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Irelia Build Guide by ameOkami

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author ameOkami

For Ionia! Solo Top/Off-Tank Irelia, Full of Information!

ameOkami Last updated on May 3, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

1
7
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
2
4
5
8
9
Ability Key W
3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
4/
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 9


Guide Top

Introduction and a Brief Primer on Irelia

Introduction to the Guide



Welcome to the guide! I won't spend much time talking about myself, and will rather elaborate on the fashion of the guide. This guide has a lot of text; the amoutn of information in this guide is probably a little bit intimidating at first. However, the way this guide was designed is intended to be read once, and then maybe refer to the character match-ups on a later date.

The item section is rather large, and that's because Irelia can utilize a lot of items because of how bloated her kit is. I try to explain what core builds Irelia uses, and then I offer a gamut of items than Irelia typically uses and my opinions on them (usually backed with a fact or two). Also, this guide suggests item combos to use; this lets you tailor your Irelia build to your playstyle and the situation.

Perhaps the most interesting portion of this guide is the solo-top section. It's a relatively long list (about 50 champions!) of characters that could go solo top and Irelia's intended goal against these champions. I also include a match-up score to show you the difficulty in each match-up (which I find more informative than coloring champions orange, yellow, red, and green).

Eventually, this guide will include videos of myself playing Irelia in various scenarios. I'll update this guide and post relevant videos and pictures once my premade team gets a bit more consistent.

Note: Current pictures are rather bleh; I'm more concerned with getting out information ATM rather than images; I'll consult a graphic designer later to fix this issue.

Introduction to Irelia



Irelia is a dominant champion in top lane, in both 1v1 and 2v1 scenarios. She's able to build relatively tanky while outputting good damage, and this allows her to fit well in the current tanky DPS metagame and find a place on a team regardless of ELO. Early-game, Irelia has some of the strongest sustain because of her natural healing from Hiten Style and the mana refunding element of Bladesurge. Irelia also works well as an assassin mid-game to end-game; because of her bulk and burst, she's able to dash to an squishy target (usually the opponents' AD or AP carry) and disable them early, thus instigating a team fight.

However, Irelia does struggle against some matches. For example, Irelia is dominated by Renekton in solo top because of his early game bulk, stronger harass, gap closer, sustain, and lack of a resource system (i.e, he uses rage). In these instances, you're better off choosing a different champion. Beyond these rare circumstances, Irelia is a relatively consistent pick regardless of ELO.


Guide Top

Masteries, Runes, and Summoner Spells

Masteries


For Irelia's purposes, it's rather clear that the offense tree and defense tree are extremely strong and the utility tree seems rather lackluster. But, there are a few options that Irelia has. I prefer these two mastery sets:

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


For our sustain build, we elect to grab 0/21/9. Because we intend to use Atma's Impaler and the Defense tree gives a large sum of health, we pursue that path. We also dip into the utility tree because it synergizes with our efforts to increase movement speed and we can grab the neutral buff mastery in case our jungler ever decides to donate red buff to Irelia (or she gets it through a kill).

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


If you were wanting a more offensive set, 9/21/0 works well. For general bulkiness, we still invest heavily into the Defense tree. However, we now get a nice bit of attack speed to help us proc Hiten Style, Wit's End, Trinity Force, and life-steal effects.




Suggested Runes


greater quintessence of desolation
greater mark of desolation__ __

Irelia's runes are relatively standard for a tanky DPS. There is some room for altering, but I wouldn't deviate too far from these choices.

greater mark of desolation is chosen for damage. As a tanky DPS and a solo top, Irelia will often be contesting against other tanky DPSes in top lane. Armor Pen is the best option against them to do damage. An interesting option for those Irelias preferring to maximize on-hit abilities could mix 5 greater mark of desolation with 4 Greater Mark of Attack Speed.

Greater Seal of Armor aids Irelia's otherwise weak early-game. Top lane is more likely to have AD characters, so we elect to get flat armor to benefit us throughout the laning phase. These seals will help us survive until we can either get a Wriggle's Lantern or another armor item.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist covers Irelia's need for magic resist. We elect to use per level seals because we build magic resist on Irelia after armor (i.e, we build Wriggle's Lantern] for armor, then we build [[Wit's End for magic resist). Magic resist per level scales well, and we'll have a reasonable amount of magic resist--even without dedicating an item to magic resist--once we start team-fights.

greater quintessence of desolation is the default choice for Irelia for reasons already mentioned. However, there are some other options for this slot. You could elect to use Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed for chasing, but Irelia has a gap closer, a slow, an item that slows, and a few masteries that already increase her movement speed. Another option is Greater Quintessence of Health. These are relatively expensive, but they can be used as a rune for every character; it'll help Irelia's early bulkiness and laning phase.



