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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vuliev

Kennen, Shurikens, and Lightning

Vuliev Last updated on March 12, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 20

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 1

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Hey everyone! This is my first build on MOBA, and I figured I'd start off with my favorite champion!

As you read, please bear in mind that this is meant for players who haven't reached level 30. I myself am only level 16, but still wanted to share my experience playing Kennen and impart some of my methods of dealing with not having a full build.

For those of you looking for a full build, take a gander at Hugenjpana's guide here. It's absolutely excellent, and inspired me to make this one.

Now then, onto the guide!

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Pros / Cons

Excellent early game harassment
Can sprint like a boss
Can farm like a boss
Can mid/endgame carry like a boss
Can completely reverse the direction of a team fight (and wreck enemy morale in the process)
Throws shurikens and lightning, what more could you want? XD

Squishy even into late game, and susceptibility to crowd control exacerbates this
Aggressive Kennen play is brutally punished if the other team has two brain cells to rub together
Once you're rolling, the enemy team will often focus you down whenever they see you

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Summoner Spells

Core Spells

Ghost is a great spell, one that I use more or less on every champion. With Kennen, Ghost combos with Lightning Rush to let him tear across the map with insane speed, enabling you to dash into that team fight (or get the hell out of there when things go bad. :P) Moreover, you should ALWAYS get the mastery point in Haste when using Ghost--that extra speed and duration makes an enormous difference.

I take Heal because I'm still working on not being aggressive or greedy, and Heal has often saved me from hotheaded mistakes. Heal does, however, allow for a slightly more aggressive early game, and can decide whether or not you get first blood (or wipe the opposing champs in your lane.) For those of you just starting Kennen, I highly recommend this spell for the reasons I mentioned as well as its corresponding mastery point. For those of you who can keep up the pressure while avoiding damage, the next spell is, in the end, better:

Like I said before, crowd control is incredibly effective against Kennen. You can sprint like crazy, but that doesn't help when you have an entire team heaping slows, stuns, and snares on you like you're the White Stag. Likewise, Heal only prolongs your death in that event--which is where Cleanse shines. Paired with Ghost and Lightning Rush, this spell can let you escape from a multiple-enemy ambush.


What I've found is that many people prefer Flash over Ghost, regardless of champion. Flash is definitely useful, allowing you to pop into the jungle and sprint away from enemies, or pop behind a turret to get that last hit in on an enemy champion. I don't like it because the cooldown is longer than Ghost's, and it doesn't let me sprint into team fights when I'm across the map clearing minions. Use of this or Ghost is purely your preference.

Ignite is generally a good spell, but on Kennen I feel that it's more of a hindrance. Usually, you'd take Ignite to take advantage of Burning Embers and maybe get that 100HP runner, but you're displacing a spell (regardless of whether it's Ghost, Heal, or Cleanse) that's often crucial you your survival. If you usually take this on other champions, I urge you to trade it out for one of the core spells until you've played with Kennen for a long time.

As for the other spells you might consider, just no.
- Teleport has a huge cooldown compared to Ghost, and you're fast enough that you won't need it to get back to your lane. While it's strictly faster than Ghost when it comes to getting to a team fight, it's more or less a warning siren saying KENNEN IS COMING, EITHER GTFO OR BE PREPARED TO STUN THE EVERLOVING BAJEEZUS OUT OF HIM IF YOU WANT TO LIVE. Better to have the complete drop on a team at the expense of a few extra seconds of travel time.
- Exhaust is, in the end, worse for Kennen than Heal. At best, it'll let you get that last hit in (which is why we have Ghost/ Flash and Lightning Rush), and at worst, you're prolonging your death without the benefit of healing yourself.
- It should be pretty obvious why you shouldn't take the other spells, but feel free to ask in the comments anyway if you're genuinely unsure as to why.

