Master Yi Build Guide by CounterSnipe
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.
Hello everyone. I'm going to present to you all a very specific split push jungle Yi guide. I've been playing jungle Yi for a while, and have come up with a very confident build. I've looked at the guides on Mobafire and none of them quite touch on how I believe jungle Yi should be played. I'll be going over all the aspects of jungle Yi as well as going over a bunch of jungle theories and mechanics that will make you better in jungle, regardless of which jungler you play.
Note that this guide is probably going to be quite long, so don't try to sit through the entire thing in one shot. Instead, try to learn a little bit at a time and then go into a game and implement it. After you learn something, read more of the guide and then try to master it. I think this is the best way to go about using guides to learn champions. It's never a good idea to read a long guide in 10 minutes only to forget 90% of what you've read. It's just a waste of time to do that.
Jungle Yi - Style
(1) - Very easy to kill. You must know how to position yourself and when to go in so that you don't die.
(2) - No escape other than Ult.
(3) - Ult does not affect all forms of CC. You will be stopped by fears, snares, and stuns.
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
greater mark of armor penetration
|I personally like running armor pen runes on Yi because it increases his jungle clear speed and combines well with his free ad in Wuju Style and his Highlander. Alternative runes include:|
I don't recommend you get AD reds on Yi because he already gets AD from his Wuju Style
|Yellows - Flat Armor. You need this to not die in the jungle.|
|Blues - Scaling MR is best for Yi because he's going to mainly be farming for most of the early game with the exception of the occasional gank. With this said your MR/lvl blues will out scale the flat MR runes by the time you get into serious skirmish situations.|
Quints - I recommend life steal quints because they allow you to sustain better in jungle and can help you out late game when you're dueling people and dealing 500+ critical strikes. You could run Attack Speed or Armor Pen if you want. Combined with The Bloodthirster Yi's ability to sustain in duels becomes great with the extra 6% life steal, and is why I recommend it.
The main reason we spread out the mastery points is to allow us to farm efficiently, deal damage, and sustain damage. The 10 points in offense give us some armor pen and help us clear towers faster. The points in the defense tree allow us to take damage in the jungle. The points in the utility tree allow allow us to roam a little better and give us an extended buff duration. Having the mastery with reduced cool downs on unique item activations is the most important mastery we're going to pick up because it will allow us to use Youmuu's Ghostblade more frequently.
I do not recommend you put 21 points into the offensive tree. Yi has very high base damage statistics, and his ultimate is a huge steroid for late game tower pushing and team fights. With this said, Yi doesn't really need 21 offensive points in order to do well. Instead of concentrating on offense, you want to balance him out so that he doesn't die in one shot to the enemy carry. You cannot do any damage if you're dead.
|Teleport is a great mastery for a jungler to have because it allows him to do the following.
(1) Counter Global Ultimate Ganks, such as Shen and Twisted Fate
(2) Engage in counter ganks from any position on the map.
(3) Gank lanes via wards in bushes and lanes.
(4) Farm the entire map and apply pressure everywhere
(5) Teleport to Dragon or other objectives.
I like Teleport because of the utility it gives the jungler. You can be a huge pain in the *** if you learn when and where to use this ability. On jungle Yi I find it to be the best summer spell because it allows him to gain insane amounts of farm, which will allow him to reach his late game before everyone else and allow him to dominate.
I do not recommend getting Teleport with the intent of getting homeguard boots in order to do ganks. Sure, it looks like fun to TP into a fight with a million movement speed, but your Highlander gives you movement speed. Buying lvl 2 boots and a 475g upgrade just so you can move really fast every few minutes is a waste of money.
|For counter jungling, pushing lanes faster, and taking objectives.|
Flash You could run flash instead of teleport if you wish. Flash allows you to Alpha Strike into an enemy, kill him quickly, and then flash to safety. It basically allows you to make exceptionally risky plays while allowing you to escape death.
Exhaust This is an OK summoner spell, but not one of my favorites. You can use this to pick up kills early game, and it's good for shutting down fed opponents. However, I still rate it as being less useful than flash and TP on Jungle Yi.
|Very versatile ability. For starters it allows Yi to clear jungle and wave clear very effectively. You can also use this to dodge enemy abilities if you time the ability at the correct time. Examples would be Qing into a Nidalee as she attempts to spear shot you. This ability will only damage abilities that are visible to Master Yi. Because this makes you untargetable for a period you can use this to trade tower agro.|
|Because of the new jungle item Hunter's Machete you're not going to want to use this ability for clearing anymore. Instead, just level up the ability as you normally would, but hold onto the activation if you're going to go in for a counter jungle or a gank. Hunter's Machete gives you 10 true damage per auto and 10% increased total damage, so there's really no need to go using your E every time you want to clear a camp. Instead, save it for when you least expect you will need it, as that's when you will need it the most :D|
(1) You're going to kill a target and you're in range of Q. Use your Q to gap close into the target and then activate Highlander. If you activate Highlander while you're in range of Q, you're going to waste a second or two of the ability while the Q animation takes its course.
