Vladimir Build Guide

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The super-awesome Vladimir compendium for competitive AND pubstoming gaming

written by Garona

Vladimir Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

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    Hello, and welcome to the... wait its too long gimme a sec... to the super-awesome Vladimir compendium for competitive AND pubstoming gaming, by Garona!

    The reason I am writing this guide, is mostly becase NOONE of the other Vladimir guides out here in leaguecraft plased me, nor helped me be a good Vladimir player, by gathering info from my games, streams and from whatever I overally saw in the game, I decided that the way I want to play Vladimir is as a nuke-mage, that will get tanky during the late game, instead of building him as a tanky-mage with spamable skills BUT a low damage output.


  • Smartcasting and you!

    Lets talk about smartcasting, the possibly most important aspect of the game, especially when playing Vladimir.

    Smartcasting allows you to cast spells without clicking, but rather casts the spell at the point where your cursor is. Its default keybind is Shift+the button you want, that means Shift+Q, Shift+W etc, but you can set the keybindings by yourself, e.g. if you got a razer naga you could set Q smartcasting to the 1 button on it the W on the 2 and the list goes on.

    Another very classic keybind is to set the classic binds, which means your standar casting will now be smartcast.

    You will need to master smartcasting, and doing that will need some simple steps to be achieved.

    - Learn the spell ranges, dont depends on the indicators.
    - Learn how to not overextend by mistaking the range and how to hit the enemy you want to hit.
    - Get to know how to spam the casts, FAST.

    Quick example of how smartcasting works, in comparison to the classic way of playing.

    Doing a combo of R>Q>E>Q>E>Q>E which mean you have to click a total of 8 times, which inhibits you the ability to cast your Q or E EXACTLY every time when you should do it, since well, in order to do this right, you would need to click RETARDEDLY fast, instead with smartcasting, you have ZERO need of clicking, and mashing the keys in the correct order is really easy.

  • Quick Reference

    Quick note : The quick reference should NOT be a valid way for you to build Vladimir, if you are really interested in how to build him, read the whole guide!

    Runes + Masteries

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    (Skip any mana related utility mastery)
    Note : Because runes can have some varitations it is adviced you see the runes section below.

    Starting Items

    OR +



    Note : The Revolver can be upgraded to Will of the Ancients at any time you want

    Mid Game

    Note : Situational but great item nontheless
    Note2 : Feel free to upgrade your Hextech Revolver

    Late Game - Going good, not getting focus of escaping


    Against Magic Teams

    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Against Physical Teams

    For bulkiness

    Skill Order

    Summoner Spells

    + OR OR

  • Abilities

    Crimson Pact
    "A harvest moon, so aptly named."

    Straightforward passive, you get Ability Power means you get Health and vise versa, it is highly noticable, because you will see your health going up, without getting any real health items.

    The best way to abuse this passive is Snowballing, but because this is very risky, and somewhat innefective, the best way to abuse Vladimis passive bears the name of Rabadon's Deathcap.

    "Care to make a donation?"

    Transfusion is a sinle target, no cost, high damage nuke, it is your bread and butter and when it hits its 5th level, which means what you hit your 9th level, it has a base cooldown of 3 seconds, which, on a capped cooldown Vladimir, means a 2.4 second cooldown (still a nice spammable spell).

    It will act as a healing powerhouse since it has a base healing, but due to its spammable nature, with an Hextech Revolver, it will top you out in no time.

    Cooldown: 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 seconds
    Magic Damage: 90 / 125 / 160 / 195 / 230 (+0.6 per ability power)
    Health Regained: 15 / 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 (+0.25 per ability power)
    Cost : Noone
    Range : 600 units

    - Awesome Farming Tool.
    - Great nuke.
    - Tops you back to full health in no time.

    Note : Rylai's Crystal Scepter considers this spell an Area of Effect spell due to its small cooldown, thus it only slows for 15%.

    Sanguine Pool
    "Let's pool our efforts."

