LoL ADC Macro Guide - Hypercarry your Team
Attack Damage Carry (ADC or Marksman) is one of the most impactful roles currently. In the current meta carrying Bot Lane is one of the best things to do if your team wants to control the Mid Game. Strong Bottom Lane easily melts Towers and Neutral Objectives, opening opportunities for a healthy game where you control the pace and the macro-game, with enemy team reacting to your actions. With that being said - the ADC role is one of the easiest to fall behind with. There are lots of things happening on their lane, involving ganking junglers, roaming mid laners, and teleporting top laners.
A won lane, especially when it comes to bot lane - translates into a series of favorable skirmishes around the map that will eventually lead to objectives and better snowball potential. It is why it will be crucial for you to get the best out of your lane as possible. After our guide, your games will make you feel slightly more content about your gameplay. And as always - everything will start in the champion select. Let's make you a valuable laner as an ADC.
ADC Champion Select
You and your Support should pick champions that synergize with each other or counter enemy bot lane. You should also look at your team and the enemy team to determine who to pick. It ensures that you will not only choose a champion that complements your win conditions but someone that will do great against the enemy team.
Twitch is a fantastic late-game carry that will reach his highest potential in a hard engage team. He can also do well as the main turnover carry, that will miss the beginning of a teamfight, waiting for enemies to burn their abilities so he can shred everyone from a distance.
Caitlyn is unmatched at controlling the enemy movement, denying various zones through traps and sieging. Arguably she is also the best ADC in the game for early game pushing, which means that she can be outstanding at transitioning into mid-game with one turret at bot lane already down in her favor. Granted that she has the vision and avoids making mistakes.
Ashe is the best ADC in the game when it comes to mastering your macro play. She is an ADC with close to no outplays potential that is a pure stat-check. Her early game depends on survival, poking, or having aggressive support that can guarantee some kills. Later on, she becomes the best ADC for picks and engages, as she can heavily punish overextended and mispositioned enemies.
Tristana and Draven, on the other hand, can be complete bullies that can win the lane by themselves due to their damage output. Tristana becomes crazy-strong in every stage of the game, and Draven falls out heavily unless you allow him to dish out his damage in prolonged teamfights.
Or you can go with Kai'sa and Vayne that are consistent throughout the entire game. Both meet some shortcomings at the beginning of the match. But Kai'sa's mixed damage executions, or beastly repositions, and Vayne's 3-AA Press the Attack procs will genuinely make some mess sooner or later.
You should also consider picking something that will work as a counter to the enemy. Caitlyn is Vayne's natural counter due to her range and keeps out tools. Sivir somewhat counters Caitlyn by matching her pushing capabilities and blocking her abilities with a spell shield. Sivir will do poorly against Draven, who depends entirely on massive auto attacks. Varus will do fine versus Draven. But he will be most likely entirely smashed by Lucian. And this guy will be weak against Vayne due to her dodging capabilities. Basically, everything is a large cycle that can be interrupted by support picks.
Runes and Spells
Runes will hugely impact the laning phase. Now, we know that Runes and spells belong to the micro section, but your runes and masteries will influence early game macro. They make macro different in some way. An excellent choice of runes will dictate what things you will be able to do in your lane. Your rune of choice can profoundly impact early macro, and your transition into the midgame and objective taking.
Press The Attack - Great rune for trading and AD Carries that have some 3-shot mechanic. Tristana, Lucian, Kai' sa, and Vayne will benefit significantly from this rune, allowing them to be very useful in their short trades. You can also go for longer trades since your damage will be increased for a short time when attacking your target. It's also quite decent for making picks in the mid-game, as it increases the damage dealt with your target from all sources.
Lethal Tempo - Holy grail of Auto-Attack reliant carries that rarely use active abilities that take them out of applying AAs. It's also used on those with some AD or range boosters, and on-hit champions. Most of the time, it will be used by Ashe, Kog' maw, Varus, Twitch, or Kalista to ensure the highest amount of damage or utility possible. More and faster procs, better DPS, more possibilities to move, and kite in between the attacks.
Fleet Footwork - Best rune if you don't want to bother yourself with smashing the enemy bot lane. You will go for very short trades to quickly heal yourself up while farming. This keystone, especially with Legend: Bloodline and Overheal, will keep you alive through your lane, allowing you to out sustain your enemies. When applied correctly, you will be able to stay in the lane after a harsh trade, translating most of the time into more farm and wave control in the laning phase.
Arcane Comet & Dark Harvest - Very niche keystone choices for an ADC, but it's decent on a few picks. Mainly Ashe, Miss Fortune, and Jhin. Since all of them have some nice poking or nuke tools to damage their enemies in the lane, and they can sometimes do it from a pretty safe distance (unless there's a Leona, Blitz, or Nauti on the enemy team and you are out of position). Those two runes are great for those champs and should not be ignored if your matchup allows you to use them reliably.
