[Counter-Guide] How to Lane/Fight against Vlad (Or: Stop *****ing and read this)
An opening letter:
Levels 1-4: **** him up. Seriously, don't be afraid of him here. He sucks. He's got at most rank two of his Q, which means he's ****ing terrible and can't do **** right now. If he's smart he'll just be focusing on farming, and if he's trying to close to harass you, ****. HIM. UP. Almost any champ can beat Vlad in the lane at this point if they're not afraid of him with either A - superior harassment or B - the ability to start a fight if he gets to close and mess his ass up with superior burst damage.
Levels 5-8: Okay, so Vlad can probably harass you anywhere from decently to pretty well here. If you're a champ with weak harassment skills, your best option is to engage him in a drawn-out fight as quickly as possible before he has a chance to out-harass you. The cooldown on Vlad's Q is still low enough that he can't really kill you unless you're really, really low or really, really stupid. Hence, if you engage him and beat the **** out of him every time he tries to harass you, you'll do anywhere from alright to killing him. If you're stronger on harassment and weaker at fully engaged fights, just try to keep up with him now.
Level 9: You will not out-harass Vladimir now. If you let him get in range every **** time he wants to, you will not be in the lane for long. That's all there is. But that's far from uncounterable. This means you either A - stay out of his range, or B - engage him in a straight-on fight (Notice a pattern here?). The key is to start doing this IMMEDIATELY. As soon as you let Vlad make headway on you the lane becomes more and more his. Not even the tower keeps you safe from Vlad if he can kill you in one rotation, so staying above that HP level is key. If he tries to deny you exp, call in a gank. If nothing else works, go gank in another lane. Surely you're mid for something like that, right? Go wipe your carry-ass in the face of all those low-level side-laners, get some gold, snowball, and laugh if Vlad stays in his lane doing crappy damage to the tower.
The overall key to beating Vlad is knowing when to engage him and when to back off. If he runs at you and you've got your **** up and ready, beat the **** out of him. If you're not ready to beat the **** out of him, don't let him close to harass you. This, of course, requires you to be a smart player, but doesn't doing most things well take that too?
Thank you for your time.
And now, a special bonus guide: Fighting Vlad after the Lane-phase.
To fight Vlad effectively, you have to understand how he works effectively. Vladimir is a long-term caster who's strongest in the mid-game. What does this mean? It means Vladimir wants to end the game quickly but wants fights to last longer. Vlad is not bursty, but he has short cooldowns. The longer a fight goes on, the more he gets out of it. He has tools to accomplish this of course, and if you're reading this you probably already know all about them (Because you're frustrated and pissed off and sick of him and have, instead of *****ing on the GD, picked the smarter option and tried to learn). But as a formality, we'll go over them in case someone missed something.
Vlad's Passive (Something Pact, I don't remember): This is the main way Vlad makes fights last longer. The extra health keeps him alive longer, and gives him more time to get even more health back. It's as simple as that.
Transfusion: A free heal on a very short cooldown and Vlad's staple damaging spell. The longer the fight goes on, the more Transfusion's heal will put Vladimir ahead of you. If he only has time for one or two casts, this means almost nothing.
Sanguine Pool: Ah yes, you hate it, Vlad players love it. "It's the best escape in the game" you say. But is it really? We're going to go in-depth on this spell and only this spell, because the laning guide tells you how to deal with Transfusion, Tides of Blood is nearly meaningless, and Hemoplague is simple to counter.
So now that we understand how Vlad's spells help him make fights last longer, we can understand why that's very, very bad for you. Vlad is a laner. Vlad loves to lane after level 9. Vlad loves to lane so much he turns regular fights into laning. That's his gameplan. Constantly disengaging and reengaging Vlad works as poorly in the mid-game as it does in the lane. So since we already know not to do that, let's look at the other things people do wrong against Vlad.
The twitch is the hot-shot carry who comes out of the early game with his BF Sword and his zerker greaves and about 1000 health, thinking he's cool. He comes up to Vlad and goes "Ooh, caster! Let's gank him!" "Ooh, he has a Mejai's! I'll kill him and deny him his stacks!" This plan fails, of course. As it turns out, if you don't have any defensive runes, any defensive masteries, any defensive items, or any defensive abilities, you die really quick. Weird, huh? So the Twitch pops out thinking he's going to rape Vlad with his SICK DEEPS.
