Master Yi Build Guide

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Noraa's AD Yi Style

written by Noraa

Master Yi Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    I wrote this guide because I felt that there is a lot of low quality Master Yi guide floating around the League of Legend Community. Most of these guides are based on pub stomps and low-elo matches, where there is a clear lack of proper itemization, versatility, practicality and understanding how exactly the hero worked.

    This guide is intended as an advanced guide, where I do expect you to have a deep understanding of game mechanics. Timing and positioning is everything with Yi. It is too complicating to explain the timing situations with Yi since there are so many variables involved in the risk assessment.

    I believe that Master Yi is a A-Tier Melee DPS that is just very hard to play, so with this guide, I hope people will start playing him more effectively. I can also tell you that I am not the top Yi on this server nor am I ranked cause I mostly solo queue and don't have the time to play 20 games a day anymore.

    AD Style is the natural style for Master Yi. Obviously, Master Yi is a Melee Assault Champion. The core builds in this guide are generally designed to go offense, maximizing the use of Master Yi's scaling effect. AP Style is the alternative style for Master Yi, but less practical one.

    If there is one thing you will take away from this guide is please let understand that the following are ways Master Yi can be competitively played. Filter the information and figure out what works for you and what does not.

  • Roles and Responsibilities

    Who is Master Yi?
    At the first look, we can see that Master Yi is a Melee fighter.
    It is important to note the fact that Master Yi has a TON of burst damage.
    He has a few combo to accomplish this.
    He is viable both as AP and as AD

    What is Master Yi?
    - Yi is an Assassin, meaning that he can not start a team fight.
    - Yi is a jungler, means he can kill monster mobs at level 1.
    - Yi is a pusher, meaning he can destroy minions and building really fast.
    - Yi is a Escape Artist, meaning he can run, flee and chase.

    Role in a lane phrase:
    - Farm
    - Level
    - Survive
    - Gank

    Early Game Responsibility:
    Survival and Farm is Master Yi's Main responsibility early game. If given the opportunity, knock down a tower.

    Late game Responsibility:
    - Clean up OR Carry
    - Deal burst damage
    - Destroy Buildings [with team]
    - Split Push

  • Abilities

    Double Strike

    Alpha Strike


    Wuju Style


  • Skill Combo, Tips & Tricks

    Tips & Tricks

    Skill Combo & Evil Stuff:

  • Noraa's Master Yi Overview

    Attack Damage Master Yi
    Squishy Melee BURST Fighter

    This guide has a focus on one specific style of Master Yi. The runepage, item order and skill order is designed to work TOGETHER!. Of course, there are many variations to the skill order and runepages, but they all have a very specific goal- high DPS and mobility.

    The basis of this build is ATTACK DAMAGE. Wuju Style provides a whooping 70 to 105 attack damage. While attack damage allows for a more surprising double strike. In addition, critical strike doubles the benefit of our attack damage, further magnifying our benefits. Further more, increase critical strike damage bonuses from Infinity Edge and [mastery_text=Lethality] takes our attack damage another step further.

    Core item
    + + + ... + ...+

    Top Instantaneous Physical DPS
    Strong burst potential
    High Mobility
    Strong Jungler

    Low Survivability
    Primarily single damage type

  • Summoner Abilities

    Ghost - Ghost will be essential as players will always attempt to kite and run away at the first sight of a charging madman wielding a giant sword.

    Smite - REQUIRED - You need this to jungle. Chances are you will be jungling.

    Cleanse - Master Yi is very vulnerable to CC, so cleanse is almost godsend to Master Yi. In a team fight, there is nothing worst than unleashing Highlander and proceed to getting stun and obliterated to bits. However, since you die so fast anyways, Cleanse will not useful unless you have invested in survivability, or is often in a 1v1 situation where that 1 CC makes a difference.

    Exhaust - Exhaust can help us migrate some damage which would otherwise kill us instantly. This shuts down an opponent carry for the duration while you wail away at them. Could always be used as a 3 second slow on escaping targets, however they tend to flash away and waste your exhaust. Meanwhile, opening on caster carries with this will save you a lot of pain. Probably prevent the instant death and allow you to burst and life-steal away on the opponent during a 1v1.

    Teleport - Teleport can be useful when the need quickly buy and heal is desired. With good map awareness, you can always teleport to an undefended tower and quickly knock it down. Also, with similar effect as Destiny you can always drop into a committed battle to turn the tides around.

