Build Guide by Ullrich
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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.
Vladimir was the first champion I ever played in League of Legends, and remains to this day my favorite. As a newbie playing on a team with my two then-level-15 friends, I came away with a positive score. They directed me in the ways of playing properly, and I continued to grow. I still occasionally come against some difficulty, and there's always a question of whether I should stick to this or go with any of my backup plans A through G, but this is generally my main plan. When I go with it, I very rarely come away without having been a great asset to my team. Go with this, and you'll succeed.
I have enabled the requirement of a comment to vote simply because I want input. If this guide is good in all feasible aspects (in your mind), simply comment +1. If there's something that needs improvement, just tell me, but PLEASE don't just vote down because of one trifling detail!
Pros / Cons
Caster, but not squishy
Great initiator of team fights with
Excellent harasser with
Almost endless laner due to
Great healing through abilities
Not super fast
Early focus in team fights
Excruciatingly long cooldown on , cooldown reduction isn't prioritized with this build
Usefulness drops off when everyone hits level 16 or so
Since Vlad is primarily a caster, having strong Magic Pen is useful early-game when no enemy has much Magic Resist. Especially helpful for harassing.
greater seal of vitality This is primarily for making as much use as possible of Vlad's endlessly useful .
greater seal of regeneration Most of Vlad's abilities cost a fair amount of health, and without a , is your only active healing option other than recalling. Besides which, this just helps Vlad's nearly endless survivability.
Ah, the AP runes. Some people's builds advise flats; that's a bunch of baloney. Most per-level runes at tier three beat flat runes at level 6 or 7, so don't bother with flats. One for an early-game advantage, MAYBE, but it's a huge disadvantage late-game. You make the call.
greater quintessence of vitality These, and their reasons, basically mirror their non-quint counterparts, giving each a nice little boost. I prefer not to put all three in one stat because all three of these are important, but hey, I'm not you. Make your call.
The one thing about Vlad that you need to remember is that his build is totally unique; there aren't any other casters whose abilities suck health. If you play Vlad with any regularity, you may want to consider keeping a Vladimir-only rune page.
: Totally straightforward. And extra 10.8 AP that results in 20 extra Health? Why wouldn't you?
: One of Vladimir's biggest questions in life is, "Which direction do I go, Ghost or Exhaust?" Since this build goes 9-21-0, you don't get the Ghost mastery boost, and the -10 magic resist makes Exhaust great. The choice between this and deadliness (so you can take Ghost) is all yours.
: That 3% cooldown reduction isn't a whole ton, but it is something, and it opens up the next tier.
: 15% Magic Pen right off the bat? Heck yes!
: Less damage, longer time alive. Pretty simple, but it works.
: See above.
: Basically filler, but it's nice to occasionally not take damage.
: Blocking 2 physical damage every hit will make it much easier to survive when you kill the enemy champion at level six and the enemy minions are all after you at the same time. Also opens up the next tier.
: 48 Extra health gives Vlad 1.2 bonus AP; not much, but some.
: 4% attack speed isn't that important on someone like Vlad, but the extra 4% AP REALLY helps him out late-game. It's almost like an immediate mini-Rabadon's Deathcap, and that is a bonus that should NEVER be overlooked.
: THIS is why I choose 9-21-0 over 9-0-21 (Well, this and the fact that Utility is mostly Mana- and Mana Regen-geared.). 4% less damage from enemies is GREAT for Vlad's already ridiculous survivability. GET IT.
Your Best Options (My Choices)
For one, you're spec-ed into it so that it becomes ridiculously useful. For two, it really helps with chases, and if you use it properly, you might not have to chase into questionable territory at all.
If a chase does happen, and you can't quite get the kill, this will finish them off, and if you use it to start, their healing will be halved, helping you get away with a clean kill.
Just as useful as Exhaust, just in different situations. You can pop Ghost to finish off a running Champion, or to escape ganks. In tandem with , you can safely get away from just about anything.
Your Other Viable Options
It works a lot like a one-off Ghost, and as a common favorite among summoners, it's certainly viable, but again, you aren't spec-ed into it, so it isn't quite as usable as it might otherwise be. Its cooldown is just a little too long to be a useful escape mechanism, but if you want it, go for it.
Since you'll be playing mid, it's always nice to be able to immediately return to your post. Probably more workable than other options, but you're still not spec-ed into it. As with all others, the choice is yours.
It's not really useful in random teams, you're not spec-ed into it, and you have better options. Leave it for someone else.
You can escape the repercussions of most debuffs with and then just heal back the damage you took with , so don't worry about it.
If you can't see why this is useless, you're totally blind. No.