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This is where my experience is most limited by my level. At 16, I have

Offense -- 9
3 Points in Archmage's Savvy , because every bit of AP helps
1 Point in Deadliness , so I can get to the next tier
4 Points in Sorcery, letting me get more stuns out with my abilities
1 point in Archaic Knowledge , because every bit of magic pierce helps

Defense -- 6
1 Point in Mender's Faith , to boost Heal's power
2 Points in Resistance
3 Points in Hardiness

Utility -- 1
1 Point in Haste , because it makes Ghost that much more awesome

This spread is what I recommend. For those under 16, focus on your Offense first; those nine points will stay there even until level 30. If you use Ghost, make sure you get haste as soon as Offense is done. Once those are done, finish stacking Defense. Obviously, don't get Mender's Faith if you don't use Heal. Levels 18-24 should focus on Hardiness, then Defensive Mastery.

As I level, I will continue to update this section with advice on where to go with mastery progression.

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This area is fairly flexible, and the items up top are only what I usually get. Often, though, my items and item progression are slightly different based on the enemy team's composition, and what I need to counter when I need to counter it.

Core Items

Doran's Shield is especially important for those new to Kennen because it provides a wonderful amount of early game (well, tbh, entire game) survivability. Health, armor, and health regen are very important for you, since you generally need to lane for a while early game. I'll get to that later.
2/2/11: Even with the change to Doran's, the shield is still your best bet, especially if you're mid.

Kennen thrives on magic penetration, and Sorcerer's Shoes provide a good amount of it.

Now, some people will recommend Boots of Swiftness, and I used to be one of them. I found, though, that the early game boost to magic penetration far outperformed the boost to movement. End game, by all means swap out speed for penetration, but in my experience you'll be too busy stomping people to bother. :)

Abyssal Scepter is absolutely wonderful against more magic-based teams, giving you a hefty chunk of magic resistance while giving you both AP and a magic-resistance-reduction aura! If you're in a lane against "good" to "strong" magic champions, get Negatron Cloak before your first Blasting Rod. If you're lucky, that might be enough to let you finish your other items first without rushing the Scepter. If not, oh well--just finish the Scepter.
2/10/11: For those of you going mid, you'll often face a caster or more magic oriented champion. Getting Abyssal Scepter on top of your boots really hurts that caster in mid by blasting through his MR while simultaneously keeping him/her from going through yours. By comparison, Void Staff wouldn't do a thing since its MPen is applied after all flat effects. On Kennen, the Aura is particularly effective because you'll be running through a fight, letting the Scepter do its thing while you do yours.

When I saw this come out in Caitlyn's patch, I almost died from joy. I usually play casters, so when I saw that Riot split Zhonya's Ring into two items and MASSIVELY boosted the combined power of the items relative to their cost--well, anyway, Rabadon's is the point of critical mass for you, where you start your reign of electrical terror. 155AP is just shy of a fully-charged Mejai's Soulstealer--and it's FLAT AP. Combine that with your total AP getting a 30% boost? *rahghraghrgahraghggagrhgrhagrhgarlahgalgh* *drools*

Anyway, that's the end of the "core" items. As you play any game, it's very important to buy items that counter the enemy team's composition and items and to adapt as that composition changes. That means changing up your item progression! Knowing how to do that is critical as you approach level 30, so learn it now while it has a chance to root.

Recommended Items

I was experimenting with the build recently, and on a whim decided to get Nashor's Tooth after Rabadon's. BEST WHIM EVER. It shot my AS up to about 1.4 and dropped half a second or more off of all my cooldowns. Since it gives AP, AS, and CDR, it's a great item for filling almost every role you could want on Kennen. That AS really helps charge Kennen's passive, letting you stun quicker and more reliably, and should you get Lich Bane as your last item, it'll help you land that proc faster. If you decide to build Nashor's, always get Stinger first--you need the AS and CDR more than AP.

This is my answer to everyone that says Kennen needs Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Mallet has more health and a much better and more consistent slow even without Nashor's. That said, only get Mallet if you have Nashor's--you want the attack speed of Nashor's before the health of Frozen Mallet, and that extra attack speed really brings out the slow and extra AD that Mallet gives.

