Lee Sin Build Guide by BenNanners
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.
Comprehensive Master MMA Guide
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.
Introduction: Power, Speed, Precision
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” - Bruce Lee
Lee Sin is a fighter, and an extremely versatile champion that can perform many tricks, possessing the ability to outplay and kill most other champions.
He can be built and played in many different styles based on personal preference and team necessity.
The key is to use your many tools and play to his strengths wisely, which will give you a powerful balance of the real trinity force:
Together they are strong, but lack one, and the other two are meaningless.
Playstyle: Formless, Shapeless - like water
“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.” - Bruce Lee
Lee Sin can be built and played in a variety of ways, based on personal preference or team needs, making him a very versatile champion to have on your team. In order to play him to his full potential, he must be formless and shapeless - like water, until decided otherwise. Lee Sin players must learn to be fluid with their movements and skills like a true martial artist, and be able to fight and build reactively, and adapt according to the situation.
Pros and Cons: Extend your senses, know your limits
“After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.” - Bruce Lee
- Strong early to mid game
- Hard & Soft CC
- Hostile & Friendly gap closers
- Displacement ultimate
- High damage & mobility
- Good engage/disengage & can assassinate squishy carries
- High skill ceiling (His skill grows with yours. You will always be able to improve your game, almost as if you can never master him fully)
- Falls off late game (for the unskilled player)
- Requires fair math & calculation skill at times
- Ultimate may save an enemy rather than kill the enemy
- You may be utterly useless on Lee Sin if not played well
- High skill floor (takes a higher level of skill to even be decent at Lee Sin)
- Champion killing.
- Improved mobility, or a second chance if you fail a wall/ward jump.
- Also allows you to make some interesting team plays with your ultimate (pulling an Insec)
"Insec" (verb, noun)
1. Connecting with an enemy, and getting behind the enemy and away from your team, (using flash/ward jumps/other methods) in order to use Dragon's Rage and kick the enemy back into your team and away from theirs.
"Can you insec that guy back to us?"
1. The altogether act of the gap close, the self re-position, the kick, and the enemy displacement, taking place together.
"He just pulled an insec!"
(Named after the Korean OGN player 'Insec' for this famous Lee Sin move.)
Runes for Lee Sin are very dependent a lot on playstyle and build path, most notably starting items. I've displayed an optimal and well rounded rune choice for him under any circumstance.
Quints: Lifesteal - Optimal for a lot of reasons: Makes him a stronger duelist, allows you to delay taking a point in W ( Safeguard), Opens up your item starts ( Long Sword), Synergizes more with Doran's Blade
Marks: AD - Standard
- Standard, especially against AD or ranged
- You'll build MR later, so you can just go for early game MR here
Here is an alternative rune page:
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Marks: Armor Penetration - If you expect a laning phase where you won't recall before Level 6
(E.g. VS Nasus with a bunch of health potions). Armor Penetration runes are useful in that situation (as you won't be able to recall to purchase a The Brutalizer for early Armor Penetration, this will make up for it.) Most importantly, Lee Sin has some high early game base stats, which will be amplified more by Armor Penetration than AD, especially if you already started an AD item first ( Doran's Blade or Long Sword)
- 21/9/0 set up is meant for aggressive/offensive laning phase
- Synergizes strongly with Lee Sin's kit and his early game strengths
- If you build damage: Strong damage, poor durability
- If you build durability: Decent damage, decent durability
- If you build both: Fair damage, fair durability
- 9/21/0 is meant for a safe/defensive laning phase
- Not the best, but if you're afraid or think you might lose lane, better safe than feeding.
- If you build damage: Fair damage, decent durability
- If you build durability: Poor damage, strong durability
- If you build both: Fair damage, fair durability
Taking all this into consideration, both set ups are viable and it's up to situation and preference on what to choose. Most often, it's better to go 21/9/0 which is why that's what I have shown. However, in case you want to go for a 9/21/0 set up:
Note: Tenacious is a great mastery point, but it's better to trade 2 points from that into Reinforced Armor and Evasive . You lose 2 Armor and 1 Magic Resist per champion (max vs 5 champions: 10 Armor, 5 MR), but gain 10% reduced damage from Critical Strikes, and 4% reduced damage from Area of Effect damage, which is worth a lot more than 10 Armor and 5 MR, not to mention that you will not always have the full benefit of 5 enemy champions (either because they died, or are not all grouped), but you will always benefit from Reinforced Armor and Evasive in the jungle, laning, or dueling 1v1.
