Vladimir Build Guide by MonkMiroku
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.
Before critiquing it and shooting it down, or complaining, TRY the build, AND the strat behind it. Constructive Criticism and suggestions are always welcome.
Anyways, a quick overview for you. This is a nuker build which requires skill to use, and it isn't exactly the cheapest, but as Vlad you should be farming enemy champs and minions with ease.
This guide isn't going to TEACH you how to play Vladimir, but it will provide you with many good tips, tricks, and strategies.
CHECK BACK FREQUENTLY!In the past two days alone I've made revisions 4 times. The build is nearly flawless in my opinion, but variables and suggestions are always considered, tested, and written in at some point.
Pros and Cons
-True damage to most enemies
-Insane Nuke damage
-Great healing via transfusion with WotA
-If you are good at timing, you will shine.
-Early kills will ensure you kills later.
-Can push lanes if you know what you're doing.
-If you get stunned, suppressed, or silenced, your screwed.
-Failure to get early kills will cost you greatly
-Timing is key, without it you will die.
-Very squish early game.
And without further adieu, lets move on to the actual build.
This is probably one of the best passives in the game. 1AP=1.8 bonus health, and every 40HP=1 bonus AP. The scaling is much better AP->HP than HP->AP, so don't think that going with 4 Warmog's Armor is going to be a good idea. This is a nuke build for a reason.
You're standard bread and butter skill. It's your best damage skill, it costs nothing to cast, and heals you. It's worth noting that it does instant damage, then heals you once the blood fuses with you(If you have spell vamp, you get instantly healed for the damage, then healed once it reaches you. It IS possible to die in that split second before it reaches you, but it is unlikely), making it one of the best last-hit skills in the game. Learning to smart-cast with this isn't a bad idea either. It does have a long cooldown early game though, so picking up Elixir of Brilliance once in a while isn't a bad idea. Get the blue buff also if your carry doesn't need it. Once maxed, it's a nice 3 second CD before any kind of reduction. It should be spammed at every chance you get.
My personal favourite Skill in the entire game. Its basically a Zhonya's Hourglass but you can still move in its duration, it slows things above you, deals damage, and heals you for 12.5% of the damage you deal. Pretty OP right? Well not quite. It costs a hefty 20% of your current HP. But this is too useful to put everything right here. It deserves its own section.
Tides of Blood.
Your farm skill. Using it costs HP, and gives you an empowered stack. Each stack gives +8% healing from all sources, and makes your next tides of blood do 25% more damage, but each stack you take roughly 25% more damage per cast. At 4 stacks, that's double damage, and +32% healing. This is why I don't recommend Spirit Visage because this is already a Spirit Visage two times over. At higher levels, use this often to keep your stacks up, using Transfusion to keep yourself topped off. This will make a huge difference in team fights if you walk in with 4 stacks instead of 1.
Another awesome ult. Puts a timebomb on anyone in the area of it, dealing HUGE damage after 5 seconds. During that 5 seconds, the enemies take 18% more damage(at rank 3). This means in team fights you want to land this on as many at once as you can, AoE the **** out of them with Tides of Blood, Transfusion the squishy, Sanguine Pool out or under them for more damage, then Tides of Blood in the middle of them again. Chances are, most will be dead or damn near it by the time the bomb actually pops. But, be wary. This skill does take 15% of your HP.
The support tree has a lot to offer Vlad, but it cant outweigh the tank tree. Vladimir is naturally squishy, so this definitely helps out. Also, you get the often overlooked Ardor which provides a 4% boost to AP. Of course, no caster is complete without getting the 15% spell pen in the offense tree. A 9/0/21 build would work, but I definitely recommend 9/21/0. Other than that, its pretty straightforward what was picked and why.
I chose Greater Mark of Magic Penetrationx9 because this build heavily revolves around MPen, and these are the best. After doing the math, you get a whopping 8.55 MPEN from the starting gate. That will significantly help harassing early game.
