General Guide by Vapora Dark
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Pros & Cons
Lucian's been a top 4 solo queue ADC ever since the first pre-season patch hit with all the ADC changes. Currently in patch 6.4, my own personal opinion is that he's definitely a top 3 ADC, and as an ADC with a lot of outplay potential, I think that if you can master him, he's the best ADC at carrying solo queue there is.
What are runes, when do you want them (post lvl 20 obivously) and why do you need them. Just some minor text about runes.
Flash is the strongest summoner spell in the game, there is almost no champion that doesn't run it. It's an incredibly versatile spell, being able to be used either offensively or defensively. There is absolutely no circumstance in which you wouldn't want to run Flash, if you don't you'll be the easiest person on your team to gank and catch out, and you'll potentially miss out on a lot of kills that get away using their own Flash while you're unable to close the gap because you don't have Flash yourself.
Heal is likewise taken every single game by both ADCs, and sometimes by mid laners as well. On a role like ADC, where you naturally have a lot of in-built damage, you want a summoner spell that'll increase your survivability to help you keep putting out damage, rather than an offensive one like Ignite. In season 3 ADC's would use Barrier until Heal got reworked into its current state, Heal is still the best choice on ADC over 2 years later as Barrier is a very selfish summoner in the sense that it only affects you, while Heal affects you and one more team-mate, which in a duo lane is very strong. Even though Heal is mitigated by Ignite, a common pick on supports and mid laners, it's still often the superior defensive spell for keeping yourself safe thanks to the movement speed boost, and the fact that it affects another team-mate as well just cements it as the single, most optimal defensive spell.
You max your skills in the order of R-Q-E-W. Piercing Light is Lucian's main form of harass and a spammable damage spell, so you'll max it first to do the most damage and be the dominant lane bully that Lucian aspires to be. Afterwards, you max Relentless Pursuit because the lower cooldown will make you a lot more mobile and help you kite. Ardent Blaze is maxed last as there aren't many benefits to levelling it up, the biggest one being the lower cooldown so you can proc Lightslinger more often. And of course, you level up your ultimate whenever you can because it's your friggin' ultimate, the damage increases by a LOT each time you level it up.
Doran's Blade + Health Potion: Doran's Blade may give less AD than Long Sword, but the HP makes you tankier and more able to sruvive all-ins, which is invaluable. Going Long Sword + 3 Health Potions would overall give you more sustain, but if you get all-in'd and either die or get zoned away from the minion wave then it's not worth it. It's also a more gold-efficient start as Doran's Blade is a super cost-effective item and you'll be spending 50 gold on pots rather than 150 gold.
Infinity Edge: As a high AD scaling champion, your options for your first item are between Infinity Edge and Essence Reaver. Seeing as Tristana doesn't actually gain much DPS through CDR, you'll want to aim for the more auto-attack oriented item Infinity Edge. However, when you have a B. F. Sword and a Pickaxe, upgrading them to Infinity Edge won't grant you any more AD, it'll just give you the passive, which isn't very cost efficient on its own. When you have B. F. Sword and Pickaxe, it's better to then buy Zeal, then on your next back buy Infinity Edge if you can afford it, Rapid Firecannon if you can't afford IE, or Cloak of Agility if you can't afford that.
Rapid Firecannon: [will write this up after next patch, it could be that it's ideal to build something other than Rapid Firecannon next patch.]
Next you'll want a lifesteal item: Your options are between The Bloodthirster and Mercurial Scimitar. You'll want to build Mercurial Scimitar, usually starting with Quicksilver Sash, when there's CC you're being targeted with in teamfights that is very disruptive or lethal to you, such as Wither, Glacial Prison or Summon: Tibbers. In season 5 you would go Quicksilver Sash then either Last Whisper or The Bloodthirster rather than ugprading to Mercurial Scimitar right away, but as this season Last Whisper isn't as strong an item, and Mercurial Scimitar both gives lifesteal and has just as much AD as The Bloodthirster, if you want the Quicksilver Sash active it's optimal to just upgrade it into Mercurial Scimitar right away.
After you've build either The Bloodthirster or Mercurial Scimitar, you should proceed to build whichever one of the two you didn't build first.
You can build Last Whisper at any point after Infinity Edge and Rapid Firecannon if the enemy team's building a lot of armor. It's best not to directly upgrade it into either of the upgrades until you've completed the rest of your build though.
