Kayle Build Guide by Judgejoebrwn
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
NOTE: Due to the Season 2 mastery changes, I'm in the process of revising and testing a new AD carry build for Kayle. I've included my new full AD carry as the primary build (again, undergoing testing).
My name is Judgejoebrwn. Yes, the TV show judge. Seriously. I am. Okay, well maybe not seriously. But I can dream, can't I? He's pretty awesome.
Welcome to my first build on Mobafire. I've been a long-time reader here and have used many of the guides here to help improve my gameplay. After virtually giving up on Kayle after playing her a couple of times (a LONG time ago when I had much less experience), I read a guide that suggested the Nashor's Tooth rush and, after trying it, renewed my interest in her. However, after viewing the top rated guides for Kayle and seeing some that haven't been updated since her Holy Fervor change and others that just didn't seem to have the "perfect" item build, I felt I would throw my Kayle into the mix to get the opinion of the masses.
Please keep in mind that I have not tried this build in ranked play just yet, but it seems to do well at level 30 otherwise.
I want to thank ])ark_Link for providing the base for the way I play Kayle. His build can be found here. I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank jhoijhoi for her guide-creation guide found here, as that certainly helped me make my guide much less boring than it otherwise would have been. I also noticed my Kayle build ends up being VERY similar to jhoijhoi's Vayne build (found here). This is due to the fact that I derived a lot of my affinity for Vayne after playing her following her guide and, playing as an AD carry, transferred that knowledge to Kayle. Please do not downvote for any kind of plagiarism, as that's certainly not the case and I even provided a link to her Vayne build. Others who end up contributing thoughts and opinions that improve my guide will be added here as well.
Now, as Terry Hoitz would say, "Let's do some damage!"
Pros / Cons
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Desolation X 3 - Best choice for an AD carry.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed X 9 - Kayle is an inevitable hybrid with Righteous Fury. Additional AS helps 100% of her damage where as ArPen only affects a portion of it. These are to help her early game damage and farm.
Greater Seal of Armor X 9 - Since we're picking up armor masteries with this build, why not complement that with seals? Like the AS marks, this should help her generally weak early game.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist X 9 - Same reasoning as the seals.
I feel this set of glyphs gives her benefits on every front, primarily early game so she can reap the benefits later.
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Attack Speed
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
Greater Quintessence of Desolation - Same as Build One.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed - Same as Build One.
Greater Seal of Attack Speed - We've got shorter CD's and leveling Divine Blessing second, so our survivability is higher already. The additional armor isn't needed.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - With the new masteries, these allow Kayle to reach the 40% CDR cap immediatly upon picking up Nashor's Tooth.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed - Throwaway slot pretty much. Feel free to choose anything for the final slot.
NOTE: I think there's a misconception about most of Kayle's damage being magical as opposed to physical and therefore Magic Pen runes should be used instead of Armor Pen. I think this is due to the overall damage from Kayle at the end of matches showing greater magic damage than physical. I believe (but have not confirmed) that this is due to the splash effect of Righteous Fury on creeps/champions throughout the match and that Kayle's primary single-target damage is indeed physical.
With the redesigned masteries, it may be viable (potentially preferred) to forego the CDR Kayle to really cement yourself in the AD role. With nothing major of note in the first 9 points in utility (other than TP/Flash reduction), you can afford to pick up armor/mres in defense and still manage to get virtually everything you need in offense (including 4% CDR, MPen and ArPen to really compliment your passive).
9/0/21 was the ONLY way to go. It's still very viable as an early-mid game support that excels late game. This maximizes her CDR (40%) as soon as you grab Nashor's Tooth), and in addition offers movement speed, shorter Flash/TP CD's, ward range, and spell penetration.
Flash - Much-needed escape tool. Extremely effective, especially combined with the speed boost from Divine Blessing.
Teleport - Ever seen that giant wave of enemy creeps and thought "Man, it's like Xmas top lane. If only I could get there in time..." Problem solved, and Kayle REALLY needs the farm. Also useful for ganking, stopping/starting pushes, and clearing towers.
