Build Guide by DarkArcheopteryx
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Since I looked for a decent Vlad guide and could not find one or did not agree with some, I decided to make one myself.
THE SUMMONER SPELLS:
Ghost works well for Vlad, as it gives him a nice movement speed buff (which he so desperately needs), and this helps with ganking, chasing, and/or running for your life. Ignite is a great choice as well as it is a good combo right after you use your ultimate (which is explained later). What isn't good for Vlad:
1. Heal-Vlad is a natural healer, so this summoner spell is a waste.
2. Rally-I've personally rarely seen Rally, and if I do it's usually a melee tank that uses it. So don't get this.
3. Clarity-This is mana healing spell....so should you get it? NO, as Vlad does not use mana. Like at all.
4. Clairvoyance-This is a good spell, don't get me wrong, but it is unneeded, unless you are REALLY paranoid about being ambushed. Which you shouldn't be, since you have a spell that can get you to safety if ganked.
5. Revive-Personally, I think this spell is only used by people who want to be alive for a long time. But once you use this spell, it has like a 550 second cooldown...which is ridiculous. With Vlad being a life-stealer, you should rarely die anyway.
6. Exhaust-This is another good spell, and is useful only if you really want to gank hard. Otherwise, your Sanguine Pool slows enemies that are inside...so you already have an Exhaust.
7. Smite-This spell I have only ever seen for jungling champions like Warwick and Udyr...Vlad is not a jungler, so he should not have this spell.
8. Teleport-This spell is used if you have died and want to get somewhere really fast. If you follow this guide, you should rarely die.
9. Cleanse-This is a good spell if you don't want any effects like slow, stun or poison on you as you escape. But again, if Sanguine Pool is used correctly, the spell is like a Cleanse and it makes you untargetable. So no-go on this spell.
10. Fortify-If you really want more damage on minions, then get this spell. Otherwise, save it for the others on your team.
11. Flash-Good for getting away or initiating ganks, but Ghost gets the spot here as it increases the movement speed.
Just get Ghost and Ignite and you should be well off.
I am well on my way to having a 10/0/20 build. I put 10 in offense to get the improved Ignite and the increased magic penetration. The 20 in Utility goes to the improved ability cooldowns with the improved Ghost as well. Don't get any of the mana help as Vlad does not use mana. Only max Perseverance which gives increased health regeneration (don't care about mana regen).
Vlad is a very good off-tank caster with good solo and team helping spells. Many think he is OP, or over-powered, but it is not so. For one, he does not survive well if he is entirely focused upon, and his slow movement speed does not help. His spells cost him health instead of mana, so you are pretty much useless if you are too low of health in team fights since your spells will help you get killed faster. Also count on the fact that your spells are barely useful early game, as the cooldowns are long and Vlad relies almost on his spells to do damage. So don't be greedy or aggressive until you are level 6 with your ultimate or maxed out Transfusion.
Now on to the fun part! Vlad has very good life-stealing spells, and is a good harasser if you play him right. His passive trades ability power for health and vice versa, meaning the more health you get the stronger your abilities will be and likewise more ability power means more health. The first skill you should focus on leveling is Transfusion, which deals damage to the target and after about a second heals Vlad for some of the damage dealt. This is a great spell to have early game because you can last-hit minions like a boss, and also keep the enemy champion(s) at bay. The only con about this spell is it doesn't have an awesome cooldown until it is maxed, going from about 12 seconds to 2-3 when maxed.
The second spell that you should learn is Sanguine Pool. Only learn one level early game for reasons stated next. Sanguine Pool again costs you health to use, but I only use it as an escape mechanism or to help my team pick off enemy champions. Using it to help with getting Golem or Lizard buffs can be nice too as it removes any auto-attack aggro. When you use this spell, you become untargetable by most spells, any turrets and any physical attacks for a short period of time. Any enemy champions and/or minions are slowed while inside the pool as well, and saps their life and gives it to Vlad. Although the cooldown time is long no matter what level, using this spell at the right time could mean the difference between life and death, or killing that last champion before leaving the area. Like it says in the skill build section, only get one level early game for a handy escape mechanism.
The third spell you should focus on maxing is Tides of Blood. I hear everywhere that it isn't a particularly good spell or it should only be used in team fights and such but I do not agree. Tides of Blood (ToB) cost you some health, but it a very good last-hitting spell for minions also. Not only is it that, but the spell stacks (up to four times) and the stacks give you increased health regeneration and increased ToB damage! Only problem is that it costs more and more health to use every time, so don't spam the skill too much, only use it to last-hit minions/low-health enemy champions. Again, the cooldown isn't good until it is maxed.
Now to Vlad's ultimate: Hemoplague. Using his own life, a ring of blood is put down (it's an AoE spell, or Area of Effect) and damages anyone who is inside it. If the spell "tags" any enemies, magic damage is done to them over a period of three seconds. This spell is a great initiating spell, but you should only use it if the rest of your team is planning on moving in to mop up afterwards as the magic damage doesn't do very much.
