Dat AD Carry Part 2: Other Choices?

Posted: August 1, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Champions

Last time, we took a look at why certain AD carries were picked over others at the highest levels of play, and why they are the “top” of their archetype. In part two we will look at some of the remaining choices and see what types of other roles they can fill. For the most part, I believe that champions in LoL have a defined role and can fit on a team in some fashion.

Most AD carries prefer the late game due to the fact that they require multiple items to become powerful; Caitlyn is the exception to the rule. In any lane, Caitlyn is one of the strongest champions in the beginning of the game. She has a variety of tools that allow her not only to farm, but also to outright deny her opponents last hits and experience. With the longest natural autoattack range in the early game, she has little trouble hitting what she wants. In addition, her Piltover Peacemaker forces her opponents to either stand behind a wave of minions or dodge, giving her more pressure. Caitlyn is also quite safe in her lane since she has her Yordle Snap Traps and (GTFO!) 90 Caliber Net for warning and escape tools. However, Caitlyn has a significant weakness for being an AD carry – her scaling into the late game. What I mean by this is that she does not have any strong abilities that either scale tremendously well with her AD or are a “steroid” when compared to other AD carries. Caitlyn’s passive, Headshot, would be the closest thing she has to a steroid but it requires a significant amount of items in both AD and attack speed. In order to succeed, Caitlyn needs to develop her advantage in the laning phase – both denying farm, while maximizing her own. (Caitlyn can do this quite well and often.)

Ezreal can be built as either an AD or AP character; for the sake of this article, we will look at him only as an AD carry champion. Ezreal is easily the most mobile AD carry in the game due to his Arcane Shift. He also can frontload a lot of damage from his abilities from relatively a safe distance. This makes him a great poker and skirmisher in both the lane, and that awkward period of time where both teams are trying to initiate a team fight. As a carry, Ezreal has pretty decent scaling due to his passive, Rising Spell Force – which dramatically increases his attack speed, the more abilities he lands. His ultimate, Trueshot Barrage can be used to either immediately power up Ezreal’s passive to the maximum in a team fight or be used to snipe an opponent with low health. Overall, Ezreal gives his team a high damage skirmisher that can transition well into an AD carry.

Once the king of denying minion experience and gold and hoarder of gold per 10 items, Gangplank is now one of the dangerous champions in League of Legends. First off, Gangplank can take almost any lane in a game quite well – although if you do put him on the duo lane, it’s better if he takes most of the farm. In addition, as long he receives both a lease and aid on the blue buff golem, he is one of the best junglers at this moment. This is due to the fact that not only can he clear the camps fast, but he has one of the strongest ganks. His toolbox is, simply put, great. His Parrrley pistol shot is one of the best physical nukes in the game. Not only does it scale quite well with AD, has a short cooldown, low mana cost, but it is also affected by critical chance. Combine this with his passive, Grog Soaked Blade, this turns his Parrrley also into a slow that helps you adjust the distance between you and your target. Raise Morale is a decent steroid that also provides a group buff. In addition, despite being melee, Remove Scurvy gives Gangplank a surprising amount of survivability since it gives him a jail out of free card in the form of a CC-removing ability. Finally, his ultimate Cannon Barrage is an excellent AoE damaging and slowing(!) global range ability that gives him presence anywhere on the map. Now, Gangplank is not invincible (although when he Removes Scurvy and proceeds to two shot you, he seems that way), and does have two drawbacks to him. First, he needs a lot of gold. Gangplank wants to have high critical chance, high attack damage, and a bit of “not dying” stats. Secondly, he’s still a melee champion – meaning he puts himself at risk when he enters a fight with multiple enemies.

Like Ezreal, Kog’Maw can be played as both AP or AD. As a laner, Kog’Maw is relatively mediocre. He has solid range with his abilities as well as the ability to maintain that distance with his slow. He can also punish quite hard if someone attacks into his range. However, he is fragile and has no escape mechanism once the distance has been closed. In addition Kog’Maw does not have any built-in sustainability, which means some champions will keep trading blows to make him leave the lane. Kog’Maw does have two specific niches that makes him desirable as an AD carry. First his ultimate, Living Artillery, is a decent nuke that has one of the longest ranges in the game, and can make a target visible even in fog of war through a debuff. Kog’Maw can often punish and kill enemies that don’t leave team fights fast enough with this ability. Secondly, Kog’Maw can shred through health (regardless of champion) extremely well due to the fact that his W ability does a percentage of total health as true damage. Kog’Maw is literally a (glass) cannon made of flesh.

