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Face the Wind: A Beginner's Guide to Yasuo

Updated on October 24, 2017
Liam Soo profile image

Hey there! I'm Liam! I am an Australian student who likes to write articles about the things i enjoy, like playing video games and writing!

About Me

Hi! I have been playing Yasuo the Unforgiven since his release in 2013, or Season 4. Ever since he has come out, I have dedicated myself, when I can, to master him and get as good at him as I could, due to his awesome kit and abilities. At almost 100 000 mastery points, I hope my knowledge of this champ helps anyone reading this guide. Enjoy!

About This Guide

This build has been fairly consistent and "meta" ever since the start of the 2014-2015 season, or Season 5. There has been small changes, such as the popularity of the Tank Yasuo build or the Statikk Shiv build, but both have been phased out rather quickly in comparison to the Phantom Dancer build. So feel confident that what information I am dishing out will remain relevant to Yasuo for a long time, up until the fateful day he gets major changes to make him more relevant to the game. Thanks!

Yasuo: The Basics

Yasuo is a high damage fighter, who excels in dealing high amounts of damage to tanks and low health champions alike and is a champion who farms minions with ease, due to his unique kit. He also has items which synergise well with his kit, which further enables him to remain strong throughout all stages of the game. As Yasuo deals huge amounts of burst damage and damage per second (DPS), he destroys tanks and squishy enemies.

Abilities and Kit

Intent: Yasuo's critical strike chance is doubled, but the damage dealt by his critical strikes is reduced by 10%.

Resolve: Yasuo gains Flow as he moves – the faster he moves, the faster his Flow meter fills. When full, Yasuo activates a brief shield after taking damage from enemy champions or monsters.

Yasuo's Passive allows him to amass massive amounts of damage early in the game with his double critical strike chance, and also keeps him safe in the jungle and in lane due to his shield that charges with moving. His shield gains durability the higher level he is, so it continues to remain relevant in all stages of the game.

First and Second cast: Yasuo thrusts forward with his sword, dealing physical damage to all enemies in a line. Successfully landing Steel Tempest grants Yasuo Gathering Storm stacks for 6 seconds.
Third Cast: The third stack of Gathering Storm causes Steel Tempest to send out a whirlwind that travels in a line and sends all enemies caught Airborne. This whirlwind deals physical damage to everyone hit.

Yasuo's Q ability has an extremely short cooldown, which is reduced by attack speed, which synergises with his auto attack focused playstyle mid and late game.

If Yasuo casts Steel Tempest during Sweeping Blade, the ability strikes all enemies immediately around him, creating a circle Area of Effect instead. Steel Tempest can also critically strike and apply on-hit effects.

The main reason why this ability is so strong is because it allows Yasuo to critically strike off of it, and apply constant damage to enemies. Additionally, his circle Area of Effect is extremely effective for farming minions in lane or in the jungle, allowing him to damage large amounts of enemies around him, and knock up if performed on the third cast.

Yasuo creates a wall of wind that slowly drifts forward for 3.75 seconds. The wall blocks all enemy projectiles except tower hits.

This ability allows Yasuo to block projectiles thrown towards him, excluding tower shots. Simple. However, it allows him to block an extraordinary amount of damaging abilities that would severely hurt him or any of his teammates in a battle. Proper use of the Wind Wall is the difference between a good Yasuo player, and a mediocre one. Note that it drifts forwards, allowing enemies, or Yasuo, to play around it. This feature is especially good for initiating fights in lane or in a fight, as it slowly cuts off their damage. Making plays around the Wind Wall allows Yasuo to trade with enemies effectively, without taking much damage in return.

Yasuo dashes a fixed distance through an enemy, dealing magic damage and marking them briefly. If Yasuo uses Sweeping Blade multiple times in succession, the ability deals extra 25% base damage with a 50% bonus maximum. When sweeping blade is cast on a target, the target will get marked for 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds, descending on levels put in Sweeping Blade. Yasuo cannot use Sweeping Blade on an enemy that's already been marked.

This ability is what makes Yasuo such a lane bully and gives him his mobility. It allows him to dodge skillshots, safely farm and initiate, and gives him the chase potential to hunt an enemy champion down. The scaling damage is a little bit mediocre, but allows him to even start this ability at level 1, as its scaling damage allows him to farm and out trade his lane opponent with ease.

Yasuo gains maximum Flow, and teleports to a nearby Airborne enemy champion. Upon arrival, he suspends all airborne units within a 400 unit radius of his target in the air for 1 second, dealing physical damage to them. Once he lands, Yasuo gains 50% armor penetration on critical hits against his enemy's bonus armor for 15 seconds
Casting Last Breath will reset the chain on Steel Tempest.

Yasuo's ultimate deals massive damage to enemy champions knocked airborne, and allows him to reposition while in the air. This grants Yasuo a reprieve from the fight, and lets the player think of the next play, or think of a way out. Granting Yasuo maximum Flow allows Yasuo to absorb damage into his shield, while allowing him to shred tanks with his 50% armour penetration.

