TOP LANE VI
EXAMPLE VS BALANCED ENEMY TEAM
EXAMPLE VS AD HEAVY TEAM
WARNING: LOTS AND LOTS OF OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AND JOKES AHEAD. THIS IS THE INTERNET, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY BE EXPECTING IT BY NOW. ALSO THIS IS GONNA BE IN-DEPTH AS F*CK, MAN UP AND READ IT ALL. TL;DR IS FOR JINX PLAYERS AND NOOBS THAT BUNNYHOP IN CALL OF DUTY.
Hey guys, it's your friendly neighborhood FreestyleKneepad here with another guide after a teensy-weensy itsy-bitsy holy-sh*t-so-f*cking-long break. After running into a guy in solo queue who had read these, I remembered the fun I had making them and decided to give another one a shot. This time, I'm going with my all-time, no-question favorite champion in the entirety of League of Legends and the best video game character of ALL F*CKING TIME.
Seriously, Vi is amazing. She's super aggro, doesn't give f*cks and goes so man mode that she makes Jarvan IV and Hecarim look like little sissy girls too scared to really engage. If I want to win a game, I pick Vi, doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. Dominion? Looks like it's time for a capture point brawl. Treeline? I'll make Vilemaw (and subsequently the enemy team) my b*tch. ARAM? F*ck no I'm not rerolling, why would I want a weak-a*s loser like Nidalee when I can play the Patron Saint of Broken Jaws?
Let me get this out of the way right here: THIS IS A GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS. I'm a Silver-level player (but I actually play at a high Challenger level, srsly guiz matchmaking sucks) and I hold no misconceptions about my skill. What I have over beginners is 3 years of experience and game knowledge and a lot of experience with Vi herself. I'm writing this for the adorable little newbies and the people who have never played Vi before and are looking to give her a shot, but don't know what to do (shout-out to Gort because it's my guide and I can do what I f*cking well please). I've played Vi in every role and on every mode, so no matter where you want to play her, I can point you in the right direction.
Also, lighten the f*ck up. This is for fun, get that "I should be plat by now" stick out of your a*s. This guide is like a Three Musketeers bar: fundamentally good because of the chocolate of knowledge and learning, but there's also a bunch of fluffy sh*t inside. I don't really like Three Musketeers, and that horribly-written analogy shows it. This guide's gonna be jokey but informative, okay?
Without further ado, let's get started. This is Vi: The Professional Tooth Harvester. The Government-Appointed Beatdown Specialist. The World Champion Jaw Dislocator. The Amateur Facial Reconstructive Surgeon. The Master of the "Punch-You-In-The-Face-Until-You-Die" Fighting Style. The Developer of the Two-Fisted Prostate Exam.
There were a lot of working titles for this guide.
What You Need To Know
So you just rolled Vi in ARAM or clicked her in champ select, heard her hilarious selection line and decided "Well sh*t, 'they will regret opposing me' just sounds weak as sh*t now. Guess I'm never playing another champ ever again ever." Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. Give it a year and you'll be writing a guide, trust me.
In case you've only got a few minutes before you're in-game, here's the bare minimum that you need to know to really get going as a fledgling Punchkateer (I'm calling you guys this from now on, get used to it):
- You need to be the aggressor. You gain nothing at all by being passive.
- Know your enemy and what they're capable of, so you can max the skills that matter.
- Max Vault Breaker to engage often and be more mobile, max Excessive Force to harass harder and win trades.
- 80's sports movie montage music = free win.
- Q-AA-E for pants-sh*ttingly quick burst damage in trades.
- Don't build a ton of damage, Vi isn't a melee carry. 1 or 2 damage items is fine. The Black Cleaver is an awesome early buy.
- Q-Flash-Q. They will never, ever, ever see it coming. It's like fist syphilis.
- Look for fights, don't wait for them to come to you. Roam on top, gank often in jungle.
- In teamfights, either dive the sh*t out of the enemy squishies or use your mountains of CC to protect your own, depending on what your team needs.
- If you know a CC is coming, ult while it's landing on you and then laugh when it does approximately jack sh*t.
- I apologize for the fist syphilis line, it wasn't very classy and was also kind of dumb.
- Anything that helps you stick to an enemy is awesome and you should get it. To that end, Iceborn Gauntlet, Randuin's Omen and Blade of the Ruined King are awesome and you should always buy at least one of them.
- /taunt Caitlyn. It's great.
So I'm sure you're wondering, "What do I do as Vi? What do I bring to a fight?"
In simple terms?
As Vi, you hurt people.
In an extended metaphor?
You are the hurt machine, dispensing snack size bags of a*sbeating to anyone with the pocket change and balls to try to push your buttons. Hope you like Cheez-its and tears, motherf*cker.
You're a beefy, punchy son of a b*tch who says "f*ck your tank line" as you dive headlong into the enemy team, laughing at their pathetic attempts to stop you, straight onto the squishy little Miss Fortune who thought "Gee willikers, my team can keep me safe, I don't need to run Cleanse and Barrier this game". YOU WERE WRONG, B*TCH. YOU WERE DEAD WRONG, AND NOW YOU'RE JUST DEAD. AP Carries? Vi charges straight through Event Horizon and makes me consider renaming that guide to " Veigar, the Tiny Master of Oh Wait He's Dead Never Mind Should Have Picked Ryze". At least then it'll get updated.
Vi is not a particularly easy champion to play. Because she really has to commit to fights, it's useful to know what you and the enemy you're about to punch are capable of, which takes a lot of game knowledge. That having been said, she's really strong in a lot of matchups and is directly made tougher just by being more aggressive. If you like Hecarim, Olaf the Crushinator or Pantheon but feel like they're just not aggro enough due to a distinct lack of punk-rock f*ck-your-rules attitude and gigantic pain dispensers conveniently shaped like gauntlets, you may be a fan of Vi.
TL;DR? Fine, here's a simple, sexified graphical coded version designed specifically to arouse your eyeballs (ooh la la):
+ // Extremely strong duelist
+ // Lockdown goddess
+ // All CC ignores Tenacity
+ // FALCON PUNCH
+ // Can be played anywhere
+ // Offense = Defense
+ // Best personality ever
+ // Amazing diver/initiator
- // Vault Breaker can be interrupted
- // Lacks significant stickiness
- // Has trouble killing Teemo
- // No in-kit sustain
- // Very risky playstyle
- // Difficult to play passively
- // Susceptible to graffiti taunts
- // Very single-target focused
Props to JhoiJhoi for the codes.
Alright, so you know Vi is an unbelievably kickass punch-based death machine, but why is she so awesome? What makes her tick? Basically, what makes her so much better than that stupid ugly piece of sh*t Sion? Well, before we get into that...
INTERACTIVE VIDEO, MOTHERF*CKERS. Go subscribe to this guy, he kicks ***.
Alright, let's talk skillz. With a z, so you know it's straight-up tight... yo.space
Passive: Blast Shield
(Innate): When Vi's activated abilities damage an enemy, she gains a shield equal to 10% of her maximum health for 3 seconds.
This passive is just motherf*cking awesome. The bottom line is that it rewards you for being aggressive, and it rewards you well. Early game, it allows you to start trades and come out on top. Late game, it allows you to dive headlong into the enemy and soak up serious punishment without a sweat. Pay very close attention to its cooldown, because sometimes the shield is the difference between an awesome dive and a pathetic suicide.
Q: Vault Breaker
(First Cast): Slows your movement speed by 15% while increasing damage and dash range over 1.25 seconds.
(Second Cast): Vi dashes forward, dealing physical damage and applying Denting Blows to all enemies hit. Vi stops upon colliding with an enemy champion, knocking it back. Vault Breaker deals 75% damage to minions and monsters.
Vault Breaker is Vi's bread and butter, if the bread is made of a gigantic steel fist flying at you faster than most people are capable of running and the butter is the blood and fragmented teeth of whoever was unfortunate or stupid enough to have blown their Flash earlier when they were mildly spooked by an incoming Piltover Peacemaker. If you have the right mindset to play Vi, that last sentence is best described as "erotic".
Vault Breaker is your primary means of initiating fights, and it's damn good at it. The only downside of the skill is its significant charge-up time, which both makes it risky to use in clutch situations because it can be interrupted by CC and also makes it very easy to see coming.
Fortunately, you can mitigate this in multiple ways: first, charge up your Vault Breaker before moving into vision range so that you can unload it suddenly and with pants-sh*ttingly rapid success. This is essential for early aggression on top-lane Vi, especially against someone like Riven or Shen who can prepare for it with a magical shield of "lolnicetry". Second, you can use it at point-blank range, which is good for keeping someone in place following an ult or applying damage in between autoattacks.
Max this skill first if you plan to start fights a lot or need to be extremely mobile.
W: Denting Blows
(Passive): Every 3rd attack on the same target deals additional physical damage equal to a percentage of the target's maximum health, reduces its armor by 20% and grants Vi bonus attack speed for 4 seconds. Denting Blows deals a maximum of 300 damage against minions and monsters.
This skill is the core of Vi's 1v1 strength and the reason she's labeled as an "assassin" on the League client. It's like Jax's Grandmaster's Might and Vayne's Silver Bolts put together into one glorious beatdown machine. This skill's third hit is so potent that it's absolutely vital that you get that third hit off on someone if you're gonna do damage.
Despite its simplicity, the utility of this skill is just immense. It allows Vi to absolutely massacre the jungle, clearing like crazy and murdering objectives faster than some might expect. It gives her a solid steroid and allows her to do damage no matter how tanky the person she's hitting is, making sure she stays a threat at all times. It even synergizes with her Q and E, leading to some terrifying combos that deal way more damage than some people might expect from her.
Now if only it could give free LP with each proc...
Max this skill second if you're getting into a lot of extended fights, 1v1s or are fighting a lot of really beefy champions.
E: Excessive Force
(Active): Causes Vi's next basic attack to deal bonus physical damage to the target and enemies behind it. Vi periodically charges a new punch and can hold up to 2 charges at once.
You know you're punching hard enough when you're killing the stuff BEHIND your target as well.
Excessive Force is your main source of harassment in lane, and it's damn good too. It's an autoattack reset, which means you'll get more pow for your paper (cwutididthere) if you autoattack and then IMMEDIATELY cast your E. It also synergizes AMAZINGLY with anything that has a Sheen, letting your E button turn into an "on next hit, everything f*cking dies" button. And really, when you get right down to it, isn't that all we play League for?
As is the case with Nocturne, the AOE particle from your E can be seen when it exits the enemy's fog of war, so be careful if you're counterjungling. Also remember that Excessive Force's damage isn't reduced against enemies in the AOE- if someone's escaping and his buddy is body-blocking your Q like some douchebag team player (seriously, what a prick, right?) why not just punch THROUGH him?
You know that feeling in your pants that you're feeling right now? That's called f*cking strategy. Or possibly crabs, I don't know where you've been.
RANDOM PRO TIP: Casting E temporarily boosts your attack range by about 50 units. It's not a lot, but it's a big f*cking deal if you're chasing someone and they're millimeters out of range. REMEMBER THIS.
Max this skill first if you need to harass more, if you're being zoned out or if you want to have extended presence in fights.
Ultimate: Assault and Battery
(Active): Vi targets an enemy champion and chases it down, knocking it up for 1.25 seconds, dealing physical damage.
While charging, Vi is immune to crowd control and will knock aside enemies in her way, dealing 75% damage to them.
Holy sweet mother of Vi suplexing a teenage convenience store robber through the snack aisle, this skill is motherf*cking amazing. One push of a button and one unfortunate enemy is lit up like a Christmas tree. What's under the tree? PAIN, THAT'S WHAT'S UNDER THE MOTHERF*CKING TREE. PAIN AND A SWEATER THAT LOOKS REALLY LAME BUT IS REALLY COMFORTABLE IN THE WINTER SO YOU WEAR IT AS LONG AS YOU'RE SURE NOBODY WILL SEE YOU IN IT. It's like a Caitlyn ult, only instead of trying to block the bullet, your enemies will probably be going "OH F*CK IT'S F*CKING VI QUICK CC HER OH WAIT SH*T SHE'S AN UNSTOPPABLE TRAIN OF MEAT AND FURY." Prepare your anus, because here comes Vi. And she's comin' in dry.
Your ult is a guarantee- unless your enemies can flat-out kill Vi or unless the poor sap dies before you hit them, Vi WILL chase them down and Vi WILL punch them so gloriously it makes the Shoryuken look like it was thrown by a two year old with no hands. As of right now, the only things that can break are straight-up teleporting someplace else. Because of this, it's best used to re-attach to someone you've already Q'd onto, because the first gapcloser will likely make your enemy drop a steaming fear-sh*t right where they stand and book it like the cops just found out they have a pirated copy of Battleduty 17: Another F*cking Battleduty sitting on their computer. The feeling of watching an enemy burn their escapes right before you dunk their pathetic ***es into Season 2 is something that can't be described.
Another thing to keep in mind: people tend to forget that A&B does damage to the people Vi passes by. Two guys escaping with really low health? Ult the one farther away! Killing someone by running past them en route to killing someone else is one of the funniest things you can do in League of Legends, aside from Pokemon Master AD Malzahar and full attack speed/crit melee Jayce. HAMMERTIME!
Max this skill every time you can. Seriously, if you don't, you're wrong.
Because Vi's skills are so versatile, it's important to know what would be best to max in any given situation. Vi ain't some champ you can just follow a guide to the letter for (that having been said, my guide is different so follow it to the f*cking letter you guys) so now it's time to explain different skill priorities and what situations they work well for. This is listed by priority, ignoring maxing Assault and Battery at 6, 11, and 16 because if you're not doing that you might have drank too much paint as a kid. This is also assuming that you got at least one rank in each skill before level 6 because you're a punchkateer, not a dingleberry.
Vault Breaker > Denting Blows > Excessive Force: This and the next one are my usual openings. When you max Vault Breaker first it gives you tons of mobility and turns your gapcloser into a BIG GOD D*MN NUKE, which is awesome. It's good for starting fights and maxing Denting Blows second makes it better against brawlier champs and bruisers you might end up in extended fights with.
Vault Breaker > Excessive Force > Denting Blows: Alternately, this is a good setup for HOLY D*CK MAD DEEPS WHY DIDN'T RIOT CLASSIFY VI AS AN ASSASSIN WAIT THEY DID OH MY GOD IT MAKES SENSE NOW. This setup is best against squishier champs because you don't have backup from Denting Blows, but the damage output from a Q-AA-E is just batsh*t crazy so it's not as huge a deal.
Excessive Force > Vault Breaker > Denting Blows: Another good option for gibbing squishies, but this one focuses more on the power of your autoattacks, so it's important to abuse it by using Excessive Force to whittle down your opponent and get them low before moving in for the punch-flavored killification. Also makes for a pretty good jungle maxing tree.
Excessive Force > Denting Blows > Vault Breaker: Another good jungle setup, this one better for farming, and in addition this maxing path makes you a brawling GOD. You are putting all of your eggs into the "punch the unholy sh*t out of them" basket, so I'd advise against maxing this way against champions like Jax or Rammus who just LOOOVE it when you autoattack them, but against other brawlers it does really well.
Denting Blows > Excessive Force > Vault Breaker: I personally am not a huge fan of maxing Denting Blows first. While it gives you tons of early steroids and dueling power, W really shines later on when that percent health damage can be abused like The Black Cleaver at the start of Season 3. No seriously, if you're new to League go google "League of Black Cleaver". Holy sh*t. Anyways, this is good if you're looking to do a lot of brawling early or just farm the jungle so hard that it makes Riot consider installing an "energy bar" that's used up for farm so you can't get 500 CS by 20 minutes again. Then you have to pay money to refill your energy bar, and message your friends on Facebook to see how effortlessly you killed the sh*t out of the Wraith camp and OH GOD WALLET WHAT ARE YOU DOING PUT THE GUN DOWN YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR PLUS I STILL NEED YOU FOR THE WINTER SALE ON STEAM NOOOOOOO!!!
Denting Blows > Vault Breaker > Excessive Force: Again, not a huge fan of this, but if you wanna get into the fight and just brawl the sh*t out of some people, this can work. Excessive Force won't do a whole hell of a lot at rank 1, so if you max this way, make d*mn sure you get as many procs of Denting Blows as possible.
Important Skill Combos
FACT: When in development, Vi's ultimate was closer to an ultra-combo from the Street Fighter games, which, in addition to being overpowered as f*ck, is also the most awesome idea ever.
LET'S TALK SOME MOTHERF*CKING COMBOS.
(Why no, I did not make these combo names up off of the top of my head as I went, why do you ask?)
The Piltover Pulverizer: Vault Breaker -> Auto Attack -> Excessive Force
This move is your 1-2 punch, your left-right, your Yes Man Kablam (except sadly not as goofy). This combines all three of your abilities to land a heavy engage, long enough to land an autoattack and proc Excessive Force AND Denting Blows for some massive pain-bringing. Depending on what you level (especially if you go E-W-Q) this will put out some massive hurt on the third hit and absolutely chunk carries.
The Creep Wave Crusher: Vault Breaker -> Excessive Force
Where this differs is the use case: say you've got a big scary minion wave bearing down on your turret and you want all that sexy, sexy gold before your buddy Leona comes to spam W like they forgot that the 0 CS meta exists (shout-out to Gort, you know I love you but it's like you're trying to carry me, which is just silly). What you do is simple- Vault Breaker through the minion wave, hitting as many as possible with it, and then turn right around and smack the closest one in the face with Excessive Force, AOEing the entire wave in one fell swoop. Don't use it near an enemy, because if Darius sees you use a hunk of damage like that on minion waves (also known as Not-Dariuses) he'll get a raging Apprehend and immediately attempt to slap you in the face with it. And probably also with his d*ck.
The Motherf*cking Punchinator (Motherf*cker): Vault Breaker -> Auto Attack -> Excessive Force -> Assault and Battery -> Auto Attack -> Excessive Force -> Denting Blows
This is how you kill things late-game. It's not great for engaging, but if you're 1v1ing someone and you want to pump out as much hurt as you can before the end of the commercial break (or however you judge time, you weirdo), you need to whip out The Motherf*cking Punchinator (Motherf*cker). It'll spend everything you have, but it pumps out deeps like Veigar on super-crack and makes squishies melt so fast you'd think they're a stunt double on Action League Now! Couple this with any item actives you have and suddenly you can see exactly why Vi is a Fighter-slash-Murderater... I mean Assassin.
The Pain Train: Assault and Battery -> Excessive Force -> Vault Breaker -> Excessive Force
CHOO CHOO, MOTHERF*CKER, CHOO CHOO. This, THIS is how you start a fight. Pick one person and immediately decide "F*CK THIS GUY IN PARTICULAR", and that's how you engage on it. The reason you lead with A&B is because it gets them locked down, leaving a point-blank, unmissable Vault Breaker open to keep them in place while you take off the kiddy gloves and apply a motherf*cking beatdown. Follow this up with the active from Blade of the Ruined King or Randuin's Omen and suddenly their ADC is a little too distracted by the fist-shaped dent in their forehead to worry about dealing damage in a teamfight.
The "Suddenly, Vi": Vault Breaker -> Flash -> Vault Breaker
Why's it called "Suddenly, Vi"? Let's be serious, it's been a year, most people will know Vault Breaker's range well enough that they can stay out of it when they see you charging up a fistful of serious blunt trauma. What they don't expect is for you to Flash into range while charging, SUDDENLY getting a face full of VI and subsequently a face full of hurt. While this does leave Assault and Battery open to continue the chase, there is another, more terrifying way to long-distance engage...
The Harlem Globetrotter: Vault Breaker -> Flash -> Vault Breaker -> Assault and Battery
NO ESCAPE. NO F*CKING ESCAPE. GODD*MN NONE. BOOK A MOTHERF*CKING PLANE TICKET, PUNK, 'CAUSE YOU'RE BEING SENT ON A ONE-WAY TRIP TO HELL.
AND THE PLANE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE SALTED PEANUTS.
Runes & Masteries
Let's go over some MOTHER F*CKING SETUPS. ARE YOU PUMPED? NO? WELL START GETTING F*CKING PUMPED.
I won't go into huge detail with these just because I feel you should use whatever suits you best, I'll just explain why I picked what I picked.
RUNE PAGES (AWW F*CKIN' YEAAAAH)
Before we begin, here's a bit of advice real quick...
TIER 1 AND 2 RUNES ARE A NOOB TRAP. THEY'RE A WASTE OF YOUR IP. YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH RUNE SPACES FOR TIER ONES TO MATTER AND TIER TWOS ARE JUST AWFUL. DON'T BUY THEM.
Had to get that out of the way.
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration: My favorite reds to run. It works really well with her strong early game damage, and helps to counteract early armor via runes and the recent (as of April) buff to armor on all champions.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed: Normally not great, but these reds can help Vi power through the jungle like a f*ckin' champ. If you wanna farm like crazy or expect to get in a fight, grab these.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: If you don't have Armor Pen, these are good alternative runes to run.
Greater Seal of Health: With the nerf to Armor yellows, Health is the new big thing. Most of the time, you can pretty easily grab these over Armor yellows.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor: Alternately, these are some good Armor seals. By level 7, they'e outscaled the flats (which are a flat 9, whereas at level 7 the scaling runes give about 10 armor).
Greater Seal of Armor: If you need the early armor, though (say against an aggressive top laner or if for some reason you have no other defensive runes, you dingus), these runes are still decent. They're just not as overwhelmingly amazing as they used to be. They're also still pretty useful for the initial jungle clear, moreso than health yellows.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: These are one of the two runes I like to run on Vi, because they're the best for the slot where Vi is concerned. Grab these sexy sexy flats if you expect to take early magic damage harass (like in a lane against an AP laner or in an ARAM).
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Alternately, you may want to grab the scaling counterpart (these outscale the flats at level 9 or so) if you expect to take a lot of magic damage in teamfights but not so much in lane. It never hurts to mix the two either, for a little bit of help early and a little bit of help late.
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration: These quints are really nice for the same reason as their red counterparts: the early armor pen helps counteract early armor runes, and against squishier champs it helps pump out deeps even harder.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Alternately, if you already have Armor Pen, these quints will help with your early damage as well as your jungle clear.
Greater Quintessence of Health: If you have something else in your yellows and you need to get beefy (like in an ARAM), these quints will help out a lot.
Greater Quintessence of Armor: If you want a pretty even spread of stats without changing much, swap out your Armor yellows for Health yellows and do the opposite with your Quints.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: While it's a lot better for tanking junglers, movement speed quints are good to go with some Boots of Mobility for amazing map mobility and some stronger chasing power in ganks.
MASTERIES (OH MAAAAAAAN)Spell Weaving and Blade Weaving for its synergy with Excessive Force, as well as Enchanted Armor and Juggernaut to get every bit of armor and health out of that gorgeous Randuin's Omen as possible.
In the jungle, I swap out Block and Unyielding for Tough Skin and Recovery to help sustain in the jungle a little better, as well as Expose Weakness to help my laner pump out deeps in ganks.
In Dominion, I drop a few points from defense and grab Dangerous Game to help in multi-person skirmishes as well as Fleet of Foot to help get around the map.
space Perseverance, Evasion and Tenacious to mitigate poke, keep you alive and make you beefy when you actually do run headlong into the enemy screaming the lyrics to "Killing In The Name". F*CK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME! F*CK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
space Gd, Scavenger , Wealth , and Bandit to help with gold income with my Relic Shield, and also get Culinary Master and Intelligence to make the consumables and item actives I get even stronger. Wanderer is good for roaming and ganking other lanes, and the offense points in Expose Weakness and Sorcery help me do the damage I need to do while still helping out my allies.
Rather than saying "this is good, always get this", let's talk about the vi-ability (aw f*ckin yiss puns of damage) of each one and where and when it would be useful (if at all). It's important to think about what situations you're going to be put in and what would benefit you the most in those situations... mother f*cker. (Balancing helpfulness and funny swearing is f*cking hard.)
Great spell on ARAM, kinda makes me feel bad for anyone playing Karthus. Typically I wouldn't grab it on any mode just because Blast Shield is almost always better due to it being available way, way more often, but on ARAMs you need that burst of extra beef to take the heat, and Barrier helps immensely.
MIND BULLETS! Not worth it on Vi, there are a ton of better options, including Scrying Orb. The only summoner spell worse is...
If you need mana, buy an Iceborn Gauntlet or a Trinity Force.
I could theorycraft maybe 1 situation where you should grab this, but in general Vi already has plenty of things that make the idea of crowd control bring forth the heartiest of guffaws: masteries, tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem or Mercury's Treads, even the temporary f*ck-yo-couchitude of Assault and Battery help her shrug off crowd control so completely that she really doesn't need Cleanse. And hey, Quicksilver Sash is a thing.
