Towards the mid and late game, as a Melee Carry, it is very important to shove a lane and then proceed to siege an objective with your team, or take out an objective while your team distracts the enemy by attempting to force a response from the enemy team elsewhere. Generally speaking, if your team is behind, you want to be with them as much as possible. Before I go on into the importance of understanding this flow, let us wrap up the discussion on item combos for the mid and late game. To do this effectively, I will break the mid game items into sets I call the “Core.” Once we identify the core, I will proceed to explain the options that come afterwards. The core will generally be 2 items. However there is one special item that can be core on all builds which we will discuss about after.
The core describes items that will define the type of fighting method you will have from the mid game branching to the late game. However the late game build is generally standard and mostly deviates by one or two items at most. Therefore the “Core” plays the most significance in the mid game.
Ability User Core (AUC)
This is the core for those characters that have solid scaling and just need to amplify the damage from their abilities. This core consists of the Bloodthirster and Last Whisper. It provides 140 points of damage when the BT is fully stacked, 35% armor penetration, and 18% life steal. The idea behind this build is to maximize the power of your devastating abilities.
Examples of champions that are strong with this build: Fiora and Lee Sin
Follow-up Items: Infinity Edge, Trinity Force
Hard Carry Core (HCC)
The Hard Carry Core is for those who want to maximize the effectiveness of their auto attacks. This core consists of Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer. These two items provide the damage, critical strike chance, and attack speed needed to cause their basic attacks to be devastating on enemies. It grants a total of 75 damage, 55% critical strike chance, 50% attack speed, and a bonus 250% damage on your critical strikes. This build sets you up not only to carry the game but become that late game power house as the 3 out of the 4 portions of this build become more effective as you keep building your items.
Follow-up Items: Last Whisper, Blade of the Ruined King
Burst Core (BurC)
The Burst Core is something you’ll see mostly on Gangplank. It consists of Trinity Force and Infinity Edge. The idea behind this build is to amplify the effect of Parrrley, since it both critically strikes and applies on hit effects. However, this build can be used on any carry hoping to burst an enemy down with a skill into a couple of auto attacks that will hopefully critically strike. Those with target gap closers that will most likely have to use them can make good use of this build, even if they do not have the most effective scaling.
Follow-up Items: Bloodthirster, Last Whisper
Spam Caster Core (SCC)
The Spam Caster Core generally consists of Trinity Force and a CDR item such as Zephyr. You want to amplify your damage with this build by taking advantage of spamming low cooldown abilities to proc spell blade from the Trinity Force. The Zephyr provides CDR and attack speed to further increase your DPS. This build is incredibly strong on a carry-based Skarner. It is also solid on Gangplank as he can Parrrley much more often and has the movement speed to stick to people, plus the attack speed to proc his passive.
Follow-up Items: Maw of Malmortius, Atma’s Impaler, Wit’s End
These are the four major cores. Keep in mind that certain items can be switched out while still maintaining the same effectiveness. For example, in the HCC, the PD can be switched with Statikk Shiv; in the AUC, Bloodthirster can be swapped for Ravenous Hydra, and so on. However I’ll use this time to discuss the final core that I like to refer to as the Universal Core as it is a singleiItem that provides useful stats for any sort of build you are looking to complete.
Youmuu’s Ghostblade is an item that I hold very dear to me. It is one of the most effective items to build as a core because it gives a little bit of everything. It is never going to hinder you other than give you stats that may not be as effective as others. However, as you get closer and closer to your carry potential the late game, Ghostblade is a very strong last item. This item is strong in both starting your build and ending it.
Controlling the mid and late game.
This is the most important part of playing a melee carry. While for the most part you can sit there and allow your team to 4 v 5 if they are ahead, it is not always the thing you want to do. I’ll show you the two keys to winning the mid and late game, which are pretty simple. Generally speaking, you want to farm and push in the mid game so that you have your items late game. However, shoving waves is very important, even if you have a 6 item build, for the purposes of map pressure.
Solo Kills/Split Pushing
Some players call this pick offs, but I refer to it as solo kills because, unlike a pick off where you catch an enemy alone as a team, a solo kill is when you duel a lone enemy by yourself. There a numerous ways to set up a solo kill. The easiest solo kills are finding enemy carries farming alone by brush camping. You can also find enemy supports attempting to ward alone in lower ELOs. However, there is a team method to setting up solo kills. For a team to set up a solo kill you need to have the 4/3/2 of them push an objective while a creep wave is pushing another. You should be following the creep wave or pushing along with it. Once you are pushing there is a large chance that some enemy will attempt to stop you. Dive them, or do whatever you must to take them out, and your team will be able to then 4v4 for the other objective while you take the one you are at with the help of creeps. If your team is split even further and not the basic 4 man push, there could be potential that the solo kill gets set up for someone on your team other than yourself. As long as some push force can distract a large sum of the enemy team, solo kills can be set up if an enemy is not with his team. Split pushing fits perfectly with solo killing so I consider them basically the same thing. The difference is that split pushing generally results in only taking a tower, then escaping. If your team is ahead you can practically split push for days. The video below will show you the power of split pushing as it devastates a team (pay attention to the pick on Rumble and the solo kill on Volibear):
Shove and Group
The “shove and group” tactic involves just pushing a lane then grouping for a 5v5 with your team. Since the melee carry/glass DPS build requires a lot of gold, it is important that you are always finding a way to make a large amount of gold. To do this you want to clear/shove out a creep wave then go back to siege as five with your team. This should only be done if it is necessary to team fight the enemy or if you aren’t able to escape while split pushing. It can be really hard to team fight as a melee carry, but it is certainly possible.
This wraps up the basic overview of items and the methods to winning a game. Next week will be about simply picking the role that suits your playstyle. This will cover the pros and cons of playing top, bot, mid, and jungle. Afterwards, we’ll dive into champion specifics where I will cover three or four champions a week.