Introduction to AP Ezreal.
Before I begin anything, let me explain the purpose of this thread.
I'm a huge fan of AP Ezreal. There's no denying it. I, of course, am not pushing my opinion and preference on anyone else - I only want to clarify things surrounding this controversial build. I believe everybody is entitled to their opinion and however they want to play. But, there has been too many times that I've read things about Ezreal on the forums that are simply wrong. So, I want to educate more people, to make people aware about what AP Ezreal is. Downvote me, upvote me, go ahead. I merely want to make the facts about AP Ezreal widely known, and at the same time explain how to best play a mean AP Ezreal.
There is a section for math on AP Ezreal, skip ahead to that section if you need to know the math behind the champ.
AP Ezreal - What role he fulfills and how he accomplishes it.
AP Ezreal is, at his core, a skillshot champion. The main theme is a challenging champion to play, in which success is entirely dependent on the player's accuracy. A competent player is expected to land most, if not all, of his shots in order to be effective in his role as a mage.
Like other mages, Ezreal offers several spells with high AP ratios, two of which are AOE's (area of effect). His Q is a high damage, single target nuke with built-in CDR. More on Q will be explained later. Ezreal has a great in-built flash, with an added missle to damage a nearby enemy unit. It is different from Flash, of course, in that it has far far lower cooldown with the downsides of a slight delay on casting the spell and slightly shorter range.
Basically, AP Ezreal accomplishes his role as a mage effectively with a long range nuke, blink, and two AOE's. The downsides of AP Ezreal is his subpar farming ability and useless passive.
AP Ezreal - How he works.
Any mage needs AP to do damage. Ezreal is no exception. However, AP Ezreal is unique in requiring a specific item to make a normally worthless spell into one of the best spells in the game, just for Ezreal. But before I go further, AP Ezreal's lategame is legendary - but it requires farming/getting fed, a luxury AP Ezreal does not have all the time. But in reality, the goal's not as far as you think. In order to achieve god-status AP carry, Ezreal needs just Lichbane and Deathcap. These add up to a total 7k gold, which are perfectly possible to get in most games, unless your teammate feeds and forces a 20min surrender, OR you/teammate forced an enemy 20min surrender; either way, can't be helped. The thing is, AP Ezreal is still a powerhouse before then. Rushing Lichbane gives a decent Q for early game (Sheen), and plenty of AP to do respectable damage on the rest (blasting wand). Another way you could build is rushing parts of a Deathcap, which makes your W, E, and R do large amounts of damage before trying to get Lichbane. In short, AP Ezreal isn't useless before these two items. It's all about the stats you get WHILE building towards these items.
It is well known what the base damage on Q is physical, AND has a measly 0.2 AP ratio. What isn't well known is that it works with on-hit effects. This one sole feature is what makes AP Ezreal's poking power godly - he can activate Lichbane with Q, effectively making his Q a 1.2 AP ratio spell. At rank 5, Q has a 4 second cooldown before reduction, 1000 range, uses only 50 mana points, and has a relatively fast travel speed.
The most important thing to note about Q is its ability to reduce CD of all spells by a second. This is the sole factor that puts AP Ezreal one step further than most mages in terms of sheer damage: while dealing massive burst damage instantly (best with smartcast), with constant hits with Q he can bring his next combo up in mere seconds (check the math section for more information), also making Ezreal's combo one of the fastest in the game.
Along with W (0.7) and R(0.9) with above average damage for AOE spells, Ezreal is a huge presence in teamfights. With E (0.75) now an effective nuke, Ezreal can use it to punish survivors fleeing to their base, or chasers pursuing Ezreal's teammates or himself.
In short, AP Ezreal is able to make use of all his spells. The only hole in his kit, of course, is his passive which offers boosted AS (attackspeed) with every target hit by a skillshot, a stat that AP Ezreal does not need.
There are more downsides to being AP Ezreal. While other mages can happily burst down waves of minions for some quick gold for that new Deathcap, AP Ezreal has the option of blowing his ultimate spell on minions or kill each minion one by one with Q, E, and autoattacking. Use your ult on minions and probably not have it up when a teamfight occurs, or take the time to clear a minion wave, at the risk of being ganked.
