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League of Legends Build Guide Author Crimson Dog

Vi - The Fist of Justice (Tanky AD Bruiser)

Crimson Dog Last updated on December 26, 2012
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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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

Guide Top

A brief introduction

Hi Mobafire,

this is my first guide on this site (and ever, if I'm to be completely honest), so leave feedback, whether positive or negative, and give suggestions on possible improvements. Please do not downvote unnecessarily, without giving feedback why you downvoted. I enabled forced comments because I got 3 downvotes for no apparent reason in the span of a day.

Vi is the first champion that made me buy her on the first day of release, and I want to share how i personally play her. I find most guides build her full AD , but I find that, similarly to Riven, this leads to the "you can kill me fast, but God help you if i catch you". I don't like that, and i love the moderate survivability and damage with this particular build.

Oh and here, have her awesome login music:

Guide Top

So, the question beckons: Why Vi?

Vi is a champion who deals predominantly physical damage, with no abilities that deal magic damage.
She has high damage output throughout the game due to her bursty early game and her high scaling based on the enemy's maximum health on her Denting Blows.

So let's look at some pros and cons.

Great gap closer and escape in her Vault Breaker
High damage throughout the game due to her Denting Blows scaling off of enemy HP
Good pushing power with her Vault Breaker and Excessive Force
The very disruptive and team-fight-changing Assault and Battery
Good survivability due to her Blast Shield
High AD scaling on all of her abilities.
Mid-game terror

Squishy early game
Can run out of mana (oom) really fast if you spam her abilities
Damage falls off in late-game
Has issues with sticking to targets
Can be zoned by poke and harass champions, especially ranged ones
Needs core build to be really effective
Makes you feel like rambo

Guide Top

Preparations for battle: Runes, Masteries and Summoner Spells



Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

These are your standard option for marks. Alternatively, you could pick Greater Mark of armor penetration, but that's a weaker choice, since you have good AD scaling on your abilities.
Another choice to consider is Greater Mark of Attack Speed for your Denting Blows, but, in my opinion, most of your damage comes from Vault Breaker and Excessive Force early on, where runes actually matter.

Being in top or bottom lane, you're going to face physical damage champions most of the time, and even the AP ones do some physical damage, so these are the way to go. Alternatively, you could choose to go for Greater Seal of Scaling Health for your Blast Shield, if their team doesn't have any serious AD. I would not recommend it, though.

Since you'll most have to deal with mostly physical damage early on, these are just the runes you want. If you're facing an AP top or a strong early AP jungle, Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is a viable choice as well.

I usually run these runes. I take them for the same reason i take Greater Mark of Attack Damage, and that is to maximize my damage output early on, and to make last-hitting easier.

Now this is a rather interesting choice. Usually runes matter most in the early stages of the game, but these ones matter and help a lot throughout the entire game. Take these if you have trouble catching up to fleeing targets.

If you need (or want) to be more tanky early on or have trouble surviving, take these runes. They also scale nicely with your Blast Shield.



Fury or Sorcery?
Well, attack speed is good for your Denting Blows, but i take sorcery because her cooldowns are quite high early and that little attack speed won't help much.

Weapon Expertise : you deal all physical damage so armor penetration is a must.

Veteran's Scars : extra health is always good.

Unyielding and Block : reduces damage from champions which is awesome since a large portion of top champions rely on autoattacks.

Tenacious : you're somewhat vulnerable to CC before getting your Zephyr.

Juggernaut : extra health is always good and it's a must for your Blast Shield.

Good Hands : OP mastery, use it whenever you can
NOTE: some people took this seriously, so to clarify - it's not OP, but i think it is very useful, especially late game, for the cheap price of one mastery point.
You cannot realistically expect to not die the whole game, and if you have (close to) no deaths, that means you're fed, and that means you deal a lot of damage. In that case, every second your team is without you, potential damage is lost, when you eventually die, and that means your team is gimped.
Late-game every second counts.

Safeguard or Defender ?
depends on your personal preference. I prefer Safeguard since you'll be in the top lane most of the time, so Defender only gives 1 armor and 1 magic resist until the jungler comes to gank. Not really worth it, in my opinion.

Honor Guard : reduces all damage by 3% - self explanatory.

