How to Counter Ahri Kennen (4 Deck Recommendations)

How to Counter Ahri Kennen (4 Deck Recommendations)

Ahri Kennen Counter Guide

Ban it. Boom, article over, everyone go home. What’s that?

You don’t want to just give up and decide something is tier zero?

You’d rather try to find interesting and effective ways to punish people for being too predictable no matter how strong a given deck is? Well, me too.

My name is Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and today I’m going to bash my head into this brick wall until one of us breaks.

Ahri Kennen’s Deck List

Ahri Kennen (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEDQCBACB4AQGBIQAECQUOQEAEBAWDBMGIAQKAQEAEBAEBIBAMBAKBABAMBBIAQFAIDRKAIBAIYQCBACCQAA

[See Ahri Kennen deck details]

Strengths

Sun Tzu once said, “Know your opponent, know yourself, know victory.” To figure out how we are going to counter something, the first thing we need to understand is what makes it tick, what are its strengths and weaknesses. Put simply, where are the points we can apply pressure to find victory?

There are many different variations of this deck that do things slightly differently, but they all run the same thirty-ish card package that gives this archetype its power. This is hard to interact with high-pressure deck, that can draw through basically its entire deck while looking for elusive lethal attacks.

These attacks will generally be pushed by relatively small expendable units. This means that even if you survive a turn or two you will often have to be presenting high-level pressure of your own or their board will just be back and ready to kill you again as soon as the next attack token shows up.

It also almost always has a side plan. That side plan can be Overwhelm, Pack Your Bags, or simply rallying, but it’s always powerful and waiting to steal games from the unwary. And no, to answer the inevitable question, sunk cost doesn’t count. Today is a day for the dreams, not the memes.

That sounds like a pretty unreasonable package when you put it that way. Almost makes sense why people would rather not even try to play against it. What’s the other side of the coin look like though?

Weaknesses

Of all the things this deck does incredibly well, blocking is not on the list. Blocking is far enough from the list that if the list went nuclear it wouldn’t need to worry about the fallout. It has a bunch of cute tricks that allow it to fake blocking, but those are finite, dangerous, and take at least mana if not resources.

Homecoming, Palm, Twin, and Recall, all give temporary answers to this problem, but if you keep turning up the pressure it gets harder and harder as the turns go on. Games like this will often turn into races, and the more aggressive deck can look to close before Ahri’s card advantage engines can really get online.

Homecoming (LoR Card)

This gets even worse when you start looking for ways to block Fearsomes. The first unit that will hit the board able to block a Fearsome attacker out of this deck without assistance will either cost at least four mana, or is a leveled champion. And many Ahri players are cutting on Concussive Palm as well.

On the other side of things “Hard to interact with,” does not mean impossible. While there is plenty of counter-interaction and card-draw here to fight against control, at the end of the day most of the threats are tiny creatures.

With a game plan capable of turning the corner sufficiently quickly, cards like Withering Wail, and other small ping-like effects can buy enough time to find a win. You don’t want to be thinking about trying to run them out of resources but remember all their responses take mana, and that’s mana they aren’t using to defend their precious and fragile nexus.

Withering Wail (LoR card)

Last but not least this deck doesn’t interact all that well as far as actually killing things goes. They’ve got some stuns and recalls and ways to stall for sure. But if something needs to one hundred percent be dead and off the board? Unless they can get to pack or find an Ahri spell they are often out of luck.

So now that we know what we are going to try to exploit, who does it best? Well, there are a couple on this list that are already community favorites when attempting to combat the foxy menace, but at least one or two that I hope to surprise you with.

1. Twisted Fish

Twisted Fish (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CEDAIAYEAUGREGIDAECACEBUAIBAMGRLAECAIBYBAUDAKAIDAYIQEAIBAQTQCBIGBMAA

[See Twisted Fish deck details]

Speaking of, does anyone remember all that time ago why Twisted Fate/Fizz showed in the first place? It was because the meta was being dominated by a high power non-interactive combo deck, Lee Sin. That deck had some serious problems taking key cards off the board, and we’re going to attack Ahri/Kennen along the same axis.

