Yorick Build Guide by Actinide
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
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.
If you play right, you won't die, and likely carry your team, 'nuff said.
*Note #1: The auto-calculated AD here is wrong. It doesn't account for the extra 50 AD and 1000 mana a fully stacked Manamune will give, which you'll get within 20 mins of buying it.
*Note #2: The two builds here are interchangeable for certain items and flexible- if you need more tankiness on the team then get 'Mogs and Force of Nature, if your team lacks AD and has tanks then the Maw and Fro' Mal' will work better.
*Note #3: While the presentation on this guide isn't great it has all the information you need to crush with Yorick. You also have to learn his abilities perfectly, how they scale and in the loading screen, look up tips to fight who you're laning against.
''Die first, then we'll talk.''
The work of gravediggers is essential amongst the living, but invaluable in the Shadow Isles. There are many shades of death there, and each is embraced rather than feared or reviled. One can only ascend from one state to the next with the magical aid of a skilled professional. At the end of the first Rune War, Yorick Mori made his living as a gravedigger.
His family owned and maintained the Final Rest Memorial, one of the oldest cemeteries in Valoran. The shovel he employed for his work had been passed down for generations. Each gravedigger taught his son that this shovel was imbued with the spirit of every forefather, and that those spirits would protect him during the long lonely nights amongst the tombstones. To his eternal regret, Yorick died without an heir, bringing the proud Mori line to a close. His body was interred with his shovel in the family mausoleum, and the Final Rest Memorial soon fell to ruin. Death, however, was not the end Yorick had expected.
Yorick emerged on the haunted shores of the Shadow Isles - not quite dead, definitely not alive - still clutching his beloved shovel. He soon learned that with it he could act as a ferryman for the Isles' undead denizens, helping them climb death's many-tiered ladder. This proved a curse, as a gravedigger must ''bury his quota'' before he too can ascend, or so the legend goes. No one knows what ''his quota'' is.
Yorick dug tirelessly, waiting in vain for the day when he would be freed of his burden. As decades turned to centuries, the shame of his failures came to a head. He returned to Valoran to find his corpse, convinced that salvation might be buried with it. When he arrived, no trace remained of either the mausoleum or the memorial. Hope nearly lost, he discovered the League of Legends, and there saw an opportunity to immortalize the family name he allowed to be forgotten ages ago.
Pros / Cons
-If played well, wins a lane with ease
-Epic harrass with the W and E pokes
-Farms well with ghouls which prioritise champs to drive them away
-Omen Of Famine ghoul has 100% lifesteal to get back to full health fast
-Can turn a 1v1 duel into an easy 2v1 with ultimate- and make 6v5 teamfights
-Innate gives excellent tankiness and ulti has a low cooldown
-Movement buff from the Q and slow from the W give decent escape from a chase
Cons & Overcoming:
-Becomes very mana hungry before Tear is built- Get blue buff early or mana pots
-Slightly squishy early on- Get a health pot as well, and be safe
-Ulti is hard to aim in an intense teamfight, you might clone the wrong champ- Take care
-W is only a utility lategame as it scales with AP- It's a free ward, don't complain
ARMOR PEN?! ON YORICK?!?!
Almost every guide says to use AD marks and quints because Yorick's ghouls get 35% of his AD. What they fail to realise is that his ghouls get 100% of his armor pen, so until at least midgame your ghouls should deal close to true damage, allowing you to focus your item builds on AD and tankiness.
While AD marks are nice for last hits they quickly become less important lategame due to AD increasing items like Manamune and Atma's. If you feel you need help with last hits then go for flat AD, but if you're an experienced solotop you should have no trouble lasthitting minions with your innate AD, and if not Omen of War will allow easy last hits, which is why I take full Armor Penetration Marks and Quints.
The flat armour seals and magic resist per level glyphs are pretty standard, and are always good- most people have them anyway so you won't have to go out of your way to change a rune page you have.
My preferred build uses mainly Utility masteries, with some offence:
Mana per level and mana regen are great early game and stack well with Manamune.
Improved recall will save your *** often.
Move speed is nice as Yorick moves painfully slowly, even with shoes.
Runic affinity is mainly to get up to the next tier but it won't hurt to steal their buffs.
Increased experience puts you at a great advantage in a solo lane so you can harass earlier with the ghouls, and it gets you up to the next tier.
I max out Yorick's flat cooldown reduction in these masteries, with the 6% in the Utility and the 4% in offence- the max. cooldown reduction possible is 40% so the 10% boost here plus the extra from frozen heart means that from mid-late game you can have all 3 ghouls constantly out.
