate is always maxed first. The damage increase, reduced cooldown and stack time just make it too valuable to not max first. For basic abilities, Mark of the Assassin is always maxed first: it's Akali's main damage ability, with a low cooldown, huge boost in damage, and more energy restored, it's just way better than Akali's other abilities. Take Twilight Shroud at level two, because it allows you to stay up near the minion wave to kill creeps, and lets you avoid a lot of the enemy's harassment. It can also save you if you're in a gank situation. Crescent Slash is taken at level four, and maxed after Mark of the Assassin, because it increases your damage, and makes clearing out waves much easier. Twilight Shroud is the last ability to be maxed, it is mostly for utility, and doesn't give Akali the damage she needs to snowball in the mid game. Don't try to take all basic abilities at level 3: Akali is much too weak early to be up with the minion wave farming with autoattacks, so a lot of her early farming ability comes from using her Q. The base damage from an unprocced Q isn't very high and makes farming from a distance much more difficult.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] Akali is an incredibly strong champion for climbing the solo queue ladder, so really there aren't a whole heap of situations where she is a pick that can be totally ruled out. This doesn't make her a champion that can be blindly picked 100% of the time however: she is still dependent on team compositions of both the enemy team and your own team. There are multiple situations in which an Akali pick can be great for solo queue, and when her abilities will be significantly hindered. She is a good pick when: [.][b]Your team has crowd control and initiation[/b] - both of these aspects are godly in solo queue. Assassin champions lack both of these qualities in solo queue, but make up for it with their overwhelming damage, so a team comp that has a way to compensate for what Akali lacks shoots up the chances of success [.][b]Multiple damage sources[/b] - if you have multiple damage sources on your team, it means that the enemy team must focus multiple targets in order to win out in fights [.][b]Enemy mid is picked first[/b] - Akali has a very rough laning phase, and going up against champions who are strong early make it much harder for her to snowball and carry games [.][b]Squishy enemy team[/b] - Squishy enemy teams will get destroyed by Akali's overwhelming damage Akali as a bad pick is pretty much the inverse of this list: [.][b]Your team lacks crowd control and engage[/b] - without reliable engage, Akali's ability to enter a fight and assassinate carry champions becomes difficult [.][b]You are the only damage source on your team[/b] - not having other sources of damage on your team means that the enemy can simply wait for you to show up in a team fight, focus you down, and win easily [.][b]As a first pick[/b] - Akali is a champion whose mechanics are very simple to learn and counter, a team comp designed around shutting you down can often spell game during champ select [.][b]Tanky enemy team[/b] - This comes in the way of heals, shields, and just general champion beefiness. Akali does not excel at killing tanky champions until she is at full build: having tanky champions on the enemy team makes it hard to reach this point A team comp that Akali would not work well against would be something like: [center][img=champ/garen.png][img=champ/leesin.png][img=champ/malzahar.png][img=champ/tristana.png][img=champ/leona.png][/center] Compare that to a team comp like: [center][img=champ/nasus.png][img=champ/shaco.png][img=champ/twistedfate.png][img=champ/jinx.png][img=champ/sona.png][/center]
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] In League of Legends, there are certain champions that have great synergy with one another. Usually these champions can shut down an entire team just through a few ability uses and some coordination. A basic but incredibly good example of champions with great synergy is Orianna+Malphite. Malphite's [img=skills/malphite/r.png] gives Orianna an easy way to deliver her ball for [img=skills/orianna/r.png], that can set them up for the rest of the team's damage. Although Akali lacks large impacting crowd control skills like Orianna, there are a heap of champions in the game that make her job significantly easier. [center][b]Top Lane[/b] [img=champ/maokai.png][img=champ/lulu.png][img=champ/malphite.png][img=champ/ryze.png][/center] [.]Super strong in top lane right now, he has great potential for catching people out [.]Very strong lane bully that transitions into a strong utility champion, best noob save champion in the game [.]Unstoppable Force is the best initiation in the game, when used correctly any squishy champions caught will drop instantly [.]Scales excellently into late game because of his high tankiness and damage output [center][b]Jungle[/b] [img=champ/leesin.png][img=champ/jarvaniv.png][img=champ/nautilus.png][img=champ/sejuani.png][/center] [.]When Lee Sin is played correctly, he is just an all-around strong pick, he can give you huge advantages in lane, and a Lee Sin/Akali roam squad is amazing with stupidly strong damage and ganks, but he becomes less relevant the longer the game goes on [.]Jarvan brings great damage, crowd control, and tankiness to a team [.]Nautilus can provide all the crowd control a team needs by himself [.]She has okay ganks in the early game, but she is a monster in mid and late game thanks to her long ranged initiate and her 70% slow for 2.5 seconds [center][b]Marksmen (AD Carries)[/b] [img=champ/ezreal.png][img=champ/corki.png][img=champ/tristana.png][img=champ/vayne.png][/center] [.]Ezreal