Vladimir Build Guide by BarbecueRibs
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.
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.
Hi, my name is BarbecueRibs and this is the first guide I've written on Mobafire. I've read a lot of Mobafire guides when I started playing, and hopefully I can give back to the community by leaving some useful tips for newer players, or experienced ones, who are looking to improve their Vladimir skills. If theres anything you'd like me to change or edit, please leave a comment. I currently have jhoijhoi's "Making A Guide" opened in a tab, so hopefully I won't end up with a huge chunk of black and white text.
I've played ~2300 games this season ~550 in ranked and the rest in normals. Currently 1928 ELO on NA server. My name in game is also BarbecueRibs.
Edit: Damn masteries pictures so complex
The Crimson Reaper Pros/Cons
So why play Vladimir?
- Extremely high damage output
- Doesn't use mana or energy to cast spells
- Gets tanky from building AP
- 2 second trollpool
- Amazing teamfight presence
- High skillcap (which could be bad)
- Very poor early game
- 2/4 spells cost health
- Certain matchups destroy Vladimir
- Timing of pool is crucial
- Weak vs DoTs (damage over time Torment), Instant CC (like Nether Grasp), and tethers (like Drain)
Quintessences. I find these to be the best quints to use on Vlad, as movement speed is such an important stat. It helps with chasing, escaping, positioning, running back to lane, just about anything. With a base movespeed of 310, Vladimir isn't exactly Usain Bolt and with most melee bruisers running 315+, you won't be able to kite them at all. With 4.5% from quints and 3% from the defence masteries, Vlad starts with 387 movespeed (assuming you started with boots) = win unless they have a dash. These babies are expensive though, at 2050 a pop.
I prefer running MR (either flat or scaling) on Vladimir vs. any AP and AP/level vs AD. However, you can switch these out for some form of AP if you want.
I don't recommend any sort of yellows vs another. Armor is always good, as vlad is usually close to the heart of fights, but Cooldown works too.
Magic pen and flat AP are good. Your choice.
I'm still grappling with the ability to put pictures of the actual mastery tree into the guide, I'll be working on that when I have some free time. Until then, I'll only have little icons.
Which masteries should I choose?
Masteries play a huge role in League of Legends, as that slight edge on your opponent makes a world of difference. Here are the masteries I use on Vlad and why.
- Summoner's Wrath An additional 5 AP and 5 AD when you use your ignite. Great little bit of free damage, in addition to better last hitting. Also buffs your Ghost. 2 birds with 1 stone.
- Mental Force MOAR AP
- Sorcery MOAR CDR. But really, Vlad benefits extremely well from CDR. His Transfusion has a 4 second cooldown at rank 5 and his Tides of Blood has a 4.5 second cooldown at rank 5. The more CDR, the faster you can spam, and the more DPS you can output.
Magic pen is good, specially when you're roflstomping and people start to build magic resist.
I tend to only take 9 in offence to get the full use of the defence tree, but 21/9/0 is good as well. Just take everything that amplifies magic damage
Probably the best tree of the 3. I generally get at least 9 points of this no matter who I'm playing, as the bonus health and armor/magic resist is just too good not to get.
6 free MR or armor. This is extremely useful, expecially early game, where resistances are low, and the extra stats are more powerful. To those who do not know how Magic Resist and Armor works:
When you buy a chain vest, for example, the game converts that 45 armor into % damage reduction. However, the amount of % reduction you get decreases the more of the stat you have. For example, if you had 0 armor/MR, you would have 0% damage reduction. If you bought a Thornmail (+100 armor) you would have ~50% damage reduction. Let's say you bought another Thornmail for some reason (+100 armor again), your % reduction would go from 50% to ~65%. Despite buying the same amount of armor, you got 50% reduction from 1 Thornmail and only 15% from the other Thornmail.
Health helps you survive burst a little better, and gives you a bit of early game advantage over someone who doesnt have the health. Plus, it adds to your passive.
That little bit of regen to help your lane sustain.
Extra movespeed is always good. It makes your life a lot easier by giving you the power to outrun a lot of champions. After getting your Hextech Revolver it becomes a lot easier to keep yourself above 70%.
The extra CDR is really nice.
