Vladimir Build Guide

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Suck Me Off - The Perfect 1v1+ Guide to Vladimir

written by Lucienos

Vladimir Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello and welcome. If you are reading this, then you may be new to Vladimir or want to perfect your game. I hope this guide provides you with just what you need to give you the edge in battle.

  • Before You Play as Vladimir

    This section is going to provide you with some must-know tips on this champion.

    Vladimir is a powerful, beefy mage. Vladimir. Is NOT. A tank. By ANY means. Stacking health in the game on any champion is simply that, stacking health. The only difference between other champions and Vlad is that his health stacking equates to ability power. However, that is nothing a Madred's Bloodrazor can't cut down, so don't be deceived, and don't think that by someone locking in Vlad upon champion select means that you have your tank and you're good to go.

    Vlad is also an early game mage. He shines before the first 30 minute mark, and then begins to diminish, because by then his nukability is gone due to the other team building resistances. Your two nuke abilities that once took chunks of health will begin to tickle and then only preserve you in teamfights BARELY. The object of the game when playing as Vlad is to force a surrender or end it early before that point happens; if there is one thing that a good Vlad can do, it is act as a tedious, tenacious poker and force others out of lane. Harass like crazy..while you can.

    To anyone who says Vladimir sucks? Yes. Yes he does. Quite literally mind you~ But he is an excellent champion and a promised killer. Vladimir is a fairly simple champion to understand, and if you follow the tips of this guide, you should be getting penta-kills in no time!

  • Guide Updates

    This section will provide you with any changes I have made in the guide and when

    21 May '11
    -Added a "Guide Update" section, added a "Jungling as Vladimir" section.
    -Made changes in the "Masteries, Spells, & Runes" section
    -Made changes in the "Doing It Wrong" section.
    -Included Vlad's 40 Health - 1 AP and 1 AP - 1.8 Health ratio in the "Doing It Wrong" section and even gave you guys some mathematical theorycrafting. May you never buy a Warmogs again.

    23 May '11
    -Edited the format of the "Guide Updates" section.
    -Edited the "Doing It Wrong" section in celebration of the upcoming patch.
    -Taken out the "Jungling as Vladimir" section, for the reason of the upcoming patch: His Transfusion is being targeted as far as the health is concerned. That isn't a huge deal laning, and definitely won't matter mid and late game as it is STILL your nuke and can STILL take chunks of damage out at a time, that little bit of health in the jungle is precious. That and Vlad has too powerful of a lane presence to stick him in a place where he is useless. Yes, you can jungle with him, yes it is possible, but after trying a million and one rune combos, mastery tweaks, and item changes, at least I have discovered that he takes too long to do it and loses his presence entirely. Take a solo lane or middle lane if you are craving the solo experience.

  • Abilities

    Crimson Pact
    Simply put:

    AP = Health
    Health = AP

    Vladimir works on a health cost system, and this ability restores it. More on that later.

    Sanguine Pool
    You turn into a puddle, swim around, do damage over time, and resolidify.

    Tides of Blood
    His most masochistic spell. Basically, he uses his blood and throws it at you, and the more he does it, the more health it costs but the stronger the attack is.

    Your small burst nuke AND a damage over time ultimate. There is more than one way to use this. More on that later.

  • Abilities & You

    Let me explain the use of some of Vladimir's abilities in depth.


    Transfusion is what makes Vladimir who he is. The cooldown on level 1 is high, but upon level 5, promised health returns every 2 seconds? Sounds quite delicious doesn't it? It does good damage too upon maxing it early, so do so. EVERY guide will tell you this, because it is that CRUCIAL you do it.

    There is one huge thing I want to note though about Transfusion. Using it does give you health yes, but not instantaneously. You have an initial pitiful grant of health but then, with penetration, resistances, and your ability power equated, the REAL health is granted; consider it a two-fold ability. Why did they implement this? Because if not, Vlad would be able to solo anyone any time and it would put him on the imbalanced side of the champion pool (and Riot has made ENOUGH of those). This way, an enemy champion is still able to nuke Vlad down, and he can't be invincible. That being said, be careful who nukes you and when, but for the most part, when you hit Level 9 in game, you should be Transfusing anything you see all the time.

    Sanguine Pool

    Everyone refers to this as Vlad's "get out of fail free" ability. Well, GET OVER IT, because it is. Sanguine Pool is an ability that slows anyone in it, does damage over time, takes aggro away from Vladimir, as well as a good ability to use to dodge powerful skill shots and AoE abilities. When using this ability early game, be very careful, for not only is the cooldown quite long but it DOES cost you 1/5th of your current health, and in most cases, it is just easier to tank the ability and Transfuse the health back. Late game usage of this ability is also crucial, for though the cooldown is much lower, teamfights end FAR more quickly, and that pool may make or break you. People who know Vladimir know to harass him into his pool before they unload on him, so use this ability carefully and if anything sparingly.

    Tides of Blood

    Compared to Transfusion, this ability has a better AP ratio and does more damage. The difference being, you can't spam it as fast as Transfusion. However, don't dock this ability in your stages of the game. Once you get your Transfusion at level 3, feel free to begin using this ability more aggressively. It is great for last hitting and farming, and if close enough to a fleeing champion, if used correctly, you can catch a lucky kill! The health this costs only starts to effect you when you are at low health, so again, do as much damage as you can, just be mindful of your health meter.


    This ability:
    -Has an initial casting burst of magic damage
    -Increases damage done during its duration
    -Does steady damage over time
    -Has a terminal burst of magic damage

    In short: YES. At the second level of this ability, the cooldown doesn't seem so overbearing, and when you begin stacking ability power, you will see the fruits what this ability has to offer. As stated above, Vladimir is a promised killer. If you use this and DON'T get at least ONE kill, you are doing it wrong. Like most ultimate abilities, you may want to wait and wear your enemies down, but this is why, along with Transfusion, people hate Vladimir, for enemies at low health are mere targets waiting to be taken out.

    Do NOT use this on just one champion if you know there are more on the way. I cannot stress this enough. What is more important, getting one kill or getting two or three?

    Do NOT use this in a 3+v1 gank with your team, UNLESS the person you are killing is the tank/tankiest member they have. If you are waiting in a bush for an unsuspecting victim, and they are also unloading on them? Save that ult if at all possible, because high chances are, the rest of their team is gunning for that fight. Don't waste it when you have over half, if not the whole team, doing damage.

    DO use it when all the enemies are there and the teamfight has initiated. It increases the damage done by your allies, and could win an ace if used correctly.

  • Masteries, Spells, & Runes


    The new mastery tree provides a lot of variety, and as far as I have observed, there is no right or wrong choice.  However, I still favor the benefits in the Utility tree, so the masteries I use are as follows.

    As Transfusion is top priority, the cooldown reduction should help you.  I especially like the increased experience from killing people, because as a Vladimir, that is what you should be doing.


    You can bring a variety of spells and they work fine for Vladimir. However, I will briefly go on the absolute must spells and the eh-so-so spells.

    Ignite You will ALWAYS bring this spell, no argument. You are a killer, so kill on. Especially in laning phase, this will ensure, with your ultimate, that someone can't walk away.
    Ghost & Flash If you are heavy on the gank, consider one of these spells. Flash in, ult, pool out, or Ghost to get there and/or ghost to get away, either or it is up to your playing style. I personally prefer Ghost, because Vlad already has a pool that will take away most aggro and slide him to a distance where he can safely cast Ghost and flee. Flashing two seconds away when hit with a four second CC, the enemies will still probably catch up with you. Again though, it is your preference.

    Heal Ignite and Grievous Wound attacks are your worst enemy, and if you are new or just desperate to stay alive, don't dock a quick heal. And if going 9/21/0, the mastery point in this spell will help as well.
    Exhaust Your nukability should give you no need for this spell, but consider that someone with Grievous Wound abilities may be on the other team (Katarina, Miss Fortune, Tristana). They see Vladimir and get cocky because they know that if you get too bold they can cut you down. Exhaust may save you in situations like this.


    This guide isn't a guide you have to follow to the tee, so if you have a better idea, feel free to replace it with mine here. But as far as my rune page for Vladimir...

    Greater Mark of Insight x 9 (410 each) [3690 total]
    Greater Seal of Potency x 9 (410 each) [3690 total]
    Greater Glyph of Potency x 9 (410 each) [3690 total]
    Greater Quintessence of Potency x 3 (1025 each) [3075 total]
    Grand Total = 14,145 IP

    The total looks like a big number, but actually, this is fairly cheap compared to other types of rune pages.

    The magic pen should be self explanatory. My glyph and seal choice also is a big help to my early game. Of course, the page could be replaced by all magic pen or ability power. Whatever you do though, do not go heavy on health runes and I'll explain why in the Items and Doing It Wrong section.

    But ultimately, it is your choice.

  • Skilling Order & Building Tips


    The skilling order I am about to offer you is for a specific purpose. Hate situations where the enemy has players such as Xin Zhao who always seem to get fed by your noob allies and finally they circle their way to you having an ego inflated the size of a zeppelin? Well LAUGH AT HIS FACE NOW, for the items I am going to recommend as well as the specific skilling order I will suggest should be enough to 1v1 him and shut him down.

    Though Tides of Blood does more of your damage compared to Sanguine Pool, the cooldown on your pool is just too long at the early levels. But once you get it to level 3, max your Tides, then finish your pool. I level it this way because of that player versus player factor. Having that pool more often will be a life saver.


    Notice how I said TIPS and not "This is what you should do," and you will see why in a second.

    The perfect item set for 1v1+ gameplay should consider the following:

    Ionian Boots of Lucidity Spirit Visage Will of the Ancients
    Rylai's Crystal Scepter Void Staff Rabadon's Deathcap

    The fluid combination of Lucidity, Spirit Visage, and WotA just cannot be ignored. This is one reason why you do not get cooldown runes, as with the utility tree this will give you all the cooldown you will ever need. The Lucidity-Visage pairing promises at max Transfusion, you get 1 second casting. The Visage-WotA pairing ensures that you heal for a huge deal, and of course the other items help with that as well. At a grand total of 13,700 gold, it cannot be denied that this build will rank you superior, as you can heal through most anything, slow the enemy team down, give a spell vamp aura, and nuke those who try to test you.


    Start with an Amplifying Tome and 1x Health Potion. The rune page I recommended along with your mastery choice should give you a good amount of AP and health early on. Don't start with boots unless you have a laning opponent you feel will be unnecessarily pushy and aggressive (Brand, Kennen, ect) because boots don't benefit you other than a bit more movement speed.


    Boots of Speed + Amplifying Tome OR Ruby Crystal. The additional tome will become a Hextech Revolver and the crystal will become a Kindlegem. If you want more ability power, then get the tome, otherwise, having the cooldown PLUS health off the bat isn't a bad option, so the Kindlegem would suffice.


    Finish your Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and by this time you should also have enough for your Kindlegem and Hextech Revolver. If you have enough, get either another tome or Null-Magic Mantle for your Spirit Visage. Since we are focusing on the player versus player aspect, you DO want to rush both of these, and it doesn't matter which first, just as long as they are both complete.


    This is where it gets tricky but I hope to help you out.

    The end all is a Rabadon's Deathcap, so a Blasting Wand at least will help at any time, as it makes over half of anything Vladimir would need. If you are getting so fed that you can rush a Needlessly Large Rod, I highly suggest you do so!

    For those who crack out about having Sorcerer's Shoes, consider that Void Staff is more beneficial to you as far as penetration is concerned.

    You MUST get a Rylai's at some point; the soft CC with 1 second Transfusions is too much of a necessity not to have one. Also, like the Void Staff, the Crystal Scepter is one of the few AP items that offers no mana--take advantage of both of them.

