Hello! Today I'll be covering one of the new builds that have arrived with the release of set 4.5. That build, as the title suggests, is about Kayle as the carry along with her trait, Executioner. Kayle was one of my favorite champions in set three so I'm super happy that she's back again for set 4.5. I do want to make it clear that the meta is still all over the place since we're only a few days into the release of 4.5.
That means Kayle may fall out of the meta next week or shoot up to the top in a different way than I cover here to day. But for today I'll be covering the current composition and the variations you can do for it. In addition to that I'll talk about items and a general guide for the early, mid and late game. With all that said let's go ahead and get to it!
1. Why Kayle?
Before we get into the nitty gritty details of the composition I want to quickly cover why this composition is even worth pursuing in the first place. At the moment it's doing well in the meta but not the strongest, so why should you play it? Well the main reason is that Kayle, as a carry, can out scale most other four cost champions because of her damage output on top of doing more damage the lower the enemy champion gets thanks to Executioner.
On top of that, Executioner is at most a three piece trait which makes it really flexible. You won't have to commit more than three units on your board to obtain it which leaves the door open to lots of splash traits like Adept, Mystic or just leaning into Kayles' other trait, Divine. That flexibility really helps a lot in the current meta because you can quickly pivot into a Kayle/Executioner build if given the option.
Of course there are downsides to Kayle, one of which is that Xayah is going to be quite contested. Xayah is a somewhat important champion since you want her both for Executioner but also as your secondary damage dealer. But Xayah is contested by Elderwood builds, which sometimes also use Kayle. Another downside is that Kayle does want somewhat specific items, which we will cover later, but if you are unable to find them it can lessen how strong Kayle is.
Overall I'd say Kayle/Executioner is a middle of the pack composition. It's one that you flex into more so than force, which in my opinion makes it a valuable build to know how to play.
2. Core Items
Alright let's shift over to talking about the actual composition starting with core items. As usual when you're first learning a build you want to pinpoint what champion is your primary carry. Primary carries, or hyper carries, are the main source of damage for the build. For this build we already know Kayle is the primary carry since we've already been talking about her (and that her name is part of the compositions name). Next you want to consider what other champions will be holding items for your board.
Usually this means either a second damage dealer, a front-liner or a utility champion. For Kayle/Executioner you have several choices but one of the better options will be Xayah. Xayah will be played to provide Executioner and since she's a champion that can deal a good amount of damage you can increase her effectiveness by tossing extra items to her. Otherwise you can always look to bolster your frontline. Lastly Kindred and Yuumi, whom are often used in the build, can be great to give aura items too.
As for Kayle you will have a few options in terms of items but the best item to give her that you will want consistently is RFC. RFC will help a lot in keeping Kayles damage output high since she won't have to continue to move forward to deal damage. Alongside RFC it's a good idea to aim for some type of attack speed item, ideally Rageblade. Rageblade will scale the longer the fight goes which is what you want when running Kayle anyway, so the two pair together well. Lastly the best in slot defensive item is usually Quicksilver.
Quicksilver will prevent Kayle from being crowd controlled early on in the fight which allows her to scale up her attack speed with Rageblade. It also stops pesky displacement abilities like Aatrox or the newly introduced artifact item, Rocket-propelled fist. Of course you can always position Kayle away from those but Quicksilver at least negates it for a few seconds into combat. Otherwise you can look to grab Guardian's Angel or a healing item like Gunblade. Hand of Justice also does well since both the damage and healing it can roll are useful.
And one last item for Kayle to talk about is the Duelist Spatula. Being able to turn Kayle into a Duelist champion adds another layer of flexibility to the composition and the attack speed is amazing for her. It's basically Rageblade but scales faster which is perfect. But since Spatula's are not guaranteed every game, don't plan for this and look for her basic items instead.
For the other champions in the composition you will give items to, it really depends on what the game gives you. Again Xayah is likely the secondary carry so damage items can go on her or an aura item like Zeke's. For the frontline I recommend Sunfire Cape since you can aim to grab it early game and get a lot of value from it while being useful later on for the healing reduction. In general just look for strong utility items like Zeke's, Zephyr or Shroud that add value to your board.
