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Vel'Koz Build Guide by Nerothon

Middle [Patch 8.5 | Mid] Vel'Koz, the Eye of the Void

Middle [Patch 8.5 | Mid] Vel'Koz, the Eye of the Void

Updated on March 11, 2018
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nerothon Build Guide By Nerothon 151 5 2,495,329 Views 78 Comments
151 5 2,495,329 Views 78 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Nerothon Vel'Koz Build Guide By Nerothon Updated on March 11, 2018
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Meta Creator (6) | February 1, 2018 8:43pm
Well done for your guide bro! Really good and veeeery long presentation. I have a question: a lot of vel'koz player are saying that Fizz is THE counter to vel'koz. Can you explain me why? Ofc he has E to dodge Vel abilities but champs like Kat or Yasuo might be strong too.
Nerothon (6) | February 2, 2018 5:30am
Hey, thank you very much! I am glad you liked it! Yes, I also consider Fizz as the hardest matchup for Vel'Koz. He has everything he needs to counter you:
  • Mobility - 2 abilities he can use to either dodge your poke, your combo, to escape from gank, to engage on you or disengage (he can very easily tower dive you even at level 6)
  • Safe burst - he can easily engage on yo, combo you and then disengage thanks to his mobility
  • CC - slow can make it impossible for you to disengage and if you get hit by his ultimate (which he can hit reliably unless you Flash) you are pretty much dead (unless you get Zhonya's Hourglass, however armor is kind of wasted and after the active ends you are left vulnerable and he can prepare to engage on you anyway)

The biggest problem with Fizz is that he has upper hand - he decides when he wants to fight and when he doesn't want to. Few examples of his dominance:
  • You can't poke him with Plasma Fission. Most of the time he will be in the middle of the minion wave (thanks to his passive he can move freely between minions) so minions will block it.
  • If you try to combo him with Tectonic Disruption and Void Rift he will just use Playful / Trickster or Urchin Strike. He will dodge your abilities. Now he is free to engage on you as you have used your only hard CC. That means he can dodge and engage on you with just one ability.
  • You can poke him with Void Rift but that is not really effective. He will get hit only by the first part which does really small amount of damage. You will also push your lane because it will hit almost all the minions. Void Rift has long recharge time and is your only real pushing tool.
  • If you get to close to him he can Urchin Strike on you and start auto-attacking you. Now you either try to run away or try to fight back. If you try to disengage and run away you will lose a lot of HP and he won't lose any or very little. If you try to fight he will either dodge your abilities by moving around you while auto-attacking or he will use Playful / Trickster to dodge it. He will either disengage with it or he will reengage and slow you down. It's a lose-lose situation.

See what I mean? Fizz has answer for everything. Your only window to attack him is when he is not close to minion wave (so he can't use it to his advantage - either hide behind minion from Plasma Fission or Urchin Strike to dodge your abilities) and his Playful / Trickster is on cooldown. Good Fizz player will never put himself to risk and he will abuse his mobility abilities to his advantage.

Katarina and Yasuo are very similar to Fizz and they counter Vel'Koz pretty hard as well. However, they need more mechanical skill than Fizz does.

A good Katarina player can do the same thing as Fizz. She can use her daggers and Shunpo to chose when to fight and can also easily engage and disengage. However she can't do it whenever she wants - she needs her daggers and she has to set them up beforehand. That means you have enough reaction time to fall back and wait until daggers on the ground disappear. She also doesn't have any CC so you can disengage more easily. Death Lotus can be interrupted if you can predict it.

Yasuo is strong only around your minions. His dash has very short range so he needs your minions to engage on you. That means if you see him dashing towards you all you have to do is back off. He is also vulnerable during his dash. He doesn't have big burst damage. Last Breath also doesn't deal a lot of damage and he needs to set it up with knock back from a teammate or third cast of Steel Tempest which can be pretty easily dodged from distance.

Overall Katarina and Yasuo are more limited than Fizz and they require set up which gives you opportunity to back off.

I hope this answer your question! Thank you for your comment. If you have any more questions I am more than happy to answer them.
jhoijhoi (2051) | December 17, 2017 8:03pm
+1, holy match-ups Batman!
Nerothon (6) | December 18, 2017 2:59am
Hey, thank you very much! I am happy to hear you like it!
Donmayo | November 29, 2017 5:00pm
As a fellow Vel'Koz main I really like the guide and agree with Leblance and Fizz being the #1 and #2 worst matchups.

I do have some things I disagree with and want to explain what and why.