That 2 damage reduction is huge, as it works on everything (except true damage I think). Really effective against minion aggro when you're harassing and helps with autoattacks/abilities.
- Juggernaut The 3% bonus health is great, as Vlad's passive Crimson Pact gives him a lot of health. The 10% CC reduction is also great, as thats what usually leads to my death when I play Vladimir. Damn Infuse.
There isn't really much in this tree that would benefit Vladimir. But if you're a diehard 9/0/21 or 21/0/9 kind of guy heres a little analysis.
- Summoner's Insight Well if you took flash then I guess this is okay.
- Good Hands Actually quite useful. That 10% lower death timer could be the difference between a comeback 1v5 pentakill win or a loss. Highly unlikely. But possible.
- Expanded Mind Mana on Vlad... If you took this I'll slap you.
- Improved Recal Great for getting around faster. Could save your *** if youre getting chased and try a sneaky teleport back.
- Swiftness A great 2% movespeed buff that is permanent.
- Meditation Mana regen = dumb idea.
- Scout 5% vision ward range doesnt really change much. If you really want to see more, place better wards.
- Greed / Wealth Extra pot early game. Not so useful late game compared to other choices. You don't need gp10 anyways.
- Transmutation With the nerfs to spellvamp over the last year or so, this one mastery is quite good. Helps with lane sustain a lot.
- Runic Affinity Generally speaking Vlad doesn't get a lot of buffs. Blue tends to go to champs to use mana because they benefit from Blue buff the most, and red goes to the ad carry.
- Awareness Seldom use it. Seems pretty mediocre.
- Sage Definitely not worth the point.
- Strength of Spirit Yay an extra 0 hp regen.
- Intelligence CDR. Great stat to get on Vlad.
- Mastermind Flash more. Ghost more. Ignite more.
Long *** cooldowns. Game changing. Pick these
You should always take these spells. Ignite Is a great spell for securing kills or adding that bit of damage to put you ontop in a fight. Scales with the %damage increase from your ulti too.
The real question is
Flash OR Ghost
Honestly, they are both great on Vlad. I've used both in the past and still can't decide between them. I find that Flash feels more natural and more versatile, but that's because I run flash on 95% of the champions. Choose whichever one feels better.
Exhaust is okay if youre fighting a very burst oriented champ like Veigar
Cleanse Even though Vlad always gets set on fire by the guys on the other team, I don't find that cleanse is more useful than Ignite. Besides, it doesnt remove the heal debuff on Ignite, only the damage. Great against CC.
Heal For baiting people, surviving burst, saving teammates. Problem is everyone takes Ignite top lane and mid lane nowadays. Keep in mind that you CANNOT HEAL WHILE IN POOL
Teleport Extremely useful for dragon control and for counterganking. Most people don't know how to use it properly. Also has a painfully long cooldown. Try to cast this somewhere safe, so the channel doesn't get interrupted.
Vladimir has one of the most well known skillsets in the game. And one of the most QQ'd about.
MOAR AP = MOAR HEALTH = WIN
Kind of like Jax's old passive.
Gets health for building AP. It's simple, and makes Vlad a fearsome lategame carry.
Transfusion This is your bread and butter. Harass, sustain, farm built into 1 no cost package. The only problem is the CD at rank 1 is horrendous. Max first for increased damage/healing and lower CD.
Sanguine Pool When someone says Vlad, the first thing that comes to mind is his. This seperates the good Vlad players from the great ones. Knowing when to pool can turn the tides of a fight. Use it to escape, to absorbe nukes, to buy time for your other cooldowns, etc. Heals for quite a bit if you use it under several champions or creeps. Never use this to cs. EVER. You have Tides of Blood for that. It is up to you to decide whether to use it to dodge abilities like Primordial Burst or to use it to deal AOE damage in teamfights. Costs 20% of your current health so be careful with it. Also be aware that this ability prevents you from being targeted by allied heals, such as Wish and prevents you from using summoner spells such as Heal. ALSO, gives you a 1 second movespeed buff.
Tides of Blood A great endgame nuke. Weak early on but scales well into late game. Try to keep this at 4 stacks going into teamfights, but be wary of your healthbar. During teamfights you should be constantly spamming this.
