[Guide] Master Yi, Eater of Towers

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Rydog

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09-13-2009

Master Yi, Eater of Towers

This is a guide on how to play Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman -- who apparently trained under Godzilla, as he's one of the most ruthlessly efficient tower-pushers in the game. He's a relatively squishy melee character, but he destroys buildings so freaking fast that he can just run in and straight-up tank them late-game. He is one of the purest definitions of the term "carry."

Much of this guide was inspired by Cefx the Mighty's post in this thread, so thanks for the inspiration, Cefx. Bear in mind that this is a work-in-progress; I'm sure it's not the absolute best Yi strategy guide in the world, but I've had quite a lot of success with it -- in a good game, my enemies come to know me as an unstoppable (or successfully suicidal, at worst) tower-killing machine.


Skills
Alpha Strike (mana cost: 90/105/120/135/150): Master Yi leaps across the battlefield striking up to 4 enemies, dealing 100/150/200/250/300 (+AP x 1.01) Magic Damage and has a 20/30/40/50/60% chance to deal 400 bonus damage to minions. 18 sec. cooldown. [Yi's farming ability. Once you've pumped two or three ranks into this skill, you can kill groups of minions very, very fast. And in relative safety, too -- just make sure you use it on the closest minion, as Yi teleports to the selected target once the skill is activated. Alpha Strike is also a great way to catch up to fleeing champions and initiate combat.]

Meditate (mana cost: 80/100/120/140/160): Master Yi meditates restoring 150/300/500/750/1100 (+AP x 1.65) Health over 5 seconds. While Meditating Master Yi has a bonus 30 Armor and Magic Resist. 45 sec. cooldown. [Master Yi's heal can restore a substantial quantity of health at higher levels, and it scales EXTREMELY well with Ability Power.]

Wuju Style (mana cost: 40): Passively increases Physical damage by 15/20/25/30/35. Additionally, Master Yi can activate this ability to double its effectiveness for 10 seconds, this removes its passive bonus damage until Wuju Style becomes available again. 30 sec. cooldown. [This, along with Highlander, is one of Yi's all-important tower-toppling skills. It's also useful in chasing down and bloodily murdering other champions. Outside of these two circumstances, it's best to keep Wuju Style off cooldown -- never waste it on minions!]

Highlander (mana cost: 120): Increases Master Yi's Movement Speed by 40% and Attack Speed by 30/50/70%, and he becomes immune to all slowing effects for 6/9/12 seconds. Additionally, killing a champion refreshes all of Master Yi's cooldowns. 70 sec. cooldown. [Self-explanatory. When you level up high enough and pop this skill, you can run up to a tower, tank it from full to zero health while under fire, and run out. It's pretty amazing.]

Double Strike (passive): Master Yi has a chance to strike twice each time he attacks.


Recommended Summoner Masteries: 8 Offensive, 0 Defensive, 22 Utility (* notes especially important masteries)
Offensive
Tier 1: 3 Deadliness, 1 Archmage's Savvy
Tier 2: 4 Sorcery or 4 Alacrity (you really can't go wrong either way)

Utility
Tier 1: 1 Spatial Accuracy, 3 Perseverance* (if you skip Teleport, put the Spatial Accuracy point elsewhere)
Tier 2: 4 Awareness*, 4 Expanded Mind*
Tier 3: 3 Meditation*
Tier 4: 3 Quickness*
Tier 5: 3 Intelligence
Tier 6: 1 Presence of the Master


Recommended Runes
I run Master Yi with armor penetration (Desolation) in his Red and Quintessence rune slots, dodge (Evasion) in his Yellow rune slots, and mana regen (Clarity) in his Blue rune slots. This collectively provides Yi with +33 armor penetration, +6.7% dodge chance, and scaling MP5 per level (for a grand total of +15 MP5 at level 18). The armor penetration affords Yi some serious champion-killing power, and the extra mana regen does wonders to limit downtime and repeated trips back home. The extra dodge yields some not-insubstantial survivability (something Yi severely lacks); feel free to replace this with extra armor, magic resist, or even health if you're so inclined -- the point here is "survivability" (I chose dodge over the rest because it occasionally saves Yi from tower fire). You might also try mana instead of regen; I find that regen works much better, but to each his own. Extra cooldown is helpful too, but the Golem buff will take care of this for you, and the mana regen is more helpful to Yi during the early game.

Rune Summary: Red/Quintessence -- armor penetration (Desolation). Yellow -- dodge (Evasion). Blue -- mana regen (Clarity).


Recommended Summoner Spells
1) Flash. A handy escape tool that doubles as a champion-chasing skill. I think Flash is absolutely essential for Yi, no matter how you play him.
2a) Teleport. This is a great skill for reducing downtime and backdooring towers (which is endemic to Yi's game plan).
2b) Cleanse. Another escape tool -- as survivability is, again, something Yi lacks, Cleanse is very helpful in evading ganks, so this is a good alternative to Teleport. Or, for yet another alternative, you could take Ghost (and replace the tier 1 Utility mastery Spatial Accuracy with Haste), or take Heal (this is especially helpful for early lane-pushing, since it heals your minions as well).


Recommended Item Build
1) Health Potions (ALWAYS keep these handy, until you get Meditate)
2) Boots of Speed
3) Ruby Crystal
4) Berserker's Greaves (from Boots of Speed)
5) Phage (from Ruby Crystal)
6) Phage #2 (the slow isn't a unique proc, so double-stacking these is powerful)
7) Last Whisper (vs. melee-heavy teams) or Wit's End (vs. caster-heavy teams)
8) Frozen Mallet (from Phage)
9) Infinity Edge
10) Stark's Fervor
11) At this point, you can sell your second Phage, buy a B.F. Sword, and build a Bloodthirster. Most games shouldn't last quite this long!


Suggested Ability Guide
1) Q - Alpha Strike
2) E - Wuju Style
3) Q - Alpha Strike
4) E - Wuju Style
5) Q - Alpha Strike
6) R - Highlander
7) E - Wuju Style
8) E - Wuju Style
9) E - Wuju Style (MAX)
10) Q - Alpha Strike
11) R - Highlander
12) Q - Alpha Strike (MAX)
13) W - Meditate
14) W - Meditate
15) W - Meditate
16) R - Highlander (MAX)
17) W - Meditate
18) W - Meditate (MAX)


Why This Build Works
The idea is to stack attack speed and damage, which lets you crush towers lightning-fast, and works with your armor penetration runes to put the hurt on enemy champions. The Utility-heavy mastery setup is important for mana management, and your items will more than make up for the damage you're losing from the Offense tree. The twin Phages (and the Lizardman buff, which you should seek out whenever it's convenient to do so) keep Yi's opponents from getting away. The skill build allows Yi to farm very effectively at early levels; this is important, so we start off by focusing on Alpha Strike for that purpose, and then switch to Wuju Style at level 7 (both skills will be rank 3 at this point) to prepare for mid-game ganks and tower-diving. Left unchecked, a farmed-up Yi can wreak havoc on the enemy team's buildings -- and when it comes down to it, that's what wins games. I tend to leave Meditate for last; a well-played Yi can get by with health potions.


How to Play
Early Game (levels 1-6): Your sole goal at the early levels (and this applies to pretty much any champion) is to keep yourself alive and earn XP. Yi is a great candidate to solo-lane (he can farm levels VERY fast), so snag one if you can (I prefer middle), and use Alpha Strike to safely take down enemy creeps. Position your Alpha Strikes to hit enemy champions, and take opportunity swipes at them when possible, but don't overextend yourself or get greedy -- never chase a champion if it means putting yourself at serious risk, because it's not worth it at this point. You'll likely have to recall back to base once or (possibly) twice during these levels to replenish your mana; buy your items quickly and Teleport back to your lane. You should hopefully be well on your way to getting your Berserker's Greaves by the time you take your first Highlander rank. You should probably hit the Lizardman camp and get that buff, too.

Mid-Game (levels 7-13): Once you're Highlander-enabled, you can either stay in your lane or go gank enemy champions. You can defend against tower pushes extremely well, and probably make serious headway toward the first enemy tower if you haven't already. When you have the opportunity, pop Wuju Style and Highlander, and go to town on the tower -- if you're with a full entourage of creeps with no enemy champions in sight, you should be able to destroy it without much fear (and if need be, you have Flash for a hasty retreat). Once you topple a tower, it's a good idea to back off, as most smart enemy teams will show up to guard against deeper pushing. At this point, you might want to head to another lane (whichever's furthest along) to push its tower. When ganking champions, it's always best to approach from behind (brush is your friend), so as to preemptively to cut off their escape. Most non-tanks die very quickly to a farmed-up Wuju/Highlander-powered Yi if you catch them unawares. Yi is squishy, so he's all about surprise! Don't forget to keep the Lizardman buff up whenever possible, as it helps to keep your foes slowed.

