Master Yi Build Guide by BusDriver210

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League of Legends Build Guide Author BusDriver210

The Legendary Master Yi

BusDriver210 Last updated on April 14, 2013
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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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Welcome & Introduction

Welcome to my third Mobafire build, The Legendary Master Yi! My name is Busdriver, summoner name Augustice, and I have been goofing around with Master Yi for about two years. Hes one of my favorite underrated champs and happens to have a very high skill curve. The problem is that the community has placed Yi into a strange spot. People tend to build far to squishy and ignore the built in damage Yi has. Focusing on survivability and playing as a unstoppable bruiser is where Yi's true strength lies.

Disclaimer!!!!!!!: I am not a high elo player. I play normals with my friends and solo que when I have time. I don't count myself some guru, but I do have knowledge you might find interesting. I write guides to refine my skills and refining Yi has been one of my favorite challenges.

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Updates & Special Thanks

Eventually there will be MANY updates.

A big thanks to jhoijhoi for her dividers.

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Why play Master Yi?

Master Yi is honestly a champion I play for the fun of it. His playstyle suites me and rewards the player greatly. Clutch moments are everywhere while playing Master Yi. His power out of the jungle is madness. Insanely fast clear time, amazing counter jungle presence, and massive midgame power are what this build is about.
  • Strong damage output
  • Amazing chaser/ganker
  • Diving towers is EZmode
  • Shenanigans tanky
  • Slippery to catch
  • Always focused, always.
  • Slow jungle start
  • Gold dependent
  • Requires GREAT positioning
  • Difficult Ult/Playstyle

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Runes & Masteries

This runepage is more or less an early game answer to the jungle. Jungling with these will be a breeze and it complements your damage output nicely.

Optional Replacements

Any of these may be changed around to fit your personal Yi playstyle.


SPACE SPACE These 21 points into offense are used to boost my overall AD damage. Brute force is mostly for jungle, but the rest is pretty straight forward. Flat stats are important on Yi and he benefits late from the percentage pen.
Most of these 9 points are aimed towards helping Yi's early squishyness. A bit of flat reduction for jungle ease and a little health to help combat. SPACE

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Summoner Spells

Strong Picks

Viable Picks

Just Don't

For the Rift I find these two to be the best combination. Flash is your "get out of jail free" card. Smite is standard on any jungle for speed and buff control.
SPACE If you want stronger ganks these are the best alternatives. Exhaust makes ganks easier and ghost allows you to catch any champion. SPACE SPACE

SPACE SPACE All of these spells have their moments, but are too situational. Yi needs to enter/exit the fight quickly. These have one time uses, but the advantage Flash gives you is too important. SPACE SPACE


For these last few, just don't waste your time. Getting dependent on Clarity is a terrible habit. Revive is NOT worth it. Getting Clairvoyance? Who are you the support?

When choosing summoners on Yi its very important to understand how you usually kill someone and what your aims are while fulfilling that role. We always take Smite for jungle speed and buff control. Flash is very smart when playing safe while Ghost changes engagements and how you enter combat. Exhaust makes your ganks really strong, but sacrifices safety.

Your choice will effect teamfights though and your playstyle with ghost is more "clean up" focused. Flash allows our Yi to better coordinate with his team and become the bruiser they need him to be.

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Skill Explanation & Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

This is my safest way to level Yi. I grab an early rank 2 in Alpha Strike because it increases the spead at which i kill smaller monsters. Prioritize Wuju Style for early damage potential, the synergy with Highlander is amazing. Doing this allows us to build Frozen Mallet straight up and become very annoying.

"Master Yi strikes twice every 7th attack."

A fairly straight forward passive, but one that is often forgotten. This plays a big role in your burst damage and should be built up in the jungle prior to ganking. While in combat try to activate E around the time this will proc.

"Master Yi leaps across the battlefield striking up to 4 enemies, dealing 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 (+100% of ability power) magic damage to each enemy with a 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 % chance to deal 400 bonus magic damage to minions."
  • Gap Closer
  • AP Nuke
  • Focus breaker
  • Finisher

It acts as all of the above, at the same time. Pretty crazy ability huh? Its uses are endless and knowing how to save this for clutch moments is key. In a teamfight you might use this to get to your target, or finish them off while gap closing to the next enemy in focus order.

  • A combination Single/AOE Nuke. Use this to start/finish combat and deal damage to the entire team. Remember that you can often kill low health enemies with just the spread effect, so targeting is situational.

  • When you use this ability you vanish! Your untargetable for a short time, which can mean the world in fights. Certain stuns and CC can be absorbed during this time if planned correctly.

  • This ability is great for increasing jungle speed. Do not spam it without blue because it costs big time MANA!

