Kai’Sa has always been one of the best hybrid champions in League of Legends. She has a strong AD and an AP build that players can use to carry games, depending on their main role and preference.
Compared to AD Kai’Sa, the AP Kai’Sa build offers more poke and burst damage. Ability Power items allow Kai’Sa to evolve her W – Void Seeker and do tons of damage with each cast. They also improve her other abilities, so AP Kai’Sa is a viable build for carrying games, especially as a mid laner.
AP Kai’Sa is such a powerful build that even players like Faker have played it in high elo solo queue and professional matches.
And you’re in the right place if you don’t know how to play AP Kai’Sa yourself. In this post, I’ll talk about the runes and items you’re going to need as well as Kai’Sa’s damage and ratios. All of this should help you understand how AP Kai’Sa works in League.
That said, let’s jump into the guide!
Is Kai’Sa AP or AD in LoL?
Does Kai’Sa deal magic damage?
Kai’Sa is a hybrid champion in League of Legends. She deals both magic and physical damage and her abilities have AD and AP ratios. So, Kai’Sa can become an AD champion if she builds attack damage items just like a marksman would. But she can also be an AP mage if she builds ability power items.
Riot Games originally designed Kai’Sa to be an AD carry champion. But by giving her AP ratios, they also allowed her to have an off-meta mid lane build that works very well.
But Kai’Sa isn’t the only marksman that has hybrid abilities. Varus and Zeri both have AP builds that allow them to one-shot enemy champions despite being AD marksmen. And if you’re interested, you can check my AP Varus guide here and my AP Zeri guide here.
Kai’Sa has an AP ratio on her passive, Q, W, and R and AD ratios only on her Q, W, and R. And her Q is a physical spell while her W is a magic damage spell.
So, Kai’Sa’s playstyle and damage depend on the items you build. But regardless of whether you go for an AP or an AD build, this champion has more than enough damage for the entire enemy team.
And if you want to know whether Kai’Sa is better with the AP or AD builds, take a look down below!
Read Also: Top 15 Best Off-Meta ADCs
Should You Build Kai’Sa AP or AD? (Kai’Sa AP vs. AD Explained)
AP Kai’Sa has more poke and burst damage. It’s a better option for mid lane Kai’Sa because she can scale more quickly thanks to the level advantage. But AD Kai’Sa has more consistent damage and she’s more powerful against tanks. That’s why building Kai’Sa AD is better in the bot lane.
There is no clear winner between AD Kai’Sa and AP Kai’Sa. This is because both builds are viable and it’s up to you to choose which one you like more.
Of course, there’s always a meta build for Kai’Sa that will perform better, especially if you’re into numbers and details. But as patches come and go in League of Legends, minor changes to items and champions can make one build better than other.
For example, in the first half of season 13, AP Kai’Sa was a dominant build. Riot Games then nerfed Kai’Sa’s AP ratios slightly. And in the second half of the season, AD Kai’Sa became the go-to build for most players.
Currently, you can either play AP or AD Kai’Sa and you won’t find much difference when it comes to damage. However, the playstyle of AP and AD Kai’Sa are completely different.
AD Kai’Sa is a marksman playstyle and requires kiting and auto-attacking skills. And AP Kai’Sa is a more tactical playstyle where skill shot accuracy is more important.
That said, it’s your choice whether AD or AP Kai’Sa is better for you.
Now let’s talk about the runes and items for playing aP Kai’Sa.
Read Also: Top 15 Best Off-Meta Mid Laners
AP Kai’Sa Build – Runes (Explained)
- Hail of Blades
- Sudden Impact
- Eyeball Collection
- Ultimate Hunter
- Gathering Storm
Hail of Blades
Not too many champions go for the Hail of Blades keystone, but it fits Kai’Sa perfectly.
What Hail of Blades does is that it gives you a burst of attack speed when you first hit an enemy champion. This attack speed only lasts for up to 3 auto-attacks but it’s really enough for Kai’Sa to apply her passive stacks and deal lots of damage.
Despite playing AP, attack speed is still an important stat for Kai’Sa. And Hail of Blades is a reliable way to get it.
Sudden Impact is a widely used rune in comparison to Hail of Blade. And that’s because it’s very useful.
This rune gives you extra magic penetration, armor penetration, and lethality for 4 seconds after you dash or exit stealth. And Kai’Sa has two ways to activate this effect.
First, Sudden Impact triggers when Kai’Sa uses her ultimate ability to dash to a nearby enemy champion. But it also activates when she uses her evolved E because it puts her into invisibility.
So, Sudden Impact is a good way to increase your overall damage.
Read Also: AP Senna Build Guide
Eyeball Collection is mostly a passive rune that you forget about in-game.
What it does is that it gives you a total of 30 AP when it’s fully stacked. And the way you stack it is by slaying minions and playing the game like you normally would.
So, Eyeball Collection gives you more damage without you having to do anything extra.
