Vel'Koz Build Guide by TheSunisGrey
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.
Kite from the Void
Not Updated For Current Season
Threats to Vel'Koz with this build
|Ziggs||Contrary to popular belief, this is a pretty easy lane where you and Ziggs can farm harder than Farmville. Neither of you should really be able to poke the other that well and while he outranges you a bit, your abilities are generally easier to land. Focus on farming, poke when you can (IF you can) and otherwise try and roam.|
Introduction/Me on League
Vel'koz Reloaded here. This is my first and ONLY guide for a champ that I think is the coolest slice of awesome in League of Legends.
I started at the end of season 3 and tried to learn the game on the jungle although mages seemed way cooler to me. Prior to playing Vel'koz I would've considered myself a mid main with Anivia being my favorite. When Vel'koz came out and I played against him the first time, I went DANG that guy is cool. One of my friends gifted him to me and I took him into ranked that same day (what a noob, I know). From the enjoyment (and success) there, I threw myself into ranked season 4 and climbed from Bronze V to Gold V (woohoo!) with Vel'koz fast becoming my favorite.
Season 5 (this current season) I decided to set my eyes on something better, placing into Silver II from provisionals and climbing through gold in a week or two. I'm currently in platinum, hoping to get through that. - Over 200 ranked games this season on Vel'koz and counting. According to lolking stats, I'm just under being in the top 20 worldwide for most games played.
Of the two builds I've presented (whether support or not!) I've had more success with the kiting build average 3 deaths per game compared to my usual 5. This isn't to say that the build is better or worse than full magic penetration just that it's been more effective for me. The fact that I climbed from Bronze V to Plat V before ever swapping builds should show that magic penetration is plenty effective!
Brief Logic behind Masteries
21/0/9 allows you to maximize your damage output while having the bonus movement speed and mana regeneration/cooldown reduction on your summoner spells.
The only truly important masteries are those that increase your damage and those that give you magic penetration. That said, without the AP masteries, you'll start with 1 AP instead of 7 without items so... don't go AD.
The movespeed mastery is good for both Magic Penetration and Kiting Vel'koz as well as the mana regeneration mastery. The summoner's insight mastery means your flash is off cooldown more often (like 30 seconds faster) so that's nice although I suppose it isn't imperative.
I've seen some guides suggest going 9/0/21 or even 0/9/21 as support and I'm sure that this has worked for those people (else they wouldn't suggest it) but I prefer more damage to more gold as I want that magic penetration and movespeed above everything else.
Summoner Spells (Expanded)
Flash: This is a must have for Vel'koz as it allows you to move a short distance instantly. The simplest use is that of avoiding danger while a more strategic use would be getting into a better position for a fight. Whether support or mid (or top!) this is a spell you need.
Ignite: This is a great spell for Vel'koz mid and sometimes support. I know some people say you shouldn't be close enough to cast ignite but with everyone diving you, this simply won't be the case. Ignite's healing reduction is invaluable against teams with healing and is great to make sure someone doesn't get away free if they dive you under your tower (E, W, Ignite).
Teleport: If you feel like roaming more, adding some extra mmmph to the movespeed/mpen build or just want to make sure your team has a teleport, this the spell for you. Teleporting to a ward somewhere and then ulting or firing abilities from the fog of war is quite a bit of fun.
Exhaust: If your ADC needs to comfort of exhaust, you want to reduce someone's damage (and magic resist!) further, or you're fighting a team of divers and/or assassins, this is the spell you should consider. I definitely run this more often on support but there are the occasional times where I want it midlane.
Magic Penetration Runes (Mpen Marks, Glyphs and Quints) with AP Seals or Mana Regen Seals. The important runes here are the marks, glyphs and quints so whatever seals suit your need is what you might want to run. I like mana regen seals for extra spells in extended fights.
The logic behind these runes is that Vel'koz has high base damages and moderate to low scaling on his abilities. This means that building ability power has less of a benefit for you because it doesn't increase your damage as much as you'd like. Add to that, enemy tanks like to stack magic resist when the midlaners are fed and your damage is even lower when you build ability power. That said, with magic resist runes, you'll start with 20 magic penetration. For most champions 30 is their base magic resistance and if they don't build any or build very little, you're doing almost 100% true damage to them all game. Stacking the magic penetration items (discussed in the next section) with this and you get 50 flat Magic Penetration (more than enough to burn through anyone's base magic resistance) AND 41% Magic Penetration rendering what ability power you do have and those base damages more effective at all points during the game. Add to this, your passive already does true damage and you're set to blow up anything that gets too close.
