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Irelia Build Guide by Asaki

This build has been archived and is for historical display only.

PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.

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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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Asaki

The Transcendent

Asaki Last updated on September 27, 2012
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Ability Sequence

1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key Q
2
3
5
7
9
Ability Key W
4
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 14

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 7


Guide Top

Introduction

"Make a guide, they said"
"You'll get votes, they said"

Irelia is an extremely safe pick for solo top with only a handful of counters. Her true damage lets her dominate mid-game and snowball into late game. Contrary to popular belief, she is not a true late game champion, but one that capitalizes on mid-game power to finish her build and finish leveling up before all other champions to dominate. The goal of an Irelia player is to play safely in the first six to nine levels, and use her true damage to snowball, in order to force end the game before Irelia falls off.

I hope that by the end of this guide you don't feel as if you had wasted 10 minutes of your life by clicking a "generic" guide.





Note:
I'm sorry for a lack of pictures or "guide asthetics" but I believe the content is more important than visuals.

Here's a song to listen to while you watch the video.
"Manly tears were shed that day"


If you've noticed, I've made some dividers, (maybe 25 minutes), which are anime themed. Tell me if you like them or not. If you really like them, you can use them, just credit me. Personally, I don't really like the ones with the eyes, and I'm going to get to fixing those.


Guide Top

Pros / Cons



"Irelia, the Will of the Blades"


Pros:

+ True damage
+ Gap-closer on 6 second cooldown
+ Strong duelist (E when low)
+ Nearly CC-immune
Cons:

- Has an extremely weak early-game
- Falls off in the late, late game
- Largest design nerf in LoL history
- Riot takes nerf jokes seriously


Guide Top

Masteries

These masteries give you a little bit of everything you need:



In offense;

Why not get an extra 5 AD/AP after using Ignite?

Better last hitting, better trading, good mastery overall. (better than AP or Butcher )

Irelia scales well on ASPD, though this is negligable. It is also needed to unlock Weapon Expertise .

This is what we've put 9 points in Offense for, 10% armor pen is too good to give up.




In Defense;

Normally, your opponent is a physical damage dealer, and this gives you a little armor. You can replace it with Resistance if your opponent does magic damage.

A lot of damage you take in early trades comes from minions. This and Indomitable reduce this damage drastically.

Good amount of free health, you also want it to unlock the free 30 HP in Veteran's Scars , which is more than an HP quint.

More HP regen is more hidden sustain. Normally people do not factor in HP/5 as part of their sustain, but the more HP regen you have, the longer you will be able to stay in lane.

Free flat 30 health early game? Yes please.

Even less minion damage. Also reduces the effects of DOTs.




In Utility;

Flash cooldown reduction? do want.

Well, you get more mana out of this, but what you really want is Meditation .

This is what you put 7 points into utility for. More mana regen means more harass and more kill potential (because you'll go OOM a little less if you're conservant of your mana.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells

Personally I think there's only a few choices for summoner spells for Irelia.

#1 picks:

What if that pesky enemy flashes over the wall? Your Q is an amazing gap closer that refreshes every 6 seconds, but it can't follow enemies over the wall. In addition, you can use Flash to make Irelia have an extra-long distance gap closer. (flash+Q)
Secures kills, cuts down on the enemy AD carry's life steal, helping you do your job as an anti-carry.




Other viable picks:
Irelia will be able to walk out of fights with this, in combination with her passive and Mercury's Treads.

If no one else on your team takes it, it might be a good idea to take this spell. It also helps you secure kills, along with Ignite. It's a strong anti-carry item, and if you are amazingly skilled and don't need escapes, then I would go Ignite/ Exhaust. (I'm just not that skilled)

You can hurry back to the fight, or pull off insane ganks with this spell (you can teleport to wards, minions, turrets, Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard, Olaf's Undertow, etc.) It also means you can go B for items and come back to lane in about 12 seconds (recall + Teleport time), meaning you don't lose a tick of exp or farm. (and you come back with full mana)


If choice aren't listed here, they most likely are not viable.


Guide Top

Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3




Marks
Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Damage
9

Greater Mark of Lethality
9
M
A
R
K
S
As seen, I take 9 Greater Mark of Desolation on all of my builds.

However, flat AD is an extremely legitimate choice, to help early with last-hitting, and possibly harassing, but with my Quint choice, it shouldn't be too hard to last-hit.
M
A
R
K
S




Seals
Runes

Greater Seal of Armor
9
S
E
A
L
S
As for seals, I take 9 Greater Seal of Armor, which is self explanatory because most Jungles and Tops are AD, minus Akali, Rumble, Kennen, and Vladimir (top), or Fiddlesticks (jungle)
This choice gives you the most survivability, and is truly the only choice for a top-laner or jungler.
S
E
A
L
S




Glyphs
Runes

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9
G
L
Y
P
H
S

When you're not against an AP top, you should choose scaling MR (Shielding).
Or, you can just take flat (Warding), as they're pretty universal, you won't have to make multiple rune pages for Irelia.
G
L
Y
P
H
S




Quintessences
Runes

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

Greater Quintessence of Lethality
3

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
3
Q
U
I
N
T
S
For Quints, you have multiple options: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed, Greater Quintessence of Desolation, or Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage.

