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Elise Build Guide by Vynertje

AP Offtank How to be victorious as Elise - A high Elo jungle guide

AP Offtank How to be victorious as Elise - A high Elo jungle guide

Updated on July 30, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vynertje Build Guide By Vynertje 32 6 351,298 Views 78 Comments
32 6 351,298 Views 78 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Vynertje Elise Build Guide By Vynertje Updated on July 30, 2014
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LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


Threats & Synergies

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Table of Contents

Hello everyone and welcome to my Elise guide! I’m vynertje - a high Elo (Diamond 2 at the time I’m writing this guide) player on the EU-West server and I’ll be explaining everything you need to know about Elise, the spider queen. Elise is a very versatile jungler excelling at early game ganks and objective control. Even after the massive nerfs she received she is still one of the stronger jungle picks out there and can be devastating in the right hands.

Just a quick note, I updated the guide as of 4.10 and finally got to change some of the text in the guide itself. There may still be a few errors or things not 100% matching the new playstyle as shown in the cheat sheet, if you find them, please comment :)

Elise is my most played champion in the 2014 season and I have some decent stats on her in both this and previous season.

Before jumping into the guide itself, I would quickly like to point out that I’m not a native English speaker and I might have made some mistakes in grammar. I thank you for keeping this in mind!

+ Very versatile build path and gameplay overall
+ Super strong early ganks and damage
+ Incredible clear sustain because of spiderlings
+ Ranged!

- Has no ‘real’ ultimate; doesn’t spike at 6 like other junglers do
- Mediocre clear speed
- Once you commit to something you can't get out without burning Flash
- Falls off late game

As mentioned, Elise is a very versatile jungler, who can build anything from nearly full tank to a full AP carry. She also has very flexible gank paths because her long range gap closer in spider form and a long-ranged stun. Because of her double Q she also has massive early game damage to follow up on ganks. She also barely requires any potions to clear the jungle because she has great health sustain: she can let her spiderlings tank the jungle creeps and regen her HP. Another bonus is that she is ranged meaning she can siege turrets more easily and help secure kills from range.

On the downside, she has no big-impact ultimate like other junglers as Pantheon/ Wukong bring to the table. Her ultimate is available from level 1 but also has a lot less impact. Even though her clear sustain is great, her clear speed is only mediocre until she gets some levels and or items.
Another ‘problem’ is that she often cannot back out once she has committed to a gank/fight, if you get caught you can usually get away with your Rappel but if you just used it to engage a fight you'll be forced to burn your Flash. Finally, she falls off in the very late game because she won't get that tanky (ranged champions have no base scaling magic resist plus she is more of a bruiser kind of champion) and her damage will fall off. If you don't abuse her devastating early game, you'll often have a hard time.

greater mark of hybrid penetration
Greater mark of Hybrid penetration: Hybrid pen marks are great for Elise. Because she has high base damages you just want to amplify those as much as you possibly can, hence penetration runes are great. I go for hybrid pen over magic pen marks because she has a pretty big attack speed boost. Magic pen marks are good if you don’t want to spend over 7k on these marks. I’d recommend sticking to these though.
greater mark of hybrid penetration

Greater Seal of Armor: Flat armor is (even after the changes in 4.5) a very good low-risk choice for runes. Elise doesn’t really need armor to clear the jungle at all but it’s still good if you find yourself in an early fight. At least pick 5 of these for the extra safety early on, but the remaining is up to you.

Greater Seal of Scaling Health: Scaling health is great going into mid-late game because they really give a lot of HP and Elise generally doesn’t get that tanky till further on in the game.

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor: Scaling armor is the other good option after the 4.5 changes, but I generally prefer HP over these because the standard Elise build lacks HP but as enough armor through items like Randuin's Omen.

Greater Glyph of Ability Power: To keep up your early game damage with very little offense, getting some AP in runes is a nice thing to do. I used to run spell pen in this slot but overall AP is more effective and Elise doesn't benefit as much from spell pen anymore which is why AP is the way to go right now.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: Since Elise doesn't have any scaling magic resist, you surely need to get some additional mres through runes. I usually run these flat because I want the durability as early as possible and otherwise you're gonna get blown up really hard by any mage cause you're stuck with 30 mres.

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Even though I don't prefer to run them, these are still a good pick if you don't want to be forced in buying lots of magic resist items to make up for a painful base magic resist late game.

Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed: After the rune changes attack speed quints got buffed massively and together with the past Elise nerfs these allow you to keep up your clear speed. You definitely benefit from these a lot as attack speed also affects your spiderings and because you'll be getting some AD in masteries anyway.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: Movespeed quints are good on pretty much any jungler because it allows you to catch up to enemies in ganks, and move around the map faster in general. However, Elise already has two gap closers to get in range for ganks lessening the need for these quints, hence I prefer combat stats over these.

I run a fairly unconventional 21/9/0 setup on Elise to amplify her early game power as much as I possibly can. I won't go too in-depth on masteries but I will explain why I go for the little bit unconventional perks.

Offensive tree:
I run both the bonus AD and AP masteries because they give flat amounts of early game damage and because Elise has a strong AS steroid, the AD won’t go to waste. Because we won't be getting much bonus AP the Archmage masteries would be a waste so you should drop these in order to get Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving as well.

Defensive tree:
I always go for 9 points in defense to make your early game a bit more powerful in terms of survivability. Block and Unyielding are great masteries (even as a jungler) because it allows you to be more durable in early 2v2 fights or skirmishes. The extra health will also help a lot early game.

Flash is a 100% mandatory pick on pretty much any champion in this game. Flash allows you to make plays and survive them. Use it to secure kills, steal dragons/barons and to escape sticky situations. One cannot play without this.

Smite is a 100% must have for any jungler. If you don’t use smite on a jungler you should be prepared to lose all dragons, barons and most of your buffs. It also speeds up your clear overall meaning you have more time to gank.

On Elise you'll wanting to start with Volatile Spiderling / Skittering Frenzy first, because it gives you a lot of bonus attack speed and sustain while taking down your first buff. This should allow you to take it without losing much hp at all. After that you'll want to get your Neurotoxin / Venomous Bite to clear your second buff and Cocoon / Rappel to gank at level 3 and then proceed to max Neurotoxin / Venomous Bite because it deals quite a lot of damage in both human and spider form, allowing you to clear jungle camps reasonably fast and burst down targets in fights easily. After level 9 you’ll be maxing Cocoon / Rappel second because of the massive cooldown reduction on both utility spells. Besides that, having a 2 second stun every ~8 seconds with some CDR is really massive. Volatile Spiderling / Skittering Frenzy should be maxed last because the damage is quite low.

Spider Queen is core in jungling with Elise. Spiderlings deal quite a lot of damage and Elise can have these spiderlings tank up the jungle creeps, allowing her to take little to no damage clearing the jungle. You can do this quite easily by attacking a camp, then stepping back a little bit and then attacking again. Since jungle monsters attack the closest target, they'll swap aggro to your spiderlings and you won't take damage till they die.

You can also use spiderlings to block skillshots like a Lee Sin Q or hooks if you swap to spider form just at the right moment. This sometimes requires a bit of luck because spiderlings usually walk around quite randomly but if you time correctly it can save your bacon more than occasionally.

Neurotoxin / Venomous Bite is your main damage spell. It deals quite a lot base damage, both in human and spider form and has a quite high % hp damage added to it. It is very straightforward in its use but keep in mind that it deals damage based upon current health in human form and upon missing health in spider form, so always use Neurotoxin first before swapping to spider form and using Venomous Bite, that way you optimize the damage output.

Also, a little trick is that you can use her Q in spider form to jump over some very tiny walls. Some other walls you can’t jump over but if you cast the spell, your spiderlings will actually jump over and you’ll remain on the other side of the wall.

Volatile Spiderling / Skittering Frenzy is again a very basic spell which is primarily used for jungling and utility. It deals quite a lot of damage in human form but is VERY hard to hit on high priority targets because it moves slowly and detonates on first impact. There is one little trick to this though, you can cast it and while in the middle of the cast animation, swap to spider form and Q to a target. The projectile will instantly follow you and detonate on the designated target.
In spider form this gives you a massive attack speed bonus which is great while jungling. It means AD doesn’t get wasted which (again) explains my rune/mastery setup.

A simple but important thing to remember is that the Volatile Spiderling reveals anything near in the fog of war, so it can be used to check bushes without having to risk getting caught to people camping in there.

