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How to Counter: Vayne

By Remox - 15th May 2011 - 21:31 PM

A major factor in increasing one's experience and skill in any competitive game is the importance of countering. In League of Legends, this is no different. Be it adapting to the new characters introduced every two weeks, or learning how to work around tried and true strategies used by older characters, countering is amazingly important. This series focuses on this element of the game by offering techniques, lesser known secrets and general tips to avoid getting dominated by that flavor of the month strategy.

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How to counter...Vayne, the Night Hunter

Basic Introduction

Vayne is a very versatile Ranged DPS Assassin, with many different itemization paths and high mobility.
First of all, countering Vayne is not an easy task if we take for granted her skills and especially her passive:
  • Night Hunter (Passive): Vayne ruthlessly hunts evil-doers. She gains 40 Movement Speed when moving towards an enemy champion.
Powerful early game passive because it is equivalent to having Boots of Speed (which gives 50 movement speed), and it synergizes with her Q skill called:
  • Tumble: Vayne tumbles, maneuvering to carefully place her next shot. She rolls toward the cursor and her next attack deals 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 % bonus damage.
Bread and butter with a very (2 seconds) low cooldown when maxed, each time she tumbles, the next attack will deal a greater amount of damage. She also can dodge projectiles and delayed skills (like Pillar of flame or Rupture).

Tumble also synergizes with Vayne positioning for her E skill:
  • Condemn: Vayne draws a heavy crossbow from her back, and fires a huge bolt at her target, dealing 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+0.5 bonus AD) damage and knocking them back. If they collide with terrain, they are impaled, dealing 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 / 220 (+0.5 bonus AD) bonus damage and stunning them.
She will try to position herself so that Condemn can stun (like Poppy's charge), dealing huge amounts of burst damage, and usually triggering
  • Silver Bolts: Vayne tips her bolts with a rare metal, toxic to evil things. The third consecutive attack or ability against the same target deals a percentage of the target's 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 % maximum Health as 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 bonus true damage. (Max damage vs. Monsters is capped at 200)
It is crucial to understand how this skill is triggered to prevent massive amounts of true damage. It can be done with a regular autoattack or both of her skills (Tumble's next attack and Condemn). Try to stay away from her to clear the marks (silver circles).

Finally, her Ultimate
  • Final Hour (Ultimate): Readying herself for an epic confrontation, Vayne gains 35 / 55 / 75 increased Attack Damage, 1.5 seconds stealth during Tumble, and quadruple the bonus Movement Speed from Night Hunter for 8 / 10 / 12 seconds.
More damage and stealth!? Oh my. Things to notice: Tumble gains stealth (1.5 seconds), attack damage rises and the passive movement speed goes up to 160 (more than a Mobility Boots speed, which is 130). Again, this will contribute to her overall mobility and positioning.

Do not panic! As all assassins in the game, they are squishy as cake!

Countering in lane

Lets break Vayne into three different axioms to work with: Mobility, Damage and Combos.

If we can take down one of the three, everything will fall apart and Vayne will be ready for her coup de grāce. Let's take a look.


Source of her Mobility:
  • Tumble: The only way to prevent her Tumbling is with Crowd Control spells (stuns, silences, fears, snears, etc).
  • Night Hunter (Passive): No way to stop this unless we can slow her (Red Buff autoattacks, spells with Rylai's, Bilgewater Cutlass/Hextech Gunblade active, Randuin's Omen active plus all the heroes with Slows)
  • Final Hour (Ultimate): same as with the passive.
As we can see, her mobility is very hard to shutdown in lane unless we roll with a CC champion. Things are different during teamfights and mid-late game as we (or our team) can have access to item actives and focus fire.


Vayne can approach her damage from different angles. But her main source is burst damage, usually paired with Trinity force to unleash it with her Tumble and triggering Silver Bolts.

Basics with every hero:
  • Avoid the third Silver Bolt hit. True damage hurts.
  • Summoner Spell Exhaust will mitigate her damage, giving you the chance to counter strike. As she is squishy, hit hard and decisively.
  • Armor will mitigate her autoattacks, Tumble's damage and Condemn, but will not work with Silver Bolt's third hit.
  • Boots of Speed will work against her positioning.


There are certain ways Vayne can combo her skills to get maximum damage.

Autoattack > Autoattack > Tumble (+hit) Standard harassing mechanism, using Tumble to shorten distances. Needs a point in Silver bolts.

Condemn > Autoattack > Tumble (+hit) Usually done if you are out of position and she can stun you with ease. Needs a point in Silver bolts.

Autoattack > Tumble (+hit) > Condemn (not wall hit) With this little combo you will be thrown away from her and suffer pretty heavy. Needs a point in Silver bolts to trigger third hit true damage.

Ultimate > Autoattack > Tumble (+hit) > Condemn (wall hit + silver bolt trigger) > Tumble (+hit) This is the most dangerous combo. For this to happen, Vayne should have Tumble level 5 and her ultimate (so it could happen at level 8 or 9). Take into account that the overall damage can be avoided by standing away from walls and turrets (procs condemn).

Now that we have an idea of how Vayne works, countering her will require one of these three axioms to fail. Because of her high mobility, combos can be performed almost unharmed (during lane phase) and you will take huge amount of damage.
  • If there is Mobility but no combos, damage will fall.
  • If there is Mobility, the combo is performed but the damage is mitigated (exhaust, armor, shields, blinds).
  • If there is no Mobility (requires Crowd Control or heavy harassing), combos cannot be performed and there won't be any damage taken.
Why are we breaking her into three aspects, mainly because there are certain heroes who can prevent her mobility, others which can mitigate damage and some other who can prevent her combos. Teemo for example, can not stop her Mobility, ergo the combos will be executed but as he has inherent speed and a blind, condemn may not hit a wall, and attacks will miss dealing no damage. Sion can either prevent her Mobility with a spammable stun and also Shield himself from a nice amount of damage, usually used to counter-harass. Kassadin can out-maneuver with Rift walk plus getting a silence. And so on.

Specific heroes

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Direct counters. Rammus can powerball into her, taunt and shield himself to return damage. He is great for the job due to his high mobility. Teemo, offensive counter, goes with increased speed for chasing/dodging wallstuns and blinding her to death. Plus mushrooms are always annoying,

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Second line of counters, supports. Vayne deals true damage, most efficient way to counter this is healing. Karma the defensive option, protecting Vayne's victim with shield, heals and either slowing Vayne or buffing allied speed to chase/dodge. Soraka, on the other hand, can go into a more offensive stance. With a powerful silence she can make Vayne useless for some minutes and open to focus fire. Plus, not one but two heals to counter true damage. Taric, oriented for melee, granting armor to allies, healing the true damage dealt, and most important of all, a spammeable stun which grows stronger if Vayne goes away (huge speed plus Tumble, very possible during fights).

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Worthy mentions. Irelia naturally built tanky plus anti CC, can shorten the time stunned by Condemn. Using her jump it will be easy to reach Vayne, plus healing over her True damage. Olaf as a standard anti-carry, ignoring any kind of slows or knockbacks to reach the target. Warwick because of his suppression and healing, introduces a chance for the team to focus fire her and bonus attackspeed.