Kai'Sa Build Guide by Vapora Dark
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+9% attack speed and +10 ability power or +6 attack damage, adaptive
Hey guys, I'm MSF Vapora Dark, a guide-writer and sponsored streamer for Misfits Gaming. I've been an EUW D1-Master level player since season 4, and have been writing guides since 2011. I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at it. My guides total over 50 million views!
|I hope you enjoy reading the guide as much as I enjoyed writing it, and most importantly, that you take everything you can from it!|
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|Fleet Footwork: Due to Kai'Sa's low auto-attack range, this keystone is the best for her as it gives her some extra sustain to compensate for her vulnerability and some extra mobility to help her kite.|
|Triumph: This can be a life saver in close fights, and the 25g per takedown actually adds up to quite a bit in bloody games.|
|Legend: Alacrity: Almost all ADCs will want to use this rune over its alternatives since they all scale so well with attack speed. It'll ends up adding a lot of damage once you stack it up and have some AD and crit chance to pair it with.|
|Coup de Grace: This is the best rune in its tree for almost every champion that wants to go into Precision since it's the one that simply does the most damage in your average game.|
| Celerity: This gives around half the movement speed Boots of Speed does, which is pretty nice for a rune. It also has synergy with Zeal items and will give you just a tiny bit more AD, which can potentially be the difference between life and death.
Gathering Storm: All ADCs benefit greatly from extra AD, and Gathering Storm starts off kinda weak but really ramps up as the game goes on, and it shouldn't be underestimated how much of an impact a single point of AD can make in an ADCs kit.
The reason you want a defensive summoner on ADC is that you have a lot of DPS, so the longer you can survive, the more damage you'll put out, usually out-damaging what you'd get from Ignite. And if it can go as far as to save your life, then that's even better, as ADC's are very important to have alive for both providing DPS and taking down objectives.
Second Skin: The on-hit from this passive makes attack speed an amazing stat on Kai'Sa, and the execute makes her most effective against low HP enemies.
Additionally, she can evolve her spells based on her stats. Many people are too obsessed with focusing their build on evolving all 3 spells, but truth is evolving Void Seeker isn't very useful on AD Kai'Sa and is more oriented towards AP Kai'Sa, so even though we build some AP through Guinsoo's Rageblade (only because it's a good item for on-hit users), it's not worth building any more AP just to evolve Void Seeker.
You'll evolve Supercharger first because attack speed is the natural focus of your build, and once you've built Infinity Edge you'll be able to evolve Icathian Rain as well.
Icathian Rain: This spell gives you some waveclear, not great waveclear but it's better than nothing. Where it really shines is during 1v1s away from minions where the missiles all concentrate onto one target, especially once you evolve it.
Void Seeker: This isn't too useful for harassing, but in fights you can use it in between auto-attacks to add a little bit of damage.
Its most important use however is to enable you to engage on someone with Killer Instinct. It has an enormous range and so does Killer Instinct, making the synergy between them very strong.
Supercharger: This ability is nice for giving Kai'Sa some mobility, helping her kite, escape and dodge abilities whenever necessary. Especially once you evolve it it becomes very good since people won't be able to focus you while you're charging as you'll be invisible.
It's also obviously great as an attack speed steroid, as +80% AS is a huge amount. Make sure to only use it either when you know you can commit to a fight, or when you need the mobility/invisibility from charging it.
Killer Instinct: This ult was intended to be a pure aggression ult, but it can also be used defensively by ulting a target that gets into melee range of you and just dashing a short distance away from them. It also gives you a shield to protect you from damage if necessary.
One thing you need to remember is that this doesn't do any damage at all, it's purely mobility/engage and a shield. It's only useful in duels if you need to reposition or if you need the shield.
|Maw of Malmortius
You'll want to take Icathian Rain at level 1 since it's your best trading tool and can slightly help you push.
When you get into lane, you should spam auto-attacks on minions to push as fast as possible to beat the enemy bot lane to level 2. You can try and poke the enemy ADC with free auto-attacks if a good opportunity arises, but for the most part you shouldn't be actively seeking these and should instead just focus on pushing faster than the enemy bot lane.
Should you find yourself losing the race though, you should back off when the enemy bot lane is approaching level 2.
At level 2 you'll be leveling Supercharger to increase your mobility, which can be useful if you need to reposition, chase, or escape a gank. At level 3 you'll want to take Void Seeker for the extra damage.
Depending on the matchup you may either want to freeze the lane and zone the enemy bot lane with the threat of trades/engagement, or shove them in repeatedly harassing them and their tower, which works best when you have a mage support that can pressure the enemy under their tower. Freezing works best when you have a good engage support so you can more efficiently zone the enemy from the wave and they have no tower to protect them if they get engaged on.
Whenever you're shoving under tower and can't poke anyone with auto-attacks, you should be auto-attacking the tower to make sure it goes down as soon as possible, since it's a +650g boost in power for you if your team allows you to take full local gold.
Outside of laning phase, your objective is to destroy the nexus. No I'm not kidding, that's literally the best way to describe it. Every action you take in laning phase is to set you up for mid-late game, every action you take outside of laning phase is to bring you one step closer to destroying the enemy nexus. The way you do this is by performing actions that will make killing the enemy team easier (acquiring gold, dragons, barons) so that you have less resistance, and destroying towers as a way to acquire gold, have better control of the map, and open up routes to the nexus.
|At this point you should be grouping with your team as much as possible to teamfight and siege down towers. Kai'Sa isn't the greatest sieger due to her low auto-attack range with little poke/zoning power,
so be aware that you're going to be more at risk and not as effective as some other ADCs.
Sieging towers is pretty simple, but you need to be careful about it. When both teams are alive and your team is trying to take a tower, it's your job to do as much damage as you can to the tower without dying. You need to do as much damage as you can while remaining safe. This means you can't just walk up to the tower and stand there auto-attacking until it dies; this leaves you open to get engaged upon, unless there's no resistance from the enemy team. Instead you have to repeatedly poke the tower. Walk up to it, attack it a bit, back off if someone dangerous is walking up to you.
Now you might think "but what if they never stop protecting their tower? Doesn't that mean it's never safe for me to auto-attack it?". If they're constantly standing in a defensive position in relation to their tower, then they're most likely to be in range for your team to poke them and force them back. They need to be in a place where it's safe for them to sit and look for a good engage, where your team has no way to attack them without tower diving them. And if they advance, that takes them further out of safety, so if you match their movements to stay safe from an engage, they'll be forced to move back for their own safety again, as they don't want to get engaged on in a bad position either, nor poked down to a point where they need to recall to recover their HP.
So you should think of sieging as slowly whittling down a tower. It almost never takes a single minion wave to destroy a tower (unless you have baron buff), it can take many, many waves, but slowly but surely, the tower will go down if you can siege it properly.
When you're attacking a tower with enemies nearby you always want to be positioned at max distance from the tower while you auto-attack, and in between auto-attacks you should move backwards then forwards, so that while your auto-attack is "on cooldown", you're not spending any more time closer to the danger than necessary. It's also good habit in case they start to try an engage and you're already automatically moving backwards the moment you finish your auto-attack, meaning you'll often protect yourself from an engage faster than you can actually react to it, so long as you notice in time to not move back towards the tower for your next auto-attack.
||Against teams with very high wave clear (hello Anivia), it can be very hard if not impossible to siege down towers, especially inhibitor towers that actually recover HP all the time. Your options in these situations are to engage on the enemy team under their tower (which only works when you're reaaaaaaaally far ahead), get another lane to slow push then rotate to it when the wave is reaching the tower, or go get baron. The enemy team won't usually just give up baron for free though, and so you can use this to bait them into a fight. They'll need to constantly have vision on baron to make sure you're not doing it, which can be hard to keep up if your team places Control Wards and uses Oracle Alteration to clear their wards, so at some point they might have no choice but to face check baron to make sure you're not doing it. Even if you are, you can take the opportunity to turn around and team-fight, so long as your team hasn't become too low to fight.|
Ever wondered how pros can get 300 CS at 30 minutes before? No, it's not completely down to "insanely good last-hitting mechanics". You can do it too, just by using a simple wave control technique. Watch this video to understand how minion waves work.
After clearing that first wave you just go pressure mid or teamfight or whatever, then you just return bot lane in 2-3 minutes when the enemy minion wave has finished pushing to your tower (and make sure to get there before the minions start dying to the tower). At that point it'll be a 15-20 minion wave. Assuming it's 20 minions, and you've been off of bot lane for 2 minutes, you'll be getting 20 minions for the 2 minutes you've spent off lane, keeping with the 10 cs per minute rule you always want to aim for (though won't always be able to achieve).
The video also explains how to create a slow push, but this technique is very rarely useful in solo queue with how uncoordinated everyone is outside of very high Elo. Keep it in mind in case you ever think it could be useful, but most of the time it just ends up creating a huge minion wave for the enemy AD carry to farm, getting him ahead in farm instead of you. It's better suited for ranked 5s assuming your team understands the strength of a slow push, or if you're a high Challenger player and for some reason reading a MOBAFire guide.
In some situations, notably when you expect to be sieging for a while and especially sieging towers that are really close to the enemy base, such as inner towers and inhibitor towers, it's really not ideal to have to force yourself to go back bot lane to farm every 2 minutes. If you do the technique and you can't go bot you'll essentially have just created a slow push against yourself, causing the enemy minions to die to tower, wasting gold, damaging your tower, and possibly even destroying it. Rather than putting yourself in that situation, this is when you want to create a slow push against the enemy team, as they'll hopefully be too busy defending against the siege to send someone to clear bot. This way they'll be the ones losing minions to the tower, taking tower damage, and possibly losing a tower if it's already low. And if they do send someone to clear it, you'll either have an easier time sieging or your team will be able to dive the enemy team 5v4 under tower.
When it comes to team-fighting as an ADC, there is one golden rule which is the most basic team-fighting rule of all, and yet makes you an infinitely better team-fighter if you start following it; attack whoever's closest to you. If you stand at the back, behind your frontline, and just auto-attack whichever enemy is absolutely closest to you, you have the best possible positioning, as you'll only be in focus range of whoever's diving you, or whoever you're attacking.
It's recommended in general to take down the enemy carries before the tanks, but as the ADC if you try to attack a carry then you're in range of every single member of the enemy team, and if they all focus you then you'll go down in under a second. By keeping your distance and attacking just whatever's closest, you'll be hardest to kill, and can therefore output maximum DPS by just staying alive and being able to auto-attack all fight long. The only time you should attack the enemy team's carries is when there's no other enemies standing between you and them or if they're horribly positioned themselves and you can focus them down along with your team.
The best players of all know not only when to follow that one basic rule, but also when to take even further measures to stay safe. Before you ever even get into a team-fight, you should have already analyzed what all the threats to you on the enemy team are, and play more safely or aggressively accordingly. For example, if a Shyvana is the one trying to dive you, you'd want to follow the rule of attacking whatever's closest, and just kite her while your team also hopefully tries to peel her.
||But sometimes you need to turn the safety notch up another level and straight up walk away from someone that could be a threat to you. For example, if you're playing vs Zed, you cannot be one of the ones trying to focus him down while he still has enough spells and HP to be a threat. Even if he's the only person in range of you, and you have 3-4 team-mates around you, you still can't be auto-attacking him until the threat he presents has been neutralized ( Death Mark goes on CD, or he gets so low that he'd die before he could burst you). All the skill and mechanics in the world won't stop him bursting you down in half a second if he gets near enough. And you not only need to stay out of his Death Mark range, you also have to account for the extra distance he can cover with Living Shadow, Youmuu's Ghostblade and Flash, and how quickly they can help him close the gap.|
No, when you're playing against Zed and you see him running in your direction, you stay as far the f**k away from him as you can get. Don't help your team kill him, that's not your job. The assassin's job is to kill you, your job is to not die to him, and your team's job is to protect you from assassins by killing them. If the assassin commits their cooldowns onto someone else when they realize they can't get to you, that's when it's safe for you to walk back into the fight. Or if the assassin gets CC'd and blown up uselessly before they get to do anything, then it's also safe!
