Situational (See Notes)
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Vayne is a short-ranged ADC/Marksman who is arguably the best duellist in the game. Notorious for her incredible late-game potential, this hyper-carry deals some of the highest DPS in the game thanks to her Silver Bolts. I have played hundreds of games of Vayne in both Solo Queue as well as Ranked Teams. She is my favourite champion and is more difficult than your average Marksman, allowing a high skill cap and room to out-play your opponents.
Pros / Cons
- Late game hyper-carry
- Highly Mobile
- High Skill cap
- Easy to reposition in team fights with stealth and Tumble
- High duelling (1v1) potential allowing exceptional split-pushing
- True Damage (Tank shredder, prevents Vayne from falling off if she gets behind)
- Weak Laning phase
- Relatively short range (550)
- Hard to master
- Condemn is hard to use properly
Tumble(Q) is what makes Vayne the mobile, skillshot-dodging-machine that she is. It is great not only for kiting but also has great synergy with her passive, Night Hunter, making escaping from Vayne very hard indeed. Using Tumble while Final Hour is active provides Vayne with stealth for up to 1 second (remember that if you attack before the second is up, it will cancel your stealth prematurely). Her stealth is very much a part of what makes Vayne such a great duellist, which is why learning how to use it properly is a skill any good Vayne player needs to master.
If you intend on building an attack damage focused item first (such as The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge) I would recommend maxing Tumble first. However, because I am featuring an attack speed focused build this guide, I would recommend maxing Tumble second instead.
Silver Bolts(W) are what makes Vayne the late-game terror which she is. The true damage (damage which does a fixed amount no matter what resistances the enemy has) shreds anybody, no matter how tanky they are. It will activate automatically every three stacks. Stacks are acquired by either auto-attacking or attacking with Tumble or Condemn. Maxing Silver Bolts first is especially effective with attack speed focused builds, such as the one featured in this guide.
Condemn(E) is Vayne's crowd-control (CC) ability. If used correctly if provides a knock-back and a stun. In a duel against an opponent with a shorter attack range, it can also be used simply as a way to create distance between you and your opponent even if there's no wall around to stun them. Using Condemn properly is important. If used incorrectly it can save your enemies by pushing them away to safety.
Final Hour(R) is Vayne's ultimate ability. Not only does it significantly improve her DPS, it also allows her to stealth and have an enhanced passive, making her even faster. In team fights, it's important not to use it prematurely. A good Vayne player will assess the situation to see whether they can simply use it to provide higher DPS, or whether they'll need it to duel someone on the other team. Early on in the game Final Hour doesn't have a particularly long duration, so in events such as a team fight to contest the dragon it is important that you learn when the right time to activate your ultimate is. Attack speed items work very well with Final Hour as the more you auto-attack while it is active, the more amount of times you get to apply the bonus Attack Damage provided.
Runes & Masteries
Taking 3 Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed are really strong on most ADCs right now. They synergise especially well with Vayne as it helps to proc her Silver Bolts. Greater Quintessence of Life Steal used to be popular for ADCs, however since they were nerfed and Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed were buffed, people generally don't take lifesteal any-more (especially now that Doran's Blade provides lifesteal).
Taking 9 Greater Mark of Attack Damage allows Vayne to last hit more easily, trade more in her favour, and be generally stronger, particularly early in the game.
Taking 9 Greater Seal of Armor is very strong on any Marksman. Flat armor will increase your survivability, especially early game.
Taking 9 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist provides you with high magic resistance very early on. This will reduce your damage taken from not only many supports, but also from other ADCs who deal magic damage such as Corki and Kog'Maw.
Taking 21/9/0 in masteries is extremely strong in Season 4.
This is a great mastery page as it has everything Vayne needs. Feast was buffed in Patch 4.5 and now makes up for the sustain lost by not taking Greater Quintessence of Life Steal. Dangerous Game is a very helpful mastery as it great when duelling multiple people at once. As a split-pusher who often duels multiple people, this mastery is particularly good on Vayne.
