Build Guide by ashqelon
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
Thanks to NinjaSprite for the art!
DO NOT COMPARE AP YI TO AD YI, THIS IS THE GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO AP YI AND GET A DECENT SCORE.
Please inform me of any errors because I might have forgot to finish a section, tell me ANY suggestions, have an open mind, and tell me why you disagree if you do.
Think AP Yi sucks? You are partially right, but he is great at some things also. I will be going over the pros/cons later, but right now - put your griefing aside and stop having the "it is all ap yi's fault" or "all eve's fault" mentality. This mentality only arises from bad players. Don't hate on the champion hate on the players.
Even HotshotGG(the top ranked solo queue 5s player) talks about AP yi being misunderstood:
This guide not only gives strategy for AP yi, but also gives tips that I have discovered from pioneering and testing random ideas. Don't worry, I'll keep my 100% win streak for the two games I played with my tank kassadin in ranked to myself because it isn't dependable.
This guide skips the basics that everyone knows (like what each ability does) and assumes that you have decent knowledge of abbreviations and lingo. If you have any questions please comment or talk to me in game, I would be glad to answer!
I have 820+ normal wins with 120+ ranked wins. I have played since the beta and I own all the champions, but maybe seven. I usually play malzahar and caitlyn, but I get bored of easy wins in normal so I branched off to AP yi and after many games with him I figured out that he gets the same grief as eve did, this grief is only present because of the mass amount of bad AP Yi players.
It is very basic R>Q>W>E, E is only good for activating lich bane if you go that route, and E is also good at taking towers. If you are having hp problems (which hasn't happened to me), get w>q that particular level, but try to keep to q>w.
R plus ghost makes you a ***** to gank, running is your friend, sprinting ghost is wtf??
I know I linked a lot of items, but that is because it all depends on who you are going against. I will explain them later.
I start out with a doran ring and then buy a second if I didn't have enough money for a blasting wand when I go back to base. You really don't need boots until after you have the blasting wand, you should be able to harass the mid enough for them to not be able to force you to have to run. Plus you can just meditate. Getting Morello's tome is one of the fastest ways to get the cd you need and not have mana issues without having to build up to the "Nashor's tooth." If you had a good start with champion kills/minion kills you should get rod of ages, however, if this isn't the case, giant's belt would be a good choice. If you don't have enough for giant's belt, get sorcerer's shoes. If you had enough for rod of ages you can get rylais after you get the rod, don't forget the sorcerer's shoes though.
Why the giant's belt? Because it provides the hp you need to survive until your meditate comes back up. Giant's belt makes you even harder to die and the longer you stay alive, the more alpha strikes you can cast.
Note: Sell your doran ring(s) if you are close to completing a high item.
If you are going for better alpha striking get the deathcap, if you want the E burst for ganks/towerkills, get lichbane. I am actually starting to get lichbane over the deathcap now, but if the enemy can't shut down your meditate, deathcap will make your meditate ******ED since meditate converts 165% of ap to the heal.
If you have the rylais and the rod of ages, get GA. You will see why when you come back from the grave, meditate and bam! you got your 3.1k hp back.
If they have nukes/strong Physical get the hourglass and USE IT WISELY, and don't be afraid to use it after your first alpha because the enemy usually blows their cds beginning fights. For example cho'gath with his rupture or feral scream.
Banshee's veil is good if the enemy has nasty mages. Especially if they have interrupt champions like kassadin. Banshee's veil is a must vs heavy casters.
Lich bane chomps on towers and works well with E since you can alpha, Lich strike, R, Lich strike, E, lich strike, meditate, lich strike etc. Causing your single nuke to be substantial since your ap should be around 300-400. The lich bane is better if you can't depend on your team. More on lich bane techniques in a later chapter.
Void staff if the enemy team is starting to counter you with heavy magic resist. For example, if they are starting to stack banshee veils or they have 3+ champions on their team with 100+ magic resist.
Abyssal scepter is good for if the enemy has casters that are building some magic resist also since it lowers their magic resist while increasing your magic resist. Since you are always near them, it will always be in application; however, I alpha strike calculates on use so you might not be close enough when you cast your first alpha, unless you cast while very near. I am uncertain how far the scepter reaches so I will be testing this soon.
