Community Reigns: AP Carry Mechanics

Welcome to the first post from the new Community Reigns project. This project involves me taking a worthwhile post I find either in the forums of Reign of Gaming or one that is sent to me that I feel would be worth promoting as an article on the site. If you feel you can write something worthy enough of a one-shoot front page article post then give it a shot. Keep in mind that a good title, proper grammar and spelling (for the most part), and a good topic will increase the chances of consideration.

For our first article we have my friend Arczer who actually inspired this idea with a good, general post about mid laning. He posted it on the forums and showed it to me and I liked it enough to consider it as an article. I have seen articles like this in general discussion and on reddit and I feel some of them are very useful and should be archived and promoted.
- Stonewall008

1) The All Seeing Eye

Awareness of the lane and the enemy laner is the most basic key principal of laning. Watching the enemy minions health is essential for last hitting in lane, of course. However, one should also always pay attention to the allied minion health. When you go to last hit a creep, you are putting yourself at risk to be harassed, you adapt a very predictable move path and acquire a very obvious target. Think of the laning phase as being a part of a team fight but with minions.

When you tunnel to last hit, you are revealing your low defenses to the enemy laner. Make sure you pay attention to the allied creep health. When the enemy laner goes to last hit, he drops his defenses, adapting a similar predictable pattern and timing. Practice watching both waves of the creeps health, not just the enemy minions, this is how you develop proper lane harass timing. Make sure to keep spells available for when the opponent goes to last hit. This is why you should mostly last hit with auto attacks in the early laning phase.

Top players will be aware of this and switch up their timing and pattern, and will abuse you if you jump the gun too early on your harass. Whiffing spells against a top player is the equivilent of losing lane. This can be especially frustrating when laning against a weaker opponent, they will often not realize what you are doing, and then become very infuriated/terrified at the fact that you are able to seemingly land all your skillshots accurately.

Most Diamond 1+ players have mastered the mechanic of watching the lane carefully and drawing out all possible information from the lane. Once these mechanics become second nature, you can focus on enemy player psychology rather than consciously thinking about where and when to harass the opponent and, in the higher divisions, player psychology plays an important part, as it will be explained in the following tips.

2) Advancing First

The more aggressive and confident player usually will come out ahead in trades during the laning phase. This is mostly due to the fact that the advancing player usually has "first strike." For example, Kassadin has an innate "first strike" mechanic due to the combined power of Riftwalk and Null Sphere.

If Kassadin is laning against Brand and the Kassadin player jumps on the Brand with his combo, then the Brand follows Kassadin back and harasses him on his cooldowns - who do you think won the trade? If Brand ended up with 60% HP and Kassadin with 40% HP, is Brand winning due to health advantage or is there more at play here?

If you guessed Brand you are wrong. When there is a battle between two mages that can burst each other very quickly, the one who has the ability to strike first will always win. In the next fight now Brand is now at 60% and Kassadin at 40%. Kassadin will strike first with his combo and Brand will be unable to fight back due to silence, and now Kassadin is able to time his "all-in" properly, netting him the kill even though he seemingly lost the previous trade. An "all-in" is when a character utilizes everything at their disposal to attempt to win a fight.

Aggressive laners also tend to pull a lot of jungler aggression into their lane essentially making them 2v2 lanes. However there is a psychological advantage at play here as the aggressive player shows very little "tells" during his gameplay. Is he being aggressive because he is confident he will win the trade? Is his jungler there? Does he know my jungler is not nearby? Is he stupid?

Defensive players typically will give away the position of a jungler when advancing in a lane. If someone has been defensive, and suddenly now is aggressive, where did the burst of confidence come from? The jungler must be nearby...

All kills in lane are a direct result of deceiving the enemy. The aggressive player has a much easier time deceiving the enemy, which leads us to our next point.

3) The Glancing Eye

Appropriate vision is a mandatory requirement for the AP carry lane. Unlike the top lane, The AP carry is a "prime target" for the enemy team and a "predator". If left unattended, the AP carry can snowball very quickly due to the incredible amounts of gold and experience being siphoned into him. The AP carry receives more experience and gold than any other laner in the game. This makes you a very strong candidate for ganking once you gain relevant skills. Make sure you keep wards at choke points and timers on the enemy buffs and camps. Doing so will let you know when you are able to safely be aggressive and also tells you when the jungler is near by or incoming.

Proper use of wards, timers, and aggression will remove pressure from the rest of the map. If the enemy jungler shows up mid lane then you have just pulled all of the pressure off the map. Don't let the enemy jungler know you have timers and vision on him. If he comes mid, you can pre-occupy yourself by leeching from your jungle.

The top laner and bottom laners do not receive as much jungle attention as the mid laner yet you only have only a limited amount of gold so warding properly is important. Top lane is usually a farm fest and nothing much happens there for awhile so. The bot lane is similar as in the early game, the typical ADC simply farms, and until they can carry late game. However they lane with a delicious support that is still worth as much gold as everyone else but the duo can be difficult to gank in some match ups.

This is a good location for junglers will want to gank bottom but as an AP carry you can to relieve pressure from the bottom lane by forcing the enemy jungler mid.

4) The Siphon Loop

This is a notable thing that gets most of its usage in tournaments, mostly by farming AP carries, but some "predators" can also siphon loop. A 'siphon' is when you are extracting as much experience and gold as possible from other places, keeping your downtime to a bare minimum, while pressuring the enemy AP carry to do the same or risk losing simply from his inability to advance in the lane. Maintaining as very little downtime as possible is crucial to snowballing out of control.

The most common 'siphon loop' is done as follows: Shove creep wave -> Wraiths -> Shove creep wave -> Wolves. The experience and gold earned by doing this for as little as 5 minutes is astoundingly high. Another loop can be done by: Shove wave -> Wraiths -> Shove wave -> Invade. This one is harder to pull off because it requires proper timing from lesson 2, and this leads us into our next point.

5) The Field

Your job as the AP carry is to be a powerful, menacing and threat during the late early game (Lv6) to the early lategame (Lv16). This is accomplished by coordinating with your jungler to set up as much dominance in your lane as possible, deep warding the enemy jungle and key points, (Wraith entrance, Blue Golem entrance and exit, Top lane Tri-brush) and then advancing to fight 2v2 for key objectives such as Red/Blue buffs.

Well-timed AP carry and jungler aggression can lead to complete and dominating map control, and when the enemy team starts to lose map control, a simple fight over a dragon can lead to a 5 for 0 massacre for the enemy team, depending on how ahead you are.

Pressing your advantage on the jungle as well as lane is important for an AP carry to do. The lane might be your primary source of income, but the jungle should be your secondary source of income.


About the Author:
My IGN is Arczer and I play AP carry mostly for fun, but I also tend to sub in for tournaments and scrims for teams.
I previously subbed for team "The Penta Bar" in NationalESL Season 6 Open League in which we placed first.
I spend most of my times playing premade normal games or ranked 5s.
I am relatively experienced and comfortable in my role as an APC.
I'm a very easy going person and down to earth, so don't be too shy or afraid to ask me any questions you may have (related or personal are both fine). I will most likely respond.
This is the first arcticle I've written, so I'm still inexperienced at it, if you have any concerns or tips on how to help me become more articulate, feel free to tell me.

Thanks for reading!



  • #42 Tiko2g

    tell me your malzahar build pls *_*

  • #48 ArcZyrion

    Flask + 3 or Flask 1+Ward if you can die early (Lee, J4)

    Dorans Ring -> Tear -> Rylais -> Sorc Shoes -> Deathcap -> Seraphs -> Voidstaff -> Ancient Golem -> Liandry's

  • #41 Nakhan

    Good article, but most of this is known/obvious.  I am more interested in some advanced mechanics around these topics.

  • #34 grisn

    Would Thresh mid work?

  • #40 Firalus

    He somewhat works, but he is subpar.

    He is essentially a Kayle with weaker kiting abilities (aside from the ultimate), lower range, no AoE damage, no burst of any sort and maybe slightly more team utility (only slightly since Thresh mid can't really engage - he isn't quite tanky enough - and whether or not his utility is higher at all depends on how you value Kayle ult and AoE shred vs. Thresh lantern).

    Last edited by Firalus: 9/2/2013 6:38:01 AM
  • #43 scruftypufty

    in a normal game? sure, he's better off going ad than ap tho, but never do it in a ranked game

  • #32 Migotliv

    Great article, feels like it taught me a lot, now to put this into practice. Will keep an eye from more in this series.

  • #31 Dulahan90

    Hey, nice post.

    I would like to know how to manage creep waves in the early stages of the game (levels 1-4 mostly). Latter on when people is able to clear full waves with one or two spells this becomes irrelevant.

    Here are my thoughts, starting from the state that in a pure 1 vs 1 scenario, the one who is able to outpush (without losing half mana or hp pool) wins. This becomes specially relevant in mid lane, where most champs struggle to lasthit under tower. The problem is I don't know how to do it properly.

    1. If you push it slowly (say extra AA and some ocasional spells), at some point the lane will "pseudofreeze" for at least 1 wave and you will have problems farming those waves (imagine you are a champion like swain, not a natural pusher like cassio)

    2. If you push fast and the enemy isn't able to counterpush you, they will find theirselves at tower loosing cs while you can coordinate with your jungler to do early invades, or you just wait there outfarming them because the tower. The issue here is I'm never able to do it (maybe is just champion pool, I don't play lux, cassio, karthus, syndra, etc. at all).

    3. When my lane oponent overextend a lot, I can't get any decent gank, while I seem to have an amazing poster that says "gank me" (despite easily scaping most of the times). Maybe it is just me and I tend to remember more enemy ganks than aly ganks?


