Rune changes are coming! Not a huge sweeping set of adjustments but I think it might require some rethinking of our choices, especially with armour seals seeing big changes.
The big change is armour runes are being nerfed. A drop of 0.41 armour per armour seal is a drop of ~30% efficiency! Now I appreciate that if you run armour seals after the changes go through you’ll actually end up in a situation where you have more armour than before, 0.31 more, but it’s still a nerf to armour seals as you get less armour per seal.
However this isn’t a bad thing as armour seals are currently the most picked rune in the game. The changes listed below mean that we might see other seals appearing, namely flat health, on our rune pages!
Game Impact – Armour seals are still going to be used, especially in the jungle and bot lane, but flat hp might end up taking over. However with armour reds providing 0.91 armour per rune, compared to the 1 from seals, we might see supports switching from armour to something different like health or health regen and running armour reds to make themselves very tanky early on.
Scaling armour seals are being buffed! Scaling armour yellows used to beat out flat armour yellows at level 10 however with the change they now beat out flat armour seals at level 7! I can definitely see this being the biggest change to most rune pages, especially in junglers who don’t need the early armour to maintain a strong early clear.
Game Impact – I’m going to be buying scaling armour seals soon. They might be the go to seals for mid game champions when they’re not scared of dying in lane and the enemy are running an AP jungler. If you’re against an AD laner with a low amount of kill/bullying potential early then these could be useful.
Health and Health per level seals are both being buffed. Health has seen a large increase from 5.35 up to 8 per seal and might actually make early health seals a good alternative to flat armour seals. I’m sure we’ll see these appear in non AD lanes, though they won’t take over like armour seals have previously. Health seals are now worth an extra 63 gold!
Scaling health is now increasing from 1.08 per level up to 1.33 per level, an increase of around 23%. It’s an increase of around 40 health in the late game, which isn’t a huge amount even when its adjusted by the 3% increase in defensive masteries. At level 18 scaling health seals are now worth an extra 109 gold. You can now run 7 scaling health seals to get around about the same benefit as before. This will allow you to use those 2 runes for something else if you feel you want a broader range of stats, like flat health for example.
Game Impact – I’m not sure whether health per level seals will ever be worth it in my eyes. 200hp just isn’t enough health in the late game but, if you don’t need the armour, then flat health or even scaling health might be useful on the squishier champions.
One interesting change is that this now almost never makes % max health seals worth it late game as champions would now need 4800 hp in order to get more health per seal than scaling health provides. However % health seals do provide a flatter health curve than scaling health, ie more health and lower levels than scaling seals but likely will provide less benefit at full build.
Health Regen has also been buffed, increasing by 0.13 hp5. This is an increase of 14.04 health over a minute compared to the old health per level seals if you run 9 of them. 9 seals effectively grants you a rejuv bead worth of health regen compared to not having health regen seals. It will take approximately 30 seconds for health regen yellows to provide enough health to equal flat health seals, though that’s only while you’ve been damaged, and they won’t really help against burst damage.
Game Impact – I could see these being used against AP lanes especially top where you want to try to stick around as long as possible and farm up. However armour seals will still prevail for the early few weeks of the patch and I can’t seem them replacing armour seals in other lanes.
Scaling CDR glyphs have been brought in line so they provide a flat 15% at level 18, just after they changed the CDR boots to provide 10% rather than 15% CDR. It does seem a little strange, however if they want to buff CDR i’m happy that they’re buffing it to a round 15%. This is because it will allow champions that pick up 4 points in offense or dive deep into the utility tree to match the runes and masteries to pick up 20% CDR by level 18. This change is worth ~ 150 gold!
Game Impact – I could see it being useful for certain champions, however I don’t think scaling CDR will take off because a lot of important items have CDR on them and you want more strength in the early game in this meta.
Scaling MR has seen a small buff, an increase of 0.3 MR. This equates to 54 gold. Given that they were already pretty strong, and pretty popular, i’m not sure the buff was necessary. However given I play ADC quite often i’ll take the extra MR to protect me from those pesky mid laners!
Game Impact – If you were taking scaling MR already then I think you’ll continue to do so. If you weren’t then you probably don’t need them, but it’s nice against heavy AP teams.
