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Yasuo Build Guide by ArmouredGRIFFON

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League of Legends Build Guide Author ArmouredGRIFFON

☯ Ashigaru Yasou: the Frozen Mallet Kick of Death (死亡)

ArmouredGRIFFON Last updated on December 18, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 20

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 3


Utility: 7

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Build Statistics and Background

Average Build Statistics

Here are some statistics from my past successive games since I started using this build after much theory crafting. Recall that Yasou is a melee champion: the only times he can deal damage against champions is if he is also taking damage (unless those champions do not attack). Therein on average although this Yasou variation takes a lot of damage it deals 3x the amount in engagements. That's a lot: enough to stipulate 2 vs 1 viability; and the reason we can achieve this is by building the Frozen Mallet intelligently as in the itemization.

About me

I have always excelled in similar activities such as TheoryCraft and Theory of Empires. I win most of my games in League of Legends. Builds that I have created have always paved my way to victory. They have always been new, original, and parsimonious. With these builds I have achieved high ranks in the aforementioned games - sometimes by taking current builds and revamping them to make them more flexible to changing situations. So please, if your interests are successful and thought out and well written builds, without reading a lot, please keep reading.

Due to my low level however this build order is subject to change. The comments of this build will therein be used to facilitate the build itself: all comments for item changes will be tested over 5-10 games or so depending on how well those games go and alterations will be made accordingly. This will give this guide an edge like no other for this new champion: a sustained integration with the user-base to achieve a guide complete of tested hypothesis.

About my builds

All my builds for all my champions offer as much versatility contingent to in-game momentum as this one. If people like this build I will post my builds for Lux, Nasus, and Volibear.

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The goal of this build: the TheoryLeague

The reason I have chosen Ashigaru Yasou as the title for the build is because a game, Age of Empires 3: the Asian Dynasties, was broken by the introduction of the Ashigaru Musketeer unit for the Japanese Civilization. In this guide we will hope to achieve similar effects. Following my build order I have found myself taking on champions 2/3 on 1. In this guide we will create a short and sweet build such that it allows us to transition smoothly into the mid and late game accounting for momentum changes within the game.

I obtain Yasou has little early game sustainability however excels at the mid-late game (read this as mid to late game). So If a guide is to be successful therein it ought to focus on developing into that mid-late game. Additionally Yasou needs a lot of expensive critical-strike items to maximize his passive. Farming CS and obtaining ganks is our primary means to obtaining those items. So: we must develop Yasou's late game AND obtain lots of gold during. However a necessary condition to achieve that late game is outright surviving the early game.

Herein achieving this could be argued this should come down to player skill. Additionally, from experience, it is extremely difficult to survive Yasou into the late game without building some sort of early game sustainability which surprisingly turns the tables completely. Therefore although I may be too unskilled to take Yasou into the late game without building early game sustainability this guide can at least target low-ELO players and help them survive after blowing 7200IP on Yasou. However, therein, if the first premise is also true of players in the high-ELO levels we can stipulate this guide is potentially of great benefit to those players as well.

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Ability Sequence and ability usage: the play-style

State of mind and abilities

Taking Yasou's abilities should be made on the basis of your own decision making and using them is all about being calm (see "the way of the Q"). It varies between games. Yasou does not have much sustain, and although we will do everything in our power to remedy this I find opening the first six-levels 'Q, W, E, Q, E, R' allows us to defend well against our opponents for long enough until we can land our pokes at level 3.

That said you should only, really, take your 'W' if the enemy is firing high damage projectiles i.e. Jinx or Teemo (or Lux at level 6). So it is situational: the best League players use their own independent judgement as the basis of what abilities they should obtain. But ideally since the goal is to be dealing heavy damage you want to take your 'E' once and maximize your 'Q' as fast as you can since it ultimately will be the source of most of your damage.

The way of the Q: I

Your Q is your damage dealer, your blunderbuss, your rock and a hard place. Make sure to get this thing firing as fast as you can: the damage you deal with your Q will carry over to your R and your E abilities. The biggest cause of deaths for me with Yasou, however, is panic-ing. When I panic I spam the Q button hoping to get a kill. This will never happen. The reason for this is because the direction of the 'Q' attack is bound either to the spin attack ('Q-->E' combo) or direction of the mouse cursor (single 'Q'). This means if you panic your Q is unlikely to ever hit a champion. We're not playing Rengar: this will not do. If you misplace your 'Q' ability your 'E' and 'R' abilities become redundant. If spamming is what you wanted I suggest you refund your Influence or Riot points. Yasou is a precision champion to that degree.

The way of the W: I

For almost obvious reasons your W is one of the most powerful utility spells in the game: it blocks almost every projectile (a comprehensive list). For this reason when approaching team fights it helps to always have it available. Since and especially at low-ELO the reaction time for you to press W and give it a direction and click (dependent on your settings configuration) may be slower than the time it takes for an ultimate to move from one side of the screen to Yasou's face. For this reason I have two suggestions as to how you prime your 'W' effectively if this is an issue.

Suggestion I

Walk around keeping your 'W' primed and ready for deployment like so...

Suggestion II

Go into your settings menu during gameplay and tick the lightning icon underneath 'W' or whatever hotkey you use. This will cause your Windwall to fire as soon as you press the key (meaning you don't have to account for click placement reaction time). This may help you defend enemy fire for your team.

The way of the E: I

This is the idea, a video speaks 1000 words per frame:

Use of your 'E' is effective in causing the opponent to mis-click. Sure that might not happen at higher ELO's but it isn't easy to land skillshots consistently when you're running circles around your opponent. In my experience, even playing against Master Yi using an 'E-->Q-->E' pattern runs circles around your opponent in a way similar to my high tier experiences playing Gears of War.

Remember to use Yasou's spin attack 'E-->Q' in multi-champion encounters: following the itemization below you will find yourself dealing 1/2 health damage to some higher health champions like Graves as soon as you take your Infinity Edge and 3/4 damage to other champions.

The way of the E: II

Since we will be building early sustain another good frame of mind to have to your 'E' is this:

You should stay reasonably close to enemy creep in team-fight engagements (not near enough to be in danger but near enough to poke). The reason for this is the enemy creep and your 'E' provides that turbo track. It will get you from A to B very very quickly, and therein help you catch up to champions running away from you at low health or escape sticky situations. Do not underestimate this ability. You can really catch up to enemies faster than you are as long as the track is available. Try to imagine a path you would take to leave an engagement before you enter it: this will improve your poking mechanics a lot.

Sometimes it helps to use the 'E-->Q-->E combo twice when trying to catch up champions giving you access to your ultimate: you will be able to land your 'Q' skill-shot and use your ultimate to secure the kill.

The way of the R

Using the 'R' is simplistic however dangerous. Only use Yasou's ultimate if you believe you will survive the outcome. You are guaranteed the kill or assist if the enemy is knocked up at close range by another champion which means you must always be prepared to hit the 'R' button whenever appropriate. But just be careful you don't land yourself in a bad situation.

Clearing waves

Clearly use of your E is very important. But your Q is the damage dealer. After obtaining the Static Shiv you will find it very easy to clear waves with E-->Q or Q alone. You must continue to focus on clearing waves in a very Nasus fashion until you hit the mid game "stage III".

When you have built the Infinity Edge you will be dealing huge damage as aforementioned. But obtaining the Infinity Edge is, again, situational. Follow the itemization chapter below very carefully.

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Itemization: the good stuff

Opening (early-early game): I

Item Sequence

Warding Totem

First we take the Ruby Crystal for that early game sustain I was talking about before. If you insist you could take Dorans Blade and a health potion. I have no issue with this opening other than the fact I find it unnecessary. You don't NEED to build Doran's Blade for this champion when you are getting just enough sustainability from the Ruby Crystal. It helps but you don't need to. Additionally Ruby Crystal will help us in our build later on. This means, if you are worried about the match-up consider opening with Dorans Blade but otherwise stick to the Ruby Crystal which will transition us to the late game.

Transition into the early-game: II

Item Sequence

Boots of Speed

Focusing on CS and not kills at this stage in the game, we now use the Avarice Blade as a means to boost our income. With this blade we can gain enough "extra gold" to support our boots and the Static Shiv: using our whole economy. However if you feel you have enough movement speed already against the enemy champions and you're doing well enough to get champions to low-health then there is little petulance in going straight for the Static Shiv (II).

That would be an early game aggressive decision, though, so I prefer to get Boots first remembering the aim is for the mid-game so I economize to the mid-game thereto (following the principle of parsimony). It is not recommended for this guide since it is untested.

Additionally you won't be doing very much damage until you get Static Shiv. So ideally we return to get the Brawler's Gloves as soon as you can and again to obtain your Avarice Blade.

Early game: II

Item Sequence

Boots of Speed

Static Shiv as aforementioned in the Abilities section gives a great boost to our CS farming as well as a fantastic critical-bonus which will be useful now and later on.

At this stage I also like to upgrade my boots to Beserkers Grieves for DPS. Though I leave whatever boots you wish to upgrade up to you: sometimes it can be better to obtain other boots dependent on what the enemy is building i.e. obtaining magic resistance.

Transition to the mid-game: III

Item Sequence

To transition into our third set of items we simply pick-up the Pickaxe.

The Pickaxe allows us to transition into either the Infinity Edge or the Frozen Mallet [III/IV].

