Hello everyone, it’s Card Gamer, and I’m bringing you a guide on what I think is currently one of the best LoR decks for ladder or Tournaments & Gauntlets, Ezreal Kennen.
Ez Kennen is a deck that existed for a very short period during the beginning of the Magical Misadventure season before cards like God-Willow Seedling and Kinkou Wayfinder were hotfixed. After said hotfix, Ez Kennen wasn’t ever a meta deck again, despite some players' best attempts to revive their favorite archetype.
This all changed with the release of patch 3.13, where Kennen’s Mark of the Storm got buffed to deal three damage instead of two. This buff has once again made Ezreal Kennen the menace of a deck we once shortly knew and feared.
LoR Deck Ezreal Kennen – Card Breakdown
This version of Ezreal Kennen is from FloppyMudkip, who reached Rank 1 on the AM Server playing Ez Kennen this season.
While the deck is called Ezreal Kennen, it’s a bit disingenuous because the deck is really all about Kennen.
Kennen is the most important card in the deck due to his ability to create Mark of the Storm. These Marks allow you to take control of the board by stunning and damaging opposing units. The Marks also progress Ezreal’s level-up condition, or are spells for [Ezreal (Level 2)] to use for damage.
At level one Kennen only makes a Mark when he is summoned; but level two Kenen makes a Mark when is summoned, attacks, and is blocked – it goes without saying, then, that finding and leveling up Kennen is of the utmost importance.
God-Willow Seedling is our most important card after Kennen, due to its ability to quickly, safely, and efficiently progress Kennen’s level up as well as providing access to Mark of the Storm.
Playing a God-Willow on a unit allows you to recall them without the opponent being able to interact, as well as providing three additional summons to progress Kennen’s level up.
Kinkou Wayfinder is an Allegiance card that allows us to summon a one-cost unit. Due to this our deck is constructed very specifically.
Firstly, Ezreal is our only P&Z card to ensure us the best chances of always hitting Allegiance when we play Wayfinder.
Secondly, Kennen is our only one-cost unit. This means our Kinkous will always summon Kennen if they hit Allegiance. Therefore, Kinkou Wayfinder can be viewed as copies four through six of Kennen.
Besides providing a 3/3 body and being a four-mana Kennen, it’s important to make the distinction that Wayfinder summons Kennen, as opposed to playing Kennen. Since Wayfinder is a summon effect it is the easiest way for us to get two Kennens on the board.
Ezreal is an important part of the deck, but he is just here to show up later and help us close the game. Ezreal has a hard time ending the game on his own due to the lack of main-deck spells that target enemy units; however, he is great at speeding up the clock your Kennen is already providing.
I tend to view Ezreal as one of our defensive cards. My goal is to lock down the opposing board with Kennen and my other Ionia tools. Ezreal supports Kennen by quickly ending the game. As simple as it sounds, ending the game is a great way to not lose the game. The important distinction to make with this line of thought is that the primary idea is to be in control of the game through Kennen already. I never want to be in a rush to kill my opponent.
Oftentimes Ionian Tellstones is copies four and five of Homecoming. Recalling enemy units is very strong at the moment, due to the prevalence of large units like Eternal Dancers and Nasus – getting additional level-up progress for Kennen, or protecting one of our own units, is a very nice upside.
Health Potion is the other main use of Tellstones. Healing three Health for two mana can be very powerful against aggressive decks like Pirates, and can be especially impactful due to activating Flow as well.
You will almost never cast a Stand United; however, sometimes it will be the correct line.
Recall is an essential part of this deck. It allows us to cheaply protect a unit and/or progress Kennen’s level up.
Retreat is essentially our fourth copy of Recall. Unfortunately, this fourth copy costs an additional mana.
While most other decks that play Retreat are good at taking advantage of Return to recoup the mana invested, in our case it is normally just Kennen being Recalled and replayed. Be aware of spots where you can take advantage of Returning Kennen to gain access to an additional Mark at burst speed.
Gruesome Theater can recall any unit with three or less Health. In our list, Gruesome is either copies of five and six of Recall, or a makeshift Will of Ionia. Gruesome flexibility makes it extremely powerful (and, I'd say, quite undervalued).
