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Vladimir Build Guide by throatslasher

AP Offtank VLADIMIR TOP: STILL...kinda...meh

AP Offtank VLADIMIR TOP: STILL...kinda...meh

Updated on November 26, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author throatslasher Build Guide By throatslasher 56 18 351,482 Views 62 Comments
56 18 351,482 Views 62 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author throatslasher Vladimir Build Guide By throatslasher Updated on November 26, 2013
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Hey. I play Vladimir top sometimes and I have a lot of success. I think I have a build that can address Vlad's early weak game and propel him into mid game / late game success. With the Rumble nerf, I think vlad has received and indirect buff as a viable alternate option for AP top.

Vlad's main weaknesses are his extreme early game and his plethora of impossible matchups. However, if put in an easy lane, he can get the farm he needs to be a factor in the teamfight phase.

Is Vlad even viable?

Yes! Play him this way and formulate your own opinion.
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Season 4 -_-

Season 4 hurt vlad. They nerfed spectral wraith for non-junglers and the new masteries are just meh for him.

I don't think vlad is epic stronk anymore, but if you're a big fan of vlad and you want to continue playing him, this is my recommendation on how to do it.
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Pros / Cons

What's so good about Vlad?

[+] Vlad has a fantastic support ultimate. He combos well with aoe comps. His ultimate is not very good at level 1, and it's not very great for a 1v1 all-in situation, but you can definitely blow up a team if you use it well.
[+] His sustain is off the charts at level 9+ with a Hextech Revolver. You may not win every trade, but you can definitely sustain back up quicker than any other champion.
[+] He has strong poke, but the range on it isn't that far, more on that later.
[+] His pool has a ton of uility. More on this later.
[+] He is manaless. His 2 best spells are no cost. This is awesome. Vlad's biggest resource is CDR.
[+] He has high sustained damage. If you get of all of your spells including a few 'tides of blood' (at 4 stacks) you can put out some pretty good damage. Nothing to write home to mom about, but you are a threat.
[+] Vlad isn't super item dependent. Your ultimate will be good regardless of your items if you're properly leveled. The backloaded damage is just a bonus. The substance of the ultimate is the +% damage. (EDITORS NOTE: This is in contradiction to what you've mentioned in cons, just sayin')
[+] In the later stages, he becomes somewhat of an offtank. You can still get bursted down and melted, but you can take more punishment than your typical AP bruiser. Don't stand in the front and don't build pure tank. You are not a tank, but you do get a lot of free health, which is decent.

What sucks about Vlad?

[-] The worst part of vlad is his early game. I think I've put togeter a build (some aspects heavily borrowed from wingsofdeathx) that give his early game a huge boost.
[-] He has TERRIBLE, AWFUL matchups. When someone counters vlad, they counter him hard.
[-] Vlad is extremely item and level dependent.
[-] He has no mobility. Going untargetable for a few seconds is not mobility.
[-] He has extremely low damage for over half of the game. If your jungler ganks, you will be hard pressed to put a huge amount of damage on your opponent at any point during the laning phase. All you have is your ultimate and ignite for the most part.
[-] No reliable CC. Pool is all right for CC, but you can't use it offensivey without zhonyas.
[-] Vlad's range is piss poor. His AA range is poor, and his Q range got nerfed ages ago so it's not super impressive. A lot of champions will be able to trade with you when you Q them.
[-] Vlad isn't a hard snowballing champion. If you get a lot of kills in laning phase, that's great, but you're not a hyper carry. Getting 5 kills in lane with kassadin or kha'zix is game over, but 5 kills in lane with Vlad will just get you a level advantage and a couple of items faster.
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Summoner Spells

These are the best summoner spells. Since Vlad is sustained damage, Ghost will allow you to keep up with your opponent while continually casting on them. It will also allow you to kite around a teamfight easily, darting in and out when your cooldowns are available.

