After multiple bug fixes, the undead king of Runeterra has finally graced the League of Legends esports scene with his presence six months after his original release.

At the start of Summer Split Week 1, we’ve already seen Viego in pro play in the LCS, LEC, LPL, and LCK regions. Released initially as a champion for the jungle by Riot Games, pros found most success on him in solo queue in the mid lane.

Has his mid lane popularity translated into pro play? What is Viego’s impact in the current meta, which is the most popular Viego build so far, and is he really as formidable as his lore?

Win rate and presence of Viego in pro play

Two weeks in, Viego in pro play has an overall 53.4% win rate across major regions, racking up 31 wins and 27 losses as of writing.

Win rates must always be looked at in relation to a champion’s presence: how often a champion is picked or banned. Overall, within the top 15 highest presence champions, Viego is tied with Varus for third highest win rate, after Sett’s 58%, and Akali’s whopping 69% win rate.

Lunar Beast Viego
Credit: Riot Games

At 55% presence in 15th place, Viego in pro play been picked 55 times and banned 48 times. This is half of Rumble’s 94% presence with 111 picks and 77 bans.

Appearing an average of once every series, the fact that he has the third highest win rate despite a low presence shows that teams have been relatively effective in drafting and playing around him.

How has Viego in pro play been used? Which roles has he fulfilled?

Out of the 58 games he’s been played, Viego in pro play has been most used as a mid laner (26 games), followed by top (22 games), and lastly jungle (10 games).

Though it is expected that he fares much better as mid laner compared to any other role, Viego mid racked up the lowest win rate of all at 46.2%.

Surprisingly, he’s had the most success when played in the jungle, where he holds a 60% win rate.

LPL Summer 2021 JD Gaming Kanavi using Viego in pro play against TT Gaming
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Since the mid lane meta is dominated by Akali, Sett, Lucian, Sylas, and the occasional mage like Orianna, it’s not the best lane for him to thrive, for it’s hard for him to outtrade some of these champions early.

To avoid his lane weaknesses, he functions better as a counter pick at top, or steer into the jungle as he scales up to reach his two-item power spike.

The best Viego pro players in the 2021 Summer Split

LGD mid laner Su “Xiye” Han-Wei of the LPL, and G2 top laner Martin “Wunder” Nordahl Hansen of the LEC have played Viego thrice, both of whom still hold a 100% win rate on the Ruined King.

Xiye however, has an impressive 8.3 KDA on Viego in pro play, the highest among all players so far, trumping over Wunder’s 2.8 KDA. Consistently outperforming his opponents on this champion, he and the LGD squad even took down JD Gaming in the process, upsetting the giants 2-1 in LPL Summer Split Week 2.

Not counting him out, Wunder had three solid performances in the 2021 LEC Summer Split against MAD Lions, SK Gaming, and rivals Rogue, and set personal best records on Viego.

Against SK Gaming, he dealt 613 damage per minute (DPM) to champions, which is two-thirds more than the average 397 DPM. Against MAD Lions, he accumulated 9.4 CS per minute, which is also higher than the average 7.9 in pro play.

In the LCK, DWG KIA’s resident jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu even swapped roles to mid on Viego for the first time in their match against KT Rolster to great success. Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong is now their starting jungler, while Heo “ShowMaker” Su moved to bot lane to join Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun.

Which Viego build has been popular in pro play?

When Viego first debuted in League of Legends in January, his go-to Mythic item was Kraken Slayer followed by second item Blade of the Ruined King — the item that’s named after him.

After multiple patch updates and experimentation, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok pioneered a new Viego build with Immortal Shieldbow as his Mythic item, followed by Black Cleaver or Guardian’s Angel.

Viego builds on Viego page Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

League of Legends patch 11.11 however, changed Viego’s core build again, for Riot decided to massively buff Divine Sunderer, allowing the user to deal 12% of target’s maximum health on-hit, and heal up to 65% for melee champions.

Depending on the matchup, players so far have opted for either Immortal Shieldbow or Divine Sunderer on Viego in pro play as their Mythic item, no matter which role they play him in. Blade of the Ruined King remains a popular second item as well.

Will the presence and win rate of Viego in pro play rise? Or will pro teams figure him out?

READ MORE: Viego is basically the Ulquiorra of League of Legends