Rakan has historically been played as a support champion for obvious reasons, namely that he was released alongside Xayah to create a powerful duo bot lane matchup. However, throughout his development and incorporation into the meta, a couple of interesting things have happened to his kit that has secretly enabled him to get off a considerable amount of damage while simultaneously enhancing his utility and support capabilities. For example, shortly after his release, Riot buffed the range of his Q, Gleaming Quill, thus enabling him to be able to properly trade from a safe distance. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look into Rakan mid, a pick that for a while got some attention, but for the most part, has been widely ignored and not discussed.
In combination with the items that Rakan mid should build, the rune page that he should run is specifically tailored to make up for a couple of areas of his lane that he may fall short in. Electrocute is the staple keystone rune you want to take to supplement your burst damage. Otherwise, his combo doesn’t have the potential to compare to other burst mages/assassins. It isn’t recommended to take any other keystone rune, especially if it isn’t in the Domination tree. From here, you have a couple of options. Cheap Shot is typically the best for if your laning into particularly squishy champions, as the extra true damage will an extra *oomph* to your W, Grand Entrance. If the matchup or team composition you’re against is tankier, then you may want to consider taking Sudden Impact, as he can easily utilize it in both his E, Battle Dance, and his W. Eyeball Collection is next after this, considering that your other two options aren’t very effective as a mid laner (unless you’re all about being more supportive... but then again, you could just play him support). Lastly, and arguably his most important rune in the Domination tree, you want to run ingenious hunter. We’ll get into why exactly you want to be taking this rune when we discuss his items. For your secondary tree, you have some more flexibility. If you’re laning into a champion that’ll be able to harass and punish you for CS’ing or stepping up in lane, you can consider going into Resolve, but as a default, Rakan mid thrives with Sorcery secondary, typically taking Manaflow Band and scorch to add some damage and supplement his lack of early mana that we’ll mention more because of his items.
This realm of Rakan mid doesn’t need much explaining since it’s the same for support: max your Q for higher damage and heals to trade effectively in lane, W second for a stronger/shorter cooldown knockup, and put points into his ultimate whenever possible.
One of the biggest potential pitfalls for Rakan mid is the fact that he has some inconsistent wave clear. While his W has the potential to knock-up and deal damage to the full minion wave, the fact that we max it second means that it won’t ever do enough to really clear a wave, not to mention the long cooldown. You’re much better off saving this ability for champions until late-game. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s in your best interest to rush Hextech Protobelt-01. This item has a low cost, so you’ll be able to complete it (typically) faster than your opponents' first items, and the active on it will allow you to demolish waves if they ever crash into your tower. This is where the benefits of Ingenious Hunter come in; as you assist/kill enemy champs with your team, your Protobelt’s cooldown will get shorter and shorter, and with full stacks, you’ll be able to use it on every single wave that comes to you (less than 30 seconds!). This takes care of Rakan’s need to have consistent wave clear. After this, you have a couple of options for secondary items. If you enjoy the extra burst, mana, and CD provided by Luden’s Echo, you can go into that item. If the game is going faster in pace, however, or perhaps you took Manaflow Band and don’t feel the need for mana, then you can also rush Morellonomicon for the magic penetration and grievous wound status effect.
It comes to no surprise that because Rakan is technically a melee champion, he’ll have a lot of matchups in which he can be harassed and punished for trying to farm. The early game is always the toughest for Rakan, but our recommendation for combatting this is by putting a lot of focus into landing Q’s whenever your enemy laner wants to trade. In doing this, you’ll almost always be able to easily come out of the trade without losing much health, since your passive and Q work together to keep Rakan healthy in lane. If you have a jungler that plans on putting focus mid (which is less likely considering your off-meta pick), then you might want to take your E level 3, as you’ll easily be able to gap-close on the enemy laner once your jungler arrives. Otherwise, we’d recommend putting a second point into Q level 3 and just ignoring your E until you need to put a point into it. Once you hit level 6, understand that Rakan’s pressure in the lane increases vastly, and don’t be afraid to W in when you find an opportunity to snag your enemy who might be trying to CS or ward. If you get caught in an unfavorable situation, you can always run into them with your ultimate and quickly get out since it’ll more than double your movement speed while charming them.
We hope that using this guide, you’ll be able to play Rakan to his hidden full potential as a burst/utility mage. He can be a lot of fun to play aggressively, especially when you know that your combo can actually threaten to burst enemy champs. Good luck on the rift!
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