Build Guide by Imperative
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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 is my build for Vladimir, The Crimson Reaper. Please leave constructive comments on both my build and my guide-making abilities in the comments, I'll make sure to read them all! Thanks for reading.
Note: I understand this guide isn't finished, I wanted to get it out in a working condition so that I could start getting some advice from you guys on how to improve it. Thanks in advance for your patience.
Also important: THIS GUIDE DOES NOT ASSURE YOU A WIN, OR THAT VLADIMIR WILL BE "OP" IF YOU FOLLOW IT. THIS GUIDE IS A SET OF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT I HAVE FOUND TO WORK WELL FOR ME IN THE PAST. YOUR ABILITY WITH VLAD IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO HOW WELL YOU CAN PLAY HIM THAN ANY ITEM OR MASTERIES SET.
Pros / Cons
Durable enough to survive team fights without much trouble
High damage with correct skill order
Easy escapes thanks to Sanguine Pool
VERY vulnerable to CC (see item choices)
NOT A TANK! (Don't play like one! You're still squishy!)
Uses HP for skills, therefore you may lose track of your current HP when popping skills
Runes + Masteries
I WILL BE UPDATING THIS SECTION SOON!
For runes, I first go into magic penetration. Having magic pen runes really increases your effectiveness throughout the game. For one, all champions have some magic resistance - however small - and having the pen from runes can allow you to bypass that and make you surprisingly lethal in early game. Later, after enemies start stacking magic res to counter your insane damage, you need to invest less in more magic penetration from items - sometimes you can even skip it completely.
For masteries, I take 9 points down Attack to Magic Penetration, and 21 points down Utility picking up increased experience, and increased movespeed. The increased movespeed is very important. Vlad's slow, but with boots and extra ms in the early game, he can be hard to outrun and you can cause your opponents to waste ghost/flash, or even better - net you kills. Skipping the extra mana and mana regen is fairly obvious, and the extended monster buffs may seem odd as you don't really need red and there are better uses for blue, but if you happen to be able to take blue, it will REALLY help you spam your , and if you get Baron buff, you want that to stay as long as you can get it to. In offense, I chose magic pen in order to get that to coincide with my magic pen runes. With only the runes and the mastery point, your magic pen should be sufficient until mid or late game, saving you an item slot. If at that point you need more magic pen, you can get an .
For summoner spells, I chose Ignite and Ghost.
: This skill is VERY useful for getting first blood, and it may not seem like a lot, but the extra 400 gold early game is incredibly useful. Also, most people's problem with ignite is the fact that it's weak late-game. However, if you use your ultimate, Hemoplague, and THEN hit them with ignite, the added 14% damage increases the ignite damage to 1.18[50+18(25)] = 590 damage, ignoring magic resistance. Add this to the damage from the skill itself, and you get a 590+400 = 990 damage at level 18. That's significant, and can easily assure you kills.
: After the patch, they removed the speed boost from Vlad's pool. If you use ghost right before you drop into the pool, you can much more effectively turret dive or escape from people. I've gotten away and gotten kills from diving countless times due to this combination. Also, if you're needed in top, and you happen to be in bot/mid, it helps you get there quickly to support your team.
-> This skill is ok, as Vlad lacks a strong CC ability. Helps to get kills, but I find it less effective than Ignite for kills and less effective than Ghost for escaping.
-> This is OK for new users, helps you survive team fights or get enough health for that last shot, not as strong as Ignite or Ghost for an experienced player.
-> Some people prefer this to Ghost, I don't but I can't argue with preference. I can however, argue usefulness. Flash doesn't give you the sanguine pool combo, which I find a major loss. Some people still prefer it, but I suggest against using flash.
-> Vlad's weak to CCs, this can help. I don't personally like it as most CCs are avoidable with sanguine pool and those that aren't you can just get Mercury's Treads for.
: Newbie ability, you shouldn't be dying that much.
: This isn't a jungling build
: I understand the whole getting to places thing, or maybe even ganks with it, but you have to have that set up in advance. If you could set it up, just be there.
: This is for tanks, which you aren't. Let someone else get it.
: Does this need an explanation? You don't have mana.
: You shouldn't be a support character, and you don't need the AS for your spells.
: It's a support skill, I can understand the anti-gank potential, but if you're that worried spend 150 gold on 2 wards, 1 for either side of mid.
