Runes to Win #2: The Essential Rune Kit for LoLPros!

Runes to Win #2: The Essential Rune Kit for LoLPros!

The most common mistake that players make when they first start playing League of Legends is making sh*tty runepages.  Having a good set of runepages may boost your ability by up to 100-150 Elo just because of early/end game advantages they confer: as a solo, you will have an easier time winning your lane; as a jungler, you will have faster clear times and will clear with higher health; as a support, you will be able to more effectively help your team; and as a carry, you will have the tools to ensure domination of your lane and your game.  You should be buying runes as soon as you hit level 20.  Holding back on your rune purchases will hold you back in the game.  So below, I’ve created a list of runes that players should buy, as well as the relative order you should purchase them in.

Unlike many LoL players who give rune advice to new players, I do not advocate the usage of Tier 1/2 runes before level 20.  In addition to the fact that they are weaker than Tier 3 runes, new players do not have enough runes unlocked for them to make an effective difference in gameplay, especially since one "mistake" in lane will be enough to nullify the marginal advantage given by a runepage over a laning counterpart.  It is better instead to spend your IP on champions or to save up IP for your early rune purchases.


Level 20 Kit

Total cost: 8610 IP

When you’re level 20, you’re going to be playing on a budget.  Chances are, you don’t know how to last hit yet, and are still figuring the game out.  The level 20 basic runepage is designed to be a cookie cutter page that can be used effectively on 100% of champions, and to patch up these core problems while you are still learning the game.  It stresses the laning phase and the early game with flat survivability, as well as extra damage for extra last hitting and winning what would otherwise be even matchups in lane.  In addition, the runes listed below have extremely low IP costs – 205IP for each rune, and 1025IP each for quintessences.  Yes, this is the absolute cheapest runepage that IP can buy that is actually effective in low level games.

  • Attack Damage Reds (1845 IP/8.5 AD) - Extra power for the newbie.
  • Armor Yellows (1845 IP/13 Armor) – Armor runes are the most basic runes you can buy in the game. They are literally good on every single champion if you do not have a better set to use.
  • Flat Magic Resist Blues (1845 IP/12 MR) - Most players prefer flat MR for the laning phase.
  • Attack Damage Quints (3075 IP/7.75 AD) - Same as the marks. Extra last hitting power and laning ability.

Your first rune page should look like this when you have bought everything:

Other notes for level 20s: Forget penetration for now.  Keep in mind the common LoL adage “Win lane, win game.”  You can’t win a lane if you don’t farm, and attack damage helps your farming abilities far more than penetration does.  When you think about the cost of this runepage, keep this in mind: Would you rather pay 6300IP for a champion you’ll play a dozen times, or 8610IP that you will use on every champion?


Bronze Kit

Total cost: 10455 IP

Generic runepages should be the name of the game here.  The purpose of the bronze kit is to fill out your second (and/or third) runepage so you can have a "strong" runepage for 90% of the champions in the game.  It is not for optimizing the efficiency of a particular champion more than to give yourself an edge over the competition.  You will hopefully have the Level 20 and Bronze Kits completed by the time you are able to start playing ranked games.

  • Magic Pen Reds (3690 IP/8.55 MPen) – These will make the difference at early levels when everybody automatically reduces your damage by over 20%. Once you buy these, you will see why magic pen are the go-to runes for almost every AP carry player.
  • Scaling Magic Resist Blues (1845 IP/24.3 MR@18) - If you're not worried about getting bursted down during the laning phase, scaling MR is the way to go.
  • Flat MP5 Yellows (1845 IP/3.69 MP5) - For that extra MP5 sustain in lane.
  • Ability Power Quints (3075 IP/14.85 AP) - A year ago I would have put HP quints here instead but with the changing metagame it appears that early game trading is now the name of the game.  AP quints are now da popularz.
Your second runepage should look like one of the runepages below after purchasing these runes:


Silver Kit

Total cost: 11835 IP

In the Bronze Kit, we attempted to give a good runepage for all the champions in LoL.  The goal of the Silver Kit is not to specialize but rather to add versatility to rune selection.  Instead of having one static runepage for each lane, players will have the choice to pick between runes.  

