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Vel'Koz Build Guide by Adept Invention

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Adept Invention

Vel'Koz - Time to get learn'd (5.9 ready!)

Adept Invention Last updated on May 26, 2015
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Introduction

Hello everyone! My name's Adept Invention and I've been a Vel'Koz main since he was released. I'm currently holding a 65%+ winrate on him in ranked play and have maintained that since his release. Vel'Koz is an AP based midlaner who's often overlooked and underestimated by the majority of players, however he has some of the best damage potential in the game, coupled with some of the best kiting ability and the chance to turn teamfights to your advantage even when far behind.

Over time I'll be adding new sections such as how to play Vel'Koz during different stages of the game, combo sequences, and tips for different matchups.

I hope you find my guide helpful (and please don't forget to hit that UPVOTE button)!

*And if you're going to downvote, please, PLEASE drop me a comment saying why you disagree with what I've written!


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Pros / Cons

Pros

+ Very high base damage values
+ Extremely strong kiter
+ Almost every ability applies CC
+ Can turn teamfights with ease
+ Insanely strong in the midgame
+ High base damages and true damage from Organic Deconstruction mean that his power remains relevant even when behind
Vel'koz is one of those champions that really starts to shine when you master him. Being able to combo his spells and constantly proc Organic Deconstruction is key to playing him successfully. With a multitarget slow in Plasma Fission and a knockup/back in Tectonic Disruption, Vel'Koz has very strong kiting ability and will only be vulnerable in teamfights should all the iniation be focused on you. His true damage applying passive is often underestimated; Vel'Koz has an incredible burst potential and you should use this to your advantage.

Cons

- Relatively immobile
- Vulnerable to large scale CC/initiation
- Generally squishy
- Entirely skillshot based
- Is more of a situational pick as his power is a little limited against extremely hard initiation
Vel'Koz is at his best in the midgame and maintains this strength into the lategame. As such, his weaknesses come in the laning phase where his immobility can lead him to being an easy gank target should you not maintain strong vision control. Large amounts of hard CC counter him strongly in teamfights if you can't avoid the initiation and he is generally weak to assassins in lane. As a general rule, Vel'Koz is strongest against anything that can't deal with him immediately.



Vel'Koz Changelog:
Patch 4.13: Life Form Disintegration Ray buffed to 1550 range from 1500.
Void Rift has its first damage proc widened to match the second damage proc, from 65 units to 88.


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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence Order

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
> > >
You're going to want to max your W ( Void Rift) first because this is your primary waveclear ability and also does the most damage out of all your spells (assuming you hit both parts). At level 2 grab your E ( Tectonic Disruption) in most cases as an early EW combo will hurt a LOT. If the enemy is something like a Ziggs or is playing really far back take your Q ( Plasma Fission) at level 2 instead. Take W again at level 3 for stronger pushing and then whichever ability you didn't take at level 2 at level 4.


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Spells




Organic Deconstruction: Organic Deconstruction is your passive and is absolutely key to playing Vel'Koz. Each time you hit an ability you apply one stack. Building up 3 stacks of this at once procs your passive, dealing true damage to your target. This true damage scales up with your level, which is part of why Vel'Koz remains relevant even if behind. If you're waiting for an ability cooldown, Vel'Koz's basic attacks extend the timer for the stack, making it last longer. Organic Deconstruction can be applied to champions, minions and monsters.



Plasma Fission: Plasma Fission is your poke and harrass ability. You'll be maxing this out 2nd so it won't do huge amounts of damage early on, but the slow can be invaluable for setting up Tectonic Disruption 1v1 in lane. Once you have your core items, however, Plasma Fission will deal huge amounts of damage to targets with low MR tank.

Plasma Fission is a unique ability in League of Legends in that it splits at 90 degrees when it hits a target, reaches the end of its range, or you reactivate it. This means you can use it to creatively harrass around minion waves, Wind Wall or for sniping kills when the enemy thought they were safe. Plasma Fission is an incredibly potent tool when tower sieging, in my opinion on par with Nidalee's Javelin Toss before its nerfs in patch 4.10.

You're going to want to max out Plasma Fission after Void Rift and before Tectonic Disruption as it has its best uses in the midgame.

