AP EZREAL THE UNHOLY BURST
Let the Damage begin...
Threats to Ezreal with this build
I'm a long time AP Ezreal player, with over 3000 games as the amazing burst damage unconventional mid laner, I've been playing since early Season 2.. through all his ups.. and downs. I am originally Australian, was in London for a year, spent a year in Texas, stayed 2 years in San Francisco and finally have returned to Australia! On NA I reached Platinum I. I am also a musician and would love for you guys to check out some of my music :)
I will be honest in saying AP Ezreal is not for everyone. His insane damage potential is only good if you hit EVERYTHING and yes.. I mean everything. However, if you enjoy high risk - high reward champions with plenty of skillshots, look no further.
AP Ezreal boasts the highest DPS burst on 5 champions in 2 seconds, this test was done by a player called "Makerofhay" and was done with a test of 400AP.
Pros / Cons
- Highest AOE burst from any Mid
- Extremely effective poke
- Hard to Gank
- Low cooldowns on every ability
- High AP scaling on every ability (after Lich Bane)
- One of League's best kiting/positioning champions
- Unstoppable late game, especially with Trueshot Barrage
- Unconventional mid, people don't know how to counter him.
- Extremely squishy
- Poor farming
- No Crowd Control
- Hard to Master
- Everything is a skillshot, miss and it's ineffective
- Rough Early game
- Risky Playstyle
*UPDATE SEASON 7*
I would argue that as Lethality is going through it's ups and downs, the Mark of Precision's for Reds is debatable, if Lethality isn't very effective, don't take the runes, if it's OP (as it has been at early levels for many patches) then by all means run these!
*UPDATE SEASON 6*
Not much has changed since Season 5, however it's important more than ever to retain the Mana Regen Runes in my opinion as Mana Pots are a thing of the past now.
Now, I have changed and toyed with MANY rune sets over time... and these honestly are personal preference for the most part.
My current rune set is an extremely high risk - high reward set, which looks like it was meant for hybrid ezreal. I have a little AD and hyrbid pen runes Mark of Precision, this is simply so ezreal's Q actually hurts early game still, and helps so much with autoattacking enemy mid's just that little bit better, helping you zone. Also, ezreal is a viable AD champion, and in those early game situations, auto-attacks aren't useless... Yet. (sorry for the image below, just replace the Hybrid Pen runes with Mark of Precision's)
You'll note that I have no Greater Seal of Magic Resist's, and no Greater Seal of Armor's... So yes, if anything hits you.. You'll explode. Consider yourself the game's squishiest glass cannon, positioning is everything.
Now, if you aren't as comfortable with positioning and are finding yourself being bursted pre-8, then you may consider a full set of Greater Seal of Magic Resist's or a full set of Greater Seal of Armor's, depending on your opponent.
Prior to going for this hybrid Rune set, I ran Greater Mark of Magic Penetration's, Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration's, Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power's, and Greater Quintessence of Ability Power's. If you'd like to avoid my hybrid set, try this out, it's still very viable, and won't leave you stranded for Mana if every blue buff is taken from you. You just have a harder time early game.
Then.. There's the enemy high damage AD Anti-Mages, such as Talon and Zed. For these I have Greater Seal of Armor's, and would recommend this if you're feeling you can't easily face these champions yet.
*SEASON 6 UPDATE*
So, things are extremely different now! Masteries have had a complete rework, really this change has defined Season 6 more than any other aspect.
Basically the only real viable option currently is 12/18 with the ending tree being Thunderlord's Decree and Bounty Hunter . I know this is somewhat lame from previous explanations of this section, however there really is no other option anymore, the way the final tree plays out.
CORE ITEMS EXPLAINED:
*SEASON 7 UPDATE*
The Dark Seal: This little item is a personal favorite of mine, honestly this is a must for me now, currently 350gp allows you to buy this item + 3 Pots or my personal choice of the refillable flask. Keep in mind that I rarely upgrade this to a full Mejai's Soulstealer simply because the risk of doing so is too high (lose too many stacks upon death). The Dark Seal at 10 stacks (5 kills) gives us a free 30 ability power, which makes this a crazy value for gold even late game giving 45ap for a cheap price of 350gp. Eventually you will sell this for a final item like Void Staff unless you are extremely confident of not dying.
Okay... Here comes the endless flame... I get it, Mejai's Soulstealer is risky, and generally considered unviable. I am not about to say AP Ezreal sporting a Mejai's Soulstealer will be seen in a world series any time soon... But, Platinum? Diamond? Sure, it's completely viable and my personal experience, as well as other AP Ezreal players will agree. As AP Ezreal you have MANY opportunities all game to pick up sniper kills with your Trueshot Barrage, that's +16ap for every kill you secure. Not to mention... Ezreal's Essence Flux grants allies attack speed, that means, even if you have to back out of a fight, Essence Flux some allies beforehand, and watch the assists add to your Mejai's Soulstealer. AP Ezreal is also essentially ungankable early game - mid game because he doesn't outpush anyone... and if he does for some strange reason, you have Flash + Arcane Shift to escape. In team fights, Ezreal rarely dies, and when he does, it's due to extremely hard CC such as Vi or Warwick. So make of this what you will, but I'm telling you.. Mejai's Soulstealer is extremely deadly in the right hands.
SEASON 6 UPDATE:
Mejai's Soulstealer Is no longer 1235gp... rather it is now 1400! If I'm entirely honest, even though Mejai's Soulstealer builds from Dark Seal the increased gold cost as well as the higher loss of stacks now makes this even more of a risky buy... I do still buy it, but now this item is not for the faint of heart... consider replacing it with either a Morellonomicon or an Archangel's Staff.
Lich Bane: This is the bread and butter of AP Ezreal truly this item is what I feel makes him most viable.. With Lich Bane nothing in Ezreal's kit scales with less than a 75% AP ratio.. That's insane damage on every ability. This also gives you long range poke that really chunks the enemy's health late game.
Rabadon's Deathcap: This item should be fairly self explanatory, HUGE amounts of AP, essential on almost every mid lane burst champion.
Sorcerer's Shoes: These are your best choice for boots, especially with the current meta favoring tanks. Ionian Boots of Lucidity simply aren't a good choice for Ezreal as you are trying to burst, not sustain. Not to mention, with blue buff + Elixir of Brilliance + masteries + hopefully 20 Mejai's Soulstealer stacks... You really don't need Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Void Staff: This is really essential more than ever in Season 4. Tanks are kings in the current meta, it's really hard to do any serious damage to anyone past mid game without this item or it's brother Liandry's Torment.
NEW SEASON 5 UPDATE:
Luden's Echo: I have recently added this bursty item to my core build, often foregoing one of the traditional magic pen items. There are several reasons for adding this item to any build, despite it's semi-recent nerfs. Firstly, it does serious poke burst and it's an easy task for Ezreal to proc the effect with Essence Flux through minions. Secondly, this item is excellent for adding extra burst damage on Trueshot Barrage, so long as you are able to line up a shot without hitting minions. And finally this item gives us movement speed, which is always excellent to have on our fragile Ezreal.
Zhonya's Hourglass: Good item, situational when they have a burst enemy mid laner with a bit of cc and are unable to take out easily ( Lux, Syndra, Talon, Fizz, Viktor, Twisted Fate, Zed, Karthus.
SEASON 5 UPDATE
ADDED TO CORE BUILD:
So with the changes to Mejai's Soulstealer dying is simply not an option, and you must avoid it at all costs, otherwise you will lose HALF your current stacks... now with the old Mejai's Soulstealer I felt that the extra Magic Penetration and HP from Liandry's Torment was better overall than Zhonya's Hourglass. Now however I feel that survival is most important and this item is essential, in some games I even buy this before Void Staff if their Magic Resist isn't strong yet.
Elixir of Sorcery
Elixir of Sorcery: This is kind of an essential steroid boost for any AP Ezreal player. Unlike last season'a Elixir of Brilliance, the new season 5 Elixir of Sorcery is 400GP not 250GP, this makes it pretty much an end game buy only, unless you REALLY need that extra tank killing burst from Ezreal... Don't bother with buying one of these until you have finished at least 4 core items, otherwise if things are going fine, only buy these end game.
SITUATIONAL ITEMS EXPLAINED:
Liandry's Torment: This item really is the final touch to an AP Ezreal's burst. Adding to your magic pen, giving you a final dash of +50 AP and that sweet little extra HP for those pesky ADC's. Really effective against the ultra tanky teams, but will completely delete anyone not stacking MR.
SEASON 5 UPDATE:
MOVED TO SITUATIONAL ITEM:
Liandry's Torment is still good, however with the changes to Mejai's Soulstealer being able to stay alive is the primary concern. I honestly wouldn't take this item on Ezreal anymore, buy yourself Luden's Echo instead.
Morellonomicon: Good on beginner AP Ezreal Players, I'd suggest this item to anyone looking to replace the highly risky Mejai's Soulstealer. Also works a treat on a few situational champions ( Fiddlesticks, Akali, Dr. Mundo, Sion).
Abyssal Scepter: Not Ideal, however some people pick this when the enemy team's carries are all AP. Season 3 this was a better item, but the aura nerf has made this item rare for me to buy. If Ezreal is in the effective range of the Aura when firing his Trueshot Barrage... He's likely out of position.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter
Rylai's Crystal Scepter: If their team is hard to catch, and aren't very tanky, this item can work well, especially if your team lacks initiate and CC. Note though that to effectively use this item, you will need to get Liandry's Torment and forego Void Staff. So be aware of how much MR they are building.
Archangel's Staff: This item is not entirely unviable, it's just not ideal. Stacks are where your late game comes from, and the shield won't help you if you're out of position, Zhonya's Hourglass would be a better pick if you're trying to avoid damage in a bad spot. If you don't want to stack, but are confident with actives and want an impressive late game, this item is decent. This is the item Xpeke uses on his high elo AP Ezreal because Mejai's Soulstealer is too risky.
*SEASON 6 UPDATE*
BOTH Hextech Gunblade AND Nashor's Tooth added to Situational Items - See Below:
Hextech Gunblade: So, previously it was extremely rare to see anyone aside from Kayle and occasionally Akali building this item simply due to it's awkward stats (old spell vamp) and old components. NOW however, Hextech Revolver is simply amazing on Ezreal and can even be applied in ADDITION to Sheen's proc damage. Truly this component has redefined AP Ezreal's awkward transition into the late game. I would advise however that it is critical to realize that with this item you are going to want to incorporate kiting into your playstyle much more, and as such will need to aim for 30% CDR. In this case, if you are going for hybrid/kite/poke Ezreal over pure burst then grab CDR boots over magic pen.