is incredibly mobile and self-sufficient [.]Super strong early and mid game, along with a pretty good late game [.]Tristana is absolutely broken at the moment [.]Risky because Vayne is normally collapsed on asap, but a well-executed Vayne can be safe, mobile, and output ridiculous damage [center][b]Supports[/b] [img=champ/braum.png][img=champ/alistar.png][img=champ/morgana.png][img=champ/thresh.png][/center] [.]Ends up being so damn tanky as the game goes on. His counter-initiation and the amount of protection he offers is insane - definitely causes a lot of chaos [.]Basically in the same boat as Braum: has strong initiation, counter-engage, and is tanky to boot [.]The immunity to crowd control really helps you deal with teams structured around shutting you down. Combine this with Kayle for super-happy-fun-time [.]If he catches a squishy target, they're dead. His skill set can keep champions in place for extended amounts of time
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] Akali's single target nature makes squishy marksmen her number one target in team fights. She can normally burst these guys down with one or two complete combos. [img=champ/ashe.png] [b]Ashe Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/ashe/q.png][img=skills/ashe/r.png] You have to avoid getting hit by her ultimate, she can either try to catch you out with her ultimate to initiate a fight, or she will use it on you when you try to burst her. Though she has impressive kiting abilities, she lacks mobility in the late game outside of Flash. Hit her with your Hextech Gunblade and she won't be able to escape. Quicksilver Sash lets you deal with her ultimate. [img=champ/caitlyn.png] [b]Caitlyn Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/caitlyn/w.png][img=skills/caitlyn/e.png] Caitlyn is a champion with huge range and potent escape abilities. What you have to watch out for are her traps and her net. Her traps reveal you in stealth and the net allows her to create distance between you and her. Luckily, Akali is amazing at chasing down targets, so after her escapes are blown she is vulnerable. [img=champ/corki.png] [b]Corki Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/corki/w.png] Corki can be pretty scary because his damage output is actually rather high, but Akali's ability to burst him is just the same. Though his Valkyrie is a great escape ability, Akali can still follow him over walls. His Q doesn't reveal you in stealth, so you won't have to worry about that. [img=champ/draven.png] [b]Draven Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of:[/b][img=skills/draven/q.png][img=skills/draven/e.png] Draven can actually interrupt your ultimate with his E, and the displacement from the ability lasts long enough for him to focus you hard in team fights and take you to dangerous amounts of health with his empowered autoattacks. After he uses this ability, he is easy to collapse on and burst, but you must remember that his damage is high. [img=champ/ezreal.png] [b]Ezreal Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/ezreal/e.png] Although he has high mobility (especially with cooldown reduction), Ezreal can't really get away from Akali because of her multiple dashes. Coupled with the fact that he's the squishiest marksman in the game, you will have no trouble bursting him down. [img=champ/graves.png] [b]Graves Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/graves/p.png][img=skills/graves/w.png][img=skills/graves/e.png] Annoying because he gets tanky over the course of a fight thanks to his passive. His Smokescreen also shuts you down hard because of how it limits vision, so it makes it hard to burst him. Quickdraw is also a pretty good escape ability. Basically, wait for him to blow one of his abilities and then go hard on him. If he goes for a tankier build with Warmog's or Randuins, and you're having trouble bursting him down, then you might want to consider Deathfire Grasp. [img=champ/jinx.png] [b]Jinx Difficulty: 1/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/jinx/p.png][img=skills/jinx/e.png] Her E is a pretty strong ability for catching people who get close to her, but Jinx is such a squishy carry and lacks any mobility outside of her passive and Flash. Burst her as soon as possible to take her out of the fight, because her damage over the course of a team fight is ridiculous. [img=champ/kogmaw.png] [b]Kog'maw Difficulty: 1/5 Be wary of: [img=skills/kogmaw/p.png][/b] Same boat as Jinx. Lacks mobility, though puts out a lot of damage. Just burst him as soon as you can. [img=champ/lucian.png] [b]Lucian Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/lucian/w.png][img=skills/lucian/e.png] Pretty high mobility champion, sticking to him can actually be a problem because he does a lot of damage and will be dashing all over the place. If you have trouble bursting him, Deathfire Grasp can be good, but if your problem is the amount of damage he puts out, then an item like Guardian Angel is good. [img=champ/missfortune.png] [b]Miss Fortune Difficulty: 1/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/missfortune/r.png] Easy to burst, just jump on her and destroy her. [img=champ/quinn.png] [b]Quinn Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/quinn/q.png] The only thing that will make killing her difficult will be the fact that she can stop you from activating your Q mark with her blind, so you'll have to use Crescent Slash to proc it. Other than that, chasing and bursting her is easy. [img=champ/sivir.png] [b]Sivir Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/sivir/e.png][img=skills/sivir/r.png] Annoying because of her huge speed boost with