Lee Sin Build Guide by ManlyManSlam
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.
Lee Sin Build
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.
Hey, ManlyManSlam here and I'm gonna bring you a Lee Sin guide. He's perhaps the most viable champion in the whole game. He can be played in ANY lane with great success, but it is recommended you go top or jungle. His role as a carry/tank can adapt throughout the whole game to counter specific carries which makes him so amazing. We'll go over all the basics, and follow through to advanced tips, strategies, and his unrelenting ability to carry any team to victory. Please do note that this guide will be tailored to people who have a defined playstyle and can choose to incorporate it with my build. This is by no means a "U MUST BUILD THIS N DO THAT OR U GON LOOSE GUISE" guide. Interpret it as you wish. Enjoy!
First of all, we need a Rune Page. What's great about Lee Sin is he's so strong he can do well with almost no Runes. But in my opinion Runes are all based on your playstyle. Whether you're aggressive, passive, a farmer, a nervous nellie, a cocky Ochocinco-esque player, or the typical League player.
I prefer Flat Attack Damage Quints and Marks, with Armor Seals, and Magic Resist Glyphs.
This gives you a strong early game ability to last hit/gank and it starts your snowball early. The defensive runes also carry through and help you survive mid through late game as well as minimizing damage early. I cannot say how many times my *** has been saved by that extra 13 armor.
With Lee Sin you may also go with Armor pen for stability through late game as well as greater damage with your ultimate . this will hamper your early game, which I feel is very important to Lee Sin. Pure tank runes such as Flat HP Quints will also hurt your early game ganking ability, but will help you if you plan to go along the tanky route.
Overall I feel that Flat AD Quints and Marks benefit you the most throughout the game. They improve last hitting, harass, and all of your abilities damage throughout the game.
With masteries ,it again, depends on your playstyle. I'd still recommend you play him with defensive masteries because you'll be jumping through teamfights, eating cc, and bearing the brunt of the enemy teams burst. I've seen people run him with offensive masteries and I've also played through quite a few games running them. In my experience, you can have a stronger 1v1, but in team fights and overall throughout the game, Lee Sin becomes compromised and isn't as effective if he simply went Defensibly. (Yes that's a word I promise)
Items are what can make/break Lee Sin. A lot of people underestimate the strength of early game items. The core build for any Lee Sin should be Doran's Blade, Mercury's Treads, Wriggle's Lantern, and a Frozen Mallet. Your Doran's Blade is perhaps the greatest starting item in the game whether it for jungling or laning. Wait? Did he say Dorans in the jungle? YES! ABSOLUTELY! We'll go over the specifics later on, but in short, you should be picking up a kill early game to grab your cloth armor/health pots and the extra stats just carry through the game.
Wriggle's Lantern is perhaps the best item in the game. it gives you armor, attack damage, life steal, and a chance to do extra damage to a minion which improves your jungle speed/last hits.
Mercury's Treads give you that extra MR which is all you'll really need all game along with your Runes/Masteries, unless the Enemies team is heavily AP based, or their AP carry is doing exceptionally well. In addition, the Tenacity is a godsend.
Lastly, we have our Frozen Mallet. This item gives you a great amount of health, which will remove the need of a Warmog's Armor, and give you and your team the best chasing ability.
Item Build Variations
With your Core item build complete you can go several routes depending on your playstyle or team compositions. I recommend building attack speed next. You can go with a Ionic Spark for a 50% attack Speed boost and extra health, along with the passive for even faster farming, or if you feel you're lacking in MR, you can go with a Wit's End. Attack speed will improve the speed at which you can take down towers and will greatly improve your ability to fight champions and will further stack with
Next, depending on the game, you can go with more aggressive items such as a Last Whisper to gain great AD and armor which will boost your overall damage, as well as provide a huge boost to damage. The Bloodthirster is still viable given the recent nerf of lifesteal, however it isn't recommended. Infinity Edge doesn't really benefit you because you shouldn't be relying on crits. The Black Cleaver is a still viable option because it furthers your attack speed and provides greater damage. The armor pen debuff it gives however, is nearly useless late game. I'd get this if you're doing extremely well mid game.
If you find your team in need of a tank, or are simply being focused the standard tank items can do a wonder on Lee Sin but lowers your capability of burst damage and overall game effectiveness of your role as a bruiser. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go tanky. I'd recommend a Force of Nature if the enemy team is heavy on AP, or a Thornmail if the AD carries are doing well. I do not recommend Warmog's Armor because it only adds to your health, which ultimately means a few seconds of life with no added benefits like Movespeed or Damage to the AD carry regardless of position.
Lee Sin can change his Skill Sequence based on the other team's composition or who you're laning against. No one can defeat you if you play it right.
A great passive. Not only does it boost your attack speed, but it also restores energy! The effect lasts for 2 melee attacks, or 3 seconds. note it does not stack so allow time in between your abilities to not be out of energy during a team fight. This ability makes for a quick jungle, tower killing, and incredible burst. try to space your abilities to take advantage of this.
