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Kennen Build Guide by Pallis123

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Pallis123

Kennen - Don't mess with flippin' ninjas! (AD top lane)

Pallis123 Last updated on January 2, 2014
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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

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Kennen - the Heart of the Tempest

There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way it goes. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Kennen is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Coursing the Sun - tirelessly conveying the justice of Kinkou.

Kennen was born in Bandle City and it is said that in his first living moments he bolted first from the womb and second from the midwife who delivered him. His parents had thought that he would outgrow his boundless energy, but as he matured, his energy found no limits and was matched only by his unnerving speed. Despite his astonishing gifts, he remained unnoticed (or at least uncaught, as he was quite the prankster) until, on a dare, he ran straight up the great outer wall of the Placidium. When word of this feat reached Kinkou ears, Kennen was quickly and quietly brought for an audience. He found that the role of the Heart of the Tempest suited him, frenetically delivering both the word and the punishments of the Kinkou across the realm. He now works with his fellows Akali and Shen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.
"The Heart of the Tempest beats eternal... and those beaten remember eternally."
Why would we play AD Kennen in top lane?

AD Kennen is a very, very solid pick for top lane and one of the only champs that has no true counter. Since most top laners are melee, you can easily harrass them with your auto-attacks and the occasional Electrical Surge and Thundering Shuriken. The reason why Kennen can play top and most other auto-attack reliant squishies can't, is because he can easily farm from afar with his Thundering Shurikens when he has a hard lane and he doesn't have to fear enemies running in on him because he can stun them. The same also applies to AP Kennen top, but playing AD makes for easier harrass because you don't need your Thundering Shurikens (which are easily blocked) to get decent harrass on your enemy. In the late and mid game you should play like a second AD carry for your team. You function slightly worse than they do as ADC (yes, you have a steroid on your Electrical Surge), but that's the only thing while other ADCs have a kit made for playing ADC. Overall, AD Kennen is godmode in lane and can shut down the enemy completely while getting good farm. Late game you are almost as good as an ADC, and should also play like one!

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Pros / Cons


Like every other champion in this game, Kennen has a few reasons why he is good to play. He can literally wreck his laning opponent and he is one of the fewer AD like champions with a built-in stun that's quite easy to pull off. If you get a little bit more experienced with Kennen, you can even stun your opponent twice in one fight. And besides this, Kennen is very fun to play! Who doesn't like running around as a little ninja yordle while dishing out good amounts of damage?


But Kennen, sadly, has his downsides as well. There is only one defensive item in this build and he is naturally squishy. Therefore he requires good positioning to be of use. If you get behind and you play against an AD bruiser (which is very likely), chances are you will get blown up and there is no chance to recover if they are any decent at zoning. The only thing you can do is farming with your Thundering Shurikens once so often. And AD Kennen isn't as good in teamfights as AP Kennen is.

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Offensive tree

We are playing AD Kennen and not AP Kennen, so attack speed is better than cooldown reduction.

This makes last-hitting minions a little easier. Can be placed in Sorcery for cooldown reduction.

Although we play AD Kennen, we still have AoE abilities to apply this passive to everyone.

Simple. AD Kennen needs attack damage. 10 attack damage at level 18 is good for three points.

4 flat AD is good early game as it makes for both better harrass and easier last-hits.

If you harrass well your enemy will constantly have less than 50% health. 5% increase? Yes please.

You deal damage with your spells and play AD. Keep up your harrass and this will help a lot.

If you play AD Kennen without getting a 5% increase on your AD, you're doing something wrong.

The armor penetration is good for your basic attacks, magic penetration helps with your spells.

You are a carry and need to deal damage, 'nuf said.
Defensive tree

Most top lane champions deal damage with auto-attacks. This starts to add up quite fast.

The little health you lose in lane, recovers some faster with this. Decent mastery.

Same explanation as for Block , and this also applies to spells and other ways of damage.

36 flat health can be the difference between surviving or winning an engage and dying.

You will be facing mainly AD based enemies, so armor helps a little bit.
Utility tree

I don't like going into the utility tree, because in top lane it is very important to be able to trade well with your enemy, and defense helps in that a lot more. If you prefer utility, you could use the next masteries:

A little bit more movement speed, which makes for easier kiting, better roaming and going to lane faster.

