Master Yi General Guide by Skaeling

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Skaeling

Noob Hunt [S3 rework]

Skaeling Last updated on August 11, 2013
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Mid / Top

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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1.1 Introduction

My name is Skaeling, and I'm a Platinum 1 player on EUNE, and Master Yi is my main. The build itself is based on my playsyle, and it's tested extensively. First of all it is a jungle guide, but I included my top lane build for those interested, and it contains a lot of general information too. My aim was to make write a clear and structured guide, promoting a viable high level play of Yi. If you found the guide helpful, please review it or vote so it may reach more Yi players!

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1.2 About Me

Note: This is almost only AD jungle Yi. The magic damage done is from the old Alpha Strike dealing magic damage on creeps. I'm saying this because I despised AP Yi :D

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1.3 Why Hydra?

Why rush and center a build around Ravenous Hydra?

-Extremely gold and slot efficient
-Sustained AOE damage
-Spammable, scaling AOE nuke
-Increased creep and minion farming speed
-Cheap components
-Allows transition into splitpushing anytime
-Scales both with attack speed and damage
-Area lifesteal
-Regeneration worth a Health Potion every 50 seconds
-All aspects except the AD and HP5 scale into lategame
-Overwhelming in early skirmishes

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2.1 Starts and Playstyles




Farm all day

Doran's Blade

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2.2 Second Summoner Spell

Ghost has a great synergy with Yi's kit and sustained damage. It allows you to stick better until you get Highlander or when it's on cooldown. Also highlander used to grant 40% movement speed bonus at all levels, and reset entirely on kills. When counterganking, it allows you to quickly get in position, and it is preferable not to use highlander for higher movement speed, but for actual combat.
Flash is the alternative to Ghost. It allows you to jump terrain, which is a necessity in some matchups (think of Jarvan IV) and situations like invading and defending from invades.

There are other viable but not optimal spell choices. Teleport gives increased map presence, and allows for surprise tower pushes. Exhaust gives some crowd control that Master Yi lacks, and improves your dueling potential (consider this against Vayne). Ignite can net a first blood, and counter high regen champions like Dr. Mundo and Aatrox, but lackluster otherwise. Clairvoyance can be used to keep track of the enemy jungler, especially useful if you plan on farming all day before emerging from the jungle. All these alternative spells are very risky, because they don't offer any combat mobility, and a smart adversary will punish you for it before you get Highlander

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2.3 Mastery choices

I will only discuss the debatable choices regarding masteries here.

Why Havoc over Lethality and Frenzy ? Because you get the 2% damage bonus on everything from the start. In ranked you should not waste 3 mastery points on something that only take effect after around 20 minutes, if you build critical chance at all.
It gives around 40-50 gold until you rush Tiamat, and of course continues working afterwards. Pretty good for a one point.

Why take Tough Skin and Bladed Armor over Hardiness ? Because they give better sustain through damage reduction and increased clear speed. Two points in Tough Skin offer around 20%/14%/2% more damage reduction on Minor monsters/Monsters/Buff Monsters respectively on the first few clears than three points in Hardiness . One point on Bladed Armor offers the same damage output as two points on Butcher on ALL monsters around you.

Alternative choices instead of the 3 points on Havoc :

You can use spells slightly more often instead of dealing slightly more damage.
As a splitpusher it's a perfectly viable choice for one point.

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2.4 Runes


Outshines all other available marks. Gives the strongest early game coupled with Hunter's Machete, and scales throughout the game. Additionally it works as cooldown reduction for Alpha Strike. Is a must for ranked play.
Second best marks. Slightly inferior to Greater Mark of Attack Speed early, falls off very hard late game.

No substitute, needed for damage mitigation versus jungle creeps.

Provides late game resilience versus magic. Mix in Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for mid game resilience.
Flat magic is the way to go, if you expect to take magic damage early on. Provides early resilience versus magic.
If it fits your playstyle, why not? Don't forget you will be vulnerable to magic.