Choose your poison.
AP Ezreal - How he contributes to a team while staying alive.
While it is well known that Ezreal does not offer any CC beyond reducing the attackspeed of all enemies hit by his W for 40% (although you can partly remedy this by taking Rylai's Crystal Staff and the red jungle buff for the slows on spells: makes AP Ezreal an even more effective kiter), he makes up for this in terms of sheer damage in an instant. Let's begin with how he can do about that:
The points of each spell.
Q: Mystic Shot
Cost: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 mana
Cooldown: 6 / 5.5 / 5 / 4.5 / 4 seconds
Physical Damage: 35 / 55 / 75 / 95 / 115 (+1.0 per attack damage) (+0.2 per ability power) with Lichbane: 1.2 AP ratio.
-An effective poke ability with which he can use to stay safely out of range of most champions while dealing large damage to a single target.
-Very importantlove ted factor in dealing very high burst damage constantly over the course of a teamfight
-Hits minions, so it is tougher to use while being around enemy minions.
W: Essence Flux
Cooldown: 9 seconds
Cost: 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 mana
Magic Damage: 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+0.7 per ability power)
Attack Speed Buff/Debuff: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 %
-While not the best single target damage, its AP ratio is in no way lesser compared to other mages' normal AOE spells (Brand's 0.6, 0.55; Annie's 0.75; Orianna's 0.6, 0.5, 0.4)
-While not the best CC, it is crippling to certain champions that build AD(attack damage) and not a lot of AS.
-Hits champions through minions, but has a lesser travel speed/range than Mystic Shot.
-Very helpful against champions that stack AD and little or no AS. Amazing for kiting melee champions as well, as you give them even less time to AA youlove ted.
-Using it during a tower push will make very short work of the tower.
E: Arcane Shift
Mana cost: 90 mana
Teleport Range: 475
Missle Range: 750
Cooldown: 19 / 17 / 15 / 13 / 11 seconds
Magic Damage: 75 / 125 / 175 / 225 / 275 (+0.75 per ability power)
-A built-in flash with even lower cooldown, albeit with very slight delay upon casting, and a slightly shorter range. Amazing for repositioning in a teamfight, ganking, or escaping a particularly bloodthirsty enemy.
-Also offers a nuke that automatically targets the closest enemy unit upon reaching your destination.
-Tough to use while around enemy minions, but manageable.
-Punishes the target you're chasing heavily, or open a gap between you and a pursuer and nuke him at the same time.
R: Trueshot Barrage
Cost: 150 mana
Cooldown: 85 / 65 / 45 seconds
Magic Damage: 350 / 500 / 650 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage) (+0.9 per ability power)
-VERY high base damage (650 at rank 3), damages all enemy units it passes through (with 8% damage dealt reduced for each unit, down to a minimum 30% damage)
-A global skillshot; meaning, once fired it will continue to travel across the map until it leaves the map itself entirely. Very powerful in picking off low health targets half of the map away, or damaging the enemy team when they line up.
-Takes a lot of skill and judgement on the player's part in order to achieve a long range hit. Very good with Clairvoyance.
-Using it takes intuition: farming with ult can get you your core items faster, but may not have it up when you need it. On the other hand you can save it for the possibility of sniping a low-health target but get slower farm. Again, choose your poison.
How to function well with your spells in different situations.
AP Ezreal is dependent on the player's judgement - using the wrong spell at the wrong time can be consequential.
Ezreal generally relies on Q, W, and R for teamfights. Leaving E for later has its benefits:
- you have it up when you need to escape or close the gap ANDlove ted damage a runner.
- you can instantly reposition to dodge a particularly lethal skillshot
and consequences when using it in a teamfight:
- you may be too close to an enemy for your liking (at least 750 range for E to fire)
- you just used it up and may not have it when you really needed it (escape or killing/closing the gap on a runner)
- you just got grabbed by Blitz's grab and now you're dead.