Nashor's Tooth: Now, I would only recommend this item if you are planning on utilizing the kite/poke/hybrid playstyle that I have outlined above. This item is better than you'd think, with Ezreal's recently buffed passive Rising Spell Force it's actually possible to dish out a lot of damage with auto attacks between Nashor's Tooth and Hextech Gunblade. Not to mention, the CDR from building this item will usually push you into 40% CDR so you can evade more damage with lower CD Arcane Shift, which helps mitigate the range you will need to stand at to effectively auto attack.
BAD ITEMS EXPLAINED:
Athene's Unholy Grail
Athene's Unholy Grail: People often ask me why I don't use this item, as it would give early game Ezreal a lot more lane sustain and survivabilty, like Lux. The reasoning is simple: you are NOT an early game champion, and you are not immobile like Lux. By picking this item, you really don't get much.. You lack magic pen and burst late game, for a slightly better early game (debatable).
SEASON 5 UPDATE
Highest Burst Damage in game? Surely the Burst item is a good buy!? Right!?
Answer: No. If you're using DFG to eliminate 1 character, that you can't kill with your standard High DPS burst, then you're focusing a tank... Bad idea to begin with. Ezreal is a Burst AOE champion, you must deal damage to EVERYONE. Not to mention, Deathfire Grasp's range is too short, you're probably out of position if you're trying to use it.
Guinsoo's Rageblade: You are AP Ezreal, not Hybrid, this item means you're trying to use autoattacks, which will fail.
Rod of Ages
Rod of Ages: Don't try and be tanky.. just.. Don't. While the allure of some extra HP and Mana may feel much needed at certain points during the game, do not give in to this item, if you build this way you are going against everything the AP Ezreal playstyle is meant to be about, which is extreme damage and endless kiting.
Iceborn Gauntlet: Not as good as Lich Bane, if you want CC slows.. for whatever reason, get Rylai's Crystal Scepter. The only time I would EVER consider this item is if I was going against a FULL AD enemy team and our team had no CC at all.
Will Of the Ancients
Will of the Ancients: Some people have thought that with such high damage, perhaps spell vamp could give Ezreal some kind of godly sustain in teamfights. I have tried this, and it's just simply not true. This item is currently underpowered anyway, and remains debatable for a lot of champions who Riot intended it to be core for. I would avoid this item at all costs.
Sword of the Occult
Sword of the Occult: Okay... so you think you're a stack master eh? That's cool and all, and by all means, have fun with this in normals. However... if you run the maths on this item, by going with an AD item in place of an AP pen item, you're unable to get through tanky champions. You're effectively now dealing less simply because you're dealing 2 different types of damage, both of which tanks are resisting against with armor AND magic resist
Flash: This is your plan B. It is impossible to play perfectly every game, and you WILL find yourself in a bad spot from time to time with a poorly positioned Arcane Shift. Really there is no other summoner spell that works this well on Ezreal's already ultra mobile kit. It's also nice for chasing an enemy that believes they are safe, if you're positive there is no enemy that can kill you, going hyper aggressive with a Flash + Arcane Shift combo closes a HUGE gap of 875 range, not to mention an Arcane Shift nuke that will hit if any enemy is nearby, super effective at moping up kills. This is far more effective than Ghost will ever be on Ezreal.
Ignite: As a mid lane burst champion who farms poorly, you are trying to bring as much pain to the enemy, not outfarm them through sustain. This is why for me, ignite is the only logical choice. True damage really helps vs tanks, and also secures MANY kills in lane. I have seen AP Ezreal's run Heal before... But honestly this is against the high risk/high reward playstyle AP Ezreal is all about.
Heal: To me this summoner spell is a terrible choice, but I know many AD Ezreal players will find the transition from the AD bot lane position to the AP mid lane transition a little tricky. This summoner is still good, but keep in mind, most enemy mids will take Ignite, so you've got a pretty high chance of your heal being halved.
Rising Spell Force
Rising Spell Force: Ezreal's passive is unfortunately put largely to waste on this build, it has a few advantages early game, and comes in handy for pushing down towers faster.
Mystic Shot: Early game this really helps you farm, it's the reason I strongly suggest leveling this at Lvl 1. This also is effective at all points in the game by reducing your CD by 1 second every time you hit anything. Late game this is your long range poke with 1100 range dealing serious damage once you have Lich Bane. There is more to Mystic Shot than you think though, this is Ezreal the explorer's way of scouting, use this to check brush instead of using your face.
UPDATE 4.18 PATCH: Mystic Shot now deals 1.1 Bonus AD, rather than 1.0 Bonus AD - This really doesn't affect AP Ezreal much..
Essence Flux: Whenever you can level this, do so. This skill is Ezreal's main source of poke in lane as you can poke through minions, and is also Ezreal's best source of spammable damage. In a team fight Essence Flux is your mini Trueshot Barrage with a decent AOE of a 900 range skillshot and a width of 80, this shouldn't be too hard to hit multiple enemies with. Something that is overlooked by most AP Ezreal players in team fights is Essence Flux's bonus attack speed you can give to a fellow ADC. Sometimes it may be more beneficial to hit the enemy burst champions such as Kha'Zix as well as your ally Vayne rather than trying to Essence Flux 2 others that are not yet an immediate threat to the outcome of the team fight; prioritize what is going to do more damage in the long run rather than the easy kill that will leave you stranded. Generally speaking I save Essence Flux only for tank killer ADC's such as Vayne or Kog'Maw if I am going to use it on an ally, occasionally if I co-ordinate with Lucian I Essence Flux him before he ults, giving him far more DPS from his The Culling, as this scales with Attack Speed. Also, remember to use Essence Flux on all allies when taking towers and objectives, you will take it down much faster.