Skill Sequence: Tools of your Trade
"Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.“ - Bruce Lee
Honestly, you can max whatever you want in whatever order you want... That's one great thing about Lee Sin, it depends on personal preference or who you're up against. (As long as the skills reach rank 5 accordingly at levels 9, 13, 18, and your ultimate at levels 6, 11, 16.) Then anything is fair game.
Maxing Q Sonic Wave/ Resonating Strike:
- you can hit skill shots
- you don't want to push the wave
- higher single target damage (especially to champions)
- helps secure kills
- more difficult but more rewarding (for higher level players)
Maxing W Safeguard/ Iron Will:
- VS. ranged who is constantly poking you
- 2 points early is good to block most auto/spell/ Ignite damage
- safer farming, take less damage, more lane sustain (Lifesteal/Spellvamp)
Maxing E Tempest/ Cripple:
- VS. AP or enemy who is building armor instead of health( Tempest scales with Attack Damage but deals Magic damage)
- you duel often (Slows enemy Attack Speed)
- you need more Crowd Control for ganks (weak jungle gankers with no/low CC Master Yi, Evelynn)
- you want to push or proxy
- Max E = Most reliable since it's not a skill shot (recommended)
- Max W = Super safe/defensive choice, or you can't make up your mind (Either way, always take 2 points early)
- Max Q = Riskiest but most rewarding
Items: An Eye for the Blind
The build I've illustrated is one of the most balanced builds between damage and durability, with both balance in the early game and late game.
- Warding Totem as always, but this should be kept for an emergency ward jump, as opposed to river warding and one starting item below. Then spend the rest of your starting gold on Health Potion
- Cloth Armor (Often the safest start) Good against other AD casters ( Garen, Darius, Renekton, Zed) If you go this start, you can purchase 1 Stealth Ward for the river as well to be safer in laning phase if you plan to play a bit aggressive (Just gives you more margin for error with the ward).
- Doran's Blade If you can easily get free auto attacks off, or need extra sustain (VS. other sustainers Nasus, Aatrox, Rengar) Also good if you plan for a highly aggressive Level 1.
- Long Sword building into Vampiric Scepter, Good if you expect you'll be forced to recall early, or will need early dueling capabilities (VS. Jax, Shen)
- Doran's Shield Good against ranged champions
- Elixir of Fortitude For extremely aggressive start (Level 1 kill), or an extremely safe back up survival tool. You can't really go wrong with this start, however you'll need to make use of the 3 minutes of the stat boost, or it's a pure waste of 350 gold.
- Sightstone/ Ruby Sightstone is mainly the only core item that's a must have. It's just too useful and opens up so many opportunities to make plays, and drastically increases your mobility. As well as another source of warding for your team. (Note: Upgrading to Ruby Sightstone doesn't actually enhance anything other than giving you more health and an extra ward charge, because the Sightstone passive was changed to match the Ruby Sightstone allowing you to place 3 wards at a time. Thus, getting Sightstone is enough for the mobility/warding passive, and better to leave it at that and go for Randuin's Omen if you're really looking for durability, then upgrade to Ruby Sightstone in the late game.)
- The Brutalizer is a great early game item providing awesome stats: AD, CDR, & Armor Penetration.
-> Into The Black Cleaver Strengthening his mid game & team fight with AD, HP, & Armor shredding.
- Vampiric Scepter/ Tiamat
-> Into Ravenous Hydra - Passive/active synergizes strongly with his E Tempest in order to clear minion waves almost instantly, and get tons of AOE damage in team fights (Note: Going Vampiric Scepter allows you more lifesteal and sustain in lane, if you want to zone the enemy away and farm. | Going Tiamat will cause you to push your wave, but will allow you to proxy/farm behind tower, or take an early tower.)
- Randuin's Omen is another great synergizing item. Huge durability spike once completed, and the Passive makes him even harder to kite or catch than he already was. The Active synergizes even better with Tempest and Ravenous Hydra if he gets into the fray in the middle of a team fight.
