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Aphelios Build Guide by CC Lynx

ADC The (Detailed) Beginner's Guide

ADC The (Detailed) Beginner's Guide

Updated on February 22, 2024
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908 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author CC Lynx Aphelios Build Guide By CC Lynx Updated on February 22, 2024
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Runes: Beginner

1 2
Precision
Fleet Footwork
Overheal
Legend: Bloodline
Cut Down

Inspiration
Biscuit Delivery
Cosmic Insight
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+65 Base Health

Spells:

1 2
Standard
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Heal

Heal

Ability Order

Passive
Calibrum
Severum
Gravitum
Infernum
Crescendum

Attack Damage

Attack Speed

Lethality

Champion Build Guide

The (Detailed) Beginner's Guide

By CC Lynx

Summoner Spells



FLASH Flash is, hands down, the most versatile and dynamic summoner spell League of Legends has to offer. The ability to immediately blink and reposition your character at will with no drawbacks is simply too valuable to pass up. When playing Aphelios, a champion with little innate mobility, this is an absolute must-have spell for each and every game.
HEAL Heal is usually considered to be the default secondary summoner spell option for the ADC role, especially for newer players. When activated, it provides a small burst of movement speed and healing to you and a nearby ally. This is especially impactful during the early laning phase, where Aphelios is weakest and 2v2 fights are commonplace.
GHOST Ghost can be taken on Aphelios as an alternative option to Heal. Ghost provides a 15-second increase to character movement speed, which, in a teamfight or skirmish, is a remarkably long period. Even though Ghost is actually more common than Heal in high elo gameplay, I would only recommend trying out Ghost once you are fairly comfortable with Aphelios's kit, as missing out on healing can make the laning phase quite unpleasant.
CLEANSE Cleanse is a summoner spell you should take if you have no other choice. Cleanse grants the effect of removing Crowd Control immediately upon activation. This is incredibly good at countering certain champions that rely on CC like Ashe or Varus, but is very situational and requires a moderate level of skill/timing to use properly.
Runes & Masteries

Runes & Masteries



Primary Rune Tree: Precision

Fleet Footwork Fleet Footwork is an effect that charges up while you move and attack. Once fully stacked, your next auto will grant a small damage boost, self-heal, and burst of movement speed. This is the perfect keystone for any new Aphelios, as it offers him consistent sustain and safety. Alternative, more aggressive, options here include Lethal Tempo and Conqueror, but not only are these keystones harder to use, the tradeoff of extra damage for survivability is rarely worth it.
Overheal Overheal converts excess healing (healing gained while at full HP) into a small shield that gets stronger as the game goes on. This rune synergizes extremely well Aphelios as Life Steal is a major element of his kit. Runes Fleet Footwork & Legend: Bloodline, his starting off-hand weapon Severum, the Scythe Pistol, and items such as Bloodthirster all give Aphelios bonus healing, meaning that he gets a lot of value from bringing this rune.
Legend: Bloodline Legend: Bloodline grants permanent Life Steal for each unit killed throughout the course of a game, up to a cap. Once maxed out on stacks, the champion also gains a small bonus in health. ADC is inherently vulnerable to assassination, making Life Steal an incredibly valuable resource for keeping Aphelios alive and able to output damage. Legend: Alacrity is also a viable alternative here, but bonus Attack Speed does not tend to have quite the same impact.
Cut Down Cut Down causes you to do increased damage to foes with more maximum health than you. As Aphelios has one of the lowest base health stats in the game, this rune helps him counter the ever-annoying tank characters that are usually hard for him to take down quickly. Coup de Grace is a healthy alternative option, but it should only be taken when you are confident that the enemy team will not invest in many defensive resources.


