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First Strike rune in Inspiration path: LoL preseason details and best champions for First Strike

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Amid the flurry of updates that are coming for League of Legends (LoL) season 12, a new keystone, First Strike, will be replacing the very rarely used Omnistone as part of the Inspiration rune path. Preseason is just around the corner, and Riot developers have been spilling details about what to expect for the game in 2022. Fans are now planning ahead to figure out some of the best champions who could potentially use the new rune.

Here’s First Strike’s official description—for now, though changes may be expected come next season.

Damaging an enemy champion with an attack or ability before they do, or within 0.25s of the start of combat, grants 5 gold and First Strike for 3 seconds, causing your attacks or abilities to deal 12% bonus damage against all champions, and granting (100% melee / 70% Ranged) of bonus damage dealt as gold.

Cooldown: 25-15s (based on level)

Which champions would benefit from First Strike?

By striking the enemy champion first, players with get a huge damage buff for a brief three-second spell. It’s perfect for trading and skirmishing, much like an older rune called Kleptomancy. Also, First Strike would be good for champions with quick rotations of spells that they can chain together—not only so that they can activate the rune, but also so that they can make the most out of the damage boost.

For example, mages like Orianna and Syndra could do well with First Strike. Their kits already rely on landing their abilities in quick succession, like Q-W or Q-R on Orianna, or Syndra’s Q-R combo or slipping a stun in between with a Q-E-W-W-R combination.

First Strike might also work on Kai’Sa, for example, landing her Void Seeker (W) from long range then dashing to the tagged enemy and following up with her Q and autos. Although, of course there may be some trade-offs with picking Inspiration over Precision paths as the secondary runes, with Domination retained as the primary path.

It’ll also be great for assassins like Zed or LeBlanc, since they rely on burst damage and unleashing all their spells within a short amount of time. Moreover, it could be viable for champions that can engage quickly, whether melee or ranged, and then follow up with AOE moves to make the most out of the buff. Still, First Strike will rely a lot on reaction times and making sure that the abilities do all land on their targets.

Strategic considerations for First Strike

The extra gold could also help players push their leads. They could potentially hit critical item breakpoints a lot faster or have enough gold to pick up wards or potions. At the same time, it will hopefully not be too overpowering: dealing 200 damage, for example, will only grant 24 gold, the equivalent of a ranged minion.

In a sense, the rune gives both immediate advantages through the mechanical boost in-combat, as well as long-term benefits through the gold accumulation.

Riot developers are hoping that the First Strike rune will appeal to a broad audience. As to why it was added to the Inspiration rune path, the idea is that it offers a rule-bending way to think about damage or initiating combat.

For example, players might think twice about starting a high-risk, potentially bad fight to ensure that they get First Strike’s rewards, versus letting the opponent strike first and then counter-engaging instead or waiting for teammates to arrive first or escaping from danger. This way, the micro-decisions about combat become more strategically oriented.

“A risk like that needs an equivalent reward, and the increased damage you get is clear and appealing,” explained senior game designer John “Sotere” Frank in a developers blog. “Some will benefit more from the burst damage, others will love it for the gold rewards, and still others will enjoy the intellectual puzzle of figuring out its most strategic use cases.”

The First Strike keystone will be arriving as part of as League of Legends patch 11.23, which will become live on November 17, 2021 alongside some other rune changes and new updates.