Hail of Blades is perhaps the most misinterpreted and misunderstood runes in League’s history. And rightfully so. The keystone isn’t a very popular choice on most champions, and it certainly does not fit every playstyle. But, there are some cases where Hail of Blades can transform the champion into a powerhouse that can’t be stopped. And it can also “make or break” your game if you decide to pick it up, so let’s learn what it is and how to use it!
What Does Hail of Blades Do?
Hail of Blades is an attack speed buff that triggers when you hit an enemy champion with an auto-attack. Immediately, it gives 110% attack speed and ignores the attack speed cap for your next 3 auto-attacks. It lasts for 3 seconds, and you can trigger it again after 8 seconds cooldown.
But what does this all mean? Well, it means that this keystone makes you hit someone three times very quickly. And if you’re wondering why would that be especially important as to sacrifice Electrocute, Conqueror, or Grasp of the Undying for it, just remember Braum’s passive, for example.
Braum’s Concussive Blows requires him or his allies to deal four auto-attacks (or Q + auto-attacks) one after the other to secure a stun on the enemy. Normally, Braum has a very slow base attack speed due to him being a support and not a bruiser. However, with Hail of Blades, he can quickly stack his passive on the target and stun him in less than 3 seconds! Or more precisely, Braum can throw his Q – Winter’s Bite to apply one stack of his passive and slow the enemy down, then rapidly hit him 3 times and stun him right away.
You see, Hail of Blades can give you quick access to your champion’s power, but only if that is tied with their auto-attacks. The 8-second cooldown is really short, and in Braum’s case, he can take full advantage of it every time he goes forward.
How to Use Hail of Blades and When to Pick it Up?
As with any other keystone, Hail of Blades won’t be the ideal choice for every single game. Suppose you’re playing a champion that doesn’t have any gap-closing abilities, and you’re against ranged/poke comp. In that case, you’ll struggle to proc it often. But, on the other hand, if you’re facing against an all-melee team, then you’ll find it easy to trigger and actually very helpful for getting ahead in every duel.
The usage of Hail of Blades is really simple – right-click an enemy champion. But, the timing is also very important, and you’ll need to keep track of its internal cooldown to know when to start a fight. And because Hail of Blades is an “opening” type of keystone, it can give you a huge health lead when you do start fighting. That’s why it’s important to jump in, preferably when you have it available!
What Are the Best Champions to Play with Hail of Blades?
While Braum is one of the most obvious choices, there is a number of champions that made Hail of Blades their signature keystone throughout the years. Here are some of them!
- Pyke – When playing Pyke outside of the supportive role, it’s very hard to burst down enemies in order to use your ultimate. But with Hail of Blades, Pyke can easily melt through everyone’s health bar because of his high physical damage stat. Getting to that “execute” state is the hardest part of playing Pyke, and if you have a way to accelerate that, you better use it.
- Mordekaiser – Mordekaiser is another interesting champion where Hail of Blades can be quite handy. His passive – Darkness Rise activates after 3 separate attacks or abilities. But if most enemy champions outrange or slow him down, it can be hard for Morde to trigger his passive. So Hail of Blades removes that problem. Being able to get the aoe draining up at the start of the fight can easily change who’ll win it in the end.
- Tryndamere – For Tryndamere, it’s quite understandable why Hail of Blade can be an excellent option. All of his damage is channeled through his auto-attacks, and he continually procs it every 8 seconds as long as he keeps fighting. Plus, if Tryndamere’s rage is at 100% and he has enough critical chance, he can obliterate the enemy’s backline in 1-2 seconds with the burst of attack speed that Hail of Blades provides.
- Tahm Kench – Tahm Kench is another famous user of Hail of Blades. Like Braum, he relies on his Q – Tongue Lash or his auto-attacks to stack up his passive – An Acquired Taste so he can either stun or swallow his enemy. Hail of Blades is an excellent choice for him, especially in the top lane. And since Tahm Kench is tanky enough anyway, it’s easy for him to sacrifice the other rune choices.
- Tristana – Tristana can use Hail of Blades very effectively as well. Her burst revolves around her E – Explosive Charge, which she needs to activate through hitting the target with her auto-attacks. Tristana has the potential to one-shot an enemy carry if she performs this quickly enough. Hail of Blades gives her an uplift triples her chances to do so.
Note that these aren’t the only champions that can benefit from the effects of Hail of Blades. Xin, Vi, and Rek’Sai are the standard users of this keystone, and they excel in it because it fits their kits and playstyles perfectly. But champions like Cho’Gath, Twitch, or even Azir can pick it up and be very successful with it. It’s certainly fun to play around with it, so if your main champion is an auto-attack focused one, then definitely give Hail of Blades a try!