In my (hopefully) long-awaited return to writing for News of Legends, after a rather busy month at home, I want to talk about the AP champions out there and who you should be learning if you’re picking this role up for the first time in your LoL career. In my previous article I talked about the three support champions you should learn if you’re new to the role; today I’m going to be talking about AP champions. I’ve avoided using the phrase “mid lane” champions because currently the meta-game isn’t the most stable, and the classic AP Carry mid isn’t necessarily what people will be using in every game. We’ve seen champions like Talon, Lee Sin and Kha’Zix all being very effective in the mid lane, but none of those fit the description of an AP Carry. For those who know the world of AP Carries, this isn’t the article for you. However, for someone who is nearing thirty or perhaps just wants to learn AP Carries for the first ever time, this is the article for you. We will not be breaking ground with any new game-changing strategies; I will simply offer a push in the right direction for your first steps towards playing an AP Carry. Learning the following champions will give you a solid base from which to jump-start your League of Legends experience playing AP champions.
If you already know the role of AP Mid and wish to learn the top five champions for the position (not necessarily the easiest 5) then check out DCGreen’s guide to the top 5 AP Mid champions.
Ryze is by far one of the best AP champions you can possibly start to play with. He’s by no means the most powerful champion out there but he has a great kit that allows for mistakes, which is essential in learning any new role. What sets Ryze apart from most AP champions is that his abilities scale with mana, meaning that the more mana you have, the more powerful you become. This means than in the early game you can kill two birds with one stone, as stacking mana means you’re less mana-dependant and you’re more powerful. Two of the most standard early-game items for Ryze are Tear of the Goddess and Catalyst the Protector, which will give you a solid amount of mana, health, and through Catalyst’s passive, good health/mana regen when you level up. This is very important as the less you have to worry about mana and health, the more you can focus on killing minions and your enemies. Items like Glacial Shroud which you build into Frozen Heart add to this tankiness even further. Ryze’s abilities must not be forgotten, as they are also why he is such a good champion for those learning. A simple single high-priority spell, Overload, coupled with some nice CC in the form of Rune Prison, means that you have the ability to freeze and burst down champions or use that CC to escape if things get a little hairy. The bonuses gained from his ultimate, Desperate Power, coupled with the AoE from Spell Flux means Ryze has frankly ridiculous levels of sustain. If you’re playing Ryze properly you should never have to worry about your health or mana. Ryze isn’t the most exciting champion, but he is the first you should learn if you’re getting into AP Carries.
Once you have learnt Ryze you will have an easier time learning: Annie
For a more in depth guide on Ryze, check out Nukemumg’s Guide to Ryze
Akali is one of my favourite AP champions, simply because if the enemy doesn’t know how to counter her, it’s pretty much game over. Get a few kills on Akali and once you’re level six the game is now heavily in your favour. Akali has ridiculous levels of burst, sustain, and team fight utility. She is certainly a step up in difficulty from Ryze, but because of her potential to single handedly turn the tides of the game, if played properly, I feel she is a must-play champion for the beginner to AP carries. I’ve chosen her over champions like LeBlanc and Veigar who are also known for their burst because Akali will give you much more use in the long run, as within the current meta she is still highly relevant. Akali has a flat 6% spell vamp (+1% per 6AD) so from level one she has a good base level of sustain. Once you throw in the fact that the Hextech Gunblade is the first item you complete, Akali will have 26% spell vamp + 17% life steal (Flat 10% from Hextech + ~7% from the 45 attack damage from Hextech stacked with her passive). Also remember you only get ⅓ of the spell vamp for AoE attacks. At this point you should have little-to-no issue with sustain in the laning phase or in team fights. The thing that makes Akali frankly overpowered is her Burst. With a triple-stacked Shadow Dance and full energy plus a Hextech Gunblade, you should have absolutely no issue bursting down any champion that isn’t stacking pure health or magic resist, and even in the early game you will still be able to do this unless they rush a Warmog’s. Akali has great team fight capabilities with her Twilight Shround, making her invisible when not attacking in her circle. Two things happen at this point; you either get a free reset and chance to regenerate some energy, collect your thoughts and strike where it’s most effective, or the enemy is forced to waste money on pink wards or an Oracle’s to see you.
With huge levels of sustain, even larger burst, the ability to snowball and carry extremely hard and still being relevant in ranked play, Akali is a must for anyone wanting to learn AP champions. For a more in depth guide, check out PhoenixKami’s build
Once you have learnt Akali you will have an easier time learning the following champions: Katarina, LeBlanc, Orianna.
Karthus is a great champion. Although he’s not seen too much at top level play anymore, he’s a fantastic AP character who you should learn early on. Karthus’ strength lies in three key things: the ability to farm, his passive, and his global ultimate. Starting with his ability to farm- his Q (Lay Waste) is fantastic for last hitting minions, and although you should theoretically be able to do it with your auto-attack, Karthus enables the player to farm a little easier than most other champions. Karthus’ passive allows him to remain active for seven seconds after dying. Although you can’t move, you can still activate your abilities, helping you to secure kills or even continue farming. This works fantastically in team fights where you die with Defile active, as you’ll continue to deal huge amounts of AoE damage. The biggest reason to play Karthus however is Requiem, his R ability. Requiem is a global ultimate, meaning it will hit every enemy on the map regardless of where they are, even if you can’t see them. Requiem is great for picking off enemies after team fights, helping other lanes if they need someone finishing off after an engagement, or even as a pre-emptive strike before you engage a team fight. It can even be cast once you’ve died. Karthus offers a great deal to anyone learning the role, and will help you master farming as well as paying attention to other lanes, to make full use of Requiem. Karthus is a relatively simple yet still effective champion, which allows the player to practice a variety of different key skills in their pursuit of perfection.
For a full guide on Karthus, check out this guide by Reginald
Once you have learnt Karthus you will have an easier time learning the following champions: Anivia, Morgana (skillshots!)
This list is by no means definitive, and there are of course other champions who are suited to players wishing to learn the role of AP Carry. Other champions that may be as effective include Annie, Veigar and Lux. As previously mentioned, this post is not a guide on the most effective champions, but merely a nudge in the right direction for someone wishing to learn the basics of the AP Carry.
Until my next piece (which hopefully won’t be another month =D) I wish those of you just starting out in ranked, or gearing up for it as you level, the best of luck and enjoyment in your endeavours.