General Guide by 1raider23
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Due to some feedback, the "Sample Builds" section has been removed. It has been replaced with a cheat-sheet section.
General Visual Improvement
First and foremost: Hello!
About this guide and me:
I have been a long time reader of MobaFire guides. MobaFire has become my go-to website when trying out a champion for the first time or when looking to see how other people prefer to play one of my favorite champions. The amount of information on MobaFire is truly outrageous.
Now, I wish to give a little back to the community and share some of my own thoughts and opinions. While I am by no stretch of the imagination a highly ranked player, I hope you will take everything in this guide seriously. Everything I have written has been given a lot of thought, and is taken from the observation of high level games; my own personal experiences; and some good old fashioned math.
By far, the role that I understand the best is that of Attack Damage Carry. This guide is focused on the best item choices for various different characters. More specific and detailed builds can easily be found by searching the MobaFire data base. Instead of focusing on the individual characters, this guide focuses on the items and why each item would be a viable choice.
A quick note on terminology:
When I say attack damage carry, I am referring to a character who is ranged, scales exceptional well with items, outputs continuous damage with auto attacks, and typically goes in the bottom lane with a support. Where ever possible, I have attempted to avoid using common league phrases or slang. If you run into anything you do not understand, take a look at this guide by Janitsu.
A word of warning before we get started: This is a moderately lengthy guide. I understand that the "wall of text" format is generally frowned upon, and I have done my best to lessen this effect.
Now, lets suppose you just started a game... what should we build?
Early Game Items
When you first start a game, there is always the question of what items you should spend your initial 475 gold on. There are several possible options, and many factors to consider. Because of how many viable options you have, I will address them one by one.
Boots of Speed and 3 x Health Potion
Long Sword and 2 x Health Potion
Some thoughts on Elixir of Fortitude
Regardless of the items that you start out with, you should be building towards a basic combination of items.
Doran's Blade / Boots of Speed / Vampiric Scepter
Sustain Items, or items that return part of the damage you deal as health, are traditionally built early in the laning phase of the game. The reason behind this is simple. By building an item that heals you, you are able to stay in your lane for a longer amount of time. If you take any damage from the enemy harassing you, you can recover your health without going back to the fountain. By staying in lane longer and last hitting more minions you will earn more gold.
Currently, there are two common items that are built for sustain. They are The Bloodthirster and Blade of the Ruined King. Both of these items are built out of a Vampiric Scepter, and they both cost 3200 gold. While these are items are fundamentally different, it is typically a bad idea to contruct both of them, as they fill a similar niche in your build.
While these items are built early in the game, they maintain their effectiveness throughout the entire match. Life steal helps you to survive in team fights, and allows you to heal by farming a minion wave. As an aside, it is not always necessary to upgrade your Vampiric Scepter. Depending on your situation, investing your gold into a fast attack speed item or even Infinity Edge can be beneficial.
Attack Speed Items
Attack speed items drastically increase the overall damage of your character. In addition to attack speed, these items give two other core attributes. First off is Critical Strike. Critical Strike is your primary source of damage later in the game. Critical strikes cause your auto attacks to do double damage, drastically increasing your overall damage per second. The second stat given by these items is movement speed. Movement speed helps you chase down fleeing targets, run from poor engagements, and position well in team fights. This combination of stats makes these items a core part of an ADC's build.
Regardless of which item you choose to build first, it is important to construct the item in a logical order. Very rarely will you be able to buy one of these items without first buying some of its components. Without exception, Zeal should be constructed over any other component. Zeal is like a mini version of the item you are building towards. Zeal grants all three of the stats we are looking for, attack speed, critical strike, and movement speed.
+ Attack Speed / Critical Strike Chance / Movement Speed
+ Highest sustained single target damage
+ You ignore normal unit collision
+ Highest attack speed and critical chance
= Best item for late game dominance
+ Attack Speed / Critical Strike Chance / Movement Speed
+ Fastest way to push minion waves
+ Can critical strike up to four targets
+ Deals magic damage which ignores enemy armor
= Best item for mid game power
- No Critical Strike Chance
- Tenacity is wasted because you are so squishy
+ Grants a small amount of cool down reduction
+ Moderately high attack speed
= Questionably viable in place of Trinity Force
|Sword of the Divine
- No movement speed
- Critical Strike chance requires activating item
- Attack Speed is lost while item is on cool down
+ Three guaranteed critical strikes
= Borderline viable for higher burst damage
Armor Penetration Items
When your enemies inevitably start building armor, you need a way to maintain your high damage output. Both of the items listed here provide you with a stat called armor penetration. By building armor penetration you are able to ignore a piece of your targets armor. Because of the way armor interacts with damage, by building armor penetration you are in fact reducing the amount of health your target has. If your target has 100 armor giving them 100% bonus health (see next section for a more complete explanation), and you have 30 armor penetration, your target effectively only has 60 armor, and thus only has 60% bonus health.
