Mages have become immensely popular in the mid lane in season 12 of League of Legends. And with them returning to their roots, Vladimir comes back as well.
With his kit, players are granted impressive sustain to keep themselves going in the early minutes of the game. As the match goes on, however, Vladimir becomes one of the best burst champs that there is.
But he’s not perfect. With relatively low mobility and not many resistances, it’s easy to shut down Vladimir. Still, with proper build and item selection, players can turn the Crimson Reaper into a deadly weapon that can wreak havoc on Summoner’s Rift.
Here’s the best build for Vladimir in League season 12.
Runes Screengrab via Riot Games Sorcery Phase Rush: When you look at Vladimir’s cons, you’ll quickly realize that he lacks movement speed or any type of tools that will allow him to close the gap between himself and the enemy carries. In today’s meta, that’s even harder to do thanks to the tanks and bruisers that have become popular in the jungle and top lane.
Thus, to make up for his lack of natural mobility, you’ll want to choose runes and items that will boost this aspect of the Crimson Reaper. When it comes to the former, Phase Rush is the best way to do so. It will give you additional movement speed after you hit enemies with a few of your spells or attacks—and believe us, you’re going to be doing plenty of that. It also will come in handy when trying to escape the center of battles.
Nimbus Cloak: On Vladimir, players are often going to pick Flash with Ghost (or sometimes Ignite). The former and the latter spell do wonders for you when it comes to closing the distance. But as mentioned before, it’s great to improve your mobility even more. From three runes available in this slot, Nimbus Cloak is the wisest pick for Vladimir since it’s going to enhance his mobility after using a summoner spell, which will aid players both in offensive and defensive scenarios.
Transcendence: Aside from boosting your movement speed, players still need to remember that Vladimir’s priority is to deal damage. And since he’s not mana-based, the only thing you have to worry about is cooldowns. With Transcendence, players are going to shorten them, allowing Vladimir to unveil his full potential in the late game.
Gathering Storm: This is one of the most often picked runes for mages—and the reasoning behind it is pretty much self-explanatory. Gathering Storm increases your ability power as the game goes on, so you will scale with every 10 minutes of the game.
Inspiration Magical Footwear: As Vladimir, you want to obtain damage-dealing items as fast as possible, so saving 300 gold by choosing Magical Footwear in your runes is a wise option. You’ll get your pair of free boots in the 12th minute, but you can reduce that time by scoring takedowns. And with admirable damage early and proper help from your jungler, that’s not entirely out of the question.
Cosmic Insight: In this build, Vladimir is going to have plenty of items with an active skill. Therefore, Cosmic Insight will do wonders for the Crimson Reaper. Shortening the cooldowns on your summoner spells is also compulsory, so it helps you in two major ways.
Bonuses: +8 ability haste, +9 adaptive power, +15-140 health (based on level)
Starting items Screengrab via Riot Games Doran’s Ring Doran’s Ring grants players 70 health and 15 ability power at the start of the game, which is just enough to trade better and have slightly improved survivability. But if you find yourself in an incredibly tough matchup or think that you’re going to be focused early by the opposing jungler, it’s worth replacing Doran’s Ring with Doran’s Shield.
Health Potion After purchasing Doran’s Ring, Vladimir will have a spare 100 gold, and there really are no arguments behind not spending them on two Health Potions. They will help you to trade more efficiently and will lengthen the time you can spend in lane before your first back.
Core items Screengrab via Riot Games Hextech Rocketbelt In today’s League, champions usually have a couple of choices regarding their Mythic item. But not Vladimir. Quite frankly, there is no other item that the Crimson Reaper should rush first instead of Hextech Rocketbelt. It comes along with 15 ability haste, 90 ability power, 250 health, and six magic penetration, which are all stats that Vladimir should maximize in his build path.
Hextech Rocketbelt also enhances the champion’s ability to close the gap due to its unique active ability, which makes him dash forward and deals some damage in the process. It’s a superb item on Vladimir.
Sorcerer’s Shoes In terms of mages, there are rarely better alternatives for your boots than Sorcerer’s Shoes. Besides impressively improving your movement speed, they come along with 18 magic penetration, which is always helpful for mages and champions dealing ability power-based damage overall.
Cosmic Drive You’ve heard about the best item for Vladimir in the form of Hextech Rocketbelt, so prepare yourself for the second-best in line. Cosmic Drive, like the previously mentioned item, boosts all of the Crimson Reaper’s major stats (+30 ability haste, +65 ability power, +200 health, and +five percent movement speed).
