Irelia Build Guide by Lunar Moonlight
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 my Irelia guide.
This guide will try to explain to you how you can play Irelia successfully in normal and ranked games, it will also go in depth so you can understand her and explore further into this amazing champion on your own.
I'm starting the guide at 17.11.11 and will update it frequently as I have time.
Note: This is a guide, not a build! You may not do successfully without reading the whole guide and adapting it to your own playstyle.
Pros and cons
- Has extreme survivability through Ionian Blades.
- Extremely easy to last hit minions with (though this should not be necassary) through bladesurge.
- Can counter most champions very easily in lane by towerhugging, and still last hit 90-100% of the minions.
(Shield minions = 2 tower hits + AA | Caster minions = 1 tower hit + AA + Bladesurge)
- Doesn't need offensive items to deal effective damage late game.
- Can kite nearly any melee champion to death though the jungle if done correctly.
- Very high burst once trinity force is assembled.
- Very good ganker with a fast distance closer, an instant slow\stun and a high range ulti if you have to finish them off.
- Very squishy to burst damage before she gets wriggle's lantern and heart of gold.
- Extremely farm dependant. If you absolutely can't last hit minions, DO NOT PLAY IRELIA.
- Does not have any AoE spells except for her ultimate.
This is the rune you will find yourself picking in 8/10 cases. The reason behind this is that you're a solo top laner, and you will usually face physical damage opponents with little to no magic damage.
This means that you won't have a lot of need for magic resist before the early game laning phase is over, and by that time MR\Level runes have exceeded or is at the same level of resistance of flat ones.
This is the second out of the two glyph choices you honestly have as Irelia, you may choose this over the other if you know you will be facing a hybrid burst champion like Jax or Akali.
Greater Mark of Desolation
These are almost mandatory on Irelia, it benefits your auto attacks, bladesurge and transcendent blades. You should take these runes 10/10 times, as it helps a lot, but I will also list another options if this is not your cup of tea.
You may choose these runes instead of ArPen ones if you really don't want them. They are viable, and they do give you a damage boost once you have your hiten style up.
I always use these on irelia. Why? Because your opponent will always deal physical damage with auto attacks, in addition to that it helps you sustain through minions hits early in the game without loosing a lot of health. Remember, minions can be deadly.
This is also a very viable choice that I feel is just the tiny notch below You can take them for the early game benefit if you feel like it, 48 more hp can be the difference between life and death, and it fits nicely in with your natural health regen.
You may pick these against a few champions, but armor might be just a good choice even against those. These select champions include Tryndamere, Gangplank, and any other champion who's crits are sky high, since dodging those will save you more than just mitigating the hit with armor.
Greater Quintessence of Vigor
I love this rune, it gives you 7.8 health/5 seconds at level 1 if you have a full set of 3, meaning that after you have philosophers stone and hiten style, you can practically stay in lane for forever and ever and beyond.
When I was choosing my quintessence for Irelia however, there were a lot of choices that seemed very viable, and I will list some of the ones I've found useful other thanGreater Quintessence of Vigor.
These are also very good on Irelia! Her speed is already quite fast after she gets boots plus triforce, and it also helps you walk in and out to last hit minions early game. A very viable choice if you can avoid harrass or if you're facing an easy opponent like Katarina.
You may pick these for the same reason as the seals, your base hp will be higher and you might be able to regen well enough with philosophers stone + hiten style, and you will be less voulnerable to ganks and burst damage.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Want to go damage irelia? Sure, go ahead. But remember that building a champion who has very high base damage on her skills as an AD dps will deny her of her full potential! You will get focused and you will die. If you're not building her as a dps, there's no need for these.
This one is a no-brainer, it boosts both your summoner spells,(if you have ghost and ignite \ exhaust) what's not to like?
AD > AP, you use auto attacks, and you Q \ E scale with AD, I choose this to continue on to the next bracket.
I get this simply because attack speed is very good for hiten style, and you need it to activate the ArPen mastery you long for.
Get this, please get this, how about you get this? Yes, it is very good on any AD champion.
