First Strike is one of the most influential runes in League of Legends. Not only does it boost certain champions to do one-shots, but it also lets them scale a lot quicker. And if you don’t know how to take advantage of it you’re probably losing on some free LP.
In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the First Strike keystone in LoL, from what it does to how you can abuse it in your own games. And in the end, I’ll also tell you the champions that synergize the most with First Strike.
So if you’re ready to learn all about First Strike, scroll down, and let’s begin.
Here’s What First Strike Does in League of Legends:
If you hit an enemy champion first, with an ability or an auto-attack, First Strike grants 5 gold and grants 9% bonus damage against that target. This effect lasts for 3 seconds and once it’s over, First Strike also gives you 100% of the bonus damage dealt (70% for ranged champions) as bonus gold instead.
This is roughly the official definition that Riot Games gives for the First Strike keystone. But I know it might not be the clearest one, so think of it this way.
First Strike has two main parts – bonus gold and bonus extra damage.
In order to activate the rune, you have to be the one first to hit the enemy champion. And if they hit you first, the rune will automatically go on cooldown as though it’s already been used. And that way you’ll get 0 value out of it.
However, if you successfully hit an enemy target first, you’ll instantly get 5 gold and the rune will activate. In the next 3 seconds, you get a window where you deal more damage to them so it’s a good opportunity for bursting them down.
The more damage you deal during those 3 seconds the more gold First Strike will reward you. That’s why the rune goes very well with assassins and burst mages since they can quickly drop all of their spells in less than 3 seconds.
Of course, the longer the game goes on and the more AP/AD you have, the more damage you’re going to deal. This means that First Strike will also give you more gold towards the late game than at the start of the match.
Does First Strike Do True Damage?
Even though Riot Games didn’t put in the official tooltip in League of Legends, First Strike does deal true damage. Its main effect is a 9% bonus true damage upon the activation of the rune and lasts for 3 seconds. The rune can also be activated with a true damage spell, such as Smite.
If you take a look at First Strike’s official explanation, either on the client’s rune page or the in-game tooltip, you’ll only see “9% extra damage”.
However, if you die in League of Legends from a champion using the First Strike rune, the “death info” panel shows you the amount of true damage they’ve dealt to you thanks to First Strike. So, the rune does work on true damage.
How Much Gold Does First Strike Give?
First Strike’s bonus gold is a highly relative feature in League of Legends. It depends a lot on the champion that’s using it, whether the match is at early, mid, or late game, and how many times it’s actually been used during the match.
On average, First Strike grants a total of 20-50 gold during the early game, 60-130 during the mid game, and 100-250 during the late game with each activation. Based on how many times you’ve utilized it, you can actually collect anywhere from 700 to 3000 gold with First Strike per game.
On the surface, the amount of gold you receive from this rune might not seem like much. However, it translates to a bonus whole item in the late game, so it can be a great option for scaling champions.
If you want to make the most gold out of First Strike, there are a couple of general rules you need to follow.
How to Make the Most Amount of Gold with First Strike?
First, don’t allow your opponent to hit you before you do. As I mentioned above, this puts the rune on a cooldown as though you’ve already used it. And the worst part is that you can’t activate it again for the next 20 seconds or so.
Next, try to activate First Strike as often as possible. You can track the rune’s cooldown while in-game, so always go for pokes and trades when it’s available. The number of times you use First Strike directly impacts the amount of gold you’re going to collect in total.
During the early game, the bonus gold from First Strike equals a minion kill, but that gold piles up. And at the end of the laning phase, you can have more than 300 gold over your opponent.
Also, try to do as much damage as possible when you activate First Strike. For this, you’re going to need the right champion (scroll down). But even if you don’t, make sure to squeeze an extra auto-attack or so during those 3 seconds.
What is the Best Rune Page for First Strike?
These are the runes that generally go well with First Strike in League of Legends, no matter the champion you’re using.
- First Strike – your main rune.
- Magical Footwear – gives you free boots so you save additional 300 gold.
- Future’s Market – allows you to go into debt and buy items faster.
- Cosmic Insight – grants a bit of spell haste.
- Absolute Focus – increases your AP or AD when you’re above 70% health.
- Gathering Storm – grants you a bonus AP or AD every 10 minutes.
Of course, there are a number of different combinations you can go for when playing with First Strike. If you’re on an assassin, for example, maybe you’ll want to go for Domination second instead of Sorcery.
Similarly, you can switch the runes within the Inspiration tree to fit your champion’s playstyle.
The Best Champions for First Strike in LoL
Generally speaking, any champion that can do burst damage or heavy AoE damage without being hit first is a good champion for First Strike in League of Legends.
Players run the rune on all types of champions, from assassins to poke mages. And its success is different for each pick.
Here are the top 10 champions that can take the most advantage out of First Strike.
Each of these picks has the luxury of being the initiator of combat. Their ability kits allow them to start each fight and therefore can make good use of First Strike.
For example, Vex usually casts R onto an enemy champion which triggers First Strike. She then flies into them and bursts them down which generates a lot of bonus gold.
On the other hand, Karthus needs to only press R and the bonus gold will be derived from all 5 enemy champions hit. That’s why he can scale so much faster with First Strike.
Understanding First Strike can take a lot of time, especially for a new player. Riot Games don’t do their best of explaining these things to the majority of people. But I hope my guide here helped you figure out how this rune works and how you can take advantage of it.
Remember, Frist Strike is good for dealing more damage and scaling faster. So choose your champion accordingly for it!