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Build Guide by Asaki

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Asaki

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Asaki Last updated on May 17, 2012
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Guide Top

Introduction

"Make a guide, they said"
"You'll get votes, they said"

Irelia is an extremely safe pick for solo top with only a handful of counters. Her true damage lets her dominate mid-game and snowball into late game. Contrary to popular belief, she is not a true late game champion, but one that capitalizes on mid-game power to finish her build and finish leveling up before all other champions to dominate. The goal of an Irelia player is to play safely in the first six to nine levels, and use her true damage to snowball, in order to force end the game before Irelia falls off.

I hope that by the end of this guide you don't feel as if you had wasted 10 minutes of your life by clicking a "generic" guide.





Note:
I'm sorry for a lack of pictures or "guide asthetics" but I believe the content is more important than visuals.

Here's a song to listen to while you read the guide. If you're not into K-Pop, then you don't have to listen.

If you've noticed, I've made some dividers, (maybe 25 minutes), which are anime themed. Tell me if you like them or not. If you really like them, you can use them, just credit me. Personally, I don't really like the ones with the eyes, and I'm going to get to fixing those.


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A Warning

Just because both builds are there doesn't mean they're viable at all times. Choose one of the offtank builds when your team needs a tank, and the assassin build if your team doesn't need another tank and you want to play aggressively.


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Pros / Cons



"Irelia, the Will of the Blades"

Pros:

+ True damage
+ Gap-closer on 6 second cooldown
+ Strong duelist (E when low)
+ Nearly CC-immune
Cons:

- Has an extremely weak early-game
- Falls off in the late, late game
- Largest design nerf in LoL history
- Riot takes nerf jokes seriously


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Masteries

"16/14/0"

Masteries
1/5
3/5
4/1
4/1
1/1
3/1
3/1
1/1
4/1
3/5
2/5
1/1

-The masteries you use for the aggressive Offtank build. (not included in cheat-sheet because it's niche, and because 0/23/7 is more standard for Irelia, though I prefer these)


Summoner's Wrath : Improved Ghost, and Ignite on CD now gives an extra 5 AD and AP.

Brute Force : Easier last-hitting.

Alacrity : We get this for Weapon Expertise , not because it gives a lot of AS.

Weapon Expertise : One of the most valuable mastery points you can spend in general, shredding armor like nobody's business.

Deadliness : A bit of an AD boost, no reason not to take it, you want all the AD you can get.

Vampirism : Irelia lost some of her sustain in a recent nerf, this mastery aims to increase her sustain by a slight bit.




14 in Defense helps mitigate minion aggro damage, give survivability, and increase sustain. This leads to better trades when you harass opponents in lane (melee minions will now do 0 damage, ranged 5 or 6). And of course, the HP per level and flat HP increase are essential to being a bruiser in general, not just an offtank.
Indomitable is superior to the percentage reduction up to 133 damage after resistances (better in the early game).
Vigor gives you a little more sustain (taking both Vampirism and Vigor maximizes the amount of sustain you can have.
Resistance , Hardiness , Durability , and Veteran's Scars should be self-explanatory.

Depending on the lane opponent, you'll change between 3 points in Hardiness and 3 points in Resistance.





Why these masteries? You don't reach the "powerful" 21st mastery, so how are these masteries good? The points in offence are aimed at giving you harassment potential and a bit of sustain (after the Irelia nerf on W regen.)
"But what about , Sunder or Executioner ?"

Sunder only gives you 6 flat armor penetration, which also hurts the effectiveness of Weapon Expertise . (flat ARP is calculated before percentage ARP.)

Executioner gives you an additional 6% damage to targets under 40% HP. This may sound amazing, but Irelia will never pass 260 AD, (especially not with the Atma's nerf) unless she itemizes for attack damage, which defeats the purpose of Irelia as an offtank. Now, an additional 6% damage is equal to Irelia's AD (230 for the sake of these purposes) becoming 244. It's not a big deal. This 6% additional damage doesn't scale with Hiten Style's true damage (or any true damage at all). Don't forget that to take advantage of this mastery, you have to get the target to below 40% in the first place.

In actuality, the offensive 21st mastery isn't exactly worth it, unless you're the damage-dealer of the team. For Irelia, I personally think only Juggernaut is viable of the 3 final-tier masteries.


In defense:

Initiator isn't that great, because it doesn't really matter if you "initiate" the battle at 43:24, or 43:26. You won't stay above 70% a lot of the time anyways during the course of a teamfight, and it doesn't really help you disengage (I.e. run away from a bad teamfight).

Honor Guard is nice, but it's not completely necessary, and it doesn't shore up any of Irelia's early game weaknesses. However, it surpasses Indomitable when enemies start doing 134 or more damage per attack after resistances, which is the late mid-game to late-game.

The only mastery you're really missing out on is Juggernaut , which might give you 150 HP, if your build is complete and you've bought a Red Elixir, which happens in the late-late-endgame. It also helps against CC. But when you have 4700 HP, 150 HP is a drop in the bucket.




"0/21/9"

-The masteries for the defensive Offtank build.
These masteries are for when you need extra movement speed or tankiness (your team isn't tanky enough.) I believe these masteries are self explanatory.
- Defensive masteries, for being an offtank.

- Good Hands because it's overpowered late-game. When a game goes 30 minutes, the death timer is 50 seconds, and Good Hands will revive you 5 seconds earlier. At 55 minutes, the death timer is 75 seconds, and Good Hands will bring you up a whole 8 seconds faster. This can mean the difference between a loss and barely keeping your Nexus alive. You know those times when you think, "If I had been alive a few seconds faster, I could have scared off or killed those last few people".

- Expanded Mind to unlock Meditation , and because Irelia has a really shallow mana pool.

- Meditation so you can harass more often.


Wickd plays with a modification of these masteries -- 0/23/7, with 2 points in Indomitable, and taking Summoner's Insight , Expanded Mind , and Meditation .




Assassin Masteries

There's a slight change in Masteries to take advantage of Lethality . This is because with the items ( Trinity Force and possibly Infinity Edge) the Assassin build will buy, Irelia will gain much higher critical chance, and it's more important to do DPS in the Assassin build than it is in the Offtank build.

In addition, depending on your lane, you'll take 3 points in Hardiness (AD opponent)or Resistance (AP opponent). This change from the offensive Offtank build is to free up two points to add into both Lethality and Summoner's Insight , in order to have reduced Flash cooldown.


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Summoner Spells

Personally I think there's only a few choices for summoner spells for Irelia.

#1 picks:

Irelia will be able to walk out of fights with this, in combination with her passive and Mercury's Treads.
Secures kills, cuts down on the enemy AD carry's life steal, helping you do your job as an anti-carry.




Other viable picks:
What if that pesky enemy flashes over the wall? Your Q is an amazing gap closer that refreshes every 6 seconds, but it can't follow enemies over the wall. In addition, you can use flash to make Irelia have an extra-long distance gap closer. (flash+Q)

If no one else on your team takes it, it might be a good idea to take this spell. It also helps you secure kills, along with Ignite. It's a strong anti-carry item, and if you are amazingly skilled and don't need escapes, then I would go Ignite/Exhaust. (I'm just not that skilled)

You can hurry back to the fight, or pull off insane ganks with this spell (you can teleport to wards, minions, turrets, Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard, Olaf's Undertow, etc.) It also means you can go B for items and come back to lane in about 12 seconds (recall + teleport time), meaning you don't lose a tick of exp or farm. (and you come back with full mana)




Assassin Build:
The assassin build is a completely different beast from the offtank build, requiring different spells.

One spell must be Flash, as it's an extremely powerful disengage, and the Assassin build makes Irelia less survivable.

The two other skills must be anti-DPS or regen.

I believe this is the best choice, as lowering DPS will lower regen, and with the Summoner's Wrath mastery, the Armor and Magic Resist of the target are lowered. Be warned....It's hard to get kills with Exhaust in lane.

It provides more laning dominance, but the spell doesn't do as well as Exhaust for being anti-carry.

If summoner spells aren't listed here, assume they're not viable.


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Runes





Marks

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage
9

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Mark of Lethality
9
M
A
R
K
S
As seen, I take 9 Greater Mark of Desolation on my "aggressive build" (16/14/0 masteries).

However, flat AD is an extremely legitimate choice, to help early with last-hitting, and possibly harassing, but with my Quint choice, it shouldn't be too hard to last-hit.
M
A
R
K
S




Seals
Runes

Greater Seal of Armor
9
S
E
A
L
S
As for seals, I take 9 Greater Seal of Armor, which is self explanatory because most Jungles and Tops are AD, minus Akali, Rumble, Kennen, and Vladimir (top), or Fiddlesticks (jungle)
This choice gives you the most survivability, and is truly the only choice for a top-laner or jungler.
S
E
A
L
S




Glyphs
Runes

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9
G
L
Y
P
H
S

When you're not against an AP top, you should choose scaling MR (Shielding).
Or, you can just take flat (Warding), as they're pretty universal, you won't have to make multiple rune pages for Irelia.
G
L
Y
P
H
S




Quintessences
Runes

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

Greater Quintessence of Lethality
3

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
3
Q
U
I
N
T
S
For Quints, you have multiple options: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, Greater Quintessence of Desolation, or Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage.

I prefer to use Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage to achieve a balance between early game and late game. Think about it this way: the AD quint is worth 2.37 AD marks, but the ARP quint is worth only 2 ARP marks. If you're going to add AD to your runes, AD quints are the way to go.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage makes for easier last hitting.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed makes you a better chaser (you can actually catch up to someone with a PD)
Greater Quintessence of Desolation gives a better late game.
Q
U
I
N
T
S


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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18





Ionian Fervor is a great passive. However, you need to understand the limitations of your passive, as an Irelia player.


What Ionian Fervor will do:

+ Make CC irrelevant in teamfights
+ Possibly help you out when you get ganked
What Ionian Fervor will not do:

- Make a dent in CC in a 1v1 duel



Thus, CC will have nearly full effect when 1v1 dueling another character, unless you're wearing Mercury's Treads. (90% duration without Mercury's Treads, because there's a huge difference between a 5 second slow ( Wither) and a 4.5 second slow)






Take an early point in Q ( Bladesurge) to easily CS. The CD on Q refreshes on kill, so in theory, you could get all your CS with Q. This is too mana intensive, however, and I recommend you learn to CS normally, with auto attacks. You can, however, use it to get all the CS when there are two minions about to die and you can only reach 1. Max it by 13 to make sure no one can get away (a gap closer on a 6 second cooldown is a scary thing, flashes become irrelevant, unless they're over walls.)






Take W ( Hiten Style) as priority afterwards to get extra sustain and true damage which helps in trades. Hiten Style's sustain was hit hard, but it still gives you something (at least).






Take E ( Equilibrium Strike) at level 4 to get the CC, and max it last. (1 second CC is often more than enough to turn duels in your favor or to get away.)






Needless to say, take R ( Transcendent Blades) when you have the chance to. One of the greatest things to do with R is to wait until your opponent comes up with a huge minion wave, then engage. You might think that doing so is bad for you (minions can do lots of damage), but with Indomitable / Tough Skin , you cut the damage by a large amount, and Transcendent Blades will quickly turn the tides in your favor. (healing you while damaging your opponent) Transcendent Blades also doesn't interrupt your attack animations, so you could use it to increase your DPS slightly. Each blade is worth about the same amount of damage as an autoattack that can't crit, so it's helpful.




Tips

Bladesurge resets the auto-attack timer, so you could auto-attack and use Bladesurge right after to basically get two auto-attacks in the time it takes to hit one. This knowledge may be helpful when you want to harass.

Quick Harass (only exception to the below description of AA): (1)AA > Q, back off. This may work better with boots. (as you'll be able to make sure he can't auto-attack back)

Just so you know, when I say AA (autoattack), I want you to auto attack the enemy champion as many times as possible before he starts to pull away, or you get low (then you pull away).

So when harassing: E > W > AA > Q

If he backs off before you can get in range of your combo, he's scared of you, that's a good thing.

When you go for a kill: (costs around half of your max mana, so be warned)
Optimal: E > W > AA > Q > Ignite > R (x4)
Non-Optimal (but if you have to, then do it): W > Q > AA > E > AA > Ignite > R (x4)
To safely pull this off, the enemy champ has to be under 35%, but you can try 50%.