Arcane Shift: Free flash? Wait... Free flash with 75% AP ratio skillshot attached?! This is what makes or breaks a good AP Ezreal player. If used incorrectly, this will surely have you killed immediately, the cooldown on Arcane Shift late game isn't too bad, but it's still not something you want to use unless you know you will be alive. The biggest mistake of AP Ezreal players is trying to use Arcane Shift it too early in team fights, placing you out of position when the enemy is hunting for squishy's still. As a general rule, do NOT use Arcane Shift aggressively, unless you know you can secure the kill. Now, this rule CAN be broken... If you have Flash up and are confident of using an (E)-(W)-(Q) combo will kill someone, but then immediately put you in danger, that's fine, you can Flash back out. Arcane Shift can also be used to avoid ward coverage and get to vantage points when ganking lanes, it's fairly easy to get behind enemy bot lane's tri-bush without being seen and then Trueshot Barrage them from behind if they are pushed. Arcane Shift is one of my favorite juke tools, often I will go in brush to make it look like I am running, then Arcane Shift back over them the other way, damaging the enemy pursuer in the process. Arcane Shift also makes Ezreal extremely hard to gank in lane. It is also interesting to note that, in the right hands Arcane Shift makes for amazing plays vs certain mid laners with snare-like CC such as Morgana, Lux, Brand, Anivia, Xerath and Zyra. Also allows him to counter the initiate of some of the scary melee mid laner's such as Fizz, Riven, Pantheon and Talon.
Trueshot Barrage: This is the most amazing thing about AP Ezreal by far. No AP mid laner has an ultimate that hits as hard across 5 champions as this ultimate does, only The Equalizer or the legendary Crowstorm can match it's deadliness to a grouped enemy, and even then, both of them don't hit as hard and rely on damage over time. Not to mention, this spell has an INSANELY low cooldown. With 40% Cooldown Reduction + Mystic Shots, it is possible to get Trueshot Barrage down to a 28 second cooldown.
There are 4 main uses of this ultimate and should almost always be prioritized in the following order:
1. Grouped enemies in an already started team fight
This is what every AP Ezreal player waits for, perfectly grouped enemies focusing an ally tank, is the perfect and ideal use of Trueshot Barrage.
2. Sniper kills
You are Hawkeye... ALWAYS watch the map, this will not only save you from ganks, but will make you aware of the status of your allies, and able to intervene in MANY seemingly lost trades. Every time an ally is slain, move your map to the scene and assess what needs to be done, in some cases, it's close - and you should line up your sights for a Trueshot Barrage to secure the kill. Other times you will need to clear a wave to stop them pushing. Every player tends to dodge a certain way, generally speaking, first time I Trueshot Barrage an enemy, I aim straight down the lane - If I see them move to the left jungle, or right jungle though to go B, then next time I'm making a snipe on that opponent, I aim there instead. Scrying Orb can help with this, however be aware that the enemy can see you use this, so be ready to try and hit a moving target.
3. Wave Clear
AP Ezreal's Trueshot Barrage has the ability to completely wipe out multiple waves of minions late game, as well as clear a single wave early game. Remember that Towers win games, not kills. So if you have Trueshot Barrage up, do not hesitate to use it to clear a lane that needs it, or to counterpush early to maintain lane control early. Trueshot Barrage has an extremely low cooldown late game, especially with Mystic Shot reducing your cooldown's by 1 second on every hit.
4. Objective Control
This is really situational... Trying to make a snipe on dragon or baron should not always be attempted. If you have vision and a clear ward, then you should probably make the shot, if not, and you're going for a blind snipe, then you need to take a few things into consideration... If you make the shot early, not trying to kill the objective, then you may deter them from continuing trying to take it because of the sudden burst you deal. This can be better than trying to snipe the objective for yourself. Other times, you may have vision of the objective for a short time, as a fellow ally dies trying to stop them.. here is your chance to see how quickly they are killing it... use timing and intuition to try and make this snipe. But only if doing so isn't going to compromise your ability to hold back a push.
The many phases of the game
Laning Phase LvL 1 - 7
Ezreal's early game when played AP is the exact opposite to AD Ezreal's early game, while you do want to poke, realistically you are just trying to stay in lane and poke the enemy mid down enough so they don't try anything too scary. Your farming will fall short as they get more and more items, so you must try and farm as much as possible in this early game while you can still keep up, use Trueshot Barrage to try and clear as well as chunk the enemy mid champion if they are pushing too hard on you. Once you are 6, start scouting the map for possible Trueshot Barrage snipes.
Ending Laning Phase/Ganking Phase LvL 8 - 12
Here is where our Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power's start to work in our favor. You will hopefully be well on your way to having Mejai's Soulstealer Sheen and Sorcerer's Shoes which is the perfect amount of damage at this point in the game to go on the aggressive and start hunting if possible. If you can't gank because your lanes are all pushing, that's fine, Trueshot Barrage your lane and push your enemy mid laner hard in the hope that enemy jungler comes for you rather than another lane, Ezreal's escape is amazing. Ensure to keep a ward on dragon at all points past LvL 8. In some cases, you will be facing an enemy mid such as Orianna, Ziggs or Anivia who are super mana-reliant and will push like crazy if they get blue buff , either that or if jungler has no use for mana like Lee Sin. In both these cases, sneak over to blue buff and use your Warding Totem to place a Stealth Ward in their blue to then Trueshot Barrage it for the steal later.
