AD Carry Itemization: Recap


Gentleman Gustaf here to talk about why AD Carry itemization can't be decided on just based off of dps numbers. But all of this information is useless in a void, so I'll be splashing in a summary of previous posts on RoG.

1st Item

So what should your first item be? In a previous post, I suggested that almost every champion, with possible exception of Tristana, Ashe, and Caitlyn should be getting Bloodthirster first. On those three champions, it wasn't so much that Bloodthirster was worse than IE as that they have naturally weak and auto-attack-based mid-game damage, and will be even weaker mid-game without the crit multiplicativity from IE. However, BT took a small cost nerf; has this changed much?

Note: My previous post was not considering any armor penetration items, and as such, armor was irrelevant for the relative damage values. This post will assume armor, and as such, dps numbers will be significantly lower. Consider the relative values to be more important than the flat values.

As a first item:
BT now costs 85.3/dps when unfilled, and 59.7/dps when filled.
IE now costs 51.7/dps. However, factoring Vamp Scepter in, it costs 56.7/dps.
PD now costs 65.9/dps. However, factoring Vamp Scepter in, it costs 69.4/dps.
SS now costs 62/dps. However, factoring Vamp Scepter in, it costs 68.2/dps.
LW now costs 60.8/dps. However, factoring Vamp Scepter in, it costs 70.1/dps.
BC now costs 67/dps. However, factoring Vamp Scepter in, it costs 74.1/dps.

So if you want to remain competitive in lane, you want BT or IE first. The nerf to BT, however, does help even BT and IE out, as IE does about 5% more sustained dps, or about 7 dps. However, the extra AD on BT still makes it best for AD Carries with significant AD scaling (most of them). The extra 30 AD will give you 30 damage or so after armor (let's use Graves as our example), not to mention the fact that it will hit multiple targets. As such, it will take 5 seconds for IE to beat out BT; sounds like a solid deal for BT. However, the cost nerf to BT will make things slightly easier for those few AD Carries who aren't loaded up on AD scaling (Tristana, for example).

Round 2

It may do to look at second-item scaling to really figure out which item is best. As a note for the rest of this post; any build which does not have BT is assumed to have a Vamp Scepter. As such, the actual damage efficiency of IE will be weighted downwards. However, this is only fair, because of the investment in lifesteal for Bloodthirster.

If you go BT first:
BT+PD costs 33.8/dps
BT+SS costs 35.5/dps (SS beats PD in dps once it hits 2 targets or more)
BT+LW costs 39.4/dps

If you go IE first:
IE + PD costs 30.4/dps
IE + SS costs 32/dps (SS equals PD in dps once it hits 2 targets or more)
IE + LW costs 35.5/dps

Here we see that IE pulls about a 10% advantage in dps, although it will lose the same 30 AD worth of up-front burst. Given that the difference in dps ranges from 20 (LW) to 25 (PD), it will take 2 seconds (after your second crit) or so to make up for the bonus damage your spells get from BT. At the second item, IE is starting to look like an even or better purchase. And what should your second purchase be? Well, SS seems to be as strong as PD, plus it's going to splash onto multiple targets. Sounds like a good deal to me.

But Gentleman Gustaf, what about armor? You haven't mentioned it at all!

It turns out that the armor doesn't actually matter much at this point. Those calculations are done with 100 Armor (and DPS is actually Gold/DPS):

So let's equalize damage and just look at ratios. Since PD is the most cost-efficient, we'll divide all cost/dps values by that of the PD option, and raise armor until SS or LW beats PD. Turns out that takes awhile:

SS passes PD at 300-ish armor:

And LW passes PD at 475-ish armor:

Obviously, this is not the whole picture. Remember those AD scaling abilities? Well, they'll also benefit from Last Whisper. So in general, the more a champion benefits from BT (think Graves' Buckshot; pure AD scaling), the more they'll like Last Whisper. As such, on champions who have both high AD scaling AND an AS steroid + mobility built into their kit (Graves, for example), I think Last Whisper first is a very good second buy. Although, I'd probably get Zeal first, because I like mobility and safe damage over more damage. So why would you get IE as a first item? It is weaker as a first item, and about even or slightly better after your second item.

