Malphite, the Shard of the Monolith, is one of the most devastating top laners in League of Legends. With a 53.10% win rate and a 4.03% play rate, he’s the embodiment of the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master archetype, and he always pulls his weight in teamfights and skirmishes. Let’s see how you can use Malphite to climb in Solo Queue!
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Passive: Granite Shield
Malphite shields himself for 10% of his maximum health. The shield refreshes if the Shard of the Monolith hasn’t taken damage in the last 10/8/6 seconds (at levels 1, 7, and 13).
How to use: Even though the passive sounds uninteractive, it sets the pace of your entire laning phase. You always want to trade with your shield up, so try to hang back and avoid getting damaged while it’s recharging. Even at level 1, 10% of maximum health is quite hefty, but the shield only grows stronger, turning into a powerful barrier in the late game.
Q: Seismic Shard
Malphite sends a rolling rock at the target enemy, dealing magic damage upon impact. Additionally, Seismic Shard slows the target for 4 seconds and grants Malphite the same amount of bonus movement speed.
How to Use: Most of the time, you want to use Seismic Shard to poke your opponent. However, the fact that this spell slows your enemies and simultaneously speeds you up adds a whole other layer to it. Seismic Shard is great for setting up ganks and making sure your enemies don’t get away scot-free. If you’re fighting several champions, fire your Q at the squishiest one to turn him into a sitting duck for your allies.
W: Brutal Strike
Passive: Malphite gains bonus armor. The amount of armor is tripled when Granite Shield is active.
Active: For 6 seconds, Malphite’s auto attacks deal bonus damage to all nearby enemies around his initial target.
How to use: Brutal Strikes is your least useful ability. The armor buff is nice and all, but the active is quite underwhelming, especially because you don’t auto attack much in general. Even so, you can do a lot of work with it in the laning phase, and bonus damage is great for CSing under your turret. Just remember that the AoE can mess up some creeps.
E: Ground Slam
Malphite punches the ground, dealing damage to all nearby enemies and slowing their attack speed for 3 seconds.
How to use: Ah, the ultimate anti-marksman spell. Ground Slam has some wave clear, but its best quality is the attack speed slow. Enemy AD carries will hate you for casting your E on top of them, and even champions like Jax or Irelia will get crippled by it.
R: Unstoppable Force
Malphite charges to the target location, becoming unstoppable. Upon impact, he deals damage to all nearby enemies and knocks them up for 1.5 seconds.
How to use: Unstoppable Force is the reason why Malphite is picked. The damage on it is decent, but the range and the AoE knockup turn it into one of the best initiating spells in the game. In the laning phase, save your ultimate to assist jungle ganks or finish off wounded enemies. In 5v5s, try to hit several champions at once to set up your allies with the best possible teamfight.
R > Q > E > W
Malphite’s skill order differs, depending on lane matchups and team compositions. That being said, always save Brutal Strikes [W] for last because it won’t be as effective as your other abilities. Seismic Shard [Q] is strong against ranged top laners and champions that don’t rely on auto attacks to deal the bulk of their damage. Meanwhile, Ground Slam [E] is perfect for punishing bruisers and other auto attackers. Also, don’t forget to level up Unstoppable Force [R] when you can.
The classic tank Malphite wants to go with the Resolve rune path as his primary. Start with the Grasp of the Undying keystone because it’s absolutely invaluable in teamfights and skirmishes. Unflinching is quite nice if the enemy team has a lot of crowd control, but you can replace it with Demolish for more splitpushing presence. Iron Skin is the rune you want against most AD matchups, but don’t hesitate to replace it with Mirror Shell if you’re laning against a top lane mage. Finally, grab Second Wind to get some sustain.
Your second rune tree should be Sorcery. Considering getting Manaflow Band and Scorch if you want to crush the laning phase. That being said, laning isn’t a priority for Malphite, and you should take Transcendence and The Ultimate Hat if you want to make your presence known in teamfights.