- Ninja Tabi synergizes with Randuin's Omen to make you incredibly tanky, especially when dueling or going up against a Marksman/ADC.
- Spirit Visage is great on Lee Sin. Increased healing synergizes with his W's second activation Iron Will, and with Ravenous Hydra, providing the bonus MR and HP he needs, as well as cooldown reduction so he can cast abilities quicker without the fear of running low on mana.
- Last Whisper - Alternative to The Black Cleaver for Attack Damage/Armor penetration. If you had to start Vampiric Scepter or you're falling so behind you need to start buying defensive stats, then skip The Black Cleaver altogether, and wait until later in the game to just buy Last Whisper.
- Mercury's Treads - If you're facing an non-ignorable amount of crowd control (E.g. Fiddlesticks's Q ability Terrify)
Be aggressive in lane while being safe, assert your dominance, and use your early game strengths to an advantage while you can. Feel free to always throw out Q Sonic Wave since you won't run out of mana, in order to try to get it to land for poke damage, and even follow it up for more harass. Lee Sin has a nice Movement Speed of 350, allowing you to keep up with most other champions for auto attacks.
Q Sonic Wave can also be used to last hit safely from range, or if you won't land a second auto attack in time and two minions are about to die together quickly.
You can use W Safeguard on a minion that's about to die to interfere with an enemy last hit, or on the siege minion to increase it's life span while pushing down a turret.
When putting damage on an enemy turret, make sure to constantly use your spells to utilize your passive efficiently. (W can be applied to yourself, but try to land Q and E onto the oncoming minion waves while pushing)
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” - Bruce Lee
Though you have great killing potential in lane, and should be able to continue getting kills after you hit Level 6, sometimes you might be behind, or sometimes **** happens, and it's just not possible. (Maybe the other person is really ahead or just went straight tank). You have two choices:
1. Push up quickly, begin proxy farming because hey, why not.
2. Look to make plays elsewhere, look to assist your team mates and create opportunities on the map. There's a reason Lee Sin is played in the jungle too, he's good at ganks. Use this to roam down and try to help out your mid laner.
- You can easily gap close and kick the enemy into your team mate (given that's a good idea). You can either just ward jump behind them, or try to quickly connect a double Q and kick. Your ganks are great at Level 6, so if you can't get kills yourself, help your team mates get some.
Team Fights: The Roundhouse Kick
“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” - Bruce Lee
This quote is key. It doesn't mean you can't try interesting things and try to make plays for your team, it just means that your team is ready for you to make those plays. Landing an "insec" is great, but if your team isn't around to follow up on it, then what's the point? Chances are, you might even die. You should always be ready, but your team mates may not be, so make sure they're the same page as you before you start wrecking face.
You will only ever have two different roles in a team fight.
1. Peel: Protect your backline from being dived.
- This typically stems from having 2 champions that dive already (your jungler/mid laner), leaving you to stick with the Marksman & Support and protect them. You can provide good constant DPS with your back line, so make sure to use Tempest to AOE slow everyone to help keep enemies from reaching your carries, and keep them slowed for your carries. Also, if you get hard engaged by someone who's really ahead, a very strong assassin, or someone you know is going to get past your slows and will still get on your carries ( Zed, Nasus, etc.) then don't be afraid to use your Dragon's Rage as a disengage tool to keep them at bay and save your carries by kicking the enemy away immediately. Stick with your carries, and Safeguard them when you can. Keep them alive!
2. Engage: Create opportunities and make plays.
- This usually stems from your mid laner being a back line champion ( Lux, Nidalee, etc.) If this is the case, they will be in the backline with the Marksman & Support peeling for them and protecting them. Your job is to now dive in and engage with your jungler.
- This has a wide variety of options from flanking and engaging them from behind and insec-ing that way from the back, or from diving head on from the front, to force an engage and start the fight. Your goal should always be to try and kick the enemy carries back into your team so your team can focus them down, and instantly melt and kill them.
