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Illaoi Build Guide by Chromuro

Top Faith of the depths [S9]

Top Faith of the depths [S9]

Updated on October 9, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Chromuro Build Guide By Chromuro 248 21 740,444 Views 40 Comments
248 21 740,444 Views 40 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Chromuro Illaoi Build Guide By Chromuro Updated on October 9, 2019
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Runes: Gangplank's influence

1 2
Magical Footwear
Biscuit Delivery
Approach Velocity

Bone Plating

+8 ability haste
+6 Armor
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


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

Faith of the depths [S9]

By Chromuro

Table of contents
1. Pros/cons
2. Skill description and sequence
3. Summoner spells
4. Runes
5. Items
6. Farming
7. Combos
8. Tentacle positioning
9. In the game
10. Conclusion

Welcome to "Bilgewater Sushi", the only place in Bilgewater where if you try to serve octopus tentacles you won't be damned for the eternity by some strange god with a beard. I'm Chromuro, the owner, and today I'll present to you our poster girl: Illaoi, the kraken priestess! Today I'll reveal every aspect of her personality, what she likes or dislikes and how she will break every bone in your body if you don't listen to her. Take a seat, grab a drink (try to steal it and you'll find yourself without hands), enjoy the show and I'll see you at the end of this journey!

+ Great dueling capabilities +
+ Heavy poking +
+ 1v2 easily +
+ Self-healing +
+ Adaptive build +
- Mana problems in early game -
- Only a (small) engage -
- A little bit item dependent -
- Relies a lot on her passive -
- Can't roam too much -

Illaoi can do two things: dive inside a fight and completely destroy the enemy team with Leap of Faith and an aggressive build or soak a lot of damage and then heal with the second passive of Tentacle Smash and a defensive build. Both of these playstyles have their positives and negatives: an aggressive Illaoi will be rewarded with the most satisfying 5-man dunk ever and then die immediately after by the extreme focused fire of the enemy team, a defensive Illaoi will be a moving wall that can poke and heal every incoming damage, but she'll lack the killing capability (you still do damage, but not enough for the later stages of the game).

Passive: Prophet of an Elder God
Illaoi and the vessels she creates spawn tentacles on nearby impassible terrain. Tentacles swing at spirits, vessels, and victims of Illaoi's Harsh Lesson, dealing physical damage to enemies hit.

The entire kit of Illaoi revolves around her passive. It doesn't do anything by itself but to spawn tentacles on nearby walls (if there aren't any); she spawns them every ~15 seconds (it's 20-12 seconds based on level) and their positioning is crucial for Illaoi, one tentacle too far away and it could cost the entire laning phase. Positioning will be explained here. If you can't summon any tentacle because there isn't enough space, then Illaoi will store up to two of them until you can spawn another one.

Q: Tentacle Smash
PASSIVE: Tentacles deal 10/15/20/25/30% increased damage. Tentacles that hit enemy champions heal Illaoi for 5% of her missing health.

ACTIVE: Illaoi slams her idol into the ground, summoning a tentacle that slams down in the target direction, dealing physical damage before disappearing.

The active effect is pretty simple: you do damage in front of you. This skill will be your main farming tool since with only Black Cleaver will one-shot the caster minions and the melee minions will fall with simply one AA.

One thing that you have to remember is that the animation is uninterruptible; this means that if you get hard CCed during the animation, it will still continue, so try to time any hard CC (like a stun) with your Q (this way you won't be completely immobile for the entire time).

The most interesting part is the passive: first it gives a pseudo-scaling to both the tentacles of your passive and the skill itself (it has neither an AD ratio nor an AP one) and if you hit a champion (not minions or monsters) with them you'll heal yourself. The healing isn't really as simple as stated in the tooltip; first of all, the number of champions hit by the tentacle doesn't change the healing: you can hit the entire enemy team with one tentacle, but you'll heal only 5% of your missing health, like if you had hit one enemy; second, if the enemies are hit by more than one tentacle, the healing is calculated in a different way: missing health*(1-0.95n), where n is the number of tentacles.

why is calculated differently

W: Harsh Lesson
Illaoi's next basic attack within 6 seconds gains 225 bonus range and causes her to leap to her target if it's not inside her base attack range, dealing bonus physical damage (capped at 300 against non-champions) and commanding all tentacles in range to attack her target.

This ability, again, is very simple: an AA enhancer that also resets the AA timer. With an AD-centered build, it can reach a good amount of %max health damage, but this is the most important skill in the entire kit for a single reason: it's the only one that triggers the tentacles to attack. Without this, the tentacles will do nothing. This is the only tool that you have to close gaps, so don't waste it; 4 seconds seems nothing, but for a skill that is this much important it seems an eternity.

E: Test of spirit
Illaoi lashes out a tentacle in the target direction that stops at the first enemy struck. If the enemy is a champion, their spirit is pulled in front of Illaoi. The target is tethered to the spirit and revealed while it remains.

