The freshly reworked Kayle has been picking up steam in recent weeks with many players practicing and playing her across every region. While we haven’t seen it quite as much here in Europe as we have in other regions, Origen’s toplaner and LEC finalist Barney "Alphari" Morris has taken the time to give us some insight on how to play The Righteous.
Kayle has been played up by players around the world due to the recent rework bringing new life to the champion. This is mainly due to her late game reliability as she is arguably the strongest champion in the game post level 16 due to her Passive, Diving Ascent, which we’ll get into a little bit later, but before that, Origen’s Barney “Alphari” Morris sat down with us to talk everything Kayle. While he hasn’t had the chance to play her on stage yet, Alphari still provided us with some great insight on The Righteous.
Strengths and weaknesses
Kayle’s strengths come with her ability to scale so incredibly well. Upon reaching level 16, she becomes unbeatable in a straight up one on one fight by even the strongest of duelists in the game due to her incredible damage output with her true damage waves and the reliable survivability provided with Divine Judgement. She also wreaks havoc upon the enemy team and can melt through a tank’s health bar faster than most while also dealing AoE damage with her fiery waves. She can make a member of her team completely invulnerable to damage for up to three seconds with Divine Judgement. This means she can let her teams engager go wild on the backline, or save one of her allies who gets caught out of position.
“She has crazy carry potential the longer the game goes. I think she’s the best scaling champion in the game right now.”
She does have a price to pay for her monstrous late game though, which comes in the form of a sub par early game. She gets zoned away from CS easily and loses lane to almost every meta pick right now. Not only does she lose lane, but she also is lacking in her ability to push pre level 6 and can never gain priority of the lane due to this. She can also be abused pretty hard in a 1v1 or 2v2 skirmish before she reaches her power spikes and is prone to being tower dove pre level 6.
“Kayle’s early game is quite weak. She can’t really push and is easily abusable in a 1v1 or 2v2.”
Kleptomancy has become the norm on Kayle due to the fact that using Starfire Spellblade (E) on the opposing laner will proc your Kleptomancy. The additional gold provided helps you get past her painfully weak early game by helping you to reach those important power spikes earlier, and the plundered items provided by Kleptomancy are quite helpful for sustaining in lane and later into the game where you can get multiple different mini-elixir buffs.
“Try to proc Kleptomancy with E as much as you can during laning phase. It will give you more gold to help you reach your power spikes faster.”
There is a rare chance to gain an “Elixir of Skill” which grants you an additional skill point. This elixir used to count towards your passive which allowed you to reach those key transformations quicker, but as of Patch 9.8 this is no longer the case.
Grab Magical Footwear, which allows you to spend less money on your boots and focus your resources into your key power spike items, Biscuit Delivery helps a ton with lane sustain, which you’ll definitely need on Kayle. You’ll generally want to go Cosmic Insight in the bottom row for the additional CDR, but Time Warp Tonic is a viable option if you need the instant sustain and extra movement speed while under the effects of a potion. For shards, grab Attack speed, Adaptive force, and either Armor or Magic Resist shard depending on your lane opponent.
The secondary tree comes down to personal preference. The most common pickups here are Resolve with Bone Plating and Revitalize for more survivability, probably against opponents who want to fight you often, or Sorcery With Manaflow Band and Transcendence when you will have a bit of an easier time in lane and won’t need the extra defensives offered by Resolve.
Flash and Teleport are the summoners you’ll want to go for. Flash is a strong offensive and defensive summoner spell that can help you survive in some cases that you otherwise wouldn’t. Teleport allows you to recall at suboptimal times, such as when a big minion wave is coming towards you, and not lose CS in lane. It also allows you to make Teleport plays later in the game that can help your team in a crucial situation.
Passive: Divine Ascent
Kayle transforms upon gaining levels, specifically levels 1, 6, 11, and 16. These transformations are what makes Kayle such an amazing scaling champion as they grant you a variety of different effect upon reaching these levels. These effects include calling forth fiery waves with auto attacks, and becoming a fully ranged champion.
The strongest transformation is Transcendent which gives you the Exalted status permanently, increases your attack and movement speeds along with granting each of your auto attacks fiery waves that deal true damage. Possibly the strongest passive effect in the game.
Q: Radiant Blast
Radiant Blast damages and slows the first target hit and adjacent targets, shredding their armor and magic resist. This The slow is particularly useful for disengaging from unfavourable fights in the lane, and also deals enough damage to help you farm from a distance.
The resistance shreds from Radiant Blast can aid your team in taking down a heavy resistance stacking opponent while also keeping them from fleeing easily due to the slow. You should try to use this ability to kite the opponents, and if possible, to shred a tankier targets resistances.
W: Celestial Blessing
Kayle heals herself and another ally, granting both of them a burst of movement speed. While Celestial Blessing’s main use would normally be for its healing effect, the most effective Kayle builds don’t contain much ability power, making the healing somewhat lackluster. You should instead use Celestial Blessing to reposition yourself in a fight and help your teammates do the same.
E: Starfire Spellblade
Kayle throws a ranged attack that deals a percentage of the opponents missing health as damage. Upon reaching level 6, this attack deals damage in an AoE. This is the ability you’ll be using to poke your opponent while proccing your Kleptomancy. You can also use it to farm when your Q is down or you just want to hit one minion. Starfire Spellblade is quite useful against low health targets as its damage is based off the target’s missing health. You should prioritise casting E on a low health target to secure the kill.
