Very recently I lost a game as Elise. The enemy Jax was fed, so I built tanky to counter that (Frozen Heart, Randuin's Omen, Spirit Visage for Malzahar). My only real damage item was pretty much my Sorcerer's Shoes. Jax was fed because my allied Poppy did not build properly and just kept dying to him despite my warnings and attempts to save his lane through ganks.

I just want to know: Did I make a mistake building pure tank? Should I build damage in a circumstance like this in the future? How do you make the call to gamble and build offensive when you up against a fed team without a proper front line to soak up and block off their damage and dives?

  • I almost couldn't read the text. If you're going to say way too much details, at least be organized with it or else it'd take a little bit more of patience. This is just a suggestion! :)
    – Arkl1te
    Jun 5, 2014 at 15:02
  • very hard to answer. I mean if they stick together well in team you did well. If there overall teamplay suck and you can catch some one by one than it makes sense to go for additional damage. But that's just my opinion. Frozen Heart / Randuins etc will help the team in big fights really much. while you as ganker Jun 5, 2014 at 15:04
  • another point: I heard that if your team won 2 lanes, probably it won the game. so...
    – Click Ok
    Jun 12, 2014 at 5:37
  • None of my lanes won like I said in my question their entire team was fed. However the most fed was their top lane, we could not win fights because of this and the fact that my mid kept split-pushing did not help either, The only lane that did ok was out bot lane so yeah Jun 12, 2014 at 6:49

4 Answers 4


One of the reason why Lee sin and Elise are considered difficult champions is because of their very situational Item builds. For most champions you can safely run a generic item path while with these champions you have to build extremely situational every single game.

Now since it's impossible for me to list down all the situations you might face, I will tell you the rule that could be applied for most situations. (most not all!)

If you are fed -> Build damage, If you are behind -> Build tank

This applies for most bruisers and also for Elise and Lee sin.

Now the problem is that Elise and Lee drop off really fast. For those two champions in particular you should never buy more than 3 damage Items. (Unless you're super fed or you want to troll around).

The base damage is really high on both of these champions, but their scaling drops off kind of fast. That means that an early Bloodthirster/Hydra + Last whisper can be really strong on lee sing but building more damage after that won't make too big of a difference. Same goes for Elise with Rilay + Liandrys.

You are an assassin and that means that your main goal is to Kill the Squishies. Those 2 items will be enough to kill the squishies. Killing a tank does require a lot more items for champions like Lee and Elise and it leads to the risk of them being squishy and killed. Killing the tank is job of the adc, not yours. You only sometimes have to keep the tank away from the adc.

  • 1
    @Fabián true but even these are rather situational on these 2 compared to other champions. Mainly because of their base damage.
    – Jutschge
    Jun 5, 2014 at 15:21
  • Ok I actually am well aware of the fact that their scaling is poor which is why when I build elise I almost always build off tank with liandrys and rilay as my mechanics for elise are you know above average I am able to kill anyone without resistances or that is low and out of position. I do like your answer its great and it had enlightened me, However yes there are a lot of situations but in my own situation I just want to know what did i do wrong I'd also like to add that they only had one tank (the support) but like i said jax was super fed. Jun 5, 2014 at 16:06
  • For those two champions in particular you should never buy more than 3 damage Items I would say 2 at most. Lee either Lizard Elder/Hydra or Hydra/LW. Same thing for Elise except getting only a Lliandry's and then a void staff if there is a lot of Res. If you keep building damage even if you are fed, the enemy team simply has to get smart and just ff you right away to make you useless.
    – dphil
    Jun 5, 2014 at 20:06

As a Elise the only thing you really want to build for damage is magic-pen, your base damage and missing-maximum target hp scaling on Q just too good by themselves and you got way more from penetration then from AP. That makes Elise such an amazing champion for being ahead as while building defensive you still get really good offense.

Other advice (especially for solo-q) as a jungler you never want to try "save" lane. You may gank such Poppies as much as you physically can, but if their opponent is so much better - any advantage you gave would be lost next moment you leave a lane, and in the end of the day you just waste your time to help helpless person. As was mention before - your goal is objective control and giving initial advantage. If you see that one lane is struggling proper reaction would be not try to babysit that lane, but apply more pressure to others trying to force such Jaxes to start roam asap and stop snowballing in their warm and cozy lane which they already dominating, and will give opportunity to free farm to your teammate to catch-up.

In cases if you're only tank in team, you should not to try to fight their front-line and/or peal for backline - it would be a support's task in such cases (most not-tanky supports as Nami could peal and keep adc alive way better then you can). If you're the only tank - you go for their backline and try to win as much time as you can, and depending what king of jungler you play - ether assassinate their heavy-hitters or get as much cc on them as you can and stay alive.


Its usually always good to go one damage item. For Elise it isn't always a necessity to build a damage item but it sure does help. Listen to the pros when they talk about when to build damage when you're behind so you can possibly get a pick. If you're ahead you want to build tankier and more sustain so you easily out last your opponents.


Did I make a mistake building pure tank? Probably, you need to build some damage so that you can be seen as some threat so that you aren't ignored past your CC.

Should I build damage in a circumstance like this in the future? I would have gotten at least a Lliandry's. Maybe a void staff also if they had high MR.

How do you make the call to gamble and build offensive when you up against a fed team without a proper front line to soak up and block off their damage and dives? Normally you don't. You can hope for some picks to pick off some targets and hope that the rest of team doesn't collapse on you. Most of the time though you still need a tank to soak up damage/attention.

When you are the only frontline, you never build more than 1-2 damage items. So Elise in particular the only damage item you should need is a Lliandy's. Void staff if people are stacking too many resistances against you but everything else should be tanky. It's your job to either initiate and either kill the enemy carries or keep them busy a long time.

Some frontlines synergize and even do increased damage with damage items. Malphite does more damage the more armor you have. Champions like this, you will build even tankier than others since building tankiness gives you a slight increase to damage also. Mundo is sort of an exception since he doesn't really scale damagewise off tank items (besides thornmail). You build him pure tank anyways because his base damages are high enough to keep the enemies attention normally.

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