Lee Sin Build Guide by EvilDice
Not Updated For Current Season
Lee Sin Build
Not Updated For Current Season
Introduction to Lee Sin
So you've decided to try your hand at the blind monk, have you? Well, you simply do not realize what you are getting yourself into. The truth is, Lee Sin is a high skillcap champion who requires the summoner to make smart, educated split second decisions. For me, playing the monk seems very natural, I don't think too much about what just happened till I'm dead. When I started playing Lee Sin, I was aweful with him and just had no idea how to play him. Then I just kept playing more games with him, and eventually, I found my inner blind monk and I now rape face with him. The key to getting better with him is practice, practice, and more practice. Oh, and you can read this guide, that would help too. Step into my dojo.
Please read the items section. It should clarify things.
Lane or Jungle?
Since playing a lot more ranked lee sin, I now prefer jungling to laning because he is really a top tier choice in the jungle. He is very versatile with many different paths to the enemy, and to glory.
Lee Sin is an absolute BEAST in both the lane and jungle, and you can make an impact doing both. I just feel Lee can do everything in the jungle, however he is much more beatable in lane. Pick your poison though, I would be fine with either a lane or jungle Lee Sin on my team, and this guide will cover both.
Your passive is worth remembering because of the extra AS you can get and energy you can regen back. It DOES NOT stack so for farming/jungling, you are not going to want to spam your abilities all at once or you will not make the most out of this passive.
Your bread and butter ability. Your Q is your best friend. It serves as your distance closer, your main damage dealer, your bush checker, and your finisher. This allows you to finish off enemies very well because of the fact that it does more damage the more health your target is missing, much like garen's ult. You are going to use this in lane for quick, easy harassment and in teamfights to stick to your target like glue.
Your shield is going to help with your sustainability in lane because of the extra lifesteal, as well as allow you to get off cheap, easy harassment(even at their tower) by just dashing up to them with Q and retreating back to your minions with W. You should use your shield to help allies but you are mainly using it as a defensive dash.
Your W may also be used as a gap closer. This is especially useful for ganking.
Please know that you can shield yourself, so if you are fighting someone and don't want to dash away, hold alt+w for a self shield :).
*** You can dash to wards with this!!! I usually always carry 1-2 wards in my inventory(that I don't put down) so that I can place a ward over a wall and dash to it. This can serve for some very nifty escapes without having to waste your flash summoner spell.
Since you can no longer proc the bug on it, this ability is next to useless and is only going to be used for the slow utility it gives you. For this reason I do take one level of it at level 4 but refrain on taking it for the rest of the game.
Your ultimate is very underestimated and very misunderstood. It is a hefty knockback that deals very nice damage. In lane, I generally use it as my finishing combo(ult+ignite). In jungle, I flash behind who I am ganking and then ult them, knocking them into my ally.
When you are teamfighting, consider both of these methods. The target of your ult is generally going to be a squishy carry on the other team that you can knock into your team. If you spot an enemy out of position, flash ult that ***** and get a quick, easy kill.
Also, don't be afraid to use this defensively! It's on a short cooldown and can save your life when you are getting chased.
Your abilities go on cooldown after you use the second part of the ability. This is important to know when you are escaping, because you want to make sure that you use both parts of your W to get it on cooldown as fast as possible.
Part I: Laning
Laning with Lee Sin can be tough, but it is often very rewarding (and fun) to do so. The key to laning Lee Sin is a very patient, persistent playstyle. You basically want to be in your enemie's face 24/7, while not taking any damage in return. It's hard to do, but hopefully with this guide and build you can get it done.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage Since Lee's Q is such a strong ability, having strong AD and ratios early on can give you early lane dominance that's hard to recover from.
Greater Seal of Armor is going to help you deal with your solo top opponent who will either be an offtank or a ranged dps.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is another early game rune that will be especially useful if you are laning top against a caster.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - Again, these are for early game lane dominance and great scaling with your Q. AD quints are a little under rated and should probably see more use than they do right now.
