General Guide by Thaniel
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Not Updated For Current Season
Hello, and welcome to my guide to playing a successful ranged carry. Before you crack open the paragraphs and walls of text that compose my guide, allow me to introduce myself: I'm a humble level 30 summoner with a rather humble ELO. I'm no HotshotGG and I'm definitely not CLG material. I do, however, understand some basic concepts that, disturbingly, seem to elude some of my peers.
This guide will provide in-depth insight into proper play-styles for different ranged carries, what your roll is in a team as a ranged carry, and many different strategies pertaining to proper teamfight positioning, ganking from mid, and maintaining a high CS while zoning your opponents out of experience and gold. In addition to the general play-style advice that my guide will provide, I am including quick guides for some of what I believe are the best carries in game, as well as offering comparison between each individual carry and explaining what makes them different from their auto-attacking, AD-stacking peers.
List of Ranged Carries
The first team is comprised of champions that specifically focus on auto attacks, using their abilities merely to bolster their ability to use said auto attacks. The examples I've chosen for this style of champion include, by order of difficulty: Ashe, Caitlyn, Miss Fortune, Tristana, and Vayne.
These champions are characterized by mainly having abilities that grow stronger as you gain more Attack Damage such as Piltover Peacemaker and Double Up, (with the exception of Tristana) possessing abilities that bolster their auto attacks' attack speed or damage such as Rapid Fire and Impure Shots, (with the exception of Caitlyn) and, in all cases, being much more dependent on their gear than champions who utilize Ability Power such as Annie or Anivia.
These champions are generally easier to play than other, more skill-shot oriented ranged carries such as Ezreal or Kog'Maw, and rarely, if ever, purchase items that increase their ability power.
The second team is comprised of champions that are more complex in their mechanics and are, as a rule of thumb, generally harder to play. This is because, on top of practicing proper positioning, these champions usually have some mechanic, such as Noxian Acid Charge, that must be aimed correctly in order for the champion to do any damage in a team fight. Many of these champions have alternate builds in which they build pure Ability Power, or a mix of Ability Power and Attack Damage, instead of the pure Attack Damage builds of the champions in Team 1.
The champions I have chosen to represent Team 2 are, in order of difficulty: Teemo, Kog'Maw, Twisted Fate, Corki, and Ezreal.
**Note: Sivir is not counted among this list due to the fact that she is at a huge disadvantage when compared to the champions listed because of her low range and low survivability. She is better played as a pusher, rather than a laner and a carry.**
What is a Ranged Carry?
The term carry is thrown around a lot in the League of Legends community. Some will say that it is a champion that has a good end game. Same say that it's a champion that's specifically focused on the gear they purchase in order to do decent damage. I think the role of Ranged Carry can be best described as thus: "A Ranged Carry is a character who does the majority of their damage through sustained auto-attacks over longer periods of time than Anti-Carries such as Pantheon or Irelia, or mages such as Brand or Anivia.
Ranged Carries more often than not are also referred to as 'hard carries'. The term 'hard carry' references the fact that most ranged carries, with very few exceptions, require very large amounts of powerful gear to be on par with 'soft carries', who get most of their damage through leveling up their spells. At first glance, this may seem like a Sivir disadvantage and reason enough to never play a ranged carry, but once these 'hard carries' get their gear, they are nigh on unstoppable, and end up leading their whole team to victory...
Speaking of leading a team to victory, this serves as an excellent segway into my next topic of import:
What is Your Role as a Ranged Carry?
The role of a ranged carry changes as the game flows. In the early game, your goal is this and ONLY this: Get. Minion. Kills. Everything else comes as a second priority. This is because each minion wave gives 120 gold if you deliver the killing blow on all of the minions in the wave. Because of your immense need for gold to support buying the items that make you powerful, as a ranged carry you need to make getting creep kills your top priority. By the 10 minute mark, I usually want to have around 80 creep kills. If you're falling short of this, chances are you either need to stop harassing so much and start focusing on killing minions.
Your next priority is keeping your opponent in lane from receiving minion kills. This is usually done through harassing with your superior range as a ranged carry. Though you won't be dealing legendary amounts of damage late game, you'll be able to shoot most champions enough to keep them off of the minion waves. If you are duo-laning the bottom lane, you'll hopefully have a support champion harassing the enemies and letting you get the minion kills. If you're solo-laning mid or top lanes, you'll have to harass and stay on top of your creep kills. If you end up solo laning, just remember: Gold is King. Even if you're being harassed in a big way, if you're pulling more creep kills out of the woodwork, you're doing much better than your supposedly superior lane opponent.
