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.
Build/Guide Update Log
13/02/2011 - Added comment to vote as someone trolled a -1.
15/01/2011 - Added Items, more spelling correction and tidying ( Thanks Shak3y)
14/01/2011 - Sorted Type errors :D
This is my first guide so please be patient on anything I may have missed or simple mistakes. I am quite new to League of Legends, having only been playing a few months or so but I still feel I wanted to share my thoughts on how I play and build Master Yi. I appreciate you taking your time to read, I appreciate it even more if you would read the complete guide/build and test it if you could before commenting. Its not as comprehensive as alot of guides on here so I'm sure it wont take you long to get through :]
Finally this guide is wrote as a "Normal" play guide only. I have almost no experience playing Yi and this build in ranked.
Understanding your new role - Team Selection
When I started playing Yi as a hybrid I found that alot of people didn't understand what I was doing, this ends up in raging and flaming as they expected the Mr Hard Carry Yi like normal. When you cant drop towers like a normal bad boy Yi fellow summoners seemed to get frustrated. From this I decided it was best that in champ select I make clear I play AP Hybrid Yi. This now often results in a little team jiggling to get a nice balance.
So what is my new role.....?
Well, by the end of the Build, we are now effectively a "soft" carry having not as much AD/Crit/AS as a normal Yi. But, we now have become what i like to call a "baby" nuke. Because of the great scaling on Yi's Alpha Strike, it means by mid to late game we are dealing somewhere in the region of 700-900 damage per strike before any Armor or Magic Resist reductions. When timed right, dropping an Alpha Strike into a team fight has excellent results.
Runes, Summoner Spells & Masteries
Despite being a hybrid build i like to bias it towards the Ability Power (AP) side. As you probably know Yi has great scaling on 2 of his abilities (Alpha Strike x1 - Meditate x1.65) which led me to try and utilise it as much as possible.
For runes I chose a pretty standard AP/Caster set up. Choosing x9 Mark of Insight, x9 Seal of Clarity, x9 Glyph of Force and x3 Quintessence of Potency.
The reason I chose this particular rune set up was it seemed to help massively early game in relation to the build I use.
I decide to go with Ignite/Exhaust for my spell combo. Primarily as it makes first blood in my lane very achieveable with the right partner and a brave squishy without flash entering the brush. However when timed right Ignite is still a great finishing spell at any point in a game which allows you to focus someone else. Exhaust is preferred as there are some other quick champs out there apart from Yi and in my eyes any spell that helps me finish someone faster or save a team mate is worth taking.
Again this is a pretty standard Utility 9/0/21 tree. Despite taking Ignite, I decide to take the 15% magic Pen from Archaic Knowledge instead of the the 10 AP gained from Burning Embers to complete the Offense tree as the Magic Pen is worth alot more Mid to Late game when things hot up. The Utility side is fairly standard.
For the sequencing the 1st point and 4th is put into Alpha Strike. This has the best damage output @ level 1 with this build which enables our best chances of 1st blood, which we all like right? Then upto level 6 we take Meditate at levels 2 and 5 and a point in Wuju style at 3. This gives us a nice balance until we get our ultimate. Following level 6, we max alpha strike as soon as possible to really start hitting hard. Then just alternate points in Wuju style and Meditate between leveling your ultimate Highlander.
Items & Gameplay
95% of the time I play Hybrid Yi these would be the items I build.
Standard 6 Slot Hybrid Build
The Hybrid build as explained through the guide
Strong Harrasment/Crowd Control
I consider this build when I find it obviously difficult in my lane, Hybrid Yi seems to struggle against tankier teams i.e laning with Urgot and Cho Gath. In this case I would rush the trinity force for the added HP. Then consider Banshee's Veil or Quicksilver sash nearer end game.
Lack of team attack damage
Despite making it clear in team select your team has gone almost all AP. Sigh. In this instance we rush deathcap seen as you cant get more AP in 1 slot instantly. Then make The BloodThirster and get it stacked up taking jungle creeps and clearing lanes. Some may ask why not the infinity edge? Well this build isnt interested in Crit at all, we just want to drop towers as quick as possible and let the AP and Alpha Strike be our main damage output. So with the BloodThirster giving 100AD in 1 slot it cant be argued at plus the lifesteal will really help in 1v1's. Then complete the standard Build.
Ok everything is set and we have started out game. I start by buying basic boots and 3 mana pots . Yi seems to have a small mana pool in relation to the cost of his skills so with a little conservative play until we reach level 2 and take our Meditate heal ability there is never a need for health pots. Set out having bought your items as quickly as possible and make your way to your chosen lane brush nearer the enemy side turret. Trust me when I say you will make it 1st unless there is another Yi playing a similar build, due to taking boots and going down the Utility Masteries Tree we have a start movement speed of 391. I'm not even sure anyone can match that speed with just boots? Let me know?
So when your partner catches you up, you ideally aim for first blood. In the off chance everything goes right and you get the kill I recommend going back to base regardless of the damage you took and buying a Mana Crystal . If the gold somehow hasn't worked out (no idea why it wouldn't?) either sell your mana pots back or wait for the gold after minions have spawned. If your lane opponents decide to tower hug a good trick is to watch your minions after spawning on the map, when your minions pass your outer turret you know the enemy minions are at the same point. What I like to do is wait until the second enemy minion is level with the enemy turret, then use Alpha Strike on the 1st enemy minion. With luck this will get a lucky hit on your lane opponents moving out. Anyway lets say everything goes normal and your in lane. Our 1st item prioirty is Sheen . It gives us a much needed increase to our mana pool, 25 AP to start us off and a great Unique Passive which makes up for not building AD early. As always try to last hit minions, often when playing when I reach 835 gold, if the lane is in control, I will go back to base and buy the Mana Crystal and Amplifying Tome required to build Sheen . I know alot of you may have issues with being out levelled but it normally easy to catch up due to Yi's great farming power with the Alpha Strike . With regards to your early laning gameplay, when the minion waves meet naturally last hit to start with. When the wave is down to 2-3 minions, if an enemy champ is in close range to 1 of the minions I would always recommend using an Alpha Strike . This is our only real harass ability at this stage whilst keeping ourselves safe. Just remember to always initiate an Alpha Strike on the enemy minion nearest to you for a quick retreat. Dont worry about your health like you normally would as a trip back to tower and using Meditate in this build heals for insane amounts, just check the actual heal value before using Meditate so you use 100% of the abilites cycle. What I dont recommened is needlessly spamming the Alpha Strike on minion waves, at least not at the early game stage. Most of the time it will only kill 1 minion outright with the others just damaged, you probably wont be able to last hit them all and the mana cost is too great. Once you have completed Sheen , we forget about completing the build and immediately move on to rush Rabbadons Deathcap but try to complete your boots where possible. I prefer Berserker's Greaves as with this build you lack Attack Speed badly without your ulti activated, however Mercury's Treads are always a good option if you prefer. There is no right or wrong way of building your Deathcap really as its only 2 items, just when you do go back prioritise the Large Rod before Blasting Wand unless you cant afford it.
By now if your doing things right you and your laning partner hopefully will be in control. Once you manage to take the enemy turret I always like to head into jungle to take all the small camps, that is provided your team doesn't have a dedicated jungler. Now you can focus on ganks and helping other lanes with your team for a while.