(2) If you're not in range of a target you're trying to kill, use Highlander to get close for you Alpha Strike, then proceed to mashing skulls.
It's very important to look at your champion's tool bar when using this ability because you don't want to spam it in fights. What you do is start your Highlander and then engage in a fight. If you get a kill don't use Highlander immediatly, instead wait for your initial ultimate to run its time and then press R again to reactivate Highlander.
The #1 mistake I see Master Yi players make is they spam Highlander in fights while only having used about 4 seconds of their initial ultimate.
Note that this ability doesn't remove attack speed slows, it only prevents you from being slowed.
Also, at level 3 this ability lasts for 12 seconds. That's a very very very very long time in the late game so always make sure to save your reset for when your ult is going to run out. I cannot stress this enough.
Items - What You Buy, and What You Shouldn't
|qw|| Infinity Edge - Infinity Edge is a staple item on Master Yi because it modifies his damage exponentially. Considering Yi does not have AD ratios the passive from this item allows him to deal greater physical damage through auto attacks. This should be purchased later in the game as a compliment item. If you manage to get fed you should consider rushing this.
The Bloodthirster - Gives Yi very good sustain and allows him to take down both opponents and towers effectively. I like this a little more than Hydra because Yi already has built in wave clear.
Youmuu's Ghostblade - I personally rush this Item on Yi because it's like having a secondary ult off hand. Combine this with your runes you're going to be hitting people really hard very early in the game. When building this item make sure to get the gold/second portion first.
Wriggle's Lantern - Wriggles is going to receive, what I consider to be, a buff in the next few patches. Instead of granting 25% chance to deal magic damage, it's going to deal a flat amount of bonus magic damage per shot. On top of this, it's going to get an AD buff and an increase to life steal, making it a really strong jungle item on Yi.
Spirit Stone - I don't like spirit stone items on Yi because they don't give you a solid increase in damage. Usually AD junglers like to build into the Red Elder spirit stone upgrade. The problem with this is that it only provides you with a short burst of damage for the first few minutes after you buy it and its damage doesn't transition well into the late game. The red elder item will also be nerfed in the following patches, making Wriggle's Lantern a superior choice on Jungle Yi.
Statikk Shiv This is a really cool item on Yi and scales well with Infinity Edge. It's best to get this item after you get your initial damage items ( Wriggle's Lantern and Youmuu's Ghostblade). It's one of the best wave clear items in the game. When building this item get the Gold/second item first, not the Zeal. I consider this to be a superior choice to Phantom Dancer because it increases your wave clearing potential while simultaneously complimenting your other items. Phantom Dancer is slightly more expensive, and gives a little more attack speed and crit chance.
Last Whisper This item should only be purchased if a bunch of enemies are stacking up a lot of armor. If they're not then get The Bloodthirster, or some other damage item, instead.
The Black Cleaver - Only get this item if the enemy team is building up a lot of armor. Usually I only get this item when someone on my team goes with an AD mid and we have an AD top. Enemy teams notice this and start to build nothing but armor. With this said, LW usually isn't enough when every member of the enemy team has 150+ armor. Also, consider getting this item against Taric and Jarvan IV because of their armor auras. Usually you will never build this item but consider it an option when LW isn't enough.
Frozen Mallet FM is a very powerful chasing tool. It also makes Yi deceptively tanky. Don't rush this item over your damage and only get this if the enemy team has a lot of kiting.
Warmog's Armor This item makes Yi very tanky and can allow him to go into fights, get a kill, and run out without dying. It's a very good item to get if you notice teams are switching their focus to you even if you enter the fights late.
Randuin's Omen Very good item to get against an enemy team that has a lot of AD. The unique active allows you to chase very well, or disengage.
Berserker's Greaves Good boots to get because of the attack speed bonus as well as the cheap cost.
Mercury's Treads Good item to get if the enemy has more than one form of magic damage on their team, or if you notice you're the one being focused in fights.
Blade of the Ruined King I don't like this item on Yi because it doesn't help with split pushing, it's ad ratios are low, and the unique active is somewhat not needed. Most people purchase this item because they want to peruse an enemy, but Yi's ult already does that for him. Yi scales better with cold hard AD and Crit chance, which allow him to do over 500 points of damage late game. I think a BT would be a smarter choice.
