Kalista Build Guide by Saarlichenbog
[Patch 10.25b] ~COMPLETE GUIDE for Kalista Top~ [WIP POSTPONBy Saarlichenbog | Updated on December 28, 2020
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Runes: HOB ~ Standard Kalista Top
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Squishier Matchups
Threats & Synergies
Malphite is a natural counter to most marksman due to his ability to stack armour extremely effectively. He will usually have enough sustain in lane to outsustain your poke with his passive and outscale you once he hits his ultimate.
Probably the worst offender and greatest counter to Kalista top. His passive makes it extremely hard to poke him with its increase armour and %max hp regeneration. His Q reduces your already non existent armour in the early game essentially dealing true damage and his W clone can remove all of the stacks on him and place them onto his clone, making your rend stacks on him worthless if not timed correctly. His E is an amazing gap closer to your passive and his ultimate completely immobilises you, rendering you helpless to his burst. Avoid this matchup if possible or ban.
Jax almost always outscales you post level-6 no matter how the lane played out. His E allows him to stall out until this point and has a great in-built gap closer with his Q later into the game making it extremely hard to get him off you. This matchup is definitely a tightrope.
Poppy fits the criteria of all of the others listed in this category. She has great sustain in her runes and passive, she outscales you at level 6 as well as at 3 items, and her W completely immobilises you. In tandem with her E which allows her to stick onto you like glue, you end up feeling completely zoned the entire game.
Darius can be super oppressive in lane but can be won with proper knowledge and execution of the matchup. As a ranged champion, Darius relies on pulling you in with his E to pull off his combo. It can be extremely tempting to move up in lane for creeps but you will most likely get run down by Darius who typically takes a combination of Ghost and Nimbus Cloak which makes it impossible to escape his E. Spacing between each other and freezing the wave properly under your tower will limit Darius's ability to bully you in lane until you outscale him at 3 items.
Sett used to be a relatively even matchup in S10 but one item in particular that is being used a lot on him, Prowler's Claw, removes a lot of the counterplay Kalista initially had against him. However, without PC the matchup boils down to timing your E rend after his shield disappears after using his W. His E should not be in range of your autos without PC and hence he will find it extremely hard to land his ult on you.
Another Prowler's Claw user but also tends to swap in for Eclipse, Pantheon recently received a buff which made him top tier in 3 roles meaning this matchup won't always be this difficult. At the moment however, most champions cannot keep up with his laning pressure and roaming potential which always makes him a threat. He also scales much better this patch than he used to but as long as he can't get too far ahead in the beginning then you tend to outscale him quite easily.
Rengar is a serious laning threat and can keep up with Kalista's pressure. Like Pantheon, it's more or less his roam potential which really sets him up for success, something which Kalista can't keep up with which is why as long as he doesn't get too far ahead early then Kalista should be able to naturally outscale him by 3 items. Playing away from the bushes in laning phase as a way to make his main gimmick his passive useless in lane.
Olaf is known as the melee bully equivalent of the top lane. You are essentially both competing for pressure the entire lane which can sway either way. Both Olaf and Kalista have tools they can use which can give them the one up in the matchup, but ultimately the power in Olaf's ultimate gives him his scaling spike earlier in the game than Kalista and if utilised correctly can stop Kalista from scaling before the end of the game if the matchup is dead even. If he misses his Q early on, use the opportunity to make a long trade as he will most likely greed for the axe reset.
Camille is a top tier lane threat at the moment. She has everything you want in a top laner; a great laning phase, great mobility, great roam potential, great lockdown and her late game true damage hits like a TRUCK. Kalista can definitely keep up but she's not as overloaded as Camille is which can downplay her advantages. Her entire combo can be seen by how she stacks her Q early on however so there are plenty of windows to predict her movements in lane and space accordingly.
Gragas has good sustain and mobility in lane but it's not as great as some of the other champs mentioned higher in priority. As a result, you will almost always see him take Phase Rush as a rune setup which means you can easily predict his combo if you know what to look for. As he will always throw out his Q first, there is a small period where he needs to finish the animation before he can queue his E to ensure he proc's Phase Rush. If he fails his Q, you have a short period to make an extended trade and make advantages in the lane before it comes back up as he will not be able to run effectively outside his short range E. Be careful of his ultimate displacement under tower as this can really be a lane changer if you are caught out. This lane is all about knowledge of the matchup.
