League of Legends ADC Guide, The Bot-Lane Carry

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League of Legends ADC Guide, The Bot-Lane Carry

ADC is one of the most popular roles in League mainly because it is the role that promises players a late-game hyper-carry experience that deals insane amounts of damage, as long as they can pilot their champions. Our League of Legends ADC Guide will help you on your journey.


Even though it sometimes can be seen as the ‘just right click’ characters, AD Carries can be hard to pilot. Not only do you have to always be on the lookout for the enemy diving onto you. You also be in a position to keep attacking, as most of the time ADCs are the only consistent damage on their teams.

Even though the champions in the bot lane change from meta to meta, the basics are always the same. And the duties of an ADC don’t change that much, either.

How to play ADC?

When you are looking at the general duties of an ADC, there are some things you need to be able to do.

  • Put out consistent damage, especially when fights go on longer.
  • Primary damage source when it comes to objectives so make sure you are there when one spawns.
  • Utilize your range to siege towers throughout the game.
  • Keep the mid-lane pushed to put pressure on the map.

Playing the lane

How you are playing the laning phase will differ from champion to champion, but there are some common basics you need to be able to do. First of it being farming. ADCs are heavily reliant on items, which means reliant on gold. This means you need to ‘get good’ at farming creeps and get close to 10cs/min as much as you can. A great way to do that is to get into the practice tool and just practice last hitting minions just with a Doran’s Blade.

While farming, you also need to be aware of the objective on your side of the map. If your jungler pings dragon, you should be in a position to push your lane and help him take it. Not many junglers can sneak early dragons by soloing it.

Last but not least, supports roam a lot in the current meta, so you need to know when you should walk up in lane and when to just leave your tower. You may think this contradicts the farming part of your job, but you shouldn’t die for creeps when you are left alone in lane. Dying to a dive or getting caught isn’t worth those ten minions.

Mid game

The early game tends to end for ADCs, mainly in lower Elos, when the first bot tower falls. If you were playing a champion like Caitlyn, you should be the one getting the plates and tower. Nonetheless, once the bot tower falls, you should start laning in mid, so you don’t have to over-extend in a lane without safety.

Your job is then to keep mid waves pushed in so your team can be first to move, either to take vision, do objectives or rotate to side lane fights. If you know where the other team is, you can then walk up and take mid tower as well.

During mid-game people should be reaching two items, which is a power spike for most but not for all the ADCs. So you should avoid fighting if it’s not necessary or unless your team has a big lead. Instead, try to focus on objectives. You can trade them if you are behind and maybe get the objective bounties, tower for dragon or dragon for second herald, etc.

Late game

After your third item, which in almost all cases should be Infinity Edge, you are on a big power spike and any item after this will only increase your damage. At this point, you should look to do Baron if you’re ahead, so you can start sieging inner towers or so you can turn to start a favorable fight.

If you are behind and the enemy is the one sieging, just try to wave clear while waiting for an opportunity where they make a mistake or delay the game enough so you can scale. And if you’re behind and you aren’t scaling, take some risks and try to gank people in the side lanes.

How to play the 5v5s can sometimes be different for varying champions, but unless you are playing Kai’Sa and want to dive backline, you should be hitting the closest target you can reach without putting yourself in danger. This means you shouldn’t walk into the enemy Ornn just so you can hit the enemy ADC. You are okay to hit the tanks, as the ADCs’ consistent damage is meant to counter tanks during the late game.

Which champions are good for climbing?

Please note that this guide was written in 12.11 and in the future patches some of these champions' viability might have changed.

Jhin

Jhin didn’t spend too many seasons in a bad spot, and Season 12 is not an exception. Currently, Jhin is one of the best picks you can go for if you are playing in the bot lane. Not only he is very flexible in his playstyle, but he is also strong in most parts of the game. He can push lane early to pressure, he has a good two-item power spike and in the late game, there is no ADC that hits as hard as him.

So when do you pick Jhin? Honestly, you can pick him in most games if there isn’t more than one tank on the enemy team. Besides beefy targets, Jhin doesn’t have too obvious weaknesses. In the bot lane, he can sometimes struggle against heavy all-in champs like Kalista or Samira, but his ranged wave clear with his abilities can negate this.

Enchanter supports can be a little annoying, as your damage is very telegraphed, so susceptible to shields. But this doesn’t mean you won’t chew through them in the mid to late game if you have one or two items.

His flexibility shines when it comes to his lane partner choices. Most ADCs prefer either an enchanter or a more tanky support. Jhin can work with both. Enchanters are great as Jhin really enjoys going fast especially when he gets some crit chance, and he has enough damage at all times to follow engages from the likes of Leona.

But unlike most of the ADC roster, Jhin particularly enjoys playing with mage supports. His long-range follow-up with his Deadly Flourish (W) or his ulti means he can clean up targets after his supports poke.

While this is the most common build path you can always make changes. Go for the Rapidfire second if you need the range, Lord Dominik’s if you are facing multiple tanks, etc. Alternatively, you can go lethality Jhin, even though the crit is the better option. You can go a build like Eclipse, Ghostblade and Serylda which also lets you pick up Serpent’s Fang for the enemy shields.

