Vladimir Build Guide by Tennispro321
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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.
This guide is meant for low elo players interested in playing an awesome champ. Unfortunately, Vladimir isn't competitive at the higher elo's at the moment because of the many nerfs he's had. He is, however, kick *** at low elo's for several reasons.
- He is a fairly easy champ to play (not knocking on the skill of those who play him, just the fact of the matter with Vladimir; easy champ is easy champ).
- Most of the other players will not understand how to beat Vladimir, and will play right into Vladimir's strengths.
- He can easily take advantage of an easy early game in order for him to shine mid game.
This is my first guide on Mobafire. Please do not hesitate to criticize and leave comments. I personally play at around 1400-1500 elo. Vladimir used to be one of my favorite champs, and although I don't play him in ranked very often anymore, he is still an incredibly fun champ to play.
Take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration for sure, the basic AP carry Marks anyone should have, even low elo players. These should probably be the first set of runes a player should buy when reaching level 20 if they mainly play AP carries, as they are the most beneficial for the majority of AP carries.
As far as Seals go, I recommend either Greater Seal of Health or Greater Seal of Vitality, as they work well with Vlad's passive, but Greater Seal of Armor are perfectly fine as well (most low elo players should have a set of Greater Seal of Resilience for jungling and overall usefulness). I don't really recommend dodge runes, but really the Seals are the least significant of the runes, so choose whatever floats your boat.
For Glyphs, I recommend either Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction or Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction. Greater Glyph of Celerity doesn't surpass Greater Glyph of Focus until lvl 13, at which point Vladimir is slightly passed his prime. Other options for Glyphs include Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power, Greater Glyph of Ability Power, Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist, or Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. Each has its merit, and you may feel one or the other suits your personal play style more.
Quintessences are pretty cut and dry. Greater Quintessence of Ability Power are generally the way to go, though the case can be made for Greater Quintessence of Health. Choose either of these, though I prefer Greater Quintessence of Potency.
I feel Masteries are much more dependant on personal preference, but I'll try to explain the way I have this guide showing Vladimir's Masteries. I go 9/0/21 for several reasons: the Utility tree has some of the more useful bonuses (bonus xp, cdr); I choose flash and exhaust as my summoner spells (sometimes with teleport instead of exhaust, e.g. if solo top); and the bottom of the Offense tree is geared more toward ad champs.
Other mastery configurations that I've run with Vladimir are
Again, Masteries are dependent on personal preference, so experiment and choose the configuration that best suits your play style.
Pros / Cons
- Excellent sustain, no mana and natural spell vamp
- Easy farm
- Naturally tanky, with passive giving health from ap
- Incredible mid game
- Attractive to focus incorrectly, his main advantage in low elo play
- A weak early game, long cooldowns
- As with most ap carries, weaker late games
- Lack of good cc, only having a slow
- Ignite can shutdown his fight sustain
I choose Flash, as do the majority of players with any given champ. If you do not know how or are uncomfortable using Flash, please learn and practice. It is by far the best summoner spell.
I usually will go Exhaust with Vladimir. Mostly this is personal preference, and I may be criticized for not taking Ignite mid, but I feel Exhaust is generally a more useful spell.
I usually take Teleport if I am solo top, and it is especially useful if I am forced to 2v1.
Take Ignite if no one else on your team has it and you are going solo mid. I feel Vladimir's play style discourages using Ignite, but if you feel you are better with ignite than exhaust, by all means.
Skill Ranking / Combo
Vladimir's skill sequencing is pretty cut and dry. You want to lower the cooldown on Transfusion and Sanguine Pool by leveling them first, and as Tides of Blood has the same cooldown every rank, it is less useful to level it before the others. You want to have Vladimir's hardest hitting ability, Transfusion, as it gives you the best sustainability, the best harass and consistent damage, and the strongest mid game.
To properly combo Vlad's abilities, the current situation must be analyzed. Make sure you are in range to use both Transfusion and Tides of Blood (Tides of Blood has a larger range, but the time in between the Transfusion cast and the Tides of Blood may move your opponent out of range), then use them in that order, for strong harass. Use Transfusion alone if you want to give quick harass.
To use your full nuke, first make sure you have all 4 stacks of Empowered (at a certain point in the game, you can harmlessly keep up your stacks of Empowered), start with Hemoplague, then use Transfusion and Tides of Blood. If you have not taken much damage, try to get another Transfusion and Tides of Blood (and possibly a third time), then use Sanguine Pool to avoid taking further damage and slowly eat the rest of the enemies' health while also healing a little.
Vladimir's item build can be changed easily depending on the situation. Pay attention to your opponents and how the game is going when deciding what items to build. You should never follow the same build for every game.
There are several options for starting items on Vladimir:
- Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potion
- Amplifying Tome and Health Potion
- Regrowth Pendant and Health Potion
- Ruby Crystal
I suggest getting an Amplifying Tome and Health Potion to start when you feel you need to build a Hextech Revolver ASAP. Examples of when I would start with an Amplifying Tome are if I am 2v1ing and I have Teleport, if I am top against a very sustainable, though farm dependent champ, like Nasus (so I can harass and be more aggressive earlier), or if I am going mid against another passive champ I don't have to worry about harass or aggression from (making the boots and extra pots unnecessary).
The main situation I would start with a Regrowth Pendant and Health Potion is if I am 2v1ing without Teleport, as that extra sustain is essential for a 2v1 to not get under leveled and under farmed. I would build a Heart of Gold from a Ruby Crystal if I know for certain I am going to build a Randuin's Omen later, for example, if I am solo top/off tank and the other team has heavy ad.
Early Game Items
Here are some options to aim for item-wise early game:
- Hextech Revolver -> Will of the Ancients
- Null-Magic Mantle -> Mercury's Treads or Spirit Visage
- Sorcerer's Shoes
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Kindlegem -> Spirit Visage
- Haunting Guise
- Regrowth Pendant and/or Giant's Belt
- Moonflair Spellblade
Build a typical Ionian Boots of Lucidity, then Spirit Visage, and eventually Will of the Ancients. This is the core of Vladimir's build. This provides a good amount of CDR, good AP and Vamp, as well as some MR.
Another common choice is to build Ionian Boots of Lucidity, then Haunting Guise, and eventually Will of the Ancients.
Yet another, Sorcerer's Shoes, then Spirit Visage, and a Giant's Belt on the way toward a Warmog's Armor.
There are many ways to mix and match the build, but the essential aspects of the build, mainly CDR, must be covered in some way.
Mercury's Treads and Moonflair Spellblade are nice options against teams that are heavy in cc (do not get both, they do not stack).
Mid/Late Game Items
Here's a list of items that I recommend for Vlad:
- Am I having a hard time reaching and finishing enemies? Get Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
- Is that AP carry bursting me too hard? Get Negatron Cloak -> Force of Nature.
- Is their AD carry too much for me to handle? Get Warden's Mail -> Randuin's Omen.
- Am I dying too fast in the team fights to be effective? Get Warmog's Armor.
- Have I answered no to the other questions? Get Rabadon's Deathcap.
Other Item Considerations
Some other items worth considering for Vladimir's build:
- Magic Resist
- Cooldown Reduction
- Ability Power
Lich Bane - I personally use Lich Bane poorly, but it does technically allow for more sustainable damage, in a more dps like fashion. Worth a look, but not many games go late enough for this to be practical beyond the core build.
Void Staff - I don't know what it is, but I just don't like this item. Just me, I guess. Use it if you like it over something like Abyssal Mask.
Nashor's Tooth - Well, it has a nice chunk of CDR, and AS will help with pushing turrets, but realistically, this is not an item for Vladimir (or maybe it is =P).
Mejai's Soulstealer and Leviathan - My thoughts on Snowballing items is that if you are doing so well as to really benefit from them, then really it wouldn't even matter what you bought anyway. The normal build would win you the game just as well, because you would need to be quite ahead in order for snowballing to be effective.
This section is pretty dense right now. Eventually I'll get around to editing it. Decipher if you dare.
Vladimir should have a solo lane (though he can be supported bot in a 2v2 and still do well, but I won't cover that) and either top or mid are perfectly fine for him. Vlad's focus should be on a passive lane early on, so if an opponent solo champ plays an aggressive early game (Kennen, Cassiopeia, Mordekaiser) switch to the other solo lane and have a more suitable opponent for yourself and whoever the other solo champ is on your team. Vlad's early game is delicate, so accommodations to ensure a successful early game should be taken if possible. The reasons Vlad's early game is sub par are his very long cooldowns for his abilities at their low levels. To lane successfully with Vlad, stay back and only hit minions for kills (last hit). There is little you can normally do to stop an opponent from farming as easily as they please. Use your Q for minions only. An exception is when your opponent is aggressive and advances passed your minions in an attempt to harass. Q your enemy, and auto attack. Don't let yourself be zoned out of minion farm and experience. Some opponent's aggression you cannot stop as they are also sustainable. These are the worst lane situations for Vlad. Only ask for a jungler's help if you are being zoned too much. Vlad does not support a jungler in early ganks well. Vlad becomes considerably better by level 7, and even more so by level 9 when Transfusion (Q) is maxed.
