We are a community of Kha’Zix Mains who have been helping others learn the nuances of Kha’Zix for over 2 years now. We have a dedicated community on Reddit, Discord, and YouTube which focus on bringing the best content possible.
While the writers of this guide might not all be Challenger, most of the information and data included is taken from Diamond-Challenger Kha’Zix Mains and OTPs across all regions!
Why you should play Kha’Zix
Assassination Tools: Offers you the highest individual carry potential so you can get leads from punishing other’s mispositioning. Easy to snowball leads and close out games. One of the best Solo Q junglers.
Versatility: Fills many roles for your team with varying playstyles
Rewarding Kit: He has a fun kit with insane burst potential and fancy mechanics
There are a lot of rune setups that can be run on Kha’Zix, but they all share the similar themes of burst damage and mobility. We’ll go over a basic outline of how runes can change Kha’Zix’s playstyle and what rune choices you can make to best suit you.
The Domination tree offers Kha’Zix a lot of raw damage, which translates to carry potential. This tree also offers burst, vision, scaling, healing and mobility based off your preference. You can pair the Domination tree with Sorcery, Precision, or Inspiration Secondary Trees.
Basic attacks and abilities generate stacks on enemy champions hit, up to one per attack or cast. Applying 3 stacks to a target within a 3 second period causes them to be struck by lightning, dealing them 30 - 180 (based on level) (+ 40% bonus AD) (+ 25% AP) Adaptive damage. Cooldown: 25-20 (based on level) seconds.
Hail of Blades
Electrocute has always been regarded as the safer and more consistent option when considering a keystone compared to its counterparts. Electrocute not only gives consistent damage, but it's more reliable - specifically at early stages in the game or when playing from behind. For Kha’Zix, the keystone is extremely easy to proc due to his kit and it’s damage is relevant at all stages in the game.
Electrocute doesn't have many weaknesses, but it’s alternatives do shine more in certain areas, whether it be Dark Harvest’s reset potential during teamfights, or Phase Rush’s sticking power. The cooldown can feel lengthy at times, where a 20 second cooldown means you might only proc it once during the fight. This means you’ll need to ensure that you make it count otherwise your burst potential is slightly more limited. In conclusion, Electrocute has a lot of consistent, reliable upsides and not many downsides, which makes it the go-to for beginner Kha'Zix players who don't want to take risks and even pros who value a safer/consistent playstyle.
PASSIVE: Damaging a champion below 50% of their maximum health deals 15 − 55 (based on level) (+ 2 per Soul) (+ 25% bonus AD) bonus Adaptive damage and reaps 1 Soul. This cannot happen again for 45 seconds, resetting to 1.5 seconds on champion Damage rating takedown. While not on cooldown, the soul is also taken upon getting the kill credit of a champion killed by minions, turrets or monsters.
Cooldown: 45 seconds
Hail of Blades
This is a keystone that is synonymous with high upsides as well as insane snowballing potential. The only drawback is that you’re going to need around 10-20 stacks before it really comes online. You should aim to be proactively seeking champions in order to collect as many stacks as possible, whether it’s ganks or invades, always be looking for your next target.
One of the biggest strengths DH has over Electrocute is the cooldown. While you might not massively outdamage Electrocute just looking at the proc damage until late-game, you have to factor in that Electrocute has a much longer cooldown in comparison as it can’t reset during a teamfight and you will proc it only once in most fights. The upside of having DH is you can proc it multiple times in a fight somewhat consistently. Your overall teamfight damage will skyrocket because you'll be able to chain together kills with each takedown. There's many possibilities to get at least 2-4 procs a fight if you play it correctly. Also it should be noted that a synergy between DH and your evolved wings develops mid/late due to your jump resets typically occurring at the same time as you get a DH reset. The trade-offs should be clear now, when you opt for DH you’re trading some reliability for more teamfighting presence and stronger late-game if you’re stacking well.
PASSIVE: Going in combat by affecting an enemy champion within 3 seconds of using a dash, blink or Teleport, or exiting from invisibility or camouflage, grants 7 Lethality and 6 Magic Penetration for the next 5 seconds.
If the triggering effect deals damage it will also benefit from the penetration.
Cooldown: 4 (on expiration) seconds
Rune Tier 1 Option
Taste of Blood
There's not as much to say for this one. For the moment it is by far the best option in this path because of the lethality it gives as well as how easily it is to proc due to Kha'Zix's leap and ultimate.
PASSIVE: Collect 1 Eyeball per champion takedown, up to 10.
Gain 1.2 bonus Attack Damage or 2 Ability Power (Adaptive) per Eyeball collected, up to 12 bonus Attack Damage or 20 Ability Power (Adaptive). Completing your collection awards an additional 6 bonus Attack Damage or 10 Ability Power (Adaptive).
Rune Tier 2 Option
This rune emphasizes a more snowball-oriented playstyle where you will rely on kills to stack it. There is the obvious downside: if you're set behind and unable to get any kills for most or all of the game, it'll be as if you didn't have a rune at all. Collecting maximum stacks gives you 18 Flat AD. Take this if you value the high risk - high reward playstyle.
PASSIVE: Scoring Damage rating takedown on an enemy ward summons a friendly Zombie Ward in its place (10 second assist timer). If the brush where you killed the enemy ward already contains an allied ward, you instead gain a Zombie Ward in your Trinket Slot that can be placed at any location within the next 30 seconds. Gain 1.2 bonus Attack Damage or 2 Ability Power (Adaptive) for every Zombie Ward spawned, up to 10, for a maximum of 12 bonus Attack Damage or 20 Ability Power (Adaptive). After spawning 10 Zombie Wards, gain an additional 6 bonus Attack Damage or 10 Ability Power (Adaptive).
Zombie Wards grant sight over 1100 units, are visible to the enemy team, have 1 health, last for 120 seconds and don't count towards your ward limit.
Killing a Zombie Ward will grant 1 gold.
Rune Tier 2 Option
Due to the changes in 7.9 this option has become more viable due to the bonus adaptive damage each time you clear a ward. This is especially valuable if you like to pick up a Sweeper, multiple control wards, or Duskblade. The benefit to taking zombie ward is that it’s much easier to stack just by clearing wards than relying on kills.
PASSIVE: When your wards expire, they leave behind a Ghost Poro, which grants sight over a 450-unit area for 60 seconds. Wards killed by enemies don't spawn Ghost Poros.
Nearby enemy champions scare the Ghost Poro away.
Gain 1.2 bonus Attack Damage or 2 Ability Power (Adaptive) for every Ghost Poro spawned and when your Ghost Poro spots an enemy champion, up to 10 stacks, for a maximum of 12 bonus Attack Damage or 20 Ability Power (Adaptive). After reaching 10 stacks, additionally gain 6 bonus Attack Damage or 10 Ability Power (Adaptive).
Rune Tier 2 Option
With the recent 9.7 changes this rune falls a bit out of favor for Kha’Zix compared to the other two. It’s not a bad choice if you’re placing a lot of words but you will need to keep in mind that it may take until lategame to fully stack it. Additionally, it grants 2 adaptive force when a Ghost Poro spots an enemy so keep that in mind during your early-midgame.
Heal for 1.5% − 14% (based on Bounty Hunter stacks) of the damage dealt by your abilities, on-hit effects and items. Benefits from Heal Power.
Earn a Bounty Hunter stack for champion takedowns, up to one per unique enemy champion.
On Twisted Treeline, capturing an altar grant a Bounty Hunter stack, up to once per unique altar.
Healing reduced to one third on area of effect abilities.
Rune Tier 3 Option
It should be noted that this only counts as healing from abilities, not lifesteal. This is mostly playstyle oriented, but you’ll find greater success with this rune when you take Ravenous Hunter in conjunction with a more dueling focused playstyle, such as Q evolve. Ravenous Hunter also has a greater synergy with Death's Dance/Maw than Relentless Hunter does. You lose out on a bit of map presence, but you gain a lot more power in terms of dueling and teamfights, and it's better against tanky opponents. It can definitely give you an added edge when taking out priority targets. It also helps you in after or in between fights as you take a camp or minion wave and can heal to full quite easily. There will be so many times where you'll be ignited, but with a stacked ravenous hunter you'll have access to 14% healing on abilities which could save your life if you Q an isolated minion or a jungle monster.
PASSIVE: Gain 10 − 55 (based on Bounty Hunter stacks) out-of-combat movement speed.
Earn a Bounty Hunter stack for champion takedowns, up to one per unique enemy champion.
Rune Tier 3 Option
One playstyle that will make you particularly hard to catch includes Relentless Hunter + Nimbus Cloak + Youmuus w/ active + Waterwalking + Optional Cloud Dragons. You’d be the fastest bug on the rift! Relentless Hunter feels great alongside Water Walking because of the mobility you have when traversing across the map. While the mobility can be nice, it can also be less effective later on in the game: in situations where you're against a team with tanks and peel your rune won't have as much impact as Ravenous. Even without the combinations, this rune can be a decent option depending on playstyle.
