[Guide] Kennen - 1.21Gigawatts
Hello! This is my guide to the second ninja champion Kennen, the Heart of the Temptest. He is currently purchasable for 6300 Influence point or 975 Riot points (unless he's on sale). Kennen is labeled as a mage type hero who wields the power of the storm.
THIS GUIDE IS: going to give you some general tips and play-style suggestions to enhance your gameplay as Kennen as well as help advise you on the scary world of item builds. I want you to understand this is a GUIDE, not just a "How I play him". Kennen is harassment and disabler, not a carry, although you cant expect to rack up a lot of damage done.
THIS GUIDE IS NOT: a bible for how to play. You must bind your own attitude and tendencies to your champion if you want to succeed. Also, I am not going to write this guide like things are going awesome and you got solo-mid and are owning face. I will try to be realistic.
2) Summoner Setup
3) Early Game
4) Mid Game
5) End Game
(Updated for 18.104.22.168)
The specific stats on Kennen's abilities are freely available from a lot of sources and I don't think they are terribly necessary to learning and understanding how to play him. Feel free to check them out on your own.
Passive: Kennen's abilities bestow a Mark of the Storm on his target. After receiving 3 Marks, an opponent becomes stunned and Kennen is refunded 25 energy
-Basically you get rewarded for landing your skill shots and combos with a free stun!
-This is an awesome, built in ghost-like skill for you. This also lets you minion-farm like a mother trucker in mid and end game. There are a lot of situational variables to it but it's a great tool to use both offensively and defensively. Please note this skill does NOT cleanse you from slowing abilities.
-This is a pretty reasonable ultimate, but it won't rescue your whole team from doom. It only hits champions, and it only hits them no more than 3 times a piece, and it only hits one at a time in rapid-fire style. At level 6, this is best used against 1 or 2 enemies and at 11 and 16 it is still most useful against a group of 3 enemies. The damage component of Maelstrom isnt the crazy part, the awesome thing is the quick ability to apply Marks to a large area while still doing damage. This can come at the end or the beginning of a combo.
2) Summoner Setup
You can really customize these to fit your own style. I will just tell you my thoughts on each, you decide for yourself.
Ignite: Even when not playing aggressively I find myself often able to get opponent quite low with harassment but unable to finish them off before they retreat. Ignite solves that. This loses usefulness in the mid-game but is often invaluable early and late especially against healers.
Smite: I really despise this spell but it has its uses. If you're that into farming, go ahead, but it's kind of a waste for the most part. Shuriken is on short enough of a cooldown, and you dont need to worry about mana, not to mention all the other easy damage you can do to farm minions.
Heal: This is a great skill to keep while you are learning Kennen but it is ultimately a crutch. You will be a better player for learning to go without it. I recommend it while you learn Kennen, then drop it once you are comfortable.
Clarity: This is a complete waste. Kennen uses Energy instead of Mana and has a max of 200 energy as of the time of this guide. You go from 0 to full energy in 20 seconds. If clarity ever allows you to restore energy, it will still be a waste. One person on your team should have Clarity in a 5v5 game but...not you.
Flash: While recently nerfed this is still a very useful skill. You can operate like Fiddlesticks or others and hide behind terrain then flash over and unleash your combos to turn your enemies into salsa. Also works to escape when Rush is on cooldown or you are short the energy.
Cleanse: I personally don't like this spell much as between Rush and Flash I feel like I have enough escapability. I weighed the decision and decided that the number of times this has saved me does not outweigh the gains from choosing another spell. Your call though. This would be a lot more valuable if you could actually draft heroes instead of blind pick.
Exhaust: This is my favorite summoner spell for any dps hero if for nothing more than its psychological effects. Early game, if you find yourself pressured, I find it is often enough to Exhaust one opponent to get them to drop back at least temporarily. Mid and End game it does an awesome job of keeping people in order for you to wrangle. Hit an outlier with Exhaust and then Rush em to get as many targets as possible!
Ghost: I find this almost as silly as Clarity as you have this spell built into your character. But if you want to save the massive energy cost of Surge, go ahead and take Ghost. It has a stupidly long duration.
Rally: Don't. You move to quick.
Revive: Don't. You don't want to die, so don't plan on it.
Teleport: Seems a little redundant with how quickly you can move and how frequently you can do it. I suppose it comes in very handy if you're interested in back-dooring some minion waves or for long range team fights...but that is true for any hero. I don't use it, but I cant really blame you if you do.
For my runes I use the basic caster setup. I use Magic Penetration for the Marks and Cooldown Reduction for my Glyphs. You can customize your Seals how you'd like but I currently use Health per level, which give me nearly 200 bonus health at level 18 . To break the mold, I use the Gold per 5 Quintessences to give me a minor edge in equipment with how effective a farmer Kennen is anyway. Honestly this is just because Quints are really expensive and I had to finish the rest of my runebook first.
