Illaoi is a champion of medium difficulty, and depending on your playstyle and ability to read a situation, she can be very effective against most enemies. The character is highly dependent on tentacles, which spawn around walls. To get the most out of her, you should fight in the areas that have previously-spawned tentacles.
Besides being able to carry games on her own, Illaoi is also very effective against tanky opponents. This champion provides much better results for seasoned League of Legends veterans, who know how to utilize terrain features to their advantage.
In this Illaoj guide, I will analyze the champion, talking about her ability kit and lore.
Key Info Up Front
- Price: 6,300 Blue Essence, 3,780 Blue Essence, and Champion Shard, 975 RP
- Roles: Fighter
- Difficulty: Medium
Lore and Story
Illaoi “The Kraken Priestess”
Faith is at the core of Illaoi’s existence. Following the Great Kraken, she has the power to detach enemies’ spirits from their bodies. She is never alone, having the God of Serpent Isles in her corner.
Illaoi conducts herself always true to her emotions and perception of life. The Kraken Priestess has full dominion over other enemies’ lives while also relishing the connections with people close to her. However, if you wish to understand her motivation, you need to understand her God.
Often depicted as a snake deity with enormous tentacles, Nagakabouros is the representation of life that has no beginning and no end. Over the years, God was called many names, such as The Bearded Lady, The Mother Serpent, and The Great Kraken. The righteous believers celebrate Nagakabouros as someone who blesses the oceans with its storms and endless waves while also being perceived as the island’s God of life.
According to the pillars of the religion, all spirits are meant to serve a larger purpose. Each one of them understands the universe on a deeper level, and only by pursuing their wishes can these spirits put the universe into its motion.
Unlike lesser priestesses, that perform clerical and maintenance duties, Illaoi works directly under God. Her sacred duty is to safeguard the universe’s perpetual motion, and the Kraken Priestess does that by performing two crucial tasks.
Illaoi’s first role is to serve as a paragon in a sacred war against the undead. These entities are a constant threat to her God as well as the island’s population. Like many champions, her role is to protect the living against the upcoming Harrowing.
The Kraken Priestess’ second task is to find those with extraordinary potential and present them with the test of Nagakabouros. While wilding The Eye of God, an enormous relic, Illaoi removes the spirit from chosen ones’ bodies and then engages these spirits in combat. However, the price of engaging Illaoi is harsh; if the individual loses the battle, their spirit will be destroyed.
However, those who survive can now perceive reality on a higher level. They are free of their previous, invisible shackles that stifled their growth.
Illaoi is renowned not only for her power but the fact she has denounced age-old traditions. Unlike the previous Kraken Priestesses, she has renounced the beautiful temples of Buhru, settling herself in the filthy city of Bilgewater.
This is the only place where outsiders can roam freely on Serpent Isles, which is one of the reasons why it is so dilapidated. The indigenous popular often shunned these foreigners, seeing them as equals to the lowest castes of their society. Illaoi has changed this old tradition, placing herself as the first line of the city’s defense. Furthermore, she decided that some of its citizens are worth the ancient test.
Regardless, the city is still somewhat closed to foreigners allowing just a few of them to live inside of its old buildings. Despite all the challenges, Illaoi still spreads the religion through her sheer presence.
While many people seek her blessing and strength, they are also reluctant to approach her, fearing the possible test.
Key Relationships and Quotes
- Gangplank: The lore implies that Illaoi is Gangplank’s, first true love. The two had an affair that only lasted for a night but has left a deep imprint on both of them.
- Miss Fortune: She also has a relationship with Miss Fortune. The two of them have spoken about Harrowing and the implications it might bring to the islands.
- Here is the line that Illaoi is famous for:
“There can be no rest. We are the motion.”
Illaoi is heavily dependent on her tentacles (Prophet of an Elder God passive). She usually lanes on the top, and you need to create these appendages around the brushes and right southern and northern wall. That way, you can control all the movement, which would also protect the champion from the incoming ganks.
The Kraken Priestess can push really fast. Like many champions, she is dependent on her ultimate for damage, but depending on how well your game goes, Illaoi can almost 1v5 the enemy team. That is if you have the right setup. In many ways, she is similar to tanks due to her slow movement and high resilience.
Here are some of the pros of playing Illaoi:
- With enough farm, the champion can be deadly in almost all situations being able to take 1 vs. 2, 1 vs. 3, and sometimes, 1 vs. 4. Among others, this is due to her good recovery rate. Each tentacle can heal 5% of her health, allowing her to remain in combat for longer periods of time.
- Among others, this champion is really strong against tanks. Harsh Lesson scales well against opponents with a large health pool, and you can further increase it through AD.
- The Kraken Priestess is a solid laner. Even when going against a resilient opponent, she can dish enormous damage by relying on Tentacle Smash and Harsh Lesson. You can also bring the target closer with Test of Spirit and pick them apart at your leisure.
- The combination of her passively spawned tentacles and Illaoi’s ultimate can be really devastating in teamfights. This is especially true if you manage to catch several champions in a narrow brush area.
- Although this is not an advantage per se, Illaoi provides a really unique gaming experience, not only for League of Legends players but all MOBA fans. The tentacle mechanic is really unique, and it requires a lot of forward planning, which can provide great returns to knowledgeable, strategy-focused players.
Illoai also has a few issues. The champion is relatively mediocre in the current patch, barely having an above 50%-win rate. Here are a few things you should consider when planning a team composition:
- She barely has any crowd control. This can cause all sorts of issues against mobile opponents. Furthermore, a few CC that the champion has are hard to land.
- The Kraken Priestess is very dependent on her ultimate. You need to use it against as many opponents as possible to be effective.
- She isn’t really mobile and works much better in ambushes. If you have a terrain disadvantage or if you need to aggressively occupy an enemy position, she can feel very lackluster.
- When Illaoi has a bad lane matchup, playing the game feels like a choir. On top of that, this can stifle her progress going into the mid and late game. She also has mana issues, which makes it hard to poke enemies.
Illaoi needs to fight under her own terms. Here are a few opponents that are especially tricky:
Mordekaiser can cause several issues to Illaoi. First off, this champion can utilize a strong pull ability called Death’s Grasp that would place the Kraken Priestess in the center of the map, away from the tentacle. This in itself provides a great advantage in the lane.
Furthermore, this champion is especially strong when dealing with enemies one on one. Although going towards the walls and brushes would usually provide an advantage to Illoai, it also allows Mordekaiser to maximize the potential of Obliterate. Once you start trading blows, you can rely on Darkness Rise and Indestructible for both offense and defense.
Even if Mordekaiser gets stuck in a bad spot and starts losing health, he can always retreat and use his shield for healing. The champion’s ultimate, Realm of Death, is great for the killing of Illaoi’s squishy allies during the mid game. With this stat boost, Mordekaiser can gain a further advantage over the champion during the subsequent engagement.
Irelia is strong against the Kraken Priestess for similar reasons as Mordekaiser. The Blade Dancer has a great poke, passive that increases your offensive potential, a healing/escape ability, AOE slow, and stun.
Playing with Irelia against Illoai is usually very safe for Irelia. Her healing ability, called Bladesurge, also works as her escape spell. It costs just 20 mana, so you can recast it at a whim. Although it doesn’t provide that much health, it gives you some sustain in the lane.
Similar to Mordekaiser, it is hard to keep Irelia in place if you’re the Kraken Priestess. Aside from the escape mechanism, her (E) and (R) have a wide range and provide slow and stun. So, even if you misplayed and have Bladesurge on cooldown, you can simply use one of these spells to stifle Illoai’s progress towards you. The only issue with these two abilities is that they are a bit slow to set up.
Garen is another champion that doesn’t care about what Illaoi is doing. Even if he gets low on health, he can simply disengage and wait to regenerate. This makes it really hard for the Kraken Priestess to trade effectively.
Basically, all you need to do is stay in the middle of the map and focus on the last hits. This would provide a cumulative effect making you more resilient to physical and magical attacks. Even if Garen is caught by Test of Spirit and subsequently slowed, he can easily break out of it.
