Introduction and Stats
Hello there, Raphterra here! Today, I’m sharing my full guide on Vayne Kayn, the deck that I used to climb from Platinum to Diamond at 75% Winrate (12 Wins, 4 Losses). I played some games with Vayne Pantheon too, but I switched to another deck because that one felt too similar to Pantheon Yuumi / Fiora.
To be honest, I didn’t think Kayn would be a viable champion even after seeing the new Cultist cards. However, I was probably looking at the wrong place! The new Demacia support cards might just be what Kayn needed to be relevant in the meta. Now, let’s proceed to the deck build!
If you want to see the deck in action after reading this article, check out my full video guide!
The Vayne Kayn Deck Build
Vayne Kayn is a midrange deck that wins by protecting and levelling up Kayn. The Shadow Reaper origin makes it easy to build an all-in Kayn deck since it’s effect can consistently draw Kayn in every game.
Kayn and the Cultist archetype received several new support cards in The Darkin Saga: Domination. Fish Fight as a cheap one-sided strike spell makes it easier and safer to consistently level-up Kayn. Kayn‘s recall and auto-equip mechanic neutralizes Fish Fight‘s unequip effect. The Expanse’s Protection is a premium spell to defend Kayn from hard removals, while The Unending Wave makes up for Demacia‘s weakness of lacking card draw.
Vayne is the deck’s support champion. Vayne‘s Tumble helps Kayn level up and it can also end games when used on The Shadow Assassin / Rhaast. If your opponent is able to remove your Kayn, you can still win by combining Tumble with Blooming Cultist, Ranger-Knight Defector, or Bloodcursed Harpy.
I’m running three copies of The Darkin Aegis and two copies of Combat Cook to make the most out of Bloodcursed Harpy and Tumble. To close off the deck build, we also have Forsaken Baccai for Predicts, Keeper of the Box for Lifesteal, Momentous Choice + Sharpsight for protection, and Golden Aegis + Concerted Strike for utility.
If you already have Forsaken Baccai, you can also keep Keeper of the Box or Blooming Cultist to setup the Kayn draw from The Shadow Reaper. If you already have Kayn or if you have Cultist units to draw Kayn, you can also keep Fish Fight to secure Kayn‘s level up.
Against combo decks or champion centric decks, I also like keeping Concerted Strike for removal if I already have a good hand.
General Gameplay Tips
- Plan in advance for Kayn’s level up!
Level 2 Kayn is your primary win condition. From the start of the game, you need to be planning on how you can work to level him up. For example, I usually like leaving one small opposing unit alive until Turn 5 so that Kayn will have a safe Challenge target. If Kayn has already struck once, you can use a strike spell like Fish Fight to complete his level-up requirement.
- Use Forsaken Baccai to fix your hand.
If you don’t have champions in the early game, you need to actively look for Kayn and Vayne. If you already have a board setup, look for utility spells depending on the matchup. For example, Fish Fight and Concerted Strike are great against champion-centric decks. The Expanse’s Protection is good against decks running removal spells, and The Unending Wave can be used for card refill. If you’re looking for more win conditions, Bloodcursed Harpy and Golden Aegis are your options.
Combos and Synergies
- Know your deck combos!
Here’s a quick list of this deck’s combos and synergies for your reference:
- If you have Tumble and a Scout unit like Ranger-Knight Defector or Bloodcursed Harpy, you can get off three attacks in a single turn. Do not use your default attack token as a Scout attack. You want to use your default attack token normally, then use Tumble on your Scout unit to get another attack token. This way, you can attack twice with your Overwhelm and Elusive units.
- Fishawhack, The Fix-em 5000, and The Darkin Scythe are the best weapons to equip on Bloodcursed Harpy. If you don’t want these weapons to get destroyed, you can swap them out for other weapons manually or with Tumble.
- Blooming Cultist‘s elusive damage can quickly accumulate if left unchecked. Consider using Tumble on Blooming Cultist to push for lethal damage.
- Joraal is best used on a defensive turn to setup a powerful open attack against decks running fast-speed spells.
- The Unending Wave is best used on late turns. Ensure that you have enough mana to play the fleeting cards that you will draw from it.
Meta Matchup Tips
Pantheon Fiora / Vayne
- These decks tend to develop wide boards. Getting Kayn to Level 2 should be very achievable. Once you have Rhaast, you can start dominating the board.
- Leave one small unit alive by Turn 5 to have an easy challenge target for Kayn. You can use Fish Fight to level up Kayn, but you want to preserve Concerted Strike for Pantheon.
- Concerted Strike and Camphor, the Doubt are their main ways of removing your Rhaast. Prepare mana to respond with Momentous Choice or The Expanse’s Protection.
- In the early turns, you can play reactive and try to make them miss out on getting their Fated procs.
- This matchup is slightly favored, but you can lose games if they get Spellshield on their Pantheon.
- Hard mulligan for early units and survive the early onslaught. Once you do, you can stabilize with Keeper of the Box and Level 2 Kayn in the mid game.
- Equipping The Darkin Aegis on Keeper of the Box is game-winning. Using Tumble to equip The Darkin Aegis is mana-efficient, but can be interrupted by Noxian Fervor. Only use Tumble if you can respond to Noxian Fervor, otherwise directly equipping weapons is safer.
- If they start their attack turn with Solari Sunhawk, expect that they might follow up with The Stagehand. Consider just passing back if you can afford to take some damage.
- If you are facing lots of Annie Jhin decks, consider swapping in some copies of Single Combat.
- This matchup is favored unless they get the god hand or you draw poorly.
- Expect hard removals on your Kayn. Mulligan and predict for multiple copies of Kayn. You can use your first Kayn to bait out removal spells, but you may need to hard commit protection spells on your second Kayn.
- You may need to rely on Bloodcursed Harpy as your win condition if you run out of Kayns.
- Removing their champions will halt their gameplan. Consider preserving Concerted Strike and Fish Fight if you can afford to.
- This matchup varies from even to highly unfavored, depending on your opponent’s regions. Noxus variants with Ravenous Flock and Scorched Earth are hard to win against, but Ionia variants are very manageable matchups. Games against Shadow Isles variants will depend on how many copies of Vengeance they can draw.
Kayn was actually my favorite new champion from The Darkin Saga: Awakening. He wasn’t really competitively viable last patch, but thankfully he seems to be in a better spot in Patch 3.17. Fish Fight is a huge gamechanger for Kayn, and the new Cultist support cards also cover some crucial weaknesses. Kayn‘s future looks bright, since we may see more Cultist and Darkin support coming in the next expansion.