It's only recommended in a dedicated Phase Rush setup that prioritizes mobility and sticking power.
PASSIVE: Basic attacks and abilities generate stacks on enemy champions hit, up to one per attack or cast. Applying 3 stacks to a target within a 3 second period grants you 25% - 40% (based on level) movement speed and 75% Slow immune icon slow resist for 3 seconds.
Cooldown: 15 seconds
Firstly, it's recommended that you only take Phase Rush with a dedicated Phase Rush page so that you can fully utilize the keystone's potential. It's a must to run in conjunction with Nimbus Cloak because of the synergy with your ultimate, which also gives movement speed. Waterwalking is a general bonus to movement speed and map presence. Scorch and Gathering are both good in their own rights, but lack the cohesive synergy of the aforementioned masteries. There is a threshold of movement speed past 415 where a softcap* will be placed on any exceeding movement speed which you can see the formulas for here so it's not always needed to take Mobility Boots or Relentless Hunter as much as the other runes outlined earlier. There is a threshold of movement speed past 415 where a softcap* will be placed on any exceeding movement speed which you can see the formulas for here so it's not always needed to take Mobility Boots or Relentless Hunter as much as the other runes outlined earlier.
*meaning that any bonus above that point is significantly reduced
Finally there's also added synergy with Youmuu’s Ghostblade and Cloud Drakes to add more mobility around the map. Generally, you can evolve depending on your playstyle, but having this setup will give R evolution more value if you choose to take that at some point.
The first thing you might ask yourself is why should you take Phase Rush over things like Electrocute or Dark Harvest. First of all, it's extremely easy to proc Phase Rush as Kha'Zix as you can get it within 1 standard ability rotation and it's always available. Secondly the cooldown is only 15 seconds flat, while Electrocute will be 25 seconds at level 1 and scale to 20, making Phase Rush much more available to you if you plan to take many skirmishes in a short period of time or for extended fights. A smaller reason which should still be noted is that it also gives 75% slow resist for 3 seconds at all levels, meaning it would be extra effective against comps with many slows.
Now that we've outlined some of its capabilities, let's talk about what it can offer you in a practical sense, and what strengths it provides to your setup. It's important to understand that this keystone is on par with Electrocute in terms of earlygame reliability, as well as having decent scaling (40% movement speed at level 18 from 25%) for later. So that means a majority of the earlygame, due to its short cooldown, you'll have a lot more agency to take trades and fights with the enemy jungler without worrying about your keystone's cooldown.
I'd recommend taking this setup if you want to be proactive earlygame and if you value mobility as well as maneuverability. This rune will give room for more outplay potential to dodge skillshots and stay on very mobile targets. You would not want to take this if you value raw damage over mobility, or if you put more emphasis on scaling damage rather than early mobility and sticking power.
PASSIVE: Casting your ultimate ability, after a 1.5-second delay, grants ghosting and 100 bonus movement speed for 2.5 seconds. The movement speed decays over the last 1 second.
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Rune Tier 1 Option
The best rune here for Kha’Zix would be Nimbus Cloak since having more sticking power with Kha'Zix is never a bad thing. A key detail to note is that if you’re not evolving Leap, this rune might be more valuable to you to compensate for the lack of mobility. It’s a decent alternative to the Slot 3 runes if you plan to take Sorcery secondary and a must if it’s your primary tree.
PASSIVE: Gain 1 − 18 (based on level) bonus Attack Damage or 3 − 30 (based on level) Ability Power (Adaptive) while above 70% of your maximum health.
ADAPTIVE: Grants bonuses based on which stat you already have the most bonuses for. Defaults to the first listed.
Rune Tier 2 Option
Absolute Focus is one of the best runes in the sorcery tree for Kha'Zix because of his burst-heavy nature. This overall helps you assassinate targets faster and more consistently. There's not too much to say besides it's a solid choice and a high priority if you're going into the sorcery tree.
PASSIVE: Gain 10% cooldown reduction at level 10.
Additionally, you gain bonus Attack Damage or Ability Power (Adaptive) for every 1% cooldown reduction in excess of the cap.
ADAPTIVE: Grants bonuses based on which stat you already have the most bonuses for. Defaults to the first listed.
Rune Tier 2 Option
Another solid Slot 2 option to consider if you’re planning to pick up a lot of CDR items throughout your build. This can be especially effective with Youmuu’s Ghostblade, The Black Cleaver, Duskblade, Maw of Malmortius or anything else with CDR and AD as excess CDR will convert to AD, giving you more relevance through to the late-game.
PASSIVE: Your next ability hit sets champions on fire dealing 15 − 35 (based on level) bonus magic damage after 1 second.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Rune Tier 3 Option
You'll want this rune if you plan on taking many skirmishes, especially early where you'll want to secure kills that you normally might not get. It should be noted that it only affects one target at a time, meaning if you hit multiple targets with your void spikes, it will only affect the closest target. This keystone is purely dependent on your playstyle. Use this if you intend to fight early and skirmish often but it’s not recommended over the other two unless you’re laning.
PASSIVE: While in the river, you gain 25 bonus movement speed and 3 − 18 (based on level) bonus Attack Damage or 5 − 30 (based on level) Ability Power (Adaptive).
Rune Tier 3 Option
It's a decent pick when you want to prioritize mobility and having more agency across the map. Take this if you value mobility and map presence.
PASSIVE: Every 10 minutes, gain (1 per 10 Minutes) stacks of Gathering Storm. Each stack grants 4.8 bonus Attack Damage or 8 Ability Power (Adaptive).
This stacks with no upper limit, for a total of 4.8 − ∞ (based on Minutes) AD or 8 − ∞ (based on Minutes) AP at 10 − ∞ (based on Stacks) minutes.
ADAPTIVE: Grants bonuses based on which stat you already have the most bonuses for. Defaults to the first listed.
Rune Tier 3 Option
This is the scaling rune choice, and will be invaluable if your games are typically extending into the lategame. This is personal preference and playstyle oriented as well, but it does have good synergy with Dark Harvest as it shares a scaling nature with the rune. Keep in mind this rune can scale exponentially, giving 4.8 bonus AD at 10 minutes, which already outscales scorch. The downside of this rune is that if your games are ending too quickly, it will fall much shorter in comparison to other options which will be relevant at earlier points in the game, making this more for insurance if you can't close the game out. Use this rune if you want to scale.
The obvious choice is going to be Sudden Impact with either Relentless Hunter or Ravenous Hunter depending on personal preference. Since combat stats are typically more valuable than opting for the Slot 2 vision centric options, it would be better to skip those and focus purely on combat strength.
If you decide to opt for the sorcery tree as a secondary, you definitely want Absolute Focus in most of your Sorcery Secondary trees. There are a few options for secondary sorcery runes; Nullifying Orb, Absolute Focus, Nimbus Cloak, Gathering Storm, Water walking, and Trasncendence. You’ll also most likely want to ignore Manaflow Band completely, and only pick up Nullifying Orb situationally if against a heavy AP threat team. The other options come down to situation and preference.
This is an option if you want to go for a higher econ Jungle Style. Not only does it allow you to get free boots and spend more gold but you’ll have access to Cosmic insight which will give additional CDR to help with your clear and dueling, as well as raise your overall CDR cap to 45% if you find yourself picking up a lot of CDR items.
After frequent nerfs to Sorcery runes, Precision is considered a viable alternative to Sorcery secondary. There’s not much diversity in terms of rune choices here so you’ll want to get Triumph and Coup De Grace/Alacrity/Tenacity if you decide to take Precision Secondary. The sustain from resets due to Triumph can be a deciding factor in a teamfight, as well as the bonus damage from Coup.
Offense: 9 Adaptive Force
The standard stat shard setup when jungling Kha’Zix is going to be Offensive (+9 Adaptive Force), Flex Offensive (+9 Adaptive Force), and Defense Armor (+6 Armor). Attack speed will hinder your DPS in duels and having HP/MR will affect your early clear HP too much to justify it.
Flex: 9 Adaptive Force
Defense: 6 Armor
This is the standard page for Kha’Zix. I would recommend this rune page if you're running the Q>E>W evolution path especially. This page works best with Electrocute but Dark Harvest can be used to a similar level of success although with less consistency. The rounded carry potential will allow you to take more resources and do more with them in terms of dueling and reliability. Sorcery is the optimal choice after frequent nerfs to the precision tree with Waterwalking and a toss up between Absolute Focus, Nimbus Cloak, Nullifying Orb and Transcendence being the standard choices. Precision secondary can still work in this page if it’s your preference but if you do make sure to take Triumph + Coup. You can also run Inspiration secondary with Magical Footwear + Future’s Market/Cosmic Insight if you value the free gold value for your builds. Take this page with any of the three secondary options if you feel like you prefer the standard and consistent approach to playing a carry jungler.
