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Illaoi Build Guide by Fluffy the Rabid

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Fluffy the Rabid

[S6] Illaoi - Thinking with Tentacles

Fluffy the Rabid Last updated on July 13, 2016
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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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 18

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 0

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Illaoi with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Darius All of our abilities out range Darius'. Avoid the blade of his axe, and we can bully him hard with our range.
Garen This match up is easily one we can bully. Keep your distance in the early levels, since his Decisive Strike out trades us early. Abuse your range.
Hecarim You won't see this guy too often, but he's the kind of match up that we just ink all over because he has no range. A smart Hecarim will stand in his minion wave, and try to trade and sustain. Don't be fooled by it. You out trade him. Let him push.
Singed This guy is a joke. He has to run at us, and he shoves the wave super hard into us near our tentacles. Don't die early, and we'll be able to farm him.
Malphite Malphite is really good at countering auto attack reliant champions. AD casters? Not so much. Black Cleaver makes this guy a joke. He shouldn't be able to fight us at any point in the game. During lane, use your range. He has no way to farm easily without using all of his mana during the lane phase. He'll have to step out for our Test of Spirit.
Trundle Trundle is another champion that's easy to bully. His Q is irritating, since it lowers our overall AD, but the rest of his kit does practically nothing to us. We're not going to stack early armor or magic resistance outside of our boots. We out sustain him, out range him, and our all in is much stronger than his. No matter what build he goes, this is a match up we should win.
Shen Shen doesn't have a lot of tools to deal with us. Be sure to roam with him, and make him a vessel when he roams. Tentacles will spawn on him when he becomes a vessel, making our roam that much more successful.
Volibear Volibear has no range on his abilities, and a majority of his damage comes from his execute. Since we sustain more life back the lower we are, this shouldn't be an issue. Abuse your range, make him a vessel, and rush Black Cleaver. Do not try to trade with him!
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Welcome to Thinking with Tentacles! I'm Fluffy, a.k.a. Blue Collar Bear. This guide is for beginner and experienced Illaoi players alike. You'll find basic information, as well as advanced tip and tricks, optimal build paths, and intelligent discussion. I'd appreciate all the feedback you guys can give me. Enjoy!

Who am I?

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Champion Introduction

The Truth Bearer of Nagakabouros is a juggernaut with a twist. Most juggernauts benefit from being in the middle of a fight, and Illaoi does, too, but Illaoi doesn't have to be. She's an AD caster with a lot of range on her abilities, which makes her very unique compared to other fighters. Oh, and you know, there's also the tentacles.

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Pros and Cons


+ Long Ranged Abilities
+ Incredible AD ratios
+ % Max Health Sustain
+ Game changing ultimate
+ Lane bully /w late game
+ Outplay opportunities
Illaoi, in the right hands and environment, can have a lot of control. She sieges well, split pushes well, and team fights well. She can be the entire team fight by herself. What Illaoi is, is a raid boss.


+ Off Meta
+ Easy to kite
+ Prone to crowd control
+ Offers no crowd control
+ One dimensional play style
+ Difficult mindset to maintain
Illaoi has a lot of bad match ups in the top lane (and in team fights), at the moment. She also isn't within the meta, since most picks up top are one man bands when it comes to crowd control. She requires her teammates to make the initial plays for her to succeed, making her an off putting pick. Illaoi also requires a unqiue mindset when it comes to where you choose to be on the map, since your success is largely determined by where your home tentacles are.

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Champion Abilities

Prophet of an Elder God
Every 20 - 12 seconds (based on level), a tentacle will spawn on the nearest terrain. Tentacles will swing at souls (and subsequent vessels) pulled by Test of Spirit, and when Harsh Lesson is used on a unit. Tentacles spawned deal physical damage. Prophet of an Elder God may seem random at times, but it is not. Tentacles will spawn in relation to where your other tentacles have spawned. Stand close to where you want your tentacle to be.

Tentacle Smash
Illaoi smashes her idol into the ground, which summons a tentacle that attacks in the target direction. Tentacle Smash is a linear area of effect skill shot. Passively, tentacles will deal bonus damage and restores missing health on hit for each champion damaged. This ability is your bread and butter ability. Max it first with no exceptions. We put skill points into this ability for the bonus damage on all of our tentacles. The animation can also not be cancelled. Knockbacks, knockups, etc. will still displace you, but the ability goes off just the same.

