Hi! I’m Aqua Dragon. I ended Season 4 at Master 1 and I play Support Vel'koz, and am also the co-creator of www.bestbans.com .
I also play: then make guides on them!
Keep in mind this is not meant to be an exhaustive guide. It is meant to outline the basic principle, items, runes, and playstyle of Support Vel'koz. As such, I won't be delving into why certain customization choices were made. However, my hope is that I will have explained Support Vel'koz enough that my rationale will be a self-evident extension, and to also allow you to make personal customizations as well.
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Pros and Cons
- Powerful, constant lane poke
- Incredible mana sustain while laning
- Extreme kiting power and self-peel
- Always relevant damage
- Difficulties against gap-closing supports
- Immensely fragile
- Few power spikes
- Lesser peeling power for the ADC
What is Support Vel'koz?
Do not Stare Into Beam
Support Vel'koz is more popular than its intended mid-lane purpose, meaning it doesn't require too much introduction. Because Vel'koz gains ranged true damage from the passive, their damage easily remains relevant regardless of the resistances enemies build.
This true damage lends itself well into the support role. True damage allows Vel'koz to buy relatively cheap CDR early to maximize damage output before transitioning into heavier raw AP later into the game.
This also puts Vel'koz in support role that they largely occupy alone: a sustained damage backline support. Vel'koz is different from the likes of other AP supports like Annie and Fiddlesticks, who prefer throwing the AP out at mid-close range and in a huge burst instead. This also means Vel'koz never really does huge instant damage nor has many meaningful power spikes. In return, their damage will at least always matter, even if it's not an instant KO kind of mattering.
However, due to lacking AP, it's necessary to hit with more spells instead of harder spells. Needing more spells makes reaching the 40% CDR quite crucial for Vel'koz and marks one of the only real power spike they get, but they also need to rush damage ASAP as well. Because of this, the runes and masteries attempt to make up whopping 20% of the CDR, allowing for much faster itemization into the heavy AP items
Eye See Death
Vel'koz likes having time before fights. They want time to shoot at enemies and whittle away instead of going too close to the fray except to clean up. In teamfights, Vel'koz wants to stay as far as possible and focus on blasting opponents instead of worrying about survival. However, because Vel'koz lacks dashes, it's necessary to get faster movement speed to kite most opponents forever.
Support Vel'koz also has relatively low mana costs except in the early game. This means Vel'koz doesn't need a huge mana item to retain potency, though it's still necessary to have at least some early mana regen to help until reaching infinite ability spam from a far enough distance that getting hit is impossible.
Finally, Vel'koz rarely dies from being whittled down or barely escaping. The nature of being so fragile makes Vel'koz' deaths largely all or nothing, making most defensive stats wasted.
All of these strengths are what lead us to this guide's setup.
- Cheap magic pen and mobility
- Minimizing the gold necessary to reach 45% CDR.
- Preferring options for sustained damage over burst damage
- Avoiding close-range options (Exhaust, Ignite, Frostqueen, etc.)
- Avoiding raw survivability tech such as armor, health, or HP pots
- Extreme emphasis on movement speed and additional team utility
- Early mana for lane spamming
Ghost seems like an odd choice to have on Support Vel'koz, but makes more sense when you consider the previous analysis.
Vel'koz is generally very far from fights. This makes close-range spells like ignite and exhaust fairly ineffective. As the game goes on, Vel'koz begins having trouble being close enough to use the summoner spells optimally.
Heal would seem like the next best choice, but it suffers in utility from Vel'koz' fragility. Because Vel'koz dies in a very all-or-nothing way, Heal becomes useless for surviving against bursty gap-closers. This means Heal would be mostly for teammates, but that forces Vel'koz into suboptimal positioning to stay in range to actually use Heal at all.
On the other hand, Ghost amplifies Vel'koz' kiting power to absurd levels and provides indirect utility by being able to reach teamfights or teammates more quickly. It doesn't have as much utility during the laning phase, but this is made up by Vel'koz' safety-by-distance approach to harass, which requires no trading. It does make the laning phase more unforgiving, but Vel'koz is an unforgiving champion in the first place.
The Scientific Process
Taking note of all the points mentioned, we can create a good all-situation build order for Vel'koz.
