Not Updated For Current Season
These two builds are both equally effective, you just need to judge the situation and use whichever is more appropriate.
Vlad is not rocket science, his abilities are very straightforward and don't require too much prior planning. The only thing that I would recommend that you keep in mind is that if you pool in, you won't be able to pool out. I'm referring to Sanguine Pool , if you use it to get into a fight, you're committed because you don't have any other reliable way to escape. If you're unsure about how the fight is going, or if you're outnumbered, keep your pool up and wait for a clear sign that it's time to use it, whether that be to escape or to engage.
Another thing I cant stress enough is Do not use Tides of Blood while laning there's no reason to waste health at that point and it will just push your lane leaving you in a worse position. I may use it once or twice if my lane is getting overwhelmed and my tower is in danger, but this situation rarely, if ever, comes up. Once laning is over, absolutely spam it to push lanes and farm.
Just a small example of how I would go about a fight that I'm convinced I can win, for the newer Vlad players (keep in mind I'm a cautions player rather than aggressive :
Transfusion as much as my opponent will allow, it's on a short cool down, so as long as I feel safe I will chip away with transfusion. If he charges, Hemoplague followed by another transfusion, tides of blood , sanguine pool, when I exit pool I'm going to want to do another tides of blood before transfusion so I can get even more health from the tides buff. Then transfusion, and that's about that if you're opponent is not on his way to black and white land by then, you don't have much to go on, if you have rylai's chase with transfusions for as long as you feel safe doing so.
The first build is useful when your team needs the damage output, you will be able to dish out slightly more damage with that one and you'll have a little less durability. If you're facing a team that has more physical threats feel free to change the FoN to Randuin's Omen . I feel that in this build, and are equally important, so I level them equally. Not so in the second one, where sanguine pool is essential to getting in as much damage as possible in conjunction with
The second build was popularized by bigfatjiji. It's not exactly the same build he uses as far as runes and masteries but that is how I feel comfortable playing that build. I play that build when my team needs some off tanking or I just don't feel safe going AP. It has tremendous durability and I enjoy playing it much more than straight AP. Again if there isn't a considerable magical threat on the opposing team, grab another Sunfire cape in place of the .
Also in either build, I usually avoid getting because the penetration is so important, this usually makes you very vulnerable to CC, if there is a lot of hard CC on the enemy team, go ahead and replace the Force with