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Vi Build Guide by dauqS

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Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author dauqS

Vi stands for Viable - An in-depth guide for dunking

dauqS Last updated on January 1, 2013
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Ability Sequence

2
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key W
1
8
10
12
13
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 11

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pickpocket
Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 10


Guide Top

Introduction

You're here for the guide so who gives a f*ck about dauqS? Who is he anyway?

(Just FYI, I am an ex-1701 ELO player from EUNE, waiting for the last Preseason patch so that I can jump back into the ranked solo queue.
Now move on, nothing to see here.)


Guide Top

What does Vi stand for?

Vi is an AD Offtank who is meant to be a toplaner but can get away with jungling and smashing some midlaners aswell. Hell, sometimes I may even take bot and break the enemy ADC to bits from behind my creep wave so expect me to cover a lot of stuff in this guide.

So why should you pick up Vi?


She's one dirty badass brawler, fellow dunklings. This steampunk lady actually made it into the mighty basketball team full of square-jaw gentlemen and that IS something!
Also, she is from Piltover. Piltovian guys and gals are all smashing cool. No offense to Darius but while he patiently jogs up to you to hurt your feelings, looking like he's already bored of decimating Teemos, Vi actually enjoys doing such crazy stuff with her giant gauntlets. Plus: similarly to many other tanky champs you can put her in the jungle aswell but frankly I would rather lane with her; those monsters cannot answer questions while punching them, after all.
So if you're in need of something refreshing after slamming and jamming all day with the good old dunkmasters, get Vi, given that you still love dunking. Of course you do, unless you're a freaking nooblord who always gives first blood to the enemy team.


Guide Top

Pros / Cons

Unlike some of the release date powerhouses (the Moon also goes down, dear Diana), I found Vi to be surprisingly well balanced. Sure she can smack your face hard, but there are some - more or less obvious - weaknesses that keep her out of the NERFPLZ tier, more likely because she was made with the Season 3 items and mechanics taken into consideration.

+ Tons of burst, sustained and AoE damage
+ Two gapclosers, both imbued with hard crowd control effects
+ Scales well all day, every day
+ Accepts many different builds
+ Rude, crude and totally Vi-able
- No MS-boost or slow in the kit
- No innate health sustain
- Sometimes lazy to disengage
- Possible early mana issues
- Whiffing Falcon Punch isn't hard
- Deals exclusively physical damage

+/- Magenta hair isn't mainstream


Guide Top

Runes, Masteries & Summoner Spells

Before you rageunlock and instapick our new dunk mistress, you better prepare your runes and masteries so that you don't rush and screw things up right before your very first match. If you feel too comfortable to develop a new page for a single champ, I give you some of the more common setups.

Runes


You're not Akali or Ryze so you're fine with the universal AD rune page:

Runes

Greater Mark of Lethality
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
3

This can be used with the majority of AD champions and it works perfectly with Vi aswell. It gives you some AD for easier farming, ArPen for stronger PvP and enough bulk to not look like a scrub.


Other Vi-able choices



M
A
R
K
S

greater mark of armor penetration
M
A
R
K
S
The definite jungling marks in case you want to blow up some monsters instead. If you're a synergy-freak, I secretly tell you that with these you proc your Denting Blows faster for punching the beasts with super speed.
M
A
R
K
S

greater mark of armor penetration
M
A
R
K
S

S
E
A
L
S


S
E
A
L
S
If you happen to lane against something that is going to build a lot of AP but already hurts a lot ( Kennen is quite annoying for instance), you better grab some early MR to survive the harass. In this case, I would even dare to pick scaling armor instead as you face much less physical damage until you finally start roaming around with your team.
G
L
Y
P
H
S


G
L
Y
P
H
S

Q
U
I
N
T
S


Q
U
I
N
T
S
Since penetration is such a hot sh*t nowadays, it could be a good idea to take these. It takes slightly more efforts to farm before you get your first AD item, but ArPen is really valuable in the lategame when everyone builds armor.

I'm covered by steel and I wear two gigantic gloves, but negative f*cks are given by my feet. Seriously, this thing works on a lot of champs and Vi is nowhere near an exception either.
Q
U
I
N
T
S


Q
U
I
N
T
S





Masteries


One of the better things about bruisers is that they care much less about specified mastery setups, and with the Season 3 masteries now we have even more options. If you feel confused about what to get from the new trees, consider one of these three pages below.

Masteries
4/5
4/1
1/1
3/5
4/1
1/1
1/5
2/1
1/1
1/5
1/5
3/1
3/1
1/
Masteries
4/5
2/1
4/1
1/5
3/1
1/1
2/5
3/
1/
4/1
2/1
2/5
1/1
Masteries
4/5
4/1
1/1
1/5
4/1
2/1
3/1
1/5
1/1
1/5
3/5
1/1
3/5
1/1
(9/21/0) gives you some cool defensive masteries and is a safer choice if you don't know what you're up against.
Take (21/9/0) if you hate yordles and you want to ground them all before they pester you to death.
Get (9/12/9) if you're willing to jungle for the rest of your LoL career.