Tips and Tricks
  • Use this to creatively harrass your enemy and keep them on their toes.
  • This applies a large slow and a lot of damage once you've got some items.
  • Has one of Vel'Koz's better AP scalings.
  • Extremely useful in sieging objectives, allowing you to poke more than one enemy at once.
  • Vel'Koz's best kiting ability. This has a very short cooldown in the mid/lategame.
  • By using geometry you can increase the reach of Plasma Fission by firing it to the side at its maximum range.



Void Rift: Void Rift is Vel'Koz's bread and butter ability. Often you'll be comboing it with either Plasma Fission or Tectonic Disruption to proc your passive, as Void Rift applies 2 stacks. Void Rift is instant cast and therefore you can fire off two abilities pretty much at once. The second damage proc of Void Rift is stronger than the first, so for harrassing champions you're going to want to use your Q or E to keep them in place.

Void Rift is your primary waveclear ability. Because you can save up 2 charges at once, you can shove lane very quickly in combination with Organic Deconstruction. Maxing this out decreases the recharge time of each charge, so you can get off more combos and more waveclear.

You're going to want to max out Void Rift before Plasma Fission and before Tectonic Disruption.

Tips and Tricks
  • Combo this ability in every single combo. It's instant cast so there's no reason not to.
  • For fast waveclearing, fire off both charges at the oncoming minion wave BEFORE it meets your own.
  • Even at level 2 your EW combo will wipe the caster minions. This can be costly to do often though.



Tectonic Disruption: Tectonic Disruption is virtually all that keeps Vel'Koz safe from half of the stuff that wants to dive on your face. Being able to hit this at the right time differentiates a good Vel'Koz from a great Vel'Koz, due to the delay it takes to hit and the small hitbox on it. Tectonic Disruption is Vel'Koz's only hard CC, supplying him with a knockup and a stack of Organic Deconstruction. When closer to Vel'Koz, Tectonic Disruption will also knock the target backwards slightly. This distance is judged when the spell is cast, NOT when it lands. When your lane opponent is low, flashing into a point blank Tectonic Disruption, Void Rift and Life Form Disintegration Ray can be an easy way to secure kills.

You're going to want to max out Tectonic Disruption after Void Rift and after Plasma Fission.

Tips and Tricks
  • Land this combo'd with your W for very strong harrass.
  • Follow up any initiation CC on your team with this, into the rest of your combo.
  • When kiting, landing this on 2-3 people can lead to the perfect moment to turn with your ult and win a critical fight.



Life Form Disintegration Ray aka THE LEARN BEAM: Life Form Disintegration Ray is Vel'Koz's iconic ability. When activated, it roots Vel'Koz in position for a 2.5 second channel, applying a stack of your passive every 0.5 seconds and slowing enemies hit. You can reactivate Life Form Disintegration Ray to cancel it. The laser follows the mouse but has a slow turn rate so make sure you set up properly before using it. Life Form Disintegration Ray is your finishing move when kiting their team backwards, once you've landed a sequence of abilities, immediately turn and, well, disintegrate them. The ability has insanely high base damage as well as a decent AP scaling.

Take this ability whenever it's available.

Tips and Tricks
  • Follow up your combos and your team's CC with this ability.
  • Try and wait for the enemy team to blow their CC before firing tha lazor beam.
  • Getting this interupted at a bad time can throw a fight, but getting a full channel off can win you 2-4v5s.
  • The sheer amount of damage Life Form Disintegration Ray puts out can make securing important barons easier.
  • For team comps that don't have a lot of siege potential, or when you simply can't break their defense, channeling an ult on their waveclear can provide the opening to grab an inhibitor turret.


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Runes

I tend to take one of two rune pages depending on if my lane matchup is a more passive AP laner or an AD/AP bully lane. Since in the midgame you're going to ideally be in the back of fights away from most of their damage, surviving to farm up through laning phase is the priority.

VS AP

Runes

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Health
9

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
6

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3

VS AD/strong AP

Runes

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Health
9

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
6

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3

These are my second iteration of runes, having moved away from a set focused on providing as much AP as possible into a slightly more defensive option with more utility from the CDR.

