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Kennen Build Guide by Xelaadryth

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Xelaadryth

[S8] Lane Dominance: A Comprehensive Kennen Guide

Xelaadryth Last updated on December 12, 2017
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Team 1

Cheat Sheet
Previous Champion Build Next Champion Build

Standard Kennen

Kennen Build

LoL Path: Sorcery
LoL Rune: Summon Aery
Summon Aery
LoL Rune: The Ultimate Hat
The Ultimate Hat
LoL Rune: Celerity
LoL Rune: Scorch

LoL Path: Inspiration
LoL Rune: Perfect Timing
Perfect Timing
LoL Rune: Magical Footwear
Magical Footwear

+12 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power (Adaptive)

Ability Sequence

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

Threats to Kennen with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Rengar Auto attack him a lot. If he's in brush, stand far away, and look to hit him when he jumps out for cs with Qs and autos. He should have a hard time reaching you, especially if you dodge his slow/snare with your E.
Tryndamere Trynd can't close with you since you'll just stun him out. Auto attack him a lot and he'll be sad. Once you hit 6 though, you have to be a lot more careful of his all-in since he can dps for so much longer. Keep a mark on him to make sure you can slow him with Rylai's and W when he decides to chase or escape.
Master Yi When he goes in on your team, ult when his alpha strike is about to end. Your chain stuns on him should end him quickly as it not only stops his damage but cancels his damage reduction from Meditate. He'll be immune to your Rylai's slows though.
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Played Kennen since Season 1, learned everything I knew from Ego Ignaxio's Methodological Guide to Kennen, strange a guide as it was. Since then many things have changed, namely the massive nerfs to spellvamp, but the playstyle is still very much the same. I've been adapting my play to the seasons as they've passed as he's gone in and out of meta, and I've even beaten MegaZero in a tourney-style 1v1 as Kennen vs. Swain, an unfavorable matchup for Kennen, while running armor runes and no MR (picks were blind).

I usually play a very aggressive style that is weak to ganks without proper warding and map awareness. You can often surprise people with your dueling potential at early levels by running the almost-maximum amount of flat AD. This playstyle is defeated by early jungle ganks, and also by hard-pushing wave-clearing champions as they don't give you an opportunity to gain advantage to apply pressure. Note that this guide is to teach you just this one aggressive style of play; I'm not saying this is the only correct way to play the champion. In fact it's designed mainly for solo queue; huge power early to put you ahead and draw jungle attention, and if you run no teleport you don't have to depend on your team and can instead force objective trades by yourself, and hopefully with your power can single-handedly choose and turn fights in the late game.

Most of what I say in this guide I'll be talking about with top lane in mind, although almost all of it applies to mid. Mid however requires more roaming and pushing to wave reset. AD Carry and support are also very different. I'll talk about each in its own section.

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Summoner Spells

Flash is a necessity to position your ult during fights.

When playing top, teleport is just too important for counter-ganks, especially bot lane, to give up. This is more important at higher levels of play though so Ignite for lane dominance and kill potential is probably better at Gold and lower.

Mid lane you probably want Ignite for its dueling potential if you have a good matchup, or Teleport for a losing matchup to get back to lane or gank elsewhere.

Heal for AD carries is pretty standard.

For support, Exhaust is a little redundant with your stuns, especially when you're ulting, and ignite for kill potential off your ever-ready stuns is very helpful, especially for ganks. Exhaust isn't a bad choice but Ignite may be a tad better.

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Early Game - General Playstyle

In lane, your goal is to zone your opponents, whittle them down, and then all-in for kills. At levels 1 and 2 your opponents will often underestimate your auto-attack damage if you're running an early game build. Ganks shut you down hard in the early game as you won't be able to snowball, and enemies with Teleport and/or potions of some kind will be extremely annoying as you won't be able to bully them out of lane as effectively and you'll even be behind since you'll be tanking more minion aggro. Make sure to ward carefully and always be aware of where the enemy jungler is, and play safer if your flash is down.

If you're against an opponent you have unfavorable trades with at AA range (such as Azir or Quinn), then going magic or hybrid pen instead of flat AD runes, farming from range with Q, and not auto-ing much may be the better option as you play pacifist and just farm for late game.

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Levels 1 and Auto-Attacking

Focus on dropping single auto-attacks on an enemy and running backwards to drop minion aggro before they can hurt you. Minions aggro on you if a target you hit is standing very close to them. Standing too far forward, going for a second auto, or not immediately running backwards/dropping into brush will result in taking 3 or more minion attacks, which almost makes the trade not worth it in most cases since your enemies will generally have better sustain than you, and if they're smart they'll start Doran's Shield. Try landing Qs from various angles, and watch your own minion HP to predict when enemies will have to move into your auto-attack range, or into the line of fire of your Q. You can all-in when they're around 1/4 or even 1/3 life if they're running teleport rather than ignite most of the time. Always look out for jungle ganks though.