There is no question that this is your top pick.
Greater Seal of Vitality
For most casters, there is no obvious choice as for what seals to get, and most go with either armor or mresist to be a bit less squish. However, for Vladimir, Greater Seal of Vitality is definitely the way to go. Why? Because at level 18 each one of these bad boys is giving you 19.44HP. Why is that significant? Multiply by 9. Thats 174.96 more HP at level 18. Divide by 40, thats 4.374 more AP to your pool free. If you chose Greater Seal of Ability Powerx9 you have 5.31AP, but that only converts to 9.558HP. I'd rather sacrifice 1AP to gain over 150HP.
Again, no questions here that this is the best choice.
Simple choice. Each one of these gives .99AP, which means you get 8.91 extra AP on Glyphs alone. Another alternative would be Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power which would total 16.2AP at level 18, almost double what the Greater Seal of Ability Powers give you, but you don't get all of that early game. I like to have stopping power to secure the vital early-game kills that get your unstoppability started. But, choosing Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power won't break this build.
This is my personal opinion. I have seen others go with Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reductions or Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction to get CDR to help with early game transfusions. I don't think this is necessary if you're playing safe, and later game you can just use Elixir of Brilliance for a bit of cooldown reduction. Still, I'd definitely choose the 8.91AP and furthermore 16HP startgame over the CDR you'd get from the runes. Thank's VKZ95 for pointing this option out.
Same as the glyph deal. 14.85AP off the gate, or 23.22 at level 18. It's preference, but I personally like starting with 25.7 AP(after masteries are factored in) and then I buy the Amplifying Tome and I have roughly 45.7AP from the get go. That WILL do some damage at level 1, especial with the Greater Mark of Magic Penetrations backing you up.
Another option suggested by VKZ95, is to use Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration for even more MPEN early and late game. Again, not a bad choice for early game, but hardly stands up in the way of 14.85AP(and 26.73HP) for early game. Still, Not a bad choice, but I'd go with Greater Quintessence of Ability Power.
Ghost is an EXCELLENT choice because it synergizes with your Sanguine Pool. How? If you pop it before your pool, you'll be going that much faster, and become untargetable. Then you get to laugh at them and say "U mad?" when you sneak away with 5HP. Other than that, its great for chasing and getting back on the field faster if you absolutely have to. This is much more useful in 5v5 then 3v3, since it is such a bigger map.
Flash is another good spell, but its also rumored to be being removed from the game soon, so some people may not want to get attached. It's a great skill that me and my friends call a "Get out of bullsh*t free card." It can get you out of tricky ults like Nunu's when your Sanguine Pool is down. It can also be used to get that last little bit of distance for that final hit, or that last bit of distance to get behind your turret. It's also worth noting that you can use it to flash over walls, which is especially useful in 3v3s.
Ignite is definitely what you want to take with you almost no matter what. While doing Flash]+[[Ghost helps you survive more, swapping one out for Ignite is a way better option. Vladimir blows balls early, and needs Ignite to ensure at least one kill in levels 1-7. At later game, it synergizes with your Hemoplague. Remember, Ignite does TRUE DAMAGE, and since Hemoplague increases damage taken from ALL SOURCES, that counts Ignite as well. You cant stop true damage, so this is devastating as a combo. Plus the over-time tick damage is increased, and once the timer goes off, your target is either dead or damn close to it.
While it's not a terrible choice when apposing heavy CC teams, you have your Sanguine Pool and should be using that to avoid getting CC'd in the first place. If its really bad, I'd just get a Quicksilver Sash because it's better anyways.
Not a terrible skill, but I'd let other champions like Lux who can use it much more effectively.
Great ganking skill, but you have your Sanguine Pool and later Rylai's Crystal Scepter for slows. I suppose the damage reduction on it could be useful, but I'd leave this one to other champs like Tryndamere who can use it much better.
