Build Guide by Daethbane
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Updates and Changes
Edit 1/16/11: Added a small section with some research about Spell Vamp and bonus healing into the "Items" chapter.
Edit 1/23/11: Changed Skill sequence for better balance of survivability and damage based on recent games, changed the Defense tree by one point in favor of more damage reduction rather then speed on dodge, and added more to the "ranked" item set from game testing.
Edit 1/27/11: Changed item build to a more consistent damage build rather then relying on Mejai's.
Edit 1/29/11: Changed Items chapter a little to reflect the new main item build I have been using.
Hello fellow Vladimir players, this is my guide to a more "seasoned" Vladimir player. What makes me think I have the skill to say I'm experienced? Well, while I have only been playing LoL for a few months, and don't have 2k wins like some, I have played north of 100 games with only Vladimir. Not that I have not played any others, but Vladimir is my favorite and I wanted to make sure I knew him backwards and forwards before making my guide.
What to expect from the guide: There are no shortage of Vladimir guides on this site, many of them being great and having a lot of math work, skill explanation, and general great tips and information. For that reason, my build is going to be focused on more game sense and what I believe to be the best ways to build him and why. So, if you want in depth analyses of his skills and all the summoner abilities among other things; I suggest you look up SmartxAxBSH's, Ghosthawk's, Sacull_Kinslayer's or DEWO's guides. They are all very good and helped me a lot. I'm still playing him a lot and learning more and more, so expect updates as I learn and learn from others as well.
This is my first guide, so any constructive criticisms are appreciated.
So enough of that, lets get down to it!
I have not spent as much on runes for any other character then Vlad. One, because I was very new and didn't know as much, and two, because I wanted to find the absolute best way for me to play him.
That being said, I use:
I used the typical Magic Pen Marks, HP per Level Seals, Flat CD and/or AP per Level Glyphs, and Flat Health Quints for a while, and I did have success with it, but I just was not getting the results I wanted. After a lot of researching and math, I came to the conclusion that this set would get me the results I wanted. Props to DEWO for helping me with some of it. Basically what this will do for you is make you exponentially more powerful as you level. You will start out the game with 41 AP thanks to the Flat AP Quints and thanks to the per level Seals and Glyphs. By level 4 on you can do pretty significant damage with your Q and E skills. If you get a lane with another Vlad who doesn't use this set up, trust me, you will see the difference. I will discus more of the differences later.
Masteries are where I believe great players begin to separate themselves from the ones that maybe are still learning, I did not say "bad players" remember, I just mean there are certain things that work much better then others. So, with that, lets discus why I do my masteries this way and compare it with other ways.
I'd say that everyone that plays a caster knows that you go into Offence to get Magic Pen, there is just no way you wouldn't, so I'll just assume we all know the benefits of that part and focus on the other two. There is ALWAYS debate on whether to go into Defense or Utility. So lets compare those two trees with each other and see what benefits Vlad the most. So here are the two most common builds for Vlad. These are following the 9/0/21 (Utility) and 9/21/0 (Defense) builds respectively. I'll show all the benefits next to each other and then talk about them more in a second. We see that we get:
Increased speed for Ghost
4% health regeneration
10% decreased death time
5% more experience
30% more time with creep buffs
1 gold per ten seconds
3% base movement speed increase
6% reduced cooldowns
15% reduced summoner spell cooldowns
6 Magic Resist
10% increased movement after dodging for 5 seconds
1.5 blocked damage
60 extra health
4% attack speed and AP at level 18
4% reduction to all damage
Okay, so lets look at these both, and keep in mind this is for the purpose of seeing what is best for an experienced Vlad player so if I sound against the Utility tree in general, I apologize. For Utility we have the Ghost buff which is a good choice for any caster, helps catch running enemies, and get in and out of fight quick. No problem there. 10% death time, I really don't think this benefits Vlad too much because he has such good survivability, you should not be dieing much. The 4% health regeneration is nice, it's too bad that has mana on it also, but what are you gonna do? 5% experience is nice, but its not going to make you out level the other people your in the lane with so much that it makes you super powerful. So, it's nice but not game changing in my book. 30% more time on creep buffs, it's nice but really, there are better characters to give them to. The only time I would get them is if no one is jungleing. However, it's very nice having Blue Rune on Vlad, so for that it's great and when you have the opportunity to get Red, it's very nice to have the slow effect. So given the right circumstance, it is definitely a good talent. It's not even worth talking about the gold per ten seconds really because every minute you will have 6 more gold then everyone else, woopie. I actually quite like the 3% movement talent, makes it just a little bit easier to harass people because your just that little bit faster. 6% CD reduction is great on Vlad, especially early game. 15% less time on summoner spells is nice since they are all pretty long, not a huge benefit, and there are better things to get, but it's nice to have.
