Runes
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Magic Penetration (+0.87 magic penetration)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power (+0.1 ability power per level (+1.8 at champion level 18))
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power (+0.17 ability power per level (+3.06 at champion level 18))
  • 3
    Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed (+1.5% movement speed)
Skill Order
Q W E R
1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13
14 14 14 14
15 15 15 15
16 16 16 16
17 17 17 17
18 18 18 18

Hi there, my name is Malkethos and I'm currently mired in that lovely pit of low-mid ELO. Hence, this is a guide written in light of my experience there and aimed at those there. I have no idea if this strategy is viable at higher levels - if someone at that level takes a gander and can tell me, that would be lovely. At this point, Vlad is often considered a troll pick. Despite the recent influx of Vlad's due to that awesome new skin, most people look at him at a sub-par AP mid. He doesn't have the straight up burst of someone like Annie or Brand, nor the same utility as a Morgana or Kassadin (the latter two are common bans). So why pick Vlad? I play Vlad for a variety of reasons - first and foremost, I love his playstyle. Vlad's kit is so attuned for risky business - his W, in particular, allows him to try tower dives that only champions like Kassadin can pull off. His E clears creeps with ease, and his Q is just fun to use. Executing a proper R + E + Q + Ignite + W combo is very fun and rewarding. Riot staff might think he's anti-fun, but... well, sucks for everyone else. Also, you can do this. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rwa1JH7WUSA[/youtube] Staying in the thick of battle as a caster is hella fun. [highlight]The problem with Vlad[/highlight] comes when you try to play him as an Annie, Brand, or Morgana. Rather, his playstyle should more emulate Sion - clear waves, gank other lanes. In solo queue at my ELO, having a presence in other lanes can be the deciding factor between a Win and a Loss. So without further ado, the guide.

[highlight]Monday, November 28th:[/highlight] New skill demonstration video added to Sanguine Pool section it 'Skills' Section; rotated existing video to Introduction. [highlight]Friday, November 25th:[/highlight] Guide published [highlight]Tuesday, January 17th, 2012:[/highlight] Apologies for the slow update, real life intervened. Patch notes added for Vladimir, lane match-ups added, quick note on spellvamp quintessences, commentary video to come by end of week. [highlight]Thursday, January 19th, 2012:[/highlight] Added a quick note on roaming. [title]Patch Notes[/title] [highlight]January 17th, 2012[/highlight] [.]Transfusion cooldown reduced to 10/8.5/7/5.5/4 seconds from 12/10/8/6/4 [.]Crimson Pact ability power to health conversion reduced to 1.4 from 1.8 [.]Hemoplague no longer costs 15% of your current health and is now no cost to cast [.]Tides of blood health cost ramp up reduced to 25% from 50% Things to Note: Hooray two second cooldown reduction on Vladimir’s Q. Not so hooray on the passive. Hooray health cost to cast reduction! That’s essentially the summation of the changes. Are the early game cooldown changes welcome? Yes, though I’m not so sure at the expense of your late game survivability. Vladimir’s early game was tough, yes, but it wasn’t impossible to do and the passive nerf loses you 300-400 HP by the end game. This is compensated, to an extent, by the fact Tides of Blood now costs significantly less health to cast and Hemoplague now costs none, but still makes me a little wary. Still, all in all, a good, balanced change to Vladimir. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the future.

Due to Vlad's resourceless nature, there are a number of viable rune setups on Vlad - most rotate which seals, glyphs, and quints he can use. Most AP casters have to run MP Regen seals; Vlad can run a plethora of different things. In the end, I've found it best to run [highlight]Marks:[/highlight] 9x Greater Mark of Insight (+8.5 Magic Pen) [highlight]Seals:[/highlight] 9x Greater Seal of Force [highlight]Glyphs:[/highlight] 8x Greater Glyph of Force (a combined +45 AP at level 18) [highlight]Quints:[/highlight] 3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness (+1.5% Movement Speed) [imgext=http://i.imgur.com/fNUBn.jpg] Other viable options [highlight]Marks:[/highlight] None (Magic Penetration is optimal) [highlight]Seals:[/highlight] Flat Armor, Health, Health Regen [highlight]Glyphs:[/highlight] CDR, MResist [highlight]Quints:[/highlight] Flat AP, Flat HP. CDR Glyphs used to be standard on Vlad, and are still an extremely competitive option. Again, its up to your playstyle. For an in-depth analysis of rune choices in general, look at RuneTerra Rune Analysis here. http://runeterra.com/forums/index.php?topic=1137.0 A note on spellvamp quints - these aren't worth it on Vladimir who has an inborn lifesteal from his Transfusion and no real hard-hitting spammable skills.. Jaimos from Reddit did the math for this: I ran the numbers for Vlad when they came out and found them not to be worthwhile in my opinion. They are best suited to someone who has a relatively hard hitting ability with little to no cooldown and little to no resource cost. Vlad just doesn't cast fast enough for them to be worth it in my opinion. A champ like Cass would do well with them due to Twin Fang and her passive. Ryze would be another decent example again, due to his very low cooldowns when casting properly, and the way he builds, if movespeed quints weren't so necessary on him. Something to keep in mind is that a full set will only give you 6hp/100dmg, which really isn't a whole lot unless you can cast a hard hitting ability stupidly quickly, which would cause it to add up. Now for some more actual numbers, using Vlad's Transfusion(Q) with flat ap yellows for all cases. An amplifying tome is used for level 1 cases (no other runes/masteries) and this build for level 18 cases. (Note: this is MY typical build in any given game): SV Quints: Level 1: Total AP: 26.45 Total Vamp: 6% Q: 105.87 dmg with 30.87hp returned by ability Vamped HP: 6.35 Total Healed: 37.22 Level 18: Total AP: 528.61 Total Vamp: 31% Q: 547.17 dmg with 372.17hp returned by ability Vamped HP: 169.62 Total Healed: 541.79 Flat AP Quints: Level 1: Total AP: 41.96 Total Vamp: 0% Q: 115.18 dmg with 40.18hp returned by ability Vamped HP: 0 Total Healed: 40.18 Level 18: Total AP: 548.78 Total Vamp: 25% Q: 559.27 dmg with 384.27hp returned by ability Vamped HP: 139.82 Total Healed: 524.09 Difference: Level 1: SV Quints result in 9.31 less dmg per cast and heal for 2.96 points less per cast Level 18: SV Quints result in 12.10 less dmg per cast and heal for 17.17 points more per cast [NOTE all numbers are not taking into account opponent magic resistance, any augmentations from other runes/masteries, and numbers are calculated without Spirit Visage's or Tides of Blood's healing increases]