Sonic Wave is a great gap closer/burst/finisher AND it reveals invisible champions! This is Lees staple skill that you'll want to max first if your lane allows it. The dash to your target also deals 8% of their missing health in additional damage which is great for finishing an enemy champion off.
Safeguard is incredibly strong for sustaining in your lane/jungle, escaping, harassing, and saving your teammate from a pesky Ignite. I recommend leaving it at level 1 if you play aggressively. A huge way to improve your game is to learn to self cast it with ALT + W. I promise it'll improve your game A LOT.
Tempest is your primary ganking/anti-carry spell. It not only slows your targets in a decent sized AoE but reduces attack speed as well. Note that the AoE on cripple has a greater range than tempest itself. As tempting as it is to just double pop it right away, remember to get 1 melee in with !
Lee's ultimate. It's a kick that deals physical damage. This means enemy armor reduces it's effectiveness. Don't rely on it to do the 200/400/600 damage in it entirety. This spell is great for initiating, saving a teammate, last hitting a champion at about half the kicks damage (E.G. at 100 health when your kick is at rank one and deals 200+ damage), and lastly for incredible burst. A Sonic Wave, Tempest, Ignite, Dragon's rage combo will knock any carry on their ***(literally!).
This is based entirely off of your playstyle and/or lane comp. I'll keep it short and sweet. If you find yourself being out harassed top lane, you'd level up . If you're having trouble with an ad carry, you'd prioritize . If you find your burst low, prioritize your . Just remember to be flexible. No one build works every single game.
With your Summoner Spells, Flash is a must! A Flash and a can escape most enemies, and get you to the team fight at a critical moment, and even bring you in at the last second to save a teammate from an Ignite.
As for the other Spells, it's all preference. Smite is a must for early game jungle, Ignite is great for burst/finishing off, Exhaust takes a carry even further out of the fight if you used with/after , and Heal is great if you're supporting your carry in bottom lane. The other Summoners are essentially useless on Lee Sin, but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments.
Solo Top (Summary)
Going Solo Top with Lee Sin gives you a great chance to shut out their top lane (usually a carry of sorts). It's important to play aggressive. It's very easy to zone or out harass most champions in your lane. With Lee Sin, you shouldn't be too afraid over overextending, because you can escape most ganks quite easily. This doesn't necessarily mean push to your hearts content, but this DOES mean you shouldn't ever be tower-hugging. Remember to take advantage of the farming opportunities top has to offer, and don't forget that you're a great ganker so don't hesitate to help out your mid or jungle.
Solo Top (In-Depth)
As a top, you should prioritize farming, while maintaining a steady harass on the enemy champion. Gold per gold wise, it isn't worth it killing an enemy champion and having to go back. A melee minion is worth 22 gold, a caster is 16, and a siege is 27. These increase by 1g per 5 mins of the game. A full wave of minions is roughly 150g if you last hit them all. A champion after 1 death scales down to 275g, and then lower and lower. If you force the enemy champion to go back, the gold gained from last hitting as well as lane exp will help much more than constantly pummeling down a 0/4 top. This doesn't necessarily mean to ignore them entirely, but it does mean you shouldn't be diving, or playing rather riskily for a kill and coming out with 100hp and being forced to back. If you feel you can pick up the kill and remain above half HP and can remain in the lane to further farm, go for it, otherwise, you'll only hurt yourself late game. An easy way to harass would be to Q in, Tap your E, and W back out. You'll deal a fair amount of damage, and most of the time, you'll come out unharmed.
Solo Top (Champion Matchups)
This is a new section I'll try and add to regularly, but as of now I'll include some common match ups, and strategy on some tough ones. If you have a counter question feel free to ask in the comments and I'll write up a summary to the best of my ability
Akali is an incredibly easy match up for Lee Sin. Your Q and E can reveal her, and renders her invisibility useless, which is her main means of harassing. She's incredibly squishy, but still packs impressive burst. Play aggressively early and you can snowball on her.
Tryndamere is semi-common. The key is to zone him early and gain a gold advantage on him. Before 6, most will play pretty passively, and rely on a gank. This is your time to set the tone for the rest of the game. Harass him, force him to back, and punish him for every last hit. will destroy any early game damage he can deal to you so be sure to take advantage of him. Be wary of ganks because a good jungle will prioritize feeding their Tryndamere.
Yorick is a very tough champion to play against. He has a very strong harass and sustain. You aren't likely to get far with harassing him early as he can out-sustain you with his E. The goal is to rush a Wriggle's Lantern and to out-farm him so you can shut him out of the game. ganks against him are very hard to complete. I wouldn't recommend having your jungle stay top to help you out unless you're being pushed against pretty hard. Just play passive until you can out damage his sustain with your Wriggle's Lantern which should be around level 7. Prioritize your to negate his harass entirely.