    As far as Will of the Ancients versus Hextech Gunblade, it is up to you, but consider the following. Though the Gunblade offers more spell vamp, and unlike other mages, Vladimir's auto-attack isn't that bad, Vlad's passive benefits more from having a WotA, and in teamfights, which is one place where Vlad shines, the aura is a huge help. Decide on your playing style, but I personally go for WotA because Vlad isn't sitting there auto-attacking enemies to death, and if he is, you're doing it wrong.

    If you are to replace an item in here for more AP, consider taking the Spirit Visage or Void Staff (if only for ANOTHER Rabadon's). But otherwise, this should lead you to even the longest games.
    Mind you, this build is all about nuking, for if you can't kill as Vlad, then you are doing it wrong. If a Tryndamere crits you down late game, it just happens. If you can't kill him fast enough and ult/ignite him to finish the job, shrug your shoulders, there's nothing you can do, but don't build defensive just to build defensive, for in the end your job is to nuke people; leave things like Thornmail to the tank.

  • Doing It Wrong - Health V. Ability Power

    This section is probably the most important. Please. Read.

    Vladimir; he's an easy champion when you get to know him! He really is! But I, maining Vlad, see so many BADimirs that it pains me, and thus this section is for those who are doing it wrong, because you can DO it WRONG. Well not anymore.

    Crimson Pact, Vladimir's passive, states that he gets bonus health for stacking ability power, and bonus ability power for stacking health, and these do not stack on each other.

    You get MORE benefit from this passive by stacking more AP than health. Consider you are about twice as healthy stacking AP, but only 1/5th as deadly stacking health.

    Need more math? Alright.

    Ruby Crystal gives 200 Health. Thanks to Vladimir's passive, you have 200 health + 5 AP
    Amplifying Tome gives you 20 AP. Thanks to Vladimir's passsive, you have 20 AP + 36 Health

    To the unknowing user, you would think stacking health is the better thing to do. This is incorrect, as the AP does add up. No, you may not be as healthy, but you are almost TWICE as deadly, referring to the 1.8 ratio of Vlad's AP to Health passive.

    A Warmog's Armor gives you 920 Health but only a measily 23 extra AP.
    A Rabadon's Deathcap though only granting 279 Health gives you 155 plus 30% of all AP and this DOES equate to your passive for the ratio. For 600 gold more, you could be fed.

    Still not convinced? Let's go over the basics.


    I see benefits in the defense tree, for Vlad, if only Vlad, it works! But why not dive in the tree that helps him the most in the long run, like the offensive, since he is an offensive character, or the utility, since he is constantly casting spells? Those diving in the defensive tree just for the health? Are doing it wrong.


    If you use the page I recommended, the AP and penetration should give you a sickeningly strong early game. Why? Why AP quints over health quints? Because again, you get more benefits from stacking AP than health, and when your character is a nuke, who CARES how healthy they are? I have recently changed my health-per-level runes with more AP runes, for with an Amplifying Tome in the start, on top of the runes I suggested above, that is a 575 initial health at level 1 with 45 AP + flat magic pen off the bat; not too shabby. I stress that if you are going to get runes, let them be penetration or straight flat AP, but those stacking health runes just for the passive benefits are doing it wrong.


    And THIS is the fun part.

    Regrowth Pendant v. Amplifying Tome

    Your first item? Hands down, the tome. If you see Vlads start off with a Pendant, laugh in their stupid faces. The tome receives your passive benefits, and you can Transfuse for more health this way; the Pendant? Doesn't. If you see Vlads with this item, they are doing it wrong.

    Warmog's Armor

    This? Is a TERRIBLE item for Vladimir! And I know what the noobs are saying "BUT LUCI, Vlad is an awesome farmer and there's nothing wrong with this item for him because the health--" EEEEEEEEERNT, WRONG. In the end, it is empty health, and for what it does, it doesn't give you much AP. If you see a Vladimir with a Warmog's, he is doing it wrong.