The Carry Jungler
(Electrocute + Absolute Focus + Tier 3 Sorc Rune)
Hail of Blades
Taste of Blood
Offense: 9 Adaptive Force
Flex: 9 Adaptive Force
Defense: 6 Armor
This is a rune page known for its niche playstyle that comes from running Phase Rush, offering you tons of sticking power, outplay potential for skillshots, and maneuverability around a teamfight. Your runes can synergize greatly together with things like Phase Rush, Nimbus Cloak, Waterwalking, and Relentless Hunter meaning your movement speed especially with items like Youmuu’s Ghostblade, or things like Cloud Drake will help you have a stronger earlygame with a lot of map presence. Also to note that this page will work especially well with R evolve for more mobility and outplay potential. You can also run Precision secondary with this setup using Legend: Alacrity/Coup De Grace and Triumph for more emphasis on attack speed and sustain in fights. Optimal evolution paths are R>E>Q/W or Q>E>R/W
The Fast Bug
(Phase Rush + Nimbus Cloak + Waterwalking)
Offense: 9 Adaptive Force
Flex: 9 Adaptive Force
Defense: 6 Armor
Passive: Unseen Threat
Your passive allows you to deal bonus damage and a slow on your first auto attack. As Kha’Zix, one of your highest forms of burst is actually your passive, and it’s important to play around it as much as you can. Before going in for an assassination or duel, make sure that your passive is active. Look to go in and out of bushes to reset your passive in order to maximize your DPS. Your passive has great scaling throughout the game and is unaffected by isolation providing you with more consistent damage in fights. The slow shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it can help you stick onto targets during the early-game and help secure kills during ganks.
Taste Their Fear
Q: Taste Their Fear
Kha’Zix’s bread and butter ability; it's a low mana cost, low cooldown ability that allows you to deal 100% bonus damage to isolated targets. This is your best tool in terms of dueling and clearing as it provides consistent damage as well as introduces you to one Kha’Zix’s core mechanics: Isolation. It’s important to learn the range and damage of this ability due to it being the source for a majority of your damage.
W: Void Spike
The utility of Kha'Zix’s Void Spikes is probably the second most underappreciated aspect of Kha'Zix’s kit (the first most underappreciated being his passive). It’s a straight-line projectile that detonates in a small area of effect upon hitting an enemy unit and heals you if you’re within the detonation radius. Not only does this provide excellent sustain throughout your early clears, but it also adds a great edge in 1v1s due to the healing factor that might catch your opponent off guard. It’s also important to note that it is considered an AOE so it can be used to clear minion waves or hit multiple enemy champions when grouped.
Another ability that truly defines Kha’Zix as a champion is his Leap. Not only does it allow you to jump over any wall in the game, but it has decent damage compared to other gap closers at a relatively low mana cost and a reset on kills or assists. Not much more needs to be said other than that it’s another solid mobility tool in Kha’Zix’s arsenal.
R: Void Assault
Kha’Zix’s ultimate allows him to upgrade and evolve his abilities with each rank. We’ll cover each evolution in detail later in the guide, but each point offers him some of his biggest powerspikes. The ability itself grants Kha’Zix 2 charges of invisibility lasting 1.25 seconds where he cannot be revealed by control wards. Something to be noted is that you have to wait 2 seconds after leaving your first stealth to cast the second charge. One of the lesser known things about Kha’Zix's ultimate is that you’re also granted the ability to ignore unit collision while invisible. Another important thing to consider when using your ultimate is that it will reset your passive no matter what, so using it after having your passive proc’d once is essential for maximizing DPS. Overall, Void Assault provides a lot of dueling power and outplay potential along with giving you access to your evolutions.
Before we get into a full mechanics breakdown, here are some important mechanics to keep in mind while playing Kha’Zix: These ones are simple.
Resetting your Passive (Unseen Threat)
Kha'Zix's passive is one of the most important aspects of his kit. Inefficient usage of your passive results in you drastically lowering your DPS. In order to maximise your damage you need to be using your passive whenever possible and then resetting it with Void Assault. For example, upon entering stealth after using a combo on a target, use the second charge again later to finish off the same target or to move to another.
Buffering your Abilities
Both Void Spike and Void Assault can be buffered while in the middle of your Leap. This means they are cast slightly before landing, increasing the speed of your combo.
You can use active items while in the middle of your Leap. This can be used in order to secure a kill, execute a combo more efficiently, or to perform a double jump. Examples of items you can use during your leap include Tiamat, QSS, Youmuu’s Ghostblade, and even Hextech Gunblade.
If timed correctly, Leap allows you to tank the duration of a CC effect while you’re still moving mid-air. An example of this would be if you see a Lux binding that would root you; if you cast your leap towards them you can ensure that most of the CC will occur while you’re in air, but still moving towards your target.
Try to isolate the small jungle monsters while clearing so that you will deal bonus isolation damage to the large monster with your Q. Try to kite out your camps and weave in Q’s outside of their attack range. The best camps to kite would be Blue, Wolves, and Raptors/Red to a lesser extent. This will help with clearing substantially, increasing your speed and leaving you healthier.
Clearing Wards with Unseen Threat (Passive)
Unseen Threat will not reset until you go out of sight of the enemy map. After using your passive, going into a bush or entering the fog of war where it might be warded and if the enemy has vision in the area, your passive will not refresh as you’ll still be in vision while in a bush/fog.
Cancelling Targeted Abilities
Void Assault can be utilized to cancel targeted abilities that require vision of your opponent, such as Darius Ult or Skarner ult. This can be game changing as you can bait an enemy into you, only to cancel it as your team collapses onto him. It’s important to note that in most cases, this will not cause the ability to go on cooldown as it was never properly cast. To see this in action view the videos below.
Advanced Mechanics & Combos
For things like combo order and double jumping, please refer to the following videos as they do the best job of explaining them.
Juking with Void Assault
You can utilize your ultimate to dodge skillshots, lose enemies that are chasing, and bait out abilities if used correctly. I’ll be borrowing Tinjus’ example of how to properly juke with Void Assault.
Your goal is to time your Void Assault to avoid CC and most of the damage. Some unpredictable movements include:
1. Running towards the enemy, this will make them think they can land an easy skillshot on you.
2. Wait for the enemy to throw their skillshot at you. This requires fast reaction times.
3. Once the skillshot is out, Void Assault in a different direction, dodging the skillshot by utilizing your brief increase in movement speed.
4. Proceed to all-in your opponent, using Void Assault again as necessary to avoid damage.
Here’s a final example, courtesy of Tinjus
There are a variety of items that can be built on Kha’Zix that adhere to various playstyles. In this section we’ll focus on outlining each item’s strengths and weaknesses and then we'll give our own personal suggestions for how you should itemize while playing Kha’Zix. We’ll use data from dmg/cost breakdowns which you can view on our subreddit’s wiki page! Lastly, feel free to check out this item set link to automatically import the most optimal Kha’Zix builds.
Generally the better of the two starting jungle items since the attack speed was removed from Hunter’s Machete. With Talisman you’ll have sustain and burn damage against neutral monsters as well as mana regeneration while in the jungle or river. Having this also allows you to easily clear Raptors early-game as well as giving more mana once your blue buff expires.
Machete used to be the more optimal starting item, but since having it’s attack speed removed it’s been put it in an awkward position where you really only want to buy it if you’re not planning on clearing Raptors or optionally when you start on Blue Buff.
Always go refillable over normal health potions. You pay the same amount of gold for additional hp throughout the first 10-15+ minutes of the game rather than the first 3.
Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior / Stalker's Blade - Warrior
One of the most gold efficient items for Kha’Zix in the entire game. You should be looking to pick this up every game because it gives you every stat you could need. 60 AD and 10% cooldown reduction are invaluable stats to have for your early game and they contribute towards your first powerspike. Typically, you’ll want to build your smite item first and then build towards Caufield’s Warhammer. In some cases, at 1100 gold, you could go for an aggressive buy and purchase Warhammer first for the extra AD and CDR without it costing you too much sustain. We’d only recommend that if you start Hunter’s Talisman and not Machete. Overall, it’s a really stat efficient item even down to the complete cost: you pay a 525 gold combination cost to gain 35 AD. It really should not be skipped and we’ll cover why below.
Duskblade Of Draktharr
This is the quintessential assassin item, granting 55 AD, 21 Lethality, 10% CDR, bonus damage on basic attacks, a 99% slow for 0.25 seconds, and finally the ability to disable nearby wards when you’re spotted as well as being able to instantly clear them with a single basic attack. Aside from its stats, the best part about this item is that it's literally Kha’Zix’s passive, which also slows and deals bonus damage, meaning every time these two passives are active your burst potential will be insane. One of the more underappreciated aspects of the item is the Blackout effect which allows you to disable and clear any wards while the effect is active. Overall, this is the best item for Kha’Zix and should be incorporated into most builds if not all of them, as it is one of your largest powerspikes in the game.
