Riot attempts to balance out Keystone Runes for League’s 2020 preseason

Three runes are being toned down.

Image via Riot Games

Riot Games unveiled a lot of new content, games, and plans for the future during its 10-year anniversary event yesterday. While it’s easy for something like rune changes to get lost in the commotion, the developer is targeting three Keystones that have been dominating the meta.

Riot is focusing on tweaking the Conqueror, Kleptomancy, and Aftershock Keystone Runes in the upcoming season, according to yesterday’s in-depth Preseason 2020 reveal. The runes simply outweigh other options in their respective lanes, making them a must-pick for most situations.

Image via Riot Games


The Conqueror Keystone has given Riot’s balance team difficulty since its conception. The rune gives players’ attacks and abilities adaptive force stacks which, at max stacks, convert eight percent of the damage to true damage and healing.

Brawling champions, like Sylas and Irelia, benefit from Conqueror because they prefer a drawn out fight. This allows them to deal true damage and heal throughout the encounter, which makes them impossible to one-vs-one and a nightmare for tanks.

“Conqueror has been too effective at allowing sustained damage fighters to deal with tanks, who have lost their place in solo lanes as a result,” Riot said. “We’re toning down the anti-tank nature of the rune by removing the true damage conversion and putting more power into the stacking adaptive force.”

By removing the true damage on the rune, champions who build tanky items should stand up better to Conqueror users.


Kleptomancy has proven ideal for scaling champions looking to wait out their subpar laning phase, like Ezreal. The rune grants players five gold when they basic attack an enemy twice within 10 seconds, while sometimes giving a consumable item instead. Champions who prioritize poke damage, like Kennen, also benefit from the rune by hitting melee legends uncontested.

Riot seeks to balance that by providing less gold from attacks and prioritizing consumable items, like elixirs.

“Kleptomancy has been commonly used as a way to generate lots of gold in an uneven matchup, like ranged vs melee top lane,” Riot said. “We’re pulling power out of the ‘farm gold off of my enemy’ pattern and pushing more into the early game elixir drops.”


The Aftershock Keystone gives armor and magic resist to champions after they immobilize an enemy before exploding for an area of effect (AoE) burst. This was intended for tankier support and top lane champions, but squishier champs began to abuse the extra beef it provides.

“Aftershock continues to attract squishy champs looking to negate their intended fragility,” Riot said. “We’re lowering the flat resistances more on this rune and buffing the power it gives to tankier champions.”

The changes will begin testing in the Public Beta Environment (PBE) before going live with Patch 9.23 in November.