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Irelia Build Guide by DirtyGarbage

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League of Legends Build Guide Author DirtyGarbage

Irelia - Why you no Die?! [Detailed Guide]

DirtyGarbage Last updated on November 17, 2011
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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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Introduction to Irelia - The Will of the Blades

This guide is for anyone new to Irelia or someone that uses her a lot and wants to compare their build to mine!

{Updated for Fizz Patch}

Irelia is a melee DPS carry with amazing survivability and an awesome nuke. She is an extremely beefy champion who can dish out massive damage. She makes the enemy sigh in the loading screens and her team is always happy to have her. This guide will help you play her in a lane, either solo or with a support / tank

(DO NOT play with another carry in lane, with Irelia you need to dominate the farm, not share it)


Irelia is a valid jungler as well, because of her W spell (Hiten Style) allows her to have a passive health regain per hit (works on towers and inhibitors as well as minions / champions). This guide is to help you play her in the lane though. Just know you can also jungle with her ;)

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Pros & Cons


  • High Survivability / One of the best passives in the game. Ionian Fervor !
  • Strong Nuke
  • One of the best movement speeds in the game
  • Can potentially last long in team fights.
  • Very good at Running away and Chasing
  • Amazing farmer and harasser early game
  • Low mana costs on spells
  • Can take down tanks & casters like nobodies business
  • Two [2] Second Stun (If her HP is lower than the person she is stunning


  • Gets focused in team fights
  • Melee
  • Hard to farm vs Ranged Carries. (Like Caitlyn)
  • Need to farm a lot to afford all her items. (they're expensive :<)
  • If you don't farm early or well, you will most definitely 100% do horrible.
  • Farming is important
  • Have I clarified that you need to farm on her yet?
As you can see, the Pros outweigh the cons! :D

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Skills: Defined and Explained

Ionian Fervor
-As mentioned earlier, this passive is definitely one of the best in the game. It helps a lot in a 2v1 solo lane and in teamfights (since you're getting focused) and when stacked with icon=Mercury's Treads pretty much negates all cc done to you. Ashe's slow, Caitlyn traps, Veigar's stun. NONE CAN STOP YOU NAOW.

-This spell is the best gap closer in the game. It's range of 650 is equal to Xin Zhao's Audacious Charge but dealing more damage. It also helps you farm minions because if it gets the last hit it recharges it's cooldown and returns half the mana cost! (Warning: Do not spam this to last hit minions, you're mana will dry out early game before Philosopher's Stone and Sheen are purchased)

-Advice: Use this spell to get the last hit on a minion NEAR the enemy you are attacking, so the recharge is already ready to use again while you chase them (Also returning half the mana cost so you can spam your other spells)

-I max this skill twice before level 6 because of it's awesome damage and last hitting capability. You could make Equilibrium Strike level 3 before level 6 if you want to, and get Bladesurge Lv2 at level 7. Although Equilibirum Strike's damage at level 2 is fine for fights before level 6.

Hiten Style
- Hiten Style has an amazing passive, giving you the ability to heal 10HP per hit at its lowest level, and 26HP per hit at it's max level. It helps heal you after a teamfight from either attacking minions or even a tower (That's not to mention it's use during a fight) It stacks well with HP regen items, and removes the need for lifesteal late game (If you build pure AD a blood thirster is recommend, but with my beefy AD build you can go without lifesteal)

- Hiten Style Also has an active which allows you to do true damage per hit to enemy champions or minions (Note: This skill no longer affects towers, although it used to) This amazing 75 True damage at Hiten Style's max level makes it so you can tear through tanks with ease. (Note: This active even goes through Alistar's ultimate: Unbreakable Will making Irelia a good counter-pick for Alistar in ranked.)

-I max this skill last because 26HP per hit is good for surviving and healing while pushing mid-game but doesn't make a difference in fights early game. You also don't use it to harass your lane. The damage output from Equilibrium Strike and Bladesurge are enough to kill anyone 1v1 without Hiten Style maxed. Getting it once at level 4 is enough just to do that little true damage in ganks.

Equilibrium Strike
-This is Irelia's main damage in her nuke, her main escaping skill, her chasing skill, and one of the best 1v1 CCs in the game. It's the butter to her bread. It's the fish to her tacos. Do I need to to explain further why I max it first?

