Yorick Build Guide by JCISoldier
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.
This guide focuses on Yorick: The Grave Digger as a solo top laner. He has become one of the most effective and hard-to-counter champions that sees play in the top lane. Yorick is a tanky DPS champion who excels at sustaining himself in lane, while harassing the opponent.
This guide looks at Yorick as an Offtank Physical Damage dealer, but also includes an AD and full Tank build, as well as a build for Dominion. These builds are, obviously, meant to be used in different situation and with different team compositions. The dominion build focuses on speed as well as utility.
I will be showing and explaining how I play Yorick. It is not the only, nor do I claim that it is the best, way to play him, but I've found it has worked very well for me.
If you like the guide or find it helpful, please comment and vote. If you have any great screen shots of your Yorick games I'll post them here.
Also: please read the section on Items before referring to the cheat sheet at the top of the page. All of the reasons for item that are or are not in the build are given there.
|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.
''Die first, then we'll talk.''
Yorick's four abilities are directly based on four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seen in the last book of the New Testament in the bible (see Revelation 6:1-8). These horsemen are part of the ushering in of the apocalypse and are often seen as omens of the end of days. They are often personified as Conquest, War, Famine and Death. In popular culture the first horseman (Conquest) is often substituted for Pestilence, thus you get the names of Yorick's four abilities.
Pros / Cons
Like all champions in League of Legends, Yorick has significant strengths and weaknesses. He is a great asset to any team and, if played correctly, is extremely difficult to counter or outlane. Being aware of his pros and cons will make you much stronger while playing him.
+Hard to Counter
+Excellent 1v1 Champion
+Ultimate great in team fights
+Naturally Tanky from Unholy Covenant
+Very fun to play (the ghouls)!
-Very mana hungry
- Omen of Pestilence is his only escape tool
-Ultimate requires good timing for effectiveness
-Somewhat difficult to play
- Need to melee attack to use Omen of War
Summoner's Wrath : It may not seem like much, but having an extra 5 Ability Power and Attack Power can really help with a close 1v1. Taking a point in Summoner's Wraith and using Ignite may be all you need to win a fight. If you use ignite at the beginning of a 1v1 near the beginning of the game, you can really utilize your damage boost.
Brute Force : This mastery is taken for the same reason as the first. Extra damage helps you come out on top. This extra AD also buffs all your ghouls (including Omen of Death if you use it on yourself).
Alacrity : Increases your fighting and last hitting potential.
Weapon Expertise : Increases overall damage, including the damage on your Spectral Ghoul from Omen of War.
Resistance : Increases toughness when laning against AP tops and in mid to late game.
Hardiness : Increases tankiness in laning phase against AD champions as well as against minions and turrets.
Durability : Helps you with survivability while giving your ghouls more health as well. Being tanky is key to winning 1v1s against other champions, as well as surviving in team fights.
Veteran's Scars : This extra 30 Health really helps with level 1-3. 30 health is often the difference between getting or losing first blood ( Ignite is really good to help securing that last little bit of health on your enemies).
Indomitable : when this is added to Unholy Covenant you get a lot of damage reduction and one fairly tanky champion.
Siege Commander : This helps when pushing lanes and towers. Yorick is already an excellent pusher and this adds to that immensely.
Enlightenment : Cooldown Reduction means more ghouls and using your ult more often. Don't pass this one up.
Honor Guard : Once again adding to your survivability and tankiness through damage reduction.
Juggernaut : The health buffs you and your ghouls and the Tenacity, when stacked with Mercury's Treads can sometimes help you get out of those sticky situations since Yorick has no real escape tools.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: If you're going to want to do any damage with Yorick (and believe me, you do), you are going to want at least some Attack Damage Runes. These guys really help you (and your ghouls) out. It helps that Unholy Covenant ups your damage every time you summon a ghouls as well.
greater seal of vitality Greater Seal of vitality: Just with the masteries, and the items, health is really going to help you out. Health makes you more durable and it keeps you alive longer. There's not a more simple way to put it.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction: Cooldown Reduction makes it so you can use your abilities more often. With Unholy Covenant you're going to be wanting to have as many ghouls come out as possible with drawn out fights. This will give you the damage reduction and damage you need to win a fight.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Everything said about the Greater Mark of Attack Damage apply here too. You need damage to kill things just as much as you need health to stay alive.