If you're running flat AD, check their AD. If you have a big enough advantage and zone them away from their ranged creeps early on, you can all-in with just auto-attacks as long as they're far enough back that you don't try minion aggro. Worst case they have to stay out of experience range, best case they try to fight and die.

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Managing Your W Passive

At level 2 when you take Electrical Surge, you can really start pressuring your opponents. Maintain around 3 stacks by last-hitting minions, and when you know the opponent will have to move in for a cs, get your charged W stack and tag them with it, but don't waste your W yet. This is where your zoning game begins.

Your passive mark persists for around 6 seconds; try to use your W as close to the time limit as possible as you auto-attack to around 3 stacks again to leave the charges on your enemy for as long as possible. When your enemy has 2 stacks on them, they'll hesitate to move anywhere near the wave. If they are forced to walk into auto range, work up a charge, W, and auto to stun for a guaranteed Q hit. If you have a charge auto but the enemy refuses to walk into auto range, last hit with Q as well as you can to keep your auto proc available, but don't feel too bad to waste the auto on a creep to cs.

Alternatively, you can charged auto + W for an instant Thunderlord's proc, although you give up the zone potential. Good for if you need to play farther back in lane or predict that you won't be able to get the other auto off later. Remember the cooldown of Thunderlord's though!

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Using E

Once you get Lightning Rush at level 3 you can survive almost any gank as long as you have flash, so you can play incredibly aggressively. Don't forget the Armor/MR bonus from E as well; if you're going to take a lot of burst damage, it's sometimes good to Energy Ball to stop some of the damage. Just remember you'll have no escape for quite some time.

E is also a guaranteed charge if you have flash. To start an all-in, you can flash directly onto the enemy for a guaranteed stack. To follow up, you can W + charged auto for a guaranteed stun, and then a guaranteed Q on the stunned enemy. Be sure to drop out of E immediately after applying the stack to auto the enemy the maximum amount of times while kiting towards the enemy tower to cut off their retreat.

If you're ahead in lane, you can E behind their minion line to get in auto range for a quick Thunderlord's burst or tag them to W later to maintain stacks.

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In late early-game and in mid-game, you want to pressure lane hard since without Teleport, you can't help your team much otherwise. You want to pressure top lane hard enough to take a tower and pressure the second to attract the enemy jungler and alleviate pressure from the rest of the map, hopefully letting your team get dragons.

If you're running teleport, then keep an eye out for teleports bot lane when your ult is up. Teleports when you have Zhonya's are especially scary since you can go right int he center of the enemy team and they'll get split.

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Late Game

In the late game and in teamfights, once you have Zhonya's Hourglass, Kennen functions almost like an off-tank by moving towards the center of the enemy team and using Slicing Maelstrom, and thus splitting the enemy carries from their front line. You want to force the enemy carries to choose between tanking your ult to dps, or standing out of range in the back of the fight unable to hit any targets to avoid your ult. If you're incredibly fed, you can even one-shot enemy carries with ignite and stun-lock, especially if you have flash to stick on them after they flash, but more often than not just hitting lots of enemies and popping Zhonya's Hourglass when everyone begins to focus you is the better strategy.

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Combos/Attack Patterns

  • Standard Harass:
    W passive auto, work up 3 stacks using W active to maintain stacks, 4th auto on a minion when they move to cs, W passive auto for stun, auto + Q and walk away while they're stunned.
  • Thunderlord's Harass:
    W passive auto + W. The auto applies spell damage on hit so it counts as two abilities, and W is the third. Very strong on AD carry Kennen.
  • Catch/Pick:
    W passive auto + Q + W for instant stun from range.
  • 100% All-In:
    W passive auto, E, Flash directly onto them for a guaranteed charge, W active stun, E (to cancel energy ball) + auto + Q + auto (while they're stunned).
  • Running Away (No auto-attack kiting):
    Q when they get close (so you can't miss), E towards them for a split second to tag them, W active stun while E-ing away.
  • Running Away (Auto-attack kiting):
    Save your E, keep auto-ing tossing a Q when they're close enough you can't miss until you have a W passive charge, W active to stun and E away.
  • Chasing (Reachable):
    E through them, Q point blank, W stun.
  • Extended Chase (10+ seconds):
    E on cooldown when available, alternate between tagging with Q and tagging with W active to maintain stacks (and proc Rylai's if you have it), auto attack only if you almost have enough stacks for a charge since you'll lose a lot of ground.
  • Clearing a Jungle Camp:
    E through the creeps, W, auto, Q, auto, keep autoing small creeps with normal shurikens if they're one or two hits saving W passive charged autos for the big creep, W when it's up again.

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Top Tips

  • Against Melee:
    Most melee champs are extremely vulnerable at levels 1 and 2, so look to put heavy amounts of damage on them then and zone them from exp if possible. Most melee top laners start outscaling you in terms of dueling ability at around levels 4-5, and by level 9 you should almost never go for a fair fight.
  • Jungle Ganks:
    Jungler usually ganks top at around 3:30 if they start bot jungle as most do. You'll likely be pushed up so either ward around 3:15 or hang back around then. Keeping yourself well-warded when you're drawing jungle aggro is absolutely critical.
  • Applying Pressure:
    Push hard if you're winning and have wards. Always look for teleports bot. Kennen is a terrifying ganker, bot lane especially, if the enemy team overextends behind something you can teleport to because of your multi-man ulti, for instance on a towerdive.

