So the biggest patch since the UI update has been live for a day, and there’s a lot to take in. Gone are our mastery tables and our rune pages, replaced by the new Rune system, and with it, gone is the heavy reliance some champions had, on said runes.
IP is a thing of the past, being replaced with blue essence, summoners are not longer capped at level 30 as Riot seems to have taken a somewhat questionable queue from Heroes of The Storm, and every single champion in the game has had their stats tweaked, although granted, that last change is tied to the rune overhaul.
All sounds a bit daunting, doesn’t it? Well, fret not, we’re about to carve it out into nice, big, but digestible chunks. In this article, I’ll be breaking down the overall paths of the Runes, so let’s have at it, shall we?
Masteries and Runes are a thing of the past. We’ve known that for a while, but it’s less obvious what it means. Essentially, the idea behind each path is to give a clear identity of how you’re going to play. It was less tangible how much of a difference 0.97 armour penetration did, for instance, unless you knew the math behind it (let’s be honest, most don’t. They just use it because they’re told to). The new system instead grants abilities that clearly play into a style and theme, and provide minor glyphs to back up that style. It’s almost visual and should ensure that even new players quickly get an idea of what they should be running.
This is the tank pick. Merely choosing the path grants you +130 hp off the bat, and the keystones all emphasise going juggernaut in the form of infinite scaling HP and damage scaling with HP, protection and punishment for champions who like to dive with their CC and soak a lot of return fire (Looking at you Leona) and a poor man’s Braum shield for supports. The three archetypes are clear. Are you Sion, Cho’Gath or Nasus, soaking incoming damage like a sponge? Maybe you're Leona, Alistar or Malphite, the team initiator jumping into the thick of it, and locking down a key pick, while absorbing the return fire, if only for a little while? Or are you Tahm Kench, Braum or Thresh. Do you peel and protect for your carry, making sure any attention on them, is instantly diverted to you?
They keystones essentially divide tanks into one of those three roles, with the lesser glyphs emphasising these roles by either making you harder to lock down or granting you the ability to help your carry secure their kills.
Soaking damage. Securing kills.
The patron saint of assassins and divers. Everything in here makes you either faster or burstier. The targets are mid-lane bursters like Le Blanc who’re about to see some utterly terrifying burst damage, due to how quickly she can proc the new “not-thunderlords” (3 attacks of any kind in 3 seconds or less, and the target goes zapp).
After that, we see the first adaptive ability. Predator grants your boots a clicky effect, that you channel for 1.5 seconds, to gain massive movement speed for 15. It’s useless on Cassiopeia, but for anyone setting up a gank, it’s an interesting utility tool and an equally interesting direction for the game. Tools and flexibility over raw power makes for interesting dynamics, and the channel time means the clicky has to be a proactive choice, not reactive. This makes it entirely aggressive in nature, which again, serves to underline the hunter mentality.
Finally, there’s Dark Harvest, which grants you a “next attack” scaling damage buff, every time you kill a large minion, monster or champion. It’s clearly more of a jungle pick to help with clear-speed and is of dubious value vs things like the Raptors, but a built-in tiny smite will help you clear all the same. The lack of a cooldown also means you can weave the attacks with a bit of clever footwork if you can secure the kills.
As with Resolve, everything else in Domination serves to emphasise these three identities but with a much clearer identity to it. Especially the Tracking line stands out as a Junglers best friend. Every choice grants you wards in some form. Either you steal your enemies wards upon killing them, or you leave Poro’s behind in bushes, or you gain damage for every ward and champion you eliminate. The emphasis is clear. Junglers have to deal with the vision game, and this entire line serves to remind them of that. It’s a subtle but clever way to see Riot nudge especially new Junglers, into their role and teach them about their responsibilities.
Surprise attacks. Vision control
Auto attacks You can never have enough auto attacks, and this tree agrees. It’s all about consecutive attacks, attack speed and static shivs. (Seriously, one of the keystones is a built-in static shiv). It’s not as creative as some of the others, but then the Marksman role, in particular, was always rather straightforward, if not easy to pull off. Farm. Hurt.
The mini glyphs here are all about sustaining in lane, scaling and finishing people off, either by hurting more and more the lower they get or hurting more and more the lower you get. Olaf will get a laugh out of the latter.
