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Master Yi Build Guide by Skaeling

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Skaeling

Master the Yi

Skaeling Last updated on April 5, 2012

Survival Yi

[VS]

Glascannon Yi

Ability Sequence

2
4
8
10
12
Ability Key Q
13
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/
Sunder
Archmage
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
Durability
Vigor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
Mercenary
 
 
 
 
 
 
Juggernaut
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Strength of Spirit
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mastermind
 

Utility: 0


Guide Top

About this Guide


Welcome to my ranked Master Yi guide! There are many other guides out there on this champion, so I was trying to figure out how to build Yi the most optimally. This is an AD Master Yi guide, where his role is to establish jungle control for himself and lane control for your teammates. In teamfights his primary target is the AD carry followed by the AP carry. The guide features two viable build paths: Survival and Glascannon
Please comment and rate the guide.

Some excellent general guides which' content I wouldn't want to repeat:
Who is your jungler and what does he do?
Warding helper: More than your eyes can see
Counter picks against each individual champion


Guide Top

IMPORTANT: Criteria to chose Yi

Your Team:

  • Needs to have enough tankyness
  • Needs to have enough crowdcontrol
  • Avoid too much physical damage
  • Don't first pick Yi

Enemy Team:
  • Needs to have chosen few characters already
  • Doesn't have obvious counterpicks
  • As little crowdcontrol as possible


Guide Top

Champions

Under Construction

Hard target to catch with no CC, but as long as you dodge her Charm she poses no threat either.
She doesn't have CC, and she can only do so much damage with her energy pool. Some health and magic resist makes her burst laughable. Drop a Vision Ward in her Twillight Shroud if she is low on health.
He is a natural counter to melee ADs with his Headbutt and Pulverize. Never focus him because of his Unbreakable Will. Damagewise he poses no threat though.
Easy counterjungling target, he falls behind easily. Don't ever focus him in teamfights, because you just refresh his Tantrum and damage your teammates effectively. Stay spread to counter his Curse of the Sad Mummy
Dodge her Flash Frost, and she is pretty much defenseless. You are a natural counter to her slow based Frostbite and Glacial Storm. You shred her Rebirth egg in few seconds.
When her Pyromania is up she will try to stun you with one of her offensive spells: Disintegrate, Incinerate, Summon: Tibbers. As the latter two are non targeted you can dodge them with a well timed Alpha Strike. If she has high health, her Molten Shield can hurt a lot.
Other than the high CD and easily dodgeable stun Enchanted Crystal Arrow, she is an extremely easy target.
His main threat to you is a potential jungle invasion, his Rocket Grab is lethal. Pay a lot of attention early on against him. He has 3 ways to interrupt your Meditate.
Dodging or Cleanseing his Sear will ruin his combo and leave him very vulnerable.
Fragile target, her 90 Caliber Net provides no defense against you, and you can tank her all day with Meditate. Be aware of the Yordle Snap Traps when ganking.
Taking Cleanse for her Petrifying Gaze leaves her very vulnerable. Turn your back on her and Meditate to tank her all day long, if you wish.
Avoid him and his Rupture especially on low health. Don't focus him. Can easily interrupt Meditate
No CC. If you want to kill him, have a slow, and save your Alpha Strike for his Valkyrie. Otherwise you cannot catch him.
You need a slow to catch him with Sadism. Don't focus him in fights, it's deceptively hard to kill him.
You will hardly ever encounter her in ranked. Mostly chosen to display willingness to troll in lobby.
Very similar to Corki. With Arcane Shift he can effectively have two Flashes. Otherwise tank him with Meditate all day.
If jungling make your team steal his blue buff, he will fall far behind. In lane you cannot really gank him because of his Dark Wind+ Terrify combo.
A very sticky champion with her Lunge
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Guide Top

Optimal Items


There is no best build for a character. But there is an optimal build which takes account of how the game is going, whom your playing with and against. This guide explains how to achieve an optimal and cost efficient item build. Always rush either Youmuu's Ghostblade or Phantom Dancer because without some early burst Yi is useless.