For items, I start with and x3. This is through thorough testing, and I find this works much better than rushing . This is because you should be going mid, and most mids have much better harassment abilities than you. Should you get too low on HP, you should be able to run faster with your boots, and take a health potion on your way to the turret to make sure you don't die. Also, the health potions on top of mean that you have great staying power in lane. The health potions also help when you can't regenerate health as quickly due to high CD on .
First Core Item
The next item I worry about getting is . This item is almost always effective, and pays for itself at 5 stacks. You should have no problem keeping your stacks up as Vladimir, because you have such great escape mechanisms.
Boots are always a situational item. If the enemy team is high in CC and you don't trust yourself to dodge with Sanguine pool, or they have too much CC for you, get . Otherwise, try to go with because the extra magic penetration really helps out your .
The next few items are all very strong, but are situational in the order you should buy them. If you feel like you're dying to often (or dying at all) take , starting with the if you have to break it up.
If you feel like you need more power, get . This adds a LOT of AP to your build, and should really help your do a lot of damage.
I feel that should almost always come last. Unless you really need the active ability, use your gold on Rylai's or Rabadon's. One situation I've found that really adds to the worth of a Zhonya's Hourglass is if the enemy team happens to be composed of 1-2 disablers and a few nukes, just pop the active as soon as you start getting hit by the nukers, and the disable just became worthless! EX: Sion stuns you with Cryptic Gaze, and Annie and Irelia come by, looking for an easy kill. When you see them start to hit you with their bursts, pop Zhonya's. Most people won't realize what happened and they'll end up with you running away and too much CD left on their spells to effectively burst you again.
The rest of your build should be devoted to gaining as much AP and Magic Penetration as humanly possible. This is most easily achieved with . Other choices would be or . Most other AP items involve mana or mana regen, so I tend to stay away from those as the mana portions are useless to you. Another valid option is to get a to boost your HP pool. I've played with this item at the end game, and I've had over 4000 hp, and it makes you REALLY difficult to kill.
Skill sequence is fairly straightforward.
is your bread-and-butter skill. It's your life steal and your main nuke shot. This gets first priority when you're leveling skills.
is your escape route/turret dive and your CC. This gets second priority
is a decent buff, but it's too short-lived and costs slightly too much to be a really strong skill, get points in this last.
, your ult. This gets points in it whenever you can. Use this either as an opener or to finish off that last pesky enemy. I prefer to use it to initiate so I can make full use of the 18% increased damage.
Your basic spell combo should look like this:
- this adds 10-18% extra damage (if it's up) -> to give you better healing, also does some damage. -> a few times in order to keep your health up and theirs low. -> + if you need it to finish them, and don't be afraid to use to insure the kill.
Another option on your spell combo if you really need to finish someone, is to use immediately followed by and several times. You can chase with and if you need to turret dive or you're going into a huge fight, etc. This combo will almost always end up in a kill.
Early game you should be taking mid. You need to focus on last hitting minions as Vlad is really weak early game. You WILL be harassed by the person laning against you, and this is where your potions and the lifesteal from come in handy. Out-last your opponent and get the upper hand. If you feel comfortable, you can try tower diving. Don't whine to me though if it doesn't work.
This is where you need to start ganking. Make sure you keep clearing minions for last hits, and as a check-point I'm usually at least at about 100 last hits around level 10. This should give you plenty of gold to be furthering your build. Pop ghost if you need it, and ask your teammates where they need you. Don't overlook asking before you gank, it may seem stupid but people get offended. Also, don't be afraid to leave you teammates the kill when you gank. They may feel entitled to it since they've been laning against the person the entire game. If your entire team is fed, that still helps you just as much as if you get super-fed.
This is your moment to shine. You should be around for all the team fights, pushing enemies back and making vital hits. It's your job as an AP nuke to focus their AD and AP carries. Try to keep aware of who has what items, and hit the glass cannons first, followed by carries with more defense, then the tanks last. This will keep your team ahead in team fights and you rolling in gold to spend on your build.
With this guide, I don't guarantee any extreme successes, as your success will depend more on your abilities to understand Vlad's pros and cons and exploit them, rather than your build. He's a somewhat difficult champion to play well, but when you get it just right, it's really rewarding. I hope you guys enjoy the build and have some great times playing as Vlad. I'll be updating this build frequently based on comments I receive - I DO READ THEM! Leave me a comment (constructive, please.) and rate my build and I'll be around to hopefully help you guys with anything that needs clarification, or change it if you guys know something better. Posting this is just as much for me as for you, with your help I can make this build even better and help not only myself, but those reading it for advice.