Renekton, the Butcher of the Sands, is one of the most dominant top laners in League of Legends. Don’t pay much heed to his 49.00% win percentage and a 5.69% pick rate, because Renekton embodies the easy-to-learn-hard-to-master playstyle. If you devote enough time and effort to learning the ins and outs of his kit, this oversized crocodile will bring you LP.
Let’s see what’s the best way of doing this! Also, you can check our LoL Champions guide for beginners.
Passive: Reign of Anger
Whenever Renekton hits an auto attack on anything other than a structure, he generates 5 Fury points. When Renekton has 50 (or more) Fury, his next basic ability will consume 50 Fury and become empowered. If the Butcher of the Sands didn’t take damage or attack anyone within 12 seconds, he’ll start losing 4 Fury per second. Empowered abilities do not generate Fury.
How to use: Fury management is the first skill every Renekton player needs to develop. Whenever you hit those 50 Fury points, you get a massive powerspike. That’s why you should always look to auto attack minions and build up your Fury before going for a trade.
Q: Cull the Meek
Renekton swings his blade, dealing damage to surrounding enemies and gaining 2.5 Fury (10 Fury per champions) as well as healing himself (tripled against champions) for each unit hit.
Reign of Anger: The ability deals 50% additional damage and triples the healing amount.
How to use: This is Renekton’s main trading tool. Not only does this spell allow you to outpush most adversaries, but it can also catch the opposing laner in the AoE. And if you use the empowered version while standing in the enemy creep wave, no top laner can match the insane combo of damage and sustainability.
W: Ruthless Predator
Once activated, Renekton’s next auto attack within 7 seconds has additional range, strikes twice (each hit applies on-hit effects and generates Fury), and stuns its target for 0.75 seconds. Hitting an enemy champion grants 10 more Fury.
Reign of Anger: Ruthless Predator strikes three times, dealing 50% more damage and increasing the stun duration to 1.5 seconds.
How to use: Ruthless Predator is a great lockdown for your trades. Walk up to the enemy champion, stun him, pull off your rotation, and disengage before he can retaliate. Empowered version definitely has its uses—mainly for its increased stun duration and on-hit effect synergy—but you’ll often want to spend your Fury on other abilities.
E: Slice and Dice
Renekton dashes towards the target location, dealing damage to enemies he passes through and generating Fury (2 per minion/monster and 10 per champion) for each unit hit. If Renekton hits an enemy unit with the spell, he can reactivate it.
Reign of Anger: The second cast of the ability deals 50% more damage and reduces armor by up to 35%.
How to use: A double dash on a bruiser is absolutely ridiculous! Slice and Dice is your main gap closer, the one spell you use to pull off your combos. In general, you want to close the distance with the first part of the ability and use the second dash to get out of harm’s way. Also, be very mindful of the damage reduction. It may not be that great in the laning phase, but it can make or break the game in teamfights.
Renekton enters an empowered state for 15 seconds, receiving bonus health, 25 bonus attack range, 20 Fury, and increasing in size. For the duration of the ultimate, Renekton deals small amounts of magic damage to the surrounding enemies each half a second and generates 5 Fury per second.
How to use: Dominus acts as Renekton’s ‘go button’. Whenever you see an opportunity to go for a kill, trigger the ultimate, and commit to the fight. Bonus health will make you much bulkier and the passive Fury generation will let you use your empowered abilities even if you didn’t have any opportunities to stack your Fury bar before the fight. Keep in mind that you rarely—if ever—want to teamfight with Dominus on cooldown.
R > Q > E > W
Your starting abilities will vary (we’ll go over different setups in the later parts of this guide), but you always want to max Cull the Meek [Q] for its mix of damage and sustainability. Slice and Dice [E] is your main way of getting into fights, so you want to invest skill points into it second to put it on a shorter cooldown. Besides, the additional armor reduction certainly doesn’t hurt. As for Ruthless Predator [W], it’s a potent spell, but maxing it isn’t as beneficial.
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
For your runes, you’ll want 3x Attack Speed Quintessences, 9x Attack Damage Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 3x Magic Resist Glyphs, and 6x CDR Glyphs. The Attack Speed Quintessences are great for making your combos smoother, although you can definitely replace them with AD Quints if you’re after raw firepower. Also, don’t hesitate to take a full set of Scaling Health Seals and Magic Resist Glyphs if you’re facing heavy AP comps.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room with your masteries. You’ll want to run an 18/0/12 page with the Fervor of Battle keystone. Fervor has innate synergy with your spells and auto attacks while other masteries further enhance your trading prowess. There are a few changes you could make, of course. For example, take Fury instead of Sorcery if you want to weave in more auto attacks and go for Fresh Blood instead of Feast if you want to bully the opposing laner at the expense of your own health. In a similar fashion, Vampirism is great for laning, but Natural talent will make you even more dangerous in teamfights and skirmishes.
