Kayle Build Guide by Bao Tang
Not Updated For Current Season
Oppa Judicator Style! [Classic
Sample build for AS
Sample Build for AP
Not Updated For Current Season
About the Author
My name is Bao Tang both here and in-game. I've been playing League for about 2 1/2 years - first maining ADC and now filling the Support and Jungler roles whenever possible (I am a general all-rounder however). I ranked Silver II in Season IV on the NA server and tend to break the meta as much as I stick to it (probably why I'm still in Silver). I've received plenty of flaming from the general populace for my picks, however how will you know if something works without trying it first? If I have an inkling that a particular build or combination of Summoner's Spells works for that champ in that off-the-wall role, chances are it probably works. As to why I decided to create guides?
For people to open their eyes and actually try new things. And stick to good old meta builds.
So why Kayle?
Kayle, the Judicator, is one of the few champions in League that I never paid attention to at the start. In her lore, she hides herself like a wallflower and I actually even thought she was a guy from her older splash. I wanted to try new champions and Kayle, being the totally expensive champion she is at 450 IP, ended up being on my current roster of champions today. She's the one I have the most games with in ranked because of her versatility in literally every role and a champion anyone can learn to play. Trust me, I tried them all. Her kit has been changed numerous times in the past and although lacking the high damage she had in early Season 4, Kayle is a flexible champion in more ways than you'd think.
This guide serves primarily as a way to explain builds and choices, I have yet to implement any ward maps or videos on good kiting techniques.
Kayle's Abilities, Pros, and Cons
What Makes Kayle, Kayle
Kayle has a diverse kit in her arsenal. Although she may not burst as well as Annie or have miraculous heals like Soraka, she encompasses all aspects of CCing and fighting an enemy while keeping herself (or others) alive in the fray.
|Whenever Kayle attacks her enemies with her spells, she applies one stack of Holy Fervor up to five stacks. This is incredibly easy to do as she's heavily reliant on auto attacks for her damage. Keep in mind - this only applies as an on-hit effect, so enemies taking splash damage from her Righteous Fury won't receive this debuff.|
|This is Kayle's CCing and single-target burst damage ability. Throw it at your enemy to slow them down whether you're trying to net a kill or kiting away. The AP ratio has gone down on it (from 1.0 to 0.65) so it's not as bursty as it once was, but make no mistake when she builds AD or hybrid. That 1.0 AD ratio is going to hurt. A lot.|
|Divine in both how much it heals and what it does. Given enough AP, Divine Blessing heals for a decent amount, but the move speed buff on it is what makes it so attractive. Changing from a flat ratio to scaling, Kayle can really speed herself or someone else for all of four seconds - that's a long time. Perfect for moving you or other carries on your team to safety or sending your tank to initiate a team fight.|
|This is Kayle's bread-and-butter ability and only AoE skill. It modifies her melee attack to a wide-hitting, splash and single-target ranged auto. The bulk of her damage comes from Righteous Fury and is extremely unique in itself. Unlike most other AoE-damage abilities like Ashe's Volley, it has no projectile and thus is not treated as one. (Sorry Yasuo's Wind Wall - can't stop an angel from dishing out her justice.)|
|The skill that Kayle is famous for from those pesky clutch ultimates in denying the enemy a kill to one-upping herself in trades. Intervention negates all damage to a single target for 2/2.5/3 seconds, and costs no mana with relatively low cooldowns. It's plenty rage-worthy stopping a last-minute snipe from Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole or letting a low-health teammate live just a bit longer after the enemy blew all their cooldowns on them.|
Not Even This Angel Is Perfect
There are upsides and downsides to every champion in League - Kayle included. She has her shares of strengths and weaknesses. Take care to keep in mind what she excels and falls down in.
