Here is my competitive Rune Analysis. Feel free to post any thoughts, questions, or concerns you may have and I can address them accordingly. Don’t be afraid even if it hasn’t been posted on in a while, I still read the forums, it still gets bumped!
IMPORTANT NOTE: As with any analysis or attempt at organizing metrics of usefulness (Tier lists etc.) This is purely opinion based on my experience at my level of play. What I think are extremely useful runes may in fact suck, or vice versa. Don’t take this as law, but I will try and balance opinions and make this at the least a useful thought provoking resource. Also note, I will only be going through Tier 3 runes considering that they are the competitive level and runes matter much less at tiers 1 and 2.
In the breakdowns, I will be using a ranking system that essentially means:
S-Rank: If you can benefit from the stat, you should probably be using these runes.
A-Rank: Extremely viable runes
B-Rank: Runes that can be used if you are trying to min-max their stat.
C-Rank: These runes don’t offer as much as you’d think, or other stats cover them better.
F-Rank: These runes just don’t cut it. Either minuscule benefit, or another rune covers the same stat better.
Tier 3 Rune
Benefit at level 1
Benefit at level 18
||Mark of Desolation||| +1.66 Armor Penetration||| +1.66 Armor Penetration||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Insight||| +0.95 Magic Penetration||| +0.95 Magic Penetration||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Alacrity||| +1.7% Attack Speed||| +1.7% Attack Speed||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Warding||| +0.97 Magic Resist||| +0.97 Magic Resist||| N/A||| 205|
||Mark of Malice||| +0.93% Critical Chance||| +0.93% Critical Chance||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Strength||| +0.95 attack damage||| +0.95 attack damage||| N/A||| 205|
||Mark of Resilience||| +0.91 Armor||| +0.91 Armor||| N/A||| 205|
||Mark of Might||| +0.14 attack damage||| +2.43 attack damage||| Strength: Lvl 7||| 410|
||Mark of Fortitude||| +3.47 Health||| +3.47 Health||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Vitality||| +0.54 Health||| +9.72 Health||| Fortitude: Lvl 7||| 820|
||Mark of Force||| +0.1 Ability Power||| +1.8 Ability Power||| Potency: Lvl 6||| 410|
||Mark of Knowledge||| +1.17 Mana||| +21.06 Mana||| Intellect: Lvl 6||| 410|
||Mark of Furor||| +2.23% Critical Damage||| +2.23% Critical Damage||| N/A||| 820|
||Mark of Replenishment||| +0.26 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +0.26 Mana Regen / 5sec||| N/A||| 205|
||Mark of Focus||| -0.16% Cooldowns||| -0.16% Cooldowns||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Potency||| +0.59 Ability Power||| +0.59 Ability Power||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Intellect||| +5.91 Mana||| +5.91 Mana||| N/A||| 410|
||Mark of Shielding||| +0.07 Magic Resist||| +1.26 Magic Resist||| Warding: Lvl 14||| 205|
A-Rank: Insight, Alacrity, Warding, Malice
B-Rank: Strength, Resilience, Might, Fortitude, Vitality, Force, Knowledge
C-Rank: Furor, Replenishment, Focus
F-Rank: Potency, Intellect, Shielding
Marks are probably the easiest runes to shop for. First off, they have the smallest selection of runes. They only have 18 different choices, four of which are completely overshadowed by a counterpart rune. Throw in another three that just don’t have much of an impact on anything, and you’re down to 11 choices for what to put in your Marks slot.
First off, Desolation. If you are dealing physical damage, chances are you should have Desolation in your marks. They give such a phenomenal boost to physical damage dealers that it is foolish not to run them. Especially if you are a ranged champion, or your teams carry, Desolation is always a solid choice. When combined with masteries or Quintessences, you can reduce your enemies armor to 0 early on. This means that your early game harass is extremely painful. Also, Desolation runes work on most skills that deal physical damage too! For example, Ezreal’s Mystic Shot or Ashe’s Volley both do increased damage with Desolation runes.
Now, if you aren’t a standard carry, there are a few other really good options for your Marks. Insight runes aren’t quite as good as Desolation, but they definitely aren’t bad either. If you are getting your first runes, Insight and Desolation will be plenty for all situations.
