The AP Carry is any champion that uses primarily magic damage. They are generally squishy champions that deal high damage with one spell rotation. Their highest power is in the early-mid game. The role of AP carries in each fight can be very situational depending on the champion you’re playing. In many late game teamfights your number one goal is to try to instantly kill the other AP Carry or AD Carry and not die.
There’s two basic sub roles for AP Carries: back line divers and AoE casters. Each treats their team fight in slightly different ways as well as following somewhat diversified build paths.
Back Line Divers: The back line divers are the AP carries who generally have some hard CC, are single target based or have a useful gap closer that can get them to the back line.
Such champions include: Diana, Kassadin, Annie
The general goal of a back line diver is to get the enemy carry, usually the ADC but can be the APC if necessary, and to kill the target instantly. There’s a lot of other small nuances to keep track of though. You can’t simply just run into the back line of an enemy team and expect that you’re going to have a free pass to the enemy carry. Before you dive in to an enemy team consider these tips:
- Your flash is not only a defensive tool. You can use it to engage a fight if you’re sure you have a pass to assassinate the enemy carry.
- You’re probably not the best suited for actually starting the team fight. Wait a few seconds before going in. Look at the fight from all angles and consider counter engage/ disengage.
- On the off chance you’re the main initiator for your team make sure your team can follow up on you. If you intend to use flash as a gap closer don’t single yourself out from your team. Make sure your team is available to follow you in the charge.
- If you’re way more fed than the enemy carry then it is not worth dying to assassinate the other carry. Check who’s more fed and if making a life risking move is really necessary
The AoE Casters: Many AP champions are better suited to play in the back line of the team. As an AoE caster you should never be getting close enough to the front line to have a possibility of dying. You should be using your spells from a range in order to either:
1. Kill the enemy carry from a range by catching them out of position and/or hitting well timed skillshots or
2. Doing overall damage to the opposing team or
3. Peeling for your ADC in order to keep them dealing consistent damage or
4. CCing the enemy team to prevent an engage or disengage
Champions include: Orianna, Lux, Ziggs
Playing AoE caster champions are harder in positioning but easier in decision making. You should never be making the decision to start a teamfight. However, especially on the more immobile casters, you need to be very self aware. Watch where you are positioned and where the enemy team is in relation to you. Remember that if you’re dead you’re not dealing damage!
Ap Item Breakdown:
All that’s left that you need to know is what you should be building and when. We’ll take a look at the big ap items, when they’re useful, what’s situational and what you’ll want to always be building.
Mostly every AP Carry will want to build the following:
Rabadon’s gives you a large chunk of AP (120 AP with a +30% bonus unique passive). While it doesn’t give any defensive stats, this item is sure to boost up your damage a lot.
Void staff gives you some AP as well as 35% Magic pen. Since magic pen is not as useful in the early game a Void Staff will usually be built as a 3rd or 4th item after the enemy has built some Magic Resist.
Zhoyna’s Hourglass a 2.5 second invulnerability can be priceless. It can in countless situations save your life and give you the upper-hand in battles. It’s useful for dodging a skill shot, buying time for teammates, getting out of the last tick of ignite, or waiting for cooldowns to come back up in a close fight. It also gives you a good chunk of AP (120) and a nice amount of armor (50). Its also builds out of Seeker’s armguard; a very cost efficient item that gives you armor and AP.
These items can be seen often and are core to some champions but aren’t necessarily relevant or essential to all AP carries.
Athene’s Unholy Grail
Rod of Ages
Athene’s Unholy Grail was once a very prominent item for almost any AP carry, however, due to recent nerfs it isn’t quite as efficient as it once was. Nevertheless it still is a very good well rounded item as it provides a lot of stats such as CDR, AP, MR and mana regen. It is very useful for champions that have short cool-down spells and use a lot of mana consistently. (Ex: Orianna, Syndra).
Abyssal Scepter is better for champions that have to fight close up. It provides AP, MR and flat magic penetration in the form of an aura. However, because the magic pen is a short ranged aura it is more useful for champions that needs to dive into teams such as Diana or Akali.
Deathfire Grasp is the last of the 3 items that build out of a needlessly large rod – the other two being Zhoyna’s and Rabadon’s. Like Zhoyna’s it is an activateable item that deals %HP to 1 target and then increases your damage towards that target for a few seconds. Because of the nature of the item being an activateable, and it’s single target amplification only, it is best used by champions who have to deal significant damage to one target in a very short period of time. It is also better for those who are more close range focused instead of long range, poke focused. For example, Syndra and LeBlanc both have very high single target damage as well as being closer ranged mages.
Seraph’s Embrace is a good alternative to Athene’s Unholy Grail if you’re either against a heavy AD team or if you will be relying on close up battles more. It’s also only good if you have one or more spells that have a low cool-down and are able to be spammed. This is because achieving the Seraph’s Embrace requires you to have a fully stacked Archangel’s Rod (Tear of the Goddess being the item that requires stacking). It provides a shield by consuming some of your current mana so it is useful if you need mana regen but don’t need MR or if you have to dive in fights.
Rod of Ages is another item for the AP champions that require being a little tankier in order to stay alive in fights. The item itself levels up over time and provides a lot of useful stats. It is usually a rush item (one that you would buy first) because it must be stacked over time. It is useful for champions that require a lot of mana and/or are also closer ranged such as Ryze and Annie.
Morellonomicon has been revitalized as of late. It’s a relatively cheap item, gives a ton of AP and CDR as well as decent mana regen. It also has a nice unique passive that reduces healing on enemy champions that you’ve attacked and are below 40% health. Definitely a good pick up if you don’t require all the mana regen that Athene’s provides.
Less Common AP Items:
These are items that are now a days seen on very few and very specific champions. They’re either very situational or only built on a select amount of champions.
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter
Will of the Ancients
Lich bane has unfortunately seen hard hitting nerfs and because of that it really is only viable on champions that can proc it via a skill that applies on hit affects, or will be in close, melee range fights. It has more so than before become a really niche pick. It is however still useful for certain AP champions and can be used if you feel like you need to rush down towers faster.
Rylai’s Crystal Scepter gives a bunch of health, some AP and a slow on all skills. It is not seen much because the amount of slow is greatly diminished when using AoE skills and also because the health isn’t as useful unless you’re really diving in fights. Theoretically most AP carries should be in the back of fights trying to not get hit at all so a health bonus isn’t really necessary.
Will of the Ancients gives a stat that just isn’t used by many AP carries: spell vamp. Most AP carries are centered around dealing a large amount of damage in a short amount of time unlike the ADC, who wants to be consistently dealing damage over time. Due to that discrepancy there’s really only 2 AP champions that can benefit somewhat from this item: Cassiopeia and Swain.
Liandry’s Torment has a unique passive that deals %health damage to champions that are affected by a slow. On top of needing a slow effect, this item gives health, a small amount of AP and magic pen. While magic pen is good the health as discussed is not really necessary to many AP carries who will be sitting in the back line anyways. Not to mention for the gold it costs you could get a much more significant amount of AP elsewhere. On certain tankier AP champions who scale better with magic pen rather than flat AP, this item can be useful especially when combined with Rylai’s.
Nashor’s Tooth plain and simple increases attack speed and damage with AP. Not many AP champions use attack speed so it’s pretty self explanatory why this item isn’t seen very much. A niche pick, it’s a good item for a small group of champions.