Kennen is a powerful and mobile mage that is played most effectively in the top and mid lane. In addition to coming packed with one of the best area of effect crowd controls for engaging, Kennen also has relatively strong and reliable wave clear and tower siege potential. Kennen’s itemization path allows him to deal formidable damage while improving his survivability with additional health and tank stats. Using energy as his primary resource offers Kennen the ability to last in lane much longer than most mana dependent mid lane champions. Kennen is a champion who is very capable of carrying games, especially against melee heavy compositions. This Yordle moves fast, hits hard and if left unchecked can single-handedly turn the tide of any team fight.
By utilizing the relative low cooldown and mild energy cost of Thundering Shuriken, Kennen can easily pick up creeps from a safe distance as well as harass his opponent in lane. The best opportunity to harass for most skill-shot based champions is when your opponent moves to a position to last hit a creep. Know the range limitations of your opponents basic attacks and line up your shuriken to hit them to punish them for farming. Kennen is especially great at this because after you successfully land a shuriken you can follow up with Electrical Surge for additional free harass. Just remember to remain conservative with your energy when playing aggressively because you never know when you will need to use Lightning Rush to escape a gank from the enemy jungler. Lightning Rush is your escape and should never be used recklessly to engage on an enemy in lane without the certainty of a kill. Kennen works well coordinating with the ally jungler by providing reliable crowd control to ensure ganks successfully net either a flash or a kill. Remember to keep track of the passive stacks of Electrical Surge you gain from basic attacks. Timing this mechanic well while punishing your opponent for creep farming could net you a free stun and allow you to bully and control your lane from a safe distance. Remember to push the wave to the tower every time you make your lane opponent back so they miss farm. Depending on your health after you shove the wave look for roaming opportunities to assist other lanes.
PICKS, SKIRMISHES, AND TEAM FIGHTS
Picks: Getting a pick on an over-extending or out of position enemy is one of Kennen’s strengths thanks to his crowd control and the insane mobility he gains from Lightning Rush. Despite these innate tools for success there are two margins for error when it comes to attempting picks with Kennen that need to be kept in mind. The first thing that must be considered is ward coverage. Simply put, if you go for a pick on a seemingly alone target and you have no vision of the enemy team you may just end up trading one for one or worse. Make sure your target is truly alone and Kennen thrives in one versus one fights against less tanky targets, especially if you catch them by surprise. Secondarily, one must consider objectives. Kills are great but they aren’t everything. If you get a pick on an underfed top lane who is just trying to farm to stay relevant and you burn your ultimate doing so, an upcoming baron or dragon contest could go in the favor of the enemy team while your Slicing Maelstrom is on cooldown. Be smart about when to go for picks and don’t burn your ultimate unless you have to.
Skirmishes: Kennen has very limited close range skirmishing potential due to his cooldown timers and low basic attack damage. He excels in longer range extended fights and should only engage close range when his target is below the 50% health threshold or particularly squishy. Focus on whittling down your target’s health bar by attempting to stay near to maximum range for Thundering Shuriken. Depending on your relative strength within the game you can go for more aggressive trades in close range. Remember that Lightning Rush gives you free defensive stats so when you are walking forward remember to activate it in reaction to an enemy attack to mitigate some damage and then use that burst of speed to close the gap. If you are too behind to do significant damage just keep throwing shurikens while kiting away from skirmishes. Use Lightning Rush to create larger gaps until the enemy gives up or gets low enough for you to turn on them.
