- Playing As
- Wait to cast until there are nearby enemies for the to attack, and you have built up stacks with your .
- Use and to renew the duration of on enemies.
- Avoiding damage in lane maximizes the uptime on , increasing Malzahar's safety dramatically.
- During early gameplay, use
to farm and kill minions. This allows to restore mana, helping you to sustain in lane and also spread to the next minion.
- deal higher damage to lane minions affected with . This allows you to get the last hits more frequently.
- Playing Against
- When Malzahar hits an ability on enemies affected by , the are refreshed.
- Avoid minion waves that have been affected by . You never know when they may die and pass the onto you.
- Malzahar is especially dangerous while he has on the map.
- Ability Usage
- Abuse the CC immunity and damage reduction while it lasts. Killing your lane enemy helps to refresh the passive if you're not good at avoiding damage.
- Silences foes and makes them unable to cast abilities. Also deals a nice amount of burst damage during late game.
- Casting your burst combo in the order > > gives you three Voidlings and a DoT effect to work with. or is helpful here to force the enemy into taking the full brunt of the ability damage.
- Good for farming. Restores mana per unit kill so it may be used to clear minion waves in combination with other abilities.
- Allows Malzahar to partially control his by redirecting their focus.
- Use it when you're enemy is getting away to force them to take all the damage you're pouring out on them using your sustained damage combos. That way, they are unable to run away without the use of a .
- Rune Usage
- is a good option, not only because Malzahar is lacking in viable options for keystones, but also because Malzahar is often reliant on different summoner spells. By using this rune, Malzahar can start with for more early game pressure, or to survive a very difficult lane like . Assuming he didn't used Ignite yet, he can switch to to return to the lane when he has enough gold for mana items, allowing him to pressure the enemy by shoving him rather than with the threat of killing him. Later, when Teleport falls off, Malzahar can switch to multiple other options: for more mobility and an extra escape option, to use against hyper mobile and bursty champions, or even against dangerous CC effects.
can be used if you feel like you need more damage potential against enemies. The main advantage of picking Summon Aery is the ability to pick a secondary rune path other than
- For example, going Precision allows Malzahar to pick . This rune gives him more mana sustain, and Malzahar often burns a lot of mana with his abilities. The main advantage of this rune, however, is the ultimate cooldown reduction. Because Malzahar is very reliant on his ultimate, having it avaliable as often as possible is a fantastic asset, especially when enemies have .
- Item Usage
- Cooldown reduction is an important stat to have on Malzahar. He will often need to spam his abilities. Also, Malzahar is very reliant on his to work, and with enough cooldown reduction, this ability can have a lower cooldown than 's active, allowing him to ult enemies that have counteritemized against him.
- Another important stat is mana, as Malzahar has high mana costs on his abilities.
- Because of this, is a good item for Malzahar as he can stack it fairly quickly with his low cooldown abilities, and it offers the most mana among the other items. Once it is fully stacked and upgraded into , it gives Malzahar a shield that works well when Malzahar's passive is inactive, as by then he will be lacking in defensive measures to protect himself (assuming he doesn't have a .
- can replace Tear if you have as a rune, as you then don't risk losing mana sustain later in the game and going OOM suddenly.
- With Malefic Visions. , Malzahar can often permaslow enemies that have been affected by
has synergy with DoTs, and the majority of Malzahar's kit is composed of DoT abilities. It works especially well when paired with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It also gives him even more tank killing power.
- Both items also provide HP, which is important, as Malzahar is a squishy champion and is often defenseless without his passive.
- is an optional item that can be taken against assassins or to survive incoming burst from champions like , , or . It works especially well against too, completely nullfying . It also counters and , as it deny the delayed damage from their ultimates, if you activate it just before you are affected. The main disadvantage is that you have to sacrifice either Rylai or Liandry to build this, as the other items on Malzahar's build are often non-negotiable.
- is needed because enemies will often build magic resistance items against Malzahar. It also works well with the fact that Malzahar's ultimate deals max HP damage, as the only counter to this is to build magic resistance.
- is needed to make Malzahar's damage scale into late game.
- could be considered, but Malzahar often has no room for this item. It should never be considered as an option instead of a Lost Chapter item to solve mana issues, as Malzahar really needs the cooldown reduction more than the HP. However, if you are using and you feel like you don't need either Liandry or Rylai, you could build this item instead, as it synergizes pretty well with Archangel's Staff and its upgrade, Seraph's Embrace.
- is a situtional item that should be purchased against sustain reliant champions like , , , and/or an ADC that builds lifesteal (such as a with ).
- AD Malzahar used to be an option before the rework. However, now the can be easily killed, and even though they have an AD scaling, they deal magic damage, so building armor penetration items is not useful. This build is therefore not recommended under any circumstances over the standard AP Malzahar.
- Malzahar's ultimate
is the perfect skill to melt down enemy champions. The best way to counter this move is to remove the CC:
- (and therefore ) are the best direct counters to suppression.
- can prevent Malzahar players from summoning their ultimate on you. While this does not guarantee that you have activated when Malzahar ults you, it can still provide magic resistance. It is thus a better option for APs than QSS late game.
- Bear in mind that using QSS only removes the suppression and not the damage part. You still need to run away from Malzahar if you want to avoid the damage, although this allows you to displace him or trade with him.
- Never take against Malzahar, as this summoner spell doesn't remove suppression, despite removing most other CCs.
- , to a lesser extent, works well as a means to prevent Malzahar from ulting an enemy.
- Spellshields such as and can block , but this is, at best, a shaky way to deal with his ultimate. This is because Nether Grasp is instantaneous, making it very difficult to properly time the spellshields to block it.
- If is , Nether Grasp will be instantly removed the moment that Kled becomes . This can situtionally prevent Kled from dying, but shouldn't be relied upon, as Kled becomes vulnerable when dismounted. In addition, Kled is at his most powerful state when he is mounted, and he doesn't want to be suppressed at all.
- can an ally that is being affected by Nether Grasp, removing the suppression and denying the damage.
- If Malzahar's passive isn't up, your allies should try to displace Malzahar so that the suppression effect ends, and the damage tether ends too.
- helps a lot against Malzahar if you are playing a tank. Most of Malzahar's damage comes from DoTs, which this item works well against.
- Malzahar is surprisingly weak during the early game, as he burns a lot of mana trying to waveclear or to trade with the enemy laner. Also,
has a fairly long cooldown early. Thus, the first few levels can make all the difference against Malzahar. If possible, try to pop his passive, then all-in him, or call for jungler help.
- Keep in mind that Malzahar has many tools to solve those problems. For example, if Malzahar has , he can just push as much as possible, recall, buy a , go back to the lane, then continue pushing. After purchasing this item, Malzahar no longer has mana issues. Also, Malzahar can avoid interacting with you by staying away, while using his voidlings and his to waveclear.
- Another solution is to pick a champion that can keep up with Malzahar's waveclear. There aren't many champions capable of doing this, but the few that do can be useful choices, even if they can't directly trade with Malzahar. Examples: , , , , and . after level 6 can also do this, and she can deny Malzahar's voidlings too, thanks to her , but keep in mind that it can be interrupted by .
- You can also just pick a champion that outranges Malzahar. Examples include and , and the aforementioned and . They can at least attempt to poke Malzahar and make sure that his passive will never be up.
- If Malzahar doesn't have ready to use, he is fairly vulnerable to assassination attempts. Keep in mind however, that other than , most assassins have a hard time actually deactivating Void Shift. Also, with (and by extension, ), Malzahar can deny assassination attempts from the enemy.