Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Full Mug of Mead, Tip #9: Tibbers in the Tallgrass -- A Beginning Guide to AP Mid

If you find yourself enjoying farming away in top lane, but yearn for just a little bit more action and maybe even the ability to do quite a chunk of damage once the game shifts later, your next best bet is going to be slinging spells in the mid lane as your team's AP carry.

AP Mid -- 

No list of the Champions I feel play this role better than any other they can be forced into, means it's past time that I do that. I've divided the AP Mid Champs into A, B, and C groups, based on three factors. First, can they sustain themselves in lane without help from the Jungler? Second, how easy are they to play? And third, how likely, in blind pick, are you to get hard countered by the enemy teams' composition?

A Champion in Group A is always a safe pick, and I strongly recommend becoming good with at least one of them to start. As you begin to play draft games and ranked matches, you will need to add a few more Champions to your repertoire, and at that point, I recommend picking up a few of the hard counters to make your options as flexible as possible. Namely, you'll have your main Champion, if the opposing team doesn't pick a Champion which counters you, you can just go with that, and you'll have a stable of counterpicks to work with if they do find someone randomly that hoses your strategy or playstyle.

AP Mid Group A -- Ahri, Annie, Anivia, Brand, Cassiopeia, Gragas, Karthus, Morgana, Mordekaiser, Orianna, Twisted Fate, Veigar.

AP Mid Group B -- Fiddlesticks, Fizz, Kassadin, Katarina, Kennen, Lux, Malzahar, Pantheon, Sion, Talon, Xerath, Vladimir

AP Mid Group C -- Akali, Cho'gath, Galio, Heimerdinger, Janna, Karma, Kog'maw, Leblanc, Syndra, Zilean.

Also, with this list, keep in mind that some of the Champions appear in a lower tier than you might expect, and your mileage may vary. In general, Galio, Heimerdinger, and Leblanc are better as counterpicks, and Zilean, Janna, and Karma typically play better as support champions. Both Kog'maw and Akali will perform better outside of mid lane.

AP Mid Objectives -- 

1) Farm (Early Game) -- As with any solo lane, farming is your most important objective. You should be aiming to complete your bigger items faster than any other lane period. From Level 1 to 10, shoot to have 60 CS by 10:00. If you are level 11-20, you need to be closer to 70 or 75, and from 21-30 you need to perfect earning at least 85 by 10:00 consistently.

Farming mid lane is all about harassment and knowing where you are on the map. Crossing the river is extraordinarily dangerous, as most guides to jungling involve the words "after you finish your jungle, gank mid." Giving them a free roll to smash your face in is going to make it impossible to hit your farm targets. Having said that, your opponent is just as scared of crossing the river as you are, so the early game as an AP Mid will not usually involve a ton of aggression from your opponent, unless they have a clear advantage over you in damage trades. This is why it is so critical to harass your enemy whenever he or she gets within the range of your widest ability. Staying ahead of them, whether that means having more health, not using all of your pots, or simply overpowering them with damage, will allow you to easily win your lane.

2) Push and Roam (Mid Game) -- Many AP Mid Champions lack a ton of mobility, so their farming phase lasts a bit longer, and will involve your jungler giving you blue buff to keep up in CS and stay on top of your item build. However, you are free to roam if your lane is pushed too far to be farmed safely and you have the opportunity to secure a kill or counterjungle the opposing jungler. Although the mid turrets are probably the most important turrets to bring down, unlike top or bot lanes, you do not usually want to destroy the mid turret early, because doing so will allow the opposing mid to freeze their lane by the Inner Turret, and have plenty of gank support if you attempt to continue to farm. Weakening the turret is fine, so that you can bring it down at your leisure when you need to, but actually taking it down should wait until your team is ready or you've finished your item build.

3) Dominate the Team Fight (Late Game) -- As the ranged mage, you will be responsible for inflicting heavy amounts of damage and keeping the opposing team controlled with your deadly Area of Effect CC. What is that? How about a definition?

Area of Effect Crowd Control -- In order to win a team fight, it is necessary to impede the enemy Champions ability to use their spells and skills effectively. An AoE CC is exponentially more powerful than individual CC because it can hit multiple targets. The CC effects in League of Legends include Displacement Effects such as Walls, Knock-ups, Knock-backs, Fear, Slow, Stun, Silence, Snare, Charm, and Taunt. Fear makes your targets lose focus and become bewildered. Charm and Taunt cause the target to pursue or attack the caster without regard for what is happening around them. Slow inflicts a movement speed debuff and can affect attack speed or damage. Stun freezes your opponents in place and renders them incapable of fighting. Some Champions with AoE CC include: Fiddlesticks, Veigar, Anivia, Galio, or Morgana.

Once your crowd control is on, start pouring in the damage. Using items that increase Ability Power or Magic Penetration will make your spells more effective, and some Champions can come close to one-hitting an enemy if they have a full build and a powered up damage source.

AP Mid is a challenging and engaging role to play on a League of Legends team, and this guide should help solidify your understanding of how to get started. If you have any further questions or would like to see this topic revisited in an Advanced Guide sooner rather than later, e-mail, and tell me why or just head to the comments. Odds are, you can even be first!

Until next time, may all your ultimates end in kills and all your games with "Victory."

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