Heimerdinger Vi Control Deck Guide: Card Choices, Matchups and Mulligans Explained In-Depth
Hey there folks, FaeGamerBoi here and this is a write-up of the deck that got me into Masters for the Season of Plunder: Vi Heimerdinger! I’ve played 50 games with this deck and am currently rocking a win rate of 62%! So let’s go through what exactly makes this deck tick and what you’ll need to know to pilot and modify it successfully.
This is a pretty classic Heimerdinger Deck for all those familiar with him as a champion card. You’ll play lots of P&Z removal to control the board, along with some Ionia followers to fill the dual roles of blockers and pushing early damage onto the opponent’s Nexus. Once you get to turn 5 or 6, you’ll want to be dropping Heimer with spell mana saved for protection (usually a Twin Disciplines, Deny or Spirit’s Refuge) and then slowly take over the board and game by spamming 3-cost spells for Heimer’s Floor-B-Gone turret.
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This deck operates heavily in the midrange camp, with a splash of control tools. This is a fairly regular for decks in Runeterra as most are variations on midrange, and proper control decks (like Corina Control) are rare. In Vimerdinger, for control purposes, you’re rocking a large number of removal spells (Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot, Get Excited, Will of Ionia), while for midrange, you’ll be fighting heavily to overtake the board using Vi and Heimer’s combined might.
Lastly, I want to mention that this deck is quite limited in terms of tech options, in the current meta. The P&Z/Ionia alliance makes for a very tight, refined list and because of this and Heimer’s heavy reliance on 3-mana spells, the deck mostly builds itself.
3x Heimerdinger: The Dinger is this deck’s build-around concept. He’s an absolute powerhouse of a champion IF you can protect him, and the Ionia splash gives you the best options to do this! When mulliganing, you’re going to want to keep him almost always (the one exception being against Burn Aggro), but don’t mulligan your whole hand to look for him. You’ll have plenty of time to look for him during the match.
Keeping Heimer alive will let you overtake most match-ups without the need to rush, so take it slow and safe. Also worth noting, unless you’re 100% certain your opponent cannot remove Heimer, don’t tap out of your protection spells. Even if it means passing your turn and losing some mana, protecting Heimer should be your number 1 priority! Heimer’s champ spell Progress Day provides a ton of value. Drawing three cards and reducing their cost is great, but getting an 8/8 robot dinosaur on top of that pushes this card into insane value territory, and its definitely worth playing when you can. All that said, spam some spells, make some free turrets and watch your opponent slowly get whittled down to nothing, it’s that easy.
3x Vi: Vi is technically a flex card since she’s not necessary to your game plan, but given there isn’t really another champ that fits into this deck as cleanly, I’m going to leave her in the core. Vi provides you with a powerful blocker and Challenger to keep your opponent’s board in check while you’re setting up Heimer. It will be rare for you to level her up, but don’t discount her as a backup wincon especially if you’re struggling to draw your Heimer.
3x Thermogenic Beam, Mystic Shot & Get Excited: All these spells are crucial to the control element of this deck! You’ll want a good dose of removal to keep yourself healthy through the earlier turns of the game, especially with all the midrange decks floating around. Get Excited pulls double duty here as a 3-mana spell for Heimer. Thermo Beam can also fill this role some times, depending on how well you can finesse your mana to exactly 3. But often it’ll find value wherever you can place it, whether that be using it on turn 1 or 2 to snipe an early, aggressive unit or later in the game to kill one of your opponents bombs. I will say, don’t obsess over holding your Thermo Beam for the perfect target. Often times, it can be very clunky to use, so if you’re offered a spot to play it, you should definitely take it.
3x Flash of Brilliance: This is a Heimer staple, and effectively free spell that makes Floor-B-Gone turrets. Nothing to dislike about that! The cards it will net for you can be very hit or miss: Shadow Flare, Unlicensed Innovation, and Dragon’s Rage are very rarely cards that you’ll want to spend 6+ mana on, and very likely to be just discarded to Get Excited; Progress Day is a very good pull if you’ve got Heimerdinger on board and will almost always be of use; and the rest are situational.
Dawn and Dusk can occasionally triple your Floor-B-Gone Turrets for lethal, but is otherwise unplayable; Hextech Transmogulator will remove a problematic unit in a pinch, but unless you’re desperate, this is unlikely; Stand United will occasionally work to protect Heimer, and it can swap Vi into an unblocked spot on the board so she can swing for 10 damage (this is rare, but hilarious when it happens); Ritual of Renewal can be decent when your health total is really low and you need to stall; and Trueshot Barrage will sometimes buy you a turn or two of breathing room (especially against Elusive decks).