Great skill, highly overlooked. If you have to, you could take this. However, if you're doing your job, you won't have to. Leave this to a tank or support who can better benefit from the passive extra damage to minions.
Good skill if you're needing to get to somewhere quickly, but suffers at the hand of Ghost. You can't use it defensively in any way pretty much.
Best Skill ever for Vlad, seeing as he's always out of mana.
Decent for early game, but it won't make a dent in your 3-4K HP bar late game. You have transfusion and WotA for your healing.
Never seen this used effectively, and Vlad doesn't use AD.
Although I see a lot of people diss this, it isn't a bad spell for people like Zilean who like.. never die. It makes it so on the off chance you do die, you can return quickly, which is vital when you are trying to get an Ace when turning the game around when both sides turrets are down and its the final stretch for the nexus. Still, the point of Vladimir is not to die. So... No.
Although Vladimir can Jungle, he doesn't need this. Once you have Transfusion Maxed out you can almost even tank Baron if you do it right. Add your AoE skills in the mix, this skill has no point.
Transfusion> Hemoplague> Sanguine Pool> Tides of Blood
Still, once you have Sanguine pool at about level 2-3, make sure to put a point or two in Tides of Blood to keep your damage output in check. Sanguine Pool has priority however because the 1-5 seconds each level saves you on CD can be the difference of life or death.
Should I get Sanguine Pool or Tides of Blood at level 2?
This is strictly preference. I choose Tides of Blood first because it allows faster farming of minions, meaning you can push back a bit harder early. This does require you to better monitor your HP, since you can't spam Transfusion quite yet, and does leave you a bit more vulnerable to skillshots without Sanguine Pool. If you're up against someone like Brand or Lux with a ******edly long range, definitely pick up Sanguine Pool first. Thanks again VKZ95 for pointing out that I forgot to put this section in.
Smart Casting and Key Bindings.
Riot included a great system called Smart Casting. to do this, you just hold shift when doing a skill. I'm an old WoW player, so when I joined LoL I immediately changed QWER DF to 123456. But, I just recently learned about Smart Casting.
What is Smart Casting?
Smart casting makes you cast skills without having to click. If its a normal -click on enemy in range- spell, it will cast whatever your mouse is pointed on. If its a skillshot/cone attack, it'll do it in the direction your aiming the mouse. If it's a self-target thing, like Sanguine Pool, it'll autocast it, as normal. However, with Sanguine Pool, if you smart cast onto a minion or enemy, it will automatically move your pool toward them. HOWEVER, pathfinding is ******ed, so this isn't a great idea. Just use your normal configuration.
Shift is kind of a hassle to use.
Yes. It is. It's a pain in the ***. the only *button+skill* configuration I find easy to do is CTRL+Button, because if you are using a normal desktop keyboard, it's easy to hit with your palm. HOWEVER, I use CTRL+1-6 for my item slots. So here's what I did:
Like I said, I use 1-6 instead of QWERDF. So, what I did is I left 1-6 alone, and made QWERDF my smart casting buttons. This enables me to quickly switch from smart casting to "dumb casting" I guess, with the shift of only one row of keys. If you're a QWERDF user, I'd recommend making your smart casts 1-6(an inversion of my setup basically) to achieve the same type of effect.
Of course, Key Bindings are always based on preference. Use what is comfortable to you. HOWEVER, all pro players are going to have the following:
-Normal Spells bound.
-Smart Casting bound.
-Use Item Slots 1-6 bound.
-Lock/Unlock Champion Camera Lock.
I'd highly suggest you make it a mission to have them bound that way.
The Troll Pool.
If you're topped off, its probably not a good idea to use this unless you're going to go just nomnom a minion wave and will heal it off due to massive damage dealt->HP anyways. This can be used to duck under skillshots, ults, and even other pools like Tormented Soil.