If you are a bit more experienced of a player and want to specialize your rune page a bit more; there are also a few other solid choices! Marks of Alacrity are extremely underrated but also extremely useful. If you are a champion that gains armor penetration already, or that has a specific skill that caters to attack speed, it can be quite potent. Kog’Maw, Olaf, Udyr, and Kennen are champions that come to mind that a set of attack speed Marks wouldn’t be wasted on.
Warding is another really strong option for your Mark slots. It gives a decent amount of magic resist (even more MR than Insight reduces!), and magic resist makes you survive longer! A great option for tanks, or even a decent option for a squishy or just someone looking for an easier early game. Magic damage is almost everywhere, so it’s a pretty safe option too!
Lastly, Malice runes. Critical chance is a rough stat to quantify. The RNG on it makes it unreliable, or godlike. In a majority of cases, running Desolation is a much safer choice than Malice. However, Malice does become a better rune on physical carries when going into the late game phase. Especially when armor pen items are gained, or an infinity edge, the crit chance can help your physical carry squeeze out that last bit of damage needed.
If you are a newer player I strongly suggest sticking to S or A-rank Runes for your rune pages. They are the most potent and versatile runes you can grab. However, if you are more experienced at the game and are trying to put together a specific rune page to either counter opponents or min-max yourself, there is no problem in grabbing B-rank runes for your min-maxing needs.<
Tier 3 Rune
Benefit at level 1
Benefit at level 18
||Glyph of Warding||| +1.49 Magic Resist||| +1.49 Magic Resist||| N/A||| 205|
||Glyph of Focus||| -0.65% Cooldowns||] -0.65% Cooldowns||| N/A||| 820|
||Glyph of Force||| +0.17 Ability Power||| +3.06 Ability Power||| Potency: Lvl 6||| 410|
||Glyph of Clarity||| +0.055 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +0.99 Mana Regen / 5sec||| Replenishment: Lvl 4||| 205|
||Glyph of Malice||| +0.28% Critical Chance||| +0.28% Critical Chance||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Intellect||| +11.25 Mana||| +11.25 Mana||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Acumen||| +2 Energy||| +2 Energy||| N/A||| 820|
||Glyph of Shielding||| +0.15 Magic Resist||| +2.7 Magic Resist||| Warding: Lvl 10||| 205|
||Glyph of Resilience||| +0.7 Armor||| +0.7 Armor||| N/A||| 205|
||Glyph of Insight||| +0.57 Magic Penetration||| +0.57 Magic Penetration||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Alacrity||| +0.64% Attack Speed||| +0.64% Attack Speed||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Knowledge||| +1.42 Mana||| +25.56 Mana||| Intellect: Lvl 8||| 410|
||Glyph of Potency||| +0.99 Ability Power||| +0.99 Ability Power||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Vigor||| +0.27 Health Regen / 5sec||| +0.27 Health Regen / 5sec||| N/A||| 820|
||Glyph of Celerity||| -0.05% Cooldowns||| -0.9% Cooldowns||| Focus: Lvl 13||| 410|
||Glyph of Replenishment||| +0.31 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +0.31 Mana Regen / 5sec||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Sapience||| +0.161 Energy||| +2.9 Energy||| Acumen: Lvl 14||| 820|
||Glyph of Vitality||| +0.54 Health||| +9.72 Health||| Fortitude: Lvl 5||| 820|
||Glyph of Might||| +0.04 Attack Damage||| +0.73 Attack Damage||| Strength: Lvl 3||| 205|
||Glyph of Furor||| +0.56% Critical Damage||| +0.56% Critical Damage||| N/A||| 820|
||Glyph of Fortitude||| +2.67 Health||| +2.67 Health||| N/A||| 410|
||Glyph of Strength||| +0.28 Attack Damage||| +0.28 Attack Damage||| N/A||| 205|
S-Rank: None. Seriously.
