Elise Build Guide by PsiGuard
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+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Hi, I'm PsiGuard and welcome to my Elise guide. I've been playing League of Legends since November 2010 in Season 1 and have been maining jungle since the start of Season 3. My top rank is Diamond III in solo queue. I have experience against Diamond, Master and Challenger players through solo queue, ranked teams and tournament games.
I've been playing Elise for several years now, ever since Riot cemented her role as a jungler. Since most of the other junglers I play are physical damage dealers, Elise provides a nice balance for my champion pool. There's some room for outplay in her kit, yet she only has to worry about one skillshot, which makes her challenging but not too difficult to play consistently.
Before we begin, I'd like to give a big thank-you to Jovy for her awesome graphics and help with coding this guide (as well as my other guides). Be sure to check out some of her other work at her signature shop and her own guides!
About Elise 🕸 Runes 🕸 Spells 🕸 Abilities
Ability Sequence 🕸 Item Build 🕸 Jungle Monsters
Plants 🕸 Warding 🕸 Jungle Routes 🕸 Ganking
Wave Management 🕸 Late Game 🕸 Conclusion
Elise is a pressure jungler whose job it is to secure early leads for her team. She can be built for high burst damage or rounded out with more durability should her team require it. Elise's crowd control and mobility allows her to effectively gank any lane and gain safe vision of the enemy jungle. Your goal as an Elise player should be to have a high impact on the early game and snowball those small advantages into larger leads that will win you the game.
Elise's strength comes from her strong and versatile early game. She has innate health sustain from Spider Form and can use her spiderlings to tank jungle monsters, leaving her with a very healthy clear. This gives Elise a lot of options for pathing and she can gank with full effectiveness as early as level 3. Her mobility and crowd control from Rappel and Cocoon make her a powerful ganker, and Rappel can be used to drop tower aggro in dives. Elise can gank early and often, leading to early gold leads and objectives like dragon s and towers.
Elise's biggest weakness is her lackluster scaling. When Elise has a gold lead and can afford to build damage items, she can scale decently as long as she stays ahead of the enemy team in gold. However, if Elise does not gain an early lead, she loses kill potential and may be forced to build more defensively. With only Cocoon as a reliable ability in team fights, Elise often relies on her early game prowess and the help of her teammates later to secure victories. Playing too passively early or making too many mistakes can cost you the game. This gives the Elise player a lot of agency over the outcome of the game based on their early choices, but not much security in scaling up as the game goes late.
|This keystone gives you the best single-target burst and it's on a reasonably short cooldown so you'll be able to use it once per fight in most cases. I don't recommend Dark Harvest as the nerfs brought the damage too low in comparison. It's only better if you can proc it multiple times in a fight which isn't something to rely on for this champion.|
|Slightly better than Sudden Impact as it's less situational and stronger early game. In any kill situation, you'll be using Cocoon, Chilling Smite or at least red buff, which means you'll have some extra true damage. Sudden Impact only shines when you use Rappel or Venomous Bite (or Flash) pretty early in the fight. The magic pen eventually outscales, but for the sake of reliability and early power, I recommend Cheap Shot.|
|Pick up Zombie Ward for the extra damage and vision control. You'll be getting an early Oracle Lens and you should be buying Control Wards, so you should have no trouble stacking up the damage bonus. This rune will give you more vision control throughout the game so it's a reliable option.|
|Out-of-combat movement speed helps you show up to fights faster and get into position for flanks. The main competitor here is the spellvamp from Ravenous Hunter, but since Elise's play pattern is more oriented to quickly bursting someone and then getting out, I feel like spellvamp is a lower priority stat. If you get Sorcerer's Shoes instead of Boots of Mobility (or sell mobility boots late game) then you'll really notice the extra speed out of combat.|
|Helps you clear the jungle and increases your damage for ganks and skirmishes. You'll need to stay high on HP to keep the AP bonus, but that's pretty easy since you can kite jungle camps or use spiderlings to tank them. The burst rune is better than Transcendence here since you'll usually get one combo of abilities off on a target and then either kill them or they'll get away.|
|You can roam up/down river faster and you'll have a mobility advantage against most champions if you fight/chase in the river. You'll also have more AP and mobility any time teams fight over dragon or baron. The other option here is Gathering Storm, which does help mitigate your relatively poor late game scaling, but a lot of games will be decided based off the early game so I prefer to play it safe with the extra stats from Waterwalking.|
|This spell is essential for jungling, as it unlocks the jungle-only items which you need to keep up in experience. The spell is also essential for securing monster objectives like buff camps, dragon and baron. Building Stalker's Blade or Skirmisher's Sabre will also allow you to cast this spell on enemy champions.|
|Flash - This is a core spell on most champions in the game and Elise is no exception. In addition to the flexibility it adds by allowing you to dodge skillshots, hop walls and escape death. You can use Flash to extend the effective range of Cocoon or make it easier to land. I recommend you take both Flash and Smite every game.|
When Elise's abilities hits a target she gains one dormant Spiderling, up to 2 / 3 / 4 / 5.
