Kennen Build Guide by Qeomash
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
A purple Pikachu. Emperor Palpatine in ninja form. Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest, is an often ignored AP carry that can bring a lot of damage and utility to a team.
Pros / Cons
- Spectacular lane harass ability.
- Can stun multiple targets at once.
- Significant early and mid game damage.
- Energy based for near indefinite lane staying power.
- Fast pusher.
- A mage that must melee for part of his damage.
- Must be in very close range to deal any real amount of damage.
- His stun isn't an instant stun.
- Silence and Stun will get you killed.
To make up for Kennen's somewhat low ability power ratios, I use AP per level Yellows and Blues. For reds, flat Magic Penetration is your best option.
With Quintessences, what you use is up to your play style. I personally love the Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed on most all of my characters, though with mages I use one Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration to make the total rune Magic Pen an even 10. Other good choices are flat AP, Health, or Dodge.
To help alleviate Kennen's squishiness, I go down the Defense tree first through
for the bonus AP. Remember to skip
Strength of Spirit
as Kennen does not have mana.
Under the Offense tree, it is important to go far enough to get Archaic Knowledge .
For the last two renaming points, I prefer to always put a point in to buff whatever your chosen summoner spells are whenever possible.
- Join a teamfight from across the map. Teleporting on pets, mushrooms, minions, or wards in the middle of a chaotic teamfight can give you a great surprise advantage. (NINJA STRIKE!)
- Save another lane. The enemies killed/forced back your allies, and will now get a free push of a tower...or not!
- Save an unattended tower. Sure, you're totally not just farming those two waves of minions that would otherwise destroy a tower.
- Split push. A teamfight ends, with others on your team pushing mid while a minion wave approaches the next bottom lane tower. Quick teleport, and you just got two towers for the price of one.
- Surprise Push. A wave of minions have made their way to an enemy tower uncontested--teleport there and take the tower!
- A quicker blue pill. If you need to hide and get out quick, teleporting on one of your own towers a safe distance away is a great way to escape.
- Counter the occasional back dooring. If they have a back doorer, save your teleport for when it is critical you stop them.
All around a good spell for running around teamfights easier, chasing down, retreating, and just getting places quicker in general.
A great ability that I am personally horrible with. Beyond the usual initiation/escape mechanics that it gives all champions, for Kennen it is a great way to jump forward to grab more people while Slicing Maelstrom is going.
Another one of my favorite abilities. It can save your bacon if you get ganked, or it can ensure a kill by slowing their escape. Good to really shut one person's damage output down whenever you need it.
Also a great choice if you feel you can use the extra damage early game. Mostly useless late game.
Not as good as it once was, but if you know you're going to have issues with stuns this is still a good choice.
The ones you probably shouldn't use:
Clarity tops this list because, well, Kennen has no MP. Fortify would be better suited on a support. Rally can be useful, but Kennen moves around too much. Heal can be good sometimes, but it would be more of a crutch than anything. As easily as Kennen can die, you might think Revive would be okay but it's not; don't even think about it.
Nevermind that Revive's speed boost with Lighting Rush is insanely fun.
Kennen's passive, which is added anytime an ability hits an enemy target, is where most of his team utility comes from. Getting three marks on a single target will cause them to be stunned.
Kennen's Q ability is a mid range skillshot. It actually is his most damaging single hit ability, even more than a single hit from his Ultimate. Great ability for harassing, checking bushes, and last hitting minions.
The W ability is Kennen's bread and butter for damage. While less powerful than Thundering Shuriken, it targets and hits anything with a mark in range. Because of that, it does more total damage to multiple targets.
Kennen's E will get you killed. Use it sparingly, both for its high cost and the fact that using it is essentially sticking your neck out asking to get CC'd. It is still a great ability for chasing someone down or escaping quickly. Still, most effective use is to clear minions and tag an unsuspecting enemy with a mark. Most entertaining use is to run someone over with it for the killing blow.
An overlooked feature of the ability is the fact you can turn it off early by pressing the button again.
