I still consider this guide a WIP, I probably need to do some formatting and stuff to make it more readable, but the content should be well rounded-up, altough some sections might need a rewrite since the recent nerfs of "The big three"(Ezreal,Graves,Corki).
PLEASE: leave comment with constructive criticism.
Hello, I'm Sol and I have been maining botlane for quite a while now. This guide targets one of the two roles played botlane, that of the AD Carry.
This guide is targeted at beginning as well as veteran AD players. I will go trough each aspect of the role, and try to give my readers insight in the role and the game itself.
If you have any questions you want to ask me, remarks you want to share, or make me aware of the many grammatical mistakes I have made writing this guide, feel free to PM me.
AD Carry Role
An AD Carry is a champion whose main source of damage comes from autoattacks. All AD Carries are know to have a relatively weak early to midgame, but they pack the most damage potential lategame.
AD Carries are highly item-dependant, so farming up a lot of gold is an absolute must in order to do damage lategame.
The current metagame puts the AD carry botlane, together with a support champion. The idea behind this is that the AD carry can farm up all he wants while being babysitted by his support. The reason why this combo is placed bot is because of dragon controll in the midgame phase of the game, but I will discuss this lateron.
Lategame AD carries are the champions that do most damage, protecting them during teamfights is vital, but it is up to the AD himself not to be out of position during a teamfight. AD carries can also take towers much easier than other champions, thus making them even more important if you want to win the game.
The laning phase is the phase in the game where all champions, apart from the jungler, stay in their lanes and try to farm up and gain levels. As an AD carry, you will go bottom lane, together with your support.
Being with two in lane makes that you will level up slower than mid and toplane, but this isn't a big deal since AD carries don't scale with levels, but with items. However, having a level advantage over your opponent is always a good thing, and there are a few tricks to make sure that you have this advantage.
Getting yourself an experience advantage.
In certain lanecombo's it can be very beneficial to hit level 2 or 6 earlier than your opponents. Agressive supports like Blitzcrank, Alistar and Leona desperatly need level 2 to be able to perform their combo's. AD Carries with powerfull ults like Ashe, Graves and Varus have a big advantage over their opponent if they hit level 6 earlier. In order to this, you can take jungle creeps before the laning phase even starts.
On blue side, you can do double golems , which give you 38xp for the little one and 117xp for the big one. Shared with your support, these give you nearly 78 of the 280 experience needed to hit level 2. There are 2 strategies to do these most effectively:
- You and your support take creep aggro in turn, and kite around while the AD Carry kills them. This might result in a bit of hp loss since they move faster than they used to.
- You let your support tank most of the damage, but let him take the big golem, which has a healing sigil, thus healing him up for most of the damage taken.
On the purple side this technique is harder to pull off, you can do wolves using the second technique (support tanking). The wolves give you around the same amount of experience. You can only do this if your jungler starts at red buff ( Lee Sin, Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, etc..).
ALWAYS ask your jungler if you are allowed to take some of his jungle, since doing this might screw up his jungle route. Doing jungle creeps early will nearly always cost you some hp, only do this if you really benefit from level advantages.
Last hitting and wave control
Killing enemy minions gives you gold, but only if you land the killing blow. "Last hitting" creeps means that you only attack the minion if you know that that attack will kill it. Last hitting has several advantages:
- It maximizes your gold income, if you auto-attack minions, you will lose more lasthits
- It keeps the creep waves from pushing towards your enemies tower, making you and your laning partner less exposed to ganks.
Last hitting takes some mechanical skills, but it is very important that you master this aspect of playing AD Carry. You NEED gold to be effective, if you outfarm the enemy AD you will have better items and therefore do more damage.
Last hitting under a tower is a very important skill to pick up as well. It is harder last hitting while the turret attacks the enemy minions, you usually will lose some creeps due to this.
The 2 minion types, melee and ranged casters, require each a different technique to lasthit them under the turret:
- Melee minions are low enough to last hit after 2 tower hits. Let the turret attack them twice, then attack them.
