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Kai'Sa Build Guide by SnipyOCE

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Snipy's Mage Kai'Sa Guide for Mid Lane (Burst/Assassin)

By SnipyOCE | Updated on November 6, 2019
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Runes: Full AP Burst

1 2
Domination
Electrocute
Taste of Blood
Ghost Poro
Ingenious Hunter

Sorcery
Transcendence
Gathering Storm
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist

Spells:

Flash + Ignite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

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ADC Role
Ranked #17 in
ADC Role
Win 48%
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Champion Build Guide

Snipy's Mage Kai'Sa Guide for Mid Lane (Burst/Assassin)

By SnipyOCE
Introduction
Welcome to my midlane Mage Kai'Sa guide. This version of Kai'Sa ditches the Guinsoo's Rageblade and focuses on stacking AP to make her abilities hit like a truck. I recently hit Diamond with my Mage Kai'Sa build, all streamed at https://www.twitch.tv/SnipyOCE/
Feel free to drop by and ask questions! Follow me on Twitter here @SnipyOCE for updates.



To give you an idea of what this playstyle looks like, here’s a short montage:
If you want a quick TLDR of my Protobelt build and Kai'Sa combos, I made a short video guide here:
Which Build Should I Go? Back to Top
The full AP build is harder to learn due to needing all the animation cancels/combos. However, it has a stronger early-game due to not wasting money on non-combat stats (such as mana). If you team needs a magic-damage threat, then this is the best build to go if you want to solo carry from early on.

The hybrid build spikes mid-game when you get both your Q and W evolves, but costs more gold and has no defensive stats (such as HP) early on. Your damage output will be around 50/50% magic/physical, compared to the 70/30% damage spread of the Full AP build. It essentially has higher DPS, but takes longer to powerspike.
Runes and Summoner Spells Back to Top
This build uses Electrocute, giving you a lot of kill pressure against the majority of midlane champions.
Since Kai'Sa only has 2 damaging spells, Ignite also gives you another spell to proc Electrocute with.
Taste of Blood gives you lane sustain early-game. This is the best rune out of the first row to take in all matchups.
Ghost Poro is a great rune for midlaners since it provides more vision for you and your team.
With Ravenous Hunter, you'll be healing up a ton of HP since a lot of your damage is single-target. For the Manamune build, I usually take ultimate hunter
With Ingenious Hunter, your Protobelt will have a 24 second cooldown, which helps you kill things more often, be it minion waves or enemy champions. It also lowers your trinket cooldown too!
With Ultimate Hunter, Your Ult is up more often which will help you net kills or escape dangerous situations. With a rank 3 ult, maximum CDR, and ultimate hunter, your R goes down to a 31.5 second cooldown. For the Protobelt build, this rune is my preferred choice, with Ingenious Hunter as 2nd best.
Manaflow Band gives you 250 mana which accelerates your Q evolve by 5 AD. It also restores 1% of your missing mana every 5 seconds once it's stacked, which complements your massive mana pool with Luden's Echo + Muramana.
Transcendence gives you 10% CDR, which helps you get your spells off cooldown from level 10 onwards. Absolute Focus is a good alternative if you feel like you don't need more spell uptime.
Absolute Focus gives you more raw AP to burst people with. When starting corrupting potion, it also gives enough AD to let you take a small raptor at level 1. Compared to Transcendence, it is the more aggressive rune choice and relies on you not missing your W's.

