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Irelia Build Guide by SkandalloTV

Middle [14.12] SkandaLoL's Ultimate AP Irelia Mid Guide - Diamond Tier

Middle [14.12] SkandaLoL's Ultimate AP Irelia Mid Guide - Diamond Tier

Updated on June 17, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author SkandalloTV Build Guide By SkandalloTV 8 0 16,541 Views 0 Comments
8 0 16,541 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author SkandalloTV Irelia Build Guide By SkandalloTV Updated on June 17, 2024
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Runes: Best overall

1 2 3
Arcane Comet
Manaflow Band
Absolute Focus
Gathering Storm

Legend: Haste
Cut Down

+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+65 Base Health

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[14.12] SkandaLoL's Ultimate AP Irelia Mid Guide - Diamond Tier

By SkandalloTV

Ultimate AP Irelia Mid Guide - Diamond Tier

Hello :)

Welcome to my AP Irelia Guide for the mid lane.

In this Guide, I present you :
  • My story : why I play AP Irelia
  • Why you should try AP Irelia
  • The pros and cons
  • Starting with AP Irelia
  • Irelia's Abilities
  • The best items for AP Irelia
  • Teamfighting and combos


My story


I am SkandaLoL. I have been a Diamond/Low Master player through out most of seasons since 2017. Last year, during season 13, I put a mission to take AP Irelia from Gold to Master.

AP Irelia was always fun to me since I notice her scalings. I would only play her AP in ARAMs. I never tried to play AD Irelia much, except before her rework...

After seeing the streamer Thebausffs take AP Irelia to high elo, I was inspired to try her out in the Summoner's Rift. I noticed how a lot of people didn't find her strong. I totally disagree. I believe AP Irelia is very strong, just in her own terms.

I needed to find the best builds, so I played her with different runes and items sets... After 500+ games last season, from AP support to AP tank top lane, I tested so much stuff and I was finally able to get to Masters playing her in the mid lane. I was also playing AP Amumu/ Hwei/ Irelia support as a secondary role.

Here in this guide I present you the best build and the best lane that is fit for AP Irelia : full AP, poke-focused, in mid lane.

Although I didn't reach higher ranks neither did well during the first split of season 14 (hardstuck Diamond IV), I believe the problem is me, not the build. I'd love to see better players try the build out, so that's why I am making the guide.

Why you should try AP Irelia

In my opinion, playstyle and fun are something very subjective and special to each player. It's hard to convince someone that something is fun... It very much depends on them trying it out!

If you are curious about the gameplay, here is a vod review I made from a game in Diamond III :

I think AP Irelia doesn't sound so good for AD Irelia players because they expect both to do the same thing. So much so that most of the players that try an AP build start with Nashor's Tooth first... But what if I told you that's not her best item ? And that the auto-attack style is very rarely the key for playing AP Irelia ?

For people who wonder how it is playing AP Irelia, I'd say she is more like Qiyana. In the same way you'd think a Qiyana would jump in and out to do damage and waiting off her cooldowns, that's how playing AP Irelia should be like. If you like the idea of trying to constantly hitting skill shots, AP Irelia is for you!

But there are so many mages already right ? What's so good about Irelia : Her unique area of damage, specially on her Ult. She can damage people from so far away with an ultimate that instantly develops the moment it touches someone. Her range and engage tools are extremely unique and there is no comparison with another mage.

She goes really well into some match-ups that are tough for AD Irelia, like Vex, Cassiopeia and Taliyah, since you don't really need to dash into them to deal damage! So it might be a good build to learn if you want to deal with those annoying counterpicks!

Pros and cons


  • Extremely good scaling into mid/late game.
  • Very high explosive area damage (scaling with great percentages all her 3 AoE spells Defiant Dance, Flawless Duet and Vanguard's Edge.
  • Her ult and Flawless Duet becomes a way better zoning tool due to the menace of passing through and taking high damage.
  • Can reach targets with Vanguard's Edge from really far away.
  • Defiant Dance will tank 100% of AD damage and around 60% of AP damage, after three items.