The spirit has the target's current health, armor and magic resist, and remains for 7 seconds. A portion of the damage dealt to the spirit is forwarded to the tethered champion.

When the Spirit is killed or the target moves too far away, the tether is severed, slowing them by 80% for 1.5 seconds and marking them as a vessel for 10 seconds, revealing the area around them for a few seconds.
Each tentacle will autonomously attack the closest vessel/spirit once every 5/4/3 seconds (at level 1/7/13).

VESSEL: It spawns a tentacle near it every 5/4/3 seconds, ceased by taking down Illaoi.

These are a lot of words, maybe it is the longest tooltip in the game. Ok, let's start with the easy part: the tentacle. The tentacle doesn't pierce through minions, so please use it carefully. If a new wave is coming, clear it first (even only half of it) and then try to use Test of Spirit; the CD is pretty long at early levels, so you MUST NOT miss it. A good test can change the entire lane/fight.

Then there is the animation: like Tentacle Smash, the animation of Test of Spirit can't be interrupted so if a hard CC is coming your way and you can position correctly the skill, then go for it. The animation is long too if you get a spirit, so your downtime will be very small.

Now the spirit: if you hit a champion with your Test of Spirit, you'll create a clone of him with the same %current health of the target that you can hit freely ( Kleptomancy and Grasp of the Undying works on the clone too since it's counted as an enemy champion); the tentacles will be happy to help you damaging the spirit: once every 10 seconds they'll hit the clone without the need of your Harsh Lesson, but this doesn't mean that you shouldn't use it; if you use your Harsh Lesson while a tentacle is attacking, he will simply queue another attack that will be executed once the previous animation is concluded. The spirit will transmit part of the damage dealt, virtually it could even transmit all the damage with enough AD, but CC won't be transmitted (so if someone uses their CC on the spirit, please ping them heavily and tell them that I ordered you to do so). If you can, try to hit both the spirit and the champion at the same time, you'll do more damage for obvious reasons. The spirit can be used as a bait to test if your opponent wants to fight: if yes, then you can go all-in and try to get a kill (thing that happens pretty frequently); if not, then you can hit the spirit freely without consequences, gaining some gold or some health.

At the end there is the vessel debuff: by itself it's nothing particular, the slow procs Approach Velocity so you can get to him more easily and the tentacles that spawn can set up a lane without any of them or get a random kill if the target is low enough.

R: Leap of faith
Illaoi leaps into the air unstoppably before slamming her idol into the ground, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies. For each enemy champion and spirit hit, a tentacle is summoned for 8 seconds.

For the duration, Harsh Lesson's cooldown is halved, all tentacles awakened by Illaoi are untargetable, will not show their hitboxes, will not go dormant, and will take half the amount of time to make an attack.

And now the ultimate. First of all, you are unstoppable (btw), this means you can't be displaced (with something like Condemn) and if you get CCed, it will take action, but you will still be able to continue with your ultimate.

Now the most interesting part: for every champion AND spirit inside the ultimate range it will spawn a tentacle on the ground (so don't worry about the tentacles on the walls), all tentacles will hit faster and can't be destroyed and Harsh Lesson has a 2 seconds cd. This is what makes Illaoi really dangerous after level 6: if you are not terribly behind and if you don't tie your fingers while you are fighting you can easily 1v2 everyone in every situation. It's even more powerful while in a teamfight: a 5+ tentacles slapfest can pulverize and scatter your enemies with ease.

Now let's talk about skill sequences. I have 2 sequences, that have only one main difference:

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

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

> > >

At level 1 you can take Tentacle Smash (most of the times, it's your main poking/farming tool and you need it immediatly) or Harsh Lesson (vs. heavy poke ranged champions, you can farm a bit safer with the tentacles), then it depends what to max first. Normally you would max first Tentacle Smash for the sheer damage and the pseudo-scaling, but if you are vs. tanks, you need to max first Test of Spirit. This way, when you'll pull out their spirit at mid game, you can do some sort of damage to them. Trust me, it's pretty depressing to see an Illaoi that can't kill even a spirit because he's too tanky.

Flash is the standard summoner spell. It helps to close distance with your enemy or to run away from him. It can be paired with your Harsh Lesson to extend its range or with your Leap of Faith to reposition yourself mid-animation. There is no reason to not take it always.

Now for the second spell. For top lane there aren't that many viable spells and Illaoi has even less possibilities:

Teleport will be your second summoner spell 99% of the times. It's the standard toplane summoner spell: you can return to lane faster after backing/dying and you can get quickly to other lanes in case of danger/to gank.

Ignite can be useful to be sure to finish a low health enemy when you all-in him. There are really few cases where you can take Ignite without having problems, most of thems are when you are REALLY sure you are going to win lane and everybody else is sure that your help won't be needed.