- Equilibrium Strike is an epic skill. It allows you to stun or slow and enemy for 2 seconds (at max level) and deals a ton of damage. This skill is best used after you get hit down to below your opponents HP (in a 1v1 fight) and after you stun them the first time spam it as much as possible. When chasing someone use it directly after you use Bladesurge to close the gap between you to at least get the slow off before they try to run. If you're a lower HP than them then it's a bonus :D (Stun ftw)

-If you believe there to be a fight at level 1 (with the team in jungle or in the bushes) then get this skill FIRST and make sure you run in first (with the team close behind) to get that stun off on their caster (AKA AP Carry)

-I max this skill first. It's a great 1v1 skill and good for slowing down the enemies that are running and also stunning to get away. What moar could you ask for? Other than beg for no nerf. :) (Curse the non believers)

Transcendent Blades
-This ultimate is almost useless early game for fighting. It's main use (In my honest opinion) is to further farm minions and heal yourself with (try to hit as many minions/champions as possible with one blade) It's damage isn't too great but it's cooldown is extremely low (40 seconds at level 3, without CDr items) Making it great to harass the enemy and farm up minions with, while healing you at the same time.

-It's a little difficult to aim (shoot in the direction your mouse is relevant to your position) but once you get it down it's a great skill to utilize especially late game. A downside is that fast champions can dodge the blades easily since they don't have the fastest speed.

-Max whenever possible (level 6, 11, 16) because even though it's not your best skill, it definitely does it's job (I'm talking about farming again).

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Runes: They make a difference

Greater Mark of Desolation

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
-I get Movement Speed Quintessences because they help a lot early game with chasing and also farming and getting away. They remove the need for shoes early game and allow you to get a Philosopher's Stone before you get Boots of Speed, helping with gold income and also health regen and mana regen.
- Greater Quintessence of Vigor is a possible replacement, and would help you stay in the lane longer (Soloing) but you would need to get shoes before a philosopher's stone, making you lose the extra gold early game.

Greater Mark of Desolation
-These marks are the best you could have for Irelia. They help your Q and your E do extra damage, and make it easier for Irelia to take down tanks with ease.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration is a valid replacement, since your Transcendent Blades and your Equilibrium Strike deal magic damage as well as physical damage, BUT Bladesurge only does physical damage, so Greater Mark of Desolation is recommended.

Greater Seal of Armor
-Armor seals are amazing because they make the minions do less damage to you, and also make it so Ranged DPS champions like Caitlyn and Ashe do less damage to you, allowing you to farm up the minions and harass ranged AD champions easier. being melee, these runes help you deal damage and get away with more health.
-If you prefer regaining health faster, Greater Seal of Regeneration is a valid pick as well. The extra HP regen per 5/seconds helps a lot as well. Although you take more damage, you regain it back faster. I find that Greater Seal of Armor is better since I like not having my health too low, especially since Irelia is melee.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
-Magic Resistance glyphs are always a good pick because of the +13 Magic resistance with 9 of them. They help you take more damage from AP tanks and also AP carries, allowing you to solo top easier and farm without worrying about too much harass on you. Combining this with a good ability to kite AP skill shots makes it so the one hit that does get you deals less damage, allowing you to stay in the lane for a lot longer!
- Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction is a very good replacement since with more cooldown reduction, you can spam your spells a lot more, dealing more damage overtime and being able to kill a lot faster. If you feel safe against AP users, then go for these runes for sure.

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Masteries: Explained

Under Reconstruction

My Beefy AD Irelia Masteries are 12-18-0 giving you a good damage output, survivability, and the ability to stay in the lane longer.

Offense (12 points)

  • Archemage's Savvy (3/3): I choose 3 points in Ability power over Critical chance becuase of the Ability power used on Equilibrium Strike and Transcendent Blades giving you a little boost in magic damage.
  • Cripple (1/1): Since exhaust is used as one of my summoner spells, this mastery point is well spent, giving me the 4th point i need to get to the next tier in Offense
  • Sorcery (4/4): I get 4 points in sorcery instead of Attack speed because your main damage is in your spells spamming and not your auto attack.
  • Archaic Knowledge (1/1): Magic penetration helps your Equilibrium Strike and Transcendent Blades Do more damage.
  • Sunder (3/3): This armor penetration stacks with your runes to deal more damage to tanks and anyone with armor. It helps all your skills and also your auto attacks deal more damage.