His Ultimate is a powerful but fickle ability. While the damage it deals is significant, it is most effectively used simply to get more marks on someone. It takes a full combo of QWE to get one stun off. Slicing Malestrom applies up to 3 marks on any one target champion, basically allowing for at least a second stun in a short amount of time.
In a one on one fight, this ultimate alone is very powerful and, coupled with the other abilities, can outright kill many champions. However, it should not be used for an initiation against a single champion at full health. It should be used as part of a finishing combo on someone who is lower health.
The ability's biggest downside is that it attacks randomly. You must weigh damaging the entire team or focusing on a sure kill of one or two champions when you use it.
Simplest of all: Lighting Rush through as many as you can. If there is a cannon minion, throw a Thundering Shuriken at it. Cast Electrical Surge and they're all either dead or nearly dead. After level 5 of Electrical Surge you can trigger the same marks placed by an earlier Electrical Surge, clearing out any remaining minions.
VS 1 Champion
If they are foolish enough to stand in the open, just toss a Thundering Shuriken and then use Electrical Surge. Don't go too far out of your way to use Surge, though.
If they are smart and hare hiding behind minions, wait for the melee component of Electrical Surge to come up. Be meleeing minions within melee range of the enemy champion, and when the charge comes up immediately switch targets to the champion, land the mark, then use Electrical Surge.
Another good combo is to hit them with Lightning Rush, move to the side of the minions and toss a Q shuriken. End the combo with an Electrical Surge and a stun.
If someone is being difficult and dodging your Q skillshot, stun them using every other ability and then hit the stationary target with Q.
To actually finish someone, they should be poked down to at least below half health. Lightning Rush into them, use your ultimate Slicing Maelstrom, and then use Electrical Surge for a first stun. Toss a Thundering Shuriken as they run. Keep after them and, a second stun should go off before your Ultimate is gone and allow you to get your kill.
VS 2 Champions
It is best to pick the easiest or most threatening target and use the above strategies on them. Or, just pick on the closest one until they have to go back. Use your Q or W's melee passive to get marks on both before casting Electrical Surge. If you can, hit them both with Lightning Rush for more marks. Use Slicing Maelstrom and focus on the one you want dead.
VS 3+ Champions
Oh, just read the teamfights portion below!
No matter the number of champions you're fighting or which lane you're in, Kennen's role is to be annoying. Stun them as often as is safe. To really get on their nerves, stun them as they go for a minion last hit. Make them want to kill you, but stun them again when they try to. Be an annoying little electric rat.
I usually start with a Doran's Shield for a little bit of health and regen to stay in the lane longer. Utilize Thundering Shuriken for last hits on minions. Focus on harassing using any means necessary, especially Electrical Surge's active coupled with marks landed with the ability's passive. Avoid going way out of your way to use Lightning Rush on your opponent(s) and just focus on killing minions. But if they're foolish enough to stand next to the minions you're putting marks on with Lighting Rush, it's their fault they get hit by the Electrical Surge too. Though, remember, Lighting Rush really opens you up for getting poked back.
On the first trip back to the fountain you hopefully have enough gold for at least Boots of Speed and a Kage's Lucky Pick. If not, pick whichever you think you need more for your lane. Any additional gold should be spent on Health Potions and/or Sight Wards.
Around this time, ganks and team fights in lanes should be starting to happen. Keep an eye on the map, and be sure to save your Teleport to help turn around any fights that are going sour. Or, if really necessary, just mop up a lost team fight to get your allies some assists. Try to have your ultimate and boots before doing this, however, as they both greatly increase your effectiveness in a surprise attack.
Mid Game Onwards (Mostly Item Talk)
Your first priority after a tower falls is to get your upgraded boots. Sorcerer's Shoes in most cases, Mercury's Treads if the enemy has a lot of CC. The other item you want to have ASAP is your Hextech Revolver. In fact, if the laning phase is still going on, get the Revolver before upgraded boots for infinite lane staying power. The spellvamp helps during teamfights and farming, and the AP it gives is a good amount to hold you over until you can afford a Needlessly Large Rod.
Next, your main priority is to get your Zhonya's Hourglass. After that, your item choices depend on who you are fighting and what they're building.
If absolutely everything is going well for your team and you aren't having issues with CC or magic damage, begin work on a Rabadon's Deathcap. After that, if they still haven't learned their lesson, work on a Lich Bane and finish a Will of the Ancients.
Lich Bane is important late game because it allows you to decimate with your melee attacks as your main abilities start to drop off from low ratios. If you have upwards 500 ability power or more, and as often as Kennen uses abilities to trigger Lich Bane's passive, the bonus damage can really hurt. Toss a Thundering Shuriken to get the bonus while pushing a tower and it will come down in a matter of seconds.
If they are building magic resistance, however, you should prioritize a Void Staff to counter it. If they have powerful magic damage on their side, an Abyssal Scepter is a good compromise to get some magic resistance, AP, and to take care of any of the enemies' magic resistance all in one. Also, if you have another mage on your team Kennen is the ideal person to have an Abyssal to stack with a Void Staff for them as he must always be in range anyway. However, do not get both an Abyssal Scepter and a Void Staff unless the entire enemy team is building a significant amount of magic resistance; Abyssal diminishes the effectiveness of the Void Staff so stacking should be avoided if possible.
After a magic pen item, continue working on either a Deathcap or Lich Bane. Other items to consider if time and gold allows are Rylai's Crystal Scepter for health and slow. Deathfire Grasp is good since Kennen will likely be in range to use it anyway if there is someone on the enemy side with a lot of HP. Just remember to use it!
For purely defensive items, the staple of Banshee's Veil is a good choice if you feel it's necessary to combat someone like Annie or Karthus. The Guardian Angel armor is OK on Kennen, except the minimal amount of HP you come back with combined with Kennen's inherent squishiness will mean you're probably still dead (again) anyway.
As you need more space or are within 238 gold of a big item, sell off your Doran's Shield. Sell the Kage's Lucky Pick as late as possible.
Teamfights or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hourglass
Just to reiterate, Kennen is squishy and will be a purple smear on the ground if you aren't careful.
Prior to a teamfight, it is Kennen's job to harass as much as possible from a safe distance with Thundering Shuriken. Try and have the charged melee attack of Electrical Surge ready for an extra, quick mark when the fighting starts.
When either side finally commits to the fight, run in with Lighting Rush and tag at least one enemy champion. When the enemy is grouped, unleash Slicing Maelstrom and pop Electrical Surge after a few marks get placed. In the meantime, focus on whoever is most important to stun and/or kill.
Kennen is a great second person after your initiator, but he also works very well as an initiator himself if necessary. However, know that in either case you will likely be focused because of your damage output, squishiness, and being in the middle of the fight.
As you get focused and your health starts dropping, this is where Zhonya's Hourglass comes in. Use the active to stop the damage you're taking, and potentially force the enemy to switch to an easier target. Your ultimate will continue while you are invincible, and hopefully people will scatter or get killed while you take yourself out of the fight. The sudden invincibility will likely throw your enemies off for a few seconds, giving your allies a good opening.
The hourglass will save your fuzzy bacon many, many times as long as you're careful with when you use it. Hopefully, if you're nearly dead, you can get a Lightning Rush off and escape, throwing shurikens to cover your retreat and stun any pursuer.
If you are still in the fight, just try and get as many stuns off with your depleted energy and cooldowns as you can. It may also be a good idea to hold off using abilities to let your energy recharge to full. Continue meleeing for more free marks, especially if you have a Lich Bane at this point.
Remember to utilize Teleport to either split push and then join a team fight as a surprise attack or to split push post team fight.
tl;dr - Kennen is awesome, and the fact that Slicing Maelstrom continues during Zhonya's Hourglass makes him borderline OP.
Kennen is a dangerous enemy to face one on one because of the quick succession of stuns and damage he can unleash. With skillful use of Zhonya's you will survive fights you otherwise wouldn't have. A Lich Bane is your friend, considering how it is actually beneficial for Kennen to melee anyway.
And, finally, what's not to love about a ninja that can use Force Lighting?
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