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Kali is the definition of a late game carry, and she can easily just outright win a teamfight on her own.
Your focus when playing Kali should always be to farm and get to lategame, where you shine.
Your core items are Quin's Sais and Hastened Fatalis.
You should build up around your core items that give you more attack speed (don't overcap the 2,5 attacks pr second though) and penetration to increase the effectiveness of the passive procs of the Quin's Sais.
Your main ability is your passive Marked for Death witch marks a random enemy (or the enemy that killed you if you have died). This mark gives you extra penetration against the target and if you get the kill on your target you will heal for 80% of your total health and you get 25% more gold for the kill.
Start with a point in Lash for clear, then at lvl 2 you should save a point and just get what you need when you need it because you DO NOT want to die because you put a point in Incense when you got lvl 2.
Normally I wont put any points in my Incense or Nimble Strike before lvl 4.
The reason for this is as I said not to die, because Kali from behind can be pretty rough.
The situation where I would put a point in Nimble Strike at lvl 2 is if I get caught out of position and need it to escape. If I do I just press "F1" which is my keybinding for upgrading Nimble Strike and I jump to safety. This is especially useful against enemies without jumps.
Situations where I would get a point in Incense are if there is a kill I can secure with help of the CC it applies. If you can get a kill early as Kali you get a HUGE win, and it should help you get to late game pretty safely. It can also be useful if you get caught out of position just like Nimble Strike. And against gods like Isis, Thor etc. which have channeling abilities the fact that you can interrupt them and just walk away, maybe even throw a 3 hit Lash at them makes it very effective.
For the rest of the levels you just want to max Lash as fast as you can, then Incense before you focus on Destruction and Nimble Strike.
The reason for starting Short Bow and not Ancient Blade (which a lot of people build on her as a starter) is just simple math, 15% is more than 10%. And you are going to build into Ichaival anyways. The attack speed gives you more procs with the Bumba's Mask passive which makes your clear faster.
You want to farm up to full Warrior Tabi before you back the first time. This should not be a problem as long as you get your orange and blue buff with the solo laner, get at least one set of mid camps, about five mid waves and your back harpy camps (get your mid laner to help with the clear ofc).
The full Warrior Tabi will help you out a lot in the early game, and 3 hits with Lash deals a TON of damage. The reason for going Warrior Tabi instead of Ninja Tabi is that there are better attack speed items which you want and with Ninja Tabi they would put you over the attack speed cap. Paying 50 gold for 20 physical power is also the cheapest power you can get.
After boots you should farm non stop for Qin's Sais go for kills if see the opportunity, but you should never risk dying for a kill. 2850 gold might seem like a huge investment in a second item but the kill potential it gives you is just insane.
After Qin's Sais you should build either Hastened Fatalis or finish the Ichaival. I prefer to finish the Ichaival just because the penetration and boxing potential it gives you against physical gods is very useful and you get all that for just 1100 gold. I also like getting at least a rank 1 Blink to increase my kill potential before starting Hastened Fatalis, sometimes even a rank 1 Purification Beads if I'm against a Hun Batz, Ao Kuang etc. There is nothing worse that dying with Destruction up just because you got stunned. Then when you got Hastened Fatalis finished you pretty much just look for anyone that is out of position and kill them.
When you got your core items some penetration is very helpful, especially for the times where your target from Marked for Death is an enemy with physical protection. Titan's Bane is just a perfect choice, due to the fact that your passive is flat penetration as well as the penetration from Ichaival. It also helps for pushing towers, even though you should be looking for fights not split pushing.
As your last item you normally want something to help you stick to targets even more than what you get from Hastened Fatalis. This will wary between Magi's Blessing and Winged Blade depending on the enemy team. Magi's Blessing against teams with a lot of hard CC (it is also perfect against Apollo to block the Serenade) and Winged Blade against teams with slows ( Frostbound Hammer, Weakening Curse and of course the OP Midgardian Mail).
If you don't have a problem sticking to anyone you could just chose to go for more damage Rage would be a good choice then.
If the game drags out to the extent where you got Elixir of Power and Potion of Physical Might you could think about changing out Ichaival for Asi or The Executioner. But it is not something that will change the entire game.
Never use Nimble Strike or Destruction unless you have to.
Note that Nimble Strike heals you for 20% of the targets missing health, this makes for great sustain. You can either jump a minion wave that is about to die from your Lash or a jungle camp or even gods.
Destruction is the "Oh ****!" button and should only be used when you are low and can get your target from Marked for Death. Great for tower diving and for teamfights, use it at the lowest amount of health as possible. It is also worth noting that it makes you immune to roots, slows and knockups.
Lash is your damage ability and should be used in combination with Incense to apply the extra damage from the buff Incense gives you. In addition to dealing damage it gives you lifesteal against the targets hit by the blades for 3 seconds.
Incense should be used to secure 3 hits from Lash and increase the damage from Lash for maximum amount of burst damage. In late game you can kill a carry before the 1 second stun is over. It can also be used to interrupt channeling abilities like Rollout, Brutalize etc.
You pretty much got the easiest combo to pull off in the entire game when you have Greater Blink.
Greater Blink ---> Incense ---> Lash ---> basic attacks ---> Nimble Strike (if the enemy got a dash or combat blink)
You basically just repeat this combo from the time you bought rank 1 Blink until the game is over.
I won't go in to much detail about matchups, but I thought that I could at least touch on some of the most obvious good/bad matchups and when Kali is a good pick in ranked.
Your best matchup in my opinion is Ao Kuang mainly due to the fact that you can counter his ultimate with Destruction. You also have the ability to heal out of execution range with Nimble Strike, the lifesteal against targets effected by Lash and of course the healing for killing the target for Marked for Death. If this wasn't enough you also have a way to reveal Ao Kuang from stealth with Lash and due to him being squishy a good combo will one shot him.
Other good matchups will be gods with low mobility, because it makes it easier for you to stick to people with Hastened Fatalis. Gods with high burst damage are also pretty good matchups due to Destruction. And belive it or not tanky gods due to the penetration from Marked for Death and Qin's Sais.
Your worst matchup is probably Bellona due to the disarm from Scourge. But the ability to interrupted Bludgeon with Incense makes up for it in my opinion.
Other hard matchups are Geb, Stone Shield on your Marked for Death target just before you kill it can save him/her long enough for you to die before getting the heal. Sylvanus can also be quite annoying due to the root from Verdant Growth and his passive Nature's Protection in adittion Weakening Curse and Wisps can counter Destruction pretty well. Freya can also be a problem, a well timed Banish just after using Destruction to get your Marked for Death target. In addition to her having the ability to get out of the fight with Valkyrie's Discretion.
Taking this in consideration there is no problem first picking Kali in ranked in my opinion, due to items and actives being her biggest counters. And with Bellona banned there is nothing that will make major problems for you. If the enemy team picks Ao Kuang you pretty much win the game by picking Kali. So don't ban him if you are planing to go Kali.
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