Kayle Build Guide by MasterYups
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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.
Solo top ? You don't believe it ? Yet Kayle is one of the best champion at it ! Excellent Farming, healing, harassing... This guide will not show you how to survive, but how to win your lane !
Kayle has been my main for many games and i have tried many builds and lanes to optimize her play. This guide is the living result of those experimentations.
- Optimized - First build aims to get the best stats the fastest way. It grabs the most gold-efficient items to maximize early game dominance.
- Advance - Second build is more DPS risk-oriented for a very aggressive Kayle dominating passive opponents.
- Beginner - Third build is the all-round safe build, it gives you an easy solo top in any situation and maximum support power.
All builds never forget Kayle dual purpose : DPS AND support
Patch update - "Kayle rises"
Little by little, Kayle gets a few buffs here and there. I think she is quite good a the moment.
Update : Patch 184.108.40.206 - a good boost for Kayle !
- Righteous Fury : Ability Power ratio increased to 0.4 from 0.2
A nice buff and a step in the right direction !
Update : Patch 220.127.116.11 - an indirect boost to Kayle !
- Nashor's Tooth Total cost reduced to 2735 from 2885
Ability Power increased to 65 from 55
- Stinger total cost reduced to 1090 from 1140
By increasing the gold efficiency of those 2 core items, this patch boost all the builds in this guide. Now Kayle has an even faster start !
Update : Patch 18.104.22.168 - Flavor of the month !
Heal amount increased to 60/105/150/195/240 from 45/85/125/165/205.
Movement speed increased to 18/21/24/27/30% from 15/17/19/21/23%.
Movement speed duration increased to 3 seconds from 2.5.
Mana cost increased to 60/70/80/90/100 from 60/65/70/75/80.
This buff allows Kayle to have more sustain and speed in early game and therefor to be more deadly ! I have been arguing for solo top since 2011 and since this patch, solo top Kayle is everywhere ! Long live Kayle !
At start, Kayle is a pusher. You destroy minions and harass full power. Always ward the river to prevent gank, so you can push safely. If you pushed your lane all the way up, you can go gank mid before returning to lane with Teleport. Her slow is very powerful to win ganks.
Once opposing tower is destroyed, you go roam the jungle for blue and red buffs and gank everywhere. With Vampiric Scepter, you can even solo dragon too ! You must help your team taking down towers. Still keep an eye on your top lane. Do not let your tower fall.
You have two main roles in end game : Support or Pusher.
- In team fight, you must hover behind your tank, healing the squishies and DPS/debuff the focused target. If one of you teammates initiate, ulti them. If one get focus, ulti them. If one tries to escape, heal/speed them up ! You are a "Swiss army knife" to your team. You will need a good eye and good reflexes to go the right thing at the right time. But it's very rewarding !
- If a fight breaks out far away from you, then you must push your lane full speed. In a matter of seconds, you can take down minion waves and towers. Even if your team loses the team fight, you will often have taken 2 towers down in return !
Why 3 builds ?
Since every game is different, you will have to adapt yourself and pick the best strategy each time :
The armor remover
First build goes all the way into armor mitigation with lots of AD, good CDR and building tanky early. It starts with the cheapest and most efficient items, to be fast and furious !
-> Choose this build if you think your team can end the game in 20 min !
The high risk high reward
Second build tries to max attack speed and DPS. It is a killing build with an extremely powerful start. Even against 2 champions in top lane, you will push them to their tower ! So be aware of ganks and ward the river to be safe.
->Choose this build if your team lacks of AD or if you are facing a very easy lane !
Third build is the all around build. It works well in every situations ! It maxes CDR early to be useful to the team at all time with faster ulti and heal. Next it focuses on attack speed for heavy farming and fast debuff on enemies. Try it in duo lane too !
->Choose this build if your team is made of squishies or if you are facing a hard lane.
