IntroductionThis guide will be covering how to play Akali as solo top. Akali is a really strong pick top if your team needs that extra bit of damage due to a jungle-tank like rammus or maokai, or simply wants to dominate your lanes against certain picks.
I've been maining Akali for almost half a year, and I've tried many different item builds on her, the items that i will recommend in this guide, is the items that I have had the most success using, and this guide is basically covering how I play Akali. I am currently at 1519 ELO with a 73% win ratio as Akali, that said, I think Akali is a great pick for solo queue as she will very easily snowball into a 'always win - never die' killing machine.
Westrice and Voyboy have shown us several times that Akali can be played at a competitive level. Even though Akali is one of my favorite champions to play, she has some obvious counters, which can make her laning phase a pain, and totally ruin her mid and late game. CC is one of Akali's worst enemies, therefore you should consider another pick, if your opponents have too many stuns or snares, since you will stand right on top of the enemy team to deal damage.
Akali doesn't have any hard CC, take that into account before picking her up.
Akali is an assasin and your main goal throughout the game is to deal tons of damage! Akali needs her passive to be - Akali. Those masteries as well as the rune page is aimed to proc both of her passives at lvl 2, as well as making you deal most possible damage. The 9 points into the defense tree is simply best in slot. The 30 hp from veteran's scars will help you survive early ganks as well as early engages against your opponent.
The rune page that I am using is, as well as the masteries, aimed towards obtaining both parts of the passive at lvl 2.
The 7 flat AD marks are an obviously choice for getting that 10 bonus AD for your passive. The 2 magic pen runes will give you a bit more damage throughout the game, and since you won't need any more AD, these are simply best in slot.
Hp/lvl seals can be exchanged by flat armor seals if you are laning against a strong AD champion like or .
When is at rank 5, it will give you a bonus of 50 armor and magic resistance, this is the main reason why bonus health will be help to survive later on, assuming that you will be able to hide in your shroud.
Lately I've changed my mind, and started using flat armor seals more often, they are a really solid choice against most bruisers.
For glyphs I recommend picking up ability power/lvl. Those will proc the second part of the passive when you reach lvl 2, which is almost as soon as the game starts. If you haven't got these, you can use flat ability power instead, they will proc the passive already from lvl 1, but will not help your mid,- and lategame as much as ability power/lvl runes will.
Flat ability power quints, will give you a total of 15 ability power. This is enough for procing the passive at lvl 2, or even at lvl 1 if you run flat ability power glyphs as well. If you do so, one of the quints can be exchanged for a flat hp, if you need that extra durability early on.
Flash is probably the best summoner in the game. Flash is the key to reposition in a teamfight, catch up to a running enemy or escaping a gank.
Ignite will help you killing your opponent in lane if they overextend. It will make it a breeze to fight against healers like soraka or sona, and can secure countless kills, that you would've have got without it.
are all viable choices, but ignite and flash is simply better.
Passive: Twin Disciplines
Upon obtaining 20 additional ability power, Akali's hits deal 8% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 6 ability power gained thereafter.
Upon obtaining 10 additional attack damage, Akali gains 8% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 6 attack damage gained thereafter.
This passive is amazing. It will make you sustain in lane as well as making you deal even more damage. It is very important that you proc both passives early in the game!
You basically need 10 bonus AD and 20 bonus AP, so even though you lvl up and your AD raises, the passive won't be proced without 10 bonus AD.
Q: Mark of the Assassin
Akali spins her kama at a target enemy to deal 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and mark the target for 6 seconds.
Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will trigger and consume the mark to cause 45 / 70 / 95 / 120 / 145 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and restore 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 energy.
Cost 60 energy
This ability is your bread and butter. Use it for harrasment in lane, use it for farming, use it for killing people! The damage is massive and will make exchanging in lane a breeze since you will come out on top in most cases. Notice the short casttime, you won't proc the mark if you shadow dance right away after marking your opponent, wait a second before dashing towards your enemy. Once you pick up your this ability will slow your opponent, and basically make it impossible for them to run away alive. This effect can be used defensively as well, slow your opponent with a mark every single time it is off cooldown.
