This is a LOL post. For those of you interested only in EVE, move to the next one.
Although I was playing EVE first, i’ve played a lot of LOL over the past two years or so, so much that i’m coming up on the 1000 win mark. I was ranked 1450 ELO in S2, and with the release of the Oceanic (read australian) servers i’m just starting ranked in S3 so far it’s going well, 3-0. My name is Forrestal if you want to check any of that.
I think the bot lane is one of the most consistently misunderstood sections in the game. I’ll cover the problem of the support in the next post, but right now i’m going to talk about what separates good ADC champs from bad ones. It’s not what you expect. First of all let’s define what an ADC’s role is-
An ADC is a platform to inflict as much sustained physical damage as possible, as safely as possible.
Notice that there are two parts of that definition. The First is damage. the second is doing it safely.
Now let’s clear up some misconceptions about damage. Damage is not ability centric on most ADC champs. Some get quite substantial steriods, like Vayne or Sivir, but unlike jungle or top champions (like say, Aatrox) but for the most part an ADC’s power comes directly from the items he or she has.
This is why ADCs get placed in bot lane, with a support. Because more than any other individual on the team, they need as much gold as possible.
But because it is Item rather than ability centric factor, this means that pretty much anyone can build ADC. The other factor- As safely as possible, however IS ability centric- because as an ADC you want to burn as few item slots as possible on staying alive and as many on dishing out damage. You can’t build much in the way of defensive stats. Therefore your entire surviability in team fights, ganks pretyt much every bad situation really is dependant on mobility.
Now here’s the thing about mobility. You can’t buy it- not really. There is no equivilant to the blink Dagger in LOL. you can carry with you in flash. But some champs will have jumps and dashes, and some won’t. And more than anything else, this is what seperates good ADC champs, from bad ones.
So, Let’s just roll off the current favourites in ADCs
- Corki (kinda)
Notice something? All these champions have hard disengages- dashes, blinks and jumps that can safely take them out of any hostile situation. the only non-blink champs that see a lot of success these days is Draven and MF, and Draven is getting kinda fixed in the next patch. Let’s take a look at the remaining ADCs, the ones that are NOT played that often.
- Twisted Fate
- Kog’Maw (although once again, it’s very player dependant)
- Varus (see kog)
These are not necessarily bad characters. Jayce top is still very effective. Twisted fate mid is a thing. What’s the seperater? None of these characters have hard disengages. none of them have blinks and jumps that are non target dependant. In short, when shit goes south, there’s no a whole lot they can do.
That’s not that much of a problem in mid lane, which is shorter, or top lane where people build tankier. But in a bot lane gank, you have three people aiming all their CC at you. You need all the disengage you can handle.
There are other factors too. in lane sustain is one, CC is another, and the ability to pull allies’s asses out of the fire is important. This is why the list of viable ADCs is actually a lot longer than Riot thinks it is. Because surprisingly the best characters at filling these roles above are ranged support.
Take for example Sona.
Sona Can do anything. Sona ADC isn’t just viable, it’s scarily effective. She matches or exceeds nearly every other champion for AD at equal gold due to Hymn of Valor. Her burst is scary with Her Power Cord Hymn of Valor combo. Her Ult is still as powerful as it ever was. Her support kit is still there and as viable as it ever was. An ADC that can heal- an ADC that can speed buff. And because damage is item centric, then she’s just a good an ADC as anyone. Other supports also make surprisingly viable ADCs. If anyone remembers the season 2 AD soraka, you’ll know what i’m talking about. and in more recent times, ADC thresh. Riot has balanced this in interesting ways. A lot of the support’s auto attack animations are terrible. I’m looking at you Soraka, but overall, they still remain very viable. It’s only the long term bias against them due to their “support tag”.
One of the rules however of Riot Champion design is that champions intended Supports will never have an inbuilt flash, dash or jump of any kind. This is a problem. This is why support Sonas, sorakas, leonas and tarics get caught out and die in ganks while their ADC jumps or blinks to safety. This can be avoided, and it can be avoided very easily.
So I have two bot lanes- one of them is what i like to call the Jump Lane, the other the Wall Lane.