Defense (18 points)

  • Resistance (3/3): This stacks with your Magic Resistance runes to further make AP users deal very little damage to you at level 1-5.
  • Hardiness (3/3): Same as Resistance, This armor stacks with runes to help get more beefy. With this + your Greater Seal of Armor you will have more armor than Cloth Armor gives you.
  • Strength of Spirit 3/3: More HP regen helps you stay in the lane longer. Once you get your Sheen this gives you plenty of HP regen to stay in the lane and heal inbetween ganks!
  • Evasion (4/4): Maxed for the good dodge chance and so I can get Nimbleness for the 10% movespeed to stack on irelia's already amazing movement speed. (Thanks Asterul)
  • Nimbleness (1/1): Good for 10% movement speed when you ddoge. Works well with ninja tabi if you decide to get it
  • Veteran's Scars (4/4): How many times have you survived by like, 20hp? (Curse you mordekaiser ult!!!) These mastery points are that 48hp that saved your life.

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Items: Explained

Doran's Blade
-This is a great starting item because of the attack damage, small lifesteal, and 100 HP (Especially the 100 HP)
-It help with your last hits and HP regain with lifesteal
-Makes it easier to harass the enemy
-I usually sell it to help build my Trinity force, but you can sell it whenever you need it (Not before your sheen and Phage)

Philosopher's Stone
-This item gives you more gold per 10 seconds and helps you stay in the lane longer.
-As soon as you get 800 gold and can go back to base GO BACK and buy this item. Sometimes I stay until I have around 1200 gold so I can get shoes also, and start ganking. If your farm is slow then go back ASAP to grab this.

Mercury's Treads
-Stacks tenacity with your passive
-Makes CC to near to nothing on you
-Adds survivability

-The 100% extra damage is amazing since irelia uses skills/autoattack to do damage
-More mana to spam skills
-Ability power for Equilibirum Strike to do more damage.
-Rush this after shoes and start building trinity force.

-I build this after sheen because of the extra HP (Need to start getting HP) and also the damage it gives. I don't worry about the slow since later I build a Frozen Mallet for 100% slow chance.
-After the phage i usually go back to my lane and farm enough to go straight to a Trinity Force instead of a Zeal first.

Trinity Force
-Deals 150% extra damage after a spell and more mana.
-Gives HP / Chance to slow when hit.
-More movespeed and attack speed.
-Main item for Irelia that help her a LOT and deals most of her damage. This is the item you will be rushing to buy after your shoes and Philosopher's Stone.

Avarice Blade
-Gives more gold and stacks with Philosopher's stone.
-Starts building towards Youmuu's Ghostblade
-The little crit chance helps since your Bladesurge can hit criticals.

Shurelya's Reverie
-Active gives you and your team more movement speed for a short time
-Good for running and chasing mid game
-Gives you your main HP for midgame (other than TriForce)
-Gives cooldown reduction which is awesome since irelia uses her skills to spam.
-I sell this after I get my atmas and build a Frozen mallet for more HP and the slow. Slow + Bladesurge = win.

Youmuu's Ghostblade
-I get this after Shurelya's Reverie to stack the Actives and also give Armor penetration, more AD, and critical chance. Also gives more Cooldown reduction to replace Shurelya's when I sell it.
-Amazing active that helps Irelia catch up to enemies and attack 50% faster.
-The Cooldown reduction and Armor penetration are key to Irelia's success.
-30 attack damage and 15% critical chance help her damage a lot.

