Build Guide by IxieSorrow
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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.
These are the three main styles of Irelia i typically enjoy to use, Irelia is a diverse, very non item reliant champion who can do just about anything your team needs (i don't recommend trying AP Irelia, though it could work.) Each style has its own main purpose and slightly different play styles for them. Also note that i have NOT tested this for lower level players, and this is from my level 30 experience only. If you do choose to try these at lower levels i suggest you attempt them in a Co-op vs AI or Custom with a buddy or two to get the feel of the styles better.
Many times in this guide you will notice that I say *To what your team needs* Take it to heart! Irelia is one of the best spot fillers in the game in my opinion just simply because if you are unsure what your allies are going to be or switch to at the last second, she can still probably fill the role your team requires.
Also as a side note, you might not always want to finish your Trinity Force right away. Get Sheen and Phage, then work on more important things that your team needs before hand if it's required. Such as MR for a heavier AP team or Armor for a heavier AD team, then go back to finishing it. There will also be many times that you will not follow the exact build/guide to counter certain teams in different ways, don't be afraid to do so.
This section will also include the change log which i will post below this sentence.
Changed the Jungling guide slightly to show two methods, one involving the new item Cloak and Dagger. Read closely or you might get lost, inform me on any errors i may have caused with the change please!
Added a quick note i forgot to add previously.
What you'll see from this guide is a few things, most common to other guides you may have already seen, but also some different things and styles that could benefit you as an Irelia player.
Can deal amazing damage without needing many damage items
Not that squishy
Doesn't need to worry about Cooldowns most of the time
Not Item Dependent
Can fill most roles needed in a team comp
Mildly Easy to counter
Half team reliant
Early game heavily effects gameplay until later
The 3 Irelia Styles and how to use them
If you really look at them, they're actually quite basic in the sense, but to go into further detail, they cover every lane for situations that need it, allow you to jungle with any of them, you can take a lane for someone who cannot handle their lane, almost never die without 3+ of them ganking you (which means either it's 2v1 top and they have a jungler, which is odd but happens, you're doing something wrong, or someone isn't calling missing) Each one of these guides involve Trinity force and Mercury Treads, being Irelia's core items. The item that proceeds with each style is correspondent to what you are going to be doing with her.
Style One - Solo Lane
The first Irelia style is based around soloing top, either against 2 people or 1v1. The style of this with Cloth Armor and 5 pots is for multiple reasons, First being you have up to 1000 more hp than it seems you have with hp, making harassing you to kill you much harder. the Cloth Armor also helps you keep top lane very well. Since Heart of Gold was changed in the most recent patch from this post, the Cloth Armor is kept and used to a further, near end game item like Guardian Angel. Heart of Gold will also ensure that you'll keep up with gold in the game, as until level 6 you might be pushed a bit back by the enemy depending on what is going on. The reason Hiten Style is maxed out first is to ensure you can still creep and not die doing so. More will be explained on last hitting later.
Style Two - Jungling
This style is pretty straight forward for the core set items. Wriggles is key for most junglers, the nerf wont matter too much at all on wriggles as you would just get bloodrazor if it wasn't for the ward (which is why it's such a great item in the first place) You can start jungling pretty much anywhere, though i recommend not starting at wraiths. If you choose to start red you will most likely need someone who's going bottom lane to hit it once or twice to help you out if you don't have the full jungling page. Getting your ranged mid carry to pull would benefit you either way. If you do start at red, you will have to sit for a minute for a bit of hp in order to either gank immediately after doing it, or to continue jungling. If you do attempt a level 2 gank, you need to make sure a lane is pushed out, and you will most likely be force to waste your ghost to get in the stun off Equilibrium Strike if you did do this. Red buff start involves you getting your skills like this in order to ensure the gank is much more likely to be successful.
If you start at blue (not recommended for playing ranked) you should be fine for jungling the entire game, a pull may be required here as well depending on your level and rune page. Doing this also prevents you from ganking until level 4 or 5, which you should have your Equilibrium Strike by that time.