[title]The 'how to use each skill' will be explained in the Early Game, Mid Game, Late game section. The thing about Vlad's skills is that they take on a uniquely different role in each phase, so it would be far too much padding here to write it all down here. That said, a quick overview.[/title] [title][img=skills/vladimir/p.png] Passive: Crimson Pact[/title] [number]Every 40 points of bonus health gives Vladimir 1 ability power and every 1 point of ability power gives Vladimir 2 bonus health (does not stack with itself).[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] One of the many of Riot's 'conversion' passives, though this one has perhaps the best synergy with its champion. The passive is largely self-explanatory - build ability power and and receive bonus health, and vice versa. This, however, does not mean you can simply build health. Since the nerf to the passive ratios quite a few patches ago, Warmogs has become completely, as opposed to somewhat, unviable (except in troll games where you run around with 5 warmogs and laugh). What this does mean, though, is that building more and more AP jumps your health, to the point where Vladimir will regularly have over 3,000 HP (especially with a Rylai's). At a certain point, your health bar will buffer you from the burst that downs other AP characters, so its important to remember when you engage that you usually [highlight]will not die in a quick burst so please for the love of god don't run away.[/highlight] More on not running away later (along with many qualifiers). [title][img=skills/vladimir/q.png] Q: Transfusion[/title] [number]Vladimir drains the lifeforce of his target, dealing 90/125/160/195/230 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and healing himself for 15/25/35/45/55 (+100% of ability power) of that amount. Cooldown 12/10/8/6/4 seconds Range 550 [/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Vladimir's signature move, but perhaps not the one people need the most help with. At low levels with no reduced CDR, the cooldowns are brutal (even with CDR they are). At 12 seconds at level one, it is vitally important you don't waste the skill when its up. Until the CDR drops to the more manageable 6/4, save this for two things 1) E + Q combo. 2) Last hits you can't get with your auto-attack. [title][img=skills/vladimir/w.png] W: Sanguine Pool[/title] [number]Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood for 2.5 seconds, becoming untargetable and slowing enemies above him by 40%. Vladmir deals 15% of his bonus Health in magic damage over the duration and heals himself for 12.5% of that amount. Cooldown 22seconds Cost 20percent of health Range 1050[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This skill, perhaps, is one of the easiest ways to tell a new Vlad from one who plays him more often. In general, if you see a Vladimir pool to farm then politely tell him to stop it. Just, stop it. But why, you ask - after all, his pool does farm creeps quite well after an E blast. The reason we don't pool to farm is that pool is our [highlight]primary means of an escape[/highlight]. And, since we don't level it past one for a long while, it has a twenty two second cool down; twenty two seconds is essentially forever in non-ultimate cooldown terms so please don't waste it on minions. Inevitably, your lane opponent will take note of the fact you no longer have your escape and proceed to smack you in the face with a bat. [highlight]Using pool offensively,[/highlight] is another way to differentiate the new from the experienced - new players simply don't use it offensively. Pool is a fantastic skill in your combo, preparing for your jungle's ganks, or ganking other lanes. One thing that is important to remember is that its [highlight]not always important that YOU are the one getting the kill.[/highlight] Pool provides a massive slow, and because you can just remain directly below the enemy champion, you can follow them into bushes and provide vision for your team. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=180Pu9Q-38A[/youtube] I chained a Q + W to get some quick damage off before slowing LeBlanc, allowing Gangplank to come in for an easy kill. This was actually an early game kill - usually you save this for a little later in the game when its a tad bit safer; however, the strategy remains the same. [title][img=skills/vladimir/e.png] E: Tides of Blood[/title] [number]Vladimir unleashes a torrent of blood dealing 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+45% of ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies. Each cast gives him an Empowered stack (max 4), increasing his healing and regeneration by 8% each. Additionally, his next Tides of Blood deals 25% more damage and costs 50% more Health per stack. Cooldown 8seconds Cost 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70health Range 300[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This is the spell that, from what I've seen, Vladimir players are more likely to misuse. E is your bread and butter harass, not just Q. E is a very mobile skill that needs to be maximized for effective Vlad play, and much of maximizing the use is learning the range of E. E's range is 330, which is quite a bit shorter than Q's range of 550. However, E should be used on the move. Run closer to them, duck a skill shot, E, and then run away. The hit-and-run playstyle is vital to Vlad, and E plays into that. In addition More on this and other harass mechanisms during the Early/Mid/Late game sections. His E also increases his healing and regeneration by 8% for each stack - don't underestimate the influence of this on his Q healing. [title][img=skills/vladimir/r.png] R: Hemoplague[/title] [number]Vladimir infects the target area with a virulent plague. Affected enemies take 10 / 14 / 18% increased damage for 5 seconds. After 5 seconds, infected enemies take 200 / 300 / 400 (+75% of ability power) magic damage. Cooldown 120seconds Cost 15percent of health Range 700[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Ahhh hemoplague - the skill that makes many think that Vlad is only an ult bot. By the end of the game, you should probably have at least 500 AP; 375 + 400 + 18% damage for the rest of everyone's skills is no laughing matter, especially if your team has more AoE's. Hemoplague, however, has a variety of more uses than that - tower defending, burst combos, etcetc. As for the other skills, more on that later.