Movespeed'Koz

Runes

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Health
9

Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
6

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
3

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
3

This rune set is tailored to working with a specific build path with Alactrity enchantment, Luden's Echo and Twin Shadows. The end result is very high mobility with extreme damage and poke potential. While glass cannon at virtually all stages of the game, when played right you should easily be able to maintain a safe position. This build tends to be able to pull out slightly higher damage than builds that get a bit more defensive.


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Masteries

Masteries
1/5
4/1
3/5
1/5
3/5
3/1
1/
3/
1/
1/
1/5
3/5
3/1
1/5
1/1
21 OFFENSE 9 Utility
V
E
L
'
K
O
Z
sp M
A
S
T
E
R
I
E
S
// The 21 offence points are basically your standard AP carry masteries, making sure to take any CDR masteries and all the AP ones.

In utility, I take all 3 Fleet of Foot to counter Vel'Koz's relative immobility. The mana regen of Meditation helps us sustain mana before our first back and helps keep us from ever running out of mana once we have Chalice of Harmony. I take the extra potion time on Alchemist as it helps you stay in lane longer against aggressive matchups and Runic Affinity to give you the powerful blue buff for longer, as the CDR is invaluable early.


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Items

Here I'll detail the item choices you should be considering. Note that a lot of these vary depending on the teamcomp you're facing.

Starting items vs AP

Standard opening. Gives health, mana regen and a nice chunk of AP.
Keeps you sustained until you have about 1200-1300g for your first back.

Starting items vs strong early AD

Against champions like Pantheon, you sometimes just have to get very early tank to survive the early levels, and get your Chalice of Harmony and Seeker's Armguard as early as possible.
Keeps you sustained until you have about 1200-1300g for your first back.


CORE

Magic pen is the go to stat on your boots. The only time I don't get these is if I'm laning against something like a LeBlanc (pre Sigil of Malice change) or an AP Tristana in which case I buy Mercury's Treads - Alacrity. Only get the Homeguard enchantment if you're behind and desperately defending your base, if not then the flat movespeed is better on Vel'Koz.
Morellonomicon is the strongest AP/CDR/manaregen item as of patch 5.2. Although Athene's gives more mana regen (though not by a lot) and MR, typically Morellos is much more efficient right now.
Magic penetration is the single most important stat on Vel'Koz. Liandry's Torment gives AP, HP, and Magic Pen on top of the burn passive. Most of Vel'Koz's abilities proc the extended Liandry's passive for even more damage. You should generally get this 2nd.
Magic penetration is the single most important stat on Vel'Koz. Void Staff should be the third item you pick up in every build. If you've been forced into Zhonya's Hourglass second, get Void Staff next and Liandry's Torment 4th.


Situational

Gives a lot of armour and AP (and is very efficient in this respect). What you want it for the most, however, is the active, allowing you to weather their initiation and buy some time for your team to peel for you, so that you can move into a damage dealing position.
This doesn't seem like the most ideal choice on Vel'Koz, but i've found it to be very helpful. I tend to buy this against defensive team comps, that is to say with no gapclosers or a prevailant ability to dive on your face. With 80 AP, 10% CDR and 6% move speed, it's an ideal item for Vel'Koz if you don't need a stronger defensive item such as Zhonya's Hourglass. In addition, the active ability further enhances your kiting potential by slowing and revealing 2 enemy champions. It can also help your chase potential, since Vel'Koz works best kiting backwards, not forwards.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter gives Vel'Koz good survivability from the HP as well as a good supply of AP. What's great is the passive, which not only gives Void Rift and Tectonic Disruption a slow but also procs the slow when your Organic Deconstruction goes off. I often buy this with Twin Shadows as it makes Vel'Koz a kiting machine. As of Patch 4.13 this is even more slot efficient for a damage dealer, giving slightly less tank stats but 20 more AP.
Banshee's Veil gives a lot of HP and MR. I often get this 5th or 6th. Combined with Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Vel'Koz can have over 3000 HP while generally still doing far more damage than the other midlaner. Additionally, the passive on Banshee's Veil is great for blocking hard/impossible to dodge CC that would otherwise ruin your ultimate, eg Assault and Battery, Command: Shockwave or Event Horizon.
Gives a fair amount of MR, a bit more mana regen than Morellonomicon, and a chunk of CDR, on top of a lot of AP too (though not as much as Morello). This is no longer the item it once was in S4 and is now only a goto if the enemy team has 2 or more APs or a heavy AP bully midlane. [4.13]: This no longer gives as much MR as it used to however it's still by far the best manaregen item in the game. [5.6]: The mana regen on this as well as the kill/assist passive has been buffed and makes Athenes a good buy against AP heavy teams at the cost of a slightly weaker powerspike.
Luden's Echo is a new item introduced in patch 5.5 as a replacement to DFG. It offers 120AP and 7% movement speed, but also functions as the Statikk Shiv for AP casters: dealing 100(+0.15AP) on spell hit. I like buying this in games where Rylai's Crystal Scepter or Twin Shadows work well, ie there isn't a lot of CC coming your way or you have methods of dealing with it. I've run Cleanse on Vel'Koz and built Luden's Echo 2nd and Void Staff third, leading into Liandries and Twin Shadows later. running 2 movespeed items and alactrity gave me 470 movespeed, so with decent positioning I was perfectly safe from their engage. The passive on Luden's Echo is great for adding extra damage to your poke, too.


