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.
This is the build I have been using as Vladimir, and it has seriously helped boost my ELO. With this build, early laning should be a breeze and it also allows for good carrying in the late game if your team is somewhat weak (ELO Hell)...
The runes I use seem sort of self explainatory, but for those of you who may be somewhat skeptical, I'll elaborate on why I use them.
For my marks, I use Greater Marks of Insight. This gives me 10 magic penetration right from the start. This is extremely useful early game since it cuts right through whatever innate magic resist the people you may be laning against would have. Later in the game this stacks with your sorceror's shoes and the aura from abyssal scepter to cut down enemy magic resist by 50. This should be more than enough to tear through the squishier character on their team, as well as allowing you to do more effective damage to tanks after disposing of their carries. This coupled with the 15% magic penetration masteries provides effective damage throughout the game.
My Seals and Quintessences are focused in health. I do this because of Vladimir's killer passive. Not only does this give him a significant bonus early for health and longevity (which mean laning longer without needing to return to base) but it also converts into ability power, which means even more damage. The health Quints are great since they are effectively like having 15 additional health seals (with all three of them). The seals are nice for the extra health, but it would not be unreasonable to get them in armor or dodge since both are useful throughout the game as well.
For my Glyphs I use flat cooldown reduction. I go with the flat CD reduction due to how weak the per level runes are (only overtaking the flat equivalent at level 13). The key to the cooldown reduction is to be able to spam your Q (Transfusion). The 9 Glyphs of Focus as well as masteries provide you with about 15% CD reduction without items. This is enough throughout the game. By level 9, the cooldown on your Q with the CD reduction is a little over 1 second. By this point you can spam it at any point you are low on health to heal up without needing to retreat to base.
For masteries I use 9 Offensive and 21 Utility. The main purpose is to receive the magic penetration and the cooldown reduction. In offense, the small bonus to AP I receive as well as the buff to my Exhaust spell are nice bonuses, but are not very effective ultimately. The Masteries I take in the Utility tree are more purposeful. The reduced time dead is always a nice plus, but the 4% increased healing is a nice plus. The increased XP gain is a major bonus since getting to level 9 to max out your Q in early game is a must. The third level masteries in Utility are not very necessary, but due to the requirements, those are the masteries I chose. Although I never jungle, should you find yourself in possession of a buff from slaying an opponent, the increased duration is a plus. I personally dislike the Greed mastery as it provides almost nothin in terms of gold, but I can't find a better use for that point, so there it stays. The bonus cooldown I mentioned earlier is a major bonus, and the increased movespeed is good for escaping gank attempts. The final point in Utility is also open to interpretation, but since it allows you to use ghost and exhaust more often, it can make the difference between a kill or a death.
The Item build I use for Vladimir should be pretty standard for an AP character, with a few adjustments.
Starting with an Amplifying Tome is nice for the increased harass power, healing (from Q), and the health through your passive. Due to the long cooldown of Transfusion at low levels, a health potion can help make up for health lost due to harassment. I like to rush a spell vamp item for this reason. With the spell vamp, not only does your Transfusion heal you innately, but it now grants extra healing through the spell vamp. This will also help counter the health costs associated with Tides of Blood. Overall, spell vamp is very good for Vladimir. Sometimes I do vary between the Will of the Ancients and a Hextech Gunblade. The Gunblade is an excellent item since it also gives you a nice active, attack damage and lifesteal, with only 5 less AP. The downside is that it is more expensive and doesn't have the beneficial aura for allies. That is why I lean towards the will of the ancients.
My second item is Sorceror's Shoes for the magic penetration as I discussed in the rune section.
Third is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. The health and the AP are the perfect combination of attributes for Vladimir, and its passive is excellent for slowing when ganking (Even if it only slows by 15% with Transfusion).
After that is just a Deathcap for the AP (and it is very nice since the bonus AP you get from your passive gets buffed and the buffed AP gets converted back into health, so it gives a bunch of bonus health as well). And a Abyssal Scepter for Magic Pen (effectively) as Discussed in the Rune section.
If it gets this far into a game, a Zhonya's Hourglass is very nice. If you are doing well, you will likely get focused alot. Zhonya's along with your bloodpool give you two opportunities to be untargetable, which greatly increases your longevity. For this reason you might think to get this earlier, which would not be a bad decision, I simply prefer to get my damage up first.
