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Vladimir Build Guide by mortread

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League of Legends Build Guide Author mortread

vladimir top after remake In depth (updated for the preseaso

mortread Last updated on October 15, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

Threats to Vladimir with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Heimerdinger Heimerdinger is a Champion who is designed to zone enemy champions. His turrets as well as other skill will easily push the lane, however this will simply give time for Vlad to farm. After Vlad gets items and levels Dinger will no longer pose a threat to him. Dinger that builds Banner of Command will however annoy the hell out of you. Strategy against this laning stage is down below...but really all you have to do is to farm until you have Visage and then you can eat him or his turrets or both.
Poppy An innately tanky champion who also does a surprising amount of damage considering the fact that she is a tank. Used to counter Vlad with her 550 charge range, now its only 450 which is the AA range of Vlad. Constantly keeping mind of your position, taking CS, and harassing her will easily win you the lane. Strategy against this laning stage is down below.
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Well to all of you looking at this guide I would like to let you know that I am just in Gold 5 and this guide is for all the beginners of Vladimir who are seeking guidance of just what to do with this champion. If you are higher than Silver but still wish to see what I have got to say than I would much appreciate it as well. I would especially appreciate it if all of you can give an advice of how I could improve and if you have questions I will give my best answer. But...enough with the intro...shall we begin?

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Pros / Cons

Well for the beginning lets look at what is the harms and the benefits of this champion

-Currently the champion with the highest sustain without getting lifesteal items.
-Huge AOE (Area Of Effect) damage during mid~late game teamfight
-Extremely survivable during teamfights
-one of the only tanky mage in LOL due to his passive.

-No built in CC(Crowd Controls) nor mobility nor movement speed increasing spells.
-Weak and Vulnerable during laning stage.
-His skill has extremely short range

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For the markI use magic penetration just to pierce through the base MR of enemy laner.

For the Seal I will recommend the seal of scaling health. As you do not have to worry about the possibility of being stomped (If you have never played him, you will be surprised)thus investing in extra health later on is for the best. Not to mention the fact that your passive allows you to scale from extra health.

For the Glyph I currently mix scaling CDR and fixed CDR.(3 scaling and 6 fixed) Because this makes our CDR at level 1 to become 10% along with our mastery. This makes our laning stage stronger and safer.

For the Quintessence I use Movement speed Quint as this makes our laning stage safer and it scales decently in the late game as it synergises with Stormraider's surge and Ghost should you choose it.

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For the Standard Vlad I use this set of masteries.

Cunning section

Wanderer< Savagery- During laning phase Savagery makes last hitting much more easier. Having 5 more damage is almost equivalent to having a Cull Atk(attack) damage. (To the minions)

Secret Stash- Extra healing to me allows us to have more sustenance during early game when our Q has such a long cooldown. You can go for Assassin if you want to deal more damage but I decided to give more power to Stash instead as Assassin will only proc if you are alone. Which is a situation Vladimir will rarely find in late game.

1 line summary- We take Sash for making our Early game flow into late game fluidly.

Merciless> Meditation- Vladimir doesn't have mana. The first condition to benefit from Meditation is that your champion spends mana. Plus additional damage to targets below 40% total health is a fantastic option to Vladimir who can Atk multiple targets.

Dangerous Game> Bandit- You are not playing Gangplank who can gain 10 gold for using his Q on target. For ranged champions this will only give us 3 gold. Dangerous Game however can save us from a DOT (Damage Over Time) spells or skills and can determine our survival as many players have survived the final tick of ignite with this mastery. (Me Too!!!)

Intelligence> Precision- This section is very debatable. Just take whatever you prefer. (Altered) But taking Intelligence gives Vlad another 5% CDR at the start of the game which allows you to spam your Transfusion more often. And a bumper of the max CDR is an attractive option for Vlad as well.

Stormraider's Surge- I cannot stress enough how fantastic this mastery is. A problem Vladimir suffers during the teamfights are partially negated with the 75% slow resistance + movement speed increase. This makes enemy adc harder to kite you and easier for you to chase and kill them. If you can this will allow you to dodge non-target spells.


Recovery> Unyielding- The percentage armor and MR(Magic Resistance) that Unyielding offers can be meaningless, as the changes in Vladimir's passive has made the prospective of a tank focused vladimir less lucrative. Whereas Recovery assure vladimir to have an easier early game expecially if you start with Doran's shield.

Explorer< Tough Skin- Again Tough Skin grants a safer early game. Explorer is meaningless on Vlad as he is not made to be a roaming champion.

