Well, we’ve come a long way from the initial days of League of Legends. Back then, champions like Master Yi, Tryndamere, and Morgana were notoriously powerful because of their ability kits. Compared to the other champions of that period, though, they weren’t considered too overpowered.
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And nowadays, we have champions with more abilities, more effects, and more overall damage distributed to multiple sources. Let’s take Samira, for example. People have been posting memes about her and the 200 years post for a long time. And it’s rightfully so because if we’re being honest, Samira has everything. Single target and AOE damage, melee and range style, resettable dash, AOE block, unbelievable lifesteal, and everything else combined.
The same goes for Viego, who can control a slain enemy champion and all of his items. And also Zoe, who basically has unlimited items and Summoner’s Spells.
So how come Master Yi, a champion with four simple abilities and no hidden mechanics, is by far more powerful than all of the champions mentioned above? Surely they would have a chance against him with all of their “broken” powers? Surely they will have a way to counter Master Yi?
Well, that’s simply not the case, and here is why!
How Does Master Yi Work?
Let’s start by explaining how Master Yi works and why its influence breaks the game completely.
Master Yi’s passive is very straightforward. Every few attacks, he strikes the target twice instead.
Then, Master Yi’s Q – Alpha Strike is a point-and-click spell that does three things. First, it makes Yi invisible and untargetable. Second, it teleports Master Yi to his initial target. And third, it damages all nearby targets, both minions and champions. In short, Master Yi damages everyone without being damaged himself.
W – Meditate is another simple ability that focuses on defensiveness. When activated, Yi stands in one place and regenerates his health. And it’s practically impossible to kill Master Yi during this time because of how overtuned the ability is (it’s basically a Mage’s Ice Block in World of Warcraft). Not to mention that Meditate also pauses the durations of his E and R.
Speaking of E – Wuju Style, this is a basic buff ability that grants true damage on Master Yi’s basic attacks. So, no amount of armor works against Yi.
And lastly, R – Highlander is another buff of both Movement and Attack Speed that Yi can use to his advantage.
If you can’t understand why this kit is so problematic in itself, then consider this!
Why is Master Yi so Problematic?
As you can see, everything in Master Yi’s ability kit is centered around his auto attacks and his Q. The whole point of playing Master Yi is to get as much Attack Speed as possible and reset your Q every second. This isn’t hard to do since Yi benefits from items like Kraken Slayer the most anyway. And also, it’s relatively easy to perform on Yi because all it takes is to time your Alpha Strike well. So, unstoppable speed, unmatched auto attacks, and untargetable while fighting. Does it get better than this?
In other words, the problem that the community has with Master Yi is that he is literally impossible to play against. The only counterplay, in theory, is the click-and-point stun like Twisted Fate’s W, for example. And even though it works well, it’s still not the solution since most players don’t even play Twisted Fate. Not to mention that his only role is mid lane. What should the ADC mains say?
On top of that, you can’t build any defensive item against Yi. As mentioned above, he deals True Damage instead of Physical Damage. You may try Frozen Heart for its passive (it reduces your attacker’s Attack Speed), but again, the item only fits tank champions in the top lane. Zhonya’s Hourglass and Exhaust only delay your death as well, and nothing more.
So, what can you do against Master Yi? Well, you can try to finish the game before he even completes a single item. But solo queue is such a chaotic environment that most of the time, five people can’t coordinate so well with each other. And everyone makes a mistake or two.
So, no matter how you flip the coin, Master Yi always wins.
Master Yi and Stat Checking
But the real reason why Master Yi is under the rework crossfire is because of a Reddit post. A user recently shared his thoughts on why Riot should rework Master Yi and Tryndamere. And he aroused most of the community to agree with him.
The one point that he discussed the most, though, is stat checking. And the fact that both of these champions break it. If you didn’t know, Master Yi breaks the stat checking because his numbers go way higher than intended. The Reddit User mentioned the rune Nimbus Cloak as an example. This rune gives you bonus movement speed every time you activate a Summoner’s Spell.
Now, when champions like Yi pick up Nimbus Cloak, they’re impossible to get away from. Besides their naturally high Movement Speed, they can activate a bonus one whenever they fight. And unless you have ten dashes at the ready, you simply won’t get away.
The same can be said for Master Yi’s Attack Speed. With only one or two items, he hits insanely hard power spikes that give him absurdly high True damage and Q available every other second. And it usually takes a whole team to even stop Yi from slaying more than two targets.
The point here is that Master Yi’s numbers are unfair to play against, while the champion is very easy to pilot. No one can mess up too hard on him, and nothing he does is really punishing. That goes against every common notion in League of Legends, and most players have problems with it!
How Could Riot Games Rework Master Yi?
By now, we’ve seen multiple incredible champion reworks. Both Volibear and Fiddlesticks changed the initial ideas of these champions. Now they play so much differently and have unique ability kits. Their strengths and weaknesses are fun and fair to play against. And for that, Riot Games received a lot of positive feedback from the community.
So, how can they do the same with Master Yi? Well, we know their champion design philosophy. In short, they want to make sure that the champion they create or rework feels fresh and unique to play. Then, the champion has to feel powerful, but it also has to have enough weakness so the enemy team can have a chance of winning. And lastly, the champion has to has his own story.
In the case of Master Yi, Riot Games will want to make sure he stays a swordsman/samurai. Gameplay-wise, he will stay a duelist and will excel in 1v1 or 1v2 skirmishes. However, his kit has to change to something more complicated. And Riot Games have to make sure that players can “earn” his power, rather than get it for free every game.
So, we have a samurai in League of Legends that needs to feel different than Yasuo or Yone. Maybe Riot Games can change Master Yi’s Q to be an ability that’s castable on a location rather than a random hit on all enemies. They can reinvent his passive to grant him Attack Speed (similar to Irelia). And they can give him a gap closer, like a jump or a dash on his R, instead of the unstoppable madness.
But what do you think? How should Riot Games change Master Yi to be both good and fair to play against?