Your level one skill depends on whether your team is fighting level one or not. If they are, take your W instead of Q. Vladimir is generally considered a poor level one fighter, mostly because its assumed that Vlad takes Q first. However, W is actually a very powerful level one fighting tool - its an AoE slow/damage, and combined with another AoE crowd-control spell can spell first blood for your team. If your team decides not to team fight, proceed with Q as normal. Your level two spell should almost always be W; it gives you a reliable escape tool which you may need. However, if you're confident that your lane is not going to be aggressive and they have a slow jungler like Warwick, you can take E for the early aggression. Level three spell is, again, determinate on how your lane is going. Most Vlad guides recommend taking Q at level three - I, however, am going to recommend you take E (assuming you took W at level two). This is because between level one and two, your Q doesn't change drastically much. Yes, you get a two second cool-down reduction and a damage jump, but your play from level one to four should be extremely passive. In essence, you don't [highlight]need[/highlight] that uptake in sustain quite yet. Getting E gives you all three of your skills to work with, in case you need to last hit a creep you wouldn't have been able to catch otherwise. From four onwards, follow the priority R > Q > E > W.

[center][title]The Roam Core Items[/title][/center] [center][img=items/boots-of-mobility.png][img=items/will-of-the-ancients.png][img=items/rylais-crystal-scepter.png][/center] This is your roaming core. It gives you the MS you need to move from lane to lane without losing farm, the spell vamp that lets you use E with impunity, and your infinite slow with Rylai's. Before I get to the boots decision, a quick overview of the first two (generally uncontroversial) items. Some Vlad's only hit the Hextech Revolver, and then go build other items. However, I am convinced this is a mistake. Sustainability is one of Vladimir's key selling points, and stopping before WoTA is wasting it. It is an easy, cheap upgrade and can be gotten very easily early in the game. You still have enough AP to deal significant damage, ad now your E is a legitimate source of sustain. +80 AP and 25% Spell Vamp, simply put, doesn't suck. Rushing the Rylai's next, instead of a Deathcap, has sometimes been debated. Do you go for the slow, or the burst damage? Debatable, again, but for the roam game the slow is vital. Head to the Deathcap after the Rylai's, but Rylai's gives you enough AP to kill, and the slow is, again, vital. 35% on your Q keeps your gank opponents away from their tower long enough for either you to W or your teammates to land CC. With those out of the way, ON TO THE BOOTS. [center][title]Why I'm not telling you to take Ionian's[/title][/center] The boots choice, I know, some people will have a problem with. Lets run through the other choices that [highlight]are[/highlight] viable with Vladimir, but they are not as compatible with the roam. [center][img=items/ionian-boots-of-lucidity.png][title]Ionian Boots of Lucidity[/title][/center] These are considered core on many Vladimir guides - and rightly so. A major problem that Vlad faces is his cooldowns; until you get your skills leveled up, the cooldowns (except for E, which is alright) are horrible. However, this issue isn't as big for the roam Vladimir. You use your E + Q to sustain yourself while pushing the lane (after your WoTA, that is - don't expect your E to sustain you before you get spellvamp), and then when you roam to the next lane, your cooldowns should be back up. All this said, if you are dying often, losing in CS - roaming is (generally) not going to be an option. Its at this point that you're going to want to pick up Ionian Boots instead, or, alternatively, [imgsmall=items/sorcerers-shoes.png] Sorcerer's Shoes. Sorcerer's Shoes don't solve the CDR problem, but they do add that extra oomph to your spells that can be handy in both mind games and actual damage. [center][title]Offensive Items Past the Core[/title][/center] Your offensive choices basically boil down to these four items. [center][img=items/rabadons-deathcap.png][title]Rabadon's Deathcap[/title][/center] This could essentially be considered core, except that it is not essential for the roam. It is the number one AP item, and should be gotten after the core (unless defensive items are needed). [center][img=items/void-staff.png][title]Void Staff[/center][/title] Another pure ability power item plus magic penetration. Rush this after Rabadon's if they are suddenly all building negatron cloaks. [center][img=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png][title]Zhonya's Hourglass[/title][/center] They have lots of AD damage? Well, that's what Zhonya's are for. The armor/ap combo along with the active can't be ignored. [center][img=items/abyssal-scepter.png][title]Abyssal Scepter[/title][/center] And for the teams that are heavy AP, build the Abyssal Scepter instead. Providing the MR, MR debuff, and AP that can be crucial in deciding heavy AP team fights. [center][title]Defensive Items[/title][/center] Vladimir, in general, does not build a terribly large amount of defensive items. He is a mage and as such, builds offensively. That said, there are times when you're going to need the extra heal and extra sustain. [center][img=items/spirit-visage.png][title]Spirit Visage[/title][/center] Spirit Visage is the go-to item for a defensive item in early-mid