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Kayn Build Guide by Vapora Dark

Jungle diamond

Will you prove worthy? - In Depth Kayn Guide

By Vapora Dark | Updated on August 5, 2020
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Kayn
  • LoL Champion: Kayn
    Shadow Assassin


Legend: Tenacity
Last Stand

Sudden Impact
Ravenous Hunter

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


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Jungle Role
Ranked #19 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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Hi and welcome Vicious Skittle's guide to Kayn, the Shadow Reaper.

I am Vapora Dark, an EUW player who's been Master tier every season since season 5. Vicious Skittle is a friend of mine who's been too busy to keep up with MOBAFire in recent times, and so I've taken on the task of keeping his guides updated. I hope I can do him justice and that you will benefit from this guide just as much as if he were still maintaining it.

I am Vicious Skittle, a high Diamond player on EUW/NA. I've been playing Kayn on the PBE since it was up and I've been theorycrafting based on his numbers and expierences how he'll be playing out on the live server.

This guide focuses on both of Kayn's forms. His shadow assassin mode as he takes control of the darkin weapon to become a full on assassin and his darkin form where the weapon Rhaast takes control of Kayn's body and becomes a skirmisher.

For the rest of the guide, unless I'm talking specifically about an ability SA will mean shadow assassin, and Rhaast will be Rhaast.

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Pros / Cons


+ Fast early clear
+ Very high damage
+ High mobility
+ Unique gank paths
+ Deep item pool
+ Multiple playstyles in one champion

- Lots of abilties = high skill floor
- Low range
- Once you pick a side you can't change
- Average base stats
- Vulnerable to peel
- Feast/Famine

So Kayn is one of the few full slayer junglers (Like Kha'Zix). He can also take both the playstyles of slayers which is unique to the champion. Either a full on assassin or a skirmisher depending on which form he takes. As a Shadow assassin, he deals some incredible burst damage with some excellent mobility as his Shadow Step: Shadow Assassin and Blade's Reach: Shadow Assassin get some extra usability designed to keep Kayn moving. His Umbral Trespass: Shadow Assassin also gets extra range and combo-ability with his passive.

In the Skimirsher form, Rhaast takes control of Kayn and becomes a skirmisher. In this form he trades the potential mobility and damage from the assassin form to gain some absurd healing, %max HP damage and utility. His Reaping Slash: Rhaast and Blade's Reach: Rhaast gets % max HP damage and a knockup respectivley. His version of Umbral Trespass: Rhaast offers a powerful % max HP burst and a huge amount of self-healing. This form has all the makings to basically be a melee Vladimir.

Overall, both forms have obvious weaknesses and strengths which cater to ones playstyle on a game to game basis. The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin is pretty much build from the ground up to assassinate high priority targets like ADCs or mages whereas The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast is built to duel mid-high HP tanks/bruisers similar to a damage based Jarvan IV.

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Kayn Form

This is the starting form of Kayn and the form you'll be spending your early game in. For the first 9-11 levels you will be ganking targets depending on what form you wish to take on. Or if you need a specific form but the enemy team do not offer the correct range type you'll have to wait a while longer to choose.
I'll cover more specifics about the different form's abilities below but this section will cover the basic versions of each ability.

However, regardless of form you plan to choose you'll be maxing your abilities in the same way. R > W > E > Q. I cover it a lot more in depth in the section below, but basically W and E offer a lot more once you transform in comparison to Q. You take 3 points in it early for the jungle clear, then don't touch it until you have to.

> > >

Ability Description
The Darkin Scythe The Darkin Scythe: Kayn wields an ancient, sentient weapon, that battles with him for control. Dealing damage against champions causes them to drops orbs that are automatically collected upon leaving combat, filling a bar above Kayn's portrait. Once the bar is full he can choose to either be overwhelmed by Rhaast or expel him to become the Shadow Assassin, based on whether he has damaged more melee or ranged champions, respectively. Once primed, the other option becomes available after 4 minutes.
The transformation can only be performed by interacting with their portrait while on the summoning platform, permanently changing their abilities.

Shadow Assassin: The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin's basic attacks and abilities deal 12%-44% (based on level) of post-mitigation damage as bonus magic damage, lasting for 3 seconds upon entering in combat with an enemy champion, refreshing after 8 seconds out of combat with them or by using Umbral Trespass: Shadow Assassin.

Rhaast: The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast heals for 34.5% - 43% (based on level) of the post-mitigation damage that he deals with spells against enemy champions.

My thoughts

Basically, he has no passive early game. Dealing damage to melee champions gives you red souls that will allow Rhaast to take control and become The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast. However if you deal damage to ranged champions, Kayn can take control and unleash his true edge to become The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin.

The only thing to note is that you can pick the "loser" after 4 minutes so you'll always be able to choose if you wait long enough. As they both have huge difference in playstyles and neither is strictly stronger than the other I cover their kits in depth below.

On patch 8.7 they hyper buffed Kayns passive orb generation pre 10 minutes. You can reliably get a form 7-8 mins into the game (or earlier!) now. This means you can easily just gank bot over and over to get double the orbs and wait the lockout to get Rhaast. You can put out so much more pressure early because all damage dealt is way more impactful for Kayn now.


Ability Description
Reaping Slash Kayn dashes forward, dealing physical damage to all enemies he passes through before flourishing his scythe, dealing the same damage again to surrounding enemies. The damage is 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 / 140 (+ 65% bonus AD) physical damage for each part of the skill, for a total of 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 / 280 (+ 130% bonus AD) physical damage. It deals a flat bonus 55 damage to monsters for a total of 110 if both parts connect.

Cooldown: 7s/6.5s/6s/5.5s/5s
Mana Cost: 50

My thoughts

As your bread and butter ability, this is what most of your gameplay revolves around. It's your jungle clear tool thanks to the monster damage passive, and it allows you to dash overwalls if they're thin enough. Not really too deep. Press Q to dash into an enemy and then you'll automatically spin.

When you're trying to kill something keep 2 things in mind. First is the dash is a fixed distance and that to deal maximum damage you'll need to hit them with the dash as well. It's very similar to Yasuo's E+Q combo.

I take 3 points in this skill pre 6, then max it second. W offers more reliable damage in both forms and is all around more useful than this ability early on.

Ability Description
Blade's Reach After a short delay in which he can't perform any other actions, Kaynperforms an upwards sweep with his scythe, dealing 90 / 135 / 180 / 225 / 270 (+ 130% bonus AD) physical damage to all enemies in a line and slowing them by 60%, decaying over 1.5 seconds.

Cooldown: 13s/12s/11s/10s/9s
Mana Cost: 60/65/70/75/80

My thoughts

Another fairly basic ability, a short delay into an AoE slow with a decay. It deals a lot of damage (infact, at max rank it's just 10 flat damage less than landing both Q parts) so it's very important to land it. The delay is very short so it's not a huge problem to lead with, but there is a delay so keep that in mind.

This in conjunction with your Q deals 550 + 260% bonus AD physical damage. That's a lot (as he IS an assassin) so it's very important to hit this skill. With some CDR and a couple levels, it's CD is also pretty short which is a nice feeling.

I max this ability by level 10 because it offers either a boat load of utility with an incredible AoE knockup for Rhaast or an incredibly smooth kite/chase tool for SA which is a must have for assassins to work ATM.

Ability Description
Shadow Step Kayn gains 40% bonus movement speed, is ghosted and can ignore terrain collision for 1.5 seconds. Immobilizing effects will interrupt Shadow Step. Kayn heals himself for 100 / 115 / 130 / 145 / 160 (+ 40% bonus AD) upon moving through terrain for the first time and, if he's not in combat with enemy champions, Shadow Step's duration is increased to 7/7.5/8/8.5/9 seconds. Entering combat with a champion after the effect is enhanced reduces the remaining duration to 1.5 seconds.

My thoughts

Very similar to Talon's Assassin's Path, it's one of the few abilities in the game that affects the terrain directly for mobility and the only ability to freely float around in terrain.

This is what lets you gank from random places, but keep in mind that if you're in combat it's duration is *really* short. That doesn't mean it's useless im combat though, fighting then quickly fading into a wall can give you that extra space to dodge skillshots and it'll heal you. In the jungle you take this at level 3 because of it's 100 healing base.

Press E, walk into a wall and you'll be able to float inside it for several seconds. Once you hear a gong sound, you'll be popping out very shortly after.

You should also note that the enemy can see which wall you're inside if you're in their vision radius. There will be a small black/orange circle on the edge of terrain (which is where you'll be popping out from) meaning that it's not perfect surprise like Talon's. However it has a lot more options (and lower CD) than his.

I max this ability last as it is now a one point wonder and the 7 second duration is enough for most of the game, making the lower CD/increased Q damage more valuable.

Ability Description
Umbral Trespass Kayn infests a marked enemy champion that he has damaged recently for up to 2.5 seconds, revealing them and becoming untargetable for the duration. Reactivating Umbral Trespass ends it earlier. Upon reactivation or at the end of the duration, Kayn wrenches himself free from their body in the cursor's direction, dealing 150 / 250 / 350 (+ 175% bonus AD) physical damage to the target.

Cooldown: 120s/100s/80s
Mana cost: 100

My thoughts

This ultimate has a lot of uses outside of the damage it deals. First, it makes you untargatable for 2.5s which is amazing for dodging spells and the like. Second, any damage you deal will mark the target (So Thornmail and Stalker's Blade smite trigger this). Finally, you cannot use any actives/summoner spells inside a target EXCEPT you can smite. This means you can infest a target and steal baron/dragon, you can ult inside them then as the ult is finishing cast your combat smite onto them.

I max this ability 6/11/16 (whenever I can) like 95% of other ultimates in the game.

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> > >
> > >

Ok so why do you not max Q first, and instead max it second?

First, we'll talk about why we take 3 points into Q pre 6. This is for your early jungle clear. You need the lower CD and higher base damage to keep your clear speed up. As you won't be one shotting camps with just a W until level 13+, the Q points are super important.

Second, we max W after this because it offers the most for the points. Lower CD + higher damage is the same as your Q, but when you transform your W gets a lot more valuble in both forms.

For The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin you no longer get locked into an animation. This means you can keep moving, cast Q or do ANYTHING during the W. It also gets extra range/longer slow. Basically, it'll deal the exact same damage as your Q but be a longer range and not lock you down. Super important for closing down on squishies who might kite you.

For The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast it simply gains a knockup. The lower CD means more knock ups, but there is also more to it. Your Q, when you turn into Rhaast, becomes awful to put extra points into. As it totally removes the base damage, and the damage cap to monsters really doesn't matter, you're left with putting points into a skill to lower its cooldown by less than half a second. Compared to extra knockups/shadowsteps and an extended shadow step, Reaping Slash loses out to both.

With the E buff, we no longer max it second. The duration at a single point is plenty to carry us throughout most of the game in both forms. It is now a pure one point wonder.

Ability Description
Shadow Assassin PASSIVE: Kayn's basic attacks and abilities deal 12%-44% (based on level) of post-mitigation damage as bonus magic damage, lasting for 3 seconds upon entering in combat with an enemy champion, refreshing after 8 seconds out of combat with them or by using Umbral Trespass.
Rhaast PASSIVE: Kayn heals for 34.5% - 43% (based on level) of the post-mitigation damage that he deals with spells against enemy champions.

My thoughts

Shadow assassin makes Kayn into a full on assassin. Getting in, using all his abilities + an auto or 2 then getting out before the enemy team can heal/shield up him. The passive reflects this at is affects both your auto attacks and your abilities. An extra 40% or so of your damage as magic (which will be fairly low for most of your victims in this form) is huge. It also makes your entire kit feel smoother to use, with your W no longer having a cast lockdown and your ult range being longer. It's weakness is that you'll be loading all your damage into lethality/armour pen meaning if the enemy has magic resistance you'll be unable to make your passive output more damage. If you have the IP I would highly suggest precion marks if you're 100% going to become the SA in a match. An extra 6 or so magic pen + the mastery will allow you to cut through a lot of the base MR a player might have to deal a lot of extra damage.

Rhaast is a lot more simple. Your abilities heal you for a % of the damage they deal. (Yes, this stacks with the ult healing for some absurd amounts of seal healing). With the extra CC and % damage you'll be doing with your new kit, this allows for some incredibly long duels and spicy outplays. It's weakness is Grevious wounds. A very accessible tool to every type of champions. Mages get Morellonomicon, Tanks can now get Thornmail/ Bramble Vest and of course AD champions can get Executioner's Calling. Whilst the amount of healing from your ultimate will still be incredibly high, having so many common counters means you cannot rely on your healing alone to win fights. It also doesn't effect basic attacks, just your 3 damaging spells

Ability Description
Reaping Slash ACTIVE: For The shadow Assassin, Reaping slash is unchanged from the default form. It only has a unique icon.
Reaping Slash ACTIVE: Both instances of Reaping Slash: Rhaast's damage are modified to 50% AD (+ 5% (+ 4% per 100 bonus AD) of target's maximum health) physical damage, capped against monsters for 200 / 250 / 300 / 350 / 400.

My thoughts

As SA it is unchanged, so I will not be talking about it.

For Rhaast, this changes the ability to deal a boat load of % damage. It'll still chunk squishies thanks to the base damage being similar (50% total AD is very similar to the 135 base damage) and that because of the sheer amount of AD you get you'll be doing a lot of % damage to squishies. It is slightly weaker vs ADC's/champions with no HP items, but if you're wanting to focus only them you shouldn't be Rhaast.

Ability Description
Blade's Reach ACTIVE: Blade's Reach's range is increased by 200. Additionally, Kayn conjures a living shadow at the casting position to perform Blade's Reach in his stead, allowing Kayn to perform other actions.
Blade's Reach ACTIVE: Blade's Reach knocks up enemies for 1 second.

My thoughts

I love both of the changes each form offers to this ability. SA gets extra range/damage/usability. The extra damage is negligable, but is nice. The extra range is great because it allows you to catch people out from further away. The slow duration increase is also nice as it allows you to be even more sticky. The important part though is the living shadow. This means you can press W and keep moving/attacking/use another ability. This is godlike when it comes to chasing/kiting/anything. Similar to Zed's E it will not stop ANYTHING you do. Basically good all round.

For Rhaast, this changes the ability to simply knock targets up for 1 second. This is a pretty small change, but has huge implications. Think of it like Sion's Q Decimating Smash, but a lot faster and doesn't need to charged up. Great for keeping people fighting or disrupting the enemy team in fights.

Ability Description
Shadow Step ACTIVE: Casting Shadow Step removes slows, additionally if Kayn enters terrain at least once, Shadow Step will be improved for the remainder of its duration to grant 80% bonus movement speed and make Kayn immune to slows.
Shadow Step ACTIVE: For Rhaast, Shadow Step is unchanged from the default form. It only has a unique icon.

My thoughts

A very simple buff to the ability as SA. Being able to remove slows is huge for a lot of peels, things like Exhaust, Wither, Winter's Bite and The Box can easily be countered by simply pressing E. This is a great in combat buff to the skill. When out of combat, it simple gives a boat load more mobility. As being hit by some slows like Wither won't put you in combat, this allows you to ignore them as you breeze on by in the walls.

As Rhaast it is unchanged, so I will not be talking about it.

Ability Description
Umbral Trespass ACTIVE: Umbral Trespass gains 200 bonus range and emerging from the target resets The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin passive cooldown.
Umbral Trespass ACTIVE: Umbral Trespass's damage is modified to deal 10% (+ 13% per 100 bonus AD) of target's maximum health physical damage, and heals him for 7% (+ 9% per 100 bonus AD) of target's maximum health.

My thoughts

The SA gets a interesting dynamic with his version of Umbral Trespass. The passive reset means you'll want to wait at least 3 seconds before casting the ult to maximize your passive duration, and the extra range allows you to skirt around fights a lot eaiser. So your combo will be to W first to slow them, auto attack for a duskblade proc then instantly Q. Once you finish your Q cast the ult then wait a split second to reset duskblade then pop out and auto again. I should also reiterate that you can RESET DUSKBLADE with Umbral Trespass. This is a huge amount of extra damage and should always be done.

Rhaast gets a different kind of ultimate. As it deals a huge amount of % max HP damage, it becomes a tank killer and a pseudo-execute. If you have armour pen the amount of damage you can deal to a tank is incredible. Squishies are still squishies, so this dealing 50% of their max HP is actually probably *more* than the SA version of the ultimate. However it's dynamic is a lot more binary. You ult to deal max hp damage or you ult to heal yourself. As the passive The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast stacks with the ultimate heal, it will probably heal you for over 1k HP. If you have a Death's Dance it can heal for your full health bar. As broken as that sounds remember, this is only vs tanks and grevious wounds really hard counters you.

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Runes for Rhaast

Domination & Precision

Electrocute is the most consistent rune for Kayn. Helping with his early game and letting him scale into the late game if needed. Conqueror can be an option in very specific situations but it's not common enough right now to expand on this.

Sudden Impact
Taste of Blood gives you some solid sustain from hitting champions with either basic attacks or an ability. There isn't any choice in this tier because you can't use Sudden Impact without Flash and Cheap Shot doesn't synergize with Jhin.

Eyeball Collection
Whilst Ghost Poro can have some niche use if you're always invading, or are able to hide the poro reliably in enemy territory, Eyeball Collection is just so much more consistent making it the superior choice in most cases. They're as viable as each other so take based on the matchup and preference.

Ravenous Hunter
Ravenous Hunter is the best in this tier but you do have some choice. As Rhaast, you'll want to heal as much as physically possible as that's what lets you do Rhaast things. Ravenous Hunter is simply another way to heal so it's the default choice. The other hunters are still good though. Relentless Hunter is a great way to get extra map pressure, Ingenious Hunter is amazing if you need a lot of trinket use (such as using the sweeper vs a Teemo) and Ultimate Hunter isn't viable and you shouldn't use it.



Coup De Grace
Triumph: with all the nerfs that the Sorcery tree has gotten, Precision is now the best secondary tree for both forms. Triumph just has a lot of power that will always be useful as extra healing after killing someone is incredibly useful.

Coup de Grace: Simply extra damage when a target gets low. You can't make good use of the other 2 runes consistently so this rune is the most reliably powerful.

Offence: Attack Damage +6
Flex: Attack Damage +6
Defense: Health +15-90

Kayn makes little use of the extra attack speed and the cooldown rune is just bad. This leaves the only option for the first 2 slots to be the extra attack damage. In the defence slot you can make use of any of the 3 options but I prefer the scaling health because Kayn already has one of the highest base armour in the game and magic damage threats aren't a big problem for either form.
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Runes for Shadow Assassin

Domination & Precision

Electrocute is the most consistent rune for Kayn. Helping with his early game and letting him scale into the late game if needed. Dark Harvest has been nerfed too much to be viable anymore and SA can't make use of any other keystone that doesn't offer a lot of extra damage quickly.

Sudden Impact
Taste of Blood gives you some solid sustain from hitting champions with either basic attacks or an ability. There isn't any choice in this tier because you can't use Sudden Impact without Flash and Cheap Shot doesn't synergize with Jhin.

Eyeball Collection
Whilst Ghost Poro can have some niche use if you're always invading, or are able to hide the poro reliably in enemy territory, Eyeball Collection is just so much more consistent making it the superior choice in most cases. They're as viable as each other so take based on the matchup and preference.

Relentless Hunter is the best option for Shadow Assassin as you need to be everywhere at once. Combined with Boots of Mobility you'll have unparalleled map pressure. Ravenous Hunter is a great way to get some healing as otherwise you'll only have Shadow Step and some games need that little extra sustain to kill targets, Ingenious Hunter is amazing if you need a lot of trinket use (such as using the sweeper vs a Teemo) and Ultimate Hunter isn't viable and you shouldn't use it.



Coup De Grace
Triumph: with all the nerfs that the Sorcery tree has gotten, Precision is now the best secondary tree for both forms. Triumph just has a lot of power that will always be useful as extra healing after killing someone is incredibly useful.

Coup de Grace: Simply extra damage when a target gets low. You can't make good use of the other 2 runes consistently so this rune is the most reliably powerful.

Offence: Attack Damage +6
Flex: Attack Damage +6
Defense: Health +15-90

Kayn makes little use of the extra attack speed and the cooldown rune is just bad. This leaves the only option for the first 2 slots to be the extra attack damage. In the defence slot you can make use of any of the 3 options but I prefer the scaling health because Kayn already has one of the highest base armour in the game and magic damage threats aren't a big problem for either form.
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Summoner Spells

You'll ALWAYS be taking Flash and Smite.

Flash gives you an infinite number of possibilities thanks to sheer utility it provides. Offensive flash forward, defensive flash away, flash over skillshots, flash into skillshots for your team... There is nothing you can't do with Flash. The only downside this spell has is that it's got a long 5 minute cooldown. That being said, every champion will take it except people who can use Ghost like Hecarim or Olaf and champions that can get away with it based on their kit/playstyle ( Shaco is the only champ like this). You are not a Ghost user so you take Flash.

Smite is always taken because you're a jungler. You need it to buy the jungle items like Hunter's Machete, Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior and Stalker's Blade - Warrior. Aside from the items you need to buy, it also gives you better clears (with healing) and killing big camps faster. It's also required to reliably get objective monsters like Baron/Dragon. If you don't take Smite and the enemy team has one, you will be at an insane disadvantage. You should ALWAYS take Smite if you're jungling.

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Item Sequence

Enchantment: Warrior 1625
Black Cleaver 3000
Duskblade of Draktharr 2900

These are your 3 "core" items. You rush Enchantment: Warrior every single game. You can either get Stalker's Blade or Skirmisher's Sabre depending on if you need to duel champions or if you need extra sticking power/early gank pressure. I would default to Stalker's Blade as it allows you to easily point and click a target to mark them for your Umbral Trespass.

The only jungle item Kayn should ever buy. Warrior because you're an AD champion who scales hard off of bonus AD and CDR. The other 3 options are simply inferior in every way.

This is an amazing item on The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast because it ticks every box for him. Sticking power, CDR, AD, % shred and HP all in 1 item makes this a one stop bruiser item shop. I would buy this item after Warrior every game as Rhaast, and situationally as SA.

This is the definition of an assassins item. Giving a 55 AD, 18 Lethality,a passive that lets you sneak by wards and another passive that gives you bonus damage on your first auto for a couple of seconds from being off the enemy map. I would get this every game as a The Darkin Scythe: Shadow Assassin because Warrior + Duskblade is a huge amount of damage on squishy champions.

Situational Items

Here is the list of items you should consider buying on Kayn + boot options. You can build lethality on Rhaast and tanky on SA, but as a whole you'll want to buy lethality/raw damage on SA and more duelist/hybrid items on Rhaast. I'll cover recommended builds in the section below

The default boot of choice. Right now I think these are still ovetuned. Double-dipping vs auto attack based champions and the fact most hard CC is dodgeable makes these solid vs any comp with an ADC (which they all have)

The most situational boot Kayn will buy. I will only get these if I'm vs a lot of slows that even my SRS won't cover. Things like Olaf, Nasus, Dr. Mundo and Kayle are the types of champions I would consider these boots when fighting vs.

Solid choice vs a lot of magic damage or CC. When you don't need Tabi, you'll probably be buying these. However you should NEVER buy these boots just for the MR, it's the tenacity you're buying them for. You'll get enough MR from Maw/Mercurial + your runes.

I lied about swiftness being the most situational. As these are only bought on SA, and are also incredibly situational. When you're snowballing in the early/mid game and simply need to be everywhere at once nothing is better than mobis + Shadow Step. You'll have the best out of combat movement in the game. You can create so much pressure from these, just be sure to remind yourself that in combat you'll be weaker.

When you're SA, you're looking to stack lethality. After your Duskblade, the next best item is the Ghostblade. Insane out of combat MS stacks nicely with Mobis and Shadow Step plus the item itself offers the same stats as DB. Its active also lets you stick on targets a lot eaiser. I get this right after DB every game when I'm SA. However if I do, I will NOT be buying a black cleaver. You get this or TBC as SA, and usually it's the former.

This item is a lot less situational now it has HP instead of MR. It's also the only lethality item that doesn't offer CDR making it a lot better to fit into builds. You'll want this as your last lethality item as it's the most expensive and offers the least combat stats. Once you get it, it will make targets who have a body guard eaiser to reach by simply activating the shield before you begin to shadow step and murder them.

Even with Black Cleaver sometimes you just need to kill tanks faster. If they have 3 tanks (A tanky top, a tanky jungle and a tanky support) then you'll want to be able to burn at least one of them down ASAP. Getting this + a black cleaver will makes you a godlike threat to any champion. However I must emphasise you only want to buy this item when there are multiple tanks, otherwise Black Cleaver will do enough work on its own.

Simple item here, you buy this instead of Lord Dominik's Regards if the enemy team have a decent amount of healing/sustain. Dr. Mundo, Soraka, Vladimir and Aatrox come to mind for getting this item. Get the Executioner's Calling early if you're planning on buying this item at a later time as 800g to almost gut those champions is HUGE.

The best magic resistance item Kayn can buy. Every stat he wants, and when the passive procs you became hard to kill. The only issue with this item is that usually you buy this item later on in the game (the full item anyway, Hexdrinker alone is a solid item that doesn't overlap anything) which means you'll be wasting the CDR on this item. That means it's horribly cost inefficent unless you'll be proccing the passive a lot (which you should be if you plan to buy this item)

God tier item on Kayn. The 80 AD and both passives are incredible in both forms,
but especially for Rhaast. You get a massive 30% delay on all damage you take (NOTE:
this is a delay, it doesn't stop the damage) which gives you a solid 3 seconds to be able to heal up. Combine this with Black Cleaver and defence boots, you become very hard to kill. To top it off, it has insane synergy with The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast's spell vamp.
You'll legit be healing thousands of HP from your ultimate (unless the enemy have grevious wounds).

Sometimes you need a cleanse. Situational item to buy 5th or 6th and you can sit on the Quicksilver Sash for a while before fully buying this. Important vs super important pick CC that merc treads can't do alone. Such as Dark Binding, Infinite Duress and Nether Grasp.

Sometimes you just need to go so hard, you die. This item allows Kayn to either do that, or make a mistake but not cost the game. I would buy this item if I'm snowballing as a 5th item or as a staple 6th item as a revive in the late game can be huge if you didn't get your ult off. The fact it gives AD now means you don't even need to sell it when the passive is on CD! Great item all round in the late game or if you're snowballing.

Probably the most situational buy on this whole item section. A full on tank item on an assassin? Why? Simply because it offers so damn much on one item. If you need to survive physical damage then this is the item for you. HP/High armour for a low cost alone make this item pretty spicy but the fact it slows enemy attack speed, deals a solid 30-40 magic damage every time they attack you AND applies grevious wounds makes it an all in one "ADC counter" item. If I need grevious wounds and they have no tank, then I'll buy this in replacement for a Mortal Reminder.

I used to think this item was overkill on The Darkin Scythe: Rhaast but I was mistaken. With the fact the passive is post mit damage, grevious wounds being super common on magic damage being easy to access this item ticks all the boxes to have perfect synergy with the rest of Rhaast's playstyle. The downside is you'll be overcapping CDR. TBC + Warrior +
DD + Visage = 50%. However I still think this is the best full tank MR item you can buy,
with Adaptive Helm being super situational vs the like of a Dr. Mundo, Singed or Cassiopeia.

Very similar to the Thornmail this is a full tank item I would only situationally buy. Basically, the only time I will EVER buy this item is if the enemy team has an 80% Crit carry (like Caitlyn, Tristana, Jhin or Twitch AND a Yasuo). Otherwise Thornmail is superior.

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Kayn and Rhaast

This section will cover the general playstyle and the reasons for building a certain way depending on the form you are. Why go lethality on SA? Why get more tanky as Rhaast? You've read all the items Kayn wants and what his abilities do. Now lets connect the dots. As the core doesn't change, I won't cover Warrior/Black Cleaver/Duskblade much here.

I want to emphasise however that you can build either with any of the situational items. Rhaast can make great use of lethality items thanks to his % damage scaling so hard with pen/AD and SA can make great use of hybrid items as his burst window is incredibly long (and he deals a lot of magic damage meaning that lethality isn't the be all end all). Play based on the enemy team and your team. Pick the form based on enemy champions and pick your items off of their playstyle.

For the Shadow Assassin, you goal is to kill squishy targets. Lethality is the stat you want to stack in order to do that. I suggest going Duskblade > Ghostblade > LDR/MR/GA > Edge with the third item being dependent on what you need. A situational buy that should always change based on the match.

You'll want to become the shadow assassin if the enemy team has a lot of ranged champions. I don't say that because ranged = SA souls, but the kit is designed to be able to close the gap and stay close. You should ALSO become the shadow assassin if mobility or maximum damage is required. Champions like Yasuo, Riven, Gangplank, Talon, Zed and Ekko to name a few melee champs where the Shadow Assassin is the superior choice even though the game will be forcing you to go Rhaast. Mobility + Damage are the ideas for the SA, and if you need them you should unleash the true edge.

As Rhaast, your goal is to cause mass disruption through your damage and utility. Never really focusing down a single target, but viciously cleaving everything infront of you. Hybrid items like Death's Dance and tank itmes like Spirit Visage give you the tools to get in a fight and stay in the fight. First in last out. Although Death's Dance is great in both forms, it truly shines when paired with Rhaast. You'll also be a lot more tanky as you'll be playing a skirmishing slayer, kind of like Yasuo but instead of going crit you go for raw AD.

You'll want to become Rhaast if the enemy team has a lot of high hp targets or champions that require preperation. Usually melee champions fall into this category however that isn't always the best option. Champions like Jhin, Twitch, Jayce, Varus, Draven, Graves and Miss Fortune are some examples of champions whom with Rhaasts disruption and healing will be a lot more dangerous than the SA even though they're all ranged carries. Disruption + Sustain are the ideas for Rhaast, and if you need them you should become the demon.
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First Clear

For Kayn's first clear, you can fully clear the jungle with a solid 30-40% HP with no leash. Getting a pull or taking armour/ad runes can change this to a smoother 50-60%% or so. You'll need to use both refil pots to do this, but so do a lot of junglers. The clear speed is incredible thanks to the ability to melt camps with Reaping Slash. The video below is me doing all camps except krugs starting the raptor camp and hitting level 4 with the option to kill scuttle or gank top/mid. I would suggest killing scuttle for the HP/Mana then look for a gank with your E where the enemy wouldn't of warded.

I am also using a full 24 lethality and 216 HP@18 rune setup, just to show you that you can clear super easily without any need for armour/AD. They both help and I usually take a mix of them, but you don't NEED them.

Your route is fairly straight forward. You should pretty much always start at the Raptor camp because you will take next to no damage. The best way to clear it is to start at the back of the pit, auto attack the large raptor then wait a split second (halfway through the auto attack cooldown) for the baby raptors to group up. Then cast Reaping Slash hitting all the baby raptors. Then don't attack anything and just walk away for a second or so before walking past the baby raptors to auto attack the large raptor TWICE. Continue to walk away from the mob and hopefully they'll get stuck around the big raptor due to creep block. Walk towards the bush and as soon as your Reaping Slash is back off cooldown, you can then Q through the camp hitting level 2 and be almost full HP. Take your E and fade through the wall and you'll be full HP starting red.

Start to take your red buff, this will do a lot of damage so you'll probably chug a potion and you'll be smiting it. Walk in between auto's to make sure you take minimal damage. Don't be afraid to miss an auto attack or 2 to wait for your Q cooldown. Your HP will recover still due to the talisman passive.

Once they're both dead you'll be about 50% HP with a pot ticking. Walk across the mid lane but make sure to fade through a wall to regen another chunk of health then once you get to the other side attack the large wolf. Wait for all three to be close enough that your Q will hit them easily. Auto attack the small wolves so they won't do damage anymore. (You'll still be healing off of them even though they're dead)

Take your W and phase through the wall again, gaining about 102-107 HP depending on how much AD you have. Kill the blue buff by kiting it. If you step around properly you should get 2 auto attacks in for every 1 attacks it deals. Run away so you don't take any damage from it's last attack and finish off with a W/Auto.

Lastly phase through the wall again to heal and proceed to attack gromp. Hit him then walk away during his momentary rage before dashing into him with Q. Smite when it's up and just finish it off.

Once this is done, you're level 4 and are able to look for a gank on either top or bot (depending on team) and mid lane/scuttle regardless of side.

After your first clear, I would suggest Long Sword > Hunter's Machete > Long Sword > Boots of Speed > Caulfield's Warhammer > Upgraded Smite as your item priotiy when recalling. As you'll have about 650g after your clear, I would recommend staying out until you have about 800-1k gold (unless lots of free ganks open up, then just keep ganking). It also becomes a lot eaiser to sustain once you get a machete, so that + Long Sword is great for power farming.
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Early Game

Probably the most important part of the game for the junglers outside of deep vision and neutral objective control in the mid/late game is how you impact the map in the early game. After your first full clear, you're level 4 and have all 3 abilities ready to go. Your first target is almost always going to be the blue side lane (So on blue side you'll be ganking top/mid lane and on red side you'll be ganking mid/bot lane. This is simply the closest destination to go to. Scuttle is also perfect to increase your HP and keep your jungle/laners safe from a roam.

If there is no gank opportunities, I personally take the relevant scuttle crab and loop around to attempt a mid lane gank. If this doesn't work, or there isn't an opportunity there either I then usually take the OTHER scuttle (however usually by this time, the enemy jungler probably has taken it). Once both scuttles are dead, I look to ward a camp in the enemy jungle (Wolves or Raptors based on where you are) then proceed to recall unless ganks show themselves.

It's really hard to put into a guide how to/when to gank and when to counter jungle so the most important thing to get used to is paying attention to the minimap when you're walking around/clearing the jungle. As you're Kayn you can escape a lot of invade attempts thanks to the fact Reaping Slash goes through most thin walls and Shadow Step can still work in combat for a second. Counter-jungling is hard in the early game and isn't very rewarding as far as denying the enemy goes, but with how fast you can take raptors I highly recommend keeping those warded.

If you're getting counter-jungled by someone like an Ivern or Nunu & Willump then your best bet is to try and ward your camps. If you see them at your raptors, you should either be in a position to collapse with your mid or take theirs. If they're simply too fast or are thinking a few steps ahead of you, look for ganks and try to snowball a laner so you can increase the risk of the fed laner collapsing to help with an invade. Even showing yourself top lane can give pressure so your laner can get some uncontested CS/tower damage. Just don't stay too long because enemies with attentive eyes on their minimap will then look for rift herald/dragon/deep wards whilst you're just doing nothing.

As an assassin you need to snowball. This is simply the nature of the class arch-type. Thankfully, you have plenty of ways to do that.

I must emphasise to FARM YOUR JUNGLE. ON RESPAWN IF POSSIBLE.They take 1:40 to respawn. Or 100 seconds a camp. With how fast you clear the jungle with a Long Sword or two, you can seriously rake in XP/Gold faster than nearly every jungler. This also means you can contest their vision and ganks without losing out on anything. If you see a jungler have 5cs and gank your top lane whilst you finish off the red buff, you should IMMEDIATELY run to their gromp and take it. This is because a good jungler will always count CS for the first 3-4 minutes of a game when they spot the enemy jungler on the minimap.

Counting is easy, and once you do it you can determine what route they took and what will respawn. Buffs are 1, Gromp is 1, Wolves are 3 and Raptors are 6. Krugs are slightly harder to count as sometimes people only take the 2 big ones and leave the rest, meaning it can range from 2-10. However a lot of junglers actually just skip Krugs because they take so long to do early on.

Take your camps, look for ganks shortly, counter jungle. Rinse repeat.

