The State of Season 3 AD Carries
Mon 29th Apr 2013 - 5:08pm
Since the beginning of Season 3, the AD Carry has been hotly protested in light of the changes to the melee brusiers of the game suddenly starting to shine. With so many champions becoming strong that have gap-closers, crowd control, and hefty amounts of damage, AD Carry champions are sometimes forced to be defensive and afraid to get into fights, knowing that the entire enemy team could jump on them with (almost) no chance of stopping it.
Along with this, the amount of damage that AD Carries normally dealt has been drastically reduced due to straight health becoming the stat of tanks over armor, and with some tank items like Sunfire Cape giving both health and armor, brusers and assassins are much more resistant to damage and as shown, the usual tank shredding items like Black Cleaver and Last Whisper are becoming less effective.
The game has shifted slightly to help this, with the addition of the new Madred's Bloodrazor in Blade of the Ruined King, but is this really enough to help the most vulnerable role in the game do what it's meant to do? I say yes, but the name of the game has drastically changed for those who play the AD Carry position.
Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to Season 2. Back then, the holy trinity of AD Carries was Corki, Ezreal and Graves, but those champions have suddenly fallen off due to different reasons. May it be mana costs, damage outputs, or lower range, the Season 3 AD Carry “meta” has shifted to high-damage and Area of Effect (AoE) damage or crowd control. Whereas Season 2 was more about mobility in your AD choices, Season 3 seems to have shifted to being able to sustain yourself while either stopping the enemy brusiers and assassins from getting to you, either through Crowd Control or taking them down before they even get to you. However, even high damage or Area of Effect ultimates can't always save you, due to variables that may even be out of your control.
Which now brings us to the new itemization for AD Carries. Even at the beginning of the game, you see changes to the way things are done. During Season Two, the standard starting items would be Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions, but that start rarely occurs anymore. With changes to both the Longsword (which now builds into the Vampiric Scepter), and Dorans Blade (which now give back 5 HP on each basic attack), the standard is now a Longsword with 2 Health Potions, or a Doran's Blade, depending on your preference.
This change by itself allowed for a much different type of laning phase for the AD Carry, as dodging skillshots from an Ezreal, Caitlyn, etc. now becomes that much harder because you don't always have the speed to keep up. Being a lane bully was now given that extra boost because landing your skills became an easier process.
As the game moves on, the standard items will always come into play, but at which times they come into play is contested. Do I start with a Bloodthirster or should I get the Infinity Edge? Do I build a Phantom Dancer or a Statikk Shiv for Attack Speed? When does Last Whisper come into play? The standards of the AD Carry build are still needed, but a lot more consideration has to be given to when these items are picked up.
If you're ahead, you almost always go for the Infinity Edge for extra damage. If you get behind or teamfights are coming, you can get the Bloodthirster for extra sustainability and damage. On attack speed, it's relevant to know if you need to push and take objectives, or again, if you're working towards teamfighting. If the enemy team is rushing to get armor, Last Whisper may need to be picked up as a 2nd item instead of later in your build. In Season 2, this was relatively obsolete, you always built your damage item, followed by attack speed, followed by a Last Whisper, followed by your Guardian Angel. This change has allowed for a lot of deviation even in the standard items of an AD Carry, and we have not yet even touched on the new items for Season 3.
Season 3 added a lot to the arsenal of the AD Carry, the biggest one being Blade of The Ruined King, which has shown to be a tank buster with its passive. Including this along with your big damage item not only gives you the ability to deal big damage in the later parts of the game through auto-attacking, but it also gives a fairly significant amount of sustainability in fights.
Another major addition has been the Statikk Shiv, essentially the second iteration of Ionic Spark with similar passives, but taking out the health person for Critical Hit chance and additional movement speed. While these two are the most prevalent of the new items, but others such as Runaan's Hurricane, Zephyr, and Mercurial Scimitar have allowed for many different item builds as the game has gone on, and also gives more options to fill in more scenarios, allowing for greater customization of the game as an AD Carry.
Throughout the series, I'll be looking at each AD Carry individually and how they fit into the new Season 3 Meta-game, and what types of compositions, items, and playstyles they fit into with greatest efficiency. As Season 3 continues to roll along, hopefully with balance changes and new items coming through, other AD Carries will come back into favor and give every champion in this role a chance to shine. Next time, I look towards Caitlyn, the Sherriff of Piltover, to show how long range and raw power has become a major factor in League of Legends.