The Game Plan

This deck is ridiculously champion-centric. Something that can be dangerous if people are out to kill your champions, but brutally powerful if they ignore them. The other nice thing is that we have eight. Shelly may not be quite as powerful as either of our other friends once they level, but will often fill in just fine.

Your first win condition is simply to level up Twisted Fate. This deck has an absolutely obscene amount of card draw, and while the ways to get there might have been hit with the nerf bat, once he hits his level form this card slinger is as ridiculous as he ever was. Ahri/Kennen can fight through a lot, but red card/gold card every turn is a bit too much even for them.

Twisted Fate (LoR card) Twisted Fate Level 2 (LoR card)

Past that we can also take on a pretty ridiculously aggressive roll if we manage to get Nami rolling early with help from Flash of Brilliance. Remember when I said Ahri doesn’t really block well? When you start presenting five plus power threats as early as turn three or four that becomes a serious liability.

Last but not least we sprinkle in just a touch of burn. This makes it difficult for our opponent to go for proactive pumps or recalls, and can also simply end games against the unwary. Against many decks five health is a safe place to leave your nexus, not so much here.

The Mulligan

Twisted Fish (LoR Mulligan)

More than anything we are looking for our champions, and Twisted Fate in particular. He does everything you want in this matchup. Don’t be afraid to blue card if you think you can find the level in the next turn or two. Even if you are under a lot of pressure remember how you’re planning to win.

Card draw can hit more card draw to make those flips happen, and I’ve seen three cards cast in a turn off of zero mana with this deck more than once. Ahri has almost no actual burn, so dropping low and then hard controlling the board is an excellent route to victory.

The other cards to seriously consider are Ballistic Bot and Flash of Brilliance. Bot is one of your main engines and allows all of your discard spells to function at top efficiency. Flash seems innocuous, but hyper-levels nami and is a part of one of the ways you can potentially look to apply large amounts of pressure.

2. Spooders

Spooders (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CECAIAIDAIGA6KADAMCQGBAGAMAQKJZVHABAEAYDAQAQEAIDDE3QA

[See Spooders deck details]

Next on our list is a savior that the community definitely knows about, but always seems hesitant to accept. It’s like the Indiana Jones scene friends. The Ahri player is going to sit there twirling the sword and doing all the fancy moves, and the real answer is just to pull out a gun and shoot them in the face.

The Game Plan

You may have noted that two of the big weaknesses we honed in on were Ahri’s inability to block effectively, and inability to specifically block Fearsome units effectively.

Here we are going to gleefully take as much advantage of that as we physically can.

Flood the board with units, swing for the fences and let your burn spells do the cleanup later. The trick matchups here will be when you are playing against the Go Hard version, but even when they can drain a few points of life here and there they are going to find it extremely difficult to keep up with your aggression.

The biggest problem for them is the following fork. Unless they manage to level a Kennen they are never really going to stabilize and will get forced into a race they usually lose.

Stun my Fearsome units as often as you want, they’ll still be there next turn waiting to take a bit out of you.

If they do level Kennen, that often takes too many resources away from staying alive, and you can simply burn them out after getting in one or two wide attacks.

All this is without a leveled Elise showing up which will almost always spell disaster as the few potential blockers are cleared away.

The Mulligan

Spooders (LoR Mulligan)

One drops are obviously the most premium, but the question here is what else are we willing to keep?

Elise and Arachnoid Horror are both worth hanging on to as that Fearsome keyword comes up clutch.

I’d probably still throw back Frenzied Skitterer though unless you already have a made hand.

Stygian onlooker is an interesting one. I will almost always keep it if I have another one drop or one of my solid two drops.

Without something to do in the first turn or two though it often has to hit the road to make sure we can turn the aggression on early. Basically, everything else can hit the road right alongside it.

3. Scouts

Scouts (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CIDACAQGCYAQIAACAECQMAICAEAASHICAMAA4DYDAIAAEBQKAMAQCAAGAIBAMOR6AIBAABYJAA

[See Scouts deck details]

Second, up on the, “What if we just killed them?” theory, is another old favorite. There have been metagames where this deck just absolutely dominated, and those where it gets crushed.

