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Irelia Build Guide by FithSucker

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League of Legends Build Guide Author FithSucker

Irelia: Ruiner of Meadhalls, Wrecker of Kings

FithSucker Last updated on October 9, 2012
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Ability Sequence

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

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 13

Honor Guard

Defense: 17

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Introduction - Why Irelia?

Seriously? Is that even a question, why Irelia?

If you're looking for the most OP champ, stop reading because that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's the player not the champ. However, there are those few champions that when paired with a good player can prove catastrophic for the enemy team. Irelia is such a champion, that's why Irelia.

Ranking amongst great AD offtanks like Darius and Dr. Mundo, Irelia proves her worth when you pair her with defensive items that synergize well with her abilities (as well as a non-defensive Phantom Dancer, which paired with Hiten Style actually becomes defensive as well as offensive).

Don't let the word "Offtank" throw you off, Irelia can still be a powerful carry. This guide will take you through the purchase decisions on Irelia's items as well as convincing you why there is NO BETTER WAY to play Irelia than as an Offtank.

Be Warned: There are no kinds of glass cannon shenans going on in this build. You won't be able to demolish enemies in two hits, but you will be able to handle several enemies at once and either kill them all or live to tell the tale. You will be a Ruiner of Meadhalls, a Wrecker of Kings.

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Summoner Spells


Exhaust is just gonna make you a huge jerk in lane. Top lane will most likely (but not always) be an AD champion. Having exhaust ready will help you defensively if the enemy gets a little ambitious. Offensively, it makes you stickier than gorilla glue on the bottom of your shoes, which is sticky, and incredibly annoying. Your E will either slow or stun, your Q will dash you to the enemy, Exhaust will slow them, and you've still got flash left in the bank.


Speak of the devil. The perfect combination of defensive and offensive purposes, Flash
is a must have if you expect to be playing a carrying sorts of champ.

Other Viable Summoner Spells:

Clarity- If you find yourself frustrated at running out of mana, grab Clarity, but it will prove less useful late game. NOTE: This Summoner Spell is recommended for lower levels of play only.
Ghost- This will help you catch up to enemies if Bladesurge is still on cooldown. Ghost will also act like Master Yi's ultimate, Highlander, when paired with a Phantom Dancer. Not as good as Yi's ultimate, but the same basic effect.
Ignite- As Irelia should focus more on farming than picking up early kills, this isn't as necessary a Summoner Spell as you might think. However, Ignite will still do some serious damage when paired with your Hiten Style and is great in team fights.
Teleport- Find that you die often? Pick up Teleport to return to the farm faster. Also useful for strategic ganking which Irelia excels at thanks to her Q and E abilities.

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Pros / Cons

-Amazing sustain
-Good at farming
-Good at ganking
-Insanely good late game
-Struggles in combat early game
-Can be "shut-down"
-Burns through mana early game
-Farm dependent

The important thing here is that Irelia is hard to recover from a deathstreak with. If you're an idiot and tower dive all the time and give a bunch of kills to your enemy laner, you're gonna have a bad time. Just be patient, play smart, survive, and watch yourself blossom into a little butterfly of death late game. You're gonna like the way you own, I guarantee it.


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The best place to start the guide is with the item options. Explaining the items to purchase in-game is going to help explain the runes and masteries to select before the game.
Also, to help those of you who are skimming impaired, I've conveniently colored the main build items in red for your ease-of-finding-information purposes.

Doran's Shield

A lot of people will give you **** for buying anything Doran. Don't listen to them; Doran is a good man. Having 120 health and the extra armor and health regen will prove useful in your early game. Irelia's main focus will be farming and Doran's Shield will help you last hit those minions close to the enemy. They'll poke you when you get close, but you'll get the gold from the last hit and be able to step back and regen. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Boots/HP Pots

Again, Irelia's main focus will be last hitting the minions, not poking the enemy laner. The boots will help her escape from close range when the minion is close to the enemy while the pots will help sustain her farming for longer. Makes sense, yeah?

First Item: Ninja Tabi

Give's you armor, more speed, and damage reduction. What's not to like? You've just boosted your sustain and mobility. All of these little perks will also help with the aforementioned farming. The extra armor will also help her take a couple slams from the turret, should the occasion arise that you find yourself under it.


