DOPA, also known as Apdo, is probably the best Soloq player to have ever played the game. He got rank #1 several times on both the Korean and the Chinese ranked ladders, he mains mid and has been the only player able to match Faker on mid for a few seasons, you can spot him on the top of the Korean Challenger ladder easily with his very specific champion pool (TF, Orianna, Kassadin)
What made him that good and famous is his incredible macro and wave management skills, due to that he got multiple LCK and LPL professional team offers but DOPA didn’t want to play on a pro team, so he refused them all.
DOPA is a worldwide super player and a Korean superstar, he is often invited to TV shows or stream for charity, he also said that every time he cut the streams he received death threats from fans that wanted to keep watching him. He still makes living streaming and eloboosting to this day.
Here we are going to introduce one of his signature picks- Kassadin, a champion that DOPA has managed to get #1 Korean Challenger Soloq ladder spots in each season with.
Kassadin is a very strong champion with an insane 1v9 potential, very rewarding for patient players with a strong sense of the macro game.
His early game is pretty weak into any matchup you, are a melee champ without any gap closer so you can’t answer trades, try to ping your jungler a lot to help you and remind him that you won’t have any lane priority and can’t help him early on.
After level 6 Kassadin finally becomes a champion, you have more mobility than most through your ultimate and can follow up on your jungler or your sidelines faster than your opponent most of the time. Kassadin’s cooldowns are a bit of an issue and you will not have the damage to one shot in the lane in most of the matchups. That is why you prefer to take a quick one-sided trades when your opponent goes for a minion or makes a positioning mistake. With the proper rune setup, you shouldn't have any trouble with sustain and keeping your health bar up high, so you want to focus on trades a lot.
The way you need to play lane from level 6 is usually like this
Mid game is pretty simple. you need to get as much farm as you can since one of your biggest win conditions as Kassadin is level 16, take a side lane and try to avoid sharing experience with your teammates.
After pushing a wave, try to look for opportunities to kill your opponents in the jungle or out of position, if there is nothing to do you can ever go clear jungle camps.
Keep your tp to join fights but never force the fights yourself.
When you are level 16 you are one of the strongest champions in the game, you deal tons of damage and it's very difficult to catch you with your infinite R spam, your job is now to choke your enemies out of vision and to pressure them into their base while your team takes objectives, then you just roll them over.
There are 2 viable rune paths on Kassadin, each very different.
Really good sustain to survive early levels, Triumph is also really good because you get a lot of assist from dashing from target to target in teamfight, and tenacity makes you much more durable overall.
The second path (good against melees)
Electrocute can be procced easily into melees and Bone plating ensures you don't get much poke back.
Kassadin is one of the most versatile champions in the game build-wise.
The most common build is
The situational item may be one of these
Iceborn Gauntlet- Very good third or fourth item into a full ad
Morello/Orb- Good into heavy sustain team comps, Oblivion Orb is very good when you skip ROA since it gives you extra health + magic penetration for not much gold.
Rabaddon- if you are on a 1v9 mission
Void Staff- If the enemy team stacks magic resists or you don’t need Zhonya or any other items
Abyssal Mask- Perfect into magic damage heavy team comps
Linadry's- Great into heavy tank team comps or if you skip Rod of Ages
You can change many things on this build path, such as shoes, or build order. if you are facing an AD matchup you need to build Armseeker's early to stack it up and give you an easier laning phase for example.
You can Also skip Rod of Ages if you are playing against a squishy team and you are on a roll so that your power spike comes much earlier.
Remember that the most important is to survive the laning phase and that you have counterplays to any matchup by building and playing smart.
Kassadin is a very good faceroll champion when he hits his power spikes, he is by far one of the hardest champions to deal with when he starts snowballing and that's why most soloq oriented midlaners and eloboosters love playing him every game.
If that weren't enough, the infinite build paths he has ensure that he never really gets out of the game if he plays it smart.