League of Legends Tip of the Day: How to Build Ezreal

by James Bates

Ezreal 9
Who needs a build path?! (Photo: Riot Games)

In most cases, the class of champion that has the easiest time figuring out the proper way to build their items is ADC. At the moment, pretty much every champion does one of two things: rush a Blade of the Ruined King or slowly make their way to a critical hit based build utilizing infinity edge. There is, however, a singular exception that doesn't neatly fit into either category. Ezreal.

Now, Ezreal being the exception amongst ADCs is nothing new. His build path has been unique for most of the game's history. He's one of the few Trinity Force users and the only surviving tear user in the ADC role. Building Ezreal is all about juggling your power spikes properly, as each completed item results in a massive increase in damage, and while the finished product is likely not competitive with an Infinity Edge build at the end game (though that's up for debate), it also doesn't suffer from the horrific power troughs that Infinity Edge builds are notorious for.

Strangely, though, that brings up a new problem that Ezreal players are just starting to have to grapple with. Frankly, all of Ezreal's core items are now so powerful that figuring out the optimal time to build them is actually quite difficult. As a long-time fan of the champion, like every other player that's ever been an ADC main, the last few weeks have been a confusing mess of trial and error when it comes to item builds. Do I rush the Blade of the Ruined King like every other carry seems to at the moment? Do I follow the old traditional Trinity>Manamune>Blade of the Ruined King build that's been dominant for the last season? Well, a bit of math and experience helped me figure it all out, and now I'm here to share that information with you all.

First, however, we must tackle the exceptions. Firstly, the build that I'm going to be recommending does get outperformed by the old standard Tear>Trinity>Manamune>BoRK build if you're against a team of all tanks. Even if you desperately need the sustain in lane that you would get from a BoRK, you're better off just sitting on the lifesteal scepter and working on your core build against such teams. In fact, I would recommend that you avoid BoRK altogether against such teams, as Bloodthirster tends to be the optimal choice against damage heavy teams. This caveat is an important one, as I'm well aware that many solo queue team compositions eschew tanks entirely for a full lineup of damage champions. Simply keep in mind that in those scenarios you might have to walk off the beaten path, and you might even be justified in picking up a Gauntlet over Trinity depending on the scenario.

So, with that out of the way, let's talk about what you should be going for more often than not. First, I would almost unconditionally recommend that you start off with a Long Sword and a trio of Health Potions (preferably biscuits). The reason for this is simple: Ezreal's laning phase is extremely binary and heavily depends on how the first few exchanges go. You'll rarely ever be able to get a minion advantage as Ezreal, so you're more often going to have to look to get an HP advantage, which is quite doable with your Mystic Shot. Having some extra sustain helps quite a bit in this regard, and also helps you survive nightmare lanes that you'll never be able to deal with otherwise. Caitlyn and Lulu come to mind. Always keep in mind that you're trying to force both players to either recall early with about 800-900 gold, or very late with around 2k. Any other situation will leave you in the situation of having a tear to your enemy's Cutlass or BF Sword, which usually results in your turret dying.

Now, where does the build go from here? Easy. Tear of the Goddess. Your primary goal early on is to try to get a hold of your Tear of the Goddess without losing your lane utterly. As previously mentioned, that can be something of a balancing act, and how you manage this point in the game ends to be reflective of how skilled an Ezreal player you are. After your tear, you are going to look to finish your Blade of the Ruined King, with one exception. If, somehow, you have enough gold on the recall that you would buy a Tear on to instead buy a whole Manamune, you should instead do that. Don't forget that a completed Manamune will stack exponentially faster than a Tear would, and the biggest power spike Ezreal ever gets is when he completes the Muramana. Accelerating that should always be a priority.

So, now you have a Tear of the Goddess and a Blade of the Ruined King. Now what? Well, here is where I see most players slip up the most and build Trinity Force. I can't blame them, it seemed like the correct option to me as well. Turns out, the math doesn't really hold up, however. A Manamune and a Sheen has comparable damage output to a completed Trinity Force, but also costs less and helps you get to a Muramana faster. Thus, instead of finishing Trinity at this stage, you should instead finish your Manamune, and then finally move into the Trinity Force as your third item. Obviously, you also want to pick up a paid of Boots of Lucidity for optimal damage output at some point, or if you're being pressured be the enemy team, an appropriate pair of resistance boots, both of which work just fine on Ezreal.

Where you go from here largely depends on the flow of the game. Typically you would look to pick up a Lord Dominick's Regards around now, which helps make you one of the premier tank killers in the game, weirdly enough. On the other hand, a Bloodthirster or a Maw of Malmortious are also both totally viable options that will help you position more aggressively and live to tell the tale, if that's your thing. Whatever the case, it's critical that you keep in mind that there is no correct option to this question, the circumstances of the game will dictate what items you pick up at this point, not your predetermined build. Some games that will mean you get a Lord Dominick's for the massive damage, while in others you'll get a Randuin's Omen so you have a chance in hell at surviving the enemy Talon, Zed, and Kha'Zix. Keep your head in the game when it comes to these item purchases, and make sure you consider which one is going to help you win the game most effectively, and remember that you can't deal damage while you're dead. Ezreal is slippery, but he's not immortal. Keep that in mind during your LP grind, and best of luck out on the Rift, fellow explorers!

By James Bates

A wanna-be novelist turned coach turned journalist, James is living proof that you never know where you'll end up. He's in love with narrative-heavy games, which he proves by spending his days writing about a game with less lore than Doom. His greatest regret in life is not having his name in the credits of Life is Strange, and it's galvanized him to truly pursue developing games that don't begin in packed taverns and use D20s.