If the idea of deleting your opponents as fast as you can smash your keyboard captures your attention, then there's a decent chance the Assassin category of Champions in League of Legends is something you'll want to peruse.
There's a broad selection of high-damage assassins who haven't got the highest health bars, but deal huge amounts of damage if built and played correctly. And we'd like to place emphasis on "played correctly". Some of them are easier to play than others, but equally, some require a mastery of complex mechanics to completely take advantage of their damage output.
Whether you're new to playing assassins, or just want a snapshot of which champions are great picks, we've highlighted a few we believe to be strong lock-ins for each skill level.
To help you get started in each case, we've also included a few handy tips for getting started. In the latest update we've also included some of the most popular video guides for each Champion, so you have an idea of how they play in practice.
- 1. Best Early Game Champions
- 2. Best Support Champions
- 3. Best ADC Champions
- 4. Best Carry Champions
Akali's all about dipping in and out of combat like a true assassin. She's mechanically complex, but take time to master her abilities and you'll be a slippery ninja who's incredibly difficult to eliminate.
One of Akali's main assets is her Twilight Shroud, a smoke bomb that slowly spreads and conceals her location. This enables to her to slip away repeatedly in the middle of a fight, making her almost impossible to pindown and giving her ample opportunity to string together a devastating combo.
Most of the time, you'll want to land an ability, take a step back and re-engage. The Twilight Shroud is the perfect catalyst for this playstyle, as all of your abilities play off this 're-engagement' mechanic. Her passive Assassin's Mark creates a ring of energy around an enemy struck with magic damage, and exiting the ring will empower her next auto attack. Her Shuriken Flip enables her to dash to a struck enemy no matter how far away they've escaped, while her ultimate Perfect Execution encourages a second dash to finish off enemies once and for all.
All in all, Akali's a great choice if you're after an assassin who is capable of outplaying opponents, causing chaos in teamfights and deleting vulnerable backline enemies.
For a useful Akali guide, check out Professor Akali's video down below:
Being known as the Master of Shadows makes it pretty clear that Zed is perfectly suited to the role of Assassin – if his ninja garb didn’t make that obvious as well! He’s able to rapidly reduce soft targets from 100 to 0 in the blink of an eye, blinking around the battlefield, and confusing his opponents with multiple shadows before delivering a fatal blow to his mark.
A big part of Zed’s kit that makes him such a strong Assassin is his ultimate, Death Mark. This ability singles out an enemy champion for Zed to dash towards, and it also marks them. After three seconds, a portion of any damage dealt to the target for the duration of the mark is repeated. If a target is slain while under the effect, Zed also absorbs a portion of the victim’s attack damage.
Based on that description alone, it should be fairly clear what makes Zed so good at one-on-one fights, and what your goal is with the champion: jump in, dish out huge amounts of burst damage, and watch targets collapse.
Advanced Zed players will also want to learn to master his shadow abilities. These allow you to leave an ephemeral copy of Zed on the battlefield that you can switch to with the press of a button. One is created with his ultimate, but you can also use his Living Shadow basic ability to generate another.
Not only can you swap positions with these shadows to chase targets or better position yourself in a fight, but they also repeat Zed’s other basic skills when used, applying additional effects such as extra damage or slows that make it even easier for you to stick to or kill enemy champions.
In the right hands, it’s nigh impossible to stop an upcoming assault from Zed as you erase the enemy carries before they even have a chance to respond.
For a better idea of how this Champion plays, we highly recommend watching the following video all the way through:
Another champion that excels at taking out targets in one-on-one situations is the mantis-esque alienoid Kha’Zix. Not only can he sneak up on unsuspecting targets through stealth, but he also does additional damage on isolated targets, which makes the Voidreaver a perfect choice if you like roaming the map looking for lone champions, or surprising squishy carries in team fights.
A lot of Kha’Zix’s strength at fighting single targets comes from the interplay between his passive and ultimate – the latter allowing him to trigger the former on multiple occasions in a single skirmish to deal repeated bonus damage and land a consistent slow on his victim.
Each use of his Void Assault ultimate puts him into a temporary state of invisibility, which allows Unseen Threat to activate for the bonus effect. And because you can activate it up to two times (and eventually three times when evolved) you can stack the extra damage quickly. If you see a carry trying to lazily farm minions alone in a lane, or you catch an opponent roaming into your jungle territory, you’re more than capable of striking and taking them out.
Kha’Zix’s other basic abilities help with this too. Void Strike allows him to slow targets from afar to make it easier to catch up to out-of-position opponents, while Leap makes closing that gap even simpler, although you may consider saving it for after your target has used an escape move, rather than for engaging so you can ensure you secure the kill.