As all of this wasn’t enough, he has a silence ability, a shield, and can push the lane. Given how important the laning phase is for Illoai, you can easily stifle her progression with Garen.
Related Perks and Special Abilities
Prophet of an Elder God (Passive)
Every 20 to 7.25 seconds (depending on the champion’s level), Illaoi will spawn a static tentacle near the terrain features. It takes 2 seconds for appendages to fully materialize, during which time they are completely untargetable.
By themselves, tentacles are pretty irrelevant. However, they help facilitate your abilities, which means that their positioning is crucial for maximizing the champion’s kit. Keep in mind that tentacles can’t strike by themselves; they can only be activated with abilities. They have a static attack speed of 1, while their damage varies with levels, Tentacle Smash rank, and champion’s AD.
Tentacle Smash (Q)
Tentacle Smash is a pretty straightforward ability. It will create an appendage behind Illaoi that will strike an opponent in front of her. It will also increase the damage off all tentacles on the map by 10/15/20/25/30% when you’re using abilities.
That being said, this is the ability that you need to scale first. It will have the biggest impact on your overall damage. As for the active, you can utilize it in conjunction with basic strikes to deal extra damage while going one on one against an opponent.
Another reason why Tentacle Smash is important is that it works in a line. In other words, you can utilize it for clearing minion waves much faster than with basic strikes.
Harsh Lesson (W)
This particular ability is great for closing the gap between Illoai and her target. It will boost her next basic strike with 225 range. Furthermore, if they are beyond this enhanced auto-attack, the Kraken Priestess will jump to them.
Harsh Lesson is especially great against tanks as it deals 3/3.5/4/4.5/5 of targets max health plus 4% per 100 attack damage. Furthermore, it will force all nearby tentacles to strike the same target. The ability does minimal damage of 20/30/40/50/60, which can also be applied on turrets.
Due to the fact that it has a short cooldown of 4 seconds, you can recast it several times. This makes it great for anyone who has a good sustain or large health pool that you need to chip away.
Test of Spirit (E)
Test of Spirit is the champion’s most interesting ability. Illoai will cast a tendril that will separate the spirit of the first opponent it hits. Both the target and the spirit will remain tethered together during a 7-second period, revealing both of them.
The spirit, which will now be close to Illoai, will have the same health, magic resistance, and armor as the target and will transfer damage equal to 25/30/35/40/45% plus 8% per 100 attack damage to the connected enemy.
If you kill the spirit, or if the opponent moves outside of the range, the spirit will return to the target. This will turn the enemy into a Vessel, which will last for 10 seconds. Furthermore, they will be slowed by 80% for 1.5 seconds as soon as the spirit returns to the body. For the duration of the spell, nearby appendages will strike both the Vessel and the Spirit.
Furthermore, once the body turns into the Vessel, it will start spawning tentacles nearby every 5/4/3 seconds. Unlike the regular tentacles, which have to be at a certain distance to spawn, these ones can appear closer to each other, which makes it more likely for several tentacles to attack the enemy at the same time.
If a Vessel manages to kill Illoai during the debuff, the effect will perish.
Leap of Faith (R)
When the Kraken Priestess activates the ultimate, she will become immune to any displacement effects and will jump into the fray smashing the weapon into the ground in a 500 radius. This will do 150/250/350 physical damage plus 50% extra attack damage.
What makes this ability especially potent is that it will spawn tentacles for every champion struck up to 6 tentacles. Each one of them will last for 8 seconds, which can be really devastating against teams clumped together.
During the effect, Harsh Lesson cooldown will be reduced by 50%. They will be stronger than the regular appendages, taking them just half of the usual time to strike. Furthermore, they will be active during the ultimate, and the opponents won’t be able to damage them.
The only issue with this ability is that Illoai doesn’t have any crowd control spells that will keep the enemies in place. So, the ability usually requires allied crowd control to restrict opponents for the duration.