I prefer to use Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage to achieve a balance between early game and late game. Think about it this way: the AD quint is worth 2.37 AD marks, but the ARP quint is worth only 2 ARP marks. If you're going to add AD to your runes, AD quints are the way to go.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage makes for easier last hitting.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed makes you a better chaser (you can actually catch up to someone with a PD)
Greater Quintessence of Desolation gives a better late game.
Q
U
I
N
T
S


Guide Top

Skill Sequence

Bladesurge first:

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18




Equilibrium Strike first:
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18






Ionian Fervor is a great passive. However, you need to understand the limitations of your passive, as an Irelia player.


What Ionian Fervor will do:

+ Make CC irrelevant in teamfights
+ Possibly help you out when you get ganked
What Ionian Fervor will not do:

- Make a dent in CC in a 1v1 duel



Thus, CC will have nearly full effect when 1v1 dueling another character, unless you're wearing Mercury's Treads. (90% duration without Mercury's Treads, because there's a huge difference between a 5 second slow ( Wither) and a 4.5 second slow)






Take an early point in Q ( Bladesurge) to easily CS. The CD on Q refreshes on kill, so in theory, you could get all your CS with Q. This is too mana intensive, however, and I recommend you learn to CS normally, with auto attacks. You can, however, use it to get all the CS when there are two minions about to die and you can only reach 1. Max it by 13 to make sure no one can get away (a gap closer on a 6 second cooldown is a scary thing, flashes become irrelevant, unless they're over walls.) If you want increased safety from ganks, take E at level 1 and Q at level 2. You'll lose a bit of sustain those first 3 levels, but that's preferable to dying to an early gank.

Tip: Bladesurge resets your autoattack timer, so if you auto-attack then Bladesurge really quickly, it'll have the same effect as auto-attacking twice in the time of one (AA, Q, AA will give you about 3 Hiten Style procs in less than a second which is 225 true damage).

Tip 2: Bladesurge applies all on-hit effects, including Hiten Style, Wit's End, and Trinity procs. In fact, using Bladesurge counts as proc'ing Trinity, and when you reach the target and hit them with your Bladesurge, the target has the extra damage applied. Thus, you don't necessarily have to activate Hiten Style before Bladesurge to proc Trinity, but it's normally in your best interest.






Take W ( Hiten Style) as priority afterwards to get extra sustain and true damage which helps in trades. Hiten Style's sustain was hit hard, but it still gives you something (at least).

Tip: As said above, activate Hiten Style before you use Bladesurge.






Take E ( Equilibrium Strike) at level 4 to get the CC, and max it last. (1 second CC is often more than enough to turn duels in your favor or to get away.) If you want increased safety from early ganks, take E at level 1.

Tip: Save this skill for when you're getting out-traded, and the enemy laner believes he has you in his grasps -- and troll him with all you've got. ^^






Needless to say, take R ( Transcendent Blades) when you have the chance to. One of the greatest things to do with R is to wait until your opponent comes up with a huge minion wave, then engage. You might think that doing so is bad for you (minions can do lots of damage), but with Indomitable / Tough Skin , you cut the damage by a large amount, and Transcendent Blades will quickly turn the tides in your favor. (healing you while damaging your opponent)

Tip: Transcendent Blades also doesn't interrupt your attack animations, so you could use it to increase your DPS slightly. Each blade is worth about the same amount of damage as an autoattack that can't crit, so it's helpful.

Tip 2: Transcendent Blades will quickly even out a fight in your favor, especially if you're fighting in a wave of minions, as you will also heal for the damage done to minions.

Tip 3: If calculated, Transcendent Blades will do more damage than, say Lee Sin's Dragon's Rage, as long as you hit all 4 blades. Don't believe people when they say this ult is weak -- It's still very strong, just because it doesn't have massive burst damage doesn't make it any weaker.

Tip 4: Space out your Transcendent Blades to one every 2 seconds if you're not at risk of dying, in order to maximize damage from Trinity Force procs. Of course, if you're at risk of dying, spam it to get health back as soon as possible.




Tips

Bladesurge resets the auto-attack timer, so you could auto-attack and use Bladesurge right after to basically get two auto-attacks in the time it takes to hit one. This knowledge may be helpful when you want to harass.

Quick Harass (only exception to the below description of AA): (1)AA > Q, back off. This may work better with boots. (as you'll be able to make sure he can't auto-attack back)

Just so you know, when I say AA (autoattack), I want you to auto attack the enemy champion as many times as possible before he starts to pull away, or you get low (then you pull away).

So when harassing: E > W > AA > Q

If he backs off before you can get in range of your combo, he's scared of you, that's a good thing.

When you go for a kill: (costs around half of your max mana, so be warned)
Optimal: E > W > AA > Q > Ignite > R (x4)
Non-Optimal (but if you have to, then do it): W > Q > AA > E > AA > Ignite > R (x4)
To safely pull this off, the enemy champ has to be under 35%, but you can try 50%.

You can also choose to save E, in order to turn around the fight. Q is priority to save, because you want to Q right after they use Flash or a similar move.

If you don't have as high movement speed as your opponent, you may need to activate Ghost to get off the auto-attacks.
Remove Ignite from the combo if you can see that you won't get the kill.
R can stay, as it has a decently low cooldown.




About the "Q-E-Q trick"...

If performed correctly, at levels lower than 8, this combo will cost you:

30 mana + 50 mana + 65 mana (40 extra mana if you decide to activate Hiten Style
or
145 (+40) mana

Now, Irelia's base mana is 475 mana at level 7 (most optimal conditions, further and Bladesurge will cost more.)