||Champions that present such a large threat to you aren't just limited to assassins ( Talon, Zed, LeBlanc) that can burst you down within a second. Other champions, mostly if fed, can just out-duel you so brutally, that even if you have 2-3 team-mates helping you in an effective 1v3/1v4, you're still going to die if they can get in range of you. Champions that can commonly do this when fed are bruisers like Irelia, Jax, Renekton, etc. Champions tanky enough to qualify as tanks while still dealing huge damage to a squishy target like you, especially when fed.
Against champions like these, it's really necessary for you to watch out and keep your distance. You can poke with Void Seeker and the occasional auto-attack while they're CC'd, but you can't fully commit to DPS'ing them down until again, they either fall so low at your team's hands that they're no longer a threat, or realizing that they can't get to you, they commit their most important cooldowns (mobility and/or CC) onto someone else. In Irelia's case, it's safe to commit onto her when she's used either Bladesurge, as she won't be able to gap close to you or burst you with it (though Flash may still pose a threat), or Equilibrium Strike, as it'll prevent her using her deadly 2 second stun on you. And if she's used both then until they come off of cooldown she presents almost no threat at all, so long as you maintain good positioning and kite if she tries to walk towards you.
When following the rule of "attack whoever's closest", often you'll have to choose between two champions that are at a more or less equal distance from you, and it'll be optimal for you to attack one or the other, but it's hard to be completely certain about who the right target is. That being said, here are some things for you to consider which will hopefully lead to you making the right choice:
1) Which is the bigger threat?
You'll want to take out whoever's the biggest threat not just to yourself, but to your team as a whole, and disregard the weaker enemy. Sometimes it's not very clear cut, others you have to choose between a fed Riven and a 1/1/5 jungle Sion, in which case it's a very obvious choice which you should focus.
2) Who would die faster?
When the targets are equally threatening, you'll want to focus whichever one is squishiest/lower HP, as the sooner they're out of the fight, the sooner your team gains a numbers advantage. Sometimes even if they're the lower threat, it's still worth focusing them down first if they're going to die significantly faster, but only sometimes, and it depends on how big a threat the other possible target is.
3) Who's least likely to get away from you?
The less mobile one is the least likely to walk away and succeed in getting away. You'll want to focus the least mobile one as they're the ones most likely to die if they get low. A tank with gap closers like Zac (and let's just say his passive isn't up so you don't need to worry about that) may get low, then just leave the fight with Elastic Slingshot before you can finish him off. If your other option is an equally tanky Sion for example, he's less likely to be able to get away alive when he gets low, so it'd be smarter to focus him in a situation where it's just as easy to auto-attack both.
Generally, from top to bottom those would be the most important factors to take into account respectively, but sometimes one factor, if it's big enough, can over-ride a generally more important factor. For example, choosing to DPS down a negative KDA, full AD Lee Sin, over a fed Irelia, because you can kill the Lee in about 2 seconds while the Irelia is a lot tankier, so takes a fair while longer to kill.
That's it for my Kai'Sa guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Kai'Sa as well as you want to.
If you enjoyed this guide you may also enjoy Vapora's Guide To Tristana, a guide to one of my favourite ADCs. They have very different playstyles but I find Tristana fun to play as well. Otherwise you may still want to read it if you're wanting to improve your ADC skills because it's kind of like a general ADC guide as much as it is a Tristana guide.
Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding, as well as some input on info. (Go check her shop out!)