Irelia Build Guide by SingerOfTheFall
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.
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.
Welcome to the in-depth Irelia guide by
Hello everyone! This is my in-depth and in-detail Irelia guide.
I've been playing Irelia since the day she was out, and I really like this champion. I can't say that I am the best Irelia player out there, neither can I say that this build is the best one on Mobafire. However, I would like to share my vision of Irelia with you, so I hope you'll enjoy it.
This guide is very long, but please don't immediately downvote me just because you don't like the items or masteries. Take your time to read at least a couple of chapters!
I would also greatly appreciate any constructive criticism.
Grammar and style warning
Oh yes, and one final note. Sometimes in the guide I will use the term "cs", sometimes I will say "minions score", or "minions killed". Also for some reason I can call a turret either "turret" or "tower". Hope that doesn't confuse you much :S
Anyway, let's get started with the guide.
Pros / Cons
You will need armor penetration for both your basic attacks, your Q and your R (since they all do physical damage). These marks are kind of mandatory.
Seals and glyphs
|This is another addition to your movement speed. As you will see, you will be extremely fast with this build.|
|Greater Quintessence of Vigor||That's extra 8.1 hp/5 for you in the beginning of the game.|
|Take these if you are still having problems on your lane early game|
The quint choice depends on your playstyle, and the exact situation. However, are better for the laning phase, and greater quintessence of vigor will make your sustainability to go over the roof.
Please let me know if the colored circles on the pictures are hard to see because of the colors/thickness.
>> Updated to represent Season Two Masteries @ 20/11/2011
Note: I've been fixing this section over the last few days, and I've really put a lot of work into it, trying to make it both good-looking and informative. I hope you will like it.
The green circles show the masteries that can be changed: Initiator , Enlightenment , Honor Guard , Mercenary . You can combine them to fit your own preferences and play style.
I personally use the way that is shown on the picture.
Total stats that you will acquire with this set-up:
- Improved Ghost and Ignite
- +6 armor
- +6 Magic Resistance
- +3 Health Regeneration per 5 seconds
- +108 Health at lvl 18 (6 Health per level)
- +30 Health
- +8.1% Cooldown Reduction at lvl 18 (0.45% per level)
- +24 gold on champion kills and assists
- +3% Health increase, and 10% reduced duration of disables
- 10% reduction on time spent dead
- Improved Recall
- +2% Movement Speed.
Question: Why do you take Summoner's Wrath when you can either take Scout or Runic Affinity ?
Answer: Because it's better.
_____ Runic Affinity is a good mastery. However, Irelia rarely has buffs on her. The Blue Buff is mostly left for your AP carry, and the Red Buff is mostly left for your AD ranged carry, so most of the times you can have buffs on you only after a kill.
_____ Scout is just a bad mastery in my opinion. I saw it being leveled in some guides, but 5% increase of the ward range is ridiculously small. I've tried it out and compared the range of the wards with and without the mastery, and believe me, it is not worth it.
_____ Summoner's Wrath , on the other hand, improves both of your summoner spells. It is just so much better to invest this little point in it!
The turquoise circles are around the masteries that you can freely change. These are Runic Affinity , Scout and Sage . Feel free to choose the one that, in your opinion, will suit you best. I personally prefer Runic Affinity .
The orange circles are around the masteries that you can possibly change: Perseverance and Intelligence . Even though you can take Intelligence if you really want it, i would highly recommend you to keep perseverance, because sustain is the whole idea of my build, and this mastery gives you a lot of it.
Total stats that you will acquire with this set-up:
- Improved Ghost and Ignite
- +6 armor
- +6 Magic Resistance
- +3 Health Regeneration per 5 seconds
- 10% reduction of time spent dead
- Improved Recall
- +2% Movement Speed
- 2 Gold per 10 seconds
- 20% increase of the duration of Monster Buffs
- 5% increased Experience gain
- 9% increased Health and Mana regeneration
- 15% Cooldown Reduction of your Summoner Spells.
Question: Why don't you pick Wealth ?
Answer: Please, please, please, do not take Wealth . You need to spend 2 mastery points to max it, and you will just get 40 gold in the beginning of the game. Believe me, 40 gold is nothing. Its just 2 minion kills.
_____ Greed , on the other hand, is absolutely worth taking, because 2 gold per 10 seconds equals 12 gold per minute, or 360 gold per 30 minutes game, and you get that for 4 mastery points which you need to invest somewhere anyway to get to higher-tier masteries.
"The Trinity Way" sounds cool, right? :P
The purple circles represent the masteries you can change.
Your core masteries are 9-9-8 From now on you have 4 points to spend. The viable masteries form these 4 points include :
Durability and Tough Skin in Defense
Greed , Runic Affinity and Scout in Utility.
My personal choice would be Greed , because those 2 gold per 10 are real handy.
Total stats that you will acquire with this set-up:
- Improved Ghost and Ignite
- 3 Attack Damage
- 6 Attack Speed
- +10% Armor Penetration
- +6 armor
- +6 Magic Resistance
- +3 Health Regeneration per 5 seconds
- 10% reduction of time spent dead
- Improved Recall
- +2% Movement Speed
- 2 Gold per 10 seconds
Question: Can I go 9-0-21 or 9-21-0?
