Not Updated For Current Season
How to be a Hemomancer
Vladimir is widely considered OP, and yet more often than not I see people playing Vladimir completely wrong and losing terribly with him. In this guide, I intend to teach you my way of playing Vlad. I've had overwhelming success with this build, and it works a charm at being awesome. So sit back for a good read on how I play Bloodboy, Master of the Q-Spam.
Runes & Masteries
9x Mark of Magic Penetration - These are standard for any caster, really. MPen = necessary.
9x Seal of Vitality - Not many seals benefit Vlad, unless you build tank and use Armor. I take these HP/lvl because the flat ones are quickly out-scaled, and they wind up giving you a little AP late-game.
9x Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - You are constantly spamming that Q button, so CDR helps. I've tried using AP blues and they work too, but I find CDR to be overall better.
3x Quintessence of Ability Power - Due to Vlad's passive, I find starting with flat HP quints useless. With these you get about 30 HP to start with instead of 70, which isn't that much. Plus, you'll be starting the game with about 40 AP. Pretty substantial advantage.
If you don't like these, some useful replacements are: Flat HP Quintessences, flat HP yellows, Armor yellows (if you build tank), or AP/lvl blues. In the end runes won't make or break you; that's up to your skill with the champ. Runes should support your own play style, so pick the ones that will work best for you. :)
With Vlad, masteries are very forgiving. I go 9/0/21 because it is most useful to me. I tend to get ganked a lot, so the quickly-refreshed Ghost is great. Not to mention I can start with nearly 15% CDR, have my Ignite up when I want/need it, and get the wonderful buff duration extension.
I have tried many other mastery builds, and here are some successful ones:
10 / 19 / 1 - You get the bonus 10 AP from Ignite usage, 4% AP and survivability benefits from Defense, and the Ghost mastery. I often use this if I see I need to build off-tank for the game.
9 / 21 / 0 - Fairly similar to the previous build, except you're tankier.
9 / 16 / 5 - Gets you to the bonus health and gives you a small dip into the EXP mastery. I didn't really like this one, but it did work well.
In the end, Masteries are very flexible. Just do what you like most. :)
Ah yes, the infamous question: "Wtf is that build, Vlad?" When I first used this build, I had great late-games. My early-game was ****, but it kicked off HELLA' hard. Worked on it and worked on it, and eventually settled on how to gain maximum efficiency:
Start with an Amplifying Tome, and quickly build into Hextech Revolver. The Spell Vamp gives you even more regen from Q, especially when you start getting high AP. It allows you a lot more freedom for harassing early-game, and will keep you in the lane a lot longer. Tried many other starting items, and they are all trumped by this baby.
Next you get your Boots of Speed, then a Blasting Wand. Upgrade the boots depending on the enemy team (you may need Merc Treads, or if you can tell it's a faceroll get Boots of Lucidity for more spam). Follow your boots with Kindlegem for more spam, and then get Rabadon's Deathcap.
From here on, it's fairly situational. I usually build pure caster after Spirit Visage, which further improves the HP gain from Q, getting Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Will of the Ancients, and finished with Void Staff. But sometimes things require you to build differently.
If you need to build tanky, try to get items that give HP and resistances. That way your passive doesn't make the items completely useless (HP = AP). Some other good items are:
Morello's Evil Tome - Good AP, great CDR.
Randuin's Omen - HP, Armor, AoE speed/AS debuff.
Sunfire Cape - HP, Armor, AoE damage. Phreak was right, too: Real vampires sparkle. :P
Aegis of the Legion - HP, Armor, MR, and a very important team aura.
Q: Why Hextech Revolver/Will of the Ancients?
This came to me when I played a game with a friend quite some time ago. They were playing aura Sona and rushed Will of the Ancients. I got it too since it was effectively a +110 AP item then, and then I realized: 40% Spell Vamp.
