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Kai'Sa Build Guide by Mr. Nyahr

[9.16] Daughter of the Void - Kai'Sa ADC Guide

By Mr. Nyahr | Updated on August 25, 2019
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Runes:

Precision
Press the Attack
Triumph
Legend: Bloodline
Coup de Grace

Inspiration
Magical Footwear
Biscuit Delivery
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Heal

Heal

LeagueSpy Logo
ADC Role
Ranked #17 in
ADC Role
Win 48%
Get More Stats

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
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None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

[9.16] Daughter of the Void - Kai'Sa ADC Guide

By Mr. Nyahr
Introduction
Hi, I'm Mr. Nyahr, and I've been playing League for around 7 years with a few breaks in-between. I've always been a fan of hybrid champions and users of Guinsoo's Rageblade/ Nashor's Tooth, and Kai'Sa fits perfectly in that niche. I'm currently Mastery 7 on Kai'sa, and I can say without a doubt that she is my favorite champion in the game. Vayne Varus Kai'Sa's passive means you're going to want to get off a lot of autos in a short amount of time to maximize your damage. On-hit items will provide a massive increase to your sustained damage while building stacks, and your passive burst damage scales well off of the bonus AP you'll get from this build. Keep in mind that her ultimate should be saved for emergencies. Try and combo with an engage support like Leona or a CC-based champion like Lux or Morgana to get an early lane advantage.

Pros & Cons Back to Top
Pros:

+
Hybrid damage means that it's hard for enemies to build against you.
+
Absurdly high damage potential with items.
+
Multiple strong builds, making her viable in many different situations and comps.
+
High burst damage with Second Skin, Icathian Rain, and Void Seeker.
+
Snipe potential with Void Seeker.
+
Excellent wave-clear with Icathian Rain.
+
Massive attack speed and kill pressure with Supercharge, as well as a sprint and a short invisibility when upgraded.
+
Killer Instinct provides both a tool for assassination and a useful shield for teamfight survivability. This shield gets pretty crazy later into the game once you have some items.
+
As with every ADC, she has exceptionally high objective pressure, and will melt towers throughout the game.
+
Arguably the most play-making potential out of any ADC.
+
She looks badass.

Cons:

-
As an ADC, she's pretty squishy, and very vulnerable to CC.
-
To upgrade all 3 of her abilities, you will need to build enough AD, AP, and Attack Speed to meet the breakpoints. This makes you incredibly item-dependent.
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No innate CC in her kit.
-
Decently high learning curve before you learn to properly manage her abilities and movement. Very high learning curve for some of her combos.
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Fairly weak in the early game before getting items.
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Supercharge and Killer Instinct can both get you into trouble if wasted or used incorrectly.

Runes Back to Top


Press the Attack has a lot of synergy with your kit, as spamming AA's to get Plasma stacks is a must. The clear choice in nearly every situation. Triumph is decent sustain during teamfights, and Legend: Bloodline is just free sustain as the game goes on. Coup de Grace is the only choice for the last row, as it gives you great execute damage. Magical Footwear is nice, as you will need to spend less money buying boots later on, and Biscuit Delivery really helps you survive lane.

Other strong secondary runes would be Celerity and Gathering Storm from the Sorcery tree, as they give you movement speed and increasing AD/AP as the game progresses. While Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter from the Domination tree can be viable for surviving in lane, I don't feel as if they are currently powerful enough to replace the utility gained from the Inspiration options.

Take attack speed, adaptive force, and armor as your minor traits.

Spells Back to Top
Flash is the quintessential Summoner Spell for every role and situation, and its value cannot be overstated. It can be used to engage fights, disengage, dodge, steal objectives, rotate quickly through terrain (infrequently), etc. Absolutely always take this as your first spell.


Heal is another Summoner Spell that you will take 99% of the time as an ADC. The on-demand heal and added sprint component make it a massively helpful tool at all stages of the game. Use this to survive ganks, save a teammate, or get that final burst of speed you need to secure a kill.


Ignite isn't nearly as common as Heal for an ADC, but if your support isn't running it, you don't feel like you're going to be in danger, and/or you're against a healing-based champion like Sona or Soraka, it can be viable.


Barrier is a very situational spell, and rarely if ever taken on ADCs. This should really only be taken if you're expecting insanely high burst windows that you can mitigate with Barrier. I do, however, think Heal is objectively better in almost every instance.

