One of the most underrated skills one can have in life is knowing how to prepare for coming events and needs. Good preparation can help you with a lot of things in life. It makes meals taste better, gives you higher marks in school, and yes, even helps with League of Legends.
A good portion of this series has been dedicated to helping you perform while you are in the game. However, games are sometimes won off of preparation alone, and taking the right runes and masteries can ensure that you get off to the best possible start. Certain setups can be the difference between life and death, and therefore a good lesson to go over is the act of preparing your rune page and mastery pages in order to give yourself a leg up right from minute one.
One of the awkward parts of having an account is that, unless you buy rune pages, there will be a very limited amount of rune pages that you can actually prepare in advance of any ranked games that you will be playing. You’re likely to only have 2-3 pages because you’d be focused on buying champions.
If you have the opportunity, resist the urge to buy champions and try to buy rune pages and runes with IP instead. Though this rune system will phase out next season, this will allow you to perform the best before the season ends. By buying Rune Pages, you give yourself more strategic diversity when put into a game.
As a basic way of setting up runes with limited pages, you must do a couple of things. First, think about what style of champion you are playing. Are you aiming to play more ability power mages or attack damage champions? Secondly, you must work with your runes based on what the enemy team and your lane opponent's damage type is. If you can have a page with Magic Resistance blues against opponents who deal magic damage, and a page where you can have access to other things such as mana regeneration and cooldown reduction when you are not facing someone who deals magic damage, you will be better equipped in a wider variety of scenarios.
One of the main things you can do to prepare for the coming game is to prepare your Mastery page on the spot. This sounds daunting at first, but can actually take seconds and allow you to adjust your needs on the fly. Generally, you may want to take certain masteries to ensure your safety in certain matchups, versus matchups where you can exploit having kill pressure or a lead in sustain.
For example, in a matchup such as Cassiopeia versus Veigar, taking the Assassin mastery would serve you better than the Secret Stash mastery, despite its synergy with Corrupting Potion. Other examples would be taking Siegemaster when you expect to get shoved in against something like a Heimerdinger, or Double-Edged Sword if you need damage upfront and immediately to clear the jungle or destroy the early lane phase.
Masteries are flexible in the 5-point slots as well. Splitting between Natural Talent and Vampirism is normal, where some points in Vampirism are taken in worse matchups. Some champions may need some points in Meditation to have mana regeneration in lane as well.
Part of this impromptu setup is knowing the general idea of pages on positions you are playing. Similar to your general rune setup, you should have a general mastery setup memorized for your favorite styles of champions.
In a page like the one above, you may want to switch between Warlord's Bloodlust or Fervor of Battle, or put a couple of points into Vampirism, just depending on the matchup and how much is needed to survive.
As you can see, a big part of the game that happens is also everything that you do out of game. A good start means a good chance of winning the game, especially if your opponent is now nowhere near as prepared as you are.
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.