Kai'Sa Mid Guide: How to win every game.

Kai'Sa Mid Infographic
These are the Kai’Sa Mid runes and recommended items. (c/ Riot Games | © Riot Games

I will be covering the most interesting picks that have surfaced in the mid-lane lately. But most importantly I’ll be covering why it’s so strong, and how to play it yourself, as well as how to play against it.

Let me start by introducing myself. OkamiHayazo  I’m a D4 Kai’Sa Mid Main. While I haven’t played a lot of it lately (forgive the pun), Matches for Zoe The champ is too much fun! Kai’Sa would be my favorite champion, and she’s my go-to if I want win. Since last season, I’ve played about 200 games with her so I have a lot of experience to talk from.

Although I have more Kai’Sa games than anyone else in NA Diamond, it doesn’t necessarily make me infallible. Test the suggestions and see if you like them.

This guide will be quite long so skip the “How to actually play this champion Mid?” section. If you are just interested in learning how to play Kai’Sa, and not concerned about why it’s so strong, you can skip to the “How do I actually play this champion Mid?” section.

You can see the cleanliness of Kai’Sa’s mid-lane by clicking on this link Perfect monitor

Why Kai’Sa Mid

Kai’Sa, one of the most powerful champions in the game at the time, was pick/ban for nearly a whole season. Since then Kai’Sa has been going in and out of the meta but hasn’t been all that interesting.

Kai’Sa has always been a hybrid builder, choosing to use both AP items and AD items in order to get the most out of her kit. Kai’Sa was left in an odd spot by the mythic overhaul of hybrid items. For the most part the AP build on Kai’Sa was abandoned for AD and forgotten about.

After players spent a few hours in the training tool testing items to discover the optimal build and some buffs to her AP playstyle, AP Kai’Sa was back with a bang. However, she is still in the botlane building primarily to defend herself against her auto attacks.

Kai’Sa’s mid is unique because of the range she has. AP Kai’Sa is the most versatile champion in the game. By quite a lot, too. This is a bold statement, I know. But I am confident because of the range she has. Kai’Sa also scales faster than any other champion. It doesn’t matter how powerful you are if someone can kill you.

Kai’Sas who are good will be able to 1v9 every game. She just needs to hit her spikes at the right times. It is not as easy as it sounds, but it is very rewarding.

Lagoon Dragon Kai'Sa
Kai’Sa skin with the best results!

It’s so strong, why doesn’t it dominate the meta?

It is so difficult that this build was not discovered sooner. Kai’Sa is literally counting pennies, trying to win every point of AD or AP in order to become more powerful than a jungle camp.

 AP Kai’Sa is very dependent on her W hitting. She is almost useless for 13 seconds if she misses. This is why AP Kai’Sa created Berzerkers greaves and Nashors so long. It allows you to still be an impactful player even if you miss. This however has the drawback of splitting your resources among auto attacks and poke. The champion is able to do both but not well at one.

Kai’Sa is a champion unlike any other in that she is so dependent on her items Kai’Sa is one of the few champions who wants items to help them gain stats.

Kai’Sa mid, as I mentioned before, is very difficult to pull off. It’s not that she is mechanically difficult. It is simply about knowing the champions spikes, and how you can play accordingly. Kai’Sa must have the following items to be online and ready for battle: Q evolve, W evolved, 30+ Ability Haste, 10+ Magic Pen.

Buy is the best way to achieve this list. Manamune -> Lucidity boots -> Ludens + Amp tome. You are now online and ready for the next stage.

Kai’Sa and other scaling champions don’t play mid-right now because of the impact it has on your team. Midlane acts as a second junglerTheir job is to fight for the lane priority and then use that to help their team around map. Your champion may be dependent on certain items to make an impact on the game. This can make it more difficult for your team by choosing a scaling champion instead of your opponent.

Kai'Sa runes
This page has the most runes on Kai’Sa. Hail of Blades is a bait

So how do I build Kai’Sa Mid?

The most important part about playing Kai’Sa, is the itemization. You want to reach your spikes as quickly and as cheap as possible, so you can start making up for your lack of impact up until that point. Your team should consider it to be a 4v5 game in 9/10 games until Kai’Sa spikes. That is how weak Kai’Sa really is.