Overall, it’s a less interesting tree than the rest, but its effectiveness is clear to see. ADC’s were seldom about early flashy plays, but about farming and growing in power. Everything about this path plays into that.
Farming simulator. Farm better. Hurt more.
A tree almost exclusively made for enchanters, because they’re in a weird spot. Not a bad spot, by any stretch, but design wise, a weird one. True, Nukers will come here too, but the keystones, in particular, seem to try play to the position of Enchanters as an identity. They’re supports, and this their job is to help the team, not themselves, but they’re also AP based, which is a scaling and burst stat. You can’t lump them in with the physical supports and tanks, because they’ll never be on the front line, but they’re not nukers either. They don’t do well with scaling damage. So Sorcery has been made to grant flatter AP spells in the form of the comet (with built-in zone control). Better shields, and run speed for when you either need to cover some distance, either to lock someone down or to get away.
The lesser glyphs are all about keeping you alive to do your job, sustaining your mana and making your ultimate more readily available, as well as topping up your AP. The idea is simple enough. Due to the cost of support items, many enchanters don’t get to play with their damage output much, because they can’t afford the items needed. Sorcery tries to remedy that, by granting flat AP over time, more uses of one’s ultimate, which Annie and Lux are sure to love, as well as better sustain to help you spam more often.
Pew pew laser beams. Have some more heals and shields.
And finally, the fun one. The path that makes us think that Riot changed the entire system, simply so they could make this. The interesting thing about Inspiration is that the stats you get depend on what your other path is. All paths buff potion and elixir durations, but you also get a bit of your main path on top. So more HP if you go tank, AD or AP if you pick the damage paths, and attack speed if you’re precision. Your Keystones are also super interesting. There’s a ticket system that allows you to swap out your summoner spell, which should lead to some very interesting hot-swaps. Double smite when Baron is finally up? More heals? Maybe grab a little Teleport for a surprise top gank. A slow that depends entirely on how you apply it, with ranged, melee and clickable items all having different effects.
And then there’s Kleptomancy. Let’s not pretend this isn’t the most interesting ability Riot have cooked up in a while. Every time you use an ability, your next basic attack vs a champion, grants gold. Sounds like certain starting items, doesn’t it? But the real kicker is the chance for a random consumable. The list has been shown to include anything from the list, including old items that are no longer in shop, like pink wards and mana potions!
The minor glyphs are equally interesting with one turning your Flash’s cooldown into a channelled short flash (remember how we mentioned earlier that this new way of providing pro-active options was an interesting direction? This is more of that). That or potion delivery or an item that after six minutes gives you a free Stopwatch. If you were buying it anyway, that’s a free 600 gold at six minutes. No other thing gives you 100 gold per minute, for free. That’s mental. Add to that better boots, the ability to take on debt if you’re a few gold short when you need to buy your item, which should allow you to rush some interesting items, as well as an item that will instantly remove Super minions if you can hold on to the item for that long (you only get 6 shots with it).
There is no short version. Inspiration does ALL the fun stuff. It’s anarchy, as a path.
All of this makes for some very substantial changes in their own right, and it can be quite overwhelming to take in. Luckily, the community has stepped up, as it so often does, and resources are already out there.
Runeforge is a curated website by Rio_Riots that will be updated over time with builds for every Champion. On Reddit, he/she stated that the plan was to contact pro’s and have them contribute with their Runes, which would be very interesting. Whether they want to, is another matter of course.
There’s also this Google Drive file by Redditor Jukaio, who’s sat down and made builds for every single Champion, as well as provided reasoning for doing so. The Drive file is updated based on feedback, so for now, this is probably the biggest collection of community involved Runes for you to mess with.
The changes have been exceedingly popular with the community, breathing some much needed life into a game that for a while, looked as though it was devolving into a "farm for late game, rush Ardent Censor" slump. The change from "pick some stats" to "do some cool stuff" is not insubstantial, and while we will probably see some horribly broken stuff emerge, this overhaul should encourage more people to try things like IgNar's Ferver Leona, as the tangible effects of your pick should be more obvious, than +0.097 cooldown reduction per level. Even the pro's seem happy about the change, so it looks like bright times ahead!
new changes are really cool and makes the game so fun to play again. thank god it's not ardent + freefarm for lategame meta anymore— Yiliang Peng (@TSMDoublelift) November 9, 2017