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Kennen Build Guide by tehAsian

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League of Legends Build Guide Author tehAsian

Kennen: Aggression in All Things

tehAsian Last updated on February 15, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hi there! I'm tehAsian, and I'm here to tell you how I build Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest. Kennen has been an incredibly overlooked champion, even after the buffs. And when I actually see one play, he gets played terribly. I'm here to enlighten you with a guide to show you how to play Kennen, and how to play him right. With this guide, you will learn how to be aggressive and completely dominate games as Kennen.

Note that this guide is for more experienced Kennen players. It's just not possible to keep up the stacks from Mejai's Soulstealer without a decent knowledge of the game, nor is it possible to obtain the stacks if you don't know what you're doing. Also, being aggressive is a high risk high reward type of playstyel; if you can't do it right, you are bound to fail, but if done correctly, you will dominate.

One last thing: I spent a ton of time on this guide. If you're having a bad day and need a place to rage, this is not it. If you want to downvote, read through this guide and tell me exactly what you don't like about it. I have given crystal clear reasons on the items and skill sequencing, as well as my playstyle, and if you don't like it just because you don't like it, fine. Just don't downvote without a valid reason.

Alright, enough with the intro. Welcome to my guide on:

Kennen: The Heart of the Tempest

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Patch Notes

Nautilus Patch

Thundering Shuriken cooldown increased to 8/7/6/5/4 from 7/6/5/4/3 seconds.
WTF uncalled for nerf. Plus, it doesn't even affect Kennen in any way. If you're going to nerf him, do it right >:l

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Pros and Cons

  • Undoubtly the BEST harasser in the game
  • No mana (Also a con if you keep spamming skills
    with no regard to how much energy you have left
  • He's a ninja yordle
  • Constant AoE stun that disrupts channeled ultimates,
    kills Master Yi, just a lot of utility :P
  • Nukes really hard with Mejai's Soulstealer
  • Not suspectible to soft CC
  • One of the strongest early games with the ability to
    take any lane and dominate in it
  • Can 1v2 even if not fed
  • Almost NEVER banned in Ranked

  • Countered pretty easily with Mercury's Treads
  • The cons might be in the wrong color
  • Called OP
  • Risky playstyle
  • Requires decent teammates to win.

In short, Kennen has a lot of pros, and not a lot of cons. Some people say he doesnt scale well into late game, but I fix that by relying on his strong early game to get stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer to carry better late game. Squishiness is fixed with the Active of Zhonya's Hourglass and Lightning Rush. Based on the builds, Kennen pretty much fixes a lot of cons.

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Standard 9/21/0 masteries. This makes Kennen incredibly tanky late game as well as have early game survivability and sustain with a Doran's Shield. I take dodge just to fill in points because Kennen has no need for mana, eliminating the need for Strength of Spirit . The 2% dodge doesn't help at all though, I might mess around with Masteries to see if I can find better slots...

You can take Exhaust too, if you use it. Taking a point you might use is easier than switching pages.

NOTE: Right now, League of Legends went through a Season 2 patch that messed up my masteries for the moment. I'll fix this ASAP.


EDIT: Offensive masteries are now on par with defensive masteries. While having 9/21/0 masteries gives you magic pen for early game, 21/9/0 masteries give a good amount of AP AND the magic penetration. Also, the new defensive tier 6 point isn't that good...
Take the mastery point for exhuast, Ghost, Ignite and Surge. It's easier than switching pages. And don't take the point for Flash unless you REALLY want it, take out a point in the defensive tree for it.

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Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

For Runes, I use:

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration.
These are the only ones that I feel Kennen MUST have. Runes are always based on personal preference, so I won't tell you what you HAVE to have. But here are some options :D

Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Seal of Defense
Greater Seal of Vitality
Greater Seal of Health
Armor runes to help that already powerful early game, HP to help late game since Build 1 doesnt get Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
AP and AP per level runes. Not really much choice here, unless you want to get Magic Resist runes. IMO, they're less viable, but the choice is up to you~

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
15 Flat AP early game helps a LOT, but I take Magic Pen because I don't use Sorcerer's Shoes. Flat HP is viable and a good choice, but a Doran's Shield and Veteran's Scars gives enough HP for early game, and if you find yourself against a Brand, Jarvan IV, or anyone that does a % of your HP as bonus damage, part of the HP goes to waste. :S

So, which rune do you use? Flat magic pen or AP?
It all depends on what shoes you use most of the time. In early game, you don't necessarily need 60 magic pen because no one will have 60 Magic Resist (Unless you're vs Duff's Olaf Q_Q). Likewise, all AP and no magic penetration makes you do no damage, taking away your harassment, which is what Kennen should be doing.

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Summoner Spells

I highly recommend Flash and Ignite as Summoner Spells. Flash lets you position Slicing Maelstrom, you Ultimate, more easily and lets you catch up to anyone else who Flashes away. If you don't want it or don't like it for some reason, Ghost is a decent replacement, but positioning takes longer. Ignite is for that extra early game damage to help you get first blood and for runners. Exhaust works too to shut down those carries and stop other people from getting away, but Kennen has a constant AoE stun, so no one is really escaping from you.

Other Viable Summoner Spells

Heal Actually viable, and maybe OP since Riot buffed it, for newer players who don't fully understand Kennen. Also, a well placed Heal wins fights.
What to replace: Any

Clairvoyance Usually for supports. Not really for you.
What to replace: Flash

Cleanse Hard CC destroys almost every champion. Kennen is not an exception, so taking this can save your life sometimes instead of Flash, but you sacrifice utility.
What to replace: Flash

Garrison Dominion only. For defender Kennen. Also, this isn't a Dominion guide, maybe I'll write one if people want me to :3

Promote No. At first, I was excite about this skill, thinking, "Woo, lvl 1 super minion!"
But it dies too fast and pushes your lane waaayy too hard.

Revive Good for people who know how to use it. Like trolls. But seriously, if you're super fed and FINALLY die, using this to come back can make you a real pain in the enemies' ***.
What to replace: Any. You're either trolling or know what you're doing.

