Sunday, March 3, 2013

League Guide: (Revised) Dunkmaster Yi

Welcome to my (revised) Dunkmaster Yi guide. Before proceeding, be warned that this build is mostly intended for pubstomping and normal queue. While it is a more optimal method to running the usual troll build. I will also give both logical and troll (in the method similar to the original guide) explanations to my choices. It greatly helps to have a strong understanding of game mechanics and excellent map awareness as (revised) Dunkmaster Yi. You should also practice or have jungling experience before using this in normal matches.

Note: This guide is being updated for Season 3. Check back for updates.

Champion Overview (Description, Pros, and Cons)

Master Yi is a melee assassin, carry, and potentially caster depending on his item build. Given his sheer lack of any crowd controls, including impairing effects such as slows, he isn't too useful when it comes to contributing to a team fight short of doing massive damage. However, his kit gives him surprisingly high mobility and makes him difficult to kite, which is why I tend to categorize him more in the former description than the latter two. Because of this and the aforementioned troll build, I follow the ideal of moving fast and kill fast since it works best with Master Yi's kit (despite how squishy it makes him)

  • Scales well off Attack Speed and Crit due to his kit.
  • Because of this, Master Yi can spam items like the Doubleswords.
  • Alpha Strike is a strong gap closer, escape, and juking tool. It also does a good bit of damage early, potentially clearing the jungle at record speeds.
  • Effective immunity to slows after level 6 due to Highlander. This includes slows that have attack speed slows tied to the same debuff (like Nunu's Ice Ball).
  • Fantastic at split pushing/backdooring.
  • Amazing at farming. His creep score will shoot through the roof as the game goes on.
  • When played properly, is a very slippery champion that makes a strong counter-jungler (also good at burning people's ultimates).
  • Works best if your team coordinates well.
  • Excellent for pubstomping.
  • No CC, including slows.
  • Highly reliant on red buff (and Highlander) for ganks.
  • Mana hungry at all stages of the game - may need to rely on blue buff.
  • Easy to shut down with proper coordination.
  • Not possible to carry every game (team has to at least know what to do to a point).
    • Also relies on having some enemy players who aren't that skilled.
  • Jungling is slightly luck-based (fortunately less so with the new Alpha Strike change).
  • If shut down early, his usefulness will be minimal unless he manages to bounce back.
  • Susceptible to CC. 
  • Easily countered by certain champions and items.
Skill Overview

Click here or here to see brief descriptions of Master Yi's abilities. Otherwise, see below for my additional notes on the abilities:

Passive: Double Strike - Double strike is at least a decent passive, if a simple one. It effectively makes attack speed more valuable by approximately 14.2%. However, keep in mind the bonus strike can apply on-hit effects but cannot crit.

Q: Alpha Strike - Alpha Strike is a good ability for clearing out the jungle and dealing high amounts of magic damage early game. Even as the game approaches later stages the ability deals a surprising amount of damage (without Ability Power), potentially netting killsteals.

While Alpha Strike is going, Master Yi is effectively invulnerable and cannot be targeted. He also drops turret and minion aggro (which could potentially "reset" jungle creeps if you're not careful, causing them to heal slightly). However, there is a slight moment where Master Yi is susceptible to damage when Alpha Strike begins. In addition, targeted effects (not skill shots) will still hit Master Yi if they fire off before Alpha Strike begins.

W: Meditate - Meditate is a good ability for getting some quick sustain. However, you probably shouldn't be using this in the jungle because the channel is long and you'll eventually build life steal anyways. The additional Armor and Magic Resist, however, make it handy for tanking enemies, especially turrets, in a pinch. This ability has been buffed recently and will now heal you for a LOT more without building AP.

E: Wuju Style - This simple-looking ability packs a surprising punch. While you will probably activate it when you know that there will be downtime when you don't need the passive benefit early on, you have to be careful about using it liberally because if the cooldown is reset through Highlander while the active effect of this ability is still up, Master Yi will actually benefit from both effects, granting a net bonus of 105 Attack Damage at the maximum rank. This ability gives so much raw AD that it makes other offensive stats a lot better to build early on (you do eventually have to get some damage though, since other offensive stats eventually diminish in effect due to hard caps).

R: Highlander - This is the bread and butter skill of Master Yi. You will end up using this before ganking, entering team-fights, chasing down enemies, and running away from them. However, proper usage of this ability is key as you may end up wasting the cooldown. This requires you to evaluate situations and think whether it's a good idea to use your ultimate or not.

Skill Order
Level123 45 67 89101112131415161718







Season 3

The skill order is unchanged. Proceed as normal.

Season 2

You can choose to skip Meditate at level 4 in favor of more ranks in Wuju Style, though the sustain and increased defensive stats might help (for instance with tower dives). This skill order, while reliant on RNG tends to give better clear times in the jungle. In addition, the base damage on Alpha Strike is pretty high, helping deal some easy damage to both jungle monsters and enemies you gank. Unless an encounter is prolonged, maxing out Alpha Strike first tends to yield better results. Wuju Style is the next best ability to rank afterwards for increased damage on basic attacks.

If Wuju Style's cooldown is reset through Highlander, do not use it until your current Wuju Style active buff wears off (you gain 105 total attack damage).

Friends and Foes

While it is possible for Master Yi to dunk just about anyone, some enemy champions are an absolute joke while others are a nightmare to fight. Reversing that logic, Master Yi works pretty well with anyone too, but works better with certain champions. In this section I will go over notable champions that fall under these categories:
(Hard) Foes
Rammus can be a total nightmare for you. He has hard CC, an inherently large amount of armor, and built-in Thornmail. On top of that, he can put a damper on your dunking by moving really fast himself. This is probably your hardest counter, though building items like Last Whisper may help you combat him.

Mordekaiser can ruin your day if he manages to ult you and you die shortly after. This causes him to acquire a ghost that dunks your own team. Also Mordekaisers have a tendency to build Thornmail for anti-carrying purposes (especially against champions like Master Yi). Be very careful because it becomes extremely difficult to 1v1 Mordekaiser if this happens. Be glad he doesn't have any form of hard CC.
Singed is one of your hard counters in top lane. Despite the fact you'll be jungling this doesn't stop him from ruining your existence. While his slow won't do much to you, he's incredibly durable and can withstand your damage while poisoning you. Even if you play smart and avoid his Poison Trail, it's unlikely you'll be able to kill him at all after he gets a couple items. Singed has a high tendency to build Thornmail and other armor items. He can also Fling you if you happen to get too close, which will break your Meditate and make you an easy target for the enemies.
Leona has three hard CCs and naturally high durability. She makes it very hard to pull successful ganks on the bottom lane as a result and, if she protects the carry, will continue to do so throughout the game. Fortunately, despite this she's easier to deal with than the previous three foes.
Thresh is the definition of anti-fun with two hard CCs. While his ultimate doesn't do anything to you while yours is active, he can hook you, stopping you from doing anything including moving really fast and knocking you around. He also has a shield and inherently massive armor due to his passive if he gets enough souls. Fortunately, he's pretty squishy early on no matter where he goes so try to pick him off early.
Blitzcrank has three CCs and is durable, like Leona. Furthermore, he can catch you hard before you do anything with his grab making it so you die in a horrible CC chain before you can really do anything due to your glass cannon build. The reason this guy is so low on the list is because he's usually banned in Draft Pick, but if he shows up, try to handle him early and do your best to dodge his grabs later on.
Alistar has two hard CCs (one is a really annoying knockback) and is super tanky to boot. He is one of the ultimate carry protectors, especially against melee champions like Master Yi. While he can't really kill you by himself if you see him paired with a carry, don't approach them alone.

(Easy) Foes


While runes are for "wimps" and aren't exactly mandatory (they help a lot for jungling though), it's helpful for getting an even more unfair advantage.

Season 3

The rune page below is now obsolete due to the latest changes. The glyph choice, which can be anything ranging from (flat) Attack Damage to (flat) Ability Power, can probably get more effectiveness than Armor glyphs.

