Covering Your Bases in ARAM

Edit: This information pertained to Season 3 Runes/Masteries. While I am always updating my information on the site, I am aware that search engine queries are pointing at this post due to page rank. For updated Runes and Masteries, follow this link.

As I pointed out in my last post, I own a large percentage of the Champions in League of Legends. When playing any of the game modes that allow you to choose any of the champions (excluding those that were banned), this is a blessing, as you have a large selection of champions to fit many roles, and can help your team comp, pick counters, etc. When playing ARAM, it can be a bit of a hindrance. When your champion is picked for you randomly, you can be at a disadvantage mainly due to the fact that you might not have the optimal runes and masteries set up for a particular champion. ARAM is great because it forces all players into one lane, so there are instant team fights, usually before the minions even spawn, and it forces strange team comps that would be laughed at in Classic. However, this mode also sheds away a bit of the strategy of the traditional game. Due to this fact, the only real strategy in ARAM is how you build your champion in each match. The foundation of this is built upon your Runes and Masteries, and that is what I’m going to cover today.

Runes:

To completely cover your bases, you are going to need 5 rune pages. However, you will only start out with 2 rune pages, and the only way to get more is to buy them (In-game currency or RMT). These pages will allow you to play any role, and will add some benefits to any champion that you play. I label my pages “Armor Pen”, “AP MP5”, “AP Health”, “Straight Defense” and “Support”. I also recommend that new players don’t bother with purchasing runes until you are Summoner level 30, as you will not be able to use the Tier 3 Runes without being maximum level. Either save your IP or buy some champions along the way. To compile these pages, you will need: Marks: Armor (0.91×9 = 8.2 Armor) Armor Pen (1.29×9 = 12 Penetration) Magic Pen (0.87×9 = 7.8 Penetration) Seals: Armor (1.41×9 = 13 Armor) Mana Regen (0.41×9 = 3.7 Mana Regen) Scaling Health (19@level18x9 = 175 Health) Glyphs: Scaling MR (2.7@18×9 = 24 Magic Resist) Scaling AP (3.1@18×9 = 28 Ability Power) Scaling CDR (-1.11@18×9 = -10% Cooldowns) Quintessences: Armor Pen (2.56×3 = 7.7 Penetration) Ability Power (5×3 = 15 Ability Power) Gold per ten (1×3 = 3 gold per 10secs) Health (26×3 = 78 Health) Now some pictures and notes, in that order:

ArmorPenRunes
Armor Penetration Runes

This rune build grants Armor, Magic Resist and Armor Penetration. AD based Champions need Armor Penetration to counter any armor that the enemy team is going to build, and needs Armor and Magic Resist for his/her own defense, as most will be building straight damage items. This allows an early game boost needed to get kills/assists and get gold for later use.

Ability Power and Mana per 5 Runes
Ability Power and Mana per 5 Runes

For the glass cannon caster, this build grants Flat Ability Power, Ability Power per level, Magic Penetration, and Mana Regen. These are the bread and butter stats that casters (some supports can benefit from this build, more on that later) need to get kills and have some sustain. Back line fighters with long range poke, the casters don’t have to worry about building too much defense, and many AP granting items already have some built in defense.

Ability Power and Health Runes
Ability Power and Health Runes

For the AP Bruiser, and especially for those AP Champs that don’t have mana (Akali, etc), this build provides Flat Ability Power, Scaling Magic Resist, Scaling Health and Magic Penetration. This type of champion doesn’t need as much of an early AP boost as much as they need sustain. I choose the scaling MR over the scaling AP here because these champs tend to be melee, and anti-caster, so you’ll need the extra MR.

Straight Defensive Runes
Straight Defensive Runes

This is for the tanks, and you’ll randomly be the tank a time or two, regardless of if you always like to play ADC’s. A tank needs MR, Armor and Health. I chose to stack the scaling health seals and flat health quints to allow for an early boost and extra health every level, and to use Armor marks instead of seals. The loss of a couple of points of armor is more than made up for with the extra health.

Support Runes
Support Runes

This is actually the Support rune build that I use in Classic games. It is still useful in ARAM, and if you are going to play dedicated support, I will still recommend it, although many times when I play Sona or Soraka I choose to get more AP because heals scale off of it and sometimes that works better than this build. Depends on your mood/playstyle. This build gives what supports need to support, including Armor, Magic Penetration, Scaling Cooldown Reduction and Gold per 5. Supports typically don’t get minion or champion kills, so the extra gold helps with buying items. Supports spam their abilities, so CDR is needed, and the Armor and MPen help with pokes on both ends.

