Once a criminal from the mean streets of Zaun, Vi is a hotheaded, impulsive, and fearsome woman with only a very loose respect for authority figures. Growing up all but alone, Vi developed finely honed survival instincts as well as a wickedly abrasive sense of humor. Now working with the Wardens of Piltover to keep the peace, she wields mighty hextech gauntlets that can punch through walls and suspects with equal ease.
Vi remembers little of her childhood, and what she does remember, she wishes she didn’t. Running with the sumpsnipe gangs, she quickly learned to use her wits, as well as her fists, to survive. Developing a thick skin was just as important, and everyone who encountered Vi knew her as someone who could punch or talk her way out of trouble. More often than not, she chose the former.
None of the old timers from Vi’s youth could tell her anything of her parents, with most assuming they had simply died in one of the industrial accidents that were, sadly, all too common in Zaun. A few vaguely claimed to remember her as one of the brats from Hope House, a crumbling orphanage cut into Zaun’s cave-riddled cliffs. On his deathbed, a notoriously mad sump-scrapper claimed to have found Vi adrift in a bassinet large enough for two in the ruins of a collapsed chem-laboratory. In the end, Vi gave up on any notions of learning anything about her parents, figuring some things were better left unknown.
Wilder tales than that soon came to surround Vi as she garnered a reputation among the undercity’s gangs. With her wild pink hair, Vi was a distinctive sight on the streets of Zaun; hightailing from angry shopkeepers in the glittering arcades of the boundary markets, swaggering through the colorful bazaars of the Lanes or hitching rides up into Piltover aboard the hexdraulic conveyors. Wherever there was a scrape to be gotten into or a scam to be run, odds were, Vi was in the thick of it. Despite her reputation as a troublemaker, she followed a code that meant she never stole from those that couldn’t afford to lose what she took and never hurt those that didn’t deserve it.
As she got older, the capers of childhood became more audacious and daring, with Vi forming a gang of her own. Brash and quick to anger, she still liked to use her fists a little too much, and though she was usually the last one standing in any dispute, her eyes were frequently black and her lip split from fighting. Over the years, Vi formed a friendship with the owner of a bar on the edges of the Lanes, and he was able to temper some of her more self-destructive tendencies. He reinforced her code and showed her how to fight with discipline, as well as teaching her ways to better direct her simmering anger.
Despite his steadying influence, Vi’s gang ran riot across Zaun, with the Chem-Barons tolerating their antics only because they knew she and her crew were sometimes useful. Vi became known as someone who got things done, no questions asked. Despite her life as a lawbreaker, Vi’s sense of morality began to trouble her ever more frequently as she saw the damage she and other gangs were leaving in their wake.
The final straw came when she worked alongside another gang on a smash and grab heist at a chemtech facility that had just struck a rich seam. Listening in on miners’ chatter in the bars, Vi learned when payment for the ore was being delivered, and hatched a scheme to relieve the mine’s owner of his gold. The plan required extra bodies to pull off, so Vi reluctantly brought the Factorywood Fiends in on her score. The job went to plan until the leader of the Fiends used a chem-powered mining golem to kill the owner with its oversized Pulverizer Gauntlets. His men drove the workers into the mine as he started demolishing the opening, driving the golem into an overload. This wanton slaughter and destruction infuriated Vi. It had been a perfect score and now these psychotic idiots were ruining it!
Grabbing their share of the gold, the Fiends made their escape, but the miners were now trapped below ground and would soon run out of air. Vi could not leave them to die, and swiftly donned the overloading golem’s powered gauntlets before it tore itself apart. The wrist mechanisms clamped down on her arms, but Vi endured the agony long enough to smash a path through to the miners and save them from certain death.
With the miners free, Vi and her gang fled with the rest of the gold. And the following day, Vi paid a visit to the Factorywood Fiends. Still wearing the powered gauntlets, she administered a beating to the entire gang that is still spoken of with awe by the gangs of Zaun to this day. The debacle of the mine robbery was the last straw for Vi, and she swore never to work with anyone she didn’t fully trust. She kept the Pulverizer Gauntlets, and had them modified so as not to burn her whenever she used them to break into supposedly impregnable vaults or ambush heavily armed convoys of gold, tech, or whatever else she decided to steal.
Vi disappeared from Zaun during a time of great upheaval, a time when tensions between the two cities were at an all-time high. Rumors circulated between the gangs that she had been killed in a huge explosion in the heart of Zaun, but so too did stories that she’d struck out for distant lands. The truth finally came to light when Old Hungry’s Scars, a vicious gang whose murder sprees had spread to Piltover, were finally brought down by the Sheriff of Piltover and her new ally... Vi. The former gang leader of Zaun was now in the employ of the wardens, and she’d had an upgrade. She’d replaced the chem-powered gauntlets with a pair of prototype hextech gauntlets. She also seemed somehow older, as if she’d seen and done things that had changed her forever. The Vi from the streets of Zaun, who’d use her fists before her wits, was still there, but she’d grown up some and seen that the path she had been on had only one ending.
No one yet knows how Vi came to be working alongside Caitlyn, but whatever secret binds them together can only be guessed at. Given the personal nature of a recent crime wave sweeping Piltover, speculation runs rife that it involves a certain blue-haired hellion from Zaun...