Kleptomancy is the main focus of this build for a single reason: Illaoi's build is pretty expensive, she needs a lot of gold to start helping out the team (~6000 gold, enough for at least Black Cleaver+ Sterak's Gage), and Kleptomancy helps to mitigate this problem. Even all the consumables are a great help in lane: Mana Potion can help you in early game with your mana problems, Pilfered Potion of Rouge can help you during a trade and all the travel-size elixirs ( Travel Size Elixir of Iron, Travel Size Elixir of Sorcery, Travel Size Elixir of Wrath) can help you in the most various situations. It doesn't have a CD, so you can proc it whenever you want and with just hitting your W you can get something, so go make Gangplank proud!

Magical Footwear
So, you have to save as much gold as you can for the reason said before (really, the build is expensive...) and Magical Footwear helps you by giving a free pair of boots @10 minutes (or before if you can kill someone) and the upgrade costs less. The fact that it gives a little bit of additional MS is the cherry on top since Illaoi has some serious movement problems.

Magical Footwear vs. Perfect Timing
This rune can be changed with Perfect Timing when you fear you can have problems with your opponent or to reduce the price of Gargoyle Stoneplate if you are sure you are going to buy it, but you have to mind this: the time you get the Stopwatch is fixed and you can't obtain it before (...for free, you can obviously buy it from the shop). It has a really niche use for Illaoi, but it can still be a good choice.

Biscuit Delivery
Biscuit Delivery helps you sustain in lane, moreover during laning phase, where you need health and mana to trade with your laner. Think of it as an emergency Corrupting Potion charge without the bonus damage, but with some more mana on top of it. The biscuits will help you in particular when you are vs. heavy-poking lanes, like Jayce or Teemo, this way you have something to counterbalance the excessive poke that you will (probably) have to sustain.

Biscuit Delivery vs. Future's Market
Future's Market helps Illaoi to get to her powerspikes (both with the first and second item) more quickly, it's as simple as that. Remember one thing: if you want to sell your Kleptomancy drops (maybe too many Pilfered Stealth Wards?), do it before going into debt. I take this over Biscuit Delivery only when I'm sure that the additional sustain won't be necessary.

Approach Velocity
Illaoi has great movement problems, moreover when she has to get quickly to his opponent. Approach Velocity is the solution to this particular problem: it procs on the vessel debuff activation (so you have to destroy the spirit created by Test of Spirit or your opponent has to exit the spirit's range), so you can chase your opponent and do some more damage with Tentacle Smash or Harsh Lesson(+ all the damage from the tentacles); it has a great syngergy with Phage/ Black Cleaver passive too.

Resolve (sub-tree)

Bone Plating
The anti-poke rune par excellence. It usefull in every situation, it mitigates the next 3 hits and can save your life from incoming burst of damage. It's even more useful vs. poke champions like Teemo, you need this rune at all costs if you don't want to die to the awful high poke damage.

So, Illaoi has a built-in heal in her Tentacle Smash that we can make stronger with Revitalize. It doesn't give too much by itself, but you'll need every inch of health during trades and teamfights. If you have a healer in your team even better since you'll benefit even more from his heals.

Rune stats
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18) The item build I often associate with this rune page already have a good amount of AD, but doesn't cap on CDR, so this is the most efficient one. This way you can spam a bit more easily your skills.

+5 Armor I put bonus armor only because the most of the top laners are AD, replace it with MR when you are vs. an AP laner. Early armor/MR, you take less damage, easy.

+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18) Bonus health for trades. If you think you won't trade much (maybe a hard matchup) and only farm, change the second stat to +AD and change this one to +A/MR.


Resolve (main tree)

Grasp of the Undying
Grasp of the Undying works in the same way of Kleptomancy: after 4 hits (dealt or received), the next AA to a champion does bonus damage based on your max health, heals you and gives 5 bonus health. So, this can be procced on the spirit too, making it a health factory while dealing even more damage to your opponent. Grasp of the Undying is a good choice when you already know you are going to be the tank of the team or when you need more healing and survivability (maybe against a hard matchup); the heal synergizes obviously with Revitalize, so even better. With Black Cleaver+ Sterak's Gage you'll have a good amount of health, but if you can stack it even more you'll have a greater benefit from the rune.

Since Illaoi is a juggernaut, she will have naturally an high amount of health and with the items she will get even more damage on the tower with this rune. Especially usefull when you are splitpushing, since it clears towers really easily. It's more a late game rune, so early it won't do too much damage to the turret plating, but anyway it's a good tool to gain some additional gold in laning phase.

This rune screams "TAAAAANK" from miles away. The bonus armor and magic resist is necessary if you want to resist a lot of damage and the percentual bonus will come handy in later stages of the game when you already have some items like Dead Man's Plate or Spirit Visage.



