Malzahar Champion Guide by aNubOnRoids

Version 1.01, Last Updated 2013-08-09

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League of Legends Character Guide: Malzahar

  • Author: Ian French
  • Date Created: August 9, 2013
  • Current Version: 1.01
  • Current Patch: 3.10

Introduction

Hi, my summoner name is JunkBoy45, and this is my guide to Malzahar, the Prophet of the Void.

Malzahar is an offensive DoT (damage over time) champion. He is my favorite mid champ due to his unique mechanics and high damage potential. This makes up for the fact that he doesn't have a solid escape mechanism. When played right, he can farm just as well as any other champion and win against most matchups in a 1 on 1 fight. When his passive is utilized properly, he has a very high damage potential at even the early levels. If you're having a rough early game, Malzahar can still farm at a safe distance, and he's one of the scariest champions to try to dive. After the laning phase ends, farming is very easy, and with proper positioning in teamfights, your skills can instantly turn things around.

Malzahar has a decent win rate in games, but is one of the least popular champions. I hope that this guide will cause more people to try out and do well with one of the most unique champions in the game.

Summon Voidling (Passive)

After casting 4 spells, Malzahar summons an uncontrollable Voidling to engage enemy units for 21 seconds. Voidlings have 200 (+50 x Level) health and 20 (+5 x Level) + (100% bonus AD) damage.

Voidlings Grow after 7 seconds (+50% Damage/Armor), and Frenzy after 14 seconds (+100% Attack Speed).

This ability helps farm, harass, secure kills, and occasionally save your life (like getting in between you and a Blitz grab). After using 4 skills (you can cast your Q and W at the fountain in base when you spawn to give you 2 charges when you reach your tower), a small Voidling is spawned. After 7 seconds, if it is still alive, it will Grow into a larger and stronger Voidling, and if it survives for another 7 seconds, it will Frenzy, and become larger again and attack faster. They cannot be controlled directly, but you can cause them to prioritize targets. A Voidling will attack Malzahar's target (whatever Malzahar is auto attacking), switch to a new target that is afflicted with Malzahar's E (Malefic Visions), and switch to the target that is caught by Malzahar's R (Nether Grasp).

Call of the Void

Cost: 80/90/100/110/120 mana

Cooldown: 9 seconds

Malzahar opens two portals to the void. After a short delay, they fire projectiles that deal 80/135/190/245/300 (+80% AP) magic damage and silences champions for 1.4/1.8/2.2/2.6/3.0 seconds.

This is a hard skill to describe without seeing it yourself. When you select this skill to use, a special bar replaces your cursor on screen. The left and right sides of the bar are where the portals open, and the projectiles fire towards the center of the bar after a .5 second delay. This is a hard skill to master the timing and aiming of at first, but with practice, it will be a gamechanger because of its high damage and long silence. Ideally you want to try to land this on half the enemy team during a fight, or at least on the enemy AP carry. It's also a great skill to keep in reserve to use against channeled skills like Katarina's ult, Fiddlesticks's ult, and Nunu's ult.

Null Zone

Cost: 90/100/110/120/130 mana

Cooldown: 14 seconds

Malzahar creates a zone of negative energy for 5 seconds. The zone damages nearby enemies for 4/5/6/7/8% (+1% per 100 AP) of their max health each second (damage to monsters is capped at 120 damage per second).

You will mainly be using this skill to help you kill someone or in the middle of a teamfight where the most champions are standing. Because it deals damage based on an enemy's maximum health, even champions who build health items will take serious damage if they stay within its zone for too long. By end game, you'll be doing about 15% of a champion's health in damage per second.

Malefic Visions

Cost: 60/75/90/105/120 mana

Cooldown: 15/13/11/9/7 seconds

Malzahar infects his target's mind, dealing 80/140/200/260/320 (+80% AP) magic damage over 4 seconds. If the target dies during this time, the visions pass to a nearby enemy and Malzahar gains 10/14/18/22/26 mana. Malzahar's Voidlings are attracted to affected units.

