Irelia Build Guide by Dragonic

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Dragonic

Irelia - The Gnarly Blade of Ionia

Dragonic Last updated on September 18, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 9

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Hello guys here at Mobafire, I'm new around here and this is my first guide ever about Irelia, The Will Of The Blades

Irelia is a tanky bursty DPS assassin whose job lies in engaging teamfights by bursting down their squishies and tank much of the damage. Her kit enables her to engage pretty well as she has a gap closer, a slow/stun, fast movement speed, true damage, an innate that decreases crowd control effects on herself and an AoE ultimate that can heal for a portion of the damage dealt.

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Pros / Cons


    Awesome Burst
    Very Tanky Mid/Late Game
    Great Mobility
    Versatile Kit
    True Damage
    Passive Decreases Crowd Control Effectiveness
    Farms Entire Creeps Waves Super Fast Post lvl6
    Team Independent

    Item Dependent
    Expensive Item Build
    Low Sustainability
    Squishie Early and Early Mid game
    Will be Focused if Doing Well
    Easily Countered in Lane by Tanky/High Sustain Heroes
    Conditional Stun Might Get You Killed

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Greater Mark of Desolation are a must on Irelia, her job is to burst down squishies fast and most of her damage is physical so having armor penetration is pretty much the thing to go for marks.


Greater Seal of Evasion are what I use on her. I find that dodge scales way better than armor into late game and it also provides complete damage mitigation when you do dodge so I reckon it's pretty good throughout the game although a bit random.


Greater Seal of Armor are good to diminish the effective damage that you would take, they're enough to protect you throughout the laning phase and help you tank better.
Greater Seal of Vitality are good to make you a little more tanky and scales good into lategame if you go Atma's Impaler for instance.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist are the best Glyphs for Irelia in my oppinion, it boosts your ability to tank against casters and are pretty decent if you're laning with one.


Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction/ Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction are good if you want the extra cooldown reduction but I think you can manage pretty well with Irelia's burst damage and it's cooldowns.


Greater Quintessence of Vigor are great for boosting Irelia's laning phase and make her sustain herself a bit more. It's also very useful throughout the game.


Greater Quintessence of Desolation are good if you want Irelia to hit harder in the laning phase in an attemp to kill or simply zone your opponnent but your sustain will be greatly decreased so you have to be careful of how agressive you are.
Greater Quintessence of Health are good on pratically any champion, if you think the extra health will help you lane then go for it.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed are pretty good to run away or chase enemies, it offers Irelia more mobility to do her role so they're pretty nice on her.

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0/9/21 is a pretty standart build for Irelia.

In the Defensive Tree I take 3 points in Hardiness and 1 in Resistance to improve my survivability with that extra armor and magic resistance (That magic resistance isn't going to be that usefull early game unless you know you'll be laning agaist an AP Carry, if that's the case then you can get 3 points in Resistance and 1 in Hardiness if you prefer having more magic resistance. Taking Evasion and Nimbleness is also a must because it'll synergize with your Greater Seal of Evasion.
If you use different seals then I advise taking 3 points in Hardiness , 1 point in Resistance and 3 points in Strength of Spirit for that extra regeneration.

In the Utility Tree I take 3 points in Good Hands because -10% on your death timer is really good, 1 point in Spatial Accuracy because I usually take Teleport, 4 points in Awareness as it will help Irelia getting stronger faster, 3 points in Meditation because it will help you spam your Bladesurge to farm and/or harass with other abilities, 2 points in Utility Mastery because having red buff (Lizard Buff) will make you a very serious threat to be reckoned with so this will make you have it for longer which is pretty good, 3 points in Quickness because it will make you able to chase and escape better, 1 point in Blink of an Eye because I usually take Flash, 3 points in Intelligence because this will help make Irelia's burst more spamable and lastly 1 point in Presence of the Master as it enables Irelia to use her summoner's more offen and get them off cooldown faster.

Other possible mastery setup is 9/0/21 which will make you a bit more squishie early but let's you hit a bit harder throughout the game. If you have more defensive seals like Greater Seal of Armor or Greater Seal of Vitality then it's pretty optimal, I don't recommend using it with Greater Seal of Evasion because you will not benefit that much from those runes in that setup but I guess it all falls down to preference.