Late Game (levels 14-18): Here's where the real fun begins. Once you're about level 15 and have your Last Whisper (or Wit's End), it's time to start backdooring. This basically means "Teleport as close as possible, run right up to the tower, pop Wuju Style and Highlander, and tank it until it's dead." Of course, it helps when minions are around to shield you from fire, but once you reach this level, you don't strictly need that in order to take a tower down (although I recommend popping a health potion once you start tanking). From here on, your primary goal should be to destroy buildings, even if it kills you. Highlander and Flash are great escape tools, but if I die and take an enemy inhibitor with me, I consider that a worthwhile trade. Cutting through the jungle is an important part of doing this -- avoid roads so you can make sure the enemy never sees which way you're headed. Grab the Lizardman and Golem buffs while you do this, too. Tower-killing aside, champion-ganking is good too (just remember, again, that you're pretty squishy -- you're at your best when you ambush your target). Eventually, you'll take down all the enemy inhibitors, they'll be overwhelmed with super-minions, and you can kill Baron Nashor and call it a day.

That's it for now; I'll try to keep this guide updated as new patches are rolled out, and I certainly plan on expanding the "How to Play" section. Constructive feedback is appreciated -- and again, this isn't the end-all be-all "how to play this character" bible (no guide is), but I've had a lot of success with this build, on both random and premade teams.


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Deadly Paradox

Senior Member

09-13-2009

Quote:
Rune Summary: Red/Quintessence -- armor penetration (Desolation). Yellow -- dodge (Evasion). Blue -- mana regen (Celerity).
Mana Regeneration glyphs are Clarity, not Celerity.


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SmecssRaege

Senior Member

09-13-2009

I can't say i particularly agree with your item build, but it's your guide


The amount of money you are looking at spending is insane before you get any real damage.

You're item build spends upwards of like 7-8k gold or so on just attack speed and some HP pretty much (when yi has plenty of innate attack speed thanks to his ulti)

I would try mixing black cleaver in that order (IE: instead of last whisper/wit's end)

and if you find they are armor stacking, pick up last whisper because those 2 + 33 armor penetration give you the ability to seriously cut through a tanks armor, and make them realize that armor stacking = fail ^_^

@ 300 armor

last whisper: ignores 120 armor
desolation runes: ignores 33 armor
black cleaver: removes 60 armor
starks fervor: removes 25 armor

so thats effectively 245 armor removal, giving that tank an effective 55 armor against you =3


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Laenges

Junior Member

09-13-2009

Indeed is that too much.
But where stands written that Last Whisper ignores 120 Armor?

InGame:
+20 Atk, 40% Attackspeed and 40% Armor Penetration.


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Ponies Gonna Pwn

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Adjudicator

09-13-2009

It's also worth noting that if you activate Wuju Style and Highlander, then proceed to murder an enemy champion, you get both the active and passive benefit from Wuju Style. Faceroll time!


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Deadly Paradox

Senior Member

09-13-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laenges View Post
Indeed is that too much.
But where stands written that Last Whisper ignores 120 Armor?

InGame:
+20 Atk, 40% Attackspeed and 40% Armor Penetration.
40% of 300 = 120.


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Laenges

Junior Member

09-13-2009

Ah, i forget the 300 Armor.
You are right, thats realy nice.
I have Test it with 2x Black Cleaver. Thats at low Armor Cl effectua. So i destroy a Taric, Soraka, Tyn or Nunu realy realy fast, even Cho.


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Rydog

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Recruiter

09-13-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by AoWHun7312 View Post
Mana Regeneration glyphs are Clarity, not Celerity.
Oops, minor typo. Fixed. Clarity, Celerity, Celery, THESE WORDS ALL SOUND THE SAME! :P


Quote:
Originally Posted by SmecssRaege View Post
I can't say i particularly agree with your item build, but it's your guide

The amount of money you are looking at spending is insane before you get any real damage.

