Vayne Build Guide by KST Midnight
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Not Updated For Current Season
Lane with Vayne
Core Alternatives - Endgame Items
Not Updated For Current Season
Threats to Vayne with this build
Hello and welcome to my Vayne guide. This guide covers any Vayne lane that is in combination with a support, and other unconventional roles such as Jungle Vayne and Support Vayne.
About the Champion
Although Vayne is one of the difficult and squishiest ADC's in the game, she is also one of the most powerful and rewarding ones to learn. Vayne has the potential to counter almost any bot lane composition with her combination of skills and summoner spells. In this guide, I'll teach you how to play her to her highest potential and even cover some advanced tips and tricks that will augment any other AD you wish to play as well.
About the Author
I'm a veteran League of Legends player who started in late 2010 or early-mid 2011, I have played a lot of AD ever since Season 2 and have played in one local tournament. Although I had ~1100 MMR (Bronze Division) last Season 3, I am currently sitting at ~1451 MMR (Gold Division).
Pros / Cons
- High damage output
- Ability to chase or kite
- Able to pass through non-terrain walls
- True damage
- Short CD repositioning skill
- Requires mastery over positioning
- Very squishy
- Low range
- Unreliable CC
- Requires a heavy-peel team
These runes allow for easier last hits as well as overall damage for trading and pushing down turrets. They're better than any other runes at the moment due to the current meta relying on sustainable damage. In previous seasons, 1 critical strike chance rune would have been a good addition due to the heavy trading that happened in bot lane and frequent 2v2 skirmishes. With the tower pushing meta, it is more important to be able to push minion waves and turrets and thus damage runes outshine the critical strike setup.
With the new buffs to health and reduced cost efficiency of Flat armor, it is better to run with a few more HP runes than not. Riot has also given champions a higher base armor value so taking runes to append them is less necessary. I like to run the 4 armor-5 HP setup to fully utilize early game states for trading in 2v2 scenarios; Having armor runes is important in the bot lane and just about every other lane due to auto-attacks being the integral part of any champion's damage. Having these runes reduces the damage of enemy poke (ADC) in the early game and enemy bruiser's ability to burst you with flat armor penetration. These are better than scaling armor runes due to the fact that the trade-off point is at level 9 and the effectiveness of armor is already almost null with the many armor reduction skills, items and effects in the game.
Flat magic resistance works to the same effect as Flat Armor. This rune reduces the effectiveness of spells greatly if your enemy bot lane relies on magic damage. It also eases your way into the mid-game since a lot of AP casters have flat magic penetration runes and masteries, so you'll want to get these in order to offset that damage. Use these runes in particular when your lane has a lot of magic damage as opposed to the magic resist per level runeset. Although you take more damage later from magic, it is better to be able to lane early and farm, than get a little more magic resist and have no items later. I almost always run with these runes.
With the nerfs to the Quintessence of Lifesteal, buff to the Feast mastery, and buff to the Quintessence of Attack Speed, Marksmen now benefit significantly from taking the 15% Attack Speed over 4.5% Lifesteal per hit. You can mix some flat Attack damage runes by I recommend no more than 1 on champions that scale better with auto-attacks ( Vayne, Caitlyn, Jinx etc.)
4 points in Fury - Extra attack speed allows you to reduce the delay between auto-attacks thus increasing your damage output and allowing you to more easily CS by catching last hits in-between your harass. This scales well with any character reliant on auto-attacks.
1 point in Feast - With the recent buffs in patch 4.5, Feast is preferred over Double - Edged sword especially since the recent Heal buffs is intact. You're not expected to kill in lane anymore and thus it is better to take a sustenance mastery over one that risks taking more damage.
3 points in Brute Force - This mastery gives you extra damage which is good for the early game last-hitting as well as extra AD for overall damage. You want to put points here because the other masteries in this tier just aren't as useful in comparison.
1 point in Martial Mastery - is similar to Brute Force, however, you gain one more attack damage for the lower cost of one mastery point.
3 points in Executioner - Executioner serves as a great damage increase on targets that dip below 50% HP. The reason that it is so good is because often times, ADCs are the ones finishing off champions that have been poked or bursted down from AoE effects or your support's abilities in a 2v2 setting. This mastery provides an essentially free damage boost because it is basically active for most skirmishes and team fights.
2 points in Warlord - This mastery becomes more effective, the more AD you have, due to the scaling effects of it. Although it isn't of much use early-on, it is still a great mastery and allows you to easily transition into the mid-game since it gives you a solid 5-10 AD by then which is about the value of a long sword (or 360g).
1 point in Dangerous Game - As an ADC, finishing up kills while staying alive becomes a lot easier with this mastery. With every kill you clean up, you are able to stay in the fight longer and this could make the difference between dying to an ignite or auto-attack, or killing an entire team. It is a cost efficient point but it is very high-risk and high reward since you are essentially relying on being able to clean up kills in order for it to pay off.
1 point in Frenzy - This is another late game mastery that relies on a stat that isn't very prevalent in the early stages of the game. To fully utilize this mastery you need to have a relatively decent critical strike chance to stack the effects for a sustainable duration. It is even advisable to build the critical strike components of Phantom Dancer or Statikk Shiv first before the attack speed components in order to synergize it well with this mastery.
3 points in Devastating Strikes - This mastery offers free penetration for early damage and kill potential. Not only does it affect physical abilities and damage sources but also magical as well. This mastery is fully utilized by the hybrid carries such as Ezreal, Lucian, and Jinx. You want to max this mastery because it easily provides a lot of early and late game damage due to its percentage based attributes.
1 point in Havoc - A better version of Double-Edged Sword; this mastery increases your overall damage output without drawbacks.
2 points in Recovery - This mastery increases health regeneration which works favorably along with Doran's Blade and potions to restore lost hit points. This mastery will help you ease into the mid-game by allowing you to farm in lane longer and in-between sieging phases in the late game.
2 points in Block - A fairly straight-forward mastery. This blocks up to two incoming damage per basic auto-attack which, in combination with Doran's Shield would reduce nearly 20-30% of incoming damage in the early game. Similar to Recovery, this mastery is essential in surviving a poke oriented bot lane.
1 point in Unyielding - Similar to block, this mastery however, reduces all damage by 1, instead of only auto-attacks.
3 points in Veteran Scars - This mastery gives you extra hit points to allow for extra margin of error if you get hit too often. It also prevents assassins from bursting you too quickly and giving you enough time to use a flash or escape ability and lifesteal or flee.
1 point Juggernaut , Similar to Veteran scars but gives you more hit points during the late-game phases while taking up only 1/3 of the mastery points required. It is the most cost efficient mastery in its tier and completes the optimized defensive tree.
Flash is an instantaneous repositioning ability that allows you to reach a short distance without sacrificing any time. It's important on champions who need to get to distances quickly in order to position for an engage or to get to safety as quickly as possible. Flash > Ghost because ADCs requires instant safety, accelerating with Ghost takes too long and isn't as efficient as Flash in most situations. The most important factor in an ADC is the ability to deal as much damage as possible while staying safe. Flash allows you to escape quickly so that you can get back to doing damaage quickly.
I almost always run Cleanse against any team composition with at least 1 CC (crowd control), reason being there will always be at least an Exhaust and Ignite and most likely even an extra slow or hard CC on the enemy team. Any one of these can potentially kill you, so it is nice to have Cleanse to back you up. Not only does Cleanse provide instant release from any CC (does not Cleanse suppression and non- Ignite DoTs though), it also reduces the duration of any other CCs placed on you so it has a nice margin of error to it as well.
In some cases, taking barrier against a high burst bot lane such as Lulu + Ezreal is better than having cleanse. The CC component of Lulu's ult and polymorph are pretty negligible early on in comparison to the benefits of having that extra damage absorption during a 2v2 skirmish. As a general rule of thumb you're picking Cleanse for the late game, and Barrier for the early game. If you have a late-game scaling champion with a weak early-game, it might be better to pick up Barrier to help survive the lane until you pick up some items.
