Hey guys, I'm Azzapp, ex professional mid laner, shotcaller and coach. Currently I'm a streamer/entertainer and content creator. I have been D1-Challenger player since season 3. This is one of my first attempts in making a written guide. I have over 1 million mastery on Vel'Koz and within the League community I'm known as one of the best Vel'Koz players in the world.
I hope you guys enjoy reading this guide and improve your Vel'Koz gameplay.
Transcendence: I like to take Transcendence because most of Vel'Koz damage output comes from his passive Organic Deconstruction and getting that extra CDR enables you to spam your abilities increasing your damage output significantly. It also makes you less dependable on the burst and more of a reliable damage source.
Scorch has perfect synergy with Arcane Comet and enables you to dominate your lane even harder. It gives you more power early game compared to Gathering Storm which is very unreliable in Solo Q.
Heal is the optimal summoner spell for Vel'Koz in most cases. It gives great value in 1v1 and 2v2 duels around mid lane due to it's supportive nature. Bonus movement speed can often save you from taking extra damage. Closest alternative for heal is Barrier. It is taken when opponents are likely to take Ignite. It is good substitution due to it's shorter cooldown and potential to block more damage. The third option is Exhaust which can be used in assassin match up-s when you want to go agressive and go for the win in lane.
Flash is definitely a must when playing Vel'Koz due to his lack of gap closing and movement enhancing abilites.
Skill order is one of the most debated things about Vel'Koz. Maxing Plasma Fission gives you higher burst and kill potential but weaker wave management. On the other hand maxing Void Rift gives you better wave control but less kill potential. Over the years of playing Vel'Koz I have devised a skill order which I believe to be optimal in most cases. I like putting 3 points in Void Rift by level 5 which gives you just enough pushing power and helps you through the early game when Vel'Koz isn't the strongest and you wouldn't be going for kill anyway. After 3 points in Void Rift I proceed with maxing Plasma Fission to increase the slow duration and burst potential. Obviously you will be getting points in Life Form Disintegration Ray when available and after maxing Plasma Fission you will proceed with maxing Void Rift.
Organic Deconstruction is extremely important mechanic in your kit when playing Vel'Koz. To deal optimal damage you should be basing your trades around Organic Deconstruction. In the best case scenario you will land 9 stacks on the opponent which is 3 true damage rotations. For quick trades you should be looking to proc Organic Deconstruction at least once. People will very rarely respect your stacks especially if you only apllied one, but sometimes only 1 stack is enough to enable your play. If you have time check out my combo guide in which I go in depth on managing your stacks and Organic Deconstruction rotations.
Plasma Fission is the most unique ability for Vel'Koz. Manipulating the reactivation of Plasma Fission opens up a whole new world of play making. It is the catalyst in 90% of Vel'Koz plays. However mastering the shooting and reactivation is only a part of it. Because of it's geometrical nature Plasma Fission is directly connected with your positioning. Getting into good positions will make extremely difficult shots into check mate scenarios where your Plasma Fission is undodge-able. To get the full potential of this ability I highly suggest watching video referenced in the Organic Deconstruction section.
Tectonic Disruption is the only form of hard CC Vel'Koz has. Landing Tectonic Disruption enables you to dish out your full combo but missing it can be devastating for your mana pool and pressure in lane. It is best to use it after landing Plasma Fission which greatly increases your chance of succeeding. Tectonic Disruption is also your only disengage ability and it is very crucial not to waste it against assassins because it will render you vulnerable for the next 10-15 seconds.
Doran's Ring is the perfect starting item for Vel'Koz. It provides you with all the stats you need during your laning phase.
The Dark Seal is a great item to get on your first buy. It will slow your build a little bit but it's value will skyrocket throughout the game. Since Vel'Koz is relatively safe champion and has to keep good positioning at all times it will be easy to get stacks. At 10 stacks The Dark Seal value is ~1000 gold which gives it 300% efficiency.
Archangel's Staff is a safer counterpart to the Luden's Echo. It has a bit slower powerspike so I don't recommend it in solo Q unless it is absolutely necessary.
Sorcerer's Shoes are obviously the best boots in terms of the burst potential. That being said they are not always the optimal choice. Vel'Koz damage output consists of ~20-25% true damage which makes the magic penetration only ~75-80% effective. Magic penetration is not the core for Vel'Koz so don't be afraid to adapt with your boots. Ionian Boots of Lucidity , Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads are all good choices depending on the situation.
Morellonomicon works best in situations where opponents don't have too much magic resistance and/or they have a lot of healing/sustaining abilities.
Twin Shadows is an extremely cheap third item but it gives everything Vel'Koz needs. This item is a blessing against immobile targets and it makes your snowballing that much easier. It also helps you control the map providing pick potential and better control of sieges, dragon and baron fights.
Rabadon's Deathcap is obviously the best item in terms of raw AP and damage output, but it's very hard to build. It consists of 3 parts that are over 1000 gold and sometimes building it can take too much time without any powerspikes. You have to choose carefully when you want to get it, and if you do pick a good time, disintegration is assured.
