Rune Analysis - Gathering Storm vs. Scorch
Both Scorch and Gathering Storm can be solid choices, but which one is better?
Both Scorch and Gathering Storm increase damage output, but vary depending on which type of AP champion you use. For this analysis, we defined an "early game mage" as Annie, and a "late game mage" as Xerath. The average game length is approximately 29:26 as of 7.22. Using these constants we deep dive below into some hardcore nerdy math stuff!
What Runes do i go?
- Good synergy with aggressive early game poking.
- Increases single target burst for the early roams.
- Doesn't help AOE damage when you catch multiple people with an ability.
- Increases damage of all spells instead of just a single target burst.
- Free AP increases damage to all objectives not only champions.
- Doesn't provide anything until 10 minutes where Annie shines.
What Runes do i go?
- Increases your poke in early game, very important for support Xerath.
- Getting through early game easier can help your champion naturally scale into late game.
- Damage is only onto one target in teamfights even though your spells are AOE.
- The majority of Xerath's abilities are AOE, the extra AP benefits everything hit as compared to one target extra burst.
- Xerath(more for Mid than Support which is seeing some play) benefits from scaling into the late game monster, Gathering Storm scales similarly.
- Rabadon's Deathcap works with the AP you get from Gathering Storm for more scaling.
- In early game all-ins, you're down a rune's worth of damage.
MATH DUMP AHEAD
The math done to see the difference between an early game mage (Annie) vs a late game mage (Xerath). These are perfect scenarios in a completely theoretical setting. Not taking into account multiple rotations of spells or skill miss.
For Gathering Storm:
- Pre-10 minutes Gathering Storm does nothing. thus no math needed for it
- 10 minute mark: solo laners generally will be between levels 7-9. for sake of data, will assume level 8 to be for 10 minute mark.
- 20 minute mark: solo laners generally will be between levels 11-13. for sake of data, will assume level 12 to be for 20 minute mark.
- 30 minute mark: solo laners generally will be between levels 15-16. for sake of data, will assume level 16 to be for 30 minute mark.
- 40 minute mark: solo laners generally will be between levels 17-18. for sake of data, will assume level 18 to be for the 40 minute mark and for every mark after.
Numbers on these runes don't affect the flat numbers the spells do. we will only will take into account ratios.
Damage is assumed to be 1 full rotation, Annie will be Q+W+R, Xerath will be Q+W+E+R* however many his ult gives at that level with W assumed to be centered damage doesn't take into account auto attacks/cooldowns coming back up/missed skills or increased damage to structures/objectives (in Gathering Storms case)
- Annie ratio total=2.3 AP (Q:0.80 AP W:0.85 AP R:0.65 AP)
- Xerath ratio total=3.39 AP / 3.82 AP / 4.25 AP at rank 1/2/3 ultimate(Q:0.75 AP W:0.9(using middle hit) E:0.45 R:0.43 AP*3/4/5 at rank 1/2/3 ult )
Thus, Scorch damage per rotation given a time is (consistent for both Annie and Xerath):
- Scorch at 10 min: 42
- Scorch at 20 min: 49
- Scorch at 30 min: 56
- Scorch at 40 min: 60
Bonus damage for Gathering Storm per rotation with Annie:
- 10 min: 18.4
- 20 min: 55.2
- 30 min: 110.4
- 40 min: 184
Bonus damage from Gathering Storm per rotaiton with Xerath:
- 10 min: 27.12
- 20 min: 91.68
- 30 min: 204
- 40 min: 340
From minute 0-10 Scorch actually helps you where Gathering Storm does nothing.
From 10-20 Scorch will still do more than Gathering Storm.
From 20 minutes onward Scorch gets outclassed by Gathering Storm.
Going with the last official sourced average game length, games tend to be shorter than 30 minutes - 29:26 average. If you're in an average game, the bonus damage from Scorch is better than Gathering Storm since Storm will only out damage for less than a third of the game. But this is only true if you're looking at single target. Characters with AOE abilities benefit exponentially more from Gathering Storm with more targets hit. Scorch scaling with levels also means if the player gets ahead in XP they'll be farther along the curve damage wise, while Gathering Storm is consistent. Flipside of this is if the player falls behind with Scorch it would have the opposite effect.