- Ranged minions are a bit harder: they cannot survive 2 tower hits, but aren't low enough to lasthit after 1 tower hit. You need to attack them BEFORE a turret hit, and then lasthit them after a turret hit.
Canon minions are situational, just try to estimate the damage dealt by the turret correctly.
You can use the fact that it is harder to cs under a turret to your advantage in lane by pushing your own minions into the enemy turret. However, this does expose you to ganks from the enemy jungler, so make sure that your lane is properly warded.
A jungler can gank you from 3 sides:
- Lane/sidebrushes, this type of gank is also referred to as a "ninjagank"
The ideal place for the "minion line", the line where enemy and ally melee minions fight eachother, is about 1/4 of the length of the lane. This way, you are less prone to ganks, while your enemy is. Keeping the minion line at a safe position for you
and a dangerous one for your opponents is called "freezing" the lane. You should always try to freeze your lane while in laning phase.
Pushing versus an AD carry that has no skills to clear the waves fast will result in him losing cs and you getting some free tower damage. Pushing is also important when you want to recall and buy. If you leave the creepline at 1/4 of the lane, and recall, you will lose gold and xp to your turret, and the minion line will be more in favor of your enemies. If you push hard just before you buy, the wave will be at a more comfortable position for you, and you will not have lost any gold nor experience.
When laning phase comes at it's end, and the enemy support or AD carry is out of lane, you should always try to push. Each allied minion that dies to the enemy tower, is gold and experience you deny the enemy carry.
If your opponents have the wave line at 3/4 of the lane length (worst place for you), you can "reset" the minion line by pushing hard, so your minions will die to the turret. Because of the turret damage, the enemy minions will push harder than your minions, so the minion line will be closer to your tower.
Using flat AD runes and masteries will make it easier for you to last hit efficiently. At first sight, sacrificing armor penetration runes for flat ad runes might look like a bit of a waste of resources, but they result in a much higher creep score.
However tempting it might be to use your champion's skills on minions in order to get more creepgold the easy way, this will only result in you wasting mana and the minion line being pushed in the enemy's favor. The only time you should use your skills on minions
is when you want to push the wave quick and hard, like when you want to recall or when you are needed elsewhere.
I have covered quite some techniques in this part of the guide, and I would like to emphasize that they are VITAL to master if you want to be a succesfull AD Carry. You can win the lane without getting any kills just by outfarming the enemy AD hard, and all of these techniques help you do that.
In my opinion, 75cs at the 10 minute mark is a decentish score. Try to aim at 150cs or more at the 20 minute mark. If you had a lot of action going on during the laning phase, it isn't that bad if you do not reach these numbers, but if it was a passive laning phase, there is no excuse not to have this number of cs. If you can't reach these numbers, you should practice on your mechanical skills in a custom game until you can reach these numbers comfortably. Remember that these are only minimal guidelines, pro players gather up to near 200cs by the 20 minute mark!
Fighting the enemy AD Carry in lane
While your main objective during the laning phase is to get as much farm as possible, it is also always worth it to kill the enemy AD or support. There are 2 types of fights that can go on between you and the enemy AD:
Harassing is when you land some damage on your enemies, withouth them having the opportunity to retaliate. These are mostly small chunks of damage, but as long as it doesn't make you loose any lasthits, it is always worth it. If you harass enough, you will eventually force the enemy AD Carry away from farm, thus giving yourself an advantage. If you are matched versus a strong healer like Soraka, you shouldn't try to harass with skills, unless you clearly outdamage her heals. If you harass with skills versus a strong healer you are basicly "trading" mana with the support, which is a bad thing. In all other cases however, harassing is completly "free". It cost you no hp, maybe some mana, but that's it, so always try to harass as much as possible.
Trading is when you and your enemy fight eachother. It is quite obvious that, when you keep on trading for a long time, either you or your enemy will die. It is very important to know when you can or can't trade with your enemy. A first important factor to consider is items.
If your enemy has better items than you, he will most likely win the trade. Always be awere of the items your enemy bought. If you bought a bf sword on your fist back, and the enemy bought 2 dorans and boots lvl2, he is still stronger than you, even if he bought cheaper items.
If the enemy lane setup is stronger than yours, say for example a very agressive lane like Graves+ Leona, trading will cost you hp or a kill. Always try to keep in mind what your goal was when you picked your champ. If you picked an early weak champion like ashe or Kog'Maw, you shouldn't be too agressive in lane, because you will nearly always lose trades.
If you have the item advantage, or have the better lane setup, always try to trade with your enemies. Even if you don't kill them, it will cost them summoner spells, hp, and most importantly: they will lose creeps because you zone them out. However, be carefull trading with an AD who has a strong healer as a support. If the enemy AD carry's damage is bigger than your damage minus the heals of the enemy support, you lost the trade. So always keep in mind wether or not your damage will "stick" to the enemy AD. If you are the one that has a strong healer as a support, ALWAYS try to put pressure on the enemy AD by trading.
An important factor to this laning phase brawls in the influence of the junglers. If your lane is unwarded, never overextend or start a trade. If the enemy decides to gank you, you will find yourself in a 3vs2 situation, and you will probably be dead. If your opponents start being agressive on you for no apperent reason, expect the enemy jungler to be around. This is called "baiting", and you can do the same thing when your jungler decides to give you a gank. If you see the enemy AP carry or jungler on a ward, with the intention to gank you, always back off.
If all goes right and you kill the enemy AD or support, try to push the lane so he loses creeps. Unless you are saving up for a big item, ALWAYS buy after you get a kill. This will ensure that you keep being stronger than your opponent, thus "snowballing" the lane.
Another thing I want to talk about is how you should react when your jungler gives you a gank. Botlane is a hard lane to gank as a jungler, since it is mostly completly warded. Only a few junglers ( Nocturne, Shaco, Shen,...) can gank no matter if your lane is warded or not. As botlane, you can do 2 things to make your jungler's life easier:
- Your support can clear the enemy wards by buying an Oracles or a Sight Ward.
- You can push the lane a bit as AD Carry, so the jungler can sneak in the side brushes unseen, and give you a lane- or ninjagank.
Let's talk a bit about the items you should buy. While some items are pretty standard on any AD Carry, some exceptions are to be made. In general, items you want to get lategame are:
On some AD Carries, like Ezreal and Corki, it might be more rewarding to buy a Triforce. Wether you rush Infinity Edge or Triforce, is an open discussion. For more info, look here:DiffTheEnder's theorycrafting.
As an AD Carry, you will nearly always end up with the same set of items. However, there is some room for counterbuilding your opponents, even if this has a smaller impact in lane than when you are playing top or ap mid. Counterbuilding is always situational, there is no golden path you can follow every game. The general idea behind counterbuilding is that you buy items that try to counter your opponents strength.
If you are matched versus a burst-heavy combo, you should always buy 2, maybe even 3 Doran's Blades, in order to make you more tanky. If your enemies chose for a very passive farmlane, you can counter this by building big damage items early, so you can try to abuse their early weakness even more. If the enemy's burst is really big, say a combo like Tristana+ Leona, I sometimes pick up a phage as well. Killlanes like Tristana/ Graves/agressive supports often rely on bursting the enemy AD down quickly. If you build Doran's Blades and/or a Phage, you can withstand their burst and trade harder when theirs skills are on cooldown.
Lateron in the game, you can try to counterbuild the enemy team as a whole. Check if they are stacking a lot of armor against you early, if so, you might want to buy your Last Whisper earlier than you would normally do. If you are playing an AD Carry that scales good with attack speed, like Kog Maw or Vayne, then you can build The Black Cleaver versus a team that builds a lot of early armor. If they have a very burst reliant teamcomp, or a teamcomp that can single you out easily, say for example Malphite/ Galio/ Amumu/ Warwick+ Brand/ Veigar/ Urgot, you will find yourself being dead before the teamfight even started. In this case, you should build your Guardian Angel early. After they wasted their cooldown and their main damage on you, you will revive and you can still do your damage.
If the enemy team has a lot of poke damage, be sure to buy some extra lifesteal. This way, you can easily heal up the poke damage they did to you, it will cost you nothing, but it will cost your enemies mana.