|Remember to switch to Human Form in order to recharge your spiderlings by hitting abilities during your clear. Generally you want to allow your spiderlings to tank damage from jungle monsters and die before switching forms to refresh them. In fights with champions, recharging spiderlings should come pretty naturally since you'll be switching forms whenever your other set of abilities is off cooldown. Each Human Form ability cast can only store one spiderling each and must hit an enemy to store a spiderling.|
Elise's basic attacks deal 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 (+ 30% AP) bonus magic damage and heal her for 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 (+ 10% AP) on-hit.
|The extra damage and healing on basic attacks in Spider Form gives you the best sustain and DPS in the jungle. Keep in mind that you can attack Rift Scuttlers, minions or jungle monsters (while your spiderlings tank) in order to heal up if you're low on health. Be sure to use Spider Form whenever your Human Form abilities are on cooldown and you are in melee range of your target.|
Elise fires poison at the target enemy unit, dealing 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+ 4% (+ 3% per 100 AP) of target's current health) magic damage. Current health damage is capped at 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 / 175 against monsters.
The % health damage on this ability makes it effective against any target, especially large or epic monsters. The damage is based on the target's current health, so keep in mind it's much more effective against high health targets rather than low ones. It still does decent base damage, so feel free to use this along with an autoattack to finish off escaping enemies.
Elise dashes to the target enemy and bites them, dealing 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+ 8% (+ 3% per 100 AP) of target's missing health) magic damage. Missing health damage is capped at 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 / 175 against monsters.
Venomous Bite is a small gap-closer to it can help you keep up with fleeing enemies. Use it after your target exits your autoattack range to maximize DPS. Also note that this ability deals a lot more damage to low health targets, so in some cases you'll want to save the cooldown and keep autoattacking before using Q for the kill.
Against jungle monsters, using Smite just before Venomous Bite lands will deal the most possible burst damage for your champion and makes it very difficult for most enemies to steal objectives from you.
One neat effect of this ability is that it will cause all of your spiderlings and your Volatile Spiderling to jump on your target. This can be helpful if your spiderlings are not close to your target, especially if they're over a wall. Generally it's better to hit your W manually since you want the damage to go off before your Q since Q deals missing health damage.
Venomous Bite cannot be used to hop walls. However, if you're in range to hit a target over a wall, you'll still deal the damage and your spiderlings will still jump to the target and attack them until they get too far away from you and are leashed back to you.
Elise summons a venom-gorged spider for 3 seconds, which moves in the target direction. The spider explodes upon contact with an enemy unit or at the end of its lifespan, dealing 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 magic damage to nearby enemies.
If the spider does not hit an enemy before reaching the target location, it re-targets and chases down a nearby enemy, prioritizing champions. The spider gains bonus movement speed, based on its proximity to its target.
The range on this ability is variable, so you can choose to send the spiderling very close to you or to max range. Usually you'll want to send it the full distance, so make sure you are careful not to accidentally cast the spell too close to you.
Volatile Spiderling cannot travel over walls unless you force it to jump to a target with Venomous Bite. If you target a location that's over a wall, the spider will path around the wall to the target location, though if it can't reach the target within 3 seconds it will just blow up before it gets there.
The spider gives vision of the area around it, making it a safe way to check nearby bushes for enemies. Since we start W for the best jungle clear, this means you can even use it at level 1 to scout bushes if needed.
Passive Spiderlings gain bonus attack speed.
Active Elise gains 60 / 80 / 100 / 120 / 140% bonus attack speed for 3 seconds.
The bonus attack speed only functions in Spider Form, so make sure you don't cut off the bonus too early by switching forms. Also you'll want to stay in Spider Form if possible since you deal bonus damage and heal on autoattacks anyway. When jungling, stay in Spider Form at least long enough for this buff to expire before switching forms and kiting the monsters.