I go very aggressive with my masteries, since that's how I play lee. The final mastery point is enough reason to skill down this field, as well as some better scaling overall throughout the game. The alternative is 9/21/0.
I. Summoner Spells
Heal + Ignite - So heal ignite has been gaining a lot of popularity recently and for good reason. Heal allows for a lot of early aggression and puts a lot of pressure on the opposing laner, a lot of times resulting for first blood for yourself.
Obviously the disadvantage to this is the ganks, and you are especially vulnerable to ganks early on. Knowledge of jungle times and good map awareness are going to help you out a lot with this, and once you hit 6 and get some wards to dash to you should be very very hard to gank.
HOWEVER, there is times where you want to grab flash, and that is going to be mostly against heavy ganking junglers with good gap closers (jarvan comes to mind, nautilus, etc). Since going heal ignite is basically an invitation to their jungler to say "hey! come gank me!" flash is still a great choice in some situations. Also gives some nice initiating potential with a flash+ult combo.
I. Skill Order
The W max setup on lee is the best way to play him at the moment.
I. Item Pool
One thing that you are going to find as you dig deeper into the world of Lee Sin is that build/item possibilities are endless. You might find that the Lee who build atmogs crushed lategame, but the Lee who built two bloodthirsters owned just as hard. The truth is that on Lee Sin, there is no superior item build. He has the most variation in build paths than any other champion in the game, and thus, I can't just pump out a lane build section here with relative ease.
Instead, here's a pool of items you should consider getting on Lee Sin. After this, the subsequent item sections will include starter builds, but they ARE NOT stagnant. Pretty much every game I play with Lee I build his items in a different order, it should be a combination of building for yourself and building to counter the enemy team. Here goes.
- These are to be built mostly against AP. What dblades do is they give you the lifesteal you need without the cost of wriggles, as well as not giving you useless stats like a fast wriggles may do. Armor wont do **** vs a vlad, whereas health and lifesteal will do a whole lot. Don't forget the damage boost, which is considerable. If you are fed as **** and want to press your advantage you can get these vs physical damage champs too, especially bursters like pantheon.
- Thought I would mention this. Often times I will either substitute this for my second dorans blade or add it to my build regardless. This is one of the most cost efficient items in the game and is going to give you great lane/teamfight sustain. You don't even have to finish the item.
- In contrast, a wriggles is your go-to sustain item vs physical damage IF YOU NEED IT. If you are winning your lane without wriggles, often times you can skip this item and substitute it with a bloodthirster, if you think you can handle it. This is usually if you are winning your lane really hard tho.
- Might as well finish off all the lifesteal items. This is the item you buy when you are super freakin' fed and you are capable of ending the game on your own. If you are going to get this get it early to press your advantage, and it's a great substitute for wriggles. I honestly look for reasons to buy a BT these days, because I feel it is so useful on lee. You just need to make sure you can get enough farm to get tanky enough late game. I have nothing against buying two of these, if you think you can tank well enough. Just make sure that something like a last whisper isn't a better option.
- These should be your boots 85% of the time or higher. Lee Sin is a CC magnet, first off, secondly you are gonna be hard pressed to find MR items, third they are just so damn sexy. If the enemy team has very little cc/magic damage, then consider ninja tabi.
- Sick nasty boots bro. These are your armor choice, but generally you will want mercs because bruisers have a vast abundance of armor items available to them, but really struggle finding MR from my experience. Just because they are cheap doesn't mean you buy them.
- Frozen mallet is just such a beautiful item on bruisers, and it has become a much more popular choice vs AP, and is beginning to be taken a lot more than warmogs.
I feel like most of the reason why FM is taken a lot more now is because phage is such an amazing early game item for all lane matchups, and you can actually survive most of the game without even upgrading to a mallet, even buying an atmas before it. However, you will want to rush frozen mallet when you are in need of health. Health is a simply amazing statistic on all champs, and the absolute best counter to burst. If the enemy team has a lot of burst you will want to grab FM early. I think it goes without saying that a 40% MS slow every autoattack is pretty good, too.