her ultimate, and her spell shield having the ability to negate one of your abilities (usually Q). She is easy to burst because of her low range. [img=champ/tristana.png] [b]Tristana Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/tristana/w.png][img=skills/tristana/r.png] Jump on her once, she can ult you; jump on her again, she'll jump away from you; jump on her a third time, she'll Flash away. Her range is so long and she scales so strongly into late game. Just ban her, she's way too strong in solo queue. [img=champ/twitch.png] [b]Twitch Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/twitch/q.png][img=skills/twitch/r.png] Though he has high damage output, you can burst him super quickly because of how squishy he is. If he's being too elusive with his stealth, consider upgrading a red trinket to catch him. Burst him ASAP because his damage over the course of a team fight ramps up really quickly. [img=champ/urgot.png] [b]Urgot Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of:[/b][img=skills/urgot/p.png][img=skills/urgot/q.png][img=skills/urgot/w.png][img=skills/urgot/e.png][img=skills/urgot/r.png] Not really seen in the marksman scene any more, but his skills work well against assassin champions. His tankiness and damage output when he lands his abilities is actually quite high. Though, his damage falls off hard in the late game when compared to other marksmen. [img=champ/varus.png] [b]Varus Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of:[/b] [img=skills/varus/q.png][img=skills/varus/r.png] Lacks mobility, but his ultimate can lock you down for a long enough time to kill you. Avoid his poke with Q, then rush him down and murder him. Pop Zhonya's if you get caught out by it. [img=champ/vayne.png] [b]Vayne Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of:[/b][img=skills/vayne/q.png][img=skills/vayne/w.png][img=skills/vayne/e.png][img=skills/vayne/r.png] Experienced Vayne players will have no problem shutting you down. You must avoid getting pinned versus her, otherwise you will get dropped incredibly quickly. It's always best to bring help versus Vayne, though her 1v1 potential is high, dealing with multiple champions is difficult for her. Always upgrade red trinket versus her, her stealth is her strongest aspect because it makes comboing her harder. She's squishy however, so burst her when you can.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] Enemy supports can actually be quite dangerous to assassins like Akali - not because they pose any real threat in terms of damage, but because they often have the potential to shut down your damage for extended periods of time. The support role is varied, you have some champions that sit in the back of fights, peeling pesky divers from their marksmen, and others that opt to initiate fights, trying to take down vital members of an enemy team. Try to be aware of these guys in team fights, their spells and items can make a huge difference when it comes to your ability to your ability to drop their precious squishy marksmen. [img=champ/alistar.png] [b]Alistar[/b] [highlight]Be wary of: [/highlight][imgsmall=skills/alistar/q.png][imgsmall=skills/alistar/w.png][imgsmall=skills/alistar/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 5/5[/highlight] Alistar will either be initiating, or will be peeling you from his carries. Because his spells are knock ups and knock backs, you will always be locked down for a set amount of time. Be careful, Alistar's extended lockdown can often be disastrous. [img=champ/blitzcrank.png] [b]Blitzcrank[/b] [highlight]Be wary of: [/highlight][imgsmall=skills/blitzcrank/q.png][imgsmall=skills/blitzcrank/e.png][imgsmall=skills/blitzcrank/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 3/5[/highlight] Avoid his hook and you won't die. If you do get caught, Zhonya's immediately, then try to get out of the fight to avoid being focused down. Oftentimes, the enemy team will be so excited that Blitz landed an ability that a lot of their abilities will be spent trying to kill you. Look for an opportune time to reenter the fight and kill his carry. His knockup, though on an incredibly low cooldown of five seconds, isn't too big of an issue for you. [img=champ/braum.png] [b]Braum[/b] [highlight]Be wary of: [/highlight][imgsmall=skills/braum/p.png][imgsmall=skills/braum/q.png][imgsmall=skills/braum/w.png][imgsmall=skills/braum/e.png][imgsmall=skills/braum/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 5/5[/highlight] Well, his passive is a stun that his teammates can proc, which is incredibly dangerous for you. If he sticks to his carries, you are going to have an incredibly hard time killing them. [img=champ/janna.png] [b]Janna[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/janna/q.png][imgsmall=skills/janna/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 4/5[/highlight] Annoying because her ultimate knocks you quite a distance from the enemy carries, and can also knock you out of stealth. Though hard to do, she can potentially cause you to waste a charge of your ultimate by knocking you up while you cast your ult, with her Q. Wait for her to blow her stuff before trying to get to her carry, her peel is super annoying. [img=champ/kayle.png] [b]Kayle[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/kayle/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 3/5[/highlight] Her ultimate can potentially ruin you if you do something silly like blow all three charges of Shadow Dance, but it's not as ruinous for Akali if she uses her ultimate on your target as you can simply wait until it goes down, or switch focus to another target. [img=champ/leona.png] [b]Leona[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/leona/q.png][imgsmall=skills/leona/w.png][imgsmall=skills/leona/e.png][imgsmall=skills/leona/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 5/5[/highlight] Tanky, crowd control machine. Pray she's on initiation duty or you're going to get focused and bursted down incredibly quickly. [img=champ/lulu.png] [b]Lulu[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/lulu/w.png][img=skills/lulu/e.png][imgsmall=skills/lulu/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 6/5[/highlight] Nightmare for Akali. Her E can reveal you in stealth, her disable on Polymorph shuts you down hard, and her ultimate gives the person she casts it on free health. Probably just sit back and wait for her to blow her stuff. Try to shut down the enemy marksman in the laning phase because you aren't gonna be able to do anything to them in a team fight. [img=champ/morgana.png] [b]Morgana[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/morgana/q.png][imgsmall=skills/morgana/e.png][imgsmall=skills/morgana/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 4/5[/highlight] Soul Shackle is definitely the biggest issue for you: it's proximity based, so even if you're stealthed, Morgana can still stun you unless you escape her range. Dark Binding is a stupidly strong snare that lasts for three seconds and isn't even hard to hit: pop Zhonya's if she manages to hit you with it and you get focused. Black Shield can be annoying if Morgana knows how to use it: it can mess up your team's pick potential, and the extra \"health\" can be annoying to burst through. [img=champ/nami.png] [b]Nami[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/nami/q.png][imgsmall=skills/nami/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 3/5[/highlight] Dodge that bubble. Getting hit by it results in being stunned for 1.5 seconds, which is definitely enough time to get dropped immediately by the enemy team. Her ultimate is a good follow-up engage, or disengage spell. It's not that big of a problem for Akali, but if you use Shadow Dance at the wrong time and get knocked up, then you've wasted a charge. [img=champ/sona.png] [b]Sona[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/sona/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 2/5[/highlight] Just avoid her ultimate. I don't think a Banshee's Veil against Sona is very strong because her Q range is long enough to pop it without putting herself in any real danger. Stay at the back of fights and make sure you're aware of where she is at all times. If she Flashes to try and catch you, immediately pop Zhonya's before she can hit you with the ultimate. At the very least, try to put down your shroud. Sona is very squishy, and will die in one combo. Kill her early in the fight, her auras provide a lot to her team. [img=champ/soraka.png] [b]Soraka[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/soraka/w.png][imgsmall=skills/soraka/e.png][imgsmall=skills/soraka/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 4/5[/highlight] Mein Gott, AoE silences are no fun. Basically, if you try and engage before she pops her stuff, you are going to get silenced, snared, and destroyed. Her heals are super annoying: ignite doesn't even guarantee you a kill through reduced healing either as she can remove it with her ultimate. Best advice is to wait until she uses her skills. She does end up sacrificing a fair bit of health to keep her allies healthy, so you might be able to kill her quickly, but her skillset is super strong for keeping champions alive. [img=champ/thresh.png] [b]Thresh[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/thresh/q.png][imgsmall=skills/thresh/e.png][img=skills/thresh/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 4/5[/highlight] Handle him the same way you would Blitzcrank. Don't get hooked: if you do, pop Zhonya's when he goes hard on you. His ultimate is strong for locking you down, but Shadow Dance basically removes any semblance of lockdown the slow offers. It does make chaining crowd control onto you rather easy, however. Though incredibly hard to do, Thresh does have the ability to interrupt Shadow Dash with two of his abilities. Can be problematic, but I doubt this will be an issue unless you're playing against MadLife. [img=champ/zilean.png] [b]Zilean[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][imgsmall=skills/zilean/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 4/5[/highlight] Bah humbug. His ultimate is annoying, especially considering Akali's single target nature. I feel as though the best thing to do vs a Zilean is to run an AoE composition, he can only save one member. If you ever manage to get an opportune pick on Zilean early in a fight, he will either stupidly blow his ultimate on himself (a waste), or die. A good result, either way. He is very squishy, and will die in a matter of seconds. Kill him, then kill his carries. [img=champ/zyra.png] [b]Zyra[/b] [highlight]Be wary of:[/highlight][img=skills/zyra/p.png][img=skills/zyra/e.png][imgsmall=skills/zyra/r.png] [highlight]Protection rating: 3/5[/highlight] She's an excellent counter-engage support because her ultimate covers a large area. All you really have to do is wait out her ultimate, then wreak havoc: Zyra isn't really strong in close-quarters unless she catches you with her snare, uses her ultimate, and then has her team focus you. Akali will kill her extremely quickly. Don't get surprised by her passive.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] [img=champ/aatrox.png] [b]Aatrox Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/aatrox/p.png][img=skills/aatrox/q.png][img=skills/aatrox/e.png][img=skills/aatrox/r.png] [img=champ/amumu.png] [b]Amumu Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/amumu/q.png][img=skills/amumu/r.png] [img=champ/chogath.png] [b]Cho'gath Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/chogath/q.png][img=skills/chogath/w.png][img=skills/chogath/r.png] [img=champ/darius.png] [b]Darius Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/darius/e.png] [img=champ/drmundo.png] [b]Dr. Mundo Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/drmundo/q.png] [img=champ/elise.png] [b]Elise Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/elise/e.png] [img=champ/evelynn.png] [b]Evelynn Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/evelynn/p.png][img=skills/evelynn/q.png][img=skills/evelynn/r.png] [img=champ/fiddlesticks.png] [b]Fiddlesticks Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/fiddlesticks/q.png][img=skills/fiddlesticks/e.png][img=skills/fiddlesticks/r.png] [img=champ/hecarim.png] [b]Hecarim Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/hecarim/e.png][img=skills/hecarim/r.png] [img=champ/jarvaniv.png] [b]Jarvan IV Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/jarvaniv/q.png][img=skills/jarvaniv/w.png][img=skills/jarvaniv/e.png][img=skills/jarvaniv/r.png] [img=champ/leesin.png] [b]Lee Sin Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/leesin/q.png][img=skills/leesin/w.png][img=skills/leesin/e.png][img=skills/leesin/r.png] [img=champ/maokai.png] [b]Maokai Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/maokai/q.png][img=skills/maokai/w.png][img=skills/maokai/r.png] [img=champ/nasus.png] [b]Nasus Difficulty: 1/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/nasus/w.png] [img=champ/nautilus.png] [b]Nautilus Difficulty: 5/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/nautilus/p.png][img=skills/nautilus/q.png][img=skills/nautilus/e.png][img=skills/nautilus/r.png] [img=champ/olaf.png] [b]Olaf Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [img=skills/olaf/q.png][/b] [img=champ/rammus.png] [b]Rammus Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/rammus/q.png][img=skills/rammus/e.png] [img=champ/sejuani.png] [b]Sejuani Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/sejuani/q.png][img=skills/sejuani/r.png] [img=champ/shaco.png] [b]Shaco Difficulty: 1/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/shaco/q.png][img=skills/shaco/w.png][img=skills/shaco/r.png] [img=champ/shyvana.png] [b]Shyvana Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/shyvana/r.png] [img=champ/skarner.png] [b]Skarner Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/skarner/q.png][img=skills/skarner/r.png] [img=champ/trundle.png] [b]Trundle Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/trundle/q.png][img=skills/trundle/w.png][img=skills/trundle/e.png][img=skills/trundle/r.png] [img=champ/udyr.png] [b]Udyr Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/udyr/q.png][img=skills/udyr/e.png] [img=champ/vi.png] [b]Vi Difficulty: 4/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/vi/q.png][img=skills/vi/r.png] [img=champ/volibear.png] [b]Volibear Difficulty: 2/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/volibear/p.png][img=skills/volibear/q.png] [img=champ/warwick.png] [b]Warwick Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/warwick/r.png] [img=champ/xinzhao.png] [b]Xin Zhao Difficulty: 3/5 Be wary of: [/b][img=skills/xinzhao/q.png][img=skills/xinzhao/e.png][img=skills/xinzhao/r.png]
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] [big]04/10/2014[/big]* [center][b]PRIORITY CHAMPIONS[/b] [img=champ/khazix.png][img=champ/zed.png][img=champ/tristana.png][/center] [.]Top jungler at the moment, strong in the early game, and has really nice scaling into mid and late [.]His splitpushing is strong, and I feel as though a well-played Zed can be quite strong against Akali [.]The only way to beat a Tristana is to finish the game early - you're not going to be able to assassinate her come late game [center][b]NOTABLE CHAMPIONS[/b] [img=champ/maokai.png][img=champ/lulu.png][img=champ/alistar.png][img=champ/morgana.png][img=champ/leesin.png][/center] [.]Strong because he scales well into late game as an unkillable tank, but he can become irrelevant if you shut down his team [.]Lulu has a lot of the tools to counter you: strong early game, abundant crowd control, stealth reveal, and champ saving mechanics [.]Alistar's headbutt and pulverize are stupidly strong. He can be played top or support: he gets too tanky with his ultimate and does a lot of damage when it's up [.]Morgana has a three second snare that's incredibly easy to hit, come on Riot [.]I honestly wouldn't consider Lee Sin to be ban-worthy because not many people can play him at a skill level where he can single-handedly carry games. But he is very, very annoying for Akali, and picked quite often
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] One of the strangest parts of Akali is that, despite the fact that she is one of the strongest solo queue champions in the game, she's also one of the easiest to counter. Basically, a lot of her strength comes from her ability to go invisible, sustain, and burst down single targets with ease. All of these aspects are easily countered, though she's still one of the strongest champions in the game. This chapter covers the methods to counter Akali - overall, I feel as though knowing how to play against her greatly improves one's knowledge when it comes to playing as her. [center][big]Stealth Detection[/big][/center] [center][img=items/oracles-lens.png][img=champ/leesin.png][img=items/vision-ward.png][/center] Stealth detection is the most obvious counter to Akali - a lot of her strength comes from her ability to suddenly