Abilities Back to Top

Passive - Second Skin:

Caustic Wounds: Kai'Sa's basic attacks mark enemies with Plasma increasing bonus magic damage. After a few successive attacks, the Plasma ruptures for a burst of damage based on the target's missing health. Nearby allies' immobilizing effects add stacks of Plasma.
Living Weapon: Kai'Sa's symbiote-suit adapts her to her chosen attack style, evolving her abilities based on permanent stats gained from shop items and experience level.



Your passive is the reason an on-hit build is viable for Kai'Sa. As with Varus, the ability to spam out attacks and burst a target for huge damage in the process is very powerful in combination with items such as Guinsoo's Rageblade. However, unlike Varus, you need only auto-attack to proc your passive, and your abilities can apply additional stacks of Plasma for quicker, more frequent burst windows. There is an indicator at the enemy's feet so that you can keep in mind how many stacks are currently on the target. Keep in mind that your teammates' CC abilities that immobilize the enemy will also apply Plasma on that target if they are nearby.



Q - Icathian Rain:

Kai'Sa releases a swarm of missiles evenly distributed among nearby enemies, with additional hits on the same target dealing slightly reduced damage.
Living Weapon: With enough bonus Attack Damage, Icathian Rain fires significantly more missiles.



The first ability to level up, and by far the most fun to use. This spams a volley of rockets at nearby enemies, which scale with both your AD and AP. The missiles can hit a target more than once for reduced damage after the first rocket hit. This is a huge source of burst damage while trading or going all-in on a target, and additionally serves as an exceptional wave-clear tool. Upgrading requires you to reach an AD threshold, which shouldn't be difficult, and causes the ability to fire 10 projectiles instead of 6, which deal double damage to minions under 35% health.



W - Void Seeker:

Kai'Sa fires off a beam of Void energy, revealing the first enemy hit, dealing magic damage, and applying stacks of Plasma.
Living Weapon: With enough bonus Ability Power, Void Seeker does more damage and partially refunds the cooldown on champion hit.



This is your last priority while leveling. Your bonus AP will allow you to upgrade it, causing it to apply 1 more stack of Plasma and refunding half of the cooldown upon champion hits. This ability is a very strong poke tool, and can be used to snipe enemies for a quick kill from range, poke them down in lane or a siege, steal objectives, or set up an engage with your ultimate.



E - Supercharger:

Kai'Sa charges up, briefly increasing her movement speed but losing the ability to attack. After charging up, Kai'Sa whips out the big guns to increase her attack speed for a few seconds. Basic attacks reduce Supercharger's cooldown.
Living Weapon: With enough bonus Attack Speed, Supercharger briefly grans true invisibility while charging up.



This is going to be the ability you prioritize second while leveling, as your on-hit damage is buffed by it, and the Attack Speed you will be building will allow you to upgrade it. A brief sprint, followed by a massive spike in Attack Speed means you can close a gap and quickly poke or burn down a target, while applying stacks of Plasma to burst for massive damage. Keep in mind that you cannot attack while it is charging, so be sure to time it well before you engage. Use this frequently and aggressively.



R - Killer Instinct:

Kai'Sa dashes at extremely high speed with long range to a location near an enemy champion marked with Plasma and briefly gains a damage-absorbing shield.



This ability is very unique, and is very, very powerful if used correctly. If a champion is marked by your Plasma, you can use this to dash to them instantly, gaining a shield that gets stronger with time, and putting you in a position to assassinate them. This can be used as a gap-closer to secure a kill on a low-health target, to juke abilities, or to re-position and gain a shield during a teamfight to keep you alive. If the enemy is close enough to a wall, you can dash to the outer rim of the circle to wall-hop and get distance on someone, which makes chases from them much harder (and looks clean as f***). Keep in mind that CC from your allies applies Plasma for you to detonate and use this ability. (Hard CC only).

Combos Back to Top


W → R
-

This combo uses the animation of your Killer Instinct in order to mask the casting of your Void Seeker, as well as allowing the damage to follow up instantly after you arrive at your target location. As soon as you press W to fire the ability, you immediately press R at the desired location. If done correctly, you will arrive, with the W either inside of your character model, or very slightly behind you. Extremely useful for catching someone off-guard and bursting them before they realize what's happening. This will take a lot of practice to master.




Q → R
-

This functions nearly identically to the W → R combo, however this one requires you to be up close, as Icathian Rain will not work outside of a certain range from the enemy. This works because Kai'sa is able to freely move and cast other abilities during the animation of her Q. Since your Q targets are determined as soon as you cast the ability, moving or flashing away will not affect the damage done, as the missiles will go to their intended targets regardless. Be sure to auto-attack before and after to efficiently use your passive. Not as hard as W → R, but still mildly difficult.





