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Irelia Build Guide by seltavankest

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League of Legends Build Guide Author seltavankest

Solo Top Off-Tank Irelia

seltavankest Last updated on July 27, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #20 in
Top Lane
Win 50%
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 3

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 6

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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This is my very much revised Irelia guide. I've grown a lot as a player since writing the last one and realised that the majority of it was just complete rubbish. This build takes advantage of the fact that Irelia can be completely un-stoppable if fed. Irelia needs very little in terms of damage items, and does best when built as an off-tank. Yes, there are more items on there than you can have. I'm just showing every possible item you can get, depending on the enemy's team comp.

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Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation

Irelia can do a massive amount of damage when not build for it, particularly with a bit of armour penetration. Since I don't want to spend gold on armour penetration items when I could have a more useful item, I have armour penetration runes.

Greater Seal of Resilience
Greater Glyph of Warding

Since you're off-tanking, and solo'ing top, you need a few defensive stats to start off with. You're going to be building on these stats with items, hence why I go for flat stats as opposed to the armour/magic resistance per level runes. If I was building Irelia more damagey, I would get per level, however.

Potential alternatives:

Greater Glyph of Celerity

I don't personally focus on cooldown reduction on Irelia because her cooldowns already scale so well with her level, paired with the last-hit function on Bladesurge. I do know that her Transcendent Blades turn into something ridiculous like a 23 second cooldown at 40% CDR, but I personally can't really justify losing the defensive stats in favour of maxing CDR.

Greater Mark of Alacrity and/or Greater Quintessence of Alacrity

Again, down to play-style. The extra attack speed can make her extremely hard to beat and help her rack up the kill score, but I feel it almost nerfs your damage, because you're sacrificing armour penetration, which is minimal on items, and not present on enough items that provide other useful stats, whereas attack speed is present on plenty of items that also offer AD. Since attack speed can be capped purely from items, if you were very bizarre and wanted to cap it on Irelia, you could do it without losing the armour penetration. Of course, you could also go for attack speed glyphs or seals, but again, you'd lose an important stat.

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Alternative to my masteries are full Defence or full Offence (go at least 9 points into Utility for Awareness and Greed), but Irelia works really well as Utility, and the movement speed increase allows you to last longer without boots, which, in turn, allows you to get more tanky and still chase people down. Obviously, avoid any AP/Magic masteries, because Irelia is almost fully AD now.

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Summoner Spells

Viable Summoner Spells on Irelia:


Ok, technically speaking, you want Flash and Ignite, Flash and Exhaust or Flash and Ghost. I take Flash and Teleport because I play with friends, who drop wards in bottom and mid for me to teleport to. It just means that I can be in every team fight, being a pain and harassing like nobody's business. I can also help out other lanes and generally be more useful. However, if you are not playing ranked games and not playing with friends, don't bother, because all you'll end up using Teleport to get back in lane and show up in the middle of a lane, which isn't very useful. I set those summoner spells because it shows that you have options.

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Skill Sequence

Ionian Fervor - Passive
Ionian Fervor reduces the duration of stuns, slows, fears, taunts, snares and immobilises at an increased amount per nearby visible enemy champion. Basically, this is Tenacity in passive skill form, but it does stack with Tenacity.

Bladesurge - Active
Bladesurge causes Irelia to charge forward to a targeted enemy and do attack damage and apply on-hit effects (like Sheen). If you kill a target with it, the cooldown refreshes and half the mana cost is returned to you. You can move through thin walls with Bladesurge if there is enough space in the range circle for you to fit behind the target. However, sometimes, you will charge anyway and hit the wall (usually this only happens around destroyed turrets). When this happens, the damage will still occur, you just won't land behind your target.

I max Bladesurge last, because at rank 1, it's enough to last you the entire game. Having completely unmitigated damage is far preferable to doing a bit more damage from Bladesurge, and it having a shorter cooldown. I do, however, take this first, simply because it gives me guaranteed last hits. Because I only play normals with friends, I generally end up laning against two players. Being able to guarantee a hit when you're arguing with your own turret is invaluable, because you absolutely need to get gold on Irelia.

Hiten Style - Passive
Causes Irelia's physical attacks to restore health.
- Active
Causes Irelia's physical attacks to deal true damage for 6 seconds.

I max this first, because 75 bonus true damage is ridiculously OP. In addition, the self-healing is really important if you're going to stay in lane as long as possible, so it really does help. Keep in mind that the self-healing is NOT Lifesteal. Lifesteal only works on enemy minions and champions. Hiten Style's passive works on buildings, as well.

Try to use Hiten Style's active before charging in with Bladesurge on a champion. This will ensure that when you hit them, the damage done will be completely un-mitigated, particularly on tanky champions. The only exception to this is early game, when you and your enemies are watching each others' movements like a hawk. Hiten Style makes your floaty blades turn yellow, and if you always do it before a Bladesurge, your enemies will learn to predict your actions. You want your Bladesurges to seem spontaneous so they learn to fear you.

Equilibrium Strike - Active
A targeted ability that causes a small amount of magic damage as well as slowing the target. If the target is on a higher percentage of health than Irelia, she will stun it instead.

I love this ability because I believe the mechanic requires you to think about health in a different way. Equilibrium Strike means that lower health than your enemy is not always a bad thing, and allows you to chase a low-health target effectively. If you've almost been killed in a lane, try to stay long enough to get to about 70% health, and try to stay on that amount. If you use a potion, you can position yourself so that minions hit you, getting your health just below your opponent's so that you can land a stun on them and hopefully kill them.

