Vladimir Build Guide by Silesia Blaster
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Boots are important
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.
Threats to Vladimir with this build
|Singed||Another one of not many comfortable lanes. Early game without jungler he literally shouldn't be able to do anything to you. As he's farm dependent try to deny him as you can - remain warded and if you may force him under turret, as he's got problems with farming there, as he's DoT ability damage dealer. However if he's got jungler with early good damage it may be problematic, as on 4th level he's very good in assisting in ganks. You need to know only one thing: If you don't know you can kill him easily in current moment, don't chase him. When he's got Rylai's Crystal Scepter Don't chase him without team when his team is dead.|
Hello everyone, I'm Silesia Blaster and I'm playing on EUNE server. Currently when writing it I'm in Platinum V division.
This is my guide for playing Vladimir. This is my first guide so please have mercy on showing me my mistakes, especially as I'm not English native speaker. It will be nice if you'll leave comment and discuss about it. I'll try to answer questions and gladly participate discussion.
If there's any mistake in guide, let me know about it. Also is there's match-up you want me to add, just let me know if I missed some.
Thanks to Jhoijhoi for her guide about making guides, it helped me set this chaos in some order and became possible to read. :)
Later I want add some videos, at least if LoL Replay will be fixed because as I see there is commnon problems with records.
Strong sustain -
High AoE damage -
Solid Teamfighter -
Scales well into late game -
Various possibility of tactics and itemization -
Good farming and strong waveclear -
Natural tough -
Ranged aa -
Good escape/outplay mechanic -
- Weak early game
- Easy to fall behind if enemy laner plays aggressive/jungler camps lane
- Heal reduce counter very hard
- Have got few impossible difficulty matchups
- No hard CC
- Relies on very fast reactions
When and why pick Vladimir?
Vladimir is versatile champion what makes him viable pick for in many team compositions. It's great idea if your mid laner want to pick ad champion like Zed or Talon. Vladimir works extremely well with champions with AoE damage and displacements like ( Orianna/ Darius) or ability to clump together enemy team ( Galio, Shen) in due to his high AoE damage. Also any strong initiators ( Vi, Amumu) makes cooperation rewarding.
Strong disengage based teams ( Gragas, Janna) isn't working well with him, but it's possible to cooperate. Vladimir does not have strong answer to split push compositions, because he isn't mobile except summoner spells as his mechanic is destined for teamfights.
Skill explanation and sequence
Crimson Pact - passive skill, very characteristic for Vladimir. It gives you extra 1,4 health points for each point of bonus ability power you've got and point of ability power for bonus 40 health points you've got. That's the secret why even full ap Vladimir isn't squishy. And that's why every hp and ap item suits your build so well.
Transfusion - Primary Vladimir skill dealing decent damage and healing you. Some people would call it "bread and butter skill. High cd is decreasing each level to low cd of 4 seconds. Both damage and heal scales separetely, (60% for damage, 25% for heal). This skill has no cost, what makes you spamming it whenever you may. Always max it first.
Sanguine Pool - Another very specific skill, about which you may say without it Vladimir wouldn't be Vladimir. It makes you become untargetable (DoT spells are continuously doing damage, remember it), giving increasing a bit movement speed, slowing enemies in area, deal some damage and also heals you for part of it. This great skill got two weakness - long cd and cost 20% of current health. You rather do not use it offensively unless you're sure you're going for kill and anyone surprise you when it's off cd. Even if you're engaged using it in proper moment is something what characterize good Vladimir player (f.e. waiting for Fiora Blade Waltz). If you're facing hard poke lane with high kill potential ( Pantheon) feel free to take it on 2nd level instead of Tides of Blood, but max it last.
Tides of Blood - This skill deals AoE damage every opponent in area (also if you do not see them because they're on stealth like Wukong/ Teemo or standing in bush like Garen ;)). You pay for it skill with your health, and this cost increases with stacks - they're increasing damage and your healing. Once you get Hextech Revolver it isn't that painful, and you should be able to stay on lane with full stacks all the time. In mid game it becomes your main farming skill, because with stacks it pretty similar damage as Transfusion - but to multiply enemies. It's best if you're going into teamfight with full stacks. When you starting to stack use it before Transfusion to empower it. Max it second.