The point in health regen per mana is just to get to the final tier, but also the first point gives the biggest (0.4%) bonus, rather than the 0.3% bonuses from the next 2 points.
15% reduction on summoner spells is brilliant, as you can flash away from any threats or ignite much more often to get those ganks.
Summoner's Wrath is good as you can waste ignite immediately, getting a fantastic early poke and the 5AD helps to last hit minions- and it'll come back 15% faster due to Mastermind.
Flat AD is used here to get to the next tier and last hit better. You might want to get Butcher instead for better damage on minions- your choice.
Cooldown reduction here brings the total up to 10% from level 1, so you can constantly harrass.
A little bit of cheeky magic penetration here too to get extra damage from your W and E spells.
Alternative: Defence and your choice:
The utilities are great, but if you plan to build high AD rather than tankiness (build #2 here) defensive masteries might be more useful, as you still get great cooldown reduction and some defence to increase sustainability in lane.
This alternative gives far better movespeed and early defence but less cooldowns throughout the game unless you take 9 offensive masteries with the cooldowns and magic pen, and sacrifice mana regen.
In case you didn't already know Yorick's 4 abilities are references to the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse: War, Starvation (Famine), Plague (Pestilence) and Death.
The title says Demonoid but I'm pretty sure it was Pentakill who wrote this song. Yorick's spade has brilliant sound quality.
I find this build to be optimal for Yorick, as he has some great options and you can mix-and-match the perfect item set, and gives a perfectly balanced tanky DPS. You can build the last few items in any order depending on if they have fed AD carries (frozen heart), fed mages (forece of nature) or a strong balance (health first).
Start with Meki Pendant for mana regen and get 2 mana pots. Then wait in the side of the base with your 15 gold until minions spawn (there's a certain distance from the fountain where you can still access the shop) and wait for about 10, 15 seconds until you can afford a third pot. The mana pots are to give you better sustainability early-game, and once you get Manamune (or even tear) your mana problems will be over.
Health pots aren't needed in my opinion because your E has a tiny cooldown and gives fantastic life steal so you can stay in your lane as long as you have the mana to afford the ghoul- although if you're againt a particularly strong melee champ like Wukong or Fiora who knows to hurt you early on it might be better to get health pots and stay safe at your tower until you can dominate by spamming all 3 ghouls.
Get a Tear of the Goddess for mana and Boots of Speed for speed (duh). SIGHT WARDS!
Get a Manamune and Merc. 'Mune for no more mana starvation, a HUGE AD boost and he boots for tenacity, which is great at every stage of the game. And also speed (duh).
It goes without saying that you ask your jungler to hold the lane when you're gone.
By this point you won't be stuck in your lane cos you have a massive ****, you'll be going around getting ganks or engaging in teamfights. Don't go after dragon unless you're already there after a teamfight, as it's too far to travel.
You'll want to rush Glacial Shroud for sweet CDR and armor- the mana from it also gives great AD, synergising with Manamune. If you're up against a strong AP top laner it might be best to get Negatron Cloak earlier or Hexdrinker if you feel you lack AD- you have to use your brain a bit.
I don't really need to expand much on the other items- Manamune with Frozen Heart and Atma's with Warmog's gives insane AD with incredible tankiness as well, and Force of Nature protects you from the AP champs and gives insane regen too. The frozen heart will also reduce DPS of their AD carries by 20%, and if you blow enemy cooldowns to initiate using your ultimate, the teamfight can be very successful.
Warmog's (Crazy HP) and Frozen Mallet (Slow, HP and damage). I prefer Warmog's as the AD difference is partially made up for by Atma's, and Yorick is NOT an AD carry. The slow on Mallet is still nice and if you manage to get it early will give you great killing power.
Force of Nature and Maw Of Malmortius (AD, MR and SWEET SHIELD). Again, both of these are good finishing items on Yorick and make you able to take damage for an entire teamfight (plus 10 seconds if you Ulti correctly). I usually get Force because the 1 item slot left fits Negatron Cloak best to build into it, as it has best magic resist for a basic item.
Other Viable Items:
Triforce is a great item and every effect (apart from the 30AP) will help out Yorick. The Sheen passive is fantastic on any strong AD character so this build can be used, with Mana and Health to help the 'mune and Atma's too! In the endgame you may want to swap out an item in your finished build for this as a luxury.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity give 15% cooldown reduction, so if their team has low CC or strong AP carries, you can take these and to replace frozen heart...
Guardian Angel means you can live twice. What's there to dislike?!