By the time you hit 5 items, 99% of the time it's definitely ideal to build Last Whisper, as armor is such a common defensive stat and it's likely that the enemy team has built a lot of it. In the rare situation where they still haven't build much (if any) armor by that point, you can go ahead and build a 2nd AS-crit item, of which your options are Statikk Shiv, Phantom Dancer and Runaan's Hurricane. However, as of patch 5.24 it's no longer a good idea to stack Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon, so if you built Rapid Firecannon, as is ideal, then you should disregard Statikk Shiv as an option. I would personally build Phantom Dancer, especially if you can afford it at the same time as Runaan's Hurricane. Tristana doesn't benefit too much from the AoE auto-attacks, and the damage reduction passive can always be useful.
||Caitlyn is your worst nightmare. She’ll bully you out of the lane and there’s not much you can do about it. Her disengage keeps her safe when you want to go all in. Either start pushing super hard at level 1 or hug your turret until help arrives. Just try to stay even or ahead in farm and it’s k.|
During laning phase, your objectives are to out-CS your opponent, kill them if possible, and take down their tower ASAP. Most of the damage you do to the tower will be while your enemy is off the lane, either shoved out or dead, so you don't have to worry too much about wearing the tower down when the lane is pushed towards them. In those situations I mainly focus on harassing the enemy, and attacking the tower when that's not an option.
Before getting into lane, you should help your jungler do golems by auto-attacking the big golem ~3 times. If your jungler isn't start on bot side, you and your support should take the golems instead. This will grant you a significant XP lead over your opponents and give you level 2 first, which can be snowballed into a kill or cause the enemy ADC to miss a lot of CS.
You should tank the monsters first, so you can later lifesteal up some of the damage you took with Doran's Blade, Vampirism and Feast . Just tank them for one or two hits (each), then move backwards to let your support tank them. They should be the one taking 90% of the damage as they'll be starting with 3 Health Potions as opposed to your 1 Health Potion, so they can recover from the damage taken more easily. Start off by killing the small golem first to get it out of the way (communicate this with your support before you start taking the camp), then move onto the bigger golem. Your support should be letting you get the last hits, but soaking XP so you both share the XP for the kills, and will therefore both hit level 2 at the same time, therefore able to abuse the level 2 power spike at its fullest. Again, try to inform your support of this to make sure you're both on the same wavelength before you start taking the camp.
If your support mistakenly leaves you with 100% of the XP, it's no big deal, even if his support is level 1 Lucian can make use of his early level 2 to trade with the enemy ADC more effectively. While you'll be unlikely to translate this into a kill so early on, it does at least help you establish a lead.
Sieging towers is pretty simple, but you need to be careful about it. When both teams are alive and your team is trying to take a tower, it's your job to do as much damage as you can to the tower without dying. You need to do as much damage as you can while remaining safe. This means you can't just walk up to the tower and stand there auto-attacking until it dies; this leaves you open to get engaged upon, unless there's no resistance from the enemy team. Instead you have to repeatedly poke the tower. Walk up to it, attack it a bit, back off if someone dangerous is walking up to you. Now you might think "but what if they never stop protecting their tower? Doesn't that mean it's never safe for me to auto-attack it?". If they're constantly standing in a defensive position in relation to their tower, then they're in range for your team to poke them and force them back. They need to be in a place where it's safe for them to sit and look for a good engage, where your team has no way to attack them besides tower diving them, which only works when you're super ahead. And if they advance, that takes them further out of safety, so if you match their movements to stay safe from an engage, they'll be forced to move back for their own safety again, as they don't want to get engaged on either, nor poked down to a point where they need to back to recover their HP.
Against teams with very high wave clear (hello Anivia), it can be very hard if not impossible to siege down towers, especially inhibitor towers that actually recover HP all the time. Your options in these situations are to engage on the enemy team under their tower, which only works when you're reaaaaaaaally far ahead, or go get baron. The enemy team won't usually just give up baron for free though, and so you can use this to bait them into a fight. They'll need to constantly have vision on baron to make sure you're not doing it, which can be hard to keep up if your team places pinks and uses Oracle's Lens to clear their wards, so at some point they might have no choice but to face check baron to make sure you're not doing it. Even if you are, you can take the opportunity to turn around and team-fight.
Splitpushing or teamfights?
When it comes to team-fighting as an ADC, there is one golden rule which is the most basic team-fighting rule of all, and yet makes you an infinitely better team-fighter if you start following it; attack whoever's closest to you. If you stand at the back, behind your frontline, and just auto-attack whichever enemy is absolutely closest to you, you have the best possible positioning, as you'll only be in focus range of whoever's diving you, or whoever you're attacking. It's recommended in general to take down the enemy carries before the tanks, but as the ADC if you try to attack a carry then you're in range of every single member of the enemy team, and if they all focus you then you'll go down in under a second. By keeping your distance and attacking just whatever's closest, you'll be hardest to kill, and can therefore output maximum DPS by just staying alive and being able to auto-attack all fight long. The only time you should attack the enemy team's carries is when there's no other enemies standing between you and them.
