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Irelia Build Guide by Rip-R

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Rip-R

AP Irelia Mid lane, the hidden Ionian Mage

Rip-R Last updated on November 22, 2016
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Middle Lane
Ranked #55 in
Middle Lane
Win 50%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Threats to Irelia with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Ezreal Squishy mages are genereally very vulnerable against your combo
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Hey guys, this is my second guide here on Mobafire.

How I met AP Irelia

I'm sure the first thing you want to ask me is "Why AP Irelia, are you noob ?" (then proceed to wish me the most painful death possible for coming with such an idea). I am not saying that AP Irelia is better than the AD version, but there are several reasons why AP Irelia is more than an excellent alternative.

The poor 0.5 AP scaling of Equilibrium Strike isn't one of them. Sure, some AP scaling is always good, but the build is not solely based on that.

What makes her an amazing mage is her ulti. Each of the four Transcendent Blades deals 0.5 of your AP, that makes a total of 2.0 of your AP. It also scales on AD, but the fact that AP items give more stats than AD items will make your Transcendent Blades deal much more damage with an AP build.

Even as a melee champion, you won't have difficulties farming in the mid lane because your Bladesurge helps you last hit and gives you lot of mobility. Stunning/slowing the enemy with Equilibrium Strike after dashing on him or a minion will enable you to harass him and get away unscathed. Even without AD, your Bladesurge will deal consequent damage as it scales with base AD and not bonus AD; it also synergizes well with Sheen and later on Lich Bane because it procs on-hit effects.

If you like playing with Champions like Zed, Fizz or Kha'Zix, then you'll love this play style, as AP Irelia is meant to be played like an assassin, dashing on squishy opponents and bursting them down.

If you are still not convinced by the effectiveness of this build, check out my score and try it for yourself !


This guide is mainly focused on the AP Irelia build. For general tips and tricks on Irelia, you can read other guides on Mobafire, or take a look at her on the League of Legends Wiki.


Spoiler: Click to view

Yay first Irelia guide of the list on Mobafire, thanks guys !

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Pro & Cons


+ Able to burst down squishy enemies
+ Multi-purpose ulti to farm, harass, heal and assassinate
+ Hard to counter because of the mix of magical and physical damage
+ Great multi-target damage during teamfights
+ Good synergy of Bladesurge and Lich Bane


- Quite squishy for a melee champion
- Lack of damage against champions with sustain or tanky champions

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Greater Glyph of Ability Power

Greater Mark of Precision

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

Usual rune page for a mage, except for the marks. Your Transcendent Blades and Bladesurge do physical damage, while Equilibrium Strike and Lich Bane do magical damage, so the Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration are necessary to maximize your damage.

As your overall damage is roughly 50% magical damage and 50% physical damage against champions, both magic and armor penetration are necessary (against minions, you do mostly physical damage because of the auto attacks and Bladesurge).
Damage against minions and monsters is mostly physical because it is dealt by auto-attacks, Bladesurge and Transcendent Blades.

If the enemy team is mostly magic damage dealing Champions, or if you feel like you're going to be heavily harassed by the enemy mid Champion, you can get some Greater Glyph of Magic Resist instead of the Greater Glyph of Ability Power.

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Summoner Spells


The must-have Summoner Spell. You can chase an enemy from far away by Flashing then using Bladesurge to catch him, or Flash, Bladesurge on a low-life minion then another Bladesurge to get to your enemy.


The Ignite will add more damage to your combo when necessary to finish off an enemy.

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Passive - Ionian Fervor

Quite a good passive for a melee champion, you'll be less impacted by CC

Q - Bladesurge

It scales with base AD and not bonus AD, so even without AD items you can do decent damage with this spell.
It also procs on-hit effects, so with the additional damage from Sheen or Lich Bane, last hitting and refreshing its cooldown won't be a problem. During early game, use it only when you can't last hit otherwise, because if you do it too often you'll be quickly out of mana.
Starting from mid game, you'll be able to clear minion waves quite fast even without using your ulti, as you will be able to kill minions and reset your Bladesurge with 1 auto-attack + Bladesurge on a full life ranged minion or Bladesurge on a melee minion with 1/3 of its HP.
Bladesurge is also great for catching enemies from far away, by either dashing to him directly or dashing to a minion, resetting the cooldown then dashing again to the enemy.

W - Hiten Style

This spell is neither boosted by AD nor AP.
Its health restoration from both the passive and active is a great way to get back some health by attacking minions.
Late game, the true damage it gives combined with some attack speed from items such as Nashor's Tooth or Guinsoo's Rageblade will compensate the lack of long term damage of your combo if the fight goes on.