The cooldown is very short, use this to surprise your opponent: Mark them, wait untill the mark is almost gone, then auto attack, mark again and auto attack once again.
W: Twilight Shroud
Akali throws down a cover of smoke that lasts for 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 armor and magic resist and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies inside the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 / 30%.
Cost 80 / 75 / 70 / 65 / 60 energy
Great ability for so many reasons. Escape ganks, juke your opponent, zone them out, slow them, harras without taking any hits, or simply get untouchable for the duration of the ability by hiding in the shroud.
Notice that you will get hit by all AoE abilities while in the shroud. Also notice that you will be stealthed for a short duration after leaving the shroud, this will make you able to escape while you are still stealthed, and your enemies won't see you before it's too late for them to catch up to you.
You can use the shroud between 2 brushes for complete confusion.
E: Crescent Slash
Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 30 / 55 / 80 / 105 / 130 physical damage (+30% of ability power) + 60% Attack Damage.
Cost 60 energy
This ability costs alot of your energy. Use it mainly for farming or for that extra bit of damage that will finish of your opponent or just make them even more wounded after a small engagement. You should not use this in teamfights, as you will end up without dealing any damage due to your low energy.
R: Shadow Dance
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100 / 175 / 250 (+50% of ability power) magic damage.
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow on kills and assists as well as every 25 / 20 / 15 seconds up to 3 total.
Cost 1 Essence of Shadow
Shadow Dance stacks 3 times, it is important to have at least 2 stacks before you go into a teamfight, since it is one of your main damage abilities.
The use of shadow dance will seperate the good Akali players from the great. It has so many uses. USe it for catching up to your opponent - 3 times! Use it to dash towards a minion to get into range for another dash at your opponent, use it to escape ganks and use it to get out of turret range after a towerdive by dancing towards an enemy minion.
Feel free to use it for harrasment in lane, you will get 1 charge back in no time!
Skill OrderBasically >>>
Leveling your spells like this, will optimice your damage. You can choose level up over if you feel that you are too squishy, but your farming will lack compared to leveling up first.
Item BuildsStart off by buying or if you haven't got that 10 bonus AD from masteries and runes. With boots and health pots, you will be able to sustain in lane, run from ganks and catch up to your opponent after marking them with
When you have enough gold for and , recall, get them and head back to your lane. You should now be able stay in the lane for a very long time, optimally untill you've got enough gold for your first core item .
is great item for Akali. Your passive will be even stronger, you will be able to lifesteal/spellvamp HP back throughout fights and you will be able to slow a single opponent with the active from it, which can easily lead to a kill.
Between and or right after, you want to grab a pair of boots. Take a look at your enemies! If they have alot of CC, is the best choice, if you want to deal even more damage grab . If you are facing a team containing 4 AD's or if you have a hard time laning against lots of physical damage you should consider getting , but sometimes it will benefit you more just to get sorceres shoes and harras your opponent out of the lane.
After Gunblade is a great item to pick up. It will make escaping you completly impossible, and will give you tons of health points that combined with the defensive stats from will make you quite tough.
If you want to end the game as fast as possible, and you don't fear any of your enemies, you should consider rushing a instead of , since it will make your damage output even scarier. You can get a after your Deathcap, since the slow is still amazing for chasing your enemies.
At this point of the game, you will for sure get focused by the enemy team, lately i have had alot of succes buying a before buying any more damage items, GA will move some of the focus away from you, you will be able to tank some more damage and play a bit more risky. If you are still getting focused, you team will have time to follow up, even if your health points reaches 0 and your GA procs.
After Guardian Angel you have several items to consider:
if you didn't buy it before GA.
for some crazy burst, Lich bane synegies so well with and the movement speed as well as magic resistance from Lich Bane is great as well.
is the item to get if your opponents understand how to counter you - by getting tons of magic resistance. Void staff will counter their magic resistance and make you deal even more damage.
