Once again, a preseason crossed our path, and it came bundled with big changes.
A preseason such as this could be seen as a period of adaptation for the soon-to-come season. And although a preseason arrives once each year, many players struggle to gain a stable footing during it.
In order to fit into the new meta, pro players are again busying themselves by researching and analyzing the changes - no different to the regular players. But also, there are light-users that just don't have the time or resources to consistently research the game to keep up-to-date with new information. Therefore, they often look up pick-statistics or professional players' guides and/or match history for clues.
For this year's preseason, what kind of runes are the pros taking? Of course, many players are all hard at work, looking for the best setup. But the set of players that we'll be looking at today are none other than the 2017 LCK All-Star lineup, possibly the strongest combination of players.
■ CuVee, Utilizing 'Press the Attack' and 'Grasp of the Undying'
During the most recent World Championship, CuVee showed outstanding performance. He's been given the nickname, "JJamille," for his great performance on Camille. He has also displayed utilization of aggressive macro to lead the team to victory with Kennen. Despite the fact that the current meta favors tanks, CuVee acted as the perfect spear. He himself also played tanks, and he was a reliable one at that.
When you hear the name, CuVee, it almost instantly reminds you of Camille. So what kind of runes does he use for her? The path that CuVee has been using for Camille is 'Precision'; and his secondary, either Sorcery or Resolve to add a bit of tankiness to the champion. There were times when he took transcendence for the CDR as well.
The build that he uses the most often, Precision's main keystone is 'Press the Attack'. When you basic attack an enemy champion 3 times within a certain timeframe, it has the ability to make them vulnerable. The part that we need to pay attention to is the "vulnerable" part.
Once a champion becomes vulnerable, he or she takes 12% increased damage from incoming attacks. As it's a stone that synergizes with the entire team, the rune is favored by bruisers and ADCs. In addition, the adaptive damage that comes with it helps with the laning phase by further improving your damage.
Most tank champions at the moment are mainly taking the 'Resolve' path. Those with CC usually takes 'Aftershock' while the more aggressive types take 'Grasp of the Undying'. If you take a look at CuVee's Cho'Gath, a popular champion in the tank meta, he took Resolve as the primary path; and Sorcery or Precision as the secondary.
The main Keystone of his choice is Grasp of the Undying. The remade stone is basically an upgraded version of the former one, and it synergizes well with Cho'Gath's 'E'. From the way it is used by the players, Grasp of the Undying looked to be a great Keystone for aggressive tanks.
Also, Grasp comes with extra damage, a form of heal, and even the ability to permanently increase your maximum health. This Keystone could be used widely for many different situations and is why it's one of the most popular ones.
■ 'Legends Never Die', Ambition's Sejuani and Jarvan Build
At the center of 'Samsung Galaxy', there is Ambition.
During the 2017 World Championship, Ambition displayed fantastic usage of Sejuani by being the solid player that acted as the core of the team. His usage of Jarvan was also nothing to scoff at; as he had managed to pull off 2 spear drags with 1 flag and blowing 3 enemy flashes with 1 ultimate.
The two mentioned champions still have a high pickrate and winrate in the current meta, and Ambition takes Resolve for Sejuani and Domination for Jarvan.
The Keystone, Aftershock, brings a wide variety of stats that tanks crave. Its condition to activate, immobilizing an enemy champion, can be fully taken advantage of by Sejuani, a champion that arms herself with CC. The armor and magic resistance buff that is applied when you land a CC is also a huge help; letting you sustain more damage.
As for his secondary path, Ambition took Precision with 'Triumph' and 'Legend: Alacrity', two abilities that activate when you participate in a kill. We could see that he put emphasis on developing through ganking and kill participating.
Jarvan left a large impact at the 2017 Worlds Finals - and he is an aggressive jungler. To match with his playstyle, Ambition took the Domination path for his runes. The Keystone of his choice, Electrocute, is a skill that functions in a similar way to the old Thunderlord's Decree.
Electrocute is a Keystone that activates upon landing 3 auto-attacks and/or skills on a single champion. Once the conditions are met, it deals adaptive damage on the target; allowing the user of the Keystone to deal a strong burst of damage in a short amount of time. Ambition also took 'Sudden Impact' on his rune page, which is a skill that synergizes well with Jarvan's E+Q combo; allowing for a more aggressive playstyle.
For his secondary path on Jarvan, Ambition took Precision. But unlike the Sejuani, in which he took sustain over damage, Ambition has been favoring 'Last Stand'. For his other rune, as attack speed is a major factor in jungle clear speeds, Ambition took 'Legend: Alacrity' for Jarvan as well.
■ Is He Practicing Malzahar? Faker's Leblanc and Malzahar Rune Setup
The biggest star in the League of Legends esports scene, Faker! Being highly regarded as the best midlaner in the world, Faker has been voted to be the midlaner representative for LCK All-Star - with this year's being his 4th. He talents a wide variety of champions... but he had no play-record of Galio ever since his return from Worlds, and it was a shame as Faker's play on Galio left everyone breathless during the tournament.