Secondary Rune Tree: Inspiration/ Sorcery

Biscuit Delivery Biscuit Delivery is a rune that grants you a unique kind of potion - one that restores both health AND mana. At 2, 4, and 6 minutes respectively, one biscuit will appear in your inventory. This is a very impactful bonus to early laning, allowing you to lane with greater flexibility. Even though it is not often taken by expert Aphelios players, it is perfect for someone learning the champ/game.
Cosmic Insight Cosmic Insight is another very useful tool for new and experienced players alike. It reduces the cooldown of items and active summoner spells, giving you access to key resources more often. Aphelios benefits especially well from this rune, because having access to Flash or Guardian Angel enables you to be much more aggressive in teamfights and output higher damage with greater safety.
Absolute Focus Absolute Focus increases your damage output when you are above 70% health. Due to Aphelios's aforementioned heavy investment into Life Steal and shielding, this will be active often during large skirmishes and teamfights. High elo Aphelios usually prefer to prioritize late-game power spikes over early lane presence, so they opt to bring Sorcery instead of Inspiration.
Gathering Storm Gathering Storm is Absolute Focus's partner-in-crime when it comes to optimizing for the late-game. Gathering Storm grants an increase in raw damage stats every 10 minutes, scaling up as the game goes on. From 30 minutes onward Gathering Storm becomes the single most gold-efficient rune in the entire game. If late-game fighting and scaling are your priority, this rune is mandatory.


Masteries

Attack Speed Attack Speed helps you trade auto-attacks and farm minions more easily, making it the most important early-game ADC stat. Bring this every game.
Adaptive Damage Adaptive damage grants a flat amount of either AD or AP depending on the champion. For Aphelios, your attacks will do more damage. Bring this every game.
Flat Health Flat Health gives you a one-time increase to your HP stat at the start of the game. I recommend starting with this option on Aphelios, as it is the strongest mastery you can bring for early laning - Aphelios's weakest point in any given game.
Health Scaling Health Scaling provides a smaller initial HP count that scales linearly over time. From level 7 onward, Health Scaling > Flat Health. Nevertheless, because health is more valuable during laning phase than out of it, I recommend waiting until you are comfortable with Aphelios's laning phase before making the switch to Health Scaling.
Item Overview

Item Overview



Important Notice: Itemizing in League of Legends is a non-linear process. For no champion in the game is there a "one size fits all" build path. Every game provides a unique experience that requires unique adaptation. Even still, I have attempted to simply the item process below to best prepare you for some of the more common item choices Aphelios might have.



Starting Items

Doran's Blade + Health Potion is the classic ADC starting item set. Doran's Blade provides health, AD, and lifesteal - all important stats for early laning.
Doran's Shield + Health Potion is a common alternative to a Doran's Blade start. Doran's Shield trades off a bit of early damage in exchange for bonus survivability in the form of HP regen. Consider purchasing against rough lane matchups like Caitlyn or Draven.
Boots + Health Potion is a tertiary starting item option. Starting Boots lets you take FOUR Health Potions but at the cost of your usual combat stats. Into poke-heavy bot lanes like Seraphine + Lux this can give you some important early movement speed.

Early Game

Refillable Potion Refillable Potion stores two rechargable Health Potions. Solid purchase for lane sustain. If you less than 150 excess gold buy individual Health Potions instead.
Berserker's Greaves Berserker's Greaves will be your first full item purchase nearly every game. Gives attack speed and movement speed, two crucial stats for early farming and survivibility.
Stormrazor Stormrazor is the perfect all around Aphelios. Stats-wise this item grants a nice balance of AD, attack, and crit. In addition, Stormrazor has a passive that synergizes perfectly with Fleet Footwork. Like Fleet Footwork, Stormrazor charges while moving and attacking. Once fully charged, your next bonus attack does bonus damage and grants movement speed, perfect for early to midgame trades.

Late Game

Infinity Edge Infinity Edge is your bread and butter purchase for crit-based ADC champions. This item grants AD and amplifies critical strike damage - the perfect combination to carry a teamfight. More often than not this will be your second full item purchase.
Lord Dominik's Regards Lord Dominik's Regards excells as a third item purchase for Aphelios. It boost damage, critical chance, and provides percent Armor Penetration . This lets Aphelios shred the armored defenses of tanks and bruisers alike.
Bloodthirster Bloodthirster is Aphelios's best friend. It gives damage, crit, and lifesteal, along with an excess healing shield that stacks with Overheal. This allows Aphelios to defend while attacking and play more aggressive and confident.
Guardian Angel Guardian Angel is one of many final item purchases that Aphelios can make. As the game progresses, dying becomes much more costly. Mitigating damage is where Guardian Angel shines. Its stats, damage and armor, are relatively weak because the real value of GA is its passive. Upon death, you revive to 50% HP after a short duration. Even with its long cooldown this is often a worthy purchase.