Teleport To split push, blue pill then instantly go back to lane, backdoor, defend, etc. Great spell, although I don't like it cause I'm too aggressive :P
What to replace: Ignite

Surge Honestly, I've tried it before and the AP and AS boost synergizes well with Kennen, it's just that I don't think it's worth the one spot.
What to replace: Ignite

Smite Junglers only. Not sure if Kennen can jungle, but he can pull off some godly ganks 8D

Please don't...

Clarity I've said it before, Kennen doesn't use mana, wasting slots isn't going to help you win.

Rally Again, for trolls only. Unless you play AD Kennen, which DOES WORK. But still not recommended, lol. Doesn't exist anymore.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Mark of the Storm
(Passive):Kennen's abilities add Marks of the Storm to opponents which last for 8 seconds. An opponent is stunned for 1 second upon receiving 3 Marks of the Storm. Also, Kennen receives 25 energy. The stun has a diminished effect if applied more than once within 7 seconds.

This is the reason why Kennen is a very strong mid, and an even stronger harasser. After level 3, you have your full spell combo and can take out ~130+ hp and getting away free because of an easy stun, leaving your opponent weaker and weaker until you can dive in for the kill.

Thundering Shuriken (Q):
Cooldown: 7/6/5/4/3 seconds Range: 900
(Active):Kennen throws a fast moving shuriken towards a location, dealing 75 / 115 / 155 / 195 / 235 (+75% of ability power) magic damage and adding a Mark of the Storm to any opponent that it hits.[/i]

Your bread! This is the first skill to get. It's on a quick cooldown and has a pretty high AP scaling of 0.75. It's a skillshot that travels pretty fast, and it's thin so it can pass between minions and hit the unsuspecting enemy champion. It has decent range and goes to about the very end of the arrow, so you can catch runners with it. Basically, use it to harass and kill.

Tips and Tricks
  • You can hit stealthed units with this. If Twitch, Evelynn, or Talon stealths, throw a shuriken to where you think they went! Shaco is excluded because he blinks and it's a lot harder. Also check for wild Teemos in mid.

Electrical Surge (W):
Cooldown: 14/12/10/8/6 Range: 800
(Passive): Every 5 attacks, Kennen deals magic damage equal to 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80% of his attack damage and adds a Mark of the Storm to his target.
(Active): Surges electricity through all nearby targets afflicted by Mark of the Storm, dealing 65 / 95 / 125 / 155 / 185 (+55% of ability power) magic damage and adding another mark.

Your butter! This skill is the least damaging of your skills BUT is auto-locks onto every champion within Thundering Shuriken range and hits them, stealthed or not. Combine this with Thundering Shuriken for quick and effective harassment.

Tips and Tricks
  • Again, use to hit stealthed units.
  • Remember to use the 5th hit for stuns starting at level 2!
  • Combine with Thundering Shuriken. At higher levels, this is a nasty combo that rips down hp over and over.

Lightning Rush (E):
Cooldown: 10/9/8/7/6 Range: 200 (Body Contact)
(Active):Kennen gains his base movement speed again as a flat movement speed bonus, as well as 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 increased Armor and Magic Resistance, and the ability to pass through units for four seconds, but he is unable to attack. Lightning Rush deals 85 / 125 / 165 / 205 / 245 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and adds a Mark of the Storm to any hostile unit he passes through; deals half damage to minions.
Kennen is refunded 40 energy if he passes through an enemy while using this spell, but can only gain this effect once.

Speed buff and resistances. Perfect for initiating and escaping. Also, using this will help you survive a lot of long-ranged ultimates, like Reqeuim, Finales Funkeln, Trueshot Barrage, and many others. This also makes Tank Kennen even tankier ;D

Tips and tricks

Slicing Maelstrom (R)(Ultimate):
Cooldown: 120 Range: ~550
(Active):]Kennen summons a magical storm that deals 80 / 145 / 210 (+40% of ability power) magic damage to a random enemy champion near Kennen every few seconds. The storm hits 6 / 10 / 15 times with a 0.5 / 0.4 / 0.33 second delay between each bolt, and cannot hit the same target more than 3 times. A Mark of the Storm is applied to enemies each time they are hit.

This is your Ultimate. At level 1, this hits enough times to stun two champions. But you may ask yourself, why not go bot lane then? Bot lane is a great choice for Kennen as well, but what if you get GANKED? Mid lane is generally safer because you can stun both the enemy jungler and your mid opponent, deal nasty damage, and maybe end up with a kill or two. At level 2, this hits enough time to stun 3 enemies, and 1 extra hit. At level 3, it can stun the entire other team once.

Tips and Tricks

Skill Leveling Order

I max Thundering Shuriken first, then Electrical Surge, and Lightning Rush last, while taking Slicing Maelstrom at levels 6, 11, and 16. BUT, you may notice I get all 3 skills first and put another point into Electrical Surge at level 5. This is to harass more in lane, weaken them down, and ultimatly killing them, no pun intended.

Some people may think its better to take Thundering Shuriken at levels 1,3,5,7,9, effectively maxing it out as early a possible. I agree with this, but if you do that you miss out utility from Lightning Rush at level 3 and you will get First Blooded by that Lee Sin and Sion who just dropped a 2 second stun on you because you weren't fast enough to run away.

However, there is now a Q nerf, increasing the Cooldown by 1 second. You should always have a potential stun at all times. Getting W at level 1 gives better poke and the stun, since your passive only lasts 7 seconds.

Also, the Electrical Surge at level 5. Kennen gets kills and gets ahead by zoning and harassing. In higher ELOs and levels of play, most champions do NOT give you the opportunity to hit them with Thundering Shuriken. So if you get it at level 5, you will have:
  • A 150 damage Q
  • A 60 damage W
  • Every 5th auto attack will hit 50+20 magic damage
  • An escape that gives 10 Ar/Mr and 150% movespeed buff after diminishing factors.