Additionally "IV" is where Yasou is going to be building to both sustaining and damage dealing, becoming a 2 on 1 killing-powerhouse: ideally as aforementioned when you should start going for kills is by the mid-game or late-game. We're going to approach this cleverly. Keep reading!

The mid-game: III

Item Sequence

Frozen Mallet

By this time you should have gained enough CS to secure yourself an Infinity Edge or a Frozen Mallet (given transition to II).

For this, there is an option. It may be the case that you are not doing well at this stage of the game. Maybe you're thinking "this guide sucks because I haven't gotten any kills yet".

As we say in the North of England "nae-bother my son". This is the reason we picked up an early game Ruby Crystal over Dorans Blade: not only does it give us early game sustain since if you are finding yourself being ganked often then the best idea is to keep farming creep and obtain some more late game sustainability. From picking up the Ruby Crystal early on and the Pickaxe we can now transition quite easily into the Frozen Mallet and this will help you keep on farming until you pick up the Infinity Edge.

Thereto if you find yourself with enough sustain already in the game or you have a lead on your lane I strongly suggest using the Pickaxe to transition to the Infinity Edge alternatively. The Infinity Edge and Static Shiv will give you such a high damage rate you'll have the enemy team calling for nerfs in no time.

Transition into the late-game: IV

Item Sequence

For my next trick pick a second Pickaxe. I'd say the game might be 25-30 minutes in by this time. But we have been farminghard and itemizing to get to "IV". Our late game is their mid-game. We're going to repeat the previous process: if you chose the Frozen Mallet then you can sustain to the Infinity Edge. If you chose the Infinity Edge then you pick up your Frozen Mallet to help you not die as enemies scale to the late-game.

This is the versatility I was talking about in "Background Information". In my experience playing strategy games such as Age of Empires and Starcraft, builds with contingency options like this allow me to always bounce back when the times are rough or increase the teams momentum when things are looking up. In my experience I have similar success rates in League of Legends.

Late-game: IV

Item Sequence

Frozen Mallet

Finish off the mid-game herein and enter the late-game. The versatility of the build allows us to transition into the late-game with little to no problems as stipulated above. With a huge critical hit rate and high damage (via Infinity Edge and Shiv) and sustainability (via Mallet) you will have no problem using the play-style stipulated above to rush in and deal massive amounts of damage to most champions in the game.

Transition to late-late-game: V

Item Sequence

Phantom Dancer

We now have all the sustainability we need via the Frozen Mallet and we are dealing extreme amounts of damage. The game in my experience usually ends at around IV - as those items are achieved you really will be pushing the momentum. However sometimes, if you are forced to obtain the Frozen Mallet, it may be the case the game drags on, enemies are going to keep scaling up and although you will be killing lower health characters such as Lux in maybe 2 hits of your Q it can be harder to kill tanks. Remember you are playing ADC. You are the glass cannon. We're going to keep building up that way. Finish off to obtain 100% critical hit chance by gaining the Zeal which will be built into the Phantom Dancer.

Although it could be argued that we should have built Phantom Dancer earlier, I find that without the Shiv farming it is difficult to get into the mid-game (to obtain the Frozen Mallet) when things are looking rough on the lane. It is safer therein to get the Phantom Dancer later on. Additionally I like the Phantom Dancer because it offers us a nice buff to Yasou's escape mechanic: had some really sick in/out escapes through a multitude of opponents thanks to this thing!

The late-late-game: V (Choose one)

Item Sequence

Warmog's Armor

I usually finish off with the Zepher just to gain a little extra edge via attack speed and its passive (we really are doing more than enough damage at this point).

Although I haven't really faced a situation such that this is required you may want to add just a little more sustainability. Warmong's armor has always been good to me for these purposes but feel free to swap in whatever item you wish.

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Runes: TheoryLeague

Mathematically if the enemy has value x armor and you have exactly value x armor penetration, your physical damage against them is increased by value x%. So, having armor pen reds and quints (25 Armour Penetration) while attacking a target with 25 armor will increase your damage by 25%.

Unfortunately I do not have the IP to purchase other Runes, but if people could advise Runes in the comments section this would be greatly appreciated. Therein I would take Runes such that they provide extra sustainability throughout the game since I posit by level 18 we're already pushing huge amounts of damage to multiple foes.

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Team Work

You will find Yasou synergies wonderfully with any champion knocking enemies in the air such as Volibear. As long as you keep your 'R' saved, primed, and ready the knock up will almost guarantee you a kill (if the other champion doesn't take the kill first)!

See here for a complete list of champions which knock enemies up airborne

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I hope you enjoy this build: by now you should be ready to unleash Yasou's mighty sword of epic ***-pounding! Please up-vote and leave comments in the appropriate section and I will, as stipulated, evolve this build dependent on successful recommendations. Be sure to check back often for changes!