Here, you'll see me pick up 250+ gold in a matter of seconds from creep kills. And there are going to be larger waves than this, so try to pick them up whenever you can.
Ghost - Good for chasing, decent for escaping. Swap for Teleport and change the mastery point over to match.
Exhaust - If you fancy 1v1 battles, this may be to your liking. Typically Intervention will win the 1v1 for you, though.
Clairvoyance - If you're the only support, it's good. But if you are, I might suggest to follow a different guide.
Ignite - Helpful for first blood and against heavy-healing opponents, but typically not something you'll want on an AD carry. Try to remember that you are one.
NEW WITH SEASON TWO
Surge - Potentially viable new summoner spell, granting increased attack speed and ability power for a solid duration. One could argue Exhaust to be superior, and for 1v1 I'd agree. On the other hand, a team fight could prove Surge to be more useful given the duration.
Promote - Back from the dead, it only works on siege minions. Doubt that this would ever be worth the slot, but someone may prove me wrong.
Well, everything else.
Righteous Fury (E) - Required to farm properly and our main source of damage, this needs to be maxed ASAP.
Reckoning (Q) - Pick this up at level 2 and max it second. In this build, you're pushing for damage immediately rather than utility, so you can make use of the increased damage from the nuke AND the debuff.
Divine Blessing (W) - Grab one rank at 3 or 4, but this build only utilizes the speed boost portion of this ability early to mid-game. You're a full-blown AD carry (with inate hybridity), so it's not your responsibility to play support.
Intervention (R) - The ultimate we wished lasted longer. With the various global ults out there and Tryndamere's ult lasting 5 seconds, it's easy to feel underwhelmed with this ability. However, it's still very powerful. At level 3 with 40% CDR, you'll see a 36-second CD on a 3-second invulnerability that can not only make yourself extremely dangerous, but can save a teammate's life or empower another carry to decimate the opposition.
Righteous Fury(E) - Required to farm properly and our main source of damage, this needs to be maxed ASAP.
Reckoning (Q) - Snag this at level 2 for the slow and possible first blood, but it needs not be touched otherwise until late game as the slow does not get stronger and your damage output isn't strong enough early game to warrant the increase.
Divine Blessing (W) - Max this second to increase lane sustainability and to support your team. Even as an AD carry, you're performing a support role as well. Never forget that you have the tools to save a teammate's life. Unlike Reckoning, the boost gets better as you level it, giving you additional mobility. Also, due to the poor scaling of ability power, each additional rank is equivalent to adding roughly 115 ability power to your heal.
Intervention (R) - Discussed above. Nothing changes for this ability, regardless of build choice.
Since the passive change, hybrid items that add both AD and AP ( Guinsoo's Rageblade, Hextech Gunblade, etc.) have lost a lot of their appeal to Kayle as their only dual effectiveness now is buffing Reckoning. Kayle's new passive promotes the idea of reducing both the armor and magic resistance of the enemy. Combine the passive with
, you begin the game with a good base. My item build plays to the strengths of the passive, making Kayle a very dangerous carry. Typically an AD carry can be hard countered by armor, but with Kayle's inherent magic damage from Righteous Fury, she's not so easily countered. However, the enemy would do even worse to get a little bit of both armor and MR, due to the various penetration of both Kayle maintains.
The Nashor's Tooth Debate: I have read numerous other Kayle guides here and on SoloMid.net that advise AGAINST Nashor's Tooth and I feel I need to express my opinion on this. Most of those against Nashor's cite their reasoning as Righteous Fury does not need 100% uptime, and I believe that is the incorrect focus of the CDR. It's certainly a convenience to have, but by no means necessary. I personally feel the CDR to the OTHER abilities is most important. Dropping three seconds off the Reckoning CD could easily mean the difference between securing a kill and letting an enemy escape, dropping SIX seconds off Divine Blessing gives you an enormous increase in speed boost uptime AND life-saving capability, and dropping TWENTY-FOUR seconds off Intervention...I mean...come on...just get Nashor's Tooth. You won't regret it.
