Wukong Build Guide by Zimzams
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Core Defensive (if team really needs a tank)
typical full build
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello reader, my name is Zimzams and I am jungle main currently in silver II on Eu West with roughly 160 games won in total. I have played league for a comparatively short amount of time, since approximately mid November 2013. I watch a lot of LCS both Eu and Na and I noticed jungle Wukong was picking up steam around the start of the spring split which influenced this build heavily. I have been consistently beating teams with players up to 10 times the number of games played than i do with this build. Currently I have about a 60% win rate over 30ish games in ranked, which considering this is not a carry-focused build is fairly decent.
Everything you will read in this guide will come from a combination of my limited personal experience and what I've seen succeed in the LCS. As such I cannot guarantee that any of the following will work at higher elos, and so if you are gold tier or above I recommend you use this guide as a starting point for your own experimentation. However if you are looking to climb out of bronze this will absolutely help you stomp the enemy team. For reference I made it straight into silver V on my first ever attempt at ranked play, having won six of my promos, five of of which were on Wukong.
Finally before I jump into the meat of this guide I should point out this is my first attempt at any form of content here on mobafire so please feel free to provide criticism of the constructive variety and I will do my best to keep this guide as up-to-date and useful as possible. My coding and artistic skills are not the greatest so my apologies if this devolves into a wall of text!
Why pick Wukong?
• Strong AD AOE
• Knock up
• Great hard and soft engage
• Passable ganks
• Fantastic teamfight presence
• Versatile, can build tanky or damage
• Versatile part 2, can farm till six or be an early game presence, both work!
• Auto attack reset
• Good jungle clear speed
As we will discuss later, Wu is unique in a few different ways, the most major one being his ultimate Cyclone . It is the only ultimate in the game that provides AD AOE damage and has a useful knock-up effect as well. This means that Wu has great synergy with any mid lane champ that has AOE damage, eg Orianna and Gragas. Orianna Especially can be used to great effect for a stealth ball delivery Cyclone into Command: Shockwave wombo combo. Often as the game goes on, a 3+ man Cyclone combined with an Explosive Cask witll instagib most of the enemy team. Additionally he has an AOE knock-up and so works great with Yasuo. Wu also has the potential to pull off amazing jukes with his W Decoy, and can use the stealth aspect along with his E Nimbus Strike to gap close a surprising distance. Finally the armour shred on this Q Crushing Blow means that Wu can set his team up to do significant damage to any target, not just squishies.
Wukong has good synergy with :
However Wukong is not without his shortcomings: his ganks while passable pre level 6 are not the greatest, as none of his skills aside from his ulti provide any form of CC. He can gap-close very well, but once he uses his Crushing Blow Wu can’t do much but auto-attack until Nimbus Strike comes off cooldown. Thus you are semi-reliant on your laners to do the damage while you gank. This also means Wu is very weak to being counter-jungled.
In general Wu is looking to be a threat in the team-fighting phase rather than the laning phase, which may not suite certain comps. Additionally because Wu's biggest pro, his Cyclone, works best with other forms of AOE it does not work well with single-target mid laners such as LeBlanc or Nidalee.
Probably the biggest weakness is Wukong reliance on Decoy to gap-close and gank effectively. This can pose a couple of problems:
1. It has a long cooldown so if you get caught out while ganking you’ll have to burn flash.
2. Champs that have a reveal stealth mechanic can chase and kill Wu easily, the biggest example of this is lee sin who can solo-kill you very easily if you let him land a Q and is often seen as a hard counter to Wu for this reason.
3. Being in the wrong position can often lead to a lackluster ulti and losing the fight. Decoy means you can reposition fairly easily, but it does mean you need good positioning for the best possible Cyclone.
4. Since the 4.5 changes, Wukong has become ever more reliant on multi-man ultis, and using it on just one or two will significantly reduce your DPS.
Passive Stone Skin ~ Wukong's armor and magic resistance are increased by 4 / 6 / 8 for each visible nearby enemy champion.
A useful passive that means we focus on building health first rather than Armour. Lets you gank early with just sprit of the elder lizard and not worry too much about dying.
Q Crushing Blow ~ ACTIVE: Wukong's next attack within the next 5 seconds deals bonus physical damage, gains 125 range (300 total range) and reduces the enemy's armor by 30% for 3 seconds.
Triggers on-hit effects, such as red buff, crits and lifesteal. Can also be used as an auto-attack reset and allows you to jungle clear that much quicker. Spell shields such as banshees veil will block the armour shred and bonus damage but not the base damage. This skill is useful for last hitting low-health targets with its extra range, and the armour shred is very useful on tanks.
