Vladimir Build Guide

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written by Dracozero

Vladimir Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello there, I'm DracoZero and this is my first guide.
    I've only played Vladimir for a few games, but I find him to be just my type of champion.
    I've happened to finish every single game with a rather impressing score.

    If you don't think this guide is good, just downrate and give feedback so I can make this a better guide.

    More things to come:
    -List of spells which hit you during Sanguine Pool (Done! more or less)
    -List of spells which don't hit you during Sanguine Pool (Done! more or less)
    -More tank-y build for when your team does not have a "true tank" (Done!) (Removed! After further testing, the build proved to not be useful at all - it was useful when Vlad was a flashy new vampire and everyone focused him, but it won't yield the same results anymore)
    -Alternate builds (Done!)

  • Changelog


    Vlad nerfs - his HP => AP gain was nerfed from 25 => 1 to 40 => 1
    I was thinking rushing Deathcap would be a better idea, but this nerf made me sure about it.


    Happy new year everyone!
    3 days ago, a massive patch came. Zhonyas lost its active and it's now on another item, but gives more AP. This new item (Zhonya Hourglass) is a great counter to physical heroes.


    Vlad got nerfed yesterday!
    -Hemoplague base damage reduced
    -Hemoplague amplifier reduced to 14% at all ranks

    Fucks up our teamfight presence, but Vlad is still strong.

    new patch! Huge buffs for... Warmog's! Now it's actually a decent item.


    New patch! Nerf/Buffs for Vlad! The two biggest highlights are:
    -Transfusion range reduced
    -Tides of blood range increased

    Vlad is still strong, so fear not!


    Boy it's been a long time. These holidays were awesome.
    Vladikaiser removed because it is not effective now that 90% of the community understands Vladimir.

    Will try other builds with lichbane and other stuff when I get home.


    Gettin' lots of ratings. Tested a few more whacky builds. Server is shut down as of now, but I'm working on an experimental tank build I like to call "Vladikasier". If it proves to be effective, expect it to be on the guide. Added more build examples.

    -Vladikaiser complete! Tested to be effective.


    First day after release, and this guide is already the best Vlad guide in LC! I'm so happeh!
    Also added a laning section with "Hard Matchups", a "Build for the advanced Hemomancer" and some number crunching as to why Warmog's is horrible.

  • Abilities

    Crimson Pact
    Vladimir's passive. Since we will be focusing on Ability Power, this will help us to achieve a nice health pool so we can cast our spells.

    Vladimir's bread and butter. At rank 5, this ability has a 3 second cooldown.

    Sanguine Pool
    Ah... Sanguine Pool. That move which is "OMG OP". It allows you to towerdive like a boss, and to escape pretty much anything if you play wisely. The size of the pool is more or less the size of a Nexus.

    Update: I have discovered that Sanguine Pool grants you a slight MS boost upon activation. I went from 391 to 400+ for half a second while activating it. The numbers are not precies, but this does speed you up.

    Tides of Blood
    His AoE spell. Think of it as "Kassadin's Riftwalk without teleport". It's centered around yourself and the range (used to be 450 units, the same as your autoattack) is now nearly as big as Transfusion, so hitting Q will give you an overall idea of how far it will hit.
    At max rank, it costs 100 health, and 400 health with 4 stacks of it's buff. Very important to keep an eye on the stack number.

    This, my dear reader, is what will make you win teamfights and destroy enemies. Let's pretend it does not have a damage component. 14% Damage increase for your team. See that Fiddlesticks charging up Crowstorm? That Katarina who just prepared KI for a Shunpo-Lotus? That Morgana who is rushing in with Shoul Shackles? That Twitch who is about to unload Spry 'n' Pray? You're boosting their damage by 14%. On top of that, you'll make them explode after 5 seconds.
    You should -never- use this to kill only one champion outside of the laning phase unless you absolutely need it to survive. This should be used in teamfights.
    Master the art of spreading AIDS, and you shall be unstoppable!

