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Deus Ex Machina - the guide to playing an effective Viktor

Last updated on April 18, 2012
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Middle Lane
Ranked #27 in
Middle Lane
Win 46%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

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



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Welcome to the Machine

So this is my first build that I've ever posted; the main caveat though, will be that it's not really a build but more so a guide to understand a character. You have to learn to adapt to the game, not just memorize some item sheet and hope your opponents will feed you enough to finish it. If you're too lazy to read everything that I've written about Vik, and you're looking for something a lot more read-before-I-pick-him-during-his-free-weeks, then I'm sure you can find what you're looking for somewhere else. If you want to learn how to play Vik effectively, then continue reading.

Caveat 2:
What seperates the good players from the great players is simply the players' abilities. Common sense, no? I appologize if you don't shoot straight up to 2000 ELO after reading this guide. That being said I do love and want feedback. Don't run and gun with that voting bar. Give me a reason why you down voted. If you have a suggestion or even wanna say thanks, please feel free to say it in the comments.

Who I am:

That being said, as for why you should listen to me? Frankly, I'm not a super high ELO player or 50 time IPL champion, I'm simply a player who loves Viktor and who is sad that he sees Viktor underutilized (if utilized at all) despite having amazing aggression and excellent scaling. I've been playing since about the first quarter of season one, and for me Viktor was an instabuy when he came out. Steampunk Cyborg. With a laser third hand. Who's an AP Caster. Also, he shuffles. Badass.
Btw, I make up words every now and then, but nothing too weird. If English isn't your first language and have troubles understanding something, feel free to just ask in the comments for clarification.

Why I think people don't play Vik:

The main deterrent I can see is the high skill cap. 3 out of 4 skills are skill shots. If you have trouble with this, play a ranged AD (this is not an insult of any sort, in fact I enjoy playing ADs, just there's a different sense of enjoyment that I get out of being able to say "I pulled off an amazing shot!" as opposed to "I right-clicked the bloody hell out of that guy!"

Conversely, there's the group of folks who think Viktor is underpowered... Yeah- no. You're wrong, dead wrong. Viktor, in my opinion, has the best low-level burst in the game, and is only surpassed by VERY few late game. You simply need to know how your passive and skills play into your playstyle (but this applies to every champion).

-What this means:
If you have troubles last hitting, or getting to the point where you can match your opponents for CS, then there is nothing that this guide can do for you. It takes practice. I myself still have some long ways to go with this.

Yay! You finished the fluff stuff. Now crank up your dubstep, shuffle along and learn about Viktor.

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Now rune pages are hard to spec per game. Thus I tend to run the pages that are best for an early game, aggressive burst mage in the mid-lane.
I take MPen red (~6.4 MPen), MP/5 yellows (~ 5mp/5sec), AP quints (~15 AP) and lastly flat MR runes (Mobafire's being all weird and only lists scaling MR. These drop off late game and make your early game A LOT harder).

MPen: Because they're better than the flat AP that reds could give you. Also they stay effective for most of the game.

MP/5: 1 mp per second bonus may not seem much, but it allows you to burst a bit more often, which is often the difference between a waste of summoner skills and first blood. I thought the bonus would be insignificant, but now I find that it is a lot easier to spam skills without having to pop a blue pill and lose farm/exp. This plus masteries should be more than enough to keep you in lane.

Flat AP quints: you're an AP caster. You already have MPen. K? K.

Blues: The troublesome member of the group. Now some people say that it is a good idea just to stack more AP, but, they're wrong. Having MR is really important as a middle, especially because first blood will usually decide who wins the middle lane. Viktor thrives and in fact can snowball very easily only of of first blood alone. Do not underestimate early game durability. Despite that they nerfed the MR, it still is, in my opinion, the best choice. However, if you have a good tank (in a premade) then you can choose not to, but I reserve the right to say I told you so.

Alternative Rune Paths:

I listed some alternatives, lotsa flat AP etc. The ones I posted above simply reflect what I've had the most success with. If you find a combination that works well for you, then good. Use it.