If you do go in this setup then get 1 point in Deadliness to enhance your critical chance, 3 points in Archmage's Savvy because I think that Irelia having that crit chance isn't all that good so I prefer boosting my AP to get a slightly stronger Equilibrium Strike and Transcendent Blades, 4 Points in Sorcery because this will synergize with Intelligence and possible cooldown reduction items that you'll be getting in the game and 1 point in Archaic Knowledge to enhance the damage on your Equilibrium Strike.

Some Notes:

Perseverence doesn't really do that much for 3 Mastery Points so I find it a waste of points.
Expanded Mind much like Perseverence isn't really that useful nor does it give you that much mana so no point in investing points here.
If you don't want Teleport or Flash and go with something like Ghost/ Ignite as summoner's then make sure you take Haste and go with Greed as you don't have much better masteries to pick from and in a regular game it will give you about enough for 3-4 Sight Ward so it's pretty good in my opinion.
I don't reccomend taking Cripple if you run 0/9/21 even if you do take Exhaust as a summoner because you'll need Nimbleness because of Greater Seal of Evasion but if you don't take dodge runes then you can take one point from Hardiness . If you go 9/0/21 then by all means skip Deadliness and go with Cripple

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Summoner Spells

The summoner spells I usually use are pretty standart for a top laner: Flash and Teleport

I use Flash because of it's usefulness as a summoner spell, it brings so much utility to Irelia's kit that I think it's a must on her. You can use flash in diferent ways, you can use it to run away, catch enemies with their pants down and burst them down, steal baron or dragon (mostly if you are jungling with her, which is not very common) or even save a teammate with your Equilibrium Strike and make a run for it.

About Teleport, I use it because it's so very good to get to lane quickly. It's useful to blue pill and get instantly top without losing any major cs, exp or getting your tower damaged. Another thing with Teleport is that you can use it to gank other lanes pretty fast and provides good dragon control.

Other Possibilities:

Ghost: If you don't like flash that much I suppose you could use this spell, it's pretty useful to get into teamfights/lane quickly, escape from chasing enemies and even chase. I don't think it provides as much utility than Flash, but is a nice spell to have nonetheless.

Exhaust: Exhaust is a great spell on Irelia because you'll always be close to the action so a quick Exhaust to their carry to cripple their movements while you're engaging and it will diminish the damage you'll get from that one target. It also has some utility involved as you can use it to escape enemies by slowing them and decreasing their damage output or even chase someone. It's a great 1v1 spell and useful in teamfights also, it's a great all around spell.

Ignite is a pretty awesome spell on Irelia, it adds even more damage to your burst and can enable you to get you some early kills. It doesn't scale that well into lategame as Exhaust but it can be used to cripple champions like Vladimir and Dr. Mundo.

Cleanse is a pretty good if not underated spell. It removes all negative debuffs on your champion on a given time and can be useful to actually engage a teamfight easier, chase and escape. If you feel that they have too much crowd control and wish to counter that then you can take it, but you don't really need it because your passive Ionian Fervor and Mercury's Treads will pretty much give you all the counter you need against crowd control.

Smite is a must if you're jungling with Irelia. It enables you to jungle faster and safer, it also enables you to counter-jungle and gives you an edge when fighting for dragon or baron. Do not pick it if you're not going to jungle with her, because it's really not worth it to have that spell on lane.

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Skill Explanation

Innate: Ionian Fervor is a skill that passively decreases the effectiveness of crowd control on Irelia depending on how many champions are on her line of sight. (Note: A champion that's inside the brush or is stealthed WILL NOT count towards the passive count even if they're right by your side, you have to be actually seeing them for the passive to work)

This passive is what makes Irelia be a strong assassin, most assassins are susceptible to chain crowd control, however this passive counters it by a bit. It won't make you invicible to it but it will help a lot in teamfights when you're bursting down their carry or even on 1v1 when chasing and whatnot.

