Elise Build Guide by norberg1
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
We recommend you take a look at this author's other builds.
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Late Game (Choose One)
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
What Does Playing Elise Mean?
Before I make a build for a champion I always ask myself one big question: "What is this champion meant to be?" Elise happens to be my favorite champion in the game - and that's because it's so hard to answer this question. Is she an AP, or AD? An assassin, or a tank? Is she early game or late game? The answers to these questions change greatly depending on how you build her. Let's go through these point by point and talk about why this build is the best all around jungle build for her.
Why not straight AP Assassin Elise?
AP Assassin Elise does *a lot* of damage. You'll hear people discouraging AP on Elise. That's foolish - the proper amount of AP, supplemented my Magic Penetration is very effective. The main killer here is the fact that a high amount of Elise' damage output comes from being in close - her Skittering Frenzy and Venomous Bite are low cooldown and are essential for maximizing her potential. If you're in close in a teamfight, that means you're taking damage. Pure AP Assassin Elise can't handle that damage. You can use Zhonya's Hourglass to help here, but it's just not going to help enough.
Why not AD Elise?
Starting with some AD on Elise is not at all bad. In fact, it's not a dumb idea to take both the AD and AP masteries in the Offensive Tree. Her base attack damage is already pretty high, and adding just a little makes her extremely powerful in the early game. Most laners will not expect the kind of damage you can dish out. However, you should switch to building AP as soon as you can as there is no scaling potential with AD.
So what's left is what I call "Bruiser" Elise. This is where you build a bit of AP, mostly magic penetration, and core tank items. This way you stay alive and benefit your team by absorbing some damage while your damage remains somewhat of a threat as well. This approach is also great because it allows you to carry in the early game with your damage while scaling OK into the late game.
Notes on Masteries
Elise is very weak and without appropriate defensive masteries early on you will find yourself dying a lot during lane ganks. In Season 3 you used to build straight penetration in the early game, but in Season 4, now that the penetration masteries have moved much lower in the offensive tree, it's necessary to build straight AP early on to improve her clear times. So we throw 10 points into Offensive, and the rest into Defensive. You can take the HP regen masteries on her if you want, but ultimately I prefer more base defensive stats. Besides, her Skittering Frenzy is where most of her sustain comes from anyway.
Notes on Runes
- Hybrid Pen is a good bet - it helps you jungle faster and supplements your early damage potential in ganks.
- You'll want armor, for the jungle and for lane ganks.
- I prefer scaling MR runes as they really help you absorb more damage in the late game. Situationally, you may want flat MR runes, but AP champions tend to be weaker in the early game anyway, so you shouldn't have much trouble when you gank. It's not like you're playing bot where you have to worry about every damage point in a trade.
- I prefer having a couple Move Speed quints. I find Elise just gets a lot more hits of her Skittering Frenzy if you have a bit more move speed. But you will want to take at least 1 AP quint. It helps your early damage and clear times a lot. If you don't think movement speed is an issue, take 3 AP quints.
Notes on Items
In Season 3 almost everyone started with Haunting Guise. It's still a good item, but in my opinion not good enough. If you're only getting Haunting Guise and Sorcerer's Shoes then you need the offensive penetration masteries or your damage will really fall off in the late game. Building magic pen in increments like this makes her damage spikey. It starts ****py, gets very good for a few levels, then sucks again until you pick up the next item. I find it's way more effective to grab Ninja Tabi and then simply build an early Void Staf. This smooths out her damage across the entire game, AND you get the early armor at the same time you get upgraded movement speed, which you need dearly to jungle quickly and maintain a good lane presence. From the very first time I tried it, I smacked myself in the head and called myself an idiot for not doing it before. It really changed my game.
So why Spirit of the Ancient Golem? Well, it's hard to pass up the stacked tenacity you get from it, while you need the early HP to remain tanky. Cooldown Reduction is a really underestimated stat on Elise. She's always going to have longer cooldowns, but having high CDR improves her utility in team fights quite a bit - starting from the earliest ganks. The early AP runes and then building Void Staff will make sure your clear times don't suffer too much from taking it. It really is the best choice, by far, in the late game.
Once you have Spirit of the Ancient Golem and Ninja Tabi you want to build your Void Staff while incrementally increasing your tankiness to match the pace of the game. The best way to do this is to just feel it out. See what works best for you and build it in that order. Luckily many of the items she builds have early prerequisites that you can pick up and then switch to building something else. The items aren't really that important, as long as you continue to build her tankiness. Another option I've not included is Sunfire Cape - this is a nice item to build alongside Void Staff - but a lot of people think it's not as effective in the mid to late game.
One note about Spirit Visage - this is a priority pick for her, because it doubles the effectiveness of her Skittering Frenzy heal. You will notice a *huge* boost in your survivability in team fights when you pick up this item.
Randuin's Omen is a nice alternative to Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Ultimately Rylai's Scepter is kind of a waste of an inventory space compared to other items. Randuin's Omen gives you much needed HP while giving you a healthy armor boost and an AoE slow you can use in team fights, to boot! It's a great item in Season 4.
