On the whole, there’s nothing difficult about casting an EX ability. All you have to do is hold down the Shift key, then press the hotkey for the ability you want to EXify. (Wait, what the heck is an EX ability?)
This actually works pretty well most of the time — but sometimes Shift-modified hotkeys can be hard to press, especially when you’re in the middle of an intense fight.
For example, if you’re running to the right and you need to cast an ability like Lucie’s Petrify Bolt or Pearl’s Unstable Bubble, you have to let go of the D key so you can press Shift + E. Maybe you can use your middle finger to press the E sometimes, but not when you’re running to the top-right.
You can also run into problems with ghosting, which is when your keyboard stops responding if you press too many keys at the same time. Mechanical keyboards don’t have this problem, but cheap keyboards (like mine) do.
Fortunately, there’s an easier way to cast EXes.
You can actually bind your EX abilities to specific hotkeys. Open the Menu, click Options, and look under Controls. Tucked away at the bottom are four hotkeys that are bound by default to 1, 2, 3, and 4.
These hotkeys are applied in the order of your EX abilities as they appear in the ability bar. For Lucie, that means 1 activates Deadly Injection and 2 activates Petrify Bolt, whereas on Jade, 1 activates Snap Shot and 2 activates Smoke Veil. The R slot ability does not get activated by any of these hotkeys.
And since no champion has more than two EX abilities, the 3 and 4 hotkeys serve no purpose at the moment. You can ignore them.
Now, you could leave the hotkeys as they are and that would be fine — the main thing is that you know these hotkeys exist. It’s great because you can eliminate the Shift key altogether and tap one key instead. A single keystroke is easier and more reliable.
I prefer to use X and C as my EX hotkeys — actually I use ESDF instead of WASD so C and V for me — because my index finger is more dexterous and accurate than my other fingers (I always hit the wrong key when reaching my ring finger to 1 and 2). Plus it’s easier to reach down on the keyboard than up. There are some people who even prefer to bind EXes to their special mouse buttons. Whatever works for you!
And yes, you can still use the normal Shift method whenever it suits you better. It’s nice being able to throw Deadly Injections with Shift + M1 while shooting Petrify Bolts with C.
Do you use these hotkeys or do you prefer to use Shift all the time? If you do use them, which keys do you have them bound to?