BUILD GUIDE: Basic guide to mid lane by ErgonMagi

by ErgonMagi (last updated over a year ago)

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Ok so ever since i started playing this game last year i have specialised in mid lane, and all the changes it went through. When i first started it was the best lane dominant champ u could get in there, then it went to ad carries mid, and so on until it came to the current meta > ap carry mid
This guide isnt about how to killzorz ur enemies, but mainly just the basics on how to adapt to the game and play so that even if your having a hard time, your team can still flourish.
I am not a professional player, though i do play in tournaments sometimes, but this guide is just my opinions on some things that a lot of mid lane players i see out there need to work on. I hope you enjoy reading it :)


27/10/2011 - Added Xerath and Karma to team fight guide. Tweaked Vladimir tips.
28/10/2011 - Fixed a few typos (and probably made new ones :S)

Concept of the Laning Phase

Ok so this covers what your main goals are in the laning phase. They are all pretty obvious, but I'm just summing it up so its easy to see and understand even for beginners.

This guide is how to play Mid Lane:
This is your lane,^^^^, that red box outline where you do battle and work your magic.
In the laning phase, you want to be focusing on getting cs, and trying to out cs the enemy. CS is creep score, meaning how many minion you have killed. You want to do this because of the gold bonus you get from killing a minion. When you first look at it, it might seem to be pretty small, but, in an average game, you should be looking at getting roughly 100cs in 15 minutes.

Also, mid lane is a highly combat oriented lane, and you will be harassing the other enemy throughout the laning phase. What you want to be able to do, is to balance harassing the enmy, and getting cs, to find a point where you can safely harass the enemy away from their own cs and get yours. This guide should help you do that.

Advantages of Mid Lane

Mid lane has a few key advantages over other lanes. The msot noticable one of these is the solo lane experience. When playing in a solo lane, you recieve the full experience for each minion killed, as opposed to a fraction in the duo lanes. This means that you are a higher level than other players in your team. This is most advantageous for an ap champino, as ao chamoions scale very well damage-wise with levels. This means that mid lane is the ideal lane for an ap champion.

Furthermore, Mid lane also provides a bit more security over the other lanes. This is because you are much closer to your turret at all times, meaning it is safer for you to be csing minions, as you dont have to get back far if you are ganked. This is a major deterrant for junglers ganking mid, so most often you will find that the jungler won't gank you much at all, unless they have a stealth, or hard cc.

Finally, you also only have to play against one champion, meaning you can decide on a 1v1 aspect whether to fight, and any accomplishments or failures are yours alone. This puts pressure on the lane but is highly rewarding.

Choosing your Champion

I am going to work under the assumption that you are doing draft mode, just because your pick has more consequence here.
Everyone has their favourite champion they are amazing with and never get beaten EVER. Thats good. But even if you are amazing at a champion, you need to take your team into account before you pick.
There are a few things you should consider before you insta-lock your champion at your turn:

1: What position are you picking in?

This is an important question, especially in tournament games and competitive gameplay. What a lot of people do, is they get stuck on one aspect of who they are to pick: how good am I with them. This is an important part of picking, but take a look at what position you pick in. If you are first pick, for example, the you are subject to the entire enemy teams counterpicks, if they deem it necessary. A couple of common ones are things like first pick taking annie, so the enemy team picks galio to lane against her. Any annie will have a hard time against galio, so sometimes it is best to leave that pick until after you have seen the enemy teams pick. Another example could be if you are last pick. You should look at who the enemy team has, and who is most likely to be in mid, and then pick a champ that you feel comfortable using against that champion. This could mean identifying that the enemy team picked Orianna, and you dont feel comfortable against her using poor squishy closed range annie, and decide to pick brand instead and stay as far away from that ball as possible. These are important things to think about when choosing your champion.

2: What kind of role should i be bringing to the team?

You are an AP carry, but every AP carry has some unique traits for different team comps. For example, orianna works well with a team comp based on aoe damage, as she can group the enemy team together for the massive damage. Another case could be your team needs a single target nuke, which means you could pick kassadin. This is another important aspect of picking your champion.

3: Who is on their team?

This is the final main aspect you should consider before picking. If the enemy team is a very tank team, then an ap carry is unlikely to do much damage to them. This list includes champs such as:

All of these champs tend to be very mean to an enemy ap carry. If the enemy team comprises maiunly of champions like this, then you would be looking at playing a more utility based game as an ap, and trying to set up kills for your ad carries. This means picking ap carries that are based more on cc and buffs or are a bit tankier than normal ap champs, such as
These champions will allow you to stay in mid and farm, and then progress to a semi-support role for your team with utility spells to help set up kills.

Pick your champ based on who the enemy has, whether they can be easily counterpicked, whether you are counterpicking an enemy champ, and what your team needs. Focusing on one of these points is what can lead to a poor choice, and you need to work hard to keep all of these in mind, as well as make sure you can play the champion chosen well.

Early Game

In my opinion, early game is where an ap carry decides how they will be playing late game. It is a crucial part of the game for you, and you need to identify a few key points before you are ready to lane.

Firstly, look at the enemy mid lanes items. Do they have health pots? This is a pretty important part of your thinking, beecause if you are up against a champion who bought and then you are unlikely to be able to harass them down easily, and should focus on keeping your cs up, and wait for a jungle gank. However, if they started with a dorans item, and you started with boots 3x health pots, then you are at a distinct advantage. Any damage you do to them at the early stages of the game will not regenerate very quickly, meaning you can harass the enemy, and take equal damage, and then health pot back to full, suddenly giving you a massive lane presence, and allowing you to deny cs to the enemy, and even go for a kill.
Another thing that is important, and that I sometimes forget, is to check the enemy summoner spells. It is important to know whether the enemy is going to ignite you and you must be ready for the bonus damage, or if he will exhaust and you will suddenly be committed to a fight you cant win, or even if he has teleport and all your harass was just a waste of mana. Keeping these things in mind can make the difference on when you decide to fight.

Also, examine who the enemy teams jungler is, and, if you know, estimate when he will gank, and how strong the gank will be. For example, if the enmy team has a , he is a very aggressive ganker, and they are very strong ganks in early game. This means you will have to play very safely, and make sure you never overextend without knowing where shaco is.
On the other side, if the enemy has a , you can play a bit more aggressively. Warwick is a slow jungler, and doesnt have any realy gap closer or cc until level 6, meaning for you to be caught out by him would require you to be almost turret diving. This means until you are about level 7, you can safely play aggressively without too much to worry about the jungler.

Finally, Take a look at who the enemy mid lane is. Identify whether they are likely to harass you based on the thought process you just went through on whether to harass them. You need to know whether they can outdamage you early game, or whether you have the advantage. You need to understand where their champions strengths lay, such as s massive close range burst, or s long range harass. Each of these champs needs to be played against differently, and your own ideas on how to beat them will come with experience.

check pots on each side, check enemy jungler, check enemy summoner spells and check who the enemy is. all of these change how you should be playing. Whether you should be harassing or whether you should focus on your cs.

NOTE: harassing does not mean neglect your cs. It means that you should be denying the enemy champion of their cs, and trying to gain an advantage by sending them back to base. There is NO POINT in harassing an enemy champion back to base if they are 50cs ahead of you because of it.

Your Duty to the Team

This is a part of the game that many players forget about. Generally a good mid is measured by how much cs they get compared to the enemy, how many kills they gets, how much DEEEEEPPPPSSSS they put out. These are not all the signs of skill though. Some important things you need to do for your team are:

1: Ward your own lane

Many people believe that the support and jungler should leave their lane and jungle, traipse through the river, and put a ward in the brush for you. If they do that, how nice of them. If not however, it is not their fault you get ganked. On your first trip back you shoujld try make sure you have enoughgold to buy the items you want + . This way you can ward either side of your lane, and get back to csing/harassing safely.

