Hi everybody, I'm buckey and I'm here to talk to you about my favorite AP carry: Kennen! A little background about me: I've been playing league for a little over a year and have found great pleasure in both the game and the community it has created. In season two I was fortunate enough to hit 1600 while maining as a jungler (ign Samurai Jacques). "But wait, buckey! I thought this was a guide about Kennen! Last time I checked he wasn't a jungler." This may well be true, but although my best role lies in the forest, I do find top lane extremely fun. I estimate that out of the 1000+ games I've played among my accounts, at least 150 of them have been with Kennen.
I pride myself in having above average game knowledge and attribute what little I have accomplished to that. I think about this game A LOT; in my free time I usually find myself thinking of optimal builds for different champs, calculating rune and mastery efficiencies, or assessing laning matchups. Because of this I like to think that I have a very good understanding of how different champions interact with one another in any given context. It is this understanding that led me to believe that I could create a suitable guide for the community. As this is my first guide, please be kind with your comments :) constructive criticism never hurt anybody though.
Why pick Kennen?
I first fell in love with Kennen on solomid.net, believe it or not. I stumbled across Ego Ignaxio's amazing guide and it completely sucked me in. I immediately bought Kennen without even trying him and he has been my mid lane main ever since. Shortly thereafter, I came across Wingsofdeathx's guide on solotop Kennen and I fell in love all over again. Although I have obtained other champions and strive to get better at them, Kennen has been and probably always will be my go-to top lane champ.
Kennen is a high skill cap champion, but do not be deterred by this, because he is also an extremely rewarding champion to learn and master.
Extremely slippery and safe in lane
Low cooldown spells
Good poke, base damages
Godlike teamfight presence
Very level and item dependent
Damage falls off late game compared to other AP carries
Very high skill cap
Only form of waveclear is escape move and puts him at risk for harass.
Very rigid final build
Current teleport meta makes his harass not stick as well as it used to.
*obviously this section is now no longer applicable, as kennen has now seen a huge resurgence in popularity due to pros now realizing the power of magic pen kennen. but i'll keep this here for posterity.
Compared to his ninja pals (Akali, Shen, Zed) Kennen sees almost no play. A quick look on lolking.net on the date of this guide's creation shows that his popularity sits at 3.9%, compared to that of 9.25%, 11.76, and 11.73%, respectively. What could have caused our favorite yordle ninja to get so little love?
I'll just say this right here: the main reason why Kennen hasn't been picked recently is NOT because of his auto attack range nerf. Think about it: 100 range in league has been established to be about the width of a teemo. So 25 range would be a quarter of a teemo. Try visualizing that yourself; that is an extremely small change that is hardly champion breaking.
The reason why Kennen is no longer seen in competitive play is twofold: the large shift in the meta combined with the wota nerf. Right now we are seeing in competitive play an extremely aggressive, fast-paced game where top laners must be able to contribute to the team with a limited gold income. Kennen is hampered by this because he is extremely item and level-dependent.
However, this should not deter you from playing him. Although the competitive meta has shifted, this does not necessarily apply to those of us who play it casually. Sure, people will pick up champions based on what pros play because those champions are shown as strong in a competitive scenario, but they never use these champions in the same context as these pros. Ever since the professional meta shifted, I've seen maybe two or three early lane swaps, and even then the duo lanes did not play the lane correctly, failing to deny the solo laner farm as well as not pushing hard. We won't see this in everyday gameplay because it takes much more synergy and teamwork than what you would expect in a normal solo queue game. As such, this "meta" does not affect solo queue Kennen as much as people would think.
As for the wota changes, this definitely hurt him. I believe this nerf was the main reason why Kennen and AP tops in general have fallen out of favor. But because I do not believe wota to be core on Kennen (sacrilege!) I feel that he is in a very strong place if utilized correctly.