The Part About Jungling
What you need to ask yourself before you go into the jungle.
1) Does the enemy team have a stronger level 1 engage than our team?
- Generally teams with stronger level ones will invade you. AN example of a strong level 1 team would be something like Taric + Draven + Ryze + Lee Sin + Rengar. Taric and Ryze both have abilities to keep enemies in position. Lee has a vision and gap close ability with his Q, rengar can jump from bushes, and Draven hurts. So if your team has no CC I recommend you watch out for an invade.
2) What type of jungler is my opponent?
You have to watch out for strong early junglers like Lee Sin and Xin Zhao. Generally when I play against a jungler like Yi as a Lee Sin, what I like to do is start at my red and then go and camp his red buff for a kill. The main reason I do this is because master yi has no escapes early game. With this said, I personally start red against powerful counter junglers and then go on to do my blue buff. This is due to the fact that most people believe Yi will always start at his blue and then move onto his red. If you do the opposite of what people think you're going to do, you're going to throw off their game and obtain advantages.
Now for some jungle theory stuff that you're going to need to know in order to do well in the jungle.
(1) Purple Side has the safer blue buff start because both mid and bot can cover blue. Blue side has the safer red buff start because both mid and bot can cover red. If the enemy jungler is a very slow jungler like Warwick, you should consider invading their red buff if you started on blue side because it probably won't be guarded very well.
(2) If you ever chose to invade an enemy buff early, always look for two things. 1) Look to see if the enemy has any gaps in their inventory because this usually means they've placed wards down. 2) If you see people on the mini map either move towards your location or if you see people spontaneously go MIA in the lanes around where you're invading, there's probably a ward right on top of you.
(3) After you clear a buff use the retreat ping "V" to get an exact time on the buff. Then write something like 713 ob/or in your chat to tell yourself when the buff will respawn. ob = our blue. or = our red. tb = their blue. tr = their red. Buffs take 5 minutes to respawn from being cleared.
(4) Always look at your mini map when moving along the map. If you do this you can see where people place wards (a little red dot will show up on the mini map). When attempting a gank on a lane look to see if the enemy laners back off when you get close. If they do this means there's probably a ward close by.
(5) Always pull buffs into the brush because it will prevent people from sneaking up on you. Also, make sure that your smite is up when doing a buff so you don't lose it to an enemy smite steal. Finally, always tell your team if you don't have smite before attempting a dragon. If you don't have smite doing dragon becomes very risky.
(6) Think about things before you do them. For example, if an enemy Lee Sin invades your jungle and is attacking you, think about your options. Maybe your flash is up and you can get away without having to burn it. Or maybe he caught you and you're very low and there's no chance of you escaping. If you know you cannot get away, don't waste your summoner spells.
(7) You're about to die - If this ever happens to you and you know for a fact you're not going to make it out of the fight, push all the buttons on your key board, use all your abilities and actives (except your w) and try to deal as much damage as possible. For all you know that one last auto attack you could have gotten off may have been just enough to allow your ally to kill off an opponent.
(8) Buy ****ing wards.
(9) Place wards after you buy them.
(10) Some tips on ward placement =
- You can ward red buff from the golem camp by selecting your ward and throwing it over the wall into the red buff bush.
- If you ward the very tip of the blue buff bush you will gain vision of both the buff and the surrounding lane, giving your more total vision.
- If you ward the part of the bush closes to the red buff (the left most side if you're on blue side) it will show both the buff and the whole bush. This is really good to do because you can smite steal a buff even if the enemy has it in a bush.
- When you select wards the color of your cursor will change depending on where you intend on placing it. If the cursor turns GREEN this means that the ward will be placed in a bush and reveal the bush. If the cursor turns BLUE this means it's not going to reveal anything in a bush.
- Always put pink wards in the inside of a layer because it will reveal wards inside the layer and in the river.
- Always put pink wards in the small circular bushes that stand alone in the river outside of Dragon and Baron. Pink wards in the river won't reveal green wards in these bushes, and people always ward them!
(11) Only listen to your own calls. Don't gank lanes because people spam you. 9/10 people don't need a gank when they ask for one. However, you should gank lanes when YOU know it's the right thing to do. For example, you should gank a lane because you:
- Want to burn the enemy's summoner spells.
- Expect someone is going to gank that lane and you think you can counter gank
- Want to try to kill the enemy laner because you know his flash is down.
- Want to tax your lane.
