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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  • #45 Gr33n3

    Play a lot of ad. Get better positioning. You nearly never have to die as AD carry. If you cant attack because half the enemy team is chasing you you wont do dmg.. but you wont die ether.. just go on distance. Its totally ok to buy full dps on ad carry.. just need good positioning in teamfights.. 

  • #46 per_killer

    Good positioning must mean two things: 1) Like you said; that you don't get nuked out within first 3seconds of the teamfight.

    but just as important: 2) That you are able to do damage.

    In this article, the premises are that: your team don't do anything/not enough to defend you - AND - the enemy team has a Jarvan or a Xin or a Diana or an Akali.. In these cases, he is correct: there is no way for you to get a good position where you can deal damage and survive. It does not help you, or your team that you survive, if you now are 1v4 and 3 of the 4 remaining enemies are at 70% health.

    Anyway, interesting article. Gr33n3: You are either playing with better teammates than I, or otherwise just wrong.

  • #48 pagansaint

    That is perfect. Assuming the other team has only champions that are limited to just running at you. But if they can blink or dash gap close... you lose if you're a glass cannon ADC in almost every situation.

  • #49 TheFlatline83

    Quote from pagansaint »

    That is perfect. Assuming the other team has only champions that are limited to just running at you. But if they can blink or dash gap close... you lose if you're a glass cannon ADC in almost every situation.


    Suffered that on my own skin yesterday.

    For whatever reason we didn't ban Malphite, BAM, every teamfight was press R to win for them.

    (as a side note... don't they realize that an indestructible absurdly-high-damage-with-only-tank-items 1000-gap-closer-with-unavoidable-knockup guy is a bit too much? Why they don't start taking into account the permabanned champions... I'm speaking also for those who own -and like- those champions: rebalance them so that they are not permabanned and perhaps possible to use in ranked...)

  • #50 Bowsersaur

    You can juke his ult

  • #51 pagansaint

    Because malphite is very easily dealt with with any team coordination or a team with a champion that has a good kit for re-engaging.

    The problem is, the same as the main article, people are stupid and don't peel, engage, or counter play. So you have to change to something yourself to compensate.

  • #39 Baywire

    Edit: Strong Opinions Ahead Read With Logic

    I often go into solo mode during solo queue when I am the mid or ADC. I main mid, but I carry in any way I can no matter where I am. What I find annoying is when you get blamed by your team cause you are 0-4-8 and not 8-4-0 because you are the carry they assume you have to get every kill etc. Additionally when  teammates make brain dead moves like engaging 2v4 because you are near them they assume you will go in even though I know its a losing fight I ping  to fall back and because I'm near them they assume I'm going to go in the middle of the fight because they played "Suicide" the game.

    I'm all for letting people die alone when I play in the solo queue. Because it's what you do in 5's, if your teammate is going to die, cause he roamed solo and magically found 3 of the enemy team and I'm near him, it's his job to sac himself so that it doesn't turn into a double kill. Now that doesn't mean I don't help in some way, say I'm jayce, I'm gonna throw up an accel gate and shoot  a q at the enemy team *allowing a potential escape for the teammate* but I refuse to fight a losing battle that will potentially cost us more deaths or towers. I think I'm really confused as to why the community for the most part is brain dead and doesn't understand that playing "Suicide" isn't the way to win.

    As the carry, I play solo mode in another way, I play, "Wait for my idiot team to engage, and then a few seconds later join the fight" so that they either have to change focus to kill me *which they are already damaged from being in the fight, or they just die because they don't refocus* I do this especially if I know I'm going to get focused.

    I started playing in Season 2, I did pretty bad to start and I realized that I cannot count on anyone in solo queue. Since that moment I have been climbing pretty steadily, I'm not a pro, but I'm all for making the CORRECT decision.

    I think there are 2 parts to the fail people of solo queue, part one, people who don't team fight correctly, *what this article is about* part two, lack of communication.

    I think something that is pretty stupid right now is the new ping system. No not because the system is stupid, but because the MIA ping is silent as all hell. Now I'm a normal human being, so I notice things flashing on my screen, I look at mini maps, I ward, and I read text the majority of the time. So why is it that EVERY other player is incapable of noticing ANYTHING that can be called an MIA, I think I'm just going to use the sharp standard V ping noise for MIA's so that their ears bleed so they know when an MIA is. Because I can ping "missing" under the new system and because it sounds like a mouse falling off of a chair no one hears it, and because the tunnel visioned spergs of this community never look at a mini map and might as well disable it, they just die from a roam, the communication of the solo queue is so bass ackwards it's not even funny.

    Basically what I read in this article is what I will do every game, normally I wait until someone on my team fails me to decide that they are worthless and incompetent, now I think I'm going to just assume from champion select that my teammates are incompetent and never commit to something unless I can do it myself. I would rather lose a game going 2-1-3 than lose a game going 2-8-3 because idiot mode kicked in and people just feed.