The coolest masteries


These greatly help Vi in her mission of chasing down the scurvy opposition. You can never go wrong if you bring them to the Fields of Dunking.

  • Fury and/or Sorcery - Our majestic bruiser likes both, but if you don't go deep into the Offense tree, just put enough points on them to move on to the second tier.
  • Deadliness - Max it. It's already good on its own; it was quite expensive to get this much AD before, however it only gets better as it builds up to:
  • Weapon Expertise - This seemingly has got nerfed, but thanks to the damage calculation changes it's still one of the beastliest mastery points.
  • Durability - This can make the difference between running away in one piece and having that Ignite ticking your remaining health down. If I take it, I max it.
  • Hardiness and/or Resistance - Since flat penetration is so popular, putting a few points on these can help you not taking true damage. More Armor is advised for jungling.
  • Veteran's Scars - Same as Durability . Health is more likely to become the best defensive stat in this Season, so why not get some more?



Other cool masteries


Put the rest of your points on some of these to round out your mastery page; they are all pretty good and usable in the majority of your games.

  • Summoner's Wrath / Summoner's Resolve / Summoner's Insight - You don't have to smash your screen to be a more suitable summoner for Vi, just improve your spells a bit.
  • Butcher - A must for jungling, and makes you a cooler farmer.
  • Demolitionist - Remember what this game is about? Pushing down the enemy Nexus. Send your enemies back to the fountain, then pummel their towers with all your strength!
  • Havoc & Brute Force & Sunder - If you're going deep into the Offense tree, you want to max all of these for Max Damage.
  • Executioner - This and Havoc together increases your dunking power by 7.1%. If you made it this far in the guide, I already know you love to Slam Jam.
  • Tough Skin & Bladed Armor - You see all those junglers rolling these for a good reason.
  • Safeguard - So you're the one who tanks the turret all the time, huh?
  • Unyielding & Block - Autoattackers will hate you forever for picking these. Go ahead.
  • Tenacious - Several team compositions include crowd control beasts so this pretty much always comes in handy.
  • Juggernaut - Vi loves to be healthy while punching the bad guys and gals.
  • Honor Guard - Scales wonderfully into the lategame if you have ample defensive stats, making your health worth even more.
  • Wanderer - Reduces the time it takes to walk back to your lane or to visit fellow dunklings.
  • Improved Recall - Believe it or not: taking one second less to blue pill will save your life countless times.
  • Mastermind - Now that the Flash base cooldown is 300 seconds, it takes four mastery points to get it back in 255. However your second summoner spell gets back quicker than before.
  • Runic Affinity - Enjoy one more minute on your blues and reds now that you have knocked Maokai out of the forest.
  • Biscuiteer - Even a single cookie can save you from getting your butt kicked by the jungle.



Situational masteries


You take these if you plan something funky or you're plain desperate. Sometimes they can be quite rewarding but don't rely on them all the time.




Uncool masteries






Summoner Spells


The coolest spell


They still couldn't nerf Flash hard enough to knock it off the throne. It remains the best Summoner Spell in the game and Vi loves it just as much as the other 99% of the champions (the 1% is Olaf because he doesn't like hi-tech stuff).




Other cool spells


Ignite is the most famous snowball spell; it can pick up otherwise improbable kills, give you tons of gold and encourage you to continue the massacre. Vi can snowball quite hard with a few damage items so if you're willing to run amok, this is for you.

Never go in the jungle without Smite. It makes that critical first clear much easier, and it remains useful throughout the game for securing buffs and objectives. If you still refuse to bring it into the woods, you may aswell install some revolving doors in your jungle entrances for the enemy team.

Also consider taking Exhaust, particularly when the rest of your team CBA to do so. Although it's a little bit harder to get ├╝berfed with this spell, it brings more utility in the teamfights as it can disable the enemy carry or whoever you are scared of. It also makes you a less desirable target for turret dives.

Teleport is one of my personal favourites. If your team is a huge metal fan of Sightstones or a friendly annoying bastard called Captain Teemo is on duty, you can apply global pressure on the entire enemy team with the ganking potential of this spell ...
or you can just hop back to your lane ASAP.




Situational spells


While Ghost is absolutely amazing for the sticking power, it lacks the surprise element. If you take it as a secondary spell, you miss out something cool from the list above. It's definitely better on the Twisted Treeline where the uses of Flash are somewhat limited or when you're trying to flee from an angry Sion with four Phantom Dancers.
Some Vaynes may end up rolling Cleanse because their build is strict and a single stun can ruin their lives, but we are Vi-able and we can buy a Mercurial Scimitar and laugh at that brutal AoE hard CC team.
This might be familiar from your crazy-exciting botlane games and yes, Heal is a very good spell to bait those squishies with, but it's not the ideal pick for Vi; the toplane is full of tough guys and tomboys and if you want to smash their faces ( "Oh yeah!"), you better bring something smashing. Decent if you're duo laning.
Revive+ Teleport ES NUMERO UNO. GOT YOUR A*S WHUPPED? MAKE IT A 10V5 AND WOMBO COMBO FOR MAXIMUM IP!
F*ck you Karthus.