disappear in fights, letting her cooldowns refresh, and allowing her burst to reset. Basically, if Akali is never given this chance, she loses out on a lot of her potential. Simply placing a Vision Ward or upgrading to the Oracle's Lens is one means to counter her. [center][big]Targeted Lockdown and Champion Saving[/big][/center] [center][img=champ/leona.png][img=champ/lulu.png][img=summoners/exhaust.png][img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png][img=items/guardian-angel.png][/center] Any sort of ability that stops Akali from being able to get close to and burst down a target is incredibly helpful. Leona is definitely an example of a champion that can shut down Akali hard: her ability to simply stop Akali from outputting any damage for extended periods of time is incredibly strong. Champions like Lulu that have strong champion saving mechanics are godly versus Akali. If Akali ends up wasting her ultimate stacks, and doesn't pick up a kill, she can essentially be made useless. Exhaust is an obvious choice because: it's a spell designed to nullify one enemy champion's damage for a few seconds - easily enough time to kill her. The other big items are definitely Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel. Both of these items grant an invulnerability for a set amount of time. During this time, Akali can very easily be focused down quickly.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] Utilising Akali's kit to its fullest potential allows her to be much more efficient in her skill usage and damage output. This makes a huge difference in laning, skirmishes, and team fights. Because Akali uses energy and Essence of Shadow as resources, being fluent and precise in your combos is incredibly important. Wasting a small amount of energy, or using an unnecessary Shadow Dance charge can lead to an untimely death. Here are some of the more common combos. [big]Post-6 Lane Combo[/big] One of the more common mistakes I see for new Akali players is using their ultimate to proc Mark of the Assassin immediately after her Q lands. While you still do receive the proc damage, this is not efficient use of Akali's skillset at all. A proper Akali combo looks like this: [b][img=skills/akali/q.png]>wait for Q to refresh>[img=skills/akali/r.png]>Autoattack>[img=skills/akali/q.png]>[img=skills/akali/e.png]>[img=skills/akali/w.png] for escape (if needed)[/b] This is Akali's most dangerous combo during the laning phase - the amount of damage you put out will almost always catch your opponent off guard. But you have to be careful with this combo because you can potentially be caught out of position. This works because Akali's Q's mark lasts longer than the ability's cooldown after its first rank, so you are able to proc your Q twice on an enemy laner. Mark of the Assassin alone does its base damage twice, along with 180% of your ability power. That's not even including your basic attack, Shadow Dance, or Crescent Slash's damage! The great thing about this combo is not just its damage, but you also have incredible zoning power with just your Q, because just one properly executed combo from Akali is enough to take out at least 30-50% of the enemy's life bar. [big]Team Fight Assassination[/big] This isn't necessarily a combo, but it is a way of playing in team fight situations that is simply more efficient. What you will have to remember is that energy is an incredibly precious resource in team fight situations. It's incredibly easy to run out of it if you simply spam your abilities, and the fact that Akali has such low cooldowns make it all the more likely for you to run dry and become useless for a few seconds, during which it is probable that you will die. So how do we fix that? Don't use Crescent Slash unless you absolutely must. What I've noticed is that it's easy to just hit every button while playing Akali. Seriously, I've done it and I'd wager that everybody that's played Akali has done it. Like I said however, the odds of dying thanks to this are actually quite high, out of all your skills Crescent Slash is the least valuable: all it does is provide a mediocre amount of damage in an area. Q provides more damage, W is invaluable utility, R is mobility and sticking power: E is not that good of a skill in comparison. In general, your skill usage in a team fight will go like this: [b][img=skills/akali/r.png] (if you have to close a gap)>[img=skills/akali/q.png]>Autoattack>[img=skills/akali/w.png]>wait for [img=skills/akali/q.png] refresh>if your opponent uses [img=items/vision-ward.png]/[img=items/oracles-lens.png], go ham on your target[/b]
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] This chapter covers the stage of the game that lasts from the moment you get in, until about 1:50. Generally around this part of the game is when the possibility of early skirmishes are abound. Akali's early laning is weak, though her skirmishing ability is good. She does put out a lot of damage in melee engages where Mark of the Assassin can be activated. The most notable plans that take place during this stage of the game are definitely invasions. [b]Invading[/b] I am personally not a fan of invading because it's an incredibly risky game plan. The threat of falling behind in these engages is very real, and can be disastrous on a champion like Akali who relies on smooth transitions into mid game. But, no risk=no reward. In general, invading the enemy's jungle is likely to catch the enemy team off-guard. When combined with strong early game champions, this can oft translate directly into kills for your team, giving your team a significant advantage. It's important to remember that solo-queue is horribly disorganised, so invading teams normally have a huge advantage over defending teams if they are not prepared.