This summoner spell has been greatly buffed. Not only does it heal for a large amount of HP to two targets, but it also gives a movement speed buff as well as remove any existing heal-reducing ailments. Taking heal does have its disadvantages, however, Barrier comes at a lower cooldown and is not negated by any healing reduction or other effects. If you are playing an ADC that requires a more frequent form of protection, Barrier would suit you better, paired with a Heal summoner on your support.
Blade of the Ruined King - I take this item if I am falling behind in lane or need extra sustain against multiple gap closers.
Phantom Dancer - Statikk Shiv recently received nerfs which causes the procs to only strike critically if the initial auto-attack critically strikes. It is now more worth it to get the more favorable stats for 300g. Phantom Dancer compliments your single target damage as well as amplifies the new build route which is damage based (BT and IE) through critical strike chance.
Last Whisper - This item is a good final item because you won't have enough critical chance rating to benefit from Infinity Edge with this build. You're relying on auto-attacking and kiting for as long as possible, so you really want to amplify each and every hit; Last Whisper does that job perfectly. It also gives you a bit of flat AD as well so it is a great item overall to any attack damage champion.
Infinity Edge - With the new build path, your last item should be Infinity Edge since it greatly scales with AD and critical strike chance. Building this item will allow you to 3-4 hit squishier champions while dealing a massive amount of damage on tanks as well. The benefit to this build path is that it does particularly well against attack speed reduction, since you will be attacking less, the attacks that you do get out will deal more damage (also tumble resets your auto attack regardless of attack speed).
The Bloodthirster - With the nerfs of many tanks and sustain in general, Blood Thirster has become a more viable pick over Blade of the Ruined King. Of course, if you find yourself behind in lane or not willing to skirmish the 2v2 I would still get BotRK if you are unconfident in your support. As the general rule you want to get BT if you are even in lane or ahead, and BotRK if you are behind. The immense damage and lifesteal properly equip you for the mid-game where your auto-attacks and low cooldown tumbles will deal lots of damage to anyone.
Banshee's Veil - Although this item isn't very popular, it is good for two reasons: extra HP and extra MR. If you find the enemy team doing a decent amount of AoE damage, which you cannot dodge, the extra HP and MR will help you live through fights better. The passive shield will also block one spell which can be worth ~300-600 damage. To optimize this, you need to avoid using it up before an engage, make sure not to get it poked off or you will lose 1/3 of the items effects during a team fight.
Guardian Angel - Use this instead of Mercurial Scimitar if you are finding yourself against a low CC team with lots of % based damage that can be reduced by resistances. The extra armor / MR will reduce that damage, also the passive gives you a second life.
Quicksilver Sash - A staple in any Vayne's build. Unlike Cleanse, this item allows you to cleanse any debuff whether it be DoTs such as Ignite, poison etc. or even hard stuns and suppressions like Warwick and Skarner's ult. Don't forget that this also gives you some magic resist too so it'll make you less susceptible to a caster's burst.
Trinity Force - A decent item after BotRK, usually this is too expensive and out of my build path to get. This item would be good if you manage to get your hands on a lot of gold early on.
Randuin's Omen - This item is good against AD carries and attack-speed based bruisers ( Irelia, Jax etc.). Swap this for Mercurial Scimitar if you find that those are the types of damage you are taking the most, and CC isnt a problem.
Leveling Tumble first allows you to reposition more often, as well as reset your auto attack more often. With the damage build, you will be lacking in attack speed, so you will rely on your Tumble to deal the majority of your damage (it also has an increasing AD modifier per level up).
Leveling up Silver Bolts first is also a good alternative if you are finding yourself going Blade of the Ruined King and Phantom Dancer since it compliments your attack speed very well.
