Lee Sin is one of the most popular champions in the game. Knowledge of his mechanics and how to play around them will help you punish both low and high elo players. Lee Sin’s mobile and “big play” kit attracts players from all elos, only proving beneficial to those willing to put in the hours and master this difficult but powerful champion.
Before we get into this, make sure you know how the blind monk’s abilities work. Check out his kit here.
This is how to counter Lee Sin in the jungle.
Lee Sin has the potential to be menacing at all stages in the game. With the right mechanics, he will clear and gank well in the early game. By mid game he will have acquired enough damage to represent a serious threat to your carries in teamfights. An effective Dragon’s Rage (A roundhouse kick), his ultimate, could change the course of any fight. The only way you are going to beat Lee Sin is to take advantage of the mistakes your opponent makes and exploit your given opportunities.
The way in which you handle Lee Sin in the early game will play a significant role in the fate of the match. If you are playing a jungler with a weak early game, you will have to take care in preventing an early death. Strategic jungle pathing and vision gained through scuttle crabs and wards will aid you.
Playing around his mobility
He has two abilities which give him mobillity. He will escape when he needs to and run you down when he has caught you off guard. However, there are ways to work around his mobillity. He can only engage with his Q, Sonic Wave. Should he land it, he can reactivate and dash towards you. If you are able to dodge this Q, or get into safe space before he can reactivate he will not be able to engage from a distance.
His W, often used for escaping rather than engaging, has its limitations too. It can only be activated on an ally unit or ward. This means that without a ward in the jungle Lee Sin will be helpless. If you see him use a ward jump at the beginning of a fight, and he has no control wards, he will only be able to jump to an ally. Exploit the opportunities in which this is unavailable to him.
His passive, Flurry, grants him attack speed and energy-granting basic attacks (Energy is the resource used by “ninja” champions in League of Legends. It is yellow, and its storage cannot be expanded by items.) Try to kite enemy Lee Sins to prevent them from generating energy through basic attacks and you will detract from his mobillity and damage. If you can go even or better with a Lee Sin in the early game, you will have set yourself up well for the rest of the game.
How play against Lee Sin in the mid game
Getting armor and vision
Armor will go a long way as you approach mid game against Lee Sin. He deals only physical damage. He will probably pick up lethality items (Duskblade, Umbral Glaive) if given an early game lead. If he has gained an early lead, pick up a cloth armor on one of your backs, as well as a control ward, to watch out for counter ganks and counter jungling.
From Level 6 onwards you will have to be mindful of Lee Sin’s dangerous ultimate. Its moderate 90 second cooldown at level 6 will mean that it will be available for most ganks and early objectives. Understanding its mechanics will help you prevent Lee Sin from making short work of your carries.
Lee Sin’s ultimate is a unique form of crowd control, representing the opposite of a Thresh or Blitzcrank pull, displacement. He kicks an enemy champion, launching them in the direction of the kick. It deals damage and knocks up any enemy champion whom the kickee collides with. There are many ways in which it can be used. The most common is the “insec”, named after the famous Lee Sin professional.
Keeping your carries safe
Through use of his mobility he will attempt to get behind an enemy carry, kick them towards his team into a dangerous position, and return to safety if possible. Your aim must be to prevent him from reaching your carry by saving your CC.
Carries must keep their distance from Lee Sin and always try to dodge his Sonic Strikes. Positioning in teamfights will play an important role. Always make sure Lee Sin is between your carry and the enemy team, rather than behind. It prevents a destructive ultimate.
Even if he is unable to displace your carry, there are still many dangerous possibile uses. He could use it as severe crowd control against the entire enemy team, if he is able to line up your team correctly and lands a kick on a large champion.
Extra ult damage on tanks
The damage against champions who are in the path of the kicked champion will take damage scaling with the kicked champions bonus HP. This means Lee’s ult has high AOE damage potential when used against beefy tanks. To prevent this, position yourself in ways that will prevent successful ultimates. In other words, do not create a straight line of champions, rather spread out while still covering your carries.
How To Counter Lee Sin Late in the Game
As the late game comes the Blind Monk’s power fades. Most champions will outscale him, meaning that if you can take a game into its late stages it will almost always benefit you against Lee Sin. In the late game, there are two variations of Lee Sin that you can find.
On the one side, you have the common full damage build, attractive to low elo players. Lee Sin will have the potential to delete your squishy friends if he can slip through your team and find them. Playing against an assassin Lee Sin, you will do well to peel for your carries, blocking sonic strikes and CCing wild players rushing towards your ADC.
The full damage Lee Sin will be squishy, and reduce the damage soaking potential of the enemy team. Deal with him quickly with CC and focused attacks before he can devastate your team with strong AOE damage. At the other end of the spectrum you find tank Lee Sin, a unicorn of low elo. You will not often find this player, but you will often be exposed to Lee Sin’s with bruiser builds, between tank and damage. This is the player who gets Black Cleaver and Sterak’s Gage. Slow this Lee Sin and prevent him from securing effective positioning for a cheeky insec.
In the right hands, Lee Sin is a dangerous champion to play against. Luckily there aren’t many right hands. Most Lee Sin’s will fail their combinations. They will put themselves out of position and find themselves running out of energy and abilities.
He may be the most popular champion in the game, but he is also one of the most difficult. Even the best players will make mistakes. Your job is to capitalize on these mistakes. Remember his mechanics, buy armor, and protect your carries. Follow these guidelines and you will make it look like the players, not the champion, are the ones who are blind.
Looking for help in lane match-ups? Have a look at our other articles.