Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Ezreal with this build
|Corki||Weak at the moment. Won't hit you with any skillshots. You deal more damage at every phase of the game.|
|Graves||Can't touch you, only dangerous from short range (a range you should never be in). Frightening damage if you're locked down by CC.|
|Varus||Will typically stay outside your threat range, but can't hit you with anything. Has no escapes if you get on top of him. Poke hurts if it lands.|
|Vayne||True %health damage hurts tanks, but is nothing special against carries like yourself. Range too short to trade back when you poke her, can prevent her from farming completely in certain matchups.|
Who am I?
Hi, I'm Schadenfriend, and this is the first of a series of guides I hope to make about a handful of my favorite champions to play. I'm Silver IV, but I avoid ranked like the plague, as I am a solo player and solo ranked is masochism, plain and simple. I main ADC, and used to main Jungle, though most of my preferred Junglers have soured with the meta changes (Kayle lost her Devourer, Poppy was nerfed into the ground, etc.). I'll be adding links to my other guides as I create them.
This guide is very much under construction, so formatting, organization and the contents of the FAQ section I expect to change rather frequently. That said, I will begin with the reasoning behind picking AP Ezreal in champ select, then explaining my choices behind his items and skill order and such, and transition into gameplay, your role in teamfights, and so on. I dearly hope this guide is impactful, informative, and helps to convince you that AP Ezreal is a compelling pick!
My other guides:
Why AP Ezreal? Why Bot Lane?
The case for an AP AD Carry
In solo queue at my elo (Silver IV), there is often a strong chance I will be matchmade with a full AD assassin comp. For example, Shaco Top / Yasuo Mid / Kha'zix Jungle is a extremely typical lineup I will see in champion select, and it is an ADC's worst nightmare. Unless my support is able to front-line all by themselves (Alistar, Nautilus) there will be no front-line whatsoever, and the enemy carries/assassins/midlaners have nothing between them and my squishy ***. Even worse, unless my support is a significant magic damage threat (Karma, Lux) the enemy team has no compelling reason not to stack armor and ignore all of our damage. Despite winning every lane, our full-AD squish team was doomed from champ select.
Enter AP Ezreal. Aside from Corki, he's possibly the only mage with ranged damage consistent enough to fill in for a real ADC, and his Arcane Shift can often save him from the enemy carries despite the aforementioned lack of a frontline or any hard CC on your team. AP Ezreal exists to fill a hole in the team comp; he will capitalize on the enemy's lack of MR, and every point of MR they buy is a wasted stat against your AD allies. It follows, then, that you do not pick him every game, as many (if not most) games a standard crit-build ADC would fit the team just as well, or even better if your team is AP-heavy.
When to pick AP Ezreal
AP Ezreal is countered by MR more heavily than other mages, because he has no open item slots for situational penetration items. Additionally, since he has no source of %health damage (such as Blade of the Ruined King or Liandry's Torment), he is considerably less effective against tanks than other champions might be (I suspect this is one reason why AP Ezreal is not meta, in THIS meta). Counting champions on the enemy team, tally Tanks as 1 ( Braum, Maokai), and Bruisers as 1/2. If your tally reaches 2 or greater, pick a different carry.
Despite being comfortable with just about any matchup, consider picking another carry if you're confident you will fall behind, such as in the case of laning against extremely aggressive supports like Zyra, Brand or the like (not Blitzcrank or Leona; these champions can be easily disengaged from, dodged, and countertraded). As of my writing, Ashe and Caitlyn are the only ADCs who can push you out of lane like that (god bless Lucian nerfs).
Pros and Cons; Playstyle
-Quite fun, much outplay potential + high skill cap
-Heavy, heavy magic damage
-Can one-shot squishies with burst, but without trading off DPS
-Built-in flash on a short CD
-Serious snowball potential, but still scales incredibly well into late-game
-Enemies may not realize you are AP until late into the match
-Squishy, unhelpful if behind
-Inevitable flame from teammates unless ahead
-Poor kite compared to AD Ezreal
-Very low variation in build path/flexibility
-No good answer to mega-tanks
A decent tactic is to pick Ezreal, and then select whether to play AP or AD after assessing the team comps. AD Ezreal is extremely effective against AD assassins, but falls off hard late-game; AP Ezreal is not particularly effective against tanks, as he has few MPen / % Max Health options (Liandry's is awful on him). However, this guide is not about AD Ezreal, and you'll find plenty of other guides on him written by other people.
