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May 29, 2015

FOTM Report: Lee Sin Is Being Played Highly Inefficiently

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of FOTM Friday. Since none of the meta shifts lately are particularly standing out to me at the moment, I thought figured instead, I'd take this opportunity to take a look at a crowd favorite: Lee Sin.


Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of FOTM Friday. Since none of the meta shifts lately are particularly standing out to me at the moment, I thought figured instead, I'd take this opportunity to take a look at a crowd favorite: Lee Sin.

Lee Sin's Current State

Lee Sin is a champion that many acknowledge as "strong", but for some reason, has held a bottom 10 win rate for nearly a year now in solo queue.

Personally, I like playing Lee Sin, and think I'm fairly good at him, currently sitting at a 4.5 KDA and a 65% win rate with him on my platinum smurf. I don't pull off any particularly fancy plays, and being a Diamond support main, I hardly think that my technical ability is anything amazing.

Despite that, I feel like he's definitely powerful. However, with his win rate holding steady at bottom 10 (even at platinum and above games), I can hardly justify giving him much more than a "balanced" rating for solo queue.

What's Wrong With Him?

I think that by far, the biggest problem with him is likely this screenshot below from

For some reason, people think that building warrior enchantment followed by going sightstone and full tank is enough to make Lee Sin effective. In fact, the majority of people aren't building any additional damage items.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. If you're going to play a champion as a support tank role, someone like Jarvan IV makes a far better option with the free stats that his champion provides.

Meanwhile, Lee Sin needs to be played more like Vi: start with damage (trinity force) THEN build tanky. Without doing this, Lee ends up a champion that only deals meaningful damage when he's last-hitting people with his Q, hardly where you want your gold to be going.

There's a reason why people say Lee Sin "falls off".

What Build Is Better?

First of all, rushing Sightstone sets back your power spike significantly and should almost never be done unless you KNOW that you'll be able to impact the early game significantly using your W jump and would be much less successful otherwise. 

The ideal build for Lee is actually Jungle Item -> Hydra -> Last Whisper -> Tank build (usually Randuin).

This gives you assassination ability on squishy targets, sustain for clean-up crew, and relevance against tanks.

As you can see from the below chart from, when viewed in combination with the build order chart above, you can see that most people go from their jungle item straight to sightstone. However, building a sightstone yields a lower win rate than just the jungle item, and almost all his other core items increase his win rate coming off the jungle item.

While mere statistics, it does seem that Sightstone is not an efficient buy for most people.

What About the Big Insec Plays?

Are you one of those fancy ward -> W -> R players that pride themselves in being able to knock back enemies into your team? The truth is, spending 250 gold to upgrade your yellow trinket is much better than building a sightstone.

Someone who should have built the upgraded yellow trinket can upgrade to the sweeper instead, since as a team game, it doesn't matter who has the sweeper. However, it certainly matters who's holding the yellow trinket.

Hope it's Lee Sin.

Final Tip

Lastly, I see one insanely important tip that I see pretty much every Lee Sin player fail to take advantage of.

If you flash + R an enemy champion, there's a wind-up time on his R. This means that the moment you flash, they can also flash and you'll simply kick them the opposite direction.

The optimal way to pull this off is to R, then flash mid R.

This cancels the lag-time on your combo, and also allows you to save your flash if your opponent sees it coming and preemptively flashes backwards.


  • Unless you know you can consistently pull off perfect ward jumps, don't bother with sightstone, yellow trinket at lvl 9 is better;
  • Build damage to make use of the early game kills you probably last hit;
  • Build tanky after Last Whisper;
Hopefully this can help kick Lee's win rate back over 50%.

Agree/Disagree? Have more tips to add? Comment below!

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  1. Malzahar OPMay 29, 2015

    same thing with pantheon?

  2. el_ilergeteMay 29, 2015

    Easy enough to say that with the tank meta.

  3. Anas R'ghiouiMay 29, 2015

    Wouldn't say so, as most people actually go glass canon on pantheon or at least 3/4 damage items

  4. He sucks because of the tank meta, I had a 73% win percentage across 16 or so games (I think? Can't remember) then I came back from my 3 month exodus from the game and now it's dropped to 55% when my Xin went from 1/4 to 67% W/L across 21 games

  5. Yes pretty much so.

  6. Nice!!!! Yep! Yeah, good tips and stuff, it's true.

    And I've always said it. Damage is more effective in early game.... yes. late game mid game sure tankkiness rocks the boat and can soak up enemy damage and sustainy. But build dmg EARLY rather than LATE. Rekt Sai; same thing. build Warrior Enchantment, BOTRK/Last Whispa. things like that. before buildin some tank items if you want to go tankier.

    Early game peeps dont have so much resists, hp, and tankyness, mobility. so you can wreck havoc with dmg.

  7. Dalton442May 29, 2015

    Good post, but there is a spelling error. "The truth is, spending 250 gold to upgrade your yellow trinket is much more worth it than building a sighstone."

  8. I'm not very good at Lee Sin, but when I do play him, I almost never buy sightstone, the reason being that I don't really use it to do "insec" style plays. I try to rely on using W on my allies. I do get the upgraded yellow trinket so I have wards for emergency situations, although this leaves me without a sweeper. A while ago Rito changed Lee's W to have higher cool down, but the cool down is partially refunded when targeting yourself (i.e. when you're clearing the jungle) or when dashing to an ally (the change was partly aimed to nerf top-lane Lee). If you have good mechanics with Lee (unlike me), I would think it's still good to buy a sightstone, but rather than upgrading to the ruby sightstone, just keep it until you have 5 items and sell it when you can buy a 6th. That late in the game the extra item will help a lot more than the mobility form the sightstone, especially since you'll be doing more team-fighting than doing fancy ganks or plays in the jungle

  9. Also, that most popular core build graphic made me choke. Building no life steal? wat. Also the new Black Cleaver is wonderful on Lee, especially if you get RavHydra to apply more AoE stacks along with your ground slam. I'm guessing people got caught up with the cinderhulk tank meta and thought "MUST BUILD FULL TANK EVEN THOUGH LEE SIN DOESN'T USE CINDERHULK!"

    The ratio's on Lee's spells, while not Pantheon levels of stupid (1.2 bonus AD per hit on Panth's E like wtf Rito), are still way to good to waste by building full tank.

  10. Yeah, but no one goes full tank Pantheon. If you look at his item popularity on Lolking the first 4 items are all AD. I think since Lee and Pantheon are both considered early-game champions that some people think it's better to go tanky than build damage since they're gonna fall off anyway. Pantheon is kinda lacking in the CC department to be an effective tank with only one single-target stun.

  11. About the Flash-R tip, I think this applies to a lot of champions. There are a good number of spells that you can flash in the middle of without interrupting. Varus' Q while charging and Gragas' Body Slam, for example.

  12. Jarett 'Panda' LogliaMay 29, 2015

    That was the build that most people used in Season 4 (obvious EL instead of warrior), but with the Tank AOE-CC Meta Lee just isn't in a very good place these few patches. Not to mention he scales as well as a Cannon Minion.

  13. SSJSuntasticMay 29, 2015

    Fixed, thanks!

  14. PREACH THIS! Why does everyone have to play Lee Sin when J4/RekSai/Vi are not banned all the time. The 3 champs I mentioned are much tankier, deal more damage, and are MUCH EASIER TO PLAY. It annoys me how much people feed in Silver Elo due to this. If you do not like the 3 champs I mentioned, Rengar is also a great option. LEE SIN IS NOT FREELO AND HE NEVER WILL BE!

  15. was main lee last season (silver or something). as soon as the new season started i played lee again just sucked at it gonna try it again with these tipps Thank you!

  16. ConfusedTeemoMay 30, 2015

    I agree with you on the point about Lee but I also would tell you not to play rek. Yes, she is a very strong jungler early but her late game is NOT strong. Her scaling is gone and she doesn't offer the utility other Champs do. Unless you are so dominant with rek early/mid game that you can end quickly stay away. In bronze - gold I think you need to plan for 35+ minute games. People don't end games. Not that I am the greatest but here is my jungle rotation in order of most to least wanted:

    Sej, Gragas, nautilus, Hec, Vi, J4, aaand Sion.

    Also, article idea: 10 most overvalued champs

  17. disisdeathwingMay 30, 2015

    why does everyone build sightstone as a jungler, its sooooo bad in lower elos where you need to carry yourself.
    it provides nothing in terms of combat stats and isnt really going to help youre noob team.
    unless you are support, of course.

  18. disisdeathwingMay 30, 2015

    the fact there is no hydra...
    is actually understandable.
    cleaver and warriors around the mid game point is actually enough damage to kill someone.
    hydra is so fking bad, in lower elos.
    unless you are fiora, riven etc, who uses the passive so well to the point it is redonkeylous, it is generally not that great in yoloqueue.
    l2gank and l2carry, gank the fk outof mid and top.
    neva give a damn about bot, you can still win a game if their adc is 12/0, but not true if it is their mid.
    if you cant get to diamond with cleaver, don't even consider building hydra.
    i warned you.

  19. Enzo Di CapriMay 30, 2015

    노답 ... hydra gives you huge sustain paired with w, very quick jungle cleaning, and ability to push a lane in a second ... the only thing i can agree with you is the horrible gold efficiency of the sightstone.

  20. disisdeathwingMay 30, 2015

    the thing about that is, you lose out on the health, armor shred and cdr on cleaver.
    and tbh, lee sin pushes the wave good enough.
    you already have innate sustain, cleaver would be better for single target and tf(moa health and the armor shred can be used by the team)
    however, if you are good on lee sin, go ahead, buy a hydra, if not, cleaver and then go full tank.

  21. HP. Hit Points stat... stats. good item. maybe not so in low elo cuz of noobs and noob team.
    Wards are good also. but yeah its not best

  22. cory jacksonMay 30, 2015

    His win rate us so low because bad people play him so often.not ti mention he's been nerfed a million times. Upgraded sightstone has one of the highest win rates for his items because of the extra hp it provides. Midgame you have to be able to use his kick effectively to make plays. I like the idea of trying to use the upgraded trinket instead but the cool down doesn't come up quick enough. Just my 2 cents.

  23. The problem with bc on lee is that he has 35% cdr then, wich sounds awesome but isnt good. You dont have enough energy regen/sustain for it

  24. Arman KheyrabadiMay 30, 2015

    I'm not a Lee Sin specialist or anything. But i'm pretty sure the pros and a lot of other people think that hydra is bad on lee and black cleaver is rlly good.

  25. Arman KheyrabadiMay 30, 2015

    People play lee because he is insanely fun to play. Honestly though, I have never seen a lee in ranked. Although im Bronze 2.

  26. I Hate EzrealMay 30, 2015

    thanks that helped me a lot,i focused hard on playing tank lee sin with sightstone but as a low elo player i should think about carrying and not making huge playes so i will definitely play "bruiser sin"

  27. I Thought Lee Sin had to buy sightstone since otherwise his attacks will all miss.... cuz he's blind.... I'll just leave now....

  28. uh.... "because of the extra hp it provides"... that's not true sightstone has terrible gold efficiency. It's cuz ruby sightstone is essentially a luxury item over the regular sightstone. If it was really "because of the extra health..." you could just buy a Warmog's (or better Randuins, which has decent winrate and it Lee's 3rd most popular item) If Lee is upgrading his sightstone instead of building other items, it's probably because his team is winning and he has gold to spend, where the regular sightstone has a crappy winrate. Notice ruby sightstone is about 30% less popular than regular SS? That's because people don't upgrade the SS unless they have free gold to spend. Last Whisper and Maw of Mal have the highest winrates on Lee and you'll notice Maw has higher popularity and winrate than hexdrinker, suggesting that most people complete Maw as a third or 4th item, rather than 5th or 6th.

  29. besides Lee Sin, Nunu is the only jungler who should build sightstone, and only if you're good at counterjungling (so probably not low elo)... I once had an Udyr rage quit because the enemy Nunu was in his jungle literally all day and no one could help him since Nunu would just escape with blood boil and you'd have left your lane for nothing and end up a level behind the enemy laner when you return. You know you're getting pwnd when you recall to buy items and by the time you leave your base Nunu steals your red buff, raptors, and solos dragon. Also he has Nunu Bot skin and is spamming his laugh. get rekt xD

  30. If you're using his passive correctly, you can sustain your energy easily. More CDR can't be a bad thing. It's not like you're being forced to use your spells every time they come off cooldown. You could also use energy runes kappa.