For Masteries I use a Defense-heavy plan. Go all the way down Defense to get 3/3 in Ardor. Then go far enough into Offense to get the Magic Pen one. The rest is whatever you wish but I prioritize survivability in Masteries. I have also had success with a 0/21/9 build to help maximize my defensive prowess. I enjoy being tough to kill, who doesnt?
3) Early game (1-6)
In the currently state of League of Legends, there is a staggering amount of people competing for the middle lane. Ashe is the most played champion and so it's very likely there will be one on your team. Between every option to occupy the mid, it is very probable you will not get the solo lane. That's ok. I rock Exhaust and Ignite for my Summoner Spells, sometimes I'll sub Flash for Ignite if I am feeling particularly blood-thirsty.
Just a reminder: Kennen uses ENERGY, not mana. Do not buy mana potions or items that grant mana unless you absolutely must. Mana Regeneration is a little tolerable because so many good Ability Power items have mp5 on them, but don't "look for it".
Whether solo or laning with partner:
-1x Health Potion
My first skill goes into Shuriken so I can check the bushes before walking into a gank or sneak an early hit into my enemy just chilling by their tower. Feel free to spam this constantly as your energy will be right back. It is so good for last hitting and checking hiding spots! You will be able to hear a "squish" sound if your shuriken lands on a target that would otherwise be hidden.
From here, I continue to harass as much as I can from a safe distance. You don't want to push yourself too hard before level 3 because you're just flat-out not equipped to make a level 1 gank without some help. That story changes at level 3.
My skill progression;
1) Q - Shuriken
2) W - Electrical
3) E - Rush
4) Q - Shuriken
5) Q - Shuriken
6) R - Maelstrom
Once you reach level 3 your full combo is open to you and you are free to engage in full harassment. Rush through minions and enemies and immediately hit your [E] to do a surprising amount of damage and also have 2 stacks on everybody you just went through. From here you are free to pick whom you want to stun. Throw your Shuriken and whomever it hits will be frozen for a couple seconds allowing you to lay into them. If you're super pro, you can time your 5th attack (that adds a Mark) so it is ready when you Rush, then you can stun 2 different targets.
The active ability on Electrical Surge does NOT need to be targeted. If you have people with Marks of the Storm on them, there is no reason to hold off on popping Surge. It has crazy range and ignores terrain.
If I have been farming well, I can buy Sorcerer's Boots and start on Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
4) Mid Game (7-16)
By this point, people have access to their full array of abilities and ganks are starting to happen. You will have to take advantage of your natural mobility to provide aid and harassment where it is needed. Because Kennen is designed to move, it's foolish to not be doing so whenever it is prudent. You can max out Shuriken at level 9 then build your skills however you like. I typically put points into Rush.
You will be able to leap out of bushes and Rush through groups of minions and enemies and apply 2 stacks of Storm so quickly that people are generally going to flee if they know what's good for them. Your goal here is not to become a super-carry and go on to finish 40-5-20. Your goal is provide relief for your teammates and send your enemy to their base with low health. Or in a body bag, if you're quick enough.
By now I am able to finish up Rylai's usually getting the Gian't Belt last. I choose the Sorc boots because with my Magic Pen runes and talents, this Boots basically set everyone to extremely low amount of MR even late game but you can judge, based on opponents, whether or not Mercenary's Treads are wise. Very few people actively go looking for MR so ever bit helps. Even if they do or they are a tank and naturally stack some, your stuns are going to go off regardless. Mine as well hurt 'em harder. Between talents and Boots, I can cancel over 50 Magic Resist. Lord help your opponents if Fiddlesticks is on your team too.
Your Lightning Rush/Electric Surge combo will be triggering the Scepter, not to mention the 500hp is a great boost for your general welfare. By the time the Scepter is done, the game is typically in the 10-12lvl range. If I have completed the Scepter before this, that means I am in good shape! Now we are faced with our first real choice.
If the opposing team is heavy on magic damage, Abyssal Scepter is a great choice to do extra hurt and save you some grief in the form of MR. I am rarely messing with melee opponents without help, so I avoid armor and choose the MR of the Abyssal. If the opposing team is heavy on melee dps and Tanks, Zhonya's Ring is a great choice for nuking through them although at a very high cost. Still, third, if the other team is balanced you can choose to build yourself a Guinsoo's Rageblade as this will benefit your Electrical Surge in addition to the other abilities.
5) End Game (16+)
So you've played your hand well, snuck in some nice combos and got handful of kills. You should be toting the following;
-Rylai's Crystal Scepter
-Abyssal Scepter (or 'most of' a Zhonya's Ring)
From here there are few choices left. Zhonya's Ring provides such totally awesome damage that it's tough to ignore if you have not bought it already. As a general rule, if your team appears to be in control of the game, the wiser choice would be to press your advantage and build for Zhonya's Ring. I recommend you buy your Needlessly Large Rod as soon as you can afford it since the final item is so expensive it is silly to wait it all out. If your team is behind or if you don't have a very substantial tank, it is a very worthy investment to pick up a Guardian Angel for extra defense and free "death". Finally, if someone is being truly annoying and stacking MR, you can make sure they stay irrelevant by grabbing a Void Staff.
