*AP Jungle Cho'gath Guide - 2016 Season*
*Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration x9
*Greater Seal of Armor x9
*Greater Glyph of Ability Power x9
*Greater Quintessence of Ability Power x9
*Cunning: Savagery --> Runic Affinity --> Merciless --> Dangerous Game --> Precision --> Stormraider's Surge
*Resolve: Recovery --> Tough Skin --> Veteran's Scars --> Insight
>Summoner Spells: Smite/Flash
*Beginning: Hunter's Machete, Hunter's Potion/Health Potion x3
*Core: Stalker's Blade w/ Enchantment: Runic Echoes, Rabadon's Deathcap, Sorcerer's Shoes (Situational options also include Mercury Treads or Mobility Boots)
*Options: Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Void Staff, Zhonya's Hourglass, Abyssal Scepter, Morellonomicon, Nashor's Tooth, and 1 situational defensive item if needed (I.E Banshee's Veil, Spirit Visage, Randuin's Omen, Guardian Angel, or Frozen Heart)
>Skill Order: Take E at level 1, Q at level 2, W at level 3, then choose between maxing Q or W depending on what you expect to be able to do. Maxing W is less damage than Q, and higher cooldown, but is very reliable damage and comes with an increased silence duration (it's also my preference). Maxing Q is higher damage and lower cooldown, but not guaranteed to hit unless accompanied by a slow and silence.
>Explanation: Cho'gath is a deadly champion to be reckoned with. His massive burst and CC potential in both single target and AOE forms make him a formidable assassin or disruptor if built as such. My favorite way to play him, and the way I'll be explaining him, is as a terrifying nuke-monster that neutralizes his opponents before devouring them
*The runes we've chosen are pretty self-explanatory. We're taking hybrid marks for maximum damage on jungle monsters without sacrificing much magic penetration, armor seals for reduced damage from jungle monsters, ability power glyphs for more damage and early game threat, and the same for quintessences.
*As far as masteries go, in Cunning we're going with Savagery for easier monster kills, Runic Affinity as a jungler, Merciless because of its synergy with both our burst and Feast, Dangerous Game over Bandit, Precision for damage, and Stormrider's Surge because most of the other end-game masteries will not do us much good, and it's fun to eat somebody and zoom away like some kind of demonic hamburglar.
Resolve will be our secondary tree. As much as I'd like to go into Ferocity, Cho is not particularly durable early on, being fragile to monsters, and susceptible to counter-jungling measures. We'll take Recovery over Unyielding because we're not planning on building much if any armor/magic resist, Tough Skin over Explorer for reducing the damage we take from jungle monsters, Veteran's Scars because it will beef us a up a little, and Insight over Perseverance.
*With our summoner spells we have the common combination of Smite and Flash. Smite for jungling, Flash because it's wonderful for get-aways, surprise eatsies, and we're not gonna be chunky enough to warrant ghost.
*Items we purchase are meant to help our CC, and maximize our burst damage. Hunter's Machete will give us more damage early in the jungle, and whether or not you grab Hunter's Potion or Health Potions x3 depends on how comfortable you are. On our first or second back we'll want to grab Stalker's Blade because it's slowing effect is highly recommended in combination with Cho'gath's abilities. A slow from SB + Feral Scream means our target will be both slowed AND silenced. A.K.A shit out of luck and ready to get hit with an undodgeable Rupture. Afterwards, our ideal core is Enchantment: Runic Echoes, Rabadon's, and Sorcerer's Shoes. If we've gained some chunkiness by building up Feast stacks on jungle creeps, we should be in a decent position to not get one-shot, and pose as a mega-threat to any and all enemy team members.
If you are on a roll applying pressure early, you may consider Mobility Boots instead of Sorcerer's, and if they have sustainable CC that is stopping you from doing your job, you may consider Mercury Treads. Other options for big items include Rylai's for more consistent AOE slows and some chunkiness, Void Staff to blast through enemy Magic Resist, Zhonya's to live through massive spells, Abyssal against sustained magic damage, Morellonomicon for lower cooldowns to poke the enemy team, Nashor's Tooth (often accompanied by a large defensive item to allow it's continued use), in combination with a defensive item suited against your opponent threats.
*Early - Krugs is my preferred starting point, because beginning red buff will make Cho able to respond to an invading jungler, or counter any early cheese that may come up. This also means that by the time you have both Rupture and Feral Scream, you will have a sizeable mana pool to gank with for a longer period of time. Farm up and try to build up stacks with Feast, but remember that with Stalker's Blade and Feral Scream, you have a surefire way of making an overextending enemy's life absolute hell.
*Midgame - Objectives, through and through. Make sure you have pressure and ward coverage around areas like Dragon, and maybe Rift Herald. With Smite and Feast, you have one of largest neutral monster nukes in the game, and it's almost impossible for the enemy jungler to outsmite you. Also, if you see a fragile enemy out of place, don't be afraid to lock them down and assassinate them with your slow + silence combo.
*Lategame - At this point, the enemies probably have some Magic Resist, and they're tired of your one-shot bullshit. You need to be careful about your fragility, whilst looking for an opening to insta-kill an enemy target (Void Staff is amazing). If you can't sneak around without getting group-ganked, you need to poke, poke, and poke some more before engaging with your AOE burst.
1) If you're having trouble gauging the amount of damage your Feast will do, remember that there is a visual effect when your Feast will kill someone.
2) Don't be afraid to eat minions! Your Feast cooldown is lower when you do so.
3) Remember to AA your opponents as well if you can get away with it. You're a mage, but your E damage is nothing to scoff at.
Have fun 'nomming folks on the rift!
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns, leave them in a comment below!