Lee Sin Build Guide by Stoudamire
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Lee Sin Build
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.
Hello people!. I didn't try Lee Sin this season, in fact I'm not playing at all but I'm looking at how things changed. And I'm really sure that all the changes were good for Lee Sin overall. There's a ton of information that I would like to talk about, but right know I'm a bit busy and I'm here just to update masteries. Later I will talk more about the changes.
You can build Lee Sin pretty much the same way you did on Season 6. The removal of Strength of the Ages isn't entirely bad or good for you... I mean it's bad for players that were used to use it, but Thunderlord's Decree was always the right way to go Lee Sin if you want to play him at his best potential.
Hello world! I'm Stoudamire from LAS server. I started playing on season 4 and got to Diamond 5 in the beginning of season 5 by playing mostly Fiddlesticks. Making a guide about him was incredible helpful to reinforce the way I thought Fiddlesticks should be played and correct myself and most importantly to help users to use him properly.
And basically that’s why I’m doing the same with Lee Sin now. I haven’t been playing a lot since then, I did play games here and there but nothing consistently, and that’s why I’m Platinum 4 due to inactivity, but I’m aiming to climb back to Diamond 5 and go further. I’m currently having some health issues and also my PC needs to be fixed so I may not be able to play a lot but I’m always following the pro-scene and the meta shifts on LoL in general so I will be able to advice you how to play Lee Sin well :)
I have a youtube channel which I use to upload the matches I play, I don’t have a high-end camera and set-up yet but that’s what I can offer now, It’ll get better I promise :]
I hope my guide is useful for you and I invite you to comment anything you want and votes are very much appreciated.
- Adapts well to almost all teamcomps.
- Strong if mastered.
- High pressure early.
- Many ways to build and play him.
- Very fun.
- Useless if you aren’t good with high mechanical champions.
- Relatively weak late game.
- Needs to impact the game early.
- Needs Lee Sin muay thai to inflict fear on opponents.
Everytime you cast an ability, you gain Flurry which gives you +40% AS on your next 2 basic attacks, and each AA returns 20 and 10 energy respectively.
Which means that most of the times it’s ideal to hit basic attacks after you cast abilities.
This may be the best and most important ability Lee Sin, if you don’t make a good use of it, you’re not doing anything right.
The earlier the game is, the more you have to use the AS and energy this gives you, because you will be able to kill everything faster and take less damage. If you use it perfectly (which isn’t a hard thing to do when you have a bit of experience with Lee Sin) you should win most of the trades you take early game.
While killing the first 3 camps you have to time your abilities and hit 2 AA’s between each one to kill the monsters fast, which empowers your ganks / invades / fights overall.
When you have 3 abilities, you can use Safeguard and another skill kind of at the same time, if you became aware of the cooldown Safeguard when you self-cast it you’ll see that you can [almost] use it all the time between your Q’s and E’s.
After your first back, it isn’t too important to use Flurry perfectly, you just need to be aware that it lets you make more damage and most importantly get energy back to keep using abilities.
On mid-game and specially late-game you won’t find a lot of close-range extended fights, so you won’t be able to hit 2 basic attacks to use Flurry a lot, even if you want. And Flurry isn’t too important anymore.
You project a wave of sound that deals physical damage to the enemy, reveals him and lets you use Resonating Strike afterwards. Resonating Strike dashes to the enemy and makes the same damage +8% of the enemy’s missing HP as physical damage.
This is a hard-to-land skillshot, and you should be treating like one. It doesn’t matter how good you’re, you will be hitting more close-range Q’s than long-range ones. That’s why you need to use Safeguard as a gap closer almost everytime you need to hit your Q.
Hitting your Q should be something you do more than 60% of the times it’s likely to hit someone, like on ganks, follow ups, TFs, etc. (Let’s just not count the ones you throw in the dark hoping to hit someone). If you don’t do that:
1) You’re currently bad at skillshots with Lee Sin (you can practice to not be).
2) You’re not really trying to hit your Q’s because you’re not focused / playing seriously.