Guardian Angel
-The game should be at around 30-40 minutes when you're buying your Guardian Angel
-This is a core item towards Irelia's survivability and success as a god.
-Great endgame item that make's it extremely hard to die (even when you try)
-Helps survive team fights since you get focused
P.S: The enemy pool turret kills you through your Guardian Angel. trololol...
If you did your job right and played well (farming, ganking,team fights, dragon, etc) the game should be ending by now or they should be surrendering. the rest of her items are for lategame and endgame kills. (45+ minute games)

Atma's Impaler
-Good item for Irelia because of the Armor and Critical chance in the least.
-Gives a nice bonus of 56 damage when you first get it and 64 damage when you sell your Shurelya's Reverie for a Frozen Mallet. Which is as good as an Infinity Edge in my option just because of the Armor and because you're tanky.

Frozen Mallet
-Sell Shurelya's Reverie and get this.
-More HP and gives 100% chance to slow on hit. Giving you the ability to chase. You no longer need to run away. It's lategame and you're god by now. Time to chase.

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Items: Optional

You can replace:
-Depends if the enemy team isn't CC heavy, being instead AD heavy, Also if you prefer dodge chance over tenacity.
Don't forget to change your masteries to Evasion 4/4 and Nimbleness 1/1 if you prefer Ninja Tabi in general.

-Randuins omen has a good active and also a nice passive
-You can get Heart of Gold instead of Philosopher's stone also if you wanted
-A con is that I usually forget to use the active in the heat of a teamfight, while Shurelya's is always remembered when chasing, and Frozen Mallet doesn't have an active.
-Doesn't give as much HP as Frozen Mallet, but gives HP regen and armor.

- Force of Nature gives 8% Movespeed, Health regen, and Magic resist. If their team is AP heavy, I recommend rushing this item.
-It leans towards a more tanky build, but helps Irelia a lot.
-Most of Irelias damage is in Trinity forces 150% bonus so she can always go a lil' more tanky, since you have a Youmuu's Ghostblade as well

-Banshees veil passive helps vs CC
-Frozen mallet can be better since it gives more HP and Irelia already has Mercury Treads and her passive.
-Banshee's helps to chase or run from champions like Veigar or Sion

-More magic resist
-Gives attack speed without an active
-You lose the active movespeed and armor penetration but if you keep shurelya's that shouldn't be a problem.
-Recommended over Force of Nature versus AP heavy teams.

You can also keep your Shurelya's Reverie If you think Trinity force is fine with you for the slow chance on hits. You can still use Shurelya's active to chase. Although Frozen Mallet gives more HP for your Atma's Impaler and also some extra attack damage.

Keep in mind that you rarely have to sell your Shurelya's for a frozen mallet, seeing as games never last that long (If you do good or bad). You have to do "medium" to have games last long. (1:1 kill/death ratio and decent farm)

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Items: Core

These are your core items that are required for Irelia.

Trinity Force
-Deals 150% extra damage after a spell and more mana.
-Gives HP / Chance to slow when hit. More movespeed and attack speed.
-Main item for Irelia that help her a LOT and deals most of her damage.
This is the item you will be rushing to buy after your shoes and Philosopher's Stone.

Guardian Angel
-Great endgame item that make's it extremely hard to die
-Helps survive team fights since you get focused
-Maintains your godlike status.

Everything else can be tweaked and changed to whatever fits you best. Keeping the rest of the guide intact only requires these items.
Note: In general all Irelia's need a Trinity Force. So I recommend ALWAYS rushing one no matter what you're doing.

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Summoner Spells


-Good for chasing, initiating, and running away / going over walls.
-Works well when combined with Bladesurge to further close gaps.
-Exhaust helps slow enemies down, lower magic resist/armor (With the mastery point in Cripple) and also slows their attack speed in fights.
-These spells work well with Irelia's skills and how she is played.


- Ghost Helps chase and run away, but with Shurelya's Reverie and Youmuu's Ghostblade it's unnecessary, whereas flash can go over walls and close gaps better.

- Teleport is Good if you're soloing top or if your team is good about putting wards down. (ward ganks are good)

- Ignite is a really good spell to help finish off enemies and slow down healing by 50% on champions like Dr. Mundo, Vladimir, Swain, or even champions with heavy lifesteal like Master Yi or Tryndamere

- Cleanse would work since this build doesn't have a banshees veil, although they nerfed it to ashes...