Teamfight Phase LvL 13 - 18
This is where you really shine! All that hard work trying to hold lane and farm finally is coming to fruition! With any luck you've got a few stacks under your belt from successful ganks, snipes and maybe even a fight over dragon By this stage you'll definitely have your Lich Bane and will see your damage spike suddenly with the addition of Rabadon's Deathcap to the mix, as well as Void Staff.
Don't get cocky though! You are still just as squishy as you were early game. Just because you can now burst things very effectively doesn't mean you should do so at every opportunity, remember, as a rule, Arcane Shift should be used defensively unless you can secure a kill or KNOW you are safe.
In teamfights, with any luck you have some hard initiate, try to line up as many champions as possible with Trueshot Barrage, prioritizing carries of course. If the enemy initiate on you, that's fine too, just save your Trueshot Barrage for the "point of no return" on the enemy.. baiting a fight a little longer can be better for getting those much needed Ace's.
Remember, if team fights are looking too even, or you're eager to get some more Mejai's Soulstealer stacks, an elixer at any point after your Lich Bane is not a bad idea!
Most importantly... and I really can't express this enough... STAY ALIVE! Team fights will go wrong sometimes, and the enemy will win certain engagements, and will push, but whatever you do, do not overstay and go down with the ship. Each fight you lose, you probably have killed at least a couple of the enemies, meaning more stacks, and a stronger late game... just take what you can, and defend until you can unleash your deathly late game.
As a long time AP Ezreal player, I have learnt some neat tricks over time.
STOP HITTING MY TOWER
The first is very similar to Fiddlesticks's Crowstorm surprise at tower if you've seen these before. It's fairly simple:
1. When your enemy approaches tower, move to wraiths and get as close to the wall nearest to your turret you are trying to defend.
2. Wait for them to stop moving and start auto-attacking your turret.
3. Aim your Trueshot Barrage at the enemy mid laner and fire.
4. Immediately follow up with a quick Arcane Shift + Essence Flux + Mystic Shot.
5. Ignite if you can secure the kill.
The second trick is fairly similar, I use it to secure objectives however.
1. As your team secures an objective like dragon or baron setup a ward in brush where you think the enemy will walk through to try and contest the objective.
2. Wait for the enemy, having your Trueshot Barrage ready and aimed at the location of your ward.
3. As the enemy walks through the brush, fire Trueshot Barrage and follow up quickly with your (E)>(W)>(Q) combo, this should kill just about any non-tank.
4. Just be sure not to follow up with the aggressive Arcane Shift if it's a whole team walking through the brush (unless you're super fed that is)
Ezreal's Farming will be probably the hardest learning curve for new AP Ezreal players. He is outpushed by just about every mid unless you're using Trueshot Barrage to hold lane rather than sniping. This means you will be farming under Tower pretty much all game.
Early game Mystic Shot is crucial to farming, as is Arcane Shift. Mystic Shot is a long 1100 range skillshot that should be used to farm minions that would otherwise put Ezreal in danger. It can also be used in situations where 2 minions are dying simultaneously and are unable to auto-attack both, simply auto-attack one, and Mystic Shot the other.
So a few things to note about farming under tower. Ezreal is extremely effective at tower farming, if you know what to do, and when. Bruiser Minions will take 2 tower hits before you can auto-attack them, they are also prioritized over Caster Minions. While the tower is focusing the Bruiser Minions, auto attack each of the caster minions once. This will set them up for an easy auto attack once the tower focuses them. If you are not able to get an auto-attack in, use Mystic Shot to kill Caster Minions instantly after they have taken 1 tower hit. Mystic Shot becomes more effective as a farming tool as well as a poke tool once you have acquired Sheen.
Generally speaking I do not use Trueshot Barrage to farm. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. When facing champions that can tower dive you and burst you hard ( Zed Talon Kassadin), it is vital to keep them low so that they do not attempt this, because you WILL die. In these circumstances I will use Trueshot Barrage them in lane as well as farm if I am not strong enough to poke them with Mystic Shot + Essence Flux.
Other times you will be faced with enemy mid lanes who simply will NOT stop pushing. These include Malzahar and Lissandra. In this case, ideally your jungler will assist, however if their hands are full, you will need to use Trueshot Barrage to try and push out as much as possible.
In Depth Mid-Lane Champion Matchups
Ezreal is squishy, and I mean VERY squishy, he has to pick and choose his fights and know where his strengths lie vs his opponents. Some Mid's Ezreal should be able to gain a pre-6 advantage, for others the enemy will have the upper hand pre-6. Below is the best line-up and playstyle advice I can give you as a VERY experienced AP Ezreal Player.
AhriThreat Level: 2
Ahri: Is a bit like you in her kiting potential, post-6 she's able to escape almost any gank. This lane should be relatively easy, so long as you use your Arcane Shift effectively. The main thing here is not to try and finish Ahri off with a Trueshot Barrage that she can see, because she will Spirit Rush and dodge it. If the Ahri player hasn't faced many AP Ezreal's before, try Arcane Shifting over her Charm and then follow up with an Essence Flux + Mystic Shot combo to really make her back off. Most Ahri players will stand in easy poking range for your Essence Flux, as this is an ideal range for them to be farming with Orb of Deception as well as being ready to try and land that Charm at any stage. Be aware that if you're going for the kill, Ignite early to prevent that pesky Essence Theft passive of hers.
