Build Guide by ScorchXBanister
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.
This is my first ever build that I've written down anywhere... except for my other champions, but I'm not even worth talking about with them. However...
This is how I play Irelia. It's my only good champion so far. I used to think I was at least decent, it was just my team, then I played her as a Trinity DPS and found out that she was simply too cool.
You can always be better.
But I digress; it's an Irelia build, it's my first one, and I don't wanna lose you before you even read it.
The Desolation runes are obvious; it's an AD champion, get Armor Penetration.
The other ones are a bit murky for some people.
Lemme explain it like this; Runes usually complement the champion directly (Tryndamere), your mastery (Junglers), or your champion's weaknesses. I'm turning a usual weakness into a strength; most assassins and carries absolutely suck for survivability because it's what they are. The runes are an unorthodox but effective method of ensuring you survive your partner's facechecking brush on the side lane, or the aggressive as hell Vladimir in the center lane.
(Fighting center are merely theories, and subject to change from my own proof.)
(Trophycase) It's true, I have seen Irelias that work with movement Quintessences. When used on top of Trinity Force and a counter item with movement speed, you do move pretty fast, and usually don't need Ghost, freeing up the slot for another spell. I don't have the IP for it, so I personally haven't tried it out, but it's definitely a viable option.
Also, in place of all Armor/Mag Res Seals/Glyphs, one could run with CD runes. Irelia's mana costs remain the same throughout the game, so a clever player could attack and keep their abilities up.
The masteries are further embodying the "strength in weakness" ploy by making me stronger. I didn't actually get 21/9 because I hate putting worthless points in; I don't use Revive, Heal, or Fortify, and although I could use the 1% dodge, it's too small to interest me just for a 4% damage reduction.
Also? I wanted two points in regen in the utility tree. Call me crazy, but it works so far.
Flash: Instant Blink - You can use a blink for so many things, it hurts. Escaping, initiating, wall hopping, dodging. Jumping in front of someone and ruining their pathing so that they walk around you is also a decent way to slow them down when their character model is medium size-huge.
Ghost: The ability to "Cut through the ****" interests me the most, but the run speed helps. You can run through minion waves, which is the best escape/pursuit ability I've ever seen in any game. And the massive speed boost, although gets smaller at the end, still gives you the edge when you need to Bladesurge and then Equilibrium Strike them.
Ignite: Pinging someone who is running away so that they don't live is the most satisfying thing I've ever done. Unfortunately, it loses effectiveness around the full Trinity Force, since the damage isn't burst worthy and if they escape you then, you shouldn't be chasing them anymore for lack of usable abilities. It's a good early counter to those Vladimir freaks; but get an Executioner's Calling. It's not worth getting if you are merely anticipating problems and not actively using it in every game... but player's preference.
Exhaust: It could work, but I already have one 60% slow. And since I didn't get Cripple in the mastery, I don't have that cute little armor reduction, and that's the only reason I ever used this to begin with. Although this, too, doesn't reduce it's effectiveness as the game goes on. Regardless, you can't escape/pursue multiple people with it, but player's preference.
Teleport: I see this most often used for extreme gank circumstances and reinforcing. If you play with a queued team, and they put wards behind bushes for you to teleport to, by all means, take this as a method of getting real close. And if you're trying to escape Elo Hell where people can't hold their towers, you SHOULD get this, but I never will; I like Ghost/Flash.
When Flash gets removed, I'll use Teleport. When Flash gets reworked so that it's effectively not Blink, I might get Teleport. But it's still here, and it remains.
Clarity: If you need mana enough to need this, you're doing it wrong. Nuff said.
Smite: I am not a jungler. This is not a jungler build. Smite is only a jungler tool. Have I made myself clear?
Rally: A backdoor tool? Maybe. This is not backdoor build; this is anti-champion build. So I won't discuss it.
Heal: I have points in my Defense Mastery tree. None of them is Heal for one reason; if I'm low and can't heal with Hiten passive, I need to recall. If I keep getting zoned out, I need to switch lanes or it's gonna be a long 20 minutes.
Clairvoyance: I consider this to be a support tool... and thus, not my responsibility.
Fortify: The defender's tool. I am attacking. If I need to clear minion waves off of a tower, Bladesurge is my friend. If I'm stopping a champion from killing a tower, I should do it myself anyway.
This is also an anti towerdiving SS, in my opinion. I have Equilibrium Strike; it's more reliable anyway. And if you need both, again, you're doing it wrong.
Cleanse: Irelia's passive is good enough to cancel out CC. And if it becomes a problem, get Mercury Treads, since you're almost all counter. If you simply CAN'T live without it, get Quicksilver Sash and learn to use numbers.
Revive: If you use this, do not use my build. It's a stain on my honor to have a feeder tool.
Your skill sequence is not concrete. You WILL use it to adapt to enemy champions.
Bladesurge: Your primary attack. A third of your combat strategy revolves around this skill. But there are times to use it, and times to not use it.
Bladesurge is increased when the enemy champions are consistently having low HPs and not going back to base. You can leap through a weak minion wave and kill these champions with a high enough Bladesurge. Also, if you're free farming a lane and there aren't any ganking opportunities, grab Bladesurge, as it's your best farming tool.
I use it as a tower diving tool when their minions are far from the tower; Flash in, smash the weak hero, and then Bladesurge them if required. I will then Bladesurge out. If they're not below 15% HPs, I'm not diving them. If they have a partner with a stun, I'm not diving them unless they're both dying and have no mana. If they have mana, I'm not diving them.
And neither are you.
Hiten Style: A method of healing on small minion waves, and dealing insane damage in a single attack.
Hiten Style: This is your anti-armor ability, interestingly enough. A lot of people assume it's only a tool to regenerate health early on. If you have enough armor and this is ranked up, you can tank an endless amount of minion waves, since you heal for more damage than they deal. But I digress; rank this up early and your auto attacks after a Bladesurge will deal 15/30/45/60/75 True damage. True damage always deals the amount of damage listed; it cannot be reduced. I would sanction someone getting raw attack speed for this ability if they aren't taking much damage when they fight. If one could get 2.5 AS for this, one could deal 187.5 UNMITIGATED damage per second not counting their auto attack damage. I would only forsee a problem with that for one reason; You wouldn't be durable enough to survive initiation with that build.
Equilibrium Strike: The best Reversal attack in the game, bar none.
Equilibrium Strike: This is what makes a "reversal wizard". If you are hurt and get ganked by a champion who is mildly healthy, let him hurt you while running to a brush. Once in the brush, Strike him for a lengthy stun and Ghost your fragile champion outta there. This doesn't allow you to bait multiple people, but it allows you to destroy one aggressive guy. This also deals a moderate amount of damage, so maxing it will not only give you a lengthy slow on pursuit and stun on defense but a heavy hit as well.
One warning. In a one on one fight, save this until you are more hurt than they are. You can stun them for the remainder of the fight if you do it right.
Transcendent Blades: Irelia's Ultimate is Ultimate.
Transcendent Blades: The ultimate kiting ability. When you cast it, you get a casting animation, but only if you are standing still. It will not interrupt your attacking, running, or fleeing. You may throw the blades with impunity; while running, if you hit enough enemies, you have the capability to revive yourself entirely while still continuing to deal damage. This also has a good range to it; you can shoot someone who is trolling you at a tower and kill them if they have low health.
I've done that, actually.
Don't be afraid of the reuse on this; a minute goes fast when you can rely so heavily on your other abilities.
Ionian Fervor (Passive): This is why I go side lanes. It has multiple purposes.
1. Detector: It lights up when champions are near you. That includes ones you can't see. Stealth, brush, and walls will not protect someone from your awareness. However, it's not a replacement for Oracle's/Wards. It's a rough estimation that someone is hiding behind the wall and needs to be shot by a few Transcendent Blades, but even then, you could miss.
2. Anti CC: Obviously, the intended use is to save you from an ill-placed snare/silence and the like, and it's effectiveness increases for multiple enemies. Even better if they're just trying to get you out of the way so they can attack your partner. Burns a CC, and keeps them from using it on your partner.
3. The Element of Surprise: Not many enemy champions know about Irelia's passive or how it works. Those ignorant people WILL use a CC on you when they have the advantage of numbers and force a gank; I have killed many a 1v2 or even 1v3 by guys who wanted the kill too much.
Items: Your Weakness is your Strength
You are building Trinity Force. It usually goes as follows:
Phage, *Boots, Sheen, Trinity Force. (I usually don't get potions.)
That is the ONLY nonnegotiable part of the build.
Boots: A vast majority of the time, it's true, Mercury Treads are the superior choice. Even if they don't have a mage, there is usually a need to counter CC. If you really, really, REALLY want those Tabi, get something with Tenacity at least, if their CC is an issue. Cloak and Dagger works to some extent; so does Eleisa's Miracle, but not as well as Mercury Treads.
Your objective is to get gear that is a countermeasure to your enemies. The build above is a generic build, working against a little of everything. It's got armor, resistance, a little extra power behind the Strike, AS for your Hiten, some CDs (Because while Irelia's ultimate cools down in a mere minute, that can always get shorter in my opinion), and of course, Trinity Force.
The entire point of the Items Section, in case you missed it, is to have no weakness.
You must have NO WEAKNESS. You are to be unkillable in any situation, and not because you can outtank Rammus. You jump into a gank - whether you're ganking or getting ganked - and walk away regardless of the result. As long as you do not die.
Bladesurge is your farming tool. Do not use any other skill unless you really, really need to clear it and get back to the mid teamfight that is brewing. Although in that case, just let it go.
If all the enemies are hugging towers, free farm everything. But let the less fortunate farm before you; Don't take Amumu's kills since he can't reap in the rewards of champions, and don't steal them from Tryndamere when he's having a bad day.
Interesting Situations Coming Up
The next few chapters are going to be about what to do in certain situations. Some situations that seem to have no remedy you can actually capitalize on for more reward.
