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Lanes and Roles
- Master Yi is mainly played as an AoE assassin, but due to his high damage having a lot of extra things to add on (mainly runes and masteries), much of his focus can go into defense instead, especially since his abilities focus more on procing damage. However, unlike most bruisers, Yi is only one mainly due to how his builds go, and not usually due to any special defensive boosts, save for his Meditate. Ever since the rework, Yi has often had a more difficult time to choose which lanes fit him more.
- Top Lane ever since the rework tends to be a rare place for Master Yi, especially since most bruisers and tanks reside there. However, a number of squishy champions Yi can duel on par with can easily win lane against (such as against a Teemo, though it still requires passiveness and use of Yi's ultimate), though powerful counterpicks (such as Darius, Lee Sin and Renekton) are abound, so Yi usually has to be very careful around this lane. It's possible to build both bruiser or assassin in this lane, and Yi's sustain from his Meditate can easily if used right, punish those who push his lane too much and are tower diving him. Also, Alpha Strike enables Yi to farm and at times, poke his opponent, but not as well as before his rework due to tweaks, and many other things to consider such as mana costs and cooldowns. Usually, Yi at times should play passively against most smart and stronger opponents, until he is able to get enough gold for items or for sure sees a chance to get ahead in-lane. He usually requires a lot of knowledge and skill in this field of play.
- Mid Lane hasn't been as picked as often for Master Yi ever since the old days of AP Yi being gone, but it still is a good lane for him regardless as a typical assassin. Much of Yi's matchups in this lane tend to be either even or as difficult as some top lane matchups, especially against most high utility mages that can keep Yi at bay. Usually due to his rework and the retweaked mechanics of his Alpha Strike, Yi can't harass as well as when he was AP Yi, so he needs to be careful about his mana usage as he ranks up his Alpha Strike and the number of minions around. Like with top lane, playing passively in lane is never a bad idea depending on the matchup, but usually against another assassin, it's mainly up to knowledge and skill.
- The Jungle on the other hand, is currently the most popular field of play for Master Yi right now. His increase in DPS as he levels up, and as he gets his items (especially the newly reworked / ), Yi can stay safe from harass and laning bullies while simply farming up to mid-late game. However, other problems arise, since junglers such as Udyr and Lee Sin tend to easily counter-jungle him, as much as they would counter him in-lane. Not to mention, Yi's ganks due to lack of team-based utility in his kit, tend to be lackluster if poorly planned, and thus if he wastes too much time trying to gank, he might not level up as fast as he would in-lane. Because of this, most Yi players in the jungle should mainly focus more on farming up to level 6 and in general, as well as having a strong sense of knowing when the opponent is at their weakest to be able to gank well. The early usages red buff can greatly help Yi's ganking early game.
- Master Yi is a DPS-based champion that relies more on his auto attacks for damage through extra attack speed and only occasional use of his abilities which tend to be more for personal utility. Because of his ease of usage with high damage DPS, he is rather infamous due to being hard to duel against, his Alpha Strike being a powerful invincible execute to low health targets, and his Highlander providing resets on his ability cooldowns without him missing a beat as he slays his enemies.
- In order to unlock full potential, perfect timing/reflexes and having knowledge of your enemies abilities/cooldowns is highly recommended as Master Yi more than most other champions because of his low base defense, and weakness against hard CC. Master Yi is one of the most squishy melee auto-attack champions in the game, putting him in a lot of danger when he engages (it is for this reason some higher-level players build him as a bruiser). Master Yi is simple to learn, hard to master when against more powerful opponents, and easy to counter by CC and itemization, especially if played in higher levels of competitive play, many players would have better knowledge of how to counter him.
- However, in the end he is extremely rewarding, with the potential to carry games once you master him and thus, mainly tosses most complicated traits involving caster-type champions out the window in place of learning to make solid decisions and make use of proper positioning. Also, one must be wary of the fact he has no team utility such as a form of crowd control, but he must and can still do his job as an assassin regardless.
- Master Yi's Double Strike is similar to Caitlyn's Headshot. It is very useful for dealing extra damage to enemies in lane, by gathering stacks through attacking minions, then attacking the enemy on the fourth strike. Note that delaying too long will cause the buff to disappear.
- Using Alpha Strike with Double Strike ready and activating Wuju Style as soon as Master Yi reappears can be an excellent harassment technique as it often takes most of the opponent's health in early game.
