esports

How to play League of Legends’ newest AD Carry, Kai’Sa

© Riot Games
By Jerome Heath
League of Legends’ patch 8.5 has dropped, along with new champion: Kai’Sa. We run down how to make the most of the Rift’s newest AD Carry.
A new mid-lane-centric patch has just been released, with a pre-seasonesque upheaval of the meta, but put aside Cassiopeia, Zoe and Kassadin for a minute: here’s an overview of League’s newest AD Carry, Kai’Sa, Daughter of the Void.
She’s brand new and only just made available to play, but it’s already safe to say that Kai’Sa is a Vayne main’s delight. She’s an AD Carry with real oomph. However, her attack range is minimal, she has to get close into the action; picking away at her target, manoeuvring around team fights and finding the perfect moment to go all in. She’s an outplay champion, but she’s not as simple as the likes of just attack and move.
She scales from both Attack Damage and Attack Power and, with her passive, her abilities gain a Kha’Zix-like evolution, shaping her and providing her with options to adapt her playstyle, game after game.
In the early days of her release, it can be hard to determine Kai’Sa’s ideal role as a champion, where anything is subject to change. She currently sits at 500 attack range, 50 lower than the already fairly low-ranged Vayne, and 150 behind Caitlyn, the archetype long-ranged AD Carry.
She shares her range with Lucian and Sivir, two champions both viable in the Marksman position, despite their short range. Lucian is mobile, with the ability to poke at a fair range with his Q, while Sivir has her mobility ultimate, as well as her ricocheting W to farm effectively, and her E to counter any brawl-defining CC.
Kai’Sa is different. She lacks crowd control all together, and has just a short speed boost – but she makes up for it elsewhere. To find out, we jumped onto the Rift to play a few games with her. Watch the spotlight video below, then read on for how we think you should utilise her strengths and play around her effectively in the bot lane.

Abilities

Passive: Second Skin
Kai’sai has a two-part passive. Her first, Caustic Wounds, is a stacking effect that is activated by her auto attacks, her Q ability, or a nearby allies’ immobilising effect. At the fourth Plasma stack, Kai’Sa’s next attack ruptures her target, dealing 15 to 20 percent damage (based on level), as well as (+2.5 per 100 AP) of the target’s missing health as bonus magic. The effect is also viable in the jungle, but the damage caps at 400 damage against monsters.
The second part of her passive is Living Weapon. Kai’Sa’s symbiote-suit adapts to her chosen attack style, meaning her abilities evolve based on stats gained from shop items and her experience level – she can evolve a related ability with a channel time of two seconds, similar to Kha’Zix. The upgrade is cancelled if the required stat amount is no longer reached, however.
What makes her such a dynamic champion is her scaling Attack Power. She synergises extremely well with AP-based items that are partnered with Attack Damage and Attack Speed. She has the potential to work well in the bot lane, as well as the top and jungle – we can only wait until a clear favourite is made apparent.
Q: Icathian Rain
Kai’Sa’s Q ability, Icathian Rain, shoots out a swarm of six tiny purple missiles that are distributed among nearby enemy targets, dealing physical damage. Additionally, non-minions take 30 percent damage from missiles beyond their first.
If you catch an enemy alone, the damage from Kai’Sa’s Q ability is unavoidable, chunking them severely. It’s helpful for clearing out minions and spreading out damage in teamfights – and thanks to its minion execution damage, it lets you clear out late game waves swiftly.
Living Weapon: The ability has the option to be upgraded when Kai’Sa has built 100 bonus attack damage. Instead of shooting six missiles, it shoots 12 and has 100 percent increased damage against minions below 35 percent health.
W: Void Seeker
Void Seeker, Kai’Sa’s W, is a long-range projectile that deals magic damage, as well as revealing true sight for four seconds and applying two Plasma. The ability is similar to Jhin’s Deadly Flourish in range, and hits a sizeable chunk of damage when combined with AP. Most builds will get some use out of the ability due to its important activator for her ultimate, as well as accelerating her passive.
Living Weapon: If you take an AP, or hybrid build, and obtain 100 ability power, Void Seeker can be upgraded. Instead of two Plasma, it applies three and also refunds 50 percent of the cooldown against enemy champions, giving it a real punch.
E: Supercharger
Supercharger is Kai’Sa’s mobility ability. When used, she charges for 1.5 – 0.75 (based on bonus attack speed) seconds, gaining extra movement speed, based on her attack speed.
After charging, Kai’Sa gains attack speed for five seconds. Additionally, her basic attacks reduce the cooldown of Supercharger by 0.5 seconds.
Living Weapon: When combined with 100 percent bonus attack speed, the ability is upgraded, granting invisibility while charging, like a Vayne Q, during her ultimate.
R (Ult): Killer Instinct
Kai’Sa’ dashes towards a target location near an enemy champion affected with Plasma, and shields herself for three seconds. The ultimate can be interrupted, but they’ll have to be alert, as Killer Instinct dashes at extremely high speed.
It can be used to catch out an enemy in a team fight, as well as re-position. It gives her the ability to split push effectively, joining the fight from a side lane at any given moment.
Artwork of League of Legends’ Kai’Sa.
Kai’Sa’s alternate, futuristic skin

