Kai'Sa Build Guide by Scrimm
S11 Best Kai'sa Evolution Path + In-Depth GuideBy Scrimm | Updated on January 27, 2021
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Runes: Hail of Blades
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Ability Order Standard Ability Order
Threats & Synergies
With Jhin, just pay attention to your minions to ensure you won't get hit with a really high damage Jhin grenade. With Hob, you win trades against him early on, even if he does manage to 4th shot you. However, he will outscale you late with his range and damage, so just be wary that he does not get ahead early.
Try not to give her free souls in lane, by trading with her only when she uses her Q and misses it. This forces Senna to have to auto you twice, or try and land W on you if she wants a stack. With HoB, you should have no problem winning this trade. Also take note of when her E is down, since she will be a lot less mobile and easier to kill in those situations.
Both Vayne and Kai'sa are good at trading in lane, since Vayne players usually take Press the Attack and are able to proc it easily with an auto + Q auto + auto/E. Just be aware of standing next to walls so Vayne does not condemn you. This is 100% a skill based matchup, so you need to make sure you land W on her when it is important to do so.
Ashe does a lot less damage than Kai'sa, and even if you get hit by her R at level 6, you should be able to still win a 1v1. Make sure you use W when she has 3-4 stacks of passive already on her, since she lacks the mobility to dodge it and you want to maximize dps. Ashe excels when she barely outranges you, since she can auto you for free and you can't hit her back due to her slow, so try to close the distance however possible.
Probably one of Kai'sa's hardest lanes, since a good MF will be constantly looking to outrange you with her Q and E poke. Don't stand behind minions that are low enough for MF to kill with her Q, and try to use your E to get out of her E as soon as possible. A risky play you can make is to W Miss Fortune when she is channeling her ult, and using your R to get behind her to use your HoB + W.
Most Twitch player's will also take HoB, making it difficult for you since Twitch can merely auto you with HoB then E for trades, whereas you would have to land a W to get similar damage. Try to be aware of when he leaves vision to use his Q camouflage, since getting hit by Twitch W slow will allow him to get maximum value out of his E.
Ezreal is very easy to outplay; you can dodge his R by using your R to get behind him, you can E away from skillshots, and with HoB you should win trades handily. If he misses his skillshots he will easily be outtraded. Don't be afraid to just all in him at level 6 because you have all the advantage to outplay him with your ult compared to his.
Very similar to Ezreal, just be aware of her feathers and dodge them with your R or E movespeed so you dont get rooted.
Onhit Varus is not a problem, as you will simply outdamage him. Poke Varus may be a problem, since he can completely outrange you with his Q, so pay attention to what keystone he takes so you know what his play style is going to be. If he uses an important cooldown such as his R or E, you can easily kill him just by using your E towards him.
Tristana all in is much better than Kai'sa's, but you can merely play the lane passively and freeze since Tristana's E passive makes her automatically push minion waves. Respect her W range so you don't get deleted early, and you will be able to win when you get a few items and your Q evolve.
Respect her headshots, but once you hit level 6 you should win, since Cait has to channel her R to do dmg, in the meantime you can auto her for free and even mitigate her R damage with your R. Try to avoid getting hit by her Q and E skillshots and stepping in traps, especially in the lane bushes. The cast time for her Q is long enough for you to E away from it safely, so long as you don't walk in a straight line.
Lucian can be scary early on, since his passive with Press the Attack allows him to win many trades early on. Don't stand in a line with minions so you don't take free Q damage, and if he uses his R just use yours to get behind him so you don't take damage from it.
Sivir isn't really a threat, but she can be very annoying in lane since she can block your W with her spellshield rather easily. Even if you commit to her with ult, she can trade ults with you to get away, so try to only commit to her when you know both her shield and ult are on cooldown.
Draven is hard to trade against because of how much damage he can put out as many Dravens also take HoB, but remember that he is squishy early on and weak before he backs to buy BF Sword. Try to punish him Levels 1-2 with HoB and your passive so he is at a greater risk of dying if he tries to all in you.
Only thing I think is worth mentioning is that Jinx's Chompers will stop your ult if you pass through them, so keep that in mind when you're using your R against her.
Trade with her early on when she doesn't have 6 and is a lot weaker. If you manage to get her to use her windwall, you can likely all in her and kill her. Maybe consider buying Executioner's.