AkaliThreat Level: 7
Akali: Pre-6 is everything... A good Akali will go full sustain pre-6, but you MUST poke her as much as you can, while you can. If you can get her to go B early, that's really awesome. Any level advantage or CS advantage will work highly in your favor. Post-6 this lane becomes nigh impossible unless you're really chunking their health. Ezreal's problem is he lacks the hard crowd control to stop the monster that is Akali. When Akali uses Shadow Dance quickly respond with Arcane Shift to avoid the burst, and counterburst her. DO NOT try and 1v1 her unless you're SERIOUSLY ahead. Always take Ignite for this matchup. Late game you should be able to instantly burst her down, don't worry. One handy thing to remember is that your Arcane Shift auto-locks the nearest target so when Akali uses Twilight Shroud you can often reveal her location with the homing missile attached to Arcane Shift.
AniviaThreat Level: 4
Anivia: This lane can be a little tricky simply because Anivia's pushing potential is amazing, and without the assistance of your jungler you're going to have a rough time. As far as the actual engagements go, just be sure not to aggressively Arcane Shift into a bad spot.. Anivia's zoning potential is brilliant. Aside from that, play safe and you'll be fine come the late game. Poke as much as possible with Essence Flux and be ready to Arcane Shift away from any Flash Frost counter attacks.
AnnieThreat Level: 6
Annie: Annie is a bit of a deadly one... though short ranged and relatively weak early game, post-6 she becomes quite an issue, and if you play poorly against her, she will scale out of control. Keep in mind that an Annie player will be looking for the same thing you are in team fights: lot's of grouped champions focusing other targets or overextending, for that perfect AOE damage Summon: Tibbers. In lane, just be aware that you have little to no Magic Resist, so most Annie players will wait for the Flash + Summon: Tibbers + Ignite burst combo. Stay back and just farm at tower if need be.
AzirThreat Level: 4
Azir: Is a little like Anivia in a weird way. The way Azir tries to gain lane control by zoning his enemy is very similar, not to mention the wall and the slows. Really Ezreal shouldn't have too much trouble farming safely with Mystic Shot. Clever use of Arcane Shift should allow you to easily kite his soldiers. Late game you're burst should far outdamage Azir's sustained damage style of battle.
BrandThreat Level: 3
Brand: Really quite an easy lane matchup. Brand's relatively short range, combined with skillshot based nuke spells make him easy to lane against with Ezreal's highly effective Arcane Shift. Brand's Blaze is fairly easy to jump over with a bit of practice, so simply Arcane Shift over it, then burst him in his face, he won't try it too many times! Just be aware that he does still outpush you, so call MIA when you see him leave lane. In team fights you outdamage Brand significantly, and his Crowd Control is mediocre at best.
CassiopeiaThreat Level: 4
Cassiopeia: Not too tricky of a matchup, try and be constantly on the move, stay away from minions. Post-4 your Essence Flux will hurt this enemy squishy a lot. Do not try to toe to toe with her in her desired range, she has substantial potential in lvl situations, just poke her and do not let her in that zone, her DPS is too much for squishy Ezreal. Late game you outrange her in almost every way, and can kite all of her damage. Not to mention your team fight potential is far greater than her single target style kit. With her rework just be aware that mana may be an issue for you, but probably not her. Also be aware that she now scales HEAVILY into late game, so do not give her this lead or she WILL annihilate you and your team.
Cho'GathThreat Level: 3
Cho'Gath: You probably won't see much of this, however after having my *** thoroughly owned by this mid lane once, I will try and offer you the best advice I can. I've faced this a handful of times, and after the first time, it's pretty simple to counter. When Cho'Gath uses Rupture be quick on your feet with an Arcane Shift, don't hesitate in using it either, because it's really the only thing Cho'Gath can gap close with. He will run out of mana, and so will you if this exchange keeps happening in lane, but you have the advantage over him since you are ranged and can poke for days. Pre-Lvl6 you have the advantage. Post-LvL10, there's a good chance he has a few Feast stacks as well as a Rod of Ages, you're probably not going to be able to burst him down anymore. Just wait for team fights, his damage falls off severely.
DianaThreat Level: 6
Diana: She's essentially a melee champion with a bit of poke. To counter this, stand away from the arc of her Crescent Strike and stay away from minions, this will run her dry of mana pretty quicky, or force her to lose CS, either way, it works out for us. Her Pale Cascade is a pretty average shield, and she will try and use it to tank while she attacks minions, poke this immediately off her with Essence Flux. There's a good chance that she will engage you with Lunar Rush + Moonfall; the moment you see Diana use Lunar Rush counter immediately with Arcane Shift and poke her with the rest of your combo. This lane shouldn't be too hard at any stage of the game unless you use Arcane Shift poorly or aggressively.
After moving through more ranks... and the introduction of Luden's Echo and the tank meta, I have completely changed my stance on a good Diana... SOME will be easy, however a good Diana once she gets a lead, will completely decimate you, even under tower, be wary of the good ones! In team fights you still have the kiting and damage advantage.
EkkoThreat Level: 5
Ekko: So this lane can pretty much go both ways, but it's important to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each champion, and their ideal setup to engaging. Ekko players generally ambush with the following combo
1. Throw out Timewinder (proc 1st stack of Z-Drive Resonance )
2. Dash using first component of Phase Dive (usually to one side)
3. Close the gap with 2nd component of Phase Dive (proc 2nd stack of Z-Drive Resonance )
4. Return of Timewinder procs final stack of Z-Drive Resonance
This is generally how most Ekko players will trade, however it's critical to be ready to Arcane Shift at the ideal moment... BECAUSE, if we time our Arcane Shift at the exact moment the Ekko player uses the 2nd part of the gap closer on his Phase Dive then he will actually arrive at Ezreal's location AFTER the Arcane Shift. This means we can actually put Ekko players out of position if we play with this in mind.
Now, AP Ezreal generally wants to be in a position with no enemy minions nearby so he doesn't mistakingly hit them with a component of the burst damage. Keep all of this in mind when facing Ekko and of course avoid the AOE stun, and you can easily win this lane. Be aware he can use Chronobreak to entirely dodge our Trueshot Barrage so, do be ready for this.
FiddlesticksThreat Level: 5
Fiddlesticks: Pretty much a stalemate in lane, he's not likely to kill you, and you're not likely to kill him. Also, you're both equally bad at farming. Only thing is, Fiddlesticks can sustain all of your damage, while you can't tank much of his. He's very mana hungry though, so just keep your distance and farm, if he's low on mana, you can engage on him, otherwise just wait for jungler. Be aware of his Dark Wind silence when trying to burst him down and stay clear of friendly minions to avoid Dark Wind bounces. Late game you are both a force to be reckoned with... A single, well timed and placed Crowstorm will devastate an entire enemy team, just like your ult. While he may use Zhonya's Hourglass it is crucial you burst him down the moment he lands a Crowstorm so that he's immobile or dead, allowing for your team to escape the damage and regroup. DO NOT PUSH AGAINST HIS TOWER UNWARDED... Any good Fiddlesticks player is very well accustomed to great Crowstorm jump spots, one of the main ones being at wraiths while mid tower is being attacked. If you're intending on pushing, bring wards.
FioraThreat Level: 6
Fiora: An unconventional mid with a surprisingly deadly early game, and an unstoppable late game if they get a lead. Fiora is a melee champion however, and this is our advantage in this matchup. Basically just poke her as much as you can, and do NOT overextend, Fiora's Lunge makes for an amazing gap closer even with Ezreal's Arcane Shift. In team fights try to use Trueshot Barrage early so that you hit Fiora before she uses Blade Waltz and becomes untargetable.
FizzThreat Level: 3
Fizz: Most people fear this champion, and rightfully so, he's essentially the melee version of you. Ultra high mobility, great burst damage, and works a treat with Lich Bane. However, Ezreal has a serious advantage over Fizz in lane. Poke him to death in lane with Essence Flux + Mystic Shot and ALWAYS save your Arcane Shift for his counter engage with Urchin Strike or his Chum the Waters. In team fights wait for his Playful / Trickster to land before firing Trueshot Barrage, once he lands Ezreal can cook up some Fizz sushi!
GalioThreat Level: 5
Galio: Not really a hard counter as such, just simply annoying.. Galio's Runic Skin makes him a real pain for any AP based nuker. In the rare case you are faced with a Galio opponent (rare because some Ezreal mid player choose AD and some choose AP, so Galio isn't an intuitive pick), the trick is simply to outfarm and poke as much as you can, while not being aggressive with your Arcane Shift. A good Galio Idol of Durand will devastate any team, but so will a Trueshot Barrage, and while Galio will more than likely die after his engage, Ezreal is usually still alive even after lost team fights. Overall I believe careful positioning and focusing other champions is the key to any match when facing an enemy Galio.
GragasThreat Level: 4
Gragas: Pre-rework I feared this guy, his poke was extremely hard to dodge and his burst damage was insane. Not to mention his general tankiness and excellent escape. Now? Not so much... with the changes to Barrel Roll his immediate damage potential is significantly lowered and is now used in lane to zone enemies more effectively. Overall Gragas really lost a lot of what made him scary. Gragas now is much more of a melee/caster hybrid who, in my personal opinion, kinda fails at both of them. As AP Ezreal you should have no trouble kiting Gragas's Barrel Rolls and definitely should have no issue Arcane Shifting away from his Body Slam. If you're low, do not use Arcane Shift unless you need to, because Gragas WILL use Explosive Cask and you will need to dodge this, or if unlucky, you will need to immediately escape the effects of being hit by it.
HeimerdingerThreat Level: 1
Heimerdinger: This lane I find VERY easy, Ezreal can Mystic Shot all of Heimerdinger's H-28G Evolution Turret's with ease, giving +5 gold each one you destroy. Not to mention, you really don't need to poke through them, you can hit him easily with Essence Flux and dodge CH-3X Lightning Grenade VERY easily with Arcane Shift. Really this lane should be no trouble at all. When it comes to team fights, you also seriously outdamage him. His inability to kite makes him a sitting duck for a nice Trueshot Barrage HAVE FUN!
JannaThreat Level: 2
Janna: This lane is pretty easy, all Janna will do is use Howling Gale to push the lane and farm all day. Early game poke her endlessly with Essence Flux and Mystic Shot, dodge her Howling Gale's with an easy Arcane Shift. Careful in team fights with your positioning as Janna's Monsoon, aside from that you are A LOT more effective at killing things.
KarmaThreat Level: 3
Karma: Really not a lot she can do unless you get unlucky with a gank or two. Her poke is annoying, but her burst isn't substantial, because it's too slow to fully hit. As Ezreal has Arcane Shift you are easily able to kite your way out of her Focused Resolve as well as dodge any deadly Soulflare's. Karma is an annoying one to gank with Defiance, so be sure to either have her VERY pushed to tower, or to get your jungler's hard CC on her if you're going to try for the kill. Main advice I can really give here is, you will lose if you stop moving, don't just stand there and try and 1v1 Karma her shields and roots, and slows all work in her favor if you just stand still, kite her.
