League Champion Spotlight: Master Yi

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Property of LeagueOfLegends.com/RiotGames.com /

Master Yi is one of the original champions of League of Legends. At his best, he is also one of the most deadly Assassins in the game.

Assassins are terrifying champions. No matter how behind they are, one look at a squishy target can totally change a fight or a game. And when they’re ahead? Forget about it. They bully the lane and then POOF! Disappear to wreak havoc wherever they want. The only thing more terrifying than a Katarina or a Zed is the Wuju Bladesman, Master Yi. He lives in the jungle, constantly out of vision. And when he appears, you’d better already be running, because he can stick like glue. Master Yi continues to prove that he’s a difference maker in League of Legends.

Master Yi has changed a lot over the years, including a major rework a few years ago. He is now primarily played in that jungle role where he can be so unpredictable. He’s a great champion to learn the jungle role due to his decent clear and ability to scale through farming. But he is also known for one of the highest skill ceilings, allowing Wuju masters to become unstoppable.

Master Yi’s skills are simple to execute but difficult to master. He doesn’t have a single skill shot and most of his skills center around buffing his auto attacks (AA). What’s so hard about that?

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Anybody can use a point-and-click ability, like Master Yi’s Q, Alpha Strike. But a Wuju master know’s when to use Q to dodge an ability or close a gap. When to use his W, Meditation, to absorb a tower shot or reset an auto attack. When to use his E, Wuju Style, since he loses stats when it’s on cooldown (CD). Even when to use R, Highlander, because running into the wrong fight as a squishy assassin usually means death for Yi.

It’s all about timing. Let’s go through his kit and see how to use each of his skills at the right time.

Passive: Double Strike

Every fourth auto attack will hit twice, triggering on-hit effects, dealing 50% AD bonus physical damage, and with the ability to crit. This is one of Master Yi’s biggest steroids, and triggering it is key to optimizing him as a Summoner. First, this increases the need for Yi to build attack speed (AS) boosting items. The faster he can auto attack, the more times he can trigger the passive.

Q: Alpha Strike

This is the skill you’ll want to level first, after his ultimate. It’s also the most important skill to learn how to time. The first part is a blink with 600 range; not very far, but a decent gap closer. Over a short time frame, Yi will deal damage to the target enemy and up to three nearby enemies. He then ends up next to his original target, regardless of where they are on the map.

The critical part is that Yi becomes untargetable over the duration of the damage. This has a lot of implications. Since this is Yi’s only gap closer, most of the time, you’ll want to hold it as long as possible. However, you’ll also need to be fast on the button to dodge crowd control (CC). Finally, before using it, or even going into a fight altogether, a Yi player will need to have an idea of what he wants to dodge: damage or CC.

Lastly, each auto attack reduces the CD of his Q by one second, another reason why attack speed is so important.

W: Meditation

On the face, a pretty simple skill. Yi channels for up to 4 seconds, during which he heals himself and also reduces incoming damage.

The complexity is that W is also an auto-attack reset. As you’ve seen, AA’s are essential to this champion, and knowing when to blow W for an AA reset is a big part of becoming a Master Yi master.

E: Wuju Style

This is a simple damage buff that scales off attack damage (AD). Passively, it increases Yi’s damage by 10% of total AD when not on cooldown. When activated, it includes a true damage component. This should be used in nearly every fight and liberally when clearing the jungle, but you’ll want to think about timing as well since the CD lowers your stats.

R: Highlander

All that stuff about timing leads up to his R. It’s also pretty simple to use: activate and Yi gains a ton of attack speed and movement speed while becoming immune to slows.

They cool part? Kills or assists extend the active period for 7 seconds. That’s huge. Yi basically becomes a one-man cleanup crew, able to finish off multiple low-health enemies.

The trick is to go into the fight when you have an ability to get that reset. Also, you’ll want to plan his Q carefully, since hard CC will still stop Yi, and you can guarantee that the enemies will focus their CC on the Yi.

The macro game

As an AD champion who needs both AS and AD to scale, Yi is pretty expensive. He’s worthless as a ganker before level 6, and even after, needs to focus on his farm to get items. In the jungle, he has a pretty fast and healthy clear, but his relative lack of mobility (can’t go over walls) makes counter-jungling tough unless he has vision of the opposing jungler. When he does gank, he’ll want to run straight at the squishy and try to hold his Q and R as long as possible.

After a couple items, Yi becomes a fearsome one-vs-one champion, which makes split pushing a viable strategy. He isn’t the best team fight jungler, as he is squishy and he doesn’t have any CC or area of effect abilities. When he does fight, he’ll never want to be the primary initiation. There’s too much CC at the start of the fight and chances are he won’t be able to reset his ultimate. He’ll want to wait until members are low and he can assassinate multiple people.

Next: League Champion Spotlight: Pantheon

As far as runes, masteries, and items go, you’ll want standard AD runes. Masteries should be 18/12 with Fervor of Battle as the keystone. In the past, attack speed and tank items use to be better on Yi, but with the changes to Youmuu’s Ghostblade, crit builds centered around Phantom Dancer have come into vogue. Blade of the Ruined King is also good due to his one-vs-one potential. That sounds like a lot. But at his core, Master Yi can be an incredibly fun champion to play. And one of the best parts is mastering each bit of him to make him the ultimate killing machine.