The Current State of
ADCs in the Bot Lane
By Hans Sund
Coach at Microcoaching
As many League of Legends players have noticed, the meta since patch 8.11 has been (saying it nicely) slightly unconventional. In the new meta, we have all seen numerous variations in champion selections across unorthodox positions such as Brand-Fiddlesticks in the bot lane and Taric mid freezing farm to allow Master Yi to take in between jungle farms. Given the changes to crit builds, we thought—Ok, traditional crit AD Carries seem to be underwhelming, and bruisers like Yasuo, Vlad, and Irelia appear to be particularly strong at the moment. Thus, why not throw them into the bot lane in place of carries like Caitlyn, Tristana, and Jinx? However, we quickly realized like many other players with the same thought that this decision was an egregious misstep.
Despite the fact that many players in the LCS and LCK are utilizing funneling strats and switching their bot lane comps with dual support comps, particularly with comps consisting of either two AP carries or an AP carry with a crowd control support, the same strategies were ineffective in our ranked solo queue experience. Granting our limited success playing as Brand in the bottom lane, playing non-traditional AD Carries in the bot lane only resulted in a vast amount of ranked game defeats in the current meta. Accordingly, we highly emphasize for us—common folks—to recognize and appreciate the obvious differences between professional LoL versus ranked queues.
In some professional LoL games, a viewer might see the pros implementing funneling strategies. For example, a mid laner will play a support champion such as Taric or Braum and simply hold their waves in order to allow the the jungler (most likely Master Yi or Graves) power farm the jungle while capturing resources from the mid lane. Other exemplary pro funneling strategies include placing AD Carries such as Kai’Sa or Lucian in the mid lane while simultaneously running double support comps in the bottom lane.
Professional esports organizations, players and teams have an unbelievable array of resources available to them, including coaches, analysts and consultants, to analyze and discuss various champions and strategies. Furthermore, professionals have ample opportunity to practice these strategies against other professional teams during scrims. Finally, these comps often require constant team communication to be executed effectively. For example, when trying to run a composition with Taric and Master Yi, it is absolutely critical for these two champions to communicate with each other and effectively organize their ultimates and fight for their comp to be successful. Therefore, while it may be entertaining or intuitive to see professionals play champions in unconventional ways, we must appreciate the pro’s methods are neither the “gold” standard for nor is their success likely to translate to our solo/duo ranked games.
So, where does that leave us? Is there any hope for AD Carries in the new bot lane meta? Should we just wait for the next patch release to played ranked games again? We cannot deny that the viability of AD Carries has seen a drop since the changes to crit items; and as such, late-game hyper carries are far less likely to reach their end-game potential. Nonetheless, the general notion that AD Carries as a whole are no longer a viable option in the current meta, and must be replaced with AP carries or bruisers is erroneous and simply an exaggerated overreaction by most players.
Many players are quick to jump on the meta-bandwagon and jettison playing champs that s/he is comfortable and practiced with in favor of the current League community “consensus” of the “best” champion. In general, this strategy is flawed for all lanes, but its shortcomings are heightened for the present bot lane play. The current bot lane meta is so heavily varied that traditional AD Carry mains are likely not comfortable playing champions such as Brand, Vladimir, or Irelia in the bot lane.
Instead of conforming to any prevailing trends, we highly urge continuing to play the champions that you know and are comfortable playing, especially if these “best” bot lane champions’ play style vastly differs from your normal champion choices. Even though the performance of champions such as Caitlyn and Tristana has diminished in the current meta, success in ranked solo/duo queue matches in League of Legends compared to the professional scene depends a great deal more on the players’ individual skills than the specific champions being used in the game. For example, Brand may be considered a more efficient champion in the bot lane than Caitlyn in the current meta. However, if this decision forces a team member to play a champ s/he is not entirely comfortable, then any perceived benefit by choosing the meta-current “better” champ will be moot during the game.
Below are merely a few examples of champion selection recommendations that we have had some success with as AD carries in the new bot lane meta. Particularly, we advise selecting champions such as Lucian, Miss Fortune, Ezreal, and Jhin as viable options in the current meta. All of these AD champions (except for Jhin) thrive off non-crit builds. When playing with Jhin, we suggest utilizing Stormrazor to provide an automatic critical every couple seconds in order to guarantee a movement speed bonus. This specific bonus will allow Jhin to either chase down his enemy or escape in a dire situation. For Lucian, Miss Fortune, and Ezreal, each of these champions benefit from builds that synergize with their kits, specifically Ezreal using double Tear of the Goddess items, Lucian implementing Blade of the Ruined King and Essence Reaver, and Miss Fortune employing her lethality Black Cleaver build. Due to the nature of the champions, the current changes to crit items has seen a drastic rise in the popularity and overall success with these champions for most players. With respect to Kai’Sa, we believe that she still is an incredibly strong bot lane pick, but she appears to most effective as an AP carry as opposed to an AD Carry. Specifically with the changes to Death’s Dance, Kai’Sa no longer has the same survivability as she did previously. However, she remains an excellent attack speed AP Carry, especially when used to complete a solid team composition with an AD mid laner.
In sum, all hope is not lost for AD Carry mains who cannot figure out who to play in the bot lane with the new meta. And, we encourage all players to continue of selecting AD Carries on Summoner’s Rift, even with the substantial shift in bot lane meta given the release of the new patch. When looking to play AD Carries (or basically the AP version of an AD Carry), do not hesitate to continue playing the aforementioned champions. These champions are still viable AD Carries available that should keep you climbing through this turbulent bot lane storm.