Kennen Build Guide by Haedrix
Long Sword Start
This is my new and improved AD Carry Kennen guide for Season 3.
This guide was first published during Season 2 so most of the first 100 comments or so are in reference to previous editions of this guide and have become completely irrelevant.
Hopefully this guide will help the community become more knowledgeable about a less often seen AD Carry. I'd like to convince players of the viability of it through mathematical calculations, help teach players how to play against an AD Kennen, and help teach the fundamental basics of how to play AD Kennen to anyone interested in adding him into their kit.
Please take time to read through the guide and consider different aspects before casting votes, as it disheartens me to see players down-vote with comments such as "his base AD got nerfed, AD Kennen isn't viable anymore" when AD Kennen's base AD and AS stats have in fact never been touched in a single patch, only his AA range. It also saddens me when people down-vote guides just because they have only seen something poorly executed in normals or solo queue and don't want to give the concept a chance.
- Auto Attack = AA
- Attack Speed = AS
- Attack Damage = AD
- Ability Power = AP
- Health = HP
- Magic Resistance = MR
- Movement Speed = MS
- Creep Score / Creeps Slain = CS / Farm
- Crowd Control (Stuns, Snares, Silences, etc.) = CC
- Out of Mana = OOM
Pros / Cons
- 550 AA Range (better than most)
- GREAT base stats for AD and AS
- AD Carry w/ stuns / self-peeling mechanics
- High Mobility w/ Lightning Rush
- Bully in lane
- Damage steroid that scales with AD (but does magic damage) on Electrical Surge
- Burst defensive stats during Lightning Rush (decreases inevitable damage from things like Karthus ult, Cait ult, incoming tower hits, etc.)
- AoE Ultimate (should still be used defensively, not offensively)
- Energy based champion (only ADC that will never go OOM)
- Strong pushing capability and harass-spamming potential (due to being energy-based)
- Mixed damage early game due to AD steroid doing magic damage on-hit.
- Always able to assist in early game skirmishes / invades / contesting objectives due to his resource being energy
- Lanes well with almost any support
- No physical damage steroids
- Requires fluid communication between ADC and Support (voice communication highly recommended) and tends to be avoided in solo queue because of this
- Damage falls off late game in comparison to Vayne, Tristana, and Kog'Maw
- Lane opponents w/ strong disengages + knock backs prevent early game kills ( Tristana / Janna / Jayce)
- Requires resource micromanagement, superb positioning awareness, trade / matchup knowledge, and the ability to skillfully time and toggle aggression
- Often receives negative feedback from the community due to an extensive skill cap and generally higher difficulty than other simpler AD Carries
Typical AD Carry runes:
- Flat AD runes with 9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage and 3x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for last hitting and early game damage.
- Flat Armor with 9x Greater Seal of Armor for bot lane survivability.
- Flat Magic Resist with Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist to prevent mixed damage harass / damage from supports.
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration is also a good choice here, as most of your damage will be coming from Auto Attacks late game and Armor Penetration is undoubtedly the best increase in damage for that.
I prefer to run Flat AD Marks because Electrical Surge scales off AD but does magic damage so is unaffected by Armor Pen. Flat AD helps with early game harass, lane dominance, and last hitting.
If you are laning against a support that lacks poke ability such as a Taric you may want to run Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist instead of Flat MR to improve your late game survivability.
Many players have been running anywhere from 1 to 3 Greater Quintessence of Life Steal recently which helps early game sustain. This is plausible and can be very effective.
Always max Electrical Surge first. It's your core damage.
If there is an enemy Karthus, Ziggs, or Caitlyn then you should max Lightning Rush 2nd. You may not be able to escape damage from their ultimates but you can go into E to mitigate a large portion of the incoming damage.
If you are laning against skill shot based opponents such as Blitzcrank or Thresh you should max Lightning Rush 2nd to give you more mobility more often so that you can dodge CC + harass.
If the enemy jungler is applying versatile map pressure and poses a constant threat to you, max Lightning Rush 2nd so that you have your escape tool off cool down more frequently.
Flash is a must have. No questions.
Ignite is great in aggressive kill lanes, when playing against healers, and when the enemy bruisers / assassins that will be attempting to reach you in teamfights lack CC.
Cleanse is good to have when aiming for early map pressure, facing enemies with dangerous CC, and when your team doesn't have strong peeling potential.