Season Two Edit: If you use the AD/Support hybrid build (Build Two), the above holds true in my opinion. However, if you decide to fill the AD Carry role to the fullest and choose Build One, I think Malady fits better in it's place. You'll see that item-wise, that's the only difference. Malady is cheaper and actually offers more damage and syncability with Kayle's passive.
- Starting item of choice. Additional health for survivability and early-damage that, combined with masteries, makes last hitting substantially easier.
Sight WardSight Ward - Aim for these on your first trip back. Total is 975G. Movement speed, more HP/Damage, and gank protection.
Sight Ward - Your established early core items. Chances are you won't have enough to pick up Malady on your second trip back unless you're dominating your lane, but upgrade your boots, pick up a dagger, snag another ward, and head back to your lane. Total cost is 2470G.
Assuming you're level 9 at this point (or higher), Righteous Fury is now maxed and you have Malady. This means you have 80 additional magic damage per swing AND 24 flat magic pen, 10% magic pen (masteries), and 15% magic reduction (passive) after just a few attacks. This damage is extremely powerful at this stage of the game and it's about to get better.
> - This is where it gets fun. Pick up the B. F. Sword as soon as you have the cash for it (I recommend 1725G to grab another ward]. If selling a Doran's Blade will get you there, do it. It takes another 1215G to complete the cleaver, but man...the damage...well, let's recap:
Your build thus far (Core) - Sight Ward
...and yes, wards are core, silly.
At level 14 with these core items:
Attack Damage - 160
Magic Damage - 80
Attack Speed - 1.6+
Flat Armor Pen - 16 ( Greater Quintessence of Desolation + Sunder )
Flat Armor Reduction - 45 ( The Black Cleaver)
% Armor Pen - 10% ( Weapon Expertise )
% Armor Reduction - 15% ( Holy Fervor)
Flat Magic Pen - 0 (sadface)
Flat Magic Reduction - 24 ( Malady)
% Magic Pen - 10% ( Arcane Knowledge )
% Magic Reduction - 15% ( Holy Fervor)
Now, I'm not going to get all mathy on ya, but that's a lot of damage.
From here, pick up Giant's Belt for survivability and start building Infinity's Edge. Ideally, the game won't last much longer, but continue with the build listed if it manages to.
This build is only realistically completeble AND viable if you (and your team) are dominating the opposition and the game continues without surrender, but it's probably the most entertaining way to end a game. While you may remain squishy, you'll be amazed how quickly you can mow down the opposition. If you manage to avoid stuns/silences long enough to get your ultimate off, you're very likely to kill an enemy champion in that 3-second window. Picking up Vampiric Scepter and Zeal after The Black Cleaver would be my recommended route as the movement speed, crit, and lifesteal combo for cheap will lead nicely into the final stages. Once you complete Infinity Edge, the game probably won't last much longer. Always be last or close to last into a team fight if you take this build.
If you find yourself in an extremely tough game with extremely tough enemy carries, this build should keep you alive. The 1000 additional HP and the passive benefits from Banshee's Veil should keep you alive against heavy AP champs, the HP + the armor from Atma's Impaler will endure the heavy AD champs, and the crit + added damage from Atma's should keep you relatively competitive in the AD carry role. The CDR from Nashor's Tooth is more suited for this build than Malady.
- Berserker's Greaves are certainly the best bang for the buck, especially for early game damage. They're cheap enough that you could probably get them every game and sell them later for Merc's. If the enemy team has a lot of CC, Mercury's Treads can be a godsend.
- Enough can't be said about this item. If the enemy team has a Veigar, LeBlanc, or Annie running rampant, the spell shield can easily be the difference between getting 2-shot and ruining their day. Always keep this item in the back of your mind when assessing the enemy team.
- Useful if you have an extremely fed enemy AD carry ( Tryndamere, Vayne, Ashe, Master Yi, etc.). Would be reserved for late game only for obvious reasons.
- I sure hope you're not using this build if you're the only support on the team, but if you were to find yourself in such a position, this item is insanely cheap for the all-around benefits it offers a team.
