Build Guide by Naido
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.
To open, I'd like to say that Vlad was the very first champion I bought; I played him almost exclusively for about 300 games. Then I, as any other player can tell you, had to branch out and learn some other characters. However, I benefited immensely from my initial focus on Vladimir, and have a wealth of knowledge to share on building him.
Let's get right to it, then.
P.S. Please leave a comment if you vote. Literally any information regarding how you felt about this guide would be better than nothing.
- Core Item Explanations
- Additional Items (Post-Core)
- Spell Rotations + Combos
- "Tricks of the Trade" (commentary on Vladimir's quirkier abilities)
Why play Vlad?
I'd consider Vladimir one of the strongest champions in the game, particularly concerning Solo Queue. He's a bruiser-mage with a great ultimate, no mana, lifesteal, and a very effective escape mechanism.
-Good farming capabilities (AoE and Single-Target)
-Good sustained damage
-Difficult to focus in teamfights
-Burst damage requires use of Hemoplague and Ignite to be lethal in most cases
-Countered by Ignite, Madred's Bloodrazor
-Mediocre early game (Levels 1-5)
-Cooldown reduction is hard to find in the HP/AP itemization
-Improper timing on Sanguine Pool can result in a swift death
Summoner Spells: Blinding Them With Science!
I honestly think that these summoner spells are non-negotiable. Why?
Flash is one of the best summoner spells in the game, all-around, because early game it almost ensures your safety, as well as thwarting most late-game chases with a flash-over-the-wall.
Specific to Vladimir, it allows you to surprise your opponent with a quick Flash + Hemoplague + Ignite combo, followed up by your regular spell rotation. This will usually result in a kill, unless the opponent is particularly meaty, is stacking MR, or has Flash themselves. Use proper judgement when executing this combo. More detail in future updates.
Ignite is affected by Vladimir's Hemoplague, reduces the enemy's healing, and adds more "oomph" to your burst. Why Hemoplague + Ignite is so powerful and deceptive has something to do with people's "flee threshold" (the % HP at which they choose to run). This is more relevant during teamfights than in the laning phase, but it's always an important concept to remember.
Other things I've seen Vlad run:
Ghost: This is the best alternative to Flash, and is the only other spell I'd consider taking. Unfortunately, I'm too fond of Flash to give it up. It's less effective for bursting your opponent in mid lane, which is why I use Flash over Ghost consistently.
Teleport: Would be acceptable on a Vladimir in a 1v2 lane to save your jungler some time, but otherwise, it's just not necessary.
Heal: It's just mediocre, that's all. It does blend well with Vlad's lifesteal component, making him deceptively durable, but it's just not a good spell overall.
Recommended Runes: Why Celerity?
Red: Greater Mark of Magic Penetration Because he's a nuker.
Yellow: Greater Seal of Vitality Because bonus health is kind of his thing.
Blue: Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction See below.
Purple: Greater Quintessence of Scaling Cooldown Reduction See below.
Most cooldown reduction items are bad on Vladimir, but his damage scales fairly directly with CDR because of his lack of mana costs and his already short cooldowns (especially Q). Well, in order to remedy that, it's best to run full CDR in masteries (9%), Celerity Glyphs and Quints (-15.80% at level 18) and Boots of Lucidity (15%). That brings you to 39.80% CDR! Not perfect, but it's close enough for me.
Yellow: Greater Seal of Evasion OR Greater Seal of Armor OR Greater Seal of Defense
Purple: Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
You might be confused as to why I would ever reccomend replacing the oh-so-important Celerity quintessences. Well, I wouldn't; however, if you don't have them, can't afford them, or just plain don't like them, use movement speed instead. Fortitude quintessences are redundant because you will already have a ludicrous amount of health during the mid- and late-games, and you shouldn't be so aggresive that the bonus health at level 1 is important. (Remember, Vlad is a poor champion at level 1).
You might have also spotted an inconsistency here. I reccommend health per level Yellows, but not flat health Quints. Well, because of my purchase order, I don't usually get a Giant's Belt until I have Mejai's Soulstealer and Hextech Revolver. This leaves me relatively vulnerable during the early-middle game, and the extra health is nice when I start to get aggresive during that phase. They scale better than the flat HP Quints, and don't occupy the same space as the amazing Celerity Quints.
The 9 points in offense are mandatory, not only for the CDR, but also the 15% MPN. That's a given.
The 21 points remaining are less obvious, but ultimately it comes down to a choice between full defense or full utility.
This is my preferred route, because I feel it's more consistent with my playstyle and provides some important bonuses. Firstly, it gives Flash cooldown reduction, as well as the Presence of the Master passive which is a great bonus. It gives movement speed, which is always nice, and 6% CDR. The cooldown reduction is easily the most important thing in the tree, and is also why a split Utility/Defense build doesn't really make sense.
This is also viable, as it is much tougher early game, along with some additional dodge and DR from all attacks later in the tree. The Ardor mastery is also nice, increasing his AP by a fixed %, similar to the way Rabadon's Deathcap does. It's not my preference, but I've seen it work.
Choose your path.
Revolver Stacking: So cheesy, even for a vampire!
We've all seen it. Vladimir that buys boots and 3x Hextech Revolver as soon as he can. Sometimes, they stack even more. This is usually followed by screams of, "OP! OP! Vlad OP! Needs nerf!" from players, especially the newer ones.
A multi-revolver Vladimir is trading killing power and durability for regeneration and laning power. If he tries to fight multiple people, even with allies assisting, he's easily taken down. Because this build relies on spamming spells to recover lost health, crowd-control effects are devastating. A smart revolver-stacking Vladimir might get Mercury's Treads, but this is ultimately unlikely because a smart player would know that this build is generally ineffective.
Does this mean I'm against multiple spellvamp items? Absolutely not. I get, at most, two revolvers in a game. And that's IFF (if and only if) they have no champion-based heal reduction ( Grog Soaked Blade, Preparation, etc.) and two or fewer Ignite. Otherwise, you're going to be punished.
If you're in a match with another character that sometimes buys spellvamp (Like Swain), coordinate to both have Will of the Ancients. This gives you both 50% spellvamp for only one item slot each! The spellpower is useful as well.