I only start off with the Regrowth Pendant and no health potions. If you follow this guide exactly, you will never need health pots as your first spell and the pendant will constantly heal you, and Regrowth Pendant is one of the items needed for Warmog's Armor so you already have 1/3 items.. I then proceed to build Sorceror's Shoes, as magic penetration is key if you want your spells to be very effective. If laning in mid (which is highly recommended) is not going too hot, build Haunting Guise before the Shoes as this gives you a health and AP (ability power) boost, which is what Vlad is all about. After getting the Guise and Shoes, GET RYLAI'S CRYSTAL SCEPTER. This item is a must have for Vlad, and there is no way to get around it. With its nice health and AP boost, it is a must have. Plus, your spells will now slow the target, meaning with maxed Transfusion and Rylai's, constant heal every 2.5 seconds and possible kill along with it and a great Sanguine Pool. After Rylai's, Warmog's Armor is a huge health booster, and constantly heals and maxes your life every kill you get. What did I say about getting more health? You get more AP!! After this, I feel it's a must to get the Abyssal Scepter, as it really pumps up your AP and lowers the magic resistance of enemy champions (which helps magic penetration a lot).
THE FINAL ITEM:
Okay, so you are deciding what your final item might be to really max out Vlad's potential of being an awesome champion. The final item really comes down to what kind of situation you are in involving your team. If you feel like you REALLY need more AP, then I would go with the Hextech Gunblade. A nice surprise with this item is that it actively deals magic damage to a single target. So if you've used all of your spells on an enemy champion and they're almost about to get away, just nuke them with this and they're history. If your team really needs a tank to take them to victory, you could try getting Randuin's Omen, as this is a necessity for most tanks due to the armor and health bonus, and it also gives nice cooldown reductions. The active slows attack and movement speeds in an area, coming in handy for those pesky DPS (damage per second) champions like Ashe and Master Yi. I see why Zhonya's Ring comes in handy for the great AP boost and an active two seconds of invulnerability, but I have never used it personally as Vlad is never square in the middle of enemy champions, unless you get caught by surprise (which isn't often). The last item is personally up to you, but I recommend these last items as I haven't gotten a kill score under 10 yet :)
EDIT-So I'm sticking to my rune build mentioned above. The magic penetration marks are a must for Vlad as he does almost all of his damage with spells. The cooldown reduction seals stack nicely with Vlad's already short timed Transfusion and ToB, plus you can assist your team more often with your ultimate. The ability power glyphs are nice too as not only is Vlad great with more AP, the glyphs stack with his passive and contributes more health to him. And last but certainly not least, the AP quintessences give Vlad all the AP he needs to turn team fights around and heal himself extraordinarily.
1. Vladimir is at his best if he lanes in mid. He levels faster and gets more gold if he is solo, and that really helps with getting the item build mentioned above and his spell cooldowns faster.
2. Be almost entirely defensive in early game. Only focus on last-hitting minions for needed gold and experience, and only use Transfusion for last-hitting or harassing enemy champions that get a little too close. When near the enemy tower, stay behind your caster minions (the minions that fire off little bolts of energy) and last-hit. Don't even think about attacking the enemy champion at the tower, as the tower will then fire at you and take away your health fast.
3. When Transfusion is at level 3 or 4, you can start harassing the enemy champion a lot more. Instead of being passive at the enemy tower, be very careful in attacking now as Vlad should be able to withstand a couple hits from the tower before running back. If Vlad ever gets low in life, just use Transfusion on minions until his health is good again.
4. Never use ToB or Hemoplague if you are low in life in team fights, as this can almost kill you and makes you an easier target. SPAM your maxed Transfusion at all times, as this can be your saving grace.
5. When you are a higher level and have some of your item build complete, feel free to help gank/assist top lane or bot lane. Vlad makes a great support using Sanguine Pool to slow his enemies while your teammates pound away on them.
Laning in mid, you come across an entire set of different champions that fight against you. This section is all about tips on fighting some of them, in no particular order:
(Don't know if I will include all of the champs)
Ashe- Probably the most common mid laner in an enemy team. If Ashe is good, she will focus on leveling Volley, in which she fires arrows in a cone shape outward and whatever hits slows you. When Ashe levels this skill and has lots of mana, she will start spamming Volley a lot. As the awesome Vlad (or any champ for that manner), try to stay behind your friendly minions as the arrows will just hit them. Her ultimate is a large frost arrow that stuns you or a friendly CHAMPION (not minion) on hit, and the range is global. Try to anticipate when she will fire this arrow at you (usually when you are low health or you come too far out from your tower). To prevent being hit always be constantly moving erratically and unpredictably so that she just wastes her shot and mana. Do this and you should be fine.
Miss Fortune- This champ is just a pain to lane against. Her first spell is called Double Shot, in which she fires a single projectile at a target, which bounces to a target close behind the first one. All you have to do here is make sure there are at least 2 minions in between you and her. Another skill she has is called Make it Rain, an AoE slow and damage barrage of bullets. Just stay a distance away here and let her waste her mana. Even use Transfusion on her a couple times, but only if you are moderately near your tower to have a safe escape in case she targets you. Her ultimate is like Ashe's Volley, but without the slow and fired several times. Just anticipate when she could fire this, and when she does always run to the LEFT or RIGHT, never straight backwards. This nets you the least amount of damage as the cone is relatively small in width.
Anivia- The "Articuno" of League of Legends, this is a very dangerous champion to lane against. Her Flash Frost (a ball of ice she shoots in a straight line) can "hit you twice". By that I mean it can hit you and if timed right, Anivia can use the skill again while the ball is flying towards you and become a stunning slow bomb on hit. If you have ice on your feet, then run as Anivia's next offensive spell throws an ice spike at you, dealing double damage if you are "frosted". The ice wall she has can be a problem as you can get trapped fast, and you don't want that. Anivia's ultimate is an AoE (yes, yet another AoE attack) that can be activated every 5-10 seconds and it....... (more to come)
This guide is still under construction, but feedback would be appreciated! Especially on runes, as I believe the rune build I have listed is still under review.