Since its release in 2009, League of Legends (aka LoL) has helped catapult professional eSports into today’s massive multi-million dollar industry. In fact, the League of Legends World Championships is one of the most watch sporting events of the year, with more live viewership than the American Superbowl.
With so many players and a hyper-competitive eSports scene, competition in League of Legends has grown fierce. Players looking to climb League’s ranked ladder to glory must develop their strategy and tactics, hone their mechanical skills, and learn how to create the best League of Legends builds in the game.
In this in-depth guide, we will focus on how to intuitively build League of Legends champions to suit the dynamics of your games and the game’s evolving meta.
What are League of Legends Builds?
In LoL, champions can be customized with unique rune, item, and skill upgrade choices. The combination of your runes, items, and current skills comprises your champion build. How you plan to continue upgrading your items and abilities constitutes your champion’s build path.
League of Legends is a lot more than just a battle arena game. Much of the game is decided during champion selection and through each champion’s respective build path.
For instance, teams and champions without the means to scale quickly enough may find themselves too far behind and unable to catch up, even if their final compositions may be very powerful.
Likewise, champions that build too much for early game performance or without the ability to affect heavily protected enemies will often find themselves ineffective in the late game.
Runes are essentially stat and skill buffs for your character that are pre-selected before a game starts. There are five runes paths for each player to choose from. They include Precision, Domination, Sorcery, Resolve, and Inspiration. These roughly translate to buffs in sustained damage, burst damage, utility, tank, and miscellaneous effects, respectively.
Players may choose four buffs from a primary rune set and two buffs from a secondary rune set. Selecting the proper runes before each game is the first step towards crafting the best League of Legends builds for your champions.
The following section will discuss how to identify what runes will work best for your current champ and ally/enemy selections.
Optimizing Your League of Legends Builds
Champions in League of Legends start each game off at level one and without any items. The only customization that goes into each champion is the runes pre-selected by the player before the round started.
How to Start the Game Off Right with Great Rune Choices
Before your next match starts, consider your allied champions and your enemies. Are there any glaring holes in your team composition that can be exploited?
Many champions can be ‘flex’ picks. Flex picks can be played in multiple positions or ways. For instance, the champion Malphite can be played as a tank, a mage, or some hybrid of the two. Furthermore, he can be played in many positions, from Top to Support.
Flex pick champions are great because they offer you versatility and prevent you from easily being countered. If you are missing a tank, crowd control, or burst damage and can easily flex to fill those roles, do so.
Pick champion runes sets that help you overcome your team’s deficiencies. If you do not have any glaring holes, pick something like the best-recommended runes, overall, for your champion.
Ways to Optimize Your League of Legends Builds In-Game
Once the round has started, players are granted 500 gold to buy their first items before running to their lane to earn more gold. Riot Games provides champion build recommendations in the in-game shop. From the beginning of Season 11 (2021), Riot began to customize their suggestions a little based on the enemy team’s composition.
It is often a good idea for absolute beginners to stick relatively close to these recommended builds from Riot. However, they are not often the most optimal build possible. They do not take into account how the gameplay is progressing. Most notably, they don’t consider what champions you must focus your build on countering.
During each round, consider the long-term scaling potential of each of your enemies. Do you have a good counter for the most formidable ones? For instance, hyper-carries like Nasus, Kayle, and Twitch are all very challenging to defeat in the late game. Unless you can finish the match before they out-scale your team, you must build some countermeasures for them.
For instance, Zhonya’s Hourglass is one of the best items to include in your League of Legends builds because it can prevent burst champions from eliminating you. Furthermore, items like Liandry’s Anguish and Demonic Embrace can do a great deal of damage to tanks and other high health champions with their max HP-scaling damage.
Incorporate these pivotal items into your LoL champion builds early on and continue to build off of a common theme. Don’t just pivot from one idea to the next. Focus on maximizing your damage or protection against those champions that are your team’s biggest threats.
Some Examples of Great LoL Champion Builds
Some champions synergize so well with a particular item or rune that it’s worth mentioning to help illustrate the point we are trying to make here. Incorporate specific items or runes into your League of Legends builds that either significantly increase your power or allow you to counter your most significant threats.
After reading through this section and the example LoL builds, you should be able to see a common theme emerge.
Veigar + Rabadon’s Deathcap + Void Staff
Veigar is a champion who excels at two things: 1) throwing down a massive AoE stun and 2) dealing tremendous burst damage. If Veigar can lock down an enemy with his CC, he often can kill them with his full combo.
As a Veigar player, you should focus your Veigar build on increasing your burst damage. (Your stats can’t affect your CC duration.) The two best items to boost your AP burst damage are Rabadon’s Deathcap and Void Staff. Together they will maximize your AP and increase your breakthrough damage against tanks.
A full-build Veigar with lots of AP stacks can even take out tanks quickly with burst damage. That’s something almost no other burst mage can do. It pays to focus on your League of Legends builds to maximize your potential!
Jhin + Infinity Edge
The champion Jhin in LoL has a unique passive ability (Whisper) that further increases his attack damage based on his level, critical strike chance, and attack speed.
Items that boost these attributes can synergistically affect and increase his stats beyond what is expected for a standard ADC-type champion.
Infinity Edge is one of the best items to give to Jhin, as it massively increases his damage with bonuses to attack damage, critical strike chance, and critical strike damage.
Senna + Glacial Augment Rune
Senna is a great flex pick that can be played as both a carry and as a support. In either role, she benefits greatly from the Glacial Augment rune, which applies a slow effect on every auto-attack.
The reason Senna + Glacial Augment is one of the best League of Legends builds is that through her stacks, she gains a great deal of range. By combining her great coverage with a slow effect, she can effortlessly chase down or kite her enemies, depending on the situation she finds herself in.
Malzahar + Rylai’s Crystal Scepter + Liandry’s Torment + Demonic Embrace
There aren’t a lot of different ways to build Malzahar well. The core of any good Malz Build is his damage over time (DoT). His Q, W, and Ult all deal DoT. This makes Malzahar one of the scariest poke and one vs. one champions in League of Legends.
Both Liandry’s Anguish and Demonic Embrace significantly increase his DoT. Rylai’s Crystal Scepter slows his enemies, preventing them from escaping or closing while his abilities and minions eat away at their health. Together, these items significantly increase his utility and dueling potential.
Takehome Message from Example League of Legends Builds
We hope it’s become apparent how you should select your items and runes to optimize your League of Legends builds. Think critically about what makes your champion great. Then, think about what items and runes can maximize your potential. Most of the time, it’s just that simple!
Great Resources and Final Thoughts
If you are looking for complete League of Legends builds, you can easily Google your champion’s name + “Build.” There are many great resources out there to choose from. As the meta evolves, it pays to check back on these guides, as you may discover exciting rune and item combinations you hadn’t considered before.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any other great League of Legends builds you’d like to share with your fellow readers, please feel free to paste them into the chat below.