If your lane didn't quite work out, but your team is still looking strong and wants to fight over dragons or Baron Nashor, try building a Wriggles lantern. Because of it's passive, you still will be able to do a lot of damage on Nashor and Dragon, even if you don't have a lot of AD items. This might seem like a waste of gold, but Wriggle's Lantern is a very good item to keep up when you are losing your lane. Stacking dorans is also a valid tactic when you lost your lane. It give's a lot of good and cheap stats, the only downside they have is that they don't build into lategame items. However, if your team is looking strong during midgame, and they just need a little extra damage from you, getting those cheap stats might be enough to keep yourself and your team in the game.
Midgame and dragon fights
In the midgame phase of the game, you aren't as big a damage dealer as you will be lateron as AD, but you still have a big impact of how your team does during this phase. In this phase of the game, there will be Dragon attempt by both teams, and you should also try to take some towers in order to gain map and jungle control. Both towers and Dragon give a lot of team gold, so they will be your main objectives (aside from farming up as mmuch as possible). There are 3 possible scenerio's of how your laning phase ended:
- You won the lane bigtime, and have a big item advantage over the enemy AD.
- You and the enemy AD carry are on par witht eachother, neither one of you is really fed.
- You lost the lane heavily, and the enemy AD is packing a lot more damage than you.
Depending on which scenerio you are in, you will have to adjust your playstyle to it. One thing that you must always do, whatever situation you might be in is to KEEP ON FARMING. Midgame is the stage of the game where your AP mid will shine, not you as the AD carry. You still need more items to reach your full potential.
If your ap mid has lost his lane, and if his turret has been taken, the enemy team will have gained a lot of control over your jungle. This is especially dangerous if you are on the blue side. Always make sure that tribush and the intersection near the wraithcamp is warded, and keep in mind that the enemy jungler and AP carry probably will probably try to gank you more than usual.
Always react when the enemy jungler tries to steal a buff from your jungler, you might lose some cs because of this, but 5-10cs is NOT worth your jungler being denied a buff, or getting killed. Always remember that it is the duty of the entire team to react to counterjungling, not just your junglers!
If you are winning the lane heavily, you might have an opportunity to take the enemy tower. Taking this tower will give you a lot of dragon control, and allows you to roam to other lanes during the midgame. However, in some situations, it is better to not take the tower early. This depends greatly on the champion you are playing. If you are playing an AD Carry with a strong midgame, like Corki/ Ezreal/ Urgot/ Sivir, you should always try to take the turret as soon as possible, because you are very strong in midgame teamfights. Try to roam to other lanes, preferably mid, an try to take that tower too.
Always go along with your team if they try to kill Dragon, or do an early Nashor. You will most likely win most teamfights because of your midgame strenght. The risk of taking the tower early is that the enemy AD can try to freeze the minion line close to his second turret, making it very unsafe for you to farm there. This might give the enemy AD a chance to get himself back into the game, so make sure that you roam as much as possible solidify your early dominance.
Jungle invasion is another way to put pressure on the enemy team, try to deny them red or blue buff, and if they want to contest it, you can always just fight, since you are stronger than them.
On the other hand, if you are playing an AD that scales better into lategame, and isn't that strong midgame, you might want to keep the tower as long as possible. This wil ensure that you can keep farming comfortably, securing your strong lategame. The risk here is that other lanes
might lose the midgame without you being there. As always, react when your team makes a Dragon attempt, your constant damage is irreplacable for your team.
If you and your opponent are just as strong, try to keep up with him by farming as much as possible, and always move with him when he roams to another lane or tries to do dragon with his team. Unless your mid, top and jungler are winning heavily, you cannot afford to "afk farm" while the enemy AD carry goes roaming around and picking up kills.
If you lost your lane quite hard, you will find yourself in a difficult position during the midgame. You have 2 choices:
- You either roam around with the enemy AD carry and buy cheap stat items like dorans, in an attempt to keep up with his advantage. Unless your other lanes won hard, you will most likely lose a 5vs5 fight, so try to avoid it. Vision is extremely important in this situation, don't get caught but try to get
enemy players out of position. A few free kills can get you back into the game.