Uncool spells


Clarity can more or less solve your early mana management difficulties ... then it becomes absolutely useless for the rest of the match.
If you seriously need this, you're not warding enough.
Dominion is not my thing, sorry.



Guide Top

Abilities and Skill Sequence

Abilities



Blast Shield
This is our brawl timer. Get in the fight, let the bodies hit the floor and walk out with so low damage taken you may aswell lifesteal it back on minions. When we're smashing monsters in the forest, this cool passive can make our raspberry shrubs last longer.
Note: it scales with your maximum health. Get healthy.

Vault Breaker
Monkey D. Luffy would be so proud. This thing is so flexible it makes us flexible by itself. It works very similarly to Varus's Piercing Arrow except that we are the projectile. We can initiate, burst, interrupt, chase, execute, farm, escape and break through walls with this single ability. On top of that, it lines up minions and monsters for a nice Excessive Force.
Note: the cooldown on the early levels is really high; user discretion is advised.

Denting Blows
This is compared with Vayne's Silver Bolts by many and is the reason why we are so wonderful in extended fights. It's still a one-point wonder because the other two abilites are more important to have on low CD. As a jungler get it at Lv.1 to blow the golem's head faster.
Note: Vault Breaker adds a stack so that you only have to hit two more times to proc it.

Excessive Force
Our AoE farming and harassing tool that happens to reset the autoattack-timer. Also, the AoE range is pretty high. It's actually higher than the autoattack range of most AD Carries and Mages so if you can manage your mana and dodge skills well, you may even send those freaking nooblords back to their fountain before they would farm up to scary levels.
Note: Sheen's Spellblade procs only on the main target.

Assault and Battery
"Get dunked!" Seriously, this is one hell of an ultimate. A gap-closer, an AoE knockback and a single target knockup with enough damage to "Power slam!" the enemy carry to death. Oh, and some CC-immunity while doing all these nasty stuff. What's even more ridiculous is that it synergizes perfectly with Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole; charge in, knock aside the protectors of that dirty maggot Kog'Maw and yell "Boom! Headshot." That's like the coolest thing that can happen on the Fields of Dunking.
Note: It's not the most damaging dunk in the arsenal, but the sh*tloads of utility makes it just as fun to pull off.




Skill Sequence


Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

As I already mentioned earlier, you want to level up your active abilities ASAP for the sole purpose of getting their cooldowns lower; ideally it's best to max Vault Breaker first as it makes the biggest difference, but if you're facing a delinquent with larger muscles than your gauntlets or you're forced to farm-race with your own turret, putting early points on Excessive Force might serve better.In a nutshell, Q>E>W if you feel confident, E>Q>W if you stay back. Level up R whenever you can.


Yeah, yeah, so what should I get first?

By level 2, you should have Q+E when laning and W+E when jungling.
By level 3, you should have one point on each.


Guide Top

Items

Now this is a big deal. The preseason threw a lot of cool items at us and many of them work quite well with Vi. The matter is that you can get only 6 of them (7 if you buy Eleisa's Miracle which is totally useless unless you roll the Revive+ Teleport combo).
The way I make her a good addition to the team is to find a healthy balance between offense and defense. This doesn't mean other approaches are not Vi-able, but I find them being more like niche builds:

  • Going only for damage items may net you some (or over a million, who knows) kills early on but if the game isn't over in ~30 minutes you most likely end up melting in teamfights. You can build AD Vi if you have a strong early team and you want to finish the match fast.
  • Going only for tank items has a rather obvious drawback: you don't deal scary amounts of damage and the enemy team may just ignore you while they smack your carries to death. You can build Tank Vi if your team was silly on the champion selection screen and they want you to be nothing but their meat shield. It's a hard row to hoe, but someone has to do it.

Starting Items


I see many conservative laners stick with the Season 2 starting kit, which is:



Bear in mind that with the dawn of Season 3 the Base Movement Speed has been increased by 25 while the Movement Speed bonus of all boots have been reduced by 25. This means that while this beginning is still correct, it's not as super strong as it was before.



sight ward


This might be familiar from your last holidays. Now you don't give up as much MS as before so go ahead if you begin your tanking business straight away. Hug your fountain for a few seconds to make the second option work.





An offensive take-off if you expect and easy lane. The new Doran's Blade is pretty good if you SMASH FACES constantly, however it builds into nothingness. Long Sword looks puny at first, but it's part of your final build.


sight ward
sight ward

Actually I find this exceptionally Vi-able. Crystalline Flask is a very cool consumable that refreshes every time you blue pill, meaning you don't have to spam buy drinks if you're behind. The early Sight Ward protects you from scary level 2 ganks, and Rejuvenation Bead now builds into lots of exciting and useful high-tier items. Take Faerie Charm if you'd spam Excessive Force and rush Philosopher's Stone.
The drawback? Need 5 gold.




The new standard for jungling. It makes your first clear quick and safe enough to perform a judicial gank on that evil ghoulbreeder Yorick for attempting to knock our Jayce on the head which would be totally uncool.




This + Ninja Tabi + Unyielding + Block
No brakes on the hate train, Fiora. Choo choo, b*tch.




You gotta love AP Vi, you damn troll.


First trip back


If you didn't start with Boots of Speed, get it after your successful debut "(...) Or don't, I don't care."

I find this neutral. It gives you sustain on lane which can be used for either longer turret hugging or for gaining an upper fist in duels. It builds mostly into pure damage items so get it if you plan to dunk later.
Lengthens the path to finish your build by 480 gold, but makes your life a lot easier until the surrender time limit. The free ward aids to keep the enemy jungler away from your lane, or to track him/her down when you're jungling too.
Both offensive and defensive stats make this an overall good item to B for, but the most appealing part is the Icy proc. It gives you something you're missing from your ability kit:
"Slooow down!"
So even that rock solid Malphite is worried about you and starts building Ninja Tabi and other nasty Armor stuff. Time to get more brutal!
If you're a hell-raiser and end up in brawls often, take the blue sword and scare the sh*t outta your foes with a Super- Excessive Force, powered by Spellblade!
philosopher's stone
The lane seems hopeless? Get GP10 and farm to the end.




These are the coolest items to purchase for Vi. If you proceed to get them all,
the God of Dunk will smile upon you forever.



I sincerely believe Vi having giant GAUNTLETS and this item being called a GAUNTLET is already enough reason to pick up this beast. It's so godd*mn amazing on her it's not even funny. You got tons of mana for spamming, cooldown reduction for even more spamming, armor to look beefy and 28 bonus damage on Excessive Force. Oh and the Spellblade ... PRESS E, HURT 'EM ALL, SLOW 'EM ALL AND DO THE DOUGIE DANCE OVER THEIR CORPSES 'CUZ WE GOT SOME BADASS EYE-STYLE, HOMIES!

The remake was so successful you could see Pantheons regularly rolling four of this. You need only one to be a mighty dunk mistress. On top of being a legendary stat stick, this bloody awesome axe will make all the AD champs in your team love you. Excessive Force + Iceborn Gauntlet + The Black Cleaver = MASSACRE.

The only thing that doesn't deal AoE damage now is your autoattack. Let's fix it, and add another mini- Excessive Force that drains health from everyone around you. It also procs The Black Cleaver's armor shred, and the draining effect stacks with additional life steal, or if you still listen to me ...

... this. The new Spirit Visage is apparently one of the best MR items you can get. The passive adds even more to your AoE sustain, and the additional 15% CDR caps your overall cooldown reduction at 40%. Now all you need is cr*ploads of green bars and you're ready to permabuy elixirs. Guess what's coming.

The definition of tons of health. The values got tweaked and the item itself looks slightly weaker than before. On the other hand it also costs less, and it fuels your Blast Shield aswell, boosting your effective health even more. I just can't stress enough how important health has become as a defensive stat, and nothing else gives more than Warmog's Armor. Buy it, love it, it's the best you can get.




These items are also pretty cool and work well on Vi. Take them to round out your build.



Randuin's Omen has gone through several changes, but in a nutshell it's still a powerful tank item. The recipe is much friendlier as it gives you more time to choose between this and Warmog's Armor (and many other items that build from a Giant's Belt). The best alternative if the enemy ADs are wreaking havoc on your team.

The more offensive upgrade of Sheen works very well on Vi if you build her like a badass duelist or a Trinity Tank. Nothing is really wasted on this expensive beauty and in spite of keeping the Icy procced by Random Number God, the bonus mobility compensates for your gambling nature.

Oh tomboy this is so attractive. A single item that gives you a lot of nasty stuff: 100% Icy procs, tons of health and a decent chunk of damage because you like to smash sh*t with your huge frosty hammer, don't you? Too bad that item slows don't stack with each other so you either have to take this or Iceborn Gauntlet.

It dropped 2% LS between the two Seasons, but it takes less kills to get stacked. Raw AD means your dunks are heavier and your Falcon Punch destroys more stars in the galaxy. I know it's immensely fun to instagib that freaking nooblord who pretends to be the carry, but make sure you don't get eaten by other bloodthirsty b*stards on the way out.

I always liked Hexdrinker on my bruisers and assassins, yet when Maw of Malmortius was introduced, it felt disappointing. It certainly is a deceiving item because of the seemingly weak stats for such price, but after a few plays I think I understood the purpose behind Maw; it's for punishing bursty APs who dare to 1v1 you. AP carries often build enough magic penetration to hit through all your MR so the shield may end up being stronger than any MR item. Oh, and tons of AD to dunk the b*stards for giving you a dirty look.

Before The Black Cleaver this was the only option for murdering every-f*cking-one in your way, and it still is stronger against tanky teams. The lack of health and CDR makes it look less desirable than the axe, but let's face it: for 865 gold less it's still pretty damn strong. Pick this if your AD Carry is a freaking nooblord and you're in charge of carrying your team. Pick both if you desperately want to see Rammus naked.

