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Kali Returns (Patch 8.11) [Conquest]

38 6 38,489
9.8
by MachineMother updated November 23, 2021

Smite God: Kali

Build Guide Discussion 22 More Guides
Tap Mouse over an item or ability icon for detailed info

Build Summary

Start #1

Notes Swap Blink Rune for Purification Beads if enemy composition has heavy CC. Regardless, you will almost always want Blink and Beads as your two relics. I explain more in the Relics section below.

This is the new start for Kali. You go with Bumba's Dagger due to the cheap price and stats late game, among other reasons. I was never a believer in Bumba's for Kali in the past because the clear was so poor compared to Manikin and Eye but recent jungle starter changes have pushed this item to the forefront where overall value is concerned. You will still struggle a bit with early camp clearing using Bumba's but once your first item is online this will no longer be an issue.

I usually do not spend my entire 1500 gold in the beginning, only purchasing what I need (sometimes skipping the second Healing Potion) and saving the rest to jump-start my first full item which provides a nice early power spike, etc.

With the cheap price on Bumba's Dagger you have some flexible start options when it comes to Potion management. You can also go Multi Potion or Hand of the Gods if you want.

Notes

Swap Blink Rune for Purification Beads if enemy composition has heavy CC. Regardless, you will almost always want Blink and Beads as your two relics. I explain more in the Relics section below.

This is the new start for Kali. You go with Bumba's Dagger due to the cheap price and stats late game, among other reasons. I was never a believer in Bumba's for Kali in the past because the clear was so poor compared to Manikin and Eye but recent jungle starter changes have pushed this item to the forefront where overall value is concerned. You will still struggle a bit with early camp clearing using Bumba's but once your first item is online this will no longer be an issue.

I usually do not spend my entire 1500 gold in the beginning, only purchasing what I need (sometimes skipping the second Healing Potion) and saving the rest to jump-start my first full item which provides a nice early power spike, etc.

With the cheap price on Bumba's Dagger you have some flexible start options when it comes to Potion management. You can also go Multi Potion or Hand of the Gods if you want.

Build Item Bumba's Dagger Bumba's Dagger
Build Item Mace Mace
Build Item Healing Potion Healing Potion
2
Build Item Mana Potion Mana Potion
2
Build Item Blink Rune Blink Rune

Build #1

Notes This is the new standard Kali build. It provides a faster full build path and excellent stats overall. This is in part due to some item buffs/nerfs, including the jungle starters.

Some users may wish to only build Odysseus' Bow up to the Tier 2 Charged Bow for the passive and 20% attack speed. If you do this, you will only finish building Odysseus' Bow after completing all other items purchased afterwards (as well as your starter upgrade).

'If and When' is up to you, it's just a recent "tech" that people have started to favor on Kali for a few reasons, namely the change to the T3 O-Bow not being much different than T2 when they nerfed it. While I partially agree with this method I wouldn't say it's a requirement.

NOTE: You may want to swap out Hastened Katana for Wind Demon, an item with good stats but more RNG. Be aware WD is getting nerfed so use it while you can. If you go the WD route you can sell The Crusher late game and purchase Deathbringer. You may also try Berserker's Shield instead of Serrated Edge, if that's something you like. Overall, I still prefer Hastened over WD seeing as it's common for Kali to hit 20+ autos without a single crit, also WD's passive is entirely dependent upon triggering crits so it's less reliable.

Notes

This is the new standard Kali build. It provides a faster full build path and excellent stats overall. This is in part due to some item buffs/nerfs, including the jungle starters.

Some users may wish to only build Odysseus' Bow up to the Tier 2 Charged Bow for the passive and 20% attack speed. If you do this, you will only finish building Odysseus' Bow after completing all other items purchased afterwards (as well as your starter upgrade).

'If and When' is up to you, it's just a recent "tech" that people have started to favor on Kali for a few reasons, namely the change to the T3 O-Bow not being much different than T2 when they nerfed it. While I partially agree with this method I wouldn't say it's a requirement.

NOTE: You may want to swap out Hastened Katana for Wind Demon, an item with good stats but more RNG. Be aware WD is getting nerfed so use it while you can. If you go the WD route you can sell The Crusher late game and purchase Deathbringer. You may also try Berserker's Shield instead of Serrated Edge, if that's something you like. Overall, I still prefer Hastened over WD seeing as it's common for Kali to hit 20+ autos without a single crit, also WD's passive is entirely dependent upon triggering crits so it's less reliable.