With this I head over for the defensive tree, since I feel like it gives me more benefits than I can find in the rest of the offensive tree. You may choose to put 21 points into offensive, I just don't feel like it's worth it as we're not an AD dps.
These two are both maxed out for the same reason, they provide flat defense that helps you throughout the whole game.
More sustain? Yes please! Even garen can't spin me now.
Durability + [[Veteran's Scars]
Get these for more base health so you can really make use of your health regen.
You usually leave the initiation to the tanks, but you will rarely fall below 70% health during the laning phase if you're not playing against a very hard opponent, playing stupid yourself or trying to bait them into your turret. Speed always helps, always, no matter what.
1,5% less damage? Yeah, I'd tap that.
This is just too good to be left out on irelia, get this if you're not going 21/9/0 or 21/0/9
Masteries to consider:
Sorcery -> Arcane Knowledge
You can get this as a filler if you want 21 points in offence, it will boost your E but it's not recommended at all.
Sunder + Executioner
This is the sole reason you may want 21 points in offence, is it worth giving up movement speed, flat hp, reduced damage and free tenacity for? You're choice.
This is actually very good, you may want to consider 0/21/9 just for this.
You absolutely should get this if you're going 0/9/21 or 9/0/21, since it just boosts your gold\5 even more.
With this you will outlevel your laning opponent 9/10 times because of your godlike sustain.
This is a no-brainer if you're getting 21 points in utilty.
Tier 1 spells:
I alway use this, it's great for escaping or catching up to someone so you can them
Great for slowing, disabling, reducing armor\mr through Summoner's Wrath , you get the deal, it's useful.
Very good to finish off enemies, give a damage boost in a duel or reduce healing effects on annoying champions like Swain and Vladimir.
You may get this if noone else has it, it's good for getting back to lane fast, gank, steal baron if you have it warded, split pushing, (There will be a small chapter about that later) or just showing up out of nowhere on a minion when your teammate is getting chased.
Note: Buy wriggle's lantern or wards constantly if you have teleport, it can make you appear in brushes behind the enemy, where the enemy doesn't know where you are, and it lets you see your enemy regardless of the teleport matter.
Good wards can equal free kills!
This isn't as good now after the nerf, and even more so on irelia, since she can use her ulti while running ( Ghost) but if you're too used to it to leave it behind, go ahead and use it!
I know a lot of people call this a starter spell, but after the buff it can actually turn the tide of a teamfight quite a lot if one person has it. You may take this if noone else has it, but the tier one spells are more recommended.
If you have to, but only if you absolutely have to. Exhaust is better.
Spells that aren't listed here are not viable for irelia!
Heart of Gold
Boots of Speed
You may wonder why I choose these as Irelia's core items? Well, I'll explain why.
Wriggle's Lantern is a extremely cost efficient item for the laning phase into mid game, it gives you everything you need for getting those precious last hits without dying to your opponent. Ontop of that it also gives you a free ward so you don't have to buy them every time you recall, and you don't have to recall to buy them if you're empty!
Heart of Gold and Philosopher's Stone are also extremely cost efficient items, since they give you the health and regen you need in lane, while paying back way more than you spent on them before you sell them or turn them into something else. After I started using these I find them mandatory on irelia, since all her late game items are very expensive, you can hold onto these for extremely long, and almost every game you will be the one with the most total gold when the game ends.
Boots of Speed are mandatory for any champion.
There are two general ways to start out with when you're leaving the spawning pool for the first time:
Are you facing a heavy AD champion who some times can deal a lot of damage if you overextend?
( Nocturne, Tryndamere, Gangplank and similar)
Get 5x Health Potion and a Cloth Armor and head to lane.
Are you facing someone who can constantly poke you with some annoying spell?
( Ryze, Dr. Mundo and similar]]
Get 1x Health Potion and a Regrowth Pendant and head to lane.
