Master Yi Build Guide by morik
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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.
Who am I? Nobody.
Why did I write this guide? I've been playing with Master Yi a lot recently, and experimenting with different things. I tried various builds others have written, but they weren't doing it for me. I kept experimenting, and came up with something that works well for me. I wanted to share it.
- 6 attack speed marks
- 3 armor penetration marks
Attack speed helps with jungle clear times, and helps charge Yi's passive faster.
3.8 arpen from marks also helps his clear times. Combined with masteries, this gives a starting arpen of 9.8.
- 9 armor seals
Pretty much every jungler takes these
- 9 scaling MR glyphs
I like to build Yi in a pretty damaging capacity, which doesn't leave much room for defenses. These MR glyphs help make up for that.
- 3 MS quints
I've tried both AD and MS quints, and find I prefer the MS quints. Its 6.75 damage vs 16-18 MS bonus (16 with no boots, 17 with boots 1, 18 with boots 2).
Now, 6.75 damage is a good bit early on. Even with a point in wuju style, thats almost a 10% increase in damage. Before wuju style (i.e., for wolves & blue golem), its over a 12% boost in damage.
But, if you start with alpha strike and get a little help with wolves & blue, your clear times are fine. Fast even. Your ganks may be a little less damaging, but with MS quints:
- you can get to a ganking position faster
- you can chase better during a gank
- you can counter jungle more effectively
- and in general you move around the map more quickly
Why 21/0/9 over 21/9/0?
What do I give up?
- 10 gold on smiting
- 138 health at lvl 18 (36 health @ lvl 1)
- a small bit of tankyness (5 armor, or 2 armor & the reduced minion damage)
What do I gain?
- 3 mp5
- 2% MS outside of combat (which is 7 without boots & with boots 1, 8 with boots 2... combined with the MS quints its 23 extra MS without boots, and 26 extra MS with boots 2)
- 7% faster summoner spell CD (2 points in the mastery). Thats ~15 seconds faster CD on exhaust, and ~5 seconds on smite. (More on summoners below)
- 20% buff duration increase.
I think the tradeoff is worth it.
Exhaust: Helps immensely with early ganks, very helpful if you run into the enemy jungler, especially if they beat you in a standup fight.
Smite: necessary for the early clear speed, and for securing objectives later on.
What about flash? I used to run flash/smite, but exhaust just helps so incredibly much in early ganks that I find it to be a better option.
Start (0): Hunter's Machete, 5 health potions.
Early goals (1): spirit stone, berserker greaves, vamp scepter
- spirit stone will be built into spirit of the ancient golem, which gives: 500 HP, 30 armor, 35% tenacity, 14 hp5, 7 mp5, and increases your damage vs monsters. The increased damage helps with clear speeds, the HP & armor help your survivability, and the tenacity helps you break out of stuns, snares, and other nasty things faster. Yi's biggest weakness is CC, and this helps mitigate it.
- the berserker greaves give you much needed attack speed and bring your movespeed up to 424 (with the MS quints & the tier-1 MS utility mastery)
Next (2): youmuu's ghostblade, bilgewater cutlass
- If you plan to spend a lot of time farming (for whatever reason you won't be ganking much for a little while), then get avarice blade first. If you know you will be fighting, don't get avarice blade first--the amount of gold it will generate before you build it into a youmuu's is not worth losing out on the benefits of a brutalizer or bilgewater cutlass. (Generally 100-200 gold)
- Otherwise, brutalizer or the cutlass first. I usually go with the cutlass because of the active--slowing for 2s is great.
Why these items?
- youmuu's is good for Yi because he is an assassin/turret killer. The 20 arpen really helps your damage output against squishies, the crit chance and damage are good, the CDR is good (yi's abilities have long CDs), and the active is great for downing towers or ganking.
- cutlass will be built into a Blade of the Ruined King. Both cutlass & BotRK have an active that helps in securing kills. They give you the lifesteal you need, and the BotRK % current health damage is great for taking down higher health targets. It also is good sustain, since you heal for half the amount it deals.
Why BotRK over wriggles or bloodthirster?
- wriggles is nice, and saves on wards, but leaves you without tenacity. BotRK has more sustain than wriggles, has an active that is great for ganking/chasing, and gives a lot more damage than wriggles.
- BT has more AD & lifesteal, but doesn't have the nice active. I think the 4% current health dmg that BotRK does helps close the AD gap, and healing for half of that damage helps close the lifesteal gap. Further, BotRK doesn't have any stacks to lose upon death.
Next (3): Spirit of the ancient golem, zeal, BotRK
- order depends on your needs, but generally zeal -> BotRK -> spirit
- zeal will build into a PD which will rocket your attack speed & crit chance up, let you move through minions, and give you movespeed (bringing you up to 440). I generally build this first because the movespeed helps you get around even faster, and the attack speed and crit chance do wonders for your dps.
- spirit, as discussed above, will give you health, armor, tenacity, and a good source of mp5. Go for this first if you are getting burst down/cced to death.
- BotRK will give you more sustain and a better active effect (steals speed instead of just reducing speed)
Next (4), finish your PD
For the last item (5):
- get a last whisper if the enemy team is stacking armor. You'll end up with 40.2% arpen (8% from mastery + 35% from LW combines for 40.2%), and after that you reduce their armor by 30 or so from masteries/runes/youmuu's.
- get an IE if the enemy team is not stacking armor
- if they have a fed AP carry, and you cannot 1v1 them, get a Maw of Malmortius. (If this is the case, you should get a hexdrinker earlier. Perhaps after item set 2, build spirit for the health & tenacity, and if that isn't good enough, get the hexdrinker)
Late game (6):
- if you don't have a last whisper yet (you built IE or Maw), replace youmuu's with LW
- otherwise replace youmuu's with an IE
- replace spirit of the ancient golem with runic bulwark (even if someone else on your team has one, you will get the full benefit), or some other defensive item that has health on it. Only do this if the tenacity loss won't kill you. (If it would kill you, you can switch your boots to merc treads)
Boot enchantment: Alacrity or Furor. I prefer alacrity because the 15 MS it grants affects all the % MS bonuses you get: your ult, youmuu's active, your runes/masteries, your PD...
It brings you from 440 to 453 (note that MS over 415 is reduced by 20%. With alacrity, your base MS is 415 (355 + 25 (boots 1) + 20 (boots 2) + 15 (alactity)). With PD & runes/masteries, you have 11.5% increased speed, which translates into 47.725 extra MS, which is reduced by 20% to give 38.18.
That 15 MS also interacts with youmuu's & your ult. Your ult gives 40% increased MS, which means 15 base MS gives 6 additional MS on your ult, and 3 additional MS on youmuu's.
So, when moving around the map and not fighting, you move at 453 instead of 440.
When you ult/use youmuu's, you gain even more MS than you normally would.
With furor, your MS out of combat stays at 440, and furor won't increase the effect of your ult or youmuu's. Furor also requires you to hit your enemy to stick on them: if they can break contact (stun, snare, flash, etc), your extra MS will be gone. I prefer having the higher base MS in order to reach alpha strike range.
Other notable items:
- Sword of the Divine. I've tried building something along the lines of: wriggles, berserker greaves, SotD. It works really well. For a little while. Your ganks against squishier targets will absolutely destroy them. BUT, its useless against tougher targets (they eat 3 crits and laugh as your dps turns to nothing while SotD is on CD), and it falls off hard as you build more AS/crit. When you get 40+ critchance, SotD's bump to 100 isn't nearly as good as it was when you had 0% critchance.
- Frozen Mallet: the slow is VERY nice, as is the health. I just can't find room for it. If you switch spirit of the ancient golem to wriggles and don't built another lifesteal item, you could free up a spot for this. I'd switch the berserker greaves to merc treads unless you really don't need tenacity.
You'd end up with a little more health (200 more), same armor, more MR, same tenacity.
You lose the hp5 & mp5, and you lose the damage & extra sustain of BotRK, and you lose the attack speed from the berserker greaves.
- Black Cleaver: forget it, you are better off with the cheaper & more effective last whisper. 700 gold less for LW, 10% more penetration. BC does have some health on it, but having to wait 4 attacks to get full stacks isn't worth it.
- Mercurial Scimitar: You can get this instead of Maw if the enemy just has tons of CC.
Skill order: Highlander > Alpha Strike > Wuju Style > Meditate.
Take 1 point in meditate at lvl 8 (lvl 4 if vs karthus).
When ganking, try to engage without using your Q. When the enemy makes a gap somehow (flash, stunning you, snaring you, etc), alpha strike to get back in melee range.
Meditate is useful when you need to delay, or if you know a bunch of damage is coming. Especially at later levels, when it gives 300 armor & MR and heals for 700 hp. You can tank towers for your team, you can pop it during a teamfight if you are getting focused, you can pop it after a tower dive if the last tower shot on your way out would kill you otherwise (make sure you are out of the tower's range though).
Wuju Style should be used frequently while clearing jungle camps. You want to time it so that the downtime is while you are walking to the next camp. If you pop it too early, you lose the bonus while still fighting the current camp. (whereas if you wait, you get the passive bonus while waiting.)
wolves -> blue
Option 1: enemy red, gank. Do this if you can get a smiteless blue, and the enemy jungler starts blue. Especially strong when you are purple--come through tribrush to gank bot, exhaust their adc, save alpha strike for when they flash.
Option 2: wraiths, small golems, red. Then either gank, or wraiths->wolves->b
- ganks with red buff & exhaust, and later with cutlass/BotRK, are pretty strong. Esp. once you hit lvl 6. If everywhere is warded, you can either get an oracles, or concentrate on farming.
- counter jungling: due to his high move speed and very fast clear speed, Yi is a great counter jungler. Remember to completely clear the enemy buff camps so you'll know when they respawn (assuming you can keep track of it...). Leave a tiny monster at the other camps to deny xp/gold.
- You can do a ton of damage to a tower with your ult + youmuu's active + active wuju style. You don't need to push minions to the tower either (though if you do choose to do so, Yi pushes pretty fast)--you can run up through the jungle, pop out, ult, youmuu's, wuju style, and smack down half the life of the tower before you withdraw (and you should still have half your health).
- You are not good at teamfighting. Either:
- have your team push one lane while you go to BD or push another lane. Your team MUST withdraw if engaged, unless you know they aren't all 5 together. Just defensively retreat to your own tower, and defend there. If the enemy breaks off anyone to go stop you, your team can start pushing again, or keep defending, depending on team strength. Note that depending on how far along you are with your item build, you can 1v1 most champions IF YOUR ULT IS UP. If you used it to down a tower fast, then you need to gtfo.
- come at the teamfight from another angle--skip their tanky champs and jump on a squishy, run if anyone other than the squishy starts to focus you. (Go back in as soon as they go to engage someone else)
- This should go without saying, but don't forget to buy wards. Generally top will ward the top bushes, bot will ward river/dragontribrush area as needed, and mid will ward one of their side bushes. If your team isn't warding well, fill in gaps. If they are warding well, get your wards down in the enemy jungle so you can make better counter jungling decisions.
If the enemy is getting up in your jungle frequently, ward your own jungle too. If you spend 225 on 3 wards for your jungle, but save your red buff & get a kill or assist, you've made it up right there. (Not to mention their jungler is dead and thus not gaining xp/gold)