Hemoplague - Your ultimate. Many people says it isn't strong - they're terribly wrong. It synergies greatly with burst team composition, and it's typical team fight skill, and it has relatively long range (at least longest from your skills). Early game it may be used to secure kill from running away enemy beyond reach of your other skills. True strength of Hemoplague lies in 12% damage increase before damage apply. In duels it means you may land 2 times Transfusion, Tides of Blood and once Sanguine Pool. Around late game if you use it in proper moment of teamfight it may win game. If your team catch enemy team off guard together, do not afraid to initiate with it. Put point every time you may (6th, 11th and 16th level).
Most often I pick 21-9-0 Masteries for Vladimir. Depend on situation, if I see Team will need me more durable I'm going going for 9-21-0
Some people play 9-0-21 on Vladimir. It's nice to have such utility but I think it's better to have more combat stats from 1st and 2nd tree - especially you feel it early game, where Vladimir is weakest.
I do not recommend other masteries, as I played more than few games on other masteries like 9-9-12 and it isn't so effective like standard masteries.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Honestly, I do not see many situations when other marks would be viable for Vladimir. They're common used for mages and I didn't saw anyone on medium, high or pro elo playing on other runes like this on mages.
Greater Mark of Armor - On 2nd thought this is considerable replacement. As marks are offensive runes this is decent choice. If you're going to face heavy ad laner and you presume enemy will go very aggressive this might be good choice (just imagine how offensive Pantheon will build if he would have in team Rammus, tank build Galio and Leona.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor - Since flat armor runes where nerfed I use those practically always. They're overscaling flat armor runes on your 6th level, and there are only few situations I can imagine when I'm taking willingly flat armor instead of armor per level.
Greater Seal of Armor - ok, there are few situations I would take them. It's about extremely dangerous and aggresive ad laner, who really may take without effort kills on you in early game. Darius, Lee Sin, Pantheon or Jayce may be problematic, as they get all skills their power in lane is owerwhelming, push stronger than yours, and each time you lack even 100 hp you starting to think about playing safe.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health - I know some people plays on those runes, but I think you need basic resists, because health by itself without resists are only food for life steal and spell vamp relying champions. It's also good idea, as it scales to late game nicely, so it's not bad. Also if you see enemy team got a lot ap champions they might be better idea than armor runes.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - I pick them against non ap top laners, when enemy jungler isn't early game magic damage threat ( Fiddlesticks). They scale nice into late game teamfights and they overscale flat runes around 9th level.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - I'm taking those when I face ap top laner ( Ryze) or enemy jungler have got quite high magic burst potential. Not better, not worse than scaling runes, simply different.
Greater Glyph of Ability Power or Glyph of Scaling Ability Power - If enemy team really does not have magic damage except support why pick magic resist then? Extra ap makes you even stronger and got synergy with your passive.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction - Enemy team does not have magic damage, but you know you won't pick Ionian Boots of Lucidity before game started? Those runes scales extremely well into late game and will make you feel the difference.
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power - Most often picked runes for many mages. They're making early game a little easier because their benefit is quite high if you compare them to another runes.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Those runes gives nice utility for all champions, however Vladimir gains more from sticking/keeping distance as he likes to use range as advantage. Good choice, pick recommended if you see there are melee champions who needs to stick to enemy to show their potential ( Jax, Irelia, Tryndamere).
My choice for spells:
Teleport - Great spells of variety uses. I find it useful in making uncomfortable for Vladimir early game shorter, catching up if your lane does not go well, making possible split push with your great wave clear and most important - for unexpected joining into teamfight. Basically I use it to get early level advantage/not letting myself going behind and for joining first dragon fight, especially if I got ult ready. Another great thing is Teleport to turret makes it cd shorter.
Flash - This flash is standard for many champions. It's great escape/gap closer, tool to change position in teamfights for better engage. The greatest thing about Flash it almost immediately blink, practically unpredictable. I don't think I need recommend this spell to anyone.
Other viable spells:
Ghost - You may switch this with flash. On longer distance, it give longer distance than flash, but you're easier to predict. Still if you'll need more sticking than Rylai's Crystal Scepter feel free to take, it isn't bad for Vladimir - taken along with Teleport makes Enchantment: Distortion even greater.
