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Purifying The Mid Lane: AD Lucian Mid

Kata

Kata

Fri 4th Aug 2017 - 8:15am

I love the mid lane. I live for the 1v1s. I like that trading can quickly devolve into all-ins and how tight you have to play in trades. I like that I have a great deal of influence all over the map. Everything about playing mid is fun to me. That being said, I'll admit I've been playing a lot of jungle as of late because of how much easier it is for me to give advantages to every member of my team. Sometimes when you're desperate to climb, you have to spoon feed people. When I play jungle, because I'm a mid main, I do have the tendency to judge my mid laner a little bit harsher than other lanes, since mid is my first love. But, lately there's been a certain trend that's been irking me. There has been an enormous rise in the number of Lucian mid players I've had in my games because of LCS, and not good Lucian mid players either. For that very reason, I'm writing this piece. If any of the Lucian mids who inted my games read this, I have a message for you. You have no excuse for building poorly and picking him into horrible matchups now, so cut that weak stuff out. 

I really needed to get that off my chest. To be fair, I love Lucian mid, and I played him for fun occasionally before he was picked up as a niche LCS pick. He's one of the 2 ADs in the game that I don't play like a complete potato. He's got great burst damage and mobility, is a strong duelist, and rewards tight play and mechanical prowess. These are all good qualities in champions that you would look to have in solo lanes. Lucian mid rose to popularity this season, after Team WE's mid laner "Xiye", picked Lucian mid as a rogue counter pick to SKT T1 Faker's Orianna pick. Xiye dominated laning phase, getting first blood onto Faker, and eventually snowballed the game into a win for WE. So if you too have bad Lucian players in your game, be sure to tweet Xiye and thank him for the loss of LP. Jokes aside, Lucian mid takes a considerable amount of skill and matchup knowledge to pull off, so if you're going to play him, play him right. 


Lucian clapping Faker

Matchups

I normally don't believe in making matchup spectrums for champ guides. I believe, with the exception of absolute hard counters, that bad matchups don't matter as much as players make it out to. If you learn your own limitations and what to play around in bad matchups, I think it makes you a better overall player. Lucian, however, is the exception to that rule. His matchups are incredibly polarizing. If he has a good matchup, it's amazing how easy it is to snowball off of lane phase. If the matchup is bad, have fun playing grey screen simulator. Lucian is a great pick into melee casters like Kassadin or Katarina. He's also great into champs like Orianna that have a long cooldown poke that you can E around. Champs that give him trouble are ones that you can't abuse Lucian's strong lvl 2 and lvl 3 all-ins against. Champs that can farm safely away from Lucian's mid-range autos like Xerath and Lux are his worst nightmare. Pick Lucian into matchups where you can abuse his mobility and strong all-in potential. 

Runes and Masteries


Standard Lucian Runes

For runes, I take a pretty close to standard ADC page. I take attack damage marks, scaling health seals, 6 scaling CDR glyphs and 3 magic resist glyphs, and attack speed quints. I've found this to be the most optimal rune set up on Lucian and don't stray very far from it. The only thing I'll change on occasion is if I play against an AD caster like Zed or Talon. If I do, I replace the scaling health seals with armor seals. 


My Preferred Lucian Masteries

These are the standard masteries I take mid lane on Lucian. A lot of mid laners will take Feast, Natural Talent, and Double Edged Sword, but I think specifically on Lucian, this setup is better. Lucian is generally rushing a Blade of the Ruined King mid lane first item. The long cool down on Feast kind of becomes redundant when you're building into lifesteal immediately anyway. Vampirism makes laning much easier to get through, and will keep you healthy. Lastly, I like Battle Trance because of Lucian's play pattern. Especially in the early game, you'll be looking for extended skirmishes rather than point blank all-ins. Battle Trance is much more useful in those instances. 

Skill Order


Lucian Mid Skill Order

Max Q first. This is going to be your primary source of poke and trades. Next take E for the mobility and ability to reposition in trades/fights. Then, round it out by taking a point in W. Some players like to take another point in Q over a first point in W at level 3 for the extra Q damage. I prefer taking W so that I have an extra skill to proc my passive to get extra auto attacks in, as well as having the movement speed from W to chase down for all-ins. Prioritize R > Q > E > W.

Summoner's Spells

Flash is a must have, but your second summoner spell is pretty up to what you want or what the matchup calls for. I personally prefer Exhaust since your trades and all-ins will generally be a bit scrappier than a standard assassin or burst mage. Exhaust also helps you with running people down to get into auto range for that last bit of damage after you burst them. A lot of people opt into taking Heal as it's a standard ADC summoner spell to take. The speed buff helps you kite and gets out of precarious situations. Cleanse is also a great alternative into CC heavy matchups like Cassiopeia, Ahri, or Elise. If you're feeling extra spicy, take Ignite if you want to let your lane opponent know who's alpha. I suggest only taking this into matchups you can abuse like Orianna or Kassadin. 

