How to play reworked Kayle

Kayle has been reworked with a completely different style. Here's a guide to mastering the aspect of justice.

Image via Riot Games

Kayle, League’s divine aspect of justice, has just received a major rework. Despite being generally strong in a variety of roles, old Kayle’s playrate was often in the pits because, well, her kit isn’t that expressive. She badly needed an identity, and boy, did her redesign give her personality in spades.

Along with some great new lore and visuals, Riot really tried to give her a purpose within her abilities. They settled on making her into a god who becomes unstoppable in the late game. If you last past 30 minutes on Kayle, it’s like she gets a new ability: Press any button to win.

The trick is getting there. Everything has a price, and Kayle pays for her late game power with a lane phase that is absolute hell. That changes the way you need to approach this champion from level one. A lot of her old runes and starting items give way to survival tools built to keep her in the game.

Here’s everything you need to know about surviving lane phase and dominating the game on Kayle.

Healing, healing, healing

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If you haven’t tried new Kayle yet, you’re probably in for a rude awakening at level one. That’s because depending on the matchup, she’s absolutely useless in the lane phase.

Old Kayle was pretty useless early on as well. But with the Press the Attack keystone and her passive shred, she could still pack a punch with sustained ranged auto attacks over time. And she had the option to freeze lanes outside her turret and safely farm them from range.

New Kayle has range, but it’s gonna cost you. Her E now only gives you one single ranged basic attack. You still want to max this first: Her Q—a skill shot now—is also ranged and is more effective against champions, but with a longer cooldown and higher mana cost, it’s not effective for farming.

And that’s what you want to do early on: Focus on farm. You can still trade a bit, especially if you have your passive stacked from the minion wave. But most times, you want to freeze the lane to farm safely. In that context, attacking the enemy champion is a bad idea because of the incoming minion aggro you’ll receive. Also, buy a Corrupting Potion at level one for extra sustain so you don’t get harassed down in lane. Doran’s Ring and two potions just aren’t enough healing anymore, especially since she’ll need to restock on potions through her first few recalls.

Sustain is also the theory behind her rune choices. Kayle’s win rate has shot up in recent days as people have figured out how good Kleptomancy is for her. Easily procced on her E, it gives her everything she needs: sustain from pilfered potions, extra gold income to make up for farm deficiencies, and even a chance at a free skill level. She doesn’t get evolutions from pilfered skill potions anymore, but it’s still the best keystone.

With Klepto, you definitely want Biscuits and Time Warp Tonic to further increase her sustain. For her secondary tree, go with tanky options from the Resolve tree like Bone Plating, Second Wind, Overgrowth, or Revitalize. Other options for her keystone include Fleet Footwork, Grasp of the Undying, or Unsealed Spellbook. All can be used in certain matchups. More aggressive players can try Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter from the Domination tree as secondaries for more on-hit healing.

For the first few levels, you just want to freeze the lane if possible, use E and Q selectively to proc Klepto, last hit as best you can, and soak up experience, because that’s going to save you.

It gets better

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Kayle’s passive transforms her at levels six, 11, and 16, making her successively more powerful as the game goes on. That’s why it’s important to not die in lane and be near enough to the minions to receive experience. Gold is definitely a secondary concern on this champion. Sitting under turret is an option against kill-oriented opponents like Pantheon.

At level six, Kayle gets her ult and some AOE damage on her basic attacks, and depending on how you build her, can be useful. But this is not the same power spike as old Kayle—because you can’t auto-attack when your ultimate is active, it’s a purely defensive tool at this point unless you’re getting a gank.

At this point, you have options to trade rather than just freezing the lane. After level six, her E starts to really hurt. The goal isn’t always to kill the enemy champion but to bring them low enough that they think twice about going for an all-in.

In terms of items, an early Dark Seal is great because of its high resale value, its AP and mana numbers, and especially its synergy with Corrupting Potion. Old Kayle defaulted toward Berserker’s Greaves and Nashor’s Tooth—those items are still standard but it’s a pretty greedy build path for new Kayle since they don’t give her lane stats. You’ll have to really be patient if you head down the Nashor’s Tooth and Guinsoo’s Rageblade path.

Don’t be afraid to try defensive boots like Ninja Tabi or Mercury’s Treads. Other early options include Blade of the Ruined King or Hextech Gunblade for the early sustain or Luden’s Echo for mana regen. All are more useful in lane than Nashor’s Tooth. Aggressive players can go another direction entirely with Sheen into Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet, while defensive players can try Zhonya’s into an AP build.

Late game goddess

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Level 11 is when Kayle really starts feeling like a champion again. She gets 550 permanent range and when her passive is fully stacked, she gets an insane amount of attack speed. You still want to be cautious, especially since her ult doesn’t allow her to use basic attacks. You’ll more often want to ult a teammate who’s frontlining the fight while you sit back and pelt the enemy with AOE ranged attacks.

Nashor’s Tooth into Guinsoo’s Rageblade and Rabadon’s Deathcap is the highest DPS option. At this point, you can probably win a one-vs-one against most champions and melt through teamfights—but you still want to be wary of anyone who can jump on you. Both Rageblade and your basic attacks take time to stack, and going against a Jax, Irelia, or Tryndamere at less-than-full power is a quick way to earn a gray death screen.

Your role is primarily that of a splitpusher, so take advantage of large minion waves and remember to set vision. Knowing how to play the map and move with the minions is a big part of learning this champion—new Kayle is probably not for you if you just want to fight all the time.

But if you remain patient, Kayle will eventually hit level 16, and that’s when everything opens up. Her basic attacks gain permanent AOE damage and deal true damage. That’s why she doesn’t need Conqueror—she’ll just shred through all that armor anyway. But level 16 hasn’t been the automatic win condition that some thought at first. She’s still strong, but she really needs that damage to stay relevant with top-flight ADCs in the late game. It’s really between 11 and 16 that she really shines, so don’t drag your feet at this stage in the game.

Her itemization also opens up at level 16. She still has both AD and AP ratios, making things like Hextech Gunblade really good on her. Rageblade doesn’t work as well with her new E, but it’s still super good otherwise and boosts on-hit effects from items like Gunblade and Blade of the Ruined King. Her AP route with a Luden’s start into things like Wit’s End, Rabadon’s, Void Staff, or Zhonya’s gives her the most burst. Starting with BOTRK opens up some AD builds and she can even branch into the crit tree with Infinity Edge. The book really is open for her at this point.

New Kayle definitely takes some getting used to. Going from ranged to melee-only for 11 levels is a big adjustment. She’ll be a handful for players to learn over the next few weeks, but given how strong she is past level 16, we think she’s going to be worth it.