Presence of Mind
Your ultimate can change an entire fight, it has a devastating power that often get you one or two kills. With the partial reset from Presence of Mind, your ultimate can come off cooldown a bit faster, this means you are ready to teamfight again in less time. The mana regen from this rune helps you during laning phase where you have heavy mana problems, a kill can give you a big lead in your lane with only the fact that you can stay in lane a bit longer.

Legend: Tenacity
Tenacity is a fundamental aspect for tank Illaoi since stuns or hard CC in general cripple your ability to help during a teamfight. Even if you are a tank, you can't just soak damage, you must have an active role inside your team, most of the times you'll be the one to start the fight with a well-positioned Leap of Faith. Sterak's Gage lifeline effect and Mercury's Treads already help a lot, but with this rune you'll be able to reduce even more every CC and it's easy to stack up.

Legend: Tenacity vs. Coup de Grace vs. Last Stand
This time I make a comparison with two runes from a different row: Coup de Grace and Last Stand. First of all, why to choose a different rune? It depends on the enemy team, if they have a lot of CC or few really important/obnoxious ones, obviously you go with Legend: Tenacity; if not, you can go a more aggressive rune since we're already in the precision tree. Coup de Grace is more aggressive rune, you can finish more easily low health enemies, while Last Stand is more a teamfight rune, where you do more damage in situations where, for example, you are focused by the enemy team (and trust me, while you are ulting you'll be their first target priority).

Rune stats
+10 Adaptive (6 AD or 10 AP) While building tank, you lose a lot of damage. The stat counter this loss a little bit, not in an exaggerated way, but it helps when clearing waves and when trading early.

+5 Armor Resistances early means...

+6 Magic Resist ...less damage during the game. And it synergizes with Conditioning too since it amplifies the stats effects.

This will be your usual start. Health, mana, and damage are enough to make it a must. It can save your skin after a bad trade, replenish your mana if you don't have enough or burn your enemies with the passion of your faith (or maybe because you wanted to mimic Gangplank's Trial By Fire, who knows). Take this (+1 Health Potion) for ranged matchups or for heavy-poking champions. The Second Wind like effect will save you from an excessive amount of damage and the bonus health can help you during trades. And, you know, slamming a shield on the face of a minion is an efficient way to farm.

This is your first usual item. It has two really useful passives: the Phage one, where you can deal damage and gain a MS boost to move around the minions and get to your opponent easily (perfect match for Approach Velocity), and the armour shred one, where you can diminish your target armor if you hit him enough (it works on the spirit too). With Black Cleaver and enough levels (something near level 7-8) you'll start to clear waves a lot easier and the poke damage from Tentacle Smash will start to be really a problem to your opponent. Death's Dance is a good item to start with when you know it's going to be a rough lane. The damage mitigation and the lifesteal makes this item a good choice for when you know you are going to be poked out of your lane. Unfortunately, Tentacle Smash (the skill that you are going to use the most in lane and to farm) is an AoE skill, so the heal is mitigated, but it's worth it anyway. Death's Dance is so good that you can take it as a third item too, when you buy Black Cleaver first, this way you'll have both the damage and the mitigation.

Sterak's Gage will be your second power spike. Why, you ask? Because with this you'll be ready to teamfight. The stats that it gives are great (a lot of health and it gives the second most amount of AD in late game (for Illaoi, of course) after Ravenous Hydra), but the most important part is the lifeline passive: the shield helps you survive big bursts of damage while you are still in the middle of the fight, helping you in your role of initiator and disruptor. You should start to look to teamfight every time this item is off cd since, without it, you can't withstand anything. And if the enemy ADC triggers the lifeline with few AAs, you have a problem (on a serious note, it's a good indicator if you are going to have problems or not during teamfights, try to keep an eye on his activation threshold above the skill bar).

Bruiser type
Tank type
Titanic Hydra is a great choice to begin the bruiser build. This because it gives health (this means a bigger shield for Sterak's Gage) and it helps you hit multiple enemies in lane (minions, the spirit, the opponent...). You can buy even an early Tiamat if you're really struggling to farm, but this delays the purchase of more important items or you could end up by not even upgrading it, leaving you with an item that later in the game will be useless. The cleave passive synergizes greatly with Grasp of the Undying, it's %max health+%max health, what do you want more?

If you get this item, please don't provoke nearby chickens, it could be your last mistake. It's a complete and balanced item by itself and it can work on Illaoi since it has AD, health and CD reduction, all things that she needs. But there is a little problem: one of the passive is shared with Black Cleaver (since they are both built with Phage) and the attack speed is a bit wasted since Illaoi doesn't need it. This makes the item not really worth the price it has (3800 is really a lot, it's the most expensive item in the game excluding Ornn's masterworks), but it can be still considered valid as the third bruiser item.