Mix Up Runes, Change Them Up
Unlike most mages, Kayle functions differently in that she's auto-attack reliant rather than burst. Her hybrid nature also makes her unique to fill whichever the team lacks. As such, the runes you build with her may vary depending on what your preferences are. There's no harm in trying other compositions outside of this guide - after all, this is only a guide.
|Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration||Typically I take Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration because Kayle scales off both AD and AP thanks to Reckoning and Righteous Fury. It also helps with shredding through the enemy's Magic resist with Holy Fervor. You can take Greater Mark of Attack Speed as an optional alternative to give her an early boost with her attack speed, but I usually don't take it since there will be a variety of items that'll give her the AS she needs like Nashor's Tooth and Runaan's Hurricane. She does have nice early-game poke if you take it though. Another alternative is Greater Mark of Armor if you're going the tank-utility support Kayle. ADCs will be more inclined to poke her because of her lack of defenses, but taking these runes will make them think twice whether they want to poke a tanky support or get their precious CS. Greater Mark of Attack Damage I typically run for most AD junglers like Vi or Leona (I'll explain this solar champ in a later guide). Since Kayle relies mostly on auto attacks, having the extra AD will help with clear times.|
|There aren't many options to choose from for her seals and Greater Seal of Armor is the standard for most, if not all, champions in the game. Arguably, you can take Greater Seal of Scaling Health if you feel she's a bit unhealthy but I take these runes for tank utility if I'm running armor marks. Of course you can go with Greater Seal of Magic Resist or the scaling alternatives if you really want to be a nuisance to the enemy bot lane. I think it's a tad bit excessive and unnecessary for the resistances you'll pick up by mid-late game.|
|Greater Glyph of Attack Speed is your key glyph here if you take hybrid penetration marks or AD ones if you're going jungle. Don't take these if you're taking AS marks already - more attack speed on top of what you have won't benefit you any more with future AS items. Greater Glyph of Magic Resist does well if you're going against AP laners with her, dealing with the support, or facing an AP-heavy team. Another option is Greater Glyph of Ability Power if you're going AP so the nice boost at the start will help with early game trades as well as giving her Divine Blessing a small buff.|
|Diversity reigns supreme here - Kayle does well with a number of quints. Greater Quintessence of Ability Power will give her a very nice boost in AP to trade and heal with. Running Greater Quintessence of Hybrid Penetration will only tear through her enemies' armor and magic resistances that much easier with hybrid penetration marks. She still gets great scaling off Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage if you decide to bring those instead. You can take Greater Quintessence of Armor if you're headed support with her and want some extra beefiness. Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is an all-around great quint to have if you don't like any of the above options - there's nothing scarier than a speedy angel chasing you to your death, or more beautiful when she comes to your aid with a heal and an undying ultimate like Tryndamere's, except she can cast it on you.|
The Foundations (Masteries, Skill Sequence, and Spells)
General Mastery Tree
Let's talk turkey now. So what are the masteries you should be taking for Kayle? That's a terrible question to be asking me - I have done some pretty crazy spreads, from 30/0/0 (and won quite a few games with that kind of risky tree) to 4/0/26 (my typical tree for supports). But in my opinion, the masteries should not matter as much as how you play a champion. That doesn't mean I don't have a page set up for her - the masteries below are probably the ones you want to follow a majority of the time.
Fury is a must on Kayle. She's auto-attack reliant so the more autos she gets off, the more damage she does. I take maxed Sorcery to take off some time on her ultimate, but this is more for the late-game when people need to play more strategically. The lower the cooldown on your ultimate, the better. It will also help bring your Righteous Fury back up a lot more often and I've been able to have it active nearly all the time with full 40% CDR (almost as good as Ultra Rapid Fire mode, but not quite). Mental Force and Arcane Mastery are standard for mages. Get those if you're running any form of AP Kayle. I take one point into Executioner for that little bit of extra damage at the very end of a fight or trade. If you're a smart Kayle though, by the time you've rotated through your full combo, they should be dead or nearly dead. This is mostly in case your trades are about even and you just need a little more burst to finish them faster than they will you. Archmage is self-explanatory - Kayle is still a mage either way. You'd be mad to not take full points into Devastating Strikes . I can't iterate this enough; Kayle is a hybrid champion. You want to maximize her damage output? Go hybrid penetration masteries. Arcane Blade is a must since, again, she's auto-attack reliant. She's more or less the ADCs of mages, so get this to maximize her DPS. And as always, Havoc . 3% more damage people.
