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Lee Sin Build Guide by kaennish

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League of Legends Build Guide Author kaennish

Lee Sin - Excelling at everything (Top/Jungle/3v3)

kaennish Last updated on January 19, 2013
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Lee Sin is a ranged, melee, tanky dps, assassin, mage, tank, support, jungler. He excels at everything.
Now that we've started off with some comic relief lets get down to it!

Lee Sin is one of my favorite champions. Being a fighter Lee Sin can dish out great damage while being decently tanky. Also I love that he can dash in and out of combat quickly, dealing short bursts of damage before escaping. It's this great ability to "trade" damage that makes him excel as a top laner. Which is my personal favorite spot for Lee Sin. But he also fulfills the role of Jungler with his very strong early ganks and decent jungle clear times. Also if you still like to play 3v3 *Cough* New TT sucks *cough* he's a viable top tier champion on that map aswell. Not nowhere near as good as he used to be (Wards don't exist and walls are too thick to W anyway D:) but still very good.

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Pros / Cons


+Great early game
+High AD Ratios (Good late game)
+Really good at "trading" in lane.
+Really good at "ganking" when jungling.
+No energy problems ( Flurry)
+Decent sustain ( Safeguard / Iron Will) space


-High-ish skillcap, gotta land skillshots
-Kind of squishy without items.
-Considered OP by many.

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I don't think I need to explain these masteries. It's pretty self explanatory. The only think I'd like to point out is that I feel putting points into Lethality and Frenzy to be a waste with my build. Simply because with my build you don't have very much crit at all. Making them not very useful, I feel that the points are better spent elsewhere.

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
  • Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage Greater Mark of Attack Damage - Lee Sin has high AD ratios. These Marks/Quints will give you the highest damage output. Especially early game, which is when you truely shine and create QQ.
  • Greater Seal of Armor - You are a fighter, armor is important. Especially top because typically you will be against AD champions. Also late game they don't hurt either. *sagenod*
  • Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - You are a fighter, magic resistance is important. Occasionally you will have to lane against an AP. Don't let them be a weakness. Also late game they don't hurt either. *sagenod*

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Summoner Spells

Flash is great for many things. Closing Gaps, Positioning, escaping, travelling over walls. You name it. It's the versatility of the skill that makes it the best summoner spell, in my opinion of course. But for Lee Sin in particular, you can use it to better position yourself to land a Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike. Or to get in range of someone to Safeguard / Iron Will, effectively escaping just about anything.

This summoner spell is great for many reasons. Scaling true damage, healing reduction, increased AD while its down due to Summoner's Wrath . This could be the difference between getting the kill and them barely escaping. Also it counters people with an annoying amount of healing. For example Dr. Mundo

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Ability Explanation

  • Flurry - Pretty good passive in my opinion. This makes it a good idea to space Lee Sin's abilities out so that you get 2 right clicks inbetween them. This is most important when jungling. There are a few execptions when you obviously can't do this. Like when using Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike as a gap closer. Or when doing a burst combo (You can find more information on the burst combo below in the Dragon's Rage section.)
  • Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike - This is a GREAT ability for many reasons. It can be used as a gap closer/chase mechanism. It can be used to escape if there is an enemy minion in a good position. (If you don't kill it before you can jump lol) And it also does very good damage. It has a .9 AD ratio meaning it will scale great into late game. And the second part of it does damage based off of the targets missing health. Meaning the lower they are the more damage it does. In other words this ability makes for a great finisher.
  • Safeguard / Iron Will - This is your primary escape ability. You can use it to quickly dash to an ally in good position away from your enemies. A good combo for "trading" would be to Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike in Tempest / Cripple for some quick damage, then Safeguard / Iron Will out. When doing this combo don't worry about getting the most out of your passive. Just go in, get in your quick burst, and get out.
  • Tempest / Cripple - The first part of this ability is your primary tool for farming and doing AoE damage. With a 1.0 AD ratio it does very nice damage and to everything around you to boot! The second part of the ability is a good AS debuff and a slow. Use it to stay on fleeing targets, or to go head to head with another AD.
  • Dragon's Rage - Awesome ultimate simply because you get to kick people in the face. First of all its a fairly large knock back, meaning it's excellent for tossing a player to your team, or to knock away a player to save your team. The beauty of this spell is when you get good with it you can hit enemies into other enemies, knocking them up and doing great damage to them all. A great combo for this ability is to use the first part of Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike so that you can jump on them whenever you like, then use the first part of Tempest / Cripple to do a nice chunk of damage, next use your Dragon's Rage to do massive damage and knock them away. Now use the second half of your Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike to jump back on them and do very nice damage because they should be low on health at this point. And finally the second half of your Tempest / Cripple to slow them so you can easily finish them off with right clicks. (If you have to) To simplify simply press your abilities in this order QERQE. (This combo only works if you're already close to the enemy.)

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Ability Sequence

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

Level your ultimate whenever you can (6/11/16) for obvious reasons. I level my Q Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike when playing up top because both the first and second use do damage meaning its more damage to level it over your E Tempest / Cripple. Also as you level it it's cooldown gets smaller. Making it that much better to level. When jungling I still level this ability first. And the reason is simple, in season 3 the big creatures at each camp have gotten a lot beafier. So single target spells are a good idea to level first. Also this will make your Red/Blue/dragon times much quicker. I level my E Tempest / Cripple next over my W Safeguard / Iron Will because although it does give very nice sustain/escape I prefer to do damage. Also it helps a lot with the AS debuff when laning against AD. Which will be most of the time up top. In the jungle AoE damage is always nice to have, especially saying the jungle gets stronger faster now so soon you'll be wanting to kill the small monsters fast too. And I level my W Safeguard / Iron Will last because although the sustain is really nice for both laning and jungling I already explained I prefer to do damage. Also I mainly use this ability as an escape mechanism, not for sustain. And its cooldown does not go down as you level it therefore it doesn't become a better escape at higher levels.

The only time this priority system doesn't get taken into effect is the first three levels. Where i take Safeguard / Iron Will at level 2 over Tempest / Cripple and I take Tempest / Cripple at level 3 over Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike. The reason behind this is at level 2 I like to get my escape mechanism so that I can start trading. Q'ing in then W'ing out. And at level 3 I take my E so that my trading will be that much better. squeezing in that first E before I W out, and the second E after I W out to slow them. To make the escape out that much better.

This should not be set in stone, against certain champions it can be a better idea to level your abilities in a different order. Also most people prefer to level them in a different order. I believe that you can level your abilities in any order you want as Lee Sin and it will still be viable because all of his abilities are very good. Check the laning section for a youtube channel reference. You can learn a lot about countering different champions.

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Item Sequence

The Bloodthirster

Warmog's Armor

Guardian Angel

The Black Cleaver

Maw of Malmortius

Enchantment: Captain
  • Wriggle's Lantern - I grab this item first for 2 reasons. First it gives great sustain in both the lane and the jungle (Through both armor and lifesteal) while still giving decent bonuses to damage. (especially in jungle) The second reason is because it gives you a ward, which are very important for any champion, but extra important on Lee Sin. Use Wriggle's Lantern to place a ward, then use Safeguard / Iron Will to dash to it. Lets face it there won't always be an ally standing in the perfect spot for you to escape. Also it always feels amazing when you place a ward over a wall then W to it to escape perfectly. Sell this item late game for more stat bonuses. Because late game you want to be stronger to make a bigger impact on teamfights to win the game.
  • Mercury's Treads - As Lee Sin you will be decently tanky and have good escape. Making it pretty hard to take you down. But you do have a weakness. CC!!! The tenacity on these boots will make CC's not last as long on you. Effectively countering your weakness and making you a bigger pain to kill. Also the early magic resistance will be very nice. Coupled with your Wriggle's Lantern you will have pretty good early game damage reduction.
  • The Bloodthirster - Not much explanation needed here. Lee Sin has great AD ratios. This item has really high AD. You do the math. Plus the lifesteal is really nice, it will make it so you can lane/jungle all day and never have to B. Because you sure as hell won't need mana rofl.
  • Warmog's Armor - It doesn't matter how much damage reduction you have if you have really low health. This item solves that little problem for you :D *sagenod*
  • Guardian Angel - Wriggle's Lantern and Mercury's Treads won't be enough damage reduction for long. This item has both Armor and Magic Resistance on it, making you much tankier to any kind of damage. (Excluding true damage of course) Plus when you die, you don't die? After you get this item don't be afraid to initiate. If they attack you first, or even second. They are bad. Because you will be one of the tankier people on your team its very beneficial for your side if you can convince them to attack you over your squishies. Also once they do kill you, you will come back to life shortly after. And in the time that it takes you to come back to life the enemy team will usually do sub-optimum damage. THIS ITEM WINS GAMES!
  • The Black Cleaver - You need Armor Penetration if you want to do damage mid-late game. This is the best Armor Pen item for you. Health, CDR, and AD are all amazing stats, plus of course the armor pen.
  • Maw of Malmortius - You'll be lacking a liiitle bit of Magic Resistance. (I usually like to be around 150 of both when playing tanky champions) So this item will round you out nicely. Also if magic damage brings you low, you get a magic damage shield. Which could potentially save you. ( requim) The bonus damage it brings is also really nice to have. *sagenod*