The best players of all know not only when to follow that one basic rule, but also when to take even further measures to stay safe. Before you ever even get into a team-fight, you should have already analyzed what all the threats to you on the enemy team are, and play more safely or aggressively accordingly. For example, if a Shyvana is the one trying to dive you, you'd want to follow the rule of attacking whatever's closest, and just kite her while your team also hopefully tries to peel her.
|But sometimes you need to turn the safety notch up another level and straight up walk away from someone that could be a threat to you. For example, if you're playing vs Talon, you cannot be one of the ones trying to focus him down while he still has enough cooldowns and HP to be a threat. Even if he's the only person in range of you, and you have 3-4 team-mates around you, you still can't be auto-attacking him until the threat he presents has been neutralized ( cutthroat goes on CD, or he gets so low that he'd die before he could burst you). All the skill and mechanics in the world won't stop him bursting you down in half a second if he gets near enough. And you not only need to stay out of his E range, you also have to account for the extra movement speed he can get from Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shadow Assault, and how quickly they can help him close the gap. Not to mention how quickly he could cover a huge distance to get you with Flash.
No, when you're playing against Talon and you see him running in your direction, you stay as far the f**k away from him as you can get. Don't help your team kill him, that's not your job. Your job is to not die to assassins, and your team's job is to protect you from assassins, which in a lot of cases, they must do by killing the assassin whenever he tries to get to you, hopefully unsuccessfully. If the assassin commits their cooldowns onto someone else when they realize they can't get to you, that's when it's safe for you to walk back into the fight. Or if the assassin gets CC'd and blown up uselessly before they get to do anything, then it's also safe!
Tips & Tricks
Pro tip: You can actually cancel Ardent Blaze's cast animation with Relentless Pursuit if you press E right after W. It means you save time while casting spells because you're using the cast time of your E during your dash, so no time is wasted. The downside of this combo is that because you're using two spells at once you'll be wasting a Lightslinger proc, so just because you can do that animation cancel combo doesn't mean you should. Most of the time if you intend to use E and W in a fight it's better to E first, auto-attack, then W and auto-attack. The only time I can immediately think of for when you would want to do the W cancel is when chasing an enemy that's in your W range; by cancelling the W animation with E you get to apply the mark on that enemy to help you chase while at the same time dashing closer to that enemy so you're actually in range to auto-attack them when Ardent Blaze hits. If you don't do the animation cancel then you waste valuable chasing time casting Ardent Blaze, so chasing is THE situation in which you want to do the animation cancel.
Pro tip: If you auto-attack a low HP minion, Q it before your auto-attack hits then your auto-attack kills it, your Q animation will cancel early while the attack still goes through. Is this useful? Not much, but it means you spend less time standing still unable to auto-attack, and who knows when that might help you. Time is money, after all. Keep your eyes open for situations where it might be applicable, just don't go out of your way to try and force it because it's really not that useful usually.
Pro tip: Remember you can cast it to reposition yourself during The Culling!
How to win games
In some situations, notably when you expect to be sieging for a while and especially sieging towers that are really close to the enemy base, such as inner towers and inhibitor towers, it's really not ideal to have to force yourself to go back bot lane to farm every 2 minutes. If you do the technique and you can't go bot you'll essentially have just created a slow push against yourself, causing the enemy minions to die to tower, wasting gold, damaging your tower, and possibly even destroying it. Rather than putting yourself in that situation, this is when you want to create a slow push against the enemy team, as they'll hopefully be too busy defending against the siege to send someone to clear bot. This way they'll be the ones losing minions to the tower, taking tower damage, and possibly losing a tower if it's already low. And if they do send someone to clear it, you'll either have an easier time sieging or your team will be able to dive the enemy team 5v4 under tower.
That's it for my Lucian guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Lucian as well as you want to. I think he's the most fun ADC in the game and hopefully you'll share this opinion!
If you enjoyed this guide you may also enjoy Vapora's Guide To Tristana, my guide to my other favourite ADC. They have very different playstyles but I find Tristana equally as fun to play whenever the meta's in her favour. Otherwise you may still want to read it if you're wanting to improve your ADC skills because it's kind of like a general ADC guide as much as it is a Tristana guide.
If you're interested to see me play, follow my stream! I usually play Talon because that's what people want from me, but if you would like to see me play Lucian or any other ADC, let me know in the chat so I know there's demand for it.