Much like the scaling MR blues I don’t really see the point of this buff. Admittedly it’s nice if you ran Mp5 blues before, which I tended to on Corki, but with an increase of 0.02 mp5 you’re unlikely to see the difference. However if it gives you enough mana to use your escape or to be able to land your ultimate, then you can thank Riot for the buff!
Game Impact – I can’t really see this change being an actual decision, much like with scaling MR. If you weren’t using them then this change won’t really encourage you to do so.
The scaling mana regen glyphs have increase by ~2mp5 when you use a full set of 9, which is an increase in efficiency of almost 120 gold! However I just don’t see the point of them. If you were having mana problems in the late game you’ve probably brought something to make up for it, whether that’s additional mana from something like Sheen (or its upgrades) or a Chalice of Harmony.
Game Impact – Much like the above changes I can’t see this change really causing an upset in glyph choices, but they do provide additional stats. If you were using them previously you now have the option to change one glyphs as 8 now provide around the same amount as 9 used to.
Cooldown reduction quints have been buffed by ~2.5% CDR if you run all 3. This will allow you to pick up 15% CDR if you run quints and glyphs, which again could be used with the 5% from the utility tree to provide half of your cooldown reduction for the game from level 1! I was trying to find some cool tricks involving picking up a certain number of CDR runes early and trading them to pick up more efficient glyphs but you tend not to run primary glyphs as quints. Shame.
Game Impact – Unlikely to see a change by AD Carries but they could now potentially be worth it on manaless champions. I’ve been running CDR blues on Riven to good effect and I look forward to trying these on a few other top laners who can’t easily itemize CDR early because they need to build tanky stats.
Scaling CDR quints have received a similar buff to the glyphs however they have been made very efficient for the slot. I still think they have the same problem as scaling glyphs in that if you want early CDR you’ll either buy it or run flat runes and if you want it late then you want the full effect to come online way before level 18.
Game Impact – Personally I can’t see them being used when you could run 2 flat CDR quints and pick up 5% CDR early in offense to get 10% CDR, but i’d be happy to be proven wrong!
Flat Attack Speed quints, honestly I didn’t even know they existed. 13.5% is slightly more than a dagger at level 1 and the change will net you around 100 extra gold worth of stats early on. These might be useful on champions that have a weak jungle clear early in the game and with the change to Wriggles Lantern/Feral Flare coming in the next few patches we might see them in order to proc the Maim passive (100 damage on basic attack, increasing by 3 per Feral stack, 33% effective against champions).
Game Impact – I still think AD will win out on a lot of champions that previously built AD, however with the changes to Wriggles Lantern coming in soon(tm) i’m looking forward to experimenting with them.
Finally Life Steal quints are being nerfed to 4.5% from 6%. These were fairly popular on Marksmen, though they tended to use 2 rather than 3, so we’ll potentially see 3 Life Steal quints being picked up by people in the future or they’ll just switch 100% to AD quints. I think they still have a place but it’s a nerf to the early game of marksmen. The feast change doesn’t make the mastery good. I still wouldn’t take it especially as it doesn’t scale into the late game like life steal does and it’s fairly worthless in teamfights.
Game Impact – If you are good at CSing then going for three life steal quints will actually be a buff to your early regen but you’ve got to off set the 2.25 attack damage you’ll be missing. If you’ve been taking feast its a buff to the mastery but I still don’t think its worth it due to its place in the tree. You should be spending points elsewhere.
Not huge sweeping changes however there’s a few thinking points that we’ll be able to use in the never-ending war to get a small advantage over our opponents. I’m surprised there weren’t changes to some of the secondary runes in order to increase the variety of picks and choices but maybe we’ll see that in season 5.
In answer to the original question, I don’t think armour seals are going to go away. Health and Health per Level seals just don’t provide the raw gains against auto attacks that armour do, especially in the late. While it may open up seals for non AD lanes I don’t see a drastic change occurring.
Also there will be a 30% off IP boost and Runes Sale from the start of the next patch until the end of April. If you’re planning any big purchases then it might be worth waiting a few weeks for the patch to hit.