Laning Pre-6 with Kennen as Support
The weakest part of Support Kennen's game is levels 1 through 5
, and both you and your carry need to know this. You start off with only 1 ward (when used well, is enough), and you are insanely squishy until you get a few levels. You can out trade a few lanes, but your goal here is not to get slaughtered, and to do everything in your power to keep your AD Carry alive, healthy, and last hitting. Most match ups will be manageable or even easy, but the occasional few, like Sona, Lux, Zilean, and Nidalee can all make Kennen's life a living hell for these levels. Fortunately, of all of these, Sona is the only one who is played with frequency, and after you hit level 6, you can kill her somewhat easily because she lacks an escape beyond Flash.
Zoning and Harassing the Enemy (Pre-6)
- As long as you can reasonably outpoke the enemy support, you can spend this time charging your auto attack on minions, spamming your Thundering Shuriken, and following through with your Electrical Surge when you manage to mark an enemy. At level 5, Kennen's charged auto attack does 108 damage, and his rank 3 Electrical Surge does 125 damage. That is 233 Damage from one mark.
- Early game, Marks of the Storm do a great job of zoning the enemy AD Carry. If you land your Thundering Shuriken, they have a Mark on them for 6 seconds. That is something they have to worry about. Especially given that you should be able to get another mark on them easier than the first one. Stagger your poke in the early levels to keep the Marks of the Storm on for longer. If you wait 5 seconds after applying your first Mark before applying your second mark, they will have been marked for 11 seconds rather than 6 seconds. Each mark resets the timer, and every second they are waiting for a mark to fall off is a second that they are not as concerned with their last hitting.
- Mostly you should concentrate your damage on the enemy carry, unless you are against a super squishy support. You probably wont be able to kill them if they play carefully, but you can make them burn their potions and maybe even force them out of lane. If you are against someone like Soraka who can just heal up all the damage that you are doing to their carry, just keep the damage going. Her mana pool, while extensive, is not infinite like your energy pool is. The goal here is to get their mana down so that when you hit 6, she's got less tools available to her.
- If the opposing lane has a melee support, feel free to bully them around. Most melee supports like chilling in bushes, waiting for you to come close enough for them to use their kit on you. Don't give them that chance. Pepper the bush with Thundering Shurikens and they will either back off, or take a lot of damage from your consistent poke. Don't bother staggering your marks here. The idea is to do the most damage in the shortest amount of time, and then to get back to safety.
Keeping your AD Carry and Yourself Alive: (Pre-6)
- Do not use Lightning Rush to poke. This is your main method of escape and defense, and on top of that, this is the skill that can keep your AD Carry safe with a stun on demand.
Keeping your AD Carry alive before level 6 can be a challenge, especially with an AD Carry without a blink skill, and with the 1 ward start. A lot of keeping your AD Carry safe has to do with how smart your AD Carry is with avoiding damage and positioning properly. Kennen is not the greatest champion at saving the stupid ones, but he can give most smart ones a fighting chance.
- Keep your Electrical Surge charged whenever possible. The ability to instantly apply a mark on an approaching Jungler goes a long way to keeping your Carry pal safe.
- Try to keep your Lightning Rush ready, and don't be afraid to get up close and personal with a ganker if you have to. It is another surefire way to apply a mark in a relatively little amount of time. Your AD's life is more important than yours, and if worse comes to worse, you need to take that bullet if it will save their life.
- Hit your skill shot first. Always attempt a stun with your Thundering Shuriken first. It is much better to apply the third mark with a Electrical Surge, a Charged auto attack, or a Lightning Rush than it is to hit that last Shuriken. Usually a ganker makes a beeline to their target, so it shouldn't be that hard to land your Shuriken.
- Don't forget or be stingy with your summoner spells. Better to flash first and get out at full health than than to flash last and die to ignite. Exhaust (and Heal) can both save lives, and they should be used.
- Looking up at the minimap often and being aware of their Jungler's patterns can save a lot of carnage. Carefully using that 1 ward you start with can save a lot of trouble and stop a lot of ganks before they start. More on how to use the 1 ward to greatest effect in the Warding chapter.