Each champion has a pattern in their style of play, and to those accustomed to Lucian or Ryze the rhythm is very similar. Unlike those champions, missing skillshots can completely throw off that rhythm, although fortunately Ezreal's damage is so high he only needs to hit 1 spell rotations most times. Play AP Ezreal if you love that feeling of flow, a more artful, rolling feel to key inputs than, for example, Varus's Q>Q>Q style or Tristana's E>Q>right-click style.
As for your role in a team, Ezreal is a classic ADC in the sense that he provides no utility to his team other than damage. To make up for this, his poke, burst, and sustained damage are all top-tier, he can 1v1 better than most ADCs and his teamfight is above-average, though certainly inferior to mega-utility teamfighters like Sivir or Ashe or AOE/Runaan's users like Jinx or Twitch. Ezreal's largest drawback is his total reliance on skill-shots; unlike other ADCs, Ezreal has nearly 0 damage output if he misses. To summarize, AP Ezreal is a high skill-cap, risk/reward hypercarry, and I recommend him to anyone who's confident in their own mechanics and like solo-carrying teams.
Runes are a subtle-yet-powerful factor that impact Ezreal's power and stats at level 1 ( a few runes provide incresed benefit with level). The early-game is a critical stage that can determine how successful you are able to be throughout the match, and so we must carefully consider which stats we most desperately need with the limited Rune Slots available. I suggest running AP Quints (or even Hybrid Penetration Quints), Attack Damage Marks, Flat Armor Seals, and 9 Scaling AP Glyphs.
(Note: I am having trouble getting the Mastery Tree Planner working properly, so I'll be referring to masteries individually, without the use of a sweet visual aid. Rip in pepperonis.)
Skip this spoiler to get to the keystone discussion.
There are benefits to both 18/12/0 and 12/18/0: Fervor of Battle is a surprisingly useful mastery that can add up to 100 bonus physical on-hit damage to your attacks at lvl 18 at max stacks, stacks acquired through auto-attacking or casting abilities. Deathfire Touch is not worth taking because your Q does not apply it, and so can only be applied with your other abilities, with varying success and consistency. Thunderlord's Decree is a 3-hit passive that stacks on enemies when you hit them with autos or abilities, and procs to deal 10-180 (based on level) (+10% AP) magic damage up to once every 25-15 (based on level) seconds. Essentially Fervor is desirable for drawn-out fights, and Thunderlord's is more useful for short trades; however, I advise Thunderlord's for its invaluable trading pressure early game and one-shot burst potential.
If taking Thunderlord's, grab Intelligence over Precision because your damage scales directly from CDR, and you don't benefit whatsoever from armor penetration. Against tankier teams, instead take Fervor of Battle and, obviously, Piercing Thoughts for scaling magic penetration that actually beats out Precision against all but the squishiest targets.
This is where this guide begins to tell you something new. AP Ezreal is not a new idea, and he's certainly been played bot lane before, but everyone has their own way of building him. I see him with Rod of Ages, I see him with Luden's Echo, I've seen him with Guinsoo's Rageblade. In my mind, however, there's only one way of building him.
Lich Bane > Nashor's Tooth > Rabadon's Deathcap > Sorcerer's Shoes > Seraph's Embrace > Hextech Gunblade
Played in the bot lane, AP Ezreal has slightly different priorities than a mid-lane mage AP Ezreal build. Less emphasis is put on bursting squishy targets, and more emphasis on putting out consistent DPS (Damage Per Second) on the enemy team from maximum range. Since Ezreal deals all his damage with his abilities, CDR and Mana are paramount, followed by lifesteal/sustain, and of course, raw damage. Luden's Echo might offer a lot of burst, for example, but pales in comparison to the sustained damage of a Nashor's Tooth, or a Seraph's Embrace. With this in mind, this is what I've built.