Exhaust is f*ckin' nifty, man. I love this skill. It completely solves any problems Vi has being sticky, it gives another delicious layer of crowd control and it helps tone down the mad deeps being dished out by that Jax or Master Yi who would otherwise be facef*cking the AD carry by now. If your team doesn't have one already (and usually the support grabs it anyways) or if your lane is gonna be a brawl and you know you could have the upper hand if his champ just sucked a little more a*s, grab Exhaust.
Flash is amazing. Next.
...Seriously though, Flash is used everywhere because the reposition power is amazing. The only times I would consider dropping Flash is if Ghost would benefit you more, or if you're gonna be hyper aggressive with Exhaust and some other spell like Smite on Treeline or Revive on Dominion.
I'm not a huge fan of Garrison on Vi, it seems better suited to other champions like Volibear or Heimerdinger who are gonna spend a lot of time either sieging enemy points or sitting on their own. If you're against a team like that, Garrison could help shift the balance, but typically I like Exhaust more.
Flash and Ghost are the two main mobility spells, meaning that you should almost always have one or the other. Flash is better in general for bursts of mobility, hopping walls and making Vault Breaker amazing, whereas Ghost is better for sustained chases and escapes, crossing large amounts of ground and sticking to someone like you Gorilla Glued your fist to their easily-bruised cheekbones. There's two VERY IMPORTANT things to remember about Ghost. One, NEVER GHOST OUT OF THE GATE IN DOMINION. It doesn't make a difference and burns a high-cooldown skill. Two, DON'T PICK GHOST IF JARVAN IV IS ON THE ENEMY TEAM. Trust me, you'll regret it.
I could see it working well on ARAM or as a support, but generally speaking you should be relying on Blast Shield rather than a summoner spell for sudden bursts of "WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE".
Aggro aggro aggro. If you're gonna stomp your lane, take Ignite and destroy their anus like they just got home from a colonoscopy and said "Chipotle sounds good tonight". Also useful versus Tryndamere, Aatrox and other permaheal bastards.
Only worth it on Dominion. Conveniently, it's also better than Flash on Dominion. Revive is a weird spell in that it's better on Dom the more people on your team that have it, because a well-timed Revive to reset a fight just massacres the enemy. It has a HUUUUUGE cooldown, so only use it if you know you can make something happen with the 20-30 seconds you would have spent dead.
If you're jungling, don't be a turd. Get Smite. It's too damn good for your early clear, it's too damn good for securing objectives (which is how you win games) and it's too damn good for gank taxing your laners for sh*ts and giggles. I sometimes run Smite with Exhaust on Treeline or SR if I wanna be hyper aggressive. That's right, in some situations Smite is worth more than Flash.
Teleport kicks a*s, especially against splitpushy b*stards like Shen, Pantheon and Tryndamere. In top lane, it gives you the ability to extend your pressure to any lane at any time, and in general it lets you immediately bring the dunk to wherever it needs in order to stop pushes, take objectives or turn fights in your favor. I wouldn't get it on Treeline due to the smaller size of the map limiting the effectiveness of the spell, but it's an awesome spell to have along with Flash on the Rift.
Before I get into specific items or item combos, let's go over the important sh*t. F*ck item paths. That just gets you building linearly and League isn't a linear game. Look at what the enemy team has and figure out what would best let you shrug off damage with a hearty chuckle and then embed your fist into their solar plexus like it's f*cking magnetized. Above all, here are some stats to always consider.
You want AD. While Vi does have a lot of awesome lockdown power, it's all really short-lived. What's that mean? It means if you're not pumping out deeps in addition to being a scary CCing motherf*cker, the bad guys won't even pay attention to you. You don't need a lot of AD to be a carry-eating machine like the MFing Robosaurus with pink hair, but you do need enough to put in work.
You want Health. Beef- it's what's for dinner. Get beefy and not even the carries will want a piece of you. Which is good, because when the carry DOESN'T want to kill you, you DO want to kill them. It's called diplomacy. Or psychology. Or punching. Something like that. Anyways, health is awesome- it makes Blast Shield better, it synergizes with AD thanks to Atma's Impaler, and it puts a bunch of big scary black lines on your health bar.
You want Resistances. If health is the soft and delicious cake of tanking, then armor and magic resistance are the bulletproof icing. The more health you have, the more resistances benefit you. It's a mathematical thingamajig called "effective health". Basically, having 300 armor and 3000 health is like fighting someone with 0 armor and 5000 health, or some sh*t like that. The point is, HEALTH + RESISTANCES + MATH = MORE BEEF = MORE PUNCHING = YES.
You want CDR/Attack Speed. Vi is an autoattacky champ by nature, but at the same time Vault Breaker and Excessive Force get some reasonably spammy cooldowns at late game, making cooldown reduction actually pretty nifty. Additionally, attack speed is pretty handy on Vi- she gets a lot from maxing Denting Blows, but it stands to reason that more attack speed = more W procs = more more attack speed = more more W procs = Vayne ain't got jack sh*t on this tank obliterator.
Boots of Speed + Health Potionx3 + Mana Potion: My typical open, good mobility, 1 mana pot because aggro as sh*t costs mana
Cloth Armor + Health Potionx5: A very defensive open, it's good versus Darius, Renekton and other huge top lane bullies. Also decent in jungle, but not as good as Hunter's Machete unless you don't have runes/masteries yet.
Long Sword + Health Potionx2: Start this if you find out that someone's running top lane Sona or something equally as pathetic and easy to abuse the sh*t out of, because it gives bonus deeps and builds right into The Brutalizer, the cause of every bruiser's wet dreams. Also pretty good in mid lane.
Hunter's Machete + Health Potionx5: Your typical jungle opening. No real reason to do anything else.
Boots of Speed + Prospector's Blade + Health Potionx2: The typical open on the Scar, makes you tankier but the Blade doesn't build into anything.
Boots of Speed + Long Swordx2 + A Sh*tload of Pots: No lifesteal and less defense, but allows you to rush The Brutalizer.
Boots of Mobility + Cloth Armor + Health Potionx2: BUCKLE UP KIDS, WE'RE HITTING THE NITRO! (Note: do not use against a Rammus, he will still beat you to the top point.)
Boots of Speed + Doran's Shield + Health Potion: My usual TT opening. Gives you some good early tankiness so that you can handle pretty much any lane you're up against.
Boots of Speed + Cloth Armor + Health Potionx5: I don't jungle Vi often on Treeline so I can't speak to the usefulness of Hunter's Machete, but I prefer other aggressive summoner spells over Smite on that mode, so the Cloth/5 start helps even out that first clear.
Boots of Speed + Long Sword + Health Potionx2: Use this when you're going aggro and you want to pump out some hurt. Best against really squishy champions who have weak early games, like Gangplank or Cho'Gath. Or Raditz.
Boots of Speed + Crystalline Flask + Health Potionx4: Up against a pokey enemy who just sh*ts all over you or bot-laning against a duo that just love to whittle you down? Run this. It kept me alive against a Pantheon/ Ryze botlane (that and not rushing in for last hits like I had a bucket of lead-based paint for breakfast) and the mana from the Flask actually helped me level Excessive Force and poke back a bit to give them a hard time and counterpush a little.
Boots of Speed + Doran's Shieldx2 + Health Potionx5 + Mana Potionx2: A good start versus poke-heavy comps, the health regen from the Shields plus enough magic health drugs to give Lemmy F*cking Kilmister an overdose should keep you at high enough health to get sh*t done, assuming you don't think Nidalee's Javelin Toss is actually a thinly-disguised but still delicious Tootsie roll. Because it's not. DON'T TAKE IT TO THE FACE.
Boots of Speed + Doran's Shield + Doran's Blade + Health Potionx5: Similar setup with less health but more damage. I prefer the Blade to a Long Sword despite the cost difference because you're there so long (and you should be there long) that early, cheap build options shouldn't be an issue.
Boots of Speed + Guardian's Horn + Health Potionx2: GET YOUR RUBBER BOOTS ON, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BECAUSE WE'RE GONNA BE WADING ANKLE DEEP IN THE BLOOD OF OUR ENEMIES TODAY. (Note: Only start this if you're not the only one who'll be engaging in fights.)
Boots & Enchantments
Mercury's Treads: Against teams with a lot of magic, AOE damage or crowd control, Merc Treads are the sh*t. Tenacity is something you absolutely need as Vi unless their team has no serious hard CC or super-slows like Wither or The Box. Remember that Merc Treads don't do sh*t against "knock" CC- knockback, knockup, knock-aside, etc- so it won't help you there.
Boots of Swiftness: These Nikes are just bada*s for Vi. They keep your movespeed up to make it easier to stick to enemies, they shake off slows which is great if a team doesn't have enough CC to warrant Merc Treads, and the slow reduction even affects the slow on Vault Breaker. They're pretty much better than sex or bacon.
Ninja Tabi: Against a team with a lot of autoattackers and AD-centric damage, Ninja Tabi kicks a*s. The basic attack reduction puts in work, and the Cloth Armor in the build can be opened into at the start of the game. Make sure, if they still have a lot of CC, that you at least grab a Spirit of the Ancient Golem or Zephyr, because Tenacity is awesome.
Boots of Mobility: Get some music ready, because you're gonna be doing some traveling. Awesome on Dominion and great as a jungler, as long as you have Tenacity from something else then Mobility is fantastic for letting you get around better than the Beach Boys and put the hurt on as many lanes as possible. Sometimes it's worth selling later in the game when you're sticking with your team and another boot passive would be more useful, but otherwise the mobility option is almost always a good one.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity: CDR is great on Vi- it makes Vault Breaker more Vault Breaker-y, makes Excessive Force more excessive and otherwise makes Vi spammier, which is awesome because her spam is filled with Monty Python jokes and serious physical injury. Not sure which makes me laugh harder.
Warding Totem: Generally-speaking, this will be your first start, and what you'll get in 90% of your games, just 'cuz. Free wards are awesome, vision is awesome and the model is awesome. Later on you can sell it if you need another trinket more, or you can turn it into a free full-time ward with the Greater Stealth Totem or use it for objective control with Greater Vision Totem.
Scrying Orb: While not fantastic early, it's a pocket Clairvoyance on a reasonable cooldown (especially upgraded) which comes in real handy on supports- CV used to be "get it or lose" in Season 2, before the bot lane got way more aggro. It's usually better to get a Warding Totem early on, but later the vision from this can be extremely useful, especially if you're trying to land a "blind" Assault and Battery over the wall or something similar.
Sweeping Lens: While not phenomenal early game, this gives you a lot of aggression power and as a jungler it helps you clear gank paths and keep a surprising amount of pressure on the lanes. Later on the lens gets a lot better by giving you a free short-term Oracle's, which is immensely useful for objective control, but early on wards are usually better unless you're jungling.
Awesome Items That Are Awesome
The Black Cleaver: BC is awesome. It's a good early buy because The Brutalizer is so great early on to help you crush your lane, and literally every stat is awesome on Vi. The armor pen synergizes beautifully with Denting Blows, the health works with Blast Shield and the CDR is perfect for Vault Breaker and Excessive Force. F*ckin' A, this is a great item. The ONLY time I would recommend Last Whisper more is when you're the only person building AD on your team, because the armor reduction just doesn't do as much as LW's armor pen at that point.
Randuin's Omen: Holy sh*t, I love Randuin's. Great f*cking item, it gives Vi so much good stuff. Health, which scales gloriously with Blast Shield and Atma's Impaler. An attack-speed slow, which helps 1v1 and keep you alive when you take aggro and an AOE slow active to use after you ult into the enemy team or to stick to someone that's trying to escape. If I could make filthy, stain-the-sheets love to Randuin I f*cking would.
Iceborn Gauntlet: Let's start off by saying it's a fist item, so why in the hell wouldn't it be good on Vi? Well, thankfully, that logic actually kind of holds up well, because Iceborn Gauntlet is f*ckin' awesome on Vi. It synergizes amazingly with Excessive Force and gives you extra mana and CDR, helping you stick to enemies and apply AOE damage like you had strapped Ziggs to your knuckles. ...That's actually an awesome skin idea. RIOT GIVE US AN OTHER-LEAGUE-CHAMPIONS-TAPED-TO-VI'S-FISTS SKIN PLS.