In Season 3, taking 9 points in the utility was quite common and, for the most part, quite effective. This has changed in Season 4. It is now MUCH stronger to put 9 points in Defence. First of all, the Defensive tree itself is much stronger than it was last season and now offers better, stronger stats further up the Defensive tree. Another very important factor to taking Defensive mastery points instead of Utility mastery points is because of how much stronger supports are in Season 4. Supports now have more gold, and they do more damage. This makes the lane a much more treacherous place for a champion who is already very weak early on, such as Vayne.
Heal is a great summoner spell. The 30% movement speed bonus it provides is very helpful in both escaping and pursuing, and the fact that it lets you heal a team-mate makes it a very strong Summoner Spell. Heal is a better option over Barrier in most situations. Exceptions include grievous wounds from champions such as Tristana or Katarina which will reduce the effectiveness of this Summoner Spell.
Barrier is another viable summoner spell on any ADC. It is easy to use and very effective. The shield provided will help you survive strong bursts or simply help you stay alive longer in a fight. Barrier is also great for baiting, and can be used in situations such as setting up ganks. At level 1 it will shield 115, and at level 18 it will shield 455.
Exhaust can be a viable summoner spell against particularly bursty champions (such as a Zed or a Syndra). However, usually if Exhaust is wanted on the team the support will take it.
Cleanse is a very situational summoner spell, but definitely viable. I would only recommend taking Cleanse in the current meta if the enemy bot-lane is very CC focused. However, having Cleanse will almost always significantly reduce your all-in potential in the early game. This makes it harder to capitalise on things such as reaching level 2 before your lane opponents.
Flash should be taken 100% of the time on any ADC as it is currently an irreplaceable summoner spell. The increase it provides in mobility increases your survivability drastically, making it an essential in any ADC's kit.
The first item of your core is Blade of the Ruined King. This is such a great item on Vayne as it provides everything she needs. Blade of the Ruined King offers Attack speed to proc her Silver Bolts, Life-steal for sustain and AD for increased damage. The active offered by Blade of the Ruined King is also extremely helpful and is a large contributing factor to Vayne's early/mid-game duelling potential.
Phantom Dancer is a very strong second item on Vayne. It increases attack speed, which helps to proc her Silver Bolts, as well as increasing critical chance by a substantial amount (increasing her Damage per second (DPS)). Phantom Dancer is renowned for being a very high single target DPS item, which is exactly what Vayne is all about
Last Whisper is Vayne's third core item. With the meta being as it is; having tanky Shyvana tops, armour stacking Vi jungles and stronger and more farmed Leona supports, the armour-ignoring passive of Last Whisper is a vital asset to Vayne. While building Infinity Edge as your third item will increase your damage to squishy targets such as the enemy Marksman and Mid-Laner, in team fights you're going to be spending A LOT more time kiting the enemy's tanky front-line which is why building Last Whisper as your third core item is more effective in most situations.
Getting a defensive item after your Last Whisper, and hence, core is complete is very commonly seen on the pro scene. Although it's not always necessary to complete your defensive item straight away, I would recommend getting at least a Negatron Cloak or Chain Vest after you complete your core. Only ignore defence and rush an Infinity Edge if you're sure you're going to be safe. What's the point of building offensively if you're not going to be alive to fight anyway?
ADCs generally limit themselves to one defensive item. The optimal defensive item to build will vary from game-to-game. The following is a list of the main ones taken by ADCs and the certain situation each of them are best for:
Guardian Angel is a great item against a team which has one set of burst. An example of a good champion to build Guardian Angel against is a Syndra or a Zed who will attempt to full-to-nothing you. Guardian Angel is a strong item as it gives you a second chance, however, if you position poorly you will be killed again as soon as you're revived.
