How to play Viego, League of Legends’ newest champion

Bring ruination to your opponents with the Ruined King.

Image via Riot Games

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Viego, the Ruined King, is League of Legends’ newest champion.

As the first champ to be released in 2021, Viego is the dedicated jungler for this year’s cycle of champions. Viego has play patterns similar to a strong duelist jungler and a playstyle that’s akin to Nocturne since both are auto attack-focused champions with abilities that complement their kit. The main appeal toward playing Viego is his passive that allows you to become slain enemy champions, giving you the chance to reward your mastery over multiple champs.

If you’re searching for another duelist in the jungle that can shapeshift into any enemy champion, consider adding Viego to your champion repertoire. Here’s everything you need to know about how to play Viego.

Runes and abilities

Due to the nature of Viego’s kit, there’s a wide variety of keystone runes that you’re allowed to select for each match. Press the Attack is the most ubiquitous of the runes since it allows for a strong dueling presence and gives any allies around you a damage boost on your focused target. Conqueror and Hail of Blades are also potent options. Conqueror is good for extended trades, which you can find yourself in against certain matchups, while Hail of Blades can provide a nice short burst in skirmishes.

Here’s a breakdown for all of Viego’s abilities:

Passive: Sovereign’s Domination

Viego’s passive is his defining trait that players must be aware of when learning him. Since you can possess a wide array of champions, having a basic understanding of each kit will be vital to your success. Whenever an enemy champion is killed by Viego or dies within a short three-second window after taking damage from him, Viego will be able to become that champion by right-clicking a mist wraith that spawns by him.

When Viego possesses a body, aside from gaining health back, he mirrors nearly every aspect of the slain enemy. Viego matches their stats from items and the number of points in their skills. You also gain usage of their basic abilities for free, outside of health costs that must still be paid. While he’s taking over an enemy champion’s body, Viego retains his runes, trinket, and summoner spells, meaning you’ll still have to monitor those cooldowns.

Since you essentially become a replica, take care to not copy a weak opponent. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in that body for 10 seconds if you’re not level six.

While Viego becomes untargetable during the possession time and has the chance to avoid enemy abilities, he can still be targeted by turrets and doesn’t break tower aggro like most other untargetable abilities would.

Q: Blade of the Ruined King

Viego’s passive component on his Q is modeled after his original namesake item. After auto attacking an enemy recently hit by one of your abilities, the basic attack will strike twice. The second strike will siphon a portion of the target’s health instead of dealing regular damage, but on-hit effects will apply and critical strikes are possible.

The active aspect of Viego’s Q is a simple stab forward, dealing damage to all enemies hit. While Viego’s Blade of the Ruined King is fairly straightforward, there’s a simple mechanic you can do to surprise your opponent.

Since Viego’s Q has a wind-up cast time, you can flash in the middle of the cast to effectively extend your Blade of the Ruined King ability. The clip above shows an exact example of how far your range can go to deal damage at a surprising distance.

W: Spectral Maw

Spectral Maw is similar to Vi’s Q in how you charge it up for more effectiveness. Aside from dashing your own body, you also shoot a mist projectile forward that stuns and damages the first enemy hit. While the distance or damage you go doesn’t ramp up the longer you cast, the range of the mist projectile increases.

In addition, Spectral Maw serves as an auto attack reset, so you can use it in quick succession for more damage in your usual damage rotations.

Similar to most other dash abilities, you may cast flash in the middle of it to change your trajectory. But unlike most other dash abilities in this game, the effectiveness of doing so isn’t as good as other abilities. This is because Spectral Maw’s damage and stun are tied to the projectile that’s shot and the mist’s hitbox is launched from Viego’s starting point.

As an example, the clip above shows that the best way to use Spectral Maw with flash is to do it during the wind-up time to have the mist follow you when you release. While this gives your opponent time to react, it allows you to use your stun while blinking.

Spectral Maw is also unable to go over walls, so you can’t use it as an escape option if thin barriers are around.

E: Harrowed Path

Viego’s E is a fusion of Qiyana’s R in how you shoot the projectile and Nocturne’s Q since you gain bonuses for standing in your Harrowed Path spell. As an ability without a cast time, you can set up a quick field where you’ll gain bonus attack and movement speed when facing off against enemy champions.

While the Harrowed Path expands against walls, if you’re dueling against an opponent and no terrain is around you, using Harrowed Path just to get the extra stats in a pinch can help turn the tide of your battle.

Due to the bonus stats granted, optimal use of the Harrowed Path will improve your clearing time, so constantly spamming it and throwing it against walls will help you extend its effectiveness.

Harrowed Path’s stealth component is similar to Twitch, Evelynn, and Pyke’s camouflage, so there’s a chance you can avoid enemy skill shots in a pinch.

R: Heartbreaker

Viego’s ultimate ability is a quick teleport forward that deals massive damage to an enemy in range with the lowest percentage of health. The amount of damage dealt is also more effective the lower their health is in addition to knocking away other enemies. Viego also prematurely escapes any opponent he’s possessing, turning back to his true form.

Any time that Viego uses his passive, your Heartbreaker’s cooldown is reset to 1.5 seconds, meaning you can chain multiple uses of your ultimate in a single fight if you constantly slay enemies in quick succession.

Item choices

Similar to his varying keystone rune choices, Viego is blessed with a plethora of item paths that he can succeed with. The more standard Mythics usually consist of fighter-based items like Trinity Force if you’re against squishy opponents or Divine Sunderer if you’re facing bulkier champions. For non-Mythic fighting options, building a Blade of the Ruined King can also synergize with your kit due to the bonus attack speed, damage, and sustain provided.

Since his ultimate scales with critical strike rating, you can consider buying either Galeforce or Kraken Slayer to synergize with his kit. Other potential non-Mythic critical strike items that you can pick up include The Collector, Bloodthirster, Guinsoo’s Rageblade, or Navori Quickblade. These options should only be considered if you’re desperately ahead of your opponent since it’s fairly easy to get blown up due to your lack of defense in these items.

How to navigate the early, mid, and late game

As a melee jungler, you should do your best to move away from jungle camps in between auto attacking them to reduce the amount of damage you’ll take. While you’re doing your camps, you should be on the lookout for what opponents you can gank as well as which of your lanes are most vulnerable to getting ganked. If you can correctly predict the enemy jungler’s movement, you can find countergank opportunities and punish your opponent for any overextensions.

Viego can also be viable in the top lane. Due to Viego being resourceless, having effective sustain, and having a powerful poke on his Q, the Ruined King is a potent duelist that can force a wide array of low-range champions out of lane.

Once you reach the mid game, how you adapt your game plan should depend on the items and runes you build. If you’re ahead and you have a more fighter-like build, roaming around the map and constantly picking skirmishes against weaker opponents is the way to go.

If you’re building like a duelist, then constantly splitting and drawing attention on opposite sides of the map will benefit your team. A major weakness to this style of play is that you must be aware of what objectives are on the map soon. If you fail to position correctly on the map, you risk losing important objectives like dragons, Rift Herald, or Baron.

During the late game, understanding when to use his passive for possession will be paramount to your success. If you’re not a strong threat and a fed enemy is destroyed, you can turn the enemy team’s power against them thanks to your passive. If you accidentally possess a weak opponent, then you can use your ultimate to get around the fight more quickly.

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