When I find where I put the paper, I'll show the math for this here.
Vel'koz Efficiency Mpen Marks, and Glyphs (same as the magic penetration above), Movespeed Quintessences and whatever seals suit you. Again, mana regeneration are my favorite.
The Magic Penetration Runes are for the same logic as above- they'll make your spells more effective at all points in the game. The movement speed quints are for taking your already-higher-than-all-other-mage movement speed and making it higher. This means that you can roam to other lanes faster (invaluable), dodge spells easier (HI NIDALEE), and kite enemies more effectively as you run away (or pretend to run away). This set of runes is really bent on taking what Vel'koz already does best and emphasizing that.
Magic Penetration Build
To start this build, you want to be comfortable. A Doran's Ring is acceptable as it gives you some of the Ability Power you'll be lacking from your Rune Page. This isn't really that big of a deal as your base damages are so high but some people really love their AP. The Passive on Doran's Ring is also pretty nice.
Another possible item set is Crystalline Flash and Mana Pots. This set allows you to sustain longer than most lane opponents and will help against those pesky resourceless lane opponents.
The biggest thing for starting items is really to do what you're comfortable with as most of these will be sold or built into something else later.
As much as I like rushing magic penetration, getting a mana sustain item (Athene's or Morellonomicon) is a safe start. Athene's will give you more overall mana sustain and some magic resist while Morellonomicon will give you grievous wounds on your spells. I usually grab them both by the end of this build (one first, one last) for the cooldown reduction (lower cooldowns mean more spells).
The core items for magic penetration are just those items that give magic penetration. Liandry's takes precedence over void staff and sorcerer's shoes but as it's the most expensive, grabbing something else before hand is fine. That said, the faster you get your magic penetration maximized, the faster you can be doing 100% or close to true damage to everyone.
Secondary items to grab after you have your Sorceror's Shoes, Void Staff and Liandry's Torment are Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Morellonomicon (if you grabbed Athene's for mana sustain) or Athene's Unholy Grail (if you rushed Morellonomicon). Rylai's is important as it allows your W to slow and proc Liandry's double damage passive. This makes kiting a wee bit easier as well but truth be told, I rarely notice the slow on W.
The final build + rune page gives you 50 + 41% magic penetration, 40% cooldown reduction, slows on W and percent health damage on all of your spells. This means your spells ignore a LOT LOT LOT of Magic Resistance doing nearly (if not) true damage every hit and that your spells can be spammed as frequently as possible. ~~ If you need some extra protection, Morellonomicon or Athene's can be swapped out for a Zhonya's Hourglass. That said, if you Zhonya's as Vel'koz, you're generally just as dead as you were before you Zhonya'd.
Kite from the Void Build (and commentary on Rabadon's Death Cap)
To start this build, the best way is Boots of Speed and some combination of 4 mana/health potions. This coupled with the rune page starts you off with 387 Movement Speed (quite a nice start).
Rushing Sorceror's Shoes and Luden's Echo is the important part of this build. (And please, please, please enchant your boots with Furor!) With Luden's Echo and Sorceror's Shoes, you have about 430-450 movement speed (which is faster than a lot of champs with Boots of Mobility!) Since you're able to move faster, you're also moving more, thus keeping Luden's Echo's passive up and running (pun intended!). As much as I like rushing magic penetration, the ability to outrun champions, roam quicker and get around fights faster, is something I can't ignore.
That said, the next items needed for this build are still Liandry's Torment and Void Staff for the magic penetration they'll give you. This will max out at 44 + 41% Magic Penetration (6 Magic Penetration shy of the build above). Together, the movement speed and magic penetration are taking what Vel'koz does (shoot big powerful spells and move fast-ish) and make it better.
