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The Blood Bank. A Post Nerfed Vladimir Resource. (UPDATED).
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I am just going to run through the skill set real fast here. By now his skills should be well known.
Crimson Pact (passive) : This makes Vlad hard to kill. Good HP for his AP. This is why you build mostly or all AP.
Transfusion Q : One of the most nerfed skills in the game. They have nerfed range, damage, the heal, and damage again. It is now at a 4 sec recast with 5 points in it. This is still your bread and butter. Max first. With 40% CDR it is a 2.4 sec cast.
Sanguine Pool W : The skill that makes Vlad annoying. I max it second for the recast timer. This is NOT a primary offensive weapon. Though it can be used as one if used right and in the proper situation. But if it is a dangerous situation this should ALWAYS be saved as a defensive safety valve.
Tides of Blood E : Still to this day this skill is under appreciated. I have no idea why. If you do not feel too threatened by your opposition you can level this 2nd behind Transfusion. It will increase your dps tremendously if you do. But Sanguine Pool will be on a long cooldown. Regardless of how you level this ALWAYS try to keep 3 or 4 stacks of ToB up to maximize your damage output and healing input.
Hemoplague R (Ultimate): This is the skill that makes Vlad SO dangerous in team fights. When properly placed it is a fight changer. It can also save your team from a bad fight as Hemo tends to scare people when they hear and see it land on them. I do not understand why people so under appreciate this spell. People who play Vladimir don't appreciate this spell. I do not understand it. This is an amazing ult.
Reds: 9x Greater Mark of Magic Penetration here. There is no other choice here.
Blues: 9x Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction are basically required here now for Vlad.
Yellows: I prefer Greater Seal of Vitality here but you could run Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power. You could also use Greater Seal of Health here if you prefer.
Quints: 2x Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed and 1x Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Ability Power.
I like the move speed quints for obvious reasons. They allow you to dodge skill shots and to maneuver faster. And when combined with the Boots at level 1 you are almost moving as fast as Speed 2 boots and that gives you great ability to escape from level 1. That is when Vlad needs it so much because of all the great harassers out there now. A harassed Vlad is a sad Vlad. I use the HP/lvl yellows and the HP Quint for early game survivability. Since they upped Vlad's damage early game focusing on his surviving is a much safer bet now since you don't have to worry about his early game damage. With the HP runes you will start the game with over 525 HP. Enough to survive if you are careful and with the 3x HP pots you have some insurance.
Flash: Great for escaping and for surprising people. You can also use this to initiate a fight from a hidden place and surprise your enemy with a hemo bomb... preferably AFTER your tank initiates.
Heal: The Heal buff helped Vlad so much. Spirit Visage and ToB stacks make it very very strong. And it helps Vlad's early game woes.
Also very good:
Ghost: Great for escaping or catching people. Speed glorious speed.
I used to use both Flash and Ghost because Vlad is very susceptible if/when Sanguine Pool is down. But with the combination of these 3 abilities this should about give you all the survivability you may need.
Alternative Summoner Spells:
Ignite: This spell has its uses. And there are plenty of them. But overall I feel at this time Flash is more important because of the survivability it provides. I used Ignite for a long time. Nothing wrong with it at all. But with the game as it is now it is more important to be able to escape. But if you know you are up against a team with strong heals then you should probably take this if most your team doesn't.
Exhaust: If you get this then you should get the Offensive Master ability Cripple as well. This spell has some very good defensive capabilities and is also good to catch a runner... IF that runner is important enough to use a summoner spell on. Otherwise this spell should be used to disable an AD carry such as Vayne, Corki, Ashe, etc. Optimally at the beginning of a team fight. THAT is this spells greatest use.
Starting items: Boots and 3x Health potions. While you won't do quite as much damage since you don't have an Amplifying Tome you will have more maneuverability. And with the 3 HP pots you have more room for error.
First item: Ionian Boots of Lucidity I have said it for some time. These boots are amazing on Vlad. Always have been. And they still are. And now they are almost required.
Second Item: Hextech Revolver I have always loved this item on Vlad. This builds into Will of the Ancients. Upgrade to WotA anytime you want to. I usually upgrade right before or right after I get Rabadons.
Third item: Needlessly Large Rod AP BOOST! Either get this here or upgrade to WoTA and get the Blasting Wand. Regardless you want to get some OOMPH! to your spells before you get the Spirit Visage if you can.
Fourth item: Spirit Visage. This item you can actually skip if you don't want to or don't have to max out your CDR. Or if you are not worried about survivability. Your Q with it will be 2.4 and 2.8 without it. This item adds some survivability and an increase to your healing. I think it is pretty important now. While it is not core it almost is now in my opinion. But again you can skip this if you don't think you need it or just get it later down the line.
NOTE: If you use Spirit Visage but the game has gone on long enough that you have all your items but want more AP you can sell the Spirit Visage and just use an Elixir of Brilliance in its place and buy an item that would increase your late game dps even more.
Third item upgrade!: Rabadon's Deathcap. A core Vlad item. Huge AP boost. Enough said.
Fifth item: Void Staff 40% magic penetration. 80 AP. This is an awesome item if you don't get Sorcerer's Shoes. And with this build you don't so it becomes a must have item. If the opposing team is building Magic Resist early game then you can get this earlier. Not that big of a deal.
Last Item Choices:
(in order of importance)
Quicksilver Sash / Abyssal Mask / Zhonya's Hourglass / Rylai's Crystal Scepter Guardian Angel: This pick is COMPLETELY game dependent. Not only that often times you won't even get to the last item in most games. That is why these should be purchased when you need them and not necessarily as only your last item(s). If you are facing a team with a lot of Ignites, a Mordekaiser, a Malzahar, etc etc you get the QSS. However while possibly one of the most important (and cheap) defensive items you can get it will be also the most situational and probably the least used in a finished game. If you need more Magic Pen and Magic Resist you get the AS. If you need armor or ANOTHER 2 sec invulnerability plus some AP get ZH. If you want a slow and some HP you get RCS. And if you just want more survivability you can get the GA. However for the GA to be most useful it requires you to die first. I prefer not to. That is why I get it the least and like it the least. However team the GA up with ZH and you would be one annoying Vlad to kill. More so than normal. Also if you need QSS before you last pick by all means get it earlier. It is cheap enough it will not slow you getting your items that badly. Better to be alive and doing a little less damage than being dead with lots of AP. And with Vlad's heal factor being alive even with a sliver of health means you may not have to blue pill. So always do your best to build to stay alive when you need to. With the Abyssal Scepter you could replace the Void Staff with it. I have done that before. The thing I don't like about this is usually for Hemoplague when people get hit with this they run. And they usually will run out of your aura range so Hemo doesn't do as much damage as it should. Also if you skip Spirit Visage from the main build then you can get 2 of these items as your last 2 picks. If that is the case it is usually QSS/AS and ZH.
Reminder: Quicksilver Sash (as any other item you may need) can be purchased at ANY time you need it or think you may need it.
Useful Tip: Similar to the Spirit Visage you can buy QSS whenever you need it during the early game and replace it late game with an item that increases Vlad's damage.
Alternative Build (Sorc Shoes build):
If you don't like the Ionian Boots of Lucidity and prefer to get Sorc Shoes it is only a slightly different build.
Item 1: Sorcerer's Shoes.
Item 2: Hextech Revolver ----> Will of the Ancients.
Item 3: Morello's Evil Tome. With this it will give you a little over 34% CDR if you use flat CDR blues.
Item 4: Rabadon's Deathcap.
Item 5: Quicksilver Sash / Abyssal Mask. As above get QSS whenever you may need it.
Item 6: Zhonya's Hourglass / Abyssal Mask / Void Staff / Rylai's Crystal Scepter
If you don't use flat CDR blues and want to use Spirit Visage then you can achieve 40% CDR by putting in SV instead of one of the last 2 items. If you are planning on using SV or want 40% CDR then use AP/lvl blues instead of flat CDR. Or whatever your preferred blue runes may be. That will give you 39% CDR.
Either way you should not go back to shop for the first time until you have 1900g. That will be enough to buy your boots and Hextech Revolver. Occasionally you may have to but if you don't have to then 1900g should be your goal. And if you don't need to go back to get them you still don't have to. Sometimes I have had an easy time and would just go back when I had 3k or more. If they can't force you out and you don't need your items yet that is a huge advantage for you.
Your core items for Vlad are Hextech Revolver (and by proxy Wrath of the Ancients), Rabadon's Deathcap, and Void Staff (if you use Ionian Boots). I feel the both Spirit Visage and Quicksilver Sash are both borderline core for Vlad and will be used in most games with him.
There are 2 Offensive minded Masteries that I have used since the new masteries have come out. 21/1/8 and 18/1/11. I personally am leaning towards the 21/1/8 as my main offensive build for Vlad. A lot of AP. A lot of extra AP. A lot of HP from that AP. The Heal spell mastery adds +15% to it which makes that spell even more massive for Vlad who can make it 36% better by himself. Now add in the Spirit Visage's extra healing. Now you have a spell that rivals Wish with its only limitation is your team has to be near you.
FARM FARM FARM. Your early game farming leading to AP stacking is what gives you an advantage.
DO NOT make the mistake of being too proud to ask for a lane switch. Swapping lanes often will show your team that you know what you are doing and that you are a team player. An early game lane swap can lead to a late game victory. Because being dead in the solo lane is not as good as being alive and farming in the duo lane.
Play smart. Follow your tanks.
With the nerf Vlad is STILL VIABLE. However he is not quite as strong as he once was. Yes there are mages with more burst and arguably several mages are a stronger pick in games now but Vlad can still hold his own.
Vlad is still VERY strong for team fights with good Hemoplague placement. And he still has good AoE damage from Tides of Blood and (a lesser extent) Sanguine Pool. A well played Vlad bomb can easily turn a fight.
REMEMBER: It is even more important now that Sanguine Pool is saved as an escape. However in a team fight if your team has good CC you can use Sanguine Pool to help your team blow up the enemy team by slowing them and keeping them in the kill box.
REMEMBER: Tides of Blood can hit stealthed items/heroes letting you check bushes from a safe distance. You can use ToB to kill stealthers who managed to stealth and are trying to run. It can tell you if there are Jack In The Boxes in a bush. They can find mushshrooms. It can help you kill LeBlanc when her clone pops up. And always try to keep 3-4 stacks up to maximize damage.
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