Blade of the Ruined King: While best on damagey Vi, this item is also good on tank Vi as a way of sustaining in fights. The attack speed and %health damage scale beautifully with Denting Blows, and the active makes kiting and sticking a breeze, especially when combined with Randuin's or Iceborn up there to add to the slowgeddon. I wouldn't recommend it as an early purchase (note: it's an awesome early purchase on top lane because the lifesteal sustain is amazing), but as a followup after you've gotten some beef it helps you chunk Baron and beefy enemies alike with knuckle-dragging whimsy. And we all know the only thing missing from Vi's kit is whimsy.
Offense: When In Doubt, Punch It Harder
Trinity Force: Trinity Force is still a good all-around item, and for good reason- it gives a little bit of everything, every stat of which is totally beneficial for Vi, and it builds out of several relatively inexpensive items- no matter how much gold you have, you can always buy a piece of Triforce. That does give it a leg up on other items which require pieces like the "Better-Take-Out-A-Second-Mortgage-To-Afford-This-Big-F*cking" Sword. At the same time, it doesn't give big amounts of any one stat, so if you're relying on it to be your only damage item, you might be in for a bad time.
Ravenous Hydra: This is in general a great item for farming or building lifesteal, but given how powerful Excessive Force is for farming, you really don't need it that badly. I would much more highly recommend a Bloodthirster instead of a Hydra, just because you have so much AOE damage in your kit already. That having been said, if you're on a push comp and you've already got an Iceborn Gauntlet, grabbing Hydra will make even Brand jealous of your wave-obliterating skillz. With a z.
The Bloodthirster: If you want lifesteal but for some reason Blade of the Ruined King just seems too Shadow-Isles-y for you, Bloodthirster is a great replacement. It packs a TON of AD into one item and it gets better with farm, which is easy for you to get with Vault Breaker and Excessive Force making farming easy f*ckin' peasy.
Wit's End: Wit's End is a pretty solid damage item, but it has a pretty specific use-case, seeing as you have to be punchinating for the passive to be... activatinginating. What that means is that it's pretty good as a steroid against champs like Diana or Jax who are going to be dealing magic damage to you in melee range, but not so great against slippery bastards like Ryze or Fizz who are more likely to shell you at a distance or jump in, apply burst before you can stack Wit's, and then high-tail it outta there.
Zephyr: If you don't have tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem or Mercury's Treads and you still really need it, Zephyr is a really good fallback choice. It gives a teensy bit of damage plus attack speed and CDR (both great on Vi) and the tenacity is just icing on the cake. It's not good as a primary damage item, but as a followup to a Black Cleaver or Bloodthirster, it's awesome.
Last Whisper: If the enemy team is stacking armor like it's on a liquidation sale at Hippalus' Discount Armor Warehouse, Last Whisper might be just what you need. One caveat: keep in mind that Last Whisper chunks through armor, but, unlike the passive on The Black Cleaver and the third hit of Denting Blows, it does NOT reduce armor, meaning that you do more damage because of Whisper, but no one else on your team reaps the same benefits unless they also build it. What a selfish-a*s item, seriously.
Spirit of the Elder Lizard: As a jungler, this is a pretty nice item, but only if you adapt to the playstyle that the lizard supports. Because of its burn passive and Bounty ability giving you sweet sweet gold for killifying the laners, you're going to want to play really aggressively and transition into a carry role later in the game. Don't buy it if you're the beefiest champ on the team, because if you're initiating with a squishy build, you're gonna have a bad time.
Maw of Malmortius: Maw fills a weird niche, making it good on Vi, but only situationally. It's a damage item that provides defense against magic damage, which makes it strong in the mid lane against a mage or on ARAM as a damage item, but otherwise it's not that great. Typically you're going to want something else, but if you don't have another damage item besides The Black Cleaver, then it's worth getting if you can make good use of the passive.
Youmuu's Ghostblade: Good on Dominion, but otherwise I wouldn't grab it. Like Sword of the Divine, it's got such a niche role that typically I wouldn't use it against anyone except REALLY slippery enemies like Evelynn or Janna.
Defense: How To Not Die
Spirit of the Ancient Golem: As a jungle Vi, this item kicks a*s. It makes you really beefy, gives you a chunk of cooldown reduction and mana regen to help with ganks and gives you tenacity right in the item, allowing you to ignore grabbing Mercury's Treads and instead get a pair of sexy, sexy Boots of Mobility. Combine the two and you've got a one-way ticket to a great early ganking experience.
Spirit Visage: If you need beef and some resistance against an AP team, Spirit Visage is pretty good. If you already have a Blade of the Ruined King or The Bloodthirster, Spirit Visage is like waking up to Irina Shayk sucking you off under the covers. If you don't know who that is, Google it. You're welcome.
Orb of Winter: Counter-poke never looked so good. This upgraded Howling-Abyss-Only Force of Nature (R.I.P.) comes with a big, sexy shield for soaking up all that annoying poke. Keep in mind this doesn't make you invincible, especially since it doesn't include ANY health at all, but it really helps if you're the only hard engager in a game with 9 hard pokers that will never engage even if the other team pissed on their nation's flag. Combine it with Spirit Visage and you've got a sh*t-ton of regen and enough MR to tank any silly mage in your way.
Banshee's Veil: On ARAM, this item is amazing. In general Banshee's is a good item, but to really get use out of its passive you need to be in a situation where the enemy's damage, initiate or something else comes from one big, huge spell, like Rocket Grab, Unstoppable Force or Curse of the Sad Mummy. In other situations, Spirit Visage is typically a better option because of the healing passive and the CDR that it provides.
Frozen Heart: If you need buttloads of armor and for some reason Randuin's Omen is locked out in the game mode you're playing (sacrilege!) and for some other reason you don't want to buy Iceborn Gauntlet or Atma's Impaler, then I guess Frozen Heart would work. It's not that it's a bad item- on a tank, it's godly- it's just that there's several other items that are WAY better on Vi that you could make out of a Warden's Mail and a Glacial Shroud.
Talisman of Ascension: This Dunk-Squad-Approved item is pretty f*ckin' awesome for hard engaging and pulling your whole team in with you. It also gives regen, which is pretty nice, and CDR which helps you out a bunch. The downside is that on Summoner's Rift it's just not a great build path for Vi, and you only really get a lot of benefit out of the item on Howling Abyss, where you can trade a Guardian's Horn out for it late-game to upgrade your awesome engage.
Atma's Impaler: Atma's is a seriously badass item... in theory. It's supposed to convert beefiness into killiness, and to its credit it does that, but the conversion is so limited (and you get so little AD out of it) that it just becomes a woefully inefficient item. There are occasionally some times where it can put in work (like when you have 3.5 to 4k health) but even then, often times there's a better option.
Warmog's Armor: The upshot of Warmogs is that you get a HUGE amount of beef all in one item, plus a passive that scales well with more beef. This is awesome for health-stacking tank Vi and does wonders for Blast Shield, but generally speaking pure health isn't phenomenal, not when items like Randuin's Omen and Banshee's Veil grant a good chunk of health PLUS resistances PLUS awesome passives. It's not that Warmog's is bad, it's that it's situationally not sh*t.
Frozen Mallet: Ehhhhh... Frozen Mallet is... okay... but it suffers from a few core problems. One, it's sticky as hell, but only in single-target capacity. It also only grants health, AD and its passive, which means Iceborn Gauntlet has a severe leg up from just offering more. Additionally, it doesn't build out of Phage anymore, making it harder to easily itemize towards. There's situations where it works well, but you won't run into them often.
Guardian Angel: If you're building damage more than beef, this item is a one-slot wonder when it comes to resistances and its passive only makes it so, so much better. Make sure to get health from other items so that GA's resistances are even more useful, and don't get a god complex just because you have a revive, because reviving with the whole enemy team waiting to kill you again just kind of sucks a*s.
Thornmail: Is the enemy Vayne tearing you a new a*shole because the botlane was trying to be Siv HD and failed completely? Is the enemy Olaf also wrecking you because he decided that today was the day to start a new career of German scheisse porn by taking a big steaming dump on your top lane? Is the enemy Udyr so eager to skitter past your team and jump on you that you wonder if he has a Squirrel Stance? Are all of these fed almost-pure-autoattack champions focused entirely on you and will never disengage to attack someone else? Better get Thornmail. Is that not the exact situation you find yourself in? Something else is probably better.
Mercurial Scimitar: Really useful against Malzahar, Warwick, Skarner and any other champion with a godly CC ability, although usually you shouldn't be the one getting focused by those, so the tenacity from Mercury's Treads, Spirit of the Ancient Golem or Zephyr should be MORE than enough for you.
Overlord's Bloodmail: An interesting item for Treeline, Bloodmail synergizes really well with Atma's Impaler and works well with a semi-tanky build that already has items with high resistances but low/no health, like Iceborn Gauntlet and Maw of Malmortius. The healing passive is nice for teamfights as long as you team focus-fires so that you're alive long enough to make use of it.
Summoner's Rift - Top Lane
This is the part where I get to sound like a broken record! Yay!
In the early game, you'll want to play really aggressively. Look at your opponent- if it's a guy like Nasus or Shen who wants to chill out and farm, grab Vault Breaker early and prepare to get your degree in Noob Psychology with a minor in Fistf*cking. If you can establish dominance early you can begin to zone them through threat of serious physical injury and the chucklef*cks won't know how to handle you. Be careful, though, because if you start to dominate your enemy will likely whine for a jungler gank. Ward up the river and tribush to keep this from happening. Wards save lives, my punchkateers, remember that.
Against a more aggressive champion like a Renekton or a Riven, it becomes a trickier business. A lot of these champs are really strong in trades and if they know their champ they might just **** on you. In this case, there's no shame in getting a jungler gank as long as your jungler is an amicable sort of fellow. If he's not and is being played by that kid that cussed you out in Call of Duty the other day, revel in the wisdom and experience that age gives you over this young soul and start building beefy. Phage is a decent, cheap item to grab in this instance because it gives health and damage and can be built into a Trinity Force later, but Warden's Mail is also a good option because it shuts down a lot of the autoattacky tops that would just love to turn you into punk-rock giblets.
If you start to do well, it's time to roam. One of the beauties of playing Vi top is that she's still a potent ganker, just not coming out of the jungle. If you manage to force your opponent to back or are able to shove them under their tower, dunk down through the river and head to midlane. It's best to set up a double-gank with your jungler, but if again they're being played by that little turd from the 90's Blockbuster commercial instead of a functional human being then it's best to just coordinate with the midlaner to set something up. If you get a kill, great! You're getting fed off of the other lanes! If not, you should head back top and play safe for a bit, because the failed gank made you fall behind a little bit and it's not something you'd want to try twice, now that the midlaner knows you're twiggy and ready to sneak up and tickle his butt without his consent.
In the midgame, you should be moving away from the laning phase, which means both toplaners should be starting to roam around and get sh*t done. That means taking objectives, pushing lanes and trying to catch people out, exposed and alone like their buddies just said "alright gang, let's split up!" Where's your net now, Freddie? If you're the beefy one on the team it's up to you to make the calls and start the fights, but if you've got an initiator out of the jungle then make sure you stick around them so that you can Assault and Battery to follow up whatever awesome engage they have. Make sure to keep an eye on where the top laner is as well- sometimes Nasus and Tryndamere and other pushers like to just sit in one lane and push like little b*stards. That's where Teleport comes in handy, but good ol' map awareness is fine too.
In the late game, you're gonna be getting into a lot of teamfights. Vi's a big scary b*stard in teamfights, but only if you know what to do. Look at their team and yours and think about what happened in the past teamfights. Did the enemy just recklessly dive onto your ADC and crush them like a fat lady sitting on her prized Chihuahua named "Fifi"? You better protect that fuzzy little rat and make sure those jelly rolls don't get anywhere near her, then. Did they just try to protect their ADC and not really do **** to yours? Scream "F*CK THE POLICE" and dive headlong into their squishies with all of the fury of a tornado made of fists and things that end in fists. Like fists. I know technically you are the police, but F*CK THE POLICE WHY AREN'T YOU DIVING RIGHT NOW?!
As long as you have an open slot, it should be filled with a ward or two or ten. As long as you have 400 gold not going towards a major item, you should have an Oracle's. Vi's objective power with Excessive Force and Denting Blows is batsh*t crazy, so you absolutely need to stick with the team and be around for teamfights, tower kills, barons and everything else that needs punching. Save Assault and Battery for the big fights, because Vault Breaker is typically more than enough once maxed and is on a low enough cooldown that you can usually use it to engage, fight a bit, then use it again when people start running. I know, bullsh*t right? Well it's our bullsh*t, and that makes it okay.