Runic Armor> Veteran's Scars- No argument here. Runic Armor grants you more health (in the term of lifesteal) then Veteran's scar ever will in late game.

Insight> Perseverance- Have to test this as well, but I personally prefer to have lower summoner spell cooldowns as it can mean life and death. Whereas Perseverance adds more regen to Vlad who has one of the best sustain in the game. But as I have said...I will test them.

This mastery should be used with the movement speed rune (or my standard Vladimir)

For the offensive one:


Sorcery>Fury- Self explanatory....additional % increase of skill damage will be more useful than increase in AS

Vampirism < Natural talent- Natural talent gives you more useful stats early game than Vampirism. Your sustain is the top in the game so why bother taking it? (Vampirism) The 2% increase in lifesteal does not add up much. Unlike Sorcery which at late game will be constantly active, the time that you will be lifestealing on enemy champs will be less often then that.

Bounty hunter > Oppressor- Up to you. I personally like 5% more than 2.5% and before Rylais are up you have access to no CC. (E does not count...)But even with Rylais eventually you can kill 3 of enemy unique champions and at that point bounty hunter > Oppressor. But as I said its personal preference.

Battering Blows < Piercing thoughts- You gain nothing out of 7% increase armor penetration. And besides the % M. pen in this mastery tree is what gives you tons of damage later on the game.

Finale: Deathfire Touch- During mid~late game you should have much CDR items. So at that point you would be procing DT more often. Besides other 2 keystone mastery are trash for Vlad.

For the offensive Vlad there is only one change in the Resolve tree which is:

Insight<Perserverance- Insight in a way grants safety for Vlad as it reduces the cooldown of the teleport and Flash, this ensures Vlad's saftey in lane and allows more frequent use of them which is crucial in late game teamfights. But If you wish to play offensive taking perserverance will allow you to compensa

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No argument here. Flash allows you to move in to kill or to avoid danger in a matter of seconds. Can also be used to initiate in a teamfight, dodge skillshots, and etc. All in all a very flexible spells in LOL that is very powerful.

Allows you to return to your lane quickly thus reducing Vlad's vulnerability during laning stage. Can also be used to join (and should be during later stages of the game) teamfights to turn it into your favor. A spell which is quite mandatory for a toplaner.

Other options
Ignite-This increases your potential to solo kill your opponents, and it can be used to counter champions with high health regen or champions with lot of lifesteal. But I believe that teleport's utility in current meta simply gives more value than ignite. Also as you go higher up in the terms of tier, you will notice that your opposing laner will back away instead of getting killed by you and will simply teleport back.

This is an okay option to replace flash. Both of them can be used to avoid ganks, will allow you to get the jump to your opponents, (although flash gives you more element of surprise) and it has a shorter cooldown. Replace it with Flash if you want to use it.

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Skill Sequence

Max Q first Take Ult whenever you can. Max E second and pool last. At level 3 you can either take 1-1-1 skill tree or 2-0-1. This depends on how confident against your opponent. You will have to take W at level 2 against some champion (it really is just for Jax) see my champion section for this. But generally if you want to play safe take W if your lane is pushing at level 2 but take E if it is getting shoved to your tower.

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Unique Skills

Vladimir is a very straight forward champion so this section will just teach you a bit of skill comboes. But besides the First one the rest are just not necessary. Just use it if you feel like using it.

1. Teamfight initiation


The belt sequence can be ignored if you do not have belt. But if that is the case you shouldn't try to initiate unless you think your flash is worth the price to do what it takes. If you do not have belt focus on counter initiating.
This combo is useful because
A. Your E will be fully charged and your enemy can't interrupt you.
B. Your W will buy you 2 seconds of survival, after that the fatty lifesteal from your ultimate will heal you 2 seconds of later making your enemies damage go to waste.
C. Activates your passive storm raider's surge allowing you to runaway straight after or to chase.

2. E-W

This combo is only limited to laning stage only. I mostly use it whenever I have to dodge and to deal damage to my enemies. Don't attempt to do it if you aren't fast enough to react to your enemy's action. Doing so will just burn your W your only survival skill.

3. E-Q

This is honestly one little thing I really enjoy using. Basically this combo allows you to quickly heal up the damage your Q has caused. When Your E is charging you can Q your enemies which will make transfusion land before your tide. Quite useful but to be honest it doesn't have much significance.

4. E-Flash-Q

A very useful combo as it allows you gapclose and to deal massive amount at the same time. Keep in mind that you have to continue charging your E while you Flash. If you simply charge E and flash without continuing the charge you have basically done nothing except for using Flash. Would highly recommend using Flash before your E reaches max charge. And of course
E-W-Flash-Q is also possible.