Q → E
-

This combo will deal your Icathian Rain damage while the Supercharge is winding up, potentially saving you up to 1.2 seconds of uptime, which can be crucial in landing a kill or getting last-hits on minions or monsters. Potentially useful for dodging a skillshot as well if you position correctly. Easy to learn.




W → Q
-

This just saves you a small amount of time and helps you burst just that tiny bit faster. You may cast an ability during the start of Void Seeker's channel, so this means you can land your Icathian Rain while it's preparing to fire. Super easy, and very effective for trades.




W → Flash
-

One of the more popular combos for experienced Kai'sa players, this combo allows you to instantly reposition while firing your Void Seeker, allowing you to bypass any minions or champions that might be blocking your shot, or simply to catch someone off guard from a different angle. Be sure you Flash BEFORE the channel on your W ends, as this will change your trajectory towards the targeted location as you reposition. Can be pretty difficult to learn, but the concept is straightforward, and is very useful once mastered.




AA → R → W → Q → AA
-

Easily the most complicated combo, but arguably the most deadly. You start by auto-attacking the enemy in order to get plasma on them. You then use your Killer Instinct, and Void Seeker during the animation (similar to the W → R combo), which guarantees a hit. As soon as you arrive, use your Icathian Rain to maintain damage, and end with another auto-attack to burst your plasma stacks. This will be your primary assassination tool once mastered, and will allow you to 100-0 squishies with no problem later in the game. Practice this one as much as possible, you'll need it. (You may also cast W before R if you wish, as it gives you more time before you have to commit to the fight fully).

Tips & Tricks Back to Top
Kai'Sa is a very unique champion, in that she can fill multiple "roles" in a match. What I mean by this is that while she is great for normal ADC objectives like pushing down towers, she can also function as a pseudo-assassin or combo mage if you play her correctly. In this section I'll be giving you a few tips, as well as general playstyle options that may help you gain an edge over your opponent.

Tips & Tricks:

+
Your plasma ruptures at 5 stacks, but these stacks can be applied by teammate CC as well as your own abilities. Something like a Lux binding can give you extra kill pressure, so keep in mind how many stacks you have on a given target.
+
Once upgraded, your Supercharge allows you briefly stealth, which enables you to make some great plays. Very similar to both Wukong's stealth or Vayne's ult + Q, you'll be very hard to pin down and can freely reposition around your target. You can use this to juke enemies, or bait them into a vulnerable position by abusing brush cover to break their line of sight during a fight.
+
Be mindful of your item breakpoints. Once you get enough in a stat (AD/AP/AS), you can upgrade your abilities. Ideally by late game, you'll have all of them upgraded. If you're just a few AP off of upgrading your Void Seeker, for example, it might be worthwhile to go ahead and buy an Amplifying Tome to gain the extra utility and burst potential. Only build items that are part of your build path anyway, to maximize gold effiency.
+
People rarely anticipate just how much burst you have in your kit. At full build it's not uncommon to burst someone for upwards of 1800 damage. An easy way to get in some of this surprise damage is to wait until 3 stacks of your passive (or 2 if your W is upgraded) and then hit them with your Void Seeker. This will burst your plasma earlier than they expect, and can get you some free poke or kills.

Items Back to Top
Starting Items:

The most common starting item. Provides you with AD, a little bit of lifesteal for sustain, and a bit of HP to survive poke. Buy with 1 potion at the start.


The defensive alternative to Doran's Blade, giving you a lot more protection against poke lanes due to the health regen and built-in heal after taking damage. I prefer this in matchups where I know I'm not going to able to trade back much and will be getting harrassed a lot.


Core Items:

Berserker's Greaves are the primary boot choice for you. They provide attack speed that you really need in order to stack your passive, as well as to upgrade your Supercharge. The additional movement speed is also important for kiting enemies.


Manamune is the first item you should look to rush most games. It's very cheap, gives you a decent amount of damage, and mana to spam your abilities more. Once it transforms into Muramana, the damage goes WAY up, and becomes extremely gold-efficient.


Guinsoo's Rageblade provides everything you need on Kai'Sa; AD, AP, and Attack Speed. The bonus magic damage on hit provides a lot of extra damage while your Plasma stacks are building up on the target, and the longer you attack, the heavier these attacks will be. Absolutely a must-buy in all cases.


Nashor's Tooth is a beautiful item for all on-hit builds, which should be fairly obvious. Big Attack Speed, big CDR, and more on-hit damage based on your AP means you'll be dealing a ton of sustained damage in combination with your Guinsoo's Rageblade.


