Plan to play Vel’Koz immediately on release?
Learn using this quick and easy guide for everything Vel’Koz!
Vel’Koz’s champion profile, stats, & details can be found here: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Vel’Koz
1) INTRO – What is Vel’Koz for? What does Vel’Koz do?
Vel’Koz is a mid-lane long ranged DPS mage, played like an artillery cannon. His job is firing safely from the back line and dealing damage. Bringing disruption and AOE damage, Vel’Koz alters the terrain, essentially creating the grounds of a battlefield in favour of your team.
2) PROS & CONS – Strengths & Weaknesses
+ Long effective range (1000+)
+ Above average Mage base movement speed (340)
+ Spells have good AOE, range, and crowd control
– Relatively short attack range (525)
– No safe escapes/dashes or inherent mobility
– Poor AP scaling on abilities
3) GENERAL – Important Things To Know
- Lack of escape = must play passive and safe
- Poor AP scaling promotes building magic penetration & utility, rather than AP
- Your ultimate IS a channeled ability, even though it does not state so. It can be interrupted by all forms of hard crowd control (fear, silence, stun, knock up).
- Your ultimate is very strong, it drastically increases your 1v1 power at the cost of being much weaker without your ultimate (like Sona). Your ultimate also increases your power with 1v2 laning and enemy ganks.
4) THE NUMBERS – What do they mean?
- Average Base Numbers (except his ultimate) = he’s meant for dealing DPS, not burst.
- Low AP scaling = AP is less effective on Vel’Koz. It’s better to build Magic Penetration and to use him for DPS, utility damage and crowd control.
- Long cooldowns = Cooldown reduction is essential if Vel’Koz wants to constantly output good DPS and remain a relevant factor in combat.
5) RUNES, MASTERIES, & SUMMONER SPELLS
- Quints: Ability Power – Better and more efficient than Magic Penetration Quints, but both work fine.
- Marks: Magic Penetration – Good for Vel’Koz.
- Seals: Flat Armor – You have a short basic attack range, so when last hitting, you can be vulnerable to basic attack harass from practically everyone who has better range than you. This also helps when getting ganked by AD junglers.
- Glyphs: Flat Magic Resist – You’ll be building Magic Resist, so you don’t need Scaling Magic Resist runes. This is doubly important if you’re VS. an AP laner for early game durability.
- Defense Tree > Utility Tree for Vel’Koz because you’ll take above average damage in lane due to your short attack range (as opposed to someone like Ziggs).
- 3 points in Archmage > Devastating Strikes because – although Magic Penetration > AP (for Vel’Koz), you deal mainly Magic Damage making the Armor Penetration portion of Devastating Strikes essentially useless, and making Archmage that much better.
- Flash (Essential): Defensive/Safety – Gives safety to help make up for your lack of inherent escapes/mobility.
- Ignite (Situational): Offensive/Aggression – Your ultimate roots you in place, making it hard to chase an enemy to land follow up damage and finish a kill after your standard spell combo + ultimate. Ignite serves as a good solution to this problem in lane, to help you secure kills through & after your ultimate.
- Barrier (Situational): Defensive/Safety – An alternative to Ignite if you want a safer laning phase, and are against a hard diving/crowd control team, and/or expect to be focused hard in team fights during mid to late game.
6) ABILITIES – Maxing, Tips, & Combos
a) Maxing & Benefits (Rank your ultimate whenever available)
- W – Void Rift: More damage & reduces charge recharge time (affected by cooldown reduction), allowing you to cast it much more.
- Q – Plasma Fission Increases slow duration. Maxing second allows a better scaling slow into mid game.
- E – Tectonic Disruption: Slightly reduces cooldown & slightly increases damage, no change in utility, too insignificant to strengthen early.
b) About The Spells
- Passive – Organic Deconstruction: Triggers Liandry’s & Rylai’s (single target). Good damage, but hard to apply because your spells are hard to land precisely without pushing your lane. However, it can be put to use continuously and effectively during team fights while casting many spells, or during the use of your ultimate to guarantee multiple applications to activate the damage.