    Sanguine Pool is somewhat a free Zhonya's Hourglass, it prevents you from beeing targetable, makes you lose tower aggro, but you can still move, thogh are of effect spells are still going to affect you, alike to Zhonya, you cannot cast it while Stuned/Silenced, you can cast it while Rooted, but it isnt a good thing to do.

    It costs 20% of your Current health, that means that when you are full on health using Sanguine Pool is way more risky, and costs a far greater resource than it would when you would be down at 20% health since it would now cost 20% of that 20%.

    It also deals area of effect damage based on your possition, which is an estimated 300 range radius from the point where the center of the pool is going to be. It only deals a medicore amount of damage that scales on your maximum health points (15% of it to be exact), and it heals for 12,5% of the damage done.

    It is the longest cooldown apart from his ultimate, so think twice before not leveling last.

    Cooldown: 26 / 23 / 20 / 17 / 14 seconds
    Magic Damage: 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+15% of bonus Health)
    Cost: 20% of current health
    Radius: 300 (estimate)

    - Great Towerdive tool
    - Awesome escape tool

    Note : If you cast Sanguine Pool while an ability is flying toawrds you (E.G. Veigar's Primordial Burst - specifically this is one ability you need to strive to dodge, EVERY time) the ability will still be on cooldown but you will NOT recieve damage by it, unless its particle hit you.

    Note 2 : Leash effects, such as Fiddlesticks Drain will continue to affect you while beeing in poolform.

    Note 3 : Terrain effects such as Veigar's Event Horizon or Cassiopeia's Petrifying Gaze will still stun you if you run through them while in pool form.

    Note 4 : Damage over time abilities like Ignite and Malzahar's Malefic Visions still damage you while in pool form.

    Tides of Blood
    "A draining excersise..."

    Tides of Blood is an awesome ability and it is often overlooked, I dont see why. It is a quite big area of effect spell that deals significant damage, especially when you hit its fourth stack.

    To be more exact every time you cast Tides of Blood (which by the way is an AoE around you, no need to target) you get one stack which increases the health cost of Tides of Blood but also increases the healing you recieve and the damage Tides of Blood (ToB from now on) deals.

    It will serve as an awesome teamfight tool, farming tool, and killing machine, it also increases the base damage you recieve form Transfusion, while under its stacking effect.

    Cost: 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 Health (Up to 240 health in level 5 and max stacks)
    Magic Damage: 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+0.45 per ability power) (Up to 360 damage in level 5 and max stacks)
    Cooldown: 4.5 seconds
    Radius: 620

    - AoE powerhouse with low cooldown.
    - Can be cast without any prequestie other than your health.

    Note : The plain Hextech Revolver refunds you nearly the full amount of damage you deal at its first cast if cast on a minion wave.

    Note 2 : Its particle will hit wards, revealing their possition, it will also fly towards invisible champions and champions hiding in the bushes.

    "Please, let it all out."

    Hemoplague isnt your hardest hitting ability, however in teamfights this gives your team an termedously awesome advantage, it is a quite good range AoE spell which remains on enemy units for five seconds, during those five seconds they are aflicted by the Hemoplague which increases the damage they take from all sources by 15%, and when the five seconds end, they take damage, modified by your ability power.

    You need to try hitting as much champions as possible in teamfights, but it is also a great tool for towerdiving (for when every other abilit wont do the trick), but dont be decieved, its damage isnt that great, and you need to sacrifise 15% of your current health to cast this spell! It has a long cooldown, so think twice before using it.

    Cooldown: 150 / 135 / 120 seconds
    Magic Damage: 150 / 250 / 350 (+0.7 per ability power)
    Cost: 15% of current health
    Range: 620 (estimate)
    Radius: 300 (estimate)

    Note : At level six, with a full conjusction of your abilities you can score a kill, thanks to this baby.

    Note 2 : Maokai's Vengeful Maelstrom counter hard this ability, watch out for it.

  • Laning + Zoning

    Lets talk laning.