Some of this will be common sense, some of this is situational, and some of this will have controversy I think.
You hate him.
But you can use him even now.
That feeder will run towards the enemy champion, whereupon the enemy champion will begin to attack them. You may now Bladesurge up and beat the holy hell out of that enemy without fear of taking damage initially. I have actually gotten kills because of my feeder's failures.
It's not better than someone who actually plays, but it's not the end. And this is applicable in a low Elo, when that idiot keeps dying.
You got pubstomped.
That sucks. I'm sorry. But here is my solution.
Max Equilibrium Strike.
You can still catch up, until late game. Irelia is a reversal wizard; she can annihilate overconfident champions with a little help even if she's 3 levels below and has no kills. You just have to be extremely careful.
You'll also have to steal a kill or two. Make it from someone who isn't as underfed as you.
You need it, but don't starve your team. Which brings me to my next point.
You carry so hard, you lose.
It is very possible to kill so many of the enemy champions that you lose. Here's how it goes:
You get first blood and double kill Nasus and Teemo.
You then pop over to mid and slaughter Ashe.
Top goes down, so you go up there and kill Rammus and Evelynn when the tower probably would have killed them, just to be sure they die.
Return to bot when your partner dies from Teemo and kill them.
Run to mid and avenge your Cait...
See how this goes?
You just got some seven kills, but the enemy killed all of your 'mates and now they're all stronger than your allies, but nobody can beat you, so you think.
Two items later, Ashe shoots you in the face with Enchanted Crystal Arrow, and Nasus Siphons you to hell. (This is just an example: it isn't specific to these champions)
Roamrelia, as I call it, has it's place. Only when your 'mates can defend themselves, however. If you gank the entire game, push a tower instead of continuing to gank, as you are easily capable of killing a tower if you can kill an entire team before going back to base.
That guy... keeps stealing kills... and he's carrying so hard you lose.
There is a possible solution. Save your damage burst until the enemy is dead, and steal the kill yourself. Not only will you have the satisfaction of pissing off the guy who pissed you off, you will have balanced the scales a little.
Make it up to him by saving him from that incoming gank some time. But if he starts feeding after he gets his first assist, you're doomed.
Teemo - Blind darts. Son of a - Wait for it to back off, or when he blinds you, nail him with Strike. Teemo is faily weak, and you should probably only be afraid when you can't see him.
Mordekaiser - I realized halfway through a fight with Mordekaiser it's hard to fight until his HP% is higher than yours, since he can sit at a certain amount without dropping at all. For him, you should just drop the Equilibrium strike, unless you can guarantee he won't be weaker than you in HP%.
Akali - This chick is always a problem. Fortunately, you can still beat her. If you're fast, you can nail her with an Equilibrium in her smoke, and that will stun her for part of it. Your Bladesurge reaches a little ways past the smoke if you're in the center, and if she tried a last second gank... Hiten active.
Gangplank - Don't get Hiten for healing if you fight him. Since his melee deals DoT and cuts your own healing, it's not worth it to max for health. Grab yourself some Equilibrium Strike and let him hit you first.
Tanks with Stuns - They can really be an irritation, if they play right. At this point, you really have to bait their partner out to attack you. If their carry is careful, you will have to collaborate to kill them.
But you should be doing that anyway.
Vayne - There are two solutions to Vayne other than killing her outright; Warden's Mail and Thornmail. Warden's Mail is cheaper and slows her sometimes when she shoots you. That is the counter to her True damage. Thornmail is a good one on her because she deals a ton of damage quickly, and then you can Strike her for an easy stun.
Burst Mages - This is a slight issue, since you're already badly hurt by the time you reach them if you engage straight up. Striking them will not solve your problem; they must already be badly hurt for you to defeat them. Annie and the like are part of this category.
Ezreal - You must avoid his Essence Flux. It will lower your AS, and since your AS is on the other side of decent, it will be a dramatic change if you aren't getting it to counter someone. But a Strike and a Bladesurge later and you should be fine, provided he doesn't Shift away. He's got a strong kite.
Snipers - This is a bit of common sense, but...
Those champions with ultimates that have infinite range, or near infinite range fit in this category. In the case of Ezreal and Ashe, you mustn't walk in a straight line from your lane. You WILL get killed. Also; Karthus and Caitlyn will thrash you and then finish you off, and you simply have to back up at a higher HP% than usual.
I haven't had any specific issues with other champions that didn't involve their skill so far.
So let's review...
You are building Irelia around the fact that you can counter anything your enemy throws at you. You have no weakness. This is critical; your entire game revolves around this point. They can't kill you because you are not weak against whatever they have to throw at you. And if they start to barely kill you despite your best efforts, get Guardian.
It works wonders.
Sorry I didn't bring any icons to this party... I haven't quite grasped the full use of the site yet.
This will be where I thank people who pointed things out.
MusicHF: Thanks for pointing out all my characters were too fragile.
Trophycase: Recommendations and hints are why I even did this. Thank you kindly. Also, you were right, the final point in Defense is a dramatic change.