Deathfire grasp if they are too tanky, I personally have had this problem only a small amount of times.
Frozen heart is good against attack speed champions and physical damage. It also provides good cd reduction.
Sunfire cape is a good choice if the enemy has a ton of attack damage. I have won all the times I used this.
I hear that the hextech gunblade is a good option, but I haven't tried it yet.
The usual mage build as listed; however, I have seen other AP Yis run with CDR (cooldown reduction) runes. I don't have those runes and I have not tested them yet.
You can also replace the quints for magic pen if you want to penetrate their defenses more. I just think that having the extra ap lets me dominate their mid in beginning game, and since tanks don't go mid(except on rare occasions) the penetration is not needed over the ap for quints.
If you like being a speedster, I am sure you can get the move speed quints, I just don't understand why extra move speed is needed when you have your ult; however, having the quints and his ult and ghost and the movement masteries will make you faster than just the ult + ghost, I see no need to have this.
The rune build I selected, with doran ring will give you 39 ap at level one. :)
Some people get the extra move speed mastery, however, I personally don't think the 1% per point is worth it since you usually always have your ult activated in fights. The mastery use to be of higher worth before they nerfed it.
I moved the point from "expanded mind" to "perseverance" because mana isn't really an issue and I would rather have meditate heal for 1% more rather than have 1.25% more base mana. I am not sure if that extra 1% even effects mana regen because of its minuscule number.
AP yi is awesomely unstoppable with blue buff, when this time is increased by 30% your are unstoppable for 30% longer. If you already have morrelo's tome, you will have the max cooldown % which is 40%.
If you don't think the speed is worth it like me, just get the little more mana and regen
If you don't think the 3% speed is good, put 3 points in movement and 1 point out of perseverence and all points out of expanded mind
Pros / Cons
Meditate for 1.1k hp with 300 armor/magic resistance.
You hp will be around 3.1k.
You will deal about 3k dmg across enemy team every 6 secs.
Outlast in long fights
Awesome in team fights
Kills buildings ALMOST as well as ad yi
Best at mid lane except against mord/vlad/mundo
Can reach squishies in fight because his alpha usually hits their entire team.
Stuns/Silences/Knocks shut down meditate
Ignite can stunt your endurance
Can't kill tanks well late game.
Not good at assassinations, do NOT attempt to except as explained later.
MID lane please :)
If mord/vlad/mundo is not on the enemy team, go mid. If there is any other mid that can POSSIBLY shut his gayness down mid rather than the three I mentioned, I will put it here. Your techique should be simple, Q on a minion when enemy champion is in bouncing distance. If you can't see a unit alpha strike will not hit it even if you would have been able to bounce all the way to the unit.
Another problem might be malzahar since at around lvl 5 he can clear lanes without being near your alpha strike since his E clears minion waves.
Your job is primarily harassing, your alpha strike will "accidentally" give you your minion kills. I usually have around 200 minion kills at 15-20 mins without even paying attention to killing minions.
You will have to back to base once when you get out of mana and then teleport back after you reach full mana.
Side lane :(
However, do not be over-aggressive, and tell your partner you are not initiating, you are merely harassing because a lot of times your partner will view your harass as a GO GO GO, and bad things will follow for a non-intentional full fight. You are there for endurance through time, not constant damage in a short battle.
As said before: You might have to back to base when you get out of mana and teleport back once while you get low mana.
However, this is a might because you might have a mana manipulator friend or soraka.
As said before: If you can't see a unit alpha strike will not hit it even if you would have been able to bounce all the way to the unit.
As said before: Your job is primarily harassing, your alpha strike will "accidentally" give you your minion kills.
You will learn how AP yi should be considered an off-tank. You will also learn how to slay towers more effectively using teleport and you other abilities. You should also learn how to activate the teamwork with your team mates if they can understand how you work since 90%+ people do not understand your pros/cons.
Remember, this build is concentrated for him going mid. Side lanes should ONLY be taken if vlad/mord/mundo and most healers like soraka/karma (rare) are mid with you.