With one of the highest base armours in the game, he doesn't need any abilities to survive you in lane. However, this doesn't mean he can repel you in the early stages of the game with his lack of mobility which makes it extremely easy for you to poke him out early. He outscales you at 3 items but without lane presence more often than not he won't be able to reach them if the game snowballs hard enough. Even with these items you still have a chance with the new Kraken Slayer mythic to kill him later on, but he threatens to have more team impact with his passive which enables his allies to kill you instead. It is fittingly an even matchup.
Maokai's sustain rivals yours but his tankiness is unmatched. He outscales you later and seemingly sticks on you like glue later in the game with the short CD of his W which sets up a sequence of CC which chains you to a single spot and rendering you useless. However, you can absolutely take over the laning phase against him in a 1v1 scenario with his sustain lacking until he gets Spirit Visage. With his early game being his weakest point, taking advantage of his low damage early on allows you to outduel him and possibly stall him off his items until much later on in the game which isn't feasibly reliable for him in the fast paced meta we are currently in. It's a little difficult to play into this matchup later on but it's generally not a one-sided matchup.
Although Kayle could be a major threat, ultimately without her being absurdly overtuned at the moment she essentially goes dead even with Kalista at most stages of the game if not slightly favoured for Kalista when considering last season. Kalista bullies her slightly more early game although Kayle has reasonable sustain through it whilst late game its flipped except Kalista doesn't completely fall off and can keep up quite well. It's just a matter of skill.
Akali is a pain to play against but that's literally all it is. It may be fustrating to figure out what's happening when she seamlessly pulls of a full rotation of abilities but once you can identify her trading patterns then it straight up becomes a skill dependent lane. Playing around her W shroud and her E engage will allow you to predict her play patterns and use that to your advantage.
Lucian and Kalista have a rivalry for lane bullying in the bot lane and its no different in the top lane. A skilled Lucian top will beat a skilled Kalista top and visa versa because of the similarity in their kits, a long range high base AD Q, mobility and early game orientated gameplay. Avoiding the long ranged poke of Lucian's Q early game will ultimately be the thing to set you up for success as he is a little better at poking you out of lane when he lands his Q consistently. Otherwise, a matter of best wits and game knowledge between the two will be your best bet to win the lane ultimately leading to one or the other dominating the rest of the game.
Kled currently feels like a less underwhelming version of Camille in lane. The Kled vs Kalista matchup is singled down to whoever can jump on the other first as that will enable that champ to pull of their full combo without the other champ being able to really respond to it. In Kalista's case, having at least 3-4+ spears in Kled if he misses his Q can easily drop him to his weaker form which is extremely easy for Kalista to take advantage of. In mounted form however, if Kled lands his Q followed directly by his E, Kalista isn't able to kite away from the 2nd instance of Kled's E before his Q slows for a decent amount and applies a healing debuff, both of which can be disastrous to Kalista in an effort to fight back. Simply, it's a skill matchup.
Jayce is a weird matchup because his ranged form is super oppressive at the moment but his melee form is more or less a minor threat. Kalista typically tends to win lane and then the scaling game as long as you avoid Jayce's deadly E+Q poke combo in ranged form which can deal up to 1/3 of your HP at max range at almost double your range.
This matchup is slightly Kalista favoured because of how easy it is to read Yone. However, he has a decent amount of sustain and does have better scaling ultimately compared to Kalista. As long as you know how much limit testing Yone is able to achieve, then this should be Kalista favoured by acknowledging the damage on his E form. Otherwise, every other ability should be a split second too slow to reach your kiting including his bread and butter abilities being his Q and ult.
Renekton is borderline a minor threat alongside Mordekaiser and Teemo. Kalista top is commonly used as a counter to Renekton in high elo but for the sake of Kalista top as a whole statistically it is an even matchup. However, there's not really any way Renekton should be able to get on top of you as his E can be read easily allowing you to kite before he can get in range and essentially nullify his damage completely.
Mordekaiser is borderline a minor threat alongside Renekton and Teemo. Although not entirely a free matchup, a decent Kalista will be able to dodge every single skill shot seeing how slow all his abilities are with a 0.5-1 delay. By the time he hits 6, accumulating enough gold to buy his one counter item, QSS, completely nullifies any chance he has of winning the matchup to which all you need to do is farm and outscale him.