What not to buy

Rabadon's Deathcap, while providing a HUGE amount of AP, isn't a great buy on Vel'Koz, due to his relatively low AP scalings. Vel'Koz benefits much more from magic penetration and utility, for instance from Liandry's Torment, Void Staff and Zhonya's Hourglass. I've only ever bought Deathcap once or twice when I'm really ahead, but on Vel'Koz you can have a bigger impact with your utility. Good positioning and magic penetration will allow you to throw out more damage than a little bit more AP, which is why I'd only pick up Deathcap as a 4th or 5th item if I got it at all.

TL;DR - If you're ahead and the enemy has built no MR and you think you can stay safe, it can be a good pickup, but these situations are few and far between. For my playstyle, unless the enemy team is just bad/has no way of getting to you, it's better to go for kiting, utlilty, and MPen.
Abyssal Scepter is a bit of a noob trap for Vel'Koz. At first glance it looks perfect for him, giving AP, MR and an MR reduction field. However, the range of Abyssal Scepter's passive is far, far smaller than that of your spells, and since you're not going to be fighting at point blank range, the passive will never effect the enemy champions. Don't buy it.
Will of the Ancients was seen on a lot of Vel'Koz builds back when he was released. To be fair, since Vel'Koz's damage output is so high, it wasn't a bad choice, but it has since been nerfed, removing its mana regen. Don't buy it.


Example final builds


There are many examples of final builds in both the cheat sheet at the top and also the selection of match histories I've posted below.


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Summoner Spells

Flash is the go to summoner spell for most solo laners, especially mid. It allows you to rapidly reposition in a teamfight and both follow up on initiation and catch people out with Tectonic Disruption.
Heal is the second summoner spell I take. It gives you the ability to survive all-ins, and the move speed boost gives you more reposition options. It can also help when kiting.
Barrier, as of Patch 4.13, no longer outclasses heal in terms of raw damage soaked up. As such, I take Barrier into harder lanes for Vel'Koz, for instance where my lane opponent will be taking ignite or trying to all-in me. Otherwise, I default to heal, as the movespeed bonus it gives is invaluable if you don't need the pure damage soak.
Ignite is a bit of a dangerous spell on Vel'Koz. While there's a chance you could snowball early with it, generally you won't be inside Ignite range at all. Taking Ignite also makes you a lot more vulnerable - if you're forced to flash before a fight, you'll have no repositioning tools so setting up a kite will be very difficult against an initiation heavy team. It can work against something like a Swain if you're feeling properly cocky(!)


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Your role during the game

Laning phase and the earlygame

Your primary task as Vel'Koz is to stay equal to or outfarm the enemy midlaner, keeping them close to their own tower while maintaining vision control around your lane. Pre-6 you have, as a general rule, little kill potential on the enemy midlaner unless they make a clumsy all-in and you land a set of perfect combos. This is why you take matchup specific runes to help you get through the early stages of laning. Once you hit level 6 and have your Life Form Disintegration Ray you can more readily kill your opponent 1v1.