The main downside of Gruesome is that it can’t protect an undamaged Ezreal (level 2); however, the ability to trade up on mana while Recalling high-tempo threats like Miss Fortune makes the downsides worthwhile.
Our counter-spells, Nopeify! and Deny, are extremely powerful as they stop high-impact spells or skills on the stack. Deny and Nopeify will almost always be stock in your Ionia deck, although the rationing will often depend on the current meta. I currently like two copies of both.
The protection Twin Disciplines provides through the +0/3 Health buff options is extremely powerful. And the +2/0 Power buff option can also be extremely useful to facilitate good trades.
Concussive Palm is an Ionia staple due to its incredible effectiveness as a stall tool. Since it is a Fast-speed spell it is powerful against open-attack decks; however, since it also summons a unit it’s an even more powerful development punishment.
Eye of the Dragon is essential to stabilize and stall the game. Due to both of our champions creating spells, and our deck list being 50% spells, you will have plenty of Flow triggers, and easy access to Dragonlings.
It’s important to think critically about when you need to trigger the Eye. Especially in games where you aren’t able to easily facilitate Kennen, the games can drag out and you can get strained for resources over many rounds of attempting to trigger Flow.
Shadow Assassin is here to help us dig through our deck and find our important cards. Due to being a two-Power Elusive unit it also gets chip damage in, or a trade if necessary.
Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed serves a similar purpose to Shadow Assassin of digging through our deck; however, Sai’nen is much more efficient, drawing two cards on summon. The +1/+1 buff that Sai’nen provides is also relevant for facilitating good trades, or getting chip damage in.
Sai’nen is also incredibly synergistic with God-Willow Seedling. For three mana you can draw four cards. Sai’nen is also recalled to hand, ready to be played out and draw two more additional cards. This play is normally only correct if you need to find a key card to allow you to win the game, like Ezreal or Kennen.
Navori Conspirator helps us facilitate our Kennen level up by Recalling units at an non-interactive speed. Navori also can deal some chip damage or block, much like Shadow Assassin.
A 4/2 with Lifesteal, Tasty Faefolk does a good job of stabilizing against aggressive decks.
Deep Meditation allows us to keep cycling through the deck to find key cards. I’m not a huge fan of this spell in our list, however – Deep Med only draws spells, and they aren’t guaranteed to be from the top of our deck.
When you need to dig for cards, you are often looking for Kennen, Ezreal, and God-Willow Seedling. Deep Med can’t draw units or landmarks, and it isn’t even guaranteed to draw you spells that were above the card you were looking for (that's to say, Deep Med doesn't help us "dig" for cards, in the sense of drawing the top spell in our remaining decks so as to allow us to find our Champs or Landmarks sooner).
Time Trick allows us to find our key cards. This is a very powerful effect in a deck like ours; however, the two-mana investment can be a bit pricey in the early game. Also, since Time Trick is a P&Z card, it will mess with the Allegiance odds of Kinkou Wayfinder – I would never run more than a single copy of Time Trick.
LoR Deck Kennen Ezreal – General Gameplan
Ezreal Kennen is a deck that aims to use Kennen along with its suite of Ionia stalling tools and protection to extend the game and level up Ezreal. Once Ezreal is at level two, he can then be used to quickly end the game via burn damage.
Ez Kennen is a very linear deck in the sense that we are always trying to execute the exact same gameplan:
- Stabilize the game,
- Level up Ezreal, and
- Have Ezreal end the game.
The deck gets intricate during its gameplan's execution, though. Ionia archetypes, and especially those focusing on Kennen, provide many different decision points.
Playing With Kennen
The entire deck revolves around drawing and eventually leveling Kennen, preferably early on. His Mark makes him our most powerful tool for stabilizing – and Kennen (level 2) all the more so.
The stun and three damage provided by Marking the same unit twice is an incredibly powerful effect that allows you to efficiently handle any cheap threat that would not be efficiently answered by a Concussive Palm or Homecoming. The fact that the Mark's damage has been buffed to three is critical. Three damage is a key breakpoint to answer threats such as Ekko, Miss Fortune, Petricite Broadwing, and Kindred.
When playing games with Kennen, the main question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I allowed to proactively recall my Kennen to progress his level up/create Marks?” Another way to think of this is, “Does my opponent want to try and remove my Kennen?”
