Ultimate Guide on Keystone Runes

Runes are stat boosting effects that are chosen before the match starts. You can either choose the presets available or customize them based on your playstyle and your matchup.

Understanding Runes are an important part of learning Wild Rift. One reason for this is because a certain set of Rune works well with a certain playstyle, so you might be playing inefficiently with Runes that are not meant for it. As a result, it will hinder your output and progression through the ranks.

The right Rune combination can theoretically determine who would win when you are facing an enemy equally as skilled as you are.

This guide aims to make you, our dear reader, understand the Keystone runes so you can select the best Runes and Rune combinations which are perfect for your playstyle.

Rune Types

Let’s first take an overview on all types of runes.

Keystone Runes

Keystone Runes are the major runes with significant offensive or defensive effects. Because of its considerable impact to one’s gameplay, choosing the right Keystone Rune for their champion is a crucial part of the game.

  • Electrocute
  • Aery
  • Conqueror
  • Fleet Footwork
  • Grasp of the Undying
  • Aftershock
  • Font of Life
  • Kleptomancy

Domination Runes

Domination Runes are minor runes which are offensive in nature. It provides small offensive bonuses which are not as significant as Keystone Runes but could possibly impact the game significantly as well. In terms of minor runes, domination runes are arguably the most important.

  • Brutal
  • Gathering Storm
  • Hunter – Vampirism
  • Triumph
  • Weakness
  • Champion

Resolve Runes

Resolve Runes are minor runes which are defensive in nature. It provides small defensive bonuses which grants either health, different kinds of resistances, or regeneration.

  • Backbone
  • Conditioning
  • Hunter – Titan
  • Regeneration
  • Loyalty
  • Spirit Walker

Inspiration Runes

Inspiration runes are minor runes which grants a variety of utility stats such as movement speed bonus, ability haste, mana, or damage to Epic monsters and turrets, and bonus gold.

  • Pathfinder
  • Mastermind
  • Hunter – Genius
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Pack Hunter
  • Manaflow Band

So Above are the type of runes in wild rift. now, lets go deep into Keystone Runes

Keystone Runes

Electrocute

Electrocute is the Keystone Rune for burst damage champions. It makes you deal bonus adaptive damage when you hit an enemy with three separate attacks or abilities within three seconds. Adaptive damage means that it deals physical or magical damage depending on which stat of yours is higher.

Another important thing to note is that you have to hit the enemy with separate attacks or abilities. For example, if you use Garen’s E(3), Judgment, it will only count as one stack even if you hit the enemy multiple times. It’s the same for (almost) all abilities such as Ahri’s W(2), Fox-Fire or Wukong’s R(4), Cyclone. I said it’s “almost” because it has an exception which is Zed. The duplicate abilities from his shadows counts separately so its possible to activate Electrocute with him without auto attacking or using his ultimate.

Pros

  • Reliable source of bonus damage to increase your burst damage in combos
  • Strong early game impact which helps on trading and establishing lane control especially for mid laners.

Cons

  • 25 second cooldown which is not affected by ability haste. Proccing this rune twice in a clash is rare.
  • Loses to Conqueror in drawn out fights.

Example of champions that uses Electrocute:

  • Zed
  • Lee Sin
  • Evelynn
  • Wukong
  • Gragas
  • Ahri
  • Akali
  • Fizz
  • Olaf
  • Shyvana

Conqueror

Conqueror is the Keystone Rune for champions with strong DPS (damage per second) output, particularly bruisers (Fighters) and ADCs (Attack Damage Carry or Marksman). It grants bonus adaptive damage every time you hit the enemy with separate attacks or abilities. After gaining the maximum five stacks, it grants 10% bonus damage on top of all your damage output. The bonus AD or AP stacks together with the 10% bonus damage.

Conqueror’s stack counter works exactly like Electrocute except that when you have the maximum stacks, the buff refreshes its duration every time you damage the enemy with a new attack or ability.

Pros

  • Conqueror has no cooldown. Its effect is useful all throughout a fight.
  • Increases your damage over time. The longer the fight drags on, the stronger you become.

Cons

  • Underwhelming in the laning phase and in the early game because fights are never long enough to activate the full benefits of Conqueror yet.
  • Loses out to Electrocute in short burst trades.

Example of champions that uses Conqueror:

  • Wukong
  • Darius
  • Zed
  • Olaf
  • Ezreal
  • Xin Zhao
  • Shyvana
  • Jax
  • Yasuo
  • Graves
  • Garen
  • Camille

Electrocute Vs. Conqueror

I did a short test with Garen and Zed to compare the damage output for both champions. I used Garen for the auto attack test because he is a champion without any auto attack modifiers so it will be easier to judge the effects of the Runes alone. I used Zed for the full combo test because he is a champion who can potentially use both Runes effectively.