Barrier is a good counter to damage-intensive kill lanes and burst-oriented bruisers / assassins in team fights.
Starting Doran's Blade will give you the best early game. Base movement speeds got buffed at the start of Season 3 and Kennen has naturally high mobility on top of that due to Lightning Rush. This will help you gain early game dominance over your lane opponent which Kennen can capitalize so well on.
+ + + +
This is a pretty good standard purchase order for early game. They are cheap purchases that you can grab every time you back to base. It is important to steadily increase your damage for the first 10 - 15 minutes of the game to make sure that you are staying ahead or at least on par with your lane opponent's DPS potential.
If you obtain extreme early game dominance due to a First Blood or a gank from your Jungler, you might be able to maintain early game lane control without porting back to base. If you are able to stay in the lane long enough to get the 1550+ gold needed for a B. F. Sword and more Health Pots, by all means do so. Don't over commit to staying in lane long enough to do this though. If you begin to notice that you are starting to lose DPS advantage due to your opponent buying more frequently, find an opportune time to B and buy what you need to stay ahead.
It is also important to note that there are opportune times to go back to base. You should try to port back after killing the minion wave that consists of the Tank Minion so that you will be back well before the next Tank Minion wave. They give more XP and more Gold that you do not want to miss out on. It is also easy to push right before a B so that you miss very little XP and Gold while you are gone. If you get a kill, your lane is pushed, and there are no tank minions on the way to the lane / in the lane then you should go back and buy what you can.
Laning Phase Item Objective
I'm a firm believer in rushing Infinity Edge on AD Kennen. He has good base stats for AD and AS so you don't need to over-itemize early game for stats like flat AD via The Bloodthirster. If you farm well and play smart this purchase order will guarantee you to be a presence during mid game.
Statikk Shiv is a very good item to have for mid game. Following IE up with SS yields high DPS output and strong pushing capabilities. If you are running an early push strat due to lane swaps or a heavy early game team composition then I would suggest rushing this ahead of IE. While Phantom Dancer provides better single target damage, Statikk Shiv can provide better turret siege power and wave clear.
Necessary Damage Purchases
Last Whisper and Blade of the Ruined King are necessary purchases in all of the different ADC build variations. The percentage health damage and armor penetration ensure that you deal indiscriminate damage to targets. The majority of games are determined by which team's ADC can kill the enemy tank line faster as well as which team peels better for their ADC. These items aim to assist in that primary objective.
End Game Itemization Options
Mercurial Scimitar is a good choice if you are not running Cleanse, need MR, the enemy has suppresses, or you honestly just need another cleanse.
However, it isn't a frequent occasion that you will need this. Kennen has good CC which helps him kite effectively so most of the people who will be able to get on you will be champions with built-in tenacity. Coincidentally, these champions also do not tend to have any sort of CC that you would want to cleanse off. Irelia, Dr. Mundo, Trundle, and Olaf are all good at diving past CC but don't really have anything worth a QSS. Of course, plenty of champions with CC may just build Tenacity items and dive you which could give valid reason for purchasing this.
Phantom Dancer is a wonderful 6th item on ADC Kennen. It ensures you are getting consistent crits off, increases your single target DPS, and provides you with further movement speed for kiting / repositioning / orb-walking. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If you can kill an enemy before they get on you then you don't have to worry about them as much. If you are running Cleanse and the enemy team doesn't have anything requiring you to get a 2nd CC removal then I would highly recommend Phantom Dancer.
Maw of Malmortius can help you out a lot versus high burst AP champions like Lux, Akali, Kassadin, LeBlanc, etc.
Another increasingly common item swap end game is to trade Boots for Zephyr. It has a +10 MS multiplier on it along with AD, AS, and Tenacity. You don't lose out on too much movement speed when doing so and you gain some important stats.
Guardian Angel has always been a go-to defensive item for AD Carries late game. I recommend this item if they have a strong dive-oriented team fight composition. This item is honestly only good on AD Carries if you are getting hardcore focused. If you are the last to die in a team fight, having a GA is near worthless since you will respawn alone without your team to help you just to be instantly killed again.
Runaan's Hurricane has an interesting mechanic for Kennen as the secondary attacks help to stack the passive on Electrical Surge.
