Eye Ward This - A Vel'Koz Support Guide
Thu 11th Jan 2018 - 10:07pm
Now before I start, I want to give you some prior information regarding me and this pick. My name is Robbie ‘RobsterMonahan’ Monahan and I’m a mid to high Platinum support main who has been playing this pick for several years and I have an effective method for using this off-meta pick. I hope you find the information that follows useful and insightful.
Vel’Koz, the Eye of the Void, signature champion of Sp4zie (in mid) and void born mage revolves very much around the concept of "analyse and destroy". Fitting, seeing as to how the pick specialises in watching you from afar before blowing your head off like a sniper up a tree. However, like the sniper, you need the right set-up and hopefully this guide can give you just that.
The purple triple tentacle hasn’t gone through many major changes since his release on the 27th February 2014 with what few patches affecting him being mostly minor number tweaks and bug fixes. The two biggest changes that the Eye of the Void has seen was a 200-range increase to his Q and the addition of the ‘Researched’ mechanic to his ultimate and passive combination which will be explained later. This has resulted in Vel’Koz never really being in an OP state but still having a place within the LoL roster.
In the professional scene the only time Vel’Koz has seen play as a support was way back in late March of 2014 as NRated (playing for SK Gaming at the time) brought it out a few times to moderate results. Instead, Vel’Koz’s place in the competitive scene has been in mid as a counter to Azir due to the ability to pick the sandman off from behind his wall. This has resulted in Vel’Koz never being top tier but always as a niche counter or cheese pick for players such as CLG Huhi.
Passive - Organic Deconstruction
Vel’Koz’s passive actually has 2 components to it, the first of which people seem to be unaware of. It revolves around the tentacles and its effect is that Vel’Koz's basic attacks (despite being ranged at a range of 525 units) do not have a projectile which means they aren’t blocked by spells such as Yasuo’s Wind Wall. The second part of the passive is the main usage as yet another 3-hit passive. However, it is a three-hit passive from spells only. Each spell hit adds a stack of Organic Deconstruction onto any enemy it hits (including minions, monsters, and champions). If three stacks are applied, all stacks are consumed and 35-205 true damage is dealt to the target. It is to be noted that stacks will all fall off after a short period of time but basic attacks will refresh any stacks that are active, giving you more time to stack the three. There is a small half second cooldown on the stacking after a triple stack consume. This passive is a lot stronger than it looks on paper due to the extra burst which will catch an opponent off-guard due to the true damage which is always something to be taken seriously but often isn’t. Simple concept, big impact.
Q - Plasma Fission
Vel’s Q is his primary damage spell and is one of the most unique skillshots in all of LoL. It starts off as a simple linear projectile damage skill shot (with a slow of 70%) but upon making contact with an enemy, hitting its max range, or being reactivated mid-flight, the projectile splits into 2 going off at perpendicular angles to its initial direction. It is to be noted that by using this secondary activation you can hit targets outside the initial range of the spell. Also, for each target Plasma Fission kills (this includes minions) half of its mana cost is refunded which means Vel’Koz can potentially gain mana if he kills three targets with his Q (Main bolt + 2 secondary bolts). This spell may seem simple but once you get to grips with it, it becomes so much more as its potential poke routes are disgusting to deal with.
W - Void Rift
Void Rift is a linear area of effect skillshot that has two damage procs and works off a charge system (maximum two charges) and so only really has a few effective uses - wave clear, kiting, and following up Vel’s other spells. The skillshot has no cast time (which is why is great for kiting) and extends from the cast position. The first proc of its damage happens during this extension, the second comes a quarter second after the full extension and takes place across the whole AOE and does slightly more damage. To get the full use of this spell, you want to be using it on targets that are CC'd to get both procs of its damage. It is noted that this spell is key to getting three ticks of your passive on targets in trades and correct usage of this spell and its charges can result in multiple passive stack consumptions.
E -Tectonic Disruption
Tectonic Disruption is Vel’Koz’s best peeling spell due to its short stun and knockback. It will always knock opponents slightly away from Vel. It is a targeted explosion that blows up after a short delay (0.75s). It only gives a single proc of damage but the stun means it can also set up a nice spell rotation. This spell takes a little getting used to but once you get used to it, its uses (both offensive and defensive) become invaluable.
R - Life Form Disintegration Ray
Laser Time! Vel’Koz’s ultimate is a 2.5-second channel in which Vel’Koz fires a giant laser beam (which can move [albeit slowly] as it follows your cursor) applying a proc of damage every quarter second (so 11 procs of dmg and potentially 7 procs of Organic destruction factoring in its half-second CD). There is also a second mechanic to this ability - Research. Once Vel’Koz gets a passive proc on an enemy champion, said champion is ‘Researched’ and Vel’s ultimate will now do true damage to that target instead of magic damage like the rest of his abilities (basic attacks will refresh the researched timer and future procs from LFDR will still proc OD. More than champion can be researched at any time. This mechanic means Vel’Koz’s ultimate is deadly for any every champion to face, tank or no tank. However, it is still a channel and is still risky as Vel has to be stationary to use it, so be careful of your positioning when you use it. This ability is devastating if used right and even more so on pre-researched targets. Happy disintegrating!
Very simple. Max Q first, W next, and finish with E while always taking R when you can. Q first because it’s your primary damage spell, W second as it has more damage than E which is more utility anyway.
