Vladimir Build Guide by Angryoldman
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Finished build example: 1
Not Updated For Current Season
I. Who is ANGRYOLDMAN??
So the question has been posed who am I? to respond simply I'm a gold 5 at 1550 elo. I'm not some monster player who shows up on LCS or the spectate live boards; but merely an inspired player who wishes to help people improve guides and learn champions. I picked up Vladimir fairly recently and fell head over heels for his play style of a top AP caster.Due to the fact that I play mid and top most he felt like a suitable champion. But enough about me babbling on lets get on to learning about this amazing champion.
II. Who is Vladimir?
Who and what is Vladimir? Vladimir is an AP Bruiser Mage. He is a strong top and mid lane champ who can sustain against most enemies in lane making him a very hard opponent to force a recall against. Vlad is very tanky due to his passive and his close range on his spells promote being in a fight for long periods of time. This combination of statistics on him make him a strong champion to pick up for new players and fun for more experienced players; making him a fun champion with a moderate level of difficulty to learn.
III. Pro's and Con's of Vladimir
Great late game
Great on any map (3v3's, 5v5's, ARAM's)
Can dodge a lot of spells
Weak early game
Spells cost health
One escape mechanic
Not very helpful with ganks
Season 3 items can shred him IE: Liandry's torment
Hard to carry with
I will discuss each of these Pro's and Con's in the guide as I go along.
IV. Summoner Spells
So with all champions there are summoner spells to choose from obviously. But the real question is why choose a certain spell? For Vladimir, he is very versatile and can choose a few different summoner spells allowing for different playstyles of him.
My preferred Summoner Spells
Ghost is another viable spell on Vladimir for an escape mechanic. I believe Vladimir's movements speed doesn't reach above 395 with tier two boots and alacrity that aren't mobility based such as Boots of Mobility or Boots of Swiftness. So this makes it a strong choice against enemies.And you movement speed wont be affected in your pool. So if you decide to ghost pool they will see a red puddle for only a second before your under turret.
Ignite is solid choice and should be taken as your second summoner spell 80% of the time due to your lack of kill securing potential. This is a great spell on almost every character in the game. I can see only a few reasons to take other summoner spells.
I don't usually run Heal on Vladimir due to his high sustain. I think this option would be viable against Riven, Rengar and maybe Teemo. This does reduce your chance at securing kills but if you know for a fact that a lane isn't going to be easy this is a viable spell. This allows for great baits which can help if you are setting up a gank.
Similar to Heal, Barrier is another spell great for baiting an opponent. It's really a player's preference to choose heal over barrier. This is situational and should only be taken if you feel that laning phase will be a bother.
This is another great spell for Vladimir. In my opinion this spell can be chosen quite a bit actually. This spell is great if you feel that you will have to recall often. So going against hard intiating champions who deal AD damage IE: Riven, Wukong, Darius. This will allow you to get back to lane and not miss out on the vital early game creep score neccesary for vlad. I highly recommend running this spell when against champions like Shen, Twisted Fate or another champion with a semi/full global ultimate. This can also be used to help gank bot or mid lane if you push your lane.
Use this Vs. Tryndamere. I haven't had to use this a lot. But it will save you from time to time.
Don't use these ever
Vladimir doesn't have mana so it's pointless.
Try not to die and you won't need this spell.
This covers which summoner spells are good for certain occasions and which ones you should never take. I feel these spells are best suited to vlad's strengths and weaknesses.
V. Masteries and Runes
I have seen Vladimir's masteries be varied in two distinct patterns 21/0/9 and 9/21/0. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. I will discuss both patterns by showing when and why to use them.
Here I show the 9/21/0 approach. This set allows for vladimir to stay in lane longer vs enemies that face roll him. And because vladimir doesn't have a ton of early damage potential this style promotes a more passive play style. I recommend using it against champions in the Nightmare lane, Hell lane, and Skill lane. Each lane I will discuss in detail later and how to deal with these nuisances.