Summoner Spells:

What I usually take:

This summoner spell lets you finish off fleeing or low enemies and is good to counter those pesky healers such as Tryndamere, Dr. Mundo or Vladimir.
The 1001 uses spell. Use it to engage, use it to escape, use it for anything!

• Viable alternatives:

Teleport: I am starting to use this spell more and more. It gives great map control and mobility throughout the game.

Ghost: It can be beneficial if you're involved in long chases and if you have a slow ( Phage/ Frozen Mallet/ Iceborn Gauntlet) to halt their escape, it's even better. Also useful if you want to have the jump on somebody in a gank. It's just too hard to pass up Flash for it.
• Some argue that, because you have Vault Breaker to hop over walls, you should take Ghost, but nay, I say. Even with Tristana, Ezreal and the like, I always take Flash because the hopping skills often have an offensive side to them, so if you use them offensively, you will have it on cooldown if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
In case of Vault Breaker, it'll be unavailable for some 6 seconds late game or 18 seconds early game. Plenty of time for someone to lock you down and murder you, not to mention the charge time and the chance to hit an enemy champion and thus failing it.

Exhaust: do they have a lot of high attack speed carries like Tryndamere or Vayne? Then this is your best friend. Also helps you chase. Every team should have at least one.

Guide Top

The battle has begun, part one: Skills and skill order


When Vi's activated abilities damage an enemy, she gains a shield equal to 10% of her maximum health for 3 seconds. Blast shield has a 18 / 13 / 8 second cooldown.
• This is a great passive that gives you a shield upon dealing damage with abilities
• You can use it to shield yourself while escaping on low HP from a single enemy by using Excessive Force on the chaser (or even better, a minion) and then immediately using Vault Breaker to get out, letting the shield take any situational damage you would take while you're slowed.

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.

RANGE: 50 to 600
MINIMUM PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 50 / 80 / 110 / 140 / 170 (+70% bonus AD)
MAXIMUM PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 100 / 160 / 220 / 280 / 340 (+140% bonus AD)
• Use it to gap-close
• Use it to escape
• Use it to clear minion waves in tandem with Excessive Force
• Be careful not to push the enemy away from yourself in a crucial moment

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.

BONUS PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10% of target's max health (+0.029% per bonus AD)
ATTACK SPEED BONUS: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%
• While not having an active part, it doesn't devalue this ability.
• It works the similar to Silver Bolts, albeit dealing physical damage, shredding armor and increasing attack speed. It can also keep stacks on multiple targets.
• You want to apply this as fast and as often as possible
• While pushing a turret, if there's an enemy siege minion nearby, hit it 3 times to get the attack speed buff to push the turret faster.

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.

RANGE: 600
TOTAL PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 5 / 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 (+115% AD) (+70% AP)
CHARGE RELOAD TIME: 14 / 12.5 / 11 / 9.5 / 8 seconds
• This is an attack modifier that deals damage to the target and the targets behind it.
• Do not be tricked into thinking that the cone deals less damage to the secondary targets even if it feels like it. It deals the full damage to all of them.
• Use this to harass if an enemy is hiding behind minions
• Use this to quickly clear minion waves
• This resets your attack timer, so it's best used right after an autoattack for two quick hits.

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.

RANGE: 700
PHYSICAL DAMAGE: 200 / 325 / 450 (+140% bonus AD)
PHYSICAL DAMAGE TO SECONDARY TARGETS: 150 / 262.5 / 375 (+105% bonus AD)
• The bastard child of Unstoppable Force and Depth Charge, this sends Vi charging at the target, knocking it up and knocking aside everything on the way.
• Be careful when using it, since, the same as Twisted Advance, it'll follow the target wherever it goes (unless they teleport or recall) so you can end up in a bad spot.
• This is extremely disruptive and can push enemies out of position, ready for the picking by your teammates.
• It's extremely effective at isolating and bursting the enemy carry.

Skill order

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

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

These are the two skill orders I use.
I tend to use the first one 99% of the time for the mobility  Vault Breaker offers.
Max Denting Blows last because it scales with enemy HP which is at it's highest come late game and the armor shred stays the same.

Basic (s)kill combos

• Combo 1: Vault Breaker > autoattack(AA) > Excessive Force: this is your most basic combo which you get on level 2, and it becomes more powerful on level 3 when you get your Denting Blows.

• Combo 2: Combo 1 > AA > Excessive Force > AA: if the target decides to stick around for whatever reason, you should immediately follow up the first combo with this. At level 3, this gives you TWO Denting Blows procs, taking away 12%(about 10% after resistances) of their health with just that.

• Ult combo: Assault and Battery > AA > Excessive Force > AA: this is your basic "he's too far away for Vault Breaker" combo.

• Full combo: Combo 1 > Ult combo > (spam everything trying to get as many Denting Blows procs as possible) > Ignite > disengage: this combo kills most squishies outright, and leaves most off-tanks walking away with a limp. You should wait a bit with the ult combo until he moves away enough that you can't attack him, to make the gap-closing part count.

Guide Top

The battle has begun, part two: Item choices

Starting items

This is the best start of all the choices. It gives you mobility and regeneration in the form of potions. You should always wait for 4th potion if you can. It's 150 extra regenerated health.
If you have to guard a jungle entrance, start recalling at 1:28, buy and run back to lane.

This is your start when facing a strong early game AD bully. This start can give you the edge you need to beat them and outsustain them. I take this when I'm up against Riven or the like.
It may be a good idea to replace one or two of those Health Potions with a Mana Potion for mana sustain, since trading blows often can leave you oom fast, and that spells trouble when up against a manaless champion like Riven or Garen, since you can't trade effectively.
With this start, it's not a bad idea to get an early Ninja Tabi.

sight wardsight ward
sight ward

These starts was brought to my attention in a comment, since I completely forgot about it. Introduced in season 3, these give a new definition of sustain. Against constant harassers or early ganks, this is invaluable. Pick this if you think you'll have trouble on top or you just feel like laning forever.
What this start has is included mana sustain as well in the form of Crystalline Flask restoring mana as well as health.
For the first one you'll have to wait for 5 more gold near the fountain.

As for the last one I only recommend it if:
a) they don't have a jungler and you trust your mid to call ss (mia on american servers)
b) you don't fear ganks/jungler is poor/jungler has poor ganking capabilities
c) you are really cocky
d) you think you can easily escape (you're not overextending or pushing and are always cautious)
e) you are Singed

First back and subsequent backs

I love rushing this item. it makes you a whole lot more tanky and makes your Blast Shield even more powerful. if you have the money, grab a few Health Potions and a Long Sword.

Gives some AD, health and gives you a chance to slow, giving you the ability to actually stick to targets without your Vault Breaker.

If you're really facerolling, you can grab one of these before finishing your Frozen Mallet. Otherwise, finish Frozen Mallet first and pick this up right after.

Core of the build

Boots of Swiftness: You need all the speed you can get to catch up to enemies to punch their faces in. An alternative would be Ninja Tabi if they are REALLY AD heavy.

Frozen Mallet: You absolutely need this item to stick to targets. Other than the slow, it also offers AD and a bunch of health (enough to make Atma's Impaler a viable choice). A somewhat viable alternative would be Iceborn Gauntlet, but I believe it just doesn't work on Vi. I may be proven wrong in the coming days, testing it.

The Black Cleaver: The new remade BC gives awesome stats to AD casters and the like. CDR, AD and Health are good by themselves, but it also shreds the armors of targets whenever you deal physical damage. Now, if you recall, ALL your abilities deal only physical damage, and 3 of them are AoE abilities. Nice.

Zephyr: AD, attack speed, movement speed, CDR and Tenacity? Yes please. This is the reason I don't get Mercury's Treads.

Enchantments for your boots

Enchantment: Furor: My default choice. Hit an enemy = move fast.

Enchantment: Alacrity: My fallback. Can't hit an enemy? Pick this. Move a bit slower, but still fast, but ALL the time.

Enchantment: Homeguard: Defending nexus/inner turrets? Pick this.

Enchantment: Captain: Want everyone else to move fast? Pick this.

Last two items:

Now, since you have absolutely no resists from items at this point (except if you grabbed Ninja Tabi or other resists on the way), and a lot of health, you need to turn that health into effective health. For that reason, your last two items MUST contain appropriate resistances. These items should adapt to your enemy team and how fed/dangerous each member of theirs is.

Against heavy AD

When facing a heavy AD composition, there are many choices to consider, and here they are:

Frozen Heart: This item is just awesome. It gives you a bunch of armor, some mana and a passive that makes dueling you and even crazier idea than before. Oh and it brings the CDR to the cap. It may be a good idea to first pick up a Warden's Mail so you have a choice between this and Randuin's Omen later on.

Randuin's Omen: Use ult, pop Randuin, faceroll. Seriously, though, this item has a lot to give. A bunch of armor, health, passive that makes fighting autoattackers 1v1 a breeze, and a teamfight-changing active. Just remember to use it and be careful when exactly you pop it.

Ohmwrecker: The new kid on the block. It's a pretty neat item. it gives health, mana and an active that makes turret-diving easy. Remember that it's better to let the turret hit you 1-2 times and then use it, to reset the increasing damage the turret does to you.
I believe there are better alternatives to this, since by the time you get it, turrets don't really matter. If you do intend on getting it, pick up a catalyst the protector early.

Atma's Impaler: Not doing enough damage? Their AD carry wrecking you? Then get this item! It gives about 45 AD with Frozen Mallet and The Black Cleaver, crit chance and some armor. What's not to like?

Guardian Angel: 50 armor, 30 magic resist and a "never die" passive? I'm game. What's awesome is that this gives both armor AND magic resist.
Keep in mind, you are not invincible with this. Don't go all rambo and fight 1v5 thinking you can get away.

Against heavy AP

When put against a heavy AP composition, there are some choices to keep in mind, but less so than for AD:

Maw of Malmortius: I want to love this item, i really, really do, but it's so, so expensive to build! If you plan on building it later on, pick up a Hexdrinker early, since you dont lose any damage on it and it's incredibly cost-efficient.
Despite it's whooping cost, the item itself is awesome. it gives 55 AD, 36 magic resistance, AD based on missing health and a life-saving shield.

Mercurial Scimitar: Another new item. If they have a lot of magic damage and some crucial hard cc like suppression, long stuns or big slows like Wither, buy an early Quicksilver Sash and upgrade it later. It's expensive, but can remove ANY debuff, including Ignite, Chum the Waters, Children of the Grave and many more.
Oh, and did i mention the massive speed buff?

Runic Bulwark: Yet another new addition to the lineup. It makes your whole team more bulky and more durable. Great item overall.
Watch if your support or jungler is getting one, since for the rest of the team, outside of people that have it, the double passive does not stack.
Pick up an Aegis of the Legion early for the regeneraiton and resistance bonuses it offers.

Banshee's Veil: If worst comes to worst, you can grab this for the champions that rely on that first spell to hit to finish their combo, for example, Veigar or Brand.

Wit's End: I am not exactly keen on this item. I think Vi relies more on abilities than autoattacks (or at least equally so), so the passive and attack speed aren't that helpful. Also the amount of damage it does is negligible by the time you get it. You also get more than enough attack speed from Zephyr and Denting Blows.
It does help your survivability in prolonged fights however, giving you 40 magic resistance.
Not really worth it, in my opinion, as there are better choices.

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The question: Mercs or Zephyr + Boots of Swiftness

So, you probably noticed I don't use Mercury's Treads. Here's my reasoning:


What you gain:
• 50 Attack Speed
• 20 AD
• 10% Movement Speed
• 15 Flat Movement Speed
• 25% Slow Reduction

What you lose:
• 1 item slot
• 25 magic resistance
• costs 2650 gold more

You could argue that with merc's, you get the tenacity earlier, and you'd be right. If you really desperately need the tenacity NOW, you can pick them up early, then sell them for Boots of Swiftness or Ninja Tabi later. This does cost you some, but i find that + / works better than merc's on Vi.

If you're really adamant about getting Mercury's Treads and not selling them, I would suggest getting an early Recurve Bow and upgrading it to Wit's End relatively early, to not lose attack speed, since you can't get Zephyr. This path gives 65 additional magic resist, too.
Be aware that with this path, you'll have much less movement speed, so you'll have less sticking power.

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To lifesteal or not to lifesteal

(section in construction)

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What to do: Laning and early game

• While her early game is somewhat weak due to her squishy nature early, do not be fooled that she isn't a threat as well.

• She has tremendous damage output on level 2 with her >AA> combo, which gets even more powerful at level 3 when you get your Denting Blows.

• Watch how many Denting Blows stacks the enemy has on him so you know if you should autoattack before using Excessive Force or not.

• Keep in mind that you have a limited mana pool, and using your abilities a lot at this point will get you oom fast, and you can't do much without your abilities. Try to have enough for one Vault Breaker at all times, to escape ganks and/or sticky situations.

• If having a tough lane, let them push to the tower and farm under it. Wait for ganks from your junglers and save your mana until then, unless using skills is absolutely necessary.

• melee minions: 2 turret hits > your hit
• ranged minions: your hit > turret hit > your hit

• When the jungler comes, try to position yourself to be "out of position", placing yourself perpendicular to the enemy in regards to the lane. What i mean is that your Vault Breaker pushes the enemy towards the river and at the same time, towards your jungler. Do not push the enemy into or toward the lane bushes if you don't have a ward there, because they can use them to escape easily.

• At this point, your point of focus should mostly be on farming. If you can, try to zone your laning opponent to deny them creep score (CS) and possibly experience. Do this carefully because you could end up losing CS too, as well as making yourself vulnerable to ganks from the enemy jungler.

• Don't push your lane if you can help it. Just last-hit your minions.

• Be sure to put a sight ward in the river bush and/or tribush to protect yourself from ganks.

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What to do: Mid game and first teamfights

• At this point, your damage is at it's highest, since enemies have a lot of health for your Denting Blows and not much resistances, making them easy pickings, especially carries.

• Teamfights start at this point. When they do break out, try to protect your carries, and if you see and enemy out of position, especially if it's a carry, just nuke them down with your full combo and, if your team didn't follow up or your took a substantial amount of damage and are in the focus, you should retreat. Otherwise, if your team followed up and engaged, just start picking them off one by one. Be careful, because you can't penetrate the defenses of the enemy team really well, and this could get you killed. Use Vault Breaker or Flash to get out, if things start going not-so-well.

• Try to position yourself to hit as many enemies as possible with your Assault and Battery, since it pushes them aside and out of position AND deals 75% of the damage you deal to the main target.

• If you can, PROTECT YOUR CARRIES. They deal the majority of the damage in your team, if they are doing their job right, and losing a carry gimps your team really hard.

• Around this point dragon should be warded at all times.

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What to do: Late game pushing battle

• At this point in the game, you will most likely be battling for baron, dragon and turrets. If your team is alive, do not let the enemy take baron or dragon uncontested.

• Don't let any turrets fall unnecessarily. Vi is a good defender with Blast Shield, Vault Breaker and Excessive Force.

• If your minion wave is pushing (even better if you grabbed Teleport) you can help split-push. Vi can push quite well, and take down towers with Excessive Force (position yourself to hit incoming enemy minions with the cone, and if a champion is there DO NOT hit him with the cone, lest you draw the tower aggro to yourself).

• Your damage falls off here, so engage only if you are sure you can get the kill or get the person out of the battle without taking fatal damage yourself.

• Let your tank engage if your team has one.

• Keep in mind, you can 1v1 duel almost anyone at this point, unless they have Frozen Heart or Randuin's Omen, since that gimps you somewhat. Having the same against an autoattacker evens the score, and maybe even shifts it to your side, since you rely more on abilities than autoattacks.
Note: this does not apply if they are superfed (20/2 or something of the sort), 'cause you'll just outright die.

• Have a Vision Ward at baron at all times, and if possible, have a sight ward at dragon too.

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History: a change-log-type-thing

23.12.2012 - Made the guide.
24.12.2012 - Added "What to do" sections

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Afterword and to-do list

Thanks to jhoijhoi for his/her awesome guide to make a guide.

To do:
• Section on how to play against each possible laning opponent.
• Test the viability of Iceborn Gauntlet
• Discuss Warmog's Armor and Trinity Force, further expand on the topic of Mercury's Treads.