This week of Melee Carry Mondays will finally focus on specific champions. I will be analyzing Master Yi, Tryndamere, Fiora, and Gangplank. These four have been labeled by the previous filters as a Melee Carry. On top of that they are individually unique. I have played these four extensively and fully understand their kit. I will discuss their strong points, as well as weak points. I do not believe in giving them numbers or tiers because how useful a Melee Carry is depends on how well he is played. I will explain the item choices I make when using said champion, and the roles that are most suited for them. We’ll start things off with Master Yi.
Type: AoE/Raw Damage/Mobility
With the rework, Master Yi has become a large source of AoE damage if he is able to get a reset. He is still as prone to hard crowd control effects as he always has been. Yi’s strengths rely on being a duelist and opportunity-based killer. He can easily clean up fights with his high AoE damage. Yi requires a significant amount of gold, but he has the means to gain it. Falling behind early as Yi can be really hard to come back from because of the lack of devastating abilities or crowd control, and so, he is also weak early. Master Yi also is noted for his insane amount of mobility from his ultimate and his Alpha strike which now lowers on cooldown through auto-attacking. As Master Yi, you want to be as threatening as possible by being available whenever your team needs you, while keeping up in farm.
Core Items: Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Infinity Edge
Master Yi’s need of a lot of carry-based stats, which makes the Ghostblade the ideal item for him. It’s cheap and scales efficiently with the Armor Pen, Critical Strike, CDR, and the active. While none of the stats especially stand out on their own, together they make him really capable of carrying. You should be building Ghostblade almost all the time on Master Yi.
The second core item is Infinity Edge. This supplies Yi with a major source of Critical Strike and AD. It amplifies the Critical Strike Damage as well, making it much more effective in combination with Ghostblade. Infinity Edge’s strength is self-explanatory; always consider this item as a first or second buy.
Follow Up Items: Phantom Dancer, Last Whisper
Master Yi is a hard carry and should build as such. Picking up a Phantom Dancer increases your Critical Strike and Attack Speed to drastic levels. It will transition you into that unrivaled, late game duelist. If your opponent is not picking up Armor and you want that extra kill speed, Phantom Dancer becomes an even deadlier buy, on top of already being an essential one. Due to the rework on Master Yi, the rushed Phantom Dancer doesn’t add much to his ability scaling as it used to; however, once you have two decent sources of damage and levels into your E, Phantom Dancer is amazing.
The second follow up item is Last Whisper. The changes to Yi’s Alpha Strike now dealing physical damage and scaling with AD allows Last whisper to turn Yi into a very solid team fighter. It should be picked up when enemy Armor feels overpowering, or if you want to contribute to team fights by being the AoE clean up.
These roles allow for the most impact on the game and allow Master Yi to easily be involved.
Type: Raw Damage/Undying/Sustain/Mobility
Tryndamere is a large source of just pure, raw damage. His passive allows him to have ridiculous Critical Strike Chance. His Bloodlust allows for massive sustain and increases his damage when he activates Undying Rage. Tryndamere is a lot more complex than right clicking your opponent. He is basically one huge math problem full of probability due to his passive and Bloodlust. Tryndamere is generally considered the most viable Melee Carry due to his Undying Rage allowing him to last at least 5 seconds longer in fights or cheat death. He also has a reliable escape/gap closer in Spinning Slash. When playing Tryndamere, you can literally split push all game and become a huge problem late due to how well he scales.
Core Items: Phantom Dancer, Infinity Edge
Tryndamere, similar to Master Yi, is a hard carry as well. However, he does not need the various amounts of stats early. He can prioritize one and not worry about not having the other, and so a rushed Infinity Edge or Phantom Dancer are very strong. I do recommend that you split your build and pick up a Zeal and Brutalizer for early damage then finish your core. These two items will synergize well and allow you to maximize your early strength for a small price. Sitting on the Brutalizer is perfectly fine if you do not feel like investing in a Ghostblade and would rather get Infinity Edge.
Follow Up Items: Blade of the Ruined King, Last Whisper
It literally hurts me to tell you to build Blade of the Ruined King. I have a strong dislike for this item because it is a heavy melee carry trap item. I always advise you to not rush this item. However if you are being kited, BoTRK helps out significantly because of the active and also does well to counter out health stacking. After you have received your core, feel free to build this item.
Last Whisper is a must to rip through tanks as Tryndamere. With it, if you are team fighting, you no longer have to fear not wanting to hit the tanky targets. Instead of chasing and being kited, Last Whisper allows you to just sit and rip through enemy tank lines with the Armor Pen and your ultimate.
Roles: Top, Mid, Jungle, Bot
Tryndamere literally can go everywhere.
