Master Yi Build Guide by Vorcia
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Master Yi Build
Defensive Build Options
Full Offense Yi Build
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Threats to Master Yi with this build
|Kassadin||Weak early game, no CC, doesn't generate any pressure in lane, Yi is also one of the only champs that can actually chase and kill Kassadin if he's picked.|
|Nasus||Weak early game, no CC, doesn't generate any pressure in lane. Yi ignores his wither too with highlander.|
This guide is meant for players both new and experienced to either League of Legends or Master Yi. To new players: this guide will teach you how to win lane, farm the jungle, general idea of how to play specific matchups, and what to do/build as Master Yi the game progression. This guide won't teach you what the jungle is, what other champions do, or how to gank, because this guide focuses on a more farm-focused playstyle for Master Yi.
Hi there Mobafire, I'm a Diamond Mid/ADC main, but Master Yi is easily the champion I've played most, albeit not very much in ranked for the reasons I'll mention below. I'll post my stats from my main and Gold smurf though if anyone is interested:
07/07/2014 - Updated Picking Master Yi.
16/07/2014 - Updated guide for patch 4.12; added in The Bloodthirster and Ravenous Hydra to item builds section.
23/07/2014 - Updated Runes and Early Game Jungling. Fixed the formatting errors with lategame.
31/07/2014 - Updated Item Builds to include Wriggle's Lantern rush, improved explanation on Statikk Shiv, and reasoning for not building Trinity Force.
08/08/2014 - Updated Item Builds with better icons and added in champion synergies into Picking Master Yi.
11/09/2014 - Updated guide for 4.16. Information is still the same despite some buffs to certain items. Added in guides for top and mid lane.
15/09/2014 - Updated guide with more jungle advice, enjoy my Paint skills. Updated the masteries with a new defensive setup for new players. Updated icons in the guide to the larger, nicer looking ones. Still have no idea how or when to use tables though. Added in Early Game Laning, its not much but its something.
21/09/2014 - Updated item builds with new items.
11/10/2014 - Updated for 4.18, Azir matchup added.
13/10/2014 - Grammar fixes, added in Changelog section so Introduction doesn't get overfilled.
24/11/2014 - Complete rehaul of items for season 5, jungle changes coming later.
28/11/2014 - Finished updating the jungle section, removed all mentions of Madred's Razors, Wriggle's Lantern, and Feral Flare.
24/12/2014 - Merry Christmas guys, Skirmisher's Sabre nerf made it not worth building anymore, updated the guide to reflect that.
Picking Master Yi
Extremely fast clear speed in the jungle.
High sustain in the jungle because of Meditate.
Amazing splitpushing and 1v1 potential due to Highlander.
Versatile build paths allow you to become an assassin, with Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade, or a bruiser with, Randuin's Omen and other tank items, depending on the game's situation.
Meditate can help you sustain against early game champions that rely on trading or poking.
Alpha Strike is great waveclear that helps Yi not get shoved under turret.
Extremely poor ganks pre-6, not very great ganks after 6 either.
Extremely vulnerable in the jungle against champs like Lee Sin or Shaco.
Extremely weak against team comps with hard engage and heavy CC such as Nautilus, Sejuani, and Amumu.
Can't gank if your team is being shoved into their turrets like most junglers can.
No escape so easy for junglers to gank and you can't get out of lost trades easily.
Try to not first pick Master Yi, it only leads to problems. Chances are, you'll get counter picked by either an aggressive early game jungler, for example Lee Sin, who will constantly 1v1 you in your jungle and/or snowball his team through ganks, or a tank with heavy CC capable of locking down Master Yi so you don't get your Highlander resets, such as Amumu, Jax or Nautilus.
Avoid picking Yi if your team already has a high AD count, especially if they're champions like Yasuo, Fiora, or Tryndamere. Chances are, those champions, Tryndamere specifically, will want to split push, causing your team comp to have a low count of tanks, CC, and an overall bad teamfight.
Try not to pick Yi if their team has more than 2 hard CC skills, however, if their hard CC comes in the form of skillshots, such as Morgana's Dark Binding, you can ignore those since they can be dodged with relative ease using Alpha Strike.
So when should I pick Yi? - When the other team has either weak laners such as Kassadin, Vayne, or Nasus, who can't generate much pressure in lane, resulting in your lanes winning on their own, without the need for jungle help.
Or, when the other team has a low CC count, so they'll have trouble locking you down, examples of this include Kayle or Vladimir top, with an assassin like Zed mid, or when someone picks Shyvana or Olaf for their frontline.
See matchups above, hover over champion icons, for more detail.
Champions that are good with Master Yi are champs with good waveclear. Champions that can clear the waves as fast as they come to your team's tower, such as Xerath or Ziggs make it impossible for the other team to push your turrets even 5v4 and allow Master Yi to split push 24/7.
If someone tries to stop your splitpushing, a hard engage champion on Master Yi's team such as Malphite or Alistar can engage 4v4 with Master Yi's Teleport turning the fight into a 5v4 stomp.
Overall, I find Yi to be a very niche pick due to the extreme difference between if he does well and if he does poorly, but if you can play him well, you can literally 1v5 teams most of the time.
- Obvious choice for junglers, without it, your clear speed is drastically reduced, and your first clear becomes next to impossible. Also, enjoy getting all your buffs, dragons, and barons stolen if you don't take Smite. ALWAYS TAKE SMITE IF YOU'RE JUNGLING.
- Master Yi is a stellar splitpusher and clean-up. With Teleport, you can:
Teleport to an open lane to push it.
Push a lane, then use Teleport to escape when they come to kill you, either to your base or to push another lane.
Teleport into a Dragon or Baron attempt to Smitesteal and run away with Highlander.
To assist in surprise ganks when the other lanes go all-in on your lanes.
To Teleport late into a teamfight for a surprise kill on their carry, leading into a massacre on their team with Highlander, since all their CC should be gone already.
And much more...
- Kinda useful I guess, if you really need an emergency escape against something like Jarvan IV's Cataclysm or an invading Lee Sin's Sonic Wave. Core on lane Master Yi for the escape and initiation potential, not so much on jungle Master Yi since you don't interact with other champions as much so you take Teleport to force a good fight.
- I don't really like this choice too much. It helps with Master Yi's early game, since it gives him more power for 1v1s against junglers like Shaco and Lee Sin, and it also gives him better early game ganks since it gives him the CC he needs to lockdown his gank target. However, while Exhaust is the best early game and 1v1 summoner for Master Yi, I feel his strength isn't in the early game, but in the lategame. Master Yi is already one of the best 1v1 champions in the game, so he doesn't really need Exhaust. I feel like Exhaust doesn't give as much safety as Flash does, but also doesn't give as much offensive capabilities as Teleport and is just an awkward in between.
Lane Master Yi Portion
- Core on almost every laner, take this to initiate or escape.
- Amazing on top lane Yi, good on mid lane Yi. His weak early game means he usually has to recall early on. Teleport minimizes the amount of cs and EXP you lose.
- Take this if your team has a person taking Teleport (Usually when you're mid lane) or if you think you can get a kill in lane.
- Amazing mastery for melee champs, lets you kill everything faster, and if you're Master Yi, you can 1v1 anyone without needing to worry about taking too much damage, so just kill them fast and get back to pushing.
- Gives more attack speed, which you really want since you can get more hits for Double Strike, a great damage steroid for killing jungle creeps, and a lowered cooldown for Alpha Strike, your main skill for killing camps and it also doubles as a defensive skill since you can use it to dodge the jungle monsters' auto attacks.
, Spell Weaving , and Blade Weaving - Master Yi's Alpha Strike resets mean these debuffs will be applied to multiple enemies if you choose to teamfight, since Master Yi loves to autoattack and spam Alpha Strike otherwise, more damage on the carries is always good.
- Master Yi is an AD champion, free AD can't hurt, especially when the other options include free AP.
- Huge amount of damage, and free damage is always good.
- BEST MASTERY IN THE GAME. Saves your life after close fights, especially important since Master Yi's goal is fights is to rack up kills and assists anyways for Highlander resets.
- You can replace this mastery and a point from Fury with Butcher and Feast if you plan to not build any crit items such as Youmuu's Ghostblade or Infinity Edge. Extra attack speed gives extra damage, and a Master Yi with Youmuu's Ghostblade and Highlander WILL crit quite often.
- Armor pen increases your damage output if the other team starts to build armor, also I have a burning hatred for Warlord since that mastery gives you just about nothing.
- More damage for only 1 point.
Defensive vs. Utility - I prefer to go into the utility tree because I feel Yi's early game is so bad if you get counterjungled the defensive tree isn't worth it anyways, and if you're not getting counterjungled, the utility tree lets you farm the jungle easier due to increased movement speed and manaa regen.
- Movement speed helps you roam better, and clear your jungle faster since you move faster from camp to camp. It also adds a little bit of extra safety when splitpushing. The extra mobility can also help you chase down carries or dodge skillshots in a teamfight.
- Alpha Strike and Meditate eat through your mana pool, especially if you don't have blue buff, this mastery helps alleviate that issue.
- Teleport has an extremely long cooldown, this helps shorten it to aid your splitpushes and Teleport ganks.
- If you choose to go into the defensive tree, please, do not get this mastery. Master Yi doesn't build very much tank stats, so you usually won't get much out of this mastery. Even with large amounts of Armor and MR, the amount this mastery gives is nearly useless. So, in short, NEVER TAKE Enchanted Armor .
Examples of an offensive and defensive mastery page:
I don't really use the bottom page anymore, but if you're really scared of getting counter-jungled or something, its always an option. If you're using the bottom page, I'm also assuming you're a new player so take Flash instead of Teleport and please buy all 4 Health Potions. Also, if you're jungling, switch a point from Block , Unyielding , Butcher , and Feast to 2 in Tough Skin and Fury . I'm not going to go in detail with my choices in the defensive tree but its the combination of masteries that offers the most amount of damage reduction.
Lane Master Yi Portion
Shortened Recalls are good since you're going to be pushed out of lane quite frequently. One second on your recall when you get pushed out quite often does add up.
CDR for Summoner Spells is really important since you get Teleport more often, and Flash is especially important since Master Yi has no innate escapes, just a MS steroid at level 6.
are all given a(n extra) point because I don't expect to get buffs and don't need Movement Speed to run around the jungle anymore, so I put the points into a bit of extra sustain for my health AND mana because I know some of you will ask me why I don't just take Recovery .
Greater Mark of Attack Speed - Attack speed is my personal favorite rune choice on Yi since you can get more hits for Double Strike, a great damage steroid for killing jungle creeps, and a lowered cooldown for Alpha Strike, your main skill for killing camps and it also doubles as a defensive skill since you can use it to dodge the jungle monsters' auto attacks.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage - Also an option on Yi, however, I personally feel weak without the extra attack speed, so I also go with Greater Seal of Attack Speed if I take these marks.
greater mark of armor penetration - Scales into lategame, I take these on lane Yi since I don't really need that many AD runes to last hit as Yi because of Alpha Strike and Wuju Style.
Greater Seal of Attack Speed - Allows me to get more Hunter's Machete procs off, along with a lower Alpha Strike cooldown and more Double Strikes
Greater Seal of Scaling Health - I tend to build Randuin's Omen and Spirit Visage or Banshee's Veil, so the Greater Seal of Scaling Health increases your effective HP pool by a lot due to the additional armor and MR, not to mention any damage reduction from Meditate.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor - Great for increasing your effective HP pool lategame if you're not planning on building Randuin's Omen or other armor items. The reason for these seals is simply because Greater Seal of Scaling Armor gives a significantly more amount of defensive stats than Greater Seal of Scaling Magic Resist. In addition, not all champions will deal magic damage, however all champions will deal physical damage with their autoattacks.
Greater Seal of Armor - I don't feel like these runes are really necessary, but if you have problems surviving in the jungle, I'd recommend using these.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health - I feel like I need some survivability in lane, but not flat runes because regardless, I'm still going to lose lane most of the time so I might as well pick runes for the late game. I went health so I have equal protection against AP and AD damage later on.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed - Attack speed is my personal favorite rune choice on Yi since you can get more hits for Double Strike, a great damage steroid for killing jungle creeps, and a lowered cooldown for Alpha Strike, your main skill for killing camps and it also doubles as a defensive skill since you can use it to dodge the jungle monsters' auto attacks.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - If they have a heavy AP comp or a heavy burster, such as Orianna, Vladimir, Kayle, LeBlanc, or Syndra. These will help you survive late game, but you should still probably build a Banshee's Veil against teams like that.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - On lane Yi, this improves your sustain by giving you more Meditates as well as increasing your damage for farming and trading by give you more Alpha Strikes and Wuju Styles
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed - Attack speed is my personal favorite rune choice on Yi since you can get more hits for Double Strike, a great damage steroid for killing jungle creeps, and a lowered cooldown for Alpha Strike, your main skill for killing camps and it also doubles as a defensive skill since you can use it to dodge the jungle monsters' auto attacks.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Movement speed helps you roam better, and clear your jungle faster since you move faster from camp to camp. It also adds a little bit of extra safety when splitpushing. The extra mobility can also help you chase down carries or dodge skillshots in a teamfight.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage - I take some AD runes in the form of quints to give me some AD to last hit and trade with early on.
Why do you run a full attack speed setup?
I chose to run a full AS rune page so I can get a significant amount of DPS from the Hunter's Machete, Double Strike, and Wuju Style, along with having Alpha Strike come off cooldown sooner. I don't feel like I need AD since I usually use it for last hitting, which I don't need to do in the jungle, and Wuju Style + Double Strike scale much better with AS. As for armor, I only start with 1 or 2 Health Potions in the jungle, which I feel is fine. With the changes to Hunter's Machete, people may need to start more Health Potions, but I still feel that Greater Seal of Armor isn't really necessary to survive in the jungle. As for alternatives like Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction or Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, Yi is a resetting autoattack focused champion so I chose not to run those. Alpha Strike's bonus damage to monsters is a flat amount so I chose to focus on AS to get Alpha Strike's CD off sooner, more wuju style AAs, and get more double strikes.
Examples of viable rune setups:
- Main clearing and damaging tool, take this at level 1 and max it first.
- Main sustaining tool, great for negating damage too. Not really necessary in the jungle though, just the heal when you're low is nice, so max this last and take it level 3, since the two potions should be enough to hold you until you get to level 3. In lane, I take a second point in this skill early on since Yi gets poked down a lot in lane.
- Gives a damage boost in the jungle, get this skill at level 2 and max it second to increase your damage output and clear speed. Try not to actually use the active in the jungle, you never know when you'll have to duel an invading jungler or Teleport or run into a lane to do a quick counter-gank.
- Yi's ultimate, really good skill since it helps his mobility and survivability with movement speed and Alpha Strike and Meditate resets, also increases his damage with the bonus attack speed. Put points into this whenever possible.
Master Yi is a very versatile jungler, who can do many build paths depending on the game.
In the new jungle, you'll start with Hunter's Machete and (I recommend) 2 Health Potions. The season 5 jungle is much harder but it can still be easily managed by Yi with properly timed Alpha Strikes to dodge large monster attacks.
On your first back, you should be able to afford at least Stalker's Blade, try and get it as soon as possible to benefit from the increased clear speed and sustain.
- I wouldn't ever recommend building it, but the scavenging smite can be useful if you're losing your jungle and need to pick up whatever gold you can while making a quick getaway. With that in mind, being in the other team's jungle while behind is incredibly risky, and you'd be better off with chilling smite or challenging smite to reduce the other jungler's threat to you.
- Following that up, I'd say this is the most useless jungle item for Master Yi. Why would you get this? Alpha Strike already one shots the small creeps for most of the game. Why do you need to stun them if they'll probably die just as fast? Why do you more sustain than you already have from your Blade of the Ruined King and Meditate?
- Is now the best jungle item for Master Yi after the Skirmisher's Sabre nerfs. Unlike the Skirmisher's Sabre, the Stalker's Blade smite will deal all the true damage instantly. The CC isn't really needed but it could help in duels to catch up to your target without having to blow Highlander and/or if you want to save Alpha Strike for reseting tower aggro or dodge some skill.
- The DoT is hardly noticeable with Master Yi's insane damage, it was much better pre-nerf, but now it's a pretty subpar choice that only has a use for its damage reduction.
I personally believe that all enchantments other than Magus are viable on Yi, however, Devourer is by far the best and the one you should be striving to get in most games.
- Decent choice for Master Yi, but the nerf to 25 damage on-hit from 40 means that you lost a lot of camps worth of damage and you'll be significantly weaker in comparison to pre-nerf. It's decent if you're farming out for lategame but not a great choice if you actually want to secure objectives, prevent snowballing, and carry your team in the midgame.
- Now best enchantment for Yi, get this if you're not behind and strong enough to participate in midgame fights. The immediate increase in stats from this enchantment will help out your early-mid game ganks much more than Devourer would. Because of the new importance of mid-game objectives with the new dragon stacks, I'd highly recommend building this so your team doesn't fall too hard behind because you're stacking your Stalker's Blade - Devourer.
Stalker's Blade - Juggernaut Its viable, I guess, but the only situation I could see this item being built is in a situation where Yi was a bad pick or when you're so far behind that you're probably going to lose anyways. If your team is really squishy and you're in a situation where you can't snowball to victory (you and/or your lanes are too far behind to be useful), you'll die very fast the moment you try to kill anyone. Juggernaut will help you survive against their fed team and makes for a decent item in bruiser Yi.
Master Yi scales amazingly with attack speed, making Berserker's Greaves a great buy on him, however, he is also extremely weak to crowd control effects, such as Rune Prison, and Dazzle, and as a result, Mercury's Treads help him deal with this weakness.
I feel like Master Yi, early game, can make picks without worrying about CC and needs more damage to clear towers, objectives, and get kills in skirmishes and ganks. So Berserker's Greaves are a better early buy. However, when you begin Teleporting into teamfights, any CC that hasn't been used yet, coming your way, can cause you a lot of problems, which is why I recommend to sell your Berserker's Greaves for Mercury's Treads when you start needing to Teleport into teamfights, after you get some points in Highlander and some attack speed items like Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade.
Sometimes, the other team feeds some AD champion which doesn't really have that much CC, like Jax, whose Counter Strike can be avoided by Alpha Strikeing onto him when the duration is almost over or onto creeps to avoid the stun, Fiora, Tryndamere, and Yasuo, all who have no CC against Yi or CC that can't be countered with tenacity. Against these type of teams, you can go for Ninja Tabi to help survive since they don't really have much CC.
DAMAGE YI BUILD
Now, here's where things can start getting more versatile. If you're choosing to go a more damage Yi build, after building your Bilgewater Cutlass, buy a The Brutalizer. You should also consider upgrading your Boots of Speed to Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads during this time depending on how much CC the other team has. Keep in mind that my Bilgewater Cutlass and The Brutalizer build, while good, is not mandatory. You can also rush a Blade of the Ruined King if you feel the other team is building health, not armor, or if you need the active to 1v1 someone or chase someone.
After getting your Stalker's Blade enchantment, complete your Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade. If you feel that you need more damage to kill their carries or their tanks aren't building very much armor, build an Infinity Edge to absolutely destroy their team's squishies. If you need a faster splitpush, you can build Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer, if you anticipate yourself being in a 1v1 while splitpushing ( Statikk Shiv is the superior choice almost all the time, since lategame, depending on your build, Phantom Dancer can cause you to go over 2.5 Attack Speed, so Statikk Shiv's damage becomes more useful). In general, I'd recommend not building any Zeal items on Master Yi, since Youmuu's Ghostblade + Highlander give enough attack speed and movement speed.
Once the other team begins building armor, a Last Whisper becomes paramount. It increases your damage against tanks significantly, even if you have all that on-hit true damage from Wuju Style.
Your final build should resemble the offense Yi build at the beginning of my guide.
DEFENSIVE YI BUILD
I feel that while Master Yi has great synergy with offensive AD items, he can kill most champions easily with only a Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade, but has problems surviving if he gets focused in a teamfight, which is why I prefer to build at least 1 or 2 defensive items on Master Yi.
So, right now, you have your Bilgewater Cutlass, Stalker's Blade, and Boots of Speed. Do you need more damage to kill their carries, or do you need to survive in fights because their team has a lot of CC and/or is more fed than yours? As a general rule, if you live from a fight just fine, buy more damage. If you died or are close to dying in a fight, its time to build tanky since chances are, if you died this fight, you'll die faster next time since they have that extra 300g to kill you with.
If you need more damage, buy a The Brutalizer, followed by an enchantment, Blade of the Ruined King, and Youmuu's Ghostblade. Don't forget to upgrade/switch your boots to Mercury's Treads either.