You're item build spends upwards of like 7-8k gold or so on just attack speed and some HP pretty much (when yi has plenty of innate attack speed thanks to his ulti)

I would try mixing black cleaver in that order (IE: instead of last whisper/wit's end)

and if you find they are armor stacking, pick up last whisper because those 2 + 33 armor penetration give you the ability to seriously cut through a tanks armor, and make them realize that armor stacking = fail ^_^

@ 300 armor

last whisper: ignores 120 armor
desolation runes: ignores 33 armor
black cleaver: removes 60 armor
starks fervor: removes 25 armor

so thats effectively 245 armor removal, giving that tank an effective 55 armor against you =3
The +attack speed is an important part of why I recommend Last Whisper, as Yi's main objective is tower-killing. Black Cleaver's not bad, but it doesn't service this stated goal quite as well. Those +attack speed items increase Yi's tower-killing speed pretty dramatically. It's also worth noting that Yi farms gold extremely fast; it's rare that a game ends before I reach this step in my item build (and if it does, I'm up against a really bad team). My recommended items are more than enough to eat through most champions' defenses.


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Aspartem

Senior Member

09-13-2009

Nice guide. Though im always Jungling with Yi and following a diffrent build, which wrecks tower easy witout his ultimate wearing off.

I agree, that Last Whisper is a good luxury item for Yi, he maybe get a nice atk-speed during his ultimate, but sometimes you just want to push a turret and keep your ultimate for the battle / skirmish that may take place a few seconds later.
I also agree that Yi farm a bonkers amount of money. As i said, i always jungle with him and Razor, Berserkers, Zeal + Inifnity in 21min is my personal record. While farming that much, its still possible to assist in ganks or help killing turrets, whenever you change the farm-spot. I guess i gonna write a Guide too.

Again, alot of true stuff, though i would skip the dual phage/mallet thing. They don't stack anymore anyway, and if you've a decent team you usually don't need those unreliable slows (ok mallet is reliable, but im mainly speaking of phage.)
But, i don't know about the Stark's Fervor, im no fan of lifeleech since its usually pretty weak unless you're ubber stacked, but even then i'd say Guardian Angel > Stark's Fervor. That's an item for a melee-supporter imo, the carry himself should buy other items.
Still, i think you'll probably lack damage, and won't instagib heroes as fast as when you'd spend your money into more dmg items.

Runes are fine. I prefer:
Red: Desolation
Yellow: Hp/Lvl (Vigor?)
Blue: Clarity
Quint: MS or AtkSpeed. Though ~19ms for free is just unbeatable.. i'll still run with AtkSpeed, it's easier to jungle

Btw: From where do you know how armor reduction stacks? Because im sure it's more like this:
-60 Armor (Cleaver)
-25 Armor (Starks)
-33 Ignores Armor (Runes)
Ignoring 40% of Armor (Whisperer)
= 72.8 Armor

But i don't know how the Runes + Whisperer react with each other. Because reduction + ignoring isn't the same. I'm definitly sure, that Whisperer is taking into consideration last and uses the already reduced armor. Soo its:
-85 Armor and 40%+33 Armor Ignorance.
= 215 for everyone else = 72.8 for you.

That's also a reason why i think Whisperer comes afterwards. What if somebody else also reduces the armor of the target? Then you'll ignore 40% of the rest.

That's all for now


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theqn

Junior Member

09-14-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rydog View Post


Suggested Ability Guide
1) Q - Alpha Strike
2) E - Wuju Style
3) Q - Alpha Strike
4) E - Wuju Style
5) Q - Alpha Strike
6) R - Highlander
7) E - Wuju Style
8) E - Wuju Style
9) E - Wuju Style
10) Q - Alpha Strike
11) R - Highlander
12) Q - Alpha Strike
13) W - Meditate
14) W - Meditate
15) W - Meditate
16) R - Highlander
17) W - Meditate
18) W - Meditate
oh... a big /nono. that's master yi , the feeder. xD
don't forget how much important is "meditate" ... (you don't need alpha strike higher than 1 till lategame)

1) Q - Alpha Strike
2) W - Meditate
3) E - Wuju Style
4) W - Meditate
5) E - Wuju Style
6) R - Highlander
7) E - Wuju Style
8) E - Wuju Style
9) E - Wuju Style
10) W - Meditate
11) R - Highlander
12) W - Meditate
13) Q - Alpha Strike
14) Q - Alpha Strike
15) Q - Alpha Strike
16) R - Highlander
17) Q - Alpha Strike
18) W - Meditate

cu


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