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Irelia Build Guide by emoriam

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author emoriam

Season 5 - A Guide to Irelia Top Lane

emoriam Last updated on March 29, 2015
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

IMPORTANT: This guide is currently a tiny bit outdated and not in perfect shape as I'm trying to add more actual content to the guide with the beginning of the new season. Besides, I'm planning on using a complete new visual layout. However, the build and provided information are still suitable to the current patch!

Pros & Cons
Summoner Spells

Hello everyone and welcome to my third guide (the other ones are archived) here on MOBAFire!
I have to admit that Irelia is my favorite champion and first choice in top lane since I've bought her.
In this guide I'll try to elucidate players that are new to this champion how to play her in top lane. I just want to make suggestions and give a brief overview about the most important information you'll need and many hints I'll provide are based on my own experience.
So in the following guide you'll receive information about what Summoner Spells, Runes and Masteries are recommendable when going to play Irelia, what items you generally should build and why and how to withstand the laning phase and fit in your (team) role almost perfectly in the course of the game.
Enough talk, Let's get started!


+ True damage due to Hiten Style
+ High mobility with Bladesurge
+ Highest possible tenacity in the game
+ Good late game scaling
+ Excellent farming capability
The true damage of Hiten Style is part of Irelia's ability setup and makes it hard for opponents to build against but items like Sunfire Cape in laning phase ( Renekton, Shen) and Randuin's Omen can be quite annoying. Besides, Irelia relies on excellent movement because of Bladesurge and the item build with Trinity Force (perhaps plus Enchantment: Furor) which allows her to position/reposition quite well. Furthermore her passive Ionian Fervor in combination with Mercury's Treads (or Zephyr) + Tenacious provides her more than 60% maximum tenacity in the near of at least three enemy champions. Bladesurge allows her to farm easily and secure siege minions and "last-hits" under turrets pretty easily. Her great farm capability plus late game scaling make her to an prefect Anti Carry in the course of the game.


+ Weak phase before level 9
+ Relies heavily on items
+ Based on AAs with Hiten Style
+ HP based stun ( Equilibrium Strike)
In comparison to other decent top laners her early laning phase is fairly weak before reaching level 9 what entails maxing Hiten Style. She obviously relies on landing those auto attacks with Hiten Style what makes her weak against items like Randuin's Omen/ Frozen Heart and champion abilities like Jax's Counter Strike or Pantheon's Aegis Protection. Furthermore, she needs items like her main damage source Trinity Force to fit in her role the way she should. Last but not least Equilibrium Strike is a Hit Point based stun(/slow) what provides her less needed CC in some situations when she got more HP than her opponent but however its a good turn around when she got less HP because the stun gets prompted.



  • Flash: Standard choice for engage and disengage. Coupled with Bladesurge you can pass really long physical distances either to escape or chase. Flash + Equilibrium Strike can be also a possibilty to initiate a trade and/ or getting the focus on one of the opponents' carries.
  • Ignite: Mostly your secondary spell for securing kills in laning phase and the extra amount of damage in late game trades + the eventual healing reduce. Be aware of the changes to Masteries because in Season 3 the summoner improvement for Ignite gave you 5 additional AD and AP so many players used it early on to gain these stats but for now they removed summoner improvements.
  • Teleport: Often a tactical descision against someone like Nasus, Singed, Shen or even Twisted Fate. Against Shen for example it helps you to deal with split pushing along with your great wave clear with Bladesurge and eventually Ravenous Hydra. Besides, Teleport successful ganks in bottom lane due to this spell can provide you an early lead which you rest upon but generally you select Teleport when expecting losing lane because your kill potential falls off.
    I'm currently recommending this summoner spell in the cheat sheet because it's used in nearly every High Elo game on Irelia and it's more common on many top laners now thus you need to adapt but don't underestimate that Ignite can make some lanes way easier.
  • Heal: Finally an option after the recent changes (Patch 4.5) with good scalings into late game which allows you to bait people into turret dives. Later on it has the same effect as Talisman of Ascension and can save you while still being a tool for engages or chasing.

  • Ionian Fervor: Reduces the duration of stuns, slows, taunts, fears, snares, immobilizes, blinds and silences for each nearby enemy champion.
    1 Champion: 10%
    2 Champions: 25%
    3 Champions: 40%

  • This passive makes Irelia even stronger the more enemies are nearby. Its sight range is about 1200 and when building one tenacity item like Mercury's Treads or Zephyr + selecting Tenacious in the defense Mastery Tree you gain the highest possible tenacity in the game (approximately 65%). The combination of Ionian Fervor and Tenacious makes you more vigorous for example when the opponents' jungler ganks you top (25% tenacity instead of 10% due to Ionian Fervor + 6 additional Armor and 3 Magic Resist instead of 3 Armor and 1.5 Magic Resist).