This is a good hybrid item that it gives all that tank Illaoi needs: armor, cdr and d a m a g e. Tank Illaoi suffers a lot from not having any kind of damage, so the Sheen modified passive helps her dealing damage in a somewhat big area while slowing the enemies so your teammates can catch up to them. Don't buy Trinity Force if you plan to buy this item since the spellblade passive of the latter will be wasted (and you don't want to waste money too).

This item is what remains of the reworked Essence Reaver. Or, at least, the reworked Essence Reaver was the present Essence Reaver+ Spear of Shojin with some minor tweaks. This is still a good item to get, it has health for your Sterak's Gage and CDR to get to the cap fairly easily, but the price is a bit too high to suggest it as one of the first items to get (it has the same price of Death's Dance, just to say). Surely it will be worth it in late game when teamfights are more common, so you can use its passive fairly frequently. Then spears are cool, who doesn't want to buy a spear? :D
The first item we analyze here is Dead Man's Plate. This item is perfect for Illaoi, both with stats and passives: armor to start soaking the AD damage, health for your Sterak's Gage and movement speed to get to your opponent quickly. This item resolves the MS problem that Illaoi has and it's very cheap too, there is no reason to buy it. Well, maybe if there are too many AP champions in your enemy team, it would be better to take... would be better to take Spirit Visage. This will be your main MR source since the other one isn't that great (only Abyssal Mask could be worth it), but this item is perfect on Illaoi. Over the mentioned MR, it has a lot more to offer: CD reduction ( Black Cleaver 20%+ Death's Dance 10%+ Spirit Visage 10%=CD reduction capped), health and increased healing from all sources. The synergy with Tentacle Smash and Revitalize is obvious, that's why it's my favorite MR source.

Situational item: Abyssal Mask
It's always nice to have an alternative, but there are few reason to why I don't like that much Abyssal Mask: its aura range is very small (it doesn't even cover half Tentacle Smash), the passive at this point of the game is useless and the stats are even or lower than Spirit Visage. Take it if you really want even more MR.

Guardian Angel
You are a diver, this means that more often than not you are inside the enemy team, putting you in dangerous positions where they could burst you down. Usually Sterak's Gage is enough to survive, but Guardian Angel gives you that second chance to disrupt even more every action of the enemy team. This item is even better thanks to its base stats, making you a little bit more powerful and tanky.

The perfect hybrid resistances item. It gives armor and MR and its passive and active effects are designed for teamfights. It can be even cheaper with Perfect Timing and if you time Sterak's Gage activation with this item's active, you gain a huge boost to your shield; the only downside is that you cut your already low damage even more.

Situational item: Randuin's Omen
I'll cut it short: it's useless to try to survive with Gargoyle Stoneplate if the enemy team has a lot of AA based champions that can cut through you like butter. Randuin's Omen was made for this specific reason, so take it when there are like 3 ADCs in the enemy team.

Shoes choice
We should not forget an important piece of the build: the shoes. You can't really forget them since you need all the MS that you can (and that's why Magical Footwear exist: for all of those who forget to get their boots. No, there aren't any Cassiopeias in your boots). Let's see what we have...

You can take it even only for early game if your opponent has some kind of CC and then swap it for Ninja Tabi later. If the entire enemy team has CC, you should consider keeping them. It works wonders with Sterak's Gage lifeline and Legend: Tenacity. Everyone can be a ninja if they really want it. A really good amount of armor for a little amount of gold; rushing them is not a bad idea since 90% of top laners are AD (if you have Magical Footwear you can just take Cloth Armor and wait) and they are good for the entire game, even better if your build is bruiser oriented.

One of the duties of the top laner is to have a strong presence in teamfights (maybe during a dragon contest) or in other lanes in general (mostly bot lane) thanks to Teleport, transforming some possible uneven fights into even or favorable fights. But there is a problem: if you Teleport away from lane, your enemy laner could:
  1. push the wave, denying gold and exp, this way you'll fall behind
  2. destroy your turret
or, the best case scenario, force a Teleport from him to participate in the teamfight if he has it.

To avoid this kind of problems, you should know how to manipulate a minion wave, which is the best way to farm and when to push in a certain way. There are mainly three ways to manage the wave and for each of them, I'll list the possible ways that Illaoi has to achieve the perfect way.


Freezing a wave means that, instead of you pushing the wave towards your enemy, you make sure that the wave is slowly pushing towards you. This way you can control the amount of gold and exp that your enemy laner can get since he'll have to overextend to last-hit minions. This situation permits you to farm more safely (maybe when you are a little behind) nearly without the worry of the jungler ganking you. Freezing a wave is helpful to your jungler too, since he has the possibility to gank you or other lanes, and can stop possible roamer champions to... roam since they would lose too much experience and gold. You can freeze the lane even when you are backing and the wave is pushing towards you, this way you won't lose too much exp/gold when you get back to lane because of the turret.