I noticed you level your W first, something I've done for a loooong time aswell. At some point Riot proposed to take Mana Potions out of the game and from that moment I was getting annoyed with the amount of cooldown the W has + it consumed too much mana and, most importantly, your poke potential gets deminished since its easy to dodge.
I started leveling my Q instead for multiple reasons. It gives 50% mana back per minion kill and since it can kill/hit up to 3 minions, if you practice long enough, you can maintain your mana alot better by killing 2/3 minions per hit, meaning 100%150% mana refunded. Its poke is insane, even without using other abilities since the angles get you behind the enemy minions to hit the enemy. Not to mention that its damage is strong and its the best ability (pre 6) to hit the enemy when they are behind their tower. Also the increased range is a godsend to outplay the enemies, killing them with your angles when they are Recalling and even in the fog of war. I can't remember how many enemies I have killed that way or interrupted their recalls.

Then the items: Rylai's Crystal Scepter is one of the best items for Vel in my opinion (opinions vary per person ofcourse) as it gives HP, AP and a slow for ALL your abilities. This means then you will become a kiting god (unless ulting Yi) while still being able to poke, meaning they have less mobility while in your ult and makes sure you can use your W to make a diagonal ground placement that slows. Also makes it easier to make your combo's hit. It is usually my 2nd or 3rd item because of all the above.

Hextech Protobelt-01 is better then how you described it, mainly because its small piece of mobility opens up so much more chances for both attack and defense, not to mention it is a great way to clear minion waves when needed and apply Rylai's slow on all enemies hit.
Ofcourse its HP, AP and CDR increase are very nice.
Usually my 3rd/4th item.

Tier 1: Summon Aery, it ALWAYS hits its target, is amazing to use at all levels, especially lvls 1/2/3, you can just go autoattack half your enemy's health off since it resets every time it has returned to you, which is a really short range when you autoattack. I have already killed multiple people with Aery when using Q on an enemy that wanted to Recall or run away where Aery went in for the killing blow, tilting ensues!

Tier 2: Same, Tier 3: up to preference.

Tier 4: I think Scorch is better then Gathering Storm as it helps even extra when you are Qing and Vel does not really need extra AP since he does enough damage via his True damage.

Secondary tree: I haven't used Ravenous Hunter and instead use Taste of Blood, so I will have to experiment with it to see what's more valuable.
I believe Ghost Poro = GP is better as you can have more uptime on vision then with Zombie Wards, can always be placed and you can actually keep both sides of midlane always visioned because of it. (But do everyone a favor and ALWAYS BUY MORE WARDS!!) Extra wards help you and your team!

There might be more that I disagree with or have a different view on, that does not change that I do like your guide alot and it will be very useful for alot of Vel'Koz players.

Sorry for the long post and thank you for reading this ^_^.

May you Disintegrate your enemies by the countless!
Nerothon (6) | November 30, 2017 2:03pm
Hey, I am glad you like my guide! Thanks, it means a lot!

Yes, Fizz and LeBlanc can be really annoying matchup because of their mobility. They can very easily and relatively safely engage, disengage, even tower dive you.

It is completely normal that you disagree with some details in my guide. Especially when you are Vel'Koz main and actively play Vel'Koz. It is one of many things why I like League of Legends - there are so many ways you can play the game. You can play and main the same champion as someone else, but both of you play and build him differently and both of you are successful with your strategy. I am trying so make my guide as objective and general as I can. There are many playstyles and I can't talk about every single one so I try to generalize and make builds and runes that will work for most people and any playstyle can work effectively with them. Especially for newer players who have no idea what they are doing and don't know what they should build.

Riot did good job when they tweaked/reworked Vel'Koz last time. They opened up new paths of leveling up your abilities for Vel'Koz mid. Before the update you had to level up Void Rift because of it's long cooldown and the wave clear it provided. You could level up Plasma Fission for stronger poke instead, but you had to give up on some wave clear. But now I believe there are 3 completely viable ways you can level up your abilities:
  • Max Void Rift - strong wave clear, good for passive playstyle (farming and pushing)
  • Max Plasma Fission - strong poke, good for aggressive playstyle (harassing, dueling and roaming)
  • Max Void Rift to level 2/3/4 (depends on your preference), then switch to maxing Plasma Fission - balanced poke and wave clear, good mix of both passive and aggressive playstyles, it can also help you get used to maxing Plasma Fission if you want to transition from maxing only Void Rift to maxing only Plasma Fission, but don't want to give up wave clear

