It just wouldn’t be a League of Legends pre-season without a heap of changes to the rune system, would it? Luckily, this year the whole thing isn’t being rebuilt from the ground up like last time, but there are still some hefty updates coming our way.
There are some smaller changes, like a new rune and some stat changes here and there, but the biggest whopper of an update is the introduction of Stat Shards. These shards are a combination of stat boosts that you will manually select to go along with your rune paths, and they’ll be replacing the predetermined stat boosts that you used to receive just for picking a path.
For example, while in Season Eight, you’d be assigned health and attack speed for choosing the Resolve path and the Precision path. In 2019, however, you won’t receive any stats automatically, and you’ll have to manually choose and assign them after the fact. This is all done in your rune pages, and you’ll have access to all of them for free, unlike the old rune system circa 2017 and before.
These shards, located in the bottom right side of your rune page, are split into three categories. There’s offense, flex, and finally defense. Don’t worry, Riot seems to have sorted them out properly, because there’s still good tank options in the offense category, and there’s good carry options in the defense category.
You have three options for each category, and you can choose any of those three you’d like in any row. In offense, there’s adaptive force, which just gives you 10 AP or AD just like adaptive damage in the rest of the rune pages. There’s also attack speed, and the third one is for cooldown reduction. Obviously, a tank would probably want cooldown reduction, an assassin or mage would pick adaptive, and a marksman would want attack speed. Those are just some examples.
In the second row, flex, there’s mixed defensive and offensive options, but still only three to choose from just like the first row. There’s adaptive force again, which does stack if you also chose adaptive force in the first row, meaning you can hit a total of 20 AP or AD from your shard layout. There’s also magic resist and armor as the other two options. As a tank, or if you just want more resistance, you could choose either MR or armor depending on your comp and the enemy’s.
And then finally comes the third row, which is used for defense. In this row, you can choose from scaling health, armor, and MR, so regardless of what type of champion you’re playing, you will need some form of minor defenses in the form of your Stat Shard.
Here are some examples of shard builds per champion type.
- Tank (Sejuani, Zac, Ornn): CDR in offense, armor or MR in flex, scaling health in defense. Jungle tank could swap CDR for attack speed.
- Marksman (Tristana, Kai’Sa, Sivir): Attack speed in offense, adaptive force in flex, health in defense. Burst marksmen like Lucian or Jhin could run double adaptive force.
- Mage (Syndra, Ahri, LeBlanc): Adaptive force in both offense and flex, and either MR or armor depending on your lane match-up. Support mages could run CDR over one adaptive force, or health over a resistance in defense.
These are just a few combinations you could try, with even more coming in for fighters, bruisers, skirmishers, and other sorts of champions. The goal behind Stat Shards is to allow players to experiment with different rune paths and keystone runes, since now they won’t be pigeonholed into only certain options due to the stats given. Imagine running Domination-Sorcery Ekko jungle for the extra movement speed, without sacrificing some attack speed for jungle clear because now you can take it with your shard instead. Again, that’s only one example out of many.
The shards should be arriving in the live client with the majority of this pre-season’s gameplay changes with Patch 8.23 next week.