This is a tentative rework for Vladimir, the Crimson Reaper. Originally, this was a different and overall more drastic iteration, as this blog post was released well before Vlad's mini-update in V6.9, but I adjusted it following his changes. Usually, when a champion that I made a rework post on gets updated, I mark my version as obsolete, but here I think Vlad still has a little way to go: the rework to his E was fantastic, and gave him a lot more gameplay, but the changes to his Q, while useful in giving him clear windows of threat, didn't entirely make it that much more interesting, especially since it lost some of its base power. Additionally, the lack of real changes to his innate means he's still saddled with a fairly boring stat-to-stat passive, one that somewhat removes depth from his build choices instead of enhancing them, due to having his AP and health choices converge towards the same power.
On top of that, one issue that Vlad's rework didn't entirely answer was his sustain engine: sure, he has a bunch of different heals, but none of them are really tied to each other. He's definitely a sustain champion, but whereas most other champions with inbuilt sustain tend to draw it from a single ability, almost all of his own spells mainly just have a heal tacked on. It was good for his ultimate to finally grant him healing, but at this point its damage amplification, also one of his main contributions to his team, feels more like an afterthought than a genuine part of his kit.
Ultimately, though, I don't think Vlad really needs particularly dramatic changes to become a healthy and successful champion. What he mainly needs is a proper sustain engine, a more interesting Q and innate, and an ultimate that really feels like it contributes to teamfights beyond just its delayed nuke. To do this, I basically moved his window of threat from his Q to a new innate, and adjusted the rest of his kit to interact with it. With a kit loaded with low-cooldown, fairly reliable abilities, Vladimir should be all about balancing risk versus reward, and evaluating every second how hard he wants to commit to a fight.
Innate:Vladimir'sabilities corrupt the blood of affected targets, each applying stacks of Corrupted Blood, which last for 3.5 seconds, that he consumes by hitting them with a basic attack.
For each stack consumed, Vladimir deals his target 9.5 - 35 (based on level)(+ 10% AP) magic damage, heals himself for 2% maximum health on enemy champions and large monsters, and renders them immune to Crimson Pact for a limited duration.
Vladimir's sustain is currently all over the place: his Q heals, his W heals, and his ultimate heals, but there's no consistent gameplay to this system, or really an overarching system at all. Additionally, his passive is a big case of power without gameplay: his stats give him more stats, and the fact that he becomes tankier as he builds damage just makes him harder to stop once he gets ahead.
To remedy this, I think Vlad needs to have his underlying sustain minigame overhauled, in order to emphasize his overall tradeoffs between power and reliability. The above model means he has to decide between using autoattacks to harass enemies after a successful spellcast for a small amount of guaranteed damage and sustain, or waiting for another spell to become available and give him a chance to increase his gains. The end result is that Vlad should still have on-demand sustain, and could even heal himself to crazier amounts than now, especially against groups of champions (that's where he should shine the most), but in order to make the most of his self-healing he needs to commit to fights.
In order to accomodate this new system, I increased Vlad's base health and health growth, as he would have less health overall without his old passive. In order to scale best with his passive sustain, though, he'd also have to itemize for tankiness, instead of having AP power both his damage and his survivability.
COST: 5% current health
On-Target Cooldown:9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5
Active:Vladimir fires a blood spike at the target enemy, dealing them magic damage and tethering himself to them for 2 seconds.
While the tether holds, Vladimir pumps his target full of Corrupted Blood, applying a stack every 0.5 seconds. The tether breaks if Vladimir and his target move too far away from each other, or if it comes into contact with another enemy.
Enemies can only be targeted by Transfusion once periodically.
Vladimir's original Q was possibly one of the worst abilities ever designed. It was point-and-click, cost nothing, dealt pretty large amounts of damage after a few ranks, and healed him for similarly large amounts when combined with spell vamp. There was no reason not to use it, and it basically guaranteed that Vlad would eventually force his opponent out of lane past the first few levels. His new Q managed to keep many of those aspects, but the lowering of its base power and the addition of an empowered cast meant Vlad's opponent had moments where they could deny a lot of his power. The problem with that, though, is that it essentially relies on his base Q being crap until empowered, which isn't the best feeling.
