Home > Original Content > Glory of the Climb – The Stale Meta: Top 5 AP Mids

Glory of the Climb – The Stale Meta: Top 5 AP Mids

February 22nd, 2013 Leave a comment

ap mids

In my introductory article to the Stale Meta I briefly addressed why the cheap cost, and immediate effects, of stacking health are determining why certain champions are more viable than others right now; even causing a lot of Season 2 favorites, like Shyvana, to completely disappear from the competitive scene. I want to take the time to address the fact that I will not be covering the AD Mid variants as I think there are too few and they are too obvious (Kha’Zix, Zed, Talon, Pantheon, Lee Sin). The idea behind picking an AD middle vs an AP middle are also much more straight forward as you are just looking for more AD damage and armor shred to synergize/compliment your top lane Bruiser. It is also important to note that with the increase in Jarvan IV and Taric picks there has been a decrease in AD mid picks because of teams abilities to stack armor without any gold investments, so there’s that.

The Best AP Mids and Why.

Ok so in my last article regarding Junglers I applied a specific “curve” that I believe potential junglers needed to fit in order for me to consider them viable. This meant all the junglers were very similar to each other because they had a specific “early pressure/initiator/tank” role that they HAD to fill. AP mids do not suffer from these linear traits and are instead picked because of how their unique skill set will compliment their team mates best; this, however, becomes less apparent the further down the list and more apparent the higher we go up the list. Things that an AP champion can provide to a team in order to be considered for mid lane are: Poke, Armor/MR Shred, Burst AND Sustained Damage, Shields/Buffs, Stuns/Slows, Displacement, and Global Presence.

#5.  Nidalee

Rounding out my Top 5 is Nidalee, and for the record she NARROWLY surpassed Lux, who would be my official #6. When I compared Nidalee and Lux to make this decision it came down to the fact they have very similar kits but Nidalee can do more sustained damage in a prolonged fight. Lux has notoriously long cooldowns and all her abilities are skill shots, so if you miss with her you have a reasonably long reload time before you can try again to deal damage, she also has high mana costs which means you can’t poke as long with her without blue. Her shield gives no sustain in a siege unlike Nid’s heal, and while her E does provide vision it can not be placed as strategically as Nidalee’s without significantly reducing her damage output. Nidalee can poke for days with her spears as they are reasonably costed, have a low cd, and probably hit for just as much as Lux’s ult at max range. Her heal is good for prolonged sieges and fights, and if there is no one to heal she can always give it to her ADC to increase his/her attack speed. The versatility of her ult is what gives her the edge over Lux though in that she can use it to keep putting out damage when her human form’s spells are on cooldown, where someone like Lux has to sit and wait; it also gives her some of the best escapability in the game combined with her passive making her very safe. Ok I think that is enough reasons.

As you can see Nidalee provides a little bit of everything that I listed above. She can poke, she has sustain in cougar and burst with spears, she provides vision and shreds Armor/MR with her traps, and one of her biggest boons is her heal that scales incredibly well with AP as well as doubling as an AS steroid. She is a very well rounded champ right now and a great pick for #5 AP mid.

#4.  Ryze

Ryze is definitely the most generic champion on this list but if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Ryze benefits mostly from being one of, if not THE highest sustain damage mages out there. He fits the meta very well right now because he can build primarily tanky stats and still deal formidable damage, and it’s AoE dmage to boot, thanks to his ultimate! His Rune Prison provides his team with great catching potential, his Spell Flux shreds MR, and he can 1v1 most champions, and win, at many stages of the game. Against ADC’s and opposing AP mids his combo is considered burst and against the tankier Junglers and Bruisers he has enough consistent damage output to not warrant standing next to him for very long unless you plan on killing him. He definitely provides less utility than Nidalee (or Lux) but I think his solidarity as an AP powerhouse and the fact he’s less composition dependent puts him firmly above her at #4.

#3.  Orianna

Orianna is the epitome of the #3 spot on my list. She has great burst and sustained damage with high AP ratios and low cooldowns on all her spells. Her range is long enough to be considered poke. She has a shield that scales incredibly well with AP and provides the wearer free Armor/MR. Her W slows the enemy team and speeds up her own, and her Shockwave is the premium displacement spell right now and can be wombo-comboed well with many of the tanky gap closing Junglers. She is an extremely solid pick right now and even bolsters a strong/formidable laning phase compared to other AP champs.

#2.  Kayle

Kayle is the sleeper newcomer to the AP scene. Her high points are the ability to shred Armor/MR of the opposing team in an AoE, slowing champions while amplifying her own damage against them, providing her team with a heal and speed burst, and of course, the Coup De Grace, three seconds of invulnerability to an ally at 1200 range! Her ability to do burst damage with her spells, and sustained damage with her autoattacks and a Liandry’s Torment make her a force to be reckoned with, whatever Champion you are. If Kayle’s team has just one fed Champion on it she doesn’t even have to achieve an average item build because of how strong her ultimate can be in conjunction with an allied carry. Kayle is definitely first pick or ban worthy right now and her game changing ultimate is reason enough for that!