R: Divine Judgement
Kayle makes a chosen ally invulnerable to damage for a few seconds. Divine Judgement can be used in two different ways; offensively, where you want to ult your engage champions, and defensively, where you want to ult the target getting focused down. When your team engage a fight, ulting your engage or diving champion is normally a great idea, as they’ll receive most of the focus from the enemy team and will be in the thick of the fight, allowing your ultimate to deal a ton of damage to high priority targets. If your team are the ones getting engages on, then you can cast Divine Judgement on the target the enemy are focusing down, allowing them to survive for a while longer while also dealing damage to the opposing team if they do not leave the zone.
One thing to note about this ability: while casting, you cannot attack or cast spells, meaning that you’ll be dealing 0 damage during its cast.
Skill Sequence (Q>E>W)
You’ll want to spend your first skill point on E in order to last hit the CS you will inevitably be zoned away from. This can also be used to proc your Kleptomancy to try and get some more gold at a safe distance. After that, prioritise points in Q to help you farm and disengage fights in lane. Max your E next as it’s your highest damaging ability in a trade or teamfight, and you’ll definitely want as many points as possible in this before fights erupt. E will also be dealing damage in a AoE, and you’ll become ranged before E is maxed, which makes it even better. W is last as it doesn’t really do much for AD build Kayle. It’s mostly used for the movement speed and not the healing aspect.
“If you’re in a heavy poke lane, a few extra points in W can be a good choice for a bit more sustain.”
Start with a Corrupting Potion for lane sustain. Your early game isn’t great so your main goal is to just survive and get as much cs as you can without dying. You’ll be using a lot of mana to farm with, making Corrupting an obvious choice.
On your first back, you’ll hopefully have enough gold for a Bilgewater Cutlass, but if not, buy as many of the components as you can. Cutlass’ cost got increased recently, making it even harder to purchase it in one go, so don’t worry too much if you have to recall without the required gold. Pick up as many of its components as possible and maybe a Control ward or two for safety.
You should Finish up your Blade of the Ruined King and start building towards your Guinsoo’s Rageblade. This two item spike is one of the strongest in the game. Your duel potential with just two items is incredibly high and anyone who comes in contact with you should be wary of your damage. Grab yourself some Berserker’s Greaves at some point between finishing these two items.
Round out your late game build with a Zeal item, such as Phantom Dancer, and an Infinity Edge. Your final item slot should be used as a situational item. If you don’t need a specific defensive item, then Rapidfire Cannon is usually a good purchase to round out your build with, giving you some more crit chance and attack speed. Guardian Angel, Mercurial Scimitar, and Maw of Malmortius are strong defensive options depending on the opposing team comp.
“Blade into Guinsoo’s is the best build. It gives you a power spike at both 1 and 2 items, making you hard to 1v1. The trinity force build spikes harder at 1 item but worse at 2. It also makes you weaker in a 1v1.”
As mentioned already, Kayle’s early game isn’t the strongest. Your main goal for the laning phase is to survive long enough to reach your power spikes without falling prey to your opponent. Gather up as much CS as you can while keeping as safe as possible. You will get bullied and chunked down against almost every opponent, which is why you want so much sustain in your runes and item choices early on. Focus on last hitting from safety and proccing your Kleptomancy on your opponent with E.
You need to remember that it’s okay to come out of laning phase a little bit behind as Kayle, because once you reach your power spikes, you’ll be stronger than your opponent.
“You’re not totally useless early on and can surprise some enemies with a lot of damage if you have your passive stacked up.”
In the mid game you should have hit your two item and level 11 power spikes. This is where Kayle really starts to shine and stand out from the rest. Being fully ranged and having her Blade of the Ruined King and Guinsoo’s Rageblade power spikes make her a menace to deal with in both side lanes and in teamfights. Depending on team comps and situation on the map, you either want to start a split push, or group with your team and look to teamfight.
If the former, you should push the lane furthest from an objective the enemy will want to focus (Bot lane if baron is up, top lane if dragon). This will force the enemy to respond to your push with at least one member. The problem is, Kayle at this point can usually win a duel against many of the meta champions, making it quite difficult to stop her from pushing and taking towers. If the opponents send more than one person to stop you, you team will have the numbers advantage and should be able to win a fight or take an objective on the other side of the map. If a fight breaks out, you have the ability to teleport in to help your team
“You can win 1v1 versus nearly every champion in the game at a certain point, usually level 11 or 16.”
In a teamfight, you want to hit the targets closest to you. This is called front to back fighting. Act as if you are playing a marksman and focus on kiting the front line without being engaged on and locked down. You deal quite a lot of damage post level 11 and the enemy will have to respect that. If they get over confident, you can easily shut them down and net your team a victory in the fight. Look to use Divine Judgement on either your engage champion, or whoever is receiving the most focus from the enemy team, as mentioned before.
“You’re basically an AD Carry but you deal even more damage!”
To conclude, Kayle is a hyper scaling solo laner who goes from being pretty weak to super saiyan over the course of the game. If you’re looking for a strong mid to late game champion to add to your arsenal, who not give Kayle a try!
Special thanks to Alphari for taking the time to help us with this guide! We look forward to seeing both him and Kayle in action in the Summer Split.