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How to Counter: Yorick

By Remox - 3rd August 2011 - 19:33 PM

A major factor in increasing one's experience and skill in any competitive game is the importance of countering. In League of Legends, this is no different. Be it adapting to the new characters introduced every two weeks, or learning how to work around tried and true strategies used by older characters, countering is amazingly important. This series focuses on this element of the game by offering techniques, lesser known secrets and general tips to avoid getting dominated by that flavor of the month strategy.

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How to counter...Yorick the Gravedigger

Basic Introduction

Yorick is the first fully integrated summoner of the League. He covers the role of melee bruiser mixed with an aggressive support style of play. Let's take a look into his abilities, first of all his passive and ghoul summoning mechanic:

  • The Ghouls will immediately try to attack the closest enemy champion to them and won't stop following and attacking them until they die.
  • The ghouls' total health and attack damage is equal to 35% of Yorick's total health and attack damage.
  • The ghouls' health is reduced by 20% of their max health every second. This limits their max duration at 5 seconds.
  • The ghouls take 50% reduced damage from AoE and are immune to slows.
  • They have a base 10 armor and magic resistance plus 2 per level of Yorick.
  • Their base attack speed is 0.670 and doesn't increase by level.
  • Their movement speed is 350 / 380 / 410 / 433 depending on Yorick's level.
  • The Ghouls are classified as allied minions for all intents and purposes.Source: Ghouls mechanics
What we should take into account: Ghouls last 5 seconds and no more if they are unharmed. They have armor and magic resistance, this means ~30% damage reduction at level 18. They will try to kill their target no matter what. Yorick will synergyze with his passive:
  • Unholy Covenant: Yorick takes 5% less damage and his basic attacks deal 5% more damage for each summon that is active.
The more ghouls he has, the stronger he gets. If he casts Q, W and E he will get 15% damage reduction and 15% bonus AA damage, keep this in mind during lane phase specially, where damage is not a huge number.

His three basic ghouls
  • Omen of War: Yorick's next attack, in the next 10 seconds, will deal bonus physical damage and summon a Spectral Ghoul. The Spectral Ghoul deals additional damage and moves faster than the rest of the ghouls. While the ghoul is active, Yorick moves faster as well.
On hit, usually combined with Sheen for full effect. Its purpose is full damage (physical) while giving Yorick bonus movement speed, goes well with:
  • Omen of Pestilence: Yorick summons a Decaying Ghoul that arrives with a violent explosion, dealing damage and slowing nearby enemies for 1.5 seconds. While the Decaying Ghoul remains alive, nearby enemies continue to be slowed.
A slowing AoE combined with a slowing Ghoul. The purpose of Pestilence is very basic, but effective, due to the ongoing slow. This will make you open for either Omen of War or:
  • Omen of Famine: Yorick deals magic damage and heals for up to 40% of the damage dealt. A Ravenous Ghoul is summoned behind his target, which heals Yorick for the damage it deals.
It has a meduim range, but the most important part is the lifesteal. Not only the Ghoul summoned will continuously leech from you, but the casting will heal for up to 40% of the damage. This makes Yorick very tough to beat during lane if he can get his combos up and has mana regen items/runes.

Lastly, his Ultimate:
  • Omen of Death: Yorick conjures a revenant in the image of one of his allies that will have a 50% / 75% / 100% percentage of their max health and 45% / 60% / 75% of their attack damage. The revenant lasts for up to 10 seconds. If his ally dies while its revenant is alive, the revenant sacrifices itself to reanimate them temporarily by restoring them to full health and give them time to enact vengeance. The reanimation will last for up to 10 seconds.
Similar to Zilean's ultimate and mixed with Mordekaiser's. The image has damage and health, and if the original target dies, the ally (or himself) will be reanimated for a few seconds. This is lethal during lane due to the fact that he can actually enhance his HP pool and Attack Damage. Possibly, if you are low on health, he might dive under the tower for the kill using the image as a shield.

Countering in Lane

This is the place where Yorick shines. Play aggressively or defensively, in both cases he might accomplish his desires. Let's analyze why and how.


What makes a champion a great laner? First of all you need him to survive, then to last hit and finally to harass (and possibly kill the opponent). If he can survive, then he will last hit, and if he can last hit with ease there is a high possibility that he can harass too.