Teemo is borderline a minor threat alongside Renekton and Mordekaiser. Everything Teemo is trying to do Kalista can almost do better in every regard, whether thats poking him out of lane, kiting, out DPSing in lane or scaling into the midgame. The only thing that you should be weary of in this matchup is playing around his Q blind and the threat of his shrooms/passive invisibility when he hits level 6. Otherwise, this is Kalista favoured.
Typically a very easy matchup for Kalista to out trade in lane and outscale towards the late game by outkiting him and reading his very predictable E pattern. However, he definitely teamfights better than you with his ultimate and builds Zhonyas relatively early.
Very similar to Kennen but essentially the AD Tank version. He has a very predictable E pattern which is easily kitable. He has the threat of Mega Gnar, but the passive bar is easily readable and then you just have to care not to get caught in his ultimate as he does teamfight better than you.
This is a slightly Kalista favoured matchup. The two main things that could turn this matchup in Tahm's favour is knowing that he can compete with Kalista's level 1-3 powerspike and his E thickskin which can soak up an unexpected amount of damage. Otherwise, by simply being able to dodge his Q skillshot, Tahm doesn't really have any other tool to get on top of you and coupled with his bad scaling allows you to win this matchup.
Sion might be a tank, have lots of CC and seemingly a lot of sustain which would make him higher up in the list of threats. However, his kit is so poorly designed for when Kalista jumps on top of him to which she can exploit all of the weaknesses he has, rooting himself in his Q and his very narrow E skillshot. By either demolishing him in lane or itemizing correctly, Sion will always be a step behind Kalista.
Quinn's playstyle is the most similar thing to Kalista top. However, Quinn wants to kite away from her target and damage them periodically, at least until she gets Prowlers Claw while Kalista always wants to go in regardless. This means that Kalista will always end up having the lane advantage in this matchup which means when Quinn wants to engage on her she exposes herself to Kalista's full combo. Quinn's best shot at winning the lane is to get an early gank off and threatening lane prio or building crit to outscale, but neither options are optimal into playing against Kalista's trading pattern making her sub-class.
Zac also falls under the category of tank with lots of CC and sustain but heavy reliance on his E to get on top of Kalista. Having a good grasp on Kalista's passive mechanic and reading his moves is going to set you up for success, as well as the fact you outscale him outside of teamfights.
Aatrox is yet another victim of heavy sustain bot with a heavy reliance on his E to gap close Kalista. Otherwise, he will almost always rush Plated Steelcaps if he even wants a chance of existing in lane. Straightforward matchup by learning the basics of Kalista top's playstyle will basically make this matchup borderline tiny.
Irelia is falls into the exact same category as the aforementioned. She must sustain through her passive and use her Q on minions constantly/land her E to close the gap on Kalista. For Kalista to win the matchup, the main focus of the lane should be utilising your insanely fast wave clear to stop her from stacking her passive and jumping on top of you. From there, she has almost no presence which can be easily taken advantage of.
Apart from his W, Shen suffers from being able to sustain himself in lane which is why he will almost always take Doran's Shield with Biscuits in lane, already giving you the advantage in runes. Otherwise, he is solely reliant on landing his E to even have a chance at getting on top of you. If he misses this, he usually dies as his passive is ineffective at blocking all of the spears that are stacked into him regardless.
The only gimmick Warwick has in this matchup is frequently spamming his Q to sustain himself enough to survive lane, not even being able to consider sticking on you for a kill outside of a gank. Proper wave management and an early executioners will do wonders in this matchup.
Although he was a little higher in threat last season, he did not make a good transition into the new season. There are no particular items which he can fully utilise which is why his laning phase went from decent to atrocious. Knowing that he will often place barrels in bushes right next to you in lane, you can deny a major part of his damage, leaving him to poke in his Q to either poke you or CS, both of which expends a lot of mana. HIs only sustain is in his W which is why this matchup should be won through better itemization.
Fiora is very reliant on hitting her vitals or else she has to land her W on you to beat you in this matchup. Otherwise, she has to save her Q for when you want to trade or else she won't be able to survive in lane for very long which how much immediate damage you deal. More often than not, just getting Fiora to back often wins the matchup as she desperately needs levels to be relevant in the game.