Boot Choice:

Against AD heavy team:

Against no hard crowdcontrol:


The Builds:

Survival and Glasscannon are currently the best choices to start early game. Notice how their Masteries, Runes, and Skill Sequences slightly differ from each other.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Yi is a melee autoattack champion, therefore you cannot just build offensive items as ranged AD carries do; you cannot just build defensive stats either because you would inevitably be ignored. Thus it is essential to find a pretty good balance of offense and survivability for EVERY SINGLE match.
  • Furthermore to maximize what you get for your relatively small jungling income, you need to take items that synergize with each other.Here is an example to illustrate this: On the one hand Youmuu's Ghostblade is pretty good with Infinity Edge, but Phantom Dancer is much better with Infinity Edge. On the other hand Youmuu's Ghostblade is much better with The Black Cleaver than Phantom Dancer is.

Now lets consider how a good player would build any champion:
  • 1.Think of a late game build that suits both teams champion composition
  • 2.Consider which starting item(s) would be the best for your role
  • 3.Decide for a very efficient early build
  • 4.Work towards your final build as the match demands

And a final idea which is universally true:
As you are buying certain base stats, other base stats become more cost efficient. This is true both defensive and offensive wise. Example:
  • 1.Buying only health is worse than buying health and defensive stats (Effective Health)
  • 2.Buying only damage is worse than buying damage and attack speed (DPS: Damage Per Second)
  • Rule of thumb: always back up health with armor and magic resist, and damage with attack speed (and possibly critical chance)!

Hence there are 2 optimal building routes (at least of course :D):
  • Survival: Attack Damage, Attack Speed, Flat Armor Penetration, good survivability, extras: built in mini Highlander, slowing attacks
  • Glasscannon: Attack Damage, Attack Speed, Critical Chance, Movement Speed, essential survivability, Critical Damage, Percentage Armor Penetration

Both builds are meant for damage wise balanced teams; of course if one exceeds the other the item selection is simplified a whole lot.


Guide Top

Runes

Viable Marks:
Greater Mark of Desolation
Survival build relies on flat armor penetration. Taking it makes each consecutive point worth more and more (inverse to armor stacking)

Glasscannon build relies on Last Whisper, and thrives on attack speed

Viable Seal:

You need the flat armor to survive in the jungle

Viable Glyph:

You are not exposed to magic damage early on, therefore per level gives you more when it will count.

Viable Quintessences:

Better sustain early on
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Armor penetration begins to shine later on


Guide Top

Masteries

Jungle Yi masteries are pretty straight forward standard 21/9/0. 21/0/9 does not provide enough creep damage reduction to be sustainable; 9/21/0 although sustainable, has terribly slow clear times and lacks damage. Make sure to take 3 points in Vampirism and Summoner's Wrath (only if you go with Exhaust).


Guide Top

Summoner Spells

1st slot:

Must have for every jungler to speed up farming and secure buffs, drake and baron for the team.

2nd slot:
Exhaust works better with Survival build. Reason: It is an excellent ganking addition, slows, cripples a carry and gives 10 more armor reduction. Shines consistently throughout the match.
or
Cleanse works better with Glasscannon build. Reason: You have little defense but very high damage. If you are stunned or exhausted during Highlander is active you won't kill the AD carry, meaning you failed. Not only does it clear the first CC but more importantly it makes further ones wasted. Possibly best late game teamfight spell.
or
Flash is a good spell overall. You have movement speed and boosts, but this is your only way to jump over walls which comes very handy in the jungle, especially if you counterjungle. Also might be the element of surprise you need to steal dragon and baron.


Guide Top

Skills

Overal 12.5% DPS increase, but if charged up provides a nice burst for ganking. Charge it up on minor camps before ganks.
Gap closer and farming tool. Leveling it increases base magic damage, chance to deal extra damage to creeps, mana cost but reduces cooldown. You return to your initial target unless it dies before you finish the move. Use this to Smite a creep if you want to return to your initial location
Channelled heal and defense boost. Use it to heal between camps, or to survive a teamfight if you get focused hard
Damage boost. Activate against champions and tougher creeps. Use it smartly together with a Double Strike proc to maximize your burst.
Ultimate killing and escape tool. In teamfights time its activation, so your skills get refreshed.
  • You should always prioritize Highlander, then Wuju Style.
  • Before you blindly level Alpha Strike over Meditate consider this: The DPS boost is really small, and costs more mana at higher levels. But it becomes increasingly better for farming minions and more reliable to steal buffs/dragon/baron. Therefore it is recommended to level Alpha Strike to accelerate clearing times when rushing Youmuu's Ghostblade because of lacking additional Attack Speed (Survival build).
  • But when rushing Phantom Dancer followed up by Infinity Edge (Glasscannon build) the extra damage for camp clearing doesn't matter, and you will have little survivability. In these cases spend a single point on Alpha Strike at level 2 to use as a gap closer utility spell, and afterwards max Meditate instead. After you burned through Highlander and Wuju Style and get agroed by enemies pop Meditation. If they insist on trying to kill you just tank the damage happily with the increased resistances. If they interrupt the channel try to move to safety. Keep in mind not to Meditate if they have some stun or silence on cooldown.


Guide Top

Survival Build

Core items:




Late Game Lifesteal:


Boots:


Additional two items:



(if there is none in team)
(AD heavy opponent)
(AP heavy opponent)


Guide Top

Glasscannon Build

Core items:





Late Game Lifesteal:

or

or
(if you don't plan on buying armor/hp)
or


Boots:
(if you took Cleanse)
or


Last item:

(works best as last item with Mercury's Treads and Wriggle's Lantern)



Guide Top

Items Explained

Best stand-alone damage item for Yi. Build The Brutalizer first, because Avarice Blade is meh. Synergies: The Black Cleaver
Amazing item for killing squishy carries, shreds 45 armor after 3 hits. It nets 81 (91 with exhaust) flat armor penetration/reduction, meaning you do true damage to carries (Survival build). If you get really fed early, rush this first and terrorize the enemies in lane.
Rushing this is also very efficient: Wuju Style provides AD, this gives AS, CritC and amazing movement speed. Synergies: Infinity Edge
Extremely expensive, but with the Critical Damage Boost, AD, and CritC simply devastating. You need additional CritC and AS to back it off.
I only get this on Build 2, because having flat Armor Penetration/Reduction makes this less cost effective. Also penetration wise it becomes better then The Black Cleaver at 150 armor. But who the hell is focusing champions with 150 armor? And a typical AD carry has 80-100 armor at level 18.
My current favorite lifesteal item because of aura (way to win rankeds), AS and CDR. Synergies: Youmuu's Ghostblade, Alpha Strike
This is the 2nd nerf on this item in a short time. I didn't like it much before but now I think it's better to leave the Vampiric Scepter alone and rush a serious damage item. Although its cool to get it if you don't want additional armor items.
Way to go if you are fed, but I would still prefer Zeke's Herald on Survival build. Synergies: Guardian Angel
Awesome HP boost and permaslow on autoattacks, gives much wanted early survival and minor damage. Also I like to give the red buff to the AD carry, who is unlikely to build this. The slow is actually a DPS increase, because you spend less time running to close the gap between attacks.
Major armor and minor magic resist buff, with a nice unique passive, which has a long cooldown but will divert focus from you in a teamfight. Best used in Glasscannon build. Synergies: Meditate (after revive).
Amazing Item. Get Chain Armor as early resist, and upgrade it as you gain HP. Becomes cost efficient at 2000hp. Synergies: Banshee's Veil, Zeke's Herald, Frozen Mallet, Warmog's Armor, Aegis of the Legion
Pretty good stats and passive. Get this if the AP carry has repeatedly tried to unleash a combo on you, or you feel you miss some magic resist.
Very solid item, but only buy it if support is building other aura items. I would only ever get a 2nd one in team if the solo top champion buys it (as you both gain double bonuses, whereas that is not important when the support has it)
This is a bad item on Yi, especially early on. The Sheen part is pretty useless on Yi, and you don't spam enough to make use of the updated proc either. I would only ever get it as a last item on Glasscannon build, when I already have some solid damage. This would also allow to replace the Berserker's Greaves to a second Phantom Dancer, but games rarely proceed this far.
Gives too little health and health regeneration. Only ever get it if enemy is autoattack heavy (Survival build). You also don't have the defensive stats to make full use of the active.
This is a good bet if you don't know what is killing you, and you don't like to think. Flat health is meh on Yi. Although decent in Glasscannon build as there is little space for defensive items.
Get this only in Glasscannon build after Phantom Dancer. Actually a pretty underused but good item, great to counter Vladimir, Sion, Warwick etc... Synergies: Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer
I like this new item, although it suits Tryndamere more. A great addition to both builds if you feel the need for more burst and magic resist. The shield is absolutely annoying for the enemies.