Suggested Summoner Spells


Exhaust is an incredible summoner spell. Not only does it slow the target (allowing you to proc a Phage slow, an Equilibrium Strike slow, Hiten Style, and Wit's End, but it reduces your opponent's offense and defense. This, in a sense, allows Irelia to 1v1 any champion in a duel. Exhaust also counters some common pub stompers, such as [[Tryndamere]. In general, Exhaust is a great spell.

Although it has been slightly nerfed, Flash is still good for mobility purposes. Flash allows Irelia to jump over walls and make escapes--and chases--that would otherwise would be impossible. It also allows you to recover to a good position when you find yourself overextended from farming poorly with Bladesurge.

Ghost synergizes well with the speed masteries we've taken, the plethora of slows that Irelia can inflict, and Exhaust. Although it isn't as strong for recovering position, Ghost is much better for chasing an opponent. It can be used as a lackluster escape as well. If you prefer Ghost to Flash, it's perfectly reasonable for Irelia.

Ignite, honestly, is somewhat overrated. You probably would be able to do more damage with Irelia by exhausting your target and whacking them a few times, especially mid-game or late-game. However, Ignite does aid in getting those early-game kills and secures kills that otherwise would have simply ran off. There's a level of personal preference here, but I suggest Exhaust over Ignite.

Some individuals like to take teleport when they solo top. This is usually for champions that have to recall relatively often and can teleport back to their turrent to minimize EXP and lane pressure loss. Irelia, however, is extremely sustainable in top lane as soon as you get Philosopher's Stone. This sustainability is exponentially increased when you finish Wriggle's Lantern, if you elect to do so. For newer Irelia players, Teleport could be a viable option. However, I'd struggle to give up the positioning benefits on Flash or the damage increase on Exhaust.


You could elect to use another summoner spell, but I believe that these prior mentioned spells are the most viable for Irelia. Like runes and masteries, summoner spells can be switched according to the player's preference.


Guide Top

Skills and Skill Sequence

Irelia's passive is what allows her to be a phenomenal off-tank. Not only does it stack with Mercury Threads, but it can be used to psuedo-scout bushes. Ionian Fervor only buffs Irelia when nearby champions are relatively close; it does not matter if they are invisible or visible. Because of this, if you keep watchful eye on your buff, you can notice if it rises or falls. If an enemy Twitch has been MIA for a few minutes and you suddenly see 3 stacks of Ionian Fervor, rather than 2, you know that Twitch is in your lane.


Irelia's Q serves several purposes. In its most basic form, Bladesurge is Irelia's gap-closer. Unlike other gap closers, Bladesurge has a unique trait: When you actually kill the target with Bladesurge, a portion of mana (35) is returned to Irelia. Because of this, Bladesurge also is a good farming tool as long as the user isn't too liberal with it (your Philosopher's Stone can only regen so much!). When building Irelia to maximize her burst, we elect to max her Q first (see build 2).


Hiten Style is what allows Irelia to remain tanky while producing respectable damage; it's also what makes her relatively hard to counter. Hiten Style's passive heals a set amount (rather than a percent of your health)
with every auto attack; this gives it relatively good synergy with attack speed and on-hit items. When Irelia activates her E, she gets a true damage steroid to her auto attacks. This is particularly dangerous because this enables Irelia to do three types of damage at once: physical, magical, and true damage. This fact makes Irelia relatively difficult to counter, particularly in early game. When focusing on sustainability, we max W first (see build 1).


At first glance, many Irelia players wonder why you wouldn't max Irelia's E early. Simply put, Equilibrium strike has poor scaling (0.5 AP ratio). Beyond this, the only AP that most Irelia players get comes from their Trinity Force (30 AP). For this reason, we only max Equilibrium Strike early when we're trying to maximize Irela's burst. Some might question how useful a 1 second stun could be; simply put, any amount is good CC (ask any jungle Riven ;p). 1 second of additional burst can turn a fruitless gank into an easy kill. When building for sustainability, we take a single point early and max it last. Conversely, when building for burst, we max E second.


Irelia's ultimate serves more of a utility purpose rather than a burst purpose. Because of its relatively short cooldown, you can use your ultimate to heal off of minions when you find yourself getting harassed a tad too much. It also farms relatively well because it does not decrease in damage based off of how many minions it goes through. In team fights, Irelia's ultimate usually serves as either a pre-fight harass tool or a way to kill runners when Bladesurge can't reach the opponent or is on cooldown. Regardless of build, we max Irelia's ultimate at every opportunity (levels 6, 11, and 16).



One of Irelia's greatest strengths is the variety of builds that she can adapt to in order to fit a given situation. Usually, this is simply a question of whether to max Bladesurge or Hiten Style first. In general, this decision is made based off of your team's composition, your lane opponent, and your person preference. For those individuals new with Irelia, it's generally safer to max out Hiten Style as your first skill.