Night Hunter (Passive):
Your passive ability that gives you extra movement speed when facing an enemy champion (within 2000 range). Always remember that having this in addition to tumble will make chasing down opponents very easy, as well as catching up to set up a Condemn. Utilize this as well when dodging skill shots for an increased movement speed boost in the direction of a champion.
Tumble is a very simple ability that enhances your next auto-attack's damage as well as repositioning Vayne towards where your cursor is pointing. This ability is what defines Vayne, there are many ways you can use this skill and it costs very little mana at the same time. You can use it to:
Position yourself for a nice wall CC
Escape terrain barriers such as Jarvan IV's ultimate, Anivia's wall, etc.
Close the gap between you and your target
Reset your auto-attack for a last hit
A good Vayne will use Tumbles conservatively and place herself in vantage positions with each activation. You want to place yourself in positions where you can deal damage without taking much in return.
Silver Bolts (W):
This ability is what gives Vayne her late-game hyper carry status through the devastating true damage. Remember that all her attacks and skills can activate this ability, so using an Autoattack --> Tumble --> Condemn can quickly finish off a low HP opponent if used correctly.
Condemn is a unique skill that pushes one enemy away, dealing slight damage to them and if near a wall, can also stun them for a brief duration. This ability is very situational, you can use it in one of three ways:
To peel for yourself, by knocking the target away
Initiating on an unaware enemy near a wall
Finishing off an opponent in combination with your Silver Bolts ability
Final Hour (R):
Final Hour is a multi-use ability that passively gives you movement speed, attack damage, and invisibility on a short cooldown. This skill makes Vayne difficult to pin down in team fights, and arguably has one of the best combination of effects of all the AD carries.
- When you are playing against a low-medium range aggressive AD, try to stand on the side that doesn't have the support and dance outside of his attack range. The AD is most likely pacing back and forth, the second he paces backwards, you can go in for the last-hit and tumble backwards immediately.
- When laning against an aggressive long range poke champion such as Caitlyn, you really want to thwart her aggression by combining your damage with your support's. Have your support throw as many spells and auto-attacks as you can while you auto + Tumble + Condemn, which procs Silver Bolts. This combo will result in massive damage and cause your enemy AD to back off. CS'ing may still be difficult, so I suggest trying to CS when the the enemy is going for a CS. Going for a CS while her auto-attack is on recharging allows you to get in and out safely.
- Don't be afraid to use your skills when last hitting. If you are contemplating on whether you have time to auto-attack, just use a skill instead. Mana is a renewable energy, and with the new buffs it is even easier to maintain. A common tactic I like to use when 3 minions are about to die is: I shoot the lowest target with an autoattack, Tumble and shoot the highest target, and finally Condemn the last target. This tactic takes less than one second to pull off and nets you 3 CS.
While kiting is the most important skill in the late game phase, last-hitting is the most important skill in the early game phase. Last hitting is the single most defining feature of whether you will carry the late game or be carried. ADCs need gold, and without a reliable source of income, you won't have a reliable chance of victory. Last-hitting in its most basic form is just killing a minion with before it is about to die, with an auto-attack, in order to gain its gold. The tricky part is countering the many things that stop you from obtaining that gold. Factors that play in preventing you from last-hitting are:
1. Ally minions focusing your target - ally minions target whatever is hitting you, if you cause your target minion to attack you, expect your minions to focus fire it down.
2. Enemy AoE heals + shields - certain champions such as Alistar or Lee Sin may try to shield or heal minions just as you attack them, causing you to miss the last hit
3. Turrets - turrets deal massive damage to minions, so predicting the amount of damage they will do is a good skill-set to have. The best ADCs in the world can reliably farm under turret by manipulating their damage through skills + auto attacks (ex: using Mystic Shot + auto-attack). Remember that it usually takes 1 Turret shot to last hit a caster minion, and 2 shots to last hit a front-line minion. Sometimes your support will have to prepare the minion for you and hit it first so you can last hit.