A very solid way to sustain early game in addition to the 5 Health Potions. As your autoattacks get stronger, the amount restored also scales. They allow you to keep healthy after your initial potions run out, saving time from recalling to heal.
360 gold every ten minutes of the game is nothing to laugh about. In an average long game lasting 35 minutes they net 1260 gold. This increases to 2100 gold with Greed .
Awesome runes for starting and resisting early aggression. Great synergy with Hardiness , Resistance and Defender .
Often overlooked, its a great way of keeping up and even overpassing solo laners in levels. Puts the limited XP in jungle camps to good use.
Not as effective as their mark counterparts, but still a decent choice.
If you like to stick to Flash instead of Ghost, its a pretty good choice, otherwise redundant.

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3.1 Abilities

Every 4th consecutive basic attack, Master Yi strikes twice. The second attack uses an attack damage modifier of 50%, but applies on-hit effects fully and can critically strike.

Double Strike's counter resets if Master Yi has not dealt or received damage in the last 4 seconds.
Additional info:

Master Yi becomes untargetable and leaps to strike up to 4 enemies, dealing physical damage to each and dealing additional damage to minions and monsters.

Each bounce will target the nearest enemy that has not yet been damaged. Master Yi re-appears at the initial target's location after the effect ends.

Alpha Strike can critically strike, dealing additional physical damage equal to 60% AD. Basic attacks lower the cooldown of Alpha Strike by 1 second.
Additional info:

Master Yi channels for up to 4 seconds, restoring health each second. This healing is increased by 1% for every 1% of his missing health.

While channeling, Master Yi reduces incoming damage. This damage reduction is halved against turrets.
Additional info:

Passive: Master Yi's attack damage is increased by a percentage.
Active: Basic attacks deal bonus true damage for 5 seconds. Afterwards, the passive bonus is lost until Wuju Style is off cooldown.
Additional info:

Passive: Champion kills reduce the cooldowns of Master Yi's other abilities by 18 seconds. Assists reduce by 9 seconds.
Active: For 10 seconds, Master Yi gains increased movement speed and attack speed, and becomes immune to movement speed slows. While active, champion kills and assists extend the duration of Highlander by 4 seconds.
Additional info:

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3.2 Skill Order

Highlander is always your first priority, followed by Alpha Strike. After this you need to evaluate if you can make use of leveling Wuju Style and Meditate simultaneously, or just leave Meditate with a single point on it all game.

You should consider how many ways the enemy team has to interrupt your Meditation, and how good can you use it to avoid damage. You should keep in mind that more health you have, the better the damage reduction gets from this spell. If Meditate can be stopped with low value or AOE moves, prioritize Wuju Style instead.

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4.1 Items


The overpowered core item of this guide.

Attack Speed Items
Great item, contains massive attack speed, much needed attack damage, some cooldown reduction, furthermore it's the highest movement speed bonus item, and provides essential tenacity. The combined attack speed and cooldown reduction reset Alpha Strike very quickly. All stats relevant in every stage of the game. Very solid and effective item.
A cheap item, that is most effective early to mid game, due to the constant damage bonus. Only drawback is that the passive proc falls off late game if you can't build additional critical chance.
A similarly cost effective attack speed item as Zephyr, only riskier. Recommended for normal games, where you might have time to build an Infinity Edge.
Most efficient attack speed item if you are forced to focus (or duel while splitpushing) high hp targets. The 33% lifesteal is also optimal against tanky champions who can't burst you down.

Defensive Items
Gives a massive boost to survivability, furthermore the scaling health regeneration is great in sieges to neutralize the poke. Combining it with some more armor or magic resistance is extremely strong.
My personal favorite defensive item. For an investment of 1700 gold you gain tenacity, 500 hp, 10% cooldown reduction, 20% more jungle damage and some minor regeneration stats. Skip it if you want Zephyr though.
Very slot efficient, not so much cost efficient. The 40% movement speed slow is not to be overlooked, and don't forget the 30 attack damage on it.
I don't like spending gold on magic resist when it comes to Master Yi, but this is the item of choice if magic damage is a major threat. The spell shield helps from being caught, helps to reach your target without getting stunned, but it's especially meaningful in one on one situations, like splitpushing. Good against combo/burst based enemies.
Amazing new reworked version, chose this instead of Banshee's Veil against sustained damage or if you have both Ravenous Hydra and Blade of the Ruined King.
Item of choice against hyper-carries, and other melee ADC-s. Additionally the active slow can be used to initiate and disengage.

Late Game Items
Increases your autoattack damage greatly. Synergy with with Statikk Shiv for super area bursts (up to 4x250), and Phantom Dancer for sustained damage.
The longer the death timers get, the more valuable its passive. Synergy with hp items as Warmog's Armor and Frozen Mallet.
Master Yi overwhelmingly deals attack damage. If you chose Blade of the Ruined King or Zephyr as your attack speed item, this should be your choice.

You Got Fed Early
Immediately after hydra. Great early to mid power boost.
Replace your attack speed item for this. King of the snowball items.
Upgrade The Brutalizer into this. Ravenous Hydra applies the armor reduction both with the active and passive.

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4.2 Sample Build Orders

You should rush Ravenous Hydra, unless you are using the "Farm all day" build, in which case you can use the alternative build path provided. Always delay Boots of Speed, I usually pick it up when I have tiamat/hydra done and I burned Ghost. You can skip it altogether and go for level 2 boots instead. After this you should decide if you need some durability ( Spirit of the Ancient Golem gives some cheap stats) or get more sustained damage with attack speed. You can either get a starting component like Zeal/ Stinger, even complete the respective full item, or insert a big defensive item ( Randuin's Omen/ Warmog's Armor) before the completion. I recommend more offense if you want to splitpush, and more durability for teamfighting, but some games call for different approaches.

No-Critical Path Example:

Item Sequence

Ravenous Hydra


Boots of Speed

Giant's Belt


Ninja Tabi

Frozen Mallet

Critical Path Example:
Item Sequence

Boots of Speed

Ravenous Hydra

Avarice Blade

Berserker's Greaves

Spirit of the Ancient Golem

Statikk Shiv

Anti-Tank Path Example:
Item Sequence

Boots of Speed

Ravenous Hydra

Ruby Crystal

Ninja Tabi

Blade of the Ruined King

Spirit Visage

Farm All Day Path:
Item Sequence

Avarice Blade

Wriggle's Lantern

Boots of Speed

Spirit of the Ancient Golem

Berserker's Greaves

Statikk Shiv

Infinity Edge

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4.3 Boots and Enchantments

My boots of choice in most cases. It gives valuable armor, that is especially useful if your defensive choice is a pure hp one, like Warmog's Armor or Spirit of the Ancient Golem. The passive scales throughout the game, and it pretty much provides 10% damage reduction from ADCs late game.
Gives faster resets on Alpha Strike, and some attack speed. Only get this if you are looking for more damage early game (for example immeadiately after a rushed Ravenous Hydra.
Get this if you think burst mages are a threat early on, otherwise get tenacity from other sources, and magic resist from a Negatron Cloak or a Banshee's Veil.
Great choice if you really need the mobility outside of combat for positioning or overall mobility. Get this if your ganks seem to be working. Particularly effective if your defensive item contains a slow, like Randuin's Omen or Frozen Mallet.
Great for defending inhibitor turrets, and saves time after recalls and deaths.
Best for splitpushing, and for tankier builds, so your teammates can keep up if you are in front. Can also work as a movement speed aura in fights, if your allies move towards you.
If your sticking power is not enough. Especially important when Highlander is on cooldown.

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5.1 Early game

1. Protect your jungle, or invade with your team.
2. It is best to start at bottom side of your jungle, so your teams ADC, Support and Midlaner can all help you with a fast smiteless buff with little health loss.
3. Head over to the top side for the remaining buff. Finish it off with Smite (use it as soon as the monster gets below 520hp).
4. Continue according to your choice of playstyle (see 2.1 Starts and Playstyles)

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5.2 Mid Game

Once you have Tiamat and Highlander, you can start killing opponents on a regular basis.

The first and best place to gank is botlane, because the action shifts here. If they are playing carelessly, punish them with a doublekill. If not wait for their jungler to appear or their midlaner to roam. To have the power of surprise, Vision Wards should create holes in their vision where you can camp a bit. Kills here can quickly turn into dragon and turret kills.