3) You’re trying to hit too much long-range Q’s.
All three of them are not good for our win rate, we want to change that.
So, remember that this is a good source of damage, if you don’t hit it you will have a great deficit in your duels. Also, If you’re ganking a lane, and you miss your Q it’s more likely that the enemies will walk away alive.
Useful tips about Sonic Wave & Resonating Strike:
- It makes damage depending on the enemy’s missing health, which is great to secure/stealing Baron and Dragon. If you use your Smite and Q at the same time you’ll add a lof of damage to it.
- You can cast Resonating Strike within the next 3 seconds, you can wait a few seconds before using it, and the opponent may panic and use Flash or something else to try avoid death.
- Sonic Wave reveals the enemies, and that counters Rengar’s ultimate, Vayne’s Q while on ultimate, Shaco’s invisibility with his Q, Akali’s invisibility while walking on her W-circle. The same applies to Tempest since it reveals enemies too.
- Sonic Wave alone makes a fair amount of damage, you can use it to snipe low-hp enemies running away.
- Hitting Sonic Wave on jungle monsters will let you move faster, jungle-clear faster, and sometimes escape if you’re about to die.
It can also work as a gap closer for any situation.
Safeguard: You rush towards an ally target, if it’s a champions you shield both him and you for 2s. If you cast it on a champion you gain +50% cooldown reduce; after casting it, you have 3s to cast Iron Will, which gives you life steal and spell vamp for 4s.
The main reason why this is so OP is that you can also dash to wards since they are clickeable ally targets. And that makes Safeguard a free 700-range movement tool everytime you have wards on your inventory, which should be most of the time.
Be careful on how you use Safeguard’s shield at least on your first 7 levels. You will only shield your allies for 40 (because you should be maxing Q first), that’s hardly ever the difference that makes your teammate live, so don’t try to think to much of this as a shield, try to see this as a movement tool that helps you as a gap closer on any fights or as a way to escape, and also move over walls. And thet later the game is, the more useless your shield is. Sometimes the shield saves the day though, but don’t rely on that too much.
Timing Safeguard and Iron Will well while clearing camps on the early and mid game will make a huge difference on the HP you have left after killing monsters. Which translates on more HP for fights and if you do use them well you will statistically win more duels. The most important thing is exploiting the damage you make on the 4s Iron Will is activated, remember that this gives you spell vamp too, so if you can Tempest or Sonic Wave on those 4s, use them, so you get HP from them.
Also, using Iron Will whille killing the scuttler is a key thing to do to cure yourself up before / after ganks.
|Another way to deal damage, the enemy reveal is nice, but the most important thing is that this lets you AOE cripple the enemies.|
|The amount of uses this skill has is unbelievable, keep in mind that this has a low cooldown, use it everytime you feel like it can provide something, don't be scared to waste it.|
|This is the only option no excuses. It lets you change the direction of your Dragon's Rage kick, and lets you escape hard situations.|
|This is a Lee Sin jungle guide, and junglers use Smite.|
Maxing Sonic Wave first is a must because it increases your damage output early by quite a lot and its cooldown decreases as you level up the skill (which doesn't happen with Safeguard and Tempest), and increasing your damage early is exactly what you want since it empowers your ganks and skirms. Next you can max Safeguard or Tempest. I usually max Tempest because its damage increases and also Cripple's slow increases, and I don't do that mostly because I think Tempest is extremely good; I think that maxing Safeguard second for a better shield and spell vamp&life steal isn't effective since you should be using W as a movement tool and hardly ever as a savior-shield for you or your teammates. Also you shouldn’t be clicking W twice on most fights just to get both Safeguard and Iron Will attributes because you’ll have problems with your energy, and you won’t have your movement tool anymore.
There’re cases in which self-using Safeguard and Iron Will is a good idea, but I wouldn’t max W just for those special situations. Also playing with Lee Sin isn’t exactly something easy to do… you’re trying to hit all your skills and time them so can get 2 AA’s off between each one to get more AS and energy with Flurry. If you have to add the Safeguard's shield and LS & SV variable to that you won’t do it correctly most of the times.