game. It gives you health, ups the amount you heal - in general is all good. If it seems that you need the sustain, go ahead and grab the spirit visage. In general, though, your WoTA should be enough to sustain. That said, if you fall behind go ahead and grab it. Vlad is a champion that really relies on remaining in the lead (like the Colts), and if you fall behind it can be brutal. Spirit Visage helps assuage this issue. [center][img=items/guardian-angel.png][title]Guardian Angel[/title][/center] Guardian Angel is a great defensive item for Vlad late game for a multitude of reasons. GA gives you a little bit of armor, mr - and of course his wonderful unique. Playing with the unique can apply a lot of mind games with the enemy champs, and because of his great spell vamp late game he can heal back very quickly after the resurrection. And if they decide to blow their burst on you with your GA, its burst they're not applying to someone else. [center][img=items/force-of-nature.png][title]Force of Nature[/title][/center] This is generally [highlight]not[/highlight] something you will buy. Yes, it provides a great amount of magic resist, health regen, and movement speed but it is terrible cost inefficient. If you're buying a FoN, that's money you're not putting towards a Rabadon's, or a Void Staff, or what have you. But if you're against a heavy AP team AND are getting killed too fast, pick this up. Generally, the health items (Rylais/Spirit Visage) are going to keep you alive long to get your damage off, but if something terrible happens, pick it up. [center][img=items/thornmail.png][title]Thornmail[/title][/center] This is the AD equivalent of Force of Nature. Their AD carry gets fed out of control - pick up a thornmail.

An important thing to note about the concept of roaming is that it is not always viable. You’re up against a Morgana, for example, and she keeps laying down Tormented Soil and pushing the lane. Getting mobility boots in this scenario is a bad idea; you’re never going to have the opportunity to leave your lane and apply pressure top or bottom. So, for that, pick up Ionian or Sorcerer Boots instead - always adapt your item selection to the situation you’re facing. With that said, the guide.

Vladimir's early game is notoriously weak due to a pretty well-known reason - his Q is only up every twelve seconds. Hence, Vladimir's early game is dictated around proper use of that same ability. A common mistake for new Vladimir's is to throw out a Q anytime you see a creep low. And to that I say [highlight]NO![/highlight]. Farming should be done solely by auto-attack unless you're going to miss a creep; learning how to properly CS with you auto-attack is half of conquering Vladimir's early game. A helpful hint towards this is learn to right click on a target, and then button-mash S (the stop command) until you're ready to let the animation go through and deliver the attack. [title]Skills Breakdown - When to Use[/title] [highlight]Q - Transfusion:[/highlight] As said, this skill should largely be used to CS that one creep you couldn't have gotten with an auto-attack. At level one, your Q does negligible damage to champions, so unless they're a super squishy its not worth throwing it on them. However, at level two transfusion harass becomes an option - just remember to keep CS'ing with your auto. If you can figure out the animation of your attack, harass with Q becomes much more viable. [highlight]W - Sanguine Pool:[/highlight] At this level, you should not be using your pool offensively, unless you have a level two jungle gank. At that point, you can preemptively pool under them to let your jungle have an easier time landing his cc. You'll at the very least make sure your lane opponent burns flash, if not secure a kill. IN EVERY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCE, pool is to be saved as an extra flash. If you get ganked, the combo is [highlight]flash then pool[/highlight], not pool then flash. This gives you range on them before you become untargetable - if you pool first, there's a chance they'll catch you before you can flash. Flash, then pool. [highlight]E - Tides of Blood:[/highlight] This is gotten early primarily, again, as a CS'ing tool. There might be a circumstance where there are multiple low creeps; in those scenarios, go ahead and hit E. The health cost is fairly negligible as the effect of E makes your next Q heal you right back up, but you want to be careful of casting multiple E's. Without a WoTA and creeps nearby, this skill can, if not properly monitored, bring you to dangerous healths. This skill can be gotten at two if you know they have a slow jungle and you're against a weak early game opponent, like Kassadin. Kassadin's straight amplifies at level three when he has two levels of his E, and again at six with his R. Thus, you want to try to harass him down earlier so when he gets his R he's not going to walk all over you. Most of the time, however, you're going to be too weak/its not safe to harass at level two - wait till four or five to do that. [highlight]R - Hemoplague: [/highlight] Often times Vladimir players save hemoplague in the early game for some imaginary team fight. Don't do that. More than likely, your team is not going to be fighting together for a little bit (laning phase is still in effect), so don't be afraid to just toss it out and force a back/get a kill. Forcing a back is still good - push to his tower quickly and deny him the experience and gold (when you push to a tower and he's not there, the tower will kill the creeps quickly and he won't be in experience range). Don't linger too long, you don't want to be ganked from behind. [title]IF YOU'RE DOING POORLY[/title] Let's say your opponent is ungodly good, you've been a dumdum and waltzed into Morgana's Dark Bindings a few times (the purpose of getting Boots + 3pots early is lessen the chance of this happening). Above all, [highlight]don't be afraid to bluepill home.