W Decoy ~ ACTIVE: Wukong becomes stealthed for 1.5 seconds and leaves behind a decoy of himself.
DECOY: The decoy is uncontrollable and cannot move or attack. After 1.5 seconds, it will vanish, dealing magic damage in a radius of 175.
This will leave a clone of you standing still where you activated it, putting you in stealth. Note that activating this when effected by revealing effects will not stealth you (eg Jinx Zap!)
Because the decoy is stopped and won't attack, it is possible to bluff this ability by stopping Wukong by pressing "S" by default. Take care when trying to juke in this way as enemies will only fall for it once, if at all. The potential for juking in stealth however is enormous and you should use this to your full advantage.
(credit to lolwiki ) for this little nugget + the ability descriptions) "Decoy can be used as a shield against skillshots such as Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole and Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. Decoy always appears behind you. Thus, it can be used as a utility shield for all sorts of situations if needed, such as stopping ultimates to save either yourself or help allies retreat."
E ~ Nimbus Strike ~ ACTIVE: Wukong dashes on a cloud toward a target enemy and sends out images to hit up to two more within 187.5 range of the target. Each enemy struck is dealt physical damage. Upon hitting his target, he gains an attack speed bonus for 4 seconds.
You will dash to the target you click on, but damages nearby enemies. Useful in clustered scenarios and while clearing jungle, but really the dash to set up Cyclone and the single-target damage early on is all we care about with this ability.
A useful trick to note it that Nimbus Strike works on both minions and champions, and no it is possible to pull off a semi-lee sin and jump over jungle walls to camps, for example i have escaped tower dives by warding then jumping to the opponents wraith camp.
R ~ Cyclone ACTIVE: Wukong's staff grows outward as he spins around for up to 4 seconds, dealing physical damage per second to enemies around him and gaining a 5% move speed bonus per half second. Enemies are knocked up into the air the first time they are hit by the spin. Wukong cannot attack or use other basic abilities while spinning, but can deactivate it early.
While the knock up is certainly useful in teamfights, it isn't as long as others and should not be the main focus of your ulti, instead try to stay in the center of the fight as long as possible to deal the most damage to the backline as possible. The ulti won't do as much spike damage as a regular E-Q combo so consider cancelling it if you need to finish off a target. be sure to use your Q before you ulti, the Armour shred will make Cyclone do even more damage. Cyclone really starts to be effective with its second point, at level 11 so look to try and teamfight around that time. Bear in mind Cyclone will disrupt channelled abilities such as katarina's Death Lotus
- in a pinch Decoy can tank minion aggro for you (eg dragon)) but take care not to spam it in the jungle as it will drain your mana fast even with blue buff.
- ward your buffs! personally i like to keep a pink ward in the bush near blue buff, as it is the most important early game for Wukong and this bush tends not to be checked when invading.
- Farm farm farm. Wukong is not the best early ganker, so unless you are certain for a kill or your laners are failing hard, you will be more useful to the team by farming and becoming tanky
Ganking with Wukong is not enormously different from any other jungler, following the traditional gank routes. The exception is that Wukong's Decoy if timed properly and combined with a Nimbus Strike from stealth will get you into the middle of any lane undetected by the opponent. Once you are there use Crushing Blow and auto attack as much as possible.
If you have Cyclone available think before using it. Make sure your laner is able to capitalise from your ulti, and consider saving it against champs like Katarina whose ultimates can be disrupted.
generally speaking you want to use Crushing Blow as soon as possible and Cyclone as late as possible. For ganking the typical pattern is:
Decoy -> Nimbus Strike -> AA -> Crushing Blow -> [AA] -> Cyclone
however be prepared to vary this as the situation arises.
Wukong does not scale especially well, and you may find e falls off in the late game. Wukong is most effective in two key phases of the game: Lv 11, i.e when you put your second skill point into Cyclone, as this is when it starts to do the most damage relative to your enemies defense. The second is between lvs 12-18, when you should be looking to teamfight and make the most out of Cyclone.
When the game hits the 5-6 item builds point Wukong will generally have to make a choice between going damage or tanky, as going half and half as we have done up until now will not work nearly as well. It is also at this point when squishies pick up defensive items like Zhonya's Hourglass reducing Wukong's impact on the fight significantly as targets will absorb or dodge more of your sustained aoe damage. If you find yourself in this position i would recommend becoming a second tank, as you simply won't be able to keep up with the raw damage output.
