Vladimir Build Guide by Totallynotn00b

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Totallynotn00b

Vladimir - CDR FtW!

Totallynotn00b Last updated on July 26, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 0


Utility: 21

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For regular updates, look to my channel: All new videos are posted there. TY

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Iva Vlad, un Iva non-vampir.

No, I'm actually Totally not n00b (TNN also works), aka Sovietpride (Lord and master works too).

You may remember me from the other guides tomes i've written on the champions and . What, noticing a trend? Yep. Seem's I like casters. What, noxus? Yeah that too. I AM TEH EVILZZZZ.

Due to popular request (aka my legion of adoring fans... (what, a man can dream you know ;.; ) I am writing a Vladimir guide based on a new playstyle I have. I do not claim to have invented it, but I know for certain that the people who first got this definitely won't be writing a guide on it, and almost certainly won't be as anal thorough in explaining it as I tend to do.

So here we go.

Vladiqueer- CDR FtW!"

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About Vlad.

First off, we start with an uplifting primer on the character.
He's untouchable. You simply don't walk up to such a guy and hit him.
You simply acknowledge that he's untouchable and that if you cross him, you're going to get hurt.

( Pro as heck photoshop skills aside, I saw a similar image upon his splash art change and couldn't find it. So meh )

Okokok, i'll be a little bit more serious.

What I just said is technically true - You want to be untouchable. Because FML if you get within the grubby mits of those wenches like and (They be hatin' on gays, since we teach them how to dress) you're going to be a freaking mess on the floor. (Don't believe? Watch your own damn death animation. Geez.)

No, the point is that Vlad does not handle early pants-on-head-Rtarded in-your-face aggression very well at all. This leads to a play style that i epitomise (That was dubbed by Lesley and has stuck ever since as "being French") which really is being as much of a pansy as possible, which some people cannot stand. That's fine. That's why I'm alive, and you're dead.
Your plan is simply to get to the point where your presence is insufferable. Merely by being in the same lane as them they realise they're just going to inevitably lose to your immense power and glamour, say "Sod this", and go somewhere else.

No really - in a lot of cases they *will* just GtFo to another lane. Remember to ping SS/MIA

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Pros and Cons

I don't normally do this section, but with it bears special mention.

As , we bring one thing in spades to the table:


Fully stacked has 320 damage base and a ratio of 0.45 per target hit on a 4.5 second cool down (down to ~3s with this build) You can see why if a team fight occurs, if our beloved Vladiqueer is allowed to do his stuff, he will destroy . But there's something more. So much more it got nerfed, but it is still team-fight changing.

Behold, the GLORY that is AIDS


12% additional damage taken from all sources - yours, your team mates (not true damage though, apparently) on anyone afflicted. It literally Reaks of damage. It has no other function.


The other part of Vlad's kit that he is reknowned for is his ability to basically stay in lane forever if given the chance. is a sexy CD-dependent only spell that basically turns everything attackable into a free .

Eventually, it gets to a pretty darnably low cooldown at level 5 - base (4s) and with this build, down to less than 3s. Try shifting something which regenerates around 200hp every 3 seconds. It's irritating. It's inevitable. It's attrition .

Other pros?
That's it.

So now we move onto


You have no real play-making potential

Biggest drawback by far is Vlad's total inability to make any game-winning plays. There's no flashy initiates, catching people out, or forcing errors. I mean, once in a blue moon you might be able to make a surprise initiation, but then you're relying on your opponents stupidity as opposed to your own kit and skill.

Your lack of CC is a highly noticable deficit in a team which lacks initiation. No gap closers, no method of picking people off. You will feel this most keenly when you're against a poke team ala etc, and you're sitting there with hyper farm and kills yet being totally unable to utilise it save being sturdy target practice.

You don't really snowball.

Top lane is a lane where a kill can make all the difference. One kill leads to zoning, out farming, out levelling, because if an all-in occurs, the person with the kill will win in most cases.

Vlad, even with a kill, does not win all-ins. He's too limited by CD's early on to snowball correctly, and he's just not strong enough in the phase where an early kill can do the most damage to your opponent in the above catagories to actually be able to do it.

How the heck do you even snowball?

With what flash play do you intend to even get a kill?
Point aside, junglers are loathe to gank a vlad lane as vlad hasn't got cc of his own. Add one of 12039810283913 escape mechanisms LoL champions have, and you can see why they prefer to gank lanes with CC than without it.

Good Late game, Good Luck getting there.

Vlad's early game isn't weak per se, it's weak in comparison to the people who he'll be fighting . And more often than not the price to pay for being a hyper-carry is that you can be easy to shut down. Your lane opponnet more often than not will be rude and not let you free farm creeps or him/her/it.

I adapted a very specific playstyle with this build - attrition . Loads of chunks, often, as opposed to trying to blow it all in one go. I will go through this style later, as I feel it warrants explanation to people trying this for the first time.

Lack of mobility

Okok, technically boosts your movement speed briefly.
But Vlad's chief weakness, amongst that of no CC, is having no real method of getting to where he wants to be beyond walking. No dashes, gap closers or blinks of any kind can make his task of getting to his desired targets a hard one.

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Spirit of the Spectral Wraith

This item is so core to this build that it deserves a chapter to itself.

Spirit of the Spectral Wraith

I see some guides pass over this item, say "mana is wasted" and "worthless passives." And I palm my face.

The Spell vamp, AP, and CDR synergise so well with it's amazing. It further pushes your strengths of sustain with spellvamp and pushing it further still whislt amplifying your offensive and defensive capabilities with CDR.

But really, a key-overlooked part of this item is the butcher passive. +30% damage against monsters.