Secondary Item Choices
One thing to note here is that there’s typically only 3 optimal items you should consider at this stage in your build: Youmuu's Ghostblade, Lord Dominik’s Regard, or Black Cleaver. Also, Hexdrinker is optional at this stage if facing heavy AP threats.
This is one of the best options for dealing with squishy targets, and provides some great mobility. Outside of having 55 AD and 10% CDR, which are amazing for Kha’Zix, it also offers 18 Lethality. Stats wise, it’s almost identical to Duskblade, but where it differs is the passive. Youmuu’s offers you 40 out-of-combat movement speed as well as an active that grants 20% movement speed for 6 seconds on a 45 second cooldown. This adds to the high mobility playstyle and helps you get around the map more efficiently. One weakness to bear in mind is that it might not be as effective against tankier team compositions, with Lord Dominik’s or Black Cleaver acting as the better alternatives in these scenarios.
Lord Dominik's Regards
This item is the undisputed best damage item in this section in terms of raw damage. It gives 45 AD but it gives you 35% total armor penetration, not to be confused with Lethality. Not only does it shred through tanks with ease, but, for all targets who have over 50 armor (most team comps), it will actually out damage Youmuu’s Ghostblade. It’s extremely effective for dealing with tanks and squishy targets alike, but the alternatives may offer more in terms of mobility and utility. Look to purchase this item in most of your of games depending on your playstyle and enemy team compositions.
The Black Cleaver
Another popular item that provides 40 AD, 20% CDR, and 400 HP is not only one of the best bruiser items for Kha’Zix, but it’s especially effective in dealing with tanks. This is because of the item’s passive, which reduces their armor by 4% per stack for 6 seconds stacking up to 6 times for a maximum of 24%. This item, in conjunction with Lord Dominik’s, can be a solid answer against tank heavy compositions. This item will also provide some mobility in the form of it’s second passive; rage, granting you 20 movement speed for 2 seconds each time you deal physical damage, and assists/kills on any enemy champion or unit will grant 60 movement speed for 2 seconds instead. Another huge benefit from purchasing this item is the synergy with evolving Void Spikes, as you’ll apply the cleave stacks to each enemy hit with your AOE. One of the potential downsides to this item is that it may not provide as much carry potential compared to the others due to its lack of raw damage output. Overall, this is a solid purchase all around that you'll want to get if you need to deal with tanks or if you value more defensive/bruiser capabilities.
Final Item Choices
For these last items, keep in mind that you should also consider the items you didn’t pick up in the previous section, meaning if you didn’t buy Lord Dominik’s third, you can still get it fourth.
This item provides excellent defensive and offensive capabilities, being especially effective against AD threats. The first thing to note is the build path: having a large damage spike with B.F. Sword as well as the playmaking capabilities of stopwatch makes this a solid option before it’s even completed. Aside from the stats, the real value is in the passive which revives you upon death after a brief stasis, effectively giving you two lives in a teamfight. One downside to the item is the particularly long cooldown, meaning once you’ve used the passive you’ll have to wait 300 seconds for it to return. Due to this, many players will sell it once it’s used and purchase an alternative item. Lastly, you should consider the psychological element to the item, where enemies might be hesitant to focus you due to the extra revive, allowing you to play with more aggression. Overall, this is a solid defensive purchase against AD threats with a game changing passive.
Hexdrinker & Maw Of Malmortius
Buying this item will essentially remove AP threats from your game. Hexdrinker can serve as an early answer to AP carries while Maw is unrivaled when it comes to dealing with AP threats, especially those with high burst potential. Maw will give you 50 AD, 10% CDR, and 50 MR, as well as a passive magic shield that also triggers a buff that grants 20 AD, 10% spell vamp, and 10% lifesteal until you go out of combat. While offering more than most items in terms of stat buffs, the real strength is in its ability to nullify AP threats due to the MR and magic absorbing shield. Overall, this is an item that you purchase situationally if there’s a fed AP target or if you’re vs a team composition that’s mostly AP.
There’s a lot that can be said about Death’s Dance, whether it’s the 80 AD, the 10% CDR, or either of it’s insane passives, this item should not be underestimated. The first of the passives allows you to instantly heal for 15% of all physical damage dealt with AOE physical damage such as your Void Spikes healing 5% for each unit. This provides a lot of value in terms of dueling potency and sustain, allowing you to survive most 1v1s with ease, especially in conjunction with the Ravenous Hunter rune or Maw’s passive. The second passive comes in the form of durability, storing 30% of all physical and magic damage received, and taking it instead as a true damage bleed. It will deal one-third of the stored damage every second. The first thing to realize is that this effect combined with the first passive will effectively turn Kha’Zix into a pseudo-tank, where the value of Death’s Dance depends on how much healing and damage reduction will be applied in each engagement.
One of the potential drawbacks to this item is the damage bleed can cause you to shimmer during your ult, revealing your position, so it’s important to be aware of the bleed effect before using Void Assault. Another potential downside is the cost, at a steep 3500 gold it can sometimes be reserved as a 7th item when your build is maxed out due to the cost of the full item. This item can be purchased as early as 3rd or 4th but it should be noted that you’ll get more value later in the game as enemies will have more burst, and Ghostblade/Lord Dominik’s Regard might seem more optimal during the earlygame due to their passives and cheaper cost. Overall this can be a great item that gives Kha’Zix everything he needs in terms of dueling and survivability at a steep cost.
This is an item that can be described as more of a utility purchase. By purchasing this item you’re getting 45 AD, 25% total armor penetration, and most importantly the ability to inflict Grievous Wounds on enemy champions for 5 seconds, which reduces enemy healing effects by 40%. It should be noted that you can pick up Executioner’s Calling and wait before fully upgrading to a Mortal Reminder so that you can have the passive earlier without delaying your core items. This is a very situational item where one of the downsides is settling with 10% less total armor penetration compared to Lord Dominik’s Regard. Instead, you can call for an ally to build Morellonomicon or Mortal Reminder so you can build the other Last Whisper item as well as other items on this list. One benefit that Kha’Zix has when building this item is how easily he can apply the Grievous Wounds effect with his evolved W onto multiple targets.
Edge Of Night
One of the more underrated items at your disposal, providing 55 AD, 250 HP, 18 Lethality, and a Night’s Veil which allows you to channel a spell shield that blocks the next enemy ability within the next 7 seconds. This is a decent situational item that you’ll want to pick up against champions that have crucial CC abilities such as Morgana Binding, or TF’s Gold Card. Also when referring to the passive, consider what options your targets have to “waste” your spell shield with low value abilities like Ezreal Q’s. An important thing to note is that you should always try to use the shield proactively when making a pick, otherwise a Quicksilver Sash would be a better option. Overall, this is a preference item that can provide, at worst, additional HP and decent damage, and, at best, immunity from any key ability.
Quicksilver Sash & Mercurial Scimitar
An excellent situational item with the ability to remove all crowd control debuffs which is game-changing if used correctly. It provides 30 MR on its own with Scimitar giving 50 AD, 10% lifesteal, an additional 5 MR, and on activation provides 50% movement speed for 1 second. One of the potential drawbacks to this item is the awkward build path that can be pricey, but stat-wise, it will give you a lot of value even though the lifesteal can be somewhat negligible
When you think of Tiamat, you think of versatility. It provides you with 25 AD, 50% base HP Regen, and two passives that let you deal physical damage to units around you or your target. The best way it can be described is that it’s a multi-purpose item that provides more burst, speeds up your jungle clear, wave clear, and splitpush. While it may be more of a preferential item, it still provides strong powerspikes depending on your build order. The best times to purchase it would be either right after Warrior, or after Duskblade in order to maximize item efficiency and damage. In most cases you won’t upgrade to Ravenous Hydra but rather that you sell the item once you’re full build and work towards something else. One potential drawback to the item is that if you can’t make up the 1325 gold cost in a relatively short amount of time, you’ll have delayed your core items without much return.
We can apply some of the same concepts here from Tiamat while keeping in mind you’re getting 55 more AD, 50% more base HP regen, 12% lifesteal and a more powerful active. One of the less known passives is that the lifesteal applies to 50% of both passives’ physical area-of-effect damage. This is an item that you might want if you’re playing against squishy targets and prioritize burst above utility and defense. Tiamat as well as Ravenous Hydra can both be used mid-leap allowing for double jumps or triple jumps if timed properly. A downside to this item is the price of 3500 gold can be steep at times, and getting it before last item can be inefficient compared to other item choices.
Blue vs Red Smite
This is one of the most commonly asked questions in the community but it really comes down to playstyle and some specific situations. For instance, there will be some games you'd need better dueling potential and the damage reduction from Red Smite would definitely be the better choice. This can be useful against champs like Warwick, Udyr or Shaco who can duel you relatively easy without Red Smite.
Alternatively, Blue Smite will often come in handy because it can help secure kills while ganking and it enables you to snowball harder by sticking to targets. Also to be noted: Blue Smite will synergize nicely with Kha’Zix’s upfront burst damage, whereas Red Smite requires you to commit to a longer fight with more autos and Q's to out damage Blue. Overall: Red is better for a fighter/bruiser playstyle or if you're struggling dueling the enemy jungler, whereas Blue is typically better for ganking and assassinations.
Skipping Warrior To Rush Duskblade/Tiamat?
You might ask yourself, “Should I ever skip Warrior and rush Duskblade? Or Tiamat?”, the short answer is no. While in theory it might seem like a decent option for early damage, it’s actually not that much more damage compared to Warrior. Duskblade will surpass it’s damage after level 6 on a squishy target. However, for combos with less emphasis on passive procs, Duskblade falls off significantly. In terms of damage alone, Duskblade is only better for 2+ damage proc combos after 6, whereas Warrior is actually better damage on average without those 2+ passive procs. Another important thing to remember is that damage isn’t the only factor. You’re giving up a lot of sustain that you get from your jungle item along with giving up the early-game power that a dueling smite can provide in terms of ganks and securing early picks. Lastly it’s important to mention that Lethality as a stat will scale depending on levels, so rushing it early won’t yield the same results as if you pick it up after Warrior.
Example Build Paths
Your standard Kha’Zix build that maximizes on efficiency, damage and rounding out with some defense from Guardian Angel. This build can be effective against most team compositions with the final items being interchangeable with other situational items listed above.
Recommended Evolution Path: Q>E>W
(vs Heavy Tanks)
A solid option if you’re struggling to deal with tanks with emphasis on the first 5 items, while the last item, in this instance Guardian Angel can be replaced with the likes of EoN/Scimitar/Maw/Hydra or any other situational item
Recommended Evolution Path: Q>W/R or R>W>E/Q
(vs Heavy AP)
Very effective against AP threats as the name suggests, while emphasizing on damage and survivability. Hexdrinker can be purchased as early as after Warrior depending on if there’s a fed AP carry, but you can usually wait to upgrade to Maw at a later stage in the game. Black Cleaver and Death’s Dance can be replaced with other items without changing this build’s identity but it’s crucial to keep the rest. Decent item alternatives could include swapping Black Cleaver with Youmuu’s Ghostblade or Death’s Dance for an Edge of Night or Mercurial Scimitar.
Recommended Evolution Path: Q>E>W/R
(Alternative anti-squishy build)
Great for dealing with enemy team compositions that lack tanks or bruisers. This will be especially effective with shutting down the enemy backline rather than frontline. Death’s Dance can be purchased after Duskblade if you have the gold and are extremely fed but generally you want to prioritize your two lethality items first. This build has few defensive items so you will have little room for error when it comes to positioning.
Recommended Evolution Path: Q>E>W/R
(Pure Bruiser Build)
This will be effective if you opt for Tiamat in your build as well as Lethality to deal with targets with ease. Great against squishy and tanky comps and synergizes with a carry oriented playstyle such as a Dark Harvest setup.
Recommended Evolution Path: Q>E>W
Let me start off by saying that Kha'Zix is an incredibly versatile champion in that he can adapt to the game based on the state of it as well as what he needs. Yes, as with most things, there will be several 'most optimal' builds and evolution orders are no exception, but the players that utilize his variety of different evolution orders will end up becoming more familiar with the champion and as a result will thrive as opposed to the ones that are stuck in the mindset which claims that there's only one or two good evolution orders. This section of the guide will be going over the evolutions and the situations in which they can be used, as well as how to tie them into practical effective evolution orders.
This section will be assuming that you know how Kha'Zix's abilities function, so if you're completely new to Kha'Zix and don't know how his kit works, take a look at his abilities first then come back to this section.
Evolution Overview: Evolved Reaper Claws
Kha'Zix gains increased range on his auto attacks and Taste Their Fear. It will also refund 45% of Taste Their Fear's cooldown if it is used on an isolated target.
This is going to be the safest, most reliable evolution that you can possibly run. Kha'Zix's Taste Their Fear is one of the most important parts of his kit and being able to use it more does wonders for you. It'll allow you to increase your clearing speed so you're able to farm faster as well as duel isolated enemies easier and take objectives faster. It's also fantastic against tanks as you can shred them down quickly with very low cooldown reduction. Ideally, you want to evolve this if you need extra dueling power, clear speed and efficiency. When behind you will usually evolve this to help you catch up. Also take this early if you don't have the most reliable laners or winning lane matchups, as you'll be less team reliant and be able to play selfishly, farm more efficiently, and build a solid lead for yourself without relying solely on ganking or enabling a lane to carry (as you would with R evolve).
Evolution Overview: Evolved Spike Racks
When evolved, Void Spike will fire 3 spikes in a cone while also slowing enemies hit by 60% and revealing them. If the target is isolated, they will be slowed by 90% instead.
This remarkable evolution makes for a fantastic team-oriented tool that will allow you to peel for your carries, disengage fights and enhance your pick potential with the strong slow. This evolution is fantastic for when you need to help out your team more in the game as it provides a lot of utility that can be used to support them. The slow is very reliable and useful in all situations, but ideally you'd only be taking W if you want to work alongside your team (maybe your AD carry is fed and needs peel). Evolve this ability if you want to achieve the things said above and play a more team-oriented supportive playstyle. Best to take at level 11 or 16 when grouping and picks are more important.
Evolution Overview:Evolved Wings
When evolved, Leap's range is increased and the cooldown is reset upon kill or assist.
This is the evolution that pretty much makes Kha'Zix what he is. The resets you get from kills and assists allow you to make incredible plays, get in and out of fights as well as clean up enemies. This is Kha'Zix's most important evolution if you are playing as an assassin, and it will open up a lot of opportunities in the game for you. It is pretty much essential as it provides Kha'Zix with an escape tool to get in and out of fights after quickly assassinating an enemy. You would ideally evolve this at level 11 as that is when most teamfights and opportunities arise for you.
Evolution Overview: Evolved Adaptive Cloaking
Kha’Zix gains an extra cast of Void Assault and his invisibility duration is increased to 2 seconds. Can be recast within a total duration of 10 seconds.
This evolution is an incredibly versatile and potent tool that is capable of being used in several ways. Its primary role as an evolution is to provide extra utility through the extra cast and longer stealth in order to increase your dueling, ganking, skirmishing and outplay potential. The longer stealth is incredible for minimizing damage taken and waiting off cooldowns during fights which can often win you a kill, and the extra cast provides you with an additional escape/combat tool to help you thrive in skirmishes. This version of evolved R can be evolved at any stage of the game, but it works best at either level 6 or 16 to make room for evolved E at level 11. R evolve works best when you’re ahead, but it is able to fulfill many purposes, even when behind, and only through experience will you be able to utilize its capabilities in every way possible.
There are a LOT of evolution orders for Kha'Zix and each one of them has their specific situation in which they thrive and are effective. I will not go into detail about every single evolution order possible but if you would like to get an idea of what a specific evolution order has to offer, then follow this simple method to judge your evolution order as you create it:
E - Assassination, Resets, Skirmish and Teamfight potential.
R - Map pressure, Mobility, Outplay potential
As you evolve your abilities, use these descriptions of the evolutions to get an idea of what they are providing for you. For example: QEW - Efficiency, DPS and dueling power with Q at level 6 to assist with getting a lead in the early game; transitions into resets, team fighting and assassination potential which allow you to use that lead with evolved E; ending with evolved W to provide utility for important teamfights and team-play later on into the game.
Ideally, you would evolve your abilities at level 6, 11 and 16 based on your personal preferences as well as the state of the game. It is important to remember that Kha'Zix is very flexible, so if you like a specific evolution order don't be afraid to stick with it if you enjoy it, as all of the evolutions cater to a specific playstyle and thus may appeal to different types of players.
However, there is no denying that some evolutions are better than others at the specific levels of 6, 11 and 16. For example, the majority of players take either Q or R at level 6 as they provide much more than W or E in the early game. Q at level 6 allows you to be efficient so you can build up a lead earlier, while R at level 6 allows you to create immense map pressure which can be used to create a lead for your team. At level 11, the choice is usually between W or E as it is the time of the game where teamfights and assassination opportunities arise. A player would most likely evolve E second if they are able to assassinate effectively, as it will allow them to clean up teamfights and further their lead through plenty of opportunities that the evolution provides. If you are not able to assassinate and are required to play more team-oriented, the W evolve would be appropriate to support the team more in fights. At level 16 the choice is likely going to be whichever evolution the player didn't choose at level 11: W or E again, for essentially the same reasons.
Despite this, I cannot stress enough that you can choose whatever evolution order you want. You just have to make sure that you adapt to the specific playstyle that the evolution provides. Each evolution is unique and you can choose what to evolve based off of your personal preferences as a player; or the state of the game and what would be most ideal for the current situation. The scenario above is just an example of how you would evolve based on the state of the game. You can evolve Q at 16 or Q at 11 or E at level 6 if the situations call for it or if you enjoy doing it. It really doesn't matter too much so long as you can adapt.