You can also choose to save E, in order to turn around the fight. Q is priority to save, because you want to Q right after they use Flash or a similar move.

If you don't have as high movement speed as your opponent, you may need to activate Ghost to get off the auto-attacks.
Remove Ignite from the combo if you can see that you won't get the kill.
R can stay, as it has a decently low cooldown.




About the "Q-E-Q trick"...

If performed correctly, at levels lower than 8, this combo will cost you:

30 mana + 50 mana + 65 mana (40 extra mana if you decide to activate Hiten Style
or
145 (+40) mana

Now, Irelia's base mana is 475 mana at level 7 (most optimal conditions, further and Bladesurge will cost more.)

Now 145/475 = 30.5%. You won't be able to sustain that kind of mana drain, unless you have Chalice of Harmony.

I'm not stopping you from draining your mana, I'm just saying it's a bad idea.


Guide Top

GP/10

Many Irelia guides, including those in the top 3 on this site, recommend GP/10 items, such as rushing Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold. However, you lose the benefit of Irelia's superb mid-game.

Pros and Cons of GP/10 on Irelia
Pros:

+ more money

+ Philo has MP/5

+ HoG gives 250 health
Cons:

- Less lane dominance mid-game
- Phage has 18 AD and 225 HP
- Chalice of Harmony = infinite sustain
- It takes appx 26 minutes to pay off
- If you sell, you make 400 gold a piece (not much)


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Items

Every item in the build is there for a reason. The best items for Irelia will give her defence while also giving her offence. That means that you should rarely buy full attack items. It's more acceptable to build full defence items, such as Warmog's, because they scale with your Atma's, the core item of any offtank.





C
O
R
E
In conjunction with your passive, you'll have a maximum of 61% CC reduction. Ninja Tabi is also a good choice if you see that the enemy team lacks CC AND is mostly AD.
C
O
R
E





A situational item for use against strong duelists like Riven. If you don't anticipate 1v1 being a problem, then skip Wriggles. The reason it's not in the Situational Items section is because it's possible for this item to be one of your core items, and it doesn't really hurt you, except you reach your final build a bit slower.




C
O
R
E
A core item that increases Irelia's AD and HP, both critical to her damage and survivability midgame. In most cases, I believe you should upgrade it to a Frozen Mallet, because Trinity Force makes you less tanky (by 450 HP) and gives you an unreliable slow (and you need to be able to stick to your target, the carry). In addition, Red Buff will never be yours unless you kill the owner of it, because a good team will always give their AD carry red buff. That just increases your need for Frozen Mallet.
C
O
R
E




C
O
R
E
A strong anti-AP carry item, it's strong mid-game and stays strong a long time. In most cases, you'll never have to sell it. However, if you do have to sell it, it does decrease your DPS by quite a bit (40% AS is nothing to be trifled with) but by that time, the on-hit effect is negligable. You might consider replacing it with Trinity Force if the game progresses that far. Priority over Phage when enemy mid is fed, or if your lane opponent is AP.
C
O
R
E




C
O
R
E
700 HP, 20 AD, and a passive that allows you to stick to an AD carry like a fat kid to cake. It's also strong mid-game if you get fed enough to buy it that early. The Giant's Belt that goes into the recipe gives you a much needed burst of survivability, and once you finish the item, you should see yourself rarely dying, unless the whole enemy team decides to jump on you.
C
O
R
E




C
O
R
E
So you've been stacking HP the whole game so far? You have about 2.7k HP? Maybe it's time to buy Atma's Impaler, which increases your survivability by a great deal AND will give you approximately 40 AD.
C
O
R
E




P
O
S
T

C
O
R
E
Now, the items listed above are what I consider absolutely necessary to play Irelia, but what if the game progresses even longer?

Personally, I believe your next goal is to become more tanky.
The best item for this is Warmog's Armor, which also scales with Atma's Impaler. Even though you go nearly full defence, you still top out at about 230 AD. If you end up replacing Wit's End with Trinity Force, you might even end at 250 AD, which isn't anything to sneeze at. It's about 2/3 to 3/4 of an AD carry's AD ( Corki with The Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge, and Trinity Force)(340), so Irelia starts to hurt quite a bit, especially to the carries that Irelia is supposed to destroy as part of her job.

After buying Warmog's, the next best choice is to buy Randuin's Omen, which has an OP passive against carries, and an even more OP active. If you activate the active AND ignite the carry while focusing him or her, their carry will most likely be out of action and your team should win the fight. (saying teams are balanced)

But in most cases, just don't buy items that don't have defensive benefits also associated to them. They might be strong mid-game, but you'll have to sell them late game as you are required to fill the role of tank/offtank. It's better just to buy tanky items early on.
P
O
S
T

C
O
R
E




Assassin Build

However, the Assassin build calls for a whole different ideology.
Similarly to the Offtank build, you have boots, Phage, and Wit's End as core. However, that's where the two builds diverge.



Chances are, you're jumping into the middle of the fight to focus the carry. Thus, you have to have some kind of HP to take some attacks. Warmog's is the best choice to do this.

or



Personally, I think in this build Mallet is a waste because by getting this item, you're wasting part of Trinity Force's passive. You gain maybe 15 AD by losing about 550 HP. Worth it? I don't think so. However, some people might think differently, so the HP calculation for you is 3048 HP, compared to 3618 with Warmogs. Some people will be fine with 3048 HP, I'm not.






To add to your tankiness, which allows for tower-diving, Atma's Impaler will give you Armor and a passive that increases your AD by 1.5% of your maximum HP. When you have 3.6k HP, that's quite a nice chunk of AD.






The biggest thing about Trinity Force is that it has a passive that empowers your next auto attack to do ADDED damage equal to 150% of your base AD. Irelia's base AD is approximately 113, so your next attack will do whatever you normally do plus 170 damage. Added with Bladesurge, your normal AD (250 with TF), and Hiten Style, you'll do 635 damage on one Bladesurge without calculating resistances. (560 Phys. damage + 75 True).