The above build gives 30% CDR, ~750 AP, 1250 bonus mana, and miscellaneous yet important stats (7% movespeed, 15 magic penetration, 40 attack damage, 50% attack speed). It also contains 2 enormous item actives that I won't emphasize much since I don't use them reliably, but that a more skilled player could easily exploit: an enormous shield lasting 3 seconds (~610 HP at lvl 18, at max mana) and a 250 (+30% AP) targeted slow on a 40 second cooldown. I'll discuss each item in detail, and discuss items NOT worth building in comparison, and why.
Lich Bane is absolutely core on AP Ezreal, and should always be built 1st item. AP, CDR, mana, movespeed, on-hit damage. I want to build 4 of these, but I can't. Why can't I build 4 Lich banes? Um. Anyway.
Nashor's is also core, but this fact is not as widely understood, and I'll be explaining in-depth in a spoiler below. Short version: It's an AP/CDR item that adds some nice on-hit damage to your Q and auto attacks, and the attack speed synergizes well with your passive, Rising Spell Force.
Out of all the available boot choices, these are the clear winner. They are the only source of magic penetration you have available from items, unless building Abyssal Scepter. In this scenario, you gain an additional 10% CDR and 60 MR, making Ionian Boots of Lucidity useless and Mercury's Treads inefficient, even overkill. Always build Sorcerer's Shoes, unless you're particularly afraid of chained CC: Mercury's Treads also reduce CC duration by 25%, though you may find it easier to simply doge the CC before it can land.
148 AP and 1000 bonus mana on one item? Sure, dude. Compared to other mana options, it's the clear winner ( Morellonomicon has unneccessary CDR, and Rod of Ages has less AP and mana in enchange for health). Also, unlike other mana items, the mana component costs only 750 gold, allowing Ezreal to focus on building his other core items before completing Seraph's Embrace 4 items later.
Besides being the only viable (or even possible) lifesteal option for AP casters, it has excellent stats for Ezreal and an exceptionally useful active (though I myself never remember to use it). This is the item to replace with a situational item in the rare case where you find yourself blown up too quickly to react with an Arcane Shift, Seraph's Embrace active or Flash. The loss of sustain is heartbreaking, to be sure, but winning the game is often a more worthy objective than having the perfect build.
Builds out of The Dark Seal. At the stage of the game you'd want to consider building this, the choice is usually between Mejai's and finishing your Lich Bane. In a perfect world, you'd build this item right before you rack up a ton of kills, thereby getting full stacks... but of course it never quite works out that way. Incidentally, the total gold loss from buying and then selling Mejai's is only 420 gold, so if you get 2 kills with the AP from this item, it was already worth it, no matter how many stacks you lose. I build it almost every game, and sell it when I can use the gold to afford Deathcap, unless I have a lot of stacks. Don't be a chicken!
Please don't build these. Every item has pros and cons, but these items have more cons than pros in almost every case.
These are decent, but should only be built in the appropriate situation. They will typically replace Hextech Gunblade, as every other item in the build is nearly essential; against immobile teams, Sorcerer's Shoes are an acceptable sell, though I do not advise it. If you aren't constantly harassing with Mystic Shots, consider selling your Tear of the Goddess instead, though first you should consider why you aren't harassing with Mystic Shots. If you are able to get free damage on an enemy, why wouldn't you??
CC (Slow, Stun etc.)
Damage in a line
Damage in a line
Blink + damage
Big damage in a big line
Compared to other ADC's, Ezreal's abilities are not terribly complicated nor diverse. If you can aim linear skillshots, you're all gravy; if you can't, Ezreal is not the right champion for you. However, there are a few nuances worth elaborating on, so here's a paragraph for each ability to give you some context to the Combos section directly below.
Passive: Rising Spell Force grants Ezreal 10% bonus attack speed for 6 seconds every time he hits an enemy or ally with an ability, stacking up to 5 times. This passive is an oft-overlooked source of attack speed on Ezreal, as Ezreal makes poor use of attack speed in general (AD and AP both), and it only had a noticeable effect after stacked completely. However, it's necessary to manage these stacks when pushing Towers, and it can be a potential source of mediocre damage after completing Nashor's Tooth.
