IntroductionJustice is blind. Lee Sin is a fighter type with a high amount of utility and an admittedly high learning curve. Originally a cancelled champion brought back to life, I've been waiting since beta for his release, and now he's here, ready to unleash blind fury upon the Fields of Justice. I'm going to try and be as blunt about it as possible: Lee Sin takes dedication. I can tell you what items, runes, and masteries I run, but it will only go so far to helping you. If you find yourself having trouble your first few games, you're not alone. It took me nearly a week straight of playing him before I discovered all his nuances and best methods of execution, and I'm still learning. I will try and explain in as much detail as possible the ways to maximize his potential, because it will be far more valuable than simply explaining what to build. He is not easy. But there are two sides to every coin; if you put in the dedication to master Lee Sin you'll find he's incredibly versatile and rewarding to play.
Remember, "Force is meaningless without skill!", and hopefully this guide will give you the tools to put the meaning into your force.
If you're reading this guide not simply to learn how to build Lee Sin, but how to play him effectively as well, I suggest reading through it thoroughly. I will insert a lot of strategy not just into the main paragraphs, but also into the choices for skill order, runes, and summoner spells. If you want Lee Sin to be great for you, then it's not just about understanding what to do, it's about understanding why to do it.
This guide will primarily focus on solo laning, usually top but also mid, as well as jungling. I will touch upon duo laning briefly, but I tend to find that Lee Sin is not a strong duo laning champion unless paired with a very strong laner, preferably one with hard CC.
For now this is a text-based guide, but I'd very much love to include short videos to help hammer home some of the points I'll be bringing up. Showing goes so much further than just telling, so I will try to upload videos when possible.
For those who will ask: My Lee Sin play has been mostly dedicated to normal games, though I've been having quite a bit of success with him in ranked play. I'm currently a lower-1400 rated solo-queue player, but chances are good that if you're reading my guide for help, you're not far off from me, and my guide will be perfectly fine for you. If that's disheartening to you, I will tell you that I've played in-house customs against 1800 rated players with Lee Sin and not only out-laned them, but gone on to carry the games. There are several high Elo Lee Sin players as well that have proven that he can be an effective pick even in the 1900-2100 range, and a lot of the ways they play are identical to my own.
All in all, if you've chosen to play Lee Sin you've made a great choice, and if you put in the time and dedication to play him you'll find he's one of the most rewarding champions in the League. He's also voiced by David Wenham, better known for his roles as Faramir in The Lord of the Rings, and Dilios from 300 - so what's not to love?
I take standard offensive masteries, making sure to grab the improved Exhaust. I sacrifice one point in Alacrity in order to max bonus damage to minions - I prefer the extra damage to help last hit minions over the additional 1% attack speed.
I put the remaining points into defense, taking improved magic resistance, one point in improved armor, and then four points evasion and one point into nimbleness. If you wish, you can instead put the points into utility, taking three points in good hands, one point in perseverence, four points in awareness, and a point in utility mastery for improved neutral buff duration.
IF YOU ARE JUNGLING:
Make sure to swap the defensive masteries for the utility masteries listed above. Neutral Buff improvement is too important not to take, and if you prefer my jungling route (which I will explain later in this guide), the starting point of double golems will NOT get you level 2 unless you have the awareness masteries.
I run a typical manaless fighter page with armor penetration Marks and Quintessences that allow you to maximize damage in the lane as well as deal a significant amount of extra damage to neutral creeps when jungling. Flat armor Seals and flat MR Glyphs give much-needed survivability in the lane, helping to further exemplify Lee Sin's already excellent laning phase.
If you wish, you may swap the armor penetration Quintessences for flat health, but I strongly advise against it. The playstyle Lee Sin excels at in the lane and the survivable nature of his W in the jungle makes it so that he benefits far more from dealing damage than he does from gaining health. If you're an aggressive, first-blood type player (and who isn't or doesn't want to be?) then Armor Pen Quints are the way to go. Trust me, if you haven't used Armor Pen Quints before, you WILL notice a significant increase in your early-game damage.
Flash helps Lee Sin more than most champions because of his skill design, and as such, it's an excellent choice on him. Flash will allow you to position yourself better for landing that killing Sonic Wave or the perfect Dragon's Rage. The skill will allow you to not only be more offensive by surprising enemies by suddenly flashing over a creep wave to land a killing skill shot, but will allow you to be more defensive by aiding you in escaping ganks by putting yourself in a position where you can then use Safeguard to dash to an allied champion, minion, or ward.
