Vel'Koz Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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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.
Hello and welcome to my Vel'Koz guide! I am Tyler "ecco" Spesick and last year I played in the LCS as a mid-player!
At the time of writing this he is the newest champion to join the League of Legends and I was extremely hype about his release. He is a very unique champion as well as a member of the Void family. He is fairly unique and overall fun and satisfying to play. Also, he has a very large skill-cap that will definitely separate the good from the great! Hopefully after reading my guide you will be one of those who are great at him :)
- Long range w/ great sieging potential.
- High AoE damage.
- Spammable Poke.
- True Damage.
- AoE CC.
- Scales incredibly well into late game.
- Insane wave-clear.
- Low mobility/no real escape.
- Overall vulnerable to tanks/burst.
- Doesn't do much when behind.
The composition I have laid out above is pretty well rounded. The one thing that this composition is vulnerable against is very strong engagement as every champion, with the exception of Kha'Zix, don't have an escape. That being the main weakness of the comp, overall it is extremely strong. Great wave-clear, god-tier team-fighting, as well as synergy with ultimates.
The main thing with Vel'Koz is that is you want a team composition that scales well and also has things to set up your ultimate. Both Nami and Rumble can set up your ultimate extremely well and if Jarvan IV was still popular I'd have him on there as the jungler instead of Kha'Zix. He doesn't do well in early compositions because his base damage is fairly low and is also low mobility which makes it difficult for him to capitalize on mispositioning of enemies and snowball games.
I choose to go a more defensive route of summoners on Vel'Koz. I do this because he is very long range and vulnerable early-game. Both of these cause me to think that taking barrier on him over Ignite is the smarter choice because it will make him much harder to kill in lane, therefore he shouldn't really get behind, enabling him to have a better chance of getting into mid to late game well off. Him being long range doesn't really let him get ignite onto the target he'd like to be bursting most of the time as well so it isn't really a very strong choice on him. Ignite would make his killing potential higher in lane but he isn't a champion who needs to snowball to be effective and it just makes him so vulnerable that it isn't worth the trade-off in my opinion.
|...|| Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
The runes that I run on Vel'Koz are pretty standard for me. I really enjoy taking scaling ability power glyphs on anyone I can get away with it on as they scale /so/ much better than flat mr. There are times though where it will be necessary to run flat mr glyphs though to help you survive through early game in rougher match-ups. Such match-ups could be Fizz, Ahri or LeBlanc. Everything else is pretty non-negotiable. I have tried movement speed quints on him and the drop in strength early game is just too noticeable for it to be worth it.
This is the more modern setup I've been running on my AP mids lately. I decide to go into Strength of Spirit because it is very point effective. It gives you just a little baby's amount of sustain throughout the game since you aren't building any mana items but it is just great compared to something even more minor like .5% movement speed. The points into offense are what I've been running since day 1 of season 4. I don't really see any room for variance there.
Skill SequencePlasma Fission first. It gives you the highest poke and is extremely long range. After struggling with his poor early game (low damage and weak wave clear) I decided to try out Void Rift instead to help him get past his weak early game and get to mid-game safely.
Organic Deconstruction (Passive)
Organic Deconstruction is an awesome passive that adds a good bit of damage to his overall rotation of spells. It is kind of similar to Vayne's Silver Bolts but is done with spells. Also, it takes 7 seconds for the debuff/stacks to fall off of a target but this can either be extended by spells /or/ auto-attacks. Adds an interesting twist and allows you to keep stacks up on melee lane opponents fairly easily.
Other than doing your best to keep stacks up on targets there isn't much depth to this passive. Something to note is that your ultimate connects for the entire length it adds 5 stacks so you only need one other spell to connect to pop your passive twice. This adds a nice chunk of damage that can't be reduced.
Plasma Fission is a very unique ability that scales incredibly well into the late game. Early game it doesn't really do that much because its base damage is fairly low as well as having a decently lengthed cool-down before maxing it out and stacking some cdr. As seen at the beginning of this section, it is maxed second as opposed to first so until mid-game it doesn't provide very much to you.