Optimized Build : The new way
After a few games with this build, i can now confirm it's efficiency. It is a very fast build in all aspect of the game : Fast gold from farming, Fast items from low gold cost, Fast damage from efficient stats and build order.
Let's go in detail :
- Level 1 to 5 : Dagger to Berserker's Greaves makes an excellent start for farming and mobility. In combination with the runes, your attack speed will be way above average. Combined with Righteous Fury high early damage, you will clear waves fast. You can then harass from the middle of your own minions to be a big threat to your enemies.
- Level 6 to 7 : To push further this advantage, The Brutalizer is a beast. Very cheap, it will boost your AD a lot and with the 15 armor pen, you will feel the power literally! The gain in damage is very clear on every hit. And let's not forget 10% CDR !
- Level 8 : Now the Vampiric Scepter comes at a perfect time. Its lifesteal is fully optimized by fast attack and strong AD (more or less 120AD). This will later be upgraded into Zeke !
- Level 9 to 10 : Since damage is good enough for now, let's boost 10% further the CDR and 40% the attack speed with the cheap Stinger. (Since Patch 22.214.171.124, even cheaper now !)
- Level 11 to 12 : Since Starks farewell, i now build Kindlegem to turn it into Zeke's Herald by level 11. It gives more CDR to keep spamming spells, more HP to survive better and a bit more of attack speed. (Lifesteal doesn't even increase from Vampiric Scepter...) After a few tries, i am still not fully convinced with Zeke's Herald, but i want to to push a few more game before kicking it out.
- Level 13 to 15 : Now it's time to get really durable by grabbing pieces of the Guardian Angel. With the armor and magic resist you gain, you will be able to sustain yourself more in duels and teamfights. I have, for a long time, underestimated the need for defense on Kayle. But as i lost many duels from just a single hit away, i realized something had to be done. Furthermore in teamfights, the passive makes you less of a prime target, witch is essential if you want to do your job.
- level 16 to 17 : with the next items, Kayle enters the OP zone. The Black Cleaver will not only boost her damage, but also her attack speed and armor penetration. She hits like a truck with a Lifesteal greatly boosted.
- level 18 : To boost again damage and sustain, The Bloodthirster will be the cherry on the top. More deadly than ever, this item will see you end the game... fast and furious !
Carry Build : No risk no fun
If build 1 concentrate on early and mid game dominance, Build 2 start building AD a little later, but reaches higher amounts of Attack Damage and Attack speed by mid and late game. This strategy has 3 phases:
- Level 1 to 5 : Early game is centered on attack speed for heavy farming purpose. With Dagger to Berserker's Greaves and Stinger, Kayle gains a crushing attack speed, surpassing her opponents in farming capacity, leveling faster. You want to become stronger than your lane opponents as fast as possible. Gold, levels and speed are key for turning a good harass into first blood!
- Level 6 to 9 : Second phase is to achieve a solid foundation by grabbing Nashor's Tooth. Thanks to this item, you will reach a solid 35% CDR and a good +10 mana regen to spam your spells as needed. Let's not forget the AP which since Patch 126.96.36.199 is boosted to a healthy 65. Good for Reckoning ! You could skip Nashor's Tooth if game goes really well, but you take the risk to be 2 seconds short for a killing Reckoning or 50 mana off to cast Intervention…
- 9 to 18 : Third phase is heaven's wrath unleashed. Kayle grabs one by one the best items to maximize damage, attack speed and life steal. You should be two level higher than everyone (except for mids) and wreaking them hard! The Black Cleaver is made for carry Kayle. It offers all the stats she needs ! 45 Armor penetration, 30 attack speed, 55 AD ! I have made some testing in custom games, and after 3 hits, this item does the best damage for it's price. The Bloodthirster comes right behind for all the good damage and lifesteal it brings to you. This item often end the game, as you becomes nearly unstoppable. If they still resist The Phantom Dancer will finish to turn you into the angel of destruction you are meant to be. But games are generally over before finishing it. ^_^
Things to consider about Kayle
Spellvamp not good on Kayle DPS :
1- Most spells have very low AP ratio (35% and 40%)
2- Fury only procs 60 pure magic damage at lv 18
3- Righteous Fury's splash attacks don't proc the spellvamp. ( so sad T_T )
4- Lifesteal is all the time active and is on a 1/1 AD ratio.