Q: Bladesurge is your gap closer and your farming tool. This skill is used primarily for farming, harassing and engaging targets, it also apllies on-hit effects like red buff (Lizard Buff) and Sheen's passive. (Note: Irelia can actually get through some surfaces with this ability, the only requirements for this to work is having a target in your line of sight and actual space for the character model to be past the wall, if the latter does not apply then Irelia will not pass through the terrain but damage WILL be applied.)

W: Hiten Style is an ability that gives Irelia a bit of sustainability in lane for her to survive and also adds a bit more damage for her to harass and/or kill someone. (Note: Hiten Style heals Irelia per hit on a target so while it might be useful to heal up by simply auto-attacking it will also push the lane and make you more susceptible to ganks, so keep that in mind.)

Passively, it gives health per auto-attack on targets and it's active gives Irelia true damage to her physical attacks on top of her base damage. (Note: The true damage doesn't effect buildings but Irelia WILL heal by auto-attacking buildings)

E: Equilibrium Strike is a versatile that makes Irelia unique in a certain way. This skill will slow or stun depending if you're lower or higher % of health than your target, if you're higher it will slow, otherwhise it will stun. (Note: The key thing in this ability is knowing or at least being aware of when it will stun or slow, what you have to keep in mind is that this works in your and your target health percentages and not total health, so even if your target has less TOTAL health than you he can still be stunned if he has a lower percentage of HP compared your own.)

I can't stress how important it is to know how to take advantage of this ability, this will separate the bad from the great Irelia's. You can use it as a damage source and a crowd control source (you will get a garanteed slow or stun) or you can use it to save yourself or even a teammate from a gank or a dire situation like for instance being low health and being chased by a full health enemy. I lost the count of how many times I was dieing and that ability saved me just in time for me to run or just stall long enough so my team could help me.

R: Transcendent Blades is Irelia's ultimate and it consists in the summoning of 4 blades and then she can fling them to any direction she wants piercing through creeps and/or champions and dealing damage to them and healing a bit for the damage dealt to individual targets.

I've heard many people complaining about Irelia's ultimate being too weak and that it doesn't heal as much as it healed prior to the nerfs so it's useless... I simply disagree, in my opinion she has a great ultimate, it lets Irelia farm creep waves in seconds, healing by a portion of the damage dealt and the damage itself isn't that bad. It's a great way to split push or simply enable your team to defend/destroy the tower when both teams are in a stalemate defending/attacking a tower.

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Skill Sequence

Max Hiten Style first for some lane sustainability and true damage.

Irelia has an okay laning phase, it isn't as strong as people make it seem, if she gets harassed she'll have to burn pots and eventually blue pill back to base, so this will make her laning phase a bit better by having that health per hit and the fact that the true damage will harass for quite some damage early game.

Max Bladesurge second for some faster harassment and/or engage and simply to help you farm even better.

What to max second is pretty debatable, I find it that a single point on Equilibrium Strike at lvl 3 is enough for me to harass and/or escape so I max Bladesurge just to help me farm better and faster, max it second or not to your own preference.

Max Equilibrium Strike last because I manage with the rank 1 damage and slow/stun duration that early.

You really just use this ability to harass and annoy the hell out of your laning opponent early, it's only later in the game that you will have to use this skill more as a form of crowd control and not damage to catch someone for your team or to just save yourself or a teammate, but like I said it's pretty much debatable if you find that maxing Equilibrium Strike second works for your then by all means continue to do so.

Max Transcendent Blades whenever possible of course, because it's your ultimate after all.

Like I stated before, Irelia's ultimate is really useful for her because it heals her which is good and also helps increase her DPS plus farm super well, which is pretty important because she's very much item dependent.

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Item Builds

Starting Items:

Regrowth Pendant and 1 Health Potion

I usually start like this in pretty much all of my games, the Regrowth Pendant synergizes with my Greater Quintessence of Vigor and help me keep in lane for longer periods of time, the Health Potion is just if I get overly harassed or ganked.


Doran's Shield

This is a pretty good way to start as Irelia, the extra armor, health and health per 5 will make your weak laning phase a lot better and will sinergize with your Greater Quintessence of Vigor.

Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potion

If you know you are going to be agaist a strong AD like Garen or Yorick that will harass you quite a bit then you can go follow this path and eventually do Wriggle's Lantern.

Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion

I rarely go with this setup but if you're laning with someone that you'll need to dodge various skillshots like say Brand or Cassiopeia then it's a pretty good way to go.

First Few Items:

Philosopher's Stone, Heart of Gold and Boots of Speed

Early game you should focus on getting these items to help you lane and scale you better into late game.

Building Boots and/or Trinity Force:

Mercury's Treads, Phage/ Sheen into Trinity Force

When you get some decent farm you should get into building Trinity Force and Mercury's Treads, building Phage or Sheen first is a matter of preference, I find that Phage makes me tanky and it gives me a good slow whereas Sheen gives me some ability power, mana and extra damage which is good but I find myself killing with that slow and the tankyness prevents me from dying.

After Trinity Force:

So at this point you have a pretty nice damage output with that Trinity Force so now you have to analyze the enemy team and see who is farmed and could be a major threat. If an ability power hero is getting pretty farmed then go ahead and make Force of Nature (make Negatron Cloak first), if not the case then start building Frozen Heart (make Glacial Shroud first). When you finish one of the items above then start making the other one and from that point you just have to build according to the enemy team.

Against Physical Damage:

Randuin's Omen is one of my favourite items in the game, it has great stats and the passive and active are so good against physical damage, plus you already have the Heart of Gold.
Atma's Impaler is a pretty good item on Irelia, it makes her tanky and gives her a stronger burst.


Thornmail is one item you can build on her, I personally don't like it very much. It makes you tanky and has a decent passive but it will still get you killed 9 times out of 10 and who attacked you will probably live. I prefer items with a little more utility on them but you can use this aswell.
Sunfire Cape is also an alternative, it gives you armor and health which is good and gives you a passive damage spell. I'm not a fan of this on Irelia but I can see it working pretty well.

Against Magical Damage:

Banshee's Veil is hands down one of the best items in the game, if they are heavy on magical damage and/or crowd control then it will be a very useful item.
Quicksilver Sash is pretty much a underated item by most but it's very very good, it's way cheeper than Banshee's Veil and provides more magic resistance plus it has a sort of Cleanse as an active. Pretty affective to avoid Malzahar's Nether Grasp, Warwick's Infinite Duress and Vladimir's Hemoplague.

Other Possible Items:

Ninja Tabi is great against mostly physical damage champions, plus it provides dodge which sinergizes with your Greater Seal of Evasion
Ionian Boots of Lucidity can work also if you need the cooldown reduction, but in most cases you won't.
Wriggle's Lantern is useful if you're getting harassed pretty hard on lane and is just something to give you a bit more survivability in lane, plus it gives you free wards.
Warmog's Armor is a item that I personally dislike but I can see it working if you go Atma's Impaler, otherwhise I don't think you should buy it because it's very expensive and not that good on it's own.
Shurelya's Reverie is good if you want to support a bit your team, it gives you pretty useful stats plus it gives you a movement boost steroid.
Chalice of Harmony is practically the Wriggle's Lantern counterpart for magical damage, if you feel you are being overly harassed by a caster then feel free to buy this and sell it later.
Wit's End is pretty nice on Irelia as it synergizes with her Hiten Style, the magic resistance it gives is pretty nice. I only build this item if I feel that I am tanky enough to sustain damage and need to maximize my DPS a bit.
Guardian Angel is also a very good item on Irelia, if you're doing well they'll eventually focus you and you'll die unless you're pretty ahead in terms of farm. I use this item as a mind game, if they focus you then the rest of your team kills them and if they don't focus you then you just burst the hell out of them. I've seen some people get it right after Trinity Force and it really gives you a certain advantage if you get it early.
Hexdrinker is an item that some people put on her to counter bursty mages like Malzahar, Annie or Brand. I simply do not think that it's really that useful on her but I haven't really tried it intensively, feel free to try and tell me about it.

Not Recommended Items:

Spirit Visage is not as useful anymore as it was, you won't see much diference in your regeneration or your healing by Transcendent Blades nor you will need that extra health/cooldown reduction.
Frozen Mallet is not worth it because having the passive from Trinity Force will make it a huge waste of money buying that extra health and measly attack damage.

