Kassadin is a hard-scaling champion with a lot of mobility that allows him to bounce in and out of teamfights, striking at the right opportunity and chasing down low-health champions. Not only that, but once he gets strong enough, he’s able to burst down squishy champions that don’t have the tools to deal with him. From that introduction, it may seem like Kassadin is an unstoppable force, but once you understand how he works, you’ll be able to counter him without a problem!
There are many ways to counter Kassadin, starting from the laning phase and into late game teamfights, understanding his abilities is essential to figuring out his weaknesses and ways he can be countered.
- Passive – Void Stone: Kassadin’s passive is pretty easy to understand, he takes 15% less magic damage and ignores unit collision (basically, he doesn’t get creep blocked). From that, you may already notice one of Kassadin’s weaknesses – he doesn’t do as well against physical damage focused champions in the lane.
- Q – Null Sphere: It’s a targeted ability that deals magic damage, interrupts channels (such as Teleport or Jhin’s iconic ultimate), and gives him a moderate magic shield for 1.5 seconds. As you can see, Kassadin has plenty in his kit to do well against magic damage focused champions in the lane.
- W – Nether Blade: This ability passively empowers his basic attacks with bonus magic damage, its active effect increases this effect for his next basic attack and restores some of his missing mana (this effect is greatly increased against champions). Kassadin’s W is one of his most useful tools in lane to help him keep up in gold as it helps him farm under his tower if he gets pushed and keep his mana up.
- E – Force Pulse: Kassadin is only able to cast this ability once other 6 abilities have been cast near him, including abilities cast by himself, it deals damage in a cone and applies a strong slow. This is one of Kassadin’s strongest abilities once he gets enough Mana and Ability Haste, as the slow applied makes him able to poke you and disengage until his cooldowns are back up.
- R – Riftwalk: Kassadin’s ultimate ability is a blink that deals magic damage in the area near the arriving location, with a cooldown that gets as low as 2 seconds at max rank without taking into account Ability Haste. Every time Kassadin casts this ability within 15 seconds, it deals bonus damage but its mana cost also doubles, stacking up to 4 times on the damage and the cost.
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Countering Kassadin’s Abilities
Kassadin has difficulty pushing the wave in the early game, as he only has one AoE ability before level 6, and its use is conditional. Due to that, you can get an advantage in the early game from getting lane priority and setting up fights around the river or ganking other lanes, in case your champion is strong in that regard.
One important thing when playing against Kassadin is to play around his Riftwalk cooldown and how he uses it, at its first rank its cooldown is pretty long, so when a Kassadin player mispositions, be ready to punish him as you’ll have plenty of time to do so. In the late game, take notice of Kassadin’s mana and if he has his Riftwalk stacked, it does plenty of burst damage, but its mana cost can get as high as 640, so you can punish him when he gets low on mana – also save targeted CCs for him in teamfights if he goes in too early, this is probably the most effective way to punish his late-game mobility.
Most Common Kassadin Combos
Kassadin is a champion that has mainly two ways to play teamfights that rely on how he uses his ability.
- R into mid-range > E > Q, this is Kassadin’s poke combo, he blinks into range just enough to land his E and Q then goes back to wait for his cooldowns. The E slow allows him to just walk out of range again without having an extended trade and he can stack his R, this is mainly used at the start of fights when he’s waiting for the right opportunity to go all in.
- R > E > Auto-attack > W > Q, his highest damage combo, used to finish off targets, mainly used when he has enough stacks on his R for added damage. Kassadin’s basic attack deals non-negligible damage and he uses his W to reset the auto-attack, allowing him to deal maximum damage in a short amount of time.
From these two combos, you can get an idea of how Kassadin wants to play teamfights. The most effective way is to punish him in the short time windows where his R is down. If you’re low enough, you can easily bait a Kassadin to go all-in by saving your Flash or having a Zhonya’s or Stopwatch ready, do this when your team is close enough to punish him.
1. Early Game
As mentioned, Kassadin struggles in the early game due to him being melee and his abilities not providing him enough wave clear to deal with enemies that push him aggressively. This allows his lane opponents to roam on the map while he has to deal with the minions under his tower.
Another good way to deal with Kassadin’s early game is to freeze the wave in case it gets pushed too far into you, since Kassadin is a melee champion he has to overextend if he wants to farm minions, allowing you to poke him down, pick a favorable fight, or set up a gank with your jungler.
2. Physical Damage Champions
Kassadin’s Passive magic damage reduction and his Q magic shield make him strong against magic damage focused champions, but the rest of his abilities don’t really help him against champions that mainly deal physical damage.
3. Reliable Crowd Control
Champions that have easy-to-land CC do great against Kassadin as they can save their CC for when he goes in with his R, allowing their teammates to dish out damage on Kassadin and stack other forms of crowd control without giving Kassadin a chance to dodge.
Also read: How to Play Against Akshan
The Best Kassadin Lane Counters in Season 12
From Kassadin’s weaknesses, it’s pretty easy to get why the next champions do well against him in the laning phase.
As we already know, physical damage focused champions do great against Kassadin, and Talon is no exception. Adding onto that, Talon has a very roam-reliant playstyle that allows him to quickly push waves using his W and gank other lanes and pick up early kills.
Not only that but Talon also has a very strong early game, that when paired with Ignite provides high kill pressure against Kassadin, allowing Talon to beat Kassadin in fights.
As a highly mobile ranged champion, Akshan can use this to his advantage to poke Kassadin down and pick advantageous fights. Similarly to other AD champions that do well against Kassadin, Akshan has a strong early game that allows him to bully Kassadin in lane, getting gold advantages.
Even though Annie is a magic damage champion, one part of her kit does exceptionally well against Kassadin – she has reliable hard CC, this allows Annie to save her stun and punish Kassadin by stunning him in teamfights once he goes in, and either bursting him herself or providing CC for her teammates to do so. Annie is also a champion that has great gank setup, allowing her to freeze the lane and make Kassadin players overextend if they want to farm.
Also read: How to Counter Yasuo?
The Best Champions to Counter Kassadin in Season 12
Even if you’re not playing against Kassadin in lane, there are champions that you can pick that’ll help you in being successful against him due to how their abilities can make Kassadin useless in teamfights.
Not only is Pantheon one of the strongest early game champions, he also has access to a targeted stun, setting his team up to dish out damage onto Kassadin. Pantheon does great against Kassadin both in mid lane (due to his strong early game, reliable CC, and being a physical damage champion) and also when picked in other roles due to his targeted stun and ability to gank Kassadin or other lanes with his long-range ultimate.
Camille’s ultimate allows her to confine Kassadin and set her team up to kill him in teamfights due to it not allowing the targeted champion to get out of her zone. She also does great against him in side lanes in the late game due to being a strong duelist and doing physical and true damage.
Kassadin can be a frustrating champion to play against due to how strong he gets with levels and items, and the low cooldown of his blink – but once you start paying attention to his weaknesses you can punish Kassadin players when they step out of the line in teamfights. Not only that, but understanding his abilities can also help you make the best decisions when facing him in lane or even in counter picking him from champion select.