AD in Solo Queue: When Your Team Won't Peel

Imagine this scenario.

You are the AD Carry in a solo queue game. A team fight breaks out. Mid, top, and jungle ditch you and go for their carry, and their team does the same. Only your support, if anyone, tries to protect or peel for you. You die, and their carry doesn’t. If they had protected you, you might’ve won. Heck, maybe you’re even way more fed than the other carry.

Your team blames you for the loss.

Stinks, doesn’t it?  

What I suggest is that if your team doesn’t play the way they’re supposed to, why should you? High-level AD carries buy straight damage items and perhaps a Warmog’s or Quicksilver Sash with the assumption their teammates will not overextend themselves to kill the other carry in a teamfight.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with weak teammates in the queue when you're the carry. 

Know when to go into “Solo Mode”

At the beginning of the game Assume the worst. Assume you won’t get peel from your jungler or top. Assume your mid won’t deal damage or roam. Assume your support doesn’t play smart and will buy an Emblem of Valor before finishing a GP10 or Sightstone. Assume the other team will do these things.

Your teammates must earn your respect. Don’t waste time typing to them unless you know they’ll listen. If they don’t listen, don’t type, if they don’t do what they should, don’t count on them.  

Some junglers and tops will do it right. In this case, just try to make sure the team sticks together and you’ll probably win just because the other team will not do those things.


Instead of going straight into damage items, you can take sidesteps, such as buying a Ruby Crystal. You can then sit on it, or if necessary build it into a Phage, Warmog’s, Black Cleaver, or Banshee’s Veil.

Building defensively requires paying attention to the rest of the map, especially how your teammates play, what the other team is building, and how well each player is doing. If your team is doing well but not doing much damage, you shouldn’t do this. If your team is doing well and building offensive items, and the other team specializes in burst, assassinating, and picking off, I’m not above getting an early Phage or even Mallet.

I recently went 5-1-13 as Graves doing this. My team wasn’t bad, but I knew my team didn’t peel terribly well and the other team kept going for me. So what happened? I had a Mallet, they’d go for me, fail to kill me, and then as they tried to run I’d have a Mallet on them. My only damage item was a Bloodthirster, Zerker’s, and Brawler’s Gloves.

The other nice thing about a defensive Carry build is that you are more likely to be the one surviving team fights, and that means harder pushing after the dust settles. You can also split push harder.

Triforce, Warmog’s, Avarice Blade, Randuin’s Omen, Mallet. And now, Blade of the Ruined King fits into this, which is ridiculous and will surely receive a nerf, probably to attack speed. That item is built out of a cheaper Bilgewater Cutlass, allowing you to have a free slow spell to escape ganks and kill attempts by lane opponents.

It’s amazing how long it takes your teammates to notice your item choices, and even longer how long it takes your enemies to.

Warmog’s, Triforce, Mallet, Avarice Blade, Randuin’s, Blade of the Ruined King. Use them smartly.

Pick a Solo Queue Carry

If you pick Ashe or Kog’Maw against a gap-closing team and your team is full of assassins and non-peelers, you’re half the problem.

If they have a Jarvan, pick Graves or Ezreal or even Corki. Don’t set yourself up as even more enticing bait than you already are.

Defensive Summoner Spells

Take Barrier, Cleanse, Heal, Ghost, or Exhaust instead of Ignite. Take the right one. Always take Flash. Most people know to take Barrier vs. bursty teams, but if they aren’t bursty enough but likely to go for you, Heal might be better. You can sometimes even save your jungler’s or support’s life with it. Take Cleanse when you need to. 


Instead of the usual 21/0/9, consider sacrificing a little offense to get a lot of durability. 21/9/0 gets you some more survivability, but that mainly only applies to the laning phase, and if your lane opponents are simply competent enough or your support is bad enough it won’t  mean much later.

You can also try going 17/13/0, which is what I went in the earlier-mentioned Graves game. I anticipated I’d get a lot of pressure on me from their Diana and Xin and I was right. The points in Unyielding and Block don’t just make you way tougher in the early lane phase (think of all the harrass from the enemy support and carry), but they help against defensive-building tanks and junglers. You’re surprisingly sturdier.


14/1/15 or its similar variants can give you more gold, lifesteal, and flashes, but at the expense of defense and offense. However, if you think your lane phase will be a little shorter or you are planning on playing passively, you can use the extra mana and summoner spells to overextend a little more often, farm using abilities, and have some built in sustain/utility. If you get some items more quickly using this build or rush Avarice Blade, you can stay even in gold even if you lose in cs because the other team picked a lane combo that owns you and your support picked a crappy support. And supports, well, odds are he didn’t want to support so asking for a specific pick or complaining about said pick often doesn’t do much. 

And if you’re crazy, you can try 9/21/0.

Play support instead  

Speaking of supporting…which is better? Being a competent support with a bad carry, or a competent carry with a bad support? While yes, it can depend, I lean to the former.

Let’s look at the difference. In the first situation, you can save your carry’s life and if your team can get an advantage you’ll push better. This also prevents their carry from stomping the rest of your team. If you’re a good carry you can’t save your bad support’s life.

Let’s assume that jungle, mid, or top is getting owned. Who is going to carry then? If you’re the carry, you probably won’t, and you can’t help them much. If you’re the support, you can ward for the wardless morons, roam more, and bait and save better. 

So if you’ve got Zed/Shaco/Talon, and you need to make earlier plays and get the other lanes winning, which can you do the best with during the random-roaming-around phase?


Playing AD Carry doesn’t have to feel like a suicide mission, nor do you need to despair if you don’t feel your teammates are going to protect you. There are ways to get through it.  


Old Man Eyebrows 

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