Now 145/475 = 30.5%. You won't be able to sustain that kind of mana drain, unless you have Chalice of Harmony.

I'm not stopping you from draining your mana, I'm just saying it's a bad idea.


Guide Top

GP/10

Many Irelia guides, including those in the top 3 on this site, recommend GP/10 items, such as rushing Philosopher's Stone or Heart of Gold. However, you lose the benefit of Irelia's superb mid-game.

The only GP/10 I would recommend is Heart of Gold, and only if you know that you're going to build Randuin's Omen for sure.

Pros and Cons of GP/10 on Irelia
Pros:

+ more money

+ Philo has MP/5

+ HoG gives 250 health
Cons:

- Less lane dominance mid-game
- Phage has 18 AD and 225 HP
- Chalice of Harmony = infinite sustain
- It takes appx 26 minutes to pay off
- If you sell, you make 400 gold a piece (not much)

If you are losing lane though, do not hesitate to buy Heart of Gold.


Guide Top

Items

Every item in the build is there for a reason. The best items for Irelia will give her defence while also giving her offence. That means that you should rarely buy full attack items. It's more acceptable to build full defence items, though your damage will be severely lowered.



Start items:



Take this item and 5 Health Potions to have maximum lane survivability and sustain against physical damage champions (which are most top-laners).






Take Boots of Speed and 4 Health Potions against AP skill-shot champions, such as Kennen, or if you plan to harass heavily, as this item will allow you to "kite" most melee champions, except those who have also taken Boots. This can also give you "theoretical" survivability from ganks, as it allows you to get away faster, kiting any jungler without boots (and most junglers start with Cloth + 5 or Vampiric Scepter) If you wait in base for your 4th potion, you should be able to get to lane in time for the first CS, as the extra movement speed from boots will allow you to do so.







In theory, this item gives you the most defensive stats -- and extra passive regen, but you lose the "potential" HP from potions. This is certainly a viable choice -- but I don't feel comfortable without a few potions in my inventory. I do not normally recommend this, because potions will give you much more sustain in lane.





Take this item and 2 Health Potions against targeted mages (AP mages that do not need to use skill-shots).




First Back
Item Sequence











Phage
1250

Sheen
1050







I'm of the opinion that if you're going to buy any GP/10 for Irelia, it should be Heart of Gold, and it should be bought as early as possible. Though it does delay your mid-game power and makes managing slots a more daunting task, this item will make up for your hardships by both giving a small bit of survivability and affording you the ability to finish your build (which includes Randuin's Omen as a finisher, of which Heart of Gold is a component) in a more timely manner. I think it's a personal choice to take Heart of Gold first, and not another item that benefit's Hiten Style's strong level 7 and 9 presence. This + a defensive item of your choice will cut your losses if you're getting crushed in lane.






A situational item for use against strong duelists like Riven. If you don't anticipate 1v1 being a problem, then skip Wriggles. The reason it's not in the Situational Items section is because it's possible for this item to be one of your core items, and it doesn't really hurt you, except you reach your final build a bit slower.




C
O
R
E
A core item that increases Irelia's AD and HP, both critical to her damage and survivability midgame. This will be upgraded to a Trinity Force to improve Irelia's burst, survivability, anti-kitability, etc.
C
O
R
E





C
O
R
E
Sheen is an item you might build if you need to prioritize burst over survivability, which might be the case when fighting a champion like Pantheon or Teemo, as you'll only be able to get a certain amount of damage done before they respond to counter, with Pantheon's auto-attack blocking passive and Teemo's Blinding Shot. It builds into the core item Trinity Force.
C
O
R
E





After your first back, consider:





C
O
R
E
Trinity force has everything that Irelia wants or needs. It has ASPD for more Hiten Style, a slow to keep the carry in range, movespeed so she doesn't get kited, damage, mana for more spamming, health to survive, and the all-important Trinity proc, which gives her extra damage equal to 150% of her base AD.
C
O
R
E





C
O
R
E
A strong anti-AP carry item, it's strong mid-game and stays strong a long time. In most cases, you'll never have to sell it. However, if you do have to sell it, it does decrease your DPS by quite a bit (40% AS is nothing to be trifled with) but by that time, the on-hit effect is negligable. You might consider replacing it with Trinity Force if the game progresses that far. Priority over Phage when enemy mid is fed, or if your lane opponent is AP.
C
O
R
E





After these core items, go crazy with your build.

Suggested items:




With this item, Irelia has 61% CC reduction, meaning she can keep chasing the carry.





If the AD carry tries to duel you, you'll slow his attack speed, his movement speed, and this item has an active that will slow the movement and attack speed of every enemy champion in a radius around you.






This item allows you to give your team an advantage just by being there. Slowing the attack speed of the enemy carry is a big thing, and because of this, this item is extremely strong. Did I mention that you simply have to be present in the teamfight for you to give your team an advantage?






Irelia builds mostly resistances and not so much HP because of her innate sustain. This will increase your sustain in a fight. As a rule, you should only build this item as the very last item (to top off your items) or if your team is winning extremely hard.

Dream build: (includes items from next section)

Mercury's Treads, Trinity Force, Wit's End, Randuin's Omen OR Frozen Heart, Guardian Angel, The Bloodthirster.