Third's the Charm

Finally, you have your third item, and it is here where multiplicativity starts to shine:

BT + PD + LW - 30.1 gold/dps
BT + SS + LW - 32.4 gold/dps
IE + PD + LW - 25.8 gold/dps
IE + SS + LW - 27.8 gold/dps
IE + PD + BT - 26.2 gold/dps
IE + SS + BT - 28.3 gold/dps

Firstly, interestingly enough, PD beats SS by about 7%, but once you factor in two bounces (three targets), the damage is even.. So IE wins by about 15%, with either LW or BT. At this point, your dps is approaching 400. As such, the damage you gain from auto-attacks beats out the additional BT burst very quickly (on your first crit). And IE + LW already beats IE + BT out at 100 armor.

If we bring armor up to 200, we get the following numbers:

BT + PD + LW - 45.3 gold/dps
BT + SS + LW - 48.3 gold/dps
IE + PD + LW - 38 gold/dps
IE + SS + LW - 40.5 gold/dps
IE + PD + BT - 42.3 gold/dps
IE + SS + BT - 44.9 gold/dps

We can see three things from the three-item builds:

  1. IE beats BT out in dps pretty hard, and we can extrapolate that it only gets worse with a 4th damage item.
  2. PD barely beats SS in single-target dps late game, and always loses counting bounces. Plus it gives you strong wave clear. I reaffirm my previous statement that it's probably the item you want.
  3. If you don't get LW by your third item, your dps will start to suffer, (ratchet armor up to 300 and IEBT almost loses to BTLW, and loses by 20% to IELW).

Build Order

But Gentleman Gustaf, I didn't see very many IE rushes at IEM Katowice!

The reason we don't see IE rushes in Pre-Season/Season 3 where we did in Season 2 is all sorts of complicated, and hinges on a "flaw" of mathcrafting I've glossed over in the past; there's more to the game than math-

Aha! I knew it! Ultimately, you can't just turn the whole game into math and analyze it that way, Gentleman Gustaf!

Hold on, let me finish! There's more to the game than mathing out dps. Sometimes math needs context-

Aha! I knew it! Ultimately, you can't just turn the whole game into math and analyze it that way, Gentleman Gustaf!

Can we hold off on the interruptions until I'm done? As I was saying, sometimes math needs contextualization with other math. So, when you look at math for dps, you also have to look at math for stats that affect dps (defenses) and stats that those stats affect in turn.

In Season 2, the main form of tanking was resistances. It was not unusual to see a tank with Randuin's AND Frozen Heart as his first 2 items. Of course, this meant that Last Whisper was extremely important. But that was not the only result. Since lifesteal is calculated based off of post-reduction damage, AD Carries weren't really lifestealing all that much. As such, their best protection against tanks was to burst them as quickly as possible, making IE+PD+LW a very strong build. However, in Season 3, the name of the early game is health, and as such, the early Bloodthirster lets champions like Ezreal kite and sustain themselves through teamfights a little bit better. So let's say you're a less-kite/lifesteal heavy AD Carry, how does this affect you? Well, Ezreal (and he's in every game) is getting Bloodthirster, so you'd better get Bloodthirster yourself, or he'll out-poke and out-sustain you in lane, and have early-mid game dominance.

Gentleman Gustaf, who cares if you can't rush IE, it isn't better until late-game, why not just buy it third?

This is a bit trickier than it would seem. At first glance, it would seem simple: once you get your first item, you're set down a path you can't deviate from. You need to get AS/Crit, and then you need Penetration to kill tanks. However, IE BT does about the same damage as BT LW. So why not simply build BT -> SS -> IE -> LW? If I had to hazard a guess, it's because your 4th ADC item is typically a defensive item, which would put your armor pen off until too late.  Moreover, as it is currently, the main 3 AD Carries (MF/Ezreal/Caitlyn) all want builds which don't necessarily focus on those three items. MF wants BC, Ezreal wants any number of unusual items, including Frozen Fist, and Caitlyn starts IE often anyway. As such, if I have to make a prediction, it's that we will start seeing BT -> SS -> IE (on champions who want those three items) when we start seeing more AD Carries played consistently.