Q: Mystic Shot is Ezreal's bread and butter. Ezreal fires a bolt in a line towards your cursor, dealing (base) + 110% AD + 40% AP damage to the first target hit. Not such an impressive AP ratio, but we will increase this value with Lich Bane and Nashor's Tooth, both of which proc on the application of this spell. Also when Ezreal hits a target with this spell, all of his ability cooldowns are reduced by 1.5 seconds: this means that Ezreal scales better with CDR (Cooldown Reduction) than nearly any champion in the game, because the effective reduction of his cooldowns is greater than the actual stat, as I show below. Landing this skill is paramount to playing Ezreal, AP or AD, and we max it first.
W: Essence Flux is an AOE linear skillshot dealing (base) + 80% AP to all enemy champions it passes through. It's often-overlooked spell on AD Ezreal, because it is useless (for damage, at least; the secondary effect is situationally useful); on AP Burst Ezreal in the Mid Lane, however, it is core. On AP Ezreal in the Bot Lane, it's a useful poke tool that is an essential part of your full combo. But what does it do? Damage in a line, of course, except this time it has a shorter range and travel speed and deals no damage to minions and monsters. On the upside, it can potentially damage multiple enemies, can apply spell effects, and grants allied champions (even yourself) an attack speed buff, scaling with rank.
E: Arcane Shift is Ezreal's engage, escape, and repositioning tool, and yet another important damaging component of his full combo. Ezreal blinks towards your cursor, and upon arrival shoots a homing bolt (base + 50% bonus AD + 75% AP) at the nearest enemy. This ability is extremely simple, and yet immensely versatile and useful in a variety of situations. The blink will take you over walls, for example, and through certain effects that stop ordinary dashes, such as Poppy's Steadfast Presence or Azir's Emperor's Divide. Because it deals damage to the nearest enemy, it can be hard to use it to damage an enemy champion while they are inside a minion wave.
R: Trueshot Barrage is Ezreal's Ultimate. Ezreal fires a massive wave of energy that travels across the entire map, dealing (base) + 100% Bonus AD + 90% AP damage to the first target hit, and 10% reduced damage per target hit down to (30% base) + 30% AD + 27% AP damage to every target after the 6th. Because Ezreal builds full CDR and has his cooldowns reduced every time he damages an enemy with Mystic Shot, he tends to use his ultimate more freely than other champions, as it will certainly be off cooldown soon enough. I use it to clear minion waves, steal dragons, initiate teamfights, snipe fleeing enemies after teamfights have ended, and even to assassinate a single target after I've built enough AP. The effectiveness of this spell is greatly reduced after passing through enemies, so always maneuver around minion waves to deal the full damage, unless clearing the wave itself is your intention.
Now we learn how to use Ezreal's abilities in conjunction. These are all fairly intuitive, especially to someone who's already played AD Ezreal, so feel free to skip to the next section if you feel you have a handle on AP Ezreal's abilities. To the uninitiated, we are learning 3 basic combos: the Trading Combo, the Full Combo, and the Utility Combo.
One Mystic Shot isn't a combo! However, it's absolutely essential to poke with Mystic Shot in lane, because free damage is free damage, and you need to stack Tear of the Goddess. If you also include 2 auto-attacks or 1 auto + 1 Essence Flux you can proc Thunderlord's Decree ; try to do this at least once every 25 seconds, because that's Thunderlord's cooldown (free damage every 25 seconds is only useful if you USE it!). If taking Fervor of Battle , you can keep it fully stacked if you auto-attack or hit enemy champions with Mystic Shots with less than 6 seconds between attacks; this can really improve your sustained damage, though the enemy laners will usually return damage or retreat behind minions. Keeping Fervor stacks up is quite challenging, which is the primary reason I take Thunderlord's Decree instead.
Note: If you miss your Mystic Shot, your next auto-attack will still apply Lich Bane's damage. This is why you should always auto-attack during your combo, to maximize your damage.
This is your all-in combo. When your Alistar Support gets a double knockup or Leona lands her CC combo, when your jungler comes in for a gank, you Arcane Shift into range to Essence Flux through both enemy bot laners, and Mystic Shot the ADC (or whoever you're able to hit). Against CC'ed enemies immediately follow up with Trueshot Barrage, as you can't miss and it does an absolutely ENORMOUS amount of damage. Saving your ultimate for fleeing enemies will only introduce the possibility of missing, and reduce the chance of hitting multiple enemies simultaneously; DO NOT save your ultimate for a rainy day!
