Preseason 4 brought a lot of new changes, but primarily to bot lane. If you’re confused on masteries, lane setups, and knowing what’s strong, then you’re not alone. Here are some of the basics that you’ll need to know.
These are standard for all AD carries, Blade Weaving and Spell Weaving are impossible to keep up on standard ADs. Obviously, if you want to play weaker and less popular ADs like Ezreal or Corki, you can consider dropping points in other areas to get them. Warlord is not worth all 3 points because it really doesn’t increase your damage as much as you would think. There is no point in going into Utility anymore, you will have to manage your mana properly and take a hit to your summoner CDs if you want to live in this bruiser-dominant meta. Defensive stats are more important than ever, especially for lane.
Champion Rundown / Tier List
Top Tier: Lucian, Jinx, Sivir
Lucian is massively overpowered and there’s no denying it. Right now, if you can’t lane against Lucian, then you’re not a viable AD to play. He is a must ban or first pick in almost every game. You can lane him with any support and become a kill lane, such as Annie, Lulu, Thresh, Karma, etc. He is a lane bully that never falls off at any point in the game, has good wave clear, Dragon control, team fighting, mobility, burst damage, sustained damage, and base stats. Lastly, and most importantly, it is impossible to fuck up on Lucian. All of his abilities are almost impossible to miss, Culling is such a forgiving and weak ability that all you really need to do is mash Q and W, double shot someone to 50% hp, and try to use your ult to clean up or zone. You cannot outlane a Lucian if you’re weaker than him because there is no room to outplay. Like Corki pre-nerf, he doesn’t require ANY skill to play in lane. You walk up, Q, right click, and someone is almost dead.
Jinx has a 45-55 skill matchup into Lucian, and that’s why she is also top tier. Just being able to lane against him is a miracle on its own, and all of Jinx’s kit has relatively the same strengths as Lucian with the addition of having much better scaling. She has a global AoE execute, good laning, amazing scaling, a broken reset mechanic, synergy with every support, and hard CC to chain off of teammates. The biggest differences are that she lacks an escape and is thus easily shut down, and her W is essentially useless against players with a decent reaction time. She is much harder to play, less forgiving for mistakes, and can easily be ineffective in fights through poor gun management or mispositioning.
Sivir is obviously top tier for one reason – her ult is absolutely broken. She can lane decently well against most matchups including Lucian if your reaction time is adequate on Spell Shield. Regardless, at 6 she has strong kill pressure with ganks because of her speed-up, and is able to build much differently than other ADs because of the way she scales (BT-> LW is incredibly cost effective). All of her lane matchups are pure skill and rely on you hitting boomerangs and not wasting any abilities. One bad Spell Shield might lose you lane, but this will all come naturally once you play her enough.
Playable Tier: Tristana, Varus, Draven
Tristana has a favorable matchup into Lucian, and is overall a strong laner with high kill pressure. She has problem mid-game, especially with proper itemization. Rushing IE loses you lane, while rushing BT or BotRK delays her power spike. However, she’s still a safe long-range AD with a lot of utility through her ult, and is the undisputed king of scaling. No AD, not even Jinx, can match Tristana at 6 items.
Varus has always been a good champion, picked for his utility, poke, and lane bullying power. I’m not exactly sure how the Varus-Lucian matchup goes because my Varus play is so poor, but I’m almost certain that most Varus matchups end up being skill matchups dependent on how good the player is at landing Q. I would say he is a playable pick and will remain strong as long as Chain of Corruption is so good.
Draven is the counter in lane to almost all of the aforementioned champions. He crushes Lucian, Jinx, Sivir, Tristana, and Varus, and this is why he is still a viable pick. If you are a perfect Draven player and never drop an axe, you will still be doing massive damage while being extremely slippery. Blood Rush is the ultimate tool against the OP bruisers right now, and will allow you to kite in otherwise impossible situations.
Shit Tier: Vayne, Ezreal, Twitch, Everything Else
Vayne is impossible to lane. Scroll up and tell me which of these champions she can lane against without getting dumpstered in CS and snowballed against. You will be a liability to your team for so long that it’s not even worth trying to scrape by in lane without dying, just so you can be annoyed at how unresponsive she is when using Condemn. It wasn’t even the nerfs to how you can use Condemn, it’s just that every other AD is so much stronger than her, and supports can literally 1v1 weak ADs ever since the changes. Good luck playing the first 15 minutes against an Annie.
Ezreal has the same problems as I mentioned with Vayne. One of the most important things I want to point out is that it’s too easy to mess up on Ezreal. These days, people are actually getting good at dodging skillshots It’s not worth picking a weak early game AD that has no lane pressure and will inevitably lose lane, only to have him try to meekly scale into the game and have a significant portion of his damage dodged. I can’t stress enough how important being faceroll is. Of all players, I am the one who has always played Ezreal. When he was considered shit tier, when he was OP, after the nerfs when he was unplayed, through blue build and beyond, I played Ezreal. Most of my big LAN performances hinged on my Ezreal play. I am one of the best at hitting skillshots and STILL cannot justify picking him right now.
Twitch is obviously decent in lane but doesn’t have too many redeeming qualities right now. I was on the fence with him because I think overall his kit is strong and is even stronger due to Oracles being gone, but he has too many problems. Mainly, his lack of mobility versus the OPs such as Shyvana and Jax will get him killed instantly. To go into more technical detail, any time you trade on Twitch, the situation is not fully under your control. When you walk up on a 550 range AD with no escape, you put yourself in an unretreatable position. The enemy support can, at any time, CC you and force an all-in on that trade (think about walking up to auto Lulu, Annie, or Thresh). This means that you must play absolutely perfectly at all times, because if you go for a trade in lane without knowing fully that you can win an all-in, the enemy support can choose to engage and you will have no option to run.
All other ADs – Corki, Graves, Kog, MF, Quinn – good luck. I think Urgot might actually be OP but haven’t got the chance to test yet. Ashe and Caitlyn also might situationally be good but I wanted to keep this blog short and not go into details. When I get too technical, people seem to lose interest.
At the moment, I feel very strongly that ADs are feeling more and more useless. I can’t do anything mid game when the enemy top and jungle have Sunfire + Thornmail/Omen, and the enemy support built a Frozen Heart? I can’t even attack in teamfights without dying instantly to Jax or Rengar, and when I do my autos might as well be healing them. I’ll be doing another separate blog with my thoughts on the role at some point.