What’s in a Support: In-depth Rakan Guide

By Isaac Chandler

August 2, 2019


rakan guide

One of the most popular champions in pro play, Rakan has been a competitive staple since his release in early 2017, with both Samsung and Invictus’ support players having selected him for their world champion skins. Even today, he remains an excellent pick, making him ideal for a Rakan guide on how to get the most utility from him.

While his kit does seem simple on paper, it’s execution can actually be quite difficult to pull off properly, especially after Riot implemented the delay on his ult. For those of you unaware, by the way, as it doesn’t say in the ability text, there is a .5 sec delay between ulting and being able to W or Flash.

If that was something you didn’t know about Rakan, or you just want to learn how to utilize League’s most handsome bird-person, then this is the guide for you.

About the author: I am an eight and a half year veteran of League of Legend, with over 5500 hours of gameplay under my belt. I mainly play support, with over 800,000 mastery points across the role. My mains are Rakan, Leona, Janna, and Yuumi.

Rakan Guide Part 1 – When to Pick and Runes

When to Pick Rakan

League of Legends Rakan Portrait Transparent

Let’s start our Rakan guide in champion select, as we breakdown when to lock Rakan.

Rakan is a relatively safe pick into most bot lane match-ups, so if you’re picking support earlier than your opponents you can still feel safe in picking him. His major counters are things like Leona, Poppy, and Morgana: champions that can lock down Rakan or disable his ability to engage after he’s already dived in.

His best match-ups are champs that can’t really stop his engage or have low mobility. Things like Taric, Sona, Soraka, and Yuumi are all great champs to pick Rakan into, as most of their ability to stop him is either gated behind level six, or requires really accurate aim, which can be very difficult with Rakan bouncing around (Soraka’s silence being the one exception to both these rules, but catching her out at all is a guaranteed death for her).

You’ll also want to make sure your comp can handle a Rakan in it. If you’re running a Kog’Maw or Vayne comp, Rakan may not be the best fit, since his shield and heal aren’t really strong enough to prevent surprise bursts against them. They’ll also struggle to follow up with your engages with their short range and rather lacking mobility (Vayne can tumble, but she should save it for repositioning unless she has ult).

Rakan works best in comps with strong follow-up, or that can burst caught targets really quickly. Yasuo, Sejuani and Aatrox all work well from other lanes with him, and Kai’Sa and Sivir work really well as lane partners.

For Summoner Spells, take Flash, as almost everyone does, and Ignite. Ignite will help you secure kills, especially early on. At level one, a W-Ignite-Aftershock combo can take two-thirds of an opponent’s health alone.

Runes for Rakan

For runes, you’ll want to rune Resolve as your primary and Sorcery as your secondary. While Rakan is an enchanter, his primary usage as a dive and peel champion means you need to be more durable so you can get out afterward, as well as live long enough to hit backline targets with your ultimate (ult).

To help out with this tankiness, take Aftershock as your keystone: the armor and magic resistance (MR) you gain after using crowd control (CC) is going to make it nearly impossible to burst you down fast, giving you time to get your whole rotation off or escape from engages on you.

For minor runes, rune Demolish, Bone Plating, and Revitalize. Since you’re looking for quick kills with your engage, targets won’t be alive long enough for Font of Life to be useful, and you’re shield has too long a cooldown (CD) for Shield Bash to be effective in the first slot. Bone Plating will reduce your damage taken after the first time you get hit, perfect for further reducing what your opponents can do to you in engages. Lastly, Revitalize helps improve your rather weak heal and shields, which can surprisingly come in hand when you’re trying to save your ad carry (ADC) in a fight.

For your Sorcery runes, take Nimbus Cloak and Celerity. Your ult gives you a huge movement speed buff on activation, and even more once you hit a target for the first time, so combining these two with that will have you zooming around fights faster than wild Hecarim.

The last thing to look at is your stat slots at the bottom of the page. I recommend taking adaptive force stats for both your Offense and Flex slots, and armor for your Defense slot. Since you’re in bot lane, most of the damage you’re going to face in lane is AD, so that will help you survive the poke your opponents will try and utilize to push you out of the lane and prevent your engage.

Rakan Guide Part 2 – Early Game and Items

Rakan Item Builds

Once you’ve loaded into the game, you’re going to want to grab your starting items. While you might assume as a tanky champion you’d want Relic Shield, keep in mind that Rakan is actually a ranged champion, meaning you’d can’t execute minions and would have to last hit minions to get stacks.

Your best bet is to take Spellthief’s Edge, which will give you stacks for hitting your abilities and basic attacks, which will stack surprisingly quickly. Furthermore, the damage from the item will help you secure kills a bit more, which can mean the difference between losing a fight and starting a snowball. Of course, you’ll want to start pots and yellow ward trinket as well to go along with it.

Early Game Playstyle

League of Legends Rakan Full Transparent

Now that you’ve got your items, and likely helped your jungler start their camp, it’s time to head to the lane. While many Rakan players start with Q, I always recommend starting with your W instead. Most champions don’t provide enough pressure to really need the heal that early on, and even less start with their mobility or CC abilities.

This means you can get a rather cheesy engage off level one, either getting a really early kill you can snowball, or force your opponents to burn their Summoner Spells or pots, giving you a massive amount of lane pressure.

