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Exemplary Ezreal (AP Carry Guide)
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Congratulations! Apparently, you are one of few people open-minded enough to step forward and say, "Hey, I wanna try something new!" AD is the most popular play-style for Ezreal simply because it's easier. If you came for "easy," I'm sorry. You won't find it here. However, if you came to have fun, you found the right place. Don't get me wrong - AD Ezreal has his place on the Fields of Justice, but it's not in this guide.
Ezreal, by nature, is an outstandingly mobile champ. His Arcane Shift will allow you to escape most ganks with ease. Before long, the enemy jungler will ignore your presence on the map because he simply can't get at you. I'll get more in-depth about his other abilities later.
Before this introduction becomes too long-winded, and you become too bored of me... let's get into the guide!
Hello! As I'm sure you've noticed by now, my name is BillCurly335. This tells you 3 very trivial things about me as a person. My name is Bill. Well, that's a lie. It's William, but everyone calls me Bill. I have curly hair (blonde, if you must know), and my favorite number is 335. Sure, it's a strange favorite number to most, but 7 is just as strange to me.
I'm 19 years old as of writing this guide, but in 9 days' time, I will be 20. I'm pumped, of course. I'm not enrolled in any colleges yet, but I am searching. I dream of majoring in Aerospace Engineering and designing spacecraft, but with how NASA's funding has been cut drastically recently... I would rather not dwell on that too much. :P
Finally, I want you all to know that I put a lot of effort into this guide, and I will sincerely appreciate any input you have concerning it. Please consider the guide thoroughly, and give me a chance to fix my mistakes before down-voting it. Leave a comment, and I will alleviate the issues as soon as possible.
Thanks for your time, and enjoy the guide!
Most people argue that AP Ezreal simply can't hold his own in the mid lane. They argue that he's not well-equipped enough to handle himself. He has some disadvantages as described in the cons below, but no champ is perfect. The key to handling any champ is making the pros shine.
Why would you choose Ezreal instead of LeBlanc or maybe Ryze? These two common, mid-lane picks are single-champ bursters. They lack any way to effectively deal massive damage to the entire enemy team. Ezreal, with a combination of his Essence Flux and Trueshot Barrage can change a teamfight of guarantee its success from the beginning.
Hard to Gank Successfully
Ezreal's pros really make him shine. Primarily, you will be able to keep most champions at bay with your your ridiculous poking range. The jungler will be only a slight threat before level 1, and afterwards you should be fine. Arcane Shift is a free Flash that will allow the easiest escapes. Its cooldown isn't as short as Kassadin's Riftwalk, but it's still very nice.
Requires Middle Lane
Obviously Ezreal isn't the "perfect" champion, but in my opinion, he's pretty close. He shares many of the cons associated with AP champs, but in particular, AP Ezreal is difficult to farm with. You must be skilled in last-hitting. Otherwise, champions with multi-target and area-of-effect spells will out-farm you and get an edge. I will put more emphasis into farming later.
As with most AP champs, I have taken 21 points in the offense tree, and 9 points in the utility tree. In the offense tree, I chose the standard AP path which emphasizes in magic penetration, cooldown reduction, and ability power. However, there is a pretty noticeable difference in the first tier. I have chosen to take two points in Butcher and one point in Brute Force . While this may seem odd for an AP champ, Ezreal is a very poor farmer, and these points give an edge in the laning phase. Choosing instead to place 3 points in Mental Force will be almost useless by the time late-game rolls around.
The points I have chosen in the utility tree are much more straight-forward. I put points into Summoner's Insight , Expanded Mind , Meditation , and Swiftness in order to decrease the cooldown on Flash, increase my mana pool, increase my base mana regen, and buff my movement speed respectively.