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The situational items

Hextech protobelt-01:
This item should be built if you are
a. Winning in lane
b. If your team needs an initiator

In the situation b. you should have Rylais scepter to make yourself an useful initiator. The reasoning behind a. is simple. The stats that the Belt offers is out contested by its competitors. That is to say Spirit Visage and Rylais crystal scepter. Of course the stats and the cost may make this item look more viable but the reason why I don't recommend this item primarily lies on the fact that its active cooldown is 40 seconds. Which is close to twice the cooldown of your Sanguine Pool (W). Also not only does the passive of the hextech revolver (useful during laning stage) disappears (when you buy the thing) if you look at the item tooltips you will notice the bolts scales with AP (Ability Power). In other words, it should be more effective later in the game.
On the other hand both Visage and Rylais makes Vlad much more tankier and has an unique passive that brings more utility than the Belt, because unlike the Protobelt these unique passives will always be ready to go.

Also there is another reason why I added b. It is true that the active of the Belt scales but the stats which are useful early are simply out matched by the stats of other item or by the unique passive (or active) that you may need later in game. (magic penetration or Zhonya's active, and etc)

Two line summary-Stats and the active of the item makes it hard to pick the correct moment to buy it unless you are ahead. So just go for it if you have to initiate and make sure you have Rylais beforehand.

Warmog's armor
To be honest with you this item still can be useful and I still think it is quite viable to Vlad due to 3 reasons.
a. If you are at a situation where you don't have any targets to use your Q Warmog's passive will heal you fast.
b. You have a Passive that scales will health (Tiny bit to be honest) and you have a skill (E) that scales with health as well.
c. As always more health=not dying easily

But there are also reasons why I tend towards other ap items as well which are:
a. Your heal ratio on Q scales off of AP and your Ult's healing ratio scales from AP as well.
b. All of your damaging skills, including E, also scales from AP.
c. There can be other items that needs to be quickly built.
d. Your passive scales more efficiently with AP rather than health items.

For this reason I don't build warmog's much more than before, but I do still think it is a viable item for Vladimir.

Two line summary-Has its pros and cons, but as you scale more from AP build it if you think you have enough AP.

Well nothing much to say here. If you have been playing LOL for a while you know the equation. "I am full on items"= "Let's get Elixir". And truth be get Elixir as they dramatically boost your stats with just a minimum amount of gold. You can also purchase them (even if you don't have all the items) if you think they will help you perform better in the upcoming teamfight but over-purchasing them will cause you to fall behind.
Either get the Iron one or the Sorcery one. Do not go for the one for wrath. (Do i need to say this?)

2 line summary- If you have all the items purchase it. (Iron or Sorcery) If there is an important fight that's about to happen buy it, but think twice about it.

Luden's Echo
Replace your boots with this when you have extra gold and have all the items. The 100 AP, the 10% movement speed increase, and its active...they are out-contested by your core items. If you already have Visage and Rylais and simply want more AP, getting D-cap or void is simply better. The extra chasing potential that Luden might offer is already offered by Rylais and our mastery Stormraider's surge. And plus we don't pick Vladimir to instantly close the gaps and assassinate (or eventually chase and hunt them down) someone.

2 line summary- Replace your boots with this at super late game situation. Unless you are ahead and can afford any items, building other items are simply better.

Liandry's torment
Build it when the enemy tanks(or bruisers) begin to stack(more than 1)MR items.

Abyssal scepter
As I have said before, if you are against an AP laner building Visage is better. As you have no lack of damage even then. But if you are against an AP laner and your enemy jungler does AP based damage, build it or if the majority of your enemies does AP damage.

2 line summary-If you are against an AP laner Visage is better. But it is an excellent bruiserish(?)item that is useful if most of your enemies deal AP damage.

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Key points in Laning (for beginners)

1. Staying Alive (exp)
2 CS
3. Harassing
4. Killing opponents
(4) Helping your teammates


1. Vlad is not a champion that is specialsed in destroying the enemy laner (guys like Pantheon or Olaf). The keypoint in our laning phase is to survive and to farm. Out of all the stages in the game laning phase is his weakest stage. It is better to play safe than to take a risk. This is especially true when you cannot grasp the skill level of your enemy laner.

2. The second point is quite obvious....if you can stay alive then the next important point is to take CS. Every single one of them.