- Or you can freeze your lane, and farm up while the enemy AD roams around and forces teamfight while you won't be there. This might give you a chance to catch up, but it is a risky gamble, and should only be taken if your ap mid is doing very good.
Which choice you make is very situational. Always keep in mind which teamfights you can win, and which you can't. It is no good forcing a Dragonfight versus a stronger team, you will probably lose the teamfight, and they will get Dragon anyway. ALWAYS adapt your playstyle based on how strong the enemy team is versus yours. Defensive if you are doing bad, agressive if you are doing good. If you lose fights versus a stronger team, they will only snowball even furthur, making your chances to win the game smaller by each fight lost.
An important thing to keep in mind regarding dragon fights is the timing of them. If your support has a timer on dragon, make sure that you are in position to fight over it. If you are sitting on 2k gold and dragon spawn in 10s, you cannot afford to base and buy items, or the enemy team will get a free Dragon. So make sure that you spend your money in time, and that you arrive at the dragon fight at your maximum potential and at full hp.
In this part I will talk about the most important part about being an AD Carry: positioning. This is a skill that makes or breaks the AD Carry, so pay close attention!
Let's go back to some basics which I already talked about. As an AD Carry, it is your job to do as much consistent damage as you can (dps). It speaks for itself that you can do more dps in a teamfight the longer you stay alive. Even after a fight, it can be of vital importance that you survived. If your team won the fight, your damage can secure a Nashor or can take towers and inhibs with great ease. If your team lost the fight and you survive, you will be able to push back the enemy team that tries to push into your base, since you can clear the waves extremely fast. The basic idea behind being a good AD Carry in a teamfight is doing as much damage as you possibly can, preferably without dying. And this is were positioning come's in.
Since you are ranged, a good positioning can result in a lot of free damage you can do without the enemy team ever being capable of reaching you. Note that your position isn't a fixed place on the map. You will cosntantly have to move around, put yourself in the ideal spot time and time again, and react when an enemy jumps at you. Positioning is ALWAYS situational.
A general rule of thumb is to never be at the front of the fight. Let the more tanky heroes on your team soak most of the enemy CC and damage. You should always be aware of enemy champions that can blink to you, or that can easily punish you for bad positioning, like Irelia, Maokai, Alistar and Blitzcrank.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that it is not your duty to burst enemy carries. If the enemy Alistar is the only one you can safely shoot at, even when he is their tank, you should do it, and not jeopardize your safety in an attempt to reach the enemy carries. As a teamfight continues, there will alwaysbe a moment where you will have to commit to the fight and expose yourself. There are several factors that decide how hard you should commit:
- Howmany enemies are still alive? Are they capable of killing you? If you think you can win the fight, go in, if you can't, stay back and try to do as much damage as you can while staying safe.
- Are the enemies capable of bursting you? Howmany important ulties/CC did the enemy team already use? Don't commit if the enemies still have a trick up their sleeve, like an Amumu/ Galio/ Warwick/ Ashe/ Kennen ult. These can turn the teamfight around completely.
- Do you have a GA? If you have a Guardian Angel, you can commit harder to the fight than you usually would do. This will lead in you doing a lot more damage, but try to make sure that the enemy team can't kill you after your GA revived you.
- Do you have flash or some other way to reposition yourself? If you are playing a champion that has a build in flash, like Corki, Tristana or Ezreal, save these for repositioning yourself out of a tricky situation. With the sole exception of Tristana's jump, it is always NEVER a good idea to use these escapes offensively.
- What champion are you playing? If you are playing an agressive AD like Ezreal, Urgot or Corki, you should always commit harder in order to do the most damage possible. If you are playing a champion that has a lot of auto-attack damage but no build-in dashes, like Ashe or Kog'Maw, you should try to keep yourself safe while doing
as much damage as you can.
Good positioning is something you learn from experience, but reading these guidelines should help you get along. Just keep it in the back of your mind that you are the most import damage dealer on your team, and should therefore not die first!
