Vel'Koz Build Guide by Aqua Dragon
Diamond APC-Bot / Support Vel'koz - Peer ReviewBy Aqua Dragon | Updated on September 2, 2019
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APC Bot Vel'koz
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+1-10% CDR (lvls 1-18)
Hi! I’m Aqua Dragon. I've been in Diamond for multiple seasons and I play APC-Bot / Support Vel'koz
I also play:
I also take people's suggested playstyles, optimize them, and then make guides on them!
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Do not Stare Into Beam
APC Bot Vel'koz is a ranged artillery carry, able to farm safely in the early levels and then easily siege down turrets with massive poke damage.
Support Vel'koz is a ranged artillery support, easily the best in class due to their massive true damage that allows them to deal unfair damage on a budget.
Figuring out which items to place in that budget to maximize damage is the tricky part. There's two foundational principles behind the choices.
First, Vel'koz is not an amazing mid-range burst champions, or at least shouldn't be played as one. There are a wealth of better mid-range burst champions if that's the intended pathway (Brand, Zyra, etc.). Vel'koz excels best when poking at a massive distance, with only a secondary consideration on the burst.
This means that Vel'koz is especially interested in maximizing CDR as fast as possible, in order to deal more raw poke damage through more Plasma Fissions. This philosophy of 45% CDR is reflected heavily in the runes.
Second, damage efficiency is the name of the game; not to be confused with gold efficiency.
Gold efficiency only tells you how much gold an item theoretically costs while ignoring AP scalings, true damage, and damage patterns. This makes it a decent tool, but we can do better.
By using a calculator I've created for Vel'koz, it is possible to find the total damage of any set of spell casts, which is divided from the gold spent. The Gold Spent For Each Point of Damage, also known as Gold/DMG, also known as damage efficiency.
This metric is significantly more useful; Rabadons may give the most raw damage, but it is also an insane amount of gold. What if Sorc Shoes provide half the damage at a third of the cost? Then Sorcs would be the better bang for buck.
This gold/dmg metric is what distingushes this Vel'koz guide from the others.
Ghost seems like an odd choice to have on bot-lane Vel'koz, but makes more sense when you consider the previous analysis.
Vel'koz is generally very far from fights. This makes close-range spells like ignite and exhaust fairly ineffective. As the game goes on, Vel'koz begins having trouble being close enough to use the summoner spells optimally.
Heal would seem like the next best choice, but it suffers in utility from Vel'koz' fragility. Because Vel'koz dies in a very all-or-nothing way, Heal becomes useless for surviving against bursty gap-closers. This means Heal would be mostly for teammates, but that forces Vel'koz into suboptimal positioning to stay in range to actually use Heal at all. Vel'koz is an extremely selfish champion.
On the other hand, Ghost amplifies Vel'koz' kiting power to absurd levels and provides indirect utility by being able to reach teamfights or teammates more quickly. Ghost doesn't have as much utility during the laning phase, but this is made up by Vel'koz' safety-by-distance approach to harass, which requires no trading. It does make the laning phase more unforgiving, but Vel'koz is an unforgiving champion in the first place.
Sorcery easily finds among the best rune trees for Vel'koz with its focus on amplifying poke damage through mana, CDR, and AP.
Domination focuses too much on burst for Vel'koz to make use of.
Inspiration takes the second slot for the excellent 5% CDR bonus, which emphasizes poke even more compared to runes from other trees.
Plasma Fission is a near-guaranteed comet hit, adding ample harass that outpaces Aery's damage.
Manaflow Band is needed to just barely have enough mana for most functions.
Transcendence's 45% CDR is too important for poking to pass up, and Absolute Focus delays reaching it by pushing Haunting Guise further down the build, which ironically hurts poking.
Gathering Storm for better mid/late game poke. Scorch's damage gets split between both opponents, which creates underwhelming poke.
More CDR, more poke.
Magical Footwear has a condition that Vel'koz easily meets. The others have worse payoffs (Biscuits, Future's Market) or higher restrictions on their payoff (Perfect Timing).
Scaling CDR, Flat AP, and Magic Resistance
A standard package that also uses Transcendence to turn the scaling CDR into scaling AP.
The Scientific Process
The aforementioned Vel'koz Gold/Dmg calculator forms the primary basis of the build order.
Extensive scenario testing and number crunching has revealed these to be the optimal damage efficient build path. Vel'koz would be proud.
Doran's Ring is excessive; Vel isn't interested in early trading.
It's better to dive right into the core items faster.
→ → →
Void Staff has the best damage efficiency even against low MR targets. Only build Rabadons if you have way excessive money.
Stages of Destruction
In the early game, your goals are to
- Ping enemies away from minions with Plasma Fission
- Avoid the other spells unless something can be secured
- Keep the area thoroughly warded
Watch Comet's Cooldown: If it's only 2 seconds away from recharging, you may want to hold the Fission trigger finger for a smidge longer.
You Shouldn't Be Taking Damage: Vel'koz easily has the most range out of any standard bottom laners, meaning damage is completely avoidable. Be aggressive with poking, but never take a hit to get off a hit. Make the lane as one-sided as possible.
Split the Fissions: Remember that if you press Q again while Plasma Fission is in mid-air, it will split early.
Avoid using Void Rift: Your mana regeneration can only barely regenerate the mana drain of Plasma Fission, so adding Void Rift on top of that will get you oom quickly. You should largely use it only when helping clear waves or when the enemies have committed to a fight.
Weak Pre-6 Kill Potential: Try to avoid being overtly aggressive until the ult. That means saving tectonic disruption instead of trying to hit the enemies with it.
Combo with Ult: This is the time when you can be very forward about landing Tectonic Disruption and combo'ing your other spells for an easy kill. If you notice incoming help, use Ghost to aggressively position for Tectonic Disruption, though be mindful of incoming CC.
As the laning phase ends, you will start roaming more and helping around
- Continue maintaining strong vision control of the map
- Try to be near areas of potential conflict to ult enemies down
- Use Ghost to kite and chase better during teamfights
- Chase down lonely opponents and kill them
Keep Distance: When enemies get closer, get yourself farther. Try to stay close to the tip of your spell's range and make sure the areas around you are warded well.
Peel with Tectonic Disruption: Keep an eye on your ADC and see if you can help them out against melee enemies by using Tectonic Disruption.
Use Ghost Often: Don't be afraid to use Ghost to arrive to fights several seconds earlier. It's on an impressively short cooldown, so be liberal with its various uses.
Use Ult Often Your ult is on a relatively short cooldown. Don't feel afraid to use it to gain even small advantages.
The role remains largely similar
- Less vision at this stage makes warding tough. Be cautious.
- With its low cooldown, you should have Ghost ready for every teamfight.
- Prioritize protecting the ADC over throwing out damage
Be Patient with Ult: Try to save your ult until the enemies have gotten busy with the rest of your team. Using it much earlier will almost certainly ensure its interruption.
Ult Objectives: In some niche scenarios, when time is absolutely critical, consider using your ult on barons/dragons as you're taking them so you can get out as quickly as possible.
Go and "publish" some findings.