The following runes are what I believe to be the best configuration for use with AP Ezreal. They have great synergy and promote hard-hitting spells. I don't have any AP in my rune set, and while this concept may seem strange to most, it's the most effective setup I've found. Believe me, I've gone through much trial and error to come to this conclusion.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Mmmm, magic penetration. What good is the damage of your spells if most of it isn't even coming into use? These are always included, and there is no proper substitute. I promise, they're worth the investment.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration: These runes have recently become a favorite of mine. They will ensure that once you're ready to begin really harassing, you will not run out of mana as a result. They scale very well, and by the time you're level 6, they will be more effective than their flat counterpart.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: You're going into the middle lane, right? That's a scary place. You're more like to be burst from full health to none here than anywhere else. For this reason, you're going to need to be a bit more resistant to magic. I prefer these over scaling magic resistance because early-game harass makes or breaks your success in a lane.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration: Yes, more magic penetration. While this is pretty unconventional, I've found it to be more effective than ability power quintessences. While AP quintessences will make your harassing stronger earlier in the game, the magic penetration will pay off more once you get into teamfights, and people have beefed up naturally over time. Every bit of penetration counts.
Flash and Ignite. Yup. In my opinion, these spells are the most useful for AP Ezreal. Allow me to explain why these are ideal, but why maybe other spells could be incorporated.
Flash - Playing Ezreal as a caster means that you will be using your Arcane Shift for damage more often than as utility. Well, let's pretend that you aren't the best player on the planet just for a second. You've made a bad decision, and now you've burnt your escape option by jumping in beside an enemy. FLASH! You're gone. Good thing you had that fallback, eh?
Ignite - Sometimes you need that last bit of assurance that they will die. Sometimes you need an edge in combat, and this ignite is going to help you survive my 2 health. Somtimes the enemy AD carry is breathing down your neck, and that dude's life steal needs to be controlled! Whatever the reason for casting it, you will find it to be one of the most useful spells in the game. The 5 bonus AP and AD gained from your masteries won't go ignored either!
Teleport - This spell is amazing for a few reasons. First, if used in the middle lane, if exposes you to experience longer than your opponent, and that can give you an edge. Higher-level spells means more damage, and on lower-level opponents, that will be more noticeable. Second, it can be used to save a lane from being pushed while a teammate isn't there. Global gold for the enemy team is never good. Third, you can use it as an escape. If you pop Teleport to get back into your base after finding cover in a bush, you are more likely to get there than if you were to simply recall. Replace Ignite with this if you intend to use it.
Heal - While I never use this spell, I can understand its usefulness. I wouldn't dare replace Flash with it, however. You would substitute this in place of Ignite. Otherwise, you're leaving yourself more vulnerable, and in the situation that you needed a Flash, Heal probably isn't going to help you.
Clarity - I don't really recommend this spell, but it's understandable. You may find that you're rather mana-starved early-game if you're throwing abilities out too often without having them meet the intended target. Again, I would replace Ignite, not Flash.
Cleanse - If you find that you're often focused and unable to escape because of an abundance of CC this spell could prove to be very useful. In draft pick or ranked matches, pay attention to their CC. This spell could save your life on many occasions. This is not a substitute for Flash.
Clairvoyance - This is one I tend to avoid for one major reason. If you're CV-ing for your ult, the enemy you hit with it is going to move. I find that it's better to predict where they will be and take a shot in the dark. However, give it a shot. It may work for you. As always, replace the Ignite.
Everything else. While you may (for some sick reason) choose to use Surge, Revive, or Promote, I cannot think of any sane reason to do so.
I prioritize my spells as follows: RWEQ. To help myself remember, I came up with a fun little mnemonic. "Run when Ezreal qomes." Get it? :P
R - Trueshot Barrage - Your ultimate. This spell cab be used to deal INSANE damage to the entire enemy team in team fights, or to snipe a low-health enemy seeking shelter on the other side of the map to back out. Whatever the situation, this spell is one of the best in the game. I've stolen buffs, dragons and even the Baron with this monster. Remember that for every unit it passes through, it will become 8% weaker down to a minimum of 40% damage.
W - Essence Flux - Your bread and butter. This is your main harassing spell. It passes over minions without a care in the world with the sole intent of smacking your enemies around. Its range makes it one of the best pokes in the game. As an added bonus, it will reduce the attack speed of your enemies and buff the attack speed of your allies significantly. This makes the spell immensely useful in team fights. Position yourself to hit as many enemies and allies as possible to greatly reduce the damage output of their carries and other AD champs while dealing massive damage. When attempting to secure buffs, the dragon, or Baron, be sure to hit your allies to speed the process up. It makes a very nice leashing tool for your jungler as well.
