Kayn | The Shadow Reaper
Best Overall Runes
Best Overall Build
Kayn is absolutely one of the best junglers in soloqueue. He offers unmatched flexibility to a team, godlike scaling, and carry potential very few others champions can match. With insane snowball potential coupled with a ridiculously fast clear, there is no wrong way to play Kayn and mastering this champion will let you completely take over the map, dictate the flow of the game and win you LP.
His weaknesses are mainly linked to his subpar early game. You have relatively poor dueling with base form, and no hard crowd control for your ganks. You will have to rely on your laners to help with ganks and skirmishes, but once you get your form you are a completely different champion. Mitigating Kayn's weak early game with smart pathing decisions and proper counterjungling and counterganking is a crucial step to set you up for an easy win in the mid and late game.
You typically always want to full clear with Kayn. His early clear is very fast and easy due to the large AoE damage from his Q and the sustain provided from him by his E.
Starting red buff with a leash and Q level 1, then taking E to go over the wall to your krugs before taking your raptors. At level 3 you actually want to put another point into Q as it helps you clear faster. You smite the big wolf and Q once before using your E to go over to your blue buff and gromp. You then dual camp your blue buff and gromp at the same time before finally doing scuttle if possible. This clear is the easiest and most consistent, letting you be at scuttle/ready to gank at around 3:15 at level 4. Make sure to Q into walls to cancel the dash animation and thus it helps you clear faster. Full clearing is one of Kayn's biggest strengths and doing it consistently will yield you good results and likely get you a solid gold and xp lead on the enemy jungler.
Other clears are also possible where you can full clear starting raptors, going to krugs, red buff and then onto blue side that does not require a leash. Alternatively, you can also full clear starting at your blue buff with a leash, or wolves without a leash. Finally, while it is not recommended, you can also clear one side of the jungle before ganking early.
Kayn's early game pathing and flexibility as to what he can do is very versatile and every game has multiple different first clear options you can do; however if you are new to Kayn or just looking for the best and most consistent clear, the red-krugs-raptors-wolves-blue-gromp is the one for you.
Taken from the official LoL wiki:
The bar gets filled up completely at 500 points.
- Melee orbs grant 2 points per hit and 6 points per takedown.
- Ranged orbs grant 3 points per hit and 7 points per takedown.
Each bar has a bucket system.
- The bucket starts at 60 points.
- Each time an orb is taken the system checks if there's an amount of points in the bucket equal to or higher than the amount received from the orb. If there is, Kayn is given an additional orb of the same type he received, while also subtracting that amount of points from the bucket.
- The bucket fills by 0.8 points per second if out of champion combat for 70 seconds.
- The amount of points received per orb is then multiplied by 3 − 10.39 (based on minutes).
To get red form (Rhaast) you damage melee enemy champions, while to get blue form (Shadow Assassin) you need to damage ranged enemy champions. You get more orbs per damage instance as the game goes longer and once you get all the orbs you need (500 orbs) whichever type of orb you have more of is your transformation option. For example, if you have 300 melee orbs and 200 ranged orbs, the transformation available to you will be the red form.
If you do not get the transformation you want, you can wait 4 minutes for the other form to unlock. Every orb you collect corresponding to the other form reduces the timer by 5 seconds.
For Elise, Jayce and Gnar it depends what form they are in, for Gnar it depends whether he is normal Gnar or Mega Gnar and for Kayle it depends whether she is under level 6 (melee) or after level 6 (ranged).
Deciding what form to go is a decision made during champ select. A general rule of thumb is when there are 3 or more enemy melee champions you should go Rhaast, whereas when there are 3 or more enemy ranged champions means you should go Shadow Assassin. This ensures that you have the easiest time to get form quickly as possible as the majority of the enemy team will give you orbs for the proper form.
As you get more experienced with Kayn, you can also factor in what your own team needs. For example, if your team lacks a frontline, red form is better whereas if your own team lacks backline access, blue form is better. You can also account for how squishy / beefy the enemy team is, so when there are more squishies on the enemy team than not, you should go blue form and vice versa. As an example, even though Urgot is technically ranged, you wouldn't go blue form vs him as he is quite beefy.
Due to Kayn's flexibility, he is viable with every rune tree. While there are certainly better runes to take than others, you can still perform well using any of them as they each offer different things to Kayn's playstyle. Do not be afraid to experiment and run different combinations of primary and secondary rune trees.
This is the absolute best rune page to take on Blue Kayn. Shadow Assassin synergizes insanely well with First Strike as it not only gives you a considerable amount of bonus gold, but it also helps you get form earlier. Since orbs are gained based on instances of damage and not amount of damage, First Strike counts as a separate instance of damage and basically doubles the progress you make towards form. This can easily net you transformations times of under 10 minutes, which as you can imagine is extremely beneficial. As of patch 12.3, this synergy between First Strike and Kayn is still in the game and thus makes it the best keystone in the game for Kayn.
- Blue Kayn
- Red Kayn
- Blue Kayn 2
- Red Kayn 2
Domination is a solid choice for Kayn, as it offers him both damage and ability haste, two stats he scales well with. If you are using it as your primary tree, your keystone should almost always be Dark Harvest as it scales very well with Blue Kayn.
- For the first row, Sudden Impact is fantastic as you proc it everytime you use Q. Take this everytime you take domination.
- For the second row, Eyeball Collection is a solid choice as you are the jungler, so making plays around the map and getting all 5 takedowns should be easily doable. However, if you find yourself needing the extra vision control around the map, both Ghost Poro and Zombie Ward are also viable alternatives.
- For the third row, Kayn can use all four hunter runes relatively well, however due to the amount of active items you regularly use, Ingenious Hunter is arguably the best one. However, Ravenous Hunter is viable especially on Red Kayn, while Relentless Hunter is viable on Blue Kayn and Ultimate Hunter is viable on both. When in doubt however, Ingenious Hunter is your best option.
Inspiration is never a bad choice on Kayn as it gives him a lot of free stuff and bonuses. If you are taking Inspiration as your primary tree on Blue Kayn always take First Strike.
- For the first row, Magical Footwear is your best bet. Kayn does not need early game boots that badly as he has good mobility so free boots is always welcome. You almost always want to take this everytime you take Inspiration.
- For the second row, Future's Market is an absolute godsend. The ability to hit an item powerspike just that much faster will prove invaluable, especially on a gold-hungry and item reliant champion like Kayn.
- For the third row, Cosmic Insight is by far the best choice. That bonus cooldown reduction for your summoner spells lets you Smite more, and makes trading Flash for Flash for an enemy laner usually worth it as yours will come back up sooner. Bonus item haste is also great as you will build a lot of items that can benefit from it. Always take Cosmic Insight when you take Inspiration.
Precision is an all around decent choice for Kayn, as it gives him a lot of boosts to his combat capabilities. If you are taking Precision as your primary tree on Red Kayn, you want to take Conqueror for your keystone as it synergizes very well with Rhaast.
- For the first row, Triumph is a good choice as it gives you a ton of outplay potential and the bonus gold will always be useful. If you struggle with mana issues, Presence of Mind is a decent alternative as well.
- For the second row, Legend: Tenacity is the best choice. Tenacity is extremely helpful in fights as every second you spent not locked down is a second you can spend killing your enemies and gaining LP. Always take Legend: Tenacity when you have Precision as a rune tree.
- For the third row, all three are viable options. Coup de Grace is good on Blue Kayn as it helps him finish of wounded targets. Both Last Stand and Cut Down are good on Red Kayn to help with dealing more damage when you are low (thus healing more) and dealing with beefy targets respectively.
Resolve is a really good secondary rune tree on Rhaast as it lets him scale and frontline even better than he already does. Sadly, none of the keystones synergize well enough with Kayn to warrant a spot as it's primary rune tree.
- For the first row, none of the options are that good on Red Kayn. Font of Life is the only somewhat viable option, but usually you want to forego this row by taking two runes from the other rows as your secondary tree.
- For the second tree, both Conditioning and Bone Plating are good options. Conditioning offers amazing scaling as you usually won't build that many resistances so every little bit helps, whereas Bone Plating can be a game saver when you are going against an early game jungler and you foresee yourself getting into a lot of skirmishes early.
- For the third row, all three options are good with Rhaast. Overgrowth again gives you a good scaling option, whereas Revitalize can amp your already insane healing even more. Unflinching is absolutely amazing into heavy CC comps, especially when paired with Legend: Tenacity and maybe even Mercury Treads and/or Elixir of Iron as it makes you practically immune to CC.
Sorcery is a good option for a secondary rune tree as it offers unparalleled scaling to both Kayn forms. Unfortunately, none of the keystones synergize well enough with Kayn to have it be a good primary tree.
- For the first row, none of the options are that good on Kayn. Usually skip picking a rune for this row in preference to picking two runes from the other two rows. Manaflow Band is the only somewhat decent option as it gives you a little more AD when paired with Muramana.
- For the second row, Transcedence is the best option. Kayn scales very well with ability haste, so taking a scaling rune on a scaling champion is never a bad call. Celerity can also be viable when going Blue Kayn.
- For the third row, Gathering Storm is the best option as it enhances your scaling even further. It turns Kayn into an absolute late-game menace, and you should almost always take Gathering Storm when you take Sorcery.
Obviously as Kayn is a jungler, you will always want to take Smite. For your second summoner spell, you generally would always want to take Flash. It's the most popular summoner spell in the game for a reason, and will prove invaluable in it's ability to either net you that early kill you couldn't have otherwise, or save your life in an otherwise perilous situation. Flash's versatility as a summoner spell synergizes very well with Kayn, and it is the summoner spell you almost always want to take alongside Smite.
More experienced players can also opt into taking Ignite, which significantly boosts your early game power. Ignite is capable of giving you that edge you need to contend with and duel other stronger early game junglers, or help give you just that extra little bit of kill pressure to swing a fight in your favor.
Maxing Q first is what you always want to do with Kayn. It not only is your primary tool for clearing, but its also your main damage source and serves as a way to get over walls if needed.
Maxing W second provides you with extra damage, and as W is the only basic ability to have different effects from your base form to both red and blue forms, it is the ability you want to have maxed out second.
Max E last as it does not need any more points early game other than the initial level-up to serve its purpose. The only thing that is increased by levelling it up is the amount you heal which is overshadowed by the extra damage given to you by the other two abilities, and the reduced cooldown, which is irrelevant half the time as going Shadow Assassin brings your E cooldown to a flat 8 seconds.
- Primary Skill Tree
- Snowballing Skill Tree
In rare games where you gain a huge lead early game, especially as Blue Kayn, you can also choose to put three points in Q and then proceed to max W. This is up to personal preference and it is fine to always do the normal path but 3 points into Q into W max is a viable skill levelling path.
Kayn has a variety of items he can build, especially since he has two different forms that will build different items.
- Blue Kayn
- Red Kayn
You always want to go Chilling Smite on Blue Kayn. As opposed to Challenging Smite, Chilling Smite instantly damages an enemy champion which lets you ult them. This is very helpful, as it lets you instantly ult anyone as long as your smite is off cooldown. It can be used to pop Crown of the Shattered Queen, as you smite and ult, then wait for the damage reduction to finish before recasting and exiting.
Getting a tear early can be helpful if you struggle with mana issues on Blue Kayn and lets you build it into Muramana, which is the item that gives you the most AD in the game while scaling very well into the mid and late game.
Lucidity boots are the obvious boots choice, but Plated Steelcaps into heavy AD teams and Mercury Treads into heavy AP and CC comps are good choices should the opportunity present itself. Mobility boots are also an option if you have accumulated a strong lead early game and want the extra mobility to further snowball the map.
You almost always want Prowler's Claw as your mythic, as it synergizes very well with Kayn and lets you gain a considerable amp to your damage and pull off flashy combos. The mythic passive is also extremely good to further pump your damage output.
Situational items should only be built when the need arises. Serpents Fang for shields, Umbral Glaive if you want more vision control, Serylda's Grudge if the enemy team starts to stack armor, Edge of Night if you need the spellshield to tank a crucial ability. GA is a good purchase if you have a big shutdown bounty you cannot risk giving away, and DD may be a viable item since they have changed the healing to scale with AD, which you build a lot of (still needs testing). You can build any of these items second or third instead of Youmuu's or before Muramana if you need to.
