Kalista Build Guide by Setting Fires
[Patch 9.23] The wounds of betrayal never heal!By Setting Fires | Updated on November 22, 2019
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Runes: Mid/Late Game
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
Draven's early game is stronger than Kalista's.
Build Quicksilver Sash after Blade of the Ruined King.
Build Quicksilver Sash after Blade of the Ruined King. The longer Ashe's ultimate travelled the longer the duration of the stun is. Avoid standing next to your minions to prevent getting hit and slowed by Volley.
Build Quicksilver Sash after Blade of the Ruined King.
Build Quicksilver Sash after Blade of the Ruined King. A good stun can last for quite a while.
Never good when laning against a tank support.
|I will try to update this guide whenever I can. I am currently studying my Bachelor Mechanical Engineering in The Netherlands. In my free time I will fitness, probably play some League of Legends and chat in the Kalista Main Discord server.|
- Stronger Mid/Late
- Stronger Early
- Skill Sequence
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Level 13
- Fate's Call
- Starting Items
- First Back
- Mid/Late Items
- Laning Phase
Hi, welcome to my Kalista guide. There are not a lot of streamers or YouTuber's that play Kalista, but there are still a few still out there for the Kalista community. Here is one of my favourite Kalista montage videos, in the hopes it will motivate you to reach your true potential as Kalista player.
Kalista is a very high skill required champion. When mastered well you can abuse her quite easily once you get ahead. She is one of a kind concerning her mobility. Her passive allows her to jump right after attacking a target, which also makes it impossible to cancel auto attacks.
For those who would like a challenge as ADC main and like high mobility champions like Yasuo and Riven, Kalista is the champion to one trick.
++ High mobility − with her passive she can kite to and away from champions in order to kill her opponent. She is therefore one of the best kiting marksman in the game.
++ Outplay potential − when playing against skill shot dependant champions she can use her jump to juke and prevent a lot of damage.
++ Securing Objectives − with plenty of stacks her Rend can deal a couple k damage to Baron .
+ Wall jumping − it makes it possible for her to join team fights or run away from possible threats.
+ Easy farming − at level 1 Kalista can already solo farm under turret without the help of her support due to her Rend.
+ Strong level 2 − Kalista can already use a full combo with her Pierce and Rend.
+ No AA cancel possible − this will prevent you from making small mistakes when you farm compared to other marksman that can cancel their auto attacks if they click too fast.
−− Support dependant − she cannot use Fate's Call without the presence of her support.
−− Lacks upfront damage in fights − Kalista needs to apply rend stacks first before dealing damage with Rend.
−− Dead once locked down − slows also have an effect on her jumping which makes it hard to run away from enemies. She has a low health bar. This makes killing her very easy.
− 90% AD converts to auto attacks − if you got 100 AD your auto's deal 90 damage.
− AA's in the air will not hit when losing vision of the enemy.
− Takes time and effort to master − a lot can go wrong if you don't know how to move and use her combo's correctly. Rending too early can be a hard punishment when you commit and die without a kill.
− Jumping takes away Attack Speed − Jumping has an animation time before you can auto attack again, not jumping will therefore make her attack faster.