Lee Sin is a very formidable 1v1 fighter, and exhaust helps this in so many ways. With the improved mastery, Exhaust will help you nab first bloods by lowering your enemy's armor and magic resistance to help you deal substantially more damage. It will also slow your enemy, allowing you to get in range for Sonic Wave, or making it easier to hit. It also helps you stick to your target and keep them slowed with Cripple. Lastly, because some of Lee Sin's survivability is built in the Lifesteal he gains from Iron Will, lowering your enemy's damage output with Exhaust will allow you to net heal, since you'll now be lifestealing more than they damage you. These are all reasons why I prefer exhaust over ignite.
If you are jungling:
I prefer to take smite in place of Flash rather than Exhaust, as it is key to make sure you always position well rather than have Flash position for you. If you find that you'd rather take flash instead of exhaust when jungling, however, then by all means do it. Personal experience has led me to find that having Exhaust will help you grab early kills much better than flash, and during the late game you will almost always have an ally to use Safeguard on to get out of sticky situations.
After Lee Sin uses an ability, his next 2 basic attacks gain 50% Attack Speed and return 10 energy each.
Some people find this passive useful, others hate it. It makes jungling a breeze, but you can find yourself low on energy in chase situations or when fighting multiple enemies because Lee Sin tends to be skill based rather than auto-attack based. Being able to get in those extra hits when you need the energy will make a life-or-death difference in some fights, so it's essential you become accustomed to managing your energy and finding to optimal times to get those hits in.
Q: Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike
Sonic Wave: Lee Sin projects a discordant wave of sound to locate his enemies, dealing 50/80/110/140/170 (+0.8 per bonus Attack Damage) physical damage to the first enemy it encounters. If Sonic Wave hits, Lee Sin can cast Resonating Strike for the next 3 seconds.
Resonating Strike: Lee Sin dashes to the enemy hit by Sonic Wave, dealing 50/80/110/140/170 (+0.8 per bonus Attack Damage) physical damage plus 10% of their missing health.
Cost 60 / 40 energy
Cooldown 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds
Probably Lee Sin's most controversial skill, this is his gap closer and primary source of damage. It is a line skill-shot, meaning it hits the first enemy it comes in contact with, including minions and stealthed champions. This is the most important ability to be able to use effectively on Lee Sin, because it's his most essential gap closer, and it can be demoralizing to miss. By far the most important, and yet most forgotten feature of this skill is this little bit right here:
- Plus 10% of their missing health
If there is one thing in this guide I want you to remember, that's it. Never forget that Resonating Strike will always deal more damage to lower health enemies. This will surprise many players by outright killing them when they believed they were safe, and it's what allows Lee Sin to become an effective 1v1 fighter. Never underestimate this damage, as it will get you more kills and save you more times than you ever thought possible.
Some helpful tips:
- As with all skillshots, Resonating Strike is a great tool for checking brush.
- When ganking, this skill gives you multiple options. You do not necessarily need to hit the target you are trying to kill. You can use the skill to close the gap between you and a minion near your enemy to get in the last few hits if your allies have done a lot of the work. Additionally, if you are ganking from river brush and are level 6, it way be worth it to try and use Sonic Wave on a minion that is behind your enemy, dashing to it with Resonating Strike, and then sending your enemy into your allies with Dragon's Rage.
- This skill can also be used as an escape tool by dashing to neutral creeps or enemy minions in your path back to safety.
- When facing an enemy with flash or a built-in Blink such as Ezreal or Kassadin, try hitting them with Sonic Wave then waiting for or baiting out their blink before following up with Resonating Strike.
W: Safeguard / Iron Will
Safeguard: Lee Sin rushes towards a target ally, shielding them both from 40 / 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 (+80% per Ability Power) damage. If a shield is broken, half the energy cost is returned. After using Safeguard, Lee Sin can cast Iron Will for the next 3 seconds.
Iron Will: Lee Sin's intense training allows him to thrive in battle. For 5 seconds, Lee Sin gains5/10/15/20/25 lifesteal, spell vamp, and armor.