If you max out your build, you might try to replace items with Deathcaps (or a Mejai's Soulstealer if you are doing well) to get even more damage, but at this point, elixirs are extremely beneficial. Elixir of Brilliance is excellent for its AP increase and cooldown reduction, which helps you lay waste to the other team even faster.
If you have read the previous chapters, you will probably have a feel for the importance of each of your skills. Transfusion is your best ability due to its short cooldown, massive damage, and excellent heal, so it must be maxed first.
Second I get Sanguine Pool for the escapability, which can be crucial when laning mid. This ability makes ganking you extremely difficult, which allows you to push a lane very hard with little fear of getting ganked. Aside from one rank in Sanguine Pool, I prefer not to level it till the end, since its damage does not stack with AP, and that is how I build Vladimir.
The next skill to max is Tides of Blood. This spell is truely amazing. It has unlimited targets, improves your healing (from regen, spell vamp, lifesteal, and Transfusion) and it will reveal stealthed units (kind of). Use it to clear large waves of minions (at 4 stacks it can kill an entire wave with one cast. If cast near a stealthed unit (twitch, teemo shroom, ward, or even a non-stealthed unit in a nearby bush) you can see blood arc to that target, despite being unaware of its existence. This is great for checking baron and dragon for wards before attempting them. The utility to that effect is limitless. Another good idea when ganking is to prime 4 stacks of tides of blood before attempting the gank. This causes it to deal extra damage so that you might take down your target faster.
Finally, your ultimate, Hemoplague. Obviously level this whenever possible. The increased damage dealt to units afflicted is amazing. When 1v1 it can mean the difference between a kill and dying, and even if you do die it can still result in a kill due to its delayed damage. In team fights try to hit as many enemy champions as possible for the fullest effect. This spell in combination with any decent AOE damage (Ryze's ult or Brand) can ruin any team.
In early laning, Transfuse is your best friend. You can use it on minions to heal if being harassed hard, and you can use it on champions when the move in to harass you. This often results in you coming out on top since after the mutual harass, you heal from the second part of the spell.
If you are pushing hard and they attempt to gank you, it is a good idea to try to pull of a Transfusion followed by a Sanguine Pool for retreat. The Sanguine Pool is excellent for this as it will slow any enemies you go under, and makes you untargetable with a very slight speed boost. When you come out of the Pool, you should be able to do another Transfusion whilst running, to improve your likelihood of survival. If you feel you really need it, be sure to pop ghost before entering the Sanguine Pool, since it cannot be activated during the spell.
When going for a kill, the best spell combo is as follows:
Tides of Blood, Transfusion, Sanguine Pool, Transfusion, Tides of Blood, Transfusion
That is likely enough to kill any champ, but repeat the combination of Tides of Blood and Transfusion till you get the kill. If deemed necessary, use your ultimate before that combination for faster kill or multiple targets. Hemoplague followed by a Tides of Blood (with as many stacks as possible) is a devastating combo against their whole team. Follow it up with a Sanguine Pool for more damage and the slow can help your team win that fight with ease. After the Pool, a second Tides of Blood will deal even more AOE damage, and Transfusion can help you pick of single targets throughout.
After you reach level 9 and max out the Transfusion spell, you seldom have to return to base. If you find yourself low on health, farm a minion wave with Transfusion or go to the jungle and do the same. The spell plus the spell vamp should place you at acceptable levels of health quickly.
I chose Ghost and Exhaust as my summoner spells for their utility.
Ghost, as I mentioned earlier, is excellent to prevent yourself from being ganked but also finds uses throughout (such as finishing kills or rushing to a team fight).
Exhaust can turn the tides of battle in a 1v1 or 1v2, and should be used accordingly. It also finds use if a target tries to run, due to its slowing ability.
In ranked play, this build can be extremely useful for low ELO games, as it allows you to carry a team extremely effectively. Hemoplague is an extreme advantage in team fights. Even if you have some poor players on your team, the increased damage due to Hemoplague can make up for their lack of ability. Higher ELOs might be more effective at countering Vladimir with well timed Ignites and Exhausts, and better focus on him during team fights, since this build does not result in an extreme amount of survivability.
Pros and Cons
-Easy Laning Phase
-Lots of Damage
-Easy to Carry with
-Characters with innate healing debuffs (Katarina, Miss Fortune, Gangplank) are hard to lane against
-Less effective in higher ELO ranked games