Kalista Guide by Yillan

Greetings readers, my name is Yillan and upon reaching Diamond 2 last season by almost exclusively playing Marksman I would like to share some of the knowledge I acquired on this arduous journey and more specifically talk about one of my most played champions, Kalista !

Summoner Spells:

Since Kalista’s damage output scales tremendously the longer a fight goes on and what makes her thrive are tools that allow her to stay in the fray longer. These are the summoner spells I recommend.


Flash: As for most champions, Flash is a crucial asset to Kalista in helping her stay alive and recover from sticky situations in teamfights. Despite having a lot of mobility in her kit and having the possibility to jump over small walls by utilising your passive, Flash is a must for both the defensive and offensive opportunities it offers you.


Heal: Arguably the cornerstone summoner spell along with Flash on every Marksman. The movement speed boost it provides is most often utilised as a disengage tool but can be used to chase down targets as well. In botlane skirmishes you can use it to keep your support alive if needed. Lastly don’t forget to take into consideration that Ignite counters Heal and should not be used too late in a fight.


Cleanse: Although not that common, Cleanse has its benefits versus teams with high amounts of crowd control (Morgana binding, Annie Stun, etc…). It can sometimes catch them off guard in early skirmishes. Despite this you’ll most likely be building Quicksilver Sash/Mercurial Scimitar anyway which makes Cleanse often obsolete in the current meta.

Runes & Masteries:

You have 2 options you can go for whenever playing Kalista.

Option 1: Going with Fervor of Battle


Fervor of Battle is incredibly strong on Kalista, you trade a little bit of early game power for a stronger mid game. I would recommend going for this mastery page 90% of the time.

Option 2: Going with Thunderlord’s Decree


Thunderlord’s Decree is more of a situational option on Kalista. It allows you to have a very strong early game. Personally I would go for Thunderlord’s Decree whenever you have a really aggressive support. Also when using Thunderlord’s Decree I recommend taking Krugs or Gromp at lvl 1. This allows you to reach level 2 before the enemy which should set you up for a safe and easy lane.


You have 2 different options for runes when playing Kalista.

Option 1: The standard ADC rune page


Going for attack speed Quints, magic resist Glyphs, armor Seals, and attack damage Marks. You should take this runepage whenever you are versus an AP threat in botlane.

Option 2: When facing no AP damage in the botlane.


Going for attack speed Quints, scaling magic resist Glyphs, armor Seals, and attack damage Marks.
If the enemy bot lane has no magic damage you can take scaling MR to take less damage magic damage late game.

Skill Order

You always want to start with Rend(E) and follow it up with Pierce(Q) and opening Sentinel(W) 3rd, you want to level Fate’s Call(R) whenever you can.
I would level my skills in this order


You can also open with  W if you are worried about an invade and if the enemy has a melee support.

Spells Breakdown


Martial Poise (Passive): “Enter a movement command while winding up Kalista’s basic attack or Pierce to lunge a short distance when she launches her attack.”
Kalista has the ability to jump a short distance whenever she casts an auto or her Pierce(Q)

Do not feel disheartened if you do not immediately get the hang of how Kalista’s passive works. It will take some practice to learn to properly use it to its full potential. If you’re playing versus a champion with skillshots it’s very important to try and position accordingly. Try and stay behind your minions and not hop in front of them.

Keep in mind that kalista can’t cancel auto attacks and her auto attacks only deal 90% of her attack damage.

Your movement speed will also increase the range of your ‘jumps’ and your attack speed will increase the frequency of your jumps.


Pierce(Q): “Throw a fast moving spear that passes through enemies it kills.

You have a few uses for kalista’s Q: you can gain some distance by using it, as it applies to your passive and it applies a rend stack.

1: You can stack minions with rend if it has 1 hit left, you can hit it with your Q and line it up so it will hit the enemy and then press Rend (E) for some nice poke damage.
2: You can chain your hop with Q.


Sentinel(W) “Passively deal bonus damage when striking the same target as the oathsworn ally. Activate to send a soul to patrol a path, revealing the area in front of it.”

The passive of this ability is strong to trade in lane whenever you have it on level 3, it works best with ranged supports or supports that can all in.

I personally don’t use the active of this ability too much, since the enemy can easily play around it.  It doesn’t have that big of a radius, but it’s always worth to just send it to an objective or jungle camp to see if the enemy might be there.

Additionally if your support (whom you binded with your “The Black Spear” item) attacks the same target (either a minion or champion) within 2 seconds of your attack he will trigger the passive. Your support can help you with last hitting in this manner.


Rend(E) “Attacks impale their targets with spears, activate to rip the spears out, slowing and dealing escalating damage.” Spears will go away a few seconds after not hitting the enemy.

1: You can use this to slow the enemy whenever you are chasing/getting chased.
2: You want to use rend to execute your target. Learning how much damage it deals in order to kill the target will take some trial and error, but keep practising and you’ll get the hang of it !
3: Extremely effective at securing objectives because with enough stacks you can potentially deal more damage than a jungler’s smite.

Tip: Make sure not to rend too early, since it is possible to use the ability while jumping (passive) so you could end up using it while your auto attack is still in the air during your jump animation.


Fate’s Call(R): “Kalista teleports the Oathsworn ally to herself. They again ability to dash towards a position, knocking enemy champions back.

Kalista has the ability to cast her ultimate on her soulbound target, which pulls them back towards her. The soulbound target can choose wherever he wants to be teleported to in a small radius, after a few seconds if the support hasn’t clicked yet, kalista can also choose where to send the soulbound target.”

You always want to soulbind your support since it gives you a lot of room to play with, not only in lane but also outside of the lane.

You have 2 different uses for Kalista’s Ultimate.