In 5v5 games, is about protecting your own turret, and if you're playing Vlad right, your turret shouldn't come into any danger. The passive isn't quite worth it for you, either, so leave it for someone else who can better benefit from it.
This heal isn't nearly enough to make it worthwhile; you heal more with one and it doesn't have a massive cooldown. Don't bother.
Not enough of a bonus, even if you were spec-ed into it. Not worth it.
Your point is not to die, and if you do die, you'll just die again and get yelled at for feeding. Largely useless on most champions, but especially on you. Leave it alone.
This spell is meant for junglers, which you are definitely not. Furthermore, you aren't spec-ed into it, so it isn't worth it. Pass it by.
This... this is your ultimate. may be your technical ult, but this is your spammy-nukey-epic skill. Massive damage, more massive healing, and no cost, it pretty much kicks your other skills to the floor. This is also your harassing skill, so max it as soon as you can.
This is your escape skill. The in-game tips may say to use it to engage; DON'T. You should be engaging with full health, and it costs 20% of that. Not worth trying to engage with it. Learning to time its use will take some effort and practice, but its benefits are endless.
This is your farming skill, and it has a very useful cast-stack. When it's used, you get an additional 8% healing and regen. The on-cast effect stacks up to four times, meaning you get an extra 32% healing and regen. Each stack also makes it deal an extra 25% damage. On the downside, it also means each additional cast costs 50% more than the last. In any case, it's helpful to keep the stacks up as long as you can afford the cost. The reason this doesn't get priority over is that its cooldown is so long at lower levels and needs to be up much, much faster. Also, holding this back makes it much easier to keep stacks up.
This is your technical ultimate. The description here isn't quite accurate; it costs 15% of your current Health, causes all caught by it to suffer an extra 14% damage (that's from all sources, making it great for team fights) for 5 seconds, then dealing 150/250/350 (+70% of AP) damage when that runs out. Even if you die, you get the last laugh if they don't expect so much damage to be done five seconds later and are killed.
This is your passive and, in my opinion, the best in the game. Even Karma's doesn't compare, in my mind. The information given on this site isn't quite accurate, however; it gives 1 AP for 25 Health and 1.8 Health for 1 AP, not 2.
[Edit] It got nerfed. Now it's 1 AP for 40 health, not 25 anymore.
Start with , pretty self-explanatory. Little boost to get the early-game off to a roaring start. Don't build it into until you have , but build it before you get . The is a nice little boost to AP and builds into a decent late-game item. Don't ignore it; even though it has MP/5, it's still wicked once you build it, and the CDR doesn't hurt anyone (except the enemies, har har). makes you a great killer, even with your ABYSMAL Movement Speed. makes you really scary, especially in conjunction with . is new, and between 75 AP and 15% CDR, it's totally wicked on you. shouldn't really be obtainable, the game should be over before you buy it, but if it isn't, hooray for you; you're officially MORTIFYING (it's funny because mortifying means scary to the point of death, which is what you should be doing).
Alternative Item Choices
is one that I debated on for a long time when I cleaned this up for the new patch. You really don't need both this and
. I prefer 40% penetration that flat 20 reduction, but maybe you're different, and that's fine. Each is viable in different situations; make the right decision for yours.
can be taken in place of ; you give up 15% CDR for 50 Armor, which isn't a bad trade-off. It all depends on the enemy team, so do what you think is best.
isn't necessarily a bad choice, but your enemies are likely to stack magic resist at the mere sight of a Vladimir on the opposing team. If they don't, the Spell Vamp is always a nice addition ( as a healing spell? Yes, indeed.), but it shouldn't be your first choice, especially now that is out. Spell Vamp or CDR, you make the call.
also is a decent choice once you get the hang of playing Vlad, but I don't really like snowball items. They're just too unpredictable. They can work on Vlad, though, just because of his ridiculous survivability. If you're in the mood for a gamble or are doing well, by all means.
is, in many cases, a very useful item on Vlad, but gives the unique passive to a higher degree (at full stacks), which you really don't need up all the time. It works great, however, in tandem with , so long as you find two items above that you really don't need.
isn't a bad item for most casters, but there are two problems with it. One, it gives mana, which is perfectly useless for Vlad. Two, its bonuses take ten minutes to fully kick in, by which time the game may have been already decided because of your lack of or something like it. If you can make it work, by all means, go for it. Let me know how, though, so I can implement it in-game.
is one that I would choose against, and here's why: Its bonuses aren't quite enough to be worth it and it only gives Health and Regen per 5. With this build, AP is the focus, and this item doesn't give it. If you want to play more tanky-Vlad, go for it, but it just doesn't fit with this build.
is good for Vlad's survivability and is a good physical-attack-deterrent, and you can back it up with your massive health. The downside is that to take this would be to give up loads of AP and other great stuff. Take it if you gotta, but I don't advise it in most situations.
