Ultimate Irelia guide: Best League of Legends builds, runes, tips & tricks

Andrew Amos
Irelia Guide League of Legends
Riot Games

Irelia is one of League of Legends’ highest-skill cap champions. However, those who master the Blade Dancer can pull off the most insane plays on the Rift. Here’s what you need to know about mastering Irelia, including the best builds and runes.

Irelia is one of League of Legends’ oldest champions, having been released in 2010. While she fell out of favor as the seasons waned on, her Season 8 rework put her back into the fold. She’s one of the game’s most elegant champions, dancing around the Rift slicing through enemies.

If you want to get the ropes of Irelia, we’ve got a one-stop guide to mastering the Blade Dancer, including the best builds, runes, tips and tricks.

Riot Games
Irelia was part of the Rise of the Sentinels event, fighting back the Ruination to save Ionia.

Who is Irelia?

Xan Irelia is the leader of Ionia’s army, fighting back Noxus in the First Invasion of the First Lands. Her family died during the invasion, with Irelia fighting back with her family’s broken crest wielded like blades at the Great Stand of Navori.

In-game, she lives up to her Blade Dancer name, darting around Summoner’s Rift as either a top or mid lane duelist.

Irelia abilities & gameplay

Irelia’s kit features a ton of mobility and plenty of dueling potential for lane. However, that doesn’t mean she’s a slouch in late game fights, with an immense amount of scaling.

You typically want to play around her passive. Once you get four stacks, you want to dive in on your enemies, hitting Q resets on kills, E procs, and her ultimate. Caught in a bad spot and need to dodge some burst? Hit W to block damage.

  • Passive: Ionian Fervor — When Irelia strikes enemies with spells she gains stacking bonus Attack Speed. At maximum stacks she also gains bonus damage on hit.
  • Q: Bladesurge — Irelia dashes forward to strike her target, healing herself. If the target is Marked or dies to Bladesurge, its cooldown refreshes.
  • W: Defiant Dance — Irelia charges a strike that deals more damage as she charges. She takes reduced physical and magic damage during the charge.
  • E: Flawless Duet — Irelia sends out two blades which converge on each other. Enemies caught in between are damaged, stunned and Marked.
  • R: Vanguard’s Edge — Irelia fires a massive number of blades that explode outward upon hitting an enemy champion. Enemies hit by the blades are damaged and Marked. Afterwards the blades form a wall that will damage and slow enemies that walk through it.

Best build for Irelia

Irelia has two builds since her Season 11 mini-rework, revolving around either maxing Q or the massively-buffed W.

If you max W, your laning phase and dueling will be weaker. However, you can scale up quickly by opting for heavy sustain items like Goredrinker and Sterak’s Gage.

If you max Q, you’re looking to duel early in lane around your passive, so an early Blade of the Ruined King is best. A Stridebreaker second ensures your enemies can’t escape, while Divine Sunderer lets you destroy tanks.

Regardless, once you hit level 13, you’ll be a teamfighting powerhouse. Her final items are pretty situational, but safe options like Death’s Dance and Guardian Angel, or Wit’s End if you’re facing a lot of magic damage, are a good idea.

Top meta Irelia items in Season 11

  • Mythic: Goredrinker / Stridebreaker / Divine Sunderer
  • Boots: Plated Steelcaps (vs AD) / Mercury Treads (vs AP)
  • Blade of the Ruined King
  • Sterak’s Gage
  • Death’s Dance
  • Guardian Angel
Riot Games
Irelia’s build depends on whether you choose to max Q or W.

Best runes for Irelia

The runes for Irelia vary slightly depending on whether you go the W max or Q max build. However, you’ll always take Conqueror as your keystone.

If you go Q max, you need a bit more attack speed for dueling and waveclear, so taking an attack speed shard is a good idea. If you go W max, you want to bolster it with damage, so maximizing it with adaptive force is best.

Presence of Mind is needed to solve some of Irelia’s mana issues, while Legend: Tenacity and Unflinching ensure you won’t get CC’d to death. Take Second Wind or Bone Plating depending on whether you need prolonged sustain (Second Wind) or burst protection (Bone Plating).

Top meta Irelia runes in Season 11

  • Conqueror
  • Presence of Mind
  • Legend: Tenacity
  • Last Stand
  • Second Wind / Bone Plating
  • Unflinching
Irelia runes League of Legends guide
Riot Games
This rune page is more suited to W max Irelia. Take an attack speed shard if you are running Q max.

Irelia skins in League of Legends

Irelia might seem like a daunting champion to play, but with these tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to dancing to victory.