Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Kalista is an ADC with great late game potential and excellent utility for enabling her team in the early game. While her personal early game is weaker than most ADCs, she enables a strong support to help her push the enemy out of lane. She has no true escape mechanic, but she can hop over walls using Pierce and a move command, and she can save her support using her ultimate. Once team fights break out, she provides a flash / knockup to her support via her ultimate, providing her with a strong initiation tool. Late game, Kalista becomes a monster with excellent damage and kiting potential.
Kalista's success depends heavily on a strong support, which is why I would only play her with a support player that I trust to zone the enemy and ward profusely. Additionally, you and your support need to have excellent communication. I highly recommend duo queuing with a support main and using voice communications when playing Kalista.
Why play Kalista? With impeccable mechanics, she is a terror late game, yet she is not a wall banging sack of potatoes early game. Her kit enables her team to succeed in the early game, which hopefully translates into her making it to the late game. If you yearn for a challenge and are a team player, play Kalista.
Pros / Cons
[+] Enables support to bully the lane
[+] Free vision
[+] Ultimate is an excellent initiator
[+] Ultimate can also be used to save your support
[+] Able to jump over walls using Q
[+] Able to deal burst damage to monsters comparable to smite with E
[+] Excellent damage late game
[-] No true escape mechanic
[-] Requires exquisite coordination with her support
[-] Extremely difficult to master
Items providing attack damage, attack speed, and/or movement speed are very good on Kalista. Her abilities scale well with AD. AS and MS allow Kalista to stick to her target and quickly stack it with spears, which dramatically increases her burst potential with Rend.
Your first point should be in Sentinel (W). This allows you to help your jungler by setting up three sentinels before heading to lane. Its passive also gives Team Bot Lane the strongest possible push for level 2, as it destroys minions that you both attack and significantly chunks enemy champions.
Take a point in Rend (E) second. It allows you to last hit minions that you may have awkwardly taken to 1 HP, and it provides a nice slow for kiting your enemy.
Take a point in Pierce (Q) third, as it is nice to have something to proc your W passive and/or enable your rend ability from long distances. Use Pierce sparingly or you will find yourself OOM rather quickly.
Max Rend first, as it gives you a reliable source of damage and utility with its slow. It also allows you to deal significant burst damage to entities such as the dragon or DCed champions that allow you to auto attack them repeatedly. Max Pierce next, as it grants a nice amount of damage at max rank, especially with items. In team fights, try to kill the front line with auto attacks + Pierce. The goal is to transfer several spear stacks to the back line, allowing you to destroy them with Rend. Put a point in Fate's Call (R) whenever possible as usual to allow you to spam your ult.
Picking Her Support
Kalista synergizes best with supports that constantly poke the enemy in lane, can punish the enemy if they overextend, and tend to use flash to make offensive plays. Any support that buys Spellthief's Edge is good, even if they are not a good candidate for using Kalista's ult offensively, as getting Kalista through the early game is more important than using her ult.
|Thresh synergizes extremely well with Kalista. His lantern provides her with a much needed escape mechanism. The passive on his Flay combines with the passive on her Sentinel to yield a surprising amount of quick damage level 1. Kalista's ult places him in the perfect position to land The Box or a hard to miss Death Sentence.|
|Sona is a good choice for a sustain support. She should be played aggressively, poking the enemy often with her Power Chord attacks, so you will have ample opportunities to utilize your Sentinel passive. Kalista's ult will safely put Sona in the perfect position to stun the entire enemy team with Crescendo while denying them the chance to dash away.|
|Leona is an excellent all-in support for Kalista. She excels at going in and locking down an enemy, which allows Kalista to go in for a safe attack. Her Sunlight passive adds an additional bonus damage incentive to Kalista's Sentinel passive. Her ultimate allows Leona to knock up the enemy for a hard to miss Solar Flare.|
|Annie is an excellent support for Kalista. She is quite strong early game and excels at poking the enemy out of lane. She can stun multiple targets, and she will appreciate having her signature flash-Tibbers move at her disposal every time her ult is on cooldown. Note that Kalista's ult puts Annie 625 spaces from the enemy she hits, so in team fights Annie should take advantage of the 1.5-2 second knockup to reposition herself for the perfect Summon: Tibbers drop.|
|Nami is my personal favorite support for Kalista. She should be constantly poking and harassing the enemy, providing ample opportunities to proc Kalista's passive. Her Ebb and Flow ability enables Kalista to jump forward to harass the enemy, as it mitigates the damage Kalista suffers and procs her W passive without requiring Nami to step forward herself. Kalista's ult sets Nami up for a guaranteed Aqua Prison.|
Depending on your laning partner's play style, Alistar, Blitzcrank, Braum, Janna, Lulu, Morgana, Nidalee, Soraka, Zilean, and Zyra can also be good supports for Kalista despite being able to capitalize on her kit to a lesser extent.
|The skill that makes Kalista Kalista is her passive, which allows her to hop over certain walls and kite like mad. Below is a map with the terrain Kalista can hop over highlighted in red.
Check out this 90 second video where I demonstrate a few of the more interesting walls that Kalista can hop over and explain in more detail why you should learn how to do so.
|Kalista can unleash a swarm of sentinals to patrol the map, and she should release three sentinals before heading to lane. Below is an example route for the release of these three sentinals. Kalista exits the base at mid and releases a sentinal to patrol the top side of the map. Then she releases a sentinal from the tribush that she is guarding from invades. Finally, she releases her third sentinal near the camp she is leashing for her jungler. On the map below, Kalista's route is shown in black, and the path of the sentinals she releases is shown in gray.