This skill is Malzahar's bread and butter. There's no aiming with this skill, you just choose which target you want to infect. It is your most reliable skill to harass and farm with. Because your Voidling will also attack whichever target is afflicted with Malefic Visions, this skill shouldn't have much of a problem jumping from minion to minion, refunding you mana, and earning you gold. If you cast this on an enemy champion while you have a Grown or Frenzied Voidling, they'll have little choice but to run back to their tower because you just took away half of their health. You can even gain gold and experience from minions that this skill kills from anywhere on the map.

Nether Grasp

Cost: 150 mana

Cooldown: 120/100/80 seconds

 Malzahar channels the essence of the Void to suppress target champion, dealing 250/400/550 (+130% AP) magic damage over 2.5 seconds.

This skill is potentially as dangerous to you as it is to your victim. While the enemy champ is suppressed, you too are stuck in the same spot for the duration of the skill. If you try moving, using another skill, are interrupted while channeling the skill (you are silenced, grabbed, knocked back, etc.), or the tether is broken (a teammate grabs or pulls the suppressed champion out of range), then the skill ends prematurely without doing its full damage. This is a very strong single target skill which renders an enemy champ totally useless until the skill ends, but makes you a sitting target as well. Some skills like Gangplank's Remove Scurvy or Olaf's Ragnarok, as well as items like Quicksilver Slash, Mercurial Scimitar and Banshee's Veil can end this skill early. It should be noted that if they are in range, you can cast Ignite on the target without interrupting the spell.

Runes

Marks: It's almost universal to choose magic penetration runes here, since you can get early AP from other runes, masteries, and even your first item. Pretty much every other AP champ will get magic pen here, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Seals: I like getting mana regen runes for pretty much any role except jungler. I like using skills a lot. Malzahar doesn't have mana issues (although I have seen some bad players run out of mana quickly), but having that mana regen means you don't need to rely on blue buff to stay in lane and keep using skills. Giving some mana-dependent junglers the option to get blue buff the second time around can really help your team.

Glyphs: The two top choices here are AP and scaling magic resist runes. More AP means Malefic Visions has a better chance to kill a minion and move to another one, while magic resist will help you not get burst down so badly. I prefer magic resist because you'll be facing an AP mid most of the time, and there will probably be 1 or 2 other champs that do a noticeable amount of AP damage too. Being able to stay in lane longer and survive teamfights longer is more important to me than squeezing out an extra 10 AP at level 1.

Quintessences: Flat AP quints are expensive, but if you don't have any AP from your runes, your skills won't hit for much and Malefic Visions will have a harder time early game being able to kill a minion and move to the next one. Flat health quints are also a possibility, but I don't think they're the best to use here.

Masteries


 

Since Malzahar is an offensive champion, 21/0/9 is my preference. In the Offense Tree I have 1 point in Summoner's Wrath because if my Ignite is on cooldown, it'll give me 5 AP, which is more than I would have gotten from having an extra point in Mental Force. I have a point in Spellsword because at an early level, auto attacks against champs do matter, and even later in the game, I've finished someone off with an auto attack or two. In the Utility Tree I like having Flash up sooner, I like having more mana, a little extra move speed can sometimes save your life, and who doesn't want their buffs to last longer?

Summoner Spells

Flash and Ignite are the way to go. Ghost is maybe an option if you like chasing people down, but sometimes in the early game you need a Flash to catch your opponent off guard and land your ult to finish them off. Plus I can't count how many times flashing over a wall to escape has saved my life. Ignite, as I mentioned earlier, can be used during your ult, so why not increase your chances of killing your opponent with another damaging skill?

Skill order

Level123456789101112131415161718
Call of the Void (Q)  X      X  X  X X     
Null Zone (W)    X          X X  X X
Malefic Visions (E) X  X  X  X  X         
Nether Grasp (R)      X     X     X  

Malefic Visions helps you farm, push, and harass, and will help your Voidling assist you in all of those things, so it should be maxed first. Maxing it also reduces its cooldown time. Obviously you want to max your ult every chance you get. Call of the Void is your next most damaging skill, and the utility it brings with that silence (which lasts longer at higher levels) is too good to pass up. Null Zone doesn't really start to shine until late game, so it should be maxed last.