3. If you can ensure your growth then you begin to harass your opponent. Or rather should I say...denying your foe from farming. Vladimir ,as I said before, is quite weak early but as his skill range is longer than most of the toplaners you have the ability continually poke your opponents while staying out of their range of retaliation.

4. Once your enemy laner falls into 30~40% then you can prepare to kill him and get your 300 gold. Generally the safest way to kill is to either gank or to dive with your jungler. When you do you should be the first to take the tower aggro as you can pool into safety. I will not recommend diving at all when you do not have pool but if you do dive the first to take aggro should be the one with the most hp. If you are diving alone make sure your pool is off cooldown and you have your 3rd Q. (I think its called Crimson Rage in English?)

5. Ok, before we go futher I will say this once more.

The reasoning behind this is simple. During your early laning stage abandoning your exp and CS just to help your teammate will usually cause you to fall behind the entire game. Or in other words you become right next to useless throughout the entire game, unless you get a double or a triple kill. Note that it has to be a kill to be beneficial. If you get assists, just hope your teammates can unravel this game for you. Not only is helping your teammate dangerous for any laner during early game but the fact that Vladimir is really weak during the early stages of the game also means that the chance of you doing a game-changing move during then is quite unlikely. If they flame you for it, just mute them.

1- line summary: Think before you help others.

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Should I push? or pull?

If you looked at my brief 'dangerous enemy section'. You will notice that I would have said something like "pull your lane against...." or "push your lane against". If you are an experienced player you would know this technique as "Lane Control". As I have said earlier Vladimir is really weak early and one of the key technique for overcoming this difficulty lies in controlling your lane.
Let's take an example.
You are in a top lane as Vladimir facing a Jax. As Jax's kit allows him to quickly close the gap and to smash your skull with ease this puts you in disadvantage. And your skills don't do much damage and (E and W) they cost a huge amount of health to risk using them. However as Jax has nothing in his kit that allows him to deny you in tower, instead of risking your death by farming in the middle of the lane, you can control your lane so that the minion waves are closer to your tower. This way you can harass Jax and farm while Jax grits his teeth.

This right here is a perfect example why lane control is such an important skill for Vladimir players. (for anyone truth to be told) And in this section I will explain when and how to pull. (or push)

When to pull or push
Generally in the top lane you can divide all laners based on two things based on the laning stage. "Are they focused on poking or killing?" For example, champions that are focused on close combat (Riven, Yasuo, Rumble, Irelia, and etc.) are the ones called "Killing ones" whereas the one that slowly dries your opponent out are the ones called "poking ones". (Kennen, Nidalee, Teemo, and etc.) So normally, against the killing ones we pull our lanes and against the poking ones we push our lane. This is the general formula but do look at my champion section if you are unsure.

How to pull
Quite a simple tips if you really think about it.

1. Focus on last hitting your minions. (without AAing them)

2. Letting your enemy use their AOE (Area of Effect) on the minion wave while you dodge or pool the damage.

3. Purposely getting ganked without losing much hp, preferabbly without losing any of your spell. (Extremely dangerous, not recommended)

How to push
1. Auto your minions. (duh.....)

2. Harassing your enemy with your E while targetting the minion wave.

3. Standing out of the minion group allowing your opponent to use their non-target AOE skills on you.

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After laning phase

There are two scenarios after the laning phase.

If you have Teleport(tp)

1. If you have won your laning stage, begin pressuring enemy top towers, enemy top laner, take their jungle creeps, and if situation permits their jungler as well. But before you do all that make sure you have clear vision so that you know who is coming to stop you. Also be constantly aware of your map. See where your enemies and where your allies are and constantly judge the best action that can be done. Try to gauge your strength against the enemy team. Before you engage your enemies in a 2vs1 think whether will you be able to kill them or not. If you have teleport, let your team know you have it and focus more attention on the map than in the lane. (I said most of it not all Using teleport at the right place at the right time can change the game. If you don't have teleport, don't split push. Just farm the waves that comes to your tower and quickly join your team. But beforehand let them know that you can't support them at that moment. As a Vladimir your strength lies in team fighting, not split pushing. Unless your team has engaged a fight with point of no return, join them ASAP.

2. If you have lost your laning stage, take care and focus on not taking any risks. Farm waves that comes to your tower and take the creeps in your jungle. Always consider the situation around you, but focus on catching back up. Although you may never outstrip your enemy laner in gold networth, (it can happen mind you) but you can catch up in exp gain. Split pushing is not an option unless you know for sure that there are no threats when you do so. If you can't farm your jungle and your enemy is not pushing the lanes back to your tower see what you can help your teammates with. Of course if you have teleport, let your team know and use it at the correct moment. If you have done well in catching back up you can begin to exert more pressure than before.