Boots of Swiftness make you a speed monster. This is good for dominion and if you feel Yorick is too slow. The speed from this, triforce and force of nature are great!
Ninja Tabi can be good against an AD toplaner and jungler, with no CC. You can get these early on but switch them out for Merc. Treads later.
Banshee's Veil has more mana for the 'mune and a great passive, but FoN is better due to move speed and health regen, so you don't need to B after visiting Baron Nashor.
Spirit Visage is fantastic due to balances MR and HP stats, and the cooldowns make you a ghoul monster. A brilliant mid-game item which increases the healing from the E ghoul by 15% too! Good to get cheaply early on to later swap for Warmog's.
I like Flash and Ignite best on Yorick, for obvious reasons- securing and escaping from kills. I often like to waste my ignite early in the first exchange with the other solotop (plus use my W poke) as the Summoner's Wrath mastery gives 5 extra AD with ignite on cooldown, which both helps for last hits AND scares the hell out of the enemy when his health halves.
Exhaust can be nice to 1v1 somebody pre-6, but after that it's not particularly useful as you can clone yourself with R (which has a lower cooldown!) and slow their escape with W.
Ghost is really only a good escape when they have no CC, flash is better. It can be good for securing ganks though, especially if you take jungle Yorick (then take Smite as well).
Teleport can be fun to secure ganks in other lanes- they place a ward in the brush then you unexpectedly appear and spam all 3 ghouls! They have no chance.
tl;dr R>E>W=Q. Try to shy away from using these for last hits if you can because it'll push the lane with your ghouls- mostly use them to harass the champion only from a distance.
Your innate will give you 15% reduced damage and 15% more damage when you use your QWE combo (i.e. you spam all 3 ghouls at once in an exchange). This makes you crazy strong and once you build fully tanky nearly nothing can stop you.
Your Q is maxed out at the same time as the W because it's great for last hitting and the move speed increases are similar. This doesn't increase in mana cost over levels and the cooldown is better than the W, so you may eevn want to get this beforehand. The move speed from it is more of a utility though it has the best damage of all your ghouls- the others are just more useful early on. This ability will reset the attack speed counter so use it JUST AFTER your last attack, so it'll land a quick double hit, which is great for last hits or damaging a champ.
Get the W at Lv1 for the best ranged poke and bush-checking. Remember that your ghouls can't follow enemy champs into a bush unless you have sight, so ward often or follow them in if it's safe. The W is nice for crushing a bunched-up minion wave after the laning phase and poking, but remember to aim for the champ only- you don't want a pushed lane early on as you can get ganked easily. Your ghouls can attack turrets and this is the only of your basic (non-ultimate) abilities that can be cast with no target, so is great for any situation, especially helping get those pesky turrets.Remember here your ghoul can block attacks, absorbing skillshots and giving unit collision. LOL! Rammus can't powerball me!! Abuse the ghoul-blocking power of Yorick as much as you can. It's hilarious and the enemies will rage like a thousand suns. LOL SHACO I DESTROYED YOUR BOXES!!
E is the best basic ability for Yorick by far, as it heals him to max. health in only a few uses. It's the reason you don't need any health pots early on, and gives crazy harass as well. It can also be nice to last hit minions with, and the cooldown is also small.
R, your ultimate, is gamechanging and makes you practically impossible to kill 1v1, as you can make it a 2v1. At level 3, following my build you'll have 30% CDR now (40% with blue buff) which pushes the cooldown to below a minute- completely worth using in almost any dangerous situation:
-Tanking towers with 175% of your normal AD, while the turret focuses your clone.
-Reviving yourself or others- I prefer myself as most allies are confused and don't take advantage of the 10 seconds of vengeance, I was once saving my fed sivir who then used her 10 seconds to escape, thinking I'd saved her. *Headdesks*
-Kills, turning 1v1 duels into 2v1, and 5v5 teamfights into 6v5. Game changing. If you have a clear aim, use it on the AD carry to supercharge the team's damage output.
-Escapes, where the enemies might focus your clone if you're lucky (drop your Q and W on the way out to be safe and speed away).
-As you recall you may want to pop your ulti to scout to check you're safe. It'll be cooled down by the time your back, so you might as well be safe.
-2 man baron. Ult your AD carry and you can both take him down relatively quickly if you're all that's standing after a teamfight. Continue to their nexus.
-Cooldown blowing, use this to initiate a teamfight and laugh as they blow their abilities on a clone. Remember to Alt+Right Click!
It also feels pretty liberating to chase the enemy with all you have with your 10 seconds of life after dying, as you know they can't harm that which is dead already- and laugh as *some* people actually try to fight you... and lose.
Champs To Watch Out For
If you play smart you can zone all of these, but take extra caution and focus- for these you may want to buy some health pots at the start also.
Renekton: His stun is annoying as hell, and don't stand between the minions and him or he can damage you a lot. Harass him from a distance, preferably near the bushes. Farm last hits and be careful, and after a jungle gank you can easily take the lane. Renekton's passive and abilities rely on him autoattacking minions to sustain in the lane, so usually he'll push to your turret constantly, where you're safe: To last-hit here, the turret does most of the work and lets you get the hit easily- it does 2 hits on the melee minions and one on casters before you can last hit.
Jax: He's ridiculously powerful, and can stun you easily and from a distance with his E-Q-E combo. He also has a good escape ability, and his W gives massive damage. Run to turret when he spins his staff, and ask for ganks early on (just as a minion wave arrives so he can't escape with Q). WIth Jax, farm and let farm, and last hit from a safe distance with W and E.
Tryndamere: Don't be an idiot and attack him directly, just stay back and harass him, and Q whenever he spins to you, and be wary of his ult when he could turret dive you. If you feel scared, just try and last-hit minions using your W and E from a distance.
Wukong: His harass is weak but his decoy will absorb ghoul damage easily. Harass from a distance, and remember he has great early damage. His lack of CC should give an easy lane if you're safe.
Riven: Her escaping is great and she can shield and damage hard too. Be very cautious and harass safely.
Fiora: If she knows what to do she will be extremely aggressive from level 1-3 and shred your health. Be safe then, and after level 3 spam all ghouls at once and watch her die a lot.
Udyr: It's hard to zone this guy due to his Turtle Stance giving great defence and his Wriggle's will grant huge lifesteal. He will probably beat you in CS but if he doesn't get Turtle maxed first you can shred him up. Just try to farm every minion possible, and don't waste mana on harassing him. He is unlikely to kill you though, so just get jungle ganks often.
Garen: Keep using W on the brush he hides in and be safe. He is tanky and has the silence and blade spin which can shred you badly. Harass safely.
Trundle: I keep hearing that he's the only counter to Yorick. This is total BS, he's pretty easy to zone and he doesn't heal any significant amount from killing your ghouls. Harass and be safe.
Mordekaiser: Take advantage of his weak early game and harass him a lot. Spam him with 3 ghouls at a time before he can get in range of you. Stay in the brush.
Feel free to leave comments if you got zoned hard by a champ I missed out.
Final Note On Harass And Jungling
Almost every Yorick player will think/do this in the laning phase, thinking it's how to play: "Oh, the enemy is there! I'll shoot out all 3 ghouls at once and damage him!"
This works fine for the first 5 minutes, but afterwards you realise you're out of mana and need to recall. The meki pendant is good, but will only give 840 mana over 10 minutes, which, while being huge, won't sustain you spamming every ghoul constantly. The way to play Yorick is to wait until your enemy is away from the brush (your ghouls won't target him if they lose sight) and shoot out your E (it'll give you health and also not damage the nearby minions. If he does walk into the brush, shoot out your W to get sight and the ghouls will keep attacking. Do this whenever he gets too close but don't be too liberal- have at least half of your mana left at all times, and aim for your ghouls to PUNISH the enemy for laning against you. Once you get a Manamune NOW you can spam your ghouls, as you get nearly infinite mana from it. Freefarm near to your turret and ward the central brush ASAP.
I tried this a few times and while fairly viable, I prefer not to do this as Yorick has a painfully slow move speed, so ganks are only possible in pushed lanes where they have few escape abilities. To set up ganks wait in the bush and unleash your W to slow. Quickly E and Q the enemy and damage them for a clean kill.
Jungle Yorick should take smite and flash, or exhaust or ignite for ganks. Get the E ability first as it has a lower cooldown and gives better sustainability with lifesteal, and then max out abilities with priority R>W>Q>E.
This is to maximise the move speed difference for good ganks- Omen of Pestilence slows from 20-40% at levels 1-5 and Omen of War makes you 15-35% faster while alive from levels 1-5. Omen of Famine only has the nuke when summoned that gets better when levelled, which is only good for laning and harrass. In the jungle the lifesteal (which remains mostly constant) is more a utility.
Due to his ghouls Wriggle's Lantern isn't really necessary for Yorick, I prefer to rush boots and Tear fast so your AP Carry can get the second blue buff and win midlane.
For items I get boots first and 3 pots, or even long sword to later build into Manamune. There's no set starter item here as your ghouls make jungling and sustaining incredibly easy.