Coaching to gold: How to play AD carry

The only position in League of Legends with the “carry” title imbued in it, the bot lane AD carry is one of the highest pressure positions. More often than not, solo queue revolves around the bottom lane, and for good reason. Less coordinated games often go later than they’re supposed to, meaning that the ranged carry in question has a lot more time to scale up.

Accordingly, people often tunnel vision onto the AD carry as a way of ensuring success, even in times where they aren’t all that powerful. All this boils down to one thing, which is that the AD carry is a position which demands attention from everyone else, and as a result is not for the faint of heart.

But Gabe, I don’t feel comfortable being the main “carry”

That’s okay! Not everyone can have the skills to match Gao “WeiXiao” Xuecheng on Vayne, Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon on Ezreal, or Bae “Bang” Jun-sik on Lucian. If constantly dancing on the thin line between life and death is something that you’re not comfortable with, there are AD carries whose utility allows them to shine at earlier parts of the game and contribute to the team’s kills a lot earlier. Picks such as Ashe and Varus have utility such as slows, wave clear and hard crowd control. They also have quite a bit of damage on their own and fairly safe laning phases despite the lack of a mobility spell.

Another idea is to pick Ziggs if you’re more comfortable with mages, and use that as a transition point to the AD carry position. This also helps bring balance to low Elo team compositions, as more often than not, they will be stacked with attack damage from the likes of Yasuo, Lee Sin, Darius and Zed. You’ll feel more impactful against armor stacking as you are primarily magic damage, and you’ll put a lot of pressure on the enemy bot lane as you push them in and threaten a tower with your wave clear and bombs. You also have great kill pressure.

Laning with a teammate

Bottom lane is unique in that you are laning with a partner, something that you won’t encounter in mid or top lane (unless your jungler sets up a tent and camps). With that in mind, it’s really important that you acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of the champion you are laning with. Are they someone who pokes people out, a tank hoping to go in and try to get kills, or a support who wants to be patient until they have access to better spells before fighting? Do they have exhaust or ignite (if they have ignite, it’s much easier to fully commit to fighting in lane instead of just surviving)?

Another aspect is constant communication. Though voice chat doesn’t exist in the game itself, there are a variety of tools you can use to communicate with your laner. On my way pings, pinging the cooldown of your abilities and summoner spells, as well as pinging targets is incredibly useful to start coordinating tactics. You may also find that you team will be more open to doing this type of communication as well, instead of using the chat for more nefarious means.

Playing outside of the lane

Once laning phase ends, it’s on you to find opportunities to find farm in more creative ways. In downtime, seeking out jungle camps that you can take, such as krugs and raptors, will be important big experience and gold boosts for you as you power through the mid game. Catching side waves is another good way of building up gold and experience. Farming a side lane wave and letting it “bounce,” or build up a bunch of creeps in your favor, and create pressure on that side of the map is a great way to create downtime to farm the other side of the map and the jungle. As well, if you’re a more utility-oriented AD carry, or one with assassination potential such as Twitch, you can seek out kill opportunities with teammates, such as collapsing on someone attempting to collect the wave that you built up by slowly farming.

As well, it’s really important to communicate to the team how exactly you want to play fights and how you’re hoping to survive. If they have a ton of divers, you may want to request that someone stay back to help peel them off of you instead of jumping into the fray randomly. Despite the carry moniker, even the best AD carries have trouble against 2-3 people bee-lining for them without any sort of help. Playing behind your teammates and being conscious of key cooldowns from your enemy will help you understand when to play up and be more aggressive. For example, if Gragas just used his Body Slam and Explosive Cask, he’s less likely to even be able to come close to you as you dish out the damage.

Split pushing is a bit of a bad plan as an AD carry. With the lack of a global ability to quickly join fights, you leave your team in a lurch without what is normally their main damage threat. This makes it more likely for your team to lose, especially if they get collapsed on in this situation; something that is very likely given the bloodthirsty nature of solo queue games.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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