The other approach is the 21/0/9 approach. This approach is good if you feel you can beat a champion early and this style promotes a more aggressive playstyle that should be taken in the Farm lanes, Easy lanes, and Joke lanes.
This is what I run on Vladimir usually due to his nature of being a mid and top laner he can be run in a few different ways. So I'm going to show you what options are viable.
I believe that this is the best for Vladimir as he is an ability power mage who needs some form of early damage. Due to his lower damage output early game this is the best solution for him. I feel there isn't any real substitute for theses.
This is a great rune to run on Vladimir against most champions in top lane. I run this 80% of the time due to the amount of damage from Attack Damage based champions in top lane. I suggest running this against Riven, Xin Zhao, Fiora.
This is another great rune on Vladimir that can be used in top and mid lane. This is another great rune if you feel that armor runes are unnecessary. This is a great option if you decide to go mid lane.
This is good due to Vladimir's lack of damage early game. This is one of the best options for Vladimir as his early game damage is terrible. This will allow him to deal damage before you get a Hextech Revolver.
This is great vs a strong magic damage champions. If you feel that are you going to be wrecked by someone then this is a viable option. I would take this against Elise, Mordekaiser, if up against a good Singed player then maybe.
This is a great option for Vladimir as it gives him early damage that allows him to stay in lane.
This is another great option and gives Vladimir spell vamp which is beneficial to him.
So lets discuss the different forms of starts for Vladimir. Because he has at least 3 general starts that for different situations are superior over one another in different situations.
This is what I start on Vladimir 70% of the time due to the amount of attack damage based champions in top lane. Use this start against champions in the Nightmare lane and Hell lane section. And if you have to build a Ninja Tabi then you already have on component to it.
This start is mainly for farm lanes and can keep you in lane for very long periods of time. The ward is also a nice addition to this start in case you start pushing the lane and fear a gank might come. This is beneficial if you want to run a Spirit of the Spectral Wraith on Vladimir.
This is a very risky start and I rarely run this. It can be beneficial though as it allows you to rush a Hextech Revolver faster. But the drawback is you have a lot less sustain. Try to only use this vs an easy lane.
Vladimir is actually very lucky as most boots are viable one him. We will discuss which boots are good for each situation.
This is great option for Vladimir due to the high amount of AD champions in top lane. The stats from it are great against champions that rely on basic attacks to deal damage. I would suggest getting this item when your getting wrecked in lane by an AD opponnent or if 3 members of the enemy team are attack damage based.
These are great if your doing well in lane. As they give cooldown reduction allowing you to spam spells and heal more often. Due to Vladimir's lack of strong damage, having the ability to fire off multiple spells become beneficial.
This is another viable choice for Vladimir as it gives him magic penetration which can be very useful if your snowballing your lane hard. I don't usually get this unless I'm winning lane. Making it less likely for you to buy this item.
This is your core item goals. By having the following items is a marker to show your doing good in lane. Each of these items offer significant buffs to Vladimir. But I will go over the risky business as well.
The Spell Vamp Items
So here is where item choices can make quite a difference. Depending on your spell vamp item can save your life and even your teammates as well if used correctly.
10 cooldown reduction
10 mana regen
(Unique passive) Butcher: damage dealt to monsters is increased by 25%
(Unique passive) Reduces the cooldown on summoner spell Smite
So let me explain why this item is actually so good on Vladimir. So mathematically it costs less than both Will of the Ancients that costs 2550 gold and Hextech Gunblade that costs 3400. Spirit of the Spectral Wraith costs 2000 gold. It gives you the same spell vamp as both items and it gives you cooldown reduction. As Vladimir this is beneficial to him allowing you to cast more spells.
Too long didn't read: Gives you early spell vamp, ability power that is equal to Will of the Ancients and it gives cooldown reduction.
And my personal choice
(Unique Aura) Nearby allied champions gain +30 ability and +20% spellvamp (1100 range)
In total 80 ability power due to aura.