Now say you need to catch up to someone who's getting away with low HP, because of Flash and another distance maker. (Tristana's Rocket Jump + Flash) No problem! Irelia can first activate Hiten Style (to proc Trinity Force), then Bladesurge to a ranged minion in a passing wave (because chances are another minion wave will spawn while you're chasing), which is always a 1 hit kill. Because you killed the minion, Bladesurge refreshed, and now you're in Q range to kill Tristana. This is just one of the many uses of Bladesurge.

Don't forget: You can use your ultimate, Transcendent Blades to proc Trinity Force. (each blade is 1 proc). This gives you massive damage, not counting the fact that Transcendent Blades does lots of damage on its own.






Still the strongest DPS item in the game, you'll be critting half the time for huge damage. Just not as survivable as The Bloodthirster, but if you can manage to not die, I would pick Infinity Edge over The Bloodthirster.

or



You might argue that Infinity Edge does more DPS than The Bloodthirster. However, The Bloodthirster gives you regen that will help you stay in the fight longer, which is priceless when your goal is to kill the carries one by one. You don't want to die in the middle of killing one, and BT helps with that.


Guide Top

Situational Items

There comes a time where it's not the AD carry, but the AP carry that's the biggest threat, or there's 2 or 3 AP carries (Top/Mid/Jungle). Or maybe it's the last fight of the game. This section won't include modifications to the Assassin build, as I believe all components of that build are necessary to make sure Irelia can do the job of an assassin.




High Regen counter:



A situational item that is highly underestimated. It's the most cost-effective life-steal item after the life-steal nerfs, as the nerfs did not affect Executioner's Calling. Its active completely destroys regen champs such as Dr. Mundo and Sion. Its passive makes it so that the enemy cannot start recalling until eight, yes EIGHT seconds after your last auto-attack upon them, which they must add another
eight seconds spending time to recall. This is an eternity in lane-phase, and in that time, it's easy for your jungler, if he's nearby, to finish off that weakened lane opponent.

-Take against Sion, Dr. Mundo, or any high-regen champions you can think of (if you can't out-trade, no point of going out of core if you can still win versus their high-regen).




If facing an AP in your lane:

After rushing Wit's End and possibly getting a Giant's Belt for survivability:
In most cases, the item in this section will replace Randuin's Omen.



One of the few times you wouldn't rush Wit's End first, using this item or Wit's End is a matter of preference. By using this item, you should basically have unlimited mana for unlimited harassing, and be able to always activate Hiten Style to have maximum HP regen. However, it's preferable against heavy pushers ( Singed, Mordekaiser) rather than those champions that are more "single target" like Kennen or Vladimir. However, having wards completely changes the situation, as you'll be able to push without fearing a gank (unless it's a Rammus or Nocturne jungler). Being a hard pusher means the enemy champion cannot leave lane to gank other lanes, so that's always preferable. So I guess the moral of the story is:
Always buy wards.






Still a decent item, it's strong in the early game. Gives you AD and MR against APs.






This item does give you high MR, but you already have your passive, Ionian Fervor and normally Mercury Treads (especially as you're facing an AP in your lane), to reduce CC, so I would only recommend this item when there are champions with suppresses, such as Warwick and Malzahar on the enemy team.






This item is great, as it gives you:
Health Regen (40 HP/5)
Magic Resist (76 MR, the highest value in the game)
Movement Speed (chase down the enemy team better, don't you hate being kited?)
A passive that synergizes with your HP. Admittedly, it only gives you an extra 15 HP/5, but HP/5 is good, as it can let you stay in the fight much longer. With all your items, it's basically like an HP pot every 10 or so seconds.







A nice passive, it also gives you extra HP (for tankiness and Atma's Impaler, some MP (so you can spam your skills longer, stay out in the map for 2-3 teamfights), and MR, which is necessary against AP heavy teams.






It gives up to 95 AD depending on the percentage of your health. Since Irelia is a champion that thrives on danger (her E), this item synergizes nearly perfectly with you. It also offers an amount of Magic Resist against AP heavy teams.




Guardian Angel

Fed AD carry and dual AP carries?

Only one item fits the bill.


Providing a mix of Armor and MR, this will make you tankier against both magic and physical damage. However, you replace different items with Guardian Angel depending on circumstances. In my opinion, there are 2 different situations:


Situation 1

There's simply 2 AP carries and 1 well-farmed AD carry.

Item to replace: Randuin's Omen

Target to focus: Still the AD carry. (Sustained damage is more hurtful to your team than burst.)



Situation 2

This is the final teamfight in the game. Whichever team loses this teamfight will lose the game. (you'll get a sense for these kinds of things) In this case, it doesn't matter how many carries of each type they have, this item might turn the tides of the "final teamfight" in your favor. This applies to the Assassin build as well.

Item to replace: Mercury's Treads or whatever boots you're wearing.

Reasoning: This is the final teamfight. In the teamfight, everyone will be within your reach, as if any person is too far from the teamfight, they're doing it wrong. Thus you don't need the extra movement speed, you would rather have the extra tankiness and the overpowered passive that allows you to come back and continue whacking away at their team.

Target to focus: AD carry > AP carry, unless the AD carry is too far from the teamfight to do damage, or was shut down and does no damage (look at his inventory by using "Tab"). You need to always be in the teamfight, contributing your damage and tankiness.


Guide Top

Maths

Endgame stats:

It seems as Mobafire doesn't add passives from Atma's, or the gain you can get from Warmog's, or masteries, so I'll put it here:

Build 1: Offensive Offtank
Health: 4408

Effective HP for Phys damage is calculated by "HP * (1 + armor / 100)"
Effective HP against Phys: 14149.68 effective

Effective HP for Magic damage is calculated by "HP * (1 + armor / 100)"
Effective HP against Magic: 10614.464 effective

Cost: 15030

AD: 238.12
ARP: 10%
Crit: 18%
ASPD: 40%

Damage against carry with 80 armor/MR (Wit's End, Hiten Style): 236.7, 473.5 per crit (appx 1 in 5)




Build 2: Defensive Offtank

HP: 4540

Effective HP vs Phys Damage: 14573.4

Effective HP vs Magic Damage: 11023.12

Cost: 15030

AD: 200
ARP: 25 flat
Crit: 18%
ASPD: 40%

Damage if against carry with 80 armor/MR: Appx. 232.5 per hit, 465.1 per critical (appx 1 of 5)