Hiten Style -- Maximizing Defense First


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

As prior noted, Irelia's W is the reason she's able to maintain a good amount of damage while remaining relatively tanky. However, to maximize the benefits of both the heal-per-hit and true damage, we have to find a balanced core that gives armor, magic resist, and attack speed. Thankfully, Irelia can find both of these--and more!--in the relatively inexpensive core of Wriggle's Lantern and Wit's End.

Wriggle's Lantern is what we rush as our first item. Not only does this give Irelia life steal upon her heal-per-hit, but it grants Irelia a modest amount of armor and damage. Beyond this, Wriggle's also gives Irelia a free ward. This allows Irelia (who is usually a solo laner) to maintain ward coverage without having to recall to purchase wards or rely on her jungler to place wards. In addition, if you are able to maintain ward coverage without recalling while your opponent is forced to return to buy wards, he will either have to sacrifice EXP and CS (because you can't farm when you recall) or risk being ganked by your jungler. In addition, Wriggle's has a chance to proc for a large amount of damage on minions and neutral monsters. This will not only ease your farming, but it will make you a valuable asset for tanking and killing map objectives like Dragon and Baron.

When maxing W first, we make Wit's End as our second item. Because Wriggle's Lantern gave us armor and damage, we needed an item to give us magic resistance (to round our resistances) and attack speed (to proc W's passive and active more often). Rushing Wit's End gives us both of these benefits for a relatively cheap cost, and synergizes well with Wriggle's and Irelia in general.

What do these two items offer together as a core? Irelia not only will proc her Hiten Style passive heal and active true damage every hit, but she will also have increased life steal and damage from Wriggle's Lantern while having additional magic damage procs from her Wit's End. Not only this, but each hit will increase her magic resistance (up to 4 stacks, of course) and the attack speed offered by Wit's End makes all of this synergize extremely well.

In general, you choose to max Hiten Style first when you want to maintain a tanky presence while having strong lane sustainability. In addition, you choose to max W when you need sustained damage, rather than burst damage. If you're new to Irelia, electing to max W first allows you to still do damage while remaining relatively safe and tanky.

Bladesurge -- Maximizing Burst First


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

When you begin maxing Q first, you're making Q less farm friendly because you're increasing its mana cost. In return, you're getting a much stronger gap closer which enables Irelia to harass harder. So, if we're maxing Bladesurge, we need to be able to give Irelia mana and items that increase her burst. Because of this, we find ourselves rushing a Trinity Force.

Sheen covers most of the issues with Bladesurge's mana cost early game while providing a small AP boost. The real reason we're rushing a Sheen on this build is for the Sheen proc. By getting a Bladesurge, Sheen proc auto-attack, Equilibrium Strike, Sheen proc auto-attack, Irelia has strong early-game harass. Because her E also has CC on it, this burst is useful for aiding a jungler in ganking top lane or getting a kill in her own right.

Of course, your Sheen will build into a Trinity Force. This brings forth the question of, "What do I build after my Sheen? Zeal or Phage?" In Irelia's case, Phage offers her a good amount of health, decent amount of damage, and a chance to slow. Because of these reasons, we elect to build a Phage after Sheen. In addition, Phage offers us some versatility. If you find that you're taking a bit too much damage, upgrading your Phage into a Frozen Mallet will give you a large increase in health, the ability to always slow, and will let us pursue an Atma's Impaler as a future item.

Unlike maxing W, it's a good idea to level your Equilibrium Strike after you max Bladesurge. This not only will increase your burst, but it offers a 2.5 second stun/slow. Because of this, we only take a single point in Hiten Style early for the heal-per-hit during the laning phase and elect to take maximize it last.


Guide Top

Items

Starting Items


Regrowth Pendant + Health Potion is a strong start for Irelia because it build into her Philosopher's Stone and gives Irelia some much needed early-game sustain. This will be your default start on Irelia, and there's very few times where you would elect to take something else.

Boots of Speed + Health Potion is a good choice mattering on who you're facing in top lane. Some solo top characters, like Cassiopeia and Brand force you to dodge skillshots throughout the laning phase. Starting with boots and pots eases the early laning phases and allows her to retain some sustain with her potions.

Doran's Shield is a plausible, although relatively poor, option. It gives less health regen than starting with a regrowth pendant. It gives a small amount of armor and a mild amount of health, but the new defense masteries in Season 2 give Irelia enough bulkiness to endure early game with just a health regen item. Perhaps the most important reason not to take a Doran item starting off is that Doran items build into nothing. Because of this, starting with a Doran item will simply slow your build (and Irelia already has a rather expensive build). If you're struggling staying alive with a pendant or boots start, consider using the first build to increase your staying power.

Null-Magic Mantle + Health Potion isn't an option you see done very much, but it's a very strong opening (particularly against lanes like Akali). If you're laning against someone who uses AP but isn't skillshot oriented, a Null Magic Mantle will aid you in the early laning phase. However, if the champion you're against is skillshot based (like Brand or Cassiopeia), you're better off going Boots of Speed + Health Potion.

Cloth Armor + Health Potion is a good opening against difficult lanes (like Riven). It also lets you exchange harass against characters that dominate you early but you eventually can outsustain (like Gangplank). If a champion gives you a hard time early-game, but you eventually come out ahead, a cloth start could be useful.


Early Game Items/Making Your Core



Philosopher's Stone is Irelia's early-game goal, regardless of what build you elect to do. The quicker you can make it, the quicker (and longer!) you can benefit from it's GP/10 effect. In addition, Philo Stone offers Irelia some much needed mana regen and health regen; this allows her to farm with her Bladesurge more often and adds to her already high health regen. In addition, the GP/10 effect eases the strain of Irelia's relatively expensive build.

Wriggle's Lantern is the first item of a sustain-based build. Its benefits have already been explained, but just a short recap: eases farm, increased damage, increased armor, increased lane sustain, and a free ward.

Wit's End follows up a Wriggle's. Wit's End is also elaborated in an earlier portion in the guide. In a short review: magic hit per-hit, magic resist per hit, magic resist, and attack speed.

Sheen is what we rush when focusing on damage. It was described in an early chapter, but just a short recap: the proc on Sheen is really what we're looking for. However, Sheen also offers us a bit of AP and some mana to ease the early laning phase.

Phage is a relatively universal component for Irelia. Defensive builds can turn this into a Frozen Mallet whereas offensive oriented can lead straight into a Trinity Force. This item also gives Irelia some nice, early game bulk for a relatively cheap price while giving her some damage.

Heart of Gold is not an item I recommend for every game, but it's certainly a viable pick. It's another GP/10 item, and it gives some bulk. However, unlike Philo Stone, it's really not going to ease the cost of Irelia's build. It's usually faster to just buy a Philo Stone and rush whatever item you prefer after that. The reason you would get a Randuin's Omen. If you're wanting to buy an Omen, get HoG early. Otherwise, I recommend skipping HoG entirely.



Transitioning to Mid-game/A Brief Discussion of Boots


Between finishing your early core and making your Trinity Force (if you elect to do so), you'll be finishing up your boots. Usually, it's a good idea to buy Wriggle/Sheen and Boots of Speed on your first recall, and then buy Wit's End/Phage and your finished boots on your second recall. In general, if you recall with approximately 1600 gold, you should be able to make the majority of these purchases.

There's not really much options in terms of boots, but I'll discuss what I commonly see on other players.

Mercury Treads are usually the best choice for Irelia. Tenacity on its own is a great effect, but it also stacks with Irelia's Ionian Fervor. Because of this, Irelia can almost ignore some minor CCs (like a Riven using Ki Shout). Although relatively minor, these boots also give Irelia some magic resist to stack on with her runes, masteries, and other gear.

Ninja Tabi aren't too bad in their own right. Dodge chance isn't too shabby, and the armor can be helpful mattering on what team Irelia's going against. However, with Season 2 masteries, Nimbleness can no longer be taken. Because of this fact, dodge chance is much less attractive on Irelia. However, against AD heavy team comps with little CC, it could be reasonable to pick these boots. NOTE: Ninja Tabi's dodge is going to be replaced with a flat, 10 damage resistance. Because this hasn't been tested, I can't really offer more of an opinion.

Boots of Swiftness are average on Irelia. Between the slow on Phage-based items, the slow/stun on Equilibrium Strike, the gap closing capability of Bladesurge and the movement speed masteries on the defense tree (such as Initiator ), the extra movement speed given by these boots simply doesn't warrant giving up Tenacity.

Berserker Greaves may be a tempting option because of how well Irelia's build can synergize with attack speed. However, there are items that add to Irelia's bulk and still grant attack speed, such as Trinity Force and Wit's End. Because of this, you're better off taking Merc Threads for the tenacity and letting these prior two items handle attack speed.



Mid-game Items


Trinity Force is the general goal for Irelia. The built in Sheen proc allows her to do respectable damage, the phage procs are nice for chasing allow with Irelia's Equilibrium Strike CC and Bladesurge dash, and the attack speed gives Irelia more procs on her Hiten Style. Regardless of build, you'll usually find yourself making a Trinity Force on Irelia simply because of the diverse benefits that it gives Irelia, and Irelia can benefit from nearly all the stats it gives.

Although this is not typical on an Irelia build, I'd like to mention checking and seeing if your support has bought an Aegis of the Legion. Although this item doesn't scale too well, it's still an incredible cost-efficient item (approximately 5500 worth of stats just on the aura, if it's on 5 champions). If your support has elected to buy Zeke's Harbinger or some other aura item for your team, it may be a wise decision to buy Aegis. Not only are you giving yourself a slight increase in offensive and defensive stats, but you're making your entire team bulkier in team fights. Certainly worth considering, but not every game.



Finishing Up Your Build


At this point, you've built Trinity Force and may or may not have a few luxury items. Now that Irelia's core is done,you have to build according to the enemy team comp. There's a few items that synergize well with eachother and/or Irelia, so I'll list those items as pairs.