Build Item Bumba's Spear Bumba's Spear
Build Item The Crusher The Crusher
Build Item Odysseus' Bow Odysseus' Bow
Build Item Hastened Katana Hastened Katana
Build Item Qin's Sais Qin's Sais
Build Item Serrated Edge Serrated Edge

Kali's Skill Order Notes Prioritize "Lash" as it's your main burst damage. Next max out "Incense" as it increases power and buff duration. Lastly, finish maxing your "Destruction" ultimate for longer duration and a bit more damage, followed by maxing "Nimble Strike".

You won't use "Nimble Strike" to dive onto enemies as often as you'd think - it's your main survival/evasion ability - you will want to engage with your Blink Rune relic more often than not or try to flank the enemy if possible.

There are situations where using "Nimble Strike" to jump onto an enemy is the correct play. Use your own discretion and reflect upon previous experiences.

Final Note: You may wish to level "Lash" again at level 3 if you don't think you'll need "Nimble Strike" yet and wait to level it when you hit 4, which is what a lot of players lean towards.

Notes

Prioritize "Lash" as it's your main burst damage. Next max out "Incense" as it increases power and buff duration. Lastly, finish maxing your "Destruction" ultimate for longer duration and a bit more damage, followed by maxing "Nimble Strike".

You won't use "Nimble Strike" to dive onto enemies as often as you'd think - it's your main survival/evasion ability - you will want to engage with your Blink Rune relic more often than not or try to flank the enemy if possible.

There are situations where using "Nimble Strike" to jump onto an enemy is the correct play. Use your own discretion and reflect upon previous experiences.

Final Note: You may wish to level "Lash" again at level 3 if you don't think you'll need "Nimble Strike" yet and wait to level it when you hit 4, which is what a lot of players lean towards.

Nimble Strike

1 X Y
Nimble Strike
3 15 16 18 19

Lash

2 A B
Lash
1 4 6 7 9

Incense

3 B A
Incense
2 8 10 11 12

Destruction

4 Y X
Destruction
5 13 14 17 20
Nimble Strike
3 15 16 18 19

Nimble Strike

1 X
Kali leaps forward, damaging enemies in the target area and healing herself for a percent of their missing Health.

Ability Type: Leap
Damage: 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+80% of your Physical Power)
Heal: 20% of target's missing Health
Range: 55
Cost: 60
Cooldown: 12s
Lash
1 4 6 7 9

Lash

2 A
Kali throws several blades, that converge upon the target location. Each does damage and causes bleed. Kali gains Physical Lifesteal against targets affected by this Bleed.

Ability Type: Line Special
Damage Per Blade: 37 / 49 / 61 / 73 / 85 (+20% of your Physical Power)
Bleed Damage: 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 (+5% of your Physical Power) every .5s
Bleed Duration: 3s
Physical Lifesteal: 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30%
Range: 70
Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80
Cooldown: 12s
Incense
2 8 10 11 12

Incense

3 B
Kali hurls her incense at her feet, exploding it. Enemies hit are Stunned, while Kali gains a Physical Power bonus.

Ability Type: Ground Target
Stun Duration: 1s
Physical Power Buff: 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50
Buff Duration: 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8s
Radius: 20
Cost: 60
Cooldown: 18s
Destruction
5 13 14 17 20

Destruction

4 Y
Kali becomes an unstoppable force of destruction, creating a damage aura around her. During this time, she can be reduced to 1 Health, but cannot die. She is immune to Knockup, Slow effects, and protected from Root, but still vulnerable to Stuns. If Kali is under 15% of her total Health at the end of the duration, she will heal to 15% Health.

Ability Type: Self
Damage: 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 (+5% of your Physical Power) every 0.5s
Duration: 3.5 / 3.75 / 4 / 4.25 / 4.5s
Radius: 20
Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100
Cooldown: 90s

Kali Threats

Tap each threat level to view Kali’s threats

Max
2
Major
2
Even
1
Minor
2
Tiny
1

Extended Build

Start #2

Notes This is a typical start with Manikin Scepter being a popular choice for Kali. It has recently fallen out of favor to Bumba's Dagger. I still enjoy Manikin and Eye but if you're wanting the most efficient build you would probably go with Bumba's in Start #1.