- Now in most situations I like frozen mallet for the reasons above, but if you dont need the CC or the phage and wanna just be one tanky mofuaker, warmogs is for you. It is obviously the best source of raw health in the game and is also cheaper than mallet by a decent amount.
Please know that rushing warmogs can completely kill lee sin's mid game if you aren't farming like a boss. You will do no damage with no damage items. This is a very important thing to consider.
- Hexdrinker is an absolutely fantastic early game item and maw just spices it up a bit. This item elevated lane lee from godlike to legendary status in my book, just because it makes laning vs AP so much easier and scales really nicely into late game. MR and tons of damage? Count me in. (buy it when you are laning vs. AP, also a very nice choice lategame as an MR item).
- Really no reason not to buy this item, in any build. Even if you buy 0 health items this thing scales pretty well. Should be your first choice when you need a lot of armor. You don't have to rush it, but you can certainly get it after you have a phage.
- Great damage item on lee, especially useful if you already have a bloodthirster and are going for "maul the **** outta you" damage. If you are going to buy this item, it should usually be one of your last items, to make sure if it's actually needed (if they have a lot of armor). Otherwise if you are looking for more damage, a triforce and 2nd bloodthirster should also be considered.
- This item is an awesome item for everyone but the chief drawback is the fact that its so gosh darn expensive, and really doesn't offer you much defense. You would generally buy this instead of a frozen mallet if you want to go more offensive, but tbh I don't really like this item too much on lee but it can be good.
- If you are going for a very DPS oriented build this becomes a very attractive buy. If for example you have a triforce BT lastwhisper or something along those lines, you are going to find that you die quite easily and need to get tanky real fast. That's what a GA does.
- Some games I just go "you know what? I think I'll get an aegis", so I get an aegis. Dual resistances/health with a nice aura, just an overall nice tanky item but definitely takes away from your damage.
- Now while at first glance, wit's doesn't look very useful on lee, it's actually not a horrible choice. Late game Lee brings really, really nice peel potential for your AD carry and wit's end just will equal more phage/mallet procs and is just great for peeling. I would ONLY get this if you have a phage. Obviously nice for MR purposes too. If you pair it with hex and mercs you will have no need for any more MR.
- I like to snag one of these bad boys vs one of those annoying as **** malphites who herp derp and stack armor vs you. Though, obviously, for long term armor pen you will want to grab a last whisper.
I. Starter build: vs AD (tanky)
This is my typical starting pattern vs physical damage. Please remember, however, that these builds ARE NOT STAGNANT! For example, if you are laning vs a jax or irelia, grabbing a fast Warden's Mail can do wonders. If you are vs a riven, you may want to just straight up rush chain vest (though lee beats riven pretty easily this shouldnt really be necessary).
Doran's Blade x2 - This build is not going to give you tons of armor, but what you lose in armor you gain in damage. It's really a calculated risk but it's a great item if you are playing to win the lane or vs someone like Olaf. I probably do this start 50% of the time or more when I'm laning vs AD.
I. Starter build: vs AP (semi-tanky)
This is my typical starting pattern vs physical damage. Once again, please remember that these builds ARE NOT STAGNANT!
Item order - I generally like to buy my phage before my hexdrinker, mainly because of the passive slow and the health, but this is only when you feel you can win the lane and want to press your advantage. Hex is the overall better item vs AP, but phage is a lane winner. This is situational.
I. Starter build: Fed as #%^$
I. Starter build: Atmogs
This is the tried and true lee sin build that everyone has used since the beginning of time. It's been nerfed almost as much as lee has, but like lee, it's still good.
I'll go through some matchups here. Honestly idk why I am wasting my time doing this I feel experience is the best way to learn matchups...
Akali - Difficulty level = 1 - You counter her with E. If you lose this matchup you should feel humiliated.