NEVER use this going into a team fight first. Save it as long as you can. If you're at full HP and cut yourself by 20%, you just saved your enemy a lot of HP they had to hack through. If you let them hack you to 50%, then used it, you'd save yourself a good bit of HP.
It is worth noting that if you are BOUND, from skills such as Dark Binding and Light Binding you can still use Sanguine Pool. Morgana LOVES to bind you then drop her Tormented Soil under you. But if you Sanguine Pool as soon as she drops the pool, you will take the damage from the bind, but completely avoid the Tormented Soil damage. After which, her stuff is on CD. Head in there and crush her, or if your low on HP retreat.
Timing is KEY with this spell. Its cooldown its pretty long, so you have to be careful with it. Last thing you want to do is blow it on something simple, then get roflazered by Lux's Finales Funkeln which could have been dodged.
THIS SKILL DOES NOT MAKE YOU INVULNERABLE TO DAMAGE. You can still take damage from Damage over Time spells, such as Children of the Grave and Ignite. Also channeled spells, such as Drain will also deal damage to you. If you're low on HP and have one of these on you, your best bet is to try and either
A: Run and hope for the best.
B: Spam Transfusion to try and heal it off if possible.
The LAST thing you want is to die as a pool of your own blood on fire, knowing you chipped 20% of your HP off for it to easier finish the job on you.
This skill makes you a turret-diving god. Turret dive, use your Transfusion and Tides of Blood to deal some nice damage, Sanguine Pool to drop turret aggro and deal more damage with slow, then reuse Transfusion and Tides of Blood to finish them off. If you have to, use Hemoplague, but its better saved for 1v1 fights you know you wont win without it, or team fights. If you time it right, you can actually go under an idle turret completely unnoticed using Sanguine Pool
Escaping and Chasing
So, say you brought both Ghost and Flash. Whats the best order?
Flash -> Ghost?
Ghost -> Flash?
Well, wtf mayne?
The correct answer is
Ghost -> Sanguine Pool then Flash if you still need extra distance.
For chasing, its to your discretion, but remember than Sanguine Pool also slows, so ghost-pooling under them isnt a bad idea to lock them in place.
League of Legends is not a game where the same build will work every time in the exact same order. Adaptations will need to be made accordingly depending on how the enemy team is fighting you. Keep that in mind.
The first thing you HAVE TO DO is rush a Hextech Revolver. Why? 40AP and 15% spellvamp for only 1200gold is awesome. The 15% spell vamp will make your Tides of Blood less costly since it will refund some HP, and makes your Transfusion now heal for 40% of the damage dealt (remember it already heals for 25% of its damage).
Sorcerer's Shoes Will of the Ancients
After obtaining your Hextech Revolver, you need to get T1 Boots. At this point you have a choice. You could just go strait to upgrading to the Sorcerer's Shoes, or hold off and upgrade your gun to a Will of the Ancients for more survivability. Boots will help kill faster, the book will help you survive. Take whichever one is Necessary first.
An overlooked item. This is a cheap item that works double mojo on the Crimson Pact passive, working it to about 250HP and 30AP. Plus the extra 20 Spell pen means that with your runes and masteries, you take their MResist multiply by .85, then -49. Chances are, unless its a tank, the end result is Zero. You're doing true damage to most champs now.
Once again, our friend VKZ95 pointed out there are alternatives to this. You could at this point go for Rylai's Crystal Scepter, but I'd never do that as it sacrifices early game power that you desperately need as Vladimir. If you're getting glassed however, it WILL improve your survivability and should be picked up. Other alternatives are getting a Abyssal Scepter early for MResist, or a Zhonya's Hourglass for armor and AP(which gives HP! =D)
Must have for any caster. Massive amounts of AP, and the 30% AP bonus is ridiculous. Whats even better is the bonus AP Vlad gets from HP also gets boosted by 30%, which boosts his health even more (but that extra boost doesn't count towards AP or we'd have an endless loop.) Another alternative is a Zhonya's Hourglass for better survivability and a second Sanguine Pool-like effect.
