Dark Horses: Jungle Irelia

By Riot NaKyle
Welcome to Dark Horses, where we dive deep beneath the sheets, looking for your sleeper picks and why we think they might be ready to wake up. Next up? Jungle Irelia.


Well, the jungle got slapped with some strategic diversity, didn’t it? Next time you sign-up to Smite, consider Irelia. With smart itemization and jungle-focused Rune/Mastery pages, you can count on Irelia’s reliable gap closer and stun for successful jaunts into the lanes.


Jungle Irelia players are trailblazers. They also buy Trailblazer’s, because she needs the clear speed. That AoE Smite is essential to getting Irelia through the jungle and into lane, where she’ll cause the most trouble.

1v1 me, bro

Built-in lifesteal, tenacity and true damage make Irelia a ferocious duelist. If you can track an enemy counter-jungler, Irelia punishes trespassers, Hiten Style.

Mind the gap

Irelia speeds into lane, closing the gap with Bladesurge and landing substantial CC with Equilibrium Strike. Remember, Equilibrium Strike offers up a stun rather than a slow if Irelia’s health percent is lower than her target’s. And yes, we know that’s not what equilibrium means.

Mixed damage

Magic damage, physical damage, true damage--Irelia’s got it all. Building against Irelia is nightmarish enough before the Devourer enchantment’s added to the mix. Follow up with Blade of the Ruined King or Trinity Force and laugh (to yourself) at /all chat.

Out of the frying pan, into my backpack

If Irelia, ahem, secures a few early kills, all of the above points snowball into a blade maiden completely capable of putting the game on her back.

Counterplay: Dulling the Blades

Far from all-powerful, jungle Irelia can be stymied with attentive counter-jungling and watchful eyes on her itemization. If you’re drafting against an obvious jungle Irelia, consider Lee Sin and Kha’Zix, who can slip into Irelia’s jungle and escape Irelia’s sustained damage if things go south.

Take her Blue

Irelia’s mana-hungry. Your team would do well to invade and take her first blue. With an already slow clear time, it’s in your best interest to make her first forays through the jungle as painful as possible.

Watch her build

With Devourer (or another enchantment) eating a significant amount of gold, Irelia’s core build will be significantly slowed down. Strike in her tweener stage, usually around the time team’s start skirmishing for dragon control. Her first complete item will be either damage-focused or defensive. If you see a Blade of the Ruined King or a Trinity Force, blow her up. If you see a Frozen Heart, take care to point most of your damage elsewhere.

Whether looking to try jungle Irelia or just happy to add another solo lane champion to your arsenal, you can snag the Will of the Blades and her Frostblade skin for 50% off. Respectively, they’ll be 440 RP and 487 RP through 23:59 PST December 11.

4 years ago

Tagged with: 
Dark Horses, Irelia

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