If you prefer, you may try Eye Of The Jungle if you're expecting team fights to focus around neutral objectives rather than lane/phoenix line or if you want to focus more on invading/contesting and brawling with the enemy jungler.

I usually go 2 Mana Potion but you may opt for 2 Healing Potion instead. I find that after doing camps and rotating mid I need the extra mana to use abilities and pressure in lane. Often health isn't as much as an issue if I can stun them and have enough mana for lash, etc. Again, up to you.

Notes

This is a typical start with Manikin Scepter being a popular choice for Kali. It has recently fallen out of favor to Bumba's Dagger. I still enjoy Manikin and Eye but if you're wanting the most efficient build you would probably go with Bumba's in Start #1.

If you prefer, you may try Eye Of The Jungle if you're expecting team fights to focus around neutral objectives rather than lane/phoenix line or if you want to focus more on invading/contesting and brawling with the enemy jungler.

I usually go 2 Mana Potion but you may opt for 2 Healing Potion instead. I find that after doing camps and rotating mid I need the extra mana to use abilities and pressure in lane. Often health isn't as much as an issue if I can stun them and have enough mana for lash, etc. Again, up to you.

Build Item Manikin Scepter Manikin Scepter
Build Item Light Blade Light Blade
Build Item Healing Potion Healing Potion
Build Item Mana Potion Mana Potion
2
Build Item Blink Rune Blink Rune

Build #2

Notes This path has some of the highest overall damage potential of all the builds I've tested previously. Very high AA damage and AS while having good team skirmishes and boxing potential.

As you can see it's somewhat similar to the new Kali build with some slight changes. I will say it has a slower start than Build #1 but provides nearly equal stats once you're full build. This build is if you're wanting to try something different than the meta build every Kali will be using.

The Crusher just provides more and is good for a hybrid burst build which this meta is leaning towards, so overall I would recommend Build #1. Also, with recent Manikin changes you may wish to choose another starter item such as Bumba's (which received a nice little buff) or Eye. Another change you may wish to swap Ichaival and Qin's Sais build order if you're worried about price and value early game. Just some things to think about.

This build was very strong a couple patches ago but has fallen out of favor for the Bumba's + Crusher start in Build #1. It still performs very well and the starter item is ultimately up to you so there's some flexibility.

Notes

This path has some of the highest overall damage potential of all the builds I've tested previously. Very high AA damage and AS while having good team skirmishes and boxing potential.

As you can see it's somewhat similar to the new Kali build with some slight changes. I will say it has a slower start than Build #1 but provides nearly equal stats once you're full build. This build is if you're wanting to try something different than the meta build every Kali will be using.

The Crusher just provides more and is good for a hybrid burst build which this meta is leaning towards, so overall I would recommend Build #1. Also, with recent Manikin changes you may wish to choose another starter item such as Bumba's (which received a nice little buff) or Eye. Another change you may wish to swap Ichaival and Qin's Sais build order if you're worried about price and value early game. Just some things to think about.

This build was very strong a couple patches ago but has fallen out of favor for the Bumba's + Crusher start in Build #1. It still performs very well and the starter item is ultimately up to you so there's some flexibility.

Build Item Manikin Mace Manikin Mace
Build Item Qin's Sais Qin's Sais
Build Item Hastened Katana Hastened Katana
Build Item Odysseus' Bow Odysseus' Bow
Build Item Ichaival Ichaival
Build Item Serrated Edge Serrated Edge

Circumstantial Items

Notes Know your match-ups. Do they have heavy healing? Do they have high CC? Annoying Slows? Need more survivability? Etc. etc.. Use these items as you need them but make sure to keep your core build. You will usually slot these in around your 4th or 5th item. These can also be considered 'flex' or 'optional' items.

Notes

Know your match-ups. Do they have heavy healing? Do they have high CC? Annoying Slows? Need more survivability? Etc. etc.. Use these items as you need them but make sure to keep your core build. You will usually slot these in around your 4th or 5th item. These can also be considered 'flex' or 'optional' items.

Build Item Toxic Blade Toxic Blade
Build Item Winged Blade Winged Blade
Build Item Berserker's Shield Berserker's Shield
Build Item Magi's Cloak Magi's Cloak
Build Item Bloodforge Bloodforge
Build Item Wind Demon Wind Demon

Relics

Notes You will want these two relics pretty much every game. Blink Rune allows you to engage without using your "Nimble Strike" ability so you can escape with it if necessary. It also allows you to disengage from a failing team fight if you're able to avoid damage for a period of time.