Maybe the lifesteal and spell vamp of Safeguard is very useful for sustain while clearing the jungle and that’s what makes the difference, but I honestly didn’t test it lately so I wouldn’t know.
If you're not doing any damage because you're really behind Safeguard is slightly better since you're not going to make a lot of damage with Tempest and its utility isn't that good.
I understand if you think it’s better to max Safeguard second and It is as viable as maxing Tempest, I’m not trying to say it’s worse or even inferior, I just don’t like it for the reasons I explained above.
You can make a mix between Safeguard and Tempest after maxing Q if you want, I think that’s fine. I’ll put some examples down for you to see:
SPACEQ > E > WSPACE
SPACEQ > W > ESPACE
SPACEQ > (W & E)SPACE
Greater Mark of Attack Damage (8/10) - Lee needs damage.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage (8/10) – Idem.
Greater Seal of Armor (9/10) - You need armor to fight camps and enemies early.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist (8.5/10) – You'll recieve magic damage, this helps you reduce that.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction (7/10) – Good choice if you’re against few / none members with AP; and this is useful since you're nothing without abilities, having them more often helps.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction (6.5/10) – Idem. I prefer flat CDR though.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist (6.5/10) - Maybe if you don't think you'll recieve too much magic damage early this is fine.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed (?/10) – I've seen pros go x3 of this very frequently, It should help wave clear faster; but I didn't test it.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed (6.5/10) - This is a good replacement of your MR blues if there is not too much AP on the enemy team.
Greater Mark of Armor penetration (5/10) - I don't see too much difference between this and the AD flat reds, but makes sense.
Greater Seal of Health (4/10) - I'm quite sure it's better to go with armor yellows, but it isn't totally bad to go this.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health (3.5/10) - Idem.
I don't think there're more viable choices out there, as long you make a combination of the things I just mentioned you should be fine.
My preferences are these:
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
Simple: explanation and score for every mastery. If there're multilple choices, pick the best rated :)
Fury (6/10) – You're an AD based champion, and you need to AA in order to use abilities efficiently, so boosting your AS is good.
Sorcery (4.5/10) – Increased damage for abilities is something.
Double Edged Sword (5/10) – If you're going in with Lee Sin then you should making more damage than what you recieve (early), so nice.
Feast (3.5/10) – You shouldn't need an extra HP for clearing, but this isn't bad.
Expose Weakness (5/10) - This one may be a good idea, you make AOE damage in 2v2 3v3 skirms or even teamfights and that boosts your allies damage.
Vampirism (6/10) - Life steal and spell vamp comes in handy.
Natural Talent (2/10) - You're wasting the AP, not worth.
Bounty Hunter (6/10) - If you think you're better than the average on your current ELO and you plan to be offensive enough this is quite useful.
Oppressor (6/10) - This is nice. On ganks, skirms, tfs, people are usually CC'd.
Battering Blows (7/10) - Armor pen is hard to get on your builds, so huge option.
Piercing Thoughts (1/10) - Useless. You don't use AP.
Warlord's Bloodlust (1/10) - Life Steal isnt that useful for Lee Sin.
Fervor of Battle (1/10) - This works only for high AS or high DPS champs (overall), Lee Sin isn't that.
Deathfire Touch (1/10) - This works well with skills that make damage over time, like Brand's Blaze, you don't have that.
Wanderer (4.5/10) - May be useful. Not sure how much though.
Savagery (5.5/10) - Always useful. A little help for each AA early.
Runic Affinity (5/10) - This should be great, right? It isn't. You get +18s on your first buffs and +13,5s on the following ones (which you may not get), which isn't too valuable. However this is viable.
Secret Stash (2/10) - You shouldn't be buying Health Potions, and you are not buying elixirs that often so, not good.
Assassin (5/10) - Good if you plan to invade, bad if you don't.
Merciless (6.5/10) - You should be ganking and dueling a lot, so you'll find people below 50% HP often, so great choice.