E - Arcane Shift - This spell is what makes Ezreal such a fun champ. Your enemy flashed the wall to get away? Not even a problem. Jump that wall, and deal damage simultaneously! Maxing this second will ensure that by mid-game, you're putting out tons of damage. Remember that it can also be used as an escape in bad situations. Use this before your Flash if it's available. If you're trying to close the gap on an enemy that's waaaay in the distance, pop your Flash THEN Arcane Shift to them to deal damage at the same time. Do this only if you know there's no chance of you dying in the attempt.
Q - Mystic Shot - As AP Ezreal, this spell's only real role (until you've gotten a large chunk of AP and your Lich Bane) is to lower your cooldowns. Every time Mystic Shot hits a target, every cooldown will be reduced by 1 second. This can be used if you're being chased by enemies to bring that Arcane Shift up again for an escape. Max it last as you won't need it except for cooldown reduction until late-game. Once you get your Lich Bane, this spell will be your hardest hitter after your ultimate. Without the Lich Bane proc, it will have ~300 damage. Add the AP you've gained in the build, and it will be dealing over 1000 physical damage. It makes you hard to counter purely with magic resistance items.
Passive - Rising Spell Force - With AP Ezreal, this passive has little effect, but it is a nice buff for when you're pushing towers or killing the dragon and the Baron. It will come to little use otherwise. Spam your Mystic Shots to quickly gain that bonus 50% attack speed and bring that turret down ASAP, preferably before your enemies catch on.
In this section, I will describe as thoroughly as I can the ideal order in which you should buy your items and when you should be getting them.
Spawn: Doran's Ring - This item provides crucial health, ability power, and mana regen. The mana regen is especially important because you're still waiting for those mp5 seals to mature.
First Back: Ionian Boots of Lucidity - At this point, you're ready to begin harassing. Your mana regen should be adequate to throw out spells pretty frequently without being starved of mana.
Second Back: Fiendish Codex - Now you're hitting hard! This extra cooldown reduction should mean that you're able to out-harass your opponents unless they have built magic resistance or have runes for it as you should if you're following this guide completely. The extra ability power is then put to good use.
Third Back: Morello's Evil Tome & Tear of the Goddess - The MOMENT you have 2105 gold and your lane isn't pushed, back out and grab these items. Begin stacking the Tear of the Goddess now so that it's full by late-game.
From this point on, you should grab items when you have the opportunity. The following items are entirely situational and not necessarily recommended though still useful.
Rod of Ages - If you're having difficulties on a game-to-game basis staying alive, this item is for you. It gives you a nice chunk of health, AP, and mana. Overall, it will make your sustain better. Grab your catalyst early instead of a second Doran's Ring and finish it as your first major item before Rabadon's. Don't buy a Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Negatron Cloak - If you're facing a heavy burst champion such as LeBlanc or Brand, or you're facing anyone with a reliable harassing spell, grab this before your Ionian Boots of Lucidity and replace the Rylai's Crystal Scepter with an Abyssal Mask. This will keep you alive. Alternatively, if you're getting hit by stuns and stray skillshots, grab a Banshee's Veil.
Zhonya's Hourglass - You may get focused in team fights once the enemy team realizes what a huge threat you are. If that's the case, grab this item for its armor boost and unparalleled active ability. It will make focusing you a lot more difficult.
Sorcerer's Shoes - These boots provide excellent magic penetration, and they make your spells hit harder. They are great against teams that have decided to stack magic resistance. Try these on, and see how they fit your playstyle. :P
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Is your team lacking crowd control? Maybe grabbing this item will help catch those slippery enemies as they try to escape. I don't recommend this item anymore as Ezreal doesn't need much more than his Arcane Shift to keep up, but it's perfectly viable.
Will of the Ancients - If you find that you're having a difficult time surviving through the laning phase, grab an early Hextech Revolver and build it into a Will of the Ancients later in the game, keeping it instead of building a Lich Bane. This will ensure that you aren't bullied out of lane by an aggressive opponent.
As I've mentioned a couple of times before, farming with AP Ezreal is not easy. You have a very low attack damage, even with Brute Force and Butcher . Those will help immensely, however, and you will be glad you have them when you get into lane.
