Vi has a lot of flexibility in what she can build out of the jungle. Her excellent clear speed lets her generate a lot of gold and her great ganking potential can greatly supplement your income. While there are several items that are great on Vi, her final build needs to compliment her needs. All of my Vi builds meet the following criteria:
Without tenacity, Vi can be kited easily and can be locked out and placed in positions where she is a detriment to her team. To fulfill her role, Vi needs tenacity. Since I prefer to run 21-9-0 as my masteries I look to acquire tenacity through items.
Vi dives hard with Assault and Battery and as a melee fighter needs to be in the thick of things to do damage. This means taking damage and through my experience with Vi, she is always one of the priority targets of the other team. She needs defense to survive late game and do her job.
3.) Attack Damage
To do damage and remain a factor, Vi needs to build damage. She doesn't need to build glass cannon due to her kit but she needs enough where she scales into late game and can accomplish her job of killing high priority targets.
It is possible to start Cloth Armor+5 Health Potions but Vi's clear time is affected negatively and since she upgrades it anyway, there is no reason not to start with a Hunter's Machete. The additional 10 true damage to monsters is very helpful early game as well and the sustain from the health potions is needed to survive the initial clear and be healthy enough to gank afterwards.
As mentioned previously, Vi has a great deal of flexibility in what she can build. All three of the jungle items are viable on her.
Preferred Jungle Item:
My preferred jungle item for Vi in roughly 90% of my games. I have found the attack damage and passive extremely helpful in finishing off targets and speeding up her jungle clear. The cooldown reduction synergizes great with Vi's kit while the health and mana regeneration help keep her sustained in the jungle. Without including the true damage passive (that procs off of Vi's Excessive Force), Spirit of the Elder Lizard provides 3246 gold worth of stats for a measly cost of 2300 gold.
Alternative Jungle Items:
While I find Spirit of the Elder Lizard to be the most effective jungle item on Vi, Wriggle's Lantern and Spirit of the Ancient Golem offer two amazing alternatives that provide stats that are extremely useful.
Wriggle's Lantern is great on Vi because it provides armor, attack damage and life steal while allowing Vi to quickly clear the jungle without using her mana. While still an affordable item, an option is to only purchase the Madred's Razors portion of the Wriggle's Lantern and then build other items. This allows Vi to still have the proc and additional armor but allows her to build her core items more quickly.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem is also a very cost efficient item that is useful on a more defensive, utility based Vi. Offering a great deal of health, armor and both health and mana regeneration this item gives a total of 2843 gold worth of stats for a cost of 2300 gold. The amazing thing about thsi item is that it provides Tenacity, which allows Vi to skip Mercury Tread's.
Remember to buy
as you see fit. Make the most out of the gold you do get. Late game you may need to purchase a
for global objectives.
Preferred Boots Option:
Since I usually buy Spirit of the Elder Lizard I need tenacity in my build and fulfill that need by building Mercury's Treads a majority of the time. These boots help prevent Vi from being kited and also provides her with important magic resistance. I have found myself waiting to upgrade my boots in my games but when I do I'll usually go with Mercury's Treads. Just be careful that if you do build Spirit of the Ancient Golem that you do not build these boots because the tenacity does not stack and other boot options may be more beneficial.
Alternative Boots Options:
These three boot options are also great on Vi. However, I usually only find myself building them in the rare occurrence that I build Spirit of the Ancient Golem because I prefer having the tenacity.
Boots of Mobility are usually my second choice for boots and if I do buy them it will be early to constantly gank lanes. I see these boots as a 300 gold investment since they are purchased for 1000 gold and I usually sell them back late game for 700 gold to upgrade to Mercury's Treads. They sure are fun though even though they aren't a necessity by any means.
Ninja Tabi are great for double AD bruiser compositions. I will almost never purchase these in any other situation since I usually purchase an adequate amount of Vi for late game team fights. The passive on the boots also loses its effect with the more armor you build since the effect only stacks multiplicatively.