If you need to survive, just buy your Blade of the Ruined King, enchantment, and a Randuin's Omen. I really like Randuin's Omen on Yi. It gives him some CC which he desperately needs, armor to be tankier when fighting bruisers or ADCs, and extra health, amplified by Meditate's damage reduction. You can buy Berserker's Greaves after your Blade of the Ruined King and switch to Mercury's Treads after your Randuin's Omen or just buy Mercury's Treads after your Randuin's Omen without buying Berserker's Greaves if you really need the tank stats and not attack speed.
For your next two items, decide if you're tanky enough to live and just need more damage to fight whoever you're focusing in a teamfight (preferably the ADC), or you still need to build tankier to survive. Choose from these items according to your situation.
VIABLE ITEMS FOR YI TO BUILD
- Core item on Yi. Chasing potential without ult, nuke on active, gives Yi %HP damage against tanks who stack HP against his true damage, attack speed helps get more procs for Double Strike, Alpha Strike, and Devourer enchantment if you choose to build it.
- Almost core item on Yi, basically a second Yi ult that gives him CDR for his abilities and flat armor penetration to skill squishy targets faster. The only reason not to build this item is if you need a Statikk Shiv for pushing or if you're building a tankier Yi.
- Kill tanks faster by getting rid of their armor. Not always necessary if their team has tanks you want to avoid attacking like Rammus, but its an amazing item on any AD champion.
- Highest damage output item in the game. Gives the most AD of any item (unless you count Atma's Impaler or Maw of Malmortius. Also increases your crit chance and damage output from crits by a very significant amount. This is the core item for autoattacking champions. You don't need this though if the other team is just stacking armor or you're building tankier Yi.
- If they just have too much burst on their team, from Syndra or LeBlanc for example, and you need to survive it, or if they have an extremely important skill you can't dodge easily, such as Unstoppable Force or Summon: Tibbers.
- Hexdrinker/ Maw of Malmortius is an awkward item to buy on Master Yi IMO, because most mages can burst straight through it, so its better to just block that burst if you can with Alpha Strike, Meditate + Visage or a Banshee's Veil. Of course, there are some champs like Lulu, Kayle, or Evelynn who deal magic damage but not in absurdly high bursts for which a Hexdrinker would be invaluable against.
- You need your Meditate up more and heal more against teams with high poke like Ziggs or Xerath. Overall, this isn't a great choice since you're better off with a Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver Sash to negate poke/CC you can't dodge and then just killing them once they blow their important skills.
- You're getting focused down way too fast, and your team has threats can deal damage still while you're reviving. Get this if none of the other items will save your life.
/ - You need to get rid of Infinite Duress, Nether Grasp, Impale, Terrify, Puncturing Taunt, etc.
- You need to push waves and towers faster while splitpushing. I think a Statikk Shiv rush could be good, but not with my rune page setup. It just gives too much AS with no sustain or damage in the midgame. Good stats on Master Yi, but not the ones I need at the time I build it. I've rushed Statikk Shiv before and it led to me having a good splitpush but a noticeably weaker 1v1 than if I built Blade of the Ruined King or Youmuu's Ghostblade. Even without a Statikk Shiv, Master Yi clears camps fast enough and I'd rather have the rather significant bonus MS buff from Youmuu's Ghostblade for when I don't want/can't use Highlander. I've been told that Avarice Blade's gold generation is very useful in the jungle, which I do agree with however, 800g of crit chance is a pretty awful stat to have as a powerfarming jungler. I'd prefer to put that 800g towards Long Swords for damage or a Vampiric Scepter for sustain. If you really fall behind, you could always use that Avarice Blade for a Youmuu's Ghostblade instead.
- You need more attack speed to duel bruisers and tanks. I generally don't recommend this item, because I feel Youmuu's Ghostblade and Statikk Shiv are superior choices. Especially since with my rune page setup, I could easily surpass the 2.5 AS limit. But all the same, if you just need lots of crit and attack speed, here it is.
Items you should avoid most of the time
- Good stats for Yi to have, but it costs too much, has an awkward build path and Yi doesn't really need to slow enemies to catch up to them thanks to Highlander.
- Okay if they have no %HP damage but that's really rare. Randuin's Omen just provides so much more effective HP and utility with the passive and active. I guess Warmog's Armor could be alright if they have some fed AP that deals constant DPS like Kayle, Cassiopeia or Lulu.
- Too little AD, too much attack speed on top of your core items, you don't really need movement speed either with your Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade (if you chose to build it). You're basically just dumping 2.9k gold into Tenacity and CDR at this point. It could be okay as an item to replace boots I guess, but if you want a full offensive item to replace boots with, The Bloodthirster would probably be a better choice.
- Extremely situational item against fed melee carries like Master Yi, such as Fiora and Tryndamere. You don't really need all that armor if you already have a Randuin's Omen, in addition your Meditate already negates a lot of damage. But if you really feel like you need to counter a fed AD, then a Thornmail is probably something you should consider.
- Here's the reason I don't like building this item on Master Yi:
I run into 1 of 2 scenarios:
1) The backline is too protected/no squishy wants to stop my splitpushing and I have to fight against a tank. In this case, The Black Cleaver gives AD and Health, but the Youmuu's Ghostblade active is much better for 1v1s if I'm in a splitpush, and if I'm in a teamfight, I might get 1 The Black Cleaver stack on 4 people, or just 1 stack on 1 person with Alpha Strike, depending on where the minions are. Neither of these situations are favorable, so I'd rather get the much cheaper, higher armor penetration Last Whisper.
2) I can assassinate a carry. I don't need % armor pen at all and the bonus AS + MS active from Youmuu's Ghostblade allow me to kill the carry much faster.
- With patch 4.12, I've seen people wanting to build a The Bloodthirster on Master Yi. My overall opinion is that this item is a relatively bad choice. The items are too expensive for a jungler to be buying, and a B. F. Sword doesn't give the dueling power of the Bilgewater Cutlass's active. Also, being a melee assassin with no real escape, you really don't have the choice of when to fight. Having to wait for a carry to be out of position so you can assassinate them just causes your The Bloodthirster shield to disappear. The bonus attack speed on Blade of the Ruined King also helps get your Alpha Strike and Double Strike back up faster, the active lets you kill targets without needing to use Highlander so you can save it for an important teamfight coming up. If you get really fed though, The Bloodthirster could be a good final item to replace your boots with just to get a significant damage spike.
- Alpha Strike gives Yi enough waveclear, even moreso if he chooses to build a Statikk Shiv. While this item isn't totally bad on Yi, there's no real reason to build it since Blade of the Ruined King is much better for assassination and dueling due to its active and %HP damage on tanks.
- Alright, I've been asked about this item, and I've seen plenty of Yi players build this so I'm break it down into 3 parts.
Sheen - This portion of the item is pretty useless on AD Yi. It gives him a slightly higher heal on Meditate and the mana could be useful early game where he actually has mana problems but, if you get a Sheen that early on Yi, you'll be sacrificing a large amount of damage and clear speed, resulting in worse ganks and lower income from farming the jungle. Lategame, your CDs are just too high to make use of the passive. Hell, using Alpha Strike might even make your splitpush slower. In a teamfight where you're getting resets to actually use the passive, you've already won the teamfight anyways so it doesn't even matter that you have spellblade. I'd rather buy an Infinity Edge with that gold to increase my damage consistently so I can actually get a reset in the first place.
Phage - This one is pretty ridiculous imo. I mean, it gives a small amount of health and AD to Yi which really doesn't matter since you get a lot more AD from your other items, and you get less health and AD from a Frozen Mallet. Besides, I don't really think any Yi needs more MS to stay on their target.
Zeal - Meh, this one I'm okay with, it gives a pretty decent amount of MS to roam around with, more than a Statikk Shiv or Phantom Dancer at the cost of a lot of AS, which Yi doesn't actually need to build a lot of after Youmuu's Ghostblade and Blade of the Ruined King, and crit chance which isn't too big a deal.
Overall, Trinity Force has a lot of stats Yi likes, but not enough. You're better off building other items to get the stats Trinity Force gives. The only situation I'd build this item in is one similar to The Bloodthirster or Zephyr, as a replacement for my boots once I get full build.
- Extremely useful passive, great in fights, the Double Strike also counts as a stack for the next Double Strike. This is part of the reason I like to take a lot of attack speed runes on Master Yi.
- Yi's main skill. In the jungle, use this skill after autoattacking the camp once, sort of as a pseudo autoattack reset. When in a teamfight or a duel, never use this skill first. Always use Highlander to run at the other champion, maybe with the Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade active. Save your Alpha Strike for when the other player uses an escape like Flash or hard CC like Charm, Flame Chompers!, or Dark Binding
- Use this skill in between camps to heal up; this skill is the reason you don't really need potions on Yi jungle, since blue buff and your masteries should give you plenty of mana to use this skill. If you notice a heavy nuke like Requiem, Explosive Cask, Mega Inferno Bomb or Super Mega Death Rocket! coming, use Meditate immediately before if you can't dodge it with Alpha Strike to get rid of a lot of the damage since Meditate gives you a significant amount of damage reduction.
- Keep this up in a teamfight/duel at all times, most people forget about this skill and only spam Alpha Strike with their Highlander reset. Wuju Style's bonus AD passive will still be in effect if the skill is active. Try not to actually use the active in the jungle, you never know when you'll have to duel an invading jungler or Teleport or run into a lane to do a quick counter-gank.
- Use this skill to initiate fights and Alpha Strike to dodge heavy damage and CC. Try not to use this skill if you can gapclose onto and kill the other champions with just Blade of the Ruined King and Youmuu's Ghostblade since you won't have it up for other 1v1s or especially if you need to Teleport into a teamfight soon, you won't have Highlander up.
Early Game Laning
These champions tend to have very high damage output early game and the CC to help lock you down for trades and jungle ganks. I'm not going to lie, these are Yi's biggest counters. You generally shouldn't pick Master Yi into these matchups. In order to survive these matchups, you're going to have to last hit sparingly. Keep in mind the range of whatever CC and Gapclosers they have. Only last hit if you're out of their CC/Gapcloser range or they're on cooldown. See the specific champion abilities for their ranges in the loading screen. Don't bother pushing the wave with Alpha Strike, they'll just freeze it and cause you to lose even more farm. If they ever freeze the lane, just go to your jungle and start farming whatever camp is closest to your lane. Bringing junglers to your lane to help might also be a bad idea. Depending on who you're fighting, who your jungler is, and how low you are, their top lane might be able to 1v2 you are your jungler. Expect to have ~45 farm by the 10 minute mark or less than half the other laner's farm. If you lose too hard, you'll want to get Ninja Tabi as your boots, otherwise, you should still get Berserker's Greaves.
Master Yi actually does fairly well in these matchups. Alpha Strike lets you shove these champions into their tower, making it harder for them to farm, unless they're Zed or Yasuo, they never have trouble farming so please don't use Alpha Strike to shove them. Master Yi can win trades against other low CC assassins, such has Yasuo and Zed fairly early on, as early as level 2, so don't be too scared of them (watch out for higher damage assassins like Fiora and Tryndamere though. Against the tankier targets, such as Shyvana, Jax, and Malphite, don't try trading with them, you'll lose. Just last hit freely and ignore the almost non-existent damage dealt to you, Meditate when low. Expect to have ~80 farm at 10 minutes. Buy Berserker's Greaves in these matchups to snowball.
These top laners typically damage and CC you through targeted sources such as autoattacks. These are incredibly hard for Master Yi to deal with because the moment you Alpha Strike to fight, they'll just CC you, walk away and take off half your health. So, if they won't let you fight them, just shove the wave under their tower with Alpha Strike. As a result, they'll either be forced to miss a lot of farm under turret, especially most champs of this type will be AP, or let you farm. If the wave is at their tower though, wait for it to push up a bit so you don't get CC'd and ganked under turret, just farm your jungle in the meantime. Also, buy wards because if you're shoving the wave so much, junglers will love to come to your lane. However, if you're getting shoved by them and you're too scared to shove back, then let them shove it to your tower and call your jungler over for a free kill since these champs are usually rather immobile and squishy. Expect to have ~60 farm at 10 minutes. For this matchup, you'll want either Mercury's Treads to survive their AP damage and CC or Berserker's Greaves if you get ahead enough to shove them in and trade better while their CC is down.
These champs are a mixed bag for Master Yi. Either he's good enough to dodge the important skillshots, such as Light Binding, Arcanopulse, and Unleashed Power, which allows him to win trades almost all the time and gapclose onto targets with no escape, or he gets hit by them, gets poked/bursted down and dies. That's pretty much all there is to say about this matchup. Dodge their important skillshots and gapclose onto them with Alpha Strike for easy kills. Save your Alpha Strike for CC or really high burst, and don't just waste it getting greedy for kills or trying to dodge something like a Command: Attack. Alpha Strike will also shove the wave so they'll lose a lot of farm. While its at their tower, go farm the jungle so you're not wasting time. Also, buy wards because if you're shoving the wave so much, junglers will love to come to your lane. Expect to have ~70 farm at 10 minutes. Buy Mercury's Treads if you feel like you're at risk of getting CC'd or poked down, if not, buy Berserker's Greaves to kill them faster.
Early Game Jungling
DISCLAIMER: Because of school, I haven't been able to play as much in the preseason, this section is based off only a couple of games
Master Yi is incredibly weak early game, so be careful of invades from early game junglers like Lee Sin, Shaco, or even Udyr. If I'm up against someone like the champs I've mentioned previously, who absolutely love to counter-jungle, sometimes I'll just do Blue/Red (Smite) --> Wolves/Birds -> Krugs (Smite) -> Birds/Wolves -> Krugs (Smite), and just let them take my other buff. Its better than going to my buff and getting killed and the buff taken anyways since I don't have Flash.
ALWAYS start top lane, you won't get as much as help as you would from bot lane, but it lets your bot lane get an advantage by doing the camp closest to their lane hitting level 2 much earlier on than a bot lane not doing the jungle camp.
It doesn't matter whether you smite your buff or the first camp just as long as you smite every other camp you do. Start the camp closest to top lane and smite it, so Gromp if you're on Blue team or Krugs if you're on Red team[/color. Afterwards, do your closest buff, followed by your next buff, then follow up with the wolves or birds depending on which buff you just finished. Meditate to heal yourself, then follow the map for the rest of the game. MAKE SURE TO SKIP CAMPS IF YOU NEED TO BE CLOSER TO YOUR BUFF WHEN IT SPAWNS
Your jungle path after buffs should usually look something like this:
You can tell when your buffs spawn by pressing TAB and checking the top of your screen for the timer of when the next buff will spawn. This only applies if you had vision of the buff/dragon/baron when it died however.
You should also recall if you've been jungling for 6 minutes, since you need full health/mana for the buff that's about to respawn (usually at about 7:10), in case they try to take it. If you feel like your mid laner is doing well but needs blue buff to carry, give it to them, otherwise take it for yourself, because if you've been farming correctly, your second blue buff should be what you need to get your level 6 and Highlander.
After your first recall, your jungling path stays the same mostly. For simplicity I'll call Birds and Wolves, easy camps, and the Crags and Frog, hard camps. I do this because the order of the champs change depending on where you enter the jungle from, the camp order is changed but the type of camp is still the same. For example, if you're on blue side, you start Frog if you enter from the top side and Crags if you enter from the bottom side but either way, you still do a hard camp. Your jungle path will look like this: Hard Camp 1 -> Easy Camp 1 -> Easy Camp 2 -> Hard Camp 2 -> Easy Camp 1 -> Start from the beginning (For example: Frog -> Wolves -> Birds -> Crags -> Wolves). You can skip camps if you notice your buff is about to spawn soon. Your buffs take precedence above all else so try and skip camps so you're at wight if your blue is spawning and at wolves or golem if your red is spawning.