If they are a healer, you might be able to run their mana down; however you won't be as effective, or deal more damage than vlad can handle before his Q heals more than you can hurt him. The amount of times I see these three mid is very low because they usually 1v2 or 1v1 top.
Mana issues? No
And he has NO mana problems mid-endgame, beginning game mana problems are almost non-existent. Sure you will need to tele back, but it is same for everyone else. Teleport will allow you to teleport back for the one time you need to recharge mana. This is NO problem.
You should inform your team of this like "I will go mid unless vlad/mord/mundo are mid". The importance is to make sure YOUR TEAM is on the same page as you; they are not psychic. Another good thing to tell them is that you cannot be depended on for a gank, except for a teleport buttsecks as explained later.
Your teammates might not like the fact that all of your abilities get reset if you get the kill or have the appearance of KSing this is because people don't like champions that shine with KSing, however being able to back to back alpha after consecutive kills allows you to dominate team fights while extended fights make you **** in your pants because you just alpha striked for a kill, alpha striked again half a second later, another kill, alpha striked again another second later. You just dealed 300-600 to 3-4 people which can reach up to 6k damage in a 2-3 sec time frame while you couldn't be hurt. It only has around 6 second cd also. Katarina wishes she could do this. Now you tell me "this hardly happens this way." I agree with you; however, striking 4 people the first time 3 people the next time 2 people the next will decrease the damage output is still good because the enemy is dying. Try to ks so you can ks even more adding up to tons of damage and keep on meditating and always running stupidly fast. More on yi's ultimate in an upcomming chapter I haven't made yet.
Fast yi is fast - no gank for you
As I said in pros/cons, you are virtually ungankable. This is because you can ghost+ult for insane speed while all slows are ignored you can outrun rammus' powerball and even ignore the slow that comes after the powerball's hit. I have left many fights with LOW LOW hp with lightning speed, wait till they give up chasing, meditate, sprint back into fight. They get frustrated because they thought you were done and out. Do not be shy to run away and come back.
Note: Fear still works on your ult.
Alpha strike part 1 - yes, i reached you
If you want to hard harass without getting hurt, alpha strike the minions to reach the enemy champion(s), you keep with your ORIGINAL target until alpha is completed, you should be already spam clicking to where you want to go or W for meditate.
Note: If you can't see a unit alpha strike will not hit it even if you would have been able to bounce all the way to the unit.
Alpha strike part 2 - yes the OP vlad pool
Like vlad (not being able to be targeted during his pool), yi can be under focus fire but then alpha strike. Use this to your advantage. While in a heated team fight, bam! yi is in another random spot. ALSO, YOU CAN AVOID SKILLSHOTS/ABILITIES THROUGH DOING THIS (especially karthus ult, so find a minion butt buddy and time the alpha strike to avoid the ult just like vlad). Not only is this OP like vlad's pool, it doesn't cost yi hp and alpha strike has a lower CD.
Alpha strike part 3 - Fog of war FTW
This is very intricate so try to follow me as I attempt to explain this aspect of alpha strike:
As stated before, you cannot bounce to a unit if the unit is not in sight, even if the alpha strike had the ability to bounce you there. And remember your Alpha strike only hits 4 units.
Therefore, while you are laning, the ideal time to cast alpha is when the fog of war is covering up some of the minions so that way you can always strike the enemy champion.
Also know that if you had vision of a unit you want to bounce to, you still have the ability to bounce to them if they go into fog of war or into bushes.
Alpha strike part 4 - yes, I'm a nub/afk and your hp is gone
Another way to 100% hit your opponent, is to wait until after the enemy's wave is almost dead (1-3 minions left) and then alpha. If the enemy is smart they might back away, that is why you pretend to afk, or pretend to backup so the enemy is no longer cautious. Act as nub as you can before they realize your alpha strike does 1/4-1/2 their hp per iteration. Once you start eating chunks of their hp, they will play more smart and won't stick their balls out for you to alpha strike.
Sometimes you might look like you are out of mana in laning phase with only around 100 mana, start teleporting back to base in a spot that will make the enemy try to interrupt your blue pill back to base. Give them a sweet alpha strike treat for their mistake ;P
Alpha strike part 5 - calculation
For this ending concept I want to inform you of, I need to tell you of my mid vs sivir that I did in one game. Whenever sivir saw me start my animation she would use her spell block; however, since alpha strike calculates who it hits before the animation starts, her spell block would not stop my hit when the animation reaches her.
