Dark Harvest is one of the most interesting runes in League of Legends. Since it was added to the game, it has been a niche choice. It is an offensive rune that scales infinitely with stacks, like Veigar or Nasus, and offers high damage potential in the late game. Now that it has been changed, players are wondering how strong this rune really is. Is it as broken as some are saying? Or is it just fun for the preseason? There has been a lot of discussion revolving around the new Dark Harvest so its important to understand it and how it might shape not only your games, but the meta and the future.
Patch 8.23 Rework
Dark Harvest was reworked in the first preseason patch, patch 8.23. In Season Eight, this was a rune almost only reserved for scaling junglers and “for fun” builds. It wasn’t exactly a top priority rune for the majority of champions. It only came into the meta on junglers because of the Electrocute rune’s damage being nerfed in patch 8.16.
This nerf made Electrocute better for lane because it had a shorter cooldown but left junglers like Kayn and Evelynn feeling empty. This is where Dark Harvest made its debut. Dark Harvest made it so these junglers could farm while having a strong burst rune. It was perfect for them because all large monsters dropped a soul, whereas only cannon minions dropped a soul for laners.
Patch 8.23 rolled out a number of huge changes, one of which being a rework to Dark Harvest. Instead of souls dropping from various things dying, it now drops a soul for damaging a champion below 50% HP. The rune damages enemies below this threshold and has a 45 second cooldown. Takedowns reduce this cooldown to 1.5 seconds.
Now Dark Harvest is accessible to laners and junglers alike. The rune incentivizes aggressive play to properly utilize, as early stacks will add a ton of damage later. Though Electrocute is great for early game burst damage, Dark Harvest outscales it come the mid-late game. Even without a bunch of stacks, the mid and late game will net users plenty of stacks. Skirmishes and team fights have the potential for up to five stacks at a time, one from each enemy.
Best Dark Harvest (Ab)users
Any current LoL player is bound to see this rune in their games. People are trying it out on all sorts of carries, no matter their role. Mages, fighters and marksmen alike are feeling out the rune, trying to figure out its viability. Though it may be fun to play, it certainly doesn’t shine on everyone. It does, however, shine brightly on some certain champions.
Arguably the best Dark Harvest user is Brand. Whether he is the mid laner or support, this rune is brutal on him because of his passive. Blaze’s unstable detonation makes it easy for him to get enemies below 50% HP if he lands his abilities. The DOT burn damage part of it will proc Dark Harvest, giving him a stack without spending any more abilities or putting him in a vulnerable spot. This will translate well to team fights, where Dark Harvest is bound to hit multiple enemies hard.
Mages in general can benefit from the rune too. Burst mages, like Syndra or Veigar, will find the 100%-0% kills easier if they can harvest some souls. Poke mages will find equal usefulness from the rune. Champions like Xerath and Lux can wittle down enemies and farm stacks off of them easily.
Aggressive, carry-oriented junglers enjoy taking this rune too. Burst champions that can exert a lot of map pressure, like Elise and Lee Sin, are perhaps the best users. They can farm fast and have high-damage ganks that are perfect for utilizing the rune. Kayn is another noteworthy user because he must fight to change his form, and fighting is what Dark Harvest is made for.
Assassins also find the new Dark Harvest appealing. In favorable lanes where they have pressure, assassins can constantly trade with the enemy to collect souls. For example, LeBlanc and Zed have great kill pressure early in the game, but tend to fall off later. If these types of champions are able to consistently win fights and find kills, Dark Harvest helps them scale immensely.
Dark Harvest’s Place in the Meta
Moving forward, Dark Harvest will likely see use primarily in the middle lane and jungle, but sparsely elsewhere. Mages and assassins who will like the rune the most usually also call the middle lane home. It won’t be for everyone, as runes like Arcane Comet and Electrocute offer different uses. It is likely that those who are looking towards the late game will tend towards Dark Harvest though.
If the meta continues to suit aggressive junglers, it likewise will probably see more use. Especially in the preseason, people like to fight. Junglers are often times the center, or at least involved, in many fights. Because of this its easy for them to farm it up and maintain their carry potential.
Dark Harvest won’t affect many champions outside of these roles. Tanks and healing/shielding champions will find no use from it. Fighters already have runes like Grasp of the Undying and Conqueror that will outperform Dark Harvest. Marksmen likewise have multiple rune options that help them much more than the new Dark Harvest can.
Looking forward to Season Nine and pro play, its hard to tell how much of an effect this rune will have. Despite some labeling it as broken, the rune is a scaling one that doesn’t offer much pressure early. Even more so if the player is in a losing matchup. Pro players tend to prefer safer options in their play, and Dark Harvest can be feast-or-famine. It may become a staple for some picks, or explosive players may use it more often, but it probably won’t be used too much. It is definitely a fun choice though, so players should be pushing these limits and having the best time possible this preseason!
Featured image via League of Legends Wiki.
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