Content of the article: "I think that the problem of rune flexibility needs to be addressed, specifically when it comes to keystones and runes for bruisers/juggernauts."
I've a post or two about the lack of versatility specifivally when it comes to fighters in the past, but none of them directly hit this specific nail on the head.
The current problem that seems to pop up concerning most fighter champions is the fact that they have very limited choices when it comes to what keystones and runes they can take. For the majority of the fighter class, conqueror is the only rune you would ever really want to be taking, as it provides all that you need with minimal drawbacks. And it is because of that aspect of it, as well as the fact that ranged champions can freely use it without significant drawbacks, that it is constantly getting changed around and nerfed.
To me, the solution of this problem is to make a new tree of runes, tailored specifically for fighters and some of the hybrid-class champions.
If you think about it, each of the current rune trees have keystones and minor runes tailored specifically for one or two classes, e.g. Sorcery for Mages and Supports, Domination for Assassins and burst, Resolve for tanks and occasionally for juggernauts. Some could argue that the Precision tree is for the fighter class, but upon closer inspection, you will actually notice that other than Conqueror, triumph, tenacity, and last stand, it's mostly centered around auto attacking carries, like ADCs.
What I am proposing is the addition of a new rune tree, as well as transferring conqueror over to it and splitting it up into two separate runes, as well as a new keystone and some new minor runes.
Now, to start off, this is how I would split conqueror into two separate keystones and the new keystone I think would be a nice addition to shake things up little(I'm not naming any of these btw):
Keystone 1: attacks and abilities that damage enemy champions grant 3-9 Adaptive force(based on level) for 8 seconds(4 seconds for ranged), which stacks up to five times. Upon reaching maximum stacks, melee champions gain a short(1.5 secs) burst of 10% movement speed towards enemy champions and increase ALL the damage you deal by 5-15%(based on level)
Keystone 2: Innately heal for 5% of all damage you deal to champions(40% effective against minions and monsters). After 5 seconds of being in combat with champions, this healing is increased to 10-15%(7.5-10% for ranged) (based on level) and the same portion of damage is converted to true damage.
(New) Keystone 3: Damaging an enemy champion reduces their resistances 1-4(based on level) for 5 seconds. This effect stacks up 10 times. At maximum stacks it reduces resistances by an additional 6-12%(based on level). Melee champions gain 50% of the resistances that they remove. You can only gain resistances from one enemy at a time, but you can reduce the resistances of multiple enemies at a time. The resistance steal prioritizes the target with the highest resistance that corresponds to your damage type(Darius would steal resistances from Malphite and Morde would steal resistances from Mundo if both were in a fight with those two)
All of these follow the same rule when stacking like the current conqueror does: Damage over time effects grant one stack every 5 seconds, with a few exceptions(Which I think is total bs but whatever)
These 3 keystones are what I believe would be perfectly suitable for most fighters. I tried my best to make each of these feel satisfying to use and balanced so that mages like cassio, ryze, etc. and most assassins are unable to abuse them to their full potential.
The main point I wanted to make with these was the fact that hypothetically, you're able to take all of these keystones in different situations. Are you up against an resistance stacking tank like ornn or malphite? Take the resistance shred rune to make them less tanky while keeping some of their tank stats. Against another fighter or a squishier target? Take the stacking damage rune to get stronger the longer you fight. Against a health stacking tank or need some extra in-fight sustain? Take the healing/true damage rune to stay in the fight longer.
Now for the minor runes. Here are the ones I've cooked up so far:
Row 1: Scoring a takedown on a champion you were in combat with for 5 or more seconds grants you a permanent health increase (50 health) (lose half of your stacks on death)
Row 1: Scoring a takedown on a champion you were in combat with for 5 or more seconds grants you a permanent small adaptive force bonus(4 AF) (lose half of your stacks on death)
Row 1: Scoring a takedown on a champion you were in combat with for 5 or more seconds grant you a shield based on your missing HP(10%) and grants a movement speed buff(15-25 ms) for a moderate amount of time(10 seconds). Additional takedowns refresh the duration of the buff.
Row 2: After affecting an enemy champion with hard CC, your next attack/ability within 2 seconds deals bonus magic damage to them equal to a small amount of your max HP(2.5%). This effect has a 4 second cooldown
Row 2: Damaging a unit under 30% health causes you to steal 10% of their movement speed for 1 second. This effect has a 15 second cooldown against champions and no cooldown against minions and monsters. You can only steal the movement speed of one unit at a time, prioritizing the unit with the highest movement speed.
Row 2: Increase your attack speed by a small amount(3%) against a single target for each second you're in combat with them. Stacks indefinitely until the target dies, you die, or if you're out of combat with them for 2 seconds. This can affect multiple enemies at once
Row 3: Increase self-heals and shields by a small amount(10%) doubled when below 40% HP
Row 3: Gain a small resistance bonus(2-6 armor and mr) for each nearby enemy champion after the first.(No resistances in a 1v1, but in team fights and in 2-5v1s). These effects linger on for 2 seconds if an enemy dies or moves out of range.
Row 3: Recieving a heal or a shield reduces your damage taken by a small amount(10%) for 1.5 seconds. This effect has a 10-5(depending on level) second cooldown
Row 3: Convert a small amount(5%) of your AD and AP into armor and magic resistance.
If you didn't notice already these minor runes are all tailored to benefit users in long and big fights and give them personal bonuses for being in the forefront of fights. There increased snowball potential, especially from the first row which features two small bonuses for takedowns in fights where you didn't just show up and steal kills, or a more team fight-based effect that grants you bonus movement speed and a shield so that you can push forward in teamfights. The other rows are basically just small add ons that just generally help you in fights. The second row is just some more damage for juggernauts and fighter-tank hybrids like Sion, Shen and Zac. The third row is focused more on survivability in fights, with the last addition just being a niche option in case any of the other options dont fit with your champion's playstyle.
Versatility is an aspect in League that has slowly been ironed out in exchange of a more streamlined, straightforward approach. While, in some cases, that can be a good thing, it's clear that right now, this oversimplification of league works is not helping the game, or its meta. By starting off with the class that arguably has the least versatility when it comes to builds and runes, hopefully the game can be made better and feel more interactive.
Thanks for reading up to the end, I hope that some Rioter sees this(as unlikely as that may be) and gives any feedback. For everyone else, please leave your own feedback and constructive criticisms below, and have a nice day! Enjoy your quarantined summer!
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