Now there's a lot more than this list, and I'm going to attach a video to this to explain everything, but that's the general idea. The most important thing you have to understand about jungling with Master Yi is that you're not just a farmer. You have the ability to farm very hard and push lanes, but you're also one of the strongest anti-carries in the game.
|Amumu's actually a really fast jungler. I don't know why he's been dubbed as slow because his E makes clears very fast. Sure, his single target clears aren't very high, but he can clear his jungle quite well. He's blue buff dependent and is most known for his team fight potential. I recommend counter jungling against Amumu when playing as Master Yi.|
|Cho's pretty stronk in jungle, has very good sustain, and his ultimate's true damage is something you have to watch out for. His clears are pretty good, and his ganks are OP strong. You can counter jungle this champion, but only do it when you know where he is. If he catches you in his jungle he's going to keep you there for as long as possible until help can come. His Q and W both stop your Meditate|
|Diana hurts more than you do early game, but late game Yi out scales everything. Her aoe pull thingy can stop your meditate. When fighting this champion in 1v1, notice how her HP is going down. If your HP rates are going down at roughly the same rate, Diana will usually win because of her passive.|
|Elise is stupid strong and doesn't even need 5 pots to sustain jungle. Her clears are fast, she does a lot of damage, and her gap close allows her to easily escape. If anything she's going to be counter jungling you. When jungling against this champion I recommend you get Meditate at level 2 and then use it after your blue buff. This way if she tries to counter jungle you you'll have 100% HP and you'll also have an effective way of baiting her to fight in your jugnle. Her stun can stop your Meditate so if you're trying to hold her in your jungle for you lanes to come to your aid, make sure you don't Meditate into her stun...|
|You can't beat him in jungle. He won't counter jungle you, but if you try to kill him or counter jungle him he's just going to fear you and suck your face off. You can't stop his Drain with anything in your kit. However, Fids is very squishy and you can kill him 1v1 late game even if he ults you! You will be able to 3 shot him if you've been farming correctly.|
|Hec clears well and ganks well. You won't be able to catch him even if you smack him around with you red buff. His damage is also higher than yours early game so there's no point in invading him unless you know he's low and you know you can kill him. His knock back stops your Meditate|
|J4 just ****s on you early game. Get W at level 2 and make sure you're at 100% HP through out your entire route. If he hits you with E>Q>auto and lands a knock up you're going to be at 50% HP just off that one combo. His knock up stops your Meditate, but you can Alpha Strike out of his Cataclysm.|
|Lee Sin kills you. His Cripple makes your autos slower. His Q allows him to gap close into you if you ult away. His ult stops your meditate. Late game, yeah, you out damage him. But early game is his. If he's counter jungling you hard make sure to buy wards and catch him in your jungle.|
|Malphite is a pretty decent jungler against Yi. His attack speed slow hurts him, and if he's running Frozen Heart it's going to hurt even more. The trick when playing against Malphite is to counter jungle him and not let him ult you. I know it sounds stupid to say "don't let him ult you" but think about it. Unstoppable Force can only hit a few things at once, so as long as you don't stalk your adc within 1 foot you'll be fine. Don't group up against him, and take his jungle whenever you can.|
|Mao can hurt you late game if you let him catch you. Early game you should be taking his jungle but not dueling him. He is the jungle after all, so you probably won't ever be able to kill him unless he goes full ******.|
|One of the best counter junglers in the game. His ice ball makes you move and attack slower, and he's really hard to kill because of his movement speed buff and ability to heal through Consume. Always make sure to know if his passive is up or not. Just because he's out of mana doesn't mean he cant throw something out at the last second.|
|Olaf's been nerfed too hard lately, and against the stacking HP meta nobody's been playing him. I'll talk more about this champion once they fix him...|
|Take his jungle. Don't bother attacking him late game when his shield is up. His taunt lasts 3 seconds so never get taunted or you're dead in team fights.|
Early Mid and Late Game
Early game you're going to want to start with your Hunter's Machete and 5 HP pots. Your main goal during the early game is to power farm to hit level 6 as soon as possible.
Things to look out for.
1) If the enemy jungler is powerful during early game, you want to get your Meditate after doing blue so you're at 100% when going to red side.
2) If one of your lanes stupidly dies, and if you're close by, you want to go to that lane and farm it.
3) Try to run into lanes to show face. While doing this you want to pick up some exp, maybe a cs, and then go into your jungle. This will show the enemy team that you're active in the game and you're going to be willing to show up if things start to go crazy. If you never show face then nobody will respect your jungle presence and they will go full agro on your ally.
By now you want to be have your Youmuu's Ghostblade up and you should be a little bit higher than level 6. I recommend skipping over purchasing an entire Wriggle's Lantern and only getting the damage portion first. It's 100% up to you how you want to build, but I find it more cost effective to get Madred's Razors and then build into Youmuu's Ghostblade.
You want to be looking for possible ganks at this point because you have your ult and the ghostblade to work with. Try to look for counter gank opportunities and always be willing to use your TP to teleport into a gank and reverse it on the enemy. Be very careful because you're still very squishy and you haven't yet finished your big items. So although you're going to deal a lot of damage you want to be smart about how you engage.
Remember to always let your ult run its full duration before you proc it again off of a reset. Don't waste your resets.
You have to be split pushing at this point and taking advantage of your ability to farm well. You need to mix split pushing and fighting together. By this point you should have the following items:
Youmuu's Ghostblade Statikk Shiv and either The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge. Infinity does the most damage when combined with the first two items but build what you can.
Also take note of enemy armor values. If you see them stacking armor you're better off building into a last whisper and just doing lots of penetration damage instead of building into Infinity Edge
What I recommend when team fighting is to look for openings. You have to play team fights like AD carries. You have to wait until you see a safe chance to go in and then execute your combo of Youmuu's Ghostblade + Wuju Style + Highlander. You will most likely be able to dive in and kill the enemy AP and AD carries before you get focused and killed, and I recommend you do this if at all possible. I know a lot of people might be questioning me as to why I'm saying it's ok to get killed, but here's the deal: If you can go into a fight and kill both of the enemy's carries before they can kill your ADC, you've already won the fight. The only thing the enemy team will have left is their bruisers and supports, so your team should have no problem winning the 4v3.
However, if your ADC is an utter ******, you're going to have to try and carry the team fights yourself. If your team 100% sucks at team fights then it's a better idea that you go and split push instead, and try to kill whoever comes to stop your split push.
Note: I've noticed people get really mad whenever they have to come and stop a Yi split push. Usually this is because they would rater be in the team fight phase of the game and they feel somewhat controlled when you make them cover a lane. Because of this you can frequently bait people into fighting you by Qing minons while they try to push back the wave. Enemies usually just get made and will try to poke you back to make you leave. When they do this it's your opening to kill them. A fed Yi can beat any champion in the game 1v1 and kill them within 2~4 seconds. Try to bait people into fighting you 1v1 by being as annoying as possible without being a douche bag in all chat.
Yi is capable of carrying ranked games by tower pushing or by team fighting. The main problem Yi encounters is hard cc. You should only be picking Yi as a ranked game jungler when you're sure you won't get countered by hard cc.
In ranked games I find it's best that you go in and call what position you want to play instead of sitting there without saying a word. Usually if you don't say anything you get defaulted to support because people will call anything not to support. A lot of guides state you should let other people call what they want first because they will call what they're good at... but 10 times out of 10, if adc and support both haven't been called yet, you can bet that someone is going to call adc over support just so he won't have to support. With this said, get into q and call jungle. Don't be unwilling to support, just be sure that you make it clear that you really want to play jungle.
Also, try not to become too involved with team chat that's offensive because that will lead to raging and everyone gets toxic. If you want to rib each other in game over stuff like how that Akali guy got killed by a Lux laser to the face, then yeah, stuff like that's funny sometimes. But to call the Akali names and put him down just makes you look stupid and makes them start to get mad.
Does this mean I'm telling you to be a saint? No. I mean, I call out people all the time on my team for making dumb decisions. Like....
Like jumping into 4 people to get one kill. I call you stupid.
Walking up to get a last hit only to get almost killed by harass. I call you stupid.
Getting yourself killed over and over again when I'm telling you I'm going to gank your ****ing lane but you don't listen and just try to 1v1 your opponent and lose and then blame me in all chat as being a "noob jungler" because I'm not helping you when the fact of the matter is you just suck and are getting out played and I cant even help you if I wanted because you're always ****ing dead. That gets you ****ing reported. And I call you stupid :D
So. Just be cool to people in your game and they will be cool to you. Unless the person thinks that's like wayyyyy better than they actually are and start to blame you for their faults. Those people you just ignore. Or you can call them out. W/e. Just don't get so involved with the chat that you lose track of how to win the game.
The end chapter
I'll eventually get a video tutorial up for this champion showing you how to specifically play Yi in situations. He's actually a very difficult champion to play effectively because you need to have a lot of discretion when playing him in order not to get yourself killed. When his final build is done you can pretty much 1v5 the enemy team, but only if you're not hard ccd to the ground.
Anyway, have fun.