Answer: Yes, you can.
_____I would not recommend you to go 9-0-21. Simple put, I really think that 9 points in Defense are mandatory for this kind of a build.
_____As for 9-21-0, It's possible, and It's really simple. The Defensive tree is exactly the same as in my 1-21-8 setup above. The only thing you need to do is to put the points from Utility into Offense, getting Brute Force , Alacrity and Weapon Expertise .
Question: Can I go 21-X-X?
Answer: No you can't.
_____21-X-X is possible on Irelia if you want to play aggressively, and to focus on carrying and dealing damage. Irelia can be played this way, but my guide is focused on other things such as survivability, sustainability, strong laning phase, and that's why I recommend the masteries that you can see above.
Question: Omg, those are 3 mastery pages! How the hell do I chose which one to use?
Answer: Well, I use all of them myself.
_____If I know I'll have a relatively easy lane, and I plan to get a kill or two, I'll chose the mixed masteries.
_____If I'm not sure about the lane, or if i'm afraid the other lanes may not do good enough, I chose Utility.
_____Finally, if I'm going to have a hard time laning, or if the enemy team picks are just better then my team picks (or if this is a normal game and you don't like your team picks), I'll stick with 1-21-8.
Most of the times knowing your enemies and knowing how good you are versus a specific champion will help you to chose a mastery page without much trouble.
|Good for both offense and defense. With the items and masteries in this build, you will be extremely fast. After Using Ghost, no foe can escape.|
|Good for finishing off, as well as countering champions with build-in health gain ( Vladimir), regeneration ( Dr. Mundo), life steal ( Nasus), Spell Vamp ( Morgana), or just someone who stacks The Bloodthirsters.|
|If you are not a Ghost fan, this is an another great option. However, don't forget that Flash was nerfed recently (in 18.104.22.168 patch), increasing cooldown and decreasing the distance.|
|Good if you know you will face a strong AD champion like Tryndamere. _____________________________|
|This is another decent option. You can use Teleport for ganks, backdooring, saving towers, etc. _____________________________|
|Cleanse is a decent option, especially after the last patch (22.214.171.124), since it now removes Ignite and Exhaust.|
|Kinda useless, because the healing amount is very small, and the cooldown is long.|
|Leave this to your support.|
|You should not have any mana problems, unless you spam your Bladesurge like crazy, which you shouldn't.|
|Pretty useless, if you ask me.|
|You are not a jungler.|
|This is a new spell, and at the first glance the attack speed bonus is nice, however this is not really a good choice for Irelia. First of all, you almost miss the AP component, because your skills have a bad AP scaling. Second reason is the cooldown of Surge which is just too long. This works better for an AP or a hybrid champion.|
Not tested yet
After taking into account the recommendations on skill order, I decided to change it.
The second reason is the sustainability it gives. The health gain scales as 10/14/18/22/26. This may not seem too much, but in fact it is. On level 9, when you max your Hiten Style, you should have 83 damage.
That means that you need to have 31.3% lifesteal to get the same amount of health per hit as you get from your Hiten Style.
This gives you a lot of sustainability on the lane, and helps a lot when fighting another champion one on one (especially if it's a champion with life steal such as Warwick or Olaf).
It's damage seems lesser then the damage of Equilibrium Strike, but that's wrong.
Bladesurge deals 20/50/80/110/140 (+1 per attack damage) physical damage. It also applies on-hit effects, such as the passive of Sheen and Trinity Force, meaning it actually deals lots of damage.
If you want, you can think of it as an empowered autoattack (but it's actually better since it is a distance closer).
Equilibrium Strike gets leveled last.
I used to max it our first, but really, the stun/slow duration increase is just 0.25 sec per skill level.
It also doesn't scale well. The AP scaling is just 50%, and considering you only get 30 AP from your Trinity Force, this doesn't look very well.
Getting a rank in this at level 3, however, is required to benefit from the slow/stun.
One second duration may not seem too long, but it actually is, especially if you manage to stun your enemy.
Transcendent Blades each time it's possible.
|I will usually start with a pendant and a health potion. This will give you enough sustainability and survivability in the lane against most opponents. Early game you will rely mostly on your health regeneration from items and masteries, as well as on health gain from Hiten Style.|
|If you know you will not be harrassed too much early game, and can try to harras your opponent and/or zone him, you may start with the boots. Early game mobility will also allow you to dodge skillshots like Dark Binding.|
|Although I rarely start with a doran's, this might be an option if you know you'll be harrassed with physical damage. Comparing with Regrowth Pendant, you lose 7 health regen per 5. However, 10 armor and 100 health should compensate this in this case.|
Basically, your super-early game build should look like this:
This is the ideal item list for the first recall. To achieve this you should focus on getting as much cs as possible. Irelia is not super tanky at this stage (though she is more tanky than a lot of other champions), so if you are not sure if you can get a kill, then just play defensively. Stay at your lane until you have 1600 gold. The items above will cost you exactly 1615 gold if you started with a philosopher stone. You should always know how much money you need, since you don't want to find out that you've just recalled and you are missing just 100 gold for an item.
Question>> Why do you get two gp10 items? They don't give much, and neither of them is offensive!
Answer>> Well first of all, gp10 is always good. The second reason is that these items really give you much more sustainability in the lane, providing you with extra health, health regen, and (last but not least) mana regen.
Secondary, these will build into useful items late game. Heart of Gold builds into Randuin's Omen, and philosopher stone builds into Shurelya's Reverie if you want to take it (i will talk about this item later in situational items section).
Note>> If you feel that you are dominating the lane, and can get a kill or two, you can change the order of your items, and grab Boots of Speed and a Sheen. That will cost you almost the same - 1610 gold. If you chose this option, you will have a MUCH better damage output, but will be missing some survivability and sustainability. I usually take an early Sheen if I'm not being harrassed and I've got an advantage in my lane (with either having a kill, a level advantage or a cs advantage).
|I take these in 90% of my games. The best boots in the game. They will provide you the Magic resist you need, and tenacity bonus stacks with your passive, which means you will be almost not affected by CC in teamfights.|
You can buy these if you have a problem countering your lane. They are very cheap, and will benefit you if you are facing an heavy-AD champion like Garen
|Some people do not like these shoes, but i do. With this build Irelia tends to be a very fast champion, and these boots will make her even faster. However, if you get these, you will need to build your philosopher's stone into a Eleisa's Miracle for tenacity, or maybe get a Cloak and Dagger. I don't like either of those on Irelia, so only take these boots if you really need that movement speed.|
|I would not call them bad, neither would i call them good. The cooldown reduction is nice to have on any champion, but Irelia has rather small coldowns herself, so it's not that useful.|
|You are not an AP champion, why would you need this little amount of magic penetration? Don't know why did I even add them on the list...|
Second recall, the way of the Trinity Force.
After getting Trinity, you will start to shine. Your burst will be greatly increased because of the passive. Enemies will have hard time escaping because of the movement speed and the slow. And 250 health is always handy.
Question>> In what order do I build Trinity force?
Answer>> I usually go for Sheen -> Phage -> Zeal. And though i start Trinity with getting Sheen 90% of the times, the second item is more situational. Basically, you build what you need more first. If you need more survivability, start with a Phage. If you want more offensive power, or have hart time chasing enemies that run away, choose Zeal. Don't hesitate to buy the items in parts. If you have those 475 gold for a Health crystal, get it! Don't wait until you'll have enough for the full Phage.
Mid/Late game core items.
Question>> Do you build a full-tank irelia? You will not be able to deal damage this way, and enemy team will just ignore you!
Answer>> Not, that's wrong. First of all, Irelia is a good damage dealer even without items. Don't forget that Hiten Style gives you 75 bonus true damage at skill level 5. Think about it. 75 true damage every hit. Imagine you are hitting someone who has a 50% reduction on physical damage. That means you will need to have 75*2=150 extra AD to deal those 75 per hit. That is 3 BF swords.
Irelia allows you to spend those money on survivability, and still be a good DPSer. Also, don't forget that your other skills have a decent scaling, and can deal tons of damage lategame. That's why i focus on building tanky. With these items you will deal tons of damage to enemy team, and be very hard to kill.
The order in which you build your Force of Nature and Randuin's Omen is really game-dependent. However, i would usually buy
Question>> Why do you prefer Force of Nature over other MR items?
Answer>> Well first of all, it gives the highest amount of Magic Resist in the game. Secondary, it gives you huge amount of health regeneration (you will have a lot of health regen with this build really. This helps you to survive early and midgame better). And last but not least, it gives you movement speed.
Irelia is a fast-moving champion, and with Trinity Force + Force of Nature you will be as fast as a lightning!
Question>> Why do you chose Randuin's Omen over other Armor items?
Answer>> This question is harder to answer then the above one. Let's compare Randuin's Omen with other items that you can possibly have: Sunfire Cape, Thornmail, Frozen Heart, and Atma's Impaler.
- Gives you 450 bonus health, which is a lot
- Has a passive that constantly damages nearby enemies
- Sunfire Cape is combined from Chain Vest and giant belt. Together these 2 items cost 1810 gold, and give 45 armor and 430 health.
Sunfire Cape itself has a total cost of 2610 gold, and gives 45 armor, 450 health, and the passive. So, basically, you pay 800 gold for the passive and 30 bonus health, which, in my opinion, isn't worth it.
- Sunfire Cape's passive is best combined with skills like Dash, judgement, Fury of the Sands, Dominus, and so on. I don't really think it fits Irelia playstyle.
This item is overpriced for Irelia, since you have to pay almost 800 gold for a passive that is not really good for your playstyle.
- Has the best armor bonus in-game.
- Works good versus AD champions, since the returned damage basically makes them kill themselves.
- This item is a pure tank item, meaning it lacks the utility that Irelia needs. All the items in my build are multy-purpose, and they give you some advantage in every aspect of the gameplay. Thornmail, however, has only one usage - not to let enemy AD carry kill you in 2 seconds. It's an amazing item for a Rammus, but for Irelia... I don't think so.
A great item for tanks, however it lacks any utility that you want to have.
- Almost the best armor bonus in the game
- Great aura
- 20% Cooldown reduction
- You don't really need that bonus mana
- The aura, in my opinion, is worse then Randuin's Omen's Active ability.
