There’s more than one way to play League of Legends. From one-tricking your favorite Champion, to maining a certain role, rotating between highly competitive meta picks, or refining yourself down to a unique playstyle. Today, I’m going to talk about playstyle and narrow it down towards Champions that keep swinging harder and faster as the game goes on. That’s right, I’m focusing on late game picks today!
Late game focused Champions have a bad rep for being generally considered ‘uninteractive’ or ‘boring’ to play. This is typically categorized due to their more utility-forward kits or requirements for items and levels. But, there’s genuinely more nuance to playing late game selections, and in some cases, some traditional late game Champions can find the right matchup to be just as effective as an early game choice.
The Best Champions for Late Game
Top Lane – Kayle, the Righteous
Perhaps the most obvious case of a Champion who scales very well, Kayle is strictly defined by her requirements for levels and is well known to become a divine Champion at the level 16 mark when she receives the full effect of her Divine Ascent.
Overall, Kayle serves as one of the game’s best split pushing Champions. However, through her ultimate, utility, and raw damage output at levels 11 and 16, she can get into the teamfighting mix quite effectively in comparison to the likes of other popular split-pushers like Fiora or Tryndamere. This ability to really impact a teamfight setting is what makes her appealing since today’s game is all about contesting the massive effects provided from Dragon and Baron.
So, let’s quickly look at some tips for Kayle:
- First and foremost, Kayle cares about experience almost more than any other Champion in the game. Her power and utility increase greatly at levels 6, 11, and 16 and it’s important to adjust your playstyle according to your strengths at these points.
- Don’t be afraid to concede farm pre-level 6. Despite the buffs to resistances, Kayle is still geared to be a squisher Top Laner. So, in a lane that comes with plenty of ways to gap close on your opponent, melee range Kayle is quite the vulnerable target for bullying.
- At level 6, you become far more capable of holding your own. As your ability to trade increases with your range and your ultimate lets you turn fights and mitigate damage against you. If you’re pushed to the turret, don’t be afraid to coordinate a dive with your Jungler as Kayle’s ult is an excellent tool to get dives going.
- At level 11, Kayle’s second ascension provides her with the ability to shove her waves far more effectively. This makes you better at quickly soaking a wave and then bouncing towards your team if they need you or into the enemy Jungle to tax resources. Your gameplan here is to still keep away from sharing EXP since you’re sprinting towards level 16.
- At level 16, Kayle’s ascension is complete and she’s a one v. nine monster. Range, wave-clear, and damage all come packaged in full and you should be playing with your team. Acting as a second ADC and hitting the target that is directly in front of you will help you stack your passive quickly for maximum damage. Using your ultimate on the dive target of the fight, be that yourself or another carry on your team, is game-changing to win a teamfight. Evaluate who needs your ultimate the most based on how strong each of your teammates are. If you’re in the lead, then you’re holding the ult for yourself.
Mid Lane – Kassadin, the Void Walker
Another classic Rift Champion, Kassadin comes packaged with a playstyle that spikes in very similar fashion to Kayles at levels 6, 11, and 16. Unlike Kayle however, he trades off his DPS for burst and mobility at his power spikes. This makes him one of the premiere Assassin picks in the game when he’s played to perfection, and one of the few Assassins that disregards early-game aggression to get off the ground.
Beyond his mobility and burst, Kassadin does come packaged with other tools that make him a unique pick into certain matchups. He’s extremely effective at playing off of Burst Mages and other AP Assassins due to his ability to mitigate their trades with his Q’s spell-damage shield. Additionally, he can match their wave clear easily with his E since as they spam their ability to shove him in, he stacks that up to wave clear back. And of course, his W is an auto-reset to help him farm and comes with a mana-regeneration effect to help him keep casting spells.
With this in mind, let’s jump into some other defining tips for Kassadin:
- Passive play pre-level 6 is extremely important for Kassadin. He has absolutely zero mobility and miniscule damage prior to level 6, so focusing on catching what gold and experience you can is more important than anything else.
- At level 6, however, you can get more aggressive with trading by using your ultimate as a tool to damage and escape with, just be wary of your mana costs since it heavily taxes your mana pool.
- Like a split-pushing Top Laner, come towards the Mid Game, you should be side laning. This means pushing waves out safely and then floating towards your team to help clean up skirmishes or take advantage of numbers. Stacking your ultimate up as you move is going to help you come into fights hard and loud.
- Come late game, particularly level 16, you’re at your strongest. Like Kayle, playing with your team if you have an effective teamfight comp is going to be extremely beneficial, but you can also split-push to draw pressure, using your ultimate to escape hairpin situations that other split-pushers would be extremely vulnerable in.
- Kassadin has a few Keystone choices to be aware of. The first of these is Electrocute, which focuses on maximizing his burst. The second is Fleet Footwork, offering him a little extra juice of mobility and sustain. The third is Conqueror, as a melee Champion, Kassadin stacks Conqueror quite effectively, especially since his W resets his auto-attacks.