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] I consider early game to be the laning phase, from levels 1-6. Akali has a very rough early game. She's mostly this way because she poses little threat to an enemy that knows how to play against her. Though Akali's damage is actually quite high even before level 6, she does not have any means to land any of this damage. Generally, for this part of the game, you are focusing on picking up gold over harassing your opponent. Akali's skills in the early levels (in particular her Q) don't do a lot of damage. If you're facing a more passive lane opponent and can farm with your basic attacks, I recommend you do that. Akali's basic attack is much more reliable for last hitting than her Mark of the Assassin. Otherwise, you can farm from range with your Q. This can be difficult because the base damage on an unprocced Q does very little damage (35 at rank one). Regardless, this is your only way to farm against a matchup that can punish you farming in melee range. You want to hit level 2 before or at the same time as your lane opponent. [b]Pre-6[/b] Before going to lane, stand on lookout for your jungler. You don't have to put any damage onto the jungle minions because you don't want to fall behind your laning opponent. Your side lanes can leash for your jungler. Head to lane at around 1:50, and immediately begin putting damage onto the creeps. You want to take out the first line of minions as soon as possible and hit level two first. You can start putting out harassment onto your opponent as long as it is safe. Generally, you'll still want to value last hitting over harassment because Akali's Q base damage is so low. If you're against a champion who will be easy to farm against (Fizz, Yasuo), you can hit them with Q harassment while easily farming the lane. Against easy lanes like this, you'll want to establish dominance. Punish them if they get too close to you. Remember, Q basically has no downtime: the mark lasts six seconds, and the cooldown will always be six seconds or lower. If they let you consume the mark, you will always win these trades. Harder opponents that can zone you early on require a more passive playstyle, in which you're simply aiming to farm and hit level 6. In these cases, sit back and farm with Q. If the opponent is someone who has no idea what they're doing, you can go for harassment if you think you can proc your Q mark. [b]Ganks[/b] The enemy jungler will probably try to gank you at this stage. Akali has an easy time getting out of gank situations as long as you are not overextended. Simply pop your shroud and run away from the enemy. It's important to note that in engagements like this, Akali is one of the strongest champions when it comes to early skirmishes in which she's allowed to activate Mark of the Assassin. Akali's level 4-5 is huge in terms of damage, and I can guarantee that the damage will catch your enemy off-guard. If death is imminent, you might be able to take an enemy down with you. This is generally only possible when the enemy is around 50% however. This is done by utilizing shroud's invisibility and hitting them with Q>wait for Q cooldown>Flash (if necessary)>autoattack>Q>E>Ignite and follow with basic attacks. If your jungler is smart enough to counter-gank for you, it's [i]incredibly[/i] likely that you will come out on top. Simply do the same: focus whoever is likely to die first, and then switch focus to the other champion. [b]Post-6[/b] This is Akali's biggest power spike, her ultimate means she can roam to other lanes, can counter-gank, and can put out huge amounts of damage on the enemy laner. There are few champions that can outdamage Akali at this point, though this does not mean that you should start playing haphazardly. The threat of dying is still very real, Akali is a very squishy champion. At this point, you can look to kill your enemy laner. Generally, you'll want to have at least two stacks before trying to fight the enemy laner, as Shadow Dance adds an element of safety to Akali's combos. You can use your Q as a zoning tool versus most matchups: hitting them with it paints a very real threat of Akali taking out 30-50% of the enemy's life bar. You'll also want to take note of whether the enemy has a pink ward. Though they counter invisibility, if you are able to force them to waste a pink ward by having them preemptively place it, you can kill that ward and look to reengage with the safety of invisibility. See the Combos chapter for more information. Never go for a last hit if it's likely the enemy will be able to punish you and force you to recall. Remember [i]experience early>gold early.[/i] Your ideal goal at this point in the game is to hit level 6. Your secondary goal is to be able to pick up a Hextech Revolver within your first recall.