Runes Reforged combines the old rune and mastery systems from League of Legends into one streamlined tool.
(Featured image via Riot Games.)

Runes Reforged: A Brave New Frontier

Dec 4, 2017
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(Featured image via Riot Games.)

The League of Legends offseason is always a time of uncertainty. The old guard North American teams are shaking up their rosters: TSM dropped Doublelift and Biofrost, CLG parted ways with Aphromoo, and C9 are saying goodbye to Impact and Contractz. In addition, Riot has nixed relegation by introducing franchising. Riot sold ten permanent LCS slots for $10 million apiece, and four of those slots went to teams financed by existing NBA franchises.

Only Bjergsen and Hauntzer remain. (Photo via Riot Games on Flickr.)

This soap opera of an offseason has been fun to watch unfold, but I can only do just that: watch. At least for myself, Runes Reforged is much more captivating than roster swaps.

Runes Reforged is the new system that combines the roles of runes and masteries into one menu. Yes, the “technology is finally here,” and everything can be adjusted during champion select. While Runes Reforged isn’t perfect, it will still please most theorycrafters. Since it’s only preseason and Pro Play hasn’t started up yet, there’s still a lot to uncover.

Runes Reforged and Experimentation

With 60 new runes to learn, and access to only six of them at a time in-game, pros and amateurs are still learning the best and worst combinations. That means that now is the time to experiment! Switching out just one rune in your configuration can make a drastic difference, and Riot makes it easy to check how your runes are contributing. Press Control+C to see how much damage Press the Attack or Cheap Shot are doing in-game. Using this method, I discovered one game where my Kleptomancy (inspiration keystone) had earned me only five gold during the laning phase. That’s surely a waste of a keystone. I’ve also discovered that ARAM is a great place to rapidly test out rune combinations and memorize their effects. Keep experimenting.

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Flaws of Runes Reforged

Runes Reforged is not without some flaws. Some keystone runes seem pointless, or at best, too narrow. (Glacial Augment, anyone?) Bruisers don’t have many keystone options, while ADCs have several. Press the Attack is the most natural replacement for Fervor of Battle, but the attack speed forced upon Precision tree users is wasted on champions like Renekton, who prefer raw damage to attack speed. This is the problem, though: you don’t have complete control over your base stats. Choosing the Resolve path forces you to take +130 HP, whereas going with Sorcery tree gives you adaptive AP or AD. In the old rune system, you could use runes to boost your base stats however you wanted. Now, your stats are determined by what paths you select.

Glacial Augment is a utility rune, but out of all the new options in Runes Reforged, it doesn't offer much use.

I would like to see utility runes like Glacial Augment or Phase Rush get buffed a little, at least to compete with the damage dealing keystone runes. Twiddling your thumbs while swapping summoner spells may be fun, but damage is hard to compete with. Utility is useless if you don’t have the damage to win a fight.

Phase Rush is a utility rune that Riot may want to buff in future patches.

Runes Reforged provides endless variety and plenty of new ways to play old champions. Riot will surely continue to refine the effects of their runes, and hopefully make the more obscure runes viable. I won’t cross my fingers, but I think it would be nice if Riot supported bruisers with an additional keystone or two. There’s no reason they have to stop at exactly 15 keystones. Why not 20? Or 25? More options will leave players feeling less pigeonholed, which is a real possibility for bruisers. Riot has discovered a new place to explore game mechanics, and that’s what makes Runes Reforged a blast.

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Joseph Schmidt
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Joseph is a devoted League of Legends player who loves discussing strategy and helping players get better at the game. When he's not gaming, Joseph can be found playing electric guitar, enjoying nature, and taking photographs.
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