Elise Build Guide by norberg1
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Without Blue Buff
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.
Hi guys! My name's norberg and I'm a silver player on NA. I'm not going to tell you that you should listen to me 'cause I'm a pro player, 'cause I'm not - but I love making builds. I think if you try my builds you will see that they really do have some merit - in any rank.
Oh, by the way - there's two different item builds here - one for "Without Blue Buff", and one for "With Blue Buff" - make sure you check both of them!
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.
AP Assassin Elise
AP Assassin Elise is actually fantastic, and you can probably make your way through Bronze destroying teams with her high damage output. A lot of people discourage AP on Elise. This is foolish. As long as you have the penetration base, Elise scales pretty well with AP. Late game if you have the right masteries and a healthy amount of magic pen your Volatile Spiderling will be an incredibly strong poke, and you will even be able to burst down tanks (something most AP carries can't do, because they don't get scaling HP% damage). You can play her AP Assassin as a counter to extremely tanky comps.
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. Unfortunately, beyond Bronze when people understand how to focus you will get completely steamrolled if you get in that close as AP Assassin. Ultimately, without use of those abilities you are playing half a champion. Zhonya's Hourglass can extend the feasability of this approach, but not enough. Another disadvantage is that AP Elise has an extremely tough time early on in the jungle. Having tankiness and some extra AD damage smooths out her first few levels quite a bit. Finally, as AP Assassin Elise you may find that even though you are able to dominate, you fail pretty hard at feeding your team, which often times will result in a loss when you can't carry the team due to your squishiness late game.
AD Assassin / Tank Elise
AD Elise has an extremely strong early game. With just a little bit of AP and high AD, her hybrid damage potential really synergizes and offers you damage in your ganks that will make enemy laners jaw-drop. She starts really well in the jungle and if you rush movement speed and max her Skittering Frenzy so you can land all your hits, you will dominate early game and your one on one trades will be a joke. Having just a bit of lifesteal or spell vamp makes this even more ridiculous.
There's really nowhere for AD Elise to go. Without AP her Human Form becomes relatively useless. Sure, your AD damage will still be really high in team fights, but unless you build tanky items you will get steamrolled in teamfights. Unfortunately Elise is really squishy, and without a lot of tank items you will still not be able to handle the damage coming at you. This really destroys your damage snowball potential.
This is the most popular way of building Elise nowadays. It's not a bad build - basically you build straight tank items on her while making sure you keep scaling your magic penetration up so you get full base damage out of your abilities. This is a good approach to building Elise, and if you use it to feed your team early you should be able to survive team fights and absorb some damage later, allowing the rest of your team to carry.
The first disadvantage is that, while your damage in the early to mid game will be OK, in the late game you will basically be "tickling" the enemy team. Her Cocoon doesn't really offer her the type of crowd control utility that you get from other champions like Amumu, and of her other 4 abilities, 3 are damage abilities, and one is an escape / gap closing ability. That means in the late game half her kit is useless. The enemy team will view you as roughly an annoying gnat buzzing around them - occasionally problematic when you manage to land your Cocoon, but otherwise safe to ignore. You just aren't an effective tank if you don't either deal significant enough damage over time to pose a threat (e.g. Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, Amumu, etc. or you have the type of crowd control abilities that make you extremely disruptive (e.g. Vi, Jarvan IV, etc.) Tank Elise is great to have around in the early game, and is still a fantastic jungler, but in the late game it's like having 4.5 players on your team - she's dead weight.
Mixed Tank / AP Assassin Elise
Ahhh, here we go! Now this is something I can get down with. We play her like Assassin Elise with a healthy amount of AP and lots of magic pen, and then we scale up her defense enough that we can smooth out how badly she falls off in the late game. So, how would we accomplish this? I'll save the details for the rest of the guide.
I'll say right up front that the only way to deal good damage with Elise consistently throughout the game is to run straight AP Assassin Elise with a focus on magic penetration - but I've already said that that build isn't viable even in the early tiers of ranked because of how easy it is for you to get focused when you close on the enemy team with your spider form abilities. The cost of building tanky enough to handle that means that *you will fall off a bit in the late game*. A Void Staff is essential to curbing that effect - but regardless, if you get fed in the early game you may get used to being able to burst people down with one combo. Your ability to do this *will decline* as the game continues. The key to winning with Elise is to get your team fed in the early game so that in the late game you can continue to be a strong threat while absorbing as much damage as possible and letting your team carry.
Alright, let's get to the build!
