Kennen Build Guide by Karkat
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Kennen is a very versatile champion. He's wonderful in team fights, and can be dangerous on his own if used correctly. He can go to the middle lane if needed, and is also very good at farming. If you're into a speedy mage character who has some added health to him, then this is a champion for you.
Kennen requires a very patient summoner who knows how to use spells in a sequence, and it does take some getting used to.
Remember, Kennen can be built various ways and this is my own personal view on him. I have dusted many champions with this build, and I just hope it can help you.
Pros / Cons
-Great team fighter
-Has various uses
-Huge burst damage
-Quick, and can stun enemies
-Has energy instead of mana
-Can be very squishy if not built right
-Tends to be focused down
-Energy usage takes getting used to
-Is meant for patient players, not reckless ones
Quintessences: The best Quintessence for Kennen is the Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. The reason behind this is because all of Kennen's main attacks are all ability power. When starting off with your Thundering Shuriken attack to harass enemy players, having that extra ability power just adds more to that harassment power that Kennen is famous for.
I have attempted to use other Quintessences such as Greater Quintessence of Health, but it doesn't provide the same benefits for Kennen. Yes, it may give him a larger window to survive since he is so squishy, but you can get that same benefit from items and seals, which I will cover in a moment.
Marks: In order for your ability powered moves to be more potent, you will need to have Greater Mark of Magic Penetration. This rune is pretty much the staple for every caster build, and is very self explanatory by itself.
Seals: When it comes to Kennen, he is a powerhouse that is a force to be reckoned with. But without some form of survivability, he is quite fragile and his power becomes limited. You can obtain the needed ability power from other runes and from items, but the Greater Seal of Vitality, which is my personal preference, is what you should go for.
You may have less ability power, but at least you can outlast other champions longer compared to if you didn't have them.
Gyphs: And lastly, our glyphs. I prefer to use the Greater Glyph of Ability Power over the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power.
When you start off early game against another champion, you want to put your harassing directly into play. The Greater Glyph of Ability Power allows you to quickly obtain large amounts of damage, while still holding an ample supply of defense from your seals, and your Doran's Shield. This then allows you to quickly kill off other champions, obtain items faster, and become a greater threat than if you used the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power.
Kennen is a wonderful thunder-ninja who does incredible damage, yet who needs some survivability. Too much cooldown reduction which can be found in the Utility tree will lead to fast energy consumption, which is terrible on Kennen.
Because of this, you want him to have some stable defense. I selected more health and armor overall since his Lightning Rush gives him both magic resist, and armor. Not to mention you can buy items that aid Kennen and give him more magic resist later in the game.
You can change the defensive tree around as you please, but the offensive tree is everything a growing Kennen needs.
Doran's Shield - This is your bread and butter when it comes to Kennen. Although Kennen is a wonderful AP champion, this item is key to his harassing. This item provides flat armor, health, and health regen. This allows him to stay in a lane longer, and outlast many mana users.
As I had stated in the introduction though, Kennen can be used for going middle. If that is the case, I suggest starting out with some Boots of Speed, and 2 Health Potion.
This will allow you to stay in the middle lane longer, and quickly move back with the additional speed from the boots. I'll get into laning later though.
Sorcerer's Shoes. This should be one of the first things you buy after coming back from a lane. A lot of people tend to go for making a core item first before the boots, but I enjoy some additional spell penetration and movement speed. Why? Well it allows your abilities to dig a little deeper when harassing, and allows you to get back to laning, and escaping from dire situations a lot quicker.
Mercury's Treads This is also viable when going against teams with high crowd control. If that isn't the case though, I'd suggest always taking the previous choice, especially if you have Cleanse.
Hextech Revolver After purchasing the boots and laning for a while, you should buy this item next. This item will provide additional burst damage, along with some healing after you use any of your various moves. It will then later build into Will of the Ancients to provide you and your team some additional spell Vamp.
