Why Doran's Shield is Sometimes OK on ADC



Tue 11th Feb 2014 - 9:04am

"Anything but ADC please," you say at the beginning of champ select. But you're last pick, and no one else feels confident in their ADC play, so you're forced onto the role. "Just try to play safe, and we'll carry you," your team says. They all got their first choice of roles, so you should be fine, as long as you don't do TOO badly early on. What should you do?

First of all, pick the champion that you're the most comfortable fighting with, without worrying too much about matchup. Nearly every botlane matchup can go either way depending on jungle pressure and support play/champion choice. The things you need to be able to do, in decreasing order of importance are:

- Don't die to ganks or enemy support engages
- Keep up in experience
- Follow up on your jungler's ganks
- Be able to initiate with your support (ideally your support will play to your style if you're not comfortable on ADC)
- Keep your tower from falling too early
- Keep up in CS
- Trade effectively with the enemy ADC/support

Of course, if you're a strong ADC player, these priorities will shift a bit, but we're assuming that you don't feel comfortable in this role and are just trying to do the best you can.

The thing that I want to focus on in this article is that you can start Doran's Shield and it will be ok!


Let's compare Doran's Shield and Doran's Blade.

+100 HP
+10 HP/5
Block 8 Damage from champion autoattacks

+80 HP
+3 HP onhit
+8 AD

On first glance, Doran's Blade is by far the superior choice on ADC because you get extra AD. But if you're on the losing side of trades, and you're sometimes zoned from the wave, the Shield will actually help you out a lot!

First of all, note that you need to autoattack 3 times per 5 seconds to get the same amount of sustain from Doran's Blade as you get from Doran's Shield (Blade gives you 3 HP on hit, and your 4% lifesteal in runes will give you an extra 0.32 HP due to the extra 8 AD, so it's almost exactly 3 autoattacks per 5 seconds).

Giving a somewhat generous AA speed of .67-.8, you need to be autoattacking at least 75%-80% of the time to get equivalent sustain from the Doran's Blade as you get from the Shield. Of course, when you get a Vamp Scepter, you'll get a bit more sustain from the Blade, but on the other hand, the longer the lane/game goes, the less important your choice of Doran's Shield vs Doran's Blade will be.

Autoattacking that much is definitely something that you can do if trying to shove the lane/actively trading, but it is NOT something you will be able to sustain if you're a weak ADC player. So in terms of sustain, DShield will be better. Of course the 100 HP vs 80 HP will help you survive early all-ins better.

And finally, compare blocking 8 damage vs +8 AD. If exchanging 1 for 1 autoattacks with your opponent, the Doran's Shield passive will benefit you more than the 8 AD would because your 8 AD is mitigated by your opponent's armor. If you're landing free autoattacks on your opponent, or you're the aggressor, then again of course the Doran's Blade is better, but again we're working under the assumption that you're not going to be able to do that well in lane. So the only real downside to starting Doran's Shield is that it will be harder for you to lasthit.

The last-hitting is mostly going to be a problem under tower. Having 9 AD reds and one AD quint in addition to Doran's Blade is a sort of "sweet spot" in terms of being able to easily get farm under turret, but if your support helps you out--and you can probably count on some help because he was more comfortable on support than ADC--it shoudn't be too bad. And remember, getting CS is somewhat low on your list of priorities! You're just trying to do the best you can in an off-role.

So, the next time you have to ADC in your ranked game when you really don't know how to ADC, consider starting Doran's Shield! Of course you shouldn't use this as an excuse to not learn all the roles, but this might help you survive laning a bit better. :)