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Effectively climbing with Illaoi

Pressure your enemies to victory





Best Overall Runes


Spells

Skill Priority

Q

E

W

Welcome to the guide on climbing with Illaoi

This is a guide with a focus on consistently winning games by recognizing patterns and following a game plan to keep a positive win rate. I've been maining Illaoi ever since the mini-rework in season 9, when she was at her peak. Since then I've been discussing with other high ELO Illaoi mains on how to play her.

After Kleptomancy was removed from the game a lot changed for Illaoi, but since the recent fighter item rework in 12.3 and buffs in 12.4 she has become a stronger champion than she has been in the past 2 years.

For people familiar with Illaoi; check out the paragraphs about Consistency, Q max and post laning.

For people who are new to Illaoi and came here looking to learn the champion start with the laning; items, runes and summoner spells are elaborated further down the guide. However, because we aim for consistency, we just want to stick to one build as much as possible, and instead focus on other important aspects.

Special thanks for helping me with this guide go out to both my editor and Biertje.

Biertje has been a grandmaster Illaoi one-trick for the past 3 years on the EUW server. A lot of the information in this guide is inspired by the way he plays, also confirming it works in any rank.

Illaoi is very strong to climb the ladder

The easiest way to get higher in soloQ is by playing consistently, which means that you have to find  recurring patterns. If you win your lane every game, or are able to stay useful when you lose your lane, you will win most of your games.

A stat that is often quoted is that 30% of the games is a certain win, 30% is a certain loss, and the other 40% is up to your own playing. This means that if you always play right and don't lose the game too hard on your own you can turn that 40% in your own favour.Illaoi as a champion takes a while to get used to, but once you get the hang of her it's easy to recognize patterns and make her work every game.

Obviously, when you master a champion and know all the ins and outs, you can vary the way you play every game. But if you focus too much on one possible outcome of the game, your new build will put you in a position of disadvantage in case of an unforeseen event, whereas your regular build would allow you to adapt to the new situation accordingly. (Example: you built tanky and sticky to counter a Tryndamere, but the enemy Vel'koz gets fed. Now you are no longer in the position to adjust)

Q max (and abilities)

  • Skill Path

Illaoi

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It is often discussed what is better for Illaoi to max: E or Q. There are a couple of right answers to this. Some people prefer maxing E and can make it work. The winrate difference between Q max and E max swings a lot and is never more than 0,5%.

Still I think the Q max, especially when climbing, is performing better on all elo's versus all kinds of opponents. The reason for this is that it works under any circumstance, versus any class.

What happens with E max

When you max E you can hit it more often, because the cooldown gets lower. However if you miss it, you have no resources left to win a trade and higher skilled opponents will use this opportunity to run you down. Another downside is how it's difficult to kill the spirit. Yes, the spirit transfers more damage, but there is no point if you don't have enough damage to kill it before the enemy laner runs out of its range.

What happens with Q max

Putting points in

Tentacle Smash
gives your tentacle slams more damage, and more importantly it reduces the cooldown. This means you can use it quickly to push in, and once you've pushed the enemy back under their tower, you can use it to harass them and keep them from CS'ing. You don't have to hit your E to poke down the enemy and when you miss E you can still win trades because of the Q damage and healing on a reduced cooldown

What actually is the point of
Test of Spirit
?

With this build, levels 1 through 10 we don't actually use the spirit to directly damage the enemy champion. What it is useful for is to secure lane dominance: once you kill the spirit the enemy will spawn 3 tentacles, which can be used to push in the wave with W while your enemy is dodging slams. On top of that you spawn a champion, which is useful because your slams heal you for every champion you hit. It also spawns an additional tentacle for your R when you hit the spirit.

Consistency and matchups

Illaoi's strongest point is that from level 5 she has the single strongest lane dominance in the toplane. She has more pushing power than any other toplaner and can maintain near perfect CS while punishing the enemy whenever they walk up. Because of how her ultimate rewards her for hitting multiple people she can very well turn a gank into her favour.

Matchups

Into tanks the lane is free, ending in 5 plates, 40+ CS lead and maybe a few kills.