|Press the Attack applies some nice early damage for ensuring a good Rend. Fleet Footwork is less beneficial, but gives some heals which are always nice. Whereas Conqueror is not beneficial at all due to the effects on ranged champions are worse than on melee. The best option is to take Lethal Tempo since Kalista needs her attack speed for more Rend stacks and to stay strong during Mid/Late.|
|Champions like Soraka that heal you are good to take Overheal with, but since Kalista has better synergies with tanks like Thresh Triumph would be a more viable option. The heals from takedowns could safe your life in life threatening situations. Besides, the golds adds up in the end as the game goes on. Presence of Mind is not very good on her, as she does not need a lot of mana due to her mana refunds from Rend resets.|
|Legend: Alacrity gives her some attack speed which helps with stacking spears. Legend: Bloodline gives Kalista more lifesteal to survive when she is low on health in fights. With a few items she could heal up to full in seconds. This surprises so many opponents. Legend: Tenacity can be a good pick when you play against a heavy CC champions. Alacrity is in the end good to have since you might need that extra attack speed to kite towards an enemy champion or to prevent getting hit by a skill shot.|
|Coup de Grace has a good synergy with Rend when a champion is low, Rend will end up dealing slightly more damage. Cut Down is not always a good option since it is unlikely to play against 3-4 champions with twice the health as Kalista. Last Stand is not preferable as you want to stay healthy during fights before getting to low health.|
|In the secondary path Taste of Blood is good for early trading. After you take some damage it is quite easy to Pierce Rend for some heals (and if done right a reset from spear stacks in a minion). Ravenous Hunter is a must have on Kalista. The extra lifesteal can turn fights around in matter of seconds and with a few kills in the early game you can sustain in lane much easier.|
|Electrocute and Dark Harvest are better on champions that do more burst damage in general, Kalista is not really one of those champions. Predator is by far the worst to use as you are not supposed to engage a fight. Since Kalista is dead once locked down. As seen before, attack speed is quite useful on her. So Hail of Blades is the best to take, because the three fast auto's are good for early fights.|
|Cheap Shot for the extra is quite nice. Sudden Impact can give her some extra damage as well, due to her ability to constantly jump when attacking. Overall, all three options are not bad, but the heals from Taste of Blood are in my opinion more preferable. Sustain and survivability are important factors in the laning phase.|
|Both Zombie Ward and Ghost Poro require you to go in brushes. The enemy jungler could even be waiting for you in your own tribrush. Eyeball Collection also gives some AD which is nice in general and the best option to pick in this situation.|
|The only item on Kalista with an active is Blade of the Ruined King. The active slows enemies. Nevertheless her Rend is able to slow as well. This makes it unnecessary to have Ingenious Hunter. Relentless Hunter only gives movement speed when you are out of combat. Kalista is a kiting goddess, in combat movement speed would be better in this case. A standard build does not give Kalista any CDR, the extra CDr from Ultimate Hunter is not as far as good as the healing from Ravenous Hunter.|
|For the secondary path you have to take Precision. Coup de Grace and Triumph are really good on her. Dealing more damage when an enemy has low health after stacking spears enhances the damage of Rend. For every takedown she gets, she gets some health back. This can be a true life safer is some fights. Even though Legend: Alacrity gives some attack speed, the other two options are more useful for these runes.|
Rend is the normal ability to start with. If it was not for Draven, Kalista would be the strongest level 1 marksman. When invading or getting invaded as Kalista you can kite away and eventually Rend for a kill secure to get ahead. She can also execute the ranged minions under turret after one taking one turret shot with just one AA and Rend.
Before you get level 2 you need to make sure you and your support are both in lane and pushing the wave in before the enemy laners reach level 2. This way if they try to fight you will be able to use a full combo on them, such as triple rend. Supports like Alistar can pull off their combo's at level 2.
It is important to notice that Sentinel is not a very useful ability in the laning phase. Getting a second point on Rend amplifies the damage of double and triple rending by a lot. At this time of the game you should be looking to do some poking and to apply pressure if you seem to be 1 level ahead on the enemy AD Carry.
Once you reach level 13 you have probably went out of the bottom lane multiple times and you get to put your first point on Sentinel. At times when Baron or Dragon spawns you can send a Sentinel there to look for possible threats.
Martial Poise allows Kalista to move after having cast an auto attack that cannot be cancelled. These are called jumps and the length of one can only be increased by upgrading boots or having movement speed buffs. It is not possible to make half jumps, just because you aimed at a certain spot. Kalista will always make full jumps. A negative aspect of her passive is when she loses vision in a fight. A spear that is being thrown to a target when she loses vision will fall into the ground as animation. Therefore it is wise to have a Control Ward on you if you feel insecure for things like that to happen.
Kalista's spears can also be cast with Pierce. Because of her passive she can jump after having cast Pierce, because you cannot cancel this ability. The map in Summoners Rift contains a lot places to jump over to. Some are harder than others, since Pierce needs to be aimed into the right direction that you are moving towards.
Both the Dragon pit and the Baron pit contain one spot on the wall Kalista can jump over to. The red arrow at the center shows you where you need to aim at. Since you can get into the pit it is also possible to get out of the pit by wall jumping.
