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Lucian Guide: How to Play Lucian and Carry with Him

Published: February 5, 2022
How to Play Lucian in League of Legends and Kill with His Pistols

Lucian is one of the most enjoyable ADCs to play due to being a bursty and hypermobile champion on top of being equipped with the high marksman DPS. A very popular character over the years, he is however not easy to make good use of, so this Lucian guide will help you learn how to take advantage of his capacities. After this, you should be able to know how to play Lucian and take it to victories.

Lucian’s Abilities Explained

Let’s start off this Lucian guide with a rundown of his abilities.

Lucian's Passive Ability in LoL

Lucian’s Passive Skill - Lightslinger

Innate: After casting an ability, Lucian’s next basic attack fires an additional shot.

Innate - Vigilance: Whenever Lucian is healed, shielded or granted a buff by an ally, his next two shots are empowered to deal bonus magic damage, stacking up to 4 times.

Double shot damage: 50/55/60% AD (based on level) - Physical

Vigilance damage: 14 (+10% AD) - Magic

How to use Lightslinger

The double shot is the core of Lucian’s playstyle, identity, and difficulty, and learning how to play Lucian starts there. This passive doesn’t stack, meaning that when fighting, Lucian must use a basic attack between every ability cast in order to not miss out on what’s the main part of his damage.

The ability to weave basic attacks in between the spells not only makes the difference between the newer and the more experienced Lucian players, but it also simply makes the difference between a Lucian that deals damage and one that doesn’t.

Vigilance, on the other hand, was only added as a means to push Lucian into being a bot laner, instead of being the center piece that his kit was built around. It does, however, make enchanter supports a good pair with the Sentinel.

Note: Like the double shot, Vigilance is consumed by the next basic attack regardless of its target. As such, Lucian should try to attack a champion immediately after being buffed by an enchanter, so as to benefit from the bonus damage.

Lucian's Q Ability with a bolt of piercing light

Q: Piercing Light

Active: Lucian fires a laser in a line in the direction of the target enemy, dealing physical damage to all enemies hit.

Damage: 95/130/165/200/235 (+60/75/90/105/120% bonus AD) - Physical

Cost: 50/60/70/80/90 mana

Cooldown: 9/8/7/6/5

How to use Piercing Light

Piercing Light is Lucian’s damage ability. Having the same cast range as his basic attacks, he always wants to use it whenever a trade occurs. AA-Q-AA is a quick and mana-efficient way to activate Press the Attack and deal a significant burst of damage.

Piercing Light is also his best wave clear ability, and should be used to push minion waves.

Using Lucian's Q to hit enemies outside of his normal cast range

This ability can be used to damage enemies beyond its cast range. Lucian’s Q can only target an enemy up to 500 units away, but the shot fired is twice as long and damages every enemy that it hits. In lane, this means that Lucian can use his Q on a minion that the enemy is sitting behind in order to damage them.

Advanced trick: The mana cost of this spell goes up with levels, and Lucian can go through his mana bar quickly in early game. One trick that helps ever so slightly is to not rank up this ability until you are using it. The mana cost is determined upon casting an ability, while the damage is calculated upon hitting. This means that by using Q and pressing ctrl-Q as the shot is being fired, Lucian will get his ranked up damage but will spare 10 mana.

This only gives a minimal advantage and isn’t essential to how to play Lucian, but it’s an advantage that may be useful.

Ardent Blaze ability

W: Ardent Blaze

Active: Lucian fires a shot in the target direction that explodes in a cross pattern upon hitting an enemy or reaching the end of its path, dealing magic damage to enemies struck and granting sight of the area for 1 second.

Enemies hit are marked for 6 seconds. Lucian gains movement speed for 1 second if he or allied champions damage a marked target. Allied champions triggering this effect grants Lucian Vigilance.

Damage: 75/110/145/180/215 (+90% AP) - Magic

Bonus movement speed: 60/65/70/75/80

Cost: 60 mana

Cooldown: 14/13/12/11/10

How to use Ardent Blaze

Lucian’s W provides three effects: damage, double shot, and mobility. As such, it has a handful of uses, but they will mostly be slotted into a combo and the spell is otherwise limited.