You can push tanks in real quick and will always outsustain them by hitting tentacle slams. They lack the mobility to move out of your abilities and rely on hitting CC which you can block with a well timed

Leap of Faith

Bruisers are mostly a skill matchup, but often result in a CS lead and. Winning the lane or not is decided by ganks and misplays. Against bruisers, Illaoi should win about 70% of the time without jungle interference or about 50% of the time with jungle interference. A lot of champions require to be poked down a little before you can fight them. These are

Camille
Darius
Aatrox
Fiora
Rumble
Urgot
Garen
Kled
Riven
Sett
Irelia
. You will probably only push in to them once you've hit level 5 and hit them with multiple slams.

Marksmen are a weakness to Illaoi, but because we max Q we can keep farming and still go even. When they misstep, they can be run down quickly and above that they are vulnerable to ganks. Skill and jungler interference are so influential in this matchup that it is difficult to determine the win chance.

Statcheckers are the only class that wins from Illaoi throughout the entire game. By this I mean champions like

Tryndamere
,
Olaf
and
Master Yi
, who run at you and try to DPS harder than you hit them. Other notable stat checkers are
Trundle
and
Dr. Mundo
. They lack the immunities of above named champions, but win the straight up 1v1 because they can simply outsustain your full combo, even when standing in the middle of 4 tentacles.

Champion specific matchups.



Fiora
is tricky but doesn't deserve a ban until diamond 2 + where they become real skilled. Her
Riposte
blocks your
Test of Spirit
making it hard to ever land it. You can try to bait it out by poking repeatedly with
Harsh Lesson
and
Tentacle Smash
. two important tricks are to waggle out of her passive range in lane to get a vital in your back. Second is when she ults stick to a wall so she can't hit all 4 vitals. These are your only chances to win the matchup.



Kayle
only becomes a powerful counter at level 6. Before hitting 6 she's useless and loses every trade. Show no mercy, push her under the turret as soon as you can and dive her once you hit level 6 before her. If the enemy jungler comes to help her out she won't even be able to assist in the gank, making it a 1v1 with the jungler. If somehow she manages to not be far behind once she hits level 6 be aware that her ultimate -
Divine Judgment
blocks your ultimate combo. you can bait out the ultimate by hitting a couple of tentacles prior to killing her and walking up and threaten a dive. Don't actually hit her and wait for the ultimate to come out. If the game comes to a point where she is even with you and hits level 11 or 16, the game is probably lost.

Bans

As we just said, statcheckers are your worst enemy. Yi and Olaf top aren't played much, however Tryndamere is played quite often in toplane and should be either banned or dodged. 

Mordekaiser deserves another spot, because all your tentacles and spirit disappear when he uses his R -

Realm of Death
on you. Counterplay is possible, but don't bother if you can just dodge or ban it.

Ban either Mordekaiser or Tryndamere, whoever is played more on the current patch.

Laning phase and patterns.

As I said earlier; learning Illaoi and climbing effectively is all about recognizing the patterns and building muscle memory.

What makes Illaoi good for beginners is her effortless farm capabilities. She shoves waves like no other champion and you should therefore keep focusing on clearing waves throughout the game

Level 1-4

You always start with Q. W can be better for trades, but you'll lose CS.

When you start the game, make sure you don't place tentacles in inconvenient spots, blocking the spawn place for others. More info about this further down.

The first thing that happens at level 1 is a pattern we want to create in every single game, regardless of the champions. Wait for the first 3 minions to become low health and then smack them with one Q. While doing so try to look for an angle to hit the enemy laner as well. With only Q you can't fight so wait for your Q cooldown to farm the caster minions.

The first melee minion on the second wave is where you’ll become level 2. With a point in W we can look for short trades; line up the wave or hit the enemy when he's lined up with the wave to get priority.

When you hit level 3 you can look for E. Once you've hit an E you can get lane dominance because of the many tentacles that get spawned and the enemy that has to walk away.

Now at level 4, with another point in Q, you can use both Q and W to push the wave.

Level 4-5. starting a push

Once you put more points in your Q, you can consistently shove the wave against any matchup. Take the minion aggro and line them up in front of a tentacle. Auto-attack one melee minion, then W another and while the tentacle slams, use your Q to slam the whole wave. At this point you still need to wait for W cooldown to finish the wave with a third slam.