Evolution Path Examples
More versatile and consistent, while giving up some early pressure and gank opportunities, you'll gain in better dueling potential, objective control, and clearing. More carry potential throughout, while gaining utility lategame.
Functions similar to QEW except you have increased skirmishing and outplay potential with R evolve at 16.
Bruiser evolution order that provides high DPS and strong utility for the mid game which can help you play more forward in fights.
Utilises high DPS and mobility mid game to catch out isolated targets with incontestable damage and stealth.
Evolved R at level 6 helps you survive big skirmishes in the early game while increasing your ganking and dueling potential. Followed up with Q at level 11 for immense dueling power and efficiency in the mid game. However, you will lack evolved E in the mid game which can increase the risk of your engages during that time.
REQ or W: A general upgrade in the early game with evolved R, increasing your dueling, ganking and skirmishing potential while transitioning into Evolved E at level 11 to help transition your lead into a victory through strong assassination potential. W for teamplay or Q for extra dueling power and objective control at level 16.
Team oriented utility evolution order that focuses on your team getting ahead and assisting them with better ganking and skirmishing potential in the early game (R evolve) and strong CC in the mid game (W evolve). E at 16 to provide a higher presence in teamfights.
EQW or R: Prioritizes early game skirmishes with evolved E to quickly gain a lead from kills and end the game early. Followed up with higher efficiency with Q and utility later on with W or better skirmishing and outplay potential with R.
Teamfight oriented evolution order that enables you to act as an assassin in teamfights and skirmishes while also being able to peel for your team in the mid game.
Choose from these if you wish to try them out or try some other evolution orders if you want, each order has a specific situation in which they are effective however your most consistent and reliable one is almost always going to be QEW.
Recommended Evolution Paths
Without a doubt, the standard evolution order for Kha'Zix is QEW, and for a good reason. Evolved Q at level 6 will give you the dueling power and efficiency to gain a lead in the early game, evolved E at level 11 will transition that lead nicely into skirmishes, assassination opportunities and making riskier plays, and evolved W at level 16 will let you teamfight effectively as well as give you some more pick potential with the 90% isolated slow. Overall it’s a great evolution order that’s consistent and reliable so if you're unsure what to evolve on Kha'Zix this will always be a classic, reliable choice for every kind of Kha'Zix player.
In terms of items you’ll almost always want to opt for a Bruiser build consisting of at least Challenging smite and Black Cleaver somewhere in your build. Other decent pickups are Death’s Dance, Guardian Angel, and Mortal Reminder if needed. This path is overall great if you value the bruiser/utility, consistent playstyle without relying on being an individual carry threat to win the game.
RWQ or RWE: A solid alternative to the classic QEW path. This path requires a different playstyle so you’ll need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses that this path offers, and not play like you’re running QEW. Evolving R at level 6 will give you a lot of agency on the map to make proactive early ganks to snowball the game in your favor. You’ll need to abuse your shorter R cooldown and make the most out of it by camping a lane that has strong early snowball/carry potential. Once you reach level 11 you’ll have access to W evolve which will provide a lot of utility to your team and allow to some great pick potential through the midgame. At level 16 you can choose between either Q or E depending on personal preference and what you feel is more important at that stage of the game. If you’re fed and want to have greater teamfight impact, then take E. If you prefer to play it safe peel for your carries or have a bruiser centric build, then Q might be better for the DPS value it offers.
QWR or QRW: This is the evolution path you'll want to take if you know you won't be having many reset opportunities and need to opt for a more utility focused setup to peel and secure picks for your team. Evolving Q at level 6 gives you the efficiency you need and W at 11 will give you a lot of utility which can be very noticeable when going against tank heavy team compositions. If theres 2 bruisers botlane or a generally tanky team then W second instead of E might be the best option for you. Alternatively you can take R second and W at level 16 if you value the outplay potential of having R. Overall decent if you value the efficiency that evolving Q earlygame provides, as well as the utility that W evolve provides midgame.
These are the most efficient and most common evolution paths that you would want to take for your Kha'Zix setup! While we've outlined the most optimal setups, there are some niche or less popular paths not explained, as they have been covered in the evolution overview so check there if yours isn't listed. Overall it's important to remember that Kha'Zix's identity is centered around evolving to suit the situation and your playstyle, as such you shouldn't limit yourself into one way of thinking or become close-minded towards all but one playstyle. Try some of these out and see what suits your playstyle more and see which are best used situationally.
Jungle Pathing & Routes
The current jungle meta forces many junglers to adapt and be flexible with their pathing. Your decisions must be based around your jungle matchup and lane matchups based on who has priority/kill pressure. If you want to include a scuttle in your path, be aware of the possibility of a contest with the enemy jungler. Many of the paths below are basic options for you to choose; there are more potential ways you can go, but most other routes requires you to have extensive knowledge of the enemy jungler’s starting location/patterns in order to abuse them in a unique way. If you are contesting a scuttle, you will likely want to ensure you have smite ready so you have an even chance if the enemy jungler tries to contest.
An important detail to note is that if you’re starting on Red buff you’ll always want to buy Talisman over Machete.
A standard jungle clear for Kha’Zix starts pretty straightforward but can open up a lot of options depending on your priorities for the earlygame.
This route is one of the more risk-averse options for earlygame that focuses on a safe full clear that ends around level 5 with a lot of gold and experience. To further break down your priorities after your first camps, you’ll generally want to path towards whichever lane has priority in order to secure leads on that side of the map. If you’re unable to gank due to poor matchups or wave state then invade to steal camps or secure vision on their camps to gain knowledge of their pathing. From there you can finish your clear near scuttle spawn and recall and look to secure your botside jungle again and play around winning lanes.
Alternatively if you’re purple side and know you want to play around top lane due to an easy early gank opportunity, then you can buy Hunter’s Machete and opt for a full clear
These routes attempt to make use of information you get at level 1 to gain an advantage over the enemy jungler. Vertical jungling means that both junglers begin by clearing their own jungle quadrant, then moving into the opponent’s jungle quadrant and stealing those. Vertical jungling is typically done as a response to something the enemy jungler does – it splits the map into “strong” and “weak” halves where each jungler stays on one half of the map to make it their strong half. You usually need vision early on to force vertical jungling routes, and many vertical jungling routes stem from triple-buff attempts. As an example, you may do Enemy Red->3 small Raptors->Blue in an attempt to triple-buff the enemy, and they may try to respond with Their Blue->Your Red or something of that nature. If you want to attempt a triple-buff on the enemy jungler, it is highly beneficial to ask your side lane to ward the same buff on your side of the map. If you triple-buff an enemy and they attempt to turn it into a vertical jungling game, you can collapse on them as a team and pick up what is usually an easy first blood or flash.
Overall, if you want to vertically jungle or triple-buff an enemy, play it cautiously. Make sure you have adequate vision and be incredibly careful around potential collapses - watch your minimap for laner movement. You don’t want to turn your potential advantage into a first blood for the enemy team.
I do not recommend attempting vertical jungling and triple buffing to new junglers – they typically require either coordination with your team or experience in reading the map properly. If not done the right way, you will easily hand over first blood and your camps.
It is hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer but there's several things you can do to increase your odds. You need to develop a priority system, which I will cover later. Kha'Zix with his kit is designed to get early leads because of his strong early-game compared to most junglers, and as a result, is one of the best snowball junglers in the game. On the other hand, it’s very easy to fall off and throw your lead due to the nature of the assassin playstyle. Usually you can avoid throwing by pressing your lead from setting the enemy jungler behind and enabling at least 1 lane to snowball with you while you extend pressure elsewhere on the map. Of course you'll have games where you have to play to perfection to carry despite 4 feeding teammates but sometimes that’s the price of playing a carry jungler.
Always look to trade objectives with the enemy if you can’t roam, or by extending a winning lane’s lead through their lane and pushing the enemy into a gold deficit they can't recover from. Having a priority system, or a mental flow chart of priorities across the map, will not only improve your fundamentals as a Jungler, but also as a player and I can’t stress this enough. Your priority system should include things like, Baron/Elder > Inhibitors > First Blood Tower > Dragons/ Rift Herald > Enemy Buffs > Vision > Kills. If it’s too early or risky for Baron, look to push a tower, if you can’t push a tower, look to steal enemy buffs/camps, if you can’t do that, walk up and ward their camps, and so on. Most importantly avoid blaming your teammates, as much as possible. You have the tools to carry yourself out as a Kha'Zix main due to his carry-oriented playstyle regardless of bad teammates.