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You're an AP caster and you're mid. You're going 21/0/9.
Pure aggression is just dumb, and you're not a support nor are you a tank. Despite what Riot wants you to believe, Viktor should rarely be anything but an AP carry. Yes he can build support/tanky, but with his scaling why would you want to...? (More on this in the items section).
You're stacking lots of damage in the Offensive and snagging yourself some early offensive Utility masteries. The 3 mp/5 is nice on top of your runes. The little speed boost helps you dodge stuff. More mana, cause always more mana. You burn through it like crazy early game if you play foolishly, but even if you don't, having just enough to pull off a Death Ray to deter a kill or even grab one is always a happy moment.
Straight forward enough. Time to get to the meat.

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Adapt or be Removed

So what makes Viktor different from most other AP carries?
Well his passive for one. Some players hate the fact that you lose an item slot to his passive, but this is shortsighted. Augment: Death is THE BEST gold/AP item in the game (unless you count the passive of hat). And it's cheap. Beautiful. 1,000 gold, (about 10 waves if you kill 5 per wave, not including the siege minions). So if you're only CSing you should be able to grab this thing around 5~7 minutes. In reality, it's usually around 4~5 min.
While I'll go into item stuff more so later on this page, a little note about how you should start your build in the game. Boots, Red Pots. Then rush Augment: Death ASAP. Really, there's no reason why you shouldn't. It's the item that makes Viktor's burst so amazing. By the time you get this item, probably around level 5 and should have 3 levels in your e. It does 200+ damage now. You don't even have an ult and you can burst for around 400 damage (if you include ignite) and because your poke not only farms, but harasses, getting your opponents health to a burstable range is fairly easy.
You are not Cass, you do not deal DoT.
You are not LeBlanc either who takes down a full health caster in a few seconds.
You are somewhere in the middle ground. You need to poke well in order to be effective. Aggressive Viktors are successful Viktors. If you get bullied in lane, your CS will fall behind. With a passive that relies on you getting some early gold, this can severely hamstring you. Your q has a shield. Use it. Your opponent should be constantly (at most!) 3/4 of their health bar or less. You're at your strongest the further back they are. If they look like they're going to try to push back, then simply q a minion to mitigate their damage and poke poke poke.
One thing you do have to look out for when you're being aggressive is getting ganked. If you notice their Jungle is babysitting mid, then deal with it, you're gonna have to freeze the lane in a safe position to just farm. That's not to say stop poking with your Death Ray; in fact you want them to be hit as often as possible by it. The beautiful thing about Vik is the range of that poke is insane. If you're in the mid of the lane you can pretty much hit anyone in front of the tower safely. A built in safety mechanism for Vik though is that his E also give vision. If you feel like the mid is baiting you, simply E the closest bush. The cost of ~100 mana is no where near the pain of dying or possibly giving up first blood due to negligence.
Common Mistake 1:
They basically have to stand next to you for a second and a half. Yes, it can pull the melee jungler off of you, but it doesn't pull the AP your against off. If the jungler hasn't already CC'd you, the caster sure as hell will, and they usually don't have to be close to you to do it. You W vanishes, you wasted mana and stood around longer than you should have. You also gave them a kill. Bad you. >:(
The best thing you can do if you do get ganked is have your jungler on his/her way to save your metallic buns. If they're not, then q something nearby (NOT A CHAMPION. If you're in range to do this, they're in range to do some nasty business to you as well). Remember to position creeps between you and your enemies. You should have boots, so in a land speed race, you should win out over that Morg with a Doran's. Simple math.
If you find yourself still getting caught/ganked, then practice map awareness, buy wards (though because of the sight that your E give you, you shouldn't need to; also your jungler and bot should be warding enough to make you safe) from lower-river ganks.

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Skills Themselves

Passive: Evolving Technology (The Hex Core)
Innate): Viktor starts with an item that takes up one of his item slots, the Hex Core, that provides him with stats and can be upgraded in the store to augment one of his abilities and improve its stats. The Hex Core can only be upgraded once, for 1000 gold, and cannot be sold back to the store.
Hex Core: Grants Viktor 3 ability power per level.

I could go into all the boring and tedious math, but Viktor's red Augment is well worth its cheap cost. 45 + lvl*3 with a 30% damage buff to your E makes it hit hard. The other Augments, as I've said before, are, well to be honest, useless. Viktor doesn't need CDR. You burst, you're not a DPS.

