Article by contributor Sam Eskenazi
Ezreal has been a popular AD Carry for a long time now, although there some bumpy steps along the road for the Prodigious Explorer. He was especially used during Season 2 World Championships. He’s one of the most played AD Carries, and for good reason.
Ezreal excels as an AD Carry because of how much he brings as a champion to the game. Depending on how you build him, you can either be a normal right-clicking AD Carry, a burst mage mid-Lane, or a poking and running disengager (Blue Build Ezreal - I’ll talk about that later). The fact that he has a great escape in his E is the top of it all – it means he can follow up into fights, or escape/dodge from champions and their abilities.Essentially, he can be both a safe pick, but also a heavy damage dealer.
The onset of Trinity Force once more has seen the rise of Ezreal – he and Corki are the new ADC’s of the age. Going into a ranked game? You can bet your ass you’re going to see one of them. Triforce is simply too awesome to not build on Ezreal.
The previous iteration of Ezreal was known as “Blue Build,” popularized by the Korean scene. The premise is that you build a Tear of the Goddess into Muramana, Spirit of Elder Lizard, and Last Whisper, and the (then) awesome Icebourn Gauntlet. What this gave Ezreal was near max Cooldown Reduction, unlimited mana, a slow, and a DoT on all of his Q’s and auto attacks. Instead of being a traditional AD Carry, he could just poke down enemies like some kind of homosexual Nidalee before fights, constantly dealing damage and never being caught thanks to his CDR.
Thanks to some nerfs to Spirit of the Elder Lizard, and the awesomeness of the new Triforce, building him that way only robs you of the potential damage you could be doing. Triforce was always a strong item on Ezreal, Corki, and numerous Top Laners, but the recent changes to the Spellblade passive meant that Ezreal’s Q’s dealt an additional 200% of his base damage on every attack. Seriously, how good is that?
This build of Ezreal is almost entirely built around Triforce. It’s parts are fantastic to build, cheap enough to get significant power points throughout the laning phase, and contribute so much to your team.
In case power points needs some explaining, it’s simply the concept that different champions with different builds will reach points of strength at different times in the game. Ezreal can reach that point once he buys his Phage, then once more when he gets his Sheen, and finally again when his Triforce is completed. As an example, Draven’s strong point is quite simply his abusive level 1 damage, his burst at level 6, and the very moment he gets a BF sword. It’s important to remember champions’ power points, because that is the time that you should be attempting to make plays and kill the enemy laner.
This build for Ezreal doesn’t really change too much based on the game, except for the end items, and is pretty easy to remember. Masteries I use for ability-based AD Carries like Ezreal or Corki are 21/5/4, getting the ManaRegen and flash Cooldown Reduction masteries, and sacrificing the additional armour in the defence tree so as to get better ability to case spells. A certain number of people swear by 26/4/0 or 26/0/4, putting the additional points in Offense into the AP masteries instead, so as to make your spells hit that little bit harder. I, however, prefer the defence offered by the 5 points in Defence much more.
With regard to Runes, I find having two Lifesteal Quints is fantastic in offering sustain in lane and throughout the game, supplemented by a single Attack Damage Quint, full AD marks*, Armour Seals, and Magic Resistance Glyphs; however, I also take 3 ManaRegen per 5/per level glyphs, which give me 3.0 Manaregen at level 18. It may not seem like much, but having that tiny bit of extra manaregen has saved me a lot.
*Well… not quite full AD marks. Get a singled Crit Chance Mark; it’s amazing. It’s only a 0.93% crit chance, but if it hits, you’re going to notice it – the presence and dominance in the lane it gives you is fantastic. I enjoy having a single AD Quint because I feel it helps my last hitting just that little amount.
Ezreal’s level-up spell order should generally follow this in terms of priority: R>Q>W>E. You level your ultimate ASAP of course, and your Q follows because it is his main damage tool. I prefer to level the W after Q because of the increase in damage. There was a time that people leveled the W before the Q, because it offered insane base damages, but that’s since been nerfed out.