As for her utility, you don't need to follow what I have up. I just find these useful to me regardless of what lane I go and where I'm at. I also just find it hilarious to put one point into Phasewalker when I have the baron buff. I can recall faster with this and the buff than I can get anywhere else with Teleport. Plus, the faster you get back into the game, the better. Just my two cents there. You also have the option of taking defensive masteries since she is rather squishy after all.
Try things out, see what works for her and what doesn't. She's extremely versatile, so there may be a route you like that I haven't mentioned or brought up.
Skill Sequence - Primary Route
About 95% of the time you play Kayle, you're going to be taking Righteous Fury at level 1. There's no argument about it - it does damage, changes you from melee to ranged, helps you control the wave and, in some cases, zone the enemy laner. In the jungle, take Divine Blessing second instead of Reckoning. It's got better utility in her case and costs less mana than trying to burst down the jungle camps. Laning, you'll want to grab Reckoning second instead of Divine Blessing. It's more efficient at dealing damage and zoning the laner early game, and at level 2 unless they have some crazy burst you won't be needing your W to keep you alive just yet.
The subject of which ability to prioritize first on Kayle is normally no argument for people who like playing her with a bursty or annoying mindset - Reckoning aside from Intervention. I actually agree with this a majority of the time since Reckoning is useful in its slow scaling and damage once you get it up there. On the other hand, I've found myself maxing Righteous Fury first, especially if I'm spending a lot of time in the jungle or participating in more teamfights. Yeah, Reckoning is great for utility and all, but keep in mind it's asingle target spell meaning once you've used it in a teamfight, it's out of the question with a cooldown that's longer than most fights. You're forced to kite and whittle down the enemy with Righteous Fury, which in this case would be more ideal to have to dish out the damage on them than one slow on one champ.
Under no circumstance should you be maxing Divine Blessing before Reckoning and Righteous Fury, unless you're playing defensive support with her in which case you might rank it after Reckoning or before it if you're playing super defensive/passive. Otherwise, it shouldn't be a top priority due to its lackluster scaling compared to her other abilities.
So Which Summoner's Spells?
When it comes to the Summoner's Spells you can take, there's not a lot of them. But the combinations are highly dependent on what your team needs or what synergizes well. I'll just list them out instead of giving combinations, since she does well with a number of them.
|This is a must on Kayle. She's all about positioning whether she's doing damage or coming up late to a teamfight and trying to save her teammates. Really, your team shouldn't be fighting without you. That's madness given her kit and utility. It's possible to go without Flash but keep in mind the risks you carry - you have no built-in escapes so Kayle without flash can make you a sitting duck for easy ganks.|
|Kind of self-explanatory. Take this if you want to secure that kill against the enemy laner. Good to have all around regardless of your situation.|
|Teleport is actually not a bad spell to take on Kayle if you're going top with her. You can gank other lanes easily with it or return to your lane with ease. She's one of the few champs aside from tanks and CC mages that can use this spell effectively; when she ganks, her kit can save the carry's life, dish out damage, and make her a presence to be wary of in a match if she takes this. It's also useful for split pushing by the mid to late game once she builds up some AP and attack speed, making her a much larger threat to the enemy. Most of the time, I will prioritize this over Ignite when I head top lane with her.|
|This is ideal for support and I almost always take this when I head bot lane with her. However, I can see other uses for it in mid or top as you can chain slow the enemy with Exhaust and Reckoning while shredding through their health with Righteous Fury. This can only expand your kit, not harm it. Not a bad spell to take if you're big on Exhaust uses.|
|Okay, so I've only used Ghost a handful of times for experimental purposes. While this is not a bad spell to take, it's like Flash but unlike the debate on taking it out, it's more of should you take it with you on the battlefield. It's a situational spell - Ghost makes it easy to help stick to your target after you've burned your Reckoning to slow them and your Divine Blessing is on cooldown. Especially if the enemy has no other escapes left and you still have Ghost up, you can chase them down safely if Intervention isn't on cooldown. Again though, this is an iffy spell and you're relying on your kiting and your items to help you in trades. It can be an alternative if you decide not to take Flash. Ghost stacks with Divine Blessing, making for an incredible burst of speed not even Udyr can keep up with.|
|In my opinion, Heal is a modified version of Divine Blessing for Kayle. It's almost unneeded on her except for the fact she has no AP in the ADC route and if her W is on cooldown in a prolonged teamfight. Play style preference here but I don't take it since other alternatives are better than this.|
|Personally, I've never taken this on Kayle before. I don't remember to use it often on many champs, but since her biggest weakness is CC I see the appeal in taking it against a heavy CC team composition. Again, not something I take myself because I don't use it often but it can be done right if you know how to use it.|
What to Buy on Kayle (Item Explanations)
Unless you're playing Kayle for the first time or want some insight on how others play her and make the choices they make for item purchases, feel free to skip this section or hit those two nifty keys on the keyboard: CTRL + F. I'm starting off with the essential items you see on many Kayle builds and explaining why they're so important for her.