Fish for an E when you're sure you can land it, for example when the enemy walks up to attack you or walks up for a minion. If you have pushed the enemy under their tower, heavily harass them with Q. E is easy to hit if they stand between the tower and the wall, or if they walk up for a minion. If you're low on resources and used up corruption you can go base and teleport back. Teleport is important to keep tempo and prevent tentacles from disappearing

From level 5 you can kill the casters with 2 slams, so line up the wave, hit the melee with W and Q the whole wave. Hit down the last melees with auto attacks.

For cannon waves, you focus the Cannon minions with your W.

Laning from level 6

Most of the time you will hit level 6 before the enemy because you've been pushing. If you also poked them down enough you can threaten a dive which will work against nearly all champions while they're still level 5. If they're under 60% health you first have to land an E. If they're 30% or lower you can simply stand next to them, lure out some of their abilities, then R and hit with an W, which will hit 2 quick tentacle slams.

Example killing a wave



Example killing wave while zoning the enemy



Continue pushing and harassing the enemy. While you are pushing, your team's jungler can focus on the bottom side of the map to gain a lead. You may attract attention from the enemy jungler because you're pushed in all the time. Most of the time you're too slow to flee, instead try to 1v2. During a gank the enemies are forced to walk into you, which is ideal for Illaoi as you can hit a free E. Try to stall until you can hit both enemy champions and the spirit with an R, otherwise hit the engaging enemy and the spirit with R. More info on ability usage and fighting is further down.

From level 9 and when not too far behind you can one hit the caster minions. Adjust your farming pattern accordingly from this point. If you line up the waves correctly, you can one hit the casters while finishing the melee minions with Q.

Throughout the laning phase you build up a big gold lead: while you clear all minions your enemy stays down on CS because you harass them. While the minions hit the tower, with you occasionally sweeping in with a W, you can secure plates.

Up to level 13 you keep improving on the 1v1, because you're finally getting points in E. Through levels 8 to 13 you can 1v1 any champion if you manage to hit an E.

Example level 6 vs level 5 dive



Diving after hitting an E



Dying in lane

Dying in lane is not an issue at all. As soon as you come back to lane you follow through your patterns again, farming the wave, pushing down the enemy and harassing the enemy. Because of you getting more farm and plates, you will always stay useful, even if you were solo killed twice. Early deaths are irrelevant because of how strong Illaoi becomes in midgame.

Closing out lane

You keep pushing waves, pressuring the enemy and thus giving your jungler freedom to focus on the rest of the map. This will result in Illaoi's team coming out mostly on top in the mid game (important pattern).  With Hullbreaker completed, you've entered raid boss mode and can smash down the enemy turret. Whatever the situation is, whether you died twice and lost your tower or have been camped, you're looking to have destroyed the enemy tower at around 15 minutes (another pattern). Hullbreaker can help you secure this goal. Even if your own tower is destroyed and the enemy is ahead, you can still look to 1v2 the enemy, just because you're Illaoi.

After first tower

At 14 minutes tower plating falls and unleashed teleport is unlocked. Normally toplaners will look to help the rest of the map from this point on, but Illaoi needs setup before she's useful in a fight. This means she's a terrible teleport flanker. Instead, you keep pushing down the enemy toplaner and try to destroy the inner tower (pattern). Your enemy can't teleport because you're too threatening, and if they do they'll lose one or two turrets to your hullbreaker. The second reason you keep pushing is because you're stronger than any other champion. However, even at this point, you still want to avoid random fights because this can result in a loss of tempo. Just push in and harass the enemy under the inner turret. If anyone ganks you and you hit an E, you can fight back. Staying top will keep even more pressure on the enemy team and will attract attention, making it easier for your own team to get advantages elsewhere on the map, like securing outer turrets or dragons.

The third reason to take the inner tower is because it's worth 600 gold, further increasing your lead. Your goal is to be far ahead on every enemy in levels, gold, and objectives, before you start to fall off from level 13 onward.

When pushing past the outer turret you can look for the jungle camps. They grant you additional gold while taking it away from the enemy jungler.