- Cooldown reduction is good, but not essential on Irelia.
This item is probably better, then the two above. However, I find Omen's active to be better, because a) it slows for 35% instead of 20%, b) It slows the enemy movement speed, not only the attack speed. You also don't really need the 500 bonus mana.
- Gives Critical Strike, which can be useful (remember, you have some Crit Strike chance on Trinity Force too).
- Passive gives you Attack damage for "free"
- You dont have really a lot of health to get This works well if you have really big amounts of health, which you don't.
- The armor bonus is not very impressive
This is a nice item to get. However, as I have already mentioned, Irelia does not really need to have a lot of AD or AP to be able to deal massive amounts of damage. This item is good and cost-efficient overall, however, as you will see, Randuin's Omen is better for your playstyle.
- 3rd Armor bonus in the game.
- Gives health
- The passive is extremely useful versus AD carries (which are your main targets)
- The active can win you a teamfight easily, if you use it in the right time and place.
- With this build you will have high Armor and Magic Resist, meaning the active will last longer
- Gives health regen. you will have a lot of health regen with this build.
- Builds from a Heart of Gold, which is one of your early game items.
- 5% cooldown reduction sounds like a joke
This item combines the benefits of almost all the above ones. It gives health like Sunfire Cape. It gives a lot of armor. It gives a slow for both attack and movement speed of your enemies, which is better then the aura of Frozen Heart. It has a passive which lets you easily 1vs1 an enemy ad carry. It even gives some cooldown reduction and health regen. And it builds from a Heart of Gold which you get anyway.
This item is just too good to miss it. Learning to use the active in the right time and place is somewhat hard, but rewarding.
Late Game items
Usually for the last two items i take one of the following:
|Good if you are facing a mage-heavy burst damage champions suck as Annie, Malzahar, Veigar, Amumu, and so on. Irelia is not really susceptible to CC, but that doesnt mean you want Tibbers on you head, right?|
|Shurelya's Reverie||This item is nice since you build it from your philosopher's stone. The active is very useful for your team, it helps to finish off fleeing enemies, and don't forget that using the active will grant you assists.||Shurelya's Reverie|
|A solid item for your last slot, which will give you about 50 attack damage, additional armor (as you know, AD carries are beasts late-game), and will raise your total critical chance percentage up to 33%, which is 1 out of 3.|
If the enemy team is AP-heavy, and you have trouble surviving. Hexdrinker is a very underrated and underused item, even though it's passive is amazing, and have saved my life a lot of times.
If I'm having trouble with enemy AP champions, I would probably get it either right after, or right before my Sheen.
When the enemy team is AP-heavy, and/or:
Note that the shield can easily be destroyed by skills like Volley, so you should always think whether you will benefit from it, or not.
When you are fed enough, but enemies always get away (those lucky bastards!). This item is good if you lack damage output. I find this to be a better pick for Irelia then Infinity Edge, because the active gives you attack speed, and more attack speed=more damage from Hiten Style. The cooldown reduction and armor penetration bonuses are very handy too.
This is another good finishing AD item. The lifesteal greatly stacks with your Hiten Style providing large amounts of health per hit. If you are getting this, don't forget that the stacked bonuses are lost upon death.
This is a really good item. It gives MR, it helps you to both deal more damage, and regenerate health faster (attack sped=more health gain from Hiten Style). This is a good alternative to Hexdrinker. However, if Hexdrinker is a great protector versus burst damage, this one is better if you suffer from sustained damage, as well as for fighting AP champions 1on1.
You can get PD right after Trinity if you are having a good game. This item greatly increases your damage output. It also increases your ability to move across the map which is good for both ganking and escaping.
Just for fun, I'm going to do some maths and give you the total damage that you will be able to deal with Trinity Force and ONE of the situational items above.
This may help you make a choice of what item to buy if you are having a good game.
The first column of the table represents an Irelia with just a Trinity Force, and all the other columns represent Irelia with Trinity Force and one of the situational items.
HOW IS THIS CALCULATED?
All the damage values are basic, I know that they will be reduced by armor, blah blah blah.
I took the attack speed values from Leaguecraft champion builder, and I really hope these numbers are correct.
The number of attacks over 6 seconds would be (AS*6). This is always rounded down. The reason is simple. Imagine you have a value of 2.999 attacks per 6. This still means you will deal two attacks while Hiten Style is active, but the third attack will hit a little after Hiten style ended.
The number of critical hits is (number of hits)*(critical hit chance). This is simply rounded.
I guess you can figure out how to count total damage if you know the amount of hits and damage per hit xD
Please note, that the total damage of Wit's End includes the damage from the passive.
As you can see, if you only worry about the damage output, Youmuu's Ghostblade with it's active is the most cost-efficient item on the list, and Infinity Edge is the item that will give the most damage.
However, this does not mean it's the best one. All of the items have different stats (apart from damage), so you should always buy the one that you need most (like Hexdrinker if you need more MR and Wriggle's Lantern if you need more armor). Please, don't forget this, this table is just FYI :P
Feel free to experiment with items.
