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The ABC of ADC

January 18th, 2013

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The ADC is the powerhouse of any team. They are the sustained damage in team fights, they are one of your main tower pushing players and completing an objective such as Baron or Dragon without them is something that will be infinitely harder. This week I’m going to talk about a few different aspects of playing ADC, that while may be obvious to the Pro’s, aren’t necessarily obvious to the low-to-mid Elo players amongst us. Aspects such as: the season 3 Armour Penetration changes, last hitting and positioning. A solid grasp of all three of these parts of playing ADC should give anyone learning the role a good basic understanding of the theoretical and practical sides of playing.

Last Hitting

I have always maintained that out of all the roles in a game, the ADC must have the most technical knowledge of how League of Legends works. They must make the most of every last situation, knowing exactly when to last hit, knowing when to engage and who to focus in a team fight. They are the person that needs to have the highest understanding of the basic fundamentals of the game. The first of these is Last Hitting, that is, getting final bit of damage on to a Minion (or Creep) to kill it, thus earning the player the gold. Last hitting requires the player to know how much basic attack damage they do as well as the damage output level from the enemy Minion wave, so they can avoid letting the Minion die to another Minion.

Practicing Last Hitting is something that is probably the easiest thing to do. You can set up a simple Bot Game and practice away as much as you like, and this is probably the best option for you. Having an understanding of your chosen champion’s attack animation, as well as how it changes as your attack speed increases as well as how it is affected by your ping, is something that can be learnt, for the most part, in practice games. If you take the time to practice the technical aspect of Last Hitting in Bot Games, then when you reach PvP games it will become natural to you, and instead of focusing on the enemy opposition in lane as well as Last Hitting, you can focus your concentration on the enemy.

What benefit does last hitting give me?

Last hitting gives you a huge gold advantage. Getting a kill on a champion without a kill streak gives the killer 300g. Caster minions give 15g and increase at 0.5g every 3 minutes. Melee minions give 20g and also increase at 0.5g every 3 minutes. Siege minions give 40g and increase at 1g every 3 minutes. What this means is, if you kill every single creep spawning from the first 3 waves, you will have gained roughly 355g, which is more than you would gain from a kill, and at this point we’re only 3 minutes into the game. This doesn’t even account for experience gained from killing Minions. If we remember that the amount of gold each minion is worth only increases throughout the course of the game, then it is very clear just how important killing those little minions is. As we see professional players hitting the high hundreds in Minion kills at the end of the game, it’s easy to conclude that they are gaining thousands of gold from this very simple process.

Armour Penetration

When the Pre-Season 3 patch hit, Armour Penetration was given a bit of a reshuffle in how it works. Prior to the patch, flat pen, such as Brutalizer’s +10 ArP would take effect first before ArP percentages such as Last Whisper’s +35% ArP*. What this meant was, if you hit someone with 100 Armour, the Brutalizer would knock it down to 90 Armour and then your Last Whisper would ignore 35% of that, giving an effective armour level of 58.5. What happens now is that the Last Whisper ignores 35% first, knocking it down to 65 armour, then Brutalizers ignores a flat 10 armour giving an effective armour level of 55. This is 3.5 armour less than before. This is just one situation with rather low armour figures and only two items that give armour penetration. What this basically means is we’ve seen a buff to both types of ArP so bruisers and tanks are suddenly slightly more squishy.

*ArP figures used are post-patch for simplicity in comparison.

So what do I do with this information?

Building ArP runes is now a much more viable option compared to before for the ADC. Although simply buying Last Whisper and using ArP runes won’t make you better than before, due to the percent nerfs on ArP items, it does mean building ArP across multiple items is much more effective, such as using ArP runes as well as Last Whisper and Black Cleaver. The most important thing to remember is that nothing is fixed. All that has happened is that ArP in the right situations has become more practical and with items like Black Cleaver there is less of a negative trade between building flat AD and ArP, you can now build both to a greater effect!

Champion Position

As with the rest of the basics covered in this article, positioning is crucial to you been a competent ADC. Correct positioning in the laning phase will allow you to maximise your Minion Kills while avoiding poke from the enemy team, as well as being able to make attacks on the enemy if needed. In team fights, correct positioning will allow you to do the maximum amount of damage without dying. Chaox writes: “ To position well, you need to keep track of all 10 Champions in the game and where they are and what they do.” To read all of Chaox’s generic ADC guide click here, and for a more in depth guide on positioning see YouTube user AwesomeFusion’s video on positioning.

The role of ADC is not an easy one to learn, but is one that is crucial to playing the game at the highest level. I hope throughout this piece I have given some insight into what the basics of ADC are and why you should be doing them. For a more in depth look into the role of ADC, keep an eye out for fellow writer ChefoSLR’s upcoming series on ADC’s.