Vladimir Build Guide by kaz21
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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.
Welcome everybody to my extensive guide on Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper. Vladimir is a very flexible champion that can be built in multiple ways and is very powerful in both mid and top lane. However please note my experience playing Vlad top lane is not as extensive and will not be explored as heavily.
This guide will teach you how to carry the game as Vlad from the middle lane, here is some evidence of my experience with carrying hard as Vlad in ranked (although I don't play ranked all that often):
Pros / Cons
- Very high sustain, does not use mana
- Hard to gank, especially in mid lane due to Sanguine Pool
- Tankier than your average ap carry
- Very powerful late game
- Lacks any hard CC
- Only form of CC is a slow, which is also the only escape mechanism you have
- Average AA animation, can be hard to last hit with when starting out
- Short ranges on abilities compared to most mid laners
There are multiple mastery options for Vlad depending on what lane you are going, and what champion you are against. I typically go with 21/9/0 for mid lane, as shown below.
The same mastery page is can definitely be good top as well, depending on who you are against, however remember that if you are going up against an AD champion in lane, swap out the points in Resistance , for points in Hardiness .
The alternative mastery page is more suited towards solo top when you think you will have a more difficult lane (either due to being against a champion that is very strong against you, or them having a jungler who can gank you heavily). This mastery page is9/21/0 and sacrifices some offensive potential for survivability.
An easy way to decide which mastery page to choose is simple, if you are top lane and the enemy team have a strong ganking jungler or you are against a match up top lane that you have found hard to deal with take the second set, otherwise just use the first set up.
Vladimir has multiple options for runes as well, varying on what you are against, and personal preference.
My preferred set up against an AP champion, usually mid lane:
9 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9 x Greater Seal of Magic Resist
9 x Greater Glyph of Magic Resist OR 9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
This gives you a nice balance of both damage and magic resistance. The magic resistance makes a lot of difference early on in the game when you are at your weakest.
I take ap per level glyphs instead of magic resistance glyphs when I am against an opponent I don't need the magic resistance early game to deal with.
My preferred set up against an AD champion, usually top lane:
9 x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9 x Greater Seal of Armor
9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist OR 9 x Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
3 x Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Again, this gives you good damage, and again gives you armor to make you more survivable early game, not only against your opponent, but most junglers also, which is very important if you are top lane.
Choosing between going for ap per level or mr per level glyphs is very much personal preference. Both will improve your late game overall, but against an AD opponent in lane, the ap will generally be more useful.
Greater Quintessence of Spell Vamp : I personally don't like these runes on Vladimir. Early game they don't actually make much difference, especially when the amount you heal already scales off of AP.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed : I have never tried these on Vladimir, but they could definitely be an option, especially in top lane. They will allow you to get in range to use abilities more often.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction : I don't actually own these runes, but I imagine them being quite powerful and highly reccomend you to experiment with these if you own them. When I buy these and try them, I will update this.
Vladimir has a few good options for summoner spells, I will go over my thoughts of each summoner spell that has it's uses on Vlad.
Flash is a very powerful summoner spell on every champion, it can serve as an escape, a reposition, or a gap closer. I prefer this spell to Ghost in the mid lane.
Ghost serves as a better escape then Flash for Vlad in a lot of cases, as you can use Ghost and Sanguine Pool for a very easy escape. Ghost is also very good for chasing, as Vlads abilities have very low cooldowns later on as opposed to just raw burst, Ghost will help you stay in range and kill enemies. I prefer this spell over Flash in top lane.
Ignite is my go to spell to pair with either Flash or Ghost, regardless of lane, it will help you score kills early game, and later on is great for the healing reduction and as an extra damaging ability.
Heal is a spell I don't really like on Vlad, it is decent for baiting and surviving ganks, but overall it doesn't contribute much. If I were to take this, I would probably pair it with Ignite for a very aggressive combination. But overall I don't reccomend this summoner spell.
Exhaust is a spell I would usually only take if my team lacked one, which is very uncommon at the moment. Pair it with either Ignite for a very aggressive combination or Flash for a safer and usually far better combination. It definitely has its uses, such as allowing you to chase somewhat similarily to Ghost, assisting your jungler in ganks, and also can be used as somewhat of an escape as well.
Teleport can certainly be a decent choice depending on your playstyle and what you are against in lane. This is especially the case in top lane, if you want to teleport to gank a lane, or help your team in an early dragon fight.