Cost 60 / 40 energy
Cooldown 8 seconds
This skill allows Lee Sin to be a very safe jungler, and gives him a ton of versatility in the lane. The shield, why incredibly modest, can often save yourself or allies from certain death, and the dash, like all blinks, is invaluable for gap closing and escaping ganks. Iron Will gives a very good amount of Lifesteal and Spell Vamp, making it a great tool for healing up during laning and in-between skirmishes.
Some helpful tips:
- Lee Sin is energy based, so you can use this skill as often as you'd like. While laning, try using it on a creep your enemy is about to last hit to block the last hit, denying them of gold.
- Safeguard does not have to be used purely defensively, it can be used offensively as well. Try using it on an ally that is chasing an enemy to get into range to land a Sonic Wave.
- Don't forget that Iron Will gives Spell Vamp, meaning that casting it will let Resonating Strike and Dragon's Rage give you some moderate healing while fighting.
- If you have the inventory space and extra gold, you can buy an extra sight ward to place and dash to if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
E: Tempest / Cripple
Tempest: Lee Sin smashes the ground sending out a shockwave that deals 60 / 95 / 130 / 165 / 200 (+0.6 per bonus Attack Damage) magic damage and reveals enemy units hit. If Tempest hits an enemy, Lee Sin can cast cripple for the next 3 seconds.
Cripple: Lee Sin cripples nearby enemies revealed by Tempest, reducing their Movement and Attack Speed by 30 / 37.5 / 45 / 52.5 / 60 % for 4 seconds. Movement and Attack Speed recover gradually over the duration.
Cost 60 / 40 energy
Cooldown 10 seconds
While I feel this is the weakest skill in Lee Sin's kit, it still has its uses. It allows you to reveal enemies as they walk into the brush, and at max rank the slows are quite substantial. There is currently a bug that allows you to cast Tempest twice for double the energy cost if you tap E fast enough. Use this to in tandem with Iron Will to quickly farm minion waves while staying at peak health.
Some helpful tips:
- The reveal is not limited only to champions, this skill also reveals stealthed units such as Teemo's mushrooms, which you can then kill. This skill does not, however, reveal wards.
- One of the more effective way to use this skill is to use it as a follow up to hitting Resonating Strike. You will then be in range to get in one or two auto attacks for the energy refund, as well as allowing you to then cast Cripple if the enemy attempts to run or blink away.
- Stealthers beware! This skill makes Lee Sin one of the most capable anti-stealthers there are, especially against and . In Akali's case, using Tempest will reveal her for almost the full duration inside her shroud. In Shaco's case, hit him with Sonic Wave, wait until he uses Deceive, the follow up with Resonating Strike and then Tempest to keep him revealed for his entire stealth duration!
R: Dragon's Rage
Lee Sin performs a powerful roundhouse kick launching his target back, dealing 200 / 400 / 600 (+1.5 per bonus Attack Damage) physical damage to the target and any enemies they collide with. Enemies the target collides with are knocked into the air for a short duration.
Cost 0 energy
Cooldown 90 / 75 / 60 seconds
Lee Sin's ultimate is incredibly powerful, and people often underestimate the damage. It packs a lot of utility in that you can knock away champions that are chasing you, send enemies straight into your allies, and cancel all manner of channels from teleports to ultimates. Be very wary of using the skill on a low health enemy, as using it too early can sometimes save them if something unexpected occurs (a shield spell, a flash away right as you kick, etc.).
Some helpful tips:
- One of the more effective combos to use on a low health enemy that you are near is to hit them with Sonic Wave, kick them with Dragon's Rage, and then follow them with Resonating Strike. The massive damage from Dragon's Rage will cause Resonating Strike to deal more damage.
- Dragon's Rage will not send an enemy backwards if it also kills them. Keep this in mind when choosing when to use the skill.
- In team fights, use the skill according to your location. If you are in front of the enemy team, try to kick away a low priority target such as a tank while attempting to maximize the number of enemies that get knocked up. If you are behind the enemy, try and kick a high priority target to your allies while attempting to knock up as many enemies as possible.
- In team fights, I find the optimal number of knockups relative to positioning is two. If you can manage at least two knckups, then you've maximized the efficiency of the skill relative to the amount of effort it would take to try and position for 3 or more knockups.