More generally, however, you wait for your jungler to hit 6 (or be ready with their chosen initiation) **I'll go into Vel'Koz's synergy with junglers later** and kill the enemy midlaner in a gank. Typically you'll poke them with your Plasma Fission as the your jungler initiates, then follow their CC with your EWR combo. Most of the time this will result in a kill, and at the very least you'll get a set of summoners off your opponent. (With a high damage jungler such as Vi there is virtually no chance they'll survive this.)

The idea behind killing your midlaner in this way is to either take the outer mid tower or force a dragon fight in conjunction with your bot lane. (Although it's best to have your Life Form Disintegration Ray off cooldown for the latter.) Around level 8/9 you should have your Morellonomicon mostly done and if you had a good lane you might even have your Haunting Guise. You are now at Vel'Koz's strongest power spike so make your first team play at dragon count. Generally, a Vel'Koz lane is pretty uneventful so the first fight or two is going to catch the enemy team off guard with the amount of damage you can produce.

Another perk of Vel'Koz in lane is that once you hit level 6 you can turn fights and evaporate those who would dare all-in you. I typically use this to bait their jungler into diving me along with the enemy midlaner. Typically they'll initiate on you, disengage however you can (normally I just blow summoners since you'll be cutting this fine) and often they'll follow you under your turret. At this point, immediately QEWR combo them. The sheer amount of damage from 3 procs of Organic Deconstruction is practically unsurvivable at level 6, and you'll generally get at least 1 kill out of it and you might not end up dying. I've earned double kills doing this on more than one occasion by the enemy jungler taking your immobility as a sign of weakness - painting a giant target over your head and assuming the Vel'Koz perma-shoving his lane is an idiot.
Prove them otherwise.



The midgame and objective control

As Vel'Koz your primary role is to provide lane pressure mid by shoving waves with your strong waveclear, and help hold control over objectives such as dragon. Vel'Koz also has very strong sieging ability through Plasma Fission so make it clear to your team that you're going to sit back and poke. Under no circumstances should you follow your team into a dive, as Vel'Koz, you typically aren't as strong pushing forwards as you are kiting backwards.

Try and maintain vision control using pink wards in the bottom deathbrush. Keeping wards on dragon, the enemy blue buff and banana brush nearby will also provide a large amount of vision control as well as enemy buff timers (a well placed Life Form Disintegration Ray or EW combo can often steal the enemy blue out from under their nose). Vel'Koz offers very strong zoning potential and in a lot of cases just a Plasma Fission will force a curious enemy away for fear of a follow-up combo.

In teamfights at this stage you're going to want to try and focus down the champions that most prove a threat to you and your team. Since you have a lot of true damage from Organic Deconstruction I've found it helpful to blitz whoever's trying to dive into your team and then clean up after. (If you blow up their Renekton who got in your face they're gonna be hella scared of you.) Ideally when you ult in this way you'll have lined up the enemy back line to do the most damage possible. It often isn't possible to land your full combo on the enemy carries unless you're directly following up on initiation CC, so often just your ult onto their AD carry and midlaner will suffice.



Lategame and wrecking everyone

As Vel'Koz, your primary task lategame is kiting and nuking the enemy team. Typically you're going to spend the majority of teamfights following up on your team's initiation CC with your full combo and watching their health melt away. On the other hand, against the majority of team comps you're going to be kiting like mad, since at this point they've probably twigged that it'd be a good idea to kill the alien laser squid dealing true damage to everything nearby.

If this happens a lot (the enemy team has a Vi or Jax who knows what they're doing, etc) then you should already have the relevant defensive itemisation in Banshee's Veil, Zhonya's Hourglass or Twin Shadows. At this point you should make it clear to your team to peel for you and aid you in keeping those pesky gapclosers at bay. Vel'Koz does more sustained damage than burst damage, even when ulting (most people will be quite tanky by this point in the game) so keeping you safe is almost as important as the ADC.

Vel'Koz works extremely well in a pick comp, so keep the jungle warded well and look for picks with your Thresh, Morgana, etc. Immediately follow up on a hook or binding on a choice target with your EWR combo and in the majority of cases you'll get a kill. By rank 3 your Life Form Disintegration Ray has a fairly short cooldown so in most cases it's worth it to use it (but don't blow it on the support 10 seconds before a baron fight).


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Combos

Combos

As Vel'Koz is such a versatile combo mage your key to success is knowing how and when to use each combo at your disposal. Getting this right can be devastating in numerous circumstances and often overwhelm your opponents with more damage than they expected.

- (WW)
This is your bread and butter farming combination. Using two Void Rifts will proc your passive and generally clear entire waves from a very early level. For best results, use this while the enemy minions are still in a line walking towards you, NOT once they're already fighting.

- (EW)
Your EW combo is one you'll probably use the most. This combination is one of Vel'Koz's most versatile combos and can be used in many different situations.
  • Harrassment: Landing an EW combo, especially pre6, is a free passive proc and a hefty chunk of magic damage on top of that (since you're maxing Void Rift). It's slightly harder to land on ranged champions, but vs melee, you can predict their last hitting pattern and nail them with the combo when they walk up to farm. This is a very efficient harrassment combo but is very dependent on you hitting it, so use it sparingly before you get Chalice of Harmony.
  • Farming: From as early as level 2 onwards, an EW combo across the back line of caster minions will oneshot them. This can be useful if forced to farm under tower or if your lane matchup benefits from you pushing hard.
  • Buff/dragon/baron securing: Organic Deconstruction is practically a mini smite and can make claming blue buff when your jungler offers it very fast. When competing over a buff and a Smite is not present, your EW combo will often be able to secure the buff for yourself. I often try to coincide this combo with my jungler's Smite during fights at dragon and baron as it makes it much more difficult for the enemy jungler to steal away.

- (QEW)
Your QEW combo is very similar to your EW combo except it's more catered to landing an EW in a 1v1 scenario. Using the slow from Plasma Fission makes your Tectonic Disruption a lot more forgiving and if you're able to follow up with a second Void Rift can result in a second passive proc.

You can also use the Q to manoeuvre your opponent into running into your EW. Controlling your opponent in such a way is vital to coming out on top in some matchups.

- (QWER)
Your QWER combo is your kill combo when following up from CC provided from a ganking teammate or from initiation at the start of a teamfight. Opening with QW gets early damage down and doesn't interupt your teammate's CC early, before the E and immediate Life Form Disintegration Ray guarantees as much of your ult damage as possible to land. Saving your E to later in your combo is key to keeping the CC down for longer on your target. This combo is also what makes Vel'Koz so strong in a pick comp, practically guaranteeing a kill on a CC'd carry.

This combo can also be used effectively when kiting backwards, using your Q to constantly slow and your W for free passive procs as they chase. When you determine the timing is right (ie you have CDs ready, have their team lined up or have teammates on hand) you can knock up your pursuers with Tectonic Disruption and nuke them down with Life Form Disintegration Ray.

- (QEWR)
This combo is the same with or without the Q - it's simply the combo you'll generally be using to all-in an opponent in a 1v1 scenario. This opens the same way you'd be harrassing with an EW or QEW combo, but if you determine your enemy is low enough and is without his summoners - let rip with Life Form Disintegration Ray!

- (QW)
This is primarily a kiting combo used against enemies who are chasing you down. Keep them slowed with your Plasma Fission and immediately follow up with Void Rift for free passive procs (assuming they're still chasing while slowed). This can also be used when you're chasing someone down, especially if they're running directly away from you.


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Winning/Even Matchups

In this section I'm going to list the matchups that Vel'Koz should be able to win or at very least go even against. In these matchups you will definitely have 1v1 kill potential and should transition into a very strong midgame.

Although it might not seem like it, for Kassadin to make a play on you he has to put himself almost entirely in a position where he can catch your entire combo. Pre6 laning should be trying to minimise poke onto yourself from Null Sphere and generally bullying him as he tries to CS. Once you're both level 6, you should have a Chalice of Harmony, and should be feeling better about sitting back and spamming abilities to farm at range. From this position, Kassadin has no choice but to Riftwalk up to you in order to fight you. With this knowledge, a Kassadin will either play the farm game with you or constantly try to get in your face, so saving your Tectonic Disruption for when Riftwalk is on cooldown is a must. After Kassadin Riftwalks at you, immediately give him the QEW combo, and if he used Null Sphere in his combo, follow up with your ult. You'll get either summoners or a kill off him. Only ult when you KNOW Null Sphere is down as it interupts channeled abilities.