Meditation (1/10) - You don't use mana.
Bandit (1/10) - Useless since you're not a support.
Dangerous Game (4.5/10) - May come in handy.
Precision (1.5/10) - You'll wasting your M. Pen. and its pointless to have a little of scaling armor pen, you need early pressure.
Intelligence (9/10) - This is awesome. +5% CDR alone is great, increasing your max. cap is even better.
Stormraider's Surge (7/10) - This is good. Jump, combo someone, run for your life. May make a difference.
Thunderlord's Decree (10/10) - This increases your damage output by a nice margin, optimal choice for a very aggresive Lee Sin.
Windspeaker's Blessing (1/10) - You're not a support with healing abilities.
Recovery (4/10) - This health regen is insufficient.
Unyielding (2/10) - If you go Lee Sin and you plan buying defensive items from start then you're picking the wrong champion.
Explorer (5/10) - You will be on the river and bushes often, so this may be helpful.
Tough Skin (6/10) - You'll be recieving a lot of AA's from monsters, so reducing them does count.
Runic Armor (5/10) - This should include your spell vamp, life steal, health regen and Safeguard shield, I'm not sure how much relevant is this, I didn't try it, but this is good on paper.
Veteran Scars (6/10) – I always like to go this, I feel like having +50 HP early makes a difference.
Insight (8/10) - You'll save 45s of your Flash, and 9s for every Smite you use on the entire game (which is a lot). This is awesome.
Perseverance (4/10) - You should not be below 25% HP for a long period of time almost never. Also I didn't try this so not entirely sure, but shouldn't be worth.
Swiftness (8.5/10) - 15% CC reduction. Amazing stuff.
Legendary Guardian (4.5/10) - In terms of stats this is good, but you need to go for skirms here and there on the early game (when you're strong), and there shouldn't be a lot of enemies.
Grasp of the Undying (6.5/10) - This may be useful after a few items if you're going Enchantment: Cinderhulk.
Strength of the Ages (10/10) - This is gold for you. You get permanent HP per monster killed, and the most important part is that you get so much HP mid-late from your jungle, it helps a lot!.
Bond of Stone (4/10) - The reduction for you is nice, but you really don't want nor need your allies damage on you.
There're two big options for your mastery pages:
1) The aggresive and risky option: Thunderlord's Decree . If you fall behind early then this is almost useless, since you should be buying tank items and your damage output doesn't matter by this point. However, if you're doing well this is extremely good.
2) The securer option: Strength of the Ages . This works everytime, if you're buying Bruiser items, Tank items, Troll items, it doesn't matter.
That being said, those are my preferences:
As long you get Thunderlord's Decree or Strength of the Ages , you can pick anything that isn't useless in the middle.
Before start reading what to do on each stage of the game, you should have these things in mind:
- Time is gold, wasting it is a very bad thing to do.
- Dying is the worst thing that can happen (in most cases).
- Take these oppportunities:
+ low risk - medium reward
+ low risk - high reward
+ medium risk - high reward.
If you can't take those, find new opportunities, don't try creating them by doing things you shouldn't be doing.
4) Don't do anything because your teammates tell you to. You trust only you. If someone calls you for a gank, and you agree with him (that it's a good idea to gank), you do that. But don't do something you think it's wrong just because your teammates tells you. It won't work most of the times and you'll be very tilted after that.
5) Try your hardest to gank lanes where you have the best chances to succeed. (Don't gank a Malphite vs. Sion lane)...
6) You don't have to take responsability of anyone's mistakes. If your teammate is 0/5/0 and you still think it isn't worth it to gank him, because there's NO way you can kill the enemy out of your gank, leave him alone, it's better to snowball your winning lanes rather than wasting time helping your feeder teammate. And there's a chance that your gank fails terribly and both of you die.
7) First turret of the game gives: 125 gold to each member + 525 distributed on the members who were close to the turret when it fell (Total: 1150). And the following outer turrets gives: 100 + 250 (750).
