Hey there, Raphterra here! Yesterday, I released an article on the best Jax decks so far, and today we continue the series as I cover the Best Kayn Decks in The Darkin Saga: Awakening! If you’re a Norra enjoyer, we have you covered as Den also wrote an article covering her best decks!
Kayn decks unfortunately have been doing poorly so far in the new expansion. This could be because it’s still too early into the expansion, but I believe that there are fundamental weaknesses to Kayn and his support package.
The Kayn Problem
Kayn has very poor stats for a 5-cost unit. Assuming you attack with him, he’s essentially a 5-mana 3/5 unit. Unfortunately, this statline just doesn’t trade well with most units of the same mana-cost. Kayn can definitely find good attacks against swarm decks with multiple small units. However, he struggles to attack into decks that play bigger units e.g. Nasus, Combat Cook, Trundle, Kai’sa, Viego.
Low-Impact Without Leveling Up
Due to his poor statline, Kayn is difficult to level-up without over-committing resources. It’s relatively easy to stop him from fulfilling his level-up requirement e.g. don’t play units that he can challenge for free, interrupt his strikes with spells / combat tricks, etc. Killing Kayn with removals slows down his decks a lot. Even if they’re able to revive him, it will take even more time and resources to level him up.
If Kayn can’t attack, he can’t level up. And without leveling up, he’s just an over-costed challenger at best. He does very little when you compare him to the other good 5-cost champions: Kai’sa, Trundle, Viego, Lux, Heimerdinger, etc.
Cultists Have Low-Synergy With Each Other
I’ve discussed a little bit of this in my initial assessment of the new champions from Awakening, and I’ll just quickly talk about it here as well. In terms of gameplan, Kayn‘s followers just don’t synergize well with each other. I think that they are great support cards for their own respective regions, but it’s hard to justify sacrificing a region to play the cultists together. If Kayn was a great champion, the payoff might be worth it. This is sadly not the case, in my opinion.
I’ve played with Kayn a lot since Day 1 of the expansion, and in most cases I feel that I’d rather just be playing another champion from an actual region. Before I make my final verdict, I will be trying to make a final push to make Kayn work in the next days. As of the moment, I’m leaning towards the conclusion that Kayn might need new cultist support cards or balance changes to finally find his place in the meta.
Most Kayn decklists are struggling to break through the 50% winrate mark, but this will not stop me from trying to find the best Kayn decks for all the Kayn fans out there. Without further ado, let’s look into numbers and find the best decklists for Kayn so far!
The “Best” Kayn Deck – Zoe Kayn
This deck uses The Darkin Lodestone which helps in compensating for Kayn‘s poor stats. The equipment also works well on followers with multiple keywords like Keeper of the Box, Sparklefly, and Ranger-Knight Defector. Keeper of the Box and Sparklefly when buffed up are particularly great against aggro matchups.
The Most Popular – Akshan Kayn
Next up is the most popular archetype for this champion, Akshan Kayn! The deck currently has an overall winrate of 46.9%, with the best-performing decklist above having a winrate of 48.6% in 838 games. Despite the poor winrate, I’m expecting this deck to still have a high playrate because it’s just really fun to pilot!
This deck uses several new cards from Awakening that can progress Akshan‘s Warlord’s Palace. Equipment cards like The Darkin Bloodletters and Treasure of the Sands from Buried Armory count as target procs. Treasure of the Sands can snowball games when equipped early on Akshan or Keeper of the Box. I think it’s a mistake to not run Ranger-Knight Defector as it can exert enormous pressure when equipped with Treasure of the Sands.
A Fated Pairing – Pantheon Kayn
For the next decks, we will start diving into the territory of high-potential decks with low playrates. Pantheon Kayn has an overall winrate of 49.6%, and the decklist above has a respectable winrate of 50% in 126 games.
This is another deck that uses Kayn in Targon, this time using Pantheon as the main win condition. Once again, The Darkin Lodestone is being used to buff up Kayn and enable better trades. Being an equipment, it also triggers Fated and progresses Pantheon‘s level up requirement. Fated units (Saga Seeker, Wounded Whiteflame, Pantheon) grow fast, making Furious Wielder a potent removal spell when used with them.
Encroaching Mists Make Everything Better? – Viego Kayn
Next we go into a weird champ pairing, Viego Kayn. This pairing has an overall winrate of 45.2%, but the decklist above shows a promising winrate of 85.7% in 14 games. The sample size is very small, but I’ll feature any Kayn deck that shows signs of potential!
That being said, I think this winrate is just due to Viego being really strong with Heedless Resurrection. Perhaps Kayn is a magnet for removal spells, but in most cases you’re probably just better off just running Mono Viego Shurima with Rite of Calling. Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of Kayn, at least there is something here! This list also runs some new cards like Quietus as cheap removal and The Darkin Halberd as an alternate win condition in the late game.
No Regions Needed – Jax Kayn
I’ve featured this list in my article for the best Jax decks! Do check out that article if you haven’t done so yet. The decklist above has a promising winrate of 79.2% in 24 games!
Hopefully I didn’t sound too negative regarding Kayn‘s place in the meta. He’s one of my most-played champions in the new expansion, so I had a lot of experience to pinpoint what’s making him struggle to find a home. As a Kayn enjoyer myself, I’ll still make a final push to make him work in the next days!