The easiest way to freeze a lane is to only last-hit minions (so no skills or more than 1 AA), this way you ensure that the enemy minions can live as long as they can. When playing Illaoi, you want to start to harass the enemy laner as soon as you can, mainly with Tentacle Smash. Doing so ensures you that the enemy laner will receive less gold and/or exp since he will be too scared to get near the minions or it will be too low because of the continuous poke. Freezing will be especially useful after 6: when you freeze a lane, if the enemy isn't able to break the freeze, the jungler will try to help him; this will be your best time to get a double kill with Test of Spirit and Leap of Faith.

The only negative side of this is that, if you can't last-hit really well minions, you'll end up getting behind in gold, thing that is the exact opposite of what it should happen. You need to get accustomed to Illaoi's AS and AA damage, a thing that happens after a lot of experience. My suggestion is to go into a training room and start to last-hit minions until you get the hang of it. It isn't immediate, but after some training, you'll understand when it's the time to AA something.

Slow Push

Slow pushing a lane means that the wave is... slowly pushing toward the tower. You didn't expect that right? This tactic is a bit more complicated of only "it's slow". The main way to achieve a slow push is by clearing only the caster minions of the enemy wave; since melee minions have a good amount of health, but low damage, your minions will take a while to clear them. This way the wave will get bigger and bigger over time, making an unstoppable siege force (or, at least, unstoppable for the enemy minions). It's a good time to slow push when you or your team want to rotate toward an objective at the opposite side of the map; this means that a slow push is effective mostly on the side lanes (since you are a midlaner, think about slow pushing in late game) and only when your team succeeds to take an objective (it could be baron, drake or even a tower thanks to the minions), else you just gave for free a ton of gold to the enemy team.

The easiest way to set up a slow push is, as I said, to kill only the caster minions. As Illaoi, you quickest form of clear comes with Tentacle Smash thanks to it's wide AoE and high damage, but the problem is that you have to position correctly in order to kill only the caster minions. As you will read later, if you position yourself in front of the melee minions and then cast Tentacle Smash you could end up pushing the wave more than intended, since the melee minions will receive damage too (and you could take aggro from them, getting hurt in the process).

How to solve the position problem? With tentacle farming; this is a simple technique and it's explained directly in the name: instead of farming with autos or Tentacle Smash you use Harsh Lesson to trigger the tentacles attack onto the minions. This is a safer alternative, useful even when you have to farm under tower, since the mana cost of Harsh Lesson is way inferior to Tentacle Smash (at least, at later levels) and you can reposition yourself thanks to the dash. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you need a good tentacles setup to farm efficiently, you can skip to the tentacle positioning chapter here.

Fast Push

In the end we have fast pushing, the most "natural" way of pushing a wave. A fast push works pretty much the same as a slow push, your goal is still to build a good wave to crash into the tower, but this time your main objective is to siege the tower and to deny exp and gold to your laner. Obviously it's a good time to fast push when your enemy isn't in lane (maybe roaming or backing) or when your team is grouped up and you want to push toward the nexus (maybe after baron).

We could distinguish two ways of fast pushing: clearing only the melee minions and clearing the entire wave. In the second case, we can normally refer to it as just "pushing" the wave. To fast push with Illaoi you have to do the same thing you would do with a slow push, but instead of killing the caster minions you kill the melee ones. Melee minions will often need something more than a Tentacle Smash (since they are pretty tanky), but a combination of Tentacle Smash, Harsh Lesson's tentacles attacks and autos (not in this specific order) can do the trick. After the first item, you can end up by pushing completely the wave since a single Tentacle Smash can clear both casters and melees in one hit (melees will require an additional AA too), so if you want to manage the speed of the wave you have to position yourself so you can hit only the wave's frontline.

Tentacle farming can be useful here too, but it will require something more of a tentacle attack to kill them. If you want to counter push the wave, you can get help from your tower, this way tentacle farming becomes a bit easier.



Let's start with something simple. The first one extends the range of Harsh Lesson, letting you get to your opponent from greater distances. It can be used to finish off your enemies since Harsh Lesson is a %MAX health skill, so don't fear to use Flash aggresively.

The second one takes advantage of the double proc of Kleptomancy. Harsh Lesson by itself procs it once and, since it's a AA timer resetter, if you time it correctly you'll proc it the second time nearly immediately. If you see Harsh Lesson in the next combos, most of the times I mean W+AA, but it's up to you if you want to add the extra AA to make the most out of the rune.

The third one is more a displacement of your ultimate. During the animation of Leap of Faith, you can Flash and slam your idol in the position you flashed on. This lets you use your Leap of Faith from a hidden place, then Flash inside a teamfight or near your opponent to surprise them/him with a tentacle party. Just don't wait too much, the animation time of Leap of Faith is pretty short (<1 second).