For example: Should I go pure AD or should I mix armor pen in the mix?  Should I use scaling MP5 in case I don't get blue buff? You should experiment to find out what runes work for you!

  • Armor Pen Reds (3690 IP/14.94 Arpen) – Adds versatility to your bruisers, especially those that have skills that synergize with penetration; Wukong, Olaf, etc.
  • Scaling MP5 Yellows  (1845 IP/10.53 MP5@18) – Scaling MP5 used to be a big hit when I first started playing a few years ago, but since most AP carries now get blue buff in lane flat MP5 is more useful in the current meta. Pick one or both depending on how often you get blue at your skill level.
  • Extra Runepage (6300 IP) – Yes. You need at least one more. The more runepages you have, the better of a player you will be. As an alternative, the 7 runepage bundle is probably the best RP purchase you can make in the store if you're the kind of person who is willing to pay to get a leg up in the game.  I am assuming that if you have played LoL long enough to have the free 3rd runepage you are already have all of the runes in the Silver Kit.
A few other possibilities for runepages with the available runes.


Gold Kit

Total cost: 25980 IP

These are runes that are more champion specific, but not so specific that you can only use them for one or two champions.  I’ve also dumped most of the expensive runes here.  The purchase of these runes can be used interchangeably with the platinum kits listed below due to cost, especialy if you specialize in one or two roles.

  • Extra Runepage (6300 IP) – The more you have, the more action you will get.  I can personally vouch that chicks are digging my Elo and runepages.
  • HP Quints (6150 IP/78 HP) - Although they aren't as popular as they used to be, HP quints are worth 3 extra autoattacks during a level 1 fight.
  • Movement Speed Quints (6150 IP/4.5% MS) – I’ve always thought of these as overrated considering how you can make up for 4.5% with masteries and items. The LoL community seems to hold MS quints in high regard, even though they are only truly effective on a handful of champions.
  • Flat CDR Blues (7380 IP/5.85% CDR) - Cooldown is always nice zz
  • Dodge yellows lol jk
Ohhhhhhh the runepage possibilities:



Platinum Kit - Jungler/Bruiser

Total cost: 15990 IP

Listen up kids, specialty runes are expensive.

  • Attack Speed Reds (3690 IP) - I lost a Mundo 1v1 mirror match once only because the other guy had these.  No lie.
  • Lifesteal Quints (6150 IP) –  I can't vouch for these personally because I don't own them, but Stonewall thinks they’re part of the essential master jungling kit. Note: These are the only runes in this article I have not tested or own.
  • HP5 Quints (6150 IP) - For champions with weaker sustain, these babies will let you regenerate like a motherf*cker.

 Other random runepages you can make:


Platinum Kit - AP Carry

Total cost: 10455 IP

  • Scaling AP Blues (3690 IP/27.54 AP@18) - Ever wanted to crush the enemy AP in midgame?  Here's the solution!
  • Scaling HP Yellows (3690 IP/174.96 HP@18) - These synergize well with squishy champions, or those that synergize well with health (Vladimir).
  • Magic Pen Quints (3075 IP/6.54 Mpen) – Somewhere out there, there is an asshole who wants to see the world burn.  Mpen quints are the solution to this problem.
I currently use this runepage for most of my APs:


Platinum Kit - AD Carry

Total cost: 6765 IP

  • Attack Speed Blues (3690 IP/5.76% AS) - For sadistic players that enjoy crushing their competition.
  • Arpen Quints (3075 IP/9.99 Arpen) - The go-to AD carry rune before the meta shifted.  They are still just as strong as AD runes, see previous ADV posts for proof.
Luckily, AD carries aren't exactly versatile in terms of effective runes.  You might be content with the Level 20 Kit runepage by itself:


Platinum Kit - Support

Total cost: 7080 IP

  • Armor Reds (1845 IP/8.19 Armor) – In any other role, putting armor in your marks is a complete waste of your slot unless you’re trolling with a +32/+40 armor runepage; however, you’re not supposed to be doing heavy damage, so extra survivability is essential, especially on weak sustain supports.
  • Gold per 10 Quints (1545 IP/3 GP10) – Essential for all supports.
  • Gold per 10 Yellows (3690 IP/2.25 GP10) – Great for sustain supports, not always for kill lanes.
I use this runepage for Soraka and Janna:
Congratulations, you've bought every rune you'll ever need (for now)!