For the most part, I moved a lot of Transfusion's gameplay into Vlad's innate, with a few changes, as choosing when to commit, and by how much, should be a decision to make across his whole kit. In my first iteration, I made his Q a skillshot, but it might be better in the end to keep it relatively simple, especially since his abilities are all meant to be applied pretty reliably. The caveat to this, though, is that Vlad needs to go the extra mile to squeeze the last drop out of each of his tools, and here I think it could be interesting to give him a special tether. With it, he could still poke and retreat for a bit of guaranteed damage, but in order to truly make the most out of Transfusion, he'd have to stick around for a few seconds. On top of that, he'd have to maneuver around his enemy, who'd have the option to cut the tether by getting someone else in the way, such as one of their allied minions or champions.
COST: 20% current health
COOLDOWN: 27 / 24 / 21 / 18 / 15
Active:Vladimir sinks into a pool of blood, becoming untargetable for 2 seconds and dealing magic damage to every enemy he touches for the duration.
Sanguine Pool is a brilliant ability, and has been one of Vlad's biggest source of high moments. I'm not really changing its function or gameplay here as a result, and am mostly just concentrating its damage into a single instance, while moving its sustain to his innate. As for removing the movement speed boost and slow, it's mainly to narrow Vladimir down to a few easily identifiable strengths and weaknesses: his innate crowd control has never been a major strength of his, which is why I'm taking it away, and he's meant to be innately slow, which is why I removed the movement speed boost (I also removed the self-slow from his E as well, though, especially since the two can end up sort of canceling each other out when used simultaneously).
Tides of Blood
COST: 5% current health
COOLDOWN: 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5
First Cast:Vladimircharges for up to 2 seconds. If he finishes charging or is interrupted, he automatically initiates the second cast.
Second Cast:Vladimir releases a nova of blood bolts, each of which collide with the first enemy they hit, dealing them magic damage and applying a stack of Corrupted Blood for every 0.5 seconds spent channeling.
In my first rework iteration, I had a completely different idea in mind for Vlad's E, where he'd get to throw around a ball of blood and detonate it with Q, Unreal Tournament-style. His new Tides of Blood, however, ended up being really interesting and full of gameplay, and didn't need to change the original ability's function, which is why I'm not implementing any dramatic modifications here. The only major change is that the ability's own damage is constant, whereas charging it up becomes a matter of laying down stacks of his passive, which ultimately translates to even more damage and healing.
COOLDOWN: 150 / 125 / 100
Active:Vladimir infects all enemies in the target area with a virulent plague for 3.5 seconds, rendering them vulnerable to Corrupted Blood and applying 5 stacks to each of them.
Afflicted enemies receive an additional stack every time they are struck by Vladimir's allies, and at the end of the duration Crimson Pact automatically activates on them.
As with Sanguine Pool, Hemoplague's core gameplay is really good, and doesn't need changing, even though it looks like I reworked the ability. I hooked up the ult's damage to his passive and basically turned the damage amplification into bonus stacks for him to work off of, mainly because I don't think damage amplification really feels that great, even if it's actually really powerful in practice.
Another change is that I made the damage "amplification" purely ally-based, meaning Vlad himself wouldn't increase his own damage. The main reasoning behind this is that Vlad would already benefit enough from its raw damage and sustain in duels, especially since it would reset his passive on enemies, and would have to rely on his allies to get the most out of his ult. In exchange, though, I reduced Hemoplague's cooldown at higher ranks, in part also because the ability doesn't otherwise scale with rank.
What do you think? I know Vlad hasn't really been in the spotlight for a long time, but do you think he could use an update? Do you think these changes fit Vlad, or would you take him in another direction (or keep him as is)?