In lane combo

> >AA
Pretty simple: Harsh Lesson on the enemy and immediatly after Tentacle Smash. This way your enemy will have a hard time avoiding the second skill and this way you can get 2 procs of Kleptomancy. If there is one or more tentacles nearby, you can even trigger one attack from them, dealing even more damage. This will be one of your main harassing tools, but the only one that doesn't rely on Test of Spirit.

Double proc of Kleptomancy and double hit from the nearby tentacles. If you are Illaoing right, your enemy will start to run away and this is what you want. The main point here is get the double proc on the spirit and then run to your enemy to start trading with him. The slow from the vessel debuff activation will trigger Approach Velocity, so you can stick easily to your opponent.

>AA> >AA>
Triple proc of Kleptomancy and double hit from the nearby tentacles. This time you have to focus the spirit, not the enemy. Tentacle Smash second because you have to try to hit both the spirit and the enemy at the same time for even more damage; if you can't don't worry, just try to destroy the spirit. After Harsh Lesson, just start to AA the spirit and use Harsh Lesson and Tentacle Smash whenever you can. If you se that you can't destroy the spirit (maybe the enemy is already too tanky), don't waste mana on the spirit and leave it to time out.

All-in combo

>AA> > > >AA> > >...
This combo will get as many procs of Kleptomancy as many times you use Harsh Lesson+1 or 2. This will be both your all-in and your teamfight combo. While all-ining, the Test of Spirit+AA will test if your enemy wants to trade aggresively with you (if he didn't, the ultimate would be wasted since the main point is having the enemy near you), this is why I wait a couple of seconds before ulting. If you are getting ganked, try to use your Test of Spirit on the jungler since he's the one with the higher chance to run away if things go bad; if you can't kill your enemy, but you can trade ultimates, then it's worth it anyway; fall back, recall if you need it and return to farm. Remember that Harsh Lesson reset your AA timer, this means that you can AA (after Tentacle Smash) and immediatly reset it to not lose time. While teamfighting, don't do the first AA and immediatly ult, this way you won't lose time. Keeping track of five people at once is difficult, so just attack the spirit and try to hit as many enemies as you can with Tentacle Smash and the tentacle spawned from Leap of Faith. When the enemies start to run away, focus the enemy with the lowest hp or the one that has been hit by Test of Spirit if you can. Remember that probably Sterak's Gage lifeline will be in cooldown, so you won't be able to sustain sudden bursts of damage.

Tentacle positioning for Illaoi is the most important thing she has to consider, since the tentacles are her main source of damage and one of the most useful tools to farm minions. A quick tip that I can give immediately is when a tentacle is in a bad position: retreat if you can; bait your enemy to destroy it, don't try to poke him or you'll scare him. Obviously if the bad tentacle is under your tower, don't leave it, unfortunately you'll have to play with a little handicap. Now remember:
Good position
Irrelevant position
Bad position

Top lane

Red side defence/Blue side attack

Blue side defence/Red side attack

The second tentacle after the game starts (the first one will be always wasted) must be on your tower. This way, you'll have always a tentacle ready to farm with when you are under the tower. Normally the tentacle on the wall next to the tower will spawn naturally when farming under tower; it's not necessary, but it can help you farm better, so try to defend it (just don't try to trade to defend it, it helps, but it's not important). The red side has more chance to get really bad tentacles because of the jungle entrance (tentacles can spawn in areas that your enemy can easily ignore, blocking you from spawning more); the blue side tentacles, even if they spawn in a bad area, can still be a problem to your opponent, so they can be destroyed and replaced.

Your third tentacle of the game (if you can, don't take free damage just to position it) must be on the highest point of the jungle walls, this way it can reach further in the lane. These tentacles will be the most important ones since you'll trade and farm with them, so don't let your enemy kill them that easily. If you are pushing hard, having the tentacle on the opposite side a bit more toward the jungle is not a bad idea: this gives you a bit more protection to ganks since you are sure that a least one tentacle will help you. Generally, you want to be aggressive with them and if you are playing correctly, even if they kill a tentacle you'll have already one ready to be placed from Prophet of an Elder God. The external wall of the lane is not that important, most of the time is just lost tentacles from the passive. If you want, you can try to poke with them, but normally the wave is too far away from them to farm. Just leave them to die.

Red side defence/Blue side attack

Blue side defence/Red side attack

The general rule of thumb is to put the tentacles near the jungle entrances, but not near brushes. This is for the simple fact that you can't target people inside brushes without wards, duh. The only tentacle near a brush that can be decent is the one on the wall to the opposite side of the jungle since you can use it to your advantage (and become a Rengar for few seconds). When on structures, tentacles are good when there isn't any more a turret, while it's the worst you can have while the turret is still there (you can get turret aggro just because you hit the enemy with Test of Spirit and he became a vessel).