As if 49% of their already 15% cut mresist wasn't enough, we have this puppy. This makes an aura that makes all nearby enemies mresist drop 20, which is even better than MPEN, because your allies benefit from it as well. So, now we penetrate 69 mresist of their already 15% cut magic armor. Even to some tanks, you're likely doing True Damage. As an added bonus, it has a decent amount of AP on it, and magic resist to help you not be quite as squishy in team fights, since Vlad is prone to being focused.
This is the AD side of the Hextech Revolver, as apposed to the AP based Will of the Ancients. Once you get this far this is likely the item you want to go for. It will make you have a total of 50% spell vamp, 20% normal vamp, +60AD for turret smashing, and a nice extra 75AP. It also has a nice active which works as damage+exhaust with a relatively short cooldown, which is very useful for chasing. Pop em with the gunblade, use Q and E, then Sanguine Pool to slow them further, then use Q and E again to finish them off. Don't forget Hemoplague if it is needed. This is likely your best choice of a 6th item.
OR CONSIDER THIS OPTION
Why two? Because it's awesome, that's why. The 140AP is unmatched. After factoring in all the % bonuses, your second wincap is packing almost 200AP alone on it. Sure the passive doesn't work on it, but who cares! its 200AP! If you're skeptical about double-wincapping, go for Zhonya's Hourglass or Hextech Gunblade.
If the game progresses further, you're stuck. Buy Elixir of Fortitude and Elixir of Brilliance to get a bit more bang. Under no circumstance should you get rid of Sorcerer's Shoes, Haunting Guise, or Abyssal Scepter. Trust me.
Talking with others, I've heard a lot of mixed opinions. Many people are highly against 2x Rabadon's Deathcap and keeping the Haunting Guise. Well, I figured I'd put this in two hopefully turn your opinions.
Slot 6 Item
Hextech Gunblade: After careful consideration, and testing, I found that this is the best 6th slot item. Though a second Rabadon's Deathcap does provide more power, the Hextech Gunblade provides a lot more survivability, which is important. With this and Will of the Ancients you'll have a massive 50% Spell Vamp (75% for Transfusion, a decent amount of AP, AD, and normal life steal. The AD and life steal may not appear to be super useful, but it helps you hit hard with your normal attacks and can help push turrets faster. This is in no way a bad option.
Many many people tell me that Rabadon's Deathcap x2 is a complete waste of Gold. I'll agree its a lot of gold, but not a waste. It has a nice 140AP on it, and even if the passive doesn't stack, 140x1.34=187.6AP. Zhonya's Hourglass, next in line for top AP items only gives 134 after the math is done.
Zhonya's Hourglass Is my recommended pick if your anti double wincap. It gives a decent amount of AP along with armor and a secondary Sanguine Pool like effect. This will overall improve survivability more than the second Rabadon's Deathcap, but you'll lose a good chunk of AP in the process. Its preference at this point.
Keeping the Haunting Guise
I recommend highly keeping this as long as you can at all costs. Doing 69 Spell pen before % reduction from masteries is detrimental. Even if you got another 140AP(before bonuses) from a Rabadon's Deathcap, you're losing damage. Sure you have 900AP now, but now your damage is all reduced by 20% or so. So instead of hitting for 750 True Damage, your hitting for 900 Magic Damage, which is reduced by 20% which is 720, and you cant do as much to tanks anymore. Trust me, it is well worth your time to hold on to this. Lets not forget that since your doing true damage, the extra damage from your Hemoplague will also be doing 100% of its capability. I can't stress enough how important Spell Pen is to casters. I'd rather be a glass canon and kill you in 3 seconds than kill you slowly, but be confident I won't die than let you get away. Vladimir's Passive is more than enough to dis-balance your apparent squishyness, ESPECIALLY if you chose the Zhonya's Hourglass over a second wincap.
