Master Yi Build Guide by Salauel
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Master Yi Build
Jungle Early Game
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.
Hello everybody out there and welcome to my Master Yi guide!
This is my first guide here on MOBAFire so, please, take the time to leave a feedback by commenting and voting. Also, if you have any doubt or suggestion, feel free to contact me so I can dissipate the doubt or take into account the suggestion and fix the guide accordingly, if needed.
Why Master Yi?
When I started playing League of Legends, my first champion was Vladimir, he was free to play that week and I liked him. The week later he was no more free to play and costed too much for me to buy, so a friend of mine advised me to buy Master Yi instead. Since then, for a whole year, till I reached level 30, I only used Master Yi in PvP games.
That's why I guess I can use him well enough to make a guide about him. And since I am unable to find any up to date AD Master Yi guide, here I am.
This guide is currently the 7th among all Master Yi builds, with a score of 78% and no downvote, only two weeks after being published!Thanks to everyone who voted!
Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman, is in my opinion one of the strongest AD carries in the game, nearly invincible in duel against most champions, a great pusher and backdoorer, even viable as a mid or top champion, as well as a jungler.
Still, he is usually considered a weak pick in most situations and people tend to prefer ranged AD carries. What I think is ranged carries are overrated and my purpose is to show Master Yi is still viable, if played properly.
Master Yi can be played both AD and AP with good results.
This guide will temporarily cover only the AD build, since it is how I commonly play him.
Both laning and jungling will be covered.
Pros / Cons
Overall, Master Yi is fairly easy to learn but still pretty hard to master.
His main skills, Wuju Style and Highlander, are self buffs, thus being really easy to use.
Anyway, a wrong timing or positioning may still result in an unnecessary death.
At the same time, he has no CC or game breaking skill and the enemy team will likely focus him, if he's fed.
Also, Master Yi is a hit or miss (I would say fed or feed) champion, that means either you're adequately leveled and fed or you will just end up feeding the enemy endlessly.
A few bonus pros include:
- Master Yi only costs 450 IP, so you can try it without risking much.
- Master Yi is rarely banned in ranked games, lately.
- Both the enemy and your team will underestimate you till you get a penta kill... then Thornmails will start to pop up.
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
My choice of runes is intended to counter Master Yi's squishiness, exspecially early game.
That's why I take 3 Greater Quintessence of Health for a flat 78 health, 9 Greater Seal of Armor for a flat 13 armor and 9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist for 24 magic resist at level 18.
I take flat armor and health to help early game, while I prefer magic resist per level, since magic damage commonly begins to be a threat only later.
On the offensive side, I take 9 Greater Mark of Armor Penetration for a flat 12 armor penetration, that may result really useful, once again, exspecially early game.
These runes work both in lane and in the jungle.
As for masteries, while laning, I choose a 21/9/0 offensive build.
Master Yi is not a tank nor a support. Also, he has long cooldowns that refresh on kills. Lastly, as said, this is not an AP build.
Masteries choice is pretty simple then: I take all the physical damage bonuses from the offense tree and spend the remaining points in the defense tree to help countering Master Yi's natural squishiness.
While jungling, a few changes are needed in order to take some mandatory masteries.
As for summoner spells, several options are viable on Master Yi.
At the moment, I use Flash and Exhaust in most games, if I'm laning.
When I'm the jungler, Smite is of course mandatory and I usually take Flash as well.
Flash is an awesome spell, both offensively and defensively. You can use it to get to a safe spot and run away if you're gonna die or to jump on an enemy and finish them if they're escaping. Still, your ultimate, Highlander makes you really good both at chasing enemies and at escaping from them, so Flash is not mandatory like on other champions.
Exhaust is a spell I've always taken on Master Yi. It is simply awesome early game to get an easy kill by slowing and weakening someone caught off position. It can also be used to escape and to weaken the enemy carry in teamfights later.
As of Season 3, it has been heavily nerfed, making it exspecially less effective against AD carries. It's not as good as it used to be, but it's still viable.
Usually underrated, Heal is a surprisingly good spell. Combined with Exhaust, it can completely turn over a fight early game and get you an easy kill. It is also useful in teamfights later, since you can use it to heal yourself and your allies for a fair amount. I've been using it for a long while; at the moment, I simply think it is not as good as Flash.
Ghost is a good spell, granting you a huge movement speed bonus and letting you ignore unit collision, thus great for chasing and backdooring. Anyway, it won't let you pass through walls and you are already very fast thanks to Highlander, so I choose Flash over it.
Also, as of Season 3, the Phantom Dancer new passive grants you an effect similar to Ghost, thus making it even less viable.
Obviously, taking Cleanse will help countering Master Yi's vulnerability to disables. Taking it depends on the enemy team composition: if they have a lot of hard CCs, it may be worth it. Still, it is highly situational and you should not need it if you join fights at the right moment, so I avoid taking it.
Teleport may be another good choice. It won't help as much as the other spells in a fight, but it will let you cover a lane in no time early game or push/backdoor easily late game.
Together with Flash, Ignite is the most common choice of most people. It may be useful to secure a kill or prevent the enemy from healing. It also may result in a pathetic failure if not timed well. I don't like it that much, so I don't take it, but I admit it may be of some use.
This spell is simply mandatory for junglers and completely needless for anyone else. So, if you're jungling, totally take it; else, don't.
Master Yi's passive is Double Strike. It's like Caitlyn's passive, Headshot, you deal double damage every 7th auto attack.
- You can try to reach 6 stacks on the Double Strike buff by hitting minions before performing an attack on champions, combining it with an Alpha Strike and Wuju Style if needed, in order to harass or maybe kill them.
Alpha Strike deals a moderate amount of magic damage to 4 targets, of which only the first can be chosen and the other 3 are random. Afterwards, Master Yi lands on the first target if it is still alive or goes back to his starting location if it is dead.
- Alpha Strike has a chance to deal bonus damage to minions, thus being an awesome jungling and farming tool.
- Early game, you will mainly use Alpha Strike to harass enemy champions. Wait till there are only 2-3 enemy minions and enemy champions are in range and use it on a minion. No matter if the champions escape, they will still take damage and you will still land in a safe place. Try to target a minion that is in a safe position or one that is about to die or this action may result in an unnecessary death.
- You can use Alpha Strike as a gap closer to reach someone who is trying to escape from you.
- If you manage to Alpha Strike an enemy champion, you will land on them, no matter if they flashed or used any similar skill of their own. This will mostly help secure a kill, but may also put you in a difficult situation, if you land under a turret or in the middle of the enemy team.
- You can use Alpha Strike to dodge any AoE spell if you time it properly. It will also make turrets stop targeting you.
- Late game, you will use Alpha Strike to jump into already initiated teamfights while being immune to disables, AoE and any damage in general for a little while.
- You should always use Alpha Strike to enter in a fight, even if you're alone fighting a single enemy, since they will likely try to escape if they see you coming. Using Highlander wouldn't be as effective, since you would waste part of its duration, remove the surprise effect, not land on them after they use movement skills and so on.
- Even if this is rarely doable, you can use Alpha Strike to escape an unwanted fight by targeting an enemy minion or champion that is nearer to a safe location than you.
I used to underrate Meditate a lot. It is instead a great spell, it will heal you while increasing both armor and magic resist over 5 seconds and making you a lot more tanky. It used to scale insanely with AP (400%), but the rate was halved as of Season 3 patch. Anyway, it's still a good spell, now even more AD oriented, since its strongest part is the armor and magic resistance increase.
- You can use Meditate to gain back some health while laning, thus being able to stay in lane longer and not to get underleveled.
- You can use Meditate to mitigate the damage of any channeled spell being cast on you, like Karthus' Requiem, Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole or Nunu's Absolute Zero.
- If you're low on health and the enemies are targeting you, you can use Meditate to tank them while your allies finish them off.
- Sometimes, if an enemy is chasing you and an ally is coming to join the fight, you may use Meditate to gain back some health and get back in the fight instead of keeping running away.
- It rarely happens, but if an enemy is such a fool to towerdive you early game just cause you have low health, using Meditate will likely save your life and end theirs.
- Beware, cause you're still vulnerable to hard CCs, which would interrupt Meditate.
- Because of Meditate, it may be worth to build some AP late game (now less than before).
Wuju Style is Master Yi's main skill, it will passively and actively increase his AD, making his already high damage even higher.
- You will use Wuju Style's active in every fight, combining it with your ultimate, Highlander in order to kill anything that moves.
- Wuju Style's passive is useful to last hit minions early game.
- When Wuju Style is on cooldown, you lose both the active and passive bonus, so you're more vulnerable, beware!
- If Highlander refreshes Wuju Style while it's still active, its passive and active bonuses will sum up, granting an even higher bonus. That's why you shouldn't activate Wuju Style again after getting a kill unless it already expired, since that would remove the passive bonus.
Highlander is Master Yi's ultimate and it's simply awesome. It will increase his attack speed by a lot and make him faster than anyone else. Moreover, while it is active, Master Yi cannot be slowed and, if he kills someone, all of his cooldowns will be refreshed (an assist will halve them).
- You will use Highlander every time you are going to kill someone, combining it with Wuju Style, they will stand no chance.
- You may use Highlander combined with Wuju Style to destroy turrets in a matter of heartbeats, but beware, since it will be on cooldown afterwards.
- Highlander lets you completely ignore one of the most common game mechanics, that is the slow effect. This is simply wonderful, since there are plenty of skills, items and even buffs which would slow you... if you weren't Master Yi.
- Highlander is the main reason for you taking as many kills as possible both in teamfights and out of them in order to keep chasing people over and over. Assists are not worth as much. This is called snowballing, it's awesome and Master Yi excels at it.
- If your target tries to escape, Highlander will prevent them from succeeding.
- If someone tries to chase you, Highlander will prevent them from succeeding.