So they have an AP toplaner, an AP mid, an AP jungler and a Teemo sitting in the brush with his annoying mushrooms ... your support has already purchased an Aegis of the Legion and is now building towards this item ... who cares? The wielders can get the aura twice! 40 armor and 90 MR? Holy sh*t!

Madred's Bloodrazor, fare thee well. What makes Blade of the Ruined King much better than the older buddy? The on-hit effect deals physical damage. This is a serious plus considering now it's not just Warwick's core item. It's also a lot cheaper, the build path is quite comfortable and the active turns you into something rock solid while solving your health sustain issues. Mundo will go where Vi pleases.




There is a place and time for these items to appear in your inventory,
and it's not everywhere and everytime.



Warwick's confusing you with Little Red Riding Hood? Take the mercury and send him back to his family! Malzahar's putting on a serious look? Take the mercury and smack his face into the Void! Skarner's sticking his tail in all the wrong places? Take the mercury and show him how strange this world can be! If Tenacity is just not enough, look no further!

zeke's herald
Alright, this used to be a fine support item but guess what: now there are hotter support items in the game. So why would you prefer this over other sustain items? The AS replaced with AD made it in general a more attractive aura item to take if you have more than 2 AD champs in your team. That said, you may not be the main target so even with less offensive items you can deal more damage while the bonus life steal keeps your allies alive.

When I'm jungling, usually, I upgrade my Hunter's Machete to Wriggle's Lantern. Let's say you build Ninja Tabi to counter the abundance of AD in the enemy team. Let's say Ashe wants to stun you for 3.5 seconds. Ouch, let's get a different upgrade. Armor, health, Tenacity. Oh, good!

"But I want to run after people until the announcer yells Quadra Kill!" Okay, I got it, take a Zephyr instead. It doesn't give tons of damage, but you will indeed become a great chaser. Movement speed, cooldown reduction and Tenacity are all fueling your mobility. Combine with Boots of Swiftness and Trinity Force to make it nigh impossible to escape from you, unless the enemy team consists of five Hecarims with Ghost.

"Do I look like a godd*mn support, brah?" Hold on a minute and check the stats.
F*ck Sunfire Cape and its dumb AoE magic damage you don't have MPen for anyways (unless you roll AP Vi and I hope you already know my opinion about your idea). That active can be a difference between enemy Karthus singing for a Penta Kill and cursing you to death for saving your whole team. And 10% CDR. CDR is always nice.

There are teams that just don't have the willpower to build tanky. All they want is to murder everyone and so ignore defensive stats. So how do you deal with those careless scrubs?
Terrify them. With all seriousness, turning on the active of Youmuu's Ghostblade can be friggin' frightening in a duel, and may often lead to the enemy popping all escapes because raw speed with Denting Blows reminds people of Vayne crushing lategame 1v5.

shurelya's reverie
This is the fourth support item I mention, I know, but this must have been part of at least one of your Trinity Tank builds. Despite the massive regeneration debuffs and the slightly less health it gives I'd still consider buying Shurelya's Reverie just for its awesome team utility. If nobody wants to initiate or it's time to turn and burn, this item still is the one and only option.

I tried this thing on a few champs without any real burst ( Ashe) and I gotta say it's really scary if you're ahead. That said, Sword of the Divine is a snowball item. If you pick it up you're pretty much broadcasting: "You guys are freaking nooblords and I'm gonna make myself a rich b*tch outta y'all!" If they aren't totally blind, they won't stop hating your guts and will chase you 24/7 for this, but if they really are, enjoy stomping them all.
Either way, it's hardcore fun.

It basically gives you a second life every now and then. Can still be totally useless if your team leaves you alone with all the evildoers, so buy this at your own risk.

This is for showing off when the enemy team is already brutally slaughtered and they have absolutely no idea how to deal with your Sword of the Divine. Well, crit 'em harder.




If I had to think about when would I take these items,
I would say never and never ever.



This is not as horrible as the rest in this bracket, it's just that it doesn't serve any purpose. It could've been good as a counter-initiation item, but it's just so easy to poke that shield out, leaving you with health and MR. Get a Spirit Visage instead.
It's definitely broken on certain champs. Vi is not one of them. All of her abilities are AoE. She doesn't scale with mana. She's melee. Just ... take something else.
There is a comparison with Locket of the Iron Solari above. If you don't have magic penetration (of course you don't!), the passive looks puny.
Blade of the Ruined King is much better on Vi. Give this to Shen and you both will like the way you look. "I Garen-tee it!"
I don't really like this item because it very rarely proves to be more useful than other armor items. I guess it works if Fiora keeps slapping your face with her rapier and that's it.
Snowball for a few minutes, then die once and lose tons of AD. Seriously, don't do it.
Locket of the Iron Solari is much cheaper and has an active that can not only save you from turret shots but from other nasty stuff aswell. I see this one being a bad item to get in general.
Get out.


Boots of Choice



A few words about boots.
In general, although Mercury's Treads is the best pair ever, it is quite expensive and wasted against teams with little to no hard crowd control. Also exclude Airborne and Suppression because they don't give a damn about Tenacity.
We have two Vi-able alternatives, Ninja Tabi and Boots of Swiftness. Ninja Tabi is great against a team with right-click wonders like the Asian spearman. Boots of Swiftness can be picked up when you want to catch a Noxian troll, but the endless slowfest annoys you to death.

