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Lee Sin Build Guide by HylynOfShaduz

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author HylynOfShaduz

Lee Sin - Force is meaningless without skill

HylynOfShaduz Last updated on September 7, 2011
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Team 1

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Jungle Role
Ranked #18 in
Jungle Role
Win 49%
Get More Stats

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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So, you are here to rock some fools with a blind monk is it not? Well you have come to the right place. Lee Sin, the blind monk, finds himself in a struggle against nature where he does not have to worry about the great battles fought between heroes on the mid lane and the top lane. However, Lee Sin is not a selfish man, when his allied champions are in need for his help he will sit tight in the brush waiting for the perfect moment to strike. In a split-second Lee Sin dashes out of that very brush to take on the menace that threatens his allies. And.... if there is someone foolish enough to try to take on Lee Sin, Lee will roundhouse kick him into his very own Nexus!

Yes, this is my very first guide so if you have any suggestions how to improve this guide (and hopefully future guides) please say so. I am playing Lee Sin since he was released to the EU server. Lee Sin is a real allrounder but I find jungler the best role for Lee. Mainly because he is very sustained, quite fast and he is a great ganker. Additionally, if someone tries to disrupt Lee they better not be alone because he will rock any fool who tries to take him on 1v1!

This guide opens up with some basic knowledge about Lee Sin such as his skillset and his pros and cons. Next, I will tell you all the things you need to know even before the match starts such as runes, masteries and summoner spells. The rest of the guide focusses on how Lee should perform in-game and what his role is. I will talk about the core build, viable items, how to jungle and how to gank. Moreover, I will discuss how to operate in teamfights and how to take on different opponents in a fair and square duel. I will close with a little bit about ranked play and a small but useful cheat sheet on general jungling for those who are not really familiar with jungling.

Ready? Well, you better be because Lee Sin requires you to focus and total commitment otherwise you will fail the trials!

NOTE: The jungle video's are a little outdated because they use other rune + mastery setups. The current setup works even better so the video's are still a good example of how to jungle Lee Sin. Nevertheless, I will upload new video's soon!


For some reason half of my guide (i.e. 10 chapters) have literally vanished, so this guide is not complete. Though, feel free to comment on my build and the parts of my guide that still exist. I will see to it that this guide will be restored to its original state as soon as possible.


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Pros / Cons

To start off I want to provide you with some reasons why you should play Lee Sin. However, I will also discuss his shortcomings and reasons why you might not want to play him. It will give you a short overview of the champion you are about to discover so you can think twice about mastering him.


  • Fits about in any team, in any role. (e.g. Tanky DPS, Solo laner, Jungler, Tank)
  • Fast and sustained jungler.
  • Amazing duellist, he is capable of taking on Jax 1v1!
  • Great tower diver because he has two dashes.
  • Very capable of saving teammates from a certain death.
  • He is capable of the famous Chuck Norris roundhouse kick!


  • He requires a lot of time and hard work to master.
  • He requires runes and masteries to jungle properly.
  • While solo top is an option for Lee, my experience is that 1v2 is quite hard.
  • He is not the easiest champion to learn jungling with.
  • His gap closer is a skillshot, so it is possible to miss.
  • As with other tanky DPS champions, he cannot carry a team which makes him less suitable for solo-queue (ranked).

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I want to give a short introduction to Lee Sin's skillset. Just so you know what you are dealing with and to know what I am talking about throughout the entire guide. Below are simply the ingame descriptions given along with some pro's of these skills.

Flurry: After Lee Sin uses an ability, his next 2 autoattacks within 3 seconds gain 50% attack speed and return 15 energy each.
  • Minimizes energy loss if used correctly.
  • Great for pushing lanes and destroying towers.
  • Makes Lee Sin not require any attack speed items.

Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike
Sonic Wave: Lee Sin projects a discordant wave of sound to reveal his enemies for 3 seconds, dealing physical damage to the first enemy it encounters. If Sonic Wave hits, Lee Sin can cast Resonating Strike for the next 3 seconds.
Resonating Strike: Lee Sin dashes to the enemy hit by Sonic Wave, dealing flat damage plus 10% of their missing health as physical damage.
  • Amazing gap closer with quite some range.
  • Great for initiating.
  • Deals huge amounts of damage due to the high base damage and the 2.0 scaling!
  • Great finishing move due to the 10% missing health damage bonus.

Safeguard / Iron Will
Safeguard: Lee Sin rushes towards a target ally, shielding them both from damage for the next 5 seconds. After using Safeguard, Lee Sin can cast Iron Will for the next 3 seconds.
Iron Will: Lee Sin's intense training allows him to thrive in battle. For 5 seconds, Lee Sin gains lifesteal, spell vamp, and armor.
  • Allows Lee to quickly dash to safety with the help of allied champions, minions and wards.
  • Grants amazing sustainability.
  • Can save Lee and his allies from a certain death (e.g. when they have a Damage over Time spell on them such as Ignite or Malefic Visions).

Tempest / Cripple

Tempest: Lee Sin smashes the ground sending out a shockwave that deals magic damage and reveals enemy units hit for 4 seconds. If Tempest hits an enemy, Lee Sin can cast Cripple for the next 3 seconds.
Cripple: Lee Sin cripples nearby enemies revealed by Tempest, reducing their movement and attack speed for 4 seconds. Movement and attack speed recover gradually over the duration.
  • Very useful to disrupt stealth champions/abilities (e.g. Twilight Shroud).
  • Prevents people from getting away.
  • Completely shuts down attack speed based champions (e.g. Master Yi and Tryndamere).

Dragon's Rage
Dragon's Rage: Lee Sin performs a powerful roundhouse kick launching his target back, dealing physical damage to the target and any enemies they collide with. Enemies the target collides with are knocked into the air for a short duration.
  • Capable of Crown Controlling an entire team!
  • Very, very high damage dealer, so suitable for last-hits.
  • Great ability to get chasers off you.
  • Pretty low cooldown for an ultimate.
  • Makes you feel like Chuck Norris!

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Skill Sequence

There are two skill sequences I use on Lee Sin, recently I figured a out a new skill sequence which maxes Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike first, this improves Lee Sin's damage output greatly as I was pointed out by several people. The second, alternative, sequence maxes Safeguard / Iron Will first. This skill sequence sacrifices damage output for tankyness and allows Lee Sin to towerdive better.

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

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

There is a huge difference in playstyle. The preferred sequence focusses on more damage output with Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike, thus it requires a more aggressive gameplay however you should overestimate yourself! The second sequence focusses on being more sustained and more supportive for your team, also Lee will be able to towerdive better. When your team is very squishy and has quite a lot of early- and mid-game damage, you should go for the alternative sequence instead.

The alternative sequence should be preferred against sustainable damage teams so you can heal every bit of damage you take, however your should make up for the damage output that you trade for tankyness. The usual sequence is preferred against teams with more burst damage or heavily combo based champions (e.g. Xin Zhao) in order to disrupt them with Cripple. Also take the first sequence whenever your team is missing damage early- and mid-game in order to carry your team, however, be mindful of yourself as you will be significantly less tanky.

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Ok, let us discuss the masteries first because that is usually the first thing I look at when I am about to play a new champion. I used to have two sets of masteries on Lee Sin, depending on the starting item and thus the jungle route I took. However, as I have been pointed out by Jebus McAzn (thanks for that) changing my runes allowed my to take only one set of masteries for Lee Sin. This masteries setup is are 21/0/9.



When jungling it is important to be fast and sustainable because the quicker you are done with your route, the earlier you can gank. However, whats the point of being fast if you can't stay in the jungle but have to recall instead? The masteries are certainly going to help here.