 


 For more of my work:

-- Find old posts @ the RoG forums and new posts every Wednesday (3 PM) and Sunday (9 AM).

-- Feel free to find me in the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom on the NA server.
-- Contact me at [email protected]
-- Follow me on Facebook and Youtube for updates on all of my new articles, videos, and streaming.
-- Follow me on Tumblr for more gentleman and gaming themed pictures


Gentleman of the Day

46

Comments

  • #43 darknmy

    Since my favorite ADC is Ezreal and as Ez you have to do a lot of skill shots and poke before team fights, I've never seen typical build on high elo or tournaments for ezreal.

    I've seen BT+SS+FF on ezreal on high elo.

    Since I'm doing a lot of poke and IE+SS gives me a lot of aoe dmg + crit.dmg + crit chance. It looks the best. Also BT+FF could work but it's less dmg.

    and since every adc needs vamp. VS is a must have...

    so my typical build would be

    core: boots+IE+SS

    Full: berserkers + IE + VS + SS + FF + WARMOGS. Not the best build but you can;t go without vamp. and without warmogs a descent mage will instakill you with full hp 

  • #44 GentlemanGustaf

    I think core on EZ should be BT + SS, with some kiting item (frozen mallet or Frozen Fist). Ezreal just has such ridiculous kiting potential that maximizing dps isn't your only concern

     

  • #45 Azhrilla

    Hello Gentleman

    I'm using on Ez a build you gave on a previous post (TF/IE/BC)

    Do you still like it & why if not ?

    Thanks a lot

  • #46 sgtcolon

    Quote from Azhrilla »

    Hello Gentleman

    I'm using on Ez a build you gave on a previous post (TF/IE/BC)

    Do you still like it & why if not ?

    Thanks a lot


    I think that must have been quite an old post. It is still a good build on Ezreal for damage and utility, but it is too expensive and doesn't make the most of Ezreal's greatest asset. Kiting. The BT/SS/IBG build is all about safely poking, slowing (both in AoE) and generally being a pain in the ass, while always being able to escape and reposition if needed.

    Last edited by sgtcolon: 2/10/2013 4:42:00 PM
  • #42 Nordramor1

    Berserker's Greaves?

    How does this item affect the build order, depending on when you build it? Would BT + BG make LW the best 3rd item to build?

  • #41 BuddyBoombox

    Gustaf, with the changes to Guardian angel in Season 3, I've seen some pros build Warmogs instead of a GA late game(4th/5th item) This seems counter intuitive to me as resistances amplify life steal.  Do you think you could give us an article based on AD carry defensive items?

  • #39 Zalfi

    I do like the semi-subtle mention that the "holy trinity" of adc has replaced Graves/Corki with MF/Caitlyn. And unsurprisingly Ez still retains his throne.

  • #35 EuWGasgano

    Gustaf doesnt wear a monocle aswell ;)

  • #34 DeathEatsCurry

    The gentleman lacks mustache. And a monocle.

  • #32 fydorm2

    How many times is he going to write the same article again?

  • #33 shearmanator

    As many times as Riot keeps changing the values and costs of these items.

  • #31 SuperSpacePope

    Wow What a freakkin guy!!! I love the dedication and hard work to helping us all have a better grounding for our game sense!!! Thanks for all your hard work!!!

  • #30 shearmanator

    Something some people should consider is the power of two attack speed/crit items. I have done some Dps calculations and I have found that a second phantom dancer/ statik shiv can be an option to replace the last whisper. The last whisper adds more DPS once armor reaches 270. Before then the Phantom dancer adds more total dps. For me the choice is situational, not obligatory LW like people think. 

    Last whisper- more damage on champs with AD scaling abilities, good against armor staking, more gold efficient (500 gold).

    PD or shiv: more damage for auto attackers, more consistent damage. 85% crit vs 55%, and better kiting from movement speed and attack speed. more slot efficient. 