Funny thing is, even if his deeps ARE in fact sick, they don't matter. Why? Because Vlad can R him, Q him, E him, ignite him, Pool, then Q him, and finally E him again. And then he runs off, having taken no more than two or three of those sickdeeps autoattacks, with two fresh stacks on his fancy soulstealer.
The Twitch is not always a twitch, of course. The Twitch can be a TF who doesn't realize his champ is bad at fighting players, or an Ezreal who doesn't realize he's been nerfed and thinks he can still get away with Arcane Shifting into a fight with 0 survivability and no flash to get him out. The twitch can be an overzealous Miss Fortune, or a Tryndamere who thinks it's late game and doesn't realize Vlad is packing ignite. You get the picture.
So Rule #1 for fighting Vlad: If he can kill you in two spell rotations mid-game, why are you trying to fight him by yourself? Mid-game is when he's strongest, and with his Sanguine Pool, he will get the second rotation off. Not being The Twitch can be as simple as Flat Health Quints or a Ruby Crystal or a Phage or Magic Resist Blues, etc. If you want to stop Vlad from stacking his Mejai's, don't run head first into him thinking you'll kill him when he's at his peak. He can't get to you if you don't let him. He has no initiate. He thrives on overconfident carries treating him like every other squishy malzahar or annie or anivia they catch alone. He's not like them. So Don't be a Twitch.
The Hugger sits under his tower after a fight, waiting for someone to come cover his lane. He has maybe 300 health, tops. He has no teleport spell and no hard CC to speak of. He doesn't have much mana left. But man, if he leaves, they'll totally take his tower.
And in comes Vlad. This is the part where The Hugger ****s his pants and realizes that he is doomed. Vlad Q's him. He E's him. He ignites him. And then he Pools and escapes with maybe one tower shot to show for it. And The Hugger dies. And Vlad gets stacks, or at the very least, gold. And then, do you know what happens? They take the tower anyways.
So Rule #2: Fight Vlad like you would fight Karthus. You're not safe from Karthus under your tower. Vlad is no different. Admittedly, you're not safe from most champions with only 300 health under a tower, but Vladimir especially. If you're that low, all you're doing is giving them a bonus 300 gold for knocking over your tower, and some stacks on snowballs if they have them. This goes double against Vlad. Don't be The Hugger.
The Xin Zhao
The Xin Zhao is quite possibly the stupidest kind of player to fight Vladimir. He's tough. He's cocky. He's got that big fat Frozen Mallet. Vlad can't get away from him and can't kill him very quickly either. What's more, his ult hits even beefy Vlad for a lot. What's he got to lose, right? Vlad's totally screwed against the Xin Zhao!
That's all well and good for him, and he's fine for now. But then the Xin Zhao sees Vlad at low health under a tower. Here is where it goes wrong.
Xin Zhao screams his head off and charges at the Vlad. He wants to rid him of those precious stacks he got from The Twitch and The Hugger earlier. The Xin Zhao goes deep under the tower, but Vlad doesn't run. Vlad sits there, pops his ult, ignites The Xin Zhao, and throws his Q and E at him. But still, he doesn't run, with only 30% or less HP. The Xin Zhao is ecstatic. Free Kill, Yes! So he ults first, of course, because that's what you do with Xin Zhao! It never changes, right?
Vlad pools just in time. The ult misses. Now Xin Zhao is stuck under the tower without an ult, slowed by Vlad and taking hits. Not normal hits - hits increased by Hemoplague. Vlad's pool wears off, he Q's The Xin Zhao again, E's him, and now he's at the same health as The Xin Zhao. The Xin Zhao runs, but can't escape the range of the tower quite in time. Vlad's ult goes off as one more shot hits The Xin Zhao and the last Transfusion goes out. The Xin Zhao is dead, and Vlad has two more stacks.
The Xin Zhao, like The Twitch, is not always Xin Zhao. It can be that Akali who's jonesing for another kill, or that Warwick who doesn't QUITE get Vlad with his ult-Q combo. It can even be that Garen who thinks "I'll just silence him and spin to win" and barely misses getting off the silence. The important part is that the Xin Zhao is overzealous and forgets about Blood Pool, and pays the price.
So, this brings us to Rule #3: Don't dive the guy who can go invulnerable by yourself. Vlad makes towers hurt you more and can stick you under them while being untargettable. Under an enemy tower with an enemy Vlad is one of the WORST places you can be. I know he looks tasty, but just like the Twitch and The Hugger, you must exercise caution and discretion to avoid becoming The Xin Zhao. And be careful with your AoE spells. A good Vlad can dodge them with Pool quite easily.