- Q – Plasma Fission: Used to hit/kite the front line as it’s hard to land on a priority target. Hits a maximum of 3 targets. You honestly just kind of spam this out whenever you can, like throwing Nidalee spears.
- W – Void Rift: AOE damage. Used for waveclear & zoning. Decent damage and can apply your passive twice. (Note: There is NO cast time on this ability, and it does not interrupt your previous movements or commands. Should you have Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, it makes this spell exceptionally strong when kiting & chasing)
- E – Tectonic Disruption: Suspension/knock away. Used to lock down targets for ganks, or to land your other spells easier. This ability also grants vision where it is cast. (Note: This spell causes “Suspension”, a sub-type of Stun, not a sub-type of Airborne, hence, it is affected by Tenacity and can be cleansed/removed).
- R – Lifeform Disintegration Ray: Large AOE slow & damage, used in team fights to damage & apply your passive continuously and consistently.
W – Reliable damage, easier to land, but may end up pushing your minion wave. (most optimal harass)
Q – Good harass as well, but harder to land than W. Also recommended to save for enemy/friendly ganks.
- Pre-6 Combo:
Landing your E first takes practice, but will ensure you land both portions of your W. As your W has no cast time, you can cast W right as you cast E so that they will practically launch at the same time.
At this point after E->W, you should attempt to land basic attacks if you can, as well as your Q if there’s an opening for a clear shot, as it will help you land more basic attacks or a second W if available.
(Making your full combo: E->W->Q->W – Note: This will exhaust you of all your spells)
- Post-6 Combo/Fighting&Killing:
When going for kills on low health targets or trying to land a full damage combo, it’s best to land your E->W combo first, while trying to land your Q if you can. Q landing doesn’t matter that much. However, if your E lands, then you can continue to cast your ultimate, and that is your full damage combo with R.
a) Starting Items
- Trinket – Warding Totem: Enough for warding. Your Q & E spells providing enough crowd control to help you escape and survive early ganks. (This does NOT mean you don’t need wards at all. This is only for the starting items. Vel’Koz is DEFINITELY someone who needs wards with his lack of safety/escapes. BUY WARDS!)
- Crystalline Flask: Long term lane sustain to survive & farm easier through poke/harass.
- 3 Health Potions: Vel’Koz doesn’t really have mana problems = More emphasis on lane sustain to farm through enemy poke/harass. (Alternative: 2 Health Potions + 1 Mana Potion)
b) Core/Ideal Items
- Sorcerer’s shoes: Magic Penetration
- Athene’s Unholy Grail: Necessary cooldown reduction, and magic resist for survivability. (Alternative: Morellonomicon for heavy enemy healers, or AD lane opponents)
- Liandry’s Torment: Your AOE spells allow you to apply Liandry’s Torment in great AOE, and the innate crowd control in most of his spells allow you to take advantage of the bonus passive damage in Liandry’s Torment. (Triggers on Passive – Organic Deconstruction)
- Void Staff: Magic Penetration
c) Situational Items
- Banshee’s Veil: Solid item against crowd control/dive heavy teams. Your ultimate essentially locks you in place, opening you up to get dived (as people try to cancel your ultimate). Your ultimate IS a channeled ability even though it does not state it is, thus Banshee’s Veil can help prevent cancelling of your ultimate long enough for you to get the full channel off (especially from champions who possess only one hard crowd control – Renekton, Singed, Yasuo).
- Rod of Ages: Lane sustain + added survivability & stats with AP and HP. Decent item to get early on against all-in team comps or heavy divers.
- Rylai’s Crystal Scepter: The passive doesn’t actually do much for you, since most of your abilities already possess innate crowd control (so the slows won’t stack). However, Rylai’s does trigger on your Passive – Organic Deconstruction. Also, adding the passive slow to Void Rift (W) may be greatly beneficial as it will likely be the spell you cast the most, which can apply the slow twice, deals the most damage, and has the largest area of effect. (Note: As well, Void Rift (W) has NO cast time, so it won’t interrupt your previous movements or commands while chasing/kiting, making Rylai’s exceptionally strong in these situations). This item also gives AP and some more HP for survivability, which may make it worthwhile. I would only recommend this item against hard engage, high mobility, or high crowd control teams.)