+ Massive % armor penetration
+ Does not need to hit multiple times
+ Low cost for good stats
- Lower damage output against squishy targets
= Best item for late game dominance
|The Black Cleaver
+ Completely removes some enemy armor
+ Higher Attack damage
+ Some health and cool down reduction
- Has to hit multiple times to be most effective
= Best item for characters that heavily use abilities
As a small aside, Black Cleaver is a must-buy when playing Miss Fortune. Each bullet form "Bullet Time" will apply the 5% armor loss. The ability to remove 25% of every enemy players' armor is far to good to pass up.
Some thoughts on Youmuu's Ghostblade:
Being able to survive longer in team fights is very important and it is almost always beneficial to build your 5th item with an emphasis on keeping yourself alive. Often, the enemy tank will attempt to dive you during team fights. If you are unable to live through the damage from the tank and still have enough life to continue fighting you are much less of an asset to your team. There are many options to consider when choosing a defensive item. Each defensive item has its own niche and is best purchased under certain circumstances.
quick summary of armor and magic resist
Onto the items!
Guardian Angel Is a very symbolic item and almost every player is familiar with it. Watching yourself come back to life after dying is extremely fun and powerful. However, you must keep in mind that the revive has a cool down of five minutes. The armor and magic resist granted by this item should not be overlooked. If you have approximately 1500 health, the armor and magic resist are almost equal to the flat health granted by Warmog's Armor. Going past the stats, Guardian Angel discourages the enemy team from focusing you first in team fights, as you will simply revive.
Warmog's Armor Is the best item when for when you need to survive everything. The flat 1000 health is nothing to scoff at and really makes a difference in team fights. Building health is generally best when facing mixed damage or true damage from the enemy team. However, Warmogs does nothing to protect you from assassins. If you find yourself constantly receiving a burst combo to the face, consider a different item. However, if the enemy team is not focusing you down, Warmogs armor allows you to stay in team fights much longer.
Banshee's Veil has a powerful unique passive and is a powerful purchase in certain situations. Every 25 seconds your champion gets a free spell shield. This spell shield causes the next hostile ability cast you you to do no damage and have no effect. Note that the spell shield completely prevents you from being stunned by an ability. This makes Banshee's Veil extremely good when facing characters with grabs/pulls or against characters with long range high damage abilities. Specifically, Banshee's Veil is a strong counter to Blitzcrank and Nidalee.
Frozen Mallet offers a slight amount of damage, gives a fantastic slow, and a reasonable amount of health. This is a very powerful item and grants you a ton of chasing and sticking power in fights. However, this item is extremely expensive! If you are really ahead in gold or you really need to chase down slippery opponents, this can be a strong buy. Do not get this item if you already have a Trinity Force as both build out of a Phage.
Mercurial Scimitar has an active that can be used as a substitute for the summoner spell Cleanse. Out of all the defensive items, Mercurial Scimitar grants the most attack damage. This means there are two situations where Mercurial Scimitar is very powerful. If they enemy team is full of stuns, you should strongly consider getting this. On the other hand, if the enemy team is completely ignoring you, this can be a good choice to boost you damage just a little bit higher while still providing additional durability.
Maw of Malmortius is a lifeline (literally) if you are consistently being focused by large amounts of magic damage. However, you gain no resistance to physical damage. When you have the shield, keep in mind that it only blocks magical damage. The shield will not protect you from any from of physical damage. With this item you also gain some attack damage when you are low on health, however, it is not worth trying to stay at low health when using this item.
Infinity Edge should always be built when playing as an attack damage carry as it provides a major boost in your damage. This item grants a solid 25% critical strike chance and 70 attack damage. However, the true power of this item is the unique passive. The 50% increase in critical strike damage is huge and extremely noticeable. Supposing that you have about 250 attack damage, your critical strikes would normally do 500 damage. With this item, your critical strikes do 625 damage.