- You shouldn't use Highlander just to move faster towards a fight or the enemy base, since it is much better when used in combat.
- Beware, even if Exhaust can't slow you, it will still lower your AD.
- If Highlander is on cooldown (that means you didn't time it well) you should try to avoid doing anything dangerous like joining fights or pushing while emenies are missing in action.
Some people take Wuju Style first, feel free to do it if you think it's better.
Anyway, I prefer to start with Alpha Strike, it lets you close gaps easier, you will be able to jump on your target if you're looking for a first blood while dealing some damage.
Also, it will help you harass since level 1 and may also help farm creeps and defend your turret if you're laning alone or your partner died.
However, level 2 is really fast to reach, so the first skill you pick is not exactly game breaking.
About Meditate, you may also want to take it early, at level 3, exspecially if you're solo laning or if there's someone like Karthus in the enemy team.
While jungling, I take Meditate at level 3, since it helps surviving and having quite high health in order to be able to gank.
As Master Yi, like most champions, you will start taking Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions.
Movement speed is everything in this game (I know, right?) and the potions will give you some lane sustain.
The only alternative I may accept is swapping a Health Potion for a Mana Potion if you find yourself out of mana often, but that shouldn't happen if you play properly and avoid spamming your spells.
Please, don't you dare mention any of the Doran's items. They are just a waste of gold and their utility is limited to the early game, with no upgrade possibility.
If your enemy takes one of them, they may be advantaged for a little, but their advantage will be wasted if you play properly and it will become a disadvantage later.
Boots of Speed have been terribly nerfed in the Season 3 patch and the base movement speed of all champions has been buffed by the same amount.
This means that:
- If you take them, you will get the same total movement speed as before.
- If you don't take them, it will be less punishing, since you will be slower by 25 units instad of 50.
As of Season 3, Hunter's Machete is the starting item for most junglers and Master Yi is no exception.
You must take it, together with 5 Health Potions, in order to survive the jungle and clear it quickly.
If you're jungling, you will probably want to buy a few situational items in order to maximize your effectiveness.
These items ineluctable doom is to be sold, sooner or later, to buy better items, namely the normal build ones.
This is a pretty cheap item, which gives you some critical strike chance together with an increased passive and active gold income. It is meant to sustain you in the jungle, shouldn't you be able to farm properly.
This is a common jungling item, that grants armor, attack damage and lifesteal, as well as a passive chance to deal a lot of damage to minions and a free ward every 3 minutes.
You should build this only if you're actually still jungling. If turrets are down and teamfights already started, don't bother buying it.
I can't help but underline how important it is to ward the map.
Wards save lifes and wards kill people.
Wards will prevent the enemy from ganking and will spot them isolated and ready to be ganked.
Wards also grant visibility over things, thus letting you cast spells through walls, for example a Smite on Baron Nashor .
That's why you should always buy wards and place them strategically throughout the map everytime you have a few spare gold.
Vision Wards also grant stealth detection, thus being awesome against stealthed champions like Evelynn, Teemo, Shaco and Twitch. Sadly, they cost much more than Sight Wards, so place them wisely and only if needed.
The first item you will buy as soon as you get back to your base, hopefully after a (double) kill or at least after reaching level 6, is Vampiric Scepter. It won't heal that much early game, but it will provide a nice survivability boost, so you can avoid buying more potions.
As of Season 3, it also grants 10 AD and costs much more, which I consider a nerf.
Almost every lifesteal item is built out of it, so you will need it anyway, whatever your role is and whatever build you're using.
After taking your Vampiric Scepter, hopefully during the same visit to your base, you will upgrade your boots, buying Berserker's Greaves, which will give you some attack speed and the second tier movement speed.
As of Season 3, boots can be upgraded further with various Enchantments, of which I chose Enchantment: Furor, which seems to be the best choice to chase people.
My first choice was the plain Enchantment: Alacrity, which grants a little but permanent movement speed boost, but I decided it's not worth it.
A viable option to Berserker's Greaves is Mercury's Treads that would give you some magic resist and Tenacity. You may decide to buy them if you aren't going to buy Zephyr for any reason.
Your next item is Zeal, that will become a Phantom Dancer later and gives its same bonuses, even if smaller: attack speed, critical strike chance and movement speed.
Your main and most important legendary tier item is the Phantom Dancer. It is simply perfect on Master Yi, providing a big boost in attack speed, critical strike chance and even movement speed.
A lot of people take two (or even more) Phantom Dancers on Master Yi, still I don't think it is such a great idea. It would prevent you from buying other, more important items. Anyway, building a second Phantom Dancer later is still viable, if you wish to.
As of Season 3, the Phantom Dancer was heavily nerfed in terms of attack speed and, more important, movement speed. It also gained a good passive, letting you ignore unit collision.
Infinity Edge is the second item you will build as Master Yi. It gives a lot of AD, as well as critical strike chance, and its passive is simply awesome, increasing your critical strike damage by 50%.
Even Infinity Edge was nerfed in Season 3.