- Alternative lifesteal items to potentially replace The Bloodthirster in the GLASS CANNON build. Zeke's Herald is the cheapest of the three and, if your team has one or two more AD champs, would be the best option. The attack speed and additional armor pen work well with this Kayle, stacking nicely with The Black Cleaver and your armor pen runes for a total of NINETY armor pen. Hextech Gunblade is the most expensive and, as mentioned earlier, has lost the passive sync of the old Kayle. However, it's still arguably a superior item to The Bloodthirster due to the increased Reckoning damage, spell vamp, and it's non-stacking nature. Regardless, as your 6th and final purchase, you'd only ever complete your lifesteal item in longer-than-typical games.
Gaining levels is a secondary priority for Kayle. Cashflow is most important. For this reason, laning bottom with a tank or a support class is best. They will help keep the opponents in the lane at bay while you last hit like a pro. You will be able to activate Righteous Fury on cooldown throughout the entire game as it's very cheap, so use that as often as possible to get your creep kills and keep your distance otherwise. If an enemy champion in your lane is melee, poke him often with your ranged attacks. If he gets cocky and overextends, hit him with Reckoning and chase until the slow wears off. Less time they spend in the lane, the more you can farm.
Best Laning Partner - Orianna
Great Laning Partners - Lux, Morgana, Karma, Taric, Alistar
I'd put Orianna at the top primarly due to her perma-ward-in-the-brush with Command: Attack. Controlling the brush for free without being in it is going to help Kayle's farming ability substantially. In addition, she's got an absorb and an enemy slow/ally haste. The other partners listed all offer similar CC capability, an absorb or heal of some kind, and require significantly less farm (in comparison to Kayle) to be effective.
If the above is not possible for whatever reason, don't fret. Kayle is arguably one of the best solo-lane champions. Mid or top makes very little difference. Typically AP carries take mid, so feel free to take solo top. With the current meta of having a strong melee fighter at solo top, you should have a fairly easy time farming and harassing.
PLEASE NOTE: If the enemy team is without a jungler, you MUST play VERY safe if you're solo top. In a 2v1 scenario with the enemy controlling the brush, Kayle's fragile frame early on will get you into a lot of trouble if you remain aggressive.
- Last hit like a pro
- Stay in lane as long as possible
- Recall only if a dire necessity or Teleport is available
- Avoid harassment
- Keep an eye on the minimap. Utilize Teleport to farm creep waves or to assist in kills.
- Avoid harassing the enemy with Reckoning. Doing so will deplete your mana.
- Do not overextend unless area is warded.
Support (as an AD carry) - Build Two Primarily
Season Two Edit: With the addition of a new, viable, fully offensive Kayle, you are no longer "required" to play support early/mid-game. Utilizing heal is no longer part of your primary duty, though utilizing Intervention properly is still vital.
I know what you're thinking: "If I'm an AD carry, how can I also be support?". Easy. You're Kayle. This is, in my opinion, what distinguishes Kayle from most (any?) other AD carry.
For starters, most people think of Kayle as a support/magic damage dealer. If the enemy sees your team with a Kayle and no other ranged AD (or AD carry), they're bound to think they can pigeon-hole magic resist and they will be fully protected. And they'll be dead wrong. If this happens, they'll realize their mistake around mid-game (once you grab The Black Cleaver) and their HP quickly deteriorates.
However, it is very important to realize that you are still capable of support and should utilize that.
Intervention - While you will probably end up using this on yourself end-game, DO NOT forget that you can save a teammates life with this ability. The 2-3 seconds can get a teammate behind a turret safely (early game), save your AP carry who got caught out of position, protect yourself or others from certain death from Karthus's Requiem or Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole, etc. Learning when and on whom to use this ability can make a good Kayle great.
In this video, you'll see Garen, Jax, and Karma get a little carried away and the use of Intervention on Teemo delays his death long enough for Jax and Garen to die. At the end of the clip, you'll see Rammus powerballing in from the brush to tower dive to pick up the kill on Karma.
