For Top Laners, Mid Laners, and even certain supports Flat Health Seals are significantly stronger than Armor Seals. Even against heavy AD match-ups, Flat Health Seals come out even, or ahead of armor, This bonus health also benefits you much more when it comes to defense against magic damage. On top of these benefits, Scaling Health Quintessences are extremely cost effective, and work wonderfully when paired along side Flat Health Seals.
The Set Up
I chose to use Jax to display the math due to his being a fairly standard top laner who not only has high base stats, but also receives additional resistances from his ultimate, which makes the additional health even more effective. So, while it’s viable on most champions, it’s more effective on champions who possess skills that grant them increased defenses. As such, champions who receive additional health, will benefit more from defensive stats (Armor/Magic Resist.) We will now refer to this page as Page One. This is very similar to a standard Jax Top Lane Page. Some people prefer to take some Attack Speed and run a page with around 10% ASPD and 9.6 AD, while others may take Lifesteal Quintessences. I decided to use straight AD because it’s easier to calculate and show the math for. We will now refer to this page as Page Two. This is my current Jax Top Lane Page. It takes Flat Health Seals over Armor, and sacrifices damage from AD Quints to take Scaling Health Quints instead, which late-game are worth almost 120g more than AD. So basically, we are sacrificing increased damage for much greater increased survivability.
While running Page Two you will have roughly 5 less effective health against physical damage than with Armor Seals until Level 7. At level 7 the two equalize and by level 18 the health runes provide an additional 60 effective health against physical damage. With Jax’s ultimate added in, however, the health runes are 108 effective health against physical damage, which is no small amount. The better incentive, though, is that the health is even more effective with your magic resist. With Page Two at level one you will receive 74 additional effective health against magic damage, increasing to 342 at level 18. At level 18 with your ultimate it adds 429 additional effective health against magic damage. The only trade-offs for running Page Two is that you will lose 11.7 damage per second at level 18 and you will have slightly less effective health until level 7. However, the effective health trade-off is lessened by the fact you are actually stronger in early-game all-out fights due to Page One only providing roughly 7-8% additional defense against physical damage, which means it won’t surpass Page Two until you’ve taken at least 600 damage, and around that point you would want to blue pill (back) anyway. Also, due to being weaker during early-levels armor is still more effective on junglers. Sustained champions who don’t build much defense (ADCs, Sona, Soraka, Nami, Etc) benefit more from straight defenses to make their flat number of sustain more effective. Bruisers with sustain should usually build enough defense items to make full use of the additional health, making it surpass the effectiveness of their sustain. While the effects of running Page Two for the additional health against physical damage is only a minor increase, the effects of running Page Two with for additional health against magic damage is a major increase. You don’t lose enough damage late-game to miss your AD, and you don’t give up enough trading power early to lose your lane. This is why Page Two and similar versions of it are the most effective possible runes for most champions in top lane and mid lane, and even certain supports. Overall, running Page Two is a huge improvement over Page One. While the effects may seem minor, runes in general are themselves only minor increases. They are used to increase your power by as much as possible, and depending on your champion and match-up you can run scaling or flat health seals and quintessences; that way you can get the most benefit from your runes. Every little thing counts, so get out in the Rift and show your opponents how it’s done! The math used in this blog can be found be clicking here.