|The core AP item on every mage - Kayle is no exception. This should be built by the 2nd ~ 3rd item.|
|More attack speed if you like, or the alternative of Sorcerer's Shoes for magic penetration. Both are equally as good on her.|
|This is a good item to build on Kayle, although it doesn't maximize efficiency. The reason being is that people typically use her Q + E combo to initiate a trade or a teamfight. Both proc Sheen but the efficiency is lost when you have to activate E after Q. It's still good overall since it amplifies whatever damage she already does like a nightmare.|
|Kayle doesn't really need this item, since she already has built-in penetration from Holy Fervor and any hybrid runes you take. It's useful if the enemy starts building up more magic resist than you can cut through though.|
|This is an item I take whether I want some bonus AP, a little more armor against their AD team, or for the incredible active that is just as annoying as her ultimate. With the removal of Deathfire Grasp in 5.2, the patch will probably bump up Zhonya's Hourglass as an even more important item to have for mages since it's like Nashor's Tooth to Kayle - it gives nice stats all around.|
|I really shouldn't be putting this so far down the list, but Runaan's Hurricane has its upsides and downsides. It gives the most attack speed of all the items in the game and its passive allows stacks of Holy Fervor to be applied to other units when your Righetous Fury is active, instead of to just the one you hit with auto attacks. The downside? It's only attack speed and its passive is useless against isolated targets. Situational, build at your discretion.|
|This is a decent alternative to Lich Bane and I build it commonly on hyrbid Kayle. It gives a bonus to a number of stats - movespeed, AD, AP, health, mana, etc. The only thing I would keep in mind with this is the combine cost - it's a pretty big investment so prioritize this wisely if you're considering it in your build.|
|On hybrid Kayle this is an excellent item to have. AD, AP, lifesteal, spell vamp - all these not only make her hard hitting but also hard to kill with her sustain. She relies on auto attacks so it only helps to reduce the cool down on this item.|
|Kayle's range is pretty short even with her ranged modifier. Blade of the Ruined King does extremely well in keeping her stuck to the target as well as slicing through the tank's armor and health on top of Holy Fervor, hybrid penetration runes, and any other penetration you might have. It's great to get on Kayle going AD or hybrid.|
|This is a cheaper alternative to Hextech Gunblade if you're hard pressed to get damage in as soon as possible. It's another hybrid item and its passive is just as good with Kayle's kit. The lifesteal at 50% health definitely helps with her survivability and stacked with both Hextech Gunblade and Blade of the Ruined King, she has a crazy amount of sustain and damage output.|
|Wit's End doesn't do much for Kayle aside from attack speed. However it's good if you're going against an AP laner and you're feel more on the defensive than offensive, although it works just as well offensive. Stealing the enemy's magic resist and adding it to your own not only makes you that much more lethal with Holy Fervor, but it also makes you less susceptible to burst when you've got the stacks up. It's not a bad item to consider if you're looking for some attack speed and tankiness|
Alternatives to the Above
While not commonly seen among most Kayle builds, these are nice options to have if you feel confident in using these or want to bring more utility against the enemy.