Guide Top

Situational Items

There comes a time where it's not the AD carry, but the AP carry that's the biggest threat, or there's 2 or 3 AP carries (Top/Mid/Jungle). Or maybe it's the last fight of the game.




High Regen counter:



A situational item that is highly underestimated. It's the most cost-effective life-steal item after the life-steal nerfs, as the nerfs did not affect Executioner's Calling. Its active completely destroys regen champs such as Dr. Mundo and Sion. Its passive makes it so that the enemy cannot start recalling until eight, yes EIGHT seconds after your last auto-attack upon them, which they must add another eight seconds spending time to recall. This is an eternity in lane-phase, and in that time, it's easy for your jungler, if he's nearby, to finish off that weakened lane opponent.

-Take against Sion, Dr. Mundo, or any high-regen champions you can think of (if you can out-trade, no point of going out of core if you can still win versus their high-regen).




If facing an AP in your lane:

After rushing Wit's End and possibly getting a Giant's Belt for survivability:
In most cases, the item in this section will replace Randuin's Omen.



One of the few times you wouldn't rush Wit's End first, using this item or Wit's End is a matter of preference. By using this item, you should basically have unlimited mana for unlimited harassing, and be able to always activate Hiten Style to have maximum HP regen. However, it's preferable against heavy pushers ( Singed, Mordekaiser) rather than those champions that are more "single target" like Kennen or Vladimir. However, having wards completely changes the situation, as you'll be able to push without fearing a gank (unless it's a Rammus or Nocturne jungler). Being a hard pusher means the enemy champion cannot leave lane to gank other lanes, so that's always preferable. So I guess the moral of the story is: Always buy wards. Note that you should sell this item when you need the slot for another item -- it should never be in your finished build.






Still a decent item, it's strong in the early game. Gives you AD and MR against APs.






This item does give you high MR, but you already have your passive, Ionian Fervor and normally Mercury Treads (especially as you're facing an AP in your lane), to reduce CC, so I would only recommend this item when there are champions with suppresses, such as Warwick and Malzahar on the enemy team.






This item is great, as it gives you:
Health Regen (40 HP/5)
Magic Resist (76 MR, the highest value in the game)
Movement Speed (chase down the enemy team better, don't you hate being kited?)
A passive that synergizes with your HP. Admittedly, it only gives you an extra 15 HP/5, but HP/5 is good, as it can let you stay in the fight much longer. With all your items, it's basically like an HP pot every 10 or so seconds.







A nice passive, it also gives you extra HP (for tankiness and Atma's Impaler, some MP (so you can spam your skills longer, stay out in the map for 2-3 teamfights), and MR, which is necessary against AP heavy teams.






It gives up to 95 AD depending on the percentage of your health. Since Irelia is a champion that thrives on danger (her E), this item synergizes nearly perfectly with you. It also offers an amount of Magic Resist against AP heavy teams.




Guardian Angel

Fed AD carry and dual AP carries?

Only one item fits the bill.


Providing a mix of Armor and MR, this will make you tankier against both magic and physical damage. However, you replace different items with Guardian Angel depending on circumstances. In my opinion, there are 2 different situations:


Situation 1

There's simply 2 AP carries and 1 well-farmed AD carry.

Item to replace: Randuin's Omen

Target to focus: Still the AD carry. (Sustained damage is more hurtful to your team than burst.)



Situation 2

This is the final teamfight in the game. Whichever team loses this teamfight will lose the game. (you'll get a sense for these kinds of things) In this case, it doesn't matter how many carries of each type they have, this item might turn the tides of the "final teamfight" in your favor. This applies to the Assassin build as well.

Item to replace: Mercury's Treads or whatever boots you're wearing.

Reasoning: This is the final teamfight. In the teamfight, everyone will be within your reach, as if any person is too far from the teamfight, they're doing it wrong. Thus you don't need the extra movement speed, you would rather have the extra tankiness and the overpowered passive that allows you to come back and continue whacking away at their team.

Target to focus: AD carry > AP carry, unless the AD carry is too far from the teamfight to do damage, or was shut down and does no damage (look at his inventory by using "Tab"). You need to always be in the teamfight, contributing your damage and tankiness.


Guide Top

Warding

This section will go over important warding locations in top lane.


Ward Areas:


Tribush (Purple team)








River bush (Blue team, can be used for Purple if you want)








Downriver (Purple team in laning, both for Baron)

This location can be used to ward Baron, but in laning phase, only Purple team should use this location, as Purple team's jungler can bypass this ward, but Blue team's jungler cannot, unless he decides to use the exit at midlane, and walk through your jungle to reach you. Note that you cannot directly see if Baron is there with this ward, but can see if a team is doing Baron. Use a Vision Ward if using this location to ward Baron. There's a small mistake in this picture, as the ward is supposed to be much closer to the ridge on the left, in the hopes that your ward will escape the eyes of ward sweepers.








Baron (both teams)

This is the standard area for warding Baron, and gives you vision of Baron as well, unlike the "Downriver" warding area. Make sure you use a Vision Ward.



Guide Top

Roaming

Once Irelia gets important items, such as Wit's End or Giant's Belt, she almost becomes like Dr. Mundo, going where she pleases. However, you need to do certain things before you start roaming.

The main objective is to:
- Push your lane to the enemy tower
- Also, make sure you're not down in CS to the enemy laner.

Your secondary objective is to push the enemy tower down, though it's not completely necessary.

