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Master Yi Build Guide by Anil

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Anil

Let's Get Wild, AP Style-The Art of the AP Yi

Anil Last updated on December 14, 2011
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Team 1


Team 2

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: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hi, I'm Anil, and this is my guide to the AP Master Yi. Now, usually you see Master Yi players who build lifesteal/as/ad. The way I like to think about it is to see the two build variations as two sides of the same coin, each benefits from two skills. AD builds beg the most out of Wuju Style and Highlander, while we AP players get the most out of Meditate and Alpha Strike.

So, on with my build. This is my first build and I'm not a ranked, so if I make any "noob mistakes" or don't know everything, don't be a jerk.

And, before I forget, thanks to Stickperson2 and Vort for their AP Yi guides that inspired me to create this one.

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Pros / Cons

  • Excellent farmer/harasser with Alpha Strike
  • Possesses a strong self-heal with Meditate, allowing him to stay in lane longer
  • Strong burst damage when properly itemized
  • Extremely good chaser and tower diver with Alpha Strike and Highlander
  • Easy to play

  • Fairly squishy in early game
  • Damage falls off after initial Alpha Strike- Lich Bane combo
  • Occasionally attracts hate from teammates

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Disclaimer: I am not level 30 yet, so these mastery and rune builds are mostly theoretical.

Currently, I've planned out a 21/9/0 mastery build.


This gives you all the AP and CR masteries, along with magic penetration and a small amount of bonus survivability on top. If you want a bit more survivability, you could go with 9/21/0.

Note that I did not take any points in Enlightenment . I did that because with the way the build is itemized, you will have max cooldown reduction already, making those points a waste.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Ability Power

For my marks, I have Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, which is pretty much a must on any magic damage build. No alternative here. Just recently, I made a change to the seals I was using. I originally had great seal of replenishment to improve my mana early game and allow me to cast more Alpha Strike and Meditate, but then I played without those runes and didn't notice any mana starvation. Alpha Strike and Meditate's cooldowns are so long early game that your not really going to be spamming them. Instead, I went with Greater Seal of Health for a stronger early game and you also go with greater seal of vitality for a stronger late game.

As for glyphs, I went with Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power for more ap late game. The only alternative would be Greater Glyph of Ability Power which will again improve your early game. I went for ap/level with my quints as well, but you could also go for flat ap Greater Quintessence of Ability Power or more magic pen Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

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Summoner Spells


Teleport is just my hands down favorite summoner spell. Whether it's changing lanes or quickly saving a tower, Teleport is great on all champs. Ignite is just the standard spell for dps characters to finish off opponents, every Tom, ****, and Garen has it.

Alternate Spells (These work okay, but they aren't quite as good as Teleport or Ignite

  • Ghost On the surface, it looks like this would work great with Master Yi. Pop this and Highlander and you've got super move speed. The thing that I don't like is that I find Highlander and Alpha Strike sufficient enough to catch most champions by itself, making the bonus from Ghost overkill.
  • Cleanse Extremely good for when you are chasing with highlander, as you are effectively immune to all crowd control. Might deserve to rate with Teleport and Ignite
  • Exhaust Not a big fan for the same reasons as for Ghost
  • Flash Ditto
  • Clairvoyance If nobody else on your team will take this and you think you need it, take it.

Not Viable
  • Heal You already have Meditate
  • Revive Not as bad as its reputation (most people just don't know how to use it correctly), but you don't want to die in the first place
  • Surge The buff isn't bad, but you have better options
  • Clarity You'll only be casting this once or twice per game. No point. Just go back to base.
  • Promote You really have better options.

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Double Strike Master Yi strikes twice on every attack.

Not too useful for this build, but it's not hurting you either.

Alpha Strike Master Yi leaps across the battlefield, striking four targets for magic damage (1:1 AP ratio) with a chance to deal bonus damage to minions.