For stat shards I go attack speed, AP, and either Armor or Magic Resist. I take an attack speed shard instead of double AP since it helps with general csing and autoattacking, and makes it much possible to take a small raptor level 1, but we’ll get to that later.
Item Build Back to Top
Doran's Ring gives you great stats for laning, and lets you start with 2 potions to heal up damage you take due to your short range. It also contributes AP towards your W Void Seeker evolve. You can buy 2 to get your W evolve earlier without having to finish ludens.
Manamune is the key item used to evolve your Q using its mana to AD conversion. Combined with Bilgewater Cutlass, you'll have enough AD to evolve your Q by leve 11. The extra AD it gives also feeds into your spells as well, since they all scale with AD.
Hextech Gunblade gives great stats that boost the damage of your spells, and has an active that can apply Muramana damage and proc electrocute. The omnivamp healing lets you fight for longer too.
Hextech Protobelt-01 is very cheap, gives you HP to be able to survive close range against others, and its active can reset your autoattack for a quick passive proc on targets. The extra mobility from its active can also help you escape sticky situations and outplay opponents.
Sorcerer's Shoes gives you magic penetration, amplifying your magic damage. While in the early levels most of your damage is physical, Sorcerer's Shoes are still the best boots for bursty AP builds.
Luden's Echo is a core item in this build, since it has a damaging passive and gives all the stats you need.
Berserker's Greaves is also a great choice if you need more survivability, since it increases the move speed you receive from your E Supercharge. The extra attack speed helps you farm and dps too, so you'll still be outputting a lot of damage.
If you’re against an AD assassin like Zed or Talon, you can rush an early Seeker's Armguard and upgrade it later into Zhonya's Hourglass when your R Killer Instinct is not enough to survive anymore.
If you’re against an AP assassin like Ekko or Katarina, you can rush Hexdrinker to ensure they cannot burst you down, letting you follow up with your own damage.

What offensive item should I buy after Ludens? (in hybrid build)


RABADON'S DEATHCAP
VS

LICH BANE
- Massively boosts both your physical and magic damage
- Expensive
- No CDR
- Boosts your magic damage
- Gives 10% CDR and 7% movement speed
Rabadon's Deathcap massively amplifies your Q and W damage but is an expensive item to build. With less CDR, landing every W is crucial to your damage output. Lich Bane provides more utility stats and has a more lenient buildpath. It is a more consistent item if you can't every W.
Skill Order Back to Top
ABILITY
SEQUENCE
1

Q
2

W
3

E
4

Q
5

Q
6

R
7

Q
8

W
9

Q
10

W
11

R
12

W
13

W
14

E
15

E
16

R
17

E
18

E

For skill order you want to take Q Icathian Rain level 1 and also max it first. It’s your waveclear and primary trading tool during early game since minions will usually block your W Void Seeker unless you go for some flashy play or the enemy mispositions. Max W Void Seeker second, and E Supercharge last, while putting a point into your ult whenever possible.
Combos & Animation Cancels Back to Top

Q+W

  • QW is the most basic combo. It’s faster than using WQ, and the Q also hides the W animation somewhat, giving the enemy less time to react. You can also sneak in an autoattack when you press Q since it doesn’t cancel your autoattack animation.
  • Example combo: AA QW AA

W+Flash

  • W+Flash is extremely useful. It helps you get around enemy minions if they are in the way, surprise people, and you can also use it to change the direction your W Void Seeker goes. Early game it’s usually used as a finisher unless you managed to land the W Void Seeker at the start.
  • If you flash at the end of your W animation, you can actually make your real W invisible.
Here's an example where the W visual lags behind.

R+W


R Autoattack Reset

  • Killer Instinct is an autoattack reset, which is super helpful in applying your passive Second Skin during fights since this build doesn’t include any attack speed outside of runes.
  • You can take advantage of this with this combo: W AA R AA
  • In this combo you can Q Icathian Rain anytime since it has no cast animation.

5-stack Combo without W Void Seeker Evolve

  • This is a quick way to get all your damage off and pop your execute from your passive, but the enemy needs to be in autoattack range first: AA Q W AA R AA

Fast Combo with W Void Seeker Evolution + Flash

  • This combo is slightly slower but has a longer range: W flash Q AA R AA.
  • Example clip

Assassination combo with Hextech Protobelt-01

The Raptor Cheese Back to Top
  • You can take a small Raptor at the start of the game in order to hit level 2 off the first wave, possibly resulting in an easy first blood. Just make your Q Icathian Rain hit only one Raptor and kite it around the Crimson Raptor camp wall towards your lane. For your own raptors kite them around the wall but for enemy raptors kite them towards the river. Raptors spawn at 1:30 and a small raptor will die from 6 Q Icathian Rain missiles + 4 autoattacks. We take the attack-speed stat shard in our runes so that we can do it easily, consistently, and barely take any damage from doing so.