  31. Hhahahaa jobriq you're just so edgy always :)

  32. cory jacksonMay 30, 2015

    It's not a bad upgrade on lee at all and it's worth upgrading over switching to a different 6th item a majority of the time. Never said it was anything other than that but you notice defensive items (other than lw which is the only other damage item I think you need) have the higher win rates collectively.

  33. Your points are spot on. I just suggested RekSai cuz she is an AD Tank Early Game Jungler, same archetype as Lee Sin but with a different kit. I typically play Amumu, Nautilus, J4, Skarner, and Rammus depending on their team comp.

  34. If that fails, try J4, Vi, or Rengar. A good win rate is much more consistent with easier champs.

  35. Pros focus on stuff orientated around competitive play, and generally there they will go straight into tanky items because they don't NEED the damage, and sightstone not only for mobility but also vision control. in solo q, you can throw all that shit out the window, cause building damage = killing people = gold = wins = gg, pretty much the mentality you need for solo q

  36. Psychrolutes MarcidusMay 30, 2015


  37. disisdeathwingMay 31, 2015

    that is the point, not even in platinum it works

  38. Bryce PotterMay 31, 2015

    They do? Most, if not all of the defensive items have lower than 50% win rates, while most of his offensive items have higher than 50%, including Last Whisper and Maw, which sit on top of the item pack at nearly 60%.

  39. The BatmanMay 31, 2015

    i seem to only get rekt by a full ad lee sin

  40. Tonight, we Hunt!May 31, 2015

    Rengar is kinda hard in this tank meta. You need to assassinate ppl a lot faster than before, since there is so much bloody peel for the squishies now but yeah hes still good if you can get heaps ahead

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  42. do you even ward jump...

  43. ConfusedTeemoJune 01, 2015

    I'm in gold and most Lee's I see trying to ward jump are trying to pull of some silly **** that they make happen maybe 30% of the time.

  44. Eric ValkenaarJune 02, 2015

    are you serious? lee sin was buffed at start of season 5 because he couldn't handle the new jungle. his ad was too low and his sustain is virtually non existent.

  45. cory jacksonJune 03, 2015

    That's great he got buffed and would still lose early fights to j4 while j4 was a beast later on . Lee is a shell of himself that relys on outplays at this point . Tbh I couldn't tell you how they could actually balance his kit, if they give him more damage he's too strong and if they gave him more tank stats he could build damage and do the same .

  46. Eric ValkenaarJune 03, 2015

    Then you obviously haven't seem a good lee sin main. Lee sin dominates the top lane and has one of the best lvl 2 cheese kills in the game. Build ad with randuins and you will snowball out of control. Lee sin has always had the best winrate as a fighter pros only build him tank because they are all on headsets together and can coordinate insec and ward hop plays. People need to not follow the pros when there is a huge difference between pro played champs and solo que

  47. cory jacksonJune 03, 2015

    I look at high lvl solo q. Your a few season behind...

  48. Eric ValkenaarJune 03, 2015

    I'm not a few seasons behind, his highest winrate items are all dmg and all are sitting nicely at 60% and if you are climbing ladders that is exactly the type of winrate you want.

  49. cory jacksonJune 04, 2015

    He's not played in lane nearly at all. He loses most top match ups.

  50. cory jacksonJune 04, 2015

    How the fuck does triforce go well? He doesn't use mana...

  51. GrayellowJune 04, 2015

    It's not about the mana, it's about being able to efficiently and often proc the Sheen part of Triforce, granting him tons of damage (I'm sorry...), as well as the all-around stats it provides. The only stats that really go to waste are AP and mana. And yet, you might thank those 30 AP when you survive with 5~ HP thanks to the stronger W shield.

  52. Eric ValkenaarJune 04, 2015

    Exactly which people don't seem to understand if you effectively use lee sins passive then Tri force becomes an u got item on lee sin. and you know Tri force is lee sins highest winrate item? Just shy of 70%. In a world where people throw stats that definitely is saying something.

  53. cory jacksonJune 04, 2015

    I've never seen anyone not trolling build triforce on lee this season especially with black cleaver being a thing. Seems rather expensive to waste stats

  54. Olivier ForcierJune 11, 2015

    I play lee sin a lot and i personnally recommend cinderhulk black cleaver maw of malmortius if you want to go sightstone and tanky masteries because this way you wont fall off late you will just be a surviving pain in the a.s.s


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