Hemoplague Amplifies all damage. Use it at the beginning of a fight in order to increase your team's damage output. Scaling is decent and base damage is poor. Try to land this on as many enemies as possible.
When I started playing League of Legends, I would always follow the builds on Mobafire word for word. This is not the right way to play. No situation is ever going to be the same, you're not going to fight the same champion or team comp every game. Your build has to constantly adapt to the demands of each match, based on your opponents.
SO MANY SHOES
Boots are essential in every game, as movespeed is an extremely important stat. Tier 2 boots are all situational, and you have to learn when to buy which pair.
Boots of Speed You should ALWAYS get these as a starting item. +50 movespeed helps you farm, harass, roam, and escape ganks.
Ninja Tabi Good vs autoattackers and AD champions in general. The 10% damage reduction on basic attacks is really nice. Helps you lane vs champions like Riven and Tryndamere or play against heavy AD comps.
Mercury's Treads Good ol mercs. The most expensive pair of boots in the game, and for a good reason. That one stat everyone wants: tenacity. The CC reduction is a lifesaver and the 25 Magic Resist is a nice perk. If you're always dying to combo oriented champs like Zyra, you'll probably want to pick up a pair of these.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity Offers 15% CD reduction. Moar spam = moar deeps.
Sorcerer's Shoes Helps all your spells hit harder. If you have enough CDR from other items/runes/masteries, these are pretty good, and make you hit a lot harder against low MR enemies.
Boots of Swiftness For those times when you feel like a fatty.
Rabadon's Deathcap CORE on any AP. Not only does this item give the highest AP in the game, it also increases your AP by 30%!. MOAR AP = MOAR DEEPS. This item is especially good on Vlad, as your max health will get a significant boost. This turns you into that tanky beast we all love to hate. Like Teemo.
Hextech Revolver Best item for lane sustain. It's fairly cheap at 1200 gold and offers spell vamp. QQ moar, heal moar. Also compensates for the health cost of Tides of Blood.
Zhonya's Hourglass OP active on Vladimir. Let's you go into fights like an invincible AOE burst sustain AP MONSTER. 4 seconds of invulnerability in total (kind of) and unlike Sanguine Pool, you cannot take any damage when in Stasis. Yeah F U ignite. Also grants 100AP and some handy armor.
Pretty much every other item is situational. I'll explain my thought process behind them. I'm not going to include any items that deal with mana, or mana regen for obvious reasons.
AP and MR in one item. The aura is really useful as Vladimir has fairly short range. If your #1 cause of death is magic damage, you should really consider buying this item. Discuss who is going to buy it with your team, as the aura doesn't stack.
Great if anyone on the other team is stacking solely health and not a lot of resists ( Dr. Mundo), or if you really need to burst down that pesky AD. The 15% CDR lets you spam more too. Stacks with Hemoplague so DFG will be hitting extremely hard late game.
Gives AP, health and Flat Magic Penetration. Penetration is a very valuable stat (lol). Every AP mid starts with 30 MR (unless they have MR runes/masteries) and if you run M.Pen runes, youll be able to penetrate all of their MR. Combine this with Abyssal Scepter, Sorcerer's Shoes and runes/masteries for MAXIMUM PENETRATION. Because resistances don't scale linearly, penetrating low MR opponents increases your damage A LOT. If you pen all their MR, you'll be doing true damage and if you pen more (almost if they had negative MR), you actually do increased damage, as negative MR gives you a negative damage reduction.
This item is mostly for mid game, and you should sell it for something more powerful later on, if all your item slots are full.
This is an amazing item on Vladimir, as he can use the passive very effectively. It increases your burst by a lot, gives MOVESPEED YEAH and MR too. I said that I wouldn't cover any items that give mana stats. I lied. This is the one exception. It's not as important as Zhonya's Hourglass or Rabadon's Deathcap and it's quite an expensive item to build, which is why I don't get to use it as often as I'd like.
The slowing passive is great on Vladimir, because he can spam Transfusion and Tides of Blood at different intervals, and keep the slow on his target. Gives you a lot of chasing power, damage, and survivability. In my opinion Zhonya's Hourglass is still more useful, but if the enemy isn't stacking MR, get this as your 3rd big item.
