Irelia General Guide by reQQuiem
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.
If you started reading this guide you've already chosen to play Irelia, so you said yes when you could have said no!
To learn Irelia isn't easy at all and you're going to need some time for sure. First of all I want to say that you can play Irelia many different ways - this build is just one among thousands. In a short form to explain this build, it's a mainly offtank AD carry that hits hard and survives even more; this means NOT that you should initiate a fight usually!
However have fun by reading this guide and I hope you learn some things about Irelia.
PS: I'm sorry for my english - it's not my native language!
Greater Mark of Attack Speed => Improves your Hiten Style, means more HP-regeneration and more true damage.
Greater mark of desolation => Good for every Champion, which deals physical damage, but not fitting Irelia that well.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage => Good to support your early game damage output, but worse than the HP-regeneration from attackspeed.
Greater Seal of Armor => Nice to play solo lane against harassment by enemy's autohits.
Greater seal of defense => Your role as an offtank in lategame gets more important.
Greater Seal of Attack Speed => Might be useful if you want to deal more damage and survive a bit less, but I wouldn't suggest them for seals.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist => Your role as an offtank in lategame gets more important.
Best option in my opinion since you won't meet many magic damage on top lane but later in game.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist => Good against early game harassment by mages.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction => Kind of useful for Irelia to play her more offensive.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed => Only if you go Madreds in the end or something that can use the attackspeed - same story as seals.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed => Very good option since you benefit from it by being more mobile, better escape ganks early game and get to your lane really fast if Teleport isn't up. In addition it's good improvement to Trinity Force, Force of Nature and Initiator .
Greater Quintessence of Vigor => Best choice for some more lane sustaining in my opinion and very viable.
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal => Another lane stustaining help that'd be possible.
Greater Quintessence of Health => If you think you really die too fast early on.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation => Good choice in my opinion for some more damage.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed => Same Story as before, it's an option.
Preparation: Summoner Spells
Usually Flash is almost a must have, so it's kind of careless if you don't get it. If you really dislike Flash you might take Ghost instead. One of them is needed to escape or chase well.
Better escape than Ghost and much more worth since you'll get Trinity Force for enough movement speed.
Actually a nice summoner spell to chase and run, but actually worse than Flash at least for Irelia.
For the second summoner spell you should choose between those:
I think it's best summoner spell for solo top lane, if you aren't soloing a lane don't take this one. Otherwise it's the best way to farm gold and experience. Ask your teammates to put wards close to their lane and you will be able to gank with this for some sure kills!
This summoner spell is nice to use as offense spell to lower enemies armor and slow or defense to slow the enemy and run. If you are laning with support (for example), take this spell since he'll give you an advantage.
This one is actually pretty nice, but I don't like it with Irelia since you got Ionian Fervor and Mercury's Treads which grant you a very similar effect.
Can be useful against enemies that heal themself a lot, but actually it's good in early game and gets only worse in lategame. Since you play passive early on, it's more or less useless for Irelia. Many solo top champions take this Summoner Spell lately, but I still wouldn't recommend it for Irelia
I've chosen Flash and Teleport because they're useful to farm as hell in early game and in lategame they'll give you good map control.
The rest of the summoner spells aren't worth to be explained, so I haven't explained each of them.
Since you want to have a good farm early game and stay tanky later on, you should go 21 points in defence.
give you some early game defence whilst
let you get some more extra health.
Being able to farm properly also requires some HP-regeneration which gives you Vigor and some movement speed to get to your lane fast like Initiator which also gives you some chasing or running ability. Reduced damage from Honor Guard and less duration of incoming disables from Juggernaut cooperate well with your passive Ionian Fervor.
The rest of the points I'd put into the offence tree, mainly for 10% armor penetration from Weapon Expertise and some attack speed from Alacrity .
Playing Ingame: How 2 Play Irelia?