It gives the most ability power of the three spell vamp items. So if you need to deal more damage than shoot off more spells, this is the better way to go. Practically resulting in a negation of ability costs.The spell vamp aura is also a major boost to any attack damage-based casters and assassins who deal their damage primarily through their spells, but cannot efficiently buy an item for spell vamp themselves as it would inhibit them from being efficient.The aura is very useful for champion with ability power ratios , but who can't really build into them, like Gangplank. Note that Will's prerequisite item, Hextech Revolver, will already provide the holder with a reasonable amount of spell vamp. The upgrade into a Will does not increase the sustain effect very much except for Tides of Blood, and thus should not be a priority until your team will greatly benefit from the aura. This allows kage's lucky pick to be helpful as you are supposed to focus on farm early game. And If you are getting stomped in lane this can help accumulate for some of the creep score you might have missed.
Core items continued
Unique passive: Eye of pain +15 magic penetration
6% of health as magic damage over 3 seconds.
Now here is Season 3's meta piece the Liandry's Torment. It is a great item to have as it adds ability power to a kit and helps fight pesky bruisers with a ridiculous amounts of health. This synergizes with Vladimir very well for three reasons. 1) the magic penetration makes up for having to take cooldown reduction boots. 2) Ability power and passive allow you to deal a lot of damage. 3) The health from it also synergizes with Vladimir's passive. With these three reasons combined it makes it a good mid game item to have.
20 Ability Power
This is a great item for Vladimir as it gives him ability power and armor which helps vs AD tops. And it builds into a very strong item for late game use.
Late Game items
Great item for Vladimir and is one of the only armor/ap items in the game that can be applied to most casters. If you need time after your pool to get your spells back up? Use Zhonya's. About to die to a zed ult? Use Zhonya's. Get focused in team fights? Use Zhonya's!!
If this doesn't persuade you to buy this item just remember it's used in pro games too.
This item increases your amount of damage output and gives you health due to your passive. It is insanely strong and should always be built.Then the passive Ability power gain on top of that. There is no viable substitution for this item.
20 Cooldown reduction
20 Health regen
55 Magic resist
This item on vladimir gives you a great amount of benefits and really shouldn't be replaced. It gives you health which benefits your passive, you get more Cooldown reduction allowing for more spells, Health regen for staying alive and Magic resist. Overall it is one of the best magic resist items for Vladimir
VII. Alternative items.
In this section I will cover items that work well on Vladimir if the situation is correct.
Ability Power items that can replace Zhonya's:
Rylai's Crystal Scepter:
80 ability power
30% slow passive
Why is this item viable? If your up against a 4 AP team armor will be the least of your concern as health will allow you to stay in the fight longer and it allows for the wombo combo of the Liandry's Torment and slow combination. This will put your health up to 3k but you will have a lot less Ability power.
Every 40 points of bonus health grants Vladimir 1 ability power and every 1 point of ability grants Vladimir 1.4 bonus health. These bonuses do not stack with themselves.
This passive is great and makes Vladimir an Ability power bruiser that can build either tanky or go straight ability power. This makes him great in 3v3's and in 5v5 games. Remember that Vladimir is stronger the later the game continues until you have your full build.
Vladimir drains the lifeforce of his targets dealing magic damage and healing himself.
This is vladimir's main move and is the reason he can stay in lane forever. It's good for harassing and farming in lane and should never be underestimated. Always max this as your first spell as it will keep you in lane longer and will allow you to win trades more frequently.
Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood becoming untargetable for 2 seconds slowing enemies by 40% for 1 second. Additionally, he heals himself for 12.5% of the damage done.
This is Vladimir's only escape mechanic and is useful for so many different situations. Despite how riot labels it there are still abilities that can penetrate through it. Try to not use this ability and save it due to it's high cooldown. Remember to never pool if your IGNITED. As it can lead to your own death.The following spells can't be blocked by Sanguine Pool.
Fiddlesticks : Drain (will still deal damage if you pool during the cast time)
Vladimir unleahes a torrent of blood dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. Each cast gives him an Empowered stackwhich increases his healing and regeneration by 4/5/6/7/8% per stack for 10 seconds. This stacks up to four times. Aditionally his next Tides of Blood deals 25% more base damage and costs 25% more health per stack.