Masteries:

To cover all of your bases, I recommend the use of 7 Mastery pages. Thankfully, you can have up to 20 Mastery pages without having to spend a dime on them, so these you can set up as soon as you are Summoner level 30. Until then you won’t have all 30 points to spend, but you can start spending the points before you are maximum level. I have labeled my pages “AD Defense”, “AP Defense”, “AD Tank”, “AP Tank”, “AD Utility”, “AP Utility”, and “Support.”

Attack Damage and Defense
Attack Damage and Defense

This page is for your AD Bruisers, like Pantheon, Kha’zix, Garen, etc. It’s 21/9/0, and provides all of the AD oriented skills in the Offense tree, along with health, armor, and MR in the Defense Tree. This page typically combos with the Armor pen rune page, so that the Penetration and defensive bonuses stack. This page can also be used for ADC’s, if you like a little extra defense for them.

Ability Power and Defense
Ability Power and Defense

This is your AP Bruiser’s mastery page. Someone like Akali or Elise who will benefit from additional AP/Mpen, and also from the Health and Armor/MR. I use this page in conjunction with the AP Health rune page, so that the bonuses stack. These types of champions either don’t have mana or don’t have a need for as much of it, because they aren’t spamming abilities and that’s why we avoid the Utility tree.

Attack Damage Tank
Attack Damage Tank

Typically tanks are more AP based, but there are some that rely on Attack damage and Armor Pen. Tanks like Volibear are a good example, although if you’re using a Bruiser and you end up being the only tank-ish champion on your team, it might be a good idea to build tankier as you will be taking the brunt of the damage. This provides a small amount of CDR and AD/Pen, but mostly gives a defensive boost that the tank will need. Combined with the Straight Defense rune page, you will have plenty of extra health, armor and MR to survive the early team fights and protect your team.

Ability Power Tank
Ability Power Tank

Same as the AD Tank page, but in the offensive tree take points in the extra AP/MPen. This will apply to most tanks, as most tanks are Ability Power based. This will also be combined with the Straight Defense rune page for maximum protection.

Attack Damage and Utility
Attack Damage and Utility

This page is made for ADC’s. It mainly provides offensive boosts, but also gives some mana and mana regen. This helps with sustain and allows you to spam your pokes, with is going to be your primary focus in the game. I combine this page with the Armor Pen runes for maximum harass/damage.

Ability Power and Utility
Ability Power and Utility

Like the AD/Utility page, except for AP casters, who are going to be glass cannons. The offense tree shifts to the right, utility remains the same. Combine this with the AP MP5 page for maximum damage, with AP Health for more sustain.

Support Masteries
Support Masteries

The Support mastery page is also like the Support rune page, I built it for Classic, but it can be used in ARAM. I recommend using this build when you are going to play a true support, I.E. never killing creeps or going for champion kills, only assists. It provides more starting gold, and gold per 5 along with CDR (this combined with the CDR from runes means less items with CDR need to be built, allowing for some AP or other supporty items to be built). Extra movement speed is great for jukes.

General Tips:

Team comp is what makes or breaks ARAM. You will be given 5 random champions, and you won’t know who you are opposing, so take this into account when trading or re-rolling champs. If you can’t stand your champion, offer it up for trade before re-rolling, as someone else might be particularly good with that champ. If you have an all melee team, think about re-rolling for some range. If you have all AD or AP on your team, think about re-rolling for the opposite. You might still get unlucky, but your efforts will not go unnoticed. From there, you can worry about your rune and mastery builds. Let me give you an example: I get into the lobby, and I have Olaf. My team consists of Elise, Shyvanna, Garen and Blitzcrank. We have very little poke, so it would be best that someone re-rolls. I volunteer, and end up with Twitch. We are still an AD heavy team, but we at least have a little more range. At this point I would choose my Armor Pen rune page and my AD/Utility Mastery page. Each game is going to be different, and you won’t necessarily have teammates that know their champions, or work together with trades/re-rolls to get the best possible team comp. But if you practice these steps, you will win more games. Teams that work together win a hell of a lot more than teams full of trolls. If you don’t get a champion you want, don’t rage quit. Stick it out. I have had plenty of games with champs I am not so good with that still ended in victory because I/my team didn’t give up. Keep playing! The more games you play, the better you will get. Happy Gaming!