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Yorick Build Guide by Polatrite

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Polatrite

Yorick - The surprisingly capable backdoor hero

Polatrite Last updated on June 23, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 16

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

Utility: 14

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Pros / Cons

* Strong tanky DPS that can absorb a lot of damage but still dish out a lot of damage without building straight DPS
* Doesn't require full farm or a full build to be effective
* Can begin backdooring extremely early
* Hard-to-counter backdoor style
* Extremely gamebreaking ultimate when used properly
* Excellent sustainability in lanes and survivability in teamfights

* Absolutely no hard CC
* Not a tank, not an initiator
* Mediocre peeling ability in teamfights without additional CDR
* Full use of the ultimate requires a very coordinated teamfight initiation
* Requires unique playstyle

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Runes & Masteries

Yorick is one of the few heroes who directly benefits from flat AD and HP runes in strange places. Unlike other heroes, armor penetration will NOT benefit him as much as flat AD simply because of the HUGE scaling on all his ghouls. The only stats that ghouls benefit from are HP and AD, so it's important to maximize your returns on these with your runes as well as your masteries. However, Yorick also suffers from numerous mana problems, especially before you get that critical Soul Shroud. Take the Utility masteries over the significantly less potent 14 points in offense - this nets you additional mana, gold per 5 to help with farm, and movement speed for your backdooring efforts.

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Yorick is a very unusual champion that I believe will produce several interesting playstyles as people discover how to not build him as a "Trinity Force Tanky DPS" clone. Trinity Force is a fad-of-the-moment item that is very powerful on certain characters (like Irelia), but it's assumed that this same power carries over to every character. This is not the case with Yorick. Yorick, more than almost any champion in the game, receives IMMENSE scaling potential on both health and attack damage - not attack speed, not crit, not mana, not ability power and not penetration. Stick with health and attack damage to maximize your returns, both for teamfights and for backdooring. Yorick is in an extremely interesting place as a backdoor champion, which we'll get to later.

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General Strategy

First and foremost, Yorick is NOT A MINIONMANCER. Yorick's ghouls are not a primary assault, they are merely a supplement to YOUR primary assault. Do not play Yorick passively assuming that your ghouls will do your dirty work. Many people complain about the ghouls health being too low, especially early game - while a valid concern against AOE heavy lanes, it still undermines the point of the ghouls. If Miss Fortune decides to waste a shot on your minion instead of you, that's great! It means she is dealing damage to an inconsequential and low damage source instead of dealing damage to you - a powerful tanky AD. Ghouls should be used in bursts, using all three at once while you dive in for severe harassment. Yorick's lane phase can be very similar to Renekton - where you dive in, try to aim for massive damage, stun, and more massive damage, then get out. Yorick is not a poker, and should not be utilized as such - it's simply a waste of mana.

Yorick is surprisingly powerful at level 2. Taking Q + E will allow you to dish out in the neighborhood of 500~ damage in only a couple seconds. Try to use the bush to your advantage and aim for a solid level 2 harassment. If your lanemate has taken offensive summoner spells or has CC, you could easily score a first blood with your powerful Doran's-enhanced ghouls. Consider this - the initial bonus from your Q is very similar to the damage bonus on Vayne's Q. Now consider that your ghoul sticks around for 5 seconds dealing an additional 20-30 damage a hit, and runs significantly faster than the enemy champions at this level.

Yorick is vulnerable to heavy AOE lanes, especially in the early game. Characters like Karma, Renekton, Annie and more will abuse you early game. It's best to play passively against these characters - focus on last hitting and earning farm while your ranged lanemate protects you. Once you gain a few levels and hit the base to pick up your first hp items, you'll have significantly less problems with ghouls dying as quickly. If you consistently have too much trouble against these lanes - ask for a switch! There's no shame in switching lanes if you're simply going to do terribly in the lane and not scale at all into the midgame.

Once the laning phase ends is where playing Yorick gets really exciting. Yorick is a backdoor wonder and is in a very unique position as a backdoor character. Several characters can tank a turret and deal some damage, but very few characters can tank with their spells, constantly generating more and more health to tank the turret through his ghouls. Furthermore, turrets gain additional damage the longer they focus on one target - however your ghouls are coming and going, constantly reseting the turret attack bonus to 125% instead of 155% - keeping your mini-tanks alive longer. This means that Yorick is able to push without minions successfully. When you throw in your revenant, you can deal completely absurd damage to towers as well as providing a powerful deterrant to solitary enemy champions countering you - that is, unless the enemy has an extremely powerful 1v1 character (Malzahar, Jax, etc.) they're going to have to split up their team to take care of your threat.

When using Yorick as a backdoor champion, you need to make room for wards. Wards are completely necessary, not only for map awareness, but also for SURPRISE BACKDOORING. This is one of the areas where Twisted Fate is so powerful - he can appear at your turret instantly and begin taking it down with his absurd AP on Lichbane procs. What makes Yorick interesting compared to Twisted Fate is that he doesn't need to be level 18 with serious farm to do serious damage. TF can't tank too many tower hits at level 14, whereas Yorick can drop an entire tower at that level - without minions. Placing your wards in the jungle near their towers not only allows you to monitor their buffs, but it also gives you a place to warp in and immediately destroy a tower. It's a luxury that's not generally available on backdoor heroes.

Don't believe that Yorick can backdoor properly? Consider this - at level 14 with only a Soul Shroud and Frozen Mallet finished you're sporting a bonus 1200~ hp. That's a solid 350~ hp for your ghouls, generally amounting to two additional tower hits over the ghoul's (brief) lifetime. With ghouls on such a short cooldown, combined with your CDR, you're able to absorb a ton of additional tower hits. This only scales even better as the game progresses - not to mention that your ghouls and your revenant clone are tearing the tower apart on their own, independent of your not inconsiderable damage.

Yorick is truly a unique hero with a unique set of options to explore. I'm interested to see what other builds arise out of this champion, as long as people can set aside their box mentality and see him for his true strengths.

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Backdoor Tips

* Always have the jungle near the tower you're pushing warded
* Make sure river is warded, too, often times some members will go river while others go jungle in order to flush you out and trap you
* Early game, if your minions are closer to the enemy tower, it's better to go beyond the tower and take out the next enemy creep wave - your minions will do more tower damage than you
* Late game minion damage does not scale as well and you're better off taking the tower out yourself and ignoring enemy minions
* Always go back before you think you absolutely need to go back - chances are that that is actually when you DO need to go back, and it's sooner than you thought
* Talk with your team and see if the 25% CDR from blue buff is worth more on you than on another character - it allows you ALMOST full ghoul uptime with the rest of your build
* If you can take an enemy buff safely, do it
* Use E to heal on jungle creeps, avoid going back to base if not necessary and you can't afford a great upgrade
* Later game (16+) if you need to heal and you need to head back to your side of the map, offer to help your carries get red/blue buff. Often times they take significant hp damage in soloing the buff, you take no damage however -- make sure your ghoul doesn't steal the kill