When laning with Lee Sin your Q and W are by far your most important skills. Maxing Q is essential to your early game harassment and damage, and maxing W is imperative to blocking enemy harassment and making sure you stay on as high health as possible. It takes a lot of points in E before the slow becomes effective, and as such, you will have much more success in fighting and killing your opponent by maxing Q and W first. While the skill order above does not level E until level 13, I may take one point into it after maxing Q in some circumstances. The reason for this is that if you are doing well and building damage items, the AD scaling on E will make it useful for farming minion waves fast toward the mid-game. Additionally, I will take one point in E early if there are stealthers or stealthed objects on the enemy team, including Evelynn, Akali, Twitch, and Teemo. Use your judgement as to whether or not you need your E early in the game you're playing.
While jungling it is imperative to take W first, as it will allow you to absorb and heal a lot of the damage you'll be dealt. Taking E as your second skill and using the double-tap bug outlined above, you can both clear the neutral camps and stay on good health the entire route. Make sure when jungling that when you activate your skill you take your two hits for the energy refund before using your next skill. Always make sure, when possible, to activate Iron Will before double-tapping Tempest to insure maximum possible healing. Taking Sonic Wave at level 4, you will have all the tools you need to gank properly. My jungle route is outlined in a later section.
Item BuildsAt last we're getting to the bread and butter of the guide and the section you've probably been waiting for. Lee Sin is very flexible in his item builds, and I will admit that I don't often find myself building the exact same way each game. What you build depends on a lot of factors: if you're jungling, the rest of your team, and the composition of the enemy team, and you need to adjust accordingly. Unlike a lot of champions that have one dedicated build with maybe a one or two item variance, Lee Sin has no one set build, and I will try to be as detailed as possible about which choices to make and when. First, the starting:
In the lane boots of speed will give you incredible mobility when combined with your already versatile Q and W, and unsuspecting enemies will be caught off guard when you dash right to them and they find they have no way of outrunning you. Lee Sin is highly dependent on harassing early game, and boots make sure you can position yourself to harass as effectively as possible while taking as little damage as possible.
The Brutalizer is a staple early and mid-game item that provides even more armor penetration, making sure you keep up with the armor that fighters and tanks will build, and helping you melt squishies even harder. However, I tend to sell The Brutalizer later on in the game when I start buying into late-game items, usually replacing it with Last Whisper. Mercury's Treads need no explanation, but as a note, if you're building the Tanky Team-Fighter Lee Sin, you may opt to finish Warmog's before Mercury's treads.
Although I start with boots when jungling, you may opt to start with a cloth armor or vampiric scepter instead for a faster Wriggle's. The minion damage proc is too good to pass up, and Wriggle's does an excellent job of keeping you on high health in tandem with Iron Will. Generally if I'm jungling with Lee Sin, I transition into the more glassy build. Team Fighter Lee Sin should really only be done if you're laning where you can farm a ton of minions early on.
Now here's where the paths diverge, and each needs a proper introduction. There are two builds, one tanky, one more glass. The tanky Lee Sin build is for when you have a lot of farm and your team is lacking in the bruiser or tank department. It is by no means meant to make you a tank, it just helps you survive teamfights, and if your entire team is squishy, then you being squishy too doesn't help. I would actually recommend the Tanky Team Fighter Build, as it provides consistent damage output and makes Lee Sin much more relevant in team fights. The Glass build is more for when you're snowballing and, because you're squishier, is harder to execute. I personally prefer the glass build if I can manage it, mostly because I'm accustomed to Lee Sin's playstyle, but for anyone reading this guide that is just trying him out I would recommend the Tankier build. As a note, it is perfectly acceptable to combine the two builds. I very often get Last Whisper on the Tankier build, and often itemize into Randuin's Omen and Force of Nature on the Glass build. The distinction between the two builds usually comes from which items you start building first. Here's a general summary of both builds:
When to build Tanky Fighter Lee Sin:
- When your team has more 2 or more squishy champions (read: Anything that's not a tank, bruiser, or doesn't get a lot of health).
- If you're new to Lee Sin and you want something easy. Glass builds are much harder to play than builds where you're buff and tough.
- If the enemy team has an abnormally large amount of crowd control or AoE.
- If you are falling behind on kills relative to the enemy team. Glass works far better if you're gaining a lead over your enemy, and if you're falling behind, it's much better to get your farm on and gear towards something that will prove more valuable in the late game.
