Kayn is one of the best solo queue junglers in League of Legends. He can adjust his playstyle depending on the game situation, making him a versatile pick.
He has two forms that vary in playstyle. The Rhaast form is mostly picked as a bruiser that wants to be a great frontline for his team with decent crowd control. The Shadow Assassin form is the more-prevalent form in solo queue, however, since it allows you to weave in and out of teamfights with ease and one-tap squishy champions. While both forms are viable, picking Shadow Assassin is better in the long run if you want to take over games alone.
Although he’s capable of reaching the improved forms early in the game, Kayn does have some weaknesses. Here are the best counter picks to put a stop to Kayn in the jungle.
Kayn has a gank-heavy playstyle, so you should be able to read his map movements quite easily. With the champions listed below, you should be able to invade him or prepare counter ganks to stop him from reaching his forms, which will make him a menace. Due to his Shadow Step (E), he can move through walls and gank from unexpected angles, so keeping the jungle entrances or some key points around the river warded is crucial to set up counter ganks.
Most Kayns who intend to go for Rhaast will pick up Conqueror as the primary keystone, while those who intend to go for the Shadow Assassin will go for Dark Harvest, so this should give you a brief idea on what to expect throughout the game. Itemization is different compared to what are you facing, prioritizing anti-healing vs. Rhaast and survivability against the Shadow Assassin.
Udyr is the latest menace to appear on the Rift. He has been dominating solo queue in recent patches and was the target of multiple nerfs in League’s latest patch. His multiple forms and tankiness make him a great threat against Kayn. You can withstand both Rhaast and Shadow Assassin forms, while also being able to heavily outfarm the opposing Kayn.
If you believe the opposing Kayn will go for Rhaast, you can prioritize your melee lanes to protect them from getting farmed up by Kayn for his form. He will need to score early take downs to achieve his form. Therefore, by preparing for counter ganks, you can set him far behind. If you get a kill during a counter gank, you can follow up with an invade into his jungle to stop him from getting any extra gold or experience when he respawns.
You should also look into prioritizing early objectives since your base damage is higher compared to Kayn and allows you to outduel him. Keep control of the river side since this is the route Kayn will mostly take to gank your laners. As the game progresses, your teamfight presence will be much more impactful if you kept Kayn under control by taking away his jungle and counter-ganking when he attempts to gank. In teamfights try to peel your carries away from him if he tries to dive, and turn onto his teammates with your Bear form to stun them and give enough time to your team to do damage.
Unlike Udyr, Kha’Zix is a more offensive approach who doesn’t focus on farming or being a frontline for his team. If you pick Kha’Zix up, you want to constantly invade the opposing jungler and feast on his creeps instead of farming your jungle. You want to set him behind and force him to come to your jungle, where you can call your teammates to ambush him and force him to scavenge for experience and gold from his laners.
Pick up a couple of early Lethality items and use them to assassinate Kayn and set him behind on the map while he tries to gank your teammates. Swap to an Oracle Lens early on to help you with this predator playstyle. It’s a good idea to have a couple of Control Wards as well in case your Lens is on cooldown to ensure you’re not seen and can camp a bush or an entrance easily. While camping certain bushes won’t always reward you with a kill, if you read the map properly you can predict Kayn’s movements.
To do so, try to get your team to help you ward the opposing jungle so you’re aware when there’s no jungle creeps to take. This way, you’ll know Kayn is ready to gank a lane, and you can stop him from doing that mid-way. By the time he will arrive in lane, you can catch him in a one-vs-one and pick up an easy kill. Your invisibility combined with your damage potential against isolated targets makes you the perfect duelist against Kayn, regardless of form.
Going into the later stages of the game, use your invisibility to sneak up on carries or Shadow Assassin Kayn if he went for that route and delete them off the Rift before they get a chance to riposte. If the opposing Kayn went for the Rhaast form, try to avoid engaging on him since he will be much more difficult to kill. Instead, focus on killing his teammates.
Fiddlesticks is a great AP champion to counter Kayn. His kit is filled with crowd control and damage to punish Kayn in small duels or take over teamfights in the later stages of the game. But before you reach those phases, it’s important to farm up early for your Mythic item and Zhonya’s Hourglass.
Look into setting up full jungler route clears from the get-go to get a lead against the opponent. Try to predict his positioning and movements around the map to ensure you can prepare for counter-ganks as needed by your team. Since Kayn is a gank-heavy jungler, you will need to adapt to his playstyle and provide assistance to your team from the get-go. Your early damage is impactful and can help you and your teammates snowball, while also setting Kayn far behind.
As the game goes by, keep farming up jungle creeps. Once you get your Mythic item, it will become much easier for you to full clear before moving to gank or secure vision around the river. Since Kayn needs to gank to transform, try to read the map and predict his movements to ensure that you get an edge and can provide assistance to your allies if necessary. Your ultimate’s blink can be used greatly to set up plays from fog of war on unaware enemies.
In the later stages of the game, once both teams are nearing their full builds, keep an eye on Kayn so he doesn’t kill your carries while also making sure to find good angles for your ultimate. A well-timed ultimate can outright win you the game.
Items to build into Kayn
This is the boots option when facing Kayn. It gives you armor and reduces auto-attack damage received. It should be rushed early on against Kayn to reduce his pressure on you since the effect and the additional armor are helpful when your health pool isn’t high.
This is a great anti-sustain item against Kayn and will damage him and deliver a healing debuff. With Conqueror so rampant in the game, it’s important to have a tool to stop him from healing too much during trades. If he goes for the Shadow Assassin form, you can forego this item since he will be to squishy for it to have a good use.
The Mythic tank item can shut down Kayn from trying to get close to you. The amount of damage you can do with Sunfire Aegis is huge, especially due to its stacking effect on tank champions. Both Rhaast and Shadow Assassin might be a problem for you if they get fed, but this item might put a stop to them trying to kill you.
Goredrinker is arguably the strongest Mythic bruiser item, allowing you to regain huge amounts of missing health. You can use it to bait Kayn into an unfavorable trade by letting him deliver his burst, then use Goredrinker to regain your health and turn back on him while his abilities are on cooldown.
This item is amazing for ability power junglers, allowing you to survive Kayn’s initial burst or outplay his ultimate if he possesses you. The stats granted by it make this item a worthy gold investment.
This is the Grievous Wounds items you should go for with AP junglers if the opposing Kayn went for Rhaast form. Due to the huge amount of healing he has from his kit combined with Conqueror, you’ll need a way to lower his healing output if you want to take him down.
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