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League of Legends Build Guide Author Love Tentacle

[S5] Kalista - the Attack Speed Carry (also a guide to suppo

Love Tentacle Last updated on December 30, 2014
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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Kalista is terrifying. And I don't mean just as a lane opponent. She hard-counters melee characters and dodges skillshots with ease (most of the time, completely by luck or accident), and her mobility is off the charts. Played well, she's probably the scariest ADC in the game. And if you ban her, you just know that they'll just go right to Vayne, who is just as annoying.

But that's not why she's scary. She's scary because she's HARD to play. Go ahead, try her out. I bet you get frustrated in your first game. She can't cancel her autoattacks and she's easy prey for skillshots from level 1. She's one of the few champions that forces you to re-learn how to MOVE.

Take the time to learn how to play her correctly and you'll STILL end up getting frustrated at her movement. You see, it's not just that she moves awkwardly, but you have to have perfect timing on your clicks. Clicking more often does not make Kalista work better. If your mouse could use some relaxation, and your hand is starting to get tired, you might try picking her up just to learn how to use her and to learn her weaknesses, so that you can counter her.

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Pros / Cons

+ Mobility out the wazoo. Mobility, Mobility, and more Mobility. Did I mention Mobility?
+ Hard counters a LOT of champions.
+ Dodges skillshots. Intentional or Accidental? Nobody knows for sure.
+ Hurricane has never felt so good. Seriously that thing is ridiculous on her.

- Arguably too much mobility. You might even be tempted not to run flash.
- No, really. Sometimes you have so much mobility that you screw yourself up jumping too far.
- Sometimes you screw up by clicking too fast. Sometimes too slow. There is no middle ground.
- Obscenely high skill requirement. "Low skillista's" get owned pretty hard.
- That is worth repeating. Kalista is HARD to play correctly.

? - Kalista has shorter range than other ADC's. This can be a drawback, depending on your support.
? - Kalista feels like she's playing a whole different game. Expect some culture shock.

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Kalista is an ADC (Attack Damage Carry) that benefits from Attack Speed. You could use movement speed runes for most adc's, but kalista gets movement speed out of attack speed, so the decision is a lot more clear cut here.


Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed

Every time you attack, you can move. So attacking more often means bonus movement. You still need attack damage runes though. We're not going to pretend that you're an ASC.

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Summoner Spell Choices

Heal and Flash. Simple enough.

Flash, simply, is broken. Horribly, horribly broken. It's absolutely, 100% of the time, mandatory on every champion ever. Except for those rare few precious snowflakes that run Ghost instead because they leave a poison trail on the ground and don't want to leave any areas uncovered, or whatever. Very rare circumstances. Very rare. Basically, as soon as you have Flash, start using it in every game and figure out how to use it well.

Heal is pretty much the ADC skill. You use it because you are going to be harassed and you know it. you're the primary target of the enemy team because you're squishy and you deal a lot of damage. You might also, in rare circumstances, use it to save your support, but that's basically "not going to happenTM"

In very rare circumstances, once you think you're too good for this guide and start writing your own, you might occasionally run Teleport instead of Flash or Heal, because Death happens and you need to get back into your lane as fast as possible. Don't attempt this while you're learning Kalista.

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Masteries are fixed now!


I favor offensive power, and put most of my points into columns 2 and 4. just go straight down the lines and you won't be far off. Take a point out of warlord and put it in Frenzy, and go with Havoc but no Arcane blade to have 21 points in offense, and you can get some extra health out of 9 points in defense. Spend that at your leisure.

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Kalista with the Runaan's Hurricane is TERRIFYING.
I don't think I've ever seen a power spike this hard, ever. Make no mistake that attack speed is her best stat. When you give her the hurricane, you triple her damage, you make her relevant in teamfights, you more than triple the effectiveness of her spears and rend, and, well, you just have to see it in action. Seriously this is your number one priority. Berserker's Greaves are a must, and furor enchant goes a long way on them, because you should always be attacking and moving.

After you get your greaves and hurricane, The Bloodthirster is probably best, you get some sustain out of it and you're just a bit more likely to walk away from a skirmish after you get a kill or two. The lifesteal off the minions is important because you'll probably want to engage targets when there are still enemy minions nearby (that's usually when they engage you, after all) and because a lot of popular ADC's outrange you, so you need to be able to win the trade through the lifesteal.