While most champions have many starting items, Kai’Sa cannot start a tear of the goddess. This is because Manamune, the only item you can build that gives you AD, is ManamuneThe only way to improve Q is by leveling up, gaining maximum Mana and buying Manamune. This means that Stacking tear directly influences how fast you can evolve your Q. At around 180-210 tear stacks, level 9 and 7 ad from cull Kai’Sas Q will have evolved. This spike should be achieved in between 10-12 minutes.

Q evolve is Kai’Sa’s first chance to open the game and it is the best time to consider yourself more than a caster minion.. Kai’Sas evolved Q does a lot of damage to isolated targets. It also gives you wave clear. Once your Q evolves it will one shot all 3 melee minions, and one shot a damaged cannon minion + caster minions. Two Q’s are all it takes to clear normal and cannon waves. 

You can use this part to help your team navigate the map. But you shouldn’t sacrifice yourself. Don’t roam if you don’t want to lose CS and XP. You should not attempt it unless you’re certain that you will succeed.

You now have real wave clarity, which means that your gold income can be accelerated. You can start jungle camps such as red and blue buff and gromp. 

This is the point where you want to try and get 100 AP as quickly as possible. The quickest route is The Lost Chapter and the Needlessly Large Rod These two items offer 100 AP and only 2550 gold. This path has two issues. One, it is difficult to guarantee 1250 Gold on a reset to Buy Needlessly Large Rod in one go. 

Another path is Lost Chapter + Blasting Wand+ Amplifying Tome. This option costs 35 gold more but allows you buy Luden’s Echo 8550 gold faster. You can now buy Lost Chapter + Blasting Wand + amplifying Tome in 9/10 games. You would only go Needlessly Large Rod and Lost Chapter if you wanted to buy Crown of the Shattered QueenThis is extremely rare. This spike should be reached in 16 to 17 minutes. 

Finalizing Cull is key to reaching Kai’Sas’s second major spike. Cull is a perfect fit for you because you’ve already taken Teleport, First Strike and Future’s Market in order to farm quickly and get as much gold as possible. You get 7 AD for Q evolve. Once you’ve completed 100 CS, Cull is highly gold efficient. Teleport is my favorite because I can wave out and recall at level’s 4-5. I can buy Cull in around 5 to 6 minutes. This reset timer makes it easier to laning stages, as you can take poke while CSing early levels. It also allows you to return to lane more powerful than your opponent, which keeps you from getting killed.

It’s vital to have at least 8 CS/min for Kai’Sa midYou can reset Cull and purchase Cull as soon you are able. That’s when you want W to evolve. Cull can be finished with 0 kills and no assists. You will still have enough gold to make W.

Your Luden’s or Muramana timings are the third and final spike that you want to play on AP Kai’Sa. Evolving W allows you to use unaware enemies to inflict damage on your opponents. It’s not enough to play 1v9 single-handedly. When you have enough gold to make Luden’s, Muramana should be finishedThese spikes give Kai’Sa an incredible amount of damage. The magic pen from Luden’s Echo is extremely important to your damage, and the Muramana passive gives your W a huge chunk of bonus damage. This spike should happen within 19 to 20 minutes of your second one.

It’s easy to itemize from here, it’s always going be Shadowflame into Rabadons and Zhonyas. However, you can still build Void Staffs or Banshees with Shadowflame.

KDA Kai'Sa
(c) Riot Games| © Riot Games

How do I actually play this champion Mid?

You must be the greatest champion within 20 minutes. You have failed if you don’t. It is important to realize the true cost of choosing Kai’Sa in mid lane. That’s because you will lose priority on most objectives and fights in the first 15-20 minutes of the game. The game can be decided at this point. If you are late or miss your timings, the game will be lost.

If you have spiked on-time, your job is now to play in Mid Lane with W. Spend time getting to know the projectiles and predicting enemy movements. This is the point where you should have all your objectives completed. It’s extremely difficult to fight objectives when your enemy team has more range than you. Kai’Sa has the greatest range of any champion. You can conquer objectives as long as your opponent is not caught.

At the time of your 3rd spike, Shadowflame and your final spike, you have become “nuclear”. You can effectively one-shot any champion in this game. Kai’SasW does a lot, but her passive does huge amounts of health damage. It is important to hit multiple W’s at once. This is easy when you have at least 65 Ability Haste. Lucidity Boots make it even easier.

You can only kill so many people once you have nuclear weapons. At this stage, it doesn’t matter if they die. You just need to push them towards objectives and occasionally pick up picks around mid-lane. Two W’s on the Shadowflame spike will one-shot almost every champion in the game. Even if it doesn’t, you can still use Q or auto attacks. 

