League of Legends: how to play Vex—The Gloomist

October 1 2021

League of Legends: how to play Vex—The Gloomist
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If you have noticed lately, Riot Games has been turning League of Legends into an action game. League of Legends is getting increasingly difficult to play due to the number of high mobility champions being introduced into the game. New champions all have some sorts of dashes and blinks in their kits, and we, as players, are having a hard time keeping up.

Thankfully, the dev did take notice of players' concern over the transition toward faster pace gameplay, so they introduced Vex to the line-up. Vex brings something we have wanted in League of Legends for a long time.

League of Legends players have been asking for a new battlemage for a long time, and Vex definitely delivers to people's expectations. League casual players will love this champion for its outplay potential, while the professional players can utilize this champion to counter the fast-paced meta.

With the introduction of Vex, many League of Legends players are eager to hop back to the game and play. So I have decided to dedicate an entire guide to Vex.

In this guide, you will learn about Vex's best builds, how to play Vex effectively, and how to leave your opponents running in fear (bad pun intended). The antsy Yordle wants to let the world know that her personal space is to be respected. This is all you need to know about Vex - the Gloomist.

Who is Vex?

Vex is League's newest battlemage since Neeko, who Riot Games introduced to the game 3 years ago. She is also a new addition to the Yordle family. The last Yordle before her was Kled, who was released 5 years ago.
Vex is an all-around champion that scales very well into locking her opponents and opening teamfights due to her play-making kits.

Type

Vex is a battlemage who starts combat with her spells.

Strengths

Vex has access to a similar ultimate to Kaisa's, which allows her to dive instantly into the middle of the enemy team. Unlike Kaisa, Vex has crowd-control tools to follow up with her engages, making her surprise attacks extremely destructive and impossible to play against. In other words, she is a Yordle Fiddlesticks.
Vex can deal a significant burst of focused damage in a short time. Aside from her serious damage, Vex has multiple tools to quickly disengage the enemy if the situation ever gets out of control.
She is a direct counter to Riot Games' recent meta shift into designing high-mobility champions, such as Akshan, Gwen, and Viego. We really do have too much mobility in recent champions, so it's nice to finally see a champion that excels at slowing them down and making them stop moving for once!

Weaknesses

While Vex is definitely fun to learn, it can be hard to get over the learning curve and enjoy her kits. Vex relies on playing around cooldowns to deal damage, poke, engage, and disengage. Ineffective spell rotations will lessen her threat on the battlefield and make the Yordle look even sadder.

Playstyle

Vex benefits from an aggressive, head-first-into-battle playstyle that rewards fluid mechanics and solid positioning.

Skills

Passive: Doom 'n Gloom

Passive: Doom. Periodically, Vex gains Doom, which empowers her next basic ability to knock down affected enemies and cause them to flee from her, during which they are slowed based on the initial distance from Vex.
Doom's cooldown resets when she respawns. Vex's spells turn to dark green from purple whenever fear is available. If Looming Darkness (E) triggers Doom, all targets will flee from the center of its area of effect instead.

Innate: Gloom. Nearby enemy champions that dash or blink, as well as targets hit by Looming Darkness (E), will be marked with Gloom for 6 seconds. Vex's next basic attack (which becomes non-projectile), Mistral Bolt (Q), or Personal Space (W) against a marked target will consume the mark to deal bonus magic damage and refund 25% of Doom's cooldown.
Against marked non-champions, Gloom deals less damage and refunds 10% of Doom's cooldown.
It's important to remember that you will be playing around Doom 'n Gloom most of the time. Fear is a powerful tool to engage and disengage. You should aim to have it up as soon as possible by marking multiple targets. The more target you hit, the faster fear comes off cooldown.

Q: Mistral Bolt

Vex launches a slow wave of mist in the target direction, inflicting magic damage to opponents it passes through. After a short distance, Mistral Bolt accelerates and reduces in width before disappearing out of frame.
Mistral Bolt's animation is different from the rest of the spells in League of Legends. It resembles a ghost rushing to its target. There is not much to say about this spell except that it is the main damage ability in Vex's kit, and it should be used as a poking and laning tool.

W: Personal Space

Vex emits a shockwave around her, gaining a shield for 2.5 seconds and dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies.
Personal Space is a useful instrument to combine with Vex's passive. Since it is an area-of-effect spell, Vex will fear enemies if her passive is available. Upon activation, Personal Space provides a small shield that scales with AP. The shield can help negate opponents' damage and increase your survivability. Personal Space can be used as a defensive tool against melee champions with gap-closers or as an offensive tool to dive enemies' backlines.