Summoner's Rift - Jungling
So you've decided top lane isn't for you, and instead you want to experience the PvE mode of League? The good news is that Vi has you covered: in the jungle she's a force of nature, crushing the monsters like she made her way into the low-level channel of Wolfteam (I can make super-obscure references to free-to-play games I played 6 years ago, it's my f*ckin' guide) and she ganks like the anti-Santa Claus, showing up in her pain sleigh with a bag full of red buff to shove right up the laner's chimney. Ho ho ho, motherf*cker. Vi has actually grown into the jungle, becoming less and less of a top laner as the meta shifts so hey, you're in luck.
That said, jungle Vi takes work, and isn't easy to do before you hit level 30. You're gonna need runes (see the above amazingly-made section on runes for info) to tackle the jungle, as well as a decent amount of practice. Jungling is scary when you start out because you've yet to realize that everything in the jungle is a punk b*tch, but once you understand it you can do some serious punchinating in every lane and lay down smackdowns like you're the f*ckin' Macho Man Randy Savage. OOH YEAH!
FIRST THINGS FIRST, LET'S TALK CLEARS.
Your first jungle clear (that is, the first time in each game that you butcher your way through the jungle for loot and glory prior to ganking) is both the most important and the riskiest, because at level one sh*t will f*ck you up if you're not careful. Smart use of Blast Shield really helps with damage mitigation, but beyond that you need to know how to run through the jungle, what to clear and what to avoid.
Full Clear - BLUE, Wolves, Wraiths, RED, Wolves Again: This is your basic clear. It takes a bit, but it gets you to level 4 (at which point you should absolutely have Vault Breaker) and lets you get both buffs for ganking wherever you please. The reason you don't kill the double golems or the wight is because those two camps will seriously f*ck you up on your first clear, and that makes them very not worth fighting if you want to gank anything ever. Depending on the side, it puts you closest to mid lane and either bot or top lane (top for blue side, bot for purple) so you're best off picking one of those two and immediately commencing some up-f*ckery.
Fast Clear - BUFF, Wolves or Wraiths, BUFF, Gank: While more difficult to do in Season 4 where everyone and their pedophilic Uncle Steve has free wards, this clear still gets you to level 3 as fast as possible, gives you double buffs and gets you all of your skills so that you can gank immediately. When running this clear, plan to gank the lane closest to the buff you just killed- going Blue-Small Camp-Red on the blue (lower-left) side puts you on the right path to gank mid or bot lane, whereas Red-Small-Blue gets you closer to top lane. Swap those around for purple side (finishing Red is better for top, finishing Blue is better for bot) and you've got yourself an optimized route. As far as mid lane is concerned either route is easy for ganking mid, but ending Red puts you a little bit closer, with fewer weird walls to go around.
The American Clear: Red, Wight and Blue: HAHAHA GET IT? MURRICA! F*CK YEAH! Seriously though, this clear isn't great, just because the Wight tends to f*ck you up early, making your early gank riskier. Funny joke, subpar route. In essence, the two clears on top are your best bet.
SO YOU GOT LEVELS, TIME TO GO PUNCH PEOPLE.
There is a LOT of depth to ganking, but when you're starting out there's only a few things you need to worry about: gank routes, skill management and teammate abilities.
Gank routes are directly influenced by enemy vision. They have a ward in river? Gotta gank somewhere else. They have a ward in tribush? Gotta gank somewhere else. In a lot of ways, GETTING to the a*shole you're trying to murderify is harder than the actual punchy part. In general, each lane has several ways you can gank it, with varying degrees of success:
Each gank route has a link or two in it, linking to a screenshot of the general gank route. Note that I used Vault Breaker just to show the direction you'd take, don't actually Vault Breaker out of the bush unless you're a huge dingus.
The River Gank (Top, Mid and Bot): This is the easiest gank to set up and also the easiest for the enemy to prevent. Sit in river bush until they get close enough and then WHAM BAM DEAD. Simple. Don't expect it to work often, though- warding the river is the first thing you learn about laning. That and "Don't tower dive Poppy".
The Tribush Gank (Top and Bot): This one varies in effectiveness depending on which side you're on- on blue side, this is a good come-from-behind gank if they don't have it warded (and if river is warded, come into the enemy's jungle through the area by wraith camp, run back behind Baron and gank that way), while on purple side it's best used to rapidly assist with a countergank since you would get closer going through river anyways.
The Lane Bush Gank (Top and Bot): This one is usually the least expected but also the hardest to pull off: first, your buddy needs to push the lane JUST enough so that the enemy loses vision of the bush by your tower. Second, he needs to let the enemy push back (easy on Mordekaiser, harder on Shen) just enough to get the enemy within whuppin' range. Then, it's all about the engage. If done right, this one can come out of nowhere and really surprise them. If necessary you can even let them push harder and creep forward through the bushes to catch them from behind, you crafty b*stard, you.
The Tower Gank (Top, Mid and Bot): The riskiest of them all, but sometimes it's your only choice. If the enemy is just a bit pushed out from their tower, you can come in from the bush behind their tower (or through Wraith camp in mid lane), run through and Vault Breaker them back into the waiting blady death of the allied laner. This is really really hard to do successfully without dying and you NEED to be beefy to tank the turret shots, but it's one almost no one sees coming.
The Back Wall Gank (Mid): Oftentimes more useful than the river gank due to warding, this gets you a good angle on the enemy and puts you between the enemy and their turret. Make sure you don't miss Vault Breaker, because if you do they'll have a clear escape route.
The Front Wall Gank (Mid): Best used as a reactive play, most midlaners expect either the river gank or the back wall gank so this will definitely get you into the lane unseen. The downside there is that you're not really flanking or sandwiching the enemy at all, giving them a very clear way to escape. If your midlaner's taking heat from the enemy jungler and you don't have a better angle to go, though, this one gets the job done.
(Thanks to my buddies Gort and Seahorse for help with the screenshots. Gotta work on those Blue Cards of Destiny, buddy.)
Skill Management is the next step, and that's mostly knowing what skills to use, when. This takes some effort, and it has a lot to do with both what your laner is capable of (more on that later) and what your walking Spirit Stone gold is going to do when you come in all hot and bothered ready to mate your knuckles with their chin.
Vault Breaker is your pre-6 key to amazing ganks. After you have Assault and Battery, you can almost do whatever the sh*t you want and you'll still dunk their a*ses off, but until then, you have to be a clever b*stard to get anything done. If you can, get your laner to pop their CC or whatever they have to engage. It's important to do this because it gives you a window to get in the fight, apply Red buff and put down some hurt. When they actually turn and burn, that's the time to use Vault Breaker to catch up. If you HAVE to use Vault Breaker to engage, that's alright as long as you burn their escapes, fall back and then camp the lane. That last part is extremely important- you can go farm and do something else for just a bit, but if you burn a summoner spell and then don't capitalize on it later, that first gank was a complete waste.
Post-6, your Assault and Battery becomes your ticket to a free kill if your laners aren't busy eating glue and crayons. You can engage with Vault Breaker, disrupt the enemy and make them sh*t themselves, then when they go to Flash away, apply the ult and apply the beatdown. Sweet justice.
As mentioned before, this is all made easier if you coordinate with your allies during the gank and take advantage of your allies' abilities. Ganking for your top lane Renekton? Sneak into a good position and run in as he uses Ruthless Predator to lock the bastard down. Gives you more CC in the fight and saves your Vault Breaker for when they're running. The same goes if you have a mid laner like Kassadin who can silence to keep them from using their escapes, or a bot laner like Zyra or Leona. If you're ganking for someone like Katarina or Master Yi who don't have anything in the way of crowd control, it's important that you use your skills to keep them locked down as much as possible, because your ally is banking on your help to let them apply as much sweet deeps as possible in the time before the enemy runs away yipping like a kicked puppy. Heh, kicked puppy.
Summoner's Rift - Mid / Duo Lane
Vi can run every lane on the Rift, but some work better than others: for example, mid and bot lane. While it's possible for Vi to completely wreck face in these lanes due to her assassin-like damage output, she's not fantastic in these lanes due to how often the champs she fights simply outrange and outpoke her. I've played a little of both, enough to offer advice, but keep in mind these lanes don't really bring out all of Vi's punchinating potential.
In mid, Vi functions a lot like a Talon or Pantheon- she's all about whittling down the enemy's health bar a bit with harass before going big in one huge all-in. Vi's burst is SURPRISINGLY high at early levels, especially if you go 21 in offense like a true punchkateer, so when you go in, you're gonna chunk people, with a few exceptions: if they have hard CC that can keep you out of range or disengage (like Charm or Dark Binding) try to force out that ability first- if you can juke it, go man mode while it's on cooldown. If not, be careful. Against someone with sustain like Vladimir or Gragas, your best chance is to go ham as sh*t as much as you can. Burst beats sustain, as long as you stay on the aggressive and keep an open eye for ganks you should be able to come out on top.
Another important thing to note is the importance of disengage. People see Vi's pants-sh*ttingly high damage and want to get the hell out immediately, whether that means burning a disengage spell like Satchel Charge or Living Shadow or burning Flash to get away. If/when that happens, DISENGAGE. You just forced them to use a high cooldown spell, and this isn't even your final form. Back off, continue to farm, and look for a second opening to go back in in the next few seconds or so when their defense is on cooldown. Obviously if Flash went on cooldown you have a much larger window, but with the kit spells you need to act fast. If you can catch them with their pants down... boy buddy you better go for the butt. DOMINATE THE ANUS!
Vi works best as a duo-bot with someone who all-ins well, whether it's another bruiser like Lee Sin, another assassin like Pantheon or a bursty ADC like Graves who can capitalize on your all-in power. You're gonna want to get an early Targon's Brace if you're the supporter of the two, and possibly consider a Doran's Shield or a Crystalline Flask for early sustain while you get your beef. The Black Cleaver should be more than enough for damage items, so as a supporting champ your goal in the midgame will be to peel for the carry and just be an insanely beefy son of a b*tch. Thanks to all the health you get from Ruby Sightstone and Face of the Mountain you'll do that pretty well, but more tanky items for survivability will help you live long enough to put out significant amounts of hurt, especially if you choose to max Denting Blows second.
In a duo lane with another bruiser, treat it a little more like top-lane Vi, with Face of the Mountain substituted for another beef item that you would have gotten later on. If you don't get the sightstone as well, make sure to grab Greater Stealth Totem so that you always have a ward down somewhere and something to offer in terms of team utility. Also consider Locket of the Iron Solari for the teamwide benefits and anti-AOE shield if the enemy team has something to that effect.
Dominion, Treeline, and ARAM
Aggression and mobility are key in Dominion, which is why I like to run Youmuu's Ghostblade and/or Boots of Mobility on that map. Always remember: kills are awesome, but if you don't control 3 points or more, YOU'RE LOSING.
Make plays, see where the enemy is and try to catch people out. Skirmishes tend to involve 2-3 people, so never expect someone to be alone unless you can see every other person somewhere on the map. Always remember that Dominion is about constant aggression: if you're not fighting with your team and you're not solo bot, you had better be making something happen. Don't just piss away time roaming the jungle waiting for someone to stumble into your fists (which sounds like a domestic assault excuse) and instead actively search for ways to take or save points and make the enemy think twice about pushing down one of your points.
Later on, once you've got a few items and you can take most people in a fight, start being the sh*t wrecker I know you can be. Don't go looking for 1v2 fights, but if you have an advantage or you can get the drop on someone in an (otherwise) fair fight, ****EN DO IT. Vi is about pressure, and if they're too busy dealing with you and a buddy assaulting a point, they can't easily attack the botlane or try to attack one of your towers. Smart engages and map awareness will win you the game, punching people in the face is just the fun part.
Pushing isn't nearly as important, so I recommend leveling Vault Breaker, followed by Denting Blows, followed by Excessive Force. Grab a couple damage items and then get tanky as f*ck.
For an extremely awesome and way more in-depth Dominion guide, take a look at Koravel's Dominion Guide. He's infinitely better than me at Dominion, so that means you listen and you listen good, got it kiddies?
Vi is pretty dominant on Treeline because of the mobility, tankiness and versatility that she has on offer. She's strong in each lane in almost any setup and can jungle efficiently with powerful ganks as well. And that's important, because as Vi on the Treeline, you need to be making things happen constantly. If you're the top laner, roam into botlane if you can and try to gank with your ally. If you're the jungler, hit level 2 as fast as you can and go right into ganking.