Many champions come to mind when we hear the name, Faker. But if we are forced to pick only a few, we can't leave out his Leblanc. During the preseason, Faker had consistently played Leblanc. For his primary path, he took Domination with the Electrocute Keystone. His choice of Keystone probably stemmed from his playstyle; dealing as much damage as possible in a short amount of time.
For slot 1, Faker took 'Sudden Impact'. The rune activates when Leblanc leaps with her W, and it grants her 8 magic penetration; improving your damage by a significant amount. As for slot 2, Faker chose either 'Zombie Ward' or 'Eyeball Collection'. As for the final slot in the primary path, Faker used either Ravenous or Relentless hunter.
For his secondary path, Faker chose either Sorcery or Precision. And whenever he went down the Sorcery path, he never left out 'Scorch' for the extra damage. As for his other rune, he often took either 'Transcendence' or 'Absolute Focus'.
Malzahar is Faker's most played champion during the preseason. By always taking the Sorcery primary path, his Keystone of choice was 'Summon Aery'. It's most likely that he took this keystone over 'Arcane Comet' because of the consistent damage Aery brings.
Also, Faker favored 'Manaflow Band'. 'The Ultimate Hat' might seem like the superior choice as it synergizes with Malzahar's strongest ability, his ult. But Malzahar is a mana-thirsty champion that consistently uses skills to push out the lane. The Band brings Malzahar sustain in lane. In addition, he took Scorch and Transcendence for more damage and CDR.
For his secondary path, Faker often went down the inspiration path, and he never left out 'Cosmic Insight'. For the other rune, Faker took either 'Hextech Flashtraption' or 'Magical Footwear', though he seemed to have favored the ladder more.
■ PraY's Ashe and Kleptomancy Ezreal
PraY has shown the fans just how accurate he can be with Ashe's ultimates. Packed with outstanding mechanics, PraY has every quality that makes a successful ADC: Great mechanics, safe positioning, always focusing the correct target, and a great looking face.
PraY's Ashe is world-famous for her ultimate and its accuracy. Although PraY wasn't able to play her during Worlds due to the meta, he started testing her during the preseason. And for her build, PraY took Precision for the primary path and Resolution/Sorcery for the secondary path.
For his Keystone, PraY took Press the Attack. This gives us a hint that instead of only relying on himself to carry, he took the importance of team synergy. Ashe is a champion that grants vision and a strong form of CC through her ultimate. As a supportive ADC, this rune actually fits her quite well.
As for the secondary path, he used either Resolution or Sorcery. For Resolution, he took sustain in the form of 'Mirror Shell' and 'Second Wind', to be able to endure enemies' harass. Whenever he took Sorcery for the secondary path, he took The Ultimate Hat to shorten his ultimate's cooldown.
Next up is Ezreal, a champion that has probably benefited the most from the rune changes. Ezreal is a champion that has an incredible synergy with the Kleptomacy Keystone from the Inspiration path. The keystone gives Ezreal both more gold and sustain.
So unlike most other ADCs, Ezreal takes Inspiration as the primary path. PraY also does the same and takes Sorcery as the secondary. His choice of runes from the main path includes Cosmic Insight for the CDR and Future's Market that allows him to purchase items sooner.
For his secondary path, PraY took Manaflow Band and Score for both sustain and extra damage. This rune page has basically become a staple for any Ezreal players in the KR server.
■ GorillA's Aery-Janna and Taric With Resolve
The founder of support Miss Fortune.
GorillA is very well-known as a support player that often plays unorthodox champions. Currently, news has it that he's been practicing Lux support... and it made us anticipate for All-Stars even more.
Although it's an old nickname, GorillA was once called, "Janna's father". He is extremely skilled on the champion, and it's further proven through his play-data of the preseason. Following Patch 7.19, Janna transitioned from being a defensive support to an aggressive one... but her playstyle is still pretty much the same, as her abilities saw no change.
For Janna's primary path, GorillA took Sorcery, and for his secondary, Inspiration. For his Keystone, he took Summon Aery, a Keystone that provides both offense and defense. He then took The Ultimate Hat and Transcendence for CDR.
As for his secondary path, GorillA took Cosmic Insight for the CDR and Future's Market to speed up his buys.
The champion that caught our attention the most was GorillA's Taric.
During the preseason, GorillA has been consistently practicing Taric. For his build, he took Resolve for the primary path... but his Keystone of choice always differed from game to game.
Excluding the Keystone, the other runes in the primary path were always the same. For his first rune, he always took 'Font of Life' to aid in his team's heal. For the other two runes, he took 'Iron Skin' and 'Revitalize' to increase his tankiness and sustain. For his secondary path, GorillA took either Sorcery for aggressive macro or Inspiration for defensive macro.
During the preseason, Taric was played 5 times by GorillA. But excluding the one game in which he lost after taking Grasp of the Undying, GorillA has won the rest. His most successful Keystone according to the data was Guardian, most likely due to the synergy granted by its shield and MS.