Other items are not optimal on jungle Yi, don't get them.


Guide Top

Jungling


With the new jungle and your initial 19% lifesteal you pretty much do what you want:

  • Steal enemy red or blue buff, even solo ( Flash advised).
  • Wrights then red buff for a level 2 gank.
  • Wolves then blue buff for standard jungle clearing; then wrights, golems, lizard and you are ready to gank. Alternatively go back for Boots of Speed before picking up the red buff for stronger ganks, especially if target started with them.
Around level 6 the Drake MUST be warded, as it is worth 960 gold for the team, like three champion kills. Same applies to Baron after 15 minutes, which is worth 4-5 champion kills gold wise and gives an excellent buff to everyone alive in the team for four minutes or until they die.
You need to gank whenever an enemy overextends, or when your teammate is in difficulty. Make sure to help losing lanes as much as you can.


Guide Top

Counterjungling

It is highly advised to counterjungle with Yi. He excels in 1v1 fighting and assassination; this is exactly what counterjungling has to offer. In ranked games not using a champions FULL potential you risk losing.
I have seen many newbie junglers try to counterjungle and fail miserably. That is because they expect honorable and glorious confrontations. Wrong. Think of it as trolling the enemy jungler. Consider what would be annoying for you and do it to the enemy. Examples:

  • Try to steal one buff right in the beginning
  • Encourage your team to invade especially if you have stun(s)
  • Clear camps leaving a minor creep behind (thus preventing respawning)
  • Charge up your Double Strike and wait in a bush, possibly have red buff, then activate Wuju Style and shred them to death
  • Wait in bush and steal buff with Smite and possibly execute enemy
  • Wait in bush and steal buff with Alpha Strike (best with Build 1) and possibly execute enemy
  • Ward bush and hop over trees with Alpha Strike to take/steal buff
  • Ward bush and Smite over the trees to steal buff
  • Ask support to use Clairvoyance to uncover an area if you have no vision on it


Guide Top

Tips

  • Use Alpha Strike to harass enemy champions when only 3 minions are nearby
  • Use Meditate to bait enemies when you have allies nearby
  • Always use Youmuu's Ghostblade's active before using Highlander, as delaying it makes it more probable that you can refresh all your skills
  • You can activate Wuju Style a second time after Highlander refreshed your skills, making it possible to double its active effect for a short duration
  • When stealing the enemies wrights, kill the big one, then charge up Double Strike on the remaining ones. You don't need to kill all the small ones
  • When the enemy has a lot of crowdcontrol clearable by Cleanse, take it.
  • You cannot Cleanse suppresses
  • You cannot Cleanse the healing reduction part of Ignite, but you can still easily heal through it with Meditate, therefore don't waste Cleanse on Ignites
  • Alpha Strike pops spell shield
  • Alpha Strike can be used to avoid non-targeted abilities (e.g. Karthus's Requiem)
  • Activating Wuju Style a second time, after the cooldown has been refreshed by Highlander, actually results in a decrease in damage, as it eliminates the passive-active stack
  • Master Yi's Double Strike is similar to Caitlyn's Headshot. It is very useful when farming minions. Gathering stacks on it by attacking minions, then attacking the enemy on the seventh strike is an effective harrassment method.
  • Alpha Strike's multiple-target component has a deceptively long range. You can target minions near an enemy champion to harass them.
  • Alpha Strike can also be used defensively. Since it includes a dash function, you can dodge skillshots. Also, Master Yi is untargetable during the teleport, so Alpha Strike can be used to dodge AoE nukes such as Nunu's Absolute Zero if timed properly.
  • Meditate is especially useful when an opponent is trying to turret dive against Master Yi. He can stand next to the turret and use Meditate to hold off damage from the opponent while they are repeatedly being hit by the turret.
  • When you are being chased, hiding in a brush and channeling Meditate can give you the upper hand against the enemies. However, do not do this if they can still defeat you after the Meditate.
  • Be aware that Blinds can effectively cut almost all of Master Yi's damage
  • Triggering Wuju Style and Highlander when combined with various melee increases makes Master Yi a high damage dealer, if for short periods. It's especially effective in destroying towers.


