Ooooh Vlad you little bloodsucker...
Laning against Vladimir in mid is a pain in the ass, just as much as laning against Miss Fortune and Mordekaiser (will post guides on these guys later). Whenever you see a Vladimir on the loading screen in the opponent's team, you might have felt a chill in your spine, praying your carry in mid won't get sucked dry like a pig. If Vladimir gets fed, he can be compared to the final stage of Cell in Dragon Ball Z; the more he drains, the stronger he gets. Too bad there are no Senzu Beans to save your ass.
But he doesn't have to be a such a headache. Vlad is overrated in terms of his laning ability by most of the community, thanks to the usual torrent of sheep rants crying "OP NERF PLS" on the forums. Yes, he is a very strong laner, but can be shutdown easily if you know how. In this post, I will briefly give you some pointers on how to counter this constantly poking troll.
(In this post we assume your average Vlad player isn't a noob or a Pro)
Laning requires a strong mentality. This is especially true in 1v1 mid because the outcome of the match usually has a direct relation with how you perform in mid during laning phrase. Plus, you have no one else to rely on or blame. Ganking Mid is a bonus, not something you should be counting on to make up for your (lack of) performance. If your opponent gets the better of you mentally by making you afraid of leaving the sight of your tower, you have already lost - zoned out and forced to survive on the few creep waves that finally arrive in your range, while your opponent farms to his or her heart's content.
Vlad can "scare" many players with his annoying Q (Transfusion). This skill allows Vlad to drain your health constantly, and because Vlad has no mana or health costs for this skill plus the fact that it has a short cooldown (12 seconds lvl 1, decrease CD every lvl), Vlad is annoying as hell. Most Vlad players tend to max Q first, allowing them to poke at you everytime they can do so safely. Combined with Vlad's ultimate escape ability, Sanguine Pool (W), most serious counter attacks and ganks are discouraged. Tides of blood (E), can also be used as a harassing tool since it requires no targeting, and stacks in damage (and health cost) everytime it is used. But again, Vlad doesn't care about health costs or harassment from you because he can heal himself infinitely with drain if he has time.
How do I counter a self-healing, annoying poking champion with a godlike escape ability? Here are some tips:
1. Remember the ultimate goal of Mid laning: farm and get levels. With that said, often than not harassing Vlad simply isn't worth it. Ignore him and proceed with farming. If he plays aggressive and forcefully try to zone you out, punish him (read below).
2. Before level 6, Vlad cannot drain for a large amount of health, and his drain has 5+ seconds cooldown. Vlad likely won't spam E and W because they have a hefty health cost, especially with the stacking E. In this sense, it is worth it to trade bursts, only if you are sure you can do A LOT more damage to him than he does to you (factor in the 30-40 dmg drain). One of your autoattacks should balance out the drain, but you will lose health while Vlad loses little to nothing. Attack AFTER Vlad used his Q (on minions), this is very important.
3. If you have a long range character, harassing safely works because your autoattacks outrange Vlad's drain. But make sure not to stay too close. If you decide to harass, you have to be committed! If you let Vlad off for a minute or two, all of your harassing will be wasted because he will just heal himself back to full health.
4. Play safe, let Vlad make the mistakes. Do not ever push lanes for no reason. Learn/master last hitting. If Vlad catches you too far out less than half health and decide to burst you, its GG without escape mechanisms.
5. Do not go all out trying to burst down Vlad if his W is up. You will fail most of the time. Same with ganks. Bait him to use W, then attack. Always make him use W without putting yourself at risk. 20% health cost for W each time, you do the math.
6. Use your minions to your advantage. If Vlad attacks you near your minions, they will switch aggro and attack Vlad. Vlad cannot out drain your attacks + minions focus fire. He will be forced to back out and you will have the health lead.
7. Once you have successfully harassed Vlad and whittled him down, play very aggressive and ZONE HIM OUT. He cannot drain minions if he is zoned out and thats when his early game is fked.
Over 9000. If you are Mordekaiser, you don't need to be reading this guide. You are more annoying than Vlad. :p
Good luck guys! Next time if someone asks you "you vlad, bro?", tell him/her that you are not Vladimir -he is your bitch ;)