First of all it's important which lane you take - even jungle is possible but I won't talk about that at all. Solo lanes are always good with Irelia, if you aren't able to solo you need someone who doesn't need farm on your lane - otherwise you will destroy his game. You also need to know that Irelia needs farm and if possible experienc;, so early on you should just farm as much as you can without dying (if you do Teleport and Initiator help you to get back to your lane as fast as possible). You won't be able to get kills before you got some items anyway, except your enemies do not play well at all or you are lucky. So early on just try to get a lot of creepkills and experience that's why it's really important to get items that help you to stay in lane. As well you should get a ward if possible, since you rely on it when you're laning top.
Use Bladesurge to get some difficult creepkills and Hiten Style to heal yourself - try not to give your enemy the opportunity to counter your farm because you jumped into his range with Bladesurge. You shouldn't use Equilibrium Strike to farm, since it'll protect you from many situations that wouldn't end well for you. But you can harass your enemy from time to time with the following skill order:
Hiten Style >> Bladesurge >> Equilibrium Strike >> autohits
Don't harass if you might die or get more damage than the enemy and try to stun with Equilibrium Strike. If you cant stun you might wait with your Equilibrium Strike and wait to counter your opponent while you're autohitting with Hiten Style on. So this skill order is probably even better for a fast solo lane harassment:
Hiten Style >> Bladesurge >> autohits >> Equilibrium Strike
If you get pushed to tower and there aren't any teammates nearby you can even use Transcendent Blades to defend the tower, heal yourself and get some creepkills.
After you got some farm you can either start killing some enemies or just help out your teammates. Try to get a single enemies that aren't close to any tower and go for them, your jungler might have some time to help you gank. Use Hiten Style+ Bladesurge to jump on him, Equilibrium Strike to stun/slow, autohits to deal a bunchload of damage with each hit and, if you're able, use Transcendent Blades to deal some extra damage and heal yourself.
In fights 1vs1, never use Equilibrium Strike before you can stun him for sure or to chase properly (if he's just running), it's really important to keep that in mind. Let him take you down a bit while you're hitting him as well and before you are close to death, use Equilibrium Strike and kill the enemy with Hiten Style and Bladesurge. If you know you can't kill him, just run after you've stunned him.
As well it's really helpful to get red buff in this time, but make sure you won't die after you got it. It's not wrong to help your teammates to get bluebuff, Irelia actually doesn't need it so let another one take it.
From now on you should be able to take almost every enemy down in a 1vs1 fight. Make sure you never attack more than a single enemy - Keep in mind, you're not the tank. After a teamfight has began pick the enemy damage dealer and kill him before he kills your team, if they have really nice supporter with shield and/or heal, it's not wrong to get this one down first. But you shouldn't try to initiate a teamfight, assassinate your target, stun/slow it and make it useless for its team.
You should always activate Transcendent Blades in teamfights and use them to hit as many enemy champs as you can to deal more AoE damage, heal yourself and use Hiten Style as many times as you're able.
Playing Ingame: Skill Sequence
R > W > Q > E
Transcendent Blades >> Hiten Style >> Bladesurge >> Equilibrium Strike
But I prefer to have at least skilled EACH of them once before skill another one twice if possible. This order prevails only if you can enough last hits early on already, otherwise you should favor Bladesurge over Hiten Style for some last hits. As I said I level Hiten Style to stay in lane for as long as I can while Bladesurge is important last hit creeps, dash while teamfights or ganks and get my farm while one stun by Equilibrium Strike is usually enough to change the whole situation in a fight. If you face many enemies in a 1vs1 fight you could even lvl your Equilibrium Strike before Bladesurge, but I'd recommend lvling Bladesurge first since the cooldown decreases a lot.
You should always initiate with Hiten Style+ Bladesurge, except your enemy already attacked you. If you want to flee, always use Equilibrium Strike first to stun or at least slow the enemy. If you want to fight, only use Equilibrium Strike to stun, never waste an Equilibrium Strike for a slow in a fight you don't want to run away or chase the enemy down. Activate Hiten Style always before Bladesurge to deal additional true damage with it. If you can't get the enemy down because he is just faster, use Transcendent Blades to deal damage and heal yourself, don't forget that you can still attack and use other skills while Transcendent Blades is activated.
