The Worlds 2019 main stage kicked off with a bang when SK Telecom T1 locked in Kayle against Fnatic. But this wasn’t just any Kayle—SKT decided to give Kayle to bot laner Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. Teddy, who’s a monster on traditional ADCs like Ezreal and Varus, wouldn’t be able to access Kayle’s ranged form until level six. But he dominated anyway—what gives?
A close look at SKT’s strategy reveals that this bot lane pick may not be something you want to pull out in solo queue. That’s because SKT developed the Kayle as a specific counterpick to one of Fnatic’s favored bot lane duos, Garen Yuumi.
The Garen matchup is free for Kayle. As long as Kayle doesn’t get silenced into multiple swings of Garen’s E spin, she can just farm up with Kleptomancy and eventually out-scale. This was made easier with the Patch 9.17 changes that gave Kayle range at level six instead of 11, which gives her more ways to use the Klepto rune.
SKT also realized what many LEC teams that have lost to Garen Yuumi didn’t. The lane isn’t about the Garen at all. His job is just to deliver the cat. It’s about Hylissang—their best player—making plays on Yuumi while Rekkles just runs forward. By picking Kayle, SKT’s goal wasn’t to kill Garen in the two vs. two, it was to let Teddy simply out-scale.
SKT are smart enough to know how to play around their bot side as a five-man unit. SKT invaded Fnatic’s bot side jungle at level one, giving Teddy early priority. Then, after Fnatic burned their teleports, SKT used a double teleport play to snowball the Kayle
So should you pick bot lane Kayle in solo queue? Unless you see a Garen lane, the answer is probably no. Even then, you won’t have the rest of SKT backing you up, so probably best to leave this champion pick to the pros.