At this point in the game, you will surely want to build some survivability. Since you're no tank, this will come in the form of lifesteal. The Bloodthirster used to be the only viable choice.
Anyway, this is no longer true, since there are a few new items which provide lifesteal.
So, you can now choose among The Bloodthirster, the Ravenous Hydra and the Blade of the Ruined King.
The Bloodthirster will give you a lot of AD while still retaining the lifesteal from Vampiric Scepter. Its passive will keep making you stronger as you kill stuff, capping at +30 AD and +6% lifesteal (for an awesome total of 100 AD and 18% lifesteal).
You may also want to buy this item earlier in order to maximize its effect, so you can swap it with Infinity Edge if needed. I rarely do this, since the less damage you deal, the less effective lifesteal is.
Tiamat used to be a good item, providing auto attack reliant champions with a nice AoE. However, it didn't find a spot in my build, cause it was lacking something.
Well, now it doesn't anymore, thanks to its brand new upgrade, Ravenous Hydra!
This enhanced version of Tiamat, that is actually built from Tiamat itself, also provides a nice 10% lifesteal, thus being a viable option to The Bloodthirster.
It provides 75 AD, and 10% lifesteal, together with 15 health regeneration, which is a plus.
Its awesomeness, anyway, comes from its passive, granting you an AoE cleave effect, damaging enemy units nearby your primary target for 60-20% of your AD.
Isn't it enough? Well, it also has an active, damaging enemies around you for 100-60% of your AD once every 10 seconds (which is a ridicolous cooldown).
If we compare it to The Bloodthirster, we find out it gives 5 more AD, 2% less lifesteal as well as health regeneration and its passive and active.
At full stacks, The Bloodthirster gives 25 more AD and 8% more lifesteal, instead.
The Blade of the Ruined King is the item that replaced Madred's Bloodrazor. It doesn't grant attack speed anymore, instead it gives AD, lifesteal and a nice active, as well as the physical damage version of Madred's Bloodrazor passive, damaging the targets of your auto attacks for 4% of their health.
This is a good choice if the enemy team either has some fed tank or is stacking up health.
Compared to The Bloodthirster, it gives 30-60 less AD and 2-8% less lifesteal but its passive and active may be really useful.
Your last general purpose item, the Frozen Mallet will increase even further your survivability, finally giving you some health, together with some AD and a very good passive, slowing the target of your auto attacks by a considerable amount and making you even better at chasing people.
Your last item, if you ever have the chance to buy it, will likely be highly situational.
You have several options, ranging from additional damage to some more survivability.
Zephyr is a brand new item introduced in Season 3 and it seems to synergize extremely well with Master Yi. First of all, it gives you the movement speed you lost with the Phantom Dancer nerf, plus 3%. It also gives you 50% attack speed, that is your most important stat. It grants a nice 20 AD bonus, too. Shouldn't this be enough, it gives you the mighty Tenacity, that is disables duration reduction. The only needless stat it gives is 10% cooldown reduction, that is totally unnecessary on Master Yi.
When this item first came out, I thought of it as a core item for Master Yi. Anyway, lately I'm building it after the others in my tests and I consider it the general purpose item which should be sacrificed in order to take a better situational item when needed.
So, unless you are having trouble with something specific, take it.
The Black Cleaver was incredibly buffed as of Season 3, but it was already nerfed in the subsequent patch. It grants a fair amount of AD, together with cooldown reduction, armor penetration, health and a passive, which stacks more and more armor penetration on your target, triggering off any physical damage. Both the armor penetration bonus and passive are now unique, thus making this item no more worth stacking, I hope.
Also, it's not such a great item on Master Yi, so I will likely remove it from this guide as soon as I can confirm it's no more overpowered.
I rarely take it, but Last Whisper is for sure a good option as a last offensive item. It gives a lot of armor penetration and some more attack damage, countering armor stacking. If the enemy has Rammus, totally take it.
As of Season 3, percent armor penetration is applied before flat armor penetration, thus making stacking them a viable choice and buffing them both.
This means you could take both Last Whisper and The Black Cleaver without making such a big mistake. But for goodness sake, don't do it!
One more viable offensive (and somewhat defensive) option is Trinity Force, which simply gives you everything: AP, AD, attack speed, critical strike chance, health, mana, movement speed and two passives, giving you a chance to slow your targets and to deal bonus damage on auto attacks preceded by skills.
Anyway, this is a really expensive and general purpose item, that is rarely useful in practical contexts (on Master Yi), so I don't strongly suggest to take it, even if it is viable.
Another item I commonly build last is Banshee's Veil, which gives you some more health, mana, magic resist and an amazing passive, saving you from a single magic effect every 45 seconds. This includes any disable, initiation snd skillshot, making it a strong pick against fed AP carries and letting you avoid that stun that would otherwise ruin your teamfight.
You may also want to buy this item earlier if you're playing against strong AP carries or you find yourself targeted too often by enemy disables.
A common alternative is Quicksilver Sash, that is cheaper but only gives you magic resist and its active only removes disables after they're applied (if you're fast enough to use it), so I prefer not to take it.