200 years has nothing against Kai'sa. Just fight him when he doesn't have chakrams so he lacks damage and trade early on since he will likely take Conqueror and not win short trades as hard.
Kog'Maw is a walking bag of gold for Kai'sa. No mobility, no ridiculous healing, just dodge his skillshots and assert dominance on your weaker Void ADC.
Thresh has two ways to apply your passive with his hook and flay, and enables you to engage better. He can also help you easily disengage with lantern.
Brand's ability to apply your passive is only by landing his Q stun, so there is not a lot of synergy in that department. However, he does do a lot of damage, allowing you to clean up for some free gold. Generally speaking, Kai'sa performs better with tankier supports and not mages/enchanters, but there are a few exceptions.
If Senna takes Glacial Augment (as she should *ahem* Grasp users), in combination with HoB you will be able to heavily punish the enemy laners early. Her W is the only ability that applies your passive, and takes a while to activate, but her utility makes her very strong with Kai'sa.
Lux has to land her Q to apply your passive, which can be difficult in some situation where it can be hard to walk up (ex. against a Blitz or Nautilus). Her shield is nice for helping win short trades, but her damage is not as consistent as Brand since they are skillshots.
Minimal ability to apply passive stacks, combined with the fact that Squidward is pretty easy to kill makes this not so good a lane to run.
High kill pressure lane, as Blitz doesn't even really have to land his hook. If he has Mobility Boots he can just use his W and run at them to knock them up with E. Not as much peel utility as Thresh though.
Like Blitz, Nautilus cannot really peel for you, so you have to be careful of your own positioning. Unlike Blitz, Nautilus can apply your passive on THREE different abilities, and basically is such a chad that he can peel you by solokilling the enemy ADC, so it really doesn't matter. All in when he hooks 2v2 for free money.
Pyke is not as tanky as Naut, Thresh, or Blitz, but he does significantly more damage. I would only really commit if Pyke land's his E stun, although if he lands a Q pull the slow from it should be enough for you to get your HoB autos off. He can also help you snowball really quickly with his ult, granting you full gold even when he takes the kill.
Even post support nerfs, having point and click CC with Kai'sa is pretty strong. High kill pressure lane with his damage, and you can roam at 6 with him to make the enemy midlaner question their life decisions.
Janna cannot easily proc your passive (unless she's close to someone and can instantly tornado them), but her ability to just W spam in lane can make trading really easy as they will be forced to take your HoB autos. A really good Janna can be amazing for her ability to both engage and disengage 2v2's.
Soraka isn' exactly weak with Kai'sa, but she cannot easily proc your passive, and Kai'sa succeeds much better with champions that have kill pressure rather than enchanters that are supposed to play safe in the backline, so not really an ideal support.
Bard can be extremely strong with Kai'sa. If he lands a single Q, it basically guarantees your passive max stack proc in lane, and with portal he can turn the lane into a 2v3. Just a coinflip as to whether you'll have Polypuff or someone who watches Polypuff videos piloting the champ.
As long as Morg lands a Q, the enemy laner can't dodge your W, so it makes the lane pretty easy to play. She can also black shield you to prevent you from being engaged on by Blitz or Nautilus, so overall one of the better mages you can play with.
With Yuumi, you have to play the game a lot more intelligently, because mispositioning will result in 1 more int than normal. Not bad at level 6, as you can probably just all in the ADC and kill them as you will have an extra summoner to help in the 2v2 (Barrier or Cleanse), but once again Kai'sa succeeds better with a champion that is a bit tankier and can easily proc her passive stacks.
With Xerath, it really depends on their ability to lane skillshots. If he lands an E stun, it might be possible to burst a target down with HoB + W since Xerath will likely dump all his abilites on the target as well. However, it is very dependent on Xerath landing stun, which can make or break engages or disengages. Not ideal unless he's scripting (this is a joke please don't script :)).
Seraphine is quite strong, as a well placed ult can easily win 2v2s or 5v5s. She cannot easily apply your passive since her echo E is pretty slow, but once she hits level 6 and hits a nice ult, it should be easy to snowball a lead.
You're basically banking in on a level 6 all in, which may not pay off if you're being completely harassed out of csing due to having a Malphite support. Not exactly rock solid.
