Discussing ADC Strategies with DIG Arkkyl
Fri 4th Aug 2017 - 8:33am
As a rule, the ADC role tends to be the most volatile in Smite. It is the role most affected by drastic meta and item changes and its nuances have changed many times throughout Smite’s history. We asked our AD Carry Kenny 'Arkkyl' Kuska some questions to help put together this guide on some current ADC strategies and how best to adapt in this ever-changing role.
Right now, the ADC role is one of the most varied when it comes to strategies.
Arkkyl says “I am seeing a bunch of different map starts as well as a nice variety when it comes to players’ builds depending on their play style”. What this means is that there is not one single viable build and not one single viable start. This gives you the flexibility to play how you wish and gives you more chances to be competitive as you aren’t forced to play in a way you aren’t familiar with. The main deciding factors right now, especially in the early game, are how quickly you can clear wave and how easily you can push. With the requirements for success being so vague, if you can fulfil them, all the other aspects of the role are left up to you.
The one aspect of the role that is restrictive is the actual god picks themselves. As Arkkyl puts it, “it would be nice to see some new top tier meta picks this split”. A few gods that excel control the picking and banning phase right now, which means that even if your builds and starts are diverse, the gods you’ll be seeing in lane will be similar. The reason for this is that the ADC god pool contains groups of gods that are good at certain things. Therefore, when the meta satisfies their niches, these gods will be miles above their competition.
Recently, gods like Cernnunos have been dominating the role due to their proficiency at lane control
The role being more open now than before has led to a lot of people trying the role for the first time or really getting into it for the first time. With this many rookies, mistakes are unavoidable.
According to Arkkyl, the most common mistake is “letting their pride get the best of them from ahead. Instead of using a small lead to gain lane pressure, vision control and jungle timers, it is not uncommon to see someone throw their lead to a tower dive or be baited into overextending for an enemy gank”.
Playing from a lead is just as hard as playing from behind. Knowing your limits is something that is learned over time and many a game is lost by players overextending and thinking they are further ahead than they are. A good tactic is playing conservatively at all points until you understand how to play a lead. Stringing together multiple small pushes can be much more effective than one bigger one.
Objectives like the Gold Fury can be very attractive, but very often many small objectives can be more valuable
So, what is the best way to work through beginner’s mistakes in general? Too often, we blame our teams for things going badly or for losses.
Arkkyl says the best way to fix mistakes is “through feedback from a coach or just watching back your own replays and taking notice of where else you could have applied your pressure and used your advantage”.
While not everyone has access to a coach, recording your own gameplay is extremely easy. Watching through these recordings while you aren’t trying to focus on playing the game will allow you to see a lot more things than you could while playing. It will surprise you how many mistakes and misplays you will see in your own gameplay once you start watching it after the fact.
However, mistakes are also corrected with time. As Arkkyl says, “over time, as you start to develop a higher understanding of the game, it will begin to come more naturally”. The more you learn and read guides like this one, the more educated you will become and the more you will be able to identify mistakes and strategies yourself.
So, you’ve got a hang of laning – farming, pushing, boxing and all that but the ADC role is so much more than that.
Arkkyl says that one of the big things ADC’s don’t think about is “to think outside of your lane. So try to keep track of jungle timers, gain timers you don't have, and focus on communicating both your and your opposition ADC's rotations”. Thinking outside your lane is an important skill for all roles, but it is most often underutilized by the ADC.
Due to the nature of the role and how long you are left alone, it’s easy to think that every ADC is an island. However, the mark of a truly successful ADC is one that understands that even when laning alone they are doing something for the team. Communication being the biggest, but as Arkkyl mentioned, jungle timers are also extremely important, especially in the early and mid-game.
Jungle timers are extremely valuable to your team. Knowing when the jungle respawns is extremely important to controlling the early game.
So now that you’re thinking outside your lane when do you move to make a physical impact outside your lane? Rotation is a topic that is vastly misunderstood by most mid-level ADCs. While most understand what a rotation is, that being you moving across the map to help your team with a fight or an objective, the timing and level of commitment is very often not understood and therefore we see a lot of ADCs either over committing to their rotations or rotating too early or too late.