  • Masteries

    Mastery can be whatever you like and they are fairly forgiving. However, these little benefits will affect your jungling and laning greatly. Just make sure you pick up the GOOD masteries that benefits Master Yi the most. The following is a partial list. I tend to go 21/0/9 or 19/0/11. Both these Masteries can be used to jungle with Smite.

    Key Masteries:

  • Runes

    AD Master Yi scales with many different stats. I truly believe that Yi should be played as AD, as oppose to AP. Yi's DPS scales very powerfully and diversely. He benefits from all kind of stats and these stats provide a multiplicative bonus to his overall DPS. They are:

    Attack Damage * Critical Chance * Critical Damage Bonus * Armor Pen * Attack Speed

    Since Master Yi's skills provide Attack Damage and Attack Speed. We want to min-max our damage by looking at Critical Chance, Critical Damage and Armor Pen. Since Critical Damage is related to Attack Damage, it is not ideal to focus on this stat at all. Attack damage also scales well with Double Strike and Highlander. In our core item choice, we already have Ghostblade, a source of great attack speed. When Ghostblade is combined with Highlander, this combination provides a great deal of attack speed, thus we can forget about attack speed runes. This leaves us with two stats to balance between in our runepage, which are also hard to come by: Critical Chance and Armor Pen. I've personally found just focusing on only Armor Penetration will result in over penetration, wasting Armor Pen. So I can just lower the amount of Armor Penetration in the rune page and ensure we will always under penetration, and get a bit of critical chance, your average damage will actually increase!

    Rune pages greatly affects the first few minutes of the game, however, a well designed runepage- for a specific set of items- will provide a lasting impact throughout a game.

    General Rune set:

    Jungle set:

    Critical APen set - Designed for this build & Midgame:

  • Play style

    Play style
    Now that we have gone through how to set up Master Yi for pre-game and in-game. We know how runes, masteries and summoner spells affect Master Yi. As soon as the game starts, we formulate a strategy for our item build as we analyze the enemy team composition during the game loading screen. Now let us try and combine this together and figure out how to best terminate the other team. The following, like the rest of the guide is another huge wall of text (probably filled with typos, grammatical and spelling error from late night writing) but there are simply so much little gritty details to cover.

    Firstly, Yi's ability to smash faces is present throughout the game. From level one, and with the right runes and item choices, he is king with auto attack damage output. However, coupled with his frail nature and short attack range makes him a very weak laning hero. Lacking an escape ability early on, Master Yi is only capable joining a small skirmish with the use of Ghost. Thus, you will want to play very passively and defensively. You need to be more concerned with farming and survival than smashing faces until you are much more lethal.

    While being a very weak laning hero, Master Yi is a surprisingly strong Jungler. He can has the potential to get to level 3 before dual lane hits level 2. He also has one of the more unpredictable and flexible jungle path.

    Yi is very satisfying to play. The act of dealing well over 500 damage with one combo at early game is just sheer amusement. Not to mention, every single one of your auto attack feels like a nuke. The ability to move at neck breaking speed is quite entertaining as well.

    Master Yi is one of the best champions in the game for dealing massive amount of physical Damage in a very short amount of time. He can make short work of anything, however he just needs a team to back him up. This is why Yi is one of those heroes that can pubstomp at lower-ELO, but rarely the mid-teir Elo. He is very hard to play and that is usually why people are so bad with him.

  • Skill Order

    Skill Order
    To be honest, I am at a point where I don't have a set skill order. As of now, I don't think there really is a "required" build on Yi. Each skill offers specialization in certain area. However, skill order is not a huge determinate of this build. The KEY with skill order is to max Wuju Style RIGHT when you get Ghostblade. The most important is the first 5 level, so you can get through jingling.

    The following is some sample level 1-9 build order. There are a lot of variations to your skill order. But playing properly is the main requirement to doing well.

    The most important decision in your skill opening is which skill to max first, Alpha Strike or Wuju Style? This pretty much depends on your midgame plan. Do you want to kick buff early (5~8), or play it safe for post lvl 9~10. This is how I generalize it: Alpha Strike provides a higher damage output until you get Ghostblade.

    The general rule is to get Highlander whenever available. Wuju style maxed out as soon as possible. Alpha Strike as required to Jungle, usually it means level 1. Meditate for migrating damages and to account for unlucky jungle.


    Afterwards level 9, the skill order is based on your personal preference. I like Mediate > Alpha Strike.