When the game reaches the lategame stage, almost everybody is fully build. This makes surviving as an AD Carry even harder, but your damage potential is higher than ever before. After the minute 40 mark, getting aced might cost you an inhibitor or your nexus. Making sure you survive is more important than ever before.
Most of the fights will revolve around Baron Nashor . It is very important you have both vision and a timer on Baron Nashor . It is your duty as AD to be there when your team fights over it, so make sure you aren't farming botlane when your team wants to go for it.
Since you probably will have most of your items, you should consider buying pots. These give great stat boosts, and are ideal for getting the upper hand in a teamfight.
There is not much more to say about lategame teamfights then I already covered in the Positioning section. Just stay aware that in this stage of the game, everything is more brutal. If you get out of position, you will be focussed down instantly, a single mistake can
cost you victory. You surviving teamfights is more important then ever before, since you will rip through towers and inhibs, so stay alive at all costs. If you have a Guardian Angel, and it is on cooldown, try to delay teamfights until you have it again.
Picking and counterpicking
While counterpicking is less important than it is in top or midlane, it is still a big factor when it comes to the laning phase. If you are matched versus a combo that counters your combo, you will be zoned from cs, and you will be wearker mid to lategame.In the worst case, you might feed the enemy carry to the point that you lost the game all by yourself.
I believe that an AD Carry should be picked according to your team's setup and that of the enemy team. Certain AD Carries need a lot of protection to be effective, if your team can't provide this, you shouldn't pick such a champ. Always keep in mind that the enemy AD carry might be stronger at certain phases of the game. If your team has a setup that involves around winning the game early, then you shouldn't pick a very lategame AD Carry. I will give some examples over what to pick in a multiple of situations.
Corki, Ezreal and Caitlyn are champs that are most effective in lane and during the midgame. They do however fall a bit off when it comes to the lategame. Pick these champs if your team has a teamcomp that can dominate and win the game early, or if you want to counter your opponent in lane who plays an AD who is early very weak ( Vayne, Ashe, Kog'Maw). These champions work best with agressive supports like Alistar or Leona. If you fail to capitalize your early advantage with these champions, you will have a hard time carrying the lategame.
Vayne and Kog'Maw are lategame hypercarries, but this comes at a great cost: they are very weak in lane! Don't pick these champions versus a matchup that can easily dominate you early. Tristana and Miss Fortune are also very strong lategame, and have a good early game, but they are very weak during the midgame. Don't pick these champs versus mid-game beasts like Corki or Sivir.
Another thing I want to talk about is wether or not you should pick an AD with some sort of dash or not. Your team can't protect you completely, certain champions are extremely good in shutting down AD Carries. Versus champs like Irelia, Malphite, Jax or Kassadin it might be a good idea to pick an AD with a built in flash/dash like Corki or Graves. An extra flash is very good versus champs that can jump on you, it allows you to reposition yourself more easily.
Conclusion: you should alway try to keep your teamcomp balanced, and to play to the strenghts of your team. Knowing exactly what to pick is a matter of experience. If you do need some more help however, I advise that you take a look at this site: Championselect.
Food for thought
As a little extra to this guide, I would like to point out the benefits of learning that other role which is played bottom lane: the support.
Many people don't like supporting because they percieve it as too passive and boring. Don't let this first impression fool you, a support can have a HUGE impact on your laning phase and lateron in the game.
As a support, you are usually the one that makes the calls of when you trade with the enemy AD and when not. It's also your job to call when it's safe to attempt a drake, and your reflexes and insight are the things that keep your AD Carry alive lategame.
If you truly want to be a better AD Carry, then you should learn the role of the support as well. You will find that your laning phase will go a lot smoother if you understand what your support is doing and WHY he is doing certain things.
Finally, you made it to the end!
I ended up writing a bit more then I originally planned, but there was so much to write about! I hope this guide made you a better AD, and if you have any suggestions, or if you have spotted any mistakes, please let me know! This was my first guide, maybe I'll write some champion-specific one's later, who knows.