3. Ornn Artifacts
Since we're still on the topic of items let's go ahead and talk about Ornn artifacts really quickly. First let's make it clear that you have no control over what artifact items Ornn gives you, if you get any at all in the game. Ornn is a great front line champion and almost always worth putting into your board during stage four and five both for his CC and also to get one or two artifact items. Despite not having control over which item you get it's still worth knowing a few of the ones that are especially good for this composition.
One of the best, assuming you have an item slot open for Kayle or Xayah, is Obsidian Cleaver. This is because Kayle does a mixture of damage so having the enemies armor and magic resistance become reduced is quite useful. That said you may not always have a slot open on a champion that can apply the effect often enough to gain value so it's not always going to work out well.
Eternal Winter, in general, is one of the best frontline artifacts so it always finds use in any composition. Toss it onto a frontliner and you're good to go. There's also the case of placing it on someone like Yuumi or Kindred that end up in odd positions around the board so having Eternal Winter on them can both aide in their survival but also get the effect applied to a champion to may not have been on otherwise.
And the last artifact I want to highlight is Manazane. In general this item is great on high mana pool champions like Zilean since it gets their second cast off much faster. And there's always the possibility of running Zilean in this composition but he's not the main user of it that I want to talk about. The champion I'm thinking of that does really well with it is Lee Sin.
Lee Sin is a common champion in the build since he's both Duelist and Divine so chances are you will have him at some point. Manazane is amazing on him because it makes him kick a second time really fast which can cheese out an enemy champion off the board really early on in the fight. I highly recommend trying out this pairing if you're able to.
As for the other artifacts, well, they all have a use but they don't stand out as much as the three listed above. That said having one or two artifacts on your board is valuable so try to play Ornn when you can just to have at least one.
4. Core Champions & Traits
Up next let's talk about the core champions and traits for Kayle/Executioner. As mentioned there's a lot of flexibility for the build so we're going to focus on what you want to look for consistently and then in the next section we'll cover variations.
At the core of the build you want, well, Kayle. She's your primary damage dealer and lays the foundation of the composition. Alongside her you're going to want at least one other Executioner, another Divine and then a strong frontline. The common way to do this is Xayah, Irelia and Shen. This provides you with a second Executioner, a second Divine and Adept. Plus Shen means you can then add in a Mystic if you need to. Yuumi works out well so you can add Kindred for both Spirit and Executioner, otherwise Zilean is always a great option.
If you're not adding Kindred & Yuumi then you will want extra frontline. Vanguards are a bit over-tuned in the current meta so you can always look to add them in. Aatrox and Sejuani are ideal since they are relatively easy to get and provide a lot of CC but Nautilus is an okay alternative and Ornn is good to put in for his artifacts. Much later in the game you can look to toss in Yone for more Adept, Lee Sin for Divine/Duelist or Swain since he's a decent frontliner and opens up the possibility of Syphoner.
What all of this brings you to, at level eight, is a core build of Kayle/Xayah/Kindred/Yuumi/Shen/Irelia/Aatrox/Sejuani. It's the easiest and most basic way to play this composition as you get Executioner, Spirit for attack speed scaling, Adept, Divine, Vanguard and Mystic and will have a solid frontline.
As for what Chosen to look for, well, the ideal Chosen is going to be either Divine Kayle or Executioner Kayle. But that's not always possible so Xayah or Kindred Executioner are good alternatives. Otherwise I'd recommend Spirit Kindred so you can flex in Zilean over Yuumi or not run Mystic at all. And of course a frontline Chosen is great too whether that's Adept or Vanguard.
5. Build Variations
Now that we've covered the basic version of the composition let's get into the variations you may find yourself running. The very first to talk about is Duelist, which does require a Duelist Spatula.
With this variation you're going to usually run four Duelist and then after that it's up to you what you use, but personally I recommend extra Divine as this will provide a longer duration on the true damage of the trait. This variation is super strong and, in my opinion, has the most potential of any of the builds including the basic version. This variation uses Kayle/Xayah/Kindred for Executioner with Irelia/Jax and Lee Sin to provide four Divine and Tryndamere rounding out the composition as the fourth Duelist. The last Duelist can honestly be any, or even another Duelist Spatula if you have one.
Shen is there for Adept with Irelia but both of them can be replaced by Nasus and another Syphoner to gain that trait. Chosen Executioner is ideal here but you can look for six Divine with a Chosen Divine or having a Duelist Chosen so you don't need to run a fourth Duelist. Really there's a lot of ways you can change up the build but for the core I recommend running Divine/Duelist with the three Executioners.