After you secure the inner tower you can rotate, moving to bot and taking both bot towers to secure your lead even further. From this point on you take whatever you can take.

The art of splitpushing and ending the game

The secret of split pushing is attracting attention from the enemy but not dying, because you can threaten to dive the enemy toplaner if they don't come .

While pushing a sidelane, you want to keep a close eye on the map at all times. When you notice people are missing you start to calculate in your head. Are the missing enemies a threat to me? Can I 1v2/3/4 them? Can I outplay them? If not, you back away to the edge of the enemy's vision. This means you hover at the edge of the fog of war. The enemy is unsure whether you've backed far away, or maybe came to your team's help. Stay out of vision until enough enemies have shown on the map again. “Enough” being the amount of enemies you think you can deal with. So which champions are actually a danger to you?

Illaoi can basically handle an unlimited amount of melee champions and always come out on top. Be careful of enemies with a lot of kiting, range or mobility. If you can't guarantee hitting E on the enemy it's not safe to stay. For example, if the Xayah and Janna come for aid it's impossible to hit E, engage or disengage. However, if the support is not Janna but Nautilus, who walks straight at you, you might look for a turn because you can guarantee to hit E on Nautilus.

From 17 minutes on you always want to position yourself on the opposite side of the map of where the current objective is. When Baron is up you want to push bot lane. When a drake fight is coming, you want to pressure top. If people come to deal with you, your team can secure the objective, and you might be able to teleport to aid your team while you have a numbers advantage. (important pattern)

Keep going with hovering on vision, drawing attention, being annoying and securing towers until you've secured both inner towers. From this point on you can try to do the same split pushing trick to pressure inhibitor turrets. If people come up you just move back, 1v3 or teleport to the objective to secure it.

Unless you can get a great fight or play cleanup crew, don't bother teleporting to aid your team. Illaoi just can't deal with the mobility and 200 years of game balance in season 12 nor can she fight without the right setup. You'll achieve much more with split pushing than with trying to turn a fight and ending up getting kited.

Yes, helping your team might help you get the win, however we want to climb so we choose for the more consistent way to win and don't coinflip for the teamfight.



Splitpush

In the above video we see Illaoi versus

Sion
in the bottom lane. There are no wards in the lower jungle so Illaoi is in there blind. This missing enemies are
Evelynn
Miss Fortune
and
Lux
who can just kill Illaoi from afar with little counterplay. At this point Illaoi wiggles just outside of vision and waits for the blue team to show again. Once the enemy team shows Illaoi can move up to break the inner tower with Demolish and Sion doesn't have the tools to stop her.

In this example the red team loses a straight 4v4. If there was a ward in midlane and a good angle, teleporting would be an option. However Karma and Ahri got caught. Due to Illaoi's pressure the two kills got traded for an inner tower (worth 600 gold) resulting in a somewhat even trade.

Ranged matchups

Ranged champions are believed to be a counter to Illaoi, but this is not entirely true. They are annoying early game and outscale late game, because they're hard to hit with E. However, if the laning phase through levels 4 to 11 are still the same, they don't have the waveclear to keep Illaoi under her turret. The only difference in lane is that it might take a minute longer before you can hard push, but you for sure can. This matchup is the same in all elo’s, as long as you stick to your game plan and push in as usual, you will eventually hit an E and secure lane dominance. Additionally, they're a lot more vulnerable to a burst combo once you've hit them with an E.

An effective way to hit your E is to hold on to using it and analyze the enemy's movement patterns. Don't be afraid to let the enemy hit you a couple of times. If you understand how they move hitting

Test of Spirit
will be a lot easier.

Example getting priority after hitting a single E



Example of punishing ranged matchup

Fed counters

When the game comes to a point where there is an enemy champion which counters you got fed play accordingly. You don't want to try and face them because you will never win. Play for the lane where the fed enemy is not present. Hope for your team to not get stomped while you pressure a splitpush. Only the fed enemy member can counter you in the splitpush so you will have to bait him out and then run. This gives your team breathing space to make plays and you can look to move to another lane or join up with your team to fight. Start over and once the fed enemy comes, move somewhere else. Examples of these champions are

Fiora
Kayle
Vel'Koz
Vayne
Akali
Anivia
Veigar
Evelynn
Xayah
Sylas
Samira
Master Yi
Tryndamere
Trundle
Olaf
Mordekaiser
or any giga fed marksman, espescially combined with
Lulu
or
Janna

All of these have in common that they can reliably dodge your

Test of Spirit
, kite you or win due to the nature of the matchup, all while killing you with a full combo.

