League of Legends offers a wide variety of runes and keystones to choose from. Each of them acts differently and provides different benefits. To get the maximum value out of the champion you are playing, you must also pick the best runes for it. Two of these runes are Cheap Shot and Sudden Impact
Cheap Shot is suited for champions that can apply CC to their target and then deal damage to proc the bonus true damage. Sudden Impact does not provide damage, instead provides lethality and magic penetration when you damage an enemy after using a dash/blink or after exiting stealth.
While both of these runes can provide value without relying on the champion’s kit, it would be worthless to pick them if you can not proc them consistently. Let us take a look at how these runes work and which champions they suit the best.
Cheap Shot is a damage rune in the Domination Tree. It is the first (left-most) rune in the first row of Domination Tree. The rune states that any damaging basic attack and ability damage will deal an additional chunk of true damage to enemy champions if they are suffering from certain crowd control effects.
This damage begins at 10 at Level 1 and scales up to 45 damage at Leve 18. However, it is worth mentioning that not every single crowd control effect prepares Cheap Shot.
The target must be suffering from at least one of the following Crowd Control effects to proc the bonus true damage from Cheap Shot:
It is important to be aware that in order to proc Cheap Shot on any target, the damage must be applied to the target when it is already suffering from the Crowd Control effect. This means that abilities that apply the Crowd Control effect will not automatically proc the rune for the additional damage. The CC must be followed up with a source of ability/basic attack damage to proc the bonus true damage.
For this reason, damage sources that have more than a singular tick are effective at proccing Cheap Shot. Damage over Time effects will apply multiple instances of damage, making it easier to proc Cheap Shot if the Crowd Control is applied before the Damage over Time runs out.
Certain items act as reliable sources of Crowd Control, therefore proving to be the perfect setup for Cheap Shot. Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, Serylda’s Grudge, and Stormrazor are items that apply a slow to the enemy champion, providing the CC required to prepare Cheap Shot. Damage done after this slow is applied will immediately proc Cheap Shot.
Glacial Augment is a rune that at first look might seem useless for proccing Cheap Shot, mainly because the rune itself requires an immobilization effect to take place to proc. However, we must not forget that the rune creates a large icy zone and every single opponent within this zone will be slowed. This allows you to proc Cheap Shot on targets other than the original one as well.
Sudden Impact is a stat rune in the Domination Tree. It is the third (right-most) rune in the first row of the Domination Tree. The rune states that after using a Dash/Blink or after exiting stealth, for the next 4 seconds, dealing any damage to an enemy champion provides you lethality and magic penetration.
You gain 7 lethality which equals 4.36 armor penetration at Level 1 and 7 armor penetration at Level 18. You also gain 6 magic penetration. These bonuses last for 5 seconds after activation. The original expiration time of the spell is 4 seconds, in which you must deal damage to a champion after dashing/blinking to activate the bonus. Any subsequent dash in this 4 second window will refresh the timer if Sudden Impact is not procced.
Sudden Impact is usually taken by champions that have the ability to dash/blink reliably in teamfights. If they lack any such ability, they can still make use of the rune. There are certain sources that can be used by any champion in the game and will count as blink/stealth exit for preparing Sudden Impact:
- Blast Cone
- Hex Gate
- Dash (In ARAM)
- Dusblade of Draktharr
- Hextech Rocketbelt
- Prowler’s Claw
- Magical Journey (Bard E)
- Rootcaller (Ivern Q)
- Curse of the Black Mist (Senna E)
- Regurgitate (Tahm Kehnch R)
- Dark Passage (Thresh W)
Simply appearing into vision from a location without enemy vision will not prepare Sudden Impact. You must exit an actual Stealth (Invisibility, Camouflage) in order to proc it.
Lunges do not proc Sudden Impact. Only actual Blinks and Dashes will proc this rune. Lunges are not true blinks, they simply provide a similar effect by closing the gap between you and your target when you are close enough.
Utilizing Sudden Impact
Sudden Impact is best suited for abilities that count as dash, blinks, or stealth. These abilities can allow you to control when Sudden Impact is procced. However, there are other ways of proccing Sudden Impact as well, these methods do not require ability usage. Some items that can proc Sudden Impact periodically include Duskblade of Draktharr, Hextech Rocketbelt, Galeforce, and Prowler’s Claw.
Champions That Prefer Cheap Shot
- Miss Fortune
- Xin Zhao
Champions That Prefer Sudden Impact
- Master Yi
Please note that some of the champions listed in both lists may actually prefer Taste of Blood over either of these runes. These champions are listed based on which rune they prefer between the two, they may or may not actually use the Domination Tree at all in practical situations.
How To Decide Between The Two?
Both of these runes can prove to be underwhelming when taken on champions that do not fully utilize them. Since these runes have a short cooldown, they are best suited to champions that can frequently proc them. So let us take a look at the factors to take into consideration before deciding between Cheap Shot and Sudden Impact for your champion.
Cheap Shot is best suited to champions that have frequent sources of CC in their kit. The CC must belong to the list above and must have a low enough cooldown to get value out of the rune. If you are unable to consistently land the CC, mainly because of it being a skillshot, then you should probably avoid this rune.
Sudden Impact is best suited to champions with frequent sources of dashes/blinks, or champions that can come out of stealth before fighting. Champions that regularly dash will utilize this rune to its fullest. Keep in mind that the rune itself does not provide any damage. It simply provides you with lethality and magic penetration, and the damage must come from your champion to benefit from it.
So taking Sudden Impact rune on tanky champions that aren’t the best source of damage is not optimal. Similarly, taking Cheap Shot on champions that can provide CC but not follow it up with damage to proc the rune is also suboptimal.
Keep in mind that some items can allow you to circumvent the requirement of dashes/CC in your kit. A champion that has Rylai’s Crystal Scepter or Serylda’s Grudge will easily benefit from Cheap Shot. Similarly, Prowler’s Claw and Hextech Rocketbelt users will find it easy to benefit from the extra lethality/magic penetration from Sudden Impact when they decide to all-in the enemy with these items.
Cheap Shot and Sudden Impact are niche runes designed to provide an extra bit of damage to champions that want to maximize their damage output from runes. Both of them act differently and suit different champions. Please consider the mobility and CC your champion provides before opting for either of these runes.
Read more: Cheap Shot vs. Sudden Impact – Which One Is Better?