4. Multiple low HP minions - sometimes it is difficult to last hit because a series of minions are going to die simultaneously. In the best case scenario, you have an AoE skill that can successfully last hit all the minions nearing death. In the worst case scenario, your character doesn't have an AoE, but that's okay. Most AD champions are armed with a single target damaging spell or auto-attack refresher. Auto-attack the lowest minion while using your more damaging skill on the next lowest.
5. Zoning - this is one of the harshest obstacles in respect to last-hitting. Often, your opponents will try to prevent you from getting last hits by punishing you with auto attacks or using skills. Sometimes they will even fully engage you if you go near them to get that last hit. My best advice is to assess whether it is worth the risk. If you are only going to take 1 auto attack, then get the last hit, other-wise don't. Instead of continuously being zoned, find out a way to counter-act your situation. You can call for jungle help, return the aggression, let the minion wave push (though you lose some CS), or farm your nearby jungle. In some extreme cases, you can also assist other lanes, but this will only work if it ends up in a kill and thus an objective. It is much more fruitful staying in the bot lane and farming as much experience and gold as possible.
You want to aim for a CS of 10 for every 1 minute that goes by (i.e. 200 CS at 20 minutes).
Observe what lane you are up against and what lane partner you have. Take note of whether they have a lot of poke / range / sustain / CC and take note of what you have, this should determine what starting items you will buy.
The first ten minutes is arguably the most important time slot of any bot lane composition. AD carries are by definition late-game and require an immense amount of gold in order to do well. What you do here determines how well you can get that gold. In this period of time, the enemy bot lane will determine if you are a pushover lane or not. You should be able to farm effectively while showing your lane opponents that at any given opportunity, you WILL attack them. But be careful, do not get harassed / miss CS too often while doing so or else you will get too far behind. When your support is being attacked, return the damage for free since they are focusing him, do not let them know that your synergy is flawed or they will capitalize on that as well.
In the first 10 minutes you are going to:
- Show your presence, don't let them push you over. Be aggressive.
- Farm as effectively as you can
- Condemn anybody that is near a wall, into the wall and
- Farm double golems if it is on your side as much as possible
- Ping wherever you see the enemy jungler or mid roaming
- Assist your jungler when he is being counter-jungled or when he desperately needs a leash
At this point in the game, Vayne begins to shine. Your Q should be maxed, and you should have a few skill points into your W. Depending on how many items you have, your ability to deal damage is multiplied exponentially. You want to take advantage of your presence in the game to secure objectives.
Mid-game is about dominating dragon-side because of the abundance of gold surrounding that area. If you control dragon (mid / bot lanes pushed), then you have access to everything on the bottom side of the map including: two lanes, a renewable 750g resource, blue buff, red buff, wraiths, and double golems. The rewards for controlling dragon is great, and competitive teams realize that, but the biggest mistake that people make over objectives such as these is FORCING team fights. Don't be pressured to force dragon fights if you know you are going to lose because that will put you even further behind if they come out ahead. If you lose that forced fight, your enemy will not only take dragon and win the team fight, but they'll also have the ability to take the rest of your jungle camps, push turrets, gain free farm, while you WATCH. It is better to farm jungle camps or push lanes and lessen the gold difference than lose dragon and a team fight.
The only exception to dragon-control is when there are 5 enemies at dragon, and you know for sure you cannot win (enemy all at full - HP, outnumbered, no ults on your side etc.). A better trade-off instead, is to split push and weaken, or hopefully take multiple turrets while they are all gathered at the dragon pit, this will not only offset the gold difference but give you more map control and future dragon control as well.
Your primary goal in this portion of the game is to:
- Run to ANY lane and ANY uncleared jungle camp and farm its gold
- Join your team when they are taking objectives or when they are initiating a team fight shortly
- Get as many dragons and turrets as you can
- Control the earlier objectives such as dragon and outer turrets as best as possible
- Try to reach a CS of 200 by 20 minutes if you're not harassing / killing
This is your game now. With your final build, you are the center of attention. During this period of the game, you should be looking to duel anyone that has overstepped their bounds, group up as much as you can and look to team fight. Be wary though, this is the time where you are the sole target of the enemy team and thus they are looking to cut you down when you're alone. Be sure to not cross the your half of the map and only wander in zones that are warded. Don't be afraid of 1v1's, with decent mechanics you should be able to destroy any opponent by yourself unless they are equally as fed and have a lot more defensive stats and burst. A good example of this would be a multi-item Akali.