Now about the enchantments.

Enchantment: Alacrity if you don't really care about situational bonuses and just want to run faster everytime.
Enchantment: Distortion if you run Flash+ Teleport and you want to perform more flashy teleport-ganks.
Enchantment: Furor if you can get into fights well, but cannot stick to your target (common issue with Vi that can be solved with Frozen Mallet/ Iceborn Gauntlet).
Enchantment: Captain if Garen is in the little soldier's room, too busy to lead the charge.
Enchantment: Homeguard if you want to beat Usain Bolt.

Out of these five, Enchantment: Homeguard seems to be the best purchase as it combines great utility with low gold cost and high fun factor. The rest are purely situational.


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Gameplay

WARNING: WALLTEXT AHEAD. SKIP TO TL;DR AT WILL.

"Let's get to the fun part!"

Screw the lanes and other cr*p now, let's talk about playing in general. A huge bunch of people tend to forget what this game is about and often make silly plays for silly purposes, so after thousands of matches I dare you to ask this one question: what is the main goal of the game?

"WAAAA DUNK THE B*TCHES PICK UP PENTA GET 20K GOLD LOL WAT ITENS HOLY SHIII-"

I like your enthusiasm, but this mindset won't lead you to ultimate triumph. The matter is, if you go only for kills, you may end up being painfully reckless and give unnecessary kills. The main goal is to destroy the enemy Nexus. Making the enemy team surrender is only an alternative. Of course the fun part is about two teams coming full butt at each other, but you only sour your own life by donating gold to your opposition; after all, their goal is the same. Minimize casualties. Don't die. If you died, make sure it doesn't happen again.

"How do I not die? I'm already dead!"

So despite my advice, you're still a running gold bag. Don't worry, I won't call you a freaking nooblord for this.
I do my best to be nice and help you so before breaking it down to phases, let's find out how NOT to die:
  • Know your opponent. This is not only about knowing the abilities. You have to be aware of his/her/its stats, build paths and behaviour. The best way to learn more about champions is to play with them.
  • Watch the scoreboard. Not for the amount of KS your jungler got away with. Check the farms, the items and the score aswell. You better know who's fed and who fell behind so that you don't fight against the odds.
  • Avoid the Fog of War. Don't roam around alone in the jungle if you don't know where your foes are; you can get ambushed and brutally slaughtered. Don't chase people endlessly; the enemy team may set up a trap against you.
  • Watch the minimap. Not only to see what's visible, but to see what's missing. Stop blaming your teammates for not saying "ss"; just glance at the corner to check the lanes by yourself. Also, warding is useless if you never look at area you warded.
  • Build vision. Not knowing where the enemy champions are makes the Fog of War a huge danger zone. Ward around the place you're farming at.
  • Always have an escape route. This is especially true for solo queue. Make sure you can survive on your own. The jungler will not be there whenever you're in trouble.
  • Minimize risk. Go for the kill only if you are 100% sure that you can get out alive. Many dive the turret and die trying to finish someone. Don't be that guy/girl.
  • Take objectives with your team. Try the Dragon/Baron only if you know the entire enemy team is somewhere far away (e.g. the Otherworld). Push together and make sure you can join teamfights in time.
  • Stay positive, chat less. The lack of team morale can completely destroy solo games. Don't bother smack-talking with your team, some take it negatively. Ignore All-chat. Use pinging, but don't spam it. Make sure you really are in the mood for playing.

Bear in mind that these are only general guidelines to help you make your own life easier. I cannot play the game for you. Just by reading this guide you will not be the Winner Of The Year. You have to log in, play normals, get used to the mechanics, try out everything and then maybe you become a better Vi player. All remains pure theory until you bring it to practice.

Now let's break it down to phases.

Earlygame



Why do I consider the starting items you see at the top of the page being one of the best purchases? With smart usage of the consumables, this take-off has the greatest potential of keeping you on lane. Crystalline Flask is best at level 1, not after your first trip back even though it's still useful then. Sight Ward saves you from a quick jungler gank after blue/red buffs are taken. Rejuvenation Bead reduces overall damage taken from harass. The movement speed changes made it easier to dodge skillshots, but if you feel helpless, +3x .

First off, Vi is mediocre as an earlygame champion. Take her as Riven; once she gets all her abilities, she can function well, but in order to become scary, she needs a lot of gold. That doesn't mean she cannot snowball from early on, it's just that certain champs can keep her under control (more info in the Matchups chapter).

The best way to go after your items is to farm. Remember to lasthit all the time. If you can't reach a minion, stay within EXP range. Don't push unless you feel safe (and warded a lot). If you're against something that likes to push, you can harass by using Excessive Force on a minion. If a melee wants to fight you, proc your Denting Blows. Escape from ganks with charging up Vault Breaker and punching back to your turret.
Note: when you've pushed your lane and the enemy laner's been sitting under the turret for a while, then suddenly charges at you, even though you got the advantage, they apparently want to tell you: "Here's the jungler, let's fight sis!". I hope you know what to do.