|There's nothing scarier than a Kayle with AP, but even more thanks to stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer? The enemy team might as well fold the cards once she hits 20 stacks - that AP buff is only going to hurt even more and with built in CDR, it's a good alternative and opens up more options for damage items. You'll get your full 40% from Nashor's Tooth (20%), Sorcery (at full points, 5%), and full stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer with 15%. Kayle is already a difficult target thanks to her ult, so the safety of your stacks is higher.|
|This isn't too bad on Kayle since it gives magic penetration and her kit procs its passive. Nice health option and give AP, so it'll do well if you decide to take it.|
|I almost never see this on Kayle, but I can see the appeal having it on her. She can stack Tear of the Goddess from basic attacking when spamming spells isn't an option. The shield grant is nice as well. I suppose the same could be said for Muramana on AD Kayle since it'll amplify her own damage, but I have yet to see anyone build it on her yet.|
|Good for fighting champs with a ton of lifesteal or are lifesteal-reliant (champions like Vladimir or Trundle). It also gives CDR and that's always good on Kayle if you don't have any other CDR aside from Nashor's Tooth.|
Get Excit- I Mean, Creative (Item Combinations and Uncanny Roles)
Along with the build guide at the top of the page, there are other builds I've done that really throw people for a loop. Below are some of the ones I've done that are quite fun and hilarious for myself, and rage-inducing for the enemy.
Unkillable Kayle/A True Immortal
Although the same could be said for Tryndamere, he doesn't scale off AP and it's much more fun doing this on Kayle. I first got this idea in Season 3 when I started picking up Kayle and I helped turn a match around with a 1v5 fight at our inhibitor turret. It resulted in a Quadrakill with Jarvan IV taking the final blow on me, but I realized how scary she was if she could live long enough to fight the entire enemy team for prolonged periods of time. When there's a Zilean on the team, I typically take her and find time to get Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel. Zhonya's Hourglass can buy your or your teammates a few precious seconds to reposition, take out a key threat to you, or deny the enemy a potential kill. Timing her Intervention along with Zilean's ultimate Chronoshift and the passive on Guardian Angel allows her to pump out damage without fear of dying throughout the teamfight if you and Zilean communicate well enough to pull this off. It's hilarious to see her come back time and time again and walk out of the enemy base with an Ace.
She may not be able to heal herself as well as her AP build and she might not be as strong with pure damage in either category, but hybrid Kayle is almost impossible to take down, run away from, and catch in any one-on-one situation. The active on Hextech Gunblade slows her enemy down and does AP damage (which she does have as hybrid mind you) and Blade of the Ruined King allows her to stick to her targets or run away from them quickly. Guinsoo's Rageblade increases her attack speed at eight stacks, and give hybrid stats. The lifesteal on the first two items are already scary enough - when she's low on health, the passive on Guinsoo's kicks in and it's a real pain to take her down with that much sustain. Trinity Force's Sheen amplifies her damage, Phage allows her to keep up with the target, and Zeal gives her even more attack speed. Although this is probably one of the most expensive builds on her, it's one of the scariest that scales extremely well and you can get fed or farmed enough to build this safely. I've done it and many people just run when I'm in the vicinity.
Tank-Utility Support Kayle/Guardian Angel at Your Service
I find that playing AP support Kayle is not only boring, but you can put yourself at a dangerous risk of dying early in team fights instead of helping your carry if you can't peel fast enough. Kayle is squishy like other AP supports, but her kit is far less efficient/effective aside from that ultimate and movspeed buff on her heal. This is also makes her a pretty big target for junglers too - if they focus you and you ult yourself, that leaves your carry vulnerable to target switching. If you ult your carry, you yourself lack any defenses to help yourself. This build focuses not on her damage, but the utility she brings to the lane and an incredible amount of survivability for your teammates. While your damage output is rock-bottom (you have virtually no AP or AD), your focus then goes to how you can utilize every part of your skills and spells to your advantage. Going full tank on Kayle sounds really stupid, but in a way it's also ingenious because the enemy doesn't suspect that you're going tank with her in the first place.