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Mid Tips

  • Minion Management:
    Most mid-laners clear waves really efficiently. You often have to constantly auto the wave to keep up, giving you opportunity to lifesteal but little chance to land a W charge.
  • Lane Pressure:
    If you get pushed in to your tower, that means your opponent has time to roam. Try to not let that happen since your team will have to pay for it.
  • Roaming:
    Kennen's pretty good at roaming since you travel quickly with your E. If you can, leave your lane with a charged auto to prep a future stun. Look to get in behind your opponents with E and ult on top of them.

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AD Carry Tips

  • Harassing
    Thunderlord's harassing is really strong. Keeping up a zone is tough against two enemies. Your W's passive AD ratio scales with level so the damage is pretty good.
  • CSing
    Don't forget you can CS with Q! Maintaining a passive charge on your W is great for zoning and deals a lot of damage if your opponents disrespect it. That said, don't be afraid to use it to CS or you'll fall behind in farm.
  • Teamfight Positioning
    AD Kennen is heavily reliant on his team to protect him, kinda like a Kog'Maw of cc. Position in the back and focus on being able to constantly auto, and depend on your team to chain cc so you can lifesteal if you take damage instead of rushing in with ult like mage Kennen.
  • Repositioning with E
    E should be used sparingly since you won't be auto'ing. When you DO use it to reposition, cancel it as soon as you're out of immediate danger to keep laying down the hurt. If someone jumps directly on top of you, E for a charge and move to a short distance, and then immediately auto+Q+W+auto for a quick stun in combination with an extra few auto attacks which should be a ton of damage.

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Support Tips

  • Level 1:
    At level 1 it's really important that you help push the minion wave with autos so you can hit level 2 before your opponent's duo lane. At level 2 you have an easy stun setup so it's a huge advantage, especially with Ignite.
  • W Passive:
    Save your W charge for champs, and hold off on W to maximize zoning time. You can easily work up another charged auto if you wait to W to refresh the stacks, leading to level 1 stuns if they're not careful.
  • Instant Stun:
    Wait for a charged auto, then auto+Q. If the Q lands, then W for an essentially instant stun. Great for catching people out both in lane and late game.
  • Roaming:
    You're really fast with E, and Kennen roam ganks can be scary especially if you have a charged auto before you leave lane.
  • Teamfight Tactics:
    Since you're not nearly as tanky as if you were solo lane, you'll most likely just be peeling by Rylai's slowing and stunning enemy divers, especially assassins. Ulting over the enemy front line helps keep your team healthy. You can also engage with Flash+ult+W but you run the risk of instantly dying. If you get assassinated before you ult you're completely useless.

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Tips and Tricks

  • Keep constant track of the number of stacks on your W passive; if you have too few you can't punish the enemy champ with Mark autos, if you have too many then you'll waste them to last hit. Try to use Q to last hit to manage your stacks. Maintaining 3 is usually perfect since you can get a charge by autoing a single creep.
  • Look to field goal your Q between enemy minions; enemy laners rarely expect Q shots between creeps.
  • Auto-attacking a creep and tossing a Q through it immediately after can often take enemies by surprise.
  • People often don't expect you to Q at the moment you start to turn away from them, so walking towards your opponent, turning away from them, and then firing a Q will often juke them to walk into it.
  • Accuracy with Q is key; barely sneaking Qs by creeps by tossing them as close to them as possible is a critical Kennen skill both for csing in a large wave as well as harassing.
  • If you're low on health, auto-attack constantly to get the most out of your Doran's Blade lifesteal.
  • To clear waves, auto at max speed and Q to last hit when you'd miss a cs from your auto or when two creeps are dying at once, or Energy Ball through the wave but save your W to last hit a minion or two so you don't end up missing any.
  • If you just barely don't have enough damage to last hit a minion when you're pushed in to your tower, don't forget you can use your E to last hit.
  • If you can save your Energy Ball before you Zhonya's Hourglass, Flash + E is often good enough to get you out of even very tight situations right as you come out of Zhonya's.
  • When running/chasing, try to save your E for when you have no cc on you, even slows, so the speed boost isn't wasted.
  • Make sure enemies are tagged before using W since missing a W because someone hits 3 stacks and is stunned is the worst feeling.
  • When ulting, try to use W immediately to tag as many people as possible and proc Rylai's slow to increase chances of a stun before they can get out of range. W tags all enemies in your ult even if they have no marks.

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Try playing with a few different rune/mastery combinations once you get comfortable to see where they're strong and weak. Mix up your build to suit each situation. And most importantly, stun a lot of people!

Good luck out there!