Build 3: Assassin

HP: 3618

Effective HP against Phys damage: 8900.28

Effective HP against Magic damage: 8567.424

Cost: 15775 with The Bloodthirster, 16605 if Infinity Edge

AD: 311 (291 if Infinity Edge)
ARP: 25
Crit: 33% (58% if Infinity Edge)
Crit Damage: 210% (260% if Infinity Edge)
ASPD: 71%

Damage over 10 hits: (Hiten Style, Wit's End), assuming no resistances, ARP doesn't factor

Bloodthirster: 428 + 428 + 770.1 + 428 + 770.1 + 428 + 428 + 428 + 770.1 + 428 = 5306.3
Assuming 80 armor, 80 MR, standard for carries with BV, no armor: (ARP now factors)

536.6 + 307 + 307 + 307 + 307 + 536.6 + 307 + 307 + 536.6 + 307 = 3758.8

Carry's dead in 8 shots (without a single crit), as long as the carry doesn't have insane life-steal. 6 shots if you have a normal amount of criticals. Even less if you take advantage of Trinity and your ult, if Ignited or Exhausted, as exhaust also reduces armor/MR.)

Now with IE: (no raw damage this time) over 10 hits

606.1 + 293.6 + 606.1 + 293.6 + 606.1 + 606.1 + 293.6 + 606.1 + 293.6 + 606.1 = 4811 damage

Under unfavorable conditions, you still have to hit them about 8 times, but under normal statistical conditions, maybe only 4-5 times, less if Exhausted or Ignited. This doesn't consider Trinity procs or your ult (only 4 times for sure, maybe 3 if you get lucky). IE is far superior to BT if you really need to kill someone quickly. You'll be able to kill most carries in the duration of the 2 second stun. (just wait for them to bring you lower, and stun, thus killing them.)




Rune Choices:

Break-even points for ARP marks/quints (red), ARP marks + AD quints (blue) and AD marks/quints (magenta), given 80 armor for the target. This color scheme is used for all graphs.




Breakeven for ARP marks/quints and AD marks/quints:

97 AD






Breakeven for ARP marks/quints and ARP marks and AD quints:

116 AD






If you use the Assassin build, you would end at 336 AD if using AD/level marks and AD quints. Now, the amount of damage you do per hit is equal to:

AD * 100 / (Armor + 100).

In this example, we'll use an AD carry's normal armor without extra runes or items. (appx. 80), which is reduced by the percentage reduction in Offense (percentage calculated after flat)

326 * 100 / (72 + 100) = 189.6 damage per hit. Not too shabby, right?

Now if you remove the AD marks and replace with ARP...

318 * 100 / (58 + 100) = 201.3 damage per hit. Now that's a little bit better, right?

Then guess what happens when you replace the AD quints:

311 * 100 / (49 + 100) = 208.7 damage per hit. Now isn't that doing great damage?

(In this graph, 311 is the base AD, and the formulas have modifiers for the amount of AD and ARP they have.)





Conversely, this doesn't work as well early:
Say you're against a Jarvan IV, with armor seals, armor mastery, and Cloth Armor. (at level 1) (54 armor)

Full ARP
63 * 100 / (26 + 100) = 50.0 damage per hit

ARP Marks, AD quints
70 * 100 / (35 + 100) = 51.8 damage per hit

Full AD
75 * 100 / (50 + 100) = 52.0 damage per hit

(In this graph, 63 is base AD, which is the base AD at level 1 if taking Brute Force .)






These differences are amplified when last hitting, as minions have very low armor values.

If seeking a balance between easier last-hitting and late-game power, you might do well to go for a combination of ARP marks and AD quints.



If you think of ARP as a multiplier of your damage, then when the enemies have higher armor or you have higher damage, ARP does more damage. Early game, when armor values are low and attack damage is low, ARP doesn't make you do as much damage as AD or AD/level runes. But because of the extremely high AD values you get on the Assassin build, there's no reason not to take ARP marks and quints. However, in return, you get harder last-hitting (63 AD compared to 78 for flat AD) at level 1. You might want to consider taking AD quints instead of ARP quints to balance this out.


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Roaming

Once Irelia gets important items, such as Wit's End or Giant's Belt, she almost becomes like Dr. Mundo, going where she pleases. However, you need to do certain things before you start roaming.

The main objective is to:
- Push your lane to the enemy tower
- Also, make sure you're not down in CS to the enemy laner.

Your secondary objective is to push the enemy tower down, though it's not completely necessary.

When you do get your lane to the enemy tower, you have about 2-3 minutes to do whatever you want.


Warning: Never roam if the enemy is Nasus. You need to be present at all times to make sure he can't farm up.


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Match-ups

"Don't nerf my Irelia mannnnn.... She's not OP. The only reasons she is one of the most favorite picks toplane is because of the fact that she is hard to counter in lane, and you won't get totally destroyed if enemy picks x champion. For example if i pick Cho'Gath toplane i will get completly destroyed by Irelia, but Irelia got no clear counter on top lane, and that is why she's so popular. Not because she is overpowered." --Wickd

Green = Should win lane if played right
Yellow = May have problems winning lane
Orange = You either won't win lane, you won't have as much impact in team-fights, or you don't scale as well late.



Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Medium-hard

After reading Thale454's Mundo guide, I understand why I have such a hard time laning against him. I take Boots of Speed to dodge Mundo's Infected Cleaver, and I choose defensive runes and masteries as it's nearly impossible to kill Mundo unless you get a gank early. If you can arrange with your jungler a level 2 gank (Jungler level 2 ganks a lane that's level 1), then you might be able to choose offensive runes and masteries. If you don't kill Mundo before level 6, you won't be able to kill him unless you get extremely lucky or you get an extremely strong gank.