The runes I use are not the only viable runes to use on Yorick. When you put together your own rune page you should consider your own preferences and play style when deciding what runes to take. Here are some other runes that I think work well on this champion that you might want to try out:
greater glyph of replenishment greater glyph of replenishment: This can be taken if you really have trouble with mana early. It will help in lane in the first couple of levels. I recommend not getting this, being more conservative, and getting your Tear of the Goddess as early as possible.
Greater Seal of Armor: A lot of players take these for the same reason they take Hardiness . It gives you more durability against AD top laners (and many champions that lane top are AD based) as well as against minions and turrets.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: These runes are very good to keep Yorick alive in mid and late game. My build is a bit more aggressive, not fully tanky, so I prefer to use the cooldown reduction glyphs. However, I do use these on my full tank build, so if you are playing in that style I would recommend these.
greater quintessence of desolation greater quintessence of desolation: With the Greater Mark of Attack Damage, some people like to build this champion with a bit of Armor Penetration. Personally, I like using more Attack Damage because of the bonus AD you and your ghouls receive from Unholy Covenant. Also, only one of your ghouls (your Spectral Ghoul from Omen of War) benefits from Armor Penetration.
Greater quintessence of swiftness: These runes, stacked with the movement from Omen of War, can make a Yorick pretty fast. They can be fun to play with and help you escape if you're caught be the enemy team, but I don't think overall they're worth having. I do recommend using them on dominion however, since mobility is so important on the Crystal Scar.
These two summoner spells are the two that I most commonly use while solo top laning as Yorick.
Flashis incredibly useful on Yorick, especially because he doesn't have effective ways of escaping built in with his abilities. Flash is more versatile than Ghost because it lets you escape or pursue over walls and ledges and because the movement is instantaneous.
Ignite is great to have for those situations that the enemy champion gets away with a sliver of health. The True Damage over time helps secures those kills. The debuff to healing works very well while dueling against a lot of top lane champions who have healing (like Xin Zhao and Lee Sin) or build life stealing items like Wriggle's Lantern.
Exhaust is great for dueling champions because it lowers their damage output significantly. Omen of Pestilence already has a big slow on it, but this can still help secure ganks and chases. This spell is very useful if you're playing as a tank.
Ghost is good for both chasing and escaping, but I personally find it isn't as useful as Flash. However, if you combine this spell and Omen of War you can really cover some ground. I would recommend taking this spell on dominion.
Heal is sometimes useful for top laners, but I find it very situational. It can be used to bait an enemy into thinking they can 1v1 or tower dive you, but outside of that I find that Omen of Famine gives Yorick enough sustain that he doesn't need this spell.
Teleportis also very useful for any solo top champion. I personally find that the utility of Flash or Ghost is better when fighting, so I don't usually take teleport on solo top champions (except Shen). This spell can be used to stay ahead of your opponent by spending more time in lane and, because Yorick is such a good pusher, it can be used to take towers in mid or late game. Always remember that you can also use Teleport to gank bottom or mid lane if they have wards down and turn a 1v1 into a 2v1 or a 2v2 into a 3v2.
Champion Skills and Tips
Unholy Covenant (Passive): Yorick's takes 5% reduced damage and his basic attacks deal 5% more damage for each summon that is active. Meanwhile, Yorick's ghouls have 35% of Yorick's Attack Damage and Health.
This passive is the key to playing Yorick and it's what makes him so much fun. Having three or four ghouls with you in a fight makes it so you can really surprise an enemy with your durability and damage. It should be noted that during Omen of Death, both the Revenant and Reanimated champions count towards this bonus. This passive becomes beastly when combined with masteries like Indomitable and Honor Guard and makes Yorick one of the most naturally tanky champions in the game.
Omen of War: Yorick's next attack will deal 30/60/90/120/150 (+1.2) physical damage and summon a Spectral Ghoul for up to 5 seconds.