Mejai's Soulstealer I used to use this bad boy all the time when I first started playing Kennen, and it brought me wonders with its' ability power stacks. After becoming a higher level though, I noticed more and more deaths with Kennen, and wondered why. The reason is this is a very situational item. If you truly feel that you do not need spell vamp, and that you want more of an AP boost, and that you're not dying at all and you're easily killing the other team, then by all means use this instead of the Hextech Revolver. If that isn't the case though, then stay away from this. Otherwise, you're just going to be missing out on a lot of AP and survivability.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter This is what will help you live longer, perform additional damage, and slow your enemies. It's pretty much everything that Kennen wants wrapped all up into one item. If you hit someone with a Thundering Shuriken, they become lowed, and usually dead. If you don't have enough money for it right away, try buying the Giant's Belt, then the other items until you have enough to buy it.
Rabadon's Deathcap People tend to build for this right away due to its' high AP boost for instant burst damage, but doing so keeps Kennen squishy and easily killed. I tend to make this after the previous items so that after being able to survive and harass people, I can now burn them down without blinking while still being able to live a decent amount of time. If you do not have enough money for this, always buy the Needlessly Large Rod.
Zhonya's Hourglass This is usually one of the last items I aim for with Kennen. This gives you a larger range of burst damage, followed by an anti-focus ability. Basically during a team fight, if you are about to die due to focus fire, you can quickly use this item and live 2 seconds longer. Amazingly, that can make or break a team fight, or give you the chance to quickly Flash away after it wears off.
Void Staff This item works wonders on tank-heavy teams, or teams who know that you are the bane of their existence. Around 2000 gold, just sell your Doran's Shield and place this bad boy in its' place. Not only does it give you more AP to do a little more with your abilities, but it also gives you 40% penetration to break through your enemies defenses.
Abyssal Mask This item is really good if you are going against a heavy AP team. It's also nice if the team is both AP, and full of melee who are wearing magic resist gear. Honestly, go for it if you're dying mostly due to magic users more than needing to break some tanks.
Thundering Shuriken - This is your money maker when it comes to Kennen. It will be what you use to harass your lane, and will wreak havoc if you use it correctly. Make sure to aim it correctly, and determine where your enemy will move next. I tend to run back and forth at a safe distance from the enemy, and throw it where I believe they will move next. Make sure to try and have a space between your enemy, and their minions when throwing these.
Electrical Surge - This will be your second source of damage, and harassment. After hitting your enemy with your shuriken, you will want to follow this up with this move. This will cause two marks of Mark of the Storm to be put upon your enemy. Following that up with another Thundering Shuriken will stun them, and refund 25 energy to you. The trick to this is to always watch your energy bar, and how low the enemy is. If you can time this variables right, it's generally a guaranteed kill, or at least them basing and missing out on gold + experience.
Lightning Rush - This ability will help you live longer, get to places faster, and help in team fights. Always use this ability wisely due to its' energy consumption, and the risk it may place you at when it is over with. This ability can be used to place marks on minions, and a Electrical Surge followed by that will get you some decent gold. This ability can also be used on enemies who get too cocky, are away from their turret, and are on low health. Generally I use this on enemies who are low and are trying to get away, or have 2 marks of the storm and can be finished off with a stun. As a reminder, always try and use this ability to get behind weakened enemies to finish them off, or to get away from dangerous encounters.
Slicing Maelstrom - Your ultimate, the sound of this will have your enemies turn around and run in fear. The more ability power you have, the more devastating it is. I only use this when we initiate a team fight, or if I am desperate and have no other means of escape when fleeing from an enemy. It can also be used if needed when you're toe-to-toe with another enemy.
So in general, this is what all of this should look like when summed up into battle.
One vs One - Thundering Shuriken -> Electrical Surge -> Thundering Shuriken -> Electrical Surge -> Thundering Shuriken -> Electrical Surge -> Lightning Rush -> Then if the enemy is low, finish them off with a Thundering Shuriken or an auto attack / Ignite.
Depending on your opponent, it may take more exchanges of the Shuriken and Surge to get them that low to finish them off, so keep that in mind. Your rotation may also change due to energy levels, which you should keep at a reasonable amount so that you're not fresh out of abilities.