Survival comes with sustainability. Health regen, lifesteal, mana regen and unlimited resources. You cannot kick a champion with these assets from the lane unless you are another great laner or you have jungle support.

Last hitting comes with range and survival. Ranged champions are always better than melee in lane, unless the melee has a way to survive (regaining health).

Harassing is the natural course of action if you can last hit well and also survive both jungling ganks and the other laner itself. It can become a clear objective to prevent the enemy from last hitting, thus it is a more complex variable. The ability to keep last hitting while harassing and avoiding jungle ganks define a great laner overall.

Examples of the above: Vladimir has unlimited resources, lifesteal and is ranged. Cho'Gath, melee, but can regain HP and Mana with ease. Nidalee with a powerful heal, unlimited resources in cougar and ranged. And the list goes on.

Yorick in this case has a ranged lifestealing nuke/sustain (Omen of Famine, red) and an AoE slow with sustain (Omen of Pestilence, green). These two spells are the basic kit Yorick has during a lane for: sustain, avoiding obvious ganks, avoiding tower diving and preventing anyone from coming close to him. His Q spell (Omen of War), as the title says, it is very aggressive (on hit effect) and can put Yorick in an unstable position (past his minion wave).


Omen of Famine poke

Not a combo itself, but if you are trading blows, this will happen. Check items, he'll need mana items or else he'll deplete his pool.

Omen of Pestlence > Omen of Famine

Defensive combo if you are going to poke (example Ezreal jumping in, Akali, Jax, and obvious Vlad Q, Rumble going for Flamespitter).

Omen of Famine > Omen of Pestilence > Omen of War > Omen of Famine

Basic heavy harass. Usually when the jungler is bottom, mid or dead (or when his jungler is ganking you). What will happen is that his HP will start to regen while yours goes down, plus getting slowed and he building a 15% damage reduction with his passive.

Omen of Famine > Omen of Pestilence > Omen of War > Omen of Famine > Omen of Death

Ultimate combo. Basically you will be driven into your own tower. Omen of Death will grant additional passive bonuses and an overall pump into his damage. Deadly.

There is nothing to fear! Knowledge is now at your hands.

What you need is Brush Control. Let's embrace this concept. Ghouls will stop chasing you if they can't see you. 80% of Yorick's damage comes in Ghoul form, if you deny this possibility then he is in great trouble.

You got Famine'd? Hide in the brush. The red ghoul will just turn away and attack minions.
You are being harrased like there is no tomorrow? Hide in the brush. Now there is one tomorrow.
You are being ganked? Walk into the brush.

Yorick can't do anything to avoid this, unless he packs Clairvoyance, wards both brushes or wins himself the brush sacrificing last hitting.

There is one possibility that Yorick goes mid-lane, where there is no near-access brushes. This will require another course of action.

Basics with every hero:
- Boots plus three pots. It is very hard to out run the Ghouls, but from level 1 to 6 you can have the same amount of speed (350) or more.
- Kill the Ghouls first. It will take away his passive.
- Omen of Famine is a targeted spell (click and win), but the range is limited. Watch his steps, if he goes past his minion wave, there is a 90% possibility that he wants your flesh.
- Hide in the brush. I said it?
- Melee champions will have a hard time versus Yorick, as the blow trading is usually on his side considering Famine (sustained healing) and the Slow to prevent you reaching him or even hitting him.

Specific heroes

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Lane Counters. Garen has his Silence to prevent casting, the Spin to annihilate the Ghouls like butter and a shield to prevent huge amounts of damage. If he goes low, Ultimate and the problem is gone. Take into account the bush and Garen's HP regen. Akali, too, has the perfect tools to deal with Yorick. Twilight Shroud to avoid the Ghouls aggro, Crescent Slash to hit them all in AoE and a lot of escape mechanisms if things go rough. Burst damage and lifesteal/spellvamp to survive the laning phase. Take into account that both of these champions have "unlimited" resources (Garen has only Cooldowns and Akali energy).

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Natural Yorick counters during teamfights, Gragas will throw his Ghouls away, out of position and can also be a good lane counter with AoE Spells (Barrel and Belly) plus regen. Janna to protect your carry if by any chance Yorick tries to dive it, the healing plus knockback can overcome any Ghouls danger.