- Crushing Blow's extra damage works on turrets too
- Cyclone is not channeled so knock-ups stuns etc won't cancel it, but you will still feel the effects.
- Cyclone does not always need to be used to initiate, sometimes it is better to save it and let the opponents clump up more
Hunter's Machete + 5x Health Potions are the standard opening items on Junglers, and the same goes for Wukong. You probably won't need all 5 potions, but it is good to hang onto a few to counter the odd Ignite or other damage over time effect. You will want to upgrade this into an Elder Lizard as quickly as possible to get the extra sustain in the jungle.
Giant's Belt Gives you the health you need to be reasonably tanky mid-game. builds into both Randuin's Omen and Sunfire Cape, so gives you the option to switch to either as the game progresses.
"you should always build the health item first on Wukong caus your pasive is OP in teamfights" - Team Curse midlaner Voyboy
The Brutalizer The best and most gold efficient damage item for Wukong specifically, as the Armour shred passive stacks with Crushing Blow for insane amounts. It also gives you a decent amount of damage, and combined with Spirit of the Elder Lizard will often be as much damage as you need before building tank items.
Randuin's Omen The main defensive item i build on Wukong, gives a good amount of useful tnaky stats and the active is easy to use with your ultimate
Spirit Visage The go-to item for magic resistance on tanks, also gives you some useful CDR. Consider going Banshee's Veil against heave burst champs like LeBlanc
Sunfire Cape Need to carry your team whilst still being tanky? this should replace randuins in situations where you need to put out a little more damage whilst still being able to take hits
Thornmail Build after randuins if the opponent team is all AD. Remember there is diminishing returns on Armour, and so stacking these will become less and less effective without HP stats.
Locket of the Iron Solari The item you should buy if you are severely low on income. The most gold-effecient tank item in the game, also consider picking it up for its usefulness in teamfights if your support did not.
The Black Cleaver The standard damage item on Wukong. There is no stat this gives you that you don't want lots of, and the passive combines amazingly with Crushing Blow for insane amounts of armor shred! Often i will build bruitilizer first for the passive and finish the cleaver off late once i am more tanky.
Ravenous Hydra This item gives you tonnes more damage and waveclear, build this if you are looking for a glass cannon build
Frozen Mallet More of a late game item IMO the passive adds more CC to your kit, which is always useful.
Last Whisper The Budget Damage option, in terms of gold efficiency it is right up there with the best, and will only get better the later on the game goes. Normally buy this with black cleaver as a 5th item
Maw of Malmortius Gives a good amount of Ad along with an incredibly useful pssive against an AD team. Replace Black cleaver with this is the enemy is full AD. If not this should be your 5th item after tanky stats are added.
Doran's Blade Alright so this one is a little mis-fit as its not a tier 2/3 item. The reasoning behind Doran's Blade is that it provides a gold-efficient damage option for when you are behind and can't afford to build towards The Black Cleaver. Personally i do not find this effective, and since so many key items for Wukong build out of Long Sword you might as well get those + a health potion intead. However some pros (especially in NA) like to build this, and they are a much higher skill level than me, so id suggest this is a personal preference choice.
Which Jungle Item to pick?
In the currant patch there are three separate Paths a Jungle Wukong can feasibly take:
- The Offensive Path, Spirit of the Elder Lizard + Giant's Belt
- The Defensive Path, Spirit of the Ancient Golem + Butalizer
- The late game split-push/duelist, Wriggle's Lantern + Giant's Belt
Each path has its own unique benefits;
1. Puts all your focus into early damage and aggression in the laning phase. This is the way to go if you fall behind. This is my new default build, and is the one you should go for 80% of the time.
2. Is a more safe, Tanky route that still adds more than enough damage. Because of the recent changes to ancient golem, adding the percentage health scaling, it means that you will be far less effective early on, but will becaome a tanky beast late game provided you build HP items, which isn too difficult seeing as most of our normal build path gives us HP anyway.
3. Is the late game hypercarry build that resembles more toplane Wukong. Often you'll want to build wriggles, Hydra and then pure tank. This will take a long time to scale up and get the items you need however, so only do this if your team can afford you to afk farm for 20mins.
In balance the build patch shown at the start is the most versatile, as the double swords give you all the early ganking power you need, whilst still allowing you the choice of either build 1 or 2 depending on how the first 10/15 mins go for your team.
How to find that perfect Cyclone
This is what separates the good Wukongs from the great ones, the ability to catch all of the opposing team in your ult will win or loose teamfights more or less on its own, so no pressure!
While this is a skill that will come mostly with practice, but there are a few basic tips I can give:
- Ward, Ward, Ward. The more you can see, the more information you have of the enemy's position, and so the more likely you are to find that right moment.
- Fights in tight corridors, especially in the jungle or Baron pit, make your job a heck of a lot easier.
- Save your stealth for the right moment. A preemptive stealth that goes wrong will hinder your chances significantly.
- Try to stealth in a bush / where the enemy wont notice you. Most summoners have the basic knowledge that if a Wukong stands still he is probably stealthed around you, if you do this in a bush they will never see it coming!
Patches 4.9 to 4.12
Spirit of the Ancient Golem changed to be less effective early, but be a better scaling item for tank junglers. Not a bad choice considering our normal build path gives us a good amount of HP, but you sacrifice a lot of early game power.
Patches 4.5 to 4.9
No direct changes to Wukong to report, But feral flare did get nerfed heavily (see jungle items section).
It had to happen eventually, But Wukong finally received nerfs. while im a little too busy with A levels to dissect them in detail for you atm, i can tell you my basic reaction to the changes;
Q - Crushing Blow
ARMOR SHRED 30% at all ranks ⇒ 10/15/20/25/30%
R - Cyclone
ATTACK DAMAGE RATIO 1.2 per second (4.8 total) ⇒ 1.1 per second (4.4 total)
The good news is this is more a nerf towards toplane and very early game Wukong. Thanks to the nerf to Crushing Blow only being on armor shred, this wont affect your jungle clear speed at all, since creeps have barely any armor. At max rank Crushing Blow will be doing the same Armour shred as before, so all this really means is you should really max Q so it can be fully upgraded before you start the team fighting phase where armor shred begins to matter most, which is what we were doing anyway.
The nerfs to Cyclone are a little bit less forgiving. Its just a simple damage nerf with no real trade-off. This doesn't change much to how Wu was played before, except he will do slightly less AOE damage. All this really means in practice is that Wukong's 1 or 2 man ultis do less, but your teamfight presence is still incredibly strong.
Elsewhere in the patch Feral Flare was added, which gives Wukong more enemies to stomp on in teamfights, but since we are focusing on a more Armour shreddy build with Crushing Blow and Cyclone, Jungle Wukong doesn't really make good use of feral flare.
Elder Lizard got nerfed even more, so more than ever id consider taking ancient golem into bruitilizer especially if your team lacks a solid tank.
Finally Runes were messed up a bunch, so until an accepted meta comes out for the best runes im going to deffer this to do what you think is best. If in doubt just stick with your old ones, i haven't come across too many problems as of yet.
Overall i think Jungle Wukong specifically escaped mostly intact from the nerf gun, with the added benefit of being put into the "recently nerfed so not worth a ban" department.
Nothing much happened to Wukong in patch 4.4, which can only really be a good thing. One of his main enemies, Elise got nerfed hard in the early game, so now you can probably justify picking Wu into her. The only other changes relevant to the jungle were in items Wukong won't use; Lich Bane and Wriggle's Lantern. As we are primarily focusing tank and armor shred in this build, neither of these are especially useful or gold efficient on Wu and there are better items to buy if you need damage. While the changes to trinket ward made invading a little more likely, i consider this along with jungle routes and ganking tips to be more of a general jungler info rather than wu specifically, so I wont go into detail here. Tl;DR Wu doesn't add too much to an invade other than scare factor and Smite.
Since so little happened in this patch relevant to Wu i'll leave the 4.3 details in the guide for now, as it does explain some useful stuff and most of it is not out-of-dte.
Spirit of the Elder Lizard changes
"BUTCHER PASSIVE HEALTH RESTORE 8% damage dealt ⇒ 6% damage dealt
BUTCHER PASSIVE MANA RESTORE 4% damage dealt ⇒ 3% damage dealt
BUTCHER PASSIVE UTILITY Health / Mana restore no longer halved for area-effect spells"
what this means in practice is that Wukong will have a little less sustain in the jungle, and will be fore reliant on spamming Nimbus Strike. The percentages might initially seem high, but as they are percentages it only really becomes significant to 99% of us at very high damage outputs. As wukong is not a single-target nuker like Kha'Zix, this will only mean Crushing Blow does slightly less damage to jungle camps. Overall not that big of a direct change. As Riot did note however this may lead to a wider variety of junglers, so expect to face new and exotic contenders for your jungle.