If he land's his E, great. If not, well there's not a whole lot you can do. Swain is a pretty selfish support, and his kit doesn't offer much utility to you as an ADC.
Strong engage, strong disengage, multiple ways to proc your passive, lane sustain. Pretty good pick with Kai'sa. Just don't tell Xayah.
One of the few enchanters that I would argue is very good with Kai'sa. Her E allows you to force trades very easily because of the slow, and once you get a lead it is very easy to snowball it because of how good her kit is. Also, you can both emote spam to annoy the hell out of the enemy botlane.
I'm sorry, but just Seraphine is just better. Sona can't even say anything to stand up for herself.
Strong all in, lane sustain, combined with his ability to easily stack your passive makes him a great duo. He can semi peel you with headbutt/knockup and you can dive turrets when he hits 6. Make sure he has the Moo Cow skin and is using the cowbell for maximum mental warfare.
His kit synergizes pretty well, and he does a lot of damage in lane if he manages to get a Facebreaker stun off. Only downside is he doesn't provide as much utility to you as other supports, but otherwise a decent support.
Do I need to say anything? 3 abilities to apply your passive, and her passive makes your autos do more damage. As long as she is able to land her E root, you should have no problems forcing a 2v2 to snowball and get ahead.
Braum is very good with Kai'sa, especially given how he only needs to auto someone or tag them with his Q for you to be able to use HoB and stun them. He can engage or disengage quite nicely, but having a lot of skillshots makes him unreliable and difficult to execute.
If she lands her root and gets the ult knockup, its a free kill. Doesn't really do much else apart from that though, and doesnt offer much utility to you in terms of healing, shielding, boosting movespeed, etc.
Great utility, and can be very strong, as you can reposition yourself with your ult to land his E stun. His high mana costs and ult timing can make it difficult to play if you are not in comms with your him though.
Similar to Nami, she can help you force 2v2 trades in lane. Unlike Nami, she has no way of reliably stacking your passive, so a little bit less synergistic, but still a powerful champion.
With Imperial Mandate being an item, Maokai support is ridiculously strong right now. He has 3 different abiilties to proc your ult, and does a substantial amount of damage, so all in all a pretty strong champion to play with Kai'sa.
He can't reliably proc your passive himself, but the slow he can provide makes it easy for you to auto people for free so that you can do it. Just hope your support is Bjergsen and you can have free rein of the lane.
Riot basically said "Let's give a champion Leona's kit, except she can cc MULTIPLE champions on ALL her abilities instead!" The Q sustain is a cherry on top, and you can also time your ult to stun with her E from outside the normal cast range.
Lulu can in theory stack your passive, but she's more strong because of her ability to buff you in 3 different ways and constantly bully the enemy with her poke. Keep in mind if she gives you an attack speed/move speed boost, she cannot polymorph the enemy, so don't missing ping her for YOU not knowing what her abilities do.
Unlike other mage supports, Neeko can actually be built to be a really good engage champion with either Protobelt or Chemtank (or Deadman's, if you're into that I guess). Her E applies your passive, and her ult has a huge radius and also applies your passive, so having sneaky tomato around is a lot better given her ability to disengage and engage compared to other mages.
Champion Build Guide
Flash + Heal
You should take flash + heal in 90% of your games, as it is very versatile with your kit and allows you to both disengage and engage better.
For engages, if your teammates manage to proc your passive on an enemy but you are just slightly out of range, you can flash + R to make up for the distance and ensure your passive stacks do not run out and allow the enemy to get away. If time allows, you can E first, but ensure that pathing will not mess you up and that your passive stacks won't expire.
As a disengage, you can use it in combination with your R to create a larger gap than other ADCs. By autoing a champion that is chasing you or hitting them with your W, you can then R to that target (preferably at the edge of the R circle to create the furthest distance) and then flash out. You can then follow this up with an E to create even more distance.
Heal helps you win early 2v2's, especially if you can predict when the enemy will commit to an engage (ex. you or your support is hooked by a champion) and you are able to heal before they manage to ignite you. It's also very versatile, as you can use the move speed boost to both disengage and engage from fights.
Flash + Barrier
The only time I really see this build being useful is if you have a Yuumi support, in which case the Yuumi will take heal + exhaust or heal + ignite. Since heal is reduced if you have recently been affected by it, it's a bit redundant to have two in a lane in which case barrier is the next best option to mitigate damage.
Flash + Cleanse
You can opt for flash + cleanse into lanes where the enemy has a lot of kill pressure due to champions like Nautilus, Leona, and Thresh (but NOT Blitzcrank, as you cannot cleanse his pull). Please remember that your 2v2 will be weaker as a result, since the enemy ADC may have heal instead of cleanse, which is better in the 2v2 since it allows them to take a bit more damage than you. Choose fights more wisely, and if you can cleanse appropriately this summoner can be better than heal in some situations.
It may be helpful to also remind your support that you have cleanse prior to the game starting, as sometimes people do not pay attention and this can result in your support thinking your 2v2 is stronger than it actually is.
Ideally, you want to start DBlade + 1 Potion, as the AD from DBlade allows you to hit your Q evolve faster. However, in lanes where it may be unsafe to walk up to auto attack, since your Q range is actually larger than your auto attack range, you may take DRing + 2 Potions for the extra mana, or you can take DShield + 1 Health potion if you feel you will be taking a lot of poke in lane (ex. playing against Xerath, Brand, Zyra).
Q + E Evolve + Explanation on why Collector is a Trap
Currently, even with the Galeforce CD nerfs, the ability to reposition yourself in fights, as well as use the GF active as a burst just makes it too strong of an item to not build. If the enemy comp has a lot of tanks, or your team is full ad, it may be beneficial to buy Kraken Slayer instead. Just remember that you won't have the leisure of GF active if you are caught out, and will have to use your flash.
You may notice that, instead of Serrated Dirk, I have put Pickaxe here instead to evolve Q first. This is because, in my opinion, buying Serrated Dirk and then building Collector afterwards on Kai'sa is a waste of gold. This is for a few reasons:
1) Runaans > Collector for Kai'sa's kit
Kai'sa kit has some magic damage in it, which the lethality from Dirk/Collector does not apply to, since lethality only ignores armor and not magic resistance. Runaan's passive also applies Kai'sa passive to EACH bolt, essentially tripling the rate at which you can apply your passive in teamfights (you do have to position well and kite for this, admittedly).
2) Runaan's is cheaper than Collector
It also costs 500 gold less than Collector, and after Runaan's second item, you ideally go for IE third item to get the IE passive powerspike, which nows gives you bonus crit damage at 60% crit rate (which you will have from your mythic + Runaan's + IE). This is where you use the Pickaxe you bought earlier to help you build IE, instead of building collector.
3) It evolves both your Q AND your E
I've been playing Kai'sa since her release, and I spent so much time trying to figure out the best way to buy items on her so that you could evolves both Q and E. E evolve basically turns you into Vayne, giving you invisibility during your E channel so you can reposition yourself better in teamfights. It feels really nice to have on Kai'sa, and since Collector does not give you attack speed, many Kai'sa players are essentially playing the game with only ONE ability evolved. This build allows you to have E evolve and Q evolve at level 10, which just feels so nice to have since the new item rework made it more difficult to do so.
Also, I see players sometimes building Dirk before they've even finished their mythic item. PLEASE finish your mythic first before buying a second Pickaxe. Mythics are a huge powerspike (GF or Kraken) and by delaying them you will be a lot weaker than you should be.
Late Game Build (W Evolve)
With S11, Zhonya's now gives less AP than it used to, which means to evolve your W, you need to buy Zhonya's and then buy the Blasting Wand for Nashor's. Less than ideal, but if your team could use some AP damage, then it is worth it to have. Zhonya's is just nice to have, since if you R into a teamfight and the enemy team immediately collapses on you, you can buy a few precious seconds for your teammates to turn on them. You do have to be able to land your W's to make full use of the evolve though, so keep that in mind as well.
Note that this build also lacks a Grievous Wounds item, so keep the enemy team composition in mind when using this build. If you see your teammates not buying a GW item, you may have to opt for the next build.
Late Game Build (no W Evolve)
This build is probably the standard for S11, seeing how prevalent healing is with Omnivamp now being a mechanic. Note that you should be buying Executioners Calling early in the game (potentially first back) in lanes against Yuumi or Soraka.
After that, max Q first, then E, then R, then W.
If you have any comments/criticisms please feel free to comment and I will try my best to respond. Thanks!