    Calculation for Irelia's maximum tenacity

  • Bladesurge: Irelia dashes forward to strike her target for 20 / 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 (+1 per Attack Damage) physical damage. This applies on-hit effects. If it kills the target, Bladesurge's cooldown refreshes and refunds 35 Mana.
  • This ability is your gap closer which you can use on low HP minions for securing last hits (avoid overxtending this early in spite of the mana refund) or to engage/ disengage. Always try to use it for taking the last hit because you'll receive the reset on cooldown what makes you even stronger. Due to this save, Bladesurge when chasing and just use it to last hit or to close the gap if the distance between you and the enemy is obviously too big. Besides, you can use Stealth Ward/ Greater Totem to jump to a jungle camp but you'll rarely make use of this. With Transcendent Blades you can make minions low from afar to receive the reset when using Bladesurge.

  • Hiten Style: Irelia is skilled in the art of Hiten, passively giving her physical attacks 5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 health restoration. Activating Hiten Style doubles the health restoration to 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 and adds 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 true damage to her physical attacks for 6 seconds.
  • This ability is your main damage output and it is based on dealing true damage when activating so Irelia can be played with a huge amount of attack speed like Trinity Force, Wit's End or Blade of the Ruined King provide it. Besides, the passive effect gives you a bit more sustain along with Greater Quintessence of Life Steal. You can use the active ability to last hit under the turret more easily and often the mana costs are lower when you don't use Bladesurge but rather Hiten Style. If this ability is on cooldown be aware of your low trading potential.

  • Equilibrium Strike: Irelia's attack balances the scales, dealing 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+50% of ability power) damage and slowing the target by 60% for 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 second(s). However, if the target has a higher Health % than Irelia, then the blow stuns the target for 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 second(s) instead.
  • This ability is a single target crowd control effect which either slows or stuns the opponent. When the enemy is slowed he will be able to use Flash or attacks you but when he got stunned he won't be able to do so. Use this spell as an initation tool which helps you to shut down a single target enemy. Your next auto attack will procs the Sheen effect (after you have purchased it).

  • Transcendent Blades: Irelia summons 4 spirit blades which she can fling at her enemies. These blades deal 80 / 120 / 160 (+50% of ability power) (+0.6 per bonus attack damage) physical damage to enemies that they pass through, and she heals for 25% of that damage vs champions and 10% vs minions.
  • A really versitale ability with a relative short cooldown. When trading this ability shows its strenghts because you heal up quite well and you have 10 seconds, so you can gain four procs on Sheen. Due to its short cooldown you can use Transcendent Blades to clear up minion waves before turning back to base (it's available every two wave of creeps) and you can use it in combination with Bladesurge like I mentioned when talking about Bladesurge for the jump + reset. Be aware on how to use the ability because every single spirit blade will arrive at your mouse cursors location which makes it especially hard to hit when walking in the opposed direction.

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

> > >
The skill sequence is relatively easy explained: Transcendent Blades is your ultimate ability so you should skill it whenever it's available. Hiten Style is your main damage output and provides a good amount of sustain. Equilibrium Strike is really much needed when trading and it also deals magic damage which makes it more difficult for enemies to build against. Bladesurge should never be on cooldown so you won't need the scaling cooldown reduce.

Example Build Items

This item is your main damage source in general because it works well with Bladesurge (procs) and Transcendent Blades (max of four procs). Mostly you start building Trinity Force with Phage due to the movement improvement for a consistant speedup. The Sheen passive gives you a bit more damage on Equilibrium Strike and also the excellent auto attack procs with all of your abilities. You could even start off building Trinity Force with Zeal maybe along with Berserker's Greaves for a decent amount of early attack speed and movement speed. The finished Trinity Force provides you AS for Hiten Style, AP for Equilibrium Strike and the Sheen's spellblade which generally adds a good amount of damage to Hiten Style's true damage.

Your general option for gaining tenacity along with Ionian Fervor. These boots help you in several situations in team fights and against nearly any opponent because generally you will face champions with at least one crowd control effect/ ability.
Ninja Tabi are also decent boots if falling behind against AD or facing just unimportant crowd control for instance double AD Carry matchups.