That means we just play Vel'Koz differently and that's ok. It's good. Both ways work. I like to push and farm from safety instead of dueling, so I max Void Rift. I am used to it, I like it, I can easily manage my mana with that playstyle and don't have any problem with it. From what I have read in your comment, you like to play offensively, at least that's how I conceive it. So it is naturall you prefer to max Plasma Fission and that's ok.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter is heavily discussed in Vel'Koz community. It is very controversial topic. Either you hate it or you love it. My personal opinion is that it is too weak and I don't recommend it. I had a different opinion when Rylai's Crystal Scepter used to give you 400 HP, 100 AP and the slow was stronger and worked with Organic Deconstruction (passive is considered as a single target ability, so it gave you the full slow of Rylai's Crystal Scepter, but they changed it and it doesn't work like that anymore). My opinions was that if you need health, but still want to build damage then you can consider to buy Rylai's Crystal Scepter. However, after the nerf it is not worth the item slot in my opinion. You never wanted Rylai's Crystal Scepter as Vel'Koz because of its passive, but because of its stats. The passive is useless for Vel'Koz since they changed how slows work. Slows used to stack, but now they don't. Now only the strongest slow is applied and other weaker slows are ignored. That means that in most cases the passive is useless because slow from Plasma Fission is stronger and slow from Life Form Disintegration Ray has same value as Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Only Void Rift benefits from the slow and Tectonic Disruption a little bit as well (it slows for 0.25 sec to be specific - slow lasts 1 sec but they are knocked up for 0.75 sec so the slow is mostly wasted). It used to be decent item for Vel'Koz if you needed those stats. Extra kiting potential via slow was also welcome when the slow was stronger and worked with Organic Deconstruction, but situational. There are just much better items instead of Rylai's Crystal Scepter (more about items later in my comment). I hope this explains why I have this opinion on Rylai's Crystal Scepter. I think that Liandry's Anguish is much better option if you want some health. It gives more AP and the passive is very useful. But if you like Rylai's Crystal Scepter I am not going to tell what to build, it is up to you. I just think it is not optimal.

Hextech Rocketbelt is not that good for Vel'Koz because you want to stay away from enemies as far as possible at all times. Vel'Koz's spells have long range and you should abuse it to your advantage. That means you can't use it's active safely. You are literally throwing yourself to the enemies. Using Hextech Rocketbelt to wave clear is also not needed. Void Rift can wave clear just fine and if you need more then there is Luden's Tempest for that. Again, if you like it then I am not going to tell to you build something else. This is just my opinion on Hextech Rocketbelt. It can be great for dodging, escaping, getting into range for your abilities or even for bursting as last resort, but I rarely find myself in a situation where it would help me.

When it comes to build I think these are core items:
So, in my opinion these 4 items are a must in every build. They are really strong and best items for Vel'Koz. That leaves you with two free slots you can fill to your needs. Here are best options in my opinion:
  • Void Staff - this is in 99% of cases also core item, again you need the penetration against tanks and enemies that buy even one MR item
  • Luden's Tempest - I really like it because of its movement speed which is really nice, gives you more wave clear, poke and generally more offensive power
  • Zhonya's Hourglass - very helpful against heavy engage compositions, against Zed or full AD team
  • Banshee's Veil - very helpful against burst or strong abilities that can't hit you under any circumstance ( Zoe abilities, Lux and Morgana snare, ...)

My usual combinations of the other two items are:
Summon Aery is great for poking as you said, but I feel like Arcane Comet is stronger after recent nerfs to Summon Aery. Vel'Koz can easily hit 85% of Arcane Comet procs. All you have to do is proc it with Plasma Fission or Tectonic Disruption. It is especially easy to hit it if you max Plasma Fission] because they will be slowed for longer. But I am not saying that Summon Aery is useless, just not ideal for my and most people's playstyles. Maybe it works for you because you really like to be aggressive.

It is pretty easy to decide what to take in tier 2. Nullifying Orb if you are against AP laner and you need extra survival, Manaflow Band if you have mana problems (which you shouldn't have with Morellonomicon) and The Ultimate Hat if you don't need/want earlier choices.

Tier 3 is up to preference, but Celerity is much weaker compared to other two choices so I don't recommend it.

Scorch is definitely viable. It is good is you want immediate damage either for poke or burst. I can definitely see that it fits your playstyle more than Gathering Storm and I agree with your choice for you. But again I am trying to generalize and make rune page that will work for most people.

Ravenous Hunter is really good. I mean really good. You should definitely try it. After you get some stacks and AP it can heal you to full HP after killing just few minion waves. Really helpful in mid and late game. It is lackluster in early game though.