Mid lane

You won't be always in the top lane, so it's better to study tentacle positioning on other lanes too. First mid lane: this is the second best lane to have tentacles since there are four different excellent points to put them (as you can see, they all correspond to the walls that stick inside the lane). This formation creates a double layer of tentacles that can be used both offensively and defensively (it depends on where you are going). The central point of the lane is obviously the best spot, legends narrate that whoever will recreate the "perfect slam" (a 10-tentacle ultimate) will be crowned as the new queen of Britannia. I still have to do it unfortunately :(
With this big upside comes a big downside: the walls near the turrets are unusable since they are covered by the turret itself (and if you are asking "but Chromuro, the walls covered by your turret can be used, you silly goose!", first don't call me goose, I'm a beautiful duck; second, those tentacles can be used only when the enemy is diving brutally and there is no other occasion that they can be useful, they reach nearly nothing inside the lane)

Red side defence/Blue side attack

Blue side defence/Red side attack

Again, general rule of thumbg is put them near the jungle entrances, but this time you aren't limited by some ugly brushes. Obviously there are few spot (for example the little recess near the brush in the red buff jungle) that are the worst ever, just remember that your tentacles need to reach your enemy, so don't walk randomly in lane while you have your passive up.

Bot lane
It's just... top lane, but mirrored. I don't think there is much to explain, just remember that there there are other 3/4+ people, not 1.


Red base

Blue base

Oh boy, I hope that you are in the enemy base and not in yours.
This is the easiest to explain, since 80% of the places that you can put your tentacles are good places. Here obviously you have available only structure walls, so there is a (big) spot between the mid inhibitor and the nexus towers that is near impossible to cover efficiently, so fall back when you are in that zone and the enemy team is collapsing on you (or your team). Here is the only place where a tentacle under enemy tower can be useful since there will be a lot of fights and you'll need as many tentacles possible. The areas that you should avoid at all costs are the external walls since the tentacles there can't contribute in any way (maybe only in niche situations, most of the times when they spawn there is because you are fighting at that moment. They are just one-use tentacles)

Early game
The key here is to farm a lot; you can even not kill anyone, but the more you farm, before you can get your items. This is the most difficult phase for Illaoi since she can get OOM like a mage, so you have to manage how many skills you use in lane. Farming with your Harsh Lesson is the most mana-efficient way, but it's position dependent too (that's why the tentacle positioning is so important); farming with your Tentacle Smash let you farm wherever the wave is, but you consume more mana than you think. If you go OOM, go hyper-defensive and wait for the mana to regenerate. Before level 6 look only for poking and trading, try to kill your enemy only if he's really low; after level 6, you can go for the kill whenever you want, just be careful (again) to not go OOM. One of the saddest feelings when playing Illaoi is using Leap of Faith and go OOM while you are trying to kill your opponent. Just don't exaggerate with the mana, you absolutely need it.

Mid game
Your mid game starts with your first full item ( Black Cleaver or Death's Dance). Your focus is still to farm, but with your first item it will be a lot easier: now your Tentacle Smash clears the caster minions and the melee ones die with one more AA. Your mana problems are getting smaller, so you can play a bit more aggressively, but remember that you can still go OOM with enough spamming. Use Test of Spirit as much as you can to poke your enemy, ward off every incoming gank and maybe look to roam mid (not the best choice, but you can still do it); this is the time to win your lane.

Late game
Your late game starts with the purchase of Sterak's Gage. Now you can teamfight and survive bursts of damage. Your waveclear now it's at its peak and mana isn't any more a problem. If you are still in lane, now you can trade more safely and you should start thinking about the rest of your build: if your team doesn't have a tank, you should think about building some armor/MR, while if you have a reliable tank you can go for a little bit more damage. In any case, you have two roles now:
  • initiator: pulling the spirit with Test of Spirit from the carry can help your team start focusing and damaging it. Surely the enemy team doesn't want to stay there doing anything and will start to collapse on you and the spirit. At this point, Leap of Faith on them and start the fight.
  • disruptor: your Leap of Faith can both start a fight and divide and scatter the enemy team. The damage that it can do is really high and your teammates can exploit this division to kill individually every enemy. Test of Spirit can be even used to damage and slow enemies, letting your faster teammates get to them and finish the work.

The game ended, a quick prayer to Nagakabouros and you can start a new game!

And here we are at the end of the guide. I hope it was helpful and I'll try to keep it updated with all the new stuff that will roll out in the future. Every kind of feedback is always appreciated (even about grammar/syntax mistakes!) and I'll try to answer every type of question you have, don't be shy!
But for now, I'll see you in the rift!

If you want, you can check my other works!

  • Thanks to miss Jovy (here is her signature shop) for giving me the beautiful dividers you see :^
  • The little icon in the banners was made 100% by me (lol jk)
  • The little ToC icon was made by me 1000% too (lol jk pt.2)

Yes, I know this is a dead meme, I'm sorry
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