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] I consider mid game to last from level 6 to 35 minutes into the game. Akali is a monster in the mid game. This is generally when you can destroy your lane, or pay your side lanes visits and receive free kills. Generally by this point, you'll want to build your Hextech Gunblade as quickly as possible. At this point, you receive a huge power spike because your sustain, damage, and chasing power will all be incredibly strong at this point. You should definitely start to put pressure on the enemy laner as you can very easily take huge chunks out of their life bars with a properly placed combo. From here, your enemy laner will likely be forced to back off and play on the back foot, so you can start to push the lane out and visit your side lanes. Akali's roam and ganking game is strong, especially when combined with a champion like Lee Sin: your mid game skirmishing power will be through the roof, so you will want to look for fights whenever it is smart to go for them. This point in the game is heavily focused on objective control. This makes bottom lane your priority ganking lane. Generally, bot lane has at least one squishy champion in the marksman, so bot lane will be significantly easier to gank than top lane, which more often than not has tanky bruisers. Another point that makes bottom lane a priority, is the presence of Dragon. Bottom lane has significant control over this major objective, and wresting control from them means you can pick up a fair amount of gold for your team. When roaming, if you manage to clean up a lane, either start pushing the tower down or make your way towards Dragon. You will want to weigh up your options at this point: towers grant map control and a global gold bonus; and Dragon grants a bigger global gold bonus, and prevents the enemy team from taking it for the next 6 minutes. Ideally, your build will want to look like this by the end of mid game: [img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png][img=items/hextech-gunblade.png][img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png][img=items/void-staff.png]. If you aren't quite here yet, try to finish up your offensive items, or in the case that you require a defensive item, opt instead for one of those.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] [b]Roaming[/b] When roaming, look at the conditions of your side lanes. You have to take into account whether roaming will net you an advantage, because by leaving your lane you lose out on at least 100 gold per minion wave. As earlier stated, Akali's roaming game is super strong because her chasing, damage, and skirmishing abilities are so potent. Generally, you'll want to look at the condition of your side lanes before trying to roam. If the enemy team is heavily overextended, you can easily take advantage of this. However, you will also want to be careful in ganking overextended side lanes, as this not only signals to your own jungler and mid laner to gank, but for the enemy team to counter-gank. Generally, look at where your jungler is. If he is pining for a gank in a side lane, follow them as it greatly increases the gank's success. [b]Ganking[/b]
[img=http://i.imgur.com/KsNbxHr.jpg] I consider late game to be any point in the game past the 35 minute mark. Late game can be a very trying time for most assassins, this is when most champions' damage start to catch up, and the playing ground is really evened out. Akali's strengths in the mid game can still be found in the late game, but at this point is when most champions will begin picking up their defensive items. This can make assassinating the AP carry and marksman difficult, but with knowledge of how the late game works, you still have the ability to come out on top. At this point, you'll want to pick up your final items: be they defensive or offensive. Late game, like mid game, is based around objective control, but the focus in late game is heavily shifted to Baron Nashor, and inhibitors. For this part of the game, you'll want to stay with your team. Warding in late game is invaluable and, if you haven't yet filled your item slots, you should keep three Sight Wards in your inventory. At this point, you are looking for map control and opportunistic fights - if you manage to kill an enemy carry in late game, you basically gain a lot of pressure over the map for the duration they are dead. If you ever manage to kill an enemy carry, and can ensure that you aren't being baited out by the enemy team, you should definitely take this opportunity. Being in a 4v5 situation basically means that you have free control over Baron, and towers. Generally, you won't be able to get free picks off like this where your enemies actually become competent, so you will want to have the map warded. Where you keep warded is generally dependent on what your status in the game is: in a late game scenario you are either ahead, even, or behind. [b]Ahead[/b] Being ahead of the enemy team on a champion like Akali is a huge advantage, because your team fighting ability will be extremely strong. At this point, you will probably be able to jump onto the enemy carries and murder them instantly. You want to be sure that your team is able to maintain pressure on the enemy team, particularly by keeping their side of their jungle heavily warded. You'll want to have vision on the enemy team at basically all times. At this point, you can keep the enemy team pressured hard by having all three lanes pushing in your favour, without being at too big of a disadvantage because you'll be able to tell when engages will be favourable or not. You will have extensive control over Baron Nashor, and you should not hesitate to snatch it from the enemy team as they will definitely have trouble contesting it. Stay with your team, if you can ever get a vital pick off on an enemy carry, you can win the game off of that. Losing team fights aren't as bad if you're ahead, because the enemy will likely not be able to end the game off of an unfavourable teamfight. [b]Even[/b] A situation where both teams are relatively even means that both teams will be pressured. Your team fighting will largely be decided by better mechanics at points like this, rather than relying on simply being ahead of your opponent. Generally however, vision control is still king. At this point, one team fight can decide the course of the entire game, so it's important that you are looking for smarter engages.