Your focus in this portion of the game should be on Baron and the enemy inhibitor. They are almost interchangeable in priority. If you take Baron, pushing down turrets and the inhibitor will be a lot easier --likewise if you take inhibitors, the super creeps will cause enough pressure to take Baron easily. The general guideline should be as follows: if 4 of the enemy team is down, you take their inhibitor (especially if it is primarily their carries) -- if 2-3 of the enemy team is down (especially the jungler), you take Baron. The above guideline usually guarantees the objective 90% of the time. In some cases though, you won't have the opportunity to take these for free.
In high tiers, the NUMBER ONE throw is objective control, I cannot tell you how many games I lost just because of sloppy control over objectives. ALWAYS have vision over every entrance to Baron, you want to be able to estimate to the best of your abilities whether to finish Baron or turn to fight the remaining enemy team. A common mistake that people call out is that there is 1 person bot -- automatically go for Baron. This is WRONG. That call is entirely situational -- if the 4 enemy team remaining are nearby and can stall until the 5th, you will fight a losing battle and Baron cannot make up for that. You also have to be wary of AoE teams that can lock you into Baron pit -- as an ADC you will most likely be trapped taking not only the AoE skills, but also Baron's massive damage as well.
Your main priorities in this portion of the game:
- Be there for EVERY team fight
- Have Baron warded and controlled (pushing down top and mid turret / wave)
If you were to take away ONE message from this guide, it is this: POSITIONING. Of all the champions in League of Legends, Vayne is the one that needs it the most, and can do it the best. It is up to you to master her high potential. Your enemy should really feel like they are boxing with the shadows, when you master how to position.
To begin the fight, you must be wary of everyone's initial cooldowns ( Flash / gap closers / CC's / heavy damage abilities). Auto-attack while you are safe, and then pop your ultimate when you have 2 or more enemies focusing you. The reason being, is that depending on the level of your ultimate, it only lasts for so long. You want to make sure that you are engaging in a full on team fight, and popping your ultimate early will rid you of the crucial stealth needed to kite if you do not end up engaging.
Remember the most important role that you have is dealing as much sustained damage as possible, while taking the least amount as well. If this means that you absolutely must leave a fight, then do it, but if possible you should stay in the fight at all times lifes-stealing off of the bruisers or nearby minions.
You want to be positioned in a fashion that allows easy auto attacks on a target while difficult to hit at the same time. Some examples of this would be standing behind tanks, minions, terrain etc. ALWAYS watch for who the enemy is focusing. If you have too many people focusing you, just keep running until they drop their focus, and turn once they focus someone else. In many cases, you are able to attack and kite backwards so don't be afraid to deal damage unless you know for certain you must keep running.
Always value your life, if you know the fight is lost and you cannot do anything else, just run.
If you are determining whether to Cleanse, or Flash, or Tumble, or QSS, do it. There's no time to contemplate because it only takes a split second for Vayne to go from 100-0 even at max level and items.
Having a Vayne on your team is almost a sure way to win any late-game setting provided that the Vayne knows what she is doing. In some rare cases, I find myself not being able to carry the late game due to a fed Bruiser, Jungle, and APC that cannot be outplayed ( Vi, Akali etc.). It happens, that's a part of a team game. Just keep playing and move on, although ELO / LP is important, becoming a better Vayne player is more rewarding and yields more profit than one game can. Learn from your mistakes, and don't discard anything that happened in the game as completely out of your control.
The best way to get better at Vayne is to practice her constantly. Reading guides should only give you a general outline as to what you should be capable of doing. It is up to you to take this guide and practice over and over.
I'm glad you read up to this point. I had the pleasure of writing this guide by request, to atleast bring back the favor.