On PSN I'm #1 Kenny, 5th Overall. Loving this game.
Here’s some tips for anyone interested in Kenny.
Kenny gets any special kick factor advantages that the other character would normally have. Such as The Baz having touch of death, and Jefailey having max charge all the time. The homing spirit bullet is also more effective the more meter you have. So ending a round with a lot of meter is generally a good idea, and thankfully, Kenny has ways to set that situation up!
The homing spirit bullet only drains meter slowly when it's seeking the opponent. And it only drains your meter completely when it hits. Often times you can setup an easy kill by forcing your opponent to dodge the projectile in a bad spot. By doing so, it will cost you very little meter. A simple setup is playing as Dive. Fire a bullet close to the ground, (either by kick back, or a dive close to the ground) then follow it. Most characters will eventually be forced to jump or die. Especially if they are close to the corner. React to the jump and take the kill.
But hitting with the spirit bullet can be almost as good. Depending on the situation you can't always follow up but often times you can get a free headshot. Headshots with Kenny are vital. You can start the next round either by building that lost meter depending on the character you rolled. Being Baz and starting the round by charging to near full meter while your opponent can't do much to stop you is a great advantage to have. Or, if you rolled a match up in your favor, you can press for the kill like normal. Better yet, you have just enough time to build up for a spirit bullet while approaching a dizzied opponent.
The homing spirit bullet has another subtle, yet extremely effective feature. If gives you backward momentum from a dive. Often times you can bait an opponent by jumping in what would normally be a bad spot and fire a bullet at the apex of your jump. From here you have some decent options. If your opponent took the bait and went in, you have a good chance for a free kill. If not, you can still safely land and then try to approach low when the bullet comes in from above. If your opponent backed off, you can kick to keep the pressure up, while the bullet comes from behind you.
As you can probably tell, meter is very important, so I would always suggest the meter gem. Especially since Dive and Kick gems are not exactly reliable with Kenny. Depending on what characters you roll, they might not help at all.
The safest way to tell what character you are at the start of a round is to kick back. Characters like Shoals, Stream and S-kill are obvious once you do so. But others, it can take a keen eye to tell apart. For Dive and Kick, the best way is to notice the differences between the kick back kick speeds. If you throw one out quickly at the start of a round, it's very possible your opponent won't know which character you are. The Baz and Jefailey have kick backs that also look alike. Obviously the moment you kick your opponent will know though. When you're kick factored and playing as the Baz, your aura will be different as well. But this isn't to say you can't gamble. If you have the meter for a spirit bullet, it can be worth diving at the start of a round to catch your opponent off guard. If you rolled someone like Kung Pao against Dive, you can shoot the bullet to back off from your jump.
Most importantly though, to play Kenny you need to know the match ups. And you need to be able to adapt to match ups very quickly. You may only have a second or two to figure out what character you are, and how best to use them against your opponent. And playing as the other characters won't really help with this. As you can probably tell by now, Kenny isn't an exact clone of the other characters due to how important his special moves are. For example, Kenny is probably a better Jefailey than Jefailey. The homing spirit shot gives him something to defend against vertical threats that Jefailey lacks. But alternatively, Kenny as S-Kill is lacking. Spirit shot setups are hard to create with S-kills movement options. And the lack of Trick makes it hard to threaten people from a distance.
So when you first start playing as Kenny, you're probably going to struggle quite a bit. But what I've noticed the more I play, is that often times other players won't know how to approach Kenny when he has spirit gun in stock. All the potential combination of character movement types make it very tricky to play against. From round to round you can keep putting your opponent in different situations and scaring them off their normal game plan.
EDIT: Here is some early match up numbers. Don't take these as facts, still very early impressions
Kenny Vs Kung Pao 7-3
Kung Pao is very weak to spirit bullet traps due to her low jump height. A shot fired low forces her to retreat almost no matter what character you are. Only exceptions are probably Jefaily with no kick factor and The Baz with no kick factor. If shes put in the corner, shes practically in a no win situation. On top of that, it's hard for her to stop you from building the meter needed to setup the traps. Kung is mostly a defensive character and she needs to approach slowly.While portals could in theory help Kung escape traps and avoid pressure, it's hard for her to set them in an optimal location. Most of the time Kungs want to set the trap on the other end of the arena, to threaten people while they build meter, or to escape bad situations. The only problem is, Kenny can basically force Kung to back off whenever he has a spirit bullet in stock. Also, Kenny has a good chance at scoring headshots in this match to deprive her of meter.
Kenny Vs Markman 3-7
Markmans items are very good at disrupting Kennys offense. Glue, vortex, spring, all do a good job of stopping Kenny from coming in. Even with a spirit bullet involved. As long as the items stall Kenny long enough, he's safe. On top of that, Markman has an amazing kick back, that can get him out of trouble. And even more amazing is his feint, which can help him escape would be spirit bullet traps and potentially get the kill himself. To make matters worse, if Markman can setup a poison cloud on top of the Kenny players starting position, he can make it extremely difficult for him to build meter. This isn't even getting into Markmans other obvious advantages like EWGF, which people are going to get better and better at, or his Kickbox install.
Kenny Vs The Baz 6-4
Much like the Kung match up, spirit bullet traps are extremely difficult for The Baz to deal with. The bullet itself can even render the Shocker useless which is an advantage most other characters don't have. But unlike Kung, The Baz can build meter faster, and has an easier time escaping the corner if he times a fully charged kick well. If he can manage to escape the corner at least once in a round he can potentially get kick factor to change the tides of the match. It isn't easy, but it's probably his best option against most of Kennys forms.
Kenny Vs Kick 4-6
Kicks ground mobility and meter build is very effective in dealing with Kennys traps. His new angled kick can be a great escape, or a way to score a kill. His kick factor gives him the dive height he needs to get out of bad situations as well. This match up depends a lot on what forms Kenny gets rolled. If Kenny gets a character that can apply decent pressure, he can try to push Kick back to the corner before he can get the meter he needs. But Kick can deal with even the best combinations well due to being such a versatile character.
EDIT 2: Some character specific tricks
As Stream, Kenny can cancel the helpless fall animation after kicking into the air with a spirit bullet. After the bullet is shot, you remain helpless until landing. Your altered falling angle thanks to the bullet can potentially save you, especially if the bullet gets in the way of your opponents kick angle.
As Markman, Kenny can use EWGF like normal. Can be used to great effect to catch opponents off guard.
As Shoals, Kenny can use her kick back to fire off a bullet as close to the ground as possible very quickly. Can also be used to punish an opponents dive kick with a kick back. Something Shoals can't do.