Kayn is one of Riot’s most unique champion designs to date. His passive, Darkin Scythe, allows you to take the form of an assassin that one-shots squishy targets, or an over-healing bruiser that just doesn’t die no matter the foe (blue and red Kayn).
The choice between these two is usually done in champion select based on the runes you equip. But sometimes you might find yourself making a quick decision and swapping forms at the early stages of the game.
Kayn has a very fast jungle clear and easy-to-play game style. He’s a great champion to solo-carry games with and 1v5 the enemy teams. So once you become an expert at his transformations, you’ll also enter the LP gains heaven.
But to truly become a Kayn master, you must know all the advantages of blue and red Kayn.
Here I’ll give you all the information about the two forms. And by the end of this guide, you’ll know everything about red vs. blue Kayn and which one you should choose.
How Does Kayn’s Transformation Work in LoL?
Kayn wields an ancient, sentient weapon that battles with him for control. And his transformation is due to his passive – Darkin Scythe.
Dealing damage to champions causes them to drop orbs that are automatically collected upon leaving combat, filling a bar above Kayn’s in-game portrait. Once this bar is full, Kayn can choose to be overwhelmed by Rhaast or expel him to become a shadow assassin (red or blue Kayn.
The first form that becomes available to Kayn is based on whether he has damaged more melee or ranged champions, respectively. Damaging more melee champions progresses Kayn’s bar towards red Kayn while doing the same to ranged champions offers the blue Kayn form.
Once primed, the other option becomes available after 4 minutes. Kayn can continue collecting orbs to reduce this timer.
In a nutshell, if you are entering a game wanting to become the shadow assassin, you should fight as many ranged champions early on to get your form as soon as possible. On the other hand, If you are trying to become red Kayn, you are better off fighting melee champions.
Change your jungle path to give yourself the best chance at successful ganks as Kayn and to obtain the orbs you prefer.
For example, if you want to take the red form, you can start from the bot side and gank the melee enemy top laner on level 3 instead of taking the opposing route and ganking the ranged enemy bot laners.
That’s how you collect your first red or blue orbs on Kayn.
Red vs. Blue Kayn – What’s the Difference?
Choosing between red and blue Kayn has consequences on your build, gameplay, and performance. Basically, the blue form allows Kayn to become an assassin, build lethality items, and one-shot enemies. And the red form allows Kayn to become a fighter, build like a bruiser, and have insane self-healing.
But there’s more to each of Kayn’s forms.
So, here’s what you should know about red vs. blue Kayn
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Red Kayn – Explained
Let’s start with Rhaast, aka red Kayn.
This form is usually taken when the enemy team has more tanky champions than squishy champions. And the reason is that while blue Kayn is designed for quick fights and assassinations, red Kayn looks for prolonged fights where he can heal and out damage his opponents.
Red Kayn is also a team fight machine. And one of his best tools is his W – Blades Reach which becomes a knock-up with this form. With its short recall and combo with his R – Umbral Trespass, Kayn could stun enemies in a team fight multiple times.
But what about a 1v1?
Red Kayn isn’t just good in team fights, he is by far one of the most powerful duelists to play and among the most annoying ones to face. With his insane healing, knock-up, and low cooldowns, Kayn can hold his own against any champion on Summoner’s Rift.
Blue Kayn – Explained
Now on to the Shadow Assassin, aka blue Kayn.
Taking this form means you want to snowball early and eliminate high-priority targets quickly and easily. Usually, you choose this form when the enemy team has three or more squishy damage dealers.
Once you complete your orb collection, you will become a frightening assassin that the enemy carries will fear. Your increased speed while using E – Shadow Step, as well as the ability to move through walls, makes it almost impossible for enemies to avoid your gank.
Blue Kayn’s abilities differ greatly from red Kayn’s.
The main differences are his W – Blades Reach which does not stun but instead slows, it has an increased range and can be cast while moving. On the other hand, his R – Umbral Trespass also has increased range and deals bonus magic damage.
While being able to remove a champion or two from a team fight is incredible, to say the least, that’s where blue Kayn’s team fight strength ends. Once blue Kayn goes in and blows all of his cooldowns, it’s up to the rest of the team to do the rest.
And what about a 1v1 duel?
While it all depends on how fed you are, blue Kayn loses to most bruisers and tanks due to the fact he is squishy and all about burst damage. But against a squishy opponent, blue Kayn can always one-shot them as long as he uses his abilities well.
Which Kayn Form is Better – Red or Blue?
It mostly depends on the team comp of both teams. For below Platinum elo, it is recommended that you play Rhaast aka red Kayn because the games are longer and blue Kayn scales worse into the late game.
If you find that your team is lacking a tank/bruiser and are begging you to play red Kayn, don’t be pressured into it. Have a look at the enemy team and decide for yourself. If they are also going all squishy champions and you have confidence in your abilities to snowball and carry then you should go blue Kayn.
