Yorick Build Guide by Cerdoeth
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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.
Yorick started out as a rather "meh" champion, that had quite a few people up in arms. His release was somewhat inhibited by Dreamhack, and many people believed that Riot did not put the proper time and effort into this champion. However, with the most recent set of patches (7/10/11), Yorick seems to be quite the viable champion, whose skills allow him to frustrate enemy champions with pokes as he continues to last-hit minions.
Yorick should be played somewhat aggressively. His ghouls are meant to be up as often as possible, to keep your damage reduction and raw damage output as high as they can be. The ghouls also automatically attack any enemy champion within their sight (not Yorick's sight, the ghouls's sight), which leads to some rather impressive early-game pokes.
For Yorick's summoner spells, I went with Ghost and Ignite.
In all of my matches as or against Yorick, I have noticed one continual frustration: laning opponents of Yorick tend to be able to self-heal. Thus, Ignite. Damage over time coupled with an annoying inhibition of healing. This will allow Yorick to keep his opponents out of lane for the longest out of the summoner spells.
Considering the rest of the build, Ghost was the obvious choice - it allows for more chase-downs and quick escapes, lending to a much higher rate of survivability when being surprised, or in a teamfight.
I have Yorick with a defensive masteries page. This lends to early game survivability, with the added bonus of being able to be a severe annoyance in late-game. Dipping far enough into the Offense page to pick up the magic penetration is crucial, as Yorick's self-healing Omen of Famine is a magic attack - the 15% Magic Penetration granted by the talent should get through any banal Magic Resist.
The runes that I built for Yorick is mostly a work-in-progress. From all of the rune pages that I have built with Yorick, the most success that I have had came from mostly defensive runes, for the same reason that I went with defensive masteries. The runes allow for an amazing early-game survivability, which helps to make you into an amazing annoyance late-game. The Quintessences of Swiftness help Yorick to get around in a pinch, which means that you don't need to waste gold on tier 2 boots, when combined with your Omen of War's speed effect and Omen of Pestilence's slow.
You'll notice that for Yorick's skill set, I focus on maxing Omen of Pestilence first. This makes for a great poking tool early game, and it helps to annihilate creep waves. For early aggression, Omen of Pestilence is a must, as it allows you to check bushes without facechecking them - Pestilence is the earliest skill that will summon a ghoul without a target. The ghoul explosion is a bit above the actual targeting circle, so you should tend to aim lower in most cases. Also, Yorick's ghouls automatically attack enemy champions within range. This means that the ghouls will tower-dive, follow into bushes (as long as there is vision in the bush), and keep attacking champions, even if you target something else.
After taking a point in Omen of Pestilence, I pick up a point in Omen of Famine. This starts to give you lane sustainability. It will not make you as amazing as LaneWick, but you will have a decent bit of staying power, when coupled with your two potions from start. Almost always try to target enemy champions with Omen of Famine. If there are no enemy champions in range, try to target the minion with the most health, as the ghoul will autoattack it until one of them is dead, then move on to the next target. The time spend finding another target is time that could be better spend healing you.
Pick up a token point in Omen of War. Most guides that I have seen max this skill first, but it depends on hitting an enemy. Even though Yorick is a melee champ, his effectiveness comes from his range. Take the point in Omen of War to be able to field 3 ghouls at once, giving you some fairly decent burst against any champion that you are actually able to walk up to and beat in the face with your shovel.
After this, focus on maxing Omen of Pestilence to burn the creep waves down and keep poking your lane opponents. Follow Omen of Pestilence with Omen of Famine, so that you continue to sustain, picking up your points in your ultimate, Omen of Death along the way.
Omen of Death is an incredibly useful skill - you can turn a 1v1 into a seeming 2v1, with all of the benefits of keeping a ghoul active. It will tip the scales in your favor, and it serves as an extra 10 seconds of life to yourself or whichever teammate was the target for this Omen.
Rule 0: There is NO set-in-stone item build.
Rule 1: Yorick is a mana hog. His skills are meant to be spammed. Keep him in mana, and you will be in good shape.
Rule 2: Yorick is a melee AD champion. He is going to be targeted quite often in teamfights. Survivability is a must.
Rule 3: Yorick's ghouls can and will be targeted by enemy champions to reduce their 5-second duration. There is nothing that can be done to give the ghouls a more than 5 second duration. However, increasing your health will increase your ghouls' health, and this will make it not a feasable option for enemy champions to target them. This also allows the ghouls to tower-dive more effectively.
Rule 4: The more damage you have, the more damage your ghouls do. 35% of nothing is nothing, but 35% of 314 (counting on a maxed out Warmog's and a maxed out Manamune) is 109. Your HP restore from your Omen of Famine is a function of the damage it does, along with the other ghouls hitting your target.