When to build Glass Lee Sin:
- When your team has a large amount of tanks and bruisers. If this is the case, itemizing Tanky Lee Sin gives your team too little damage output.
- If and when you feel confident in playing Lee Sin. Glass builds mean you do more damage and die faster. Intricate knowledge of Lee Sin will help keep you alive despite being very vulnerable.
- When you're snowballing. If you start racking up a lot of kills, going into the tanky build will make your damage fall off very quickly and you'll no longer be a big threat. Choose instead to itemize into a little more offense first to keep you scary before starting to go tanky.
Without further ado, the core builds:
Tanky Team-Fighter Lee Sin:
- A quick note about Warmog's, because I know there's a lot of differing opinions on the item. Most of the debate stems from the cost and the farm, which is a result over the perceived gold over-valuing of health regeneration. I'm not the authority on whether or not Warmog's is a "good" or "viable" item, I'm just providing you with a build that is used not only by myself, but top ranked Lee Sin players, and with much success. If you have your doubt about the build, please try it, and leave me feedback if you think it could be done better.
Starting after boots 1 and, if you choose to, The Brutalizer, begin to farm for your Warmog's right away. Make sure to try and last hit as much as possible, because this build has a very high upfront cost. As I suggested earlier, it's usually a good idea to try and finish your Warmog's before you finish Mercury's treads, because stacking it is very important. Follow up with Atma's Impaler to give you a BF Sword's worth of damage along with some critical strike and armor. This is the key core of the build, after which point you can start to change up what you build, but it will usually be Force of Nature followed by Randuin's Omen. When these are complete you will be incredibly hard to kill while still dishing out some fairly impressive DPS. As a general rule, I tend to prefer Force of Nature over Banshee's Veil because it synergizes with the high health you will have from Warmog's and gives critical movement speed. If the enemy team has a ton of magic damage, you may choose to purchase Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash in place of Randuins. You can round out the build with another defensive item or, more typically, an offensive item, usually Last Whisper or a Bloodthrister, or a Frozen Mallet to complement your Atma's. The choice depends on what team you're facing.
Glass Fighter Lee Sin Core:
Again starting with boots 1, build a brutalizer and then finish your Mercury's Treads. Lee Sin scales fairly well off AD, so if you find yourself going back to base before you have enough gold to purchase a BF sword, don't sweat it, you're perfectly fine buying parts to Last Whisper or, as I'll explain later, building into optional items like Hexdrinker. Once you have your Last Whisper you can generally get rid of your Brutalizer to make room for late-game items if you need the space, but a lot of times if you're building Glass cannon, it means the game is probably going to be over soon and you're not going to have to sell it. After your core is complete, you have two options. If you're really snowballing ahead of your enemy, you might invest in more damage+mitigation items, such as Hexdrinker or Frozen Mallet. If the game is closer, however, you'll want to start itemizing into defensive options like Force of Nature and Randuin's Omen.
End game options for both builds after completing the core:
Optional/Conditional items with Explanations:
Hexdrinker is a good early game pick if you're doing well and want more damage, but not at the cost of survivability. This will give you a little extra oomph but also give you a nice little back-up shield for those pesky magic damage dealers. Avoid this item if you're falling behind or you can tell the game is going to drag on, as it doesn't build into anything and you'll have to sell it for end-game items if it comes to that point.
Probably the most underrated item in the game. This nifty headband, in addition to making you one stylish Monk, instantly clears all debuffs on you and is an excellent choice against CC stacked teams. Consider picking it up if you need MR and you're getting focused a lot. Maybe if it gave some health more people would buy it. Especially useful against .
I'm not going to lie, I haven't had much experience building these items on Lee Sin, and I generally don't. The extra movement speed on Trinity Force is excellent, but I feel bad about shelling out the gold for the ability power and mana on Sheen for the proc, especially since Lee Sin's base damage isn't notably high. The ability power only affects his shield, and the mana is useless. The crit chance on zeal doesn't particularly help one way or another, and I'd feel better about getting a slow by building Frozen Mallet or by grabbing Red Buff. Please leave me some feedback about how you feel with these items on Lee Sin, because there might be something I'm missing out on. My advice right now though is to skip these items.
I used to build this item on Lee Sin when I was first playing him, and while it does supplement his passive and give him some nice MR, I think it's more efficient to itemize into pure AD items that will also benefit the ratios on your skills. Test it out if you'd like, but I'm not going to recommend it in this guide.