A surprisingly good item. For someone who is healing himself constantly with his spells, this item is a decent buy. It isn't seen often because it doesn't build into anything and is mostly for midgame. Also helps against AP, as it gives health and MR.
40% Pen. If the enemy starts loading up on MR because you're wasting them every fight, buy this.
I generally don't build this item until I've filled every other slot. The upgrade from Hextech Revolver is expensive and only benefits AP and casters. If you have AP jungle/top lane then by all means, this is a solid item.
Less Common Items
This is an all around good defensive item. Not too good on Vladimir, as your goal is to deal lots of damage. Supports tend to have very little gold, even with gp10, and every team needs at least 1 of these. If you can't convince your jungle or top to pick this up, pick one up yourself. It makes your entire team tankier in teamfights, and gives a little AD as a bonus.
Okay I lied again. You should almost never buy this item, unless you have habit of eating Enchanted Crystal Arrow to the face/cant get enough of Blitzcrank's man hands AND can't use Sanguine Pool at all.
Good item if you're laning vs. Riven or something. Very cost efficient item. Stack 2 if you're getting abused really hard.
If youre REALLY having trouble with AP champs on the other team, you might want to consider this item. Most MR in the game, along with a passive that has great synergy with Vladimir's innate tankiness. MOAR MOVESPEED.
If you find that 4 seconds of immunity isn't enough, then this is your item. Makes you one tanky son of a ***** (1 of 2 items that give both MR and armor) and a second chance if you somehow find yourself with 0 health...
If you're raping n00bs all day long, or if you like to take a risk. Otherwise don't get it. Vlad does the most damage when he throws himself into the middle of fights. Think long and hard...
50AP is weaksauce. Tenacity is great but if you find yourself needing tenacity, get merc treads. Sell this item lategame.
Not seen that much anymore, after the nerfs. Still useful vs CC and debuffs like Ignite or Exhaust. If you're getting pooped on by Malzahar or Warwick or Urgot or Skarner, then pick one up.
If you want to get an early Heart of Gold then this is a really good item to build. It's good on any champion, but only get this if their team is heavy AD and your's is too cheap to buy one.
Makes you sparkle.
For those times when their team is 5 AD and they always focus you.
This item should almost never be built on Vladimir. We don't care about health because it's much easier to get health from AP then vice versa. After 100 painstaking cs stacking this fat*** of an item, you get 1 270 health and 31.75 AP. 31.75 AP... The survivability is nice, but you have more than enough just by building straight AP. When the enemy sees you buy this, they're going to pick up a Deathfire Grasp. Bam. 2000HP gone from 1 item active.
Oh yeah, always buy a few wards when you go back to buy. Wards win games.
Farming is the most important thing for never Vlad players to get used to. His autoattack range is really small, his autoattack animation is horrendous, and his base damage is terrible. Fortunately, you'll end up farming with Tides of Blood when you get enough AP.
I cannot stress this enough:YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO LAST HIT WITH AUTOATTACKS Your early laning is terrible and you need to get your Hextech Revolver ASAP. If you fumble with his autoattacks, you're going to end up farming a lot with your q, which lets the other laner harass you freely. The heal on Transfusion scales off ap and not damage dealt so hitting the enemy will heal you the same amount as minions.
Vladimir has great sustained damage, and you don't want to be standing there with your pants down while your CDs are up. After you cast a Q or E, move around to avoid skillshots and to keep melee champions away from you. Uses bushes to your advantage by breaking line of sight and buying some time for your abilities to come back up. Sanguine Pool secretly grants a 1 movespeed buff that decays over that 1 second, which can help you kite melee champions more effectively. Think of how Ashe should be played. She autoattacks, then runs away while waiting for her autoattack to come back up. Hit and run. Hit and run. Hit and run. The same thing applies to Vladimir, except you use your abilities instead of auto attacks.
When a teamfight erupts, your basic combo is Hemoplague > Tides of Blood > Transfusion > Ignite > Sanguine Pool > Tides of Blood > Transfusion > Zhonya's Hourglass
Try to aim for the most valuable target, either AP or AD carry. Vladimir can soak up a lot of damage with his health and should generally act like a bruiser. You're not a tank, and if you're getting focused too hard, sanguine pool or flash/ghost to safety. You should always try to analyze teamfights to see what is safe, and what is crazy. Keep in mind that a dead vladimir does no damage.