Ignite - If you need more strenght in fight or heal reduction is must be against laner ( Dr. Mundo, Akali) or someone else in team may do better splitpush than you ( Nocturne) it may serve you better than Teleport. Take it if enemy team composition is tanky and need heal reduction as many as possible.
Exhaust - I do not feel this is must be for Vladimir as you may survive burst by Sanguine Pool but sometimes it's not bad idea, especially if you see champions like Ryze or Riven on top, who relies on heavy burst. Also in teamfights it's amazing spell, and more than one exhaust in teamfight may be more deadly as enemy imagine.
I don't think any other spell is really viable for Vladimir.
Vladimir is flexible to build what makes him able to answer most of champions. As you saw build, there are only two essential items on Vladimir, but even them won't be picked in every game (However it really would be about one game per thousand). Here are my explanation and advices about building Vladimir:
Will of the Ancients - Vladimir has got built in sustain with Transfusion but it's heal is about to cover the cost of rest of his abilities. Spell Vamp makes Vladimir real vampire and that is what he's known of.
Zhonya's Hourglass - The trick about Vladimir sustain is not only about spell vamp, but not being hit between his skills. Sanguine Pool is built in ability to do that, and with this item you have one more possibility to land one more combo on your enemies. As price is high, the active of this item is invaluable.
Complete build with:
Liandry's Torment - After Patch 5.14 this item is much more considerable for mage like Vladimir. It was always viable, for him, but I considered it as as 5th/6th item, now it's not bad to build after core. This item does it's job only if you play against health stackers like Dr. Mundo, tanks who are suffers DoT ( Malphite), especially with speed up's making them run out of reach ( Garen). That's why it works better in late game, when they already have built hp. Also, as it works with their % max hp, your ap means nothing here except magic penetration - consider to grab also void staff and sorcerer shoes. With proper masteries and runes it gives you 39% penetration and 39 points after it - enough to deal with most tanks. Buy also Rylai's Crystal Scepter to double damage from passive by slowing enemies, because Vladimir got only one movement impair from his Sanguine Pool.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Very good item for Vladimir because it works so well with his kit - letting slow down enemies makes you easier keep distance or stick to enemies, and gives both most desirable stats for Vladimir - ap and hp, making it even more worth. I'm picking this in 95% of games which lasts that long - because it's my 4th or 5th item. You may build it faster if you have high movement speed enemy, especially with decent damage ( Malphite, Garen, Udyr).
Rabadon's Deathcap - Another item I pick many games. Mostly I take it as 4th or 5th item, when I have already some ap to feel passive of this item. I would take void staff instead if not synergy between this and Crimson Pact - more ap you've got, more hp you've got. Despite of Rabadon's Deathcap is not that effective in damage (in many cases) and far more expensive, gives you a lot more hp, and as Vladimir you need to be at last medium tough.
Void Staff - Decent and cheap item with very good effect if enemy got high magic resist. It's mid/late game item to build unless you're playing with someone rushing magic resist - Dr. Mundo/ Nasus/ Volibear with spirit visage and mercury's treads, or simply Galio (when facing him it's must to buy). It has natural synergy with Liandry's Torment and Rylai's Crystal Scepter, those trio may be the center of your build, and it works on Vladimir because of his huge AoE damage.
Abyssal Scepter - Underestimated item, often far better than void staff. It has magic resist reduce aura, what works well with your range. It's also very strong in teamfights, especially if you got another AoE magic damage teammate (Malphite, Fiddlesticks, Swain). It also requires being near enemy, so if your enemies are hard to chase ( LeBlanc, Zed) it isn't good idea. The decision to make about buying Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff (buying both isn't recommended as they work together not really well) is: how many ap champions got enemy, do I have another ap teammate and does enemy got a lot of magic resist? Thing looks this way:
Enemy high magic damage
Enemy low magic resist
Enemy low Magic damage
No Ap Teammates
Enemy high magic resist
Guardian Angel - this item is very well known because it's unique passive restoring you from death after 4 seconds stasis. It also is only item granting armor along with magic resist on Summoner's Rift. Except obvious benefits from this item, there is one thing why I take it. On very late game with proper build it's letting to do ultimate annoy for enemies - where they hunt Vladimir as he's very big threat for them - Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel first and second Sanguine Pool (meanwhile breaks between being untargetable using other skills of course) - once you'll use all of that and it will be the reason you won, you will miss that moment and you'll want feel this moment once more.
