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Not Updated For Current Season
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Kayle is currently one of the most underplayed champions in Ranked in the current metagame. Out of about 100 of my most recent ranked games, I've only seen another player pick Kayle a handful of times.
Kayle, like Akali, is a hybrid AP and AD carry, and has an incredible ultimate ability that in the hands of a coordinated team can spell certain doom to your opponents.
This Kayle build focuses on maximizing Kayle's carrying potential by focusing on maximizing her damage in a team fight while keeping intact her amazing farming potential and laning/1v1 abilities.
The following guide focuses not only on my particular Kayle build, but also on the nuances of playing Kayle in ranked. While this advice also applies to normal/practice games, the strategies and items I will discuss favor more cautious and opportunistic ranked gameplay over the fast reckless pace of normal games.
I hope you enjoy the guide, and don't hesitate to comment below on improvements I could make to it!
Let me begin by saying there are many ways to play Kayle, as well as any other hybrid champion. They are hard to counter because of their mixed damage types, and the Marks (Red Runes) that I have chosen for this build reflect that. I prefer to play Kayle favoring attack damage over ability power, however in the current Ranked metagame, magic resist runes are seen much more often than armor runes. Because of this, Kayle should run more Magic Penetration runes than Armor Penetration.
The Greater Fortitude Quintessences are an extremely important part of ranked play. Having an early high health pool will help ensure that you don't get first blooded, and will give you a larger margin of error while laning.
The rest of Kayle's glyphs are devoted to mana regen, because you need to always be able to activate your E ability (Righteous Fury). These runes are actually based on personal preference. Kayle can substitute in AP runes here as well, however if you cut off the mana regen runes you will have to run clarity as a summoner spell. Kayle can get mana starved so always pick up blue buff if nobody else on your team needs it more.
Kayle's masteries are fairly straightforward as far as maximizing DPS. By late game, you will be getting numerous critical strikes from your phantom dancer while still hitting hard with rageblade and madred's, so the 10% increased critical strike damage is more important than the extra 3 attack damage.
Kayle's utility tree masteries are for maximizing mana regen and for keeping your blue/red buff on longer. If you run the Clarity variation of this build, it is advisable to pick up the Improved Clarity talent instead to add team utility.
Kayle's items are usually a point of contention amongst players. A recent build posted to this site advised building a Fiendish Codex as a first item. This is silly. In ranked, you want to start with both Survivability, Mana Regen, and Ability Power, which makes Doran's Ring perfect.
****DON'T FORGET THAT KAYLE'S PASSIVE GIVES YOU AP FOR AD AND AD FOR AP****
Kayle is not a ganking champion. You should not be lane swapping until small team skirmishes start occurring. Because of this, you should get your Pickaxe before your boots, as it will make you more threatening in your lane. Don't forget that you're E ability also acts as a mini-ghost of sorts, thus further reducing the need for boots.
Rageblade is the most important item a Kayle can have. Because of her passive, each stack of rageblade creates a scalar multiplier on her damage. Mathematically speaking, Kayle's DPS is optimized by quickly reaching 8 stacks on rageblade and having her E ability activated.
(I won't get into the math on this guide, but if you are curious to work my build out for yourself, take a target champions average resistances 15 minutes into the game, and take the derivative of the formula for each hit of rageblade with respect to your attack damage, and then find the zero's of the curve. You'll see what I mean.)
This build is focused on carrying ranked games, and because of that, you want Madred's Bloodrazer as your next major item. Beserker greaves compliments this build perfectly because it allows you to get up your rageblade stacks faster, and proc's the passive of madred's more frequently.
Phantom Dancer is probably the last major item you'll have time to get in a ranked game, although if it goes longer than that, build an infinity edge. The overall damage bonuses favor heavy AD with your attack speed items, so building any heavy AP items is not favorable.
How to Play Kayle
Kayle needs a lane partner who is good at harassing to reach her full potential. Her slow is an amazing first ability to get because it can help get an early first blood, or slow down an enemy from killing a teammate early on.
Your E ability gives you a small AoE effect similar to Udyr's phoenix stance, so try to simultaneously harass enemy champions while farming.
Once you get to level 4 or 5, work with your lane partner to get some kills. Slow them with Q and then get up close to exhaust. Activate E and auto attack while inching forward after every attack.
Try not to use your ghost, as you might need it to escape from jungler ganks or other lane swapping shenanigans.
After acquiring your rageblade and beserker greaves, it's time play the field. Get red buff as soon as possible. It's incredible on Kayle and will help out enormously. Remember that Kayle is really a carry, not a healer. Her Ultimate is useful, but your primary role is BEING the team's top DPS, not saving one. Keep in mind that at level 11, your ultimate only lasts for 2 seconds. If you're going to tower dive, make sure you wait until the last POSSIBLE second to pop your ult. NEVER tower dive a champion with a stun or a silence while playing Kayle or you'll end up feeding and everyone will be very angry with you.
Disclaimer: Regardless of skill, tower diving is almost never a good idea in ranked play. The smallest error can turn the tide in gold flow and cause your team to be heavily defeated.
At this phase in the game, Kayle excels at killing Medium-health champions such as Pantheon, an Ashe with 2 Doran's Blades, or any AP champion with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Never 1v1 a tank as Kayle in mid game unless you're at least 3 champion kills or 50 farm up on them.
Most people who have never played carries before have no idea what to do when it comes to end game. After you have both Madred's Bloodrazer and rageblade, you have the capability to start carrying your team in fights. Always focus down their top DPS first unless that champion is A) Poppy or B) Tryndamere. It doesn't make a lot of sense to focus either of them because they will still survive the remainder of the team fight.
In a team fight, NEVER waste your Q as you might need it to chase down a fleeing DPS. Because you're more heavy on AD than AP, the extra damage from using Q won't compensate for it's cast time or cooldown.
Getting Red Buff is a MUST. You will eat people alive with it.
Kayle's E ability works on towers too, so Kayle is incredible at Solo-ing a tower done and then ghosting out. Try to keep farming even into the late game to build up more steam-rolling potential.