At this point you should have an idea of what the opponent is throwing at you and should be focusing on buying items that help you counter them.

You can build Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer to get some crazy burst damage to take out teams with a lot of healing, or if you just need a little luck to take out the enemy quickly.

Maw of Malmortius and Banshee's Veil help to stop the bleeding against teams that feature Zed, Leblanc, or other mage assassins. But you aren't going to be the teammate that stops them.

Last Whisper is a big thing right now, and AD (Attack Damage) based champions are wrecking. It and The Brutalizer are cheaper than any armor based items that counter attack damage, so... take advantage of that. You can grab the Last Whisper about the same time that the enemy team gets their armor (which face it, they need) and then suddenly any gold advantage they might have had over you is negated by the fact that you just got more of a stat advantage out of a smart purchase. And if you had the advantage over them... They're going to spend the next 5 minutes in AD-infused agony. If you see the enemy team trying to build armor-based items, buy this. Destroy them.

Just about every item build for every character is going to have Banshee's Veil in it somewhere because sometimes you just don't have an answer to something. Same applies to Guardian Angel. If you look at the catalog of items and are just lost on what to do, you might be stuck in a scenario where you just can't do anything about the other team's burst damage. So go for that.

The Mercurial Scimitar (well, really, just the Quicksilver Sash) is nice for dealing with teams that have high amounts of crowd control. Just be sure to use that active at the right time.

If you're completely lost on what to buy but you don't feel pressured to get a Guardian Angel, then the Blade of the Ruined King is a nice fallback. It gives you a slight bit more attack speed, some lifesteal, and some max health shredding attacks, as well as a health drain active. It's a nice well rounded weapon.

You will be squishy. Sorry. There's not much that you can do about that without completely draining you of the abilities that make you most useful. Items that increase your survivability really only help you when you're already ahead. Don't dig yourself into a deeper hole if you're already behind, focus on your offensive potential.

There are a lot of Kalista guides out there that don't have the Hurricane in their item builds. Yet they also say that Rend is a huge source of your damage. Why wouldn't you want to triple the damage from Rend? Odds are, you don't have just one target to shoot. and you don't want to miss out on a chance to harass your lane opponent because Kalista decided to spear a minion instead. With the hurricane, you can simply shift-right click in rapid succession, using attack move to hop circles around even the most aggressive opponents. Skillshots and armor mean nothing when they can't hit you. And most abilities in the game are skillshots.

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Skill Sequence

This is where you get to apply your own personal touch to Kalista.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Q: Pierce
W: Sentinel
E: Rend
R: Fate's Call

If you are very good at skillshots (as I am), then your Q is a great first option. you can work it into your rotation while farming to get last hits when you need to, but I found that rend (your E) works best (though it punishes you harder if you fail).

You want one point in your W as early as you can afford it and I recommend it second, because the sudden damage spike from that proc is insane at scaring off other champs from the lane, getting you free farm when you need it most, and making the gank against you cost a LOT more, especially if the jungler is melee. You can get a very early triple kill if a melee jungler tries to gank you after you've successfully harassed both bottom laners.
Don't push it though. Letthem make the mistake.

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Abilities and how to use them

Martial Poise - Kalista's passive. As you attack, you can choose to launch yourself in a direction when the attack is finished. Other players can't see where you're going to launch.

Part of learning Kalista requires that you master this skill, and when I say Master I mean "you need to try not to fall flat on your face when you do this." Because this... is a hard skill to learn. You might want to practice against bots a bit because they have infinitely fast timing on adjusting to your position, and that can help sharpen your reaction time. Kalista goes from hopping too slowly to counter a melee character to hopping so fast that they can't escape and you might accidentally hop too far, launching yourself out of fighting range. oops. It can be difficult to remember that sometimes you want to hop at an angle or skip the opportunity to hop once, so that you stay within range of the opponent for another hit, before you rend, either for the kill, or the cripple, which will end them. Positioning in this mini-game is very difficult and you will make mistakes more often than not.

Pierce - this is a skillshot that fires a spear, and I find myself using it for mobility more than anything else. If you fire it away from your target, you can lunge immediately using her Passive (that nasty paragraph up there, yes, I just made all that even harder) and squeeze an extra smidgeon of distance out of it, because she lunges a bit farther when she lunges back (and by back, they mean away from the spear you threw).