Final Kit + (Unofficial) Core Rune Tier List

Usefulness of runes going from left to right.

Reds: AD, Mpen, Arpen, AS, Armor.
Yellows: Armor, Flat MP5, Scaling MP5, Scaling HP, GP10.
Blues: Flat MR, Scaling MR, Scaling AP, Flat CDR, AS.
Quints: AD, AP, HP, GP10, MS, HP5, Arpen, Lifesteal.
+ 2 extra runepages.
Total Cost: 97180 IP

Yes, runes are expensive, but the investment is worth it.  If you have most of the runes I have listed above, you should be able to make an effective rune page for almost every single champion in the game.  Exceptions include champions which may require specific runepages such as Akali and Ryze; however, they will not be significantly impacted if you use a combination of the above runes.


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  • #27 Rhakzor

    I believe armor pen is a lot worse than flat ad at the moment, but with season 3 i think arm pen will make it's comeback.

  • #25 nornamor

    You are really underestimating atackspeed marks and gold/5 quints by putting them in platinum setup, since they are very important for the jungle and support roles... Most junglers would be at a great disadvantage without attack speed marks, and the same for supports without gold/5

  • #24 Oswa1d

    Very cool post. I do have to disagree with a few of the recommended runes though. In my experience certain runes are more generally applicable and are therefore more valuable when starting to spend hard-earned IP. Every role in the game can be played effectively with only 9 sets of runes. Effectively does not mean optimally and you'll probably need additional rune pages for convenience's sake.

    1. AD - ad marks, armor seals, flat mr glyphs, ad quints
    2. AP - mpen marks, armor seals, flat mr glyphs, ap quints
    3. Jungler - as marks, armor seals, flat mr glyphs, ad quints
    4. Support - armor marks, armor seals, mr glyphs, gp10 quints

    Runes required:

    •  marks: ad, as, mpen, armor
    •  seals: armor
    •  glyph: mr
    •  quint: ad, ap, gp10

    I didn't compose a rune page for solo top since it highly depends on the match up and the champion you are playing. Vladimir could get away with the generic ap page while Riven could use the generic ad page.

    The focus on this set is on economy. Many of these runes are cheap (205 ip) and can be used effectively for multiple roles and champions. Some of the runes are more specific and certainly not required. An argument could be made that anyone can jungle with ad marks v as marks. While that is probably true, as marks will benefit a wider variety of champions than ad marks. A similar argument could be made for hp quints. While they are certainly not optimal, they are definitely effective on every champion in the game.

    For further customization one could consider the following.

    • marks: arpen
    • seals: hp/lvl, gp10
    • glyphs: ap/lvl, mr/lvl
    • quints: ms

    I personally don't feel that mana regen runes are particularly useful but if someone plays mainly ap champions then by all means purchase a set. The hp/lvl seals are very popular for mid lane since they provide a buffer for your opponent's burst. In theory if you can survive their combo to retaliate with your own you'll come out on top. Lifesteal quints are definitely a luxury purchase that are only applicable in specific situations. If you want to drop 6150 on a set go for it but there are alternatives that are equally effective. The same goes for movement speed quints and armor penetration marks. These should be lower priority runes since using them only marginally increseases your effectiveness. There are some cases where movement speed is very effective though and shouldn't be ignored.

    The whole idea behind building effective rune pages before optimal rune pages is to provide the largest possible boost quickly before focusing on runes that will only benefit a select group of champions. Generic pages give you an advantage on opponents that either don't have runes or have runes that don't even apply to the champion they are playing (i.e. mpen marks on Graves).