After Tear of the Goddess, you will have enough mana to use this combo while trading; hitting all 3 abilities also instantly procs Thunderlord's for huge chunking. After Rabadon's Deathcap, this combo can one-shot squishy targets. Be bold, and don't be afraid to Arcane Shift into melee range if you're confident you can get a kill; exceptions to this are when you have no vision of the surrounding area, when facing a melee champion, or when you're likely to miss your skillshots (you're inside a minion wave, the enemy has speed/dashes, etc.).
There is a well-known trick where you can grant yourself the attack speed buff from Essence Flux by Arcane Shifting in front of the projectile as it flies. This is an essential trick for clearing minion waves, taking down Towers, and taking Dragon and Baron. Since Arcane Shift also empowers allies, try to line it up with as many allies as you can when taking these objectives, especially ones that benefit from attack speed like Master Yi or Shyvana. Combined with Rising Spell Force, your max attack speed is actually quite high, which is one of the reasons we build Nashor's Tooth on AP Ezreal.
Note: When using Trueshot Barrage to clear the minion wave, you will instantly stack up Rising Spell Force to full. Use this window to push the enemy turret at maximum speed. When your W and E are on cooldown, use Mystic Shot to proc Lich Bane (you can apply this damage to towers if you don't hit any minions), or keep up stacks on Rising Spell Force.
Microgame (Winning the battle)
"Hold on, buddy," you must be asking, "why aren't you maxing W first? Essence Flux has an 80% AP ratio, compared to Mystic Shot's 40%. What are you, an imbecille?"
I assure you I am not. With Lich Bane the effective ratio on your Q becomes 90% (40% base + 50% Lich Bane). Besides, your Q reduces all your cooldowns by 1.5 seconds, which means putting ranks into your Q effectively reduces the cooldowns of ALL you abilities by as many times as you're able to cast Mystic Shot. In comparison, ranking up your W increases its base damage, and.... its mana cost. Not even its cooldown or AP ratio, just its base damage. Trust me, Ezreal scales better with CDR, which is why we are maxing it ASAP.
Next, we rank up his Arcane Shift, because much like Lucian or Vayne we'll be using our dash for more than just an emergency escape. It has a 75% AP scaling which is nearly as good as Essence Flux, and it vital to lining up Mystic Shots around minions, or positioning your Trueshot Barrage to hit as many enemies as possible in a teamfight. You can cheese kill some low-health enemies with E + W + Q from a distance they thought they were safe at. I literally do it all the time.
I've covered the build path in other sections of the guide already, but I feel it's necessary to go over WHY I build the items in the order I do, which item components to prioritize, and how to manage your slot space. Due to the boring and redundant nature of this section, I'll enclose it in several spoilers for easy skipping.
Typically this wouldn't be its own section: Farming is an essential skill on every ADC, and there are excellent guides on Youtube and even Mobafire on this topic specifically. However, AP Ezreal has some of the most trouble farming compared to other carries because his waveclear is so poor pre- Nashor's Tooth and he has no bonus attack damage. For this reason, I'll share some tips from my experience to improve at farming.
Melee-1, Caster-2 is the usual rule about how many auto-attacks it takes to finish off low-health minions after they've taken damage from your turret. Long story short, after a melee minion has taken 2 turret shots you may kill it with 1 auto attack; after a caster minion has taken 1 turret shot you may kill it with 2 auto attacks. This is not set in stone, however, since minions gain defensive stats over time; I occasionally have to use 2 auto-attacks to finish off a low-health melee, for example, after finishing Lich Bane but before Nashor's Tooth. On top of this, minions are rarely full HP when taking tower shots, whether they've taken aggro from other minions or damage from other sources. It takes a LOT of practice to consistently last-hit as AP Ezreal, and I highly recommend an early Cull to ease up this process.