When it comes to spells, it's always going to be Flash + Heal. Flash + Teleport is also popular due to Yuumi becoming one of the most solid supports, but this tactic slowly dies out. The Teleport is the right choice if you need to get back to lane fast, and your entire early to mid-game relies on particular power spikes. However, it's only working if you have a shielding or healing support that can take Heal summoner.
Early Laning Phase
As you go into your lane after helping the jungler take a camp or guarding the entrances - you will head to your lane. And the first minute can be crucial to your success.
Level 2 Power spike
That's not a meme. Level two gives you and your support a major advantage. Because if you do it correctly, setting up some kind of a slow push, you will be able to do a few things. You can use that advantage to engage on the enemy if you are laning with aggressive support like Leona or Pyke. Having a Leona + Cait/Draven/Sivir Level 2 combo against a Level 1 enemy is a powerful way of shutting down enemies that will allow you to maintain an advantage up until the first back (or first gank from enemy jungler).
You can also use that to zone the enemy out. They will be less likely to risk coming up to take CS. With a huge wave, you will be able to chunk some parts of the tower, but you will have to be careful, watching the map for enemy jungler presence. Knowing where the jungler started is very important as if he is on the other side of the map - you will have a larger window to be aggressive and pressure enemies, so they get less gold than you.
If this happens to you regardless, and your enemies reached Level 2 before you - if you are not one minion away from reaching Level 2 - you will have to respect your enemies. Don't take a fight, and don't rush for CS, as against some matchups you can get punished, punished heavily. It's usually better to stay back if there's risk involved. Lose those 2-3 minions, keeping yourself risk-free at full HP, allowing you to remain at the lane safely.
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Imagine a scenario in which you lose ½ of your HP due to the Level 2 all-in. It's devastating for your entire early lane. You can't retaliate reliably, you have to stay back for the majority of the lane, and if your enemies play it well, they will zone you out and push your lane. You will have to depend on your jungler or the enemy mistakes, like a greedy tower dive or straight up int. And if it doesn't happen - you are in a terrible spot. Most likely, you have much lower CS than your enemy. If they go back (because for example enemy ADC has 1,300 Gold for B. F. Sword), you have to push the wave somehow so it bounces back. It will ensure that your enemies won't be able to freeze the lane and zone you out even more. At this point - it gets awful when you decide to go back, you show up to the lane with a pickaxe due to low farm, and your enemy shows up with a B. F. Sword. You are behind even more, and enemies can further exploit your current state to destroy your tower and play the macro-game perfectly easily.
When it doubts - keep it smooth and simple, just like the English language.
Ending the Laning Phase
Laning Phase at bot lane will end when either one of the turrets falls. Macro-wise, more successful ADC will destroy the tower and clear any additional waves to make it harder for the enemy to bounce quick enough to punish their back or swap. Then, they will most likely either prepare for a Dragon, switch lanes with their top to take the tower again, prepare for Herald, or group with Mid to take the mid-tower. As the first tower at bot lane falls - this is where the true macro play begins for this lane.
The ultimate macro scenario for the bot lane in the midgame is:
- Winning/surviving lane.
- Taking tower.
- Taking Dragon.
- Going top and taking tower into Herald or Herald into the tower.
- Going mid to take down the last remaining outer turret.
- Live for as long as you can to be present.
The thing is, that micro will give you kills or CS lead (or both), which is an advantage and strength discrepancy overall. The macro is about using these advantages to take objectives. The rule of thumb is that no-kill will win you the game. You can slay your opponent 100 times, but if he's the one to take down your Nexus - he's the winner. And you cannot take the Nexus down without destroying the towers and inhibitors first.
Mid Game Section
Picks, objectives of opportunity, small or big skirmishes, and teamfights will happen all over the map. Depending on how you did, and which tower fell - you will do various tasks that will allow you to either advance in your snowball, or regain some control by farming. At this point - map movement and capitalizing on enemy mistakes will open up most objectives. It will also make you LOSE particular objectives, especially in Solo Queue (these people don't listen for the majority of the time).
In theory, while your Mid Lane and jungle will be experts at either dealing damage or setting up some kills, you are the expert when it comes to destroying Turrets and taking down Neutral Objectives. It's even more noticeable if you managed to claim some Drakes (Mountain or Infernal) with your jungler before your map play began. And even though it's a perfect time to get some picks that lead to towers, Baron, or Drakes - there's a crucial thing to remember for every ADC out there. Do not fall behind.
It's very easy to lose yourself in cycle objectives and picks, completely forgetting to take your time and clear some farm here and there. You have to continually watch for side lanes, pay attention to wave's destination. Let's say that there's a powerful Tryndamere in the enemy team. In two minutes - Mountain Dragon will spawn, and a colossal minion wave almost broke through the half of the map bouncing back to you. Most of the time, you would want to wait with clearing. Let it get closer to your map so you can freeze it, clear it, or set up a slow push.