As of Season 3, Quicksilver Sash can be upgraded into Mercurial Scimitar, that retains its active and magic resistance as well as granting a lot of AD, making it a viable choice, but way too expensive to be effective.
Physical damage is rarely a problem on Master Yi, since you will likely being dealing more damage then they are dealing to you. Anyway, it may still happen that you are facing a really strong and fed AD carry. If it is the case, you can go for a Thornmail, which will give you a lot of armor, together with an awesome passive, dealing back to your enemy 30% of the physical damage they deal to you in the form of magic damage.
Another viable option is Guardian Angel, which provides some armor, magic resist and a passive which resurrects you once every 5 minutes with pretty low health, thus being a general purpose defense. In my experience, most times this item passive results completely useless, exspecially late game: you will just die, they will wait on your corpse and you will die again a few seconds later.
Anyway, it may be really useful in many situations (if its passive is up), for example if you instantly get focused as soon as you join a teamfight, if you die from Ignite, Karthus' Requiem or similar spells and if you die leaving an enemy really low on health (or even dead).
Once your build is complete, in those rare long lasting games, you should use your extra gold (it will begin to stack up in great amounts at this time) to buy temporary buffs in the form of elixirs, in this order: Elixir of Fortitude, which gives health and AD, Elixir of Brilliance, which gives some AP (remember your Meditate uses 200% of it) and cooldown reduction.
Also, you may want to buy an Oracle's Elixir, even if, being a squishy AD carry, it is not your job to use it and clean the map from wards and similar stuff.
It may still be a good idea, exspecially if the enemy team features stealthed units like Shaco and Evelynn or if they have a Teemo who likely made a minefield out of the map with his Noxious Traps.
Gameplay: General Rules
For general gameplay rules and tips, I will link here my general guide, as soon as it's ready.
Know the Enemy
This guide will hopefully get you to know Master Yi at a decent level, but that's not enough to win.
You must as well know your enemy.
Of course, you can't know the random people you will be playing against, but you can still know the champions they're using, their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, their summoner spells and the items they bought.
For example, if you don't know Blitzcrank can grab you with his Rocket Grab, you will likely die when laning against him. The same will happen if you don't know how much range that skill has.
You can't (can you? well, I can't) be good at playing every champion, but you can and should know how they and their skills work.
Don't fear the Unknwon!
Master Yi states it clearly many times every match you play with him, don't fear the unknown!
Yeah, cause the only way to surely lose your lane is fearing the enemy. They will likely be harassing you (exspecially if they're ranged) and you may end up thinking you have no chance when you find yourself pushed back to your turret with half health.
That's wrong! You're stronger than them (at least, most times, this is the case)!
The only way to die is to turn away and offer them your back to let them kill you easily!
When they overextended deeply enough for you to be comfortable with it, have your partner initiate the fight, if you have one, or just leap towards them with your Alpha Strike and then slaughter them with the right combination of Wuju Style and Highlander (if available). Also use Meditate wisely, if needed. An Exhaust on them will most times secure a kill, too.
You will be surprised of how you can kill people who are more fed than you and survive.
(Try not to stretch this to its limit. You can't always kill them. But remember that, overall, their skills are inferior).
Run Away, You Fool!
What stated above is true, but it isn't always the right thing to do.
So, please, pretty please, if you find yourself low on health and/or your Highlander is on cooldown for any reason (it should never be, unless your allies steal your kills regularly), don't overrate your own strength, run away, you fool!
I can't help but underline the concept of running. It means: use your feet. This is a good tip for every champion, but it's even better for Master Yi, since he can run faster than anything else.
This doesn't meant you should never use your Recall .
This means you shouldn't abuse it.
Do not overrate your turrets, too. They won't save you from 5 enemy champions if they are high on level or if you're really low on health.
I personally finished, alone, countless people who thought they were safe while hugging their turrets, then flashing away after taking only 1-2 hits from the turret, if any.
But... they will take down my turret if i leave it undefended!
That's true. Turrets need defense. But giving away your life won't likely stop a group of enemies who are pushing from completing their task.
If you're not alone, it's a completely different thing. But if you're alone, run. Run. RUN!
KS... means Kill Securing
Here it comes a prickly topic, the so called "kill stealing".
I'm torn! I know, it's annoying when someone "steals" a killing blow you felt was already yours.
But still I have to defend this practice in two separate cases.
First, most "sure" kills are not that sure after all. It wouldn't be the first time someone manages to escape with a handful of hit points.
In these cases, securing the kill is not only legit, but due.
It's up to your tank/support/whatever to know when it is needed and when it isn't.
Second, more than most other champions, Master Yi is terribly gear, and thus kill, dependent. Also, his skills refresh when he gets a killing blow on a champion. Cooldowns halved by assists are totally not enough in a teamfight.
That's why, as Master Yi, you should try to get as much kills as possibile, of course, not waiting to steal them on purpose.
On the other hand, as Master Yi's teammate, you should try to leave him killing blows, when possible.