Zeal (and later on Phantom Dancer) is a must for Irelia. This is not an option. You must pass go and collect Attack Speed, Crit Chance, and Movement Speed.
The movement speed will, again, help with Irelia's mobility in lane. By now, you should have at least one point (or two points if farming is going slowly) in Hiten Style. Pairing Zeal with this ability is not only going to increase sustain in lane, but also add some intimidation for the first time. Now some good slashin at enemy minions is gonna boost your HP like no other. But what about that intimidation you say? Take a quick stab at the enemy with a well-timed Bladesurge and activated Hiten Style and tell me they didn't just wet their pants a little. They no longer have an upper hand.

Cloak of Agility

Get the Cloak of Agility after Zeal. This will bring you one step closer to the much needed Phantom Dancer while also boosting your intimidation factor.

Giant's Belt

Okay, so I know I've been all up about the Phantom Dancer being really important, but for now, it can wait. Grab a Giant's Belt to get a butt ton of HP. This will help you buy a Warmog's Armor later while giving you even more sustain in lane. Like holy da**. Your jungler will now love you because you're going to be a lot more helpful when they gank. You'll also be able to start exercising some strong will over your lane, too, as you can now be a little more pushy.

Item Two: Phantom Dancer

Mid-game is about to start and all you can show for yourself is a Ninja Tabi and some basic build items. You're becoming impatient at your lack of raping in your lane and possibly a little bored with farming.
Well impatient LOLer, remember all that boosting Zeal did to your W? It now just got a huge facelift. Dr. Mundo will no longer be going where he pleases. You should be able to clear out minion waves fairly quickly by now, regen your health at the same time, and be really effective in ganks when the jungler comes around. Good job!

Item Three: Warmog's Armor

Now wait a minute, Warmog's Armor is expensive as sh**. I'm just expecting you to be able to buy that right after Phantom Dancer? Well... yeah, actually. You already bought a Giant's Belt, so now just grab some moolah and it's time to git sum health.
After this purchase, you should have considerable control over your lane. Throw your weight around a bit and see what it's like. This is mid-game and you have your ultimate. YOU ARE A SUSTAIN MONSTER. It doesn't matter if your enemy laner is building armor to counter you, you have your friggin W which does true damage. Warmog's will be your godsend.

Item Four: Atma's Impaler

By now, farming should come fairly easily to you as Bladesurge should allow you to last hit ALL of them. No excuses. Farming up for this shouldn't be too difficult combined with some kills. Atma's Impaler is gonna be the second item (PD was the first) that synergizes for you at this point. The armor is gonna give you some more sustain (I'm getting really tired of writing that) while the extra Crit Chance and Attack Damage passive will be your new spearhead. By now, you have a lot of health, the enemy is getting tired of trying to kill you and watching you get away EVERY time, and you're holding miraculously well in lane. Well, all that health you have is now gonna start feeding your Attack Damage. At full build, this will be around 55-57 extra Attack Damage for you! No further explanation needed.


Get Hexdrinker now to help you buy Maw of Malmortius later. This will also give you some defense against AP's on the enemy team while giving you just a wee bit of Attack Damage as well. Good stuff.

Item Five: Maw of Malmortius or Frozen Mallet

Okay, so here's what's up. At this point in the game, you're going to find that you're either frustrated by enemy AP carries or you're going to want to be netting more kills. Well, you get to decide as the next two items will help with your woes.

- Maw of Malmortius is going to give you the rest of the defense you need against AP's. It is also going to give you a great passive that will synergize well with an Offtank play style. You're gonna be up in people's grills and they gon be mad. Well the more they start pickin away at you, the faster you're gonna start pickin at them thanks to your Maw and it's passive. I'll explain the synergy of Maw of Malmortius later when I talk about Equilibrium Strike in the Skills section.
- Frozen Mallet is going to be a huge boost to you being sticky. It's going to increase the Attack Damage that Atma's Impaler gives you, give you a little Attack Damage on its own, and slow enemies that you Auto Attack. This means you essentially become Ashe minus the range. Enemy thinks he's getting away? He'll think again.

Item Six: Maw of Malmortius or Frozen Mallet

Just pick what you didn't grab for your fifth item. If this part proves difficult to understand, just quit now.


