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Build Guide by ShaDemon

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author ShaDemon

Yi of the Shadows

ShaDemon Last updated on January 1, 2011
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Ability Sequence

1
3
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
13
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
2
4
8
10
12
Ability Key E
6
11
16
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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
Sorcery
4/
Alacrity
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brute Force
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lethality
Improved Rally
 
 
 
 
 
 
Havoc
 
 

Offense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
2/
Strength of Spirit
Evasion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2/
Ardor
Reinforce
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Tenacity
 
 

Defense: 21

 
 
 
 
 
Awareness
Expanded Mind
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quickness
Blink of an Eye
 
 
 
 
 
Intelligence
Mystical Vision
 
 
 
 
 
 
Presence of the Master
 
 

Utility: 0


Introduction
First off: Try it before you rate it. If it fails you once, please don't give this build negative feedback. Try it a few times and if it still doesn't work, come back and see what you didn't do. Sometimes it's just your team. Other times you just have to work on certain skills. And, no offense to everyone, please don't post "+1, went K/D/A with this build." I really don't care about KD ratio personally, all I want is to win. My Takedowns(all assists, kills, and structures destroyed) roughly averages about 10 per game. A lot of that was me learning to play with the big boys when I was low level, but I have won more matches than I have lost, and that what matters to me. Instead, if you care to do so, please post the amount of times you won with this build to how many times you've lost with it. Keep in mind that different enemies will need different strategies, so if you can't figure it out on your own, ask before you rate.

I will admit, I am not the most experienced Yi player, but this is my build and it has worked for me, repeatedly and most importantly, consistently. It has two main cons. First, you need to have a team that you work well with. A team that doesn't understand how you play will hate you. Second, it requires that you stick to the very strict style of play. Because you need all the background information you can get before you play, I've put the "How to Play" section last.

Summoner Spells
Exhaust
Is a must. Use it to slow prey or predator, either way, it's extremely valuable.

Cleanse
This one you can play around with what you like. If you're willing to spend the extra cash, you can get the Quicksilver Sash. Which, at the time of this post, has 48 MR and works as a "Cleanse on Steroids". This extremely underused Sash removes ALL debuffs, including Mordekaiser's ultimate. It costs 1440, and the CD time is a mere 105 seconds.

Clarity
"WTF CLARITY?!" Yes, Clarity. I haven't actually tried this myself, but too many times have I run into a fight, only to hinder myself at the third kill from using too much mana. I mean, think about it. Alpha->Wuju->HL->Kill is already 280 Mana. At level 18, this leaves you with 7 Mana, ignoring regen and any mana boosts you may have.

Ghost
Just don't. Yi has a built in ghost, and it's called Highlander. It has a shorter cooldown and it prevents slows. And, whenever you use it to run, most times you should be on your way to base, so by the time you get back out to fight, there are only a few seconds left to us highlander. If you need Ghost, you're not play Yi as this guide suggests.

Masteries
Now, for those of you who are thinking, "Wait, this is a DPS build...Wtf defense masteries?", this Mastery points are critical in Master Yi's early survivability. This allows you to stay in the front lines that crucial extra fraction of a second. Trust me, when you play Yi to the edge, and you walk away with 20hp, you'll know these defense masteries worked as they were supposed to.

Runes
Now, forgive my inexperience, but as I am level 18 at the moment, I have yet to really work with runes. Please feel free to leave a comment if I've done something horribly wrong.

Marks
Straight up, Armor Pen. In the beginning of the game, this does one of two things:
1. Cuts enemy armor in half
2. Nullifies any armor item bought.
Pretty damn awesome, if you ask me.

Seals
Giving you about 12 armor in the game, it's worth a defense item in the beginning of the game. So freaking worth it.

Glyphs
"This is starting to look like a tank build..."
This is all for Early survivability, guys and gals. Keep in mind, your beginning game is all about farming, not killing. In mid game, your items will start to accumulate due to your farming early game, and your gankability will be quite sufficient, I assure you.

Quintessences
It's all about the Crit% here. Keep in mind, Crit is VERY crucial because of Infinity Edge.

Items
Alright, first things first.
NO Youmuu's Ghostblade
Why? Look at the explanation in the Phantom Dancer item's details.

An abbreviated Core Build:
Berserker Grieves
Stark's Fervor
Infinity Edge
Phantom Dancer
Hextech Gunblade

With this core build alone, at level 18, your DPS will be:
214 Against a foe with 300 Armor
453 Against a foe with 100 Armor
623 Against a for with 50 Armor
Using: DPS=[D*AS+(C*1.5)]*{1- Arp%[(ARM-FArP)/(100+ARM-FArP)]}

Of this damage:
40% will be Lifesteal'd.
20% will be Spellvamp'd.


Boots
You just need the mobility. Getting in, getting out you need to be at least as fast as your opponent, and this is how you do it.

Potions
DO NOT be afraid to use these. I usually have them burned up by early level 4 or so. Use them to harass and intimidate your opponent. Show them that you mean business and push them back. Also, if timed properly, it gives you a nice advantage in exp and you should always be at least the same level as they are, with more health, if you harass correctly. Unless that damned Zilean is on their team.

Berserker Grieves
Tremendously important. Now that you've already bought your boots, these will only cost 570G, which you should have by level 5-6. At level 5, or as soon as you can, get these. When you come back, with full health and mana, push and harass like mad to make your opponent retreat. When they do, immediately check Top/Bot lanes to see who has the lowest health, and who is the squishiest. I always go for the easiest kill, because Yi needs constant feeding. Whatever you decide to do, this is the moment to gank, because your enemy will be focused on buying, healing, and getting back out to defend mid tower.

Stark's Fervor
Probably the best item you get as Yi. Before I argue this, let's talk about how to go about getting it.
Now, for maximum effectiveness, always stay out on the battlefield as long as possible. I never go back unless I have under 25% health, or less than 40 mana(less than what it takes for Wuju Style), OR unless I have more than 3k gold. Always get the Vampiric Scepter after BG, because it allows you to keep your health at it's current level when fighting minions. Do the same with the Emblem of Valour, and if you can buy it instead of Vampiric Scepter, do it, I mean it is part of the build. Next, DO NOT wait to get the recurve bow, if you can get it, get it. Lastly, get yourself a Stark's fervor.

NOW, here's why Stark's fervor is the best item for Yi:
40% constant AS for yourself-Beautiful for Yi.
20% AS aura for allies- This is GREAT for ganking, though it's most useful for melee allies.
20 Armor reduction for nearby enemy Champions- HELL YES. This is the heart of Stark's Fervor's usefulness.
20% LS- Another great feature, though this one, like the AS aura boost, helps Melee allies so much more.
6hp/sec- Icing on the cake.
This item is just beautiful for Yi to have, WITHOUT the ally aura effect. The Armor pen with LS, AS, and HP Regen is great. This is a must have for Ganking, and this Yi build.

Infinity Edge
Ok, so this item will need a bit of an explanation:
Get your Cloak of Agility LAST. I know you want that awesome Crit, but right now, it's just not worth it. You need that awesome damage right here, right now. Crit is NOTHING without damage, and it means even less without Infinity Edge's passive. That being said, get the B.F Sword if you can first, because if you have enough to buy it, then it'll give you the highest damage. Next, the Pickaxe for that added damage. The price for IE after you have all it's sub-items is only 375, so very rarely will you have to get the Cloak of Agility without the IE, regardless, get what you can until you have the Infinity Edge.

The Infinity Edge is another unquestionable must have. The extra 50% damage on Crit attacks is godly amazing, and then it consolidates the attack from the B. F. Sword and Pickaxe, as well as boosting the Cloak of Agility's crit chance from 18% to 20%, all of which are great items to have on their own anyway, so for 375, this item is great for money and great for item potency.

Phantom Dancer
Now that you have the Infinity Edge, it's time for the Phantom Dancer.
Start off with getting Zeal first, but if you don't have enough money, Cloak of Agility is fine here. Zeal is better because for sacrificing just 8% crit chance, you 20% AS and 8% movement. But, Cloak of Agility is fine here, because you already have the added damage from Infinity Edge, and it's wonderful passive. Afterwards, finish up and get your Phantom Dancer.

Why this instead of the awesome Youmuu's Ghostblade?
Well, first consider the main use of Youmuu's Ghostblade: It's active. Well, fortunately, Youmuu's Ghostblade's active is built into Phantom Dancer as a passive. That's right, the only thing you sacrifice is 5% move speed, but you get to move 15% faster and attack attack 50% faster when you would be experiencing cooldown for Youmuu's Ghostblade.

On top of just this, Phantom Dancer give you a higher potency for crit chance, all the way up to 30%, a 15% increase from Youmuu's Ghostblade.

Now, for the Youmuu's Ghostblade pros:
20 ArP- Useless number by the time you get this item. You'd be much better off with Last Whisper along with Phantom Dancer, but for all you nay-sayers, here's the explanation:

If you're fighting someone with a mere 100 armor, Youmuu's Ghostblade will take 20 that away. Last whisper will take 40 of that armor away. That's already a gap of 20 armor. At 200 armor, the gap is increased to 60. Don't forget that the passive from Youmuu's Ghostblade is ALREADY built into Phantom Dancer. Still, this build focuses on damage mainly to squishies, so ArP is not something that is a priority here.

Another is that 15% cooldown that Youmuu's Ghostblade offers. It's absolutely useless by the time you get this item, if you're making kills with Highlander, as you should be.

Hextech Gunblade
Before I get into "Why?", let's get into "How?".

Obviously, start off with the Bilgewater Cutlass. If you can't buy it outright, the choose between the Pickaxe or Vampiric Scepter. Choose the Vampiric Scepter if you find yourself taking too much damage or even dying a lot, and take the Pickaxe to kill those squishies, and everyone else, faster. After the cutlass, there's really only one way to go until you have the gunblade.

Ok, so now for the "Why?":
-Bilgewater Cutlass offers 20% LS, which, without stacks, is the highest potency per item slot you can get for LS.
-It offers a very good 60 AD.
-20% Spell Vamp will come in very handy when killing mass enemy Champs, because highlander is not cheap if you use it more than 3-4x in a row.
-75 AP is kind of like icing on the cake, it just adds an extra 75 damage to your Alpha Strike.
-The REAL reason we have Hextech Gunblade: It's active. Basically Exhaust on steroids, this can completely change the game if you're head-to-head in late game. It's range exeeds Exhaust's 550(lolwiki) by 150, having a range of 700. On top of that, it slows that target 10% more, a total of 50% slow for 3 seconds, only .5 seconds behind Exhaust WITH the mastery point. AND THEN it's less than half the cooldown time at only 100 seconds, compared to Exhaust's 210. Finally, to top it all off, it offers 300 Magic Damage to the victim of the active. Clearly worth it.

There's an option at this point:

First,
The Bloodthirster
Not really going to go into this too much. Games rarely last this long. It just gives added AD and LS, and if you don't die, the stacks are pretty sweet.

Second,
Phantom Dancer #2
You know all the bonus effects from my previous explanation. Main thing that this one gives is the 30% crit, so buy the Cloak of Aglity first, for this one. After you get this second item, your crit chance will be off the chain at 80%.

How to Play
Ah yes, the most important part. It's very crucial you stick to these instructions very closely, and make very sure that you don't stray from them too far. Also, this is not something you can just pick up once out of nowhere if you have never played Yi before, and even if you have, it's still a bit difficult to execute.

Early Game
You take the Middle Lane. You fight for it as hard as you can. You don't care if there is Ashe, Sivir, or anyone else there. They are a much better support for their co-laner. If there is a jungler on your team, still, you take mid. Yi is very weak health-wise, and when two enemies target him it's almost always death, and if it's not, you're underfed and rendered useless anyway. MID IS NOT EASY. It is simply the best option for this Yi.

Now, first thing to do is Alpha Strike your the first four minions you see, targeting the first. You generally always target the first, so that you can end up back there and run away afterwards. But this first time, try not to do that, just stay there for a bit and attack the minions. If the Enemy is too close, attack them a bit, too. If their health is lower than yours percentage-wise, attack them, unless they have burst, CC, or if there is an MIA. You know you're doing good if you don't have to return until level 5 or 6, and you don't have any damage on your tower.

Mid Game
Right now you should be about level 6. This is where I mark mid game because your strategy changes. During this time you're moving away from farming and into ganking. NEVER INITIATE A FIGHT unless you are going 1v1, and you can account for ALL other enemies on the map, AND you know they are far enough from you to make the kill. Other than that, continue to farm, but focus more on ganking. I try to gank whichever opponent's side has the red buff. (Which, with a vampiric scepter, is easy enough to get and still have about half health left.) After grabbing their red buff (or blue if the other side is not squishy enough) I go to the bushes behind the enemy. ALWAYS make sure that your allies know that you are ganking, and that they are on board. Also, make sure that if your ally has CC that you know who you are targeting, and what the trigger for your attack is. For example, my friend(amumu) and I work pretty well together. I wait for him to shoot out his bandages, and if I see it make contact, or know it will, I will pop out, and immediately, start slashing. If they attempt to get away, don't hesitate to use Exhaust, as it's primary function is for hunting. DO NOT waste Alpha Strike on an Exhaust'd foe, because you may need to teleport to them when they are running at full speed or have some speed boost. I mark the end of mid game once I hit about level 13, and I have the Infinity Edge.

Late Game
By now, you should have completely abandoned farming minions. If you're not doing well right now, jungle your *** off. Get blue buff first, and go to the dragon, pop your ult and take it down. You have to be worth something. And by "doing bad" I mean you don't have a kill and/or you are behind in levels. You always need to be making cash somehow. Other than that, you should be focusing purely on killing enemies, or snaking turrets. Squishies are the best prey, especially good pushers who like to go on their own, like Ashe and Sivir. To kill them 1v1, come from behind, and wait till their a good distance from their turret. Next, come in and alpha strike them and then hit them once or twice with your normal attack. BE OBSERVANT. Always gauge the damage you do to them, and the damage you receive. Take risks, but take smart risks. Also a bit risky, but if a teammate of theirs comes and they gank you, remember that SOMETIMES killing the squishy is the best way to escape for two reasons. First, you are probably taking a lot less damage, because squishier targets are either DPS or Support, and second, your Highlander ability will refresh upon you getting a kill, so you can pop it again for a full 9-12 seconds of un-slowed running. Anticipate enemies that have stuns, and time your cleanse accordingly. Also, always be aware of your mana, even if you make the kill and refresh your Highlander ability, it means nothing without 120 mana.
Your team NEEDS to know that you are not the kind of person who fights all throughout the team fight. They call Yi a "Clean-up Carry" for a reason. If you can make a kill and get out with good health, fine, that's also what LS is for. But you SHINE when the enemies are on the run, particularly if they are spread out. Pop highlander and kill them, get highlander refreshed, and repeat as much as possible. At this point, if you have good communication, and if your team is larger than your opponent's team, try to get them to focus on a single turret, draw attention, and you try to go backdoor another turret. If you can constantly kill more of them in team fights, this strategy should always win. If not, just stick together after team fights and continue to victory regardless.
However, if you find yourself constantly losing, have your team stick to your turrets and defend. When you can account for all of your enemies, run into their side, push your side, or do something to get their attention. Normally, they'll send two to get you, because Yi can generally win a 1v1 fight late game. When they do, make sure your team is pushing, hard. Because it's 4v3, they should be able to deal significant damage and push them back. If your team can't do either with 4v3, then your team's loss is not your fault. Once then do, try to circle out of their two champs who are after you and target the weakened 3 champs wandering around the forest/rivers/lanes. They may or may not be together, and remember that the 2 hunter champions are always behind you, so kills have to be quick if you're on your own, and you still have to be careful if you're helped. With 445 move, you should be able to run and hunt at the same time, and do not be afraid to pop Highlander if you are going to die. Never give the enemies your kill-streak bonus.

