How to Counter Kai’Sa (6 Tips)
Kai’Sa is one of the strongest Marksmen in the game right now with her insane pick rate and carry potential.
With the Support meta consisting of either enchanters or tanks, she is doing very well in the current meta as she synergizes well with some of the best Support picks.
Throughout this guide, we will break down some tips and tricks to make handling the Daughter of the Void a little bit easier.
Knowing how to prevent Kai’Sa’s incredible snowball potential is key to beating her when she’s strong.
Some of this advice will work for solo lane Kai’Sa, however, this information is fine-tuned for bottom lane Kai’Sa.
How to Counter Kai’Sa
- Level 1 trading
- Play around her Q
- Stand behind minions at all times
- Avoid extended trades
- Play around Galeforce
- Delay or deny her power spike
We recently launched our new Combos feature, so be sure to check out Kai’Sa’s combos to understand her mechanics and burst potential.
1. Level 1 trading
At level 1, you can get a lot of poke down on the Kai’Sa. You should try to harass her as much as possible so she is forced to burn through her sustain.
As the Support, you can quickly get your first three stacks at level one. Hey, even Lulu can easily get her stacks just by using her E on the Kai’Sa.
While poking is crucial, you need to understand how most Kai’Sa players will play. At level 1, they tend to use their Q on the minion wave to secure the first three melee minions easily.
With this in mind, avoid walking near the front minions so her Q doesn’t focus you as well. If her Q focuses you, you’ll take extra damage for no real reason.
You can choose to wait for her to kill the first three minions before looking to harass her, or you can stand inside the minion wave near the caster minions and harass her instead. This will be a much safer option at level 1.
For ADCs, try to harass her with your abilities at level 1 while focusing on securing minions and hitting level 2 quickly.
2. Play around her Q
We touched on it briefly, but did you know Kai’Sa’s Q will evenly hit nearby targets. When trading or fighting Kai’Sa, try to surround yourself by as many allied minions as possible so they take some of the incoming damage.
If they take some of the damage, you should (in theory) have a better chance of coming out ahead as not all of her Q damage will be coming your way.
If you fight her without a minion wave, all her Q damage will hit you; increasing her chances of killing you in a 1v1 as you’ll take more damage.
You do not need to have a huge minion wave to block damage, just standing near minions will be beneficial.
Fighting her inside a minion wave has the bonus that the minions will focus her if she auto attacks you, which can come in handy when it comes to killing her.
Note that she can use her E, her Ultimate, or the bushes to drop minion aggro.
3. Stand behind minions at all times
This will be our last tip about positioning in lane, I promise! Other than standing in the minion wave or near minions to block Kai’Sa’s Q damage, try to ensure you’re always stood behind at all times to block Kai’Sa’s W.
Her W is a powerful tool that can enable her to all-in or go for poke trades.
Things to keep in mind:
- Her W can apply a stack on her Passive. This will allow her to win trades more efficiently. She may use it at the start to initiate a trade or to proc her Passive. Either way, proccing her Passive will deal extra damage.
- She can use her Ultimate to close the gap on targets hit by her W.
- If you’re on low health, she could use her W to snipe and finish you off.
- If you’re on low health, she could use her W to close the gap and finish you off.
- When paired with a peel or utility Support like Lulu, she can use her W, cast her Ultimate, and then Lulu can follow it up with her Ultimate and knock you up.
Try your hardest to stay behind minions whenever possible. When recalling, keep an eye on the minimap and avoid “shopping” while you recall so you can react and move in time.
If you cannot stand behind minions, avoid chokepoints such as around the tower or near walls as you have less room to dodge her incoming W.
4. Avoid extended trades
Kai’Sa’s Passive is a powerful trading tool. Basic attacks, her W and allied CC will apply stacks of Plasma on a target. At 4 stacks, she will then deal additional damage to the target.
Extended trades will work in her favor as she will be able to proc her Passive pretty easily. To make trades more effective and to increase your survivability, think twice before going for a long trade with her as she will deal extra damage thanks to this spell.
In the early game, focus on short bursty trades rather than long drawn out ones. Preferably, look for trades when her Q or W is down to reduce her damage output.
However, I know this isn’t always possible, so if you are committing to a fight, try to commit when her Q is down to reduce her damage output (regardless of whether she can proc her Passive or not).
5. Play around Galeforce
There are two distinct builds for Kai’Sa right now. One of them takes Galeforce, and the other takes Kraken Slayer.
While in my personal opinion, I believe that the Kraken Slayer is the better build, many players tend to go Galeforce on her. Each build is fine, but take note of which build she is going.
If she is going Galeforce, you only have so long to abuse her before things start to get heavy.
Once this item is completed, landing skill shots like Nami Q will be much harder as she can use Galeforce to dodge skill shots, dodge CC, and chase you down and kill you. Galeforce is incredibly versatile and hard to play against.
Try to kill her and look for fights as often as you can before she gets this item. Once she has Galeforce, you need to pick your fights and abuse her while it’s on cooldown.
Avoid using key abilities like Nami Q, Zyra E or Vel’Koz E as missing this ability could allow her to close the gap with Galeforce and kill you.
Be careful not to overextend and try to stay as far away from her as possible when playing a squishy champion as she can easily chase you down and kill you.
Galeforce is Kai’Sa’s most popular build as of patch 11.2. Keep up to date with Kai’Sa’s latest build with our Kai’Sa’s champion page.
6. Delay or deny her snowball
Kai’Sa is a monster once she has some gold and levels behind her. Not only does buying items increase her damage output, but they also upgrade her abilities too.
Once she buys a certain amount of AP, AD or AS, she can empower one of her abilities. Find out more interesting Kai’Sa information in our guide on how to play her!
One way of delaying or preventing her from being a monster in the mid and late game is by setting her behind in the early game through constant fights, early ganks, and earning more gold than her.
If you’re not able to get ahead of her, you can reduce her carry potential by playing safe and not giving her gold by staying alive and not dying to her.
Another way of doing this is by respecting the enemy’s synergy in lane.
Kai’Sa has incredibly strong all-in and can easily follow up if you get hooked by the enemy. So, watch your positioning and play safe when they have a higher kill threat than you.
If she has a Support who empowers her like Lulu, understand that she will have a lot of shielding and extra damage and attack speed thanks to Lulu’s basic abilities.
She spikes at different items and levels (depending on her build). If you want to learn more about power spikes in League of Legends, check out this power spikes guide.
All in all, if you’re not able to abuse her in the early game, you can prevent her from snowballing by playing safe and not giving her free gold and shutdowns.
To summarize, Kai’Sa is a solid pick right now. She is definitely up there with the top three most popular and robust ADC’s around. We hope these tips will make dealing with her a little bit easier.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants’s stream.