I grab three points in Deadliness and one point in Plentyful Bounty. Deadliness simply fills up the slots because 2% critical strike chance is not really going to help his jungle and, of course, I take the improved smite mastery as it provides us with extra gold and it is faster to use.

NOTE: Archmage's Savvy is an option for Lee Sin as well, since the ability power increases the damage your shield can absorb. Keep in mind though this is only 8 damage at level 18.

Next, I grab four points in both Sorcery and Alacrity for obvious reasons. Cooldown Reduction benefits Lee Sin greatly because he does not use any mana, be careful though you do not spam his abilities blindly even though you are a blind monk. Attack speed synergises well with your Iron Will allowing you to heal more for the duration of the ability.

Continue with the three points in Sunder and two points in Offensive Mastery. Both provide you with even more damage output, especially early game. The six armor penetration granted by Sunder brings you up to a total of 21 armor penetration! The Offensive Mastery grants you to do four extra damage to minions on each attack, which is also a lot.

TIP: You could also get a point in Archaic Knowledge to get the 15% spell penetration. This does not improve your jungle, but it improves the damage you inflict with Tempest.

The final points in the offensive tree are put in the mastery Brute Force because it grants you more attack damage. Not only improving your overall damage but it also speeds up your jungle. The last point is, of course, put in Havoc to increase the overall damage by a whopping 4%! Now let us move on to the utility masteries.

In utilty we start with three points in Good Hands because a reduced death timer is really great, especially late-game, and I pick Haste when I take Ghost as my summoner spell otherwise I would pick one point in Perseverence.

Next, have four points in Awareness for obvious reasons. Jungling provides less experience than laning so we need to counter this with this mastery. Besides, Expanded Mind is useless on Lee Sin anyway.

The final mastery point is spent on Utility Mastery because increasing the duration of buffs not only helps your jungle but also improves your gank quality. Again, other masteries in the depth of this tree are useless for Lee Sin, except maybe for the Greed mastery.

NOTE: You could also change the point in Havoc for an extra point in Utility Mastery in order to increase the buff duration even more!

Well, you are almost good to go. The next chapter is about the runes I use and other viable runes on Lee Sin.

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Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
For very obvious reasons I choose armor penetration, there are very little replacements for this rune. Perhaps the only viable replacement is the Greater Mark of Alacrity. However, only in conjunction with the Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation.

Greater Seal of Resilience
Pretty much a must-have for every jungler, it makes you lose less health in the jungle. Without the proper defensive seals Lee Sin cannot jungle so these seals are definitely a must-have. The only acceptible substitute seals for jungling are the Greater Seal of Fortitude but beware, they make you less tankier against physical damage than the flat armor seals.
Greater Mark of Strength
I use two of these because it will boost Lee Sin's jungle significantly. Also, it makes use of his great scalings on all of his abilities. However, as some armor penetration is removed when taking the Greater Mark of Strength there is a slight late-game damage reduction. Nevertheless, these runes used in conjuction with the Greater Quintessence of Strength will provide Lee with some amazing early-game damage.

Greater Glyph of Focus
Cooldown reduction is very nice since Lee Sin does not possess mana but energy. Getting that early game CDR on Safeguard/Iron Will greatly improves your sustainability in the jungle. Also, I can say that they probably saved my life a few dozen times because I could use safeguard just in time to save me from certain death! Other viable runes are the energy glyphs. Nevertheless, the Greater Glyph of Warding and the Greater Glyph of Shielder are also perfect substitutes for the flat CDR glyphs.