I Want to Be Different:
Getting two of these gives you insane amounts of AD, AP, Lifesteal, and Spell Vamp, and actually works surprisingly well on Lee Sin, but there's no reason to itemize into this unless you're just playing around. However, if you'd like to know more, I believe there's a guide on here detailing a Gunblade Monk build.
Early GameSo, to what I said earlier about laning. If you can, you're going to want to take, by priority, top lane > jungling > mid lane > bottom lane. Lee Sin is a very effective solo laner and can shut down just about anyone, especially squishier champions without any forms of CC. However, that's not to say he's not good against tanks or bruisers either. The nature of his Q, doing more damage to enemies on less health, means he's equally effective against tankier opponents, especially with the Armor Pen Runes and Masteries I advised earlier. Lee Sin I find, however, to be a very impotent duo laner. There are two reasons for this. For one, he scales very well. The faster you can level up your Q and W, the more damage you can block as well as heal, and the harder you hit relative to your enemy's health. More importantly, however, is the hit-and-run style of Lee Sin's harassment. This is very easy to do against a single opponent, but against multiple opponents, especially those with good crowd control, it's hard to get in and deal damage then get back out without getting harassed back. If you can avoid a duo lane, avoid it. If you can't avoid a duo lane, you may want to considering picking someone other than Lee Sin. This section will be typed up assuming you're soloing in a lane, most likely top lane.
The early game is by far Lee Sin's most powerful stage, and you should do you best to take advantage of this. Make sure to harass with your Q at every possible opportunity, and play hit and run with it. In many situations you will be able to Q your opponent, then Q to them for the second damage proc, then use W to dash back to one of your minions before the enemy gets a chance to retaliate. You should be taking advantage of the tips I provided earlier in the skills section of the guide, as a lot of them are very useful at this stage of the game. The 10% missing health bonus on Q is a great tool that enemies often forget, and it can often help you pick up kills on enemies that are around half health but think they're okay to stick around. Top lane is preferred mostly for the brush, which will allow you to navigate around minions and keep your enemy on their toes in fear of your Q. Use W to your advantage as much as possible - use it to keep your health topped off when you can afford to auto-attack the creeps a bit, and using safeguard to block a last hit on a minion can keep your enemy confused and frustrated. You can also use W to dash to a minion that puts you in a good position to harass your enemy with Q.
If your lane ends up pushed an you are the target of a gank, don't be afraid to use all the tools at your disposal to get away. Jukeing into river brush only to dash back to allied minion with W is very potent, and dragon's rage is on a short enough cooldown that using it to kick an enemy away is always worth not dying. As a general tip that applies to all champions, make sure to stay on top of your farm game, last hitting as much as possible. If you're afraid of getting harassed, you can always use Sonic Wave to last hit from safety. If your enemy ever gets low enough that you feel you can kill them, make sure to consider the best method of execution given your position, and theirs. Make use of Q->R->Q combo to maximize the damage on Q or, if your enemy is low enough, it can be very easily to simply Q from range, Q to them, then R for the kill, since it will usually catch enemies off guard and allow you to execute the combo before they can pop safety measures like shields or blinks. This is especially true if you use flash offensively to get over minions, putting you with a clear shot to your opponent they weren't expecting. By having boots 1 and a fairly long range gap closer, you can also assist mid or your jungler relatively quickly if they run into trouble near you.
Lee Sin is a very potent first blood champion, and once you become accustomed to him, you'll find you cane outlane all but the hardiest opponents, from the squishiest DPS champions to the toughest tanks.
Mid GameBy this point you'll have determined which item path you're going to build into, and it will, of course, affect your playstyle significantly.
If you are gearing towards Team-Fighter Lee Sin:
The nature of Warmog's and its strong interaction with Atma's means farming will be your primary concern when mid-game rolls around. You won't be doing the DPS of glass Lee Sin, but you will be able to take much more punishment. Once you build Atma's Impaler your damage output will get a fairly significant spike, and by this point your Warmog's should be stacked enough that you're very durable, even before buying into the high resistance items. You can start putting points in E if you wish, as using the double-tap bug will significantly help in your farming. Lee Sin brings a lot of utility to fights, so don't overvalue farming when you could be helping your allies. While farming is very important when going this build route, don't forget that champion kills and assist will stack your Warmog's very quickly. While Lee Sin doesn't sport much crowd control on his own, if you're paired with an ally that has a few slows or a stun, you'll find that you can take on most any enemy even though you haven't quite built into damage yet. This is one advantage that the Team-Fighter build has over the Glass build, in that the more durable you are, the less reliant you are on allies to back you up when engaging in fights. Higher durability means more time for your allies to get to you if you falsely engage a fight, and means you have a higher chance of escaping fights you don't want to be in.