"Master Yi channels, restoring 28 / 56 / 84 / 112 / 140 (+80% of ability power) health every second for 5 seconds for a total of 140 / 280 / 420 / 560 / 700 (+400% of ability power) health. While channeling, Master Yi gains 100 / 150 / 200 / 250 / 300 armor and magic resistance."

Meditate is an interesting ability. With the correct planning your melee bruiser can become a stationary tank. CC shuts this down hard, but like any risk/reward skill its all about timing.

  • Your Yi, your going to be focused. Knowing this gives you the advantage. Bait their stuns and hope they focus you while your channeling.

  • After murdering someone, or baiting a stun, use this to shutdown focus and regen health. You gain MASSIVE defensive stats while using this, so timing is everything!

  • Meditate scales RIDICULOUSLY well. Every stat of health you buy becomes more valuable while using this spell.

"Passive: Increases physical damage by 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35. Active: Master Yi can activate this ability to double its effectiveness for 10 seconds, but this removes the passive bonus until Wuju Style becomes available again."

A massive AD steroid. This is what keeps your AD presence strong all game. It helps early with jungle DPS, but using this at the right time during combat can make or break your dps. You must remember that while this is on cooldown your DPS will be lower than normal.

  • A very straight forward AD boost that allows Yi to murder with the best of them. Using this correctly requires practice and mixing its use with your ultimate generates massive threat.

  • Remember that this ability also increases your sustain (based off lifesteal) in a battle. Activating this near the proc of your passive will allow for a short amount of burst sustain.

  • A passive AND active AD steroid. This is a big deal since you get to choose when you want a bigger steroid which makes you able to bait your dps advantage.

"Increases Master Yi's movement speed by 40% and Attack Speed by 40 / 60 / 80 %, and he becomes immune to all slowing effects for 6 / 9 / 12 seconds. Additionally, killing a champion refreshes all of Master Yi's cooldowns. (Assists reduce half of the base cooldown amount.)"

The mastery over this ultimate separates the decent Yis from the amazing ones. Timing is especially important when using this ultimate. Your chase is insanely strong while active, but the most important aspect of this ultimate is that when you or an ally kills someone during a fight your CDs are effected.

  • The massive boost to your attack speed and chase makes you generate HUGE threat. Your DPS goes through the roof enabling you to kill people quickly.

  • When using this correctly you should be able to spam Alpha Strike making you untargetable, which just so happens to be the best defense you could want. Meditate'ing more than once a fight is also hilarious. (and broken :X)

  • Refreshes your cooldowns, nuff said. But on a serious note killing people couldn't be easier with this ult. Post 6 your also impossible to catch when running away!

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Avenger Playstyle *Important*

The only way to play Yi, the true Yi, is to be an Avenger. Murder is what you do, and you do it best. Knowing this you need to play Yi AGGRESSIVE. Murder your jungle, Murder lanes, Murder dragon if you can! KILL PEOPLE! Killing people with Master Yi is rather simple since he has a gap closer and massive speed boost.

Just look at his kit.

Look at it again.

Once more for good measure.

See the broken OP yet? You don't? No worries, I can help. The real strength of Yi is that his kit can act as so many different niches at the same time.

A Deeper Look

  • Standard Jungle
  • Ganking Powerhouse
  • Backdoor King

Your personal Yi playstyle will benefit from personally chosen summoner spells. They will give you advantages where you need it and allow for your crazy kit to shine bright. Above I have listed what I know to be useful when doing certain tricks. I usually jungle and end up running Flash. Yi is strong early game and he stays strong all the way through lategame, but he is weak in teamfight. Ganking at level 4 - 6 is when you can snowball the game. Win early, end it quickly.

Timing is what separates a good LoL player from a bad one. I have seen players time after time get owned using great builds/champs. Knowing when to use your abilities, where to be, when to farm are all second to none. While playing Yi it can be easy to just spam your Q and Ult, but once you have blown your cards the enemy has a slight advantage over you.

SPACE When using alpha strike always judge the distance you will be chasing. Using it first to get to your target can leave you behind when he/she flashes. Always use Highlander to its fullest potential before blowing this CD. Force them to use flash and then close the gap.

SPACE Only use meditate when you have accounted for incoming CC. Focus on activating it when your low on health, insuring the enemy will attempt to focus you down. Try really hard not to waste this cooldown, its wicked long.

SPACE Use this when your enemy has blown his/her 'ace in the hole'. It will give you massive AD, plus the sustain that comes along with that. Never use this before you plan to Meditate because it will leave you with weak DPS, but meditating while this is down counters the CD quite effectively.