But Soviet, Minions aren't monsters! .
Right you are. But the greatest flaw that low-level players have is that they don't take neutral camps to supplement their income.

But Soviet, if I take our neutral camps, what will the jungler take? .

1) Time is money.
If those camps sit there any no one takes them, then that's gold revenue your team could have overall which isn't being utilised. ITs the difference between the mid laner getting 10 camps during the laning phase vs the jungler getting 3. (Numbers arbitrarily pulled from nowhere, but you get the point)

2) IT's a team game.
Yes, its your jungler's jungle. Yes, its potentially cutting into his revenue. But its the benefit of the individual vs the team.

So what does that mean?
It means you should get this item because it synergises with your kit, but also allows you to hyper-farm with ease. By hyper-farm, I mean season 1 mordekaiser levels of farm.

It is generally accepted at higher level play that you should aim for 20 cs under the minute.
I.e, at 20, you should have 180.
With this build, we aim for even higher. 20 minions above the mark is entirely possible.
This means we can make up for our lack of damage/defensive masteries purely by buying it.
If I can utilise this build, get away with it, yet wind up with even more damage than a traditional 21/9/0 mastery and rune page set up purely by being enabled to strip-farm everything, then why wouldn't I?

Rip through jungle camps, regenerate, rip through minion waves.
When teamfights come around, you will have such a gold advantage that if one occurs, you should be able to tilt it in your teams favour, and more often than not shoulder the burden of a not-so-spectacular ADC.

That is ultimately why we get this item.
It is cost efficient, and is basically a key allowing for EVEN MOAR MONIES

Oh, and don't forget that the +30% damage applies to drake and baron too.
Can get things done much more quickly than you might think...

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The theory of CDR

CDR vlad is terror vlad.

Generally speaking, Vlad's ratio's aren't great - from a burst point of view. would cry tears of laughter at vlad's "burst" (but probably not as it would ruin her make up).

Give him time, and with low Cd's, and he will output ruinous amounts of damage. If we assume we don't use pool, its a ratio of 1.05 per 4 seconds to one person. That isn't including damage amp from AIDS (aka haemoplague or the fact that is an AoE and hits everybody within range.

But that's not the point. It's the fact that Vlad needs time . Time to build up, time to heal up, time to destroy things. And by building CDR, we reduce the downtime between his attacks, and increase the amount of damage he can output.

From a more practical perspective, perhaps the biggest advantage is that the CDR build is


If you're losing the lane, that extra damage you took isn't doing any favours when you're 's personal B*tch. Conversely, if you're winning, those defensive stats you took are going to look pointless when you simply don't output enough damage.

CDR addresses all possibilities as it is such a ubiquitous and adaptable stat on Vlad.
Losing? the CDR benefits your so you can stay in lane and sustain more.
Winning? the CDR benefits your abilties so you can keep laying down the pain at a rate your opponent cant recover from.

This build really focuses on Vlad's strengths, but relys on player skill to mitigate it's weaknesses. You are squishier than you could be, you don't hurt as much up-front as you could do. But in return, you have far greater scalability, adaptability, sustainability and irritation factor.

The margin for error is far less, (one mis-step and you will be destroyed), but the potential for ruining/styming your opponent is that much more.

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Why don't I go all out for CDR?

For one, will get you to 36.5% CDR, close enough to the cap.

For second, running around with 40% CDR is good for laning and farming, but when teamfights go on your crippling lack of damage is apparent. WEaring people down is fine and doable, but in mid-late game, the situation simply doesnt last that long.

I find that 26% given from runes, masteries and items to be enough to satisfy our wanting a lower CDR to output damage, and that further pushing this with items after our core gimps our damage way too much.

Why I don't go for 30% due to CDR quints I will explain in the relevant section

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Vs AP mids

Side note is that I don't feel this set up works very well vs AP mids.
Vlad win's by attrition.
A **** tonne of AP mids win via OMFGWTFBBQ 100-0. Aka, DED.
The other catagory is high-range. Of which Vlad doesn't do very well against.

Your attrition and sustain will do you no good, as i've repeatedly stated, vs heavy burst.
As such, I recommend taking a defensive set-up in mid (rune page will be listed in relevant section) as opposed to CDR.

Whilst you have easier access to wolves/wraiths to hyperfarm with, at the end of the day if you can't show your face in lane you've lost the greatest part of your income.

THe upside however, is that a lot of foes you face in mid tend to be very squishy. If you can somehow get within their guard, then you can kill them easier than you think, especially compared to top lane.

A full combo is devastating, pool still retains its usefulness for dodging retaliation.
Problem is getting there.

Take your pick.

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How I play Vlad -

TLDR version:
1) Be a pansy
2) Go for attrition.
3) Hyper farm
4) ????
5) Profit.

There. Move onto the next chapter.
What, you want more? Why?
What do you mean it's logical for me to explain everything since I have so far? Tell that to Warwick who doesn't get his passive movement speed around Vlad 24/7.

Oh, fine.

1: Be a pansy

Your main objective as , as I think with any champion besides , is to NOT DIE. I CANNOT stress this enough. If you surrender an early kill, or worse, first blood to your opponent early on, prepare for hell.

Be careful, and trust the fact that you scale incredibly well, and your time will come.
You might be somebody else's lane slave for the first ten minutes, but for the rest of the game, you'll be the one holding the cards.

That does not mean being completely and utterly passive.
It means you need to play smart. Putting pressure on your opponent during your weakest phase is not an easy concept to master on , especially with this build, but if you want to reach high-level vlad play, you have go to master it.