  • Extremely squishy without Defiant Dance.
  • No sustained healing.
  • Extremely dependant on hitting abilities.
  • Weak early game.
  • Little escape tools.

Starting AP Irelia

Even though AP Irelia's playstyle is different, most of the basics of Irelia are still important. As a very complex champion to play with, I suggest you to not pick Irelia as a first champion while learning League of Legends.

Check out the Irelia Reddit guide if you want to know more about the basics and AD Irelia :

After that, I suggest you to try some combos in Training or ARAM before going to Summoner's Rift. Like I said, think of AP Irelia as a mage Qiyana. Don't go in like AD Irelia usually goes. If you are playing the poke build, stacking your passive is not important. You should focus on practicing hitting your Defiant Dance, Flawless Duet and Vanguard's Edge. She should be played more of a long-range burst in-and-out assassin, similar to how Qiyana is played.

Irelia's Abilities

Ionian fervor (Passive)

In this guide, I am not gonna cover too much on her passive. If you go with the auto-attack build, the gameplay is very similar to AD Irelia.
It's important to notice that during laning phase and early fights, independent of the build, knowing how to apply her passive is extremely important. It is also great for taking turrets down.

Bladesurge (Q)

Reposition, reposition, reposition! Bladesurge is your best friend for mobility and creating plays with AP Irelia. During team fights, if repositioning will give you a better angle to use your abilities, go for it. If you can reset it with E or your ult to get out after, even better. If you ever go in a crowd to kill one target, make sure to active Defiant Dance as soon as you dive in. This will allow you to absorb a lot of the damage which would've killed you.

An important trick to know, is that you can dash to a dying target and Bladesurge will still reset, even if the target was just killed by your abilities. See the video below for an example of this trick :

Defiant Dance (W)

Irelia's Defiant Dance is her strongest ability against squishies. A full AP build can allow its damage to go up 1000. It is important to notice that Defiant Dance does physical damage, so against heavy armor tanky comps, you should save it as a defensive tool.

Irelia charges for 1.5 seconds, but the maximum damage of the ability is reached mid-charge, at 0.75 seconds. So when in the offense, you don't need to charge it to the end, just to the middle of the charging bar.

The damage reduction in her Defiant Dance also scales with AP. After you reach around 400 AP, you'll be able to tank 100% of incoming AD damage and 50% of incoming AP damage with this ability.

And important trick to know is that her Defiant Dance range can be extended with flash. It is a bit hard to reproduce 100% of the times, but it has helped me to secure kills from far away.

Flawless Duet (E)

Irelia's Flawless Duet deals a decent amount of damage while stunning up to all 5 enemies. It's an extremely important ability. It's hard to land and you should practice a lot.

If you are sure you are hitting it, the moment you release the second part, you should immediately starting charging your Defiant Dance. The duration of the stun is 0.75 seconds, which is the exact time to reach max Defiant Dance damage and ult right after.

Also, you have 3.5 seconds to throw the second blade to activate the stun, so in most of times it is a good idea to pre-cast the first part from out of vision to surprise your enemies.

Remember that this ability is blocked Yasuo and Samira's anti-projectile abilities. Specially with Yasuo, he basically can make your Flawless Duet disappear at almost any time... It's very annoying.

Vanguard's Edge (R)

Vanguard's Edge will be the most important thing to hit during team fights. Try to think like an Orianna and save for a moment where it will hit multiple people or create a cage against one important target.

Even though Malignance and Ultimate Hunter will make sure you can use Vanguard's Edge a lot, it is still a significant cooldown to wait for, so be mindful!

Also, remember that you can cancel the animation and surprise enemies with flash. See the video below for an example :

Remember that this ability is blocked Yasuo and Samira's anti-projectile abilities.

