Master Yi is one of the oldest champions in League of Legends. Released on Feb 21, 2009, he had a completely different skill set to the one we know, and maybe love today. The newer and younger generation of League players may not know this, but there was once a time he could focus his build on AP or AD, depending on how the player felt..
However, no matter which version of Master Yi you might be familiar with, he was always a champion that very much all or nothing, feast or famine. When he’s ahead, he will literally kill everyone on the enemy team by himself. However, if he’s behind, then he either fails completely or needs time to scale and hit his power spike. Due to this boom-or-bust nature, he’s always been around in solo queue [especially in lower elo], but is rarely seen in competitive play.
The Riot Games balance team recently announced some buffs for the champion, scheduled for release on patch 12.13. The tweaks hit the PBE server this week, so let’s take a look at these changes. Please keep in mind that until they hit the live servers, the revisions on the PBE server aren’t final.
Auto attack range increased from 125 to 175
50 range increase in AA range may not seem like much, but by taking the Keystone rune Lethal Tempo [which grants melee champions 75 extra AA range and 50 for ranged champions], it allows Master Yi to get that extra auto attack in those close 1v1 duels that he thrives in. This change also allows Master Yi to auto attack champions over certain walls, plus the extra range prevents creep block, so this buff may not seem like much on the surface, but will have an impact when it matters most.
Alpha Strike [Q]: Now has an indicator on where you want to land at the end of the ability.
Currently on the live servers, whenever Master Yi finishes his Alpha Strike, he ends up in front of where his enemy is facing. However, he now has an indicator that pops up during the cast, where he can land in any direction at the end of his ability. There’s an arrow where you can right click to position yourself in any direction of your opponent, and all you have to do is simply right click.
This change means that he can go over thin terrain around the map. As a champion that likes to chase down his enemies one by one, this means that he becomes a lot harder to shake. When paired with his AA range buffs, this makes it easier for him to stick to his targets and get the resets that he needs.
Meditate [W]: Cooldown lowered, mana cost changed, takes significantly reduced damage near the beginning of the cast.
The cooldown on Master Yi’s W, ‘Meditate’, has been drastically reduced, from 28 seconds to 9 seconds. The mana cost has been adjusted from 50 to 40 + 6% max mana per second, and he now takes 90% less damage during the first 0.5 seconds of the cast, decreasing to 60-70% afterwards.
Master Yi is a champion that loves to outplay his opponents, and he usually walks a tightrope while doing so. He can AA-cancel with his W, a mechanic that is more frequently used than one may think. It allows Yi to weave in extra autoattacks, or when paired with his passive, ‘Double Strike’, it allows his damage output to be unpredictable.
The 90% damage reduction also provides Yi with extra survivability, as it can potentially allow him to survive through burn damage [ex. Ignite, turret shots, etc.] As a champion that loves to hit the throttle at 200%, these changes will definitely look to benefit Master Yi.
By LCK standards, Yi's most notable appearance in pro play was all the way back in 2015, piloted by Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok of SKT T1 [now known as T1]. What makes this instance so memorable is because not just that he was picked as a laner, but also that he was picked up as a mid laner, instead of his traditional role as a jungler.
Will these changes to Master Yi make him viable in solo queue, especially in higher elo? Will these changes potentially bring him back to pro play? One thing's for sure: Master Yi mains have their fingers crossed.
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