This is the part where you can get creative with her. I like running full actives on her because of how crazy she can be with them, but she also does just as well with normal tanking items. Relic Shield I find is best for Kayle if she's on the defensive side. The heals from executing minions helps with mana conservation on her Divine Blessing for more critical moments like the jungler coming in to gank for you. The tier 3 Face of the Mountain is great in case your ultimate is on cooldown even though it'll be a small shield in the early game. Taking Locket of the Iron Solari is ideal for heavy AP team compositions and the shield active, like Face of the Mountain only better, is nice to have for teamfights. Randuin's Omen provides armor and a slow active whether you're trying to peel away an enemy chasing your carry or nab a kill for them. Righteous Glory is a good alternative to Randuin's Omen if they're lacking in the AD department and the active is good in chasing down enemies and later slowing them for your team. Mikael's Crucible will help your teammates out of bad situations ( Thresh's Death Sentence, Warwick's Infinite Duress, Zed's Death Mark).
Normal tanky items like Spirit Visage, Sunfire Cape, and Thornmail to name a few, also works with her. If you like a good combination between the both of them, that's always an option. There's no straight way to build tank Kayle support, since no one does it, expects it, and can be just as good as AP Kayle.
-Strategy Behind This
Kayle's kit is versatile. She can be aggressive or passive and she does well in the department of keeping herself or the carry alive. Maxing your Divine Blessing first heals your carry and gives them a burst of speed to catch them up to a gank, get them out of trouble, or help them after a trade that didn't go well in your favor. It also helps your jungler set up a gank or you to move into position to initiate a fight. Pre-6, I feel this is the strongest way to go in the early stages of a match. Once you hit 6 and until late game, that's when Kayle becomes really annoying. Your team can turret dive safely with it and you keep targeted allies safe for two to three more seconds. This throws off the enemy team because when they see her ultimate, it's either switch targets or game over for them.
Once you start to build up magic resistances, armor, and health by the late game, it gets harder and harder to take you down. Carries are the priority now and everyone's going to do their best to get them or render them useless to team fights. That's where you step in and become the Guardian Angel of your team... literally. You don't have to worry about yourself because you're the tank and you'll live far longer than the caries. Is the enemy focusing on just you and your carries are a safe distance away? You've got more actives and your kit will allow you to live longer than normal tanks. They'll be stupid to target you in the first place. Are they going after your carry? Simple, just focus on keeping him or her alive, kiting and peeling with your Q and doing as much harrass as you can with your almost-no-damage Righteous Fury. The damage isn't what counts - it's her passive that will kill them when their resistances and armor are taken down.
There aren't a lot of choices for the enemy team at this point. They can't kill you because you're too tanky, and you can keep teammates alive if they tried to zero in on them. The key to this build and strategy is positioning, map awareness, and following the flow of fights. This is much easier said than done, but is definitely easier than trying to do damage like AP support Kayle on top of it all. Talk about a real Guardian Angel, and not just an item you buy.
Your Best Friends and Worst Nightmares (General Synergies/Counters)
Kayle does really well with certain champs, and terribly against others. Of course it goes without saying it really doesn't matter if a champion counters you or not - it's all skill match ups. I've beaten Pantheon with her several times in the past, and I've fallen against really easy counters to enemies. I've had amazing games with champions that don't synergize well with her, and horrendous ones that have perfect balance. The following below is just a general summary of which champs she does well with and others she has a hard time against. Remember: it's just general - their kit is what counters, not necessarily the player.
This section will be updated later.
Don't Believe Me?
Don't believe half of what I said above is true? Here's some proof of matches I've done with these builds:
Tank Support Successes:
AP, some AD:
Well... I'm not perfect either. I've had my fair share of losses too:
(Note, I did not play on tilt. Check the dates - it just so happened all those matches were failures when I played her around that time period)
And a match where I couldn't carry as AD Kayle:
I hope you found this guide helpful and informative, or infuriating and trollish with some of the odder aspects I've added. I'm definitely not a perfect player and have my share of mistakes and failures, but the key factor here is making sure you have fun and explore all that is Runeterra. Hopefully you'll be adding her to your own roster of champions too, or realizing that you should probably be wary of the next Kayle that shows up in champion select.