The champion can utilize two combos. The first one includes Test of Spirit (E) and Leap of Faith (R).
First, you will have to cast Test of Spirit followed by the ultimate. Due to the fact that both the Spirit and the Vessel count as champions, you can spawn a double number of tentacles. This combination is especially potent in a one-on-one situation. Not only will you deal enormous damage, by the double amount of tentacles will significantly boost your restorative power.
Illoai is heavily dependent on her (R), and her (R) is heavily dependent on the positioning. It is your main task to connect with as many enemies as possible for massive damage.
There is a brief delay between Leap of Faith jump and the weapon slamming into the ground. During this short animation, you can utilize Flash to instantly teleport and attack the backlines. Using the ultimate in such a manner will make it much harder to counter or react. Unfortunately, if you don’t land it correctly, you will just be wasting your summoner spell for nothing.
Champion Playstyle: Runes and Summoner Spells
As for the runes, most players will mix Precision and Resolve Trees. The champion’s defense and offense are intertwined, and the longer you’re able to stay in the battle, the more damage you’ll deal. With the right build, she can stay engaged for quite a while, slowly chipping away enemies positioned around the tentacles.
Grasp of the Undying
While staying in combat, you get bonus damage based on health and extra restoration. The effect is based on stacks and becomes stronger the longer you’re engaged. Every four seconds, you gain a permanent health increase of 5, and you can consume all stacks to deal 4% of max health as magic damage while also restoring 2% of max health. This is just the right ability for Illaoi as it allows her to remain in the fight for quite a while.
A lot of people use Demolish as the second rune. Basically, the champion is really strong at pushing, and if the enemy leaves the lane, you can utilize this ability to quickly take turrets. It works by accumulating stacks, which can be consumed to dish 100 plus 35% of your max health as physical damage to the structure.
Here is another rune meant for prolonged fighting. If you’re engaged with the same enemy for 1.5 seconds, the next 3 attacks from that opponent will deal from 30 to 60 less damage (depending on the level). The effect has a 45-second cooldown and can also reduce true damage.
Overgrowth increases your overall health. It activates whenever you’re close to an enemy. For every 8 units that die within the 1,400 range, you get 3 health. Once you reach 15 stacks, you will get an extra 3.5% max health on top of that.
Presence of Mind
Presence of Mind is extremely important for Illaoi as this character struggles heavily with mana. Whenever you damage an opposing champion, you will get mana regeneration. If you kill them, you will restore 15% of maximum mana. Again, another great effect for prolonged battles.
Another rune that synergizes well with everything that you do, Last Stand increases your damage when you drop below 60% health by 5%. It will provide an even greater boost the lower you drop, capping at 11% at 30% health or less.
For Offense, it is best to go with Adaptive Force 9 shard. Just with runes, you should have enough defense and sustain, so it is better to invest in some offensive effects.
Once again, take Adaptive Force 9 for the same reasons as for Offense shard.
Lastly, out of the three defensive shards, 6 armor is the best one, especially in the early phases.
When it comes to summoner spells, a lot of players will go with Flash and Teleport. As mentioned, Flash can be utilized for comboing with the ultimate. It is great for any slow-moving champion. Besides the initiation, you can also use it for escaping ganks and other sticky situations. Keep in mind that this champion doesn’t have any escape mechanisms, so Flash should work like a charm.
When it comes to the second spell, Teleport is a pretty nice choice for the same reasons as Flash. If anything, you won’t have to watch Illoai slouch from one lane to another.
Like with most other fighters, you should buy items that would provide enough defense to withhold the enemy onslaught. The sustain is crucial for the Kraken Priestess, given that she can eventually deal enough damage to enemies. However, you can also benefit from extra ability haste and attack damage. Critical strike and attack speed are pretty bad on the champion.
Here are some of the things that people commonly purchase on Illaoi:
Illaoi usually holds the line for its team. You start the fight and try to keep the enemies within an area for the longest time possible (with the help of allies). This is why Plated Steelcaps are so important. As mentioned, you don’t need attack speed that much, so Berserker’s Greaves is not the ideal choice.
