The Ionians have developed some of the most breathtaking and deadly martial arts on all of Runeterra – just one manifestation of their pursuit of enlightenment. The most remarkable blade style to emerge, however, was the unusual byproduct of foreign intervention. Master Lito was a swordsman whose teachings were sought by ruling classes from nearly every city-state. His art was a highly-guarded secret, but it was said that swords would breathe in his grasp. He withered unexpectedly from a mysterious disease which baffled the brightest of Runeterran physicians. When he died, he left behind Zelos and Irelia, his son and daughter, and a truly unique weapon. Zelos became a Sergeant in the Ionian military and left to seek assistance from Demacia immediately prior to Noxus' invasion of Ionia. Irelia, charged with the protection of their home until Zelos returned, was alone when Noxian forces struck.
The Ionians fought admirably, but soon Ionian blood stained the land beneath the prints of foreign boots. At the Great Stand of the Placidium, Ionians prepared for surrender, but were inspired to maintain their resistance when the young Irelia hoisted her father’s enormous blade and pledged to hold until her brother returned. In the chaos of the ensuing fight, Irelia was cursed with dark Noxian necromancy. As her life ebbed, Soraka, the Starchild, made a final attempt to anchor Irelia’s fading soul. Unwilling to relinquish her home, Irelia rose at the brink of death, and her father’s sword lifted in the air alongside her. Irelia rushed back to the fore, unfazed by the blade's sudden animation. The weapon danced around her effortlessly, cutting down Noxians as they gaped in horror. The decimated invaders were forced to retreat from the Placidium. Irelia was appointed Ionia's Captain of the Guard, and when the defense of her homeland moved to the Fields of Justice, so did she.
The sword flourishes, as though painting with blood.
— Taken from a Noxian Field Report
"My blade is at your service!"
"There's no turning back."
"Cut them down."
"It ends here."
"This battle will be won."
"They will not prevail."
"Justice guides us."
"I will not falter."
"Ionia shall not fall."
"I stand resolute."
"True will cannot be defeated."
"You rely on your weapons too much, try letting go!"
"Balance in all things."
"My blade is not only precise, but totally gnarly."
The champion was officially revealed first in the November issue of PC Gamer:
Designed to be a burst melee DPS character that thrives whens she's outnumbered, Irelia's biggest weakness is stuns and other crowd control. Her abilities - a dash whose cooldown is refreshed when you successfully kill a target with it, a passive boost to her attack speed when surrounded by opponents and an ultimate ability that summons one or more floating blades to fight alongside her.
Champion Sneak Peek
Announcement made in the sneak peek by ByronicHero:
If you picked up a copy of the November issue of PC Gamer, then you've already had your first look at the League's latest champion. If you missed that issue, then it’s my great honor to officially introduce Irelia, the Will of the Blades. In addition to being the latest in our long line of pretty ladies to join the League of Legends, Irelia serves as the captain of the Ionian Guard -- which only goes to show that there's no glass ceiling when you have a telekinetic command over swords. So watch yourself! Irelia brings new meaning to the old proverb: "Walk softly, but carry a big sword." Hey, wait... did I get that right?
Ionian Fervor now additionally reduces silences and blinds, but no longer allows Irelia to walk through persistent slowing fields such as Kog'Maw'sVoid Ooze when stacked with other disable duration reductions (i.e: Tenacity).
Bladesurge: Irelia dashes forward to strike her target. If it kills the target, Bladesurge's cooldown refreshes and half the mana cost is refunded.
Hiten Style: Irelia is skilled in the art of Hiten, passively giving her physical attacks health restoration. Activating Hiten Style adds true damage to her physical attacks for a short duration.
Equilibrium Strike: Irelia's attack balances the scales, dealing damage and slowing the target. However, if the target has a higher Health % than Irelia, then the blow stuns the target instead.
Transcendent Blades (Ultimate): Irelia summons four spirit blades which she can fling at her enemies. These blades deal magic damage to enemies that they pass through, siphoning life from them and healing Irelia.
Ionian Fervor (Innate): Each nearby enemy champion (to a maximum of three) reduces the effectiveness of Crowd Control on Irelia.