For initiating brawls, get in the brush, charge up your Vault Breaker and aim at your laning opponent's smile. A maxed Vault Breaker deals Phreak levels of damage, and you only need to follow up with an autoattack to Excessive Force to proc your Denting Blows. After that, either walk away while Blast Shield protects you from counterharass or smash the b*stard's face (depending on the matchup). Yet again, watch out for baits.

At level 6, put a point on your crazyawesome ultimate. You will use it as a finishing move. When sh*t get real in a duel, summoner spells get popped, and enemies get dunked. Let's say you're facing a huge-a*s ugly Cho'Gath. You make him cry all the time with your Denting Blows, but he stops you with a Rupture under your feet and lasthits his health back in safety whenever he gets low. Charge at him and dunk his gigantic monsterface before he walks away.

Midgame



There are many theories about when is the earlygame over. Consider this: earlygame ~ laning phase. First turret down -> someone leaves the lane -> laning phase over ~ earlygame over. In short, people start roaming around in the midgame.

"Laning phase is never ending. Woof."

Anyway, Vi is badass in this phase. Vault Breaker makes her one of the best roamers in the game, and with that she can really surprise the Dark Side she formerly belonged to.

Someone farming alone? Reward him/her/it with a Vault Breaker from the brush! That a*shole Teemo jogging out of a fight? Pick him up like a f*cking basketball and slam his face to the ground! Getting jumped at after stealing a buff? Punch your way out of the jungle! A Vi who knows when and where to be can be hideously nerve-racking for the enemy team, and being THAT person who ruins their game is bloody entertaining, isn't it?

Also, the burst damage peaks at around level 9 to 13 due to Q and E being leveled up, making assassinations truly outrageous. Carries haven't built Armor yet and the jungler may still be behind in terms of farm and EXP, meaning you have multiple targets to go for.

First off, assuming your laning opponent keeps calling you overpowered as you dunked him/her/it hard, look at the other lanes. Whoever is pushing to our turret is apparently waiting to be ganked by YOU. Whoever is pushed up to the turret is apparently waiting to be towerdived by YOU ... and your jungler.

With all seriousness, work with your jungler please. That Maokai is ditching the forest only to set up a perfect gank for you. 3v1 on top or midlane is pretty nasty, not to mention 4v2 on botlane. Not even a turret can help that poor guy.

Ganking on botlane can be made dramatically easier by using Teleport. It is usually filled with wards so simply approaching it through the river or the jungle may send them back, but only to their turret, not to their fountain.

While midgame is the best part of the match to pick up lots of kills, there are objectives to take between victorious fights. Make sure the majority of the buffs end up at one of your team members. If the Dragon is alive, go for it with your team. If the enemy team thinks the same, try to steal it from them. If there is absolutely no chance to take it, kill them all or push down a turret to make up for the gold loss. If your team is full of earlygame champs who scale poorly into teamfights, your goal is to gain as much gold advantage as possible and finish the game with it. Otherwise, survive until your lategame-destroyers start to get working.

Oh, and one more thing: don't do Baron yet, unless you wiped out the enemy team.
There is just too much risk involved.

Lategame



The difference between midgame and lategame may look tiny for some, but it's actually quite significant. At this point, most have finished their builds and teams behave as a single unit. Most of the turrets are down and Baron has become quite attractive. A single teamfight can decide the match and not just in the way of forcing the other team vote four times YES (three if they have a freaking nooblord who left the game after first blood).

If you were the jungler and you have a Nasus, a Ryze, a Vayne and a Lulu in your team, your job is done; stand back and watch them destroy the game. If not, you still have things to do.

Actually I find Vi to be still pretty cool in this phase, but not as crushing as she was in the midgame. There are several different roles you can fulfill in teamfights depending on your build, your teammates and the situation:
  • Initiator - You have a tank who can't initiate well, or you are the tank. Assault and Battery on the enemy AD/AP Carry (whichever is more frightening), then play a Last Man Standing with him/her/it. Yes, it's a hard work to do.
  • Semi-Carry - You can deal tons of damage. Wait until your tank initiates then go for the enemy AD/AP Carry (whichever seems tastier), kill him/her/it right away, then get out until you can focus someone else, preferably the other Carry.
  • Peeler - Your build is quite balanced. Stay with your AD/AP Carry (whichever looks cooler) and punch everyone who tries to approach him/her/it. If it happens to be the enemy AD/AP Carry, dunk that b*stard and hope your teammates follow your example.
  • Tank Destroyer - Your team could already function well if it wasn't for that angry Nautilus disrupting everyone. Separate him with a nicely aimed ultimate and whittle down his health with some Denting Blows. Denying the tank may let your carries do their things calmly.

Whatever you're doing for your team, make sure you always stick together; nothing is worse than having an absent member in a teamfight. Confine yourselves to this rule when taking objectives. Keep all lanes pushed or at least neutral. Go for Baron only when pushed. If you have won a teamfight, focus on pushing.