Katarina isn't the easiest lane for Vel'Koz but an experienced Vel'Koz player should be able to deal with her. Early on you need to avoid harrass where possible and try to hit 6 before she does (if you don't it's not a big deal but if she tries to all in you before your 6 you won't kill her.) The trick to winning this lane is to avoid her harrass and bait her all in. In order to do the most damage to you she needs to use Death Lotus, so you sit on your Tectonic Disruption until she uses it, immediatelly following with a EWQR combo. If you use your E to waveclear make sure to step back until it's back up. You need to try and combo her as soon as she ults and/or when Shunpo is down. Forcing her Flash with your jungler's help also makes it easier to find the right window to kill her. I recommend taking Barrier over Heal into this matchup as the mobility won't really help you and she'll probably take Ignite. The key is to bait with as much hp as you can, so you need the summoner spell with the most damage soak.

Swain is a nice matchup for Vel'Koz once you get your ult. He has the potential to bully you pre 6, however if you catch a Nevermove a good way to trade back efficiently is hit him with an EWQ combo as he walks up to cast the rest of his combo. Most Swains will go on you when they hit Nevermove so use this to your advantage. This is one matchup you absolutely NEED Morellonomicon so you're gonna have to be a bit more conservative with spells as the mana regen will be lower. Post 6, you can straight up kill him with a bit of poke followed by your full combo. In general, you can play further back than the range of his spells and farm with superior waveclear so you shouldn't be bullied too hard once you have your mana regen item and/or blue buff.


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Losing Matchups

In this section I'm going to list the matchups that Vel'Koz should have difficulty surviving in a 1v1 scenario or where you may find your power spikes delayed. In these matchups you may well need jungle assistance and should be prepared to play extremely passively to maximuise your midgame impact.

Pre 6, Ahri isn't too much of a threat, provided you can maintain positioning advantage on her so as to not catch her Charm. However, as soon as she hits level 6 you need to freeze the lane at your tower and sit in your caster minions, as her ult will almost guarantee that she hits her Charm and therefore full combo. In some cases you can land your E and follow up with a combo to scare her away (provided she has charmed, use your ult) but most of the time even hitting your E won't stop her from using her ult charges to kill you. Call for jungle pressure, this matchup is easier once you get the Ahri on the back foot. Building a Rylais 2nd and Void 3rd can help in this matchup as the HP will help give you some survivability.


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Some example builds/games of mine:

VS a Katarina
VS a Lux
VS an Orianna
VS a Katarina
VS an AP Tristana
Random support Vel'Koz 1
Random support Vel'Koz 2

I just reached Plat after going on this romp with Vel'Koz (there were some other champions in between but I didn't carry as hard on many of them):


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Summary + Changelog

Thanks for reading! I'll add new sections soon~

12/06/2014 - Published; added earlygame phase guide
13/06/2014 - Added midgame phase guide
04/08/2014 - Updated for Patch 4.13, added sample post-game section, added Vel'Koz patch changelog, added combo section, added Winning/Even Matchups section (still WIP)
05/08/2014 - Updated and fixed an error in the skill order
06/08/2014 - Updated the masteries I take in the Utility tree
12/08/2014 - Updated runes and masteries in the quick view section and the main guide. Also cleared up early items vs strong laners. Fixed skill order mistake in main guide. Added a clarification about Null Sphere
16/08/2014 - Added matchup guide for Katarina
04/09/2014 - Added matchup guide for Ahri and Swain
27/10/2014 - Added a picture of my match history as I reached plat in the last few days
27/01/2015 - Updated for S5 and patch 5.2!
12/03/2015 - Updated for patch 5.5, added information about Luden's Echo!
24/05/2015 - Updated for patch 5.9, added cheat sheet and runepage for Movespeed Vel'Koz build and added clarifying info about Athene's Unholy Grail. Also fixed (removed) bugged final build section. Final builds can be found in the cheat sheets or in the match history.
26/05/2015 - Updated the Deathcap section in the Items chapter.