Edit: After looking at Executioner's Calling, after recommending it as a Sion counter, I realized that it could completely **** on Mundo's ult -- just pop it every time he tries to regen. I need to play more games against Mundo to find out, but Grievous Wound (50% regen loss) for 8 seconds, with it coming off cooldown every 20 seconds, should be far more than enough to keep his sustain to a minimum. He'll learn that if he wants to stay in lane, he better use his ult out of your sight. At level 6, the first time he gets his ult, he'll regen 40% of his health, at a cost of 20% of his health. If you pop that Grievous Wound debuff, 66% of his regen will be cut in half, and he'll regen normally for the other 4 seconds of his ult, Sadism. This means his regen is minimal (nearly 0%), with his regen in the first 8 seconds of Sadism at -6.66% of his health (remember, he has to spend 20% of his health to get the regen), and you can trade at all times with him. Don't forget that Executioner's Calling adds life-steal and is the most cost-effective life-steal item in the game at the moment, as the life-steal nerfs did not hit Executioner's Calling.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

You can trade with him even before 6 if you use offensive masteries and runes. Just don't play too dangerous, don't die early, and you should be able to force him out of lane or kill him 7-9. Use regular build. (Phage then Wits)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

You won't dominate him in lane pre-6 (unless he's bad). Pick defensive masteries (build 2) and defensive runes (ARP and MS). Build 1 will also work, but it'll be harder to escape Judgment (the spinny thing). You will have a much more significant impact to a teamfight than he will, as long as you don't die to him. It is crucial that you stay at least the same level as him, and keep CSing. You should have appx. 50 CS by the time you get to 6 against him. Once you reach 7 or 9 (rank 4 or rank 5 Hiten Style), you can turn around and beat his ***. I always laugh when I find out I'm laning against Garen, I normally dominate lane post-6.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Hard

I would not recommend picking Irelia against Fiora, as Irelia is not the strongest duelist, and Fiora, as her name suggests, is an incredibly strong duelist. If you do have to face her, build Wriggle's Lantern, as you would with any hard match-up with strong duelists. Back off when you see Burst of Speed activated, it is easily spotted (lines emanate out of Fiora's back, as if she's speeding through the wind), and also back off when she has Riposte activated (when there's a sort of "barrier" in front of Fiora), as those two abilities will turn the course of the fight heavily, if you decide to engage her at those times. Stop auto-attacking Fiora as soon as you see either of those abilities go up. Again, I do not recommend choosing Irelia against Fiora.






Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

The boots are to dodge Thundering Shuriken early, because those can hurt. Make sure to watch what he's building, and itemize against it. (He can go AD or AP) If the other Kennen is good (assuming you're good as well), it becomes an extremely safe lane, where both of you farm and neither pushes the other out. However, Kennen has a devastating presence in team fights, much more than yours. You might want to call for ganks to make sure Kennen stays behind in levels.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

Lee Sin is an incredibly strong duelist. Rush Wriggle's Lantern. If he starts with Sonic Wave, you may be able to outduel him at level 7 or 9. If he starts with Tempest, back off when he "exhausts" you, and initiate once it wears off. Watch out for his Q-R-Q combo, as it does massive damage. (Sonic Wave to be able to use Resonating Strike, then Dragon's Rage, then Resonating Strike; Resonating Strike does extra damage based on the percentage of your health missing.) It might be helpful to take Flash to quickly disengage in this lane.






Just don't... please

Hard

Nasus works on the same principle as Irelia: Farm to win game. Except he does it better (Q gets stacked, and he's making the same amount of money as you if not more). Trying to harass him leads to your being OOM quickly, and we all know Irelia has quite a small mana pool. Irelia just doesn't have great damage. It's completely possible to defeat him in lane, but you have to stay in lane constantly, never letting him farm up. This means no roaming, and building Chalice of Harmony. Unless you can make sure he's ineffective (your friend is the jungler and constantly ganks top) just don't pick Irelia against Nasus. Personally, I think Nasus is the only hard counter to Irelia, if you play Irelia as a roamer.

Edit: When I read the top guides for Nasus, they recommend that Nasus gets Wither at level 2. What does this mean for you, as an Irelia? Well, first, you need to harass him as much as possible before he gets to level 2. When Nasus gets to level 6, try to make him use his ult, and back off. After that, you have 2 minutes where Nasus doesn't have the protection of his ultimate. In addition, you can still harass Nasus post-2. This may even be a good idea, as you force Nasus to use Wither or take lots of damage. And all the mana used on Wither can't be used farming up Siphoning Strike.

I would recommend that you start with Boots of Speed with offensive runes and masteries (enough MS to make sure Nasus can't get out of range without sacrificing damage) and remember to harass constantly. Make sure he takes damage every time he comes up for a last hit, meaning that you're going have to guard the minions on your side that are low. Then your next item is Wit's End for DPS.

Cleanse might be a good idea, because:

Nasus tries to trade with you. He realises that it's not working.
Nasus uses Wither!
Irelia uses Cleanse!
(Commentator) Nasus has been slain!

-- A hypothetical situation post-6.

Remember, you need to have made him use his ult first, because his ult grants him AD for the magic damage he's done to champions (I.e. you, if you're trying to fight him when his ult is on), and not only does he gain AD, but he also still does magic damage. This could turn the tides of a fight in his favor. In addition, never fight Nasus inside his circle, it reduces your armor.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

I'd say this lane is a pretty even match-up, it just comes down to player skill. The only large difference is that I would say Irelia is not as strong of an escaper as Nidalee (those jumps away are annoying as ****, impossible to chase down (like chasing Kassadin, you know how that feels.)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

Honestly, 340 true damage hurts a lot, but you can deal with it in trades. 3 attacks that are Hiten Style empowered will even out the damage. However, it might be a good idea to start Wriggle's Lantern against Olaf (especially when many Olaf builds recommend that Olaf rush Wriggle's Lantern).






