Traditionally a Jungler, The Blind Monk has had some rough patches recently. Unable to utilize Turbo Chemtank and keep up with other Junglers such as Kha’zix, Hecarim, or Udyr, Jungle Lee Sin has largely fallen out of favor in most regions. Although he maintains a high win rate in Korean Challenger as a Jungler, he has an atrocious win rate in other places such as North America or Oceania.
Last month, however, legendary solo queue player Dopa predicted that Lee Sin top would see a resurgence. Dopa is considered by many to be one of the best players of all-time in League of Legends, even rivaling Faker of SK Telecom T1, who is a three-time world champion.
His prediction would ring true--pro players such as Cloud9 Perkz, Fnatic Bwipo, SKT1 CANNA, and G2 Wunder began to practice the champion in top and mid. These solo queue performances might be a glimpse of what is to come at the Mid-Season Invitational on May 6.
Lee Sin top is able to utilize varying mythic items, strong sustain, favorable trades, and immense kill potential at level six. This guide will help players hearken back to the old-school League of Legends and bring the champion back from the dead.
Runes and Starting Items
Conqueror is the standard setup, providing sustain and damage in extended trades. He’s also able to stack it easily with bonus attack speed from his passive ‘Flurry’.
For his secondary runes, you want to go into the Resolve tree rather than his usual Inspiration or Domination trees.
Demolish, Second Wind, Revitalize, Bone Plating, and Unflinching are all good options depending on the matchup.
For summoner spells, Flash is a must for Lee Sin to make plays. Teleport or Ignite can be taken depending on the matchup. Against someone who heals a lot, such as Irelia, you can take Ignite. Against a roaming top lane such as Nocturne or Quinn, you can match them with Teleport.
For starting items, build Doran’s Blade or Shield depending on the matchup.
Against poke-heavy top lanes like Quinn, Doran’s Shield with Second Wind and Revitalize gives Lee Sin incredible sustain when combined with Life Steal/Spell Vamp from his W ‘Safeguard / Iron Will’.
Lee Sin has always been known as an early game champion for a good reason. With an attack speed steroid, built-in lifesteal, and doing % missing HP damage, his early game strength from jungle carries over to the top lane.
Start Q or E depending on the matchup and look to start trading as soon as possible. Due to his built-in sustain, he can afford to take many trades. Utilizing his attack speed steroid from ‘Flurry’ is key to winning trades. Make sure you auto twice in between your spells for maximum efficiency.
Why Max E?
Lee Sin’s E, ‘Tempest / Cripple’ is one of the main reasons for his resurgence in top and mid. ‘Tempest / Cripple’ has 100% bonus AD scaling but deals magic damage, making the Blind Monk nearly impossible to itemize against early on. Every time the enemy walks up for a minion, they risk taking up to 300 magic damage.
The ability serves as his waveclear, poke, and importantly, sustain. When paired with spell vamp from his W ‘Iron Will’, ‘Tempest’ on a minion wave can heal Lee Sin for a lot of health.
The cooldown also got recently reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds.
Tanks and bruisers are unable to itemize against Lee Sin early on as he deals large amounts of magic and attack damage.
Like our previous guide on Gwen, Lee Sin has many options for his mythic item.
Stridebreaker, Prowler’s Claw, Eclipse, and Goredrinker are all viable options for him depending on the team composition he’s against. Prowler’s Claw and Eclipse makes him a feast or famine assassin, capable of potentially snowball the game out of control. Stridebreaker and Goredrinker are safer and tankier options that help him scale better into the late game.
Many pro players and high Elo players are opting for the Goredrinker build for better scaling. Goredrinker into Sterak’s Gage into Black Cleaver makes Lee Sin a formidable bruiser, skirmisher, and tank killer. With this build, what he loses in a burst, he makes up for with sustained damage and healing throughout team fights.
If you’re opting for Eclipse or Prowler’s Claw, building full lethality like Edge of Night and Youmuu’s Ghostblade is the way to go.
Due to his attack speed steroid and stellar waveclear with ‘Tempest’, Lee Sin can be a decent split pusher with many tools to escape from rotating enemies.
Outside of split pushing, Lee Sin remains one of the best initiators in the hands of a skilled player. Infamous for his playmaking ability, Lee Sin can move across large distances very quickly and deliver a high-priority target straight into his team. This play, often called ‘inSec’, after legendary pro player inSec, is used to describe a wide variety of plays that all end up with the same result: using your ultimate ‘Dragon’s Rage’ to kick a valuable target into your team.
Two of the most basic and vital ‘inSecs’ are Q → Q → R → Flash and Q → Q → Ward → W → R.
The first can only be made with the summoner spell Flash. To pull it off, you have to use your ultimate on an enemy before instantly flashing in the direction opposite of where you want them to go. For example, if you want to kick the enemy into your team behind you, use your ultimate on an enemy, then instantly flash behind them. The kick buffers before you flash, making it nearly impossible to react to, knocking the enemy right into your team.
The second can be made with a ward or yellow trinket. Upon reaching the enemy with your second Q ‘Resonating Strike’, place a ward behind them and jump to it with your W ‘Safeguard’, then kick them into your team. This one is more difficult than the first ‘inSec’ and needs to be done very quickly. Still, being able to kick targets reliably into your team without needing Flash every five minutes is invaluable for any Lee Sin main.
Look to roam around the map to make plays and get kills whenever you can. As mentioned above, while he can function as a decent split pusher, it isn’t his greatest strength.
Lee Sin never has and never will scale well into late-game relative to some other champions due to the way his kit is designed. While his playmaking ability cannot be understated, you want to end games before 30 minutes, as the Blind Monk begins to fall off very hard. Even with the Goredrinker or Stridebreaker build, which is designed to help him scale better, he is not a late-game champion.
Poor scaling is an even bigger problem for the assassin build. In the late game, you’ll find yourself being one-shot as you try to go for plays.
As the section above details, Lee Sin becomes weaker as the game goes on. The Blind Monk also has some weaknesses early on that players should watch out for as well.
Perhaps the biggest one is that he is very mechanical. He has both a high skill floor and a high skill ceiling. Being unable to confidently or reliably ‘inSec’ opponents is a huge detriment. Don’t expect to master him in a few days or even weeks.
Kicking an opponent into your team is also sometimes a suicide mission, as you either blow Flash or your W ability in the process. There is an advanced Chinese ‘inSec’ that allows you to kick an enemy into your team and follow them, but it’s extremely difficult to pull off.
However, if you persevere with Lee Sin, you’ll find yourself rewarded with one of the deepest, complex, and flashiest champion League of Legends has to offer.