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Lucian

Lucian is another great ADC in the current meta. He was a pick/ban the entire MSI 2022, mostly due to his dominant lane with Nami. Even without her, Lucian has a 51% winrate in the new 12.11 patch.

The Purifier wasn’t all that great in the bot lane during Season 11, he even saw more play in mid or top. But after the changes on the Patch 11.17 which empowered his passive attacks when he gets buffed by an ally he rose to prominence.

With these changes, his current best lane partner is Nami, but this doesn’t mean you cannot play Lucian without her. He has good synergy with most enchanters that can play the lane aggressively and trade heavily in the early game, e.g. Janna and Renata. The other choices are more engage heavy supports like Rakan or the classic combo of Lucian/Braum. But you can pick him with the most engage supports as his early all-in is hard to match.

His biggest problem in lane is his short-range, so if you cannot all in your opponent, you are susceptible to getting poked out. ADCs like Miss Fortune or Ashe and mage supports can be hard to play against; so we wouldn’t recommend picking Lucian into these lanes.

This is the most common Lucian build you can go, Galeforce is a great item as it lets you redirect your ulti and gives you another dash. Before The Collector became meta, it was common to go Essence Reaver for mana and Sheen procs and you still can do it. And if you are facing a more tanky team, Kraken Slayer is still an option.

Kog’Maw

If you have been watching Doublelift play in the Champions Queue, you probably saw what this Void monster can do on the Rift. After the durability update, Kog’Maw became one of the better ADCs and the nerfs in 12.11 isn’t big enough to take him down. With the %max Health damage on his Bio-Arcane Barrage (W) and Lethal Tempo, Kog’Maw can melt through people even with their newfound tankiness.

He can sometimes struggle against poke in lane so if you see enemy-picking champs like Ashe or Senna you should think twice about Kog. Also, once again supporting mages can make his life very hard as getting zoned from creeps as a scaling ADC is not the best feeling in the world.

Out of lane you may have problems against longer-range champions like Victor or a scaled Kayle, but once you stack your Lethal Tempo your range can match them pretty well. And if you see the enemy pick two tanks, Kog’Maw becomes one of the best picks in the game.

When looking to pair him with a support, your best chances are going with enchanters. Of course, Kog/Lulu is a tried and true pairing and it is as strong as it has always been. Still, you can go with other ones like Janna or Morgana. Our pocket pick is Renata, whose Bailout (W) gives an immense amount of movement speed and attack speed when chasing down enemies. And her revive is more useful for Kog’Maw than most, as it gives him more time to stack Lethal Tempo and reduces his time-to-kill.

As you can see, most current Kog’Maw builds do not include a Mythic first, second, or even third. Guinsoo’s is a must for its interaction with your W, and Runaan’s has a great two-item power spike just when team fights start. After these two, you can either start building more tanky to stay alive as your W damage is enough. If you want to go for a Mythic item anyway, we recommend Shieldbow as it keeps you alive in case you get dove during fights.

Senna

Season 12 Senna up until now saw most of her time on Rift as a support. She was always oppressive in lane, and her Locket build was very popular a couple of months ago. But in the Patch, 12.11 Riot buffed her soul drop rate from 2.777% to 8.333% when she kills a minion, which makes her farming role a lot stronger.

8% may seem low still, but keep in mind that ADC Senna will get gold from the minions and will be equal in items. The stats from souls are just on top of it. And with the free crit chance, she can opt into early lethality without compromising her late game.

This is the current optimal build as proccing Eclipse is quite easy with her auto-Q combo and Manamune gives her both damage and satisfies her mana needs. RFC is great as it adds to her already long-range. After these three you can optimize your build according to the game but going for crit items is the best. Our other recommendations are Infinity Edge and Mortal Reminder.

When it comes to Senna’s bot lane partners, people always think outside the box but remember, those are viable when Senna doesn’t farm. The only exception is Tahm Kench as the frog is already viable as a support and his synergy with Senna doesn’t rely on him farming. Other than that, Thresh is also a good option to keep her out of trouble while also providing opportunities for catching people out.

Senna doesn’t get played with too many engage supports other than that, mainly enchanters. Janna and Renata are great options you can go with. But in our opinion, her best pairing is with Soraka. This lane gives you high harassment and high sustain in the lane, Soraka can heal Senna and Senna can heal back, and you can easily push people out.

AP Carries

Then there are the not-Attack-Damage champions. AP champions aren’t strangers in the bot lane as the likes of Syndra or Ziggs were meta at some point or another. Currently, there are some picks you can use that have high winrates and are very strong in the duo lane.

The easiest and maybe the most powerful of these picks is Veigar. The Yordle Lord can dominate bot lane if pivoted right. He is a stacking champ, so he doesn’t care too much that he loses EXP in a duo lane and he can just farm stacks and scale. This doesn’t mean you have to play PvE either, as after getting your ultimate you have a significant kill threat with your ultimate and your Event Horizon (E).

The other AP pick in bot lane is Karthus, who’s been getting played there for almost the whole season. Even before his buffs when he saw a little return to the jungle, he was a menace in the bot lane. While the EXP is nice, Karthus mostly cares about getting gold and eventually AP so that his ult and Lay Waste (Q) can hit hard. Our recommendation is to try Karthus with heavy crowd control champs like Leona and your all-in potential will surprise you.