In some ways Elise’s kit can seem confusing and overwhelming. With seven abilities at level three, the spider queen offers a lot of options for consideration at any point in the game. This guide is for players who have rarely, if ever played Elise before, and would like some micro-level tips to skip some of the trial phase and speed up the learning process.
Please keep in mind: this guide isn’t for meta builds, team comps, map plays, or anything like that; it’s just to help you with the basics of Elise as a champion. However, despite writing the guide for beginners, I think it will likely provide some information that could interest any Elise player or jungler in general.
The end of each chapter will have a summary of the key points, so if you don't feel like reading everything, skip to each TL;DR Highlights section.
Elise's Overall Goal
Every champion has a role and a reason to be played. Elise’s job is to change the game by setting your team on the path to victory early. She is an early spiker and an early ganker. Make it your job to get your lanes ahead and influence your teammates’ early game as positively as possible.
Clearing Your Jungle & Basic Mechanics
Some important things to keep in mind during your early clears are your stance (human/spider), your smite cooldown, and your gold.
1.) Start W.
2.) Start camps in human form, and finish them in spider form.
3.) The more human form abilities you use, the more spiderlings you'll have when you transform.
4.) Travel in spider form because of the bonus movement speed.
5.) Use your smite at the right times.
6.) Back for items, even if you're at full health.
Fighting & Ganking
Elise does have strong 1v1 potential, especially if you have the drop, but that doesn’t mean you need to seek out the enemy jungler and try to kill him. Like I’ve mentioned, Elise excels as a team support and an early lead facilitator. If you hit level 5 and you haven’t ganked yet, you’re absolutely doing it wrong. Rather than hitting level 3 and heading into the enemy jungle for a round of 50/50 fisticuffs, look at all of your lanes and analyze gank opportunities.
Elise’s kit is ideal for ganking, and a successful gank in an even lane could give your laner the lead in gold pressure, and/or motivation he needs to take over the lane and even the game. It’s okay to have a little less farm than an enemy jungler as long as your score reflects kill participation. Make it your goal to gank well early and often, while also keeping your farm at least passable.
One of the most frequent questions from new Elise players is, “What’s the best combo?” The generic correct answer is: human E Cocoon -> human Q Neurotoxin & human W Volatile Spiderling -> R Spider Form -> spider Q Venomous Bite -> spider W Skittering Frenzy -> AA as much as you can -> spider E Rappel as necessary.
Obviously though, not every situation lends itself to this full combo in that exact order, and you, as a player, need to read the situation and make decisions on your own. Should I save my stun in case a higher priority target arrives? Should I save Rappel in case I suddenly appear to be too deep? Value your cooldowns and use them tactically. Even though the pressure is on you to outplay, here are some tips that can help you make the right decisions during fights and skirmishes.
1.) Gank early and gank often.
2.) Your standard combo: human E Cocoon -> human Q Neurotoxin & human W Volatile Spiderling -> R Spider Form -> spider Q Venomous Bite -> spider W Skittering Frenzy -> AA as much as you can -> spider E Rappel as necessary.
3.) Start solo fights in human form, and finish them in spider form.
4.) Don't be afraid to take the kill when you gank.
5.) When you gank, hold your human E, Cocoon, as long as you can. The pressure of holding it can cause the enemy laner to blow a flash, and ultimately line you up to better land the shot.
Build & Itemization
In this chapter, I will discuss a simple and coherent build style for Elise that you can take and apply to all of your games. This template should give you all of the options you need, while simplifying itemization enough for you to focus on learning and practicing Elise's kit.
In most cases, I would say to build tankier stats. Assuming the role of lead-facilitator rather than a carry, you would better suit your team by building bulky, so that you can frontline, initiate, follow-up, and defend for your carries. If you're new to Elise, follow this general build template. While there might be better options in unique scenarios and for unique playstyles, you can't go wrong with this type of build:
2.) Rylai's Crystal Scepter
3.) Finished Boots (Tier 2)
4.) Magic Resistance/Armor Item OR Haunting Guise
5.) Haunting Guise OR Magic Resistance/Armor Item
Don't forget to finish Liandry's Torment before last item.
6.) Void Staff or Additional Situational Defense/Utility Item
Patch 6.9 brought a lot of changes to AP items, including some completely new things. Protobelt is a nice item for Elise, but I wouldn't recommend it for absolute beginners. Try it out in a normals game after you've had a game or two on Elise to see how it suits your playstyle. I think the gold is better spent on tank/utility items.
For your smitem, there are a lot of options. Some people think Skirmisher's Sabre is so strong that Elise should take it. I stick to Stalker's Blade. Any of the upgrades are arguably viable, and most of the enchantments could work too. I personally recommend Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes.
Build Advice and Details
Items to Avoid
1.) Build off-tank to help support your team.
2.) Stalker's Blade - Runic Echoes
3.) Rylai's Crystal Scepter
4.) Sorcerer's Shoes, Mercury's Treads, Boots of Swiftness, or Boots of Mobility
5.) Itemize against the enemy team's damage.
5.) Avoid Rod of Ages, Iceborn Gauntlet, Liandry's Torment, Rabadon's Deathcap, Luden's Echo, Zhonya's Hourglass.
Extra Tips, Tricks, & Advanced Mechanics
1.) Use your spider E, Rappel, to travel faster. It grants vision of jungle camps in range, so as long as the monsters are up, you can use this ability to move to and through camps faster. An interesting thing to note, however, is that on the blue side of the map, you can walk out of your base gate, into your blue side jungle, press Elise against the thin part of the wall, and Rappel. If you do it right, you can reach wolves and save a bit of walking time. Interestingly enough however, this only works on the blue side. Because of the way the 2D map is designed to look 3D, the proportions are different on the purple side, and you can't Rappel over what appears to be the same wall.
2.) Part of your spider Q, Venomous Bite, causes all of your active spiderlings to fly toward your target. One of the neatest things about this mechanic is that your human W, Volatile Spiderling, counts as a spiderling, so if it's alive and scurrying around, ticking down to explode, and you use your spider Q, Venomous Bite, it will go soaring through the air like an eagle and detonate on the target you bit. This can help you get more burst damage onto a camp that you Rappel onto, or even help you get more unexpected burst damage on an unsuspecting enemy. This one's a little tricky, but when you get used to it, it looks pretty cool.
3.) Your spiderlings are unique entities that deal and take damage separately from you. While you're still learning, you don't need to worry too much about them, but once you've played Elise a little bit you should start to use these spiderlings to your advantage. While fighting jungle camps, your spiderlings can be made to tank the damage if positioned correctly. Alternatively, you could tank the camp yourself to keep your spiderlings alive and dealing damage, since they do die pretty easily. Mess around with this and see what you prefer to do.
4.) Following from the fact that your spiderlings take damage separately, use them to block skillshots. Positioning correctly in line with your spiderlings and your enemies can save you from getting caught out.
5.) Because of the spiderlings' role as unique entities, Elise is a candidate for soloing Rift Herald. However, I don't think it's actually possible right now, and if you do manage to do it, it would take a lot of time that you could've spent just ganking or counter-jungling. At any rate, your spiderlings will help you handle Herald when you're taking it with teammates.
6.) Your Volatile Spiderling will target and explode on enemies if it can reach them. Use this to check blind areas or zone bushes.