Purification Beads is another necessity. You may be tempted to purchase Aegis Amulet but do not be fooled. You're Kali - you have a stun, leap and an undying ultimate. You can survive a lot of engagements without needing "Aegis". You WILL die if you are stunned, mesmerized, crippled, rooted, silenced, etc, during a team fight where you won't get a chance to use your abilities. This is why Purification Beads is so crucial.

Notes

You will want these two relics pretty much every game. Blink Rune allows you to engage without using your "Nimble Strike" ability so you can escape with it if necessary. It also allows you to disengage from a failing team fight if you're able to avoid damage for a period of time.

Purification Beads is another necessity. You may be tempted to purchase Aegis Amulet but do not be fooled. You're Kali - you have a stun, leap and an undying ultimate. You can survive a lot of engagements without needing "Aegis". You WILL die if you are stunned, mesmerized, crippled, rooted, silenced, etc, during a team fight where you won't get a chance to use your abilities. This is why Purification Beads is so crucial.

Build Item Purification Beads Purification Beads
Build Item Blink Rune Blink Rune

A Humble Build Guide

UPDATE: With the removal of Boots we are seeing a lot more build variation and I want to let you know that I have tested every item combination viable on Kali that I could think of. I've taken into consideration Pro builds, streamer builds, my own theory testing and actual in-game experiences. You may not agree with my choices but I am confident that these builds work very well when factoring in AA damage, protection shred, objective shred, boxing potential and decent ability damage.

This is a build guide, not a how-to-play God guide. Kali builds tend to stay the same or similar over the seasons with minor nerfs/buffs, if any at all. Your builds can flex depending on your playstyle but try not to overthink it. I go over more details about my item decisions in each of the builds notes.

I would make a build for every game mode but to be honest I don't play every game mode consistently and don't want to lead people astray with assumptions. The majority of my time played is Conquest followed by Arena when I'm feeling like a quick game. I am tempted to make a "Mid" and "Solo" build for Kali but I won't lie - you will probably lose lane against smart opponents or due to god picks (especially in Solo) but you can certainly carry as "Mid" playing Kali in Casual Conquest. We'll see if I add builds later.

Kali is my most played god with many mastery stars and is the god I am most comfortable with. But as always take what myself and others say into consideration and make your own conclusions. See what works for you!

Good luck and may Kali guide you in the darkness.

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1
Kriega1 (129) | September 2, 2021 5:06am
Your start says it has "Short Sword"? Not sure what that is about.

Also going Ichaival 3rd/4th? Kinda want it earlier (like 1st) if you're going it, no?
1
MachineMother | September 5, 2021 12:32pm
You're right, I put the wrong T1 item by mistake. Also, I have certainly tried starting Ichaival and Stone Cutting Sword first instead of Qin's Sais and they work quite well. Nothing wrong with those builds at all.

I started going Qin's first again after watching SPL/SCC games (which I know shouldn't be the rule for regular players) and it's worked as well as it used to, imho. I think you're only losing 10% attack speed early from the previous Ninja Tabi build. Instead of Tabi second you're going into Hastened which is 15% instead of 25%. I understand the passive makes more sense late game and if not "maximizing" the item is a concern early game I guess players could just swap Ichaival and Qin's Sais build order.

Also, players may opt for Eye Of The Jungle if going into Qin's first feels a bit too slow for them. I also added a Stone Cutting Sword build which is more reminiscent of previous builds that prioritized early power spikes.
1
Branmuffin17 (364) | September 2, 2021 8:37am
I think it's obvious Short Sword was an error and meant to be Light Blade, building into Qin's Sais.

Machine, I think we strongly suggest NOT to build into Qin's Sais as a first item. While it's generally a CORE item for Kali, its best effect is after you've built some penetration/protection reduction, along with a decent base of attack speed to make sure you're getting the most out of the Qin's passive.
1
Kriega1 (129) | September 2, 2021 9:02am
Qin's first is fine on Kali (was a bit better when you could do Ninja > Qin's though), as part of rushing Qin's Haste Obow, but something tells me that Obow or Haste then Qin's is probably better.
Load more comments (1 more replies) →
1
MachineMother | May 19, 2021 4:40pm
I've updated the builds and removed a couple so as not to confuse newer players with too many options. There are a lot of excellent points made here already and I've altered builds to reflect the changes I agree with. I didn't realize I'd get this much feedback so soon. :) I will keep watching and reply to anything I have questions about.
3
Big Damage (34) | May 24, 2021 9:44pm
All seems fine, something I would let you know though is where you type the items names in quotation marks like "Silverbranch Bow", if you just typed Silverbranch Bow in double square brackets like this:

