Build Guide by TidyCat
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
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Before I get started let me say that this isn't intended to be gospel. The whole advantage to Lee Sin is that he's flexible. Assess your situation, use your judgment and adjust the guide according to your needs. That being said, I have hardly ever had to tweak this guide except in instances when I got bored of round-house kicking enemies into the infinite.
Fairly straight forward here, we're going for durability and hurting power. The Health quints and runes will help your early game, keeping you tough enough to be aggressive. The Damage and Magic Resist runes are the water that fuels your domination hurricane into late game.
In my experience, Lee Sin is best built as a bit of a hybrid, thus I split his masteries down the middle between Offense and Defense. Just remember, if you decide not to use Exhaust don't put the point there, you silly loaf!
I start with boots because let's be honest, every build is going to include boots at some point and any player worth their salt is going to take the first couple of levels to cautiously test what their opponents can do. You don't need a lot of HP or Damage right away because you're going to be CAREFUL and not give your lane-mate an aneurysm by pushing super hard at the very start, right? Good.
Besides, if you make a mistake it's all good, just pop a health pot and sprint/flash out of there.
Now that you've established how and where to apply your damage you get Doran's Blade and start ratcheting up the pressure. This'll give you a nice little kick-start.
Brutalizer, more damage and armour penetration. This is great at the early levels because no one has really built up a lot of armour yet, and even if they do happen to have some armour your Brutalizer will cut through that, allowing your Doran's to bite the rest of the way through.
Up till now you've let your Health Quints keep you alive, they're gonna start turning sour soon so you want to get a Phage so you stay tough and keep the damage flowing.
At this point I usually go for the boots upgrade into Boots of Swiftness. The onset of Mid-game is at hand, which means you're gonna be leaving your lane more in order to assist allies and save towers in other lanes. The extra movement speed aids in this.
Now you round out your Yumu's Ghost Blade. This will give you shorter cool downs, which translates into more attack speed since every time you cast an ability your next two auto-attacks are 50% faster (I'll talk a bit more about Lee Sin's passive in the next chapter).
Finish the Frozen Mallet and you're home free.
Now the game is entering it's final stage, and to be honest I very rarely get to buy these items (since we're usually winning) so it's really up to you what to get. You can use Atma's Impaler effectively now because your Frozen Mallet gives you enough HP to get a decent bonus. The Tiamat is fun because it gives off the splash damage, and since you should be auto-attacking all the time, this means awesome crowd damage on top of your Tempest splash and ultimate. At this point in the game you want to be able to clear minion crowds quickly and with the least amount of bother. Black Cleaver is something I just tacked on there for the extra speed and damage, personally I don't think BF Swords benefit Lee Sin much, but in the end game it will round things off well enough.
Here's where things get really interesting. Lee Sin is a multitasker and this is why I love him. He harasses enemies, shields teammates, initiates team fights, disrupts crowds, hunts wards/shrooms, and can chase stragglers indefinitely.
I start with one point in Sonic Wave for harassing and farming from a distance. This ability is great for checking bushes, revealing invisible units, harassing from the bushes etc. After that I put a point in his Safe Guard. This makes harassing and farming even deadlier and safer (for you). Now when you hit an enemy champ or minion with your Sonic Wave you can follow through with Resonanting Strike and escape back with Safe Guard before your enemy has time to react. This is Lee Sin 101. (BEWARE ROOTS AND STUNS. You must be the fastest kungfu master on the board). To do this successfully you have to plan your strike from start to finish. Who are you going to hit and who are you going to escape to? Hesitation can be the difference between making your enemy look like a doofus and making you look like a doofus.
After this max out Tempest (putting points in your ult and Safe Guard at your own discretion). Now, you might be saying "But Tidy Cat! Everyone else maxes out Q first because it deals 10% of missing health as bonus damage! WHAHTHGLBERGH I'M SO CONFUUUSEDD!?" and here's what I have to say about that:
Everyone complains that Lee Sin can't burst and doesn't add anything to a team fight, and they'd be wrong. Tempest is an AoE damage and slow, it's like a built in Randuin's that also hurts people. Additionally, once you drop it you can shield/escape from the crowd and you've probably already done enough to turn the tide. Along with your ultimate and Exhaust you have major disrupting power. Whatever the enemy thought they were about to do has changed drastically because they got slowed and kicked ten feet through the air.
In addition to this, Tempest reveals invisible units! Never fear Twitch or Eve again. Never be in doubt if a bush is warded or if you're about to walk into a Teemo shroom. Simply spam this through the jungle/bush and use your Res strike to clear the way for allies (Res strike destroys revealed shrooms one hit). To use this effectively put yourself in the shoes of your opponents. Has Twitch/Eve disappeared from the lane and his previously timid ally is now trying to position himself for attack? This probably means Twitch/Eve is right next to you, hit your tempest and turn the tables in an instant. Being unexpectedly revealed when you're cloaked is a major annoyance to your enemy.
PASSIVE: This is important! You must understand Lee Sin's passive to do well with him. Every time you cast an ability he gets double attack speed for two auto-attacks. This is awesome because it's like having a recurve bow without ever having to buy it. This is why people talk about "pacing" when they talk about Lee Sin. You have to get in the rhythm of casting then allowing him to auto-attack twice before casting again, you can't just spam mindlessly. This makes burning down turrets and back-dooring extremely easy.
Exhaust is always a solid pick, good for slowing enemies and making escapes.
Flash is excellent when coupled with your ultimate.
Step 1) flash behind enemy
Step 2) Kick them back towards your team, into a turret, or over a wall if they're being a nuisance.
This also obviously doubles as a useful escape mechanism.
I often see a lot of similarities between Lee Sin and Shen (my other favorite character). They could be brothers separated at birth. They are both champions that require awareness, lightning fast reflexes, and nerves of steel. As Lee Sin you have a responsibility to keep your teammates alive and administer stern justice to all those who might harm them. Leave comments and questions, this is my first guide and I'll try to refine it if people let me know where it might be unclear. Good luck, SEE you in game. Haw haw haw haw haw haw!