It's always going to be Exhaust and Flash. Flash is a must on any immobile champion and too strong not to take for the obvious reasons. Exhaust is taken over Barrier, Heal and TP due to the fact that you are wanting to play keep away and zone enemy champs away as a mage support and should rarely be in range of Ignite. Heal is inefficient as your ADC should have it, Barrier does nothing for distancing/zoning, and, as previously mentioned, Ignite is just impractical. This leaves Exhaust as it allows you to slow enemy champions from getting too close and the damage mitigation is always a consistent choice in the bot lane.
I am going to present you with three builds, (Full Damage Supp, Utility Damage Supp and Full Utility Supp) but all three of these approaches start with the same start: the support core and boots.
The Support Core
The support core, in this case, consists of a fully upgraded support item and Sightstone. This gives you the necessary vision, gold generation, and active item to be strong early but have the tools that are needed later in the game. You can take the Sightstone/GP10 combination item if you want another full item later but I would not recommend this as the active of FQC and its extra AP early are a far better fit.
You have the choice of two boots here. While both are viable in most Vel’Koz builds, I personally have found Lucidity boots to be the slightly more effective as getting more spells out with the cooldown reduction means having a better impact on the rift. It also means more true damage negating the need for penetration.
Now that you have the items you will need regardless of play style, we can move on to the items dependent on play style.
Rylai’s and Liandry's are key to this build as Rylai’s adds the additional soft CC required (while also making Vel’Koz’s kiting potential immense) for this slightly lower damage build to be effective while still having enough magic damage to make Vel'Koz a threat. Redemption covers the weakness of no healing while adding the desirable stats of health, mana regeneration, and cooldown reduction. You can also swap one of them out (or also build provided you have space) for a Banshee's Veil/Zhonya’s Hourglass for their utility and cooldown reduction. This is the path I would personally take out of the three I cover here.
Liandry’s Torment is a great item on Vel as he is hitting frequently and is a great damage item (the health helps too) meanwhile the Deathcap and Void Staff are purely damage amplifiers. You can also swap one of them out (or also build provided you have space) for a Banshee's Veil/Zhonya’s Hourglass for their utility and cooldown reduction. Adapt as necessary.
This build focuses on full utility and keeping your team backed up. All four of these items are viable and usable but your damage output will be greatly reduced should you use this build and so your abilities will also need to be used to peel 100%. I would only ever go down this route if you have fed severely during the laning phase and will never have the gold to go down the other two slightly more AP heavy build paths.
This what I have found best to run on support Vel’Koz:
Primary Tree: Sorcery;
- Arcane Comet – Of the two damage keystones, Arcane Comet is preferable due to its higher damage output and it following up mainly Q hits. Since his Q slows, it will miss less often.
- Manaflow Band – You are a mana based spamming spellcaster meaning Manaflow band is the optimal choice here.
- Transcendence – Cooldown reduction is a very important stat for Vel’Koz and so any source is appreciated and utilized by his kit.
- Scorch – This was a tough choice but overall, I have found that the bonus poke damage from Scorch to be the most viable for this slot over the scaling AP alternative.
Secondary Tree: Domination (+20 AP);
- Eyeball Collection – The extra AP that this rune offers is very viable especially seeing as Vel utilizes the gain very well, pushing this choice of rune over its alternatives such as Ghost Ward.
- Ravenous Hunter – Since nearly all of Vel’Koz’s damage comes from abilities getting some sustain for free (seeing as you're doing damage nearly all game) is an ideal rune choice.
Most matchups are a skill matchup with Vel’Koz due to his skillshot nature but there are a few matchups which do or do not suit him.
Leona does well into Vel as she can get onto the Eye of the Void with ease and blow him up with hard CC combos, which really hurt Vel due to his squishy mage nature. Alistar is the same with his damage reduction to negate poke (but is ignored by the true damage from Vel's ultimate). The other major counter is Nami whose combination of damage, disruption and healing undoes everything Vel’Koz sets up and tries to do.
Vel’Koz does very well into Soraka as he can poke her down for free from behind minions and out of range of her Q making her life difficult. Janna suffers the same fate but she can disrupt his ultimate channel if she’s quick, but it is still in favour of Vel. Sona is also punishable but aggressive Sona players can be a thorn if Vel mispositions in trades.
What to be Doing in Game
As Vel’Koz progresses through the game his role changes dramatically. Here is a brief summary on what your general focus should be:
- Level 1 – Safely (if not safe then sit in jungle) poke in a few brushes from distance using Q then return to leash jungle/go to lane.
- Laning Phase – Poke, poke, poke. Use your Q in different ways (while maintaining distance) to keep your opponents juking and not farming. Make sure to mix it up with that unique skillshot. If an enemy overstays when low, use the rest of your kit to finish them or at least force them out of lane altogether.
- Mid Game – Play the map. Vel’Koz thrives in areas where he controls the flow of the play. Set up vision around the next objective or where you want to fight then try for picks/skirmishes using your range. Sieging down turrets in a group with warded flanks is also a viable option.
- Late and Super Late Game – This will mostly be big team fights and your job is simple. Hit the backline with Qs from afar while using the rest of your kit to keep your ADC alive by shredding the whatever is trying to kill them. Remember you’re a damage support, but still a support.
To conclude, Vel’Koz support is an unorthodox bully who thrives early and mid but with the right setup can hold his own later. Good Vel’Koz players in the bot lane will make early laning free for their carry to farm up and hit their power spikes but will do so by driving their opposite number crazy. He's a fun pick, if done right, so enjoy the laser fest.
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