Thanks to the new rune system introduced at the start of the preseason in November, there are now endless possibilities for champion builds. You can dictate how tanky they are, how well they synchronize with ranged harass, what roles they can play, and almost any other play style you can possibly think of.
We came up with a few fun rune builds that capitalize on very specific strengths of champions, like Tahm Kench and his tongue, Hecarim and his passive, and Ziggs’ tower-shredding capabilities. After testing them out and confirming that, yes, they actually do work, we’re passing them along to you to take into the wonderful world of League of Legends to try for yourself.
Before you take them out into the wild, though, be warned that these rune builds will force you to play these champions in a different way than you’re used to, and may require some practice before taking them into ranked.
We won’t judge you if you don’t practice before taking them into ranked, but at least we can say we warned you.
1) Approach Velocity Tahm Kench
This build turns the toad into a harass machine. His Q, Tongue Lash, already deals more damage than you’d think, but with the Sorcery path, Arcane Comet, and Scorch, it’s going to pack even more of a punch than it did already. Manaflow Band will allow him to spam his Q more, and the slow from his tongue will all but guarantee the comet will land.
The pièce de résistance, however, is Approach Velocity in Inspiration, the secondary rune path of the build. Whenever you land one of those hard-hitting Tongue Lashes, you’ll gain a big movement speed buff when you’re approaching your target in order to basic attack and then gobble them up. This rune works best if you’re using Devour to eat minions and throw them at enemies rather than using it on allies to protect them, because your health is going to be considerably lower than if you run the Resolve path, at least at first.
2) Phase Rush Hecarim
Hecarim has been played a lot this offseason, but mostly as an assassin with the Predator or Electrocute runes. This build gives him some sustained damage that will allow him to build tankier and still deal a significant chunk of damage spread out through larger fights. The combination of Celerity, Waterwalking, and Relentless Hunter will provide him with scaling damage, thanks to his passive, which is further boosted by Phase Rush.
When Phase Rush pops it lasts for three seconds, which means he’ll have three solid seconds of higher AD from his passive, which converts movement speed to AD. That three-second boost will multiply with the other three movement speed-based runes to give him quite the hefty damage boost, and that boost will last throughout a fight rather than going away after one solid burst.
3) Glacial Augment Zyra
OK, hear us out, we promise it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Patch 7.24 made a few traditional AP mages viable junglers, and among the best of those champions is Zyra. She has a relatively healthy clear and very powerful ganks, but there’s one little problem. You can’t run Arcane Comet, because you’ll only get a fraction of the use out of it than you’d get from the lane, which prompted us to find one that actually worked more often than not.
The slow from Glacial Augment provides more power to her ganks, and both Perfect Timing and Magical Footwear make the build less costly. Approach Velocity will trigger every time she lands a basic attack to trigger the Glacial Augment slow, and Manaflow Band will let her spam more abilities to stay alive in the jungle. She can also get away with building the Hextech GLP, because her abilities’ base damage counts are so high that she doesn’t need as much raw AP as other junglers, further synergizing with Glacial Augment. Don’t knock it til’ you try it.
4) Demolish Ziggs
Between Lich Bane, Ziggs’ passive ability, and his Satchel Charge, Ziggs can eat through towers faster than any other mage in the game. So, what happens when you throw Demolish into the equation? If you have the unfortunate luck of facing one of these Ziggs players, we’ll tell you right now—it isn’t fun.
If you leave him alone in your lane for 20 seconds, he can push the wave with his AoE kit in the blink of an eye, walk up to your tower, and delete half of its health with only an item and a half. Ziggs is extremely strong in the poke meta right now, and with his tower-shredding ability amped up even more with Demolish, you’ll find that he scales extremely well into the teamfighting and splitpushing stages of the game.
5) Dark Harvest Morgana
Much like Zyra, Morgana was made viable as a jungler with Patch 7.24, and also like Zyra, there isn’t a keystone rune that feels quite right with her. Arcane Comet, her usual keystone, feels a fraction as useful as it is when she is in a lane, but Dark Harvest actually provides her with a lot of utility. Assuming she’s cleared a couple camps to stack it up, she can land her snare during a gank, and then follow up with a devastating basic attack.
That basic attack is amped up even more by Cheap Shot, which makes her deal true damage when she hits a target with impaired movement. The rest of the runes in this build are simply there to provide her with some more utility, such as more healing from Ravenous Hunter to sync up with her passive, Approach Velocity to make ganks easier after landing a snare, and Perfect Timing to give her a jump-start on building a Zhonya’s Hourglass.