This is vladimir's other big damage spell in lane. A good vladimir will know when and when not to cast Tides of Blood. For every Tides of Blood you use, you should use Transfusion to counteract the costs. This can hit stealthed targets and targets in bushes. So be aware that you could be dealing damage to champion without even knowing it. Try not to spam this before you get a Hextech Revolver as you will lose more health then regain.
Vladimir infects all enemies in the target area with a viruleant plague which increases the damage they take by 12% for 5 seconds. After these 5 seconds, infected enemies take magic
This is vladimir's underrated ultimate that is incredibly strong and needs to be used correctly to maximize the efficiency of it. Don't use it to secure kills as it's very likely the enemy will live. Try to use it in a fight to maximize the damage output for the killing blow.
Lane match ups: Nightmare lanes and Hell Lanes
This is the Nightmare lane section. This is where the champions that make you want to sit beneath turret and cry for jungler to camp your lane are placed. But we shall not give in to this attitude and will find a way to beat/manage to survive.
Riven is by far one of the worst champs for Vladimir to have to deal with. She has tons of gap closers and has crowd control. Most rivens can kill you as early as level 2 if they are good. So to deal with her here are a few options that help to fight against her.
Despite that he isn't listed as a counter he is insanely difficult for vladimir due to Rengar's almost infinite gap closing possibility,early damage,sustain, and crowd control. I know how annoying Rengar can be as a champion. He actually has potential to beat Singed so that is saying something.
Elise is a difficult champion to go against as her skills counter Vladimir. Her early burst damage and strong %health spells make it painful for Vladimir But, she lacks an ultimate move so there is a possibility to beat her at lvl 6.
This is for champions that are hard to beat and can kill you but it's not impossible to win the lane against.
Despite the lack of people who play him, he is insanely strong early game and is very difficult to kill. This match up depends on how you do from levels 1-4.
This lane is a complete and utter nuisance and will leave you hugged at turret crying for jungler ganks. He outranges you and his poison will slowly whittle you down. This is a lane that vladimir wants to avoid.
Darius the king of annoyance and pain. He is difficult to fight against due to his haste/slow/and pull.
Unlike Riven, Irelia is possible to kill and win lane against. There is very little room for error against her due to her sustain, gap closer, and Crowd control. I really don't recommend playing vladimir against her if possible.
This lane is a very high skill cap lane that borders on hell lane. Lee Sin's damage early is strong and he is extremely mobile making ganks beyond frustrating. You probably won't have a single successful gank so its best to tell your jungler to camp mid and bot lane.
This little guy can be troublesome if you don't play the lane correctly. But he isn't very hard to beat in lane if you can win the trades.
This is for the champions you are on an even play field on or can't kill. I define farm lane with the match up of Singed Vs. Nasus. Despite how aggressive a good Singed player can be, he still can't kill Nasus due to his sustain and Nasus doesn't have the ability to kill singed early game.
So due to my main top lane champion being Singed I'm obligated to hate Jayce. You can't really kill Jayce as he outranges you and he will NEVER engage unless he knows he can beat you. This is by far the most boring lane to play you can be really aggressive in this lane and zone him out as your burst is very scary. If you want to see my rant on how I hate Jayce I have placed the spoiler below.
You won't be able to kill this guy. Don't try to as you will get nowhere. Best thing to do is farm and harass him to try and deny creep.
Match ups: Easy and joke lanes
This lane is actually very easy and I love playing against zed's as Vladimir. Despite what most people think about zed's massive amount of damage and gap closer Vladimir can still win lane and beat him.
People might argue with me on this but, I feel Renekton has very few chances to kill Vladimir and it's even possible to kill Renekton before level 6 when he is relatively strong in lane. You should never lose lane to him unless he gets jungler help or outplays you majorly.
Yes the so called "broken champ" is possible to beat and kill. His sustain and poke is great but learning to play against him is easy.
Just needed to get this guide out or I never would publish it. On to working on a Trundle guide.