Thinking about what can be done with Master Yi

I've been a Master Yi main for at least 3 or 4 years, and as much as I enjoy playing him, I'm aware that he's had certain problems since the dawn of League. 1) He's frustrating to play with or against. [Scarra put it in an interesting way,]( he's a champion that generally either carries the game singlehandedly or doesn't do anything for his team. He's widely hated by the playerbase, even in Diamond where players generally can manage him without too much difficulty. It's normal for champions to cause some frustration when they beat you, but when you're beaten by Master Yi it too often feels like there's nothing you could've done to stop him. 2) He can't really be balanced. In low elo, he is naturally very strong because he does tons of damage very reliably, and gets resets easily. At higher tiers, that damage becomes much less reliable as players more consistently focus him in fights, CC him, abuse him when his ult is on cooldown, snowball his lanes when he's farming in the early game, and punish his predictable approaches. I mean, all he does is run at enemies, right click them, and Alpha Strike to dodge spells so that he can continue right clicking. [He's terrible.]( These problems can't really be solved without a huge rework, but I believe we can improve his design with some strategic changes. --- Part 1: Resets * When Master Yi gets a kill or assist (after level 6), his basic abilities have their remaining cooldowns decreased by 70% and Highlander (if active) has its duration lengthened by 7 seconds. Master Yi has these resets so that he can teamfight with a glass cannon build, like an ADC. In order to survive, Master Yi needs Alpha Strike on a very low cooldown (so that he can gapclose, avoid damage, avoid CC, etc.) and he needs Highlander to be active for the duration of the fight (or else he just doesn't have the mobility necessary to avoid getting kited to death). He also needs Wuju Style active to do sufficient damage, his DPS is actually pretty terrible when Wuju Style is on cooldown. The problem with these resets is that they are very powerful; Master Yi gets a huge powerspike by killing someone and he can string multiple kills in quick succession if that happens. If he doesn't get that reset though, his ult only lasts 7 seconds, Wuju Style only 5, and he'll probably be dead because he can take so much damage in the time between each Alpha Strike. * Highlander is 7 seconds, plus 7 for each reset. This is too much and too little. During a fight played properly, a lot of time can be wasted by running away from Master Yi, disabling him, using Zhonya/GA, becoming invisible, etc. Meditate can buy up to 4 more seconds, but that's really only practical if you're waiting for someone's stealth or stasis to end. But if Master Yi *does* get resets, Highlander lasts almost forever. It would be ideal if Highlander had 8 or 9 seconds for the base duration, and 4-6 seconds added per reset. Diminishing returns would also be good, for example 6 seconds for your first reset, 5 for the 2nd, 4 for the 3rd, etc. Or cap the duration at 10 seconds after each kill. * Having cooldowns reduced by 70% with a kill is too much, it makes Master Yi incredibly feast or famine in fights. Instead he should have them reduced by only 50 or 60%, but as compensation he needs other ways to reduce his cooldowns. Ideas: * Channeling Meditate could reduce his other basic abilities' cooldowns by 1 second for every 0.5 seconds it's channeled. This encourages Master Yi players to use Meditate more, an action with lots of counterplay. Normally, you don't want to use Meditate because Alpha Strike's cooldown is really long if you're not constantly attacking. * In one PBE cycle, Ricklessabandon [tested a change to Meditate]( that would let Master Yi lower his ability cooldowns by fully channeling Meditate and then attacking. I think the idea had some merit, it's just that the buff needed to be considerably stronger to be worthwhile. Like, imagine if your first basic attack after Meditate almost fully refreshed the cooldown of your abilities. You could Alpha Strike an enemy to gapclose, attack them, and then 1 second later have Alpha Strike ready to cast again. That would be worth using Meditate before fighting. * Make basic attacks during Highlander lower all basic ability cooldowns by 1 additional second while active. (Needless to say, Highlander would need a longer cooldown to justify this). * Rework E into a skillshot or something that Master Yi can hit enemies with and be rewarded with lower cooldowns, particularly for hitting more than 1 enemy champion. The idea here is to reward Master Yi for using his abilities instead of for getting kills. Part 2: Miscellaneous * Attack Range: Master Yi has 125 range on his basic attacks, an artifact from season 1. I believe he should have 175 range (or 200 if you're crazy), to match his animations more closely and give him minor benefits like better jungle monster kiting and occasionally another basic attack on a fleeing enemy. It also gives him more space to move around in fights - he can stand anywhere in a 175-radius circle of his target instead of 125. * Highlander: The active could be changed to have a little more depth. Suppose it started with a short 1- or 2-second channel. The movement speed could scale with how long you channel it before releasing the key. This solves an issue where Master Yi's initiation is too sudden for low elo players to deal with, but it also gives space to buff the movement speed from Highlander. The movement speed right now is too low to keep up with many champions in the game, especially at levels 6 and 11. * Clarity: Add a visual indicator to make it clearer who or what was targeted when Yi uses Alpha Strike. It's difficult to track Master Yi in frantic fights, and this would help make Yi less effective in low elo. * Alpha Strike Flexibility: Give new functions to Alpha Strike. For example, holding Q could return you to the starting position after using Alpha Strike, instead of blinking to the target unit. Or, you could appear next to the *second* Alpha target instead of the first. This is the opposite of adding clarity, but changes like this add more depth to Master Yi and make him less predictable in the hands of smart players. * Alpha Strike Consistency: The untargetability duration varies between roughly 0.25 and 0.85 seconds, depending on how many targets it "bounces" to. With some changes to the animations, it could be standardized to 0.5 or 0.6 seconds in all situations. The reasoning for this is that 0.25 is too little time to dodge many spells and leads to many "I was in Alpha!" moments. A 4-target Alpha Strike is a really long time to be untargetable, more time than you need to dodge spells and actually long enough to be annoying when you're just trying to gapclose before the enemy runs under their turret or something. * Double Strike Consistency: Double Strike has a pattern of S-S-S-D-S-S-D-S-S-D of alternating Single and Double strikes when you first start attacking a target. It does this because Double Strike is coded as an on-hit effect that stacks itself. Double Strike is like a 3-hit passive that takes time to warm up. This also creates crazy interactions with Rageblade's Phantom Hit, with these passives combined Master Yi applies on-hit effects effectively twice with every attack. I suggest changing Double Strike to an on-attack effect that applies on every 3rd hit instead of 4th, and doesn't stack itself. This nerfs the Phantom Hit interaction, but also changes his pattern to S-S-D-S-S-D-S-S-D which is a buff for any build not including Rageblade. * Wave Control: Return the bonus damage to minions that he had on Alpha Strike. Pushing lanes quickly is important in high elo, for helping teammates shove and recall, and splitpushing. After changes were made to jungling to nerf funneling strategies, this nerf he received a few patches ago is no longer necessary. Part 3: Rework E * Master Yi almost certainly doesn't need a rework on the scale of Irelia or Aatrox. Really only one ability needs dramatic changes - E, Wuju Style. You just press the button and do more damage for 5 seconds. What Master Yi *should* have for an E is some kind of additional utility to support his core gameplay, which is basic attacking enemies, and hopefully create more interaction with opponents. Wuju Style's current active should become some kind of on-hit true damage passive function of E, for example "Master Yi deals X magic damage on hit, stacking up to 5 times and becoming true damage when fully stacked." * Option A: give him a dash. I'm suggesting splitting Alpha Strike into two spells; Q remains Alpha Strike but with much shorter range, and E becomes some kind of medium-length dash to act as his primary gapcloser. This accomplishes a few things. First, it's a nerf to the point-and-click unstoppable gapcloser that Alpha Strike is right now. If Master Yi can get in 600 range of you, which is longer than the attack range of most ranged champions, then he can Q-auto you and there's very little you can do to stop him or escape from him. Dashes on the other hand take time to travel, they can be interrupted with CC, and they can't dodge skillshots as easily as a blink can. Secondly, this gives Master Yi the freedom to use Alpha Strike entirely as a defensive tool. He no longer has to choose between using Q to gapclose, or hold it in case you need to dodge CC. This is a difficult decision to make because often, it's a choice between getting kited and killed, or gapclosing and getting stunned immediately. * Option B: use the goggles. Master Yi's got these "seven lenses of insight", so you might as well give him some kind of vision mechanic so that he can use Alpha Strike on enemies in Fog of War, or fight invisible champions. I don't think he should just get true sight in a circle around him for pressing E though, because that would be too strong against champions that rely on their invisibility. * Option C: a ranged spell. Xin Zhao got a rework that gave him a modest ranged skillshot on W and it made him a *much* better champion, even after all the nerfs that came later. He now has options like "dash to a minion to get in range to jab a champion with spear", "jab into the darkness to see if there's a blue buff on the other side of the wall", "jab into a bush instead of facechecking it", "jab at an enemy to poke them without committing to a fight to the death", "try to jab Akali while she's in her shroud since you can't target her", etc. His effectiveness in low elo stayed more or less the same, but he became a viable champion in high elo, which wasn't possible before the rework. For Master Yi, I would suggest either giving him a magic energy wave projectile attack, or something more unique like Zoe's R that dashes forward, strikes enemies with his sword, and dashes back to safety. Or some kind of hybrid of the two ideas, Master Yi attacking enemies with an astral projection of himself. The spell could reveal enemies so that he can cast Alpha Strike on enemies in FoW or bushes, or have other effects like disarming enemies, shredding their armor, lowering his cooldowns, damaging turrets, or applying on-hit effects.
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