Kha’Zix is currently excellent as a jungler too, so you’ll find he comfortably fits into many team compositions without issue and you can use your assassination skills to swing lanes in your favour.
To make your first games with Kha'Zix a little easier, we think you'll gain a lot by watching the following video overview of the Champion:
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Continuing the theme of champions with stealth abilities, Shaco is another Assassin who can pop out of nowhere to surprise opponents and remove them from play before they even have a chance to realise what’s happened to them. They can try to run in fear, but that’s only playing into the demonic jester’s hands even further!
That’s because he deals bonus damage when attacking targets from behind. Backstabbing is about as quintessential an Assassin ability as it gets – and Shaco lives up to that reputation. He has the option to turn invisible too using Deceive. This also allows him to teleport a short distance, and the next attack he lands on a target will deal bonus damage for the perfect surprise attack.
Did we mention Shaco has Two-Shiv Poison too? It's a passive ability that coats his weapons with a slowing venom, but it can also be activated to sling a dagger at the target for the same effect.
Elsewhere, Jack in the Box is an interesting ability that can be very powerful at preventing a target from doing any actions if set up properly. These aren’t just frivolous toys, but will send your opponent fleeing in terror if they bump into one while also flinging some extra damage at them. As you can place a Jack in the Box while invisible, it’s often wise to place them before attacking your chosen target so they will trigger in the middle of the fight, fearing your target and giving you the freedom to wail on them with more attacks.
Shaco is an especially excellent pick in the lower rankings where stealth champions thrive as player awareness is much lower. You can also exploit this further with his ultimate Hallucinate, which creates a near-identical copy of himself to confuse opponents further. Better players are definitely more prepared for such shenanigans, but that doesn’t stop Shaco from holding a spot on the list of best Assassins.
Here's another very helpful video, this time covering the ins and outs of playing Shaco to an advanced level:
What’s this? Another champion with stealth abilities? Yeah, we’re certainly sticking to a theme here. Evelynn is another Assassin who is all about ambushing unsuspecting targets and then taking them down with burst damage, although she needs to reach level six before her true potential becomes available.
This is when her Camouflage ability comes online, allowing her to use her Demon Shade passive to turn invisible when out of combat, and look for those surprise attacks on weaker champions. Once you’ve got a target in mind you’ll want to land Hate Spike as your first ability.
Doing so is extremely important as it weakens your prey to magic damage for a short time, and you can activate the skill up to three more times on the first target it hits for extra damage. Miss this ability though and you’ll forfeit a lot of your burst damage potential.
In order to stick to your chosen target, Evelynn has Allure and Whiplash. The first can slow your opponent significantly when it hits them, or you can try and trigger it after it’s been on them for a few seconds to fully charm them for a short period. However, the window you have to wait is so large that most champions will be able to escape in this time. The second gives you a decent gap closer when used from Demon Shade, as well as bonus movement speed to chase down any runners.
Like Kha’Zix, Evelynn finds a home in the jungle and rotating between lanes in order to find kills and press advantages where she can as a powerful Assassin champion.
If you've no experience with Evelynn at all, this video will prove to be an essential primer on what to expect:
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Now for an Assassin that doesn’t have stealth abilities. Kassadin is a slightly more unorthodox pick for the role but is still more than capable of deleting squishy targets in a matter of seconds while warping around the battlefield to perplex opponents.
Although he does suffer in the early game laning phase, Kassadin quickly becomes a threat with some oppressive poke damage, and the ability to very quickly generate some huge burst damage if you smartly sequence his skills. Null Sphere is his main form of poke that also helps in early trades with lane opponents by providing a shield when it hits.
Meanwhile, Nether Blade is an interesting ability as it has a fairly mundane passive effect, but can be activated to deal additional bonus damage on Kassadin’s auto-attacks. It also resets the cooldown of your auto-attack, meaning you can immediately follow up a basic attack with another enhanced hit for some surprising burst damage.
These spells – and those cast by your opponents – all empower his Force Pulse ability, which becomes available after six spell casts in his vicinity. Once that threshold has been reached you can activate it to unleash some significant damage in front of Kassadin that also slows targets.
This is where you can find a lot of burst damage if you use Force Pulse first, then by following up with your other spells and those from nearby opponents, it can be used again quite quickly. Add to that Kassadin’s ultimate, Riftwalk, which allows him to repeatedly warp around the battlefield on a short cooldown and you can very rapidly devastate a team in a flash.
Finally, we think this video guide to playing Kassadin will give you a fantastic headstart on playing this Champion: