Yasuo General Guide by Alioth
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.
Not Updated For Current Season
Before I begin going over the core mechanics of this build, I'd like to give a stern warning to all those prospective Yasuo players: You can, and possibly will be targeted by the enemy team due to your weak early game. In the many games i played as Yasuo since his release, I have been camped in mid lane in about half of them by the enemy jungler in an attempt to shut me down. So, consider this prospect before continuing to read.
-Arguably the best late game in League
-Double the Crit from any source
-High Utility with Wind Walls
-Ultimate can be used off ANY knockup
-High Mobility via Sweeping Blade
-Wind Wall can be used to block off Baron Nashor's vomit attacks and Dragon's Fire Breath
-Heavily targeted by most League players due to weak early game
-Missing or randomly tossing Wind Walls can leave you very vulnerable
-Low early game damage
-Completely shut down by heavy crowd control
-Prone to being banned heavily in low-elo and sometimes high-elo ranked games
Idiot/Noob traps on Yasuo
There have been a number of cases where I have met individuals who have used insanely questionable items on Yasuo. Here's a list of what you should NEVER use on Yasuo and why.
Cooldown Reduction: There was one occasion in a ranked game that I played Yasuo in where some brain-dead moron screamed at me and cursed me out for not getting CDR boots on Yasuo. When I asked why do such a thing, he claimed the cooldown reduction works on Yasuo's Steel Tempest. That prompted my entire team to condemn him, and myself to mute him. Yasuo does not benefit to any extent from cooldown reduction. His abilities have moderate cooldowns as it is and the only ability that you'll use the most draws it's cooldown off of attack speed, which is what Yasuo relies on as an autoattack champion.
Ability Power: There was an occasion during Yasuo's PBE Testing where the well-known streamer and youtuber known as Pawnce posted a video showing his attempt at trying AP Yasuo when Riot gave Sweeping Blade a 100% AP ratio. The damage output was about as mediocre and boring as AP Sion.
Zephyr: Yes, the Attack Speed from this item makes it an attractive buy for a shorter Steel Tempest cast time and cooldown. Yes, the Tenacity bonus is nice. Yes, some pros trade this for their boots during the late game. I don't care if it's good or not, Yasuo relies on having as much crit chance and damage as possible. Building this up before late game when you should be building Infinity Edge and Statikk Shiv is an extremely dumb move that will have you dealing mediocre amounts of damage. Don't even consider it unless the game you're playing is lasting more than 50 minutes.
Passive: Way of the Wanderer- This passive is unique due to it's two separate abilities, "Intent" and "Resolve". Intent doubles all crit chance given from items and runes at the cost of 10% less damage on critical strikes, while Resolve grants a shield that can be triggered by both enemy champions and monsters. This shield scales with level and is replenished through movement.
Q Skill: Steel Tempest- The ability that is Yasuo's bread and butter. Two consecutive uses on an enemy target within a short window of time allow Yasuo to launch a whirlwind on the third use that knocks up all targets it hits in a line. Steel Tempest applies on hit effects to the first target struck, is treated as a basic attack, and has it's cooldown and cast time reduced by attack speed. In almost every guide that I have found this ability is maxed first. The AD ratio on this skill is 100% of total Attack Damage.
W Skill: Wind Wall- Arguably the most powerful utility spell available in League of Legends, this skill is what can possibly change the complete flow of your games depending on how you use it. The only benefits of leveling this skill is increasing the width of the wall along with duration, however. For this reason it is often maxed last. Note that this ability has a passive effect: Using Sweeping Blade adds a percentage of bonus Flow based off the level of this ability.
E Skill: Sweeping Blade- The core of Yasuo's mobility and slipperiness, Sweeping Blade turns enemy units into bridges to cross through in mere seconds. I've secured kills by chasing down targets through enemy minion waves with this skill. As an added bonus the ability deals more damage with each respective use up to four times. The ability scales off Ability Power with a 60% AP ratio. Due to it's scaling damage and reduced cooldown given through leveling it is generally maxed second on most Yasuo builds.
R Skill: Last Breath- One of the most powerful ultimates in the game, the sheer damage and tank-shredding power this ultimate has will have you maxing it as soon as possible. After using this ultimate, Yasuo gains a 15-minute buff that allows him to ignore half of the bonus armor of any target he attacks. Keep in mind that the ultimate can only be activated on nearby targets that are knocked in any direction (defined as "Airborne"). Note that this ultimate can be cast off ANY knockup in the game, making Yasuo synergize extremely well with certain champions. A full list is given in this guide. The AD ratio of this ultimate is 150% of Bonus Attack Damage.