The spear you throw from this ability is extremely easy to dodge, and hiding behind a minion can save you from it, and it doesn't deal that much damage, but if a minion has a lot of spears in them (courtesy of rend, below), you can hit them with pierce and, if pierce kills the minion, all those spears carry over into the target behind it... If you're groaning at this point, I don't blame you. Why jump through so many hoops for such a trivial bonus? Basically, don't worry about this. It's a nifty easter egg that will help you out in very rare circumstances.

Pierce serves two important purposes: It acts as a mini-flash to help you with your positioning, by throwing a spear so you can jump again; Secondly, it acts as a quick toss of a spear when you don't have your attack speed high enough yet, giving you the ability to last hit a minion for a CS (Creep Score, or the number of minions that you've gotten the last hit on, which gives you most of your gold) when you need it.

Sentinel - Sentinel provides you with vision. That alone makes this skill awesome (when you remember to use it! DOH!), but simply having this skill on your bar makes it so that when you or your soulbound attack a target, it is marked. the other of your pair can attack that marked target, consuming the mark for bonus damage. Let me just say that the damage is significant.

Proper use of this passive will be the difference between winning and losing your lane in many games. Sending the sentinel up the river or around to the tri-bush will also save you from enemy ganks or give you the foresight to prepare to wreck the enemy jungler as they fail to realize your potential to hard-counter them. After all, sometimes the Jungler makes mistakes too.

REND! - All hail rend! Can you tell I like rend? Have you been playing Vayne and hating the laning phase? Have you tried laning with pierce first? It hurts, I know. Rend is here to save the day. Rend gives you instant ability to execute a minion for a last hit if you need to do it before the minion dies. Gauging the difference between "My next spear throw will kill that enemy minion" and "my next spear throw will not kill that enemy minion until after that friendly minion kills it" is only slightly challenging.

Getting rend first and maxing it fast will give you: More gold in the laning phase and the ability to secure CS at your discretion; Early game soft CC (Crowd Control, the ability to stop, slow or stun an opponent) to secure kills when/if the enemy screws up; awesome little pokey spears inside your enemies to scare the ever-loving **** out of them; and last but not least, the satisfaction of knowing that you can hit your E every few seconds when you're doing it right, which is really very satisfying. It's basically just a very enjoyable experience.

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Team Work

Here I will discuss support characters who work well with Kalista.

Let's go down the list of things Kalista wants from a support.
1. CC and Harass.
2. An "oh ****!" button.
3. The ability to work well with Kalista's ultimate.
4. The ability to harass Kalista's spear target to get that magic proc from her W.

Any other miscellaneous buffs count after these 4 considerations are taken into account.

Firstly I'll start with the best.

Magical Christmasland

I could title this part of the guide "Kalista <3 Morgana Magical Lesbian Ghost Brides Adventure" and it wouldn't be too far from the truth.

Let's check the list
1. CC and Harass. Morgana's might be the best in the game.
2. An "oh ****!" button. Morgana's Black shield is insane.
3. The ability to work well with Kalista's ultimate. Morgana is simply the best at this.
4. The ability to harass Kalista's spear target to get that magic proc from her W. Check. Not only is morgana ranged, but her abilities don't require her to be in position for anything, so getting a free ranged basic on a target is very easy for her.

Why is Morgana Magical Christmasland for Kalista? Because Morgana's ult works with hers. Do you understand what I mean by that? You might not. I'll give you a scenario.

Morgana is hiding in a bush as a teamfight breaks out. Morgana comes up from behind and ults, causing enemies to try to scramble away from her and towards Kalista. Kalista uses her ult, pulling Morgana to her. Morgana's ult is NOT CANCELLED. Morgana then hurls herself at an enemy target, knocking every single enemy up. Then, as they land, they are stunned from her ult. Net result: about 5-6 seconds of complete and total teamfight domination, as Kalista fires triple the normal number of spears into the enemy team, setting up a triple kill from rend. To start. The teamfight.

Oh, but that's an unlkely situation? Darn, I guess we'll just have to SETTLE for hurling Morgana INTO the enemy team to knock them up and ult them for 4-5 seconds of teamfight domination to start the teamfight, as they all scramble to run away and probably don't make it. She might even have to use zhonya's like she's normally supposed to do.

And it's there that you realize the true potential. "Settling" for the greatest possible advantage you could ask for to start a teamfight means that Kalista/Morgana is literally the greatest ADC/Support combo you can ask for.

These supports are your favorites.

