[8.20.1]Stormrazor AP Kai’Sa (certified guide by KR players)
(Last updated on October 14, 2018)
[8.20.1]Stormrazor AP Kai’Sa (certified guide by KR players)
(Last updated on October 14, 2018)
Currently, the most OP pick who never guarantees your win in 1v1
One of the most dominant ADCs in 1v1
The laning phase is usually difficult against long-range champions such as Ashe and Caitlyn. You need to call the jungler and join the fight using your ult. You can’t protect the tower if she’s with Morgana.
Heal in a 2v2 situation often determines whether you win or loss, thus it’s a must-have spell.
If you are to remain passive or need to manage HP against comps such as Lucian with Zyra or Jhin with Xerath which deals a significant amount of burst damage, then Teleport is also a viable choice.
If the enemy has strong CC skills - Ashe with Leona or Varus with Fiddlesticks - Cleanse is better.
Fleet Footwork is recommended.
Due to her characteristics, it takes a bit of time to purchase any Life Steal items, no matter if she’s AP or AD.
On the second line, you can choose between Triumph or Overheal depending on your preference.
If you are with a Targon support then Doran’s Blade, Overheal, and Legend: Bloodline can provide you with an advantage in the lane with a significant shield.
Although the strength of Legend: Bloodline is mentioned above, I prefer to pick Legend: Alacrity.
With the last line, Last Stand is preferred over Coup De Grace if you are against either a bruiser with HP items or there’s more than one tank in the team.
Absolute Focus and Gathering Storm are picked for the Secondary runes.
Manaflow Band and Transcendence are also solid choices; they all depend on your preferences.
The Doran’s Blade build is somehow forced to be chosen after the August 29 patch, and this is why the usage of Manaflow Band became much more effective than before.
Depending on who you encounter - they can be Lucian, Draven with Alistar or Leona, and Miss Fortune with Morgana or Fiddlestick - Bone Plating in the Resolve slot is a must along with Second Wind or Chrysalis.
Note that the skill and auto attack damages become significantly weaker if you choose Resolve as your Secondary rune.
Press The Attack and Fleet Footwork
Due to her weak potential in the laning phase, it’s difficult to level up from 3 to 6 with Press The Attack.
Fleet Footwork makes the laning phase much more stable, provides lifesteal, and increases her - mobility which is also very effective on Kai’Sa due to her relatively short range.
On the other hand, Press The Attack does provide a significant amount of damage from the combination of 3 hits, passive, Q, and W, thus it’s still worth taking if it’s an aggressive bot comp with Leona or Alistar that can aim for a kill at level 1 or 2.
Press The Attack with Resolve and a Doran’s Shield at the start would overwhelm enemies in the laning phase, but it’s a rather extreme rune and item build which lacks mana and sustainability.
Please note that the choice of runes really depends on what you prefer and how you play. I sometimes even pick Lethal Tempo.
Master in order of Q, E, and W.
In a situation at level 2 where you need to engage with W but the minions are in your way, you can choose E instead.
E.g. You are with Leona and it’s quite difficult to hit enemies with W at level 2 as they stay behind minions, and you use E instead to follow up on Leona’s E.
How to Use
Kai’Sa’s passive activates at the 5th hit, not the 4th.
Although her passive stacks up with the ally members’ CC skills, it doesn’t go off itself.
E + Q does not work, but Q + E does.
Press R while E is being activated and the ultimate will trigger automatically right after the E. Note that it can be canceled by right-clicking.
If you hit the enemy 3 times with an auto attack and use W during the early laning phase, it can easily erase about 200 HP.
If you are to chase down the enemy with your ultimate, you need to use the ult at the back of the target blocking the enemy’s route.
If you use the ult to gain some shield, use it to on the location right next to you as quick as possible, among the ally minions to make the enemy miss their skills, or in the bush.
You can also try using the ult to avoid enemy CC skills.
Note that the ult provides a shield but not movement when you get CCed, so be careful.
The item build after the August 29 patch
A Doran’s Blade is recommended for a starter. You may also use Doran’s Shield or Ring depending on the opponent, but you need a Cull in order to evolve Q as soon as possible.
After the patch, the stats of Stormrazor has changed; AD from 65 to 60 and AS from 30% to 35%.
The first hit critical strike hit has also changed from 160% to 140% which may make people think this is a nerf for Kai’Sa, but you can now evolve Q at level 7 with Doran’s Blade, Stormrazor, and Pickaxe.
The time it takes to evolve your Q is now shorter than before with Doran’s Blade.
The AS stat is buffed, and you can now evolve E with Stormrazor, Berserker’s Greaves, and 2 Daggers.
Overall, the patch is favorable for Kai’Sa.
The total amount of gold needed for the core build above is 2800 + 875 + 300 + 300 + 1100 = 5375, whereas the AP build is 3300 (Guinsoo’s Rageblade) + 1100 (Berserker’s Greaves) + 1100 (Stinger) = 5500.
There’s your answer.
The biggest merit of the Stormrazor build is evolving both Q and E before having the second core item.
Purchase Guinsoo’s Blade right after Stormrazor and you can follow the original AP Kai’Sa item build from the third core item.
The reason for switching to AP
The reasons why Kai’Sa was underestimated before the Stormrazor build was found are:
1. The nerf on Guinsoo’s Rageblade;
2. The fact that Kai’Sa loses damage potential in the laning phase and still needs to go for Guinsoo’s Rageblade as her first core item;
3. The nerf on Kai’Sa’s passive; and
a couple of other minor reasons.
The reasons above led to the conclusion that the laning phase becomes relatively difficult and thus she loses her opportunity to deal damage during the first and second core items. This is why she was not favored over other champions such as Lucian and Miss Fortune who were the main picks.
However, she can now move on to the mid-game where teamfights often occur much easier with the Stormrazor build and she has no problem switching to the AP build afterward.
Some people are worried that Nashor’s Tooth may not be as competitive; it’s true that lower tier items may not provide enough damage advantages, but this is no longer the case once you obtain the finished item.
The damage loss is far bigger if you obtain an AD item such as Runaan’s Hurricane or Infinity Edge as the third item after Guinsoo’s Rageblade.
The Stormrazor AP Kai’Sa build is as follows:
Stormrazor → Berserker’s Greaves → Guinsoo’s Rageblade → Nashor’s Tooth → Rabadon’s Deathcap → Void Staff, Zhonya’s Hourglass, Banshee’s Veil, or Morellonomicon
Purchase Zhonya’s Hourglass as the third if the enemy assassin such as Zed, Fizz, and Talon has geared up well, or Banshee’s Veil if the enemy mid laner has geared up well or there are 2 AP champions such as LeBlanc, Syndra, and Ryze on the enemy team.
The item build can be flexible depending on the situation after the third core item. However, it’s better that you obtain Nashor’s Tooth as soon as you can to avoid any damage loss if the survival item doesn’t seem mandatory.
The original AD Kai’Sa
Stormrazor → Berserker’s Greaves → Guinsoo’s Rageblade → Runaan’s Hurricane, Phantom Dancer, or Rapid Firecannon → Infinity Edge → Mercurial Scimitar or The Bloodthirster
Purchase Mercurial Scimitar first if the enemy team has Suppressed CC or a number of CC skills, or Death’s Dance and Phantom Dancer with Guardian Angel if the enemy team has many assassins.
Essence Reaver is also a solid choice.
Blade of the Ruined King is also preferred to deal damage and keep your distance from HP-oriented bruisers.
Additional notes on July 22th, 2018
Due to the current meta, the game consists of a number of assassins and usually ends before the fourth core item, thus it’s better to purchase Guardian Angel or Zhonya’s Hourglass as the third to have better performances:
Stormrazor → Berserker’s Greaves → Guinsoo’s Rageblade → Guardian Angel or Zhonya’s Hourglass
If the assassin is still an obstacle in the mid-late game, you can get items such as Death’s Dance and/or Phantom Dancer that reduce incoming damage or Blade of the Ruined King to keep your distance.
If you go for both Guardian Angel and Zhonya’s Hourglass, survival is guaranteed but your damage is not.
Consider it an option only if you must survive to win the teamfight or there are more than two enemy assassins.
The standards of Kai’Sa’s item build
First off, there are three categories of the item build:
1. Stormrazor AP Kai’Sa;
2. Stormrazor AD Kai’Sa; and
3. Guinsoo’s Rageblade AP Kai’Sa.
You can go for the Guinsoo’s Rageblade AD Kai’Sa, but it’s nowhere as competitive as the 2nd, so I suggest that you never use it.
The recommended item builds in solo ranked are the 1st and 2nd. Due to the features of solo ranked, it’s quite difficult to gain advantages from frequent fights and minor teamfights if you don’t do your job in the early game.
This is why Stormrazor is the best thanks to its significant stats, cheap price, and pure AD increases with its lower tier items; B. F. Sword and Long Sword.
You have a better chance of winning fights as your skill damage increases and the evolution timing is much quicker with this item.
On the other hand, the 3rd item build lets you purchase Rabadon’s Deathcap much faster as you skip Stormrazor, but the laning phase becomes extremely difficult to the extent that you can only stay around the tower and kill minions.