- Rabadon’s Deathcap: Damage, standard AP item.
- Zhonya’s Hourglass: Added survivability & another means of safety with invulnerability. Good against AD lane opponents and assassins like Kha’Zix, Talon, and Zed.
8) BEHAVIOUR: Stages of the Game
Early Game – Laning:
- Vel’Koz is item dependent, making his early game fairly weak.
- While laning, do your best to play passive as most opponents will be stronger than you.
- Your goal is farming > kills. You’re more of a threat later than you are in the beginning of the game, so if you can farm well to get those necessary items, you’ll be a strong threat later in the game.
Mid Game – Roaming:
- Vel’Koz has very strong roaming in the mid game.
- Pushing up to the enemy tower when you have your ultimate and ganking bot lane can tremendously help assist your duo bottom.
- Your crowd control & AOE spells make things easier when trying to land damage on multiple enemies, further made easier if you have assisted crowd control from your bot lane.
- Being able to aim and reposition your ultimate during its cast time significantly helps when roaming bottom, to accommodate for their escape spells such as dashes, or defensive summoner spells such as flash.
- Your strong wave clear can also be used to help push through minion waves quickly to get to pushing down a tower if one of your side lanes has secured a kill on their own.
Late Game – Team Fights:
- Your Q & E are best saved to protect yourself from tanks or dives.
- Start fights by dropping your W to hit as many targets as you can, landing them in priority areas.
- The opportune moment to use your ultimate is after the fight has truly begun, and both teams have committed to the fight. Your ultimate can be put to use at best when the enemies channel into confined spaces such as dragon/baron pit or tight passage ways in the jungle, in order for you to hit the maximum number of targets.
- An even more beneficial moment is if your team lands crowd controls. This is the ideal time to also chain your crowd control into the fight (E->Q) before unleashing your ultimate on the locked targets.
- Remember: You have no escapes! – Play it safe, and play it passive. Fire from the back line, and hit only the tanks if that’s all you can do. Try to land your damage and spells on priority targets if you can, but your number one priority is keeping yourself safe, untouched, and alive.
- Try to avoid making plays you don’t need, but if you think a calculated risk can turn the fight in your favour, go for it.
- As the long ranged, artillery-like APC, the main objective is that as long as you’re alive, the fight can go on, and in favour of your team.
9) FINAL WORDS
Vel’Koz doesn’t seem that great as nothing in his kit stands out. Rather, his release isn’t as overpowered as we’re accustomed to seeing. However, this just means he’s a very balanced champion, in a solid place which requires no changes. (For those of you who hate seeing your champion get nerfed) He has good range, AOE, and crowd control, and a somewhat good ultimate, but besides that, he doesn’t have any major outstanding traits like many other champions we’ve come to know.
He is a passive long ranged mage, with a play style like Lulu, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Xerath or Zyra, so if you play those kinds of Mages, Vel’Koz may be a good fit for you. However, again, with no exceptionally redeeming qualities, I don’t see benefit in playing him over many other stronger mid laners at the moment. He may have a harder time matching up against, or keeping up with champions that can provide more to a team composition such as Fizz, Gragas, Kayle, Le Blanc, or Zed. These champions that possess more valuable traits such as mobility, burst/assassination, stronger siege, or utility, and in much greater value than Vel’Koz as well.
- Passive long ranged Mage meant for DPS & damage over time, not burst.
- Similar play style to Lulu, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Xerath, or Zyra.
- Meant for utility > damage, somewhat difficult to play, even more difficult to make plays with.
Overall Champion Rating – 7/10
+ Spells have good AOE, range, and crowd control.
– Long cooldowns
– Poor scaling = Heavy item dependence
– Lack of escape mechanic makes him risky to play