Zyra's got almost all the bases covered but she lacks an "oh ****" button, so if you use her as a support be aware that you have no room to screw up, but she has obscene range for harassment and can keep really obnoxious adc's like caitlyn at bay. She covers some of your downsides and makes harassment a constant firehose of pressure rather than a burst every few seconds. She has phenomenal synergy with your ult and doubles up on the knockup. If Yasuo is on your team as well, you're going to have a fun time.
Man who DOESN'T love this guy! He's already awesome and his passive WORKS with yours! double up on the bonus magic damage from your W by adding a stun to that, and you virtually guarantee a kill or an enemy scrambling and flashing away to safety. With his relic shield you can even grab rend third and use pierce to harass with a lot more confidence starting at level 1, because who doesn't want to be a huge douche like that?
I did mention that harassment is important and Nidalee has that in spades. her heal also grants you bonus attack speed (which means bonus movement, which means...) so she doubles up on the bonuses she offers you. Nidalee gives you the ability to counter any push the enemy pair tries to make, and to rebound with even more force to secure kills, so you can expect to dominate your lane unless their combo somehow beats yours. Somehow.
Janna, Janna, what do you NOT offer a team? In this matchup, it's not about what Janna offers you (because she's already a five star support) but rather what you offer her. You give her the ability to launch into the enemy team before ulting - which is something she'd burn flash to do already. Now she can singlehandedly (well, almost) peel any enemy away from their team during teamfights. win, win, and more win. So yeah, here, you're really just making Janna better, but that says a lot.
A fellow Shadow Isles champ and king of the world, the hookmaster needs no introduction. Like Janna, he's really going to appreciate being thrown into enemy teams, but instead of peeling them away, he's going to chain them down. Then he's going to sunfire cape them away while you shred them from afar. Thresh is a huge asset in teamfights and although it appears that he'd have some trouble getting the proc off your W, he just needs to land more hooks and can secure kills very easily.
Alistar is... Crazy. He's got the healing to be aggressive, he can charge right through the minion wave to set up a headbutt launching an enemy into the danger zone, he loves being thrown at the enemies already, so giving him another ability to do that is just... awesome. He can equip the relic shield and stay up front to harass enemy laners and help you get last hits. Everything checks out to label him perfect... in theory. He has mana issues though making everything work. If you have a good Alistar pilot, this can be the matchup that makes the entire enemy team rage.

These are supports you enjoy seeing, but they might not be the best.

Her heal is great, but we'd appreciate Nidalee's attack speed boost more, and Kayle is a little prone to stealing the kills and the gold and running away as a carry. (That's not your job, Kayle!)
Annie's missing an "oh ****" button except for her stun, which is best applied as an offensive tool, and as a result she's not so good at harassment of the kind you like. Yes, you get those stuns, and they're really awesome, and you're probably going to rock, and of course you're going to win, but you just can't shake this feeling that you're not quite reaching maximum potential. It's probably because she doesn't have the ability to SAFELY rock out like the awesome category above.
Man, that range! Those skills! This guy's EPIC! He just has one slight problem, and that's that he might (always) be out of position to take advantage of your W. He'll also never throw himself into an enemy to take advantage of your ult because he wants to hit as many targets as possible. That's not really a bad thing, it's just something to note.
Lux is always powerful. She just doesn't offer anything to really stand out and her ult doesn't benefit from yours like other characters do. It's not like you'd say no.
Like Lux, Sona's powerful and has the same issues. That is to say, there are no issues. Go for it. She just doesn't have any real awesome perks.
Leona's a more interesting character and almost ended up in the "awesome" category, but for one small detail. Her passive works with yours, but only if she hits first. See, that's not a bad thing, you can work with that. It's just that her passive only adds a little more damage. Braum adds a stun, which is so much more powerful. It's like choosing between dessert and slightly more of the main course. There isn't a wrong answer here. Braum just stands out a LOT more.
Blitzcrank is an awesome support here, and you should never really turn him down. But compared to Thresh he's just slightly underperforming. Thing about blitz is that he's naturally tanky, which would be nice if YOU were, but you're not, you're already the target. People see someone like Thresh or Morgana, and they get bloodthirsty, and that keeps you alive.

Potatoes are nice. I like potatoes. But if you're hungry for something else, and someone offers you potatoes? You're either like "meh, ok" or "nah." These supports are potatoes. Try to get another support. But don't be rude and reject them. You never know when you could discover a new meta, or when a player is just THAT GOOD. (Or when the enemy team is just that bad)

Cassiopeia - I can't recommend Cass while Rito keeps messing with her. They're changing things about her that really affect her performance as a support (which isn't even her main role, so don't worry about it)
Healing. Woo. Do you do anything else? I mean I could get an item for that...
Armor is nice. At level 1. What do you offer after that?
Why are you even classified as support?
Get back to the Jungle! Movement and attack speed boosts are nice, but seriously?
Here Nami just unfortunately doesn't offer you anything that you'd like other than the occasional heal. See Soraka.
So many nice combat tricks, and they... don't really help you the way you'd like to be helped.

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Unique Skills

Fate's Call - This is the skill that people think of when they hear Kalista.
You pick a soul-bound at the start of the game, almost always the support.

Later, when you get your ult, you can pull your soul-bound into you if they're nearby.

You can use this to save them, of course, or to make them untargetable while they use their ult (like Morgana). But the main purpose is so that they can launch themselves at a nearby enemy or in a particular direction to set up an offensive play. Sometimes you can do all three at once. And that's when things get messy.

Here are some corner case scenarios where you can make that ult work in your favor:

If you have chased an enemy into their base and they have flashed over the wall, you can ult to set up an opportunity for your support to launch over the wall after them to knock them up (maybe) and finish them off. they'll really appreciate you if you place a ward there first.

If your support is baiting an attack from an enemy, you can use your ult to save them from certain doom if it turns out there are more enemies than expected taking the bait.

If an enemy is hiding at low health under the turret, you can use your ult to save your support when they tower dive to secure the kill.

If you and your support are at half health and want to pursue past a turret, the support can charge in under turret first, taking two hits, then you can ult while charging the remaining distance, taking one hit and setting up the ability for your support to launch ahead to knock up and secure the kill.

If an enemy is tower diving to kill your support (as if that happens), you can ult to grab your support, and they can knock up the diving enemy under the turret, forcing the enemy to take a few hits and maybe racking up a kill to cancel out the assured death of the support.

Martial Poise - This is Kalista's "hop" that makes Battle Bunny Riven jealous. It is short range and can't hop over walls, or at least, if it can, I haven't been able to do it myself with plenty of practice and prayer. As often as this passive is being used, the most advice I can offer you is this: Play Kalista more and hop around like a maniac. Practice is the only thing that's going to help you with this ability.

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The laning phase for Kalista is either going to be hell or Christmas, depending on which ability you grab first and how well you use it.

Grab Rend first. Every guide for Kalista telling you otherwise is wrong. Guides are supposed to help you do better, and the only thing that's going to help you do better is if you figure out how to play a character properly before you try to do it the hard way.

Usually I can grab every single CS in the first wave with 3 autoattacks and a rend, assuming Thresh doesn't whip my target like a crazy person. Thankfully, Rend won't go on cooldown or even be usable if you don't have a target with spears nearby, so even if that does happen and thresh stares at you like a stray cat looking for food ("Souls?"), you don't have to wait out the agonizingly long cooldown for rend.

If you do get trigger happy and use rend before it can secure the kill, well you have to suffer. Eternities of agony and torment await you on the endless plains of suffering in hell. Flaming skeletons shriek your name while wielding pitchforks stabbing you and making new - oh, wait nevermind, cooldown's up. we're good. back to work.

Laning without rend is really painful, so just make sure you use it properly and get good at it. Lane properly and you'll never have to poach anything away from your own jungle. Make Steve Irwin proud. Don't poach.

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Concluding Notes

If you have any feedback, please offer it! I would love any reason to come back to this guide to offer more info or followup on any part of it.

I would leave you with some simple advice though.

NEVER play Kalista solo! I don't just mean laning with a support, I mean laning with a support that you are in voice chat with, if not the same room! It makes a HUGE difference! You have to be able to coordinate, you just HAVE to!

I recommend also checking out some other guides.
Kinky Kalista shows that you actually can hop over some of the walls with Martial Poise. I don't know if I believe it, and I've seen it! LOL

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Upcoming Changes

On the PBE there are some proposed changes including one-way gates inbetween the three base entrances. Time will tell if this enhances Kalista's gameplay. Hopping into the base from the outside and using that gateway to harass enemy attackers might end up being a huge plus to Kalista's appeal in teamfights. (like she isn't already awesome!)


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