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Dressed in style. Wuju Style!
Master YI is the Master of offense.
Many ignorant players will define your skill by your K/d Ratio. But just because you get caught in a few bad scenarios, don't get discouraged from your attempts. There is such a thing as acceptable loss. Sometimes you will die, get over it. However when you are alive you can expect to be raking in the kills with these tips.
I will be basing this guide on my personal builds and experiences. I have read several builds, watched videos, and play Yi like it's a religion. I may not be a pro with years of experience, but in most situations I can carry the team if necessary.
There are 2 things to keep in mind while you are roaming the fields. Your first job is to kill, your second job is to distract. Team-fight's may not always be your strong suit so learn when to be in there or when you should be elsewhere doing what Yi does best. Pushing lanes and removing towers.
If your going to be a successful killing machine you have to have early kills. You must assume that when the opponent see's a Yi in loading they will assume you are jungling. If you see an anti-jungle (Warwick, Shaco, Alistar) proceed with caution, but not fear. The first step to easy ganks is a fast efficient Jungle. By grabbing an early blue and moving through to red quickly, you can get a kill easily by level 4. Having Level 2 Wuju and alpha will give you high damage output quickly while yielding a slow effect.
You should equip Smite and exhaust. With my hand position I prefer exhaust on F so that when I ping an enemy using G it signals my mates to initiate while i slide my finger to F to easily and quickly Exhaust your next victim. Smite will help you run through the jungle faster, and in some situations help take out enemy champions.
Example being if your alpha strike is set to strike 5 times and you are nearby an opponent who is surrounded by multiple minions and you do not want to initiate a fight just yet you can smite a minion then alpha a minion closest to you to help your odds of landing damage on an enemy. After doing this you should pullback while alpha is on cooldown as you can expect the enemy will be wanting to land some skills on you.
Exhaust can be used both offensively and defensively. But should not be used all the time.
So when is the best time to use it?
Yi's build, especially my build depends on killing the enemy faster than they can do anything to counter you. You should always be aware of how fast you can actually deal damage, and be aware of how quickly you can remove X amount of damage. If you do not have red buff then you should use it right away to ensure they stay close much easier. If you have red buff and know they will flash or ghost, save it for when they activate that, then keep the gap closed.
Being Yi makes you squishier than a bug and you may think the simple answer is to build an armor. But building an armor takes away gold that can be put towards weapons. And lets face if, if you get armor AP will still damage you the same. If you get MR, physical will still hurt you the same. Although Guardians Armor is recommended, I recommend not getting it. If you die once, your just going to die again. The only situation where it will actually save you is if you are in a 1v1 battle where you nearly kill the enemy. But even then as soon as they see the animation and know you will get back up they will be fleeing anyway if they believe that you will take them out. And Yi should not be chasing! You want to strike and get out of sight.
Lets say all enemy are MIA. Run to either top or bottom lane and take out some minions with alpha and autoattack, saving your other skills. Clear a swarm of minions and start running backwards through your own lane hugging the outside of the lane. You have to assume the enemy will be coming at you through multiple paths. You know they will because you are indeed the biggest threat on your team. If they dont get you out of their lane, you wont be stopped. If they send just 1, they know you will kill him. By luring them to top lane, you can have 3 mates pushing or holding mid, while 1 turns the bottom lane. By the time you run out of danger, or tele back to base, you will notice 2 enemy champions pop up at the front of your minions in that lane. You can see two, but you know 2-3 are in nearby jungle. By having your mates in middle lane, you can instruct whoever was pushing bottom to join their mates while you run to bottom and use the support of your minions to take out a tower. The enemy will be engaging your team in center lane, or they may send 1 to assist that lane via teleport or recall. Don't try to take out tower without minions. If your not in a situation to BD like this, engage in teamfight taking out their squishies first. As soon as you Alpha in not only will this damage all champions, but will give you a moment where the enemy wonders where you will pop up. But as soon as you appear anyway 3 of them will already be dead.
Your endgame build must contain:
Phantom Dancer (2800)
These item's will ensure that you have a very high percentage to land devastating critical strikes very quickly. Making you a very fast DPS hero that can ensure heroes cannot escape you or survive you for very long.