E: Looming Darkness

Vex commands Shadow to fly to the target location, increasing the radius of the area as it travels. Upon arrival, Shadow deals magic damage to all nearby enemies, slows them for 2 seconds, then marks them with Gloom for 6 seconds.
Looming Darkness is the only ability in Vex's kit that can mark targets with Gloom. Therefore, you should be mindful of when and how you use it. If you can, try to fear enemies with other abilities to get Doom on cooldown, then land Looming Darkness on as many targets as possible (including minions) to get your fear back in the shortest time.
The further you are, the longer it takes for Looming Darkness to land. The fastest way to land Looming Darkness is to cast it underneath Vex or do a Flash→Looming Darkness combo when you want to fear and mark your targets quickly.

R: Shadow Surge

Vex commands Shadow to launch itself in the target direction, granting sight of the area along its path for 0.4 seconds each and dealing magic damage to all enemies hit.
Shadow stops upon colliding with an enemy champion, marking them for 4 seconds and revealing them for the duration. Shadow Surge can be recast while the target is marked.
RECAST: Vex rushes towards the marked target (the animation can't be blocked or canceled), consuming the mark and dealing magic damage to the marked target upon arrival. If the marked target dies within 6 seconds of being hit by Shadow Surge, Vex can repeat the ability at no additional cost for the next 12 seconds.
This ability goes through minions, so don't worry about minions blocking it! Aim to use this from the fog of war because it is harder for people to react. You want to use your ultimate to go all-in or to initiate a fight/skirmishes.


Builds

There are a couple of ways you can build Vex, depending on your playstyle or the win conditions of each match.

Runes

Runes are up to preference. If you wish to annihilate your enemies and inflict as much damage as possible on the battlefield, take Dark Harvest. If you are trading with your lane opponents, Electrocute will make sure you maximize your solo kill burst potential and get those individual picks to start snowballing.

Standard Runepage
You can go with either Electrocute or Dark Harvest with this runepage.

Cheap Shot deals extra damage on targets that are affected by crowd controls. Vex's passive applies crowd controls multiple times in a fight, and Cheap Shot is on a 4 seconds cooldown. Therefore, you should be able to extract a lot of value out of this rune.

With Vex, you will spend the majority of your time getting kills and setting up kills. Eyeball Collection provides additional AP every time you take down an opponent (assists count). Your ultimate is your only initiation tool, so taking Ultimate Hunter allows you to use it more frequently.

Scaling Runepage
If you are going into a challenging game where you know you will be the main target, consider this runepage to stay healthy throughout the laning phase and excel in late-game teamfights.

Taste of Blood heals you every 20 seconds when you damage any enemy. It is the go-to sustain rune for staying in lane and absorbing experience against hard match-ups. Most of the time, you will be casting spells, so Ravenous Hunter allows you to have more sustain in general. Alternatively, you can switch from Sorcery secondary to Inspiration for extra sustain from potions.

Take this secondary page if you know you plan to play safe, farm up and wait for your power spike. Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic allow you to stay in the lane longer. I would pair this setup with a teleport to quickly get back to the lane to avoid missing experience and creeps.

Starting Items

Doran's Ring + 2 Potion
This will be the default beginning item for Vex as it has everything you need. 15 AP + 70 health + 5 physical damage to last hit minions. Killing a unit restores 6 mana. If your mana is full, you get 3 health. You'll also get 2 potions, making this a fantastic starter package!

Corrupting Potion
Start with this item if you plan to have more sustain in lane or look to trade a lot more. Corrupting Potion has 3 charges, and each charge gives you 125 health and 75 mana. You can combine this starting item with Biscuit Delivery and Time Warp Tonic to go all-out on consumables!

Mythics

First, let's talk about Mythic items. You can only buy one of these in a game, and they all provide 5 additional magic penetration for every legendary item you have. You can sell and buy another Mythic item later. However, it would be best if you never did that because Mythics are costly. Selling Mythics will waste a lot of gold that can be used toward other items.

First item purchase is significant, so you should consider the win conditions and pick the right one. I will go over each suitable item for Vex and help you decide the correct one for your game!

Everfrost
Stats: 80 AP, 20 Haste, 250 health, 600 mana, and +15 AP per legendary item.
These are all the stats that Vex needs, so Everfrost increases your power nicely.
Everfrost is the lowest damage option out of all Mythics, but it gives you a powerful active ability, allowing you to root enemy champions and disabling their mobility. Everfrost scales the best into Vex's fear passive, especially in the second part (Gloom), where she deals more damage to dashing targets.
Overall, Everfrost is not the best item for more ability power, but it is powerful against team comps with multiple dashes and blinks. Considering that Vex is introduced to League of Legends as a control mage to stop high mobility champions, it is only natural that we pair her kit with a displacement item to enhance her potential further.

Luden's Tempest
Stats: 80 AP, 20 Haste, 600 mana, 6 magic penetration, and additional 5 magic penetration per legendary item.
While Luden's Tempest does not grant you extra health, it gives 6 magic penetration for more burst damage.
Luden's Tempest is best built against low-health team comps due to its unique area-of-effect passive. If your goal is to dive in with your ultimate and immediate take high-priority targets out of the fight, Luden's Tempest is the best item for that job. It is also a good item to purchase when your team already has initiators (tanks and fighters) to start team fights, and you need to do as much damage as possible to secure the victory. If your team does not have initiators, consider Everfrost instead.

Liandry's Anguish
Stats: 80 AP, 20 Haste, 600 mana, and 5 additional haste per legendary item.
Liandry's Anguish gives you the least amount of stats out of three Mythics. However, it does provide a great base of ability haste into the late game so you can spam more abilities during team fights.
What Liandry's Anguish lacks in overall damage and crowd controls, it compensates by a unique passive that burns through maximum health, ignoring armor, and magic resistance. The more health your opponents build, the better Liandry's Anguish will perform.
Liandry's Anguish is definitely a Mythic item built solely to kill tanks. You should consider Liandry's Anguish if the enemy team has two or more tanky champions to ruin your day. Liandry's Anguish should be the priority whenever the enemy team has strong tankers who ignore your frontlines to get to you and your ADC.

Legendaries

Zhonya's Hourglass
Stats: 10 Ability Haste, 65 AP, and 45 Armor
Zhonya's Hourglass is a core item for Vex. It enables Vex's play-making characteristics while minimizing the risk of dying when she is close and personal with the enemy. This item should be built after your Mythic.

Cosmic Drive
Stats: 20 Ability Haste, 80 AP, and 200 Health
Cosmic Drive yields the highest amount of Ability Haste. More Ability Haste allows more abilities during fights, which means more overall damage. Cosmic Drive is another core item for Vex, so consider it after Hourglass.

Situational

Void Staff
Stats: 70 AP, 40 Magic Penetration
Void Staff's job is simple yet critical: shredding any magic resistance that gets in the way of your damage. Void Staff is not necessary until you have your core items, but be sure to build it if your opponents are stacking MR against you.

Rabadon's Deathcap
Stats: 120 Ability Power (pure power baby)
Similar to Void Staff, Deathcap should only be considered approaching late game. This item increases your power by a percentage of your initial AP, meaning the more AP you have, the more AP it increases. Having it as a second or third item is not ideal since its passive will not be utilized to the fullest extent.

Banshee's Veil
Stats: 10 Ability Haste, 80 AP, 45 MR
If you are having difficulty surviving in the team fights, building Banshee is the next move. The provided MR helps you stay longer, and the shield grants a small window to get out of harm's way. Banshee's Veil pairs well with Hourglass for added protection.

Morellonomicon
Stats: 80 AP, 250 Health
Morello is effective against team comps that have a lot of healing power. You can build a piece of Morello early in the match to prevent enemies from over-healing your team's damage. Considering the current meta where every champ can heal with items, Morello has become a must-buy for every match.

Summoner Spells

Flash
Flash is mandatory for every match-up. It is useful as a tool for multiple uses, including making plays, gap-closing, and escaping. Remember to take Flash every game.

Exhaust
If you play against an AD assassin who devotes his life to making your life miserable, Exhaust will mitigate his pressure and allow you to play with more confidence.

Barrier
Barrier is useful if you need extra protection against abilities with a lock-on mechanism, such as Karthus' Requiem or Fizz's Chum the Waters.

Ignite
It would help if you took Ignite when you are confident that you can win lane. Ignite boosts your overall damage, and it generates a lot of pressure for the enemy if they know it is up.

Cleanse
Cleanse relieves kill pressure from champions with huge damage abilities that require you to stand still. No more do I fear of your circle, Veigar!

Teleport
Teleport is a utility spell that allows you to create pressure in other parts of the map! Teleport is definitely a macro spell for players who rely on decision-making to win games.

Gameplay

With most champions introduced in League currently having very loaded kits and extensive ability descriptions, Vex provides us with a kit that is neither complex nor overly basic. Vex's gameplay is a breath of fresh air to what seemingly looks like an endless round of complex champion designs, one after another. At least we can now enjoy a champion without having to read an entire essay about it. Wait...Isn't this an essay about Vex?

Laning Phase

Vex's laning phase appears to be lackluster at early levels, and I'd argue that it's her weakest point in the game. However, it does not mean she is weaker than your opponent. In contrast, Vex has the best level 1 in the game, in my opinion.

Your goal for the laning phase will be to soak up XP and gold while waiting for that sweet level 6, where you unlock your roaming potential for the first time in the game. Champions with global ultimate like Twisted Fate and Shen play for this level 6 in every match to create an advantage for themselves and their teammates. Therefore, you should look to do the same with your ultimate.

Vex has severe mana constraints as Looming Darkness, and Personal Space eats through your mana bar. Therefore, aim to poke or manage your waves with Mistral Bolt until you gain more mana with items and levels. Minions cannot block vex's abilities, so always look to poke your lane opponents and hit the wave simultaneously. Other than being mana-hungry, Vex's early game is quite straightforward because not many champions can match your harass and wave clear at early levels, especially her pressure with fear passive.
During early levels, you should only use Personal Space to defend yourself. It is on a level long cooldown, so aim to use it only when necessary.

If you are against a melee mid-laner, aim to push the wave slowly and slowly shove it toward his tower. If you are against a ranged mage, avoid getting hit by his abilities while wearing him down with yours. Once you are done with that, you have two choices:
do a cheater recall to buy a pink ward:

  • help your jungler

  • set up river priority by contesting Scuttle Crab

If you carry any of these tasks successfully, you should have an advantage over your mid-laner. Continue to shove your lane, set up visions around the jungle, and predict the movement of the enemy jungler. Good mid laners will look to roam or get solo kills every time they have the chance. Your plan should be to disable their win conditions by forcing them under turret and get them low.

Suppose you can, shove hard and do another recall before you hit level 6. Once you are back to your lane with an item advantage, look for opportunities to roam. Your Flash→W combo is deadly. It has no counter-play unless the enemy flashes at the same time you do (which is almost impossible, by the way).

Always try to have your fear up as soon as you use it. Your passive is your primary pressuring and defensive tool. Remember to cast E on your opponent and minions, and auto-attack marked targets to get your fear back. Having fear available makes the opponents think twice about engaging.

Mid-game

The death of the first dragon should mark the transition into the mid-game. In the mid-game, both teams have clear win conditions and should be working toward them. Mid-game is when your power spike comes online, so aim to create destruction in your wake. Your job as a battlemage is:

  • delay enemies' win conditions while helping your team achieve theirs

  • take down high-priority targets

  • become a threat that the enemies must respect

In most matches, side lane towers are the first to go down. At this point, you should prioritize your ADC by giving away mid-lane and catch waves in side-lanes, unless you are the strongest in your team and need to continue scaling.

The most important objectives during mid-game are rift heralds, dragons, and rift heralds. Always be on the lookout for these objectives' respawn time, and play around them. Your ultimate will be a great tool to force combats. Once you go in, though, there is no retry button. Therefore, it is essential to predict the outcome of each combat before going in.
In the best scenario, you will have access to everything in your kit during objective skirmishes, including Flash, to make a play. If you see an out-of-position enemy, signal your allies that you are going in so they can follow up. You should look for picks and plays as much as possible because this phase is when Vex truly shines.

As you gain more gold, start to invest in defensive items for late-game. If multiple players in your team are strong, look to force fights around objectives to pressure the enemies into making mistakes.

Late-game

Late-game is the most volatile phase of any match because anything can happen and occur from a single death.

Similar to mid-game, you want to play for late-game objectives that bring your team to destroy the enemies' nexus, such as the fourth dragon or Baron Nashor. However, Vex needs to be more mindful of how she approaches initiation in late-game, as people have access to a lot more damage and protection. Shadow Surge and Personal Space still have their uses in opening team fights, but it is a lot riskier than mid-game.

You should have Hourglass completed by mid-game, but if you have not, then make it a priority along with one more defensive item to round up your build. You should not look for more damage in the late game but rather work toward survivability to stay relevant.

Most of the time, you will be fighting enemy frontlines because they will be protecting their high-damage dealers. You should not use skills sparingly and wait until you can go on their backlines. Instead, go all out on them. You deal a lot of damage in late-game, even on tanks. Furthermore, getting to the backlines is often suicide if the enemy knows what your plan is.

You can use Shadow Surge to create distractions for your other damage dealers. Vex can also protect her backlines with fear passive, so look to do that as well.

Conclusion

That is everything you need to know about Vex! I hope this guide was able to help you out! If you want to read more guides like this, check out our League of Legends section. We are planning to provide you with up-to-date news on the upcoming World Championship, so be sure to check back if you are interested!

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Bryan Wurz

Bryan Wurz
Bryan Wurz

Excellent mechanics do not win tournaments, teamwork does. Work together to win!