KarthusThreat Level: 4
Karthus: This guy is a lot better with rework, however he's really not a threat to Ezreal in lane, pre-LvL8, you should be able to walk all over him. As with any mid lane vsing Karthus let your team know when he is LvL 6 and has Requiem. Late game Karthus will deal a LOT of damage to your team with Requiem, I highly recommend Zhonya's Hourglass so that you can avoid this damage at the right time. Like always, remember not to Arcane Shift aggressively unless you are confident he cannot fight it, otherwise, he will use Wall of Pain and then continue to Lay Waste to you.
KassadinThreat Level: 6
Kassadin: So you thought having a free Flash on a ridiculously low cooldown was your thing huh? I'm afraid not.. this guy goes where you do with Riftwalk... Best bet is trying to kill him pre-LvL6 or to zone him enough so that you have outfarmed him significantly. Post-LvL8, there's a good chance he'll be zoning you, and you'll be struggling to trade with his Null Sphere's shield. Best bet is to tower farm and to wait for team fights, your AOE damage should outscale his in engagements.
KatarinaThreat Level: 4
Katarina: POKE! Depending on the player, their starting build will vary, some start with Boots of Speed and Health Potions, others with start with Doran's Shield and a single Health Potion. Either way, your primary goal is to POKE the hell out of them while you can. Distance yourself from allied minions to avoid the Bouncing Blades's. In team fights keep well positioned, and really you should never be using Arcane Shift aggressively unless you have a SERIOUS advantage over her, because that is your only real way of escaping Death Lotus. Keep in mind that with her resets you really want to shut her down early in team fights, if you see her locked in place with Death Lotus, try and use Trueshot Barrage on her location, as this will be the easiest way getting a clear shot on her.
KayleThreat Level: 6
Kayle: This lane became really tough to face for a while with Kayle's insane burst potential combined with Intervention lasting a stupidly long amount of time. These days though Kayle isn't half the monster she was. Kayle will outpush you, but Ezreal has range over her and should be able to kite almost all of her damage, Reckoning's slow is hardly considered CC and should be an easy escape with Arcane Shift. The problem with this lane is Kayle not only outpushes Ezreal, she also wins most 1v1's thanks to Intervention. Hopefully your jungler comes to aid you with this, as Kayle's escape is mediocre. If not however, consider using Trueshot Barrage to stop the push. Even an unsuccessful gank kill on Kayle is still worthwhile if you can get her to use Intervention. In team fights, Kayle's overall damage output is far more single target, and after nerfs, is not that scary. Ezreal should have the late game.
KennenThreat Level: 8
Kennen: Near impossible to hit... This guy isn't so bad to face in lane if you have some decent CC, but Ezreal has none, and Kennen's Lightning Rush makes him an extremely hard target for skillshots. While Kennen is generally not seen very often, his team fight potential is significant, not quite as potent as a Fiddlesticks but still extremely effective. You do however have range over him, poke when his Lightning Rush is down, and avoid gaining too many Mark of the Storm stacks, as this is where he really starts to burst. In teamfights, use your range to your advantage and avoid aggressive Arcane Shift's at all cost.
Kha'zixThreat Level: 2
Kha'Zix: This guy saw a power spike early Season 3, however these days he's VERY rarely seen mid lane. Even during his power spike however, he's easy enough to kite and if you can survive his early game, you will be fine. My advice would be to poke him as much as possible with Essence Flux through minions, after a few items you should be able to easily zone them from farming. In this matchup I generally don't push the lane with Mystic Shot's as it's better for Ezreal to control the lane and poke Kha'Zix. Remember as always not to Arcane Shift aggressively, and that when Kha'Zix uses his Void Assault, you can still hit him with skillshots and Arcane Shift's missile will auto-locate him if he's not hiding in minions.
Kog'MawThreat Level: 5
Kog'Maw: In a way AP Kog'Maw is a little like us! He's traditionally an ADC, he is very squishy, he's very much a late game champion, and using range to his advantage is everything. Realistically he is outclassed by AP Ezreal's overall damage, however, he can be a bit of an issue for Ezreal if he gets ahead. In my opinion, Ezreal has the early game here, and should abuse this advantage, as late game AP Kog'Maw will severely outpush and outfarm Ezreal. You may consider using Trueshot Barrage to push the lane back, however it's often in your advantage to have Kog'Maw push, as he has next to no escape and makes for a very easy gank for a clever jungler. Be aware of Kog'Maw's Icathian Surprise and try not to finish him off with Arcane Shift when you are below 1/4 Health. Though Ezreal has a higher initial AOE burst, if Kog'Maw is left alive for the whole duration of a team fight, his continual Living Artillery damage can be deadly, so be sure to take him out early.
LeblancThreat Level: 8
LeBlanc: A deadly burst champion indeed... Be careful about getting too close to LeBlanc after Level 4 as her burst is a bit like yours the way you can still be hit by it suddenly, even through minions... There is no shame in farming from afar with Mystic Shot after Level 4. Luckily as of Patch 5.2 Deathfire Grasp is no longer an item! Still, she is a scary foe. My advice is to farm at tower, and try to get ahead with the aid of your Jungler. Keep your eye open for Trueshot Barrage snipes on the map. Late game she will obliterate any single target that isn't a tank, however you will be able to obliterate their whole team with similar burst... I would say that this is all about reaching your late game without feeding. JUST DON'T FEED! If you really keep losing this matchup, consider taking the MR runepage.
TO BE CONTINUED...
I will be updating this in depth guide further as I find more time.
Things to be included:
CHAMPION MATCHUPS (more champions added - going alphabetically)