WHOA. WHOA NOW. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Math time:
Let's say Transfusion, rank 5, hits for 500 damage with your 250 AP. That means:
Ability heal = (500 x .25) + (AP x .6) = 125
40% Spell Vamp heal = 500 x .4 = 200
325 is now increased by 15% from Spirit Visage, meaning a net heal of: 374, EVERY 2 SECONDS.
Soraka and Nidalee got nothin' on you. I'm so surprised I never see Vlad's using this item combo, because it's just... it's almost broken, in all honesty. That means abuse it while it lasts! :D
Transfusion is the key to your lane presence. It lets you harass, while remaining un-harassable. Last hit with your auto-attack and Tides of Blood if necessary, and use your Q to chip away at their health bar. No matter how much they hit you, you can always just use it on a creep and gain 100+ HP back.
Once you get some CDR, this thing is killer. It has a high AP ratio, great HP return (especially with Spell Vamp and Spirit Visage), and less than a 2 second CD with max CDR. If you get Rylai's, you can basically permanently slow someone with this thing.
Sanguine Pool Oh god, the WIN! The pure, unadulterated WIN! This ability is godlike in the right hands. It's one of the few things left in the game that breaks projectiles, is basically a moving Zhonya's Hourglass, and is the key to being a good or bad Vlad. Using this at the right time will either win or lose the fight you're in. Some notes:
DO NOT INITIATE WITH THIS ABILITY. It makes me laugh when I see a Vlad use this for the damage. This thing is a middle finger to any ability your enemy throws at you, so WHY would you use it for damage? Save it for when they throw their ult at you, dodge it, and laugh as you rape them.
Sometimes you need to use this for the slow. It's a large AoE slow, which can save an ally. You really need to learn when to use this, because supporting someone with it can gimp your escape later on.
BE WISE. Don't pool at full HP, unless you have to. Of course if you're about to face-tank an Ashe Arrow, dodge it. But please just take those little harasses if you have enough HP, because that could literally be a life-or-death choice. Saving this for the last second usually means you turned a death into a kill.
Tides of Blood This ability is so underrated. At 4 stacks, your heals are increased by 32%, which compounds with Spirit Visage. Hit this all the time during team fights because it eventually deals heavy AoE damage, and you'll quickly out-heal the HP cost.
You do rank this last, though, for one important reason: HP cost increases with rank, but healing gain does not. At level 1 you still gain 8% increased healing per stack, so it's really useless to rank it. The damage is only good late-game when you have high-AP and can out-heal the cost.
Hemoplague This thing... is so... boss... It increases all damage you and your allies deal to all enemies it hits, and nukes hard after the duration. This thing wins team fights, but I see so many Vlads use it wrong.
The biggest thing I see people do wrong is initiate with this. If you use this first, people just run. They wait it out, take the damage, and get healed up. You wasted it. However, if you wait for the fight to start, then use it, you gain full effect. They can't run because the fight has already started and your team will just chase, and staying just means more and more damage. It really screws them over!
For team fights, you have a pretty standard combo:
Poke with Transfusion, keep Tides of Blood stacks up.
Use Hemoplague when you know the fight has started.
Spam Transfusion and Tides of Blood.
Use Sanguine Pool when you get focused and are about to die.
You tend to not get focused as Vlad, just because people see your high HP bar and know you have Sanguine Pool. Often I find people try to bait Pool, then go all out when you come out of it. Try not to take the bait. If they harass you down, find a creep or champ to Transfuse. Hold off on Pool as long as possible!
Vlad is a great champion IMO, but he's not the best caster out there. If you're looking for a pure-AP nuke, you're better off reading a guide on Annie. But, if you're looking for a powerful AP nuke with incredible safety nets, Vlad is your guy. He's fun to play, and getting good with him usually means you can win games for your team.
Also, please don't be a troll and downvote. It's not nice and accomplishes nothing. On that note, if you do downvote, please comment on why. I don't mind negative feedback, but please make it constructive. Consider this guide a way of helping me too. This is my way of building him, so giving suggestions helps me as well. :)
Thanks for reading; now get out there and destroy!