Build Guide by Satarin
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.
Vladimir is one of the most powerful mid-late game champions in League of Legends. He has great nuking skills and has possibly the best survivability in the game(if played correctly). Vlad is the master of health and can dominate in anywhere from a 1v1 to a 1v5 situation, kiting an entire team to death for an epic Pentakill.
Some people believe that Vlad is a beginners champion, and yes, he is a great champion to learn with, but once perfected Vlad truly shines as one of the most dangerous champions around. If you have the will and want to master the skills, you are sure to make all your enemies deathly fear this awesome vampire.
I want to provide a glossary for League of Legends terms as many will be used in this guide, but I do not want to waste space, annoy readers, or reinvent the wheel.
Here is the link to the Mobafire preferred glossary made by Matt.
Pros / Cons
The Pros and Cons of each champion are not the same build to build as different items and nuances of play cause subtle variations.
- Very powerful nuker
- Great survivability
- Excellent solo laner
- Good harassment
- Short cooldowns (build specific)
- Great chaser/kiter (built in slow)
- Good mobility
- Innate spell vamp
- No mana
- Can avoid damage and global ults (Karthus)
- Devastating when fed
- Not truly powerful until lvl 9
- Losses all damage and escape when silenced
- Spells cost health (although if played correctly this is advantageous)
- Hard to master
Runes are a continuous topic of debate. If you need to learn more about rune use/classification/potency, please check out the brilliant Rune Guide by Searz.
The runes on this page all have very specific purposes and are fundamental to a successful Vlad play style. If the reasoning is not apparent in the explanations or you disagree, please continue to read as I am sure the rest of the guide will demonstrate their necessity. If not, please leave me a constructive comment and I will get back to you.
Greater Mark of Insight
This is the obvious choice for any AP champion. Since primary marks are offensive the magic penetration ties in perfectly with you 15% spell pen from your masteries putting out more damage.
Greater Seal of Vitality Greater Seal of Vitality
This is the slightly tricky rune selection for Vlad. Since primary seals are defensive, I have some people tell me that health per level is not the way to go, but I beg to differ. I do not stack any form of defensive attributes apart from those that come with core items, as with a final health cap of just over 4100, there is no need for the style of this build. Therefore, due to the health cost of spells, health per level is the clear winner.
Greater Glyph of Celerity
If you are using any other glyphs on Vlad, you shouldn't be. With a possible cooldown reduction of Transfusion down to 1.8 seconds, you are out of you mind if you don't stack CDR. And anyway, what else would you put there instead?
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
Now this is your bread and butter rune! A lot of LOL users do not like utility quints but the bonus move speed is just plain amazing on Vlad. This allows you to run up and Transfuse anyone before they can turn and run... This tool is invaluable while soloing and also late game to poke and chip away at health before the team fight starts.
Masteries are tricky on Vlad as in order to get the bonuses you want, you have to take bonuses you don't want.
The bonus AP from Burning Embers and the spell penetration from Archaic Knowledge are musts in the offensive tree and in utility you want the CDR from Intelligence and the movement speed from Quickness. The issue with the utility tree is all the mana based points that are clearly useless and therefore leave you picking up unnecessary points in somewhat useless areas like Utility Mastery.
I have found though that the the sacrifice of points in utility is far outweighed by the benefits produced. Again if you disagree please leave a constructive comment.
Summoner Spells are pretty simple on Vlad.
Ignite is a very key part of successful Vlad play. When going up against other self-healing champions, ignite will be the difference in the fight with the reduction in healing. Also it is the perfect partner to Hemoplague and with the proper combination will devastate the opposing solo laner. Also a very useful tool to pop on Tryndamere as he goes into Undying Rage as it lasts longer than his ult and instantly kills him at the conclusion.
Ghost is also very important as it provides the ability to both chase and escape. This can be used in conjunction with you kiting skills, which I will discuss later, to great effect.
Possible other Spells:
Flash: Not worst spell but just does not stand up next to Ghost for utility on Vlad. Although the escape is nice, the duration of Ghost provides a better escape over large distances.
Cleanse: Again, this spell has its uses but with the ability to pool under many negative spells the utility of this spells is less that that of others.
