My thoughts? Yi is a really powerful low-elo hypercarry, with the potential to carry you to high-elo if you’re amazing with him.
coughcough COWSEP cough
Here’s a screenshot of my stat page with Yi: I don’t often get the chance to play him in Ranked, as he almost always has to be last-picked into a safe team.
- Attack Speed Quints
- Attack Speed Marks
- Attack Speed Seals
- 3 Attack Speed Glyphs
- 6 Cooldown Reduction Glyphs OR 6 Attack Speed Glyphs
If you don’t have the pages to dedicate a page to Yi, then you can use more “generic” Jungle pages, like this one:
Should be pretty self explanatory; if you want to ask questions, leave them below.
Smite: You’re jungling, don’t be stupid and forget this one.
Flash: Good for escaping or surprising people with a gap closer.
Ghost: Good for chasing and escaping if they don’t have any hard CC; synergizes really well with your ultimate to escape or chase. Not as versatile as Flash.
Teleport: Gives you a scary global presence, and lets you splitpush/backdoor like you were getting paid for it. My personal preference.
Heal/Barrier/Exhaust/Ignite: Gives you slightly better dueling and/or escape potential, but since you’ll be lacking the mobility/utility provided by the first 3, you’ll be hurting presence-wise.
Cleanse/Clarity/Clairvoyance/Revive: …You’re joking, right?
Garrison: Who even PLAYS Dominion??????
There are 2 distinct starts I play; QEQW, and QWQE. They have their own distinct earlygame playstyles, which I will explain below.
Start Alpha Strike, then get 1 point in Meditate, then another point in Alpha Strike before you get Wuju Style. Max R>Q>E>W
- How to start?
Buy Machete and 1 potion (2 if you’re feeling a bit unsafe). Go to your first buff, take it. Take the Wraith camp on your way to your 2nd buff, and take that. Continue to farm, and sustain with repeated Meditates until you have to go back to base.
Start Alpha Strike, then get 1 point in Wuju Style, then another point in Alpha Strike before getting Meditate. Max R>Q>E>W
- How to start? (requires Teleport for maximum swag)
Buy Machete and 1 potion (you can’t actually afford to buy 2 potions here). Go to the BLUE BUFF and take it. Immediately move to Wolf camp and take that. Now, assuming you’re running full (or almost full) attack speed runes, you need a minimum of 270 health to solo the Wight camp. Your Smite should be back off cooldown, and you will need to dodge 2 of the Wight’s auto attacks with your Alpha Strike. Practice this. After doing Wight, recall, buy your Madred’s Razor (and a health potion if you have the gold), wait for health/mana, and then teleport to the inner tower on your redbuff side jungle. Go directly to Redbuff and take it. Begin to farm jungle.
Wriggle’s Lantern: 100% of the time. It scales infinitely, it gives on-hit damage, it gives MAGIC damage, it gives Attack Speed and Attack Damage. Woot!
Berserker’s Greaves: 95% of the time. The other 5% you want Mercury Treads.
- Boot enchantment: I almost always use Homeguard for the Teleport/Homeguard/Highlander plays.
Blade of the Ruined King: 100% of the time. Lifesteal, great active, and attack speed? YES.
Youmuu’s Ghostblade: 95% of the time. Armor Pen, Attack Speed, a GREAT dueling or splitpushing active? YES.
Guardian Angel: 95% of the time. The other 5% you’ll want a Banshee’s Veil. (Remember, if your GA gets popped and you’re banking 2k+ gold, you can sell the GA for a Banshee’s Veil until the GA is back up) If you are a GOD (Cowsep plz) then you can skip over this for more damage.
Spirit Stone: Situational. The “MadStone” build is more popular on other junglers, but on Master Yi is can be a really good idea. It gives him a rediculous amount of sustain, and he can freely give away blue buffs to his midlaner without ever going OOM. It also lets Master Yi solo the Baron under certain circumstances.
OTHER ITEMS ON YI:
Infinity Edge: This item is amazing on Yi. Crit damage, crit, and tons of AD? A really good pickup.
Statikk Shiv: This item isn’t as good as you might think it is. The initial burst damage and AoE lightning sounds good, but is mostly used in clearing waves; which only Splitpush Yi should be doing all the time. Consider it a situational purchase.
Trinity Force: This somewhat increases your dueling and teamfighting power, but cuts your raw damage. Don’t get this.
Last Whisper: Good for shredding full-tank teams (Cho + Ryze + Udyr + Malphite, or something stupid like that). This is honestly not a GREAT item on Yi, especially considering it synergizes with his ultimate to penetrate really, really quickly.
The Black Cleaver: Like the Last Whisper, great for shredding tanky teams. I would actually consider this item if I felt like I needed the health and CDR, AS WELL AS the tank-shred. With Yi’s ult and passive, you also stack the passive armor shred incredibly quickly.
Zephyr: Great splitpushing stats, and the Tenacity is amazing; but as you’re already sacrificing so much raw damage with the Feral Flare and a Shiv/PD, you can’t always afford to have an item which gives relatively little AD and 0 Crit.
Sword of the Divine: MAYBE if you built an Infinity Edge and replaced the Shiv/PD with a SotD, it could work… but it would make you a 1-trick pony; walk in, blow your 3 crit attacks, and then you’d be forced to run out. Not good for sustained damage or having a big impact in a teamfight, and it would make you less powerful as a splitpusher.
Wit’s End: The same problem as a Zephyr has; it has okay sustained magic damage in a duel/teamfight, but otherwise it doesn’t give enough damage/crit for it to be worthwhile.
Mercurial Scimitar: Can be purchased in place of a Guardian Angel/Banshee’s Veil, but I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you can reliably use the active in the middle of a fight.
Ravenous Hydra: While this MIGHT seem like a good item for clearing jungle camps and teamfighting, your Q is more than good enough for clearing camps, and in most cases you won’t want to be fighting in melee range of 2+ enemy champions. It’s also incredibly expensive to invest in a Tiamat early enough for it to make a difference in your farming.
Frozen Mallet: You don’t need the slow, you’re almost impossible to catch up to, (or leave behind) already.
Maw of Malmortius: I would just invest in a Banshee’s Veil or a Guardian Angel for my defensive item, unless they have a very heavy burst-oriented AP team.
The Bloodthirster: While the raw damage and lifesteal may look good on Yi, I would NOT replace my AD/Lifesteal item (Bork) with this. Bork’s Active ability, it’s passive %health damage and it’s Attack Speed are just much much better for Yi’s kit.
Atma’s Impaler: You’re not packin nearly enough Health to make this item worthwhile.
Manamune: A Tear of the Goddess takes WAY too long to stack on Yi, unless you have the gold to rush the Manamune itself; and even then, it’s too expensive earlygame for the stats it will provide, as you aren’t building ANY other mana item (except for, potentially, a Trinity Force).
Executioner’s Calling: Do they have Mundo AND Garen AND Soraka AND some fool building 90% Lifesteal Ashe? Then I would consider this. Otherwise? No.
Sword of the Occult: Just don’t. Just… no. Don’t.
FARM. F. A. R. M. You “gank” when the enemy has 50 health and has already burned flash. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time. You are pretty much useless to your team until you have Flare, Berz Greaves and most (if not all) of your BotRK. Remember; without a Cutlass, Master Yi has NO ranged Crowd Control (redbuff doesn’t count). AFTER that, then you can really start putting down map pressure.
As for how to farm; personally, I’ve been using the “figure 8” which I learned from Cowsep:
- Mini Golems
(Starting Mini Golems)
- Mini Golems
- Mini Golems
for those of you who don’t know exactly what’s going on; think of each camp in the rotation as being numbered. If you’re playing purple side and want to start farming from bot lane, you head to your Wight camp and that’s #1, so Wolves #2, Wraith #3, Golems #4. Then, you always do the first 2 camps in the same area of the jungle (so Wight and Wolves) and then you SKIP the #3 camp. You go directly to the #4 camp, and after doing that, you mentally swap the numbers; so the camp you just did is now #1, and the first camp you did is now #4. Then, you repeat; you just did #1, you go do #2, skip #3, #4.
As for early-game itemization, I always start Machete+1pots, with one of the 2 “starting paths” which I described above.
IDEALLY, you Feral Flare should be completed before the 12 minute mark, and by 20 minutes you should have ~20 Flare stacks. This will change game-to-game, however.
You should at LEAST have your first 3 items; now, you can start applying a lot of map pressure. If a lane is behind, go camp them and win their lane for them. If a lane is snowballing and your other lanes are going even, then go there and continue the snowball. Begin stacking 2 or 3 deep with your team and taking towers, and ALWAYS keep a timer on blue buff, red buff and Dragon; take these as often as possible. Assuming you have a good amount of gold/items and 3 or more enemies show themselves botlane, you can always try to take an early Baron. This is MUCH harder after they nerfed the Feral Flare’s on-hit heal.
By this point you should have quite a lot of gold, so make sure to optimize your build and keep up with elixers, enchantments, etc. You really have 3 options at this point: Splitpushing, Teamfighting, or Assassinations.
Splitpushing: Find a wave which is getting close to an enemy tower, and signal your team to push some other lane. If you’re about to push botlane, have your team set up around top. Remember, if the Baron is ALIVE, and you do NOT have teleport, it is a bad idea to show yourself botlane, as the enemy team can try to rush down the Baron. In that case, you should try to group up as 5 botlane and force the enemy to chose: if they go to Baron you need to take an inhibitor and/or nexus turrets. If they leave the Baron and engage you botlane, then you can let your team dance around bot and you can go splitpush top.
