Master Yi Build Guide by
Not Updated For Current Season
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Master 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.
Master Yi is widely considered to be an easy champion to play and a low-elo pubstomper. Despite that, he's generally not considered viable in higher elo or ranked play. This guide isn't here to convince you otherwise. He can jungle but poses a fairly small threat to the well-warded enemy when it comes to ganks. Again, I won't try to convince you otherwise as this isn't a jungle guide. While not the only way to play him, I choose to play my Yi AP. Every time, no exceptions. If the team calls for an auto-attacking AD, I'll choose a different champion. My reason? Yi is just too fun NOT to play AP.
Most people laugh at the thought of an ability power based Yi. That's no surprise as oftentimes AP Yi will fail hard if his team can't back up his work. Another common factor amongst AP Yi players I see a lot is not an incorrect utilization of the champion but, rather, a horrible build. Most AP Yi decide to build AP items that give attack speed bonuses such as Nashor's Tooth. It seems as though an effective Ability Power build for Master Yi is a rather evasive thing.
I'm aware that there are other AP Yi guides here on mobafire. Though I won't mention their names because I don't have consent from their authors, I will say that they're pretty good for the most part. A few items and runes I disagree with but I wish I had known they were around when I started attempting to create the perfect AP Yi as they're very informative.
I hope that this guide, should the conditions of the game you try this build allow it, convince you that Master Yi is an extremely fun champion if you don't already think so. While AP isn't much harder to counter than AD, you'll find that the basic mechanics are similar to AD Yi. I'll make sure to list the differences in each skill when compared side-by-side with Attack Damage Yi.
Let's get on to the guide.
I choose to play Yi as a harasser early game. With a 1:1 scale on Alpha Strike, a smart Yi can keep the pressure up without pushing a lane too much. The runes I choose to use on Yi may seem a bit strange but, of the runes I've tried, these are the most effective to building an annoying ******* of an AP Yi. As with items, I've experimented on these enough to get this down to a science.
First, you're going to want some good ol' flat Ability Power to effectively be a prick from the moment Yi is summoned to the Fields of Justice. The best rune type for the job would be Quintessences. That said, go ahead and put on your
Buy some Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
To further amplify your damage, magic penetration works wonders for the mark slots. One of the secrets to this build is to have a ridiculous amount of magic penetration. So much that, in fact, you can effectively counter not only the flat Magic Resist (around 30) found on any champion, but you can counter most carries that utilize scaling magic resist glyphs. Get some
Buy some Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
When you're spamming Alpha Strike, you'll find that Yi has a huge mana problem. I used to combat this issue with mana regeneration items early game but I've found that using scaling mana regeneration seals can help with mana problems once you reach about level 8.
Buy some Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration
Lastly and most importantly, we need our scaling Ability Power glyphs. Anybody who has an Ability Power rune page should already have these. Endgame, these alone provide you with about 28 additional Ability Power. With your Rabadon's Deathcap, these provide you with an additional 9 Ability Power, raising that total to 37. That's pretty beast when you consider it adds not only 37 damage to your Alpha Strike, but an additional 37 damage to your Lichbane procs and an additional 55 hp healed over the 5 second duration of your Meditate.
Buy some Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
If you have any rune suggestions other than the ones listed, drop me a comment. I've tested a bunch but, as I said, these are the ones I've found to be most effective. You may find otherwise.
Item choice is what makes this build special. I've put a lot of trial and error into developing this build, all with due explanation too.
Your first item, which you should ALWAYS get, is Doran's Ring.
This item is perfect for any Yi. As an auto-attacker, AD Yi is extremely weak until level 6 so Doran's Ring can be utilized by both AP and AD Yi for a stronger Alpha Strike. This should bring your level 1 AP to 32. This item also provides mana regen, an extremely important element to early game Yi.
Your second item, which you should ALWAYS get, is Sorcerer's Shoes.
These are extremely important as, aside from the obvious additional 70 movespeed, you now have a total of about 29 magic penetration. Most squishies have 30 Magic Resistance which means you're now capable of doing near true damage to them having only two items. Alpha Strike is one of the strongest non-ultimate abilities in the game, and yours now does near true damage to maybe 70% of champions.
Your third item, which you should get in 80% of games, is Haunting Guise.
I originally got this idea from an enemy Kog'Maw who went AP and absolutely DESTROYED with his ultis. Since then I have incorporated this item into the builds of most of the AP champions I play.
This item is a really fun item. Most champions, when all is said and done, will have a bit more magic resist even if they aren't trying to build specifically tanky. For example, a champion like Karthus or Annie might build an Abyssal Scepter. They generally build these things for the cheap Ability Power and MR Reduction stats. However, it does come with 57 Magic Resist. Another instance would be Mercury's Treads. Most people build these for the Crowd Control Reduction but get a small MR bonus. If neither of those trends apply, many enemies can have scaling MR Glyphs. It might not seem like a big deal but when you lane solo top against a Vladimir with 53 MR, you notice it. I've dropped many F-bombs over that ****, not all of them even with Yi. Your Magic Penetration will be 48.5 after this buy which means in actuality, it's 49. That's a lot of MPen.
So you have the basics. You've been relying on the base damage of Alpha Strike and your ridiculous MPen to do your bidding. Now you need to abuse that crazy 1:1 AP Ratio on your Alpha Strike or your 1:1.5 ratio on your Meditate.
Your 4th item, which you should ALWAYS get, is Rabadon's Deathcap.
This bad boy is where you get your early to midgame damage from. Start with the Needlessly Large Rod portion of it. If you only have enough for Blasting Wand since your last buy, you're either on a team that isn't in good shape or you haven't been using that Alpha Strike enough. Blasting Wand is only acceptable first when your lane partner is a scrub that refuses to buy wards leaving YOU to buy them. Alternatively, it is absolutely NOT okay to be that wardless jerk just to make Needlessly Large Rod your next buy.
Your fourth item, which you should ALWAYS buy, is Lichbane.
I used to be the bad AP Yi that didn't use one of these. After a defeat as AP Yi, a guy on the other team told me I was completely stupid for not utilizing this. After which, I began building it first, which was also a mistake. Through trial and error, I've determined that immediately after Rabadon's Deathcap is the best place for this. Any earlier and you would be better off with merely a Sheen.