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Akali is one of the toughest champions to face in the mid lane in League of Legends.
She has great waveclear, assassination potential, and a lot of mobility. Even after countless nerfs, she has stayed on top of the meta, providing a great split-push potential while also being a huge threat in teamfights. The adjustments in Patch 11.6 brought her back into the mid lane meta with all the control mages running rampant.
Although she does have a lot of strengths, she has some weaknesses you should use early on to stop her from snowballing. Here are the best counter picks to beat Akali in the mid lane.
Akali has a one-dimensional playstyle of getting in close proximity to land a Five Point Strike (Q), before retreating out of her Assassin Mark (P) range to get the increased damage and range buff on her next auto attack. The trading template is the same throughout the entire game, and by reading Akali’s movements, you can either dodge the Five Point Strike and be safe, or retreat if she landed it to avoid getting hit by her passive as well.
One of the most obnoxious things about Akali is her mobility combined with her invisibility from Twilight Shroud (W). Both aspects facilitate her “dancing” playstyle and allows her to weave in and out of skirmishes with ease. While keeping her under control early on is easy since she won’t be doing a lot of damage, once the match reaches the mid or late stage of the game, it’s going to be tough since one or two combos are enough to kill you.
Once Akali reaches level six, she becomes a huge problem to deal with due to her Perfect Execution (R) ultimate, which essentially gives her access to four dashes, two via the ultimate and two via her Shuriken Flip (E). This allows her to move fast around teamfights and leave no room for you to respond. Keep this fact in mind during the laning phase as well, since if you have no Flash, you’ll be an easy kill for her.
Twisted Fate is one of the strongest mid laners in the current meta due to his roaming and waveclear potential. While most players believe he is squishy and will get easily farmed by assassin players such as Akali, by using the proper runes it will be tough for Akali to get a lead.
During the laning phase, you want to start with Corrupting Potion and use your Stacked Deck (E) passive on Akali every time it’s up. You want to poke her down without going into range of her combo. By constantly poking her down, she will be forced to back and will give you time to either build a gold lead from tower plates or enough time to roam to other lanes. If she tries to go in, you can easily turn on her with a gold card from Pick a Card (W) combined with Wild Cards (Q). The early damage from both of them is substantial, and if you add the damage-over-time (DoT) effect from Corrupting Potion as well, Akali will be in for a bad time.
Your global ultimate allows you to easily roam around the map and pick up kills. Try to avoid ditching your lane if Akali is pushing, however. Instead, try to push the wave towards her tower so she doesn’t snowball from the tower plates. This can be quite problematic if you let her pick up free farm and experience every time you ultimate away.
In teamfights, keep an eye on Akali’s positioning. If you’ve played the lane correctly, you should have a decent gold lead over her. With it, try to help your team secure objectives and work towards your win condition depending on your team composition. Remember to use your ultimate in teamfights to reveal Akali for an easy kill if she overextends and goes into her Twilight Shroud.
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Image via Riot Games
Kassadin is one of Akali’s strongest counters due to his ability to match her damage and mobility. While he needed time to get going in the past, his current base damage is more than enough early on to pressure Akali and force her play defensively.
Look into trading with Akali with your Null Sphere (Q) and an auto attack via Nether Blade (W) whenever she tries to go for her combo during the laning phase. These two abilities combined can deliver around 200 damage early on. A couple of such trades can give you a significant advantage. The best part of playing Kassadin into Akali is that you have a magic damage shield on your Q, giving you a lot of resistance early on during your trades. Once you get access to Force Pulse (E), your trades become much stronger and if you can easily get early kills.
Rift Walk (R) allows you to match Akali’s mobility both in and out of the laning phase. Your goal should be to reach Everfrost as soon as possible, which will allow you to root Akali and set up kills during the mid game. You can start roaming once you have access to your ultimate to snowball your teammates so you have an easier time dealing with Akali later. But remember to push in your wave before you roam so Akali doesn’t get free gold from tower plates while you’re gone.
During teamfights, look into killing whatever target you can, either Akali or her teammates. Don’t try to chase her since she can just use invisibility and wait out her team to dismantle your teammates instead. If you get a good angle on her, try killing her in the blink of an eye, but don’t make that a priority. You excel in doing AoE damage with your Rift Walk and Force Pulse so try to maximize the damage by using on multiple targets.
Kassadin is one of the best split pushers in the game later on, due to how easy it is to take down towers with your kit. You’ll be tough to catch due to Rift Walk, which will allow you to cover huge distances in a couple of seconds and you can easily join your allies as well. This will put your opponents in a difficult spot on how to deal with your split pushing and give you an edge needed to win the game.
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Image via Riot Games
Galio is a more defensive champion to counter Akali with. He excels at setting up ganks and moving around the map rather than being a direct counter to Akali during the laning phase.
Thanks to your tankiness and magic-oriented kit, you can easily survive the laning phase and poke down Akali. If she tries to go for her combo, you can always go for a Justice Punch (E), Winds of War (Q), and Shield of Durand (W) combo. Even without a lot of ability power, this combo will do a lot of damage early on, allowing you to set up solo kills or, if you cannot kill her alone, set up a kill for your jungler.
As the game goes by and you reach level six, you can make plays across the entire map with your global ultimate. It’s important to look for plays around the map to get them going since you won’t be that impactful if you remain even with Akali in the mid lane. One important thing to keep track of is Akali’s Shuriken Flip since she could potentially follow your roams to other lanes.
In the later stages of the game, you can front line for your team with a tanky build and soak up incoming damage. If she tries to go in, you can taunt, then use your knock up on Akali and give your team enough time to delete her healthbar.
This is one of the best boots options when facing Akali if her teammates have a lot of crowd control. You’ll hit two birds with one stone by reducing Akali’s damage, while also reducing her allies’ CC duration on you.
Akali is notorious for having a lot of sustain due to Conqueror or Fleet Footwork combined with Ravenous Hunter. The best thing you can do to stop that is get an anti-healing item. Morellonomicon is the best option in this case.
While the lack of magic resist might make this item counterintuitive, the fact that you get a stasis effect on a pretty short cooldown makes it a great option to build against Akali, especially if she has two or more teammates who do a lot of physical damage. You can use the stasis effect to outplay her and turn with your burst damage once you’re out to potentially turn around a lost fight.
This is a great AP-defensive item early on, giving you a lot of magic resist. If the enemy is running more AP-oriented champions, look to acquire this item to make you unkillable while they have no magic penetration. While it got nerfed recently, it still remains a great gold efficient item.
Hexdrinker is an early bruiser-oriented AD item, giving you some needed magic resist and a shield to protect you against the all-in potential from Akali. The stats from it are great and it’s an amazing item to rush if you’re having issues early on. It can protect you from getting burst down by Akali and you can upgrade it later on to Maw of Malmortius if you need additional defensives.
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