The Spectral Ghoul deals 8/16/24/32/40 additional damage per hit and moves 15/20/25/30/35% faster. While the ghoul is active, Yorick moves 15/20/25/30/35% faster as well.
Base Cooldown: 9/8/7/6/5
Probably not Yorick's most important skill in lane with this build. A point in it should be taken early so he has an way of escaping if he needs to. If you're playing very aggressively, this is your best move. It scales the best with AD and resets your auto-attack timer, letting you get more hits on the enemy in a shorter time. Make sure to use activate Omen of War right after you auto-attack for maximum damage output. This ability stacks wonderfully with Sheen and I recommend getting it early if you're building aggressively.
TIP!: If you're running away from an enemy and need the extra speed try attacking a minion to activate the speed boost rather then your enemy. This will give you extra space between you and your opponent.
Omen of Pestilence: Yorick summons a Decaying Ghoul that arrives with a violent explosion, dealing 60/95/130/165/200 (+1) magic damage and slowing nearby enemies by 20/25/30/35/40% for 1.5 seconds. While the Decaying Ghoul remains alive, nearby enemies continue to be slowed by 10/12.5/15/17.5/20% for up to 5 seconds.
Base Cooldown: 12
Yorick's more versitle skill (besides his ultimate). Omen of Pestilence can be used to chase down enemies or allow yourself to escape. The AoE slow is great for team fights and ganks. This ability can also be used to scout bushes, which is great for seeing whether or not someone wants to gank you, or for scouting Baron Nashor or Dragon pit. Damage doesn't scale well into late game however (it scales off Ability Power).
TIP!: Omen of Pestilence can be used to absorb skills shots. Lanes like Lee Sin and Rumble who have a lot of poke skills can be countered by summoning a Decay Ghoul to block their skill shots.
Omen of Famine: Yorick deals 55/85/115/145/175 (+1.0) attack damage as magic damage and heals for up to 40% of the damage dealt. A Ravenous Ghoul is summoned behind his target for up to 5 seconds, healing Yorick for the damage it deals. The healing effect is halved against minions.
Base Cooldown: 10/9/8/7/6
This ability provides Yorick with all his sustain and most of his poke. Very good for bullying champions out of lane while farming at a distance at the same time. Building a Spirit Visage early will make you almost completely sustainable in lane (as long as you can manage your mana properly). This ability scales very well with AD into mid and late game.
Omen of Death: Yorick conjures a Revenant in the image of a target allied champion. Revenants deal 45/60/75% of target ally's Attack Damage. If his ally dies while its Revenant is alive, the Revenant sacrifices itself to reanimate them for up to 10 seconds.
Base Cooldown: 120/105/90
In my opinion, Yorick's ultimate is one of the most useful ultimates in the game, in any phase of the game. In a 1v1 it almost doubles your damage output, while providing you with durability and even more damage from Unholy Covenant. It also provides you with a chance at vengeance if they kill you first. In team fights, I recommend ALWAYS use this on your Ranged AD Carry (except in very specific circumstances, such as if you have very heavy damage dealing AP carries like cassiopia or Karthus). This will almost always maximize your damage output, especially if used on champions like Vayne, Ezreal and Corki. These Revenants can be used to tank turrets, juke/distract enemies, and certainly for securing kills.
If you use this ability on yourself The Revenant can be controlled by holding the alt key and using the right mouse button or by reactivating this ability.
TIP!: Yorick in top lane and Mordekaiser in mid make for a very dominant team fighting team. If Omen of Death is cast on your team's AD Carry and Children of the Grave (Mordekaiser's Ultimate]] is cast on their AD Carry and he dies, that will give your team virtually THREE AD Carries and immediately make the team fight a seven vs. four in your favor.
Skill Priority and Order
Omen of Famine is your main harass and sustain tool. Take it at level 1, max it early and use it to stay in lane and push your enemy out of lane
Omen of Pestilence will add to your poke and supply you with some Crowd Control. This combined with Omen of Famine can do a lot of damage at once if the enemy champion doesn't respond in time. Max this ability second.