When you do get your lane to the enemy tower, you have about 2-3 minutes to do whatever you want.


Warning: Never roam if the enemy is Nasus. You need to be present at all times to make sure he can't farm up.


Guide Top

Match-ups

"Don't nerf my Irelia mannnnn.... She's not OP. The only reasons she is one of the most favorite picks toplane is because of the fact that she is hard to counter in lane, and you won't get totally destroyed if enemy picks x champion. For example if i pick Cho'Gath toplane i will get completly destroyed by Irelia, but Irelia got no clear counter on top lane, and that is why she's so popular. Not because she is overpowered." --Wickd

Green = Should win lane if played right
Yellow = May have problems winning lane
Orange = You either won't win lane, you won't have as much impact in team-fights, or you don't scale as well late.



Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Medium-hard

After reading Thale454's Mundo guide, I understand why I have such a hard time laning against him. I take Boots of Speed to dodge Mundo's Infected Cleaver, and I choose defensive runes and masteries as it's nearly impossible to kill Mundo unless you get a gank early. If you can arrange with your jungler a level 2 gank (Jungler level 2 ganks a lane that's level 1), then you might be able to choose offensive runes and masteries. If you don't kill Mundo before level 6, you won't be able to kill him unless you get extremely lucky or you get an extremely strong gank.

Edit: After looking at Executioner's Calling, after recommending it as a Sion counter, I realized that it could completely **** on Mundo's ult -- just pop it every time he tries to regen. I need to play more games against Mundo to find out, but Grievous Wound (50% regen loss) for 8 seconds, with it coming off cooldown every 20 seconds, should be far more than enough to keep his sustain to a minimum. He'll learn that if he wants to stay in lane, he better use his ult out of your sight. At level 6, the first time he gets his ult, he'll regen 40% of his health, at a cost of 20% of his health. If you pop that Grievous Wound debuff, 66% of his regen will be cut in half, and he'll regen normally for the other 4 seconds of his ult, Sadism. This means his regen is minimal (nearly 0%), with his regen in the first 8 seconds of Sadism at -6.66% of his health (remember, he has to spend 20% of his health to get the regen), and you can trade at all times with him. Don't forget that Executioner's Calling adds life-steal and is the most cost-effective life-steal item in the game at the moment, as the life-steal nerfs did not hit Executioner's Calling.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Hard

I would not recommend picking Irelia against Fiora, as Irelia is not the strongest duelist, and Fiora, as her name suggests, is an incredibly strong duelist. If you do have to face her, build Wriggle's Lantern, as you would with any hard match-up with strong duelists. Back off when you see Burst of Speed activated, it is easily spotted (lines emanate out of Fiora's back, as if she's speeding through the wind), and also back off when she has Riposte activated (when there's a sort of "barrier" in front of Fiora), as those two abilities will turn the course of the fight heavily, if you decide to engage her at those times. Stop auto-attacking Fiora as soon as you see either of those abilities go up. Again, I do not recommend choosing Irelia against Fiora.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

You can trade with him even before 6 if you use offensive masteries and runes. Just don't play too dangerous, don't die early, and you should be able to force him out of lane or kill him 7-9. Use regular build. (Phage then Wits)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

You won't dominate him in lane pre-6 (unless he's bad). Pick defensive masteries and defensive runes (ARP and MS). Offensive runes and masteries will also work, but it'll be harder to escape Judgment (the spinny thing). You will have a much more significant impact to a teamfight than he will, as long as you don't die to him. It is crucial that you stay at least the same level as him, and keep CSing. You should have appx. 50 CS by the time you get to 6 against him. Once you reach 7 or 9 (rank 4 or rank 5 Hiten Style), you can turn around and beat his ***. I always laugh when I find out I'm laning against Garen, I normally dominate lane post-6.





Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

The boots are to dodge Thundering Shuriken early, because those can hurt. Make sure to watch what he's building, and itemize against it. (He can go AD or AP) If the other Kennen is good (assuming you're good as well), it becomes an extremely safe lane, where both of you farm and neither pushes the other out. However, Kennen has a devastating presence in team fights, much more than yours. You might want to call for ganks to make sure Kennen stays behind in levels.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

Lee Sin is an incredibly strong duelist. Rush Wriggle's Lantern. If he starts with Sonic Wave, you may be able to outduel him at level 7 or 9. If he starts with Tempest, back off when he "exhausts" you, and initiate once it wears off. Watch out for his Q-R-Q combo, as it does massive damage. (Sonic Wave to be able to use Resonating Strike, then Dragon's Rage, then Resonating Strike; Resonating Strike does extra damage based on the percentage of your health missing.) It might be helpful to take Flash to quickly disengage in this lane.






Just don't... please

Hard

Note: It isn't necessarily hard to lane against Nasus, but Irelia doesn't have the kind of kit that could shut Nasus down early, to prevent him from farming. Champions I would pick to do this would be champions such as Riven, Rumble, and possibly Akali, as they are decent harassers and are manaless champions. They also do not rely too heavily on constant auto-attacking to deal damage, unlike Irelia.

Nasus works on the same principle as Irelia: Farm to win game. Except he does it better (Q gets stacked, and he's making the same amount of money as you if not more). Trying to harass him leads to your being OOM quickly, and we all know Irelia has quite a small mana pool. Irelia just doesn't have great damage. It's completely possible to defeat him in lane, but you have to stay in lane constantly, never letting him farm up. This means no roaming, and building Chalice of Harmony. Unless you can make sure he's ineffective (your friend is the jungler and constantly ganks top) just don't pick Irelia against Nasus. Personally, I think Nasus is the only hard counter to Irelia, if you play Irelia as a roamer.

Edit: When I read the top guides for Nasus, they recommend that Nasus gets Wither at level 2. What does this mean for you, as an Irelia? Well, first, you need to harass him as much as possible before he gets to level 2. When Nasus gets to level 6, try to make him use his ult, and back off. After that, you have 2 minutes where Nasus doesn't have the protection of his ultimate. In addition, you can still harass Nasus post-2. This may even be a good idea, as you force Nasus to use Wither or take lots of damage. And all the mana used on Wither can't be used farming up Siphoning Strike.

I would recommend that you start with Boots of Speed with offensive runes and masteries (enough MS to make sure Nasus can't get out of range without sacrificing damage) and remember to harass constantly. Make sure he takes damage every time he comes up for a last hit, meaning that you're going have to guard the minions on your side that are low. Then your next item is Wit's End for DPS.

Cleanse might be a good idea, because:

Nasus tries to trade with you. He realises that it's not working.
Nasus uses Wither!
Irelia uses Cleanse!
(Commentator) Nasus has been slain!

-- A hypothetical situation post-6.

Remember, you need to have made him use his ult first, because his ult grants him AD for the magic damage he's done to champions (I.e. you, if you're trying to fight him when his ult is on), and not only does he gain AD, but he also still does magic damage. This could turn the tides of a fight in his favor. In addition, never fight Nasus inside his circle, it reduces your armor.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

I'd say this lane is a pretty even match-up, it just comes down to player skill. The only large difference is that I would say Irelia is not as strong of an escaper as Nidalee (those jumps away are annoying as ****, impossible to chase down, like chasing Kassadin, you know how that feels.)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

Honestly, 340 true damage hurts a lot, but you can deal with it in trades. 3 attacks that are Hiten Style empowered will even out the damage. However, it might be a good idea to start Wriggle's Lantern against Olaf (especially when many Olaf builds recommend that Olaf rush Wriggle's Lantern).






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion or be like Wickd and go Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Easy

This match-up is featured in the video "Ult in Ten" (in the Videos section) which features Wickd playing Irelia. Personally, I would feel very unsafe playing the way he does, so I'll explain how I play this match-up. In this match-up, I believe you should play safe until level 7 or so. You can then afford to be aggressive, as your Hiten Style is really powerful at this point in the game. However, this lane is also killable pre-6, and you could get a kill or force Pantheon out of lane by calling for a gank. A kill will basically guarantee that you win the lane.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

Just play it safe for the first 6-9 levels and turn around and destroy Renekton. Just make sure you get as much CS as possible. Don't stay inside your minion wave if possible. Renekton will use Slice and Dice in the direction of your minions (you need to hit once with Slice and Dice to be able to dash the second time). If you stay a distance from them, Renekton is forced to make the decision of whether to use his second Slice and Dice to close the gap with you or to retreat to safety. If he decides to close the gap, start attacking him when you feel as if you have the advantage in trades. (this is an instinct you'll acquire.)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium-hard

Riven dominates you early. What's crucial in this matchup is that you don't engage until level 7 or 9. Rush Wriggles against her to win trades after 7, then Phage. Skip Wit's End. (unless you need that AS) You can use the 16/14/0 masteries and aggressive runes.






Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Medium

Just don't get caught in Flamespitter for too long, and you will win trades after 7. Rush Wit's End, then Phage. Start with flat MR blues.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

This lane will be an incredibly safe lane. 1v1, you can't kill him, and he can't kill you. However, if you get ganked, the tables are turned by a huge amount, due to his taunt. He also has global presence with Stand United. Just focus on getting every last CS. I wouldn't choose offensive Offtank masteries/runes in this match-up, as you won't be able to take advantage of the offense afforded by them (you won't be able to kill Shen).






Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Easy

Singed is simply an annoying champ to play against. It will be very hard to kill him later on, but if you play smart, he'll never be able to kill you. Use flat MR, use defensive masteries and runes (MS mastery 0/23/7 Initiator) and MS Quints (To make sure he doesn't catch you in his poison early. Rush Chalice of Harmony for maximum lane sustain. You will be able to spam your skills, and that's always nice. (It's also anti-push, because Singed is a crazy pusher)






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Easy

This is one of the easiest match-ups for Irelia. Just take Ignite, and watch his regen (during his ult) go to nearly nothing. If this is not enough domination for you, you can add Executioner's Calling to completely dominate him, though I don't think it's necessary. This is one of the most fun (for you) match-ups, as you can completely dominate him. Just watch out for his stun, and keep your river warded, as being chain stunned (like if his jungler also has a stun/cc) is no fun, and can result in your death.






Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Hard, if you can survive the early-game, it gets better

I don't have much experience with this match-up, but when I did play against Udyr top-lane, his harass was extremely strong early game, and you couldn't trade with him early. I would recommend using defensive masteries and runes (for improved movement speed, Udyr has no gap closers besides Bear Stance, which is simply a movement speed buff). Udyr is weak to kiting, or not being able to catch up his target, so good movement speed is vital to not being harassed in lane. I would recommend you start with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist because his Tiger Stance activation does magic damage. If you plan to 1v1 him, a Wriggle's Lantern might be helpful.