As with most top laners, Flash and Teleport are your go-to picks. Flash will let you get into the middle of the fray as fast as possible while Teleport will allow you to go for cross-map plays and return to your lane without skipping a beat. Still, there are some arguments for replacing Teleport with Ignite. After all, certain matchups (like Tryndamere, Vladimir, Aatrox) are much easier if you’re running an offensive summoner spell. But most of the time, Teleport is way too good to swap out.
Depending on the matchup, you’ll want to start with a Doran’s Blade or a Doran’s Shield. Take the Blade if you’re facing a melee champion that can’t put up a fight against you. Purchase the Shield if you’re going against a ranged foe or someone that can outperform you in the laning phase.
Renekton’s itemization is a mix of offense and survivability. If you only get a single damage item, you can easily become irrelevant in the mid game, but if you invest too much into them, you run the risk of getting deleted in every teamfight. That’s why your standard build should look something like this:
1.) Titanic Hydra > Black Cleaver > Randuin’s Omen > Gargoyle Stoneplate > Guardian Angel > Ninja Tabi
Keep in mind that this build (and the item order) is flexible. Want to push your opponent in and roam/invade the enemy jungle? Rush Titanic Hydra. Want to go for all-ins and force kills? Black Cleaver is a great first item for you! Also, defensive itemization will vary, depending on team compositions. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at another build you can run.
2.) Ravenous Hydra > Yomuu’s Ghostblade > Black Cleaver > Blade of the Ruined King > Death’s Dance > Ninja Tabi
As you can see, this build is entirely focused on damage. The AD Renekton doesn’t fall off too hard in the late game, but you’ll have to rely on the in-depth knowledge of the champion’s animation canceling to make your presence known. Not only that, but you absolutely have to crush the laning phase to turn into that terrifying crocodile that can delete his target in a matter of seconds. Just like with the regular item path, this build isn’t set in stone, but we’re not going to break it down in detail since it strays away from the usual Renekton playstyle.
There’s a number of situational items every Renekton player needs to consider. First, evaluate your boots options. Ninja Tabi is great in the current marksman meta, but Mercury’s Treads will be much more useful against mages and CC-heavy champions.
Then we have the Thornmail. After its rework, the item went from a niche pick to a decent option against auto attackers and life stealers. In particular, champions like Tryndamere, Aatrox, and Master Yi will loathe you for making this purchase—and that’s exactly why you should get it. Keep in mind that you don’t have to rush Thornmail at once and sitting on the Bramble Vest is more than fine in most cases.
Mortal Reminder (Executioner’s Calling) is another way to deal with heals and spell vamp. Usually, it’s your marksman’s duty to get this item. But if you don’t have faith in your AD carry, you can always go for the Executioner’s Calling against Soraka/Sona/Vladimir/Maokai and turn it into a Mortal Reminder later on.
Dead Man’s Plate offers a decent mix of health and armor, but its main benefit comes from the movement speed passive. Buy it if you’re having a hard time getting into fights.
Blade of the Ruined King works in a similar way, except it offers combat stats and dueling potential. A great purchase if you want to stay on the splitpushing duty and force kills against mobile champions.
Spirit Visage synergizes with the healing from Cull the Meek [Q] and doubles down as a great anti-mage purchase. Get it against AP team comps.
Maw of Malmortius (or Hexdrinker) is another decent choice against AP users—especially if you’re facing them in lane. The passive shield will make you incredibly tanky, so use it in all-in scenarios.
Adaptive Helm acts as a counter to machine gun mages. See a Cassiopeia or a Ryze on the enemy team? Get an Adaptive Helm, and watch them struggle.
When to pick?
No matter the matchup, Renekton always brings something to the table. In an ideal world, you want to pick him into other melee champions. Bonus points if you can combo the croc with an early game jungler like Elise or Lee Sin. But even if you blind pick Renekton, there aren’t too many champions that can punish you. Speaking of which…
Matchups and Counters
Most matchups are either Renekton-favored or skill-dependent, but there are a few exceptions. For example, Pantheon—while not beating you outright—will often poke you down to the point where you become an easy target. Look to trade with him in short bursts and remember to use auto attacks on his passive to let Ruthless Predator [W] go through. It will be hard to avoid the spear spam completely, but once you hit level 6, the matchup is as good as yours.
Gnar is another problematic pick. If you’re not careful, this prehistoric yordle will kite you into oblivion, so short trades are your friend here. Also, keep pushing the wave into his turret. That way he’ll have less time to harass you because he’ll be busy clearing creeps. If he misses his boomerang or uses his jump, that’s your cue to start trading. Once he’s low enough, ask your jungler for help since Mini Gnar is ridiculously easy to dive.