Now on to the defense tree. We have 6 magic resist, this is most noticeable in early game and 6 armor, both are nice since you will always take that little bit less damage in the laning faze. 2% dodge is not that great, but if you get a lucky dodge, it can definitely save your life. 10% increase to movement on a dodge is what makes it really nice, if you are lucky, it will save your life or help you get that last hit to kill the other champion. 1.5 blocked damage is pretty much like having 1.5 more armor and magic resist, can't go wrong with that. You could put one more point into that talent instead of the movement on dodge, but I just like those random times when it procs right when you need it. 60 extra health is a great one for Vlad, why? Because it basically the same as 2 health Quintessence! Don't forget that it also goes into your passive, it's only 2.4 AP but it's better then other champs will get from it. 4% attack speed and AP at level 18. This one is godlike in my opinion, once you hit 18 and have your Deathcap, you have a 34% increase to your AP! It may not be much, but lets just say you have 1000 AP late game, (trust me, it's possible now.) that extra 4% is 40 AP or two Amplifying Tomes. Pretty awesome to have two free items. Finally we have 4% reduction to ALL damage. This is also just great, every time you get hit by anything, you will take 4% less damage then anyone else. All of these things combined makes it so you can be VERY aggressive, even by level 3 sometimes, and still come out on top because of all the defense you have. This is the reason you can build all AP and still be safe.
Let me just tell you what made me personally switch from Utility to Defense. I was laning against another Vlad, and when we were both ready to start killing each other, we would both stick in there but I would ALWAYS leave him alive with just a little health left. After getting destroyed by this guy the entire game, I looked at his build to see what in the world he was doing. This Defense build was it. I have done it ever since and love it! Now I do the same thing to Vlad players who build like I used to.
So there it is, you can decide for yourself whether or not to build this way, but I have not found a reason not to. I know I sounded against Utility, but I have good reason and results to back up why. Combine this and my good real life buddy Hugenjpana's Kennen guide and it's just nasty. Try it out and see for yourself!
Now the items, also a big separator from successful builds to not so good builds. There are two basic "core" builds I use most of the time and two that are great, but not always my play style. The main build above is the one I use the majority of the time, but items beyond your three "core" items should ALWAYS be flexible. I never use one build all the time every time and you shouldn't either. So lets get into some options.
Most often I use: or
You can also use: or
Many people prefer to get because of Vlad's ability to AoE everything, you end up getting a lot of assists if you do it right. The second option when I get is when we have more stuns and disables in the team and I don't have to worry about getting focused as much, so I get raw power instead.
The second two options are more defensive, don't do quite as much damage, but are still potent. I really think is made for Vlad, the stats are just so nice for him, the only problem with it is it is not an endgame item really and most times I'll end up replacing it. is also a great alternative, it makes you gain health when using Tides of Blood if you hit a lot of units or heroes and is a more endgame item even though it's pretty cheap. I usually do these builds if I think I'm going to get focused and need more vamp or survivability and have a hard time keeping stacks on Mejai's. We all have those games... There is always a big debate on whether spell vamp is a "make or break" for Vlad. I find that is does make a difference, but not an overly huge one. It will definitely make you harder to get down, but you will sacrifice some overall damage. I tend to go more towards the hard AP, but I really could go either way in some cases. I'll let you decide for yourself.
If the apposing team has a lot of stuns/disables, you should consider changing or for . Trust me, getting permanently stunned is never fun so use them if it would be beneficial. You can use other boots if you want to, but I find these two options are fine for pretty much any situation.
Now the last three of your items are the situational ones, you can go:
If you went Deathcap first:
If the team is more AP heavy:
Or even attack damage heavy with resistance:
If I could choose the perfect build for me it would be:
It would be rare to get to this point, but you would be a wrecking ball and could survive almost anything if all your cool downs are up. I would MAYBE sell the Spirit Visage if the game went really long and I had enough gold to sell it and buy another Deathcap.
