As 2012 winds slowly to a close, Riot Games has released their new champion: Vi, The Piltover Enforcer. A melee Champion, Vi’s skillsets are admirable in a solo top, or, depending on her build, can be a viable support. This puts her clearly in the bruiser set, along the likes of Dr. Mundo, Volibear and Malphite.
Along with the Champion release, Riot launched a new splash-screen and music on login. The music, reminiscent of Girl-led Rock bands in the line of Evanescence or Paramore, is performed by Lead Singer Nicki Taylor of North American band “Running the Risk”... not to be confused with the children’s show “Run the Risk” from the 1990s on BBC1. The rest of the song (and lyrics) were written and performed by members of the Riot Staff. You can find the Nicki’s facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NickiTaylormusic and find more of her band’s music at http://youtube.com/user/RunningtheRiskLIVE and http://www.youtube.com/user/NickiTaylorTV.
On to the hero! This “table-flipping, face-punching, bulldozer” has skillset that is well suited to close-quarters combat. Let's lave a look
Passive: Blast Shield – This passive activates a shield, whenever one of Vi’s active abilities damage an enemy. The shield's hitpoints are equal to 10% of her maximum health and has a cooldown of 18/13/8 seconds.
Q: Vault Breaker –The first cast of this two-cast ability slows Vi's movement speed by 15%, but increases her damage and dash range for the second cast. Upon that second cast, Vi will dash forward, dealing physical damage and applying a stack of "Denting Blows" (more on that below) to all enemies hit. If Vi collides with an enemy Champion, she will stop her charge and knock the enemy Champion back. Vault Breaker deals reduced damage to minions (75%) and scales with AD
W: Denting Blows –This passive ability deals additional physical damage equal to a percentage of the target's maximum health every three attacks. Additionally, Denting Blows reduces the target's armor by 20% and grant's Vi bonus attack speed for four seconds. The bonus damage on this ability scales with AD.
E: Excessive Force - Upon activation, Excessive Force causes Vi’s next basic attack to deal bonus physical damage to the target and any enemies behind it. In addition to mana, this ability also consumes a Charge, which Vi regenerates over time, to a maximum of two. This ability scales with both AD and AP
R: Assault and Battery – When activated, Vi targets an enemy champion and chases it down, knocking it up for 1.25 seconds upon contact. During this charge, Vi is immune to any crowd control and will also knock back any enemies between her and her target, dealing 75% damage to them. This ability scales with AD.
As a bruiser, I recommend going 9/21/0 on Vi, taking Magic Resists, Armor and Health masteries. For Runes I would recommend Flat Armor Penetration Marks, Flat Armor Seals, Magic Resist per level Glyphs and Attack Speed Percentage Quintessences. Alternatively, swap out the Attack Speed Quints for Movement Speed, as Vi's base movement speed is a little on the slow end, similar to Darius. Use of Vi’s Assault and Battery is similar in execution to Malphite’s Unstoppable Force, except it is a single target ability while Malphite’s targets an area.
Vi can be countered by Champions capable of dodging stacks of Denting Blows. If fighting against her, watch out for Vault Breaker as well, as it also adds a stack. You'll also have success by waiting for her Blast Shield to expire if she is farming with Excessive Force.
My recommended build for top lane is follows:
When building for the top lane, I recommend Boots and 3 health potions. Next, pick up a Longsword, and build towards either The Brutalizer or the Phage. Pick up Mercury Treads, and then rush for Black Cleaver (if you went Brutalizer) or Trinity Force if you went for Phage; note that Trinity Force is a good all-around item in general for Vi. I prefer to then build to Hexdrinker into a Maw of Malmortius, then to Atma's Impaler, finishing with a Frozen Heart.
Alternatives are Warmog's Armor and some lifesteal items. Locket of the Iron Solari can also work well on Vi, as it gives her yet another shield after Maw and her passive ability.
All told, Vi is a very solid hero, growing very powerful when fed. She's got the ability to snowball in much the same manner as Darius, but will crumble if contained early.