If you are gearing towards Glass Lee Sin:
If you start getting ahead of your opponents in kills and creeps, which you should not have difficulty in doing given Lee Sin's powerful early game, and you are confident in your skill with Lee Sin, you will likely want to itemize into the Glass build. Going for Bloodthirster and Last Whisper, there will be a good emphasis on farming, but not nearly as much as the Team Fighter build. Your damage output will be very high and, as such, you will not only be a big threat to enemy squishies, but an imperative asset to your allies. You will not spend as much time farming, because clearing a path for your allies to push will be more valuable in the long-run. Assuming you are sufficiently farmed, you will be able to take most anyone in a 1v1 fight, and squishies will have no choice but to run from you. Use this to your advantage to help force people out of lane and knock down towers. It will more than make up for the gold you'd otherwise get farming. Glass Lee Sin starts falling off later in the game when 5v5 teamfights become frequent, as having lower survivability coupled with Lee Sin's average team fight presence makes it much harder to manage in the middle of fight. You should thus be using your advantage to end the game early or helping your allies snowball as well.
Late GameThere's not much to say about late game other than that Lee Sin starts to become much less relevant. His damage is most noticeable early and mid game, and you should not try and let the game drag on to late game, if possible, through early game ganking and pushing mentioned above. You will most definitely be sticking with your team at this point in the game, because Glass Lee Sin will die very quickly in unwanted multi-man skirmishes or, at the very least, have to go back to base to heal after a skirmish. Team-Fighter Lee Sin on the other hand will have a much more DPS style damage output as opposed to any real burst, and it can be very hard to kill enemies before their allies show up, or do enough damage while chasing them to finish them off without putting yourself in a bad spot. You are much more useful to your team at this point than you will ever be off on your own, and while that's true for every champion in the late game, it's especially true for Lee Sin. Stick with your team and use your mobility and utility to help them as much as possible.
Team FightsProbably the most difficult part about playing Lee Sin is being an effective team fighter. A lot of the complaints directed at Lee Sin revolve around team fighting with him, and even I will admit that I still find it to be often troublesome. The real bottom line is knowing where you should be in a given fight. Depending on your build and what's happening in the fight, you have to determine moment by moment if you're in the right place, and what you should be doing. As a general rule, I find it's most effective to prioritize allies first, enemies second. This means you need to be protecting and fighting who your allies fight if your help is needed. If you allies are holding their own in their given situation, then you will turn your attention to high-priority enemies that need to be taken care of. Lee Sin has respectable 1v1 prowess, but is much less formidable the more people are involved in the fight. As such, it is more important to maximize his utility rather than his damage in most situations. Maximizing the number of enemies affected by cripple can really help give you the edge in fights, and smart use of safeguard will insure that you're always where you're needed to be. When deciding how to use your ultimate, consider the prior tips about it. If it is worth it to kick an valuable enemy into your team and you are in a position to do so, then do so while knocking up as many enemies as possible. If you are with your team and that pesky initiator won't leave your carry alone, try and give him to boot to the back line straight through his allies. It can be incredibly tempting to try and secure a kill with your ultimate, but both you and your team will ultimately be better off if you can manage to maximize its potential by knocking your enemies up - don't forget the damage is dealt to anyone knocked up as well. While Lee Sin's influence on team fights can be seemingly minimal at times, proper use of your spells and knowing when and where to be will provide invaluable help to your allies, allowing them to come out victorious.
Always remember to consider your build and your potential while fighting. While glass Lee Sin can put out amazing damage on enemy carries during a fight, it's a double edged sword where the tables can turn quickly and you turn into an easy kill. Team Fighter Lee Sin will give you a ton of survivability with respectable damage, allowing you to be almost anywhere in the fight with much less risk. This is why higher Elo players prefer the tankier of the two builds, especially since snowballing into the glass build is harder against better players. Again, use your judgment on the matter. With enough practice you'll find that while Lee Sin's team fight presence is only average, he is still a potent force to be reckoned with and a strong asset to your allies.