The Black Cleaver- I personally love this item immensely. You get Attack Speed, Attack Damage, and Armor Penetration. This item pairs really well with a Frozen Mallet and is going to let you get off more hits while Hiten Style is up. The armor pen is going to just be that much more devastating for the enemy. If you want to throw The Black Cleaver in, I suggest using it to replace Maw of Malmortius. Just be ready to be a little more susceptible to enemy AP's.

The Bloodthirster- This is a pretty standard item for AD carries. It will help Irelia regen her health faster and pack a bigger punch. I would suggest using this to replace either the Frozen Mallet or the Maw of Malmortius.

Infinity Edge- This is a great item to increase your already high Critical Chance. You're already at almost 50% Crit Chance and this will raise it up absurdly high. A great item to pound your enemies with! I would suggest using this to replace Maw of Malmortius.

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Where's All My AD?

This section is dedicated to defending my item choices above. Irelia's just made to get up in people's faces when they least want you to. The enemy burns all their cooldowns, you've dodged all their skillshots because you're a beast, and now you're up in their face with items that give you such little AD. It may not seem desirable, but TRUST ME, you don't really need items like The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge.

The typical glass cannon's main flaw is the fact that they are glass. You hit them and they die as quickly as they kill others. Irelia can get around this because of Hiten Style. She doesn't need a whole lot of AD or any armor penetration because her W is just gonna shred straight through her enemies anyway. It only get's enhanced by the Phantom Dancer which is going to get you more hits off on the enemy. The extra speed from PD compounded onto your boots will also help you stick to enemies at close range while your Q let's you catch up if they flash away or, god forbid, you get creep blocked.

Irelia's lack of need of high powered AD items and armor pen items let's her bypass the glass cannon fatal weakness and be able to focus on items that let her take damage and dish it out at the same time. All of the items used in this guide build off of each other, maximizing their effects to their fullest potential. It doesn't get any better than that.

Finally, her lack of high powered AD items is also compensated for with her Ultimate, Transcendent Blades, and W passive which help her to regen pretty rapidly. This allows Irelia to stay in a fight a **** ton longer than just about any other AD carry and deal her damage over time by sticking onto her targets.

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Okay, now that I've talked about the items and you've got a basic idea of how they all synergize, I can justify my masteries.
Again, refer to the previous section if you're wondering why I'm not pushing the Offense branch in the masteries.
Putting points in health is going to help Irelia increase the output of Atma's Impaler which in turn is going to help increase her Attack Damage. The health, in combo with the armor and other defensive points, are going to help Irelia sustain herself in top lane and let her farm a little better without worrying about pokes from the enemy laner.

The Offensive masteries are pretty standard. If your don't like the points in Butcher or Havoc , feel free to put them into Deadliness if you want some more AD or Expanded Mind for some extra mana.

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I'm gonna be lazy here, so just shut your mouth. If you still need justification for why I picked defensive runes (read the above two sections if you haven't), then just pick another friggin guide.

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Skill Sequence

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

In this section I'll cover Irelia's abilities and what and when each one is useful to her. While some champions require precise timing of when to use their abilities (like Vladimir and Sanguine Pool), Irelia has a little more flexibility.

Ionian Fervor

Irelia's passive is pretty handy in keeping on top of enemies who are able to stun/slow you and run away. It also proves useful in team fights when Amumu pops his Ult and everyone looks like a deer in the headlights. Everyone except for your sexy self. The more people around, the quicker you recover from slows, stuns, fears, etc. This is why I've never bothered with the recommended Mercury's Treads because Irelia gets her Tenacity from her passive.


Bladesurge is a miraculous ability that has a friggin 1:1 AD ratio. Riot now only needs to make an AD item to match Rabadon's Deathcap and little boys will be sent home crying. Until then, suffice it to know that your Q is insanely good at dealing damage. Use Bladesurge to last hit minions. You will get close to the enemy laner at times, but that's what all the sustain is for! Once you get that Giant's Belt, it'll be a lot easier to pull this off. This practice is a massive drain on your mana though. Try to keep some mana in reserve at all times because Bladesurge can also be used to dash to an enemy minion behind you for a quick escape if you find yourself over extended.