Ardent Blaze reveals enemies with its blinding light in Lucian guide
  • Damage combo extender: Lucian’s common trade pattern is E - AA - Q - AA - W - AA, where the use of the W is giving another spell’s worth of damage and another double shot. However, the movement speed also lets him decide where to take things from there: breaking the short trade and backing off, or committing to walk up and keep fighting. Lucian excels in short trades with his burst pattern, and Ardent Blaze helps in either limiting those trades or converting into kills.
  • Chasing tool: E - W - AA. One of the rare instances of cutting a passive shot, this is to use when the dash barely brings Lucian in attack range of the opponent. The attack following Ardent Blaze will speed him up and allow him to chase.
  • Ultimate combo: W-R or E-W-R. Lucian wants to use Ardent Blaze immediately before his ultimate every time he can. The spells can be cast at the same time and have the same range, and Ardent Blaze will add a little more burst and will give Lucian bonus movement speed to be able to hit every part of his ult.
  • Escape tool: Lucian doesn’t stop or slow to fire Ardent Blaze. He can as such use it while running away without letting the opponents catch up, and will then be sped up if an ally attacks the marked opponents. This will also be helpful in situations where Lucian can kite.
Dashing forward to chase after an enemy

E: Relentless Pursuit

Active: Lucian dashes in the target direction.

Relentless Pursuit’s cooldown is reduced by 1 second for each Lightslinger shot landed, doubled to 2 seconds against enemy champions.

Note: Relentless Pursuit resets Lucian’s basic attack timer and can be cast during The Culling, and other abilities can be cast during Relentless Pursuit.

Cost: 40/30/20/10/0 mana

Cooldown: 22/20/18/16/14

How to use Relentless Pursuit

Relentless Pursuit is an extremely versatile and strong ability. Engage, escape, reposition, dodge, realign the ultimate, get a passive proc, and reset the basic attack timer. Later in the game, the ability comes back available rapidly if not almost instantly, but earlier on, Lucian needs to choose which use to make and to be wary of the other options being unavailable afterwards.

The first use is the aforementioned damage combo - E-AA-Q-AA-W-AA, where the first E is used to get in range to start a fight. Note that at rank 5 and with Essence Reaver, Relentless Pursuit is immediately available again after this combo.

how to use lucian and relentless pursuit

If Lucian is able to initiate a fight from basic attack range with his Q, he can instead use Q-AA-W-AA and either use his E right after to get another passive proc while chasing the opponent, or hold onto it for safety or dodging purposes. Unlike the previous one, this combo makes use of the AA reset from Relentless Pursuit for more burst in a shorter time span.

Every other use of Relentless Pursuit is straightforward - repositioning or dodging. However, the ability also comes back up in the blink of an eye during fights, and one of the major milestones of learning how to play Lucian is finding the line to cast E as frequently as possible (to posture threateningly and maximize the passive) while still having it available whenever needed.

Advanced trick: In most cases, Lucian wants to dash the full distance that his E allows. However, Relentless Pursuit can also be cast for half of the distance, as a 200 units dash. Doing so makes the ability very quick instead of having to wait for Lucian to move the full distance, which lets Lucian resume attacking earlier. As this spell is a basic attack reset, Lucian will be able to attack right after it completes in every case, so the half-dash will always make him gain time. Lucian should half-dash every time he uses Relentless Pursuit for damage.

The Culling

Lucian Ultimate (R): The Culling

Active: Lucian channels for up to 3 seconds, firing a barrage of shots in the target direction that deals damage to the first enemy hit. Lucian can still move and cast Relentless Pursuit while using this spell, and may recast to end the ability early.

Damage: 15/30/45 (+25% AD)(+15% AP) per shot - Physical

Number of shots: 22 (+1 per 4% critical strike chance)

Cost: 100 mana

Cooldown: 110/100/90

How to use The Culling

On paper, The Culling deals an insane amount of damage. And, it indeed does - at all stages of the game, the least impact it can have is “almost single-handedly taking out a squishy target”, going up to “killing a squishy target with half of the spell left to spare”.