One thing to note: you'll notice that your core items and masteries (Intelligence, Fiendish Codex, Frost Queen's Claim) make up 25% of your CDR, but the runes scale up to 25% CDR instead of only 20%. This is intentional. You want to hit the 45% CDR cap around the mid game when you're level 11 instead of waiting the entire forty minutes to reach 45% through exact scaling. This means you have a little waste in your runes, but this is an acceptable tradeoff for the power it provides. 45% is just so important to hit, yet you want to avoid committing too much gold into lower-damage CDR items. This is the best compromise.
Continue by getting
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You may notice that you never upgrade the second Fiendish Codex. This is intentional. More than AP, Vel'koz wants CDR as cheaply as possible, which Codex does perfectly. Codex's upgrades (like Morellonomicon) are excessive for that purpose. This does mean that Codex takes up a slot for a large portion of the mid and late game, but it's rare to even reach the point where slot efficiency even becomes relevant. Codex is essentially a "complete item" for Vel'koz.
If you somehow manage to get fed enough to finish the cores, build the following in any order.
Be careful about deciding to build Rabadons, Void Staff or Ludens. Building either one will consume the final slot in the inventory, preventing room for pink wards. You may want to consider upgrading the Fiendish Codex instead. Alternatively, you can make room for another slot by selling Frost Queen's Claim and turning Sightstone into an Eye of the Watchers. Also note that while Void Staff has better damage efficiency than Rabadons, that Rabadons still has the superior raw damage value. Choose base on the necessary immediacy of power.
Stage of the Game
In the early game, your goals are to
- Ping enemies away from minions with Plasma Fission
- Avoid the other spells unless something can be secured
- Keep the area thoroughly warded
With an early Frostfang, you're able to almost indefinitely spam Plasma Fission. However, don't just shoot wildly. Aim with purpose. Every shot, ask yourself: did I stop their ADC from reaching a minion? Did I force another potion? Did I push back their support?
You absolutely should not be getting hit. Vel'koz easily has the most range out of any standard support, meaning damage is completely avoidable. Be aggressive with poking, but never take a hit to get off a hit. Make the lane as one-sided as possible.
Remember that if you press Q again while Plasma Fission is in mid-air, it will split early.
Your kill potential pre-6 isn't terribly massive. Try to avoid being overtly aggressive until then. That means saving tectonic disruption instead of trying to hit the enemies with it.
Avoid using Void Rift. Your mana regeneration can only barely regenerate the mana drain of Plasma Fission, so adding Void Rift on top of that will get you oom quickly. You should largely use it only when helping clear waves or when the enemies have committed to a fight.
Once you have your ult, you can almost one-shot squishy laners. This is the time when you can be very forward about landing Tectonic Disruption and combo'ing your other spells for an easy kill. If you notice incoming help, use Ghost to aggressively position for Tectonic Disruption, though be mindful of incoming CC.
As the laning phase ends, you will start roaming more and helping around
- Continue maintaining strong vision control of the map
- Try to be near areas of potential conflict to ult enemies down
- Use Ghost to kite and chase better during teamfights
- Chase down lonely opponents and kill them
Your role before fights remains straightforward. Your mana regen is also now sufficient to spam wildly. Don't intentionally miss, but it's often sufficient to just present the threat of Plasma Fission even if you don't hit it.
When enemies get closer, get yourself farther. Try to stay close to the tip of your spell's range and make sure the areas around you are warded well.
Don't be afraid to use Ghost to arrive to fights several seconds earlier. It's on an impressively short cooldown, so be liberal with its various uses.
Keep an eye on your ADC and see if you can help them out against melee enemies by using Tectonic Disruption.
Your ult is on a relatively short cooldown. Don't feel afraid to use it to gain even small advantages.
The role remains largely similar
- Less vision at this stage makes warding tough. Be cautious.
- With its low cooldown, you should have Ghost ready for every teamfight.
- Prioritize protecting the ADC over throwing out damage
Though you do impressive damage, so does your ADC. The difference is that they are more fragile. If they need some protection, give them some peel while throwing the longer-range spells into teamfights.
Try to save your ult until the enemies have gotten busy with the rest of your team. Using it much earlier will almost certainly ensure its interruption.
This guide was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you all have learned everything you would have liked. If you have any questions, leave a comment or drop a line over at twitch.tv/aquadragon33 ! And be sure to check out www.bestbans.com !
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