Abilities and How to Best Use Them
Yasuo is one of those extremely combo-reliant champions. To succeed in lane you need to plan every attack in advance. In this case, i've primed a few examples for you.
1)The first and easiest way to poke is to gather stacks of Gathering Storm with Steel Tempest through last hitting minions and launch a whirlwind at your lane opponent. It isn't much, but it's a safe move.
2)The second way is what I like to call "Dine and Dash". Use Sweeping Blade to rush to your lane opponent and activate Steel Tempest mid-dash to deal damage. Afterward, use Sweeping Blade to escape through an enemy minion. NOTE: It's best to do this after your opponent blows any CC, so use this method to punish opponents who miss it.
3)The third, and most powerful punishment method is to prime two stacks of Gathering Storm off minions, launch the whirlwind at your opponent, and blow your ultimate on them. If you lower the target's health enough beforehand, place ignite on the enemy while you're in the air (yes, you can do this) and start ripping them apart with Sweeping Blade, Steel Tempest, and Basic Attacks. Use this method as a cue for your jungler to initiate a gank, as it buys a lot of time for them to get into position. Note that your ultimate has a relatively low cooldown, so don't worry if the attempt fails. By the time your opponent gets back to lane, you'll usually have the cooldown at about halfway.
Sweeping Blade may not look like much, but in reality the low cooldown and damage increase is incredibly useful. Should you chase an enemy down a lane, use Sweeping Blade to create a "Bridge" out of approaching enemy minions to reach your target. It's actually quite effective if you have the reflexes to accomplish this.
To properly use Wind Wall you need two things: knowledge of your opponent's kit, and great reflexes. A well-timed wind wall can stop Jinx's Super Mega Death Rocket, and even Syndra's Unleashed Power. Not only that, but say you decide to Duel against the enemy ADC on your own. Place a Wind Wall directly between you and the ADC to block their basic attacks and start shredding their HP. The ADC likely will keep throwing their basic attacks against the wall, as moving would buy you more time to kill the target. (Note that this method can also be used to protect turrets from ADC attacks.)
Suggestions for Laning
Although Yasuo is by Riot's definition a Mid-Lane Champion, he can be played Top lane, Support, and Jungle as well. Arguably the hardest role is Jungle, due to his weak early game damage so I would not recommend it. As for support, Yasuo's Wind Walls offer a lot of defense for the ADC in hard poke lanes such as Sivir-Leona, or Draven-Sona. For Top lane, don't bother going there. Most top lanes are far too strong in terms of harass and trading power for Yasuo to handle.
Yes. A full list of what counters Yasuo and what he counters. Take notes. Two little details before i begin: Yasuo does worst when he is against an opponent with tools that can consistently force his passive to activate, and due to the sheer number of counterpicks that can shut down Yasuo, it's a complete waste to ban him in Draft Pick matches such as Ranked Play. So please, don't waste that ban on Yasuo. For those that do waste the ban on Yasuo, you clearly have no idea how to play his counters.
(Red means Virtually Impossible, Yellow means Difficult but Winnable, Green means easy.) Now then..
Malzahar: You can't block any of his abilities with Wind Wall, leaving you very vulnerable to his consistent harass. Post-6, if he catches you in his combo you're practically screwed, especially if he gets a gank. Make it a point to stay out of his Malefic Visions range, as it will lead to his Voidlings chasing you around.
Kayle: Her kit is practically tailored to counter yours. Righteous Fury's radial damage will easily trigger your passive, making it useless. To make matters worse, if the Kayle is maxing Reckoning the 55% slow jumps in duration allowing Kayle to mash your face in with Righteous Fury until your armor and magic resist is shredded and you're a dead man. And if you try to use your ultimate on Kayle, she'll just ult herself and take no damage. AVOID THIS MATCHUP AT ALL COSTS.
Viktor: Viktor becomes incredibly powerful depending on how close he is to his enemies. Considering you're an AD mid, this is very bad. The moment you get close to farm, he'll be able to trap you in Gravity Field, tag you with his abilities and force you out of the lane. Expect to be nuked by his ultimate if you get caught in his combo post-6.
Vladimir: Vladimir outranges you, outsustains you, and can dodge your ultimate with his Sanguine Pool. To make matters worse, his abilities are on short cooldowns which allow him to dismantle the Resolve shield with ease. Don't expect to win this easily without ganks unless the Vladimir is simply stupid.
