10th July, 2018

The Death of ADC's: Why Does Riot Hate Marksmen?

It’s no secret that Marksmen are an endangered species, with only a handful of them seeing competitive play at all. So, if you main ADC but don’t like Lucian or Draven, then keep reading to find out why your LP is dropping so fast.

According to recent statistics, just over 30 percent of teams use traditional ADC’s, although that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, Assassins have been tearing carries apart with little effort for ages, but there’s more to their disappearance than just that.

The Rise of Bruisers

They are supposed to be late game carries after all, right? While this might be true, being unable to so much as tickle an enemy tank until you hit level 9 is pretty crazy, all you have to do is take a bruiser like Darius or Irelia, pair them with a heavy CC support, and those marksman are going to want to afk in base before the game’s even begun.

Oh, and by the way, Riot also nerfed Fleet Footwork. You know, the rune that gives you some excellent crit scaling and a large chunk of HP back when you hit minions? Well not anymore! The healing when attacking minions is now reduced for ranged Champions, and the crit scaling has been removed.

That probably sounds quite bad, but the nerfing of crit items delivers another kick to the teeth of all Marksman mains. Infinity edge became 200 gold more expensive, lost its amplified crit bonus, and instead of granting critical strike, it now doubles your current critical strike.

There’s a lot of Caitlyn mains out there running around like headless chickens because they have no idea what to rush as a first item since Infinity Edge has become like an AD version of Deathcap and not worth building before late game. Even then it’s not that decent since the price of Zeal items also went up by 300 gold!

With all these nerfs it's easy to see why people might prefer to pick bruisers in the bot lane, or AP carries, as they received a buff in a recent patch. Although these smaller wounds seriously harmed ADC’s, it’s the state of the game that finished them off for good.

The Early Bird Gets The Baron

adc marksmen

As we’ve explained, ADC’s are now utter trash during the early game, and that makes taking objectives all the more challenging. We all know how easy it is for a team to snowball to victory when they sneak Baron, and since it’s now easier than ever to bring him down, why would you not want strong Champions on your team when preparing to fight over it?

Along with Baron, Scuttle Crab has also received a massive buff that makes it a walking sack of gold. Plus, since this sack of gold won’t fight back, you’ll see many skirmishes around the bot lane as both teams clash over it. Which would you rather have, a meek Tristana who offers hardly any damage and dies the moment she steps forward, or Darius, who can slice through the entire enemy team and pick up Scuttle Crab/Dragon simultaneously?

It Gets Worse

Think ADC's couldn't be any more screwed? Riot disagrees! Not long after the Baron changes, both inhibitors and nexus turrets took a hit to their health, along with mages, who’s magic regen items were nerfed, making it harder for them to wave clear. We don’t understand why Riot dislikes long games so much, but both of these tweaks served to speed up games even more.

All in all, you can still win as an ADC – All you have to do is survive the laning phase against burly bruisers, with no sustain…And no real damage. If you’re blessed with a decent support, have somehow not lost any major Jungle objectives, and aren’t on the brink of defeat by the 35-minute mark, then congratulations, you’ve hit late game! Now you actually have a chance of winning, but in order to get to this stage you’d need a combination of awful enemies and good teammates, and since this is solo queue, you might want to learn to play Irelia instead.

Why Is This Happening Now?

There have been a few small shifts in the meta – such as the popularity of Ziggs “ADC” last season – but no one could have predicted how the game was about to be shook so hard. Or could we? After all, ADC’s have been struggling for a while now, so why did these changes not come about sooner?

The butterfly effect is stronger than you might think, sometimes a slight tweak can result in massive changes to the game, for instance; Tanks got nerfed.

That might seem minor, but one of the major jobs of an ADC is to melt Tanks, and now everyone’s playing bruisers instead. Bruisers are made to destroy ADC’s. You see where this is going.

ADC’s used to be essential for taking down towers too, but as we’ve already covered, towers are made out of paper mache now, and the game is more focused toward securing other objectives and snowballing a lead off of those.

Well, what happens now? For a start, Riot have said they would like to see ADC’s rise in popularity, but they also want to maintain the diversity. This probably means that we’ll see a shift back toward the season 1 meta. For anyone not around back then – It was essentially ARAM, only without the all mid part. Anything went, Ashe mid, Teemo ADC, you name it. Okay maybe it’s not quite that bad, but we haven’t seen such a drastic shift in the meta since League of Legends was released, and we’d bet good money that things won’t be going back to the way they once were anytime soon, if ever.

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