I don't like Taste of Blood because of it's bad scaling and long cooldown. It also works only against enemy champions while Ravenous Hunter works on everything. I would say Taste of Blood is better during early game and during laning phase, but then becomes kind of useless.

I really like Ghost Poro. I use it myself. I also like to have permanent vision of one side of mid lane. But you have to alter your playstyle a little bit around it. It is basically like a new ability for your champion. It can also be a bit dangerous to use it because you have to face check the bush you want to ward. These reasons are why I recommend Zombie Ward to my readers as you can't go wrong with it and it has only positives, no negatives. It just makes your wards last longer. Again, trying to generalize so most people will find success after reading my guide instead of adjusting to my playstyle.

I will also very soon update my Runes section of my guide where I am going to talk about every single rune in the new system. I just have to finish couple of last runes and talk about some preset rune pages so people can choose if they don't want to build their own. It would be finished today, but I spent most of the time today responding to you instead.

I just looked at the wall of text I wrote as response to you. Oh my, I am so sorry. :( It is so long! I didn't even realize. But thank you for your comment! I love to talk about Vel'Koz and answer questions of my readers. If you have any questions or anything controversial you don't agree with it feel free to leave another comment. I am more than happy to answer to your concerns! :)

Again, thanks for your comment! Good luck and have fun playing Vel'Koz the way YOU like it! :)

PS: 1927 words by the way. I am so sorry. There are probably so many typos and grammatical mistakes (I have already corrected like 40 typos after re-reading it). Sorry!
Stronkplonk (3) | March 27, 2017 6:32pm
Really nice build, match up section was really well done!
Nerothon (6) | March 28, 2017 6:17am
Hey, thank you very much for your feedback! I am glad you found my guide helpful.
AMP2010 (3) | December 5, 2016 7:18pm
Jesus Christ dude... I've been trying to improve my guide for so long now (currently ranked no. 2) and then you release this update... Holy **** this is insane dude.

While I don't agree with 100% of the content I have a lot of respect for what you've made here.
Nerothon (6) | December 6, 2016 11:26am
Hey! Thank you! I am glad you appreciate the work I have put into making this guide. This whole guide is collection of over 1 year work and all my passion for Vel’Koz.

It's totally normal you disagree with some things in my guide. Everyone has different opinions and I accept all of them. Productive criticism is always beneficial and positive. It helps you improve. Builds, masteries, runes, skill order - all of this is very situational and depends on your personal playstyle.

Guides are after all meant to guide inexperienced people to a good path. Even though this path might now be 100% correct, they can still succeed if they follow it. I always perceived guides as starting point that’s safe and helps you understand that champion more. After they gain some experience, they can start testing and changing things here and there to fit their playstyle.

Again, thanks for your opinion. Good luck with your guide, but mostly have fun making it! Have a nice day!
Dafet | August 7, 2016 6:11am
great guide, especially match-ups
Nerothon (6) | August 7, 2016 8:16am
Hey, thank you! I am glad it helped you, although they are kind of outdated. I need to find some free time to update and extend them.
GeneralWally | August 2, 2016 4:26pm
First off, I want to thank you for the guide. Hands down the best guide I have ever seen on here, and it is part of the reason why I am a Vel'koz main today. One question I have is that in the past (late Season 5/early Season 6), you opted for a magic pen build. Why do you go for a more movement speed build (Luden's and quints) compared to the bulkier magic pen build (Liandry's and quints) after 6.9? I personally enjoy a Rylai's/Liandry's core for kiting, and I was just wondering what the advantages of a movement speed build were over a bulkier build with more utility (yet still has plenty of damage). Once again, thank you for the guide. I never would have hit gold without the thoroughness that you provided.
Nerothon (6) | August 3, 2016 4:08am
Hey, thank you for your kind words! I appreciate it. Happy to see another Vel'Koz main. Also congratulation on getting to gold!

In Patch 6.9 Vel'Koz was reworked. It was Mid-Season Mage Update. A lot of mages got changed including Vel'Koz. Basically they lowered magic damage on his W and E so they could buff true damage on passive. That was first major change. Second one is that they added research on ultimate. Because of that Life Form Disintegration Ray can now deal true damage as well.

So simply said before Patch 6.9 Vel'Koz used to do a lot of magic damage and little bit of true damage. He had mediocre ratios BUT huge base damage on his spells (that means he didn't benefit from stacking AP but instead he was stronger stacking magic penetration).