This ability resets your autoattack timer, so you'll almost always want to take advantage of that. Cast W immediately after an autoattack for a swift followup attack.
Elise fires a web in the target direction, granting sight of the first enemy hit for 1 second (does not reveal invisible targets) and stunning them for 1.6 / 1.7 / 1.8 / 1.9 / 2 seconds.
This is your skillshot CC, so be very patient when choosing when and where to cast it. Missing this ability means you likely won't get another chance since the cooldown is quite long, so in any gank you must land this or at least force the enemy to blow Flash. Keep in mind this can hit any enemy, including minions and monsters, so make sure you have a clear line to your desired target.
You can use Cocoon on jungle monsters if you have blue buff to sustain your mana. However, it'll leave you a little more vulnerable should you encounter the enemy jungler. If you aren't 100% safe, hold onto the cooldown just in case. If you do use it on monsters, it's a good idea to stun the large monster right before they finish an autoattack animation.
While it's usually best to use Volatile Spiderling for this purpose, since hitting an enemy grants sight of them, you can use Cocoon to check bushes. You'll also know if you hit your target if you fire it blindly over a wall, allowing you to follow up immediately. You can also use this vision to check baron, dragon or enemy buffs over a wall if you don't have a ward.
Elise lifts up into the air, becoming untargetable for up to 2 seconds and revealing the area for the duration. Upon landing, Elise's Spider Queen bonuses are increased by 40 / 50 / 70 / 85 / 100% for 5 seconds.
There are two ways to cast Rappel: ground-cast or target-cast. Casting E on the ground will allow you to remain untargetable for the full 2 second duration and will reveal nearby targets for you to land on. This is most useful for hopping onto jungle camps over a wall. The range is long enough that you can jump to
or Rift Herald over the wall. If you cast on the ground and there are no targets nearby, you will have to wait the full 2 seconds before landing again. There is no way to end the effect early without a target.
Casting E on a target will lift you into the air before immediately descending on the target's location at time of cast. This can be useful for chasing targets at the edge of your range since you'll drop very quickly and even if they Flash or dash out of range, you'll still drop to where they were when you cast the spell. The major drawback here is that you cannot extend the duration of your untargetability or choose to select a different target.
Rappel is primarily a mobility spell but the untargetability can also be used to avoid damage and crowd control spells as well as tower shots and autoattacks. This makes Elise a very effective tower diver since she can drop tower aggro with Rappel and cancel one tower shot. Make sure you tank the tower first in dives since you can reset the aggro. Upon landing (if the tower isn't already targeting an allied minion or champion), the tower will aggro your spiderlings first, giving you time to exit tower range safely. However, your spiderlings will only aggro the tower if they land in tower range. They'll land either on your target or where they were when you first pressed E.
While Rappel does have the added effect of increasing Spider Queen's bonuses for 5 seconds, I rarely consider casting this ability solely for that effect. The cooldown is very long and it is your only escape ability, so casting it for a little more damage and healing is usually not worth it. The only exception I can think of would be healing up a bit faster when you're low on health after a fight.
|Elise transforms into a menacing spider, gaining 25 bonus movement speed, melee basic attacks with 125 range, and access to her arachnid abilities. Additionally, Elise unleashes all stored Spiderlings. Ranks in this ability increase the bonuses of Spider Queen.|
Spider Form is the form you'll spend most of your time in. The bonus movement speed makes it useful for traversing the map and you have the most DPS in this form thanks to Spider Queen's passive effects and your spiderlings. In some cases, you may want to initiate ganks in this form, using Rappel and/or the bonus movement speed to get in range. Spider Form is doubly useful when retreating because of the bonus movement speed, quick access to Rappel and your trailing spiderlings can block skillshots.
When clearing monsters, stay in Spider Form until Skittering Frenzy expires and/or all your spiderlings are dead. Then you can switch to Human Form and kite the monsters a bit while you cast your abilities and recharge your spiderlings.
Human Form allows you to scout with Volatile Spiderling and quickly stun targets with Cocoon, so it's often wise to switch to this form in advance before entering dangerous areas or attempting ganks. You can cast EWQ very quickly, so feel free to switch forms as soon as your Cocoon lands. In some cases it can be useful to remain in Human Form for the attack range, such as sieging turrets or safely clearing minions while defending.
