Threats to Kalista with this build
|Graves||Champions with a short range have to come closer to last hit minions, and will give you the opportunity to poke them with Soul Marked|
Before talking about how and why playing Kalista as a support, let's go for a ride on the time machine and rewind a few months from now.
Back in November 2014, when Kalista wasn't released yet and could only be played in the PBE, Kalista wasn't seen the same way as she is now, as a very mobile AD carry.
Instead, quite a lot of people thought that Riot created another support, and they have reasons to:
- a mobile ward
- a slow
- damage based on enemy's max health that doesn't need to scale with AD nor AP
- But most importantly a life-saver ulti for the ADC with Fate's Call. How you ask me? Imagine your low health ADC being grabbed into the enemy team. You think she's dead? Think twice! Kalista can use her ulti to get the ADC out of a certain death, so that he can dash back to safety, behind a wall, or back with your team.
This, my friends, is a built-in Zhonya's Hourglass + Flash!
And as a video is worth a thousand words, here you can have a look for yourself how over-powered the ulti of a Kalista support is (the video is not from me):
It is better to play Kalista support with a friend who knows your playstyle well or with whom you can talk to during the game!
First reason is that Kalista is still a new champion and many people don't really know well yet her mechanics. They have been using her ulti to dive in the enemy team since the beginning, so telling them to do the contrary and use it to get out of danger will be confusing for them!
Second reason is that in order to have a successful duo, both your ADC and you will require a good coordination, so that he can react quickly after you've used your ulti!
This guide is mainly focused on the Kalista support build. For general tips and tricks on Kalista, you can read other guides on Mobafire, or take a look at her on the League of Legends Wiki.
Pro & Cons
+ Life-saver ulti for your ADC
+ A spammable mobile ward
+ Excellent harass during laning phase with Sentinel's Soul Marked
+ A decent slow
- Squishy compared to other tank supports
- No hard CC
- No real escape appart from Martial Poise's mobility
- Extremely useful to the ADC but less to the other members of the team
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Mark of Precision
Glyphs and Seals are the usual runes for tanky champions.
For the Quintessences, I like to take the Greater Quintessence of Armor because as a support, you want to withstand the damage of the opponent ADC, and the enemy team in general.
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
As for the Marks, you can be tempted to take some Greater Mark of Armor Penetration, as Kalista is known for being an ADC and have AD scaling on Pierce and Rend.
However, let's not forget that as a support, you won't deal as much damage an an ADC Kalista.
In addition to her auto-attacks and AD spells you can also capitalize on Sentinel's Soul Marked, which deals great damage depending on the enemy's max health (up to 20% at level 5!) and doesn't need to scale on anything.
Its damage is magical and benefit from magic penetration, so it is better to use Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration.
To sum up, the magic penetration part of the Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration is for the laning phase, where you will do mostly magic damage Sentinel's Soul Marked. The armor penetration part will be for mid and late game as you will auto-attack very often during teamfights. At the end of the game, it will be roughly 70% physical damage and 30% magical damage.
Not really a spell but it was more appropriate in this section.
At the beginning of the game, offer a pact with your ADC, so that you can use your ulti on him and he can trigger your Sentinel's active during laning phase and after.
As a support, this passive is sure much less useful than as an ADC Kalista. Its still gives you great mobility, to chase the enemy or to escape from them.
Be careful, as you cannot cancel your attacks, you can accidentally steal CS from your ADC with your auto-attacks! To prevent that, either move constantly or use your S key to stop your actions.
You can jump through walls, triggering your passive by attacking an enemy or by using your Pierce.
If you want to know which walls can be jump through, check this video :
Pierce's damage will just be ridiculous with a Kalista support, so no need to spam it or you'll be quickly out of mana. However, it can be used for other purposes :
- Trigger the dash to jump, to jump through obstacles and walls for example
- Trigger Soul Marked
- Apply a Rend stack from afar on an enemy to apply Rend's slow and catch him up, and dash towards him
- Or do the same thing to escape from the enemy.
- Finish from afar a very low health enemy
These little souls can save your life more than once! With a nice cooldown and duration, don't hesitate to spam it whenever you can, to check bushes, to scout the river to avoid ganks, as well as your jungle to avoid counter-jungle.
However, it will never replace a ward as the soul sentinels' vision is quite limited.
Drop a Sentinel each time one is available, to cover as much area as possible. You can have up to 4 to 6 Sentinel at once, depending on your Cooldown Reduction.
This is what makes Kalista support such a lane bully. You don't need stats to do damage, this spell scales with the enemy's max health, up to 20% at level 5!
Every 6 seconds for each enemy, you can trigger it so that when you and your ADC attack the same enemy within a short amount of time, you can deal a good chunk of his health.
The damage is credited to Kalista, so trigger only Soul Marked to harass, be careful not to unintentionally "kill secure" the enemy with it.
Soul Marked is triggered by your Oathsworn's auto-attacks, but also by spells that triggers on-hit effects, such as Miss Fortune's Double Up or Ezreal's Mystic Shot.
The slow characteristic is what we're interested in here.
