Master Yi Build Guide by Ratch V
Not Updated For Current Season
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.
Welcome to what I believe is the best way to play a Master Yi AP build. This guide focuses on having a strong early game so you can harrass and farm with high damage values even at level one. Using AP Yi mid to late game will require timing and good teamwork to deal devastating damage in teamfights. AP yi is also capable of short turret tanking and diving and depending on the type of CC the enemy has, and tanking and outhealing the entire enemy team with Meditate. AP Yi has alot more utility than AD while still being able to do large amounts of damage to turrets and inhibitors. This is my first guide so i have no idea how to really use any features, so this will be mostly text. Or Only Text, but I'll space it out to make it easy to read.
The first build is focused on maximum damage output. The Second build focuses more on survival with decent damage.
TAKE NOTE - This is not some kind of theory craft about what could or could not work. I have used and tested this build in many games. This build is capable of carrying a team easy and even making a comeback. Do not underestimate its damage!
Currently Working On...
07/24/11 - As much as i play Yi it never occured to me that Highlander resets cooldowns only when you have it on. There was nothing wrong with it, I just kept thinking it was a passive.
Made some edits today too.
Flat AP runes give Yi a very strong early game laning ability because his Alpha scales on a 1:1 and his meditate scales 1.65:1. This means every bit of AP goes a long way. With these runes and a Doran's Ring, your level one Alpha will deal around 140 and your Meditate will heal about an extra 60 hp. If your conservative with mana, you can lane a very long time, while still dealing decent damage even after your opponent has gone back for their second item. The more I play around with runes, the more it seems that an early game boost from flat runes is far better than the scaling boost, as runes or more noticable with less items.
Flat Cooldown reduction glyphs are also very viable. It adds up to about another 6%, which will allow you to drop the Morello's Evil Tome in favor of Spirit Visage which will increase your Meditate while giving you more survivability instead of damage. This will also give you better early game cooldown reduction and more item choice late game.
I have a basic 9/0/21 for maxing cooldown and getting magic pen, but 21/0/9 works just as well for the higher damage, but you lose 6% cooldown reduction. If you want a little more survivability early game then 21/6/3 is a good choice getting the armor and magic resist in the defence tree and teleport/whatever in the ultility tree.
Ghost may seem uneeded on Yi since he can Highlander away, but I have found that Ghost can make you twice as hard to catch and much easier to excape, expesially when you use Highlander in a fight and things turn for the worse. If all else fail, Highlander + Ghost make you the fastest champ in the game.
Teleport has become one of my new favorites. This lets you farm or backdoor while being able to easily get to a team fight when your needed, or stop a minion rush thats killing a tower.
If you want some CC, take Ignite or Exhaust. Exhaust can give you plenty of time to disable and take down an AD carry or get first blood, while Ignite can keep them from lifestealing to full health after Meditate wears off. I usually Exhaust after my Meditate wears off because most champs will continue to attack you if you let yourself get to low hp before Meditate thinking they can finish you. About half way they realize they won't get you, and by that time you will have gotten them with Exhaust/ Ignite and there's a very good chance you can finish them.
Always take Flash. It has to many uses to be passed up. Cleanse is also viable. You can use it on the first CC after you alpha into a group and you'll have a better chance to survive.
Any other summoner abilities can work, these are just the ones I recommend the most.
The item build shown is the one I usually use, not the one you have to use. Other items i found to be decent include:
deathfire's grasp - To replace morellos if you want an extra nuke ability. It really works great if you remember to use it. Lately I have started to favor this over morellos.
Rod of Ages - It is a bit more expensive getting early but gives alot of survivability. You also wont have to worry much about mana, but your early damage will be a little low until you get Deathcap. If you want to include this item, your best bet is Catalyst > Sheen > RoA > Lichbane while getting boots somewhere inbetween.
Alpha Strike - This is Yi's main damage dealer. It hits up to 4 surronding enemies with a chance to proc extra damage on minions and monsters. It is basically Brand's ult as it hits 1 less person and only hits the same target once, but has a 6 second cool down when cool down reduction is maxed, and scales with AP 2x better, as Brands ult is a .5 and Alpha Strike is 1. While team fighting near Baron or away from minions, this ability will deal incredible damage to 4 enemy champs. When near minions, this ability can be used on a minion to hit an enemy champ while staying out of turret range and not over extending.
Meditate - By far my favorite ability on Yi. Early game it lets you keep laning for an extremely long time, and late game it lets you take mind boggling amounts of damage and still heal more than you take. At 5, its adds 300 Armor and Magic resist while channeled. WARNING: Pay attention to enemy CC. This is a channeled ability so cast interuption will stop it. This ability heals, and a healing reduction can be devastating. Watch out for Ignite and stuns/knockups. On the upside, Summoner spells CAN be used without stopping Meditate. So feel free to Ignite or Exhaust anyone while channeling.
Wuju Style - Early game its great for last hitting, mid to late it is used to proc Lich Bane.
Highlander - Increases move speed by 40%, make you immune to slows, and great for proccing Lich Bane. BEWARE: Your only immune to slows, NOT snares, stuns, or knockups.
Buy your Dorans and head to your lane. AP Yi is capable of Mid and solo lane, but i would suggest only taking those lanes if you have to, not becuase you ran there straight from spawn thinking your gonna do better than everyone else. Give the ranged carries priority.
If you do get mid, Yi can handle extremely well. I have played a few games against a mid Caitlyn, and I have out laned her every time.
Yi can lane well with about anyone, but will do better with tankier or support champs such as Alistar or Maokai. If you can, lane with someone who has Clarity. Yi can be very mana hungry early game so be carful.
Your main focues is to farm. Focus on last hitting with normal attack, but if you see a few minions with low hp dropping all at once, Alpha Strike can net you a couple of those if you use it right. Alpha Strike has about a 16.5 second cooldown, so don't try for a champ kill if the enemy has too much hp left.
The beauty of Yi is that he is what I consider a non-detrimental extended laner. What this means it that he can lane for a very long time without it effecting his items such as other champs who buy Tear of the Goddess, Rod of Ages, Mejai's Soulstealer, or Philosopher's stone
As the game progresses, your Meditate will quickly go from just a heal to all but invinceible for 5 seconds. Alpha Strike will spike in damage and when you get Lich Bane, you will be able to follow up and teamfight much better.
Late game teamfights can work in 2 way:
Light CC Enemy Team - If the enemy team lacks alot of stun or knockup, Yi is a great initiator. He can dive on in with the tank with Alpha Strike. During Alpha Strike, you become untargetable for up to about 1 second when you hit 4 enemies. After Alpha Strike, the enemy will usually focus you, and if they have no way to stop a Meditate channel, then focusing you will be a devastating mistake for them. You will outheal almost anything, and if your team acts fast enough, you can survive even if hit by an Ignite or other heal reduction.
Heavy CC Enemy Team - When the enemy team goes with alot of stun or knockup, you will need to be extremely careful. If you initiate, you will go down like any other carry if your Meditate is interupted. Stay back until alot of CC is spent, then target the enemy team carries. Alpha Strike and a Lich Bane attack will easily take a carry down to half Hp, and you can finish them by proccing Lich Bane with Wuju Style and Highlander.
6th item suggestions
Yi has a great damage output with his core items, Lich Bane, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Rabadon's Deathcap. The next two items, Morello's Evil Tome and Void Staff are highly recomended for the first build. I would not consider skipping them. The same goes for Banshee's Veil and Spirit Visage in the second build. That last item can be completely situational, and these are all good choices, just pick what fits your game best. Rylai's is listed in the first build because that is just the most common one I go with.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter- A good amount of AP, added survivability, and a slow too boot. Good if you need to live longer in general.
Zhonya's Hourglass- An good item if your looking for more damage, but need a little more resistance towards an AD heavy team, and has a nice active to boot.
Abyssal Scepter- Along the same line as zhonya's, except for a more AP heavy team. The passive also increases your damage.
Guardian Angel- This will give you general survivability, but also lets you be a little more reckless with initiation. If you die before you can get a meditate off, just meditate as soon as you rez, and you will be right back at full health.
Banshee's Veil- A common situational item. Good survivability and help you with that one guy who only saves his CC for until you start meditating.
Hextech Gunblade- This can be a very good item for Yi. It will increase his damage output against towers with 60 AD while still giving 75 AP, which is a pretty good value for one item. Since it has life steal and spell vamp, it gives you a more reliable healing method through damage.
Here are a few situational actions Yi can take.
Turret Pushing- If you feel your safe enough from a gank such as just winning a team fight, and you want to take down a tower with your AD carry next to you, you can do it with Meditate. Use Highlander and do as much damage to the turret as possible, using Wuju Style to proc lich bane. Don't use Meditate until your almost one hit until dead. When you use it, you will easily outheal the turret and your friend can continure to attack. You will have one more Lich Bane proc after meditate, and by now the turret should easily be dead. I suggest doing this only with lvl 4 or 5 Meditate and having completed your Rabadon's Deathcap with atleast 350 AP. Late game, Yi can also easily tank both of the Nexus turrets at the same time if you feel your team can take them down.
Team Turret Diving- Again a use of Meditate. Alpha in and get a hit off on an enemy champ, and if your opponent has a CC, be cautious of what it does. If your laning parterner jumps in at the same time, he can get some easy attacks in before you have to back. As always, meditate just before dieing if you higher level, or at about half health if your lower leveled. If the enemy champ attacks you thinking he can get a kill, thats all the better. It's only more time for your partner to kill him. It is suggested to ult out to reduce damage and chance of dieing.
Distraction Initiation- This one can be a bit tricky, but also work wonders. Alpha Strike in on a group of enemy champs while your team is nearby. After using Alpha Strike, immediately Highlander straight towards your team. This works best in the mid with your team in one of the side bushes. This is alot like normal baiting, but since you get so close to the enemy team and deal a chunk of damage, they are highly likely to overextend right into your team trying to kill you. Always Alpha Strike the champ that is a little farther from the group, because that is the one you will appear next to after you Alpha is done.
To maximize AP Yi's damage, you have to work with the 2 seconds cool down on Lich Bane. If you spam your abilities, your damage will be extremely low. Even in the most intense fights, you have to time your Wuju Style and Highlander to proc Lich Bane or else it will be a huge waste and your damage will be low.
In a normal fight you will most often use abilities in this order with time in between for Lich Bane procs:
Alpha Strike> Highlander> Wuju Style> Alpha Strike
Meditate is more situational but still procs Lich Bane so DO NOT forget to attack once before your next Alpha Strike.
Some Game Results
Farmed early game in a solo lane against Cho'gath. Enemy team didn't like how i could meditate through all they could throw at me.
Just some general match history. The top game was a heck of a comeback. My team mates, a nasus, cho, and tryn refused to initiate. I'm not kidding. Three of the best initiators. Multiple times they stood on the sidelines of a fight we could have won if they joined. I used distraction initate while my queue friend, annie, used a tibbers ult stun. It's the only reason we won.
I find AP Yi more useful more often than AD with utility and multi-target damage. Without a Lich Bane, AP tends to fall short with damage. Feel free to post and suggestions for more chapters and comment on what you think. Please be constructive with comments, But you do not need to comment to vote. Go ahead and post game results and thoughts. Thank You and Good Luck.
P.S. I work on this guide fairly actively and I LOVE FEEDBACK! I would also like to thank Adonikam for inspiring the second build, the tankier AP Yi.