The transformation has a 4 second cooldown, so keep that in mind when deciding which form to start in when entering fog-of-war or approaching enemy champions in ganks, skirmishes or team fights. Human-to-Spider is the best approach when flanking since you'll be able to Cocoon when the target is least able to dodge. Spider-to-Human can be useful when you need to cover a significant distance with Rappel to get in range, such as ganking mid from the river bushes.
Take W at level one to scout bushes and deal AoE damage in fights as well as giving you the best level 1 DPS for your jungle clear, regardless of which camp you start at. Take Q at level 2 to give you more damage to monsters. I always recommend taking E at level 3 because not only do you likely want to gank before you are level 4, but even if you don't, you can never be certain whether or not you'll encounter the enemy jungler. Having your mobility and CC spell at level 3 is by far the safest and strongest option.
Max Neurotoxin / Venomous Bite first as it is your lowest cooldown damage ability and your best burst spell on single targets. I max Volatile Spiderling / Skittering Frenzy second for the increased poke damage, especially alongside AP items. The extra attack speed is also very nice for dueling or taking down epic monsters. I max Cocoon / Rappel last since neither E does any damage and you mostly just gain lower cooldowns and a slightly longer stun duration. You'll usually get only 1 of each E off in a fight, so maxing this ability is not terribly helpful.
As with most champions, you'll want to max your ultimate as early as possible with ranks at 6, 11 and 16. Ranking up Spider Form / Human Form increases the bonuses from Spider Queen, giving you better healing and damage in Spider Form as well as allowing you to store more spiderlings.
|I recommend starting with Hunter's Machete and Refillable Potion every game. Machete works best for clearing most camps (Gromp, Blue, Wolves, Red) and you can just avoid clearing Krugs and maybe Raptors until after your first recall if necessary. Refillable Potion gives you some efficient health sustain should you take damage in fights or early clear.|
|Since Elise is heavily dependent on impacting the game during the laning phase and early-mid game, vision denial is generally more important than adding more wards to the map once you've gotten past the first jungle clear or two. I recommend switching to Oracle Lens on your first or second recall. Be sure to keep buying Control Wards so you still contribute to your team's vision!|
|Skirmisher's Sabre offers the best overall damage of the two jungle items and improves your dueling power. Good against junglers that will be trying to kill you 1v1 and also nice for improving your kill potential against enemies with health or magic resistance items.|
|Stalker's Blade helps with early ganks by providing reliable CC that can help set up your Cocoon. You're more likely to burn an enemy's Flash on a gank or net a kill for yourself if you have this item. The downside is that it doesn't offer as much damage as Skirmisher's and isn't as strong in 1v1s, so it gets outscaled quickly.|
|Boots of Mobility are very popular on Elise with a high win rate as well. Since this champion is very strong early and falls off pretty hard as the game goes on, it's important to maximize your impact during the laning phase by ganking and rotating as quickly and frequently as possible. Making more early game plays will generally give you better results than boots that give you better combat stats.|
|Sorcerer's Shoes don't offer as much ganking power as Boots of Mobility but they drastically improve your damage against squishy targets. I recommend these boots if you think you won't be able to gank constantly in the early game, whether because of lane matchups or because of how the game is going. Sorcerer's Shoes scale better once you're past the early ganking phase so they're a good option if you can't make plays with [[Boots of Mobility early or if you're buying your boots late.|
|Not much to say about this item since it should be pretty obvious that you're going to buy the AP enchantment on a mage jungler like Elise. I don't recommend buying Enchantment: Cinderhulk because Elise needs at least damage items to be threatening at all. Even if you're playing more of a defensive utility role, I still recommend Runic Echoes for the early game damage.|
|Magic pen is a useful stat on Elise since she has great burst damage against squishies and % HP damage against tankier enemies. You also get the benefit of having some extra HP to work with and the Grievous Wounds effect. When paired with Liandry's Torment, your Grievous Wounds debuff will last twice as long since the duration will be refreshed by the magic damage from Liandry's burn effect.|
|You'll often need a Void Staff to ensure your damage stays relevant throughout the game. You can pick this up early if several enemies are already building magic resist, or you can delay it for a bit and pick up other items first. Regardless, you'll nearly always want to have this by late game or your damage will fall off hard.|