The stacks on Rend only amplify the damage, the same slow will apply whether you have 1 stack or 42. So unless you want to deal slightly more damage to the enemy, applying one stack is enough to slow him and catch him.
During teamfights, try to apply at least one stack to every enemy Champion you want to slow down before using Rend.
This is the spell without which Kalista support wouldn't exist! With your ulti, your ADC won't even know what death is.
It's like having two spells in one :
- Built-in Dark Passage + Flash: When your ADC is in a bad position or about to die, use it to draw him to you so that he can dash somewhere safe!
- Built-in Zhonya's Hourglass: If your ADC is under a damage-over-time spell like Ignite or is about to get grabbed or CCed, your ulti will make them untargetable.
Fate's Call can draw your ADC to you even though he is being CCed.
Here is an illustration of a good use of Fate's Call :
Level up Sentinel first to scout your jungle against early counter jungle, and especially in order to be able to intensely harass the enemy from level 1.
Level up Rend once next to benefit from the slow, then Pierce at level 3 to be able to trigger Rend and Soul Marked from afar or finish the enemy if you have the opportunity.
Max Sentinel first as it will be your main source of damage, and because it reduces the cooldown on your soul sentinels.
Max Rend as your second spell to increase the slow percentage.
Level up Pierce last.
As usual, level up your ulti Fate's Call whenever possible, its cooldown is reduced depending on the level.
Even though Sentinel can be used as a mobile ward, that doesn't mean that you don't have to get wards. The soul sentinels' vision is limited and can be easily bypassed or destroyed.
Once you have your Sightstone you can later trade your Warding Totem for a Sweeping Lens.
In my opinion Mercury's Treads is the best boots upgrade for Kalista support. You don't deal enough damage with your auto-attacks to benefit from Berserker's Greaves, you don't need additional movement speed as Martial Poise already gives you enough mobility, and cooldown reduction is only useful for your ulti. The Tenacity of Mercury's Treads is the best solution you have.
In late game, you can choose to either enchant your boots with Homeguard or Captain depending on the situation: Mercury's Treads - Homeguard can be useful if the enemy team has pushed too much in your base, and Mercury's Treads - Captain can provide more utility for your team during teamfights.
Gold income items
When it comes to the choice for the gold income item, you have two possibilities, depending on what your team needs.
The Talisman of Ascension allows you to have a regular gold income. You don't really need the extra mana regeneration but what makes it worth buying is its active because the movement speed burst is great for teamfight initiation or to make an escape.
On the other hand, Face of the Mountain makes you tankier and gives you another way to protect your ADC or any other ally.
As you are a ranged Champion, you won't benefit from the minion execution aspect. However, Spoil of War will still grant your ADC kill gold, and you won't have any problems last hitting the minions thanks to Sentinel's Soul Marked, with which you can deal up to 200 damage against Soul Marked minions.
If Fate's Call is on cooldown, you don't really have any other means of protecting your ADC apart from Rend's slow. The aura and shield active from the Locket of the Iron Solari can provide the survivability your ADC and your team needs.
Another tanky item with a great active that can slow surrounding enemies.
Get the Frozen Heart if the majority of the enemy team deals physical damage, so that they get reduced attack speed.
Your playstyle as Kalista support revolves around auto-attacking the enemies :
- To trigger the Bandit mastery
- To apply the Sentinel bonus damage
- To stack spears and slow the enemies with Rend
That is why Frozen Mallet synergizes well with her, as you will be able to have an additional slow when you auto-attack the opponents. However, a downside is that you won't have enough attack speed to constantly slow your target.
Blade of the Ruined King is the only fully offensive item that is good with Kalista support, as the damage you deal is based on the target's current health so your stats don't matter. It also gives you a nice slow and some more attack speed for more mobility.
If your team deals mainly physical damage, your team mates can greatly benefit from The Black Cleaver's armor reduction. The movement speed isn't useful though as you have your passive.
With Runaan's Hurricane's unique passive, you can apply your Rend stacks to three enemies at the same time and slow them all at once. You'll be also sure that you won't miss any opportunity to trigger Soul Marked. It is especially effective if your ADC also has a Runaan's Hurricane because the whole enemy team will get Soul Marked. However beware, this item doesn't provide any tankiness, and being in range to attack means increasing your risk exposure.
Why a tanky build ?
You may be tempted to build Kalista support as a secondary ADC to make a good use of her AD ratios and mobility. Some Youtubers tried to played her this way, and it could work. However in my opinion it is not the most effective build. Support can build offensive like the mages and do damage because their damage mostly rely on their Champion and their spells' level. On the contrary, an AD Champion rely on his items to provide the damage. As Kalista support leaves the farm to the ADC, if she waits to have enough gold to buy an expensive AD item she will fall behind before the game even starts.
By building tank, you will have enough survivability to assist your ADC and your team in the kills, can auto-attack the enemies without fearing to be one-shot in return, and your active items can provide the crowd control your teams needs during teamfights.
For your starting build, choose a gold income item between Ancient Coin and Relic Shield depending on what final item you will need later on. Complete with Health Potions and buy a Warding Totem.