Alternative Options

Kraken Slayer Kraken Slayer is a viable alternative first item option to Stormrazor. One of the big limitations of Stormrazor is that is provides little to no value for killing tanks. Kraken Slayer shares similar stats to Stormrazor, but its passive amplifies the damage of every third attack instead of charging the mobility spell. Even still, this item should realistically only be purchased if you bring Lethal Tempo - otherwise Stormrazor is likely still the preferred first option. Whichever first item you pick, it is important to NOT buy both, as your damage will fall off hard scaling into late game.
Mortal Reminder Mortal Reminder is an armor penetration item that can suppliment your purchase of Lord Dominik's Regards. To put it simply, Mortal Reminder provides the exact same value... but worse. In exchange, Mortal Reminder grants one additional stat - Grievous Wounds. This reduces the healing of enemies when you do damage, although it is currenly fairly ineffective and is better purchased by another damage dealer.
Maw of Malmortius Maw of Malmortius is a very strong item that can replace any of your late game purchases (most often Guardian Angel). Maw of Malmortius is designed to counter magic damage, which can often be a problem for Aphelios in teamfights because he has little natural magic resist. The passive is even better - when your health drops below 30% you get a large magic shield, perfect for catching opponents off guard.
Immortal Shieldbow Immortal Shieldbow is often thought of as a replacement Life Steal option to Bloodthirster, but this item can actually work without and without its counterpart. Immortal Shieldbow trades the raw stats and shields of Bloodthirster for a reduced cost and more defensive passive. Similar to the above Maw of Malmortius, this item grants a shield when your health reaches 30% (although Shieldbow can block all damage types). It is important to note cannot have both Immortal Shieldbow and Maw of Malmortius - once you buy one of these items the other will be unpurchasable.
Mercurial Scimitar Mercurial Scimitar is an item that I honestly debated leaving out. Its stats are below average and it requires high skill - not a good combination for new Aphelios players. Nevertheless, this item's active effect is valuable enough to be worth mentioning. When pressed, Mercurial Scimitar cleanses all non-knockup Crowd Control , including the ever frustrating suppression, and a large burst of movement speed. Unless you find yourself CC'ed and locked down consistenly though, I would avoid purchasing this item.
Abilities

Abilities and Combos



The Weapons


Even among the diverse League of Legends roster, Aphelios stands out as one of the most unique characters. Instead of your standard Q-W-E-R ability set, Aphelios has an arrangement of 5 different weapon types, each with their unique attacks and active abilities. For clarity purposes, I will define some key definitions below:
  • Off-Hand Weapon: the off-hand or secondary weapon is the weapon that Aphelios can swap to by pressing W. When Aphelios casts Q using his primary weapon, he will (often) employ the secondary effect of this weapon. At game start, the off-hand weapon is Severum, the Scythe Pistol.
  • Passive Effect: the effect each weapon has on Aphelios's basic attacks.
  • Active Effect: the ability that is tied to each weapon. In other words, this is the result of pressing Q.
  • Secondary Effect: the bonus effect that occurs when an off-hand weapon contributes to an active ability. This is often, but not always, equivalent to the weapon's passive effect. Exceptions are highlighted below.

The Basics

-- Passive Effect: Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle grants bonus attack range. This allows you to outrange the vast majority of champions, giving you the ability to fight and trade from a safe distance.
-- Active Effect: Fires a long-range bolt that applies a Moonlight mark to the target upon contact. Attack a target afflicted by Moonlight to consume all active marks and deal bonus damage.
-- Secondary Effect: When in the off-hand position Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle applies the Moonlight mark to all enemies damaged by the active ability.
-- Passive Effect: Severum, the Scythe Pistol grants on-hit Life Steal an a small overheal shield. This weapon serves as the defensive anchor of your kit, bolstering sustain and survivability.
-- Active Effect: Grants a small burst of movement speed for a short duration. During this period, Aphelios continuously attacks the closest enemy champion within his range.
-- Secondary Effect: When in the off-hand position Severum, the Scythe Pistol heals Aphelios a small amount for each enemy damaged by the active ability.
-- Passive Effect: Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon attacks apply a minor slow to enemies in addition to marking them. This weapon is good for chasing down kills or catching people out.
-- Active Effect: Roots all enemies that have been marked by Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon.
-- Secondary Effect: When in the off-hand position Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon applies its mark to all enemies damaged by the active ability.
-- Passive Effect: Infernum, the Flamethrower deals AOE damage in a cone that extends behind the attacked target. This weapon allows you to output massive damage to multiple enemies at once.
-- Active Effect: Fires out a cone-shaped projectile wave that tags enemies it contacts. After a short delay, Aphelios attacks all targets again with his off-hand weapon's secondary effect.
-- Secondary Effect: When in the off-hand position Infernum, the Flamethrower deals AOE damage beyond its target in an identical fashion to its primary effect.
-- Passive Effect: Crescendum, the Chakram attacks linger for a small duration upon striking their target. In exchange, manually contacting this weapon's attack resets Aphelios's auto cooldown. As such, this weapon works best at close range when the cooldown can be easily refreshed.
-- Active Effect: Deploys a small turret that activates when an enemy steps into its range. The turret then applies the secondary effect of Aphelios's off-hand weapon to the nearest target.
-- Secondary Effect: When in the off-hand position Crescendum, the Chakram grants Aphelios a bonus Chakram for each enemy struck. These Chakram amplify the damage of Crescendum, the Chakram basic attacks. Auto-attacking will prolong the during of the bonus Chakram.