|A great item for poking from afar with Volatile Spiderling, especially in combination with Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I recommend building this around mid game when teams are starting to group up more and you're more likely to be hitting frontliners. This item is useful for poking and decent for DPS against champions, but it doesn't help your burst damage very much, which is why it's not a high priority item for early game. If the enemy team doesn't really have a frontline, you can skip this in favor of more burst damage (generally magic pen items or Rabadon's Deathcap if you're swimming in gold.|
|Rylai's is a helpful supplement to Liandry's Torment since it doubles the burn damage of affected targets and slows them for a long time since it's reapplied by the burn. Outside of that interaction, I don't consider this item to be a terribly high priority. The slow is pretty helpful throughout the game but it doesn't offer as much raw power as most other items, so be careful that you don't lose tempo by buying this.|
|Zhonya's is a bit expensive compared to other damage items, but its active can be game-changing in the right circumstances. Look for delayed spells that can be easily dodged, or setups like snares and slows that allow you to use Zhonya's to avoid followup damage. This item is especially good against combo mages and assassins like Lux, Fizz and Zed since you can avoid a large portion of their damage. I usually buy this (if necessary) in the mid-to-late game after I've picked up the more important items.|
|Banshee's doesn't give the greatest offensive or defensive stats, so check to see what kind of spells you can block with the spell shield before building this. Generally look for champions like Annie, Malzahar and Blitzcrank which can CC you very suddenly, leaving you no opportunity to survive with Zhonya's Hourglass' active. You can use this to protect against general magic damage as well, due to the high MR, but you'll need a health item or two to go with it ( Morellonomicon and Liandry's Torment can fulfill that need).|
Familiarize yourself with these spawn times and respawn timers so you know what to expect in-game.
Dragon (Elementals & Elder)|
Spawns At: 5:00
Respawn Time: 5:00
Elder Dragon Spawns: After 35:00
Elder Dragon Respawn: 6:00
Spawns At: 20:00
Respawn Time: 6:00
Plants are stationary, neutral units with 1 health. They can be destroyed with a basic attack to trigger an effect. Three different types of plants will spawn in the jungle and river. Their spawn timers and locations vary slightly but for the most part they are fairly predictable. The first spawn locations for all plants are predetermined.
First inner cone spawn: 1:15 - 1:25|
First outer cone spawn: 5:00 - 5:30
Inner cone respawn time: 5 - 7 minutes
Outer cone respawn time: 5.5 - 6.5 minutes
- Knocks away nearby units (including the attacker) when destroyed — even over walls.
- Blast Cones spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, an inner point toward the center of the quadrant, and an outer point near Baron/Dragon.
First spawn: 3:00 - 3:30, always at each quadrant’s spawn point nearest to the side lanes|
Next spawn time: 5 - 6.5 minutes at either spawn point, starting once a given quadrant's Scryer's Bloom is destroyed
- When destroyed, releases vision-granting pollen in a large cone that flies in the direction the attacker was facing, revealing units and wards for 12 seconds (3 seconds on champions).
- Scryer's Bloom can spawn in two spots per jungle quadrant, close to river ramps.
- Only one Scryer's Bloom can be present per quadrant.
First spawn: 6:00 - 6:30 minutes|
Respawn time: 5.5 - 7 minutes
- Drops 5 fruits on the ground when killed.
- Each fruit heals for 3.5% of max health or 8 (+6 per level) flat health, whichever is higher.
- Eating a fruit slows you for 35% for 0.25 seconds.
- Honeyfruit spawn along river walls, starting near Dragon or Baron pits and slowly extending closer toward lanes over the course of the game.
- If a Honeyfruit isn't taken before its respawn timer completes, a second Honeyfruit may spawn. No more than two Honeyfruits can exist per half of the river.
As a jungler, you have the most agency when it comes to traversing the map to place down vision, especially in the enemy jungle. When it's safe to do so, try to place deep wards to keep track of the enemy jungler.
Placing a Control Ward near lane-dominant allies will help them avoid ganks from the enemy jungler and free up a path for future ganks from you. You can also use a Control Ward to check a bush you're waiting in to make sure it's clear (if you don't have an Oracle Lens).
As the game progresses, you may have to start placing wards nearer to your base if you're losing, or deeper into the enemy jungle if you are winning. Always remember to place a Control Ward inside the dragon or baron pit if your team is planning on taking that objective.
Below are some of the more valuable ward spots. Of course, warding is always situational, so don't feel restricted to only using these placements if the situation calls for something else.