A good player will hide behind minions, NOT letting you hit them with a 150 damage Q, so the only way of harassing is through auto attack pokes and dangerously initiating with E, that pushes your lane and then chaining it with W, which pushes even MORE. Not only that, your so-called weak "harass" will hit for about 120 damage and you don't get off a stun. If you're lucky, you can get off an auto attack with that 5th hit for a total of 180-200 damage with the stun, BUT Kennen has a pretty small auto attack range, and you'll be hit with roughly the same amount of damage as the opposing champion. So what happens if you do the same, but with the skill order in this build?
You have:
  • A 110 damage Q
  • a 90 damage W
  • Every 5th auto attack will hit 50+25 magic damage
  • An escape that gives 10 Ar/Mr and 150% movespeed buff after diminishing factors

Let's use the same combo for simplicity: E -> W -> AA. Your W increases by 30 each level, and gives 10% of your attack damage as magic damage. Your new harass is actually stronger because your 5th auto attack is stronger and when you chain it with W, it his for considerably MORE and it doesn't push your lane.

Comboing your Skills

Now the fun part...
Comboing your skills for harassment!

There are many ways to chain together Kennen's skills to harass and kill enemy champions. I have already gone over some earlier in this build, and I will review them in this section, as well as newer, better, more effective ways to harass, harass, and harass some more.

1. Thundering Shuriken -> Electrical Surge
Q -> W
Main harass combo. Does decent damage, is quick and safe.
Blocked by minions.
This is your standard harass combo. End game, it can deal pretty nasty damage, and against squishies 2 of these will nearly guarantee a death. Minions can block it, however, and you need to aim your Q to use this. Hit them with Q, then press W immediately afterword.

2. Auto attack (5th hit) -> Electrical Surge
AA -> W
Secondary harass combo. Does less damage as game goes on, relatively safe, can't be avoided except with blinks.
Minions target you,
pushes lanes, small auto attack range.

Another way to harass. This does significantly less damage as the game goes on, but early game it actually does about the same as combo 1. Minions can't block this, but it has only about 2/3 the range of combo 1. Auto attack the unsuspecting champion and press W immediately afterword.

3. Lightning Rush -> Electrical Surge -> Thundering Shuriken OR 5th hit
E -> W -> Q/Right Click
Massive damage, guaranteed stun, escape without enemy retaliating.
EXTREMELY risky as it pushes lanes, forces you to over-extend, maybe into tower range, Thundering Shuriken isn't reliable as you can miss.
Ah, the aggressive, lane-pushing combo. Run in, stun, run out. If you use the 5th hit proc, it can take out a large portion of your target's health at low levels. Don't spam this too much, or you WILL be ganked by the jungler. Hit them with Lightning Rush, press W, stun them, and run away.

4. Thundering Shuriken -> Electrical Surge -> 5th hit -> Lightning Rush -> Maybe Slicing Maelstrom
Q -> W -> AA -> E -> R
Near guaranteed kill, especially if they are low.
Again, pushes lanes, hard to pull off (easier version next :D), waste ulti on 1 champion.
So first, you find an out of position champion, and insta-stun them. Close the gap and pop your ulti. If delayed enough, you can even get off another Thundering Shuriken at the end. Not a lot of people can escape from this~. Throw your Q, press W, Auto attack to stun, run up to them, and press R.

5. Personal favorite and is a guarantee kill on any squishy, early, mid, or late game.
Lightning Rush -> Flash -> Electrical Surge -> Slicing Maelstrom -> Ignite and Thundering Shuriken when they're stunned -> Auto attacks.
Can be done on any level post-6, the burst combo is underestimated, sometimes able to bring down someone from full health to none, and it cannot be escaped.(Tested over and over, people ALWAYS die when I do this at level 6 :3)
Cons: If they know what you're gonna do, there's a high chance this will fail, must be done extremely quickly or they can Flash away before it ends, AND if they don't die YOU will.
AKA Skill Spammage, get right up into their face and pop everything. Doesn't even matter how low you are, if they can't burst you down fast enough THEY will die. This combo gave me soooo many first bloods. Start this like combo 3, except after you press W, pop your ulti and while they're stunned, you have a free shot with your Q. Auto attack them to death.

This is all I want to tell you. Don't wanna give away all my secrets ;D. But based on this, you can probably think up more, the possibilities are endless. Just remember to use Electrical Surge when they have 1-2 marks on them, and they're easier to hit when stunned.

(I might go more In-depth with skill comboing later, idk) Done.

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Items for Build 1

Starting Items

This is the first recommended build up on the cheat sheet, for the players who have mastered Kennen completely. It relies solely and heavily on player skill. Also, it tests your ability to survive on practically nothing early game only to snowball harder and harder until you steamroll into lategame. This build does not guarentee anything except losses if you suck :).

Depending on who I'm laning against, I get either a Doran's Shield or a Null-Magic Mantle and two Health Potions. If I am unsure, I get a Doran's Shield. Doing this gives me lane sustainablity as well as being tanky against the enemy. Regrowth Pendant works too, but it's better for if you're going full tank.

I see many Kennens start differently. I see some start with an Amplifying Tome, while some with Boots of Speed and pots. These are viable, but you are more prone to being harassed and having to blue pill quicker, in exchange for damage. This build focuses on being tanky while still doing massive damage, so we don't start with those.

Core Build


After I get ~1600 gold or get a kill, I recall and buy my first items, Boots of Speed and Mejai's Soulstealer. The sooner you get Mejai's Soulstealer, the better. Kennen inherently gets weaker as the game progresses because of the low AP scaling, so we need stacks to stay stronger and stay on top. At 20 stacks, Mejai's Soulstealer gives a massive 180 Ability Power and 15% Cooldown reduction, both being beneficial to Kennen. Being an energy user, Archangel's Staff and its incredible AP is useless on Kennen, so we need a good AP source somewhere else, other than Rabadon's Deathcap.

The next item we should get after Mejai's Soulstealer is Mercury's Treads. These are, hands down, the BEST boots in the game. There should not be a game you play where you don't get these boots, with the exception that the other team has no CC whatsoever. With these, slows will no longer affect you and anyone who tried to CC you will fail. If you want magic penetration to nuke harder, you can op for sorcerer's shoes instead.

Now, it's mid game and hopefully you have 8+ stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer. This is the point where the other team will start targetting you first in team fights. Being easily raped by CC, we'll first grab a quick Quicksilver Sash. Due to the active on this, I've found that it's too good to pass up. While having any form of Crowd Control on you, besides slows, you are unable to use Zhonya's Hourglass, leading to many deaths when you should be fighting. I usually bind QSS to 1 and Zhonya's to 2, so I can click them both in rapid succession, guaranteeing myself invinicibility. The extra Magic Resist is incredible as well, and it's all from a cheap price of 1440.