Never take any of the other summoner spells! They are either fairly poor summoner spells or just not suited to Vladimir.
Overall, I reccomend using either Ignite + Flash or Ignite + Ghost, but other spells CAN be good in some situations and can be worth experimenting with.
Passive Crimson Pact Every 40 points of bonus health grants Vladimir 1 ability power and every 1 point of ability power grants Vladimir 1.4 bonus health. These bonuses do not stack with themselves.
This is what makes Vlad that much more tankier than other traditional AP carries. Basically, this gives Vlad bonus health based on his AP and bonus AP based on his health.
Q Transfusion Vladimir drains the lifeforce of his target, dealing magic damage and healing himself.
Cost - None
Range - 600
Cooldown - 10 / 8.5 / 7 / 5.5 / 4
Magic Damage - 90 / 125 / 160 / 195 / 230 (+0.6 per point of ability power)
Health Regained - 15 / 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 (+0.25 per point of ability power)
This will be your core ability, it has no cost at all, and deals damage to a single target as well as healing you, this can be used to harass constantly and also to sustain in lane.
W Sanguine Pool Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood becoming untargetable for 2 seconds 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 - 300
Cooldown - 26 / 23 / 20 / 17 / 14
Magic Damage (per half-second) - 20 / 33.75 / 47.5 / 61.25 / 75 (+3.75% of bonus health)
This is your escape ability, as well as your only form of CC. This ability is extremely useful, making you be able to escape most ganks with ease with correct usage, and dodge incoming projectiles and skills.
E Tides of Blood Vladimir unleashes a torrent of blood dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. Each cast of Tides of Blood gives him an Empowered stack, which increases his healing and regeneration and causing his next Tides of Blood to deal 25% more base damage but cost 25% more health. This lasts for 10 seconds, and stacks up to four times.
Cost - 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 health
Radius - 620
Cooldown - 4.5
Magic Damage - 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+0.45 per point of ability power)
Additional Healing - 4% / 5% / 6% / 7% / 8%
Extremely powerful and interesting ability, this improves your sustain later on in the laning phase and surves as a massive AoE nuke as well. It is what allows Vlad to push and harass heavily past the early stages of the laning phase.
R Hemoplague Vladimir infects all enemies in the target area with a virulent plague which increases the damage they take from all sources by 12% for 5 seconds. After these 5 seconds, infected enemies take magic damage.
Cost - None
Range - 700
Radius - 350
Cooldown - 150 / 135 / 120
Magic Damage - 150 / 250 / 350 (+0.7 per point of ability power)
Devastating team fight ultimate, try and cast this on as many people as possible in a team fight, as the damage amplification is a huge deal. This also will be key in scoring early kills, remember if you are going for a kill to use this before your other abilities.
The skill sequence on Vladimir is quite simple and doesn't really have any variance. As seen below:
Basically you are going to want to max out Transfusion as fast as possible, taking it at level 1 and maxing it first.
You will take Sanguine Pool at level 2 as you will need it to escape from ganks very early, but then maxing it last.
Don't take Tides of Blood until level 4, as the health cost is quite high very early in the game and you won't want to be spamming it and pushing the wave until you have backed and have wards. However you will want to max it second.
Vladimir has quite a few options for items, depending on the situation, the items you buy will vary on the situation.
This part of the guide will be broken up into sections, Starting Items, First Back, Boots, Core Items and Situational Items.
+ 3 x Health Potion
This is the most common start for Vlad, this gives you the mobility to run from ganks, to get in range to use abilities, and allows you to pick up health potions for sustain early game. I reccomend this in practically every situation.
+ 5 x Health Potion
Only get this if you are against a very tough early game physical damage dealing opponent, this will usually be top lane. It isn't a bad choice but it has no real upgrade path and makes you easier to gank early game.
I am not a fan of this start, but it does have it's uses. It makes you more durable early on and offers some sustain which Tides of Blood will amplify later on. Pick this if you are against a fairly weak early game AD opponent, and just want to turn it into a farm lane.
+ Health Potion
Despite this being a seemingly popular starting item don't start with this. It makes you very easy to gank early on, and a strong early game champion will burn your hp potion easily and force you out of lane.
This is a very important part of the guide, your first time going back to base. You have multiple choices for items when you first go back to base, and I will explain each choice, and why below.
This is the most common item you will grab on your first back, it gives you AP and makes your sustain exceptional, and will build into the very important Will of the Ancients.
The only reason you pick up this item is when you are against someone who you fear can just burst you down in lane and force you to go back, such as LeBlanc as she nears level 6. Picking this up WILL weaken your damage a bit, but against early burst casters it is more important to just make sure you don't feed them than it is to be inflexible in your item build. You will still deal nice damage regardless due to Vlads short cooldown abilities.
Again, this is usually picked up for the same reason as above, but it most likely will impact your build order less as you will want to get a fairly early Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It will also help against an ad opponent, or jungle ganks. Also due to Vlads passive, it actually gives you a little bit of AP as well.
IMPORTANT! There is also another thing you will almost certainly want to get on your first back, this magical item is known as a Sight Ward, and you will want at least two of them after your first trip back.
These will allow you to play to your strengths and push and harass your opponent constantly without fear of being ganked. You only need to keep a single ward up while laning, mid or top.
This means the gold I suggest you have before you go back for the first time, depending on what item you want, is:
For Hextech Revolver + 2 x Sight Ward + 2 x Health Potion you will want a minimum of 1420 gold.
For Negatron Cloak + 2 x Sight Ward + 2 x Health Potion you will want a minimum of 960 gold.
For Giant's Belt + 2 x Sight Ward + 2 x Health Potion you will want a minimum of 1330 gold.
Of course if you have left over money feel free to upgrade your boots or buy parts of the first major item you wish to finish.
Also note, that you don't neccessarily want to go back as soon as you hit that amount of gold, as if you leave while your opponent is still in lane they can push the creeps to your tower and you will miss gold and experience, however if your lane is very pushed, your lane opponent died or was forced back. Feel free to go back if you have the amount of gold you need.
If you are forced out of lane or die early on, which shouldn't happen if you are playing right, just buy whatever you can out of an Amplifying Tome or two or a Null-Magic Mantle if needed, as well as health potions and wards.
Lots of people have different views of what is better on Vlad, Sorcerer's Shoes or Ionian Boots of Lucidity. I will explain the strengths of both, as well as any other options.
This item gives you magic penetration, this will make all of your abilities just deal more damage. I like this item against teams that are mostly squishy and likely won't have much magic resistance for quite a while, also if I don't plan on getting a Void Staff until very late. I find this option is often better against opponents you can't get in range of often to harass, as when you do briefly trade with them you will hit harder then with other boots.
These boots will overall give you more health sustain, and more sustained damage in fights. If you and your lane opponent are having sustained trades these will be better. It also makes you more survivable in a sense due to your Sanguine Pool being off cooldown more often.
Get these against heavy CC teams, is is also nice to be able to get a Null-Magic Mantle early on against an AP opponent. Not much to say here but if the team is very CC heavy these can sometimes allow you to do more damage and survive longer then the other boots and other times save your life altogether. Also helps you survive ganks.
These items are literally items that you should build EVERY game, regardless of the situation.
Usually the first item I fully complete besides boots, this item helps out your teammates in fights as well as giving you nice damage and ludicrous sustain. Do not underestimate how powerful this item is. Get it as one of your first two major items.
This item is just made for Vlad, it synergises with your passive, Crimson Pact, perfectly, giving good ap and health. It also gives you a slow on your abilities which is extremely good for chasing as the full slow amount is applied with Transfusion. You will suusally want to finish this as one of your first three major items.
This item is a neccessity on Vlad as well as nearly every other AP carry in the game. It boots your damage more than any other item, as well as amplifying the AP you get from every other item you have. Get this if you just want the raw damage and feel survivable enough. I usually finish this as one of my first three items.
That's it! Those items make for an extremely powerful combination on Vlad. In most scenarios, your choice of boots and these three items will be all completed before you start building any other items.
This includes any other items you may wan't to consider getting, as well as items you probably shouldn't consider getting.
In a sense, this isn't really a situational item, as you will want it practically every game if the game goes long enough. Buy this once your opponents have high magic resistance and you need the raw damage.
This item is also very common on Vlad, buy this if you are getting focused fairly heavily early game. This item works extremely well in combination with your Sanguine Pool, allowing you to be untargetable for a very long duration. Also gives you some nice armor, which is very useful as the enemy ad carry is getting stronger.