3x Shadow Assassin: When it comes to chump blockers, Shadow Assassin is one of the best for control decks because she draws you a card as well, hopefully getting you a little closer to your Heimerdinger. As a bonus she’ll block Elusives for you, and they are currently making a comeback in the meta, so value your Shadow Assassins.
3x Twin Disciplines: This one is plain and simple: A 3-mana spell that will help Heimer dodge almost any removal spell. As much as you can, you’ll want to hold on to these for that purpose, otherwise, they can sometimes push lethal damage through on your other units, or allow Vi to level up more quickly.
3x Will of Ionia: You can’t run Ionia without at least a few Will’s, this card is great in almost any matchup, but noteable targets are: Other Heimerdingers, They Who Endure, Sejuanni, Nautilus, Cithria , Unyielding Spirit and buffed Elusive units. I could see dropping the number to maybe 2 if the meta becomes more aggressive/burn focused, but in the current meta, this card is too good to go without at least 3!
3x Deep Meditation: Heimerdinger is one of the few cards which actually liked Meditation being nerfed to cost 5 mana, because now, once you activate it’s cost reduction, it’s a 3-mana spell that makes Floor-B-Gone turrets! This is easily one of the best draw cards for Heimer because of this synergy, and having access to more spells, and thus more answers, is highly valuable. Don’t be afraid to drop it at 5-mana if you need help to survive the game. I’ve been too greedy in a few games and had this sit in my hand in the hope of activating the discount while I was getting overwhelmed by my opponent.
2-3x Claws of the Dragon: Claws is a really solid chump blocker for your 2-mana spot with the bonus value of sometimes being free! It can sometimes even pressure your opponent with damage (especially in the mirror). Other than that, Claws is a fairly standard 3/2 so don’t expect too much, but it definitely performs when you need it. Also, don’t obsess over the “free” part of this card, in match-ups where your opponent is more aggressive it’s better just to play it on turn 2 so you can block some damage, rather than letting it sit in your hand till turn 5 or 6 when you can reliably trigger it.
2-3x Solitary Monk: It is an incredibly strong 3-mana card when you don’t have anything on the board. It’ll often hit for 4 damage and trade for 1-2 units early. The problem is (and the reason I only run two of these) that it’s terrible in the late game unless your board is totally wiped out, and in those situations, you’re probably losing anyway. Get it on board ASAP and you’ll not have much to worry about.
2-3x Chempunk Pickpocket: Chempunk fills the same slot Claws does, but with the value of sometimes drawing you a spell rather than being free. Honestly, I can imagine that sometimes being better in the early game, and Chempunk does demand removal spells against himself much more urgently than Claws does. But I think the free guaranteed value of Claws ends up being a small margin better. Feel free to try Chempunk instead if you feel like it though, it’s definitely not a bad card in this deck.
1x Ki Guardian: This is an interesting card to include, it replaces itself and can allow you to put a Barrier on Heimer while it’s in your hand. And it is a lower cost spell, which can help trigger Deep Meditiation and Claws of the Dragon. Unfortunately I found this to rarely happen with just one Ki Guardian (and it’s not worth running 2 or 3 with the limited number of free space in this deck). Often you’ll put the barrier on something else and get no value other than cycling, which is underwhelming.
1x Rising Spell Force: This one is a personal choice because I was seeing a lot of Culling Strike, which Rising Spell Force will let you dodge. It’s another 3-mana spell, which is great with Heimer, and it’ll occasionally let you hit for an extra 4 damage with an elusive unit, or potentially swing a very unfavorable trade in your favor. These situations don’t always come up, but I’ve felt happy with 1-of the Spell Force in most games.
1-2x Deny: Cards like Atrocity, Withering Wail and Decimate make Deny a valuable tool and it can block most removal cards that target Heimer. This can be especially nice in the mirror where you can potentially Deny a spell and prevent your opponent from getting a free turret, but it’s not an ideal answer (as it’s frequently outclassed by Twin Disciplines and Spirit’s Refuge in that match-up). I could see running 1 of them if Shadow Isles starts being run less, because Deny is not the best in this deck, but it will find value in most match ups.
2x Spirit’s Refuge: Spirit’s Refuge is an incredibly solid card when used with Vi and it’s decent enough when run with Heimer. It gets you the Fearsome Apex Turret, which is not terrible, but definitely not as good as the Floor-B-Gone, and the Barrier is fairly interruptible with small amounts of damage. That said, it still proves a very necessary protection card for Heimer in some games, and when you manage to connect with a Vi, it can be a life saver in more aggressive match-ups where you’re struggling to find your footing. Nothing put’s you back in the game like an extra 7-10 Nexus health!
1-2x Steel Tempest: Steel Tempest isn’t run in many Heimer decks, but it can be useful. It hits many of the same targets as Will of Ionia, but it doesn’t provide the same tempo gain. You can try it if you’d like an interesting tech option, but overall I think there are better 3-mana spells you could be running instead.
1-2x Concussive Palm: I have seen people running this one, and I’ve not experimented with it myself, but I think Tempest is just better in a Heimer deck. The free 3/2 is nice, but in the late game, I’d rather have Tempest and earlier game I’d rather not be using 4 mana for a 3/2 and preventing maybe 4-5 damage tops.
1x Statikk Shock: This is a tech card for the mirror, and it does its job well! Killing two turrets and drawing a card is amazing value for 4 mana, the problem is that this doesn’t do much in any other match-up. If you’re hitting a lot of mirrors, slot this in, otherwise I’d pass.
Endure Spiders is a fairly even match-up, both you and your opponent have good long term game plans and good counters to each other. They have Vile Feast and Withering Wail for your turrets, you’ve got Will of Ionia for their They Who Endure. Winning this match is about playing smarter than your opponent, reserve your answers for when you really need them and try to get Heimer online as soon as you can. Also Deny is probably at it’s best in this match, as Withering Wail and Atrocity are both cards you’re going to love denying.
A big problem against this deck is that they’re able to go faster than you can. While you’re chipping away for 4-6 elusive damage, they’ll be sacrificing their Cursed Keeper’s and summoning Saplings to overwhelm the board with units. Because of this, Get Excited and Thermogenic Beam are very powerful, as they deny Elise and Kalista, who are the powerhouse aggression units of that deck. You’ll have to balance using your Elusive units as blockers with chipping in damage to try and make the kill a little easier, but Claws of the Dragon you can pretty happily drop and trade into whatever it can best fit.
Once you’re reaching the mid-stages of the game, you really want to get Heimer going, but if you haven’t drawn him, you’re going to want to shift gears and just try to apply as much Elusive pressure as possible, while using Vi to control the board. Spirit’s Refuge + Vi really shines in this match, because it’ll buy you multiple turns or prevent They Who Endure from killing you in one shot. Also, unless your opponent is still dominating the board, this is the time when you’ll want to be using your Deep Meditations to hopefully draw into Will of Ionia, to force your opponent to play They Who Endure multiple times or blow them out by using it in response to Atrocity.
The Deep match-up is fairly favourable for Vi Heimer. Not only is your game plan faster than theirs, but the ability to bounce Nautilus with Will of Ionia makes their plan even slower! Similarly to the Endure match-up you’re going to want to hold Deny for Atrocity or Withering Wail. The difference here is that Deep has a hard time applying early pressure, so you don’t need early blockers and you can focus on developing your own gameplan.
The main problem in this match-up is that with Grasp of the Undying, Jaull Hunters and Devourer of the Depths, your opponent has many ways to remove Heimer, so multiple sources of protection are going to be a priority in your mulligan. If you can’t get Heimer by turn 5, shift gears and just try to kill your opponent with Elusive units and use your Twin Disciples to buff, sending Mystic Shots and Get Excited into their Nexus when they’re low on health.
This match-up is close to being fairly even. You’ve got answers to most of their early game, and Will of Ionia, Vi and Turrets to take down their late game. The problem comes when you let your opponent take over the board early, so the key is to remove every unit possible. A good Bannerman buff will push most of Demacia’s units out of easy removal range, making this match much harder, so the main goal of your early game will be to stop this from happening.
Once you make it to the mid-game, just try and get Heimer online quickly as possible because the Turrets will be the only way you can keep up with their units. Vi is highly useful for this as she can kill multiple units, or trade for a high value target like Garen or Cithria.
Single combat is their only removal spell, so holding up mana for 1 protection card should be enough to keep Heimer alive for the whole game. If they aren’t able to remove him, they’ll get overrun pretty quickly by your Turret power and Elusive Nexus assaults. Also worth noting: remember that they probably have an Unyeilding Spirit in their deck, and Will of Ionia completely counters that – so hold on to it if at all possible!