Of course, there is another build you can take. If you want to go with a more damage-focused playstyle, choose Sorcery as your primary rune path and Arcane Comet as your keystone. Get Manaflow Band to get the ability to spam your spells and follow it up with Celerity to gain more movement speed. Round out your build with Scorch to make sure your poke sticks in the laning phase. You still want to get Resolve as your second rune tree because Iron Skin/Mirror Shell and Second Wind are too good to miss.
Malphite Summoner Spells
Malphite is an initiator, so he always wants to have Flash as one of his summoner spells. And since he’s also a top laner, get Teleport to gain some cross-map presence. Run these two every game.
1.) Sunfire Cape > Ninja Tabi > Iceborn Gauntlet > Abyssal Mask > Gargoyle Stoneplate > Randuin’s Omen
Malphite is a tank first and foremost, and his core build reflects that. Sunfire Cape is a powerful early game item that brings a mix of damage and durability to the table. In a similar fashion, Ninja Tabi let you keep up with your enemies and mitigate damage from AD carries and other auto attackers. Iceborn Gauntlet is the icing on the metaphorical cake since it makes you much stickier in teamfights and skirmishes. The Sheen procs are nice too because you never want to become irrelevant damage-wise.
Abyssal Mask is one of the best Malphite items in the game. It gives a ton of useful stats, replenishes your mana pool, and surrounds you with a damage increasing In a similar fashion, Gargoyle Stoneplate is just too valuable to ignore. Its stats aren’t the greatest, but the powerful active makes you nigh unkillable in fights. Your final item—Randuin’s Omen—helps you further decrease the damage from enemy AD carries.
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Malphite Situational Items
There are several situational Malphite items you want to consider. Even though Ninja Tabi synergize well with Malphite’s entire kit, swap them for Mercury’s Treads if you’re going against an AP-heavy team comp. Also, consider getting Adaptive Helm to counter the likes of Corki, Ryze, and Cassiopeia.
If you want more defensive options, look into getting Frozen Heart and Thornmail. These items work wonders on Malphite, and you’ll turn into an unstoppable monster if you get them against a full AD team comp. Righteous Glory is another purchase to consider. While it doesn’t offer as much in terms of raw stats, its active lets you start fights that you would otherwise be unable to find. Last but not least buy Warmog’s Armor if you think you’ll have an opportunity to make use of its active.
When to pick Malphite?
Malphite is a great addition to most team comps. Unstoppable Force [R] gives you a surefire initiating tool, and Malphite’s innate tankiness will always be appreciated by his carries. In fact, we’d even go as far as saying that he’s always a solid pick, provided he’s not hard countered by his lane opponent.
Malphite Matchups and Counters
Malphite detests facing ranged champions and lane bullies. His laning phase isn’t particularly strong, so most of the time, he wants to go against other tanks or melee auto attackers (Jax, Irelia, Camille, Tryndamere). Meanwhile, champions like Jayce, Teemo, and Kennen will dismantle Malphite in lane unless he gets help from his jungler.
In a similar fashion, Malphite doesn’t have a way of stopping scaling picks (Nasus, Cho’Gath). So if you end up locking him into these matchups, you have to make up for your lost lane with stronger teamfighting presence.
Malphite Laning Phase
Malphite’s laning phase will differ, depending on your matchup. Most of the time, you want to pick the Shard of the Monolith into AD auto attackers, which makes your laning patter fairly straightforward. Put a point into Ground Slam [E] and start farming. If an enemy champion jumps onto you, cast E and beat him up while the attack speed debuff is active. Afterward, back off and wait for your passive to recharge. Rinse and repeat.
Once you unlock Seismic Shard [Q], you can run your opponent down if he commits to a bad fight. And Brutal Strikes [W] is always handy if you need to CS under your turret. Try to keep the wave on your side of the map to set up your jungler with easy gank opportunities. Keep in mind that melee champions will always have to approach the minion wave, so pick a time when they’re about to last-hit to trade with them.
