Strengths and Weaknesses
Kindred fits really well into this meta due to their prowess in skirmishes and ability to kite enemy champions. They provides tons of early game pressure with their incredible ganking capabilities and excellent early game control. They have the ability to snowball out of control if left unchecked due to their passive marking system, which we’ll go into more detail about later.
Kindred is also very difficult to lock down as they have strong kiting abilities within their kit. You’ll generally bode well against melee enemies due to this, meaning that Kindred slots well into any meta where more melee champions are seeing play. Their mid game is one of the strongest of any jungler and, if they are allowed to succeed at any stage of the game, they have the ability to completely take over and dominate the enemy team.
Acquiring Marks can both be a big upside and downside of the champion. Having a lot of Marks can make Kindred incredibly strong, but at the same time they will be really weak without them.
The main way to hold Kindred down is to keep track of their Marks and deny as many of them as possible. Kindred is feast or famine when it comes to Marks. They are reliant on having their first four Marks before mid game comes around or they will feel rather weak compared to many other champions at this stage of the game. If their Mark appears on one of your jungle camps, you can ward around that area to make it easier to know when they will attempt to go for it, allowing you and your team to coordinate around that and catch them out of position.
Press the Attack is extremely potent on champions who auto-attack often. Kindred is no exception to this as most of their kit is based around auto-attacking, making it the perfect keystone choice. Press the Attack also has great synergy with Mounting Dread (E) as it also requires three auto-attacks in order to proc, allowing for a huge amount of burst if both are triggered at the same time.
Triumph can keep your health topped up during a skirmish or full-blown teamfight. Often times it will end up saving your life, allowing you to tank an extra tower shot or survive that last tick of ignite with a sliver of health.
Legend: Alacrity provides you with even more attack speed upon champion or large monster kill. Attack speed is one of if not the most important stat to have on Kindred, making this the rune of choice within this tier.
Coup de Grace helps you finish off low health targets. This rune can have extremely strong synergy with Kindred’s kit, such as coupling it with Mounting Dread’s (E) missing health damage, allowing you to absolutely destroy any target affected by Coup de Grace. Coup has strong synergy with Kindred Ultimate, Lamb’s Respite, as many enemies may be on critical amounts of health once it ends, allowing Coup to kick in and provide you with the extra damage boost needed to secure your kills.
Sudden Impact will be active constantly when in combat with enemy champions as you will be making use of Dance of Arrows’s (Q) short cooldown within Wolf’s Frenzy (W). Sudden Impact adds a lot of extra damage and will almost always be active due to the low cooldown on Dance of Arrows.
Relentless Hunter has strong synergy with Kindred due to having to constantly chase your Marks around the map. The added movement speed from Relentless Hunter makes it a lot easier to obtain your Marks and to traverse the map, allowing for faster rotations and ganks.
You’ll always want Flash and Smite when playing Kindred. Flash is standard on almost every single champion due to being so drastically flexible in its usage both aggressively and defensively. Smite is essential as a jungler and you won’t be able to purchase your jungle specific items without it. It’s also rather difficult to jungle without Smite, so do yourself a favour and take it.
Passive: Mark of the Kindred
Mark of the Kindred is a somewhat complicated ability. Lamb can choose to mark any enemy champion. If you get a kill or assist on that champion, you are awarded a Mark. Wolf also pseudo-randomly marks jungle camps on the rift. Killing the large monster from those camps will also award a Mark. Upon gaining four Marks, Kindred’s attack range is increased by 75 and an additional 25 range per three Marks after that. Every stack also permanently increases the power of Kindred’s other abilities.
Hopefully this explains why gaining Marks is so important for Kindred. They straight up make them a better champion in every way.
One small bit of information that you may find useful to know is that Wolf will always mark a Scuttle Crab if you have zero Marks, making it easier to track where your Mark will appear early on in the game. Remember, enemies can also always see what camp gets marked by Wolf, meaning they could kill the camp to deny the Mark or even have a trap ready for you when you attempt to secure it yourself.
The opponent needs to deny as many Marks as possible in order to keep Kindred down, meaning it is easier to predict their map movement. At the same time, Kindred has full freedom to decide which Marks they want to risk going for.
When it comes to marking an enemy champion. It is often effective to mark the enemy jungler as you’ll often come into contact with them. The enemy jungle is also often forced to play around you as, if they don’t, you will be able to secure Marks freely and will being to outscale them incredibly fast.
Q: Dance of Arrows
Dance of Arrows is your main kiting tool. It isn’t the biggest dash range by any means, but when used within the area of Wolf’s Frenzy (W) its cooldown is lowered by quite a lot, allowing you to effectively kite and keep up the bonus attack speed once you have a few points into Dance of Arrows.