It can be difficult to hit multiple Ws at once. Once your W has done this much damage, it is very hard to get another W. Your enemies will do everything possible to avoid it and prevent you from getting the bonus passive damage. Here is where the RW combination comes in.

Apart from landing W’s, the only thing mechanically challenging about Kai’Sa is her. RW combo. Kai’SaW’s slow speed and long cast time can make it difficult to land an enemy’s target when they are expecting. You can, however, begin the cast time at the travel time of the ultimateSo that it fires immediately after you arrive. This works well because it eliminates cast time and slow speed. This combo can be used to almost guarantee the first W hit. This means that you can almost guarantee the death of a target if you land W.

These are the things you need to keep in mind when using this combo

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice. This combination is easy to miss, and you’ll likely feel silly if you do.
  2. To connect the W, ult in front of your enemy. This is a good way to hit immobile targets who aren’t expecting you ult in.
  3. It is possible to kill people even if they aren’t able to see you. This can make it really difficult to kill someone. This combo is great for catching people out. You shouldn’t trade 1 for 1!
  4. RWs will always be moving if they try to predict their movement. They’ll ult when they see you.
  5. Be very careful with the timing if you want to W behind your ult. You will die if you make a mistake. It is very difficult to shoot backwards with the RW.

Final Notes

Once she has attained her spikes, AP Kai’Sa is the strongest player in the game.. Although she can still lose to champions who have insane engages, like Rammus and Nocturne – players below Masters will struggle to recognize the problem and punish her.

AP Kai’Sa’s strength is incredible, but it’s important to be precise about your timings. Vladimir is right that roaming for kills can be very costly. If you miss CS and die, the game will become much more difficult.

Kai’Sa has a lot to do with wave management. You should freeze your wave as soon as you can to farm safely. If you fail to manage your wave properly, the enemy will freeze you. You won’t be capable of breaking it without the support of your jungler. This is a solo queue, so relying on your teammates to fix the game is not an option. You are responsible for your own actions. You can’t blame your teammates if you don’t time correctly and lose.

The rune page that I provided is certainly the most consistent. A Mage/Assassin is not the same as an ADC. Keystones such as Electrocute or Hail of Blades are bait. Nashors teeth are the same. It is like building Nashors using Viktor, Lux or Xerath. If you are an artillery mage, then you should build like one. Kraken Slayer is the best option if you need tank shred. Or even Liandries if you’re stuck being AP.

Fleet Footwork is the only viable Keystone on Kai’Sa Mid. Summon and Summon: Aery but First Strike is the best.

Kai’Sa Mid can be trusted. Take barrier, exhaust and fleet footwork if necessary, depending on the matchup. Change your rune shards each game!

Ability Haste is a very important rune. Mana is directly translated to AD so it’s essential. Biscuit Delivery is what I recommend, but Future’s Market will help you hit your spikes more consistently. Until you feel comfortable with it, stop taking Biscuits. 

Keep track of the exact timings and details of Kai’Sa’s spikes. It should look something like this: 

  • Tears Start
  • Take the first one back around 4-6 minutes, Teleport back.
  • As soon as possible, get Manamune + Lucidity boots. Around 10-12 minutes.
  • If you have not finished Cull or Lucidity boots, purchase the AP required for W evolve. Around 16-18 minutes.
  • Finish stacking for Muramana by buying out Luden’s around 20 minutes.
  • Purchase Shadowflame, and you can start to work on Rabadon’s or Zhonyas Banshees, depending on which game you are playing. Around 22-25 minutes.

Have fun with Kai’Sa. The champion can be frustrating when you are behind. Faker said that he enjoyed playing with her because it was so much fun.

You can learn new champions by watching someone else play them. Kai’Sa was the player I watched. snipyOCE. He is a Diamond Kai’Sa mid-main on the Oceanic Server. He streams on Twitch, and makes youtube videos.

You can also access some of my VODs through op.gg You can download them if you like. You can also see my play of Kai’Sa and how I use RW in game by clicking on these poorly edited montages.

You can do what you feel is best, regardless of what I might say. These suggestions are only suggestions.

Other than Nashors. Buying Nashors Tooth is literally trolling never ever buy that item!

Happy Sniping!

Author: Eric Pomeroy
Passionate about Valorant, I started playing CSGO but switched to valorant looking at the characters and the play style. I own this website and have written the content myself.