However, perfect freezing will theoretically prevent you from ever needing to farm under turret. I use this technique all the time to hold a minion wave at a specific spot, typically right outside tower range. Freezing is useful not only for easier farming, but also to make your lane easier to gank by your jungler and more difficult for the enemy jungler. Simply put, as long as both minion waves are of equal size, they will be "frozen" in place, preventing them from pushing in either direction. To freeze a wave, all YOU need to do is deal more damage to minions if your wave is smaller, and less damage if your wave is larger. Simple, right?
The only time you want to push your wave is when you can destroy an enemy turret, or when you're about to back to base. In the latter case, pushing out the wave results in the enemy laners requiring more time to push it back towards your tower. The longer it takes for the enemy to push, the less CS you are able to lose to your own turret in the time it takes to return to lane. Learning to manipulate minion waves is a very complicated subject that took me a very long time to learn, so I suggest you do your own research and practice on your own time. These two paragraphs are hardly all there is to the subject!
Macrogame (Winning the war)
You do NOT need to wait for a teamfight to begin to attack the enemy team! Pre-teamfight, harass constantly with Mystic Shots to whittle away the enemy health bars. You won't hit every single one, but if you only hit 1 in 10 shots and you throw 10 shots, you're chunked someone for a fair bit. If you miss every single Mystic Shot you're still applying pressure, forcing people to dodge and setting your team up for potential openings to engage while simultaneously preventing your opponents from maintaining formation and possibly delaying their own engage onto your team. Ideally, though, you DO hit your Mystic Shots, and put the enemy at a health disadvantage before the fight even begins. At this point, the enemy can either fight you at low health, or retreat. You have THOUSANDS of mana at your disposal, use it!
Once a fight begins, you immediately want to look for an opportunity to use your ultimate. With a 90% AP ratio and global range, it can easily decimate an entire enemy team, but there are 2 conditions to this: You must be alive, and they must be grouped as 5. The longer a teamfight progresses, the less likely it will be that both conditions will be met, so use it at the very beginning to maximize your damage. At later levels, you can actually use it twice in a teamfight with enough CDR and Mystic Shots, thought this is obviously quite difficult, as it requires you to hit every single Q. Remember to use Essence Flux in groups of 2 enemies OR allies, when in range: it's a ton of AOE damage, and an attack speed steroid that could literally save the life of allies that rely on Lifesteal to sustain through a teamfight.
As the teamfight closes out and a victor emerges, proper use of Arcane Shift becomes critical. In the case of retreat, try to use in to escape over walls, as many enemies may simply outrun you otherwise (e.g. Yasuo if you're fleeing through an allied minion wave, any tank with Dead Man's Plate, any champion with dashes). Hitting enemies with Mystic Shot as you flee is not only good practice anyway (the technique is called "kiting"), it's also required to reduce Arcane Shift's cooldown. Ezreal is extremely slippery when played right, one of the reasons Mejai's Soulstealer is such an effective purchase on him. In the case of pursuing fleeing enemies, the same applies, except it's also important not to follow the enemy into unwarded areas of the map where unseen enemies may be lying in ambush. This is of course impossible if all other enemies were killed in the previous teamfight, so be aware of the map and which enemies are still standing.
Generally, ADC's are not splitpushers. That said, AP Ezreal has an extremely reliable, spammable escape, and his Trueshot Barrage allows him to contribute to teamfights he isn't present for. If you're ever in a position where you can't reach your team in time for a fight and there's a nearby tower for pushing, summon your inner Tryndamere and push that tower till it crumbles. After Lich Bane and Nashor's Tooth are complete, you can push down towers faster than Nasus, and Elixir of Sorcery amplifies this to a ridiculous degree. DO NOT push towers if there are enemies on the map you don't have vision of, or if the area around the tower is unwarded; place a ward or two in areas you may likely be flanked from.
On the subject of wards, Farsight Alteration is invaluable for sniping Dragons, Baron or even the enemy Blue Sentinel from across the map with Trueshot Barrage, provided you have good timing and the ward isn't destroyed too quickly. Alternatively, placing a Stealth Ward in the area beforehand has the same affect, but can't be destroyed except if detected by a Sweeping Lens.