So, basically, AP Ezreal does best by poking with Q and dealing team-wide damage with W and R from afar.
AP Ezreal plays differently for ganking and skirmishes. In skirmishes, Ezreal can use his full combo (REWQ or EWQR) with less consequences. There are, however, some things you must keep in mind while functioning in skirmishes and ganks.
Again, E is a huge factor in how Ezreal plays. He can blink over a wall and lay down a full combo on a single target before he could react. E can be used to blink into a bush your enemy just ran into to surprise and damage him. Keep in mind WHERE you blink to. Blinking next to a melee carry is not the best idea, but blinking next to a ranged carry with little or no escape ensures that you got the maximum range gained and at the same time make it much easier to land your skillshots. A very fun aspect is that E can target stealthed champions - so if Teemo/Twitch/Eve/Shaco/Vayne/Wukong managed to stealth with a small amount of health, a well-positioned E can damage and also potentially kill the target, or at least tell you where the stealthed enemy is. Keep this in mind while playing against stealth champions.
W is best fired after E because of its shorter range. Q is best after W because of its longer range just in case the enemy managed to react fast enough to try and run.
R is often great to begin with to weaken an enemy before flashing in to burst his health down. The downside is it often gives away your position. However, since it is a global skillshot, the enemy may or may not assume that you were only lucky to hit him from half a map away. Saving it after a combo is great, since an enemy often sticks around if he has enough health (but not for long) so the time comes to run when he has low health. That is the prime opportunity for an R. The downside of this is the enemy is now aware of your position (and that you will most likely fire your ult) and will probably move to dodge your ult.
How to lane with AP Ezreal.
First of all, you are NOT helpless during the laning phase. Far from it.
Anyways... There are rules to laning as AP Ezreal.
1. You don't talk about laning as AP Ezreal.
2. You DON'T talk about laning as AP Ezreal.
3. Never, EVER use your E to harass or kill a minion. An exception to this rule is quickly taking out a cannon minion, but that's just about it.
4. Always take mid. Every time. You are no different from any other AP caster that you need mid to farm and get a level advantage.
5. Always begin with an item with mana or mana regen. No exceptions. You do more damage over time with more spells than just getting ~15 extra damage on your spells.
How to farm and harass~
This is pretty much standard knowledge for any summoner. Last hit but only go crazy killing minions when the enemy is pushing. And by crazylove ted, AA those with full health and try to switch attention to the ones with low health so you can secure the kill and gold. Otherwise, just focus on last hitting and harassing the enemy. You have the option of last hitting in safety using Q. This, however, should only be used when you're last hitting one minion and another is about to die. AA then fire a quick Q to claim both kills. This works especially well when you get Q to rank 3 and leave it there PLUS getting an early Sheen.
Harassing is a finer art, however. You have a choice on how you want to harass. If you rank Q up to three first, you have the option of being able to harass the enemy gradually and then swoop in for the kill. All for cheap mana costs, of course! The downside is Q will hit minions if you aim improperly. However, you'll simply hit harder with W if you bring AP/MRpen runes to the table AND hit the enemy through his minions. But, while you can hit the other guy much harder, you will definitely lose damage over time if you miss sometimes. So, here's a few tips on harassing...
1. The other guy isn't gonna sit around and take your harass. Most people will try to harass you back. But most people has less range than Ezreal. Even Caitlyn is manageable if you position yourself out of range and swoop in with Q or W when she fires her Q or tries to last hit. Firstly, there are signs that the guy will try to damage you. This is often indicated by moving towards you, or closing the gap by subtle back and forth movements. Either way, anticipate his movements and fire a spell. Ezreal can instantly fire a spell while running, so ALWAYS run back while firing something when the enemy is getting closer to harass you.
2. Study the enemy movement. Most people are just randomly pacing back and forth, and move in a certain direction when they think they will get hit. Test your observations with Q first, if you will use W later. For example, an enemy Malzahar has a pattern of going up-left when I fire a Q. After repeated tests, I can start taking advantage of him by making it obvious I will fire at him, making him move as predicted, and then proceed to fire exactly where he would go. More W's landed, I've forced the enemy Malzahar back to his turret or base.