Spirit Visage - that one is actually rarely pick from me. Not that it's bad item, simply many people goes for ad mid and does not looking for fact their jungler and top laner are ad; after that only magic damage source in team is support. When you do not need magic resist from this item it isn't worth imo, no matter how good hp, cdr and passive are useful. However it may be good idea to rush Spectre's Cowl or even full Spirit Visage if you would play against strong strong champion reliant on magic damage ( Ryze, rarely seen in game + extremely rarely played on top Swain and Viktor).
Luden's Echo - Replacement for missed by many Deathfire Grasp. For Vladimir this item is better option than it's predecessor, because it's passive synergize with spell vamp. Lack of cooldown reductiown is compensated by extra movement speed which is also good option for Vladimir. If your team needs strong ap carry, it's very good item to combine with Zhonya's Hourglass and Rabadon's Deathcap.
Boots and enchantments
Many players don't spend lot of time to think about picking boots, simply going way they see "most often" in current meta. It's Berserker's Greaves on ad carry, Sorcerer's Shoes on ap carry, Boots of Mobility on jungler and support, Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads for rest. No mentioning 90% of players if they upgrade boots they're buying Enchantment: Homeguard. Personally I'm facepalming each time I see everyone in my team got Enchantment: Homeguard except me. Not that I'm not buying them, simply I'm not doing it so often. Especially rarely while playing Vladimir. Read my explanation why.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity - most often I'm going for them. Cdr is very well working on Vladimir as he's completely skill dependent and surely he's not burst type of mage like LeBlanc or Akali, but relies on constant poke. As Vladimir does not pay for Transfusion and Hemoplague, and Tides of Blood and Sanguine Pool price are quite covered by spell vamp, using them far more often is better than using them bit stronger but less often. In almost every case of Vladimir itemisation you won't get more than 20% cdr from items. But with Ionian Boots of Lucidity, Sorcery and Will of the Ancients you've got 30% cdr, what is satisfying on Vladimir from my experience.
Sorcerer's Shoes - These boots are overestimated in my opinion. 15 points of flat magic penetration aren't that strong as you think, unless you're facing few enemies less than 55 points of magic resist on 18 level or enemy who's got a lot of magic resist and you combine it with Void Staff. You may go for these boots if you think burst is more important, but Vladimir wasn't created to burst enemies down in eye blink. They aren't effective against medium magic resistance - when enemies have enough resist to not melt like snow in the sun, but they aren't stacking it like Galio.
Mercury's Treads - one of my favourite boots at all. If enemy team got 2 ap champions this item is considerable, when there are 3 of them and they got quite hard cc it's smart choice. I saw too many games, where enemy team simply screwed my team with brutal cc and noone of my teammates even thought about buying tenacity, Banshee's Veil or Mercurial Scimitar (sometimes I start to believe this second item is only available for me in game). Leona irritates you in teamfights? Nautilus prevent from moving for an inch? Fiddlesticks ignores your ad carry and use Terrify to make easier land Enchanted Crystal Arrow on you? Go for Mercury's Treads, they help a lot.
Ninja Tabi - Decent boots if you're facing a lot of aa-reliant champions. It's best idea if they got Trundle top, Master Yi Jungle, Yasuo mid and aa reliant adc like Draven (You may see such teams from time to time). Don't think like "tabi are for tanks and some bruisers" Ninja Tabi are answer to enemy. Passive makes a great difference in some fights, because living second more in long fight is never something you can give away.
Enchantment: Alacrity - Reason for this choice is quite simple, if you need a bit more mobility in teamfights they're good choice, making possible catch someone or withdraw this slight difference may be crucial.
Enchantment: Captain - This one is very interesting. If you're fighting in middle of teamfight, it's good to make your teammates move faster toward you to join and help, making easier for them to take better positioning. It's good if you see your team is good in cooperate, don't fear to trust them then.
Enchantment: Distortion - That one I see rarely, but it fits excellent if you got Teleport and Ghost or Flash. It's reducing cd of both and giving additional effect - especially you'll feel difference with Ghost, because then it gives 40% move speed instead 27%. Using more often tp is convinient, and reduced cd on flash I do not need explain and say how great it is.
