Master Yi Build Guide

A Guide to Solo Top Yi

Updated 3 years ago
Skill Order
1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13
14 14 14 14
15 15 15 15
16 16 16 16
17 17 17 17
18 18 18 18

Hello everyone, welcome to my AD Yi Toplane Guide, this guide has existed on solomid since 2011 and has received quite the revamp from top to bottom for Master Yi in pre-season + season 4. I am a diamond 1 top lane main and a melee carry main, playing a ton of Tryndamere, Yi and other similar fighter/auto attack based top lanes. I have been playing since 2010 and Yi/Tryndamere have been my favorite 2 champions the entire way. [img=]

After you've read through the guide, if you're interested in learning more or watching some specific gameplay examples, you can find my stream located at - I have started streaming quite regularly so you can feel free to tune in, follow or watch my VoDs on both that site and some highlight clips on my 'MarineRevenge' youtube channel. Cheers!

[highlight]Season 2 (removed):[/highlight] 12/08/2011 - Guide is released, most basic introductory information and important info about the champion and the build/skill order is included. [highlight]Season 3 Pre-Rework (Removed):[/highlight] 12/9/2012 - Updated the Guide for Season 3 changes, cleared most of the old change log as its mostly irrelevant now. [highlight]Season 3 Post-Rework: [/highlight] 7/31/2013 - Master Yi's rework goes through today, the old chance logs have been removed down to its initial log, just like what occurred previously in order to better reflect what information is current and relevant and what is not. 8/1/2013 - Guide being updated for some of the matchups today, things are still a work in progress though. 8/12/2013 - Update to Yi's masteries. 9/21 doesn't feel as effective as it used to, unfortunately due to yi's lower flat steroids. 21/9 feels more or less mandatory. [highlight]Season 4 Pre-Season Update: [/highlight] 12/12/2013 - Guide brought up to standard for the season 4 pre-season changes now that they've settled in some and i've had a chance to toy around with them.

[title]Pro's[/title] [.]One of the fastest characters in the game (base move speed). [.]Some of the best steroids in the game. [.]Slow immunity (think red buff, ashe Q, frozen mallet, tryndamere slow, etc) [.]Gap closer that also grants Yi temporary invincibility (he's untargettable during alpha strike) [.]Some of the highest and most under-rated lane sustain. [.]Snowballs incredibly well and can fill a hybrid melee carry/assassin role at the same time. [title]Con's[/title] [.]Naturally squishy. [.]No utility that benefits the team whatsoever. [.]Long cooldowns by default. Thankfully this is fixed with the way Yi's ultimate functions. [.]Not getting a kill in a team fight early enough can mean losing all your steroids for the rest of the fight. [.]Mana hungry if you spam your abilities early on. [.]Item dependant [.]A bit all-in.