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3v3 Items

  • Emblem of Valor - I love getting a bit of damage reduction early game, and since we can't get Wriggle's Lantern in 3v3 I grab a quick Emblem of Valor. Also since we lack the AD and Lifesteal of wriggles I grab 2 Doran's Blade to make up for it. The Health regen on this helps a bit aswell.
  • Mercury's Treads - As Lee Sin you will be decently tanky and have good escape. Making it pretty hard to take you down. But you do have a weakness. CC!!! The tenacity on these boots will make CC's not last as long on you. Effectively countering your weakness and making you a bigger pain to kill. Also the early magic resistance will be very nice. Coupled with your Wriggle's Lantern you will have pretty good early game damage reduction.
  • Ravenous Hydra - This item is my item of choice to replace The Bloodthirster in 3v3. It gives good AD, lifesteal, and a bit of health regen. Not to mention it makes your attacks cleave and hit everything around you, keeping in mind this damage also benefits from lifesteal. As Lee Sin we try to stand in the middle of the enemies to hit them all with Tempest / Cripple anyway, so this item just ties into him perfectly. Don't forget to use the activate to deal some quick damage to everything around you. Think of it as another Tempest / Cripple, both of them being AoE damage on a 10 second cooldown.
  • Frozen Mallet - Sadly Warmog's Armor is not in 3v3 anymore. (QQ) So instead I grab this. The health is very much needed, and the damage is also helpful. But what really makes this item shine is the slow passive. All your physical attacks slow the target by 40% for 2.5 seconds. Which not only helps you stay on people, but your teammates too!
  • Aegis of the Legion - This is your alternative for Guardian Angel. Giving you both magic resistance and armor. Also the aura helps out your team. Kind of how the passive of guardian angel helps out your team in teamfights. I really wish this was upgradable to Runic Bulwark but sadly it isn't in 3v3.
  • The Black Cleaver - You need Armor Penetration if you want to do damage mid-late game. This is the best Armor Pen item for you. Health, CDR, and AD are all amazing stats, plus of course the armor pen.
  • Atma's Impaler - Because we don't have Guardian Angel our armor is a bit lower than what I'd like it to be. So I grab this to make up for it.

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Situational Items

These are items that didn't make the cut for the items above, because the builds are designed to be very well rounded and work well against ANY team composition. But against certain teams, other items will be a better choice. This section will explain what other items to get, what items to drop for them, and when to do so.

  • Ninja Tabi - If the enemy team is very heavy on AD with not much AP, AAAND they don't have very much CC. Get these. These obviously replace your other boots, Mercury's Treads.
  • Randuin's Omen - You'd get this item for the same reason you got the above item Ninja Tabi. If the enemy team is primarily AD and your not too worried about taking much magic damage this will be the item of choice. I would replace Maw of Malmortius ( Runic Bulwark in 3v3) because the extra magic resistance it provides isn't needed against the forementioned AD heavy team. Sometimes I find myself switching its place with Trinity Force if I seem to be taking a lot of physical damage at the time and I want extra armor now instead of spending tons of gold on damage.
  • Mercurial Scimitar - This item is the opposite of the above items. You'd get this item if the enemy team is primarily magic damage. I would drop Guardian Angel for this item because GA has a lot of armor on it. And against the forementioned AP heavy team armor is not optimal. Although it is depressing to lose the jesus passive of Guardian Angel, you probably won't need it due to the high MR that you will have to counter the AP heavy team. Also the bonus damage this item brings is always a welcome addition! Don't forget about the amazing activate this item brings! Whenever you use it all debuffs will be removed from your character. This goes for any CC or DoTs. Also you get a 50% movement speed bonus for 1 second. This activate CAN and probably WILL save your life!
  • Frozen Mallet - If the enemy team likes to kite a lot, this item can be great to constantly keep someone slowed. It can be the difference between your team getting a kill on someone and them not getting the kill on someone. So against poke and run teams, grab this instead of Trinity Force. Also this item is cheaper. So you'll max out your build quicker.
  • The Brutalizer - If your laning against a very tanky person. For example a Volibear. Grab this early on for the Armor Penetration. Sell it later on whenever you need the slot for another even better item.
  • Last Whisper - If the majority of the enemy team is tanky, this will usually only be an issue in 3v3, grab this item. I would replace Trinity Force and get it earlier, swapping its place with The Bloodthirster. ( Ravenous Hydra in 3v3)