Against decks that can choose to interact with Kennen, like Nasus decks, it’s important to plan out how you are going to protect Kennen and advance his level up. If you try to cast a proactive Recall on Kennen against a Shadow Isles deck, our favorite Yordle will probably die to a Vile Feast – in these spots you want to play a God-Willow Seedling to recall Kennen at unit-speed, so the opponent can’t interact. The other options are to wait for the opponent to play their spell first, or have an extra card you are willing to expend to get Kennen back in hand.
When you are against a deck that lacks spells to kill Kennen, and will only attempt to kill Kennen through combat (like for example Scouts), playing him early and proactively Recalling (to start applying Marks) is very powerful. These decks won’t be able to answer your Recall, and applying lots of Marks early on will make it very difficult for your opponent to ever win.
Kennen (level 2)
Once Kennen levels up he will start dismantling the enemy board or getting lots of chip damage.
Now that Kennen creates a Mark of the Storm whenever he attacks, you will be able to manage the opponent's board much easier. Kennen won't to die from being blocked due to him creating a Mark not only on attack, but also when he is blocked. This means you can always stun the blocker in front of Kennen if he were to die in combat. Additionally, level two Kennen is a 3/2, meaning that Kennen now won’t die to pings like Make it Rain or Pokey Stick anymore, making him much safer to proactively recall for even more Marks.
Kennen (level 2) will quickly complete your Ezreal’s level up or push lots of chip damage. If you can keep your leveled Kennen safe and in play you won’t have to worry about progressing your Ezreal much.
Playing Without Kennen
Playing without Kennen is when the games get very interesting and difficult. While we are a much weaker deck without Kennen, the Ionia stall tools we have, like Concussive Palm, Homecoming, and Eye of the Dragon, are extremely effective at extending the game and maintaining a relatively stable board if used efficiently.
When you don’t find Kennen early on, your goal is to keep the game stable and try to flip Kennen by summoning another unit five times. If you can manage this, you should be able to quickly transition from a stable game to a winning game-state once we find our stormy Yordle. This is, however, much easier said than done, especially if Kennen doesn’t want to show up until round eight or later.
If you find Ezreal early (and not Kennen) you should be willing to play out Ezreal to create Mystic Shots and help stabilize, if you can keep him safe. Our deck has a very hard time leveling Ez without drawing a Kennen – if you play an early Ezreal and he gets to create multiple Mystic Shots, then Ez can actually level up and even win the game without ever drawing a Kennen.
Ending The Game
There will generally be one of two ways you end the game.You will either win through having a level-two Kennen and a level-two Ezreal in play, or you will win through grinding your opponent out of resources with Kennen and Sai'nen Thousand-Tailed.
Winning with Ezreal and Kennen is pretty simple: you attack the opponent and apply Mark of the Storm until the opponent dies – oftentimes our foe will just concede if we have both our Champs leveled up. Just remember to be respectful and to continue to play around cards. You are playing Ionia; no need to rush.
Winning with Sai’nen and Kennen is much more difficult. It requires careful planning of how you use your Marks and your stall tools to outvalue and beatdown the opponent. A leveled Kennen will very easily trigger your Eye of the Dragon’s Flow, and Sai’nen will allow you to have enough cards to keep thwarting your foe's gameplan. In this scenario every bit of chip damage and value matters – make sure to maximize the value you get out of every card.
General Mulligan Advice
The mulligan is rather simple. We want Kennen (Kinkou Wayfinder will suffice as well) and God-Willow Seedling. If I don’t have these cards I will mulligan the rest of my hand looking for them.
Kennen is the card our entire deck is built around, he is a must-have. God-Willow is the card that allows you to level Kennen the fastest – when leveled, Kennen will quickly take over the game, making the Seedling crucial. The main exception is in matchups where Eye of the Dragon is especially important (like against Pirates); I will keep Eye in these.
If you have God-Willow and a Kennen, you can consider keeping other cards. Recall is generally a good keep in these spots. You can also keep a card such as Concussive Palm against board-based decks like Taric Poppy, or Homecoming against Atrocity decks like Viego or [[Nasus].
Tips, Tricks, and Intricacies
Planning Your God-Willow Seedling
To pilot Ezreal Kennen to its full potential it’s critical that you properly set up your God-Willow rounds.
God-Willow is a landmark that recalls a unit, creates an ephemeral copy, and stores an ephemeral copy inside the landmark that will be released three rounds later.
This is an incredibly powerful effect to use on Kennen, especially on rounds when the opponent has the attack token. Creating an Ephemeral Kennen is a great development punishment, and a way to discourage the opponent from attacking. Through summoning another Kennen you will also be creating a Mark of the Storm, further worsening the opposing attack. Additionally, playing a God-Willow on defense takes full advantage of the Countdown Three that the landmark has. A defensive Seedling will Countdown and summon a Kennen on the round you have the attack token. This can easily allow you to get two Kennens on the board for a devastating attack.
Conversely, be aware of positions where it is beneficial to play a Seedling when you have the attack token in order to summon a Kennen on defense and create a Mark. This play can be very powerful against decks like Sejuani Gwen that can present multiple attacks from threatening units while being able to punish you for expending too much mana, in this case with Atrocity.
A common misplay people make when playing Seedling on Kennen is when they decide to Recall their ephemeral Kennen. Oftentimes there isn't a benefit to creating a fourth copy of Kennen and having two Kennens in hand. Additionally, to Recall this ephemeral Kennen you will have to use a spell proactively, which is something you don’t usually want to be doing.
Setting Up Dual Kennen Rounds
Getting two or more Kennens on the board can be an extremely oppressive play, if the Kennens are level two. If Kennen is not level two, you never want to have two Kennens on the board – your Kennens will be easy to remove, will generate no extra value, and will be harder to level up.
When you have multiple leveled Kennens on the board, the opponent will be forced to either give up their board or take lots of chip damage. A round with two attacking Kennens is a huge tempo swing and can often outright win a game on its own if it happens early enough in the game (like on rounds five or six).
It is important to note that against decks that are good at contesting your Kennen, like in the mirror, you have to be very careful about choosing when to get two Kennens down. It is difficult to maintain two Kennens on board due to the primary way of protecting our Kennen being through Recalls. If we Recall one Kennen to protect him from interaction (while we have two Kennens on field), the Recalled Kennen will become a Kennen's Lightning Rush. This means there's only a short period of time where we can maintain multiple Kennens on board.
You will normally get multiple Kennens on the board through God-Willow Seedling or Kinkou Wayfinder. In LoR you can’t play a second copy of a champion already in play from hand; however, you can summon them in other ways – in our case, Seedling and Wayfinder.
When aiming for the dual Kennens gameplan, make sure to play the real Kennen you have in hand before the God-Willow countdown goes off, or you play your Wayfinder. Additionally, since you are summoning another Kennen after you play the Kennen from hand, the Kennen from hand only needs to be the fourth Kennen you’ve summoned in this game.
Winning Without Kennen
It’s near impossible to win without drawing a single Kennen, but it can be done. The main reason it is so difficult is because it is very difficult to level Ezreal; however, if you manage to level up Ezreal, you have a play.
At this point your only winning line is to play a God-Willow Seedling on Ezreal and attempt to set up a double Ezreal turn. Two Ezreal (level 2) on the board will pump up massive damage and give you a chance at winning a game you had no business to win.
When to Play and When to Burn Mark of the Storm
Mark of the Storm is the reason why Kennen is so powerful. It makes sense to want to cast every Mark you can get your hands on… however, the tempo advantage you can create for discarding the Marks can often be greater than the value gained from casting them.
Oftentimes the opponent won’t want to play their units out if you have a Mark in your hand, let alone multiple. This is even more true with high-priority units like Miss Fortune or Kindred. In these situations, the opponent will pass to you with lots of mana up waiting for you to commit your Marks. Consider if the mana advantage gained is worth the value lost from letting the Marks go. These good tempo passes can be especially important in games where you are stalling until you draw Ezreal.
It’s Okay to Let Kennen Die (Sometimes)
Kennen is absurdly powerful and key to the deck – he is the card the deck is built around, after all. Despite all this, don’t be afraid to let Kennen die if it facilitates a good trade and you have access to another Kennen. There are three Kennens in your deck at the start of the game – take advantage of this!
Don’t overcommit resources to save a Kennen when you have another in hand. Or, don’t be afraid to let an attacking Kennen die in order to deal damage to the blocker before applying Mark of the Storm. Even block with Kennen if you need to save HP, and you have another one.
Just make sure you don’t lose your last Kennen. It becomes near impossible to win with no Kennens; but, much like your Nexus health, your Kennens are a resource it's okay to go down to one.
Counting Kennens/Shuffling in Extra Kennens
It is crucial to keep track of how many Kennens are still in our deck – we never want to let our last Kennen die. And, obviously, when we have no Kennens left, Kinkou Wayfinder will summon nothing. This is important to be aware of in order to properly plan up your turns.
But even when you are out of Kennens in your deck, or on your last Kennen, you have options to unbrick yourself, and even set up another dual-Kennens round.
God-Willow Seedling creates additional copies of the card it was played on. The only issue is that they are Ephemeral and will die at round end or after combat; however, if you Recall an Ephemeral unit they will lose their Ephemeral tag. This means that if you play Seedling on your last Kennen and then Recall the Ephemeral Kennen, you now have two Kennens instead of one. And if you Recalled the Ephemeral Kennen with Kennen's Lightning Rush (which places a Kennen in your deck), not only do you now have two Kennens, but your Kinkou Wayfinder will now summon a Kennen again.
This interaction can be especially helpful in games where you don’t draw Ezreal. Creating lots of Kennens and casting lots of Lightning Rushes is a great way to get that last bit of reach without Ez.
Managing Board Space
Kinkou Wayfinder and Eye of the Dragon create two units on board, and can lead to board space issues where you aren’t able to summon all the units you would like. Additionally, the unit in your God-Willow Seedling can get obliterated due to board space issues the round the Countdown finishes, if you mismanage your Eye triggers and board space.
It’s critical to be aware of your board space, and to trigger and trade Eyes accordingly to facilitate your gameplan. You never want to be in a position where you can’t play a Wayfinder pre-attack because you have too many Dragonlings on the board.
Counting Ezreal Damage
Your opponent won’t concede every game you get a Kennen (level 2) and Ezreal (level 2) play; therefore, it is important to quickly calculate how much damage your Ezreal will deal, in order to best plan how to close the game.
- Every attacking Kennen represents four-five damage for zero mana. Five damage if unblocked, four damage if blocked.
- If Ezreal can attack, he represents two damage for zero mana and two-three damage for two mana. The damage from Ezreal’s created Mystic Shot is dependent on whether it targets the opponent's Nexus or one of their units.
Due to the Play/Cast merge implemented in patch 3.6.0, Ezreal now deals damage when spells are committed to the spell stack. Take advantage of this when calculating lethals to kill your opponent at a speed they can’t interact with.
LoR Deck Ezreal Kennen – Matchups
In every matchup we are looking for and keeping Kennen/Kinkou Wayfinder and God-Willow Seedling. With the exception of where I want Eye of the Dragon, I will kick all the other cards if I don’t have Kennen and Seedling.
Norra Heimerdinger (Unfavored)
Other Key Cards: Twin Disciplines to protect from pings after casting a Recall spell.
Norra Heimer is one of our few unfavored matchups. This confrontation can prove difficult because they are the only deck in the current meta that has enough interaction to kill all of our Kennens. Additionally, Eclectic Collection is very powerful against Ionia decks, since you will often have game states that stall out.
God-Willow Seedling is very powerful here as it quickly levels Kennen up and recalls Kennen at a speed they can’t interact with. Once Kennen is at level two he will be a lot harder for the opponent to remove. This means that leveling Kennen off of another unit other than himself can be a powerful play.
Nasus decks (Favored)
Other Key Cards: Homecoming or Deny to counter their Atrocity (this isn’t a keep ever, just important to be aware of). Eye of the Dragon can be kept if you have Kennen and God-Willow Seedling.
The Nasus matchup is pretty straightforward. You stabilize against their early game and make sure you don’t die to Atrocity.
This matchup changes a bit depending on if they are playing Thresh or Kindred. Against Kindred Nasus, be willing to trade off your Eye of the Dragon early if you don’t find Kennen to generate Marks and remove Kindred. They also aren’t as aggressive and the Dragonlings won’t be as useful as they will against Thresh’s swarm.
Thresh definitely makes the matchup harder due to not dying to Mark of the Storm, but the odds are still good for you.
Pirates, aka Miss Fortune Twisted Fate (Unfavored)
Other Key Cards: Eye of the Dragon and Ionian Tellstones for Health Potion
The Pirates matchup is the only other unfavored matchup we have. Pirates are very good at putting pressure on us, and are often able to kill us before we can stabilize and end the game with Ezreal.
The best way to win this matchup is to get an early God-Willow Seedling on Kennen on a defensive round. This is a great way to punish their early development, and it sets up an early dual-Kennen round to take over the board. It’s also key to manage your Flow to make sure you get Dragonlings the round you need them.
Gwen Katarina (Favored)
Other Key Cards: Recall to stop Katarina’s self-recall on strike, Eye of the Dragon, and Deny for countering The Harrowing (This isn’t a keep ever).
Against Katarina Gwen things are pretty straightforward, you stabilize against their early aggression, and Eye of the Dragon is very good here because of this. They have plenty of pings, so be careful about proactively Recalling Kennen in this matchup.
The way they win this matchup is by running away with Katarina (level 2) or Spider Queen Elise. If you self-recall to prevent a Kat level up, be careful of cheeky early Ruined Reckoner plays to have Kat attack a second time.
Lee Sin Akshan (Very Favored)
Other Key Cards: Ezreal to make sure the game doesn’t stall out too long.
Akshan Lee Sin is favored for us because we can interrupt their Lee Sin combo with our Recall effects, while they can’t actually interact with our combo. We also can clock them very fast if we draw our Ezreal, Kennen, and God-Willow Seedling.
The Ezreal Kennen Mirror (Favored… after reading this guide!)
Other Key Cards: Ezreal to make sure the game doesn’t stall out too long.
The mirror match can swing a lot depending on if only one player has Kennen, or if only one player can level their Kennen. When both players have reasonable hands, the match becomes very skill-testing.
Oftentimes it's better to try and use Mark of the Storm early from our level-one Kennen on the opposing units (rather than the enemy Kennen) because your opponent will want to use their Recalls on their Kennen anyways. Once your Kennen is level two and you have excess cards in hand, you should switch to targeting the enemy Kennen with Marks if you have three or more in hand at a time.
Be advised that it is often a bad idea to go for an early double-Kennen round in this matchup. You can’t protect and keep both of your Kennens on the board, and the opponent will try to remove one Kennen immediately. If you go for a dual-Kennen play, you want to do it after you have a level-two Ezreal in play.
Gwen Sejuani (Favored)
Other Key Cards: Homecoming to stall their big Overwhelm threats and cancel Atrocity. Eye of the Dragon is a keep if you have Kennen and God-Willow Seedling.
Confronting Sejuani Gwen is about stabilizing early – that way, in the later game you won't be forced to play too proactively with your Homecomings and Concussive Palms in order to survive their threatening Overwhelm attackers. If you fall behind early, Sejuani Gwen can set up multiple threats and force you to spend mana to handle them – and, after you tap out, the enemy can go over the top with Atrocity and Battle Fury.
Twisted Fate Nami Ionia (Favored)
Other Key Cards: Ezreal to make sure the game doesn’t stall out too long.
Against Nami TF Ionia you want to take advantage of the fact that you can kill your opponent faster than they can kill you (on average). The only way they can reliably interact with Kennen is at unit speed, so you can take advantage of proactive Recalls to quickly level him up.
I hope you found this deck guide useful!
I think Ezreal Kennen is currently the best deck in the game, if you can pilot the deck to its full potential. Even with the meta warped around it the archetype still performs extremely well and has losing matchups against very few decks.
If you want to challenge yourself, win, or just like playing Ionia decks I think Ez Kennen is a great deck to pick up. While I do expect this deck to get nerfed in the coming balance patch, Ez Kennen is a very fun and rewarding deck that is worth learning in the meantime.
Thank you for taking the time to read this deck guide. If you have any questions about the deck or suggestions, feel free to reach out over Twitter, https://twitter.com/CardGamerLoR, or over Discord, Card Gamer #6777.