Optional complimenting item's would be:
Cloak and Dagger
Very usefull to get when the team has multiple slows. Not so much use against taunts or stuns. If you get slowed it is harder to chase and tougher to escape. Your yi must be either hitting the enemy, or out of their strike zone. If you are in danger you must get out! giving up your killstreak offers them gold and a very good opportunity to push. So why not get this items vs stuns or taunts? Because when you get stunned that is when you will be focused. Without armors you must rely on healing by langin high damage vampiric hits. realize that if you get stunned your gonna take some high damage. Reducing this effect by a portion of a second will not aide your escape.
If the enemy has more dominance over the map and jungle you may have a difficult time getting red buff. Having frozen mallet will help you with chase, but that's about it. If you are in a matchup where you can actually take out tanks/semi-tanks frozen mallet can be game winning. Especiialy if you can add red buff to this. They can flash and ghost all they want, you will close the gap and ensure your kill.
If you are facing a team of 3 or more AP heroes consider getting quicksilver. Almost every team you face will have 1 stun. Not that scary. But when your facing 2 stuns thats pretty scary. Make sure that you move this item to slot 1 or 2 so it can be easily activated. The best situation to get quicksilver is when you are facing a Veigar. Veigar will always be using his stun to either stun you to nuke you, or as a defense as he runs away. Give chase and as soon as you run into his stun, activate this item and close in for the easy kill.
Who to avoid:
People tend to gripe about how assassins play. When we get in TF's and die, they whine. When there's a TF we're not in, they whine we didn't help team and we are off "farming" while turning lanes. But even if they feel you are useless because your not in TF, you are even less usefull when dead. When it gets to the point where each team has 2 or 1 tower in each lane and the map is opened up, this gives you more opportunity to split them up using your speed to be all over the map even without teleport. If you are going to roam make sure your team does not make advances until your two outer lanes are past the halfway point. This way, either your team can lure the enemy out of hiding so you can BD as your team falls back and lures, or you will lure and run, when your team hard pushes a lane.
Knowing that it's not always the best idea to be in teamfights, when is it a good idea or bad idea? Just who can take you out in 1v1 easily?
Shaco is a tricky *******. Not only can he go invis, but you shouldnt underestimate the damage output of his little minions. They attack very fast and hit hard, often time he will drop them in bushes and run making you think he's afraid of you, but really he's just luring you to your death. Even if you weaken him, he can just split in two and if your alpha is on CD your not likely to kill hm. Alternately you do manage to kill shaco but the battle took so long, you now have 4 enemies coming at you from multiple sides. If you encounter him in jungle, just run. Being safe and alive allows you to make another move and is not worth the risk of dying.
Rammus is one of few heroes who can chase you, taunt you, and deal enough magaic damage to take you out. Knowing the other team will be trying to take you out first in team fights, you should really try to avoid jumping into a cluster of enemies when he is around, even if they are mid-HP. However if rammus is their only tanut, and you have cloak and dagger. Feel free to dive in to a nearby enemy and start to run as rammus tries to taunt you he will give chase towards you using at least 1 skill, which will pull his focus off of your team alloying them to clear out any weak enemies leaving rammus alone for them to push forth. Even if you die in the transaction your death is worth the position.
Morde may look like he has low health, but it's a trick on the mind! He actually has high armor, high health regen, and a low CD on siphon replenishing his armor, as well as regaining health for each minion he kills this this action. Also be aware that he will be dealing high ammounts of magic dmg in burst. As well as draining you overtime with his ultimate which means when you die your team will now have to fight your ghost. You will not take him out unless you have really high critical's and use exhaust. if you see he is your lane, or MIA, do not over-extend. He will drop you.
*note that these item's are situational on your opponent's team combination and item builds. Know thy enemy.
**Please keep in mind that this guide is in progress. Meaning I will be coming back to fill it out and make tweaks. Please leave comments and inquiries below to let me know what specifics you would like to know. If You want me to expand playstyles, item builds, timing, whatever aspect you fill is still missing or needs more depth, Please let me know.
I have decided to post this as a progressive work so I can incorporate what you want to see as I work on this guide as opposed to me typing away for a few hours and releasing a large post to be critiqued hard.