Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, SUMMONER: a fellow of infinite HIT POINTS, of most excellent SHOVELS: he hath RUINED MY GAMES a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my CHAMPION ROSTER is HE! Though rejoice dear friends, as a rework for this decrepit monster this marrow comes!
Yes, the Yorick rework is finally here. After (literal) years of waiting and promises, Yorick, in his fully erect glory, is finally getting a rework in patch 6.18. Where Yorick used to be a strange amalgamation of terrible all the time and way too strong to seem possible, he has now been shaped into a decent direction as a top lane split pusher/tank. After playing around with him on the PBE for the past two weeks, let’s talk about how you can dominate on the newly titled Shepherd of Souls.
Passive - Shepherd of Souls
How it Works:
This ability is a little hard to explain before we get to Yorick’s Q ability, Last Writes/Awakening. So for the moment, don’t think too hard about how the Mist Walkers appear, just know that they do. Yorick can only have 4 Mist Walkers at any given time and he must stay close to them or they will die. The Mist Walkers’ power will scale with Yorick’s over the course of the game, gaining stats passively as Yorick levels up while also gaining a percentage of Yorick’s max HP and total AD.
These little monsters work on their own AI and attack whatever is around them. Due to their massive stat potential, these things will deal decent damage all game to anyone unfortunate enough to be standing nearby. However, what Mist Walkers do best is push, push, push the wave. They last until defeated or until Yorick (or the Maiden of the Mist, but again, we will get there in a minute) move too far away from them, so as long as someone is around to motivate them, they will get to work on the minion wave for Yorick.
The second part of this passive mentions graves, which will spawn on the 12th enemy unit death around Yorick. What isn’t represented in the tooltip is that this also scales on Yorick’s level. So at levels 7 and 13, the number of unit deaths required to spawn a grave goes down by 4, becoming 8 and 4, respectively. These graves are used to summon Mist Walkers. Speaking of which...
Q - Last Rites and Awakening (Unlock at level 1, Max 1st)
How It Works:
Last Rites is Yorick’s bread and butter. If you have played Nasus before, the feel of this ability (and the animation for that matter) should be fairly reminiscent of his Q, Siphoning Strike. When Last Rites is activated, it will reset Yorick’s auto-attack and empower the next auto to do massive damage. This ability will also heal Yorick by a decent amount, which is then doubled if he is below half-health.
If Yorick kills a target with Last Rites, he will spawn a grave where the target died. Now this is where this ability gets a little weird. If there are at least 3 graves around Yorick and Last Rites is on cooldown, the ability will instead become Awakening. When Yorick casts Awakening, he will consume up to 4 graves to summon the same number of Mist Walkers. The cycle of life and death continues.
This ability gives Yorick some strong trading potential in lane. It hits very hard from an early level and will heal Yorick, allowing him to recover some of the health he may lose in a small scrape. It also scales 140% off of his total AD which means that a little bit of AD on Yorick can go along way.
How to use it: When laning, you want to use this ability on cooldown to farm and to poke. You should be maxing it from the beginning, so the cooldown should lower into a really nice place rather quickly. Last hit minions with this from time to time to keep your Mist Walkers up and about for both protection and poke. When you get the chance or when your lane opponent aggresses, show them who's boss and smack em with a shovel.
W - Dark Procession (Unlock at level 3, Max 3rd Normally or 2nd When Team is in Need of CC)
How It Works:
Dark Procession summons a small enclosed area around a target area, similar to a Veigar's Event Horizon or a Jarvan IV Cataclysm on a much smaller scale. This wall can be targeted and attacked by enemies inside the wall and outside. At early levels, it only has 2 health, however, as the ability itself is leveled it gains health, up to 4 at level 5. Yorick and his allies are not affected at all by the wall and are free to move through it at all times.
How to use it: This is Yorick’s strongest CC ability, and can be pretty scary as he levels. Not only does it create impassable terrain for the enemy team, but it can trap an enemy or 2 inside of its little donut shape. In the late game, catching a lone enemy in this wall can be a death sentence for them. The range may be small on it but it has a lot of potential in many different situations.
E - Mourning Mist (Level 2nd, Max 2nd Normally or 3rd if You Don’t Need The Damage)
How It Works:
Mourning Mist is a ranged placement ability that spreads out once it reaches its destination. It does 15% of the enemy's current health on contact, which is not nearly as much as it sounds like, and scales off of AP. This ability also applies a light slow to targets hit. Maybe someday there will be a full AP Yorick build, but now is neither the time nor the place for such nonsense.
Instead, let's talk about what makes this ability interesting. When targets are hit by Mourning Mist they will be marked. Yorick gains movement speed towards the target that is marked. His Mist Walkers on the other hand will leap towards the target, and start attacking them. This is Yorick’s only real way to control the Mist Walkers’ behavior and it is very powerful.
How to use it: This means that you can safely farm in lane while using Mourning Mist to command your Mist Walkers to harass the enemy laner. In a teamfight, you can target the enemy carry and watch your ghouls attempt to tear them apart, forcing the carry to deal with that problem and not the shovel headed for their face. That slow and movement speed bonus might be the only thing that gets you in range in time to encase your target in a Dark Procession, sealing their fate.