For your last item, it's a bit of a tossup. What do you need? If you need more damage, or more tank, or whatever - buy for that. Some games the enemy team just has a death wish for me. Those games I pick up a Guardian Angel. Other games I want a bit more HP buffer while increasing my damage output a bit. Thanks to Void Staff, it's effective for me to pick up a Rod of Ages. Yet still other games, I find it makes sense to pick up Iceborn Gauntlet. This is a great item to pick up when you are up against a highly mobile team. This, in combination with Randuin's Omen, will ensure the enemy team has constant difficulty in moving around. It's a fantastic item in general, as it increases your survivability due to slowing the enemy down and providing you with extra armor, but you also get a fair boost in damage from the on-hit effect.
How to Play Her
Now the fun part! We've worked out our optimal build, so then, what do we do with it? Well, I like to play Elise as an aggressive bruiser. I think the most effective way to show this is to go through some situations and explain how I approach them.
A lot of people like to come right up the lane and close with Rappel. I'm not a huge fan of this. While it does catch enemy players off guard, and is the most surefire way to avoid wards, it forces you to burn your Rappel early on, which means you won't be able to follow champions that have dashes or flash up (or both). I like to approach lanes from the side (if not warded) or from the back, usually when they are overextended a bit. This is dangerous because you are more vulnerable to the enemy jungler and also become a target for the enemy champion if your teammate fails to close on them fast enough. That's OK, cause we're tanky.
When you get in the lane, I walk right up to auto attack range in human form. This does several things: 1) it saves you the use of Cocoon and Rappel, and 2) it tempts them into focusing you. You can generally handle the damage coming at you, if you kite properly, which frees up your laner to get on them. During this period of the gank, simply use your position to box them in and land auto attacks and use your Q and W to harass. If you plan the gank properly the minion wave shouldn't interfere with your W, and you can Q and auto attack right over it. The laner will soon realize that kiting you ain't gonna work. At this point they will make a break for it, one way or the other. This is when you should switch to spider form. Close with a Spider Form Q and then deal as much damage as you can with Skittering Frenzy. If they Flash out of your range, either Flash after them or burn Rappel as quickly as you can to continue dealing damage with Skittering Frenzy. If they are getting away, or getting near their tower, switch back to Human Form and use your Cocoon to keep them there as long as you can. Hopefully your laner can catch up and take the kill at this point.
Elise accels at tower diving, and this is one of the reasons to build early armor on her. What you wanna do is wait for the minion wave to come to the tower and then come around from behind the tower to close on them with your teammate. If you're lucky they will be forced into your Cocoon, in which case you simply use your combo on them and then follow up with Rappel after your laner has taken the kill (or after you can no longer take anymore hits). Use the enemy's minions to land on, if possible.
An alternate approach to tower diving is available when the laner is hanging at the far edge of their tower. You can Rappel over the minion wave, follow up with Skittering Frenzy and Venomous Bite, and then switch to Human Form to Cocoon them for your laner. Since you are on the edge of the tower you should be able to duck out of tower range, saving you the need to use Rappel.
I can't stress how important this is. W first. Repeat after me. W first, then Q. W first, then Q. W -> Q. Not Q -> W. W -> Q. It was so hard for me to deal significant damage when I first started playing Elise. My conclusion was that she sucked. What I didn't realize is that by the time my Skittering Frenzy was activated they were already escaping from my Cocoon, spiderlings hot on their trail but unable to land many hits.
This trick works in both Human Form, and in Spider Form. You want to activate your Human Form W before your Q so the spider has time to close on them while Cocoon is active. My general combo is this:
(Human Form) E -> Move up (to get in Q range) -> Physical Attack -> W -> Q -> R -> W -> Q. You'll want to right click - move ahead after you land your first auto attack to maximize the # of hits you can get in and keep your spiderlings ahead of them (typical behavior when chasing with any melee champion).
If you pull this off properly you will be on top of them with your Skittering Frenzy activated _BEFORE_ Cocoon wears off (assuming they do not have tenacity masteries + item). Yes, that's fast. To practice, I like to say it out loud in rhythm as I do it. If you do it too fast you will fail to use one of your abilities. If you do it too slow they will escape without sufficient damage dealt. To practice, I like to go into a custom game and try it on bots. Look at your ability buttons while you are doing it and you will see that sometimes the abilities trigger, and sometimes they don't - depending on how fast you press them. You will need to master the right pace. Early on in ranked games I my adrenaline is up and the timing gets way off. In these cases I like to say it out loud. The rhythm of it helps me keep the pace and also has a calming effect on me. Yes, your roommates / parents / siblings will look at you funny, but when you're riding up to the next rank you're not going to care. I will try to post a YouTube video of how this combo looks if I can to illustrate how fast you can pull it off.
Learning this combo with Elise will take your game from mediocre level to godlike.
Sometimes your full rotation won't be able to finish a target - or maybe you get too close to tower range. Assuming you have the right cooldown reduction and the fight has taken long enough, you should be able to swap back to your Human Form and finish them with either Q, W, or an autoattack (or all of the above). Some of the most hilarious Elise kills are when you send a Volatile Spiderling out and then hit your Cocoon. I like to just walk away... like, "Dum, dee dum..." *BOOM* "Elise is unstoppable!!" GG