Marksman Update: Ezreal
Depending on when you look back, Ezreal is a champion who has dominated the Meta or been nonexistent within the competitive scene.
The gameplay updates to six marksmen that just went live left him mostly unnoticed. However, with the addition of the Keystone Masteries and item updates he gained a deceptive amount of power.
As a non-traditional ADC, he demands high skill shot accuracy and the ability to weave auto attacks between skill casts. His power correlates with the cost efficiency of cooldown reduction and the strength of on-hit effects.
Trinity Force has always been a core item on traditional Ezreal builds, and with the additional 10% cooldown reduction it becomes even more crucial. Combine it with the updated Essence Reaver, and you hit the 40% cooldown reduction ceiling with just those items.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity are no longer a must-buy, allowing the pickup of Berserker's Greaves or even Mercury Treads.
With Essence Reaver restoring 3% of your maximum mana on crit, muramana remains a strong option. The combination of Trinity Force and Essence Reaver will put Ezreal at 40% Crit Chance, giving him a substantial amount of mana regen.
The Keystone Masteries add a significant amount of power to Ezreal’s game. While there can be some variation with the choice of Feast or Double Edged Sword, here’s what an ideal mastery page looks like.
- Tier 1: Spell damage is more valuable than attack speed for Ezreal. The goal is to poke the enemy with Mystic Shot and stay out of their auto attack range, making Sorcery the better point investment.
- Tier 2: Double Edged Sword Vs Feast: There’s no wrong answer here. If you’re in a tough lane matchup and could use sustain, Feast is an acceptable option. Otherwise, the additional 2% damage is nice with all the other multipliers Ezreal uses and should be the first choice.
- Tier 3: Both choices in this tier are not very impactful. 2% Lifesteal and Spell Vamp can be nice for laning, but taking Vampirism and Feast just to survive lane phase will impact your damage later on. The additional attack damage and ability power just helps you deal a little more damage.
- Tier 4: In most cases, Bounty Hunter is the better choice here. A 5% damage increase in the late game means a lot. Although it is reliant on getting kills, even a 3% increase is meaningful. Blue Ezreal variations can choose to invest into the Oppressor mastery because he can activate the bonus damage without having to rely on a teammate or red buff.
- Tier 5: Pretty simple. Armor Pen is more valuable than Magic Pen.
- Keystone: All the choices are compelling here, but ultimately Deathfire Touch is the best option. This Keystone supports Ezreal’s poke based gameplay, adding 50% of his bonus attack damage as a burn whenever he lands a spell. With Mystic Shot’s extremely short cooldown, applying this burn damage repeatedly adds a significant amount of damage.
The 5.22 Patch helped Ezreal in many ways. His item build is more efficient and retains his spell-slinger identity. The Keystone Masteries supplement his poke game, adding more residual damage to his kit. While he may be overshadowed by some of the marksmen who received updates, he should not be underestimated.