Pulling it all together: A typical game
This is a real game I had; the match history is available here. It ended in a surrender for the enemy team, but I'm showcasing this match in particular because it is fresh in my memory and I made more-or-less optimal decisions which gave us the win. This section is really repeating information I've already spelled out in previous chapters, so feel free to skip.
(Forgive me for having the wrong Runes: the runes I have spelled out in this guide are the optimal ones, not the ones I actually use. I'm a poor, poor soul, and runes are 2expensive5me.)
I'm first pick, but I see Rengar and Yasuo instantly hovered jungle and mid, and I know there's a good chance top lane is AD as well, or a low-magic damage tank such as Maokai. With this in mind, I select AP Ezreal as my go-to AP bot-laner, of which I have a few. As champ select progresses, I see Syndra locked in on my team, as well as two tanky enemy champions, Lee Sin and Singed, locked in on the enemy team. These are indicators that AD Ezreal may be a better pick, but since I prefer AP Ezreal due to preference and am fairly confident I can get an early lead in lane to snowball with Mejai's I go with AP Ezreal instead.
Lee Sin has gotten first blood on Rengar in his own jungle. Even were this NOT the case, Ezreal has very low pressure in lane pre-sheen, as he has no mana to poke with and low damage on his Mystic Shot. On top of this, Lee Sin is one of the most aggressive early junglers, and he will very likely pay bot lane a visit in the near future. This all in mind, I freeze the minion wave just outside tower range, and farm, farm, farm. Despite my complete lack of AD, I manage to get a slight CS advantage over Vayne with strategic use of Mystic Shot and Taric's Relic Shield. Also thanks to Taric, we are able to completely sustain through Nami's poke, and they can't engage on us because of my Arcane Shift and the fact that we're practically always within tower range.
My first back, I pick up Tear of the Goddess, Cull and Boots of Speed for only 1500 gold (and a Vision Ward for 75!). I don't always buy Cull, but Vayne and Nami are hard-pushing into our tower, and now that Vayne has some damage items it's harder to freeze outside tower range, and I'll be forced to farm UNDER tower. With Tear, I can finally start counter-harassing the enemy laners with Essence Flux, and Boots help me dodge skillshots and position for Taric's stun. The vision ward is essential for obvious reasons.
There's a skirmish in our jungle, and I immediately head over to contribute to the fight. A failed gank by Rengar onto Viktor leads to Viktor and Lee Sin pursuing him into our jungle for the kill. At the raptors bush, Rengar kills Viktor with Yasuo's help, before dying to Lee, and Yasuo begins chasing Lee. At this point, I cut off Lee's escape and shut him down with a quick combo and another Mystic shot as he flees, shutting him down and getting the first 2 stacks on The Dark Seal.
Soon after, Taric and I skirmish with Vayne and Nami after pushing them off our tower. We win the trade, but they escape under their tower with low HP. I actually pull off an incredibly sick double kill with Trueshot Barrage, sniping them as they recalled; if it had been on cooldown, however, I could have easily picked off at least one with E>W>Q from the bush. I now have 6 stacks on my Dark Seal, and Taric and I begin pushing into their tower. Lee ganks and kills Taric, but flees before I can kill him also.
I've bought Mejai's and Sheen, so I'm at the strongest possible state for this phase of the game; I ping Dragon, and we take it down rapidly due in part to my attack speed buff on Rengar and Yasuo. Immediately we go to mid tower, as Vayne and Lee are MIA and Nami died in a futile effort to stop us from getting dragon. After taking that as well, Yasuo kills Viktor before he can flee to his Tier 2, and I return to bot lane in a frantic effort to finish my Cull so I can cash in and free up the item slot. I stop briefly to fire my ult towards top lane where Singed and Lee are skirmishing with Syndra and Yasuo, picking up yet another assist. Despite getting no kills since purchasing Mejai's, I now have 12 stacks total, for 60 bonus AP.