You shouldn't really need to gank as Master Yi until you have Highlander, and even after that, you should wait until the lanes start to roam around so you can make picks on carries trying to farm alone.
If you really need to gank, like your lane is being pushed to their tower and they desperately need help, or are being targeted for a risky dive, ignore whatever camp you're doing, run there with Highlander or Teleport in and punish their risky play by getting some free kills.
When ganking any lane, be careful of wards, if they spot you, the enemy jungler might be waiting for you to gank, and then turn it around with a counter-gank to kill your team. Also, pay very close to attention to champs like Caitlyn and Morgana who can time their CC to match your Teleport making it impossible to dodge normally easily dodged skillshots.
Try to avoid ganking losing lanes. Master Yi doesn't have the early game damage or CC to kill a snowballing laner, you'll just end up feeding their lane even more kills.
In the new jungle, failing a gank can still reap some rewards. Yi has naturally high movement speed, a gapcloser, and a lot of autoattack damage. This makes killing the new Scuttle Crab a rather trivial task for him. If you ever fail a gank and aren't in risk of being killed by laners or the other jungler, it can be very beneficial for you to take the Scuttle Crab because of the very valuable mobility and vision control the shrine it drops gives to your team.
After you hit level 6, keep an eye out for Dragon. With a Sweeping Lens, you can clear any wards, then make short work of it solo with Highlander, using Alpha Strike to dodge a large portion of its damage.
Towers are Falling, People are Roaming - It's Midgame!
This is where Master Yi really starts to shine.
Assuming you're not too far behind, practically no one can duel a Master Yi equipped with a Blade of the Ruined King, Stalker's Blade - Warrior, and Youmuu's Ghostblade. Splitpush, preferably bottom for more dragon control, and try to draw in people to stop your pushing, when they come anywhere near you, activate Highlander and kill them. Make sure that the area is warded though, or you have vision on their team and know no one is near whoever you're trying to kill. Otherwise a 1v2 could be difficult or even get you killed.
While jungling, keep an eye open for carries farming open lanes. Generally, they'll want all the XP in the lane for themselves so you usually won't have to worry about them being backed up by their team so you can get a free kill ganking these extended, farming carries.
Objectives are important, use a Sweeping Lens to clear wards in the area so the other team won't be able to see you ganking or taking Dragon or Baron. Dragons give your team a lot of free gold and Master Yi excels at taking quick Dragons. Try to solo it whenever possible. If you chose to do the solo Baron build, try to solo it at 15 minutes, but if you can, call your top lane to help tank it and ADC to help kill it faster.
In summary, as Master Yi, your main goal is to just push a lane, get towers, dragons, and barons, run away if you see anyone coming to kill you, Teleport into a teamfight to clean up the kills.
Play the exact same as you would midgame, push towers, and Teleport into teamfights to cleanup. Be careful when pushing bot lane though. If the other team catches you pushing bot lane and your Teleport is done, you'll be giving up a free Baron to the other team.
Occasionally, people will be sent to stop you from splitpushing, however, they'll be sent one at a time, and in this perfect scenario, you'll be able to 1v5 them and carry your team to victory.
In this fight, I save my Alpha Strike since I might need it to dodge Thresh's Death Sentence, however he misses it anyways so I get to save it for Ahri's Orb of Deception and Kayle's Reckoning. Even though I could've killed Thresh with one autoattack, I finished him off with Alpha Strike to get damage onto Evelynn since the CD would've been reset anyways. While Kayle's Intervention was up, I, uh, lagged and accidentally Alpha Striked her, but I Meditated immediately afterwards since it wasn't possible for me to deal damage to her anyways and I might as well mitigate her damage.
In this teamfight, my team got engaged on and lost the fight, the other team wasn't low, but I noticed they began to split up. Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard and Varus's Chain of Corruption were already used and I knew I could dodge Morgana's Dark Binding so I knew there was no CC to stop me. I engaged onto the carry Nidalee first, to remove the damage, followed by the only CC in the fight, Morgana, and finally Jarvan IV. Darius and Varus, two very high damaging targets come in to try and kill me, I normally would be in danger but I noticed Varus get greedy and come way too close to me, so I just jump on him and get the kill. Garen comes in at the end to assist me in killing Darius. Afterwards, our lanes weren't really pushing, and I might've been able to get a Nexus turret, but I found it safer to just get a Dragon for my team.
This teamfight takes place in Platinum elo. This game was poorly played by me overall but, I managed to redeem myself in the teamfights. My team did a good job of holding on 4v5, while I came in late to cleanup the kills. The second teamfight was very questionable, I was busy killing minions in our base, so I came to that fight exceptionally late. I also ignored Draven who killed Jinx to chase down and kill Shyvana. It's hard to tell if it was worth it, but probably not. When I didn't come into the teamfight late, I didn't bother trying to dive their Draven or Nidalee. Their frontline was rather strong and had enough peel to stop me, so I decided to stay in our back line with Jinx, peeling off the Shyvana and Elise since I knew would be able to fight those two but not with them focusing me while I try to fight Draven.
Also, try and look out for some sneaky backdoor wins whenever you can:
I hope my guide helped you learn how to play Master Yi. Please leave your responses on what I could do to improve this guide.
THIS GUIDE IS DEDICATED TO THE DEATH OF A LEGEND: RIP AP YI