Atmallet isn't a bad build choice, and should be what you're building if you decide to build a Frozen Mallet instead of a Trinity Force. Not only is this giving Irelia some good HP and damage, but it'll allow her to contribute to the team by being a perma-slow character (particularly if you bought an attack speed item like Wit's End). If you bought a Trinity Force early, I'd recommend buying the Atma first.

Atmog's is still good as ever on Irelia. Usually, if you have to choose between Atmog's or Atmallet, you choose Atmallet if you assume you won't have enough time to farm Warmog's; otherwise, you go Atmog's. Warmog's is actually a very poor item in terms of cost efficiency when you first purchase it. However, pass approximately 50 minions kills, Warmog's begins to be "worth its price".

OR OR So, here's the thing about MR items: they're relatively dependent on the individual's person taste and the situation. Banshee's Veil (BV) is usually the default pick for most people when they're wanting mgic resist, and that's relatively reasonable. Not only does it give MR, some mana, and some HP, but it absorbs the first ability used on you! But in there lies the issue: it's the first ability used. That means that some minor ability, such as Volley could pop your BV and you won't be able to stop that Cassiopeia's Petrifying Gaze. Thankfully, the lesser used Hexdrinker can somewhat remedy that problem. Unlike BV, Hexdrinker gives you offense while granting some magic resist. It also makes a shield when you get close to dying. This means that, unlike BV, that Ashe won't be negating your shield with a simple Volley. Force of Nature is a good item in its own right, but it really should be combined with...

...Warmog's Armor. Honestly, the health regen that Force of Nature (FoN) provides isn't really that big of a deal until you get really high HP. Warmog's is what gives Irelia that really high HP (and, to a lesser extent, Frozen Mallet). Also, FoN gives movement speed, which is unique for a defensive item. If you aren't building HP, then you're usually better off getting a BV (defense) or Hexdrinker (offense). You would buy a FoN after finishing your Atmog's or Atmallet.

Guardian Angel honestly isn't that bad of an item. It gives a modest amount of armor and magic resist, which makes it a good "well rounded" item late-game when you really don't know what else to buy. What's really nice about Guardian Angel (GA) is the passive. Sometimes, GA's passive will basically just let you die, then you get stuck waiting to revive and just die again (which makes your respawn timer, in effect, 10 seconds longer). However, GA does have the potential to allow you to get out of otherwise impossible fights and change 2-2 exchanges into 2-1 exchanges.

Randiun's Omen isn't a bad item in its own right. CDR is a welcomed stat for Irelia, and most items that Irelia builds do not add CDR. The health, armor, and health regen aren't too bad, either. However, because of its active and passive effects Omen is an exceptional anti-AD item. My issue with Randiun's Omen's active is it required you to be the one targeted, and even then the chance to proc is relatively low (20%). The active is strong, but not everyone uses the active portion (we've all seen people buy [Zhonya's Hourglass] and never use its active). For those individuals looking to be anti-AD and get CDR, another viable option is:

Frozen Heart is a similar alternative to Omen that doesn't build from a GP/10 item. However, it has a non-active aura that's similar to Omen's, gives a huge amount of armor and mana, and has a similar price. Unfortunately, Frozen Heart simply doesn't give us HP, and we're trying to maximize the effects of Atma's Impaler. So, Frozen Heart is a decent option at best.

Shurelya's Reverie builds from your Philosopher Stone and has a relatively cheap build cost (1.4k). Other than Omen and Frozen Heart, this is one of the few items that has CDR that could work with Irelia. The active isn't too bad (as it affects everyone around you), but chances are your support intends on getting this item. Beyond that, you're often better served selling your Philo Stone and buying a sixth item.

Sunfire Cloak is an interesting choice and it actually synergizes rather well with Irelia. Because she'll likely be slowing opponents, building HP, and jumping close to kill, Sunfire's passive does work on Irelia. The humble HP bonus Sunfire gives can aid your damage somewhat. However, if you were wanting an HP item that gave you armor, why wouldn't you just grab an Omen instead?



Sample Endgame Builds



Standard Irelia Build: Trinity Force, Wit's End, Wriggle's Lantern, Atma's Impaler, Guardian Angel, Mercury Treads
Atmogs Irelia Build: Trinity Force, Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler, Force of Nature, Guardian Angel, Mercury Treads
GP/5 Irelia Build: Radiun's Omen, Shurelya's Reverie, Trinity Force, Banshee's Veil, Guardian Angel, mercury treads
MR-Based Irelia: Trinity Force, Wit's End, Guardian Angel, Banshee's Veil, Mercury Treads
Armor-Based Irelia: Trinity Force, Warmog's Armor, Atma's Impaler, Force of Nature, Mercury Treads


Guide Top

Match-ups

In this section, I'll discuss a few pointers about each solo-top champion you may come across. I will also include a match-up score. Those familiar with fighting will be able to grasp the concept relatively quickly; the score I place beside a champion refers to how often Irelia should win against the opposing champion if both champions are of equal skill. So, we're comparing kits (rather than the players' skills). Here's a few examples:

7-3: Irelia wins 7 out of 10 against the opposing champion. These are match-ups where Irelia has a significant advantage and it either requires a large mistake by her or a lack of skill for Irelia to lose her lane. A good example of a 7-3 match-up would be Teemo vs. Tryn.