Team Fights: When it comes to team fighting, Kennen is at home. His skill kit is designed to lock down multiple enemies while still dealing large amounts of burst damage to single targets. Kennen’s primary role in a team fight is to position himself on the enemy back line and use Slicing Maelstrom. Remember to activate your ultimate before you flash as it will prevent you from getting crowd controlled before you can use it. Kennen should follow up by attempting to assassinate a priority carry. This is a very dangerous position during a team fight, but Kennen’s core itemization increases his ability to engage deeply and safely. Using Zhonya’s Hourglass after a successful engage should not only buy you time to finish your Slicing Maelstrom, but it allows your team time to follow up and create more chaos. If Kennen does his job right he will either kill the back line or force them to retreat, turning a 5v5 into a 4v5 or 3v5 in which the enemy starts at a disadvantage. Team coordination is extremely important and Kennen should never look for back line engagements if his team is not in a position to follow up. If the enemy carries do not focus you immediately then avoid using Zhonya’s Hourglass until it is a requirement. This allows you to spend more time throwing shurikens and contributing larger amounts of damage to the team fight.
Ignite / Flash
This is the basic choice for most mid lane champions. It provides both early kill potential and survivability. Ignite can also help win lane against sustain heavy opponents such as Ahri, Akali, and Vladimir by reducing their healing and regeneration effects from all sources by 50% for the duration. Flash is extremely useful in helping Kennen position himself for engages as well as providing him with another escape tool for when things get too dangerous. This should be the standard choice for mid when you want to put a lot of pressure of on your lane opponent and bully them more effectively.
Teleport / Flash
This set of summoner spells is a viable secondary option for mid Kennen, and the primary choice for top Kennen. While he loses some kill potential during the lane phase he is given the opportunity to become a global threat in the mid game. Teleporting in to assist other lanes with skirmishes can shift fights in your team’s favor. The global pressure also forces enemy players to play less aggressively as well as providing you with the ability to help contest objectives and split push using Kennen’s impressive mid and late game wave clearing power.
Page 1 - Kennen vs AP
Marks: I personally like 9x Great Mark of Hybrid Penetration when it comes to most AP mid champions. The effect this offers is for the sacrifice of a small amount of magic penetration you gain stronger, more threatening basic attack damage. Harassing your opponent with basic attacks whenever you get the opportunity can help you win your lane. These marks still provide you with magic penetration, but the armor penetration you gain in addition is much more efficient early. These marks work especially well on squishier AP mid champions who have lower base armor and health stats.
Seals: For seals I recommend taking 5x Greater Seal of Health and 4x Greater Seal of Magic Resist. Since this rune page is optimized under the assumption you are facing an AP mid, armor is less of a priority unless the other team is stacked with attack damage champions. The 40 additional health you gain from these seals plus the magic resist gained from the rest of the rune page will help increase your effective health early. The bonus magic resist from the seals will contribute to your ability to win trades with your lane opponent more convincingly.
Glyphs: To further improve survivability in lane and your ability to trade safely I suggest 9x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. The 12 magic resist you net for these becomes invaluable. Unless your opponent purchases an early pair of Sorcerer’s Shoes for additional magic penetration they will have a difficult time dealing very noticeable damage. The extra magic resist in this rune page also compensates for the lack of magic resist you gain from items when you rush your Zhonya’s Hourglass.
Quintessences: For your quintessences I think the quintessential choice is 3x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. Gaining 15 flat ability power from runes is a nice boost to your Thundering Shuriken damage, and it helps make up for the inability to purchase a Doran’s Ring to start like most other mid lane champions.
Page 2 - Kennen vs AD
Marks: Once again in AD match-ups I take 9x Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration. This is useful for both top and mid Kennen because of how many basic attacks you are likely to use throughout the course of your lane phase. Kennen’s basic attack damage may be negligible but it adds up, and these help it add up faster and become a more valuable source of damage. Don’t forget about the contribution of the magic penetration too. You’re abilities will also hit slightly harder thanks to these marks.
Seals: In the match-ups against AD mid lane champions such as Zed, Talon or Yasuo you need 9x Greater Seal of Armor. The armor you gain will greatly reduce the amount of damage you take in lane coupled with using your Lightning Rush to soak even more damage thanks to the bonus armor you get from casting it. All that armor plus an early Seeker’s Armguard is going to make those AD assassin’s think twice about going for any all-in attempts on your life. Just remember that Yasuo’s Sweeping Blade deals a decent amount of magic damage so you should still avoid getting within his range.
Glyphs: The name of the game here is damage. We’re looking at 9x Greater Glyph of Ability Power. Thanks to the armor you gain from runes, Lightning Rush, and core itemization you can afford to dump some extra stats into your ability power safely. You will be able to not only absorb damage, but also dish it out. Expect your Thundering Shuriken to hurt these AD champions unless they opt to purchase early magic resist in items. Even if they do you will have succeeded in slowing down their build path. Good job!
Quintessences: Because you are able to utilize ability power in your glyphs you don’t need as much here to be a threat. That is why we take 1x Greater Quintessence of Armor and 2x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power. Topping off at 21 bonus ability power from your rune page will make your damage very threatening for your lane opponent. The bonus 4 armor you gain from the extra quintessence will make you even more difficult to kill in lane allowing you to farm safely.
Starting with a Doran’s Blade and one health potion is a great start for both top and mid lane Kennen when choosing to max W. The bonus health, attack damage, and sustain are all very beneficial early. The attack damage helps to make your W basic attack passive hit harder as well as provide easier last hitting. Kennen does not need to invest in mana items early so Doran’s blade can give him an edge over weaker lane opponents and improve his ability to bully with his basic attacks. Hybrid penetration marks and mastery points also add to the benefits of the extra attack damage. Top lane Kennen can double jungle with his jungler for an early level 2 and an additional four health potions for much greater lane sustain. Help tank and focus the big monsters for your jungler and last hit the small monsters for two camps then buy your additional potions and Teleport back to lane. This will also allow your jungler to stay healthier during the first clear so they can look for more early ganking opportunities.
The cloth armor and five potion start is most effective against powerful assassins in the mid lane such as Zed or Talon. It is less effective against Yasuo players who max E and thus deal more dominate magic damage in the lane phase. Against these assassins it is beneficial to start with early armor stats to lessen the threat of being all-in killed at level 6. It also puts you closer to completing your Zhonya’s Hourglass which will provide you with much better team fighting tools as well as countering Zed’s and many other champion’s ultimates. The five potions allow you to sustain the bit of damage you do take and remain in lane longer than your opponent assuming you get favorable trades.
Opening with Boots of Speed and four health potions is primarily for mid lane Kennen. It helps mainly against high skill shot focused champions by providing you with the ability to dodge easier. In addition to dodging it also offers you increased mobility for early roaming. The four health potions will provide you with adequate sustain to win the war of attrition over many mana dependent lane opponents.
Kennen’s core itemization is a big part of his role in the team, specifically as an engage tool. Distortion boots are a huge boon for him because of the importance of flash when engaging the enemy team. In addition to a lower Flash cooldown the small boost of movement speed can help Kennen stay on top of his targets to ensure more reliable stuns or allow him to catch up to targets who Flash away as a reaction to your engage. Getting these boots before your third item is a must, and in some top lane match-ups where you do not need as much damage such as against Shen, you can rush these boots and look for Teleport plays around the map. Zhonya’s Hourglass is a crucial piece of equipment for Kennen and should ideally be bought no later than second item. It provides you with not only the bonus armor for survivability against armor heavy compositions, but also safety in the back line of team fights. After you engage with your ultimate you can Zhonya’s to avoid taking focus while you lock down your opponents for your team. You will come out healthier and be able to help your team clean up. Buying an early Abyssal Scepter is the most gold efficient source of early damage for mid lane Kennen. In addition to providing you with bonus magic resist against your opponent as well as other enemies in ability power heavy compositions it offers team utility. It will improve the magic damage output of both yourself and all of your team’s magic damage champions which can greatly impact early game team fights.
