Malzahar is usually used as a counter himself, but sometimes you’ll find someone who simply plays him every game and dominates. Regardless of why you might play against him, he’s a Champion that requires a lot of skill to play against. In this article I’ll point out 5 great counters for Malzahar in mid lane, but first let’s look at how to counter him in general first!
General Strategy: How to Counter Malzahar
Before we get into my top 5 Champion counters, let’s talk strategy.
Malzahar wins lane by quickly clearing waves and keeping lane pressure at a maximum. No matter who you are, you’re not going to out wave-clear Malzahar until late game. His E- and Q-abilities combo together perfectly to allow him to push his wave without actually paying attention to it. That means he has more time to bully his opponent, especially if his E-ability’s poison spreads to them.
Malzahar also has incredible defense thanks to the shield he gets via his passive. Regenerating shields are at their best against burst mages like Ahri or Lux, so Malzahar can be really difficult to beat for those kinds of Champions.
Outside of his lane control, Malzahar’s Q-ability and ultimate both allow him to shut down most attacks against him. He can silence with his Q, or use his ultimate to completely suppress anyone he wants. No matter how ahead someone is, Malzahar can usually still kill them if his ultimate is ready. He’s an incredibly annoying force to deal with, and he transitions really well into late game teamfights thanks to the ultimate.
Top 5 Malzahar Counters in Mid, Ranked Great to Pretty Good
Here are our picks for the top 5 best counters for Malzahar in mid lane! Keep in mind that despite being a mid laner, it is fairly common to find Malzahar in the support role as well. These picks are specifically for mid lane, so good luck in bot lane if you find him there.
When it comes to countering Malzahar, there is absolutely no better choice than Galio. Without a doubt, he’s my #1 pick for countering Malzahar in mid lane. Galio’s magic defense makes him a menace against half the mid laners in the game, including Malzahar. His W-ability, in particular, works great since it boosts his resistances for a short time and gives him a shield. Malzahar’s abilities are very easy to predict (other than his ultimate), so you’ll usually have more than enough time to activate this. The dodge from his E-ability is also really helpful for when you decide to engage a fight in-lane.
Galio is a great Champion for mid laners who want to roam or transition into a more tanky role late game. It’s great for when you need an extra tank on your team, or just when you need to counter an annoying AP mid laner.
Swain is a dominant force in every lane he plays (most of them). Malzahar is really not able to do anything to Swain, as Swain’s abilities are too fast-paced for his shield to matter and he isn’t able to bully him thanks to wave clearing and lane pressure. Swain can clear waves just as fast (or maybe faster) than Malzahar, and he benefits from being able to get up close without worrying about Malzahar fighting back. Just looking at this matchup, what can Malzahar possibly do against a good Swain?
Swain is fantastic into almost every mid lane matchup, with only a few exceptions. For a Champion that plays so many lanes, it’s surprising just how good he is. And if you really want to experience that potential, just play him against Malzahar to see how effectively he dominates lane.
Taliyah is a generally strong AP mage, so she does stand out as an odd pick here. But there’s a reason for Taliyah’s strength against Malzahar–her range. Taliyah’s abilities can be blocked by Malzahar’s shield, but he’s still not really able to do anything against her. She can spam her abilities at him from afar, then she can use her other ones to get away from any potential ganks. Even if her uses his ultimate on Taliyah, she’ll almost always be able to escape as soon as it’s over.
If you want to make Malzahar feel helpless, Taliyah is a great choice. You’ll need to be aggressive and have good map awareness to avoid getting caught out when your ultimate is down, but it’s a great matchup almost every time.
#4 Aurelion Sol
Similarly to Fizz, Aurelion Sol is here because of how easily he can break through Malzahar’s shield. Aurelion Sol basically casts spells all the time, so it’s easy to break the shield every time it’s up and push Malzahar away from his wave. Obviously this won’t stop him from farming since he can passively do it with his E-ability, but it will slow him down. Malzahar is great at crowd controlling enemies forever and allowing for deadly jungle ganks, but Aurelion doesn’t allow him that amount of lane pressure.
Ever since his rework, Aurelion Sol has been much more difficult for Malzahar to fight. He’s one of very few AP Champions that can rival Malzahar’s lane pressure, and he does it without allowing him any free defense via the shield since it’s so useless against Aurelion.
Fizz is a bit of a burst damage Champion, but he’s able to get around Malzahar’s shield very effectively. Fizz’s dash and poke combos make Malzahar’s shield irrelevant since there’s so much sustained damage, and it guarantees that Fizz will be able to break through the shield before using his ultimate. The ultimate is just as good against Malzahar as anyone else, as it’s able to clean up any fight he can’t win in the first few seconds anyway.
Fizz can carry games by himself if he gets ahead, and not even Malzahar can stop him. He’s got enough HP to get past Malzahar’s poke damage, and he isn’t reliant on one-time bursts which the shield stops. Plus, Fizz transitions well into late game since his E-ability is so useful. That’s usually why he’s such a strong counter pick, but for Malzahar his best utility is his combination of quick attacks.