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ok, so this week vlad is in cycle. i did not play him because of that though, i played him because he was my main for a while and i wanted to try a new build for him. i never played him as a tank before, so i wasn't comfortable doing that. so instead, i played him as a hybrid tank/dps. i made spell vamp a focus here. you see, when you have a tank that heals with every ability, they are usually a very good tank. with spell vamp added to him, you get that. not to mention that most of his abilities do that anyways, so we just make something good, better. this build makes him what i just described, and you get a huge amount of survivability, while still being able to kick some serious ***.
the runes are pretty straight forward. Vlad doesn't run on mana, but he does run on health. so we give him yellow health runes to accomadate that need. we give him the quints for the same reason, and with those you get some AP to start even without items due to his passive. we give him Ap/lvl blues to help with the lack of AP early game, and then MPen to help with damage output to help you kill. pretty straight forward. you get more survivability, and the ability to deal more damage early.
now, the obvious thing most people will take with Vlad is the nine i put in offense. thats a pretty generally accepted way to do it. the part of him being slightly tanky is where it comes in that the utility might be questioned. if hes a tankish character, why pick up the utility? thats easy. you need the cdr, the bonus exp from awareness, and by doing this you get cooldown reductions on every ability and spell you have. you heal and ghost more, which is never a bad thing. your abilities are off cool down very quickly, as you will need to use them all to get a kill sometimes, and we want them back to heal ASAP, and when you get a buff it stays longer. not to mention the other bonuses you get. so why not pick utility? you are still a dps, and with the ability to heal more often due to the CDR, then you might just live longer due to your heal being off cooldown, or your abilities being off cooldown.
alright. now, this is just how i play Vlad, because i have never liked tides of blood. getting sanguine pool second, the transfusion spam you can do is incredible, not to mention the damage you do. you pool in, slow, and with transfusion, you deal a lot of damage. they did improve tides of blood significantly since i had last checked, so it might be worth picking up at lvl 3, but then you get transfusion first, and sanguine pool, ulti, then tides. i just play him this way, and if you note that transfusion is your only ability to not take your health, then you will then know why.
ok...this is where Vlad really becomes tankish. the frozen heart helps with CDR, and armor. that helps with survivability, not to mention its awesome area debuff for your enemies. then you warmogs armor. this item makes vlad a strong tank. he gets a huge amount of health, which also translates into AP for him, which synergizes with him amazingly. the sorc shoes can be switched for the boots of lucidity, merc treads, really whatever you think will help besides berserkers greaves. its all about preference. Rylais is a basic for Vlad in my opinion, since it works so well with his abilities. it furthers the slow from sanguine pool, adds a slow to every other ability, and also gives health and AP, which means more health and AP, due to his passive. you then get rabadons deathcap to make up for the AP you do not have at this point. it gives you more damage and health, so whats not to like. last but certainly not least is the will of ancients you want. it gives you spell vamp, and and aura that gives 30 AP, not to mention the 50 it gives anyways. you can feel free to put this before rabadons, since it will help with survivability more anyways.
ok, so during this time ive seen a few different sets of summoner spells that work very well with Vlad. exhaust if you pick up the point in offensive is pretty good, ghost is always amazing for him, and so is heal because you run on your hp. flash is good if you prefer it over ghost. ignite is certainly a good option. the other ones arent really worth mentioning, since they do not help vlad.
-you are not squishy, and heal very often, so lane presence in strong.
-you have one of best escapes in the game, sanguine pool.
-you have a good chase tool using sanguine pool as well.
-the spell vamp, and huge amount of hp give you huge survivability, even in team fights.
-people will get pissed with you when you own them so hard. they WILL say horrible things, but people sometimes do that anyways.
-variability for the items you choose is there, since you may want a force of nature, or other shoes, but if you play well, then it wont matter, but could take longer to get items.
now for the stages of play....
ok, so what your gonna want is boots of speed, and three health pots. the health pots keep you in lane, and the boots help you survive, or chase. in this case your only farming tool is gonna be sanguine pool at lvl 2, and maybe tides of blood on third lvl. for lvl 1 you want transfusion. this will be your harass, and is often what i use to last hit minions. i get plenty of gold this way, but if you prefer, you can use tides of blood for that. use transfusion often to harass, you could get an early kill with it.
mid game is basically more farming, but with a few kills here and there. keep using transfusion to harass until you can kill. keep farming and push if you are able. get the items you can, and move onto late game.
Team fights. this is where you start with team fights. you have 3 AOEs when you play vlad. use them, and finish people off with transfusion. thats pretty much what you do, and make sure that you are placed correctly. you can tank, and so can the person designated as tank. go up there with him is you wish, your gonna need to so that your abilities will hit anyways. help the tank out, and lead your team to victory as you take out the nexus, and win the game!
the big thing about Vlad is getting used to using your health as a resource for abilities. and even though people may say its not so bad, it really isnt the easiest thing to get used too. it took me a while to know how much i was using for abilities, and when it was safe and when it wasnt to use certain skills, or when i knew that no matter what i did, i was going to die. that takes getting used too, and that is one of the biggest skills i can advocate. that takes practice, and i cannot tell someone how to get used to it, so if you are serious about playing Vlad, take your time and get a lot of practice under your belt. that will make you all the more well versed with him in a real game, and make you more effective. the only other one is using hemoplague to initiate, and to place it right. if you do that, then you will do just fine with Vlad, and many other champions.
in short, Vlad has many options for builds. but i won a game that was 3v2, and i can tell you that this build works. give it a try, and leave a comment saying if there is anything you think should chance, or if you have suggestions. im always looking for opinions, and i think that it takes all of us to learn a champion. the mobafire community is great at that, and i hope to see some comments down there. if you vote, i appreciate it, if you downvote, please say why so that i can make tweaks to this. Thanks in advance. GL and HF playing Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper!