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Kennen Build Guide by Xelaadryth

Top [S9] Lane Dominance: A Comprehensive Kennen Guide

Top [S9] Lane Dominance: A Comprehensive Kennen Guide

Updated on December 30, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Xelaadryth Build Guide By Xelaadryth 654 34 5,372,794 Views 47 Comments
654 34 5,372,794 Views 47 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Xelaadryth Kennen Build Guide By Xelaadryth Updated on December 30, 2019
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Kennen
    Lane Bully Kennen
  • LoL Champion: Kennen
    Top AD On-Hit Kennen
  • LoL Champion: Kennen
    Glacial Augment Kennen
  • LoL Champion: Kennen
    AD Carry Kennen
  • LoL Champion: Kennen
    Support Kennen

Runes: Balanced

1 2
Summon Aery
Nimbus Cloak
Gathering Storm

Perfect Timing
Cosmic Insight

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite



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, sometimes even enough to 1v2, 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, though ignite is much easier to take in mid lane. 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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When to Pick Kennen

In general, you want to pick Kennen when the enemy team has squishy divers weak to cc like Master Yi/Fizz/Yasuo, and when they have a squishy backline that will cluster together like most AD carries/Soraka/Brand etc. You don't want to pick Kennen into people that can easily knock you out of the fight, like Janna, Lee Sin, etc.

In the top lane, you want opponents that are really weak to cc, or easy to safely autoattack. You don't want to deal with high mobility bursty bruisers, or tanks that can outscale to outsustain your harass or have resistance to cc.

In the mid lane, you want opponents that are really weak to cc as well. You want to avoid anyone that you can't win an auto-attack trade with, which is most mage midlaners, or people that can safely push the wave like Morgana since Kennen's waveclear requires the use of his escape and won't one-shot the wave until near the end of the game.
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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 Items

Doran's Blade start is pretty critical as long as you don't have an awful matchup; as long as you can auto-attack to harass definitely pick it up and go for an adaptive AD start. If the harass is working, avoid buying any AP items to maintain your AD adaptive bonus as long as possible for laning.

If you can't auto-attack trade, you can just start cloth armor, boots, or doran's shield, and consider taking teleport if the lane will be a struggle.

Buy pinks. Always have a pink out. Since Kennen is usually a lane bully, this matters more than for most other champions.

If you're winning lane and single auto-attacks are easy to land, rush a Hextech Revolver. You'll usually want a Protobelt anyway but upgrading to it loses the auto-attack zap passive. Great for bullying.

If you're getting poked out and are willing to sacrifice teamfight mobility, Hextech Gunblade is great for outsustaining the opponent's mana pool.

If you're having trouble against AD, taking two Cloth Armors or even a Seeker's Armguard is a great way to make your lane safer.

If you're having trouble against AP, you can hold onto a Null-Magic Mantle and later upgrade it into a Banshee's after you finish your core.

If you're winning lane and the enemy team has squishies, rush Oblivion Orb for a nice powerspike and Sorc Shoes to get to maximum magic pen.
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Mid Game Items

Once mid-game rolls around and you have your ult, pick up a Stopwatch to make sure that you can perform your classic ult + Zhonya's combo in a pinch, and then rush to upgrade it when it breaks. If you never use it, you can delay building the rest for awhile.

As you get into mid-game, Hextech Protobelt will help you reach the targets you want, but remember you can't cast ult while in the protobelt dash animation. Also the cooldown is so low, you can use it for waveclear as well. Careful not to stand too close to your target or the blast won't spread properly to everything.

Spellbinder combos extremely well with Celerity, your E, and ult. Basically the faster you move, the more AP you have, and that means your ult becomes terrifying. Also your abilities are all free so it's safe to stack it up.

If you're really far behind though, you can instead go Rylai's to remain relevant to your team by putting out constant slows. Rylai's is also great into dashless tanks and bruisers to keep them from ever reaching their targets.
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Late Game Items

Now it's time to look at your opponents and their builds to figure out what you want to have as your 6 items.

If they're squishy or have sources of healing, you have to go Morellonomicon. This is most games.

If their team is heavily skewed to magic damage, like fewer than 2 sources of physical damage, consider going Banshee's Veil. Also, Banshee's Veil is a great pick if they have people like Lux/Morg who depend on landing a skillshot to engage.

If even one or two squishies are building MR, it's time to go Void Staff.

If their entire team is tanky, consider going Liandry's, especially if you already have a Rylai's.

If the game has a lot of poke battles, Luden's is pretty effective at popping Banshee's and doing a little extra hurt when you land a Q. It also gives you movespeed which synergizes well with your Celerity. I haven't tested Luden's extensively though since games rarely go long enough without needing to specialize in something else defensive.

If you have nothing better to build, then it's time to build Rabadon's. It's more effective the more AP you have, but it's always a big powerspike no matter what.

