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Manamune- this item is AMAZING for irelia if you are wanting to get in there and help team mates. It doe not make her less squishy, but the boost to mana and the passive of boosting your attack based off of 2% of your max mana is great. Early game 2% seems bad when read, but it actually is great. The item itself gives you 20 attack straight up then boosts based off of mana, so when i bough manamune as a first item ( i built it) it boosted my attack by 35-40 ish. That is a lot better then long sword, and gives you more mana to spell spam with.
Archangels Staff- Now this item you can get after Manamune or get frozen heart then this. I recommend getting this right after manamune though. Now this item is much like manamune except it boosts you ability power and this effect can stack, unlike manamune whos attack boost based by mana is unique which mean you can only have one. This also gives you a mana boost which will increase the attack boost given by manamune and will boost your ability power. So around now you should start seeing your attack and ability power going up slowly every level more then usual. So with this and manamune you should be working around 900 boosted mana, and they both have a passive to increase your mana for every attack and spell cast, stopping the boost at 1000. So by late game these two items alone will be boosting your mana by 1900. Spam spells like wildfire!!!
Frozen Heart- Now this item is amazing for any mana using melee character. This will boost your armor by 99, and boost your mana by 500 and decreases your cool downs by 20% and decreasing nearby enemy's attacks by 20%. So with the boosted armor you will take less physical damage, and since the enemy's attacks will be slowed they will attack slower meaning less damage put out. And more mana to boost both attack and ability power :P
Hextech Gunblade- Being some what hybrid, this is a great item for irelia. I think its even suggested. Hextech will boost the attack and ability power nicely, while giving both life steal and spell vamp. Now spell vamp is amazing with irelia mainly for her ultimate. Her ulti gives you a percentage of the damage you do to anything her blades go through (in case you don't know about her, her ulti can shoot out 4 blades that pass threw all they hit. So the already given spell vamp and added from the hextech will ensure you live to see another battle.
Malady- Every one hates being slow, and no one likes attacking slow as well. The key factor to being a well played dps is in the name. Damage per second- the faster you attack the more dps you have, but speed does not amount for anything without the damage to go along with it. That where malady is awesome. Malady will do magic damage with every hit, not much but still damage and drop the magic resistance of your enemy. This will allow you to pop your spells on them after a few basic attacks and do more damage then normal. This also allows a great combo with your ulti making it pierce through magic resistance and getting some better damage and healing you for more.
As of shoes, choose what you like. Boots of tenacity only go to help her passive even more, but if you are trying to chase down some one who has boots of swiftness you wont stand a chance. So pick wisely.
Also if your having trouble farming buy a tiamat. Alot of people hate on it but it is a great item for farming and for all around everything.
After that i always max out Hiten style as fast as possible so that i can survive longer. Its passive gives you constant health regen per hit you land. So whether your attacking a turret or a minion you will be healing.
Also, if you aren't having trouble with enemy champs, not being harassed fire your ulti at some waves of minions. This makes gold pretty quickly because it hits and keeps going. Which means you fire it straight at a line of minions it will hit every one of them.
Once you have frozen heart you will see that its cool down isn't so bad either.
decent in team fights
good source of mana
friends do not have to fret about your safety as much
still some what squishy
still low health
if targeted in team fights then yes you will fail
even though it may take while for your mana to deplete, it wont for your health