Targets containing spears that are pierced with Pierce will fly towards the next target. If a minion has no spears, but is about to die you can cast the ability nonetheless if an enemy is standing behind it for some unexpected poke. Kalista can be really abused, especially with Pierce she can do mad damage out of nowhere. Not only Gromp can be used to pull this off, even cannon minions in the laning phase can carry a lot of spears before they die to abuse this hard technique.
|Kalista is a skillful champion that requires precision when jumping. Her jump is activated when attacking a champion with right click and quickly right clicking a position to jump to. Notice that if you don't need to jump it is better to stand still. The animation of jump causes Kalista to attack less. When standing still there is no jump animation, therefore you can attack faster.|
How I like the key bindings on Kalista is by enabling auto move to have it set on your left mouse button. The idea is to left click the enemy champion and right click the location to jump to. This requires a lot of practise, after a few games you will get better at it. To improve the accuracy on clicking it is adviced to unlock your screen if you have not done so yet. Some people like to use Fate's Call on T and Player Attack Move on R (idea of BeMyOathsworn), but I prefer this on A if you wonder. Try both out and use the key binding that works best for you. The figure below shows my key bindings that I use for Player Movement.
To bind auto attack move to your left mouse key you need to go further below until you see this:
In general I take Quick Cast All and turn off everything below Quick Cast With Indicator. When you want to Pierce Rend combo with Kalista you need to turn it off. If you do have it on you need to press Q AND release Q before you Rend. In case that goes wrong your full Rend animation starts and a second later your Pierce is shot, without the Rend follow up. This will be explained in more depth in 8. Ability Explanation.
Kalista's first ability to start with is Rend. After attacking a champion or a minion she leaves a spear behind. Rending the spear out the body will cause you to deal damage when the spear is being pulled out. The more spears the more damage. Notice that one auto attack is 90% of her total AD and Rend only counts for half of the damage dealt by an auto attack. When a target is rended and dies part of the mana is refunded and auto resets the ability (no cooldown). For this reason alone you can kill minions under turret without needing any damage items. At max rank of Rend all mana is refunded. If you do not kill a target when rending, you waste mana. In fights it is never a bad idea to pre Rend as it slows the enemy target and gets them to a lower health.
|In patch 9.13 I would not advice you to put a point on Sentinel as it is not as beneficial as it used to be. In the past, having a Sentinel near you gives extra adaptive damage. Once you reach level 13 you have to put a point on Sentinel. At this time of the game it might be useful to use the ability. Checking if the enemies are at Drake or Baron . Perhaps you get a game with a fed Rengar and you are scared to face check because you do not have a Control Ward or Peering Farsight Ward. Then Sentinel is suddenly very useful as it makes the game less riskful. In cases of a lot of roaming assasins you can definetely take a point on Sentinel a bit earlier. If you play Kalista for the first time you can better go with E → Q → W and then max the following abilities in this order Fate's Call, Rend, Pierce and Sentinel.|
Kalista's ultimate is called Fate's Call and your support can do three different things with it. In order to use your ultimate your support needs to become an Oathsworn. At the start of the game you get an item on slot 7 called Black Spear. This item sells for nothing and is free to buy. Yet, this special item can only be actived once on an ally. Do not use it on someone else beside your support, you might regret it otherwise. Since your support will be laning with you the entire time, it is most useful to have it on the support than on the jungler who is never near you at all.
Now as mentioned Fate's Call has three basic purposes. The most important one is saving your support out of dangerous situations. Sometimes your support has to sacrifice him or herself so you can get away, but with your ultimate both of you live. The enemies do have to be distracted by attacking your support. With any luck you have a tanky or brave support that takes turret agro for you so you can kill an enemy hiding under his safe turret trying to kill your support. Fate's Call can then afterwards safe your support while also killing your enemy laner. When playing other Marksmen you are not able to safe your support when they int away. Kalista can prevent this from happening and makes easier to come back into the game.
The second use of your ultimate is for chasing someone. Fate's Call can knock up enemy champions. Which is perfect for both of you and your team to engage on the enemy team. Kalista's ultimate can also activate Yasuo's Last Breath.
