How to Play KDA (Ahri Kennen Go Hard)
It’s been a hot minute, and in that minute, I’ve been brewing up a storm on this latest balance patch.
My name is Jordan “WhatAmI” Abronson and as the new year arrives, I’ve got a spicy one for you that I’ve already used to get to the top of ladder.
Please welcome my own personal take on Ahri/Kennen, KDA Deck.
We’ve covered a ton of other decks so be sure to check out our previous deck guides!
Deck Code: CEDACBACB4AQGBIQAECQUOQFAEBAWDBMGI4QCBICAQAQGAQFAUAQGAQUAEBAEBIBAEBDCAIFAIDQCBACCQAA
Aficionados of other Ahri/Kennen archetypes will see a few familiar faces along with a few glaring question marks. Our early game creature package is about as natural as it gets for this archetype.
A bunch of tiny elusive targets ready to bounce up, down, and all around while generating card and board advantage.
We’ve then got some powerful Ionian disruption to deal with our opponent’s mid-game, and we back it up with a full suite of four 6 drops.
Pod is a slightly odd conclusion but I stand by it 100%. The versatility of this card cannot be overstated.
It can get you interaction, Twin Disciplines to go for a kill turn, or Go Hard to help pack your opponent’s bags.
Speaking of which, what in the allegiance-based nonsense is Go Hard doing in this deck? Doesn’t it hurt your odds on Kinkou Wayfinder?
How does it even help our game plan? Well, I get asked these questions enough that for this guide I think Go Hard deserves its own section.
There are two answers to the first objection to this card, namely that it hurts Kinkou Wayfinder. One simply plays Wayfinder before you play Go Hard. Boom fixed the problem. Number two is math-based.
No, don’t roll your eyes at me, this is important. If I have played a single Go Hard before Kinkou Wayfinder there will be four copies of it in my deck, and generally between twenty-eight and thirty-two total cards. That means that in the bad scenarios, I am missing between one out of seven and one out of eight times.
Those aren’t exactly my favorite odds in the world, but they are still firmly in my favor. Not to mention that plenty of other allegiance decks start with four or more misses in them by default. The nice thing about this one is that if you do miss you can usually pick your Allegiance card back up and try again.
The other main objection is “What does this do for us?” To which the answer is, everything. I think this objection comes mostly because people don’t understand what kind of deck they are playing, so I am here today to assist with that.
This is a midrange deck. It has an aggressive, disruptive gameplan, that molds itself to its opposition. A drain one, gaining some small healing, and finishing off dangerous threats is a pretty big deal to a deck like that.
We’re also all about alternate win conditions around here. We can win with Elusive aggression, either leveled champion, or even a random large Pod attacking on turn ten. Slotting Pack Your Bags into that number makes our opponent’s lives even more difficult.
And if there is one thing I am about in Runeterra it is deckbuilding and play decisions that make things hard on my opponents. In the world of competitive gaming, we call this attempting to force errors, and I am a big fan.
Phase One: Establishing Value
Alright, on to playing the deck now. As you start the game, you’re going to be looking to get your engines running. This will almost always include Dancing Droplet, Kinkou Wayfinder, or Kennen, though Shadow Assassin can pinch-hit if you need her to.
Against control and most midrange you generally want to be more focused on your droplets than Kennen. Having lots of cards is a good time. Against aggro though, bouncing Kennen up and down is a great way to stabilize a board against early incoming aggression.
Ahri is of course amazing in any phase of this deck’s game plan, but even without her, we’ve got plenty of other bounce to keep things rolling. Don’t be afraid to fire off a Recall or Navori Conspirator just to get value if you need it.
That said unless things are truly desperate, Homecoming is your biggest trump card. Save it for when you can protect it to make sure it goes off and get some serious work done.
Phase Two: Establishing The Plan
This is the phase where, based on the game state and draw, we need to be deciding how we are looking to win the game. My favorite thing about midrange decks in particular, and this one in specific, is that this changes not only matchup to matchup, but often even game to game.
Are we trying to get hard control of the board with multiple leveled Kennens? Do we want to find lethal as quickly as possible by aggressively leveling Ahri and pumping her up for the win? Are we going late with our six-drops and grinding our opponent out of value? Maybe we’ll simply pack their bags and be done.
This is labeled stage two, but there is no time too early to ask yourself “how am I going to win.” It’s generally easier to get a concrete idea of this around turn three to four, but sometimes you’ll be able to figure it out even earlier than that.
Once you’ve answered that question it will help you make all the rest of the decisions in the game at hand. That said, don’t be afraid to re-examine it. Game states change quickly and you’ve got to be ready to change with them.
Phase Three: Execution and Sacrifice
One of the interesting things about this deck and its multi-pronged game plans is that when you figure out which bits are important to you, you are also figuring out which bits aren’t. And when we need to defend ourselves, those bits go on the chopping block very quickly.
No joking here, I have had games where I have chump blocked a large creature with an Ahri, without a backup in my hand, before giving up either a Dancing Droplet or a Kennen. I went on to win that game too.
Not that the above scenario will happen particularly often, but knowing which pieces of your engine are critical and which are detritus is extremely important in a deck that is primarily small units. You are going to be forced into chump blocking a reasonable amount of the time, and knowing what to throw in the fire is extremely important.
Some games when you are on the Pack Your Bags plus Scattered Pod gameplan, you can even throw in everything to stay alive safely. Then a 5|6 Elusive and a massive burning board sweep come down to clear it all up and get the win. Like everything else I try to teach, it’s all about knowing where your victory lies.
This is another deck that I have a blast piloting because of the play patterns it creates and the lines the pilot has to take both in thinking and in play.
Playing and mastering this archetype cannot do anything but make you a more proficient player at the game of Runeterra as a whole and I heartily recommend it to both new and experienced gamers alike.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (Tuesday-Thursday around 3PM PST and weekends for tournaments).