Cassiopiea: A lot of her power comes from Twin Bite, which can be easily stopped with Wind Wall. Only problem is that her poisons can consistently trigger your passive, leaving you heavily vulnerable to her sustained damage. Post-6, her kill potential skyrockets.
Zilean: One of the most frustrating mid lane opponents in League. He can consistently tear through your defenses and wreck you with only his Time Bomb. To make matters worse, he has a debilitating slow that can easily entrap you when his jungler ganks. Don't get me started on his ultimate, either.
Cho'gath: Although Mid lane Cho'gath is almost never seen anymore, it's still a nightmare of a lane opponent for Yasuo. Yasuo can't block any of his abilities except Vorpal Spikes, and his passive allows him to infinitely sustain through farm similar to Nasus.
Orianna: Orianna is one of the nastiest enemies for Yasuo to face. She'll chunk you heavily with her passive, Clockwork Windup. She'll tear apart your passive with the help of Command: Attack. Command: Dissonance will chunk your hp even harder as she ranks it up first. Command: Protect almost completely negates your ultimate's damage. Finally, Command: Shockwave is a high-damage ultimate that will CC you and help set up her ganks. Don't play this matchup unless you've got serious guts.
Swain: High sustain and crowd control can make Swain an absolute nightmare of an opponent to face. Get your jungler to help you take him down.
Annie: Although most Annie players will use Disintegrate to land the stun on targets (which can be blocked by Wind Wall), she can get downright nasty at level 6 by using Summon: Tibbers for the stun. Her full combo melts you without a problem. Basically this lane is a nightmare like Kayle.
Ahri: Arguably the most twisted matchup, all of Ahri's abilities count as projectiles. You can block them all with proper timing and the help of Resolve, however post-6 her mobility is extremely frustrating to fight against. Make sure to shut her down early, or start roaming.
Akali: You can push around Akali pre-6 and block Mark of the Assassin with Wind Wall, which is a great advantage. Unfortunately, if Akali enters Twilight Shroud it makes landing your ultimate impossible. To make matters worse, Akali gains massive mobility post-6, which can chomp through your passive and consistently tear you apart. Bring a Vision Ward and get some ganks on Akali.
Syndra: Although Wind Wall guards against every one of her abilities save Dark Sphere (which can be easily dodged with Sweeping Blade), skilled Syndra players will be able to combo you so fast that you won't be able to react. Note that I've had wildly different results with this lane, so approach with caution. The victor is generally decided by whoever gets a successful gank first, from my experience.
Heimerdinger: Although Heimer's abilities can all be blocked with Wind Wall, it's best to deal with the turrets before engaging by using stacks of Gathering Storm. Be cautious, and you can win. A good tactic is to toss a Wind Wall in front of Heimer's turrets so you can destroy them with little retaliation.
Brand: I've had wildly different results with Brand. Some of them were snowballing victories, others terribly embarrassing losses. Most of the time I think the losses were simply because the Brand I was facing got the first gank on me, other times it's because of that nasty stun he has. Approach the match with caution, and try your best to prevent Sear from hitting you with Wind Wall. Try to ask your jungler for early ganks.
Fizz: Fizz is a very difficult fight for most Mid lane champions. However, Wind Wall will stop Chum the Waters, which can help you gain a good early game advantage especially if Fizz tries to tag you with it for a gank. Note that a lot of Fizz players will rely on Playful/Trickster to avoid damage, so most will be squishy with little runes for armor or magic resist.
Kassadin: Post-Rework, Kassadin has become slightly more manageable than before. However, this does not change the fact that he's still a rough matchup. Pre-6, you can push around Kassadin completely with your kit, so long as you don't get caught in Force Pulse during a gank. Post-6 Kassadin can Riftwalk to dodge your knockup and he becomes impossible to gank. Make it a point to stop him as soon as possible. Remember that Kassadin can use Force Pulse more frequently if you spam your spells more often.
Fiddlesticks: Don't get close to Fiddle. Stay back, and use Wind Wall to block off Dark Wind. Use stacks of Gathering Storm to harass, and you can come out on top.
Lissandra: Lissandra is the check to any Mid-Lane melee champion that is Melee. The catch with Yasuo, however, is that his passive blocks a large portion of Lissandra's harass damage, which if built up consistently through Lissandra's attempts to poke you can force her to drain her mana pool completely. At this point she's open to ganks and harass. Just make sure her passive is on cooldown. To tell when it's active, look at Lissandra's headgear and check if it's glowing. If it is, she's got a free spell ready. When the passive comes off cooldown there's a flash and a sound effect that Lissandra gives off. Make it a point to pay attention for that effect and plan engages accordingly.