The last way to use your ultimate is for your support to reposition him or herself in order to lock down the enemy laner. Imagine the next situation. You got a Janna support and you are pushed in under your turret. Janna can reposition herself just behind the their AD carry and also knock them up. After this Janna follows up with Monsoon to blast the AD carry under your own turret.
At level 2 you want to have a point on Pierce. With this ability you throw a spear just like you auto attack. Only this can only be aimed in a straight lane, deals more damage than an usual auto attack and when aimed at a minion that is low enough to die from it, the spear will go trough. All the spears stacked in that minion from Kalista's auto attacks will, together with Pierce go to the next target (limited to the range of Pierce).
Pierce works just like an auto attack, therefore you can activate the ability and click towards a direction to jump to. This allows her to jump over small walls. When jumping over a small wall it is the easiest to aim the spear in the direction you want to jump over. All possible wall jumps are shown in the figure above (no boots are needed to make these jumps).
Special jumps, like the Dragon pit need a more precised direction. To jump into the Dragon pit you need to stand at the position given on the picture below and aim your Pierce to the center of the pit. The left arrow is where you should stand and the right arrow is pointed to the center of the pit. After casting Pierce you must quickly right click the center of the pit. It is also possible to jump back. This advanced trick works in the same way as in the Baron pit. Since you can cancel Pierce (and Sentinel) by rending, auto attacks and movement (also called jumping). But this is not the same for rending as the animation can not be cancelled. Therefore it is not possible to Rend and then cast Pierce during the animation of Rend.
There are three types of rending. Namely, rending once, double rending and triple rending. The first one is by having a spear in a target and casting Rend. There are many different ways to approach this. You can have a spear in a minion that is close to dieing. Throw a spear in a champion and Rend afterwards for a Rend reset on the minion and some damage on the enemy champion. The same situation applies for casting Pierce towards a champion and rending in the animation of Pierce before it hit the target to Rend once.
|Double rending is basically rending a target (containing at least one spear) while either a spear from an auto attack or a spear from Pierce is in the air about to hit the enemy champion. What happens is that the spear stacked in the enemy will Rend while the spear from your auto attack is still in the air. Notice this only works if you are far away from the enemy, the closer you are the faster your spear in the air hits its target. After the first Rend the spear from the auto attack hits the same target again and rends. In case the target dies from the first or second Rend your ability resets and refunds mana. An extreme advanced approach to this would be to have one minion about to (stacked with a spear) and a cannon with quite some spears stacked. The enemy has a spear in him as well, but appears to stand behind the cannon. Then you throw your Pierce to the cannon and Rend. What happens is that the first minion rends and your ability resets and refunds mana. The cannon dies to Pierce and the stacked spears go into the enemy. The spear in the enemy was already rended once, the spears from the cannon get in after and Rend immediately after. If the enemy survives, it does not mean your Rend will not reset, because this already happened with the first minion. A tip for this mechanic is to stand close enough to the cannon for casting Pierce as you dont want to Rend the spears out of there before Pierce drags the stacked spears into the enemy champion.|
Now that you know what double rending is, you could probably guess what triple rending is. Triple rending is achieved in three steps. First you need plenty of stacks in a target or enemy. In step two you need to auto attack the champion. By having read this guide you know that auto attacks cannot be cancelled (this is also the reason you can jump). While there is an auto attack in the air the third and final step is to cast Pierce and Rend immediately ( Pierce can be cancelled by other things like auto attacks, Flash and abilities). For the triple Rend you need to be at edge of your auto attack range as spears will get into the champion too fast, making it not possible to Rend multiple times. Below a video of a triple rend after stacking with three spears. (I still need to figure out the coding to make this look better.)
As mentioned before: Kalista has a power spike at level 2. At level 2 Rend deals quite a lot of damage compared to your auto attacks, because you only have starting items. Using these advanced tricks to triple Rend will make it possible for you to kill the enemy extremely fast if you position yourself well in lane.
I want to thank AceOfSpade265 for being the person to interest me to play Kalista in the first place and BeMyOathsworn for helping me understand how to play Kalista better. His Youtube Channel is all about Kalista. There are some old but still useful videos there.
There are not a lot of high elo Kalista mains out there, but at least I can recommend one, who sometimes streams his games. You can follow lennyyy on twitch to find out when he streams.