Guide Top

Fun Facts

  • Master Yi was designed by Ezreal (person).
  • "Wuju" is a reference to two of the developers at Riot Games. Namely, Andy Woo and Jeff Jew.
  • "Wuju", or "Wuji", is the grey field a taijitu (the yin-yang symbol) is traditionally shown on, symbolizing "nothingness".
  • It bears similarity to "Wushu", the collective name of Chinese martial arts, mostly known as Kung-fu in western countries.
  • Master Yi was one of the champions chosen for the Ionian pool available during the Ionia vs. Noxus match. However, he was not one of the selected champions.
  • Master Yi is your enemy in The Proving Grounds. He is incredibly easy to deal with however, not matching his true power.
  • The goggles Master Yi wears (known as the Seven Lenses of Insight) seem to be an over-exaggeration of trifocal Night Vision goggles, and according to his background, provide a similar effect, allowing him to "see across a wider range of the spectrum". They were made and given to him by Heimerdinger. His costume and the googles bring strong resemble to Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell game franchise,
  • Yi is the Chinese word for one.
  • Master Yi's dance is based on Napoleon Dynamite. Notably, he shares his dance's source with Katarina, but her dance is a different part of the same dance.
  • Master Yi's Meditate has the highest AP ratio, giving him 5 health for every 1 ability power.
  • Master Yi shares a quote with Wukong: "Wuju style."
  • The Chosen skin is a direct reference to the Jedi Knights of the Star Wars franchise.
  • This skin's lightsaber changes colors based upon Wuju Style's current state: blue (normal), green (passive), red (active), purple (cooldown). This is similar to the Jedi Knight games which had blue, yellow, and red lightsaber stances; each altered the speed and power of attacks.
  • The Headhunter Master Yi skin clothing bears many resemblances with the Predator from the Predator movies and Alien VS Predator franchise.
  • Headhunter Master Yi's helmet and goggles also look very similar to the game Shinobi's main character Hotsuma, who would dash to his enemy similar to Master Yi's Alpha Strike.
  • Master Yi's entire kinfolk were killed with chemical inventions created by Singed.
  • Master Yi seeks the end on Noxus' predations.
  • Master Yi often spends his time meditating and training near the Great Barrier, south of the Institute of War.
  • Master Yi has recently started tutoring Wukong in the art of Wuju.
  • "The art of Wuju lives on in Master Yi, and is plunged through the hearts of his foes."
    Soraka, The Starchild
  • The goggles Master Yi wears are a techmaturgical device that was gifted to the champion by Piltover's own Heimerdinger, the Revered Inventor.
  • The one-of-a-kind goggles, known as the "Seven Lenses of Insight", allow Master Yi to see across a wider range of the spectrum than normal people see. They also give him abilities not dissimilar to that of real world binoculars and telescopes. The goggles are synced to Yi's own magical resonance, allowing him to adjust settings without the use of his hands. He simply thinks what he needs, and the goggles act accordingly.


Guide Top

Skins

Classic Master YiAssassin Master YiChosen Master YiIonian Master YiSamurai YiHeadhunter Master Yi


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