Vladimir Build Guide by WellWisher
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This guide explains how I use Vladimir in 5v5. Following this build will enable you to dominate in mid lane often, while still remaining viable and menacing if your top and bottom lanes are faltering. (Keep in mind that if there is feeding going on no amount of knowledge or skill will keep you from loosing).
I think of Vladimir as a "support" and off-tank initiator for two reasons. First off his Hemoplague can enable other carries to destroy squishies quicker, and secondly because he isn't like Annie; Transfusion is really his only nuke. Vladimir does not get the same amount of utility out of building straight up AP as casters like Annie do.
Yes, Vladimir can be very successful as an AP nuke carry, but honestly other carries are better for that and furthermore you can never go wrong with tankiness, especially late game!
You will get kills. You will die rarely. You will assist your team better than going AP nuke, and you will farm nearly as well as AP nuke Vlad. It's all about the CDR and health stacking here.
Important: please note that upon acquiring Rabadon's Deathcap your health will be around 4200
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration are necessary to make your Q harassment effective.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction are absolutely necessary. With Ionian Boots you become a huge menace in solo lane with your Q and a good pusher/farmer with your Tides of Blood. Also, late game when you max out your Sanguine Pool, the cool down will be low enough to do it twice within a single team fight. By building health you should survive long enough to do it twice.
Greater Seal of Regeneration can be replaced with Greater Seal of Vitality. The bonus AP provided by Vlad's Crimson Pact is negligible with health seals, so that alone is not a strong enough argument for getting them. I used to use Greater Seal of Evasion but I found they did not help me enough. At level ten Greater Seal of Regeneration runes basically give you a free pendent of regrowth.
Quintessence of Ability Power help your early game, but Quintessence of Vitality are absolutely viable, too. Since we are stacking health getting some ability power from your Quintessences is nice. You also get an unimpressive 27 bonus health from Quintessences of Potency at level 1 due to Crimson Pack.
Focus on that defensive mastery tree. We are going for an off-tank build. You want to be up there tanking damage and taking attention away from your squishies (e.g., Ashe, Gangplank, Sona, etc.)
The extra health from Veteran's Scars is nice. Together with the extra health from your quints + innate you will start the game with a bonus 75 health. Not bad!
Obviously taking Archaic Knowledge with your Greater Mark of Magic Penetration will help that Transfusion cause some hurting.
This section is very important!
Start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion. Use the boots to move in and out, getting your Transfusion off on them whenever you can. Take note, some champions (e.g., Ashe with her Frost Shot) can counter this behaviour, dealing more damage to you than you can return with this manoeuvres. Do not worry if you use your first potion quickly. You were just testing your opponents and now you know where you stand. Your pots should last you at bare minimum until level 5/6. If they have been used earlier than that, then you are failing and things are likely to get worse.
Hextech Revolver = 1200 Gold
Rush your Hextech Revolver. I cannot stress this enough. If you have been doing well in lane you can probably kill your opponent with your Hemoplague, Transfusion, Ignite, Sanguine Pool combo. Check their HP before doing this and use Flash to get in range. Often you can kill them before they react with a Flash of their own. If you do not kill them, don't fret. Get that Hextech Revolver and start dominating your lane.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity = 700 Gold (when upgraded from Boots of Speed)
Hextech Revolver and Ionian Boots of Lucidity together = 1900 Gold
Note: If you can, hold out until you get 1900 gold. If you go back and get Hextech Revolver and Ionian Boots in one go you will be far ahead of your opponent. However, if your opponent goes back for whatever reason and at that moment you have 1200 gold (or very close to it), go back and get your Hextech Revolver! You need to get this item if they go back and get items, else you will be dominated!
After Hextech Revolver you should be able to farm like a boss. When you get them to go back again, or conversely when you kill them, go back to get Ionian Boots of Lucidity. With those boots and your CDR runes, you should be able to Q every 4 seconds or so. This is annoying as hell for them. Farm and push! Unless if they have a stun, don't be afraid to take a turret hit in order to Q them.
Giant's Belt = 1110 Gold
Next rush Warmog's Armor. If you need to go back before then get your Giant's Belt and anything else you can afford towards Warmog's Armor. Buy a sight ward or two each time you go back, especially if you are pushing that ***** in mid hard!
After Warmog's Armor get another Giant's Belt. Now you are one tanky jerk, and you have over 100 AP due to your innate. Farm, get kills, help out in team fights and get that Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
By this point in the game your team is either winning and you can get that Needlessly Large Rod and change it into a Rabadon's Deathcap, or else your loosing and the game will end before you have time to even get the Rod.