Exhaust: Useful as a chase and escape but only versus one champion and Vlad thrives against more that that!!!
The rest of the summoner spells are not even worth mentioning on Vlad. If you disagree, constructive comments are welcome.
Skill Sequencing is very important of Vlad to maintain the best damage output while also maintaining your survivability.
Crimson Pact is one of my favorite passives in the game offering you two options to base your build on, but due to recent nerfs, stacking AP is a lot more potent that health. It is nice however to use items that have both AP and health to get a double bonus.
We max out Transfuse first as it is Vlads bread and butter skill. The skill has no cost, causes great damage and heals you at the same time, while at Cap has only a 1.8 second cooldown turning you into a blood sucking machine. There are some slight nuances with this ability that will be addressed in the Unique Skills Section.
Pool is taken second as it provides you with a get out of gank free card if used properly while solo laning. This ability is especially useful due to it still poping projectiles, canceling the damage as well as any silence or stun that would have accompanied it. How and when to best use this is one of the hardest skills to truly perfect on Vlad and will be addressed in the Unique Skills Section.
Tides of Blood
Tides are a very useful tool in the play of a good Vlad. The best players can maintain full stacks, dramatically increasing damage and healing, whilst not dropping off from close to full health. This spell is an amazing aoe cast the deals tremendous damage at full level. Unfortunately, due to the necessity of other skills this is leveled last but once you reach lvl 18 it is a brilliant tool. Another plus to this spell at late game is the reduction of cost...Although like all spells it costs more at higher levels, once you have Will of the Ancients, the 20% spell vamp returns more than the cost with multiple targets, and can be used to heal along with your other spells. Further nuances of Tides of Blood and how to keep up stacks will be discussed in the Unique Skills Section.
This is Vlads ultimate ability and is awesome. The plague increases the damage taken of all enemies infected and after the duration deals a ton of damage. Make sure to cast this at the start of the fight to max out the damage dealt to enemies and hopefully it will pop with them at low health for the kill. If entering a team fight late...a well timed plague can swing the fight in your favor. There are also some interesting bits of information about playing with Hemoplague in the Unique Skills Section.
Now we get to the main reason why people are reading this build. Item selection on Vlad completely changes his dynamic, but in my opinion, there is only one way to build Vlad in order to maximize his potential.
Due to Vlads passive Crimson Pact, Health gives you bonus AP and AP gives you bonus Health. The best way to get the most out of this is to build AP as the ratio is much better than the Health ratio. Some people have questioned me and stressed the importance of health on Vlad but I in turn tell them that my Vlad has over 4100 health with pots and that is with focusing solely on CDR and AP.
Amplifying Tome Health Potion
We start with these two items in order to maximize lane control. The tome gives you a large amount of AP which makes your harassment in lane much better. The Potion allows you to make a mistake, over extend or get ganked and get away with it. Although you self heal, at this point in the match you are not healing for much and the cooldown is very long. Therefore if you get to less that 25% health, it is advisable to use the potion to avoid becoming an easy target or having to B.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity Spirit Visage
Assuming that you are farming to your true potential by the time you reach lvl 9 you should have a lot of gold, but you do not want to B yet. Whilst the laning phase remains it is key to stay in lane longer than your opponent to gain both an xp and gold advantage. You only B when you have the gold to buy items you really need. Once you hit 2600 gold you do want to B as these items will drastically reduce your cooldowns as well as provide you with your movement speed, increased healing and a reasonable amount of magic resist.
Needlessly Large Rod Rabadon's Deathcap
Next you will rush the Rod to give you a large boost to your AP, and then the Deathcap. The Deathcap is one of the most key items in the build due to not only the large amount of AP but also the passive that increases you total AP by 30%...A huge bonus!
Giants Belt Giants Belt
As a piece of later items this is a great addition early after your Deathcap to provide some better survivability.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter Void Staff
This is were the build order is situational. The Scepter is a well know core item for Vlad helping with chasing and kiting as well as giving bonuses from both passives. The void staff is also important due to the magic penetration. You should always rush the Scepter first UNLESS, the other team may realize how much of a threat you are and start stacking MR. If this does happen then you will notice a huge reduction in your damage output. What is convenient about these to items it that the recipes both only call for a Blasting Wand in addition to what you already have. This means that you can leave the decision until you really know which is more important at the time.
Will of the Ancients
This is a great last item if the game carries far enough. The large amount of AP says enough but coupled with the spell vamp increasing your healing even more and the aura for your teammates it is a clear winner. This item reverses the cost of your Tides of Blood and turns them into another healing ability making you very hard to kill as well as putting out tons of damage.
Farming and Laning
Slowly we are getting to the fun stuff!
First of all...You should be solo laning. Hopefully you have a jungler so that there are two solo lanes at which point you need to discuss tactics with your team. In different situations you may be top or mid. If you have a 1v2 top, you need to take it as you have the best ability to heal yourself our of any of the carries and more than likely because you will have a level advantage you will get some kills. If both solos are 1v1 then it depends on who they have laning and determining who is the best counter for each.
Most champions you will go up against are very easy to beat and if you become good with Vlad you will eat them alive. The key is to be aware of their range and the skills so that you can avoid them and land your transfuse as often as possible whilst still maintaining a good CS. Being aware of skills means you don't walk straight into the lane and take a huge crit from Ashe...you wait until she hits a minion then go to work. All solo laners are that for a reason, because they have great lane presence and can harass well. With that in mind, Vlad just overpowers and is hard to counter with most champions.
Some champions you need to be careful with are Kassadin and Xin. Until you are lvl 9 you don't really have a lot of power against these guys, and they will destroy you if you are not careful. Kassadin's silence deals a lot of damage and leaves you with no ability to do damage so you never want to engage unless you have pool up and can pop his ability. With that said you should still be very careful until lvl 9 as he will just keep harassing you with teleport-silence and deny you. One solution is to play very aggressively at the start and make sure that he doesn't settle in and always has health problems...this will only work until he Bs though. Xin is much the same in that you can start aggressive but one he has all his abilities he will jump in and do some serious damage before you can get away. Against the champions that are good counters to Vlad, I tend to play it safe and not stray to far from the tower. I will harass when I can but I never go to far ensure that I can duck and cover if they come after me. With Xin this can be especially effective if you stay on the edge of tower range and wait for him to charge. As he does simply step into the tower and pool forcing him to take at least 2 tower hits, the damage from you pool and a transfuse on the way out!!!
Once Vlad hits lvl 9, it is game over for whoever you are laning against. With the ability to transfuse so often as well as pool for ganks, you will have them in their tower in no time allowing you to gank the map.
A quick word on creep farming
Having a good CS is crucial to being a good player. You need to be over 100 at 15min, and that is a minimum. With Tides and Transfuse Vlad should not have an issue reaching this goal and should probably be in the region of 120 at 15 min. For beginners, try not to just auto attack minions just last hit and use the rest of the time to dance in and out to try and get a transfuse of on your opponent.
Once the laning phase is over, team work is paramount. The best Vlads will not only have a high kill count but also a high assist count. When fighting, do not wait to transfuse until they have low enough health to kill, instead just unload everything on the target as often as you can to ensure a quick kill and save the health of you team. A lot of the time when in team situations and ganks, your best option is not to be standing and transfusing, but to pool under the target so that the team can unleash all their power on the enemy and do so without them getting away. Also do not be afraid to overkill. Running into a 3v1 and thinking you don't need to ult is fair enough, but sometimes ill advised. Considering your ult has a relatively short cooldown, it never hurts to throw it out just to make sure.
The best rotation in a team fight relies on maximizing damage and surviving. As you become more used to playing Vlad you will figure out what works in different situations, but for the most part this is a good way to start:
Hemoplague Tides of Blood Transfusion Sanguine Pool
This rotation means that you deal a ton of damage and pool before you can properly be targeted. Against good players you will no doubt be suppressed in some way before you can pool so you do so as soon as possible allowing you to heal and move out from the pack. After you recover, simply alternate with Tides and Transfuse as often as possible to work them down. If Pool comes back up at this stage save it to make sure that you have an escape if this go wrong or a chase if they start to run away.
Unique Skills (Vlads little secrets)
Here I will discuss many very special skills and nuances that the beginner Vlad will not know but are some of the most important abilities that make the difference between a good Vlad and a GREAT Vlad.
I will start with info about Vlads spells and then getting into the much more fun parts! Hopefully I will soon upload a video for each to show how each mechanic works.
Something very important that needs to be noted about this ability is the delay in the health return. When cast the damage is dealt instantly then a the graphic sends the blood through the air, and upon them reaching Vlad the health is then returned. This is sometimes useful and sometimes not. There are times when you may die due to the slight delay, but in truth you shouldn't often be in that situation. The real importance if this is when you are at full health. If you have an enemy who has a similar range to you, when you cast Transfusion, they can in turn cast an ability at you. If you time your transfusion properly, you can hit them and take the damage before you are healed. This takes a lot of practice, but essentially you want to wait until you see them casting before you transfuse. On the other hand if they are running just suck away!
Pool is a very entertaining ability in that it pops any projectile launched at you and can easily keep you from being stunned or silenced. The cost is steep at 20% of your health but trust me it is worth it. The only projectile in the game that cannot be popped by pool is a tower hit. You can still however duck a tower with pool. If the hit has already left the tower you will take the damage no matter what, however if you attack in the tower, pooling will make you lose tower agro. This allows Vlad to tower dive unlike anybody else in the game as you can just Ghost in and kill the enemy before coolly sliding out in a pool.
Tides of Blood
Keeping up Tides is very costly until you reach lvl 9 and can heal quickly. Once you do reach 9 you will want to keep up 4 stacks as long as you are in a lane. The damage and healing bonus will provide you will a great edge in a fight as well as help you roll through minions faster. If you find yourself about to run out on your stack timer and there are no minions around, cast anyway to keep up your stacks as losing that small amount of health is nothing compared to retaining the bonus as long as you will use it soon. There is no sense in maintaining stacks if you are just standing around waiting for a push or running between lanes.
The are no bizarre mechanics to speak of with Hemoplague but a useful note is that it will be blocked by Banshee's Veil and other spell shields as well as after they are infected, the damage can be block by a shield that has just refreshed. Therefore the prime time to cast is right after shields are broken so that the damage can occur before the shields are back up.
Peeling and Kiting
These are two areas in which Vlad really excels. If you have a friend in trouble, no matter how many there are, you should try to rescue them. Although I would like that statement to be true, in some cases you can't due to too much CC or slow etc. For the most part however it is not a bad idea. All you abilities slow due to your Scepter and since you can pop most CC, you should not have too much trouble casting Tides and the Pooling to manufacture an easy escape for your pal.
Kiting is very similar in mechanics. Essentially you are just going to do as much damage as possible while leading the other team on a wild goose chase around them map. The key is to stay out of range of the enemies and staying alive. If you are getting low on health a duke and reverse of direction with a pool, re-slows them heals you for all the damage they take from the pool. If somebody gets too close a simple transfuse will heal you, hurt them and slow them even more.
My favorite thing to do with Vlad is dance. This may sound weird, but as a matter of fact it is on of Vlads most important jobs. With you move speed quints you will always be faster than most other champions and because of this you can constantly knock away at your opponents health without to much worry of being killed. When you are 1v1 in lane you are fast enough to hit them in their tower and get out before the tower hits you. This modifies slightly when you get to team fights as you know serve as bait as well. You will be out in front you your team dancing around and Transfusing as often as possible to damage to whoever you can. Not only will you chip away at their health so they team fight without starting at full but you will also annoy them to their boiling point and one of them will try to jump out and kill you. This is when you simply pool and let your team kill the idiot who thought they could catch you. You have to be careful around champions like Blitz who can catch you off guard and now you are the idiot.
Well, after 6 hours and a headache, I have imparted my wisdom to you about Vlad. In my humble opinion, he is the most useful champion available as he does more than just a little bit of everything.
I will be working on this more as time goes by to correct errors, add detail and respond to comments. For right now I am signing out and playing some LOL.
Again, constructive comments are very much appreciated.