This matchup is quite bad for Heimerdinger. You’ll quickly get overrun by board presence and damage before you can even set up, so the name of the game is mitigation. Take as many units and removal spells as you can get, and heavily prioritize Spirit’s Refuge as it will make the difference between winning and losing. That said, be sure to play around Noxian Fervor, as your opponent will use it to deny you the Lifegain.
Heimer is almost useless in this matchup, as you wont be able to save up spell mana and by the time you’re actually able to get him online, your opponent has likely already run out of cards and thus lost. Vi is much more the champion you’ll want as she can mop up a wide board pretty quickly, and if you’re able to get a Spirit’s Refuge on her while your opponent doesn’t have the mana to use Fervor, you’ll likely just win because of the extra 6 or so health.
Also worth noting, Deny isn’t terrible in this matchup but you won’t want to use it on much other than Noxian Fervor or Decimate. That extra 3-4 health can make a big difference though, so make sure you don’t discard it.
Miss Fortune Sejuani
Miss Fortune Sejuani will probably give you the hardest time on the ladder. Their units are often able to flood the board almost as quickly as Demacia, and the ability to draw cards out of your deck will often give them a large advantage due to high concentration of useful spells and Elusive units in your list. Make it Rain is an absolute beating when you’re trying to get turrets set up, so make sure you play around it if possible and Riptide Rex will often just board wipe you if you give them a chance to play it.
So the odds are stacked against us, what do we do? Well, your best chance of winning this game is going to be committing to an early-game rush down of their Nexus (this requires you to have a pretty great opening hand and decent draws during the game). Altervatively, you can stall as best you can to try to either play T-Hex off Progress Day or save a bunch of 3-mana spells and cheese the win by shooting your damage spells at their face while creating Elusive Turrets. Basically, keep the pressure up and you just might have a chance to win, but don’t feel too bad about losing this one as they counter you pretty hard.
Also, this is the game where leveling and protecting Vi actually becomes a legitimate win condition! So if you can, try to work towards this.
The mirror, like all mirrors is quite draw dependant. The name of the mini-game that takes place through the match is ‘Kill their Heimer and protect your own’. Save your Get Excited’s and Thermo Beam’s for Heimerdinger as much as you can and try to stockpile protection spells for your own Heimer. If you happen to draw Solitary Monk & Claws of the Dragon with some buffs, you may want to try and aggro your opponent down quickly, burning up their mana and removal spells to prevent them from playing Heimerdinger early. Don’t commit too much to this plan though, as it’s very possible they will manage to create 1 or 2 Floor-B-Gone’s anyway and then they’ll just block you.
You’re going to actually want to dig for Flash of Brilliance in this one, just to try and overwhelm your opponent a little quicker. If you both manage to protect Heimer, the person who makes more Floor-B-Gone Turrets will pull ahead! Other than that, avoid Mystic Shot and Deny as they won’t provide much value in this match-up. Deep Meditation becomes fairly key, as it gives you more chances to play 3-mana spells and thus make more turrets to win with.
Vi isn’t as useful in this match, but challenging an opponent’s Heimerdinger can be a great way to get them to waste some protection spells, and potentially open themselves up to a Get Excited or Thermo Beam. Don’t discount her, and set her up if you’re given the spot to do so (especially if you don’t draw your Heimer)!
I think this deck is quite powerful and definitely benefits greatly from the Burn nerf in the last patch. It’s got decent options for almost all of the decks you’ll be facing in the meta and a really solid win rate, which will make it great for climbing. Mowing your opponent down with a board full of Elusive units is also a ton of fun and the setup to reach your win is satisfying and makes you feel quite involved.
This deck’s biggest foe is Sejuani decks, which hold a lot of answers to your strategy. But to be fair, you shouldn’t run into this deck a huge amount because it’s only one of the several decks that are getting played a lot on the ladder at the moment. Burn is also a pain. Good thing it is on the downswing currently – still, this will likely be more of an issue in future metas.
Over time I expect Vi Heimer to flourish with the rise of Elusives as the most popular “fast” deck of this meta. Vi Heimer is one of the few decks that can actually go blow for blow with Elusives, having a much more favorable matchup to play against it than Burn. That being said, once Burn comes back into fashion, I imagine Vi Heimer will probably drop into Tier 2.
Thank you for reading and I hope my insight helps you build an version of Vimerdinger deck that’s just perfect for you! If you’d like to chat with me about it and get my opinion on different cards, feel free to contact me on Facebook and Twitter and if you’d like to see me play it, I regularly stream on Twitch. You can also check out my content and guides on YouTube. Enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll hopefully see some of you soon!