Not Updated For Current Season
Hello, This is my first submitted build. In the few days since Irelia was released, I've seen many people attempt to play her and many people do quite terrible. Of course, I was one of those people but then I really began to get into toying with all sorts of different types of builds (As in Ability, Rune, Mastery and Item). What I'm posting here is as of this point, one of the best builds that I have been able to come up with.
I'll start off by explaining the mastery choices, since I believe a lot of people will have issues with them. Irelia is quite squishy. Yes, she has a small amount of life-return, but it is just plain not enough. Her faults are very visible early game and good players will capitalize on this.. To help balance those faults, I decided on a mastery build that would accomplish what I needed. Yes, you lose potential damage. However in her case, I feel that the gain far out-weighs the loss. You will be able to lane longer, harass harder and generally stay for that gank, if you aren't initiating it yourself.
I've also seen many people with many different rune builds for Irelia. You can really do what you please here, be it attack speed or critical strike, or whatever you like. I've found this setup works best for me. The armor pen runes are an obvious choice, as she IS an auto-attacking champion. Yes, she does true damage, but not all the time. You will rely on physical damage more often than you realize. With the mana regen yellows, you will find that you will not need to waste your money on mana potions (unless you are completely careless with every single one of your abilities, I suppose), nor will you need to blow money on a manamune, as I see many people doing. With the blue runes.. that should be a pretty obvious choice. More cooldown reduction means more true damage!
-Ability Level-up Choices-
What I've posted here is really only a recommended approach. If you are unable to actually stay in for minion kills, its entirely acceptable to pick-up a few ranks of Bladesurge to help get those last hits on the minions.
Ah yes, Item choices. These are what make the build work. Doran's blade is simply a must-have with this build. when you pick it up and run to your lane, you will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 750 hp. Quite a lot for a character classified as an assassin. You will find that you will be able to really go after that first blood. People don't expect it. Obviously these next few comments will depend on your situation and whether or not you are having a good/bad game. But I will typically lane until I have saved up about 1400 gold. Then I will head back and pickup the Berserker's Greaves and the Vampiric Scepter. Then save up another 1200 or so for a zeal. It is at this point you have options and you will have to decide what to do depending on how the game is going. As you can see, next on my list is the frozen mallet. However, I dont always go for the frozen mallet. It's a great survivability/chaser item, but if you find that you are not getting focused, or plain dont NEED the extra hitpoints, go for the lovely Trinity Force. It accomplishes all the same things, essentially, but sacrifices some hit points for additional damage. After that, its time to grab a phantom dancer. Irelia loves phantom dancers <3. Then of course, is the obligatory Stark's Fervor. This is just plain awesome for Irelia. You will notice at this point you will become a pretty effective life-steal tank. I have angered many a people at this point. After this comes another set of choices. The choice being between Sword of the Divine and Madred's Bloodrazor. Typically, I run with the Sword unless they have more than two champions with 3k hp. (Not a team of assassins). And with the very last item in the build, (If you get that far, I typically don't) is the Bloodthirster. You have another set choices. You don't have to get the bloodthirster. If you are having survivability issues, you can get a defensive item such as Banshee's Veil.
First, let me start off by saying that Irelia is not an initiator. You can't rush into a group of 3-4 enemy champions and expect to live because of your life steal. No, your job is to pick off all of the enemy carries. You can do that VERY effectively. After the tank has initiated, you run straight to the back and get ready for the QQ fest that ensues. Now the typical ability rotation I use is => I pop Q to get into range and deal a little damage. Followed up by your E. This will either stun or slow, whatever. It is after you do this and are sure your going to have time to beat on them that you pop your W. With all of the attack speed in this build, that SHOULD be enough time to kill anyone that is not a tank. However, if it is not, by the time your W is off, you can E again and do whatever. One thing different about Irelia is her ultimate. Its not something you pop during a gank. You are a melee champion and skill shots are a little hard to aim in a hectic melee fight. Save it. This ultimate is simply AMAZING when you are chasing someone down or attempting to flee. Someone is fleeing with 500 hp? No problem! Pop that R and start owning them from a distance. Whats that? Your at 200 HP and the enemy team is chasing you? No problem! Start running, pop your ult and fling all 4 into the mass of enemy champions, then laugh as you are almost restored to full health. I believe a lot of people fail to realize the potential of this ultimate. All they see is an ability they can't pop whenever they like and have it do well.
And that is it for my hastily put together Irelia guide. I am entirely open to criticism. So if you try this build and you find that something you do appears to work better, tell me about it! Don't be shy. She's a brand new champion and everyone is trying to figure her out =)
Oh! And as for the potential of this champion... Well, shes the only character I've played that can solo baron with only half of an item build! =)
Thanks for your time, and please rate!
Feel free to comment with any questions, I will try to respond in a timely manner!