2: Try and gank other lanes

This is another thing mid lane should be doing. Every now and then, push your lane out a bit and then run back. The enemy might even think your recalling. You should then head to top or bot lane, whichever needs more help, and gank them. This allows your allies to flourish as well as you, and also inspires a bit of confidence in you from your team. Every team works better if they have faith in the ability of their team mates. Also an early kill is awesome XD

3: Help your team if they are caught by the enemy

There are cases when the enemy jungler might be roaming in your own teams jungle, and your jungler finds them. It is NOT the junglers job to single handedly defend the ENTIRE jungle from the enemy. Get of your pedestal and get to them to help. You might even get a kill or assist out of it.

4: Dragon

Dragon is an important part of the game, not only as the global gold, but as a morale boost for your team that you are doing things right, and a good teamwork exercise. When the jungler calls to do dragon, inconspicuously (sneakily) leave your lane and go help.


Team Fights

Every role has a job to do in a team fight. For the ap carry, its kill the enemy squishies. Many times in a team fight your allies will get stuckk focusing the tank. This is not ideal, but you can work with it if you have to. The ap carry is solely designed to get past the tank and kill the enemy ap carry, support and ad carry. If you are super fed then you can probably do this alone. If not, try and make an opening for your tesm to jump onto the enemy squishies. This can be achieved in a number of ways.
Here is a list of each mainstream ap carry and their main ways to get to squishies with your team.

: Unless the enemy team has oracles or a pink ward, just jump at the squishies, chuck your shroud down and feast.
: Anivia takes some skill to initiate with. You can either lob a q over at the squshies, because a sloow and stun are great ways to isolate the squshies. Or, if you feel up to it, you could go for a clutch wall and split the enemy team so that your team can easily pick of half at a time.
: Build your stun up, then either run at/flash at the enemy squishies (after telling your team you are going to) and tibberf*** them. The aoe stun is more than enough to get your team in on the action.
: I dont play brand much, but in most cases, you can just lob your pillar of flames at the enemy (yes i know that lob doesnt really apply to this spell but you get the point) If you land it then you can do a lot of damages, and then try land a q on them. Or you could flash closer and mash all the buttons at once and click someone.
: You can either stun the enemy tanks and your team can walk past them for easy kills, or set yourself up with flash or good positioning to stun the enemy squishies. Either one will be a good move. That or you could slow them with miasma.
: not really a mainstream ap carry but it can work. However if you need ot be told how to intiate as cho i dont think you should be playing him...
: AP galio is great at this part. Flash and ult and watxh your team and your ult decimate them.
: This guy seems to be an easy question. However, positioning the ult is quite hard. I recommend using your bodyslam and/or flash to get close enough to bomd just behind or between the squshies, knocking them away from their allies or into the fight.
: Karma isn't as strong an ap champ as many others, but it can be done, and her passive gives a low health karma a surprising punch. Explosive shield your tank or initiator for the damage, or use the shield on a carry for defense, and try line up your slow through as many enemies as possible. Hold off on your q until you can mantra q for a heal for your whole team.
: The equivalent of a suicide bomber. Chuck your wall down toggle on e and run at them, if you die just keep hitting them and ult before your passive wears off.
: just trololol them. jump in use q and e, jump out, jump in and q again. If they get frustrated enought o chase you your doing your job and your team can kill the rest of them.
: Wait for the cc to get used if possible, thjen shunpo/flash to the squshies and ult.
: Flash in and ult, then zhonya if possible.
: jump over to them, q then r then e then ignite and then press w again to jump out. You should decimate one of the squishies.
: Land your snare and e, and then ult if u feel its necessary. Your team should go in with the snare.
: Put your pool down in the area the enemy is fighting in if it is confined. This forces them to move out of it or take a lot of damage. If they are out in the open, try to harass the enemy down with your malefic visions and silence, and when their cc is down, pool under someone and ultimate them. This gives your team a large opening.
: Throw your saplings everywhere in the fight, and try isolate an enemy squishy with your snare. Put your ultimate down around yourself when you reach the target and your team should follow.
: I refuse to acknowledge this guy as an ap carry. Not a real issue, but my opinion is he doesnt fill the role as well as many other champs.
: TROLOLOLOLOLOLZ flash into themiddle of the enemy team with your spell shield on, put your pool down, start your ult then zhonya if you have it.
: Generally its easiest if one of your tanks inititiates and you shield them and then use your ultimate to disrupt the enemy team. Otherwise, you can use command:attack to move the ball into the enemy team then command:dissonance and then command:shockwave
: Use your ultimate down the middle of the team and try split them with it.
:snare anyone that overextends, tanks included, and then as the team rushes forward to help swap focus to the squishies and try burst them down.
: Try and land your nevermore, or if you are tanky enough just use your ult and run at them. Slow someone with laser bird and do as much damagge as you can.
: Try and use a quick gold card on an overextended enemy and burst them with your wild cards.
: Put your event horizon down in the teamfight and stun everyone or as much as you can.
: Run in and use your transfuse, tides of blood and ult then pool and watch your team shred the enemy. Also, it is advantageous to have your tides of blood at max stacks when initiating this way as it adds a lot of damage.
: I don't play xerath very much, but the basic aim as xerath is to sit as far away as possible from the fight but stay in range, and then try to stun a squishy, and nuke them with your ultimate. If you can take out an enemy champion before the battle even fully starts then your team will have a definite advantage.
: Double time bomb the closest person, speed up your ranged ad or tank and be ready to ultimate whoever is targeted.