2: Go for attrition

This is generally how I imagined to be played. You wear down and out-last your opponent. You take bites out of them, until eventually they're in a situation where if they stay, they are within killing range, yet due to your sustain you're still out of theirs.

The speed of which you do this depends upon yourself and your opponent. Too slow, and they wont feel any pressure/ you don't exert the dominance you could. Too fast, and you could be very well dead.

This is how trades, more often than not not in his favour. 50% of your health for 30-40% of theirs. Except by the time the next trade occurs, you'll be up to 100% again and they steadily get lower and lower.

Its attrition. It takes time. It takes patience.
And that is why the Vlad i play is not for everybody. It's a very different play style from say, fast-and-furious assassins.
And dare I say it, but this style of attrition also takes skill.

3: Hyper Farm

Because at the end of the day, your opponent isn't going to be overly obliging in allowing you to do what you want. Enforcing your playstyle over your opponents, doing what you want to do as opposed to being their pawn is a fine balance and must be learned.

This phase of the game we go and plunder everything. Their jungle, our jungle, mid farm, bot farm, top farm. Anything. Rip through it all, and end laning phase as the richest mofo on the map.
Bonus points if you have a TF on your team.

4: ????

This section isn't here because that's how every sequence of events seem to work (Ok, it is, but there's more besides!), but because every game will be different. Maybe you've been set back severely, or maybe your team will carry you.

The point is, I cannot write down every single eventuality that will occur in a game, and there is no short-cut to experience. Do you know how to push an advantage? Do you know how to recover from set backs? I cannot hold your hand when you play (although I can review your play, check my youtube channel for details)

5: Profit

When a teamfight comes around, start ruining everyone. AIDS onto as many people as possible, and start spamming out damage.

Vlad doesn't do subtle. There's no fancy esque "assasinate the ADC before the fights started", or "ill pull the squishy tank into us lolol" which make or break teamfights. There's simple brute force.

And sometimes, the route of overkill is forgotten.
And yet it is so satisfying.

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Runes, Masteries, Summoners.


Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power


Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed


Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction

Greater Seal of Health

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist


Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

I have four (yes, four) different rune pages I use for Vlad.
Armour vs AD, obviously.
MR vs AP.

Whether I take movement speed quints or not depends on the lane.
THe likes of where being caught is generally bad for your health (Read: DEAD) i take MS quints. Those who you can beat up like , take the extra power.

Now for the longer explanation:


Greater mark of insight
Mpen Reds

Magic pen reds are pretty much standard on any caster, being the most effective.
Ok, in one video HSGG used ArPen, but that was by mistake. Ok, he won the lane and beat jax over the head. THATS NOT THE POINT.


Greater Seal of armor
Armor yellows

Take if going vs AD opponent.
You know, , etc. 90% of the people you will meet in top lane.
Unless you really love your pool form and want to be in it all the time
I dunno.

Greater Seal of Potency vs Greater Seal of Force
Flat AP yellows vs Scaling AP yellows

My preferred choice out of these two are scaling AP yellows.

Scaling outclass flat by level 6 .
Greater Seal of Health vs Greater Seal of Scaling Health

Because at level 18, scaling seals of health give you 175 health, almost the same as a . Meanwhile, scaling AP gives you 16.2 ap. That's... not even an . At a base level, you're getting more bang for your buck with scaling healths than scaling APs.

Furthermore, it adds to the need to be bulky, helping to address that requirement too.

Lastly, with VLad's passive, scaling health gives him 3.5ap, and scaling AP gives him ~20 hp?
It is still much more efficient to go for the scaling health.

I Completely ignore flats because they're twice as expensive as scaling, and for +50hp level 1... I don't know anyone who uses these.


Greater Seal of Warding
Flat MR blues

Take vs AP users.
Against kenny? Take your best gamble.

Early game resistances is what you require - by late game, you would have enough healing and power that the extra bit of MR scaling MR provides would be moot.
In addition, you also need to cross the bothersome hurdle of actually getting there .

By taking early game resistances, you're slightly more free to trade hits - if they take flat AP, you've still won - blue glyphs give less AP than they do MR.

Greater Glyph of scaling ability power and Greater Glyph of Flat Ability power
Ap/lvl blues

The issue with is that you're not *really* a burst mage. Your nature is that you get into a scrap, and do the DPS. Generally, getting additional rounds of spells out is more important than getting more damage into your initial volleys.

To that end, you're bound to take damage as you lack consistent abilities to prevent retaliation (Read: silence, stuns, etc) In addition, your short range further allows your opponent to inflict damage.

I simply find that with , taking AP glyphs is inferior to CDR ones.

Which brings us to:

Greater glyph of CD reduction.
Flat CDR blues

My prefered choice.
-7.5% CDR might not seem much, but when combined with masteries brings the total up to a juicy -16.5% CDR.
Greater glyph of Warding vs Greater glyph of CD reduction.
Flat MR blues vs Flat CDR blues vs Flat MR blues

I've taken to taking MR blues vs AP mids, and CDR blues in all other cases.
I don't know why, but taking MR quints and CDR blues doesn't seem to cut it overly well.
Maybe its to do with the lane being shorter, and not so much room for manoeuvering and attrition before it hits the tower. I dunno. It's preference.

See what you feel works best.
Hell, maybe this CDR build wont work with you at all.

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Flat AP quints

According to calculations, the biggest bang for your buck quints.
Nice early +15 AP that pretty much all casters use, and for good reason.

Greater Quintessence of movement speed
Movement speed quints

Expanding upon the philosophy of "that which you control cannot hurt you".
AKA, if melee-based attackers (REad: most of top lane) can't actually catch you to hit you, then they are useless.
Needed for kiting, and also boots Vlad's manoeuverability. Becuse it works both ways - if you can't reach those you want to murder, then all the power in the world is useless to you.

