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Jun 29, 2013

Chatting About Jungle Malzahar

So this past weekend I finally got my router rigged up with some new firmware and managed to get rid of all that pesky lag I've been getting from my roommate streaming Netflix (not his fault mind you, Netflix just needs a special router when you have 3 roommates).

To start off the weekend I kicked back with a few jungling games with Nunu and Amumu and then I's been a while since I tried out some new junglers! I'm a huge fan of trying out new junglers like Gragas for that "wtf?" effect you get from players who aren't expecting it (on both teams).

After a quick search around, I found...Jungle Malzahar!


Quick Summary
Clear Time: 7/10 - Quick if you can secure both of your own buffs early and hit level 3
Pre-6 Ganks: 5/10 - Ranged red buff application and voidling speed is pretty solid. It's not OP, but it's not as bad as Warwick. Gets the job done.
Post-6 Ganks: 9/10 - Insane CC and damage. I mean what can you do against that's also easy for your ally to take the kill if he chooses, so they can never complain about getting KSed.
Counterjungling Recovery: 2/10. I think if he was any worse at recovering he'd be something like Janna jungle.
Team-fighting Power: 7/10 - Good waveclear and poke, sweet CC's, and his percentage based damage is great against tanks.
Overall Score: 6/10

A little arbitrary with the ratings I know - I'll construct a better rating system later with some comparison. In this case 5/10 means that it's do-able. Anything lower means you're going to have to pull off something crazy to make it successful, and anything closer to 10 is basically face-roll.

Jungle Malzahar is definitely long the enemy team doesn't make it a priority to make your life miserable. In that case, he's very easy to beat.

Starting Out
Masteries: 21/0/9 with a point in spellblade and buff timers (not sure if this is optimal) still hammering out the details, but it's working~

I think that the movespeed mastery may be better than the mana mastery for jungling, but after getting my blue buff stolen the first game I like a little cushioning.

Flat AP Quints
Mag Pen Reds
Flat Armor Yellow
Mag resist per level blues
- basically my go-to AP page.

In-Game Builds
Skill build:
Level 1 Null Zone, Level 2 Malefic Visions, Level 3 Call of the Void.

Max Malefic Visions and then Null Zone. The reason I max Null Zone second is because your AP will be generally lower than if you were in lane, so the percentage based damage will be more effective in terms of killing heroes. The 0 cast time also makes it really easy to land it right before your ultimate.

Item Build:
I generally try and pick up a Spirit of the Spectral Wraith, Sorc Boots, Athene's Unholy Grail, and then Liandries and Rylais if I can afford it. As a jungler your farm is pretty low, but you can rack up quite a bit of gold during pushes if you're the only waveclear on your team.

Game Summaries
Had a rough start, but I'm definitely starting to get the hang of it...if you want to test out jungle Malzahar, plan on getting counterjungled every single game. Think fiddlesticks with no CC. Rough life. I'm currently at 2 wins and 1 loss.

Game 1: Malzahar VS Nunu (Got rick-rolled)
Okay, so basically this game I've discovered that:

  1. Nunu is massively lame (getting a taste of my own medicine)
  2. I can definitly see Malzahar being viable, but you HAVE to remember to tell your teammates to guard blue...WITH THEIR LIVES - His jungle clear after getting blue stolen is worse than Fiddle and Amumu.
  3. Malzahar pre level 3 has an enormously difficult time jungling, but post 3 his clear is pretty easy. Luckily if you successfully get a smiteless on blue and clear red, you hit 3 and his jungle path is easy as pie.
With the way the big buff exp was raised in 3.8, let's just say I was completely useless this game after getting my first 4 buffs stolen. But it gets better! As I said, I'm 2 wins and 1 loss now...

Game 2: Malzahar VS Hecarim (Got counterjungled again)
In this game I was counterjungled...again. But I managed to steal my blue (what's this world come to when a jungler has to steal his own blue...) and was able to safely make my way over to red...where Hecarim was again. Hecarim's not nearly as brutal as Nunu in terms of counterjungling so although he forced my flash I was able to make it out.

Later in the game I found that Malzahar jungle is pretty solid, and after hitting level 3 in a decent time I found myself playing a role similar to Warwick, but having wave pushing and poke power as well. 

His level 6 gank is absolutely terrifying, and there's no escaping once he releases his full combo. Even without landing his Q, he still does way more than enough to kill any enemy champion if you maxed Null Zone.

Late game his poke is pretty solid, and he can get his dots onto enemy champions reliably at tower by simply connecting the dots on the minions. (Get it? Bad joke. Dots.)

Game 3: Malzahar VS Nautilus (Didn't get counterjungled..Malzahar Jungle OP)
Finally, a game where I didn't get counterjungled. In this game I had Cho'gath top and Twisted Fate mid, so level 6 was basically a kill every time my ult was back up with their CCs combined with my ultimate. Even at level 4 Malzahar does a pretty solid chunk of damage counter-ganking, and forcing back enemy champions 1v2 is not hard with his AOE spells and voidlings.

Later on in the game it's definitely hard to get the last hits without deathcap and void staff, but I think Liandries + Ryalis is definitely a better idea. The reason being that since your team is down a tank (you're playing jungle malzahar) you'll need to end up killing their tanks and peeling for your carries to be viable.

Luckily this is pretty easy to do with your null zone percentage based damage combined with your ultimate. I've found that my role in most battles is to kill the assassins rather than targeting the squishies, but your mileage may vary.

Big fan of jungle Malzahar, not as strong as Jungle Gragas early on, but very solid if he isn't counterjungled.

Ban Nunu. Nerfplz.

P.S. Jungle Malzahar is not the reason Malzahar is Tier 1 on the solo queue list.

Want to try him out? Comment below with your thoughts!

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  1. SSJSuntasticJune 30, 2013

    Thanks Durem!

  2. Erik GooaalJune 30, 2013

    Have you tried crittlesticks? master of all ad carries.

  3. Master ZedJune 30, 2013

    Been a while I wanted to test Malz jungler, as he's my best mid champ, but I feared being called a troll or not succeeding :(
    Well, fear no more, for aids will come out of the jungle and winfect the whole world, mwahahaha...

  4. falcolinkJune 30, 2013

    Trololol in the field of justice

  5. Ashes Of GravityJuly 08, 2013

    Nice analysis. Personally, I like Morgana jungle when I feel like getting the "Huh!?!?" reactions. You have a pretty weak early game, especially if someone decides that the blue buff would better on them. But the late game is strong and the CC is pretty good. I rush Spirit of the Spectral Wraith and then go into Rylai's for some tankyness and added utility. Then I like to get Rod of Ages if I can, although sometimes I take it before Rylai's if I have need of deeper mana reserves. Basically, the end build is pretty tanky, and aims to add utility to the team, rather than overall damage. Summoner Spells are Flash/Smite, as always.


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