Ok bare in mind that these are situational tactics, and that they are also my opinion. I do not play all of these champs all the time, but i have played them all at some point. Feel free to use any of these tactics or disregard them as you please.

Also you may argue about a few ap champs i left out, but i dont think i missed any major ones, and if i missed some minor champs please let me know :)

Aggression and Passivity

Most people that play mid play because they enjoy the 1v1 experience and believe they can beat the other person. This naturally forms as aggression, meaning you spend a lot of time openly fighting eachother.
However, there is nothing worse for your team if you go aggressive, and die, then come back and try again, and die again, and continue on this pattern. You need to judge at the start of the game whether you or they have the upperhand in lane. look at their base stats to find their runes and look at their items as well as their likely level one spells and what they level up. This helps you decide whether you should be aggressive or passive.
Also, if you die to your opponent, they have the advantage from then on. You CANNOT keep running at them saying it was bad luck etc. They are now ahead of you, and you should call for ganks to help even things out again. The MOST annoying thing for your team is when you refuse to admit you need help and keep feeding the enemy mid lane. Calm down, and stop being aggressive. Sit back and cs, or ask for a lane swap. This will feel like giving up but all your doing is preserving the chance for your team to win. You will be much better off later if you just play a bit more passively.

ps: Is passivity a word???

Final Comments

This isnt finished yet, but i wanted to get it out and see what people think, so this is gonna be like a eta release. Let me know what you think of it and try not to be too mean :P


June 20, 2012 - 07:12 AM #1

Ahri isn't in there?

May 14, 2012 - 11:48 AM #2

YO DUDE^^^^^^

I've got a question....is something like Leona AP or Nautilus AP viable in low-ELO (at mid of course^^).They got nice AP-ratios.

And what do you think about Annie after the patch, is she OP or balanced?

And....sry for my bad english, I'm from Germany^^

March 21, 2012 - 09:39 AM #3

xxoxx i use ap/lvl most of the time, but flat mana regen is also good there. Also on some of the tankier mid laners, i run hp/lvl

March 18, 2012 - 06:46 PM #4

good guide, but 1 question left, what are the most common seals for an ap carry? I guess ap/lvl but i don't know for sure ><

December 7, 2011 - 03:05 AM #5

As Morg and Cass normal player I find this info useful. When playing, nobody gives advices (just 'noob' naming). Thank you for this great article.

December 3, 2011 - 12:18 PM #6


October 30, 2011 - 02:21 AM #7


October 28, 2011 - 10:52 PM #8

Fiddle should be included, even if he's primarily a jungler, he can solomid.

October 27, 2011 - 03:06 AM #9

for the team fight section for vlad you might want to metion that you sould get tide stacks up

October 26, 2011 - 10:42 PM #10

Great guide. A couple typos in there though if you wanna give it a quick once over.

You left out Karma from your list of champs. I'd say "chain an ally, shieldpop your tank, wave if you can" or something. Doesn't really need explanation but if you want a complete AP mid list you could add her.

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