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Introduction to Kayle
Kayle is, as described in the flavor text a holy avenger and guardian angel, and this is reflected in her gameplay. At first glance, one might be inclined to relegate Kayle to the ranks of healing and support heroes like Soraka or Zilean, but her true role is much more than that. Capable of serving as a powerful tank or a capable nuker, Kayle - even when on the offense - has one of the most powerful skills in the game: Intervention. Though your concept, masteries or item build does not need to focus on this skill, merely possessing this gives your team a significant edge. Read on to see how Kayle can be both a protector and ender of lives in any game of League of Legends.
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Kayle - Masteries and Runes
Kayle does not depend on masteries and runes as heavily as many carries (like Teemo) do, but using them to play to her strengths and cover her weaknesses. What masteries you choose will depend on how you wish to play Kayle. Though she is tagged as tank and support, Kayle can also be played as an ability power based caster or a tough physical DPSer (much like Malphite, Nasus or Sion). Any of the three trees can be useful, but utility is perhaps the most useful for beginners and jack-of-all-trades. Picking up the mana and health regen talents and especially the cooldown reduction talents can make Kayle less starved for mana in the beginning (a common problem) and allow her to cast her ultimate more often. All of the talents in the defense tree will help Kayle's survivability, allowing her to stay in the fray longer, and many talents in the offense tree can improve Kayle's nukes, cooldowns and burst damage (this is a good choice for aggressive Kayle players, but you will be forced to pick up some talents that are not particularly useful).
Runes are also up to the player, but one very good suggestion is that you fill your Glyph page with Greater Runes of Celerity - this will allow you to cast your ultimate at level 18 (with the right items and masteries) every 36 seconds. Good choices for the rest of your runes are anything with mana regen (Kayle has mana problems, especially early game) magic penetration, or health (though Kayle is an excellent tank even without runes).
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Kayle - Abilities
Holy Fervor (25% attack speed when she kills an enemy or an ally dies nearby. Stacks up to 4 times), Reckoning (Deals [80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300] damage and slows [25%]),
Divine Blessing (Heals [60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200] and boosts move speed [8 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16%] for 20 seconds,
Righteous Fury (Turns Kayle's auto-attack in a ranged AoE, adds [6 / 12 / 18 / 24 / 30] damage and deals [20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40%] splash damage) and
Intervention (Gives unit invulnerability for [3/4/5] seconds).
The order in which you advance your abilities is up to you, but there are some abilities that scale better than others and will be better served by getting earlier. Reckoning, Kayle's nuke and slow, scales 1:1 with AP and does 300 base damage at rank 5 - this makes it excellent for harassment and burst damage. If you are building an AP Kayle or an aggressive Kayle, max this first. Your other choice is Divine Blessing which does not scale as quickly but can still be significant - raising this early gives you and your allies a massive speed advantage. You can choose to raise Righteous Fury first, but it is better to put one rank in it for harassment and pushing lanes and towers since it scales poorly. Always choose Intervention when it is an option.
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Kayle - Items
For a tank, consider a Philosopher's Stone, Warmogs Armor, Aegis of Legion, Sunfire Cape and a Frozen Mallet. Any armor or health item will be useful - prioritize armor or passive effects, since Kayle's health is naturally high.
For an AP Kayle, pick up a Chalice of Harmony (Otherwise you will be out of mana frequently) and prioritize a Medjai's Soulstealer early (This is a poor item for caster champions, but fantastic on Kayle due to her survivability - also, if you manage to achieve twenty stacks, you receive a massive cooldown reduction) and a Lichbane (with Reckoning and Righteous Fury she can put out massive burst damage.) Note that AP increases the effectiveness of your heal - making you a better hero killer and a better support hero.
For a physical DPS Kayle, choose as you would for a physical carry. In general, Nashor's Tooth, Starks Fervor, the Aegis of the Legion, Frozen Heart and Soul Shroud are good choices for Kayle, if you are unsure of what to choose. Cooldown reduction allows Kayle to work her game-changing magic more often.
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Kayle - Laning and Ganks
Kayle is, at heart, a team hero. You should choose the top or bottom lane and go with an ally, especially a physical carry like Master Yi, Twitch or Ashe. Your heal, slow and invulnerability will help you get early kills and tower pushes. Play aggressively since you are tough and have a heal, especially when your ultimate is up - enemy champions may get cocky and push too far, allowing you to punish them by intelligent use of Intervention. Use Righteous Fury to farm and don't be afraid to push a tower by yourself if the opposing team is low on stuns and slows. (NOTE: Kayle's low cooldown nuke and invulnerability makes her an excellent solo hero as well, but this is a poor choice in public games and is recommended only for advanced players)
Kayle is vital in team battles and ganks, but you should measure that against her ability to push towers with Righteous Fury and Intervention. Push whenever it is even remotely safe, but if a full-team battle seems to be forming, make sure that you are there. Use your ultimate to initiate or to protect your weak, high-damage carries (especially Twitch and Master Yi). Use your heal on escaping or chasing allies (if they get a kill, this counts as an assist - which means money, XP or charges for your Medjai's!) or just to save them from dying. If you team is holding its own, push a tower by yourself.
By now, even if you have been winning the entire game, you will have started to lose effectiveness. Play carefully and save your Intervention for your carries, who should be able to take down several enemies during the six seconds of immunity. If you've built for AP or damage, you should be able to take down towers easily with Righteous Fury - if there are any exposed, attack them during moments of distraction. Don't be afraid to die to save your team - Kayle can afford this.
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Final Thoughts and Heroes to Watch out For
Though Kayle is powerful against carries and other tanks, there are a couple heroes who are especially threatening.
Kassadin: Kassadin's mobility, damage and especially his silence can shut Kayle down. Avoid direct lane fights and be prepared to use Divine Blessing or your ultimate early to avoid be silenced at a crucial moment.
Fiddlesticks: Fiddlestick's fear and silence can keep Kayle from taking any actions for almost ten seconds - long enough for her to be focused or her team to be killed. Maintain good map awareness and consider a Banshee's Veil to block Fiddlestick's spells.
Though billed as a straight tank and support champion, Kayle is useful in a number of roles and can surprise even the most seasoned players (One of the highest ranked LoL players plays an aggressive AP Kayle). Experiment with different strategies and soon you will be an asset to any team.
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