Your bread and butter skill as an AP Yi. The way it works is you target an enemy, Master Yi will then leap across the battlefield, damage up to three other enemies and end the skill at that minion. Not only is it good for farming minions and scales well, you can also often get a hit on an enemy champion as you leap around and you are untargetable while leaping. I'll get into some more tactics and tricks later. The cooldown on this is fairly long early on, but it gets lower as the skill is ranked up.

Meditate Master Yi channels for 5 seconds to regain health (1:1.65 AP ratio). He gains bonus armor and magic resistance while channeling.

Your second favorite skill. The AP ratio on this is absolutely great, instead of going back to base, just use this to get up to full health.

Wuju Style Master Yi passively gains bonus attack damage. He can activate the skill to gain double the bonus, but the passive is inactive until the ability cools down

Not a very useful skill for this build, since you are building ap. I put one point in this skill at level five just to increase my tower destruction capabilities and then don't worry about it until my other skills are maxed.

Highlander Master Yi gains movement speed and attack speed and becomes immune to all slowing effects. If he kills a champion during this time, all his cooldowns are refreshed (if he gets an assist, his cooldowns are halved)

Most powerful on an AD yi, but still a decent skill. The movement speed boost and slowing immunity can allow you to either run away from a fight gone bad or chase down an opponent while you wait for Alpha Strike to come off cooldown.

My ability sequence is rank Alpha Strike, Meditate and Highlander as much as possible, put one point in Wuju Style at level 5. If your absolutely clocking the other team early on and aren't needing to heal too much, lay off Meditate and focus on Alpha Strike so you can kill faster. Conversely, if the other team is clocking you early on, focus on Meditate so you can defend your lane more effectively.

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A Few Words On Magic Penetration

In this guide, we will be dealing with two different types of magic penetration: flat and percent.

Flat magic penetration is a number of magic resistance that your magic spells ignore, like 20. It appears on all magic penetration runes, Sorcerer's Shoes, Haunting Guise, Abyssal Mask, and the Fiddlesticks passive Dread. Flat magic penetration is effective against weaker characters, as you can effectively reduce their magic resistance to zero or negative, but less effective against characters that have a lot of magic resistance.

Percent magic penetration appears in only two places: the mastery Arcane Knowledge and the item Void Staff. It reduces magic resistance by a percent based on who you are fighting, rather than a flat amount. Fore example, if I am facing a player with 100 magic resistance and I have a Void Staff, my spells will affect him as if he had 60 magic resistance instead. Percent is very useful against tanks, but less against weaker characters. Percent magic penetration is not reflected in the cheat sheet.

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Core Items

This build has four core items, plus one item (your boots) that only has a few choices.

Doran's Ring

This is your starting item. It gives you a good balance health, mana regen, and ap.strong start. You'll want to sell this after you have 2-3 other items.

Morello's Evil Tome

I usually build this item second, as it offers an all around boost to stats, more mana, more ap and shorter cooldowns on Alpha Strike.

Lich Bane

This should either be your third or fourth item to build, depending on whether you want to get your boots first. You want to get this item ASAP after your evil tome, as it will significantly increase your burst capabilities. Aim to get this item before the teamfights begin.

Deathfire Grasp

This is the last core item and ideally should be built last of all the core items. It will max your cooldown redux, as well as giving you a good damaging active, a bit more mana, and some more AP.


You have three choices for boots, depending on whether you want to go for damage or survivability. Sorcerer's Shoes is the obvious choice for magic penetration to empower your spells. However, against a cc heavy team, it might be advisable to go for Mercury's Treads to add a little survivability. Ninja Tabi is currently an option against physical damage opponents, but it is soon to be reworked when they remove the dodge metric.

I'm not a big dodge fan, so I'd go for sorcerer's in most situations or mercs against a cc heavy team.