W: Wolf’s Frenzy
Wolf’s Frenzy has a Fleet Footwork-esque passive, where moving and attacking builds up stacks of Hunter’s Vigor. Upon reaching 100 stacks, Kindred’s next attack heals her. This is incredibly useful as it allows Kindred to stay healthy while clearing the jungle. The active part of this ability is usually used to lower the cooldown of Dance of Arrows (Q) and to help clear jungle camps as Wolf deals more damage to monsters and slows them.
E: Mounting Dread
After three hits, Kindred directs Wolf to attack the target dealing a large chunk of damage. Mounting Dread deals more damage based on the target's missing health and critically strikes anyone below 15% of their maximum health. This is a scarily strong ability and is capable of letting you outright kill almost any champion you come into contact with. Press the Attack paired with Mounting Dread makes for some crazy burst damage potential.
R: Lamb’s Respite
Lamb's Respite is an Ultimate you have to be really careful about using. It can end up saving you and your team, allow you to swing a fight in your favour, or completely throw the game in some unfortunate cases. Upon activation, an area around Kindred is blessed for four seconds and any creature within the area (including enemies and monsters) cannot die. After the four seconds, everything within the blessed area is healed.
Ideally, you will save your Ultimate for big teamfights and use it to keep you and your team fighting for a bit longer. Try to hold your Ultimate for as long as possible in a teamfight so that when it drops it's most beneficial for your team. If you use it at the wrong place or the wrong time, you might cost your team the fight. When it comes to the positioning, try to place the Ultimate distanced from the center of the teamfight and closer to your teams backline, making it harder for the enemies to also make use of it.
Another small tip is to remember that, because monsters in the area can’t die either, you can stop an objective such as Baron or Dragon from being stolen by placing your Ultimate in the pit once the monster is low. This may cause the enemy jungler to waste their smite and can also give you the time needed to secure it.
Start out with your W at level 1. This will allow you to kite the jungle camps a lot easier as Wolf will slow the camp for you and deal a lot of extra damage. You don’t want to max out your W first, however, but should opt to max your Q instead. This is to make use of the additional damage and lower cooldown which will allow you to kite much more effectively.
Next up, you’ll want to prioritise points into E as the additional damage and lower cooldown will also allow you to kite more effectively and burst people down more often. Lastly, you’ll be maxing your W. You don't gain much benefit from points in W apart from a minor damage increase and lower cooldown. You can’t directly target who Wolf deals damage to all the time and it doesn’t ever get high enough to really count, meaning that this ability draws the short straw.
Dance of Arrows (Q) + Mounting Dread (E) + Wolf’s Frenzy (W)
This is your bread and butter combo with Kindred. Start off with Q to position yourself correctly or to get in range to cast E onto the target. Drop your W right after casting your E. This will make it to where your Q will be on its lower cooldown within Wolf’s Frenzy, allowing you to chase your target down. Early game, this will more often than not force a Flash from the opponent, or will simply net you a kill if all goes well.
Most auto-attack reliant junglers such as Kindred will opt to purchase Hunter’s Machete as their starting item as it has strong synergy with auto-attacking. It will add a large chunk of extra damage to every one of your auto-attacks to speed up your jungle clear ever more, making it an obvious choice on Kindred. The healing provided from Talisman is also negligible for Kindred as they have the passive from Wolf’s Frenzy (W) to keep them healthy. Grab a Refillable Potion alongside this and you will be good to go.
Early Game Purchases
When it comes to jungle item enchant, there is some flexibility and personal preference involved in making the choice. Many Kindred players opt for Warrior as their choice of enchantment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Broxah believes that Skirmisher's Sabre - Bloodrazor fits his playstyle a lot better in most cases as he believes the attack speed and scaling gained from Bloodrazor outweigh the strengths of Warrior enchant. The extra attack speed from Bloodrazor makes Kindred feel a lot smoother to play and the percentage maximum health damage passive can make them a lot stronger in dealing with tankier champions later into the game.
Follow up with Berserker’s Greaves as your boots of choice for some additional attack speed and then grab a Phage for some additional attack damage and survivability. Remember that, even though attack speed is absolutely amazing on Kindred, it’s not all that strong without some AD.
Mid Game / Core
The Black Cleaver provides a ton of additional damage as you can stack it incredibly quickly due to how high your attack speed value should be at this point in the game. The additional movement speed provided from the Rage passive will help you in kiting many opponents more effectively, and some additional health and cooldown reduction is never a bad thing.
With this build, hitting the enemy once from a distance isn’t very useful. You have to get close and sneak in a bunch of auto-attacks in order to hit hard. Therefore, Phantom Dancer in my opinion is the optimal option.