Great item against all kind of AD/ AS which is your general choice for Armor and Hit Points. It makes you nearly untargetable for AD Carries which allows you to shut them down more easily. Don't forget about the useful active and its use as a tool to close distances between you and enemies.

This item has rised after the changed to Spirit Visage and is the alternative for even this item. It has always been a great choice on AD Carries and AP Carries and at the moment it's such a standard choice even on many junglers and top laners because it works great against heavy engage combos and provides you great Health Regeneration after the shield has vanished.

This item has been the core damage item next to Trinity Force for a long duration and after it rises it was pretty much THE core (damage) item on Irelia. The recent nerfs makes it a bit more unsuitable but it's still strong because it's provides you attack speed ( Hiten Style) and also a nice gap closer due to the active effect. For many reasons Ravenous Hydra has become more popular on many champions Blade of the Ruined King had been a perfect item choice for champions like Rengar.
After the 4.10 Patch this item is more of a late game option because it provides higher damage against targets with a high amount of hit points.

This item gives you both Armor and Magic Resist and you can decide based on the situation wether you purchase Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak first. It detaches the opponent's focus on you in a team fight what allows you to blow up enemy carries fairly easy. You will get a hardly killable target so after receiving full build in late game Irelia will offer her strength at this stage of the game by being tanky along with dealing damage and relatively invulnerable in team fight situations.

Furthermore Items (Defense and Offense)

  • Frozen Heart: Great item on Irelia because she can benefit from all its stats like the debuff on attack speed to make you unkiteable (thus against AD Carries) and the additional Armor to support you tankyness. Cooldown Reduction is always worth especially considering a lower cooldown on Bladesurge maybe along with Sorcery , Blue Buff or even Spirit Visage. As distinguished from Randuin's Omen you can rush this item in lane against heavy AD matchups.
  • Thornmail: This item is an option against full AD compositions with for instance AD Mid Laners like Yasuo, Kha'Zix or Zed which are not that rarely played at the moment. This item makes you nearly untargetable for AD Carries so forcing them to use auto attacks on you makes it a lot easier to gain advantages.
  • Sunfire Cape: This item has been changed due to Patch 4.1 and it's not longer a strong rush option against AD but now it has got a slightly better sclaing but overall it's not so strong anymore. It is inferior to Randuin's Omen in team fights but it provides you damage and tankyness if you don't need Randuin's Omen at all (depending on the game).
  • Spirit Visage: A good option and alternative to Banshee's Veil to improve you consistant fighting due to additional Health Regeneration and even more healing from self healing effects like Hiten Style and Transcendent Blades. Before the slight changes to the item meaning the decrease on cooldown reduction it was your first choice for gaining Magic Resistance but regarding to the actual champion pickups in the support role (thus Morgana or Karma) Banshee's is superior.
  • Warmog's Armor: Decent choice against mixed/ true damage (reasons why it's strong aginst Irelia herself) and it provides massive sustain which can help if not relying on some sort of lifesteal. Can replace Guardian Angel.
  • Frozen Mallet: Can be combined with Trinity Force for the combination of slow and speed buff against kiting heavy teams (thus AD Carries). You can use it against kiting based opponents so generally AD based champions. However, it simply provides you health and not really needed attack damage. You can't go for it after Trinity Force because you won't gain any source of defense stats next to Hit Points. This is also a reason for not purchasing Warmog's Armor in general.

  • Ravenous Hydra: In spite of the stats it's a really good item choice for Irelia that allows her to clear waves even more faster plus improving her capability to split push. Otherwise items which provide attack speed are more viable choices. With the item's active effect "Crescent" you can create a surprising high damage output in a short duration along with Trinity Force's spellblade.
  • Last Whisper: If hard carrying you can go for this item simply because of the percentage penetration and flat attack damage. I really consider to buy Ravenous Hydra then because in this case you'll really play for AD and deal mostly physical damage. Generally a nonsense item but a possibilty when going for playing "Max DPS Irelia".
  • Zephyr: First of all NEVER purchase double tenacity items like Mercury's Treads + Zephyr. You can sell boots for this item later on or go for Ninja Tabi + Zephyr depending on the factual situation. Basically Irelia benefits from its stats like attack speed ( Hiten Style), cooldown reduction, tenacity ( Ionian Fervor) and movement speed (along with Trinity Force).
  • Youmuu's Ghostblade: Pretty fun item which let you burst down enemies pretty fast and might be an option as a third offense choice (along with Trinity Force + Blade of the Ruined King or Trinity Force + Zephyr). The active buff and stats overall work great with Trinity Force and you gain a noteable amount of critical damage overall along with attack speed Irelia's basic needed offense stat.
  • Wit's End: Could be also mentioned as an defense item. If you need magic resist in lane you can go for this item. To a greater degree this item is strong against Armor stacking and makes it even more harder to build against because of the extra amount of magic damage from auto attacks. It's just a worth purchase during the laning phase.
  • Berserker's Greaves: I mention your two main boot choices in the cheat sheet but these boots are also noticeable because especially early on they grant you a huge trading buff and they work great in combination with a full AS oriented Rune setup + Fury to make use of as much Hiten Style auto attacks as possible (early on).