[/highlight] Hit out your E + Q, try to clear as much of the wave you can, and then go home and heal. With the boots + movement speed quints, you're going to return to lane fairly fast and your tower should still be in okay shape. Above all, its important not to die. If your opponent builds a lead before you have spell-vamp, it will get even more difficult. [title]Item Breakdown[/title] [center][img=items/boots-of-speed.png][img=items/health-potion3.png][/center] This should almost always be your starting set of items. The mobility keeps Vlad alive, as does the three health pots. Vladimir's early game is all about staying alive, and this helps. [center][img=items/will-of-the-ancients.png][/center] Rush this as soon as possible. Always. Its cheap, its effective, its vital to Vlad play. With a WoTA, you sustain an enormous amount and should have no problems laning. Once you've gotten this, you can start pushing your lane, harassing, and playing much more aggressive in general. [center][img=items/sight-ward.png][img=items/health-potion2.png][/center] Always, always, always. When you have to go back, try to buy these. Since you're going to be trying to clear your lane, you're going to be more viable to ganks. Vladimir has an inborn protection to this because of his pool, but vision is crucial. Once you've hit level six and gotten [imgsmall=items/boots-of-mobility.png], its on to mid game and the roam.

About six months ago, the metagame revolved around something called 'the roam.' Generally, a support character like Taric/Alistar would pick up and oracles and then run around the map ganking every lane and warding the enemy jungle. It gave the game an air of unpredictability, and was a pretty fun strategy. After a series of buff/nerfs and exposure to the EU meta, however, the roam went away. It was much more efficient to put the AD carry bot and just let him/her farm and have the support babysit and the roam meta-game was abruptly killed. However, certain AP carries now can start roaming, and Vladimir (like Sion) is one of them. Once you have your [imgsmall=items/boots-of-mobility.png][imgsmall=items/will-of-the-ancients.png], you can push a lane to tower, jump into the enemy jungle or enemy lane - and then get back to your own lane in time to not lose large amounts of xp. This does require you to keep an eye on the other lanes and look for an appropriate time to leave mid lane, but it is a powerful tactic that can utterly disrupt the support + AD carry bot. Combined with a jungle gank, and you'll get the enemy lane going, "WHY ARE THERE FOUR PEOPLE IN MY LANE." Crucial to all of this is getting an [imgsmall=items/oracles-elixir.png]Orace's Elixir. You need to be careful when getting this, as its a 400g investment that is quickly gone if you extend too far. However, a good enemy support is going to be warding his lane and executing ganks can be difficult with sight wards. In any scenario, once you have your [imgsmall=items/rylais-crystal-scepter.png]Rylai's Sceptre you shouldn't be dying often, so past Rylai's consider investing in an Oracle's. When you hit a lane, the following tree of actions should happen. If your ult is up, [highlight] begin with your ultimate.[/highlight] 1) They initiate, you E + Q for damage 2) Pool to slow them and allow your teammates to kill. OR 1) You pool under them, allowing your teammates to land easy damage and crowd-control. 2) E + Q for the kill. [title]Skills Breakdown[/title] [highlight]Q - Transfusion and E - Tides of Blood:[/highlight] These skills now play a similar role - harass and farm. Your E is free/heals when there are enough creeps nearby, your Q gives you a burst of health. Again, E + Q when an enemy comes near - your Boots of Mobility speed burst will be enough to get in and get out. Hit and run becomes Vlad's playstyle with Boots of Mobility; in this way, it begins to mirror Kassadin's playstyle. Like Kassadin, you're going to jump in, harass, jump out. And like Kassadin, when they're low enough you can jump in, drop EVERYTHING on them... and jump out.. [highlight]W - Sanguine Pool:[/highlight] Your pool is now part of your aggressive combo, instead of merely a defensive piece. This is not to understate the important of having pool to escape, but to accent the amazing utility pool can bring to ganks. In addition, your cooldowns will reset during the pool, allowing you to come out of it and follow with another E + Q combo. Refer back to the video linked in the skill section. I'll upload an early game video to better demonstrate this when my computer stops failing. [highlight]R - Hemophage:[/highlight] Hemoplague now has two main uses. 1) Damage for Ganks. This one is pretty self explanatory - drop your ult when you gank. 2) Tower Defense. This is one I don't actually see too often; when your tower is being seiged, sometimes its good to just drop your ult on your opponents and start wailing. The damage amplification is wonderful as often they'll be trying to drop your tower so they'll be there for a E + Q combo - and then suddenly they'll have no health. I've killed many an unsuspecting opponent this way.

