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League of Legends Hero Guides - Irelia

Posted Tue, Nov 30, 2010 by Stow

If you have to give credit to Irelia, she looks amazing, both in her concept art and in-game especially.

In a season of mage heroes, and AOE metagame shenanigans, Riot has responded by creating Irelia, the Will of the Blades.  Focusing on strong direct damage, self healing, and a powerful skillshot ultimate, she is a delightful package of things in one hero that can even jungle as needed. 

Pros

-          Many ways to heal oneself, can effectively restore health before, after, and during a fight.

-          Amazingly good farmer with Bladesurge, which can be used creatively to escape or cover ground and engage faster.

-          Ultimate has a whopping 2.4 AD ratio if all four blades connect with a target.

-          Equilibrium Strike comes out near instantly, giving Irelia fairly good burst for a melee hero.

Cons

-          Hiten Style does not scale, and Equilibrium Strike scales off AP, where her other two skills scale with AD most effectively, leaving her feeling weaker than most melees that are fully decked out.

-          Passive only functions off visible heroes, so if you get disabled by someone in the bushes, you are eating the full duration.

-          Ultimate can be very hard to aim well while engaging multiple targets in a melee team fight.

-          Bladesurge can only target enemies and not allies or the ground, making it inferior to other blink strikes in the game.

 

Skills

Passive : Ionian Fervor – Passively reduces disables by 10, 25, or 40% based on the number of enemy heroes nearby.

                This basically functions as a free Mercury’s Treads passive in a team fight, and is barely noticeable otherwise.  While not a bad passive, it does suffer because unlike a lot of other ‘enemy radar’ abilities, it only goes off visibile heroes.   Unfortunately, Tryndamere’s stealth radar functionality on Mocking Shout does not apply here.

Bladesurge: Irelia dashes forward to strike her target. If it kills the target, Bladesurge's cooldown refreshes and half the mana cost is refunded.  Deals purely physical damage.

                Bladesurge costs 70 mana, meaning if it kills a target it only costs 35 to use.  However, you cannot use it to last hit an entire wave or you’re out 200 mana each wave!  You can still use this if you want to farm in a hurry without using your ultimate, but you’re much better off using Hiten Style or just plain timing to get the kills in a wave.

                Note that Irelia is a decent solo hero due to this ability.  She can blink to a wounded ranged minion, kill it, and immediately blink to the enemy hero in under a second.  This gives her some of the same threat style of Miss Fortune once you get the upper hand in a 1v1 lane. 

If you want to get really creative, you can use wards in the jungle you’re attacking in to blink across walls to escape pursuers or cut off people.

Hiten Style: Irelia is skilled in the art of Hiten, passively giving her physical attacks health restoration. Activating Hiten Style adds true damage to her physical attacks for a short duration.

                Hiten Style is almost Xin Zhao-esque, in that Irelia scales very well with attack speed.  Activating it at level 5 adds 75 unavoidable damage to each attack, which can put the hurt on anyone.  Note that the passive portion does not go away when active or in cooldown, and with a low 40 mana cost, you can pop this constantly throughout the brawl or jungle.

                Just don’t overdo this if you are jungling.  Ganking out of the jungle is about burst and slows, and this provides neither.   Two points is enough if you’re going Wriggles, otherwise try 3.

Equilibrium Strike: Irelia's attack balances the scales, dealing damage and slowing the target. However, if the target has a higher Health % than Irelia, then the blow stuns the target instead.  The slow is a flat 60% at all levels, and the duration of either goes up from 1 to 2 seconds as you level it.

                Equilibrium strike adds a big risk-> reward style of aggression with Irelia.  She has good burst potential, so engaging someone while wounded and immediately popping this to stun, then your other skills, can lead to a kill not otherwise possible.  The cooldown is rather short for a disable attack at 9 seconds, but it only scales from AP.  Don’t expect this to do a lot late game.

Transcendent Blades (Ultimate): Irelia summons four spirit blades which she can fling at her enemies. These blades deal magic damage to enemies that they pass through, siphoning life from them and healing Irelia.

                Controlling these is tricky.  They are fired off much like Karthus’s Lay Waste, meaning that the moment you press the button after summoning them, it will fire a blade in that direction your mouse is pointed in every time you press it until you fire 4 blades or 10 seconds pass.  This can be difficult in the middle of a big melee, so focus on making these blades count.  If you’re untouched, aim directly at wounded heroes.  If you’re being focused, aim at as many creeps as you can hit  for a big life boost.  If you hit with all 4, this does very good damage for an ultimate.

                Note that the cooldown does not start until the final blade is thrown, so there’s little point to priming these before you’re ready to fire them.  Be patient and make them count, these are Irelia’s only way to contribute AOE damage!

Key Items

Youmu’s Ghostblade – Irelia is very cooldown dependant, and attack speed gives her more than other heroes,  while also having a physical damage based skill.  All of these combined make the Ghostblade a no-brainer.

Stark’s Fervor – Much like the Ghostblade, this provides a big attack speed and physical damage boosting negative armor aura, which benefit Irelia greatly over time.

Situational Items

Sunfire Capes / Tank Builds – Irelia is one of those melee characters that has such good mobility and base skills that she can function like Garen – a massive annoyance to kill with skills that can win a fight regardless of her basic attacks.  So many people expect her to crumble under burst fire that this may win some games for you.

Masteries

21/9/0 is generally the way to go for Irelia.  The bonus damage contributes to both her magical skills and physical skills, and makes her physical skills hit that much harder.  Since she’s going to be in the thick of it a lot, the improved dodge/speed on dodge will go a long way towards saving your bacon.

Runes

Running Armor Penetration reds will make you a much bigger early game threat, Dodge yellows will give you some life-saving dodges in a pinch, and scaling magic resist blues or cooldown reduction blues are your call for the final slot.  Irelia doesn’t function very well with mixed items, so going full DPS with resist and dodge runes will give you more survivability than most.

Summoner Spells

Irelia is an excellent candidate for Exhaust due to her low cooldowns.  This will basically give you two rounds of Bladesurge and more than likely, a second Equilibrium strike to finish your target off before they get to safety.  Cleanse is questionable due to her passive, but Irelia lacks a true escape move.  She’s excellent at getting in, but terrible at getting out.  Flash is a solid second spell.

Conclusion

The self-styled Queen of Blades is in a rough spot from a melee DPS standpoint.  Irelia is difficult to carry with, but much more balanced than the other heavy attackers like Yi and Tryndamere to compensate.  She has good mobility in combat and a varied arsenal which excels at keeping her alive in a firefight.  While she costs a mighty 6300 IP and seems weak due to her cons and low sustained damage, mastering her will make you a better player overall with her complicated skill set to manage.

And come on—you throw swords. How can you resist?

 


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