#1  Twisted Fate

I am going to be honest, I absolutely hate Twisted Fate and it sickens me he sits at #1. I think he is a stupidly designed champion. On the surface he has little depth and underneath it all he is one of those “is he an ADC or AP champ abortions” that has been in the game so long they really can’t do anything about what he has evolved into. Back in beta he would constantly fluctuate between nerfs and buffs from AD to AP. Finally the pro scene has deemed him an AP champ because of how game breaking his ultimate is while running AP. You can use Gate to teleport and stun somebody, doing significant burst damage, and ensuring a successful kill most of the time; compare this to an AD TF showing up and the stun and wildcards doing no damage and his follow up damage has to come from all autoattacks and you can see why he is run as an AP, plus putting him in mid lane allows him to Gate to either Top or Bot.

Anyways, TF provides the least “utility” to a team in terms of his kit only really having a stun/slow, BUT the global presence + Champion vision that his ultimate provides are enough to keep him in the #1 spot for a long time to come because of how influential it can be in snowballing other lanes/the game. He also has incredible poke (1450 range!), wave clear, a decent passive that actually does provide some significant extra gold to your team over the course of a game, and he can do some crazy baits with Gate + Zhonya’s Hourglass as popularized by WE Misaya, and also used by Curse NyJacky in yesterdays LCS game against GGU. It’s unfortunate the brokenness of his ultimate is a relic of bad beta design and so it unlikely another champion will ever be released with an ultimate to rival his for the number 1 spot. However, if the meta ever shifts back to the days of farming for 30 minutes before pushing a lane as five you can expect to see Karthus occupy this spot because of Requiem (fucking global ultimates!)

Honorable Mentions

These AP champions provide good utility and damage to their team but are just a tier below the top 5 in terms of how game changing they can be just by being on a team. They are listed in no specific order.










This list was a bit more influenced by the competitive scene than by the soloqueue scene, but I don’t think it would be much different, and I think by adhering to this list you would still be likely to gain LP.

Love, Dcgreen



LoLKing Profile

Previous “Glory of the Climb” Articles:

Making Sense of Season 3

Dominion: Helping You To Win More Lanes and Games

Developing Your Killer Instincts: Why to be Aggressive in Season 3

Working With Your Team to Win

Countering Health with DFG

Reviewing the New “League System”

Why Losing is Just as Important as Winning

The Stale Meta: Intro + Top 5 Junglers

  • Klokanek

    Where is AHRI??????? :D

  • http://louisvuittonnever louisvuittonoutletstore

    bag of World ;s Best Cat Litter and get the full purchase price back, so I decided to take the plunge. I usually use a mixture of Arm & Hammer cat litter and Fresh louis vuitton outlet store http://louisvuittonneverfullreplica.blogspot.com/

  • Skizomachine

    Hmmmm what about ap yi?
    Ive made tons of pentas with him and carried got knows how many games….

    i think he should be before nida at least

  • what?

    Eem nidalee??? Nidalee is one of the shitest mids in game… you just gotta dodge the skills… also same on lux, karthus is bad because of his very very low hp
    My list would be:

    yeah, i know its top 10, but i dont get the ap kayle … after use of ulti kayle is useless


    I do agree with you, if Annie is played correctly, she can literally burst down any champion with her nuke(Tibbers), but I find that burst champions such Veigar, Fiddlesticks (~sometimes), and Annie are kinda like snowball items. If one does well, its like a guaranteed win, but if one does poorly, he/she ends up feeding.

    lol this is my opinion, but I do agree with you that Annie should be on the list or atleast an honorable mention.

  • MrDeath

    Well does everybody forgot about one champ that is a true burst on mid? Annie? i think she deserves a right spot on the top 5 but ok…

  • AmazingP0w3r

    Need to improve your game? Want higher elo? Stuck in elo hell? You like quality, but simple builds? Then look no further http://lol.uk.cloudlogin.co !

  • hausmanis

    Akali ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dcgreen88 Dcgreen

    Thank you. Finally a player who understands lol.

  • Burst75

    @fdskjlfdkljsdfkjl The thing is Nidalee’s spear really isn’t that unreliable. Its on a tiny CD and a competent Nidalee will throw spears in such way that enemies will have trouble dodging it. Also, Nidalee has a massive heal, which while it may not seem important, It is amazing in a poke comp, which is where Nidalee excels. Nidalee negates enemy poke, and deals massive poke of her own, something Lux cannot boast about. Also, two long range spears can deal about the same damage as Lux’s full combo, but on a much shorter Cool Down, the only way Lux’s ulti can pay off if is it hits multiple enemy champions with lux’s passive on them. Also, one argument you had was that nidalee is required to get close to deal additional damage. This is true, the fact is that spears are 2x easier to hit in the middle of a team fight, so her cougar form really becomes less effective unless the enemies are already at low HP, and by this time she can already dive safely. Not to mention a poke team won’t engage a fight until the enemies are low anyway.

