Vladimir Build Guide by Anvium
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Pros & Cons
Untargetable with Senguine Pool
Immovable during laning
Incredibly powerful late game
Weak early game (fixed with Hextech Revolver and level 4 Transfusion)
Shredded by Madred's Bloodrazor and Deathfire Grasp (fixed with Force of Nature)
The runes listed above are the typical runes for any solo mid AP Carry. If you are in a dual lane (which you shouldn't be), then pick up flat AP seals. If you feel your early game isn't strong enough, pick up some health quints. The rune page I listed above though is probably optimal on vlad though since the health quints only help in early game.
This is so self explanatory. Archaic Knowledge is a given for all AP casters, and Vlad doesn't need the extra defense. Instead, take the 21 points to Utility that don't involve mana. If you decide to take Ghost, then put a point into Haste in the utility tree instead of Blink of an Eye .
There are basically 3 spells that you can choose from. Ignite, Flash, and Ghost.
Ignite is basically mandatory for Vlad because it has amazing synergy with Hemoplague since it gives a 14% boost to any damage done to anybody infected with it. Basically it just boosts Ignite's potential by another 14%. Though it doesn't sound like much, it will finish anybody that gets away for sure since both Ignite and Hemoplague are damage-over-time spells.
Ghost should be picked up to escape with Sanguine Pool. All you do is pop a Ghost, and then a Sanguine Pool. This makes you untargetable, and probably fast enough to get away from your offender. This can also be used offensively if you're just too behind to slow somebody with Sanguine Pool, so you can catch up to the runner and slow him enough for your team to nuke him.
Flash is the best summoner spell overall, and should be pretty much used on everybody in my opinion. It doesn't have synergy with any of Vlad's skills, but it can still be used to unexpectedly Flash in and kill somebody, or to Flash out and pool away. This can also be used to Flash into a turret, burst a champion with low hp, and pool out of turret aim; or Flash over a wall. It's really versatile and great.
(Innate): Every 40 points of bonus health gives Vladimir 1 ability power and every 1 point of ability power gives Vladimir 1.8 bonus health. This bonuses do not stack with themselves.
This is probably the most overpowered passive in the game. This basically means that any AP you get is added as an hp bonus, and vice versa. This makes items like Rabadon's Deathcap and especially Rylai's Crystal Scepter have amazing synergy with Vlad. This is also why you see Vlad with over 3.5k hp by lategame without any defensive items.
(Active): Vladimir drains the lifeforce of his target, dealing magic damage and healing himself.
Upgrade this to 5 first. Once you reach level 4 with this, don't be scared to spam it. This is your main source of harass, and one of your sources of damage.
(Active): Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood for 2 seconds, becoming untargetable and slowing enemies above him by 40% for 1 second. Additionally, he deals magic damage every half second to them and heals himself for 12.5% of the damage done.
Cost: 20% of current health
Radius of AoE: 300 (estimate)
Here's where it gets tricky. Vlad's Sanguine Pool should only be used in certain situations, but never as a damage output. You'll hurt yourself more than the enemy with that enormous cost. Sanguine Pool has great synergy with Ghost if you decide to take it. Just pop a Ghost before you pool, and move away. I prefer Flash though, but it's basically a personal choice. Upgrade this to 5 last.
Sanguine Pool should usually only ever be used to:
Escape a powerful source of damage
Escape turret targeting
Slow an enemy running away
Escape in general
Tides of Blood
(Active): Vladimir unleashes a torrent of blood dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies.
Each cast gives him an Empowered stack which increases his healing and regeneration by 8% per stack for 10 seconds. This stacks up to four times. Additionally, his next tides of Blood deals 25% more damage and costs 50% more health per stack.
Cooldown: 4.5 seconds
Radius of AoE: 620
Tides of Blood is one of your main sources of damage, along with Transfusion. You can use this to farm too in lategame. Just stand in the middle of a minion wave and they'll melt. Max this out second.
(Active): Vladimir infects all enemies in the target area with a virulent plague which increases the damage they take from all sources by 14% for 5 seconds. After these 5 seconds, infected enemies take magic damage.
Cost: 15% of current health
Range to center of AoE: 700
Radius of AoE: 350
Hemoplague boosts all damage done to anybody infected with it by 14%. This is the start of your combo in either the laning phase, or team fights. That 14% boost is needed for that burst if you want to take somebody out. Hemoplague also has great synergy with Ignite, which is why Ignite is absolutely necessary for Vlad. If you thought Ignite was good as is, just imagine it with an added 14% damage. The Hemoplague + Ignite combo will pretty much kill somebody if they got away with a few health remaining.
Don't spam Hemoplague. It's only good if you follow it up, and it shouldn't be wasted on one person anyway, unless you're solo laning. In a team fight, aim for 3 people when they group up.
You should always start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions. Another popular starting build is an Amplifying Tome with one Health Potion, however, that will make your lane sustainability horrible. Starting with an Amplifying Tome basically means you're going to focus on harassment, and take shots back in exchange too. Vlad can't take the opportunity to get hit early game and has to rush that Hextech Revolver, which is why you take the defensive route with the boots and 3 Health Potions. You need the 3 Health Potions to stay in lane long enough to be able to afford a Hextech Revolver. This should be enough to get you to 1200 gold, when you recall to buy a Hextech Revolver. Once you get a Hextech Revolver, you'll practically be immovable. Your Transfusion will heal up so much, so their harassment won't get them anywhere. Also, DO NOT USE TRANSFUSION TO FARM BEFORE LEVEL 4 TRANSFUSION. You use your basic attack to farm, and harass with your Transfusion when the opponent's spells are on cool down. I've experimented with both, trust me on this one.