  • Masteries + Runes

    Impotant Masteries are [spell_icon=Archaic Knowledge], [spell_icon=Intelligence].
    Basically, you want the 10% CDR and the 15% Spell Penetration. Just fill the Utility tree with all the non-mana talents.
    Something like this.

    For reds, Greater Mark of Insight, there is no other option.
    For yellows, I'm currently useing Greater Seal of Regeneration because it helps me in the laning phase. Other viable options are Greater Seal of Potency, Greater Seal of Force, Greater Seal of Fortitude, Greater Seal of Vitality. You have a lot of options here. For starting Vladimirs, I recommend Hp5 or Hp.
    For blues; you also can choose. Greater Glyph of Focus, Greater Glyph of Insight, Greater Glyph of Potency or Greater Glyph of Force are all viable options.
    Quints: This one is more of your preference. HP Quints are a standart, but I prefer MS ones. Spell Pene ones are also an option.

  • Items

    Your starting item is a Doran's Shield. Gives you HP, which in turn gives you AP, and Hp/5. The armor is just gravy. Also, pick up a health potion.

    On your next trip back, you should be able to buy Haunting Guise and Boots of Speed
    Haunting Guise is awesome. It grants you sweet sweet MPen, AP and HP (which double-benefits your passive!). Boots, for obvious reasons. If you somehow managed to obtain 3k+ gold in your first bluepill, congratulations. Skip directly to [item=Rylai's Scepter] and Boots of Speed

    Since Vlad is pretty slow, I recommend you upgrade your boots now. Is the enemy team full of CC? Mercury's Treads. Is it not? Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility. Why swiftness / mobility and not Sorcerer's Shoes? While 20 MPen is nice, Haunting Guise already offers you that. The additional speed sinergyzes with Sanguine Pool, allowing you to flee faster. You could get the Sorc's if they have very slow heroes or you don't like Swift's. You can choose between Mob and Swift, it's kinda your preference. Battle maneuvering or map pressence.

    Your next item is going to be a Rabadon's Deathcap. This item means your AP will rise to astronomical proportions. Your health will rise too, so what's not to love?

    After the hat, Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Vladimir loves this item, and this item loves him back. His abilities are pretty spammable, so the slow will definately help your team. It also has HP and AP, which means your passive benefits double from it. Fun!

    Next up, Deathfire Grasp. Your AP should be incredibly high at this point if you are playing right, so it's base damage should be high. On top of that - this item has sinergy with your ultimate! Pop R and use this beatuy and watch as your target shits a brick and attempts to retreat!

    Now, look at the enemy MR. You want to take their magic resist as low as possible. If they are hanging around 50-70 resists, getting Haunting Guise and item Abyssal Scepter is costly but highly effective. If their resists are 100+, you are better off switching your boots and buying a Void Staff.

    Next, onto the Extra items!

    Zhonya's Hourglass (Incase it's not in the DB yet, +50 AR, +100 AP, Zhonya-Stasis active) Best counterpicka gainst physical DPS heroes.
    Guardian Angel If you find yourself dieing more often than you should, this item is always the way to go.
    Randuin's Omen Health, CDR, and two sweet slows? Yes, please! Get this item if Guardian Angel is not enough and your tank melts like butter.
    Abyssal Scepter Don't get this item if you've got a Voidstaff. If you have a Voidstaff and enemy mages are giving you trouble, build either [item=Force of Nature] or Banshee's Veil depending on if they abuse pure burst damage or CC.
    Elixir of Brilliance and Elixir of Fortitude Keep those up. The stat benefit is incredible. You should at least have 1 of them always up post-13 and 2 of them post-16 unless you are gold starved.

    Remember, this game is about adaptation, and this is just a general guideline. If you find a certain item may be more useful to you in a sepcial situation, by all means get it. Example, Mordekaiser/Morgana/Another Vladimir , get Quicksilver Sash

    *Update to Spirit Visage*

    This item got a nice buff, and now grants a solid amount of health instead of HP/5. It's better, but I do not consider it a core item. It is, however, a cheap and efficient way to boost your CDR and your defenses against other magic-based heroes.

  • Build for the advanced Hemomancer

    Alright, this build is a build I've been trying in my last games now that I've gotten the hang of Vlad, and I must say it is very effective. For starting Vlads, I recommend the above build, but make sure to try this out.