Late game is starting, and you have a ton of kills, a few deaths, and a ton of assists. You have 5k to spend, but the enemy tank starts building magic resist. Should you get a Void Staff? No. Get the last item in our core build, a Rabadon's Deathcap. At 20 stacks, Zhonya's Hourglass and this AP item you will get over 600 AP. This is generally enough to last the rest of the game and from now on you can sell your Doran's Shield if you haven't already and you have 3 choices. One is to buy tank items, another is buy damage items, and the last build a hybrid out of the two choices.

Massive Damage Route

This is the massive damage route where you have sustained burst, some survivability, and an unusual Lich Bane.

There is a rule of thumb I go by when deciding to buy a Lich Bane: Should this champion auto attack, at all? Auto attack as Kennen is what separates the good ones from the great ones. Right before a teamfight, your job is to harass as much as possible to bring down their hp so you team has an easier time killing them, but there's also one thing you should do: go into the jungle and charge up that 5th hit. With the 5th hit, using a full spell combo on the enemy team can cripple them into having only half their team fighting at one time. using another auto attack and Thundering Shuriken will bring down two more, and by then only maybe 1 or 2 people are really fighting.
Also, in order to fully utilize Lich Bane's passive, you must have a spammable skill. Kennen has no spammable skills, but his Q is on a 3 second cooldown. It's just spammable enough to use Lich Bane :3

And I finish my build with a Void Staff to deal even more damage against people who build magic resist, or Will of the Ancients if I bought Sorcerer's Shoes early game.

Tank Route

This is the route where you go full tank after Rabadon's Deathcap. Makes you almost never die, thus retaining your stacks on Mejai's Soulstealer and still doing massive damage. Actually, I think this can be considered an AP Offtank build because 1. You do a ton of damage and 2. You are building tank items. Anyway, you should be built to counter enemy teams, so...

If there's someone that does True damage like Olaf: Warmog's Armor, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Will of the Ancients(gives hp through Spell Vamp).

If they have a fed AD Carry: Randuin's Omen, Frozen Heart, Thornmail

If the AP carry is nuking down your team: Force of Nature, Banshee's Veil, Quicksilver Sash, Abyssal Mask

If you need a balanced tank set: Randuin's Omen+ Force of Nature, Guardian Angel+ Banshee's Veil.

Half Tank Half Nuke

So you have your core build and you want massive damage and massive survivability. A great choice for this is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It gives AP, a slow on all your spells including that 5th hit, and last but not least, a noticable 500 hp added onto your health.

For your last item, you may want a Void Staff for even more damage, Will of the Ancients for spell vamp and hp, as well as a nice aura for your team, or you can pick a tank item. Banshee's Veil is perfect against CC heavy teams,and getting a Force of Nature to dive through heavy AP nuking isn't a bad choice. Just make sure it counters the enemy team.

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Item Build 2

AKA the Traditional Build

This is the build 90% of Kennens use. I've tried my hardest to change this, and the resulting build was build 1.

So why use this build? Unlike build 1, this is reliable, and in early game you have infinite lane sustain because you don't need mana and can just spellvamp all your hp back. Without worrying about Mejai's Soulstealer stacks, this build is reliable in damage and defenses, and a death streak won't make you lose.

Core Build

Like build 1, we start with a Doran's Shield, giving us armor, health, and health regen. Next, we get a Hextech Revolver for some more lane sustain. The first major item you get next it Rylai's Crystal Scepter.


I don't like Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I never will. Reason being is that it costs waayyy too much for the stats it gives. I would go into mid game with <120 AP, when everyone starts building magic resist. Sure, I'm really tanky, and sure, the slows and stuns screw the other team over, but I am seriously lacking in damage. The unique passive is supposed to make up for it, but in a way it's useless for Kennen. Kennen can spam stuns and stunlock multiple champions if played right. Why would you need the slow from Rylai's Crystal Scepter then? Well, you don't. All really gives you is HP and AP. Mediocre stats for 3280 gold.

Alright, enough of my rant. It's a good item on Kennen, the pros say. So let's leave it at that.

Since Rylai's Crystal Scepter is so freaking expensive and you need more damage, the next item you get should be Rabadon's Deathcap. This is the biggest AP boost in the game, and the biggest damage boost you will get.

Now, you have a choice: Zhonya's Hourglass or Abyssal Mask. Which one do you get first? Well, it depends on the enemy team. If they are mostly magic damage, like Akali (4/5), grab Abyssal Mask. If they are mostly physical damage, like Talon, get Zhonya's Hourglass.

What if they're both?

In a very, very common situation, in which the team is 3/5 physical or 3/5 magical, buy either the Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak portion of the above items, keeping in mind the location of the majority of the damage on the other team. Wording confuse you? Here are some examples:

Enemy Team: Master Yi(Melee DPS), Leona(AP tank), Udyr(AD jungler offtank), Janna(AP support and CC queen), and Tristana(ranged AD).

I know the team comp is probably not the best (maybe? idk about this stuff), but you see here that they have 3 AD and 2 AP. For argument's sake, lets say Janna wasn't a support, but is going full AP. Since the majority of the other team does physical damage, armor is a good counter, but if you neglect magic resist Leona and Janna will probably steamroll you in a teamfight. In this situation, buy Chain Vest first then Negatron Cloak.

Enemy Team: LeBlanc(AP Assassin), Cho'Gath(AP Tank), Fizz(AD build), Lee Sin(AD offtank), and Taric(AP support).

Again, the team comp probably isn't the best, but they have 3 AP and 2 AD. Buy Negatron Cloak then Chain Vest to effectively counter the enemy team.

Now, to go further in-depth to countering damage with items, let's factor in enemy team skill and hybrids.

Enemy Team and scores: Akali(AP assassin) 14/1/4, Tryndamere(AD dps) 0/9/6, Garen(AD Offtank) 6/3/4, Rammus(AP tank) 2/4/11, Caitlyn(ranged AD dps) 5/5/5. (No support FTW!)