  • #22 MerryLane

    Armor pen : "useless" on every char, even on wukong (btw, lol, since he already reduces the armor of 30 pct, it's even less useful? :D), rather go AD if you play AD, or armor if you are tankier and just want to farm (IE : nasus).

    Attack speed red : only 2 or 3 chars under circumstances and build might enjoy these over other runes, else just go flat AD or armor (or mpen idk)

    Lifesteal quints : So awesome even AD carries might enjoy them over AD quints, when you face some hard to sustain lane (for instance, you are with janna vs soraka). Also allows to skip any form of lifesteal before a while and go straight 2dorans, IE PD without problems.

    Armor blues : underrated, some solotop, AD carries, or even AP carries might need them over other runes if they are countered (everyone loves feeding a talon, a riven, or a graves, rite?)

  • #23 steaminferno

    It almost necessary faster on alot of champions. Nautilus, Alistar, shyvana for example. On some like alistar jungling without attack speed reds can be really difficult. You can also use a few on some champs like noc for faster early jungling.

  • #21 CharonicImpulse

    Interesting post as always, out of curiosity would you be able to do a Energy rune analysis, what would be the best choices? Or is this actually really obvious and I'm dumb.

  • #13 nilof

    I'd place AS reds above ARpen reds imho. Very few champions (AD casters with low ratios) benefit enough from the ARpen quints to really warrant using them above AD reds, while almost any Jungler benefits a ton from AS reds.

    AS runes also boosts a number of AD carries (mostly thinking about Kog, but also Varus, Vayne and Kayle to some extent) more than ArPen would. I'm not saying ArPen is bad(it gives a lot of damage in theory), but it is somewhat of a specialty rune right now.

    I'm kind of biased since I am a jungler, but I'd heavily reccomend getting AS reds before getting ArPen reds currently.

  • #9 A2ZOMG

    To be honest, lifesteal quints are way better than flat AD quints for AD carries.

    Why?  You NEVER have to start boots+pots if you run lifesteal quints.  You can start with Dorans Blade, and have 12% lifesteal right off the bat.

    Boots + pots is so outdated.  I don't even understand why pros reccommend it anymore, when lifesteal quints are just so blatantly superior for sustain and surviving burst (because you start Dorans Blade).

  • #10 Wynden

    If I recall, it's largely for trading and last hitting. Frankly, lifesteal instead of AD will make you lose early game trades, because you can't lifesteal the damage back fast enough. If they zone you successfully, you will be unable to lifesteal at all, thus making you useless in lane.
    Also, the mobility makes it easier to 1) move around and last hit 2) avoid skillshots.
    Boots/3 Pots provides mobility and an effective 450+ health. Doran's Blade gives more if you are either winning the lane or cannot be zoned successfully, but there is no buffer for your health - especially if you're laning with a non-sustain support.
    By late game, life steal quints win out because of the raw damage you have, but AD quints can scale with abilities, last hitting, and successful trading in the early game.

  • #11 A2ZOMG

    You WIN trades by running lifesteal quints, because you can start Dorans Blade.  By starting Doran's Blade with lifesteal as opposed to boots or vamp scepter with AD quints, you have about a 3-4 AD advantage earlygame iirc, and you have 12% lifesteal, while with vamp scepter and AD quints, you only have 13% lifesteal and less AD.

    And if you're losing lane, just autoattack creeps more.  It's not hard. ~9 hp an autoattack is quite a lot at level 1, and that amount only keeps increasing. And losing lane generally means your lane will almost always get pushed, because you are delaying you farming a bit. Assuming you only restored 9 hp an autoattack for the entire laning phase, it only takes about 16 autoattacks to get the equivilent of 1 Health Potion. That is not a lot of autoattacks, and that number only keeps going down as you increase in levels as well as buy more items.

