Yorick Build Guide

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The Gravedigger Calls!

written by strkml

Yorick Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to Gravedigging.

    Hey everyone and welcome to my first guide, yes there are a lot of these around right now, and more on the way as everyone seems to have had a crack at the new champion and there are many different ways according to the general community that he can be built. Now this guide will be updated over time, and by all means add what you feel you need to in the comments.

    Now obviously being the new champ I can't say I am an expert, in fact, for the first few games I was more or less running blind because there has been no Champion Spotlight (yet) for me to base basic information off of. That being said, let me tell you a few things I have noticed about Yorick.

    - He is decidedly average: Unlike other champions, who specialize in one particular area, be it physical attack, magic or just soaking damage, Yorick is a jack of all trades, master of none. This is of course both a blessing and a curse. In the early game you really have no backup if you get caught out in the open. Your physical damage isn't as high as champions like Nocturne or Tryndamere, your magic abilities are not as bursty as Ryze or LeBlanc and your health isn't going to keep you standing compared to say Rammus or Shen. However, there in lies the advantage. Because everything is average, you can adapt Yorick to your preferred playstyle with the right runes, masteries and items so by the late game, you can be quite unstoppable compared to other champions.

    - He has mana problems: Oh does he ever. The trick about Yorick is that due to his passive, he gains bonus damage depending on how many ghouls are up at any one time. To get the most out of your champions damage that requires spamming the cooldowns. With Yorick's small mana pool at the start, spamming your cooldowns to summon ghouls will see you drained of mana faster than a parched man drains a glass of water. No ghouls = no bonus damage = useless Yorick. Thankfully it doesn't take much to keep yourself topped off, even in the early game. The golem buff can help you a great deal, so grab it whenever you can and grabbing at the very least a Tear of the Goddess will carry you until you can get a Manamune later in the game.

    - He can be a god in the late game: I went over this briefly in the 'average' point but I feel that it's important to point it out here. Yorick is one of those champions, that when built right, can become one of the most unrelenting champions in the league. With enough mana regeneration and cooldown reduction (helped greatly with the golem buff on top of your items) you can literally spam your abilities one after another, keeping up constant damage and overall just hammering the opposition. Because your damage is physical and magical through the spamming of your ghouls on top of whatever items you have, there really isn't a great amount of defense that can be brought against you either.

    - Lifesteal is your friend: Combined with Omen of Famine you can regain a large amount of life very quickly with the right items. As one of your main survival methods, do not overlook lifesteal items in favor of damage. While killing champions quickly is perfectly fine, it is better that you outlast them if possible, and you'll do that with health, defensive stats and lifesteal.

  • Change Log

    23/6/2011 9:05pm - Minor appearance change, added Stark's Fervor to the Utility Items list.

    24/6/2011 2:00pm - Minor appearance changes, added new sections 'Change Log', 'Item Builds' and 'The End'. Removed Trinity Force from the core item build and moved it to the offensive item list. Added Abyssal Scepter and Will of the Ancients to the Utility item list.

  • Abilities

    Unholy Covenant
    Yorick's passive. Fairly useful and one of the main points to build Yorick around. 5% damage per summon that you have active and they gain 30% of your attack damage and health. If you spam your cooldowns, summoning ghouls when you can, this passive will net you at least a 10% damage increase, but it can go anywhere up to 20% after level 6. 10-15% however should be the basic value that you are looking for. As far as the increased damage and health go, this is not really a strong point. The ghouls will last at best 5 seconds if they are not killed earlier, even if you stack a massive amount of health and attack damage, you simply wont be able to keep them up long enough, and in the end it's simply not worth stacking a massive amount of health to keep them alive.

    Omen of War
    Yorick's chasing ability, not to be confused with escaping because it is more or less useless for trying to escape a gank. You will deal extra physical damage on your next attack and summon a spectral ghoul, which for the short time that it is alive, will attack your enemies and give you a 35% increase to your movement speed. This makes it great for chasing down an enemy champion but remember that you -have- to hit an enemy first for the ghoul to spawn or you will move no faster than your boots/runes will allow.

    Omen of Pestilence
    This ability defines a good or a bad Yorick. Unlike Omen of War, this ability allows you to target a small area to summon a decaying ghoul. The ghoul will spawn in the middle of the circle, dealing magic damage to enemies around it (the damage currently scales with AD not AP) and slowing them by 40% for 1.5 seconds. The ghoul itself will then slow nearby champions by 20% for as long as it is alive.