When you unlock Unstoppable Force [R], your kill pressure skyrockets. Of course, Malphite doesn’t have enough damage to 100-0 most champions, and you need to wither down the enemy laner with Seismic Shards and Ground Slams before you can go in for the kill. But if you see a champion drop below a half of his health, it’s a good idea to go all-in. Unless, of course, the enemy jungler is nearby.
Jungle ganks are tricky for Malphite. Even though you have some mobility from Seismic Shards, your only real escapes are Flash and Unstoppable Force, which are both on a long cooldown. That’s why wave management is exceedingly important, and you should freeze the wave on your part of the map as much as you can. Naturally, pushing does hold some merit as well. For one, if you’re certain your lane opponent isn’t going to fight you (or you can’t fight him), you can push out the minion wave and roam to the mid lane or the enemy jungle in the meantime.
Things get a bit more challenging against Malphite’s direct counters. Most ranged champions will chip away at your health pool with their poke, so invest skill points into Seismic Shard to return some damage. You’re still stronger than them in an all-in. And if they get low enough, run them down with the movement speed from your Q.
Of course, some champions like Jayce or Vladimir are just unbeatable if they play the lane right. In this case, focus on getting farm and buying defensive items for the laning phase. Ask for jungle ganks once you unlock your ultimate, but don’t fret if your jungler doesn’t show up. After all, you’ll still be more useful in teamfights.
Malphite Mid Game
In the mid game, most people view Malphite as an ult bot. And they’re not entirely wrong. The Shard of the Monolith thrives in teamfights, and you should always be looking for opportunities to group with your allies. Even if you have to catch a wave on the other side of the map, keep your Teleport ready in case a fight breaks out.
In teamfights, your primary goal is initiation. A good Unstoppable Force [R] should hit 2-3 enemy champions, including one of the carries. Keep in mind, though, that even the best ultimate won’t win a fight on its own. You need your teammates to deal damage, so don’t get carried away with the Flash > R combo if you’re not certain your allies are close enough to follow up. Because even a 5-man ult is pointless if no one can take advantage of your initiation.
Even though we’ve mentioned that you should ult several champions at once, that’s not always the case. If you see a squishy support wandering alone in the river or an enemy carry overstepping his limits, punish them with Unstoppable Force. After all, getting a pick on someone means you’ll have a numbers advantage. And you don’t need a huge Malph ult to win a 5v4.
Despite the fact that you’re at your best in teamfights, sometimes you’ll have to splitpush. But as long as you didn’t fall too far behind in the laning phase, that’s not a big deal. Just like most tanks, Malphite scales with levels, meaning the mid game is one of your natural powerspikes. When you’re splitting, your goal isn’t to kill the opposing laner. Instead, push the wave, force him to clear minions, and move around the map, looking for opportunities to assist your team.
Malphite Late Game
Malphite’s core strategy remains unchanged in the late game, but there are way more things you need to track now. One such thing is itemization. Banshee’s Veil, Edge of Night, or Zhonya’s Hourglass can mess up your initiations, so hit Tab to check if your opponents bought them. Hell, even Quicksilver Sash can cleanse the crowd control from your ultimate, allowing the enemy carry to flash away during the knockup.
At this stage of the game, you’re going to get involved in objective fights. Most of the time, it’s your job to tank Baron or Elder Dragon while your allies deal DPS. That being said, if the enemy team is looking to contest, it’s a good time to turn away from the objective and land a massive Unstoppable Force [R]. Remember, your main goal is still initiating fights. Everything else is secondary.
Malphite is the ultimate tank. His kit is loaded with slows, debuffs, and crowd control, and if he gets enough items, he turns into an unstoppable frontliner. As long as you know your matchups and avoid his counters, Malphite is a solid champion for climbing the Solo Queue ladder.
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