Situational Items - AD:

Guardian Angel can be the item that turns the tide of a fight in your team's favor. The armor and attack damage are nice, but the reason you buy this is for the passive. Once every 5 minutes, upon taking fatal damage, you will revive with half health and 30% mana. Take this against an AD-team, especially one with a Zed or similar assassin.


Maw of Malmortius is the MR equivalent to Guardian Angel, except it doesn't revive you. Gives good AD, CDR, and MR, but most importantly gives you a big shield as a buffer for AP burst damage. Also, when this procs, you gain bonus AD and lifesteal, making this an exceptional survival item. (Similar to how you hold on to Quicksilver Sash before completing Mercurial Scimitar later, you should hold on to your Hexdrinker for a while before upgrading to this, for maximum gold efficiency.


Mercurial Scimitar provides you with AD, lifesteal, and MR, but more importantly, it provides you one of the strongest active abilities in the game. Once per 90 seconds, you can break ALL CC on yourself, and gain a short sprint, which is invaluable against CC-heavy teams.


Runaan's Hurricane gives you immense teamfight pressure, allowing you to spread your passive much more quickly and to multiple enemies during a fight, which will exponentially increase your damage output. Mandatory in AD builds.


Infinity Edge provides arguably the strongest damage spike in the game for AD builds. Massive raw AD, as well as crit chance and a sizable bonus to crit damage make this a mandatory buy if you're going AD.


Phantom Dancer is a very good situational pick. It helps you round our your crit chance, as well as giving you movement speed and attack speed. The most important part of this item is the duo of passives; one which allows you to kite much more easily, and one which gives you a nice absorb shield. A good middle-ground between offense and defense.


Blade of the Ruined King is one of my favorite items in the game, and combined with the attack speed you're going to get will always deal a good amount of damage thanks to the %HP shred. A very strong buy VS. really tanky teams, and the active helps you kite much more easily.


Mortal Reminder Should only be taken in one of 2 situations. The first being that you're AD vs. a team stacking armor, and the second being that you're AD vs. a team with a lot of healing or health-regeneration, such as Garen or Sona. If they're stacking armor AND have healing, you're getting even more value.


Bloodthirster isn't an item I take very often, but it provides nearly unparalleled survivability thanks to the lifesteal and shielding (which is gained from overhealing). If your main issue in a match is that you're getting killed too quickly in fights, this should be your 2nd defensive item.


Stormrazor used to be the item I rushed first, regardless of build, however I've been taking it far less often recently. It's relatively expensive, but it does provide you with a mix of stats that will help you upgrade your abilities very easily.


Situational Items - AP:

Rabadon's Deathcap is the IE of AP builds, and gives you an absurd amount of raw damage. Due to it's super high cost, it's recommended that you get this as a 5th or final item, to give yourself that extra power to drive home a win.


Zhonya's Hourglass will be your primary anti-AD and anti-burst damage item for any AP build. It provides a lot of AP, a decent chunk of armor, some CDR, and an active ability that makes you completely untouchable for 2.5 seconds once every 2 minutes. Incredibly valuable, and game-changing in the right hands.


Banshee's Veil should be taken in situations where the enemy team has 1 or 2 powerful burst or CC abilities that you cannot afford to be hit by. The AP and MR are also very nice, but the shield is incredible VS. some champions.


Void Staff is very similar to Deathcap, in the sense that is a pure power item. Relative inexpensive, and gives you quite a large amount of AP and magic penetration. If the enemy team is stacking MR against you, this is probably your best option.


Morellonomicon should be taken in the same situations that you would take Mortal Reminder, but on an AP build. This will enable you to shut down healing-based champions much more easily, and the extra health gives you some padding to survive in fights longer.


Consumables:

Elixir of Wrath should only be taken once you are already full-build, or in very specific situations where you NEED extra power immediately and don't have the gold for a full item. Wrath is the elixir you take for an AD build.


Elixir of Sorcery is simply Elixir of Wrath for AP builds. Buy it in the same situations that you would buy the former.

Early Game Back to Top
In the early game, you going to want to get as much pressure as possible in your lane. Your early is nowhere near as strong as your late game thanks to your scaling, but winning lane and getting that gold lead can be massive for you and your team. Before we get into the details, we'll start by covering the "lane zones" that you will be playing in throughout this phase.