3. It's a very neat trick to imagine a block between you and the enemy. If the block gets smaller, he's too close. If the block's too big, you're too far away to do effective harass. Stay within optimal range (around 1k~1.3k, about the range of a Q). Most people will not be able to touch you, but you can do quite the reverse.
4. Gap closers are harder to lane against, but not impossible to do so. You can time your E to flash out of safety and damage the harasser. Then, fire Q/W to reverse the harassment to your advantage. Keep in mind, though, that gap closers use mana (with the exception of some champs) so if the enemy is using gap closers to try and harass you, you're doing your job well. Getting an early red buff works great with kiting enemies with Q, while also being effectively an enemy's shadow while he attempts tolove ted retreat.
The real trouble with Ezreal is that he can't farm quickly without his R. However, keep in mind that during laning phase, this isn't really the issue as you should not be pushing too hard and focusing on harass/last hit. Mid/lategame, however, you should have a decent amount of cooldown reduction(CDR) from any source (runes, masteries, blue buff, item) so your ult should be up most of the time. Consider saving your R when a tower is getting pushed hard. Otherwise, visit each lane individually and farm using Q, E, and autoattacking.
There is something you should consider. Ezreal's ult has a special function - while champs like Yi can push lanes by going to each, Ezreal can push lanes from his base, without actually attending the push in person. This is very effective with a CDR build, as you can constantly pressure the lanes to divide their attentions and potentially weaken their numbers for an eventual teamfight. This is not always the case, though. You can simply save your ult when an enemy gets away with low health for an easy kill, or for teamfights to shift the team health advantage to yours.
The math behind the skillshot champion.
A calculation of AP Ezreal's lategame damage output.
At the core of any AP Ezreal build, Ezreal needs Lichbane and Deathcap in order to do effective damage on all of his spells. End game, though, AP Ezreal of course needs Void Staff to do even more damage and counter enemies building one or two MR(magic resist) items.
So, a typical build of an AP Ezreal would be:
Lichba- Just kidding, Void Staff.
ROA(Rod of Ages)
(A more durable build, I personally found better performance out of glass cannon builds since I am in relative safety, so BV is often all I need to absorb a CC in order to escape but even then, BV is only nice if there's an abundance of casters on the enemy team. Instead of ROA and BV, I take Rylai's and Archangel's Staff instead.)
Adding up the total AP out of this setup:
80 + 140 + 80 + 70 = 370 + (370*0.3) = 481 AP
Q: 110 base damage + 101 (1.0 AD ratio) + 0.2 (AP ratio) + 1.0 (Lichbane) = 788 damage before reduction. (being on a 2~4 cooldown and has 1k range)
W: 280 base damage + 0.7 (AP ratio) = 616 damage before reduction (AOE based)
E: 275 base damage + 0.75 (AP ratio) = 635 damage before reduction (amazing to punish runners and chasers)
R: 650 base damage + 0.9 = 1082 damage before reduction. (huge teamwide damage, especially great with Rylai's)
- 8% damage reduction per target, so if you hit all five enemies without hitting minions:
1st hit = 1082 damage before reduction.
2nd hit = 1082 - 87 = 995 damage before reduction.
3rd hit = 1082 - 173 = 909 damage before reduction.
4th hit = 1082 - 260 = 822 damage before reduction.
5th hi t= 1082 - 346 = 735 damage before reduction.
That's 3121 total damage from a full combo, 1698 damage AOE-based.
Now, let's calculate how fast he can BRING UP W and E.
Q is 4 seconds, or 2.4 seconds with blue + CDR glyphs. W has 9, or 5.4 seconds. E is 11 seconds, or 6.6 seconds.
A scenario in which I gank Annie. I lay down my full combo, amounting to 3121 total damage before MR.
Theoretically, she would have 80 MR with just a BV. The damage calculation is: 100/(100+80)=0.56, or about 35% damage reduction. Then sorcerer's boots + runes kicks in (34 flat MRpen) and Annie has 46. That's now about 32% damage reduction. Then Void Staff + mastery kicks in. 46 - (46*49%) = 20 MR. That's just 20%love ted damage reduction.
I pop her veil with E first - a loss of 635 damage. I proceed to use smartcast to instantly land R first, then W and Q. That's 1989 of her health gone in an instant. And my E wasn't even factored into the combo's total damage. My Q comes up again in two seconds and I do 631 damage after reductions to her. That Q also lowered my CD on W, making it 4 seconds. Another Q for 631 damage in two seconds, while W is at 2 seconds, and reduces W's CD again and brings it back up for 616 damage.
Now, taking the above combo (after my initial combo) into calculation: 631*2+616 = 1878.
I just did 1878 more damage over five seconds after my initial combo. This little scenario shows how much damage he can actually do lategame, debunking a stupid myth that AP Ezreal does not do damage lategame. And let the math tell you this: AP Ezreal is one scary carry.
(If you want me to compare Ezreal and another AP caster, just put it in your post. Also provide the information on how you would build that particular champ, as I can't always have the best build to calculate with.)
Some base comparisions with other AP casters.
Ezreal's total base damage with all of his spells: 1320 damage before reduction. Cassiopeia's total base damage with all of her spells: 885 damage before reduction with just Q, E, and R. Calculating in FULL ticks from W (meaning someone actually stands in her AOE for the full seven seconds...) 65*7 = 455 base damage, now her total base damage is 1340. Ezreal's two second 1320 vs. Cass's 1340 after seven seconds.
Now, let's take AP ratios into account.
Ezreal's Q with lichbane is 1.2, W is 0.7, E is 0.75, and R is 0.9. Total AP ratio is 3.55 damage per AP. Cass's Q is 0.9, W is 0.15 per tick (1.05 at the most), E is 0.55, and R is 0.55. Total AP ratio is 3.05 damage per AP. After seven seconds. But those matter little because how spells interact can create a bigger damage output. Cass can spam her E.... But she has to poison the target first. Keep in mind that Ezreal has a blink, increased passive movespeed from Lichbane, and 1k range + global damage ult.
Simply put, a good Ezreal will just outkite Cass's 850 range spells while dealing more base damage AND more damage per AP in instant casts, instead of relying on a DoT to do full damage. I'm not saying Cassiopeia is a bad caster - far from it. But in taking advantage of AP Ezreal's strengths, a competent player can go toe-to-toe with an equally competent Cass.
Okay, let's start with one thing: I think Ezreal demolishes Brand in terms of single target damage but loses to Brand in the game of AOE damage. Let's see if I'm right...
240 + 255 + 210 + 350 base damage = 1055 base damage before reduction. Let's assume Brand sets up a combo for maximum damage on a single target, which is: EWQR, which in math is: 210 + (255 + (255*0.25)) + 240 + 350 = 1119 base damage before reduction versus Ezreal's 1320 base damage.
Now let's put their AP ratios together: 0.65 + 0.6 + 0.55 + 0.5 = 2.3 damage per AP versus Ezreal's 3.55 damage per AP.
Part of my hypothesis has been proven correct: AP Ezreal will outburst Brand any day in terms of single-target burst. But what about AOE damage?
Assuming Brand uses the combo WER, he would have 255 + 210 + 350 = 815 AOE before reduction versus Ezreal's (280 + 650 = ) 930 AOE base damage before reduction. Wait, what? Now let's calculate the AP ratios into the AOE damage: Brand has 0.55 + 0.6 + 0.5 = 1.65 AOE damage before reduction versus Ezreal's 1.6 AOE damage before reduction. Even if I factored into the damage reduction per hit for R, Ezreal is definitely no slouch in terms of AOE damage when put next to Brand.
Let's just calculate total team health damage...
Brand's 255(5) + 210(5) + 350(5) = 4575 base damage before reduction.
Ezreal's 280(5) + 650 + 598 + 546 + 494 + 442 = 4130 base damage before reduction.