Type: Multi-Target/Ability User/Burst Attacker
Fiora is one of the most underrated melee carries due to a large stigma of being useless. In actuality, she has one of the strongest Attack Speed steroids and decent scaling abilities as well as gap closers. The lack of an escape and the reliability on farm have further influenced this stigma. Fiora is capable of destroying targets in a matter of seconds similar to Yi and Tryndamere, but she lacks Yi’s mobility or Tryndamere’s ability to ignore the threat of death for 5 seconds. Instead, she has her Blade Waltz which can heal her for devastating amounts if used when she’s low. It also deals insane amounts of AoE damage. Since Fiora cannot AFK split push farm, she needs to be involved as much as possible; however, the standard belief that she goes top results in her being in a really sticky situation. Overall, she is a strong champion, despite the stigma.
Core Items: Ravenous Hydra, Last Whisper
As Fiora, you want to be able to take full advantage of your abilities while abusing the large Attack Speed bonus on your Burst of Speed. Fiora’s Q should be the major source of her damage next to auto attacks. You try to max it for the lower cooldown and increased damage you get from it; it outshines the rest of her other options. The Ravenous Hydra allows for the missing wave clear in her kit as well as adding to her AoE in team fights. Fiora should do her best to shove a wave as hard as possible then group for a fight. The Hydra allows her to do this much more effectively.
The Last Whisper provides the Armor Penetration needed to be able to hurt targets no matter who Blade Waltz targets. Since Blade Waltz becomes even more effective depending on the number of targets in the area, it is important that you try to land it on as many people as you can in team fights. It will chunk squishes and the splash allows for even more damage to be done to everyone around them.
Follow Up Items: Trinity Force, Zephyr, Ghostblade
Fiora should seek an item that enables her to benefit from using her abilities, and Trinity Force will add bonus damage from using her abilities. It also provides a good mix of stats and, most importantly, at least one source of Critical Strike. Try to pick this up after your core if you feel the need to have even more damage and be closer to the carry level.
Zephyr is an option for Fiora players who want the ability to stick to their opponents and do not have the Tenacity to ultimate if they are CC’d. It’s Movement Speed and Attack Speed help to increase your damage and your ability to stick to targets. The CDR helps your abilities become available more often.
Ghostblade is a good option for a mix between the stats from Trinity Force and Zephyr.
Fiora’s inability to split push with ease make her not as safe of a top laner. As a result you want to be able to be active. You can always play top, but it isn’t as effective as a jungler or mid in my opinion as you’ll always be running down from top to try and get to your team.
Type: Utility/Poke/Cleanse/Auto-Attack Reliant
Gangplank is the most unusual Melee Carry. He is a major source of utility, but lacks a gap closer. Oddly, Gangplank is a late game beast because he has the ability to poke and kite much like a ranged carry himself and provide utility for his team. This guy is my go-to champion. He is a little bit awkward, but fits just fine into team comps during the late game. Gangplank is insanely strong early game, weak mid game, and then returns with a strong, late game presence. The key to playing a good Gangplank is to take a huge advantage early and use that to make up for your weaker mid game. Gangplanks numerous sources of utility and slows allow him to stick to his targets reliably if he can close the gap and not be kited. He is very strong at crushing players who do not understand him. Like Fiora, Gangplank should be in the mix as much as possible, but since he is much more slippery than her he can split push with relative ease.
Core Items: Trinity Force, Blade of the Ruined King
Gangplank with Trinity Force is a classic. It provides a strengthened poke and the utility he needs to execute his play. It gives a little bit of every stat and some extra tankiness with the bonus AP and health. Trinity Force’s slow and Movement Speed allow for a much more reliable method of sticking to your opponent. It should be core on any carry Gangplank build. However, you can opt to buy it later if you need situational items like Hexdrinker, Tiamat, or Statikk Shiv.
While I dislike Blade of the Ruined King, I feel that since Gangplank relies on sticking to a target, Blade of the Ruined King is really helpful. Since he is strong late, it also doesn’t hurt to build a strong late game item early. Gangplank also can do some serious baits with Blade of the Ruined King and his W. I would recommend you pick this up after Trinity Force, but a first buy is also effective and efficient. The Attack Speed scales very well with your E and passive. Blade of the Ruined King also offers an escape tool.
Follow Up Items: Youmuu’s Ghostblade, Infinity Edge
Ghostblade allows for Gangplank to stick even harder to his targets and grants some extra Armor Pen. It provides some Crit which can be devastating if landed on a Parrrley. The Attack Speed also scales with Blade of the Ruined King and his passive on top of Raise Morale. Lastly, the CDR insures more Parrrleys. This also can be used as an escape tool if you are split pushing.
Infinity Edge is that major source of burst damage that adds to Gangplank’s poke. It is self-explanatory, as I mentioned before. Dealing increased damage on a Parrrley crit while always hurt your opponents. Critical Strike is also effective on Gangplank due to his reliance on auto-attacking.
Role: Mid/Top/ Jungle/ Bot
Gangplank can do it all. In each role the playstyle is much different than the other, so just choose the role that works for you.
That is all for this weeks Melee Carry Monday. Next week we will discuss the “Glass Cannon:” Xin Zhao, Jax, Aatrox, and Nocturne. Hope you guys enjoyed it.