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Advanced strategy in laning phase

During early stage of the game, or before Akali reaches level 6 focus on denying her while taking CS. Never let her get close to you, she wins in a direct fight. Note that denying her is meaningless unless you can secure your farm while doing so. To deny her just focus on these 3 things:

1. AA(Auto Attack) her once every time she takes CS. As you get better you can do 2~3. But try not to take much of minion damage while doing so.

2. Use Q on her every time it is off cooldown. When your Q is empowered your gauge below the HP bar will turn red and your opponent will react accordingly. So adjust your positioning before the gauge turns red. This should be 2~4 seconds before your Q is empowered.

3. Use E when she is trying to gain CS on ranged minions. Time E so that Akali will either take CS and take damage or just give the CS up.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WITH DENYING IS TO STOP HIM/HER FROM FARMING. So if she is returning home don't go crazy trying to stop her. You aren't denying her to get a kill. It would be nice if you did but play safe when you are playing Vlad.

After she reaches level 6, you either need MR items or just stay out of her Ult range. Your first item that you buy when you get back should be Spectre's Cowl. This is because after she reaches 6 she can force the fight, and as I said before you will lose if you engage her in a direct fight. Take care of your positioning during this time and only use Empowered Q on her from that point on. If she engages you keep calm and react accordingly. Pool her 3rd ult on you. Pooling her 3rd ult will increase the distance between the two of you so you should be safe unless she has Flash. If you think you would be in dangerous spot use Ult on her after her 2nd dash. If she has used all her charges (her ult is charge based, can have total 3) ult her and chase and kill her, while staying out of the range of her damage. At rank 1 her ult as 30 seconds CD between each charge so if Akali has used all of them punish her heavily.

If you aren't confident you can have the option of farming and not fighting until you have Spirit Visage.


I honestly have no idea why would anyone would want to use a Top Brand but here it is. I have faced him in top lane and here is a piece of information to whoever faces Top Brand.
Firstly, this match up is hard if he is good at landing skill shots but if he misses them you can heavily punish him, even if its very early in the game. But instead of trying to imitate Faker you can instead try pushing the lane as hard as you can. Brand, just like Vlad has a hard time CSing under tower with only his AAs. So he will have to use mana and his skills on minions. This will automatically give you an easy laning stage if it happens. If he tries to push the lane with his skills, already that is some skills that aren't being used at you. If he doesn't have much mana you can force a brief duel with him to exhaust all of his mana. Generally you should pool his stun but after he reaches level 6 you should save your pool in case he uses his ultimate. Building Spirit Visage will win you the lane, but remember that Brand is one of the top nukers in LOL. Also he scales just as well as you do.

Facing him will be the same as facing Brand. Follow the exact formula. Just like Brand he is a strong nuker after level 6. But unlike Brand his late game is horrible compared to Vlad or Brand. If you are below 50% HP just return to base. His Ult deals Pure damage so even if you have Visage play exceptionnaly carefully when below 50% hp.

He is one of the most potent duelist among the bruisers. So yes...if he is in melee range against you, you have 70% chance of dying or a 100% chance of going below half of your hp.
If you can react to his E, or his Drag, by pooling you can completely shut him down during laning stage. Follow the denying formula that is exactly the same as Akali. But if you can't (I can't at the very least) you will have to play with positions. His E is longer than your AA range, but is shorter than your Q range. Take CS that is safe and constantly poke him with your Q and if he finally commits an empty drag you can then punish him. The only time he should have pulled you is when your Q is empowered. If he drags you then you either pool and get out of melee range and then use your empowered Q. But if he has applied his slow simply walk while giving him AAs and then heal the damage that you took with Empowered Q and then pool away. After level 6 if he is mid-air (using ult) you can pool it. But always keep in mind your late game is better than his.

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If you made it this far, I would truly thank you for bearing with me throughout this lengthy guide. Any advice you leave me will benefit me greatly in the future. I am constantly trying to improve this guide so that many players can enjoy it. Again, I thank you and as this guide is not finished just yet, if you are looking for something that is not answered here feel free to ask me a question or just revisit this guide later. Best of luck to all of you.

P.S- Forgive my bad English. I am not very fluent and I may have made a spelling or a grammatical error somewhere in the guide. I will be very happy if any of you can point out those mistakes. Also forgive my terrible computing skills as well, for in case if you have not noticed, there was a reason why this guide contains no images. I will improve...

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