How to Change Runes in League of Legends
League of Legends features over 150 unique champions that players can take to the battlefield against their opponents. Each champion offers a different gameplay experience and fits a few predetermined roles on the team. Additionally, champions have natural advantages and disadvantages over others due to playstyle differences. Players can offset these natural drawbacks or further their game plan using runes – a set of customizable bonuses and stats that each player can set before the match begins.
Using runes to their utmost advantage takes some strategizing and a bit of trial and error. We’re here to explain what runes can offer and how they can swap tactics in a pinch before the game truly starts.
What Are Runes in League of Legends?
From a gameplay perspective, runes offer variable bonuses that can enhance champion attacks, abilities, provide valuable stats, or even offer unique gameplay styles to get an advantage over the enemy. Just before Season 8 (in 2017), the previously mixed system of runes and masteries was reworked into the currently used “Runes Reforged” system. The former runes provided only stat-boosts, while the masteries offered more variable bonuses which were overhauled to better fit in the current game environment.
Runes are sorted into several rune pages, which allow players to pick and choose between various strategical options at will without major changes. However, players can alter user-created pages at any time outside of the match, and changing runes during champion selection is a process every experienced player goes through.
When players open a page they can choose to combine two of the five unique “rune paths” and choose bonuses exclusively from those pages. Adding to that are minor stat boosts (“shards”) independent of the paths that provide primarily early-game benefits.
The primary rune path chosen dictates the keystone rune choice. The keystone is often the most powerful rune and serves as a centerpiece for the page and the champion. Additionally, players choose three smaller runes in the primary path, then two runes in the secondary path to complete the page.
Each primary rune path offers a unique playstyle and is suited for a specific champion subgroup. However, some champions can utilize multiple keystone runes effectively, depending on the strategy and game plan. While discussing all the runes and options is a task beyond this guide, here is the list of rune paths and how they work.
The precision path focuses on damage output, sustained champion-to-champion combat, and outlasting the opponent. The keystone runes enhance the champion’s damage output, attack speed, or provide movement speed and healing in a pinch.
This path is recommended to marksman (or AD carry) champions and fighter champions. While some runes have specific conditions (like killing an enemy champion) to trigger and can take a while to ramp up, they usually offer more significant bonuses compared to other paths.
The domination path exemplifies eliminating the competition quickly and enhancing champion mobility around the map. It also provides some valuable general utility bonuses that can’t be found anywhere else, like reducing the cooldown of items or providing the only source of resistance penetration in the entire rune system.
Assassins, some marksmen, and anyone who needs more mobility can utilize the path’s varied bonuses, as it is the primary benefit of the domination path. It’s one of the more potent secondary trees just for its sustain and cooldown-reducing runes alone.
The sorcery path gives unparalleled ability improvements and makes life easier for anyone who uses a constant stream of abilities to prevail. The keystone triplet in this path improves abilities by adding more damage or shielding, or rewards players with a burst of mobility when they chain abilities together. The sorcery path contains the only infinitely time-based ramping rune in the game, bolstering extreme stat benefits should the match go on for long.
Mages and support-oriented champions can utilize sorcery runes to a great extent to make the most of the early game or scale up throughout the match.
The resolve path provides a boost to defenses while ensuring that tanky champions can pull their weight in punches. The keystone runes all provide defensive boosts, either in bursts or over time, and are used by tanks and supports to survive longer in combat. The minor runes offer variable defenses, including additional resistances, health, and shielding. The demolish rune is notable for being one of the rare effects that only affect towers.
With the path’s motto of “live forever,” it’s easy to see why this is one of the better paths to take when using tank champions. Others use it as a secondary tree to improve durability and prevent untimely deaths.
The inspiration path is here to break some of the basic game rules and challenge the players’ creativity. Two of the three keystones work directly in opposition to the rule and summoner spell system, providing a selection at the ready when they’re needed. The minor runes push for more tangential gameplay, like giving better versions of valuable items at a price or consumable items to get more early game benefits.
The inspiration tree can be taken as a primary tree when you need the added versatility or a secondary tree to get some more unique boosts.
There are also three rows of shards separate from the path system. Players choose one shard in each row. The first row is offensive, providing attack speed, adaptive force (AD or AP), or ability haste (cooldown reduction). The second row is a mixture between adaptive force, armor, or MR. The third row has defensive shards only, with flat health, armor, and MR options available.
What Rune Builds Are Best in League of Legends?
Generally speaking, the best rune build will depend on both the champion you’re using and the champions you’re up against in the lane and the overall match. That said, there are a few traditional rune builds that fit most champions according to their role. Only minor changes are usually necessary to make these runes shine.
Support rune builds vary depending on the type of support you’re playing. Enchanters generally prefer a mix of defensive runes and ability-enhancing ones. Here is a brief breakdown:
- Use Aery or Guardian as the keystone
- Scorch and Manaflow Band for poke supports
- Revitalize for healers and shielding champions
- Bone plating to survive burst
- Cosmic Insight and Perfect Timing or Biscuit Delivery for more utility
Tanky supports usually use their defensive capabilities and disruption to initiate the fight and keep assassins at bay. Here’s a common breakdown:
- Aftershock as keystone, Guardian to peel the carry more
- Demolish to push towers, Font of Life to add more healing to the ADC, Shield Bash if you have personal shields (Nautilus or Rakan)
- Bone Plating or Conditioning against burst, Second Wind against poke or to survive sustained fights
- Overgrowth for a bit more health, revitalize if you have some healing or shielding (Rakan, Taric)
- Use Hextech Flashtraption if you’re initiating (Leona, Alistar, Thresh, Blitzcrank)
- Cosmic Insight for more Ignite uptime
ADC, or marksman champions, use their attacks and a bevy of items to scale past their paltry early game into mid and late-game monsters. There are two popular rune builds depending on whether the champ uses burst or has more late-game scaling.