Vayne is another marksman who is very effective against other top lane champs, but you are the rock to her scissors. Yes, she will outscale you but she basically has to concede the entire laning phase unless she wants to never be relevant in the game. This lane is extremely free and although you are at danger of losing the later the game goes on, the lead you accumulate from the free lead should be enough to end through objectives rather than kills. Advice is that you should avoid sticking to walls to make her E less effective and you should be looking to all in her as soon as she tumbles with Q.
Volibear suffers from a lack of sustain in lane outside of his runes and W. If you kite out of his primary engage combo of E followed by Q, he then has almost no way of retreating which is why its so easy to punish him for playing aggressively. This lane focuses more on letting him be more aggressive as he tends to get outscaled either way.
Urgot has some effective poke in the form of his Q. However, he suffers from the same problem as Volibear when he engages with his E that he has almost no way of leaving a bad trade. Predicting his E engage is the best way to win favourable trades and win the lane.
Illaoi's entire kit is based of the fact that she can land her E on you. Due to the amount of ease of kiting around minion waves, by learning how to dodge the skillshot is your entire focus. If she manages to hit you, the advantage is you can get out more easily than others as you already are more spaced from her than a melee champ would be with the addition that you can kite out of it fast, basically denying her bread and butter combo.
Riven is extremely vulnerable to 'all-in' trades. In lane, usually around her Q2 or Q3 she tends to blow most of her mobility spells which is perfect for Kalista. Riven is also relies on overlevelling her opponent to snowball which is why as long as you don't hand her any early kills then she basically cannot outscale you before the end of the game.
Yasuo's entire lane presence is dependent on the state of the minion wave. This matchup ultimately boils down to wave management and freezing under tower to deny him the chance to jump on you. This also prevents him from being able to escape a full combo and use his one utility spell, his W windwall. Because of the fact his W has such an absurdly long CD, its prime to just go ham on him during this time to which he can basically not respond until he hits a couple items later on in the game.
Anti-healing is Vladimir's kryptonite. Investing in an early executioners and committing to full trades after he's used his W pool is going to be your key to success. He might be a late game monster, but he definitely cannot hold his own against a Kalista lane. Even once he's hit level 6, he will find it extremely hard to not play aggressively during this time, a prime time to take advantage of the matchup.
Cho'Gath is barely a threat in lane with his poor base armour. Take advantage of him missing his Q for an early lead. He has relatively poor CC, poor base stats but good scaling. Outside of his poor sustain through his passive, there isn't really a way for him to win outside of ganks. Kraken Slayer is a must in this matchup for the late game as his natural scaling overtakes past 6 stacks of his ultimate which is why you have to play the lane to stall it as long as possible and get your items as fast as possible.
Tryndamere doesn't get to lane against Kalista or at least he shouldn't be able to walk up to a wave without some form of punishment as there's literally nothing he can do to respond until he hits level 6. If he engages on you before 6 with his E then it's almost a guaranteed kill with almost no way to disengage unless you don't properly know how to utilise Kalista's passive which is crucial in this matchup. Once he hits level 6, you just have to be a little bit more cautious about the extra survivability he instantly gains and he will try to gain back some gold to scale by running you down with ghost during this time. This is where you just need to manage your wave under tower and proceed to scale up.
Heimerdinger loves to bait you into his turret setup which is his primary form of DPS. There are several phases to the lane to ensure he doesn't take over which can be done pretty easily if managed correctly. Removing his turrets upon placement is crucial as he has a small delay between placing each new turret this being your time to full combo him. Once he hits level 6, there's always the threat of him double-casting which is why at this point you should start playing more defensively for items. Finally, when he hits Zhonyas it becomes incredibly dangerous to try and solo kill him but he will more often then not be pinned to one lane which means you can then translate your lead into more map impact.
Singed basically never lanes you and prefers to proxy until level 6. Cutting him off early from this tactic forces him away from one of his strengths of halving your wave safely before reaching tower. He will find it very hard to kill you in lane without help, but admittedly he has great setup from his W. Otherwise it's wave management to win this matchup and outscaling him.
Ryze is underwhelming in the lane phase with his only real strength being his wave clear. Your wave clear is actually stronger than his meaning taking one sided trades after he uses his E prevents him from trapping you with his W and proc'ing his Phase Rush rune. He will prefer to cede the lane to you and look to scale so it's a matter of choice, but Kalista should win this lane regardless.