750 = 2 kills and 150g. If you can decide whether to gank and only get kills... or destroy a turret, take the turret 100% of the times, specially when it's the first one. First brick = almost 4 kills.
8) Always prioritize taking down any objective over kills.
9) If you're super fed (f.e. 10/0/12), making a 1x1 trade or even a 2x1 trade isn't worth it (sometimes is, but don't feel good about trading 2x1 when you're that ahead). Most likely you'll have most of your team's gold, and if you die, your team will lack your pressure and will lose a lot because of your mistake. You need to put pressure on the map, since you know you can outduel anyone, you can be aggressive on your positioning and warding, 1v1 anyone and look for good oportunities. Bottom line: if you're fed don't die.
This are some of the things a player needs to know and do, in order to have their best performance. I almost never have a 10/10 performance but I believe this is how the game should be played at the best level.
It'd great if, after your first jungle clear, you put pressure on the two lanes you have nearby; After that, you need to always make a balance between ganking and farming, and remember that ganking is where your strength is.
Now you have to start being careful, dragon fights start happening and there're multiple skirms here and there. It's "much easier" to play Lee Sin on the early game, because before you just needed to use your kit for gap closing and/or dealing damage to the enemies in lanes. And now you need to be more aware of how you're positioning on the map. Think twice before going in, and mantain your distance since you can't do much on extended close range fights. Go in, kill someone, or Dragon's Rage Flash combo someone (or viceversa), and back off. Remember that you're not a Tank or an Olaf. In most cases you're not a good frontline by this point, you're just someone who goes in and out and has a very few seconds window to make a play. There're an infinite number of posibilities to play any fight, but this is like the "general rule" to follow.
By this point you are a Bruiser or a Tank. If you're a Bruiser go in only if you have a clear picture of the play you're about to make and execute it properly and fast. Remember that you'll get blown up very fast.
If you're a Tank you can do anything you want, you have plenty of room to make mistakes and it doesn't matter because you should have time to get away with it because of your Safeguard and Dragon's Rage.
Smite on red gives you 20% of your max. HP, use it properly.
On your first clear:
When you're killing Blue or Red, if your Smite is up you should use it on the big one and then kill it (before touching the little ones). If your Smite is not up, you should kill the little ones and then the big one. That way you recieve less damage.
The same applies while killing raptors or wolves.
After your first clear:
It doesn't matter that much.
Also you can try this:
- Full clear: When you kill every camp before showing yourself.
- Cheese invade: (When you're on blue side) Kill the red and rush to the enemy's blue to steal it or kill the enemy.
After clearing you should prioritize ganking, but if you can't or isn't worth it, you can go ahead and kill the Scuttler and move to the other camps you didn't clear.
Remember to use Iron Will whenever you're killing the Scuttler since it gives you life steal and spell vamp, which means free HP since Scuttler don't strike back.
Remember to put pressure early as much as you can, Lee Sin's power spike is on early game, if you're not planning to play aggresive early then don't pick him.