Itemization in this mode is about how you want to play. A bunch of comps like to run double bruiser plus a mage, which makes Randuin's Omen and Denting Blows valuable things to invest in, whereas Banshee's Veil and Excessive Force work well against the squishy mages and supports. If you are running a double-bruiser comp (I've seen success pairing Vi with Trundle) make sure one bruiser dives (preferably the tankier one) while the other one peels for your squishy mage/ADC.
If you're ahead after a teamfight and they're all busy being dead, PUSH. There are fewer turrets in Treeline and they don't regen easily, so objectives are INSANELY important. Don't just count out a tower you could defend, and push theirs to hell when you have the opportunity. It's absolutely important that you keep track of your towers, as one ace in the lategame can mean a huge push right into your nexus if you don't have enough towers to take up their time.
People think Vi sucks on the Murderbridge? HA!
Play Vi tankier than normal here, and make sure to grab an early Guardian's Horn to help you out with engaging and disengaging. If there's another tank like a Malphite or a Dr. Mundo, wait for them to pull someone away from the pack and go ham on them. If you're the only melee or tanky person on your team, it's up to you to be useful. Harass with Excessive Force if you can, but don't be afraid to Q-AA-E and get the f*ck out when you see someone extend a little too far. Be VERY wary of enemy CC, all it takes is one Terrify for you to go from hard-engage punchinator to dead-as-f*ck liability.
Once you hit midgame and are reasonably tanky, you don't need to be as opportunistic with your engages since you can take some heat as long as your team follows up. This is when Vi becomes an initiator, disruptor, and curbstomper all in one. Pick one of the enemies, like that annoyingly good Xerath (especially if it's played by some guy named Bitsplosion, FOCUS HIM IN EVERY GAME), and wait for a fight to break out, then whip that sassy mage like a redheaded stepchild that just called you a yellow-bellied sissypants. I'm not sure what happened halfway through that horrific run-on sentence, but let's just continue on. Pick someone susceptible to being dunked on and dunk their *** off. It's smart to wait for someone else to engage, because the initiator is almost always the focus of the initial wave of abilities, but if you're the only meat shield... f*ck it, man mode.
Getting in and out of the fight and being able to survive 5 people whaling on you is absolutely vital, so max Vault Breaker first, followed by Excessive Force, unless they have a bunch of tanks that need to be chunked. Early beef is a huge advantage here, so try to grab something with a Giant's Belt or Kindlegem in it early instead of damage, unless you've got a bunch of kills under your belt when you die.
Link me one other champ guide that includes Showdown tips. HA.
Vi crushes Showdowns with her early burst and trading power, and since people pick mages and carries in the 1v1 version, she's even better against those morons. Vi shines especially brightly in the 2v2 mode paired with a strong mage who can lock someone down for Vault Breaker, because Vi's Showdown playstyle is all about aggro- if you picked Vi in Showdown, the game will end by kills, no question. Heimerdinger, Caitlyn, Blitzcrank and Fiddlesticks are really solid target bans in either version, because they either stall out the game or shut down Vi's engage with hard CC. Good summoners to take are Barrier and Ignite, because you need to be pumping out deeps and tanking sh*t like a champ. I haven't seen much use for Flash if you just max Vault Breaker first, but if you're against a Blitzcrank or Thresh, it's a good backup in case you get hooked.
In 1v1 mode, treat it like a top/mid lane with no jungler ganks. Tryndamere, Olaf and similar bruisers are worth target bans if you see them available, but otherwise Vi does pretty well against a lot of matchups. In general you want to stick to the bushes and try to trade in huge bursts- it's smart to grab Vault Breaker as early as possible, even at level 1 if you want to go ham that early, and then try to establish lane dominance as much as you can. Doran's Shield is a strong early buy against bruisers or melee champs, and Crystalline Flask and pots gives good sustain against pokey mages or carries. Depending on how trades are going, build damage items against carries and tanky items against bruisers.
In 2v2 mode, Vi is especially strong when paired with a mage with strong zone control and some CC, such as Annie, Xerath, Karma or Ziggs. Let the mage do harassing, because you're here to break bones and take people down like you just got an 8x combo and pressed triangle and circle. That's an Arkham City reference, folks. Stick to the bushes and try to assert zone control by laying down the law on anyone who gets in Vault Breaker range. Don't get greedy and go too balls deep, if you jump on Nidalee, burst her low and she burns Flash to get away, back off and focus on farming and punching the other guy. When you have Assault and Battery this doesn't apply as much since you can stick so much better, but until then you really have to be smart about the battles you pick. Vi can absolutely dominate squishy targets, so starting with a Doran's Shield and building into a Long Sword or Doran's Blade can give you a pretty significant amount of damage output. You're not looking for the long game here, the biggest item I've ever built in one of these games was The Brutalizer. Make sure to be smart about when you recall- if you're low, don't give up a kill, but if you can help it have your partner stick around while you go back and vice versa, just to make sure the enemy doesn't get a leg up in farm or extra hits in on your tower.
Smart plays and the appropriate amount of balls-to-the-wall aggression will decide games whether you're soloing or duoing, so good luck my fellow punchkateers and when in doubt... you should know where this is headed.
ULTRA RAPID FIRE MODE
THEY TOLD ME I COULD BE ANYTHING I WANTED, SO I BECAME A BATTERING RAM
Unfortunately, Vi is one of those champs like Udyr and Nunu who is broken as sh*t in URF mode, but everyone else is about ten times as broken, so she gets sh*t upon by just about everyone with a gapcloser or a hard CC.
(Sidenote, play Udyr. It's a f*cking stancegeddon.)
This is gonna be a work in progress, rest assured I'll add champions once I've seen them played vs Vi or (preferably) when I've played against them myself.
Amumu: As a jungler, do your blue (DO NOT SMITE IT), then go take his red. Amumu has a fast but flimsy early clear and can't duel for sh*t, so abuse his weak jungle and give him a reason to f*cking cry. In mid-late game, try to anticipate his Curse of the Sad Mummy so that you're already midway through Assault and Battery when he casts it.
Caitlyn: You'll probably only face the Sheriff as support/kill lane Vi, but here's the bottom line: aggression, aggression, aggression. If you sit back, not only are you not really contributing anything but Cait will absolutely obliterate you with her range and poke. Set up with an aggressive ADC or another bruiser like Lee Sin (this is actually the duo bot we used to crush a Caitlyn/ Janna lane) and GO MOTHER F*CKING MAN MODE.
Cho'Gath: The MFing Cho'Gath is a b*stard to push out of lane because he's just so sustainy, but he sucks *** in fights. Disregard farm, acquire Void blood on your fists. If you can keep him away from creeps by threat of hextech facial reconstruction surgery (it means "punch him really f*cking hard") you cut off his sustain, f*ck over his lane phase and get to watch a terror monster cry. That said, be REALLY careful of his Rupture, and don't Vault Breaker away from him while his Feral Scream is up.
Darius: Durrius is a big damn lane bully and will take every opportunity to spin like a little turd and chunk you for a huge piece of your health with his Q. If you HAVE to trade to avoid being completely shut out, wait until just after he uses Decimate and IMMEDIATELY Vault Breaker in. Be really careful if you do this, because it means he'll still have Apprehend off cooldown. After 6 his ult makes all-ins really dangerous, so if possible, get ganks to help deal with his damage output.
Evelynn: Eve is a weird champ to fight. She's equally as likely to brawl with you as she is to turn tail and run, and because her Hate Spike can be cast while running she's just as good either way. She's still squishy, so maxing Vault Breaker will chunk her and help you keep up a bit. If you buy a sticky item like Randuin's Omen or Blade of the Ruined King (which you should do) wait until AFTER she uses her Dark Frenzy to apply your active, because if you use it before she'll just break the slow and /laugh.
Fiddlesticks: Just... don't fight Fiddle 1v1. It won't go well. Drain wins extended brawls if you don't have a hard CC, his Terrify and Dark Wind negate the hell out of your engage and his ult just tears you apart. If you have to fight him mid, get ganks from the jungler or focus on roaming and getting other lanes fed, because otherwise the scarecrow will sh*t on your face like you're in a German basement on camera getting a quick 400 euros.
Gangplank: Go aggro against this guy, because if it turns into a farming lane, Dr. Glock here will wreck your sh*t. He has his Remove Scurvy to sustain and mitigate damage in fights but it has a really long CD and costs mana, unlike a certain amazing death-dealer's Blast Shield. Yo ho ho and all that sh*t.
Jarvan IV: In the top lane, neither of these bruisers has any sort of in-built sustain. What that means is that pots and damage output are king here. Vi's damage output is immense against a champ like J4 who can't easily heal it back up, and by level 4 or 5 you can outright abuse Jarvan out of lane. Be very careful about jungler ganks, though, because if Jarvan builds damage and you fall behind due to ganks he will very likely wreck your sh*t.
Jinx: PUNCH THAT C*NT IN HER DUMB B*TCH FACE. WHO THE F*CK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS, I'LL SHOW HER SOME F*CKING FAT HANDS, I'LL SLAM THEM IN HER F*CKING STUPID FACE SO HARD SHE'LL SPROUT EYEBALLS FROM THE BACK OF HER F*CKING HEAD. SWEAR TO GOD IF I HEAR HER LAUGH ONE MORE F*CKING TIME I'M GONNA RIP OUT HER VOCAL CORDS AND STRANGLE HER WITH THEM. AGGRO AGGRO MOTHERF*CKING AGGRO. SERIOUSLY THOUGH JINX IS PRETTY FUN IF YOU'RE OKAY WITH NOT HAVING ESCAPES BUT AS A VI PLAYER RUIN HER F*CKING LIFE.
Kennen: Kennen top is a f*cking beast, I've tried it. If he plays Kennen like I do, expect to get rocked in the early game. He'll try to peg you with the autoattack proc of Mark of the Storm and follow it up with Electrical Surge for free damage. Play safe, let him push the lane, farm under tower and work on a Hexdrinker and Mercury's Treads pronto-like. Crystalline Flask might also help with sustaining the poke, but it's not going to solve your problems.
Kha'Zix: In the lane, try and stay by your minions so he can't get off easy isolated hits. Bugman has really solid early burst so if he gets the upper hand and starts a trade on his terms, you're in for a rough time. In the jungle, it's an even scarier situation. Vi really has a hard time with Kha'Zix in the jungle (just like pretty much everyone else against him) so if you suspect he'll try to kill you at your second buff (as he often tries to do), use your trinkets to watch your entrance and make sure your team knows to come to your aid. There's no team-building experience like squashing a bug together.
Lee Sin: Ree Singa is a hard nut to crack, especially if he knows how to fight brawlers. Cripple does a lot to counter Denting Blows and he's way, way more mobile than you. That having been said, you can lock him down, Vault Breaker gives you a good mix of damage and CC and your Blast Shield is on par with his own. Items like Ninja Tabi and Warden's Mail will help mitigate his burst and autoattack damage and Blade of the Ruined King combined with W will help you come out on top in all-out slugfests. You can beat this guy, you just have to play smart.
Lissandra: This is another case of Vi's allin power working wonders. While Lissandra is really short-ranged and should be strong against melees, if you can catch her off guard with a strong Vault Breaker opening, you can obliterate her. The best she can do is use Ring of Frost and try to kite you or turn and burn with Glacial Path, which is when you back off and look for another opening to Q back in. Try to save your Assault and Battery for after your Q engage since it gives you an opening to possibly dodge Frozen Tomb, which could make or break the post-6 fights.
Master Yi: SAVE SOME FORM OF CC FOR HIS MEDITATE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. If you can build something to weaken his autoattacks and save your CC for his "oh lawdy please help me magic heal power" button, you can stomp him. It's not a good idea to fight him late game when he's nothing but a crit machine, but in early and midgame you can sh*t on his face, especially if you're maxing Denting Blows first or second to keep up with Highlander. Plus, he can run, but he can't outrun Assault and Battery. If he's fed and stomping... now would be a good time to buy Thornmail.
Nasus: Open strong with Vault Breaker fast and often. You Q-AA-E combo is all you need to do in trades, which is nice because being a reset means it isn't as hurt by the inevitable Wither. If you need to, get a jungler to gank as well- you need to crush Nassy now so that he's nothing but an ugly puppy later on. If he stays off on his own later in the game, Teleport might be a useful spell to keep tabs on him but still let you roam the map.
Nunu: Nunu is another one of those kitey f*ckers who probably won't full-on engage you in a fight for fear of the a*shole-wreckening that is Denting Blows. Instead he'll Ice Blast constantly and Blood Boil himself to stay out of range. If you're going to engage on a fight with him post-6, try to time your Assault and Battery so that a snowball hits you in the face mid-transit, giving you a precious few seconds without being permaslowed to do damage. And please, for the love of god, SAVE Vault Breaker TO CANCEL Absolute Zero. If you're jungling and he counterjungles on you, ignore him and go for heavy, heavy ganks to disrupt the lanes in your favor and hopefully make up the difference.
Olaf: Piss yourself and die. Jks, your Blast Shield does a pretty good job of mitigating the damage from his Reckless Swing and your Denting Blows, if you max it first, can go toe to toe with his Berserker Rage decently. He gets way more dangerous as he gets early levels and beef, so try to juke Undertow or you're in for some hurt. Since he shrugs off CC like a fat guy shrugs off trips to the gym, forget about Exhaust and instead grab Ignite to cripple his low-health survivability. If you play your cards right, you can beat him in 1v1s and make him a very sad, dead Crushinator.
Quinn: A good Quinn can rock you pretty hard in lane, so sustain and Cloth Armor are good things to get early. If you can get a jungler gank, that will help a ton, but if not then wait for her to use Blinding Assault to harass or farm before going in with Vault Breaker so she can't stop your burst. Otherwise, play safe, harass with Excessive Force and be really damn careful not to get hit when Harrier is on you, because it will f*ck you up.
Renekton: This dude is a big damn bully, and at early levels he will rock you like a hurricane. Let him push the lane out and try to get a gank from the jungler, which will be even better post-6 thanks to Assault and Battery. Late-game you do bring more to teamfights, but in the lane you're going to have a rough time. Try to attack right after he uses Cull the Meek to farm to give yourself a bit of a leg up in the trade.
Rengar: Show no fear, this guy can smell it. In the lane don't forget: bush control, bush control, bush control. Even if it means warding every bush he walks into (trinkets are your best friend), you have to keep an eye on him. Watch out for his Ferocity stacks too, because a sudden burst heal can mean a world of difference. In the jungle, treat him a little like Kha'Zic: keep your jungle entrances warded and your eyes open and you should be able to spot him coming for you.
Riven: Riven is a crazy good top-laner, but it does boil down to a skill match early on as long as you don't run out of mana. Try to cast Vault Breaker from the bushes so she doesn't know when to cast Valor to cancel out the damage, but also dip into the bushes on occasion just to f*ck with her head, otherwise it just becomes a telegraph. Be really careful at level 6, because even though you power spike with Assault and Battery, so does she with Blade of the Exile. Outplaying and jungle ganks decide this lane.
Shen: Shen doesn't fight super well, especially against your passive, so go aggro and make sure not to let him turn it into a farm lane. Treat that ninja a*shole like he f*cked your sister, didn't call her the next day and then said "we can still be friends right, just let me farm ok". If you push the lane (and you probably will), be EXTREMELY careful about his Shadow Dash. Again, he might try to splitpush, so keep an eye on him and consider running Teleport.
Sion: I f*cking hate Sion so much, oh god I can't wait for his f*cking rework. Thankfully Vi does pretty well against him if you play aggressively from level 1 with Vault Breaker. Make sure to start the fights on your terms so you can mitigate the damage from his bullsh*t Cryptic Gaze with your Blast Shield and come out on top in the trade. Ignite will help you win trades against him post-6 by canceling out his bullsh*t Cannibalism.
Teemo: This motherf*cker. THIS MOTHERF*CKER. He kites you super hard with shrooms and his Move Quick, his Blinding Dart shuts out most of your damage, and you just KNOW he's never going to straight-up fight you. Get ganks from the jungler, play really safe and build for the late game, and for the love of god don't follow him on a wild goose chase. You bring more to teamfights late game, but never forget: there is always a shroom in the bush. ALWAYS.
Trundle: Trundle's a really hard matchup to face, because he's so tailor-made to crush in 1v1s. Build tanky against him and max Denting Blows early, because he's gonna pump out deeps with Frozen Domain and Chomp. Early levels you have the advantage in sheer burst and trade power, but he gets scarier with levels. If he chooses to hard push with Frozen Domain, wait until after the effect had ended and then immediately go in to punish him. Whatever you do, though, DO NOT 1V1 HIM WHEN HIS ULT IS UP. It's gonna hurt.
Tryndamere: Tryn is naturally more sustainy than you in lane, so if you can't kill him quickly, he'll push you out. Try to force his Spinning Slash with a trade and then have the jungler gank IMMEDIATELY afterward. I really like taking Teleport against him, both to keep in lane early on and also to keep tabs on him if he tries to split push. Cloth Armor plus pots will help against his early game damage, as well as Crystalline Flask.
Vi: MIRROR LANE WHAAAAAT?! Be the aggressive one: whoever puts up Blast Shield first is gonna mitigate some serious pain. Get jungler ganks and do your d*mnedest to outplay her, because this one's gonna come down to skill and jungler interference. YOU CAN DO IT, I BELIEVE IN YOU. UNLESS THE ENEMY VI IS ME, IN WHICH CASE BUILD AP TRUST ME IT'S SO GOOD ON VI I'M SERIOUS GET AP AND MR ONLY.
Vladimir: Vi can just absolutely abuse Vlad, but most effectively in the early levels when he hasn't gotten a lot of ranks in Transfusion yet. Try to be as aggressive as possible during that time to really make use of Vi's early burst damage and Vlad's lack thereof. Later on all-in fights become harder for two reasons: One, Vlad will have more damage and more items, making it a riskier trade what with all the delicious health regain he gets; and two, he'll have that stupid Sanguine Pool to get out with. What you need to do with go man-mode on him, let him pee himself and troll pool, and then drop Assault & Battery on him once he comes out of it. That having been said, DON'T FIGHT HIM UNDER TOWER IF HE HASN'T USED POOL, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.
Zed: Zed is definitely beatable - early in the game, the combination of your burst and your shield puts out way more hurt than he can manage, and if he can't poke you down before you jump in then he's gonna have a hard time going even in trades. The hardest part comes in his energy system and his Living Shadow - you'll run out of mana eventually, and Vault Breaker is easy to see coming because of the charge. Against a dumb Zed, wait for him to use Living Shadow to poke and then go ham like your name is Porky the Pig. Against a smart Zed, edge your way closer while harassing with Excessive Force and then try to get a near-point-blank Breaker in to give him as little time to avoid it as possible.
Ziggs: In the mid lane, this is a pretty skill-oriented matchup. Early on he has a huge advantage in that he can shell you from a distance with all of his spells and zone your tits off like nobody's business. That having been said, if you can juke enough of his skillshots and keep yourself at high enough health, you will chunk the f*cking hell out of him when you jump in. Post 6 lead in with Vault Breaker and stick to him with Assault and Battery when he tries to put distance between you with Satchel Charge. Even when you have a sh*t lane phase, Ziggs is so awful at peeling if you have gapclosers that you can just dump on him whenever you want so long as he's not 19-1 or some sh*t.
Videos & Music
Unfortunately, because Windows Movie Maker stopped working in 2012, I don't have footage of me playing Vi. Imagine a Bronze-level Vi reel with nerdy Rocky jokes mixed in and you're pretty much good.
Instead, here's some various gameplay videos off of youtube, as well as music from my 100+ Vi soundtrack to get you in the mood, whatever the hell you listen to.
Go subscribe to these guys. The first one will even give you a skin for subscribing! spacespace
Anthrax - "I Am The Law"
Megadeth - "Crush 'Em"
Judas Priest - "Jawbreaker"
Slayer - "Here Comes The Pain"
Austrian Death Machine - "Iron Fist"
LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out"
Apathy - "F*ck You"
muzeONE - "Jaw"
Atmosphere - "Watch Out"
Tonedeff - "Heavyweight"
Rage Against the Machine - "Street Fighting Man"
AC/DC - "If You Want Blood (You Got It)"
Biting Elbows - "Bad Motherf*cker"
System of a Down - "Violent Pornography"
The Hives - "What's That Spell?... Go To Hell!"
Bad Religion - "Let Them Eat War"
The Vandals - "Anarchy Burger (Hold The Government)"
Pennywise - "Straight Ahead"
Rise Against - "State of the Union"
The Offspring - "Come Out Swinging"
The Bloody Beetroots - "The Source (Chaos & Confusion)"
Hadouken! - "Bombshock"
Monosurround - "Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock (****k Offf Remix)"
James Shimoji - "Yellow Line"
The Prodigy - "Invaders Must Die"
80's Sports Movie Montage Type Music
Survivor - "Eye of the Tiger"
Paul Engemann - "Push It To The Limit"
Bonnie Tyler - "I Need A Hero"
Joe Esposito - "You're The Best Around"
Stan Bush - "Fight to Survive"
Space Jam Remixes (That's Right, Motherf*cker)
James Shimoji - "Slamline"
Nero - "Dunksday"
Muse - "Ballers of Slamdonia"
Dragonforce - "Through the Slams and Jams"
Macklemore - "Can't Hold The Slam"
Other Random Tips For Not Sucking
Alright, so you've read the guide. Some of my epic soliloquies and brutal explanations gave you an unexpected growth of manly chest hair, but that's okay, it'll go away in a week unless you wash it once a week in the blood of conquest. Bashing a coworker's head in with a coffee mug is usually enough. But you're still new to League and you want to really get good. I can't tell you how to get to Platinum, but here's some things I learned in my two-plus years of playing that will help you out in the long run.
Step 1: Play every champion (at least once). This may seem counterintuitive for a Vi guide, but hear me out: League is a big f*cking game and getting bigger every 5 months with the newest champ release (that's a joke about how Riot is slow as sh*t with releases, CAN YOU HANDLE THE PANDERING) but there's two reasons you should do this.
One, there's ten champs you may not have played available EVERY WEEK. You owe it to yourself to see if you like them or not. People talk about how DOTA 2 makes everything available right at the start, but honestly if I started with 116 options I'd be overwhelmed as hell. 10 is good, 10 is manageable. Here's something I did when I was still relatively new to the game and didn't know everyone just yet: every time there was a new free week, I jumped into bot games and played every champ I'd never played before. Some of them I fed relentlessly, some of them I crushed with, some I hated (MOTHERF*CKING SION) some I loved (NOT MOTHERF*CKING SION). The point is, I tried them all.
Two, by playing the champs, you're learning how to play against them. Case in point, at one point I was f*cking terrified of Tryndamere. This a*shole would just spin up to me, didn't matter who I was playing, and he'd just instagib me. When I tried to fight, he'd fire shout and never die, ever. It was horrible, seeing a Tryn on the enemy team sapped my will to fight. Then I played him, saw how hard it was to really stay alive in fights when everyone threw CC on me, and suddenly I had a plan. Some wise League player once said, "There's no quicker way to break a fear of a champion than playing that champion and getting destroyed with them." Play every champ, learn what they can do and you'll never find yourself asking "holy sh*t how can he even DO that?" at a death screen again.
Step 2: Don't just play Summoner's Rift.
As someone who plays every single mode with some regularity, let me tell you, you can learn a lot from the "casual" modes. Every mode has a different focus, and every mode can teach you something that you can then apply to Summoner's Rift. Have some variety- it's the spice of life, and since your life is about inflicting pain, why not inflict spicy pain? Even if you don't like a mode, try it out- there is a lot you can learn from each one:
Twisted Treeline: Treeline is getting a teeny bit of traction, but not a lot as of right now. Which is good, because Vi crushes in Treeline and if you know what you're doing you'll do extremely well. The biggest thing to remember in Treeline is that the map is insanely super tiny. This means you need to be prepared for two things. One, if you start a fight, odds are the enemy's buddies will show up very, very soon. Two, if someone goes MIA, cover your *** because in about 2 second they'll be on you. Vision is rarer in this map and distance between lanes is almost nonexistant, meaning roaming and ganks happen CONSTANTLY. This map also pits you against a ton of different solo and duo lanes at early levels, giving you more experience fighting a bunch of champions you'd never see in top lane.
Dominion: People laugh at Dominion, but seriously, this mode is fantastic for learning champs, and Vi crushes on this map. You get plenty of gold for items (especially if you snag some kills and captures), you level really fast so you can experiment with different setups, and games are really short (stomps end before the ten minute mark on occasion) so you can go from getting rocked like a hurricane in one game to punchinating some scrubs in the next game, all in less time than your average SR game.