If you want to join the Dragon fight, because, for example, you are the primary carry of your team, you should either clean that wave with your support sooner or send someone who can safely push it and head back to the team to get the Dragon. It will net you a Mountain Dragon buff, enemy Tryndamere won't get to your base fast enough, and maybe you will win a 5v4 or 5v5 teamfight in the Dragon pit. It comes down to one simple thing.
A simple thing that will allow you to make fewer mistakes in the mid-game. Not many people know this, but there's a map in the bottom right corner during every match. And that's one of the most powerful tools in the entire game, that allows you to take macro somewhere beyond its natural level.
It's especially useful for any ADC in the midgame. ADCs that don't break through the mid-game with a healthy farm and close to no deaths - they won't be able to carry the game. You can't allow yourself to be set behind. To play for the team, you have to be a complete member of the team. We know each game is different. One game you get fed and destroy people, the other game you get camped by the jungler, and you are weak. But you can be still useful.
As an ADC, you will try to follow your team and take objectives, and if there's no possibility - you go to one of the lanes to take the farm. When in doubt - run it down mid, farm, and move to any skirmish or objective you can be useful in. It is where true map awareness comes into play.
Let's say there's a big wave incoming top that you can take. So you head to your Top Tier 1 Turret take the wave and push beyond your river so that it bounces back. But before you take the wave and push - take a look at the map. There are four enemies visible on your map. You have to estimate, based on who's missing, what is the probability that you are in a threat. If there is a blue Kayn, Talon, Zed, or Shaco in the enemy team, you may want to stay with your team. Also, globals (Shen, Gangplank), semi-globals (Nocturne, Twisted Fate), and roaming abilities (Nunu, Aurelion Sol, Taliyah) are signs, that you should not go to the lane by yourself. What appears to be a 1 v 1, can suddenly become a 2 v 1.
There are ADCs that, with a tiny bit of luck, can survive or outplay the enemy gank if itemized well enough. For example, Vayne, Kai'sa, Ezreal, or Draven. However, one way or another, you don't want to put yourself at risk.
If Behind - Play it Slow
In some games, you won't be the one who will have an easy mid-game to late-game transition. You could've won your lane, but something went wrong, your mid lane got shut down pretty hard, and at this point, there's nothing you can do.
The best advice you can find is to capitalize on any mistakes that your enemies manage to make. But to do that you will have to learn how to play it slowly.
Playing slow is hard, as a lot will depend on your team. The strategy is quite simple. Take your time. Try to take as much farm as safely as you can. Don't try to make plays from behind. Just stay back, wait for minion waves, place vision when you know a particular zone is safe toward. As long as you have wards in a specific area and you know that you will be safe - you will be able to push beyond your warded region.
The main reason why your success with this strategy depends on your team is that players tend to do idiotic things when super-ahead, and when super-behind. Your teammates will make reckless plays all over the map, trying to grasp even the slightest advantage, to die and lose a Tower due to their actions. Sometimes you will only want to play the game slowly. Your team will go in 4v5, die, and blame you for being a K/D/A player. Don't bother yourself with them. Playing slowly is your only chance to win in this kind of game 90% of the time. If your team doesn't know that - ignore them. In no scenario, you should blindly head with your team towards a 100% lost teamfight. Most of the time, it's a waste of time that will set you even further behind.
Play slow, allow your enemies to make some risky plays and dives. Catch mispositioned solo-targets off guard. One or two picks can stall the game long enough for you to catch up. Picking off the fed enemy not only does give you a shutdown bonus, a ton of XP, but the morale goes up. It is vital for your teammates to understand that the game is not lost yet, and you can turn the tides of it.
At this point in the game, you are arguably the strongest carry in your team. Depending on your ADC of choice, your job will slightly change. Of course, every ADC will fulfill one simple role - deal vast amounts of damage.
General ADC Late Game Role
At this point, you are a tool for your team to do damage to enemies, team objectives, or neutral objectives. This part of the game is very similar to mid-game, with some differences. There are probably fewer towers on the map; you no longer have some free vision in the lanes, making each step into the fog of war a little bit more dangerous. Map play and wise positioning means everything now.
Long death timers are on. Losing one teammate for almost a whole minute can be devastating. Each team can heavily capitalize on every mistake another team makes. Don't get baited by your damage into a place when you are not safe. It's widespread for champions like Caitlyn or Jinx to go too far when just simply poking enemies. Before you know it, you can be in front of your team, and there's a considerable potential of seeing a grey screen after a short while.
You can't afford that as the most reliable DPS in your team. So stay back, follow your team or make calls yourself. Continue to play around the vision. Clear it with your team, set it up with your team, set up ambushes that will lead into easy teamfights, skirmishes, free inhibitors, or Neutral Objectives.