    This time, you'll start with either an Amplifying Tome or a Doran's Shield and a Health Potion. On your first trip back, you'll want to buy your Mejai's Soulstealer and purchase your Boots of Speed. Normally, you should also have gotten a kill off your lane-counter by now. Everytime Hemoplague is ready, go gank. It should be easy to get a double kill / double assist with Hemoplage, Sanguine Pool and Transfusion nukes. Your next item is going to be a... you guessed it... Rabadon's Deathcap. Also, upgrade your boots. After this, you should have a hefty amount of stacks on the soulstealer, so treat yourself with a [item=Rylai's Scepter]. Then, get a Haunting Guise or Void Staff depending on the enemy MR. Since you're going to have a buttload of stacks and Zhonya's is increasing your AP by 25%... You're going to build a Lich Bane. Don't forget to Autoattack something after Transufion or Tides! Vladimir's low cooldowns allow him to deal massive damage with this item. Remember to buy the Deathfire Grasp! Prioritze DFG over Lich Bane if your enemies are HP-heavy.

    You should not need defensive items if your team composition is fine and you are playing it right, but if you find you are melting like bloody butter, then get any of the defensive items listed in the other build.

  • The deal with Warmog's

    Warmog's Armor used to suck horrible balls prior to this patch. Now it only sucks minor balls.

    A fully charged Warmog's gives you near 1500 HP. Health regeneration is not useful outside of the laning phase. With your passive, 1500HP turns into 60 AP. Remember. To fully cap warmogs, you need 100 creep kills. A rather large amount.

    For the same price, you can get a second Rylai's, which grants you 660 HP and 100 AP. Not to mention, Rylai's does not need charge. If you are in desperate need of HP because you get melted in teamfights, instead of buying Warmog's, analyze the enemy and then build a Randuin's Omen, Guardian Angel, or even Banshee's Veil depending on what is owning you. All of them are cheaper than Warmog's and grant better bonuses.

    To clarify: This item is not "Omg horrible" on Vlad. The problem is, it has to be your very first item for you to take full advantage of it, and for the same price you can get a [item=Rylai's Scepter], which is an item I believe to be core for Vlad. Rushing a warmogs can severely hurt your damage output and utility during the early stages of the game.

    (This item used to be worse. Now it's barely decent but subpar. Never get this item, or you will get owned by DFG and Madred's.

  • The deal with Hextech Revolver

    Hextech revolvers are usually the suck. They cost 1200 per revolver and give you as much AP as a blasting one, so you are paying 50% more gold per point of AP.

    However, they give you amazing lane sustainability.

    I normally do not get them (since they delay my Deathcap) but if you are having a hard time in your lane (EG: against Malzahar, Swain) gettign 1 (or even 2 if it looks like you are going to be laning for a long time) will prove to help you heaps and bounds.ยด

    EDIT: Hextech got nerfed so you can only get 1 revolver. You will no longer see noobimirs stacking the shit out of them.

    To reiterate: Only get it if your earlygame is rough. Consider HR the Triple-Doran for Vladimir.

  • The Deal with WotA

    This item is the suck for you.
    Tell your support to get it instead.

  • Skilling Order

    Q is your bread and butter. It should be maxed out ASAP, since the cooldown becomes almost nonexistant at level 5 (3 seconds, affected by CDR). We then put a point in W to escape ganks and a point in E because as an additional "nuke" is somewhat useful early game for last hitting several creeps at once and towerdiving. After Q is maxed, we level W. The reason for this is, W's cooldown reduces greatly per level spent in.

    Get W first if your lanepartner has good FB potential / you are on TT. (You should be mid in SR anyway)

    Alternatively, you could use this one:

    It's the one I used to do, but I believe it to be sub-optimal.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Since Vladimir's escape tools are rather limited, I recommend to have at least Ghost or Flash

    You can combine them both, or pick a different spell in the second slot.
    Cleanse and Ignite are two strong options.