The timing of when to begin building this item can vary from game to game. Because armor is extremely good at reducing the damage from critical strikes, it is generally wise to build Infinity Edge only after you have completed an armor penetration item. However, if you see that no one on the enemy team is actively building armor, or if the enemy team is building health instead of armor, you can buy this after your attack speed item.
When constructing this item, you will often find yourself choosing between purchasing the Pickaxe or the Cloak of Agility. If you attack damage is over 100, the critical strike chance from the Cloak of Agility actually gives more damage per second than the Pickaxe. However, the pickax will help increase the damage from your abilities. Based on this, make the best decision for the character you are playing.
Upgrading your Boots
Your basic Boots of Speed should be upgraded into the extremely useful Berserker's Greaves. While other boots may seem like attractive choices depending on the character you are playing; there is no real reason to pass up the 20% attack speed in favor of something else.
When to upgrade your boots is completely up to you. Boots do not grant a huge advantage during the early game unless you are able to have second tier boots while the enemy lane does not have boots at all. Because of this, you should always buy your basic boots before investing in any major items; but you do not need to rush out your upgraded boots.
There are some good ways to tell when you should upgrade your boots. If you feel you are struggling to chase down fleeing opponents, or if you are unable to run from an enemy when you are low on health, you should consider upgrading your boots. Also, if you have too little gold complete a major item, upgrading your boots can be a nice way to return to lane with a little extra damage.
What to avoid
As an attack damage carry, you should not be roaming to gank other lanes, which means Boots of Mobility should be avoided.
Lessening the effects of slows and stuns is important, but as an attack damage carry you are usually in the back, and will not be immediately targeted. This means Boots of Swiftness and Mercury's Treads are not good choices.
If you are playing an ability based carry, you may be tempted to purchase Ionian Boots of Lucidity. While the cool down reduction provided by these boots is nice, it is far from necessary when you already have a Trinity Force or Black Cleaver.
The extra stats offered by these boots are focused entirely on movement speed. You will not find a way to increase your damage simply by upgrading your boots a second time. However, these enchantments can all be useful in certain situations to ensure you can do the maximum damage possible, or just run away. Personally, I discourage enchanting your boots early in the game, as you sacrifice damage by doing this.
What about Zephyr?
Many people choose to purchase a Zephyr in games that last an extremely long amount of time. The multitude of stats provided by Zephyr are very attractive. It is worth noting that Tenacity is not a very useful stat for an attack damage carry. It you were to get hit by a stun while out of position, you will take a ton of damage regardless. Lets take a quick look at the movement speed behind Zephyr.
The average movement speed of an attack damage carry is 330. With boots of speed, which grant +25 movement speed, this becomes 355. By upgrading to second tier boots, granting +45, your movement speed becomes 375. Zephyr offers a 10% increase in movement speed. This means you will gain +33 movement speed. So, Zephyr falls almost in the middle of the two types of boots. If you choose to replace your boots with Zephyr, you need to keep in mind you cannot use any of the enchantments discussed above. So, if your goal is to move faster, Zephyr is definitely not the right choice.
Mostly, whether or not you purchase zephyr is personal preference. Do you value the little extra bonuses from boots? Or do you like the raw stats of Zephyr. However, if you do choose to get it, it is recommended that you get it as your absolute last item.
I have all my items... what now?
Every now and then, you will find yourself in a situation where you complete every item that you wish to build. Often, when the game reaches this stage, many people flip out and start stacking the "best" item they can. This is not a good approach to the end-game. By purchasing duplicates of the same item, you destroy your well rounded build. Each item has a distinct reason behind it, and if it was most beneficial to build only Phantom Dancers, then people would do that in the first place.
Instead, you should spend your extra gold on consumable items. Any consumable items that you purchase will automatically be applied to your character if all your item slots are full.
Elixir of Fortitude:
Some thoughts on Sight Wards:
Well! That is about all I have to say on items. There are many other aspects of the attack damage carry role. These include: last hitting, positioning, skill order, Runes and Masteries, and team fighting. Some of these things I mentioned in passing while writing this guide, others I chose to ignore. Fantastic guides can be found on all of these topics, and I strongly encourage you to look them up.
I am very interested in feedback on this guide. If you have questions, comments, or even general complaints, feel free to leave them in the comments. Also, if you find any spelling, grammar, or BBCode mistakes, PLEASE point them out to me. Votes are always appreciated.
Thanks for reading, and I really hope you learned something!