To this end, I begin my item build with a sapphire crystal. Some would argue for the Mekei Pendant for early game, but it is my opinion that a larger mana pool will serve better than a quickly refilling small pool, until you get enough gold to get at least the Tear of the Goddess, if not Manamune itself. Rushing Manamune will increase your staying power in lane while simultaneously boosting you and your ghouls' AD.
Boots are somewhat less of a necessity, once you pick up the level 1 boots. If you are getting continually killed by physical damage, pick up the Ninja Tabi. If you find that Annie is eating your face, or that someone is being extremely annoying with CC, snag Mercury's Treads. If you don't immediately need something, don't spend money on the level 2 boots - your Omen of War balances out your move speed enough, especially when coupled with Omen of Pestilence's slow.
Once you have built Manamune, pick up a Giant's Belt to start boosting you and your ghouls' survivability. Build this into Warmog's Armor - the HP regen will serve you well, even as the bonus health starts to turn you into almost a tank.
The next logical step for this AD character is to pick up Atma's Impaler. As Warmog's Armor continues to fuel you with more health per kill, Atma's Impaler will translate that health into AD - giving a boost to both you and your ghouls.
After finishing up Manamune and Atmog's, the rest is somewhat fluid. If you find that you are having to chase down enemy champions, Frozen Mallet is a good choice. It increases your HP (which boosts your AD), your straight-up AD, and it slows opponents that you manage to close with. If you need a bit more sustainability, Spirit Visage will give you a boost to your MR, your HP (thus AD), and it makes your Omen of Famine more effective - both by decreasing the cooldown so that you can get it out more often, and by giving you more health from each hit of the ghoul. This might also be a halfway decent time to finish your boots, if you haven't already: Ionian Boots of Lucidity. CDR will begin to mean that you cast your Omens - at least War and Famine - before they would die naturally.
Also, if you find yourself six feet under more often than not, pick up some resistances. The classics, Thornmail and/or Force of Nature, tend to serve Yorick rather well, even though an HP boost may be a better choice in most situations. Once you hit max level, you are nigh impossible to one-hit, and a larger HP pool will keep you dropping ghouls all through a teamfight.
Yorick works very well early game with a character that is good at poking your laning opponents. You will find yourselves able to deny XP fairly easily even at level 1, by keeping Omen of Pestilence on cooldown - unless you are overly worried about being mana-starved. Last-hit as best as you can, keeping in mind that your ghouls count as 'you' for purposes of last-hitting.
In some cases, Yorick is able to 2v1 or 1v1 rather well. If against a ranged carry of any sort, stay back and let your ghouls chase the ranged carry out, then hop in and last-hit. If against a melee carry, keep harassing them even as you last-hit.
Try to stay in lane for as long as you are able - if you can make it to 1700ish gold by the time you hit level 6-8, that is when you would want to hop back and pick up Manamune, but not before then if you can help it.
Mid-game is where Yorick starts to flex his muscles. Keen map awareness will make you impossible to gank - if you are alone, pick up some wards. This is where you can start using your Omen of Pestilence to intercept skill shots, if you notice them en route - such as Nidalee's spear, or Corki's Bullets Of Doom. Staying in your lane to last-hit will get you to your Warmog's Armor that much faster, and continuing to last-hit beyond this will pump up your Warmog's Armor.
Yorick should be able to solo dragon without any difficulty by level 12-13, or once you pick up Warmog's Armor - keep dragon on cooldown to continually gather global gold for yourself and your teammates.
Now comes the fun part. Teamfights! By this time, you should have built up to at least Atma's Impaler - your ghouls are significant threats even without the champion behind them. Your 4k HP will allow you to shrug off turrets while beating the **** out of them. You can initiate fights fairly well, but yield initiation rights to a tank or someone with a serious stun (for instance, Ashe or Annie). Start off by dropping your AoE Omen of Pestilence in the middle of the enemies, slowing them all for the duration, find the lowest champion, drop Omen of Famine on it, and charge in swinging your shovel with a charge of Omen of War.
Be observant - in most cases, you are going to put Omen of Death up on yourself, especially if there is a healer in the teamfight on your side, as they will be focused on keeping other people alive. But if you see that your AP carry is constantly being focus-fired, toss up Omen of Death to give them some more time to mete out vengeance. Keep in mind, though - Omen of Death will give you at most another ten seconds. The first time that I put this up, I was shocked when I died with health still left on my bar. You've got ten seconds - use them wisely. Blow cooldowns, and burst a single target, hopefully picking up a kill or two after you die, giving your team the edge.
All in all, I have found Yorick to be a rather fun champion to master. Timing spells to maximize Manamune's effect, and making sure to last-hit after you pick up Warmog's Armor help to nudge your skill in the right direction.
Yorick is a character that, when build in this manner, builds up momentum during the game. When late-game rolls around, Yorick should strike fear into the other team, getting you cries of "How did you NOT die?!" and "Holy ****, that's a lot of HP!"