This one also has a unique passive, which presents you with an additional 15-percent movement speed once you hit an enemy champion with three separate basic attacks or abilities. With Cosmic Drive and Hextech Rocketbelt in your inventory, Vladimir will start to become a major threat to your opponents.
Late-game items Screengrab via Riot Games Rabadon’s Deathcap In League, there are a few items that are symbolic for specific stats. For ability power, it’s definitely Rabadon’s Deathcap. It’s a popular item for AP-based champions for two major reasons. First, it comes with an eye-watering 120 ability power. Second, and more importantly, it increases your overall ability power by 35 percent. So, in the late game, there are hardly better alternatives to pick on Vladimir.
Zhonya’s Hourglass As we mentioned before, with the Cosmic Insight rune, it’s great to have a few items with active abilities. And one of the must-haves on Vladimir is Zhonya’s Hourglass. Putting yourself in stasis for a couple of seconds will save your life countless times. Sometimes, creating a 2.5-second window for yourself is going to make your skills come off cooldown, so you can turn the teamfight around. What’s more, the item itself gives you 10 ability haste, 65 ability power, and 45 armor for a relatively low price (2,600 gold).
Demonic Embrace Thanks to Vladimir’s passive ability, which increases his health as he obtains more ability power and vice versa, stacking health is simply speaking an amazing idea. While you have probably obtained some already via your earlier purchases, the best way to maximize the Crimson Reaper’s potential is by finishing the build with Demonic Embrace.
Foremost, it grants players 60 ability power and 450 health. Additionally, the item has two unique passives, with one of them working similarly to Vladimir’s own passive, so you’ll be able to stack health and AP even more. The second one is going to deal damage over time to your enemies that depends on their maximum health, so the item will help you shred tanks if needed.
Situational items Screengrab via Riot Games Mercury’s Treads Magic penetration is important on mages since almost every enemy bruiser or tank is going to have at least one item that boosts their resistance. Nevertheless, there are instances in which mages themselves are forced to build other boots than Sorcerer’s Shoes. When facing many AP-dealing opponents, it’s worth switching them out for Mercury’s Threads since you won’t want to replace other major elements of your build with magic resistance components.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity Similar to Mercury’s Threads, there will be a couple of games when enemies don’t stack magic resistance at all and you’ll still probably have plenty of magic penetration thanks to your other items. In those cases, you could switch your traditional shoes for Ionian Boots of Lucidity, which cut down your cooldowns even more.
Void Staff League is a game that offers you something else in every round you play. Sometimes, you will be paired with other AP-dealing champs, which is unusual in today’s meta but can still happen in your games. In situations like these, enemies will probably stack magic resistance, so to stay relevant in teamfights, having Void Staff is mandatory. It also gives you a nice ability power boost (65 points).
Morellonomicon Morellonomicon is oftentimes a situational item on many mages due to its passive. While having an additional 80 ability power and 250 health is always welcome on Vladimir, as explained above, there are a few item choices that are just better for the Crimson Reaper. But in some games, you may find yourself facing a composition that includes a few healing champions, like Soraka or Sona. In matches like these, Morellonomicon can do wonders since it applies Grevious Wounds to champions damaged by you. It’s also worth noting that in games like that, it’s worth picking this item early.
Mejai’s Soulstealer This is a great pickup if you start snowballing early. With the possibility to stack ability power and movement speed, Mejai’s Soulstealer can truly lead you to dominate the game if you manage to get a few kills in the early minutes of the match.
Spirit Visage This is an item that will be occasionally purchased on Vladimir, but it has its pros. With 450 health, you’ll gain some ability power due to your passive. Simultaneously, Vladimir will receive 10 ability haste, 40 magic resistance, and additional health regeneration. If you find yourself on a team with many shields or against a squad with many AP-dealing champs, Spirit Visage can do wonders.
Banshee’s Veil Last but not least, we’ve got Banshee’s Veil. There are a few reasons to buy this item once you’ve reached your full build. First, it greatly increases your stats (80 ability power, 45 magic resistance, and 10 ability haste). But, more importantly, it provides you with a spell shield that will block one ability thrown at you. So, if you’re in a game where you’re the main carry or you’re playing against AP-based assassins, it might be useful picking up Banshee’s Veil.