The last items you want here are to just keep on keeping on what you're building. Twin Shadows is my favorite right now as it gives you MORE movement speed, cooldown reduction and an active to either run away or catch people. Twin Shadows + Morellonomicon will give you 35% Cooldown Reduction with your mastery page which is a nice place to be at (5% shy of the build above). Rylai's is also nice for kiting as it syncs well with your movement speed to slow the enemy but it doesn't give you cooldown reduction, so think long and hard about it if you must. If you REALLY want, you could get a Rabadon's Deathcap or Zhonya's Hourglass but I normally don't.
Note: Rabadon's is a must have if you're going to build AP Vel'koz (which a lot of people do) but this build is NOT as efficient as either of the builds I've listed here. If anything, Rabadon's is the last item I'd consider building on Vel'koz because he really doesn't need it and other items give him more stats that are useful.
Gameplay: Leveling Your Abilities
Many many guides I've seen suggest leveling up W first and maxing it first so you can farm easier. This is JUST FINE and I won't tell you you can't do this because I most certainly started out Vel'koz by maxing W first.
That said, Q is a lower cooldown, longer-ranged, high damage, hard-to-dodge skill shot. In my opinion Q should be your first ability to level up as it's easier to harass with and still a good farming tool. Also, if you're supporting, LEVEL Q FIRST.
E should be leveled up last as it benefits least from being leveled up (damage increase and cooldown reduced).
R, as with most champs, should be leveled always at Level 6, 11 and 16. The damage increase (900 at max rank!) is huge.
Gameplay: Comboing your Abilities/When to use them
The most common combo for Vel'koz is to throw your W and E together. This knocks up your opponent(s) and hits them with three passive procs (true damage!).
A less common, but similarly effective combo for Vel'koz is a Q, W. Usually Q is fired earlier as its slow makes your W easier to set up but throwing a W then a Q to get the third passive proc works too.
A more intricate combo (quite devastating in its entirety) is throwing Q first to either slow your opponent(s) or cause them to run a different way and then throwing your W, followed by E and then a second W. If you get the full combo off, you land six passive procs (two true damage!) and do a LOT of damage. If you land this in lane, it's usually enough to either kill or send your lane opponent scurrying away.
Wambo Combo: W, E or Q, W, E followed by R. This combo is the biggest game changer when landed and most effective for damage/kill potential. This should be used to either start a fight, from a bush (because if they can't see you, they can't dodge) or after your team has used their cc to set it up. - If you see the opportunity to hit a group and fire your ultimate, don't hesitate.
When to use your abilities: (general info)
Your Q should be used to harass, poke, disengage and catch people. In lane it can be used to poke your opponent down (the cooldown is low enough that constantly hitting them will stack your passive!) In teamfights, it can be used to zone people off of the fight, poke people in the back, chain with your combo or just for general damage.
Your W should be used near groups of enemies either to farm minions, combo with your abilities or inflict as much damage as you can to a group. Most commonly, comboing it with your E or Q will allow you to get the Organic Deconstruction stacks.
E should be used to combo your abilities, CC an opponent, disengage or engage a fight. In lane DO NOT USE YOUR E TO FARM unless your ABSOLUTELY sure no enemy is nearby. In teamfights use it to set up a combo/ultimate. Remember that your E is your lifeline ability. Having it is the difference between getting someone off of you or you dying. ~~ Specifically, fighting Katarina, save this ability for her ult and her ult only.
R should be used whenever you see an opportunity to inflict damage (preferably as much as possible). It's most effective when chained with either your or your team's CC and/or when you're shooting it down a narrow pathway. When you're laning and you both hit 6, a combo + your ultimate is enough to kill most people.
If you can land any other ability to get one passive stack on your opponent, your ultimate will give you the other 5 so take this into consideration when firing.
Also when attacking or defending a tower, an ultimate fired will do wonders as a Vel'koz ultimate is usually enough to either get an enemy team to back off OR engage prematurely. Both of these scenarios are favorable for your team.
Note: Vel'koz's complete combo is enough to kill most ADCs, mages and assassins in the game from 100-0. There is a reason I call my stream Vel'koz in a Bush.
Gameplay: Support Pairings (Not needed if you're midlane)
ADCs I like to play with in order of Preference:
1. Jinx: Jinx does a lot of damage, has some nice poke, a snare and is rewarded for taking towers or getting kills. I like this combination with Vel'koz due to Vel'koz similarly providing poke, damage and a knockup. Comboing your knockup with Jinx snares (note: if the enemy is close to you, you CAN knock them back into Jinx's snares) is a lot of lockdown and allows you two to destroy the enemy botlane while they're stuck.
