Vladimir Build Guide by Stuffnpuff
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.
Hey, my name is Stuffnpuff and this is my first guide. I chose to do a guid on Vladimir because he is one of my favorite champs and he is the only champ that I can consistently play and still have fun with. His abilities give him an incredible amount of sustain and poke and can be very frustrating to lane against. I see very few people play Vladimir and I think that is because he is underrated and many players have trouble understanding how to play a competitive Vladimir and I hope that with this guide, I can help fix that problem.
Pros / Cons
So let's start off with the good things
1) He has great sustain with his Q
2) He is naturally tanky thanks to his passive
3) Late game he dominates.
4) Great at initiating team fights
5) does very good damage in team fights
6) Very good at farming with his E
7) Also good at kiting
The bad things
1) Squishy early game
2) His escape is not very great
3) Although he is ranged, it is very short
4) His abilities cost health
5) Easy to gank
Let's go over the basics
(FYI Vladimir's Q and E have the same range as his auto attack)
Transfusion (Q) - This is your saving grace. You will spend most of your time playing vlad clicking the Q key. It does a massive amount of damage for such a short CD and it does a very good job of healing Vladimir throughout the game. What I mean to say is, even late game, when you have around 3k health, it will still heal you for a very nice chunk of health making you able to last very long in lane.
Sanguine Pool (W) - THIS SKILL IS NOT USED FOR DAMAGE. Vladimir's W is used exclusively for dodging spells, escaping, or initiating. You probably have some questions about how this skill works when reacting with enemy skills so allow me to explain. Things such as ignite or poisons or any DOTs will still hurt you when using this ability. If you are snared, YOUR W WILL NOT BREAK THE SNARE. However, when snared you can still use it to avoid taking any other damage which is nice. Also, spells like Fiddlestick's Drain will still work when you are in pool form so do not pool in these situations or you will lose 20% health on top of whatever damage the enemy champion does.
Tides of Blood (E) - Tides of blood is your second most used skill. It is excellent for farming and doing damage to enemy champions. As you can see it can stack up to four times. Each stack makes it cost more health to use but does more damage. Be careful using this spell early game, as i mentioned before, Vladimir is squishy early game and if you make yourself weak due to overusing your E, you will have a tough time in lane. I like to use it on my way back to lane after I back so that by the time I get back to lane, I already have four stacks and can easily clear any minion waves.
Hemoplague (R) - Vladimir's ult is very powerful. It is excellent for team fights but can also be used for 1v1s and any time an enemy champ with low health is escaping and is out of range of your Q and E. I will explain how to effectively use this in team fights later on in the guide. Just always know to use it before any type of fighting due to the 12% increased damage intake.
You should poke with your Q as much as possible. It cost nothing while doing decent damage and healing yourself. The best way to do damage with Vladimir is to get in range with your Q and as soon as you use your Q, follow it with your E and then run away. If you play it right, you should be able to get your E off before the Q's animation gets back to Vladimir and heals him so that you do not lose any health in the process of using your E. Do this technique a couple of times until the enemy has low health. When you think you are ready to go in for a kill, you have to act fast. You should flash in, drop your ult, use your Q and E and then go into pool form. Once in pool form you can judge whether or not you need to get out or you can stay in. Keep in mind the burst damage at the end of the ult and the 12% increased damage they are taking while it is active. If you think you can finish them, sit under them with your pool as it does some damage which will help and when you come out of pool simply spam your Q and E until they are dead
For flash/ignite initiate - Flash > R > Ignite > Q > E > W > stay in/get out > Q and E until dead
For initiating without flash - Get close > R > Ignite > Q > E > W > stay in/get out > Q and E until dead
When in lane with vlad, play it safe in early game. His Q gives him the ability to push early if you want to, but Vladimir has a horrible time of escaping when jung comes to gank. Always have river warded and never get caught by jungle. For this reason always try and save your flash for escapes in early game, you'll most likely need them.
If you are being pushed early game, ask your jungler to come help. Vladimir's E does a poor job of clearing minions in early game and sometimes you may get pushed under turret. just keep the poke on the enemy champ so he doesn't dive. If he does dive, use your Q and E and ult then let him hit you so the turret targets him, and then use your W. Even if they still kill you, this will usually result in a kill for you as well.
Farming is easy with Vladimir. When walking back to lane, start building your E stacks so you have four stacks by the time you reach the enemy minions. Early game, use your E sparingly until you get more health. This means you will be forced to be doing a lot of auto attacking which can get annoying especially with Vladimir's awful base damage. The best early game strategy that I've found works for me is to AA to kill minions and use my Q anytime the enemy champion comes within range. I also use my Q to secure the big minion kills. Late game you will be able to clear waves of minions with ease. This is very useful for when you are being pushed and need to quickly clear waves of minions under turret.
Vladimir is good to have on any team. He has great initiation and when fed can single-handily hold a turret in a 1v5 situation (His E, ult, and W are very intimidating). A very good tactic for initiating is to get "caught." After any enemy champion lands a snare on you or some sort of initiating spell, the rest of the team will usually dive on you, and if they are extremely bad, will burn multiple ults. This is a perfect time to pop your ult and your W. With the whole team sitting in your lap, it makes it very easy to hit the majority of the enemy team with your ult which causes them to take an additional 12% damage while they are affected and then pops at the end to do additional damage. After you drop your ult, simply use your W and sit under the team. This leaves the enemy team with two options. They can either A) refocus to another target which good teams should do or B) wait for you to come out of pool form which happens more often than you would think. Still do not fret, fore you have hopefully followed my guide and built a zhonyas. Once out of pool form, spam your Q and E like always, Vladimir can take huge chunks of health out of the enemy APC or ADC so focus them with your Q if you can. once you notice your health start to get low pop your zhonyas. See Vladimir's true power comes from being able to get the whole team to focus on him. His W is extremely annoying and it usually enrages the other team, making you a huge target, but you have a zhonyas which they always seem to forget about. In many team fights I die with Vladimir, but I'll sacrifice myself for an Ace every time.
Play it safe until you get your Hextech Revolver. Like I said before, Vladimir's early game is not great. The real fun begins when you get your Will of the Ancients. You will notice a huge difference in your damage immediately after buying it. Also, a Zhonyas is necessary. Most of the time in top lane you will be forced to lane against AD champs so it is good to have and it is also necessary if you want to play Vladimir to his full potential and make good plays. His W with a Zhonyas can keep Vladimir alive in team fights for ridiculous amounts of time even when he is being focused.
Vladimir's main counter is Tryndamere. Good Trynds seem to be able to keep up with Vladimirs sustain. Early game Tryndameres can do a lot of damage to squishy Vladimirs and Trynd's ult also lasts longer than Vladimir's W. This is bad news because if you have low health and are being pushed by trynd, he can simply whirlwind to gap close and then pop his ult when Vladimir uses his W and then he can Q to heal himself and run out from under turret.
Champions that Vladimir also has trouble with is Riven and Jax, but if you play it safe, you should be ok against those two.
I hope you enjoy my guide to top lane Vladimir. It is my first guide like I said before so I apologize for anything I may have missed i left out explaining his runes and masteries because I have not tried different runes on Vladimir so I can not say what runes work better than others. I do know that the runes I have posted are the ones that I use and they work very well for me. Also his masteries are all in places that I feel most people would agree with just based off of his abilities and such. Anyways thank you for taking the time to look at my guide and good look with your new knowledge of Vladimir.