In this team, one might instinctively think,"They're mostly AD, I'll go buy Chain Vest. Well, due to the fairly accurate score:skill ratio, Akali is the biggest threat on the other team because she's extremely fed. On the other hand, since Garen and Caitlyn are doing just decently, and Tryndamere is feeding (impossible, ulti too OP), it's better to buy Negatron Cloak first to shut down the most fed enemy. If you do decide to buy Chain Vest, Akali's just going to kill you.

Enemy Team (No scores for this one): Jax(hybrid carry), Akali(going triple-stacked, that's aiming for 20 stacks of Mejai's Soulstealer+ Sword of the Occult+ Leviathan), Kayle(hybrid support), Trundle (AD offtank), and Shen(AP tank).

Here, the entire team is completely hybrid. But no one team can be 100% hybrid in terms of damage. Study the components and skills of your enemies:
  • All of Jax's skills deal magic damage, but because of his ultimate, Relentless Assault, he can buy AD items and AS items to hit the 2.5 AS cap and hurt your team really badly. On top of that, he's tanky. However, many Jaxes deal mostly magic damage and don't build too much AD. Therefore, you should consider him an AP threat.
  • Akali is going triple-stacked. End game (I've tested and crunched the numbers) trip stacks and Hextech Gunblade give her ~260 AD and ~300 AP, maybe more if she doesn't get Guardian Angel. She has pretty bad scaling, so she is a hybrid threat leaning toward AP.
  • Kayle has a passive that shreds your armor and magic resist. However, she's mostly AP, like Jax in a way.
  • Trundle is obvious.
  • Shen doesn't really do much damage, but his passive and Q both do magic damage, so he's magic.

    From the compiled data, we see that the entire team actually isn't completely hybrid, but mostly magical damage. Because of this, we build Negatron Cloak first. Of course, if Trundle is destroying your team and his teammates suck, grab Chain Vest first.

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So What's the Difference Between Builds 1 & 2?

I chose build 1 over build 2 because of diversity and damage reasons. Build 2 is pretty much set in stone, and the only real change you can have is the item sequence. For build 1, there's room for 2 situational items at the end all while giving as much AP as build 2. But using Mejai's Soulstealer comes with a big risk, so it's more like a "be pro or be noob" thing.

Comparing the two...

So what's the difference, exactly?

First, let's find out the build costs:

Build 1

Doran's Shield, Mercury's Treads, Mejai's Soulstealer, Zhonya's Hourglass, Rabadon's Deathcap, Lich Bane, Will of the Ancients or Void Staff (Both cost about the same.)

That's 475g + 1200g + 1235g + 3100g + 3600g + 3470g + 2200g(about) =
15280 gold. What do you get from this?

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Situational Items or Items You May Disagree With

Chances are, you might not like some items in this build, or you want to put in an item that's not in here. Not sure what to replace or switch out? Look HERE.

Sorcerer's Shoes
For if you want to nuke harder early, mid, and late game. These are great, but Mercury's Treads are better because of the Tenacity. These are 100% viable, and I highly recommend them, but be sure to switch them out after Void Staff or get a Moonflair Spellsaber.

What to replace: Mercury's Treads
When: If they start getting magic resist early game, or you just want to hurt them more early game.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
If you think you lack survivability or people get away from you too easily, this is an awesome item. The only downside is that it costs waaayyy too much for just 80 AP, 500 Hp, and a passive that only works at about 50% efficiency for Kennen.
What to replace: Lich Bane.
When to replace: When you need more survivability and/or when people are running away too easily.

Will of the Ancients
Spell Vamp. The largest amount of Spell Vamp you can get after the Hextech Gunblade nerf and it comes in a cheap package of just 2100 gold. Not to mention double stacking auras you and the other AP carry can combine for 60 bonus AP and 50% spell vamp.
What to replace: Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Lich Bane
When to replace: If you like Spell Vamp and/or your AP carries need it.

Abyssal Scepter
Magic Resist, AP, and a magic resist debuff to your enemies. This item has the second most magic resist in the game, losing only to Force of Nature. This and Rylai's Crystal Scepter was what I used to run.
What to replace: Lich Bane, Void Staff
When to replace: When your team is mostly AP and their team has a fed AP carry.

Haunting Guise
A clown mask for Halloween. No but really, this is a good cheap item if you don't like snowball items. It gives a tiny bit of HP, 20 AP, and 20 Magic Pen! Also viable if you don't want Sorceror Shoes.
What to replace: Mejai's Soulstealer, Sorcerer's Shoes
When to replace: If you don't like snowball items, or just need a tiny bit of Magic Pen early game. Be sure to exchange this for something else late game, because the stats then are meh.

Hextech Gunblade
Before the nerf, I would recommend this as a hybrid item, combining this with Will of the Ancients and having massive spell vamp, as well as high dps with Rabadon's Deathcap. Not as well after nerf, but you can use this for the extra AD, a bit of AP, and lifesteal/spellvamp.
What to replace: Ehh idk fits more in a hybrid build. I guess if you put in Guinsoo's Rageblade and/or Nashor's Tooth...?
When to replace: When you go hybrid.

Morello's Evil Tome
25% Cdr, a nice amount of AP, staples for an AP nuker. Not a bad item, but there are much better choices. This is a good item if you want to nuke faster and spam skills more, but it also drains your energy more quickly.
What to replace: Situational last item.
When to replace: If your cooldowns are killing you and/or you want to stun more often.

Guardian Angel
For protecting your precious Mejai's Soulstealer stacks :3. Also note that while in the revival state, your ulti keeps hitting things around you.
What to replace: Zhonya's Hourglass, or situational last item
When to replace: If you feel too squishy, or are losing stacks too fast, this is a good item to take to boost survivability.

Deathfire Grasp
An incredibly powerful nuke item on Veigar. But really, this item isn't bad on Kennen, despite his low amount of AP. I would recommend it if dat Cho'Gath has 6 Warmogs. With 600 AP, you'll do about (((600/100)*3.5)+30)=51% of their current HP, before resists.
What to replace: Mejai's Soulstealer or situational last item.
When to replace: When the enemy tank is getting too out of hand, or if you want to nuke harder.

Void Staff
What is this Magic Resist you speak of?
What to replace: Situational last item[/color=
When to replace: When they have a ton of Magic Resist and you don't deal enough damage to have any significant team fight presence.

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Why Mejai?