Omen of War adds utility to your arsenal and increases damage significantly while in melee range. Because Yorick is excellent as sitting back and letting his ghouls harass, being in melee ranged isn't necessary to win the lane (but it does help secure kills). Max this ability last.
Omen of Death, always take this at level 6, 11 and 16. As already explained, this ultimate can be devastating to the enemy team if used correctly (and rather fun for you to play with).
Tips and Tricks
+ Use Omen of Pestilence to check bushes and block incoming skill shots.
+ Ghouls will focus champions. If the enemy is hanging back, sast your abilities on caster minions in the back row to farm so the ghouls will chase the enemy champions. This will help you zone your enemy. Focus the melee minions with your basic attacks.
+ Get Crest of the Ancient Golem (Blue Buff) as often as possible. This provides both Cooldown Reduction and massive Mana Regeneration, both of which will make Yorick a godly laner.
+ The closer to death your target for Omen of Death is the more likely it is to succeed, but this will reduce its damage potential. I recommend using it earlier, like at the beginning of a team fight, for more damage output. But the choice is up to you in each different situation.
+ Use a sight ward! Yorick is a great pusher with all his ghouls, so sometimes you can be caught to far from your turret by the enemy jungler or mid. To stop this, use a sight ward!
+ If your opponent is used to playing against Yorick and knows how he works, they will sometimes juke into a bush to lose the aggro from your ghouls. To counter this: harass with your Ravenous Ghoul ( Omen of Famine) and save your Omen of Pestilence until they start towards the bush. Before they get into the bush, cast Omen of Pestilence in the bush to give you and your ghouls sight.
TIP!: If you don't know much about using sight wards and Vision Wards or warding in general, check out this great Warding Tutorial for Summoner's Rift:
THIS SECTION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ THIS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND WHY I'VE CHOSEN THE ITEMS I HAVE SO YOU CAN ADAPT THEM INTO YOUR OWN PLAY STYLE. YOU CAN THEN SWAP OUT WHAT YOU NEED BASED ON EACH SPECIFIC GAME!
If you haven't noticed already, this guide is about my preferences with Yorick. I believe this way of playing him is extremely effective, but I also acknowledge that there are many other viable ways of playing this champion. Just because I do or do not use an item doesn't make that item good or bad for this champion. If I don't use something in my main build, that doesn't mean it's not good on Yorick, just that my play style is different.
This build focuses on becoming an AD Offtank, building mainly tanky items, but also items that supply a fair amount of Attack Damage to utilize Unholy Covenant's true potential.
I will be talking about other items that I don't use in my main build and why they may or may not be good on Yorick.
Meki Pendant and two Health Potion are very common items to start the game with. It gives Yorick the mana and health sustain he needs to dominate in his lane. It also allows you to back earlier to buy Tear of the Goddess. In honesty, I float between this and the Boots of Speed and Health Potion starting items. These two combinations both have pros and cons and which one you choose should depend on who you are laning against and vary from game to game.
Boots of Speed with three Health Potion are standard starting items for almost any champion. This increases your mobility to/from/between lanes, your dodging capabilities and your sustain in lane as well as in fights by chugging a Health Potion
Doran's Blade provides a lot of everything that is good on Yorick: damage, health and sustain. This as a starting item will help you be very aggressive early game. (Do I even have to keep mentioning Unholy Covenant or have I spoken on that topic enough yet?)
Tear of the Goddess is a staple item for Yorick to get first. This solves his mana problems almost immediately and continues to scale through to late game with the stacking effect it presents on ability use. This will ensure that you can stay in lane as long as you want and continue to bully and harass your enemies.
Mercury's Treads are great for you. In combination with Juggernaut they give you a lot of tenacity. The extra Magic Resist doesn't hurt either. These boots will really help if you need to get out of a tough bind
Manamune should be the main item of every Yorick build. This accelerates the progression of the passive of Tear of the Goddess while enhancing your fighting capabilities by giving you Attack Damage based on maximum Mana.
