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Introduction to Mordekaiser
Mordekaiser is unique to League of Legends, since his passive does a great deal more than many other heroe's passives. Instead of providing a small boost, Mordekaiser's passive is essential to his playstyle. Damage that he deals from his abilities powers a shield which has to be burned through before you can start doing damage to his health. This means that Mordekaiser needs to be played a little differently than other heroes, and makes him formidable in entirely different ways.
Mordekaiser is tagged as among other things, pusher, fighter, tough and tank. The first one is the most important - Mordekaiser has several spammable AoE abilities that allow him to farm easily and push lanes without breaking a sweat. Regardless of how he is built, he is excellent at farming.
Also because of Mordekaiser's unique mechanic, there is a lot more variation in builds for him. He can focus on health, regen, DPS, lifesteal, AP, or a hybrid of any of these things. As the game evolves, a more "cookie-cutter" build may emerge, but for right now, Mordekaiser is open to interpretation.
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Mordekaiser - Mastery Choices
Mordekaiser benefits from many things in many different mastery trees, though obviously, avoid putting points in mana regeneration, as he has no mana to regenerate. Mordekaiser's strength comes from staying alive long enough to charge his shield, so no matter how you choose to build him, it is a good idea to put some, if not most of your points in the defensive tree. Ardor is an excellent talent on Mordekasier, as is Veteran's Scars. Like other heavy melee champions - such as Nasus and Malphite - even an offensive build benefits from a defensive spec.
Somewhat counter- intuitive is the fact that Mordekaiser benefits greatly from cooldown reduction. In addition to making Children of the Grave usable more often, CDR allows Mordekaiser to use his other abilities more frequently, thus keeping his shield charged. This can make going deep into the Utility tree a viable decision, especially since it includes Quickness, which boosts run speed. Mordekaiser has no slows or disables, so he needs all the speed he can get. Because of his great farming ability, the XP boost talents can be a good choice as well.
Likewise, picking up the crit, attack speed, CDR and armor penetration talents in the offense tree makes a degree of sense as well, especially if you are building Mordekaiser as a heavy melee. Regardless of your choice, it is recommended that you go nine points into defense and pick up Nimbleness - this talent gives the champion a run speed boosts when an attack is dodged. This is an excellent skill for Mordekaiser since he'll be deep in the fray no matter how you build him.
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Mordekaiser - Rune Choices
One important think to remember about Mordekaiser is that because of his shield, he benefits disproportionately from hit points and regen - you can spend an entire battle in the middle of the fight and not take a single hit to your health if you manage to keep your shield up. This means that both static and scaling HP runes, as well as static and scaling HP regen runes are excellent choices on Mordekaiser. As previously mentioned, cooldown reduction is greatly beneficial to Mordekaiser, even if for no other reason than reducing the cooldown of his ultimate - the ghost pet received from Children of the Grave essentially shifts the balance of a team battle by two and is incredible for taking down towers.
Here are some sample rune setups for Mordekaiser if you are having trouble deciding.
Marks: Greater Mark of Alacrity (Attack Speed) OR Greater Mark of Desolation (Armor Pen)
Seals: Greater Seal of Fortitude (HP) OR Greater Seal of Evasion (Dodge)
Glyphs: Greater Glyph of Celerity (CDR)
Quintessences: Greater Quintessence of Swiftness (Movement Speed) OR Greater Quintessence of Fortitude (HP)
These are, of course, only suggestions. Experiment with what works. If you play more aggressively, you may want to consider more Armor Penetration or even Critical Chance. Likewise, if you play Mordekaiser with an eye toward AP - an unpopular but very viable choice - you will want to focus on Magic Penetration over armor, and possibly some Ability Power runes.
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Mordekaiser - Summoner Spells
Though most of the time Summoner Spells remain the player's preference, special consideration needs to be given to a specific Summoner Spell - Ignite. Though usually associated with casters due to the AP boost which is given when the offensive mastery for Ignite is taken, Ignite is fantastically synergistic with Mordekaiser's ultimate. Dropping both Children of the Grave and Ignite on a fleeing enemy will boost the damage and prevent them from healing or regenerating through it. Strongly consider choosing Ignite as one of your Summoner Spells, though be warned - Cleanse will remove both Children of the Grave's DoT and Ignite, so be careful when using both at once.
Mordekaiser, like other tanks and melee champions, benefits more from Ghost than Flash - more often he will need to be chasing or fleeing over long distances, and isn't so fragile that he needs the quick escape flash provides. Ghost makes up for his lack of disables and gives him more than enough time to flee from dangerous situations. Cleanse, for the same reason, is excellent on Mordekaiser - if he is stunned, he can't charge his shield, so being able to Cleanse out of disables increases his survability in all arenas.
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Final Thoughts on the Pre-Game
Runes and masteries can only take you so far - your pre-Game choices only make so much of a difference once the game actually begins. Still, it helps to know that you've taken steps to optimise your character beforehand, so make sure you've chosen runes and masteries that fit your playstyle. Mordekaiser is, in League of Legend's terms, a fairly difficult hero, so the difference between a game changing Mordekaiser and an ineffectual one can be slight.
Be sure to check out Parts Two and Three of our Mordekaiser guide for tips on item builds, laning strategies and gameplay hints!
A champion guide to Mordekaiser The Master of Metal in League of Legends.