If you want to chase an enemy you can also use Bladesurge on a creep (better ranged one) and use it right after again on the enemy champ. Keep in mind, the creep must die that you can use it right after again!
Playing Ingame: Itembuild
As I said in the beginning, the item build is useful if you want to play as offtank and still deal some major damage if farmed well. First of all you start with a Regrowth Pendant and a single Health Potion. The reason for those items is that you must stay in lane as long as possible because the experience are important to you. In addition you should get some creep kills what means you'll get hit a lot as a melee. If you lack of HP in the beginning Doran's Shield might help you instead of Regrowth Pendant - but I'd rather recommend some Greater Quintessence of Health. If you need some more HP early on and your farm isn't going on well just get Heart of Gold even if you won't finish it to Randuin's Omen.
The first time you teleport back, you should finish your Philosopher's Stone and start or even buy entire Mercury's Treads as well. If you can't afford the item, try to buy Boots of Speed at least and take some Health Potion with you. The Philosopher's Stone will help you farm and stay on lane without lacking of HP or mana while Mercury's Treads improves your passive ability Ionian Fervor. Don't forget to buy a ward from time to time if your lane isn't warded by any other teammate!
The next item you will get is your core item - Trinity Force. It's probably the most important thing for Irelia. Just buy the part first you need most, Phage is always nice for the HP. If you need more burst damage get Sheen and if you lack of attackspeed or movement speed get Zeal. It really depends on the situation!
After you've got Trinity Force it should be around 20 or 25mins. Before you get the next item you might consider getting either Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak to get some more survivabilty - what you get depends on the enemy team. Instead of them you could also get a Wit's End, Ionic Spark or even Spirit Visage - but I really prefer Wit's End. Instead of that you can also get the entire Banshee's Veil first if your enemy team has got a lot of magic burst damage and/or CC and your Tenacity or HP aren't enough. After all these items I'd go for Guardian Angel, because you're probably get focused and die too early in teamfights without it.
Now your item build looks like:
After you've got all these items, it really depends on the opposing team what you get.
Aftering finishing Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak you should sell your Philosopher's Stone and get one last item.
Some options for finishing Chain Vest & [Negatron Cloak and/or last item would be:
It's actually a nice item, if you want to get this item, get it right after Trinity Force and before The Black Cleaver.
( Chain Vest/ Negatron Cloak not needed than)
If you don't need the magic resistance from Wit's End this item is probably the best alternative.
If your enemy team is stacking movement speed and your team isn't able to chase properly this might help.
It's a nice item against AD champs that gives you some more damage, the only thing is that you won't have that much HP with this build so its not that good.
It gives you some HP, mana, magic resistance and negates many skills. Get this against enemies with skills that destroy your game or would disable you for a long time.
Force of Nature
This item suits Irelia really well, since the defense makes you more tanky and the movement speed and HP-regeneration are a nice addition. This item is a good alternative for Banshee's Veil.
If you think your team gets destroyed by lots of physical damage consider this.
If you cant chase your enemies well enough and you aren't able to get/keep red buff.
If you need some more armor and/or getting focused in teamfights or just die faster than your teammates, get this!
You deal a lot of damage but don't survive long enough and might need an additional slow. But after nerf actually not even worth considering.
Your enemies stacked so much armor and aren't dealing much damage, still then I'd recommend something else with some attack speed.
Your team lacks of magic damage and enemies do NOT have much magic resistence. One of my favorites!
Maw of Malmortius
Quite nice if you face enemies that nuke you really hard or against skills like Requiem.
You need some more armor and your team needs the slow. If you go for this get an early Heart of Gold.
You need much more survivability against AD and your team lacks of AoE damage.
The Black Cleaver
If you'd like to deal much more physical damage and support your AD Carry you could think about this. Better don't get both Wit's End AND The Black Cleaver
You deal a lot of damage but don't survive long enough.
You could need some more armor penetration and attackspeed, wouldn't recommend it since your physical damage output won't be that high anyway.
Also really nice to get some HP reg with lifesteal, attackspeed and armor penetration for sure, but rather let a teammate get it.
PS: If there's an item not listened, I wouldn't buy it at any situation.
In the end your item build could look like: