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Master Yi Build Guide by XnMiller

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League of Legends Build Guide Author XnMiller

Tankyi - Invincible Yi

XnMiller Last updated on July 9, 2011
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Mater Yi

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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July-9-2011: Added to Item lists. Gave explanation of why the item was chosen and what benefit it should have for you.

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Hi all, I'n new to Mobafire, and this is my first guide. It's actually likely my only guide.

If you're here it's because you want to find a build for Master Yi. Most of you are scratching your head at Tank Yi. "Why would he do that? N00bz..." This is not a build for anyone new to Yi. I would recommend that if you are new to Yi that you start with another build. My reason for this is that most are incredibly squishy and are always focused first anyway. However, with that in mind, it teaches a new Yi player to be smart and not run headlong into a 5v1. And if you are completely against Yi being anything other than Crit, or lifesteal, or jungle, this is not for you. I'd read it anyway though, how better to counter the build if you come across it?

If you're still here, then you have some interest in a Yi with 3000+ HP, who also attacks with an ungodly speed and maintains high damage throughout the entire fight, with a high HP regen. I'm not going to say that this Yi is perfect for everything. But he is well-rounded for anything that occurs.

I apologize in advance for not having flashy pictures or videos, or very many anything computer or tech related gizmos. I'm not good at doing that stuff, I don't care to be. I just want this build to be out there for others to try. Again, advanced players should be using this, not new players, which means you don't need icons left and right. Sorry.

My god, this strawberry jello with whipped cream hits the spot.

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Pros/Cons of Tankyi


- Good damage output for a tank
- Can gank, escape ganks, and rape jungle
- High HP coupled with Meditation in a team fight or backdoor is incredibly hard to take down
- Has CC with Frozen Mallet to keep champs from wandering too far
- Farming is easy
- Good HP regen to stay in a lane longer, or jungle between fights
- We all hate going Yi v Yi. This build wins regardless.


- Not the fastest Yi ever made
- Difficult to lane early game

I don't claim to have games with 48934 kills. The point of a tank is to be there to take damage, and keep the other team under control. Yi does this, and does it well. Damage and HP are balanced while still allowing Yi to fulfill other functions vital to a team. Seeing as Yi is a carry and tank in this case, expect a mix of kills and assists, not purely kills. The tankyi is a good hybrid and WILL still carry a team.

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Summoner Spells

Before getting into the guts of this build, the summoner spells need to be addressed. Yi is nothing if there is heavy CC. Even the best Yi can be shut down by a regular stun while using Highlander. Here are the spells I use, and the spells I would not use.



I am willing to bet that not all of you are enjoying the first spell. The first time I used it I wondered if I was walking myself into a death-trap and embracing a new overly confident binge with Yi from which I would never recover. To my surprise, cleanse has become the main tool in my arsenal with Yi. Without it you can't escape a stun when initiating. You can't continue to chase down a slow mage when Highlander is finished. You can't get in range for Alpha Strike to be of any use. Cleanse is how you live and die. It is as simple as that.


This is standard for obvious reasons. Can their champ flash over a wall? Well, now you can too. Escape ganks, chase more champs down, initiate ganks. It does everything you want.



I truly enjoy exhaust for early game, but I prefer survivability with Cleanse. With this build, you won't need exhaust after you get Phage anyway. However, if you forsake Cleanse or Flash, this will still be useful.


This is very good for getting into a fight fast, and I never use highlander until it is most readily able to destroy a champ. Ghost though is restricted to a long cool-down and is not good when CC is heavy, any slows and it may as well be nullified. Let's not kid around, Ghost isn't ideal but will still have some advantages.


Alright, I hate ignite. If a Yi has ignite, he's a complete imbecile. Yi should never need ignite to finish off an opponent. Putting my loathing of ignite aside... Ignite will work on those pesky champs that you never seem to get. But it also won't work when you reeeeally want it to. Face it, Ryze needs ignite. Tanks need ignite (irony, I know). But Yi is no ordinary tank and deals a huge amount of damage just my taking his time to gradually drain the health of the beefiest of anyone else.


Use them at your own discretion. I can't stop you, and certainly, if you find a way the build works with them bleed it dry. However, from my experience those spells listed above are most beneficial to Yi.

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Runes need to be a mix of different abilities as well. With my build, Tankyi has armor pen to help his attack, armor for more defense, and because he lacks much AS I go for the alacrity. These are not meant to be permanent. If other runes better suit your style of play or the team you are with, by all means CHANGE THE RUNES. These have an all around role which is how I play.

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The masteries I use are standard 21-0-9. Nothing special, nothing bad either. They exist. As Yi is still a carry however, I prefer attack masteries to defense masteries.

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Items should be straightforward but I will explain thoughts behind them.

Item list and explanations:

Wriggles Lantern:
I choose wriggles because of how much pushing power it has. It also will help you jungle and take any creature you want from the forest. Upon this is does has a slight early game advantage for attack and armor even when not against only minions. The most important part of wriggles is the ward however. It needs to be constantly monitored and should always be placed in an area where most ganks come from.

Starks Fervor:
Starks is another good item for a Tankyi. While I don't think it should be built immediately, it does have perks. Anytime you can lower the enemy defenses while increasing your own teams (and yourself) is a plus. A tank is meant to be a source of power for your team. You're suppose to turn the tide of battle by being first in and last out. This ensures your team has the upper hand.

Berserker's Grieves:
I believe we all know why we want Berserker's; AS and movement. Anyone differ?

Frozen Mallet:
When I build Frozen Mallet it is to do a couple different things. I want it to increase my health considerably, slightly increase AD, and slow anyone who ever decides to get within my q. This is the building block for the build. Without it, this Yi is nothing. There are countless times where a champ will unknowingly walk into his own death because he didn't realize he can't escape until it was too late.

Atma's Impaler
We all like damage as Yi right? This gives it, with some nice armor to be more tanky. The crit is nice, but you're not a champ made only to kill, so keep in mind that it is to help your team overall. For me, extra armor and damage is a good thing. For the other team, you're downright becoming OP by the minute.

Randuin's Omen:
I think that sometimes I even underestimate why I have Randuin's Omen. Then I look at it's stats and realize I'm an idiot for not always remembering why I do take it. The HP regen is good for your laning. Extra health means more damage output from Atma's. Armor? Hell, we could always use more. And lastly, the CC to ruin fleeing teams by the dozen. It's active will give your team that chase advantage to finish off whoever is left and push until the cows come home. If you killed everyone without needing this, save it for when a teammate, or the ENTIRE team does something stupid and has no way out. Pop this and at least give them a chance. If you sacrifice yourself, so be it. The point is to help the team, and keep the enemy from getting more gold than is necessary.

Banshees Veil:
I don't know about any other tanks, but I am pretty sure EVERY character could use a Banshees no matter where they are or what they are. To start, MORE health. Magic resist (which this build can lack at times). And of course, a blocked spell every 45 seconds. This means saving cleanse for important times. It means taking one less mage hit, or a couple melee hits when stunned. This will save your life. But it isn't impenetrable, play smart! Do you need this? Well, if the other team is heavy with CC and mages, yes. If you're somehow losing the game, yes.

Force of Nature:
Force of Nature is one I would prefer to have on my build all the time, but it isn't as good as Banshees against most teams. The HP regen is awesome, and no way in hell would I want to pass up the magic resist. And hey! Movement speed! Something a tank always wants. The passive is so-so for this build, but it does play its part and so I won't complain. Take FON if your team is dominating the game already and if you're a cocky sonuva*****. In most cases I would take a Banshees over FON. But this will do you well when the game is already in your favor.

Misc. Rambling about my build order:

Starting with Vampiric:

I personally like to begin with vampiric because I find it more reliable than any other HP regen item for this build in early game. However, I am strange in this aspect I know. If you feel the need, start with the Rejuvenation Bead and get a couple health pots.

Why not finish Starks early?

It simply costs too much early game. Emblem still gives good HP regen AND some LS. It is helpful with your laning partner. Starks also isn't as helpful when you are laning 2v2 or 1v2. Save it for later when team-fights appear.

Phage before other items:

Put in the best terms possible... The enemy can't get away. You win.

The rest of the standard build is easy to make sense of.

Situational Items:

Banshees vs Force of Nature:

More often than not I use Banshees in a 5v5 and FON in a 3v3. This is mostly due to how much CC the other team has, and 5v's inherently have more. In a time where carrying the team in a 3v3 isn't enough and the opposition is still winning with map control I will opt for a banshees. One more defensive item that blocks spells is never a bad thing. This SHOULD be your default item for most games.
Force of nature is helpful in 3v3's where you dominate, no one can touch you and you can be AFK getting triple kills (Yi is powerful enough to kill without using Wuju or Highlander in the first place). Generally it is better to use Banshees Veil over Force of Nature. Use your best judgement when choosing between these two.

Starks Fervor vs. Wriggles Lantern

To decide between these two look at the makeup of your team. Do you have a jungler? If not, take wriggles and jungle until you can't anymore. If so, AND you have a well rounded team, take starks. Everybody needs a buff in teamfights. It helps all around when laning as well. To be true, it really boils down to personal play styles. To a certain degree the choice should also be made by whether or not you are in a 3v3 or 5v5 game.

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I won't go into a detailed breakdown of Yi's skills. Hopefully we all know how they work (except the Tryndamere the other day who thought I was hacking when I activated Wuju and got extra AD). In short the most used combo for myself is going all Wuju and Alpha Strike with Wuju being finished first, provided you do upgrade Highlander at all possible times. Wuju gives all your damage, Alpha helps you initiate and keep up or catch up with fleeing champs. Meditate is underestimated by many Yi's. While I don't usually get it early, it is because I play smarter than running into 3v1's. The only time I do get it is when laning against range characters. If you are against them, put at least one tick into Meditation to keep in lane longer. Not to fight all the time, but to stay close enough to get experience from dying minions. At high levels spam Meditation as if it were Wuju. Always use it when focused in team fights. Always use it to take turret hits and give your team a chance to kill champ(s) and the turret. It makes you practically invulnerable to everything while it is up.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this and take the build to heart before flaming away at how bad you perceive it may be. Leave comments! Ask questions! I want to answer everything I've learned about and correct anything I may have said, or that you're possible even remotely confused about. Thanks!