Many of you may be wondering why the hell would I make Mejai's Soulstealer CORE and a MUST HAVE. Well, the truth is, despite all the 'faceroll' bursty champions like LeBlanc or Annie, the one champion who can obtain stacks the EASIEST is actually... Kennen!

Think about need to be in a fight to get stacks. You get 1 stack per assist and 2 stacks per kill. Kennen's Lightning Rush can hit as many enemies at once, so using it correctly grab assists on everyone you're after. With high AoE damage and your ult, you can secure multiple kills/assists every fight. How is this different than Annie or LeBlanc? Kennen has the capability to burst down MULTIPLE enemies at once. A lot of other burst-casters don't have AoE skills to kill multiple targets, let alone even getting assists. Kennen's kit, that is, a ton of AoE damage, is what makes Mejai's Soulstealer an excellent item on him, because of the reliability to obtain countless assists and kills at once.

Also, it doesn't matter if you lose stacks, just get them back!

Can't get stacks early game? You probably haven't tried ganking yet.

Die a lot? Grab a Guardian Angel. There's a ton of ways to obtain and preserve your stacks. This is the reason Mejai's is viable on Kennen at all levels of play. Abuse it!

In no way am I getting Mejai's to obtain 20 stacks and faceroll, either. The MAIN PURPOSE IS TO KEEP YOUR AP AT A SUITABLE LEVEL while you obtain defensive items. Hell, if I wanted to faceroll, I'd get Rabadon's Deathcap, not Zhonya's Hourglass. Sell it if you want late game, for me it's about the same as getting a Haunting Guise.

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The Proper Use of Zhonya's Hourglass

So what's the proper use of Zhonya's Hourglass? Use it at the beginning of a teamfight? At the end? In the middle?

It all depends on you and your team's current performance in the game.

Team Situations

Situation 1: Your team completely steamrolls over the enemy.
Usage: Don't. Chase them down to continue the stuns so they don't get away!

Situation 2: Your team and the other team are about even.
Usage: Use it when you start taking damage. Deny yourself death for 2 seconds so they have to switch targets and switch back.

Situation 3: Your team sucks and dies in half a second.
Usage: Surrender at 20. JK, if the other team decides you're the biggest threat, YOU initiate and pop your ulti and Zhonya's Hourglass ASAP.

Solo Situations

Situation 1: 2v1 Gank
Usage: Just use it before you get stunned, silenced, suppressed, etc.

Situation 2: 5v1 Gank
Usage: WTF WHERE'S YOUR MAP AWARENESS?! Run through them with E, W, ulti and zhonya, W again when it's off cooldown and run. This gives 3 effective stuns to the other team, allowing you to have a higher chance of escaping.

Situation 3: 1v1 Escape
Usage: Blow all your skills and, when there's ~2 seconds left on Lightning Rush'a cooldown, use Zhonya's to stall and dash away.

In short, using it(or not) in an optimal matter can be game breaking or lifesaving.

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Laning Phases and Gameplay, 1-18.

Levels 1-6

So the game finally loads and you spawn at the Summoner's Platform. While your team argues over who should go what lane, buy your first items and argue with them or sneak your way up to mid (lol). Give your jungler a leash and let the Laning phase begin!

So you have your Thundering Shuriken, and that Anivia has her Flash Frost. Or that Morgana has her Dark Binding. Do whatever you can from getting hit and try to bait them out of their minion crowd. If you see them open for just a split second, or just out of position, hit them with your Q to harass while last hitting with auto attacks. After a bit, you should be level 2 with your W, Electrical Surge. With this, you officially have lane dominance. Last hit 4 minions and save the 5th hit. Now instead of last hitting with auto attacks, last hit with Thundering Shuriken. Once you see them get too close to you, auto-attack them and instantly hit W. Repeat until you get them down to about ~50% health. By now you should be level 3 or 4, and at full or near full health while your lane opponent down to about half. In this situation where you're above them, Lightning Rush into them, click Electrical Surge, and start zoning(explained later).

After level 6:

Be aggressive in lane. Always try to kill them. Even if it's 2v1, harass them down and burst them down with your ulti, unless a teamfight is about to start. Even then, still harass so your team will have a easier time killing them.

After the laning phase is over, do whatever you can. Give buffs to your carries/junglers, ward dragon and Baron, and the most important thing: DON'T STAY AT ONE PLACE ALONE TOO LONG. I know I said Kennen can 1v2 like nobody's business, but chances are they will 1v5 you, and you will die even if you use Zhonya's Hourglass and Slicing Maelstrom. Always go with a teammate if you want to push, even if he/she's feeding and will get killed in half a second.

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What is Zoning?

/league-of-legends/champion/soraka-8 farm and experience, making Jax and Soraka ahead and farmed better.

This is basically what you should be doing, except in Mid you should be last hitting and zoning at the same time, while being aware of the enemy jungler.

Why Does Zoning Work With Kennen?

The problem with most characters when they try to zone is that they either have weak auto attacks that could be ignored, or if they use skills they either come off cooldown too slowly or they run out of mana quickly because it's early game. On top of that, new minion waves will hurt and bring you low enough for the jungler to gank and mid to kill you. With Kennen, starting with a Doran's Shield gives you health regen to get the health lost from minions back, and he has no mana to worry about, so you can spam skills without worrying about being too low on anything.

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Warding Your Map

Red: Important
Black: Super important, ward at all times
Light Blue: Buff ward, counters counter-jungling
Green: Optional, privacy wards
So no one on your team calls mias and complains that people should call mia. How should you solve this problem?

Easy. Wards.

Wards are an easy way to prevent ganks, map hack, save lives, and win games. A Sight ward lasts for about 3 minutes and reveals an area of the map as if an allied champion was there. A Vision Ward does the same, except it reveals stealthed units, including other wards. IMHO, there's not really any need to buy Vision Wards because most champions don't stealth until warding distance at low levels, and at high levels you almost always have someone with an Oracle's Elixir on your team for Twitches and Evelynns.

Wards shouldn't just be used to ward your brushes. There are a number of key locations that should be warded at all times. Some are like Baron Nashor and Dragon, while some less important ones are red and blue buff.