These lanes probably aren’t viable in ultra-high ELO and pro level play, but that’s not the point. Becausee 99.95% of people who play this game aren’t in that category. At ultra high ELO, there is literally not enough gold to go around to successfully run a fifth character- that is why conventional supports exist. Mistakes are rare, people farm perfectly, and the meta makes sense.
Same cannot be said for everyone else.
The Jump lane is quite simple. You take a conventional ADC- One with a hard disengage, like Ezrael, like Graves, Like Corki, and then because none of your conventional supports have a blink to keep up, you take an unconventional support that has one. Now the Jump lane functions just slightly different from the way we normally think about bot lane. First of all due to the nature of the secondary character actually doing large amounts of damage, kills won’t be solely the domain of the ranged ADC. And due to the supremely dunkly nature of the lane, the focus should be on dunking the opposition as often as possible, as much to deny the enemy CS and xp than anything else. The other important factor is that because he does damage, choosing who to focus becomes harder- ignoring the Lee Sin to kill the graves does not mean you will win the fight. far from it.
Now top of the list are the “tanky DPS” characters that older players will remember as Metagolems.
My personal favourites are
- Jarvan- Jarvan has massive amounts of CC, does large amounts of damage, is very tanky naturally, has a great ult, has a hard disengage and a nice aura from his standard. Combo him with someone like Graves or Ezrael for fun.
- Lee Sin- A well played Lee sin can be played anywhere, and support is no exception. Hard engage and a hard disengage as seperate abilities, ultimate is a nice way to separate the enemy lane, shield for both him and the ADC to avoid damage, an execution, A massive debuff, potent harass, he’s energy based and of course he has large amounts of damage. His kit and Corkis syngerygise very well together.
- Aatrox- Aatrox is on this list for four reasons. First of all, his Q is basically the Alistair Headbutt Pulverise combo all by itself in addition to being a hard disengage or engage. Second of all, his passive makes the Matyr plays that you see from supports a lot a lot less likely to result in death. Thirdly, his W means that he’s virtually impossible to harass out of lane- ever. Fourthly, his damage is insane, even with no items. Massacre+Bloodprice+full passive bar turns him into an ADC. Between that and the actual ADC, things melt. Put him and vayne together for tons of damage.
The most important thing about playing a Jump Lane is the intimidation factor. If the enemy is running Soraka-Draven, then scare them so utterly shitless that even the mere threat of your Aatrox in the brush is enough to zone them completely out of lane. Reinforce this message with an early kill or two in order to cemment both the psychological, gold and XP advantage over the enemy. If the enemy is farming at parity with you, something as gone wrong. If the enemy feels confident enough to actually Harrass you guys, then something has gone worse. This lane is not so bothered with wards becuase they do not need them so much. Ezrael-Lee sin lane for example just does not care for most junglers, They Arcane Shift-Safeguard out.
And then there’s the Wall Lane.
The Wall lane does not have a hard disengage- instead they have everything else. Because conventional supports do this quite well and conventional ADCs do this terribly on the whole, this lane usually runs with a conventional melee support and an unconventional ranged ADC. The key aspect of a wall lane is that rather than being able to run from a hostile situation, they must have either the CC or durability to walk out of it. Supports have this in spades. The important factor of a Wall lane is that both the ADC and the Support contribute to this durability and CC. So just for ADCs
- Thresh (although it’s highly dependant on the support. his AA range is a bit too short)
All these champs substantially help the lane survive dunking and ganks, while being able to deal out large amounts of damage. Because damage, as i said before, is primarily itemised.
Now for the tanky partner. These should all be close combat tanky people. A wall lane does not work with two ranged squishies without a hard disengage between them.
- Taric (although he got nerfed)
- Cho Gath
- Diana (to a certain extent)
- Shen (In fact Shen works in both lane types)
Although this is a wall lane, it is more a wall when taking harass and weathering ganks. A Sona Taric lane for example, simply has too much heals to deal with from a harass point of view. On the offence it is more the bulldozer. CC should be flying everywhere. Imagine a Leona ult into a Thresh hook and box. Unlike with Jump lanes, you can afford to be patient. Some Wall lanes will have a counter jump so hard that many jump lanes will be at serious risk when jumping (For example, Kayle and Cho Gath). Mistakes can be ruthlessly explioted, sometimes jungle ganks can be turned right around into kills if you are winning hard enough.
Jump Lanes and Wall Lanes. Go try them out.