Hail of Blades is a keystone in the Domination rune tab that buffs your attack speed. One of the main draws of this keystone is that it allows you to exceed the attack speed limit while it is active. This allows for insane damage output, and since the cooldown for this ability is only twelve seconds, there’s virtually no drawback to using it as often as possible.
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In this article, I’ll explain each aspect of the keystone, items that accompany it, and which Champions it has a good effect on. Let’s get started!
Hail of Blades LoL Detailed Breakdown
The first aspect of Hail of Blades is pretty simple, but it’s the most important to understand. When the keystone is ready, you just have to begin attacking an enemy to activate it. After that, your next three attacks are performed at 110% attack speed.
The second paragraph explains the timeframe you have to do this in. If more than three seconds passes in between your three attacks, the ability ends regardless of how many attacks you’ve used. So if you activate it and your enemy gets away, you can’t wait for them to get back. If you end up in a situation where you attack someone to activate the keystone but they get away, just attack minions or something else. There’s no reason to let the activation go to waste.
“Attack resets increase the attack limit by 1” is a more complicated attribute. To rephrase, this basically says that cancelling one of your autos before it connects grants you an extra attack. If you accidentally auto-cancel, you won’t be punished. Use this to your advantage when you get the opportunity to.
The last attribute of the keystone allows you to exceed the attack speed limit while active. You don’t have to base your build around maximizing attack speed usage in accordance to the actual limit. You can attack at truly ungodly speed thanks to Hail of Blades. Overall, this is the major reason people like this keystone so much. Since most ADCs end up close to (if not over) the attack speed cap anyway, being able to exceed it is a dream come true.
Hail of Blades Common Uses
Hail of Blades is at its best when used on Champions that care about attack speed (obviously). The best candidates for this are brawlers and marksmen. Specifically marksmen. You want to use this keystone on Champions that benefit from the attack speed being uncapped (mostly ADCs and some brawlers), and also Champions that apply an on-hit effect. If your Champion doesn’t have an on-hit effect but you want to use Hail of Blades anyway, make sure and get an item that does have these effects.
When deciding whether or not to use Hail of Blades, it’s important to consider is if it’s actually better than another keystone. I would personally only take Hail of Blades when I know I’ll be able to gain more from it than something like Lethal Tempo or Conqueror. There are a lot of Champions that can take Hail of Blades but would be better off with something in the precision tree. Make sure to look up the most common builds on your Champion so you know if something else is preferable. But in the end that decision is up to you — just because it might not be the “best” keystone doesn’t mean it’s not still good.
Best Champions to Use With Hail of Blades
In this section, we’ll check out the top Hail of Blades Champions for KO’ing your opponents in record time.
Tristana is one of the best marksmen to use with this keystone, and that’s for one big reason: her bombs. When Tristana throws a bomb onto someone, she has to attack them several times to make it explode. With Hail of Blades, you get the perfect boost to your attack speed to make this happen almost instantaneously. Since Tristana usually builds a lot of attack speed anyway, she gets to benefit greatly from the attack speed uncap Hail of Blades offers. I would recommend this keystone over any other on Tristana.
Kai’Sa wants to take Hail of Blades for most of the same reasons as Tristana. Her passive stacks on hit, so Hail of Blades is the perfect accompaniment. One minor downside with Kai’Sa is that her build can sometimes be weird depending on what you’re trying to do with her, so she might not get the full attack speed benefit. But even then, it’s still a great keystone to have on her due to her on-hit passive if for no other reason.
Another marksman, another on-hit attack user. Varus’s on-hit damage is a major part of his build, so I love Hail of Blades on him. I think it’s the best possible keystone for him, even though most in the precision tree are also good picks.
Gnar is a weird Champion, in all honesty. His normal form has on-hit attacks that benefit from Hail of Blades, but his mega form doesn’t find it as useful. However, since you spend most of your time in normal form, I still recommend it. I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best keystone for him, but it’s certainly one of the better ones.
Hail of Blades works really well with Vi’s W-passive. Since she’s a brawler, she’ll usually have enough attack speed to benefit from the uncap. She can also combo it with her E for a solid damage boost.
Since Sett is such an up close and personal Champion, I really like Hail of Blades on him. It works with his Q really well, and is just a really fun keystone to have on him. It certainly isn’t the best one for him, but it might be the most fun (and definitely not bad).
Who Not to Take Hail of Blades On
Obviously, Hail of Blades is not a keystone you can take on just anyone. You’ll want it only when you know you will benefit from lots of attack speed. Almost any marksman can use it (although Jhin is questionable), as well as some brawlers. Make sure that whoever you want to play it on is a good fit for this keystone before you take it, as it can be pretty useless when taken on the wrong person. Never take Hail of Blades on a mage or tank, unless you really don’t mind losing a game or two.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with experimentation. If you want to try Hail of Blades with a Champion other than the ones we’ve recommended above, then go for it! Just make sure you supplement your build with the right items and don’t do anything too crazy in ranked. Keep Hail of Blades Garen in normals where he belongs.
Items to Use With Hail of Blades
Speaking of items, let’s take a look at some of the recommended items to use with Hail of Blades. It’s a keystone you only want to take if you’re going to build several attack speed items. You don’t have to build just attack speed, but you’ll want at least two.
Blade of the Ruined King
This item does percent-health damage on each hit, and has an ability that deals damage after three attacks. This makes it a perfect option for Hail of Blades users. Blade of the Ruined King can also be taken on virtually any Hail of Blades Champion, from brawlers to full out marksmen. This is easily the best item to take alongside this keystone.
Black Cleaver applies armor reduction on a successful hit, making it much easier to kill whoever you’re attacking. You also gain movement speed after hitting an enemy who has had their armor reduced from your attacks. Black Cleaver is usually best on brawlers, but that doesn’t mean marksmen absolutely can’t take it. It’s just not the best option for them.
If you end up using Hail of Blades on any Champions that want ability power (Kai’Sa comes to mind), then you’ll want a Nashor’s Tooth. It applies magic damage on hit, so you’ll be able to get good usage from Hail of Blades. I like Nashor’s Tooth best on hybrid AD/AP builds, or on marksmen that have enough AP scaling to make it somewhat worth it.
Rageblade is a classic on-hit item that converts your critical strike chance into on-hit damage. Don’t use this item on a champion you won’t be building crit chance on, but build it on all the ones you do so with. I’m honestly not a fan of the recent changes to Rageblade, but I can’t deny how good it is with Hail of Blades (even though it was still better in its old form).
Become a High Grounder
Hail of Blades is one of the most underused keystones in League of Legends. When used on the right Champion, it is amazing. When used on the wrong one, it’s one of the worst keystones in the game. Feel free to try it out on whatever Champion you think would work with it, and make sure to keep the high ground!