Again, this item is great in combination with Sanguine Pool, as it allows you to break all CC and use your pool, and is very cheap and easy to get fairly early on in the game. You will likely want this very early on against champions such as Malzahar and Veigar as they will be looking to score kills on you with their ultimates. Also very useful in teamfights. Also if you got an early Negatron Cloak, this is one of the options to upgrade to.
Quite a nice item if you feel you need the magic resistance, I like to get this item if my team has multiple AP carries as the passive aura will also benefit them in teamfights. Stacks well with Sorcerer's Shoes. This is usually the go to item to upgrade to if you get an early Negatron Cloak.
This item is very nice, it gives good AP, a great active nuke and cooldown reduction which is always great on Vlad. I highly reccomend this item when you want a lot of raw damage.
Not a huge fan of this item, Deathfire Grasp just does what it does better. Only get this if you have a team lacking ignites and really need the healing reduction active against a fed Swain, or Dr. Mundo or lifesteal stacking carry, etc.
This is a decent option for a very very late game item, as it will give you a lot of extra damage, however I wouldn't usually go for this just due to the fact that it is very expensive and at the stages of the game where this is a nice option there is almost always other items I would rather buy. On top of this, Vlad doesn't really have a highly suitable auto attack animation, or attack speed to make optimal use of it.
The stats are very nice for Vlad, it is actually a nice item and stacks well with Sorcerer's Shoes. However I don't really pick it up often, I find that later in the game I find myself selling it for a better item and it often doesn't make enough difference to warrant the cost. Pick it up if you want to strengthen your mid game more.
I don't like this item, however if you are against low skilled opponents and you are dominating early it isn't too bad, Vlad does become hard to kill so it isn't a terrible choice, especially due to it being fairly cheap to pick up.
This item gives some nice stats, health, CDR and magic resistance. The passive is also very nice and synergises very well with Tides of Blood. However, for somewhat similar reasons to Haunting Guise I rarely pick this up. Early on, it doesn't offer you any real damage and picking it up later on makes it feel like a wasted item slot. It just isn't really worth the money for what it gives on Vlad.
Oh how I hate seeing this item built on Vlad so often. It gives you a lot of HP, and due to your passive, some AP. But it just isn't that great. It is not a core item on Vlad and the only time I reccomend this item is in a late game scenario when you are hitting like a truck, have good resistances and just need more raw survivability to survive in fights. This item isn't bad, but it also should not be built in the majority of games, especially early on.
That is all for items, if there are any that you think should be listed that I have not included, feel free to suggest them in the comments.
The Laning Phase
This part of the guide is divided into two sections, one for mid lane and one for top lane.
Your primary goal when playing mid lane is simple, survive and farm up during the early levels and then push lane and deny your opponent, while always staying on high health and being able to roam and help your team.
Before your first back simply just farm up, harass with Transfusion when you can but play it safe. After your first back, you should have a Hextech Revolver and wards. Ward one side of your lane and stay close to that side, and start using your Tides of Blood to both harass and push the creep wave to the enemy tower, using Transfusion whenever you can to harass.
While your lane is pushed to the enemy tower, feel free to poke at them under tower with Transfusion if they get close enough but don't take more than a single tower shot for it.
If you don't have a ward up, or you don't have your Hextech Revolver due to dying or being forced to go back early, or choosing to buy a different item before the revolver, just farm up like normal and don't actively push the lane.
The reason you do this is because it will make your opponent have to farm under tower which will make it harder for them to last hit and thus deny them farm. Also, keep an eye on the map, if you see the opportunity to leave your lane and help out your team whether it be a skirmish on bot lane, your jungler finding the enemy jungler when counter jungling, or your own jungler getting ganked in the jungle go and help out. Impose yourself around the map, it is the key to carrying the game.
The combination of having a constant ward, and your Sanguine Pool should be enough to get you out of practically any gank if you respond fast enough and react appropriately.
If you are severely behind, just play it safe and farm up and don't push the lane, remember that Vlads late game is exceptional.
For top lane Vlad you mostly want to just farm up. Once you have Hextech Revolver you can out sustain and out range a lot of top laners. Use this to your advantage and just poke at your opponenet whenever you can and just farm as much as you can.
If you know where the enemy jungler and mid laner are, and if you have sufficent ward coverage, feel free to push on your opponent and force them to last hit under tower, but make sure you are safe.