Hiten Style

I've talked a lot about this ability already. This is what really makes Irelia a nightmare for the enemy. Mainly said because THERE IS NOTHING to defend against true damage. This makes an enemy's purchase of armor against you almost completely useless. While this skill defines Irelia's ability to dominate in combat, you should still level up Bladesurge first before Hiten Style because the initial damage Bladesurge provides is invaluable.
Did I also mention her W gives you back health? Talk about deceptively hard to kill. Damn.

Equilibrium Strike

Not much has been said yet about Irelia's E. I don't mean to downplay this ability because it's incredible as well. However, this is more of a supporting ability of Irelia's that allows her other abilities to shine through.
A quick Q to the enemy and a fast Equilibrium Strike will help you net kills if a low health champ is getting away. Most times though, you should use Equilibrium Strike to engage following up by activating Hiten Style to deal your damage. If the enemy escapes (which they will try to), hunt them down with Bladesurge. If you're confident that the enemy will stay and fight you for a while, engage with Bladesurge and then Equilibrium Strike. This let's you deal some initial damage and then Bladesurge should be off cooldown when the enemy sees that they're losing the fight.
Equilibrium Strike is also useful when an enemy gets cocky and chases you. Their health will be at a higher percentage than yours, you wait until your cooldowns are off because you're smart, then you hit them with your E which now STUNS THEM (whaaaaaaaaa) and then you open up your whole repertoire of abilities on their sorry little hiney. This is exactly when Maw of Malmortius is at its most useful as well. The turn around and stun tactic is very effective at turning the tables. Maw's passive is gonna give you that extra Attack Damage you need to dispatch the enemy quickly before they can start trading punches with you.
"Then I ate some oranges and STILL GOT KILLED FFFUHHSHGKLKJDN^@#%KFS#!!!!!!!!!!!"
Gangplank after you destroy him.

Transcendent Blades

R (ultimate)
Irelia's Ultimate comes in handy once you commit to attacking an enemy. Use this when your health gets to about 2/3 max. This will do some extra damage for you while giving you back health. Using this should allow you to pop off Hiten Style twice during one fight sequence which should be enough to pick up your kill.

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I've mentioned it in the Pros/Cons section, but Irelia is very dependent on farming. As you should not focus on early kills (they will be difficult to pull off), farming will be your main source of income. Use Bladesurge to last hit enemy minions far away from you. Hiten Style, once you have it, will allow you to regen health fairly quickly on minions that are closer to you. The combination of the two allows you to be very effective at farming and staying in lane.
You will notice very quickly, though, that your mana is a chronic representation of my gas tank. It will help if your jungler is not heavily mana dependent as you can nab the Blue Golem to get Crest of the Ancient Golem . If you're defending the Purple nexus, get your jungler to help you invade the Blue team's jungle to steal their Blue Buff.
Having Blue Buff will be incredibly helpful, otherwise prepare for a slow and precise farming experience. If you can't get blue buff, don't be too aggressive in lane until at least the end of mid-game.

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Irelia has massive potential. Don't confuse this with instantaneous ability. If you throw Irelia around your lane early game and try and poke the enemy laner all the time with Bladesurge, you will not survive unless the enemy gets scared easily. Take your time, be patient, and farm well. The items in this guide are designed to help you stay alive and get in your farm while letting you be a huge driving force on your team during late game. Don't be a hero early game unless you're trying to get a kill when your jungler comes around.

Given the chance to get the full build I think you will have A LOT of fun playing as Irelia. Comment on the guide to help me improve different sections. Give me your opinions on the items and how the build worked for you. Other than that, enjoy!

A Special thanks to:
for her much needed help on designing this guide as well as the pretty green dividers inbetween sections!

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Below is a list of updates made to the guide:

-Irelia: Ruiner of Meadhalls, Wrecker of Kings launches on Mobafire.

-Changed last item from Manamune to Frozen Mallet after widespread disapproval
-Added "Note" to the Clarity Summoner Spell
-Added optional build Items at the end of the "Item" section
-Added source to image in "Pros/Cons" section
-Minor grammar fixes

-Added Attack Damage stat at end of "Atma's Impaler" in the "Items" section
-Minor formatting change