Another variation is a hodgepodge of traits that I briefly mentioned when talking about the basic version of the build. Essentially it's using a lot of splash traits to boost your Kayle. It's not too far off the original build but the composition will look something like Kayle/Xayah/Kindred with Yuumi for Spirit, Shen to provide both Adept & Mystic, Irelia for Divine and then Syphoner from Swain/Morgana. This gives you attack speed for Kayle, healing from both Syphoner and Yuumi, Executioner and a bit of defense with Mystic.
It does lack frontline crowd control so it may have difficulties late game but it's overall a decent variation with the goal of boosting your Kayle as much as possible. If possible try to squeeze Ornn in at some point to aim for an artifact as Eternal Winter helps immensely with keeping your frontline alive longer.
And the last variation I want to look at is leaning heavily into Divine. It will lack a lot of the utility you gain from having additional traits in but the Divine bonus will boost the damage your Kayle does by a lot since the duration will last longer. Since you want six Divine you will aim for a Chosen Divine but if you're unable to find it you can drop Kindred for Wukong and then add a CC Vanguard over Shen.
Basically you can have any variation you want just keep six Divine in. I'm not as fond of this variation but it can work, as long as you have Kayle 2 getting top four is easy to do.
Overall Kayle as a carry can be used in all kinds of builds and compositions, don't tie yourself down to needing Divine or any specific trait, besides at least one other Executioner. More importantly focus on getting good items for her and playing her when she's uncontested as a two star Kayle is essential to do well from stage five and on.
6. Early Game
Time to cover the different stages of the game beginning with the early game! Ideally you will want to grab a Bow from the beginning carousel as this build ideally wants three of them for RFC and Rageblade. Otherwise grab either a Sword or Rod as both are useful in general and hard to obtain later on. Lastly it's always worth looking to grab a Chain Vest since it opens up the chance of getting an early Sunfire Cape.
From there we move into stage one where your overall goal is simple; buy pairs and look to hit two star champions. Since you're generally guaranteed around five to six gold additional gold from drops, whether as gold coins or units, you can use that by either buying out your shops or pre-leveling on 1-4. Pre-leveling at this point means you have a chance of rolling a two cost Chosen at the beginning of 2-1. Otherwise use your gold as you wish but keep in mind the goal is a strong board.
Stage two is the same as stage one, upgrade units and play your strongest board. While you can play to lose rounds for a better carousel pick, it's best to aim to win since preserving health helps a lot in getting to level eight at a reasonable time. Especially since this build relies a lot on four cost champions you want to get into stage four with a lot of health so try to play your strongest board with the intent to win.
There's quite a few traits and champions you can look for at this point of the game to win with. As usual there's strong openers like Keeper or Duelist but in 4.5 there's a few new kids on the block to consider. Rakan, even with Keeper, is absolutely bonkers and always worth trying to two star in the early parts of the game. He's hard to kill and has a disarm that lasts forever, so just having him on your board is huge.
Brawlers have always been a decent early game trait but they are even better now that the trait increases their attack damage. A board of four Brawlers can easily win streak during stage two, for example. And in addition to that you can also look to combine them with Elderwood by playing Rakan as well.
Another opener to look for is just Vanguards in general, especially Nautilus. Vanguards are a bit too good right now and while they don't pack as much damage or CC early game they are still quite good with the increased armor and magic resistance. An early Vanguard Chosen can often be a quick way to win streak.
Besides those there's also Nasus Chosen, with either of his traits. His ability can do a lot in the early game and he will heal a decent amount if you have Syphoner, plus Divine is great if you have Wukong or Jax. Of course there's plenty of other opening traits and champions to look for but those are just a few of the better ones to look for in 4.5.
Anyway, let's talk about leveling. If you didn't pre-level on 1-4 then try to level either on 2-1 or 2-2 so that you have increased odds at hitting a two cost Chosen or an early three cost champion. From there on 2-3 you can either pre-level before 2-5 or wait to level on 2-5. The standard rule here is if you can't make 10 gold at the end of 2-3, pre-level, otherwise wait and level on 2-5 instead. The rest of stage two is the same as always, play your strongest board and preserve health.