Void Staff: Despite it's name, Void Staff doesn't have the best synergy with Vel'Koz. We have previously stated that it will only be 80% effective than it would've on other chamnpions. That being said it is still a good 5th or 6th item if the opponents have plenty of magic resistance.
Zhonya's Hourglass is in most cases built as a reaction to opponents. The stats it offers aren't that good for Vel'Koz, but the stasis effect can very often be the difference between living or dying.
Mejai's Soulstealer is a very underrated item and my favorite. It uses the similar logic to The Dark Seal. It's value becomes insane at 15+ stacks. I particularly like this item because when you buy it you instantly have to play better, it forces you to make less mistakes and die less in general.
In most cases at level 1 you will want to take Plasma Fission. It is more reliable for farming early game, less mana consumption and you might get some poke damage.
Early game as Vel'Koz you're pretty safe and you will most likely not get ganked before 3 minutes so you want to make as much as pressure as you can. You are at your best when you are pressuring enemy and holding him on the ropes.
In some match up-s like Azir, Aurelion Sol, Taliyah, Orianna etc. you will not be able to outpush so picking up Void Rift level 1 and Minion Dematerializer can save you from taking a lot of damage trying to control the waves.
Vel'Koz is a champion that scales very well with levels, so you have to try and take advantage of spikes for level 2,3 and 6 during the laning phase. If you are controlling the waves and having slightly more pressure than the opponent, that means when you get close to a level up you can get it way sooner than the enemy.
Level 3 spike works in a similar way except you have access to your only hard cc ability making you more of a threat and better at setting up a gank. At this point it is possible to make enemy use Flash defensively.
Up until this point Vel'Koz was a relatively weak champion, even if you landed poke it wouldn't have been that impactful. From level 3 and on you gain more and more control.
Level 6 powerspike is definitely responsible for good majority of my solo kills in lane. When you reach level 5 and about 60-80% of experience one good trick to use is zone them towards the wave with your Plasma Fission and then prematurely drop your combo on the wave immediately leveling up your Life Form Disintegration Ray which is at least going to cost them a Flash and in many cases give you a kill.
At this point you will have 3 points in Void Rift which will enable you to out-pressure even the stronger pushers in the game. Use that lane priority to get deeper wards on enemy raptors or river. Many junglers tend to be careless in solo Q and they feel overly safe in their jungle. Using your vision and knowledge you may be able to get a long range kill on some unsuspecting junglers. If you are unable to force your lead in lane and get a kill, try using your map vision to devise a nice roam. Vel'Koz roams tend to work great on side lanes due to map curvature and geometry. In many cases you are able to get a kill or an assist from the edge of the river which will cost you hardly any cs.
Vel'Koz is a high range, high damage, unique control mage. He is not a mechanically demanding champion but he does require you to have a lot of game knowledge. Most of Vel'Koz plays are created in your head in advance rather than reactionary. Based on a particular game and what you have observed, you need to imagine what you are going to do in certain scenarios. Playing Vel'Koz is very similar to playing chess. It's all about mind games and predicting what are your opponents options and most likely moves.
You are very vulnerable immobile mage, so in order to survive and make the most damage possible you will have to be playing the "counting game". That means paying attention and counting every single dash, flash, jump, etc..
Many of you players think that in order to be a good Vel'Koz player you have to be good at hitting skillshots, but it goes way beyond that.
In order to truly master Vel'Koz, there are couple of keys.
First and most important you need to work on your game knowledge.
Second, you need to work on your positioning, which directly ties into your game knowledge.
Third, you need to work on your skillshots, which directly ties into your positioning.
In teamfights Vel'Koz very often plays a similar role to that of an ADC but with slightly more range.
For beginners and even experienced players good rule to go by is just to NOT die. That is a bit harder than you think because you will very often overreach and try to deal more damage than it is possible in certain scenarios. First try to analyze the threats. Who on the opponent team can kill you and how. You need to know how close you can get without compromising your life. You have built in true damage with Organic Deconstruction so focusing the frontline is actually very useful. Later on as you gain more game knowledge and experience you will be able to understand the win condition in almost every single game and thus modify your teamfight goal.
If you are doing an extremely good job in a specific game you will hardly ever have teamfights. In an optimal scenario you would be dancing right outside of the enemy team's engage range and dishing out poke.
Vel'Koz is insanely good at sieging turrets. If you maintain good position and you land decent amount of your poke, the opponents will be rendered useless under their turret. If they make a forced engage with low HP they will lose, if they back off they will lose the turret. Playing good poke/pick style will win many teamfights before they even start.
This is it for one of my first attempts in a written guide. I really hope I have managed to transfer at least some useful information to you guys. I would really appreciate any feedback regarding this guide since I plan to make more and keep this one updated.
If you really enjoy talking Vel'Koz and/or have further question I would be happy to answer any of you either on my Youtube or live on my Twitch stream.