Vladimir Build Guide by OmegaRain
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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.
Hello Mobafire peoples!
I've been playing Vladimir for quite a while now, and decided to make a guide for how I play him. He's seen some better days with where he stands in terms of power, but if played smart, he can still be a very fun AP Mid (or top.)
This is my first guide on Mobafire, so feel free to leave any feedback, I'll definitely take it into consideration.
Due to Feedback, as well as some Vlad changes I have significantly redone a large portion of the guide. I'd like to hear some feedback on my new builds and would appreciate people actually trying them before they vote on the guide.
Pros / Cons
+Can do a lot of damage in team fights
+People underestimate you, especially with your ult on a delay
+Manaless, no need to worry about running low mid fight.
+Great sustain. (One of the best)
+Decent amount of health and tankiness, especially late game.
+Pretty easy to get CS, especially once you can spam Tides of Blood with some spell vamp
+Great escape with Sanguine Pool
-Not the highest damage out of AP Mids
-Not much CC (Your Sanguine Pool has a slow, but can't always use)
-Unless very fed, usually can't completely nuke anyone
-Almost all your spells damage you
- Ignite and Grievous Wounds are not your friends.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
I choose to use Greater Mark of Magic Penetration MPen marks for Vlad, as on most AP. The closer you are to doing true damage, the better IMO. This combined with Sorcerer's Shoes and Haunting Guise will be cutting through that enemy MR like butter.
Greater Seal of Fortitude:
I use Greater Seal of Health for added beefiness in the early game. They don't offer enough HP to really matter with your passive Crimson Pact though. This also lets you spam your Tides of Blood a bit more without worrying about killing yourself.
Greater Glyph of Focus:
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction Cooldown reduction glyphs so you can be spamming your skills, soakin' up that enemy hp, like the little mosquito Vlad is. You could go with Cooldown reduction per level runes with Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, which I used to prefer, but with my recent changes to this Vlad build, you want your early game to be as strong as possible. These also work nicely with the reduction on cooldown with each point in Transfusion.
Greater Quintessence of Potency:
The early game AP Boost on Greater Quintessence of Ability Power is NICE. Keep in mind these also give you about 30 HP from your passive. Greater Quintessence of Health are an alternative but since Crimson Pact favors the AP -> Health ratio, I'd recommend AP Glyphs.
I'd also like to point out that pretty much any combination of Mpen, CD reduction, and health runes will work well on Vlad, these just seem optimal for my playstyle.
The new mastery trees help non-mana APs (Like Vlad) a TON!
Here we take pretty much everything related to AP in the Offensive tree with 1 point in Summoner's Wrath and 3 in Mental Force , to get the buff duration bonus in Utility, and maxing Sorcery . We put a point in Arcane Knowledge for that sweet Magic Penetration, and 3 in Havoc for some extra damage. We then max Blast which scales pretty nicely, especially with our next mastery Archmage . We finish off the Offensive tree with Executioner for that extra little bit of damage to seal the deal on our level 6 kill.
Not much going on here, just a little bit more utility. 1 point in Summoner's Insight , then maxing Good Hands and Swiftness and putting one point in Runic Affinity for the increased buff duration.
Flash: Faded a bit from the meta, but still extremely useful. Escape, initiate, wall jump. This works especially well with diving under a tower with Sanguine Pool and then Flashing out to avoid death.
Ignite: Extremely useful, does extra damage and shuts down their healing. Works great with your ult Hemoplague and actually does more damage because of it.
Ghost: Similar to Flash a good initiation and escape. Also works well with your Sanguine Pool. A good candidate.
Surge: I honestly haven't tried this. It might be good, the extra AP can help make you a bit burstier. Haven't tried it though so can't recommend.
Keep in mind that these are the items I choose to build. They are not necessarily the best items to build, nor will they work for everyone. These are simply the items that fit my playstyle with Vlad.
I start my build with 1 Amplifying Tome then head mid or top. The bonus AP lets you hit harder, gives you 36 HP, and lets you regain a bit more health from your Transfusion. If you feel that you need a bit more sustain early game, you have enough money to afford a Health Potion, I prefer not to since my sustain is pretty good with Transfusion already.
The next time we go back should be after your lvl 6 skill kill (More details on this later) where, with pretty good cs, you can pick up your Boots of Speed and Hextech Revolver.
If you didn't get the kill, but still had decent CS you can probably still pick up your Hextech Revolver. These two items not only provide your speed, decent AP, and some HP, but also the spell vamp you will need for the majority, if not all, of the game.
Next we finish our Will of the Ancients which fortunately is not that expensive after Hextech. The reason we build this? SPELL VAMP. Vladimir is pretty much a vampire already, not only does this let your Transfusion give more HP back, but it also lets you spam Tides of Blood without it costing anything (With it hitting a decent amount of minions). It also helps cover the cost of Sanguine Pool and Hemoplague if you hit people with them. It synergizes so well with Vlad's entire kit, and I absolutely adore having spell vamp on Vlad. Plus this gives an aura which helps any other spell users on your team.
Rabadon's Deathcap next. Not a lot to say here, a great item for every AP. This gives Vlad a TON of AP, as well as a very good amount of health. A must have.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a good item on Vlad for many reasons. 1. the AP (duh), 2. the health, and 3. (Possibly most importantly) it gives Vlad a slow on the rest of his kit. You might be thinking, "Dude Omega, Sanguine Pool has a slow nub, L2P." and I would respond, "Stay awhile and listen." -Deckard Cain. I use my Sanguine Pool in a need to use basis, meaning, I'm not spamming this spell. Sanguine Pool is used exclusively for team fights, finishing people off, slowing in KEY situations, and escapes. Sanguine Pool is one of Vlad's best moves, and not having to waste it for a slow is very usefull.
