LoL Ability Power vs. Attack Damage—What's the Difference?

Do you like playing LoL but don't really understand the difference between the ability power and attack damage? Learn all you need to know about it here.

Chris Wong - Writer for Buff
By Chris Wong
Joel Taylor, editor for Buff
Edited by Joel Taylor
Fact-check by Itai Guzik

Updated January 9, 2023.

Probably holding my most playtime in a game for the rest of eternity, League of Legends is the game that many people see as the face of competitive gaming. Together with Dota, League helped bring the MOBA genre and eSports to the forefront of gaming and mainstream media as a whole, and its active player count is only a testament to its popularity.

For those less familiar with the game, there are a number of stats attached to your champion and items, with the difference between Attack Damage (AD) and Ability Power (AP) being a harder one to grasp for new players.

» Learn more about League of Legends

AP & AD Differences Summarized

Outside of scaling with ability points, AD and AP are the stats that almost abilities scale their damage with. The basic differences are:

  • Attack Damage increases your auto attack damage along with many abilities of champions who deal primarily Physical Damage. Some champions of note who build AD are Zed, Jinx, and Caitlyn.
  • Ability Power scales the damage of abilities of mage/caster-type champions who primarily deal magic damage with their abilities. Some champions that focus on building AP are Ahri, Veigar, and LeBlanc.

You can hover over your abilities in-game to see if they scale off of AD or AP if you are unsure.

» Read more about the most popular female champions in LoL

Ability Power vs. Attack Damage: Which Is Better for Season 13?

When it comes to building AP or AD, there is not truly a "better" option between the two. You should find champions that best suit your role and playstyle, and learn the appropriate build for each of them.

When it comes down to it, there will almost always be a mix in each game—AP typically aligns with Magic Damage, and AD typically aligns with Physical Damage.

Without the presence of both, the enemy team can always just stack Armor or Magic Resistance to shut down your whole team. If you are looking for some champs that are easy to pick up to see if you lean more towards enjoying AD champs, try out Wukong, Tristana, or Caitlyn. To check out some AP champs, check out Annie, Lux, or Malzahar.

» Check out some of the best LoL characters for beginners

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