Kog'Maw Build Guide

A Killer Butterfly

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Hello everyone, welcome to my Kog'Maw guide! Kog'Maw has always been one of my favourite AD Carries in the game in having one of the strongest late-game carry potential in the game. Throughout the many seasons of League of Legends, Kog'Maw has constantly risen and fallen out of the meta - this speaks to key strengths and weaknesses of Kog'Maw as a champion. While he does have immense carry potential and an insane late game presence, Kog'Maw is vulnerable before he could reach that late game status and even so, assassins and divers all pose a serious threat that could nullify his effectiveness. As such, as different champions become stronger or weaker through each patch, we may see more Kog'Maw in a more controlled/late game meta and would probably see less play in a meta which favours assassins. Nevertheless this doesn't mean that Kog'Maw is god-tier or completely useless depending on the meta - it's not that black and white, instead, it all depends on how well you can play the champion and how your team composition is built to help remedy the weaknesses that Kog'Maw has. [highlight]When is Kog'Maw a good pick?[/highlight] Unlike some other AD Carries, Kog'Maw isn't as versatile to plug in and play in any team composition, instead, he works best in a team composition that caters to his role - being a high damage powerhouse. However with such a glaring weakness in his immobility, this has to also be taken into account. Kog'Maw works best in a team composition that can provide a strong front line and has an adequate amount of peel/shields for protection. Additionally, it should also be taken into consideration what your team needs in an AD Carry - what I mean by this is that the main strength of picking Kog'Maw is the carry potential that he brings as the game goes later and later but when picking the champion you have to ask yourself these questions, 'Is this what the team needs right now?' and 'What are our winning conditions?'. For example, say you have a team composition consisting of Rumble, Jarvan, Ahri and Leona. Looking at this team composition we can see that there is a winning condition - obtaining vision control and landing our initiation and immediately following up on the enemy team. In this scenario, I would not consider Kog'Maw to be the optimal choice here because of two main reasons: - There is a distinct lack of peel on this team, this a team that is meant to be diving onto the enemy not providing bodyguard service. - Kog'Maw does not contribute that well to the winning condition. He does help with the collapse onto the enemy team through the long-range nature of his spells but in comparison to someone like Sivir, who would contribute immensely with her ultimate, Kog'Maw is not as optimal of a pick. With Sivir, she can pop her ultimately and the whole team can push onto the enemy and collapse with ease - this corresponds well with what the winning condition is. [highlight]About me:[/highlight] I have mostly played AD Carry in the game because I find it reasonably fun and none of my friends play that role. Despite being at a scrub elo (and probably a scrub myself), I have found great success in Kog'Maw and know how great of a potential he is as a mid-late game monster. As pretty much all of the 'holy trinity' being nerfed, there will definitely be more Kog'Maws in the bot lane since IPL4 and other lost picks which Kog'Maw does reasonably fine against. Anyways some Season 2 stats [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/FQ8zd.jpg]