Let's go into the specificities of each Augment now:
Augment: Death (Red):
Great great great. Lotsa damage, which is what Viktor likes.

Augment: Gravity (Blue):

Extra mana, 10% CDR, 5 Mp/5, 30% additional range to your Gravity Field (812.5 units). There might be some mis-communication about what this skill does: it just increases the cast range, NOT THE SIZE OF THE AREA. All this lets you do is throw this in as an initiation skill. However, this premise is flawed in that an enemy would have to sit there for a second and a half in order to be caught. It's not that hard to get out of.
Support Viktor though would be awesome with this!!
Lolwut? There is no such thing. Viktor has a single support ability, which is offensive. He can only shield himself which makes Morg a better support right off the bat. She also has an AOE stun, that does damage. There are also real supports. Use those instead.

Augment: Power (Yellow):
30% movement speed for 3 seconds after hitting with your Q, +220 health, 6hp/5.
You don't really need movement speed past Sorc's Shoes and masteries. The health is fine and all, but buy a RCS instead if you're really worried about that. The health regen is nothing. There's a reason why the cheapest item for health regen gives you 8.
Tanky Viktor! He can go sit with Tanky Ahri and Tanky Lux. They're kicking it back with a unicorn and the tooth fairy right now (sorry if you thought the tooth fairy was real and I just ruined your childhood).

So aside from the red augment being amazing, there really is no other reason to buy anything else.

THAT BEING SAID, we all have bad games. If you find yourself not really getting kills but you're piling up the assists and feeding your AD, buy a blue augment, if you're getting ganked constantly, buy a yellow augment. Adapt or Be Removed. 95% of the time though, your item bar should look like the like bar of a Beiber music video (red, cause everyone hate him right?).

Q: Power Transfer:
(Active): Viktor blasts an enemy unit for magic damage, returning 40% of the damage dealt before reduction as a shield for 3 seconds.

Range: 600
Cost: 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 mana
Cooldown: 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 seconds
Magic Damage: 80 / 125 / 170 / 215 / 260 (+0.65 per ability power)
Shield: 32 / 50 / 68 / 86 / 104 (+0.26 per ability power)

(As of time of writing review 4/18/12)
Really a skirmish ability. It'll allow you to trade favorably and burst. If you want to poke, you're gonna hit a minion with this then run forward and poke with your E. Remember, the shield takes its amount BEFORE damage reduction. You get the same shield from any target. Hitting a minion gives you the same amount of shielding as hitting a champion.
Lead with this skill and you'll guarantee that your foe will be within range of everything else you have.
I'll go into bursting later, so all you need to remember is that, Q to (possibly) survive ganks, to protect yourself so you can poke, and to initiate your burst. Don't poke with this.

**If you're getting zoned a lot or you're having troubles last hitting, then this has a low enough mana cost to last hit with for a bit.

W: Gravity Field:
(Active): Viktor conjures a gravitational imprisonment device in an area near him, slowing all enemies that pass above it. Whilst under its effect, enemies generate stacks every 0.5 seconds; at 3 stacks the target will be stunned for 1.5 seconds.
Cost: 65 mana

Range: 625 (812.5 when augmented)
Cooldown: 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 / 13 seconds
Slow: 28 / 32 / 36 / 40 / 44%

One of Vik's best skills, and ironically, one of the last you'll be leveling. In my opinion this is one of the best stuns in the game. It gives you a locational CC that's pretty good post-level 3.
But wait, there's more!
If you get 3 stacks on an opponent because they stand in here for 1.5 seconds, and they're now stunned for 1.5 seconds. It lasts for a total of 4.25 seconds with a .25 second cast time. It is able to be seen THROUGH fog of war. AKA, if you're doing dragon, don't be a ninny and use this. Same with any sneaking about what so ever. Your W is not a single target spell (well it can be if your opponent is inexperienced for otherwise CC'd by your team) as it is very easy for your opponent to simple walk away. It is however, good for disabling a whole team. A well placed Gravity Field can win a team fight or save a tower. It's all about positioning. If you're defending your turret and most of your opponents are melee, put it right under the tower with a slight bias towards the more open part of the lane (ie if you're blue, then you should throw it to the right, and if you're red throw it to the left). If they're ranged, then throw it out so there's a gap between the front of the tower and where you placed it, such that the ranged characters will either have to move up closer and risk drawing turret aggro/giving you protection from being targeted, or give up on the tower to avoid getting ganked by your team or you when the stun procs.
This is one of those skill shots that separates the good Vik players from the mediocre ones. It's not just a simple matter of making sure that you are going to hit some people, but predicting their movements and thinking tactically. LoL is a game where positioning can make or break a team. Altering the way the other team approaches this aspect of gameplay gives you that much more influence.

E: Death Ray

(Active): Viktor uses his robotic arm to fire a chaos beam that sweeps across the field in a chosen path, dealing magic damage to every enemy it hits.
Range: 700
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
Cooldown: 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9 seconds
Magic Damage: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.7 per ability power)
Total Additional Magic Damage from augment: 21 / 34.5 / 48 / 61.5 / 75 (+0.21 per ability power)

My favorite skill in the game. It farms, it slices, it dices, it checks vision, it zones, deals damage, deters gankers etc. Mastering this skill is mastering Viktor. You need to know how to farm and harass simultaneously. The range you have is absurd. Know how long the ray will travel in addition to how fast it moves. The collision box is surprisingly wide, ie if the minion wave resembles
^ <-- Creeps
^ ^

x <-- you
You can clear all those minions with a simple straight Death Ray.

The most important part of the skill is that you can still do things while you're pew-pewing with your laser beam. A common tactic that I like to do is drag a laser diagonally towards an enemy champ, usually they simply try to run backwards or to the side to dodge you. If they do the later, you can use the time they're spending to dodge to get a Q off on them for some more free damage.
If you notice this has stopped working after a while, just hit them straight on. Mix it up and it'll be hard to dodge a lot of your damage.

Check bushes early and often. Better to waste the mana and find nothing than to save the mana only to give up a kill. Use your kit to the fullest.

R: Chaos Storm:
(Active): Viktor conjures a chaos storm at the target location, dealing magic damage and silencing enemies in the area for 0.5 seconds. As it churns, the storm deals magic damage every second to nearby enemies for 7 seconds. Activating this ability again while the singularity is active will redirect it. The storm moves faster the closer it is to Viktor.
Cooldown: 120 seconds
Range: 700
Cost: 125 / 175 / 225 mana
Initial Magic Damage: 150 / 250 / 350 (+0.55 per ability power)
Magic Damage Per Second: 50 / 75 / 100 (+0.25 per ability power)
Total Magic Damage: 500 / 775 / 1050 (+2.3 per ability power)

Go back for a second. Read those numbers. Yes. Those are right. No really. 230% ability power scaling. At max level with 500 AP, you can do a total of ~2200 to EACH MEMBER of the enemy team. That's only from your ult. You have about .91 scaling after you get the red augment for your Death Ray. You can do well over 12,500 damage per team fight. Oh and it silences. That's the real gem of this skill. You not only interrupt someone else's ult, but you also deal +1000 damage to them.
Now for learning to control your cloud. You CAN lock it on to certain players/locations. If you die, then your storm follows its last target, or if it's already at the target stays there until the spell expires. The only problem with the storm is that it moves faster the closer you are and thus you have to work on your positing a lot. If you want your storm to hunt down a specific character, then you're gonna have to commit to chasing. If it's in the middle of an engagement and you see your storm is following someone who is low, but there's still plenty of time left on the ult, then don't chase with it. Instead have your storm return to the fight, while YOU chase the player. Your E will out-range the storm anyway, and if it doesn't kill the player, then you would have wasted the storm anyway.
Because it deals massive AoE damage, it's not worth getting a single kill if you only focus a single character with it. Yes having a high score is nice, but it doesn't matter if you're screwing over your team in a team fight. Remember that for each character that is under the storm, your DPS gets multiplied by that many times.
4 direct assists are worth more than 1 kill anyway, by more than twice as much (4 * 175) vs (300); hell, even if they're on a legendary killing spree it is almost always more worth it to go after the rest of the team (unless they're running a snowball build, then it's up to your discretion).
Mastering that silence is also really important. (When you turn level 6 it is basically a free kill. Bursting will be explained in detail below.) If you notice your laning opponent is channeling their ult, IE they're Galio or Karth (the two that come to mind first), then drop the ult straight on top of them, and burst like all hell's broken loose. If they have an escape mechanic then you're going to have to drop the storm to limit their mobility for a bit.

Now for knowing how to burst:
Viktor is a burster in that he uses all of his skills at once. He's not a character who will chain multiple damaging spells together, but instead has lots of downtime between bursts. Positioning is a MAJOR factor of your burst.

For poking:
Pretty simply, if your opponent doesn't notice you, then hit them with the Q, if not, then hit a minion and then poke your enemy with the E. That's where most of your early game damage is, so don't worry that your Q is not hitting them.

For exchanges:
Another simple one. If you wanna trade blows, remember that you can do stuff while you use your Death Ray. The delay in the Q is because your opponent has to take some time casting with their skills. You don't have that same problem, so exploit it!

For killing:
W-R-E-(Ignite)-Q (Wreck them. Get it?)

Knowing which one to do:
R-W-E-Q-(Ignite): Premptive Burst/Raining hell down upon the poor souls without a blink
As I mentioned first, if you have the chance to interrupt a channeling ability then do it. It might save a teammate's life, or even your own. You're using the W after the R to throw the Gravity Field behind the enemy, which allows the Chaos Storm to do more damage but still allow you to remain at a distance.
The slow that's being applied to your storm, is being equalized with the Gravity Field. Knowing exactly to place the field is a per situation basis. Try to either corral them into the rest of your team, or simply force them to walk through it and get stunned, if only to escape you. THIS ONLY WORKS IF YOUR OPPONENT DOESN'T HAVE AN ESCAPE TOOL.

Why don't you throw down the W first if they're stationary for the spell?
W-R-E-(Ignite)-Q: for the Immoblized/CC'd/Channeling
Obviously, you have to have pretty damn good reflexes to catch this, or just see exactly when they started casting and hope that the 1.75 (remember the .25 second cast time) seconds will be enough to catch and prevent the spell from going off. If you can do this, then props to you; every now and then I do this and feel like a BAMF. Usually if you can land this then you get a free kill.

(Ignite)-R-(W)-E-Q for Burst Healing and Champs with Escape Mechanisms
While being a burst mage is good at helping to mitigate the effects of healing, sometimes Roka's burst heal can still balance out. If you find that their team has a lot of heals that would make it hard for you to get the kill, then ignite first as your burst should finish around the time ignite is done. You use the silence to stop them from using an escape skill, and while they're silenced, hit them simultaneously with your E and Q. Using your W takes some of your precious time.

Knowing his burst isn't hard. The hardest part is lining up your E as you're throwing down your ult, and then hitting Q while you shoot your laser.

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Skill Sequence


So why there are stars there. Those are really situational. Your focus early game is on burst damage. It feeds you and controls your opponent like a marionette.
At level 7, if you guys are going for dragon or you've notice people have started grouping, then take your W. Your Ws

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Summoner Spells

Flash: There's tons of reasons why you take this. The best Summoner Spell in the game. Trust me.

Ignite: Free true damage, bonus AP after you used it. You scale well with AP. This is good.


Cleanse: Actually pretty good, but the only problem is that it takes the place of either Flash or Ignite. If they're a very CC heavy team, then it makes sense to replace flash with it, but for a standard team, take flash. I also caution against this, because Quicksilver Sash exists which is basically Cleanse with a 90 second CD. Though 65% tenacity is pretty rad. I'd go with the

Ghost: Eh, because you're not an auto-attacker or have a built in escape mechanism, ghost just makes you move fast. Get stunned and you waste your skill.

Exhaust: Once again, you don't deal damage via attacking, and you burst. They don't need to stick around long for you to kill them.

Surge: Bleh. Auto-attack is wasted, and the AP bonus from Ignite lasts a lot longer.

Heal/Clarity: If you have health issues, stop getting hit so much. If you're having mana issues, be more conscious of your mana. Know when to poke and know when you should just last-hit with an attack.