Style 3 - Bottom Dual
The third Irelia involves you focusing more into setting up kills while still farming quite well compared to the survivable style one. Equilibrium Strike also puts out intense damage on an enemy when you use it if you max it out first. You need to be half aggressive rather than passive if you are stuck in this lane, but think logically. If your partner in the lane is not catching on to what you're trying to do, you'll either die or will need to heal up before doing anything again, which is another reason why your Equilibrium Strike is useful. If your HP is low, it becomes a stun rather than a slow, which can stop enemy players from killing you even if you have extremely low hp. The Sapphire crystal start is to ensure you can control the lane with your skills more easy.
Masteries and Runes
Though you may disagree with the style i choose to use for Irelia, i think she is more of a carry killing tank. To support this you go far into the Defense tree with all three styles. The 8 points into offense are for the cooldown reduction, and the 1 point into Utility for ghost. As for the jungling style, it's more of a balanced style to help your jungling while still being tanky. The rest is pretty self explanatory
Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation x9
Greater Mark of Alacrity x9
These Marks are pretty standard for the situations they are used, Desolation will help you while auto attacking to kill the enemy carries to cause more damage to them, and Alacrity is meant to speed up your jungling and ensure you don't die while doing so.
Greater Seal of Resilience x9
These Seals are based on helping your early game lane survivability, as most champions early game will auto attack harass or waste their mana trying to hurt you. If they are running Clarity you might be in for a world of pain until you get your Ultimate, but you should be fine with just these. These Seals also make your time jungling much easier as they do with all junglers.
Greater Glyph of Focus
Greater Glyph of Shielding
Glyphs are actually mildly debatable for a few other rune choices of this section on Irelia, These two sets i find the most beneficial to the three styles i use while either jungling or laning. The flat cooldown reduction can help her laning, ability to stun/slow enemies for ganks or kills, and much more. The magic resist will help you get through to enemy carries and kill them.
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
Just like glyphs, there is many beneficial Quintessences that can go into this slot. Personally i do not own any other quints as Fortitude work on pretty much any champion you want to ever play. Another great option for this can be Greater Quintessence of Swiftness.
Early Game Items
Style One - Solo Lane
This is your core for top solo, this can discourage your enemies from bothering to harass you as you can pretty much just heal everything they dish off. You should begin with almost 600 HP as well so every time your hp is -300 from total you should consider using a potion to stay near full hp. This is for when your jungler decides to come and gank, you will be at full hp and be prepared for it. The Cloth Armor will lead to one of your late game items so keeping it would be wise
Style Two - Jungling
Jungling is quite simplistic and not much different than other junglers, she can start pretty much anywhere but will need help if starting with a buff if you don't have the right runes. It's best to start at wolves or mini golems if you do not have a high enough level or the correct runes to do so elsewhere. Not much to say about these other than that most junglers typically get these for jungling because of just how useful they are while jungling.
Style 3 - Bottom Dual
The Sapphire Crystal start is meant for rushing into Sheen for a great early game farm and harass, it also makes it so you really do not need any skill points into Bladesurge to farm effectively without having much worry about your mana. You may want to get Phage and Boots of Speed first and finish Sheen after if you're getting harassed far too hard in your lane.
Mid Game Items
Style One - Solo Lane
This is your solo lane core, by the time you actually finish this it will most likely begin the start of minor team fights which you can either include yourself in or continue farming/lane defending depending on how your team is doing. This is also the point where you observe what your enemy team has and begin to counter them. If they are more AP you'll most likely begin a Banshee's Veil by farming for a Negatron Cloak first, as Catalyst the Protector will not be as useful this far into the game. If they are more AD you should only need a Chain Vest with the Cloth Armor you still have. After this The Brutalizer is most likely a good choice for some damage and for the cooldown reduction. It will be turned into Youmuu's Ghostblade later but probably not until your final item.
At this point your items should look something like this
Style Two - Jungling
This is your Jungling core, from here you can choose to be more burst/dps, or more tank depending on what your team needs. For burst/dps you can pick Infinity Edge through it's price, or really anything made with a B.F. Sword depending on your team Another Cheap option for earlier dominance is Cloak and Dagger which will effect your choice of boots to either Boots of Swiftness or Berserker's Greaves, The Brutalizer would come next. For Tanking refer to Style One.