    If the enemy has a powerful melee DPS, you can always pick Exhaust

    Smite Is moot since you destroy creeps anyway, and you have no jungling potential.

    Clairvoyance Is an amazing spell, so pick it if you feel comfortable with it.

    [spell=fortify] Best used for someone else. You push waves pretty hard.

    Clarity Revive Always useful when you want to force a Q dodge, or to notify your allies that you are a complete retard.

    As of now, my default choice is Ignite + Flash, unless I am in need of a special summoner spell (EG Against Jax-Yi-Tryndamere (EXH) or against Splitpush TF (Teleport)

  • Laning

    Laning with Vladimir is pretty straightforward. Check who your counter-laner is. Is he a very aggresive champion (Ashe, Katarina, Etc)? Hang back the first levels. Pop a Transfusion on them if they harras you, so they remember you can throw shit at them. Use Sanguine Pool to avoid certain death and ganks. Keep using Q when it's off cooldown and you are not at max health.
    At level 5-6, Q should have a very low CD, so keep harrasing your oponent with it, unless it means you will be in danger. When they are low on health and towerhugging, you can towerdive. You basically pop ghost, ignite, ult, then Q+E and go Pool under them. If they are still alive, Q+E then get out. As a rule of thumb, just keep spamming Q.

    2v1 lane is pretty much the same as mid, but you need to be wary of the bush. If they deny you, hit them with Q. You will most likely outlevel your oponents, so lvl 6 can mean an easy doublekill.

    Take mid whenever possible.

  • Zoning and You

    Zoning is a very important part of Vladimir. You must zone your opponent.

    A lot of guides make a reference to this video, but it's so damn important I decided to link it here.

    Your control zone is as big as your Transfusion range.

    After you use transfusion, however, your control zone is nonexistant. So if you use transfusion on something, back up.

  • Who to watch out for and who to obtain donations from

    The following is a list of possible matchups you may find in the middle lane.

    Hard matchups:

    Katarina: Katarinas tend to be very aggresive, so in the early levels hang back getting last hits. Make sure to hit her with transfusion everytime she comes near you to throw a Bouncing Blade. If she uses Shunpo to hit you, Autoattack her while she retreats, hitting her with transfusion if availible. When transfusion is at a high level and it's CD is low, you can start spamming it on her. Since BB has a min of 8 sec CD at level 5, your transfusion should be up way more times. After level 6, she will be looking forward to use Death Lotus on you, so it's alright if you are a bit low. As soon as she starts spinning, turn into a pretty shiny pool of blood and lead her escape route. As soon as you pop up, Hemoplague Ignite Transfusion => Dead katarina (If she is low).

    Always play safe against Katarina. Never push the lane too hard, even if she is towerhugging. Shunpo-BB-Ignite deals a surprising amount of damage at low levels. The closer you are to your tower, the better.

    As of now, Katarina is the best counter to mid-Vlad.

    Heimerdinger: We all hate Heimernigger. He's a pain, and he knows it. Focus on destroying his turrets without missing out on lasthits to force him to spend his mana. If he's got Teleport and Clarity, you're in for a rough ride. Poke on him with transfusion everytime you can. If he gets the golem, your tower will most likely fall, but you'll probably kill him. When your transfusion is at rank 4-5, keep poking him with it. Wear him down, then finish him with your combo. Call your jungler/that twitch who is a boner for kills/whoever to gank if you need it. If you decide to do this, keep an eye on Heimer's items. If he brings wards, then the gank won't be succesful but you'll have time to push the lane. Always keep 3 minions in between him and you so his Hextech Micro-Rockets don't hit you. Avoid his [spell=CH-1 Concussion Grenade]. Keep his H-28G Evolution Turrets down.

    Janna: Janna is a pain. The only thing you can do in early levels is hit her with Q while her Eye Of The Storm is down. If her shield is up, just use Q on a minion to regain health. If she tries to harras you with shield on, go back before she can slow you with Zephyr. When transfusion's CD is low, you can start hurting her for real. Avoid Howling Gale at all times. Remember that from lvl 6 onwards, her Monsoon can save her from sure death. You are not "pushable" by it if you are in liquid form.