About 30+% of the time I will take Flash if I need it to evade ultimates or get out of sticky situations that can't be evaded with ghost. Some examples:
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I would highly recommend having multiple pages if you want to main Vlad. If you just want to play him to play him, the recommended rune page would be fine for all games

Recommended basic page

If you don't want to make a billion pages for Vlad, just run this page every time


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

VS heavy AP and AP lane opponent


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

VS ranged AD opponent


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

VS pure AD team and AD opponent


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

VS ranged and you cannot get consistent early autoattack harass - aka don't pick


Fleet Footwork
Phase Rush

I take hybrid penetration marks against melee opponents. I feel that vlad would do well to abuse his auto attacks at level 1 onward because he doesn't have a lot of options to put out significant damage since his Q is on a ridiculously long cooldown until level 7. Due to this fact, I pretty much only pick vlad into favorable, melee matchups that I can poke down with AA's and abuse early.

You can experiment all you want, but the MS quints aren't negotiable, and the hybrid penetration marks are the backbone of the entire build.
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Starting Items:

If you're playing top, you need the D. The Doran's Shield, to be exact. If you're feeling ballsy, I'll look the other way if you want to start boots, but it's not as good as d.shield. If you're against an AD caster like pantheon, I'll still look the other way if you start cloth, but again, d.shield is king.

Early goals:

Bread and butter on Vlad. This will boost your sustain through the roof.

Next goals:


In extremely rare circumstances, I'll go for seeker's before hextech, but almost never since the seeker's nerf. The boots are up to you. I switch between them sometimes, but they serve very different purposes. Sorcerer's shoes will give you a bump in your burst damage, while lucidity boots will increase your sustained damage. If you can only get a q off every once in a while, sorc shoes might be for you. If you are constantly trading spells with your opponent, lucidity boots will increase your sustain and the amount of spells you can cast. Experiment with both and make your own choice on the matter.

In the rarest of the rare situations, I'll build Tenacity boots. Sometimes their CC is so overwhelming you will get perma-stunned as they 100-0 you. Tenacity boots have their place, but your enemies must be really packing on the CC. Be aware that tenacity doesn't effect knockbacks or knockups. Pretty obvious, just thought I'd mention it though.

Mid game goals:

Zhonya's Hourglass is crucial. This item will increase your duribility by a wide margin. I might, MIGHT leave it at Seeker's Armguard for a while if you don't need the armor OR the invulnerability, but lets face it, you will need the invulnerability in mid game teamfights. It allows you to stand in the middle of their team and when necessary, force them to pick a different target. Extremely useful item.

Next mid game goals:


If your team has a lot of aoe magic damage ( Amumu, Orianna, etc) consider picking up Abyssal Mask.
If your team doesn't have much in the way of heavy magic damage ( Xin Zhao jungle, Kha'Zix mid, Graves adc, Taric support) consider the more selfish item of Spirit Visage. It will give you CDR, HP, AP, MR, and increased sustain. Very useful item.

If you went CDR boots, you probably want abyssal as you don't want to go over the 40% cap. Being just under the cap (30%-35%) is good enough.

Mid game goals (ALTERNATIVE vs 0 magic damage teams):


I'm not a big fan of this Rylai's Crystal Scepter. It's extremely expensive and it doesn't do much late game. The slow is nice, but it's not anything super crazy. It will allow your team to kite better, but not anything to write home to mom about. I would pick this if they are just generally lacking in damage or I desperately need the CC for some reason. I buy this maybe 10-20% of my games. If they have a team that heavily relies on kite, Rylai's might help greatly in slowing them down for your damage deals to blow them up. Sunfire Aegis vs pure AD teams will kick up your tankiness IMMENSELY.

I highly recommend picking up a sunfire after zhonyas if they literally have 4 AD champs and a support. Having over 200 armor and 3k hp will highly discourage people from targeting you, and you can still output some great sustained aoe damage.

Thoughts on Warmog's:

If they have no % damage, Warmog's Armor can be a smart buy. It will make you extremely difficult to burst down especially if you have the resists to back it up. Buy this if they can't burst you down and if your team has ample damage without you.