How to extend individual leads
The most important thing in early game is how much of an early lead you can generate for yourself and your team. There's a few ways to snowball a lead and it comes down to a lot of factors that you have to consider. Things like team comps and win conditions should be first to come to mind. Other factors like Dragons, Herald, Towers, Baron, splitpushing, securing vision for picks, starving the enemy jungler, camping a laner who you trust to perform well, and many more. Also to note that when you're the biggest threat on your team, you'll want to become the focus of their attention.
Shutting Down The Enemy Jungler
Another general piece of advice when snowballing is to be as oppressive as possible. Spend more time in the enemy jungle warding their camps to gather information. You’re aiming to make the enemy jungler scared to even walk into his jungle because you'll be waiting there. You also want to be mindful of enemy laners so they don't roam onto you while you're doing this and collapse onto you (assuming you aren't ahead enough to kill all of them). Try to have knowledge of the jungle timers, the plants, and minion waves. If you can only risk walking into the enemy jungle for a brief moment, just place a ward and leave instead of risking death by contesting a camp when your laners aren't reacting. By successfully nullifying the enemy jungler, it relieves a great amount of pressure off of your laners as well as putting pressure on the enemy laners because it's guaranteed that you'll win the 2v2/3v3 in a gank or skirmish. In a lot of situations, the enemy jungler may be forced to sit in a side wave and soak xp from laners, or catch crashing waves under tower. You can still use this to your advantage to pick them off and set them even more behind, or focus more on the enemy laners or objectives while they’re behind.
One of the most important aspects of jungling is proactivity. By being proactive and controlling the pace of the game, you force your opponents to make decisions and wait to capitalize off their mistakes. Also If you have the attention of the enemy jungler, you'll be pulling them around the map and forcing them to become reactive to your plays ideally by taking a less optimal trade. Let's say for example if you're in the enemy red-side jungle, you can go top lane tier 1 turret and cut off the enemy top's escape route and/or proxy their wave. After that the enemy jungler will either be forced to come top or you dive the top laner and get the turret. If you're ahead you'll be able to force situations like this so much easier because you'll win the 2v2, so they'll have to give up the turret or die for it. You should constantly be trying to make the enemy team make difficult decisions so that you're not only wearing down their mentality but slowly suffocating them until they've reached a gold deficit they can't recover from.
One of the highest priorities you should have when ahead as Kha'Zix is objectives. Despite what people will say about Kha'Zix needing kills, forcing objectives will be a higher priority in most situations. With Kha'Zix you have the advantage of being able to solo most of the objectives yourself. Dragon for instance, is one of the easiest objectives you can take early-game, and at level 6 you'll be able to solo it without losing much health. This is even more efficient assuming you have Q evolve to secure it faster in conjunction with the sustain from your W healing. You'll also be able to solo Herald fairly early on, while being able to dodge some of it's damage and take it down fast with your bonus isolation damage. Another option is splitpushing since you have the ability to outduel most champions and draw attention from the enemies while having good escape potential. With most of the options you won't even need a team to set you up, you can take them yourself if the right conditions are met. You should often ask yourself, "what is the best objective for me to be pushing right now?". Create a checklist of objectives with their priority, if you don't have first blood tower, how can you push for it? Which lane is going to yield the best results if you try to push for first tower? With first blood tower gold you'll be giving a strong early lead across the entire team that can give you the momentum you need to carry through to mid-game. Always be looking for what objective to take next, especially after a kill, and what you need to do to get that objective.
After you have an advantage over the enemy jungler, or when counter jungling in general, you'll be able to communicate the rough location of the enemy jungler to your team. The best way to do this is to frequently purchase Control Wards to place in enemy territory or near objectives. For example if you go to the top side of their jungle, and you take the camps, and put down two wards near their jungle entrances with vision over the camp, then you'll know where the enemy jungler is until those wards expire. With that information you'll know he's in that side of the jungle or he's in the botside jungle. This can also help your laners because you'll be able to ping missing when you see the jungler is not there, and then let your teammates know it's likely that he's botside, as well as telling them not to play too far forward or aggressively. Another use of vision would be to drop a pink near an allies lane if you know he's getting ganked frequently. Finally, picking up an earlier Oracle Alteration you can do a lot with denying vision in their jungle, and setting up for ganks.
Enabling Laners to Carry
In most cases, you won't be able to carry the game on your own unless the right conditions are met, and often times it's a lot safer to enable at least 1 laner to snowball with you. This can come by helping the laner shove out his wave when he needs to reset, providing vision control if they're the focus of the enemy jungler, and pushing towers when the enemy laner is gone to secure early tower. If you help them, they'll also be more inclined to help you, whether that's a call to do dragon, group with your team, or coordinate a dive that could potentially shut down the enemy there. Another thing to factor in is the lane matchups, for example if you have an Ezreal-Janna lane, they can mostly be left on their own to farm so ganking for them wouldn't give you much return, so it would be best to let them scale up. With a Draven Thresh lane, you'll have a lot more potential to dive and shut down their enemy laners because of the sheer playmaking capabilities of the champion's kits. Overall having successful lanes is generally more important than setting behind the enemy jungler. If you can secure an early tower with your team, ping them to rotate and take the tier 1 tower in another lane with the team, and then repeat for the last tower until the map is opened. Don't be afraid to spam ping macro decisions that will help snowball the game for your team.
Things to Avoid when Snowballing Leads
If you aren't doing anything with your kills you're simply taking resources away from your team and wasting them. A common problem that people will run into is they will get leads, and then continue to power farm and sit in their jungle when they could be spreading that lead across the map. You can prevent this by ganking, coordinating dives, getting vision in the enemy jungle, controlling objectives, but just farming is only going to squander that lead and allow the enemy to catch up in tempo and gold. This is the fundamental aspect of “kill conversion”, which is how often your kills result in securing objectives. High elo junglers kill conversion rate can even range from 55-65% compared to lower elos where that range might be half of that. Kill conversion truly is one of the biggest stats in what separates good Junglers from great ones. The biggest problem with low elo Kha'Zix mains is they will get a kill, and immediately go back to farming their camps when they should be looking for the next objective to take off of that while the enemy is down.
When the enemy jungler is dead, it's basically an invitation to walk into their jungle and place wards and counter jungle their camps. Usually you'll also want to avoid ganking lanes that are behind as Kha'Zix, which is a general rule for many junglers, but especially for Kha'Zix. You're wasting a lot of time and resources on a lane that's already lost, for the chance to put them even again at best case scenario, when you could be ganking for a neutral or winning lane and enabling them to win even more, becoming an even bigger threat. Even if you're getting spam pinged by your 0-3 top laner, asking for help, you might invest the time to come and both of you end up dying, which basically results in a game loss. You have to ignore the pings and cries for help when a lane is already so far behind unless your team is collapsing on them together. Spend your time getting another lane ahead that can carry.
Ganking as Kha’Zix
Ganking with Kha'Zix is fairly simple, especially if you’re opting for Chilling Smite. The most important thing to consider starts with the enemy laner being "gankable" and your laner’s ability to set up the gank or ability to follow up with your initiation. The most optimal method is to try to start your gank from either behind them or to a side where they have to run towards you/towards allies, essentially cutting off their escape route. Another crucial aspect to ganking, is to save your leap for their flashes or gap closers. To give an example, you can come from behind them and Chilling Smite + Auto to apply your passive slow, save your Leap for their flash, and if your allied laner is nearby you can almost guarantee a kill barring a countergank.
Another ganking method is only for when the enemy laner is pushing far up and there's enemy vision around river/flanks. This involves jumping over certain walls in combination with your passive slow, Void Assault, and optionally Chilling Smite to secure a kill.
Understanding Wave Management & Lane Priority
Firstly, it is crucial to being a good jungler that you understand basic wave management and lane priority. This will allow you to move around the map accordingly and ensure the highest chance of success when executing on ganks or getting priority teammates ahead when they're strong.
Lane priority is basically how fast the laner can get to you vs the other laner and your location on the map compared to theirs. Since Riot somewhat nerfed Jungle independence with the introduction of important neutral objectives like Scuttle Crab, Rift Herald, etc, lane priority is more important than ever before. To put it simply, if you have priority mid, you pretty much can win the game early on. You can choreograph four man bot ganks, three man top dives, Scuttle secures, invading buffs and krugs which offer insane XP/Gold advantage, Drakes, Rift Herald, and more. When you have priority, you basically force the enemy midlaner to make two decisions: Firstly, arrive late to a gank and causing them to lose the skirmish because you got to the fight first, causing them to lose a lot of farm in the process. Secondly, him shoving the wave and putting damage on tower while trying to ping enough to make his botlane not die. Either way it's a win-win situation, as you get either get an uncontested dive, a buff, a Drake, or enemy mid loses a ton of farm and XP.
Another important aspect to consider is, if you force the enemy mid to lose a cannon wave, he literally just lost half a kill’s worth of gold from that. Since denial can be equivalent to gaining gold when it comes to creating a lead, you can count that as half a free kill and even more in XP. This ties into the overall understanding of lane matchups so you know who pushes in who and who generally trades better into others. By watching the lanes and their matchups you can predict future priority while reacting accordingly.