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed vs Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Movement speed vs Flat AP quints

The Overriding argument i can give you for running MS over AP is this: 15ap is worth the sacrifice if means you won't be caught up to and driven six-feet under.
It can mean the difference between successfully able to runaway retreat to beyond your opponent's retaliatory clutches, and being smacked over the head for being irritating beyond belief.

You won't hit as hard, perhaps won't be able to farm as easily...
But you can do neither if you're dead .

Therefore, vs Melee champions I generally take MS quints with one obvious exception:
If they don't actually threaten you . At the top of my head right now the only champion who fits into this category is . Lacks the ability to kill you, lacks the ability to out-sustain or out lane you. Lacks the ability to out-push you.

Because running away from that which cannot hurt you is a tad too french.

Greater Quintessence of Cooldown reduction
CDR quints

In a more extreme build of this kind, these quints are used.
But i don't really know why.
The extra 3-4% CDR to me doesnt seem worth the 15 AP.
Likewise, running CDR blues + AP quints gives you more than CDR quints + AP blues - suggesting to me it is rather inefficient.
Lastly, the concern of the cost of these quints is a thing, as both movement speed and flat AP quints are more usable elsewhere.

This build *is* specialised. But it isn't "that" specialised.



The mastery page revolves around taking 21 in utility.
Mainly to get to and at the end of the tree.
-6% cdr, and +3% movement speed helps with kiting, and pushing the build into being more CDR-orientated

The things I don't take don't need much thought to ascertain as to why not.
isn't taken because Vlad doesn't run on mana. Duh.
isn't normally taken since I run and . However, In cases where I do take , I will put a point into this.
Therefore, we are sort of forced into taking a point into , even though it isnt a bad summoner.
Second row
is worthless.
is worthless - mana? wuts dat?

. Three points into this to unlock the next tier, and also because the CDR on our summoners is sexy.
. Not overly neccessary, as simply communicating your items are off CD will do the job of this. But since we require a certain amount of points in a tree to unlock higher tiers, we shove them into somewhere where they at least have a use (I.e, non-mana related)
Third row

IS a really, REALLY good mastery to have.
Unfortunately, I just don't feel it's a particularly good investment even for one point, as Vlad doesn't particularly use either buff. It's also rare that you would be given blue until late game if ever, and even then, it doesn't really make or break you in the same way it does .

Even the name synergises with Vlad.
I mean, er.. Yeah.
3% spell vamp - doesn't sound like much, and you're right - it doesn't really do much until later on in the game, but every little helps. Plus, what else were you going to take in this tier?

This thing? Pass.

Because money is good.
No, honestly. This is a filler summoner, which does something as opposed to nothing.
Fourth Row

is the best here. Get to higher levels before everybody else, unlock your full power. It is not uncommon to get to level 16 whilst everyone else is still in the realms of 12-13 if you've been farming hard enough. Higher base stats all around. Having a level advantage is basically free items with the currency of time.

Fifth Row

Only one thing worth here, and pretty much why we climbed up this far.
. CDR. Unadultered CDR.

Is better filler than greed.
1 gold every ten seconds = 6 gold every minute.
Auto your opponent more than twice in a minute, and you're already in the positive.
Then again, you might push the wave.
Take your pick.

Sixth Row

Because if you go deep, go all the way deep.
3% extra movement speed, synergising with not being smush on the floor.

Defensive tree

I don't get anything in the defensive tree.
Speed and cunning serve as our defence rather than raw armour.
Because quite frankly, why make yourself more able to take a punch if you're not going to be hit at all?
Ok, you will. But we've specialised into regenerating that punch instead of reducing its damage.

It's a risk.
The build is risky. This is how the build works. Because I really don't see 9 points in defense being superior to 9 points in the aggressive tree.

Offensive tree

seems to suit our purposes nicely, boosting both and .
Other options then delve into the standard mage set ups.
CDR through ,
more power through
and finally MOAR power through .

The other options with 9 points in the offense tree either involve AD, which we aren't interested in, or into butcher - which helps with last hitting i guess, But just learn to last hit better if the final say.


is first up.

Because not taking this seems to put a neon sign above your head going "Please hit me and kill me, because you probably won't die in the process."
Please note that it does not get augmented by AIDS , according to the wiki.


Vlad has a core issue with a lack of mobility, and this helps.
In addition, it allows for us to take the single point in and benefit both.
IT also lasts longer, so during a late-game teamfight it is arguably superior for repositioning and kiting.
It's one massive drawback is that it severely gimps your ability to make plays .
has the advantage of being instantaneous. Popping ghost gives the game away:
  • "I'm going to make a move on you"
  • There's no way I can suddenly escape from you.
  • "I just hit D for DERP"

I'm leaning towards taking this for mid play, as you need it to make sudden moves on squishier opponents who might actually play even moar passively than you might. Given your lack of range, this is a more common occurance than most.
I also take this top vs , as being stuck in that arena is not good for your continued existence.

The rest


Not bad per se, as it might save you from a tower dive.
But I don't like it. I prefer having the extra damage at my disposal, and clever/cautious play negates the situation where this might come in handy.
Of course, you could specifically engineer situations where this would work, but since I don't know how to do that, I cannot recommend it to you.


Pass. I don't like it, but it synergises better than you might think.
AGain, dunno how to use it, not going to talk about how to use it.


Can't make room for this one is my final answer.
In top lane, it doesn't matter if you're CC'd - because if you are, it normally means you're already too close and cleansing out of it won't stop them from beating your face in .