It is important to always have a ward up in top lane after your first back unless you are last hitting under tower and your lane is being pushed constantly.
If you are behind just try and let your opponent push and then just farm up safely.
Vladimir is fairly simple to use in a team fight. Try and hit as many people with your ultimate, Hemoplague, as soon as possible, but be sure to catch the more important targets in it as well.
Try and focus on the squishier, important targets, namely the AD carry or in some cases the AP carry or champions such as Master Yi, Shaco, Fiora etc. Mostly you just want to target the squishy targets that are dealing the most damage to your team.
Overall it is really pretty simple, hit as many people as possible with Hemoplague, hit as many people with Tides of Blood as you can, try and make sure both these abilities are hitting the squishy high dps targets as well as the others, and focus your Transfusion on the important targets as well.
Once in danger, being focused, or have a very powerful ability flying your way, use Sanguine Pool to avoid it and either move to a safe position or use it aggressively to deal damage and slow. Generally you will just want to use it in the middle of a fight to break focus from yourself once a lot of enemies start to focus you.
Toward the end of a teamfight, Vlad excels at chasing and picking off runners, and Sanguine Pool can help your teammates catch them if it is off of cooldown.
Tips and Tricks
This section is sorted by general tips, and tips related to each of Vlad's abilities.
• When you are getting ganked be smart about what you do, in mid lane if you have one side warded, stay closer to that side and when you see an enemy coming to gank you evaluate the situation and determine whether you can run straight back to tower or whether to run the long way down through river and back through your own jungle.
• Always consider when you use your abilities, if you are full health and want to use Transfusion to harass, is the enemy going to use an ability on you when you go up to harass? If so, wait for them to damage you and then use Transfusion to heal back the damage as well as dealing the damage to them. When you see an ability flying your way, remember that Sanguine Pool costs 20% of your current health to cast before you use it to dodge an ability, using pool at times may deal more damage to you then just letting the ability hit you.
• Be careful, mostly early on, when using this ability, as it usually opens up a window for your opponent to harass you. It is fine to use it on a minion to last hit and get some health back, but be aware that it is easy for your opponent to harass you back while it is on cooldown early on.
• This ability heals you for a flat amount and has an AP scaling. This means regardless of how much damage Transfusion actually does to your target, it heals you for the same amount regardless.
• Sanguine Pool will not break channelled abilities such as Fiddlesticks Drain and Nocturne's Unspeakable Horror. Keep in mind that Sanguine Pool makes you untargetable, but things that are already being channelled on you will not be broken by pool.
• Damage over time abilities such as Swain's Torment, and more notably Ignite, will damage you through Sanguine Pool.
• You can't pool through Veigar's Event Horizon, and you also cannot pool under Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, Anivia's Crystallize or Trundle's Pillar of Filth, as they are treated as terrain.
• Casting Sanguine Pool will break tower aggro, and the tower will not target you the entire time you are pooled, however any tower shots heading your way when you pool will still hit you. This is very useful when diving tower, as you can cast all of your other abilities, use pool to stop taking tower damage and refresh its damage stacking, and then cast both Transfusion and Tides of Blood again if necessary to finish off your opponent.
• Use Zhonya's Hourglass in combination with Sanguine Pool when low health to make youself untargetable for a very long duration.
• The passive stacks of Tides of Blood that gives you increased healing effects all sources of healing, such as the summoner spell Heal, Health Potions, healing from supports such as Sona and Soraka, Transfusion, health regeneration and spell vamp.
• Keep this fully stacked when you can keep yourself at full health through spell vamp and Transfusion, it deals scary amounts of damage at full stacks and makes all of your abilities heal you for more.
• Remember that this amplifies all sources of damage to the target, including Ignite, Deathfire Grasp, and all of your abilities and teammates damage, meaning it is best to lead with this when going for a kill.
• This does no initial damage and only applies the damage amplification when cast, something a lot of players seem to forget.
• If you have any tips or tricks related to Vlad that you have found, or that I have overlooked, post them in the comments and I'll definitely consider adding them to the list.
Thank you for reading my guide to Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper. I hope that I have helped you learn something new about one of my favorite champions in the league.
This is my first ever guide so feel free to leave suggestions or ask questions in the comments, I will try my best to keep the guide updated and to update my guide based on suggestions.
Also if you see any error in the guide please point them out so I can fix them.
Once again, thanks for reading.