6-4: Irelia wins 6 out of 10 games against the opposing champion. These are relatively balanced match-ups, but Irelia has some part of her kit that at least soft counters an opponent. Good example of a 6-4 match-up would be Malphite vs. Gangplank.

5-5: A balanced match-up. These are match-ups that could go either way dependent on players' decisions, builds, and item choices.

Likewise, 4-6 and 3-7 match-ups exist, but those are just converses. I prefer this system simply because it's a little bit more informative than, "Green means easy, red means hard."

That being said, let's begin:




Akali (4.5-5.5) is actually not too bad for Irelia. What will ease your life early will be changing your starting item. Rather than your traditional Regrowth Pendant start, Null-Magic Mantle and 3 Health Potions will enable to you endure Akali's early game harass. Most Akali players are willing to freefarm until she reaches level 6, at which she gets her ultimate: Shadow Dance. At this point, most Akali players will become aggressive and try to proc her Mark of the Assassin for heavy damage. At this point, you really want to let the lane push and just farm; you'll be able to out harass Akali around level 9 if Akali hasn't been fed. In general: farm and harass until level 6, shift over to very gentle farming until level 9, return to harassing at level 9. Do not take too much harass early; you cannot let Akali prevent your farm.

Blitzcrank (6-4) isn't a match-up of special note, and it doesn't occur often. Rocket Grab is Blitzcrank's only real threat in top lane. He can use that to pull you to him and get an easy gank (or have the tower harass you for him). This is easily prevented by keeping a minion between you and Blitzcrank whenever possible. If there's a minion between you two, his grab will harmlessly pull the minion--rather than you!--towards him. Beyond that, Irelia doesn't have a problem in this lane.

Caitlyn (4.5-5.5) is actually a relatively tough lane for Irelia. The earlier you get your Wriggle's Lantern, the better off you'll be. Most Caitlyn players are simply trying to deny your farm with their autoattacks and Piltover Peacemaker. This lane will be difficult until you get to about level 6, and you can then sustain relatively well against Caitlyn's auto-attacks. Until then, don't be afraid to let Caitlyn push the lane to your tower. This will let your jungler gank Caitlyn (her only escape option is 90 Caliber Net, and that's a relatively poor escape). Any gank attempt against a Caitlyn by your jungler should prove successful, as long as they don't step into her Yordle Snap Trap. For that reason, it may be pragmatic to tell your jungler to care for a cupcake in the bushes when he goes to gank.

Cho'Gath (5-5) is the definition of a freefarm lane. Cho'Gath can't really harass you without constantly going out of mana, and you can't really outharass Cho because of his sustain from Carnivore and the sheer amount of health he has. for this reason, your goal against Cho is to outfarm him as much as you can. Beyond that, this should be a relatively passive lane.

Dr. Mundo (5-5) is sort of an odd lane (which is why you don't see it very often). He has extremely good staying power, but that's really about it. He's not going to harass you for more than you can heal, and you're not going to harass him for more than he can heal. You can either make this into a trading match-up (constantly harassing eachother back and forth) or you can passively turn this lane into a freefarm. Mundo doesn't scale as well as Irelia late-game with farm, so you would rather let this lane settle down into a passive lane.

Fiddlesticks (6-4) actually isn't a hard lane at all. Drain is both Fiddlesticks players' best tool and their biggest opening. When a Fiddle starts draining you, they'll easily have more life than you but have to remain stationary. So, whenever a Fiddle attempts to harass using Drain, you can easily Bladesurge towards him and get a free stun off of a Equilibrium Strike. If you notice that he harasses with Drain a lot, following the burst build (second build) is a good option. If the Fiddle is more passive and likes to farm/harass with Dark Wind, this will either become a very passive farming lane or a strong harass game--its the Irelia's choice. If the Irelia wants to sit back and farm, a passive Fiddle isn't going to worry too much. If you elect to harass often, he'll probably resort to using Drain on minions to sustain. Just dash to him and harass, just like before. Pretty easy lane.

Galio (6.5-3.5) is a deceptively easy match-up for Irelia. Although his Bulwark is an amazing shield, Irelia's true damage eats through it. Galio, because of his passive ( Runic Skin), wants to build MR. Because of this, Irelia can ruin his day using her true damage and gap-closer ( Bladesurge). If you're struggling with this match-up, you usually are eating too many Resolute Smites. Don't stay still or predictable during the laning phase, out-sustain Galio, and harass him whenever your Hiten Style is off CD and the opportunity arises.