Rush the final upgrade of your gold income item ( Talisman of Ascension or Face of the Mountain as fast as possible, buy the Boots of Speed and finish your Sightstone.
When you get your Sightstone, exchange your Warding Totem for the Sweeping Lens.
Next, buy the Locket of the Iron Solari as your first defensive item and finish your Mercury's Treads.
The order between the fifth and sixth item is up to you, either continue first with tanky stats with Randuin's Omen, or if you feel that your team is tanky enough, get an offensive item.
Finally, upgrade your boots into Mercury's Treads - Captain, your Trinket into an Oracle's Lens and buy an Elixir of Ruin.
Before the beginning of the laning phase, place a Sentinel to scout your side of the jungle to avoid any counter jungle.
There are basically three types of duo in the bot lanes: kill, sustain and poke lane. Kalista support's playstyle falls into the third category: she has no burst, no defense mechanism for her ADC such as a heal or a shield, but Soul Mark can deal a lot of damage over time if you poke them well.
Play passively. Kalista support isn't an aggressive all-in champion, she's a champion that excells at harassing the enemies over time and forcing them to back or get outfarmed. Auto-attack the enemy champions to harass them and to gain some more gold with Bandit .
Paired up with an ADC that is also good at poking with auto-attacks like Caitlyn and you have just won the lane.
Play agressively but safely. Pre-level 6 you don't have lots of possibilities to save your ADC when he's been caught, except by slowing the enemies with Exhaust and Rend. Harass as much as you can but don't put your ADC in danger.
During teamfights you main role will be to be your ADC's guardian angel. Don't let him die in your arms, use your Fate's Call at the right moment.
Try to apply at least one stack on the Champions you want to slow down with Rend.
Activate your Talisman of Ascension, Locket of the Iron Solari and Randuin's Omen when necessary.
Your built is tanky but remember that you have low base stats compared to real tank supports, so don't dive in the enemy team thinking you're invincible, you're not Dr. Mundo.
Here is a non exhaustive list of places where you can drop a ward (you may want to ward elsewhere depending on which area you want to have vision on) :
For a more detailed tutorial on warding, check this video :
There are several paths where you can place your Sentinels in order to cover the greatest distance and to reveal strategic locations :
When the game starts, drop a Sentinel at the path marked on the minimap by the number 1. This can spot eventual invasions.
The path 2 helps your jungler avoid counter-jungle.
The path 3 covers the river in case the enemy jungler or mid laner comes from there.
The path 4 can also detect ganks, but also provides a counter-jungle opportunity for you, as you can know when the enemy Blue or Red buff monster will spawn.
ADCs with a long range can poke the enemies from afar, trigger Soul Marked while staying safely behind your minions, and thus are good team mates to lane with.
Spells that trigger on-hit effect can proc the bonus damage of Sentinel's Soul Marked, like Miss Fortune's Double Up or Ezreal's Mystic Shot. That is why these type of ADC synergizes well with Kalista support.
Pre level 6 you don't have any means to protect effectively your ADC against an all-in except with the slow from Rend and Exhaust. ADCs such as Tristana or Corki are safe picks because they have an escape mechanism in case they are in danger.
Kalista or Tahm Kench ?
With the introduction of the new Champion Tahm Kench in the Fields of Justice, Kalista support has just found a new contestant that fulfill the same support role : saving the ADC by making him untargetable. With Devour, Tahm Kench can swallow an ally, making him untargetable, before regurgitating him to an area.
So who's better, Kalista or Tahm Kench ? let's compare their two core spells :
+ Range of 1400 ; 1200
- Cooldown of 90/75/60
+ Knockup of 1.5/1.75/2s
- No damage
+ Instant statis
- Only works with your Oathsworn ally
- Range of 250 ; 600
+ Cooldown of 14/13/12/11/10
- No crowd control
+ 100/150/200/250/300 (+ 60% AP) magic damage
- Not instant statis, ally has to click on him
+ Works with all the allies
So, both spells have their advantages and disadvantages. However, Tahm Kench has a spell kit that makes him more effective than Kalista, in lane and in teamfights :
- Natural tankiness
- Even more tankiness with Thick Skin
- Better crowd control
- Long range teleport
Here are some videos of Youtubers playing Kalista support. These were posted before my guide was published, so they don't follow my build : they are purely here to illustrate the play style of Kalista support.
TL;DR: How to play with a Kalista support
If you are playing as a Kalista support and your ADC is clueless as to your playstyle, show them this so that they can quickly learn to play effectively with you as a successful duo :
- You can heavily harass the enemies if you both attack the same Soul marked opponent thanks to Sentinel's Soul Marked
- She can use her Rend to slow down enemies with spears on them, and can trigger Rend from afar with Pierce
Kalista support is a super fun and effective way to play Kalista, though not so original as lots of players in the PBE thought of it already !
This build has been fully tried and tested for normal games at least.
However, I don't play Ranked games so I don't know if it works as well as normal games. If you tried it on Ranked games, let me know what you think !
If you have success with this build, you can also send me screenshots so that I can include them in the guide.
I'd be delighted if you can give me a feedback (either positive or constructive negative feedbacks) on the presentation of this guide or the build itself !