Leave your final slot open for warding and for a situational item. In the end you should have around 4.5k health, meaning that an item like Thornmail will really wreak their AD carries as they chew on you. As for their AP carries, most of them will waste their time if they nuke you. They might half your health but in the mean time you'll be Transfusion their friends, Sanguine Pool away, and Transfusion their minions.
Vladimir is weak early on. If your opponent is bad you can Transfusion them from level 1-5 without taking more damage than you are dealing. If they are good then you must hang back, avoid skill shots and use your Transfusion, E and auto attacks to weaken minions and last hit!
Use your boots to Transfusion at the correct moment (e.g., after Volley). Run in and Transfusion that ****! Last hit with your auto attacks. Save that Transfusion if you can to hit your opponent in lane. Auto attack if they are pushing hard (e.g, Caitlyn's auto attacking or Malzahar's Null Zone). You want to make sure that the minion wave never/rarely gets to your turret. If it does it means last hitting will be harder and potential gold will be lost.
Assuming you have not died, once you get your revolver you should be able to deal more damage to them than they can do to you when factoring in your healing. At this point you want to push up to their turret to cause them to loose gold due to the turret. Use your Tides of Blood as quickly as possible to last hit hard and destroy those minions! If they have a jungle(er) that you are afraid of do not do this. However, with a ward in either of the bushes close to mid lane, and your W, you should be able to push hard with confidence.
Bring Ignite because you become more formidable in lane with it. Also, Hemoplague plus ignite can catch an opponent off-guard and guarantee a kill.
Bring Flash because it's amazing. With this build you can still AP nuke: Flashing onto a weak opponent and dropping everything on them usually gets you a kill or two in game. If you are confident, Flashing into the opposing team, using your Hemoplague, dropping all your other spells and then Sanguine Pool often causes massive confusion and good results in a team fight. It can, conversely, cause death if your team is not well organized or if they are unable to hit the opposing team's carries in time. Be prudent!
Ghost is also viable. Many pros use Ghost and Flash. With a lot of health and your Sanguine Pool you should be good in terms of surviving ganks, so Ghost is not necessary here. But if you feel an offensive Ghost into top or bottom lane get's you the kills, then my all means go for it!
I wouldn't take any other summoner spells. You could make a case for Teleport, perhaps. I wouldn't go there.
Max your Transfusion out as quickly as possible to reduce the cool down on it while increasing your main damage source.
I get Transfusion again at level 3 before getting Sanguine Pool because Sanguine Pool should be unnecessary at this point. Their jungler is unlikely to gank you while he is level 2, and you should not be getting so badly owned as to need a Sanguine Pool.
Tides of Blood has nice farming capabilities, and it allows you to really counter someone who is pushing your lane hard! Be cognizant of the fact that your Tides of Blood costs you health to cast. Remember, you do not want your turret hitting minions and absorbing potential gold, so if someone is pushing you, push back with your Tides of Blood. Furthermore, if they blue pill and you decide not to go back, use E and Transfusion to push the lane hard, thereby destroying their potential gold and experience.
I max out Sanguine Pool last because the main utility of this skill is it's escape capabilities. The best part about leveling it up is getting it's cool down lower. But before you get higher CDR with your runes and boots, and before you get enough health to last long enough to use it twice, it really isn't worth maxing out. Be warned, it also costs you 20% of your current health, so in all honestly you shouldn't be using it often at all during lane phase.
When in a team fight do poke at opponents with your Transfusion. Due to your Sanguine Pool, opponents have little inclination to return substantial fire. You can also heal up what any one person dishes out. When a team fight does occur be sure to be in front of your squishies, but beside or behind your tank.
You want to take damage.
You need to get your Hemoplague off on at least 2-3 opponents in the back.
You want to Tides of Blood everyone.
You want to Sanguine Pool when you are half health.
Upon using Sanguine Pool re-evaluate the team fight. If you are winning feel free to stay and Tides of Blood then Transfusion as quick as possible. If it seems even or worse, move as far away as possible, Transfusion, and then run if things look bleak. If it isn't on cool down, Flash might be appropriate at this time.
Never let minions reach your turret. Try as best you can to divert minions to the sides of mid lane just long enough for your next minion wave to come. That there is potential gold!
Use your Sanguine Pool wisely. Using it too early causes unnecessary death. Conversely, using it quickly after everything else in a 2v1 (in your favour) can give you the CC you need to kill a hoe.
Use your Sanguine Pool wisely!!! If you are being turret dove Q, and only W after being hit! If you W before being hit the turret will not focused your opponent and you will die without justice. If you wait for them to hit you before Sanguine Pool, if they then stick around taking turret while you are pooled, and if you Transfusion them again upon re-materializing, you should die in peace, knowing that the tower diving ***** got theirs!