Starting options:

  • Doran's Ring and 2 Health Potions: This is how I start my games now. 60 extra health, 15 AP, and the mana regen are everything an AP champ that uses mana could want in a starting item. 2 Health Potions allow me to survive some harassment or survive a gank, and help me stay in lane longer, which is especially helpful at the beginning of the game. I used to prefer trying to build straight into a Rod of Ages at the beginning, but these starting items improve my chances of getting a kill, so it's hard to argue against them.
  • Boots of Speed and 4 Health Potions: The health you'll get back from the potions is a lot more than the health you would gain from a Doran's Ring, the boots give you a little extra speed which could help avoid some skillshots and do hit and run tactics with Malefic Visions before your opponent can retaliate, and the boots will be built into an item you'll need. However, you're missing out on mana regen and a noticeable amount of AP early on. These are not the starting items of someone who expects to win their lane.
  • Mana Crystal and 2 Health Potions: My old starting build before Doran's Ring was made cheaper. I can build straight into a Rod of Ages, I won't have mana problems, so my jungler can get blue if they need it, and the potions help me stay in lane longer. Unfortunately, getting a Doran's Ring instead just outclasses this choice completely.

Early purchases:

  • Boots of Speed: I hate not getting boots for very long, because it's that much easier for ganks to succeed, skillshots to hit me, and for enemy champs to run away from me before I can even put Malefic Visions on them. Plus if I'm trying to chase someone with low health, there's no way I'll be able to outrun them and catch up. Boots can save your life and help secure a kill, so try not to wait too long before getting them.
  • Doran's Ring: I personally don't like going double Doran's. I like trying to build into the more complex items, rather than buying multiple Doran's items. I don't like heavily investing into items that I'm going to sell later, because whatever gold advantage I might have will be lost when I sell the rings and have to buy something else.
  • Catalyst the Protector: If you're facing a matchup where it's hard for you to avoid taking damage (Leblanc, Karthus, jungler camping your lane), this item can help you get back some of the health you keep losing. I personally love getting Rod of Ages on my AP champs early on because it gives them everything they need, and you can build into that item based on how the game is going.
  • Blasting Wand: If I'm dominating my lane or I'd rather spend my gold on more AP than on finishing up my Catalyst, I'll usually get this. You'll be able to farm a lot more effectively with this item, and the enemy mid champ will really have to start being careful around you.
  • Negatron Cloak: Some days you end up facing a good Leblanc or Kassadin or Veigar mid, and once they start getting blue buff, you'll be begging for the laning phase to end. Getting some strong magic resist early on might mean you won't be as strong in teamfights, but if you keep getting killed or have to go back to base constantly and miss out on farm, you're not going to be much help to your team. This item should at least help you stay in lane longer and farm, and can be built into an Abyssal Scepter.
  • Seeker's Armguard: Once in a while you'll be facing an AD champ of some sort when you're mid. This item gives you some much needed defense and some extra AP, which makes it an appealing option if you don't want to wait for the full effects of a Rod of Ages to kick in. It can later be built into a Zhonya's Hourglass if you really have to worry about AD champs diving you.

Early Core Items:

  • Rod of Ages: 10 minutes after completing this item, it will give you 650 health, 650 mana, 80 AP, and will recover 150 health and 200 mana every time you level up. That's pretty sweet. The AP will help you pack a stronger punch, and the health will make you less squishy. Not only will you live longer, but having that extra health early on will usually make you less of a target, allowing you to keep dishing out damage.
  • Sorcerer's Shoes: The 15 bonus magic penetration will make the AP you have so far more effective, and you'll have an easier time avoiding skillshots and running away from ganks. I usually get these around the time I get my Rod of Ages.