The Ultimate Hunter rune has one job and that is to lower the total cooldown of your ultimate ability.
And the way it does that is through Bounty stacks. One Bounty stack is equal to one champion takedown, so you can get a maximum of 5 stacks (5 enemy champions).
Once you have all 5 stacks collected, Kai’Sa’s R will be on a very short cooldown and you’ll get to use it more often.
Transcendence is another rune that you select and don’t worry about when you’re in the game.
This rune gives you 5 ability haste on level 5 and 5 ability haste on level 8. However, once you get to level 11, Transcendence resets 20% of the remaining cooldown on your abilities when you score a champion takedown.
So, Transcendence helps you use your spells way more, especially in team fights.
Gathering Storm is a must-have rune for AP Kai’Sa for two reasons.
First, Gathering Storm adds bonus ability power to your stats every 10 seconds, giving you a huge advantage in the late game.
And second, the rune helps Kai’Sa reach 100 ability power which is a requirement for evolving her W – Void Seeker. So, Gathering Storm is very useful!
Read Also: Full AP Kog’Maw Build Guide
AP Kai’Sa Build – Items (Explained)
- Berserker’s Greaves
- Manamune / Muramana
- Luden’s Tempest
- Nashor’s Tooth
- Rabadon’s Deathcap
- Void Staff
When it comes to boots, Berserker’s Greaves are the best option you can go for. These boots increase your attack speed and allow you to do more damage with Kai’Sa’s basic attacks.
However, if you need extra magic penetration or ability haste, purchasing Sorcerer’s Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity can bring you good results too.
Manamune / Muramana
The first item you’ll need to complete on AP Kai’Sa is an AD item – Manamune. And the main reason why that is so is the fact that Manamune increases Kai’Sa’s AD and Kai’Sa has high AD ratios.
In other words, building Manamune increases your damage, especially on your Q. It’s the best item for Kai’Sa in the early game, so make sure to build it first.
Read Also: AP Tristana Build Guide
Luden’s Tempest is the mythic item of choice for AP Kai’Sa. It’s one of the hardest-hitting AP items in League of Legends and it fits perfectly in Kai’Sa’s poking playstyle.
What Luden’s Tempest does is that it empowers your first ability to do extra magic damage and spread to the nearby enemies. In terms of stats, it grants everything that Kai’Sa needs – from AP and mana regeneration to ability haste and magic penetration.
So, Luden’s Tempest is the perfect mythic for AP Kai’Sa.
The third core item in his build is Nashor’s Tooth.
First of all, Nashor’s Tooth grants a lot of ability power and attack speed. And both of these stats are beneficial for AP Kai’Sa.
But on top of that, Nashor’s Tooth gives Kai’Sa’s attacks extra on-hit magic damage. It may not sound like much, but this is actually a huge boost in damage for this champion. So that’s why Nashor’s Tooth is a core item here!
Read Also: AP Miss Fortune Build Guide
Speaking of damage boosters, there’s no greater one for an AP champion than Rabadon’s Deathcap. Because this item gives 120 ability power plus 35% AP increase, it improves your chances of victory.
Once you get Rabadon’s Deathcap on Kai’Sa, her W starts to hit like a track. Each cast can take up to 50 or 60% from the target’s HP which is honestly broken.
And lastly, Void Staff is the best item to complete the AP Kai’Sa build. And the reason is that all the magic penetration allows you to counter tanks and their magic resist.
With Void Staff, Void Seeker can sometimes one-shot an enemy champion and do serious damage to the tanky target. So, you definitely need it in the late game!
Situational Items for AP Kai’Sa
Besides the items you see above, there are plenty that can help you out more in different situations.
For example, if the enemy team has multiple tanks and your poke damage doesn’t do anything, it’s time to switch to Liandry’s Anguish and Demonic Embrace. Both of these items counter tanks by applying a burn effect that scales with their maximum health.
Other than that, defensive items such as Zhonya’s Hourglass and Banshee’s Veil should often be considered, especially against assassins and burst mages.
Read Also: AP Caitlyn One-Shot Build
Skill Order and Summoner’s Spells
AP Kai’Sa doesn’t have a very unique skill order path to AD Kai’Sa. You first need to max out Q simply because you build Manamune first. And once you start building AP you can switch to maxing out W.
That said, here’s how to level up Kai’Sa’s abilities when you build her AP:
For Summoner’s Spells, you can choose a few different combos. Here they are:
- Flash + Ignite – an aggressive combo for 1v1 fights.
- Flash + Teleport – standard and advantageous in all stages of the game.
- Flash + Exhaust – allows you to counter assassins and burst champions.
That was everything on how to play AP Kai’Sa mid in League of Legends! This is one of the most fun mid lane picks that I’ve ever tried and I really recommend it to everyone. And if you want to see how powerful the build is in-game, check how Faker plays AP Kai’Sa on YouTube.
Good luck and have fun!