    Vladimir: If the other guy is better than you, you're screwed. Just make sure to only towerdive him if he uses Sanguine Pool preemptively (Thus leaving him vulnerable). Make sure to hit him every time he hits you. Also, if he uses Transfusion on a minion, immediately hit him. You want him to be lower on life.

    Anivia: In the early levels, just make sure to dodge her Flash Frost. After level 6, she will start nuking you with Glacial Storm and Frostbite. If you are low, use Sanguine Pool to dodge Frostbite. Like with every other matchup, after transfusion's CD is low enough, you can start putting a dent in her. Watch out when towerdiving, since Rebirth may mean your demise.

    Annie: Just try not to get stunned. After level 6, she will try a Summon: Tibbers followed by Disintegrate and Incinerate, possibly Ignite. If she starts the chain with Disintegrate, go ahead and dodge it all with pool. If she suddenly Flashes on you, USE POOL, FOR THE BEAR IS ABOUT TO DROP ON YOUR HEAD . Other than that, easy kills.

    Morgana: Don't get hit by Dark Binding. Lethal bindings can be dodged with pool. Don't harras her while her shield is up, since it makes her immune (you will recieve healing tho). After she obtains level 6-7, she will start pushing your wave pretty hard with Tormented Soil. It's alright. You keep hitting her with Q.

    Mordekaiser: As usual, just make sure to hit him while his shield is down. Stay away from your creeps so he has to decide between using Siphon of Destruction on the creeps or on you. If he is level 6 and you are low, go heal. Chances are, he will use his Children of the Grave + Ignite combo, and pool won't save you from that. As soon as you reach level 9 you will start making him think twice about hitting you. Never, absolutely never, go toe-to-toe with this guy.

    Zilean: His Time Bomb deals more damage than your Q. Use pool if you are low-HP and have a bomb on you. Time it right, however, or you'll take the damage. Pool prevents the big explosion! Avoid "trading blows" unless at level one, since from level 2 onwards he can plant a double bomb with Rewind. Thanks to Time Warp he can hit-n-run / escape better than you. His weakness is his mana. Keep an eye on when he uses Mana Potion / Clarity and on his blue bar and hit him when he is low. If after level 9 he is willing to trade blows, keep hitting him with Q. Don't push your lane too far because his slow is quite ridiculous and will get you in trouble if you get ganked. His Chrono Shift will save him from sure death so care when towerdiving.

    Xin Zhao: This guy is just overpowered. Don't go near him, just focus on farming. After both of you are level 6, if he uses Audacious Charge on you, go liquid, because that means
    Crescent Sweep is coming. After he's wasted it, feel free to drop your AIDS combo on him.

    Urgot: Urgot is creepy and strong in the laning phase because Acid Hunter deals a buttload of damage early on. The best you can do, dodge his Noxian Corrosive Charge. Use pool if you have to, because he can and will shoot 3 missiles to your face if you get hit. Careful when hanging around his tower when he gets his ultimate.

    Miss Fortune: Do not go toe-to-toe with her. Her harras is better than yours, she can reduce the healing you do, and can use her AOE slow to nail you. At level 6, be wary if you are on low life because her ultimate is like Pre-nerf Ashe's volley on steroids. Hang back avoiding Double Up the first levels, and focus on farming. If you have the chance to use transfusion on her, do so, but don't risk your health to do it. Strut means you won't have many clear chances.

    Caitlyn: Stay the hell away from her. Just stay away from her. If you try to Q her, you will get 2x autoattacks to the face followed by a metal flying scorpion. Not worth it. Wait till you're level 7 or 9 to start killing her.

    Maokai: Avoid his saplings. Juke them so they go into your minions. If he uses a root => sapling => smash combo on you, you need to do a quick Q=>Pool, else you will get hit by the sapling and it will deal massive damage to you

    Brand: Same as Caitlyn. Don't ever leave your minions - if he tries to harras you with his pillar he will push the lane. If he goes for you with his conflagration you can transfusion him, and he cannot throw his stunning fireball if you have minions in front of you. Avoid getting hit by his combo until your transfusion is at a low cooldown.