2. Varus: Varus and Vel'koz have some of the nastiest poke in the game as both of their Qs do a LOT of damage. Your knockup is usually enough to get one of you out if you must but you two outdamage most enemy combos botlane. Once you both hit 6, Varus's R + your R is enough to kill their enemy botlane.
3. Lucian: Lucian's dash allows him to escape whenever he needs, meaning that you can worry about peeling for yourself if the enemy jungler comes to gank. He also has a lot of poke so the two of you can whiddle the enemy botlane down. When you both hit 6, you can chain your ultimates to cheese 2 or 3 people pretty easily as both are channels.
4. Kalista: This is kind of a silly botlane but Kalista hits like a truck if her support can follow up. Her ultimate can be scary at times but a good Kalista will throw you whenever she needs a last minute knockup OR when your abilities are off cooldown as you can now double that knockup. Also, when Kal pulls you out of certain death, it's a pretty great feeling. The kiting potential here is incredible as well.
5. Kog'Maw: This is a tricky lane as neither of you have much peel. That said, the poke and the damage here is unparalleled by any other ADC/Support duo. Once you both hit 6, his raining down ults on the enemy is usually enough to poke them down before you or both of you engage.
6. Corki: As nice as Corki's ability to escape or engage is to capitolize on your combos, I'm not a huge fan of this lane because YOUR power spike comes at level 6 and Corki never really gets one. Maybe he's supposed to be strong but similar to Kog'Maw, this is a really hard lane if the enemy likes to engage.
7. Caitlyn: If Caitlyn is on board with poke city, then this might be my favorite lane... I've only had that happen once though. Otherwise this is a lane where you have to decide between poking FOR Caitlyn or saving your abilities for when she inevitably gets engaged on.
8. Sivir: With movespeed becoming something I've enjoyed on Vel'koz, this is a great pairing. Sivir is just an all around good ADC with her spell shield and damage so I can't not appreciate this pairing.
9. Graves: Graves does a lot of burst damage so stringing that with your poke gives you a lane that's the best of both worlds. That said, Graves is a lot more aggressive than pokey Vel'koz so this can backfire on you if the enemy capitalizes on the aggression.
10. Miss Fortune: Uncommon but fun, this matchup is nice for similar reason to Lucian. Stringing two massive ultimates together is hilarious at early levels. Due to her abilities scaling poorly with attack damage, I feel like this lane is fun early and less so later on.
11. Ashe: Ashe's ultimate + your ultimate is about as good as it gets for combos here. Otherwise this lane is actually pretty difficult as Ashe can't really peel for herself anymore with all the dashes in the game. This isn't a bad lane but it's not easy if the enemy jungler likes to gank and thus, I'm not a huge fan of supporting Ashe.
12. Twitch: I've only had the luxury of this lane once or twice. The damage here is pretty great but it's ALL you have going for you and sometimes it takes a while to build that damage up. If you can successfully keep Twitch from getting murdered/get him fed, this lane is enough to carry most games but it's hard to do right now.
13. Draven: This is another high damage lane for you two but it's hard to peel for Draven if the enemy likes to get in your face. You can usually outdamage the enemy botlane the longer the game goes on but it isn't an easy start. The annoying thing here is if Draven knocks enemies out of your abilities and as this happens quite a bit, I really don't care for this lane.
14. Tristana: Trist is a great ADC right now with her all around nice kit but it doesn't sync with Vel'koz that well. Specifically, if she ults someone out of your ultimate, you'll feel my pain. The only reason Trist isn't my least favorite ADC to support is because she does get resets on kills or assists which means you two can chase if you get the enemy team low.
15. Vayne: Sorry to the Vayne players of the world but I loath this lane. Maybe I just haven't had a good Vayne to play with but I get really irritated when people knock enemies out of my abilities. At least with Trist, she has one knock-back that's got a decently long cooldown. With Vayne, she has it off cooldown more often which means more missed combos. Sure, the stun can be nice but more often than not, it's to disengage.[/color]