Therefore, for sivir to be able to spell block my alpha strike, she would have to cast the shield before I click on a minion which is very hard to see.
The other thing I did was cast alpha strike and the sivir would run back as fast as she could after she saw my animation. She would run even twice the normal range of the alpha bounce, yet I would still reach her even when she was able to run or almost run into the fog of war. This resulted in the sivir repeatedly saying "WTF WTF WTF" every time I used alpha strike. The only practical instance the spell block will block the alpha strike is if your are on your 3-4th bounce from my experience in facing 3 sivirs.
Where am I going with this section of my breakdown on alpha strike? I just want you to better understand the functionality of your q.
Towerslaying part 1 - Offensive
DO NOT FORGET TO ACTIVATE E WHEN ATTACKING A TOWER, this is one of the main source of your tower push domination. I have gotten 5 building kills in games on my own by pushing E. And if the enemy's ganking champions are visible and not near your tower activate R, or if you are almost at the point where they start heading up to you, activate R do a handful of swings then get out. Your advantage is outlasting and repetition. Master yi accidentally takes towers down by clearing waves with Q making his minions kill the tower for him. Play passively until the enemy is low then try going for tower unless you are confident with the dive. CHECK THEIR SUMMONER SPELLS FIRST! You don't want them to heal at the last second denying you your food.
AP yi is not as good as AD yi for taking towers; however, begining-mid game, AP somehow has 1-2 towers down. This is because of shutting down mid and being able to push to the tower by clearing waves in seconds. AD yi is better for mid-end game tower killing in case any AD yi player is reading this and is getting mad at me not representing the AD YI. This is an AP yi guide, what do you expect?
Towerslaying part 2 - Tower tanking
Does your team have low hp but you aced your enemy and you have no minions for taking the tower's shot?
Meditate on the tower, you gain 300 armor so you HEAL HP while getting turret shots at rank 5.
I have done this many times. I also have meditated after a kill where i tower dived since I heal through the enemy champion's damage over times AND the turret. You can also tank the turret so your friends can rape the enemy AT THE TOWER.
NOTE: Inform your team mates of this so that they will know to hit it while you tank it so you don't waste your meditate.
Meditate: the mundo ult
If they have already burned through their interrupts, you heal full hp better than MUNDO with even LESS CD than mundo because the heal also provides armor/mr. Uncommon that they already burned through their interrupts? No if you are smart you learn your enemies' interrupts so you can extend/bait and then tank the 5 people WHILE healing. I have MANY times turned the entire game around by doing this.
The only thing that makes mundo's ult compete with master yi is that master yi has to stay stationary while mundo gets a speed buff and is mobile.
Note: This is still able to be done at ranks 3-4 if you have enough AP. If you are going AP yi you will achieve rank 5 at level 12.
You should always have your next action thought-out, so after your last tick has completed, have no hesitation on your next course of action, whether it is alpha striking, running, normal swinging, chasing, etc. If you have have lich bane it will still be activated after the 5 seconds of channeling; however, the lich bane effect will only have around 2-3 seconds left so you will need to hurry. Just press E for the activation of lich bane after, I need to see if the cooldown effect on lich bane is up after meditation so that you will be able to proc the effect again after the meditation proc, see testing section for more details.
Lich bane part 1: double swing
As everyone knows, your seventh hit you swing twice. Your lich bane gets unleashed only on your first swing. However, it would be good to have your passive charged so that you can have that extra damage from your extra swing when harassing mid or in a team fight.
Lich bane part 2: maximization of activation
There is a stated 3 second cooldown on this item. If you alpha strike and then swing for the lich bane bonus damage, you must understand that sometimes you must cast a spell even if it will not proc the effect. E should be saved for when other abilites can't be pressed for the proccing. E is also good for the auto swing damage on towers.
Your ultimate also procs the lich bane effect; moreover, if your ultimate is still ticking and you killed someone, don't activate your ult again until your previous ultimate wears off so you can be faster for that much longer and be able to have another chance to proc your lich bane.