|Having 2 more wards is extremely useful. If you're a B, C, D or F player you should buy this everytime. This is what I usually buy. (8.5/10)|
|If you are an A or S player and you feel like forcing 1v1 fights against the enemy jungler (or anyone) this ítem is for you. Keep in mind that you can't misuse your Warding Totem and warding for vision is not an option, because if you do any of those then you won't be able to Safeguard jump and that really sucks. (7.5/10)|
|I feel like this one is not worth picking, but it's a matter of preferences. (6.5/10)|
|This is the standard way to go. You usually need to prioritize damage and this gives you that. (8/10)|
|This item is a good choice if you're planning to go tank before enchanting your jungle item. (7/10)|
|The stats are shield are very efficient, they suit Lee Sin very well. The passive stacks with Sterak's Gage passive. (8/10)|
|It helps you clear camps faster and gives you AOE damage + AA reset with the active which is awesome. I always buy this because I can use the early pressure it gives, and It opens a nice window to go Enchantment: Cinderhulk which I like. If you're snowballing you can leave it and go Enchantment: Warrior and keep buying damage items. (7/10)|
|Everything this item gives is perfect for Lee Sin. HP, AD, CDR, Armor reduction, Speed; It can't get better. (8/10)|
|Adds a nice mix of damage and HP to your build, works with Enchantment: Cinderhulk and Enchantment: Warrior. Keep in mind that this scales with HP, so it's better to have heavy HP items. (7/10)|
|This is awesome when you're too ahead that you're looking for one-shoting enemies. This works only if you're aggresive and smart about it. (6/10)|
|You may get into risky situations so having a shield helps a lot escaping or winning the fight; also the stats and the triggered passive are nice. The passive stacks with Maw of Malmortius passive. (7.5/10)|
|If you're going for an aggressive build, this is a must-buy; boosting your damage output for 6 seconds is what you need to unload all the damage you've got. And also the stats are amazing. (7/10)|
|Good item, lets you run fast and slow someone you catch with the passive. (7/10)|
|This is usually a good choice, it's even better against many high AS champs. Its value increases if teams are TFing a lot. (7/10)|
|This is always a good choice, sometimes it's an excellent one. (7/10)|
|This shouldn't be rare, it's completely fine to go this if you're against many heavy AP members (you can pick this even if you're suppong does also). (6.5/10)|
|This is a must buy for a Bruiser or Tank build if you're against heavy CC and/or AP members, this is just too good. (8/10)|
|Nice choice if don't see heavy CC but a lot of slows. (7/10)|
|Good choice overall. It's great if you're snowballing hard. (6.5/10)|
|My favorite choice. I usually go this because 30% CC reduction is awesome. Also the MR is usually useful. (7/10)|
|Great choice against many high AA's based champs since it reduces 12% of each AA. On those cases the armor comes in handy. (6.5/10)|
|If none of the other options are very good in a rare match, you can go this. This is also a viable option overall, You can go this all your games if you like this. (6.5/10)|
|This is possible in a Enchantment: Cinderhulk build. Idk how good it's to buy this yet, I just know it's viable; I buy it sometimes for a 6th item. (5/10)|
|I'm not sure about this one. I've following what lcs pro players get on Lee Sin in soloq for the past weeks at least, and literally no-one get this on a Lee Sin as a jungler (you can find exceptions if you look for a long time :p). I think that is due to the life steal not being too relevant and both passive and active are the same as Tiamat's, so that's why the mayority of them don't upgrade their Tiamat and move on to buy another item (or eventually get a Titanic Hydra). And spending 2.3k gold for the health regen, +55 AD, and the LS it gives isn't a good choice. The utility of fast clearing and AA reset and AOE passive and active damage it's already what Tiamat has, and that's the main reason why that item would be great.(4.5/10)|
|This isn't even that rare, but it should be, unless you're D1 or Challenger vision isn't that important for you to buy this item. If you want more wards go Tracker's Knife. It's not neccessarily bad though, you can buy it. (5/10)|
|This is confusing because many Lee Sin streamers use this item (for some reason), and this item is not viable at all. (2.5/10)|
|The stats are way too good, but the passive isn't too useful most of the times, if you can make a good use of it then this is a great item. The passive may make a difference in mid-late when your Strength of the Ages is fully stacked, you can get more HP back from it and it helps your sustain if you're heavy on HP. (5/10)|
|If you're going assassin or bruiser and you think this will help a lot because enemies are getting armor items, this is viable. (5/10)|
|Same as Mortal Reminder, you can go either one of them depending on the enemy's team comp. If you're an assassin / aggressive bruiser you should be looking to kill squishy targets, and they don't usually buy armor items, but there're exceptions where they get some armor and this counters it. (5/10)|
|In terms of stats this is at least useful for Lee Sin, but it's very expensive (3.7k) and there're better alternatives. It isn't horrible though. (4.5/10)|
|The passive isn't significant for you, and there're better alternatives. (4.5/10)|