Lane Zones:


Key:
Safe
Somewhat Safe
Dangerous
Extremely Dangerous

*Zones are general, so "Safe" for your team would be "Extremely Dangerous" for the other team*

As you can see, different areas in the lane represent different levels of threat, and you should position around this. When pushing a lane, you will more often be in the "Dangerous" or enemy's "Somewhat Safe" zones, so you should ensure that you keep in mind where the enemy jungler is, and if the enemy mid or top will rotate down. Ward the tribrush and river brush areas whenever possible, as this gives you a lot more safety when pushing. When farming under tower, keep in mind that the previous situation applies to enemies, meaning that they are far more vulnerable to ganks.


Laning:

You should look to get an early level advantage in lane in order to get kill pressure on the enemy, or simply to force them off so that the lanes is yours to farm uncontested. To do this, you'll want to push the first wave as hard as you can without taking poke damage. This is done by clearing 1 full wave of minions, and then the melee minions from the 2nd wave. This will get you to exactly level 2, at which point you should look to be aggressive and use your additional power and ability to force a fight with the enemy.

After this, I generally slow push or freeze the wave, so that I get more CS more easily, and also to force the enemy laner to move farther from safety in order to CS or harrass. This makes it much more difficult for the enemy ADC to do anything, as you can punish them for overextending, and they have to push a little bit into danger in order to get any CS.

Once you've established a lead in lane, you should be doing one of 3 things:

1: Pushing down the enemy tower to get plating gold and eventually to win the lane.
2: Pushing lane and then assisting your jungler in taking Scuttle/Drake.
3: Pushing lane and then roaming to mid to gank and get that lane ahead.

Always try to last-hit every minion that you can, and farm as often as possible, as the gold from CS is one of the most impactful things in League. Going 2/1/1 with 160 CS at 20 minutes is VASTLY preferable to going 4/0/1 with 60 CS at 20 minutes.

Mid & Late Game Back to Top
In this section we'll be discussing the importance of certain objectives and decisions to be made after laning phase has ended and you're getting ready to start grouping with your team. The mid and late game mainly consist of 2 major things:

1: Objective control and securing.
2: Teamfighting.

Objectives:

As an ADC, you naturally melt objectives faster than pretty much anyone else once you get some items. Make sure to be there for your team whenever they're taking towers/inhibitors, or going for a kill on Drake or Baron . One really nice thing about Kai'Sa is that her passive allows her to burst these monsters (Similar to Twitch and Kalista), which can help a lot if the enemy is looking to steal said objective. Bursting your plasma stacks right before your jungler goes to Smite will make it that much harder for the enemy jungler to be able to steal with his own Smite.

Be sure to make use of your Warding Totem/ Farsight Alteration and Control Wards to maximize control of the map, specifically around Drake and Baron , and in certain jungle brush, so that you're never caught off guard and you will know if the other team is looking to take an objective.


Teamfights:

One of the most critical things to do correctly in a match is teamfighting. If you manage to kill several enemies and lose few allies, you can take objectives pretty much for free, as well as get yourself a nice chunk of gold. If you get beaten, however, you will need to play more defensively, and it will be much harder to stop the enemy from securing objectives of their own.

When a teamfight breaks out (and right before), you should first analyze the situation. Who has cooldowns? Who doesn't? What's everyone's health and mana looking like? Where do we have vision? Who has built what items? These are all things you should mentally check off and prepare for prior to a big fight, as knowing all of the variables will help you greatly.

Generally, you'll want to focus the target closest to you in a fight, while kiting away to ensure your own safety. If nobody is on you, or a squishy target is vulnerable, you should capitalize on that and look to burst them down with your combos or whittle them down with auto-attacks while your team locks swaps. For example, if the enemy Cho'Gath flashes into you, you should immediately use Supercharge to gain some distance, and kite him while repositioning and dealing as much damage as you can to him. If he gets killed, swaps targets, or runs away, look for the next closest person to start laying into. If the enemy ADC or similar squishy target is definitely a free kill, don't be afraid to Killer Instinct to them to finish them off with a combo.

These fights are all about momentum, and just like Vayne, you are able to seamlessly transition from target to target thanks to your high mobility and constant damage. If you and your team play correctly, you will come out on top.

Conclusion Back to Top
Thank you for taking the time to read my guide on Kai'Sa. She lends herself well to many different builds and playstyles, and in my opinion is the single most fun ADC to play in League of Legends. I will keep this guide updated as frequently as I can, and am open to all comments and constructive criticism.

Have a nice day!

-Mr. Nyahr
League of Legends Build Guide Author Mr. Nyahr
Mr. Nyahr Kai'Sa Guide
[9.16] Daughter of the Void - Kai'Sa ADC Guide