Harsh Lesson
Illaoi's next basic attack gains bonus range and causes her to dash to her target, dealing bonus physical damage. Harsh Lesson is a modified auto attack. It will reset your auto attack animation, meaning you can immediately use this ability after an auto attack for a seamless animation. We don't want to level this first, because leveling it only raises the base damage slightly. Leveling our other abilities shortens their cooldown and increases our damage significantly. Since this ability is a targeted dash, Illaoi can move through walls with this ability.

Test of Spirit
Illaoi sends out a tentacle that activates upon hitting a champion. The tentacle rips out the enemy's soul leaving it for you to beat upon. Test of Spirit is a collision skill shot. Only a portion of the damage we deal to the soul is reflected to the champion. Souls are also targeted by tentacles and turrets. If we should kill it, the soul returns to the champion making it a vessel. Vessels will spawn tentacles and will be attacked by all nearby tentacles. There is no limit to the number of vessels you may have. We should level this ability next, due to the scaling to damage on the vessel.

Leap of Faith
Illaoi jumps into the air and slams her idol into the ground dealing physical damage. A tentacle is summoned for each champion or spirit hit. It's important to note that when Leap of Faith is used, Illaoi becomes immune to displacement, tentacles swing faster, and tentacles become untargetable. It's important to use your ultimate to negate displacement effects, since it's a window of opportunity to be burst down. We want to always be queuing attacks on our tentacles using Harsh Lesson whenever it is off cooldown, and we cannot do that if we're crowd control locked.

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Summoner Spells

When it comes to summoner spells, there's little that can match the versatility of Flash and Teleport. Flash is incredibly useful to re-position ourselves for Leap of Faith, because sometimes enemies group up just perfectly, but we're just a little too far away. Teleport can be used to come back to lane after a good trade and secure a kill. We can roam with it. We can use it to come back to lane after a set of really bad trades. The best use for us is that we can keep our tentacles activated, since they despawn after one minute. Having to reset our tentacles is awkward and can weaken our laning phase.

Ignite is one of the only other alternatives to the traditional top lane summoners. It gives us the kill pressure we lack in lane, but it's very risky. If we aren't able to use it to secure kills, it's pretty useless.

Exhaust is a much safer spell than Ignite, and it doubles as a defensive and offensive summoner. If we were not to take one of our summoners, I would recommend this one simply for the versatility.

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Mastery Explanations


We want Sorcery over Fury , because Illaoi is an AD caster. She deals damage primarily through her abilities, and we want the bonus ability damage. Tier 2 on the Ferocity tree is a matter of personal preference, but I value Double Edged Sword the most, as I like to be a damage carry. Tier 3 is personal preference as well. I just prefer Vampirism over Natural Talent , because I do not like wasted stats. We take Bounty Hunter for the maximum potential damage increase. Battering Blows is taken, because it amplifies our physical damage.

In the Resolve tree, the two necessary masteries are Runic Armor and Insight . These two are great for Illaoi. Runic Armor increases the amount of healing done to you, including life steal, spell vamp, and our tentacles. Insight is taken for the reduced cooldown on Teleport and Flash. Since our ultimate is stronger around multiple enemies, Teleport plays are extremely viable and Flash helps get us into position for said plays. A lower cooldown means more plays, more often.



Post Rework

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Rune Explanation


Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
We take Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage and Greater Quintessence of Scaling Attack Damage, because pre-6, a majority of what we're doing is trading/farming/waveclear. In other words, we're not going to have kill pressure unless our opponent makes a mistake. A lot of players are smart when it comes to playing against Illaoi, so rare is the day that we get a kill pre-6. We take these runes for the power curve that our AD ratios allow us. We take Greater Seal of Armor for playing against an AD laner. Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist is great for when we're meeting up with our team mid-game, and it's out scaled it's flat variant.

Alternative Runes

I would not recommend changing the Marks for another, because of how much benefit we get from the power curve. If you absolutely do not want to go for the scaling route, Greater Mark of Armor Penetration is the best bet for early game dominance. It's not a stat we build a lot of, but it benefits us greatly.