E - Equilibrium Strike

Since its nerf a long time ago the AP ratio of Equilibrium Strike isn't as good as before, but it is an excellent way to harass your enemy without taking much damage in return thanks to the CC.

R - Transcendent Blades

This is the spell that makes AP Irelia such an amazing champion. Four blades dealing a total of 320/480/640 + 2.0 of your AP + 2.4 of your AD is enough to burst down squishy enemies or seriously damage the whole enemy team during teamfights.
Added to this, this is a multi-target easy-to-land skillshot with quite a short cooldown, so you can spam it to harass the enemy, clear minion waves or heal back yourself (25% of the damage dealt).

Theoretical spell damage

For information purposes, here's some a glimpse of how much damage your spells can deal at level 18 with a full build (it is only theoretical, as in game armor and magic resistance has to be taken in consideration) :
Spoiler: Click to view



Bladesurge to the enemy + Sheen / Lich Bane proc > Equilibrium Strike > get back
Bladesurge to a low life minion > Bladesurge to the enemy > Equilibrium Strike > auto-attack + Sheen / Lich Bane proc > get back


Hiten Style > Bladesurge to the enemy + Sheen / Lich Bane proc > Equilibrium Strike > Transcendent Blades > auto-attacks + Sheen / Lich Bane proc in between if possible
The stun from Equilibrium Strike and the health restoration from Transcendent Blades allow you to win a trade even if you have lower health than the opponent.

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Skill sequence

Level up Bladesurge once first to help you for your first last hits if necessary, or to dash to an enemy in case of an invasion.

Max Equilibrium Strike as it will be your main source of damage for harassing the enemy.

Max Bladesurge as your second spell as the additional damage will make the spell reset easier.

Level up Hiten Style at least once to regain some health if necessary. I like to have it at level 4.

As usual, level up your ulti Transcendent Blades whenever possible.

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Doran's Ring

Bladesurge is very mana-hungry if you use it too often, so the passive of the Doran's Ring is a good way to get back some mana when killing minions.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity

Because Irelia is Ionian. More seriously, only 50% of your damage is magical damage so getting the Sorcerer's Shoes isn't worth it. Instead, the cooldown reduction from the Ionian Boots of Lucidity will allow you to spam your ulti whenever you want.

Hextech Gunblade

The perfect item for Irelia. The AP and AD bonus increases the damage on all of your spells, especially your ulti as it scales on both of these stats.
The item's spell vamp synergizes well with your ulti and makes you regain nearly full health by just using Transcendent Blades on a minion wave.
The item's active scales on AP and is also good to slow down an enemy while waiting your Bladesurge to be off cooldown.

Alternative: Archangel's Staff

If you struggle with your mana, you can get a Tear of the Goddess after your Sheen, then upgrade it into the Archangel's Staff. You'll want to buy this in early game in order to build stacks quickly and get the Seraph's Embrace as soon as possible.

Lich Bane

Lich Bane is the equivalent of Trinity Force, but for AP Irelia. As Bladesurge procs Lich Bane's on-hit effect this item really helps you last hitting, and add some nice damage to your combo.

Alternative: Iceborn Gauntlet

This is another way to upgrade your Sheen, it provides the mana you sometimes need, and will deal AOE damage nearly each time you Bladesurge. The Spellblade passive is not based on your AP nor does magic damage though, so compared to Lich Bane you'll deal a lot less damage and your Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration will be less effective.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

As you are a melee champion, you need to be a little bit tanky or you won't stay alive more than 5 seconds during teamfights. Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives you the HP you need. On top of that, its passive turns your ulti into a AOE slow, which is great during teamfights. The slow will not proc with Bladesurge though as this spells only apply on-hit effects.

Alternative: Rod of Ages

Another good item that gives you health and ability power. Don't buy it too late if you want the bonus stats to build up.

Zhonya's Hourglass

Another semi-tanky item that also provides an enormous amount of AP. If you dash into the enemy team and is about to die, activate the Zhonya's Hourglass while your teammates come to help you.

Nashor's Tooth

A good item when you start leveling up Hiten Style during late game, as the attack speed bonus will make you deal more true damage. With the Sorcery mastery, the Ionian Boots of Lucidity and the cooldown reduction of Nashor's Tooth, you'll reach the maximum 40% cooldown reduction: that means that you'll be able to spam your ulti EVERY 30 SECONDS !

Alternative: Guinsoo's Rageblade

It gives AP and AD bonus, but you'll have to build up the attack speed.

Alternative: Rabadon's Deathcap

Even more AP for even more damage !

Alternative: Last Whisper

If the enemy team stack armor, you'll lose effectiveness on your ulti as it deals physical damage, so buying a Last Whisper in this case may be better than getting another AP item.