Finishing Cull, taking towers and getting 3 assists give me a huge pile of gold when combined with my farm, so I'm able to instantly buy Lich Bane and Stinger, the more expensive half or Nashor's Tooth. I'm at my strongest point until I'm able to finish Deathcap 4 or 5 thousand gold from now, so I want to capitalize on this spike by making picks around the map. Syndra has gotten Singed's tower low, so I go top and kill him as he tries to flee. Because I'm top, the enemy bot lane is trying to take our bottom tower, but I manage to get there with my 17% bonus movespeed from Lich Bane and Mejai's Soulstealer and assist in the fight that nets our Yasuo a clean Triple Kill. With practically the entire enemy team down, we pick up a tower and another dragon, and I back for my Nashor's Tooth with almost full stacks on Mejai's despite having only 4 kills.
Closing out the game
From this point on, the game is trivial for AP Ezreal. My Mystic Shots hit for nearly 500 mixed damage per shot, I can Arcane Shift out of any CC attempts by the enemy team, and I have so much movespeed I can chase and secure kills extremely effectively. I pick up an easy double kill bot lane, then kill Singed while he attempts to defend his tower from Yasuo and me. Because nothing demands my immediate attention, I back to pick up a Needlessly Large Rod, though I changed my mind and completed Sorcerer's Shoes instead to reduce the chance of dying and losing stacks.
I am now 7/0. There is no danger whatsoever of failing to achieve my late-game dream: I could be shut down and killed twice more for good measure, but I've crossed my greatest hurdle of completing my first 2 items, and I was going to sell Mejai's soon to complete Rabadon's Deathcap anyway, so I lose little. For this reason, I 'gift' Rengar the next 3 kills: Vayne and Nami are dropped low by Trueshot Barrage, and I take Lee Sin down to below 25% with my full combo. If the enemy hadn't surrendered, this would have been more than enough to bring Rengar back into the game, despite having gone 1/5 until this point. It's really rare in my experience to have the opportunity to single-handedly bring someone back into the game like that, and I'm glad it worked out the way it did.
Had the enemy not surrendered, I would have completed my Deathcap, upgraded my Tear to Seraph's Embrace, and built either Hextech Gunblade or Void Staff depending on the amount of Magic Resist on the enemy team. With this much AP, clearing waves with Nashor's Tooth is actually extremely simple, and for extreme pushing I can one-shot entire lanes with Trueshot Barrage. I'd use this to pressure enemy towers while our team fights or takes other objectives, and escape with Arcane Shift when the enemy comes to stop me. Even assuming the enemy team catches up, my sheer damage gives me the edge in teamfights and I can win with smart positioning, good mechanics and teamwork.
That's it, folks
Congratulations! You've made it through the ENTIRE GUIDE. I've wasted a lot of time on this guide when I could be pulling my sad, sad life together, so I hope you get some good use out of it! Feedback is critical to improving my guides, so PLEASE leave a comment if you liked, disliked, or felt general apathy towards my guide. I will go out of my way to answer your questions in a somewhat timely manner, either through private messaging or in the FAQ section below. Good luck in Ranked!
Frequently Asked Questions
Having not yet received any questions, I'll answer questions I've gotten from friends of mine who've seen me play this build.
Why AP Ezreal? What's wrong with you?
AP Ezreal is extremely strong, and in my opinion much stronger than AD Ezreal. LCS players do not play Ezreal AD because he's the strongest available option, they play him because he offers a ton of utility to the team with Iceborn Gauntlet and has a ton of build flexibility with really only Muramana as the other core item, and 4 slots for situational purchases. AP Ezreal's biggest weaknesses are being heavily countered by Magic Resist and having no flexibility in his build path, issues both addressed by picking him into the correct matchups in Champion select. I play him when I need to be a source of Magic Damage to my team and to be able to solo lane without relying on my Support for peel, both enormously common circumstances in solo queue.
I read another guide that says Nashor's Tooth is trash and Luden's Echo is core. Are you trolling me with this build?
No. This build is NOT a burst mage build, it's intended for sustained damage comparable to an AD Carry, which requires CDR, Mana, and a Nashor's Tooth. A normal AP Ezreal build with Luden's Echo, Void Staff and Zhonya's Hourglass has plenty of burst potential but no sustained damage whatsoever. They're two seperate playstyles, for different lanes and different goals in Champion Select.
Can you please include some pictures to help illustrate your points?
Yes! But not now. My technological capabilities are extremely limited at the moment. I will add pictures sometime in the near future.