Master Yi Build Guide

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Jackrabbit Yi - The King of Krit

written by loganex

Master Yi Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    I'm lvl 30 and I play Yi, even in ranked games. I'm no professional, but I've got a penta kill, two quadra kills and too many triple and double kills to count with him using this build. There are a couple of other crit chance guides out there, but nobody follows them, so they must be inadequate. I haven't seen anyone else build him this way, so I'm hoping this adds to your knowledge of how to play my favorite champ.

    I called it Jackrabbit Yi because every character has a different attack animation when they crit, and Yi's is a funny little hop as he swings his blade upward. When you crit on every hit, as this build requires, he hops like a freaking jackrabbit.

    Please comment and help me improve this guide, and vote up if you like it. My IGN is Dalrymple, so message me to play and I'll give you a demo.

  • Summary

    Jackrabbit Yi builds critical chance with a secondary focus on damage. This gives us insane damage output mid and late game. Summary first, then great detail later.

    21/9/0 or 21/0/9

    Greater Quintessence of Malice x3
    Greater Mark of Malice x9
    Greater Seal of Evasion x9
    Greater Glyph of Clarity x9

    Exhaust and Ghost, or take Cleanse if you like.

    Highlander Wuju Style Alpha Strike
    Leave all levels of Meditate for last.

    Start with Brawler's Gloves and Health Potion x2
    Avarice Blade
    Berserker's Greaves
    Executioner's Calling
    Zeal, then Phantom Dancer
    Infinity Edge
    Then finish your blade into Youmuu's Ghostblade

    Then you choose one of the following:
    The Bloodthirster
    The Black Cleaver
    Last Whisper
    [item=Madred's Bloodrazor]

  • Abilities

    Double Strike
    Think of it as a damage bonus. I hardly ever worry about counting hits and prepping to use it on something (except see the example in "Laning" below -- that's my favorite use of Double Strike.)

    It comes as a second hit. Great for towers. The second hit, the double strike itself, cannot crit, but I think the first, normal hit can.

    Alpha Strike
    Farming skill. At higher levels you can take out the first four creeps in an upcoming wave, then slice through the last three before your creep even catches them.

    Initiator skill. When you're going in for the kill, hit this first to instantly close the distance. Also wonderful when someone is running away. You can cast this from a distance, and when the whooshing is over, you're right on top of them.

    Here's how the skill works, as has been explained in other guides: You will end alpha strike next to whichever enemy you cast it on. The damage is applied AFTER the animation finishes. If you cast it on, say, a low health minion that gets killed before the animation finishes, you will end up where you were standing when you cast it. Unfortunately you have no control over which enemies are among the four hit. It is unreliable for harassing champs (except as explained below in "Laning.")

    - save you in the middle of a team fight. You're so squishy that if you get focused, you're gonna die anyway.
    - get you back to full health. It restores a good bit of health, but it's only enough to just keep you going.

    - keep you alive during Karthus ult(or Gangplank or other annoying global/AoE ults)
    - help you prolong a push or a teamfight. If you're low after taking some hits, step back a ways while your team carries on, meditate, and get back in there.

    Wuju Style
    Huge damage bonus. Makes your blade glow with fire, which is neat. Turn it on every time you attack a champ or a tower. Also useful for jungling.

    This is what makes you Yi. Turn it on every time you go for a kill.

    It resets your cooldowns if you get a kill! Mash E again if you get the kill for even more damage, then turn this on again as soon as it runs out. (You'll notice when that happens because it seems like you start moving in slow motion.)

    Use it on towers if you have to backdoor.

    Use it to escape if you're alone and a bunch of enemy champs jump out at you.

  • Items

    I've carefully crafted a specific build order that I follow nearly every time. I do it this way so there's not really a point where you'll be "behind" other Yi builds.

    Start with Brawler's Gloves and Health Potion x2. This gives you 24% crit chance out of the gate. That means 1 in 4 hits will double, doing 130 damage at lvl 1. That number goes up fast as you level Wuju Style.

    Next buy Avarice Blade. More crit chance plus extra gold. We're going to hang on to this thing for a long time.

    Berserker's Greaves is next. Buy it all at once if you can. If laning has been going well, I finish Avarice Blade and Greaves on my first trip back. If not, I might get the blade and basic boots, then finish greaves later.

    Executioner's Calling is next. I usually start with the Vampiric Scepter first. As soon as you get that, you can go a-jungling if you want. Even though it's still hard work until you get your Zeal. (EDIT: I'm now sometimes buying just the vampire scepter and heading straight to Phantom Dancer. The lifesteal is a must at this point but the extra crit chance from Executioner's could wait if you want.)

    Zeal is next. I usually go for the Dagger first.

    Then finish Zeal into Phantom Dancer. This should be in your hands by midgame. You are now dealing enough damage to turn heads in your direction as you zip around the map killing everything.

    Here is what your build looks like halfway through. Now, 3 of 4 hits are crits, which is almost all the time. Your crits are in the 270 range with Wuju Style maxed. When you turn it on, it doubles the passive, putting your crits near 350. Find me another Yi who hits for 350 almost every hit at lvl 10.

    [builder=Master Yi/116f225d8cafa39d937cece0fb8bbbf9]

    And it only gets better from here.

    Infinity Edge is next. Start with B. F. Sword if you have the dough. If not, get Cloak of Agility to put your crit chance at 90%. We've only waited this long to get IE because it's so expensive. Also, you need the attack speed from Phantom Dancer early.

    Next you finish your Avarice Blade into Youmuu's Ghostblade. Why so late? You don't need it. You don't need armor pen when you're multiplying your damage on every hit by 2 (and later 2.5 with IE). You don't need the active from Youmuu's because you have Highlander. And the 12% cooldown reduction isn't that noticeable on Yi. Everyone rushes this item on Yi, and it's a great item, but it's not a great early game item IMHO.

    Most games will end by now. If not, the last slot is up to you. You'll have to decide based on your enemies.

    The Bloodthirster if all you need is more damage. The lifesteal is a bonus.

    The Black Cleaver or Last Whisper if they are stacking armor. Black Cleaver became a lot better choice with patch 108. Nobody will have as much gold as you, so until now you probably haven't had to worry about anyone buying big armor items like Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart. Thornmail is a special case treated below.

    [item=Madred's Bloodrazor] if they have good tanks. This is what I get most often because the extra damage is glorious and the extra attack speed makes you a killing machine even when your ult is down. I start with Recurve Bow.

    Here's what you look like with a finished build. Your base attack damage is 444 with Wuju passive. You have 96% crit chance (might as well be 100%) and your crits do 1,110 damage, becoming 1,198 when you turn on Wuju Style. Remember, that's every single hit!

    [builder=Master Yi/07c8d971e23d73f27f6057583e0b9cec]


    [item=Stark's Fervor]. You don't need armor pen. You don't need attack speed. So what are you buying this for, lifesteal and regen? Executioner's Calling fits this build much better.

    Frozen Mallet. Waaaaaay to expensive for a slow you don't need. You're faster than everyone on the field already, but if you want slow, just steal red buff.

    Manamune. Your spells aren't spamable, so you can never fully charge this. And even if you could, the damage bonus isn't that great.

    Don't be tempted to get Youmuu's or Last Whisper early. In this build, you want to get to a high crit chance as fast as you can. It doubles your damage, which is better than 40% armor pen.


    Thornmail can ruin your game. All you do is physical DPS. If someone buys Thornmail, don't attack them. Let your caster teammates fight them. If EVERYONE buys Thornmail (this happened to me one game because I was killing them so bad), there are two things you can do.

    1. Get massive lifesteal. Buy The Bloodthirster, in place of Infinity Edge if you have to. Then add Stark's Fervor. Bloodthirster and Stark's together make 35% lifesteal (and more when BT is charged), which counters the 35% damage returned from Thornmail.

    2. Get magic resist. In the comments, TheDragonSpear suggests Banshee's Veil, which is a bit expensive for the MR you get but includes some much-needed health and mana. Another possibility is the new item in patch, the Hexdrinker. You get 30 MR and 35 damage -- neither of which is amazing, but the passive is. If you hit 30% of your health, a shield goes up to absorb 300 magic damage. So you don't kill yourself by attacking someone with Thornmail.

  • Laning

    You always start out in a lane. I've gone mid before, but it is not best for Yi. You want to lane with a tank or anyone with good CC. Yi and Taric or Sion is my favorite combo. All you do is last hit and cast Alpha Strike whenever the enemies are far enough away from your target minion.

    In the first six levels, you're often not strong enough to get a kill by yourself unless the enemy is real stupid. You just lack the attack speed without your ult. But you can safely plan a kill using the following technique.

    Watch the double strike counter right above your spells bar. When it reaches 7, the icon changes to a blue and purple one, meaning your next strike will deal double damage (it has no number on it, hover over it if you're unfamiliar). Sit on that thing and don't attack anything until the time is right. When your enemy comes just close enough to you, turn on Wuju Style and cast Alpha Strike on them. You'll end up on top of them after the spell is over. Then auto-attack the champ to proc your double strike (with the bonus damage from Wuju), and you'll get two hits on them for the price of one (plus your Alpha). You'll be able to do 200-300 damage to him in about 1 second.

    If the enemy was low before this, exhaust him and finish him off. If he still has plenty of health left, run away and do it again in a minute.

  • Teammates

    If you get to choose your teammates, let me draw your attention to some synergies that work very, very well with Yi. Yi is nothing but a giant machine gun, so you need a lane partner with some good crowd control.

    Teammate priorities:
    - Hard crowd control like a stun or fear to initiate
    - Tankiness to protect you
    - Auras/spells to benefit you and keep you alive

    How to take advantage of them:
    1. Load up your double strike as per the awesome technique mentioned in "Laning."
    2. Tell your teammate you're ready and mark the target.
    3. They initiate with the crowd control.
    4. You dive in with Alpha Strike and hit your Double Strike.
    5. If they're not dead and you have ult, then ult. If not, exhaust and focus. If you were going at them when they had full health and they have plenty left, back off and do it again in a minute.
    6. They're dead.

    My favorite laning partners:
    1. Taric. He has a stun and can tank decently. He can heal you. And his ult gives you extra damage which will send your crits through the roof. If he builds soul shroud or some other aura item, even better. Me and my Taric friend were against a Jax (supposedly Yi's worst nightmare) and Janna on ranked SR this morning, and I was 4/0/1 by lvl 9. Jax was a non-factor all game cause we killed him so much.

    2. Sion. He doesn't have any spells to help you stay alive, but his stun is awesome and on a low CD and he has that shield for dealing damage and tanking. I played with a good one recently and I went 12/0/4 and they surrendered at like 25:01.

    3. Sona. Her stun is her ult, so it's not available as often, but it's AOE. She has a great heal and other auras that benefit you, and she does more damage than people realize, I think.

    4. Xin Zhao. He can initiate and keep an enemy occupied for long enough for the two of you to kill them. You will probably split kills and assists with him, but you'll dominate your lane.

    Also good are Amumu and Blitzcrank.

  • Farming

    Alpha Strike is all you need to know. Auto attack to finish them off. In mid to late game, you can one-hit minions because you deal so much damage.

  • Change log

    Updated masteries recommendation. 21/9/0 is the best way to go with the ninth point in nimbleness.

    No changes to Yi or items in this build.
    Buff to attack damage runes still doesn't make them useful. You get wayyyyy more damage with in-game items.

    Added Teammates section.

    No changes to Yi or items in this build.

    Updated Thornmail section with suggestion from comments and new item in today's patch.

    No changes to Yi or items in this build.

    Slight item changes in this build:
    Phantom Dancer is cheaper... yay! And dodge chance is removed, but not that it ever saved anyone but Jax anyway.
    Infinity Edge damage is reduced... too bad. Doesn't make it not worth buying, IMO.

    Patch 1.0.108
    Item Changes:
    -More attack speed from Phantom Dancer, which just cements my argument for getting it before Infinity Edge.
    -Attack speed added to Black Cleaver, which makes it a stronger case late game. It's now a viable replacement for my favorite Madreds.

    Patch 1.0.111
    Nothing to change, just bumping back to top of the list.

    Patch 1.0.114
    I hate Nocturne. With all my heart and soul.

    Patch 1.0.116
    Infinity Edge is back and better than ever. Specifically, it was returned to 80 damage and now has 25% crit chance, I think as of patch 115. Just makes this build even stronger.

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Submitted by loganex

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