Gangplank (5-5) is a relatively dangerous lane, particularly if Gangplank is building crit. Parrrley--particularly when it crits--hurts. The first suggestion I have is starting Cloth Armor+ 5 Health Potions. This builds into your Wriggle's Lantern, lets you stay in lane until your sustain surpasses GP's Remove Scurvy, and lets you trade blows. Whenever GP pokes you with a Parrrley, Bladesurge towards him and stun (nearly a guaranteed stun if he crits!) with Equilibrium Strike. From there, you can either try and kill him (take into account his Remove Scurvy, summoner spells, etc) or you can back off and re-harass if he tries to [[Parrrley] you again. In the grand scheme of things, build more armor if Gangplank snowballs.

Garen (7-3) is an extremely easy lane for Irelia. He's an extreme threat early game, but he's relatively negligible towards mid-game. As soon as you build your Wriggle's Lantern, this lane becomes laughably easy to just sit back and farm in. If you want to counter him further, starting off with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions eases the harass that Garen deals when you're waiting to build you Wriggle's Lantern.

Jarvan IV (6-4) is a match-up similar to Garen. He's a pain until about level 6, then you're able to sustain in lane. You probably won't get a kill on Jarvan because how bulky he is, but you will be able to farm your items and zone him out relatively efficiently. Of important note is his ultimate: Cataclysm. Irelia can Bladesurge a minion and jump out of Jarvan's ultimate. Keep that in mind and you shouldn't have a problem with Jarvan all game.

Jax is getting redone with the dodge patch. I'll comment on him when that happens.

Kennen (4.5-5.5) is going to push you to your tower, but you'll still be able to farm against him. You have to be relatively conservative with your resources because Kennen uses Energy. In addition, he's relatively hard to have your jungler gank because of his Lightning Rush. Once he builds his Hextech Gunblade, he'll be able to sustain well enough to trade with you. After you build your Sheen and Mercury Treads, you should be able to out-trade Kennen relatively often (as long as you don't eat random Thundering Shuriken harass... dodge skillshots). As long as you can farm relatively well at your tower, you should be fine in the grand scheme of things; just don't eat unnecessary harass.

Lee Sin (4-6) is one of those lanes that, unfortunately, lends itself to the players' skills. Lee Sin can do some crazy ****, like using his Safeguard / Iron Will to dash over to minions, shield them, prevent your Bladesurge CD refresh, and harass you for trying to farm. Of course, this is relatively unrealistic, but it's just a sample of the potentially crazy **** Lee Sin can do. The more skilled the Lee Sin is (and the more creative), the more of this he could pull on you. However, if he's a lower skilled player, Irelia wins this lane as soon as she gets to level 6 and buys her Sheen. Lee Sin really dictates the pace of this lane; because of this, the Lee Sin match-up is variable.

Malphite (5.5-4.5) is usually chosen to counter AD-heavy top lanes. Fortunately, Irelia has three different types of damage (physical, magical, and true); Malphite, therefore, struggles to cover all of Irelia's damage. He does, however, deal decent damage while remaining relatively tanky because of his passive: Granite Shield. Malphite can trade relatively cleanly with Irelia once he levels up his Seismic Shard a little bit, so this isn't a free lane. However, you should be able to control this lane as long as you don't overextend or get overzealous with your harassing.

Mordekaiser (7-3) is a joke now. He'll push your lane hard early, which opens him up to ganks. He has no escape mechanism, which makes him even more likely to gank. If he wants to push your lane with his Siphon of Destruction, let him and call for a gank. Otherwise, you can outharass him even when he gets his Hextech Revolver. Easy lane.

Nasus (5-5) is sort of a troubling lane. It will eventually turn into a passive lane because of his sustain off of his passive ( Soul Eater). You really don't want to let him farm because of Siphoning Strike, but there's really not much you can do about it. Both of you will scale hard because of the amount of farm happening. So, this lane is really dependent on how strong your farm is. The only way to secure an advantage in this lane is an early gank. This will slow his progress to getting a Philosopher's Stone, reducing his CS, and let you snowball harder than him. However, regardless of how hard you snowball, don't bother fighting him 1v1 if he Withers you. This is the reason Nasus is hard to 1v1; if he does wither you, Bladesurge to a nearly dead minion and kite him for the duration of the debuff.

Nidalee (5.5-4.5) is a lane you can win, but you have to play it intelligently. Javelin Toss / Takedown hurts early; it's a strong poke that zones relatively well. Until you get your Wriggle's Lantern, Nidalee will outsustain you because of her Primal Surge / Swipe. Once you get your Wriggle's, you can choose to harass her. Her combo will hurt, but you'll win out on the trade. Between winning these exchanges and having higher sustain, you should win against Nidalee after level 6.