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Lee Sin is an excellent laner. Last hitting should be a breeze due to your masteries/runes. Butcher , Brute Force , Havoc , Sunder , Greater Mark of Attack Damage, Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage. Also your trading with the enemy champion should be very good. Easily keeping your health higher than the enemies. Jumping in with Q, doing your damage, and jumping out with W. Also your sustain through lifesteal and your W will make you very hard to bully out of lane. Camp the turret and when a minion wave comes in W yourself twice for the shield and lifesteal, then take out the minion wave. Lee Sin also is very good at assisting his jungler when he decides to help you up top with a gank. With both your E slow, and R knockback you should have no problem preventing the enemy from escaping. Unless your jungler is too impatient and attacks at a bad time. Always make sure to have wards to protect yourself from ganks. For warding top lane advice refer to this video made by HowToTopLane on youtube.
^ This guy ^ makes some very nice videos for tips and tricks to playing top, as well as how to counter specific champions if you find yourself having trouble with someone. I'd recommend to watch them if your new to Solo Top.

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When Jungling I prefer the following route. This route gets you a very quick red buff and level 2. Allowing you to have a very early and usually very successful gank, leading to first blood a lot of the time. And a snowballing Lee Sin.

Wraiths -> Red Buff -> Gank -> Golems -> Wolves -> Blue -> Recall

This next route is an alternate route I use when facing slower enemy junglers. I counter-jungle and steal their red fairly early which can help to severely cut down their gank strength. Heres just a quick list of champions I like to counter jungle against.

  • Alistar - Alistar is a fairly slow jungler with very strong ganks. You can counter-jungle effectively because of his speed and it will make his ganks not as scary.
  • Rammus - Rammus is similar to Alistar because his jungle speed is pretty slow, and his ganks are very strong. (DAT TAUNT)
  • Malphite - Malphite can't gank effectively till he hits level 6. Counter-jungle him so he hits level 6 later. BUT BE CAREFUL, he can be a huge pain if he catches you in his jungle.
  • Nocturne - Nocturne is a lot like you. He can gank at level 2. If you see him ganking earlier than you do, this is a great opportunity to head into his jungle and steal his red, because most Nocturne's start at blue.

Wolves -> Blue Buff -> Enemy Red Buff -> Gank -> Recall - > Golems -> Wraiths -> Red Buff

A quick note on counter jungling.
When going into the enemy jungle try not to spend too much time there. Take down the big creep from the camp you want, then leave. Don't worry about the small ones that don't give much gold. This is beneficial in 2 ways. You won't spend as much time in a dangerous spot. And the enemy jungler will be pissed when he finds that he can only kill the small creeps. (trololol)

A quick note on Dragon/Baron.
You will always have wards on you Sightstone, place wards in the back of the dragon/baron walls so you can Safeguard / Iron Will to them to increase your speed. Also with the vision you can Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike to Dragon/Baron and attempt to steal it from the enemy when they are going for it.

Example video

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In teamfights Lee Sin can have many roles.

He makes a quite effective anti-carry because of his great gap closer and knockback. Try to jump on the enemy AD carry hiding in the back and kicking him closer to your team. Also be sure to communicate and let your team know to focus them. If you take down the high damage squishies first it will reduce the amount of incoming damage on your team greatly and give you a much better chance to win the teamfight. For this reason Lee Sin is great at helping your team come back from a disadvantage. But this isn't Lee Sin's only role in teamfights.

You can also play the role of an initiator, but I recommend only doing this AFTER you've built your Guardian Angel. This is because if you don't have it, when you initiate you'll probably be bursted down quickly and then your team will be stuck 4v5. But aftet you have your Guardian Angel you won't die straight away, instead you'll stall the enemy team while "reviving" and during that time they will do sub-optimal damage. This is because when you return to life you'll only have 750 health, and be an ideal target to burst down. Try and escape as quickly as possible by using Flash or Safeguard / Iron Will or even both.

One last note would be to try and hit as many people as possible with both your Tempest / Cripple and your Dragon's Rage. The extra AoE damage and CC can make all the difference between winning and losing a teamfight.

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Thats the end of the guide! Sorry if you didn't want to read the wall of text. Hopefully I will go back and make it look a bit more attractive, but don't count on it :P If you have any suggestions or things that you think could be better about the guide please let me know either through a comment or a private message. Please help me out by not troll voting my guide down and reporting anybody you see troll voting it down.