Blue side stealth ward locations
Blue side control ward locations
Red side stealth ward locations
Red side control ward locations
The current meta for jungle pathing is quite loose and you'll need to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. I'll give you a few basic openings to choose from, but keep in mind any Rift Scuttler you go for may be contested by the enemy jungler. Take note of where the enemy jungler is starting if you can get vision of them and decide ahead of time whether you'll be able to fight them. Also be sure to check your nearby lanes before entering the river. If your laners have priority (they're pushing in and/or are stronger early than their opponents), you'll be safer when fighting for the Scuttler in river.
You'll almost always want to save Smite for the Scuttler unless you know for sure it won't be contested. Don't use your Smite on the first camp (or two) before going for scuttle or you may find it stolen right in front of you by the enemy jungler! :(
With that out of the way, onto the routes!
Blue - Gromp - Scuttler: This is a fairly efficient opening for red team as you can get a strong leash from your bot lane, which will give you time to clear Gromp before going to contest Scuttler. After hopefully securing Scuttler, you can clear your Wolves, Raptors, Red and Krugs if the enemy jungler is going for an efficient clear on his side of the map. If the enemy jungler is stealing your red buff (and probably other camps near it), you may need to enter the enemy jungle and steal his Raptors / Red / Krugs. Again, note whether nearby enemy laners will be able to easily collapse on you.
Blue - Scuttler: Basically the same as the last route, but quicker in case you won't have time to clear Gromp before the Scuttler spawns at the 2:00 mark. This is more common on blue team, where you'll only have a leash from your top laner. This may also be necessary if you didn't get a leash at all, regardless of which team you're on. Once you're finished the Scuttler, the same options apply, but this time you can go back and clear Gromp before continuing to Wolves.
Red - Scuttler: This route gives you fast access to the river in case you needed to clear your Red without a leash or with a minimal leash from a top laner on red team. Even with a leash on your bottom side, you may want to delay or skip Raptors simply because it's a pain to clear them at level 2. You also have the option to invade the enemy jungler early after you take the Scuttler.
Triple buff routes involve a sneaky level 1 buff steal followed by a quick and efficient clear across your allied jungle. In the ideal case, this'll get you a free camp, set the enemy jungler behind and possibly reduce their effectiveness in the early game due to the loss of the buff. However you risk being collapsed on in the enemy jungle or the enemy jungle could realize what you're doing and counter it by invading your jungle and stealing multiple camps before you can get there.
Steal Blue - Scuttler - Red - Raptors - Wolves - Blue - Gromp: If you're able to sneak the enemy Blue buff, you can try and go for a triple buff and set your opponent behind. This can be pretty effective against mana-hungry junglers but it's also good just for denying experience.
Steal Red - Scuttler - Blue - Gromp - Wolves - Raptors - Red - Krugs: Same idea as the blue steal, but in the opposite direction. You may choose to delay Raptors in order to check and clear your red sooner if you expect the enemy jungler to try and steal it.
Vertical jungling is when both junglers are repeatedly clearing one half of the allied jungle and one half of the enemy jungle, favoring one side of the map. This splits the map into a "strong side" and "weak side" for each team. For example, if you're on blue team and are repeatedly clearing your red-side jungle (south) and the enemy blue-side jungle (east), your team's bottom side will be the strong side of the map. You'll be in a better position to gank bottom lane without fear of counterganks and you'll have better vision control and objective control. Likewise, the opposite side of the map will be dominated by the enemy jungler, making it your team's weak side.
Vertical jungling can be an active choice you make or a forced one due to a poor matchup. For example, you see Nunu & Willump invading to take your blue buff and other nearby camps, so you respond by stealing his blue buff and other nearby camps. This can force you to vertically jungle in the early game since you may not have the lane priority or vision control to ever contest your own blue buff. Likewise, you'll be able to place wards in the enemy blue-side jungle and you'll have more control on that side.
An example of an active choice would be if you and your team (this works better in arranged teams than it does in solo queue) decide to focus all of your team's pressure on one side lane at the expense of the other. Maybe you have a hypercarry bottom that your team will be camping and a Shen top who will just be playing safe. In this situation, vertical jungling may net your team an advantage, as long as you can set it up properly. Grouping with your teammates and pushing into the enemy jungle at level 1 can help you put down vision and possibly force the enemy jungler to start on the other side of the map. If your nearby laners have priority, it can be dangerous for the enemy jungler to enter their own jungle if you have vision of them and your laners can collapse on them to help you.