There are MANY ways to build the last three, and I honestly prefer to NOT get an armor item, but most of the time the other team will start to focus you because you can tear them apart and it becomes necessary in most games. The main idea is to just look at what the other team is doing and act accordingly while still getting items that suit Vlad and his passive if possible.
If you are playing ranked games or even just high ELO normal matches, or just plain hate Mejai's I would go with something like this:
Then late game replace the Haunting Guise with or
As with any game, you have to tailor your build to the opposing team, this is just an idea. Sometimes you will need to get some sort of armor or a different sixth item or whatever the situation calls for. This way you don't have to worry about having a target above your head because you have a "snowball" item.
EDIT 1/23/11: I have recently been testing this build more in normal games to see the effectiveness of it and I have to say, I love the results! I'm sure it will help just as much in ranked as it will in normal games. Basically what it allows you to do is replace, so to speak, Sorcerer's Shoes in favor of more constant speed. Because of that, it makes it very easy to catch up to people that need that last Transfusion or what ever it is. I HIGHLY recommend giving this a try, I may even change my default item set to this after testing a bit more.
EDIT 1/16/11: I decided to see why some people are so adamant about getting spell vamp; so I did some testing with and , and I have to say, I can see a little more benefit with them then I did before. Thanks to Rewindd for saying this until a couple of us Vlad players actually tested it. :)
with ~765 AP and 4 stacks of Tides of Blood gives you heals of 400+.
with ~870 AP and 4 stacks gives heals of 600+!
That's around 20% of your max health because by then you have somewhere around 3700 HP, and that isn't even including the fact that it is spell vamp so your Pool and Tides will also heal you more. So it's definitely something to consider trying at least. I'm going to change my current main item setup for this and make the alternates include the armors instead because of this. Now the difference is some health, cool down, and magic resist, (Spirit Visage) or; AP and spell vamp (WotA). So it's up to you which you want to use, but I find WotA to be a little more end game. And if you still don't want to use it, it's all fine. Items are very personal preference in my view, at least in some cases.
I'm not going to talk about this one as much. The reason being it is pretty basic why I do it this way.
Having all three spells by level three is good to have for the combination of damage, healing, and escape. In certain cases, you can focus on Transfusion and Tides of Blood if your not worried about needing to escape as early. Most of the time, I follow the sequence above.
Now, why focus on Tides and Pool at the same time? Simple really, lots of people get one or the other, and I find for me personally it's better to have a balance. You still want to get Transfusion whenever you can so you can max it by level nine, but having Tides right there with it just gives you a much higher damage potential and having a couple levels in Pool also gives you a lot of survival ability, particularly from ganks. You should ONLY use Pool to either escape or if you know you wont get caught with your pants down after you use it. In a 1v1, it is perfect to use when you are trying to kill someone, particularly after you use Tides and Transfusion, then Pool, then use the other two again. In a 2v1 or 2v2, you are more likely to get stun-locked to death when they see you blow your Pool to soon. I'll go into this a bit more in the Skill Rotation section.
Summoner Spells are pretty much the same on most of the top Vlad guides, and most of them have a better description then me, so if you want a look into all of them, I suggest one of the other guides.
I always go:
I get the most benefit from these two, Flash is just amazing all around for tower diving, chasing, and fleeing. Ignite is also very good for cancelling Healing pots and getting that last little bit of damage to kill someone. If they ever get rid of Flash like they say, or if you just don't like it, you can go:
Both ways are great and I think you will find the best results with them, all the other ones are just kinda meh in my opinion.
I'd like to clear up a misconception about Vladimir's passive and what it does, specifically with Sanguine Pool.
The description of Sanguine Pool says: Vladmir deals damage +15% of bonus health in magic damage over the duration and heals himself for 12.5% of that amount. Most of the guides say that his passive does NOT give the bonus damage to Pool and it is only increased by items with bonus health on them. This is a mistake.
His passive says: Every 25 points of bonus health gives Vladimir 1 ability power and every 1 point of ability power gives Vladimir 2 bonus health (does not stack with itself) or an easier way to say it, (does not create an endless loop). Then below that, it will say:
Bonus AP: (#)
Bonus Health: (#)
If you take the number of bonus health and times it by .15, you will get the damage bonus to Sanguine Pool. How do I know that for sure? All you have to do is look at your damage on your Pool, buy an item with only AP on it, and you will see that the bonus damage has increased a bit on Pool. So please don't think that getting AP items is not affecting Pools damage, it just isn't true. Now that being said however, and will give you the MOST increase to damage on your Pool because they are almost purely health. So if you don't want to get Warmogs and want to just get pure AP, which is honestly what I prefer, then don't. You will still get bonus damage on your Pool. Hopefully now we all understand this better now.