Laning phase is when Kog’Maw is the most exploitable, he does not have the strongest early game presence. Nevertheless this does not mean every lane matchup is a loss, Kog’Maw can easily turn the lane around with a few early game items and a level in Living Artillery. It is mainly the Level 1-6 phase of the lane where Kog’Maw struggles against most match ups. Generally, here are a few tips for the early game/laning phase: [.] Farm! This one is self-explanatory, you should be looking to farm as much as you can during the lane. This is all about the fundamentals in League of Legends, I’m always hard on myself for missing CS – this is something that can be practiced easily by yourself. If you’re finding yourself missing multiple minions, create a custom game and just sit there in lane CSing. [.] Although farming is great and all, sometimes you need to know when it’s okay to leave a minion to die if you moving up to take it exposes your position. Furthermore, in exposing yourself, your auto-attack animation may leave you helpless to skillshots for just that one brief moment. [.] Try to keep the lane pushed – if you’re pushed into tower that means your team would not have full control of the river. The enemy team is free to set vision around your lower jungle and as such, your jungler may also suffer as a result. [.]Know when it’s the best time to base! Generally you should be looking to go buy items when the enemy ADC is. Most importantly, take note of the minion wave when you decide that you need to go back. If there is a wave coming towards your tower, unless you’re low and there is a good chance that you will be tower dived, you should stay and take the wave. The best case scenario is you are able to push your wave into the enemy tower, in that case, when you get back to lane the minion wave should be reset to normal and you shouldn’t miss out on much gold/experience. [.]Remember Gromp/Golems! If you’re finding yourself needing a tiny bit extra gold or if you’re getting zoned out completely in lane, don’t be standing idly near tower while you wait for the wave to push back to you, go take these neutral camps to help make up for what you’re losing. [.] Know when to freeze or push! If you find yourself at an advantage in lane and you and your support can start zoning your enemy, it would be best to freeze the wave and deny as much as you can. On the other hand if your enemy is absent from the lane, push as hard as you can so they lose out on the gold and experience from your minions. [.]Harass! Bio-Arcane Barrage and Living Artillery are a perfect combination for quick damage at a distance. When you see the enemy ADC going for a CS, quickly auto-attack and throw a Living Artillery on top of them for some easy unreturnable damage. [.]It’s okay to be losing in CS as long as it’s not a gigantic deficit. Kog’Maw scales well into late game, remember that! As long as you keep up decently, it should be fine. Refer to my laning match ups above as a general guideline in your match ups. However I emphasis the word ‘general’ because as usual, things aren’t black and white in League of Legends there are a large number of variables that can alter what happens in the game and as such, often times you won’t see things go accordingly to what I mention above. For example, against hard engage supports in the bot lane such as Leona, you will find yourself playing extra safe and putting more emphasis on vision control in the bushes. This means that you will find it harder to consistently apply pressure with Bio-Arcane Barrage as a Leona could easily turn on you. However this can be counteracted with a Janna on your team, any engage could be nullified and as such, you can apply more pressure with your auto-attacks than usual when facing a Leona. What team composition we have or they have, where their jungler started or where our jungler is positioned on the map are just some of the variables that can affect the laning phase. This is why it’s hard to put it all into a simple guide as there is just so much that can impact on how the game plays out. You have to question yourself on the decisions you make, is there anything on the map that can heavily sway the outcome against me if I do this or that? For example, consider a Shen on our team and there is a Leona on the enemy team, one major counter to a Leona is the use of global ultimates as Leona is all-engage, she will have no easy way out of global pressure. You should keep this in mind when playing, while the normal correct move would be to play safe and conservative, it would be wise to assert some pressure knowing that you have insurance (Shen). This is just a very basic example of the decisions you should be making depending on the changing circumstances of the game – the only way to learn and improve is by playing and doing it yourself in game! Furthermore, you should also consider reviewing VODs of games by pro players, for example let's take a look at the laning phase of one of Deft's (AD Carry for the top Chinese team EDG) games as Kog'Maw. [vid=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRQh-lVeLSY] [b][i]Credit to: LoL Korean Replays[/i][/b] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmgtmJxFHtwLPru3JRlki5A When reviewing these types of gameplay, not only watch what they're doing in it but continually ask yourself why did they do it? What did it accomplish? League of Legends is not a game where there is a set answer - circumstances change, the better player is able to adapt and act accordingly. For example let's look at certain timestamps. At 1:00 - as I mentioned above, while farming is nice and all; sometimes it's better to just leave some minions to die for free as going for the CS can expose you and leave you in a much worst state than losing a single minion. In this case, Deft notices that Annie has a stun up and ready - if he were to reach for certain CS he would no doubt get stunned and lose a large portion of his health, meaning he would have to play even more passive. As such, it would be much more worthwhile to just lose that set amount of minions in the long run. At 3:10 - after a great hook by the Thresh, they were able to get a kill onto the Annie and as such, Deft asserts pressure almost straight away onto the Kalista. By freezing the minion wave and both Deft and his support are moving assertively towards the Kalista, they can ensure that she loses as much resources as possible. They can play this aggressively because they have vision of both river and tri-bush and that Shyvana is not a strong ganker. At 3:42 - I talk about how variables can change the decisions we would normally make and this is a great example of it all. Normally I would never think to engage heavily onto a Kalista/Annie botlane as the Kog'Maw would just get blown up but they took into consideration on the fact that Annie is just not quite there yet and capitalised it with the kill on Kalista. This would have resulted in the death of the Kog'Maw usually (take notice of how low Deft got) but as circumstances change, so do your decisions as certain points of the game - this is especially true in the laning phase. Watch it yourself and continually ask yourself these questions - try to get into the gist of what they're thinking when playing the game.

Mid-Late game is where the game starts to primarily become objective-based as teams start grouping up and executing their win condition. This is when Kog’Maw starts becoming a high valued threat and his damage continuously scales up as the game gets later and later. At this stage of the game, getting caught and dying could lose you a major objective and potentially the game. Furthermore, you should be taking into account the impact you can make as an AD Carry in helping your team secure objectives around the map. [.] While laning phase is over, grab CS whenever you can, you’re still an AD Carry and will need items to scale into the late game. This mean grabbing waves as they come by in the side lanes or farming neutral minions in the jungle. [.] However, you have to take into account the potential effects of showing your presence – this is similar to what I mentioned before in regards to leaving minions to die for free, is the potential result worth it? No competent team would be leaving you to CS for free unless you have insane map control already. The enemy team could be pushing a tower, doing Dragon or even Baron if you decide to show up in the bot lane and the game is late enough. [.] Keep track of the objective timers and keep track of where the enemy team could possibly be – especially the Jungler. I say this because minion wave manipulation can come in handy at this stage of the game. For example, say dragon is coming up in 40 seconds, this gives you time to build up a wave in the top lane and have it pushing towards the next tower. Kog’Maw grows increasingly stronger as the game gets later, so ensure that you are not walking into the enemy death trap – ideally you should be with members of your team. Luckily Living Artillery serves as an easy scouting tool for the fog of war. This is such a convenient ability for such use that I would say that you would have to be an idiot to die by walking into a deathbush. Furthermore, the range provided by Bio-Arcane Barrage and Living Artillery makes Kog’Maw extremely proficient and sieging and taking down towers. Living Artillery serves as sufficient poke in fighting over objectives, helping your team gain an advantage even before the fight begins.

Team fights are where the true value of a Kog’Maw pick lies - his carry potential is almost unrivalled when it comes to the mid-late game. But of course, a lot of it will come down to how well you play these team fights as one mistake could be punished heavily due to the nature of Kog’Maw’s kit. Generally in a typical game of League of Legends, the highest value targets in a team fight are the main damage dealers on each team - these are the AD Carries and the Mid-laners. Of course, as an AD Carry you would want to be attacking these targets and eliminating them as soon as possible but, 99 times out of 100, this is not the case. [b]Decision Making in Team Fights[/b] In team fights, you would most likely be finding yourself hitting their frontline most of the time and only in being able to shred through them would you gain access to their backline. As an AD Carry, you have a high price on your head, so you’ll probably find that the best course of action would be attacking the closest target to you while your main tanks soak up most of their damage - in many cases this is correct. But of course, a playing team fights is more than just that, if one was to strictly play by the books - attacking only the closest target before moving onto the next until you eventually reach the main damage threats on their team (if they’re not dead already), you’re really limiting yourself as a player. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re aiming to play team fights strictly by the book, you are completely limiting yourself as a player. Circumstances change, sometimes the best course of action is to move on from the frontline and just start challenging higher priority targets. The variables that you should be taking note of - cooldowns and where certain champions are etc, come into play here. Let’s go with a very simple example, say that an enemy Alistar and Ahri are jumping onto you and your team, Alistar has just blown his combo and Ahri is dancing around with her Spirit Rush. In this case, the best course of action is to help your team eliminate the Ahri as soon as possible, even if it means Alistar is in your face - after all, what is Alistar going to do for the next ten or so seconds with his cooldowns? Of course, this is assuming that these are the only two variables - in a real game, other factors might change what you want to do, the only way to learn is to play and experience it yourself. [b]Positioning[/b] As a Kog’Maw, you have a much smaller room for error in your positioning in comparison to some other AD Carries - mainly because of your lack of mobility, meaning that getting caught out once in a team fight could be detrimental as you have no way out. However, I want to talk about what good positioning is - is it the safest place possible where nothing can hit you? No, far from it. Good positioning is being in a place where you can do the most damage possible without getting instantly blown up. Often I see AD Carries placing such a strong emphasis on survival that they try to avoid getting hit by any sort of damage - often this is playing extremely passively, doodling around far from the main fight and throwing in one or two auto-attack here and there. In doing this, these AD Carries have absolutely no presence in a team fight and more often than not, their team will get overwhelmed and they will die anyways. I mention that Kog’Maw has very little room for error in his positioning in a team fight but this doesn’t mean that you should play extremely far back and trying to avoid all forms of damage coming at you - that’s playing not to lose, you should be playing to win! I’m not saying you should be balls to the walls aggressive and be flashing into the fights, I’m saying that to get out as much damage as you can in a team fight, you’re going to have take a front seat view of the action. This often leads to taking damage and getting hit by abilities but if you’re being controlled and smart about it, it’s a more than optimal price to pay. In team fights, you should be trying to keep track of your team and enemy cooldowns and the positioning of each enemy champion and where your frontline is. From this, you decipher what the best course of action is - where you can safely do the most damage possible without getting blown up. For example, in seeing a Zed on the enemy team use his death mark on one of your team mates, this gives you a signal that you could start to assert more pressure and position more aggressively. Furthermore, luckily for us, Kog’Maw has one of the longest ranges in the game and as such, more often than not we can be auto-attacking for every second of the team fight. Lastly, often you will find yourself getting dived upon and having to reposition - as such, kiting is an important concept that you should be looking to practice. This involves attacking and re-positioning yourself (in between auto-attacks) away from whoever is jumping on you (usually a melee bruiser). Although Kog'Maw has no mobility, he does have some tools to work with to help with kiting - his long range and Void Ooze. Hopefully your team can help make the job easier in theses cases. [b]Mechanics[/b] Out of every role in League of Legends, AD carry is probably the most mechanically intensive out of all of them, you need to be able to dodge incoming skillshots and lay out as much damage as possible without getting completely blown up. As such, becoming a mechanically sound player is vital to improving as an AD Carry. I won't delve too much into this as it's much easier to just get into the game and improving your abilities there. We have all seen those major highlight reels of the best AD players in the world - players such as Uzi, Imp and Deft pop into our minds as mechanical gods in their abilities to kite and weave amongst all the chaos in a team fight. But I can assure you that when it comes to dodging skillshots and being all around slippery in a team fight - it's not just their reaction timing that makes them so fast. It also comes down to knowing the gist of the enemy champions you're playing against. When you know what is going to come out of a certain champion, it becomes almost second nature to ready yourself for it. For a simple example, most Ahris generally go for the Spirit Rush to close the distance into a Charm, knowing this, my mind is already telling me to move out of the way. As such, I'm already in the mindset to react to her Charm just by seeing her and if she starts to jump on me, I'm already prepared for it and would move to the side accordingly. In knowing the general abilities and gist of the enemy champions, your mind is in a better position to react to what they throw out to you.