Build

Depending on the lane you have 2 starting build paths. Those options are Doran's Blade and potion or Long Sword and 2 potions. I almost always opt into Long Sword and 2 potions because it builds directly into either Hexdrinker or Bilgewater Cutlass which is super gold efficient. Doran's Blade and 1 pot is generally reserved for lanes against champs like Xerath who can sit back, wave clear, and poke me out of lane. The early sustain is generally better in those situations. 

On first back, I hopefully have enough for a Bilgewater Cutlass. If I'm struggling in lane against an AP laner, I'll rush Hexdrinker instead. Depending on how bad the lane is going, I'll either then finish the Hexdrinker into Maw of Malmortius, or keep Hexdrinker for the shield passive and then rush Blade of the Ruined King. After blade, I rush a Black Cleaver, upgraded boots, and a Phantom Dancer. These three items make up the core of your build. Anything after that is really up to you. Duskblade, Rapid Firecannon, Essence Reaver, Death's Dance, and Guardian Angel are all good items to round out the build. 

Typical Build Path

Lane Phase

In lane phase, you're looking to abuse your level 2 and level 3 power spikes. Get poke damage in with your Q through minion waves, and use E to juke enemy skill shots. A common thing good Lucian players will do is to walk up to the enemy champion to bait out skill shot CC like Lux Q or Ahri charm. When they fire it, just E around it and then all-in them since a large portion of their damage is gone and your autos are more meaningful. 

Mid/Late Game

Lucian excels at being a duelist in 1v1 and even 1v2 situations. Find a side lane and start pushing like there's no tomorrow. Buy wards, and set up split push vision to protect yourself. If you aren't given the opportunity to play the split push game and group with your team, Lucian plays like an ADC/assassin hybrid. When a team fight breaks out, auto whatever you can to DPS. Be patient, wait for an opening, and if you can, immediately full combo the enemy carries. The positive side to playing Lucian is that he provides great steady DPS but can also switch gears and 100-0 a squishy.

Tricks

You can tell the difference between a good Lucian and a bad Lucian based on how well they play him mechanically. Lucian has a lot of cool animation cancels that he can perform to maximize his DPS by taking advantage of his passive and attack frames. By weaving his skills while the double autos from his passive are still midair, he can put out an immense amount of damage quickly. 

A common level 1 combo is to auto attack, and while the auto attack is flying through the air, perform your Q. Midway through the Q animation, cancel it by inputting a move command and auto attacking with your passive again. 

Other common animation cancels revolve around using your E to animation cancel. The most important combo there is to get down is your double E combo. The way Lucian's dash E works is that every time you deal damage with your passive you get 2 seconds reduced off your E cooldown. On champions, one double AA (auto attack) from his passive will reduce the cooldown by 4 seconds. At 40% CDR, which you should always be getting on Lucian, your E cooldown is 8.4 seconds. This means in one combo, you should be able to get two dashes in to reposition and to abuse as an extra skill to proc your passive and get more damage in. The easiest way to do this is to E - AA - Q - AA - E - A. This combo requires zero animation cancelling but, if done with animation cancelling, feels incredibly smooth, and the damage output is insane. A slicker combo, however, is to have a passive proc ready to go by using your W. AA and then dash E before the first AA lands. This will put your E on cooldown. When the double AA from your W lands it will reduce the cooldown of your E by 4 seconds. The initial dash will also refresh your passive and when you auto again, this should reduce your cooldown on your E by another 4 seconds. This means you should essentially be able to dash twice in a row.

It's so pretty

It's also important to note that using your E dash animation at full range slows down your DPS quite a bit. If you're just trying to maximize DPS, you can cast E with your cursor on yourself to do a shorter range dash which cuts down on the animation time allowing you to proc your passive AA faster. A full combo with all skills and ulti will look something like this.


Even prettier

Lastly, there are two useful tools that I'd like to point out. When using W, you can use it to give you vision of brush instead of face checking bushes. Also, a good team fighting skill to have is W - R combo. When hitting a target marked with Lucian's W, Lucian gains movement speed. In team fight scenarios where you're getting engaged on, opening with W and then immediately casting R into a group of people gives you movement speed with every bullet you hit with your R. The boost in movement speed is very helpful in kiting back and can mean the difference between life and death. 

Just in the course of writing this, I realized how much about Lucian I could improve on. Truthfully, playing Lucian for the purposes of writing this article was the most fun I've had in a long time. That being said, he has an incredibly high skill cap, and without the ability to play him at his max potential, he provides zero utility to a team comp. I understand the desire to pick up popular LCS picks, but Lucian requires a lot of patience and a lot of practice to play effectively. Hopefully this piece gave you the inspiration and a good starting point to start playing Lucian mid the right way!

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