Notes on Skills
I'm not going to put skill explanations here, you can always read them yourself if you put your mouse on the ability icon. Instead, I'm going to give you some tips on specific skill usage.
Galio flashes in and catches your whole team into his Idol of Durand.
Surprisingly enough, the taunt duration will be greatly reduced for you, allowing you to either run/flash out of ultimate range, or to go in and try to stun Galio with your Equilibrium Strike.
Always remember such things, and try to make your enemies waste their major CC abilities on you.
This also applies on-hit effects, meaning you will apply the Red Buff, and your Sheen's passive will trigger, greatly increasing the damage dealt. Use it to your advantage.
Also, don't forget that (as any other ability) it triggers Sheen's passive.
If you are laning, and your enemy is roughly at the same amount of health as you, it may be a good idea to get some hits from the minions to ensure you stun.
It is also a great tool for getting kills under your turret. If you are at low hp, you can try to bait an enemy champion. If he dives you, wait for him to hit once (so your turret gets aggro), and stun him. This has given me countless kills versus reckless champions.
This skill is:
- Great for killing entire minion waves.
- Great for healing you from extremely low hp to extremely high hp ;P
- Deals insane amounts of damage, especially on higher levels
- Has a low cooldown
- the usage of the ultimate does not stop any other actions, including attacking and moving. That means that you can run and shoot blades in the same time, without stopping. This can save your life if you are running away from a gank.
Your Equilibrium Strike + Bladesurge combine into a devastating combo. It is an amazing way of harrassing enemy champions: you Bladesurge to them, hit them with Equilibrium Strike, and run away. This deals massive damage, especially on squishy characters.
The table above shows the combined mana cost of your combo.
Blue row represents the mana cost of Bladesurge alone, and the Red column represent the mana cost of Equilibrium Strike. Each cell of the table has the combined mana cost of two skills together.
This table shows the combined damage of the skills. The layout of the table is the same as the layout of Table 1.
The Q-E-Q trick
Here's what you do.
- Your enemy is in the middle of his minions, making it dangerous to walk/jump directly to him.
- Find a low-hp minion that is close to your enemy (it must be low enough for you to kill it with Bladesurge).
- Bladesurge to that minion. That will get you into a position, and renew the cooldown of Bladesurge.
- Hit your opponent with Equilibrium Strike. From now on, you have 2 options:
Use your skils wisely when attacking a tower!
- Approach the tower, activate Hiten Style and start hitting it.
- After 2 seconds, if there are enemy minions nearby, hit the closest one with Equilibrium Strike, then immediately hit the tower to activate Sheen's passive for the second time.
- If you have ult ready you can time it to kill the enemy minion wave and fully utilize Sheen's passive at the same time.
Always buy wards
Even if you can finish your item, but it would leave you with 15 gold, you should screw the item, buy a ward and go back to your lane.
Red dots for The Baron Ward and The Dragon Ward. These should always be warded
Green dots for your personal wards in the lane. Always have a ward in the river bush. Always have a ward in the river bush. And yes I know I said that twice.
Yellow dots are the places for controlling the jungle routes and the Buffs. These can be used to control the map and see the enemy movements as well as for counter-jungling and advanced lane defense (a.k.a. to prevent enemies from ganking you from behind your turret)
Always take the solo lane
Irelia is item-dependent, and you will need all the creeps for yourself. Irelia is also a very strong solo laner, and if you do well, you will dominate mid and late game.
Alright, so you've just got into the game, went to your solo top, and waiting for those minions to arrive. What do you need to know?
First of all, try to get as many cs as possible. I know you can tell that to almost every player and every champion, but this is very important. Early in the game you should try to last-hit with your autoattacks as much as possible. There are two reasons for that.
- You will lack mana if you spam Bladesurge early in the game.
- You dont want to find yourself in a situation when you need your Bladesurge to close-up with an enemy, and it's on cooldown.
Ok, enough talking about the minions, it's time to see what can we do to actually win the lane against an enemy champion.
You may disagree with me, but I see 3 ways of having an advantage in the lane:
- You have gold advantage.
- You have level advantage.
- You have position advantage.
These advantages come from many sources, namely:
- You have much more minion kills then your opponent. This leads to gold advantage.
- You have Killed your opponent numerous times (well, at least more times than he killed you :P). This can lead to any of the types of advantage, or to all of them in the same time, depending on situation.
Now let's talk about how to gain advantage on the lane.
- Harrasing your opponent. If your opponent knows that your damage output is better, he will be afraid of fighting you. This itself created a position advantage (he is scared to come close to you, and stays back).
You can use it to deny him gold (by staying close to his caster minions, meaning he can't get last hits), or even experience (by standing between him and his caster minions, if it makes him go far away).
Irelia is amazing at harrassing, since your Bladesurge+ Equilibrium Strike combo deals massive damage, and slows (possibly stuns) your opponent.
- Killing your opponent. This is, of course, the best scenario. Even though Irelia is a good farmer, I prefer to let the enemy push closer to my tower, or even under my tower (getting kills under the tower is ridiculously easy with Bladesurge). This is good for three reasons.
- Easy ganks from your jungler (obviously).