LeBlanc: Yasuo is one of the few champions that can actually give LeBlanc trouble in lane. This is due to the fact that two of her abilities are projectiles, in particular the irritating Sigil of Silence. LeBlanc is also terribly unreliable for farming, so zoning her from your minions will make her useless. It's best to zone her from minions, freeze the lane, and keep wards active nearby to avoid being ganked.
Veigar: Veigar is notorious as one of the biggest counters to AP mid laners such as Lux and the ever-hated Akali. This is mostly due to his insane late game scaling and how his ultimate-Primordial Burst-scales off both Veigar's AP and 80% of his opponent's AP. Fortunately, Yasuo does not rely on AP so that's a huge advantage right off the bat. As an added bonus, Veigar has unreliable farming skills, is incredibly mana-hungry, and can be Zoned easily due to his squishiness. Just make it a point to avoid getting caught in his stun at later levels. It can also help him set up ganks.
Katarina: Wind Wall will actually protect you from her ultimate and Bouncing Blades, but if she's fast enough you could get pressured to the point of being under farmed.
Zed: Zed is actually an easier lane for Yasuo than most people will think. A majority of his combos rely off using his Living Shadow, which surprisingly can't pass through Yasuo's Wind Wall. It also absorbs Razor Shuriken, making a huge chunk of his early game damage negligent. This allows you to easily poke him out of lane. Post-6, make it a point to never fight Zed under 50% health. You'll make it to late game easily.
Teemo: Skill matchup. Teemo is squishy and can be easily ripped apart if he gets close, however his consistent damage from poisons and his blind can nuke you if you're not careful. The best way to trade with a Teemo from my experience is to bait him into a fight he'll think he can win but then toss Wind Wall in between you and Teemo to completely negate his projectile harass. If you have a friend who plays Teemo, try and ask him if he can help you learn how to properly place Wind Wall in between you and Teemo during a trade. It can be hard to place it properly since Wind Wall slowly moves forward when placed, putting it directly behind Teemo if placed improperly.
Ezreal: Wind Wall stops everything he can throw at you. HIs base damages on Essence Flux and Arcane Shift are mediocre at best, allowing your passive to tank the majority of that damage. Just be careful not to miss the timing when blocking Trueshot Barrage with your Wind Wall, because AP Ezreal's ratio on it is 90% of total AP, which can chunk you easily.
Twisted Fate: Unless he uses Destiny to jump behind Wind Wall, he's not a threat. Just be sure to dodge Wild Cards as much as possible and avoid getting nailed by his Gold Card. It sets up his ganks.
Gragas: A well placed Wind Wall will stop Explosive Cask, and Barrel Roll is easy to dodge. NOTE: Explosive Cask and Barrel Roll only count as projectiles until it hits the destination. You have to stop it mid-flight. Try not to get hit by Gragas' slow as it's also heavily debilitating.
Ryze: Ryze players will always set up harass by snaring targets with Runic Prison. If you release Wind Wall at the exact moment he tags you with it, Ryze is practically throwing his mana in the garbage can.
Karthus: Yasuo may not be able to dodge Lay Waste or Defile by using Wind Wall, but Karthus has about as weak of an early game as Yasuo. Pressure Karthus as much as possible while dodging Lay Waste, and you can come out the victor.
Diana: Rewrite in progress. Space will be filled at a later date.
Lux: The only thing she can touch you with is Final Spark. Wind Wall blocks everything else she can damage you with. There was one case in particular where I was effortlessly walling off a Lux's harass. Eventually she started burning her ultimate in sheer frustration. Turn this lane into a farm lane and ward the lane. You'll be fine.
Morgana: Morgana players rely heavily on tagging opponents with Dark Binding to set up harass. Although you can dodge this easily, Tormented Soil will effortlessly trigger your passive and Morgana's spellshield prevents her from being knocked up by your Steel Tempest's third stack. Focus on farming and only secure kills if Morgana gets either too careless or if your jungler is ganking. Post-6, start roaming for kills instead of focusing on Morgana. She'll just snare you in her ultimate if you get too close.
Kennen: Thundering Shuriken sets up his harass. This can be easily blocked with Wind Wall, so it's not a problem. As an added bonus his waveclear is notoriously unreliable, so zoning him early sets him back greatly. Just make sure you don't get close enough to get caught by Slicing Maelstrom post-6 if he activates it, especially if his jungler is ganking.