Kennen's Electrical Surge (although being an "on-hit effect" & Runaan's Hurricane claiming to "apply on hit effects") ONLY applies to primary target. Neither the bonus damage nor a Mark of the Storm are applied to secondary targets. Secondary attacks DO give stacks for targets hit. Extra stacks cannot be stored. Once it's decided the next AA will apply W, no hits give stacks. When attacking w/ Electrical Surge, that attack consumes the stacks + does not give a new stack. Interestingly, secondary attacks from Runaan's on an attack that is applying Electrical Surge can grant stacks as long as they land AFTER the primary attack lands and consumes the stacks. On occasion though your secondary attacks may hit their target before your primary attack does in which case they will not grant stacks, as the game recognizes your W as being full-stacked until your primary attack hits its target + resets the counter.
Overall, If you are able to hit 3 targets each attack it basically makes Kennen's W apply on every 3rd attack: 1 2 proc, 1 2 proc, 1 2 proc, etc. Kennen's W applies on every 5th attack naturally so by decreasing that to every 3rd attack you are increasing the amount of W-proc attacks you get off in a team fight by a valuable amount.
The high amount of attack speed this item grants works well with Kennen's high base attack speed but it does not provide any Crit Chance, Movement Speed, or AD. This item is good for games where team fights will be tightly grouped such as when running AoE comps with Amumu, Sejuani, etc. but is outclassed by Phantom Dancer as a single target DPS item.
Kennen + Leona
This is probably my favorite lane to run. The amount of CC and damage potential is very high. It is important that your Leona knows to wait to go in until your passive Electrical Surge is stacked and ready. Don't hold off on using skills because you are too concerned about stacking CC properly. Let the support player worry about stacking CC because YOU should be focused on dealing the most damage possible. If Leona can land a Zenith Blade after you are both Level 6 and have both of your ultimates ready, the kill should practically be guaranteed.
Kennen + Soraka
Since Kennen can technically stay in lane as long as he wants provided his health does not drop too low, Soraka's heals are very welcome. Kill potential is lower in this lane though so try to be more farm-oriented. Soraka also has strong pushing capabilities with Starcall and this meshes well with Kennen when running a push strat. She can also decrease the enemies' MR, allowing your mixed damage to shine.
Kennen + Janna
Janna provides you with a strong AD steroid via Eye Of The Storm. The bonus movement speed from her passive Tailwind is also good for any ADC. She is able to assist in initiating engages during laning phase with Kennen via her slow and knock-up on Zephyr and Howling Gale. She also has disengage on Monsoon which allows for versatile reactionary play.
Kennen + Sona
Sona has heavy poke that has synergy with aggressive play. She also provides an AD / AP steroid that enhances Kennen's mixed damage. Another important note is that she brings a heal to the lane as well as an AoE stun via Crescendo which can be chained with Slicing Maelstrom to keep opponents completely locked down.
Kennen + Lulu
Lulu has massive poke in lane, good CC, and can protect Kennen very efficiently in team fights. This lane combo also has a very strong level 6, as Lulu's ultimate Wild Growth can put an AoE slow on Kennen to make sure enemies do not escape his Slicing Maelstrom. Lulu is also a very strong peeler when it comes to late game team fights, allowing Kennen to focus offensive itemization.
Kennen + Taric
Taric toggles aggression on and off very well. He brings a heal and armor buff to the lane while also providing another stun for both defensive and aggressive situations. This lane is safe and easy to dominate with.
Kennen + Nunu
Nunu's AS buff on Blood Boil goes well with Kennen's high base stats. Ice Blast is always a dominating factor and Absolute Zero increases this lane's potential AoE damage. Kennen can stun opponents within Nunu's Absolute Zero to get abnormally long channeled ults for huge damage. Due to the AS debuff on Ice Blast, Nunu is favored when playing against AS heavy opponents such as Vayne or Kog'Maw but less useful versus ability-spamming carries like Urgot, Ezreal, and Corki.
Kennen + Orianna
Rare to see but works well. Command: Shockwave combined with Slicing Maelstrom is pretty dangerous. Command: Attack grants undeniable vision in lane bushes, Command: Dissonance can be used aggressively and defensively to slow enemies / speed you up. Command: Protect is also one of the strongest shields in the game as it grants Health, Armor, and MR. It is even possible to have her leave the ball on you so that you maintain the bonus Armor and MR portion indefinitely.