Arkkyl says “primarily you want to rotate whenever you have lane pressure to either gank or force an objective, invade, or planned engagement”. The key phrase here is “whenever you have lane pressure”. Rotating in a lane that’s evenly balanced basically gives your opponent the lane for free. Rotating is done only when your opponent is on their back foot.
A good way to check whether you should rotate is by looking at this imaginary line across the map. If you're across it, you should consider rotation. If you aren't, rotation shouldn't be on your mind.
Another note about timing is when specifically, to start leaving your lane. Too often, ADCs leave lane to rotate during a fight, which means they arrive at the fight near its end, so their potential for impact is significantly reduced. Being in full communication with your team will mean they can tell you when fights are about to start, so you can start rotating before a fight starts. This way you arrive before the fight starts, or at least as it starts. The time taken to rotate is often underestimated by newer ADCs, it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds to rotate to fights depending on their location on the map. Seeing as fights in Smite can be over in the space of 5 seconds, this time that is wasted travelling is significant. Giving yourself adequate time to move across the map is extremely important to ensuring your rotations are successful.
A pathing like this to the midlane can take you 5-10 seconds, by which time the fight could already be decided if you rotate as it starts.
Commitment is another significant consideration when thinking about rotations. How much should you use? Should you use more than your opponent to secure the victory?
Arkkyl’s advice is “your commitment to your rotation should depend on whether you will receive a greater gain than that of your opposition”.
Committing more than your opponent when your gain will be less than theirs is pointless. If you know that your gain will be less, you should commit the bare minimum, so that you still have some assets for fights later. However, even if your gain is greater than your opponents, committing too much could open you up to losing retaliatory fights later, so your commitments should be balanced to ensure you always have some assets at your disposal.
An ability like Hou Yi's ultimate Sunbreaker is a huge asset, so using it should be very premediated.
Rotations are all well and good, but at some point, you should join your team and actively participate in teamfights. A common misconception is that this should happen as late as possible to allow you to reach full build and as close to level 20 as possible.
According to Arkkyl, “The earlier an ADC can rotate to skirmishes or team fights the better. There is no specific level, but if you are having success in your lane, then you should definitely be looking for an unexpected rotation into a team fight so that you can force an uneven fight in your favor and potentially snowball a game”.
The game of Smite right now is such that one won late-game teamfight can lead to your team winning the game entirely. Therefore, picking your time to jump in is important as the surprise of your presence can swing the fight and can lead to you and your team capturing enough objectives to gain an insurmountable lead.
As an ADC, you usually form a large portion of your team’s damage in the late-game. Therefore, who you decide to focus on can be a big factor to winning teamfights.
Arkkyl’s advice about this is “targeting tends to change dependent on both sides’ team compositions and how they are being played. It is ideal if possible to be focusing on your enemies’ backline. At times though it can be beneficial to target frontline, especially as the game goes on and your build becomes stronger and stronger”. ADCs have the strongest builds in the game when it gets to the later phases and while this can be used to explode squishies, it can also be utilized to kill the enemy’s frontline very quickly, leaving the enemy backline exposed to your team’s other sources of damage.
Even when the game enters the teamfight phase, one of your main jobs is to destroy towers and phoenixes. Up until recently, this was simple, but the changes to the health of tier two towers and the health at which phoenixes respawn at could change things quite drastically. One of the biggest changes is that split pushing will lose its value, due to the higher health phoenixes will respawn at.
The knock-on effect of this will be “that it may become a lot more valuable and efficient to rotate to fights more often than split pushing”, according to Arkkyl. This will be a welcome change, as it allows you to contribute to fights more, but the true impacts of this change are yet to be seen, so a full report of the impact should be formed in the coming weeks.
I hope these strategies prove useful for you and help improve your ADC game. While the role is volatile and changes, a lot of the tips discussed here are fairly general so they can be applied even if the meta changes. Whatever the case, remember to have fun!
Thank you to Arkkyl for the valuable information that helped make this guide possible!