Season 11: The Full AD Carry Itemization Guide
Thu 4th Feb 2021 - 10:05pm
After years of building Infinity Edge first straight into a Zeal item, the major overhaul of the League of Legends's ADC items can seem daunting at first. After all, it's the first time Riot has made this big a change to the item store since the release of the game. There are too many ADC items to go over all of them in this one article, so I'll just be going over some of the more important ones for most builds. Hopefully, with this guide, you'll have a better grasp of what you want to build in your future games.
With the introduction of Mythic items, the traditional ADC build has basically been thrown out the window. With how powerful these Mythics are, it's necessary to build them first if not second item. Since you can only build one Mythic per game, it's important to buy the right one to get your build path off to a good start.
Seen as the weakest ADC Mythic item on release, Galeforce is now seeing a huge surge in popularity due to buffs and people starting to better understand its uses. While it's popularity might change over the next few patches, currently, it's seen as the strongest Mythic for many ADCs. This is due to its active, Cloudburst, which acts as both an escape tool and an execute in situations where normally your opponent would live with a sliver of health.
Since Cloudburst deals more damage to lower health enemies, it can be used as an execute during fights if the enemy is almost dead.
The best time to build this item would be if you're playing an ADC with little to no mobility (ie. Miss Fortune), and you're playing against a champion such as Leona that has strong CC that usually requires flash to dodge. With Galeforce, you don't have to worry about staying out of range of Leona ultimate the entire fight if your flash is down, as you can just cloudburst out of harms' way.
Sometimes times Galeforce won't be the best option for a Mythic item, but if you're unsure of what to build, it's a safe bet. Kraken Slayer and Immortal Shieldbow are both useful but are often strongest against certain team comps, such as Tanks or Assassins. For example, if you're unsure if you need Kraken Slayer's extra damage or the survivability of Shieldbow, Galeforce acts as a sort of middle ground between damage and utility.
Kraken Slayer vs. Immortal Shieldbow
If you're playing an ADC that doesn't benefit much from Galeforce's active, your two options left are going to be Kraken Slayer or Immortal Shieldbow.
These items' strength is likely going to be adjusted over the next few patches, yet for the most part, we can already tell which scenarios you're going to be wanting to build each one. The main distinction between Kraken Slayer and Immortal Shieldbow is that the ladder sacrifices a bit of damage for more sustain and survivability.
Kraken Slayer is the way to go if you feel like your main objective for the game is to deal as much damage as you can, and the enemy team doesn't have many options to dive you in the backline. The item's passive is Bring it Down, which makes every third auto attack deal bonus percentage true damage, which means that it deals 45% of your Bonus AD as damage that can't be weakened by armor. This passive makes this item especially potent against tanks, which seem to be very common this season with how strong their items are.
Kraken Slayer is the best bang for your buck damage wise but provides no defense stats, making you a glass cannon.
An example of a character that should build Kraken Slayer would be Caitlyn, as her auto-attack range allows her to be safe in most team fights. Typically, by the time that an assassin or other character is on top of Caitlyn, she's dead with or without an extra shield.
Immortal Shieldbow's passive is at its strongest against assassins who rely on one-shotting you to win the fight.
The main philosophy behind building Immortal Shieldbow you're able to stay alive longer, via its 12% life steal and passive Lifeline that provides you with a several hundred health shield when you take damage that would take you below 30% health. For certain characters, being able to stay alive in close quarters is extremely helpful and allows you to stay in team fights and skirmishes much longer than if you build Kraken Slayer. By building this on ADCs such as Samira or Vayne, it allows you to take more aggressive positioning in fights without worrying about dying immediately if you get caught by an engage or flank.
It's up to you to decide which item will give you more value, as it can change game to game even if you're playing the same champ.
A build choice that has been growing in popularity over the past few weeks is the full lethality build with Eclipse as the Mythic item and Dark Harvest as the Keystone Mastery. Despite Dark Harvest receiving nerfs, it can still be powerful in games where another Keystone isn't needed. Eclipse provides AD, Omnivamp, and a large amount of lethality, making it deadly as soon as you complete the item. The passive, Ever Rising Moon, provides you with bonus damage and movement speed after hitting an enemy with two attacks or abilities.