Kennen + Blitzcrank
Blitzcrank provides good CC and a silence to make sure opponents are finished off before they are able to use cool downs to escape. Commonly banned but worth using when available in conjunction with Kennen if you are looking to zone an enemy from farm and XP
Kennen + Alistar
Similar to Taric. Brings a heal to lane and can toggle kit between aggressive and defensive play styles.
Kennen + Zyra
Support Zyra is pretty strong both harass and CC wise. Her plants tend to push the lane / take kills coincidentally though. The AoE knock-up on Zyra's Stranglethorns is huge and works amazing with Kennen's Slicing Maelstrom.
Kennen + Nami
I have not had much personal experience with this lane combination but in theory it should work fine. Nami has good poke, engage, disengage, and CC. If you try this lane feel free to give me feedback on it!
Kennen + Thresh
To be honest, Thresh is OP for now. Everything in his kit works great with Kennen. This lane works well regardless of your strategy or who your lane opponents are.
Kennen Vs. _______
KENNEN VS. TRISTANA
Tristana can be a bit annoying to face as Kennen since her disengage is strong via Buster Shot and can occasionally cause you to waste your ult, miss out on kills, or expend too many cool downs during engages. She also out ranges you late game and has stronger repositioning in team fights than you do.
KENNEN VS. GRAVES
Graves is not very good against Kennen. Due to Lightning Rush ignoring unit collision, you can often avoid 100% of Buckshot's damage by going straight through Graves during the cast animation before the damage goes off. Kennen out ranges him and has stronger right click damage due to Electrical Surge. You can also push heavily against him thanks to only being limited by energy while you watch him burn through his mana to clear minion waves.
KENNEN VS. VAYNE
Vayne tends to get destroyed by Kennen in lane but if miscommunication occurs between you and your lane partner, Vayne can snowball out of control. It is important to keep yourself ahead of her DPS potential at all stages early game.
KENNEN VS. KOG'MAW
Kog'Maw outranges Kennen via Bio-Arcane Barrage but he has no repositioning or disengage tool to stop you from going all in on him w/ an aggressive support.
KENNEN VS. DRAVEN
Draven has one of the highest early game damage potentials in the game and you need to be careful of it. Theoretically, Kennen can irritate Draven by stunning him when a Spinning Axe is falling, disabling Draven from being able to catch it. It is important to take note of his cool downs and it is best to go for kills on him when you know he missed catching a Spinning Axe or JUST got the first one going.
KENNEN VS. VARUS
Varus has long range and very strong poke. The thing Varus hates most though is the same thing Kennen excels at. Varus hates to be full engaged on up close and personal. Run an aggressive support against him and make sure to freeze the lane so that he can't just sit safely under his tower. Use Lightning Rush to dodge Piercing Arrow and play smart.
KENNEN VS. ASHE
Ashe can be dangerous if you let her get off the level 1 free crit on you. Try to deny her farm so that she doesn't abuse her gold steroid. Use Lightning Rush to dodge Volley and Enchanted Crystal Arrow if possible. This lane shouldn't be too hard as your right click damage tends to outclass hers.
KENNEN VS. CORKI
Corki has shorter range than you and is mana reliant. Bringing a support with a heal to lane will almost guarantee you lane dominance against him. You will force him to back to base due to going OOM every time since you are Energy based and can spam at his level without restraints.
KENNEN VS. EZREAL
Ezreal can be elusive and hard to catch with stuns thanks to his Arcane Shift. Don't get hit by Mystic Shot for free and try to keep the pressure on him so that he doesn't just sit back last hitting to conserve his mana.
KENNEN VS. URGOT
Urgot brings a lot of early game damage to lane but Kennen does very well against him. You can use Lightning Rush to almost always dodge Noxian Corrosive Charge, preventing his signature damage from Acid Hunter from even coming into play. He's one of the few ADC champs who can be tankier than you so be careful if you try to engage on him. Try to make sure you have a well established advantage before making any high-risk-high-reward plays against him.
KENNEN VS. SIVIR
Sivir can be annoying as her Spell Shield can mess up your stun combos. She has strong AoE damage and pushing capabilities as well via Ricochet and Boomerang Blade. Other than these noteworthy features, you should out damage her as long as you are not taking free boomerangs to the face.