The first time you recall:
Either do this when:
1. You have enough money to buy the first step to your core (Around 1600g)
( Wriggle's Lantern or Philosopher's stone + Heart of Gold. ( Boots of Speed (350g) are optional on the first recall))
2. You have enough time to recall, buy items and get back before the opponents minions are being killed. (If you have just killed your opponent and your minions are at the opponent's tower waiting for the opponent's next wave.)
3. Your opponent is beating you in lane (yes, irelia is squishy very early and it may happen) so you simply have to recall because you have too low health.
Option 1 and 2 are optimal! Always recall with option 2 if you feel like option 3 might occur if you stay there any longer so that you won't loose experience or farm!
Now you have bought your first step to completing your core (1600g-2000g), and if you have farmed efficiently the game should be around 12-14 minutes in. You should be able to get back to lane without loosing a lot of minions, if any at all, and you have to continue last hitting consistently until you have enough to finish your core. (Around 1700 or 2000 if you didn't buy boots the first time you recalled)
If you are somewhat experienced you should always recall using option 1 AND 2 the second time you recall, if you're very good you should do this on your first recall also(you should push your lane so you won't loose minion kills when you have enough to finish your core.)
Great news! You now have your core items and should be able to stay in lane until mid game without any problems!
Note to above: You should absolutely use method 2 if you have to recall to regain mana.
Note: Please read 'How to approach champions early game' to learn about efficient methods of harrassing and killing with \ without the help of a jungler.
Your time to shine is finally starting.
In this particular part of the game you will find your damage and survivability greatly increasing. You're assembling the allmighty Trinity Force.
Trinity Force is the one item you should always have on Irelia, since it's such a good item for bruisers like her, it's so good that it has it's own category of builds, Triforce tanks.
In my opinion, Irelia is one of the best triforce tanks, along with Lee Sin, but let's get down to your goals and what you're supposed to do in this phase.
I can't rush how important this is. You're Irelia, and you are expected to carry your team to victory alongside your AD carry. Yes I said always farm, you have to keep farming your own lane, the jungle, and other people's lanes if they're absent or need help. You have one of the most expensive builds on your team. You can't afford falling behind, you have to be up there ^ !
Warning: Do not be stupid and starve anyone, only take other people's minions if the can't.
Always be there in teamfights!
While you're around farming, killing and getting doing your job getting fat, you always have to be there if you think a teamfight is going to break out. You have a short cooldown disable, a charge which is also good for chasing low health targets, true damage auto attacks, quite hard hitting aoe if you hit 3+ champions with all 4 blades of your ultimate, the probability of you winning the fight just went up by that much when you got there. Remember that!
If you're seeing someone die, **** on the minions and go help them.
I've seen countless Irelia's prioritizing farming instead of helping their teammates just 'cause they won't be able to kill the chaser. Saving your ally without getting a kill is xxxx more important than any farm you can gain within that space of time.
Push towers alone if you're not risking your life!
There are several circumstances you can push a tower at:
1: Your third tower is still up (meaning all towers on your lane are still up) and you have have warded safely so noone can approach you without you being able to see them first and quickly retreat to the tower. (Does not count if the enemy has Nocturne)
2: If you have control over the entire enemy team through wards, and there's no risk of you being assassinated by someone passing by. (This is if your turret is down and you don't have anywhere safe to retreat to quickly.)
3: If you have more allies at the tower than the enemy team has champions alive, and you know you will all be able ro retreat safely or even initiate and win a teamfight.
4. If your team is simply dominating.
Warning: 2. usually only counts for ranked games where you have a support and a jungler who's warding around, making parts of your jungle, the enemy jungle and part of the river visible. You HAVE to know where everyone on the enemy team is, don't risk dying if you don't have teleport. (Will talk about teleport pushing and split pushing later.)
You're beyond godlike. L-l-l- LEGENDARY.
The objectives in this phase are almost the same as the ones in mid game, just that you focus more on turrets, teamfights, baron and finishing the game.
In this phase everyone should be affraid of you, yes, even your teammates. You will be very tanky, almost untouchable by CC, and deal ****loads of damage. Just concentrate on following general game objectives, finishing your items and leading your team to victory.
You should stay a lot with your team in this phase.