Ignore this part. Buffs to Master Yi make this rune page revision unnecessary. Switch out your Magic Resist glyphs for Armor glyphs (using the second rune page setup from Season 2). This will help you survive in the jungle since you are running non-conventional masteries (as opposed to something like the mastery setups shown here). Your rune page will now look like this:

Season 2

This first set of runes are the runes I originally used to run. They are the same as the ones I ran in the video. While it increases damage done by basic attacks, it isn't too helpful for clearing the jungle. Armor and magic resist runes are there to slightly increase durability against enemy attacks. Magic resist per level runes may be better if you want to scale against casters better in the late game.
This set of runes is what I favor running now. The increased attack speed increases the proc rate on items like Wriggle's Lantern and increases the rate your passive stacks. The movement speed quintessences help catch up to or run away from enemies while also playing into the theme of moving really fast.


Season 3
While the masteries got moved around a bit, the allocation of mastery points hasn't changed too much.

As usual, go 21 points into Offense, taking masteries that are beneficial for AD champions. Keep in mind you no longer gain some benefits, such as Life Steal, from doing this.

Put the remaining 9 points into Utility, picking up Wanderer, Improved Recall, and Mastermind. Put the one extra point into masteries like Artificer or Summoner's Insight. Finally get Runic Affinity.

Out of all of these, the first three masteries are probably the most "mandatory" because of the improved mobility and summoner usage (Smite goes off cooldown faster, Ghost and Flash are up more often when you need it). It is debatable as to whether to continue picking up Summoner's Resolve (now gives 1.59 gold per 10 seconds with Mastermind), but the increase in ambient gold and jungle gold may make it unnecessary. Also, the mastery isn't exactly great and Runic Affinity allows for more potent ganks due to increased Lizard buff duration.

Season 2

These are also not particularly mandatory, but it helps to have every advantage you can get.

Master Yi can go 21 into Offense (which encompasses a rather generic AD carry mastery setup) without worrying too much about dying to jungle mobs with his start. It also helps him do a lot of damage. If you do not run Ghost, drop Summoner's Wrath for one point in Butcher.

The 8 points into Utility emphasize his ability to move around. The reduced death time is a better talent choice because Master Yi, while reliant on Mana, doesn't really need extra maximum mana. If you plan on running the Flash summoner, pick up Summoner's Insight (in place of either Good Hands or Improved Recall).

Finally, put one point into Summoner's Resolve to get a bit of extra gold for using Smite. While you probably won't get the best case scenario of about 1.43 gold per 10 seconds for using Smite on cooldown, the extra money can help buy new items. Alternatively, you can pick up Runic Affinity.


Nothing in this section has changed for Season 3.
Smite is mandatory, as you'll usually be jungling. Please see below for an example route.
Ghost is the summoner I typically run. Even though there are some penalties for having too much bonus movement speed, it helps chase down enemies early on and escape throughout the game.
Flash would be my other summoner choice. This helps get away from sticky situations that can't be escaped by using additional movement speed. For example, you can Flash over walls to escape from enemies.
Teleport is a "troll" choice that emphasizes split pushing and surprising enemies with Teleport ganks. This is better if you play with a good team that can coordinate ganks.

Item Build

Season 3

Early Items:

Goal By 15 Minutes:

Build These To Dominate Mid-Game:

If You Get This By 30 Minutes, They Might As Well Surrender:
OR if you plan on making

Upgrade or sell one of your Doubleswords into the following:

Farm Lots of Money and get These:

Now That Your Core is Finished, Sell Wiggle's Lantern and Buy One of These:
(It gives the Life Steal and Damage you need)
(Build Infinite Edge last if you go for this. You can build even earlier if desired.)
(Extremely powerful alternative to BT - Generally what I build)
(Vs. High Armor - Don't Build Against Thornmail)
(Another strong anti-armor item that also destroys squishies.)
(If You Need Durability, tend to die a lot, and the enemy has healing reduction effects)

Example Final Builds:

Best build, in my opinion. Replace with Blade of the Ruined King with Bloodthirster if you want more damage.

For split pushing.

Example tenacity build

Season 2 (Final item build still works, but is weaker)

Early Items:

Goal By 15 Minutes:

Build These To Dominate Mid-Game (Yes you want a total of three Doubleswords)

If You Get This By 30 Minutes, They Might As Well Surrender:

Farm Lots of Money and get These:

Now That Your Core is Finished, Sell Wiggle's Lantern and Buy One of These:
(General Final Item Choice - It Gives the Life Steal and Damage You Need)
(Vs. High Armor - Don't Build Against Thornmail)
(If You Need Durability, tend to die a lot, and the enemy has healing reduction effects)

Explanation of Item Choices

Season 3

With the new Season 3 items, you should now start with a Evil-Slaying Sword and 5 Red Sodas. You will be able to kill faster with this and the clear time is important for keeping up with laners. You may end up using all your Red Sodas, however, because you're a little squishy, though you'll usually have one left.

The first clear of the evil forest will easily net you the X-Men Claws because it's a lot cheaper to build now, letting you kill them faster. Get this before your Boots because you already move so fast due to the movement speed/boots changes. You should then work on your Wiggle's Lantern - it will take longer to build because Rad Scythe is more expensive now.

After finishing Wiggle's Lantern, upgrade your boots (remember these can upgrade twice now) and start making Doubleswords. You should make three of them before making your Hammer of RNG Slows followed by a Triplesword. While the Triplesword and Doubleswords are a little weaker than their Season 2 counterparts, they're slightly cheaper and still provide decent stats that allow you to become a midgame menace (actually don't bother with Triplesword, it's crap now for Yi and you might as well build a Purple Sword of Move and Kill Fast).

From here the item builds can change a bit. For instance, you can still build two Red Doubleswords, a Spikey Sword, and a Bleeding Sword (in place of Wiggle's Lantern) and still do well. However, you can also buy items like the Dragon Axe and Angry Dragon Axe (in place of the Bleeding Sword) and Lightning Doublesword (in place of one of the Red Doubleswords) if you want to damage many enemies at once. You can also build the Sword of Vampire (in place of the Bleeding Sword) and steal people's health and movement speed. You could probably even mix and match the builds a bit more, but I gave a list of recommended setups in the section above.

One final thing worth pointing out is there's another build that involves making the Dragon Axe and Sword of Money Making early instead of Doubleswords. This is decent (though I feel it doesn't take advantage of the stats Master Yi needs the most) and especially good for farming money. The end build is also pretty similar.

For more information, refer to the Season 2 section since a lot of the information is still relevant. Just don't follow the build order (even though it's similar)

Season 2

Clothing and 5 Red Sodas helps sustain through the evil forest early on. From my experience you'll usually have one or two Red Sodas left.

After clearing the evil forest, potentially picking up a gank, and getting more camps afterwards, you should have enough money for the next group of items (if not, pick up the Boots first to speed up travel time from camp to camp and make it easier to chase down opponents). X-Men Claws make it easier to clear the evil forest, which is why it's built before the Rad Scythe.

Upon acquiring Wiggle's Lantern (helpful for clear speed - including killing the Dragon and Baron, life steal,and seeing more due to the wards you can lay down), and upgraded Boots, work on your Doubleswords.

Get up to three of them. This will help scale through the mid-game because Master Yi inherently has a large amount of Attack Damage, making Attack Speed and Critical Strike desirable stats. Movement speed improves Master Yi's ability to close gaps and escape as well. In short, it makes you move really fast and kill really fast.

Afterwards, work on your Triplesword, getting a Hammer of RNG Slows for your last item slot then completing the rest when you get the gold. After finishing Triplesword, get a Giant Sword of Pain so you can deal more damage (which also helps Triplesword's proc scale better).

While Triplesword may not seem the best on Master Yi, it's decent because Master Yi benefits from almost the attributes on it. The offensive stats (Attack Damage, Attack Speed, Crit) are pretty self explanatory. Ability Power helps make Alpha Strike a little more potent and increases the healing done by Meditate. Movement Speed helps Master Yi go even faster. Health and Mana aren't particularly helpful for Master Yi in this build, though it may allow for some additional ability uses or riskier dives.

On top of this, the slowing effect is handy on Master Yi because he doesn't have any other way to crowd control enemies. Lizard buff helps supplement this, but you may need to eventually give this to the AD Carry. The attack damage bonus proc isn't all that helpful on Master Yi unless you reset cooldowns. If you do, then you'll probably snowball through the fight.

Overall, the main reason I build this item is because it gives a solid chunk of stats, including 15% crit, which is key. You can choose instead to use Youmuu's Ghostblade as a cheaper alternative.

Now that you finished Triplesword, build two Red Doubleswords and a Spikey Sword. This will allow you to move really fast. With all these items in hand you also have exactly 100% critical strike chance, which makes the Spikey Sword even better than it already is (considering it gives a lot of attack damage). This is what I consider the end-game core item build.

You can now sell your Wiggle's Lantern to build a sixth item, which I have given recommendations for above. I would build Bleeding Sword a majority of the time because it gives immense attack damage, which Master Yi will now scale hardest off of since you're close to the attack speed cap (with your ultimate active) and have 100% crit. The lifesteal is also beneficial because selling Wiggle's Lantern will also remove your source of lifesteal.

Jungle Route

This remains unchanged in Season 3.

You can really start anywhere, but I typically use the following route:

Wolves (with help from team) => Golem Buff (with help from team) => Wraiths => Wolves => Lizard Buff => Wraiths (or Golems if you have more health left) => Gank Top/Mid (Purple Side), Gank Mid/Bot (Blue Side). 

Additional Tips (Added For Season 3)

You can greatly enhance your Dunkmaster experience by following these tips. You may find them useful when playing other champions/roles. Use them wisely:
  • Always play as if you are expecting to get counter-jungled if enemy players are not visible. This means you should keep your health as high as possible.
  • Have a strong sense of map awareness. Always keep an eye on the minimap and see where enemy players are. This is especially essential if you want to counter-jungle them. This will take a lot of practice.
    • For example, if you see their jungler at the bottom lane, you can steal the enemy's red buff (if you are blue side) or blue buff (if you are purple side) if it is up.
    • Always try to leave one of the smaller minions at the camps if possible (except buff camps if you want to keep stealing it).  
  • Wards are very important. You should always lay them out at key spots like your team's/the enemy team's buffs, the dragon, or the Baron. For more information, look here.
  • Learn when to time your Smite. This takes a lot of practice but it can allow you to secure the key objectives mentioned in the previous tip.
  • If you are covering a lane and it's obvious the enemy laner isn't going to return, push the lane for your laner (unless it's pushed too far back). Otherwise, just go for last hits so that they don't go to waste.
  • During team fights, try to kill enemy carries and/or anyone who is squishy as this will refresh your cooldowns, allowing you to snowball through the enemy team. In addition, analyze who is the most fed by looking at the enemy players' kills, assists, and creep score and prioritize based on that.
    • Also analyze the items enemy players are building. You don't want to kill yourself on an enemy with Thornmail, for instance. (Keep in mind that the enemy champion also has to be tanky to really benefit from the item).
  • Know what the enemy champions and allied champions are capable of doing. While I listed most of your worst enemies and best partners at the top and you can find more on sites like, they don't even scratch the surface on what could be a danger or boon to you.
    • On top of that, know that certain champions together can be very threatening for you.
  • If you're too weak for the jungle (lack the runes or summoner level to do the jungle), you can still take Smite and go to a lane, such as mid. If you do this, take the Wraiths as often as possible (even at 1:40), using Smite to kill the big one extremely fast. Once you reach around level 5, you can transition into the jungle and will be able to take it on regardless of runes or masteries.
    I will continue to add tips here as I think of them. Feel free to suggest some as well.


    On the off chance you managed to navigate directly to this page, here are videos explaining the guidelines shown in this guide:
    Final Words 
    Now that you have all the information you need, you are ready to dunk scrubs and call people nooblord. Feel free to post questions and comments. Experiment with the item build, runes, and masteries and see what works best for you. When Season Three comes, I will update this guide with the season three revisions at the beginning of each section. I am not responsible for any ELO loss as a result of using this guide.

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