Thursday, 16 January 2014

Preseason 4 Ezreal

Update on Ezreal - Preseason 4
The new offense mastery tree has changed the math a little for ADCs in the preseason. Less armor penetration both flat and percent, more CDR, AS and AD, as well as bonus AD percentage increase.

Ezreal and Standard
One of the reasons I like Ezreal so much is that the golden standard IE->PD->LW build is not the best build for him. It's not even good on him, it's actually just a wrong build. Something I'm not sure can be said for any other ADC. Usually builds other than IEPDLW trade damage for utility, but for Ezreal the utility comes free with interesting and strong builds.

Central concept - gold efficiency
Gold efficiency is how much you get of some per gold. Brutalizer is cheaper than BF sword, IE is more expensive than Tri, CDR boots cost more than Zerker Greaves, and unlike a lot of analyses I've seen I'm taking it into account.

The Brutalizer
While the mastery changes favors AD over ARP, The Brutalizer is still a terribly underrated early item. While Armor Penetration has gone down, enemy ADC armor has too due to defense mastery changes. I've also changed the armor value for the level 7 part of the sheet to the average armor value of ADCs.

The stats
In the sheet I'm assuming R>Q>E, that you have AS, CDR, AD, AD% and ARP% masteries in offense and that you have AD marks.
The enemy hit is assumed to have average ADC armor plus flat seals at low level comparison. I've added a Sunfire Cape at higher levels and use universal average armor in addition to flat Seals and +5 mastery. R and Shiv only hits 1 target, E hits a target half the time. All this can be modified in the sheet.

Brutalizer first item
The most cost efficient item to go from a sustained damage point of view from the start is Brutalizer. Here's a comparison of Brutalizer vs some other typical items, showing loss of gold efficiency:
8%  BF sword
10%  Pickaxe
13%  Longsword
61%  Manamune (stack at 250)
86% Doran's Blade
112% Phage
116% Sheen

The only point of comparison that puts Brutalizer behind is on burst, where it's 3% behind Sheen.

Also, contrary to popular belief, buying Brutalizer early does not sacrifice late game output. Brutalizer stays extremely cost effective throughout the game. Furthermore, Black Cleaver is in all the strongest full builds - even at only moderate armor values.

I've previously established that Zerker's Greaves are terrible on Ezreal in comparison to CDR boots in every single build. I've made further calculations and it is as stated previously.

Build Paths
From my research there are 4 builds: The early BT build, the early Tri build, the Blue build and the Tear build.

The Early BT Core
Brutalizer -> CDR boots -> BF sword 
This is the most cost efficient build for sustained damage in its price range (3000-4000 g)
While this is the most efficient progression, the goal is to get Brutalizer, CDR boots and BT. There are other factors you should use to determine which order you get it in. If you can afford BF, get that. If you need lifesteal, get that. Otherwise spend as much of your gold as you can getting these component, just don't rush CDR boots.
Here are some comparisons to the runner ups, the number being the loss of gold efficiency during sustained damage.
8%   B+Sheen+CDR
10% BT+CDR
10% BT
12% IE
24% B+Phage+CDR
24% B+Sheen
29% BoRK
33% Trinity

The only build that compares in the price range is B+Sheen+CDR. Although it has less sustained damage efficiency, it gains 34% poke damage efficiency and 12% burst damage efficiency. I'll cover this build path below.

Once you have Brutalizer, BT and CDR boots it's time for LW unless the enemy team literally has no bonus armor . If you prefer utility and poke, you can go Tri at this stage. At 100 armor you lose 7% sustained efficiency and gaining 10% poke efficiency. At 180 armor you get no increase in poke from Tri. Personal recommendation is going LW first, by the time you could have Tri you could have had LW + Sheen or Phage anyway.

After LW get Tri. Technically IE is better for sustained damage, but only by 3% efficiency, whereas Tri gets utility and has 47% more poke efficiency.

After Tri, get IE.

Lastly, upgrade Brutalizer to Black Cleaver.

When you're at this point, 6 item slots with boots, the weakest item per damage is Tri, followed by BT, followed by IE. Here, I am talking in terms of absolute damage, not efficiency, as you're now at the point where money is irrelevant. I note this because you might want a defensive item but keep your boots.

If you don't want to keep your boots and want an offensive item, make sure you can have blue pot / blue buff on and sell boots for PD

TL;DR: B+BT+CDR boots -> LW -> Tri -> IE -> BC -> PD

The Early Tri Core
Brutalizer -> Sheen -> CDR boots
This build is the second most efficient sustained damage build in the 3-4k gold range. It's main strength is poke though, being unmatched and superior by quite a margin. This also makes it a very strong kiting build.
Another comparison showing loss of gold efficiency for the given type of damage:

Sustained Poke Burst
B+Sheen+CDR 0% 0% 0%
BT+CDR 2% 95% 17%
IE 4% 391% 23%
B+Phage+CDR 15% 51% 44%
BoRK 20% 405% 38%
Trinity 23% 87% -2%
B+CDR 25% 76% 50%
Sheen+MM+CDR 27% 64% 20%
Sheen+Phage+CDR 62% 64% 42%

This build only loses out to Trinity Force in burst damage, but only by 2% at the cost of 23% efficiency for sustained damage.

Once you have the core, finish Trinity Force, then build LW. After this, build either BoRK or IE.
Going BoRK loses you 5% sustained efficiency, but gains you the active and lifesteal.
After one, go the other. If you went IE, you could also go PD for a 3% increase over BoRK, but the active and lifesteal will be better the majority of the time.
If you don't want boots, get BoRK or PD depending on which one you left out.

TL;DR: B+Sheen+CDR boots -> Tri -> LW -> IE -> BoRK -> BC -> PD

About Tear: 
In the early Tri build, if you want tear, upgrading it after Sheen but before Trinity is more damage. Finishing Trinity is 5% less efficient than upgrading Tear, and that's without it transformed. Overall Manamune loses 12% efficiency compared to going straight Tri or LW after Sheen. Once transformed to Muramana, it's the most cost efficient item, especially for burst (the numbers I used were average mana, it'll generally produce better numbers), and it's in the strongest build Ezreal can produce.

The Blue Build
Manamune -> Sheen -> CDR -> IBG -> LW -> IE -> BoRK 
The blue build is fairly inflexible, as the whole point is getting an early IBG, so there's not much to discuss. It's also well known that it offers less damage. I might go more in-depth at another time, but for now you can see its values on the graphs

Graphical Comparison of the 4 builds

Maximum Output
The single most damaging build is BC+Tri+MM+LW+IE+PD clocking almost 1150 DPS against an averagely armored target as specified above, and it includes both anti-armor items.Well, 1225 actually with Havoc, double-edged sword and spell- and martial-weaving.
With boots the highest damage is BC+Tri+MM+LW+IE with 900 DPS. MM and BoRK are interchangeable here.

Spreadsheet Link 


  1. Stopped reading at cdr boots. OP must be one of the Ez's who forgets he can auto.

  2. When do you advise buying tear of the goddess?

    1. Oh I forgot, naturally timing is also important. Don't get it if you're not buying it really early. Like no later than your first or second shop run. You have to be able to have it transformed before 30 min at the very latest.

  3. There are several situations and factors for when Tear is a good choice.

    During laning there are two situations:
    If you're crushing your lane and can keep up in combat stats while getting Tear, it's really good for aggressive play, as it allows you to use your E more aggressively for trades, making it much easier to zone and set up kills.
    If you're getting crushed in lane and you can't trade anyway, it lets you farm exclusively with Q and use E to avoid trades and all-ins constantly. It also invests in the late game for a "catch up" factor due to Muramana's extreme cost efficiency once transformed. Note: Your team will hate you.

    Then, the enemy composition might help make it a better decision:
    If the enemy team has a lot of squishies, and whose tanks are not going full on tanky or are behind. This is because of the immense burst damage you get from Muramana. With a full build including Muramana, you can instagib a squishy that screws up positioning at any point. It also lets you outburst many diving assassins/bruisers, especially if your team gives you a minimum of help.
    Really don't get it against a team with strong functional tanks though. It'll run you out of mana and leave you wishing you had that armor pen / life steal you gave up to get Muramana.

    Lastly play style factors in:
    Firstly, you need to be able to control the toggle so you don't waste mana on poking tanks or hitting creeps.
    Secondly, you need to be able to utilize the mana. Poke aggressively before the team fight, and make sure you do your job during team fights and stay alive. Ezreal is a good champ to get through a teamfight fully participating without dying, and if you can do that the mana will come in very helpful in prolonged fights.

    Another note: If you're good at playing the midgame, Tear probably isn't for you. The delayed onset of efficiency is a real bummer if you and your team are really trying to control the map during this time.

    And lastly: When in doubt, don't go Tear. If nothing else then for the morale of the team. A lot of players hate Ezreal, and they hate Ezreal with Tear even more.