Late Game is the least mentally challenging part for Vlad. You drop your ult, and then turn your focus onto their carry's. Your Q slow drastically drops the amount of repositioning they can manage - if that pesky Caitlin/Vayne/Ashe/whatever can't run away as fast, its that much easier for your team to focus them down. Vlad is actually also a reasonably good split pusher - his E clears waves extremely fast at this point, and you can amass a large wave to assault their tower this way. [title]When to Run Away[/title] I alluded to this section earlier, and I think its an important part of Vladimir. Because of Vladimir's kit, by this point of the game you will at least have 3,000 health (probably more) and at least 25% spell vamp. Its at this point I would like to remind you that, despite those many lovely HP bars, [highlight]you are not a tank.[/highlight] Your precious health will drop away from you at a startling fast speed and there is a natural reaction of panic. This is slightly different than other AP characters because they would simply be dead. Unless you're positioning terribly or get caught, you shouldn't get instagibbed. You can, however, get dropped down to <10% health and you will want to run away. Stop. Stop. Think. If they've blown all their cooldowns, you need to realise that you gain back health and phenomenal rate (especially if you picked up a Spirit Visage). If your team is alive and still fighting, hover near them - out of range of their burst, and quickly drop in for a Q and back out again. Keep an eye on your pool cooldown - at some point, you will legitimately have to run away and pool, like through the rest of the game, facilitates this. But the tl;dr of this section is - get calculated. Look at your cooldowns, your health, and the enemy team state before you decide to run away. Vlad has a lot to offer his team even at low health - a target slow, an AoE slow, and an AoE damage. [highlight]IMPORTANT. Yes, your E is free after you get a WoTA and there are enemies around you - but it does the health cost first before the spell vamp kicks in. Don't kill yourself with E or you will feel like a scrub.[/highlight]

Why do I promote so much movement speed? Two reasons. The first is that, of course, the guide is trying to promote a roaming playstyle for Vladimir and movement speed is essential to that. The second is that mid-lane is all about the movement speed. Top lane and bottom lane are very much different than mid in that they generally became more of a farm lane (more true of top than bot). People can press ‘S’ in the middle of the creep wave and then just farm, farm, farm (looking at Nasus here). At mid, you can’t do that - if you stay still, you’re going to get nuked by your opponent. Middle lane is about positional play, its about dodging their poke and delivering your own. In that aspect, movement speed is crucial. Being able to outrun Anivia’s Q or get out of range of her R is essential to outplaying her in lane - so thus, movement speed quints and masteries. With all that said, here are your typical middle lane match ups. Ahri: Oh, Ahri. How I hate you. I kid, Ahri is actually one of my favorite new champions with her ability to get into a proper position and then face-roll to victory. So how do you beat her as Vladimir? First and most importantly, dodge that Q. When she shoots that orb at you, you get the fuck out. Second, lane your E+Q combo. Get E at level three if you’re feeling confident instead of Q and start harassing her down. Until she gets a WoTA her lane sustain isn’t going to sustain her through constant harass (though don’t underestimate the amount of sustain she has), and you can wear her down. Ahri is a bigger counter to skill shot champions with her ult, which Vlad is not. [imgsmall=champ/akali.png]Akali Pink wards are crucial - you cannot win this lane without a pink ward. Once you do, though, you can mow her down. Keep pressure, get a revolver as soon as possible to keep your sustain up, and you should be fine. If she hits her Q on you, don’t stay in range of her until the debuff wears out. No need to take extra damage. Once she hits six she becomes much, much more dangerous so be careful with your health. [imgsmall=champ/anivia.png]Anivia Egg so annoying, but won’t save her. Your movement speed takes you out of her slow-as-a-turtle Q and you should be able guerilla-style harass her down no problem. Come at her from different angles so she can’t just R + E you (as that’s a significant amount of damage), but other than that no problem. [imgsmall=champ/annie.png]Annie This is traditionally thought of as a hard lane for Vladimir - Annie’s stun and huge burst damage is a good counter to the sustain Vladimir provides. However, this one is winnable. If you notice her trying to come up to land a Q or R on you, pool. In general, pooling and taking the health cost is better than staying in an Annie combo. Play safe, and once you get your WoTA this lane shouldn’t be a problem. The most important thing is to just keep that eye on Annie’s movement and pre-emptively pool. Don’t be afraid to be a wimp. It keeps you alive in this lane. [imgsmall=champ/brand.png]Brand Switch lanes. You can’t beat a Brand who knows what they are doing - for Annie, if her stun is up you can pool it. Your range is the same or better than Annie’s and its pretty obvious what she’s doing half the time. Brand, not so much. He outranges you, has a constant DoT on you (which pool will NOT get rid of, and you can die in pool from) and is in general just a tough-time to deal with. You’re much better off going top and letting someone else deal with this. [imgsmall=champ/cassiopeia.png]Cassiopeia Cassiopeia does a ton of damage if she can get a Q off on you. Q, and then E spam. Solution? Don’t let her get a Q off on you. Dance around, stay unpredictable, and don’t let her get free harass off. If she lands an E on you, you lane a E+Q on her. If she keeps harassing you and you can't respond, stay back and run her out of mana (assuming prior to her getting blue buff - typically when she has blue, you have WoTA and can sustain forever) - eventually you'll be able to move back