(Note: However, if after all your mobility tools and tricks are used up, and there's no chance you can get to the enemy carry, don't chase a lost cause. Don't be afraid to pick another target (maybe the enemy jungler?) and kick them into your team. If your team can instantly kill the jungler, then that means the enemy team won't have a Smite up, and you could potentially pick up a Baron. Don't be afraid to be forced to pick another target, or engage the fight by killing off one of the enemy tanks first.)
Learn to adapt. Be versatile.
Late Game: Force is meaningless without skill
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” - Bruce Lee
It's no secret that Lee Sin typically falls off during the late game. So what can you do about this? You'll have to be dealing mostly DPS and tanking for your team, fulfilling either the role of engager, or peeler. You'll be weaker than most, but that's that. You'll just have to do the best you can at what you do, there's nothing more you can do. Do the best to your ability, and it should work out fine. Even better if your team is good and can follow up.
Look to make plays through good warding with you and your support using your Sightstone. Look for catches, and do your best to engage and get off some Insecs. In a 5v5 team fight you're weaker, but if you can catch people out here and there, you can win the game through the small skirmishes, and you'll never have to 5v5.
Tips and Tricks: Master yourself, Master the enemy
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” - Bruce Lee
The biggest tip any avid Lee Sin player can give you, is practice. Know your way around the champion, and know it well. Understand your strengths, know what you can do, but also know your limits. The more familiar you are, the exponentially better you are.
- Practice your ward jumps.
- Practice your play making.
- Practice landing your skill shots.
- Practice your aim with the kicks.
- Practice your insec.
Know him like the back of your hand, and it should be no problem. Practice practice practice.
- Q Sonic Wave and E Tempest reveal stealthed units, so if you're against a Teemo, you can check if he's waiting in bushes with Q, and you can use E in bushes to provie vision to clear his mushroom/traps.
- Both also work effectively against Kha'Zix, Vayne, and Evelynn. if you ever face those match ups. The combined time length that your Q and E grants vision (true sight) is up to 7 seconds, meaning that you can effectively use it for the full duration of Twitch's Ambush.
- If you plan to ward jump with your Warding Totem and ward with your Sightstone, you might want to switch the bindings of Sightstone to 4, and Warding Totem to 2, to allow you to quickly drop a ward and slide down to hit W for Safeguard to ward jump quicker.
- There is a small channel time for your ultimate Dragon's Rage, so if you're actually close enough to the enemy target, you can cast your ultimate first, then mid-channel, Flash behind them, or to whatever direction you'd like, in order to displace the enemy in the respective desired direction. This happens quicker than flashing and then kicking, therefore, it gives your opponents less time to react.
- Elixir of Fortitude - If this is the first item start you wish to go with, and plan to play hyper aggressive, and possibly get an early Level 1 kill. Start with your Q skill Sonic Wave. This will give you maximum early game damage output. Then just wait in a bush you know the enemy will walk near/past, and prepare your trap. (River bush, Tri bush, Top bushes)
- If they face check, your order is (while orb walking/attack moving): auto, Q, auto, auto, Q, auto, ignite. If they don't face check and they merely walk by the bush, you lose 1 auto attack from the combo. -> This combo adds up to 100 (+300%AD) (+180%BonusAD) (+8% Enemy Missing HP) Physical damage + Ignite (70 true damage), with your Runes & Masteries for Attack Damage, you'll have Base 59 AD + 31 Bonus AD = 90 AD. (Excluding any bonus damage masteries etc.). So this combination should be 325 physical damage + 8% enemy missing health + 70 true damage = 400+ damage, which either forces the enemy to recall right after and lose a few waves, basically losing so much experience and gold they lose lane off of this. You won't pick up a kill from this, but the outcome of the advantage gain in this lane is more than satisfactory to make up for more than gaining a kill. #WORTH
Final Words: Act free of doubt
Lee Sin is a champion with an extremely high skill ceiling, meaning almost limitless potential. You'll never get bored of him, and you can only ever get better and better with him. Think outside the box, and don't let anything limit you. If you find any other guides out there that help you learn more about Lee Sin, keep it in mind. Don't be limited to just this, by one guide.
Expand your knowledge of him, and always try to think of new things to do, new plays to make, and always "think on your toes". You never know what you can do with this champion!
GLHF PLAYING LEE SIN :)
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce lee