Final tips:
Baron
He's weak the earlier you fight him, so kill him ASAP. Watch out and don't be circled. Late game though, as soon as you finish the core build, you and a single tank should be able to take him. I can get him to about 25% health on my own without a tank. Doing this while 3 allies are in a fight can seriously throw off the enemy forces.

Dragon:
At level 11, with your LS in place, you should be able to solo the Dragon, only losing 25% of your max health. Do this for the massive gold reward for your team, as well as great exp. Don't go out of your way for it though, as you may be needed in a fight at a moments notice.

Blue/Red Buff:
Usually both are great to have. Blue buff is best in situations when the opponents are a bit beefy, and you aren't able to use highlander to refresh your abilities. Red buff is better for squishy opponents that are fast or have CC that inhibits you. Having an automatic slow in your attacks without having to pay for it and use an item slot is great. Like the dragon, do NOT go out of your way for these buffs, only do them in passing, as they should only be pits stops on your way to a your destination: a fight.

Alpha Strike:
Understand how this move works. I'm not exactly sure what the distance of it's effectiveness is, but it will jump from enemy to enemy.In the diagram above, you can see that attacking minion 2 will cause you to either attack and end at minion 1, or attack minion 2, then 3, then end at 4, leaving you one short of your maximum, 4. But, should you attack minion 1, Alpha strike is forced to follow from minion 1, to 2, to 3, and finally to 4. Keep in mind that if minion 4 is actually an enemy champ that is near a tower, and minion 1 is not, this is a great way to deal damage to them without their turret attacking you.

Attack Combos:
There generally is only really one attack combo for this style of play:
Alpha Strike -> Highlander -> Wuju Style -> Exhaust(if needed) -> Alpha Strike (Only if Exhaust has run its course and you need to catch your opponent)
Everything up to Exhaust is a must use. Regardless of their health, location, situation, etc. Always make sure the job gets done. Because of Highlander's instant cooldown refresh, overkill is ALWAYS better than underkill.

Attack-Move:
Something that many RTSs employ, attack move is generally good for "autopiloted" attacking enemies along a certain path, so you can check around the map. Never use this when there is an enemy near you. Use it when you are clear of enemies, and always use you mini map to see if there is an incoming enemy, immediately using the spacebar to bring your screen back to your character.

Sight:
This Yi has to be a very sneaky Yi. ALWAYS know what your opponents vision is. Every unit has the same distance for vision in this game, so it's not difficult. Always remember that if your Champion can see an enemy unit, the entire team can see you on their mini-map. Though, remember, that an enemy unit has to be in sight distance of you. Use this to your advantage. Always remain undetected until you attack, and if your position is compromised, always abandon the gank, unless it's sure to work.

Death:
If you're going to die, and you know it, let it be a turret to kill you. No, not because you screw with their KD ratio, but because if you're playing right, you have a kill streak, and the killer gets that bonus in gold. Having a turret kill you prevents the other team from receiving this bonus. Also, know what your life is worth. I will often scarifice myself to save three of my teammate's lives, sometimes only two, if I think it's worth it. DO NOT do this if your teammates will try to come back and save you.

Kills:
Sometimes you will be hated. Because Master Yi is a clean-up Carry, he doesn't always fit well in team fights. But he's great at killing off weakened enemies. Sometimes you just have to wait in the brush behind the enemies in a team fight and wait for one to get weak and go to the back of their team, and right in front of your attack range. If it happens, pop highlander, get the kill, pop highlander again, and gtfo if it's too dangerous. Otherwise, continue to kill the rest of their team, if possible.

Closing Remarks:
This is my first guide, so please be gentle! I'd love to hear comments and suggestions for this build, and I promise to try it before I write feedback, if I haven't tried it already! Also, please don't rate this build if it failed you hard on the first try. If it failed you, come back, read this over, and see what you didn't do. If you still have trouble, post a comment and I will try to help solve the issue. If there are enough requests, I will post Strategies on fighting specific enemies.

Thanks for reading!