Cho'Gath - Difficulty level = 2 - Not much to say here, max W and whack the **** out of him. His abilities have high mana costs so just prevent him from lasthitting and procing passive and you can snowball this lane hard.
Gangplank - Difficulty level = 3 - This guy is a little bit of a stinker. He can chill out with range and just poke you, but a good gp will try to just survive and farm. GP vs lee lategame is pretty much a toss up, so you should just skill up your W and get pretty agressive vs him. You can snowball the lane but it takes effort.
Garen - Difficulty level = 2 - Just fight him, you do more damage and sustain more. Just don't let him sit in bush for 5 hours with his passive up. He's also very bad late.
Irelia - Difficulty level = 4 - Irelia is one of lee's toughest matchups imo, which is definitely strange considering the fact that she's so trash 1-5. When you go against an irelia NEVER fight her when her W is up. You will lose. The best success I have vs her is when I wait for her W active to go down and then jump in and do as much damage as I can. Fast warden's mail isn't a bad choice, but it kinda hinders your build so i dont really like it all that much.
Jarvan IV - Difficulty level = 3 - You MUST be careful to not let him snowball off ganks but otherwise you won't have a problem winning this lane. He does more damage than you think, don't let him poke you down with q. Really a lane you should win but it isn't a freebie.
Jax - Difficulty level = 5 - I wouldn't call him a lee sin counter, but he can go toe to toe with you even at the earliest phases of the game. Once you hit 6 he out duels you and all you can really do is try and out sustain him. VERY challenging lane. Again you should consider a warden's mail here. Your best bet is hyper aggression early on with some gank help and try to snowball off that.
Kennen - Difficulty level = 1 - Another lane lee dunks with relative ease. Just use your W as a gap closer and go to town. You can honestly kill him level 1 if you start with E. He's just way too squishy to deal with your damage and generally will not build any health items until rylai.
Malphite - Difficulty level = 3 - Now this guy is one annoying **********er. You can grab an advantage very early and try and snowball off that, but soon he's gonna have 150 armor and there will be nothing you can do against him. You can try a fast brutalizer but that's about it. Personally I like to max E in this lane because it does magic damage, something he most likely won't have resistances against.
Olaf - Difficulty level = 3 - Total skill matchup. You can win this lane or you can lose it. It's really hard to explain how to play this matchup, but you want to fight him often and sustain with W often. Buy health. True damage hurts.
Poppy - Difficulty level = 1 - This lane is an easy win for you, you just bully her around lane and there is nothing she can really do about it. Don't be dumb and dive her though, passive is gay.
Renekton - Difficulty level = 2 - Tons of agression early will snowball this lane REALLY hard in your favor, however renekton is a dangerous champ top lane, if you die to some early ganks he can win this lane. Really recommend heal ignite here to get an early lead and keep it.
Riven - Difficulty level = 2 - If you give riven an early lead she will snowball, but lee sin stomps this lane pretty hard. Shouldn't be much of a problem, just bully that ***** around every time she goes for cs.
Rumble - Difficulty level = 2 - Goes pretty much the same way as riven, to be honest. At early levels his Q can be annoying I guess.
Shen - Difficulty level = 4 - Shen is just a ***** to play against for any champ top lane and unfortunately lee is no exception. You can win this lane with a lot of skill but it's definitely one that requires early aggression (seeing a common theme here?). Perhaps the only champ that can outbully lee sin.
Shyvana - Difficulty level = 3 - Really annoying top lane because she will just push you to tower. If you shut her down early you can make her too afraid to push creeps, but if the lane is even early on there won't really be much you can do against her.
Singed - Difficulty level = 2 - Kinda the same deal as shyvana except much easier to beat early game. Just autoattack the **** out of him, dont overextend with chasing and this lane will be no problem.
