Hi, I'm Rhaastafarian, a player that would like to discuss the power of Kayn in the early to mid-game and the expectations regarding both of these aspects and his transformations.
**Kayn, his Fantasy, and the Early Game**
Kayn comes out, looking powerful and edgy with his splash art, with this notion that says: _"I do a lot of damage and look bad-ass doing it"_.
He does look bad-ass doing it. But, when it comes to the "I do a lot of damage", he doesn't seem to hold up to that standard.
The end result becomes unsatisfying for fulfilling the fantasy that is Kayn.
In a meta where the ganks from a jungler within the first 10 minutes tend to matter the most, the feeling that Kayn doesn't effectively change a lane once he ganks a lane leaves him feeling less powerful than he should. It feels as though when you initiate ganks on Kayn with Q and try to slow with your W, you're left feeling like you didn't really do much in the way of influencing a lane.
Maybe it's in the design that he becomes more of a powerhouse in the mid-game after his transformation, which is understandable. However, making a fragile and influential part of the game in the first 10 minutes feel so bad to play in a meta dominated by early high-damage junglers like Lee Sin or early CC junglers like Zac, leaves Kayn feeling lack-luster until he can reach that 10-15 minute mark where he can hit his powerspike.
However, what he does do with this fantasy is expand on an archetype that junglers didn't have a reliable option for in their current roster: an assassin champion whose gank potential isn't based solely on their ability to land an Q or E, OR even a bruiser that doesn't solely function as the main engage in teamfights.
**The Darkin vs The Shadow Assassin**
At first glance from the champion reveal page, one would feel that there are two choices in the fate of Kayn: whether he succumbs to Rhaast or overcomes him, both equally interesting outcomes and equally powerful in their own respects.
In the first few hours of game play, there's become this assumption that the Darkin form is 100% more favorable an outcome than the Shadow Assassin form (which to some extent, holds some validity). The main difference between the two outcomes is the tradeoff between mobility and sustain. However, when you put unreliable damage in flat values with mobility and reliable damage on sustain, there is an obvious better choice.
As Kayn, it should feel good to reliably be able to burst down an opponent in a satisfying, mobile way by taking the risks that Shadow Assassin provides. But, as it stands, there is low satisfaction in committing to an engage to find out that instead of doing the expected high damage, you ended up falling short and dealt much less that it feels like you would. The point is: doing a combo that looks like [this flash-engage](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOf_aCXAtpg) should feel satisfying to do, but its unreliable damage compared to the Darkin form doesn't feel pleasing.
I can't personally check the success rate between choosing from both outcomes, nor can I speak for everyone. However, there must be some reasonable expectation that exists when a Shadow Assassin doesn't actually *feel* like a Shadow Assassin.
I would appreciate some feedback from Riot and other players to address some of these concerns or to provide some clarification from the team in regard to their expectations for Kayn.
Thank you for your time in reading my post,
Rhaastafarian, a player concerned.