In my experience, Kennen is not a very good back-door hero but he IS capable of really quick and effective pushes. He eats through creeps like no one's business, close behind only Anivia and Singed, and all his abilities are essentially free to use.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my experiences and suggestions about Kennen. I hope some of them prove useful for you.
Riot is currently pulling Kennen in a lot of directions. He benefits well from from Ability Power but he can also be built into something of a mage tank. I've even seen him succeed as an Attack Speed/Ability Power hero in some sort of twisted hybrid (although I don't really recommend it).
The important things to remember are that you have a great opportunity to pick your battles because you are so mobile. You control the battlefield and you can stun an entire team in 3 seconds. Always keep a tank between you and the enemy but don't you dare be afraid to rush out from behind him and bring tiny justice!
Guide substance last updated June 28th.
I correct spelling as I notice it.
Excellent guide. Only thing Ill say is that I prefer Berserkers to Sorcerer's Shoes as magic penetration seems to suffer from diminishing returns, and the IAS helps charge both Surge and Guinsoo's faster.
What's your opinion of Exhaust?
And any extra MPen is there to ensure that even if people decide to get some MR if they don't get more than you penetrate then they are essentially wasting money. And as long as MReduction doesn't make MR go below 0, the same amount of Flat MPen if you factor in % MPen for both MReduction and MPen, MPen is always better.
40 MReduction vs 40 MPen
Both at 55% MPen
Target: 100 MR
MReduction: (100-40)*.45 = 27 MR
MPen: 100*.45 - 40 = 5 MR
Gunsoo's could be replaced by Nashor's Tooth for more CDR more AS but less AP (thus less spell dmg). But that's just me.
Also I personally dislike it because the high CD reduction makes the static energy pool feel really tiny. Too much CD reduction is a waste because you'll never have enough energy to take advantage of it. I have heard of people going for Stinger and never upgrading it, though I haven't tried this yet it seems like a better option, though in a longer game it's a relatively weak item.
I think it should be said that Electrical Surge (W) can hit invisible units. So that means you can hit invis units that have marks and are running or you hit them earlier and you can 'spot' them in the area.
I was thinking about Lightning Rush (40 EN refund), Slicing Maelstorm, Electrical Surge (Refund EN, hopefully at least 50 EN refunded with 2 targets), Lightning Rush again (should have enough EN from regen and refund, plus you only need 3.6 seconds to pull it off again at max CDR), zap again with Electrical Surge, and if anything is left pick them off with Thundering Shuriken (if you have EN) or normal attacks.
The above is just theory though. Might want to ask three friends to try to gank you and try this on them (since they should be fairly close to you for you to pull the combo off)
Like, who thought Shen could taunt an invisible unit to appear until Phreak showed that on the spotlight? (I certainly didn't)
Thanks for reminding me that I totally forgot about Exhaust *smacks forehead*. I will edit right away.
As far as the skill shots go there is actually a small stipulation to that. While they will hit invisible units, they will not hit hidden things like Shaco's Jack in the Box, Teemo's Mushrooms or any kind of ward, which makes me sad.
I am of the opinion that Nashor's Tooth isn't worth the price tag. I know the AS is -great- but if you are just after something for the cooldown reduction, save yourself a lot of gold and get a Fiendish Codex which has 15% reduction and 30 AP (with only 7 mp5)
Here is some clarification on why I choose Sorc boots: Early game when I only my Magic Pen runes and Sorc boots, EVERYONE's MR is practically zero. While it may not seem like much difference between 15 MR and 0 MR, I assure you it is. Your spells will hit exactly as hard as the tooltip says they will. I much rather prefer to make people take the conscious effort to buy items to negate what I am doing. If they do buy MR, It's a lot easier for me to switch to Berserkers or something than them using all their money on MR gear. Also remember, the Marks apply whether or not you do 1000 or 10 damage. Just hit em with abilities and the rest will take care of itself (as long as you're smart about it)
By the time I'm ready to upgrade boots, things haven't changed enough to warrant the extra penetration unless most of my team consists of casters and the enemy is investing heavily in MR. So more often than not I feel Greaves or defensive boots (Tabi or Treads, depending) are the better buy, and fill in more Penetration later in the game, with a different item (either Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff), if i need to.
Between Magic Pen runes, Haunting Guise and Sorc Boots you will totally negate the MR of someone who has even bought Merc Treads and reached a high level, for the most part.
What you have said about the returns is quite right and it's never a bad decision to focus on your own survival. A great deal also depends on composition of your own team as well. I go for full boots before it's typically clear who is a "useful player" on my team and who is not which means I take a mild gamble with whether or not a meat shield will stay between me and my target.
I will do some further investigation on defensive boots.
However, I would just want to ask why you don't like cleanse that much? I find it soooo very useful on Kennen. Since, with lightning rush he can put himself in so many sticky situations, it's always a nice card to pull on others.
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