Hello summoners, I was writing a reply to somebody asking about Vi, and it came out longer than expected. So, I’ve decided to share it with everyone in the hopes that it will be helpful for improving your play. I’ve played since mid-season 3, when I reached Platinum playing pretty much only Vi. Last season I hit Diamond with Vi, and this season I’m going for Masters! In total I’ve amassed probably over 4000 games with Vi across multiple accounts.
I learned a lot of what I know from XJ9’s stream, before he got banned. His style is very farm-centric and basically tries to carry out of the jungle.
For Runes and Masteries, I run:
- 3 AD quints
- 6 Arpen/3 AD marks
- 9 armor seals
- 9 CDR per level glyphs
Run AD and arpen because Vi has great ratios. The alternative would be attack speed marks, but Vi doesn’t need them because your combo doesn’t depend on attack speed, only the speed at which you can cancel autos. As for early clears, Vi does fine without any attack speed since her W is a pretty potent steroid.
Armor seals are pretty much mandatory for junglers, but I don’t run magic resist glyphs alongside them because Vi scales so incredibly well with CDR. 9 CDR per level glyphs gives you 15% CDR at level 18, combined with 5% CDR from masteries and 20% CDR from Black Cleaver it’s extremely easy to cap out on CDR. The 10% CDR from the Warrior enchantment means you will hit the 40% cap much earlier than level 18, so even if you exceed the cap, I find the midgame power worth the loss in gold efficiency.
Why does Vi scale so well with CDR?
- Her ultimate is incredibly broken, and pretty much guarantees a kill if you land your Q. Having your ultimate more often early and mid-game leads to more opportunities for guaranteed ganks.
- Your E plays a very strong role in your DPS, and CDR will effectively increase the amount of damage you deal over the course of a longer skirmish.
- Your Q is the only way you can reach a target besides ultimate, so CDR will not only increase your DPS, but also your mobility.
For skill order I recommend: * Levels 1-3: W-E-Q * Levels 4-18: R > Q > W > E
I max E last because the damage increase per level is negligible, and the decrease in CD doesn’t really help much in early game skirmishes and duels. W is an incredibly strong skill, and you are pretty much guaranteed to proc it at least twice if you can land Q. You need the early Q max for the mobility and the ability salvage failed gank attempts. If you miss, you can just try again.
Now onto the fun part – combos. While Vi is not the most mechanically difficult champion to play, I see too many people (even in high elo) not utilizing her skillset to its full potential. Here is Vi’s bread and butter combo:
- charged Q -> autoattack -> reset with E (this procs W) -> autoattack (orbwalk) -> autoattack -> reset with E (this procs W again) -> R to gapclose
In about the time it takes to perform 2 autoattacks, you can dish out about 70% of a champion’s HP in damage. If you include your ultimate, this is a guaranteed 100-0 just from your damage alone, and the best part about it is that they will be CC’ed nearly the entire time so it is VERY difficult to get away. The part where many people fail is the execution. Here are some tips I think can help a lot of players combo more smoothly and increase their success rate in ganks.
- You NEED to land your Q or your damage is effectively nonexistant.
- If you land your Q, WAIT for Vi to attack. She will do so automaticaly on the champion you hit.
- As soon as Vi attacks, use E. This pops Denting Blows and resets her autoattack timer.
- Note that if you land Q, it is pretty much guaranteed you can proc Denting blows because you can perform the above steps in the time that they are knocked up and unable to run or retaliate. The HP differential this creates is HUGE, and combined with Vi’s passive shield can make for some good baits.
- Another very important thing to note is that once you land Q, you do not need to even touch your mouse until after you reset your autoattack timer with E. Vi will attack the target that Q hits instantaneously (if they are in vision), so the only thing that clicking will do is potentially mess up your combo.
- A caveat to this is if the enemy is out of vision/in a bush. If you land Q, you NEED to orbwalk with them and auto-E manually. Otherwise you will likely sit there and the enemy will get away.
- Finally and most important: USE YOUR FLASH. The way that I like to play Vi is very aggressive, and I do not hesitate to flash-Q on an out of position enemy. Note that you can flash while charging Q and then release it, allowing you to appear from beyond vision range and combo someone with little time for reaction. Also note that you can flash on top of an enemy while you are travelling in your Q to guarantee a hit. The second technique requires some practice, so don’t try it in a ranked game right away.
The above is the combo you will use pretty much 90% of the time when you want to secure a kill. There are, however, times where landing Q will be impossible, so here are some alternate combos that I like to use.
- Q to gapclose -> R -> Q (if available) -> autoattack -> reset with E -> autoattack (orbwalk)
This one is used if you have allies nearby who are able to dish out some damage and assist in the kill. Use it when you are far away and you notice an enemy out of position. Unless you are very fed, it is very unlikely you can solo kill someone with this combo.
- R -> uncharged Q -> autoattack -> reset with E -> autoattack (orbwalk) -> autoattack -> reset with E
This is the one I see a lot of people use, and while it does have its place, performing the main combo is much better in terms of damage and reliability chasing someone down. This one should only be used if you are already in a fight and there is no path for you to Q to a priority target. Never try to lead with R unless you have backup, and even then a charged Q is preferred.
If all of that was a bit much, here is a simple breakdown of when and how you should use your skills.
- PASSIVE: This is a very useful skill that makes your early jungle clears easier, and also allows you to outplay unsuspecting opponents. If your shield is off cooldown and you are being chased, don’t hesitate to Q in and turn it around. Something to note is since this scales off of max HP, building health is a very good idea on Vi.
- Q: This is your most important skill. Always try to land this as the first thing you do during a gank. If it hits, wait for the autoattack to come out and immediately hit E.
- W: Keep track of how many stacks someone has. A W proc can mean the difference between surviving a duel or dying. A quick way to proc W is Q-auto-E.
- E: ALWAYS use this one to cancel autoattacks, UNLESS they are not CC’ed and have an ability that can create a gap. Do not spam it, Vi does not have the largest mana pool, and you are wasting burst potential by not cancelling autoattacks. If you cast E, it will go on a brief cooldown, meaning auto-E-auto-E is actually worse than auto-E-auto-auto-E. With the first, you are waiting for E to come up when you could be winding up another autoattack and then cancelling that one with your second E. Finally, E actually increases your attack range, so if you are barely out of range to hit that killing blow, using E can oftentimes secure you a kill.
- R: Don’t use this if you don’t have to. This is what makes Vi scary. Use it if you know you can combo someone down or you need to lock down a priority target. You can follow dashes/blinks into fog of war if you time your ultimate correctly.
Next thing I’ll discuss is item builds. Here is what most people go:
- Trailblazer -> Warrior -> Trinity -> Mercury Treads/Ninja Tabi -> Randuins -> Banshee’s -> Situational Tank (GA/Maw/Warmogs)
The alternative build if you are behind is:
- Trailblazer -> Warrior -> Mercury Treads/Ninja Tabi -> Randuins/Locket -> Randuins/Locket (whatever you didn’t get) -> Banshee’s -> Situational Tank
Here is what I go in 99% of my games:
- Trailblazer -> Warrior -> BotRK/Cleaver -> Mercury Treads/Ninja Tabi (somewhere in between) -> BotRK/Cleaver (whatever you didn’t get) -> GA -> Randuins -> Sell Warrior for Trinity -> Sell boots for Zephyr
Most Vi guides will explain the first two builds, so I’ll just talk about why I buy these particular items. Something I’ll add is I usually buy the components for BotRK/Cleaver before finishing the items because they give power spikes much earlier in the game. Typically I’ll want to get a Cutlass right away to make ganks more reliable, and then depending on how much gold I have when I back I’ll go for a Phage or a Kindlegem. If you don’t have enough gold for BotRK and haven’t completed Black Cleaver, buying Black Cleaver components is always better than purchasing the Daggers.
- Trailblazer – If you want to carry, buy this. You can farm faster and sustain for longer. Chilling Smite is a good alternative, but only if you want to play a very gank-heavy style.
- Warrior – Much better than any of the other enchantments on Vi. The AD and ArPen is HUGE, and after getting this it is possible to solokill anyone on the enemy team besides their tank.
- Blade of the Ruined King – Now this is where my build is a bit different. I build this because it gives sticking power through its active, and also offers pretty significant damage which is all physical, synergizing with Vi’s armor shred. Even outside of the tank meta, BotRK is a very powerful item on Vi. In addition, it gives Vi great objective control, allowing her to solo the dragon and come out at full health, and also potentially doing a duo baron. The sustain it offers in combination with Trailblazer means you will never have to go back unless you are dead or want to buy. This essentially equates to more map presence and more opportunity to farm and get huge.
- Black Cleaver – This item was made for Vi. 40 AD goes a long way especially with Vi’s great ratios, and 400 HP is amazing on her due to its synergy with her passive. 20% CDR is the icing on the cake, since once you finish this item you will be CDR capped, giving you great roam pressure through your Q and R. The armor shred from this and Vi’s ability to deal a lot of physical damage to multiple enemies is great for Vi and her team at the same time. It also synergizes with BotRK’s physical damage, and it will augment your tank shredding capabilities even more.
- Guardian Angel – This item is amazing. It provides good resistances, and since you already have HP from the Black Cleaver along with a 10% HP passive shield, you become an incredibly hard target to kill. Since Vi is a diver, a late game teamfight where you can assassinate a priority target and stay alive through GA can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
- Randuin’s Omen – All of the stats this offers are great on Vi. This active combined with BotRK means no one will get away. The active is also stronger with more resistances, meaning this has some synergy with Guardian Angel.
- Trinity Force – Everyone knows why this is good on Vi. I get this last because it is very expensive and only offers a substantial power spike once completed. Early game you want to be as strong as possible, and going Trinity makes it a bit harder to be relevant until it is completed. It also offers no CDR, a stat which I find essential in the early game for Vi since her R cooldown is so high.
- Zephyr – The best replacement for boots in the late late game. Gives decent movespeed along with Tenacity, a very powerful stat.
Finally, I’ll share my strategy in-game and what works for me. I love to farm, and try to carry every game no matter how far behind we are, so this might not work for everyone.
- Early game: Ward. Tell your team to ward. Cover your jungle entrances. Be very careful if your team wants to invade, if the risk is too high, don’t do it. You do not want to start Q, it gimps your early clear big time. Vi is one of the weakest level 2 champions, so you want to get all of your basic abilities ASAP. You can gank at level 3, if they are overextended. When ganking, come in from behind the enemy rather than from the side, as that makes it easier to aim your Q since the enemy will have to walk towards you to get to their tower. Watch all the lanes while you are farming and plan your path accordingly. If a lane is pushing and you’ve just based, start from the opposite side or the middle and work your way towards that lane so by the time you get there the enemy laner is overextended.
- Mid game: Farm. Always be farming. Cover lanes and last hit the minions whenever you see the opportunity. Do not run across the map for a counter gank. Gank if you see a chance and it is near your current location. Plan your jungle paths efficiently by going from end to end. Keep timers on EVERYTHING, and keep the dragon pit warded. You should be buying vision wards and placing them in strategic spots. If you are blue side, try to do a very early dragon. Q over the wall, and auto-E to proc your W before it knocks you back. You can usually do dragon around 6-7 minutes alone, just make sure you have a pink to deward. Don’t stare at the jungle creeps you’re killing, stare at the minimap. Move your camera to every lane and keep yourself updated on everybody’s status. Once you’re a bit more experienced, predict the enemy jungler. Think about what you would do if you were them, and watch your overextended lanes to see if they are obviously baiting. When your R is up, look for a gank and take more risks, you can make a lot more things work and turn around skirmishes. Without R, only go for the ganks you know will succeed. This maximizes your usage of time so you can stay strong throughout the game.
- Late game: People say Vi falls off late game, but it’s just a bit more difficult to make picks because everyone is grouped up. Do not initiate the fight unless you have to. While it may seem that Vi’s skillset is made to start teamfights, doing so will result in a significant reduction in effectiveness. Play similar to an assassin, but also try to be a bruiser when appropriate. If you see a clear path to combo the enemy ADC or midlaner, and the teamfight is already happening so everyone has used their CC, go for it. If the enemy toplaner is diving your carries, Q-auto-E them and then peel back and wait for cooldowns. Only go HAM if you know you can get the kill in 1 skill rotation, or you have a numbers/gold advantage. Otherwise, know when to back out of a fight to wait for cooldowns. Late game teamfighting is probably the most stressful and mechanic-intensive part of the game, so it will require lots of practice.
So that’s pretty much all of the Vi-specific tips that I have to offer. I hope you can read this wall of text, and that it was helpful in some way. I didn’t include jungle paths/gank paths/warding because that is more general jungle knowledge and I wanted to talk mostly about Vi. If you guys would like, I can update this post with more information.
UPDATE: Sorry everybody, I totally forgot to talk about masteries. Here is what I run:
The most important things to take are CDR and Dangerous Game in Offense and the 9th point mastery in Defense. They provide the stats that scale best with Vi.