However, Lucian cannot attack or cast spells during The Culling (with the exception of Relentless Pursuit). Furthermore, the ability isn’t guaranteed to hit, particularly against opponents who can be more mobile than Lucian. Because of this, the ability must be used correctly to be great and can even be detrimental otherwise.

Hitting with many shots of the culling in LoL

First, Lucian doesn’t want to use The Culling when he could use his other abilities. His regular combo deals more damage than the ultimate. It deals more damage than his basic attacks when it can’t be dodged, however, so Lucian’s full damage combo is E-AA-Q-AA-W-AA-R, with the ultimate also benefiting from the Ardent Blaze’s movement speed. Once the cooldown of Relentless Pursuit is low enough, E-AA-Q-AA-W-AA-E-AA-R can be done instead.

Second, an advantage of The Culling is its high range compared to Lucian’s regular fighting pattern. This means that he can use this spell (coupled with Ardent Blaze) to take people down from longer range, or to fight without putting himself in danger.

Lucian can use Relentless Pursuit during his ultimate, but also Galeforce - and this is one of the main strengths of this item for him compared to the other two mythics, although Krakenslayer is a good option as well. Once Galeforce is completed, Lucian can use W-R on a full health squishy opponent, and have two dashes to follow their movements. Combined with the extra burst of Galeforce, this can kill someone by itself and is one of the major threats that mid lane Lucian poses.

How to play Lucian, and the difficulty

Lucian doesn’t feel like a complicated champion to play, but he’s a difficult character to win with - getting an advantage and being ahead isn’t enough if it isn’t converted into a Nexus going down (preferentially the opposing one).

The difficulty in playing Lucian comes from four reasons that we will cover in more detail of this Lucian guide.

  • Lucian needs to get an early lead. Statistics show that the earlier the game ends, the more likely it is that Lucian won it. As luck would have it, he’s equipped to get this lead thanks to his damage spiking early - but he depends on it.
  • He then needs to make good use of it. This is the reason why the champion feels less difficult than he is - Lucian will often be ahead, making the player feel like they’re doing what they should. But he can’t sit on his wallet and let it generate interest, he must make use of it and work towards winning the game.
  • Lucian has a low attack range. High damage, high mobility, but all of his damage besides his ult requires him to put himself in danger. That makes it easy for Lucian to get too close and die, or to stay too far and not end up having impact. Learning where to tread that line is the main part of learning how to play Lucian.
  • Mechanical difficulty in intense situations. Lucian has attack patterns that make him lose most of his damage if he doesn’t follow them. His players need to remain calm in the heat of the moment, and to stick to those patterns without panicking and losing control. They have the potential to turn the situations around, just as much as they have the potential to throw it away by losing their cool.

As one learns how to play Lucian, these four concepts have to be kept in mind at all times, as while they’re his sources of difficulty, they also provide the concepts to think of to build a game plan to win the game. Playing aggressive to get an early lead, keeping the pressure on to make use of it, finding the line to deal as much damage without dying, remaining calm while executing these.

League of Legends Character Lucian

How to Play Lucian in Lane

Lucian is most commonly played in the bot lane now, although he remains a good mid lane pick if his bot laner picked a mage. In the bot lane, he works best with most enchanter supports (namely Sona, Soraka, Yuumi, and Nami) and is alright with tank supports (Amumu and Blitzcrank performing best). Mage or AD supports should however be avoided with him.

Lucian plays differently based on his lane and his support, but the principle is always the same: he needs to play to his strengths while covering his weaknesses.

In the bot lane, Lucian’s strengths are his burst in trades and the range within which he can initiate them. His weaknesses are his low basic attack range and his inability to deal extra damage outside of trades. Using his extended Q as poke is an exception, and a good way to gain additional advantages.

As such, Lucian wants to stay away from attack range while he’s farming, and to not try to match his opponent’s basic attacks, as he would come out on the losing side. However, this still lets him be in engage range (the range of his basic attacks plus the range of his E) for when an opportunity opens up.

With an engage support such as Blitzcrank or Amumu, Lucian works best when letting the support play first, and following on their engages. Tanks like these are great because they can peel for him and keep the enemy's damage off of him. With an enchanter, he can initiate by himself and rely on the support backing him up.

Lucian has strong short trades, but has nothing but his basic attacks once his main combo is used. So when engaging, he must be careful to gauge the situation properly - Lucian doesn’t have to commit to a trade, and trying to continue it because the extra damage looks appealing might result in only giving the opponent more time to deal their own damage in return, and to lose a winning trade.

Starting a trade, using the damage combo, then backing off with Ardent’s Blaze movement speed is what Lucian aims for early on, until there’s a clear kill opportunity.

Firing a bolt out of his gun

His damage spikes up with levels, Piercing Light getting much stronger with more points into it, and his ultimate and Galeforce greatly amplify the health threshold from which his trades become lethal once he acquires them.

In the mid lane, Lucian’s strengths are his burst and trade range, and the fact that his poke doesn’t have a cooldown, as opposed to mages and assassins relying on their spells. His weaknesses are that his poke has less range than that of most mages, and that spells out-damage his basic attacks. He can also get bursted down if he doesn’t dodge the important spells coming at him.

This means that as a mid laner, Lucian needs to dodge spells walk up for basic attacks after the opponent uses their abilities (trading a spell for a basic attack plays into their strengths, using basic attacks through their cooldowns plays into his).

Lucian’s goal in mid lane is to harass the opponent with basic attacks to force them to use abilities in return. When they do, he can then dash forward to dodge them while initiating a short-range trade that he wins in. At first, doing so puts them in a bad situation. Afterwards, be it through repeated trades or with more levels, it can kill them.

Once Lucian has Galeforce, he can assassinate his opponent whenever they’re too far up and without a minion wave. The W-R combo, followed by E and Galeforce against their own dashes, can take out someone on its own if they can’t use minions to protect themselves.

Lucians abilities and large damage output means that he can push his lane relatively easily against mana hungry mid mages. Look for good opportunities where gaining lane priority would be beneficial to help support your jungle or another lane.

How to play Lucian Out of Lane

After the laning phase, bursting is Lucian’s secondary role. His primary function is to be a marksman. This means that Lucian focuses on staying alive and dealing damage to whatever is in front of him. He uses his abilities to kite and to kill what’s in front of him, and it’s only when he doesn’t make himself die for it that he can look for assassinations.

Otherwise… this happens.

Massive ranked battle with Doublelift Lucian vs Crown
Not a good ending for our LoL hero
This isn’t how to play Lucian. He is a marksman before anything else.

Fights aside, out of lane, Lucian gets a hybrid role. As an ADC type champion, he can focus on clearing waves and being there for fights and objectives, but he also has the option of being a splitpusher if needed, thanks to his high agency. However, it’s important to remember that Lucian needs to press on his lead.

Lucian Combos and Tricks

Lucian’s combos were already explained in the Ability section of this Lucian guide, but here’s to sum them up all together.

  • Trade combo: E-AA-Q-AA-W-AA. Lucian’s burst combo in lane, after which he can chase forward or back off.
  • Close range trade combo: (AA-)Q-AA-W-AA-E-AA. Deals more damage, but requires being in range to attack to begin with.
  • Late game burst combo: E-AA-Q-AA-W-AA-E-AA. The same as before, but with lower cooldowns to be able to use E twice.
  • Quick dash: AA-E while aiming right next to Lucian-AA. Deals two attacks (including a double shot) in very quick succession without having to wait through the dash’s duration.
  • Ultimate combo: W-R(-Galeforce). Adds damage to the ultimate and makes Lucian faster to let his ultimate keep connecting.

Lucian guide - Final Thoughts

Lucian is a very enjoyable champion by being “an ADC, but not just an ADC”, and by being very mobile and smooth. However, it takes a little while to learn how to play him, and what’s worse, the main part of knowing how to play Lucian comes from gauging when he’s safe to deal damage and when he isn’t, which only comes through experience.

But the reward is a unique marksman that can be flexed in two or even three roles, and one that has always risen back to popularity one way or another over the years. And hopefully, this Lucian guide will make the road to play the Purifier a bit less dark.

To continue from there, here is a Lucian build guide to learn what runes and items to go for on him!

Images Courtesy of Riot Games.