Greater Seal of Scaling Health is a good substitute for the armor, if you find that you don't need it. It increases our sustain from Tentacle Smash, since it scales with our health. Greater Seal of Scaling Armor is also a great choice when we won't be trading a lot, and we have the time to let it scale. It also works well, since we primarily want to stack health for our health scaling sustain.

Changing the Glyphs is definitely a recommendation in a magic damage lane. Greater Mark of Magic Resist is best, especially if they're able to bully you hard. Don't worry about mana sustain in lane, since in this match up we'll want to take Corrupting Potion. The only other moderately efficient Glyphs for Illaoi are Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and Greater Glyph of Armor.

With the rework, I agree that there is a viable armor penetration build path. Replace the quintessences and marks with flat armor penetration. We don't need the flat attack damage, since Slam will give us a raw damage increase.

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Item Explanations

Starting Items

Black Cleaver

Sterak's Gage

Spirit Visage

Death's Dance

Maw of Malmortius

Mortal Reminder

Youmuu's Ghostblade

Guardian Angel

Dead Man's Plate

Randuin's Omen

Zz'Rot Portal


Righteous Glory

Iceborn Gauntlet & Frozen Heart

Items to Avoid

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The most important thing to do at the start of the game is to rush to wherever you're going to be at the start of the game, and spawn your tentacles. At level one, it's gonna take twenty seconds per tentacle. Before the start of lane and monsters, we'll have time for three or four tentacles. A smart enemy will match you, and attempt to get rid of your tentacles. We don't want to push too far up into lane until minions spawn for that reason. Having the tentacles there at the start of lane is a great advantage, because we'll have our passive tentacle cooldown ready again when our opponent attempts to remove it. Enemies tend to let themselves be zoned and even give up minions, because they're afraid we'll tag them with Test of Spirit close to our tentacles and turret. Naturally, this is where we'll want to keep our opponent.

Tentacle Placement

Lane Phase

When laning does begin, we'll want to wait before pushing the wave. If our opponent pushes into us, that's great! We just spent the first minute of the game setting up our tentacles close to our turret. Use Tentacle Smash to farm waves and harass our opponent. Efficiently using our mana at level one is important, since we'll want to immediately go for aggressive trades at levels 2/3 using Test of Spirit and Harsh Lesson to queue tentacle attacks. Ideally, we'll land Test of Spirit and make them a vessel whilst having the minion wave close to our turret and tentacles, forcing them to back and lose minions. Post-6, it's okay to push the wave out and set up some tentative tentacles. If someone comes, we can 2v1 easily with our ultimate. Our lane opponent should be weaker than us, since we should have both an experience and gold advantage by this time. Around this time, turret taking is what we're looking at. If laning isn't going your way, just Teleport right out of there into another lane and snowball your teammates. Worst case scenario, we'll stay under turret and defend our outer most tentacles and farm with Tentacle Smash

After level 9...

Mid game, Illaoi really wants to team fight. We have two offensive items finished. We should be looking to contest the Dragon. We should looking to dance around in another lane to set up tentacles and take the turret. Use Test of Spirit aggressively at this point to make diving easier, or to push them off the turret entirely. If your team is losing, you can be a great asset. Let your team cover your lane and get free gold and experience. We can handle a push easily, since our tentacles waveclear well and our ultimate is really strong with more people. Be careful to always have tentacles nearby.

Late game

After thirty or forty minutes of game time, we have two options before us: 1) split push and force 2+ enemies to fight top lane, or 2) set up a slow push in a side lane and join our team to siege. How snowballed you are and how your team is doing will help you decide. If they don't have a hard carry like Riven or Master Yi, then doing the former is rather easy since it forces them into the unfavorable decision of giving up the push 4v3 for a kill on us, or dying 2v1 and potentially losing more than just one turret. The same situation will happen with the side lane pushing, because someone has to go clear out that wave. The only real solution is for them to send all five members of the team, and hope that they can kill us and rotate fast enough to deal with the other push, assuming they get away with all five members.

