Domination is a very good rune page that allows your champion to deal burst damage over a short period of time. However, there are several Keystones that differ from each other and although they maximize the damage dealt to an enemy champion, they tend to do it in a different way.
Two very utilized components from Domination are Cheap Shot and Sudden Impact. Both of them apply bigger damage to the enemy target, but the damage dealt isn’t of the same nature.
This is a guide that will explain both of the components, and how they work and will compare them head-to-head regarding all champions that should benefit from picking them!
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Cheap Shot allows you to deal an extra 10-45 true damage based on your level to enemy champions that are affected by certain crowd control effects.
The extra damage is dealt with both basic attacks and ability damage, while the enemy target has to be Immobilized, Blinded, Disarmed, Grounded, Nearsighted, Polymorphed, Silenced, or Slowed in order for Cheap Shot to proc.
This ability has a cooldown of 4 seconds, and the target must already be impaired prior to the attack so that the bonus damage could be triggered.
Cheap Shot is a good choice for ADCs and champions that can apply CC with their abilities or basic attacks. Imagine Ashe for example, she could proc Cheap Shot thanks to her passive that slows her enemies, therefore dealing bonus true damage every 4 seconds.
Items like Stormrazor, and Serylda’s Grudge do synergize with Cheap Shot too, as they make it very easy for you to benefit from this rune.
Another ADC that could make good utilization of Cheap Shot is Miss Fortune, that is if she can precisely hit Make it Rain and slow the enemies. Her next basic attack will also be empowered by her passive, so Cheap Shot will only help her in dealing a significant amount of physical damage.
This component helps you deal bonus damage by granting you Lethality, which goes from 4.36 to 7 based on your level. Also, Sudden Impact gains you extra 6 Magic Penetration for the next 5 seconds, and the triggering damage will already benefit from the penetration you’ll receive.
However, Sudden Impact procs within 4 seconds of using a dash or blink, or exiting from stealth. This is a very important fact because, unlike Cheap Shot, it cannot proc on every occasion.
When you read “exiting stealth” the first thing that comes to your mind is probably Rengar. And you’d be right, Sudden Impact is a very good booster for his performance.
However, champions like Talon, Shaco, and Zed can also use Sudden Impact to make “noise” on the lanes they are playing. The buff from Sudden Impact lasts 4 seconds and it may be refreshed when triggered again.
We’ve mentioned the “dash” feature above, right? Well, there is one ADC that loves to dash more than others, and that is Kalista.
She will proc Sudden Impact every time she dashes into a certain direction, making her have this buff active whenever in combat with champions and when it’s off cooldown.
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The first difference between these two is the nature of their damage empowerment. Cheap Shot allows you to deal an extra amount of true damage, and the damage itself is fixed. It’s true that it raises with the level of your champion, but you cannot deal more than 45 true damage to enemies that it will apply.
Plus, the enemy has to be already impaired for Cheap Shot to proc, which could be a bit frustrating if you find yourself in a 1v1 situation against a much stronger champion.
Compared to him, Sudden Impact enlarges your Lethality and Magic Penetration levels. This is better when it comes to overall damage because you could stack other items with Sudden Impact, more precisely you can buy items that grant your champion more Lethality, which will only empower this rune to a bigger level.
Sudden Impact, however, does require your champion to exit stealth, dash, or blink, and you cannot use flash on every 4 seconds as you already know. This means that it’s good for champions in the jungle or in the mid-lane, especially when they choose to visit other lanes.
That way, when mid-laners exit from the bush, the impact of their first attack (if it happens in 4 seconds or less) would be much enlarged.
Some of the mid laners are just “destined” to go Cheap Shot instead of Sudden Impact, such as the example with Syndra. Although Cheap Shot deals less overall damage compared to Sudden Impact, Syndra makes a great utilization out of it because of her abilities to slow/stun the enemy.
She isn’t a very mobile character, so her exiting from the bush or flashing towards for a kill wouldn’t be a very frequent see-sight in League. This is why Syndra is better with Cheap Shot.
Junglers like Kha or Ekko have slow and CC in their ability kit. Kha doesn’t have stun necessarily, but he does have a slow with his W and can apply it from a greater distance. This doesn’t mean that he is an instant lock for Cheap Shot, as he can use his ult to exit from Stealth, empowering the attack of his next damage thanks to the increased Lethality from Sudden Impact. Ekko, however, would have to exit the bush and complete the stun from his W to deal a massive amount of damage in the following 4 seconds from Sudden Impact.
But if he manages to slow the enemy with his Q, then Cheap Shot would enlarge the amount of damage dealt thanks to the extra true damage.
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So, it really depends on what kind of damage you want to deal to your enemies. And it really depends on how often your champion is able to utilize the rune overall. Sudden Impact is better when you pair it with burst and target access, while Cheap Shot is better when you pair it with long-range poke, such as Ashe and Kalista’s possibilities to poke and deal increased damage.
Both of these runes are very often utilized with the Domination rune page, and both of them are very similar in nature. The difference, however, is still present and when it comes to mid/late game, the effects of the extra penetration from Sudden Impact would benefit your champion more compared to the flat bonus from true damage.
We hope that this guide has helped you in making the right choice regarding Cheap Shot vs Sudden Impact!