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AP on supports - quick analysis

Dj0z May 6, 2012 User blog:Dj0z

A post in the Lulu page was asking what's so great about AP Lulu. I thus proceeded to check out support AP ratios quickly.

That is assuming you want to support your team, but with AP items, as opposed to typical AP-less support items. Here is the list from greatest to weakest, with some sharing the same seat:

  1. Taric has 2 formulas, a minimal one couting Q on himself and lowest use of E, and a maximal couting Q on an ally (which doubles the ratio essentially) and E at max power. Minimum = 0.86 + 0.6 + 0.4 + 0.7 = 2.54 , Maximum = 1.2 + 0.6 + 0.8 + 0.7 = 3.3! Here's the god of AP supports. I didn't even count the extra AP from his Ult.
  2. Janna = 0.75 + 0.8 + 0.9 + 0.175 = 2.625 with instant ult, up to 3.85 if you channel ult to the max (never happens, trying could get you killed). Nothing special about cooldowns.
  3. Soraka = 0.4 + 0.45 + 0.75 + 0.7 = 2.3 , one goddess of AP supports. Super-spammable 0.4 (Q). Lore-wise she is a goddess anyways. And ranged.
  4. Zilean = 0.9 + 2.0 = 2.9 , but here too, the formula is abit irrelevant: his 0.9 can be doubled over a second with Rewind (W). However his Ult will only apply the ratio if your ally dies, and whenever enemies can afford to do that, they'll just wait for the buff to wear out before easily killing the ult'ed ally (if you take the risk of waiting until just before said ally dies, he might just die before you cast). Else they can kill it and group around the to-be-revived corpse. That means his heal/R AP ratio is highly unreliable. All in all i don't think he deserves to be higher than Soraka. He's even arguably on par with the others below.
  5. Karma = 0.6 + 0.7 + 0.8 = 2.1 . Take note than this one has particular mechanisms, and will get deceptively more efficient with lower HP, which then improves her Q in its special way. In those cases she becomes extremely AP efficient.
  6. Nidalee = 0.65 + 0.4 + 0.75 = 1.75, up to 2.725 if spear hits at max range (and at all), in human form. In cougar form it's just a 0.8 total ratio but very spammable. Overall, not bad but situational efficiency.
  7. Sona = 0.7 + 0.25 + 0.8 = 1.75 , notice the 7 seconds cooldown which almost qualifies as spammable with CDR. Without CDR we're starting to get AP-inefficient compared to the others here (some Alternative ways to use her might be just as good).
  8. Lulu = 0.6 + 0.6 + 0.5 = 1.7 , no special cooldowns either. She's one of the most inefficient AP rentabilizers, roughly equal at that with Sona. There's only little harm in building her other ways than AP. See Tank Lulu guide for example.
  9. Alistar is pretty fashionable these days and has a heal. Here we go, including a full 3 seconds of passive: 0.3 + 0.5 + 0.7 + 0.2 = 1.7 . Nothing amazing either. Note that the heal will have lower cooldown with enemies dying nearby but is on 0.2 ratio & 12 seconds cooldown so that's a weak difference for your AP. That, and the fact that he's melee makes full AP Alistar not really viable, as we already know.
  10. Kayle is another special case = 1.0 + 0.35 + 0.2 = 1.55, not impressive even a bit. Taking a closer look, we notice her 0.2 is extra damage on-hit, which means it scales with AS much better than AP since the base numbers are already high. The effect will also become stronger with more hits due to her passive. This isn't a burst, her Q however is, with a strong 1.0 ratio. Her heal, with 0.35 ratio and 15 secs base cooldown, is pretty weak. As a conclusion AP on Kayle gives her a stronger nuke more than anything else.

Tiers for that specific analysis, for those who find that more relevant, which it might just be:

  1. Taric, Janna, Soraka,
  2. Karma, Zilean
  3. Nidalee, Sona, Lulu, Alistar, Kayle


  • Leona and Nunu, are tanks (it's mainly the meta calling them supports). They have no heal/shield they could use on allies, let alone AP ratios that are supportive: that's why i didn't include them in this analysis, same for other special supports (Shen etc).
  • Lux is a different story (AP nuker with shield, strong CC and zero heals), i didn't feel she belonged there either.
  • Like someone pointed out, this analysis focuses over a short period of time, akin to a short teamfight. For an analysis about average AP outcomes per second, thus completely including cooldowns, this article is not accurate.

EDIT: something i posted somewhere illustrates this more concretely:

What my analysis is saying is that when you build her AP, you're not making her poking power for example, that much better than if you built the same AP on, let's say Taric. Compare results with 200 AP:

-Lulu gains 120 damage on both nukes, her burst increases by 240, totaling 800 burst damage. Her heal gets +100HP.

-Taric = 340 extra damage difference totalling 1090 burst with minimum possible damage from stun. With max stun damage it's a total of 580 damage difference (1330 total). His heal gets +120HP on him and someone else, or +168HP on himself, and it's not even an ulti with 80 secs cooldown like Lulu's. That is someone you can really expect benefits from if you build him AP.

Clearly Lulu's efficiency comes directly from the utility effects and base numbers of her abilities. Any extra AP is sub-exploited comparatively to most other supports, let alone real AP carries. Basically only AD carries and bruisers can waste AP harder than her.

TL;DR: Lulu's strength is utility and high base numbers. Her ratios are completely subpar, giving AP builds low returns for every AP point & money spent on those AP points.

What do you think?

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