Enchantment: Homeguard - This spell I see in every game which lasts longer than 30 minutes. People take it for going back faster to lane as it would be extremely important. I see this spell useful in: when you're defending your base, and when you're using this with tp, to make surprise enter and catch someone out of position. Or if you're playing Hecarim, I do not ask a question about it.
This chapter will be short. It's about choose and use of trinkets.
Warding Totem - this is your first choice. I do not recommend any other choice, as it's best for your lane safety. No arguing. Best.
Depend on lane opponent you may want switch trinket around 9th level. You have also two options of upgrading Warding Totem.
If your enemy laner relies on stealth ( Akali) or he's Teemo it's good idea to take Sweeping Lens. Pick it also in late game if your team composition want deny enemy vision.
If enemy jungler relies on stealth like Shaco or Evelynn it's better to take Greater Vision Totem
If enemy team composition relies on ambushes well used Farsight Orb may change result of the match.
But in most matches you'll go for Greater Stealth Totem.
Farming & Lane Phase
Farming with Vladimir is not very difficult early game, and very easy from mid game, when you have more points in Tides of Blood. Practically, later he is able to take any wave in less than 5 seconds.
In early game I advice focusing on farming with aa, use Tides of Blood if your lane goes well or you have already built Hextech Revolver. Transfusion keep for harass and use other tools for that, especially as Tides of Blood may harass and be farm tool at the same time. Keep distance, come closer only for harass, withdraw and wait for cd. That's how it works basically. If lane is hard just try keep to last hit and keep yourself in sustain with Transfusion and ask jungler for a gank.
What you can should afraid is aggressive champions with at least medium early strength and annoying junglers. You do not like champions who's got sticking abilities ( Renekton, Fiora, Irelia) and champions with longer distance of harass ( Gnar, solo top adc like Quinn). Jungler help will be vital in such situations.
There is one most important advice: don't die. You've got great farming tools, so in most cases you're getting advantage as game proceed. Don't be greedy. Top lane is place, where often you'll face champions who are getting impossible to face if they got first kill on you. There aren't many champions who scales better than Vladimir and I can't recall anyone who with such scaling got better farm tools, leaving them waiting for opportunity to get kill. For Vladimir lane isn't simply place to win. It's place to farm, if you can pick a kill - it's good. But it isn't absolutely necessary to have overwhelming power in mid-late game. Large amount of farm - it is necessary.
There are few details making different possibilities for team fight.
- Are you with team or joining by Teleport?
If you're going into teamfight your job is to scatter their positioning by going into middle of fight, do lot of damage and try to cast Hemoplague before they scatter around.
If you're with team, there is next question:
- Do you have Team Mate with initiation skill?
If yes, let him start the fight, you're going after him and act like ap bruiser, do as much damage you can and be maximally unpleasant and interrupting for enemy.
If no, you may use Hemoplague for initiation. It isn't something I advice, but eventually it can do such role. just be sure your team can follow and use this 5 seconds worthy.
Standard Vladimir combos are Tides of Blood + Transfusion. Use them instantly after using Hemoplague and you should be able to land this combo twice.
If you want to avoid huge burst damage use Sanguine Pool. Use it also if your health is going low. When it ends you should be able to land another Tides of Blood + Transfusion.
After you have used Sanguine Pool and combo to prevent taking more damage you may use Zhonya's Hourglass. 2,5 seconds of stasis are enough to refresh Tides of Blood + Transfusion once more.
If you have full build, you may have active Guardian Angel. When the passive works after for 4 seconds, you may land combo and use another Sanguine Pool, and another one combo.
If you managed to land this and someone from enemy team is still alive, it means someone is overfed, or there is duel between Zac and Dr. Mundo.
07.01.2015 Guide published
10.01.2015 Added examples of defensive build, did some minor changes and corrected few mistakes.
26.01.2015 Changed match-ups chapter into vs champions tab and updated them a bit.
15.03.2015 Added build without Will of Ancients
04.06.2015 Added Luden's Echo to items and explained
27.07.2015 Updated items chapter after patch 5.14
11.10.2015 No maior changes, just updating :)