All of that changed during Patch 6.9. Both base damage and ratios of W and E were lowered. They were lowered so they can buff his true damage in his kit - increased ratios on passive, ult and making ult do true damage after being researched (they wanted to change Vel'Koz to be tank killer, give him specific role in league). So after this changes Vel'Koz benefits now less from stacking magic penetration (because he does less magic damage and more true damage) but more from stacking AP (because passive and ult have really good scaling).

All of this meant that his core build changed. Now you NEED items like Rabadon's Deathcap and Luden's Tempest instead of items like Liandry's Anguish and Void Staff. While Vel'Koz benefits now less from magic penetration, you still want it, but you don't need it as much. You can still buy Liandry's Anguish or Void Staff (depending on situation), but they won't be your core items. You want to get them as 4th, 5th or 6th item.

Why I prefer to get Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed? Vel'Koz depends heavily on positioning and kiting as he is immobile. Movement Speed helps in both situations. While you can get Greater Quintessence of Ability Power, I prefer Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. Its just preference really. If you want more AP than by all means you can use Greater Quintessence of Ability Power.

Why build Luden's Tempest? It is one of few items that still give a lot of AP and you want that. You want to stack as much AP as possible without hindering your build. It also gives movement speed which I already explained why it is important stat for Vel'Koz and it also gives you passive that helps you with poking and pushing. Overall it is really really good item for Vel'Koz as he benefits from all stats it gives.

Hope this explains it. If you have any other questions you are free to ask them. I will be happy to answer them!

Have a nice day!
iSoldMyMomForRP | July 25, 2016 8:05am
24kt | July 14, 2016 3:20am
first of all thank you! you did a very good guide! i began recently playing velkoz on the middle lane and i want to know your thought about this build : CDR boots, Seraph's, RoA, Morello, Rabadon's and rylai's with 12/18/0 mastery point. Sorry for my bad english by the way!
Nerothon (6) | July 14, 2016 10:35am
Hey, thank you! Hope you have fun playing Vel'Koz.

Right now any build can work for Vel'Koz if it contains a lot of AP - you want to stack it as much as possible. Your build gives you a lot of AP because of Seraph's Embrace passive, BUT it has huge negative compared to other builds - you need to stack 2 items in your build ( Seraph's Embrace and Rod of Ages) to be effective. Because of that you will be very weak in early/mid game.

Personally I would remove Rod of Ages from your build. If you want to go with Seraph's Embrace+ Morellonomicon you can, but keep in mind you will be weaker in early game, but a lot stronger late game. Also if you are going for this high AP item combo (that will make you weaker in early game), you should go 18/12/0 in masteries. Deathfire Touch is weaker in early game than Thunderlord's Decree (same as your build), but it is a lot stronger in late game than Thunderlord's Decree .

Also if you want to build this way, buy Tear of the Goddess as your first item. Then buy Morellonomicon followed by Luden's Tempest/ Rabadon's Deathcap. Only after that upgrade your Tear of the Goddess to Archangel's Staff. For the rest of your build you can buy whatever else you need.

I recommend to byt Rylai's Crystal Scepter only as your 4/5/6th item. It is also only situational item, so you don't have to buy it every single game. Sometimes it is better to get pure defensive item or magic penetration item. Buy it agaisnt teams with a lot of melee characters or against enemies that always dive your backline and focus you.

Hope this helps!
24kt | July 22, 2016 8:51am
thanks a lot man! my gameplay is a lot more better thanks to you! hope u'll be master or maybe challenger
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Baxkatie | July 7, 2016 4:16am
i'm plat 5 and the thing i needed was the matchup guide, thank you and good job on making a detailed guide, hope you get diamond or even master this season ^^, p/s: i don't think Archangel's Staff is a good option for vel'koz cause late game he use a little amount of mana anyway so Morello is enough
Nerothon (6) | July 8, 2016 7:43am
Hey, thank you for your kind words! I am happy my guide helped you out. I have in plan to get at least to diamond this season, but I am not rushing it.

I have included Archangel's Staff in my guide just because it is one of those items that still gives you s lot of AP. Now that AP matters on Vel'Koz, it is possible to put it somewhere in your build. Yes, you don't use that much mana, so that part goes to waste. BUT you don't want to get it for mana, but for AP. You basically also get barrier in late game from its active which is always nice for survival.

I personally don't build it. The reason is that you need to stack it. In order to stack it as fast as possible you need to buy it really early - that puts you in disadvantage in early/mid game, because Tear of the Goddess doesn't give you any combat stats.
cassiano | June 17, 2016 7:29pm
THANK YOU for this AMAZING guide!
Help me a lot!

Nerothon (6) | June 18, 2016 4:48am
Hey, I am glad you liked it and you are welcome!
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