Udyr - Difficulty level = 5 - He will out duel you and out sustain you. Very, very difficult lane. Please remember that tiger stance does magic damage (don't stack armor vs udyr). Aside from that you can just try and get some ganks and get fed. Test your luck in some trades and see how you do. If you sense an advantage you need to take it. This dude is so annoying.
Vladimir - Difficulty level = 2 - You should dunk this guy if you play it right. You gotta be all over his *** on early levels. This means you start with E level 1, walk up to him and lay down the pain. If you get very early kills (not hard to do) you will snowball. If not, then good luck.
Warwick - Difficulty level = 4 - Another tough lane for lee. Your focus here is to out sustain him and deplete his mana pool. At first you will fight him and the trades will be very even. However you force him to burn mana and this will eventually lead to you gaining control over the lane. Another hard matchup to play correctly but you can snowball against him.
Wukong - Difficulty level = 1 - E detects stealth, he has no sustain, you beat him in trades. Another lane that should be a really easy win, but he can snowball if you play poorly.
Yorick - Difficulty level = 4 - Yorick is pretty much a 4 or 5 for every top lane, he's very very difficult to deal with. As with warwick you want to just sustain and burn his mana pool, get agressive when possible. Yorick pushes the lane naturally so it shouldn't be hard to stay even in cs.
tl;dr - be agressive
Part II: Jungling
Jungling Lee Sin is an art of it's own. It's not necessarily hard, however it has a natural flow to it when if you jungle correctly, you are going to wreck lanes and win the game on your own. If you are screwing up, recovery is going to be very painful for you. Jungling Lee takes some practice and knowledge of what you need to do, but it all comes with experience. If you skipped right to this section, I suggest you scroll up to the "tips & playstyle" section as it contains things useful for jungling.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
This is an attack damage jungle page that focusses on your damage from Q on ganks. It is not necessarily the page you want to pick for jungling speed, but Lee is fast enough as is. If you want to go fast in jungle, go with AS marks. However, I prefer this page because of sheer damage it will give you on your early game ganks. If you want a more late game oriented page replace the AD with armor pen. Both work well.
Jungle Lee Sin should be played very aggressively early game, and the Executioner point really aids in early ganking. The offense tree just offers the best benefits in the game right now, and they are very nice for Lee. Another nice mastery build is 9/12/9.
II. Summoner Spells
Flash + Smite - Pretty obvious summoner spell choices here. Flash because it's op, smite because you need it. Exhaust is also very useful but I prefer flash because of the initiation it allows you to have as well as giving you some extra escape/juke ability.
II. Items: Tanky
When do I build Tanky?
The best time to build tanky is when your team lacks a strong tanky champion. This is if your top solo is someone like pantheon, akali, fizz etc. Having a strong tank champion is extremely important to a team comp especially late game. So if you don't think your top solo will be able to carry the burden of being the main tank, you should probably go for this build. This is definitely the safest build if you are new to Lee Sin.
The biggest problem I have with tanky lee sin is that it throws his mid game out the window. His mid game will be garbage for damage because wriggle's/warmogs isn't going to give you much for damage. You accept this fact, though because you have taken on the duties of tanking.
- Another pretty standard item that you should be getting for most tanky dps. Since you are a CC magnet you should grab mercs. It allows you to chase more easily and provides you with some nifty MR.
+ - Atmog's is just too good to pass up on any champion capable of running it. Atma's alone is a very powerful item. Provide it some more health and bam. You get tons of damage scaling as well as tons of health. Health is the most underrated defensive stat. Health counters all damage, while resistances don't. You are going to be one beefy man with upwards of 100 AR/MR and 3000+ health. Oh, and you do damage.
- Time to round out your build with some heavy MR. You now move faster, regen faster, and take less damage. Winning!
II. Items: DPS (vs heavy magic damage)
When do I build DPS?