- Alpha Strike's multiple-target component has a deceptively long range. You can target minions near an enemy champion to harass them, as well as farm at a better rate compared to most champions.
- If Alpha Strike is used on a unit that dies before the ability finishes, Master Yi will end up where Alpha Strike was first cast as opposed to near the first unit cast on.
- Alpha Strike can also be used defensively. Since it includes a dash function, you can dodge skillshots. Also, Master Yi is untargetable during the teleport, so Alpha Strike can be used to dodge AoE nukes such as Nunu's Absolute Zero if timed properly.
- can also be used to escape chasing enemies, by placing a ward in the Neutral monster camp and using Alpha Strike on the creep, or by targeting nearby minions if fleeing while in a lane (be careful if the minion dies however! Yi will not end up anywhere else if he Alpha Strikes a dying target).
- Alpha Strike also causes Master Yi to lose tower aggro when he uses it, by keeping a few friendly and enemy minions around Master Yi can tower dive an enemy champion without fearing the tower's attack after the dive.
- He can also time it right when if during an even duel, to use it as an invincible execute, in case the enemy has one final attack of some sort either through auto attacks or ability burst as Yi can avoid it while killing them at the same time.
- By timing Alpha Strike properly, Master Yi can follow enemy champions over walls when they use a blink or a dash ability like Flash or Tryndamere's Spinning Slash.
- Alpha Strike is great for harassing no matter how many minions in a wave there are so that Yi can harass his foe for amazing damage from a distance. It is best for Yi to use Alpha Strike as a gap-closer and to dodge attacks. Ever since his rework, one must also keep track of how many targets are around due to the ability now only targeting the closest ones around as opposed to a near-random set out of luck (with an enemy champion being one of the targets out of high sheer luck).
- Also, spamming Alpha Strike too much can cause Yi to waste his mana, especially at higher ranks.
- If you're in a lane against ranged players, leveling up Meditate can allow you to stay in the lane longer and gain levels faster than the opponents.
- Use Meditate if you are being focused on, as the percentage damage reduction greatly reduces your damage taken.
- Meditate can help Master Yi survive deadly 1v1 skirmishes by briefly activating Meditate right before the opponent throw high burst at you. In most cases this can turn the tide of the fight as your opponent can't finish you off quickly afterwards. Meditate can reduce up to 70% incoming damage at max level, making it essential for any Master Yi player to master this trick, and to time it right and being sure they won't die while doing so, cause once Yi channels his heal, being a sitting duck can backfire on him.
- When you are being chased, hiding in a brush and channeling Meditate can give you the upper hand against the enemies. However, do not do this if they can still defeat you after the Meditate.
- When playing Master Yi, remember that Highlander reduces all your cooldowns by 70%. Try to cast Alpha Strike to secure kills, reducing your cooldowns.
- Highlander can be used as an effective escape tool, especially with Ghost used at the same time. it is also incredibly great at chasing enemies because you cannot be slowed and gain a movement speed boost.
- Triggering Wuju Style and Highlander causes massive spikes in Master Yi's DPS, allowing for unparalleled dueling and assassinating potential. However, the former if activated too soon will reduce Yi's damage output upon the active wearing off while on cooldown due to short duration, and must be used if about to score a kill or if extra damage must be done on the get go.
- Wuju Style combined with Alpha Strike is very strong for last hitting minions.
- Master Yi is one of the best splitpushers/backdoorers. Not only can he push lane very well with enough attack speed items, activating Highlander then attacking a turret or inhibitor can take it down very fast. Though it should be noted that after the rework Wuju Style's active no longer works on towers, so he may not be able to take them down as fast as before.
- Once Master Yi gets enough major items, he is able to rush into the enemy team, swiftly assassinate key targets like the carry or mages, and then Meditate or escape. Watch for cooldowns on disables while doing this, and make sure the enemy team is unwary, otherwise a bad decision can lead to a kill for the enemy team.
- Master Yi must pick his targets wisely with proper coverage from either the environment, situation, or via ganking; he can die easily if used recklessly without careful planning, and often needs his abilities to be able to win in most one-on-one fights with raw auto-attacking. And in other words, it's crucial to know when to engage into a fight Yi can win in.
- Despite Master Yi lacking in teamfights, it's possible for him to dive into an enemy team cluster and run back out at full speed, due to his high base movement speed and with the combination of certain items and his ultimate making himself the perfect decoy/distraction and enabling his team to find a proper time to initiate.
- It's wise to be sure that not all enemies are close and packed together, but are still within reach, so that cooldown refreshes from Highlander are more effective without landing Master Yi in too much danger of getting focused on; an example would be Alpha Strike usage to attack multiple targets to close the gap (depending on which enemy you choose to focus), especially if Alpha Strike's damage is quite high during the time.
- Master Yi is almost always built as a melee AD carry focusing mainly on DPS for easy consistent damage. While those with much more experience can work him as a solid bruiser focusing more on extra damage with only the items to rely on for defense.
- The standard AD carry build revolves around a combination of attack damage, life steal, attack speed, critical strike chance, and armor penetration for maximum DPS, and survivability through life steal and minimal defensive items. Master Yi's damage directly scales in strength with all of these stats.
- His AD grows multiplicatively due to Wuju Style, making it an obvious build choice.
- Due to Wuju Style's active providing true damage, armor penetration is less of a need for a Yi with high raw attack damage, though it is still mainly needed for his Alpha Strike and if enemy teams get too tanky.
- Playing him as a caster-type champion in the original days of Ability Power Master Yi tends to be risky if not, completely difficult due to proper need for timely for initiation and his squishiness, but full-raw attack damage builds that revolve around maximizing Alpha Strike's damage output for high one-shot burst are possibly just as effective, though armor penetration and cooldown reduction are to be considered, as well as life steal.
- Though due to Highlander's most recent cooldown nerfs, this can be ill-advised unless if like with AP Yi's old days, a viable team-comp around a caster-based Yi should also be stress-fully considered.
- Because Master Yi is very fragile, burst damage through critical strikes and items providing life steal helps him finish the work quickly and stay alive as long as he's doing damage.
- Due to Double Strike, attack speed items like and and items that provide bonuses on attacking or subsequent attacking like are more useful on Master Yi than on general champions. Also, higher attack speed dramatically reduces the cooldown for Alpha Strike. However, for maximum DPS, and to boost Alpha Strike's damage and Wuju Style, it is strongly recommended to not focus on stacking attack speed while neglecting attack damage.
- Because of the attack speed and movement speed steroid from Highlander, it is recommended to neglect these stats in the beginning of the game (other than boots) while itemizing for attack damage and life steal instead. This gives the highest increase in DPS and sustain.
- It is important to keep in mind that with Highlander's attack speed bonus it's not hard to cap out attack speed at 2.5 attacks per second, meaning you may have unused stats during Highlander.
- , as with most champions, helps in laning because of the basic attack damage reduction, health, and health regeneration, and if the player is planning to build him as a bruiser.
- is a great first major item since it provides a little bit of several stats. With the attack speed boost of Highlander, you can easily reach and benefit from the maximum four armor reduction stacks. Though due to Wuju Style's capabilities, it's often considered in effective, but still a strong consideration, especially if Alpha Strike's damage can benefit from it to be a solid execute.
- / is very recommended on all Master Yi builds, even tanky ones, since Alpha Strike can crit.
- Used in combination with , , and (or all three together) can not only improve DPS, but it can amp up critical strike chance and enabling Yi to inflict many strong critical strikes in a row, all while having more possible movement speed to chase down targets.
- and are often debated upon for which is best for Yi, especially since one of the both combined with is enough attack speed for Yi to suffice. The former is often more popular to enable more burst damage in combination with / 's passive and splitpushing, though the latter is best for raw stats and running through minions. Though both the Shiv and Dancer have been combined in some builds.
- Used in combination with , , and (or all three together) can not only improve DPS, but it can amp up critical strike chance and enabling Yi to inflict many strong critical strikes in a row, all while having more possible movement speed to chase down targets.
- Highlander and the active effect of can be used as a popular combo to gain huge amounts of attack speed and movement speed. This can likely catch unwary opponents off guard and allow for a very fast gap-close, as well as a huge boost of DPS for dueling and taking enemy structures.
- can act as a strong source of magic damage, and synergizes well with Double Strike, Wuju Style, and Highlander. This can allow you to counter opponents with huge amounts of armor, though armor penetration may do the same job.
- Since Master Yi is an effective DPS/Pusher, it is useful to build him with attack damage and attack speed runes. Life steal can also be useful with increased damage and attack speed, as Yi tends to need it more than most other carries due to being a melee champion.
- Master Yi is extremely vulnerable to crowd control abilities, especially blind and snare, so players can consider Cleanse as a summoner spell to counteract these effects.
- can provide good results in surviving; the active "Cleanse" effect is very useful for countering crowd control. The magic resistance also helps against return damage from , a primary counter to Master Yi. Building it into the is highly recommended due to the high Attack Damage bonus and because Yi greatly benefits from the movement speed buff on the "Cleanse" active.
- similarly helps to fizzle initiation abilities (which are often crowd control).
- Building will help you survive due to the aversion to focus someone with it, and the passive can allow you to come back to a fight just as the opponents get low on health and clean up with repeated Alpha Strikes.
- is a fantastic item to rush when playing Master Yi, with its multiple stats and passives.
- The Rage passive enables a fine substitute or compliment for , allowing him to easily chase down any target with auto-attacks.
- The Spellblade passive can lead to impressive early-mid game burst in conjunction with Alpha Strike and Double Strike. However, Double Strike will not make Spellblade hit twice.
- The movement speed bonus has a higher effect since Master Yi has the highest base movespeed in the game.
- The critical chance it offers and the attack speed synergizes with his kit as a whole, while the small amount of AP may give a bit of a push to his healing from Meditate.
- Of course, not only that, this is also a crit chance item that also offers attack damage. The more the merrier.
- The HP and mana amount is also solid for extra defense and more spell casts, and if possible can be worked into some bruiser builds.
- can work well with Master Yi, as after level 6 you can often choose your battles and rip through most squishies with ease, creating a powerful snowball effect in the early game when there are few hard CCs to stop you.
- Similarly to Red Buff, items such as or work well on Master Yi as he lacks any form of crowd control. Without said crowd control your movement speed from Highlander may allow you to keep up with a fleeing target, but you can't help your teammate(s) close the gap to your target. also works just as well.
- is a great item for jungling with Master Yi early game, as it enables damage overtime without needing red buff constantly, so Yi can force an easier retreat on targets to regain lane dominance for his team. However, it's possible to sell the item for others that fit his build more, if jungling no longer matters around late game especially.
- , , and are all recommended life steal items for Master Yi's damage output combined with survivability.
- The first one mentioned is popular for all AD-based champions alike, being somewhat easy to rush early game, and is great for snowballing on raw damage output and life steal stacking; however, on other maps, the is the only direct substitute for it.
- Since Yi is DPS based, can rocket his damage output as he's on the offense, especially with his Highlander activated, and/or his Wuju Style as well.
- is great for having extra burst on Yi's auto attacks, as well as having a more all-around life steal mechanic with added sustain, with the AoE effects enabling Yi to deal more damage in teamfights. Unlike and , the damage stays consistent but is still high, making it great for an early game item to farm and splitpush with via crowd clearing minion waves/monster packs. However, depending on how much attack speed Yi has, it can be hard to fit the Crescent active in the middle of his auto attacks without trying to slow his attack speed down.
- is more of a situation-based item, due to the fact that as of its recent nerfs, the attack damage it provides is not as effective for Wuju Style's active, and is more of a counter against as well as a mere gap filler for attack speed and/or life steal. However, depending on how tanky enemies are in terms of health, then this item tends to do wonders for Yi's auto attacks, though buffing up Wuju Style is best left to higher damage items.
- However, any of these two or all three items combined can be very powerful for Yi indeed, especially / in combination with can really make use of the combined damage output to power up Wuju Style's active effect.
- The BotRK itself however, is nowadays still powerful regardless of its nerfs due to giving a good DPS boost, which is what Yi excels in.
- However, 's brand new shield passive and its increased life steal give some new benefits to Master Yi, despite losing its stacking ability.
- The new is also a powerful choice for Master Yi, since not only does it offer mana recovery, but also offers Cooldown reduction, a notable benefit for many of Yi's abilities.
- is a viable item for Master Yi in order to stand against tanky targets, but as mentioned before, armor penetration is not as vital to Yi due to his Wuju Style true damage active scaling on raw attack damage, though that combined with items like and can instead benefit his auto attacks while Wuju Style is on cooldown, and most of all, the damage of his Alpha Strike.
- For those on the AP part of it, is a very powerful item for those who prefer mixed damage DPS and extra ability power to power up Meditate. The cooldown reduction is also a massive benefit to Yi's abilities. However, this should usually be his only AP item, and the rest should focus on damage.
- On a related note, the other final recipe from the ingredient along with , which is the , tends to be expensive, but also offers the same kind of DPS potential packed with CDR, only with attack damage in the place of AP. This also works very well for those who prefer Tenacity in order to escape CC easier, with CC being one of Master Yi's biggest weaknesses.