- You can feel safe, since you can always retreat to your tower (in case of a gank or something)
- If you are planning to get a kill, it's harder for him to get away (his tower is pretty far)
If you have just scored a kill near the enemy turret, and you are low hp, go back to base, unless you are absolutely sure where all the enemy team members are. Never give the enemy jungler such a great opportunity for a gank.
Ok, now there's one more important thing left to mention. Some champions become stronger late-game, and some don't. Some champions rely on cs badly, and some don't. A simple example is Nasus. If you let him to free farm his Q, he will be a beast late game, even if your cs and KDA are about the same as his.
You should also take such things into account when laning. Sometimes it's better to sacrifice your own cs to prevent your enemy from farming.
Notable lane opponents, and a few words about 1vs2 lane
I've had some questions about particular laning opponents for Irelia.
I will try to list some of them here, including the difficulty.
Don't pick Irelia versus...
Another two bad things are his passive and the fact that he's cooldown-only, so he will just spam his skills on you to harass you to death, and sit back/in a bush to regen the missing health very fast.
A few notes about other champions
A few words about 1vs2 lanes
Risk factors for you include:
- A strong ranged damage-dealer (like Caitlyn).
- A generally hard champion (like Garen).
- Two or more CC (especially hard CC like stuns or immobilizations)
- A bad jungler in your team.
Basically, the enemies can do two things. Well, maybe three. They can either harass you hard, or play defensively and try to last-hit as much as they can, or try to zone you.
If they try to harass or zone you, that's another story. What I usually do, is go back to my tower, and let them push. This serves you in three ways. First, they can't harass you that much under your tower (if they can harass you at all...). Second, you can have some free CS (less then in an open field, but still). And third, this makes life easier for your jungler.
Don't be afraid of having lower cs. Until ~lvl3 they will have an advantage over you, because their strength is in numbers :P However, starting at ~lvl3-4 you'll start to outlevel them. At this point you may start harassing them, but don't lose too much health. Ask your jungler for a gank when you are 6. At this point they will be probably lvl4, and your jungler should be around lvl5 if he's decent.
In this case you should probably score a kill, or at least force them to recall. Try to build your lvl advantage up by harassing/zoning them, and asking your jungler for ganks.
The key for winning a 1vs2 lane is playing safe. Safe doesn't mean passive or defensive. It means that you should only do things that you are sure of. No rush, no mindless moves, and you'll be fine!
Getting a first kill
Getting a first kill on the lane can be very important. The two ways of doing so:
- With the help of your jungler
- On your own
Getting help from your jungler
Don't push your lane
In order to help your jungler to gank, you should bait your opponent. Harrass him a little, so he's not at full health. However, you should not be at full health too, because if you have much more HP, the enemy will play very defensively.
Once your jungler is into a position, you can bait the enemy, meaning you should make him jump on you and try to kill you, forgetting about anything else.
To do so, pretend to make a mistake (like getting too close to him and getting stuck in his minions).
Combine your and your jungler's skills.
If your jungler has a sort of CC, combine it with your Equilibrium Strike.
For example, if you have a Xin Zhao jungling, you know that he has Three Talon Strike and Audacious Charge. You also know that he will use them right away when charging to an enemy.
In that case, you should wait for him to jump on an enemy and knock the enemy into the air. Only after that you should hit with Equilibrium Strike to provide another seconds of slow.
If both you and your jungler have Ignite or Exhaust, make sure to chain them.
Don't hesitate to type some words in chat, and tell your jungler who CCs first. Believe me, it's worth it!
Getting a kill on your own.
This is fairly simple. If your enemy is a squishy, or overextends and takes a lot of damage from the minions, you can get a pre-lvl6 kill by just harrasing him, and finishing him off with Bladesurge+ Equilibrium Strike+ Ignite+autoattacks. You'll be surprised how many times have I seen people that underestimate minion damage. An example of that is a Singed at lower levels that tries to poison all the minions, the minions start attacking him while he runs around, and he loses 1/3 life.
If you can't do so, the best opportunity is at lvl 6. Engage with Bladesurge+ Equilibrium Strike, and activate your Hiten Style and transcendant blades.
Try to make as many autoattack hits as you can, and, most importantly, try to hit with all the blades from your ultimate, they deal a lot of damage.
Finally, use Ignite to ensure the kill. Don't forget that your ultimate doesn't interrupt movement or autoattacks.
Your role in the team
Among the different classes and roles in League of Legends, there is a role called "tank". Who is a tank? Well, it is a champion that has very high resistances and a big health pool. So is Irelia a tank? No.
You see, if a champion is that hard to kill, he will most of the times be ignored. So a true tank should do something to actually make the other team's members attack him.
Here are some examples:
- Amumu because of his Curse of the Sad Mummy and AoE damage
- Galio because of his ultimate
- Rammus because of his taunt and ultimate
- Shen because of his taunt
- Leona because of her triple stun (Omg...)
As you can see, these features make them dangerous to the enemy team and make it hard to ignore those champions completely.
Irelia is, however, a different type of champion, a so-called "off-tank" a.k.a. "dps soak".
What is a "dps soak"? Well, that is a champion which has moderate amounts of resistances (and by moderate I mean about 150-170), an above-average amount of health, and at the same time these champions deal decent amounts of damage.
