Recently, a new rune page has surfaced in high elo gameplay. It is believed that use of this page started in Korea high elo. However, I’m not convinced entirely. Multi-time rank 1-attaining Jeong “Apdo” Sang-gil explains in a video he once made that most meta trends, especially those based on alternate strategies actually get their starts in Silver or Gold. He goes on to explain that Silver and Gold players are generally more courageous in experimentation than those in Master or Challenger. Sometimes their ideas are horrible, but sometimes not. Word travels through the Internet in various ways. Eventually, the idea will reach a high-elo player who will decide “this doesn’t seem that bad”. While it may have been popularized by the Korea’s high elo, it’s unlikely that it’s where it actually started.
So, what is this rune page, who is it for, and what does it accomplish? The rune page is for AD Carry, a role that holds a special place in my heart. If you know me at all from reading my articles, you’ll know this is because it is my role.
I realize this screenshot comes out a little blurry when I enlarge it, but it’s hard to read when it’s small. Your keystone is Fleet Footwork. On the precision page, you take Overheal, Legend: Bloodline, and Coup de Grace (or Cut Down). Then, using Domination for your secondary tree, you take Taste of Blood and Ravenous Hunter. As you can see, there are four masteries that will grant you some form of healing. This totals a pretty large amount of healing, making your laning phase much more sustain-based.
This was made possible by buffs to Fleet Footwork and Overheal in patch 7.24. Fleet Footwork was initially one of the lowest performing keystones, as was Overheal. In patch 7.24, Fleet Footwork was buffed to use a higher Bonus AD Ratio and to interact with critical strikes, a crit increasing the healing by 40%. Overheal was also buffed to charge from 40% of the healing you do yourself, instead of only 30%.
A Not-So-Long Awaited Return
Towards the end of Season 7’s “Main Season”, this item became a popular start on AD Carries. This was a result of the Ardent Censer meta. The idea was that Ardent Censer as a first item was so powerful that rushing it was the top priority for botlane. Relic Shield allows you to funnel more gold into your support for the sole purpose of getting them this item faster.
Today, it will serve a different purpose, and for different reasons. In patch 7.22, relic Shield was buffed to cause its healing to scale with 2% of its targets’ missing health. Support items, in general, were also made to include the old Bandit mastery, which was not included in Runes Reforged but valued by Supports for its gold income. However, this means that other roles can start with these items and use them for their extra gold generation. While I will not be covering this in this article, ADCs are not the only abuser. Toplaners such as Nasus, Gangplank, and Teemo have also been starting with support items quite often for basically the same reason.
The reason AD Carries will use Relic Shield for this purpose is that of its healing and ability to generate gold for your support. There’s not really a support item that you should feel the need to funnel extra gold into your support for the sole purpose of getting it. However, extra gold in the pocket of your botlane friend is almost never a bad thing.
Basically, this rune page allows you to sustain very easily in lane and generate a lot of gold.
Impact on the Meta
I believe the ripple effect that this page will have on the meta will be gigantic. Before this, poke was very much in the meta. Miss Fortune, Jhin, Lethality Varus, Comet Ashe. Now though, since sustain is so good against poke, it should make things like this less desirable to play. Poke may not leave the meta entirely, as Manaflow Band and Arcane Comet are still strong, but the playstyle took quite a few nerfs.
This rune page may allow for the return of greedier ADCs who take a bit longer to scale. For example, Tristana, Twitch, Vayne or Kog’Maw. Not only will they be sustaining with all their healing, Relic Shield + Overheal will give them essentially an extra 125 base health. This should definitely help with less-than-favorable lane matchups. Meanwhile, the extra gold generation will help reach item spikes faster.
There are a few drawbacks to the usage of this page. By prioritizing sustain, you’re losing out on quite a significant amount of damage. There’s no Press the Attack, no Lethal Tempo, no Legend: Alacrity. Your goal is basically to make this up with items. Generally, this what you’re going for when you play AD Carry anyway. If you wind up behind in gold though, you’ll be the Tickle Master. Overheal is another one. While it may provide a lot of lane presence, as the game goes onto the mid and later stages, it will certainly not be as good as Triumph.
This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but I would personally question the usage of Ravenous Hunter. On many ADCs, Ravenous Hunter does almost nothing. There’s a few unexpected interactions with it. For example, Kog’Maw can heal off of on-hit damage with Ravenous Hunter. Vayne can do the same thing with her Silver Bolts, but this should not total a large amount of healing. Especially when you consider that Silver Bolts are not the ability you max first as Vayne.
Riot has stated very clearly that they do not like support items being abused by other roles. Without the gold generation from these items, even cheap support items are pretty difficult to acquiesce the gold to buy. They exist to help champions who want to be earning less gold per minute still keep up with the pace of the game. So, when they are being abused by non-support roles in order to gain as much gold as possible, they see this as an issue.
Often times, in League of Legends, the solution to a balancing problem may not be so simple. Generally, Riot wants to avoid overnerfing something if they feel like they can. Nerfing something directly often favors short-term balance, but can have large ramifications as far as long-term balance is concerned. For example, let’s assume, just for a moment, that Riot nerfed Miss Fortune much harder in patch 7.24. Then let’s assume that this new meta trend ripples through and changes the botlane meta to hypercarries. Now, Miss Fortune is garbage. It’s not her fault that Riot made all these new runes that had so much benefit for her.
This time, I believe the solution is quite simple. Relic Shield should be 100% Melee Only. Tiamat, Ravenous Hydra, Titanic Hydra, and Sterak’s Gage, are all items that the game will simply not allow you to purchase if you are ranged. Why not make Relic Shield be the same way? It was made for melee supports anyway. All in all, there were really only be one victim: Thresh. You may think that “Oh, Thresh can just switch to Coin.” I think that topic is a bit more complicated than that, but that’s for another time.
Personally, I thought the Relic Shield to rush Ardent Censer for your support would have warranted this change. It’s not that I’m salty that they didn’t do that and now feel the need to say “I told you so”. This may not necessarily be a huge issue as far as game balance is concerned. Even if this makes it easier to play a more scaling-based ADC, those champions can still be pushed in during lane. Pushing lanes naturally present more opportunities to take control of those parts of the map. Whether it’s setting up vision around objectives, tracking the enemy jungler, roaming mid, or setting up a dive, a pushing lane matchup will always have its potential rewards. This trend may not, in fact “break the entire botlane meta”. On the contrary, I don’t believe the trend of Relic Shield on ADCs is healthy in the long run. There’s a lot of “what its” that could push something like this over the edge. What if a support item becomes able to have the impact that Ardent Censer did? What if the extra gold income pushes supports to build greedier items? I don’t want to get too crazy with “what if” scenarios because they are ultimately just that.