Adaptive Items

Oh my god, Lich Bane. I remember seeing this in Veigar's recommended items, and never really thought much of it until playing a 1v3 against bots one day (it's a great stress reliever. :D) Anyway, I went to destroy a turret, and to my astonishment I did almost a thousand damage to a turret in a single hit. I went and read what LB did, then promptly realized HOLY GOD, KENNEN WOULD USE THIS LIKE A BOSS. To those of you who will inevitably say "OMG IT HAS MANA WHY WOULD YOU PUT IT ON KENNEN," I point you to the other properties it has:

- 80 AP
- 30 MR
- 7% Movement

100% chance when an ability is used that your next physical attack deals an additional 100% of your Ability Power in damage. This effect has a 2 second cooldown.

That last bit alone is amazing on any AP caster. Period. Combine that with great AP, good MR, and movement speed, and you have a one-yordle lightning cannon. Unfortunately, LB is prohibitively expensive, which usually forces players to get/finish it late in the game. By that time, though, you're generally winning (if you haven't already) so it turns into a "win-moar" item. Be that as it may, it's still lulzy to obliterate EVERYTHING with it, and it can swing a long-running game in your favor.
2/10/11: Definitely a "win-moar" item, from the game I played today. However, I have a suspicion that the game would have been considerably closer, possibly even a loss, had I not had Lich Bane to rip apart turrets. If you feel like you might need this to break a stagnant game, start working on Sheen as soon as you've finished your core, then finish out Lich Bane.

Merc Treads are amazing. Simple as that. If you're facing a caster/heavy AP team, go for these instead of Sorcerer's Shoes. Generally speaking, you won't need the extra MPen from the Shoes because they'll have low MR anyway, and the combination of MR and CC reduction is incredibly effective anti-caster material.

The other half of the two Zhonya's items, the Hourglass is very good (100AP ain't too shabby), but it's expensive. More often than not, this is an endgame item to keep yourself rolling in the face of heavy AD resistance. If you do get it, do not forget its active--you can use it during your ultimate. It's incredibly useful, and can very likely save you if you get locked down in a team fight.

Considering that I'm writing this guide for newer players, you'd think that I'd say "don't get this, it's too risky." That's partly true. Mejai's is extremely powerful, but is just as dangerous for inexperienced players to use. After you've played Kennen for a while, go ahead and try Mejai's. If you have trouble staying above 10 stacks, go back to a safer build and practice more. Ultimately, if you've settled on Kennen as your main, you want to use Mejai's every time.

tl;dr Practice with Kennen, then try Mejai's. If you do well, keep it. If not, practice more, then try again.

Many AP Kennen builds, and indeed many caster builds in general, use Rylai's. It's easy to see why: a good slow, a large chunk of AP, and 500 health as delicious health-y icing. Where I find fault with Rylai's, though, is the priority it often receives in the item progression. To me, the 1110 I spend on Giant's Belt is far better spent midgame on my core items. I know, I know, almost all of you are going to yell at me for basically saying "NO U" to a huge health bonus. To me, you shouldn't need it. My goal (and the goal of this guide) as Kennen is basically "Run in, stun everything, do tons of damage, and avoid getting focused down." If I sacrifice my ability to do damage just so I can live longer, then I end up failing my goal when it matters most: midgame. In midgame, most people only have one, maybe two magic resist items; getting Abyssal Scepter/Void Staff instead of half of Rylai's makes that MR useless. And if they don't get MR items, then I hit like Thor and help my team stomp on everything.

Focusing on your AP instead of on the slow lets you be far more effective in destroying team fights when it counts. You have the ability to stun-lock enemies, even in midgame--that is far more potent than a %15 slow (yes, %15! 3/4 of your abilities are AOE, remember?)