    Swain: Not much to say here, other than he will completely destroy you if you go toe-to-toe with him. Pre level 6 his burst is incredible unless you pool to dodge nevermove. And if you do, his DoT effects will still hurt you. Past lvl 6 he heals up faster than you do with his raven form. To be sure, just last hit until lvl 9.

    Cassiopeia: Don't get hit by poison. If you do, you will lose half of your life.

    Malzahar: Skilled Malzahars will silence you with their void portals everytime you try to get close, so try to juke it. His E is way more powerful than your Q early on, so watch out. At level 6 he will most likely go for the kill with his W-E-R-Ignite combo, so KEEP A FINGER ON YOUR W AND ANOTHER ONE ON FLASH READY AT ALL TIMES.

    Vayne: Vayne? More like imVaylanced amirite? Do -not- go toe to toe with her, since she will absolutely crush you with her "balanced" early game damage. Avoid getting Tumble-slapped, since she will easily be able to connect other 2 hits for her Silver Bullet proc. After lvl 6, make sure to keep a pink ward in your lane. It will make it harder for her to stealth-juke you. At level 9 you can kill her easily, but get a revolver just to make sure she won't completely wipe the floor with you.
    PS: Walls are bad against Vayne.

    If you would like additional information against a particular match-up, drop me a comment.
    When in doubt, just wait till 9 and then start rolling your lane, since Vlad automatically wins lane at lvl 9. Revolver when in serious pain.

  • Working in the team

    Alright, before you start getting into teamfights, tell your allies to go balls to the walls when you cast Hemoplague. Since you are a new flashy character, tell them that Hemoplague is up when they have a red ring, and it means the enemies take 10/14/18% more damage.

    With your allies informed, you want to let your tank initiate, then wait until the enemies are in a compact formation (Ideally, they should all be worried about the fight and your team should be ready to unleash their AOE) and then give them AIDS. After that, go in close and hit everyone with E and use Q on the most dangerous target. If you do this, the enemies will surely target you, so go ahead and turn into a pretty pool of blood and lurk under them so your team can finish them off.
    Monitor your health. While in the pool, your enemies can't see it, but your team can. If it is very low, get out before the pool effect ends and nuke with Q from a safe distance. If it is very high, keep doing E+Q combos. If they don't target you, save it for your / their escape.

  • Unique Skills

    Sanguine Pool Alright, this spell is pretty weird, and is deemed OP by a lot of people. Mastery of this spell is key to Vladimir. You are 100% Invulnerable. Fiddle's Crowstorm? Nope. Death Lotus? Nope. This has been now confirmed. The only thing which will hit you is Shen's Shadow Dash and Event Horizon. Those will stun/taunt you so be careful!

    As a side note, damage over time spells such as Ignite, Malefic Visions, Drain and Hemoplague will all continue to do damage. Sanguine pool will, however, prevent the application of those debuffs. Time Bomb will deal the "periodic damage" while it is on you, but not the big explosion. (For those who don't know, Time bomb deals 3, 2, 1, damage as it counts down).

    It will also defend you from targeted abilities such as [spell=cryptic gaze] and Primordial Burst. If the ability is mid-flight, it will be absorbed by the pool. This move also absorbs the infamious Requiem

    Keep in mind, it costs a good chunk of health, so make sure to keep an eye on the green bar.


    Using it will let your enemies know you are vulnerable, so they will jump on you, especially that lvl 6 Warwick!

    Harrasing with Sanguine Pool will let the enemy know you are a failure.

  • Farming

    When Q is level 5, Q=>AA=>Q will kill a melee creep. Q=>Q or Q=>A few AAs will kill a ranged creep.

    With a high level of E, it is possible to kill a creepwave with E=>E and a few Qs on the melee minions.

    E=>W to clear out creep blobs. Make sure you can escape after using W, should a gank fall on you.

    Levels 13+, It is possible to solo the dragon. Just keep spaming Q and keep E on a nice amount of stacks.

    Vlad can also clear the wraiths with Q on the big one, then E=>E on the small ones.

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Submitted by Dracozero

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