Upgrade your Boots of Speed to Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and invest some gold into a Spirit Visage if you're laning against an AP Caster, or if they have an AP heavy team. The Spirit Visage is just an investment for Mid Game, as it is mainly used for cool downs. Chances are you won't get far enough into the game to sell it if you do. Selling the Spirit Visage is mainly up to you, but just keep in mind that it has a great cool down reduction. After that, start building your Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Oh, and now is when you should start farming your *** off. Farming is what makes Vlad so great, and you're basically a slab of meat if you don't take advantage of that.
Once you have your Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Rabadon's Deathcap, you should be doing great in team fights. Basically in a team fight, your combo cycle would be to pop Hemoplague on 2 or more people with an Ignite on the squishiest one that has Hemoplague on. Then you focus that one person with Transfusion, Tides of Blood, and then I like to pop a Sanguine Pool to avoid all of the initial burst from everybody in the team fight, though holding it for an escape is on you. I'd recommend using the pool once you use the first 3 spells with Ignite though. Once you get up from the pool, use Transfusion, and Tides of Blood again. Basically just spam anything you have once you get up from the pool. Make sure you always open team fights after your initiator with Hemoplague for that extra 14% boost (sometimes, you ARE the initiator).
The basic plan is to get beefy off of AP. Typically, at least one defensive item is always absolutely necessary, but Vlad's passive, Crimson Pact, covers this for us. The rare times I do get a defensive item, it is when the other team builds Madred's Bloodrazor, or Deathfire Grasp. If they get either or both, I build a Force of Nature. Another option is a Quicksilver Sash if the enemy team has a Malzahar, or Warwick.
Your core will always be Hextech Revolver, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Rabadon's Deathcap, and Void Staff in that order. Though it sounds like a pretty linear core and not much of a choice, I can guarantee you that this core is the optimal choice on Vlad. Let me explain. Hextech Revolver will amplify your lane sustainability by so much, and can let you regen HP in the jungle after a team fight instead of recalling. You can upgrade this later into a Will of the Ancients if you have enough gold to spare, but it should never be your priority. The priority is the Hextech Revolver for the spell vamp. Your next somewhat core item would be a Spirit Visage which is covered in the next paragraph. If you don't get the Spirit Visage, upgrade your Boots of Speed into Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the cool down reduction. After that, build a Rylai's Crystal Scepter, which is the first checkpoint to dominating late game. Crimson Pact pretty much makes Rylai's Crystal Scepter a must get item, and will give even more AP and HP than the stats say because of it. Once you pick up your Rabadon's Deathcap, you should pretty much win any 1v1 from there (even team fights since most of Vlad's abilities are AoE). Rabadon's Deathcap is a must-get item for ANY AP Carry. The reason for getting Rylai's Crystal Scepter first is to get some HP. Rushing the Rabadon's Deathcap won't give you enough HP to actually survive team fights. Then of course, Void Staff gives a lot of AP, and Magic Pen which is also a necessity for any AP Carry. You have the 6th choice to yourself when you sell your Spirit Visage, or just didn't pick one up. Keep in mind about the defensive items in the first paragraph for the 6th choice.
For starting items, I highly prefer Boots of Speed with 3 Health Potions for lane sustainability to rush that Hextech Revolver. Then depending on who you're laning with or enemy team composition, I build a Spirit Visage for the healing, cool down reduction, and magic resist. That means get a Spirit Visage if they have an AP laner or even a somewhat AP heavy team. It is up to you if you want to sell it, but just keep in mind of the stats it provides since it has great synergy with Vlad. It just isn't much of a late game item, and there might be some better choices. You may want to sell it late game if you're guaranteed the blue buff every time.
Other great picks
Force of Nature, Abyssal Scepter, Zhonya's Hourglass, Quicksilver Sash, Morello's Evil Tome, Haunting Guise (sell for Void Staff late game, pick up after Ionian Boots of Lucidity).
What not to get
This is just way too unreliable, and you have enough of a cool down reduction. Any good player or team won't let you stack this much. If you don't listen to me, then at least only use it for pub stomping, not ranked.
Rod Of Ages
This is such a waste of mana, and Vlad is already pretty beefy. It's expensive too.
Stacking Doran's Rings is pretty popular for mid game on AP Carries, but Vlad doesn't benefit much from this. Instead of wasting your gold on rings, get a Hextech Revolver and you're set. Vlad doesn't benefit from the mana regen either with is a huge part of this item.
It's a huge waste of mana and expensive. Instead, pick up a Quicksilver Sash as an alternative. It's cheaper too.
This promotes a bad play style, and is a huge waste of mana. Transfusion has a great cool down anyway so you won't be using many basic attacks.
Vlad is beefy enough as is. Just get some AP and you'll have a lot of HP.
Farm like hell
Spam Transfusion when it's level 4
Use your pool defensively
Build AP and CDR
Hextech Revolver is amazing