This week I’m finally getting back to my roots and talking about some balance that really bugs me. Let’s chat about Kayn. You know Kayn right? The new guy that can transform into an evil man-demon or just an evil man? The one who can walk through walls? Great. Well, forget about Assassin Kayn because we need to talk about the unbelievable nonsense that is Darkin Kayn.
If I’m being honest with you, a lot of Kayn players don’t know what they’re doing. They struggle because they try and use their stupid ultimate on the carry. That’s because they didn’t read my Kayn guide (or just, you know, the in-game tooltip). Ya see, when Darkin Kayn leaps out of his target he is healed for a percent of their max health.
If you have never seen an almost dead Kayn heal for his entire health bar before, you have never played against a good Darkin. The goal of Umbral Trespass is to fight a battle, lose most of your health, find safe harbor in the body of the enemy tank and then burst out back into the world. Ideally everyone around you is dead and you have full health.
Kayn’s ability to do this confuses me because he already has so much going for him. I mean, he isn’t the first champion to have two health bars right? Kled, Tahm Kench, even Tryndamere to some extent. All of them can live for extra time. But you can explain everyone else away. That’s Kled’s entire identity, Tahm’s shield isn’t really that powerful and Tryndamere is old as dirt. But Kayn is brand new and his ability to life steal off of everything and gain all of his health back off of one ability feels unfair.
Now unfair is a word that you can’t really toss around lightly in League. There are lots of ways to play against enemy champions and to claim that something is unfair is to say that it leaves your enemies with no options. Darkin Kayn is disappointing from a balance perspective because he is excellent at everything. He is mobile, a great tank, can deal ludicrous damage to tanks or squishies and has built in lifesteal. The use of unfair feels warranted.
If things go Kayn’s way, he has no weaknesses. I say all of this as someone who genuinely loves Kayn, his brand of bullshit was built for me. Lifesteal bruisers like Warwick, Darius and now Darkin Kayn are some of my best champions. But Kayn feels broken in a way that makes me feel guilty for playing him.
I don’t like to throw around stats often, but in a recent ranked game I went 23/5/17 on Kayn in 35 minutes. I’m not that player. My style is not to get extremely fed and hard carry. I play Sejuani in most games. This was my first Kayn game in months and I just devoured people. It was hilarious and incredible watching the enemy team struggle to lower my health only for me to lifesteal all the way back up, but good god it hardly felt fair. If you’re out there and reading this, I’m enjoying my LP but I’m very sorry.
Everyone has good games, but I can’t remember the last time I have seen a single champion destroy every game they are in like this. It isn’t just me, I’m not the Kayn whisperer. If the enemy team has a Kayn, I sit and pray that they pick Assassin form or that they don’t know what they’re doing with their ult. Every semi-decent Kayn I’ve ever come across destroys and it’s disgusting.
I get passionate and heated about balance all the time, but this is one of the few things over the past five years that has made me sit back and quietly ask, “How is this okay? How did this happen?” Darkin Kayn has so many strengths, so to see him regain all of his health is just discouraging. I love Kayn, he is easily my favorite champion released this year, but sometimes even the things you love are just too much.
This healing needs to be nerfed before all those Assassin Kayn players get hip.