I'll try to explain how I play against some common matchups/counter picks. Most matchups against champions with skillshots can be won by dodging skillshots, or by absorbing a huge nuke with pool. These skills can only be acquired through practice, so get out there and practice, practice, practice.
General tips for dodging skillshots
Always stay moving. In laning, run around in between last hits to keep your movements unpredictable.
RESIST THE URGE TO BOOK IT TOWARDS YOUR TURRET
For example, when Brand casts Pillar of Flame, you should run towards him, not away from him. It is natural for you to want to run away when the other mid tries to harass you, or when you are in danger, but the other mid knows this. Calm yourself, run in an unpredictable direction, and juke the spell.
**** this guy. Master tactician. The ultimate counterpick to Vlad. His combination of Ravenous Flock (sustain), Decrepify (tether), and Torment (DoT) deals much more damage then your Transfusion and Tides of Blood. The only thing you can do is try to farm safe, and spam pings at your jungler to come help you out. Never engage him 1v1. Get some spell vamp immediately and be prepared to spam Transfusion on creeps. Dodge his AOE snare Nevermove or you are screwed. If he knows how to last hit, he will be able to continually spam Torment at you.
If possible, switch lanes.
This guy isn't as bad as Swain but is still too strong to 1v1. Fortunately I rarely see him played anymore. His Terrify > Dark Wind > Drain will out sustain you, and out damage you. His Drain is a tether so RESIST THE URGE TO USE Sanguine Pool. At 6, he can nuke you with his Crowstorm. Buy lots of wards and call ALL you MIAs. He's an easy gank if you can bait out the Terrify.
She used to be okay, because the animation speed of her sigil of silence was a lot slower. Ever since Riot buffed it, dodging her Q>R combo with pool became extremely difficult. If you have 10 Ping, or are a master of using Sanguine Pool, this lane isn't hard. Otherwise, call all MIAs and thank Riot for her bad late game.
This depends on the skill of the other player. If she can land her poisons, she will out DPS anyone. Her Petrifying Gaze has a rather long cast animation. Listen for the scream and try to pool it. If your jungler comes and ganks, DO NOT CHASE HER INTO BUSHES IF SHE IS 6.
Try to dodge as many skillshots as possible. Is she misses one, you have a small ~3 second window of opportunity to go in for some harass. When she gets blue buff you're going to have a lot of fun dancing around in lane. Coordinate with your jungler and try to prevent her from getting blue buff.
You win pre 6. When she hits 6 she will out damage you and cannot be kited due to her stacks of R. Your Tides of Blood will hit her while she is in shroud. Abuse her before 6 and call for some help after. Early, use autoattacks in combination with Transfusion for some powerful harass.
You win pre 6 IF you can dodge Flash Frost. You lose after she hits 6, because she can easily get the double damage off of Frostbite. Coordinate with your jungler and try to prevent her from getting blue buff. Always keep in mind that she has a passive similar to Guardian Angel. Check to see if it's up before engaging her. Be wary of her wall, as it will block you off even if you're in Sanguine Pool.
You win if she can't stun you. You lose if she can. Her w and ult offer instant CC, so she may use that before casting q.
You cannot fight this floating, sexy beast dancer, 1v1. He has a strong silence, an ability that does %max health damage, a DoT, and suppression. Call for ganks as he isn't very mobile. If your jungler does not have any hard cc, be careful as he might try to turn and combo you.
Easy lane if you can dodge skillshots.
Easy if you can dodge skillshots. Try to absorb his ult with your Sanguine Pool.
Fairly uncommon mid. His Rupture and Feral Scream are deadly. Just out sustain him and dodge his q's. Don't underestimate the true damage on his ulti.
Dodge q. Profit. Remember that her Q actually has a curved projectile. If you stand to her left, (or your right), it is a lot easier to dodge it.
Dodge skillshots. Thanks Riot for nerfing the hitbox on his Essence Flux.
Common pick because he has a healing debuff, but he doesn't actually do that well against Vladimir. Everytime he jumps onto you, Transfusion him and start kiting. Keep running while stopping to autoattack whenever possible. You beat him solely because he is melee and because you can autoattack him when he cannot attack you. In addition, you can absord his ult with your Sanguine Pool.