Mid-game Core Items:

  • Rabadon's Deathcap: This is the next item I buy, and I try to get the Needlessly Large Rod first if possible. Malzahar has good scaling with his skills, and his Null Zone does more damage per every 100 AP you have, so this item is a must. Even when this item is only partially built, you can take out all 3 caster minions with just your Call of the Void. I prefer this item over a Mejai's because it's a lot more reliable.
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter: Because all of Malzahar's skills are multi-target and/or damage over time spells, he only gets a 15% slow instead of 35%, but a slow is still a slow. You get a decent amount of AP, the health is nice (combined with the health from a Rod of Ages, you'll have about 3k health at level 18), and the slowing effect does save lives and can sometimes prevent an enemy from getting away. It's also easier to keep an enemy on top of Null Zone and cast Nether Grasp on them if they can't run as fast.
  • Abyssal Scepter: Against a team that's AP heavy or has a champ that can just burst you down (like Leblanc or Veigar), this item will help save your butt. The 45 magic resist it gives is great, 70 AP is nothing to laugh at, and the reduction in magic resistance to all enemies around you helps you and your team.

Late-game Core Items:

  • Liandry's Torment: The reason to get this item would be because you have a Rylai's. Dealing damage to a movement-impaired enemy does 4% of their maximum health in damage over 3 seconds. This combines nicely with Null Zone, giving you the potential to do almost 20% of an enemy's health every second they are standing on that skill. On top of helping counter enemies that built health items, you get 15 more magic penetration to help counter enemies that built magic resist. The extra health and AP from the item aren't too bad either.
  • Void Staff: It's cheaper than a Liandry's, gives more AP, and ignores more of the enemy's magic resistance. This is a good choice when the enemy team has a lot of magic resistance. While it ignores more magic resistance than an Abyssal, I prefer the Abyssal because it makes you tankier as well. If the other team is AD heavy, then you might want this instead of an Abyssal.

Other Items:

  • Banshee's Veil: Against a team that has a lot of cc and/or a lot of AP damage, this item can help you stay alive longer or possibly not be disrupted while using your Nether Grasp. I understand the thinking behind it, but I just never put it into my build. If you're going to be using a champion with a skill cap like Malzahar, you should know how to avoid grabs, not get out of position, etc. Unless the enemy team has 80 forms of cc, I personally don't think this item is worth it.
  • Hextech Revolver/Will of the Ancients: Because your Malefic Visions should be traveling around a lot, having a Hextech Revolver or Will of the Ancients will let you spell vamp off of all that damage and stay in lane longer. If you do choose to go this route, I would only recommend getting the Hextech Revolver. However, since Catalyst the Protector/Rod of Ages give you health back every time you level up and you can buy a potion or two every time you go back to base, I don't see the point in spending 1200 gold for an item that you shouldn't be keeping into the late game.
  • Spirit of the Spectral Wraith: I haven't tried this item out but it does give some helpful stats. Some AP, some mana regen, some cooldown reduction, more damage to minions, and spellvamp. However, it does cost 2000 gold and only makes sense to buy early on instead of getting a Rod of Ages. Its usefulness decreases as the game goes on, and by the time you're ready to sell it for a better item, it's probably too late to sell it for an item like a Rod of Ages.
  • Deathfire Grasp: You get a lot of AP, some cooldown reduction, and some instant damage from its active. These are all great things, but unfortunately the active part of this item makes his kit more confusing, in my opinion. Malzahar's strengths are being able to silence and damage a group of champions, burn through even the health of tanks, and lock someone down for a few seconds. The Doom activation effect makes this a great item to use at the start of a fight, because it amplies the user's magic damage against that opponent. That's the time during a fight when I think Malzahar is best served keeping his distance and using his other skills, as opposed to getting close enough to use this item and possibly getting killed in the process. I'd rather see it on Veigar than Malzahar.
  • Zhonya's Hourglass: If you're facing an AD champ in mid, the Seeker's Armguard component can be very helpful. If the enemy team can dive hard or you're not getting enough protection from teammates, this might be the only thing that can save your butt. However, as great as Zhonya's is, it will disrupt your ult, which is when you will be most vulnerable. In some games you might need this item to survive long enough for your skills to come off cooldown. It's not the best item for Malzahar's kit, but it's a better choice than others.
  • Morellonomicon: The AP is nice, the mana regen is welcomed, and the 20% cdr is pretty awesome. Spamming skills faster can mean killing things faster. However, I usually don't find the cooldowns between using Malzahar's skills to be a huge deal. I'm usually getting blue buff from a champ that I kill or from our own jungle. This isn't a bad item at all, but replacing another item with this one will come at the cost of magic penetration or tankiness.
  • Althene's Unholy Grail: You don't spam skills like Veigar or run out of mana like Lux. Why do you need this? Get some magic resist runes and build some health. If the magic damage is really that bad, get a Negatron Cloak early and continue on with your build. The cooldown reduction you'll get early on is the most appealing thing about this item, but it's not enough to make me consider buying it.

