Kennen Review and Theorycraft
Hey, it’s Mezume here! New reveal season is upon us and we had just seen the newest champion – an Ionian Yordle, Kennen. As is the tradition now, I will be the one to open up our own spoiler review & theorycraft season here at RuneterraCCG. So let’s dive in, shall we?
As usual, I will start off by theorycrafting a deck idea that I can envision for Kennen and follow that up with ratings and opinions on all the revealed cards.
Here’s our rating scale:
- 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
- 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
- 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
- 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
- 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.
Kennen – 3.0
In the history of Legends of Runeterra, we have had a few 1-cost champions already. All of them were viable at one point or another – even if not in dedicated archetypes.
Kennen does not seem to be an exception to this rule. His stats are probably as good as it gets for a 1-drop. 2/1 with Quick Attack will either trade 1-for-1 with a removal spell or get damage in on turn 1. A great addition for aggressive decks, but that’s surely not what we all want to see from Kennen – we want him to have his own archetype to shine in.
So let’s look at his ability and level up. The Mark of the Storm spell he creates is quite a good tool to have. Essentially, if you have summoned Kennen twice, you are able to do 2 damage to an enemy and stun it. While it is not the flashiest, it is a free token card coming off of a 1-cost unit – definitely nothing to scoff at.
His level-up requirement is fairly easy to fulfil in that your opponent cannot do much to stop it – you just need to summon 5 units with the same name. This means that he synergizes very well with cards that Recall your allies or copy them. There is one more interesting synergy – that many players, including me, might still have a little PTSD about: Sand Soldiers and/or Blades.
Once he levels up, he creates Marks of the Storm like there’s no tomorrow. They show up in your hand left and right and so long as Kennen is on the board, the opponent will have a hard time keeping up due to the damage and stuns.
Let’s look at an example decklist that uses Kennen to the most of his potential! Keep in mind this is a work in progress and a very initial idea – it is also essential for me to include a deck that revolves around Kennen, rather than one that just throws him in.
While I do believe that Kennen’s best role in the metagame might be just serving as an Ionia check-mark for Bandle Tree, I decided to have some more fun while making this theorycraft list.
I see Kennen working with both Azir and Irelia, but I chose the latter here as she is more thematically in line with the lightning rat – they are both related to the fate of Ionia after all!
This deck revolves around being able to level both Kennen and Irelia quickly through the multiple Blade Dances. Summoning 5 Blades will quickly allow Kennen to level up and create Marks of the Storm whenever he attacks or gets blocked, stunning or killing enemies that are in the way of Irelia.
The multiple Recall synergies ensure other win conditions, such as creating a big Tornado Warrior with a ton of keywords, while also providing much-needed protection for both champions, as well as Ember Monk.
The deck is very synergistic and will usually rely on a levelled Irelia to finish the game – Bladesurge works well to swap your units around and find an opening for Irelia herself, as well as for a big Ember Monk. Between multiple Blade Dances and Marks of the Storm, it will be nigh impossible for the opponent to prevent you from Bladesurging your way to victory.
Gust Monk – 3.0
Gust Monk’s stat-line is quite underwhelming – a 2/2 with no keywords just does not do much. It is unable to block Fearsomes, it is challenged by most playable 1-drops and even trades down against many 2-drops. So is its effect worth the payoff?
In my opinion, it is a little lackluster, but definitely playable. Combat tricks are not exactly Bandle City’s strong suit and Cloud Stance helps with that by allowing the small units to chump block more efficiently and sometimes even trade up. On top of that, it can be used offensively to push extra damage, while activating some of the Recall synergies introduced with Kennen.
Overall, Gust Monk is a playable card that can likely find a slot in a dedicated deck.
Cloud Stance – 2.0
It is hard to tell, without seeing all the cards of the set, how good Cloud Stance is.
I believe this might be similar to Waking Sands. While the card is great when generated, by itself it does not add enough value to warrant a spot.
For now, I don’t believe it is very desired in any Bandle City deck, but we will see what the future brings.
Tornado Warrior – 3.5
Just the first part of Tornado Warrior’s text is good enough to consider it in a deck. 3/2 with a keyword will always be playable, as there are many highrolls that can occur. Challenger, Fearsome, Quick Attack are all good rolls.
On top of that, Tornado Warrior has a synergy with the newly introduced Recall archetype. While recalling own units is not usually desirable, it can happen rather naturally in order to protect them from removal. Alternatively, a cheap enabler like using Monastery of Hirana’s Sanctuary might also work.
The upside here is quite big, as it means that even after a second summon, this card will be a 4/2 with 2 keywords. This is likely one of the staples in a Kennen deck.
Quicken – 3.0
This is simply a solid card. It can be used to protect one of your cheap units, especially cards like Tornado Warrior, Kennen, or Thunder Fist (see below); but also as a tool to delay an opponent’s own game plan – as the recalled unit does not have to be an ally.
Quicken is a mini Will of Ionia that happens to fit into a synergistic deck – what’s not to like?!
Thunder Fist – 2.5
3 mana 2/3 is quite a weak statline, even with Impact. 5/4 Masa, Crashing Thunder with Impact, on the other hand – pretty decent. While I believe Thunder Fist is not completely awful, I also feel like it is simply too slow to be included in most decks.
The 5/4 pay-off seems to be quite strong, but it will almost never come down on turn 3 – which means it is just a little weak. If you compare this card to Enraged Yeti – those are 5/5s that only cost 1 mana and are just as easy to create through Avarosan Trapper.
I just don’t think Thunder Fist will be a great inclusion unless there’s simply no better option.
Lightning Rush – 4.0
If there is any sort of Recall synergy I wanted to see, Lightning Rush is exactly it. This card has many great uses and enables the deck to do some extra things it would not be able to do without it.
First of all, it is a protection spell that can threaten an opposing unit in return. That, in itself, is a great use. On top of that, however, it can work simply as removal or direct damage tool, if you know that your opponent cannot react to it – and all of that while your strategy is full of units that want to be recalled.
Lightning Rush might not be fantastic in a vacuum, but if a Kennen deck is a viable archetype, Lightning Rush is a part of the reason why.
Ember Monk – 2.5
Quick Attack is an incredibly powerful keyword, but this 4-mana unit is likely to just get chump blocked. On top of that, its 3 health makes it quite weak on defense and not exactly resilient against removal.
That said, it can be a threat in decks that create multiple units easily – such as those including Irelia or Azir.
Rissu, the Silent Storm – 3.0
I believe this card is quite alright. The stat split is fairly weak, as the 7/3 on Stormcloud is awfully susceptible to any sort of removal this late into the game – but this card simply works very well defensively.
It provides two bodies that can trade in completely different ways – Stormcloud is capable of trading into large units, while Rissu can both chump block those, as well as simply trade with a 1- or 2-drop.
On top of that, we need to keep in mind that this card likely wants to be played with some Recall synergies – so Rissu can simply be a way to phantom block while using cards such as Lightning Rush.
Kennen seems extremely interesting – though I worry how viable a dedicated deck might be.
I am excited to brew with this champion and hope it can find a home – I’m crossing my fingers it can help Azir and Irelia forget their days together!
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