Conclusion: Ezreal is again the superior single-target damage dealer but steps down to let Brand take the crown for AOE damage.
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells.
It's important to get appropriate runes, so it boosts your early game power. Here's the runes you can make use of while playing AP Ezreal:
Magic Resist Penetration Marks: It is a must on AP Ezreal, because you need to lower MR on enemy champions stacking some MR to do effective damage. Also, it just makes your spells hit harder on those with average MR.
Per level Mana Regen Seals: Definitely good to keep your harass up, especially when you do miss a couple shots with W or Q. Also useful lategame when youlove ted opted for more damage instead of mana items.
Flat Mana Regen Seals: Even better for early game harassment, but scales a lot less than its per level counterpart.
Flat AP Glyphs: Boosts the damage of your spells a lot more for more early game power so you can get fed and start rolling much faster.
CDR per level Glyphs: Really great for mid/lategame skill spamming, especially since you can limit CDR items to just Ionian boots or Morello's. If you can secure blue buff most of the time, definitely great with your glyphs.
Flat Magic Resist Penetration Glyphs: Again, useful for reducing enemy MR to deal more effective damage. If you can manage to bring an enemy's health down to zero, even better.
Flat AP Quintessences: Amazing boost to early game power, especially when your harassment really hurts if you prioritized leveling W instead of Q early game.
Magic Resist Penetration: Makes you hit harder at all stages of the game, very good choice for AP Ezreal. Especially effective early game when you get Sorcerer's Boots.
AP Ezreal does not need most of the masteries in the offensive or defensive trees, so 9/0/21 is the standard mastery page. However, you can modify yours based on summoner spells. I put a point into CV since it's my second favorite summoner spell. However, you can just scrap the CV mastery and opt for maxed CDR mastery while running a Flash and Exhaust/Ignite setup. Another good choice is to put that extra point into Ghost if you're a fan of Flash/Ghost.
Flash: is an amazing utility spell. Closing gaps, escaping over walls, or double-flashing with Ezreal's Arcane Shift. However, since Ezreal pretty much has a flash on cooldown, it's generally better to use E first for escapes/gap closing and Flash as a backup blink.
Clairvoyance: Generally strange on an AP carry, but using it in conjunction with Ezreal's global ult can earn you kills. And since kills get you gold and closer to that Lichbane, Clairvoyance is a great summoner spell on AP Ezreal.
Alternative to Clairvoyance
Exhaust is great on AP Ezreal to act as a source of CC that he initially lacks with just his kit. It's both a slow and debuff in one, and often turns a 1v1 fight to your advantage. Also, ganks are much easier and more successful with Exhaust.
Ignites are very useful for securing kills with low health champions. Also, it's a great counter to certain champions like Swain and Mundo, and making sure Tryndamere doesn't leave a fight alive.
Conclusion, with some comments.
AP Ezreal, in my opinion, is just as viable as AD or Hybrid Ezreal. That is, they have different strengths and weaknesses that sets them apart as individually viable AND fun builds. For example, AD Ezreal has an advantage in Summoner's Rift with the presence of the laning phase, since AD Ezreal can effectively garner kills and snowball into a scary carry. However, AP Ezreal shines in Crystal Scar since farming is not an issue, meaning AP Ezreal can get his core items and shine within minutes of the match. Hybrid, of course, has the best of both worlds while not having the best damage of either. On the other hand, Hybrid makes for a fun build as you utilize everything Ezreal has to offer.
Ezreal in general is one of the most fun champions in the game due to a challenging and rewarding gameplay while offering the ability to be flexible with many builds, so Ezreal mains can find the perfect build that "clicks" for themselves.
AP Ezreal, for me, is an amazing burst caster with tons of mobility while possessing a unique ability to "snipe" people across the map with a large, powerful missle. I can honestly say after +600 gameslove ted with him that he is my favorite champion and will continue to be so for even more games.
With this post, I hope I showed at least one person how awesome AP Ezreal really is. I had a blast making this guide. I also hope you do, reading my guide.