- For the tanky side of things, it also possible to include a , and especially combined with a tanky DPS build with a , the CDR and mainly the healing boost passive can massively boost Meditate's healing power, especially added with the damage reduction since the rework.
- If one feels they already have enough attack speed on Master Yi, then tends to be a very strong choice for him, especially like in the old AP Yi days. These boots can offer some cooldown reduction for his abilities, all while having Yi focus on building most of his offensive attack speed items without the difficulty of choosing between most of them.
- In the jungle, and as of recent patches since Season 4, (and recently, as well) are very much MUST HAVE items on Master Yi. Not only is it because both items now offer attack speed and damage and mixed magic damage for basic attacks against jungle monsters, but mainly due to giving extra gold for Yi to farm up to late game much easier, making his time in the jungle much worthwhile than in the past, and once evolves into Template:Aii, Yi can stack up the magic damage from enemies for his basic attacks, making his DPS quite powerful against the enemy team and synergizes overall with his DPS in general. Rushing this item in order to build gold for his core items tends to be key to making sure Yi starts scaling through out the game. The ward active is also handy as well.
- However, it should be noted that the damage output alone on the item may not be as sufficient to the taste of some players, so if needed, / / can be sold once the player has enough of their items and can replace it with another attack speed item with more raw stats, such as or , unless they still choose the keep the lantern items for their magic damage stacks which can also still benefit in the late game.
| Greater Mark of Attack Speed|
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
|The Howling Abyss|
|The Crystal Scar|
|The Twisted Treeline|
- Hard CC can single-handedly bring down Master Yi, always. However, his teammates may be able to hold you off before you are able to burst him down, which makes it important to isolate Master Yi or bait him into chasing you with Highlander, before shutting him down.
- Master Yi's strength is his biggest weakness. Since his main damage output comes from his auto-attacks, buying a is a very good choice against Master Yi. But note that Wuju Style's active is an on-hit effect that ignores Thornmail's passive and bypasses armor.
- Since a change made lately, attack speed slows no longer affect Yi while using Highlander, so or are much less effective against him.
- If Master Yi goes all-in against you during a teamfight, becoming untargetable will cripple him:
- He will waste at least half a second idling, giving your team a chance to react.
- More importantly, he will be forced to either retreat (which may spell an unfavorable return for your team as he lives on) or attack a less favorable target while you are untargetable.
- When Yi uses Meditate, it is better to use a form of crowd control (especially silence or knockup, as these interrupt him) than attempting to deal damage.
- Using Exhaust on Master Yi will cripple his damage output, even during Highlander.
- Slow is ineffective when Master Yi uses Highlander, this also applies to attack speed reduction as well.
- Master Yi excels at split-pushing. Keep this in mind and be particularly aware of your mini-map.
- You can use Ignite on Master Yi during Meditate to reduce his healing by half but it will not stop him from channeling the spell (Hard CC is required).
- Remember that Master Yi's Wuju Style only gives him the bonus when the spell is not on cooldown, making Master Yi weaker when Wuju Style is on cooldown.
- Remember that Alpha Strike places Yi at his initial target when it ends - you can "pull" him into a bad position if you are his target. Note that if the initial target dies when Yi is untargetable, he will return to the position he first cast Alpha Strike, so a smart Yi can land some interesting harassing blows; beware.
- Be very careful if you happen to be on low health with little in the way of fighting back, as Yi can quickly execute you with Alpha Strike. This can be dangerous in teamfights, especially with out-of-position teams. By reducing cooldowns thanks to kills and assists, and spamming Alpha Strike to damage while being untargetable can cause a fed Master Yi to chain kill an entire team (even without Highlander).
- It is instinctual to split when Yi uses Alpha Strike as the targets have been pre-determined at the time of casting and splitting will allow him to focus individual members of the team.
- Group focus should be able to bring Master Yi down before he can deal his full damage potential.
- As a carry, Master Yi is very item-dependent and requires a lot of farm, so during early game, it's crucial to deny him kills early to prevent him from doing major damage. If left alone however, scaling to late game can be a breeze for him as he can become one of the most dangerous champions in the game when fed.
- Master Yi's ultimate being immune to slows can backfire greatly on him; champions with fear as a source of CC can easily chase away Yi while Highlander is active, forcing him to flee at full speed due to ignoring the slow. Keep this in mind if you need to flee a pursuing Yi.