Master Yi is a great jungler that has stayed relatively stable throughout the patches. While he is not in hyper meta right now, he is a strong pick with high carry and snowball potential, especially in lower ELOs.
Season 12 has come with massive changes. However, these changes are not so much focused on champion balance because of the sheer amount of system changes, such as the two new dragons joining the rotation, fitting Riot’s recent Arcane theme giving Season 12 a completely new polish.
Other changes include objective bounties, changes to the rift scuttler, new items, and much more.
We can see some changing shifts in the jungle, especially at the top side of the tier list. Attack speed junglers now have access to Lethal Tempo, and tank junglers have much more power thanks to Chemtech Putrifier and Frostfire Gauntlet changes.
These changes boost Master Yi right at the top, making him an S tier in Season 12. With the new changes to Lethal Tempo, Master Yi has been performing greatly both in low & high elo.
He is able to quickly ramp up attack speed and has much more consistent DPS than before. No more waiting for the keystone to activate and no more cooldowns. With consistent access to bonus attack speed, his damage output remains high without a random fall-off in the middle of a teamfight.
With all that in mind, here are the best Runes, Build, and Jungle Paths for Master Yi in Season 12.
The Best Runes For Jungle Master Yi
These runes are great if you want to go for on-hit Yi, and they are especially good against tanks like Sion, Mordekaiser, etc. If the enemy team has two or more tanks, you don’t want to build lethality on Yi; you’re much better off going for on hit Yi.
The Best Items For Jungle Master Yi
When playing Master Yi jungle, you’d want to start with Kraken Slayer, the strongest mythic item you can build on Master Yi, straight into Guinsoo’s Rageblade and the Blade of the Ruined King right after. You’d typically not get tier 2 boots only after rage blade and just buy boots of speed after your Kraken Slayer.
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Recommended Skill Build
Depending on the match-up or context, you can choose to max out the skills in a slightly different other, however, as a general recommendation, you’d be better off starting out with maxing your Q into your E and leaving your W for last.
The Best Jungle Paths for Master Yi
Depending on where the enemy jungler starts, your team composition, the enemy’s team composition, or whether or not you have received any leash will all be factors that influence your jungle path, so please keep that in mind.
With all that said, here is a general rule of thumb for the best jungle routes for Master Yi.
Blue Side – Blue Clear
When starting on the blue side, blue clear, you’re going to want to start out with the blue buff, save your smite and then move to your frog as quickly as possible, where you will smite the frog.
The blue buff gives you mana regeneration which will help you clear the camps quicker and save health at the same time.
Generally, you’d want to clear out the wolf camp right after; however, make sure to keep an eye on the map and look out for an early gank potential on the top side, especially if your top laner has a hook such as Darius, or any heavy form of CC such as Nasus’s W. The enemy top laner might be pushing in too hard leaving a door open for an early lead.
With that said, always ward and be ready for a potential counter gank or invade. Think of where the enemy jungler has started to figure out whether or not they will be able to invade or counter gank you.
*General tip for this jungle path
No matter what side you’re starting on, never take early ganks with Master Yi unless the kill potential is very high, as failing to get the kill, wasting your summoner spells, or dying might set you back for the rest of the game. When playing jungle, time is essential. Don’t waste it.
Back to the jungle path, you’d want to move onto Raptors which you’d kite back, use your E after you have your double strike ready, and Q when Raptors are low on health.
Move onto your Red buff and use your smite on it.
After that, move onto the Krugs and try to look out for opportunities to gank your bot without taking any high risk, low reward ganks.
As usual, if proceeding with clearing camp, look to do scuttler crab but be aware of the enemy jungler as they might be there to contest. At this point, keep an eye on the map to see where their bot lane and mid laner are positioned, as you wouldn’t want them to help the enemy jungler.
The safest option is to gank bot after finishing scuttler crab. Look to gank bot side but don’t take any unnecessary risk. If the enemy bot is pushing under your tower, try to help your team while having a backup plan in case of a counter gank.
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Blue Side – Red Clear
If you choose to start with Red on the Blue Side, you’d want to start by placing a word in the bush behind the red buff as this side is most prone to enemy invades.
If everything proceeds as usual, start by doing your Red buff first and save your smite.
Choose E as your second skill and move on to Krugs, where you will use your smite.
Unless the enemy bot lane is pushing hard under the tower, move onto your Raptors as the kill potential for Master Yi before hitting level 6 is usually low.
As shown on the map, move up towards the top, clear the Wolves camp and use your smite on the Blue buff.
You can place a ward on the river before clearing out the Gromp camp as you might be able to contest the scuttler crab.
After clearing out your Gromp, move onto the scuttler crab while keeping an eye on both the top and mid lane for potential ganks / counter-ganks.
Red Side – Blue Clear
When starting on the red side, you should almost always start with the Blue buff, hold your smite and move onto the Gromp, where you’ll use your smite.
Again, make sure you ward behind the Blue buff to avoid a potential invade from the enemy team.
Put a point in your E and move to your Wolves. Activate your E, then auto-attack the small wolves a couple of times to charge your double strike, then use Q on the big Wolf, which will also kill the small wolves. Drag the camp out to save time when you move onto your Raptors.
Next, you’d want to clear our the Raptors camp, which you’d kite out applying the same strategy you’ve used for the wolves.
Hold onto your smite for Red buff, then if no gank opportunities arise on mid or top clear your Krugs camp.
Usually, you’d want to clear your scuttler crab and look out for gank opportunities on either top or mid lane, depending on the context of the game.
You don’t want to do any invades with Master Yi before hitting level 6 unless the opportunity is right.
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Red Side – Red Clear
When starting on the red side, red clear, you’d ideally want to hold your smite so you can quickly clear out the Krugs camp.
Saving as much time as possible, kite the Krugs out a little bit while creating your path down the map towards the Raptors.
From here, you’d normally go and clear the Wolves camp, and as shown in the image, you’d immediately move on to the Blue buff camp, where you’ll use smite.
To save time (this works on all sides), you’d want to drag out the camps while working your way up or down the map towards the other buffs, saving you a few precious seconds and potentially giving you the upper hand over the enemy jungler.
Clear the Gromp and look out for potential gank opportunities on the mid or bot side.
If no good opportunities arise where you have a high chance of getting the kill, such as a very low on health enemy mid or bot, proceed to do scuttler before looking to gank.
You might choose to recall (reset) and go top-side right after scuttler, but this depends on the context of the game.
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In this patch, Master Yi is a very strong jungler mainly because of the changes to Lethal Tempo.
Right now, Master Yi has a high potential for carrying in lower divisions where players don’t know how to counter him the right way.
He is still a strong pick even in higher divisions, but his high snowball potential is not as effective as players will have strategies and counter picks to stop that from happening.
Overall he is a very strong champion regardless, so if you’re a jungler, you should seriously consider picking up Master Yi.
Further changes in the following patches might include the nerfing of Lethal Tempo, making Yi less strong, so keep an eye out for that.
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