How To Play Illaoi In League Of Legends

Illaoi is one of the most formidable bruisers you can face in the Top Lane. Her mix of damage and tankiness makes her a force to be reckoned with. Here’s everything you need to know to get you started playing the Kraken Priestess.


When Illaoi was first released, it was a time when Bruisers reigned supreme. Today, Bruisers are still great but not as strong as before. Despite this, Illaoi finds herself in a surprisingly good place because of her tendency to snowball and go toe to toe with champions like Irelia and Fiora. She absolutely dominates in melee matchups thanks to her strong sustain and her ability to dish out strong DPS. Thanks to her kit, she is also really good at clearing waves and strong in 2v1 matchups.


Illaoi’s abilities are all about dealing AoE damage and strong sustain. She’s an excellent team fighter and an even stronger 1v1 duelist.

Passive – Prophet of an Elder God

Illaoi draws the presence of her god, spawning a Tentacle on nearby impassable terrain if no other Tentacles are nearby. Tentacles will not attack on their own, but can be made to Slam by Illaoi’s abilities. Slam deals physical damage. If Slam damages one or more enemy champions, Illaoi is healed by [+5% her missing].

Prophet of an Elder God is key to Illaoi’s kit. It allows her to summon tentacles on impassable terrain and will attack enemies hit by Illaoi’s abilities. In a way, you can think of it like it doubles the damage of Illaoi’s abilities. This is also the source of her sustain so make sure you land it so that you can outlast your opponent.

Q – Tentacle Smash

Passive: Slam damage increased.

Active: Illaoi swings her idol, causing a tentacle to Slam forward.

Tentacle Smash is Illaoi’s bread and butter. This is your primary damaging ability. It’s pretty straightforward, she summons a tentacle that slams forward, dealing damage in a line. You’ll be using this to clear waves and to deal a huge chunk of damage on your opponent. 

W – Harsh Lesson

Illaoi leaps at her target on her next basic attack, dealing bonus physical damage (max 300 vs Monsters). When she strikes, nearby Tentacles Slam at the target.

Harsh Lesson can be considered as Illaoi’s gap closer that also enhances her basic attack. It is somewhat similar to Ekko’s E ability. Most of your combos will start with this ability as it will dish out strong burst and help you get close to your target. 

E – Test of Spirit

Illaoi pulls the spirit from an enemy champion for 7 seconds. The spirit can be attacked, with a percentage of the damage taken echoing to its owner. If the Spirit dies or the target leaves its range, the target becomes a Vessel for 10 seconds and is slowed by 80% for 1.5 seconds. Vessels will spawn Tentacles every few seconds if no other Tentacles are nearby. Tentacles will Slam automatically at spirits and vessels periodically.

Test of Spirit is one of the most interesting abilities in the game. It’s what gives Illaoi the upper hand against melee champions. You can consider this Illaoi’s poke or zoning ability. Thanks to Test of Spirit, melee champions will always think twice before they last hit or try to aggressively trade with you.

R – Leap of Faith

Illaoi smashes her idol into the ground, dealing physical damage to nearby enemies while also spawning a Tentacle for each enemy champion hit. For the next 8 seconds, Tentacles are untargetable and will attack 50% faster, and Harsh Lesson has a 2 second cooldown.

Leap of Faith is, hands down, one of the best damaging abilities in the game. When used right, its damage can absolutely decimate anyone caught in it. It’s great for both 1v1 and in team fight situations.

Runes and Item Builds

When it comes to items, you go for standard Bruiser builds that increase both damage and survivability. 

Starting Items

For your starting items, the best overall option is Corrupting Potion. This gives you sustain and dueling power in the early game since your opponent will most likely trade aggressively to prevent you from getting a lead and snowballing out of control. Doran’s Blade can be a pretty good option as well but only go for this when you’re sure that you have the upper hand in your match up.

Mythic Item

Illaoi is a champion that likes to mix basic attacks and her abilities in her combos to make the most out of her damage. As such, items that enhance basic attacks are really powerful on her. Since she’s better off as a Bruiser, the best choice for your Mythic item is Divine Sunderer. This gives her everything she needs in terms of stats plus the spellblade passive which enhances her basic attacks. You should strive to go for this item 90% of the time. If you feel like you need an alternative or just feel like you could use some more sustain, go for Goredrinker instead. It has solid stats that really benefits Illaoi and has an active that restores her health for each enemy champion hit.

Full Build

Unlike most champions, Illaoi doesn’t need to rush her first item. Instead, you should always go for Hullbreaker first. This gives you a lot of your essential stats like damage and survivability while also giving you an advantage when it comes to lane control by increasing your damage to towers. Next, upgrade into tier 2 boots. The standard for Top Laners is Plated Steelcaps but you can switch it for Mercury’s Treads if the need arises. Now, you’ll build your desired Mythic item. Afterwards, go for Death’s Dance to further increase your damage and survivability. Round out your build with Spirit Visage and Thornmail for the stats and resistances they can provide.

Other Viable Items

While the full build we’ve shown above is generally considered the standard for Illaoi, it is not set in stone. There are plenty of other items that you can purchase depending on your preference or what your situation currently needs. Items like Black Cleaver, Titanic Hydra, Sterak’s Gage, Gargoyle Stoneplate, and Anathema’s Chains are all good items to have especially if you’re leaning towards dealing more damage. Try to mix and match these item sets to see what works best for you. Doing so will help you develop a better understanding of the game’s deeper mechanics.


For your runes, go with the Precision tree and take Conqueror as your keystone. This will increase your overall damage and sustain. Next, take Presence of Mind for the mana restoration, Legend: Tenacity to help you against crowd control, and Last Stand to give you that additional boost of damage when you are low on health. For secondaries, go with the Resolve tree and take Demolish and Bone Plating. Demolish lets you deal more damage to towers while Bone Plating improves your resistances. For rune shards, take double Adaptive Force and Armor.

Useful Tips

  1. Try your best to manage your Tentacles properly. They are excellent sources of damage that can give you a distinct advantage when utilized correctly.
  2. Illaoi doesn’t really have any losing matchups except Mordekaiser. However, we would warn you to be careful when fighting against ranged opponents like Quinn, Vayne, or Jayce since they can free farm minions while also killing off some of your tentacles. 
  3. For your summoner spells, always take Flash and Teleport since these will give you additional mobility and a better overall presence around the map.

So there you have it! That’s all you need to know about playing Illaoi in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more awesome guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!