Viktor Build Guide by daedalusx99
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Standard Mid Lane
Core Items - Purchase In Order
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.
Taking my inspiration from many of the other great guides on Mobafire, as well as Ciderhelm's "Don't Feed" series, I will try to model this guide on a didactic approach. As such, I hope to provide coherent rationale on my recommendations, logical explanations for my advice, and general insight into how I play Viktor.
Why Play Viktor?
Viktor is an AP Caster through and through. As such, he can deal boatloads of damage to an enemy team. What makes him special amongst other AP casters is his remarkable versatility and the extreme utility he provides for his team as a whole. Overall, he's a blast to play (literally and figuratively). If you enjoy being a huge asset to your team and pulling off amazing plays with style and flair, then Viktor may be for you.
Like many other mids, he is best kept safe from harm when possible, although he has tools to defend himself when needed. Overall, his role is that of a heavy damage dealer, while providing amazing zone control, team protection, and general utility. He therefore fits well in almost any team comp, as long as he isn't taking all of the damage. To this end, building high damage, cooldown reduction, and a splash of survivability will help you successfully accomplish these goals.
Pros/Cons to Viktor
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|SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE||Talon or Caitlyn).||Power Transfer accomplishes a very similar role. I wouldn't recommend it too often.SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE||Ignite counters it (unless you have very quick reflexes/preemptively heal), and if you are looking for personal protection, barrier is better. Still, it's not a bad summoner spell.SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE|
Ghost (flash is better for repositioning)
Cleanse (you shouldn't be getting in harm's way often enough to warrant this)
Clarity (although decent in early game, loses most of its significance by late game)
Clairvoyance (you are an AP caster, not a support. Also, your Death Ray grants vision)
Smite (you aren't jungling)
Revive (no explanation needed)
As an AP Caster, you'll want to maximize your damage, and the standard 21 points in offense does this well.
3 points in Wanderer are useful for getting back to lane faster and traversing the map when needed.
The final 6 points go into health regen (for increased lane sustain) as well as some basic MR against the enemy's spells, though you could swap the 3 points from Wanderer into Meditation for slightly better lane sustain.
Alternatively, you could put them into the defense tree (yielding a more conventional 21-9-0 build) if you don't find the movement speed to be that attractive.
Ultimately, as long as you have 21 points in the offense tree, the rest is up to you.
In general, Viktor can use the same runes that you would use for most other AP mids you might play.
I find the following runes to be particularly good on Viktor:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
These runes provide an early 7.8 magic pen for trading with the enemy mid, as well as 12.1 magic resist for defense against their spells. I take flat MR instead of scaling because they provide more MR than scaling runes up to level 9, by which time many games are already in the teamfight phase. In my opinion, the first few levels of play are what you should optimize when building rune pages for AP mids.
The combination of AP yellows and AP quints yield a hefty 20.2 ability power right at the start of the game, making your spells and harassment that much stronger. This is important towards your viability in the early game.
You could swap Greater Seal of Ability Power for Greater Seal of Armor instead. Although you have decent autoattack range and long range harass, you will take some minion damage in the early game, especially as you and the enemy jockey for position. Some enemy mids also do significant physical damage (i.e. Talon). These will help you against them as well.
I wouldn't recommend Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction because you won't have the mana to spam spells enough to capitalize on the reduced cooldown in early game (unless you have blue buff). Even then, blue buff itself gives more than enough CDR and mana regen to meet your needs.
I also wouldn't use any mana ( Greater Glyph of Mana) or mana regen ( Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration) runes, even scaling ones. These become largely irrelevant by mid game, when Viktor's items will give him all the mana and regen he'll ever need. In contrast, even a small amount of MR makes a difference throughout the entire game.
Skills and Mechanics
Passive - Evolving Technology
The hex core is an often overlooked item, and most people tend to disregard it as a useless item that gimps Viktor's damage potential as an AP caster.
To this I say, "nonsense!" The hex core instantly provides an impressive 3 AP per level for FREE, without having to go back to the shop. This means that Viktor does not have to return to the shop as often in order to keep up his damage output. In fact, as Viktor and the enemy mid stay in lane for longer periods of time, Viktor gradually gains an advantage over his opponent, since his AP will rise more rapidly. This may force the enemy to recall to shop in order to acquire the items necessary to match Viktor's damage output, thereby giving you free farm (and who doesn't like that?).
The augments themselves also make this passive well worth it, but we'll get to those later.
Remember that you can't sell the hex core (but considering how awesome it is, why would you want to?).