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What Should You Build for Red Kayn? (The Best Build for Red Kayn)
Red Kayn should mainly be built as a tank bruiser champion, so you are going to need runes that match. His main tree will be Precision with the secondary being Inspiration.
- Legend: Tenacity
- Last Stand
- Magical Footwear
- Cosmic Insight
CONQUEROR is Red Kayn’s best keystone because of how fast he can stack it. And once stacked, Kayn will heal even more than his kit allows and deal more damage.
TRIUMPH is another heal rune for Kayn. When he jumps into multiple enemies, getting a takedown can give him a burst of HP so that he can continue slicing through the rest.
One of Kayn’s greatest weaknesses is being crowd controlled. So, LEGEND: TENACITY helps with that by giving a small percentage of tenacity with each takedown.
Even while being pummeled in a fight, Red Kayn can survive long enough to deal crazy amounts of damage while healing at the same time. LAST STAND increases his damage while on low health which in turn increases his healing.
With MAGICAL FOOTWEAR, you get free boots at the 12th minute (or earlier by getting takedowns) which saves you a bit of gold.
COSMIC INSIGHT grants 18 Summoner’s Spell haste and 10 item haste which helps Kayn a lot too.
Red Kayn benefits greatly from cooldown reduction and getting his core items as soon as possible. Free boots and more cooldown reduction is the way to go.
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Itemization for red Kayn is very straightforward. The mythic of choice is definitely Goredrinker which is perfect for red Kayn with its ability haste and healing active.
The legendary items can be adjusted each game due to team comps and enemy champions but Goredrinker is a must. But here’s the general build you want to aim at.
- Death’s Dance
- Black Cleaver
- Spirit Visage
- Sterak’s Gage
- Plated Steelcaps
Items like Thornmail or Guardian Angel can also be purchased depending on the situation at hand.
What Should You Build for Blue Kayn? (The Best Build for Blue Kayn)
Blue Kayn can use a few different rune paths. Domination into Inspiration for Electrocute or Dark Harvest can give him extra burst damage. But the highest win rate rune build is Inspiration into Domination and here’s why.
- First Strike
- Magical Footwear
- Future’s Market
- Cosmic Insight
- Sudden Impact
- Treasure Hunter
Blue Kayn is all about the quick in and out style of dealing damage. And the bonus true damage of FIRST STRIKE will allow you to secure champions much easier.
Additionally, the bonus gold, together with Treasure Hunter, will get you Kayn’s snowball items even faster.
With MAGICAL FOOTWEAR, you get a free pair of boots so you save even more gold in the early game.
FUTURE’S MARKET allows you to go into debt and buy your items even if you don’t have enough gold for them. So, it’s perfect for scaling
COSMIC INSIGHT grants Summoner’s Spell haste and item haste which is also very useful on blue Kayn.
SUDDEN IMPACT is a perfect rune for any assassin champion, including blue Kayn. It grants you bonus lethality after you use a dash and Kayn can activate it very easily.
TREASURE HUNTER is the last rune you’ll pick up and grants bonus gold with each unique takedown. So, it synergizes with First Strike perfectly.
Getting your form and items quicker on Blue Kayn is essential. So being able to not spend gold on boots and go into debt will make sure you’re able to hit power spikes sooner than expected. And this will surprise your enemies.
Blue Kayn will be quickly ganking all over the map once he has his form. Take advantage of the rune Treasure Hunter to make sure every successful gank is rewarded to its maximum. Sudden Impact goes great with Blue Kayn’s itemization as he builds a lot of lethality too.
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Itemization for blue Kayn is a little more complex than red Kayn.
Unlike his red alter ego, blue Kayn’s mythic item is not set in stone. Assassins have a lot of options when it comes to choosing their mythic. Kayn could easily build Duskblade, Eclipse, and even Prowler’s Claw without sacrificing any gameplay aspect.
As for legendary items, blue Kayn players can opt to build full lethality items or try an interesting Manamune build for extra damage.
There are also some builds for blue Kayn that use Goredrinker as a mythic, combined with Manamune, Black Cleaver, and Death’s Dance. So, you can even play blue Kayn as a high-damage fighter.
But this is my personal favorite item set for blue Kayn.
- Prowler’s Claw
- The Collector
- Serylda’s Grudge
- Edge of Night
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
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Whether you play Kayn as the tanky bruiser or the explosive assassin, no two games will be the same. I have been playing Kayn since his release and he is still as fun as the day I started. But I do change between red and blue Kayn very often and I base my decision on the enemy team.
I hope this guide helped you understand more about the shadow reaper and gave you some pointers in pursuing him as your go-to jungler.
Good luck and have fun!