The examples of such champions include (please take into account that many of them can be built and played in different ways, including full tanks or full DPS)
Where does this amount of resistances (150-170) come from? Well, here's the dependency between the amount of resistances and the damage taken:
As you can see, with 150 armor/MR, you only get 40% of incoming damage (that's 60% reduction, obviously). From now on, it is pretty useless for you to stack the resistances. Why? Well, it's pretty simple. For the first 150 armor/MR that you stack, you get a 60% reduction. For the next 150 armor/MR that you stack, you will get just 15% extra damage reduction. From this point, it is better to invest your money either into health, or into some damage items.
>> I think I saw some guide on mobafire that had a good section about this. If I'll be able to find it, I will add the link here.
When you have those amounts of resistances, you are bulky enough for the enemy team not to focus you right away (unless you are the only one they can reach :P). However, they cannot just ignore you, because the amount of damage you deal (which comes from your Hiten Style and your skills), and also because of the panic that you cause in the enemy positioning.
Irelia can be played as a main initiator, or as an anti-carry. Let's proceed to the next section, and talk about that in detail.
Ganking and teamfights
Don't forget to combine your skills and the skills of your teammates on the lane. Check the section above for an example.
Even if you fail to kill an enemy, a gank is always good for your team overall since it can:
- Force an enemy to waste his summoner spells such as Flash that has a very long cooldown
- Force an enemy to retreat to base, allowing your teammate to free farm and push a turret
- Force an enemy to play ultra-defensively, denying him gold
- Give your teammate some time to go back to base if he needs it
- Setting panic in the enemy team:
"OMG this irelia moves where she wants, call mias noobs"
"I said she was back to base, idiot!"
Arguing in the enemy team is always good, since they lose concentration, map awareness, and their overall performance decreases.
The Way of the Initiator.
The job of initiator is, obviously, initiating teamfights. The simplest way of doing it is just jumping in the middle of enemy team. Most of the times, however, you are going to wait for an opportunity to start a teamfight with an advantage to your team. This includes
- The enemy team is separated. For example, 4 of them are in the middle, and one is pushing a top or bottom lane. If you can start a 5vs4 battle, use it to your advantage.
- The enemy team is not in a good position.
This can include
- A squishy overextending (being in the front line for some reason)
- A member of the enemy team being separated from his allies by a wall
- The enemy tanks being too far back
...and so on. This will most of the times allow you to jump on one member of the enemy team, and burst him to death.
- The enemy team has wasted one of their game-changing abilities.
Here's a simple example of what I mean. An Amumu jumps to one of your teammates with Bandage Toss, going to catch 2-3 ppl into his ult. He presses his "R" and cheers to himself, but your teammates Flash away, and he doesn't catch anyone at all.
Another example is when Amumu (him again... why do I like him so much :S) jumps in, stuns your team, but his teammates fail to react quickly enough and deal any damage.
Or imagine an Ashe missing her arrow, or whatever else. The number of the possibilities to fail is countless.
- You are in a better position overall.
This is kinda hard to explain. Sometimes you have an advantage if you fight in an open field. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is more beneficial to fight in a narrow jungle path.
Your main goal is to make the enemies waste all their major CC, and their time on trying to kill you. Since you are Irelia, you are barely affected by CC, and it is much better if that nasty Galio catches you into his ult, than if he catches your AP carry. Basically, you want to buy your team as much time as it's possible, and, hopefully, stay alive.
The downside of initiating is pretty obvious. You will be the enemy team's main target, you will not be able to deal damage freely, and probably you will die a lot.
If your team lacks coordination, or is too scared to fight, you will just jump in and die for nothing. However, if you team knows what to do, and when to do it, you can easily win a teamfight. Remember, your death is totally worth killing half of the enemy team.
Also please remember that Guardian Angel is a great item if you know that you have to initiate.
The Way of the Anti-carry.
As an anti-carry Irelia, your main goal is to get rid of enemy damage dealers such as Caitlyn, Graves, Vayne, and so on; basically these are the champions that can kill the whole team if you let them stand and shoot.
In this case, you should not initiate. Run around, and wait for a possibility.
When the teamfight starts, you need to jump directly to the enemy team's AD carry, ignoring other champions, and get rid of him/her.
Question>> Who do I target first? AD carry, AP carry, or a support?
Answer>> This depends on the exact situation. Basically, you go for the one that deals the most damage. Usually it's the AD carry, since AP champions rely on burst damage, and AD ones rely mostly on autoattacks, and have a better DPS.
However, if the enemy team's Caitlyn has a score of 0-4-0 and is underfarmed, she obviously is not a threat.
Another option is if the enemy support is saving them every time, OR provides a lot of bonuses (such as Taric with his auras). In this case it may more beneficial to kill him/her right away.
Always take into account the methods that your target can use to escape. This includes:
These are mostly skills that help them to increase the distance from you. Do not be afraid of stuns or slows, because, well... you are Irelia.
You can either initiate a teamfight (if you are the only one who is capable of doing so), or wait for the fight to begin, jump on the enemy carry and annihilate him/her, then switch a target, and continue the slaughter.
Teamwork and manners
This is a small, but important section. Don't be selfish, help your teammates!