    So what defines this ability as making a good or bad Yorick?

    Because it summons a ghoul at the spot where you choose, it can be used to block certain champion skillshot abilities (Nidalee's Javalin Toss, Mundo's Infected Cleaver, Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab and Corki's Missile Barrage to name a few) and it can be used to kill the initiation abilities of some tanks such as Rammus's Powerball. Pretty much anything that stops after hitting a single minion or champion can be killed with the strategic use of this ability.

    Now if you are new to Yorick (and at the time of writing I assume everyone is) don't expect to be super-pro at placing this ability, it takes practice and quick reflexes to be able to place the ability in time to block a skillshot. Practice, practice, practice.

    Omen of Famine
    This is your primary life-stealing ability. You will do a significant amount of magic damage (which scales with AD instead of AP, much like Omen of Pestilence) and heal Yorick for 50% of the damage dealt. It will spawn a Ravenous Ghoul behind the target which will also heal Yorick for the duration of it's life with each attack. Combined with items that provide lifesteal, this can keep you going for a significant amount of time, however you will notice that this does magic damage, and you heal from the amount of magic damage you deal, therefore, to get more heal from this particular ability, you need to actually use spellvamp. There are a few items that provide this and you will actually get a significant boost to your healing by having at least one item with spellvamp on it.

    Omen of Death
    Yorick's ultimate and as many have already pointed out, a unique combination of Shaco's Hallucinate and Zilean's Chronoshift. Simply use the ability on a friendly champion (or yourself) to summon a revenant which will directly copy the champion it was used on. The revenant will have exactly the same stats as the champion it copied, however it will lose 10% of it's maximum health every second until it dies. If the revenant is still alive and the champion it was cast on is killed, the champion will be reanimated with full health and mana just like the revenant. However, just like the revenant, the reanimated champion will lose 10% of it's total health per second until they die. This damage is unavoidable, even if you are standing on the summoner platform you will still die from the damage this ability deals.

    The difference this ability makes is when you use it. Using it during a team fight when no champions are in danger of dying can confuse the enemy for a few brief moments allowing your team to get the upper hand, however using it when a champion is about to die, will allow that champion to come back for revenge against the enemy champion/s that killed him/her.

  • Masteries + Runes

    So to one of the most important parts of this guide. Masteries and Runes.

    There are multiple ways you can plan out your masteries depending on what you want Yorick to excel at:

    Offensive (focusing on pure attack damage with Exhaust and Clarity as summoner spells): 21/0/9

    Defensive (focusing on damage prevention with Exhaust/Ghost or Exhaust/Cleanse as summoner spells):1/21/7
    (Note: There is 1 point available in this build for upgrading a summoner spell, either Ghost or Cleanse)

    Utility (focusing on cooldown reduction and map coverage with Exhaust/Teleport or Exhaust/Ghost as summoner spells):8/0/21
    (Note: There is 1 point available in this build for upgrading a summoner spell, either Ghost or Teleport)

    As far as Runes are concerned, I generally build with a basic physical rune-page consisting of:

    Greater Mark of Desolation x 9
    OR Greater Seal of Vitality or Greater Seal of Evasion x 9
    Greater Glyph of Replenishment x 9

    Now you might wonder why I don't list Quintessences with the rest of the runes, that is because the Quintessences that are used can change depending on what role you want Yorick to excel at, you can use any of the following or feel free to use your own:

    Greater Quintessence of Desolation x 3
    OR Greater Quintessence of Vitality or Greater Quintessence of Evasion x 3
    Greater Quintessence of Swiftness x 3

  • Summoner Abilities

    You'll have noticed in the above section that I list several summoner abilities in the various mastery builds. While this is not a hard and fast rule, these abilities are the ones I prefer to use.

    Spells I Recommend

    Exhaust: This is the mainstay ability in all of my builds as it can be used both offensively to catch a runner or defensively, to break the damage of a enemy carry or ganker during a team fight.

    Clarity: This spell is perhaps one of the best for Yorick. Considering his abysmal mana pool at the start of every game, having a way to regain the mana lost without having to run back to the nexus is great. This will remain effective until you get a Manamune and even then it is fairly useful especially with the mastery upgrade.

    Ghost: As far as escape mechanisms go, Yorick only really has one reliable escape which is Omen of Pestilence. However if you need to move quickly, be it to get to somewhere on the map, or to get away from a gank that Omen will not stop, then this ability is your friend.