Howling Abyss: Think about it like this: your whole team is pushing up mid lane, their whole team is there defending, and then the jungle and the other lanes fall away and there's sh*tloads of snow everywhere. Boom, Howling Abyss is now applicable to the Rift. Seriously though, this mode is awesome for teaching one thing and teaching it well: teamfights. Play enough Vi on the Abyss and you'll start to get a feel for engaging, disengaging, keeping track of a bunch of action and moving through fights to assault different targets, all things that are INSANELY important in Summoner's Rift teamfights. Plus, if you're good at it and your enemies don't expect it because all of the damage should be coming from your buddy Xerath, they'll be shocked when you unload a bucket of pain directly into their faceholes.
Bot Games: Never jungled before? Practice it here! Never gone mid before? Practice it here! Never played Vi before and you think you're gonna suck? Practice it here! Even after 2 years, there is nothing wrong with practice in an environment where you're almost guaranteed a win.
Step 3: Pick a champ you love and play the hell out of them.
This advice comes straight from a Plat-ranked friend of mine who plays a bunch of champs, but plays Renekton and Cassiopeia about 95% of the time, and he f*cking destroys with them. Like holy sh*t. His advice to me while we played last season was simple: pick a few champs you really like that you feel really comfortable with and get crazy good at them. You can do this by knowing their matchups, knowing what they're capable of and just playing sh*tloads of games with them.
Early on when you're still learning a champ (coughVicough) you shouldn't be super concerned about it. Pick up combos, figure out what items and playstyle work best for you (if you haven't guessed, I'm pretty hyper-aggressive) and develop around that. Once you hit a point where you feel confident with the champ, that's when you need to focus. You know what helps with that? Taking notes.
What you want to do is this: play a bunch of games, say 10 or 15, exclusively as that champ. In each game you play, think about every decision you're making and why you're making it, and write that sh*t down. Wins and losses don't matter, because you can learn very important things from getting your a*s handed to you. What's important is that you draw some kernel of knowledge from every game. The more of this you do, the more you'll learn. This is where taking notes comes in: you want to be able to think back, and as nice as match histories are, they don't do sh*t for helping you remember the actual game. LoLReplay is good for this, but here's what I do: motherf*ckin' notepad.
That's right, I just wrote down notes. Every game I wrote down the map, the team comps, and then either whenever I was dead or IMMEDIATELY after the game, I took notes about the flow of the game, major moments and any observations I had before or after the game. It even helps me remember certain things I didn't right down: there was a really ballsy play in the late game of the SR game where I pulled a Harlem Globetrotter over the base wall and through two turrets to get a kill (combo names!). While it was awesome as hell, it was only possible because I was fed as hell, and I don't think it would have worked in another game. I made that observation and wrote it down at the end to think about my aggression. GET LEARNED ON, F*CKERS.
Here's the full log from that 10-game spree, you might notice some things that I learned in those games incorporated somewhere in the guide. BECAUSE LEARNING IS OP.
Step 4: Don't be an insufferable d*ckhead. Teamwork is bullsh*t overpowered right now. It might surprise you how totally-not-difficult this is, depending on your personality and temper. Seriously though, for all of my swearing and anger-filled rants (you haven't BEGUN to hear me complain about Sion), I'm as nice as humanly possible in game, and it really honest to god pays off. If you treat the people you play with like they're actual human beings I can guarantee you that a bunch of them- more than you might expect- will respond to you in kind, and it makes teamwork and cooperation much easier. This doesn't mean be super nice to the enemy team- f*ck those guys, they exist to get punched in the face- but it does mean be respectful and just generally not a d*ck.
It's really not hard. Before you say or do anything, ask yourself, "Does this make me a d*ck?" if the answer is yes, DON'T F*CKIN' DO IT.. It's that simple. Your bot lane dies, you have two options. One, you can cuss them out and it makes you feel better, but it also makes you a d*ck. Two, you can offer some advice, or if you're the jungler or rocking Teleport you can offer to help them out by going down there and punching someone in the face. Either way, it's a better help for the team, it keeps people thinking about winning instead of "god this Vi is such a flaming a*shole" and it gets everyone working together towards the end goal of f*cking up the 5 idiots on the other team.
Yeah, you're gonna get bad teammates. You're gonna get idiots, you're gonna get trolls, you're gonna get ragers. It's League of Legends, not My Little Pony: The MMO. Here's another secret: you don't have to talk to them. Be the bigger person, don't feed the trolls. Smart pings are awesome, without typing a word you can say "I'm headed here" or "Top is missing" or "Get out of there before Udyr comes and f*cks you in the face". It's a stupid little grade school trick back when the worst insult was "boogerhead", but it still f*ckin' works.
Trolls want you to get pissed off and rage out. /ignore those idiots and play the game.
Bad players are either having a bad day or they just suck. If you're better, you're in a position to help them. Don't waste your time talking ****, help them.
Ragers are going to get mad no matter what you do. F*ck 'em, you can ping if you want them to know something. Don't say a thing to them, they're not worth it.
Some enemy is talking sh*t to you? /ignore him and win the game, it's a better slap in the face than anything you could say in allchat.
You'll get mad. It happens to everyone, no matter what. F*ck it, don't let it affect your game. Don't rage at your teammates, hold it in until after the game and go vent somewhere else. Take a break and shoot someone in the face in an FPS, or beat the sh*t out of them in a fighter. Go do SOMETHING to get rid of the stress, even if it involves a Kleenex or some alone time. I don't care. The point is, IF YOU'RE ON TILT FROM A GAME, DO NOT PLAY ANOTHER F*CKING GAME OF LEAGUE OF LEGENDS. IT WILL NOT END WELL.
These other tips don't have anything to do with Vi.
- When playing as Varus against a slippery enemy like Ezreal or Vayne or against someone with plenty of sustain like Soraka or Taric, prioritize Hail of Arrows instead of Piercing Arrow and get Blighted Quiver second. It makes your damaging ability way easier to land and with Blighted Quiver your Q still stays somewhat relevant until you can max it later on.
- As Leona you can quickly double-reset your autoattack animation by clicking a target, activating Shield of Daybreak and then clicking again after the stun. This is a really quick and effective way to 3-shot wards in a very short time.
- When playing as Pantheon, you can cast Aegis of Zeonia while in the air during Grand Skyfall, and as long as they're not out of range when he lands he'll drop down on top of them.
- As Kennen, focus more on getting free damage from autoattack procs of Electrical Surge plus the active rather than trying to be MLG with Thundering Shuriken, unless you can land that tiny skillshot consistently, in which case good for you, you're better at skillshots than I am. Whoopee.
- When playing as Smoke, remember that you can Smoke Bomb into an Air Grab and this throws them at a distance good for another Smoke Bomb, perpetuating a chain that (when timed well) can only be broken by using the Breaker (so basically by not being an idiot). I won a game against another human being with two Flawless Victories in as many rounds by spamming that chain. The guy immediately demanded a rematch. I said no.
- If you're having trouble landing grabs as Blitzcrank, duck into the bush then Overdrive, walk right up and Power Fist them, saving your Rocket Grab for when they try to run. They have to be fairly close to the bush for it to work unless you burn Flash, but if you pull it off it'll throw a lot of people off.
- If you recall for an item but don't quite have enough (say it's 1000 and you have 850), buy a ward before you head back to lane. It's cheap so it doesn't make a huge dent in your gold, and if you place it right it'll save your godd*mn life.
- Don't just throw up boards wherever the hell when you're doing a bank heist. Each spot the vault can spawn in has open windows with clear lines of fire, make sure to board those up first. Also, if you stand off to the side of the window, you're less likely to draw fire and get the boards broken right after you place them.
- Garen's Decisive Strike, Evelynn's Dark Frenzy and Lucian's Relentless Pursuit all break slows, meaning that it's more beneficial to let the slow hit you and THEN cast the spell as opposed to try to outdistance your enemy to mitigate the usefulness of the slow in the first place.
- When playing as Nocturne in blind pick against an enemy Nocturne remember that your Paranoia gets rid of his vision as well, so if you use it directly after him you rob him of the ability to engage on whoever he was aiming for. You can also use this vision denial to cancel a Shen's Stand United.
- "there is no cow level", "power overwhelming", "operation cwal" and "black sheep wall" are how I beat Starcraft 1. I turned on god mode, sent a Marine to kill the Overmind and went to make a sandwich. I was young and naive, give me a break.
- Lee Sin, Jax and Katarina can all jump to wards, meaning that grabbing a Sightstone in the midgame gives you a free low-cooldown Flash.
- In Champion Select, look at the words "Your Team" and "Enemy Team". The color of the glow indicates which side you'll be on.
- When playing Jayce, practice casting your Acceleration Gate immediately AFTER Shock Blast so that the particle travels through the gate as the gate comes up. It's hard to do (smartcasting helps a lot) but it makes the combo much, much harder to predict.
- When you fight the Mother Spinner, don't bother kiting the Leapers and waiting for her weak spot to show up. There isn't one. Shoot her till she dies. It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure this one out.
- Building Jayce or Nautilus with maximum attack speed and max crit may not be viable, but it is god d*mned hilarious. Also, AD Malzahar is awesome because it lets you be the very best like no one ever was.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, hold down the R button on the main menu screen and press B A Left Down Up Right. In Pitfall, press L Select A Select R A L Select. In F-Zero Maximum Velocity, I don't know the cheat codes so just don't suck at F-Zero.
So that's my guide. Hopefully you got one of two things from it: enjoyment in your eye holes or knowledge in your brain spot. If either one fails to subside in under 4 hours, call a doctor. Seriously though, I hope you guys enjoyed it, I had a sh*t ton of fun writing this and doing all the punch-based research for it. Feel free to leave comments and feedback, despite all of the swearing I'm actually a pretty nice dude and I'll do my best to reply to everyone as long as your comment isn't something ******ed like "vi sucks play poppy nub".
I'd like to thank Condon from the League forums for being a hilarious b*stard with his guides "The MFing Chogath" and "Singed the Urine-Guided Rokkit" among others. Thanks to him, I got started with this whole thing, wrote 4 really ****ty guides and then got recognized in solo queue, which was a MASSIVE ego boost.
Thanks to Gypsylord and RiotZeronis for making such a ridiculously awesome champion, the game we played was altogether too short and I cannot wait to send this too you, eager and nervous like a 4th grader with a tiny note passed through class. Gypsylord, will you be my friend? Please check yes or no.
Thanks to JhoiJhoi for the codes and images, no idea if you're still around (if you haven't guessed, I was last on MobaFire about a year and a half ago).
Shout-out to Gort, you silly son of a b*tch. I don't know if you're gonna be mad or laughing when you read these, but never forget that when you get good at this game this will be here to remind you that you were once a nooblord. But it's okay, because you're my nooblord.
Here's to the casuals, the people who are probably never gonna be Challenger but love the sh*t out of League and stick with it because it's just so god d*mn mother f*cking fun.
On a sidenote, if you ever play Vi against me and I start talking some SERIOUS sh*t if I start winning, don't take it personally. I get really possessive of Vi sometimes.
Change Log / Patch Notes
Q - Vault Breaker
MINIMUM DAMAGE 50/80/110/140/170 (+.7 Bonus Attack Damage) ⇒ 50/75/100/125/150 (+.8 Bonus Attack Damage)
MAXIMUM DAMAGE 100/160/220/280/340 (+1.4 Bonus Attack Damage) ⇒ 100/150/200/250/300 (+1.6 Bonus Attack Damage)
COOLDOWN 130/105/80 seconds ⇒ 150/115/80 seconds
KNOCKBACK DURATION ON SECONDARY TARGETS 0.5 seconds ⇒ 0.25 seconds
KNOCKBACK DISTANCE ON SECONDARY TARGETS 350 ⇒ 250
These nerfs aren't awful, honestly- Vi is a one trick pony, and her trick is pretty absurd right now. It does make Black Cleaver an even sexier option than it has been as of late, seeing as building some more damage on Vi will reap larger rewards than it used to. The thing that's going to hurt the most is the ult CD. It makes it slightly less available, so you had better get good at those Q ganks, folks.
4/8: Adapted some setups for the new rune changes and simplified that section. Also added a link to the dominion section with an awesome guide- go give it a read!
3/18: Patch 4.4! Yay!
2/26: Added a few matchups and made some small itemization changes, because building Iceborn and Triforce is S-M-R-T smart.