Turning to Aggression
One of Vlad's strengths when played correctly is the unexpected aggression that he can bring out. To play aggressively correctly (at lvl >= 7), make sure you have full stacks of Tides of Blood (4 stacks) and start transfusing your opponent whenever you can. When your opponent least expects it, or after they have missed skill shots, etc, ult them, transfuse, tides, pool, transfuse, tides, and walk away as they die to your ult. When you become comfortable with Vlad you will know the right amount of health your opponent will need to have in order for your burst to kill them. Vlad is also a great turret diver. In order to turret dive correctly, ult, transfuse, tides, and finally pool. You can continue to damage them with pool (as long as minions have taken turret agro at this point), but pull away from them as pool is about to end, because you will draw turret agro either from the last tick of the pool or your ultimate going off. When dealing with multiple opponents, make sure to hit as many opponents as possible with your ult, tides of blood, and sanguine pool, because Vlad is most powerful when utilizing his aoe capabilities. If you are being aggressive at your opponents turret, and a jungler or other ganker comes from behind you, there are several things you can do: Run away, pool away from avoidable cc, and flash out of the pool if necessary; Dive your low health opponent and hope for an execution on the next turret (running away from the ganker); Or Fight both of them, utilizing your ult and aoe, making smart decisions on who to focus, and picking the prime time to pool (You want to delay when you use your pool as long as possible. If you can get your ult, 3 transfuses and tides off before you pool, that will maximize your damage. Be careful, though. You do not want to be cc'd when you want to pool. Good opponents will know to cc you when you are low on health). When you assist a jungler in a gank, first let your opponent feel it is safe to harass you, let them follow you back toward your turret then either flash onto them and start your combo, or start your combo at a distance (if you figure they will end up flashing anyway).
Do not forget to continue farming during this aggressive phase. If you are behind, try to farm as slowly as possible and do not be aggressive. An under leveled, under farmed Vlad is a useless Vlad.
Team fighting as Vlad is very dependent on your team comp. Here are several ways fights can happen:
You are the off tank, and the tank has a good engage. Wait for the Tank to engage, then throw your ult on as many people as possible (preferably the carries over the supports). Get in range of as many of them as possible and throw transfuse, tides combos and do as much damage as possible. Save pool for when they start to focus you, then use it when you get to a low, uncomfortable amount of health (takes practice and good judgement to determine when to pool). Vlad's chase is not very good, so generally leave it up to your teammates to chase stragglers, and instead push a lane and have your team destroy a turret, head toward dragon or baron and start it, or clear the other team's jungle.
Your team does not have a true tank, but a nice engage by another teammate (e.g. Ashe Arrow). Follow in on the engage as you would if their was a tank. There is not much difference either way, so keep the same things in mind.
Your team has neither a true tank or good engage. It is now up to you to engage (and this is the situation where you would want to build the tankiest). This is usually only successfully done when you are over leveled and your team is at least tied with the other. Be aggressive and stick your nose out at the the other team. Act as bait, and hope they collapse on you. When the time is right, blow your ult, some combos, and hopefully pool before you die. The rest of the team should be fighting by the time you pool and you should be able to make your way to the back of your team in your pool. From there, continue like you would otherwise. What this does is makes the other team blow their abilities on you, from which you can heal a lot of your health back, and allows your team to start a fight with extra damage from your ult and puts less pressure on them. This is very difficult to do when your team is losing or you are under leveled and/or squishy. The bane of Vlad's team fighting are cc heavy teams as they can kill you before you can get enough of your combo, especially your pool, for your engage to be effective. This is why Vlad is much better at lower elo's; the players will not have the coordination and practice to cc Vlad through his engage, and will fall prey to all trying to focus him and clump up for his ult, tides, and pool, then fail to react to the rest of the team.
Thank you for reading through my guide on Vladimir. Please criticize me and leave comments. If something needs to be clarified, or if a point I made was not reasonable or accurate, then please point it out. This is my first Mobafire guide, so all the help I can get to improve this and future guides is appreciated.
Have fun rockin noobs with your mad Vlad skills.