Almighty Vlad teleport ganks with CC and... Wait. No. Nevermind.

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Foreword on Item choice

Survivability vs Sustainability

This is a key concept that will dictate what you buy and when.
This is because there is ZERO point in buying survivability if you cannot survive to use it.
In other words, you cannot regenerate if you are dead .

This is the nature of Vlad's match ups. The threatening ones will try to all-in you, thereby negating your core advantage of sustain.

SO in short, we buy survivability until we can get to the point of utilising sustainability.

And then after that do we think about getting power.

This might delay your power, your farm, what ever.
But at least it means you won't be a smear on the floor. Because being dead delays everything .
Unless you're or something, but w/e.



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GUNS GUNS GUNS. No, wait. Wrong game. ITEMS!

has SO MANY options available to him, even though he doesn't run on mana.
Each game will be different.

The first buy

sight ward x5

Typical starting items.
If in mid, Buy an extra ward and one less potion.

Allows more sustain, builds into items you want.
Standard, adaptable.

Other options:
x3sight ward

Wait at the spawn pad for the extra potion.
Take this if you're really unsure of your capability to not die.

If for some reason you find yourself in a terrible match up where dodging skill-shots is paramount.
AKA, if you're facing , take these or feed like crazy.

The second buy

As stated above, Vlad draws primarily from two pools of item choices: Survivability, and sustainability. Sure, you could rush a D-cap... if your definition of rush is going 0/7 and getting it at 25 minutes <.>

Be sensible. Be cautious. Be alive.

In that vein


sight ward

Ever. Yes you have an escape mechanism.
No, you are not above warding.
Knowledge is power.
Use it well.
EVen if you're cowering under yur turret, warding your jungle enterances gives your team security and map awareness that is well, well worth 75g.

Exceptions being if you really need to complete that major item.
In which case, be prepared to play passive, or face the consequences.

Defensive items

Boots of Speed

Always consider the fact that if you're faster than your opponent, you have a better chance of not being hit by attacks.
See how it plays out. Sometimes not having the extra movement speed is terminal, regardless of a more defensive-orientated build.

Giant's belt

When in doubt, buy health.
Not only does it work against all forms of damage, it also synergises with your passive. Perhaps not as much as would be good, but it's better than nothing.
Against the likes of , this is something I buy first and foremost, to mitigate her , and to allow me to survive all in's.

Seeker's armguard

Never really found a need for this in lane.
One or two armour pieces -> spirit of spectral wraith tends to be enough.
Efficient, yes. But I don't really like rushing in general.
is the obvious exception, as you can utterly negate his ult damage with a ZH.

Doran's shield

This used to be an extremely efficient choice...
Now though, given how it gives zero armour, i say pass.

Negatron Cloak

Vs the likes of , I get this to prevent all-ins.
See a recurring theme?
Can either build into , or other things like


Hextech Revolver

Only really this for sustain. Counters the health cost of , improves the sustain given to you by . Further notes on the healing mechanics of in the abilities section.


Honestly not a bad item, as CDR helps your sustainability, and the health is always good.
I get this vs the likes of .
Build it or sell it later as you wish.

Later buys

By this point we assume everything is going swimmingly. (Read: Not feeding)

This is where builds converge generally.

Tier 2 boots

I get tier 2 boots quite quickly on Vlad, as it addresses his problems of mobility, makes more effective and also gives him a greater command of the lane.
In addition, the extra movement speed means the down time between moving between gold sources (Read: Lane and jungle camps) Is reduced, meaning the likelihood of losing CS is even further lowered.

AS for the type of Boots, there are a few rules I use:

Heavy CC/Annoying CC? (Read: ) Get these.
Vlad has Low Cd's. Vlad has damage.
These are both utterly negated by CC. Try entering a teamfight and being derped for 3 seconds by fiddle, and see what happens.
Pro tip: Don't.

Because who doesn't like more damage.
Penetration also helps Vlad more than most, as his scalings aren't that great.
Standard choice, if no other criteria are needed.

I don't get these ae much as I used to, as i find 26.5% CDR is enough.
Taking these would also enter realms of overkill and wastage on CDR.
However, When going Mid, I sometimes get these to make up for my lack of CDR blues, pushing the total CDR to around 34%.

Super rough lane might warrant these.
Never really been in a position to want to buy these, but they are a valid choice - especially if you're against the kind of team who plays full AD.

Choice is yours.
Choose wisely.

Spirit of the Spectral Wraith

One of the first items we rush as it is hideously effective for our purposes.
Spell vamp, CDR... sod it, i've explained in its own section why I get this item.
Read that if you want the full explanation.

Core thus far:

This is literally "the" core of your build.
Gives you a highly adaptable base from which you can specialise into whatever role you wish, be it more aggressive or defensive.

What item's you buy next depend on the situation.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

With the build, your is on a low enough CD that it can perpetually keep someone you want in your grasp. It gives you a degree of CC which your kit otherwise lacks. It also enables you to keep your firepower in action, as opposed to your opponents being able to simply run away.
In addition, It might very well build out of your defensive item.

Zhonya's hourglass

Honestly, I'm tempted to call this core.
Late game, allows an extra rotation of spells if not two with its invulnerability.
Mage's love this item on them.
Everyone seems to hate it as it effectively forces decisions that can prove costly if done wrong.
Perpetually useful, the active takes some experience to use correctly.
It is similiar to your pool, after all, and i've gone through there some examples as to why simple phasing out isn't as simple as it seems.

Rabadon's Deathcap

Raw power. That in your case, is translated into health.
It also further enhances your passive by boosting the converted AP from your bonus health pool.
Every little helps.
Getting this will boost your power considerably... just make sure you're actually in a position to use it.
A Vlad who can survive to output many rounds of spells is far more useful than a Vlad who has a slightly better opening salvo but quickly becomes a smear on the ground.

Abyssal Scepter

Short-ish range of it's passive synergises well with you - anything that's within your range is also in range of this.
MR, and power.
Take vs opponents who are giving you magic damage trouble.
I generally just get the and complete this after my core.

Liandry's torment

I get this if i'm against a bruiser-heavyish comp.
% health burn on a constant cycle throws out a LOT of dps, which is further enhanced by Rylai's, if bought. Together, they also contribute a fair amount to your tankiness.

However, it has one critical flaw: LAck of finishing power.
It's strength, as % of current health, lies at the beginning of a fight.
Second, it's strength is determined by opponent health.
That squishy ADC and support won't feel this much, and you will often find yourself lacking the power to finish them off.

Choose wisely. It's not as brain-dead an item as you may think.

SPirit Visage

I don't get this often, as most top's are AD, or an AP I can handle.
That said, If i'm against a rough mid like , this item might get bumped up as it gives everything you need to survive the lane. You can literally go balls-to the walls aggression, as you will be able to heal everything up.

With the rune page i take vs AP, and the masteries, we sit quite nicely at 39% CDR.

Problem is, we can farm well and lane well... but then critically lack damage in a teamfight, often requiring a drastic purchase like to rectify it.

Getting more used to this as a pick vs double AP, as everything it gives is something Vlad wants, and is further accentuated in that type of situation.

Void Staff

IF they're stacking heavy amounts of MR, this becomes a priority purchase to do damage again.
Because your spellvamp is based upon your damage, the less damage you do, the less you heal, the less tanky you are.

It's that simple.

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Items I dont get.

Will Of The Ancients

Let's start with what used to be the old Vlad staple - WoTA.
On paper it's very efficient - everyone in its aura gets 20% spell vamp and 30 AP.
However, in most cases the only person benefiting is you.

In addition, you're giving up on the CDR and sexy passive - thereby gimping your lane sustain, and your farming potential.

That is why I avoid it nowadays.

Deathfire Grasp

On paper again, doesn't look bad.
Synergise with to blast a chunk off the selected target.

My issue is that Vlad isn't exactly a burst mage... So why are we trying to build him like one?
And that is my only issue.
Your CD's are low enough that you can get a double rotation of QE in, under amplification (27% if not higher?). And this is the problem. In most cases you can already kill the squishy if you can get a full combo onto them.

The problem is getting to the squishy in the first place.
And if you can't utilise this on them, then it's sort of wasted.
And if you can utilise it on them, it's still sort of wasted.

Maybe I'll try to test this item more on Vlad, but my current plat style of just trying to output DPS suggests: "avoid".

Twin Shadows

No, seriously.
Active which is damnably useful - read: kiting
Gives AP and MR.

Problem is that the people you'll be kiting are generally AD-based, which makes the resistances moot.
In addition, and perhaps more critically, is that it gimps your damage-output that to me is unacceptable.

Leave it to the supports.

Sunfire Cape

Defensive item that has an aura of burning.
Apart from the logical impossibility that is a vampire that is on fire, I don't like the item as it gears you towards being a tank, of which you are not.
is generally plenty of armour, and the active also makes that a superior choice.


Pure armour, with a passive which relies on people hitting you.
Well, ok. you will generally have a large health pool which sort of makes synergistical sense.
however, with the way I play, you spend so much time being untargetabble one way or another that even this is negated.

Warmog's armour

Pure health item.
GEt this, you'll be tanky. Very tanky.
But not really do much in the way of damage.
I don't like it.
I also feel you get enough extra health from your items that it makes buying pure health a mood point.


Efficient item on casters.
Except not on Vlad.
20% CDR - sexy, but with this build, overkill.
Mana regen - wasted.
THerefore the AP given isn't efficient for the cost.

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Vlad's abilities.


Your major skill that is maxed first.
High-ish CD to begin with, which gradually lowers as you max it.
THe base damage and healing is also increased as you max it.

Please bear in mind that has two parts: The damage part, and the healing part.
The damage part is on cast - straight up damage.
The healing part is the particle which returns to you. It will not heal you unless/until it gets to you.
This little nuance means that spell vamp will heal you first, the base healing of the spell will heal you second.
IT also means that in an event of needing to be healed (Read: d) run towards the particle . I guarantee you that people could have saved themselves if they had just run towards the particle as opposed to away from it, negating the last tick or two of DoTs like .

Blood - What, when, where.

Utilising your has more to it than you think, due to how it has two functions: damage, and healing.

Maximising your healing involves using transfuse whenever it's off cooldown. Nothing special- just logic.

However, especially in early levels, has a long cooldown, and your opponent knows it. Use it on a creep, and expect them to be in your face. Or at the very least, unafraid to take a creep as they know the punishment will be non-existent.

Likewise, not reserving it for us on your opponent means he won't be feeling any pressure. And putting pressure on your opponent is how you force errors and mistakes that you can exploit. At the very least, it might eventually make them think twice before making a move on you if they might die as well.

Then again, reserving it for use on your opponent when you're sitting around 30% health and they're not in a danger zone of health is suicide.

Like I said, there is a balance between damage and healing that varies. You need judge and control it - this is a key part of being a good player.

Sanguine Pool

The infamous troll pool. 2 seconds of UNTARGETABILITY .

Case in point: When you're running around on fire (because vampires hate fire, obviously) and you're about to die, you cannot pool to escape it. Sounds dumb right?
Then don't do it. Classic mistake of new-vlad players.