Burst marksmen can use the following:
- Hail of Blades (Kai’sa, Tristana, Kalista), Dark Harvest (Jhin), or Press the Attack (Lucian, Vayne)
- Taste of Blood for lane sustain
- Ravenous Hunter for late-game sustain
- Presence of Mind to prevent mana issues
- Coup de Grace for more damage, Cut Down against tanks instead
- Legend: Alacrity or Bloodline if using Press, the Attack
DPS marksmen can use this page instead:
- Lethal Tempo (Kog’Maw) or Conqueror (Draven, Ezreal, Samira)
- Overheal for lane sustain, Triumph if you fight a lot, Presence of Mind for mana-intensive champions
- Legend: Bloodline or Alacrity
- Coup de Grace for overall damage, Cut Down against tanks instead
- Taste of Blood
- Ravenous Hunter
Midlaners are usually separated into mages and assassins, although some bruisers can also do well into certain champions.
Here are some of the best mage options:
- Electrocute (burst), Phase Rush (mobility), Arcane Comet (poke or longer range)
- Cheap Shot (if you have a lot of CC), Taste of Blood (for sustain)
- Ultimate or Ravenous Hunter depending on the champion
- Transcendence, but Absolute Focus can work on long-range, safe champions
- Scorch or Gathering Storm depending on when you want to be more powerful
- Biscuit Delivery + Time Warp Tonic or Cosmic Insight
Assassin runes focus more on mobility and target access:
- Cheap Shot for sustain, Sudden Impact if you use dashes or blinks for engaging
- Ravenous or Relentless Hunter
- Eyeball Collection
- Triumph or Presence of Mind
- Coup de Grace
Midlane bruisers can use a modified toplane rune setup, swapping for more mobility-based secondary runes (Relentless Hunter, for example), if needed.
Toplane is the home to tanks and bruisers.
Tank runes use the resolve path to soak up damage:
- Grasp of the Undying
- Demolish for pushing, Shield Bash if you have personal shields (Shen)
- Second Wind for more combat durability
- Overgrowth, alternatively Unflinching against heavy CC
- Ultimate Hunter for ultimate-based champions (Shen)
- Use precision secondary if you want more damage or sustain
- Use inspiration for more consumables or mobility
Bruiser runes focus on the Conqueror keystone:
- Legend: Tenacity
- Last Stand or Coup de Grace
- Use the resolve path to bolster defenses (Unflinching, Overgrowth, Second Wind)
- Use Nimbus Cloak if you use Teleport or Ignite often
Jungling rules can vary wildly depending on the champion. Jungling tanks can use runes similar to tanks and tanky supports, but can also use the Predator keystone for most benefits and unsuspecting ganks. Junglers who prefer the damage-based approach can use the runes similar to assassins, modifying them slightly for added jungle sustainability or mobility depending on their needs. Relentless Hunter can be indispensable regardless, giving unparalleled map mobility and all-around presence.
How to Change Rune Builds in League of Legends?
Players can set and change rune pages as they wish outside of the game, but once a rune page is locked in after the champion selection, there’s no way to change it further.
Luckily, changing runes in the middle of champion selection is easy:
- Click on the rune page selection menu in the middle below the champion.
- You can click on the “plus” icon on the right of the page’s name to create a new page (if you have room and spare pages) or directly edit the currently used rune page. Players can’t alter the five premade pages, but experienced players rarely need them.
- You can cycle through the list of rune pages by clicking on the arrow icon in the rune selection menu.
- Click on each rune you want to add to the page. You can check the button in the bottom-left to display more information and numeric values for each rune.
- Once you finish making changes, click on “Save,” then exit the menu.
How to Get New Runes in League of Legends?
All runes are unlocked by default once the player can alter rune pages (starting from summoner level 10). Players can then purchase new pages for users to make their life a bit easier if they don’t want to edit pages all the time. Rune pages are available in the shop, under “Accessories.”
How Do You Get Rid of Runes?
If you want to delete a rune page, you can do so from your collection screen.
1. Click on the “Collection” tab (the backpack icon).
2. Select “Runes.”
3. Open the page you want to remove, then press the bin icon. This button is also available on the rune editing screen in champion select.
4. Alternatively, you can push the bin tab on the rune menu to remove pages directly from the list by clicking on the page.
Can I Change Runes in Game?
Once locked in and the match begins, players can’t adjust their rune pages further. This can be essential when choosing the correct shards which provide numeric stat boosts most prominent in the early game. Don’t forget to take a final look before the champion selection ends, or you might have a much harder time in the crucial first minutes.
Reforge Your Gameplay With Runes
Changing runes and developing a strategy can be the key to victory in the fast-paced League matches. Choose wisely which rune paths will work best for your champion and against the enemy team, and have fun on the Summoner’s Rift.
What rune builds are your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.