Early game concepts:

  • Minions are OP. During the early part of the game, damage from minions can be so crazy that you can sometimes die because you took more damage from them than you did from the enemy champ. With this in mind, auto attacks are also nothing to be scoffed at either. Most champions will start with 400-500 health at level 1 depending on their runes and masteries and first item. Your auto attacks will be doing about 50 damage, which is about half of what Malefic Visions will do at level 1 (depending on how much AP you have and how much MR the enemy has). If you don't do this already, learn how to add an auto attack after using a skill. As an example, when you cast Malefic Visions on an enemy, they'll usually run back or try to retaliate. If they run away, you can immediately auto attack them as they're running. Congrats, you've done 150 damage at level 1 with about a quarter of a second of effort. Sometimes a champ gets stuck on minions trying to run away. If it's safe to do so, you can probably throw in a second or maybe third auto attack. This does become less effective as the game goes on, but how many times have you had someone get away with so little health that an auto attack from even the AP carry could have finished them off? Learn how to throw in some auto attacks before it's too late. Immediately after casting Malefic Visions is the best time to throw in an auto attack, and sometimes when you know the enemy champ's skills are on cooldown. Also, melee champs like Katarina will have a rough early game against you because you'll be able to outdamage her and maybe even zone her this way.
  • Malzahar is a very good harasser early on, mainly because of the different ways you can use Malefic Visions. You can cast it on an enemy champ and spawn a Voidling which will chase them down for the duration of the spell. You can cast it on an enemy champ while you already have a larger, more powerful Voidling, which will chase them down for the duration of the spell. At level 3 or 4, you can bring someone down to half health this way and deny them farm. It's also important to try to disguise when you're going to use that spell. Running straight at someone or casting Malefic Visions on them when you're not in range to use it (which will cause your player to light up) are dead giveaways. I prefer to take a diagonal approach, which basically means moving forwards a little, being out of the range of their attacks, then quickly taking a diagonal step towards them, casting Malefic Visions (and maybe throwing in an auto attack) and then backing off before they can retaliate. Call of the Void is a less reliable but annoying way to harass a champ. As I said earlier, usually when you cast Malefic Visions on an enemy, they'll back off, and when they do so, you have a chance to try casting Call of the Void behind them so that they walk into it as they run away. You can also try hitting them with that skill when they're surrounded by minions and can't move as easily, or they're standing in the same spot and about to get a last hit. Sometimes you can combine these concepts in the early part of the game, but it's much easier later on when you have enough AP to wipe out the caster minions with just Call of the Void. Many champs will end up standing by their own caster minions while trying to get farm, even when Malefic Visions is on one of the caster minions. That's because they know that if they keep their distance, Malefic Visions will pass to the other minions instead of them. You can teach them a lesson by casting Call of the Void on the entire minion wave, wiping them out while hitting the enemy champ, causing Malefic Visions to jump to them, and maybe even sending a Voidling after them. At any point of the game, this combo will send a squishy running back to base with most of their health missing.
  • One of the knocks a lot of people have against Malzahar is that he just pushes his lane and leaves himself open to get ganked because he doesn't have a reliable escape. Let me correct the people who believe that: Malzahar doesn't push the lane, the player does. Nowhere in Malzahar's programming is he required to spam Malefic Visions on minions and chill in front of the other person's turret for fear of losing exp. If you're not going to use Malefic Visions on minions, use it on the enemy champ. If your lane's getting pushed a little, great. Seriously. You're not Swain or Akali, you're not going to get outpushed. You'll need to auto attack whichever minion has Malefic Visions on it to make sure it dies and the Visions pass to another minion, and if you have minions helping you, you shouldn't have any problem freezing the minion waves on your half of the map, giving your jungler a better chance to gank for you, as well as being too close to your turret for the enemy jungler to try anything. Just last hit when you're not close to your turret, cast Malefic Visions on the enemy when you don't want to push, and cast Malefic Visions on the minions when you want to freeze a lane or push. It's that simple. One thing to be careful of is that some minions seem to randomly move around and screw up the chain of Malefic Visions passing on. You never really notice this when playing any other champion because it doesn't matter, but as Malzahar, you'll quickly learn how irritating it can be when the minion you just cast Malefic Visions on decides to rush at your back wave, away from all its brethren, and you have to wait 10 seconds before you can try slowing down the enemy minion wave.