    And no, lifesteal shines if you're getting zoned.  Boots + pots SUCKS if you get zoned, because you waste gold on a temp fix, and then you still get zoned and denied.  The one thing that Boots does better is indeed help avoid certain skillshots, but that is extremely matchup specific.

    Lifesteal in actual games however makes you ridiculously hard to push out of lane, and if you are losing lane (which isn't even guaranteed, because trading hits with lifesteal quints is REALLY good), typically your lane is going to be pushed because you are letting the other carry farm more early on, and they probably are using abilities more to harass, which may or may not be also hitting creeps.  If they are forcing you to last hit under turret because they are winning lane, then lifesteal quints only get even better, because you'll be autoattacking a lot in order to maximize your ability to last hit under turret or to freeze lane.

    I can lane with non-sustain supports like Blitz and Janna with Doran's Blade, and not be pushed out of lane despite being harassed constantly by lanes such as Soraka Ashe, simply because lifesteal quints are that good.

    Besides, harassing is not the point of laning.  The point of laning is FARMING above all else.  Most of the autoattacks during laning phase are for farming, not for trading hits.  In the few cases where you do take damage, lifesteal adds up so much more than a tiny bit of damage in exchanges.

    Don't even get me started on how ridiculously sustainable ranged AD carries are when you start VAMP SCEPTER WITH LIFESTEAL QUINTS.  Just try it for yourself if you feel like a boss at last hitting.

    Last edited by A2ZOMG: 6/8/2012 2:24:44 AM
  • #12 ItsNotLikeILikeYouOrAnything

    Lifesteal + starting with Dorans is very situational.  The jungler will come gank you, you will lose HP, and you will lose that lane from there on.  With boots and pots, you can escape ganks much easier, and have the survivability without having to hit minions and push the lane.

    There's a reason people do shit the way they do it.


  • #14 A2ZOMG

    Firstoff, you can survive ganks just fine with Dorans.  You have an extra 80 hp buffer.

    Secondly, good supports ward shit. A jungler that tries to gank bot is usually wasting his time for that reason, and there's only a few junglers that actually have strong enough ganks to justify it.

    Secondly, if the jungler ganked, it almost INVARIABLY pushed the lane towards your side.  Telling me that you're simply just pushing a lane in order to sustain with lifesteal quints is like telling me that farming doesn't matter.

    And if you lose hp in a boots + pots setup, you lost gold on a limited resource.  The enemy still has more reason to zone you, because once you are out of pots, you actually can't do anything, while with a Doran's setup, you can simply just wait for creep waves to inevitably be pushed towards your tower.

    Do I need to stress that creep waves almost INEVITABLY get pushed towards your side when you are at a disadvantage? So many factors such as minion agro, delaying farming due to playing passive, and ability usage make this an almost guaranteed certainty.  If you are losing lane, creeps are by far more likely to be pushed to your side of the map unless you did something horribly wrong.

    By simply playing a lane normally, with a focus on last hitting, lifesteal quints are simply way too cost efficient to ignore in so many situations.  You actually trade hits better initially because they make Dorans much better, and in the event you actually are forced into a disadvantageous position, it's almost never a problem to stay in lane and just wait for the creeps to be pushed closer to your tower.

    And lastly, it's honestly silly to tell me that just because you don't start with boots, that makes it a better option for a jungler to gank bot.  Standard supports NEVER start with boots.

    So if anything, you didn't prove to me that there's a legitimate reason why people still insist in boots + pots. Boots + pots is CLEARLY inferior if you're getting zoned, because if you're getting zoned, the creep waves are practically always going to be pushed to your side anyway.  And it doesn't even take that many autoattacks to get the equivilent of a health potion.

