The Runes Reforged update has been on the rift for the last week and a lot has changed since the end of the last season. By combining runes and masteries into one, more powerful system, Riot has again succeeded in making necessary changes to the game. With runes before, those who had a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the system could play the system, thus gaining an advantage against their opponents.
The new system is much more fair and doesn’t give veterans an unfair advantage. It has diversified the game somewhat and brought some champions out of the woodwork who simply weren’t strong enough before. For example, Ezrael, Teemo, and many other champions’ win rates have shot up since patch 7.22 hit the rift. Ezrael’s jump from a 49% win rate to a 55% win rate is testament to how big these changes have been. This update has also made secondary runes a lot more powerful. Take a look at the picture below for an incredibly simplified explanation of how runes work.
So, what is the Runes Reforged update?
There are now 5 pages, instead of 3. Precision, Domination, Sorcery, Resolve, and Inspiration. Resolve is for durability and crowd control, making a good choice for tanky supports, junglers, and top laners. In particular, people have found decent success with the aftershock keystone. More on this later. Precision is for improved attacks and sustained damage, and is often utilised by ADCs and fighting junglers and top laners. Domination is for burst damage and target access. Assassins make good use of the electrocute keystone, and effective clearing junglers make great use of the Dark Harvest keystone.
Sorcery includes Summon Aery, which has made shield supports OP (again…). There’s also Phase Rush and Arcane Comet. Arcane Comet can be used on burst champions and works best with champions who have a CC ability as it’s dodgeable. The final tree is Inspiration. This is by far the most creative and shows Riot’s thirst for making the game less restrictive. This tree includes Unsealed Spellbook, Glacial Augment, Kleptomancy, and a whole range of other strange and wonderful runes.
Once you’ve picked your keystone mastery it’s time to pick your secondary mastery page. This gives you a bonus in something like attack speed, AP or AD depending on your primary rune page. You can also pick some of the secondary runes from one of the rune pages, which are themselves pretty powerful. All in all this gives you the freedom to pick your playstyle ever further. You can pack more heat, give yourself some survivability or give yourself some ultility depending on what’s needed.
These are the best keystones.
The new runes are an incredibly mixed bag. With some which are bordering on the broken and some which are laughably bad. First and foremost we’ll outline the broken runes.
People are finding a lot of success using Summon Aery. Those of you who remember last season will remember the League of Ardent. Summon Aery is swiftly becoming the new ardent, and has beckoned the return of shielding supports. Janna, Lulu, and many others can make good use of this Rune. Furthermore, people are also using it on poke champions in the top and mid lane. Orianna, Taliyah, Jayce, and many more are good with this keystone.
If we’re discussing broken parts of Runes Reforged, then we should definitely discuss Kleptomancy. This rune is RIDICULOUS. It only works on certain champions, however. For example Gangplank and Ezrael make very good use of this rune. That is because the rune works as follows, your next basic attack after casting a spell generates gold and has a chance of giving you a consumable. These consumables can keep you in lane even longer as they heal you, return your mana and give you wards etc. This means that you are quicker at scaling into the late game, which for Gangplank especially is a massive advantage.
These are the best off-meta keystones.
The two runes which are very similar to Thunderlord’s Decree, Electrocute and Arcane Comet, are very strong. Arcane Comet on Jhin is a great choice, as his kit has always benefited from additional damage on top of his abilities, which is precisely what this rune does. Electrocute can be taken on all the classic assassin mid-laners, Zed, for example. It can also be taken on assassin junglers, but Dark Harvest is much better late game.
Dark Harvest is another interesting rune. It’s the latest installment in Riot’s obsession with giving farming junglers an upgrade after a certain amount of camps. If you remember Feral Flare or Strength of the Ages then you may be worried, but don’t be too alarmed.
Although Dark Harvest is very good late game, it more than makes up for it with its poor early game. This is a rune for those who love to farm and also who love to throw the occasional gank into the mix. Use it with Kayn, Kha’Zix, and Rengar to improve their late game. These are the main OP runes, but (depending on playstyle and champion) practically any rune can work.
So which runes aren’t that good?
In patch 7.22, your keystone is basically your most powerful weapon. If you don’t have one of the good ones, you’re likely to lose out. Unsealed Spellbook and Glacial Augment both have their uses, but compared to other runes they don’t offer enough utility or damage to make them worthwhile. Obviously they can be used in a particular way, but in general, you will find yourself often out-gunned.
Fleet Footwork isn’t as good as Lethal Tempo or Press the Attack. If you can get to late game with Lethal Tempo on a champion like Twitch it’s basically a free win. The same could be said of Press the Attack. The same could not be said about Fleet Footwork. Although it’s a decent rune for the laning phase, its transition into the late game just isn’t on par with the rest of the Precision runes.
Which Secondary rune pages are best?
The inspiration tree of Runes Reforged gives mid-laners, supports and junglers helpful items. You can get free boots at minute 10 which can be upgraded into normal boots, thus guaranteeing you have those all-important boots early on. This is good for the early to mid-game. Hexflash can be very good but it’s also hilariously bad at other times. Definitely more of a gimmick than a good rune but it can have its uses if you have good vision control
Precision has incredibly good secondary masteries. The most powerful of which has to be Triumph. This replaces dangerous game and restores health and mana every takedown. This mastery is particularly good on reset champions such as Katarina who get a lot of kills. It’s great for fighters, assassin’s, and even mages can utilise it.
For sorcery, Scorch, Ultimate Hat, and Manaflow Band are all incredibly useful. For champions with a lot of high mana cost abilities who rely on mana to do damage (for example Jhin), manaflow band is a must-have. Scorch adds a bit of damage to every ability, similar to Death Fire Touch.
The Ultimate Hat is an interesting one, every cast of your ultimate permanently reduces the cooldown, up to 15%. That’s 55% CDR on your ultimate with 40% CDR, which allows for more game-changing ultimates per match. Perhaps, on some champions, it will unlock the ability to ultimate twice in one fight.
Did Runes Reforged actually change League of Legends?
A lot of things have changed and the gameplay itself is no exception. Games snowball out of control a hell of a lot faster (which usually happens during preseason updates). Assassins and burst champions are incredibly strong right now, and if you’re an ADC main you’re likely having a bad pre-season so far. One of the best things that have changed is that any champion can now be really strong, provided you find a niche rune page which suits them perfectly. This is evident in the fact that Yorick has been taking over games in solo queue recently.
This update definitely needs balancing. Some champions have ridiculously high win rates (Sona almost has a 56% win rate which is completely ridiculous). This is to be expected and Riot will likely sort a lot of things out in the next patch. Ezrael is also at an almost 56% win rate and will likely stay there until the next patch. Another very exciting thing about this update is that there may be a lot of sleeper OP champions whose playstyles haven’t been discovered yet.
Runes Reforged has completely opened up the game. Where before there was the meta, now there is your own unique playstyle. Of course, as time goes on the meta will develop; there will always be those people who innovate and who make their comfort picks work. All in all, the update is an incredibly exciting addition to League of Legends, and should make the game more competitive, more diverse, and therefore more fun.