This is the only Mythic Item that ADCs build that doesn't start with Nimbus Cloak, as it builds out of a Serrated Dirk instead. This provides extra straight damage early game.
The main ADCs this build works on is Jhin and Miss Fortune, as their abilities allow them to deal a huge amount of damage with only a few auto attacks. Both these champions are able to auto-attack and Q at nearly the same time, allowing them to proc Ever Rising Moon easily within skirmishes or team fights.
Since this is a Mythic Item, you can't build one of the other previously mentioned Mythics, meaning that you would be focusing your build around this item. Since this item's main stat boost is lethality rather than AD/ attack speed, the rest of your build would be focused around lethality, with items such as The Collector and Edge of Night. It's still common to build crit alongside the lethality in this build, which can be done by building a Zeal item fourth or fifth, with an Infinity Edge late game.
Not as strong as Mythic Items, Legendary Items make up the majority of your build, and each one serves a use depending on your champion and who you're playing against. Here are some examples of popular Legendary items that can make your build stronger and help you win games.
Infinity Edge has been the core item for most ADCs since about Season 4, and many people default to building it early every game. The main change from last season to this season is that instead of increasing your crit chance based on how much crit you already have, it increases your crit damage. This means that the earliest you should be buying this item is third, as it's passive won't be useful until you have 60% Crit-chance.
This item is still going to be extremely common for a while, as it makes your late-game damage output on crit builds much higher than if you don't buy it.
Seen as an alternative to Infinity Edge, Navori Quickblades is a great item on certain champions as a late-game build option. Its passive is Nimble Strikes, which shortens the cooldown of all non-ultimate abilities every time you critically strike an enemy. If you're playing a champion such as Lucian that benefits from having shorter ability cooldowns and is able to get a lot of auto-attacks off, this item can give you a huge power spike.
Due to Guinsoo's unique passive, Wrath, you can no longer critically strike if you build the item. This means that you can't build both this item and Navori Quickblades, as Quickblades only works if you can critically strike. Infinity Edge is also not a great pair with this item, as its passive is useless if you can't deal crits. Since these items are typically built on different champions, this shouldn't be too much of an issue. Since you can't crit with this item, it makes all of your autos deal a flat amount of bonus physical damage depending on your bonus crit chance from your other items.
The reason this item is so strong is that it has two powerful unique passives, which also includes the passive Seething Strike, which gives you phantom attacks that can trigger on-hit effects twice every third auto. These autos together make it so that champions that have a lot of on-hit damage deal an insanely high amount when this item is built.
Champions such as Kog-maw and Vayne are the best ADCs that utilize this item, as they're both able to get a lot of autos off every fight, which means the damage they get from Wrath is extremely high. Not only this, but both of their W abilities have a high amount of on-hit damage, which gets double the damage from Seething Strike.
Seen as the staple life steal item for ADCs, Bloodthirster now has a slightly different function than it held for the past few years. One of its main attractions is its passive Bloodbarrier, which provides you with a shield if you life steal from an enemy while at full health. This small shield along with the flat 20% life steal you get from completing the item makes your sustain much better, allows you to stay in lanes where you're getting bullied, and lets you survive team fights where you might get one-shot otherwise.
Bloodbarrier's shield is active at full health, making you a tankier target from the beginning of the fight.
Something new about this item from previous seasons is its 20% crit chance increase. This allows you to build this item in crit heavy builds without sacrificing getting a high crit chance for survivability. You can also pair this item with Immortal Shieldbow on champions such as Draven if your team already has a lot of damage, and your main goal is to just survive team fights and deal consistent damage.
The item rework has breathed new life into ADC build paths, which was feeling extremely stagnant over the past few seasons. While I couldn't cover all of the available items in this guide, I hope this gives you some ideas on what items to try out. Choose a couple of items I included here to base your build around and fill out your build with what's recommended or what feels right for the game that you're in!