Once you hit two, put a point in your Q and start poking at your opponents, making sure to move towards your ADC if you hit them to share the heal and proc it faster. If your opponent doesn’t seem to be reacting well to your aggression, and you’re in a good spot to either force a lot of damage or knock up both together, feel free to dive onto the enemy with your W. They’ll be burning vital spells and abilities to dodge, and if they don’t, hit them with a Q for extra punishment. If you can stay around a moment longer, stick with them till aftershock explodes for even more pain, enough to most likely leave them at half health before your ADC even attacks.

Once you hit three, put a point in E and feel free to be more aggressive, especially if you have a Xayah. You’ll get extra range for your E with her, though the range is about a sixth more than your W range is without her still. From there, max your W first so you can do more engages more often. Don’t forget to take your ult at six, it’s incredibly powerful.

When using your ult, you’ll want to activate it slightly before you actually decide to engage. This sounds weird and does take some time to get used to, but it’ll minimize the time your opponent has to react to your engage, especially if you’re starting in a bush. Remember, you have a hidden half second lockout from using Flash and your W after you cast your ult, so prepping it early will give your opponents less time to react, especially if you’re hiding when you start.

Don’t forget to roam when your ADC backs to establish vision in the river near dragon to avoid sneak takes, and put one in the river bush near mid to help keep them safe from ganks. If their mid is pushed up, or your jungler is pushing into their bot side jungle, follow up to help secure them some kills and get ‘em snowballing.

On your first back, if you have enough gold, go for the Frostfang upgrade, then start getting the components for Glacial Shroud. If you have enough gold, you can also buy Ionian Boots here to get your CD’s down faster.

Your first item full item to work towards is going to be Zeke’s Convergence, Rakan’s staple item. It allows you to slow enemies in an AOE around you when you engage with you activate your ult near a designated ally, and, if they attack a target in the circle around you, the storm will ignite, dealing a heavier slow and AOE damage.

Considering Rakan’s heavy reliance on his ult and W to engage, and his need for tanky stats, this item provides everything you need to win fights in the lane, and prevent your enemies from escaping after the initial engagement. Along with the 60 armor, 30 MR, 10% cooldown reduction (CDR), and 250 mana it provides, there isn’t a single stat in this item that Rakan doesn’t benefit from having, and you’ll find yourself dealing surprising amounts of damage to your enemies.

More often than not, this’ll lead you to pick off key targets much faster than they expect, turning what could be a lost fight or an enemy gank into a kill or two for your ADC and lane dominance. Also important to note that the fire works on turrets, you can utilize it to burn them down even quicker.

Rakan Guide Part 3 – Mid Game Playstyle

Once you hit the mid-game, it’s time to start getting vision around the map. Vision is knowledge, and knowledge is power, so the more vision you get, the more power you have to dictate the flow of the game.

Try to set up wards around objectives your team is contesting to prevent heavy flanks or collapses by your opponents, and use red trinket and red wards to clear vision and leave your enemy walking blindly into a trap.

Otherwise, it really just depends on how you’re team is doing and where the map pressure currently is. I know that sounds vague, but no game is the same: you can’t say “do this every single time” at this point in the game, as it’s the most volatile point.

Stick with your team and make sure you never take an engagement you don’t have an advantage in. Try to force your opponents to fight in narrow corridors in the jungle, or in tight angles around walls to increase the number of people you can hit with your ult-W combo at once.

For your abilities, keep putting points into W, and Q once that’s done. Your shield is too weak to justify putting points into it early, so utilize it as a last chance save for an ally or to reposition yourself. Remember, if you hit level 11 or 16, put points into your ultimate when they come up. You want to get the CDR on that as low as possible so you can set up engages more.

For items, go with what your team needs most. If you have a strong ADC that needs to get basic attacks off, grab Ardent Censor: your shields and heal, while weak, will proc it’s passive and ramp your ADC’s damage per second (DPS) up significantly. If your team is lacks tanks and has a lot of dive, grab a Locket of the Iron Solari for a nice AOE shield for your team. If you have a squishy carry that keeps getting burst, grab Athene’s Unholy Grail so you can heal your ally when you jump to them with your E, giving you time to lay some CC for them so they can get their damage out.

You can also get a Knight’s Vow to make yourself a bit tankier and to absorb some of the damage coming onto your teammates, or upgrade your support item to level three for more wards. Most support items work with Rakan work great with Rakan, so there’s little you can buy that won’t be great. Just make sure to buy for what your team needs. Do that, and you’ll quickly find yourself snowballing a giant lead over your enemies.

Rakan Guide Part 4 – Late Game

We jump the final part of our Rakan guide with more of the same as what you did mid game, but now you can start being a bit more selfish with items.

Grab a Righteous Glory, if you can, to make engages that much easier and allow yourself to guarantee access to the back line. If you’re finding you’re still getting burst to easily, grab a Randuins or an Abyssal Mask to lower your enemies damage output, and, in the case of the latter, allow your AP carry (APC) to hit a bit harder.

Look for strong control around Baron and Elder Drake, and try to push down the inhibitor on the opposite side of the map from which one you’re going for. Your opponent will be caught between whether they should stop you taking the objective, or holding their base from the waves of Super Minions crashing in.

As always, remember to look for opportunities for a good engage: one good catch can literally lead you to end the game in a minute or less at this point. Use your best judgment and watch out for enemies trying to lock you down with CC.

That about does it for our Rakan guide, thanks for reading. We’ll be back soon with another What’s in a Support, where we’ll be discussing wards and controlling vision around the map. Until then, good luck with your Rakan games, and may your knock-ups always find the whole enemy team.

Stay tuned for more League of Legends news, breakdowns, and more!

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