Alternative: Spirit Visage

Get this if you keep getting one shot by the enemy mage. The 20% increased healing passive will also give you more sustain during the laning phase and teamfights when you use Transcendent Blades or Hiten Style. However as this item doesn't give you any AP, your burst will hurt less.

Alternative: Guardian Angel

A late game item that can help you surviving teamfights. The revive becomes more useful as spawn times get longer, so it's most effective to get it lategame.
Being revived with a Guardian Angel while having one Transcendent Blade left will revive you with four blades ready.

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Item sequence

Start with a Doran's Ring, two Health Potions and a Warding Totem.

Rush the Sheen first to increase the damage of Bladesurge, then proceed to buy the Ionian Boots of Lucidity. You'll be level 6 and level up your ulti so some cooldown reduction comes right on time.

Get the Hextech Gunblade next, the spellvamp is great for sustainability in the lane, and besides you won't gain much from directly upgrading your Sheen into the Lich Bane.

After buying Hextech Gunblade, you can now finish the Lich Bane.

You should be mid game from now, and teamfights are starting, so you have to get tankier with a Rylai's Crystal Scepter and a Zhonya's Hourglass.

The last item you'll choose will depend on the situation.
During late game, when you finally start to level up Hiten Style, that's when some attack speed comes in handy, so you can finish your build with a Nashor's Tooth. This way you'll still do damage during extended teamfights while your combo is on cooldown.
If you feel that teamfights never last long you could get instead a Rabadon's Deathcap.
If the enemy team stacks armor, get a Last Whisper.
And if your team is ahead but you have trouble surviving the initiation during teamfights, get the Guardian Angel as it can be game changing.

Full build cost:

16 210 gold.

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Laning phase

Mid lane

Mid lane is where AP Irelia excells the most. Like most assassins like LeBlanc, Fizz or Talon, mid lane is where they can easily burst down the opponent because they are usually squishy.

Play aggressive if you can, harass the opponent as much as possible with your combo, and if you have an opportunity, jump on the enemy and kill him.

When your lane is pushed too much, feel free to pay a visit to other lanes, as your dash and your CC from Equilibrium Strike can make an easy kill.

Use your environment to your advantage. For example, use a low life minion to zone your enemy away, or to dash and harass him or kill him.

If the sneaky jungler comes from behind, dash to him, stun/slow him and get away safely.

If you are getting turret dived, stun the opponent with Equilibrium Strike and heal yourself back with your ulti while he's getting targeted by the turret.

Top lane

AP Irelia can also be played top lane, but as her combo isn't as effective against the champions with sustain or tanky champions that are usually top lane, she has to be played in a more passive style, focusing on only last hitting minions most of the time.

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During teamfights, always let the tank or the offtank engage. Remember, you are playing her AP not AD, so you do not have as much sustain. Stay in the background and use your ulti on the enemy team. You have to reposition yourself after each of your ulti's blades in order to hit as many enemies as possible (minions included, as hitting them with your ulti will also heal you) without putting yourself in danger.

When an enemy is low health, dash to him and do your combo. Similarly to Katarina, if kill stealing an enemy with Bladesurge can reset your spell so that you can jump right afterwards on an other enemy and make another kill, do it (do explain to your teammates if necessary so that they understand).

If you are low health, activate your Zhonya's Hourglass so that the enemy change focus while your teammates continue the teamfight.

If the teamfight goes on, use Hiten Style while your other spells are off cooldown.

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Damn it does not feel got to get a taste of my own medecine! I was trying out some build in one of my recent games when I stumbled an AP Irelia on the enemy team (what are the odds!). I already knew AP Irelia was OP, but much to my surprise not only she was doing good, but we got absolutely crushed by her single handedly.

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Here are some videos of Youtubers playing AP Irelia. These were posted before my guide was published, so they don't follow my build : they are purely here to illustrate the play style of AP Irelia.

Break the Meta Ep84 - Let's give AP Irelia a Try! by Solwolf

Illegitimate Legends: AP Irelia by AhrtGames

Try something different - AP Irelia by Morzers

AP Irelia: The Blade Magician by ICanBeYourW****

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AP Irelia is a super fun and effective way to play Irelia.

This build has been fully tried and tested for normal games at least, against players from unranked to Platinum level thanks to the the pre-season matchmaking.

However, I don't play Ranked games so I don't know if it works as well as normal games. If you tried it on Ranked games, let me know what you think !

If you have success with this build, you can also send me screenshots so that I can include them in the guide.

I'd be delighted if you can give me a feedback (either positive or constructive negative feedbacks) on the presentation of this guide or the build itself !