STILL not convinced? In VoidFlame's honor, because even after a lengthy description as to why you should keep it, let's bust out the calculator.
At late game, everyone has on average between 40 and 80 magic resistance before stacking any more on. Lets say they have 80 for worst possible case scenario.
With the Guise:
minus 15% from mastery = 68, then minus 68.55 from runes, guise, boots, and scepter. Zero. You're dealing TRUE DAMAGE.
Without the guise:
minus 15% from mastery = 68, minus 48.55 from runes, scepter, and boots. 19.45. In game, thats equivalent to almost 20% magic damage reduction.
No matter what AP item you get to replace it, except maybe a Void Staff, in which case it would depend on the enemy's Magic resist value at that point, is going to give you a 20% damage increase. Sorry.
End result? Guise= Worth it.
No Rylai's Crysal Scepter? BLASPHEMY!
Believe it or not, Rylai's Crystal Scepter isn't the greatest item for Vladimir. Although it does work double magic with Crimson Pact, it still only comes out to 92.5AP, and 644HP. Many pick this up because it has good stats for Vlad, and for its passive. I won't argue that it gives decent stats to Vladimir, but it isn't a top item due to its price. The slow for the most part will only be doing 15% since just about all of your skills are multi-target, and you already have Sanguine Pool to do your slowing. You should have no problems getting enemies, because you run in with 40% HP then decimate their full health bar in 3 seconds before they know what happens, and walk out of the fight with 60% HP instead. That's just how Vlad works. I'd pass on this item personally.
You're gonna get pushed back levels 1-6, guarantee it. Once you hit 7, you can start to push back. By level 9 when you top off Transfusion you're unstoppable. If you can secure a kill or two before level 9, you're doing great. Use Tides of Blood to obliterate creep waves, and don't be stingy about Sanguine Pool. Better you lose 20% of your HP at max HP and get away than get stuck and be victim to a combo. When the opportunity arises, Hemoplague, Transfusion, Tides of Blood, Sanguine Pool while Q and E are on CD to slow them down, then finish them off with Transfusion and Tides of Blood if your Hemoplague] hasn't already. Then push.
Hemoplague as many as possible to start. The 18% increased damage will do your team wonderful. Spam Tides of Blood for Max AoE damage, along with Transfusion for healing. Hold out on Sanguine Pool until they pop their ults if you can, or to disengage when they begin to focus you. Timing is KEY when playing Vlad. If all goes well, you're team will butcher right through them. Remember to use Ignite on the squishy, and if you have to use Sanguine Pool to stop people from fleeing.
I used to have a other pic, which was 28-6, but this one shows more consistancy so that it's not showing I just got lucky and fed. Every game I did the Hextech Revolver-> Sorcerers Shoes-> Will of the Ancients-> Haunting Guise. Only thing that varied is depending on how enemy team was building, I may have gotten Abyssal Scepter before Rabadon's Deathcap.
I AM AWARE THIS WAS TAKEN VIA A CAMERA, THANKS. I use dual monitors, and the clipboard sometimes gets f'd up because if it. I didn't want to restart my computer so I used my phone. K THNX.
1.0: Fixed some errors and typos.
1.1: Added Item Reasoning.
1.2: Added a few variables on various things, thanks to suggestions from VKZ95.
1.3: Added some info on the viability of a Hextech Gunblade.
1.4: valkerysangel pointed out that the Hextech Gunblade is a better choice, and I was actually in the process of testing it anyways. End result, the gunblade tops the second Rabadon's Deathcap as a 6th item due to increased survivability, harder auto attacks, and it still gives decent amount of AP.
1.5: Changed boast pic, to show more consistancy.
1.6: Smart Casting and Key Bindings added.
1.7: Added boast disclaimer.
1.8: Since people are STILL complaining about the Haunting Guise, I put even more math and reasoning behind it.