    Last edited by A2ZOMG: 6/8/2012 11:23:08 AM
  • #15 VictusFlamma

    Lol I play jungler's and i would still gank bot even with a good support if your overextending with a doran's  or even mid lane with a doran's start and all i have to say about a doran's start is its weak oh no 12% life steal and you have like 75 ish ad cool your healing for 9 hp each auto you have like 600 hp best case scenrio and i gank lvl 3 with boots on someone like naut ali or lets say lvl 2 with nocturne on all of those but alistar im packing exhaust. I will kill you and i can garentee that your extra hp won't mean shit when your extended you won't get back to the tower and if i come from behind you have nowhere to go. Before you decide what is good look at the numbers before you decide its good if your good with the champ and have a safe early game from their jungler its one thing to say daron's is better but even if your good if the jungler looks for the weakest link hes gonna go for the doran's start and hes gonna focus his fire on you. Just so you know the my kill rate on a doran's start extending to the middle of bot lane is over 80% and if you started doran's and push to the enemy tower and gank the kill rate is pretty much 99%. Even if i don't kill you if you started that why you probably got your support killed cause they tried to save you and blew all your summoners which is a major win for me.

  • #19 A2ZOMG

    If you're jungle Alistar and packing exhaust, to be frank, a properly executed gank is gonna kill a boots start more easily because they have less HP.  Especially if someone runs ignite, which is increasing in popularity due to heal being nerfed.  And that gank is NOT gonna happen regardless or boots or dorans if a support PROPERLY wards shit.  And most supports actually don't know how to ward shit, especially if you are blue team.

    And again, I can simply just wait for creeps to push to tower if I'm running Doran's Lifesteal start.  It's not a huge loss, and I can tank creep waves better as well as last hit more easily. I lose very little for starting Dorans, because playing lanes passively is actually easier for Dorans + lifesteal.

  • #20 ItsNotLikeILikeYouOrAnything

    I suppose when you finally hit 2k elo with your broken starting build, I'll shut my mouth and you can say "I told you so."  Until then I think I'll stick with boots+pots.

  • #26 Acrotar

    With lifesteal quints + dorans you're getting about the same damage and sustain as boots 3 pots + ad quints but trading boots for 100hp

  • #7 M4xieS

    Lol these names of rune pages >_<

  • #4 ItsNotLikeILikeYouOrAnything

    I feel like the article is really difficult for someone new to LoL to actually read and follow through on.  It starts off pretty good but then devolves into a weird sort of "silver/gold/plat kit" thing that quite honestly just makes no sense to include and muddles the message you are trying to get across.  The tl;dr ending (Final Kit section) does redeem parts of the article and summarizes what you wanted to say quite nicely.

    Onto the crux of the my complaints... There's a couple of runes that you include, that the average person does not EVER need.  I'm talking mainly about CDR blues, attack speed blues, scaling mp5.  I can't think of a single champion where I would take either over flat MR/scaling MR.  Scaling mp5 is completely outclassed by flat mp5 or flat armor.  By the time they kick in, you either don't need them or you needed them before and lost lane.  I also feel like you're also highly overestimating HP quints and greatly underestimating MS quints.  If anything I would say that MS quints are even more important than AD quints and provides a better balance between having only one single complete rune page for both AD and AP champs.  Lifesteal is another one where I just literally cannot think of anyone that I would take those over flat AD on.

    Lastly, I just cannot agree with telling people to ever take a runepage without MR midlane/toplane.  It's literally almost in-game suicide that you're telling people to commit.

  • #18 steaminferno

    I completely disagree with what you wrote about magic resist blues. I'm 1400 elo and I do really without no magic resist runepage. It may be because I always play cassiopeia but its definitely not bad advice. I wouldn't really equate not taking magic resist to committing in-game suicide. You can survive just fine without them and you will have more AP mid-late game than if you had flat magic resist blues.

    Scaling mp5 btw is probably better on some champions like Anivia who are really mana dependant and he was reccomending them for people who probably haven't reached a high level of play in LoL



  • #2 Murderfeet

    I would definately reccomend this article to any of my LOL friends. Runes are the best investment a player can make.

    I might have added a mono page or two and I like using quints to augment what is already in my mark, seal, glyph slots but I have never seen anyone else do it.

    Totally disagree with the armor marks on support. I like AP/18 in both Mark and Glyphs. 45 Ap is useful on most supports and you should be cautious as support already. 

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