By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
My opinion on Kled has changed quite a bit over this past week. It’s been incredibly hard to simply pick up a new champion in League of Legends. The moment a new champ comes out for a lane that is popular, they get banned immediately, or if you can’t get in the lane, convincing someone to swap is insane. As a support main, it took some doing but I managed to journey to the top lane and give Kled a go! I honestly was surprised he wasn’t named Kletus/Cleetus since he’s basically an insane backwoods Yordle. How that reflects as the official “Noxian Meme” is beyond me.
He’s a military man; he has a series of really cool/different mechanics, but he floats too much between styles. He’s a top laner primarily but he can also jungle. He’s a Fighter, but he can also go the Tank route if that’s your purview. I always want to say “Take them support!” because that’s my schtick, but I tried it and it does not work very well. He has no major CC other than some very movement dependent stuff, no heals, though he can be tanky. So, no. Please don’t do that. Keep him where he belongs.
His skill cap is listed as high, and I without a doubt agree. Kled’s bruiser status is dependent on a few factors:
1: Does he have Kled?
2: Is his W up?
3: Did you land your Q and E?
If these are not all yes, it’s a risky business being anywhere near your opponent. But he rewards people going hard in the paint, such as it were. There are many situations [and I’ll highlight as many as I can!] where he is in a bad way, but some jungle love can go a long way for the cantankerous one. He’s cooldown based as well, no mana, so you’re definitely going to want to consider a unique build order that fits him before going into a game. What makes him great? What makes him a delusional basket case?
+ Fuck Off, Darius: He has two hp bars, in Skaarl and Kled himself. If Skaarl’s hp depletes completely, that’s it! He runs away. If Darius slips up and dunks when you have Skaarl, she’s gonna soak the damage, run away, and you’re going to get off scot-free. Though HP bonuses only affect the mount, using that or getting Skaarl back at the right time? It can be infuriating. As Skaarl leaves, he’s very momentarily invulnerable.
+ Buffs: He comes complete with a ridiculously strong attack speed steroid and Skaarl is basically a regenerating shield. His W [Violent Tendencies] is a double-edged sword. It’s 150% attack speed for four hits, plus bonus damage based on the targets maximum health? Beautiful. Almost too beautiful. You’ll want to dive in whenever it’s up before you learn to play it cool, and that can get you in serious trouble. But more on that below.
+ Tunnel Vision: It’s a thing League players get called out for more often than not; targeting one person exclusively and running them down, ignoring everyone else. Kled rewards that gameplay. You ult someone you hate, tag them with the Q, Joust in closer, joust again, and then AA them into the ground.
- Weaknesses: He’s got ‘em! Characters with strong shields, good ranged pokes, parry abilities, stronger duelists/dedicated duelists. . . You really have to be aware of what your opponents can do going in! If they can out-mobile/out-duel him. . .
- Double-Edged Sword: Your W has a cooldown, and after the fourth auto attack it resets and you can’t do any of the cool bonus attack speed. It is imperative that you are aware of how many hits you’ve landed.
- Wave Clear: Yeah, he doesn’t have ANY of that. As a top laner farming on your own, it’s pretty pertinent that you can get in and get last hits. But if your opponent has even a little range, or a remotely decent wave clear, your life is not going to be a fun one. Call the jungler a lot and hope he or she picks up the phone.
Kled is a solid, but strange character. He’s a potent part of his team and, while he stands out in the top lane as a force to be noticed and reckoned with, I’m seeing so much potential in the jungle. I’m awful as a jungler, but I can see that ult bolting out of a bush in some crazy part of the jungle, and suddenly. . . bodies are dropping! There are certainly options on how you want to run him but my preferred Runes/Masteries are 9x Attack Damage Reds, 9x Armor Yellows, 9x Magic Resist Blues, 3x Attack Speed Quints. You’re going to likely take a lot of damage top lane in a lot of situations. Those options are standard, and will allow you a little leeway. And for Masteries? Ferocity  and Cunning , with Fervor of Battle being the Mastery of choice. The bonus damage from the stacks of Fervor really compliments that silly attack speed of his. With his W up, you can get stacks off of the Q, both hits of the E, then start AAing. Damage! Huzzah!