Item build is as follows:
Doran’s Blade to start. This item gives the best compromise between offense and defense. 80 Health, 10 Attack Damage, and the sustain passive simply make it the best start.
The general goal for Ezreal is to rush Triforce, but the item itself has many parts. Rushing the Phage is generally the best thing to do, as it offers Health, AD and the Rage passive that allows you to chase and escape from enemies.
After Phage, Boots of Speed and a Sheen are the best to buy. The great thing about buying Triforce is that the components are all relatively cheap; whilst your enemy AD Carry is saving up for a BF sword, you can spend 150g less and get a phage, or 350g less and get a Sheen to receive a huge burst in damage.
Completing Triforce is paramount, followed by Berserker’s Greaves for boots. After this, if the laning phase is still going on, a Vampiric Scepter can be a good buy so as to give you continuous sustain. If it’s not, and it’s changed to team fighting stages, getting a Pickaxe is your best bet. This is because it gives you a good amount of AD, making you more relevant in fights, and it builds into Infinity Edge and Last Whisper. You’ll build either one depending on how the game goes.
Assuming the enemy are building at least some armour, finishing the Last Whisper is paramount. If they’re utterly without armour, and you’re doing well, finishing the Infinity Edge instead offers a lot of damage and the fantastic ability to Critical Strike even harder!
It’s then a case of building what you can in between fights at this stage. Finishing whichever item you did not get previously comes next, but after that, a Blood Thirster gives you the sustain that you need to continue killing the enemy team.
Your last item is utterly dependent on the game. If you’re really fed, but are facing against lots of Assassins in the enemy team, getting a Guardian Angel allows you to survive initial burst and then come back to keep fighting.
If the enemy team has a lot of armour, rushing an Icebourn Gauntlet gives you some damage and survivability. Fun fact: even Icebourn Gauntlet and Triforce share a unique passive – having two means that you get the damage of Triforce and the AoE slowing effect of Icebourn Gauntlet. It does mean you have wasted stats, but it is certainly still great!
Assuming you just need health and some sustain, getting a Warmog’s Armour is another great buy. Flat health and the ability to regenerate a large amount of health are always welcome, although you could just sustain it back.
Oftentimes I find myself getting a Frozen Mallet as my last item. It gives me some small amount of Attack Damage and a considerable amount of health with which to stay alive to keep killing. Plus, the passive ensures that enemies can’t catch me!
Here’s the build order in an easy-to-read format, utilizing my typical build path:
Dorans Blade > Phage > Boots of Speed > Sheen > Triforce > Berserker’s Greaves > Pickaxe > Last Whisper / Infinity Edge > the item you didn’t choose previously > Bloodthirster > Frozen Mallet
The trick with Ezreal is utilizing your spells at an opportune time. When trading with an enemy in lane, you need to be always attacking with Auto Attacks and your Q. Whilst watching your mana, dishing out a full combo as Ezreal – and then E’ing away – allows for a safe and successful trade. An Auto Attack > Q > W > Auto Attack > E allows you to safely harass in lane.
Hitting Ezreal’s Ultimate, Trueshot Barrage, is simply the knowledge of positioning. Learning the way enemy players move their champions, the paths they take, and how they can be bottled up against terrain make it a lot easier to land the skill shot on them.
Fantastic pairings with Ezreal include anyone who can lock up enemies to allow Ezreal to it his Q and ultimate. I’m especially fond of champions such as Orianna; I recently came back from being incredibly behind in a game, thanks to really fantastic Orianna Ultimate that meant the entire team was damaged and in one small area, locked with nowhere to go thanks to the terrain. One ultimate, 3 Auto Attacks, and a Q later, and I had a Quadra Kill.
Playing Ezreal is a test of your ability to hit skill shots, your ability to follow up with your support, and above all, your ability to not die before you can get your Triforce. Keep poking your enemy with your Qs in lane, and you’ll be fine.
Remember, you can always come back. Who hasn’t won a 4v5 or a game when you’re 10k behind? Especially as Ezreal, who scales so well into the late game. Never give up!