The Ultimate

Moonlight Vigil launches forward a large circular projectile that can pass through minions. Upon contact with an enemy champion, a circular AOE effect activates in a small area - locking onto enemy champions caught in the radius. After a short delay, all champions that were hit by the ultimate receive an auto attack alongside a bonus special effect that corresponds to Aphelios's current primary weapon. The effect of each weapon is highlighted below:
  • Using Moonlight Vigil with Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle applies an empowered mark onto all enemies struck. This mark functions identically to the usual Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle secondary effect and is consumed upon auto-attacking any foe with the mark. This is a very powerful use of Aphelios ultimate because it allows you to get off a high-damage single-target strike from an incredible range.
  • Using Moonlight Vigil with Severum, the Scythe Pistol heals Aphelios for a moderate amount of HP. Contrary to popular belief, the ultimate healing does not change by striking more than one enemy - a single target will provide the full amount. Hitting multiple targets will still provide slightly more healing from the Severum, the Scythe Pistol auto attacks, but the biggest misuse of this ultimate is trying to land a long-range AOE snipe. Usually if you find yourself needing to use this ultimate it is because you require immediate sustain, in which case it is best to simply ult the closest target.
  • Using Moonlight Vigil with Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon causes all struck enemies to be hindered by a strong slowing effect. This lets Aphelios layer some solid Crowd Control , as he can use the Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon ultimate basic attack to follow the slow with a short root. This ultimate shines when setting up plays - oftentimes you will find yourself using this to start a fight or support a gank effort. It should be noted, however, that this ultimate scales very poorly, and is often the ultimate you least want to be forced to use in a mid-late game teamfight.
  • Using Moonlight Vigil with Crescendum, the Chakram grants Aphelios 3 additional Chakram. As an example, if you strike 3 enemies with Moonlight Vigil, you will gain 6 Chakram total - 3 base + 3 from the auto-attacks. If you find yourself starting off a teamfight with plenty of Crescendum, the Chakram ammunition, this ultimate is Aphelios's bread and butter. Crescendum, the Chakram is your highest damage tool, so getting to start a fight with extra Chakram spikes your attack damage significantly. Contrary to the other ultimates that encourage flexible timing, if you want to commit to a Chakram blade storm, maximize your value by using this ability as early as possible.

Combinations to Look Out For


As this is a beginner guide to Aphelios and words have dominated quite a bit of the analysis already, I will not be breaking down all 10 possible weapon combinations or presenting an "optimal" weapon cycle. The power of each combo varies depending on factors such as team composition, item thresholds, and overall game state and thus we cannot apply a one-size-fits-all mentality. Besides, as you get used to Aphelios and develop a comfortable playstyle, you might find that you prefer using some weapons over others, which is completely fine! Nevertheless, I do want to provide a quick introduction to some of my favorite weapon arrangements and patterns.

1. "Red/White Don't Fight!"


Most long-time League players are more than familiar with the above phrase. "Red/White don't fight" was a simple yet popular expression developed to help players understand when to avoid fighting Aphelios, and for good reason. In case it wasn't clear, red/white represents the combination of Severum, the Scythe Pistol and Crescendum, the Chakram.

Even at face value, these two weapons have strong synergy. Crescendum, the Chakram's strength lies in its raw combat power, a boon that is counteracted by the fact that Aphelios must fight at close range to capitalize on his auto-refresh. This often means that Aphelios will be more vulnerable to incoming damage when he fights with Crescendum, the Chakram. Pair this with Severum, the Scythe Pistol, a weapon designed to sustain throughout combat, and you have a lethal duo that offers high damage output with high survivability.

This combo becomes even more harmonious when we introduce abilities to the mix. Severum, the Scythe Pistol Q grants you a burst of movement speed - allowing Aphelios to weave in and out of the fight at will. When Crescendum, the Chakram is off-hand, this also generates extra Chakram to add to his rotation.

A typical fight with red/white will often look as follows.
With Crescendum, the Chakram as your starting primary weapon:
  1. Moonlight Vigil to stack early Chakram as quickly as possible
  2. swap primary weapon to Severum, the Scythe Pistol and activate Q to find a good position
  3. swap back to Crescendum, the Chakram and start to attack high priority targets
  4. when needed: switch back to Severum, the Scythe Pistol for quick healing or another Q reposition

2. The Tiktok Combo (Green/White)


The Tiktok combo - which I have named due to the popularity of this weapon duo for generating social media clips - consists of the Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle and Crescendum, the Chakram paring. It consists of a classic long-range short-range one-two punch, with a fun highlight-worthy synergy.

One of the massive downsides of playing ADC, especially carries like Aphelios, is the inability of the role to create space in a fight. We lack a major disruption or CC tool ( Gravitum, the Gravity Cannon is not nearly reliable enough to count as a significant lockdown for a 5v5 brawl) on the role that benefits most from clean time to hit. This combination combats what would otherwise be a major carry shortcoming in a quite unexpected fashion.

The strength of green/white lies in Crescendum, the Chakram's Q. With every other weapon pair, Crescendum, the Chakram's active ability often feels like wasted ammunition. Off-hand Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle, however, works wonderfully with this turret, since it replaces the turret damage tick for the Moonlight mark. This lets Aphelios himself supply damage to the turret from a safe distance away. This effect only gets stronger as Aphelios gets more items, to the point where an unaware enemy can often find themselves struck down before they even realize they are being attacked.

A typical fight with green/white will often look as follows.
With Crescendum, the Chakram as your starting primary weapon:
  1. find a zone or angle that might become a liability once the fight starts - this is often a potential enemy flank spot or path where you might want to move towards for shelter
  2. drop your Crescendum, the Chakram turret by pressing Q to secure the nearby area
  3. swap to Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle to attack foes from a safe distance away
  4. if an enemy activates your turret, swap to Crescendum, the Chakram and change your target focus to this enemy - this gains you Chakram stacks and forces opponents to destroy the turret or take massive damage

3. A Balanced Loadout (Red/Blue)


If you want to know which weapon pairing, in my opinion, comes with the greatest balance, flexibility, and general usefulness, look no further than Severum, the Scythe Pistol + Infernum, the Flamethrower.

Dealing damage is certainly a key part of playing ADC in League of Legends, but it is far from your only responsibility. The AOE bolts from Infernum, the Flamethrower let Aphelios farm quickly and efficiently, while the sustain from Severum, the Scythe Pistol ensures he is always ready to make a play. So while many ADC might find themselves struggling to clear large waves, prep for objectives, and/or ward off enemy poke - red/blue lets Aphelios juggle all of these tasks with relative ease.

That's not to say this duo cannot also shine in a fight. Severum, the Scythe Pistol Q is great for finding optimal angles by which to launch powerful AOE strikes on multiple targets. Infernum, the Flamethrower Q, meanwhile is not to be taken lightly either with this loadout, as it leverages AOE damage with AOE healing - letting you continue to fight unheeded. A last cool tidbit worth mentioning is that the AOE healing from Infernum, the Flamethrower Q works just as effectively on minions. Find a decent-sized wave with this loadout and watch your health bar heal right to full at just a single button press!

A typical fight with red/blue will often look as follows.
With Infernum, the Flamethrower as your starting primary weapon:
  1. begin dishing out AOE damage by striking the closest target
  2. once in danger, swap primary weapon to Severum, the Scythe Pistol and pop Q to reposition
  3. swap back to Infernum, the Flamethrower and focus on lining up your strikes to damage multiple targets
  4. use Moonlight Vigil as a judgment call - if you see the opportunity to splash multiple targets: fire off an Infernum, the Flamethrower strike - if you can't find a good multi-hit and need some Life Steal : fall back to a good old reliable Severum, the Scythe Pistol healing frenzy

Hope this guide has helped you learn and/or inspired you to play Aphelios! Good luck on the rift fellow summoners, take it easy everyone!

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The (Detailed) Beginner's Guide

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