Other classic errors? Using it as an "oh shi-" button. See it as an escape solution, and it might be trained into you to use it in a state of panic, when this might only makes things worse.
I.e- has just jumped on your face and is hitting you, you have a fish around you which you can't just get rid of. Que panic- and panic pool. Result? You get nommed.

Why? Because you should have saved pool for that crucial part of a fight which might mean the difference between life and death. In this instance, your pool could have eaten the

So lets go onto uses:


Whilst a lot of players are probably choking on their own blood at this suggestion, I feel that the guide would be incomplete without mentioning it.

In most instances blowing your escape mechanism to farm, especially one in a fairly lengthy cooldown, is tantamount to suicide. Do this if an enemy like is nearby, and see what happens. that's right. You transform back into a pool in short order! <.<

Nevertheless, such ingrained rules like "don't use pool to farm" need to be examined a bit. Namely, if no one is around to exploit your lack of escape to the next 20s, and that pool really would help you get the farm, then I guess it's ok.

Also, note how it costs 20% of current health. obviously, the more wounded you are, the less it hurts to run away.


But that's just it- remember that it does damage. And sometimes, especially if you're going for the all-in, you will have to sacrifice your health and escape for enough damage to kill an opponent.

Don't underestimate how much damage it does late game - especially since it is also an AoE.


Lastly, don't forget that pool also heals you through the damage it deals. "Well hurr durr" you say,"that's obvious!". Really? So when ignites been bung on you, you're going to burn out, your Q is off cooldown, yet there's a large minion stack next to you, you can feel free to run around and die. No, go on. you obviously know everything.
On the otherhand, maybe you'll live if you remember it's healing function. Pool beneath a large wave, and save yourself.


Perhaps pools main function. It makes you untargetable for its duration, but it also eats any projectiles that are in flight and targeted at you. Autos, spells, etc.

Bear it mind that you cannot pool if you are cc'd.
This might seem obvious, but consider the following:
appears to gank you. You reserve pool, as you know it will eat . you wait, and she uses to you.
Except it all goes to **** because that brief moment of CC On the vault breaker was enough to get her ult off on you. Your lane opponent has been closing in all the while, and now you're boned

This analytical ability of when to correctly use pool is something I cannot teach here: it requires experience. Experience of situations, and experience of opponent play styles and predicating how they would play and initiating countermeasures.

Other useful bits of information
  • You can ghost and pool- and your movement speed buff will continue going. You cannot, however, ghost during your pool. (Same with flash)
  • You can dodge projectiles with pool. Make sure it's worth it though. Using it to dodge sigil of silence is debatable, whilst probably not so much when a heads your way.
  • You can use whilst in pool form.
  • You become untargettable for the duration of usage - this applies to allied spells like as well as hostile ones like

Tides of Blood

Your consistent team-fight presence.
Heavy AOE damage that is rather spammable.
Remember, that stacks improve damage and increase cost up to doubling.
The bonus to regeneration is not quite so noticable, but bear this in mind when you pop your . By no means am I advocating you keep up your stacks just to keep the high regeneration to maximise health pots, But keep in mind that if you find yourself at full stacks, popping a HP pot can be more effective than you might realise, and allows you to maintain full stacks when your isn't at a stage where it can do so.

Other bits of information:
  • It does not require line of sight to use. - If your enemy enters a brush, you can just cast without entering it.
  • The projectile takes time to get there - Ergo, you can cast it under the enemy turret and get out.
  • It has a higher range than . to EQ or QE is something i will go through later.

To E or not to E?

Let's look at the negatives, because there are quite a few:

Costs health, (aka kills you to use it) which before meaningful sustain (later levels of Q, hextech revolver) will often wind up with you at low health.

Will in most cases result in pushing the wave.
You push the wave, you become more vulnerable as you're further from your tower. If your opponent wants to stick to your face, there's nothing to stop him. And why stop there, make it plural - get ganked.

That said, is an integral part of your kit, that needs a little more thinking in lane than in a teamfight. Not using it cuts out a large part of your damage, but using it opens you to retaliation and pressure that you could really do without.

It is perhaps easiest to suggest not to use it at all in the early levels, but we will refine it and give some scenarios where it's a good idea to use this ability:

Do not use it unless the wave is already pushing in their direction

You want to build a creep wave and push it to their turret. If they engage on you, the creep aggro will kill them. But you need to push before the jungler arrives.

Do not use it unless its to equalise the lane.

Also an obvious conclusion- stop the wave being force fed into your turret, and centralise it just beyond your turret range is ideal. Note, however, that a canny opponent will seek to pressure you to prevent this from happenning.

Do not use it unless you can sustain it-

Excessive useage early levels will kill you, as you have neither the spellvamp or levels in Q to heal yourself back up.

If you're going to use it for damage, maintain it at 4 stacks.
Self-explanatory. Mitigates the health cost of rebuilding your stacks, and more importantly, at an area like post-9, not having full stacks can and will severely gimp your damage in trades.

That said, If your opponent knows you cannot sustain the full stacks, he can try to be cunning and stay away until you kill yourself maintaining them. Hence, keeping them at full stacks for the purposes of trading should wait until you can maintain them properly.

Maintaining your stacks:

Note it has a timer. Whether you cast it again at the beginning or the end does not matter- either will reset the empowered stacks timer. More importantly, maintaining your stacks by working the timer mitigates the health cost as much as possible.

In addition, you can use tides of blood at an angle that means it would only attack one target (read: last hitting), or you could simply back off out of range to cast it so it doesn't push the wave.