Garen – Auto Attack Test

It’s obvious from the data that Electrocute (the orange line) is superior on the short run or through burst damage, but its performance drops after its effect procs and Conqueror (the blue line) shine after and produces consistently higher damage afterwards.

This graph shows that after 8 attacks, Conqueror starts to outperform Electrocute in terms of total damage output.

Zed – Burst Damage Test

Zed’s full burst damage combo, W+R+Q+E+AA deals at least 8 instances of damage in quick succession so it’s not clear as to which Rune deals more damage at first glance. Most people use Electrocute on him and it is clear that Electrocute is more helpful in the early game. Yet, Conqueror is the recommended rune on his Bruiser build plus I had a friend who was a Challenger on League of Legends PC use Conqueror on him and succeed consistently. So, what gives?

I tried the combo in three different scenarios. First, with Electrocute:


It dealt a total of 4,410 damage.

Second, with the Conqueror:


It dealt a total of 4,070. It is expected that on burst damage combos, Conqueror does worst. But I came up with an idea. The 4,070 value started without the Conqueror buff and ended with it. What if the combo starts with a full stack of Conqueror?

Third, with a full stack of Conqueror at the beginning of the combo:


It dealt a whopping 5,002. If a Zed player can skillfully stack his Conqueror first before applying his combo, he can potentially kill even the toughest champion of the enemy team.

This goes to reinforce our first finding that Conqueror outperforms Electrocute once its fully stacked. Although, 5 stacks are a strict restriction which is tough to proc consistently on burst damage champions.

In the end, I believe that they are balanced and it boils down to these three rules of thumb:

  1. Electrocute is for burst damage champions.
  2. Conqueror is for DPS type champions.
  3. The above two rules can be broken depending on the playstyle of the summoner/player.

Aery

Aery is the Keystone Rune for Enchanter Support because it deals extra damage to their attack or abilities and provides an extra amount of shielding to healing or shielding abilities. Aery lingers on the damaged or shielded target and it can return faster by going near the target. Aery cannot be sent out again before it goes back to its owner.

Aery is sometimes used by non-Enchanter Support Champions like Malphite because it provides strong consistent damage bonus to his Q(1), Seismic Shard. By the same virtue, Aery is theoretically better for Artillery mages because they deal consistent damage long range and Aery will consistently add bonus damage unlike when using Electrocute which will grant a damage spike only once which is contradictory to an Artillery mage’s MO.

I did a comparison using Seraphine who is both an Enchanter support and an Artillery mage. In all versions of the test, I used her Q, E, Ult, and an auto attack to proc her passive once. No ability was echoed.

Electrocute deals a little more damage but I think it is not enough extra damage to choose it over Aery because poke type champions deal damage over time which makes Aery’s short “cooldown” better for them.

Pros

  • No “cooldown”, Aery can immediately be used again once it returns.
  • Aery is a balance of both offensive and defensive effects.

Cons

  • Lower bonus damage compared to Electrocute and Conqueror

Example of Champions that uses Aery:

  • Orianna
  • Seraphine
  • Sona
  • Nami
  • Janna
  • Lux

Grasp of the Undying

Grasp of the Undying is a hybrid Rune which grants both offensive and defensive effects. Every four seconds in combat, your next attack heals you, permanently increase your HP, and deals a portion of your max health as magic damage to your target.

I think Grasp of the Undying is great for champions with built-in sustain like Garen and Dr. Mundo because you need to stay in fight for four seconds to activate the effect. You’ll want to activate the effect repeatedly to stack the max HP bonus.

Pros

  • Balanced between offensive and defensive effects which scales with maximum health.
  • Unlike Aery, Grasp’s offensive and defensive effects activate at the same time.
  • Increases maximum health.

Cons

  • Requires you to stay in combat for four seconds to activate the effect.
  • Less bonus damage compared to Conqueror and Electrocute.

Example of champions who uses Grasp of the Undying:

  • Garen
  • Dr. Mundo
  • Camille
  • Nasus
  • Fiora

Fleet Footwork

Fleet Footwork is another hybrid rune. It grants healing and bonus movement speed on your next attack with maximum Energy stacks which are acquired through moving, attacking, and casting abilities. The movement speed bonus is helpful for champions who wants the “kite” opponents. Kite or kiting is the term used to attack opponents from a distance while preventing them from fighting back by maintaining distance and constantly dodging.

Range champions uses Fleet Footwork to increase their kiting ability thanks to the bonus movement speed. Some melee champions can also use Fleet Footwork so that they can counter or keep up with kiting opponents and some high mobility champions like Tryndamere and Yasuo can also use this Rune to further increase their mobility and add to their survivability as well.