Cocoon / Rappel (both in human/spider form) makes the difference between a decent Elise player and an Elise main. Cocoon requires a solid aim and good timing to hit, while Rappel can lead to great jukes or big plays. I’ll go a bit more in-depth on how to use these to gank in the special ‘Gameplay (ganking)’ chapter, but here are a few basics on each spell:

Spoiler: Click to view

Spider Form / Human Form is your transform ability which will be available from level 1. The trick is to know when to use what form but once you’ve got the hang of it it'll be pretty natural. Again, tips on how to use this in ganks will be included in the ganking chapter, these are only some basics:

Spoiler: Click to view

Core Build

The core build consists of the most important items to get for your champion. They don’t have to be bought in this order or as your first items, but they must always be included in a 6-item build.

Spirit of the Ancient Golem is (by far) the best jungle item for Elise. Elise doesn't benefit a lot from flat AD or AP so getting one of the other jungle items means you'll be a lot more squishy with only a marginal damage increase. On top of that the tenacity allows you to skip Mercury's Treads and grab more spell pen instead. You'll usually want to get this item as soon as possible because it pretty much functions like a gold income item; it allows you to clear faster and get some extra gold per camp that you clear.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity are awesome for Elise and should be bought pretty much every single game after the changes. Elise scales really well with anything that amplifies her base stats and cooldown reduction is one way of doing this. CDR is even more important as we're maxing E for the improved stun.

Sightstone is a weird aspect in the build but after the jungle changes of 4.9/4.10 (jungle xp no longer scales) junglers will become somewhat supportive again. This means Sightstone just became a good item for junglers as well, because junglers can easily take control of the enemy jungle through placing down lots of wards. Also, because of junglers not getting as much gold as earlier in Season 4, you won't be fully built before at least 40-50 minutes into the game which means sacrificing an item slot for it isn't that much of a deal.

Snowball options

Damage (or snowball, as you wish) items are good purchases when you are ahead of the enemy jungler in terms of overall gold. Damage items allow you to snowball your lead but be wary of going too much damage, because this will delay your defensive items. When you're behind I'd not recommend getting any of these because that'll mean you have an even harder time getting back into the game.

Abyssal Mask is a great item because it offers more spell pen (yay!) for you and your team. It also gives a little bit of magic resist meaning it’s not that much of a risky purchase as some other damage items. It’s especially a great item when you’re having multiple AP champions on your team. Keep in mind not to get this when the enemy is full AD though because you'll waste nearly 1k gold on the magic resist. Even after the Elise changes this remains a decent item but generally I build her more tanky, which is why I skip this item a lot.

Liandry's Anguish has always been a very solid pick and remains good after the Elise changes but it certainly isn't a must buy anymore. Elise doesn't benefit as much from pure spell pen anymore so it's only a good pick when you're far ahead and need extra punch versus high health targets.

Void Staff is a very solid pick in the new standard build as you're not getting any damage items early game. This allows you to keep up your damage in late game when you're pulling ahead without sacrificing too much. It's a relatively cheap item and gives all you need in terms of damage (AP and spell pen). This is probably the best offensive item to get right now.

Defensive options

Defensive items are mandatory for any bruiser / jungler like Elise. You’ll be in the middle of a teamfight very regularly meaning you will also take a lot of damage, so if you don’t get any survivability you will die. After your core items, you usually want to get at least two of these - unless you’re snowballing out of control.

Randuin's Omen is my #1 pick against any form of AD damage. It gives a big amount of armor and health + a nice active/passive which is pretty much everything you'd ever want as a counter item do heavy AD damage. Make sure to remind to use the active in the middle of a teamfight because it’s a big waste to forget about it.

Banshee's Veil is my go-to item for magic resist. It gives a nice amount of health (slightly more than Spirit Visage) and magic resist and this mix makes the item a really strong pick. Even when getting Abyssal Mask, I still get this item. Op top of that it gives you a great active which is good against poke damage or to prevent getting picked off with stuns/snares. I usually pick this over Spirit Visage because the 10% CDR and healing increase usually don't weigh up to this passive and the 50 extra health. It is personal preference though.

Sunfire Aegis is an item I don't usually get but it has a place to replace Randuin's Omen if you're building tanky and want some additional damage for a slightly lower price. The magic damage from the item stacks with your spell pen meaning if you can stick in the middle of a fight, it'll deal considerable amounts of magic damage. Usually I prefer Randuin's Omen because it gives stronger defensive stats though.