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion or be like Wickd and go Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Easy

This match-up is featured in the video "Ult in Ten" (in the Videos section) which features Wickd playing Irelia. Personally, I would feel very unsafe playing the way he does, so I'll explain how I play this match-up. In this match-up, I believe you should play safe until level 7 or so. You can then afford to be aggressive, as your Hiten Style is really powerful at this point in the game. However, this lane is also killable pre-6, and you could get a kill or force Pantheon out of lane by calling for a gank. A kill will basically guarantee that you win the lane.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

Just play it safe for the first 6-9 levels and turn around and destroy Renekton. Just make sure you get as much CS as possible. Don't stay inside your minion wave if possible. Renekton will use Slice and Dice in the direction of your minions (you need to hit once with Slice and Dice to be able to dash the second time). If you stay a distance from them, Renekton is forced to make the decision of whether to use his second Slice and Dice to close the gap with you or to retreat to safety. If he decides to close the gap, start attacking him when you feel as if you have the advantage in trades. (this is an instinct you'll acquire.)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium-hard

Riven dominates you early. What's crucial in this matchup is that you don't engage until level 7 or 9. Rush Wriggles against her to win trades after 7, then Phage. Skip Wit's End. (unless you need that AS) You can use the 16/14/0 masteries and aggressive runes (AD/level)






Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Easy?

Just don't get caught in Flamespitter for too long, and you will win trades after 7. Rush Wit's end, then Phage. Start with flat MR blues.






Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Easy

Singed is simply an annoying champ to play against. It will be very hard to kill him later on, but if you play smart, he'll never be able to kill you. Use flat MR, use defensive masteries and runes (MS mastery 0/23/7 Initiator) and MS Quints (To make sure he doesn't catch you in his poison early. Rush Chalice of Harmony for maximum lane sustain. You will be able to spam your skills, and that's always nice. (It's also anti-push, because Singed is a crazy pusher)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

This is one of the easiest match-ups for Irelia. Just take Ignite, and watch his regen (during his ult) go to nearly nothing. If this is not enough domination for you, you can add Executioner's Calling to completely dominate him, though I don't think it's necessary. This is one of the most fun (for you) match-ups, as you can completely dominate him. Just watch out for his stun, and keep your river warded, as being chain stunned (like if his jungler also has a stun/cc) is no fun, and can result in your death.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

This lane will be an incredibly safe lane. 1v1, you can't kill him, and he can't kill you. However, if you get ganked, the tables are turned by a huge amount, due to his taunt. He also has global presence with Stand United. Just focus on getting every last CS. I wouldn't choose offensive Offtank masteries/runes in this match-up, as you won't be able to take advantage of the offense afforded by them (you won't be able to kill Shen).






Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Hard, if you can survive the early-game, it gets better

I don't have much experience with this match-up, but when I did play against Udyr top-lane, his harass was extremely strong early game, and you couldn't trade with him early. I would recommend using defensive masteries and runes (for improved movement speed, Udyr has no gap closers besides Bear Stance, which is simply a movement speed buff). Udyr is weak to kiting, or not being able to catch up his target, so good movement speed is vital to not being harassed in lane. I would recommend you start with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because his Tiger Stance activation does magic damage. If you plan to 1v1 him, a Wriggle's Lantern might be helpful.






Null-Magic Mantle + 2 Health Potion OR Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

His damage is seriously weak early, even weaker than yours, so you can afford to harass him. Call for a gank or get an early kill to completely crush him in lane. If at all possible, don't let him keep up in levels and/or farm. He, however, has a much stronger presence late-game than you, due to the damage amplification of Hemoplague.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

He's not a problem at any point in the game, the scary thing is when he reaches level 6 and obtains Infinite Duress. At that point, you can't do a thing when his jungler ganks you, and you're almost completely likely to die. However, you can take Flash instead of Ghost in hopes that they didn't do enough DPS, and you can quickly disengage. You might want to consider getting QSS, but his suppression starts to be irrelevant late-game.






Null-Magic Mantle + 2 Health Potion

Easy, once you get through the early game

Yorick does magic damage, though his abilities scale with AD. His early game harass is stronk, don't engage him when he has his ghouls out. If you can (saying you're not dueling him head on), kill his ghouls first so they don't do too much damage and so he wastes his mana harassing you. Prioritize the orange ghoul because it gives him regen, you don't want him to regen. They go down quickly, so you can go back to CS'ing in short order. Needless to say, don't do the same with his clone (ultimate). You'll probably win post-9.




I'll add more champions as I face them in games, or by request.


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Junglers to watch out for



If he does his gank right, he should be able to make you unable to get away for a minimum of 3-4 seconds. That's an eternity in LoL time, and is even worse if the enemy laner has his own CC. I would personally take Flash/ Ghost if the enemy team has Rammus as a jungler to keep yourself safe from ganks. Not having complete lane dominance is fine, but giving up a kill to the enemy top-laner is not. (a good Rammus will give the kill to his top-laner) Don't overextend, unless you know Rammus is in a different lane. (wards don't help, because Rammus's Powerball will just speed past in the blink of an eye, and you won't have time to get away)






Nocturne's ganks are decent before level 6 (the fear) and makes you **** your pants after level 6. My only advice is that you don't overextend the lane when Nocturne hits level 6. You could possibly take Flash instead of Ghost to make sure Nocturne can't finish channeling the fear. Warding the river mostly only helps if his ult is down. If his ult is up, he can gank you from his forest, so wards basically are rendered useless.







That's right, your old friend Lee Sin is back! You should take Flash if Lee Sin is on the other team. If by chance, he takes Flash, he might use his Flash to position himself to kick you back into the lane, just as you thought you got away. In all cases, you should position yourself so that the minion wave is between you and the river, as you don't want Lee Sin to tag you with Sonic Wave. If you see the Sonic Wave mark on your minion, gtfo.
Make sure to always ward your river.






Ward your river and you'll be fine. You only have to make sure that he doesn't catch up with you, and if you ward the river, you won't have any problems making that happen.






Skarner is a strong ganker at all points in the game, his Q basically being a permaslow and his R being basically a stronger version of Rammus's taunt. Always ward the river, as he won't be able to bypass that (unless he decides to go around into your jungle).






His ganks aren't too bad before level 6, but once he becomes level 6, they become something from hell. Like in the lane match-up, you might want to consider Flash, or ward the river frequently. You can consider QSS, but its relevance drops as you get tankier.






His ganks aren't too terrible as long as his initial Infected Cleaver doesn't hit. Like all aforementioned junglers, you should ward the river, to make sure his Cleaver never gets a chance to hit.






Shaco is scary as **** when he ganks you, and it's hard to get away from him early-game. I would recommend playing passively until you have your first recall and get wards.


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Early Game

In early game (levels 1-6), your main goal is not to die to the enemy top-laner while maintaining a good amount of CS (equal or more CS than your opponent.)