Blaaaaaaah, it’s Master Yi! Master Yi is the original melee AD carry whom does ridiculous amount of autoattack damage once he has the gold. His lane phase is generally pretty weak and requires a duo lane to perform well in farming. He’s a solid jungler as long as Alpha Strike procs the extra damage, and if the enemy team does not counter jungle hard enough. As a jungler, he provides damage to ganks rather than crowd control so his success will depend on his team’s composition. As for team fights, Yi generally wants to play like an assassin and kill steal secure low health champions that have their attentions focused on people not named Yi. Oh, and he’s one of the best backdooring champions in the game. With abilities and steroids designed for autoattacking, he can plow through towers and inhibitors like they’re nothing. When it comes to running away Yi’s ultimate, Highlander, gives him a ton of movement speed and immunity to slow. As long as your enemy team does not have a lot of hard crowd control, Yi tends to perform decently.

I’m going to be honest here. I don’t know much about Miss Fortune. She has a lot going for her that should make her more popular, but I personally don’t see enough of her. Miss Fortune’s laning phase is quite good since she can poke pretty hard with Double Up. She can take almost any lane and still come out strong in the mid and late game. During the mid game her ultimate, Bullet Time, gives her team the advantage in AoE damage. Impure Shot is a solid steroid that also screws over enemy heals. Finally, Strut gives her a fair amount of map mobility. Her weaknesses are what typical ranged champions have – fragile, lack of escape, needs farm. I guess her weakness is that beyond killing, she does not offer utility like some of the most popular AD champions.

Sivir is the queen of herping and derping with autoattacking, farming, and pushing towers. With the exception of her Spell Shield (which is amazing if used correctly), her entire toolbox is pretty much a minion and building lawnmower. She is also great on teams that have multiple AD champions, as On the Hunt is an awesome group steroid buff. During the laning phase, Sivir is decent but not amazing (although Spell Shield is amazing) and would rather farm than fight her opponents. She does lack a bit of autoattack range is a bit of a problem in team fights. Nevertheless, as long as Sivir can keep autoattacking, stuff will die – although champions tend to fight back better than minions or towers.

Tristana is a solid AD carry and strong choice on most teams. While, she is vulnerable in the first few levels, she quickly picks up steam in the laning phase. Her Explosive Shot is one of her best abilities as it has two functions. First, it serves to pressure lanes and zone out enemy champions away from their minions. Second, it is a solid harassment ability that does quite a bit of damage but often underestimated since it does its damage over time. Tristana’s Rocket Jump also has a duality in function as well. It can be used as an escape mechanism, but also can be used as a nuke when Tristana fully commits for the kill. Between these two abilities, Tristana actually does quite a bit of burst damage in the early game for an AD carry. Oh, and Tristana can push towers very well due to her passive, Draw a Bead (which increases his range as the game progresses) and autoattack steroid ability, Rapid Fire. My only real gripe with Tristana is her ultimate, Buster Shot. While it has a ton of damage, the long distance knockback makes it unappealing to use – as it often can save your target. Even when you want to use it to secure the kill, a slight miscalculation in judgement can lead to a kill being denied. I personally feel Tristana should save this ability to run away (after backdooring a lane of course).

Well, Tryndamere is an awakard spot at the moment… he used to be a late game super carry where he simply can mow down an entire enemy team with only a little amount of support. Now, he’s been toned down quite a bit to be more of a… bruiser/tanky dps. This article was being written right before the patch, so this is the only reason he’s in this article. If there’s any experienced and dedicated Tryndamere, feel free to let me know how they play him now.  Tryndamere is supposed to be something, but I/we/universe/Riot doesn’t know what.

Twisted Fate is yet another character that can be played both AP and AD. As an AD carry, Twisted Fate sports some of the highest autoattack damage if given the chance to do so. While his ultimate, Destiny/Gate, is no longer a full global it is still quite strong and allows TF to do what he does best – come into an enemy’s “favorable” fight and ruin the party. As an AD carry, he is a bit vulnerable due to the lack of escape abilities and short autoattack range that he has. In addition, Twisted Fate works very well with “on hit items” since he tends to have a fast attack speed due to Stacked Deck, and benefits from having more attack speed as well.  Oh, and he still backdoors decently although he tends to have more trouble running away.

Every champion for the most part has an unique niche that they give to their team, other than just being “da AD carry”. Whether, it is an extremely strong lane, amazing dragon presence, stupidly high burst, or infinite (and beyond) tower pushing potential, all of them have something. With the recent nerfs to Ashe, Corki, and Vayne, we will now see more and more AD carries that will be picked by players and teams. Perhaps, in a few months time, some of these champions will rise and become the top.

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