How To Play Shadow Assassin Kayn | League of Legends Champion Guide
Assassin Kayn is best played against range-heavy or squishy enemy teams. Death is his only CC. Playing him into tank-heavy teams is risky as you’ll not be able to blow up many members of the enemy team, however it can be highly rewarding as killing the only squishy champion on the opposing team can leave them lacking damage. Also, playing Kayn into a ranged jungler, such as Elise, Kindred or Graves requires a cautious playstyle as all three of them are better than Kayn in a 1v1 early.
Dark Harvest is the optimal choice, as it has a comparable midgame and a stronger late game than Electrocute, with Dark Harvest’s downside being that Kayn suffers from a weaker early game. The real advantage of Dark Harvest is not in the damage scaling but rather the ability to reproc 1.5s after a kill, making Assassin Kayn a strong teamfighter and a threat to the enemy bot lane in a 1v2 fight, situations where Kayn would typically be seen as being weak. Whilst learning to play Kayn, Electrocute is a strong option for his primary rune, as it gives new players one less thing to think about. The rest of your Domination Keystones are as follows: Sudden Impact, Eyeball Collection and Relentless Hunter - all playing to the strengths of Assassin Kayn.
Assassin Kayn only has one option as his secondary rune choice, Sorcery. Nullifying Orb provides extra safety when engaging onto mages who tend to have a lot of burst damage, whilst Absolute Focus gives Kayn extra damage. Alternatively, into a full AD team, switch Nullifying Orb to Gathering Storm to further increase Kayn’s damage.
In more difficult matchups, setting Kayn’s secondary Rune Tree to Resolve with Bone Plating is an option, which gives Kayn extra safety in the early game.
Kayn always takes Adaptive Force in Offense and Flex. For Defense, take Armour or Magic Resist depending on the type of damage being most output by the enemy team.
Kayn’s E (Shadow Step) allows him to take unpredictable ganking paths, thus avoiding wards. When pathing towards the enemy during Shadow Step, aim to intercept their escape route. Keep in mind to use Q (Reaping Slash) as a mobility tool for gap closing and avoiding projectiles such as Morgana’s binding. Once you have your ultimate, Umbral Trespass, you’ll be able to tower dive the enemy, as you can become untargetable under towers. When you transform your passive will be reset. This is a useful mechanic for outputting as much damage as possible.
While Kayn’s W scales stronger when transformed, taking 3 points into Q before maxing W for faster clear is optimal. Take one point in E instead of W at level 2 to heal and travel in between camps, resulting in a faster and healthier clear than taking W second. This also opens up the option to counter gank at level 2.
There is one main Jungle route on Kayn. Follow the path below and look for opportunities to gank, countergank and take objectives.
Start at Raptors, followed by Red Buff, Krugs, Wolves, Blue, Gromp and then Scuttlecrab.
The advantage of this pathing is that Kayn doesn’t rely on a lane to gank after his clear as he’ll have enough gold to make a good start on his Warrior Stalker’s Blade.
After Kayn’s first recall, path towards lanes where the enemy is ranged, typically bot and mid, in order to get as many Assassin Orbs as possible. Kayn should be careful of fighting melee champions when close to his transformation circle, as the number of orbs he gets will increase as the game goes on.
After transforming, W is Kayn’s highest damaging spell. His ideal combo opens with W followed by Smite, auto attack, Q and either ult to dodge skills and reset your Duskblade or finish the enemy with your skills when they come back up
Keep in mind that if the enemy has a spell shield, for example Banshee’s Veil, Malzahar’s Void Shift, or Sivir’s Spell Shield, Kayn must Smite first to use up the enemy spell shield allowing his W to do its full damage.
Sometimes, when fed or if the enemy is low, a fast combo to gap close and execute is enough. While in E, use W, smite and then Ult. Chilling smite can be used to ult someone at a distance that Kayn hasn’t damaged with Q or W for an unexpected gap closer.
Starting Hunter’s Talisman, Kayn’s first purchase after recalling should work towards a Warrior Stalker’s Blade, working towards Stalker’s Blade first for faster clears; allowing Kayn to path across the map faster. He should try to purchase Boots of Speed in between.
Afterwards, work towards a Duskblade - before upgrading Kayn’s boots to Mobility Boots. Sorcerer’s Shoes are also an option, as Assassin Kayn’s passive deals magic damage.
At level nine, upgrade to a Blue Trinket to scout information on the map. Oracle Lens is also an option, however on Assassin Kayn’s high mobility will mean he is still sighted by the wards regardless. As well as this, Duskblade gives Kayn a counter for wards already.
The next purchase is Kayn’s first situational buy, choosing from either Hexdrinker into an AP heavy team or rushing a Ghostblade to further pressure around the map due to offering extra movement speed. When ahead, try to get an Edge of Night, a Mortal Reminder or a Lord Dominiks Regards. The first being for the Spell Shield it gives you, the second for the healing reduction it does to your enemies and the third when playing against heavy armoured champions.
If you feel that you have to force fights in order to win, look to buy a Guardian Angel, or at least a stopwatch, so that the opposing team has to think twice about committing to killing you.
Midgame is Assassin Kayn’s peak, where he should focus on kills and map pressure rather than farming. Look to get your team out of laning phase by diving and taking turrets using the combos mentioned earlier. It’s also important to place a deep pink ward to help track the enemy jungler and to have a secure path to travel. When fed, he shouldn’t be afraid to look for 1v2 fights against the enemy botlane if they are pushing together.
He should keep in mind current objectives on the map, for example sticking to the bottom side of the map if Dragon is up or soon to be up. After making a play, Kayn should ping his team to take Herald and pressure inner turrets.
In lategame, Kayn should pick his assassinations carefully as failing to do so will lose his team vital objectives. The added risk is that the opposing team will have items such as Zhonya’s Hourglass making it near-suicidal to dive solo.
His fast mobility allows him to 2v1 the enemy split-pusher and return before the enemy can respond. He should try to zone and poke the enemy whilst in walls by using W.
If Kayn sees an opportunity to kill a carry and more importantly survive, he shouldn’t be afraid to force an engage. Kayn’s strength in the late game relies on forcing the engage on to the enemy and fighting on his own terms.