Build Guide by DuffTime
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Welcome to a REAL Off-tank Irelia guide.
I'm going to keep it relatively short, but I hope to outline the basic idea of Off-Tanking with Irelia, and hopefully you walk away with a better understanding of the champion and how she works as an Off-Tank.
Why Off-Tank as Irelia?
Duff, are you stupid? Look at all the potential damage she has... *Dreamy eyes*
NO! STOP IT!
This guide is about OFF-TANKING, not building tanky DPS, not building as a carry, but OFF-TANKING.
As it is, you're lucky I didn't trade Madred's for Sunfire.
Let's think for a moment, as to why we might want to Off-Tank with Irelia...
What do you do when Irelia comes flying into your team comp.
Get her out?
Okay, well, we tried but she's still here. Now what?
Uhhh, we just blew EVERYTHING on her and she's still not dead, wtf, what now?
CC her! Run!
OMFG, SHE CAN'T BE CC'D... 75% CC REDUCTION! AND WE CAN'T RUN, SHE HAS SO MANY WAYS TO SLOW US!!! (Trinity force, randuin's, Equilibrium strike)
-YOU LOSE, SIR! YOU LOSE!!!-
Yes, I do believe Irelia as an Off-Tank will be carrying you to victory on frequent occasion. I don't have the slightest idea as to why she isn't listed in all of the top tier rankings, and I don't know why she isn't picked in every ranked game.
An Off-Tank Irelia can 1v3, literally 1v3, and win. Triple kill, by herself.
And we're going to go over how to do it, from here on out, and explain some of the mechanics behind it and the simple math behind why to build this way as we go.
Irelia level 1-5
It's simple, if you go out to battle with the runes and masteries and items I've chosen, you will be a skill spamming monster.
You are going to eat almost any opponent you come into contact with alive. You can even use Bladesurge to last hit. Try to last hit with your auto attack, but when the enemy forces you away you can get sneaky last hits with Bladesurge.
If you can't win your lane during levels 1-5, just have a little patience. Last hit effectively, get your philo stone, and prepare yourself... Cause you're just gettin' started.
Irelia level 6-10
CONGRATULATIONS! If you made it here without dying and last hitting, you did your job.
YOU NOW OWN THE LANE! If you can't lane with Irelia at level 6, you suck at League of Legends. She even beats Nidalee at level 6. She beats damn near every champion in the game at level 6. I can't think of anyone she doesn't beat other than Singed, and that's just a stalemate.
But EVEN THAT works out well for you, because Singed is just Singed. He runs around and flings people and stuff, but he's still just singed. His poison hurts, sure.
BUT IRELIA IS FKIN IRELIA. Free farm Irelia will just steamroll your life.
When you reach this level as Irelia, you farm. You should not miss a single minion kill, and your opponent in lane should be terrified of you. You should push every wave to the tower, (That doesn't mean you attack the tower, just push it to the tower) and force their jungler to react. This will allow your mid lane and bottom lane to push more as well.
The pressure on the whole map will be a problem for them.
Get your HoG and your merc treads during these levels. If you're last hitting effectively, you can get those items surprisingly early.
Irelia lvl 11 +
This part is simple. Win your lane.
Get trinity Force.
Get Negatron cloak and Warden's mail.
Win game. Fight like crazy, steamroll everything and everyone.
Continue to do this until they are forced to group mid because if they don't they will lose to you.
As you build tankier and tankier, open up more and more, and dive a bit deeper and deeper to kill them. Keep in mind you -can- die, it's just very hard to do kill you.
Part of Off-Tanking effectively with Irelia is -forcing- the enemy to waste big cool-downs on you to defend themselves. This protects your fragile carries, and allows your team to open up more as well. If you do this correctly, you will make them waste multiple summoners and flashes and ultimate's to escape just you, and that will leave them unable to defend their towers and unable to team-fight.
Even if you dashing in and 2 champions flash away and they use an exhaust and an ignite and you have to flash/ghost away, the trade was 2 summoners for 4 summoners, putting your team at an advantage.