Spirit Visage is an alternative if you don't want to get a Banshee's Veil or already have one, this can be bought for some extra magic resist. The healing bonus is pretty decent on your Skittering Frenzy and the cooldown reduction is a nice plus too.

Guardian Angel is worth considering if you're buying a lot of offensive items on top of your core build, you'll usually be looking to get this item. It gives both armor and magic resist meaning you don't need to get two separate items for these stats, and the revive means you won't have to be afraid to jump in deep - even with little defensive stats. It can also discourage players from focusing you.

Thornmail is a very situational item but it can work wonders in the right situation. If you’re facing a very heavy AD team, you can grab this for a massive (and relatively cheap!) armor boost while returning a pretty big % of all damage dealt by basic attacks. This damage does (again) stack with your own spell pen so if you’re facing a full AD team, you can consider picking up this item. Its downside is lacking any health which is why Randuin's Omen is superior to this in standard situations.

Frozen Heart got a massive resurgence after the Elise changes. As she benefits a lot from pure cooldown reduction right now, this is one of the best items to get. The nerfs to Randuin's Omen also mean it's a lot better overall in comparison to other armor items. It's especially useful against lots of auto-attack champions but keep in mind not to exceed the 40% cdr cap.

Consumables and trinkets

Trinkets: Stealth Ward should be your starting trinket. You can use it to ward the enemy jungle or help ward lanes and gain superior vision control early. The cooldown on the red trinket is too long to be effective until level 9. After level 9 you’ll want to get the red trinket to start sweeping wards near big objectives like dragon. Don’t forget to upgrade your trinket when you’re facing champions with stealth like Vayne and Kha'Zix because that'll allow you to keep vision on them in teamfights.

Vision Wards: Vision Wards are important assets to secure objectives and gain map control. Since they can be easily destroyed but (potentially) last forever, good placement is mandatory. You'll want to be buying one if you have some spare gold and place them in the small bushes just below mid lane (or use them defensively in your own jungle if you're falling behind) to get vision control of that area.

As Elise you'll be most effective in the jungle but learning how to play her effectively might take you some time. These two chapters will help you out with some tips on how to play Elise effectively as a jungler. Keep in mind though that everything I write down here is from my personal experience in high elo (Diamond 5 up to Diamond 2) and might differ, especially in pre level-30 gameplay.

So a lot of people don't know what the most effective jungle path is, starting at level 3. The most common path (in solo queue) is to start at your bottom side buff (bottom lane can help damage on your buff more than your top lane can), then grab the closest camp to you and take your second buff to get level 3 - like shown in this picture (Wight camp is not included in here but don’t forget about it!)

After making this first clear (which by the way should only cost you two potion max. If you're using more with these runes/masteries, you should focus on letting your spiderlings tank the jungle camps) you can choose to gank top/mid, or keep clearing jungle camps to hit level 4. I'll explain more about (counter-)ganking in the next chapter.

Something that is really important to keep in mind, is the jungle timers. Your buffs (Blue / Red) respawn every 5 minutes. Assuming you follow this route, you'll typically take down your first buff at 2:10-2:20 and the second around 3:00-3:20. This means they respawn at 7:10-7:20 and 8:00-8:20. A good jungler will know these timers by heart and make sure they take the buff just after it spawns. This means you'll have the least downtime between the moment your buff expires and when you grab it again, and won’t give the enemy a chance to counter jungle you (on the other hand, you can use this to counter them if you know for sure where the enemy jungler started).

This also applies to dragons / barons (6 and 7 minutes respectively): Time them when you kill them and make sure to have wards around the pit when they're about to spawn again. This can yield you free objectives if the enemy isn't aware of the timers. Elise can relatively safely take the dragon on her own / with little help after you get a few levels / items so make sure to use this advantage.

Finally, you can (of course) start at the top side instead of the bottom. Usually this isn't the optimal thing to do because as I mentioned, bot lane can generally give you a bit of a faster start than top can. However, there are situations in which it is the better thing to do:
  • When you specifically want to gank bot lane at level 3. You won't be able to do that if you take the standard route.
  • When you’re afraid of counter-jungling. It is a very standard route and if your enemy expects you to do so, you might be better off starting at the other side instead. If you do so, you can ask your bot lane to ‘fake leach’ so it will appear like you started at the bottom side.
  • If you want to avoid getting counter-ganked. More details on this later, but imagine if both junglers take the same route and both end up top. If you can't win two versus two, you might want to try and avoid ending up in such a situation altogether.

