Kled can snowball games of League of Legends if left unchecked.
He has two forms, one mounted with Skaarl and one without. Due to this, his health bar is deceptive; even if you take him out of his mounted form, he can easily turn the fight around with his second health pool in the unmounted form. While most players think Kled might be weak without his mount, he can easily kill you since his damage is quite high. It’s important not to overextend and remember his second health pool.
Although he’s capable of running away with the game, Kled does have some weaknesses you can use in both items and champions. Here are the best counter picks to beat Kled in the top lane.
Kled has a predictable playstyle during the laning phase featuring a mix of ranged and melee damage. Keep note of his Bear Trap on a Rope (Q), which allows him to inflict Grievous Wounds and a slow if he hits you and stays in range for a couple of seconds. If you get hit by it, you should aim to get out of range as soon as possible, unless you want to lose half of your health pool.
His Jousting (E) ability allows him to dash quickly towards you if you’re not careful enough, so be on guard since good Kled players will use it through the minions then quickly follow with the Bear Trap on a Rope. If you get caught off-guard like this, you will lose trades even if you try to hit Kled back. Violent Tendencies (W) allows Kled to unleash a flurry of attacks every four seconds, so having short trades is counter-intuitive against Kled since he will have the edge most of the time.
Once Kled reaches level six, he’ll have access to a charging ultimate, Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaarge! (R). He can use it to engage, roam, or disengage, making it a flexible ability. It’s important to warn your teammates if he is missing and has his ultimate up, unless you want to see the “Ally has been slain” message.
Kayle is a great counter to Kled since she can stop the Yordle during the laning phase and play around his power spikes with her own spikes.
With a slow, heal, and great sustained damage, Kayle can withstand Kled’s pressure in the laning phase and keep distance to farm up. Even if you somehow get caught, you can use Kayle’s array of tools to either kite or fight back and get a favorable trade. Radiant Blast (Q) can stop Kled’s trap from activating and if you follow up with a Celestial Blessing (W), you can most likely get away unharmed. Just make sure not to waste the ability if Kled has his off cooldown, since he could use that opportunity to engage on you when you can’t run away and chunk your health pool.
Once you get to level six and get your first upgraded form, you’ll have a much easier time dealing with Kled since your increased range will allow you to poke him down and force him to back or roam to other lanes. If he goes for the latter, remember to warn your teammates so they don’t overextend and give Kled an opportunity to snowball off them.
If you survived the laning phase and farmed up while outtrading Kled, you should have a nice gold lead, which you can use to invest in more items. With this in mind, look to split push and pick up towers in the mid to late stages of the game. Keep Kled busy and use Teleport to join your team when they need your help for an objective or if they see an opportunity to fight. While Kled can quickly reach his team with the help of his ultimate even without Teleport, the few seconds you’ll have as an advantage should be enough to win the teamfight.
Gnar is one of the most popular top lane picks currently due to his recent buffs. He counters multiple champions, including Kled, due to his ranged form, with which you can kite with. If you get into close range with your melee form, you can destroy him in no time with your huge base damage.
When laning against Kled, use Gnar’s ranged form advantage and poke Kled down with Boomerang Throw (Q) to force him to play defensively. Don’t look for short trades since Kled’s attack speed steroid will ensure he wins the trades if you’re in the ranged form. By poking him down and building up your rage bar, you can all-in with your melee form if he is low enough and get easy early kills. Hyper (W) is a great tool to kite him while also poking him down every three attacks. The movement speed buff can help you avoid Kled’s trap and keep up an aggressive playstyle. Even if you get caught by his trap, you can use Hop (E) run away until you are ready to fight.
While you have an advantage by having a lot of ranged damage, the downside is that you’re squishy in your ranged form and can only fight one-on-one in your melee form. As a result, look to continue with a poking style and avoid getting too close to get engaged on.
If you kept Kled under control, you should be equal or ahead in gold and provide a good frontline for your team in teamfights. While Kled will try to always charge in on your carries and kill them with his burst, you can stop his teammates from engaging by zoning them with your stuns or even set-up a combo with your melee form ultimate. Remember to split push towers and avoid missing too much experience and gold. If Kled gets ahead, he can always engage on you with the help of his ultimate and chase you down.
With Teleport, look to join your team when opportunities arise with an almost full rage bar to unleash your melee-form stun combo if needed. Avoid Teleporting in without a rage bar since in the later stages of the game, your ranged form is quite lackluster and won’t be too much of use.
Gragas is one of the most popular tanks that appeared recently in the top lane following multiple nerfs to other laners. While the first two counters are aimed at fighting or trading with Kled and out-scaling him ultimates, Gragas aims at providing a good frontline for his team. That can be easily done by just farming in the top lane and avoiding fighting Kled.
During the laning phase, aim to get Plated Steelcaps and Bami’s Cinder and then you’ll become unstoppable. Your base damage combined with your sustain will be strong enough to deal with Kled if he tries to engage on you. While Kled can punish your sustain with Grievous Wounds, it won’t be enough in the long run if you don’t expose yourself too much to him. You can even turn and fight him since your base damage is high.
As the game progresses and you acquire your tank items, Kled shouldn’t be a major issue unless he got a couple of kills early on. You can farm up and match his split pushing wherever he goes and then join your team with Teleport. But if you don’t have Teleport, be aware that Kled can quickly join his team with his ultimate, so have a good positioning relative to your team and not stray too far away.
If you followed these tips and farmed up, you will be a great frontline for your team, while Kled will be stuck trying to kill your teammates. If they are paying attention to your warnings, he should be underfed and under leveled, which will play well into your hands in the later stages of the game.
Items to build into Kled
This is the boots option when facing Kled. It gives you extra armor and reduces auto-attack damage received. It should be rushed early on against Kled 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 Kled and will damage him and deliver a healing debuff. With Conqueror so rampant in the game and providing a lot of healing, it’s important to have a tool to stop him from healing too much during trades.
The Mythic tank item can shut down Kled 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. Kled might deliver a huge burst early on, but if he stays in range Sunfire will out-damage him.
Goredrinker is arguably the strongest Mythic bruiser item, allowing you to regain huge amounts of missing health. You can use it to bait Kled 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.