To go into the more complexities of this ability, let's go over how it actually works. When either reaching max range, when activated again by the user or connecting with a target, it explodes and shoots off horizontally from where the shot came from. This allows you to have projectiles go further than the max range of the spell and also add in some sneaky harass. You can do interesting things like shoot Plasma Fission into the fog of war or even into terrain and explode it, causing projectiles to come in from angles that the opponent won't be expecting it from.
While harassing, whether in lane or sieging, you will tend to find tendencies in your opponent's movements. If you constantly explode the projectile behind the target in attempts to predict them running away, they will learn to step towards the spell instead. When they do this, you can activate the spell earlier to predict where they will be when they are expecting it to be popped later. So, as you can see, there are definitely mind games with this spell that a more advanced and smart player can take advantage of.
Tectonic Disruption is interesting to say the least. It has a very long cool-down until it is ranked up so until late game it will be a one time-use in most team-fights and skirmishes. That means you have to make sure it counts and not use it too early. This is your main set-up into your Void Rifts as well as your ultimate. It is important that this hits when the opportune time presents itself. There isn't a lot of finesse to this ability. It is kind of weird to get used to but once you do, as long as you are predicting their movement properly or comboing it up with a slow or another hard cc you should be good to go.
Life Form Disintegration Ray
Life Form Disintegration Ray is Vel'Koz's staple ability. It's a giant laser that does immense damage in a giant AoE and it can not be blocked (to my knowledge) by anyone or anything. It is best to combo this ability with either your Tectonic Disruption, Plasma Fission or another heavy cc from a teammate but it isn't completely necessary as it does have a 20% slow built in. Careful placing it raw onto a single target who has flash or an ability similar to (such as Arcane Shift) as they can avoid its damage easily and make you look ridiculous.
This is the most standard starting items on an AP champion currently and it only really differs on weirdos like Kassadin. Gives you everything you need in lane.
Lots of stuff here in the core section. On my first back I want to make sure I have at least 880 gold to pick up my Chalice of Harmony and maybe another Doran's Ring if there is a lot of aggression going on in the lane on either side. I then will pick up my Boots of Speed after Chalice because I have no real escape and it allows me to be more fluid and safer in lane. I'll then finish my Athene's Unholy Grail asap. Vel'Koz has very low mana costs so we are mostly getting this for the cdr (more spells -> more damage and also more passive procs). The extra magic resist also helps in the majority of lanes as well.
Following this up, I finish my Sorcerer's Shoes and put Alacrity on them quickly after. In this current meta with so many quick, gap-closers it is vital, in my opinion, to have the increased movement speed of Alacrity on a no-escape champion like Vel'Koz. I then finish out my core damage with Rabadon's Deathcap and a Void Staff to have the strongest mid-game finish possible.
After Core with only one section because it is the only item that is a for sure buy past my core. It is pretty much everything you could ask for on an AP mid who is entering the last game. It turns focus off of me if I'm getting focused/dived, I can avoid burst with it, it gives me 120 ability power as well as armor. Just truly incredible and you can't pass it up on Vel'Koz.
Alright, going into the last item we have some choices. The one that you should be building the most and the one that will be obviously providing the most damage is Liandry's Torment. Three out of four of your spells slow which will double the ticking damage from Liandry's. This ticking damage will help you melt tanks and the extra flat magic penetration will help you crush squishy targets who are reliant on one magic-resist item. Also, let's throw a little bit of health on there too to make it even more perfect.
There are two defensive item choices that you can go as well but I rarely get them compared to Liandry's. The first is Banshee's Veil and it is very situational. Typically I would only get it if I was against a very scary AP assassin mid who has been focusing me every fight and they have another AP on their team like a support Fiddlesticks or an Elise Jungle. If it is just one then Zhonya's Hourglass combined with Barrier should be enough to allow you to survive through a battle. The other choice is Guardian Angel and it is just pretty meh. If they have a full dive wombo-combo team like a Vi, Leona, Yasuo then you could actually be under the threat of getting bursted down and killed off even with proper Hourglass use. GA will force them to put a lot of focus on you for a very long time and maybe even let you get off a few extra spells or survive. Once again, situational but has its time and purpose.
Vel'Koz is /stupid/ safe and can break at least even in any match-up. There are some combos with Junglers though that can be incredibly scary.
Gragas: I actually think this is a favorable match-up for Kha'Zix 1v1 but he can set up ganks like no other. Be very careful about him playing a little bit more forward than usual as if you get knocked back, chances are is that you're dead.
Yasuo: This monster can follow-up on pretty much any gank from any distance and shred you down with his Katana. This is not the guy you want to be getting snowballed so make sure to ward properly and be careful of getting cc'ed against this guy.
Ahri: Ahri doesn't even really necessary need any set-up as she can just outplay you and kill you if you mess up and get charmed. Play this lane safe and farm it out as you should have no kill potential here.
Lee Sin: Guy is a mobile monster who can gank from pretty much anywhere and if he connects with you he is going to either force your flash, kill you or both. Be careful.
Vi: Having your jungler help get forward, aggressive wards against her is necessary to play your lane without your tail between your legs because of the amount of burst and snowballing potential she presents.
Pantheon: I hate this guy. He can drop from anywhere and when combined with one of the mids above will most likely kill you if you are overextended and your jungler isn't nearby. It's best to play safe when this guy has his ult up and he's not on the map.
|...||I've gone over laning a decent amount throughout this guide but I'll summarize it all here again. Overall, Vel'Koz's laning is safe and you have a lot of room to harass and feel the lane out. You do need to make sure you are staying up on your warding at all times as you are very vulnerable to jungle ganks overall. With the kind of junglers that are popular right now you can easily get punished for being aggressive at the wrong time so /please/ make sure to always be safely warded at all times while being aggressive. If you don't have any wards up and you don't see where the jungler is then it is best to stay back and just farm the lane out until you do.
Overall, you'll be spamming Void Rift all the time to clear out the wave and shove it. Hitting your lane opponent is an added bonus and you can maybe chain it to pop a passive proc on him in conjunction with Plasma Fission and some auto-attacks if needed to extend the time available to you. Be /very/ careful about using Tectonic Disruption aggressively. If you use this ability and you get ganked, you should die. Only use it aggressively when it is safe to.
You're pretty terrible at roaming since you are slow and if you get caught inbetween lanes you're gonna die. Stick to your lane, farm jungle if you're unable to be aggressive and in lane and just overall default to farming if you're not sure what to do. You can always follow your lane (if you deem it safe to!) to countergank as you are fantastic at these due to your long range and good amount of cc.
|Going into mid-game, you should have your Sorcerer's Shoes - Alacrity completed as well as your Athene's Unholy Grail. You excel at team-fighting and sieging so that is what your team should be doing; forcing things as a team. When you are, make sure that you are positioning yourself very carefully. If you put yourself in a position to get cc'ed you can just pop like the little eyeball you are and cost your team the fight and even the game. Stay on the edges, harass with Void Rift and Plasma Fission and mostly save your Tectonic Disruption to either peel for you or your adc or follow-up with another cc.
For fights, you should be dancing around the edges spamming Void Rift and Plasma Fissure while, once again, waiting for the right time to use your Life Form Disintegration Ray and Tectonic Disruption. Using them too early can result in you and your teammate's death as well as a lack of optimization of your damage. Remember that your laser goes through everything and has almost a billion range. Use it when the right time presents itself. No sooner. No later.
|...||Once late game hits you are a god. Vel'Koz scales /so/ incredibly well into the late-game that it is laughable how much damage you put out. Your harass is now incredibly strong, Tectonic Disruption is a decently low-cooldown relative to what is before and your laser can single handidly win games. The biggest thing I can stress about late-game is that now more than ever positioning is important as well as your usage of your Zhonya's Hourglass. As your damage scales, so does the opposing team's so if you get caught and bursted, chances are is that you will get one-shot. Make sure to avoid focus and burst with Zhonya's and that you are using it in a position where your team can defend you when you get out of it. If you are too far ahead and get caught then Zhonya's won't help because you'll just die when it ends anyway.|