    Cleanse: If the enemy has ways to lock you down this ability can save your life, but make sure the enemy has used up all their lock down abilities before you use it. There is nothing worse than activating this ability running for one second, only to have another spell lock you down and leave you with a bad case of dead.

    Teleport: Good for moving around the map quickly. If you are going to take this, make sure you sink a point into the mastery to improve it otherwise you won't get much use out of it at all.

    Spells That Are Okay

    Heal: A nice boost if needed for an emergency but as Yorick you should have enough lifesteal to not need it. If you feel you must take it though, by all means.

    [spell=Fortify]: If no one else on your team has this spell and you feel you may need it, take it. Otherwise take something more beneficial.

    Ignite: A nice offensive attack for getting that last hit in. If you are going pure offensive you can take this along with exhaust, but I recommend a balance of one offensive spell and one defensive.

    Flash: As far as escapes go, this is pretty good. My only problem with it is that it's easy to counter with either another flash, or a ghost/exhaust combo. Placing it well can give you the advantage but I prefer Ghost by default.

    Clairvoyance: Good for scouting out potential enemy junglers, stealthers, dragon and baron. Take it if you must but wards can substitute for this spell on dragon and baron easily enough and stealthers can be detected with an oracles elixir (or more wards).

    Spells I Don't Touch

    Revive The cooldown is far too long to even consider taking this as a viable spell. On top of that, if you find yourself in a position where you have to use it, say in a team fight, you'll be hard pressed to make it back to your team from the summoner platform UNLESS they are fighting in your base. The only way this spell would be viable on Yorick is if you combined it with Teleport, so you could revive and port to your friends, otherwise skip it.

    Smite Despite having lifesteal, I don't consider Yorick to be a good jungler compared to other champions, so this is fairly useless unless you really want to smite that tank minion before your lane mate gets to it.

    [spell=Rally] Good for a utility build and in a team fight, but otherwise very situational. Take it if you want to go with something different for Yorick but otherwise skip it.

  • Skilling Order

    There are three different skilling orders that I recommend for Yorick depending on what you need/want to run with. By default all spells are gained by level 3 so that you are not without some AoE or some lifesteal, it is just a matter of which skill is more powerful

    Single Target Damage with Lifesteal Support

    This build sacrifices AoE in the early game for solid single target damage and some lifesteal. You will be able to last hit minions very well and deal significant damage to champions, but your ability to slow will suffer.

    AoE Damage with Lifesteal Support

    This build sacrifices single target damage to focus on AoE, better for lane farming against multiple minions, and great for slowing the enemy but not so good for dealing with champions 1 v 1.

    Lifesteal with AoE Support

    This build focuses on keeping you in lane as long as possible, however lifesteal aside your single target damage won't be as good as it could be.

  • Items

    Here I will list a set of core items, which I believe will be present in any item build, following that I will list some options for offense, defense and utility. How you build into these items is up to you, I will not be including a step by step unless requested.

    Core Items

    Hextech Gunblade: Despite it having one stat that does not in any way benefit Yorick (AP) the three additional stats on this item more than make up for it. The attack damage will not only boost your abilities and your passive, but both the lifesteal and the spellvamp will give you health from not only your physical attacks but also the magic damage of Omen of Pestilence and Omen of Famine.

    Boots of Speed: While there are multiple upgrade options for these boots, I prefer simply using the basic boot as a core item, and upgrading depending on what I need. The four options I recommend are:

    - Berserker's Greaves: Mostly for offensive builds, when the enemy has very little CC
    - Mercury's Treads: Anytime the enemy has more than two champions that can CC or if the team is AP heavy.
    - Boots of Swiftness: I only recommend using these with the Utility build, however if you feel you need more movement speed, then by all means. Note, I do not recommend using Boots of Mobility as while the movement speed bonus out of combat is impressive, these boots are designed for ganking assassins such as Evelynn and Shaco. The choice is yours however.
    - Ionian Boots of Lucidity: If you want to spam your abilities more often and have no need for any of the other boots, take these.

    Manamune: This is simply an item which cannot be skipped, the extra mana provided from this item, along with the regen will keep you going through most of the game without needing to go back for a mana refill too often, especially if combined with the golem buff. The damage increase is pretty nice too

    Once you have your core items, you can start looking into other items to supplement your build. Remember that when choosing an item, you want something that will benefit your passive and in turn, your abilities.


    Trinity Force: Attack Speed, damage, health, mana, chance on hit to slow the enemy and a 150% bonus damage on next attack. This item is, in my opinion, a must have for Yorick.