Baron Nashor
Spawn Time: 15 minutes
Respawn Time After Death: 7 minutes
Benefits: 900 Global Exp, 300 Global Gold, Buff that gives all alive allied champions 3% health regen/5, 1% mana regen/5, 40 AD, 40 AP, and a sparkly blue trail after them :3.

Spawn Time: 2:30
Respawn Time After Death: 6 minutes
Benefits: 300 Global Exp, 190 Global Gold

Red and Blue Buffs
Spawn Time: 1:55
Respawn Time After Death: 5 minutes
Benefits: Red: DoT on auto attacks and slow
Blue: Mana/Energy Regen/5 and 20%-25% Cdr

Wolves, Wraiths and small Golems
Spawn Time: 1:40
Respawn Time: 1:40
Benefits: Gold and Exp

As you can see, Dragon and Baron Nashor give substantial buffs to your whole team, so it is important to ward them at all times.

Note: Slicing Maelstrom doesnt hit Baron. I've seen new Kennen players do this xD

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Lane Opponents

Kennen is extremely powerful in lane. Not only will you crush it, a lot of time I come out of the laning phase with 2 or 3 kills just from mid lane. Sometimes even kills from the jungler.

This doesn't mean you're invincible, though. If you get greedy for kills, the situation could be entirely reversed.

Common Mid Lane Matchups

She can outpoke you. When she does, try to poke her back, and use the double proc on W so you don't lose more health than she does. If her stun's up, then...try to poke her outside of her range? Don't get stunned...just don't...

EASY. Except you can't kill her without strong CC from your jungler, just start with Boots of Speed and dodge everything she throws at you. Attempt a kill when she is low on mana, because if she has 100 or more she's just going to spirit dash away. If she ults at you, don't worry, fight back! Unless you're low.

I don't your Flash to bypass her wall and don't dive her if her egg is up? Annoying, yes, but not actually difficult because her Q moves so...damn...slow.

Don't get hit. Get hit and die. Reals, if you get poisoned, Twin Fang will out-damage anything you throw at her, and her ult pretty much stuns you if you initiate.

Dodge everything and stand behind minions so he can't stun you. Be careful when you Flash > ult him, because he'll have a clear shot at you.

Either he's good, so he's not so much free food, or he's bad, and he's free food. I'd start with a Null-Magic Mantle to counter his Q, but you have to harass him more because Defile makes it scary to run up to him.

Don't lane vs him. Ban him if possible.

Uh...........what just happened? (I wanna put a video here to show you)

Her skillshots are slow. Slow, slow, slow, slow. So slow you can easily avoid them with E. Did I mention her skillshots are slow?

His ult doesn't cancel your ult, but your ult cancels his ult. Plus, he pushes all day, every day, so get a good gank and you're set ^^

Why isn't she banned? You need to get her really low to kill her, because Black Shield absorbs all your damage and stuns, so...

I hate Spell-Vamp quints...somehow he can nuke you down, and makes gap-closing impossible because of his W. You need the element of SURPRISE to get him.

His stuns are deceptively hard to avoid, but if he somehow can't stun you with his ult, then it's GG because his passive gives no Mres.

Bombs hurt. A lot.

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Duo Laning and Putting Kennen on a team

You were forced into a duo lane by a Karthus. What do you do now?

Duo Laning

Duo laning is essentially the same as a solo lane, as the meta here in the US has 1 tanky solo top who heavily impacts late game, a carry in mid lane, a jungler, and a support with usually a tank at bot, another carry if not a tank.
Example Team: Shyvana top, Amumu tank jungler, Kassadin mid, Karma support bot and Kennen as ap carry bot.
Not the best team comp for Kennen, but you get the idea.

Kennen goes great with every lane support, except Karma. Why?

Team Composition

I feel Kennen is best in an AoE heavy team, and strong against teams that rely on being in a cluster to be effective. Reason for this is, if you're forced to be inside a certain AoE range, Kennen will 5 man stun and eat you alive. And a few ranked games ago, I finally saw the power of Crowstorm and Slicing Maelstrom in action(me being the Kennen, ofc). It's HELL.

Example Team Members:

Nasus - (Stun them so they can't run from his Q that does OVER 9000 damage, also his ult is AoE)
Maokai - You can keep them inside the circle. Plus, the names match.
Leona - ...Do I really have to explain?
Nunu - ...Pentakill Nunu skin please

Mid(If you aren't)
Fiddlesticks - See ' Nunu', but better as jungler
Ziggs - See above. And he'll thank you for keeping them in one place while he blows them up
Galio - See a trend?

Soraka - AoE Mres debuff. Nice.
Graves - If for some reason you don't kill them with your ult, he will.
Janna - CC queen, fits almost every comp. Only thing is her lack of sustain.
Other AD Carries could work, but I dunno.

Fiddlesticks - Had to put him here again, because this is absolutely horrendous.
Gangplank - More AoE stuff.
Amumu - This is actually more overkill than Fiddlesticks, if all three are in the same team, it's probably best to surrender at 20.

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Other Builds

AD Kennen

See Temzilla's AD Kennen: Theory or Madness. Too lazy to write it :/

Tank Kennen

What do you achieve with this build? 3k Hp, 250 Resistances with Lightning Rush, and constant stuns that persist even if you die. Tankennen is will annoy your enemies all day, erry day. Very strong, and good if no one on your team wants to tank, you can do it as a last resort. Max R > E > W > Q, for resistances and team-fighting potential, as well as good poke in lane and harass. Probably should solo top.

Jungle Kennen

So apparently... Kennen can jungle.

Don't know what to say about this, I knew he had SOME potential as his ganks are STRONK(about the same as, say, Lee Sin's pre-6, and stronger than Fiddlesticks post-6.)

Anyway, here's Stonewall008 making a route.
/league-of-legends/item/wriggles-lantern-108 Revolver quickly so you can be more sustainable.

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Team Fighting

OK, so I'll just ask a quick question here:

What is Kennen's job in a teamfight?

Those who said nuke everyone down, that's wrong. Also too vague.

Those who said nuke down squishies, that's somewhat right. You should be focusing squishies as they have a ton of damage, stopping them in their tracks and leading to easy kills.

Those who said disable channeled ultis and squishies, that is the correct answer.

To clarify things up, let me tell you the specifics of Slicing Maelstrom so you can use some common sense for these answers.