Notes On Masteries
You may find my Masteries a bit odd. Let me explain.
It's not worth taking anything here. If you went down far enough there are some good masteries down there, but 5% CDR or attack speed isn't going to help her much (her attack speed boost with Skittering Frenzy is good enough, and you need a lot more CDR than 5% before you see any real benefit from that). If you pick up the early AP masteries you will fall just short of a 1% increase on your W, so you'd need to pair it with at least 1 AP quint or AP blues to speed up your initial jungle clear time significantly. Not worth it.
Going full defensive gives her the kind of survivability she's going to need to be playing in melee range during team fights, especially dealing out the kind of damage you will be, cause she will quickly become a target. Also, you can get the slow % decrease and tenacity masteries, which will be sufficient for us so that we can pick up Spirit of the Spectral Wraith early on, giving her the AP she needs to turn the tide of lane fights early on and survive 1v1s against other junglers.
There's a lot of good masteries here for Elise. It's unfortunate you can't go deeper into this tree without sacrificing the tenacity, as the 3% lifesteal and spellvamp would be great for her. Mainly you get a bit more sustain from the mp/5 and the move speed % allows you to sacrifice 1 move speed quint for a magic pen one, which helps you a lot. A lot of people tell me you don't need movement speed runes. I disagree. In many, many solo queue matchups you get people running Boots of Mobility or playing champions like Gankplank, or Nasus, and it's just impossible to keep up with them. The movement speed runes make this less of an issue. Swap them out if you don't think it's an issue, but in my experience they are a must.
Notes On Runes
Hybrid Pen red runes work best. Don't believe me? Try it yourself. This makes taking the early AD masteries really worth it, both for jungling, and for ganks, and since you get a healthy amount of magic pen as well you should be laughing in the mid to late game as well.
Armor yellows supplement her tankiness, helping you in the jungle early and out trading enemy AD champions when you activate your Skittering Frenzy.
Magic Resist blues make it so you can rush Sunfire Cape as your second item and won't pay too hard for waiting to upgrade your magic resist. The reason I don't go flat resist is because you aren't dealing with much magic damage in the jungle, and there are few AP assassin junglers you will have to worry about ganking you early on.
For quints, you'll need movement speed to get around the jungle and get to lane quickly early on, as well as for landing the most hits you can with Skittering Frenzy. Movement continues to help her in the mid to late game, as well. Take one magic pen quint - this will make up for the magic pen you lose by taking hybrid runes and will ensure that you still deal good damage until you can pick up Sorcerer's Shoes, and then eventually Void Staff.
Notes On Items
Truthfully the best starting item for Elise is Haunting Guise, but since we're forced to rush a jungle item for the extra income, we rely on the magic penetration from runes and go for early AP to keep our damage high by getting Spirit of the Spectral Wraith. We lose out on the HP, but the next item is Sunfire Cape, so that's OK.
If you have an AD mid laner or your mid simply does fine without blue buff, you should go for a Spirit Visage instead of Athene's Unholy Grail since it will double the potential of your regen / lifesteal / spell vamp masteries as well as your Skittering Frenzy - making you much harder to finish in team fights where you are not locked down.
The next items keep our armor and magic resist even and continue to build a little AP and magic penetration, while Void Staff will eventually ensure our AP damage remains high. I like to round out the build with a Guardian Angel. The build has a little less HP than I'd like, but honestly I think Guardian Angel is the better pick - why get, say, +1000 HP when you could simply get another life? And the extra armor and magic resist make you absorb that much more damage before going down. Another great part about Guardian Angel is that you get the "Zhonya's Effect" - by the time you come out from it, Rappel should be ready again - so you should be able to use this to draw out team fights to benefit your team. I like to initiate, and then quickly Rappel after the enemy team has used their cool downs to close the gap on me, and then let my team come down on them like a ton of bricks before I drop back down and unleash havoc.
About Spirit of the Ancient Golem - it's a good item, and would have been a much more tempting pick before the HP nerf (500 down to 350). If you want to grab it, you should - but I highly recommend getting Spirit first, and then trading it later on, because if you don't your early game ganking potential will suffer greatly.
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 their strat of "not getting close" 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
Alright guys. I hope you enjoyed my Elise guide. And I expect to see more of you in solo queue doing things right for a change. No more sad Elise's that deal no damage and combo super slowly. It breaks my heart every time I see it.
Thanks so much for the read, and I appreciate your upvote if you found it useful! Good luck, and see you in game!