Legends Of Runeterra: Kayn Guide

Quick Links

  • Kayn: Champion Overview
  • Evolved Kayn
  • Champion Spell
  • Passive
  • Deckbuilding Options
  • General Playstyle
  • Closing Thoughts

One of the champions in the Awakening Expansion in Legends of Runeterra, Kayn is a student of the Shadow Technique, and the wielder of the Darkin Scythe, Rhaast, with whom he willingly struggles for control over his body. The power he could attain from conquering such a creature keeps him from giving up the fight, for he hopes to surpass his teacher Zed, and become the greatest shadow assassin in existence.

Kayn offers a great deal to your deck, not just in his ability to single-handedly snowball a game, but in your deckbuilding as well thanks to his passive. So, let’s take a look at what Kayn can do and how to build an effective deck around him.

Kayn: Champion Overview

Kayn is a two-attack, five-health unit with Challenger that costs five mana to play, and his evolution condition is the following: “I’ve struck twice. When I level up, Recall me.”

His mana cost-to-stats ratio leaves a bit to be desired, as it is well below average (an average ratio would have him at five-attack, five-health). Furthermore, he can’t level up outside of play, which makes his base form even less threatening. Sure, having five health makes him a sticky unit, but the two attack doesn’t pose much of a threat when it comes to trading.

Additionally, Kayn Auto-Equips his weapon, The Darkin Scythe. This might sound like a good thing because it buffs his base stats, but in reality, it does nothing of the sort, as this Equipment’s base stats are zero-attack, zero-health. However, every time Kayn attacks, it gains plus one attack, and every time he kills an enemy, he is healed for two health.

Evolved Kayn

Evolved Kayn is slightly complicated, so let’s pick this apart. To trigger his evolution, as previously stated, Kayn needs to strike twice. He is then Recalled as a three-attack, six-health unit (plus any stats he gained from The Darkin Scythe), replayable for zero mana. Once you play him, you have a choice to turn him into Rhaast or The Shadow Assassin


The Rhaast evolution for Kayn represents the Darkin taking over Kayn's body. This transformation grants him Overwhelm (in addition to his existing Challenger), the ability to fully heal himself and his Nexus for two health every time he kills an enemy, and the Corrupted Scythe as his weapon, which he Auto-Equips.

The Corrupted Scythe gains plus one attack and one health as soon as it’s Equipped, and again every time Rhaast attacks, instead of the Darkin Scythe's basic one attack buff.

The Shadow Assassin

The Shadow Assassin evolution for Kayn is his conquering of the Darkin’s power and making it his own. This transformation grants him Elusive (in addition to his existing Challenger) and the Shadow Scythe as his weapon, which he Auto-Equips. The Shadow Scythe gains plus two attack every time Kayn attacks, instead of gaining just one attack.

Choosing An Evolution

The choice you have allows for some dynamic gameplay. In most cases, your deck shouldn’t be what dictates your evolutionary choice, but rather, the game state should be the deciding factor for this.

For example, if you’re up against a deck heavy on Elusive units, or a deck that has no reliable way to deal with Elusive units, you may want to opt for The Shadow Assassin. If you’re up against a snowballing midrange or late-game control deck (or you just want more sustain), then perhaps you want to opt for Rhaast. Don’t always go for one evolution over the other: examine the situation you’re in and choose accordingly.

Champion Spell

Kayn’s champion spell is Kayn’s Shadowstep. It allows Kayn to Challenge an enemy unit, and also provides him with Quick Attack for extra safety. This also inherently triggers his weapon’s buff (whichever weapon he may be holding at the time), giving him more stats.

Be careful with this champion spell, as it is a slow-spell. As such, it can be easily countered, or even Denied or Nopeified, which not only would stop the spell, but essentially kill a Kayn in your deck.


Kayn’s passive is The Shadow Reaper, and provides you with some really powerful buffs. First, it allows you to put any Cultist card in your deck during deckbuilding, regardless of region. Furthermore, once you’ve played three cultists in the game, you draw a Kayn, which makes getting him in your hand reliable even if you don’t mulligan him.

Deckbuilding Options

Considering Kayn’s flexibility in playstyle, it stands to reason that the deck you build around him can be flexible as well. While it’s definitely important to bring some defensive spells to protect Kayn, regardless of what region(s) you’re working with, you don’t need as many as you normally would, since he can heal himself in both his base and Rhaast forms.

Kayn and Gwen

Gwen and her supportive Shadow Isle units with the Hallowed keyword can enable Kayn quite a bit. Every time a unit with Hallowed dies, it permanently grants your first attacker for the rest of the game plus one attack. This stacks efficiently, and is of great assistance to Kayn, especially if you’re giving him Quick Attack through his champion spell.

After all, his five health already makes him hard to kill, so why not give him more attack?

Kayn And Taric

The reason you might want to pair Kayn up with Taric is simply because of how much support Taric can offer Kayn. With Kayn’s level-up condition forcing him to strike, having Taric (and the plethora of support cards from the region of Targon) provide some serious protection is a big help.

Plus, seeing that Kayn has Challenger, if the enemy only has one unit on the board, you can force it to block Kayn instead of giving them the option to block Taric and possibly kill him.

Kayn And Jarvan IV

Jarvan IV’s level-up condition lines up nicely with Kayn’s, as it requires that “Allies have survived 3+ strikes from enemy blockers,” and can be achieved out of play. Leveling up Kayn already fulfills two out of three of these strikes, plus, the Demacian exclusive spell Cataclysm (which also is Jarvan IV’s champion spell), enables yet another opportunity to level up Kayn in a single turn.

Kayn and Akshan

Akshan, or more specifically, the effects from his Warlord’s Hoard upon leveling up, offer many supportive choices for Kayn, such SpellShield, increased stats, and more impressively, a zero-cost copy of your strongest ally that died this game.

So, if you’re running a Kayn and Akshan deck, make sure that Kayn is your strongest ally so that you can get a free copy of him.

Furthermore, Akshan’s champion spell, Akshan’s Grappling Hook, allows you to pick an ally to strike an enemy (without being struck back by said enemy), enabling you to level up Kayn in a single turn.

General Playstyle

As mentioned, Kayn’s playstyle is very versatile due to his two different evolutions. While you can build an aggressive or Elusive deck around him with the intention of turning him into The Shadow Reaper, you can also build a midrange deck around him with the intention of turning him into Rhaast and keeping him alive for as long as possible.

Regardless of your choice, however, it is important that you leave your mind open to picking the form you weren’t initially thinking of picking. Part of what makes Kayn so strong is his ability to adapt. Here are a few examples of certain situations:

  • If you find yourself needing more trading power, pick Rhaast since he heals himself with every kill.
  • If you find yourself against a hyper-aggro deck, pick Rhaast since he heals your Nexus with every kill.
  • If you find yourself against a heavy control deck with no answer to Elusive units (except spells), pick The Shadow Assassin to force them into spending mana defensively instead of offensively.

Closing Thoughts

Simply put, there’s a lot that can be done with Kayn. As such, don’t be afraid to try things out with him. Pair him up with champions not even mentioned in this guide, for the worst thing that happens is you lose, and you start swapping some cards out to make your deck idea work better.

Try an aggro deck; try a mid-range deck; try a cultist deck. Kayn has a lot of potential so feel free to play around with him.

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