7. Mid Game
Let's move on to the mid game which begins around 3-2 when the majority of the lobby is leveling to six. While you can delay this, it's usually better to remain on the same leveling curve of the lobby. Only delay leveling if you're already at fifty gold and can level next round anyway or your economy is so low you that you'll dip below 20 gold by leveling.
Otherwise you will level to six! And you may need to roll on 3-2, or 3-3, if your board isn't strong enough. If you've been losing a lot up to this point then sell whatever early Chosen you got since it's likely not helping and roll down. Try to stop around twenty gold but if you're not hitting at all you can go as low as ten, just don't go below that or your economy isn't going to recover.
The goal when rolling on six is to hit a stable board with ideally a Chosen two cost or even a Chosen three cost. Play around that Chosen with the basic idea of having a good frontline, or at least defensive units like Keepers, with some type of damage dealer. Kindred is a great choice. Kalista is another good choice specifically for Kayle compositions because she uses Kayle items really well and naturally pushes the board towards Duelist which may help later on.
If you rolled or not the next break point is 4-1 where you want to level to seven. Here you can either roll if you're weak or sit on your board and slow level towards eight. The same rules apply here when rolling; stabilize your board by looking for a decent Chosen, a good frontline and a damage dealer. The difference here is that you may be able to hit four cost champions that you want later. In that case you can begin pivoting towards them.
From 4-1 to 4-5 the goal is to pick up pieces of the Kayle composition and scout. Scouting is important because you need to have an idea of what other players are playing and what units they are holding onto their bench. Since Kayle is a flexible champion you can easily decide during these rounds whether or not you'll be able to play her. If it looks open then great, otherwise try to pivot towards other compositions.
At 4-5 you can either level to eight or continue slow leveling. Generally my advice is level to eight if it leaves you with at least thirty gold left over. That way if you're weak and need to roll you can usually hit something to stabilize your board or you'll hit fifty gold again after Raptors. Leveling early as gives you a few extra rounds to naturally hit four and five cost champions at a higher chance than players that didn't level.
Stage five is around when the mid game ends but make sure you continue to scout from stage four through stage five!
8. Late Game
Alright we're now getting into the late game with stage five and level eight. This is where you want to roll to try and piece together your composition. If you saw Kayle wasn't contested or barely contested then this is the time to try and two star her and play whichever variation of the build you're able to. Also pick up five costs you hit as they can always be used to pivot your composition. In particularly always pick up Ornn if you can and toss him onto your board to begin farming artifacts. Even a second Ornn can be worth it to cheese out a second artifact.
The rest of stage five is all about stabilizing your board, scouting and positioning. There's not really any specific way to position your board as it depends entirely on what the rest of the lobby is doing. I will say that Kayle usually sits in the corner with RFC but always be aware of threats like Assassin's and CC that can displace her if you don't have a Quicksilver. As long as you're constantly scouting and adjusting your board as needed you usually won't be caught off guard.
Stage six is where you want to consider whether level nine is possible or not. Most games it's going to be difficult since it's expensive but if you're able to do it you will want to as it's a pretty big advantage. For Kayle compositions in general you do want several five costs like Lee Sin, Swain and Yone so hitting nine to have an easier time at two starring those champions is worth it.
That said if you are losing rounds and health then you're better off rolling to continue upgrading your existing board. There's also the option of looking to hit Kayle 3, though you need to be completely uncontested to realistically do this. Loaded Dice can help if you haven't used it, though at this point of the game you probably should have used it.
The easy rule to keep in mind is if you're about to lose the game in one or two rounds and are sitting on gold, spend it. If leveling to nine will give you a substantial power increase to your board, do it, otherwise roll. All in all the late game matters more about scouting and positioning so make that your top priority.
And that's it for this how to play article on Kayle/Executioner! It's one of my current favorite builds because it often reminds me of Kayle/Chrono from set three, which was my favorite composition. That said there's a lot of ways to play this composition so I recommend trying out different variations and seeing what works best for you.
Thank you for reading and if you'd like additional content you can always find videos over on the GiantslayerTFT YouTube here! Content is also regularly posted on their twitter here! And if you'd like you can follow me on twitter here.
And as always I highly recommend checking out https://lolchess.gg/ as it's a great resource for TFT!