BUILD GUIDE: First Runes, The Rune Combiner, and Getting Expensive Runes For Cheap by themarkmark

by themarkmark (last updated over a year ago)

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There are already good guides on here about how runes work and which ones are the most useful, look at those too.
Here you will find out about the most effective way to get a lot of good runes early on in your league of legends experience. This guide is aimed at summoners who are levels 1-29 or who have only been 30 for maybe 100 games or so....basically for people who don't already have a lot of full sets of runes. The rune combiner is very little used or revered in this community, but I have found the best way to exploit it.

How to optimize your use of the Rune Combiner

How it works:
If you put in 5 tier X runes you will get a RANDOM tier X+1 rune (1 level higher) (X can be 1 or 2). If you put in two tier Y runes you will get one tier Y rune in return (Y can be 1,2, or 3).

The average tier 3 rune costs about 510 IP. The cheapest way to get a random tier 3 rune costs 375 IP, buy 25 tier 1 15 IP runes and use the rune combiner to trade them in for 5 tier 2 runes, and trade those in for 1 tier 3 rune.

Since you will be getting random runes you want to have as few full sets of runes as possible, otherwise you will have to trade in two tier 3 runes for another tier 3 rune, which starts making the rune combiner less effective. So, I suggest to the level 20+ out there to buy 4-5 of the runes that you want and to use the rune combiner for the rest. The mathematically optimal way to get runes however is to never buy a rune until you have a certain number of full sets (I'll figure that out later) (probably around 25 full sets of 9/3).

Tier 1 runes give about 5/9 the stats a tier 3 rune gives. Tier 2 runes give about 7/9 the stats a tier 3 rune gives. This means that the lower level runes can be worth keeping.

Pre level 30 summoners

You probably don't own many full sets of tier 3 runes. My suggestion:

Step 1: Buy 15 IP tier 1 runes that will fill up your rune pages (except the quints slot, if you even have it yet) (eventually these runes will be traded in for tier 2 and then 3 runes).

Universal Page:
MR per level Glyphs
Flat Armor Seals
Flat Armor Marks

Other useful 15 IP Runes:
Flat MR blues
Flat mana regen/5 yellows
Scaling mana regen/5 yellows
Attack Damage reds

Other (not so useful or situationally useful 15 IP runes):
Attack Damage per level reds
Mana regen per 5 per level blues

There are other 15 IP runes, but I don't think they are worth mentioning (and they are all secondary).

Runes worth mentioning: Magic Pen and Armor pen, though they are in the second pricing tier (30 IP/410IP). These are the most useful marks in the game, you might want to buy them even though they aren't in the cost effective plan for getting runes.

So your two rune pages should look something like this:

Caster Page
Mr/level Blues
Mana/5 (flat or scaling) (if you like a manaless mage make this armor)
Flat Armor (magic pen if you want to spend the IP)

AD Page
Mr/level Blues
Mana/5/lvl yellows (or armor)
AD Reds (or armor pen reds if you spent the extra IP).

Step 2:Buy more 15 IP runes and trade them in for tier two runes.

Simple enough. Now keep the tier 2 runes you want and trade in the tier 2 runes you don't.

Runes I suggest keeping: All quints except revival (less time spent dead) and all primary runes.

Secondary runes I suggest keeping: Armor reds, HP reds, mana regen per 5 per level blues, magic pen blues, attack speed blues and yellows

secondary runes I consider trash: CDR yellows and reds, HP and HP/lvl blues, crit damage yellows and blues, Mana reds and yellows (could use yellows on Ryze, but mana/lvl is better), mana/lvl reds, crit chance blues and yellows, AD per level blues and yellows, mana per 5 blues and reds, armor blues, mr (flat and scaling) reds, AD yellows, HP/5 blues, HP/lvl blues

Secondary runes I'm not sure : AP and scaling AP yellows and reds, AD blues (maybe viable on jungler).

Step 3: Trade in tier 2 runes for tier 3 runes

Whenever you get tier 2 runes you don't want trade in 5 of them for a tier 3 rune. I suggest keeping all tier 3 runes, you don't know when you might find something weird useful.

Whenever you have what you feel to be sufficient level 2 rune pages you can trade in all your level 1 runes for level 2 runes and whatever tier 2 runes you don't plan on using for tier 3 runes.

If you get 4 tier 3 quints or 10 tier 3 marks/glyphs/seals, wait til it happens again and trade in the two runes for another tier 3 rune.

In summary: buy 15 IP tier 1 runes, trade them in for lots of tier 2 runes. Keep the ones you want, trade the others for tier 3 runes. Once you have a lot of tier 2 runes, buy more 15 IP runes and trade all of them in for tier 3 runes.

