Vladimir Build Guide by cwsager
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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.
Welcome this is a guide to playing Vladimir Solo Top. I think that Vladimir is by far one of the best top lanes, he is almost ungankable because of his W Sanguine Pool. You can push all day with him as long as you are careful and have vision with wards. Towards late game you will become a major threat and if you are getting fed then you will be unstoppable.
Pros / Cons
Great at farming and pushing.
Great at harassing and staying in lane.
Massive AoE damage and a huge threat in team fights.
Naturally tanky from ability power
Extremely challenging to gank
His name is Vladimir and he has some sexy hair
Not one of the best champions early game
Struggles until level 6
Commonly confused with vampires in Twilight
Vladimir is flat out an extremely good champion to be played and is played in professional matches because of it. He can sometimes be focused by Crowd Control, but take advantage of that and dodge it with Sanguine Pool or Zhonya's Hourglass.
I like to take flat magic penetration with Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for my marks. This allows you to go through their small amounts of magic resist early game to harass your lane and to maximize damage output.
For seals I use Greater Seal of Vitality to give me extra health and because of Crimson Pact I can get some extra Ability Power off of it late game. You can substitute these with Greater Seal of Armor if you are going against a heavy attack damage hitter. If you prefer to use flat health seals you can use Greater Seal of Health to help out with Vladimir's early game, but I prefer Greater Seal of Vitality to strengthen his late game.
For Glyphs I suggest using Greater Glyph of Ability Power to help out Vladimir's early game and harass. You could also take Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power to strengthen his late game. If you are against a heavy AP hitter you might consider taking Greater Glyph of Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist.
For Masteries in the Offence Tree I like to take either 3 points in
with 1 point in
or 1 point in
and 2 points in
and 1 point in
. The first option is good for AP harass and maximum damage, the second choice is good for helping farm to get strong late game. Note don't take
if your aren't using ghost or ignite.
For Masteries in the Defence Tree I like to take Summoner's Resolve for improved Heal and take Hardiness if I am against AD or Resistance if I am against AP and I take 2 points in Tough Skin to minimize minion damage. I take 4 points in Durability and Veteran's Scars for increased health and AP because of Crimson Pact. I take 2 points in Indomitable to reduce damage and 1 point in Siege Commander to help when pushing down towers. I also take 3 points in Initiator and Enlightenment to help kite with ease and give cool down reduction for more harassment and damage output. Finally I take 1 point in Juggernaut to help with escaping ganks and get more max health.
I find these to be the best masteries for Vladimir you may have your own opinion but I think of Vlad to be a tank and mega aoe damager. If you wish to play him mid then you might want to take 21/9/0 masteries instead.
Will of the Ancients is a must have on Vladimir, it gives him more healing to stay in lane and fights longer and let him spam his Tides of Blood and be able to heal off of it.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is another core item for Vladimir because it allows him to kite with even more ease with his low cooldown on Transfusion and Tides of Blood. This item is also perfect because it gives Ability Power and Health! The two things that Vladimir thrives from. On the boot choice I suggest Ionian Boots of Lucidity, but if you going against someone building some Magic Resist then you can swap them out for Sorcerer's Shoes.
Rabadon's Deathcap is a must have on any AP champion. It gives a whopping 140 Ability Power and has an amazing passive of giving 30% of your Ability Power as bonus Ability Power.
Early game I suggest getting Boots of Speed and 3-4 Health Potions depending if your team is invading or doing an early team fight.
Once you recall hopefully you can will have enough money to get Hextech Revolver, but if you don't have enough money then try to get the requirements and maybe some more Health Potions and definitely at least one Sight Ward. I don't think I can explain how IMPORTANT Sight Ward's are. They can save your life so many times from ganks and help you get kills by noticing someone low walking by. Point is if your pushing with Vladimir your going to need Sight Ward's.
Mid game you will hopefully have Will of the Ancients by now and have a decent amount of farm. If you are going against heavy AD and/or Nukers then I suggest getting Zhonya's Hourglass, this item can help reduce damage from AD champions and help avoid those nukers like Annie by disrupting their combo. Though it is not a necessary item against nukers because of Vladimir's Sanguine Pool you can easily delay their spells for a short time and dodge spells like Summon: Tibbers. If you don't get Zhonya's Hourglass then you should get Rylai's Crystal Scepter for more Health and Ability Power.
Late game you should be coming towards the end of your build having items like Rabadon's Deathcap and Rylai's Crystal Scepter and should be a very large threat in team fights or by split pushing lanes. If against an AP heavy team get an Abyssal Scepter, if against a team where they have large amounts of magic resistance then get a Void Staff.
I take Transfusion first for basic reasons and that its to farm/harass/and heal with it. I then get Sanguine Pool second in case of early ganks from the enemy jungler. At level three you can either get Tides of Blood or Transfusion depending on what you prefer, I prefer Transfusion for less cooldown on it, more damage, and more healing. Maxing Transfusion is what I insist on doing, but if you have a different play style please tell me in the comments. After maxing Transfusion I max Tides of Blood for more bonus healing, regeneration, and damage output. Lastly I max Sanguine Pool because I find it to be more of a utility spell used for escaping, or slowing an opponent while waiting for your cooldowns.
Recommended Summoner Spells
Ghost and Heal are the Summoners I usually take to escape ganks and get some pretty crazy burst healing to completely change a fight.
Some other Summoners that you could consider are swapping Ghost for Flash and/or swapping Heal for Ignite or Exhaust.
Just Dont Pick These...
Some Summoner Spells that I completely dont recommend are...
Clarity Seriously... Why would you even consider this unless you are trolling your whole team.
Clairvoyance I mean I guess if you like to check to see if your getting ganked, but getting a Sight Ward would be much more efficient so you can take another Summoner Spell.
Smite Are you jungling Vladimir? No? Your not? Then why are you even thinking about taking this....
Surge Have you ever seen this used on Vladimir and it actually work? There is a reason no one uses it. Don't use it.
Garrison I mean I see how it could be used, but don't use it, its not that good of a Summoner Spell in my opinion, especially for Vladimir top.
Promote You already push fast enough what are you trying to win the game in 2 seconds?
Revive Your professional why are you going to use this you don't die!
These are some spells that I think can be used but they aren't my favorite choice.
Teleport You can push all day then teleport into the fight assuming you have a ward or something nearby.
Cleanse You have Sanguine Pool and Zhonya's Hourglass, if you bring Cleanse then you are just saying Hey you cant CC me. Point is you don't really need Cleanse and I suggest taking something more useful.
Strategies For Ranked Matches
One of my favorite ways to play Vladimir is by pushing top lane all day and forcing someone to come attempt to stop you, and if no one comes then just keep pushing and getting towers and free farm. This doesn't always work when playing against champions that are beating you. However you can use this against them and if they attempt to tower dive them you can turn the tables. Use the spell combo of Hemoplague Tides of Blood Transfusion and finish it off with Sanguine Pool so that you can dodge all their attacks. Now they're stuck under your tower, tanking it, and they cant hit you while you slow them and do massive damage. This strategy can also help when getting ganked because of his massive AoE damage you can make them think they have an advantage but then kill them both or just one and escape.
When you start out farming I suggest some basic last hitting and last hitting with Transfusion and playing passively because you wont be able to make any big plays unless your junlger comes to gank. You can last hit with basic attacks and harass with Transfusion, if the enemy tries to initiate and you cant walk away just use Sanguine Pool and get out of there. However Sanguine Pool has a high health cost so I don't spamming it unless you must use it, it also has a long cooldown so be careful not to blow it and then have someone gank you while Sanguine Pool is on cooldown.
Vladimir has massive AoE damage right? You know who works great with him, and is played as a professional combo. Kennen. Kennen and Vladimir are just an amazing combo that can be flat out unstoppable. With both of their ultimates and Vladimir's Sanguine Pool they can turn into an AoE machine that just dominates the whole enemy team.