    The Black Cleaver: If you are going full offensive against champions that don't necessarily stack armor or health then this item is very beneficial. The attack speed will give you a increase in damage and the armor pen will help your attacks cleave through their basic armor values.

    Last Whisper: If you are up against multiple tanks, or one tank that has stacked a lot of armor items, then this is more or less what you want instead of the black cleaver. What it looses in attack speed it makes up for with damage and armor pen.

    [item=Madred's Bloodrazor]: This item is for dealing with the health stackers like Cho'gath or Maokai. Just be careful they are not stacking magic resist or the bonus effect from this item will be all but negated.

    Atma's Impaler: Not entirely beneficial unless you have a quite a bit of health, combine this with a defensive item such as Warmog's Armor or a Frozen Mallet for the best outcome.

    The Bloodthirster: For when you need more lifesteal and attack damage, just be careful to not die once you get this item, otherwise you will have to farm minions and monsters to get the stacks of damage and lifesteal back to maximum.

    Frozen Mallet: This item I list last, simply because if you go with the core build you already have an item that grants the on hit effect. Granted, the Trinity Force does not proc on every single hit, but the slow is still present and they don't stack. If you do go with the Frozen Mallet, you can put this in place of the Trinity Force in the core build.


    Spirit Visage: This particular item has four things that we need, hence why it is number one on the defensive list. It provides a little magic resist and a little health, both being beneficial (the health more than the magic resist unless you are going up against a few AP champions) but most importantly it provides a 10% reduction to cooldowns and a 15% increase to all healing effects on you. This means that your Omen of Famine is going to do more healing for you, especially if you are using a Hextech Gunblade.

    Banshee's Veil: Use this only if you are up against heavy AP teams or if you are getting focused by CC spells. The magic resist works well in conjunction with a Spirit Visage, however it can make do by itself. The health and mana gained from this item is also impressive.

    Sunfire Cape: If you are going up against a heavy attack damage team this item works well. Extra health which benefits your passive along with armor for preventing at least some of the damage from their attacks. The AoE damage is fairly decent as well, but it more or less requires you to be up close and personal, which doesn't work well against ranged champs even if they do physical damage.

    Randuin's Omen: Another item for heavy physical teams, it doesn't have as much health as the Sunfire Cape, but it makes up for it with increased armor, health regen and a passive and active ability. Take this over a Sunfire Cape if most of the physical damage is coming from ranged attacks.

    Warmog's Armor: Flat health increase along with health regen which boosts as you kill minions and champions. Because all it does is benefit your passive it is last on the list. Combine this with a Atma's Impaler for a decent item combo but otherwise avoid it unless you really need the health and the enemy champions are not carrying Madred's Razor.


    Aegis of the Legion: Health, armor, magic resist and a decent aura for your team makes this a perfect utility item, especially during team fights.

    Shurelya's Reverie: Bonus health, health regen, mana regen and reduced cooldowns probably makes you wonder why this isn't in the defensive list. The reason it isn't on that list is because of the active ability which makes it great for when you want to give your lane mate or team a boost to get somewhere quickly, or to escape if need be.

    [item=Soul Shroud]: This item has more health than Shurelya's Reverie, but instead of giving health regen to yourself and 15% cooldown reduction, it gives a mana regen and cooldown reduction aura to your entire team making this a perfect utility item.

    [item=Stark's Fervor]: This item provides 20% extra attack speed to you, but also applies an aura which gives you and all friendly champions 20% lifesteal, 20% extra attack speed and some health regen. This same aura also reduces enemy champions armor by 20.

    Abyssal Scepter: Now you might be asking, why is this item -NOT- in the Items to Avoid section, it has AP, which is useless for Yorick. This is true, it does have AP, but we are ignoring that for two things. The magic resist, which is substantial and the aura which reduces the magic resist of nearby enemy champions by 20. Use this item in a utility build where you have a lot of AP users on your team, they will love you for it.

    Will of the Ancients: Similar to the Abyssal Scepter, this item should only be used in games where your team composition is made up mostly of AP users as the only thing you will get out of it is the 25% spellvamp. However if you do have a lot of AP users on your team, the spellvamp and the ability power provided by the aura will help them immensely.

    Items to Avoid

    Here is a list of items that I generally avoid taking for one reason or another. If you feel you need to take them, by all means do so, but they are not preferred in my personal opinion.

    Guinsoo's Rageblade: A decent item, however since we don't need to stack ability power, the only benefit we get off this item is the base damage increase and the attack speed proc. Both these effects can be gained by taking different items.

    Infinity Edge: Personally I find this item far too expensive for what it gives. As Yorick we won't be critting all that much unless you use runes to improve critical ability (I don't recommend this) so overall we only gain attack damage and not much else from this item. Like the rageblade, the attack damage can be gained from other items with greater use.

    Sword of the Occult: I am against these types of items in general as they require you to be fed and punish you greatly if you get a streak of bad luck and start to feed. Overall though if you can get the stacks high enough this item does give a great deal of potential, so if you feel you can perform with it, by all means take it.

    Youmuu's Ghostblade: Again I see an item providing critical and I shrug because to me that's not what Yorick is about. If you are going with a critical build then this item may be useful, however I find it to be rather pointless. The proc could be considered good, however it doesn't really last long enough for it to be of significant use. Personally I would save this item for when you play Master Yi.

    [item=Force of Nature]: Despite being one of the best items for magic resist in the game, it doesn't provide any bonuses to Yorick other than the magic resist and some health regen. If you absolutely need that much magic resist, then I recommend grabbing a Banshee's Veil and a Spirit Visage instead.

    Leviathan: See above with Sword of the Occult. This item provides a lot of health if you can get the stacks up, and the damage reduction at 20 stacks is nothing to sneeze at, it's quite impressive, but my opinion of these items is one of negativity.

    Doran's Shield, Doran's Blade or Doran's Ring: These items are nice boosters at the start of the game, however due to the gold increase which prevents players from buying a potion to go with it, I find that the loss of survivability by taking any of these just isn't worth it. Also if you take the Ring... I will reach through the monitor and slap you, you have no use for the ring.

  • Item Builds

    So here I am going to list a few basic item builds, using the core items and some of the recommended items I mentioned above. Keep in mind that these are just examples, and that you can feel free to deviate from these at any time if you feel that something else works for you.

    Core Build

    , ,

    Offensive Build
    This build will give you great offensive capability, with high attack damage, attack speed and a significant amount of lifesteal to keep yourself topped up. Remember to keep it flexible depending on the enemy team composition, replace The Black Cleaver with Last Whisper or [item_text=Madred's Bloodrazor] if needed.

    , , , , ,

    Defensive Build
    This build focuses on defensive items, giving you greater health and armor, however there is a great deal of room for customization. If you are up against AP teams, replace Sunfire Cape with Banshee's Veil. You can also replace Randuin's Omen with Warmog's Armor if you feel you need more health to keep yourself going.

    , , , , ,

    Utility Build
    This build focuses on aura items, everything other than the core build provides a bonus to your team, making you very valuable in a team fight, especially in the end game where such advantages can turn the tide and secure a win. As with the other builds there is room to customize. If you don't have many mana using champs (say you have a team comp consisting of Tryndamere, Shen, Akali and Renekton for example) taking [item_text=Soul Shroud] would be useless, so instead replace that with Shurelya's Reverie. Also if you find yourself on an AP heavy team, feel free to replace [item_text=Stark's Fervor] with either a Abyssal Scepter or a Will of the Ancients

    , , , , [item_icon=Soul Shroud], [item_icon=Stark's Fervor].

    Step by Step for Core
    Here is as the title suggests a step by step to getting the core items of my builds. Feel free to customize or change depending on your own personal preference. Now when I say item recall in this list, that does not mean wait it out if you really need a health potion or two. Go and get your health potions then return, making the item recall when you have the money for the items. Also between your first and second item recall at some stage upgrade your Boots of Speed to whichever one you chose to use for that game.

    Start with: and -OR- [item_icon=Meki Pendant] and x2

    First Item Recall: and

    Second Item Recall: and

    Third Item Recall:

    After you have your cutlass, your priority is to build into your Hextech Gunblade by building into the Hextech Revolver or skipping it entirely by saving enough gold to buy the Gunblade directly.

    Once you have your core finished it's then time to build into your other items. Remember that you don't have to save up for the big items before buying anything, if there are multiple items which build into your chosen item, pick the one that will benefit you the most then start building from there. The exception to this rule is your 6th item, as you have no more spaces to place the additional building items for the finished product. In this case, you want to save up and buy the item outright if possible.

  • The End!

    Now I want to take a moment here and say thank you for reading my guide, I will be happy if you found it useful but if you think I made a mistake, if you have a suggestion or even if you have a question, feel free to respond in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as I can :)

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Submitted by strkml

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