Bot Lane – Kai’sa, the Daughter of the Void
Following a trend of Champions that start with the letter K, we’ve got Kassadin’s own daughter making her way onto the list. Against the Bot Laner crowds, Kai’sa is often defined by her flexibility and unique scalings as she’s capable of fulfilling APC and ADC damage sources for her team. Package this with her strength as a duelist and ability to be played well independently from Support synergy, and you’ve got a Marksmen that is a near total package. Especially when you consider that she scales like a monster with items as all Marksmen are designed to do.
Within her APC sets, she becomes very akin to an Artillery Mage, spamming her W and taking down opponents with her stacked passive and, hopefully, isolated Q damage. In her ADC set, she’s a tank counter with her passive mixing in AP damage with her AD-DPS, making whatever items frontliners build against her far less effective. Couple this with her team’s ability to aid the passive stacking with CC, and Kai’sa can defeat anyone on the Rift with ease when ahead.
- Fighting your opponents away from minions and in isolation will give you maximum damage off of your Q as all the missiles will target your opponent.
- Kai’sa E is excellent for dodging skillshots but also quickly repositioning forward or back depending on how aggressive you’re looking to play.
- Kai’sa R, like her E, is an excellent repositioning tool, capable of being more self-peel focused or dive-focused depending on your strength and numbers.
- At level 13, Kai’sa will have two of her abilities maxed, assuming you’re keeping up in evolutions with items, this means massive damage and self-peel for skirmishing opponents.
- Kai’sa is best played as an ADC in a front-to-back style. This means focusing the target in front of you down quickly before moving towards the next and working your way to the backline. Naturally, focus on the target that’s going to most likely defeat you that’s within your range.
- Kai’sa is extremely effective at playing towards picks in the Mid to Late game with her W. Landing a W on an isolated target, ulting yourself in, then dashing and DPSing around a lone opponent is a great way to create pressure and advantageous situations for your team. Just, be wary of how ahead you are.
Jungle or Bot Lane – Karthus, the Deathsinger
Once a Mid Lane staple in the old days of League of Legends, Karthus’ visual update way back and some rebalancing touches since have left him the position as one of the Rift’s most effective Junglers and Bot Lane Mage options. This dual role identity makes him a valuable drafting piece as well, since it’ll never really be known where Karthus is going until more picks have been made.
To quickly jump into what makes Karthus a scaling Champion before I roll into tips, it’s his synergy with the Dark Harvest Keystone that makes Karthus a late-game Mage. Karthus exists in a space where he’s one of those Champions you can’t play too aggressively into, and you must always be moving and on your toes. His Q, Lay Waste, is an extremely spammable tool that is great for both poking and farming for a safe distance. His W, Wall of Pain, allows him to get in range for his E and land Qs. His E is the ultimate ‘Get off me’ message as it constantly damages opponents that are within the circle, and thanks to his passive, even after he’s been defeated.
All these things stack up for wonderful synergy with Dark Harvest, allowing Karthus ample opportunities to get his opponents into range to collect a stack that only amps up his damage and synergy with burning and slowing related items like Liandry’s and Rylais in the late-game.
Now, to get into our Karthus tips:
- Karthus’ spammable Q and DPSing E make his Jungle clear extremely fast, allowing him to breeze through and reset camps quicker than his opponents. Focus on farming quickly and efficiently up to your ultimate for more map impact. As a Bot Laner, his Q’s isolation damage also makes him effective at taking neutral objectives like Baron and Dragon without much of a drop off in DPS.
- At level 6, use your F-keys to keep eyes on your lanes as you path through the Jungle. If your allies are trading and the trades are extending, don’t be afraid to drop your ultimate into the mix to collect a Dark Harvest stack or turn a fight into your lane’s favor.
- W placement can make or break a fight regardless of where you play Karthus from. It’s an excellent tool to set up your Q’s damage, get yourself into position for maximum E-DPS, and is just generally a great tool to hold down chokes with.
- As always, if you’re going to die in the middle of a fight, do so in a position that covers the space your opponents are going to have to path through. Karthus’ passive lets him keep in the action after his death and being positioned for more Q and E damage can make Karthus a consistent contributor towards fight damage from the grave.
Bot Lane – Kog’Maw, the Mouth of the Abyss
Kog’Maw is another Champion who scales well in long games. Especially when paired with Supports like Lulu, Janna, Sona, and other Enchanters with a lot of resilience. Them sticking around longer in fights, helps Kog reap the benefits of their enhancements even more! Couple this with the fact that his items are already the perfect tank counter, then it’s almost as if the game primed him to be the premiere ADC of the game.
Time for some tips on the little artillery Champion:
- Kog’s W is his main tool, never go into a trade without activating it.
- Kog’s ultimate allows him to prime his opponents for all-ins with his W. Look to punish last hitting with it for easy poke. Additionally, it’s a great bush checking tool as it provides a small amount of vision wherever it drops.
- Kog’s E makes him an excellent Marksman for fighting in tight chokepoints, the slow effect is quite substantial and easily keeps him in range of his targets.
- Kog has no mobility beyond Flash, so sticking with your primary peeler/enable is huge when transitioning around the map.
- Kog’s mobility and range makes him great at playing in a front-to-back comp, so be sure, like with Kai’sa you’re targeting the deadliest target within your range without positioning yourself forward to enemy exposure.
I hope these breakdowns and tips help you on the Rift in League of Legends, but remember, play what you enjoy and have fun! Good luck on the Rift everyone!