on up. For Cassiopeia, consider getting a Spirit Visage. The extra sustain will keep you alive. [imgsmall=champ/fiddlesticks.png]Fiddlesticks I honestly haven’t played a Fiddlesticks mid in a long time - generally anyone who claims mid as Fiddlesticks isn’t terribly good at the game and isn’t really a yardstick to measure the toughnes of lane. Fiddlesticks in general is, however, annoying to deal with. You can’t really stop his fear + health drain as Vladimir has no hard crowd control - all you can really do is call for an early gank. Fiddlesticks is very, very squishy and has no real escapes - if you can get an early lead on him there shouldn’t be a problem. [imgsmall=champ/gragas.png]Gragas So much burst damage - thankfully, the likelihood you see a Reginald-quality Gragas is low. The idea to countering him is similar to Annie’s though; jam that pool button when Gragas tosses his ult at you. If you can negate half his damage, its much easier to deal with. Early on when his Q can’t simply clear the creeps and he doesn’t have enough mana to spam it, Gragas will need to come melee the creeps to CS. When he does, unload on him. Get E at level three and E+Q whenever he comes close. This does mean you’ll push the lane, so get wards early and make sure you don’t get ganked. [imgsmall=champ/karthus.png]Karthus Hahahahaha so easy. No really, this is one of the easiest lanes you’ll ever have. Your movement speed makes it a trifle to dodge his Q, and when he does try to Q you just run forward at him. Your quick E+Q is going to do a hell of a lot more than his E + Q (so long as you don’t just sit in it). Make sure you keep CS’ing, and zone the hell out of Karthus. [imgsmall=champ/kassadin.png]Kassadin Well.. his early game is worse than yours. If you can harass him to a suitably low health level before he hits six, he’ll be less inclined to jump on top of you. Really, the bigger problem with Kassadin is making sure he can’t roam around. There are two ways of accomplishing this; first, keep pushing. If you make sure there is constant lane pressure, he’ll be forced to stay in lane in order to not lose tower. However, I prefer just following him around. If he leaves lane, do a quick E to kill the creeps and then book out after him. [imgsmall=champ/katarina.png]Katarina The healing debuff is annoying, so make sure you don’t Q while its on you. Other than that, just play safe and spell vamp your way to victory. If she decides to ult, just pool. Pool and type in trollface.jpg. [imgsmall=champ/kennen.png]Kennen Don’t get hit by his Q. Don’t get hit by his Q. Don’t ge- that’s the general idea. If you let him keep on doing his Q + W on you, you won’t be able to outsustain his damage, and Kennen’s are running spell vamp quintessences nowadays anyways so he’ll have sustain as well. If you can dodge his Q though and apply harass if your own, you’ll be okay. Be wary of his ult once he gets it, its not hard for him to start chaining into a double-stun tons of damage combo, so if you see it coming - pool. So what if you ‘waste’ it - better safe than sorry. [imgsmall=champ/leblanc.png]LeBlanc Consider starting eleven health pots. Yes, nobody likes doing that but its actually a great counter to LeBlanc. LeBlanc needs those kills to snowball, and the health pots counter that. Her ult is up every thirty five seconds (ish) at level six so you’ll have to be wary of that. But, once again, if you can pool the initial combo, she’s got nothing to do for the next seven seconds so unload. Then back off and wait for your pool to come back up before thinking of engaging her again. [imgsmall=champ/lux.png]Lux Lux is annoying for her range and her rather surprising amount of burst damage. That’s the biggest problem facing Lux - you just need to keep in mind that her full combo of E + Q + R + E does so much damage and you can’t be caught asleep. But, so long as you dodge her shit, you’ll be fine. Consider taking a few hits of her E early to establish how she throws it - some Lux’s will always throw the E behind you, so run forward instead of backwards when she throws it out. Beating Lux is just a mind-game. [imgsmall=champ/malzahar.png]Malzahar Get a QSS asap and laugh (essentially). There are the Malzahars that will just push the lane non-stop (which is annoying), but at level four you can last hit under tower no problem. Just make sure your jungler knows whats going on and its an easy gank. But most importantly - don’t forget that QSS. [imgsmall=champ/mordekaiser.png]Mordekaiser This is actually a surprisingly difficult lane - the way to beat Mordekaiser is through sustain damage, which Vladimir has but not terribly much until later levels. But at later levels, Mordekaiser has more sustain so he can just spellvamp it back. Annoying. But again, Mordekaiser by his kit is going to push the lane, so just come have your jungler gank. Morde has no escapes, so it should be an easy time for you. You should engage the fight and preemptively pool before your jungler breaks his cover. Many opponents will flash away once they see the jungle is on his way and they themselves are slowed - if they’re still in range, mop up for the kill, if not, you’ve just burned his flash. [imgsmall=champ/morgana.png]Morgana Vladimir is a good counter to the Morgana roam. You can push just as fast as she can after a few levels, and your E+Q pops her shield. Make sure you kill the melee creeps first against Morgana so that your creep line moves up out of her pool and deny her the CS. Keep applying pressure, and remember you CANNOT pool out of her ultimate. Flash + pool is the only way out (or run out if you’re near the max range anyways). If she starts to roam, follow. You’ll be faster than her and just harass her as she moves to a different lane. If she wants to sit in lane, fine, keep the harass on her, push your lane, and then make a quick break to hit top or bottom. [imgsmall=champ/orianna.png]Orianna GladOS since her nerfs hasn’t been seen around the League for a while, but she’s still an interesting champ. Sadly for her, she really can’t stop Vladimir. Move out of the way of her ball, E + Q her whenever both spells are up, and go for