During this time, a tower may have been broken as well or an enemy champion may have been taken down.
Off-Tanking is not simply getting high amounts of kills, but breaking the opponent's team comp in half, separating the carries from the tanks and supports and leaving their composition broken.
A note in regards to resistances.
The way resistances work in League of legends, is sort of a "Diminishing returns effect" ... Allow me to try to explain in a simple way.
Go into a custom game, and buy 5 Thornmails. You will find that as you get higher armor and higher, the % of damage reduction begins to scale up more and more SLOWLY.
Amazing LOL left a comment on how the actual process works and I'll leave a few examples using the same math to show the progression and how it tops out.
It's simple math. Take your armor, for example, and divide it 100 times + your armor, then multiply by 100.
I've got 20 armor. So 20 / (100+20) = 0.17 x 100 = 17% reduction.
On higher armor values, like... 350: 350 / (100+350) x 100 = 78% reduction.
So, I'll leave some example using that math now, to show the progression and how you get less and less reduction the higher you go.
20 / (100+20) = 0.17 x 100 = 17% reduction...
20 / (100+20) = 17%
(The next 20 armor provides 11% more reduction.)
40 / (100+40) = 28%
(The next 20 armor provides 9% more reduction.)
60 / (100+60) = 37%
(The next 20 armor provides 7% more reduction.)
80 / (100+80) = 44%
(The next 20 armor provides 6% more reduction.)
100 / (100+100) = 50%
(The next 20 armor provides 4% more reduction.)
120 / (100+120) = 54%
(The next 20 armor provides 4% more reduction.)
140 / (100+140) = 58%
(The next 20 armor provides 3% more reduction.)
160 / (100+160) = 61%
350 / (100+350) = 78% reduction.
So, as we can see quite clearly, you're buying the same amount of armor, and getting less in your % of DMG reduction for each point. =)
Because of this, Flat armor or magic pen items in early and mid game are incredibly powerful. They remove the best part of damage reduction, the low numbers give you the highest amount of reduction, and flat pen breaks that early.
That's why when you pick up ARP runes and a Brutalizer you deal about the same damage as if you had AD runes and a BF sword to some targets. The amount of armor pen will have you dealing true damage or perhaps if you pen all their armor, even increased damage.
Against targets with low resistances, AKA, a carry or something like that, the impact is still substantial in the end game, because you might still be cutting through 1/4-1/2 of their resistances with something like 20-40 ARP. (Most carries won't break 80 resistances.)
However, in the same way that flat bonuses have a large effect against carries, their effect gradually over time carries less, and less impact against highly armored and resistant targets.
Flat Mpen or flat ArP eventually begin to have their effect reduced, because of the way resistances "Top out" after a certain point.
For example, if you have so many resistances, that you've begun to "Top out" already, you're not getting the best returns on your investment... Right?
Most players will run ArP reds and quints on their AD carries, and Mpen or AP on their AP casters and buy sorc boots for the Mpen later.
This means that most AD carries and AP carries will have between 20-35ish ARP or Mpen, even at very low levels. Some of it is invisible, you simply have to know it's there.
This means, your armor and Magic res is not as high as you think it is. You have to build more to get the full benefit of "The sweet spot" as I call it. You have to build about 20-30 resistances farther at least into the area where you begin to "Top out" and get poor returns on your investment, so that after the opponent's reductions are factored you're still comfortably taking advantage of the high resistances you get early.
I judge that area to be around 130-150 resistances or higher. When a champion buys an item like last whisper, you might need to get up to as high as 170 to make up for the difference, or just build a bit more damage so you can kill them or render them unable to sit and attack you, and force them to run.
The reason people are not succeeding as tanks with "Tanky DPS" champions, is because they're simply building health and a banshee's veil or two, and calling it a day.
But, the amount of resistances they build leave them vulnerable to items like Youmuu's, SotD, Black cleaver, Starks, and others.
However, if a player were to build -more- resistances, and -less- damage items, they would get their resistances to start topping out.
This would cause the other player's armor pen to only lower them back down to "The sweet spot" of resistances, where every point is still making a large difference, and therefore, your resistances will still be very high.
