Hybrid Penetration Marks - Analysis by DiffTheEnder

Hello, hello! DiffTheEnder with a piece of analysis that has been heavily requested. It is, of course, the question on whether Hybrid Penetration marks are better than standard flat Magic Penetration or Armor Penetration. In other words, is double penetration better than standard penetration? Let's take a look...

What do these runes do and how do they compare to the traditional options?

The traditional option for offensive marks is either attack damage, magic penetration or armor penetration. Very rarely will you see other marks picked on carries. Hybrid penetration marks were released to provide an offensive option for hybrid champions like Jax or Kayle, however some players have started using them on standard mages as the armor penetration component of the hybrid marks aids in maximising the auto attack harass that is dealt in  the early laning phase.

Firstly, let's take a look at what these mythical Hybrid marks actually provide.

 Remember, these values are for individual marks, so a full set would provide 9 times the penetration of what's stated above. However, we have no reference point for this value. So let's take a look at the standard penetration marks that are widely used at the moment.

These are the magic penetration marks that are currently run by mages to maximise their magic damage. For physical carries however, there are the Marks of Desolation:

With those two penetration marks displayed for comparison with the hybrid penetration marks, we can see that the hybrid penetration marks provide around 71% of the attributes of the Magic Penetration and Armor Penetration marks. While that definitely indicates that if you are dealing 50% physical and 50% magical damage, hybrid penetration marks would be more effective, this is often not the case.

It's time we break out the mathcrafting to check what proportion of damage you are dealing has to be magical or physical for hybrid penetration marks to be more effective.

Hybrid Marks vs. Magic Pen marks

Firstly, let's compare the effectiveness of running flat Magic Pen marks as most mages would compared to running a full set of Hybrid Penetration marks. We'll need to figure out exactly how much of your damage has to be magical and how much has to be physical for each mark to be effective than the other. To do this, we're going to have to break out the contour difference plot (affectionately called rainbow graphs by me). Firstly, here's a guide on how to read these graphs using an example of a graph to come.

You'll have to click through and view the full sized image for the image to be easily read and understood.

There have been a couple of tweaks to how the rainbow graph works to the ones in my previous editions. Firstly, the colours across all graphs have been standardised. So if a particular shade of blue means 4% better to run Hybrid Pen in one graph, it means the same thing in another graph. Secondly, in today's graph the values of the shades are in percent as can be seen in the how-to graph.

Hopefully you understand how to read the graphs now and we can actually view some indepth results of mathcrafting common situations. If you haven't figured out how to read the graphs yet, feel free to skip ahead to the conclusions for the round up and leave a comment detailing exactly which part of the graph confused you so the community can help you out!

So, how does Hybrid Pen compare to Magic Pen? Here are the results.

Once again, you'll have to click to see the full version to see the details of it.

Interpreting the results of Hybrid vs. Magic Penetration

 Now that we've calmed down after being visually assaulted by rainbows, what can we determine from this data?

Firstly, let's take a look at the data when the enemy is at 20 armor. This is most applicable when you're up against a squishy AP champion mid lane or anyone who didn't take armor seals. In this situation, if you deal up to 75% magical damage, then you would ultimately deal more damage by running Hybrid Penetration marks over Magic Penetration marks. Now this is easy to say, but let's imagine an in game situation to see how your harass would have to be constructed to deal 75% magical damage and 25% physical. 

We'll assume each of your early spell casts deals 100 magic damage and each of your early basic attacks deals 50 damage. Then that means you'd only have to land one basic attack every 2 spell casts for hybrid penetration marks to outweigh magic penetration marks. Very favourable to run Hybrid marks in this situation. Depending on the champion you're playing, you're likely to land many more basic attacks and you'd be looking at an overall increase of roughly 3-5% damage output due to hybrid penetration runes.

Now what about when the enemy is at 60 armor? This is around mid-game or even late game depending on how squishy the enemy builds. The graph indicates that if you're dealing only up to around 80% magic damage, hybrid penetration marks will result in more damage. Let's say at this point each of your spells deal roughly 200 damage and your physical attacks deal 70 damage. In this case, you'd have to land one basic attack every 1.75 spell casts for hybrid penetration marks to outweigh hybrid marks. It's hard to say exactly which mark is favourable, since at this point of the game you may be in laning phase or even teamfights predominantly. We'll call it a tie.