    Hextech Revolver & Other Stacking Items

    Aw god, I just HATE to see Vlads stack Revolvers and go TROLLOLOLOL I HEEL 4EVR AHUUUUUUUUUUR, when really, the item in and of itself is a bit expensive considering what it can do. So now you have 3 Revolvers. Great. I have a Rabadon's. And you know what's funny? I heal for more! You know what's funnier?? I have more AP than you, MEANING I have more health than you, MEEEEAAAAANIIIIIIIING that you have to go back and buy something more intelligent--oh wait, no you don't because I ALREADY KILLED YOU. 3 Revolvers = 120 AP. 1 Rabadon's = 155 + 30% of all AP.

    As of the patch the week of May 23rd, the Hextech Revolver has a unique passive of 20% spell vamp.

    AHA..AHAHAHAHA! Score ONE for the SMART Vladimirs. Stacking Hextech Revolvers is doing it wrong.

    Additionally, those stacking Warmog's Armor are ALSO stupid, because again, you get more AP buy..y'know..GETTING AP, and hey, since you're stupid enough to buy a Warmogs, you can sit there with the people who build Tank-Kaiser and Tank Garen and call yourself a pro while the enemy team WALKS AROUND YOU because you? Are doing it wroooooooong.

    If you INSIST on stacking an item, then at LEAST stack Rylai's Crystal Scepters, for though the passive is unique, the benefits that Vlad receives from it are not. If you get fed, stack Rabadon's Deathcaps!

    Mejai's Soulstealer v. Leviathan

    In truth, these are great items for Vladimir. In fact, hell, if you're so fed, why not get both! But if you are feeling so cocky, at least get the Mejai's first, for the AP and cooldown benefits are better for Vlad than the defense boost, for trust me, if someone is determined to cut Vlad down, they will; might as well take them out while doing so. Vladimir is a great snowballer actually, his teamfight presence cannot be ignored. However, if you see a Vlad get JUST a Leviathan, then he's doing it wrong.

    Additionally, may I advise that with Mejai's, if you die, there goes your benefits. I think Vlads that rush this are all too cocky. I like getting AP that can't be taken away from me, for I LIKE killing people. But if you are getting fed like a banquet, nothing's stopping you from snowballing into victory.


    One more thing: "I'm going tank, guys" lol no you aren't, because you're Vlad. I've had a couple do this and it just made me cringe and writhe. Unlike Shen or Rammus who have a way of forcing the enemy team to focus them, Vlad does NOT. Vladimir has to be in their face and sucking them dry, but he can't taunt them or stun them or anything of the sort. If you see a Vlad doing this, queue dodge, for he is doing it wrong.

  • Last Notes

    -Vladimir is probably the best farmer in the game. His Transfusion and Tides make it ridiculously easy. You will get quite minion farmed in any game, so use that to your advantage.

    -For mid laning especially, if your enemy is just turtling, push out a bit and dive into the wraiths for some extra gold and force them back to your tower. As a strong pusher, the minions won't stay and own it, and in early game, there isn't a champion (sans Sivir, Heimerdinger & Mordekaiser) who can knock it down in one go just by two minutes of you not paying attention, so you have little fear there.

    -If you must go back, go back. Every time you travel back you gain another item that gives you health and AP, making it easier to kill your enemy. Your tower might take a blow, but it isn't anything you can return upon your enemy's death. You can also bring Teleport if you want the lane dominance.

    -If your laning opponent isn't a super aggressive pusher, try ganking early. Work with your teammates and get a couple of easy kills in.

    -The one thing that makes Vlad a terrible time is his PUNS. They are just..so terrible..like..I don't even... I assure you..they'll just make your blood boil--*slain*

    In all seriousness, Vlad's alright, if anything just a little cold blooded~--*double kill*

    Nah, he's ok, his puns just get under my skin~--*killing spree*

  • Questions & Comments

    If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, do not hesitate to ask! I will leave this section open to respond.

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