Your items should look like this if you choose to go more Bursty/Dps
Style 3 - Bottom Dual
This is the most basic setup and allows you to go pretty much any way you want with Irelia. In most cases you will most likely get a Negatron Cloak or Chain Vest and then The Brutalizer afterwards. You will most likely be further behind in gold by being in bottom lane, and you should be careful with what you buy and when you buy them. You might buy a Negatron Cloak and then realize that the AP carry wasn't half the threat that the Fed AD Carry was, which can set you back until later in the game.
At this Point your items should look like
Late Game Items
Style One - Solo Lane
This will most likely be your item build end game for this style with the odd item change depending on what your team needs more. Damage, Magic Resist or Armor (Tank).
Style Two - Jungling
This will most likely will be your end game item build with this style, though Infinity Edge and Mercury's Treads can replace Beserker's Greaves and Cloak and Dagger. Wriggle's Lantern can be changed for a Tank item or Phantom Dancer last depending on what your team needs.
Style 3 - Bottom Dual
This will be your item build ending with this style, the last slot can be MANY things unlike the other two, but choose to what your team is lacking.
Skills and Skilling Orders
Ionian Fervor is Irelia's Innate ability. It's also the soul reason in almost every guide you will see for Irelia the number one boot choice for most situations will be Mercury's Treads. It is also the soul of my build styles. You objective is (if you haven't noticed yet) to abolish the enemy CC as it wont really do anything to you compared to everyone else. (Except Singed now.) Knowing this, you can jump right in to the enemy carries and begin to wail on them. This can heavily screw up a team. If the carries are dead, there's nothing to stop your team from pushing through. If they waste all their CC on you, then your team can waste all their CC and damage with much less worry. If they run away from you, that's 1 less person you have to worry about until they come back. It can heavily effect the flow of a team fight if done correctly.
Bladesurge is Irelia's farming move, allowing her to quickly jungle, last hit like a beast, and keep up with enemies for ganks or to prevent them from running away. In none of my styles do i prioritize this. Though it is a great farming move that puts out nice damage, I'd rather be able to stun/slow people for a longer amount of time or be able to deal more damage while healing myself in order to lane longer. If you time your Bladesurge smoothly anyways you should be able to almost always have it off cooldown until attacking champions early game anyways. Sheen and Trinity Force are instantly proc'd while using this move as well, meaning even at level 1 it can deal massive damage to anything it hits.
Hiten Style would not be my main focus in comparison to Equilibrium Strike if it wasn't for the lifesteal passive. The lifesteal allows her to Jungle easily and Solo Lane without the threat of dying if playing passively. The true damage is a nice additional bonus which can help creeping and can help do a lot of early damage. I would recommend not activating this unless you're killing an oversized creep wave, jungling, or attacking an enemy champion. After you hit an enemy champion with Bladesurge you will hit this IMMEDIATLY after Equilibrium Strike for maximum damage unless the enemy is certain to get away.
Equilibrium Strike is in my opinion Irelia's best skill. Watching your hp and timing this can ensure a kill or save your life. With an early Sheen your combo can seriously rip apart the early game when the time seems right. This and Transcendent Blades both take in Ability Power and will be much more effective early game than they will be late game, though the Stun/Slow will always be effective depending on the situation.
Transcendent Blades is Irelia's ultimate, With my playstyle of Irelia she benefits the most from this with her early game. The later the game is the more hp and such you have, and you really don't notice the lifesteal from it all that much, but throughout the game with it's amazingly low cooldown, you can use this to get in a few more hits, farm creep waves, harass enemies and more.
Note that as soon as you go in you will most likely be spamming your ultimate on either the largest group of enemies/minions, or the champion that you are targeting.
--> (when hp is low enough to last hit)
-->-->-->-->-->--> (Continue from what is not on cooldown)
Depending on how this goes, you'll either be 1v2 or 1v1 in most cases. Focus on picking off any open creeps while not being harassed, if your enemy is open in a 1v1 situation, take advantage of it if you feel you can out power them. There will be many times where they will out power you, and you will be forced to fall back a bit, but never fear! that's why you grabbed 5 hp potions right? if you wear each other down around the same amount, then eventually you will win and they will have to recall or die. After you get your Heart of Gold and Boots of Speed you can lane without really any fear for a good 10 minutes easy. with your W, Potions, and R you shouldn't ever need to go back other than to shop. Early game you wont look like a threat, but just someone to look out for due to the amount of farm you're picking up. This is also quite good because if they DO decide to underestimate you, you'll make them regret it the rest of the game if your team is doing its part as well.