  • I prefer having Q and W on smartcast when I play Malzahar. I recommend not having any skills on smartcast when you start familiarizing yourself with him, because you really need to get used to how Call of the Void works and how wide Null Zone is. In case you are not familiar with smartcasting, it's an option you can choose for certain skills in game that lets you cast a skill where your mouse is without having to left click first. This means you can INSTANTLY cast Null Zone at the spot you want and save yourself a split second of time that determines if the enemy champ is standing on that skill or not when you ult them. Call of the Void is sometimes best used instantly if you know how to time it. Since Malzahar is a combo champ, learning how to smartcast with these skills will save yourself time and increase your damage potential.
  • By the time you reach level 6, you can unleash a devastating combo which will destroy anyone who isn't at full health. Ideally you want to use this combo while you have a Voidling already in Growth or Frenzy. I like to try to lead with Malefic Visions, throw Null Zone below and behind them (so they'll have to run through it to get out of it), and cast Nether Grasp on them while they're on Null Zone. You may need to use Ignite to finish them, or even catch them with Call of the Void as they run away, but if you've harassed them before trying to kill them, a quick EWR combo should be enough. This makes it scary for anyone to try to get near you. Show up with more AP the next time you go back to base to let the enemy know that any engagement with you will result in more of the same. Also, if Warwick is your jungler, have him gank with his suppress. Spam all of your skills except your ult on them, and if you do need to ult them, wait just a little over 2 seconds after Warwick casts his to cast yours. Nothing like getting cc'd for days from just 2 champs. Nobody's walking away from that combo alive.
  • Malzahar does not need blue buff, and I try not to rely on that or ganks to help me win my lane. Malzahar is usually capable of winning or at least coming out even in trades with just about any champ, and can farm no matter what, even if he isn't getting kills. Obviously blue buff makes his laning experience easier, but he's not Anivia, he doesn't need blue so that he can keep harassing and farming. Usually the third time blue comes up is the earliest I even consider getting it, and any jungler will appreciate that (as long as you're doing well in your lane, of course). Obviously when you do get blue buff (and you definitely should get it any time you can later on), you'll be a terror to whoever faces you, but it is not a necessity to get it early on like it is with some champs. If your jungle doesn't rely on mana, then feel free to take it and make your laning phase easier.
  • Malzahar ganks are pretty strong. Your ult is a long, solid form of cc that should help ensure that your lane gets a kill. Sometimes the only advantage top or bot lane has is running into the bushes, but you can cast Call of the Void to damage the unseen enemy or enemies, granting you vision of them, and use that time while they're silenced to get to the bush and maintain vision so you can cast your other spells. Also, casting Malefic Visions on an enemy champ that is close to dying can cause that skill to jump to the closest enemy champ and help finish them off while your other spells are on cooldown, effectively giving the damage from that skill twice in a few seconds.
  • Malzahar might not have the most reliable escapes from ganks, but depending on the situation, sometimes he can turn things around. A mid champ and jungler who are both at half health might be strong enough combined to kill you, but a quick EWR combo to whoever gets closest or whoever has cc that can break your combo can quickly turn things around, especially if they're standing next to each other and Malefic Visions jumps to the other champ. Other times you actually do need to run away, and casting Call of the Void behind you so that it hits the jungler can silence them long enough for you to get away before they lock you down. This is the perfect example of why I like having this skill on smartcast.

Mid Game:

  • So hopefully you're farming up, not pushing your lane, and getting some kills along the way. You should have your Rod of Ages, making you somewhat tanky for an AP champ. Your skills are doing decent damage, and you can clear minion waves very quickly if you want to push a turret. You'll start finding yourself fighting 2 or more people at once, whether it's a counter-gank mid, trying to stop a jungler from invading, or trying to steal dragon. Because Malzahar is a full damage champion who can successfully farm and harass, you should feel confident about the laning phase. But when you're facing multiple champions, this is when the good Malzahars get sorted from the bad. You don't have that massive Veigar stun or Swain snare that will stop the enemy in its tracks. 2 of your skills are cc and aren't totally reliable. This means you need excellent positioning (and hopefully a teamcomp that has some more reliable forms of cc). If your team doesn't have at least one form of really solid cc, you might want to choose a different champ to help ensure you can cast Nether Grasp for its full duration or stop the enemy team from diving onto you and killing you (unless you are confident enough in the people you are playing with and/or your ability to play Malzahar).
  • The way I play Malzahar and other champions in general is I try to act like a field general. Obviously things can go wrong and people can get tunnel vision, but Malzahar should never be the first one into a fight. Therefore, you should have an opportunity to survey the situation. Where are the most champions on the enemy team grouped up together? Where's the enemy AP carry, and how much of a threat are they? What's the best position for me to stand in to help deal with whatever problems we may face? Call of the Void should be saved for the AP carry, half or more of the enemy team, or to stop the most fed person on the enemy team. That means that sometimes it's best not to use it right away. Null Zone is your least impressive skill and as long as you don't need to be casting other spells before it, feel free to throw it under 2 or more champs. Malefic Visions should be prioritized on a champion with low health (so it can jump to someone else, effectively giving you the damage from casting that skill twice) or an enemy carry. Don't forget that you have a Voidling which can help, so sometimes casting Call of the Void and Null Zone quickly can be a benefit.
  • Knowing when to cast Nether Grasp is not easy. You need to be in a good position to use it so that you won't get disrupted. You'll obviously want to cast it on an enemy carry, but if you'd have to flash into the enemy back row to even have a chance of using it on them, then that's not the best way to use it. Sometimes the best way you can help your team is to stop their tank from disrupting everything. You might need to ult that Shen that wants to taunt 2 of your teammates who are running away from him. It's not ideal, but an ulted Shen is a 4 vs 4 situation, and he's the one taking damage. If I save my ult for a carry and let Shen do what he wants, he might Taunt me or my teammates and make it a 3 vs 5 situation. Which sounds better to you? So don't be afraid to consider ulting a non-squishy (don't forget to Null Zone them first) if it will stop the other team from gaining an advantage.
  • Depending on how much cc both teams have and how good both teams are, Malzahar can afford to take more chances. You can still cast Call of the Void at a safe distance and back off, and ult someone if they decide to try focusing you. However, in games where you're doing really well, if you're good enough with Malzahar, you can spend more time on the front lines. Not in a stupid and wreckless way, but if you're with your team and trying to push a tower and the enemy team is at their tower, you can keep pushing with Malefic Visions, and anyone that steps next to or in front of their tower will be asking to be hit by Call of the Void. You would be surprised how many times people group up in a line by their turret, like they're asking to get hit by Call of the Void. You can cast Null Zone on top of where the minions meet, forcing enemy champs to stand either grouped up next to the turret or too far away from the turret to stop your team from knocking it down. Any attempt they'll make to engage you and your teammates head on will result in walking into your wall of pain. Safely "poking" with Malzahar's skills while trying to get a tower that they're defending will eventually wear them down, and Malefic Visions will ensure their minions are always out of the way every time yours arrive.
  • You should be getting a Rabadon's and then deciding what items you want to get. I prefer a Rylai's after Rabadon's so that I've got about 3k health, I hit like a truck, and all my skills slow the enemy. Anyone who doesn't build any defense against me is asking to get destroyed, and most items that can be built against me probably aren't what that person would like to be building at that moment. I might be delayed in killing, but my killing potential is still very high (and at the very least, the utility of Call of the Void and the slowing effect of Rlyai's are just as helpful as exploding people), and the rest of my build will probably be spent on nullifying their health and/or magic resist.