Ability usage, tricks and combo's

A lot of the gameplay I described depends on pulling off a 1v3. To effectively fight all the enemies at once we need to understand how we fight.

Passive / tentacle management
Prophet of an Elder God

Cool notes:

  • You spawn tentacles every 20-7.25 seconds. The cooldown of the spawn goes down with level

  • Tentacles fully spawn after 2 seconds

  • They reveal control wards

  • Tentacle slams heal Illaoi 5% missing health

  • Tentacles don't spawn near each other.



Skilled Illaoi players will talk proudly about tentacle management. However the only trick to it is to not put them in an awkward position. When you accidentally place a tentacle in an unfavourable spot, you can screw up your lane push for the next few minutes.

In lane you want to put them in such a way you can easily line up waves when they meet in the middle, as well as hit the enemy champion with W and make the tentacle hit them.

When your tentacle spawns in an unfavourable spot you can't get rid of it until you're out of range for 30 seconds. During that time it blocks the spawn for ideal tentacles.

Be especially careful when leaving the jungle as tentacles will often spawn on the wrong side of the rock, blocking the ideal spot on the other side!

Ideal positions:

Blue side

Red side



Unfavourable spots: avoid those

Blue side

Red side



E -
Test of Spirit

We talked about this ability before in the section about Q max. From levels 1 - 7 hitting E is only used to gain lane dominance, heal back up or assist with your

Leap of Faith
. Once you start putting more points into it you will actually start noticing it's damage. Tentacles will only automatically hit the spirit once prior to level 7. Tentacles hit the spirit twice from level 7.

Important notes about the ability:

  • Tentacles hit the spirit if its centre is inside the tentacles range.

  • Tentacles spawned by Vessels can spawn closer to other tentacles.

  • The Vessel gets hit by tentacles every 5.5/4.5/3.5 seconds at level 1/7/13

  • It slows 80% for 1.5s on killing the spirit

  • Cast time and pulling animation of 0.75 seconds (self root)

  • Counts as a champion for passive healing and ultimate (and items and runes)

  • It grants 25G to its killer



So when you hit E, what do you do? Well we want to burst it down. The ideal combo is:

Auto attack -> reset W -> Q on both the spirit and enemy -> AA -> reset W

this way it will get smashed 4 times in the least time. The autoattacks are important for additional conqueror stacks.

Q -
Tentacle Smash

Nothing interesting that hasn't been said. only thing to note is that it also hits enemies just behind and next to you. This makes it so you don't have to reposition too much when killing a minion wave. Try to look for angles where you can hit both the wave and the enemy champion when using Q.

W -
Harsh Lesson

The ability empowers your next auto attack with max health damage and extra range.

using your W in range of a tentacle makes it slam directly at the target. This makes it a great abiltity to both farm but also zone of enemy champions. Try to line up the minion wave so when you hit your W on a minion the tentacle smash which follows will hit all 6-7 minions of the wave. This has been further eleborated in the laning guide and its included video's. You can aswell hit a minion which isn't in the middle of the wave to try and hit another target with a tentacle slam. An example for this is when you hit a a melee minion close to the tentacle to hit an enemy champion at the end of the slam, effectively zoning the enemy.

The ability is given a point at level 2. From this point you can start harrrassing the enemy with quick W-attacks to poke them. When they stand both in a minion wave and in front of a tentacle this will also help you push. If you went with

Grasp of the Undying
to strenghten your early game you can use
Harsh Lesson
to easily proc the grasp.

Additionally the ability resets your auto attack timer. This is useful for kiling the spirit, because you can weave in an extra autoattack before using

Harsh Lesson
for extra damage and an additional
Conqueror
and
Trinity Force
stack.