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Lane Matchups

Irelia, although having a weak laning phase, can lane pretty well agaist most people. The only thing that really screws up an Irelia is tanky heroes, high sustainability heroes and ranged heroes with a good harass.

Just some champions to be careful to lane against: Akali, Gangplank, Garen, Jax, Kennen, Lee Sin, Mordekaiser, Renekton, Rumble, Teemo and Yorick

These are the champions that I feel are the most dangerous to lane against with an Irelia, they will give you a hard time by harassing you pretty well with their kit, while not taking that much damage by being pretty tanky early game or just having good sustainability overall.

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Early Game

In the early game just try to focus on creep score, an Irelia has to get some items to actually be good to her team so farming is your number one priority, you can harass of course but be wary of Irelia's low sustainability in lane. Irelia's early game isn't that strong so you'll have to play real careful and I don't mean careful as in passively, you can harass pretty well when you have your 3 abilities but you have to be careful of how much damage you do take when you're trading blows with your opponent. Having Health Potion and Greater Quintessence of Vigor will greatly increase your laning power.

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Mid Game

At this stage you should have a few items and possible almost finishing your Trinity Force if you're farming really well so this will make you a threat. Make sure to buy various wards to protect you against ganks because that's not your jungler's job, he can ward your lane sometimes but don't count on it too much in Solo Queue. If your team is trying to fight for dragon you can do two things:

Continue in lane farming and pushing to try and take tower or help your team get dragon. If your opponent is in lane instead of helping his team at dragon, then don't go help dragon unless you know you won't lose tower or something like that. Dragon is pretty important but it's not worth losing precious farm and/or a tower for it, if you see your opponent running to dragon then you can follow him/her but I advise using Teleport and make it a 5v4 dragon fight.

If you're not going for dragon's then continue farming your Trinity Force and once you have it try grouping up and push some towers, if your team doesn't feel ready to teamfight or anything like that then just farm more and more gold and gank other lanes if you see the opportunity for it.

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Late Game

By now you should be pretty farmed and you're absolutely ready to engage some teamfights and burst their carry, for this to happen you should have red at all times because it's really good on a Tanky DPS like Irelia. There is nothing more scary than seeing an farmed Irelia running towards your team trying to engage because they know that you'll do some damage and tank a lot of damage so your team just has to take advantage of your tankyness and burst and really focus targets like the AP or AD carries or the supports. If you see someone overextended, like say the tank, then go ahead and try to injure them a bit and prevent him from being able to tank properly, just be careful not to bait your team into a bad position.

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Team Fights

In teamfights Irelia should always try to engage the AD carry whenever possible but can also target the AP carry or even an overextended tank if you know you can trow quite some damage that will cripple them. If you have some better engage like maybe Annie's Summon: Tibbers or Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy then focus immediately a squishie that you can burst instantely or have your team focusing important targets at a time and then changing to another one.

A common skill combo would be: Hiten Style + Bladesurge (The true damage will be applied on her Bladesurge) on the squishie + Equilibrium Strike for some extra damage then some auto-attacks while you get true damage from Hiten Style and then Equilibrium Strike for some extra damage and/or crowd control, if he tries to get away just chase with your Bladesurge. Transcendent Blades should only be used when you can have a clear shot of all 5 of them for maximum damage output. Using your ultimate to do damage to a single target is okay but not recommended in a teamfight.

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Ranked Play

Irelia is a pretty strong and solid pick in Solo Queue because she does her role as an assassin so effectively whithout many flaws as she gets tanky and is pretty resistant to crowd control. In my opinion her only flaw would be her rather weak early game but if you can farm and try to survive you will pose a great threat and can actually carry your team to victory pretty easily.

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Final Comments

So this was my first guide so I didn't know the best ways to actually make it but I think I did it in a simple way that'll make people fully understand my playstyle with Irelia. Sorry if I was repetitive in some instances, it's just my way to emphasize how important it is to understand some things, also if there are some grammar mistakes please let me know as english isn't my first language but I checked so I think everything is okay. Feel free to comment about the guide and ask me whatever you like, I'll get back to you as soon as I can and try to answer the best I can.

PS: Dragonic isn't my Summoner Name, it's just an Alias I use here on Mobafire, just trowing an FYI out there ;)