What's the difference between Zed and a melee carry? Zed doesn't suck.

 I know I've joked about this a lot but honestly I don't really see why the entire league playerbase is so hung up on the concept of melee carries only being the champions that suck. Zed is a fantastic melee carry, he's just also an assassin. I know League players have developed this sort of childlike belief that the only way you can be a carry is to have an infinity edge and phantom dancer in your inventory. Anything less and you're clearly not a carry. However Zed is clearly a melee carry, and so are other melee champions I'll talk about later, and it's why Morello said they wanted to make melee carries more like assassins.


Why is Zed a melee carry? 

What happens to zed over the course of the game? He goes from being kinda bad in lane (unless you're squishy, then he can kill you) to end game assassinating tanks. That's a huge jump. Additionally by late game he can overkill ranged carries by several thousand HPs during a burst and can do it consistently and very easily. His abilities also become a lot cheaper, a lot more spammable, and he can start to kill more than one target late game. He also has a 5/10/15/20/25% bonus AD modifier that makes every item he builds stronger and makes his auto attacks massively damaging (400 damage auto attacks +5% current HP ain't nothing to ... mess with.) 

Basically over the course of the game Zed just becomes more and more powerful until finally he can just destroy your entire team nearly single handedly. This works really well. In fact, it works so well that it's why Riot is talking about making melee carries more like assassins because all the melee carries (that are good) ARE assassins right now.

Melee carries (that are good) are assassins right now.

Now while you could make an argument that Zac is a melee carry right now that is good he lacks real power end game. While Zac does become stronger and stronger as the game progresses he doesn't do so at a rate that real carries do. Zac is probably the strongest late game tank, but that doesn't make him a carry. Additionally while Shen can carry games early/mid with his split push his split push isn't strong enough like TF's is to really ensure a late game win. It's GOOD, but it's not carry-the-game good.

There are two real ways to carry games: Having ridiculously good split push and having ridiculously good damage. Split pushing often wins games outright by just taking so many turrets that the rest of your team becomes stronger (XP/gold advantage) and by denying turret safety from your opponents (opening up more opportunities for team fights that aren't under turret.) Ridiculously good damage wins games by killing everything in front of you, it's a slightly more direct way to win. 

You can also "carry" off being tanky and becoming so tanky you can't die, but given enough time LW/VS will negate this and no more carrying off being tanky. It's true a tank can win a game, but winning is different from carrying. A carry can generally carry the entire team on their own, while a tank still requires that their team be somewhat powerful to kill the enemies while they tank them. A super fed trist can kill the entire team, a superfed Zac can't carry a team if nobody can do damage. 

So lets look at currently who is melee and carrying games:

Zed, Kha'zix, and previously Rengar before Riot nerfed him. I'm using Rengar here as a perfect example of a split pusher who carried games. Rengar (used to) become so tanky that it was nearly impossible to stop him from split pushing, while his Q made his damage against turrets far superior to Shen split push. Additionally his ult allows him to easily disappear from a lane and gank another lane even if you try to just 1v1 him to deny the split push. Late game Rengar with his old W heal also used to become practically unstoppable in team fights as he just healed so so much. His amazing split push, his amazing late game tankability, his ease of turret taking made Rengar one of the deadliest champions in the game and let him carry easily.

Although this only happened at the high ranks and in touranments I think enough still watched this happen through the streams to understand exactly how Rengar carried games through his split push.

Kha'zix and Zed though are a lot more direct. Zed can kill anyone that is currently living with his ultimate, and his auto attacks + abilities do enough damage to continue to kill opponents. If you can do an assured kill and still exist that means Zed turns every team fight in to a 5v4. Unlike other assassins he lacks neither the sustained damage nor burst damage to always ensure a kill and still be useful afterwards. Diana by end game sometimes lacks the damage to kill an ADC through barrier + bulwark + other various shields. Zed can straight kill an opposing ADC with his ult, then still have his spammy E and auto attacks doing insanity damage (+25% AD) to continue to kill other people.

Kha'zix has resets on his leap and a very low CD Q. Yeah. His is much less exciting than Zed's to explain because everyone understands it and it's not exactly hidden. I'm sure we've all lost to a fed Kha'zix carrying multiple times this week alone. 

So Riot wants to make melee carries more like assassins.

Morello said that, and I won't quote it because I don't feel much like finding it. But if you want go find it. Melee carries can't just be ranged carries except they melee. That won't ever work. Nobody is gonna play an AD Yi competitively because it's just far too easy to shut him down. Everyone is going to play a Zed competitively because he just works. Same with Kha'zix. So Riot looks at those two champions and says "well this is working... this is working really well... we should just make out other melee carries like these guys." And tada. I'd go on but I think I covered it really well. Master Yi doesn't work, melee carries can't be auto attack focused. Kha'zix DOES work, melee carries need to be ability focused. 

AND YES, that's what this comes down to. Ability focused melee carries with some survivability WORK. They can carry games, they are melee, and ... well that's all that's required for a melee carry. AUTO ATTACK focused melee carries with no survivability do not work. Additionally having some ranged poke works wonders for the viability of melee carries. So that's really what it comes down to, and why we'll see a lot more of champions like Zed and Kha'zix, and older champions getting revamps to look more like them. Expect this, it's whats coming. 

It's why Fiora is both ability focused and auto attack focused, which could work mind you, but more to the point it's when Riot started to experiment with more ability focused/assassin-y melee carries.





  • #163 PeregrineBF

    I think that a "Melee AD Carry" is a contradiction in terms. An "AD Carry" is both a type of champion and more importantly a role. The role of the ADC is to win fights at towers. The ADC kills structures. The AP Carry kills and/or CCs champions and minions, the Support applies CC and/or buffs the carries, tanks CC enemies trying to kill the carries, bruisers bash the carries until they stop hitting your champions/structures, etc. Assassins fill the role of the AP carry, and AD Assassins tend to be reasonably good at destroying structures as well.

    A ranged ADC can poke a turret a few times each wave until it's low enough that their team's tanks and bruisers can dive in, CC/hurt the enemy, and the ADC can finish the turret off before it does too much damage to the tanks. AP carries and assassins work to eliminate some of the defenders, thus making the dive easier. Unless "Melee AD Carries" have a ranged poke that works on structures they'll never be able to poke down a turret the way a ranged ADC can. You'll still want the ranged ADC role, you'll still want the CC and/or Assassin role, you'll still want the tanky/bruiser role, you'll still want the buff/aura/vision role. The way turrets work in League enforces quite a bit of that.

    Riot could instantly make tankier melee AD carries more viable than squishy ranged AD carries by changing turrets to target whatever is doing the most damage to them. It would be a bad change, but Yi would suddenly be worth the pick.

  • #164 Basinator

    What about letting GP's Parrley proc at towers?

  • #156 Blacknsilver

    I disagree.

    What happens with Zed early: He outsustains you and forces you out of lane or outright kills you. If you're playing smart (read: safe past 6) and the Zed player is good, he'll communicate with his jungler and dive you. I'm pretty sure he can kill 90% of champions in 1v1 and 100% in 2v1.

    What happens with Zed late:
    Variant 1: Zed enters fight after major cooldowns are burned. Zed gets CC'd. Zed dies in under a second.
    Variant 2: Zed waits until teamfight ends before he goes in. His team either wins or loses, mostly without his help.

  • #157 RoakOriginal

    And exactly what will CC him, when all major cooldowns are burned? He needs only 3 seconds to kill one target... He can do it even during time, enemy team si trying to engage... He just cant run towards them...

  • #150 Gprinziv

    Fun fact, most people thought Zed was underpowered when he was released because people are stupid.

    It mde for a really fun few weeks when you culd own as Zed without people expecting you to be worth a damn. The new system giving a little something to Assassins has been a godsend for champs like him, Panthon, and Kha (all considered unviable in S2).

  • #151 Gameguy301
    fun fact the formula for armor penetration changed and AD got cheaper as a statistic and armor got more expensive as a statistic all in season 3. your right people are stupid...any "sleeper OP hipster pride" that extends beyond season 3 is pointless as the game itself shifted considerably.
    Last edited by Gameguy301: 5/7/2013 7:26:27 AM
  • #160 Gprinziv

    Hence the it was a godsend, but he was viable before that the changes just brought AD assassins into the limelight from the old meta of "toplane against bruisers, k"

  • #162 D00meriksen

    Quote from Gameguy301 »

    fun fact the formula for armor penetration changed and AD got cheaper as a statistic and armor got more expensive as a statistic all in season 3. your right people are stupid...any "sleeper OP hipster pride" that extends beyond season 3 is pointless as the game itself shifted considerably.

    Well said.

    I'm also tired of the people saying "AP Nidalee and Lux haven't been touched since forever, it's just now that people have discovered them". No, that's flat out wrong. Season 3 nerfed passive sustain, which was the natural counter to poke.

    Back then you would run full mpen runes to be able to kill anything as Lux, because her ratios outside of her ult were never good to begin with and mr was so easy to itemize for. Now, that poke sticks and can't be healed up again with FON, the whole arsenal of sieging champions became better suddenly (Xerath, Lux, Nidalee).

  • #165 Basinator

    You could heal up with warmogs instead now.

  • #166 Vladimort

    I'd love to see a Orianna build warmogs against lux xD

  • #161 LolLolLolJake

    Pantheon is still unviable. =/

  • #149 PerfectSelf

    I play Zed bot, with Leonna. Super fun times!

  • #148 Killzerz4

    I think we are misusing a big term here.

    Carry = someone who deals damage, enough to "carry" a team to victory. It does NOT mean someone who uses auto-attacks to damage people. So many people are harping that ADC = ranged auto-attacking champion that invests in AD, crit, and AS. That's not true AT ALL. It means someone who "carries" a team by doing physical damage. Hellloooo Zed. Now, if I said that Zed is a ranged auto-attacking champion that does physical damage I would be completely wrong. He is a melee caster that does physical damage, and he does enough of it to "carry".

    This does NOT mean every caster that does physical damage is a carry. Renekton is a bruiser, not a carry. Garen is a bruiser, not a carry. Darius is a bruiser, not a carry.

    However, some people ARE carries. Zed, Talon (needs some love but that is his inclination), Kha'Zix are all good example of melee AD carries that do enough damage to "carry" a team.

    NOT ONLY THAT, but other carries exist! I would argue Diana, Elise, and Karthus are all examples of carries even though they do magical damage. Guess who is seeing a lot of play in tournaments?


    All in all, carry =/= ranged auto-attacking physical damage dealer that is pretty squishy. People have started using these two as synonyms, which is wrong. Carry means someone who does enough damage to kill people on other team in a timely fashion.

  • #167 JocularThePeasant

    "It means someone who "carries" a team by doing physical damage."

    "Carry means someone who does enough damage to kill people on other team in a timely fashion."

    I agree with the second statement.

  • #146 DaarkPaladinX

    The problem with melee AD carries is that they technically function as melee assassins since they have skills that allows them to do SOME burst damage (like Master Yi's Q and Fiora's ultimate), expect they are much more dependent on autoattacking for DPS than melee assassins.  By definition, Xin Zhao could be considered to be AD melee carry since he's very dependent on autoattacking, but he is also classified as a melee assassin as well because he has skills that allow you to deal lots of burst damage.

    The reason AD melee carries have fallen out of use is because of the lack of safety and durability  and making the hard choice between building as a glass cannon or flatout tanky.  If they build like an ADC, they have more autoattack power, but can be easily be focused since they need to go melee.  Should they be built a little tanky, they have more durability, but lose out in the DPS output.  Many of the melee adcs I've seen have been served as junglers instead, but they lack effective CC and ganking power and they are also farm dependent as well (many jungle adcs may need to spend a lot of time farming in the jungle to reach about level 5-6 to gank fully properly with their skillset, but that would be considered to be quite late for a jungler as many people expect junglers to start ganking around level 3 or 4).  So melee adcs are in a bad position across from top and jungle.

    Now let's look at AD caster melee assassins.  Sure, they are melee, but they are more reliant on using skills and deal lots of burst damage than autoattacking. Many of them often rush the Black Cleaver for more durability and burst along with the Bloodthrister.  Even if Talon gets heavily zoned, he can still farm relatively safely with his W.and Zed can poke and farm with an ease with his Q.  A lot of items that the AD caster melee assassins have a good mix of damage and durability.

    So by definition, Zed and Talon are AD caster melee assassins but are NOT carries because they aren't reliant on autoattacking and they both fall flat lategame when compared to the melee ADCs.  

    Likewise, the so called adcs like Ezreal, Miss Fortune, and Graves aren't considered to be AD carries and more like ranged AD casters because a large portion of their damage comes from dealing lots of burst damage.  Miss Fortune, Graves, and Ezreal are going to fall completely flat late game because of the lack of special quriks that help with their autoattacks like many lategame hypercarries have (more importantly, long autoattack range like Tristana, Kog'maw, Ashe, Caitlyn, and to a lesser extent, Twitch; or % damage based on target's health with autoattacks like Kog'maw and Vayne to bypass health and armor building).

    I do agree, however, that Zed is a bit op and strong right now.  Mainly because he uses energy unlike other assassins and energy is a VERY good form of sustain as opposed to Talon and Pantheon where they use mana instead.  But as a melee adc, I don't think so.

    In regards to splitpushing, I think the top split-pushers right now are Rumble, Mordekaiser, Singed, Nasus, Garen, Teemo, Master Yi, and even Rammus.  You do mention that Zed is also a good splitpusher (this is something I have to agree upon).  However, the ones I've listed are much better options due to either good AoE or mobility.  Splitpushing is a bit of a highrisk, high return type of thing.  If the enemy team is smart enough, they can bring one guy down to halt the split pusher with an ease.  That's why you need good warding and map awareness and some items like Ruby Sightstone and Banner of Command if you want to splitpush effectively.

    Last edited by DaarkPaladinX: 5/6/2013 10:26:49 PM
  • #145 cottonycloud

    Can't believe people are so hung up over the definition of a melee carry. Call it "squishy AD melee" if you want.

  • #158 Blacknsilver

    That would be "assassin".

  • #159 Eshun

    Except not all of them are assassins

  • #142 Sebsin

    Zed isn't a melee carry. He's an ad assassin. If his kit scaled off of ap he would be just as good.

  • #147 vhu9644

    Well, if he scaled off AP, he probably wouldn't have his strong autoattacks as well...

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