Pros

  • Consistent healing mechanism which scales with damage.
  • Bonus movement speed.

Cons

  • No bonus damage.

Grasp of the Undying Vs. Fleet Footwork

Both of these Keystone Runes have healing effects so I compared them using Dr. Mundo, a champion who can use them both with equal effectiveness (This is subject to opinion and scenarios, I know).

Fleet Footwork consistently outheals Grasp of the Undying, albeit for only a small amount.
In the end, in my opinion, the amount of healing is not large enough to overpower these two other factors:

  1. If there are no high mobility champions in the enemy team, Grasp of the Undying is the better option because it increases your HP while decreasing the enemy’s HP at the same time. For example: A 112 heal and 112 damage will result in a 224 HP difference in a single proc of Grasp of the Undying.
  2. If there are high mobility champions in the enemy team, choose Fleet Footwork because the bonus damage means nothing if you cannot reach them. Fleet Footwork is generally better in hard matchups because you can activate it on minions for a lesser extent or just kite a single hit on the opponent for the better heal. You are not forced to engage just to activate the rune.

Aftershock

Aftershock is the rune for initiators. Upon using a crowd control on an enemy, you will be fortified with a significant amount of bonus armor and magic resistance. The additional resistances will allow you to survive dives and initiations. After a short while, you will deal a burst of magic damage based on your max health in the area around you.

Pros

  • Increases survivability for initiators. Enemies will often, through reflex, target you if you dive the enemy lines. Aftershock will allow you to tank more damage.
  • Adds a little more AoE damage to your initation.

Cons

  • Its condition to immobilize enemy champions restrict its use for certain champions only.

Example of champions that uses Aftershock:

  • Alistar
  • Malphite
  • Blitzcrank
  • Amumu

Font of Life

Font of Life is a support Rune which marks enemies whose movement you have impaired. Impairing the movement of the enemy means that you have slowed, stunned, or knocked them back or up. Allies who attack the marked enemy are then healed based on your maximum health.

Braum is the most popular user of this rune because of his passive ability that allows him to consistently stun enemy champions who he attacks or used his first ability at.

I discovered that support Ashe is a great carrier of this rune, more than Braum, because her passive makes her attacks effortlessly slow the enemy’s movements. This means that an Ashe support can mark the enemy champions with Font of Life 100% of the time. She can even mark three champions at the same time with the help of Runaan’s Hurricane. (Disclaimer: This is all theoretical and I haven’t found the time to try it on rank matches yet but if anyone can vouch for this, please leave a comment below.)


Pros

  • Great amount of free, scaling sustain for your ADC and your team.

Cons

  • Does not give that much for your own champion.

Kleptomancy

Kleptomancy is, in my opinion, the most unique Keystone Rune. It is a roulette of a variety of item effects that activates when your ability or attack after using an ability hits an enemy.

Kleptomancy adds a factor of unpredictability which can either work extremely well for you or just be a useless effect. Most Ezreal players used to take advantage of this Rune because of his range and spammability of his abilities. But now, because of the nerf to his damage output, Ezreal-Kleptomancy users are now rarely seen.

I tested Kleptomancy by activating it a total of one hundred times. It took me 48 minutes to finish the test and this is what I found out:

There are three offensive item effects:

  • Statikk Shiv’s Shiv Lightning
  • Blade of the Ruined King’s Drain
  • Iceborn Gauntlet’s Spellblade

Shiv Lightning is the most common effect with 24 occurrences. You can expect to proc Shiv Lightning ¼ of the time.

Offensive effects proc’ed a total of 51 times so you can expect to have an offensive effect ½ of the time.

There are four defensive item effects:

  • Locket Enchant’s Locket
  • Glorious Enchant’s Glory
  • Redeeming Enchant’s Redeem
  • Shadow’s Enchant’s Shadows

The Locket and Glory effect both proc’ed a total of 16 times and Redemption a total of 12 times. It is safe to say that they have almost equal chances of occurring.

The Shadows effect only occurred 5 times so it is the effect with the lowest chance of appearing.

The offensive effects proc’ed a total 49 times so you can expect to have a defensive effect ½ of the time.

There is currently no champion observed to use Kleptomancy regularly but we’ll see once other effects added to this rune.

Conclusion

Keystone Runes have their unique effects and, champions have differing playstyles depending on the Runes you choose and the items you build. You can also check out our champion guides or the top builds in game so you’ll have an idea of the best Runes and builds played in the current meta.

In the end, your performance will be determined on the time and practice you spend in game. And remember, winning is nice and good but, having fun is what matters the most! Thank you for reading and good luck on your games, summoner!

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