Note: the lich bane proc lasts for 8 seconds until it is unleashed on a target, therefore since meditate lasts for 5 seconds, if you take the full channel time for meditate, you will only have 3 seconds to use the lich bane charge from meditate.
Teleport has many uses:
1: Stopping tower pushes
Everyone knows this, I don't need to explain. You teleport in when that lane needs help defending the tower.
Stop laughing and just CONSIDER this because this has NEVER gone bad for me; only good.
This is how this goes down: you notice another lane is taking heat, the enemy went past your minions to kill your MED-LOW hp allies when they have either 1 champ advantage for the gank or they have somewhat higher hp/mana than your allies. You teleport in, surprise buttsecks, it has never gone wrong, the worst thing that can happen is you waste your tele because your allies got lucky and got a kill, you can't do enough damage and they escape with almost no hp or you scare them away and you prevent the gank.
3: Joining team
Many times you haven't been back to base in long while and you have earned yourself a hefty chuck of money due to yi being tireless at a certain point in the game. However, if you port back to base to spend that 2.7k gold you might miss out on an important team fight. Just blue pill to base and then return to your team with teleport. If you team is knowledgeable, they will team fight in the middle of friendly creeps or plant a ward so you can teleport in and join unexpectedly.
4: Tower tanking/pushing
This requires explanation, if you teleport to your minion that is getting hit by the enemy, that minion will be invincible while the teleport is being activated. This blocks 3-4 or so tower shots depending on how close the the invulnerable was to the next shot, meaning that you want to wait until JUST before the shot hits the minion. Excellent way of helping a push a lane with friends, or just by yourself. Don't do it if you are already at the tower btw lol.
NOTE: You can cancel teleport buy activating teleport again if you changed your mind.
Endgame sucks for AP yi?
Not really, 3k-4k hp with a 1k-1.5k heal+armor/mr with GA while going invulnerable and changing locations every 5-7 secs while dealing 2k-4k damage across their team, taking towers down fast AND running away with lightning fast speed. That is a bad endgame? Sorry, I am unfamiliar with your standards. Now you might also argue that banshees veil shuts him down. Not really, 19 out of 20 fights there is foreplay before the engagement, bye bye shield.
MAX POSSIBLE COOLDOWN REDUCTION
The maximum cooldown reduction possible is 40%. This means that the lowest time you can get your alpha to is 6 seconds, your meditate to 21, and your E to 15. I don't remember what the lowest is for your ultimate, but it is around 35 secs.
Knowing this, after you get morrelo's tome, you can get one more CDR before there are no more benefits. You get 3% from the "sorcery" mastery and 6% from the "intelligence" mastery for a total of 9% from masteries; therefore, it might be a good option to buy the ionian boots of lucidity (15%) to compliment the morrelo tome to give max CDR.
IN TESTING - NEW EDITS
I am testing if yi can take the banshee or wolf camp before the minions reach mid. If successful this will provide bonus xp because you can just heal up at level 2 with meditate. Stay tuned.
Abyssal scepter's range:
I want to see how close I have to be to an enemy before it applies for my alpha. No testing has been done yet, stay tuned.
Perseverance and meditate:
I want to be 100% certain if the mastery affects the meditate ability. Please leave a comment if you know, or I might just have to try with/without perseverance.
I edit this guide every 1-2 days, so peek around and see if anything has been changed.
Duo mid - read before you facepalm
I won't go too much into this because I don't want negative votes just because people won't try it, but contact me in the game client and I can explain it to you more.
I will get a lot of flack for this but this is why I put this near the end, but duo mid with ap yi has ALWAYS worked for me because the enemy mid can never get any minion kills, I always see them with around 6-10 minion kills at around 14 mins. This is because if you have lets say, cait with her disgusting Q and your annoying Q, your harass will be unstoppable. I have yet to go duo mid without getting the mid killed. Also it makes it so they can't gank us. I usually tell my team I am going mid unless the other team has mord/vlad/healer. I tell them that I have no problem with duo mid, which makes anyone competing for mid on your team back down and go to another lane. They are upset, but I always make them happy when I rape the enemy team.