Champions with similar abilities, like Darius' Noxian Guillotine, are excused, if they take a few kills, by the way.
But remember, a Master Yi in permanent Highlander mode is simply priceless in a fight, exspecially if they try to escape, he will just penta kill like a breeze.
Fed or feed
As stated above, Master Yi heavily depends on items to perform well.
Also, his survivability directly depends on the damage he deals (someone said the best defense is a good offense but it may not be true in this context).
There is no such thing like an average Master Yi.
You can only have the Godlike Master Yi and the Free Food Master Yi.
And I can assure you, you don't want the second one in your team.
Feeding enemies is never good and your entire team will suffer for that, later.
So, try not to steal Master Yi's creeps and kills, unless you want a walking sausage to leap directly in your foes' mouths.
The Path of the Legends
What does it mean?
It means death is bad.
Your main priority in the game should be to keep yourself, and possibly your teammates, alive for as much as possible, while still pushing and slaying your foes.
Your aim should be to be legendary.
Almost nothing is worth your death. And this becomes more and more important as the game goes on, since the longest your killstreak is, the most gold whoever kills you will earn.
Also, dying will clear your buffs and halve most items stacks (namely The Bloodthirster).
You must consider the psychological effect of your immortality on the enemy, as well.
If it seems they can't kill you, this will surely lower their morale and they will likely run away if you're going to engage one of them alone. And since you're Master Yi and they're slower than you, you will just reach them and kill them while they won't even be dealing any damage.
On the other hand, if they finally manage to kill you, that will boost their morale for sure, they will understand that, after all, you can be killed and will try to focus you afterwards.
Of course, it is really hard to stay alive for the whole match. You will likely die a few times, whatever you do. Let's say 1-3 deaths are still fine, even a few more if the enemy team is really good or the game lasts long enough.
But remember, dying under your turret while trying to save it, won't actually save it; they will kill you and destroy the turret afterwards, or maybe do the exact contrary if it is low on health. No matter what, you will die and the turret will follow.
So I guess you will agree with me, giving them a kill and a turret is worse than giving them only the turret.
The same concept applies when a single ally is spotted by the whole enemy team. Unless your whole team is close enough to help and turn over the fight or at least save the poor victim of the gank, you should just get away.
Also, if you find yourself low on health during a teamfight, don't think twice before running away with Highlander on.
If they keep chasing you, they will probably fail and your team will be able to kill them while they're busy trying to reach you. If they turn on your teammates, you can either keep falling back if really low on health or just Meditate and go back into the fight.
So, don't be greedy about kills, being immortal is better than grabbing a few more.
What is worth dying for, then?
Mainly, it may be worth dying to destroy one or more enemy turrets and/or inhibitors.
It may also be worth being executed by a turret to lower its health consistently while backdooring.
In both cases, beware, since your downtime may be punishing for your team.
Finally, it's worth dying to grant any huge bonus to your team; for example, if you're the only dead after a teamfight and the enemy team has been wiped, that's clearly a victory.
Overall, follow the Path of the Legends and victory will be within your grasp!
Gameplay: Early Game
As an AD carry, you will mainly lane bot together with a tank/support or maybe (sadly) another carry.
It's needless to say which is the best option.
A tank will provide you with some kind of hard CC like stuns and taunts, that may secure a kill in no time.
A support will likely give you some kind of extra survivability and sustain, letting you push when you normally should fall back and making you survive a fight.
Another carry, instead... will just take your minions and maybe even champion kills. That's just bad.
As for me, I enjoyed laning together with Volibear, Rammus, Blitzcrank, Darius, Dr. Mundo, Taric, Malphite, Sion, Nunu, Sona, Soraka, Janna.
While laning, you should try to keep your lane stable by only last hitting the enemy minions as well as using them to harass the enemy champions through Alpha Strike.
Exspecially if you're laning against a ranged AD carry, they will likely overextend at some point, overrating their own superiority. Sadly, they're wrong. Get some health back, have your tank initiate the fight and tear them into pieces, hopefully getting a double kill.
Avoid to overextend yourself, exspecially if you're not (yet) warded properly and prepare to fall back if the enemy jungler appears, you can't yet go into a handicap fight.
I can't adequately underline how important it is to stay in lane (and in experience range) as long as possible and to properly farm minions. Meditate will help you greatly in this difficult task, together with Health Potions first and Vampiric Scepter later.
I usually aim at not leaving my lane before I reach level 6, at which point I can safely fall back, recover and buy a Vampiric Scepter, Berserker's Greaves and hopfully something to upgrade into a Zeal. If you have any Health Potions left, I suggest you sell them, since the healing provided is quite low and their utility will lower further during the match.
Anyway, should you find yourself really low on health and lacking potions and should the enemy have full health and be confidently overextending, don't think too much before litterally running back to recover.
Master Yi is not exactly a mid champion.
Also, if you're going to lane mid, you may want to try an AP build, that is not yet covered in this guide.
Still, you may want to lane mid as an AD Master Yi. Surprisingly, it is viable.
The main difference from laning bot is you're alone against an AP champion.
It's easier for you to be ganked and die, but it's also easier for you to gank.
Your enemy will be overleveled, but you will be overleveled as well.
If possible, it is even more important to never leave your lane if not really necessary and, in case, to ask for someone to cover it while you're away.
Just try to play a bit more defensive and avoid the enemy spells, leveling up Meditate early if needed.
At some point, they will likely overextend, once again underrating you (cause you're not even a mid champion, how can you hurt them?). That's when you leap on them and tear them into little pieces.
If, for some reason, both you and your enemy don't have a jungler, top lane is the same as the bot one.
If you both have a jungler, the situation will be like that of mid lane, just you won't have as much gank possibilities.
Else, either you will be in advantage or in disadvantage.
If you don't have a jungler but the enemy has one, you will be laning with an ally against a single enemy. That's overall a good thing, try to keep him off experience range and to prevent him from farming minions while still caring for ganks, that will likely be more frequent top, in that situation.
If you have a jungler and your enemy doesn't, well, those are bad news. You basically have to hug your turret while still trying not to be off experience range, harassing the enemy if possible.
Unless they randomly towerdive at low level for some reason, thus dying, you will simply have to wait for your jungler to come gank them and then try to take the most possible advantage out of it.
If he doesn't come, the lane is already lost and your turret will be eventually destroyed. When that happens, run the hell away.
Master Yi isn't my favourite jungler.
He has no CC, lacks any initiator ability and this makes his ganks pretty weak, unless you have a good team composition, with CC in every lane, and a good communication with your team.
Anyway, Master Yi is a viable jungler; better, he is almost only played as a jungler, lately.
You will start at the Ancient Golem , aka Blue Buff, Alpha Strike, Smite and it's down.
Remember, you don't need a pull (it no longer works in the new jungle, anyway), but it would be nice if your team covered your jungle entrances, since an enemy invasion would be disrupting.
If one of your teammates insists to pull, allow them, some more damage will just make the process faster. However, you should be careful for them to be out of experience range before you land the killing blow, since if you don't get to level 2 at this point, it will be harder then.
Proceed killing the Wolves , then the Wraiths and the Golems .
You will now be level 3 and ready to face the Elder Lizard , aka Red Buff, commonly after using Meditate. Again, Alpha Strike, Wuju Style, Smite and it's down.
You should now look at your minimap in order to find possible gank spots, then either gank or keep jungling (it will be easier now on). Recall when needed. Repeat.
It is really important that you don't initiate ganks, since you have no CC.
Let someone who is in the lane start the fight, then leap on the enemy and finish them.
You should also try to ward a few important spots meanwhile you jungle, namely the Dragon , Baron Nashor after it spawns, your and the enemy Ancient Golem and Elder Lizard , as well as jungle entrances and random bushes.
You may also want to counter jungle, by entering the enemy jungle, stealing their minions and buffs and leaving some minor minions alive in order to prevent the whole camp from respawning.
You must also cover lanes when your allies recall or die.
Yeah, a jungler has a lot of stuff to do.
Gameplay: Phase Transition
If you're laning, as soon as your turret or the enemy one in your lane is down, laning phase is over for you and your partner, if you have one.
Staying in lane has no more any sense.
You will only come back if they are pushing or, if you lost the lane, to take down their turret and balance the situation as soon as possible.
The game is made in a way it naturally switches to the next phase when it feels laning phase is over. You will suddenly notice a large amount of enemies showing up all together somewhere, commonly in mid lane. You may also be the one starting this trend, still it is the natural evolution of every match.
This will mostly happen as a combination of (more or less effective) ganks, culminating in a first teamfight.
This is also commonly when you discover your teammates fed this or that enemy, who will be dealing a huge amount of damage.
Now on, anyway, there are no more lane "restrictions". You can freely farm creeps wherever you want, being extremely careful not to overextend in enemy territory and the jungle is yours to farm as well.
Try to be there when a teamfight is going to happen, but also don't waste your time walking up and down the lane with your whole team just to glower the enemies, instead use it to farm creeps and get buffs.
Also, try to move as a group as much as possible, now on. Even if you're really fed, you are still vulnerable to disables and 5 enemies with a total of 20 spells (not counting their passives) will likely be able to kill you before you understand what's going on.
Gameplay: In the Jungle...
Monsters and Buffs
Early game, your jungler, if you have one, is the undisputed king of the jungle. Creeps and buffs belong to them and this is needed to make them effective.
A bad start for your jungler may completely ruin your game.
After a while, anyway, your jungler will be less buff dependent and will likely be happy to give them to the proper people.
This also applies to you, if you're the jungler.
Also, after laning phase ends, you will want to keep farming both enemy and neutral minions as much as you can.
That's why, every time it is safe to do so, you should stop and kill monsters both in your and the enemy jungle, as well as periodically farm those big waves of enemy minions that will likely be pushing your lanes.
As Master Yi, you can greatly benefit from the Blessing of the Lizard Elder , commonly known as the Red Buff, which will grant you some true damage, as well as add to your auto attacks a nice slow effect.
The Crest of the Ancient Golem (aka Blue Buff) is also pretty useful, granting you almost endless mana together with a nice cooldown reduction. Anyway, it may be a good idea to let someone else who needs it more to take it.
While laning, it's not your main duty to take care of the Dragon , your jungler will likely ward it and kill it anytime it's possible.
Anyway, if you kill it, that's not bad at all, unless you die in the process.
To avoid that, you should be at least level 12 (and not completely naked) if you want to solo it.
You can kill it before that, no doubt about it, but I wouldn't advise it. You have no Smite and would likely end up with low health, thus resulting in a free kill for any enemy should spot you out of position.
If you're jungling, you should ward the Dragon as well as coordinate its kills.
In most situations, you alone can't by any means control Baron Nashor .
If you're laning, it is not your duty to ward it, while it is if you're jungling.
Anyway, when your team decides to kill it (hopefully not too early nor too late), you should really be there and help them, since your damage can make the difference.
Also, the enemy may show up (it's pretty common) and mess up your whole team.
At level 18 and with full build, you can actually solo Baron Nashor as Master Yi, but beware, it's still not safe to solo it, since it will take a while and you can't anyway fight against 5 champions with fresh cooldowns.
However you decide to kill it, it's really important that you do so, since the buff it provides to your whole team, Exalted with Baron Nashor , is totally game breaking.
Master Yi isn't known for his great utility in teamfights.
He has no crowd control ability, no proper AoE and is pretty squishy the whole time, as well as terribly vulnerable to disables.
What's your role in a teamfight, then?
Like most other AD carries, you will stay back as long as needed (just wait till they waste hard CCs on your tank), thus leaping with Alpha Strike on the squishiest and/or most fed enemy and destroying them combining Wuju Style and Highlander as needed.
If you don't die, you will have taken a kill and your cooldowns will be refreshed.
Then repeat the process till you (sadly) die or get a penta kill (other lesser multikills are also acceptable, in case).
Also don't be afraid to chase them and kill them all, even within their base if needed and if you're enough self confident about your escape possibilites.
During the whole fight, remember to follow the right target priority, starting with squishy and fed carries and ending with big fat tanks. At this point, your worst enemy is called Thornmail, if more than one enemy took it, you should try to counter it as soon as possible building some more magic resist and/or lifesteal and you must always target last whoever is wearing one.
Summarizing, fear not this fight, you will not go astray!
Since I really like to follow the honourable Path of the Legends (see above), I rarely find myself backdooring.
Anyway, Master Yi is well known to be one of the best backdoorers out there, so I must cover this topic, even if won't go deep in the details.
Backdooring is the process of pushing a lane alone while the enemy team is busy with a teamfight (or attempt of a teamfight) somewhere far away from their base.
As Master Yi, you will cut turrets like they were made out of butter and, if you're fed enough, you will have no need for minions to tank the turrets for you, because they will go down before dealing any consistent damage.
This way, if the enemy team is slow to notice and counter you, you may easily reach and destroy their Nexus in a matter of a few seconds.
Anyway, that is rarely the case; most times, you will just get your enemy to fall back, giving your team some more time to recover and farm a bit more.
Another, sadly viable, option is to keep pushing even when they find out what you're doing, thus dying, then coming back, hitting that turret another time, dying and so on.
Sometimes, it may work, even if it will raise your deaths count to terribly high numbers.
Teleport is an excellent summoner spell if you intend to backdoor, letting you get really fast to your minions, that may already be in the enemy base.
It is also the best spell to counter backdooring, even if usually Recall is enough.
This is it, for now!
I wrote this in a single night, so there may be some inconsistency, repetition or typo.
If it is the case, please point it out in a comment or in a private message (PM is prefered if you're going to insult me).
I'm planning to add a section explaining how to duel, counter and lane with every or so champion in the League, but it may take a while.
I was about to include a few screenshots of relevant game scores, when I realized the guide was already way longer than expected, so I will avoid that for the moment. Anyway, I may add some in the future, as examples of the different possibilities this build offers.
I really hope you enjoyed my guide and found it useful to reevaluate Master Yi and/or learn something more about him.
I'm looking forward to read your (hopefully positive, or at least constructive) comments!
See you on the Fields of Justice!
Special thanks to:
- A summoner whose name is lost in the mists of time and space, who made me start playing League of Legends in November 2011.
- MakeMeWonder, who suggested me to try Master Yi out, even if he keeps raging.
- Bylistr, who played Master Yi roughly as much as I did (even if he keeps taking 2 Phantom Dancers and stealing my kills while tanking) and helped me out a bit with theorycrafting.
- Zoki, who I don't know, but still helped me a lot in the process of learning this champion with his guide, Yi, the Master of Disaster.
- JhoiJhoi, for her awesome Getting Started Guide.
- Mowen, who keeps restoring my faith in humanity from time to time.
Also thanks to everyone who will read my guide, rate and comment it.