Boots of Swiftness can be an option for the simple fact that the passive helps counters the self-imposed slow on Vault Breaker. I prefer Mercury's Treads to these despite that benefit though.
I always aim to have Boots of Speed with Madred's Razors or Spirit Stone early game.
Black Cleaver gives Vi a very large damage boost early in the game and also provides health and most importantly both armor penetration and armor shred. This item synergizes well with Vi's Denting Blows since that ability already gives Vi a 20% armor shred against enemy champions. If the game is not going that well or you need extra tankiness, you can buy the Brutalizer and then upgrade it to the Black Cleaver later on in the game when you have sufficient funds. This item is a must buy.
Frozen Mallet is needed on Vi for several reasons. Most importantly, it allows Vi to stick to targets and prevents her from being kited (one of her major issues as a champion). The additional AD is great since Vi scales well with that stat and the extra health benefits her Blast Shield on top of giving her much needed health. If the game isn't going well, feel free to purchase a Phage and then upgrade it to this item later game. I make sure to have this item before late game team fights breakout because it allows Vi to complete her job more effectively (initiator, assassin or peeler).
After building the two core items I look to round out my stats as Vi and build tanky while still building enough damage to remain a threat. Maw of Malmortius fulfills both of these goals. Providing magic resistance, a great shielding passive and additional AD that scales off of how much health you have lost, this item is amazing on Vi. I highly recommend an early Hexdrinker against heavy AP teams.
Rounding out the build, Randuin's Omen offers a lot of health and armor for Vi. This item is important because you will most likely be targeted by the enemy teams AD carry late game while you attempt to take them out. The passive and active assist with catching and the extra stats assure that you survive the encounter.
Other Offensive Items:
Huge AD and lifesteal. I will sometimes build this item if I don't get a Wriggle's Lantern because Vi lacks sustain. At the very least, this item can be purchased to replace Wriggle's Lantern extremely late game once your build is finished and there isn't anything else to buy.
Not worth the cost anymore. Plus Frozen Mallet is already core. Some of the stats are wasted on Vi as well making this item a poor choice.
An interesting item that has tenacity. Unfortunately, Vi doesn't need the attack speed and there are better items to buy. There is the potential for a build including this item Wriggle's Lantern and either Boots of Mobility or Ninja Tabi but I don't recommend that at all.
Why Not ?
Iceborn Gauntlet is not needed because the stats on it are acquired elsewhere in the build and Frozen Mallet is the superior item to purchase for sticking to an enemy. This is due to the fact that Vi's Blast Shield scales with health and she makes great use of the AD on the item. The AP on Iceborn Gauntlet is wasted as well.
Other Defensive Items:
An amazing item that every team should have. I will sometimes buy this item if the support or a laner does not purchase it. The great all-around stats are amazing on Vi and the aura helps shut down AP comps.
Great defensive stats and the passive is great for a diver like Vi. Unfortunately, the passive may end up not being useful since Vi is in the middle of the fight and may die again instantly upon coming back to life.
Great health total for low cost. Really OP item ATM. But the build mentioned above already has a lot of health. Would probably get this item if I am behind due to its cost. Really strong item if rushed early. I have had some success rushing this item after building Wriggle's Lantern.
Great stats and passive but doesn't fit the build that well.
A great cheap armor item. Can be used to mitigate damage from burst comps or something like Karthus ultimate.
Health and armor item. Don't usually pick this up since I prefer Randuin's Omen. Can be bought for really heavy AD teams.
Why Not ?
Last Whisper is not needed on Vi due to the fact that she will build Black Cleaver and her Denting Blows reduces the target's armor by 20%. This armor penetration coupled with Vi needing tanky DPS items for late game makes Last Whisper a difficult item to purchase.
Helps Vi stick to targets.
Great for defending base or moving out to another location.
Interesting enchantment that works on Vi because she usually dives the backline.
Additional movement speed never hurt.
Sample Build #1:
Sample Build #2:
Sample Build #3:
Sample Build #4:
Stats courtesy of: http://leaguecraft.com/