Kennen Storms Onto the Rift
In the third game between G2 and Fnatic on the first day of competition for the European League Championship Series 2017 Spring Split, Fnatic ADC Martin "Rekkles" Larsson pulled out Kennen as his pick for the game. This pick was extremely unexpected because Kennen ADC has not been played in major competition since Kim "PraY" Jong-in played him for the ROX Tigers in the 2015 World Championship final against SK Telecom T1. The pick was popular as an ADC during the latter half of Season 5 and Rekkles was a big personal fan of the champion.
Rekkles has played the champion five times previously before today’s pick and sports a 60 percent win percentage on the champion, with a 4.00 KDA. Four of those games came at the world championship, where he won three out of four games. Rekkles has good experience and familiarity with the champion, allowing full usage of Kenne’s kit. Though he plays the champion well, he lost the game today because the Kennen was not picked into the greatest situation.
Kennen is good when the ADC is focused heavily, as his ultimate stuns all of those around him. In the game against G2, G2 picked a comp that was not looking to dive onto the ADC hard and was more focused on picking off targets. Also, Rekkles would not want to engage with his ult because he was incredibly squishy and would not be able to handle the damage from G2’s champions.
The reason that Kennen ADC can work is that he has an escape which allows an ADC to get out of a situation in which they may die. If Kennen cannot escape, he has an ultimate that provides a lot of crowd control to those around him. Finally, Kennen has high base attack damage and has an auto-attack passive that can apply a stun to a target. Though there are reasons as to why Kennen can be a good ADC, there are more as to why he is not.
The big reason that Kennen is not incredibly strong as an ADC is because there are other ADCs that do what he can, just better. Both Jhin, Varus, and Ashe can provide strong crowd control that can start a fight for their team. Although they do not have a strong escape, the three champions have a long auto-attack range that allows them to sit back in the fight and not have to run away. Ezreal is also a better ADC because he has an escape that is better than Kennen’s and provides more damage output with Ezreal’s poke damage.
Even though there are good merits as to why Kennen can be a strong ADC, the state of the meta puts multiple other champions ahead of him on the ADC tier list. However, with Riot introducing 10 bans, teams may be forced to look lower on the tier list to find champions. If a team takes the strategy to ban out the top ADC champions, Kennen could see some play as a tier-two ADC. With the current state of Kennen and the meta, I do not think that many players will play ADC Kennen, but he may see some usage if teams try to ban out the tier-one ADCs.
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Photo credits: Riot Games