Laning Phase is really important for Irelia, here are some brief notes:
  • Just last hit minions (eventually with the use of Bladesurge or Hiten Style) especially if you haven't got a ward or your Warding Totem expired
  • Generally avoid trading before reaching level 6-9
  • Be aware of early ganks when you're generally level 2. Always make sure what jungler you will face because then you'll know how they gank post and pre level six
  • Be aware of enemies like Renekton, Jax, Darius or Heimerdinger because mostly they'll stomp you if not playing and building safe but there is generally no way of saying that they counter you. Picking Irelia against assassin matchups is often your turn to be able to win top lane.
  • You generally go for double Doran's Blade into Trinity Force and then decide on the game whether you for an armor or magic resist option next. If you notice that you suffer from heavy cc you can even prefer early Mercury's Treads and for snowballing a second offense option is viable.

  • Be sure you took down the first top lane turret and gained a decent creep score (for instance 200 minions after 25 minutes)
  • Making calls is always important: If the enemies decide to double push top lane your bot lane and jungler should take down objects aswell and for example Dragon in this specific situation. If you've got bullied out of lane and forced back to the Inner Turret keep up your team's Blue Buff warded
  • If being ahead and you are able to 1v1 nearly everyone you can decide on going split pushing because Irelia's kit and your general item build allow you to push quite well. When they send another player top lane to deal with you your team can derive benefit from this actual situation by taking down turrets etc..
    Keep up stacking some wards and always be aware of the opponent's pushing so for instance it won't make sense to take down an Inner turret when your team loses an inhibitor in a 4v4.
  • In team fights your purpose is to blow up enemy carries even AP Carries. Mostly your're not the general initiator and rely on someone's engage like Hecarim Onslaught of Shadows. Generally try to initiate with Equilibrium Strike and save your gap closers ( Bladesurge, Flash) for instance against someone like Ezreal to catch up. However, sometimes it makes more sense to save your carry against enemy anti carries like Jax who jumps at your AD carry but clearly seems to be out of position but he'll able to stomp you carry.

On this YouTube channel you can find some helpful gameplays recorded from High Elo games.
The players in the videos are often mentioning useful hints and advises which can help you improving especially against certain matchups. Below I embed one of these videos (these videos can also be related to the matchups section):

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I hope you enjoyed reading and learned a bit about Irelia. If you miss important information or you think I provide incorrect information please instruct me and I'll try to update and overwork the guide/ specific section. This guide is still in progress and I'm going to adapt it to the current state of the game. If you guys wish to see more information about Matchups I'll try to collect the needed information and I'll also try to collect video material to clarify things about Gameplay and so on. Furthermore I hope you can understand everything I wrote because I obviously lack of an decent English thesaurus which can cause some mistakes in terms of grammar or parlance.
  • Credits go to jhoijhoi for creating Making A Guide where I could find helpful templates
  • I also want to thank the guy who creates this Irelia Wallpaper which I used to create my banners
To sum up, enjoy your day guys and leave your feedback if you want to, really much desirable!

- emoriam aka Niklas from Germany

  • 01.12.2013 - Published Guide!
  • 02.12.2013 - Updated Masteries + Don't suggest Frozen Mallet anymore
  • 22.12.2013 - Completely reworked design + Advice on Matchup section
  • 10.01.2014 - Setted Perseverance as standard choice + Edited start options
  • 11.01.2014 - Added Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration in Rune section
  • 18.03.2014 - Changed Masteries to 21/9/0 + Added Banshee's Veil as an option
  • 16.04.2014 - Reworked Cheat Sheet (Runes + Items) + Started adding Matchups
  • 01.06.2014 - Finished Matchup section + Added Teleport in the cheat sheet
  • 20.07.2014 - Expanded content about Runes + Added Warmog's Armor
  • 14.08.2014 - Added a sidenote about video gameplays