Mid/late goal:

This item will kick up your damage and tankiness dramatically. Once you finish this item, you will be able to do some burst with R+E+Q+ignite on squishy low MR targets.

Final build examples:

(enemy team is low damage or is not focusing you)

(some magic and they have no % damage)

(Vs pure AD and you are getting focused)

Never go over 30%(ish) cdr with your final build. You want to be drinking blue pots to cap your CDR during late game.
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Theorycrafting matchups

I'm not going to spoonfeed you matchups since the top meta changes daily, and new champs phase in and out of popularity. I'm going to give you the tools to use your brain to decide how to utilize vlad.

What are favorable conditions for vlad?

Vlad does extremely well if he can outtrade and/or outsustain his opponent. He also highly favors matchups where he can abuse his auto attacks for additional free damage. He also loves to vs champs with all of the above factors when his opponent has no sustain besides potions. Low sustain, melee, low mobility, low damage (see nasus).

What are ****ty conditions for vlad?

Vlad does poorly vs range. It basically means that you can't utilize your auto attacks for harass and you must rely mostly on your q's to trade, meaning your trades are ****ty until you get some levels and Hextech Revolver. Vlad loses to all out bulkiness and spammable shields. This allows your opponents to negate your damage, however you still get some sustain out of it. Pure sustain doesn't hurt too bad, since you have some of the best sustain out of any meta top laners. The worst thing for vlad ae gapclosers, especially bruisers that can gapclose AND start red pot. Their level 2-3 is just TOO STRONG for you to handle, and they should be avoided.
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Quick 'how to play'

Level 1-6

Harass with Transfusion, and when that's on CD, harass with your autos. You almost never want to last hit a creep with Q if you can last hit it with your auto. Your auto attacks are a MAJOR source of your damage, especially level 1-2. Throw auto attacks in close proximity to your lane bush so you can dip into the lane bush to drop creep agro. Keep an eye on your opponents' potions and starting build. You should be afraid of red pot start because they are trying to win the lane early.

Level 7-9

Now, YOU are the lane bully. With your Hextech Revolver and level 4-5 Q, you outtrade and outsustain everything. Go HAM.

Level 10+

Teamfighting stage. Go teamfight, and play vlad as normal. When engages happen, throw your Hemoplague on as many people as possible. When preparing for an engage, make sure you stack Tides of Blood. You want to enter teamfights with 4 tides of blood stacks, and finish team teamfight with 4 stacks.

Keep an eye on side lanes. If there is ample farm building up, make sure you quickly dart to the lane and secure all of the cs QUICKLY and return to your team.

How to teamfight with vlad:

Easy peasy. Vlad is a pretty easy to teamfight effectively with. You usually want to come into the fight from the side. If you are out in the open, they might sniff out your ult and scatter.

Come in as soon as the fight starts and hit at least 4 people with your ultimate. If the opportunity doesn't present itself, don't use it. It's better to not use your ult immediately than to use it early and only hit 1-2 tanks. Drop your ult, Q some squishies, E as may people a possible, pool when you get focused, Q and E some more, and use Zhonya's Hourglass when you get focused again.

Try to make sure that you put your ult, some Q's and some E's on their squishy backline. Also, drop ignite in conjunction with your ultimate on someone important, like their adc.
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Final Thoughts

CS, CS, CS. If you have a choice between cs'ing and harassing, always take the CS. If you pick Vladimir into a matchup and get completely dumped on, assess the situation. Learn something about what happened that went wrong and take it into next game.
If you send your opponent home repeatedly, shove wave after wave into their tower and try to take their tower quickly. Mid game, if you're purple side, take golems. If you are permitted, take wraiths too.
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Special thanks:

Vynertje: Awesome coding job. See you for the next one (PM ME IT'S READY)

Wings: I stole your marks. Sue me.

Myself: Couldn't have done it without you.
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