[imgsmall=items/berserkers-greaves.png] Is pretty straight forward. You can build these if you prefer the Attack Speed over the Magic Resistance early game. Eventually you WILL want/need the mercury's treads but using these for a period of time isn't necessarily a bad idea. In fact it's encouraged if you need movespeed 2 early on or get fed early where you can snowball faster with more DPS from the Attack Speed. [imgsmall=items/mercurys-treads.png] Generally our preferred boots. Gives tenacity which helps against the few CC's yi is shut down by, and its usually our only magic resistance item unless we opt for a last item GA/Maw/Wits End. If you started bezerker greaves early, you'll need to replace them with these eventually. [imgsmall=items/ninja-tabi.png] Good boot option in top lane and in general, armor is a great stat and you cant go wrong with these against heavier AD teams. [img=items/wriggles-lantern.png] THE NEW WRIGGLES/FERAL FLARE IS SO GOOD RUSH THIS ASAP AND TURN IT INTO FERAL FLARE AND MAUL PEOPLE IF YOURE PLAYING JUNGLE YI NO IF ANDS OR BUTS!!!!!! [imgsmall=items/the-bloodthirster.png] Scales greatly with crits and is a fantastic AD item since it provides the most synergy with both alpha strikes ratio AND wujustyles ratio. [imgsmall=items/blade-of-the-ruined-king.png] This should be your first item, Works really well combined with Ghostblade, you just melt people instantly when you combine both actives with your ultimate. [imgsmall=items/zeal.png][imgsmall=items/statikk-shiv.png][imgsmall=items/phantom-dancer.png] A zeal derivative is quite powerful on Yi. He greatly benefits from attackspeed and critical strike so be sure to fit one of these into your build when you can. I prefer trinity force over Shiv/PD currently but this is still a solid item. [imgsmall=items/zephyr.png] A situational attack speed item. You wont get the crit chance of its cousin PD/Shiv but you get CDR for your abilities, AD for alpha strike/wuju style, attack speed which is an obvious benefit and even tenacity which can greatly aid a melee carrys job in fights. Worth considering if you think crit is less valuable for your game, such as going for a more high AD low crit route rather than a more rounded blend of stats. [imgsmall=items/youmuus-ghostblade.png] This should be your second item, its the cheapest item for the damage you get out of any choice, has an amazing active and is just wonderful all the way around. Combine this with Blade of the Ruined King second to just melt people. [imgsmall=items/trinity-force.png] The best general zeal deriviative in my opinion for Master Yi, it doesnt give as much raw crit or attack speed but the health is nice, the sheen proc is amazing with your Resets for bursting down enemies, and the Phage passive and AD gives a nice chunk of extra damage. If you already have Botrk + Ghostblade then getting Shiv/PD is just overkill. Make this instead! [imgsmall=items/infinity-edge.png] Get this after Botrk/Ghostblade if you dont need to finish randuins. If you do finish randuins, make this next. You want IE as soon as possible after your Botrk/Ghostblade combo. [imgsmall=items/last-whisper.png] Situationally useful - Armor Pen is always good but Yi should be trying to focus down the squishier targets and ghostblade along with his true damage steroid should be enough for that. Consider this if the enemy is super tanky though. [imgsmall=items/the-black-cleaver.png] Strong season 3 item but not suggested over last whisper, the LW still penetrates more armor than a single black cleaver can, and for less gold, plus it doesnt take stacks to receive the benefit either. Leave the cleaver to ad casters. [imgsmall=items/randuins-omen.png] Literally the best armor/hp item in the game in my opinion. Tons of great stats, super slot efficient. I love making this on Master Yi since it also gives him a slow with which to chase/disengage better as well. Highly recommended in nearly every game. [imgsmall=items/atmas-impaler.png] Awesome item. The critical strike + AD + armor on the same item is just too good. Builds out of avarice blade too which is just solid now in season 3. [imgsmall=items/locket-of-the-iron-solari.png] The new locket is an all around defensive item, giving armor, MR and health as well as a pretty nice active. This could be a good choice for a defensive item if you dont need armor as much as you need MR and the shield to help block burst damage and it's also got a great benefit for your team as well. The CDR could also be useful at times. [imgsmall=items/guardian-angel.png] If i'm not the primary carry, or if our ranged AD has items up to par with the rest of the team, i'll make this because I don't have to be the main source of damage in fights. If our ranged AD carry is just bad or really behind, i'll skip this for damage and rely on my team to protect me instead of the ranged carry. [imgsmall=items/quicksilver-sash.png][imgsmall=items/mercurial-scimitar.png] Against a team with a strong single target CC like mummy ultimate or similar, this is a great lategame buy. Also good for MR if the enemy team has a double AP comp. [imgsmall=items/maw-of-malmortius.png] The new AD item. This gives a pretty hefty attack damage boost, some nice MR, and both of it's passives are fantastic. The only true downside to this item is how expensive it is, but against those AP heavier team comps this has become the favored situational item over wits end, simply because this grants us more damage, similar magic resistance and that spell shield is just incredible. Ideally against normal comps however I won't make this. [imgsmall=items/wits-end.png] Not the highest DPS choice item for Yi, but a nice substitute if you need Magic Resist. I'll use this against teams that Have a team comp which doesnt use a standard AD top or Jungle, and instead uses an AP champ for those roles such as Rumble, Fiddlesticks, or Warwick. [imgsmall=items/frozen-mallet.png] This offers HP, attack damage, and an on-hit slow. We build this primarily for the slow because the only thing Yi lacks is as a champion is base tankyness and Crowd control. This fixes the biggest problem which is being kited as a melee dps, and it gives us some much needed health. This is an incredibly important item and should be prioritized as such. [imgsmall=items/warmogs-armor.png] Solid lategame addition to your build, since it doesn't need to be stacked anymore you can just make this when you feel like you need extra health, and whenever you do make it you're AD will go up quite a bit due to having atma's impaler, the passive is great just because its more survivability and the cost went down a fair amount so now it's more reasonable to build if you didn't rush it right from the start. As a final note, don't forget endgame [imgsmall=items/elixir-of-fortitude.png].

