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.
So, everyone has at one time or another seen a Master Yi in one of their games. Sometimes they're complete wet noodles, incapable of doing anything but feeding. And sometimes they ruin your day, getting to your carry and shutting them down within split seconds and running away before you can do anything about it or mopping up your entire team after a bad engage. There are other things Yi is notorious for too. For instance he is well known for backdooring, jungling, and sick early level ganks. Hopefully by reading my guide, you will see that even though my build is unorthodox that it also very successful because I play off yi's strengths and turn his weaknesses into... well more strengths! :P
For runes I use 9x's Greater Mark of Alacrity. I do this because even though you have Alpha Strike for jungling, you will still want to have a high base attack speed for those times when you have an unlucky proc rate. Also, since I want to be able to tear through my jungle and then my enemy's jungle I want to attack as fast as possible so I can get out as fast as possible. Also since my build isn't centered very much around attack speed, every little bit helps.
For Seals, I took 9x's Mana regen per level. Even with the nerf to seals and the buff to base regen I find these seals to be amazingly useful still. Especially for those times when you need to give up blue to your casters because let's face it. They DO need it more than you. And you'll be hurting for mana if you stand there before a team fight is about to happen by harassing for Q and you better hope you have enough mana to combo R+E multiple times in case you get kills/assists.
For Glyphs I took flat CDR glyphs. CDR per level is fine too I suppose since you will be jungling so fast that if you don't die and get ganks you will most likely outlevel your solos and hit that trade off point where you get more CDR from the per levels than the flats. The reason I went with CDR is because let's face it. Your early jungling game is heavily reliant on a large cooldown that may or may not do a lot of damage. To counter this and give you a better start you want to be able to Alpha Strike as much as possible. CDR will help with this.
For Quints I took 3x's Movespeed Quints. I won't lie, I'm very biased and madly in love with my Movespeed Quints ever since I got them. Other than that, my build stresses mobility! Especially since you are going to be ganking, backdooring, speedjungling, chasing, fleeing, etc. You are going to want every single bit of movespeed that you can get.
For my masteries I went 9/0/21. I chose this build because I wanted to squeeze out as much CDR from talents as possible to help with my early jungling game. Another point to make is that I pick up the mana regen talent which will also help with early jungling quite a bit. Because I went all out in ulitity I can get 2/2 enhanced buff duration from jungle buffs which helps out a ton with not just jungling but ganking as well. Since I will be jungling like a mad man I pick up the increased experience gain talent that way I level up much faster. I'm also able to pickup improved ghostwalk in this build which is helpful in that I can now ghost through creeps which is great since it's really ****py when your target flashes through mobs after you Alpha Strike them and it allows me to move faster for longer! And just as a little bit of icing on the cake the 21point talent gives me lower CD's enabling my smite and ghost to come up sooner.
I feel my item build is very standard for jungling. Cloth armor and 5 hp pots. Since I don't use any kind of HP Quints or defensive talents/runes these HP pots are very important especially since your Q won't proc very often at level 1. So, after I make my first few rounds of the jungle I like to come back and try to buy Madred's Razors first AND boots. I want to rush a wriggle's lantern ASAP because it will allow me to stay in the jungle forever and pretty much make me unkillable by creeps of any kind, except maybe dragon and baron :(
After I build Wriggle's I always build another Madred's Razors. Since these Items have different Unique Passives the Procs aren't wasted. Prepare to become the most ridiculous jungler ever because if your Q doesn't kill it you sure as heck will in the next 2seconds. This will allow you to blow through your's and their jungle without any sweat. Short of the enemy team warding every inch of both jungles nothing will let them stop you since you will be going through everything incredibly fast. Watch as you put the enemy's jungler out of work and into the lane.
Next I like to build my boots into Boots of Mobility. Now I know this item seems a little bit weird but I do have a reason for it. First of all a little disclaimer. I'm pretty sure this item's passive will wear off if you attack anything, so to gain it you really do need to be "out of combat" before it kicks in which is something to keep in mind if you think you need to start fleeing. My Build stresses mobility, I want to get to jungle creps, lane creeps, towers that need defending, team fights that need me in them, ganks, this list goes on ASAHFP. When the passive kicks in you will be at a whopping 450-470'ish movespeed. Not many characters have that kind of movespeed unless they are packing boots of swiftness and a phantom dancer or two.
Next I get an MBR. Mainly I get this item because it makes use of the second Razor I bought and it's not an entirely trashy item for doing damage. Yi can get away with this because his Passive/Active Ability Wuju Style. Also since I don't get any other attack speed items this item in particular becomes very useful. Another brightside to this item is the armor I can get from it.
Here is where my build gets a little more unorthodox but just stay with me and I will explain why this item is of benefit. I now build a Warmogg's Armor. This item is bought to unsquish Master Yi. Let's be honest with eachother. How long do you realistically expect to live as one of the Highest Burst DPS melee champs in the game? As soon as you "show up to the party" you are a very unwelcome guest. Every one is going to be doing their damndest to take you out fast. The extra 1.4k'ish health is amazingly helpful in this department. True it doesn't give you avoidance or mitigation but since you should be doing so well in the CS department that if you cannot realistically spare 3k to make one at this point something has gone very wrong in your game.