I find when im using this build its not uncommon to have around 350-400 AP near the 25 minute mark, to achieve that we need to work on our next item which is the Hextech Gunblade . This is where the build becomes Hybrid as we start picking up AD. How you build the Gunblade is upto you, generally speaking I build the AP side 1st making the Hextech Revolver a priority. This is how we achieve 350 AP @ 25 mins. If you dont feel comfortable being without AD for so long then of course build the Bilgewater Cutlass side 1st. Now we're in the heart of the Mid game its likely team fights are developing often. This is the time when Alpha Strike is ready to shine. Like normal you need your tank or tough champ ally to initiate, but once they have dont go steaming in straight away. try to time it so you can last hit at least 1 enemy champ with your Alpha Strike . The key being engage your Ulti 1st so all cooldowns refresh. Like any good AD Carry Yi it would be wrong if you didnt get double kills with ease and at least a triple kill once per game. The BIG reason i prefer hybrid Yi is his new found 1v1 tower diving ability in normally suicidal conditions, with your heal power the aren't safe. Having engaged in a team fight and take out 2 or 3 enemies, the rest will likely flee for safety under turrets, they may get a head start on you but you will catch them easy with Highlander activated. The enemies who escaped maybe have a good amount of health left and feel quite secure, so you dive them with Alpha Strike and they focus you thinking WTF is this Yi doing? Simple, pop on your Meditate heal spell and with 3 or 4 points in at this time the regen is unreal. By end game it could almost be comparable to Mundo's Ulti, thats from a non ulti ability. So with you diving the enemy they focus you, in all the confusion it makes it easy for the rest of your team to mop up as the turret is also fcousing you. You will probably die but it gives your team a huge opportunity to push on and start the late game....
By this point you should have your Boots , Lich Bane , Deathcap and Gunblade all done comfortably and we need to close the game out. This is where the situational items come in I guess unless we were forced to alter the build early. So we have 2 slots free, its always about how the game develops and who you are facing. My standard build to finish would be The Black Cleaver and Nashors Tooth . Always Black Cleaver before Nashors personally to make up for the AD, especially if we are struggling for turrets. Hopefully by now the damage is done and you finish with ease or they surrendered a long time ago......
What to do with that Sheen?
I left the Purchase Order in this build as standard, but we all know games changes and situational items arise. Those I will add as I test. I build the Sheen but leave it open ended and don't complete the build into Lich Bane until after the Gunblade . However it does of course build into Trinity Force . This is a slightly harder build due to the higher cost but i like to build the Trinity Force straight after the Deathcap sometimes. By building this we edge back towards AD Master Yi at the sacrifice of around 50 AP. But the Phage gives you greater game presence due to the health and the added buff of having the slow on your standard attacks. Once you buy Zeal then complete the build, it is further amplified to make a great all round item that compliments the essence of the Hybrid build well.
RageBlade in slot 2?
Guinsoo's Rageblade is an item I really like. I have experimented building this instead of Sheen . It works really well early game giving you flat AD and AP gains, then the Unique Passive giving you further AP and some AS through stacking the Rageblade . The only problem I found is to get the stacks you are forced into auto attacking as such. Stacks expire after 5 seconds and using abilities isnt really an option to keep it stacked as we dont want to waste our Meditate or Wuju Style . All in all I do like switching the Rageblade into the build from time to time.
Tips and Tricks
Whilst playing as Master Yi I have noticed his Alpha Strike is far more than a farming/harrassing/big damage tool. Its an amazing dodge and escape ability. When being chased you can use it on enemy minions pushing your lane to gain a few steps, for example when your ulti is on cd or your out of enough mana for the ulti. Also when laning with annoying skill shot champs, like mundo, anivia etc if timed right, again on an enemy minion using Alpha Strike allows you to dodge the attack and sometimes land a hit on the enemy. Basically you become untargetable, untargetable to the point that you can dodge karthus' ulti when timed right, yes thats right! Use it to pull yourself out of nunu's ulti AoE. I'm sure there are more applications that I'm yet to discover. Maybe this is obvious to some of you but its a vital tool to be used as a get out of jail free when executed right.
I just want to close out by again highlighting this is my first build publication, I hope you read the entire guide and enjoyed it. It was designed for someone still new to the game to learn about a slightly different take on an amazing LoL Champ - Master Yi.
If you would like to leave comments I would be grateful. I would really appreciate feedback and constructive criticism how to improve the guide. The information is accurate to my knowledge but apologies for any mistakes. Also apologies if anyone read the unfinished guide I accidentally published :]
This will always be a work in progress, I will certainly add more to the Additional Gameplay section for more tips, tricks and item ideas..