|The stats and passive are good, but the thing is that there shouldn't be many matches in which this is an optimal buy. If you're against many heavy AP/CC (or both) members, get Mercury's Treads. And if you want an AD & MR mix you go Maw of Malmortius (which is way better), and you can get any high score MR item. With Swiftness and Mercury's Treads you get +40% CC reduction, so most CCs on you will have low impact. If you're going for an assassin build and you have any other boots you can get this, but even then I don't recommend it because you will be skipping a Youmuu's Ghostblade, Maw of Malmortius or a The Black Cleaver which are optimal. (4.5/10)|
|You should buy this item everytime you go back, there's no excuse to not have a pink ward on your inventory / on the map, except when you need 75g to complete a major item. (9/10)|
|Don't upgrade this since you can use it for Safeguard jumps.|
|You can go x3 of this on start if you're pretty sure the enemy plans to invade you.|
|You usually need this with your Hunter's Machete on your first buy.|
|This is the defensive choice for an elixir.|
|This is the aggressive choice for an elixir.|
Keep in mind that It isn't 100% necessary to get the 2nd or 3rd upgrade of your jungle item. You can go another item if you like. For example: the finished Tracker's Knife - Warrior has the same stats that Youmuu's Ghostblade has (exluding pasives and actives, which are obviously better on Youmuu's Ghostblade). Of course it costs 575 gold more, and I'm not even saying that this is sometimes a good choice, I'm just saying that maybe you find yourself in a situation where you can skip your jungle item upgrade and that's fine, it may be a good thing to do depending on the situation.
Since there isn't an easy standard way to build Lee Sin, and there're many item choices, let's talk about the items I bought on some of my games.
(#1) - Pretty standard build before my 3rd back to base. By min 10-11, my teammate's Renekton got like 4-5 kills and I was camping top and helping him to snowball the lane, I did that becouse: 1) Renekton as a character is quite strong on the early game. 2) He was against Riven who was playing kind of greedy given he was far behind, and if you can shut down a Riven early then she becomes completely useless. I only focused on the top side of the map, getting pressure on the lane and the jungle. We often had 2-3-4 people on the top side of the map trying to stop us from proxy killing Riven and farming their jungle, so I died a few times doing that, but we surely won the pressure game (since they had to move more than 2 members of their team to stop us). I bought Boots of Mobility to move fast and be everywhere, and since I didn't farm much and/or kill much enemies I couldn't get much gold, I decided to go Enchantment: Cinderhulk since I was behind, and if you're behind it's useless to go bruiser/aggressive, you should go tank, and I went Enchantment: Cinderhulk because I knew I was behind before getting my jungle item, and when that happens you should do that because It's more efficient to go Enchantment: Cinderhulk rather than Enchantment: Warrior if you're going tank. And I went Guardian Angel because I was playing even more aggressive and I knew It was likely that I'll die doing that. And by this time my only objective was to provide utility, by defending my teammates and Dragon's Rage combo people or putting pressure on the map by splitpushing. So why not getting an Aegis of the Legion to counter a bit of the Malzahar & Amumu's damage?. Then I can finish it for the stats and shield that Locket of the Iron Solari provides.
Here's the link of the game (Match History LoL)
PS: I don't recommend focusing on helping only 1 feed member because if your teammate is planning to die for stupid reasons mid-late then you'll end up losing the game because all your team's gold will be on his pocket. In fact he died 2-3 times doing silly things but he did got a 1v3 triple kill and some kills here and there, but I was lucky.
(#2) - I got a good amount of kills and I felt like keep being aggressive and kill as much people as I could while I could. Everything ok until my 5th back, when I decided to get a B. F. Sword and go Duskblade of Draktharr later. That was silly, I should've finished my The Black Cleaver earlier or get a Youmuu's Ghostblade if I wanted more aggression. Duskblade of Draktharr is a good ítem but isnt effective that early, it's more like a complementary pick; The Black Cleaver and Youmuu's Ghostblade are a lot better. Anyway, i'm still crazy ahead and I left my Tiamat alone and start my Sterak's Gage as my next ítem. Its my 6th ítem and I should have enough gold to complete it on my next back so I buy a Elixir of Wrath for more damage in the meantime. Maybe Titanic Hydra was a better choice but still this isn't bad. Min 41 and the game isnt over yet, having too much damage isnt going to get me anywhere by this point, i need more hp, one choice was getting a Titanic Hydra, and the other one was selling my jungle ítem for a Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk, which i did. In terms of gold efficiency it was better to go Titanic Hydra and have 6 items completed, instead of 5 and a half with my Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk, but it doesn't matter much, I prefer to have more HP, It doesn't matter if I have a little bit less damage by min 41.