[title]Easy/Low Difficulty[/title] [imgsmall=champ/chogath.png] This lane has gotten a bit easier with the rework, Yi can pump out some extra damage earlier with shorter double strike procs now and can trade better against cho than in the past. Use Alpha Strike to dodge rupture and meditate in bush or at a safe distance to prevent his silence from interrupting it. [imgsmall=champ/gangplank.png] Gangplank has strong harass with his parrrley, however you can Outheal his harass if you are mindful of the cooldown. Try to play safe until 4 because the difference between meditate 1 and 2 is pretty big for the same cooldown and for all practical considerations, the same mana cost. After 4 you should be free to farm and even get kills on Gankplank if you ever get a red buff or help from your jungler. He can't slow you with his passive or his ultimate so he has virtually no escape from you. [imgsmall=champ/nasus.png] He mostly plays passive and tries to farm his Q. I'd not be too concerned with this matchup. His wither is annoying as well as his aoe damage/armor reduction pool, but he's really not a threat. You can kill nasus in lane if you get really aggressive from level 1 and you can snowball early against him, however if you don't cripple him by level 3 or 4 you're pretty much stuck in a farm fest. Consider the option of early aggression if their jungle isn't one known for early ganks. [imgsmall=champ/nidalee.png] Nidalee won't deal any damage before level 6 outside of her skillshots, use the minions / your high movespeed to avoid them. She does however also have free wards with her trap and incredibly high sustain. This is a lane where you should focus on farming. Post-6 she gets a little stronger and can deal nice burst in her cougar form. However you should still be fine if you just play smart/safe. She has no crowd control so meditate away. [imgsmall=champ/rumble.png] I've seen some Yi's do well against him and i've been able to beat him a few times. Rumbles strong but i think Yi's sustain might be enough. Just save alpha strike to dodge his flame spitter during fights. [imgsmall=champ/singed.png] Yi can beat proxy singe styles, and scales just as well as he does. In a regular style lane you can just make small trades and meditate when needed. This lane isnt too hard, just don't get flung at a bad time into the enemy jungler. [imgsmall=champ/yorick.png] Your sustain is just too much for him to mess with; his only crowd control you are immune to during your ultimate. With ghostblade you can roll him in a 1v1 all day long. [imgsmall=champ/wukong.png] Wukong has decent harass but he goes OOM fairly quick and he can't prevent your meditate. Show that monkey who the real master of wuju is. Play safe until 3 and you should be fine. Just remember to be aware of jukes with his clone. His ultimate will also knock you up so if you think he can burst you down with his ultimate and Q then you should wait for a meditate cycle to get in range of him again. [imgsmall=champ/warwick.png] Your sustains are pretty evenly strong and if he harasses you too often he'll go OOM. Just farm and try to gank him if your jungler can come top when WW overextends. Be aware his suppress will end your meditate though so if you are really low health its a good idea to base if hes got his ult up. Warwick Q ult Q combo can burst you down from 50% if he takes ignite, and sometimes even if he doesn't. [title]Medium/Challenging Difficulty[/title] [imgsmall=champ/elise.png] Elise falls into this category mostly because while her ranged poke is good, it isnt enough to kill you on its own. When she goes spider form you can use alpha strike and instantly kill all her spiders which is a large portion of her damage. You can fight her straight up when she engages on you in spider form after your early buys if played right. [imgsmall=champ/garen.png] Garen's lane is pretty weak until level 4-5 against Master Yi, and even when you're silenced you can still trade decently with your autos since thats where most of your power comes from early anyway. This lane has gotten harder after the rework however since meditates sustain has gone down significantly which makes it easier for garen to pressure you for an easier kill after level 6 now. [imgsmall=champ/jayce.png] Jayce isnt too hard to handle if he's playing poke lane style. You can wave clear as well as him and he should be afraid to fight you mono-e-mono in hammer form. That said, his full all-in combo with ignite can be quite deadly if you're too low on health so be very mindful of getting too close to him at low health amounts. [imgsmall=champ/jarvaniv.png] Jarvan's not so bad. He can interrupt your meditate if he saves his knockup for when you decide to meditate, but most jarvans would prefer to try and harass you with it. Either way the lane goes like this - he saves his knockup/flag until you meditate so he wont deal much damage at all period, or he uses it to harass and then when its on cooldown you can meditate freely. Jarvans easy to farm against, just make sure you focus on farming and being aware of his cooldowns. [imgsmall=champ/kayle.png] You can sustain against her until she goes OOM but this lane might require a philostone for you to not go OOM as well trying to stay alive. She's rough but she's killable, you have to bait her range increase when possible and avoid standing near minions when its up or the splash will hurt bad. Post 6 you can kill her with exhaust up after you get boots 2 + wriggles. [imgsmall=champ/leesin.png] Lee's gotten harder to deal with after the rework since yi's meditate damage is down. He's not totally unbeatable but he can be really hard to fight earlier without REALLY good management of your abilities. Use meditate when he throws his E slow on you since they last the same duration and you'll be able to tank his damage, when his E slow is off you can use alpha strike and wuju style to retaliate decently. When wuju style expires be sure to retreat to safety! [imgsmall=champ/riven.png] This lane has gotten a bit harder but you deal more damage to her more easily than before and shes been hit with nerfs since as well. You'll wanna play safe until you pick up your early items but after that you have potential to kill him. [imgsmall=champ/shen.png] You can farm against him, but don't stick around if you're OOM. He can punish you pretty hard if you are. I'd recommend trying to let him push the lane up a little and farm closer to your turret. That taunt means auto death against a good enemy jungler gank. [imgsmall=champ/vladimir.png] Vladimir just barely makes it into this section. Early he's no issue, but later on if the vlad plays really aggressive he can force you to farm under you tower, you'll lose CS most likely because you have to balance CS with constantly meditating every chance you get, all while being pushed under your tower the entire time. If you can win early it's easy, if you don't expect to have little fun. [title]Hard/Difficult Lanes[/title] [imgsmall=champ/akali.png] She's got too much easy harass while taking no mana to use, if she's extremely aggressive she'll out damage your meditate and you'll have a hard time in lane. I'd take teleport against akali or have your jungler gank often. If she shrouds you will be slowed and you can't attack her, but she'll be able to burst you between cooldowns. You can't trade in your favor pretty much ever against her. It's a bad idea to lane against akali. [imgsmall=champ/kennen.png] Kennen's gotten much harder to handle lately, his ranged poke can and meditates lower heal together make this lane quite difficult. Passive farm here. [imgsmall=champ/irelia.png] After irelias last set of buffs her damage went up a nice chunk with the extra AD and ad/level that she gets. Her health is also up now. A decent irelia will crush Yi now unfortunately. It was close before but now its heavily in her favor. [imgsmall=champ/malphite.png] He's a very powerful anti-melee and anti-auto attacker tank. I'd avoid fighting him if possible, or at least take teleport. His aoe damage will slow your attack speed, he can kite you with his Q as he steals your move speed, and his knockup is one of the most powerful initiators in the game, and it'll disrupt meditate. He can dive you easily with the help of his jungler. [imgsmall=champ/nunu.png] Nunu has gotten a lot of buffs over the last few months. His sustain is now better then yours and his harass is too. He's no issue mid/late game to you because of highlander negating everything he does and his ultimate damage being predictable and easy to mitigate with meditate, but you still don't wanna fight him in lane. [imgsmall=champ/pantheon.png] Pantheon has moved into the bad-lanes section. Although most pantheons i've fought I've been able to beat, or at least hold my lane against, there have been a few pantheons who have gone Meki Pendant + 2 HP Pot start and that buffers their mana issues, which gives them an edge that rears its ugly head around level 3 and 4 if they play really aggressive. They will push you out of lane pretty fast with a meki pendant start and aggressive play and you are close to powerless against it because it's all burst which includes a hard CC too. Playing Yi isn't an instant loss against pantheon but it is more difficult than I originally anticipated. [imgsmall=champ/renekton.png] He's extremely beefy and very powerful. Also has no mana to keep him in check, and a nice gap closer. He'll bully you around and interrupt meditate with his stun. You can't trade against renekton and farming against him is difficult. I'd take someone else for this one. [title]Impossible Difficulty[/title] [imgsmall=champ/darius.png] For the moment Darius is being placed into this category. Initially it seems he might be too difficult to beat since his true damage will pierce meditate, and he has incredibly strong trades from as early as level 1. I think beating him *may* be possible, but honestly at this time I just don't feel comfortable laning against darius. Ideally i'll have more opportunities to do so soon, but it's just not a good idea right now to take Yi against him. [imgsmall=champ/jax.png] Stun will end your meditate far too easily and his gap closer puts him right on you. Not to mention he counters auto-attack champions. Just not worth trying to even fight this guy. [imgsmall=champ/olaf.png] True damage > Meditate. Can't be helped really. There isn't much to say about this match up except you will lose trades and most of the time you will be frantically counting down the seconds on meditate because his true damage is going to just put you in your place. [imgsmall=champ/tryndamere.png] Aggressive Tryndamere just crushes Yi early. Yi can beat Tryndamere with full builds, but early on Tryndamere's a significant amount stronger. [imgsmall=champ/xinzhao.png] Xin got much needed buffs back into viability. But you couldn't fight him in lane before the buffs, so you definitely can't now. Just avoid this matchup.