    Last edited by Baywire: 3/6/2013 9:04:46 AM
  • #40 BossPikachu

    Yeah.. It's often the same people that like the "Suicide Game" who do not care about the mini-map. I think these people often get caught in a different situation than they expected, just because they did not look at their map at all, and therefore get into a suicide situation instead of a balanced one. Also, it is these people who probably think: "Ah, it's 1 v 3, so there is NO way I can still get away now, and maybe there is a chance to get a kill myself..".

  • #37 EuWGasgano

    Vayne is really Man-mode :)

  • #36 BossPikachu

    I love playing botlane. But I dislike soloqueue at my elo.
    This is a nice topic to think about. I usually run 21/9/0 masteries on ad carry. Actually pretty much always, recently! But it never popped up, to run more defensive points. Which may not be such a terrible choise, and may actually be great in the right matchups! I shall give it a try.

  • #35 Shinkada

    Seriously I've been saying for weeks now that Frozen Mallet is one of the best items on an AD Carry. SOME DAY SOMEONE WILL LISTEN TO ME.

  • #38 EuWGasgano

    You are not alone, i say this since i hate GA :p


  • #41 Baywire

    GA is under powered, the stats suck on it, and once every five minutes you become un-targetable as their entire team stands next to you. extremely underwhelming

  • #43 EuWGasgano

    i know :P

  • #44 BuddyBoombox

    I find that frozen mallet is good if you are winning, and I pick randuin's if I am losing.  The slow in attack speed and the active slow to movespeed saves your ass more often if you aren't chasing.   Mostly this is because I suck at orb walking(kiting) so I only really take advatage of frozen mallet if I'm chasing more often than running.


  • #34 KajzzeR

    Time to uncover you my favorite way to play ADC Ezreal: PFE POKEZREAL!

    Runes: Only Armor Seals and Scaling M. Resistance Glyphs are a must, pick w/e you want in Marks and Quints (I use full penetration, starting with 24 ArmPen +8% from masteries).

    Masteries: Avoid taking anything that improves your criticals, go either 21/9/0, or 21/0/9 making sure to pick up mana and mana regen.

    Items: start Faerie Charm + 4 mana pots + 4 hp pots, rush ToG, get Boots tier 1, go for Sheen if you are doing fine on lane, or Glacial Shroud if you have problems, finish Iceborn Gauntlet, finish and stack up Manamune/Muramana, get Ionian lucidity boots, buy Blade of the Ruined King, if they got bursters like Diana/Akali/Xin or Mordekaiser get GA first, if they got more magic damage (or Vi/Ww) get Banshee Veil first. Finish whatever you didn`t finished of those two. Last item should be LW if they got armor, or Bloodthirster if they were stupid enough. Feel free to swap GA for Randuins if they have more AD, Spirit Visage if they got more AP, or Warmog if they are evenly spread. Fill it up with Blue buff/Blue elixir.

    Tactic: Do not use attacks. Just cast Q, Q, any1 gets close E away. With max CDR and 1 Q hit your E will have CD of 4-5 seconds, together with IBG proc on every 2nd Q, you WILL be uncatchable, not even Olaf with Ragnarok on will get to you. Turn on Muramana on every 3rd or 4th Q, don`t turn it on when you are under 50% mana.

    I had so much fun with this build, that I actually forgot how to play normal Ez. With this build I have score of 20 wins 2 loses, both ranked and normal. Only one loss is in ranked because of bad place for teamfight... red buff got pulled and stood between me and enemies, couldn`t Q them (T_T).

  • #33 uncle_nashor

    nice to have little variety on ROG posts:) Lately it has been boring to read ''Oh junglers, oh dear god junglers so mistreated, oh junglers have it so hard, damn laners always blame jungler''. :)

    Its really nice to see someone actually sharing general game insight and opinions on bottom lane. 

    ps. Props to all adc math and stonewall, but still this is refreshing.

  • #32 Jassu323

    "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."

    It's depressing to see that given as advice.  I don't understand how people can enjoy solo queue if that's the necessary mind set to have.

  • #42 Baywire

    Because until you are in plat/diamond/challenger tiers the majority of people are bad, I make mistakes like everyone else, but I make the correct plays unlike the majority of the community *which is in bronze and silver tier* which is what I believe this article is for. Watch someone play in gold/plat/diamond tier then watch bronze tier, you'll see how useless people are. It's just unfortunate that one idiot can bring down 4 other people.

  • #31 TheFlatline83

    This is basically the reply I was looking for when I wrote a while ago in the forums stating "it is impossible to carry as an ADC in solo queue, you are too reliant on your teammates".

    Nice suggestions, I'll try next time I'll be in solo queue with braindead non-peeling bruisers XD

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