Scott Kostov | 6. August 2022

First Strike is overpowered and better than Electrocute

Season 12 brought a lot of changes to League of Legends, which have shaken up the meta multiple times during the year. After Chemtech Drake and Soul were removed, it seems that the new rune First Strike has taken over.

Preseason 12 gave us First Strike

When preseason rolled around it wasn’t hard to recognize why a part of the community was worried about First Strike. A rune from the Inspiration tree that gives gold when you do damage. Hmm, where have we seen that one before? Well, Cleptomancy used to be a thing and did just that. And it broke the game at so many levels of play that they had to remove it after countless nerfs. The counter play to First Strike was supposed to be that if you take damage before you use it, it goes on full cooldown. And that seemed fair and was honestly a good design. Karthus, Ezreal, and Viktor loved abusing that rune in the early season, but then something happened.

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Cleptomancy vs First Strike Credit: Rav/ Youtube

The durability patch changed League

By the time patch, 12,10 rolled around everyone in the community knew it was going to change a lot of things. The durability update made everyone tankier and everything harder to kill. Which left one class of champions in a really bad spot. Burst champions like assassins whose goal was to snowball through early kills and end the game, now couldn’t do that. In the meantime, a  lot of the systems in the game got buffed, nerfed, and changed, but some were forgotten.

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Electrocute vs First Strike

The domination tree has been taking hits ever since the runes were reforged and everything in it was broken. But the go-to rune for assassins, Electrocute, stayed the same, and with the burst lowered in the entire game, they had to find another keystone.

Let’s compare the two:

  • First strike has a lower cooldown- 25-25 seconds compared to 25-20 seconds on Electrocute
  • Electrocute does more damage per full rotation until you get your Mythic item, after that First Strike hard out scales. Since it does 10% bonus true damage of the total damage you did while the rune was active, it makes sense for it to become more powerful as you gain more items. 
  • Electrocute is a single target damage keystone, compared to First Strike which acts as an AOE Electrocute. Karthus Ultimate and Gangplank Barrels with First Strike are the best example of this.

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Secondary rune choices

Where the real difference is made is in the rest of the rune choices. The Inspiration tree is by default designed to provide more utility than the more damage-oriented runes. Sure Sudden Impact got a small buff on the previous patch but the rest of the Domination tree has been getting nerfed for ages.

Meanwhile, the Inspiration tree gives you access to runes like :

  • Magical Footwear- free boots (save 300 gold) + 10 movement speed
  • Future’s Market- you can go into debt for more than 150 gold every time you back 
  • Cosmic Insight- 18 summoner spell haste and 10 item haste

Why is First Strike overpowered?

This is the standard First Strike rune page which you can use on any champion and it would give tremendous value. Saving 300 gold on free boots is nice but movement speed and mana regen are the most valuable stats in the game. And you get 10 bonus movement speed to help you dodge spells, run to the minions, get the red buff, and much more.

The other secondary runes like Hexflash and Perfect Timing are also great. Most engage champions love using Hexflash to make plays while a free stopwatch is 650 gold you don’t have to waste and can use to build two items in the game.

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Of the top 10 mid lane champions for this patch, only Galio and Rumble don’t use First Strike Credit: OP.GG

Future’s Market offers a lot of value for a third-tier rune and is especially good on junglers among others, to help them secure power spikes or enough gold for Control Wards. If you don’t need that, Biscuit Delivery is great for lane and Minion Dematerializer helps you farm better at all stages of the game.

But the real fun starts in the fourth tier of runes since Cosmic Insight decreases your Summoner Spell cooldown. Combined with Lucidity boots, you can use your Flash every 250 seconds instead of 300. Talk about value. And if you build a Zhonya or a Guardian Angel from that free stopwatch, it also gets its cooldown reduced. Nothing in the Domination tree comes close to this kind of value, and First Strike does more damage throughout the entire game.

Header: Riot Games