How to Climb in Low ELO as an ADC

How to Climb in Low ELO as an ADC

The ADC’s Guide to Climbing Low ELO

When it comes to carrying as an ADC, you need to be dependable, self-sufficient, and be able to come out ahead regardless of the matchup you’re in. If you need to rely on your Support for everything, you’re never going to reach your full potential. In this Mobalytics guide by PicklePants, we will be focusing on how to climb in low ELO as a bot lane carry.

This is part of a bigger series so if you’re reading this as a player who mains another role, we’ll have specific articles for all the other roles as well.

Ruler GPI

Gen G Ruler GPI

Before we begin, let’s clarify what ranks we’re talking about here. Now, you could ask 50 different players off all ranks and ask them what they determine to be high and low ELO.

Some players will say anything below Gold is low ELO, anything below Diamond 2 is low ELO, or anything under top 200 Challenger is low ELO!

In this guide, we’re going to go with anything below or around the lower end of Gold is low ELO, and anything above or around that is high ELO. You may disagree with this statement, but that’s what we’re going with for the context of this guide. If you do disagree, however, that’s okay. Everyone’s definition of what low and high ELO is are different.

Learn when to trade

Trading as a whole is a complex subject and it’s important that you do your research when it comes to trading. Trading as the bot laner is more than just auto-attacking the enemy or using your Q as Syndra (if you’re a bot mage player). In fact, it’s about awareness more than anything.

syndra q

First off, I know how much you love to trade and harass the enemy. But it’s important that you look at how many minions are in the minion wave.

If you go to trade when the enemy has lots more minions than you, auto-attacking the enemy once will force the nearby minions to focus you. If you auto-attack when there’s a cannon minion in lane, you’ll take even more damage.

Avoid trading auto attacks whenever the enemy has a big minion wave as they’ll always out damage you if you’re even in lane.

Another thing you need to look out for before trading is the positioning of your Support. If they’re really far back, you shouldn’t look to trade until they’re in a position to follow up. I’ve seen countless ADC’s dying and flaming because their Support was not near them when going in.

Janna positioning

While this could be seen as the Supports fault for not being in position, it is actually your fault as you didn’t check the positioning of the Support. If your Support is playing so far back in lane, then you need to adapt to their playstyle and play accordingly. Going in 1v2 isn’t their fault- it’s yours.

Before engaging and looking to trade, check where the Support is positioned so you can play and trade aggressively together. Do not, under any circumstances, go in if your Support is not in a position to help and trade with you. If the Support is next to you, slightly behind your or in front of you- you can trade. But if they’re really far back, don’t trade.

In some cases, the enemy may initiate the trade and you may not be able to trade back with them. Before trying to trade back with the enemy, make sure you look at what items they have as you’ll never want to trade with the enemy when they have an item advantage.

syndra r

Another thing you should be on the lookout for is if the enemy has any key abilities up that can make the trade highly favorable for them and potentially kill you like an executing Ultimate like Syndra’s Ultimate or Pyke’s Ultimate.

Here’s a guide we’ve made on retaliation trading. This guide can help you when it comes to trading back with the enemy when they initiate the trade. It talks about when you should and shouldn’t opt for retaliation trading in more detail.

Know your matchups

Knowing your matchups is very important for every role. If you want to climb, you need to learn what counters your favorite champions and how you can play into these bad matchups.

One of the biggest issues for ADC’s and bot laners, in general, is that they’re attracted to hooks from the likes of Blitzcrank, Thresh, or Pyke. Dying to a hook might not be the biggest problem, but consistently getting hooked is a big problem.

Not only will you die, but you’ll fall behind and make it harder for yourself to get back into the game. This could be avoided by knowing how to play against a champion like Blitzcrank.

There are a lot of champions who can be played in the bottom lane, which makes it important that you do your research on how to play against them. But in general, there are a few champions that players really struggle with.

Primtetime Draven


  • He has tons of kill pressure in the early game. Avoid going for extended trades with him as he will always come out ahead. Try to fight him when he’s dropped an axe.
  • We’ve made a separate guide to help you play against Draven which you can find here.

riot blitzcrank splash


  • Ensure that there is always 1 minion between you and him at all times. Always be aware of his positioning so there’s a minion between you and him. Never use your movement abilities unless his Q is on cooldown.
  • We’ve made a separate guide on how to play against Blitzcrank which you can find here.

nightbringer soraka splash


  • Invest in an early Executioner’s Calling to reduce her healing and sustain in lane. Focus her whenever possible as she will just heal her ADC whenever they take damage. Be prepared to take Ignite instead of Heal as your Summoner Spell.
  • We’ve made a separate guide on how to play against Soraka which you can find here.

Understanding how each champion is played and what their weaknesses are is very important if you want to climb. If you don’t know how each champion is played and how to counter them, you’re really going to struggle to climb and improve.

Build the right items at the right time

Building the right items at the right time is very important. Building the correct items that synergise with your champion is also key. This is why you need to be up to date with the latest builds for your champion.

bot champ pages

There are a few ways you can find the latest builds:

1) You can check our champion pages and see what we recommend on your champion. They’re always up to date.

2)  You can look at what pro players are building on your champion by using the Summoner Search.

3) You can our tier list feature to see what’s popular.

Adapting your build path is also very important. For example, opting for an early Executioner’s Calling against champions like Soraka will reduce her healing. Or going for Ninja Tabi over Berserker Greaves when you’re against a full AD team.

Ninja Tabi

If you don’t know what items you should pick up when playing as the ADC, here’s a guide that outlines all of the items an ADC can buy.

Learn how to play from behind

I’ve pretty much covered this in every guide I’ve written lately, but learning how to play from behind as an ADC is incredibly important if you want to climb. Not only will it help you get back into the game, but it will also prevent you from falling further behind.

There are multiple ways you can be “behind” as an ADC. You can be behind in items, kills, or even towers. You might have lower health than the enemy too- in which you should play as if you were “behind”.

Unfortunately, you will not have the luxury that other roles or champions will have. Unlike the mid lane or jungle, you cannot start building tank items which is what those roles should be doing when they’re behind.

But you can do things like freezing the minion wave near your tower so the enemy doesn’t zone you away from farm or deny you XP.

You could also freeze the wave on your side of the map and avoid pushing it if you’ve lost your first tower. While this will not help your other lanes, it will help you get some much-needed gold and get you back in the game. If you push when your towers down, the enemy might try and kill you.

ADC freeze

This isn’t a bad place to keep the minion wave when you’re behind.

Another thing you can do is to avoid trading. When you’re behind, trying to fight the enemy is a big no-no as they will out damage and out trade you. It doesn’t make sense trying to fight someone who is stronger than you, so don’t do it. If they initiate a trade, back away if you’re not fighting on a level playing field.

There are actually a lot of other things you can do to get back into the game when you’re behind. We’ve written a separate guide on how to get back into the game when playing as the ADC.


It’s easy to blame the Support when you lose lane, but you actually need to help yourself in order to win lane. Blanket fighting the enemy, when you have no follow up, is your own fault and not the Supports. We hope this guide has given you some tips to improve and will kickstart your climb.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out PicklePants stream.

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