Phantom Dancer provides you with even more attack speed, making your Bloodrazor and Black Cleaver that much more effective. Phantom Dancer provides some critical strike chance and movement speed, while gaining even more movement speed when within 550 units of an enemy champion, allowing you to have crazy kiting potential. PD has a secondary passive which grants you damage reduction against the last target you auto-attacked, meaning that you have a lot more survivability in one-on-one fights. This also means that it's harder for the enemy carry to burst you down if you’re focusing them in a teamfight. Most Kindred players choose to buy Rapidfire Cannon, but it doesn’t synergize well with how Broxah builds or his playstyle on Kindred.
Finishing Off / Situational
When finishing off your build, you must take into consideration what champions the enemy team possesses. Oftentimes you’ll find that your opponents have a lot more of one type of damage than the other, or that one member is fed meaning that they will do a lot more damage. This is where your situational items can come into play.
Blade of the Ruined King is an aggressive situational item which has strong synergies with Kindred overall. The extra survivability provided by Blade can come in handy quite often on Kindred as you’ll be constantly lifestealing and tankier than you otherwise would be thanks to Phantom Dancer and Black Cleaver. The additional on-hit damage has strong synergies with the rest of your build. The active component also fits the kiting playstyle, allowing you to steal movement speed from your opponents and kite them to no end.
Stormrazor is in a similar boat, but what it lacks in defensive stats it makes up for in raw damage output. When dealing with squishy champions or assassins who are constantly trying to one-shot you, Stormrazor is a better alternative as it will help you burst down your target a lot quicker than Blade would. The additional survivability provided from Blade will also not help much against an assassin, making Stormrazor the go-to against those types of champion.
Maw of Malmortius should be considered when facing off against heavy magic damage teams. The mix of AD and Magic Resist is just what you’d want in a situation like this. The passives Lifeline and Lifegrip will provide you with even more survivability against magic damage-based targets, allowing you to have a fighting chance.
Guardian Angel is a strong safety net item which can allow you to turn the tide of a late game teamfight. It has especially strong synergy with Kindred as Lamb’s Respite (R) can mean that many champions are left on critically low health, making the remaining fight a toss up. Guardian Angel gives you a second chance to make a big play or to simply keep you on the map after being the sacrificial lamb (and Wolf).
As Kindred, you will most commonly start red buff as you want to make sure you can secure an early Scuttle Crab at level 2. Having red buff while the opposing jungler has blue buff will 99% of the time lead to you coming out on top in a fight over the Crab. Scuttle is extra important to secure as Kindred, as there’s a 50/50 chance that the Crab on the side of the map you start on will be marked by Wolf, meaning that you will be off to a great start if you get the right one.
You can also opt to try and invade after securing your red buff, as your early game power will be a lot stronger than your opponent if they start at blue buff. Just remember to pay attention to the lanes surrounding you as you may end up outnumbered.
Alternatively, you can choose to start with your blue buff, then move onto Gromp and, from there, either go to the nearby Scuttle Crab if you are sure the enemy jungler won’t be there to contest you or continue onto your Wolf camp. If you follow that route, continue to red buff and from there look for the Scuttle Crab. This route is riskier as you are more at risk of losing both Scuttle Crabs to a fast-clearing jungler who rushes them both down in order to try and deny your Mark.
Ganking with Kindred really depends on your team’s champions, as you lack the CC usually required in order to successfully gank. Look to gank any lane which has reliable CC as they can set up the gank for you, making it more likely to succeed. Having high damage output and chase potential means that you will almost always be successful when ganking for someone with some form of hard CC, but remember than marking someone with your passive will basically tell them “Hey, you’re getting ganked!” This will normally lead to them backing off until you appear elsewhere on the map. It’s all about mind games when playing Kindred, which isn’t something that can be taught very effectively. It simply comes with time spent playing the champion.
If you are running towards the enemy top laner and suddenly put a Mark on one of the two enemy bot laners, the top laner will think he is safe and potentially overextend, making it easy for you to pull off a successful gank.
Keep using your Q to position yourself properly or kite whenever it’s off cooldown, and make sure to fight in the circle if possible so that you keep the increased mobility and gain extra damage.
You’ll normally end up teamfighting around objectives later on in the game. Your role within a teamfight will likely change based on team compositions. You will normally play like a marksman and just hit whoever is closest to you, but also have the option to dive the backline like an assassin and kill the enemy carry.
Your goal is to be a threat to anyone who stands in your way. Ideally, your teammates will help to peel for you, meaning that you can usually hold onto your Ultimate until the perfect opportunity comes. If fighting around an objective, using Lamb’s Respite (R) to stop the objective from being taken can be smart and may allow you to secure it for your team if played correctly.
All in all, Kindred is an early game monster of a jungler who scales amazingly well into the mid and late game if left unchecked. With their high damage output and ability to change the course of a game with their Ultimate alone, Kindred should never be ignored or forgotten. Kindred is thriving in the current meta and looks to continue to do so over the coming weeks, maybe months!