REMEMBER: if you want a splitpush to succeed, then your team HAS to take objectives. You may bring 3 enemies top and get killed; but if your team gets 2 bot towers and an inhibitor, then it’s probably worth your death. If your team is dancing around, freezing lanes and not pushing? Then it’s not worth at all; especially the later the game gets, and the longer the death timers are.
Teamfighting: Set up fights with your team and go win them. As you are SUPER squishy, and most team comps nowadays are packin lots of CC, do NOT initiate. Repeat, DO NOT INITIATE. That is an incredibly easy way for the enemy team to lock you down, blow you up, and then jump on your team, which is probably cowering in fear after seeing you dead. In low elo, a LOT of players will think “oh shit, they just killed a teammate, we can’t fight them!” and won’t follow in on a good opportunity; even if the enemy team blows tons of abilities and ultimates on you.
A much better way of orchestrating a fight is to hover in the “mid-line” between your tanks/bruisers/initiators and your mages/ADCs. This servers 2 purposes;
- Firstly, if a full frontal fight breaks out, and both of the “front lines” dive on eachother, You can sneak through/around the melee and dive on an enemy squishy. Beware of bruisers/tanks that stay close to them, and watch out for the CC.
- Secondly, if your team gets UNfavorably engaged on (someone is out of position, your front-line gets caught in some kind of wombo combo, etc) you are more likely to NOT be caught, as you’re behind the front-line; and you can provide damage and peel for your squishy backline, as you retreat.
REMEMBER YOUR PRIORITY TARGETS: ADCs>Mages>Heal/Utility>Bruisers>Tanks. If your team blows everything on killing the first 2 tanks they encounter, they are much more likely to get destroyed by the full-health and much more dangerous carries.
Assassinations: “I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.”
But seriously, your job is to come out of the jungle, jump on someone, preferably a squishy “carry” target like the ADC, kill them in 3 or 4 hits, and run away while spamming /taunt. With the amount of attack speed and “sticking power” that Master Yi can bring to bear, you can instantly pop most squishy targets; or at least burn flash. (If you’re a pro enough Yi, you can mind-games the Flash and time your Alpha Strike to follow them through. This can also be done with any other dash/blink/jump in the game.)
This is INCREDIBLY hard to do the higher your elo gets, as after the first 2 or 3 times you blow up Jinx and get away cleanly, the enemy Thresh will start thinking “I should probably keep my Hook ready to stop him if this happens again”, and the enemy team will start grouping up and denying easy targets to you. More experienced players will ALWAYS be grouping up and know how to chain their CC to stop you from killing their squishies. That is when you should transition into becoming a splitpush monster, going 1/0/4 as often as possible (You as Yi top, no one mid, then your whole team pushing down botlane. This means that the enemy team can’t start Baron without giving up bot turrets/inhib, and if they try to teamfight 5v4 bot, you can continue to splitpush top while your team disengages.)
If you want any help with Yi, feel free to ask questions below.
A Different Perspective by L7
Due to inspiration from cowsep and tesselcraig, I have started playing Master Yi again. I main jungle in low Silver, and I have had some success with Evelynn, Kayle, and Vi.
I am writing this guide as an addendum to tesselcraig’s guide — our builds and play styles might be a little bit different. Specifically, I go for full on damage with no defense — I aim primarily for skirmishes and team fight clean up.
- Can carry amazingly.
- Controls dragon and baron from very early.
- Split pushes well.
- Amazing duelist.
- Very little presence pre-6. Although doable, pre-6 ganks are weak and delay both your level 6 and (possibly) your feral flare. You almost must get a kill or an assist to make it worth it. This is definitely not the champ you want to level 3 gank with just to see what happens.
- Hard CC wrecks him. It can be handled, but usually you want someone else on your team to eat the hard CC before you go in.
- You have to wait on your team to initiate. At low Elos, this is sometimes difficult to arrange.
- Proper Yi play is somewhat selfish (i.e., little help early, lots of kills on the backs of teammates’ deaths, little teamfighting presence when split pushing, etc.).
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
I go cowsep style here. Runes are all AS except for 6 CDR glyphs (5%). Masteries are 21/0/9.
For Summoner Spells, I always get Flash and Smite. TP is a compelling option (esp. with Homeguards), but you really need to know how to maintain good positioning without flash. Cowsep makes it look easy — I find it tough.
This is where I differ quite a bit from tesselcraig — specifically, there are relatively few items I consider even using.
My base build is as follows:
- Machete and 1 red pot.
- After clearing red side jungle, I back and get Madred’s.
- Spirit Stone.
- Wriggle’s, usually buying Dagger before Long Sword if I have a choice of components.