Don't hesitate to take offensive wards into their jungle, so you can ambush the unsuspecting, and take more farm from them. Farming your own jungle is only necessary when you can't gank or invade.

If you manage to make or assist with kills, never forget to push the lane to deny some experience from them, and if the jungler comes to soak it up go punish it by taking farm and leaving one small monster. Do the same if you see the enemy jungler gank where you can't help.

Always be glad to cover lanes, it's some free experience and farm, but never ever push if not asked, because your laner might get in a very bad spot!

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5.3 Late Game

Late game you have to forget about kills, and start thinking in terms of objectives. The question to ask is: Can we win 5 vs. 5 fights? If yes, you should gain vision, and pressure objectives like turrets or baron. If not you either have to go splitpushing (preferable), or defend in base and wait for them to make a bad move. Any mistake can be very punishing at this point, but if playing patiently you have a good chance to come out ahead, and if you survive a big fight, Yi can push turrets and inhibitors like no one else. When fighting with Baron, keep in mind that while you tank it, your damage is reduced strongly. If you want to fight effectively, you need to stack up some durability.

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philosopher's stone In the following section, I will post my own experiences, suggestions and tactics. I would also like to include those from YOU. If you have something helpful and relevant to say about the new Master Yi or specifically about experiences with this build , please leave a paragraph in the comment section, and I will happily include it. The aim of this is to create an extra resource for those who want to truly master Yi.

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A.1 Teamfights

Master Yi relies on the crowd control of your teammates to be a successful a teamfighter. It's essential to wait with engaging until the major lock up spells are blown, and a priority target gets low on health, or out of position. At this point you should start dunking with Alpha Strike, followed by the active of Ravenous Hydra and Randuin's Omen if you have it.

If you have no defensive items yet, you should play as an assassin, but if you get beefy ( Warmog's Armor etc.) you should inflict as much damage as you can before you go down.

Since the rework, the area damage of Master Yi has greatly increased thanks to the AD scaling on Alpha Strike, which is increased by Ravenous Hydra.

Only activate Wuju Style if you can damage a squishy target, because after 5 seconds you lose a significant amount of AD. The best time to do so therefore is just before a Double Strike. You can easily keep track of it like this: start counting your autoattacks, Double Strike will come up in the following pattern (provided you just engaged, and you don't let the buff wear off): One, two, three, FOUR, one, two, THREE, one, two, THREE and so on.

Also activate Wuju Style when you are getting an assist or kill (if you haven't done so yet), because the passive will be reset anyways.

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A.2 Splitpushing

If teamfighting doesn't work out, you can transition into splitpushing. It is essential to make sure to tell your team what your intention is, so they know not to make any risky moves 4 versus 5. This will either make them lose valuable turrets, or force their team to send someone strong to deal with you.

This creates a situation where Master Yi really shines: 1 on 1 dueling. It is important to chose your defensive item to counter this player. If one player is not enough, they will send two, which creates a 4 versus 3 situation on the other side of the map, allowing your team to take free objectives.

If they don't find a solution, they will be forced to defend in their base, and the consistent pressure will slowly but surely make them crumble.

This requires a team composition where your four teammates can form an effective force, with good disengage to prevent 4 versus 5 fights.

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A.3 Top / Midlane

The problem with laner Master Yi is that in ranked he will be countered by a ranged champion, and in normals you don't see the enemy match up, and you can end up fighting very uncomfortable setups. Also, using Alpha Strike WILL push your lane, therefore you HAVE to start with a sight ward at least. If you get low, you will be zoned, thereby denied experience and farm. You can't even lifesteal in these cases to get healthy again.

The workaround is offered by an early Manamune. This item will offer you pretty much infinite mana and health sustain coupled with two early points on Meditate. While the huge mana pool is useful in lane, you need to stack it at fast as possible, so you can burn it with the Muramana passive and Highlander in team fights.

Harass the enemy with Alpha Strikes, and attempt to finish off with a Double Strike+ Ignite+ Alpha Strike combo. If you keep losing trades very badly, put more then two points on Meditate (instead of maxing Wuju Style first).