Ganking is an important aspect in jungling and especially for an early/mid game oriented jungler like Elise. Elise has a few not-so-standard ganking paths which I'll explain in this chapter, plus a few things that can help you out in general.

Let’s assume you followed the standard route. You'll be level 3 just after minute 3. The most logical places to gank would be top or mid. Usually top is an easier lane to gank because top is a longer lane, meaning the enemy laner has a longer distance to walk back to the turret than mid lane has. If you decide to go and gank that lane, there are two different ways to approach:
  • You can go in human form and lead with the standard E-Q-W -> swap -> Q-W combo, this is a good approach when you can sneak in from behind. Save your stun as long as possible and then burst the enemy down. You can possibly use your Rappel afterwards to get out if you get counter-ganked or to close another gap if the enemy flashes away.
  • When you can't easily get in range for a direct stun you can go in in spider form and use Rappel first to close a gap, Q to a target, then swap back to human form (make sure that you swapped into spider form a few seconds before initiating the gank so it won't be on cooldown) and use your full combo rotation on the target. This is a somewhat riskier gank because you won't be able to use Rappel to get out and it'll deal slightly less damage because you're not using the Neurotoxin / Venomous Bite different %hp damages to its maximum potential. This technique can also be used to lane-gank with.

However, as I somewhat hinted in the previous chapter, chances are the enemy follows the same route as you do which can end up in you being counter ganked. A counter gank is essentially the enemy jungler predicting where you will be at the right time, and picking a fight with you there. You can also use this to your advantage, but always try to assess the situation. If you don’t know where the enemy jungler is (wards OP!), always try to think if you could win a fight if you gank a lane and he shows up uninvited. If you're unsure about this, try to not use Rappel or Flash offensively, because otherwise you risk up giving double buffs (and trust me, that generally means that lane is lost instantly). If you don't have Flash up at all, you'll need to take a careful approach or you’ll be at risk.

A good tip to know where the enemy jungler would be, is to think what you'd be doing if you were in his shoes. Have a look at the lanes and see what lane he'd be most tempted to visit. This (of course) isn't 100% reliable but if you constantly watch the map it can really help you out.

As I mentioned in the pros / cons chapter, Elise falls off a bit going into late game. That’s why it is really important to know what you're supposed to do late game, especially in teamfights.

So to start off, Elise has one powerful tool which makes her a valuable asset to any team, even in late game. This is her (at max rank) 2 second stun and Rappel. These two spells (which are actually only one) provide a lot of disruption for the enemy team and if used correctly can turn a teamfight.

When a fight is about to start, you'll want to be staying at range in human form because even though you (most likely) will have quite a few tank items, you’re still relatively squishy. Try to make a pick with your stun on a high priority target and if you hit something (or one of your allies), try to blow him up by using your full combo rotation. Never try to engage by using Rappel offensively! This will only get you killed. You'll want to use Rappel to A) chase down fleeing enemies if you’re winning the fight or B) Get out once you drop low and then proceed to mop up from the backline or C) Avoid as much enemy damage and crowd control as possible when you’re getting focussed down.

Outside teamfights, you’ll be trying to keep as much control over the game as possible. When you're ahead you want to buy pinks and sweepers, ward up the entire enemy jungle and starve them from gold by completely taking control; vision control is not only the support’s responsibility - it’s yours too as a jungler. If you have complete vision control, the enemy won't be able to contest objectives like dragons, barons, turrets or even buffs just because they don't know what’s going on. When you're the one losing, you want to try and keep as much vision as you possibly can to avoid losing all control. Make sure you never get picked off alone and try to make picks when the enemy splits in order to come back into the game.

Thank you for reading my guide! I hope I helped you out and if I did, please leave me a comment telling me I did so! I really appreciate any feedback so even if it’s negative, please let me know.

Also, a huge shoutout to Janitsu for helping me out with the coding. This guide wouldn't have been possible without you!

If you’d like to see me play, you can check out my stream here. I try to stream regularly and commentate during the game so you might learn something from it! :-)

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