Ever since it was introduced in season 12, the First Strike has remained one of the most fun runes to play with. It is perfect for those who enjoy aggressive gameplay, snowballing, and solo carrying the games.
This rune can work on plenty of champions, but not all will see the same results. This is why I compiled a list of the top 8 first-strike champions in League of Legends.
Kha’Zix might be one of the best users of the First Strike. He can start cashing it in early on, and it synergizes well with his burst playstyle.
When I play Kha’Zix, I pick this rune almost all the time, especially in those times when I plan on invading. The plan is usually to clear three camps and then invade the enemy jungler.
Kha’Zix is really strong at early fights, and this rune only makes him better. It gives extra damage but, most importantly, extra gold. This allows me to have a much higher impact early on and paves the road for a fruitful mid and late-game.
Evelynn is much different than Kha, at least in the early game. As Evelynn, you will mostly want to spend your time clearing camps and avoiding dying to enemy invades. As the game goes on, however, Evelynn gains much strength. When everything is done correctly, she becomes one of the strongest one-shot champions in the game. This is exactly why the First Strike is great on her.
As you gain more damage, you will gain more gold through the First Strike’s passive. So essentially, I would recommend this rune for those who like to play it safe early and blast through the midgame.
Another champion that I found works well with the First Strike is Xerath. There is not much science to this, as the only thing you need to do in lane is sit back and hit enemies.
Now, for the aspiring Xerath players, I would recommend 1 thing, and that is to practice the skill shots. It might sound obvious, but this is the core thing about this champion. Failing to land skill shots is extremely self-punishing, especially when running the First Strike.
I would also urge Xerath players to consider Arcane Comet. Unlike First Strike, it does not give gold when hitting enemies, but it does give them a good beating that puts them closer to death. And that will generate more gold on average.
Ezreal is a champion that I do not understand. Not in terms of mechanics or anything, but in terms of versatility. This champion can be played as a tank, it can be played AP and AD, and he can run almost any rune successfully. How is that fair?
Now, despite everything working on him, there are some things that just stand out. The First Strike is a prime example. The rune works so well on this champion because he can dish out so much damage with his combos.
My favorite First-Strike Ezreal combo is W, Q, E. When done in rapid succession, it will shave off the HP bar away from enemies and grant significant gold.
I also like to play AP First Strike Ezreal. This is not something that is truly viable, but it is one of the most fun playstyles in League. There are quite a few things that can compare to Ezreal deleting 90% of the enemy HP bar in less than 1 second.
I know what you are thinking about. Garen with the First Strike sounds ridiculous, and it kinda is, but it is definitely something worth familiarizing yourself with.
This playstyle works by combining the rune and critical strike. The more critical strike you get, the more damage output you will have. Since this itemization makes Garen squishy, there are some additional tips you will need to pull this off. For example, the main way to trade playing Garen like this is by sitting in bushes. Coming in and out every once in a while to damage the enemy. This stealth combo should be used in the late game too. You should wait for carries in unwarded bushes, and one-shot them with the Q+E+R combo.
The crucial component to making this work is Galeforce. Alongside flash, it will be good enough to gap close every enemy champion. Once you get in their face and silence them by pressing Q, they are as good as dead.
All in all, this is a highly controversial way to play Garen, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. The highest I have seen someone get with this build is Grandmaster, but since most of us are lower-ranked plebs, I think we can not criticize the pick.
Talon is a champion that has one of the highest bursts in the game, and I do not think anyone is surprised to see him on this list.The theory behind making him work with the First Strike is quite simple. Just do your regular combos the way you would do them anyway, and the rune will do its thing.
Now should you pick this rune? I guess it depends. When playing midlane I like to go for electrocute as it provides more consistent damage. When playing jungle, I just spam the First Strike all the time.
The First Strike on Jungle Talon is simply the best thing. It gives extra gold for every gank where you manage to touch the enemy. And it also rewards invading. Since Talon is an aggressive champion that spends a lot of teamfighting, there is no reason not to take this rune if you are jungling with Talon.
I can not speak for the other players, but I can speak for myself. The First Strike for Kayn is amazing. This is the rune I pick up all the time with Kayn, and it generates 2-3k gold on average throughout a game. This is insanity, as 2k gold is equivalent to 5.5 kills. It is such a great snowball rune.
Now, I have to admit I only play blue Kayn, and I do not know if the rune would have as much of a strong effect on the red one, but I wouldn’t assume its significantly worse.
Lux is a champion that can benefit massively from the First Strike. This is mostly due to the burst potential she can achieve by landing good combos.
When it comes to choosing this rune on her, she is much like Xerath. The rune will work fine but there are viable alternatives like arcane comet.
Unlike Xerath, though, her combos hit somewhat harder. This means that she can proc more damage by using First Strike.
The First Strike is a great rune for champions that have a lot of burst in their kits. This is why you will see it most often on assassins and one-shotting mages. If you are looking for ideas, I would definitely recommend champions from this list, as they are the ones that synergize with the rune the most, but I would also encourage you to try new picks yourself.