During lane phase master yi is looking mostly for passive farm unless the enemy slips up. Your main ability to trade comes from combining alpha strike + double strike proc on an enemy and activating wuju style for extended trades. When you land around 40-50% hp you'll want to back off and meditate to regain some health. Try not to be too overly aggressive when meditate is on cooldown though because it is your main lifeline if you get into a sticky situation. You lack an emergency escape outside of summonerspells until level 6, so try to keep that in mind when extending in lane. Once you're level 6 you have both greater all in potential as well as the ability to disengage better, especially against slow based top lanes like Lee Sin or Nasus.

Team fighting on yi is pretty straight forward, here's a checklist you always need to keep in mind of things to do. If you follow these steps you will team fight successfully on yi. [.]Never initiate the fight. Under no circumstances do you EVER initiate a 5v5, 5v4, or even a 5v3. You never ever initiate. I know you want to, but don't do it. [.]Try to wait for initial crowd control abilities to be blown, pay attention to who's using the CC and who isn't. Wait for the largest threats to use their CC if you are able, just don't wait too long or you could put your team at a disadvantage very quickly. Generally anything more then 5-6 seconds of staying out of the fight and you've taken too long. Still, use your head to judge. [.]When you do enter the fight, you have two options. Simply run to the carry (which is who you should be focusing) or alpha strike to the carry. When you decide between one or the other keep these simple things in mind. - Does the carry have a gap creater, such as caitlyn's knockback or ezreal teleport? If so, try to save alpha strike to chase after they use their escape. It makes your job much easier. - Are multiple enemies in the fight low health? If so, you could alpha strike into the fight to deal some extra damage to those enemies who are low, however you should still focus the carry, and not a low health tank. - Does the enemy have a lot of skillshot damage or CC? If so try to save alpha strike to tactically dodge the skill shots if you can see them coming, Things that come to mind are ashe arrows, cho stomps, and Morgana snares. [.]When you get a kill, do not pop highlander right away again just because the cooldown refreshed. Same with wuju style. Keep an eye on the icons that have the ticking clock animation, try to get the most out of your refreshed cooldowns by waiting until they need to be refreshed, not refreshing them just because you killed someone. This makes more difference then you can imagine. [.]If you find yourself being kited by hard CC or being focused, it's okay to back out some meditate then go back in. Remember you have highlander ghost, and alpha strike. Noving in and out of the fight should be easy. [.]And lastly, never initiate. It's really easy to get carried away and feel like you can and succeed, but I promise you you'll regret it. Following these steps should bring you plenty of success, and these rules can be applied in a general stance to any role you play in which you are a carry, so practice these good habits, regardless of champion.

During the mid game, your primary focus should be trying to control dragon, denying baron, and split pushing. All of these require some co-ordination from your team to some extent but thats the general idea during the midgame. Try to keep an active checklist in your mind at all times, this is my personal check list of things to be aware of. [.] What turrets do we still have up in our lanes? Are any of them being pressured? If so defend and push the lanes back. [.] Is dragon and Baron warded? If not use wriggles to ward those. [.] Are the enemys MIA? If so don't push lanes past river. If they aren't MIA and not close to me, i'll push a lane closer to a turret to get creep farm and pressure towers. [.] Keep track of buff timers and dragon/baron timers. Set up your team to dragon when you can. [.] Am I farming? If not what's the reason? Is it a good reason? If not get back to farming! [.] Remember to spend your gold the smartest ways. Your main items will stay the same, but the item progression can change some to counter what they are doing. If a team fight looks like it's going to erupt, refer back to my team fight section above of what to do during a team fight.

Late game is a lot tougher for Yi. He's never been the strongest team fighter, and usually by this point everyone pretty evenly fed or built. The emphasis on this stage of the game is trying to control baron and defend/push towers. A few things you can do to better your late game experience is the following : [.] Buy elixers for an extra boost to your survival/damage. [.] Trade some items in your inventory for items that would better serve. For example, trading Berzerker Greaves for Mercury's Treads. [.] If you have an item like bloodthirster, try to keep it stacked up. [.] You should be relatively tanky, backdooring is viable on yi, try to sneak through the jungle and take a turret/inhibitor if it is low health or if you have a good opportunity to do so. Just make sure your team can handle things if you are away from them first. [.] Tread lightly if the enemy goes MIA and you don't have any/enough wards around. If you use your ult to make an escape from being overextended then you are more or less useless to your team for the next minute, which is pretty big. It's almost equal to dying, the death timer is about as long. If you find yourself getting taken out of the fight too often, you can always make a [imgsmall=items/quicksilver-sash.png].

The new guide is still a work in progress and will recieve updates over the coming weeks to reflect changes and experience. The new Yi will take a bit of re-learning to get up to speed properly, but bear with me while I try to make the best Master Yi guide available to anyone around for you guys to refer to. As always, leave feedback and I will address it as usual. Thanks for taking a look and i'll do my best to keep things as accurate and up to date as possible.

Comments coming soon!
Copyright © 2009-2015 SoloMid. All rights reserved Back to top