Mid game is initiated when a tower goes down on either your side or your opponent's. Once a tower goes down, the players who were once laning can now start moving into other lanes to force pushes. This will necessitate the laners from the downed lane coming to help out the lanes that are being pushed. Hopefully, at this point you have some items that at least make you on par with the enemy casters. This will allow you to assist your team and split off when no imminent fight is about to break out to quickly wipe minion waves and collect more precious gold!
The most important thing to remember this phase is that the jungles are extremely unsafe if not warded. People will be moving around between lanes, usually in pairs or more. If you're caught in the jungle, chances are you'll be an easy kill for the enemy team. Try to only go through areas that your team has vision of, or if you're playing Ashe, check your path with a Hawk Shot. Remember to focus on staying alive, and be sure not to place yourself anywhere near the fog of war, lest you be ganked by a Highlandering Master Yi.
Late game is characterized, in my opinion, by three major factors: at least one team being pushed to their base, teams becoming almost entirely consolidated into five man groups, and carries beginning to really start to tear through other champions. This is where your early game dominance and mid game time management really start to pay off. If you've done all these early and mid game functions more successfully than the enemy carry, it'll take two guys just to take you down. Don't let that get you cocky, though! Always be aware that the best way to counter a fed carry is successful and well thought out ganks.
This is the point in the game where you need to win the game for your team, lest the other carry catch up to you in gear and win the game for their team. Your biggest threats right now are characters like Tryndamere and Jax who will be focusing in on you right when you appear in any team fight. Though they can kick your fed *** no matter how much of an advantage you may have in CS and champion kills, there are many excellent ways to avoid being killed in team fights.
Team Fights as a Ranged Carry
Every ranged carry has some way to enter team fights. Tristana has her Rocket Jump, Vayne has her Final Hour/ Tumble combo, and Corki has his Valkyrie. Though Kog'Maw really lacks any specific ability that sends him into the fray, he has his Living Artillery to spam while he approaches the fight from the flank. Ashe has her Enchanted Crystal Arrow to initiate fights in a more direct manner, and Miss Fortune has her long ranged ultimate, Bullet Time, that helps her maintain presence in team fights from a safe distance or location.
As you can see, each champion has some way to get involved in team fights. Now, the only remaining questions are when and how to jump in and get to the killing. The best way to enter a teamfight is to jump in RIGHT after you see a majority of the powerful CC hit your tank / offtank. This way, you are likely to be able to jump in and kill people unmolested by stuns, blinds, or Attack Speed reduction. Examples of abilities to wait for before jumping in include Curse of the Sad Mummy, Unstoppable Force, Event Horizon, Blinding Dart, and Horrify. The more CC you can avoid, the longer you can attack the enemy squishies without being in danger of being locked down and murdered. Be sure to jump in before someone dies, though. If you wait too long, you fail your mission as a ranged carry to take out primary targets.
Right as you leap in, the first move you want to make is focusing down the squishiest, most deadly target available. Other ranged carries are excellent targets, but you'll really want to focus down high burst, low survivability champions such as Brand, Veigar, Anivia, and Katarina. The best way to actually manage to kill these champions is to jump through a wall with Flash, or an ability such as Valkyrie or Rocket Jump, and try to land as close to the burster in the back as possible, while avoiding characters protecting them such as Lee Sin or Maokai. After jumping into range of them, you blow any auto attack bolstering abilities you might have and depending on your character, blow single-target burst abilities and your ultimate as well. Get the target down, turning the fight into a 4v5 in your team's favor, and get the hell out of there. After you've escaped retaliation, jump in again if you so desire and get another kill.
Beware, though! Wards can give off your position behind walls, and enemy teams can co-ordinate plans designed to thwart you by making you think you have the element of surprise, then turning on you as soon as you enter the fight, bursting you down before you can even get a shot off. The best way to counter this is having a tanky character constantly sweep the map for wards with an Oracle's Elixir and destroy them before any teamfight breaks out.
**Map of useful entry ways into combat being worked on RIGHT now. It'll be finished very soon.**
Changelog and To-Do List
6/8/2011: Guide published.
- Finish champion builds for Team 2
- Work on graphics of the guide.
- Create more visual aides.