Vayne – A Review

Posted: May 11, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Champions

Vayne looked so awesome, I couldn’t help but pick her up with spare IP points. It was clear that her role was to counter Tanky-DPS, and her play style looked like a Devil May Cry dream come true. After a few custom games, I thought I had the hang of her. Boy was I wrong.

I will start off by saying this: Vayne is an incredibly difficult character to play. Between trying to aim a ranged shot at someone to knock them into a wall and rolling around with her tumble, you’ll have more than enough on your hands just getting used to the timing and positioning necessary to gank. But gank she does: out of all the gankers, hers is the most fun, with a variety of tricks that involve chasing, dodging, pushing back, and stunning. You can tower-dive, counter-jungle, early harass, and everything in between. She does exactly what she was designed by Riot to do with incredible ease, knocking Tanky-DPS down a level.

As I said, the tumble mechanic worked exactly as I had hoped, giving a good, but not overwhelmingly power, dodge mechanic. When laning against skillshot characters, Vayne can quite literally avoid all damage. The extra damage after the dodge is a bit excessive at the moment, driving squishies out of lane level 1 and tanks out of lane level 2. Mastering the dodge is the absolute qualifier between a good Vayne and an awesome Vayne. Its low mana cost means that it can be spammed if played offensively, but you are unable to spam it to get away like Nidalee. In order for the cooldown to start, you have to fire a shot, which means a Vayne that runs is not going to be able to escape.

Her silver bolts ability works wonders against Tanky-DPS. The damage also wrecks tanks, but it happens at a slow enough rate that her primary damage will actually be from AD, not the silver bolts. You can build AS on Vayne and do tons of damage fast, but you’ll do more by stacking AD first. Overall, I find this ability to be quite balanced, contrary to my previous post. Not much to say here except that you should take one level at level 2 or 3 and then leave it for last.

The second hardest aspect of Vayne is her Condemn ability. On paper, it looks easy, as it’s Poppy’s charge at range. However, firing this ability correctly is far more difficult than it appears. Not only does it not do a lot of damage, but you absolutely have to force an enemy into a wall for this ability to be of any use. On top of this, the travel time of the projectile needs to be taken into account, forcing you to predict and angle very well. It can be used as an escape mechanism, but the pushback distance is not too far and its range is quite short. It does allow Vayne to jungle relatively quickly, though I’m sure this isn’t its intended use.

Vayne’s ultimate pushes her from good to powerful. She gains increased attack damage and her passive becomes very noticeable, chasing down enemies with impunity. Not even Yi can outrun her. Her tumble gives her stealth for 1.5 seconds, useful for an escape in a pinch, but more intended for her to get into range from a bush for a gank. The fast recharge on this ultimate means it will always be up. In one of my games, I managed to chase Ashe down through two turrets, get set-up for a gank in mid, and chase down Karthus through another two turrets with the second pop of the ultimate. The stealth also gives an interesting benefit to Vayne, breaking minion aggro and allowing her to chase through multiple minion waves without taking too much damage.

However, Vayne does have her weaknesses, a good break from Riot’s normal all-rounders. Her first weakness is that she is squishy. Extraordinarily squishy. Any focus of damage or CC on her results in almost instant death, and no strong escape mechanism means she has to commit to a kill. Another weakness is that she is horrible at killing minions. She cannot clear a wave on her own: even autoattacking during laning phase results in little more than a slight nudge in the minion line. Her early harass also means that minions will hit you a lot, and since you’re already squishy, the damage is much more significant than you’d think. Finally, her range is short, dangerously so. If you try to chase and don’t have a significant advantage in either HP or DPS, you will, without a doubt, die.

Vayne is a little overpowered at the moment, but she is a high-skill, rewarding character. Tumble is by far the most important skill and the one that defines what Vayne is. Her chasing ability is unparalleled. Her role as anti-Tanky-DPS is extraordinarily successful. Her squishiness keeps her from reaching the level of broken that Nocturne was, but being chased through two towers is not going to sit well with people.

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