Items to build on Yasuo

Typically, Yasuo starts the game with Doran's Blade, a Health Potion, and a Warding Totem (free). This provides him with everything he needs to lane until he gets his first item: health, damage and life steal. This is important as it helps Yasuo to sustain his health once his health potion is used.

Against a hard matchup, you can start Doran's Shield for the health and damage block as Yasuo's base damage is high enough to dish out the damage while staying relatively safe. Just remember that your damage output won't be low, but it won't be high, so farming will be optimal.

Rushing the components for a Phantom Dancer will be the best build early on as it gives 60% critical strike chance due to his passive, and gives him movement speed to build his flow shield faster. After this, Boots of Speed should be bought to supplement your high movement speed to chase down targets.

After this, the next core/compulsory item on Yasuo is the Infinity Edge. This item is important for a few reasons. Firstly, It brings his critical strike chance up to 100%, which greatly increases his damage output on his auto attacks and his Steel Tempest. Secondly, it gives him more flat attack damage, which is supplemented by the critical strike chance. Lastly, it's unique passive of increasing critical strike damage allows Yasuo to have a normal critical strike damage rate instead of 90%, further increasing his damage output. After these 2 items, you can 3 hit melee minions, and 1 hit caster minions with an auto attack.

After this, items are completely situational. On hit items, such as Frozen Mallet and the Bloodthirster increase Yasuo's damage and his survivability by a metric ton, both items allowing Yasuo to fight for longer and duel up to 3 or 4 people at once. Finally, a tank item should be built at the end, depending on the enemy team composition. If they are dealing high auto attack damage due to the ADC (Caitlyn, Twitch, Tristana) or someone like Master Yi, a Thornmail or Randuins will be super effective. However, a Spirit Visage or Abyssal Mask will boost magic resistance against magic dependent teams. In addition to this, a simple Guardian Angel will boost your Attack Damage and armour, also providing Yasuo with a second wind.

A Mercurial Scimitar is also a viable option as Yasuo is often shut down by crowd control spells, such as snares, slows, stuns and suppresses. It provides him with damage, movement speed, and an active which allows him to remove any form of crowd control he is afflicted by.

Boots should be Berserkers Greaves if rushing a fully aggressive build and aiming to snowball, or Ninja Tabi to increase tank qualities in a team fight.

"Death is like the wind, always by my side." ~ Yasuo the Unforgiven

Almost 100k mastery points on the Unforgiven

Please take note! Your positioning in lane prevents ganks and grants safety. (Just reverse the other way for the other side.)

Basic Combos

Firstly, Yasuo receives a 'powerspike', a large change in strength or power, at levels 1 (against most champions), 2, 4 (Wind wall against ranged champions) and level 6, when you get your ultimate.
The first combo, at level 1, is to take Steel Tempest (Q). You can simply wait for your opponent to attack a minion, and walk up to them and start auto attacking them, weaving in a Q when possible. You should, with the Ignite summoner spell, be able to force them out of lane, or kill them for either First Blood, or an early powerspike in gold over your opponent.
At level 2, take Sweeping Blade (E) and harass your opponent as much as humanly possible. E through a minion to stack the damage to 25%, then E-Q near them to them take damage. Either E back if you are taking heavy damage, or continue to Q and attack them. Once they are fairly low, E through them, and knock-up with your Third cast of Q if possible.
At level 4, the combo will be the same, however using W to block their combo as you jump onto them, nullifying their damage while maximising yours.
Level 6 will be the final powerspike, and the same combo throughout the game. The previous combo will be used, then while knocking up with your 3rd Q, wait until they almost hit the ground, before pressing R to kill them. This maximises the amount of time they are taking minion damage, and maximises the amount of time they are unable to do anything.
If you are over extended, you have to be wary of being ganked, which means the jungler will come into the lane and attempt to kill you while you are overextended, putting you into a 2 vs 1 situation, which is very hard to survive, even for the Unforgiven. If possible, you can try and kill your lane opponent, while kiting as much damage from the jungler by using Sweeping Blade through the enemy minion wave. Save a knock up, then E-Q knock up the jungler, leaving the windwall behind to block any damage, walking under your tower and recalling. However, this should never happen if you have warded properly!!!!!


Warding is so vital, and of course, if you watch any educational league content on YouTube you've probably heard this a million times, but there's a reason they stress it so much. Ever get ganked and feel like there was nothing you could have done to escape it, like you just can't push up and pressure your laner for fear of the jungler? WARDS.

I like to upgrade to blue trinket because you can have as many blue wards out as you want and they last indefinitely! Get blue trinket if no one else on your team has!

Final Words

Just to sum it up, Yasuo is an amazing frontline damage dealer, who has strong burst and sustained damage, with enough of everything in his kit to destroy entire teams single handedly. Thanks for reading! It means alot to me if you would leave me some feedback so I can improve both this guide and future guides, so all comments welcome!

© 2017 Liam Soo


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    • Zoe S profile image

      Zoe S 

      2 years ago

      How informative.


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