Boots of Mobility nerf
"MOVEMENT SPEED 45 in combat / 105 out of combat ⇒ 25 in combat / 105 out of combat
TOTAL COST 1000 gold ⇒ 800 gold"
On the one hand it has become cheaper, which is nice. However the combat movement speed got hit hard, 45 -> 25 a 55% reduction. This sounds bad initially, but all it means is now Boots of Mobility is no longer our only option for movement speed.
Boots of Mobility The reason for this item being our go-to boots in previous patches was its movement speed out of combat, which has remained unchanged. This aspect will remain as useful as before, allowing out to initiate, chase and generally be everywhere to gank and kill more often. IN combat however there are two other boots you should now consider buying instead:
Boots of Swiftness Now gives you the most flat movement speed by far: 60. This is more useful than the temporary bonus from mobility boots in a few circumstances:
- The team really need you to initiate - this will let you cover the most distance under Decoy's stealth
- Your team has a movement speed buff (eg Sivir's On The Hunt
- The enemy team's CC is mostly/all slows (eg Ashe
Ninja Tabi or
Mercury's Treads Are useful chiodes if you are skirmishing a bunch and not tanky enough. build in respect to the other team; if mostly AD go Ninja Tabi and if mostly AP go Mercury's Treads
At the moment Boots of Mobility and Ninja Tabi are the boots i and the pros seem to be using the most.
This section is pretty simple: use Flash and Smite for 99% of matches.
Smite is simply the best summoner for any jungler, it increases your clear time, allows you to come out at lv3 with enough health to gank immediately and allows you to challenge for baron / dragon smite steals. Simply put: if you are a jungler you take this summoner
Flash is the general multi-purpose summoner. Since we are playing Jungle Wukong, and we are more or less forced to take Smite, we want to make sure our second summoner is as useful to us as possible. Flash is useful in almost every scenario you can think of, whether its re-positioning for a good Cyclone (you can Flash whist stealthed from Decoy for a super-long range engage) or jumping over walls to escape / give chase to enemies. Flash is so generally useful that i would highly suggest taking it unless you know for certain you will need another one (eg you know your going to split-push hard so consider taking Ghost. However since most soloque games are not that well co-ordinated it is safest to stick to flash.
Runes and Masteries
This is the only area in which i must admit i do not know enough to make a fully informed decision on what to recommend. Those listed above are what i use,and it appears to work well, though if there is any area of the guide which is the most open to experimentation this is it.
As this guide is all about jungle Wukong i will limit this section for the moment to the notable junglers that will cause you the most problems.
Elise - similar in terms of difficulty to lee sin, her Rappel counters almost all of your kit, allowing her to wait our your Decoy and Cyclone and even dodge your Nimbus Strike.
Nunu a surprisingly hard counter to Wu, being able to counter your ult with his if timed correctly, whilst slowing you to prevent the knock-ups and counter-jungleing you hard early game.
Fiddlesticks Is an example of an easier matchup for Wukong fora few reasons. He will often be played as a "farm till 6" kind of jungler, allowing you to go aggressive early on and not be afraid of being counter-ganked. He is squishy, and most wont be able to fear you quick enough from a E-Q-W combo. The biggest reason is you can cancel his ult channel with Cyclone and often kill him as a result, and as a bonus crow storm has a much longer cooldown.
I will look to expand this section as time goes on, as i am relatively new to ranked i have not faced every jungler enough times to give an accurate assessment of them. As an example, i have found every jungle warwick i play against to be a pain to deal with, but the only times i have faced him is when most of my lanes were counter picked.
Changelog / FAQ / stuff I intend to add
Not much to see here yet, stay tuned for patch changes / feedback form comments!
- 18/02/2014 published and fixed several minor typos/errors
- 21/02/2014 added a section on summoner spells, ganking tips,transitioning and some general typo fixing
- 28/02/2014 Updated for patch 4.3, expended on boots options, added a section on Brutalizer and doran's blade.
- 19/03/2014 Updated for patch 4.4
- 20/04/2014 Updated for patch 4.5
- 08/06/2014 Updated for recent patches up to 4.8, Added a jungle items section and a section on tips for that perfect cyclone. Various spell-checks. Updated buildorder too.
- 19/07/2014 Updated for recent patches, esp. ancient golem changes
features i intend to add soon:
- advanced tips section
- general jungle stuff, warding etc
- better bbcoding to make walls of text more readable (may take a while)
- experiment with + give explanations for runes and masteries
Thank you for taking the time to read my jungle Wukong guide, if you would like to please leave a rating or a comment to tell me how i did / what i could improve on in future - Zimzams.