So, in my opinion, you should only get Rylai's as your last item, i.e. after Frozen Mallet, and that's only if you're in a deadlocked game against a bunch of mobile champs.

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I offer this advice to anyone under level 20 that's looking at this guide:

Don't buy runes until you reach level 20.

Why? Before 20, they're fairly ineffective for their price, and that investment is better placed in champions (diversity of play, and so you at least have someone else you like to play when Kennen isn't available.) Moreover, as far as I know, you can't upgrade the runes you have--you have to buy the next tier, and Tier 3 runes are expensive.

If you insist on buying Tier 2- runes, look for:

- Flat Health
- Magic Penetration
- Both scaling and flat AP

Again, I refer you to Hugenjpana's guide for a better discussion of the runes.

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Skill Sequence

I've worked through a few different sequences, and what's up top is what I finally settled on. First skill should always be Thundering Shuriken. Good damage for level 1, good range, and a short cooldown make this a terrific harassment spell. As for my second spell, it varies. I used to go for Lightning Rush for the sprinting, but you should hit level three fast enough to make that point moot. I suggest Electrical Surge as your second because it keeps you at range--something that I will emphasize in the next sections. Third spell is always either Rush or Surge, depending on what you got at 2. From there, get Thundering Shuriken until 5, then Slicing Maelstrom at 6.

After that, alternate between Surge and Rush (picking up Maelstrom when it's available), and then getting the last two Shurikens. Getting your AOE abilities to 5 first allows you to maximize your team-fighting potential, a crucial part of midgame.

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Skill Use



Something many players, new or experienced, may not realize is that Shift+Q/W/E/R will use that ability on it's current target. For skill shots, it fires the shot at your cursor. I abuse Shift+Q with Thundering Shuriken. If you master this, it will greatly improve your deadliness with Kennen. It's faster than aim-clicking, and you'll have faster and more accurate reactions during your harassing, which leads to more damage, see where this is going. I highly, highly recommend developing this skill, especially if you want Kennen as your main.


Timing is everything with Kennen. Surge, Rush, and Maelstrom provide you with a potent barrage of lightning to tear through enemies.

Basically, you should be using this whenever you're just moving around the map. It's a massive (albeit temporary) speed boost, and lets you get everywhere faster. When running to team fights, though, keep an eye on both your energy and Rush's cooldown. Rush needs to be ready once you get to the fight, and you need enough energy to drop Surge, Rush, and Maelstrom one right after the other.

2/10/11: Something that I haven't really seen brought up in any Kennen guide is the boost to armor and MR that Rush gives you (10/20/30/40/50 each!) In a game today, I used this in combination with Abyssal Scepter and Merc Treads to completely laugh at the combined (yes, combined) efforts of Malzahar and Ryze to kill me. If you ever get snared, pop Lightning Rush immediately, especially if you're about to get focus-fired. Rush's speed boost will last a couple seconds longer than the snare, and the damage that it shields will keep you alive longer to Ghost + Rush out of there (yet another reason that you don't need Rylai's to have survivability.) This only works for snares, though, so watch out for suppression/stuns and avoid them.

Using this is fairly easy to pick up. When harassing, use it whenever you can get another mark on an enemy, especially if it'll land a stun. The range on Surge is key, though, allowing you to automatically land Marks on every Marked unit in range. Kennen needs to stay at range to survive.

In a team fight, Rush in, Maelstrom, WAIT UNTIL YOU'VE LANDED A STUN AND ANOTHER MARK ON MULTIPLE CHAMPS, then Surge. I cannot emphasize how important it is to wait on that Surge. If you do it too early, you risk missing extra marks/stuns which could determine how many champions, allied or not, die in that fight. Once the enemy team is running, chuck Shurikens to stun runners and rack up more assists/kills.

In team fights, Maelstrom is excellent--it deals a ton of damage, makes lots of noise and confusion, the works. But bear in mind that using it on a single enemy can be beneficial. You'll often land a stun in under a second, with a second waiting on another Shuriken. You can use this offensively and defensively; stun-locking is wonderful for both escaping from a persistent enemy and keeping an enemy from running.

