Build Guide by Vhang
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Not Updated For Current Season
NOTE: This build is still being tested for several aspects including skill order, runes, and item set ups. They are subject to change. Any and all feedback is extremely appreciated.
Before I begin to discuss the build, I would like to clarify some things that I feel are important.
1) While Irelia is classified as a melee class, she should never be used for tanking or initiating except under extremely special circumstances where she can be a useful initiator.
2) Irelia can be very strong, but the most important thing is to never overestimate her abilities. As soon as you overestimate what she can do, you will begin to lose.
Bladesurge serves as a minion killer, a catch up to champions that are starting to outrun you, and your most common initiating skill. This skill can also serve as a get away if a battle is going bad by simply jumping to a minion far from the fight and fleeing in the opposite direction.
Hiten Style [W]:
Hiten style is great because it allows you to stay in lanes much longer, especially once you begin to level up. Also, the true damage that it adds helps to really pump up extreme amounts of damage in team fights maybe you extremely viable.
Equilibrium Strike [E]:
This skill deals a decent amount of damage but it earns it's fame as possibly the best skill on the bar because it produces a good crowd control. While slowing, it allows you and your teammates to catch up and finish up the enemy champion, while below the enemies HP however, you will stun your enemy. This is extremely important because it allows you to kill AND survive.
Transcendent Blades [R]:
The simple must have in any and all of your team fights. You can cast other spells and move while using this skill, simply mash R as many as 4 times to launch 4 blades in a straight line in front of you. Note however that your champion will fire the blades in a direction you click to move towards even if your champion isn't facing that direction at all. This means you can fire blades 'behind' you.
Playing as Irelia
Early game before minions have spawned, Irelia can be quite deadly. In fact, Irelia is a great candidate for first blood with her Q and two summoner skills alone. With a good team comp you should be able to wipe all 3 of them on Twisted Treeline. After minions have spawned, Irelia will be relatively weak at pushing lanes until at least level 6. Until level 6, get a few occasional hits on the enemy champion(s) but be careful as she is easy prey until she gets her ulti. Early game should consist of you getting your Berserker Greaves and part, if not all of your Frozen Mallet.
From level 6 on you will be a force to be reckoned with, but remember, your strength is NOT in 1v1's but in team fights and odd-man encounters. Irelia's ulti, if positioned correctly, should pick apart the enemy rather well, especially if you use your other skills at the same time to burst all your damage at once. Often times you will find you'll have one or two people left that choose to flee and leave the 'goner' and you'll have to chase them down. This can be difficult due to your rather low skill range, but with Frozen Mallet, catching them basically equals their death. With exhaust and Ghost, you should be able to eliminate the runners. At this point, you should have built your Frozen Mallet if you haven't already, and should be well into working on your Infinity Edge by around 14-16.
Irelia generally serves as a finisher in late game, rarely initiating and rarely chasing for extended distances. While she is great as surviving team fights, she usually can't survives good ganks without some help or luck. However, if you are the one ganking, at this point in the game, they might as well consider themselves dead. By this time, you should have finished your Infinity Edge, and should be working on your Youmuu's Ghostblade. If the game continues (and I've yet to see it happen longer than Youmuu's Ghostblade, you should begin working on your final item, The Black Cleaver. This item will add the finishing 'umph' behind your damage making you truly deadly on the battlefield.
Start off with your Berserker's Greaves. The added attack speed stacks well with your Hiten Style.
Next get your Frozen Mallet. This item is a necessity because it slows her enemies making them prime targets to chase and finish off anything that happens to escape a skirmish.
Next, Youmuu's Ghostblade is often the next most useful item as it's active adds an extremely helpful attack speed and movement speed buff making her virtually death on legs.