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"League of Legends": A Beginner's Guide to Playing Malphite

I played MOBAs for a few years. This League of Legends article is a basic overview I feel will help everyone who reads it.

Malphite, Shard of the Monolith

Malphite, Shard of the Monolith


I have recently started playing Player vs Player (PvP, for short) in League of Legends and have experimented with my limited cast of currently available champions. I decided to purchase Malphite with Influence Points as I had played him during a previous free week and liked his playstyle. I can truly say that I am not disappointed. For a mere 1350 Influence Points, Malphite brings a level of versatility that is unmatched by several champions at a higher Influence Point price range.

During the course of this article, I will be explaining each of Malphite's skills in greater detail, how you can use them during the course of a game, and recommended summoner spells. Masteries and runes are important as well, but since this is meant to be a beginner's guide (and you can't complete a mastery or rune build before Level 30), I'll leave those out for a later time.

Malphite's Stats

Malphite can take a lot of punishment and deal it out as well, depending on his build style. Here are his stats at Level 1. The numbers in parenthesis are the value that each stat will increase by when Malphite gains a level.

  • Health: 423 (+90)
  • Attack damage: 56.3 (+3.375)
  • Health regeneration: 7.45 (+0.55)
  • Attack speed: 0.638 (+3.4%)
  • Mana: 215 (+40)
  • Armor: 18 (+3.75)
  • Mana regeneration: 6.4 (+0.55)
  • Magic resistance: 30 (+1.25)
  • Range: 125
  • Mov. speed: 310

Malphite's Kit

For those of you in the crowd who are really new, you may be confused when the older players of League of Legends talk about champion kits. Essentially, a champion's kit is that champion's skillset. In Malphite's case, his kit screams out two things:

  1. Tankiness. Both his passive and his W ability increase Malphite's durability.
  2. Presence. When Malphite enters the teamfight, he makes himself felt. With two slows and an ultimate that knocks victims into the air, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Read on below to get a detailed description of each of Malphite's abilities and my take on them.

Granite Shield (Passive)

Description: Malphite's skin innately produces a layer of rock as a shield which absorbs damage of up to 10% of his maximum health. The shield will recharge if Malphite has not received damage in the last 10 seconds.

This is one of the main reasons I love Malphite so much. It increases his ability to sustain in a lane by a lot, and by mid-game it is quite possible to have a Granite Shield with enough health to withstand a turret shot, which allows you to score a kill on an enemy champion standing under their own turret and get away relatively unscathed.

Do keep in mind that the cooldown for Granite Shield to restore itself is restarted if you take even a single point of damage, so try to keep a distance from the enemy when it is down so you can get it back.

Ability Details

  • Cooldown: 8 seconds (4.8 seconds with maximum cooldown reduction)
  • Range: 625
  • Cost: 70/75/80/85/90
  • Magic Damage: 70/120/170/220/270 (+0.6 per ability power point)
  • Movement Speed Stolen: 14/17/20/23/26 (%)

Seismic Shard (Q)

Description: Malphite sends a shard of the earth through the ground at his target, dealing magic damage upon impact and slowing them for four seconds. Additionally, Malphite will increase his own movement speed for four seconds by the same amount of flat movement speed that the target lost.

This is the skill to get at Level 1 if you're going into a lane. It allows you to keep enemy champions at arm's reach by slowing them down if they decide to attempt to attack you. The beautiful part of Malphite's Q is that it's a movement steal. In other words, you gain the same amount of movement speed that your target loses. This means that it's perfect for finishing off those pesky champions who try to run away when their health is nearly gone. It's also good for making a quick getaway when you're the one who's about to kick the bucket, so to speak.

Seismic Shard does a respectable 70 magic damage at Level 1, so it's a powerful deterrent in the early-game. As the game progresses, the damage will still be respectable if you build some ability power items. Seismic Shard remains viable at all stages of the game, so use it often!

Brutal Strikes (W)

Description: (Passive): Malphite's autoattacks will splash, dealing (30 / 38 / 46 / 54 / 62%) of his attack damage to nearby enemies.

(Active): Increases Malphite's armor and attack damage by (20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%) for 6 seconds.

Cooldown: 14 seconds

Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana

This is an interesting skill to say the least. Anyone who has played Malphite for any amount of time can tell you that building a Malphite that concentrates on attack damage, while a novel idea, is not a common build. I have personally never built an attack damage Malphite, so this skill is less useful for me. I tend to max it last. With that said, it also gives a passive that causes your basic attacks to splash, which could help with minion farming. In addition, activating Brutal Strikes gives you both an attack damage and an armor boost, so it helps you survive confrontations against foes that use and abuse physical damage.

Verdict: Get this skill last.

Ability Details

  • Cooldown: 7 seconds
  • Radius of AoE: 400
  • Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
  • Magic Damage: 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+50% of total armor)
  • Attack Speed Reduction: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%

Ground Slam (E)

Description: Malphite slams the ground, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies and reducing their attack speed for four seconds.

This ability for Malphite screams "tank". It reduces enemy attack speed as well as gaining bonus magic damage equal to half of your total armor, so it has the capacity to do insane amounts of damage just by you building armor items. On the other hand, this ability gains no additional damage from ability power, so you'll have to build Malphite like a hybrid if you also want a strong Seismic Shard. As I build Malphite with both AP and armor items, this fits perfectly into my preferred build.

Use this ability to initiate conflicts against enemy champions that rely on autoattacks to deal most of their damage, and watch their damage output plummet. This could potentially win you games if you catch enough of their damage dealers. Four seconds is a long time in a teamfight. You debuff their attack speed while your allies smash your enemies back into the Stone Age.

Verdict: Get this skill second.

Ability Details

  • Cost: 100 mana
  • Range to center of AoE: 1000
  • Radius of AoE: 325
  • Missile speed:1500 + Malphite's movement speed at time of cast
  • Cooldown: 130 / 115 / 100 seconds
  • Magic Damage: 200 / 300 / 400 (+1.0 per ability power)

Unstoppable Charge (R)

Description: Malphite charges to the target location, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area, knocking them into the air and stunning them for 1.5 seconds. Malphite cannot be interrupted during his charge by anything except his own death.

This is Malphite's ultimate ability. As the name suggests, this charge attack cannot be stopped. No form of crowd control will work on Malphite while he is charging. This is one of the best initiation abilities in all of League of Legends, but it requires coordination. Remember that you're not the "damage-per-second" (DPS for short) champion of your team. Get your teammates into position so they can capitalize on the knock up and stun that this skill causes.

A somewhat sneakier use of your ultimate is getting someone to attack you near your turret, and charging into them so the turret helps you kill off the offending enemy while he/she is stunned.

While not the best use of your ultimate, don't forget that the charge targets a location, so you can use it to escape if you're that desperate.

Here are some viable Summoner Spells for Malphite:

  • Heal: You're building like a tank/ability power hybrid, so you should have a lot of health later on. Heal improves your sustain at a critical moment if used correctly. For example, use your Heal to get enemy champions to overextend in their attempts to kill you.
  • Ignite: If you're more of an aggressive player, you can build Malphite a little less tanky and a little more ability power heavy, abuse the Q and use Ignite to help you get kills on enemy champions. Since Ignite also halves healing effects on the victim, you sometimes need to gauge whether it's best to hold it for the start of a confrontation, or later on.
  • Teleport: If you're building like a tank, you're needed in teamfights. You're the one who initiates and takes all of the damage, and Teleport helps you get there as soon as possible, provided the fight is taking place near a turret, ward or minion your team controls.
  • Flash: The classic blink spell. This is a safe pick if you're unsure what to choose on Malphite. It helps you initiate and it can help you escape as well.

My personal recommendations for newer players are Heal and Teleport. As you get better at playing League of Legends, you may decide to switch Heal with Flash.

What Comes After...

By this time you should be in mid-game, whereupon your subsequent item build will depend on the enemy team composition and what they are purchasing for their champions. If you decided to get the Ruby Crystal earlier, you'll want to get Boots sooner than later, as the extra movement could be the difference between killing/getting away and dying/missing the kill.

Safe bets for Malphite include:

  • Rod of Ages: More health means more Granite Shield. More mana means you're out of mana a smaller portion of the game. More ability power means harder hitting Seismic Shards and Unstoppable Charges. What's not to like? The Catalyst unique passive effect of getting massive health and mana regen on a level-up is just the icing on the cake.
  • Frozen Heart: It's actually a Riot Games recommended item for tanks in general, and it's easy to see why. You get a massive mana bonus, 99 armor, and a unique aura that slows enemy champion's attack speed by 20%. If the enemy team has a lot of attack damage carries, this may ruin their day. Obviously, you won't want to build it if they have a lot of ability power dependent champions.
  • Will of the Ancients: You're the tank, so you can afford to pick up a support item or two for your team. Will of the Ancients is one of them. It gives you personally more ability power, which is always good, but it also gives your team (at least those allies within 1000 range of you) some ability power and 20% Spell Vamp (Which is essentially life gained by using abilities; kinda the magic equivalent of Life Drain, but not. Read around League of Legends sites if you're curious as to why they're not exactly equivalent.) Basically, if your team is dependent on ability power, grab Will of the Ancients.
  • Randuin's Omen: A late-game upgrade to that Heart of Gold you possibly picked up early. It has a beautiful activated ability that slows all enemies for 1 second for each combined 100 Armor and Magic Resist you have. For example, if your Malphite has 210 Armor and 87 Magic Resist, you have a combined 297 value which equals 2.97 seconds of slow. I'm actually not positive if it applies the second decimal point, so it may be 2.9 seconds. Still nasty though. Use this in tandem with your Ground Slam and watch them squirm as their attack speeds drop into the abyss.
  • Warmog's Armor: You could always hold your Ruby Crystal and build towards this beast. More Health means a stronger Malphite passive, and more durability as well. Warmog's Armor is considered one of the cheesiest items in the game, just for how much health and health regeneration it affords the owner. Although Warmog's Armor has been nerfed for Season 3, it's still pretty useful for certain champions. So if you're insanely ahead in a game, you can become nearly unkillable (but, to be fair, if you're a carry with that much money you can become nearly unkillable as well, by virtue of killing before being killed).

Surviving the Early Game with Malphite

If you've ever played Player vs Player or against bots, you've realized that a poorly-played Malphite does a lot of feeding to the enemy carry. Most people don't realize how to build him correctly. They see his W, and decide to go attack damage Malphite. They see his E and try to go pure armor tank (which, granted, gives you a ridiculously powerful Ground Slam, but no magic resist or health to really capitalize on your tankiness).

How I personally build Malphite is the following:

  • First off, take Doran's Ring. Malphite's mana regen could always use a boost, and additionally Doran's Ring gives 80 Health and 15 Ability Power, boosting your Seismic Shard's damage by 9. 9 doesn't seem like such a big number, but the early game is all about getting small advantages snowballing later on to get you the win.
  • Next, depending on the enemies you are laning with (I usually lane in the top, by the way), decide whether to purchase Boots of Speed or Ruby Crystal. If you are laning against faster champions (especially if they are ranged), you could always use the extra speed from boots. If you are laning against slower, but beefier, champions, take the Ruby Crystal.
  • Upgrade your second item. I usually upgrade the boots into Ninja Tabi, unless I got a good early kill or assist, in which case I get Mercury's Treads. They both have their pros and cons, so look them over and decide for yourself which one you prefer. The Ruby Crystal can be used to start building towards a Rod of Ages later on.

Here's some basic tips for surviving the early game with Malphite:

  • While laning, if you're supporting a carry, concentrate on harassing the enemy carry so he/she can't get last hits. The reduction in gold income will slow down the enemy carry's build. If your own carry is getting consistent last hits, you will come out ahead for it. Your Q is an excellent harassment tool, with comparable range to most ranged carries, so abuse it! (This is why I recommend Doran's Ring to start, as using Seismic Shard often is a huge mana drain.)
  • Don't overextend. Sometimes it's better to get an enemy champion down to 5% health, deny him/her minion last hits for a good 15-20 seconds due to having to recall back to base to heal and run back, than it is to go for the kill (even if you score it) and then get killed by the enemy turret or another enemy champion. Although, depending on the situation, trading 1 for 1 could be beneficial for your team. Experience will teach you when it's good to kill trade and when it's not.
  • Don't be afraid to buy some Health Potions to supplement your health total. I admit to despising them when I started playing, due to them being consumable, but they can save your life in a tight battle. Anyway, they help your lane sustain, and they're fairly cheap, which is why some people build Boots and three Health Potions to start their games.

Read on the right to see tips for Malphite after early game, and then read below for some final thoughts.


That's about it for this Malphite guide. I feel that he is a somewhat underrated champion and I'd love to see him played more in my Player vs Player games. I hope that this guide has helped you learn the ropes of playing Malphite, or at least opened your mind to some new strategies to apply with some other similar League of Legends champions.

If you've never played League of Legends and want to do so, you can sign up via my referral link by clicking any part of this sentence. If you don't want to, it's fine; you reading this article is good enough for me.

Until the next time, take care and have fun!


P.S: Feel free to ask for help in the comments section.