A-Rank: Warding, Focus, Force, Clarity
B-Rank: Malice, Intellect, Acumen, Shielding, Resilience, Insight, Alacrity, Knowledge
C-Rank: Potency, Vigor
F-Rank: Celerity, Replenishment, Sapience, Vitality, Might, Furor, Fortitude, Strength
Glyphs were a bit harder to accurately rank. I think that this is largely due to the fact that Glyphs are just weaker in general. Glyphs just don’t have as much of an impact as the other three slots do. On top of this, they also don’t have any clear S-Rank runes. None of them are quite of the same power level of Armor Penetration marks, and none are obvious choices.
If you are purchasing your first runes for your runepage, I’d highly recommend Focus runes. The cooldown reduction is extremely versatile and you can use them effectively on almost every champion. Economically, they are a rune that you will use for quite a long time, on many different champions.
Another good first choice is Warding. The Magic resist is a significant amount that can help you survive both early and late game. Early on in the game a lot of the damage you are taking is likely Magic Damage. Having magic resist might save you from that Annie gank, from Tristana’s early game combo, or Veigar trying to one-shot you. Also, it is a really good choice for when you have to lane against champions like Zilean that harass you with long range high-damage nukes constantly.
Force is likely your rune of choice if you enjoy casters. With most casters you will be running some cooldown reduction in your item build, plus you are likely 9/0/21, and chances are you will be using brilliance elixirs and the Golem’s buff quite often. As such, Focus may end up wasted for over half of the game. Force, however, will benefit you pretty well throughout the game. Force is much stronger than potency because the break-even point is 6. For a lot of champions you’re going to want your abilities leveled up before you go into burst ganks or team-fighting, so it is much more preferable.
Clarity is a slightly touchy subject for a lot of people. They argue that running both Clarity glyphs and seals gives you an endless amount of mana on every caster and is the best way to go. I, while not completely disagreeing, see it differently. Clarity Glyphs are extremely useful on champions that you don’t plan on going mana regen items on. For example: I do -not- run Clarity Glyphs on Veigar because I start with a Meki Pendant. I plan on going DFG, I’m going to get that extra itemized mana regen anyways, so I don’t bother wasting my Glyph slot also. However, when I am playing Ezreal, I do not want to waste money on any mana items. So for Ezreal I do like running Clarity Glyphs to cover the fact that I won’t purchase any mana or mana regen. Now, with Manamune in the game it may be even less likely that you want to run Clarity Glyphs. Try and anticipate some of your build and build your rune page to compliment yourself, not detriment.
On a final note, I have malice runes rated so high because they are the only real option if you’re trying to play a full physical champion. Critical chance is one of the best scaling physical states towards the late game, so even though it is a smaller amount it isn’t a bad choice on those champions. Personally, I run Mana Regen for ranged carries, Magic Resist for Melee Carries, and Ability Power / Lvl for Casters. I switch in Cooldown Reduction here and there depending on build / how I’m feeling. Build for your playstyle and item build especially within Glyphs!
Tier 3 Rune
Benefit at level 18
||Seal of Clarity||| +0.1 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +1.8 Mana Regen / 5sec||| Replenishment: Lvl 5||| 205|
||Seal of Evasion||| +0.75% Dodge Chance||| +0.75% Dodge Chance||| N/A||| 820|
||Seal of Resilience||| +1.41 Armor||] +1.41 Armor||| N/A||| 205|
||Seal of Vitality||| +1.08 Health||| +19.44 Health||| Fortitude: Lvl 5||| 410|
||Seal of Regeneration||| +0.11 Health / 5sec||| +1.98 Health / 5sec||| Vigor: Lvl 4||| 410|
||Seal of Shielding||| +0.1 Magic Resist||| +1.8 Magic Resist||| Warding: Lvl 8||| 410|
||Seal of Malice||| +0.42% Critical Chance||| +0.42% Critical Chance||| N/A||| 410|
||Seal of Force||| +0.1 Ability Power||| +1.8 Ability Power||| Potency: Lvl 6||| 410|
||Seal of Alacrity||| +0.76% Attack Speed||| +0.76% Attack Speed||| N/A||| 410|
||Seal of Defense||| +0.15 Armor||| +2.7 Armor||| Resilience: Lvl 10||| 410|
||Seal of Knowledge||| +1.17 Mana||| +21.06 Mana||| Intellect: Lvl 6||| 410|
||Seal of Lucidity||| +0.06 Energy / 5sec||| +1.05 Energy / 5sec||| Meditation: Lvl 10||| 820|
||Seal of Intellect||| +6.89 Mana||| +6.89 Mana||| N/A||| 410|
||Seal of Potency||| +0.59 Ability Power||| +0.59 Ability Power||| N/A||| 410|
||Seal of Meditation||| +0.6 Energy / 5sec||| +0.6 Energy / 5sec||| N/A||| 820|
||Seal of Focus||| -0.29% Cooldowns||| -0.29% Cooldowns||| N/A||| 410|
||Seal of Might||| +0.06 Attack Damage||| +1.09 Attack Damage||| Strength: Lvl 3||| 205|
||Seal of Warding||| +0.74 Magic Resist||| +0.74 Magic Resist||| N/A||| 205|
||Seal of Fortitude||| +5.35 Health||| +5.35 Health||| N/A||| 820|
||Seal of Replenishment||| +0.41 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +0.41 Mana Regen / 5sec||| N/A||| 205|
||Seal of Furor||| +0.78% Critical Damage||| +0.78% Critical Damage||| N/A||| 820|
||Seal of Vigor||| +0.43 Health / 5sec||| +0.43 Health / 5sec||| N/A||| 820|
||Seal of Strength||| +0.43 Attack Damage||| +0.43 Attack Damage||| N/A||| 205|
S-Rank: Clarity, Evasion
A-Rank: Resilience, Vitality, Regeneration
B-Rank: Shielding, Malice, Force, Alacrity, Defense, Knowledge, Lucidity
C-Rank: Intellect, Potency, Meditation, Focus, Might, Warding
F-Rank: Fortitude, Replenishment, Furor, Vigor, Strength
Seems like I accidentally ordered this article to scale pretty well! What I mean is, Seals are even more complicated than Glyphs or Marks! Even more than that, there are people that feel very vehemently about their choice of Seals. This means that I am going to try and take the time to explain this section thoroughly, hopefully I can convey why these ranks are as they are.
Starting off with S-Rank it will be fairly obvious to many people why these two runes are there. First off, if you have mana, mana regen runes are near the power level of Armor Penetration Marks. Clarity Seals will add a large amount of mana regen and make your entire game go smoother if you can use them. They are not situational like the Glyphs are in my opinion, their benefit is extremely noticeable. Having more mana allows you to harass more, heal more, farm better, all ways to set your game off right. Plus their benefit in the late game may let you avoid wasting money on items like Chalice of Harmony. You may think that you still need to buy a Chalice, but try going without it! Especially with the introduction of Manamune and the buff of Archangel’s Staff, if you need to burn more mana than Clarity Seals give you, a Tear of the Goddess is likely your choice.
Back to focusing on runes now, Evasion runes are still extremely strong. In my opinion they are barely clinging on to S-Rank, but still there. The argument against this is that on-hit effects aren’t dodgeable anymore, that champions like Ezreal can’t get dodged so it’s less useful. However, these aren’t the champions that you should be worrying about, especially in the current popular metagame. Currently the dominant strategy is to get a “super carry” status character and protect them at all costs during a team fight. These “super carrys” include Twitch, Tristana, Kog’Maw, etc. Guess what you can do do mitigate their damage? Dodge! Probably the main reason I leave them S-Rank, a set of them will give you a good chunk of dodge.
Seals, in my mind, are the set of runes that you’re going to use to counter your specific situations. I view them in this way because unless you’re using a mana champion, then you’re going to be wanting to be building your rune page reactively to suit your purpose. For instance, if you know you are against a physical heavy team, you can either run Resilience or Evasion. If you’re playing as a health cost champion, you might want to run Regeneration. Otherwise, Vitality or Malice might also be good options! Shielding is also not a bad option if you’re going against a magic resist heavy team!
Well, that wasn’t as hard to explain as I thought, because it really depends on the specific game in regards to Seals. There are many viable S,A,and B-rank Seals that you can use to your advantage to min-max your rune page for your situation. If you are just working on your first rune page or two, I definitely suggest Clarity and Evasion, they will suit most of your purposes just fine!