Greater Quintessence of Strength
Personally, when I was playing Lee Sin I had no idea which quintessences to take because a lot of quints seemed viable. I used the Greater Quintessence of Swiftness for a long time but these quintessences really boost Lee's early-game damage a lot! Additionally, it allows him to take every jungle route with 21/0/9 masteries instead of more tankier mastery setups such as 10/10/10. However, there are so much other viable quints on Lee Sin. I would recommend the following Quintessences:
  • Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation
  • Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
  • Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
  • Greater Quintessence of Alacrity
  • Greater Quintessence of Resilience

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Summoner Spells

Smite should not require any explanation, it is necessary for a fast, stable and successful jungle. A lot of people think Smite has no purpose ouside the jungle but it can be used to push lanes effectively (e.g. smiting the cannon minion) and it can be used to steal important buffs such as Baron Nashor and Dragon. The combination of Sonic Wave/Resonating Strike and Smite is very useful for stealing baron and/or dragon which is always worth it even if it will cost you your life. Additionally, Smite works with spell vamp, so do not forget activating Iron Will since it provides you with spell vamp.

At the moment I prefer Flash over Ghost but it is still a very nice and viable summoner spell. I am able to chase the fastest champions but also get out of the most ugly situations. Additionally, Ghost has a much lower cooldown than Flash so it can be used more often. Another very nice feature about Ghost, that I still miss sometimes, is that you will be able to get around the map a lot faster.

Great summoner spell as it can save you from very nasty situations and is great for juking. Also, flash is a great towerdiving spell. I used to prefer Ghost over flash but I recently fell in love with Flash especially if used offensively. It works amazing combined with Dragon's Rage to kick someone into your team, Lee Sin goes Blitzcrank style! However, when going a little more tanky I still prefer Ghost over flash.

If you are certain of yourself that you will never miss a Sonic Wave and if you can stay out of trouble without the necessity of a summoner spell. Well, Exhaust may just work for you. It is a powerful 1v1 spell but I find it overkill since you already possess Cripple and I just like it to have a backup plan.

If you find yourself not doing enough damage (I can hardly imagine this) or if you experience your enemies keep getting away while on very low health. Perhaps you need to battle a champion with insane health regen? (e.g. Warwick) Well, its also possible that the enemy team has a Vladimir and that your team is too selfish to pick an Ignite. In that case you could take ignite yourself. I do not think it is a very useful spell on Lee but for the reasons mentioned above it will do. However, if you can, leave Ignite to the mages!

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The Builds

This is probably the part of the guide you are most interested in. You might even have skipped/skimmed the previous chapters of this guide. I present a couple of recommended builds and some alternative builds for somewhat different roles.

All builds have something in common: they are all tanky. This is simply to make the best use of Lee Sin's rather unique skillset. All builds should grant you the ability to towerdive, some are better suited for this than others.

The Early Tanky and Initiator build was my main build when I was writing the first part of this guide. It is a pretty solid and tanky build. However, it still allows Lee Sin to dish out some damage. In my early days I used to get
Wriggle's Lantern until I realized I did not really need that, however that does not mean it is not a wonderful item to get of course.

The second build is my current main build, it is rather focussed on more damage output. The Hextech Gunblade may seem very unusual but it works very well! When I first started to play Lee Sin Hextech Gunblade was part of the build but then I threw it out because it was too expensive. However, I figured out an alternative jungle route that works perfectly with
Vampiric Scepter as starting item (see the section Jungle Routes for more information). Suddenly, Hextech Gunblade became available once more! This item combined with Trinity Force makes Safeguard absorb 100 more damage which is an astonishing improvement of 150%! The lifesteal and spell vamp synchronise also very well with Iron Will granting massive regeneration.

The Early Trinity Force build requires a jungle route that starts with a Long Sword which is build quickly into a Phage which eventually builds into our beloved Trinity Force! I created this build because some people convinced me that an early Trinity Force provides an amazing damage boost, but I also wanted some tankyness before the first teamfights in order to initiate without dying instantly. If you are interested in rushing Trinity Force, I recommend that you look into The Wraiths Route described in the Jungle Routes section.

The High AD build is recommended when you absolutely require to do more damage than usual. Perhaps your team is already very tanky or the enemy team is very tanky and you are the one to counter that. However, I still stick to the
Warmog's Armor and Atma's Impaler combo because it really boosts Lee Sin's survivability and it also grants a lot of attack damage.