Since I have a Warmogg's and have a healthy HP pool but a lack of hard damage at this point I build an atma's impaler. This item is great! You'll score about 70'ish damage off this item at level 18 with a fully stacked warmogg's. And then you also get 45 armor all of the bargain price of 2400 gold. Tell me that isn't impressive! That's pretty much like an Infinity Edge for 1600gold cheaper, minus the whole crit damage increased deal. But it's not like we're stacking crit in this build anyways, is it?
Finally this is where the build gets a little different. If the enemy team has a fed caster, and you can kill them but take far too much damage in the process. Get a banshee veil. If their carries can reliably get away from you and Magic Resistance isn't a problem then pick up a Frozen Mallet. Finally if the game has gone on sooooooo long that you have a full item build. Drop the Wriggle's and pick up something like a Bloodthirster or IE.
I like to go Q>E>Q>W>Q>R then max in this order R>Q>W>E. Sometimes I'll get rank 2 or 3 E instead of W before fully maxing W. It just depends on how the game is flowing. The reason I get W skilled so high is that it allows to momentarily tank a ******ed amount of damage while healing. This is extremely helpful and will save your butt during certain clutch situations. For instance, did a gank go really sour but your team is on the way but they won't make there in time and you can't run away but they blew all their CC on you? W and buy your team as much time as you can. Sometimes you'll live, sometimes you'll die, but hopefully you net your team a few kills for your death. Also another interesting little tidbit is it will let you tank towers for your team while they dive, especially at higher levels of W.
I'll skill E more if I'm having trouble ganking because for whatever reason I can't close kills on my targets.
For this build I run Smite and Ghost. Smite is fairly necessary for early level jungling because honestly that extra 500'ish damage nuke at the very start is extremely helpful when solo'ing blue or if you want to knock out blue wraith.
I know a lot of you might think Ghost is unnecessary with your ultimate and since I use Boots of Mobility. But think of it this way. Your main goal is to backdoor and gank and mob up the enemy team. You are going to want every single bit of movespeed you can get. And when fleeing Ghost is really helpful because it will let you run through creeps. Plus for certain carries like sivir who usually packs ghost you are going to need it to catch/kill her.
Cleanse is the only real alternative for useful summoner spells to ghost.
Creeping / Jungling
Since I'm not running any defensive talents or runes. Solo'ing blue golem at level 1 is EXTREMELY RISKY. unless your teammates stay with you the entire time it is extremely likely he will kill you at level 1 unless you get lucky Q procs. Because of this I find it is usually far safer to start in your enemy's jungle. In particular their wraith camp. If you don't get caught doing this then just Q them. If you got a proc on blue wraith then focus him and pocket smite. If you didn't proc on Blue Wraith then smite him, kill the rest and GTFO to your wolf camp. If you get caught at Blue Wraiths by their jungle or for whatever reason then just go to your wolf camp.
Next go Wolves>Your Wraiths>Double Golems. Now go shop for boots if you can't build the razor. Since you're a few levels higher now go Blue Golem>Wolves>Wraiths>Double Golems>Red Lizard. If you did this without any trouble now it's time to gank. Look at your map and evaluate if any lanes are gankable. This is an extremely important ability to develop if you jungle. I'll list some quick tips in case this is your first time jungling.
First look to see if any of the enemy teams have pushed in your lanes. Ask your teammates if they think the enemy has used wards. Next ask if they've used up any summoners. If their summoners are down, they don't use wards and you can see everyone on the map, and the enemy champs in the lane aren't CC heavy then this is probably a good opportunity for you to gank. Another thing of importance is to check your teammates' hp in regards to your targets'. The last thing you want to do is initiate a gank that gets your teammates killed while the enemy gets away. They will resent you and be less likely to help you or play like a team in the future.
Another thing to point out is that it is also very polite to hold lanes for your teammates while they need to base to shop. You should take these opportunities when you can get them because it allows you access to free xp and gold since your Q can wipe out entire Creep Waves. Just remember to be careful with your Q, especially if the enemy in the lane can burst you down to nothing in a few seconds.
Realistically speaking though once you have wriggles and razors you can jungle whatever you like. Go crazy! Jungle everything Q everything just farm farm farm farm and farm some more. I very easily outfarm everyone in the game with this build, even adept solo laners.
Treat backdooring like ganking towers and it gets a lot easier to understand how to do it. The best way to do it is to sneakily push creep waves and then drop off the map so the team doesn't think you're there. When you're BD'ing ALWAYS ASSUME THEIR WHOLE TEAM IS COMING TO YOU. Save your cooldowns to get away if anything.
Try to backdoor when your team is putting pressure on the other team or vice versa, but make sure your team knows what you're doing and to not initiate a team fight.
During a team fight it is your sole responsibility as Yi to shut down the enemy's hard carry. If the enemy isn't using exhaust then your best bet is to try and bait it out and while it's on you to use your W if they start to focus you. Once it wears off do your Ult combo R+E and rail them down and move from target to target. You preferably want to focus on squishy carries > low hp enemies > supports > tanks.
If you are getting focused during fights then try to buy your team some free time to wreak havoc by using your W and juke in/out of bushes if they are next to you. You can also juke with Alpha Strike to an extent.
If you are getting owned in teamfights before you can dish out any damage then don't feel guilty about waiting a few seconds before going in. Master Yi is a ridiculously good "Mop Up" character and can easily clean house. And if 2 of your teammates have to die for you to ace their team then so be it.
In closing if you follow my advice, you should be able to play Master Yi in a new and fun light. Hopefully my guide will help you jungle faster and understand a little better what it means to gank as a jungle as well as help you out on how to backdoor.