Abilities max range

Irelia's abilities have a surprising long range. Learning her limits will make you able to hit huge combos from very far away. It's important to notice that her ultimate has a slightly longer range than the normal abilities. Also, don't be scared to ult a tank if their squishies are just behind them. Even if it's a Braum with shield up, your ultimate will still develop and deal damage to everyone behind.

The best items for AP Irelia

When I am talking about best items, I take into account the price versus the damage output in fights.

During season 13, the best item for AP Irelia, believe it or not, was Imperial Mandate! It was using that item that I got to Masters elo. At that time, it costed only around 2200 gold and everything it gave was absolutely great for Irelia. Sadly, the item has since changed and, although it gives health based damage, there are other items worth more.

Here i present you a list of the best items for AP Irelia in terms of cost benefit. For more items to build, check the recommended items section of the guide.

Considering the high AP scaling in Irelia's abilities, increasing her damage against a target by 10% is absolutely incredible. Although Horizon Focus wouldn't be the first item you'd think about for a melee character, Irelia's abilities have a range great enough to allow you to apply the bonus damage constantly.

As a curiosity, Horizon Focus takes into account your position when the ability "leaves" the champion compared to where the enemy is the moment the ability damages them. So after you casted it from far away, you can instantly go in without waiting. See the video below for an example :
Lich Bane sygergizes pretty well with Irelia's kit and is the best first item to complete for her, by far. If you play off the cooldown, the damage output outperforms any other item. Also, the extra damage is great to help reset your Bladesurge on minions and enemies, giving her a lot more mobility. Don't forget about the movement speed it provides on top of it all!
Liandry's Torment is very underrated on Irelia. She has 3 good AoE habilities and a resetting one-target ability and all of them can apply Liandry's to enemies. This makes it a must-buy in games with healthy targets. It also synergizes extremely well with Malignance and Shadowflame.
If you're ahead or against an AD-heavy comp, rushing Rabadon's Deathcap as your third item is great. It allows you to deal absurds ammount of damage while also tanking 100% of any AD damage incoming for 1.5 seconds (during Defiant Dance) ! It doesn't matter if it's a full-build Rengar jumping at you.
Nashor's Tooth is perfect for Irelia's full kit. However, considering AP Irelia won't have the same sustain and survivability in teamfights, not always you'll be able to auto-attack. It's still great for its price and allows you to splitpush. With experience, you'll be able to tell when it's a good idea or not to build this item.
Hextech Rocketbelt doesn't pack a punch, but packs a lot of utility. It provides an useful dash and a counter to spell shields. Build this as a second item whenever you see people building spell shield items or if you are against a Malzahar. All three Irelia's poke spells have important cooldowns and it feels terrible to be blocked by a spell shield. The item also allows Irelia to have a dash to escape without needing targets behind her.

Combos and teamfighting


Trading in lane

Most effective combo after level 6

The most effective combo is Flawless Duet + Defiant Dance + Vanguard's Edge, cause if the enemy has no tenacity (which is more rare in patch 14.10), they won't be able to dodge your Defiant Dance or Vanguard's Edge. Remember : Defiant Dance max damage is peaked mid-charge, so release as soon as possible and use Vanguard's Edge right after. It's also possible to start fights with Vanguard's Edge, specially against flashless targets. This way, the ultimate's slow helps you to hit your Flawless Duet. Make sure to reset your Bladesurge always to provide a way of going in and out.

With enough items, you'll be able to one shot squishies and deal a massive amount of area damage.

In situations where you are in number disavantage, you can force the enemy to walk into your ultimate damage by running away. Most enemies don't think about the extra damage they take. Also, all your three are abilities can hit multiple people at the same time, try to profit of that.


When teamfighting, you should focus on targetting the most important and squishy targets and/or dealign as much area of damage as possible. Hitting your stun in one squishy target is essential, but you should be trying to constantly "connect dots" between enemies with your Flawless Duet, hitting as many enemies as possible. See the examples below :
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[14.12] SkandaLoL's Ultimate AP Irelia Mid Guide - Diamond Tier

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