Skill Rotation and Laneing
Now for the fights! I'm going to just put basic things I think about and do while laning, and when to go for a kill.
Lots of people will tell you to last hit with Transfusion and while that is a good thing to do, I think you are much better off last hitting minions with your auto attack. It can be hard to do this at level one, so feel free to use it then, every level after that it gets easier since you are doing more damage. Also don't be afraid to use your Tides of Blood to last hit, 30-45 health is not that big a deal, just don't over use it and make sure you Transfuse to heal yourself in between uses. Saying, "Don't use Tides because it hurts!" is almost like telling a Mundo not to throw his cleaver. As long as your smart with it, you will be fine. Now, you want to harass your enemy with a combo of Tides and Transfusion to weaken them enough to go for the kill around level 6-8, earlier if you have a good jungler. You want to get used to last hitting when you can, and using Transfusion with Tides to damage them when they get into your range just a little to far. Try to keep yourself just out of their range and yours so that when they make a step forward, you can jump on them with a Transfusion, Tides, or both if they really come at you or are not paying attention. Basically just capitalize on their mistakes.
In a 2v1 (which if you have a jungler, you should always take because Vlad excels at it), you want to play more defensive. The easiest way is to NOT attack minions until you can last hit them, this will keep you closer to your tower and out of danger from the fight turning into a 3v1 if they have a jungler. The good thing is they will be more aggressive so you can sometimes have a lot of openings to weaken them. Target the one that has the least ability to heal themselves because they will die the easiest. This is also why you want to save Pool like I said in the earlier section. If they have a stun like Taric or Sion, use your Pool to avoid it, if your good, you will never get hit as long as you stay back and wait for your cool down to be back up. Doing this has saved me countless times from a combo like this.
Now the Rotation you want to use is:
When you come back up, you want to be just in range for another and to finish them off. And don't forget to them.
For this to work the best, you want to have them at half health or so and discretely get 2-3 stacks of so that when you go for the kill, it's already stacked enough to really do some damage. Then you either jump in with Flash to surprise them, or pop Ghost and go through the above rotation and watch as their health disappears.
Always, always remember to think about how much damage it will take to kill them, if their summoner spells will affect the fight, if you can cause enough damage to kill them, and finally if you have your summoner spells and the health to survive the fight. A lot of this takes practice to know, but you will get the feel for it after a while.
If they are at their tower, this is the best time to kill them with Vlad. He is uniquely good at it because his Pool will make the tower focus minions if they are near enough. So, just make sure that your minions are close enough before you go in, then once you Pool, it wont focus you again unless you need to attack the other champion more to kill them. If you know once your ultimate hits it will kill them, just run back and laugh in safety.
If your low health after that, just go back and heal, it's better to do that then get your kill wasted because someone tower dives you right back. Unless you know for a fact that all other champions are visible, then you can just use to heal up.
Once the team fighting starts, you will want to change your rotation and how to approach the fight only slightly.
You still want your basic rotation to be the same, but make sure if you go in first to use , you will want to have up to get out safe so you are not the one farthest into the other teams range. Ideally you will want to follow close behind your tank so you don't have to be quite as worried. Typically, your teams will hit the person closest to them, and even though Vlad is more sturdy, you still don't want to be in there getting stun locked down because you didn't get out far enough. Once you do get a little safer distance from the enemy team, you can turn back and pick off people with and . Just don't run really far away from the fight unless it is over. I can't tell you how many times there have been 2-3 really weak champions and the last person ran way to far away to catch them in time or even ported back to heal when they could have got a double or triple kill. Just remember to not use Tides too much or you just might kill yourself or at least make you so low you will be a big target.
If you follow these basic rules, you will find yourself getting double and triple kills, with a couple assists in there to boot. And if your a user, you could get 8 stacks just in one team fight if everything goes right.
So there we have it. Hopefully I've helped you with your Vlad game and done the Advanced guide justice. I plan on continually updating the guide as things change and as I learn from other guides as well as the community.
Let me know in the comments what you think and if you would like me to add or change anything. I'm planing on maybe adding some screen shots to some points to help and also maybe a video with my friend Hugenjpana since we play this a lot together!