League of Legends: Vi Some More!
By Jason Harper (Hhean), OnRPG League Reporter
Vi is such a misfit, always ready to brawl. It’s like her business roughing up your friends as the law.
Er... ah. I may have been listening to her login music one too many times. Let’s try that again.
Vi is a burst damage bruiser with a focus on pasting key targets across the floor. Her kit has plenty of mobility, but lacks any real defensive power. Possibly one of the more technical characters in the game, you need a good eye to predict enemy movements long ahead of time, while also having excellent mechanical control to keep up with all the animation cancelling needed to make her damage combos effective. Surmounting the sheer mountain face that is her learning curve will reward you with a character able to play in both solo lanes, and in the jungle.
Two gap closers
Two abilities based on health percentages
Non-existent mana costs
Extremely strong late game duellist
Eats the large monsters (Baron & Dragon) for breakfast
Can fit a number of roles
Has some really awful lane match ups
Weak early game
Her ultimate has some serious issues
Little crowd control
Hard to stick to targets
Blast Shield [Passive]: When active, this passive gives Vi a damage shield when she uses an ability. Always a good idea to check if it’s up before entering into a damage trade, and is usually a better reason not to use her abilities than any notion of conserving mana.
Vault Breaker [Q]: Gap closer that functions in the same way as Varus’ Piercing Arrow. Charging the ability increases its range and damage. Upon hitting an enemy champion, Vi will immediately stop and knock them back. When hitting minions, she knocks them behind her, and groups them together. All targets hit, both minions and champions, have a stack of Denting Blows applied to them. Her most damaging ability outside of her ultimate.
While this ability can be used as an escape it, well, has some issues. The chief among them is that when snared, it will break the charge on her punch, rather than simply prevent her from using the punch itself. A snare should always prevent movement, so stopping the ability from being triggered does exactly that, but outright cancelling the ability makes a snare function as a secondary silence, which is against Riot’s philosophy of avoiding counter intuitive mechanics. Another annoying nitpick I have on the ability is that unlike Varus, if you choose to not use the ability, you get no reduced cooldown. It’s a minor thing, but it annoys me that when there’s no safety net when you realize the fight you were about to charge into just turned sour, and you’d rather just hold potion (under a tower, for example) rather than charge off somewhere.
Denting Blows [W]: After hitting the same enemy three times, Denting Blows will deal a percentage of an enemy’s maximum health, grants an armour debuff and an attack speed buff to herself. A simply insane amount of free stuff. The rest of her kit is built around trying to apply Denting Blows as quickly as possible, and it doesn’t lose effectiveness when used as a one point wonder.
Excessive Force [E]: Enhances Vi’s next auto attack to deal damage in a cone behind the original target. Can be used twice in a very short period. Can be used to reset her attack animation, and also can be move cancelled to reduce recovery times. This can make her default attack patterns very fiddly, requiring quick reflexes and a good sense of timing. Attack, E, move, Attack, move, E, move, attack, move is a hell of a lot more complicated than simply bashing the enemy, but will result in a very fast series of attacks, without the need to build attack speed. On its own, the ability can be used as a weird ranged harass, but the damage is so poor you’re better off just waiting for a good moment to get a hard engage with her Vault Breaker.
Assault and Battery [R]: A targeted gap closer that knocks her targets airborne. While charging she is immune to crowd control, while also knocking aside and dealing a high portion of her ultimate’s damage to anything she hits. The travel time on this is horribly slow. What should be a jet fuelled freight train of murderous devastation feels instead like a geriatric turtle slowly approaching the nearest lettuce leaf and giving a gentle head massage. So not only do your enemies get plenty of time to move, often placing you horribly out of position with a single flash, but they can also drop as much damage onto Vi as they like. While she’s immune to crowd control, she isn’t immune to say, getting buckshot in the face by Graves before she gets in range.
What’s far more frustrating though is she seems to have some unusual interactions as she delivers her knock up. Some champions, like Tristana, can simply use an escape to get away during the ultimate’s punch, meaning that Vi will be stuck finishing her dunking animation while the infuriating yordle just walks away. I’ve also been flipped by a Singed part way through hitting him as well, so I assume that while she’s immune to crowd control during the dash, she isn’t immune at the exact moment of the punch.
Combos & Shenanigans
Vi’s standard wombo combo is to perform some Assault and Battery on the enemy (preferably a squishy enemy at the back of the group, so you can hit everyone as you go forward), then bash them backwards with her Vault Breaker. With your enemy now (hopefully) cut off, make use of her cancel combo to deliver Denting Blows onto the enemy, then keep punching until one of you dies. In the unlikely event that one of you is alive, consider using her Vault Breaker over a wall to escape. It’s not so great to use in open ground unless you’re trying to avoid a skillshot, since the movement speed lost while charging means you probably could have just walked off to safety, especially in the late game when everyone has aura enhanced boots.
You were expecting anything more? She hits things. Hit things more.
I like her personality. She’s got a good number of stuff that Riot have stuffed into her, being a punk rock loose cannon cop with a love for smashing things with giant fists. She says a variety of funny lines that also act as in-jokes to wider LoL community (My personal favourite being how she refers to Caitlyn as ‘Cupcake’). She’s strong and confident, and doesn’t have “I’m a sexy lady!” be her defining characteristic. Hopefully Vi is a signal that Riot have realized that repeatedly slapping the same personality on their women is a really, really bad idea. Hopefully.
I really want to like her mechanically too, but she can be extremely frustrating to play. I’ve warmed to her as I’ve played her more, and begun to understand some of the obscure ways you have to make her function, but she’s still got a lot of things in her kit that just outright make me angry.
She may be better suited to Twisted Treeline and Dominion, where she can engage in smaller scale fights and rely on her strength as a late game duellist. On Summoner’s Rift this part of her rarely gets to shine, since the late game of SR is typically dominated by team fights. When playing SR though, I think she’s better suited to the jungle than the lane, where her early weakness isn’t so much of a problem. The issue with this tactic though is that she won’t get the items she needs as quickly as if she’d been in the lane, so while it covers for some of her weaknesses, it also dampens her strengths.
In this first week, I’ve not seen Vi be very successful when playing with her, as her or against her. I’ve seen her do well in the odd game, but never completely dominate, even when fed. That said, I think she may wind up being another Jayce. As people become practiced with her mechanical quirks, she seems like she has the potential to be one of the scarier characters around. For now though, I’m not too impressed with her.
To discuss Vi yourselves, post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section, or post in the comments section below. If you haven't tried League of Legends yet, you're missing out.