The other points in tier 1 utility are useless, but Scout is just a little bit better than the rest.

10% cooldown reduction on your summoner spells means you have Flash up half a minute earlier.

You benefit from both spell vamp and life steal. 1% isn't a lot, but one more health per hit adds up.

Don't dip any deeper into the utility tree than these masteries, you need the 21 (/ 19 if you want 3% spell vamp and life steal) points in offense.

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The two Greater Quintessence of Life Steal together with a Doran's Blade (and maybe a few points in Vampirism ) make that you get ~ 8 health back per hit, which should be more than enough sustain in lane. We also take one Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage to help in last-hitting under turret and trading.


Together these marks give you 9,55 more AD, which will be rounded up to 10. It's standard on every AD carry player. You might say "Why don't you run greater mark of hybrid penetration?" They are a good option too, but Greater Mark of Attack Damage is easier for last-hitting.


You wil most likely be facing an AD opponent in top lane (or at least one with physical damage), so flat armor helps you the most here. Greater Seal of Armor is the most cost-effective seal anyway. If you know you are up against an AP champ, you can go for Greater Seal of Scaling Armor.


If the enemy knows how to make a good team composition, you will most likely be facing either an AP based top laner, or an AP based jungler. In both cases the Greater Glyph of Magic Resist helps you in the early stages of the game, which is where you should farm up for a good late game.

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Summoner Spells

First spell: mobility

Your first summoner spell is - without exceptions - always one for your mobility. On Kennen Flash is better because you already have a built-in movement speed steroid in your Lightning Rush. If you know how to position properly, however, you could get away with Ghost for better kiting.
Second spell: offense / defense

There are in my opinion three viable options for Kennen:
I prefer Ignite as my second spell, because it gives way more killing potential in lane than the other options. However, if the enemy team has a lot of crowd control, you could pick Cleanse and Barrier is viable too for the same reason you use it on other ADCs.

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Champion Abilities

Skill order

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

This passive is what makes Kennen a viable top laner. Your abilities apply a Mark of the Storm to your enemy and the third stack stuns them for one second. Once you have your Electrical Surge passive and active up, throw them both on your enemy and then hit them with a Thundering Shuriken or your Lightning Rush to stun them. At level 6, when you have your Slicing Maelstrom, you can stun your oppent twice, normally resulting in a won fight.

You take a point in this skill at level 2 and leave it until you have maxed out your Electrical Surge. It deals ~ 75 damage which is equal to an auto-attack in the early stages of the game. If you are being zoned you can try to last-hit with this skill from afar. And it is of course one way more to apply a Mark of the Storm to your enemy and stun them.

This is your most important ability on AD Kennen. It's passive makes AD Kennen viable. Every fifth attack deals damage based of % of your AD, beginning at 40% and ending at a whopping 80% - it's like two auto-attacks in one! It's active scales with AP and deals magic damage, and also adds a Mark of the Storm, making it useful for stunning your enemy.

This is an awesome escape move with quite a low cooldown. It gives you 335 movement speed and makes you able to run through minions, so you can easily run away from a gank. In lane you can also Lightning Rush through your enemy to apply a Mark of the Storm. Remember, you can't attack while Lightning Rushing, so turn it off after you applied the mark!

Kennens trademark ability. As soon as you press R, you are surrounded by a storm dealing damage and applying a Mark of the Storm to every enemy it hits. It attacks the same champion up to three times, essentially being a stun on its own. This together with the stun from your other abilities, makes for a double stun and likely a kill at level 6.

Ability combinations

Electrical Surge + Electrical Surge + Lightning Rush (+ Slicing Maelstrom + Ignite)
The easiest way to get your enemy stunned, because you don't rely on hitting your Thundering Shuriken (skill-shot). You attack your enemy with a buffed auto-attack, then immediately rush into them like a wrecking ball. Afterwards immediately press E again, so you are able to auto-attack once more. Press W for Electrical Surge and watch them being stunned. Throw in one or two auto-attacks and back off. You should have dealt around 300 damage without taking an awful lot back. Add your ult and Ignite to this if you decide to go all-in at level 6.

Thundering Shuriken + Electrical Surge (passive) + Electrical Surge (active)
This combination can be applied in any following order you want. It allows you to stay at a safe range and still deal some good damage (~ 200). Once you manage to hit a Thundering Shuriken on your enemy, immediately try to pull this of. Remember you have energy, you can spam your abilities!

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Starting items

Since the preseason changes, you can start with a Doran's Blade and a Health Potion, literally giving you all you need for the laning phase: damage, sustain and some health. I highly prefer this option, together with the Greater Quintessence of Life Steal.

A Doran's Shield gives you a lot of sustain, and since you shouldn't be taking too much damage this is enough to help you out for the rest of the laning phase, hence you can immediately get your bigger purchases in terms of damage. The 100 flat health can make you survive all-ins as well.

Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potions is a great start on Kennen. You can rush your Berserker's Greaves, stay in lane for a long while and maybe even bait your opponent into thinking that you are going for AP Kennen anyway, making them waste money on magic resist.

10 attack damage and some potions. You can also go for a fast Vampiric Scepter this way. Although I find it to be a weaker version of Doran's Blade in lane, you can go this way if you really think you need the three Health Potions because you have a hard match-up.

First back

To pick the Berserker's Greaves and Vampiric Scepter up, you need - depending on what you started - ~1500 money. If you have got a kill and farmed up well, this should be possible. It gives you attack speed and a little damage for trades, and provides you with 10% lifesteal. The ward helps you to see incoming ganks. You also have movement speed to escape ganks (and roam, although roaming isn't that good on AD Kennen)

Core items

You should rush Blade of the Ruined King for a few reasons. First, the basic stats are all good for AD Kennen. Second, it's active and passive are very good for toplaners. Bruisers normally build a lot of health, and this way you will shred through them. The Bloodthirster, once stacked, gives 100 AD and 18% lifesteal, which is insane. After this item you normally have a huge power spike and should force teamfights. Always get wards.

Full build

After The Bloodthirster, get a Last Whisper. Most enemies will have armor by now and this diminishes the effect of armor a lot. Your fifth item is a defensive one, and I prefer Guardian Angel. Nice resistances, awesome passive. As a last item, I like getting Runaan's Hurricane. It gives a lot of attack speed, but we mainly get it for the passive. You now get 3 stacks of Electrical Surge every hit! Just like Caitlyns passive.

Optional items

You might wonder why I don't pick up Phantom Dancer / Statikk Shiv. Since we do nothing with critical hits in this build, that stat is wasted. They both give less attack speed than Runaan's Hurricane, and the movement speed is negligible. Runaan's Hurricane's passive is way better than those two. As last item, you can replace Berserker's Greaves with Zephyr. Mercurial Scimitar vs. heavy crowd control teams and Frozen Mallet if you need help with kiting.

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Laning phase

While laning as Kennen, you must keep two things in mind: 1. I need to get as much farm as possible. 2. I need to shut down the enemy toplaner.
First one is priority, but when there aren't any low minions close, you should throw some auto-attacks on your enemy. They must fear you. They must stay away from you, so they lose farm, and thus money. If they don't stay away, they will eventually be low enough for an all-in at level 6. But keep in mind, farm > harrass. Always take every last-hit you can before harrassing your opponent.
You can push your lane by Lightning Rushing into the minions and then using your Electrical Surge. Your enemy's turret will slowly go down and you have half a minute to roam to midlane. But don't do this without wards, otherwise the enemy Lee Sin might turn up behind you and knock you into their turret.
Mid game

By now you should have at least your Blade of the Ruined King, and maybe even The Bloodthirster. You should team up as 5 and force fights at dragon . If you are level 11, you have a level 2 Slicing Maelstrom which is very potent. You shouldn't dive into the middle of the enemy team like AP Kennen, because you don't have Zhonya's Hourglass. But as soon as someone jumps on you, pop it and watch them be stunned and die. Remember, you're playing like an ADC, shoot whatever is closest and don't rush for the carries.
Late game

This is where ADCs shine, so this is also where you shine now. If you have finished your Runaan's Hurricane, stunning the entire enemy team is so easy, just like you are playing Amumu without having to stay into the middle. Just use auto-attacks, press W and throw in some Thundering Shurikens and finish them off together with your team. GG.

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Word of thanks

There are a few people who I want to thank for giving me good tips / help for my guide. The first is, of course, jhoijhoi for her awesome guide on how to make a guide. The second is Maintained, for his comment on my Katarina guide with some useful tips.