If your top solo is a very strong tank, such as cho, irelia, malphite, etc... Then DPS builds are right for you. In comparison to tanky builds, DPS builds are high risk, high reward. They focus on a strong early/mid game and are going to make for a rough late game until you get tankier. This item build is best if you want to dominate lanes early/mid game and end it early. For this reason dps builds are going to load up on damage early and then build tankier late. My DPS builds are still a work in progress since I have only recently been playing a more DPS oriented Lee Sin.
These DPS builds do not necessarily mean you are squishy. They just mean you are prioritizing damage over tankiness for a stronger midgame.
If you are vs a more heavily magic damage/burst oriented team, you want this build for DPS Lee Sin. This is, for example if they have an AP top or an AP jungle. If they are loaded on physical damage (more common), go for a more armor oriented build. If they are fairly even try a hybrid build, which would be a combination of these two builds.
You may see a lot of Lee Sins start Doran's Blade and wonder why. The truth is a lot of them are sheep and don't know when to actually buy the item. The best use of doran's blades are when you are up against a bursty magic damage team. Health is a great counter to burst and that's why you stack up on some early. In addition to this blades also offer you more burst damage. Buy anywhere from 1-3 depending on how much early health you think you'll need.
- Although we are going for a more MR oriented build here, wriggle's is still an excellent item on Lee and I just find it hard to go without it. You can skip this item for more damage if they have very little attack damage but I recommend against it.
- A very under appreciated item, but hexdrinker has saved my *** multiple times. It's cheap and offers you very nice stats, as well as giving you a great lifeline with its spell shield.
- Frozen Mallet is a really nice item for locking down the enemy AP carry. Most AP carries don't really have much escape abilities in the form of dashes, and it's mainly just cc. To be able to lock them into place with your frozen mallet slow will really mess with them. And again like I said earlier, health counters burst. Warmog's is another good option here but doesn't offer any utility/damage like mallet does.
- Aight, now we're tanky again. Atma's is going to offer you some armor that you probably don't have at this point, so that pesky AD carry can't smash you. At this point Lee Sin is pretty strong in all phases of the game, with a good mix of damage and tankiness.
II. Items: DPS (vs heavy physical damage)
- More of the same. Offers a good armor/damage/jungling speed boost in a neat little package.
- This item is one of the best items for burst DPS oriented champions because everything the item gives you is beneficial. It's going to offer a very nice damage boost, as well as armor penetration. Now if you really want to be a pain in the ***, instead of getting a brutalizer grab a B.F. sword to abuse Lee's high AD ratio on Q.
- Now you're probably thinking "atma's before warmogs? wat", and I understand. It makes more sense to stack up health before you buy your atma's. But in my opinion atma's is an extremely powerful item and is cost efficient even without the added health. You are now going to be around 2k health and 200 armor which means you are going to be fairly indestructible vs AD. You'll also have a very decent amount of AD.
- Okay now you can load up on health. I give you permission. If you still think you are lacking in damage you can grab a frozen mallet, but warmogs is your primary counter to any AP their team may have and is going to give your atmas a nice steroid. At this stage in the game you have reached godmode lee sin.
II. Items: Situational
Now listen up. Although I have listed item builds of five items above, don't think that those are the end-all best item builds you can possibly use. Don't follow those builds word for word every game. Don't follow the build orders word-for-word every game. Build to counter the enemy and build to help yourself. Here are some other items you can add to your build, NOT NECESSARILY as your sixth item. I find these all to be viable and useful on Lee Sin.
Force of Nature
Aegis of the Legion
- Because the ratios on lee are stupid strong bloodthirster is awesome for enhancing that damage. Buying this item early in the game if you are fed can put the game away, and buying it late means you are already tanky and are now going to get a lot of teamfight sustain and burst. Either way this is a really good item on Lee Sin.
- If you don't feel you are tanky enough against AP champions this is obviously the item you get. Most base MR in the game as well as two great passives to go along with it.
- A really strong item on a fighter champion that gets focussed a lot. It offers some really nice resistances as well as a passive that allows you to fearlessly take the brunt of the damage, provided your team follows up on it. A nice choice on both tanky and DPS lee.