SPACE Save highlander for the moment where you can deal the most damage. Blowing it early will leave you lacking, but on the other hand waiting too long you run the risk of not being able to use it at all. Try your best to secure a kill with this thus enabling your refresh. Doing so allows you to spam CDs! (which is OP)

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Jungle Route & Warding

This route is pretty straight forward. Green points are defensive ward placements while pink points are aggressive. Warding is very important and while playing the role of jungler you will have the best opportunity to be placing wards. If your not buying wards your doing it wrong. Sight Ward = winning.
  • Start wolves with Q and pot if needed. Auto attack until dead.
  • Start blue buff with a bit of help. Q and pop a health potion when you start taking damage. When blue has around 490 health use Smite.
  • Wraiths are very easy, Q the big wraith and E to clean up.
  • At this point head back to Wolves, they will be up when you arrive. Q, E, and pot if needed.
  • After your second Wolf camp you should make your way over to red. Q, E, pot and Smite around 500 HP.
  • At this point you can either go down to double golems or clear a second wraith camp. Your choice.

This route is my aggressive counter jungle route. I suggest you have a teammate or two with you while starting this route. Your plan is to cripple the enemy jungler by having a timer on HIS red buff at all times. You'll need vision to continue invading his jungle, so remember to ward aggressively. Wards win games and more importantly keep you safe.
  • Start wraiths with a Q and focus on the large wraith. Leave 1 small wraith.
  • Red buff with your team, Q and pot when you take damage. Smite at 490hp.
  • Leave the enemy jungle and head to your wolves. Q/E and pot if you need.
  • Swing past mid and start your wraiths. Q/E combo. Pot when done.
  • Check on red and move down to double golems. Q/E Combo. Pot when done.
  • Cross the river and check enemy wolves. Pot + Q/E Combo. Smite here.
  • This last step is optional, base or clear one last buff.

The above route can crush enemy junglers, but doesn't need to be followed perfectly. Sometimes I will gank after red, sometimes I won't gank at all. Counter jungling is all about guessing your enemies path and prepping before time. Sight Wards are crucial because they reveal where your enemy is and will be, thus opening a window of opportunity for counter jungling to occur. They also guard you against failed invasions, providing foresight to jungle engagements.

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Items & Explanation


This is my go to build for jungle Yi. Its damage output is strong all game and you'll find yourself very bulky. Its very straight forward and focuses on just auto attacking everything to death. You'll be an offtank of sorts, but your damage output will be seriously lethal. This build leans on your ability to know when to use CDs. There is no CDR in this build, so spamming abilities can really leave you useless. Focus on getting ahead early and becoming the most dangerous thing on your team.

  • - Wriggle's is a must for Yi's early jungle. It gives us a variety of stats that make combat go in our favor and helps us farm up to those big items we need.
  • - Yi's biggest weakness is being stunned. Stopping the murder spree is the biggest problem and these boots provide the solution. Early magic resist is always good and helps with those pesky mids.
  • - In this build we are focusing on being a big bruiser. Frozen Mallet gives us a large amount of health and allows no one to escape us.
  • - Attack speed, critical strike, and movement speed. Pretty self explanatory buy on Yi, helps with overall murder.
  • - Now that this builds from Avarice Blade I consider it a very strong buy on jungle Yi. Armor, Crit chance, and a little AD to top this beauty off.
  • - Standard buy for a damage bruiser. Great overall defensive stats and works well when your teamfighting.

Possible Options

  • - Towards the end of the game wriggles lantern has become pretty useless. This bad boy is your best alternate because it will send your damage output over the top. If you achieve in buying this at the end of a game no bruiser will out damage you.
  • - If you find yourself fighting a very fed AD carry I opt for this instead of I.E. This allows you to stay in the fight longer and keep up your threat levels.
  • - If your having trouble sinking your hits into a big ugly tank this item will solve your problem. I tend to buy this when the enemy team has bought some armor.
  • - If you find yourself lacking kill potential try swapping this out with Phantom Dancer. The CDR is very strong on Yi and the active works well with your ultimate.
  • - This is a great choice when your enemy has some scary AP damage. The stats alone are worth the buy and the passives are amazing on Yi.
  • - I only buy this when the enemy team has a strong suppression or 2-3 very strong CC's(Taunts, AOE snares/stuns).
  • - This is now one of the best buys after season 3 changes. Armor might be easy to penetrate, but attacking me hurts you? Hell yes. Buy this when your having trouble with heavy AD damage or lifestealing enemies.
  • - I trade Atma's for this when my team needs me to take more damage, or I'm being severely focused. Not usually a high priority, but provides well rounded stats.

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Closing & Thanks

Thanks for reading my Master Yi guide! Master Yi is a very misunderstood champion and most people misjudge his potential. If you have any questions feel free to comment below and discussion is very encouraged! You wouldn't be here if you knew everything would you?

I will be updating this guide eventually to include jungle matchups and special counter routes, but until then good luck! Happy hunting~