The late game of Kha’Zix is unique among other assassins, as he doesn’t actually fall off, contrary to what some people may believe. Instead, he shifts from an assassin to a poke champion that can make picks and assassinate just as well as a traditional assassin. The reason for this is the W evolution. After W is evolved (generally level 16 or level 11, depending on your evolution order), Kha’Zix can consistently deal damage onto the enemy team on a low cooldown while completely safe. The added spikes from W evolution means that Kha can almost always hit a target, and if this hits an isolated target, it often can lead to getting a pick. Embracing the new playstyle at level 16 is essential to not throwing the game, as Kha’Zix will easily get bursted down if he tries to dive the enemy team like he would have at earlier levels when the gold difference was far more prevalent and enemies are grouped. By this time in the game, most CC abilities are at their max level, which means if Kha’Zix is caught out, it often spells his doom. Waiting to engage is core on all assassins, and Kha’Zix is no different.
Having evolved wings allows him to turn small picks into devastating leads for his team as he picks off the backline one by one. However, this is not always the win condition for Kha’Zix. In certain team compositions, sometimes late game team fighting is absolutely impossible. Recognizing these deadly team compositions is essential for a Kha’Zix player, leaving split-pushing as a very good way to alleviate pressure for your team. An evolved W also helps with escaping and kiting, as the hefty slow and low cooldown means self peeling is especially easy. Be sure to coordinate with your team and use pings while you are splitpushing so they do not get collapsed onto. Looking at the minimap and respecting fog of war is insanely important, and should be your number one focus while splitpushing. Placing wards in the enemy jungle is also important so that you can apply more pressure. The ideal situation for a splitpusher is one where two or three people rotate to deal with you, which lets your team 4v3 or 4v2, or pick up an important neutral objective/tower.
When setting up for baron with your team, after clearing vision you can enter the enemy jungle and wait for a pick while your team is on the baron, forcing them to react and face check into you. It’s advised to have sweeper or Duskblade passive available before doing this or you risk getting picked and losing baron or possibly the game. A final thing to consider about baron or dragon is that as neutral monsters, they’re always isolated. This means that securing or stealing these objectives can be much easier for Kha’Zix and give him an edge when it comes to these objectives.
There will be a lot of games where you won’t be able to snowball or create a lead for yourself in the early-game. For these situations we’ll try to outline what you can do to minimize the damage and still contribute towards a victory for your team.
When your team is ahead but you're behind
When your team is ahead but you're behind
A key factor to consider is enabling the person on your team who's the biggest threat and camp for them. Whether it's a Renekton top on a large power spike, or a 4-0 botlane who are about to siege bot tower or secure turret plates, you'll need to do everything in your ability to set them up for success and funnel as many resources you can into them. You'll also want to peel for them and stay nearby for when the enemies might dive them, which will let you and your teammates take them out with ease. Playing Kha'Zix isn't always about jumping onto their backline squishies and assassinating, he can also be great for counter dives and dealing with other assassins.
Another strategy while playing from behind is to farm up and catch up in XP and gold before forcing any more plays. This becomes much easier with Q evolve as you can clear camps relatively quickly and have better uptime on your camps, whereas with R evolve, it'll be much harder to play from behind because of how focused the playstyle is on ganks. If there's not many gank opportunities due to your laners losing, snowballing through a lane can be almost impossible. Farming and staying ahead in levels will give you relevancy and allow you to be a threat later on for your team.
Builds when behind
When you're behind you may want more survivability and utility to be able to do as much as you can to support your team. This can vary between players, as some would make the argument that you'd need even more damage to catch up, and should focus on aggressive item choices, otherwise you'll never have a chance to catch up again. While this often comes down to preference, opting for more survivability is the safer and most consistent choice, and there's several items you can get to help. Some would think of G.A, Cleaver, Maw, or Mortal Reminder to help as much as you can while still having some assassination potency. You'll also want to evolve W at some point for the utility purposes for peeling and enabling your carries, along with it synergizing greatly with Mortal Reminder and Cleaver since the debuffs will apply to all targets hit. Evolving W will also give your team stronger kiting, and better pick potential. If you’re not building defensive, you can still build damage and prioritize squishy targets with decent results as you deal a lot of damage in one rotation even while behind. Despite this, your items shouldn't be the biggest factor to change when you're behind, it should still be your playstyle.
You will have various factors to keep in mind when playing out a skirmish or late-game teamfight. Some of these include: tracking enemy Summoner Spells & Ultimates, using your leap when it's a guaranteed kill or when they use their flash, and choosing between priority targets. If you learn best with visual examples, I highly recommend Tinjus' teamfighting breakdowns before reading this section.
How to fight against tanky compositions
This is one of the most commonly asked questions, and there's no easy answer as you have very limited win conditions compared to facing squishier compositions. As Tinjus said in his video above, THE GOLDEN RULE IS DON'T JUMP WHEN THERE IS CC. When facing heavy tank comps your best bet is to push a lead very early on and minimize the mistakes you're making, and communicate with your team to take early objectives. The longer the game goes on, the less of a chance you'll have when the enemies start grouping. You should put more emphasis into snowballing as hard as possible with as many objectives as you can before late-game. If you've already fallen into the position where the game is going late, and their team is scaling, you'll need to keep a few things in mind. Some things to consider are, how ahead you are in levels, what are your item advantages over the enemies, and when your next powerspike is (Duskblade / Level 11). If you can answer these with confidence, you'll also have to consider your team composition, for example if your team composition isn't good at teamfights and theirs excels in it, then you should avoid fighting altogether and focus instead on applying pressure in a sidelane. You can tell your top or mid to split while you prepare baron with your team or set up a 1-3-1 to apply pressure across the map.
You'll generally want to peel back until you have an opportunity to go in against tank comps. A lot of the time their tanks will dive your team and you'll have the opportunity to deal damage to them while they're isolating themselves or sneak past them with your Void Assault onto the backline. When you go into a teamfight, you usually won't want to jump in unless you can guarantee a kill or assist. You can wait until they flash out of combat, with low HP or low mana and then take your chance to jump onto them after they've exhausted their resources and cooldowns.
Another useful tactic is to use your teammates as bait, and having them act as sponges to absorb the enemies CC and cooldowns before going in yourself. Kha'Zix can be seen as a "Win-more" champion, where if your team is winning a teamfight, you can easily clean up and chain kills due to your mobility and potential resets. Never use the excuse "well they used 4 ultimates on me and that's why I died", if you were out of position in the first place, that situation could have been avoided altogether. Always assume they will use their ultimates to pick you off when you're the fed assassin.
One of the most valuable tactics when playing out a teamfight is tracking enemy cooldowns. This goes hand in hand with having patience overall and knowing how to identify the right engage opportunities. If you're just being patient but you're not aware of what summoner's are being used then how will you know when to go in. Be mindful of things like the enemy support using their exhaust, the Malzahar mid using his ultimate, or the ADC flashing. Generally you'll have an exponentially higher chance at success in fights when you know what the enemy has available.Forcing the enemies cooldowns isn't always bad, it just depends on the situation and how you react. For example, if a big teamfight ultimate such as Orianna’s gets used against you unsuccessfully and you survive, that's a massive disadvantage for their team because they were forced by you to expend a crucial teamfight ability on just 1 target.
For this, you’ll need to be more mindful of items differences, team compositions, and other factors. For example, if you have to choose between committing to an Orianna or Caitlyn, you'd need to first press tab to see if Orianna has a Zhonya's Hourglass so you don't get baited and die. In those situations, Caitlyn would be the better option if both are caught out of position. Another thing to consider is which champion on their team is the biggest threat. You need to decide who is the most valuable member of their team and wait for an opportunity. This can be them overextending or previously expending their flash. Once you've eliminated their main threat, your team's chances at winning a teamfight increase drastically. Other items to consider before leaping in are GA/QSS/Zhonyas, and enemy abilities such as Kayle ultimate, Taric ultimate, or Tahm Kench’s Devour.
I’d like to thank you for getting this far and reading this guide to the end. Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of how to carry with Kha’Zix or how to play against him. This guide was put together by dedicated Kha’Zix mains with millions of mastery points and thousands of hours invested into the champion so we’ve tried to bring you the most comprehensive guide possible, so we hope you appreciate the time put into outlining what Kha’Zix is capable of. Free free to drop by our Subreddit for all things Kha'Zix as well as our YouTube Channel. If you would like to be part of our Discord community, please do so as it’s one of the best ways to discuss Kha’Zix.
Thank you all again for reading and we hope you enjoyed!
Special Thanks to: Tinjus, Reegal, Mabarry3, TheSilverlost, MellowRush, SKT Light, Virtuebot, Produx, Master Dinghy, Robhockey, Ezdeath, Stain, SpamKhaSpam, Jorcooly, our Discord, Subreddit, and YouTube community, as well as all of you for reading!