League of Legends' Kennen hails from the Ionian Isles where Order, Chaos, Light, and Darkness must exist in perfect harmony within the Kinkou order. Kennen is a shadow warrior who seeks the justice of the Kinkou and is entrusted with the sacred duty of Coursing the Sun.
Kennen was born in Bandle City and was only noticed due to a dare when he ran up the great outer wall of the Placidium. This attracted the attention of the Kinkou, which decided that the role of the Heart of the Tempest suited him. Now, Kennen is often with Akali and Shen in a never-ending mission to enforce the balance of Valoran.
Kennen as a Champion
Kennen is not a difficult character to use in League of Legends, but he is hard to master at the higher levels. He can dominate lanes if used correctly, as he has a focus on poke and retreat. He can also be used to create an Attack Power (AP) build that can swing games with strong ultimate ability. If you are looking for a cross between Raiden from Mortal Kombat and Pikachu from Pokémon, look no further.
Unlike some Champions, Kennen uses energy instead of mana. Knowing how to use your abilities to manage energy is vital. For example, it's important to know how the passive for Mark of the Storm refunds 25 energy when it procs and how damaging an enemy with Lightning Rush restores 40 energy.
Playstyles vary among different users, but the overall goal is to focus on pushing damage, being efficient with gold acquisition, and spending it to provide a noticeable advantage over opponents.
This comes with the obvious caveat, so you need to keep up with your experience gathering, but that hardly needs to be said. Most Champions feel less impactful when they begin to fall behind the opposing side, and Kennen is no different.
Role – Top-Lane Marksman
Since Kennen is a Marksman, he sacrifices both defensive power and utility in order to deal massive, sustained damage to individual targets.
As with all Champions, situational awareness is key. Placing Keenen in the top lane - or mid lane in some cases - is the best choice. The main reason for placing him in the top lane is that Kennen can easily harass bruisers from a distance and kite with his E ability, Lightning Rush, which is an active ability that turns him into a ball of lightning for up to two seconds. This damages enemies he passes through, and most importantly, doubles his base Move Speed (MS).
Upon turning back to normal, he gains Attack Speed (AS) for 4 seconds, allowing for more poke and kiting. If used properly, Kennen can kite and dash away to frustrate opponents, lead them into traps, or burst them down if the poke has gone on long enough.
However, one common mistake some players makes involves realizing that following the acquisition of a first or second item completion, bruisers will usually outscale Kennen in a 1v1 in the top lane. Tanks, meanwhile, can also render Kennen ineffective through resistance paths, of which there are many. Still, focusing on developing your E can be a good choice. However, sometimes it is far better to instead develop Q, which is Thundering Shuriken, purely to keep damage as high as it can be.
The rune Kleptomancy synergizes well with this since the change in patch v8.23, which now can proc off of two basic attacks. While this was a nerf to some champions, Kennen benefits because this playstyle makes great use of the increased AS following E to kite. Also, the possibility of a free consumable is never a bad thing.
Ability Level-Up Order
How you level abilities will depend on what you wish to focus on. For a pure damage AP build, stagger one point into each of your Q, W, and E ability for the first three levels. Then, mostly go into Q and E, with all five points into Q by level 9. This will maximize damage, and your E will not need to level up as an escape tool since the MS bonus is constant and only the an AS bonus gets higher.
From level 10 and up, we mainly want to level up our W ability, but overall, this will depend on your playstyle, so other points can be shifted elsewhere, though E is not necessary unless you are looking for a different style of play.
Doran’s Blade (+3% life steal, +80 health, +8 attack Damage, costs 450 gold) pairs well with the build to start.
Later on, Hextech Revolver adds +40 ability power, damaging an enemy Champion with a basic attack that shocks them for 50-125 bonus magic damage based on the level with a 40 second CD shared with other Hextech items, which is useful for augmenting overall damage.
Refillable Potion too is a solid choice if you want to be more cost-effective, as it allows you to save gold for more important purchases later. This Regenerates 5.21 health every half second for a total of 12 seconds to restore a total of 125 health and holds two charges that refill at the store.
Besides this, item selection depends on how you wish to play Kennen. A full glass-cannon build is perfectly viable once you have enough experience and a team that you can depend on for peel. However, you also have your own ways of escape, so this is not always necessary.