Dodge everything. Win lane. If you can dodge his ulti, even better. Try to farm harder than him, harass him, and scale better than him.
Heal off turrets. OP. If he gets blue, you lose.
You beat him pre 6 and when he doesn't have blue. When he goes to q you, Transfusion him and autoattack him a few times. When he gets blue, you may want to invest in 13 health pots.
Harass her all day. When she jumps on you, q her and move out of melee range. Then autoattack her a few times. She does more initial burst, but you can sustain much better than her, especially with Hextech Revolver. Her ulti lasts 2 seconds. Pool lasts 2 seconds. GG.
Dodge q's. His only guaranteed stun pre 6 is (stack w proc) > Lighting Rush > autoattack > Electrical Surge . If possible, avoid getting hit by his e or avoid getting marked with the w charged autoattack. If you want to be on the safe side, just play passively until he uses his w charged autoattack. Then proceed to play aggresively.
4 skillshots eh? (yeah im Canadian). Dodge skillshots. Win game. Even if you get hit, you get pool her ult. Lux players tend to throw her Lucent Singularity behind you because players tend to run away from enemies when they're under pressure. Ignore this impulse. Run in random directions.
Uncommon. His q spam hurts, especially when he has blue buff. Keep your finger on W and always be alert for his Unstoppable Force. You outsustain him and outscale him.
Stay away from minions. This way, he has to choose from harassing you, or building shield. Careful of his ultimate as it does %health and is a DoT. He trades better than you, but luckily he's one of the easiest champions in the game to gank. He also auto pushes lane due to the AOE nature of his abilities.
One of the easiest lanes for Vladimir, unless you like taking Dark Binding to the face. Just dodge it, as it's a fairly slow projectile, and harass her freely. Push her to her turret, as she cannot last hit under turret effectively.
Very, very even lane. Be unpredictable and dodge her ulti with pool. Concentrate on farming and sustaining. She out trades you due to her strong passive.
My friend loves to play Riven mid, and because of how often he rapes AP mids, I've decided to put riven on here. If you ever have the misfortune of laning against a riven, buy a lot of armor. All her abilities do physical damage. Stack 2 Doran's Shield and get an early Chain Vest. You may want to purchase Ninja Tabi. Other than that, proceed to play Vladimir's favorite game, the sustain game.
He out trades you, but you out sustain him. He will QWEQ you when he gets chance, just Q him and play passive until you Transfusion your health back up. Vladimir always wins the sustain game.
Not a very common pick, but he will destroy you early and midgame. This is where Doran's Shield will come in handy. Buy an early Chain Vest. You outscale him hard. Call for ganks and sustain lane.
She bursts really hard and her ratios are insane. Try to absorb her ultimate with pool. Otherwise just play safe and farm. Her lategame isn't great.
Dodge q and try to engage him when he has his Pick A Card down.
When he tries to stun you, don't give into your instincts and run away. Run into the Event Horizon because you only get stunned by the edges. Be prepared to absorb his Primordial Burst with your pool, AS THAT THING WILL F U UP. If you can dodge that, you'll be fine.
Try to see whether or not he is maxing lazer or Power Transfer. You can still trade with him because his shield returns after a delay and your q does instant damage. Try to dodge his lazer, though sometimes it's invisible (Riot plz fix). Be very careful of his burst at level 6, and his 2 types of cc. Trade all day, and sustain all day.
Dodge skillshots. When he's 6, and you're not confident in your juking abilities, you may want to absorb his e (conditional stun) with your pool, just to avoid getting stunned. His burst at 6 is extremely high. Depending on the player, you may want to call for ganks from your jungle.
Dodge skillshots. Win. Pool ulti.
Dodge snare, heal off plants, pool ulti.
Yeah after going through quite a few champions, I got kind of lazy with my explanations. I'll probably update this section later with more detailed explanations when I have time. If you have any criticisms, leave a comment.
Thanks to jhoijhoi for her "Making a Guide" HERE
And to Ididacactus for doing our Bio homework while I was writing this guide. Send him a friend request to make him feel better. (Hes a lonely man).
Please leave any criticism/feedback. Don't be scared of hurting my feelings... I have asian parents. lol.
Thanks for reading my guide!