I'm up to Level 19 now in LoL and have continued to enjoy the experience completely free of charge. My first champion purchase was Ryze for 1500 Influence Points, and he has carried me pretty damn far. I did dabble with Warwick during his rotation as a freely available hero, but I was still searching for my next focus, as I steadily rebuilt my supply of IP. And, lo and behold, Riot Games announced a brand new champion, Malzahar. I spent nearly all of my saved points on a character I had never even seen in action; 6300 (the price for top shelf champs) well spent if you ask me. Now that I've got a handle on his skills, he's easily as dangerous as my Ryze.
Malzahar is a magic user, like Ryze, which means that much of my rune loadout remains the same (Magic Penetration, Cooldown Reduction, Ability Power). The biggest difference I find between the two is that Mal can act as a strong farmer, easily able to carry the middle lane, something I wasn't very comfortable doing before. Malefic Visions (his E Skill) is a sort of contagious damage-over-time spell that spreads from one target to the next if it is in effect when the target falls. This can make mowing through a squad of creeps and potentially warding off an enemy Champ pretty damn easy. Oh, and each foe farmed by Malefic Visions restores mana to Malzahar, so, yeah, pretty awesome alternative to Ryze's Spell Flux if you ask me.
On top of that, (Q) is an AOE that inflicts silence and (W) is a damage-over-time AOE. His (R) Ultimate is a stun plus damage-over-time and his best offensive weapon. His passive causes a Voidling to spawn after every five spell casts. It's a relatively weak creature that grows over time, attacks your target, and dies when either not engaged for a short period or takes a moderate amount of damage. Very handy for pushing lanes, but unfortunately the Voidling will sometimes chase an enemy champ past an unfriendly turret, causing the turret to target Mal. Not a huge deal, but something you need to be aware of.
I stick with a lot of the gear I use for Ryze, though I find Mejai's Soulstealer more useful, and I normally grab that on my first trip back, after starting with Doran's Ring. Sorcerer's Shoes and the Deathfire Grasp usually, then I focus on bigger ability power or magic penetration items. With Deathfire Grasp and all four abilities ready, Mal can unleash a ton of damage against a single target, but try to avoid multiple enemy champs, or play it safe retreating and silencing with (Q) Call of the Void. I'm still not sure how much I like Tear of the Goddess for Mal... It encourages me to cast spells constantly to build Max MP in addition to producing more Voidlings, but it seems overall Ability Power and Cooldown Reduction are better areas to improve.
So far, Malzahar has been a blast. Oh, and I'm Kil Initial on LoL if you ever want to team up. Word.