Mourning Mist is a very versatile ability, and learning how to best use it in all situations will be a main focus for high-end Yorick players.
R - Eulogy of the Isles (Unlock at Level 6, Level Up at Levels 6, 11, and 18)
How It Works: Yorick’s new Ultimate, the Eulogy of the Isles earns its totally badass name by being a totally badass ultimate. Yorick calls forth the Maiden of the Mist, who brings with her 2-4 Mist Walkers depending on the current level of Eulogy of the Isles. The Maiden acts like a pet, like a really big Mist Walker. Her only attack is a Fiddlesticks-lite drain ability, where she slowly damages her target. She has massive amounts of health and will follow Yorick until she engages in a wave push, in which case she will push the wave until she is killed.
How to use it: The Maiden has no timer and will last until all of her massive health bar is depleted. She also has no range tether with Yorick. This means that Yorick could easily summon her while pushing out the top lane and leave her to do her thing while he teamfights mid. Alternatively, he could have her push top while he teleports bottom to push that wave. Yorick can technically split push two waves at once. While they can do a lot of work apart, they can move mountains together. Whenever any enemy unit dies around the Maiden of the Mist, she will summon a Mist Walker up to the limit of 4. So she is always replacing Mist Walkers to help push. With Yorick, the Maiden of the Mist, and 4 Mist Walkers pushing a wave, towers will fall quickly.
However, it is important to note that there is another aspect of this ability. When Yorick attacks the Maiden’s current target with his autos, he will deal massive percent-of-health damage. This of course means that Eulogy of the Isles can also be used for dueling.
Yorick is the ideal split push machine. He is hard to kill, has CC that can block off paths, has exceptional dueling potential forcing the other team to send multiple teammates in order alleviate the pressure, and he pushes waves like the dickens. Yorick is a really interesting and cool champion without Eulogy of the Isles, but when you add this ultimate ability into the mix, it seems to gel so well with each and every one of his other abilities. This may be one of my favorite ultimates currently in League of Legends.
With Yorick, I would focus on building 1 or 2 damage items before diving into some hardcore sustain. However, Yorick can be a little flexible in the build area. Depending on the situation, you may want to get some tank early rather than going for your damage, other times you can skimp on the toughness for some raw split-push power.
In my opinion, this is Yorick’s go to first item. Not only does it give him some mean tank stats early, but it fixes one of Yoricks only real problems in the split push department: it gives him a way to push a wave quickly on his own. The wave from Titanic allows Yorick to push from the very front of the wave all the way through the casters in no time. On top of all of that, the active component also works as an auto reset. That combined with Last Rites will make Yorick a force to be reckoned with. However, some may prefer the leaner, meaner cousin of Titanic Hydra, the Ravenous Hydra.
If you find yourself still missing some damage after buying your Hydra, look no further than the Black Cleaver. As always, Black Cleaver is a great item for juggernauts in the top lane, as its movement passive really helps to nullify the problems with low mobility champions (like Yorick).
No split-pusher would be complete without their signature drape, the Sunfire Cape. This should make sure to keep the waves pushing quickly while also giving Yorick a slight edge in duels.
The Black Cleaver of armor, Deadman’s is great on champions like Yorick. The tank should help him survive better when soaking minion wave damage without a wave and for duels in lane. Similarly, the momentum move speed bonus should help wandering Yoricks move into teamfights quicker than expected.
Boots of Swiftness
If you can afford not to build Merc Treads or another tank boot, I would certainly look into Boots of Swiftness. Yorick is slow, even for a dead guy. Being able to weave in and out of lanes could save your life or help you reach a teammate in time to save theirs.
Final thoughts and how to stop him
Yorick is a split-push monster and will do decent damage in team fights, provided that he doesn’t get kited into oblivion. While Yorick may seem impossible to deal with, there are ways to take him out. A good ranged champion top like Gnar or even Kennen should slow his power a little bit by forcing him to play safely. Ganks are also really bad news for Yorick since he has no escape and he pushes very hard from the word go.
In teamfights, save him for last and lock him down with CC and good kiting techniques. Remember, if he isn’t standing next to you, his most damaging ability is not a threat. When playing against his split push, be diligent and ward up. Make sure you know where he is and where he isn’t. Don’t take any stupid fights when he is on your Inhibitor Towers and try and pick a duelist in the Top Lane or the Jungle in champion select. Pick someone whose raw damage or mobility can confuse and bewilder Yorick. Better yet, if you have a mobile AD Carry like Lucian on your team, he may be able to send Yorick back to the Shadow Isles fairly easily.
This is a cool rework. Riot has done some great work in the past with champions like Poppy, Shen, and my personal favorite rework, Sion. This feels like it reaches that Sion level for me. Somehow, someway, he still feels like Yorick, but without the garbage that made him the worst champion that League has ever had. He feels true to his look and to his “character fantasy.” He is a scary dead man who throws ghouls at people and hits them with shovels. That is a champion that I get behind.
I first started playing League of Legends in early 2013. I very specifically remember sitting and reading my very first Riot Red post on my phone. It was about the Yorick Rework. That was over 3 years ago. This rework has been a long time coming and it has been well worth the wait.