Mid Year Mage Updates - Vladimir Direction

You know what time it is! [it’s Vladimir’s direction post time!] With all the other mage posts coming out, you probably already know what to expect here, so let’s dive right in: What sorts of things are we looking to do with our Crimson Reaper? Off the bat, we’ve heard you and we strongly agree that his sustain is what sets him apart both strategically and thematically, and we’re looking to keep it that way. With that out of the way, let’s get a little more specific: We’re not likely to change: * Sustain -- Vladimir is the best sustainer in his class and likely the best in the game (Mundo might take that one). * Health costs -- Risk management in the form of his own HP bar has always been core to Vladimir, and we’d like to reinforce that. * Stat Affinity -- Vlad has always been the AP + HP guy, and we think that’s pretty cool. * Q Targeting -- Not everything has to be a skill shot, and we think retaining the old paradigm here is important to the spell’s feel. * Strengths / Weaknesses -- Vlad is the Mage who can out sustain low-damage foes but falls to teams with reliable gap-closing and burst damage. * Sanguine Pool -- An iconic ability that should be preserved. We’re looking to improve: * Stack management -- We like the cerebral health cost management aspects of E, but we do not like the resulting unintuitive upkeep game. * Binary matchups -- Vlad is sometimes thought of as the king of stat checks, leaving his opponents (and often himself) with few options other than ‘be stronger,’ and that’s not a reputation anyone wants. A lot of this comes from unclear windows of strength and weakness (they exist, but are difficult to perceive), so a lot of our work will be in exposing those. * Counterplay -- Closely related to the above point, Vladimir’s opponents often feel there’s nothing they can do to avoid his damage once in range of him. * Satisfaction -- Mostly looking at E here (‘Tides of Blood’ inspires a much more powerful image than the current E delivers on, and we’d like to change that), though there’s a few other areas that can feel better. TLDR; Needs blood. MORE BLOOD. When we’re done: * Vladimir’s kit should feel very familiar, and his overall strategy will be largely unchanged! * Vladimir’s windows of strength and weakness will be clearer to both himself and the opponent, giving everyone an increased understanding of how he succeeds or fails and allowing him to plan and set up plays. * Vladimir will continue to deal loads of DPS and heal buckets of HP, but in more satisfying and less diffuse ways. Anddd that about sums it up! I know I’ve been pretty abstract here, so please ask any question you may have -- we’re not through with all the nitty gritty details on our end yet, so I may not have all the answers you’re looking for, but I can definitely share our thoughts and the relevant guiding principles. Also, and most importantly, if any of the above breaks your expectations of what Vladimir is or should be, now’s definitely the time to let us know! Alright, that’s it from me for now but I’ll be around over the next couple days! See ya then, -Stashu
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