Now if you've been paying attention, you'll notice that all of these are players who forget about Sanguine Pool. Understanding how to counter Sanguine Pool is the key, the most important thing to fighting Vlad after the laning phase. So how do we counter it best? Who does Vlad hate the most?
Enter: The Sion.
The Sion loves his stun. He could be a Taric or an Alistar or a Pantheon or a Fiddlesticks or anybody with any hard, semi-spammable CC.
Picture this. You're Vlad in a teamfight, or tower-diving, or being tower-dived, or fighting just about anyone in just about any way. You know the timing. You pool perfectly. The enemy curses your name and you laugh triumphantly as your victory is assured.
But what's this? You finish your pool and suddenly you can't move. The Sion has stunned you! You brush it off; after all, you're Vlad. It's only like 2 seconds anyways. You'll get out fine.
But now the enemy is on you, and your Pool isn't up for another 11 seconds. You need it now. They're hitting you. The healing from Q can't keep up and you can't escape them. You finally think you've found relief when you get close to your tower and pool is almost up. Sweet Freedom!
AND THE SION STUNS YOU AGAIN. Now you die.
Final Rule for fighting Vlad: Save your CCs for after his pool. Immediately after Sanguine Pool is when Vlad is most vulnerable. He thrives on the slow from it; it gets him just far enough ahead of you to get away when he does manage to get away. A perfectly timed CC right after that negates everything the Pool just did. You're in his face again and he has no way to get away. This is when you rape him and eat his hard earned Mejai's stacks for breakfast. YUM.
The more people who understand how Vlad works and how to fight him, the better we can avoid uneccesary nerfs. Remember Pantheon? He was strong at laning, and good mid-game. He tended to snowball when people fought him like idiots, and Riot nerfed him. HARD. Better knowledge prevents things like that from happening. With your help, we can keep Vlad balanced.
Thank you, and have a nice day.
Vlad IS NOT balanced, his q alone breaks him. A free, spammable heal? Yeah thats not OP at all...
Sure he can be beat and if your smart Vlad is just another soft tank, but for the general populace Vlad is OP.
Uh yeah, its really not spammable until rank 3-4, and even then its not great until rank 5. Yes... at rank 5 his Q can dominate most champs in lane, but he has to get to level 9 to get that. Just dominate him BEFORE he can rape you. Its the same principle as carries, kill them before they get uber-farmed and rape
I actually find Vlad to be one of the weaker lanes until he's at least level 9. Transfusion's range makes it so that most any ranged champ can hit him easily every time he goes for some harass, and the 25-50 heal isn't making up for the skill of choice + auto attack(s) Vlad took to get his transfusion off. In short, if you are laning against vlad and haven't either killed him or forced him to play defensively before he hits 9, then you are doing something wrong. If you've killed him or forced him to play too defensively than he hasn't been able to farm well and you are probably higher level, meaning that short of stupid mistakes you should have the advantage.
Personally, if I'm playing mid, vlad is one of my favorite to be against, as I know I can out harass him almost every time for the first part of the game.
Like any champ, if you let him get out of control, he gets OUT OF CONTROL. The fact that he combines damage output so well with survivability makes him especially dangerous.
Don't let your team mis-match the mid lane. Typically, don't let Ranged DPS fight a mage. A good Tristana can hold her own because of her DoT, and Ezrael can stay out of his range. A mage with a stronger early-game (e.g. Morgana) should be able to make quick work of him, and keep him from gaining any momentum.
If you're getting stomped by a fed and angsty Vlad, your best and only option is to get some magic resist. The lower the damage taken from his abilities, the lower his health gain. This is especially effective when you consider that it costs health to use his abilities.
Your example suggests building Frozen Mallet on Xin Zhao, which is literally the dumbest possible item choice.
LOL vlad is not op... you want OP? get morgana, black shield w/e vlad's target, beat vlad. Vlad becomes useless. Black Shield stops vlads's ult from applying, or from ticking, and his q and his pool slow.
Yes the easiet way to beat vlad is to cc him after his pool. Thus... a good vlad doesn't fking run in and pool... instantly.
Im still sad about panth's nerf... its so sad... i still cry about it at night.
vlads not op ppl just too stupid too realize that his ult increases targets' dmg taken by 20% which is a lot in smackdowns, and always target vlad first, make him pool then finish him, make sure he doesn't have the chance to cast his ult on a whole team
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