If you're playing in a random, you can basically ignore this guide. If not, here are some Champions who can help Vlad push his game into overdrive. Remember, under NO circumstances should you ever have a laning partner, but these Champions are good for when the time comes for the team to group up. Make sure your teammates pick one, two tops. More, and you're just asking for trouble.
was one of the first to jump into my mind. Her universal passive is very handy, for one, but it's that makes her a good ally for Vlad. Make sure she stacks AP.
was another to jump into my mind fast. Her is a nice little heal if you're damaged enough for it to target you, but it's really her that makes her useful. The AP boost is NEVER a bad thing.
didn't hit me for a while, but the more I thought about it, the more useful I realized she could be. With , you can afford to be the initial focus. Combined with , you're invulnerable for 5 seconds. With her supplementing your heals, you're golden in team fights.
is a nearly perfect fit with Vlad. can do some minor healing and take out obnoxious minions, takes care of your Movement Speed problem, and prevents some damage that might otherwise prove a bother. Make sure that she uses if she intends to really help you.
is perfect fodder in custom games, but fits well with Vlad in real life (as long as the Summoner knows how to play). consecration gives just a little bit of survivability, and can do some good things for Vlad (as long as Soraka's stacking AP), and is either great help for her or a real problem for ability-reliant enemy Champions.
may seem a little odd, but look at the facts. is great for leveling just that little bit faster than the enemy, totally fixes your speed issues, and is great insurance against death. Not many things are scarier than a Vlad who doesn't fear death.
Starting the Game (Levels 1-7)
Run to mid and stay there. DON'T try to do any harassing before you have any minions to hide behind, or you will wind up taking more damage than you deal. Follow the leveling-skill pattern, and you should be okay. Do NOT try to kill minions with , either use or just last-hit with your auto-attack. Remember to harass with at every possible opportunity. WARNING! Not all midders will give you a problem, but you should be careful against Sivir because her will rip you to shreds unless you can dance around it while still harassing.
Your First Kill (Levels 6-8)
If you've been effectively harassing, your enemy laner should be at between 1/2 and 3/4 health. Make sure everything is off cooldown before you attempt to strike. Once everything is, you're gonna have to mash buttons just right. The order you'll wanna use is -->-->--> -->-->-->-->. The letter order would be, assuming Exhaust is D and Ignite is F, D-->R-->Q-->F-->E-->W-->Q-->E. You shouldn't run through the full rotation unless they're near full health. Congratulations: You've just earned your first kill of many! Note! It is entirely possible that, through the course of your harassing, you come to a point where the enemy is just a little too low on health and you know for sure that you can take them. If that's the case, go for it. You can theoretically get your first kill as early as level 4; I've done it.
Mid-Game (Levels 8-13)
This is where you TRULY shine. You should be ever-ready to jump in on a gank; your map-awareness should be at its maximum. When the enemy begins to group up, you and yours should do the same. Your team should be able to fully stop up any attempts to push any of the lanes. Just be ready to stop troops; have one member designated to stop at all times, and remember to rotate so that everyone gets a chance at the several hundred gold. Make sure to talk to your teammates before you engage; even at his best, Vlad can't go 2 v 1 without support. Note! Support can come in any form, be it another player or a turret. Even a friendly Champion's pet will do. You are highly dangerous with a little help.
Late-Game (Levels 15-End Game)
If your team is awful, the other team is amazing, the server is lag-spiking you really hard, or all three, this can be the longest and most painful stage of the game. After level 15, your usefulness can drop off. Hard. At this point, you're mostly a harasser with a little help from your . That said, however, you can still be a help by nabbing Baron. You may not be able to handle it solo, but you can definitely be a serious thorn in his side. Note! If your Nexus comes under attack, don't fear. With the two turrets helping you out, you should be able to score a triple kill, if not a quadra-kill or even the elusive penta-kill. Just use the order stated above and watch the enemy champions drop like flies under your supreme power.
Tl; dr (summary)
Basically, Vlad is a pretty scary guy with a relatively freaky history; read it when you get a chance. Between the horrifying amounts of AP that you can rack up and the insane Health you build, combined with an unchangeable 4% damage reduction, you have one powerful ally or one tough opponent. It really doesn't matter who's playing Vlad. If it's you or a teammate, you can't help but smile; if it's an enemy, you can't help but cringe just a little bit. However you play him, though, Vlad is always fun to play and always a little satisfying to squish.