When facing attack damage champions or attack damage heavy team compositions it is much more efficient to rush a Zhonya’s Hourglass into a Void Staff over an Abyssal Scepter. This two item combination will provide you with the most damage while still gaining the benefits of having armor in your itemization and a Zhonya’s for team fighting. Void Staff is generally great for shredding tanky champions as well as bursting squishy champions. Following this build up with a Rabadon’s Deathcap will push your damage through the roof, but in doing so you will sacrifice early tank stats. Rylai’s Crystal Scepter is a good situational utility buy to provide extra slowing during team fights as well as health to stack with your tank stats and improve your own survivability. When you are not able to deal sufficient damage and need to survive longer in fights to maximize the crowd control you contribute build this item. Assuming that your build is Abyssal Scepter, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Rabadon’s Deathcap, Void Staff, and Sorcerer’s Shoes, then Liandry’s Torment is the highest damage final item. It sacrifices the 100 health and utility of Rylai’s Crystal Scepter to provide much greater poke. Building Abyssal Scepter and Zhonya’s first followed by a Rabadon’s Deathcap third will give you more wave clear and damage against squishy targets while exchanging the Rabadon’s Deathcap for a Void Staff third item will improve your ability to fight tanks. It is around 75 magic resist where it is more efficient to go with Void Staff to break through your opponent’s defenses.
The Q - W Max:
This skill order is the staple choice typically for mid Kennen. It provides great damage through poke as well as providing a safer farming tool. The best opponents to max Q against are longer ranged champions who provide you with less opportunities to use basic attacks. Thanks to the less tank nature of mid lane champions and the ability to run Ignite over Teleport in lane you can get the highest kill potential on your lane opponent with the burst damage from Q. The downside is you have to land the skill shot making the damage less reliable than a W max path.
The W - E Max:
The W max approach is excellent and viable option for both top and mid lane Kennen. Maxing Electrocute and Lightning Rush not only improves your wave clear, but enhances your survivability not only through tank stats but through the mobility and lower cooldown. While you may lose out on some heavier poke damage earlier you gain a more reliable source of damage. Your damage will not be negated by missing shurikens in trades against lane opponents who are difficult to hit or abuse greater range. Maxing W will also contribute more total damage in early team fights by hitting all enemies caught within the range of your ult rather than a single target. For top Kennen it is especially useful in counter-pushing your lane to the enemy tower to deny them a Teleport advantage. In cases where you are running cooldown reduction it is possible to use your W twice off a single Q mark. Marks last for 6.25 seconds and W has a 6 second cooldown at max rank.
The W - Q Max:
This alternative to the W - E max is great for assassination oriented play while providing less wave clear and roaming potential. The lower cooldown of Q helps to get stuns more regularly and from a safer distance. The maxing of Q second also improves your ability to siege. The cost of better wave clear and mobility makes this the least generally proficient skill order in most cases. The damage boost for maxing Q over E is negligible when compared to the benefits of the defensive stats and wave clear that the W - E path offers.
These are basic masteries for mid lane Kennen. Focusing on some cooldown reduction, ability power, magic penetration, and health. The health gained from the defensive tree is very useful against burst champions as it provides synergy with defensive stats from your runes, items, and abilities to improve your overall ability to tank damage early. Expose Weakness offers a slight increase to ally damage during team fights and is most effective when you are able to maximize the number of opponents caught in your ultimate. Arcane Blade and Devastating Strikes will provide your basic attacks with a little bit of extra oomph to improve both damage against champions and minions for last hitting purposes.
These masteries are viable for both mid and top Kennen. They sacrifice defensive stats to provide more damage and utility. The points allocated into Brute Force and Martial Mastery combined with a Doran’s Blade start and a W max skill path will optimize your basic attack damage during the lane and provide easier last hitting. The points spent in Fleet of Foot provide Kennen with increased mobility when walking or using Lightning Rush which can further be maximized with the W - E skill path to lower the cooldown of your Lightning Rush. The primary purpose of this mastery set up is the points spent in Summoner’s Insight. This will lower the cooldown of your summoner spells by 10% and can be combined with early Distortion Boots for much more flash opportunities throughout the game.
- Written by capriciousss
- Edited by Williaf