- T1 boots (can be purchased before completing Wriggle’s if the context warrants it).
- BotRK. The Vamp Scepter is important to get early — it helps a lot with staying alive during ganks.
- T2 boots. This is always Berserker’s Greaves (i.e., AS boots). The timing of this upgrade can be during making of BotRK.
- Youmuu’s Ghostblade. Getting the Brutalizer is a big powerspike with the extra damage and 10% CDR.
- For my last two items, I almost always get Infinity Edge and Last Whisper. The order depends on how far ahead I am and what the enemy is building. Note that LW still has utility even if the enemy builds little or no armor since champs naturally have an increase in armor as they level up.
- Sell the Spirit Stone as late as possible. It is really helpful with solo or duo barons.
- For boot’s buff, I usually get Alacrity for the constant extra MS, but Homeguard has its place (esp. with TP).
- Upgraded red trinket is great, especially versus Akali.
- Make sure to get red and blue elixirs if you’re maxed.
This is the build I use over 90% of the time. There are only three other items that I use situationally (subbing for LW or IE):
- Mercurial Scimitar. I use this when I am up against teams with a lot of hard CC (esp. Malzahar and Warwick).
- Statik Shiv when I want AoE. This is when I am carrying with a weak team.
- Banshee’s Veil or maybe GA when I am up against a bursty assassin (usu. needs to be fed before I buy).
Note that some folks think that the Youmuu’s is excessive, if for no other reason than you go over the AS cap if you ult and use Youmuu’s in the late game. I consider Youmuu’s to be a key part of the kit. One main use is initiating the chase (esp. if using TP). This can get you up to your target without having to use your ult or Q (pro tip: don’t initiate with Q if you can help it). This allows you to save your Q for when they use their escape — namely, you can gap close and get carried with them, so they don’t escape. Another great use is if you are at a tower and want to rip it down quickly without blowing your ult. Lastly, it’s great for mop up work after teamfights. If you have used your ult and it is on CD, you can pop Youmuu’s for extra MS and AS.
Pre-6 jungling path
My goal in my pre-6 jungling path is to get to level 6 as quickly as possible while also stacking my FF optimally.
- Start red buff and Q. In low Elo, I often prefer no leash. This solves a lot of problems. First, I can smite early without fear of an “accidental” buff steal by a teammate. Second, it gives no information to the other team about which side I am starting on — some strong early junglers like Lee Sin will make a point of visiting you at your second buff if they know where you started. Third, no one snakes XP, and this is critical. Fourth, the low health and mana doesn’t really matter since I will back and get topped up. I take W after the buff, and I use it immediately if I had no leash.
- Wraiths. Hit a small wraith first then Q. This should kill small wraith 1. Use strikes 2 and 3 to kill the other small wraiths (one hit each), then start the big wraith with a double strike. Note that the small wraiths may require a tick or two of red buff damage before they die — don’t be tempted to waste a strike on them.
- Golems. Hit the small golem first then Q. Two strikes on small golem, then first double strike should be on the big golem. Smite the big golem whenever you want. If the small golem isn’t dead, use a single strike to finish him ASAP and then go back to the big golem.
- Drop trinket in tri-brush if you didn’t drop it in the early game.
- Back to buy Madred’s and (usually) red trinket.
- Blue, then wight, then wolves. Cowsep figure-8 after that except I end on either wraiths to golems (12 FF stacks) or wolves to wight (14 stacks).
One typical end of my no-leash pure farm pre-6 pathing has me ending at Wight, level 6, 14 FF stacks, and and ~1180 gold (enough to buy Spirit Stone and Dagger on top of my already purchased Madred’s and red pot).
This often is followed by a solo dragon at ~8 minutes.
For the early clears, you can really save some time and damage received by using all of your hits and double hits efficiently. It takes practice to do well, but it’s doable.
For team fights, I usually just linger near the back line. I try to peel for my carries, and I will jump on an enemy carry if they are out of position. The main thing is that I definitely do not want to be anywhere near any hard CC.
Comments on cowsep
Watching cowsep is amazing, but I think that it’s prudent to be aware of what you’re watching (mostly amazingly good, a little bad).
- He does not ward well, imho. It seems like he uses his trinket and FF wards very rarely. This is a burden on his team. He also doesn’t get a sweeper to see if his dragon’s are warded. I definitely do not recommend imitating him on warding and sweeping.
- Some of his Qs are magical. Watch for him to use Qs to dodge skill shots. He also is amazing at timing his Qs to catch people who are using their escapes. He makes it look easy — don’t think you will be doing this as a new Yi player.
- He’s quite good at target selection in skirmishes and team fights.
- He has great mechanics (at Yi speed, it’s easy to whiff sometimes).
- He is really consistent at using his W to cancel damage at the right time.
Any and all comments are welcome.