Mercurial Scimitar is great against hard CC comps such as Amumu, Leona or Lissandra. Being able to instantly cleanse hard CC means you have more presence in team fights, and more chance of surviving. However, like the summoner spell Cleanse, it does take skill to put this to good use so make sure you are comfortable with using this item. Keep in mind that knock-ups can't be cleansed, so if their main CC is something like a Malphite, I wouldn't recommend this item.
Banshee's Veil is a safe pick in a lot of situations and provides HP as well as magic resistance. More importantly, however, it provides immunity from long distance initiations such as an Unstoppable Force or a Solar Flare. It is also a good choice if you find yourself against a siege/poke comp as it will be able to block strong poke and protect you from being picked off by abilities such as Rocket Grab or Death Sentence.
Frozen Mallet is also a viable defensive item and is great for increasing your kiting potential. This item is optimal to build if you aren't receiving the red buffs, or your team is lacking peel for you.
Doran's Blade and a Health Potion should be your starting items every time as they combine to provide a strong start in lane. The Warding Totem is currently the best trinket for ADCs during the early laning phase.
Statikk Shiv is a good option if you're behind as its cheaper and its passive will allow you to farm faster to catch up. It is also a good item if your team lacks wave-clear.
The Bloodthirster is a good replacement to Blade of the Ruined King against assassin comps where not much extra health is being bought by the enemy team. If the enemy team-comp looks something like Riven, Kha'Zix, Ahri, Sona, then The Bloodthirster can be a very effective choice.
Mercury's Treads are great against hard CC comps. This will come at the cost of some DPS as you won't have the attack speed bonus from Berserker's Greaves.
Enchantment: Furor is a great boot upgrade to increase kiting potential but will come at the cost of not being able to defend your base quickly. I wouldn't recommend this boot enchantment if the other team has a split-push comp or is likely to back-door.
Zephyr is a good replacement to Berserker's Greaves once you've finished your entire build. Although, your games will rarely go on for long enough for you to get to this stage.
Youmuu's Ghostblade being bought as a second item (in place of Phantom Dancer) is definitely a viable build. Although this build path has great duelling potential it is not a good pick for consistent DPS for long team fights. This is because when the active is on cooldown you will have significantly lower DPS than if you had built a Phantom Dancer in its place.
Game Overview - How to carry with Vayne
Vayne is a very weak in lane. This is undoubtedly her weakest stage of the game. During laning phase avoid trading too often as unless you can either pull off a good Condemn which stuns the enemy or manage to get off a quick proc of your Silver Bolts you're unlikely to win the trade. Try to survive laning phase by farming and waiting for your jungler to gank your lane.
After completing your Blade of the Ruined King you hit a very nice power spike. You are no longer weak and can, if played correctly, duel most other Marksmen. Using your Blade of the Ruined King active is very important when playing Vayne as it heals you, offers a nice bit of burst, and allows you to kite much more effectively.
After you finish your core of Blade of the Ruined King, Phantom Dancer and Last Whisper and hit level 13 (meaning your Silver Bolts are maxed) you are ready to deal some serious damage.
Being confident enough with your skills and map awareness to the point where you become an effective split-pusher is an extremely important skill, especially when playing a Marksman who's good at duelling such as Graves or Vayne. Vayne generally isn't a champion you play to group up as 5 and push down a mid tower as a team. This is because not only is she relatively short-ranged, but she also has poor wave clear. When playing Vayne, with the help of your team get wards deep in the enemy jungle and keep pressuring bot-lane. Sucking the enemy Jungler and Mid-laner to assist in killing you will give your team a chance for them to take important objectives such as mid towers.
Your Condemn adds another stack of your Silver Bolts. This means that you can autoattack, use Tumble and then your Condemn to pull off a fast combo which deals good damage as well as pushing your enemy away, reducing their chance to trade damage back. However, using this method a lot during laning phase will chew through your mana very quickly.