If you find that your opponent is pushing you a lot, you may use your Mystic Shot to last-hit minions with slightly more health. Never let your opponent deny you farm. If they're making it their mission to bully you out of lane, be sure to hit them at least once every time they hit you. You can't let them get out without receiving damage in return. It will discourage further pokes. As my friend Kalteran says, fear is your best weapon.
It's hard to know where to begin when discussing possible opponents you will be facing. Obviously, there is a large assortment of AP mid champs. In light of this, I will only mention the ones that I've found to be most difficult. It's important to remember that no matter who you're facing, range is your greatest ally. Below, I have compiled a list of champs I hate facing as Ezreal.
Kassadin - Gahh! I hate this guy! He hits like a truck, and he makes you seem like a wet noodle. The best option with this dude is to rush a Negatron Cloak so you two are on more even terms. When he jumps on you, or you feel as though he will shortly, jump backwards. That silence is not nice to AP carries.
Malzahar - Another silence. This one is obviously easier to avoid, fortunately. The main issue with Malzahar is that even if you use Arcane Shift to leave his range, you may still be surpressed. Arcane Shift has a very brief channeling period during which he can lock onto you. I've been upset many times when I died under my turret while he was in the middle of the lane for this reason.
Annie - She's not so bad, but when her stun is up, remember to keep your distance. She will tear you apart if she gets her hands on you. A Negatron Cloak wouldn't be totally wrong in this situation.
Twisted Fate - Before you call me out for trolling, let me explain. If you're facing a good Twisted Fate, he's spamming his Wild Cards and replenishing mana infinitely with Pick A Card's Blue Card effect. His Wild Cards are like a better version of your Essense Flux but without the attack speeds buffs and debuffs. He can farm with it. The most important thing to remember when facing Twisted Fate is that his Wild Cards can be dodged. Constant vigilance.
First things first - you aren't a tank. Ezreal is very squishy. If you put yourself into the center of the battle, you will be focused down immediately. They might not even realize what they've done. Fortunately, Ezreal is equipped with skills that keep him at a safe distance from the fight. Here are a few tips to give you a more clear idea of what you should be doing with each spell.
Trueshot Barrage - If a teamfight erupts suddenly around you, position yourself immediately to drop this monster on as many enemies as possible. Don't be stingy. Holding out until there's someone low enough to snag a kill is a bad idea. It could cost your team the fight and perhaps a few turrets, Baron, or the dragon. Be a team player.
Mystic Shot - Unless you have you Lich Bane, launch this thing into the battle every time it's up. It doesn't matter really who it hits; you just want to get that cooldown reduction as often as possible so you can use your other abilities.
Essence Flux - Always send this thing at the forehead of the enemy carries. They probably won't have my resistances, and it will punish them for it. Let's not forget the attack speed debuff.
Arcane Shift - This spell is really tricky to use properly in teamfights. It prioritizes the closest enemy (minion or champion) so if you find yourself in a cloud of mayhem, it's probably best to use this to put some distance between yourself and the battle. Don't put yourself at more risk than is necessary to hit the right target with the damaging aspect of this spell.
Ezreal has the potential to run a game all on his own when played properly. Hopefully through following this guide, you will learn to use Ezreal to his full potential. I'm not the best player on the planet, nor do I pretend to be, but I do know my favorite champion well, and I hope that everyone reading this guide will too.
Please let me know how this guide worked for you in a comment, and I hope to see you soon on the Fields of Justice!
Shout Out - Be sure to read jhoijhoi's guide on creating a guide if you get the chance. She was very helpful and has my sincerest thanks. :)
3-15-2012 - Initial Release
3-16-2012 - Added "Why Choose Ezreal Over Other AP Carries," "Ezreal's Role in Teamfights," and "Lane Matchups." Tweaked the "Items," and "Ability Sequence and Explanations" sections.
3-18-2012 - Tweaked a couple of inconsistencies with guide format.
3-19-2012 - Changed the build items to reflect my new preferred build for Ezreal. Thanks to dragonoftime and utopus for their suggestions!
3-22-2012 - Added chapter banners made by LaCorpse You can find her Signature Cafe at this url.