Which one of the two tends to swing on a single fact.
The truth about playing scouts is that if your opponents want to beat you, they will. However, if you’re the one doing the targeting, this Demacia spam plan can pack a pretty impressive punch against the unaware.

The Game Plan

We might not have any fearsome units here, but we’ve got an awful lot of regular ones looking to attack wide and attack often. Scouts may not have any burn but it’s a deck that demands you start competing for the board early or simply be swarmed to death by a multitude of tiny men.

Miss Fortune level 1 (LoR Card) Miss Fortune level 2 (LoR Card)

On top of that Miss Fortune rather demands to be answered. My opponent can do basically whatever they want. If they are going to level up my Miss Fortune on turn five or six then whatever else they are cooking up almost does not matter. My girl got her Overwhelm back a couple of patches ago and she is looking to use it.

The Mulligan

Scouts (LoR Mulligan)

Miss Fortune is obviously your favorite card to play. The mulligan into Ahri with this deck is really quite simple. We might keep a one drop, or the card we are going to talk about next, but unless Miss Fortune is around everything else is getting pitched to go find her.

I know that Stoney Suppressor is a bit of a controversial pick, but I really do just love my opponent’s Kennen marks rotting away in their hand. It gives me a perverse sort of joy that simply getting on with my life and killing them cannot quite measure up to.

I open keep these, and it makes my opponent who already has a hard time interacting with me get that much more stone-walled if you’ll forgive the pun.

If you are on the other side of things, simply cut them and play more one and two drops to all-in on the swarm aspect, you’ll probably do fine.

4. Darkness*

Darkness (LoR Deck)

Deck Code: CECACAYFCACQKCRRLVPGFJQBAEAQKKADAUCQQCIOAIBAKCQ2YYAQGAIFAEJR2AA

[See Darkness deck details]

I hesitate a touch to include this last one for two reasons. One, I’m the only one crazy enough to actually play this nonsense. Two, most people would really rather play normal Darkness than tech it this hard into one matchup.

Baseline darkness is either slightly favored or slightly unfavored into Ahri/Kennen depending on the builds of both involved but can make a very good showing of itself.

This version is quite happy to see Ahri, but will have some serious issues when control mirrors rear their ugly heads.

The Game Plan

Ping, ping, ping, and ping some more. Then when they try to do anything else, Darkness, or perhaps a large-scale ping we might call a sweeper. I said at the beginning of all this that Ahri is hard to interact with, but that does not mean impossible.

Sometimes you can just pack so much low mana point removal in to a deck that all of their answers will get overwhelmed. If they can’t keep a dancing droplet on the board then until they hit Sai’Nen they will end up getting pretty stalled. That is all the time this deck needs to do one of two things.

Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed (lor card)

Either send them packing, sometimes at fast speed courtesy of Senna or get your Veigar leveled and simply kill them by sending all the Darkness directly at their face.

Remember that basically, nothing will outvalue Sai’Nen in a super late game scenario, so hold their early plays, and find your moment to turn the corner.

The Mulligan

Darkness (LoR Mulligan)

Catalyzer and Veigar are your two most important picks, followed closely by Catalogue of Regrets. You don’t actually need to keep Go Hard because your opponent will almost always have to play as if you do.

Since basically, your entire deck is removal you can usually rely on it coming back to you post mulligan.

If you already have one of your threats then an open-keeping box or wail can also be quite worthwhile. These are your solid answers to the opponent’s Kinkou Wayfinder turns.

Senna, while lovely, is generally a touch slow in this matchup, and needs to go back until she can be found again in the later turns.

Closing Thoughts

Those are what I have for you today folks. If you want to brew counters on your own then keep that weaknesses section in mind and you probably won’t end up too far off.

Whether it’s on the ladder or out there in tournaments, I wish you luck against the foxy menace, and I’ll catch you next time.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).

WhatAmI streams at twitch.tv/xxwhatamixx Tuesday-Thursday