JunglingLee Sin can be a very potent jungler, his strongest asset being his relative safety, but also fairly quick to boot. The downside is that his ganking can be poor at times, and having a poor jungle run or early game with few ganks can really hamper the decision you're going to make about which core build to build into. Wriggle's Lantern is a requirement on almost every jungler, but building it on Lee Sin can leave you feeling like you've wasted gold if it turns out you might have been better off beginning to build into Team Fighter. It's not a bad choice on him by any means, it just leaves you feeling conflicted on what direction to build in. His poor ganking is the result of the skillshot nature of Sonic Wave, which leaves you no way to close the gap between you and your opponent if you miss. In that case, the only solution is to use Safeguard on the ally closet to an enemy and hope you can get an auto attack in to proc the movement slow from red buff.
While Lee Sin can likely start at any various neutral camp, I am a creature of habit and almost exclusively start at double golems. I find this route to be quick, allows you to get some movement speed an a bit of damage, and then gank with a full timer on red buff fairly early.
As a holdover from my laning build, I generally start with . The route I go only requires you to use 3 health potions before returning to base. If, however, you would prefer to start with cloth armor, that is perfectly reasonable. Assuming you are running the runes I have suggested, though, you will still be perfectly safe in the jungle starting with boots.
My skill order when jungling is , then continuing into my standard skill order. The early point in E helps keep you on high health by healing you when you use it jointly with Iron Will, and by lowering the neutral's attack speeds.
Being energy-based you should always have the opportunity to cast your spells when they come off cooldown, so you should do that to minimize damage taken and maximize healing. Make sure you always activate your skill and then take your two attacks for the energy refund before activating your next skill. As I mentioned earlier, when jungling you must switch the 9 point set up in defense for the 9 point set up in utility, or you will not level up when starting at double golems on my route.
My route for jungling is as follows:
Double Golems - Pop one health potion and smite immediately
Wraiths - Pop the next health potion, fight the large wraith so you are in the center of all the wraiths, making sure you activate Iron Will before double tapping Tempest to maximize healing.
Wolf Camp - Use your final health potion, take your second point in Safeguard.
Blue Buff - Assuming you are using my rune spec and you maximized your healing/damage mitigation while jungling, you will be able to fight this without a health potion if desired. Smite it and kill the little creeps, then blue pill back to base.
At this point I buy , then head to golems again.
Double golems - kill these, pop your first health potion if you bought two.
Red Buff - Pop your second health potion if you have it and smite red buff.
At this point your initial jungle run is complete and you will have all the tools you need to gank, so look for low health and pushed lanes that are easy ganking targets. Lee Sin's damage is very potent since you will have allies helping you fight, meaning they help lower the enemy's health so Resonating Strike will hit harder.
I have not attempted counter-jungling with Lee Sin, and I have not jungled with him when there was no jungler on the other team, so I apologize, but I cannot provide an in-depth analysis of how to make the best of these situations. If the opportunity ever presents itself I will attempt both and update this guide on what I find works best!
Final CommentsI hope you enjoyed reading this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I hope that it has helped you to better understand Lee Sin's advantages, disadvantages, and his place on a team. If you're already big Lee Sin fan, it would please me to know that this guide has expanded your horizons on his capabilities and playstyle, and helped you become a better player in general. If you are new to Lee Sin, I hope you will find this guide as both a good introduction to his basic ideas, as well as a good source of techniques that will keep you one step ahead of your opponent as you learn what works and what doesn't. Above all, have fun, and be proud that you've taken on the challenge of learning one of the more difficult and certainly most interesting of the champions of the League. If you're still having trouble with Lee Sin after reading this guide, leave me a comment with your concerns, or add me in game and I may be able to find time to show you how I play out in-game. I really apologize that I haven't prepared this guide with videos, but I'd really love to and hope that I'll be able to edit them into the guide at some point.
I give you my sincerest thanks for taking the time to read through my guide, and I hope that, if all else fails, I've at least given you reason to give great respect to Lee Sin, the Blind Monk.
Take the information I've provided to heart, and always remember the key to battle...
"If you first master yourself, you will have mastered the enemy."