Tier 3 Rune
Benefit at level 1
Benefit at level 18
||Quint. of Fortitude||| +32.4 Health||| +32.4 Health||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Swiftness||| +1.5% Movement Speed||| +1.5% Movement Speed||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Desolation||| +3.33 Armor Penetration||| +3.33 Armor Penetration||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Warding||| +4.5 Magic Resist||| +4.5 Magic Resist||| N/A||| 1025|
t. of Vigor
|| +2.7 Health / 5sec||| +2.7 Health / 5sec||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Potency||| +4.95 Ability Power||| +4.95 Ability Power||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Wisdom||| +2% Experience Gain||| +2% Experience Gain||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Insight||| +1.89 Magic Penetration||| +1.89 Magic Penetration||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Acumen||| +4.9 Energy||| +4.9 Energy||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Evasion||| +1.5% Dodge Chance||| +1.5% Dodge Chance||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Malice||| +1.86% Critical Chance||| +1.86% Critical Chance||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Alacrity||| +3.4% Attack Speed||| +3.4% Attack Speed||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Intellect||| +37.5 Mana||| +37.5 Mana||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Vitality||| +2.7 Health||| +48.6 Health||| Fortitude: Lvl 12||| 2050|
||Quint. of Shielding||| +0.37 Magic Resist||| +6.66 Magic Resist||| Warding: Lvl 13||| 1025|
||Quint. of Defense||| +0.38 Armor||| +6.84 Armor||| Resilience: Lvl 12||| 1025|
||Quint. of Knowledge||| +4.17 Mana||| +75.06 Mana||| Intellect: Lvl 9||| 515|
||Quint. of Strength||| +2.25 Attack Damage||| +2.25 Attack Damage||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Revival||| -5% Time Dead||| -5% Time Dead||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Focus||| -1.64% Cooldowns||| -1.64% Cooldowns||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Meditation||| +1.5 Energy / 5sec||| +1.5 Energy / 5sec||| N/A||| 2050|
||Quint. of Resilience||| +4.26 Armor||] +4.26 Armor||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Clarity||| +0.24 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +4.32 Mana Regen / 5sec||| Replenishment: Lvl 6||| 1025|
||Quint. of Regeneration||| +0.28 Health / 5sec||| +5.04 Health / 5sec||| Vigor: Lvl 10||| 2050|
||Quint. of Furor||| +4.46% Critical Damage||| +4.46% Critical Damage||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Force||| +0.43 Ability Power||| +7.74 Ability Power||| Potency: Lvl 12||| 1025|
||Quint. of Might||| +0.25 Attack Damage||| +4.5 Attack Damage||| Strength: Lvl 9||| 515|
||Quint. of Celerity||| -0.13% Cooldowns||| -2.34% Cooldowns||| Focus: Lvl 13||| 1025|
||Quint. of Replenishment||| +1.25 Mana Regen / 5sec||| +1.25 Mana Regen / 5sec||| N/A||| 1025|
||Quint. of Avarice||| +1 Gold / 10sec||| +1 Gold / 10 sec||| N/A||| 515|
S-Rank: Fortitude, Swiftness, Desolation
A-Rank: Warding, Vigor, Potency, Wisdom
B-Rank: Insight, Acumen, Evasion, Malice, Alacrity, Intellect, Vitality, Shielding, Defense, Knowledge
C-Rank: Strength, Revival, Focus, Meditation, Resilience, Clarity, Regeneration, Furor
F-Rank: Force, Might, Celerity, Replenishment, Avarice
Through it all, I really found out how possible it is to min-max your situations in this game. Please don’t think that you only need to use S-Rank or A-Rank runes. While they are the strongest and often best case, the B-Rank options are amazing as well. Many top players have tons of different B-Rank rune sets that they switch in and out to fit a specific situation/champion. You might need health regen on Dr Mundo instead of evasion, or you might want to run a full Alacrity(attack speed) page on Kog’maw! Hopefully this post just gets your brain churning on what runes you might need in what situations. I know creating the post has done this for me, I have a new shopping list of about 20k IP worth of runes I want now!