Level 6 And on
After reaching level 6, things really start to heat up in lane. And this is fantastic. Pre-6 Support Kennen is a mediocre poke lane that can 2v2 if the enemy is dumb enough to engage. Post-6 Kennen is a completely different thing. The general consensus is that, when it comes to bot lane, Sustain Lanes
beat Poke Lanes
beat Kill Lanes
, and Kill Lanes
beat Sustain Lanes
--Kind of like Rock--Paper--Scissors. After level 6, Kennen becomes a Kill-Poke lane. Or a Scissors-rock if you will. This shift in play style is powerful. If you were losing the poke game Pre-6, so long as you are not too far behind, you should be able to play the Kill game. If you cant play the Kill game because the other lane has a stronger kill game, keep going with the poke game and crush them. This allows for a lot of versatility in playing Support Kennen, and makes him tough to counter.
Zoning and Harassing the Enemy (Post-6)
- After 6, Kennen's poke doesn't change much. It is still the same basic concept of Charged auto attack or Thundering Shuriken landing to start a Mark of the Storm, then an Electrical Surge to add damage and another mark. Now you should also be looking to add the third mark and stun them so your Carry can hit them for free. If they choose to fight you, you win that exchange if you have your ultimate.
- Look for chances to catch them out of position. If your AD Carry is with it, and in a decent position with good mana, and you have good ward coverage, make something happen. You will be surprised how effective one good skirmish where you come out on top is when it comes to making the enemy not want to come near you.
Keeping your AD Carry and Yourself Alive: (Post-6)
- After you have put the fear of god in them with a fight going your way, feel free to randomly (E) Lightning Rush hyper-aggressively. There is a good plausibility of them backing off, using an escape skill, or maybe even blowing Flash. Only do this if you have ward coverage and know that you aren't running into a gank. Cause that would look really dumb.
- Don't get over-confidant when it comes to starting something. Sometimes its just better to take the free farm.
- Always consult your AD before initiating a fight. He might be low on mana, have summoners on CD, or just generally have some information that you don't.
- Keep up good ward coverage. It is dangerous to run a kill lane with bad ward coverage because what seems like a good idea without wards is actually a terrible idea with wards. Your lane will attract a lot of Jungle attention when your opponents start crying for Skarner to come babysit them.
- If you are against a poke lane, and you have been whittled down, don't go in for the kill. Health potions help prevent this.
- If you lose the first exchange post-6, due to you missing a skill shot or your AD Carry being bad, or a surprise gank, don't keep throwing yourself into the meat grinder. Save your ultimate for when your jungle decides to come to visit and use it to secure kills rather than to initiate.
- If you or your AD are being chased at low health, you can pop your ultimate. If they continue to chase you, they will be stunned. Try to avoid doing this.
Don't forget to help your AD Carry push your minions to their tower if the enemy leaves lane. (E) Lightning Rush and (W) Electrical Surge on a line of minions gets them all to about 1/4th health, give or take. When combined with a Buckshot from Graves or a Boomerang Blade from Sivir, this lets you wipe out a wave of minions almost immediately. You can deny the enemy AD Carry a lot of farm this way.
- Don't forget about your summoner spells. Exhaust saves lives. Lots of lives.
Why Support Kennen is Such a Strong Kill Lane
Kennen is a strong kill lane due to his ultimate and its potential to stun and deal high damage over a short period of time. At level 1, (R) Slicing Maelstrom deals 80 damage a strike, potentially 3 times to one target. While 240 damage isn't much to get excited about, it is also an aoe disable over time
that cannot be predicted when combined with Kennen's (W) Electrical Surge. (E) Lightning Rush makes it hard for enemies to get out of your area of effect. But (R) Slicing Maelstrom is also passive, meaning, that while it is triggered, you can use your other abilities and auto attacks in conjunction with it. At level 1, it is basically a Nunu Ultimate that doesn't slow, deals periodic damage over a period of time rather than all at once at the end, and allows you to move around and attack instead of channel. The problem with this, is that during the low levels, Kennen uses his ultimate, casts some spells, and is completely tapped out, unable to make the most out of the disable. Enter the AD Carry...
Most AD Carries love it when they can attack their opponent for a few seconds without worrying about being attacked back, and when Support Kennen goes all in, that is exactly what the AD Carry gets. If the opponent turns to fight the Carry, Kennen's damage and the intermittent stuns make the fight unwinnable for that opponent. If the opponent turns to focus down the Kennen, your AD Carry has its way with them. A Sona ult is over and done. A Kennen Ult lasts and lasts. While some people can fight through the ultimate at higher levels, at lower levels, in a 2v2 match, Kennen's ultimate isn't something an enemy carry can just sit through.