Level 20+ Summoners

Read the previous section, but if you want to fill out your pages with tier 3 runes quick buy the 205 IP runes first (maybe 4-5 of each), they are the same as 15 IP runes, just tier 3 instead of 1.

Things that aren't efficient, but you'll probably want to do anyway

Since you don't want to end up spending 375 IP on a rune that costs 205 anyway, it doesn't matter really if you buy 4-5 (or even a full set) 205 IP runes. This will not effect your odds, but it hurts less to trade in two 205 IP runes for a new rune than two 2050 runes for a new rune.

Buy ArP reds, magic pen reds, armor yellows, dodge yellows, and flat and/or scaling MR blues. Buy HP or movespeed quints or ArP quints. Buy attack speed blues. Buy gold per 5 quints. Buy the runes for your favorite champion(s). You'll probably have enough runes to get buy with any champion if you just trade in, but buying some of these other runes (not necessarily a full set) can make it easier to fill out an appropriate rune page, especially for jungler you might need specific runes

Realistic Example

I figured this out around level 29.

I own 9 magic pen reds, I bought 5 ArP reds, I own 9 Ar yellows, I bought 5 Mr/lvl blues and 5 flat MR blues, some mana regen yellows too.

I bought tons of 15 IP runes and traded them in for a bunch of stuff, and got all of my quints that way, along with lots of other runes.

I bought 5 attack speed reds and blues so I could jungle better. I bought gold per 5 quints so I could play support. I bought mana runes because I like to play Ryze.

I own about 5 full sets of runes and a few close to full sets. I still trade in, sometimes I buy runes for champions I'm learning at the time.

In Summary

Never buy tier 2 runes.

Buy as few runes that cost more than 15 IP as possible.

Buy twenty-five 15 IP runes and trade them in for 5 tier 2 runes, then trade those in for a tier 3 rune. It will save you IP if you don't have more than 15 or so full sets of runes. You get quints and great stuff (and crappy stuff).

Buying 205 IP runes is OK too, but not necessarily cost efficient.


I'm not level 10/20 yet, can I use a tier 2/3 rune on my page?
Yes, regardless of your summoner level you can use any rune on your rune page (other than quints pre 10, glyphs pre 3 and seals pre 2, because you don't have an open slot yet).

I traded in 5 quints and got a glyph, what gives?
I said RANDOM.

I may be getting a few runes I never use, but I am getting some expensive quints for only 375 IP, why am I so lucky?
That's just how random works, sometimes you get a lot of useful and exenpsive runes and sometimes you don't. But you should up "making" IP in the long rune, basically getting more than you paid for.

Why should I do this?
Quints are so expensive, I can never save up for them. This helps me get quints and other runes. I find most of them useful and save a lot of IP.

When is the best time to start doing this? Level 1.


September 20, 2011 - 08:12 PM #1

If you actually read the guide, I said to get the runes you want for a full rune page. This is just a way to get a wide variety of runes, especially if you have bought the rune page bundle. This is a method to get a lot of runes so that you will have all the runes you need for each champion you want to play (if you play a variety of champions). If you only play mages, then don't do this.

September 20, 2011 - 07:23 PM #2

I've heard this done on the official message boards before, and I'm going to give the same counter-arguement as to why it's a horrible waste of IP, and because I have time to kill right now.

Your goal for level 30 should be to have at least one, preferably two generic runes pages; one for AD champs and one for AP champs. The costs for two absolutely generic runes pages are:

9 Apen marks 3690

9 Mpen marks 3690

9 armour seals 1845

9 mdef glyhps 1845

3 apen quints 3075

3 flat AP quints 3075

Obviously you'd eventually want better seals and glyphs for your AP page, but this is super budget build letting you play any champ with decent rune support. That's 17220 IP for exactly the runes you want. 18 of those runes are also 205s, meaning it is always cheaper to get the seals and glyphs without gambling on them. Mana regen, also a popular starter rune set, are 205 as well.

Your way costs 375 for one RANDOM tier 3 rune. Maybe you'll get that 2050 IP movespeed quint, maybe you'll get that worthless flat mana mark. Making a generous assumption that you get exactly 9 marks, 9 seals, 9 glyhs, and 3 quints from combining 25 x 30 tier 1 runes, that's 11250 IP AT A MINIMUM for 1 full page of what will likely be assorted garbage with a few decent runes. For 10455 IP you could have bought the generic AD rune set above. That's right, it COSTS LESS TO BUY THE RUNES OUTRIGHT.

Also, 3 gambles costs more than a 1025 quint would have. Even if you get a 1025 you wanted, you could have just bought it outright in the first place and saved the extra 100 IP towards a champ. I didn't counter the total number of runes in the game, but the odds of getting a good quint in 3 tries or less is probably less than 5%.

tl;dr This is horrible advice for new players, please never do this unless Riot quadruples IP gain from matches and you are bored.

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