Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Illaoi, the Kraken Priestess, has been making some waves recently since her release back in November. Although her win rate isn’t all that impressive statistically speaking, that can be pinned moreso on players not knowing how to properly utilize her strengths rather than the champion being mechanically weak. Illaoi is actually quite strong and if played properly, can even feel OP to opponents she ravages.
I like Illaoi and not just because of her unusual gameplay mechanics. I’m probably the furthest thing from a feminist there is, but it’s nice to see a female champion that doesn’t simply have a perfect figure and huge breasts. Illaoi also has intriguing lore. She’s the priestess of a deity known as Nagakabouros who is the Serpent Isles’ “god of life.” So basically you have a god fighting alongside you whenever you play as Illaoi.
Illaoi’s passive is called Prophet of the Elder God. Every 20 to 12 seconds, depending on champion level, Illaoi spawns a ghostly Tentacle on a nearby wall. Tentacles themselves don’t do anything which is actually somewhat disappointing. Instead, whenever Illaoi hits an enemy champion with either Harsh Lesson or Test of Spirit, any Tentacles in range of the enemy champion hit will also attack for some huge physical damage. Additionally, Tentacles will automatically attack enemy Vessels that wander within their range, but only once per Tentacle. Tentacles last for one minute and disappear if Illaoi strays too far from them.
Her Q is called Tentacle Smash. This is the ability that you’ll want to learn first because of its usefulness, but also to level last. Tentacle Smash has two parts, a passive and an active. The passive part of the ability is that anytime a Tentacle hits an enemy (including those from Prophet of the Elder God and from using Tentacle Smash); Illaoi is healed for five percent of her missing health for every enemy champion hit. This gives Illaoi a surprising amount of sustainability, especially in team fights where her Tentacles and abilities are hitting multiple enemies at once. Just when you think you’re about to finish Illaoi off, her health pops back up just far enough that she survives what you expected to be the final blow of your combo. Leveling up Tentacle Smash does not increase the healing effect from the passive portion, but it DOES add extra damage based to Tentacles based on a percentage of her attack damage.
The active part of Tentacle Smash is a skillshot that sends a Tentacle out in target direction. This Tentacle deals damage and heals Illaoi just like any other Tentacle hit would, only it’s an area of effect ability that can hit multiple enemies. The reason you want to learn Tentacle Smash first is because the activated portion can be used to harass foes from a distance.
Illaoi’s W is called Harsh Lesson. Activating Harsh lesson empowers Illaoi’s next basic attack with bonus range, bonus attack damage, and enables her to dash to the target. As mentioned previously, Harsh Lesson combos with her passive nicely because whenever you hit an enemy champion with a Harsh Lesson-empowered attack, all Tentacles within range will also lash out. It’s like simultaneously scoring multiple basic attacks. Because enemy champions CAN kill your Tentacles by attacking them, one of the main ways to use Harsh Lesson is to bait an enemy into coming near the Tentacles then using it to punish them (thus why it was named Harsh Lesson – you’re teaching them a hard, hard lesson).
Harsh Lesson is Illaoi’s bread and butter ability because it’s the main ability which spurs her Tentacles into action. You’ll want to learn it second and then level it up first so as to reduce its cooldown so you can have it ready at a moment’s notice. Make sure you use it to protect your Tentacles whenever possible. You want to keep as many Tentacles on the battlefield around you as you can.