Fiora is fairly new so you'll see her a fair amount of times. She's not too tough if you rush which will negate her attack speed spell. She can only parry a melee attack by you, so feel free to wail on her with your . Zone her and you'll have an easy win top. Note that when she uses her ultimate, she'll appear next to you so rush to your tower, her, and kick her back into the tower for an easy kill.
Cho'Gath isn't seen much anymore, but he's still around. He'll rely on his knock up to gank you or initiate on you. This is fairly easy to dodge with your and will eat his mana pretty fast. Watch for his silence when you engage him, as it can lead to your death, as well as his bite. Zone him early because of his poor ability to deal constant damage and he shouldn't be too big a problem. Note his ultimate has a slight delay so be sure to kick him when you feel he's attempting to finish you off.
Gangplank is a fairly common top that poses a little trouble. A good critplank can shut you down early game. never underestimate Parley. Tankplank will be extremely resilient to your and will have no real trouble 1v1ing you. Your best bet will be to out farm him and match him in harass. With you can negate a fair amount of Parley, as well as outsustain him.
Irelia with the implemented Lulu patch, she poses no threat. You can now easily out sustain her, and never really fear any hard burst. Be sure to zone her and keep her from farming. This DOES carry through to mid game, meaning if a tower is gone top lane, do not let her free farm, regardless of her score. She can comeback VERY easily so keep her from farming too much and you'll have an easy win.
Lee Sin is probably the second fastest jungler I play with the exception of Malphite. A typical route involves you starting with wraiths while you wait for your red to spawn, and having your mid leash it. After you have red, you should immediately look to gank. An early first blood is never far away. It never hurts to scare a lane and force them to pop a few summoners. Even if you know who you're planning to gank probably won't die, bringing them down a few points in health can help your lane immensely and get them a level/creepscore advantage. Your blue should always be going to your mid, Lee Sin simply doesn't need it. Ever. Constantly harass lanes and keep up your farm, and remember to ward with your Wriggle's Lantern as often as possible.
I cannot stress how much you should be ganking and covering lanes! If you just farm jungle, I guarantee your game will go terribly (except if your lanes are doing immensely well). Every slight over-extension should be punished. this will cause hesitance in the enemy team which will only hurt them. if you're forcing them to constantly buy wards, you're doing your job. An oracle will further harass them and hurt them if they're warding pretty hard. I wouldn't recommend counter-jungling given the fast respawns, but if you feel pretty confident about map control, you can take the large minions in your enemies camps. Again, I feel this is a waste of time and won't do as much as constantly ganking and keeping your buffs distributed to your team. Your middle should have a steady blue buff, and you should have red fairly often through early game until you get your Frozen Mallet after which it should be going to your carry. Covering lanes also gives you a fair amount of gold and exp, as well as a chance to harass the enemy to help your team mate who'll come back fully healed and ready to punish their lane even further. Near the end of mid-game, your jungle won't be worth as much gold as lane so feel free to lane. Some will say this is bad for your carry, but I'll explain why it really isn't. A carry can burst through jungle incredibly quickly, and will be able to remain relatively safe from enemy ganks because they won;t have such clear sight of them because you're tanky and can escape quite easily, you won't be easy to gank either, and you will both benefit from the farm, as well as minimizing deaths.
Tips n Tricks
-Don't ever be afraid to spam your spells, you have no mana! Spam away and practice landing your
- can target friendly creeps, champions AND wards. For a quick, flash- free escape, use your wriggles to put a ward up a cliff and just jump to it.
- still procs if you miss your spells, so pop all your spells when attacking towers for a constant 40% attack speed increase.
- knocks enemies away, and can knock up other champions if they are hit with the kicked champion. It also can hit enemies over walls/ledges, so use it carefully when trying to last hit.
- and will NOT reveal wards, however it will reveal invisible enemies ( Evelynn, Twitch), as well as champions like Akali or Vayne who have temporary invisibility.
Lulu Patch Thoughts
With the new Lulu patch nerfing Lifesteal I feel it's important to discuss the ramifications. The Bloodthirster will not be viable on Lee Sin because you do not have enough attack damage/speed to regain enough health to sustain a teamfight like you used to be able to. Therefore, it's better to go with items with greater benefits such as Last Whisper for the amazing 40% Armor Pen. I also feel this patch won't reduce Wriggle's Lantern's effectiveness as it is still a powerful item. All this means is really to pick and choose your fights carefully and don't rely on a win in a fight solely from sustainability through lifesteal, but rely on raw burst.
03/19/2012 First Draft awaiting feedback
03/20/2012 Added a continued item guide, added in-depth laning/jungling, added a counter chapter, added Lulu patch comments, and added a slight change to the Rune section to comment on different set-ups
Special thanks to jhoijhoi for the formatting tips as well as to Searz for a format for the Skills section of the guide.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and ask away. Enjoy.