Behold, the GLORY of JETFIRE AIDS.
Leaves all afflicted enemies vulnerable to further assaults, and at the end of it, something that to me sounds like exsanguination (aka they take damage you simpleton)

All enemies affected take 12% increased damage from all non-true damage sources.
Yours, your allies, item actives, etc.

You can quickly see how if you can get a good hemoplague off, you can quickly ramp up the damage stakes in your teams favour.

As usual, some notes:
  • Two parts - the first is the damage amplification, the second is the damage.
    This means that something like slow, it will only take effect on the second part.
  • As such, it will not draw turret aggro.
  • It has no cast time. If you;re retreating to friendlies, feel free to pop this to help out as you keep running.

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Ability order

Standard skilling order is pretty much never deviated from.


The thought comes, however, in the first four levels.

Most people will do the following:

Starting with to immediately start poking and unlock sustain.
They then take as their escape mechanism.
They then take another point in for higher damage and healing, and lower CDR.
Leaving til last because they dont want the lane to push away from their tower.

Variant can be taking at lvl 3 instead of 4, if lane is already pushing in our direction and it needs to be stabilised. Definitely take at level 3 if its at your tower, and you will inevitably need it to last hit creeps correctly underneath it.

The logic behind taking later is this:
If you're not using an ability, then it's wasted.
Against the likes of heavy early-game pressure pushers like yorrick, it is both unlikely you will die, and a waste to put a point into pool when you need more damaging abilities to farm.

Judge the lane situation.
If you can get away without skilling your escape spell, then do so.

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Ability combinations.

Whilst nothing as complex as LB's combos, there are still some parts you should be wary of.

, AA.

Basic enough. your opponent, AA them.
Run to the bushes to drop minion aggro.

Technically better early on, as your CD is much higher than . Ergo, by doing your combo this way, it'll come off CD faster.
Until 's CD gets sufficiently low anyway.

The main difference is how it'll draw aggro later.
TRy doing the combo above this one under a turret - you'll take one if not two extra hits.
By doing it this way, you get to have the in flight before you use .

In addition, later on your CD is lower than your . Ergo, it comes off cooldown faster this way.

Your "all in" combination.
Whether you or depends on whichever one is on a lower CD.
Make sure you have full-stacked
Doesn't hurt to pop a health pot in the background whilst you're at it - even if its at the stage of sanguine pool. You would be surprised how many times you will get away on 10hp as the helped save your *** from

I put in there for a reason.
If you're going all-in, go all in. No half-measures.
Also, if you don't, the more experienced opponents may when you pool, knowing you cant get into range again. (Assuming, of course, that they actually want to run...)

Definitely your late game combo.
This is just EQ whenever it's off cooldown, and putting periods of untouchability inbetween during your CD's.

You can see why CDR becomes important.
The lower they are, the lower your downtime and time when you';re not outputting damage

There will be more under the relevant team-fighting section


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Team fighting with has one critical problem: you have no CC, so how are you meant to peel? Answer: Probably not.

Most squishies (REad: enemy ADC) will die to your full combo. tends to take off anywhere from 1/3rd to 1/2 of their health. Problem again is Vlad lacks gap closers ala , so how is he ever meant to get there? Add someone like , and you're going to run around looking stupid as you cant get into range.

The former can sort of be addressed with rylais crystal scepter, if you choose to buy it. The latter requires good positioning, if you can pull it off at all.

Your main job in a teamfight is to output damage. You intrinsically lack CC, but make up for it with phenomenal damage output. Wading into the midst of a teamfight to afflict as many people with your spells as possible is generally a good place to start.

But as always, life isn't that simple. Try wading into the thick of a fight, ignore the , and see what happens. That's right. You get derped (aka and destroyed. You have got to pay attention to your surroundings in a teamfight, as chaotic as it is.

Avoid your major gripes: hard CC and focus fire.

You want to get to the back-lines. Of course, you can simply go through the fight via , but then you're vulnerable when you come up again. What, you still have ? Sweet. Press it and see what happens. That's right. The cowards run away from you.

No. You're going to have to learn how to position better. Approach from a flank, across a wall if you have to if you have . Positioning is something that changes by the second. Poor positioning is generally the No.1 cause of a lost teamfight.

What's number 2? Lack of vision.
You can lack vision and still position well (I.e, adc's don't face check bushes), but it's better if you have wards.

You're going to be hyper-farming.
Don't get greedy.
Warding is everybodys job. Yes, flame the support for not warding Nashor. But if you could do it yourself, then technically that's something in the game you could have influenced and changed.
Buy a ward, Save a life.

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Champion Analysis: A-J


Spoiler: Click to view

Lead Singer

Spoiler: Click to view

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Champion Analysis:K-R


Spoiler: Click to view

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So. People who have helped with the guide one way or another, in no particular order.

Plusled - Duo Q partner, present in alot of my videos. Also gave advice on how to actually make the things. WATCH HIS SHOUTCASTS! -

Docidiot - Duo Q partner. Present in a lot of my videos.
And who doesn't love the French?

Erxi - Checked through the guide and corrected a heck of a lot of mistakes X)

JhoiJhoi - Indirectly, but helped nonetheless. Looked her guide up for the basics on how to create a guide and what was wanted in one.

IceCreamy - For helping this n00b with coding ;>

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Change log

22/06/2013: Vlad guide released!
24/06/2013: tidied up several errors pointed out to me.
27/06/2013: Started the teamfighting section
28/06/2013: Finished teamfighting section, Added Vlad mid, and lack of maxing CDR explanation.
29/06/2013: Added Irelia under champion match ups.
26/07/2013: Added leesin under champion match ups
Stuff to do:

Champion match ups