Vertical jungling is pretty complicated for new junglers and can be pretty messy outside of coordinated teams. Be open to the concepts and feel free to practice it, but for most players I recommend sticking to more standard routes or simple, quick invades while you're still learning to jungle.
That said, vertical jungle routes look something like this:
Blue - Gromp - Wolves - Scuttler - Enemy Red - Enemy Raptors - Enemy Krugs
Blue - Scuttler - Enemy Red - Enemy Raptors - Wolves - Gromp - Enemy Krugs
Enemy Blue - Enemy Gromp - Enemy Wolves - Scuttler - Red - Raptors - Krugs
Red - Scuttler - Enemy Blue - Enemy Gromp - Enemy Wolves - Raptors - Krugs
Enemy Red - Enemy Raptors - Scuttler - Blue - Gromp - Wolves
There are three main types of ganks for top lane: flanks, dives and lane ganks. Actually, this applies to bottom as well, but due to ward coverage your options are more limited there.
Flanks are the most straight-forward type of ganks; you gank when the enemy laner is overextended. From blue side, you can use the Blast Cone near the river bush for a sudden entrance to the river, or you can simply walk up river if there are no enemy wards. You can also go through the enemy northern jungle to flank through tribush if it's safe to do so. Approach in Human Form so you can start hitting the enemy from range and you're ready to land a Cocoon when they blow a summoner.
Dives are very easy for Elise since you can reset tower aggro with Rappel. Simply initiate the dive by damaging the enemy and taking tower aggro, then deal as much damage as possible before using Rappel to drop aggro. If the enemy is dead and you still have spiderlings, the spiders will tank tower shots for you once you land. If you don't have spiderlings or the enemy is alive and burning from Skirmisher's Sabre's Challenging Smite, be careful, as you may re-aggro the tower. It'd be good to make sure your ally has the aggro in that case. As always, landing Cocoon will make the dive faster and easier to execute.
Lane ganks are a bit more complicated because they take time to set up and your top laner needs to be on the same page as you so they set up the wave properly. If your top is pushing, you can enter the lane bushes without being seen, then wait for the wave to reset to the middle of the lane and look for an opportunity to fight the enemy 2v1. The best time to engage is when the enemy goes for a last-hit on one of your minions, especially ranged or cannon minions since they're farther towards your side of the map. It can be hard to land Cocoon due to the minions blocking your line of sight, so you may have to hold onto it and use it once they use Flash or another escape ability.
Mid lane ganks are pretty average for Elise. Not easy, but not too hard either. If the enemy mid is pushed, flank from river or the paths near raptors and wolves that lead to mid lane. Keep in mind a lot of mid laners will ward one side of the lane and hug that side to avoid easy ganks, so you may need to clear their vision or otherwise come from an unexpected angle.
Using fog-of-war to get into Cocoon range is the most reliable option if available, or ganking for a mid laner like Annie, Syndra or Twisted Fate with a reliable stun that can set you up for a free Cocoon. If you can't get into Cocoon range easily, you can try gap-closing with Rappel and Venomous Bite before switching to Human Form to attempt a Cocoon. Remember, if you can get close to them without using Cocoon, saving it for after your target uses Flash is usually a good idea.
Ganking bot is a lot like ganking top, except there's usually more vision from both sides. If you're blue side, using an Oracle Lens or Control Ward in the tribush can allow you to lurk and wait for a good opportunity to run in and engage with your allies. Alternatively, you can dive or try and flank using the Blast Cone in the enemy blue jungle to enter river. On red side, you can try and flank through the enemy jungle and come through tribush, but keep in mind that bush may have a Control Ward in it. Sometimes just running down through river or using the Blast Cone can work if your bot lane engages at the right moment or you come to a fight that's already in progress.
If you have a Thresh or Bard, you can have them use their Dark Passage or Magical Journey to give you an entrance into the lane. Strong engagers like Leona and Alistar can also buy you time to run through an area, even if it's warded.
Lane ganking through bottom can be even harder than top because bot laners can farm from range and expose themselves to less danger. They're also more likely to have the lane bushes warded. However, there are times where a timely lane gank can give you the edge you need to win the game, so don't be afraid to try it, especially if your bot lane has strong engage like Ashe or Leona.