Late Game:

  • You're getting blue buff every single time. Your Voidlings can tank for you while you get it. You can even check the enemy blue buff on the other side of the wall with your Call of the Void. I've actually blindly stolen blue that way before a few times. If Call of the Void isn't enough to finish it, sometimes the vision it grants will allow you to cast your other skills and steal it that way. Call of the Void can also be used to check from the back side of Baron as well, just be careful doing that of course. By now your Null Zone will be doing a lot of damage, and the slow from Rylai's will help keep them on it longer. Some skills that keep enemies in the same spot (Jarvan's ult, Amumu's ult, Malphite's ult, Ashe's ult, Leona's ult, etc.) synergize really well with Null Zone. It's also worth noting that if there's a Jarvan on the other team, ulting you is a pretty suicidal decision.
  • Even with blue buff, now it's more important than ever to land your skills. You WILL be focused, and your team needs to protect you. You need to be ready to use your skills instantly before your team gets melted, but you also need to have patience and sometimes wait a few seconds before using Call of the Void. Malefic Visions will be on a 5 second cooldown (less depending on any cdr items you have or buffs), so you should be spreading that thing liberally. With the Rylai's effect, you can sometimes slow someone down just enough to save a teammate. Focus squishies with Malefic Visions if you can, but the cooldown's so short that pretty much anyone who looks scary on the other team and is near you should be feeling its pain.

Final Thoughts

  • Stick with your team. You might be scary, but you still don't have a reliable escape if you're on your own. You don't want to have to burn a Flash and leave your team without the champ who should end up being the highest damage dealer. Your job is to disrupt the other team with Call of the Void, deliver pain to squishies with Malefic Visions, pain to anyone, even tanks, with Null Zone, and lock down the biggest threat when it's safe to with Nether Grasp. Malzahar has great potential to carry his team but he needs to be with them, watching over them, and using his skills in the ways that give his team the biggest advantages. If they keep you safe, you should be able to keep them safe too, for the most part.
  • I've never faced a Malzahar who I thought was better than me, and honestly, I think that's because he doesn't get played often enough by people to really know how to make the most out of him. He's not a DoT assassin or nuker. He is a powerful mage who I believe should be played with a sort of offensive support mindset. The ability to slow, silence, and suppress people on the other team makes you incredibly valuable to your team. Brand is a full offensive skill champ, and his job is simple; stun an enemy and kill everything around it. He has a stun, and can slow if he has a Rylai's, but the utility of Malzahar's silence makes him so much more than just a really strong champ with no escapes. Let me put it this way: Malzahar's more than just someone who does a buttload of damage. He can save lives and disrupt the enemy team WHILE doing a buttload of damage, and I think that's when Malzahar is at his best. Learn how to combo his skills quickly and aim his skillshots, make it second nature, and always be on the lookout for how you can help your team. Do that, and you'll be carrying games with one of the most fun champs in the game in no time.

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