This is the concept behind an Off-Tank, and this is what makes it work.
This is why I tell people so often, don't refer to them as the same thing, you're hurting yourselves and the community. A Tanky DPS is a carry with some HP and some minor resistances. You're building damage, and your intent is to carry.
An Off-Tank is a tank with some damage. Your intent is to tank, and also mix thing up. Their carry's should never feel safe, and your team should feel confident following you into the fight.
Trust me, Last Whisper and Void Staff will help a lot against an Off-Tank, but it's not going to take an Off-Tank out of the game in one item. There is no easy solution to beat a well farmed off-tank, who has planned their resistances and their source of damage well.
Also, another thought. People seem to forget that items like Randuin's and Banshee's veil are both great items in regards to stats, but also in regards to their "utility" effects. Randuin's greatest source of damage reduction, is not the 75 armor it provides, but rather the 35% slowing to attack speed and move speed. Banshee's veil protects you from a spell, which in the end game could be up to 500-1000 damage, or a CC that leaves you exposed to tremendous damage.
Those effects double as resistances to some extent as well, by protecting you in more ways from the incoming damage. When you finally add all the effects together, the result is quite impressive how difficult you are to kill, and both teams will feel the difference.
And all you have to do, is top out your resistances just a little bit, so that you're actually getting the most out of them, and use the utility effects on your items =)
Situationals. (Duff, wtf, no spirit visage?)
Yeap, deal with it. *Sunglasses.
But, if you really want a Spirit Visage, it's not a terrible item choice for Irelia.
However, the above chapter explains in more depth why I take higher resistance items than Spirit Visage.
But, if you simply will not play Irelia without spirit visage, trade FoN for it. You'll be squishier and your ult will have about the same effect, but the cool-down reductions are very welcomed. The HP will do it's best to substitute itself for the Magic res you are missing. When you get blown up by an AP caster, keep in mind, you chose to change the build, and I warned you. It's not the builds fault, it's your fault =P
However, if you're not finding there is a large caster threat, a Spirit visage instead of a FoN might be a great idea.
You may find yourself wanting to buy a Wit's end. Go for it, with the new buffs, that item will PRETEND to be a tanky item.
Don't be that guy who says "Noooo Duffff it's 50 nowwww it stacksss"
NO IT'S NOT 50. Cause when you dash in you'll have 30, everyone will blow all their **** on you before you can stack it, and if you can't survive that, you're dead. It's 30 until you stack it. Never add your total "stack-able" stats to your base numbers.
FoN, for those reasons, in my book, is superior. The move speed, in combo with Trinity force, is really the icing on the cake. A fast Off-Tank is hell on earth.
If there is little to no AD threat, guess what? You should still buy Randuin's.
The activated proc is just that good for killing everything and everyone. And it's even better on Irelia who can dash in and slow the whole world. Not to mention the HP, and every champion in the game has an auto attack, the armor will help with that.
The only thing you might really want to do in some games, is trade Madred's for a Sunfire cape. That will greatly boost your HP, which will make you into a true Tank rather than a simple Off-tank, yet you will still be dealing incredible amounts of damage.
(This was almost the original build concept, but Madred's is a great item for her as well, and makes you harder to ignore, which is good.)
Again, keeping this one short.
But if you have any more questions, feel free to ask me.
Irelia is one of the most devastating champions in the game. She was somewhat recently nerfed, but I anticipate more nerfs coming soon.
She's never weak. She's strong all game, and wins most lanes. Then, come team-fight time, she wins you the team-fights for free. It's insane when you build her as an Off-Tank what she can do for your team.
She's safe for your team, and dangerous for the other team, and she scales better with gear than almost any other champion in the game. (I'm not referring to her skill's ratios, which are not very good, but rather the effect of how her total package as a champion scales with good gear.) What more could you want out a solo top lane? ;)
Pick Irelia, take the solo top lane, Off-Tank with her, win games, and enjoy.
I don't think you'll be able to deny after you've tried it that this is a sick nasty way to play a very great champion.