How to Properly Play the Hypercarry Role Feat. Team Dignitas Altec
Fri 6th Oct 2017 - 9:44am
For the past few weeks and into the Worlds play-in stages, the meta has gradually shifted to highlight the strengths of late game hypercarries in the ADC position. Tristana and Kog’Maw have been incredibly popular late game carries and Xayah has been gaining popularity as well. So how do you properly play the hypercarry role in solo queue?
In this article, we’ll ask Team Dignitas ADC Johnny “Altec” Ru about properly playing the hypercarry role.
Are Hypercarry ADCs even worth playing in solo queue?
The first question to ask is whether or not playing a hypercarry in solo queue is viable or not. If we look at the win rates in solo queue, we can see that currently the best performing ADC is Twitch sitting at about a 53% win rate. But the popular hypercarry champions including Tristana and Kog’Maw are not far behind sitting above a 50% win rate.
Image taken from Lolalytics.com
But these win rates aren’t quite conclusive. No particular champion is sitting at an extraordinarily high win rate like Janna (who at one point was about 58%).
The other thing to think about is team composition. We generally think of “protect the ADC” compositions, ones where the team is designed to have a strong frontline and lots of peel for the ADC, to be very team oriented compositions. Take a look at these two team compositions from Team Dignitas in the Quarterfinals against Cloud 9.
As you can see, Team Dignitas’ team composition had a beefy frontline in Maokai, Nunu and Alistar. Maokai is an all-around great tank with lots of defensive stats and great CC. The benefits of Nunu are talked about in-depth in this article but for now, it is safe to say that the tank stats as well as the attack speed buffs are useful in a protect the ADC style team comp. On top of this, Team Dignitas picked supports who can peel. Janna is notorious for her great peeling as well as her AD buffing shield. Alistar is seen as a great engage support with his Headbutt + Pulverize combo but he can also peel effectively with those two skills. This makes for an all-around great composition which allows the AD carry, Altec’s Sivir and Twitch, to shine and safely deal damage.
But there is no guarantee that such a perfectly designed team composition will be picked in Solo Queue. Even so, Altec still prefers picking strong scaling AD carries.
So is it even worth playing them in solo queue?
Altec: Personally I like playing champions that scale to late game in solo queue. Team composition or not, I think its viable to play those champions. Having a good team composition makes playing those champions a lot easier. Xayah, Kalista, Tristana, Kog'Maw are probably the strongest right now. Their scaling potential is really high, as well as having high DPS and strong laning phase. Sivir is a good counterpick champion, but she does not fit well into the meta right now.
It seems then that while the perfect team composition might not crystallize in solo queue, it’s still safe to play these ADCs. Just try and get through the laning phase and to the point where you can scale up and deal massive damage.
Positioning and Target Selection
So how do you properly play the hypercarry? There are two basic goals when playing a hypercarry: deal as much damage as possible and stay alive as long as possible. Of course, these two goals are interwoven. Simply staying alive and doing no damage isn’t useful, while dealing a lot of damage quickly and dying immediately after isn’t ideal either. Hypercarry ADCs, who usually don’t have too much utility like Ashe or Varus, then need to be especially careful about their positioning.
So how do you properly position?
Altec: If the team composition doesn't have healers and buffers, just play around your tank. If the team composition is having healers and buffing up the ADC, then yes it is alright to play really aggressive and be the frontline of the team.
Altec has given us two different frames to think about ADC positioning. The first is without healers and buffers like Janna, Soraka, or Lulu. In these situations, the correct positioning is behind the tank line. Look at this teamfight from the same C9 series. Altec is playing Twitch who boasts enormous range and tons of DPS. Twitch is generally seen as a flanker, but in this team fight, we can see how far back Altec is positioned. He is clearly positioned behind his tanks of Maokai, Nunu and Alistar. He is able to get off lots of damage while at the same time staying alive.
So without a shielding and healing support, try and stay behind the tank line.
But Altec gives us another interesting outlook on positioning. This is with the support of healers and buffers. On top of heals and shields, Ardent Censer allowed the ADCs to gain life back with every auto attack without building any life steal items. The prominence of Guinsoo’s Rageblade as the first item on Kog’Maw is largely due to this fact (it is important to note however that this was changed in patch 7.19).
With these kinds of supports, Altec claims that hypercarries can be a lot more aggressive and even play frontline. If we look at this particular fight, we can see that even though Ssumday’s Maokai is low on health, Altec knows he can play aggressively with support from Janna's shields and Nunu's attack speed buff. In fact, Altec even Flashes forward in order to deal even more damage.
Altec's positioning is much closer to the fight
So with the new shield/heal meta, hypercarry ADCs can play more aggressively. Of course, even when playing frontline with shields and buffs, its important to always remember that the goal is to do the most amount of damage while staying alive.
The final part of playing a hypercarry is about target selection. There is the age-old platitude regarding ADCs: hit whoever is closest. But is this always true? Is it always correct to hit the closest target?
Altec: It’s all situational. If they give you range to auto then take it. Ideally you want to hit the closest target unless their carries give you range, then at that point you should focus the carries. Having Flash can change the way you play fights as well, usually being able to play a lot more aggressive and making flashy plays.
Again there is two things think about when determining who to attack. Altec seems to agree that in general, it is correct to hit the closest target. However, it is also correct to hit the opposing carries if they “give you range” or come close enough for you to do so. So perhaps the advice of “hit whoever is closest” needs to be slightly updated—hit the closest target but if there are high priority targets in range, prioritize them over the tanks.
This advice is perhaps why Altec thinks that Sivir doesn’t fit the meta quite well. Tristana, Xayah with her Q and Twitch all boast ways to increase their range as well as having generally higher base auto attack ranges. However, Sivir’s auto attack range is quite low at 500. Even the new Janna has an auto attack range of 550! This means that when Sivir is trying to do damage, she has to come closer than other ADCs. Following Altec’s advice, this means that the Hypercarries will target her easily.
In sum, hypercarries need to be quite aware about the way their team composition works, how to position based on the composition, and who to target. Try and think about whether or not your team can buff or heal you in anyway, and try and keep an eye out for opportunities to damage the opposing carries all while staying alive.
Of course, playing a hypercarry is very mechanically intensive. Being able to kite and move around the fight while dealing damage is crucial to playing the role effectively.
Altec leaves us with one tip about practicing the hypercarry role:
Altec: The best place to practice kiting is just in solo queue. The more someone plays teamfights, the better their kiting skills will get.
So get out there and play more solo queue!