There are some weird cases like when the enemy team is 5 AD or 5 AP. In these cases, it might be worthwhile to pick up a Randuin's Omen or Adaptive Helm, or even a second Zhonya's or Banshee's if you need the damage. Super rare so probably don't worry about it.
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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

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 a little more instant burst, though you give up some zone potential.

If you cast W at the same time the enemy's mark wears off, it will bring back all previous stacks, so you may have a little more time than you think.

Often times, you can walk towards the opponent, or even E towards them and juke to bait out skillshots by threatening to use W on them. Or you can just E into range and W them and leave. This is super powerful when you're ahead as it increases your zoning radius by a lot, though it opens you up to more ganks; make sure your minion wave and the opponent is low enough to 1v2 if you get ganked.
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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 charged auto-attack and W, especially if they already have charges on them.

Also, when you get out of E, you get an attack speed buff for a little while, which can help you get to a W passive auto in a pinch when fighting.
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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

Kennen really shines in the lategame teamfights, but only if you choose the correct time to engage. This is probably the hardest part of playing Kennen. In general, you don't want to engage from plain sight since it'll be easy for enemies to scatter. Also, Kennen is far more devastating as a counter-engage than as an initial engage since most opponents will have used their escape abilities already and be forced to take your damage and cc.

Celerity is also critically important here; by popping Spellbinder and using E, you boost your movespeed and damage by a ton. If you can flank the opponents, pop Spellbinder, and protobelt towards the squishies, then you can melt them really quickly. Using W anytime they're in your ult circle will always hit them, regardless of if they've already been tagged or not.
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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.
  • Quick Damage Harass:
    W passive auto + W. Probably the most common for new Kennen players since they don't think about saving the charges. Very strong on AD carry Kennen since you can't always zone with autos in a 2v2 lane.
  • Catch/Pick:
    W passive auto + Q + W for instant stun from range. This order is important because of the travel time of the particles.
  • 100% All-In:
    W passive auto, E forward, Flash directly onto them for a guaranteed charge, W active stun, E (to cancel energy ball) + auto + Q + kite autos (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. If they have no cc you can even wait until they reach you with 2 charges, then tap them with E and then run away.
  • Chasing (Reachable):
    E through them (to body-block), optional auto, Q point blank, W stun.
  • Extended Chase (10+ seconds):
    E on cooldown when available, alternate between tagging with Q and tagging with W active as late as possible 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, Q point blank, exit E, auto, W, keep autoing small creeps with normal shurikens if they're one or two hits saving W passive charged autos and Qs 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. If they get scared away you can even stand behind their minion line, but beware of ganks.
  • Jungle Ganks:
    Jungler usually ganks top or mid at around 3:00 if they start bot jungle as most do. You'll likely be pushed up so either ward scuttle before laning starts to hopefully catch a glimpse of them, or hang back around that time. 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. If you have a stopwatch, you're even safer to tank for dives.
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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. Constantly reposition to put enemies in bad spots to land your Qs.
  • 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
    Charged auto harassing is really strong since it scales off AD. Keeping up a zone is tough against two enemies so don't bother.
  • 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.
  • Items that Sound Good but Aren't
    You'd think that Runaan's Hurricane and Guinsoo's Rageblade would increase the rate at which your W passive charges, but it no longer does. Don't buy them. Except for maybe Guinsoo's if you're truly doing a hybrid AD/AP build, but I haven't tested that much.
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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. Stun some folks.
  • 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 without letting you get popped back the enemy backline. You can also engage with Flash+ult+W+Zhonya's but you run the risk of instantly dying if you misjudged how fast your team can come to your rescue. 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 to finish off a creep and tossing a Q through it immediately 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 straight 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.
  • At early levels, if you E through the caster minions, a tower shot will put them at just the right HP to kill with an auto.
  • 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.
  • Don't forget to use Spellbinder and E before or while ulting to get the maximum amount of movespeed to AP from Celerity
  • Make sure enemies are tagged before using W since missing a W because someone hits 3 stacks and is stunned but you only W a minion 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.
  • Some tips to avoid ganks: try to work up to a fifth auto if you see the enemy jungler coming and can't just E to safety directly. Save your E for when you can't be slowed. If you can stun the enemy with cc with auto+Q+W, or E+Q+W if they're already on top of you, you may be able to flash out during the stun. If you build up a large minion wave and harrassed the enemy laner low enough, you can also fight in the center of your wave and 1v2.
  • Klepto procs as long as the autoattack LANDS after spellcast. This means you can auto an opponent even without Klepto ready and then E away while the projectile is in the air. Same for Q/W.
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Mix up your build to suit each situation. Try playing with a few different rune combinations once you get comfortable to see where they're strong and weak, especially against lane matchups that are winning/losing. Play that one game with Hexflash just for fun and get that one crazy play before realizing it's not actually that good. And most importantly, stun a lot of people!

Good luck out there!

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