First Impressions of Kled, The Newest League of Legends Character

Kled, the Cantankerous Cavalier, is the newest character to join the extensive League of Legends roster. With Kled’s release this past week, many players of the game are scrambling to get any insight they can into the new character. Is he going to be strong? Is he going to be weak? Keep reading to see my first impressions of the yordle, as well as theory craft some potential playstyles to try out for the champ.

First off I really like Kled’s design, save a few complaints. The character model looks really cool, and I like how he’s a dual character because he is riding a lizard named Skarl. Kled really does give off the vibe of a rough and tumble old war general, and I think Riot did an excellent job with that. As for my few complaints, the first is that his face, at first glance, looks very similar to Rengar and Gentleman Gnar, which could cause some confusion. Secondly I’m not a fan at all of his voiceover – to put it simply the voice and screams remind me of a bad YouTube “Let’s Play” video. Something to note though, is that at the moment most people seem to really love the voiceover, so take that particular critique with a grain of salt.

For my first game as Kled I tried him out top lane, using a very attack heavy build with attack damage (AD) items such as Yommu’s Ghostblade, Black Cleaver and Ravenous Hydra. This was Riot’s recommended build for him, and I have to say it’s not a bad way to play.

Kled is a character who’s call to fame is his partnership with his lizard, Skarl. Both characters have their own health bars, and once Skarl’s health bar depletes, Kled dismounts off of him and Skarl runs off. This could be considered quite silly but endearing, giving this idea of a forced tough guy vibe to Kled. Gameplay wise though, the jury is still out. My first thought was that it reminded me a lot of Admiral Swiggins from Awesomenauts: in this game Swiggins is either a melee character with a hook, or a ranged DPS character without it, and it’s balancing the two abilities that leads to mastering his play style.

The same thought can be applied to Kled: mastering both his mounted and unmounted forms will no doubt be the key to figuring out how to play this character at a high level. In his mounted form, Kled is a strong melee attacker, not too dissimilar from characters like Fiora or Riven. Kled’s Bear Trap, his Q, seems to be the first ability you should put your mastery points into (the points gained whenever you level up). This ability latches onto an enemy, dealing damage and pulling them close to crowd control. This is fantastic move for getting a pick on a runaway enemy, or for punishing an out of position enemy to initiate a team fight.

The next ability you should put points into is his W – his passive ability. This makes Kled’s auto attacks hit faster and harder with every successive hit, up to four times, and is great for trading and farming minions, giving a clear window of power for enemies to trade against. After this Kled’s next ability is his E, which is a dash very similar to the one Renekton has. It’s a short dash that gains a cooldown reset if it hits an enemy champion, enabling a second dash. It’s good for extended duels, but it does not go over walls like many other dashes. I found that ability aspect quite interesting, as perhaps it is incorporated to prevent the ongoing complaints about “mobility creep” in the League of Legends.

Kled’s ultimate is a charge that is only available in mounted form. This ultimate is on a high cooldown early, but it is very powerful. The ability is a point and click charge, with Kled gaining speed and a shield each second, and deals damage to a champion on impact. Additionally it leaves behind a massive speed boost aura for teammates. This ability is essentially a stronger Sivir ultimate, and leads Kled to be a viable character in pick compositions.

In unmounted form, Kled can only auto attack and use his Q which, differing in this form, is a simple shotgun blast that knocks Kled back. This is good for farming, trading and ,in a pinch, as a way to distance yourself from an enemy. Kled’s very weak in his unmounted form, so it’s imperative to gain a way back on to Skarl as soon as possible.

You can regain Kled’s mounted form by last hitting minions, hitting champions, hitting structures, or returning back to your team’s fountain. This mechanic is something that I struggled with, as it takes a long time to remount and it gives the enemy plenty of time to gain an advantage or regroup. At this point, I would think that the best way around it is to lane in a similar manner to Aurelion Sol; which is to say that you should push the lane out as fast as possible, and then come back to lane and do it again. Shorter, more aggressive lane phases may help salvage the situation.

Another thing that may give the character a boost is making sure that you have a high amount of CDR (cooldown reduction) in your build. Kled’s abilities are best used in rapid succession, and his powerful ultimate has a high cooldown. He also does not use mana, so spamming abilities is optimal by late game. I would go so far as to say 40% CDR is a must on Kled, which would make him feel very fluid and powerful as a character.

How powerful is Kled overall though? The results so far are mixed: Kled’s laning phase is absolutely brutal, and I really only recommend playing him into a passive lane like a Nasus or a Tryndamere pre-6. He feels like a very boom-or-bust character, being weak if too far behind but very strong if you get a few kills. I think he’ll eventually be brought out in competitive, as his kit has a lot of potential.

Overall, I like Kled and the more I played him the less negative I felt towards him. At first his abilities seemed confusing, and his design seemed redundant. After playing a few games with him however, I think he’s able to carve his own unique path in the game via his mounting mechanic and with his ultimate. I would recommend playing him top lane, but I also think that he could potentially be viable in any role, and with the CC on Q, he can provide some poke and kill potential in a cheese type of lane. Competitively speaking however, I don’t think he’ll be played anywhere but top lane.
Have you played Kled? What do you think of him? Let us know in the comments below!

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