Forget killing minions, you won’t even be able to think about purchasing Guinsoo’s Rageblade with a CS gap getting bigger and then being killed by a 4-man dive.
The base stats of Guinsoo’s Rageblade became worse, and the price is 500 gold more expensive than Stormrazor.
The difference becomes much clearer if you compare the amount of gold needed for each build:
Stormrazor build: 2800 + 875 + 300 + 300 + 1100 = 5375
AP build: 3300 (Guinsoo’s Rageblade) + 1100 (Berserker’s Greaves) + 1100 (Stinger) = 5500
It’s more expensive and the evolution timing is slower.
The AP build might work if you are really confident in being careful and killing minions, but nobody knows how it'll turn out in the solo ranked.
Anyhow, the Stormrazor build is the best general choice for now due to reasons mentioned above.
The other lower tier items apart from B. F. Sword are quite cheap. After that, a Pickaxe evolves Q and 2 Daggers evolve E, allowing you to lead the game as you please a bit easier.
The period from the evolution of Q until Guinsoo’s Rageblade is like a golden era as the evolved Q damage is extremely powerful, and this is the moment when the tide of the solo ranked is usually decided.
You may also wonder what item you should go for the 3rd; the 1st build is the original AP Kai’Sa build with Nashor’s Tooth and Rabadon’s Deathcap. The 2nd build consists of critical strike items such as Runaan’s Hurricane and Infinity Edge that focus on synergizing with Stormrazor.
You can purchase Zhonya’s Hourglass, Banshee’s Veil, and/or Guardian Angel for survivability.
Some ask which build is superior to the other, and it just depends on the situation.
The damage difference between the two builds is minimal; AP grants more cooldown reduction, ability power, and a burst damage with W. AD, on the other hand, provides more critical strike and Runaan’s Hurricane.
Thus, you can go for the 1st build if the ally team is all AD, and the 2nd build if your team has enough AP champions and/or there will possibly be a couple of moments where you can AoE the enemies with Runaan’s Hurricane.
Wouldn’t Nashor’s Tooth lose damage potential significantly? The answer is yes, probably, but it’s the same with Runaan’s Hurricane.
The reason why I prefer the 1st build is the 20% cooldown reduction from Nashor’s Tooth which makes a significant difference in your skill frequency, especially E. The burst damage with W is also quite noticeable. However, it’s always better to go AD if you have 2 or more AP champions and the enemy team has a tank.
1. The first core item is Stormrazor without question;
2. The choice between AP and AD depends on circumstances; and
3. Ban Lucian
Plus, Void Staff is a must if you go AP and there’s a tank on the enemy team.
Unless it’s a dramatic matchup like Vayne against Ashe, an ADC countering another ADC doesn’t really mean anything, but the result relies heavily upon how skilled you and your support are.
Even if the matchup is Kai’Sa against Lucian or Miss Fortune and the ally support is Morgana or Fiddlestick whereas the opponent is Braum, Pyke, or Rakan, you will obviously lose when you encounter them directly, but you can also often win by farming well and calling the jungler to finish them off.
On the other hand, if the ally support is Soraka and the opponent is Braum with Miss Fortune, you can dominate them until the end of the laning phase.
Kai’Sa’s early damage is extremely powerful.
With a Doran’s Ring, you can engage actively at level 1 to 3.
After that, the type of matchup varies depending on the result and tactics so you can act accordingly.
The first objective is to save 1300 gold.
If it’s difficult, you can purchase Long Swords and Daggers instead.
After purchasing a B. F. Sword at around level 4 to 6, you can lead the game easily with your ultimate.
Kai’Sa is an all-round ADC who is capable of assassination, backline infiltration, and baiting.
Be careful of with your short range though; engage after your team members, and hit the frontline after checking their remaining CC and damage skills.
Your Role in a Teamfight
You need to be extremely cautious about where you stand as an ADC.
The use of your ultimate is crucial for baiting, positioning, and infiltrating the backline.
The reason why the Stormrazor Kai’Sa is preferred over the pure AP Kai’Sa:
1. Unlike the AP Kai’Sa build that needs at least Nashor’s Tooth to deal a reasonable amount of damage, there’s no damage loss with the Stormrazor Kai’Sa, and it evolves Q and E much quicker at a relatively cheaper price;
2. The build helps her gain more advantages from fast-paced minor mid and jungle fights; faster Q and E evolutions with the high AD and AS make her strong for minor fights and laning phase.
3. The AP Kai’Sa auto attack damage has been nerfed.