- If you can stun/slow someone who is trying to kill your carry >> do it!
- If you can die to save 2 or more people >> do it!
- If you are the only one that can kill this particular enemy (like someone with exceptionally high resistances due to your true damage) >> do it!
- If you see someone having a bad game and dying a lot >> Don't get angry. Don't start calling him "noob", "feeder", "worthless" and so on. Remember that this will not make him play better! He already has a bad motivation because of those deaths. Don't worsen it. Instead, try to gank his lane/switch lanes/do anything else to help your team, not just to be the one with the best KDA in the end of the game.
- If someone is trolling you/calling you "noob", "idiot" and so on >> don't respond. God, I can't express how important this is. It is my personal opinion, but I really do believe that a guy who talks and talks and talks and talks all game is worth then someone who just plays bad. If you start typing and responding, you will immediately lose concentration, and start playing worse. Please please don't forget this.
To summarize:Be polite, try to play as good as you can, and try to be helpful to your team, not just to get a good KDA.
Phew, hope you guys are still with me :S
I know this guide is long, but I really hope it will be useful for you.
This guide is a work-in-progress, and I'll be updating it, adding new chapters, probably some videos and pictures.
Thanks for reading!
"To do" list
Add some videos in the gameplay sectionSorry, I will not be adding any videos, because of some technical issues. Maybe I will add them later, but not now. Finish the gameplay section, and add some notes about late game<< done Add a section about laning versus specific champions<<done
- Add some scores achieved with this build <<in progress
Rework the masteries section<< done
21/03/2012: Patch 126.96.36.199 made the following changes to Irelia:
- Hiten Style
Passive health restore reduced to 5/7/9/11/13 from 10/14/18/22/26
While active, health restore doubles to 10/14/18/22/26
- Transcendent Blades cooldown increased to 70/60/50 seconds from 60/50/40
As you can see, Irelia got nerfed at this patch. The changes to Transcendent Blades are not that bad, it's just 10 extra seconds. It will mostly affect you on lower levels, and you'll have to be more careful when clearing minion waves with your ultimate. But anyway you should try to do it with an enemy champion nearby, to deal some damage and heal at the same time, so it's ok.
To overcome the loss of healing from Hiten Style, you can do three things.
First, try to take less damage. I realize though, that it's not always an option.
Second, use Bladesurge rarely. Use it only when you need to close-up distance, and try to avoid using it as a farming tool early game. This will let you to save mana, and use Hiten Style's active to heal up.
Third, if you really struggle, get an early Vampiric Scepter. Depending on the situation, you can build it into an early lamp, or into a bloodthirster later in the game.
I will play some games to do further testing and update the build if it will be needed.
Change log, notes and achievements
My local time is GMT+4 which is different from mobafire server time, so the dates may seem wrong for you, but thei'r not.
13/12/2011: Passed the mark of 100000 views: My guide is now the top Irelia guide on Mobafire up-to-date! That's amazing, and I'd like to thank everyone who read this, voted, and leaved a comment! Thank you guys, and I'm really glad my guide was helpful. 90% mark! That's an amazing feeling, thanks everyone!
Thanks to everyone who watched, read and commented my guide!
06/11/2011: Guide released.
06/11/2011: Added a "skill order" section to show the reasons for maxing Equilibrium Strike first.
11/11/2011: Added a "getting a first kill" section.
11/11/2011: Added a "ganking" section.
13/11/2011: Made some major changes, notably:
- Changed the skill order
- Changed Quintessences oprions
- Moved Ninja Tabi higher in the boots ranks
- Edited the items section a little bit.
- Removed Hextech Gunblade for the following reasons:
- Added The Bloodthirster to situational items.
Also, I've made some major changes, notably:
- Added a "your role in the team" section
- Finished the "ganking and teamfights" section
- Added a "teamwork and manners" section
- Added a picture in the introduction (hope you'll like it :S)
- Fixed some grammar issues (not all though, so sorry for the ones that are still there)
16/11/2011: Added some more information into the mastery section, although it's still incomplete.
20/11/2011: Made a totally new masteries section, with different set-ups and explanation. I've been working on this during the last few days, and I'm really proud of how it looks now.
I've also made some changes to the Summoner Spells section, added Surge, and fixed the section layout. Hope it looks better now.
11/12/2011: Fixed a lot of grammar errors, replaced some old images with the new ones, and did a lot of minor changes in most of the sections.
13/12/2011: Fixed some more grammar mistakes (God, where do they all come from... :S)
15/12/2011: Added Phantom Dancer into Situational Items.
Also added "damage calculations" sections, please enjoy!
24/02/2012: Added a section about laning versus specific champions, and having a 1vs2 lane. Please, if you have any suggestions about these sections, post in comments.
27/03/2012: Updated "Patch notes" to reflect the recent nerfs to Irelia, as way as to list ways of dealing with it.
- wRAthoFVuLK for helping with skill order
- Searz for notes on masteries, runes, and items (notably Ninja Tabi and Hextech Gunblade)
- Everyone who voted or left a comment ^^.
After you're done reading
Please, take a look at my brand new Sejuani guide!
I really hope I'll be able to make it as good as this Irelia guide.