To accomplish this, grab any and all of the following items:
- Morellonomicon: +70 ability power, +300 health. Passive: Unique – Touch of Death: +15 magic penetration. Unique – Cursed Strike: Dealing magic damage to an enemy champion inflicts them with Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds.
- Rabadon's Deathcap: +120 ability power. Passive: Unique: +40% ability power.
- Void Staff: +70 ability power. Passive: Unique – Dissolve: Grants 40% magic penetration.
- Hextech Protobelt-01: +60 ability power, +10% cooldown reduction, +300 health. Active: Unique – Fire Bolt: Dash forward dealing 75 − 150 (based on level) (+ 25% AP) magic damage on your way and behind you. After this, you fire a nova of seven fire bolts in a cone, with each bolt dealing the same magic damage. Against champions and monsters, each instance of damage beyond the first deals 90% reduced damage (40 second cooldown, shared with other Hextech items). Limitations: This dash cannot pass through terrain.
- Spellbinder: +120 ability power, +10% movement speed, Passive: Unique: Gains a charge each time an enemy or allied champion within 1800 range, including yourself, uses an ability, up to a maximum of 100 charges. Active: Unique: Grants 0 − 80 (based on charges) ability power and a decaying 0% − 50% (based on charges) bonus movement speed for 4 seconds (60 second cooldown).
As previously mentioned, Kleptomancy was changed recently to encourage more auto attacks, which suits Kennen perfectly. Since the goal is to grab as much gold as possible, you want to be spamming those auto attacks often. Sometimes, you will be given a consumable instead of gold, which can be any of the following:
- Mana Potion item Mana Potion (sold for 12 gold)
- Pilfered Health Potion item Pilfered Health Potion (sold for 16 gold)
- Sly Sack of Gold item Sly Sack of Gold (sold for 65 gold)
- Stealth Ward (Item) item Pilfered Stealth Ward (sold for 24 gold)
- Elixir of Fortitude item Pilfered Potion of Rouge (sold for 32 gold)
- Total Biscuit of Everlasting Will item Total Biscuit of Everlasting Will (sold for 30 gold)
- Farsight Alteration item Peering Farsight Ward (sold for 24 gold)
- Looted Oracle's Extract item Looted Oracle's Extract (sold for 24 gold)
- Control Ward item Control Ward (sold for 30 gold)
- Travel Size Elixir of Iron item Travel Size Elixir of Iron (sold for 32 gold)
- Travel Size Elixir of Sorcery item Travel Size Elixir of Sorcery (sold for 32 gold)
- Travel Size Elixir of Wrath item Travel Size Elixir of Wrath (sold for 32 gold)
- Ichor of Illumination item Elixir of Skill (cannot be sold)
- Poro-Snax item Poro-Snax (ARAM only) (cannot be sold)
Magical Footwear provides a gold advantage; boots are provided to you at level ten at the cost of being unable to buy boots before reaching that level. Takedowns are important to improve the efficiency of this item, so you must be aggressive. Recent nerfs to its base time without takedowns has pushed some users away from this, however, if you are confident in your abilities, it provides a decent reward.
Minion Dematerializer is great for early game wave clear, which is always important if Kennen hopes to dominate the top or mid lane. Futures Market is also a good alternative for an earlier power spike.
Cosmic Insight favors lowering all forms of CDR, which is essential if you are looking to dominate the enemy team with quick takedowns in succession, giving them little breathing room.
Since Kennen has poor sustainability in lanes, Taste of Blood (heal when you damage an enemy champion) and Ravenous Hunter (unique takedowns grant permanent healing from ability damage) offset this weakness.
As always, imposing a strong lane presence is essential, so poke with both Q and auto attacks before retreating to safety when needed with E.
As for team fights, Slicing Maelstrom can be helpful. Kennen summons a magical storm around himself for 3 seconds, gaining bonus armor and magic resistance, and dealing 40/75/110 +20$ AP magic damage to all enemies within range every half second. This also allows you to stack up to three Marks of the Storm.
With proper positioning, this can move fights in your favor if you're not behind in experience considering the massive AP bonuses you should have been applying until now. Flash is an ability that can make or break the attack, so it is best to save it for a moment when you can blink into the middle of a fray and unleash the storm.
Recent Patch Changes
There aren't currently any massive changes announced for Kennen. On June 27, he did receive a small patch that fixed some bugs, so Lightning Rush now has proper ranges in place. Before this, the range was longer than intended.