Look for these opportunities, especially early to mid game. Once you have Nashor's and Cleaver and begin picking up more kills, the enemy team will want you dead first. Transition your ult to yourself and you'll become extremely frustrating.
Divine Blessing - You're not building AP (outside of Nashor's Tooth) and this ability scales poorly off AP anyhow. However, a 225-hp 9-sec CD heal can certainly bring someone back from the brink of death or keep a push going after a teamfight. Perhaps most importantly is the speed boost. Keep in mind that the boost is applied to whoever receieves the heal. Is your Akali or Xin Zhao JUST out of range to charge that 25-hp Shaco trudging through the jungle? Pop them with Divine Blessing and secure the kill and assist. Or are you on Shaco's team and afraid they'll catch him? Heal him and make him almost uncatchable. Your ability to make use of these opportunities can make Kayle one of the strongest and useful carries in the game.
In this clip, Akali is retreating from Talon and LeBlanc. I catch Akali with a heal, though she still gets caught by LeBlanc's Ethereal Chains. I land a Reckoning on LeBlanc and Akali BARELY escapes with her life.
Reckoning - It may be the weakest of your support-oriented abilities in terms of capability, but having a low-CD 35%-slow nuke further increase your chances of helping a teammate survive on the run.
Does It Really Work?
Here are some of my screenshots that show I've been successful with this build. Even games that were losses, this build still kept me with a positive kill/death ratio. That's certainly not the only thing that matters in a team game, but it does support this build's validity.
First three games with new masteries, mostly new runes (don't have all the AS Marks yet), and Malady rush. Specifics of each below.
Solid game with a 7-kill streak. And how about that damage split? Had the game gone longer, the gap would have widened greatly in favor of physical.
Laning with Malphite against an aggressive Zilean and Tristana, I had quite a poor start this game (1/5/9). Granted, nobody else on my team had more than 3 assists, but that's clearly a sub-optimal start for a carry. Was still able to rally back with an unofficial quadra, a triple and a double kill. Next time I was killed, I was 11/6/13. Finished the game with another triple. You can see the gap widen here between physical and magic.
Solo top against Olaf. Good damage split on this one, though attacking the enemy Rammus probably brought the physical down a bit :D
Here's virtually a best-case scenario build. Farmed well, game lasted longer than most, and...well, that's what happens.
With proper teamwork and playstyle, you just might never die.
...and no, that wasn't a fluke.
As you can see, you might not always lead in kills, but as a support you can still rake in the assists
With proper farm and some kills, you can see what your build can look like 30 minutes in.
Here's what a "typical" game might look like, albeit slightly longer than average. No severe outleveling or one-sided scores.
In this video, you'll see the output of a completed build. The squishy LeBlanc is wiped out in 2-3 shots (kill coming from red buff), Warwick with Randuin's Omen goes down in just a few seconds with the help of Olaf, and I dive Leona at the Nexus' towers using Intervention to avoid damage while picking up a triple kill. I added the results of that match below. Keep in mind the enemy Talon started 9/1/1.
I have numerous other screenshots as well if more proof is needed, but would really love to add YOUR screenshots with this build. Please give it a shot and leave a comment and upvote if/when you fall in love with it.
In case my not-too-long guide was still too long, I'll quickly go over the primary points discussed earlier in the guide.
[*] Malady and The Black Cleaver are the staples of Build One.
[*] Nashor's Tooth and The Black Cleaver are the staples of Build Two.
[*]Don't play very aggressive early on, but take any kills you can get safely.
[*]Lane with a CC-capable teammate if at all possible.
[*]Remember to utilize Intervention for the betterment of your team.
[*]Avoid initiating teamfights.
[*]Most importantly, try to have fun! She's an exciting and rewarding champion to own with!
In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read through my build. I would like to think that I put a lot of effort into it. Please comment and vote, leaving any opinions/suggestions/improvements you can think of. I will be updating this guide with images of my own scores using this guide as I can and encourage anyone who performs well using my guide to do the same. As mentioned earlier, if you help improve this guide I will be sure to say so at the top of the page. Best of luck!