    Given the change where tanks are stacking health more than armor, getting the second option is much better than it was in season 2. Also I value consistency very highly. There is nothing worse than getting a string of 4 non crits and losing the duel. Consistency lets you judge your power more effectively because RNG is less of a factor. 

    On champs like ashe, I find myself getting, zerk, IE, Vamp, PD, PD/LW/Shiv, then Vamp->BT, then defensive (MS,BV,GA,Warmogs depending on situation)

     

    Last edited by shearmanator: 2/3/2013 4:20:21 PM
  • #25 exacerberus

    But Gentleman Gustaf, I didn't see very many IE rushes at IEM Katowice!

    The reason we don't see IE rushes in Pre-Season/Season 3 where we did in Season 2 is all sorts of complicated, and hinges on a "flaw" of mathcrafting I've glossed over in the past; there's more to the game than math-

    Aha! I knew it! Ultimately, you can't just turn the whole game into math and analyze it that way, Gentleman Gustaf!

    Hold on, let me finish! There's more to the game than mathing out dps. Sometimes math needs context-

    Aha! I knew it! Ultimately, you can't just turn the whole game into math and analyze it that way, Gentleman Gustaf!

    Can we hold off on the interruptions until I'm done? As I was saying, sometimes math needs contextualization with other math.

    ... ... Ok, but GenlemanGustaf, how much would you value Twisted Fate's ulti from a strictly mathematical point of view?

    Well Timmy, even if it may seem complicate to a mere mortal like you, it's actually pretty simple: look you just have to ... {log<sub>b</sub>(Destiny)* √Gate]* GoldCard} * tick-tock ... vectorial distance ... 42 ...  not computed... not compzfsdfsdjfis4j39e9ke32ugf'9fewqjj .....................___________

    Gentleman of the Day:

    Iggy Pop

  • #28 FatsXL

    this made me laugh. +1

  • #19 MerryLane

    I can't notice anywhere you talking about :

    BT>LW>IE.
    I'd love to calculate its gold efficiency and compare with the rest, but my brain is too lazy atm.

    Imho it's a really good build order if your champion scales AD rly hard (like Graves).
    I know it misses a key component (the zeal) but imho some games don't require this on every champions.

  • #16 SpacianEU

    Very helpful, especially because I play these "old fashioned" ADCs a lot (I play almost all ADs, not only the FOTMs). This will help optimizing my builds and maybe I'll be able to carry some more games :D

  • #15 Basinator

    What about YG or even bruta only for ADCs? Do I recall wrong or didnt some of you say that bruta beats BF even for AAs only?

  • #22 shindaiwa21

    To make the flat armor pen of brut or YG effective later on, you'd need to pair it with a LW, or convert the brut into a cleaver.  Going Cleaver, Brut, or YG paired with LW will leave you only 2 other item slots, meaning you either have to sacrifice IE, Life Steal (BT), or your AS/Crit item.  Lack of IE or AS/Crit will gimp your DPS, you will drop 50 AD at least for giving up BT, which will probably more than make up for the lost armor pen.  Maybe no AS and double armor pen is worth it on MF (ult-bot mf) or draven.  Cleaver Whisper for the team utility on MF and maybe Whisper YG on Draven for the active and lack of need to stack.  

    Basically, to my mind, this leaves the option of YG or Cleaver as the only armor pen item if you build brut.  YG's flat pen will be easily negated by anyone with over 100 armor, and it will take 5 autos/physical damage spells to fully cleaver stack someone, for 25% armor reduction and 10 flat pen, which will be weaker than LW even after 5 attacks/physical spells, which is a LOT of time not to be attacking with significant armor pen for an ADC.  The only AD that should be going on cleaver, in my opinion is Corki.  His flat armor reduction synergies better with cleavers flat pen and lower %reduction.  Gatling gun and autos will also stack cleaver very fast, while most carries will struggle to 5stack someone.

  • #23 GentlemanGustaf

    Keep in mind that MF's ult is physical damage; on a mostly physical team, black cleaver is crazy on her.

  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Reply
Clear All Quotes