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League of Legends Hero Guides - Master Yi

Posted Tue, Oct 12, 2010 by Stow

Anytime Yi scores a kill, he's likely to run over another nearby opponent.  Sometimes the dominoes fall into a lovely penta-kill ace, and then you are truly Master Yi

While Wuju Style might sound like a bad single from the Wu-Tang Clan, it’s nothing to scoff at in League of Legends.  Its primary practitioner, Master Yi, is among the most dangerous melee fighters in the game.  Capable of butchering mages in seconds or even quicker as the game progresses, Yi requires a certain degree of control and finesse.  You have a great deal of movement abilities and a blink strike that makes you untargetable for a split second, but the moment you are stunned, you are likely out of commission.  Choosing the right time to strike is the key to victory with this powerhouse!

Skills

Innate : Double Strike – Everyone 7th attack will hit twice.

    A little math will show this to be a solid overall attack speed increase, but it’s much more than that.  Early on, doing an Alpha Strike on a wounded hero, then hitting Wuju Style and landing the double strike will inflict severe damage and possibly net you an early kill against those not expecting that kind of burst from Yi early in the game.  Keep a close eye on your buff on the bottom and when it changes, go for a quick double tap on a hero if you can get away with it.  Note that the double attack takes a little longer to come out than your normal attack, so it can be annoying to miss a last hit when your special attack procs!

Alpha Strike – Yi disappears for a second, moving between 4 targets.  Does 100/150/200/250/300 damage and has a 20/30/40/50/60% chance to deal 400 bonus damage to minions or neutrals.

    The most important thing to understand about Alpha Strike is your ending location.  You will always end up next to your initial target, or the one you click on.  This can be used to your advantage on chases and be used against you if you’re not careful.  It can be dangerous to Alpha Strike in a hostile lane since it has a period of animation before any damage is dealt and you show up that the enemies in the lane can rally to your eventual location and prepare a world of hurt for you on spawn.  Note that you can time this right as an opponent is about to Flash or otherwise teleport over a ledge/set of trees and you will end up on the other side with them, much to their dismay!

    This is also one of the fastest ways to jungle in the game, but we’ll elaborate more on that later.  You can also do a silly build of going ability power and relying strictly on Alpha Strike to eliminate entire teams in combination with Highlander’s cooldown refreshing. 

    Do *not* engage with this late game in team fights.  You want to save it until you are focused, and then use it to break their string of attacks on you or dodge a nasty area of effect spell, buying you some breathing room to either switch targets, get out, or have your team wreck them while you have their attention.

Meditate – Yi stops in place and channels for 5 seconds, restoring 140/280/420/560/700 HP over that time.  While meditating, Yi gains 100/150/200/250/300 armor and magic resist.

    If your lane is a harassment-filled death trap, you’ll have to put a few early points here.  Meditate is a way to stay in the lane or in the jungle, and serves that purpose quite well.  It can be used semi-offensively as well, by hitting it as your team approaches a tower to easily tank through the damage as they kill the tower.  Additionally, if an opponent has blown all of their stuns and silences, you can use this to endure all kinds of pain at level 5 of the skill.  Later on, you can channel it for a few seconds when you enter the grass during an escape maneuver, and then possibly turn the tide when they enter looking for you.

Wuju Style – Yi’s attack damage is passively raised by 15/20/25/30/35.  Activating this skill doubles the damage bonus for 10 seconds, but the bonus is completely deactivated afterwards until the skill comes off cooldown.

    This is part of what makes Master Yi so dangerous.  It gives him easy last hitting the moment you get 1 point in the skill.  It gives him a faster jungling speed.  It gives him dangerous physical burst when activated with his ultimate or an attack speed item or two.  It’s almost always going to be ready for you to go nuts on a hero.  A physical carry can’t ask for much more.

Ultimate : Highlander – Yi shrugs off all slowing effects, gains a 40% move speed boost and 40/60/80% attack speed boost for 6/9/12 seconds.  If you kill a champion while this is active, your cooldowns (including Highlander itself) are completely refreshed.  Assists will cut them in half.

    Here comes the freight train!  This is where it’s at for dropping a target before they can even react.  Highlander is your go-to move for chasing people down, for mopping people up, and for getting the hell out of a bad situation.  It has a short cooldown to begin with, and might as well not have one at all in a team fight.  It has a very obvious noise to its startup and visual effect, so people will either panic or focus you upon activation.  Be careful about who you’re engaging, and don’t overextend yourself with it at level 1.  Six seconds is not a long time, and before you get some serious levels and items, you’re probably not going to finish the job on a runner in 6 seconds.

Core Items

Youmuu’s Ghostblade – A healthy amount of damage, critical strike, 20 armor penetration and a mini-Highlander on activation.  Also supplies you with cooldown reduction for those times someone gets away from your ultimate.  Buy the Avarice Blade early to get the most out of the extra gold it brings.

Stark’s Fervor – This has two main things Yi needs on it; attack speed and a negative armor aura.  Both of these help Yi wreck a lone hero, or at least bring down someone before he goes down himself.  In the case you do get one or two down, it also packs a solid amount of life steal to keep you swinging a bit longer in a team battle.

Infinity Edge – Like any physical carry, you’ll need one of these at some point to keep your damage threatening to tanks.  Combined with the Ghostblade and an eventual green elixir, you’ll be good to go on critical strike.

Situational Items

Last Whisper – When facing off against a team likely to be piling heavy on Sunfire Capes or armor, skip the Stark’s Fervor and pick this up instead.   You may want to pick this up if you’re against a Taric as well, as Shatter gives him a high base armor regardless of his build type and he is a high priority target.

Madred’s Bloodrazor – An expensive item that doesn’t mesh too well with Yi’s skill set aside from his attack speed, nevertheless it remains a critical counter to HP stacking tanks like Cho’gath and Singed.  It can replace Last Whisper if the team is neglecting Magic Resist.

Defensive Options

Banshee’s Veil – The usual reaction to a Yi is a stun or root, and this will block the first one heading your way, ensuring that someone is going to be on the receiving end of your blade that much faster.  Also provides a good amount of health and magic resist.

Hexdrinker – If you plan on being a bomb that runs in, kills two or three people and blows up afterwards, pick up one of these.  You will inevitably be focused by some kind of stun and magical damage, and this will give you some extra endurance and damage at low life, possibly giving your life steal a chance at extending your suicidal charge.

Runes

Flat armor penetration reds, dodge yellows and flat cooldown reduction blues are a foolproof way to go.  If you’re looking to live a bit longer, Yi isn’t that restricted by cooldowns to begin with with Highlander, so scaling magic resist blues can give you some extra endurance without an item.  If you plan on jungling, you will need HP Quints in case your dodge runes fail you against the Golem at level 1.

Masteries – 21/9/0

Pick up all of the physical damage enhancing masteries in offense, with a floater point to use as you see fit.  For defense, pick up the speed up on dodge for certain as creeps will be attacking you as you focus down heroes in lanes.

Summoner Spells – Cleanse and your choice.

Yi does not need a lot of help to finish the job, so Exhaust and Ignite aren’t all that necessary.  Highlander has Ghost’s movement speed effect, so that’s somewhat redundant as well.  If you’re jungling, this will obviously be Smite, but otherwise I would recommend Flash.  Yi is wonderful at getting into a fight and hard pressed to get out of it.  Cleanse will give you the ability to get out of taunts and stuns at crucial moments where your prey is attempting to escape.

Jungling

You’ll need Cloth Armor and 5 red potions, with the same masteries as above.  If you are level 30 and have access to all of the runes and masteries, you can start on the Golem at level 1, otherwise you’ll need to start elsewhere.  Your first skill point will be in Alpha Strike.  Note that you always want to open up with Alpha Strike and not in the middle of a fight with a large monster.  Since you go untargetable for a split second, the monsters will return to their initial positions and begin healing.  This is a lot of HP on the big guys, so you cannot have that early on!

Jungling order without the above runes and masteries

Open up on the mini golems with Alpha Strike, immediately Smite one that didn’t get the bonus damage, and begin cleaning up and chugging a health potion to keep you well healed.  Move to the Wraiths, and Alpha Strike the blue one to start and take it out first.  You will need to potion again depending on your luck with the instant kills, but move on immediately to the wolves and clean them up quickly.  Recall at this point and buy an item, likely a rejuvenation bead, to keep you in the field longer.  Now that you’re level 2 and have a little advantage in toughness and damage, and with Smite back up and ready, the Golem and Lizard are next, and you can choose to assist a lane or continue farming the smaller monsters that have respawned.

Jungling with a full rune page and mastery set

If you’re feeling lucky, you can start on the wolves.  If you instant kill at least one of them, you’ll increase your speed this way before the Golem spawns.  Start with an Alpha Strike on the Golem, immediately smite to start the cooldown if you’re not at risk of having it stolen, and immediately hit a health potion as well.  Now start praying to your dodge runes, or switch to flat armor runes if you’re not feeling lucky.    Target the Golem first and bring it down, likely with about 100-200 HP remaining on yourself.  Move to the Wraith camp and hit another potion once the first one is out.  The Wraith camp will take a lot out of you if you’re unlucky, thus the early second potion.  If you are getting a lot of instant kills with Alpha Strike, you can do Lizard next.  If not, you’re better off going and doing the mini-golems quicky without hitting another potion (if possible) and recalling to pick up boots or a Long Sword.  From there, it’s a matter of getting a Wriggle’s Lantern and  controlling the jungle at high HP and assisting lanes when the opportunity arises. 
Remember you can do Dragon fairly easily the moment you get your Wriggle’s.  You can do it sooner, but you’ll be losing health the entire time and if another hero jumps on you, you are likely finished and the dragon stolen.

Conclusion

Yi is a destroyer of worlds in single combat, and with such a potent attack speed and damage, lends well to backdooring if it’s needed.  It may not be pretty, but there are few in the game able to challenge Yi at bringing down structures.  Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, as your blade of honor is much better suited for swinging through flesh than stone.  The hardest part about becoming a good Yi is learning when to engage and when to bide your time.  You cannot wait to be a vulture like Eve.  Yi’s element of surprise lasts for about a split second once he’s seen, and in that time you need to be right on top of them ending lives.  But jumping in too early will lead to an early demise and suddenly your team is down a man, and likely their top physical damage source.   Follow your initiator, and may your sword crit way more often than it should!

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