Your secondary goal is to harass, but if you can't do that (mana issues, weaker laning, etc) just keep getting CS while trying to avoid being harassed.

Once you obtain Wriggle's Lantern, Phage, or Wit's End, you can afford to be aggressive (try to collect at least 1.7k gold:

Wriggle's Lantern: (1.6k, but you probably started Cloth in the situations you have to buy Wriggle's, so it costs 1.3k. Then boots cost 350 gold, so it comes out to approximately 1650 gold. Wriggle's Lantern is amazing because having the free ward means you don't have to base for wards.)

Phage: 1315 gold, add boots and a ward and it comes to approximately 1.7k.

Wit's End: Chances are, that if you choose Wit's End as your second item, you started with Null Magic Mantle or Boots. Thus you can recall earlier, recalling at about 1.5k ( Recurve Bow + Boots + ward = 1475, Recurve + Mantle + ward = 1525)





+ Increases your dueling ability
+ Free ward
+ Better pushing/farming (passive)

- Doesn't build into late-game

+ Builds into an end game item
+ Gives HP and AD

- The weakest choice for dueling
- Slow is unreliable

+ Gives AS and MR
+ 42 M. damage is godly
+ Scales with Hiten Style

- You lose survivability


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Mid-Game

This is where Irelia truly shines.

Hiten Style does a devastating 75 true damage, which hurts severely when an enemy top-laner might only have 1.2k hp. This true damage is also the reason why Irelia starts to fall off late-game, as her true damage doesn't scale with any stats, and all enemies will have much more HP.

Taking Wit's End first, no matter the circumstances, increases your DPS by a huge amount by adding 42 magic damage on-hit and by increasing attack speed. This, however, comes with a loss of survivability, surviability afforded by Phage.

Taking Phage first increases survivability and AD, but comes at a cost of DPS.

And taking Wriggles helps dueling by giving life-steal, armor, and AD, but comes at a cost of lower DPS than Wit's (higher than Phage), and no HP increase.


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Late-Game

As an offtank, your job is to soak up damage while dealing damage of your own, at the same time allowing your team to kill enemies. As an assassin, your job is to wait until the fight has progressed a few seconds while all the ults, CC and summoners are burned, then leap in and finish the carries one by one, in order of DPS. This basically sums up Irelia's role late game. If this needs more elaboration, leave a comment about why.


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Videos

/league-of-legends/ability/bladesurge-325
Not my video, but this video will give you insight on how to play Irelia, and top-lane in general. Commentary and QA between the interviewer and Wickd.
/league-of-legends/item/cloth-armor-12
The commentary isn't that great, and you don't hear Wickd's opinion, but 9:30 to 12:00 is an excellent example of how you can use an early first blood to deny farm and xp. As you can see, Wickd freezes the lane just before it gets into tower range, meaning he's at a very safe position, and the enemy laner can't come in and get CS (because Wickd is a few levels higher due to First Blood)





Not a video, but a link to unofficial patch-notes. Irelia's base stats are buffed, so we might have an easier early game.

Formulas:
AD: 56 + 3.3 * level (59.3 @ level 1) from 53.3 + 3.3 * level (56.6 @ level 1)
HP: 456 + 90 * level (546 @ level 1) from 430 + 85 * level (515 @ level 1)
Health/5: 7.5 HP/5 from 6.5 HP/5

Hopefully these buffs are enough to counteract her *now* extremely weak laning.


Yeah.....And I don't know why most of the content I have about Irelia comes from Wickd. I guess it's because he has the fullest understanding of Irelia, or because he brings out the best in her.


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Results

My first game playing with the Assassin build:



A recent game (5/13/12). Though my scores aren't completely amazing, look at the game for what it is: a 1 hour survival game, with my team down in kills 39 to 46. Even though our scores weren't good, my team got every Baron, either by stealing or by tricking the other team to back, and we pulled through. This game also shows my doing an exemplary job as an offtank/tank, taking the brunt of the damage, and basically shielding my team from pain, especially our AD carry, Ashe. All of this was done while doing significant amounts of damage to Caitlyn.


I'll add more to this section when I have the time to (AP exams coming up)



Want to be featured in this section? PM me with your results from this build, and if I deem them amazing, or exemplify how Irelia should be played, then they'll be featured here, with your name.


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Conclusion

Even though this guide may be hard to look at (a wall of text) and has nearly no visuals, I hope it can give you insight on how to play Irelia as she's meant to be played.

Please leave comments below.

If you see faulty logic in my builds, rune pages, masteries, or summoners, explain why, and if I think you're right, I will make the change.

Special thanks to jhoijhoi for providing information on how to make your guide look neater and more professional. Her guide on making guides can be found here. Her dividers gave me the idea to make my own, though they're not as good.

Thanks to IceCreamy for his informative guide on how to use columns, and his constructive criticism of my guide.

And of course, thanks to the community for helping my guide make better in general.


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Guide History

4-18-2012: Guide started
4-24-2012: Guide released
4-26-2012: Getting up to date with those beautiful Rune and Item suggestion "slides"
4-27-2012: Pics starting to come up, formatting being cleaned up
4-28-2012: Added situational items, math section
4-29-2012: Added even more match-ups, added "Junglers to watch out for" section, added "unofficial Varus patch notes"
5-3-2012: Results section added
5-6-2012: Added color coding to champion match-ups, a section on roaming.
5-8-2012: Added new Nasus match-up information, edited formatting slightly.
5-10-2012: Added extra information to Transcendent Blades description
5-13-2012: More results added, runes changed, 1 cheat sheet deleted (thanks IceCreamy). I'll fix my math once I get there.
5-14-2012: Match-ups alphabetized, I might alphabetize the junglers, but it's not a large concern. I'm getting around to adding Nidalee, Fiora, and Sion. Edit: match-ups listed were added, 5-14-2012. I might try to make my own dividers, or request some from the sigs-artwork forum. Edit 2: Dividers finished, going to check how they look.
5-16-2012: Standardized one of the cheat sheets (off-tank) to 0/21/9 and added a little note about Wickd's customization of those masteries. Added what I believe to be nice BBCoding in the Items section (not situational)