Null-Magic Mantle + 2 Health Potion OR Boots of Speed + 4 Health Potion

Medium, you just won't have as strong an impact

His damage is seriously weak early, even weaker than yours, so you can afford to harass him. Call for a gank or get an early kill to completely crush him in lane. If at all possible, don't let him keep up in levels and/or farm. He, however, has a much stronger presence late-game than you, due to the damage amplification of Hemoplague.






Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion

Medium

He's not a problem at any point in the game, the scary thing is when he reaches level 6 and obtains Infinite Duress. At that point, you can't do a thing when his jungler ganks you, and you're almost completely likely to die. However, you can take Flash instead of Ghost in hopes that they didn't do enough DPS, and you can quickly disengage. You might want to consider getting QSS, but his suppression starts to be irrelevant late-game.






Null-Magic Mantle + 2 Health Potion

Easy, once you get through the early game

Yorick does magic damage, though his abilities scale with AD. His early game harass is stronk, don't engage him when he has his ghouls out. If you can (saying you're not dueling him head on), kill his ghouls first so they don't do too much damage and so he wastes his mana harassing you. Prioritize the orange ghoul because it gives him regen, you don't want him to regen. They go down quickly, so you can go back to CS'ing in short order. Needless to say, don't do the same with his clone (ultimate). You'll probably win post-9.




I'll add more champions as I face them in games, or by request.


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Junglers to watch out for



If he does his gank right, he should be able to make you unable to get away for a minimum of 3-4 seconds. That's an eternity in LoL time, and is even worse if the enemy laner has his own CC. I would personally take Flash/ Ghost if the enemy team has Rammus as a jungler to keep yourself safe from ganks. Not having complete lane dominance is fine, but giving up a kill to the enemy top-laner is not. (a good Rammus will give the kill to his top-laner) Don't overextend, unless you know Rammus is in a different lane. (wards don't help, because Rammus's Powerball will just speed past in the blink of an eye, and you won't have time to get away)






Nocturne's ganks are decent before level 6 (the fear) and makes you **** your pants after level 6. My only advice is that you don't overextend the lane when Nocturne hits level 6. You could possibly take Flash instead of Ghost to make sure Nocturne can't finish channeling the fear. Warding the river mostly only helps if his ult is down. If his ult is up, he can gank you from his forest, so wards basically are rendered useless.







That's right, your old friend Lee Sin is back! You should take Flash if Lee Sin is on the other team. If by chance, he takes Flash, he might use his Flash to position himself to kick you back into the lane, just as you thought you got away. In all cases, you should position yourself so that the minion wave is between you and the river, as you don't want Lee Sin to tag you with Sonic Wave. If you see the Sonic Wave mark on your minion, gtfo.
Make sure to always ward your river.






Ward your river and you'll be fine. You only have to make sure that he doesn't catch up with you, and if you ward the river, you won't have any problems making that happen.






Skarner is a strong ganker at all points in the game, his Q basically being a permaslow and his R being basically a stronger version of Rammus's taunt. Always ward the river, as he won't be able to bypass that (unless he decides to go around into your jungle).






His ganks aren't too bad before level 6, but once he becomes level 6, they become something from hell. Like in the lane match-up, you might want to consider Flash, or ward the river frequently. You can consider QSS, but its relevance drops as you get tankier.






His ganks aren't too terrible as long as his initial Infected Cleaver doesn't hit. Like all aforementioned junglers, you should ward the river, to make sure his Cleaver never gets a chance to hit.






Shaco is scary as **** when he ganks you, and it's hard to get away from him early-game. I would recommend playing passively until you have your first recall and get wards.


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Early-Game

In early game (levels 1-6), your main goal is not to die to the enemy top-laner while maintaining a good amount of CS (equal or more CS than your opponent.)

Your secondary goal is to harass, but if you can't do that (mana issues, weaker laning, etc) just keep getting CS while trying to avoid being harassed.

Once you obtain Wriggle's Lantern, Phage, or Wit's End, you can afford to be aggressive (try to collect at least 1.7k gold:

Wriggle's Lantern: (1.6k, but you probably started Cloth in the situations you have to buy Wriggle's, so it costs 1.3k. Then boots cost 350 gold, so it comes out to approximately 1650 gold. Wriggle's Lantern is amazing because having the free ward means you don't have to base for wards.)

Phage: 1315 gold, add boots and a ward and it comes to approximately 1.7k.

Wit's End: Chances are, that if you choose Wit's End as your second item, you started with Null Magic Mantle or Boots. Thus you can recall earlier, recalling at about 1.5k ( Recurve Bow + Boots + ward = 1475, Recurve + Mantle + ward = 1525)





+ Increases your dueling ability
+ Free ward
+ Better pushing/farming (passive)

- Doesn't build into late-game

+ Builds into an end game item
+ Gives HP and AD

- The weakest choice for dueling
- Slow is unreliable

+ Gives AS and MR
+ 42 M. damage is godly
+ Scales with Hiten Style

- You lose survivability


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Mid-Game

This is where Irelia truly shines.

Hiten Style does a devastating 75 true damage, which hurts severely when an enemy top-laner might only have 1.2k hp. This true damage is also the reason why Irelia starts to fall off late-game, as her true damage doesn't scale with any stats, and all enemies will have much more HP.

Taking Wit's End first, no matter the circumstances, increases your DPS by a huge amount by adding 42 magic damage on-hit and by increasing attack speed. This, however, comes with a loss of survivability, surviability afforded by Phage.

Taking Phage first increases survivability and AD, but comes at a cost of DPS.

And taking Wriggles helps dueling by giving life-steal, armor, and AD, but comes at a cost of lower DPS than Wit's (higher than Phage), and no HP increase.


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Late-Game

As an offtank, your job is to soak up damage while dealing damage of your own, at the same time allowing your team to kill enemies. As an assassin, your job is to wait until the fight has progressed a few seconds while all the ults, CC and summoners are burned, then leap in and finish the carries one by one, in order of DPS. This basically sums up Irelia's role late game. If this needs more elaboration, leave a comment about why.


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Videos

/league-of-legends/ability/bladesurge-325
Not my video, but this video will give you insight on how to play Irelia, and top-lane in general. Commentary and QA between the interviewer and Wickd.
/league-of-legends/item/cloth-armor-12
The commentary isn't that great, and you don't hear Wickd's opinion, but 9:30 to 12:00 is an excellent example of how you can use an early first blood to deny farm and xp. As you can see, Wickd freezes the lane just before it gets into tower range, meaning he's at a very safe position, and the enemy laner can't come in and get CS (because Wickd is a few levels higher due to First Blood)





Not a video, but a link to unofficial patch-notes. Irelia's base stats are buffed, so we might have an easier early game.

Formulas:
AD: 56 + 3.3 * level (59.3 @ level 1) from 53.3 + 3.3 * level (56.6 @ level 1)
HP: 456 + 90 * level (546 @ level 1) from 430 + 85 * level (515 @ level 1)
Health/5: 7.5 HP/5 from 6.5 HP/5

Hopefully these buffs are enough to counteract her *now* extremely weak laning.


Yeah.....And I don't know why most of the content I have about Irelia comes from Wickd. I guess it's because he has the fullest understanding of Irelia, or because he brings out the best in her.


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Results

My first game playing with the Assassin build:



A recent game (5/13/12). Though my scores aren't completely amazing, look at the game for what it is: a 1 hour survival game, with my team down in kills 39 to 46. Even though our scores weren't good, my team got every Baron, either by stealing or by tricking the other team to back, and we pulled through. This game also shows my doing an exemplary job as an offtank/tank, taking the brunt of the damage, and basically shielding my team from pain, especially our AD carry, Ashe. All of this was done while doing significant amounts of damage to Caitlyn.


I'll add more to this section when I have the time to (AP exams coming up)



Want to be featured in this section? PM me with your results from this build, and if I deem them amazing, or exemplify how Irelia should be played, then they'll be featured here, with your name.


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Conclusion

Even though this guide may be hard to look at (a wall of text) and has nearly no visuals, I hope it can give you insight on how to play Irelia as she's meant to be played.

Please leave comments below.

If you see faulty logic in my builds, rune pages, masteries, or summoners, explain why, and if I think you're right, I will make the change.

Special thanks to jhoijhoi for providing information on how to make your guide look neater and more professional. Her guide on making guides can be found here. Her dividers gave me the idea to make my own, though they're not as good.

Thanks to IceCreamy for his informative guide on how to use columns, and his constructive criticism of my guide.

And of course, thanks to the community for helping my guide make better in general.


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Guide History

5-17-2012: Guide republished
5-18-2012: Added HoG to Items section, added my opinion on HoG to both the GP/10 and Items section, correctly alphabetized match-ups. Will get to improving Pros/Cons and adding warding areas as soon as possible.
5-19-2012: Added Start Item choices to the items section, added another optional skill sequence, edited match-ups to have 4 potions when using boots. Also found out how hard it is to write guides on a tablet T^T
5-20-2012: Revised masteries to have Tough Skin ahd in some cases, Indomitable, removed Honor Guard and replaced with Enlightenment for reasons given in section.
5-24-2012: Warding section added.

Note to self: Add Akali, Mordekaiser, Shyvana, Nautilus, Jax, Cho'Gath, Jarvan IV, Wukong, Talon to match-ups.





Old guide history

4-18-2012: Guide started
4-24-2012: Guide released
4-26-2012: Getting up to date with those beautiful Rune and Item suggestion "slides"
4-27-2012: Pics starting to come up, formatting being cleaned up
4-28-2012: Added situational items, math section
4-29-2012: Added even more match-ups, added "Junglers to watch out for" section, added "unofficial Varus patch notes"
5-3-2012: Results section added
5-6-2012: Added color coding to champion match-ups, a section on roaming.
5-8-2012: Added new Nasus match-up information, edited formatting slightly.
5-10-2012: Added extra information to Transcendent Blades description
5-13-2012: More results added, runes changed, 1 cheat sheet deleted (thanks IceCreamy). I'll fix my math once I get there.
5-14-2012: Match-ups alphabetized, I might alphabetize the junglers, but it's not a large concern. I'm getting around to adding Nidalee, Fiora, and Sion. Edit: match-ups listed were added, 5-14-2012. I might try to make my own dividers, or request some from the sigs-artwork forum. Edit 2: Dividers finished, going to check how they look.
5-16-2012: Standardized one of the cheat sheets (off-tank) to 0/21/9 and added a little note about Wickd's customization of those masteries. Added what I believe to be nice BBCoding in the Items section (not situational)