Power Transfer (Q)
The important thing to remember about power transfer is that it fulfills distinctively different roles depending on the stage of the game in which it's being used.
In the early game, its low cost and decent damage make it excellent for last hitting minions. However, power transfer doesn't have the range or damage to justify putting yourself in harm's way in a damage trade with most enemy mids. Additionally, the shield (arguably power transfer's most useful component) doesn't usually return fast enough to block much damage in quick single-spell trades against enemy champions. You'll usually end up behind if you try to use it this way in the early game, and this often frustrates many beginning Viktor players.
That being said, in the mid/late game, and in long, drawn-out teamfights, power transfer is great at providing sustained damage output while protecting yourself from damage. In these situations, Viktor CAN trade well with multiple power transfers, particularly with some AP and cooldown reduction.
Additionally, power transfer is excellent at all stages of the game as a defensive ability against damage-over-time spells, especially Ignite. Because the shield is unaffected by healing reduction, it's one of the best ways to protect yourself. Furthermore, because its strength is dependent on the damage before reductions (i.e. due to magic resistance), you'll always get a decent shield return, and you therefore don't have to be picky about what your target is. Last hitting minions while shielding damage is doubly effective. In fact, even if your target minion/champion dies before power transfer reaches them, it will STILL shield you.
Although you can max this first for consistent damage and a stronger shield, I put 1 point in at level 2 and only max it after Viktor's E ( Death Ray), which is arguably a much stronger skill.
Gravity Field (W)
Gravity field is another easily misunderstood skill. Many people try to use it as an initiation tool to begin a damaging combo. Without its eponymous Augment: Gravity, gravity field doesn't have the range to fulfill that role.
This is not to say you won't ever use it as part of a combo to stun your enemy and burst them down. You'll just usually have to wait for the enemy to initiate on YOU before they are close enough for you to use gravity field in this manner.
However, gravity field is SUPERB at stopping aggressive opponents and preventing ganks. This is especially the case against champions that lack blinks who must run straight towards you to (i.e. Hecarim). Its area of effect slow + situational stun makes it one of the few spells that can stop all 5 players on an enemy team if placed correctly.
It's equally useful as an escape mechanism if you are being pursued. Drop it behind you in the path your enemies must take, and you'll force them to either go around the field or through it. Either way, you'll buy yourself time to escape.
It can also be used as a zoning tool, though I wouldn't use it in this way unless you have mana to spare and are reasonably sure you won't be ganked soon (it has a relatively high mana cost and long cooldown early game)
Because extra points in gravity field only reduce the cooldown of the spell, I only put 1 point into it at level 3, and max it last.
Death Ray (E)
Death ray is the reason you play Viktor (well, one of the reasons). It does immense damage at long range (which is not reduced by minions), can be cast without interrupting movement, and you can change the vector of the ray each time you fire. In other words, it's an ideal poke and farming tool. With a little AP, a well-placed death ray can clear an entire minion wave as it approaches. It can also devastate an opposing team by hitting multiple targets with the same cast.
Mastering this spell is crucial for reaching Viktor's full damage potential. Therefore, it is important to practice using this skill, especially for beginner Viktor players who may find the targeting and hitbox to be a bit awkward. Although it can only begin firing near Viktor, it can reach extreme ranges when aimed directly outward, and will outrange most other pokes. If you aim carefully, you can often hit all the minions in a wave, even after they've begun attacking each other.
Death ray also gives vision along its path. Use it to check bushes or reveal enemies in the fog of war.
The insane damage and utility of this spell warrant getting it at level 1, and maxing it immediately.
Chaos Storm (R)
Chaos storm is a very powerful ultimate with tremendous sustained damage output over its duration. If cast directly on top of an enemy champion, the storm will follow the enemy as they move, even if they enter stealth or enter a bush. This is fantastic for locking down opponents (like Akali) who might try to escape in this way.
If it is not initially cast upon an enemy champion, it will NOT automatically track any champions that subsequently cross its path.
It can however be continually redirected by pressing R again and clicking on a new location. In this manner, you CAN follow another champion with the ultimate even if it wasn't initially cast on them.
In addition to the damage over time, it deals an initial burst of damage, as well as an initial silence on the first enemy champion it is cast on. It will NOT silence any champion after the initial cast.
Although the constant area damage is great for scattering enemy teams and zoning off portions of the battlefield in teamfights, the silence and initial burst are also vital components, giving Viktor much of his power as a burst mage, and making him a deadly opponent against a huge number of champions (especially other casters).
Level chaos storm whenever possible.
There has been much debate on the relative benefits of leveling Power Transfer vs Death Ray. The issue has been overcomplicated numerous times, particularly because of the massive discrepancy between what Riot employees (like Phreak) recommend, and what actual Viktor players do.
For the vast majority of game with Viktor, Death Ray is the superior choice. Death Ray has a far greater capacity to hurt your opponent due to the higher range and damage as compared to Power Transfer. It also provides Viktor with much better farm due to its AoE. Moreover, Power Transfer's initial shielding is rather lackluster, so its defensive potential is outshone by Death Ray's absurd range (which allows you to stay far away from most dangers).
However, the case for leveling Power Transfer first is valid under certain conditions:
2a. You have absolutely no hope of hitting your opponent without a targeted Power Transfer.
2b. You have little risk of retaliation from getting in range to use Power Transfer.
I can't argue with the first situation - if that's your plan, go ahead and level up Power Transfer. However, I'd recommend reading the Augments section of this guide before you decide to do that.
However, it's almost impossible to find yourself in a situation that meets BOTH criteria for situation 2. Even someone as mobile as Kassadin, who is hard to hit without targeted spells, will punish you severely if you get too close. Similarly, Fizz, LeBlanc, and Ahri all fail to meet both requirements. In general, you'll likely never come across situation 2.
The combination of health, health regen, and (most importantly) movement speed, make Augment: Power a fun choice of augment. It strengthens Viktor's skirmishing ability by giving him survivability and tankiness while using Power Transfer to chase down targets or escape from sticky situations. This is my preferred augment when playing Dominion, but not on Summoner's Rift. If you can make it work on Summoner's Rift, then more power to you (ba dum dum). SPACESPACESPACESPACESPACE
Although the CDR and mana regen are useful, the real reason you would want this augment is for the longer range on Gravity Field. It allows you to initiate from range and slow/stun the enemy team to set up easy kills for your allies. However, if all you want to do is initiate from a range and disrupt the enemy team, you're better off playing Leona or Amumu. Viktor's strength is in his damage, and this augment sacrifices that. Overall, I only choose this option if my team has absolutely no other way to initiate.
Verdict: Use Sparingly
This is my preferred augment in most games, and will be the focus of the rest of this guide.
The flat 45 AP that it provides (for 1000 gold) is in and of itself a cost-effective purchase. Additionally, the passive effect of The Hex Core still takes effect, giving you a whopping 99 AP at level 18. For 1000 gold, this is about 1 AP per 10 gold. To put that in perspective, Needlessly Large Rod only gives 1 AP per 20 gold, and even the almighty Rabadon's Deathcap's 150+ AP comes at a huge cost of 3300 gold. This makes it among the most cost-efficient items you can purchase in the whole game, and a really valuable item for Viktor, especially in the mid-game.
The extra 30% damage on Death Ray is also a welcome boost to your primary damage ability. The extra damage and DoT from Augment: Death on a creep wave often yields you last hits on minions that you would otherwise be unable to reach. With only Doran's Ring, Augment: Death, and appropriate runes and masteries, Viktor can kill caster minions with 1 use of Death Ray, and deal enough damage to instantly last hit melee minions to finish them off.
It can even yield you an unexpected kill on an opponent. Many players will not realize the strength of the DoT, and will forget to use Heal or Barrier, netting you a kill.
Most games, you'll want to rush straight for this as your first item, even before boots. It's just that good.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Laning/Early Game Strategy
Ever since the Season 3 nerf to boots' movement speed, they are less effective at dodging skillshots or helping you backing away from attacking enemy minions. The concurrent buff to all champions' base movement speed means that even without boots, you are inherently better suited to dodging skillshots and avoiding enemy harassment.
Additionally, Doran's Ring gives flat health (always useful for survivability), AP, and mana regen for some basic lane sustain. However, its passive (mana restoration upon killing a unit) is what gives Doran's ring its true strength as a starting item. Gaining 5 mana after killing minions gives you the potential for at least 30 free mana after every creep wave (assuming you last hit diligently).
In the mid game, when you have enough AP to allow Death Ray to instantly clear minions, it basically reduces the mana cost of death ray by around 30% for an average creep wave (though if the wave is big enough, you can potentially GAIN mana from a well-placed death ray). Since you likely won't get rid of the ring for a while, this is a very significant advantage in lane.
This, combined with the ring's other stats gives you utility and sustain that Boots of Speed + 3x Health Potion can't provide.
Call me old fashioned, but I think Doran's Ring is the way to start.
Once in lane, your job is to assess your enemy and use your skills to zone him out and out-farm him. You may even be able to continually poke his health down to the point of recalling, or ideally, bursting him down.
As mentioned earlier, rushing Augment: Death is fantastic for making you a dominant force in the mid game, with an eventual Tear of the Goddess and Boots of Speed rounding out your basic items. I love Tear because it gives you basic mana sustain, and sets you up for purchasing the amazing multipurpose Archangel's Staff/ Seraph's Embrace in late game. Even if you don't get to late game, Tear is cheap (700 gold) and useful on its own. I don't understand why more champions don't buy it early.
1. Your basic burst combo involves using Chaos Storm and Gravity Field to lock your opponent down, and then using Death Ray, Power Transfer, and autoattacks for as long as you can remain in range and as often as you cooldowns permit.
2. Make sure to use Gravity Field judiciously - although it's your only skill that doesn't do damage, it is often the most crucial skill to land correctly for both protecting yourself and dealing maximal burst. You don't want it on cooldown when you get ganked, and your damage output is not as assured before landing its stun.
3. Power Transfer's cooldown can get very low at later levels and with high CDR (≈ 3 seconds). For this reason, I recommend smartcasting this skill to maximize your DPS and shield protection. A split second can often make the difference between successfully shielding yourself from fatal damage or dying to the final tick of Ignite. Clicking only once to use this skill helps shave precious moments off of your cast time. Most new Viktor players will experience moments when they wish they had cast Power Transfer sooner - save yourself the heartache with smartcast.
4. Because of the variable trajectory of Death Ray, it can be difficult for your opponent to avoid. Cast Death Ray from different angles to keep them guessing.
5. Don't forget about the initial silence on Chaos Storm - it's often more important to land the silence than to actually deal the damage (i.e. during Katarina's Death Lotus or Nunu's Absolute Zero). Also, remember that you can redirect the storm during its entire duration. Forgetting to do this can leave your storm sitting over empty ground, while it could have been attacking other players. This is critical in maximizing your damage potential as Viktor.
Mid Game Strategy
At this point, feel free to adjust the build as necessary, though I find Rabadon's Deathcap, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Athene's Unholy Grail to be solid choices.
These constitute your core build, giving you an impressive 35% cooldown reduction (39% if you count the Sorcery mastery), incredible sustain from mana font, and high damage output (Oh, and a decent bit of MR against the enemy mid, if they are still skirmishing with you). Because all of Viktor's basic skills have relatively short cooldowns (especially Power Transfer), itemizing for CDR helps immensely in teamfights and skirmishes, where your combined damage and disruption capabilities will be unmatched.
Ideal Mid Game Inventory
Tear of the Goddess
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Athene's Unholy Grail
If you absolutely cannot fathom forgoing Sorcerer's Shoes, then use them instead. In my experience, the CDR is much more useful though - after all, magic penetration doesn't matter when farming minions (easier farm --> more gold). In general, your ridiculously high AP will outclass the magic resist they buy, which will only matter in the super late game. Most games are over before then.
It's also sub-optimal when using Power Transfer, since the shield is unaffected by damage reduction. You're better off being able to use it more often.
With your high AP and almost maximum cooldown reduction, you want to force teamfights as much as possible, since your AoE stuns and damage will give you an advantage over the other team. Viktor really shines when he can hit all the enemy champions with his spells and disrupt enemy teams with his board control. Between the cost-effectiveness of Augment: Death and his supreme AoE, mid game is where Viktor shines brightest and snowballs the hardest.
It's worth noting that you do very well with objective control. You can easily delay/scatter oncoming enemy teams with Gravity Field and Death Ray when protecting important objectives like Dragon and Baron. You are also one of the best champions at contesting objectives that the ENEMY team is attempting to take. The threat of stunning and damaging an entire team with Gravity Field + Chaos Storm is usually enough to get players to back off. If they don't you have a very high likelihood of killing them and taking the objective yourself.
Late Game Strategy
Finishing your Archangel's Staff is fantastic for the late game. Not only will the passive give you more AP, but Seraph's Embrace is a great defensive item with its activated shield. Between Archangel's Staff and Athene's Unholy Grail, mana should never be an issue.
As icing on the cake, the added AP from Archangel's Staff will synergize with Rabadon's Deathcap's passive.
If I don't have any specific defensive issues that you have to address, I like to finalize the build with Rod of Ages. I know it sounds silly to buy a Rod of Ages as your last item. After all, if you're going for Rod of Ages, why not at least buy catalyst the protector early?
1. Although catalyst is nice, it's too expensive to provide much benefit to Viktor's early game. You really want the damage offered by Augment: Death.
2. The base stats on Rod of Ages are impressive enough. This, combined with the passive AP gain from Archangel's Staff and Rabadon's Deathcap will further increase the benefits gained. These will yield higher AP and only 50 less health than Rylai's Crystal Scepter, even without any stacks.
Late Game Build
Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Athene's Unholy Grail
Rod of Ages
That being said, you'll often have a more appropriate last item to buy dependent on their teamcomp (i.e. Zhonya's Hourglass to counter Karthus). You have to stay alive to be of use to your team (yes, I AM related to Captain Obvious), and in the late game, a single misstep can cause you to be insta-nuked ( Blitzcrank pull, anyone?). Hence, survival takes priority, even if it comes at the cost of some of your damage. The Rod of Ages is therefore the least important item in his build - feel free to buy whatever else you need.
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No, really. Unless you absolutely need the movement speed (for example, your base is being constantly pushed and you need Enchantment: Homeguard to defend it), swapping boots for another high-power item will help round out your build and ameliorate any late game power deficiency.*
*On that note, this is really never an issue for Viktor (his damage is already so high to begin with), though his total AP is technically limited by the fact that his augments (even Augment: Death) provide lower stats than a Rabadon's Deathcap or a Rod of Ages and cannot be sold. Still, the mid-game cost efficiency and utility of his augments more than make up for this deficiency.
Moreover, his positional control with Gravity Field, Death Ray, and Chaos Storm should be more than enough to keep him safe. If they aren't, then 25-50 extra movement speed probably won't make a difference either. Remember that in late game teamfights, most of the battle is relatively stationary. For this reason, Lich Bane is a fantastic candidate to replace boots. Not only do you get mana, AP, and the sheen proc, but the movement speed helps replace your boots' functionality.
Morellonomicon can also turns the tides of battle, especially against champions that rely on healing (i.e Vladimir, Dr. Mundo). It also allows you to maintain max CDR even without your Ionian Boots of Lucidity (it's therefore my favorite alternative to boots).
In general, any good survivability item can replace your boots in the late game. Even if you don't replace your boots, buying a survivability item (usually in place of the Rod of Ages can win you the game. This approach also has the advantage of keeping your CDR at 39%.
Zhonya's Hourglass is particularly useful, since Viktor's Chaos Storm will still work. Guardian Angel, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and even Quicksilver Sash (u mad Malzahar???) are all solid choices. While good in theory, I wouldn't recommend Banshee's Veil because it's unreliable. In general, Zhonya's Hourglass does everything Banshee's Veil can, but better.
If you insist that you have to do even MORE damage, consider purchasing Liandry's Torment, which provides some health, a very valuable 15 magic penetration, and deals percentage damage (i.e. building health doesn't counter it). Liandry's also works well against champions affected by Viktor's Gravity Field.
Void Staff and Abyssal Mask also work nicely against teams that are stacking MR. Remember that in most cases, Abyssal Mask will do better than Void Staff (up to around 100 MR), while also having the advantage of giving you MR.
However, practically speaking, you'll rarely need to purchase these items to keep your damage up.
As a final note, it's important to optimize placement of your Death Ray to last hit, damage minions, and poke champions, preferably all at once. The best Viktor players learn to do this seamlessly while moving and avoiding enemy skills, giving you great lane presence and easy farm.
You can also cast Death Ray while the minions advance towards you. The fact that they are in a straight line will usually result in the all the minions taking damage, with the last minion barely touching the end of the Death Ray.
You won't always be able to hit every creep with a single Death Ray - use Power Transfer to finish off stray minions.
Viktor also shines as an unconventional top laner. His strength in this position lies in his amazing poke and the ability to stop melee champs dead in their tracks. Many scary top champions, such as Darius, Fiora, and Xin Zhao fall to pieces as they simply cannot deal with his kit. Viktor top is particularly useful when your mid champion is AD (i.e. Talon). In general, the same items, runes, and masteries work well here (though armor seals should be prioritized).
As my favorite AP mid, I enjoy how powerful, versatile, and fun Viktor is to play. I hope this guide has increased your understanding of his gameplay and inspired you to give him a try.
Thank you for reading my guide. Please leave comments and suggestions (don't just downvote it without a reason) as I hope to improve this guide in the future.
Special thanks to Trykstr for his help in editing this guide
And Jhoijhoi's Guide to Making Guides, which taught me basically everything