I've read quite a bit on the forums about people's ideas about strategies and builds and I've come up with what I feel is a decent list of concepts. Some of these are contrary to what's already been posted and some of it is the same. I do not believe these ideas to be "God's Word" and they are all up to interpretation and debate, hence the question mark in the title. I do not claim to be the best player in the world, nor am I the worst. However, I do claim that my skills lie more in the builds and team fights than in the laning, mid-game farming areas. This is why I choose ARAM. Below is the list:
Barrier: It seems well-established that this is the best summoner, it gives you that extra oomph in the early game fights which seems to make all the difference in winning and losing the early fights, especially if you're already low from pokes/earlier fights.
Heal: I personally choose heal for two reasons. First, it gives you that extra oomph in early team fights just like barrier, albeit less individually. Second, and more importantly, it heals your entire team, which is GREAT for recovering from a fight that you won or healing off harass.
Flash: I never choose to use this because, at the random pug level, proper positioning is more than sufficient to stay alive and/or initiate fights. I constantly see people way out of position and use flash as a crutch. However, at the higher levels of skill, I can imagine that flash would be necessary for some comps to initiate. I might consider using this if a MM'ing system gets implemented where ratings are taken into account.
Runes, Masteries, Items
REGEN REGEN REGEN
This is the point that most people seem to agree on. However, few people seem to emphasize that you need both mana AND health regen, assuming your champion has mana. If you eat some poke and have no significant health regen to be able to fight, you are completely useless to your team, you are simply waiting to die.
Mana Regen: There are three "good" mana regen items to start with, Chalice, Tear, and Philo Stone.
Chalice: If you have long cooldowns with high mana costs that you want to spam, buy a chalice. Ex. Morgana, Taric, Alistar, etc.
Tear: If your cooldowns are short enough to fully charge a tear, buy a tear. Ex. Urgot, Sona, Singed, Ryze, etc.
Philo Stone: Otherwise, buy a philo stone for one big reason. If you don't benefit from the added effects of the previous two items (Mana for Tear, and Extra Regen from Chalice), then buy a philo stone for the health regen.
Emblem of Valor: If you have enough money and are ever going to need any survivability, buy an emblem. It gives your team bonus health regen, and you get double the benefit if someone else on your team buys it as well. I would argue this it the second best item for ARAM.
Aegis/Bulwark: Everyone that is every going to take significant damage should get an aegis. It is the most cost efficient defensive item in the game, even more so if the enemy team has enough magic dmg to necessitate upgrading to Bulwark. A bulwark costs about 3kg and gives WAY more defensive stats than any other item in the game. The only contenders are Randuin's and Frozen Heart, which only give armor. I think this is the best item for ARAM, by a large margin.
Vamp Scepter: If you are an adc, you should start Vamp Scepter instead. How quickly you build into Sanguine Blade is up to you. However, the early sustain and dmg bonus is necessary. Unless you want to gimp your mid-game and buy an aegis (which I don't recommend)
Almost every non-carry champion should build part tank, part dmg as you get into the mid-late game. For example, Singed should get Liandry's Torment (sp?), Shen should get TriForce, etc. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Jax shouldn't go as tanky as other bruisers if he has someone to initiate for him, his damage is too high to gimp. Other exceptions for similar reasons, Yi, Soraka, Sona, (did I miss any?).
Points of Contention
[INDENT]Philo Stone will not pay for itself. The goal is to get the early game regen. If you have no significant use for a Shurelya's late game, sell it. However, I love Shurelya's on Garen, because there is almost no amount of slows that will save you from a Garen with Captain's Merc Treads and a Shurelya's. Same applies to Singed.
Level 1 FaceCheck. I am all for the solo level one facecheck. Bush control wins games, PERIOD. If you get pushed to your tower because the other team has bush control, your gonna need a heck of an initiate/poke to get off your tower. Subjectively, I'd say that about 80% of the time my team doesn't get immediate bush control, we lose. To prevent this, get to the bush ASAP. Best case scenario: you get bush control, WIN GAME. Worst case scenario: you die (which should only happen if they are all there and have massive CC), and lose bush control. The thing is, if their whole team beat you there, you already lost bush control, and 1 early death will not affect the game, they can't push off of it and can't spend the money until they die. So just rez, run back and wait for your chance to regain bush control.
If you feel I missed anything or would like to input some rational thoughts, please reply with your thoughts. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.