1. It attacks a random enemy champion every 0.33 seconds. This means it can't focus down a squishy any better probably worst skill to try to focus anyone with...

2. It attacks a random enemy champion every 0.33 seconds. Yes, it's the same specifics as above, but it doesn's hit multiple champions at one time. That means you can't nuke everyone down.

3. It automatically stuns anyone caught by 3 bolts, but W, Electrical Surge, adds one, and Thundering Shuriken adds one, and since you should be initiating with Lightning Rush, you add another. Therefore, it's not even necessary to have all 3 hits hit your target.

Based on these traits of your ultimate, Kennen should disable first any channeled ultimates, and squishies second. Sorry Saintvicious, Kennen doesn't blow up squishies. :P

Also, something about Initiation...

DO NOT INITIATE. YOU WILL DIE. Only do it if your team needs you to. If you are the only one on your team capable of initiating, learn when to initiate, and how to initiate before doing so. Also, exchange Zhonya's Hourglass with Guardian Angel. You will need it because Kennen is squishy and will probably die if you initiate. Many Kennen players, when needed, initiate poorly or incorrectly, often leading to 4v5's and a loss where he was 20-0. The funniest thing I've heard was to pop your ulti and Flash in.


Flashing in is, no matter how fun, the dumbest thing you could do, because you will die in half a second, no joke. Been there, done that. Kennen is a TOP TIER initiator, imho. Why? Because of his Lightning Rush.

What does Lightning Rush do for you? Well, first of all, it does the second most damage out of your Q,W, and E, but since it's an AoE, it actually outdamages Q in teamfights! The second thing it does for your is mark all of the enemies hit with a Mark of the Storm. What does this mean? Well, you can instantly follow it up with Electrical Surge to mark everyone a second time. So now, you can use Slicing Maelstrom to insta-stun a random person on the opposite team, and pop Zhonya's Hourglass once you start taking damage.

It also pays to look at all the effects of a skill. Read the description of Lightning Rush. Notice that it gives bonus armor and magic resist. This will make your armor and magic resist shoot up, effectively stalling for long enough to utilize Zhonya's Hourglass and survive.

This may seem like a long process, but can actually be done very quickly. If possible, try to stall long enough to have 2 seconds left off the cooldown on your W so once you leave stasis you can simultaneously stun multiple enemy champions at once, then Flash out and throw Thundering Shurikens.

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In all, Kennen is a fun champion to play, and in the hands of an experienced player can carry a team to victory.

If you see something here that is wrong or have opinions to make this a better guide, tell me!

And now I need something to put here...^Ranked penta ^_^ May this guide help you do this

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Q: So why the certain core items and item order?
A: I picked this item order because if offers survivability in team fights, damage in a 1v1 fight, and the ability to survive from ganks. In team fights, Zhonya's Hourglass generally stalls long enough for the fight to be over, and if your team gets steamrolled before being able to do anything, well then, you are pretty much screwed yourself. Kennen MUST have a reliable teammate to help him duo the enemy team, or he's more useless than, say, AD Soraka. Luckily, Riot presented us with the option to duo queue in ranked, or invite teammates over for a normal game. Zhonya is used mainly to preserve stacks by not dying, but a Guardian Angel can be bought if you still don't feel safe. Rabadon's Deathcap is a staple item for mages and the rest are situational.

Q: Why do you get Mejai's Soulstealer in your core build? Isn't it like playing with fire?
A: I run it because I have absolute confidence that I can dominate the lane in my current elo(not ranked elo, just normal matchmaking. I still own sometimes in ranked though). But, there are some games where I don't use Mejai's Soulstealer because I end up feeding early game due to uncontrollable circumstances (stunned by Annie bot at tower, etc). Sometimes you just have a bad day. But the best way to get more stacks is to get better, and getting better comes with practice. If you don't feel comfortable with charging up stacks early game, then I suggest rushing a Rabadon's Deathcap just for the sheer AP, then continue on.

Q: I'm following your build and still losing games!
I once had a lose streak of over 10, regardless of how well I did. Hell, I even had flawless games and did my job in a teamfight, and I still ended up losing. But trust me, no build anywhere can make you god. That kind of thing only comes with skill and practice. Also, Kennen is not Akali. Just because you have a certain build doesn't mean you will win every game. There is never a right build, just suggestions that could help make your gaming easier.

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Thanks to:

jhoijhoi for her Making a Guide Guide. Makes this guide pretty :3
Hugenjpana for his Kennen guide. Really inspired me to make this! You can find it here
Whoever the Kennen picture at the top came from :p Riot I believe
Shurelia for her zoning tutorial
Thatgei for continually finding mistakes and fixing them for me!
StaticFX for tank Kennen idea :3
And you for reading! Thanks!

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To Do and Change Log

To do:

  • Add more champions to "How to lane" section
  • Videos and scores

Change Log:
11/23/11 Published Guide
11/25/11 Added Morello's Evil Tome
11/29/11 Added Guardian Angel, Abyssal Mask to tank items, added FAQ, added Initiation section, considering removing Mejai's Soulstealer from core/looking for good replacement
12/4/11 A ton of stuff. Remade Laning opponents section, added a build without Mejai's, Duo laning section, putting Kennen on a team, added Deathfire Grasp to situational items, TROLL BUILDS! (still viable), maybe more I forgot about.
12/21/11 More Stuff. Added Graves and...stuff
12/27/11 Updated Update Log
1/5/2012 Changed Troll Builds, Added Note at the end about how they are viable, went in-depth. Added temporary Hybrid Kennen thoughts for those who are interested.
1/14/2012 Made Quicksilver Sash core. It's too good and I needed the Magic Resist anyway. Updated Hybrid Kennen build.
1/15/2012 Fixed a few mistakes. Skills now have accurate range, but who really cares? :p
2/1/2012 Updated, added more champions on how to lane against, and removed unrelated builds because they work at 100% effectiveness. Not gonna lie, Tankennen is a pain in the ***.
2/8/2012 Fixed the duo laning/team comp section, added Jungle Kennen, etc.
2/15/2012 Kennen Nerf. Wtf. Changed skill order to reflect the nerf. Added something about it in skill stuff. Removed Hybrid Kennen section.