Health is health is health and Warmog's Armor gives you a lot of it. Getting this item early and farming it to its max will make you now have lots of health, lots of health regeneration and lots of mana and mana regeneration from your Manamune (see the pattern yet?). This item is fantastic when combined with the next one.
Atma's Impaler is the Manamune of health and having both will make you a force to be reckoned with. Without building a single straight Attack Damage item you are going to be accumulating a huge amount of AD when your Warmog's Armor is fully farmed (as well as when your Manamune is fully farmed to 1000 mana).
Frozen Mallet gives you more of what you already have and exactly when you are looking for: more health, more attack damage, and more Crowd Control. Frozen Mallet works well to up the usage of your Atma's Impaler, by increasing your max health. Using Omen of Pestilence to close the gap between you and an enemy allows you to get into melee range and Frozen Mallet will allow you to prevent them from escaping.
Finishing Your Build
Guardian Angel is too good of an item to pass up on Yorick. Its reviving passive, combined with Omen of Death makes it so you can just keep fighting and fighting and fighting. It also makes it so you can cast Omen of Death on a teammate and not have to worry about yourself dying the first time around.
NOTE: With this item especially, you may want to buy it sooner. Depending on how your team is doing and how the game is progressing, having this item could really help your team come back from losing.
Don't forget to buy Elixir of Fortitude late game after you finish your build (or before if you want a small edge in a fight). The extra health and AD, though small, could be the difference between life and death.
These items will not cover all of the items that are good for play, but once again it all depends on how YOU want to play. Many of these items are very good on Yorick and I use many of them in different games.
There is a very good reason why Banshee's Veil is at the top of this list. I struggled with whether or not to put this or Frozen Mallet in the build because I use them both so much. It really depends on how your game is going. If you choose this item, keep in mind that catalyst the protector gives you reasonable amount of health and mana, which will both give you Attack Damage now (with Manamune and Atma's Impaler). It has a pretty nifty passive too if you're still leveling up. Banshee's Veil also provides the Magic Resist equivalent to Atma's Impaler and the bubble that it gives you that absorbs spells makes you much more potent in team fights. This is a great item to build whether you're aggressive, defensive, behind in the game or ahead.
Trinity Force is a wonderful item. The Phage is like a mini Frozen Mallet, the Zeal gives extra movement speed and damage output and the Sheen is absolutely tremendous and terrifying when used with Omen of War. Together this is a great item to build if you are going to be playing aggressively, probably the best on this champion.
Force of Nature is a great item if you are playing very defensive, especially against a team that has a lot of AP champions or a few very strong AP casters. The health regeneration and movement speed both add to Yorick in great ways.
Frozen Heart is another great defensive item for you. It give you mana, which will stack with your Manamune, while providing a debuff to the enemy teams attack speed. The extra Cooldown Reduction is great too (if you can't tell I'm a fan of CDR on this champion). A great item to build if the enemy team as some out of control AD champions, especially if their AD Carry is very fed. Next to Banshee's Veil, this is probably my favorite item to build on Yorick that I didn't include in my build.
The Bloodthirster is a crazy good item if you are building very aggressive. The lifesteal and attack damage together with Omen of Famine and Unholy Covenant will make it so the enemy team will have to focus you down in team fights (but then, you always have your ultimate and/or a Guardian Angel don't you?).
Ninja Tabi would make an excellent swap for Mercury's Treads if you are laning against a heavy AD champion or playing against a team with a lot of auto-attack based champions. Once again, which boots you purchase should be decided every game depending on your lane and the enemy team.
Ending Notes and Change Log
Thank you for reading my guide!
+If you try the build out please let me know what you think of it and send me any good screen shots so I can post them here.
+Please leave a positive and/or constructive comment and don't forget to upvote if you liked it. I'm hoping to add some more sections and details in the near future, so keep checking back if you're playing Yorick.
+I'd also like to thank you to Jhoijhoi for her guide on making guides and the line dividers.
9/10/12 - 1:00am: Added Ninja Tabi to "Other Items"
9/10/12 - 10:00pm: Small edits to "Summoner Spells" section.