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runes armor pen/magic pen vs ap/ad

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I have been wondering which one is better armor/magic penetration or ability/attack damage runes? which one is used during which situation

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Senior Member


flat ad for early damage to armourless targets {easier last hitting}

armour pen for late game vrs heavily armoured target

a combination of armour pen and damgage for imporved jungling as these creeps have static armour values.

but it all depends on your champ and skill set and what you are tryign to accomplish

similar arguments for ap vrs magic pen

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When I first started playing everyone was saying that Armor Pen was the mark or Quint of choice for those AD champs, but recently pure AD has come to be a pretty dominant rune type for marks and quints.
This is because it makes last hitting much easier, however I am certain that taking armor pen marks or quints will not completely ruin your laning. Since armor pen marks and quints give flat armor penetration they help a lot in the early stages of the game/against teams that aren't stacking armor.
Say you have 3 armor pen quints and your opponent has 16.5 armor at level 1, say you're playing a champ with 54 attack damage. Your armor pen would be 9.99 (rounded up it'd be ten), after doing the math you'd hit for 47 damage.
Lets change the runes to AD quints and see what happens.
You get 6.75 extra AD on top of 54, after rounding up you would have 61 AD, so you would hit for 44 instead. That's only a 3 point loss.
The real benefit from AD quints/marks is easier last hitting on creeps.

Armor pen helps trades early on, but because they are flat armor pen they fall of vs teams stacking armor (200+ armor or so).
AD helps last hitting = better farming = quicker item purchases.

Can't really comment on AP/Mpen, I don't want to do any more math atm.
But considering the amount of armor pen items available for purchase in game, your best bet is to simply purchase a last whisper once your opponent stacks armor/purchase brutalizer if you want some armor pen for early/mid game. Black cleaver depends on your ability to consistently stack the on-hit armor pen.

*DISCLAIMER* I did not take into account any runes or masteries for these equations

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Honestly it depends on the champ for AD more than the mpen

I always take mpen reds on casters since they are meant for burst majority of the time, ap/lvl blues and flat ap quints

As for AD/ArP I normally run all AD red/quints on most top solos and ad bot

I will also use 6 ArP reds, for a total of 10, then the rest all ad(you get more ad with quints than marks)
I use the mix of ArP and AD for ad bots like graves/sivir where you auto attack a lot and deal physical damage with your spells
all ad for ad bots like ez and corki who use spells a lot more