Viego, the Ruined King, is one of League of Legends’ newer champions, having been released to the rift in January 2021. So how has he fared at the competitive level since?
Jace speaks with French top-laner Sotsy, who competes in the UKLC with Lucent Esports, to get an understanding of Viego’s impact at a higher level.
Viego was disabled during the Summer Seasons to give Riot time to tweak balancing issues and bugs, but since being enabled for the Summer Seasons, Viego has been a high priority pick here in Europe.
The Ruined King currently has a 76% presence in the LEC Summer 2021 Season (in terms of being picked or banned in each game). So why has Viego been so prominent in the draft phase?
“I think Viego is one of the top picks,” Sotsy explains. “His passive mechanic is so powerful in the hands of good players, he is totally broken. Even if his stats are nerfed, he will keep his place as being very strong in the meta.”
And nerfs are coming – just this week it was announced that Viego will receive another nerf, specifically around his viability in a solo lane.
Wunder and Bwipo in particular have seen success with Viego, and have shown first-hand the powerful snowball potential his kit possesses (excuse the pun). He’s been used in the top-lane and in the jungle, but expect him to be more prominent in the jungle going forwards.
“In top, Viego is currently one of the best picks due to his sustain and lane state,” Sotsy continues. “Despite this, the champ has different counters like Jax or Nocturne. But some picks are playable with the help of your jungler to deny the other laner an advantage and by playing safe. If you fall behind, however, it’s going to be different for you to play the game.”
From looking at Viego’s passive in particular, it almost feels like the champion is one of the better picks if he falls behind in lane.
“Actually, you can come back in team fights, but it’s very hard, because if you are weaker you must group with your team,” Sotsy explains. “If their top-laner is a split pusher, it can be hard to end early, and you may be forced into fighting when you don’t want to, which can lead to mistakes.”
How will we see this play out in the coming weeks? Sotsy raises an excellent point: you cannot sidelane as an under-fed Viego. With the new item HullBreaker enabling and empowering split pushers, that sidelane pressure will be even harder.
Viego’s itemisation – what’s optimal?
Now we’ve seen Viego kind of evolve since release. The runes have always mostly been the same, but the item pathing has gone through many changes. His build currently seems to be Divine Sunderer into Blade of the Ruined King or Sterak’s Gauge.
Our next question was simple: What caused this shift from ADC-based items towards the bruiser build?
“Before Viego was available in pro play, the build was very offensive. With crit-based items like Shieldbow or Kraken Slayer into Blade of the Ruined King, then Essence Reaver or Lord Dominik’s Regards etc. Now he is able to be picked in pro play. Sunderer is extremely strong, so he is more resistance heavy, healthy and more tanky. Viego is played as an Offtank. Personally, I prefer this build to the older one.”
So to those unaware, an off-tank is described as a secondary tank, a bruiser designed to skirmish with the main tank after they engage. It can also be tasked with peeling for the main tank or other high value, low HP members of your team. In this case, Viego is almost entirely a secondary tank meant to snowball the fight after his main tank engages. If you play Overwatch, think Zarya or Dva as the classic examples.
Personally, we think the other build (Shieldbow/Kraken) lends itself to an assassin playstyle, which will be less effective in pro play as he can be CC’d and denied a reset much easier on the flank than he can after a huge engage from another team member.
Sotsy mentioned Viego is an off-tank in his opinion, and as every off-tank needs a main tank, what champions would Sotsy ideally pair with Viego, particularly in jungle or support?
“For the supports it has to be high CC champions like Nautilus and Leona,” Sotsy answers. “These picks are very good to set up CC for Viego to use his ulti to play for a reset. In the jungle it seems like Volibear is great alongside Diana with her own ultimate. So yeah, for Viego you need set up, which means you can get a free kill then free resets [on Viego’s ultimate] to win the teamfight.”
Perhaps if Sunderer and Steraks are hit with big nerfs, we could see a re-shift back to the more offensive style that looks for backline targets or isolated low HP enemies. For now though, this bruiser build is very effective, especially with the ease you can find a reset in a team fight.