How to play

Kai’Sa is a champion made by her numbers. Her kit is not game-defining, such as champions like Thresh or Zoe, whose hard crowd control and pick potential can easily swing a game. She’s quite linear in the fact that her abilities neither make nor break the game in any particular way. Like Vayne, she has the potential to be a strong carry, but it all depends on how items and stats fit around her. Unlike a traditional AD Carry, she has the possibility of building dynamically. Instead of building the standard AD items, she has the option to deviate.
If an ideal combination is found, she may be a stand-out and valuable champion to use in the bot lane, but if not, the jungle, or even the top lane, could be her calling. Whilst Kai’Sa looks like an AD Carry on paper, her kit is more attuned to the jungle. She’s certainly unique, and what she lacks in crowd control, she makes up in her shield that comes combined with her ultimate ability. It’s a sizeable shield, and it can act as a barrier to tank for a short time, before manoeuvring and kiting out of harm’s way. She can also be set on more of an AP-based route, making her W a deadly tool that can poke away at her opponents – much like a Nidalee with extra bite.
Her W / R combination is almost like the snowball in ARAM. Hit the ball, go all in. It’s as simple as that, but it shouldn’t always be used aggressively. It can also be used to re-position in team fights, switching targets, and picking out an already injured squishy. And because of her 1v1 potential, she should aim to use it conservatively. Although she has that much-needed shield, she’s far from invincible, and it’s unlikely that Kai’Sa will win a 1v3, unless she’s already extremely fed. But she does have the ability to bait out ultimates from her opponents, allowing for her teammates to follow up and engage..
Item build
Kai’Sa has multiple build paths available, each taking on a slightly different role and play style. According to Jeevun ‘Riot Jag’ Sidhu, developer of the champion, she’s intended to be versatile – Kai’Sa doesn’t necessarily have to follow one certain path, so we’ve come up with a few possible build paths that would fit nicely around her kit.
Crit build
A relatively standard AD Carry build for Kai’Sa would consist of a core Infinity Edge, a Zeal item, then a Blade of the Ruined King, as well as boots along the way. It gives her the kiting potential of Blade of the Ruined King, as well as burst with a Statikk Shiv, or duel capacity with the use of a Phantom Dancer. Living Weapon should be used on Q and E, for a well-rounded wave clear, and 1v1 focused sustainability. Essence Reaver will also work accordingly.
AP build
An AP on hit build that works well for Kai’Sa works around an AP + Attack speed combination. Guinsoo’s Rageblade, into Wit’s End, plus Nashor’s Tooth and boots would be ideal. The build synergises nicely with W, making it hit substantial damage, as well as activating Living Weapon for Supercharge at two items.
Anything is potentially possible with Kai’Sa. Another example of a build that could work effectively, builds around pick potential. Rageblade, into Wit’s End and then Hextech Gunblade will unlock Living Weapon for Void Seeker. This will give her the ability to catch a target, use her ultimate, and follow up with Gunblade, quickly deleting her enemy.
Optimal runes
There are multiple possible viable rune pages, depending on build. Here are a couple that will work accordingly.
A rune page tuned for Kai’Sa from League of Legends.
A standard AD Carry rune page for Kai’Sa
The first is a standard AD Carry rune page, focusing on Fleet Footwork and revolving around Kai’Sa’s auto attacks. Alacrity is essentially a free attack speed buff for Kai’Sa doing what she does best, while Celerity makes her an extremely mobile AD Carry.
A rune page tuned for Kai’Sa from League of Legends.
A burst-orientated rune page for Kai’Sa
The second is more of a burst-oriented rune page, working with Electrocute and synergising with her passive ability and high damage output, with the combination of AP.