This is pretty much the case until midgame where laners seem to want to take your jungle for some unknown reason and ADCs think red is theirs. However, you're the real carry. Oh it's more accurate when towers start to fall and people leave their lanes.
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Mid Game

Midgame is where Kayn picks his form. Between levels 8-11 is usually the time where you'll have enough souls to transform, or wait +4 minutes to pick the other.

More importantly however you'll want to aggressively look for skirmishes that will end with giving you gold/exp and objectives. The best way to do this is to spam ping where you want to go. For example, the enemy Red Buff is spawing in 30s. You spam ping "on my way" to the buff and ping for assistance on your nearest ally. 9 times out of 10, they'll shove and come with you. Then, being a 2v1 or simply there before the opponent you'll get an uncontested buff or a kill + a buff.

The aim of the midgame is PRESSURE.Your goal is to create map pressure by killing, warding and being aggressive on objectives. A good thing to do is take an enemy camp then immediately go to a lane and push it in and get a few hits on the tower. After 2-3 times you'll either have the tower or the enemy team will attempt to collapse. At this point, do the same tactic on a different lane. Repeat until all lanes are unsafe to farm for the enemy.

You should also apply counter-pressure. Letting an enemy team do this to you is a big problem as I'm sure in your games you've noticed one team groups and the other follows suit. With the second usually losing/behind. Try to break that cycle by forcing fights at neutral objectives (Drag/Rift herald/Baron) or by split pushing. You're Kayn so you can most probably pick off any squishy champion on the enemy team if they're not paying perfect attention to themselves. There are exceptions, but most champions simply cannot keep away from you and if you played the early game propely you'll be ahead of them in items/xp.

Always try to look for kills as it's very important to stay ahead of the enemy team. You're a carry, you need gold and XP to keep the enemy carries from doing anything ever.
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Late Game

This is 5-6 items, bot lane carries become actual champions and the bruisers/tanks no longer hurt as much as they did 10 mins ago. This is your weakest point in most matches because this late into the game most ADCs can kill you in an auto or 5 whilst their supports are giving them 1k HP worth of shielding.

At this time, your big objectives are Baron, Inhibitors, Elder Dragon and towers. As a jungler, you'll be paying close attention to your Smite charges and always have one ready to go in case a neutral objective fight breaks out. Regularly ping your smite cooldown to let your allies know that you can/can't force a baron/elder or if you should just bait/fight.

Your job in late game fights is dependant on your form. As the Shadow Assassin your goal is to continue assassinating enemy squishies through flanks and vision control. You still deal a boat load of damage, so if an enemy isn't paying close attention to your position you can and should murder them.

If you're Rhaast you become a "mid-line" bruiser. Not a back line carry/assasin and not a front line tank/fighter. Your job is to disrupt the enemy team by getting in and dealing a lot of damage to several enemies before going into one of them or backing off and waiting for your cooldowns. As you'll probably be fairly tanky don't be scared to stay in the fight for a long time. Your ult at this point is a HP reset and you should use it as such.

As a jungler I've gotten to calling this end game dance "Outmatch and Outlast". You'll want to do both in order to clearly win a game (if you haven't won already).


Outmatching is basically picking favourable fights. You'll take those 4v5's where you're the 5. You'll prey on the squishy weak ADC who still can't deal with you. You'll bait the support into overextending for wards. You'll outmatch your enemy team. Creating a pick can win games almost single handedly. How many matches have been decided by the loser, not the victor? Be the one to spot the loser and calculate how to best pry that loss out of them.


When 2 even teams with solid vision control or lack of, fight the victor is usually who can stay standing. Being Kayn this is pretty much what Rhaast lives for, but both forms do it as his playstyle. In the rift it's a very real way to win long matches where if you've crossed the point of being able to carry as an assassin, simply not being broken by tilt/anger/frustration can coax a victory. It's also a great way to teamfight! Being the one to survive means you get to delay the loss, or push the victory. At this point in the game you can win if you're the last man standing simply by how fast you push/take towers.

Don't let this fool you though, as it's your team that needs to outlast as well. Being the last man standing on your team, when 4 of them are alive isn't going to cut it. Take the hook for the bad Lucian. Flash for the ult KS on the Vayne JUST to make sure she can't get split second healed. Be the one that keeps your team together until the very end.

I've won countless games simply by being the one in control. Kayn is deisgned to create control through chaos. You kill the enemy carry and the enemy team is in chaos, but as an assassin that takes control. Keeping vision up (or down if it's the enemy vision) and outplaying the opposing team in teamfights are the best ways to win late game matches.
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So in summary, Kayn is a mid game assassin jungler whom is very adept and killing squishy champions as a shadow assassin or standing toe to toe with bruisers as the demon Rhaast. Your early game is solid but your true spike is in the time between early/mid game where people don't have level 2 ults but you have transformed. Then for a few levels after as you sit on 3-4 items you're king of the rift.

Thanks for reading my guide on Kayn, the Shadow Reaper.
Now, will you prove worthy? Probably not.

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Special Thanks

Headers: Janitsu. His stuff is a lot nicer than anything I could make artistically.

ATM there is only one person, because this guide is built from the ground up by myself. That being said, edits/changes can always be added to here.
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So I've started to stream occasionally and I play all roles. I'll mainly be playing support (as that's my "main" role) but whenever I want to/have to jungle, you can almost put money on that i'll be playing either Kayn or Graves.

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