Team Fight - Attempt to get a Thundering Shurikenoff a few times on either one, or several enemies before you engage, then make sure you have at least 90% energy and rush in with a Lightning Rush. Make sure you do this when your team actually engages, and you're not the one engaging the fight. If you engage the fight, you're more than likely going to die from being focus-fired. After that, activate your Slicing Maelstrom and follow it up with a Electrical Surge, preferably when they are very low on health. Then just rinse and repeat on the survivors minus your ultimate, or finish off the lone survivor with a Shuriken!
For Kennen, I love using Ghost and Flash. Many people do not pick Ghost due to the fact Kennen can run extremely fast with Lightning Rush, and they could get more damage in with other spells. I tend to pick it because during many fights, you will be the prime target and the Ghost spell can quickly get you out of those situations. It also lasts longer, and can be used to get you to places quickly as well.
I use Flash for the same reason. It allows you to get out of situations very easily, or to catch an escaping enemy. Using both of these spells in conjunction with one another can really save you from a lot of deaths, and achieve more kills than you ever could with the other offensive spells.
Ignite - There will come times when you are low on energy, and your enemy is super low on health and are escaping. This has helped me in the past in these situations, but I find using the primary two to help Kennen out a lot more.
Surge - Not bad for the slight ability power gain, but the attack speed bonus is absolutely useless on Kennen.
Exhaust - In situations where you get chased down by a tryndamere, or have an enemy you want to keep in range, this isn't half bad. But honestly, Kennen can stun and this ability can be rather useless compared to the others you can choose from.
Cleanse - This one is actually quite good for Kennen if you don't plan on getting him defensive items. It has gotten me out of tough spots before, so it definitely is something to think about.
Kennen is best placed with someone else who can aid with his harassing skills, or take the hits for him. You also want to try and be with someone who isn't going to hog all the minion kills. Generally, Kennen is best against melee champions, or champions who can't hide behind minions too well.
If he is placed against a ranged caster or AD champion, he can still succeed but with slightly higher difficulty. Just remember to keep harassing your target, remain patient and only attack minions for last hits, and always remain defensive. An aggressive Kennen can get killed easily while laning, and it usually leads to a game where you fed the enemy champion, and you do not get to see the true power of Kennen. Kennen is a champion whose power is revealed through being defensive, and attacking when the time is right.
As as I had stated previously, it is viable for Kennen to take the middle lane. In this situation, it is the same deal. Remain defensive, and harass your enemy. Make sure that if you go against an enemy you struggle with that you switch with someone from another lane who could take them down easier, you don't want to feed the enemy team.
When it comes to minion farming, Kennen can really get the job done. But, you must always be careful when attempting to farm minions. Upon obtaining Lightning Rush, you can activate this ability, run through minions, then use Electrical Surge to either kill them off and get gold, or get them low so that you can auto-attack them all down to get the gold.
Be sure to do this carefully though. Do not do this if there is more than one enemy near these minions, unless you have a reliable partner nearby, or they enemy is low or unable to stun / kill you. Although Lightning rush may make you super fast, and give you additional armor + magic resist, it also strips you of your energy, and leaves you vulnerable after it is complete. Make sure to be in a safe spot after you have completed using this ability.
Kennen is a champion that takes some getting used to, and he requires much attention. Always make sure when using a Lightning Rush to either catch up to allies, or just to get to a part of the map faster, that by the time you arrive to a specific area, you will have enough energy for a battle.
Energy is what keeps Kennen lethal, and if you use his abilities without paying attention to his energy, you can become very vulnerable. Make sure that you don't spam your abilities left and right, and that you use them at reasonable moments.
Also, Kennen is a ninja. At the start of games, use your Shuriken to check bushes if there are enemies within them, and also hide in bushes and wait for enemies. When they are in range, use a Shuriken upon them and stay within a safe area of said bush. This can cause some of the best sneak attacks, and harass your enemies more than you could just running around in a lane in plain view.
With that being said, I hope this guide helped you and remember: "Balance in all things!"