Some Champion-Specific Roles
With Ashe, most of the time, you will stay back, trying to fish for an easy pick with your ultimate. She is an expert in punishing enemy mistakes when it comes to overextending and mispositioning. She also excels in chase downs and being a strong carry in an engage-heavy team comp. She is, however, highly unsafe with no dashes or movement speed increase abilities, meaning that she has to have some superior and skillful positioning.
Caitlyn will try to play around sieges, zoning people out with her traps, being a constant threat of high burst damage, while having some tools to damage her enemies before or after the fight happens. It's tough to get to her. If Cait player can place traps smartly and has excellent peeling support - there's no way of getting to her unless her whole team is down, or enemy Malphite collapses on her with his team.
Ezreal will be an oppressive force that will slowly chip away his enemies, especially when his team is trying to siege. He can also execute enemies from a long distance, or set up a devastating Ultimate attack that will go through enemies to damage them before a fight happens.
Vayne is a Hyper-carry that will decimate the enemy team if you give her time and some space. High burst damage, lots of mobility, invisibility combined with reposition, one keep away tool, and AD boost on her ultimate. She also shreds tanks like close to no other AD carry in the game.
Jinx will be a true teamfight monster dishing out powerful Area of Effect crits. She is heavily dependant on her team when it comes to protection, as she can't protect herself reliably unless she gains a massive burst of speed after killing an enemy or destroying an objective.
And Draven will continue what he was doing for the entire game. Damage enemies heavily, catch axes (get baited into Blitz's hook sometimes), and show off.
ADC Macro into Micro
If your opponents don't make a lot of mistakes, and they don't do risky movements around the map to fight for objectives - you will be forced to play around your MICRO capabilities. It means - your ability to behave in teamfights to get the most out of your kit and build.
Sometimes you won't be able to win a game just by pure macro play. Of course, the good macro play brings you much closer to a victory, more than basing your game on pure micromechanics and outplay potential of your champion. However, if both teams play smart, they don't make plays that can doom their match, they make unpunishable moves, and their strength level is similar to yours - you will have to rely on teamfights.
Let's assume that literally, no one in your in-game universe makes any mistakes whatsoever. While this doesn't happen, and most teamfights will begin where someone makes a slight mistake. It will be time for you to shine truly. In theory, a good ADC with no counters, and top-tier mechanics should be able to clean a teamfight 1v5. It's especially true for hyper carries, like Vayne and Kai'sa, as they have quick movements, invincibility, and some repositioning mechanics in their kit, as well as high damage output. So basically, it looks like this - macro knowledge is great to have, but sometimes it won't be enough. So be prepared to switch to more aggressive, mechanical playstyle, when there's no other way of getting a victory.
That's all we have to say about this role. Please feel free to check our other macro guides, even if you don't play different roles. This way, you will know what to expect from your enemies, and most importantly - your teammates. Integrity is essential, and knowing macro can help you get on the same page. Riot Games will obviously change something in League of Legends, to make the new experience completely fresh, maybe improving the menu, making tank champions more reliable, etc. But our lol ADC macro guide should will not only allow you to improve now, but it will also let you read the game in the future. If you still feel incomplete when it comes to macro, feel free to read through our League of Legends Top Chad Macro, League of Legends Mid Macro, or League of Legends Jungle Macro Domination. There's also our League of Legends General Macro Guide. that you should absolutely check out. Check every link, so you can learn about other roles as well, this way, you will know what other lanes are trying to focus on. And if that's not enough - watch some videos on youtube. Doesn't matter if you are reading this from Europe or North America. Sign up, join our community to report back to us and let us know how you've improved in the game, give us some feedback so we can improve our content. Then you can just cancel yourself out. Share with your friends so you don't have to carry them every time, and we get a view or two (views are important). You won't become pro in just a few day, but you can surely go with the hit from now on because all you really have to do is to increase your personal skill. Do it on your terms, with thousands of games played, and maybe one day - things will get much better. See you on Summoner's Rift in the new season!
Will these guidelines work in every game?
Every match of League of Legends is different, rules remain the same, only win conditions change sometimes. Nothing in this guide is a strict solution. We’ve only given you some guidelines to follow, that will allow you to make some extreme changes to your game, allowing you to improve even more in the long-term. Apply this guide into your gameplan, and you will win more often guaranteed.
What will change macro-wise after Season 10?
This guide should absolutely stay relevant for the release of the Season 10 patch. Season 9 left some strong marks here and there, so not that many things will change, check these changes out in the official video released by riot games on youtube. You don't really have to focus that hard to quickly adapt. The only thing that can change is the importance of Neutral Objectives. New items will also bring more threats, maybe even bringing some champions back to life. But after reading this guide, you should be ready to adapt to new things as well.