The problem with Kled is his kit is so damn hard to use! If you land your Q from too far away, they can just walk away before they take the second part of it. You can avoid his E and not have to worry about the second run-through. His W has a cooldown and automatically happens. You can’t decide you want to use his power. It happens, so you have to be incredibly aware. Two of his powers don’t even work when Skaarl is gone! If you lose him and don’t have the stats/gumption to stick it out, you’re going to have a bad time. Sure, his Q changes without the mount, and it has a little knock back for him. Don’t mistake that for a get out of gank free card. But I can certainly see him doing well with junglers that come out of nowhere: Evelynn, Twitch, Shaco, someone with stealth or surprise. Or someone who takes the pressure off Kled like Rammus, Xin Zhao, someone that must be dealt with. But what can he do?
- Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard [Passive, Conditional Buff]: This passive has two forms: Mounted and Dismounted. Kled cannot gain HP normally. All of his “bonus” health goes directly to Skaarl [400-1505 level based + 100% bonus health]. All damage dealt to him goes to Skaarl first, and when she is reduced to 0, she flees! While she flees, Kled cannot be targeted, and any extra damage over time effects are negated. That means no Veigar ultimate, no Darius bleed/dunk, Master Yi Alpha Strike, none of that stuff hurts him if Skaarl dips on the fight. If Kled is Dismounted he gains 125 Attack Range and swaps to his gun. When he’s moving towards enemy champions he gains movement speed but else wise his base movement is reduced to 285 and only deals 80% of his damage.
Getting Skaarl Back: Once your courage hits 100, Skaarl returns with a fanfare! You gain courage by killing enemy units and attacking structures, champions and epic monsters. She comes back with 50-80% health and can come back mid-duel. If he returns to base she returns immediately! But if she comes back outside of the base, Skaarl has “Frayed Nerves” and can’t gain courage for a time.
- Beartrap on a Rope [Q, Mounted, Slow/Grab]: Cooldown: 9/8.5/8/7.5/7. Kled throws a beartrap on a rope which deals damage to everything it passes through; it will latch onto a champion even if behind minions. It latches onto the first Champion or Large Monster it hits. It has a short range and does 50% bonus damage to monsters. It’s the closest thing he has to some kind of wave clear. When it hits a Champion/Large monster, a radius pops up and if he stays in it for 1.75 seconds, Kled pulls the Champion back a bit and applies a slow. The slow is 40-60% damage and deals damage on the Yank.
- Pocket Pistol [Q, Unmounted, Ranged, Charges]: Cooldown: 3, 2 charges, recharges between 20-7.5 seconds, based on level. Kled fires a wave of five bullets in a cone. It pushes him in the opposite direction it fires and deals damage to everyone that gets hit by a bullet. Pellets that hit champions restore 5 courage. He can store 2 charges at once and it will continue to charge even if he’s mounted.
- Violent Tendencies [W, Buff, Nonactivatable]: Cooldown: 14/12.5/11/9.5/8. Passive: Kled enters a frenzy with bonus attack speed of 150% on his next four attacks for four seconds. The final attack does bonus damage [200 cap on monsters], of 20/30/40/50/60 [+4/5/6/7/8%] +5% per 100 bonus AD of targets maximum health. It does meaty chunks of damage, but you can’t control it. After the fourth hit/time goes out, the cooldown pops.
- Jousting [E, Dash]: Kled and Skaarl dash in a direction, doing damage to all enemies in their path and a bonus movement speed of 50% for one second. If they hit a large monster or Champion you can reactivate Joust to dash through the target a second time. If you’ve already started the joust, though, they can flash away or leap out of the path. You can’t use this if you are Dismounted.
- Chaaaaaaaarge!! [R, Dash, Fixed Line]: Cooldown: 160/140/120. Range of 5000, it’s huge. Kled and Skaarl roll towards a fixed point on the map and will avoid terrain on the way. While on the way he builds a shield up [200/300/400 +300% bonus AD maximum] depending on how far he traveled. The shield lasts 2 seconds at the end of the charge. There’s a trail that pops up behind him that allies can use for a movement speed boost that lasts for ten seconds. Skaarl focuses on the first champion encountered, slamming them. It knocks them back dealing bonus damage based on the distance traveled [12/15/18% + 12% per 100 AD] based on the target’s maximum health.
That kit is absolutely ludicrous. I’d go for Q, W, E for levels 1-3, and max W first, then Q, then E. I want the most out of my attack speed ability. Builds are equally silly. There are so many possibilities. Your build will largely depend on the enemy team and whether your lane opponent is fed or not. You can build AD top, Tank top, Tank jungle, and AD jungle. If you’re going to go AD in the top lane, the key item for me is The Black Cleaver. CDR, Health and Armor Shred? It’s a no-brainer. That paired with W is absolutely silly in a one on one encounter. Boots opinion varies. Personally, I like tank boots, but Swiftness are also very potent in making sure nobody gets away from you and reduces CC effects. Death’s Dance is powerful on him, giving Lifesteal and CDR again, which are key to a character like him. Even if you’re going AD, you’ll want at least one tank item, something like Guardian Angel, Randuin’s Omen or even Spirit Visage. A few times I grabbed Banner of Command against almost pure AP teams for maximum hilarity. Guardian Angel is pretty grand on him, but I haven’t used it yet personally. Ravenous Hydra’s another great buy on him and if you’re nice and ahead? Why not go for the Full Monty and grab a Trinity Force? Because we all love big numbers. As far as Tank build goes, I grab Black Cleaver, then simply build for the situation. I become an unstoppable force that rolls in and does whatever it pleases.
Jungle is a bit different for me because frankly, I don’t do it. I’m not good at it. But ultimately you’re going to probably want Cinderhulk or Warrior for your jungle item, one of the Hydras [Tank or Damage Hydra, depending], Boots of Swiftness, and then the path diverges. I like Sterak’s Gauge on him a lot as a tank, but if I’m going damage, it’s back to the Cleaver for me! AD Jungle I basically just build top lane Kled, only with a cool jungle item to go with it. You will probably employ Smite, followed by Flash likely, but when I’m top lane you know what I found? Exhaust against an AS-heavy top laner will make their life absolutely miserable in a duel. As far as items go top or jungle, there are lots of choices. Frozen Mallet, Youmuu’s, or Dead Man’s Plate. As always, look at what the enemy is doing, what your team needs, and build the squad. Don’t just build for you!
The bottom line is that Kled is insane, his dialogue is insane, and his options for builds are just as insane. But he’s not an island unto himself. Much in the same way he needs his mount, he needs his team, and the team needs him. Kled teaches you how important teamwork is. He can split push and use his ult to get places nice and fast, but he’s best when he singles someone out in the teamfight and obliterates them. He’s just mobile enough to get around the squad and pin down their carry. Kled’s capable of wombo combos, preparing for them and so much more. Once Zyra’s knocked up the other team, it’s time to get to work! They can’t avoid the beartrap if they’re knocked up and slapped with plants. I started off hating Kled, but the more I see and the more I played, the more I loved the character.
I think he’s an interesting niche’ pick. Ban Tier? Probably not. But in the right hands, someone with both balls and brains, Kled’s going to push people out of lane, and push them out of their minds. I’ve been in situations where I pummeled a Kled and kept him starving, but as soon as team fights happened, he would get kills like the laning phase didn’t even happen! He can be an overwhelming force, but if you go hard, they can very easily go home. I think he’s fun, but he might be needlessly complicated. That passive and W is going to make or break how successful he is.