Here's the link of the game (Match History LoL)
(#3) - I get a bugsplat error by min 13 and I die to wolves, I'm 1/1/2 (including that), and these are my teammates: Lux, Sona, Caitlyn, Graves. The logical and safe choice is to go Tracker's Knife - Cinderhulk to provide at least a bit of tankyness to this weird comp. I do that.
I get 3 kills in a row between 15-19 min. mark, and I feel like It should be good to have a damage item so I don't have to be just a tanky member, so I start buying the standard Titanic Hydra, I finally buy it and I keep doing well. I died once and got 2 kills and a bunch of assists and good farm, so I keep the offensive&HP mix and get an Sterak's Gage. On my last purchase I was aiming for a Randuin's Omen to lower the A.S. and damage of Trundle, Vayne and Gangplank.
Here's the link of the game (Match History LoL)
(#4) - Nothing much going on, both teams have 4 kills by min 11 so I go for a Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior. Min 14:30 we're 7 - 9 (2 kills down) and 1 turret down. I go Mercury's Treads to counter Kayle, Ahri and Zilean's damage primarily, and the CC reduction is also very useful here. By min. 15 we're 5 kills and 2 turrets behind. And I just can't save us by try-hard killing people because I can't do that against Ahri and Riven because of their mobility, and also there's a Zilean and Kayle to make things worse. I go Dead Man's Plate to add tank stats and hope for the best. Min. 27 we're a lot worse than before, I go Maw of Malmortius because its stats and passive are very good against the enemy team. Not much to do, I tried to look for decent fights but there weren't many. We lost.
Here's the link of the game (Match History LoL)
- Changes on many champs, nothing significant here. I guess riot is focusing on Worlds and they don't want to make relevant changes until pre-season. However, Ivern may be released on the next patch and the community will be so confused by what that champion does (I like the innovative aspect of releasing such a complicated champ, but I wouldn't use it on SoloQ). And as I anticipated we're seeing a lot of Lee Sin on worlds and that's very exciting.
- Changes on many champs; Yorick's rework. And minor changes on Frozen Mallet and Relic Shield. Frozen Mallet should stay as a non-viable item for Lee Sin, but maybe people start buying it, I'll keep an eye on that.
- Iron Will's life steal and spell vamp increased to 10/15/20/25/30% from 5/10/15/20/25%. This is crearly a huge buff. Having an extra +5% on the early game should be substantial; I honestly have to try it before I give a proper opinion, but it should be possible to change jungle routes and have more HP overall for any early game fights, which statistically will increase Lee Sin win rate.
- No changes on items: This means no major changes on Lee Sin buildpaths.
- Changes on AI of turrets: This should be very useful for the competitive scene, but not so much for SoloQ, You don't need to try high risk turret dives (no big deal here). Turrets will be more predictable and will help more the one who gets dove.
- Changes on lots of champions: Nerfs on Rek'Sai and Gragas; buffs on Vi. Changes on Trundle's CD of Pillar of Ice.
This isn't too relevant for Lee Sin. Maybe we'll see Lee Sin more often on Worlds this year because of the nerfs on the God-Tier competitive junglers.
Most of them are pretty obvious, but still I want to clarify those I use in my guide.
DPS = Damage per second.
AS = Attack Speed.
AP = Ability Power.
AA = Autoattack.
TF = Teamfight.
DMG = Damage.
LS = Life Steal.
SV = Spell Vamp.
idk = I don't know.
f.e. = for example.