Tumble is an auto-attack reset. If used against a wall there is no cast time at all and therefore is an instant auto-attack reset. This is helpful in clearing jungle camps and increasing DPS against Baron and Dragon.
When using Tumble, try to tumble diagonally when duelling and in team fights. Only tumble directly forward if you're sure there's no way the opponent can turn around and kill you. In team fights, tumbling diagonally as oppose to directly forward will help you maintain a safe position.
Vayne's stealth provided by combing her Final Hour and Tumble is an EXTREMELY useful tool. While learning Vayne it took me a long time to truly appreciate how helpful it is. After your stealth activates do not feel the need to auto-attack straight away again. Instead, use this time to position yourself well. The stealth also allows you move unpredictably, dodging skill shots and catching the enemy off guard.
When trading auto-attacks with the enemy make sure to auto-attack, and then Tumble. Try not to use Tumble as your first attack as you're missing out on the auto-attack reset.
Keep an eye on your own minions and auto-attack the enemy Marksman whenever they go in to last-hit one. This will force them to either miss a CS or take free poke.
Playing the Marksman/ADC Role
Understanding your job as a ADC is important. Your job is to deal consistent DPS to the enemy team and your priorities should be as follows:
1) Keeping yourself safe.
2) Attacking Carries and High priority targets, as long as it doesn't compromise your positioning.
A trap for new ADC players is to get too greedy and kill-hungry. Avoid getting out of position to chase down an enemy unless you have a significant advantage. In saying that, however, Vayne's kit is better than other Marksmen for assassinating high priority targets and her stealth allows her to repositioning herself in situations other Marksmen would not be able to survive.
Lane Matchups (incomplete)
Caitlyn is an annoying champion to lane against. A good Caitlyn will maintain the tether between her 650 attack range and your 550 attack range. The main thing to remember about laning against a Caitlyn is to not take too much free poke (avoid being hit by Headshots). Vayne’s DPS is higher than Caitlyn’s, even at early levels. This means that you have the potential to all-in Caitlyn if the right opportunity arises. Make sure to use your Tumble to dodge her Piltover Peacemakers , as well as using it to close the gap between her and yourself when trading. If you aren't in a good enough position to use your Condemn to stun Caitlyn, save it to interrupt her Ace in the Hole. Remember not to waste your Condemn. If you use it incorrectly it will give her an advantage as you are opening up the tether between the auto-attack range differences. Vayne will continue to deal progressive higher DPS than Caitlyn as the game goes on.
Draven is an extremely strong champion during laning phase. Try to completely avoid trading with Draven whenever he has axes spinning as you will very seldom win the trade if he does. Draven is VERY dependent on keeping his axes spinning. This opens up opportunities to take advantage of Draven’s positioning especially during team fights (as both teams can see where Draven’s axes will land). After hitting your Blade of the Ruined King power spike you will likely be able to duel Draven as long has he doesn't have two axes spinning. If he has only one axe spinning you can use your Condemn to prevent him from catching his axe (not only as a stun, but simply by pushing him away from the point where the axe is going to land).
Jinx is a good counter to Vayne because she can kill creep-waves faster than Vayne, deal area-of-effect (AOE) damage from a safe distance in team fights, and can keep up with the late-game hyper-carry status of Vayne because of her mini-gun's high attack-speed. However, Vayne excels in duels and some team fight situations because of her high mobility. Vayne can also shred tanks much more easily than Jinx. Beating Jinx in any stage of the game is very dependent on utilising your mobility and your Condemn. Tumble to avoid Zap! and her Super Mega Death Rocket! and abuse your stealth to pull off good positioning for a stunning Condemn. When trading with Jinx, make sure you never allow yourself be hit by Zap! as being hit will make you much more more susceptible to being hit by her other abilities.
who has a particularly weak early-game, but when played correctly becomes an incredible late-game threat. Her high DPS and high mobility combine to make her one of the most potent late-game ADCs.
Here's a video from a professional Korean ADC.
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