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Playing Irelia

How to play irelia during the phases of the game (What to do)

Early Game

  • Farm
  • Farm
  • Farm some more
  • You need to keep farming up your gold AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE early game. It's your only chance to get your farm really nice and flowing. Practice last hitting is better than spamming your Bladesurge all the time as well. It's a good idea to go back and buy your Philosopher's Stone and Boots of Speed as soon as possible as well.
  • While you farm work on harassing the enemy so they get off your nuts so you can farm moar. Hide in the bush and use Bladesurge to last hit a minion near the enemy and the use Equilibrium Strike on the main bruiser or whoever in the lane vs. you needs to farm the most (For exmaple, focus Nasus over Soraka). Back up into the bush and repeat. This can also be done from the turret but beware getting hurt.

Ganking Early Game

  • (Note: Make sure your team is aware you are ganking and have CC ready. Ping whoever you're going to attack first)
  • You should have your Sheen / Shoes at around level 6-7 -> This is optimal time to start ganking with irelia.
  • After you get your Philosopher's Stone, Mercury Treads, and Sheen it's time to gank. Whoever needs the gank most, go to their lane and focus the Squishy. Use Hiten Style first to turn on the active, immediately after (Using Flash If needed) use Bladesurge on the squishy in the lane. (Like Teemo or Ashe)
  • Once you close the gap, use Equilibrium Strike to slow/stun the enemy and hope your team follows up with their cc. Continue to auto attack and spam your Hiten Style and Equilibrium Strike. WAIT UNTIL THEY'RE OUT OF YOUR RANGE / GETTING AWAY TO USE Bladesurge TO CLOSE THE GAP AGAIN!!!
  • Remember that If you see a minion low near the enemy you can Bladesurge to it and get close and Bladesure will reset the cooldown right away.

Mid to Late Game

  • Keep Farming
  • Finish Trinity Force
  • Start building your Youmuu's Ghostblade and finishing your Shurelya's reverie
  • By midgame ganking should be a lot easier. Once you get your Transcendent Blades Use it while attacking the enemy to deal damage and return 25% of your damage into health. (As always, try to hit as many minions and champions as possible when using Transcendent Blades
  • During the teamfight phase and Dragoning / pushing you should be starting on your Guardian Angel (30-40 minutes into the game) if you've farmed enough. Stay with the team and remember that you're a primary Initiator (Being tanky and being able to escape) so when your team is ready initiate with Bladesurge and your ultimate, Transcendent Blades
  • Focus the Squishiest person in the back of the team and run when your HP is low. With Youmuu's Ghostblade and Shurelya's Reverie you should be able to run / chase easily.

End Game

  • By now you should be almost done with you build. Atma's Impaler should be done and sell your Shurelya's Reverie for Frozen Mallet.
  • Remember to initiate teamfights and focus down the squishiest person.
  • Even when you're done with your build your ultimate still heals you. So don't forget to hit as many champions and minions with Transcendent Blades to heal, and dish out damage.
  • Utilize your ultimate to hit more than one champion.
  • Even though you're an extremely tanky and amazing champion, you're not unkillable. Be aware of your health and know you are going to be focused. Don't get too cocky, and dont be a ***** and hide behind your team. Since you have your Guardian Angel you can fight until you die and use your items actives to get away.
  • Use Youmuu's Ghostblade (if you have it) in the beginning of the fight and at the end if needed. Shurelya's Reverie (If you still have it) should be for getting in range of your Bladesurge and for running away. Don't waste Flash because you might need it.

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Proof of Success

This is all I have in my match history ATM, I'll be adding to it when I play Irelia again (Been playing Nasus lol) If you guys try this build and do well with it, feel free to comment below with your match histories and I'll add to the list with your name! :D
2v5 ftw! :D

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Final Words

This is my first guide on Mobafire, hope you guys enjoy it and destroy everyone in normal / ranked with it. Irelia is a great champion and lets pray she doesn't get nerfed (yeuh, I see you QQing on the League forums) I'll be adding a Jungling section when I finish my build for Jungle Irelia, and I'll also be editing / updating this as much as I need to, so check back after patches! :3


P.S: I welcome constructive criticism and feedback. Tis' why I made the Comment to vote thing. Please give me your honest feedback and opinions on the guide in general, or the build. Thanks!
P.P.S: If you see any errors, I'd appreciate you point them out. Thanks and good day.