If you feel that you need some more surviveability (against tons of physical damage) or / (against magical damage or too much CC)
Early GameLast hit, last hit, last hit! Early game is all about CS and you want to get as much gold as possible for the items you are going to buy. If your opponent is letting you get your last hits, you should throw your at them every single time it's off cooldown, to zone them out and make you an early lead. Sometimes though it will be you who is zoned out, stay back and use to get last hits from a safe distance. Lasthitting at your turret isn't that hard after you've learned to time it, take advantage of that and let your opponent push the lane to your turret if you feel that they can kill you if you can't stay by your turret. will help you sustain, so even though you might take a few hits from the minions, you will regain it fast.
Once you hit lvl 6, you will be able to kill your opponent with the help of your jungler, of even by yourself if you have managed to keep the opponent away from the minions with .
Always have a in the river! A gank can lose you your lane, seeing the jungler or mid before he ganks you, can save your life, and will help you not to feed the entire game.
Remember your combo wait a few seconds in the shroud, auto attack, Q, autoattack and follow up with if they are low enough to kill.
Note: If you are miles ahead of your opponent, consider not destroying the enemy turret, since it will help your opponent back into the game by letting him get last hits again, drag laning phase for as long as possible if you can out zone your opponent and possiblely get a few kills.
1. Last hit minions
2. Harras with , but don't miss the minions!
3. Zone out you opponent using and
4. Try to kill your opponent, but don't dive to crazily since you are squishy and will probably end up dying.
Mid GameIf you managed to win your lane, mid game will be a breeze for you, Akali's burst is able to take down carries in no time, ward around the map and catch your opponent off guard! You still want to get last hits, push your lane, roam around the map and help your teammates as much as possible. Dragon is a key to victory, help your team getting the dragon every time it spawns, which is every 6 minutes.
If you bought instead of , kindly ask your team to leave the red buff for you, that way you will still be able to slow people if they try to get out of harm's way.
Remember your role as an assassin, focus the carries and take them out before they can deal any damage to your teammates.
Watch out for enemy , you won't be invisble in your shroud, stay back untill the fight erupts and if possible kill the opponent with Oracles, if it isn't the tank. Remember to still focus the carries, you just have to play more cautiously.
Late GameDuring late game you should always stay with your team! Baron and inhibs are now the key to victory. Never let the enemies kill baron unless you are able to punish them by killing their entire base. The baron buff will add so much to your damage, kill it if possible!
and can be the difference between winning and losing that last teamfight that will end the game. Remember to get them if you have that spare gold before every teamfight late game.
The enemy AD carry should now be the biggest threat to your team, focus him if possible! If you can't get to the AD carry as your opponents will do their best to defend him, the AP carry is always worth focusing. Do not waste your cooldowns on the enemy tank, you will most likely not end up killing him anyways.
Team FightsRemember that your role as an assasin is to kill the enemy carries before they can deal any damage to your team. You are not the initiater! If you end up initiating you will most likely end up dying before you are able to get off your awesome damage. Sometimes it can be beneficial to just sit in your shroud and let the enemies waste all their cooldowns on your tanks and then jump in right after.
If possible, stay back and wait for the team fight to erupt, and when your see an opportunity, go for your target!
Remember to always watch out for oracles, since you won't be able to hide in the middle of the team fight, as your enemies will be able to watch every single of your moves.
Final CommentsYou won't regret to pick up Akali, since she is one of the funniest and action packed champions in the League. You will most likely have a hard time learning how to get the most out of her, but in the end it will all be worth it, since you will have so much fun everytime you choose to play Akali.
If you have any questions or anything you think I should to add to the guide - tell me! I will be updating the guide from time to time if I figure out that I missed something important. I might as well add how Akali does against the most common solo top picks, who she counters and who you will have a really hard time against.