TL;DR: Aftershock, Demolish, Conditioning, Unflinching – Hexflash, Approach Velocity – 10% AS, 9 Adaptive, 6 Armor. Always build Turbo Chemtank with boots early into a Kindlegem for the 10% CDR. Build full tank items with a propensity for Randuins, Thornmail and/or DMP. Titanic Hydra is the one damage item you will take in most games – when you get it depends on how ahead you are.
Competitive team meta, and solo-queue meta are entirely different; the reason you probably won't see Cho'gath competitively is that Challenger+ players close out games extremely fast; they can take early advantages and snowball them hard, Cho'gath doesn't really offer that opportunity as his Ultimate needs roughly 6 minutes to get going. However, in any other environment, if he goes off, he will warp the itemization of the enemy team to such a degree that they cannot perform their job effectively as he will output so much true damage that an ADC will have no room to build into their hyper carry items lest they be chomped down in a single rotation.
With the upcoming Nerfs to Elise W and Olaf's missing health attack speed you need only ban Kha'zix and you'll be able to take the game by storm. There are lots of other early game junglers that can definitely go off (Hecarim) but one of the funny things about Cho'god jungle is that being able to cover a solo lane while an ally is coming back is that it can catapult you to level 6 that much earlier. The only jungler that comes close to your end game carry potential is fiddlesticks ulting your entire team.
I've spent the better part of the month playing a lot of Jungle Cho'gath games (as well as a host of other junglers to see what's what), and the results are interesting. For starters, he's one of the few champs that can actually take Omnistone and still function quite well (I've since stopped in lieu of Aftershock, which is beyond overpowered on him – I will substantiate this claim later), it shows that there is more than one right answer especially in certain circumstances when it comes to runes. All in all, I'd say that at the top of the list is Aftershock followed by Predator, with Phase rush being useful in niche circumstances or in very rare circumstances Lethal Tempo (when you have a bunch of enemies who want to stand and fight you).
Aftershock dealing 20-125 + 8% of maximum health is ridiculous. If you land Rupture on anyone you trigger it in a big area around you. No joke, it's extremely easy to get 5000+ HP on Cho'gath and so for a Keystone to be dealing 525+ Magic damage with no upward limit on your HP it's a no brainer pick that took me a painfully long time to start using (because I loved Predator).
Approach Velocity and Hexflash are now my bread and butter.
15% on demand move speed (which triggers from both Rupture and Vorpal Spikes) is amazing. You'll also have an extra 20% slow resist and tenacity if your summoners are down which means chasing down enemies with Chilling smite is pretty much a given.
I take Hexflash not just for creative jungle pathing and elaborate ganks but it also allows me to steal dragon's -very- consistently as Feast doing 1000+ true damage out damages smite and now I have new options opened up for using flash aggressively to secure kills.
I used to lean on Ultimate Hunter a lot for more feast stacks but I've learned that all the CDR in the world doesn't convert into much kills. You need the speed, the hexflash and the aftershock doing damage.
I don't run grasp because I am not in a position to constantly proc it against an enemy laner and it takes too long to build up for entering combat for a gank. In 4 seconds of combat the enemy has either flashed or been feasted by now.
Boneplating is a fine feat, take it or leave it. I tend to avoid early fights where it really shines and prefer the extra Armor and MR that conditioning provides.
And lastly Demolish gives an opportunity to take early plates after ganks that can also quickly be converted into first turret gold; Cho'gath wants to get early herald for feast stacks and this compounds on itself very well. In the endgame I've had demolish do well over 1000 damage to turrets so it also becomes a great way to take over the map in the mid game and close out the end game too.
While there is wiggle room for Runes, there is virtually none for Mythic itemization.
Items: You either build Turbo Chemtank or suffer
You must get close to the enemy to secure feast. Chemtank allows you to close the distance, slow the enemy, silence them with W and now that they cannot dash/flash/blink or reposition quickly you can almost guarantee a rupture, trigger Aftershock and promptly nibble their tenders for more max HP. Immolate passive gives you a boost to AoE that allows taking Raptors, Wolves and Golems at top tier clear speeds and even more of your staggering max HP converted into damage.
Chemtank also means that building Plated Steelcaps isn't at a huge cost and if you are against a primarily magic damage team you can double down on Tenacity with Merc Treads and Elixir for over 70% Tenacity, (which turns a 3 second Morgana root into 0.9 seconds, or even a 2 second Ashe slow becomes a 0.6 second blip).
The items that come after boots + chemtank are a bit of a toss up. Because you'll want to build tanky, your build is largely predicated on the types of damage your enemy is putting out.
I used to prioritize CDR to get as many feast stacks as possible but it becomes much harder to convert that CDR into a win without Aftershock and Hexflash; the team ends up getting dragons or kites you to death.
The 2 items I almost always end up building (90%+ games) are Randuins Omen (the early Kindlegem is key for some ulti-CDR) and Titanic Hydra. Both scale with your maximum HP which means if you have any semblance of feast stacks (like 10+) they will be working overtime for you.
Sometimes I don't make it this far and I have to get a Thornmail early or round out my Magic Resist with a Force of Nature but core to items are:
Boots (with first back, boots 2 after chemtank)
Titanic Hydra for hilarious amounts of damage
Kindle becomes Randuins or Spirit Visage into a full tank build.
I find that the Early Tiamat after Chemtank means that Wolves, Raptors and Golems all melt very quickly. Which actually opens up venues to lots of counter jungling because I can get in and get out in seconds and still duel the enemy jungler if they get in my face.
Get to 6 early and try to only gank after reaching level 4.
Your strategy mostly involves running in with Chemtank for the slow, drop down the silence from your W and land an easy rupture. If the enemy dashes the silence then you can now land rupture anyway because they are still slowed and have blown their movement ability. If all goes well, you've given your laner ~2.5 seconds of CC and are ready to close out the fight with feast.
If you have Prio, take dragons and heralds. You don't care about being contested by the enemy jungler for it once you are beefy enough, because you can always secure it with feast and want to get those stacks as early as possible.
Because I run hexflash and turbo chemtank I actually don't buy sweeper until much later in the game; I want to have vision of the enemy jungler so I can safely secure dragon or herald for free stacks.
There are times when you simply shouldn't be hanging on to feast because you need to get stacks rolling early and fast; maybe dragon and rift are down and the enemy is in no position to be ganked. This is where you want to duck into the enemy jungle if possible and try and nab a quick feast to pluck some money from the enemy jungler. You spend all of 5 seconds doing your early damage and can smite + feast a buff camp and be on your merry way before the enemy can even react.
Anyway, I'm now trying to see if I can fit Wardstone into the build somewhere but am still having trouble. The 40 ability haste and 10% movement speed is very tempting and it's very cheap, but going all in on tank stats has been working for me.
- Tanks dont need to deal insane damage to be interesting and useful. Where did all that creativity go that was used on Offensive mythics when making Tank mythics?
- Tank Mythics need a rework or everybody will keep always building Funfire Wincape
- Needed Gazlowe nerfs will kill his AA build and the talents should get changes
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