  • AD Items

    Okay guys, this is where I will make things complicated. A huge part of being Yi is about dealing damage. If you do not properly calibrate your item build for each specific target and comprises between them, you are not going to have a easy time killing the important threats. Stacking attack damage causes Yi output to be very bursty. In this build, we focus on making Yi a significant threat at around level 10. However, with proper rune choices and the right items, he is still very powerful at level 1.

    Opening Items:

    Core Focus:
    - Hitting hard and moving fast is a must when facing multiple ranged champions, specially heroes like Kog'Maw and Ashe. This build lacks the ability to have a constantly high attack speed, which is specially important when trying to push. As a said effect, this causes you to be a very committed fighter.

    Core item
    + + + ... + ...+

    The core item is mainly Youmuu's Ghostblade. Ghostblade is a critical item. Hopefully, the Boots of Speed and Vampiric Scepter are self explanatory.

    Picture of Item Path

    Non-Core Item:
    We take a look at what our team is trying to do and what we need. Then we pick the items that best suit these purpose.


    Unlisted Options:

  • Jungling

    As I stated, Master Yi's Laning ability is below average. However, his jungling ability is one of the best - in terms of flexibility and speed. With the standard Master Yi Jungle runes (see below), he can potentially hit lvl 3 and arrive at a dual lane before they hit level 2.

    ------------------------------------Needs updating!-----------------------------

  • Updates and Notes

    Change Log:
    Update: 23/08/2011
    * updating to match current style

    Update: 14/03/2011
    * let the Spoiler begin!

    Authors Note: I feel that I should be obligated to provide a basic amount of information about myself so that you, the read, may understand just who they are taking advice from. Most obviously, I am not a top player nor have I played in any competitions. I am probably not the top Master Yi player, but I do feel that I am one of the better ones that I've came across. I mostly solo queue most of my game and rarely play with a premade. Master Yi is the second hero I played in League of Legends about nine months ago. Ever since level 2, I've been painstakingly trying to learn and master Master Yi. After hundreds of games testing different runes setup, itemization and summoner spells, I can ensure you that this is the fruit of my research. I believe that Master Yi is a A-Tier Melee DPS that is just very hard to play, so with this guide, I hope people will start playing him more effectively.

  • Draft / Reviewing

    The below sections are under review or being drafted.

  • DO NOT's of Master Yi

    This is where I rant to advocates of bad builds and tell you of situations where I would faceplam if my ally Yi did any of the following.

    Tank Yi

    Stacked PD

    Late game Wriggle's

    Manamune - rushed

  • FYI: AP Yi

    This is by no means part of the guide. I just wanted to include some information for you so that you don't get misinformed.

    This is a "Mini" description of how AP Yi works. (The theory in my understanding anyways)

    The role of AP Yi and playstyle is very different from that of its AD counter part. AP Yi is a nuker, the timing of his spells are very critical and must wait till the optimal moment before use, as Alpha Strike's flaw must be accounted for.

    The core items for AP Yi is essentially a bunch of AP items with some CDR. All your items are focused on making the most use of your Alpha Strike and Meditate. Hourglass is essential as it buys more time for cooldown on Alpha Strike, as to tank a chunk of damage your main carry would otherwise have suffered. Void Staff is fairly handy when dealing with tanky DPS's.

    The trouble with AP Yi is mainly the randomness of Alpha Strike. Alpha strike only guarantee one single target, all other 3 are chosen based on the your initial target. This implies that only 25% of Yi's Single Nuke is guarantee.

    To offset this, you NEED your team to have one of the following before engaging a fight:

    1) AOE Damange Ult - Fiddle, MF - to wipe out nearby minion wave
    2) Fight at baron / dragon - out of lane
    3) Fight when only heroes are around

    In a fight, your primary concern is keep triggering Highlander. Your spell sequence will more lightly be along the lines of:

    Highlander -> Alpha Strike -> Wuju Style if ignored, Alpha Strike when Ready, Meditate when focused / Low Hp, repeat if Highlander triggers on single kill or 2 assist.

  • Laning

    Note: I haven't had time to reread/rewrite this section. Most overall concept here applies. minor details might be out of date since the game patches so often. Usually people Jungle with Master Yi, laning section is probably out of date.

    Jungling - Recommended

    Solo Middle - Not recommended

    2 Man Side Lane

    1v2 Sidelane - Not recommended

    Mid Game

    Late Game

  • How to deal with Champions

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Submitted by Noraa

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