If you already decided to go with Demolish rune, Hullbreaker could provide a nice synergy. The weapon gives users 400 health, 50 attack damage, and 150% health regeneration. If you don’t have allies nearby, Illaoi and lane minions will gain extra armor, extra magic resistance, and will dish enormous damage to turrets.
This is the third, most common item on the Kraken Priestess. Similar to Hullbreaker, it gives you a nice health and damage boost. You will also gain 20 ability haste, and a potent, unique passive called Spellblade that would enchance your basic strikes. As a mythic item, Divine Sunderer will get better with each legendary in your inventory, providing extra 5 magic and armor penetration.
As for the last three items, you can experiment a bit. However, most people will go with things such as Sterak’s Gage. Besides 400 health, you will also gain extra attack damage equal to 40% of your base AD. Lifeline passive would create a strong shield around the wearer when they drop below 30% health. This effect is especially great with Last Stand rune.
Given that the core items don’t give you that much armor, you will probably have the need for something with this particular stat. Thornmail is always a nice choice in these situations, enhancing your armor by 60 and health by 350. It also has Thorns passive that will deal damage upon attackers but also inflict them with grievous wounds debuff.
Here is another item that makes you extra tanky. Death’s Dance provides 55 attack damage, 45 armor, and 15 ability haste. Instead of taking straight damage, the item’s passive will turn it into a damage over time effect, which you can purge with takedowns. Furthermore, killing enemies will restore your health proportionate to 175% bonus attack damage (especially great given how many AD items Illaoi usually buys).
Laning and Teamfighting Tips
- Harsh Lesson has an interesting feature reseting your basic strikes upon using the ability. This can be really important given how slow Illoai’s attack speed is. In other words, you can utilize a mini combo where you will auto-attack a target, after which you will immediately transition into Harsh Lesson and, after that, another quick basic hit.
- Given how Test of Spirit works, you should only use the ability when close to tentacles. Pull the target to one of these appendages so you can simultaneously dish damage. While the ability can be used in other situations, as well, this is how you maximize its damage.
- Speaking of Test of Spirit, this ability is also better when you combine it with your (Q). Try to lane the spirit and the Vessel so you can hit them both with Tentacle Smash. Items such as Corrupting Potion can provide extra damage in such situations.
- There are a few different tricks you can do to maximize Leap of Faith’s damage. As mentioned, Flash can be a good way to quicken the weapon cast but also to change the champion’s trajectory mid-air. Once you land on enemies, tentacles will spawn around them with a short delay. To activate them even faster, you can combo the ultimate with Harsh Lesson.
- Unless you’re within the enemies’ sight, they cannot see you cast Test of Spirit. Illoai can use this to her advantage to prepare the passive tentacle and surprise an opponent. Given that a target can escape from the spell, it is best to use it when an enemy is at low health to quickly nuke the remaining life.
Question: What ethnicity is Illaoi?
Answer: This champion is inspired by Ancient Australian and Ancient Polynesian culture.
Question: What is Illaoi’s role?
Answer: The Kraken Priestess is commonly played in the top lane. She is a fighter who has low mobility and high resilience. Her role is that of a quasi-initiator, but she needs crowd control allies to maximize her potential. With enough items, she can become a powerful late-game force.
Question: What should I buy for Illaoi?
Answer: She benefits greatly from attack damage, health, and armor. Magic resistance and ability haste also work nicely. Her core items are Plated Steelcaps, Divine Sunderer, and Hullbreaker, and you can also add Death’s Dance and Sterak’s Gage to that.
Illaoi Guide: Conclusion
Illaoi is a really interesting character. Although she is not the newest addition, her concept is quite revolutionary. To maximize her potential, she relies on passively-spawned tentacles, which can only appear around brushes and walls.
The champion has a high damage output, especially if you utilize her ultimate properly. However, many players struggle to maximize her appendages. In many ways, Illoai is a champion that benefits greatly from a proper team composition. She can hold the lines for allies and take enormous amounts of punishment while the backlines nuke down the opponents.