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 duels. 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. 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. 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 objects 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.
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.
Kennen is a champion that is heavily reliant on proper itemization when it comes to optimizing his contribution to the game. Starting with Cloth Armor and five health potions against physical damage oriented lane opponents provides more armor and lane sustain compared to a Doran’s Shield. Starting with Boots of Speed and four potions is also a viable opening when laning versus skill shot reliant mids. Boots improve your dodging ability and early roaming potential while still offering up decent lane sustain from the potions. Another reason to consider Cloth Armor a better start besides the gold efficiency on the sustain over the 80 flat health from the shield is that it allows a quicker completion of Zhonya’s Hourglass. Building Zhonya’s right away on Kennen is essential in any match-up as it is crucial in allowing him to engage the enemy team with his Slicing Maelstrom safely in early brawls and team fights. Rylai’s Crystal Scepter offers additional synergy with Kennen’s kit allowing him to chain slow a single target as well as slow all enemy champions caught in his ultimate during fights. The 400 health stacked on top of his defensive stats provides him with even more survivability. Kennen does not need to deal burst damage as much as he needs survivability so consider completing Giant’s Belt for the health bonus before grabbing the other pieces of Rylai’s. Gauge the game and remember that if you are ahead sometimes building damage first can help. An earlier Needlessly Large Rod could snowball you into an even better lead by providing you with a better ability to bully and kill your opponent. Typically it is best to not complete Sorcerer’s Shoes before Zhonya’s as the earlier you get the hourglass the better your team will be able to contest early objectives and engage favorable fights.
- Written by capriciousss
- Edited by Williaf