- This item is great against champions with a "you're ****ed" cc ability. I.e Warwick, malz, veigar, rammus, etc. A well used QSS is a great item in any champion's inventory.
- This is a nice item to buy early on on both tanky and dps lee sin because it's a cheap buff that not only makes you more tanky, it buffs your team as well. A great bang-for-the-buck item.
- Really good late game item on lee because it gives you your own "you're ****ed" cc and makes you very painful to deal with for the opposing AD carry. One of the better tank items in the game.
There are three major paths I like to use on Lee. I will briefly explain them here. As jungle lee sin you want to keep your jungle creeps cleared as often as possible while leaving many opportunities to gank. You should look for ganking opportunities in all lanes and actively try to avoid wards the laners are likely to have put down.
I can't give you a step by step guide on what camps to clear when, because after these first few steps I am providing you I always improvise. Wraiths are the most important camp, always clear wraiths.
This path focusses on invading the other team's jungle and stealing his creeps. Make sure you have all five members of your team to do this. If you do this path, you will want to level up Tempest / Cripple first.
1. Head to their wraiths and steal. Wraiths spawn at 1:40. Leave 1 wraith for best counterjungling.
2. Take red. Leave a lizard for best counter jungling.
3. Take a golem and leave the little one for best counterjungling.
4. Go gank top/bot with your red buff.
5. Get first blood.
If your team is spotted during invading and is not strong enough to level 1 fight, you should switch into the conservative path. This path is your typical blue buff route. If you do this path, you will want to level up Safeguard / Iron Will first.
1. Start wolves. Have your team mates help hit these (NOT leash) so you can finish them faster.
2. Kill blue.
3a. Go do your wraiths, then red, then golems.
3b. Go do their wraiths, their red, their golems (if they have a weak/slow jungler).
5. First blood.
This path is still more conservative than the invade route, but this route still is going for early game aggression. The risky part of this path comes with failing your early ganks. If you fail your ganks you are more behind than you would be doing the other routes. This is a high risk/high reward path. If you do this path, you will want to level up Tempest / Cripple first.
1. Do wraiths, get a little help from team mates.
2. Do red, get a leash.
3. Go gank a lane. Top/bot is usually the easiest.
Ganking as lee is also a subjective kind of thing. First thing's first though. When you are ganking with Lee Sin NEVER lead with Q. This is for a couple reasons. First, if you lead with Q it's going to do the least possible damage it can do, because of its passive. Second if you miss your Q the gank is over.
The best way to gank is to use your W as a gap closer. W to the creeps the enemy champion is at and slow him with [[tempest / cripple]. After this you should be able to get a relatively easy Q off, so Sonic Wave him and wait for him to burn flash before you Resonating Strike.
If using W as a gap closer is not possible, then I like to just waltz into the lane, walk right up to him, comment on the lovely weather and then slow him with Tempest / Cripple. You will probably be able to burn his flash without even using an ability in some cases.
If neither of these ganking methods are possible, you probably shouldn't be ganking the lane anyways, but use Q as your last resort.
The best way to get a successful gank off is to enter behind the enemies. This usually means going through the tribush. If you enter behind them you are almost certainly going to burn a flash, at the very least.
If this is not possible, go from the river, and if this is not possible, do a brush gank.
A brush gank is when you enter the lane through the tower, and walk into the lane's brush (only for side lanes). You need to make sure the creeps are pushed enough so that the enemy doesn't see you. If you are successfully in the brush, wait for the best opportunity to get a Q off and go for it (yes, you can use Q first in these situations).
If your allies have some CC and the enemies have pushed the lane to your tower, you can even enter the lane in plain view. Simply W to your team mate as a gap closer and go to work. This gank works more than you think.
For some reason, LoL players are under the impression that as a jungler, you should let your solo lanes farm and just take jungle creeps for your own. While I don't suggest you to go steal creeps from solo laners while they are sitting in lane, you need to farm lane creeps. This means when your mid goes back to base, you farm his wave and push it to tower. This means late game you should go bot/top and split push to farm up that warmog's. The best junglers (saintvicious/jatt come to mind) are ones who farm as hard as their solo laners, creating four farmed members of the team rather than three.
III. Tips & Playstyle
So you are now top lane. Early on, you want to make sure to last hit as much as possible. You aren't going to want to enter a straight up brawl right away, however you do want to start to poke your enemy by dashing to them with Q and dashing back to your minions. Your goal here is to do as much damage as possible while taking minimal damage in return.
Eventually, the more you poke them, the more aggressive you are going to want to get. Keep harassing, and sometimes, stay a little longer and autoattack them a bit. Scare them. Once you hit 6 and you think you can get the kill, flash behind your target, ult him, and the ignite and autoattack. This is a way to secure a kill that your opponent won't be expecting at all, and believe it or not has a ton of burst. I would say you can execute this combo when your enemy is around half health or lower. Make sure you keep your lane always warded so you don't get ganked, however you can deal with ganks pretty well and throw down some nifty jukes.
If you are getting ganked and are out of position, you will want to run into the bush nearest to the enemy tower. The ganker is going to make a wide loop to facecheck, so at this time, you hit them with sonic wave, dash to them, and then safeguard to your minions. This requires a lot of patience and calm but won't work all the time, so just try to be in a good position ;)
Once you have pushed down the top tower, you can either elect to continue to push top and farm, start helping other lanes with ganks, or try to steal some of the enemy jungle. Remember that your goal is to get your Warmog's up and don't neglect your farm, however it is generally harder to push a lane now that you've taken down the turret.
I mentioned this earlier in the guide but in case you didn't read it, I usually always carry 1-2 wards in my inventory(that I don't put down) so that I can place a ward over a wall and dash to it. This can serve for some very nifty escapes without having to waste your flash summoner spell.
Your target in teamfights is the enemy ranged carry, so you are going to want to come in shortly after the teamfight has been initiated, dash to them, and stick on their *** until they are dead. If you are able to catch someone out of position, flash behind him and ult him into your team for a free kill. If you can ult the enemy ranged carry into the middle of the teamfight as well as knock a few enemies up, do so. Lee Sin is very hard to run from(especially with red buff) so take advantage of that and stay on that carry!
This is basically going to come with experience. Lee Sin can run out of energy so you want to make sure you use the appropriate abilities first so you don't go out of energy and not be able to use them. For chasing, you want to use Q+E. For 1v1, you want to use Q+W. For escaping, you want to use W+E. These are simple things that novice Blind Monks will mess up. Not on my watch!
When fighting, doing the maximum amount of damage is incredibly important. For a large amount of burst, sonic wave the poor guy, then kick him, and then Q to him again. This is going to get more damage out of your Q passive and maximize burst.
Here I will add some games of me playing LeeSin (win or lose). It's mostly jungle, but I'll have lane games too. I'm only going to upload some of the better ones here, but if you want to find more you can find all my VODs (as well as my stream) here.
III. Want to learn more?
Coobie, one of the best Blind Monks in the game, has provided a large thread with lots of replays of his games. Download LoL replay and see how the master monk does it :)
Also, I would like to add here that if anyone wants to know how I made the items section work in columns, please check out Searz's guide template. Get a cool banner like mine by going to Spoon's Kissing Booth!
Finally, thanks for the Part 1/2 banners made by Felix Project. Thanks bro!
5/8/12 - Massive update to lane section, jungle section will be next (probably in a month or so). I'll maintain this guide cuz I love you.
11/5/11 - Updated errythang. Added jungle section since I've been mostly playing Lee jungle nowadays. Lane items have also been updated. Some formatting changes, just to tidy it up. Hope you guys like it. This is basically my final installment to mobafire so enjoy!
11/23/11 - Updated new mastery builds.
1/14/12 - Jungle section massively updated.