At any enemy armor value, 100 and above, it's almost always in the favour of magic penetration marks.

That's the rundown of the graphs for Magic Pen vs. Hybrid. We'll take a look at Armor Pen vs. Hybrid before rounding everything up in the conclusions.

Hybrid Marks vs. Armor Pen marks

Once again, let's prepare ourselves for a visual assault.

You'll have to click through to see the full resolution image again.

The list of champions who use armor penetration that might benefit more from hybrid penetration is very small due to the way champion kits are designed. However, let's take a look at this. 

At early levels, we see that you'd have to deal over approximately 35% magical damage to benefit more from hybrid pen than armor pen. Assuming at this stage of the game, you deal roughly 75 per auto attack. You'd have to deal  105 magic damage for every 4 auto attacks you land. Someone that benefits from this greatly that instantly comes to mind is Jax, who actually deals magic damage on every 3rd hit and has a magic damage boost on his Empower ability.

However at later levels, we see that you'd have to deal only around 15% magic damage for hybrid penetration marks to outweigh armor penetration marks. One might instantly think, that's incredibly easy to achieve, hybrid marks are insanely good. However let's take the case of an AD carry. How often does an ADC who deals around 500 damage per crit strike have a magic damage ability that can scale and compare with their vastly higher damaging basic attack or physical spell counterparts? Not very often. The most likely candidates for Hybrid Penetration runes, are Varus, Kog'Maw and Tristana. However AD carries most often prefer to take Attack Damage runes over Armor Penetration for the safety in last hitting and to scale their physical damage abilities. It's a niche case where you should choose your own preference having seen the above data.

I'll move on to the conclusions to wrap it up for a much more concise summary.


When Hybrid Penetration runes are compared to Magic Penetration runes, we see that if you're likely to land even one auto attack between two spell casts early game, you'll find greater damage output in this part of the game with Hybrid Penetration runes. However depending on how the teamfights in your game are going, you will most likely find more damage from magic penetration runes in this part of the game.

When Armor Penetration runes are compared to Hybrid Penetration runes, we see that if you have a magic damage spell that is regularly cast during your auto attack harass, around once every 4 auto attacks, you'll find more damage from hybrid marks. However late game, most AD carries are much more likely to find more damage output with armor penetration than hybrid penetration, with possible exceptions being Kog'Maw and Tristana depending on which stage of the game you're analysing for.

Other Factors and Final Words

Important points to consider when deciding between these marks is considering your goal. Is your goal with the marks to dominate your early game with a higher damage output in the laning phase? You will most likely prefer hybrid marks. Is your focus on late game? You'd most likely prefer Magic Penetration marks. When runing for ADC, remember that AD carries of all roles are meant to itemise towards dealing the most damage possible in the late game, so you might prefer to take armor penetration runes or even Attack Damage runes for safer laning. However when runing for mages, you'll likely want to snowball an early lead which means you'd rather take Hybrid marks.

An important factor to consider is that while the comparison between runes does result in a damage increase or decrease in your overall output, the margin by which the damage is different is in most cases below 5%. Hybrid Penetration runes cost 820IP each, meaning a full set costs 7380IP. Is it worth 7380 of your IP to deal a few percent more damage? That's a question for you to answer.

I may not have listed every factor 

Regardless, the information has been laid out and my opinions voiced. I know I've been running Hybrid Penetration runes on my mages for the past months, it's up to you to decide whether you're going to make the switch.

As always, I hope you found that information useful and maybe one day I'll see one of you win a League of Legends tournament due to running these runes (I kid!)

Have a good day,





If you enjoyed this analysis - I'd appreciate your support in helping spread the word about Hybrid Penetration Marks!

If you guys have any questions, feedback, suggestions, propositions or anything else you'd like to say:
- Feel free to join me in the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom on the NA server in the LoL Client
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You can find all my articles/posts from the old Reign of Gaming here



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