that killing combo R + E + Q + ignite + pool away when you hit six. [imgsmall=champ/ryze.png]Ryze An important note before anything - if your jungle is melee, please don’t tell him to come gank if you yourself are not in a favorable position. Ryze will just turn, snare, and blast him with some abilities and run away. With that said, Ryze’s snare is short enough in range for both your E and your Q, so if you do get hit by it, don’t just sit there and do nothing. Both Ryze and Vladimir play the sustain magic DPS game, but only you have in-born spellvamp. This lane comes down to who harasses the best; if he can start chipping away at you and you don’t respond in kind, be prepared to lose - this applies vice versa as well. Additionally, be wary of his damage once he hits six - R + Q does a surprisingly large amount of damage once he’s got some mana behind him. Like other resource-bound champions, if you can't stick with him in harass, stay back and just Q to heal and run him out of mana. This is a very tough lane, his ability to spell spam early can do a lot of damage which you can't heal back from. [imgsmall=champ/swain.png]Swain Swap lanes. Swain is a direct counter to Vladimir, there’s honestly not a huge point playing this lane. He outsustains you at six, and if he’s fed blue buff, there’s not much you can do. You can outplay a bad Swain, but a Swain who knows what he’s doing is going to roll you. [imgsmall=champ/twistedfate.png]TF Pool his yellow card when he throws it, and unload. Dodge his wild cards (people for some reason have this impulse to walk into them), and get your E + Q off on him. TF is too squishy to face you in lane. [imgsmall=champ/veigar.png]Veigar Carry cleanse - I can’t say how vital this is. Carry cleanse or get a quicksilver sash - if he can complete his combo on you, you won’t live, especially because Vlad builds up AP very, very fast. Cleanse out of his stun, harass him when you can, and just play very,very careful. You’ll feel like a complete dummy if you let him get fed because there’s absolutely nothing you can do. Build up your health and MR, and don’t let him instagib you. If you can stay alive, you’ll win. [imgsmall=champ/vladimir.png]Vladimir What a douchebag champion :). Playing against another Vladimir is the same thing as playing against a Ryze - i.e., which one of you can harass the other better. This is, of course, you. Make sure you’re harassing with both your E and your Q; the biggest mistake Vladimir’s will make is not trying to position for E. Four stacks on your E does a ton of damage, and if you wait for your Q to be up, you can spellvamp the cost back. [imgsmall=champ/xerath.png]Xerath Ban him. But if you don’t want to do that, be alert for his E and pool it, there is no stun if you can dodge that E. This is again positional play; because his Q takes a second to unload, keep your movements unpredictable so he can’t hit you with it. Make sure not to get low once he hits six; his ERRQR can probably take you from full health to near death/death. Consider Spirit Visage for Xerath if you’re having trouble. [imgsmall=champ/zilean.png]Zilean NA’s old favorite AP caster. If he bombs you, stay to your creep line and let it explode. It’ll push the creeps closer to your tower and you can safely farm from there. It also makes him more vulnerable to ganks - again, if your jungler is ready to gank, you should initiate with some damage and slow him down. Try to make him burn flash. In addition, remember that after he bombs he’s has no follow up damage; if you don’t feel like farming under tower, just run at him and return the damage. Your spellvamp will win you the day.

[highlight]For an immediate jump in your Vladimir game, switch everything to smart-cast.[/highlight] To smart-cast, bring up the game menu (in-game) and head over to keybindings. Scroll down, and switch smart-cast from the default Shift+QWER to QWER. So much of Vladimir depends on getting everything off fast - and smartcasting ensures this. Smartcasting your ultimate is probably the hardest one to do as the range is something you have to get used to; but once you do, I assure you you will like the difference. [title]Combos[/title] [highlight]Standard Lane Harass Combo:[/highlight] If safe, run and do your E + Q combo. [highlight]Full kill combo:[/highlight] R + E + Q, pool underneath them, E + Q + ignite once out of pool. If you don't have your R up, just take out the R. [highlight]Ganking when your allies can follow with CC:[/highlight] E + Q + Ignite + W and follow your targets path. If your target can get out of range before you can pool, pool first. If your allies cannot CC, initiate with pool so they can hammer at them. In essence, initiating a gank with pool is generally not a bad idea, as you ensure they stay in range for your allies. [highlight]Caveat:[/highlight] Don't try initiating with pool if you're going to come out of it to chain-CC. This is general advice for any champion doing a gank though - overcommitment is bad.

Vlad is a unique character and very, very fun to play. Maybe he's not as immediately viable as characters like Kassadin or Morgana, but he still is fun and played right can still have a solid presence in the game. I encourage people to give him a try and see how he fits. Honestly, the roaming playstyle is one I think many AP characters can adopt. The impact it has is huge, and I think in the coming weeks and months we might see more and more of it (I just like doing it with Vlad). Finally, I would like to give a shout out to Lanewick Bot (or is it FYA Umashi now? That was horribly confusing at first - came on to try to find one of his guides and was like WHERE DID IT GO) for all his amazing guides, and really what made me want to write this guide. And, of course, Reginald for the Vladimir build I followed for all those months before the nerf bat swung. Hope you learned something, and leave your comments/questions below. I'm also reachable in game (Malkethos), or on Reddit (Solcry). Thanks for reading. Also, one last thing, yes I know Vladimir is not actually a vampire and is a hemomancer, but...

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