The Full Tank build is a tank Lee Sin build. Although I highly disadvice to build Lee Sin as a tank. Lee Sin was never designed to take on a job like that and he never should. However, when the rest of your team is very squishy and the regular build is just not tanky enough, I would recommend this build. I still kept the Trinity Force because it still makes Lee Sin some kind of a threat but it can easily be replaced by Quicksilver Sash if you find Trinity Force too expensive.

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Starting Items

Long Sword
With my brand new jungle route I can start off with a Long Sword in order to get myself a quick Phage which eventually builds into Trinity Force. The route that is used with this starting item is quite hard and requires some experience but nonetheless, it is a very nice way to go!

Health Potion
If you have the gold left for one, and you will need it so take it! This Health Potion is really necessary to complete this route, so just take it. I do not think I this will need anymore explanation.


Vampiric Scepter
The second, perhaps harder, jungle route starts off at the golems and takes a Vampiric Scepter as starting item. It is a very useful item since it grants even more sustainability than just the Cloth Armor. Eventually, this item is build into the famous Hextech Gunblade, you will be really surprised by the results. However, if you rather jungle with a Wriggle's Lantern you can build it with this item as well and faster than with the Cloth Armor.


Cloth Armor
Basic jungler starting item, this item always works. I use it when I start at the blue buff. It reduces a lot of damage. Cloth Armor is also a very useful starting item as it builds into both Wriggle's Lantern and
Randuin's Omen.

Health Potion
When going for the Cloth Armor you will need at least three Health Potions to make sure you can finish the route and gank immediatly afterwards. When to use your potions is described in the jungle section. However, it is good to know that they are invaluable when starting with Cloth Armor.

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Core Build

These items are considered core items, which means that I would buy them in every single game with Lee Sin despite the enemy team setup. I personally feel that these items are all must have for Lee Sin especially the Mercury's Treads and the Trinity Force.

Mercury's Treads
Lee Sin does not like CC, but no one can prevent being CC'd so pick up the good old Mercury's Treads. The faster that annoying stun is over, the better. How else would you expect to towerdive succesfully? You might think of other replacements such as Ninja Tabi. However, Mercury's Treads also grant magic resistance which is harder to come by than armor. Besides, Iron Will grants up to 35 armor, Ninja Tabi cannot replace these wonderful boots. Also very nice to know is that these boots are also the latest fashion in Valoran.

Trinity Force
The well-known Trinity Force is like a warehouse: it literally holds everything! This item is one of the two items in the build that actually boosts Lee Sin's damage output. Even though it might be tempting to get an early Trinity Force, I advice to get an early Sheen and finish the item itself a little later. Every stat in the item, except for the mana of course, is useful for Lee Sin and synergises well with the rest of the build. The health and crit chance work well together with Atma's Impaler. Moreover, the 150% damage boost will occur very often because Lee Sin's cooldowns are naturally low. This item is in perfect harmony just as the blind monk himself.

Warmog's Armor
It is always a tough choice: apples or bananas, ranged or melee, caster or warrior, magic resist or armor. Well most of these choices you should sort out yourself but what if you did not have to choose between armor and magic resist? The answer is a good solid armor made from a tree: Warmog's Armor. It grants you a total of 1370 health! A huge amount and far more effective than stacking armor and/or magic resist with a low base health. Additionally, a lot of health usually makes enemies not want to focus you so you can have it your way and take down that carry before they even suspect it!

Atma's Impaler
Looking for a tanky item that also boosts your damage? Look no further than Atma's Impaler! The armor and crit chance are very nice stats to begin with but I choose this item mainly for its passive ability. Together with a fully stacked Warmog's Armor it provides Lee with all the extra damage he needs. It also synergises well with the health provided by both Trinity Force and
Randuin's Omen. Calculate the amazing damage boost it gives and... multiply by two! As that will the additional damage on his ultimate!