The AD Carry role has been one of the most important roles in League of Legends, at least when it came to late game teamfights. The AD Carry’s job is to stay safe and deal consistent damage to the highest priority target he can reach. Seems easy, however, staying safe is hard when more and more champions have dashes, jumps and various other movement shenanigans while also being able to kill an AD Carry with equivalent items by sneezing at him. Also, to do damage, AD Carries need items and items cost gold. While many Top Laners or Junglers can just build tank and be at least useful, an AD Carry without gold is as useful as a Shyvana Support. Obviously, getting the most out of your gold is then extremely important.
Before the game even starts, you should make sure that you have reasonable Runes and Masteries. For Runes, a good starting point for all ADs except for Jhin is Attack Damage marks, Armor seals, Magic Resist glyphs and Attack Speed quintessences. For Jhin, who doesn’t really get much out of Attack Speed in Runes, you should substitute the Quintessences for straight up Attack Damage ones, which would give you 15 AD, 8 Armor and 12 MR.
For Masteries, most AD Carries these days benefit the most from an 18/12/0 build with Warlord’s Bloodlust Keystone. Notable exceptions are champions like Ezreal, Lucian, Jhin and Twitch with certain comps. Ezreal, Lucian and twitch can use Fervor of Battle well. For Ez and Lucian, Fervor makes their AD spells do more damage, while also boosting Twitch’s E. You have to make a judgment call on whether you will be able to survive without sustain on Twitch, however. The same goes for Lucian as well. Jhin is a different matter altogether. For him, due to the exorbitant amounts of AD he gets late into the game, Deathfire Touch is the best option.
Obviously, every ADC should go out of the fountain with Doran’s Blade, a Pot and a Warding Totem. While the first back should ideally be done AFTER getting at least 1300 gold so that you could buy a B. F. Sword, getting a Cull if under 875 is decent, though a Pickaxe or a couple of Long Swords, depending on whether your champion is better with Infinity Edge or Essence Reaver is fair enough as well.
Let’s talk about the Infinity Edge builds first, which focus on Crits and Attack Speed. The AD Carries which favor this type of build typically take a long time to get going, but once they do, they can melt everything in late game teamfights. After getting a B. F. Sword, you should get Boots of Speed and start working towards your Zeal, rushing Runaan’s Hurricane. You can get a Pickaxe after the B. F. Sword, however, NEVER complete Infinity Edge without an Attack Speed item, because it’s very gold inefficient.
NOTE: Vayne goes for Statikk Shiv instead of Runaan’s Hurricane to somewhat fix it’s terrible waveclear problem.
For the champions which prefer Essence Reaver first, usually those which revolve around using their spells instead of auto attacks to do damage, like Jhin, maybe Ashe, and Lucian, the build path is more straightforward. If you can, get B.F., if you can’t get Caulfield’s Warhammer or a couple of Long Swords to build into it, as well as Boots.
Around the time you complete Essence Reaver or Runaan’s Hurricane with a B. F. Sword, teams should start grouping and roaming around the map. This is your queue to go for the Tier 2 Boots and finishing your second item. In IE builds, it’s obviously Infinity Edge, while Essence Reaver builds use Rapid Firecannon. The only different Essence Reaver AD is Ashe, she uses Runaan’s to abuse the item’s synergy with its Q.
After that, the Essence Reaver builds more often than not start on Infinity Edge to boost the damage done by their crits and provide the build with some extra Cooldown Reduction. If you are playing an auto attacking AD Carry like Caitlyn, Jinx, Vayne or Tristana, you will want one more Attack Speed item. The most popular ones seem to be Rapid Firecannon and Phantom Dancer, depending on what you need. If they enemy team is the one on the offensive and you have several people going for your head, the Phantom Dancer’s Passive can help you survive, while RFC is good when you are sieging and want to poke from a safe distance. It also provides you with better burst.
Now is where things get dicey. If you are running Warlord’s Bloodlust and the enemies are starting to stack armor, yet you don’t really need more lifesteal to survive, you can buy an item like Lord Dominik’s Regards or Mortal Reminder to help you shred through the Armor. If, however, you don’t have any lifesteal or enemies don’t really have tanks, you pretty much NEED lifesteal to survive. You have two, maybe three, options. The Bloodthirster, Mercurial Scimitar, or Blade of the Ruined King. If the enemy team has a lot of hard crowd control you need to get out of, you might have to consider the Scimitar, however, it’s unlikely that you will be able to use it perfectly. We recommend just getting a BT and not worrying about it, just position yourself carefully and try not to die.
As for the last item in the build… We are strong fans of the “Kill everything, I’m dead if they touch me no matter what defensive item I buy” school of thought. With that said, the final item in our build is always something offensive, either Armor Penetration item like Lord Domink’s if we have BT already, or BT if we rushed the ArPen first. At this point of the game, you should be a god, unless three people rush you and the team isn’t there to provide interference, you get caught out of position like a bonobo, or they have something like 2 2 full tanks with a tank Support.