1: Use it to save your support when in danger.
2: You can use it to throw your support in the enemy team, maybe save yourself, or start an engage/teamfight.


Starting items:


Explanation: You start Doran’s Blade since Cull or Long Sword aren’t as good.

Core items:


Explanation: BotrK and Runaan’s Hurricane are extremely good on Kalista, give her amazing damage.

Situational items:

Mercurial Scimitar: You buy this whenever you are against enemies with hard CC. (Morgana Q)
Note; This item gives you movement speed when you activate it


Banshee’s Veil: You buy this whenever you are against enemies that threaten you with 1 ability (Malphite R, Nidalee Q)


Hexdrinker (Maw of Malmortius): Consider buying this item versus champions with high burst potential (e.g. Leblanc, Syndra)

Mortal Reminder

Last whisper(Mortal reminder): You build this whenever you are against enemies with strong healing.


Last whisper(Lord Dominik’s Regards): You build this whenever you are against enemies that are very tanky and hard to kill.

Full Build:



Skill Match-ups:

Corki: Whenever Corki goes in for an auto attack and uses his E he procs Thunderlords, he can punish you very hard with that. You can’t really play around this, but you can dodge his Q which requires some good timing.


Lucian: Procs thunderlords with Q and passive, easily out trades you, but if you succeed in dodging his Q, you can go for a favorable trade.


Ezreal: Insane all in potential, nice poke, only downfall for him is that he goes tear early game, you should look to dodge the majority of his Q’s as well and all in whenever he uses his E (Arcane Shift) offensively.

Hard Match-ups:


Tristana: Only trade with Tristana when her E is on cooldown, you can’t outtrade her when she has her E on you.


Draven: Trade whenever he drops a spinning axe, or you’ll end up getting destroyed by his Q-empowered auto-attacks.


Miss Fortune: Your only window of opportunity is when her E is on cooldown, in most other situations you won’t win trades against her or any all ins, she will destroy you.

Easy match-ups:


Sivir: You should have an easy time laning against Sivir, the biggest factor in this lane will be her spellshield, play around it or bait it out.


Vayne: She has a really weak laning phase and is easy to punish, but be careful not to allow her to proc her silver bolts by landing 3 consecutive auto attacks during trades.


Ashe: Similar to Vayne, Ashe has a really weak laning phase and is easy to punish. the only thing you have to avoid is trading with her when her Q is fully stacked.


Jinx: Semi-weak laning phase, if you don’t get hit by her zap or traps you can trade very easily with her.


Caitlyn: She has a really weak laning phase that is easy to punish, only her range and her traps are a problem. Make sure whenever you go for trades you can CC her and you don’t walk into her traps.

Uncommon match-ups:


Graves: Really strong jungler and top laner at the moment. Can be played in botlane and has extremely high damage, try to trade with him whenever he has to reload.


Quinn: Always play around your minions/support so she can’t hit her Q which gives you blindness similar to Graves W. When Quinn uses her Q you can go for trades.


Varus: Very weak early game, try to all in at level 1 if he has a weak support, if he has a squishy, immobile support like Soraka, just all in her at level 2.


Urgot: Play behind minions, dodge his Q and you should be fine, nothing to be afraid of really.


Kindred: Make sure to never trade when she uses her E on you, strong sustain with her W passive.


Twitch: Make sure not to get poked too hard by his auto attacks, since his passive deals damage overtime on you, try to avoid his W since it slows you and you can’t use your passive to to its full extent.

Kalista has a hard time against Tanky supports with CC in lane and against some poke champions.
Tanky supports with CC: Braum, Tahm Kench, Taric, Alistar, Leona, Poppy.
Hard poke champions: Bard, Annie, Brand.

Kalista is good with: anything that can keep her alive.


Thresh: Great combo with lantern and Kalista’s ultimate this makes it so they are really hard to kill.


Bard: High damage on Q  and auto attacks with W procs from Kalista, this will result in very easy kills, W has nice sustain and they can get out of sticky situations with their ultimates and Magical Journey.


Janna: Her shield is very strong while trading, also offers great peeling just like Alistar.


Alistar: Tanky, can peel for Kalista really well and he can set up kills with his Q+W combo.


Lulu: Great kill potential during the early levels because of lulu’s high base damage and you will become a late game monster.( Better to play Lulu mid/top lane).


Poppy: Her ranged auto attack is really good for proccing W passive on Kalista, she has a stun and can peel with her ultimate.


Trundle: Really good CC with pillar and his Q steals the enemy’s AD for good and easy trades.


Braum: When Braum hits his Q, the enemy is almost always guaranteed to die if they proc his passive.

Kalista is decent with:


Blitzcrank: His hook is easy to dodge. Thresh is just a better version of Blitzcrank against +Kalista.


Soraka: Only ranged champion in this list, she would be tier 1 if she wasn’t that weak during her early levels. She just doesn’t work  well with Kalista’s early power because she gets killed really easily.


Tahm Kench: strong laning phase and when Tahm W’s someone Kalista can ult him and draw the W’d person into their team or behind the turret.

Kalista is bad with:


Taric: I think he is bad with Kalista because his kit is just to simple, he telegraphs all his plays and they are easy to play around.


Sona: She has a bad early game and is way to squishy to be with Kalista in a lane.

Pros & Cons


  • Strong laning phase and mid game due to cheap and effective items.
  • Securing objectives.
  • Cool mechanics not many people know about if they don’t play Kalista, which can surprise enemies.
  • Great kiting/chasing potential


  • Horrible late game because Kalista builds items that will make her very strong in the early to mid game she falls off really hard late game.
  • Gets destroyed by slows because of her passive since it scales with movement speed.
  • Really hard to play her to full effectiveness.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this guide as much as I did making it. Feel free to leave feedback in the comment section below!


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