In general, AD assassin items have very straight forward and good build paths and Blue Kayn has multiple items he can build to complement his oneshot playstyle.
Usually Chilling Smite is also the best choice as it lets you smite + ult someone for a quick heal, but into a team where you will need to frontline a lot you can also opt for Challenging Smite so you have that damage reduction that can help you in skirmishes and teamfights.
Tear is generally not needed in Red Kayn as you will not need mana as badly as Blue Kayn, but you can still get it if you like the AD and scaling provided by Muramana.
Plated Steelcaps/Mercury Treads help you frontline more and gives you more survivability, but when ahead you can also opt for Lucidity Boots to give you even more cooldown reduction.
You almost always want Goredrinker as your mythic. The active damage helps in clearing champs and fighting enemy champs, it gives you all the stats Red Kayn wants, and helps you sustain in prolonged fights.
The supporting and situational items are very dependent and will change every game. Steraks gives you a lot of tankiness, Spirit Visage is good into heavy AP teams especially when you have some sort of healer or enchanter on your team to buff you. DD and Maw with the new changes in 12.2 are proving to be solid items for Rhaast into heavy AD/AP respectively, and any of the tank items are good into heavy AD/AP/high burst teams. Chempunk Chainsword is a good Grievous Wounds applier if the enemy team has a lot of healing and you do not need Thornmail. GA is good if you are ahead and the game will be won or lost off one more teamfight, where the revive can turn the tides of the game.
In general, Red Kayn has access to a variety of different bruiser and tank items he can use. Itemizing correctly game to game can help you greatly increase your team's chance to win and is an important skill to learn for not just Kayn, but League in general.
- In your favor
- EZ Clap
- Go blue to kill squishies, red to kill beefy champs.
- Slap ranged to get blue orbs and slap melee for red orbs.
- Build AD assassin items and take First Strike on blue.
- Build bruiser items and take Conqueror for red.
- Abuse fast clear, get form, win game.
- Profit :D
- If you get the wrong form, don't worry! Use the 4 minutes to either get more orbs for the form you want or try to use this time to farm and hit an item powerspike so it coincides for when you get form.
- Kayn is pretty weak at soloing objectives before form. It's perfectly normal to give the first drake or two, especially if your mid and bot lane are not that strong either and it is difficult to contest.
- Experiment with your E as it opens up a lot of different angles that you can gank and flank from.
- Pathing towards your lanes that have CC to set up ganks that give you orbs for the form you want is a surefire way to snowball the early game. Repeatedly ganking a lane for form not only can net you an early transformation time, but will often tilt the opposing laner.
- Kayn's two biggest powerspikes is when he has ult at level 6 and when he gets form. Having ult makes towerdives much easier and gives you another combat ability whereas your form turns you into a whole other champion.
- Know what your win condition is for each form. Rhaast wants to force 5v5s as he has insane teamfighting and his drain tanking is unparalleled, whereas Shadow Assassin never wants to teamfight and instead wants to look for picks to give his team a numbers advantage.
- You can smite inside your ult, and often times you want to use the 2.5 seconds in your ult to wait for your cooldowns to come back up.
- For Rhaast, remember that the healing from your ult comes from your enemies max health, so ulting their frontline 6k health Sion/Chogath/etc. basically completely replenishes your healthbar.
- For both forms but especially blue, track what CC the enemy team has as you can easily get chained CCed and locked down before you are able to ult, and also keep in mind if any of them have Stopwatch/Zhonya's Hourglass.
- When you are unsure what to do, prioritize F.F.O, which stands for farm, form, objectives (thanks karasmai). Farm your camps, then look for ganks if possible, or else do whatever objective is up if it is safe.
- Have fun and don't tilt! There is no point playing if you are not having fun with a champion you enjoy, and Kayn is one of the most fun champions in the game. He is like playing three different champions with three different playstyles, and every game is winnable when you are playing such a powerhouse. Extremely versatile and solid champion that works wonders in both a soloqueue environment and in a coordinated team-oriented setting, you can never go wrong with the Shadow Reaper.