Of Objectives and Tentacles

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Champion Synergies

Illaoi has great synergies with champions that have strong engagement tools. This is because Illaoi lacks crowd control, and we rely on our team for that. We can also rely on our enemies simply disrespecting us to dive, but we want to be proactive instead of reactive. Champions like Malphite, Alistar, and Blitzcrank are great for us. Even Azir and Gragas with a little ingenuity can be extremely useful for us. Illaoi also performs well within siege compositions. Champions like Jhin and Varus are best friends for us, since altogether, we zone the enemy super hard and push them off objectives easily. Illaoi by herself can be very oppressive in a siege situation, since Test of Spirit can easily kill squishes by itself in the late game.

On the reverse side, these same champions are useful to fight Illaoi, since displacing her from her tentacles wins fights by itself. Poking her off of her tentacles is also a good tactic, as well as kiting away from her tentacles. There are also quite a few compositions that she doesn't work well with. She's not much of an enabler (no crowd control) nor a diver {trouble getting on top of a target). That is to say in most compositions, we really, really want our teammates to play champions that can support our play style. Annie is a great example of a champion that helps us out with this.

There are some "anti-synergies", if you will. Champions that have to dive us in team fights are exactly what we want to play against. Pantheon, Jax, Lee Sin, and Zed are all good examples. They have no way of starting a fight without risking their life.

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Concerning the Rework

Hey, guys! Please read the pre-rework tabs! They still contain relevant information!

In patch 6.11, Riot decided to change a few things about Illaoi. On Tentacle Smash, her Q, they changed how she received her damage. Instead of receiving an additional bonus AD ratio on her tentacles, she now gets a flat percentage buff. This means that regardless of build path, she's going to deal a fair amount of damage.

On Harsh Lesson, we saw base damages being removed in favor of % maximum health damage. This means that we're always going to be dealing relevant damage, and when we do build things like The Black Cleaver, it's going to huuuuuurt.

In patch 6.9, Test of Spirit received changes. While it still enables us to siege very well, it's now much more useful when we're split pushing. It spawns tentacles much faster, and closer together. This enables to be extremely aggressive.

To conclude, Illaoi no longer has the feast or famine play style, assuming you don't go 0/10. Her tank build is now more viable, but I still recommend playing damage. Her damage did receive an overall buff, since her tentacles still have ratios, but it's a raw percentage increase. I've had tentacles dealing near 1k damage with two offensive items and a couple dragons. The major difference post-rework you'll see, is that you deal damage with just your base stats.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Illaoi jungle?



Is Illaoi a good support?



Can Illaoi play mid lane?

Illaoi can certainly be played well in the mid lane. There are a few issues to playing her there, since a majority of her play style revolves around out ranging her opponents. We don't get to out range a majority of our opponents in the mid lane, and that makes it hard to bully and sustain. Even the items we build are more suitable to playing against a fighter / tank. It can work. It's just difficult to get the pick we want, since the match ups are even rougher in the mid lane. One of the tactics we use a lot in the top lane is to zone our enemy off the minion wave and use that to land Test of Spirit. Most mid laners are able to kill minions through the wave, and we have a difficult time using our kit. We need the longer lane. Addendumn to this: my opinion on mid lane Illaoi was mostly unchanged by the rework.

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Hopefully, this guide has taught you how to play Illaoi in a new, successful way. I'd like to thank you for reading it! It means a lot to me that you all would read this to the very end. If you need a question answered that I didn't answer in the guide, the best way to get my attention is to comment on the guide, message me, or add my account, Blue Collar Bear. I usually get back within a day or two, since I am a fairly active League of Legends player.

Happy tentacle slapping!

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Changelog, Bloopers, and Special Mentions

4/5/16 - 4/11/16

The guide is formatted, written, and generally slaved over.


Upon creating the guide, there was an issue with images not loading. Fixed!


Ongoing maintenance to the champion match up section starts now.


Guide has been updated to include information on the rework. Sorry it took me so long, guys and gals and pals!

Thanks to jhoijhoi's Making a Guide guide!

Thank you to Wulffe for inspiring me to write this guide. I hope you're having some fun with my idea of Illaoi!

Thanks to my duo partner, Pengod, for always supporting my crazy ideas and helping me play test.

Lastly, thank you to my girlfriend, Paige, for all the proofreading and criticism.


Fun Facts