The best thing about Equilibrium Strike is that it gives you the freedom to control a fight that's going badly, dominate over two champions that are both harassing you, as well as giving you extremely strong chasing/escaping mechanics. That last one is pretty much why people complain that Irelia is OP. I disagree, because learning when you'll die if you Bladesurge back to stun your enemy is a very long process, and Irelia is not an easy champion to learn or master. Anyway, this ability does allow you to turn an attempted gank from your enemies into a kill for you. The best part is that if, like me, you play normals and end up laning against two champions, you'll find that if you can stick to the turret and hit minions, the enemies' poke will keep you on just the right amount of health to guarantee a stun every time.

Transcendent Blades - Active
On the first click, Irelia will prepare four blades. The ready effect of the blades appears as a buff and you will have a set amount of time to throw all four blades towards your mouse cursor. She will be healed 20% of the damage done to champions and 10% of the damage done to minions.

I use Transcendent Blades in four ways:
1. Chasing/turret diving from a distance - A low health target can go down fast due to the 1,200 range on this ability.
2. Clearing minion waves quickly - If a lane isn't safe but needs to be pushed back, you can jump in, spam Transcendent Blades, Bladesurge any minions that are still alive, then get out, all in less time than it will take your enemies to reach you.
3. Healing - If you've been caught out and pulled almost to death, then running away while spamming your blades behind you into the chasing enemies can save your life. The heal on this ability also allows you to stay in lanes longer, or stay in for a team fight. This use of your ultimate isn't really easy, however, because the blades are smart-cast (meaning they're aimed at where your cursor is). If you're right clicking to run, you can't have your mouse in the right place to hit enemies behind you. Note: The minimap is your friend.
4. Whittling down health - Transcendent Blades makes a really good harass, particularly now that it's damage is AD and it gains more damage from AD than AP. You can half a squishier champion's health and keep them back from minion waves with it, allowing you to farm at will.

General Tip:
I don't intentionally try to fight my opponents in lane until level 5. At level 5, most champions are waiting for their ultimate to win them the lane, but you'll have all three abilities and a rank 3 Hiten Style (45 True damage). Of course, feel free to punish enemies for standing in your space. If anyone gets too close to your turret, stun them with Equilibrium Strike and punish them with Hiten Style and Bladesurge.

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Starting Items:

Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potion.

Now, this is very much a play-style choice, but it's generally accepted that you take boots and potions when you need reliable healing. Health regen is all very well if you're against one person, but against two, you need much higher, faster healing. I'm not really a fan of Doran's items on bruisers, just because they don't really offer as much as they could and feel like a waste of gold.


Doran's Shield
This is an option, however, as I said, I'm not really a fan of Doran's items on bruisers. At the end of the day, it's a risk for you to not have potions.

Cloth Armor
3x Health Potions
2x Mana Potions
(or some mixture of these and Sight Ward Sight Wards)
This is fine in theory, since the Cloth Armor will get turned into something useful, but you're sacrificing speed for a bit of armour, and it'll be useless if you're laning against an AP.

Sapphire Crystal or Ruby Crystal
This is the option for anyone who feels they can lane on Irelia without any guaranteed healing until around level 6-8 (the level I usually recall). I personally don't, because of the unpredictability of having a good laning phase, but it will give you an earlier Sheen or Phage.

Early-Game Goals:

Philosopher's Stone Philosopher's Stone Heart of Gold Phage

Get the first two only if you need them. In normals, I don't bother. Philosopher's Stone is pointless when you're against two aggressive champions, because you'll never really be idle, so you should be getting health back from Hiten Style and Health Potions. Heart of Gold is only useful in long laning phases, which just don't happen in normals. Normal games rarely consist of evenly matched teams, and the laning phase is usually over very quickly, making these first two items completely pointless. In normals, go straight for Phage for the extra health, damage and slow. Buy Ruby Crystal as soon as you can.

Early-Mid Game Items:

Some mixture of the following:

Spirit Visage
Force of Nature
Warden's Mail

Finish Mercury's Treads after completing your first defensive item.
Finish Trinity Force after completing your second defensive item (if you manage it before late game).

You should only need two of the above defensive items.

Spirit Visage - Really strong on Irelia, because of her self-healing. I get this first if there's enough AP to justify MR at all.

Force of Nature - Lots of MR, and really strong health regen. If the enemy team is fully AP (and therefore pretty stupid), you will be pretty much un-killable with this and Spirit Visage.

Thornmail - This is my preferred armour item if the enemy team is equal in terms of AD and AP.

Warden's Mail - A really strong, relatively cheap item that gives armour as well as another Phage. Can also be built into Randuin's Omen, but I never feel it's worth the gold.

Mid-Late Game Items:

Trinity Force Banshee's Veil

Either Guardian Angel or Atma's Impaler

Ok, so basically, you shouldn't really ever be at the point where you complete Irelia's build. If you do, you're either pissing about too much (which will allow your enemy to farm) or have been defending for years. I get Guardian Angel when my team is dominating and I just want to troll by never dying. Irelia is hard to kill anyway, it's nice to punish anyone who does kill her by popping back up again and killing them. Atma's Impaler is a strong damage item that will feed well from Irelia's health by this point in the game.