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How to Counter: Vayne

By Caranthir - 16th February 2012 - 05:02 AM

Champion selection is a crucial factor in ranked games, whether solo/duo queue or premade 5v5. It not only provides a chance to synergize your team's champions and counterpick the opposing team, but allows you to begin with psychological pressure from the start. For the next installment of "How to Counter", we'll cover Vayne, late-game ranged carry with high mobility and single-target damage.

Countering Vayne in lane


There are three options to countering a Vayne pick during laning, who is usually in the typical Support-and-Carry duo bottom lane.

Pick a stronger early-game carry/support combination

Vayne does not win most trades early game due to lacking nukes. Her skills are almost entirely steroids so they are strong late game. Early game, they don't do that much damaged compared to some other ranged AD carries.

Good carry choices for this matchup include Twitch, Corki, Graves, Caitlyn. Aggressive supports include Fiddlesticks, Sona, Leona, and Lulu. Blitzcrank and Nunu are also possibilities for supports. Soraka and anna tend to play more passive and you do not want to play passive against Vayne early game. The only case where Soraka would be an optimal counter-pick is if your carry is going to be trading blows with Vayne to wear her down rather than having the support set up for a kill (Urgot).

Don't let Vayne farm
A lane in which both sides are allowed to farm is almost always to Vayne's advantage


Pick a Double-Burst lane

This lane is not interested in farming up a carry for lategame. Its purpose is to zone opponents away from creeps and kill them if they get too close. These champions pack hard CC and very strong early game damage. Combinations include Garen + Maokai, Taric + Pantheon, and Sion + Leona. Vayne's attack range is fairly short and she lacks a good poke skill like Piltover Peacemaker or Volley to farm from range. She is also extremely squishy so Maokai snaring/Arcane Smashing her while Garen Ignites, Silences and Spins-To-Win should bring her very close to death, if not guarantee a kill.

A more traditional double burst lane could be Corki/Graves with Leona/Sona. Twitch also goes well in a double burst but he has to be careful because he relies on pro longed fights to deal his full damage and that's when Vayne's Silver Bolts take over.

Corki and Graves work in a similar fashion, they have amazing instant burst on their Q abilities. They can trade well by just using their Q and an auto attack. Vayne relies on getting at least 3 hits off to do real damage, Corki/Graves can evade that by backing off directly. Both Leona and Sona have amazing burst, Leona can all in Vayne easily (especially combined with Corki's Gatling Gun which procs her passive) and Sona has strong burst and heals. Both have Area of Effect Crowd Control ultimates which are excellent against Vayne.

Pick a Double-Poke lane
These champions rely on repeated harassment to whittle away at a carry's health, forcing them to recall or risk being sniped by a stray Piltover Peacemaker. Combinations include Caitlyn/Lux, Ashe/Zyra, etc. The former combo leaves a lot of room to outplay, but the range of both champions can make you able to effectively zone out Vayne early on or set up kills if she steps on a Yordle Snaptrap or gets caught by a Light Binding.

The latter combo is a ridiculous burst combo with a massive amount of Area of Effect Crowd Control at level 6. As soon as Zyra and Ashe are level 6, they can blow up Vayne every time their ultimates are off cooldown. Their high ranges make them able to constantly poke down Vayne.

Now, the risk of picking these alternate lane compositions is that your overall team composition needs to be able to absorb that departure from the standard "meta" laning assignments and champion selection. See our guide on Duo Lane Synergy (pretty old but still solid) for more descriptions of these alternate lanes.

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The red areas are places to avoid when Vayne is at or around the positions indicated, as she can easily Condemn you into a wall or tower for a stun. Condemn will still proc a stun even on destroyed towers!


Remember, Vayne's strength is her lategame. Play aggressive against her early, stay away from walls, and watch out for Vayne's jungler. You don't necessarily need to kill Vayne if doing so puts you at risk of giving her a kill. Forcing her to miss last hits or recall is nearly as useful. The important thing is not to surrender kills to Vayne early game and not allow her to farm freely. If Vayne's tower is destroyed, do not abandon that lane completely and allow her to recover by free-farming for the next twenty minutes. This is a common and painful mistake, as even an 0/3 Vayne can present a significant threat just by amassing 150 minion kills.

Countering Vayne in teamfights


Focus her. There, enough said, right?

In all seriousness, there are multiple ways to deal with Vayne in teamfights. First off, due to her short range, catching her in an AoE Crowd Control effect is much easier than, say, against Kog'Maw. A well-placed Curse of the Sad Mummy, Crescendo, Unstoppable Charge, or Idol of Durand should pin Vayne in place long enough to turn the lights out on the Night Hunter. A strong initiation is very helpful, and having AoE makes it easier to catch one of the most mobile carries. When these AoE ultimates are used as a counter, make sure to first catch Vayne in them and second kill her while she's CC'd. Vayne tends to pick up a Blade of the Ruined King and her damage will let her heal back significant amounts if she isn't killed early in the teamfight.

The second option is to use a mobile burst assassin. These champions excel at getting to targets and bursting squishies quickly. Now, since Vayne has mobility and stealth and a knock-back, the assassin is going to need either incredible mobility or crowd control. Or both. Assassins with this combination include Zed, Ahri, Akali, Pantheon, Leblanc, Kassadin, or Fizz. All being extremely mobile and having an even higher damage output, they can demolish Vayne is seconds.

A third option is a bruiser with a strong, low cooldown slow and an AD/AS debuff. While Vayne has three steroids, none of them increase her attack speed. Using a champion like Nasus, Malphite, Tryndamere, Nunu, Gragas, Lee Sin, or Ryze with a Frozen Heart, can tank some damage and unload a significant amount of CC and burst on Vayne while reducing her offensive power can be very effective. If her team does not burn cooldowns and CC on peeling these champions off of Vayne, she will be forced to target or flee from these champions while being slowed and having her damage output reduced. Lee Sin in particular has an AOE stealth reveal on his Tempest/Cripple combined with an attack speed debuff. Skillshot-based CCs are somewhat less effective against Vayne due to her mobility. A good Vayne will simply Tumble to sidestep that Enchanted Crystal Arrow.

Ryze deserves an honorary mention here. Because all his spells are targeted and he deals an amazing amount of single target damage, he can easily destroy Vayne. She relies on her mobility to outplay champions, but Ryze can just unload his full combo on her before she gets in range to auto attack and then she will die. Targeted Crowd Control in general is a good counter to Vayne. Skillshots are harder because of her Tumble.

Gap closer
If your champion does not have multiple gap-closing options or CC, consider waiting until Vayne has used Condemn to use your dash move. Once you are on her, a powerful slow will keep her in range, even if she Tumbles


Special mention deserves to be made of Rammus, a tank champion specializing in countering AD champions. His three second taunt is one of the most powerful single-target CCs in the game and it also lowers Vayne's armor, while his Defensive Ball Curl returns damage. If Rammus buys Thornmail, he'll have upwards of 300 armor while reflecting damage back to Vayne at the same time. Of course, Rammus must first catch Vayne to inflict all this punishment. While Powerball helps, she is likely to Condemn him away or use a Stealth Tumble to escape.

Another good pick is Fiddlesticks. As a rather unconventional support, he's still strong and fares well against Vayne. His 3 second Fear makes her a sitting duck and his extreme base damages make for an easy kill at level 6.

Focus Vayne in teamfights. Lategame, if she has a BF Sword derivative and something other lategame offensive item such as a Phantom Dancer, she is a high-priority target. This of course poses a problem if Vayne has Zilean or Yorick on her team, as either of those champions can help her elude death to continue pouring out damage. Get stealth detection if she's using stealth Tumble to escape burst. At 45 minutes in, the 6/6 Vayne with 250 minions farmed and a Blade of the Ruined King, Phantom Dancer, and Infinity Edge is far more dangerous than an 8/3 Renekton with 250 minions, Sunfire Cape, Spirit Visage and Brutalizer. She'll also die much faster than the fed but rather kiteable and cooldown dependent Renekton.

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Exhaust is the easiest, yet one of the most effective, counter to Vayne. It lowers her damage dealt and movement speed by 30% and reduces her Attack Speed by 50%. This makes her essentially useless for the duration as she can neither escape nor fight back.

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For itemization, Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart are essentials lategame. Before acquiring a Phantom Dancer, Vayne's attack speed is nothing impressive and lowering it with those two items, preferably in tandem with other AS debuffs, will significantly impact Vayne's ability to do damage. Shurelya's Reverie can help your team catch up to Vayne if she's fleeing.

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Twin Shadow's are tricky but can help you too. If you manage to let one of the ghosts hit Vayne, then she will be heavily slowed but most of all revealed. Her stealth will be useless and you can focus her down.

Summary

  • Vayne is counterpicked in lane by strong early game AD carries playing aggressive with help of their supports
  • Alternately, double-burst or double-poke lane compositions work well
  • Avoid walls and maintain a high level of map awareness to avoid feeding Vayne kills from jungle ganks during laning.
  • Do not let Vayne free farm. Focus her in teamfights and get stealth detection if needed.
  • In teamfights, AoE hard CC from a tank/initiator can trap Vayne so she can be burst down quickly
  • Assassins with mobility and CC work very well against Vayne, as does Rammus, provided they can get to her
  • Attack Speed or Attack Damage debuffs are strong against Vayne
Look out for future installments in the How to Counter series!