Nunu (6-4) is a lane you won't see often (as Nunu probably will be jungling or supporting), but it happens ocassionally. Consume allows Nunu to stay in lane by sustaining, and Visionary eases some of his mana issues. Ice Blast is a hard poke, but you should be able to Bladesurge and Equilibrium Strike stun Nunu and win on the exchange (if you elect to). His ultimate isn't that much of a worry; just don't be stupid. The only thing that might catch you in his ultimate if he ultimates in the bush; when Nunu uses Absolute Zero in the bush, the AOE circle does not appear. So, just stay away from bushes you don't have warded. Otherwise, Nunu will be little more than a Slow/ Blood Boil bot endgame.

Olaf (4-6) isn't a lane I'm very familiar with; I know that Irelia can't trade well with Olaf. Other than that, I don't have any other information concerning Olaf.

Renekton (2-8) is one of those lanes where you just have to say, "**** this champion." Between his gap closer, his stronger burst, his early sustain, and his lack of a resource system (he uses rage), Renekton hard counters Irelia. Choose another champion.

Riven (3-7) is another champion where you should just say, "**** this." She's a bit more bearable than Renekton. You basically have to rush Wriggle's Lantern], [[Ninja Tabi, and Phage early to survive Riven's burst and be able to sustain. However, she zones you so hard that it's hard to be able to get to this point against a decent Riven. If you choose to play Irelia, you need to play extremely conservatively. However, I suggest choosing another champion.

Rumble (5-5) is an odd champion amongst the Irelia community. A lot of Irelia players think that Irelia beats Rumble; the other half of the community thinks the opposite. I think he's dealt with a lot like Akali. He does out-harass you until level 9; you should farm passively and try not to get hit by his Flamespitter too often early game (as it has insane ratios: 1.37 if all three hits connect, and a bonus 30% damage if his heat is in yellow). Once you get 9, you can trade harass and can sustain.

Shyvana is a champion I have little experience with; I reserve judgement to players more familiar with this match-up.

Singed (4-6) isn't an easy lane. You'll have to avoid his harass while maintaining good CS. This is one of my hardest match-ups on a personal level and I'm not entirely sure the best way to counter Singed. However, building a Spirit Visage after your Wit's End does help relieve some of the pains of the laning phase.

Talon (5-5) is one of the few cases I'd suggest starting with a Doran's Shield on Irelia. He does good burst, but it's not until later in the laning phase. Doran's Shield, for this reason, is a better alternative than Cloth Armor+ 5 Health Potions. Don't instigate a fight with him. However, if he does try to harass you, stun him and harass back (as his skills have relatively long CDs). Around level 9, you should be able to dictate the pace of this lane.

Teemo (6-4) is usually a hard lane for AD bruisers. His Blinding Dart is an extremely potent debuff; it prevents you from auto-attacking for a whopping 3.5 seconds. However, Irelia can still land her Bladesurge and Equilibrium Strike when blinded. For this reason, Irelia can usually win on exchanges whenever Teemo attempts to harass. This is a lane you should expect to go without ganks; most junglers dislike trying to gank a Teemo because of his Move Quick and Noxious Trap slows.

Tryndamere (3-7) is a pretty ****ty lane. He can, and will, out-harass you. His ultimate-- Undying Rage--lets him tower dive with ease. Bloodlust gives him good sustain. On top of all of this, he doesn't use a resource besides Rage (which, by getting it, pushes your lane). The best advice I have is to use your Equilibrium Strike stun intelligently and utilize your Bladesurge for kiting. I'd suggest picking another champion.

Udyr (3.5-6.5) is actually a bearable (bwahaha, pun) lane, but it's not one you want to do. His Tiger Stance actually does magic damage, so getting a Wit's End early will help relieve some of that harass. You probably will lose this lane (because the amount of sustain Udyr with Wriggle's Lantern and Spirit Visage has is ridiculous), but you scale better into late game. So, focus on farming minions.

Volibear is a relatively new champion I have little experience with. I can't say much, here.

Warwick (5.5-4.5) is sort of an interesting lane. If he wants to sustain, he has to spam Hungering Strike. If he wants to spam Hungering Strike, he has to buy mana regen early (like Doran's Ring). If he wants to use his passive-- Eternal Thirst--he has to autoattack the minion waves. Because of this, an Irelia v. Warwick lane balances itself out. Oddly enough, Warwick does mainly magic damage. For this reason, an early Wit's End will help you a lot. You can sustain more than Warwick, so this lane is slightly in your favor.

Xin Zhao (5-5) will beat Irelia 1v1. However, he pushes the lane hard and has no escape mechanism against ganks. The more jungle ganks you get, the easier this lane is. Otherwise, I hope you're good at farming at your tower.

Yorick (4-6) is one of those lanes that you're waiting to get Mercury Treads and Wriggle's Lantern against. Until then, he out-sustains you pretty hard. But, after about level 9, you'll retain lane dominance.