  • Testament

    Man Captain douche hair has some strong hate for tf, he must have raged non stop for when it was global. Tf loses his lane 80% of the time, the ult is a great snowball tool for when that happens.

  • http://worldofbleach-rpg.com Lsmjudoka

    It’s not alphabetical — R before O? Or T before K if you’re going the other way.

  • Person

    I recognize this list is heavily opinionated, as all tier lists are, but your logic with Nidalee/Lux may need some work. Although Lux’s base CDs are somewhat “long”, the sheer damage it does makes up for it after one combo. Nidalee does provide a strong amount of poke with her spear but it isn’t even close to reliable. When you throw a spear, you’re essentially perfectly aiming one of the slowest skill shots in the entire game. Granted they do a lot of damage, they’re very easy to dodge in any level of expert play. Lux, on the other hand, has an incredible combo with the Q/E slow/stun to pre-initiate the laser. If a Lux player is fairly confident with that combo, they can cast both of those spells, cast the ultimate, and even auto attack if necessary. Nidalee’s chase game is superb and her bushwhacks do allow for some much needed vision at times, but since she must put herself into the fray in order to deal damage beyond her initial poke, she becomes void. In team fights a Lux player isn’t worried about CD’s because they should be worried about the efficiency of ALL their skill shots, not just throwing a well aimed spear and crossing your fingers that somebody on your team will keep them there long enough for it to actually hit them.

  • fdskjlfdkljsdfkjl

    “no specific order” should maybe change that to alphabetical

  • lolwat

    Lol this list is so wrong

  • kiploca

    lol kayle #2?? so many pros playing her all wrong…tsk tsk
    and you are missing morgana but that might have been just a mistake

  • IG Stormbreaker

    what about malz? :D:D:D

  • MrSpade


  • ixlHD

    A lot of people are arguing over the list , this is the publishers list from what he has watched himself, i didn’t read anything saying everyone has to agree with him, like everything on the internet people will always disagree, now most of the arguments is between lux and nid but i will have to agree with the publisher, nid is beating out lux at the moment simply because of how powerfull hp is at the moment, lux has a binding which doesnt do much damage and in teamfights it will be tanks in the front line so for a team to blow all there cd on the tank that lux binded will give the other team a good chance of winning that fight, however nid with her spear has really long range on it and can move around to try land a spear on the back line of the opposing team trying to get pretty much half hp off the ad/ap which then a team can initiate, also in a 1v1 nid has 5 damaging abilities where as lux has 3 and if lux, if lux misses a binding she is most likely dead if nid misses a spear she can’t be caught so at the moment until there are better items for ap champs to counter tanks hp nid comes out on top

  • nutzu23

    make a top 5 for Top lane

  • Will

    It’s all about dat AP sion :D

  • Peetah

    Morgana is still huge..

  • Raikaria

    ‘In no particular order’.

    Lies. It’s Alphabetical Oder.

  • Falxhor

    Good review.

  • No Name

    No one mentioned swain?

  • Man of the West

    What about Morgana?

  • Prothall

    Actually AD TF has a lot of burst too, if you get Sword of the Divine :) Its gimmicky but a lot of fun, you can easily poke midlaners down who expect you to go AP and are melee.

    Its fun at least, maybe not competitive but fun.

  • born2bkilled


    i agree..
    i with Kennen I slaughtered them all… only Gragas is cornering me..

  • asdasdsad

    completely agree with the TF rant! FINALLY SOMEONE!

  • Sterling

    Was this just his platform to bitch about TF?
    Most of the reasoning behind him being number one is only because he’s “broken”.


    he says overall

  • toncho1997

    Where is Gragas?? He can do a lot of dmg and he is great in teamfigths :)

  • ggwp

    Also maybe you should write in the title during “laning phase” instead of team fight wise there is a massive difference as Nids during laning phase is decent with cougar form whilst lux laning phase needs a little bit of help to get going

  • ggwp

    also Lux can steal buffs whilst still laning, and her shields n team fight lategame can be of excess of 300+ going in and then coming back,thats like everyone having a hexdrinker twice

  • ggwp

    wow Nids really, basically no CC at all leaving no peel for the team relying only on spears for damage, has no initiation at all her spear on cooldown leaves you doing nothing since you cant cougar form in because you would get shredded. lux has the bind, she has the e slow good burst, her ult is short cooldown and can hit most of the enemies for significant damage, nids is only single target. Your top 5 are horrid.