If your building this Zhonya's Hourglass, you are either incredibly fed or the game is lasting a very long time. This item makes you tankier through Armor and HP (through Crimson Pact) and gives a good amount of AP, especially with Rabadon's. The best part about this beauty is its active which makes you ROFLcopter as your ult finishes off the Tryndamere that blew his ult a bit too early and tries to hack you to death.
I pick up Guardian Angel as my defensive item late in the game as it provides armor and magic resistance, making you a bit tankier and not as squishy. Not only do these provide the main defensive stats you need (you will already have pretty nice HP for a caster from Rylai's Crystal Scepter as well as from Crimson Pact) but the passive makes you even more impossible to actually kill.
If the team is more AP damage based you may not want to take Zhonya's Hourglass or even Guardian Angel and instead pick up items like Abyssal Scepter or even Spirit Visage for increased Magic Resistance.
"Why Not ____"
Here are my explanations for why I choose not to build certain ways.
Why not pick up Ionian Boots of Lucidity? These are definitely viable. No argument there, they in theory could be better, the extra CD reduction is very nice on Vlad, personally however I prefer a ton of spell pen in my builds. (Too many nightmares of tanks stacking huge MR against me.)
Why not pick up Warmog's Armor? It does give Vlad a large amount of health, but I use this build as a pure AP damage dealer. With this full build you'll still be at around 4.5k health without getting a Warmog's. Any more health is just asking for a Madred's to cut you down. Plus the money we would have spent on a Warmog's goes towards more AP in this build.
Skillz (and how to use them)
A brief rundown of my take on Vladimir's skills.
Crimson Pact: Your passive. This used to truly be the defining mechanism of Vlad, but the ratio's have been nerfed pretty hard. Either way, it grants bonus HP for AP, and bonus AP for HP (they don't stack on themselves). Keep in mind that this ratio strongly favors AP->HP, so don't worry about stacking a ton of Health, just focus on AP, the health will come.
Transfusion: Vlad's bread and butter. His early game damage, his sustain, and his most damaging single target spell. This spell does a decent chunk of damage, returns about 1/3 of it to you, and is free. Max it first.
Sanguine Pool: Vlad's escape, slow, AOE damage, and AOE regen. It breaks projectiles and makes you untargetable for the duration. Has a decently long cooldown, and costs 20% of your current HP. If you are starting a fight you almost always DON'T want to intiate with this, as it will cost 20% of your max HP. You also DON'T want to use this to farm minion waves, unless you are about to go B, or for sure know the enemy team can't get to you for 20 seconds. Your enemies hate this spell, you will love it.
Tides of Blood: An AOE damaging attack. Costs more of your health to use if used in succession, but also does more damage (Good to stack up before going in for an initiation). Not much use early game, a bit extra damage in your fights, but it really starts to shine later on. With some spell vamp its almost always free/gives you health. With a lot of stacks, this spell HURTS late game. Plus it can hit every single champion and minion within 620.
Hemoplague. Your ultimate. You throw down a pool of blood about the size of your Sanguine Pool that puts a DoT on those that are hit. This DoT increases the damage they take by 14% for 5 seconds. After 5 seconds it deals 150-350 magic damage (based on skill level) +70% of your ability power. UPDATE: This spell no longer costs 15% of your health to use! Increases your effective HP in team fights significantly. This is a great Ult to use at the start of team fights, and can completely turn a close fight into a one sided fight. The thing that makes me love this spell is its delayed damage. Very often, you will find people misjudging how much damage they are taking because of this ult. SO MANY TIMES, my enemies have run away with a sliver of health thinking that they are safe, only to be killed by the delayed damage. This combined with Ignite is a true level 6 killer.
The Level 6 Skill Kill
This is just a fun little technique I like to do with Vlad.
I almost always try to hit 6 before my enemy does in lane. Before hitting 6 I harass a little bit, but not too much to get them worried. They usually are around 50-70% health when I hit 6. Right before I hit 6 I start to spam my Tides of Blood to get the stacks up. I also position myself in about the middle of the minion wave, but off to the side so the minions don't block me.
Upon reaching 6 I get Hemoplague and make my move. Throw down the Hemoplague cast your Transfusion first then Tides of Blood followed by Ignite. Get on top of them and use Sanguine Pool if necessary, to slow them down and also do damage. By this point they will either be, A) Dead, B) Running under their tower with a sliver of health, or C) About 25% HP. If A or B is the case you are set, as in situation B, your ultimate and ignite will finish them off. If you are in situation C, then you are still in a pretty good spot because your Transfusion is just coming off cooldown for the finishing blow. That is why it is important to cast Transfusion FIRST.
This works about 80% of the time for me, unless the enemy is very tanky or has massive sustain. Occasionally if they are very bursty you might die in the process but you will get the kill afterward due to Ignite/ Hemoplague which benefits you because you get more money from killing someone who has a kill.
Vladimir is a very fun champion to play with. He isn't the strongest at the moment, but I almost always have a blast playing him. Great sustain, good damage, great teamfighter.
With this guide hopefully you'll be pwnin the noobs and carrying the Rally Revive jungle Soraka on your team. In the words of the great Vladimir, if played correctly, "The rivers will run red."