With our consistent build we always build Sheen items. This also empowers your

Harsh Lesson
auto attack even more. Once Hullbreaker is completed and sheen is bought as a first component your short trades will be a huge chunk, even without hitting any other ability.



Harsh Lesson
can be canceled by any knockup or knockback resulting in no damage nor tentacle slam. It will also be blocked by any ability blocking auto attacks like
Twilight Assault
Counter Strike
Blinding Dart
resulting in no damage nor tentacle slam.



Harsh Lesson
can be a great finisher combined with
Flash
to catch fleeing foes. You can cast the ability right before flashing and target the enemy. When you flash you will jump directly at your enemy from a long range. This has a few advantages over using Q.
Tentacle Smash
will root you in place, slowing your chase. Obviously it can also be missed. because Q has a wind up it allows enemies to run or flash/dash out of it.
Harsh Lesson
-
Flash
is instant and the damage will follow through even if the enemy flashes aswell. Enemies will often react with a flash of their own to try and get out of range before you hit, however once cast
Harsh Lesson
damage can't be canceled.



Using
Harsh Lesson
as an escape tool



Gromp escape



When pushing past the outer turret you can place a ward over the gromp wall. This provides an escape when enemies come.



Ultimate -
Leap of Faith

The ultimate has a lot of cool interactions. To start off, it makes you immune to knockups and knockbacks. Furthermore, it makes your tentacles slam twice as fast and without a hitbox indicator. This can be used to catch fleeing enemies off guard by a quick smash.

Using your ultimate

ALWAYS TRY TO HIT E -

Test of Spirit
BEFORE USING R

Ideally, you always want to hit both the enemy champion and its spirit. This is what happens when you hit both:

2 tentacles spawn for hitting 2 champions and those instantly smash the spirit. You can hit the spirit with W to ensure it gets killed. When the enemy becomes a Vessel all tentacles will instantly smash the enemy with little chance to dodge.

When you ult on both the enemy and its spirit, try to make the spirit close to 0 hp, so that the next tentacle smash will finish it off, slowing the enemy while he tries to run away.

Don't use

Harsh Lesson
just before ulting.



Leap of Faith
will put your
Harsh Lesson
on reduced cooldown. using W just before using ult will result in you walking around with the tentacles not slamming.



Blocking a knock-up

A couple of champions rely on knockups to engage or start a CC-chain.

Yasuo
is one of those. He needs to hit a knockup in order to use his ultime -
Last Breath
. Because your R blocks the knockup he won't be able to use his ultimate. A good example in the clip above.

How to 1 versus X

First you want to look for an E. Using

Test of Spirit
roots you in place, so not only do you lose your most important ability, but you are also a shooting duck for the enemy. Bait the enemies to kill you, let them group up on you. Illaoi has a lot of missing health healing and health from items, giving her room to lose some health before healing it back up. The more enemies she hits with
Leap of Faith
, the more tentacles spawn. And the more people she hits with tentacles, the more healing she gets. This is why she's excellent at solo killing enemy teams.

An effective way to hit your E is to hold on to using it and analyze the enemy's movement patterns. Don't be afraid to let the ADC hit you a couple of times. If you understand how they move hitting

Test of Spirit
will be a lot easier.

Once you've hit or missed your E don't kill it just yet. You want to use your R on as many enemies as possible, including the spirit. Make use of Flash- R to accomplish this. When enemies think they're out of range you flash on their head and wreak havoc. R makes you immune to CC during its cast time, so if it's possible, wait for an enemy to hit you with their main CC to disrupt their engage. For example a knockup for Yasuo or Nautilus/Blitzcrank/Pyke/Thresh hooks.

The tentacles spawning will instantly smash because you have a spirit from your E. If that was enough damage to kill the spirit, continue hitting your W on as many enemies as possible. When the spirit is killed and the enemy becomes a vessel, the tentacles will smash an additional time on top of the vessel. The vessel will also be slowed for 80% by the E, locking it in the middle of your ultimate. Now that most of the enemies have been smashed 4 times you can chase them down 1 by one with your W. For the people who keep their heads cool, it's an option to leave the vessel alive for additional smashes. Most of the time it's hard to keep track who you've hit with which spells, leaving it to a W-smashing party. Even if you die, you will often take others with you, giving space for your team to take objectives. Not only did you attract 4 people to kill you, you also left them low health. Now spam ping your jungler and ask why he hasn't done baron yet while 5 people were botside to kill you.



Example 1v3

This video about shows the idea. First

Test of Spirit
is hit on Yasuo, however using
Leap of Faith
directly after hitting E will only spawn minimal tentacles and because we fight both Blitzcrank and Yasuo we want to use it to disrupt the Knockup. We kite back and wait for both Garen and Blitz to stack on top of the spirit to hit 3 champions and try to hit it right when
Blitzcrank
hits his
Power Fist
to ignore the knockup. This is slightly miss timed but if Yasuo were to use his
Last Breath
here he would've been instantly blown up. The tentacles that spawn hit the spirit and kill it, hitting both
Garen
and
Blitzcrank
and healing Illaoi in the process. The tentacle healing keeps Illaoi just outside of
Demacian Justice
execution range and by kiting away, using flash to dodge the
Rocket Grab
and continuously hitting
Harsh Lesson
Garen and Blitzcrank get killed one by one. Yasuo is killed outside of the fight because he can't dodge the tentacles during the slow of
Test of Spirit
and has no dash without a minion wave.

Notice how an auto-attack is weaved in between every

Harsh Lesson
to grant additional
Conqueror
and
Trinity Force
stacks.

Even though red team was behind in this play. Illaoi was already ahead and came out on top because she had a solid 10 CS/ minute and secured 5 plates during laning phase.

Had Illaoi died during this play her team would still have had an advantage because the 3 enemies need to reset while red team takes mid towers.

R-flash

Your R has a cast time, during this time you can flash to a place which would have normally been out of your range to hit as many enemy champions as possible. This is a great way to turn fights when getting run down by the enemy. Even if you missed your E prior, you can flash R and smack the enemies with your W, waiting for the E to come back up and close out the fight.



1v5 flash-engage example.

In this clip we see how

Kai'Sa
is hit by
Test of Spirit
, becoming the vassal. Using R-flash on top of both
Lulu
and Kai'Sa will spawn two tentacles and close the gap. The tentacles slam on Kaisa instantly because she's the Vessel and once more after Illaoi further closes the gap with
Harsh Lesson
, killing Kaisa in the process.

The rest of the clip is a little show off and only possible because of how far ahead blue side is and Akshan going AFK halfway into the fight. The point of interest however is using flash to catch out KaiSa and removing the only threat in the fight which was able to kill Illaoi.

Using R to finish off a fleeing foe

R speeds up tentacle slams, which will catch enemies off guard. When an enemy is the vessel and runs away with a sliver of health you can R in place, hitting nothing. However, the spawning tentacles and active tentacles will hit the low health vessel at increased speed. Use this if you just killed a spirit and the opponent flees with <200 health.

Killing fleeing enemies with
Leap of Faith

Zyra is hit by

Test of Spirit
making her a vessel. The
Leap of Faith
looks very random in this clip because it hits only a full health Sion with no spirit pulled out. However it secures a kill on Zyra because she won't anticipate for the sped up tentacle slams.

Other tricks.

I don't know many. Contact me if you do.

One more trick I can show is the niche mana trick. The mana of Q and E will be drained at the end of the cast time. When you have just a little mana left, you can cast Q or E and activate W while the other ability casts. Activating W will drain the mana otherwise used by the channelled ability that's being cast. This is a cool trick, but won't get you to challenger.

Summoner spells.

Always

Flash
-
Teleport
.

You need the mobility from flash because Illaoi doesn't have any, and teleport to get back to lane quickly and keep your tempo in the early game, as it prevents your tentacles from despawning. Teleport is used for split pushing past laning phase.



  • Summs (Role 1)

Item Builds

We start with

Corrupting Potion
because we need mana and sustain. Illaoi has some of the best base stats in the game, so she doesn't need any more stats level 1.

Because Illaoi has 350 base movement speed, which is one of the highest in the game,

Boots
are a great early item on her to kite nearly all toplaners. Not many champions can deal with 375 movement speed before level 6.



  • Item Set 1

Hullbreaker first

In patch 11.3 the fighter items got a small rework. This made

Phage
no longer a component of any mythic item, but it remains the best lane item, just like
Noonquiver
and
Lost Chapter
for other classes. The completed
Hullbreaker
also gives great stats for Illaoi. The change of items pushed Illaoi to build Hullbreaker, and also pushed her to become even more of a split pusher than she originally was.

Sheen item / mythic item

There's a lot of discussion about mythics. Goredrinker, Stridebreaker and frostfire gauntlet can all work. However, they depend more on the situation and can work against you if the situation changes.

Sheen
items work every single game because of how well they synergize with W -
Harsh Lesson
and hullbreaker.

When your lane opponent is a fighter or tank, go for

Divine Sunderer
if the enemy stays even.

When your opponent is mobile, squishy, ranged, or if you have a good lead (at this point lane phase has come to an end), you can go for

Trinity Force
, as it's better to stick on enemies and push towers. However, you can't make good use of the passive attack damage stacks because you don't always have room for auto attacks in your rotation. The stacks do however work on turrets resulting in a way better splitpush. Against tanks you often win lane quite hard with a big CS difference. In that case it might not be worth to invest in a
Divine Sunderer
to counter a tank who's behind anyway. Trinity Force will help to close out the game faster.

When you fight bruisers, the enemy has mostly melee champs (

Sylas
,
Zed
,
Yasuo
,
Kassadin
midlane, or the team consists of more close than ranged champions, you can make more use of Divine sunderer. You get kited more easily, but it gives a lot more survivability in both the 1v1 and teamfights.

After mythic we base our items on the situation. Mostly Death's dance, but Spirit Visage is a great item against a heavy magic damage team because of the extra healing.

Runes



  • Standard
  • Against squishy/pokers


Conqueror or grasp

For runes the prefered page is conqueror because it scales the best of any runes. The other option is grasp when you need to be dominant early game to survive. Past the laning phase it's not possible to stack grasp effectively and you won't really make use of it in a quick fight. However, it adds in more sustaining minor runes.

Against ranged, squishy or mobile matchups, grasp works well with your W. Take grasp against champions like Akshan, Akali and Kayle.

Conqueror is generally stronger because it scales better past the laning phase, and gives way more value in longer fights and fights against multiple people.

Minor runes

Presence of mind is a must have because of the mana, Last stand is the strongest option to pair with Presence of mind. If the enemy has a lot of CC you can also take legend: tenacity

The secondary page changes every game. When the enemy has heavy CC, you can take unflinching, which pairs well with legend:tenacity. Otherwise, take health if you think you'll need it to survive fights later on. Boneplating, Second wind and Conditioning depend on the lane. You pick Boneplating versus bruisers, Second wind versus poke and Conditioning in a free lane, like

Kayle
or tanks.

If you don't need any of the above because your lane is free, against tanks or

Kayle
, you can take Demolish to rapidly enlarge your lead. It synergizes well with Hullbreaker and Sheen items.

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1 Comments

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VYXN 2 months ago- Edited

Amazing guide!

however I know 3 other small tricks that could be useful

1) illaoi r dmg itself can also be used to kill the spirit in the r->vessel kill combo to almost guarentee a instant direct slam while the enemy vessel is slowed for 1.5s but its harder to set up. also that illaoi r has a range to empower tentacles a bit bigger than e tether range (iirc)

2) additionally, I think it is worth mentioning that riot changed illaoi r to spawn tentacles in cursor direction (except when flash) from direction of nearest champion since sometimes when kiting away it can spawn the tentacles backwards/wrong if you arent careful.

3) can also flash with e mid animation similar to thresh q, can be used to dodge important enemy abilites / reposition (ie vs sett and fio) while casting an ability yourself or agressivly e+flash->r since u can use it to guarentee hit on priority target + always have spirit in middle of ult (vs e r flash or vessel -> r flash)

also not sure if guide mentions that you cant flash during q too, but new players may assume its like darius or morde q.

this is a very good and detailed guide without being super confusing. very good guide overall! :)

also, is sorcery secondary with grasp or conq good? I know Dirtymobs on na likes to take sorcery a lot with manaflow transcendance / storm, maybe into mana spending lanes or smth