Jungling with Irelia is very basic but a bit tough without the right runes. She can start and work her rotation from pretty much anywhere. If the enemy team doesn't have an invis champion, you can most likely work your way to the Blue golem as a place to start. get your ranged carry to cast a skill or just shoot it once so you'll have an easier time and a quicker jungling route afterwards. After blue you should be level 2. From here check middle lane, if you see the enemy team far over extended, get Equilibrium Strike and help pick up an early first blood, if not don't worry too much about your lanes until you clear your jungle for the first route. From here depending on how well your first rotation went in the jungle, you can choose to skip red and do the 3 small camps again and then recall, attempt a gank without red, or just straight recall, get red and then decide from there. Everything after that is straight forward compared to the average jungler in the game.
Bottom Lane (Dual Lane)
In here you'll be more aggressive compared to doing a solo lane. If you're able to shut out the enemy team they'll be pretty screwed considering the champion you are playing. If they decide to go in for a 2v2 without an enemy jungler backing them up, they'll most likely hit you below their hp first, which allows you to stun them. Depending on your laning partner it can also wind you an easy first blood. You'll most likely be behind in gold compared to the other two styles, but this lane is also much safer.
Feel free to ask questions in the comment area, if they're good and not stupid i'll add them in here and answer them. I'll start off with a few that might be asked
Why is The Brutalizer in every build?
The Brutalizer is a good tanky dps item, especially for melee champions. It can ensure her a kill, allow her to push down turrets with ease, kill anything very quickly, gives Crit/CDR/Armor Penetration and more. Most tanky dps champions i see nowadays get this item. That can't be from just pure coincidence, and that's because it is without a doubt an amazing item. You can even finish this off earlier then near last item if it fits what you are doing, i just prefer it near the end where other things can be prioritized first.
Why do you focus Hiten Style for the top solo lane?
Yes i understand, the lifesteal passive really isn't that much, but the early game damage is great, and it can really help you lane for most of the laning period without having the need to recall in most cases (hence the name of the guide :P) Other than that it would probably be best to get Q over W if the lifesteal on Hiten Style didn't exist.
Why do you only leave Bladesurge level 1 until late game?
It's a great farming move, and it's most likely better to get more points into the the less good you are at the champion. Especially for things such as last hitting, harassing and lane control. Once you are better with Irelia however, i find it much more beneficial to have your hp almost always full while being able to stun/slow people for a longer period of time while still being able to chain last hits, The Brutalizer also makes up for the cooldown on this item as well.
Nothing Much more to add that I can think of, any suggestions or the like just let me know :) Have fun and I hope my style of Irelia can benefit as many players as possible.
Why do you get Heart of Gold? What do you do with the Cloth Armor due to it's Change?
Heart of gold is still an amazing item for any character. It's change was to prevent champions like Rammus and Malphite from ripping through the jungle so easily while gaining ridiculous amounts of gold. For Irelia i still get this item even while starting with Cloth armor. The reason is that the difference after getting Cloth armor is 2 less armor. You still get the effect for about the same price as it once was as well. Cloth armor can instead be used for a different item later in the game, and support you until you put it towards something. Heart of gold is still being used because of the 5 gold per 10 second passive. Starting off with Ruby Crystal to rush this item DOES involve you spending less gold early to get it, but it's a FAR higher risk to do so. I would rather have 5 HP Potions and 18 more armor, over a little bit more HP to start.
Heart of Gold also helps sustain your gold need for getting Trinity force and Mercury Treads next, as well as the rest of your items in the game. If you're being forced back from gaining every creep in the waves, or being completely zoned, you will be still gaining gold until you can finally get to the enemy creep waves again. Every now and then you will be zoned out, at least this way you will be getting something out of it, and getting even MORE if you can gain creep kills for more money. If you're going for Randuin's Omen for ANY character it's probably best to get Heart of Gold early for this reason.
Also as a quick note that I still use this method after the Heart of Gold patch change, which is why i made my guide after the change and published it.