Countering Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess

Jun 23, 2016

Top lane champion, Illaoi, has recently entered the ranks of S-tier top laners. Her abilites deal significant damage while healing her for a percentage of her missing health. As a powerful lane bully she looks to dominate her opponents by poking them down with her tentacles or brute forcing her way to victory with a terrifying all-in.

If you’ve played against her in the top lane recently you’re well aware with how strong The Kraken Priestess is right now. She excels in one-on-one duels, but she also is very capable of turning a gank around for a double kill. Let’s try to prevent that from happening again in the future.

How Do You Beat Illaoi

Searching “Illaoi 2v1” on YouTube certainly brings up an awful lot of these videos…

Illaoi deals a ton of damage, but she isn’t very mobile. It’s her lack of mobility that typically prevents her from being too scary in large team fights. When she throws down Leap of Faith (R) she needs the enemy team to stay in place if she wishes to deal any kind of meaningful damage.

In lane this can be a little more difficult. Melee champions are especially vulnerable to Illaoi because they must close the gap in order to deal damage. This is exactly what she wants. Prioritizing boots on melee champions is a good idea in order to make dodging tentacles easier. Although powerful, Illaoi’s abilities all have a pretty long animation, giving you more than enough time to avoid taking damage.

When hit by Test of Spirit (E) you should walk out of range to avoid being marked as a vessel. It’s important to avoid putting yourself in a position where Illaoi can hit both you and your spirit with Tentacle Smash (Q). There’s no reason to take extra damage.

Dealing damage back is best done when her primary damaging abilities are on cooldown. This presents an opportunity to deliver your full spell rotation without receiving any real damage in return. Otherwise you should look for short trades. She will typically win extended trades because of her healing passive and all-in ability.

Best Champions Versus Illaoi

Graves Top Illaoi Counter
Top lane Graves is strong versus Illaoi because of his greater range. He also builds some lifesteal of his own. Photo via Riot Games.

Ranged champions are very strong against Illaoi. Being able to farm safely from a distance prevents you from being slowed and hit by her tentacles. Champions such as Graves and Kennen are relatively safe againstĀ her.

Melee champs who are dominant in short trades are capable of doing well versus Illaoi. Fiora and Irelia both present a good challenge as long as they are able to juke her abilities consistently. It should also be noted that she has no escapes. Running ignite to push the odds of winning an all-in in your favor isn’t a bad strategy.

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Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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