Nidalee: Nidalee relies heavily on Javelin Toss for harass. Wind Wall makes it useless. Turn it into a farm lane, or simply pressure her out. Note that post-6, her chase and escape power skyrockets with access to pounce, so avoid getting caught at low health, especially if she's having the jungler gank.
Miss Fortune: In the unlikely chance you face a Miss Fortune in mid lane, Yasuo can easily block all her abilities, save Make it Rain. That doesn't even do enough damage to make it a threat however, so you should be fine.
Mordekaiser: Although Mordekaiser can easily bypass your passive and your Wind Wall, his biggest weakness is sustained damage. This is the primary reason he's hardly played in top lane. Most AD top lanes, and Yasuo, can chunk away his passive and still have enough damage to rip his squishy insides apart. Yes Mordekaiser is squishy as hell without his shield. Just be careful not to get tagged with his Children of the Grave and Ignite combo. If you're low enough this combo will nuke you and he'll get a powerful ghost to destroy your team with or even chunk your towers.
Anivia: All she can do is place her ultimate on you. Her other abilities can be easily blocked. However, if you so much as miss the timing once, she'll chunk you for massive damage with her combo. Generally the most skilled player will win this lane. Just don't dive Anivia if she reverts to egg form under her turret.
Karma: Her only form of strong harass is Spirit Flame, which is easily blocked with Wind Wall. Just make sure to prioritize blocking Mantra-infused Spirit Flame attacks over all else. Getting hit from one is like getting kissed by a Freight Train. Painful.
Xerath: Post-rework, Xerath is an absolute nuisance due to his passive's infinite mana sustain, however it has become extremely hard to land his abilities in lane. As long as you don't get caught by Xerath's stun and dodge his abilities with Sweeping Blade, he'll eventually become so frustrated he'll either get into melee range or ask for ganks. Just turn the lane into a farm lane and ward. Focus on late game scaling and you'll come out on top.
Ziggs: Fighting Ziggs is a bit of a Double-Edged Sword. He has a lot of tools to trigger your passive, but each one of them is a projectile. Basically put this matchup is decided only by the respective skill of both players, or whoever gets the first gank.
As a final note for this section, no AD carry that decides to go mid lane can do anything to harass you, thanks to your Wind Wall.
Yasuo's Best Teammates
Surprisingly, a lot of champions possess abilities that count as "Airborne", allowing Yasuo to use his ultimate on their target(s). Here's a full list:
Aatrox's Dark Flight
Alistar's Pulverize and Headbutt
Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab and Power Fist
Draven's Stand Aside
Fizz's Chum the Waters
Gragas's Explosive Cask
Janna's Howling Gale and Monsoon
Orianna's Command: Shockwave
Lee Sin's Dragon's Rage
Malphite's Unstoppable Force
Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard-Dragon Strike combo
Sejuani's Arctic Assault
Xin Zhao's Three Talon Strike and Crescent Sweep
Jayce's Thundering Blow
Nautilus's Depth Charge
Riven's Broken Wings (third cast only)
Zac's Elastic Slingshot and Let's Bounce
Quinn's Vault (on contact, split-second window given)
Vel'Koz's Tectonic Disruption
Braum's Glacial Fissure
Volibear's Rolling Thunder
Make sure to ask your teammates to get one of these champions if you want the utility they provide for you. My personal favoirite team setup is Malphite top, Yasuo mid (obviously), Diana jungle, Quinn AD carry, and Support Nami. The amout of late-game teamfight power is insane.
Closing and Final Warning
I hope you learned a lot from reading my guide to Yasuo. Good luck with using him, and do your best to piss off opponents by blocking their attacks with Wind Wall. (I've had a hilarious time doing it myself!) As a final note, if you ever enter a mirror-match against an enemy Yasuo, it all comes down as to who is the most skilled using his kit. I wish you all the best of luck.
As a final warning i'd like to mention that there is one AD carry that no matter how hard you try during the late game you'll never be able to beat in a 1v1 duel as Yasuo. That champion is Quinn. When she uses her ultimate, Quinn can straight-up chase you down and beat you in a duel no matter how much damage you do because of her blind. Don't ever pick Yasuo into a Quinn AD carry. In the future I plan to do a full comprehensive guide on Quinn for those of you who wish to try out this cruelly underused and amazing late game powerhouse.
NOTE: Yes, i'm new to Mobafire. I'm still learning how to properly form these guides so over time i'm going to edit them. I can't say when but as I learn more I plan to fully detail every aspect of this guide. I'm not using any flashy images, however.