After 40+ minutes, one teamfight can decide the entire match especially if your AD Carry survives it. Enemy team got ACE'd? Ignore Baron, go for the Nexus. Demolish all turrets and inhibitors in the way. Destroying the Nexus gives you instant VICTORY, killing the Baron then pressing B doesn't. If you see the enemy champs coming back alive, proceed to take everything and get your purple buff before they could step out of their base.

Don't delay the game only for getting maximum IP. That way you give your enemies the chance to retaliate. Win as fast as possible.


TL;DR:

Build advantage on lane.
Help other lanes get ahead.
Keep up the pressure.
Destroy the enemy Nexus.

(Wow, this last part was kinda serious, sorry.)


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Jungling

So you have put Vi in the jungle.

An unprepared player can be easily slapped in the face by the Season 3 jungle, so take your runes, masteries and starting items as suggested above. Most importantly, bring Smite.

For a quick and safe clear call a laner to help with the first two camps.


The ideal jungle routes


Blue Buff Route


Red Buff Route


These runs were done in a custom game, without any help, obviously, to show that Vi can clear the jungle even if the laners forget about her. I start the Red Buff Route with the golems because Denting Blows deal with them quickly.

After a few tries, both routes seem to be equally fast. The Red Buff Route may look scarier on the video, but actually it's safely manageable if you wait for your potions to heal you back a bit before going for the Red Lizard.

The reason behind learning two different routes is to allow a quicker gank on lanes the enemy may not expect you to be near. Most players think a mana user always go the Blue Buff Route but since your mana issues only occur after level 3, you can easily take the other one and do a level 2 gank before the rivers get spammed by wards. This is especially cool when you're on the purple side and toplane looks tasty.

If you gank at level 2, you better learn Vault Breaker second. Early ganking is a high risk-high reward move so expect to fall behind if you lose too much health. Make sure you don't die while killing the enemy laner. It's better to make them recall than to sacrifice yourself for a kill. Same goes for botlane: even if your original goal was to murder the AD Carry, don't let the enemy support pick up the kill.

Now that I mentioned ...


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About Supports



They deserve a distinct chapter because they have changed a lot. Remember them from Season 2? They were walking gold back then; you murdered the AD Carry, then you saw these guys and gals tumbling around cluelessly, waiting to be picked up as bonus cash. Oh, the support did lasthit you? Don't worry, all they can get are some wards you may farm with your Oracle's Elixir anyway, right?

This is so f*cking wrong now.


Yes, supports still purchase a consumable for warding. It's called Sightstone. After that, they start buying items with stats and more importantly, auras and active abilities. Mikael's what? Oh, it's that thing that removes your one and only hard CC from the enemy AD Carry, now your screen turns grayscale, bye.

...

Before they had enough utility to support their laning partner. Now they have enough to support the whole team. Take Lulu for example. Yes, she was pretty annoying outside the lane, but once you focused her, you could remove her from the game; despite her shield and ultimate, she was still just a squishy support after all.

How about now?

She will rally her team, put an AoE slow on her initiator, knock you up, turn you into a godd*mn squirrel, slow you more, send wraiths after you just in case you'd like to escape through the Fog of War, chase you down, slow you even more and ONCE you turn on her, she swallows your burst while her carry swallows you. She will disrupt the living hell out of you and there's jacksh*t you can do about it because she's as tanky as you are.

A good enemy support will make your life a misery, regardless of your role.

The solution? Don't ever dare to give kills to the support. I am for real. If you have to choose between letting the enemy AD Carry go away with no health and dive to kill but die to the support, just back off. He/she would invest that swag into utility which is amazingly hard to counterbuild. Let the support snowball and he/she will dictate the pace of all fights.

In Season 2, they could save lives and toss things around ( Rocket Grab anyone?). Now they can carry their team by crippling yours. Also, they are insanely fun to play.

TL;DR:

Supports are scary as heck. Don't feed them.


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Countering Vi


THIS.

You hit the wearer, you slow down, then you get hit by the active slow. Vi dislikes slows, thus Vi dislikes this item on her enemies. Tanks love this item, and you used to love to smash tanks. Well, "Play time's over!"

One thing Vi can't stand is kiting. If you don't have your ultimate and you miss Vault Breaker, expect ranged champs to bully you all day. Still feel confident? There are some melee champs who just beat you to pulp no matter what. Yes, there are direct champion counters waiting to be picked against the dunk mistress.


Don't be sad ...
The jungle will always be there for you.


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Matchups

This chapter contains brief descriptions about champions and tips about how to (try to) deal with them. This guide assumes your opponent knows how to play (let's say at least as a Silver Ranked Player) so in-game experiences against the same matchup may vary. Some sections will be longer than others.

Finished sections:





Vi
The Dunk Mistress
Spoiler: Click to view





Vladimir
The Blood-Sucker
Spoiler: Click to view





Zed
a.k.a. Oroku Saki
Spoiler: Click to view


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Changelog & Future Updates

Changelog


01/01/2013: Guide published.


Future Updates


Champion matchups.