Normally I will build an attack speed item after Manamune, followed by a defensive item and another AD item, finishing with a 2nd defensive one. While Ravenous Hydra is still a great item, it is more stat efficient to build around the new core item. The shredder build is especially strong, because it counters squishies with the Muramana passive, armor stackers with Last Whisper, and health stackers with Blade of the Ruined King. If you want to split push effectively, you should still go for the Hack'n'Slash build.

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Q: Why not get Madred's Razors?
A: Don't build Madred's Razors because it delays Tiamat, and early clear speed is really not an issue. It lacks significant combat stats for my liking.

Q: What alternatives are there to Hunter's Machete and 5 Health Potions?
A: Currently the only viable alternative is Doran's Blade. The upside is the strength of your early ganks, downside is decreased clear speed, decreased sustain. Greater Quintessence of Life Steal and Meditate at level 3 are mandatory.

Q: Why not start with a component of Tiamat?
A: Long Sword / Rejuvenation Bead start : sustain and clear speed are both inferior, and your map presence suffers from it, which is not viable at all. You end up recalling, wasting potential experience and gold, delaying both level 6 and Tiamat.
The +10 ad from Long Sword powers up the your first gank, but if its unsuccessful you are left with no potions, no hp and you have to recall, and only being able to afford Rejuvenation Bead is pretty much game over.

Q: Why not get a level in Meditate earlier (standard build) ?
A: Because taking a single level in it makes it a sustain spell, but not strong enough for a combat spell. Putting more points on it seriously plummets your damage. I only take a point on it if I start Doran's Blade as a necessity.

Q: Why not leave Tiamat un-upgraded?
A: Because it is a too cost efficient upgrade. For an investment of 1400 gold you gain 35AD and 12% lifesteal worth 1880 gold. You also gain AOE lifesteal, which lets you heal extremely fast on jungle camps and minion waves.

Q: Why not bother with Youmuu's Ghostblade ?
A: Because I consider it an early/mid game item that should be rushed, but there is just no budget after Ravenous Hydra. The overall combat damage and clear speeds scale much better with attack speed after a 75 AD item (the 5 second active is not enough), and I wouldn't skip the defensive item either. After those are done your damage scales better with Last Whisper and Infinity Edge. There is just no place for it in this build order.

Q: Why is Master Yi more preferable in jungle than in lane?
A: Master Yi is very dependent on his core items, and he can be shut down in lane by counters or by camping. This is why people say he is either great or weak like hell.
Playing him in the jungle gives a very reliable source of gold, if you manage to abuse his farming skills and learn how to create map pressure this amount skyrockets.

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A.5 Critical Strike

With the rework of Yi, building critical chance got a lot weaker than before. The free AD from Wuju Style is gone, and we actually have to invest in some (bye bye Phantom Dancer 1st item). Also, activating the skill will end the percentage bonus after 5 seconds, and gives true damage on hit instead, which cannot crit. This new kit synergizes with buying attack speed and damage now. But don't despair! On the one hand in rankeds, where efficiency is everything, Zephyr just got godlike on Yi. On the other hand, you can still build critical chance in normals, where games last longer, and are mostly for fun! Don't get me wrong, critical chance is not a bad choice per se, but low critical chances are unreliable, and in 35 minute average games you don't have the budget to complete Infinity Edge+ a Zeal item, and still buy some durability. However, if a game is dragged on, you can still invest in it.

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A.6 Role of Durability

Why is building glasscannon wrong? Because any half decent enemy team that doesn't split will CC and exterminate you as soon as you go in meele range. Also Meditate will only save you if they have no interrupts, so relying on durability from items is pretty much the only option Yi has. Playing the old AP Yi killsteal game doesn't take skill, and in soloque you cannot rely on your team getting one enemy low without you contributing at all. If you wish to do sustained damage, you need to be in meele range, and you will take damage regardless of how much CC you avoid. So by building durability you won't hurt as much, but you will be in fight longer. The initial 10 seconds of Highlander can become as long as a half minute in a full on teamfight, in my experience around 20 seconds. This is all enabled by surviving damage focused on you and splash from AOE skills. In this time, with the help of Ravenous Hydra you will dish out immense total damage, and possibly soaking some of their output. This way, even when you are not hyper fed, you will still play a key role in your teams performance.


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