    I believe that Vladimir isnt a powefull early game champion, he can indeed be easyly denied some exp, and if careless will die.

    However I always strive to get the middle lane, after level five (and not level 9 and many ppl think), Vladimir can start dishing out some serious damage, and in level six you can score a kill at an ease. I shall go a bit in depth with the steps I take in my laning so you get a better overview.

    Starting Items

    OR +
    I think that Doran's Shield is the best choice if you are a starter, no matter what you do, Boots of Speed is a good starter, dont get me wrong, but in a lane against champions like Tristana, Veigar, Ryze or overally ANY champ that can harass you, the Shield is the way to go in the case you are inexperienced, since it provides overally bulkiness.

    I tend to go for the middle lane solo or top, where I strive to last hit as much as possible, using Q on minions until it hits level 3, where it can start doing some good damage to champions, you can harass from earlier on ofcourse, I try to deny as much exp as possible, standing in the end of the enemy minion line, using Tides of Blood mostly for creep lasthitting, while using Transfusion for the case the enemy campion comes close, however if you are getting harassed and denied experience, you should stand back and use your Transfusion in order to score as much minon kills as possible.

    After I hit level six I try to get the enmy down to about 50% of their health, if you succed in doing so, you can simply Flash even in the enemy turret and use this simple combo

    The only character that could possibly escape is Kassadin due to his passive and if he reacted right his ultimate served as a good escape.

    Experience Denied!

    The experience deny mind game is what will judge wether you are a good Vladimir, or a medicore one, no matter what happens you want and you NEED to farm as much as possible, since your goal is to rush Rabadon's Deathcap among with the rest of your core, you need to get as little jarassed as possible, abusing the health regenrating from your Q and potions. You always should ward your lane in an apporpiate way that if you overextend, you will be able to survive, and get the kill. Here is a picture sowing some easy-ward posstition too help you

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    The Black dots are the early game wards, the others are the mid-late wards, blue ones are if you are on the purple team, white ones if you are on the blue.

    What that means? BUY WARDS! Dont depend on the supports and junglers if you want them to be placed correctly for your overextentions.

  • Teamfighting

    Really nothing to say here, if you got out of the above section, you are fine tbh, in the lategame you are a teamfight powerhouse, your ult should be hitting as much enemies as possible, pump up damage, focus the carry and you will be fine.

    Positioning in order to avoid beeing bursted down is key, try to either hide and join the fight a bit after it starts or go behind your tanks, the second you feel threatend pop your Pool and re-position yourself using flash when needed, you are contributing enough by poping your ultimate really.

  • Items

    Vladimir isnt exactly what you would call flexible regarding items.

    80% of the games I will get down to starting with Boots of Speed and three Health Potions, as the game progresses your main goal is to build the items as shown below in this order

    I cant stress how important buying those wards is, by getting your lane correctly warded by level nine (look @ the laning section for ward placement) you can overextend or simply not get ganked, remeber, wards ALWAYS pay off.

    As the game moves on I have two or three main item goals depending on how the game goes, the REAL goals, that you WILL want to achieve in every game are Rabadon's Deathcap and Void Staff, those two items should be rushed all the time, as magic resistance really cuts down Vladimir's damage output.

    For those last two slots you need to evaluate what you need, see what the threats are on the enemy team and how to eliminate them.

    For the game where the enemy team is mainly composed by Ability Power, or just Magic dealing champions, it is highly advised you run a Spirit Visage, which can be sold in lategame if you feel it doesnt help as much anymore.

    Picking up Rylai's Crystal Scepter is kinda situational, even though a VERY strong item tht gives lots of bulkyness, all that health is innefective without getting the proper resistaces.

    Against Magic Teams

    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Against Physical Teams Note : You arent that scared of Phys teams since burst is what takes Vlad down real quick, but if they carry if fed, well they burst like hell

    Also, 70% of the game you will want to get Guardian Angel. Why? Well as Vladmimir you will ALWAYS get a high health pool, in order for this health pool to be effective you need to build high resistances, thats what GA does, and lets not forget how less you will get focused if the enemy knows that you can just pop pool and flash after you revive!

    Ideal Game Build]

    OR OR

    Against Heavy Magic Team

    [item_icon=Force of Nature]

    Against Physical Team

    Of course, you can upgrade your Hextech Revolver to a Will of the Ancients at any time, but it is advised you only do it in late game.

    EDIT : With the Revolver nerf, getting WOTA rushed CAN be a good idea, just do it wisely, if you arent doing well, get the WOTA ASAP.T

    Then why you dont got it in your builds above Garona?

    Simply because while way usefull, it wont be always needed, a great addition though.

  • The Spirit Visage deal.

    External Image


    +30 Magic Resistance
    +250 Health
    Passive UNIQUE: Cooldowns are reduced by 10% and increases healing, regeneration, lifesteal and spellvamp on yourself by 15%

    Item cost 1550g
    Sell value 1085g

    Now really, SV IS a great item, since it gives much needed CDR, I really consider making it a core item for my Vlad, but here is the deal.

    1) Your spellvamp is only increased by 2%, ok this isnt bad, since the Revolver nerf, plus the fact that it increases the passive healing of Transfusion and stacks with the Tides of Blood passive.
    2) It delays your damage as it has about the same cost of a Needlessly Large Rod.
    3) It is innfefective if your Transfusions healing component isnt pumped by AP.

    But since we want to get 40% CDR cap it is needed anyway so...

    tl;dr : SV is a great item, but never rush it, great to get right after Rabadon's Deathcap

  • Skilling Order


    Wether you pick Pool or Tides first dpeends on the enemy matchup, a good poker like Caitlyn or Nidalee you should rush your pool to be more safe and farm smoother.

    80% of the time you will want to rush Sanguine Pool, it is more rewarding in case you get hit by an early gank or roamer, and well, gimme one reason you should want to get you "get-out-of-jail-free-card" spell ASAP.

  • Runes

    Greater Mark of Insight X9

    Great early game runes, will become kinda useless later on since all your Spell Pen will come out of Void Staff and we are getting [item_text=Boots of Lucidity], but in early game they really help you out, and runes are meant to help in early!

    Greater Seal of Vitality X9 OR Greater Seal of Force X9

    I believe the HP/Lv ones are better, they help your more in the early game, by level 5 they are more effective than flat hp, and they are what Vlad needs. The ap way is fine if you want to go for extra damage.

    Greater Glyph of Focus X9 OR Greater Glyph of Celerity X9

    Nothing to say, you NEED the CDR, flat is better but more epxensive, choose what you can afford.

    Greater Quintessence of Fortitude X2 AND Greater Quintessence of Swiftness OR Greater Quintessence of Potency X3

    The first route is more solid, gives you better laning possibilities, the flat AP really helps if you wanna be aggressive.

  • Masteries

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    You need this, no matter what, you want CDR + Regen + Movespeed, utility is always the way to go.

  • Summoner Abilities


    Flash is a very solid choice for any mage, it allows you to pop from wall to wall, make a suprise attack or escape a gank, you will want to carry flash in nearly every situation, since you dont want to be ganked and you DEFINETLY dont want to die.

    What you NEED to know is that, if you DO use flash, USE IT OVER A WALL! Dont EVER waste a flash when the enmy will just be able to his his gap closer to get to you, by jumping over a wall you nearly ensure your escape.


    Ghost, either alone or in pari with Flash is a great spell for Vladimir, since he is a spamcaster, it has pretty much the same uses, I see it like a consistent flash.


    Great spell, good finisher, I always pick it when the enemy has healers of too much lifesteal/regen, it is a great tool to have during towerdiving and early ganks.


    I dont really like it, I refer running a Quicksilver Sash, but feel free to be using it.

  • Change Log

    Also my ending note, thanks for reading this guide, rate it and comment it!

    30/6/2011 : Guide published, hooray!

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