    If you don't start a Doran's Ring or Doran's Blade, then you need Absolute Focus to have enough damage to kill a small raptor at level 1.
    Video Explanation here, old but still applies:
Gameplay Tips Back to Top

General Tips

  • Try to trade with a Q Icathian Rain + AA or just a Q Icathian Rain when your Manaflow Band + Arcane Comet is up. Your Q Icathian Rain has 600 range while your AA has only 525 range.
  • You can position yourself so that your Q Icathian Rain only hits one minion (usually on a melee minion or cannon minion) but kills it immediately. It helps get waves pushing. Cannon minions need to be missing some hp to die from Q Icathian Rain. This trick + her autoattacks give Kai'Sa pretty good early pushing/waveclear ability.
  • Your Q Icathian Rain missiles do double damage to minions below 35% health. Make use of this by autoattacking multiple minions and Q’ing at the end to execute them.
  • Try to stand in a position where if the enemy walks up, they will tank more Q Icathian Rain missiles since less minions are in range.
  • Your W Void Seeker will continue to cast even when cc’ed. The W Void Seeker animation gets cancelled when you get cc’ed as well, making it harder for the enemy to notice you're casting it. Useful against champions like Twisted Fate, Zoe, Irelia, etc. Here's an example. Here's another example
  • If running ignite, try to ignite early so that your passive execute will do more damage.
  • After you trade with someone, you can back off a bit and if they walk back up while still having 2 or 3 plasma stacks, you can surprise them with a W+flash or W+flash+AA. Like this.
  • Your W Void Seeker hitbox is very fat so you can even hit someone who’s hiding in a minion wave if you W+flash right next to or on top of them.
  • You can hide your W Void Seeker by aiming it through walls.
  • Your W Void Seeker has 3000 range, also the same as Lux’s R Final Spark.
  • Try to aim your W Void Seeker at enemies that are (or going to be) cc’ed as they won’t be able to dodge.
  • Use your R Killer Instinct to escape over walls. Example.
  • You can flash to cancel your R dash early.
Some Matchup-specific Tips Back to Top
Your W Void Seeker grants true sight on whoever it hits for 4 seconds, so against champions such as LeBlanc or Talon you want to W Void Seeker them before they go invisible so you can keep track of them.


Against a Zed, post-6 you want to try and save your W Void Seeker for after Zed uses R Death Mark, because if he is close enough he will dodge your W Void Seeker with Death Mark. When Zed ults, you want to time your W Void Seeker to hit him when he reappears (your W Void Seeker takes 0.5 seconds to cast, and Zed reappears from Death Mark after 0.75 seconds).

Example.

This also lets you immediately reposition with your R Killer Instinct. Ever since Riot reduced Kai’Sa’s R Killer Instinct shield duration from 3 to 2 seconds, you aren’t completely safe if you W+R when Zed ults.


Against Akali, try to keep your hp topped up so she can’t all-in you. Focus on csing and when Akali uses Twilight Shroud, stand away from enemy minions and spam attack-move and Q Icathian Rain so that if she still tries to walk up and trade with you, then she’ll tank a full Q Icathian Rain + AA (and maybe even W Void Seeker to the face.


Against Yasuo, Talon, Zed, rush a Seeker's Armguard for the armor. You don’t need to finish the Zhonya's Hourglass early. Stacks from items such as Dark Seal and Seeker's Armguard count towards your W Void Seeker evolve.


Against mages, use your E Supercharge to dodge enemy spells and follow up on trades. You outdamage most midlaners as long as your W Void Seeker hits. Just make sure you have enough HP when you start the trade or you won’t live long enough to pop your passive.
Ending Notes Back to Top
Well that’s the end of the guide, so go out and have fun topping the damage charts with my build. I’ll be updating this guide with more stuff in the future, but for now this should be more than enough information to give you a headstart.

Just a reminder that I post League/Kai'Sa-related content on my YouTube channel such as montages, Tips/Tricks and stream highlights. Click here to subscribe!




Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the guide so here's a little-known secret that will 100% boost your Kai'Sa gameplay: