Building decks with Runeterran champions is always interesting because of the particular conditions, or perhaps limitations, that come with their kit. Because of the small card pool size, we really want to maximize the synergy with the second region to get the most out of our unique card set.
I really enjoy the puzzle that each Runeterran champion provides, so I was over the moon when I saw that we were blessed with not one, but TWO new Runeterran champions!
Rhaast, I mean Kayn, is one of my favorite champs in League of Legends and I love the transform mechanic because of how much it changes the feel of the character, and massive boost in power that it brings. This carries over to LoR as both Rhaast and The Shadow Assassin are significant upgrades to Kayn’s starting form.
Rhaast has the ability to heal our Nexus with each kill and the Corrupted Scythe grants +1/+1 with each attack, while the Shadow Assassin gains Elusive and his weapon, the Shadow Scythe, grants +2/0 with each attack. It is important to note that the weapons grant the stats to themselves and not to Kayn, meaning that if he dies the Scythe (and those stats) can be given to another unit.
Kayn’s Origin allows for you to add any Cultist-subtype cards to your deck, and draws a Kayn from your deck after you have played three of them. This gives us a ton of consistency, ensuring that our star player isn’t sidelined.
This happens even if you already have a Kayn in hand, by the way, which can be great to either replace one that was hit with Vengeance or to utilize his champion spell, Kayn's Shadowstep, to safely remove a key threat from their board.
Kayn brings a lot of interesting new mechanics and tools with him – now we need to carve a path through Runeterra and find where they will be used to their fullest!
Bandle City: Lone Kayn – FFFFF
Kayn and Bandle City do not have a lot going on. Attach does not count for the Equipped requirement of Kayn’s followers, and unfortunately you can’t hold an Attached unit and Equipment at the same time, which means no Papercraft Dragon shenanigans.
Origami Slicer is too inconsistent to be useful even if we did go all-in on Mysterious Portal, and honestly it’s still bad even with the full Portal package.
The biggest issue I had with trying to build this deck was the complete lack of synergy with any of the Bandle City champions. Rumble could be useful as a target for the Corrupted Scythe if Rhaast dies, but otherwise isn’t doing much.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t think Yordles and cults mix.
Bilgewater: Kayn Twisted Fate – C
When in doubt, think like a Pirate: throw Twisted Fate, Eye of Nagakabouros and Riptide Sermon into your Bilgewater deck, and it’ll be alright.
Our goal here is to get earlier equipment via Jagged Cutlass or Piltovan Castaway to push damage and maintain pressure on our opponent, while we wait to set up Kayn. We can also look to level Twisted Fate, as he will be incredibly hard to remove with a few extra points of health.
We are running a couple copies of Bone Skewer to help us level Kayn. If the strike from Bone Skewer results in Kayn leveling, he will return to hand instead of going to the top of your deck. We can also use this to dodge hard removal – better to save a copy so we can replay him in a following round. His equipment will keep any stat gains from attacking, so it isn’t a complete loss if we have to recall him.
Having two Fast-speed strike spells means that we can level Kayn on the stack with Furious Wielder and Bone Skewer. Make sure to play Bone Skewer first, since otherwise Furious Wielder will fizzle and Kayn will move to the top of our deck without any level progress.
Rounding out the deck, we’ve got our Tentacle cards. Riptide Sermon is an insane amount of value and helps us to keep control of the board by giving us a body to chump-block with, while killing one of their units, and Eye of Nagakabouros helps us stabilize the board while digging to find our favorite scythe-wielding cult leader.
Demacia: Kayn Jarvan IV – B
Kayn loves strike spells and Rally; Demacia was the first region I thought of when Kayn was revealed. This deck is the epitome of honest midrange, and we are just looking to beat our opponents into the ground with our stats and strike spells.
Concerted Strike and Furious Wielder both help us handle our opponent’s larger threats and progress Kayn’s level up condition.
We can also use Golden Aegis to level Kayn safely with the Barrier, or to close the game once we’ve cleared enough of the enemy board.
The number of Challenger units we have in addition to Kayn allows us to pick and choose our battles and makes it much easier for us to level Jarvan IV. And once we’ve gotten Jarvan IV (level 2) down, we can seize control of the board with his generated Cataclysms.
We’re also packing a boardwipe in Utter Devastation. Unfortunately, it will kill unequipped units on our side of the board as well, but it will always leave our Kayn up and this can be enough to set up for lethal.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to be found here, but it works!
Freljord: Kayn Ornn – B
Nothing bad could come out of Forging a cursed weapon, right? And why settle for just having one?
We’re packing the Ornn package here, with the goal of making Kayn’s scythe ENORMOUS and then copying it onto Ornn as an over-the-top finisher. Focusing all of our Forge procs on a single weapon makes it trivial to level Orrn – he will often do so on his first attack as he is getting a minimum of +3/+2 with every swing.
Our gameplan is harder to disrupt with removal: Forge will maintain any buff given to Kayn’s Equipment if he dies, and these carry over to both the Corrupted Scythe and Shadow Scythe as well.
Rhaast is typically the better choice as the Health bonus from Corrupted Scythe makes him much harder to remove, and allows him to push more damage. Rhaast’s kill effect is also great for stabilizing against aggro if we haven’t found Keeper of the Box.
Weaponsmith's Apprentice will Forge our scythe when we play Kayn, but will not Forge again when we replay him after leveling. They will Forge again if we put the scythe on another ally, though!
We’ve got Troll Chant, Three Sisters, and Momentous Choice in the deck both to keep Kayn on the board while we build our weapon of mass Nexus destruction, and to force more advantageous trades.
Furious Wielder is our main removal spell, but it also provides utility for Ornn as we can use it to level him before swinging, so our Spirit of the Ram can trample the enemy Nexus.
DO NOT USE ENTOMB ON KAYN TO SAVE HIM. This will obliterate our weapon and we will be sad. It is better for us to lose our Kayn and have the weapon in hand if we can’t save him otherwise.
I’ve also included a copy of Feel The Rush because it will guarantee that Ornn levels when he or Kayn strikes, and gives us an alternative win condition if our Champions have been removed. Also, summoning a 15/14 Rhaast is hilarious.
Ionia: Kayn Shen – C
Anyone else remember Fiora Shen?
This seems like a decent pairing – Shen likes Challenger units and Barrier lets Kayn go after the enemy board more aggressively. We also have the usual Ionia protection spells like Twin Disciplines and Deny to help Kayn stay put once he’s on the board.
We don’t have a lot else going for us, so keeping Kayn alive and leveling him are the only things that matter – this may mean that Shen will have to take one for the team and eat a Vengeance if we don't have another protection spell for Kayn.
Sacred Protector can push a lot of damage with Rhaast or The Shadow Assassin as they should have seven Power or more by this point. Having Shen (level 2) on board as well can take our opponent from 20 to 0.
The deck lacks meaningful pressure until we find Kayn and play him, though, which means most midrange decks are going to run away with the game before we get started. On the other hand we should be very strong into aggro decks, and have a fair shot against control with Deny to back us up.
Noxus: Kayn Riven, ft. Kat – B
It may make Rhaast jealous, but Riven’s blade fragments can do a lot for our would-be assassin. Being able to give Kayn Quick Attack makes trading much safer, and Quick Attack also comes handy if we drag a big blocker when Kayn is about to level-up on his next strike, since he will Recall to our hand before the enemy unit can strike him back.
Getting the Blade of the Exile is great for Kayn as it will grant him Quick Attack and a permanent +2/+0, but you don’t want to play this on him prior to leveling up: the stats and keywords will be lost when he does. Noxian Defector, however, becomes an absolute HOUSE with the Blade.
Noxian Defector also turns into a monster once we’ve gotten an Equipped unit out, as he will copy the power gains given by Might, Elixir of Wrath, or Glinting Blade Fragment. I’ve included two copies of Great Hammers to help him find his way to the Nexus, and to make sure that his effect is active if we don’t have Kayn.
Kayn loves to attack, and having Katarina for a repeatable Rally effect is great. Ruined Reckoner can be functionally the same for us, as we will typically be stacking buffs on a single unit.
If Kayn falls we can always bring him back with Heedless Resurrection, but Riven can also make effective use of his weapon. It is important to note, though, that because the stat gain is granted to the weapon (and not Riven), she will not double the Power bonus.
This is one of the few decks where I might choose The Shadow Assassin as the Shadow Scythe gets +2/+0 with each attack, and we are looking to blow our opponent out with 1-2 big swings.
PnZ: Kayn Viktor – F
This is another region where Kayn just doesn’t quite seem to gel. The region has no protection spells or meaningful ways to contribute to his level-up condition, and the other champions just don’t want to do the same thing as Kayn.
Viktor can benefit from the Scythe, but he has to roll the right keywords and we also have to hope that our opponent decided that their deck didn’t need any interaction.
Shadow Isles: Kayn Kindred – C
Kayn and Rhaast both love killing, and no one slays it quite like Kindred.
We’re taking the early slay package for a more aggressive opening, and using Kindred to control the board while we wait for Kayn to appear and take over the game. I’ve included The Darkin Halberd for the Slay proc, but also to give us the option to summon Taarosh as a late-game finisher. We’ve also got Atrocity to finish our opponent’s Nexus once we’ve built up our Kayn or Kindred.
Kayn makes it easy to trigger Slay for Kindred, and they can quickly grow out of control if our opponent can’t remove them – not to mention Kindred will be killing another unit on their side of the board each Round that we Slay.
We have a lot of options to control the board even if we don’t find Kindred: Black Spear, Furious Wielder and Hate Spike. Kayn also does a good job of sweeping our opponent’s key units off of the board.
Sad to say, Susan (also known as Nasus) is still the stronger version, but this deck will still bury aggro, and has a fair shot at taking down midrange decks.
Shurima: Kayn Akshan – C
New champion? Pair them with Akshan!
This seems to be the perennial cycle in deck-building when new expansion drops, and it was inevitable that Kayn would get paired with our favorite sandy swashbuckler. We actually have access to quite a few strike spells, including Desert Duel, Grappling Hook and Furious Wielder, which can all help to level Kayn or progress our Warlord's Palace and Warlord's Hoard.
Quicksand and Rite of Negation help to protect Kayn, but if we lose him, we can bring him right back with Heedless Resurrection.
My favorite part of this deck, though, is Buried Armory. If we’re able to curve it out, we can have a 6/6 Akshan on Round three… which is just absurd. This makes Akshan an absolute nightmare for our opponent to remove efficiently, and they will be forced to block him if they don’t want to be absolved of their LP.
Treasure of the Sands also makes our Ranger-Knight Defector an enormous problem for our opponent to deal with.
This deck is a lot of fun, but it is currently struggling a bit in the ladder meta and hasn’t been able to scrap above a 50% win rate just yet. Maybe if the sands shift in the right direction it will climb to dominance, but this just doesn’t seem to be its time.
Targon: Zoe Kayn – B
A Zoe deck with a decent win rate? MajiinBae must be in heaven.
This deck is fairly champion-reliant, as our main win conditions are spreading around Scout or Elusive with Zoe (level 2), or to just run them over with Rhaast. We have a lot of protection tools available to help ensure that both of our champions can stick to the board a bit better, but one in particular has an outsized effect on the deck.
The Darkin Lodestone is a big part of what makes this deck tick. Being able to grant an ally +1/+1 on each attack is huge, and triggering it once or twice with Zoe can make her an immense headache to deal with. Hitting Kayn to boost his Health is also very helpful, as he needs to strike just twice to level up.
The Lodestone also gives us access to Horazi, who can boost Kayn to take down a bigger target, or beef an Elusive unit to push damage to the enemy Nexus.
Our lifestealers, namely Keeper of the Box and Sparklefly, tilt the aggro matchups heavily into our favor – if we are able to get Rhaast onto the board, the game is pretty well sealed away.
Control matchups, especially in SI, can be challenging as we lack answers to hard removal. We are running a copy of Heedless Resurrection to bring back our Kayn if we lose him to a Vengeance, but it can be quite difficult to level him.
Kayn feels like a very strong Champion, and the choice offered on level up is a fun way to add flexibility to his kit. Although he hasn't quite found his home yet, I feel like Kayn has a strong chance of landing in a Tier 1 or 2 deck once he's been figured out.
Best of luck, fellow brewers, and see you on the ladder!