Teemo is just like Gnar, but even more obnoxious due to his blind. Again, you have to keep pushing him in to avoid getting poked under your turret. If Teemo reached level 6, getting your jungler to gank top lane will be close to impossible, so push the wave in and roam yourself. The same thing applies to Quinn. Push the wave and move around the map yourself.
In a similar fashion, a good Jayce can turn your life into a nightmare since he can easily interrupt your dash. Once again, keep pushing the wave. You’re stronger in an outright all-in, so look for windows when he’s just switched forms or wasted his knockback.
Trundle is a headache since he’s one of the few melee top laners that can actually 1v1 you. Your early game is still stronger, especially if you play around your cooldowns, but things get worse once Trundle unlocks his ultimate. If he ever uses his ult, try to disengage because he’ll be stealing too many stats for you to win a fight.
Laning Phase And Early Game
Before you enter your lane, it’s important to examine the matchups. Most of the time, you want to be pushing, so start with Cull the Meek [Q] and get your Fury going by auto attacking creeps. But if you’re facing top laners like Riven or Irelia that tend to fight 1v1, invest your first skill point into Ruthless Predator [W]. Not only will your Auto Attack > W >Auto Attack combo outtrade most melee champions, but you can also hit the hotkey, queue up an auto attack onto the enemy champion, and your stun will go off even if you get CC’d yourself.
After hitting level 2, you have two options. First, if you’re facing a melee opponent and you know the enemy jungler is going elsewhere, get Cull the Meek [Q] or Ruthless Predator [W] (depending on what you had at level 1). This way, you’ll never lose a level 2 skirmish, unless you misplay. If you don’t know where the jungler is, go for Slice and Dice [E] to have a reliable escape ready. Just be wary of the 3-minute timing, since that’s when most junglers will show up in your lane.
Also, it’s easy to get into the bully mindset, but you’re only at your strongest when you hit level 3. Until then, champions like Olaf, Yasuo, or Pantheon can easily cheese you with their spammable abilities. If you can get the push going, that’s great, but there’s nothing wrong with hugging your turret for a level or two.
When you unlock all your basic abilities, it’s go time. Look to stack up 50 or—even better—100 Fury and dash in for a trade. Your full combo (E > Auto Attack > W > Auto Attack > Q > Auto Attack > E) will chunk out most top laners for a hefty amount. Afterward, wait for your cooldowns to come up again and repeat until you get a kill or force the enemy laner to Recall. Keep in mind that you’ll often need to disengage before your foe can retaliate and executing the full combo won’t always be viable.
Also, pretty much every ability of yours cancels the Tiamat animation, so use this to squeeze in some extra DPS. Finally, this is somewhat textbook, but if you find yourself running away from someone, it might be better to walk behind them for a Slice and Dice [E] double dash.
The mid game opens up two playstyles to Renekton players. If you’ve pulled ahead in the laning phase and enemies have a hard time dealing with you 1v1, you can keep splitpushing. It’s best to rotate towards the bottom lane and hold your Teleport for teamfights, but your optimal splitpushing position will depend on the Dragon/Baron spawn timers. Basically, if a neutral objective is coming up, you want to create pressure on the other side of the map. Be careful, though. Your Solo Queue teammates won’t always be on the same page, and it’s easy to lose your lead by dying to a gank squad or missing a key fight.
If splitpushing isn’t your cup of tea, you can go for 5v5s. Sure, a ton of Renekton’s strength revolves around the laning and dueling, but the armor shred from Slice and Dice [E] makes him a serviceable teamfighter. Your goals will depend on the performance of your carries. If your mid laner/marksman is fed, stick to them and provide additional peel. Otherwise, look to dash into the enemy backline and chunk out their damage dealers. Just remember that you’re not that useful without your cooldowns, so don’t go overboard.
Late game isn’t the greatest for Renekton players. Unless you’re ridiculously fed, most solo laners will scale up enough to outclass you in 1v1s, so splitpushing is out of the questions. The only thing left is teamfighting. Approach these the same way you approached mid game 5v5s, and peel or dive, depending on how strong your carries are.
Keep in mind that the margin of error is smaller, and going even a step too far might lose your team the game. But that goes both ways. Since most players won’t worry about a late game crocodile, this is the time for hero plays. Lurk on the edges of 5v5s, looking for opportunities to jump at the enemy squishies. Once you see an opening, don’t hesitate to Flash > W a key target. Of course, you’ll need to have teammates nearby since you won’t be able to take down many foes on your own.
See also: LoL Betting Odds and our ultimate LoL Worlds betting guide.
Renekton is all about pushing your early game edge. If you master the kit and the combos, this crocodile can help you ascend to the very top of the League of Legends ladder. Sure, it takes time to get there, but if you’re dedicated and aggressive enough in the laning phase, Solo Queue will quickly become your playground.