Lifesteal -> Good in early game ?
No. It's not efficient to begin with Vampiric Scepter too early.
Because at start your AD is not very high, you will steal very little life. It is better to get it after level 8 and later. You can buy it after your AD is boosted by you levels or after The Brutalizer.
Start with Dagger ?
While using fury and a few heals, Kayle is never out of mana thanks to the Greater Seal of Replenishment. If you don't have them, you will need the Doran's Ring to compensate.
But what if i still run out of mana ?
If after heavy harass and spell bursts you run out of mana, you can just dive to base and teleport back with more item power ! The benefits of a start with Dagger is a lot of pressure on the creep wave. You can push them very fast to have the creep advantage and harass safely with your minion around you. If you face a heavy pushing duo, you can safely clear creeps under your turret and still do the last hits. You will deny the opponent access to your tower with you splash damage.
In fights, you may encounter teams focusing heavily on Kayle :
The answer is simple. You have to adapt to an off-tank build. If you keep dying in team-fights, you must go buy defense items to last longer ! Rush you Guardian Angel to be tankier and less of a prime target. If gold is an issue, buy the Aegis of the Legion. The best to do is to look at your recap death screen and see what kind of damage you received most. Is it AD ? buy armor. Is it AP ? buy resistance.
Some item choices :
Do i need Doran ring ?
As i said before, I would say no. With the Greater Seal of Replenishment, and the main use of Righteous Fury, you won't drain mana much. If you do, back to base and use Teleport. You will buy items and naturally regain your mana without loosing XP or your tower. After level 8, If you still use a lot of mana to heal yourself, the vampire scepter will ease this need a lot.
Do i need Doran blade ?
Sure, the 10AD, 100HP and lifesteal is good. But this item is outclassed by the Dagger. Let's see why :
Dagger is all you need
With Dagger and a Health Potion, you will attack so fast, the Doran blade's AD will not be missed. The 100 HP will be out-shinned by the 400 HP of the Health Potion.
And the lifesteal is too low to be useful at the very start.
What about Tiamat ?
Tiamat is good for the gold it cost for AD ! But, first, you don't need the splash to farm. Second, the splash damage is so short it won't be useful in team fights. Last, it takes a spot for a more efficient item later on.
let's not forget Frozen Mallet
More slow, a little more damage and lots of HP ? Hell yeah ! But a little too expensive and not in harmony with the build ideal. In time of need for more tankyness, this item is to be considered !
Trinity Force ?
It is a good item, but it deserves a build for itself. In this guide, there is no room for it.
Armor mitigation and attack speed analysis
This is by no means a full scientifically approach. It is a very rough attempt to grasp the efficiency of armor mitigation.
With build 2 items : The Black Cleaver, Zeke's Harbinger and The Brutalizer :
(Kayle base damage at lv 18 is around 100 AD)
Average squishy armor 100
passive -15% 42,5 85
Cleaver -45 -2,5 40
Brutal -15 -37,5 5
Without items, champions have an average of 84 natural armor... So with this build you nullify almost all of it ! You do your full 100%(80%) damage to them !
Attack speed limit ?
Kayle max attack
speed is reach at 275%
base attack speed = 0,909
so it means by second : 2,49975 attack (= 275%)
After a few trials, i now go with 21/2/7.
- 21 in Offense with the classic Carry AD masteries
- 2 en Defense to get the small boost in armor
- 7 in Utility to grab those mana boost masteries
At first, i was going 21/9/0 to be more durable. But Kayle is very hard to catch so she will benefits more from mana regen.
Reckoning or Righteous Fury ?
