The Ruined King might be destined for ruin in more ways than one.
Officially released for the jungle, Viego’s win rate one and a half weeks since launch sits at 46% in solo queue. As a top laner, he’s not any better at 47%.
Surprisingly, the only lane where he’s doing relatively well is in mid at 49%. A melee fighter and skirmisher who is only limited by the cooldowns of his skills, you wouldn’t expect him to outtrade mid lane mages. However, due to the nature of his passive and range of Blade of the Ruined King (Q), he functions similar to Aatrox mid in this respect.
Viego doesn’t fit in the current jungle meta
The top jungler right now is Olaf, who is getting nerfed in the upcoming patch 11.3. Empowered by Goredrinker, he was healing hefty tons of HP in team fights, as he simply walks up to the enemy AD carry and axes them down.
After buffs to Turbo Chemtank, Udyr too, rose in ranks both in solo queue and the pro scene. He joins Graves and Nidalee in fast clearing the jungle. What they lack in ganking is made up for in damage and speed.
Viego relies on his linear Blade of the Ruined King ability and the bonus attack speed from Harrowed Path (E) to clear camps. While it’s not as fast as top tier junglers, his clear speed is decent.
Ganking wise however, he’s not so hot.
Creeping up on enemy laners is not an option. The trail of mist from Harrowed Path is so largely obvious that he’s effectively announcing to enemy laners that he’s here for a gank. Additionally, his only hard crowd control ability is Spectral Maw (W) which doesn’t go over walls, requires charge up time, and slows himself down.
So in the solo queue context, Viego is at best a mediocre jungler in the current meta who can neither pull off strong early ganks like Lee Sin, nor fast clear camps and carry like Graves and Nidalee.
Viego gets easily countered in top lane and requires items
In the domain of bruisers, Viego doesn’t win duels against most of them.
According to OP.GG, his win rate against 36 out of 51 champions played in the top lane, inclusive of all the tanks, is less than 50%. Without items in the early levels, he can’t outtrade meta picks like Aatrox and Renekton, nor can he outtrade solo queue heavyweights like Darius and Pantheon, and is forced to be defensive.
If his mid laner doesn’t have lane priority, he’s easily dove under turret. Once behind, Viego loses out in duels even more, and becomes even less relevant. Riot intentionally made it such that the Ruined King’s core item is Blade of the Ruined King, which is priced at 3,200, costing almost as much as a Mythic item.
This leaves Viego insurmountably more dependent on his clutching his ultimate during team fights just to stay relevant in-game.
Viego is extremely reliant on his passive and ultimate
Viego’s ultimate, Heartbreaker, is a reset and gap closer. Think of him like Katarina in a team fight, whose goal is to snowball off as many dead enemy champions as possible.
Upon getting a kill, his wind-up animation as he takes over a Mist Wraith makes him untargetable for that split second — and it is more than enough for these pros to narrowly turn around fights in their favor.
Since Heartbreaker and his passive, Sovereign’s Domination, defines his kit, where better to soak experience and party in the mid lane instead of the lonely jungle?
Similar to other melee champions played mid like Yasuo, Yone, and Zed, Viego harasses with Q. The most efficient trade is one where he’s able to hit both minions and the enemy laner in one stroke while avoiding incoming skillshots.
Since mid is easily gankable, once Viego takes some HP off his opposing mid laner, the jungler should start getting his king ahead — which is what happened in this Grandmaster Korean solo queue game. Featuring a mysterious, unidentified, and very likely a pro player, the moment Viego was released, he excelled on him in mid lane.
Racking up an impressive 4.02 KDA on this champion with a 65% win rate in 23 games, he rushes Goredrinker for wave clear and sustain, into BotrK. He has won matchups against Ahri, Viktor, Galio, and Orianna to name a few.
Still, Viego is a melee champion, so long-range poke and CC from mages that disallow him to walk up to them can be effective against him in the laning phase. If he’s going to be played in the jungle, however, we expect him to share the same fate as Lillia, for he requires the entire team composition to draft and play around him.