If you manage to kill your target in a successful gank, you'll usually want to help your laner push the wave to the enemy tower so that your minions are killed by the tower, denying the enemy laner gold and experience. The minion waves will also reset to the center of the lane, giving your teammate time to go back to base and buy items and return to a safe position. One exception to the push-after-ganking rule is if you gank very early in the game against an enemy with Teleport (usually the top laner). If you kill someone very early, they'll respawn after only a few seconds and Teleport without missing much CS. If you push when that happens, your top laner will just lose a lot of XP since they're sharing with you and it can set them behind without denying the enemy top laner any farm.
After a successful gank, usually when pushing to the enemy tower, you may want to take a minion tax. This means you'll take some of the farm to help you keep up in gold since you had to spend time ganking rather than farming your jungle. You'll generally want to tax more heavily if your laner gets the kill off a gank and tax lightly if you took the kill. Many low-ranked players (and occasionally some high-ranked ones too) are selfish or ignorant and think that taxing their lane is going to ruin their farm and cause them to lose the lane. They're wrong, as taxing in moderation keeps a jungler's gold and experience relevant throughout the game, but if your laner freaks out because you took a few minions (or pushed their lane, some people think this is a bad thing all the time), you may want to just leave so they don't feed or AFK or something.
Holding lanes is an often necessary duty of a jungler and is something you should be happy to do (since it gives you a lot of gold and XP). If your laner dies or needs to go back to base, you may need to "hold" or "cover" their lane by clearing out enemy minions pushing to your tower. If the enemy laner goes back to base or is dead, you may wish to push the wave to the enemy tower. Only do this if you can finish pushing before the enemy laner gets back to lane or they can freeze it in front of their tower, making it difficult for your laner to farm safely. Usually holding a lane consists of either clearing the current wave that is at your tower or pushing completely to the enemy tower. Don't just sit in a lane and last-hit because it's a waste of your time.
Elise's late game is unfortunately not very special. She still can deal good damage, depending on how many damage items you've built and how squishy the enemy team is, but she's mostly relegated to poking, stunning and finishing people off. Her most valuable asset is her Cocoon, which makes her most effective in situations where your team has vision control in the enemy jungle and can force enemies to face-check bushes and eat a free stun.
As such, baron and dragon control should usually be your priority. Whether you're ahead or behind, the best way to win fights as Elise is to get a free kill before the enemy team has a chance to engage. If your teammates have different win conditions, like a top lane split-pusher, a team fighter like Malphite or a hyper-carry like Kog'Maw, you may have to play around their win conditions instead.
Elise is fairly flexible and is moderately useful in pretty much any situation. She's least effective at hitting tanky front-liners with high MR but can peel enemy dive champions reasonably well by stunning them. She also has ranged autoattack and Volatile Spiderling for poke, which makes her decent in siege situations as well. You'll need some knowledge of what your enemies and allies are best at and plan to support your team accordingly.
In team fights you really only have threat on one target, so target selection is the most important thing to consider, stunning and focusing divers like Riven and Fizz is very useful, as is following up your own divers by locking down and finishing off enemy carries. Rappel can allow you to easily transition from front-line to back-line, so be aware of what's going on in both halves of the fight in order to decide the best course of action.
Most of all, try not to die, especially not for free. Regardless of your usefulness in team fights, your are the Smite holder for your team and it's your responsibility to stay alive to contest objectives. Obviously there will be some cases where it's worth sacrificing yourself to kill a priority target or protect an important ally, but in general try and play a little conservatively and let your allies do work while you support them.
As a final note, Flash is your big play-maker at this stage of the game, as well as the obvious benefits of vision control. Landing Cocoon on a mispositioned carry can win you games even if you don't have great items. Use baron and dragon spawns to draw enemies into fog of war and use your vision control from Control Wards and Oracle Lens to catch people out.
If you can't win late game, there may be some mistakes that you can fix for the next game. However, apart from smart macro play, games on Elise are usually decided by what you can accomplish early, so that's where I recommend you focus your efforts on refining. It's much easier to win a game that's snowballed from an early lead than to come back from behind on a champion that doesn't scale well.
Thank you for reading my Elise guide! I hope I was able to help you become a better jungler and a smarter player. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions, comments or criticism. I read all comments on my guides even if I don't respond to all of them. If you appreciated my guide or approve of my build, feel free to hit the green upvote button up top.
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