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- Stay ranged as much as possible. Combat-wise, only use Rush on un-championed creep waves, when an enemy overextends, or to run through a team fight.

- When going to a team fight, try to come from the side as much as possible. The sudden Charlie Foxtrot of Maelstrom, Rush, and Surge is a wonderful distraction, often causing the team to temporarily switch to you just as you land a stun on all of them. If you do a ton of damage/kill some of them in the process, it can crush an enemy team's morale. Lower morale = more mistakes = more food for your team = surrender. It happens quite a bit.

- Many people (rightly) recommend the Kennen goes mid. For people new to Kennen, though, I urge you to stick to a lane partner instead. It's generally easier for new Kennens to feed that way, and you'll avoid feeding whoever you would have faced in mid. Once you've played Kennen enough, and have good teamwork with a group of friends, try mid for yourself. You'll probably like it. :D[/color]

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Early Game

Grab Doran's Shield, then head to one of the outside lanes, preferably one with a tank or another stun/slow. Harass constantly; you should use Shuriken every time it's off cooldown, and once you get Surge use that as well. If the enemy overextends, work with your lane partner to punish them immediately. Stun, stun, stun until they're dead or recalling. This is a great way to get fed and deprive enemy champs of money/XP. Once you get enough to gold to buy your Sorcerer's Shoes AND you're level 6-8, go ahead and recall. Buy the boots and grab a Blasting Wand if you have enough money. Yay, midgame time!

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Mid Game

Focus on harassing, but amp up the pressure. Don't be aggressive--supah bad things happen when you're aggressive. You should have a few kills and assists by now, using that money to get Abyssal Mask and Rabadon's Deathcap. You should also be farming as many minions as you can, since the Rush/Surge combo should almost two-shot minion waves. Now, if at any time during midgame, you have a Blasting Wand and you have the money to buy a Needlessly Large Rod, buy it immediately. This puts you that much closer to Rabadon's Deathcap, and the faster you get that, the faster you can start steamrolling. Team fights should also start happening around this point, and you should try as hard as you can to be there. Don't, however, run to the aid of stupid teammates--this falls under the "aggressive" category, and it's SUPAH BAD. Hopefully that won't happen, and you'll just blast through properly initiated time fights like the little shurikens-and-lightning boss you are.

Once you have your core items, you have moved to the END GAME!!

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End Game

You have your Core Items, you're around level 14-15, it's time to go to town. Be there for EVERY team fight possible, as you are usually the single deciding factor in the fight's outcome. Keep the tips/tactics in mind though; remember, you are easily locked down and picked off if you're careless in a fight.

Pick your final items (I definitely recommend Nashor's, then Frozen Mallet) and farm minion waves to pay for those items when you have some spare time. End game is also very dangerous for you--if you're doing well at all, you will be hunted down if you're spotted. Ergo, don't be alone for long (generally only long enough for a couple minion waves, then move to another lane or jungle.) Push with your team, kill turrets, wipe the enemy team, all that jazz. Soon enough, you'll have a surrender or kill their nexus. :)

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Final Things

Some tl;dr:
- Shift+Q !!
- Harass, harass, harass
- Sprint everywhere
- Aggressive is SUPAH BAD D:

Something else to keep in mind is that while you can easily get kills when playing well, it's just as likely you'll get a TON of assists, but few kills. This is perfectly fine. Each of those assists is generally at least 1-1.5k worth of damage, and often when your team most needed it. Keep practicing with Kennen, practice that Shift+Q, and find your own harmony with Kennen. Once you do, you're a great asset to any team. :)

Again, this is my first guide, and I've tried to tailor it to mid-level players. I'll be updating this as I gain levels, and hopefully once I reach 30 I'll be able to provide new players with good advice on where to go with Kennen.

If there's anything that needs improvement, or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!