Maxing Reckoning before Fury ?
I used to always max Righteous Fury first in all my games to gain more damage per hits. But i gradually felt it was not totally efficient : Fury will not trigger more if you max it and it adds only more magic damage, which is not lifestealable. Furthermore the splash does not proc lifesteal either. Maxing it does not decrease it's cooldown.
With a 100% ratio from AD and a better damage scaling, Reckoning seems to add more punch as you max it. And it adds % damage as well ! So i tried to max it first to see if it adds more damage in average than fury...
The result :
After many tries in game, i can now confirm it is better to max Reckoning first. The burst is significant after a few levels and much more punchy than the damage boost from leveling Fury. In early game, keeping Fury at level 1 is enough for farming and damage dealing.
I moved this section to the end since those changes are now memories of the past.
Stark's fervor was one of Kayle core item in many builds around Mobafire. And Kayle was one of the few champions who could benefits from all of stark's stats. But unless Stark's fervor comes back, there is no use in weeping any longer. Lets face the future !
Let's analyze Zeke's Herald :
- 2145 gold
- 250 health
- 20% attack speed (from aura)
- 12% life steal (from aura)
- Aura Unique : Nearby allied champions gain +20% attack speed and +12% life steal.
- Passive Unique : +15% cooldown reduction
For Stark's fervor
- 2550 gold
- 40% attack speed (20% without aura)
- 20% life steal (from aura)
- 30 health regen per 5 second (from aura)
- Aura Unique : Nearby allied champions gain +20% attack speed, +20% life steal and 30 health regen per 5 second.
- Passive Unique : Reduce the armor of nearby enemy champion by 20.
Pro Zeke :
405 gold less expensive
+15% cooldown reduction
still gives a decent aura
Attack speed reduced by 20%
Lifesteal reduce by 8%
No more 30 health regen per 5 second
No more 20 armor reduction
Clearly as an offensive item, Zeke's Herald is far behind Stark's glorious stats. But as an utility item, the cooldown reduction is interesting. The 250 health seems anecdotal unless in early game. Zeke is really a full support item. So? Is it good for Kayle?
In the first build yes. As it is made of cheap parts, i feel Zeke's Herald must be build early to take advantage of the many small bonuses it gives, the cooldown reduction being the best boost now. It comes in great combination with Stinger and The Brutalizer reaching the 40% cap with the runes.
In the second build, it could have been a good combination with the Nashor's Tooth, reaching the 40% limit in only two items, leaving runes and masteries open for offensive stats. Even if it is far less offensive than Stark, Zeke's Herald still brings up some important stats such as lifesteal and Attack speed in a useful aura for your team.
But as i have tested in game, i must say it is very lackluster. Truth is, you never feel it's effects. So in the end, i won't recommend it in a carry build where what you really need is not CDR but damage and attack speed.
As for the third build, which focus more on the support side, Zeke's Herald is a good choice since CDR is key.
- Build 3 analysis
- Dominating the new jungle ! (heavy stuff needs a full new guide)
- How to counter specific champions
Masteries changed and explained
Back to Exhaust spell.
Builds are more powerful since patch 138 !
Moves Stark memories to the bottom.
Changed Runes and masteries on the support third build.
updated guide with columns.
Corrected starks icon.
Since update on mobafire, added Zeke icon.
Completed guide on Zeke.
Zeke analysis is finished. Still need some practice before a definitive status.
Goodbye Stark, welcome Zeke ! Will you make or break Kayle ?
Added Patch 188.8.131.52 analysis
Modified a few chapters all around
New chapter on build 2 !
Changed chapters order
New chapter "Kayle's roles"
Added some more in-depth reflections in all chapters
Interchanged build 1 and 3 to highlight it more.
Added some colors and links.
Added "Surge" as a main spell.
Created "Build 2" chapter.
Changed priority on Reckoning over Fury.
Correction of syntax error
Added more analysis to all chapters
Created "Coming soon" chapter