KENNEN VS. TWITCH
Twitch is scary and snowballs very fast and very hard. You have the tools to shut him down and prevent him from getting fed. Your AoE damage can still hit him while he is invisible but be careful about when you engage on him. He gets an AS buff post-stealth when coming out of Ambush and you have a right-click damage steroid that is not always up. Try to coordinate with your support about when the most opportune time is to go in. His Spray and Pray works best when he is the aggressive one. If you force him to retreat between Auto Attacks, he will not get damage off as quickly. Another noteworthy fact is that while his attack projections have long range, he needs a target within a much shorter AA range to click on before being able to shoot them. Many Twitch players will note that you are out of the click range and will click on a closer target in line with you so as to shoot the projectile towards your direction. You can utilize Lightning Rush to dodge his auto attacks when he is in Spray and Pray because of this.
KENNEN VS. MISS FORTUNE
Miss Fortune can be a bully in lane but Kennen has the strength to put her in her place. You can interrupt her when she channels Bullet Time w/ a stun to shut down a lot of the damage she relies on. You should be able to hard enage better than she does.
KENNEN VS. JAYCE
Not something you see often but Jayce can be potent bot lane. His knock-back on Thundering Blow helps to deny Kennen potential kills and he has a lot of utility in his kit for versatile laning.
This area will include clarifications and detailed math for whatever disputes readers bring up. I have made this section because this guide has a very long comments section. There seem to be some common arguments and I know it can be difficult to search through a long thread of posts when looking for key information. In order to solve this problem, I will attempt to organize such information in this section so that it is in a more presentable fashion.
The first common argument is that Kennen's nerf to his auto attack range removed him from viability as an AD Carry.
His AA Range was nerfed from 575 to 550.
Kennen's AA Range is better than that of:
Urgot, Sivir, Teemo, Jayce (Cannon Stance), Kog'Maw (without Bio-Arcane Barrage activated), Graves, Kayle and Twisted Fate.
Kennen has equal Auto Attack Range to that of:
Corki, Draven, Ezreal, Miss Fortune, Twitch, and Vayne.
In this context, Kennen's AA Range seems fine and is certainly not a reason to disqualify his potential as an AD Carry.
Another frequent claim is that Kennen's base AD has been nerfed at some point beyond what made him viable.
I have thoroughly checked various copies of the available archives of patch notes and have concluded without a doubt that Kennen has NEVER had a nerf to his base AD. This is a misconception created from some sites listing base AD as it appears at Level 1 while others list base AD properly as a number different from the value at Level 1. When people see the two different values around the internet, they assume that the value has been changed at some point.
In addition to this, there seems to be a claim that Kennen's base AD is too low to allow him to be a viable AD Carry.
This is flat out wrong. Here's why.
Kennen's base AD is 51.3 + (3.3 x LVL)
Level 1 = 54.6
Level 18 = 110.7
Kennen's AD at level 1 is BETTER than:
Kog'Maw, Varus, Ashe, Miss Fortune, Tristana, Twisted Fate, Jayce, Draven, Caitlyn, Ezreal, Corki, Urgot, Sivir, Twitch, Vayne, and Graves.
Kennen has a better base AD at level 1 than those champions in respective order of increasing variance, so the first champion I list is further behind Kennen's base AD at level 1 than the next champion is and so on.
In fact, Kayle is the ONLY ranged champion that is semi-popular to send bot lane as an AD Carry that has a higher base AD at level 1 than Kennen.
At Level 18, Kennen's base AD is higher than:
Ashe, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Tristana, Caitlyn, Ezreal, Sivir, Corki, Twitch, Kayle, Twisted Fate, Graves, Vayne, Draven, and Jayce (in order of decreasingly large difference as before).
The only champion semi-popular as a bot lane AD Carry that has higher base AD at level 18 than Kennen is Urgot.
So Kennen actually has AMAZING Base AD stats.
Kennen used to have the highest base AS @ level 18 in the game
Riot recently buffed the attack speeds of Ashe and Tristana but Kennen is right behind them with superb natural attack speed. He does not have an AS steroid on ability use like a few AD Carries but is able to itemize more offensively due to his kit in order to compensate.
I hope this guide helps everyone in some way shape or form. I will be trying to keep it updated to the best of my abilities in between work and school. Comments / Feedback is welcome and I hope you have enjoyed the guide.
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