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Optional Items

All these items are beneficial to your build but not core. I recommend that you build them after the core items, but if you think you need one early, go for it.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

  • Gives you a slow on your Alpha Strike
  • Provides a decent amount of bonus health

  • Fairly expensive
  • Slow is short and only slows by 15% on Alpha Strike, since it is a multi-target spell
  • Teammates will often have better cc than this

Take this if your team is having trouble catching opposing players or you need more health

Zhonya's Hourglass

  • Gives you more armor
  • Active is extremely powerful if used at the correct time
  • Second highest base ability power item in game

  • Fairly expensive
  • Active has a short duration and is difficult to master

Take this if you need more armor and/or survivability along with your ap

Haunting Guise

  • Gives magic penetration, health, and ap

  • Jack-of-all trades-master-of-none item, other items give better bonuses to one stat

Take this if you are looking for a balanced and cheap offense/defense item OR of you are having trouble and need an all around boost. Also take if you are trying to stack flat magic pen.

Abyssal Scepter

  • Gives all your allies 20 magic penetration against all targets you are near
  • Also gives magic resistance

  • Attack damage allies will get no benefit from this
  • Not as much AP as other items

Take this if you want magic resistance or have a caster heavy team. However, most of the time you'll want an AP tank or a support to build this. Only build is no one else is building.

Moonflair Spellblade

  • Makes cc's last for a shorter time on you

  • AP is inadequate

Take this if you are facing a very cc heavy team and want that tenacity without building Mercury's Treads

Will of the Ancients

  • Heals you for every bounce of Alpha Strike
  • Also benefits your allies

  • Attack damage allies will get no benefit from this
  • The spell vamp works just as well when built by someone else

Take this if you want the heal, have a caster heavy team and nobody else is building it. If you have an AP tank or support, I'd strongly suggest to them that they build this as it will help you out quite a bit.

Rabadon's Deathcap

  • Best pure AP in the game

  • Expensive (one of the most expensive items in the game)
  • Only gives AP

Take this if you want to deal a huge amount of burst damage and don't care about survivability. Particularly potent if you also have the Will of the Ancients aura on you and extremely potent if you have also build Void Staff.

Void Staff

  • Best magic pen item in the game

  • Gives no survivability

Take this if you are facing a team with lots of mr or if you want magic penetration.

Mejai's Soulstealer

  • Gives 180 AP when fully stacked

  • Dependent on luck and not dieing
  • CR is useless as you will already have full cooldown reduction

Take this if you are absolutely destroying the other team. Personally, I'd never take this item.

Spirit Visage

  • Makes your Meditate extremely powerful
  • Also gives health and mr

  • No AP
  • CR is useless

Take this if you want an extremely powerful Meditate

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Gameplay Tips

  • Alpha Strike will place you at the minions position when you finish jumping around, not at it's initial position. You can use that to your advantage by targeting a moving minion so you will be at a safe distance when the spell ends, allowing you to damage enemies behind a turret or safely harass even when outnumbered.
  • Meditate can only be interrupted by a crowd control spell. If you are not facing an enemy who can crowd control you, feel free to pop Meditate in the lane. The bonus armor and magic resistance will protect you, and your enemy will waste their abilities trying to injure you.
  • Alpha Strike also will make you untargetable during the duration, so you can throw off enemies by casting it just as they use an ability on you.
  • Don't be stingy with Highlander. If you kill a champion its cooldown will be refreshed. Also remember to reapply it if you kill a champion and still have more to chase.

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So, that's it for my guide. Please, read my guide and test this build before downvoting it. Don't downvote it just because you think "Yi doesn't play AP" or whatever.

For some videos of an AP Yi in action, search for summoner Anil on LeagueReplays. I usually remember to upload by games, at least the good ones.

Think I am an idiot? See an obvious flaw in my build or a way to build it better? Well, feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section. If I agree with you, I'll include your suggestions in my build and give you credit.

Oh yeah. I did use JhoiJhoi's guide on making a guide to make his guide. Rather heavily, in fact. So, I guess I must say "Thanks to JhoiJhoi! Her epic guide can be found here"

Thanks JhoiJhoi.

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12/11/11 Build created
12/13/11 Edited items, skills sequence (thanks to pranzatelli for the ability sequence) and added some more builds
12/14/2011 Improved optional items, now has pros and cons for each item and added section on magic penetration