Thanks for reading my guide, it's my first one and I've dedicated a few hours of my free time writing it, so constructive criticism is always welcome! Kog'Maw has always been one of my favourite champions and this is just what I think about him through my experiences in the numerous games I've played him in both normals and ranked. Anyways I hope to see more Kog'Maws in tournaments and in all types of games as he has always been one of the strongest AD Carries in the game. I'll look into posting videos and and such to compliment the wall of texts and adding more content to them sometime soon, I've got exams coming up so I will be busy in the next few weeks. Thanks a lot and thanks for reading! Also Monarch Kog'Maw > any other skin.

[highlight]30/11/2013[/highlight] [.] Updated for Season 4 [highlight]30/8/2013[/highlight] [.] Introduction, Masteries, Runes [highlight]30/7/2013[/highlight] Updated information. [.] Slight changes to lane match ups. [highlight]19/5/2013[/highlight] Updated different bits of information. [.] Thresh in Support Synergies. [.] Item build chapter. [.] Varus in lane match ups. [highlight]10/2/2013[/highlight] Updated different bits of information. [.] Zyra and Fiddlesticks in Support Synergies. [.] Item build chapter. [highlight]10/2/2013[/highlight] Updated item builds. [highlight]1/1/2013[/highlight] Added new chapter on advantages and disadvantages. [highlight]16/12/2012[/highlight] Updated information for Season 3. [.]Masteries [.]Item build. [highlight]26/11/2012:[/highlight] Updated some information. [.] More information on alternative Summoner Spells. [.] Added some images and a video here and there. [.] Seperated some stuff and made overall layout a bit nicer. [highlight]19/11/2012:[/highlight] Guide created. [title]To do list:[/title] [.]Add more match ups. (Urgot, Varus, Kennen) [.]Add more support synergies (Zyra basically) [.]Add more stuff in general.

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