Technically Viktor is regarded as quite a strong pick at the moment but his strength mainly comes from the new items and being unbounded from his old Hexcore items from last season. He has a pretty weak trading pattern early on so taking full advantage of this will allow you to remain one step ahead of him all the time until he outscales you at 30 mins+.
Nasus is borderline a tiny threat because he doesn't actually have any lane agency of his own. But, his W is seen by the Kalista community as one of Kalista's biggest weaknesses because of how it messes up with her passive. This matchup really just boils down to not being caught out by his great gank setup through his W and outscaling later on, but you should be denying him from stacking at any time of the laning phase outside of ganks that will come with a Nasus vs Kalista lane. Tracking the enemy jungler is the requirement here.
Yorick and Nasus are essentially the same. In a Yorick vs Kalista lane, the setup for ganks from Yorick's E which has a pretty slow cast time and the lockdown of his W which you can jump... over is the only way he win with no agency of his own outside his ult maiden which has an absurd CD for the stats it provides.
Sylas is the honourable mention for being the most useless pick against Kalista. On paper, Sylas should be waaay higher up on the threat list with the amount of inbuilt sustain and mobility he has in his kit, not to mention the fact that he can steal one of the best utility ults in the game from Kalista. But simply, Sylas get's punished too hard for overtrying. Baiting out his E charge makes it extremely easy to dodge the slow cast of the second charge to then reengage back on him. The problem with his W is that it propels him forward into Kalista which isn't really helpful unless you have a death wish. Kalista has more mobility, more consistent DPS and later on better sustain than Sylas, not to mention the fact that he gets outscaled hard. When he does manage to steal your ultimate he can feel like a coin flip if your team wasn't drafted properly with good engage or utility. It just feels bad to take Kalista ult as Sylas in general and is most of the time working against the flow of Sylas's kit, something that should just not be played into a Kalista.
The worst matchup into Kalista by far goes to Rumble. With some of the worst amour stats, until Rumble gets a Zhonyas on him he basically gets one shot by literally any AD champion, regardless if they are an assassin. To compensate, he has an insane amount of burst, but no consistent damage and the current season 11 items feel even worse on him than the season 10 items did. Rumble has no laning phase essentially out of mediocre poke in his E, a non-existent "sustain" shield in his W and a passive that leaves him wide open to be exploited by champs with mobility to take advantage of that period, and Kalista is one of them. Kalista should always win this matchup with Rumble having no real mobility outside of his W "speed boost" and plenty of weaknesses that Kalista thrives on. For all you Rumble players out there, dodging in champ select when there is a Kalista is your best option at saving LP.
Nunu & Willump
It disrupts Kha'zix stealth, sending Kha'zix flying into the enemy team where he cannot isolate anyone and ends up as a very dead bug. Even when using Kalista's ult defensively, it almost completely opposes the 'going-in' playstyle of Kha'zix which ends up being counterintuitive having him live on a sliver of health and unable to reengage.
Champion Build Guide
Why Play Kalista?
Why Play Kalista Top?
Understanding your Top Lane Matchups
Kalista's primary strength is her Rend powerspike, especially at levels 1-3. The combination of Kalista's high base AD on her Q (Pierce) at rank 1 and the slow on her E (Rend) which doesn't include how they interact with each other and her passive (Martial Poise) makes her one of, if not the strongest early game marksman at the moment.
Due to the nature of her build, she will scale well but she will not become a hypercarry at 30+ minutes. On the other hand, she is able to more reliably reach the items she needs to carry effectively without needing to become a hypercarry as games are typically being decided around the 20-25 minute mark, especially in high elo. This is why I personally think Kalista can be effective especially in the current meta and has been for the majority of season 10 as well.
If you are considering playing Kalista for the first time or you are a returning veteran, playing your first couple games of her will most likely feel awful as it is with other high skill-cap champions. However, you will find it very rewarding to master her once you figure out how much agency she can REALLY have over a game. It just takes practice!
Although Kalista has the ability to snowball her games exponentially as a result of her early game playstyle, subsequently she is also very vunerable to being exploited.
Her kit has many glaring weaknesses that can be incredibly punishing when misused. Kalista has never been the same since season 6/7 after her domination in pro play which is why she received many 'counter-play' aspects in her kit. In short, her many nerfs over the past couple years make her extremely volatile to newer players picking her up as she is not as forgiving for making mistakes as in the past. This has contributed to one of many reasons she has a low pickrate with the combination of her incredibly high skill-cap in comparison to other marksman.
However, with her season 10 revival including the marksman buffs, she's definitely gained a lot of strength in base stats that were very crucial in bringing her back into some sort of relevancy with the majority of the playerbase and making it increasingly rewarding to those who have put in the time to master her.
1. She is ranged hence she always has lane prio
2. She is a lane bully and therefore she can almost always win lane when played correctly
3. Her seemingly infinite mobility in her passive Martial Poise makes her an incredily great duelist
4. Her early game base AD which is why she hurts so much with lethality
5. Her build is mostly on-hit orientated which is why she can maintain relevancy even in the later stages of the game
6. Her utility of her ultimate R Fate's Call is a great engage/disengaging tool for your jungler and synergises extremely well with hard CC engage.
In recent times, TheShy has popularised her use at the highest levels of play, including at the Worlds stage and has since had a dedicated playerbase to support it.
Nowadays, Kalista top is stupidly strong and oppressive when played correctly. It was so incredibly exploitative of the tank meta in season 10 that it was immediately hotfixed within a patch of its dominancy. However, with the power creep of the season 11 items in the preseason, she is currently not as strong but is still a great addition to your team. On the other hand, the pick has never been more flexible in terms of itemization (with the exception of Sanguine Blade because of its amazing synergy with the early-game playstyle Kalista wants to enhance).
Teleport is one of the better spells to take.
Hail of Blades: This is one of the best runes you can take on Kalista. It gives you a nice trading pattern (3 AA's + Q) which allows her to be self-sufficient in the early game and is a large reason as to why she's so oppressive in the top lane.
Taste of Blood: The sustain this rune gives early game especially when you don't have any lifesteal yet can be a lifesaver as your base HP pool is especially weak. Granting 18-35 HP per level every 20 secs, this rune is a staple in Kalista's rune setup and outvalues the other options by a long shot.
Ghost Poro: While Eyeball Collection is a great way to stack AD passively after killing champs, the reality is that the top lane is much more punishing when you aren't able to get ahead to get those early kills which is easier to set up bot lane. You are also prone to getting ganked a lot more which is why the after effect of Ghost Poro is much better suited for her top lane playstyle although Eyeball Collection can work but is definitely much more of a risk.
Ravenous Hunter: Again, the sustain in this rune from the omnivamp it provides is invaluable and can't really be replaced by any of the other runes in the row. Sustain is a must for Kalista as its fundamentally a secondary-core to her kit and build as a whole.
Legend: Alacrity: As Kalista is an on-hit based champ, she relies heavily on attack speed to DPS. Alongside the nerfs to Kalista having less base attackspeed when not near her bounded ally, she desperately needs to take this rune. This also opens her up to the possibility of rushing over Berserker's Greaves to get the benefits of Sanguine Blade as a reward for snowballing extremely early, especially when the item costs 1900 more gold and incase she is not just against her lane opponent which nullifies Sanguine Blade's effect.
Coup de Grace: Due to how effective Kalista is at keeping her opponents below 40% HP in the top lane, this rune ends up getting the most out of its use. Whilst other options that are viable include Overheal for the potential sustain shield which is refilled constantly from how much inbuilt sustain you have and Cut Down due to how many tanks exist in the current top meta, both of them orientate themselves around a playstyle which assumes you are already fed and are extending into the mid-late game. Meanwhile, Coup de Grace is the best rune for her lane and synergises with her kit well to enable her to snowball harder where games tend to end around 20-25 minutes.
Lethal Tempo: A great rune to run against high health targets. This is a viable option to take as an attack based champion allowing you to exceed the attack speed limit. You will want to take this setup mainly against high health targets to get more DPS out of armour penetration items.
Overheal: As you won't be able to proc taste of blood and ravenous hunter as effectively as a Hail of Blades setup as well as the build focusing on building up lifesteal much later in the game, the immediate shield benefit from this rune can be just enough to sustain yourself in these tankier matchups.
Legend: Alacrity: As in the Hail of Blades setup, you need as much attack speed in your build early on as possible as it directly ties to how much DPS you can achieve. Especially in this Lethal Tempo focused build, you will be less inclined to be rushing early game orientated items and focusing on the mid-late game scaling which is why you will almost have no attack speed early on, leaving you vunerable which is why this rune is a must.
Cut Down: Even though Coup de Grace is viable in this setup, you are primarily using this rune page for Kalista to shred tankier matchups. Otherwise you are left with this weird hybrid which is not good at any one thing in particular. The HOB setup which is more suited for lower stat based champs akins to her duelist playstyle more than this rune setup. Take this rune as these types of matchups you focus on will always have more base HP and bonus HP than you as a marksman.
Taste of Blood: The main sustain from this rune setup will come from here. Taste of Blood is extremely important for lane use especially while you don't have any items which provide lifesteal or omnivamp even though you can't proc it as well as with Lethal Tempo compared to Hail of Blades.
Ravenous Hunter: This rune is also another great source for sustain but is more heavilt concentrated on her scaling aspect compared to Taste of Blood. This rune in particular has amazing synergy with Blade of the Ruined King, one of her all time favourite items. Stacks of this rune also apply with each bolt of Runaan's Hurricane and now that its getting buffed in terms of cost efficiency in Patch 11.1 is quite a reasonable consideration for her in the solo lane as well.
Kalista cannot cancel her basic attacks and they will miss if she loses sight of her target before they hit.
If Kalista enters a movement command while winding her basic attack or Pierce, she will drive through that direction when she launches her attack, dashing a short distance. The distance traveled scales with bonus movement speed.
Additionally, Kalista begins the game with a unique item, The Black Spear.
The Black Spear - Active: Kalista offers a pact to an allied champion. Should they agree, the item is consumed and binds them together, turning the target into an Oathsworn ally for the remainder of the game. Kalista requires an Oathsworn ally to utilize Sentinel's Soul-Marked and Fate's Call.
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70
Kalista hurls a fast and narrow spear, dealing 20 / 85 / 150 / 215 / 280 (+1.0 per attack damage) physical damage to the first enemy struck.
If Pierce scores a kill, the spear will continue onward, passing all Rend stacks from the dead victim to the next enemy it hits.
Passive - Soul-Marked: If Kalista and her Oathsworn ally attack the same target within 4 seconds of each other, the target will take additional magic damage equal to 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18% of their maximum Health. This effect cannot occur on the same target for 10 seconds. Damage is capped at 100 / 125 / 150 / 175 / 200 against minions and monsters.
Active: Kalista commands a soul Sentinel to the target location within range, gaining sight in a ~450-length cone in front of it. The Sentinel's sight is obstructed by terrain and brush. Upon reaching the target location, it will return to a point within ~1400 units of cast location. The Sentinel will perform a total of 3 laps, including the first two lengths.
The Sentinel is vulnerable from behind and will die if attacked twice by an enemy champion or once by a tower. If the Sentinel spots an enemy champion it will scream and stalk them for the next 4 seconds, revealing them for the duration.
Kalista stores a charge of Sentinel every 90 / 80 / 70 / 60 / 50 seconds, and can store up to 2 charges.
Cooldown: 14 / 12.5 / 11 / 9.5 / 8
Passive: Kalista's basic attacks and Pierce leave a spear lodged in her target for 4 seconds. There is no cap on the number of spears Kalista can lodge in her target.
Active: Kalista rips all spears from nearby enemies, dealing 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 (+0.6 per attack damage) physical damage and slowing them by 10 / 18 / 26 / 34 / 42% for 2 seconds. Rend's damage is increased by 5 / 9 / 14 / 20 / 27 (+20 / 23.75 / 27.5 / 31.25 / 35% attack damage) for every spear beyond the first that Kalista ripped from them. Rend deals 50% reduced damage to epic monsters.
Killing an enemy with Rend restores 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 mana and refunds the cooldown.
Cooldown: 150 / 120 / 90 Cost: 100
Kalista draws her Oathsworn ally next to her, making them untargetable and disabling their spells for 4 seconds.
Kalista's Oathsworn ally must be within 1100 range to cast Fate's Call.
During Fate's Call, Kalista's Oathsworn can right-click a target location to dash there, stopping at the first enemy hit, knocking up all surrounding enemies and landing themselves at their maximum attack range from the target.
[*] Naturally one of the better Mythics on her as the lifesteal this item gives is very appealing to her. Items which provide a % of attackspeed and lifesteal work amazingly with Kalista's kit overall and appeals to her playstyle the best. This is not to mention the old lifeline passive from the old phantom dancer it now has incredible value for the amount of survivability it gives as an mythic.
[*] Despite the many nerfs to this item over the course of this preseason including direct nerfs to its use for ranged champions, it's still a pretty favourable item for Kalista. While other ranged lethality users need the shield portion for the item to be efficient for them, essentially being a better version of shieldbow (e.g. Jhin or Miss Fortune), Kalista loves the fact that it builds out of serrated dirk (works well with her base AD) and it has 10% omnivamp. As long as both these components are in the item, the item is very viable for a lethality style Kalista top build.
[*] This mythic is the carrying dream for many on-hit users solely due to the Vayne-like passive it grants on completion, essentially enabling any one with the item to have a significant boost to their late game. The passive works applies both true damage and on-hit with the item itself giving a massive 25% attack speed to its user, a very useful stat for Kalista. This means the mythic works in tandem with some of her best used items like Blade of the Ruined King and Guinsoo's, making her late game much stronger.
[*] With the recent buffs to this mythic, Galeforce is proving to much more useful for Kalista top compared to her ADC counterpart. Even though most of the stats this mythic grants in carrying potential are overshadowed greatly by Kraken Slayer, everything else about the item is great for 1v1 matchups. Galeforce grants 5 less AD, 5% less attack speed overall but the mythic passive and active of Galeforce is actually preferred in some matchups for Kalista top where mobility is a key factor, especially against bruisers. However useless the item might be for her ADC counterpart where most marksman have little to no mobility to threaten her own, top lane environment in particular has plenty of champions who specialise in it (including but not limited to Camille, Kled, Renekton, Fiora, Riven etc.) In these matchups, its extremely important to not get locked down by their movement which is often times followed by hard CC because as an auto based champion like Kalista where movement is directly tied to her DPS. Investing in this item might seem insignificant but having the extra passive of %3 movement speed scales with your passive Martial Poise, allowing you to jump further and run away faster when you are getting ganked which you are very especially vunerable to in the top lane being one of the longest lanes in the game. Kraken Slayer seems nice on paper, however the effects of the item only really kick in after you have accumulated most of your other on-hit items and does nothing to help you in lane which is your main focus. This item can definitely be a life saver for Kalista top in crucial matchups and is definitely always going to be viable for her.
[*] An iconic item for Kalista top
Blade of the Ruined King
[*] On the other hand, this is another iconic item for Kalista but for her ADC position.
[*] The most cost efficient zeal item for sale for this patch (which is to change in patch 11.1 with Runaan's Hurricane getting a price reduction to 2400g and some stat changes to be covered)
[*] A classic item for Kalista due to her interaction with it which allows each bolt to apply a stack of Rend onto her target(s).
[*] The passive for this item - serrated dirk is a great stat for lethality builds
Edge of Night
[*] The defensive capability on this item while still providing the serrated dirk passive makes it one of the best utility based lethality items in the shop.
[*] Arguably the best lifesteal based item for Kalista in the game,
[*] Conversely, this is probably the best on-hit item for Kalista.
[*] The stats for this item combined with the resurrection passive seems almost too good to give up as a finishing item in most builds. It can sit at priority for some builds if you are trying to maintain a lead (keeping in my the low hp pool this is optimal)
[*] Kalista's interaction with this item is often overlooked and highly underrated for what it can provide
[*] Another great item finisher for any well rounded builds
[*] This item is great for not only its % armour shred but it's amazing synergy in it's passive which works with on-hit builds and scaling off missing health.
[*] More or less confined to the combination of items corresponding to the AD Katarina style build but its seriously underrated in its combination.
[*] This item aged like fine wine between seasons and will potentially be a highly contested item in the future.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS (IN-PROGRESS)
[*] An alternative to start laning but
[*] Trinity Force is actually a 'viable' mythic on Kalista top for season 11 but it's definitely not optimal under any circumstance, at least for now.
[*] At least for the lethality build this was a serious contender to be built and was given some consideration until the recent nerfs hit this item relatively hard for ability casters.
UPCOMING ITEMS (IN-PROGRESS)
[*] Currently, the preseason is transitioning into this weird 'shield-caster' phase for enchanter supports with the changes to Moonstone Renewer and this item has been receiving a lot of love recently. With a little more love, it may become a good alternative to lethality builders who
POSTPONED UNTIL JAN 2-3 2021.