    … maybe Nids is in top 10 but srsly in a 5v5 teamfight she is useless compared to the other apcs on this list, over reliance on spears with no other skills to do damage since she is easily cced in the fight

  • http://www.facebook.com/dcgreen88 Dcgreen

    Tier lists are controversial; its also important to know my word is not infaliable. This is all my humble opinion based on experience as well as observations of the LCS. Also I said “she NARROWLY surpassed Lux” its not like I said “fuck Lux, she can have 6.” They are so comparable but I think Nidalee is just slightly better. SLIGHTLY!

    Ruinlol :
    nida’s spear is a skillshot aswell and it’s harder to land then lux’s q… you arguments are invalid

    Nid’s spear has more range than Lux’s Q so I think that would make spear easier to hit? I suppose Lux’s Q can hit 2 people but the spears do more damage which is what matters in a poke war.

    Ruinlol :
    Lux’s the top mid … long cds ? how do you build her ? and you really compare nid with her “kit” of spears and bush ms passive with lux which has maybe best burst late game after veigar, huge range, shield scaling with ap. for nida to do sustained damage she needs to be in couger form in the face of the enemies ( let’s say it- ap nidas are not so tanky). True that her heal helps in sieges but with lux you just zone the other team behind their turret. if you land q on a carry you can easily initiate on in and one shot where with nida spear you would only force them away…

    You actually make some good points. Thanks for a thought out response. She does have long cd’s, I think everyone thinks her cd’s are short cuz of her ult. Itemizing Morellonomicon is not preferable to something like Athene’s or Deathcap though which is kind of a bummer she has to waste 2k+ gold just to get comparable cd’s compared to other champs. Their kits are similar in that they have poke, a heal or shield, and can grant long distance vision. Lux has a snare and more burst, while nidalee has a heal/as buff and sustain damage that scales with missing hp. Yes she isnt tanky but imagine if you are Lux and you are fighting Ryze; if you don’t burst him he will kill you cuz your cd’s are so long and he has spellvamp. If you are Nidalee you have 6 skills against him. Its just the way I evaluated their kits and how I determined Nidalee getting the edge. Nidalee also does just a good of job zoning people with spears as Lux, and you don’t always have to kill someone to take a tower. Forcing them to heal is just as good sometimes. Hopefully this provides some clarity, although I feel like I went into depth in my article, about why I think Nidalee is SLIGHTLY better than Lux.

  • Ruinlol

    nida’s spear is a skillshot aswell and it’s harder to land then lux’s q… you arguments are invalid

  • Ruinlol

    Lux’s the top mid … long cds ? how do you build her ? and you really compare nid with her “kit” of spears and bush ms passive with lux which has maybe best burst late game after veigar, huge range, shield scaling with ap. for nida to do sustained damage she needs to be in couger form in the face of the enemies ( let’s say it- ap nidas are not so tanky). True that her heal helps in sieges but with lux you just zone the other team behind their turret. if you land q on a carry you can easily initiate on in and one shot where with nida spear you would only force them away…

  • http://www.facebook.com/dcgreen88 Dcgreen

    Lux’s Cooldowns:
    Q – 15/14/13/12/11
    W – 14/13/11/12/10
    E – 10
    R – 80/60/40 (Her R actually has a notoriously short cd but will still be used mainly once a fight)

    Nidalee’s Cooldowns:
    Q – Javelin 6s/Takedown 5s
    W – Trap 18s/Pounce 3.5s
    E – Heal 10s/Swipe 6s
    R – 4s

    Ryze’s Cooldowns:
    Q – 3.5s
    W – 14s
    E – 14s
    R – 70/60/50s
    Passive provides 1s cdr per spellcast, Q provides 2/4/6/8/10% cdr, making his rotations very fast.

    Oriana’s Cooldowns:
    Q – 6/5.25/4.5/3.75/3s
    W – 9s
    E – 9s
    R – 120/105/90s

    Kayle’s Cooldowns:
    Q – 8s
    W – 15s
    E – 16s (lasts 10s) = effective 6s
    R – 90/75/60s

    TF’s Cooldowns:
    Q – 6s
    W – 6s
    E – Provides 3/6/9/12/15% cdr
    R – 150/135/120

    Lux has the longest cooldowns by far. Coupled with the fact that all her abilities are skill shots I gave Nidalee the edge over her.

    Haters gonna hate.

  • C

    I don’t believe there is such thing as top 5.

  • yourGuideSucks

    Bad review/guide grow some balls you filthy milf.

  • Ignorant2TF

    “They are listed in no specific order.”

    Looks like ABC order to me.

  • Jensel Diaz

    This review sucks. Don’t waste your time.

  • rtyhwertwqert

    “Lux has notoriously long cooldowns”
    welp, bye