A Guide to the Sorcery Rune Tree in League of Legends
Wed 11th Nov 2020 - 5:00pm
In 2017, Riot Games reworked the rune system into a simple and easy to understand rune tree system with five keystones, Precision, Domination, Sorcery, Resolve and Inspiration. You also had a main tree for one keystone and a secondary tree for another keystone, with that one only allowing you two additional rune choices. These keystones changed the way the game was played and unlocked new possibilities for the champions of the rift. Today, we will be going over the Sorcery Rune tree, going into detail every part and of the keystone tree and what works best for what type of champion.
The Sorcery tree starts with 3 main keystones, so let’s go over those. The first choice is Summon Aery, a keystone that provides both defensive and offensive capabilities, which will be something that most of the abilities in the tree have in common. With this keystone, Aery is sent in whenever a target is attacked or when you move to defend an ally, offering them a small bit of shielding from Aery. She has a very short cooldown, depending on how far you are away from her. The closer you are, the faster she comes back and the faster she comes back, the more often you can use her in fights.
This keystone works great for supports that heal and shield their allies quite often, like Sora or Soraka. It also works great for poke with some other champions, as unlike Arcane Comet, which we will get to shortly, will always hit your intended target no matter what.
While on the topic of Arcane Comet, lets take a jump right into this keystone. This keystone hurls an arcane comet at an enemy after damaging them with an ability, after traveling for 0.5 seconds. It deals adaptive damage based on the damage you are building and cooldown of this keystone is reduced based on the type of damage, with spell damage by 20%, area damage by 10% per enemy hit and persistent damage by 5%. The cooldown is also based on your level, with the base cooldown going from 20 seconds to 8 seconds. Furthermore, it can also be blocked by spell shields.
The keystone works well for champions that can land CC that will make it difficult for them to dodge the comet, like Annie or Viktor or those that can apply constant damage like Xerath. It also works well for AOE, but it does have some drawbacks, with it being easy to dodge if not cc’d.
The final keystone for the sorcery rune tree is Phase Rush. This keystone stacks with each attack you deal to an enemy champion. Once you hit three stacks, you are granted a burst of movement speed, depending on your level at the time (40%-60% bonus move speed), for three seconds and you also are granted a 75% slow resist. When on a ranged champion however, the movement speed is reduced by 25% to 40% based on level, with a cooldown of around 15 seconds, staying that way throughout the match.
This keystone works well with mages that ap casters that do not have great mobility, like Syndra and Orianna. This allows them to either go in and chase after a target for trading, or for making a quick escape if you get your attacks off quickly enough. One key thing to note is that you must stack within four seconds of your three attacks or Phase Rush will not be applied. Furthermore, items that deal damage like Luden’s Echo and Hextech Gunblade will NOT count as stacks, only abilities or attacks will stack and grant you Phase Rush.
Now let us go down the rest of the rune line, starting with the Artefacts and Nullifying Orb. This easy to understand Artefact gives you a magic shield when you are brought down low enough by magic damage, like the Hexdrinker item and Maw of Malmortius. The shield also scales with your level and the 10% of the AP you have gained through the match. This shield can be a life saver when against mages that deal huge burst damage onto you, like Kassadin or Annie.
The second part of the Artefact tree, Manaflow Band, is one used by many a summoner. When ever you hit an enemy with an ability, it grants you a bonus 25 mana. It continuously stacks until it grants you an additional 250 mana. After that, you restore 1% of your missing mana every five seconds. This helps tremendously in the laning phase, getting your mana pool maxed out fast so that later, you can have enough mana sustain to last a while in your respective lane. It also makes sure you have a bit extra mana when the late game comes around, so taking this rune when you will be using a lot of mana is must.
In the past, this Artefact was used to give champions a burst of movement speed once they activate their ultimate, making it easier for champions to keep up with their opponents and kite easier. That part has since been moved over to the Cloud Soul and now, it grants summoner’s a boost of movement speed, 5% to 35% based on level and ghosting for two seconds. You will almost always see this with an ADC and it’s well justified too, since most ADCs in the game have little to no mobility, they need all the mobility boost they can to either keep up with their team/enemy team or to escape a bad situation quickly.
We’re halfway there as we move onto the Excellence part of the rune tree, starting off with Transcendence. This part of the tree grants the champion a free cooldown reduction of 10% at level 10. If you build to get your cooldown to 40% and you exceed that cap, you are given either 1.2 bonus attack damage or 2 bonus ability power for every 1% of excess cooldown reduction, with the bonus damage stacking with each additional percentage of cooldown reduction. This works well for those whose item builds don’t bring that much cd to the table and for those that want the extra AD or AP when they reach that stage of the game, with champions like Cassiopeia, Orianna and other mages.
This one is probably the simplest one to understand. This gives your movement speed bonus a bit more power, making it 7% more effective on yourself, while also giving you flat 1% bonus movement speed throughout the match. This works tremendously well with champions that have natural movement speed bursts, like Jhin and Jinx. It also pairs well with another part of the sorcery rune tree, Waterwalking, but more on that one in a bit.
This one is also straight forward an easy to understand. With Gathering Storm, you gain bonus attack damage and ability power, based on level, while you are 70% above your max health. This works well for those that can stay behind in fights with a frontline, like with ADCs and mages, where they can deal damage while keeping their health bars up above that 70% threshold. This also helps with wave clear throughout the game, so long as you make sure not to get poked out by the enemy team.
Now we on onto the final part of the Sorcery rune tree, the Power line. First off, it’s Scorch. This ability applies fire damage, dealing 15-35 bonus magic damage after one second, with a cooldown of ten seconds. This ability however only affects a single champion, so when using AoE, it will target the closest champion impacted by the ability. This rune is great for those that rely on poke to get that extra damage in, like Zoe for example. Be wary though, that this rune will not be as useful in the late game, so it is best to use it early and often to try and snowball your lane.
This rune is very self-explanatory. Whenever you walk through one of the two rivers near the dragon and the baron pit, you are given a movement speed boost of +25. Not only that, you also gain bonus attack damage or ability power when you are in the river. This rune can do wonders for junglers in the game, not only offering them a boost of movement speed, but also more damage output to take out objectives and any enemy champions in your way, faster.
Finally, onto the last and one of the most common runes you will see in the game, Gathering Storm. This piece gives champions additional AD and AP every ten minutes of a match. In summary, for AD champions, 10 minutes gives you 4.8, 20 gives you 14.4, 30 gives you 28.8 and 40 gives you 48 additional AD. For AP’s, 10 minutes gives you 8, 20 gives you 24, 30 gives you 48 and 30 gives you 80 additional AP. This rune can work well with virtually any champion in the game, it helps give those that rely on scaling more power the later the game goes on and it helps those that fall off the later the game goes on, to keep up with the damage the other champions deal.
The Sorcery rune tree is a strong rune tree for mages and for ADCs, albeit as a primarily secondary rune path. The majority of this rune tree's power lies in its Artefact, Excellence, and Power lines, making the Sorcery rune tree an excellent secondary rune path for many champions on the rift. The keystones can still be used well by a handful of other champions, specifically mages for utility purposes, but for a majority, the desirable power from this rune tree comes from the three lines below the keystone, which will better enhance them as the game goes on. So good luck, have fun and see you on the rift summoner’s!