Background Image

Malphite Guide: How to Play Malphite and Be Strategic

Published: March 19, 2020
Charging Forward Malphite Guide to Destroying in Top Lane

“Rock Solid!” Malphite himself sums up how awesome this champion is. Malphite is very versatile and can fit into just about any position. His ultimate may just be the best engage in the game, dashing into the midst of the enemy team and knocking up everyone and him. Additionally, he’s a solid counter to a heavy AD enemy team comp. We hope this Malphite guide will help you make the best of this fantastic league champ!

What Makes Malphite Special?

Malphite is best known for his ultimate Unstoppable Force. Malphite will dash forward a significant distance, bypassing all enemies and knocking up all foes when he lands. If you can ambush your enemies as a tight group or force them to engage in a confined space, such as in the jungle or baron pit, your ultimate can be devastating! In addition to Malphite’s amazing ult, his kit allows him to engage well 1:1 against almost any AD champion as two of his abilities scale with his armor.

Pros for Malphite

  • Fantastic engage with Ult Unstoppable Force
  • Passive Granite Shield gives you a lot of sustain versus poke champions and provides a great bonus to armor, which will boost your damage and sustain early in fights
  • Strong reliance on armor and bonus from Granite Shield makes you nearly immune to champions focusing on lethality in League of Legends.
  • AoE damage from E Ground Slam can significantly hinder ADCs by slowing their attack speed
  • Excellent wave clear from W Brutal Strikes’ AoE damage

    Cons for Malphite

    • If you miss your ultimate, you will be diving into a hornet’s nest well ahead of your teammates
    • Difficult to lane against sustain AP champions, such as Vladimir

Overview of Malphite's Abilities

Malphite Ability Granite Shield is His Passive and Gives Him Extra Rock Armor

Malphite Passive Skill - Granite Shield

Malphite’s passive grants him a sieldd based on his max health which gives him great sustain in lane and can help bolster your damage when you engage, due to its synergy with his W Brutal Strikes. If Malphite hasn’t taken damage for a brief period of time, his shield will recharge.

Tricks to Using Malphite's Passive

  • While your shield is up, you can recall safely even if taking damage.
  • Stacking armor will make your shield last longer.
Malphite Ability Seismic Shard Shatters Stone

Q - Seismic Shard

Seismic shard will damage and slow your enemy while giving you a boost to speed.

Tricks to Using Seismic Shard

  • Seismic Shard has a high mana cost. Use it sparingly early in lane phase, or you will run out of mana.
  • You can use this ability to chase down or escape from enemies by sapping their movement speed and bolstering your own. You can also use this ability on a minion to get a speed boost if enemy champions are out of range.
Malphite Ability Brutal Strikes Show a Large Rocky Fist with Lava Coming Out

W - Brutal Strikes

This ability allows Malphite to passively gain additional armor. This bonus is tripled when malphite’s shield is up. When activated, Malphite’s auto-attacks temporarily deal bonus AoE damage.

Tricks to Dealing Damage with Brutal Strikes

  • This ability can help you clear waves or jungle camps due to the active AoE boost.
  • We recommend maxing this ability second or last, as you won’t have much armor to benefit from until later in the match.
Malphite Ability Ground Slam Shows a Fist Smashing Into the Ground

E - Ground Slam

When Malphite punches the ground, he deals AoE damage around him that scales with both AP and armor, which allows him to deal large amounts of damage either as a tank or as a mage.

Tricks to Using Ground Slam with Malphite

  • Use this ability immediately after you engage with your Ult Unstoppable Force to maximize your burst damage before your enemies scatter.
  • Try to use this ability within range of the enemy ADC to reduce their attack speed and damage output.
  • You can easily push a wave undesirably with the large AoE radius of this ability. Be careful to not overuse this during the laning phase or you will push your lane too far and may be ganked.
Malphite Ult showing him charging forward to knockup foes

Malphite Ult - Unstoppable Force

This is Malphite’s best ability. When used, he dashes forward, knocking up and damaging all enemies hit. If used at the right time, you can knock up and damage the entire enemy team, allowing your team mates to engage freely for valuable moments. If, however, you miss your targets, you will be in the middle of the enemy team with no means of escape and few other abilities. Don’t miss!

Tricks to Turning the Tide of Battle with Malphite's Ult

  • In addition to being a great engage tool, you can also use unstoppable force to retreat to safety if you are ambushed.
  • If you are engaged upon, you can use this ability to protect your ADC or other carries.
  • This ability is truly “unstoppable”; he cannot be targeted by CC during his dash.

After you use Malphite's Ultimate ability, your opponents will either scatter or all engage on you. In either case, you may take some soft CC in order to prevent you from being effective. Grabbing some tenacity boosting items or runes may help you stay relevant after you use your Ult in a teamfight.

Best Malphite Ability Sequence

Malphite Skill Order Showing What Malph Skills to Pick and in what order

Summoner Spells to Equip as Malph

Teleport Summoner Spell Showing a Man Teleporting Aay in a Column of Light


Teleport is very versatile and will help you get back to lane quickly. Malphite can be played in almost any position, so take whichever second ability best suites your role.

Flash Summoner Spell Showing a Man Teleporting Forward


Flash is essential on almost every champion. It can save you in tight spots and can also be used offensively to Flash in and engage with your ultimate unexpectedly.

Malphite's Best Item Build

As a starting item, I would recommend either Doran’s Shield or Corrupting Potion for their added sustain early.

For the best late game item builds and rune suggestions, check out our Malphite build guide, which contains the best item builds and rune setups versus a variety of team types (i.e. tanky, CC heavy, AD, etc…). The data there is built entirely from real match data and is updated often.

Laning Phase

At low levels, mana will be a problem. All of your abilities have significant mana costs. If you are facing a ranged champion, use your Q to secure more minions rather than poke. If your lane opponent is trying to poke you down, back off, farm with your Q, and let your shield recharge.

Try to set up a gank with your jungler when you hit level 6. Don’t use your ult unless you can secure a kill.

Mid and Late Game Strategy for Malphite

As your kit grows, focus on buying health/armor items to maximize your tank potential and to synergize with your abilities that scale off of your tank. You can use the AoE of your W and E abilities to push the lane quickly so that you can roam and gank another lane.


You will be responsible for initiating team fights and shutting down the enemy ADC with the attack speed reduction of your E. Malphite is one of the best teamfight champions in the game right now. Don’t engage too quickly. If you can wait, try to hold out for at least 3 of your enemies grouping up, but beware enemies with spell shields or Banshee’s Veil. Once you are in the middle of the enemy team, try to cause as much chaos as possible with your AoE abilities and slow in hopes of drawing their aggro.

Is Malphite a Viable AP Burst Mage?

All of Malphite’s active abilities scale well with AP, so you may argue that he can make a great burst mage. However, we would contend that he makes a far better tank. As a burst mage, it’s all or nothing. If you miss your ultimate on a solo engage (as is more likely versus more skilled opponents), you will likely be destroyed before your other abilities, with their short ranges, can do enough damage. Additionally, during a team fight, you will be useful for only one or two abilities after you ult in before you are quickly killed without any tanky items.

Since two of Malphite’s damage abilities also scale with his armor and because three of Malphite’s abilities have CC or otherwise reduce the enemy’s effectiveness, he is a fantastic tank that can also cause significant disruption in fights.

Images Courtesy of Riot Games.