It will show up on the website like this:

Silverbranch Bow
1
MachineMother | May 25, 2021 12:57pm
Ah, very good. I forgot to add the proper formatting. Thanks for the tip! I've updated the guide to show the tooltips for items now.
1
Kriega1 (129) | May 20, 2021 11:44am
I think you forgot to press publish because the builds look the same.
1
MachineMother | May 24, 2021 7:53pm
I just checked and I definitely hit Publish, maybe your browser has DNS caching or I didn't change as much as you thought I would.

I made some more edits and double-checked they went through. Check them out. Also note, I made changes I agreed with, I didn't change absolutely everything. Thanks for all your input so far!
Load more comments (1 more replies) →
2
Gulfwulf (81) | May 19, 2021 6:07pm
We like to talk a lot and discuss different things as you can probably tell. :)
1
MachineMother | May 19, 2021 7:28pm
Hey, that's perfectly fine with me! I love hearing everyone's opinions on builds. Helps me as well as everyone else. :)
2
Kriega1 (129) | May 19, 2021 10:24am
Some build optimising suggestions:

1st build: Swap Warrior Tabi for Ninja Tabi, go Odysseus' Bow after Hastened Katana, Swap Stone Cutting Sword for The Executioner, consider Silverbranch Bow as a boots replacment.

2nd build: Swap Warrior Tabi for Ninja Tabi, mention to sell either boots or The Crusher late for Odysseus' Bow.

3rd build: Berserker's Shield is just a bad item now, it's also got generally worse base stats and is more expensive than Silverbranch Bow. Dominance's passive pen doesen't apply to Qin's Sais or Odysseus' Bow procs. I'd probably just scrap this build entirely.

4th build: Swap Warrior Tabi for Ninja Tabi.
2
Branmuffin17 (364) | May 19, 2021 11:44am
Just because it got nerfed doesn't mean Berserker's is truly bad. You said its base stats are worse than Silver, which isn't fully true. It's got higher base power plus the passive boost unless you greatly overcap AS for Silver's passive. It's got the same % pen. It loses out by 10% on the AS to Silver, except when Zerk's passive is in effect. And the 20 phys protection is something Silver doesn't have any of, and if you want to consider that it's low, it still will fully cancel out a flat phys pen item from an enemy.

Considering that she will likely be able to get very solid use out of the passive due to her ult, I just don't see how it's really a "bad" item for her. Not saying it's fully optimal, but I feel this is an exaggeration.
1
Kriega1 (129) | May 19, 2021 1:04pm
The Zerk passive getting value during her ult when she's low is a valid point, but generally the item is just bad since the nerf, especially due to it's cost.
2
Big Damage (34) | May 19, 2021 12:02pm
Well the difference is here that Kriega mentions that it's just a bad item, however your point is that it's not bad on her. I think you're both right in each regard however I would agree with Kriega that Berserker's is not worth the slot compared to other options that are viable on her.
2
Big Damage (34) | May 18, 2021 11:12pm
Qin's Sais is a good item but you don't really get value out of it by building it first item as you want something cheaper that has a better early power spike. Qin's gives you great DPS against GODS mid-late game however if you get it first the enemy jungler will likely be clearing the jungle much faster.

Because of this, Stone Cutting Sword is a much better option. It's cheaper, gives you power and flat protection reduction for clearing camps or boxing which Kali appreciates early game.

I would recommend using build 4 but going Ninja Tabi. Odysseus' Bow isn't a bad choice but going something like Serrated Edge or The Executioner will make sure with all your attack speed that your Qin's Sais procs are hitting as hard as possible, with still enough attack speed to hit them as often as possible.
2
Kriega1 (129) | May 19, 2021 6:40am
Qin's early is fine on Kali.
2
Big Damage (34) | May 19, 2021 9:46am
Yeah but if you're going for SCS after anyway surely it's better to get that powerspike first?
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League of Legends Build Guide Author MachineMother
Kali Returns (Patch 8.11) [Conquest]
Table of Contents

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