    So in the end what I'm doing at this stage is never push, stay a bit away from my minions so my enemy doesn't get free push trying to harras me, and counterpush as much as possible.

    PD: Maybe playing karthus is the way to learn about early pushing by myself.


    Last edited by Dulahan90: 9/1/2013 7:56:43 AM
  • #33 IGNDarkAzriel

    if you are having trouble cs'ing under turret.. try to set up minions before the turret hits them.. so for example, sacrifice some melee minions for guaranteed caster minions:

    lets say you are a champ with no aoe [kennen] to help you last hit [no safe aoe clearing] vs a wave clearing champ.. you might be underleveled or something by the time the minions reach your tower so this is what you can do..

    you can get by, by ignoring melee minions when the turret hits them for the first time [leaving them at like 60%], instead auto a caster minion once.. then when the turret hits the melee minion a second time leaving it low but not enough for one AA, use an ability [q] to clear it..

    repeat with again with the next caster minion.. you might lose 1 or 2 melee minions because your q is on cd or something, but you will guarantee the kills on caster minions when the turret eventually gets to them, they will all be one AA from dying.. it will mitigate your losses instead of just doing random stuff and missing cs.. hope this helps..!!

    Last edited by IGNDarkAzriel: 9/1/2013 8:20:42 AM
  • #35 Dulahan90

    I already do that, and in fact I lose few cs due to turret. What I want now is to be the one denying enemy cs and aplying map pressure, but just don't know how

  • #46 IGNDarkAzriel

    oh.. play waveclear champs.. once their wave gets low.. harass them.. 

    if they turn, they draw minion aggro and you win trade..

    if they run, then its just added pressure and they start playing a bit more defensive.. not alot but enough to annoy them.. 

  • #30 IGNDarkAzriel

    i personally think the first point is very important when going from 'ok player' to 'good player'.. i notice when i play against lower tiers, they usually harass at random times.. 

    harassing the enemy when they walk up for cs is essential to skill shot based champions.. if you try to harass when your minions are at full hp, you are risking getting ganked with no benefit since the other ap is just gonna get your minions anyway when you draw minion aggro and regress behind your minion line.. you have to be an opportunist.. 

    Last edited by IGNDarkAzriel: 9/1/2013 6:31:42 AM
  • #29 kar24

    While I was reading this article, I realised that that I do most of the stuff u've written commonly. (I main midlane) It's really well-written. GJ

  • #28 FulcrumTavish

    Great article, looking forward for more from you!

  • #27 lordkronodos

    Thanks for the article! I will share this with my team's AP mid. I'm not a good AP mid player so this helps quite a bit!

  • #21 VexKo

    What is your opinion on Athenes vs Seraphs? Is it just personal preference or is one a lot better than the other?

    I will get Athenes on most of my champions that need a source of mana sustain. I like the MR it gives which helps in the early laning phase and combined with blue buff i get 40% cdr early on. I respect seraphs but i feel the early bonuses from Athenes outweigh the late game power and shield you get from Seraphs. Do you think it would be overkill for me to get a tear and then start building Athenes on certain champions such as Anivia and Lux?

  • #22 zkylon

    (scrub here)

    imo tear+chalice is a waste on lux, it's either one or the other (tear for lategame shield + ap, chalice for better laning), depending on the situation

    i like roa+chalice+tear on anivia tho, it's stupid amounts of mana regen and makes you really hard to burst, but it's situational at best

  • #24 raikaria

    Quote from VexKo »

    What is your opinion on Athenes vs Seraphs? Is it just personal preference or is one a lot better than the other?

    I will get Athenes on most of my champions that need a source of mana sustain. I like the MR it gives which helps in the early laning phase and combined with blue buff i get 40% cdr early on. I respect seraphs but i feel the early bonuses from Athenes outweigh the late game power and shield you get from Seraphs. Do you think it would be overkill for me to get a tear and then start building Athenes on certain champions such as Anivia and Lux?

    Lux's cooldowns are far too high to even consider Tear IMO, and she really scales with CDR as well, with Grail gives. Grail also gives MR, which helps Squishy Lux survive Lv 6 all ins, which a tear won't.

  • #20 Puruuni

    I'm very fond of LeBlanc mid but I get absolutely destroyed by some matchups even before lvl3. Champions like cassiopeia and ahri have so much zone and harass potential there's just nothing I seem to be able to do to them before they are lvl 4 and I'm still lvl2. Do I just do it the kassadin way and play extremely safe 'til I catch up or should I call my jungler to gank? If I get to level 3-5 without falling back in XP things usually turn in my favor but I still hate to play against cassio and ahri in lane and go kill other targets rather than fight those two, especially cassio who can cast ultimate even after getting QR into her face

  • #44 scruftypufty

    LeBlanc is a straight up Ahri counter...

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