Volibear Build Guide by KablamoBoom
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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.
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.
Volibear is an unstoppable, burly tank designed to charge in, scatter the enemy, and generally mess stuff up. He can easily go top, jungle, or support, and can carry in each. In this guide I'll be introducing my Voli build both to-the-point and more in-depth later on. Whether you only take a quick glance while loading or read on to why I build him this way, I hope you enjoy!
Pros / Cons
+ His early game trades are strong. FIRST BLOOD
+ He can farm easily under pressure by tower hugging.
+ Everything scales off health, and he's a healthy burr.
+ Lategame you hit their whole team like a wrecking ball.
+ Midgame on you can out-trade anyone.
- Somewhat snowball reliant.
- Your only cc relies on teammates to help kill.
- Your ult loses effectiveness when you die quickly.
- High CD on all spells.
- Bad decisions can cost fights and games.
Runes are up to you, these are the ones I use and why I use them, but for the old maths, go here.
|AD marks mean you can trade at level one. Get AD over ArPen or crit because these are already in your item build and you need the early damage to snowball.|
|Scaling HP seals because flat HP doesn't scale and percent HP seals aren't effective till 2624 item HP. You can also opt for HP/5 (regen) seals because they're fantastic, but Voli has ridiculous natural regen and almost always builds Warmog's.|
|Scaling MR glyphs because you're expected to hurdle into their team and soak up the spells around endgame, and you need the magic resist to do that. CDR runes are also an option, but not ideal for a tank.|
|Percent HP quints because they're more effective than scaling health above 1079 item HP. Acceptable alternatives are raw AD quints, and scaling HP quints, but as I stated the effectiveness depends on your build. Maths. See below.|
First, I run weird masteries. I choose the masteries I have because I like them. The great thing is, you don't have to! Use your own masteries, common tank masteries can be found all over this website. Here's why I use these instead:
Butcher and Feast will help you stay in lane or farm the jungle. Sorcery is greater than Fury because 5% CDR is more rare than 5% attack speed. The last points go into attack masteries.
The Block series is taken so that you can trade (it stacks with Doran's Shield). Alternatively, Tough Skin can be taken for junglers. Enchanted Armor is better than 2 hp/5. Veteran Scars unlock Juggernaut which gives a ridiculous amount of HP at level 1 and level 18 (see runes math). Voli has a built in slow, so Oppression is a no-brainer. Hardiness and Resistance are the bread and butter of tanking, so take your pick. Reinforced Armor and Evasive however are too specific to benefit you, so pass on both. Perseverance is Warmog's passive, you can read up on the math and decide if you want it. Further, Second Wind is Spirit Visage's passive, which works with your own passive to keep you alive. Swiftness is a must, as well as Legendary Guardian and Tenacious as all three let you jump into a teamfight and clean up smoothly.
Currently one of the best choices for Volibear. It gives you and an ally the movement speed and health to maneuver during a fight, and it removes the grievous wounds debuff that hinders healing. If someone ignites you during your passive, pop heal immediately and your passive will happen in full.
The typical pick for a top lane bruiser and split-pusher. The only problem with taking this as Volibear is he's not very good at pushing waves. Furthermore, if you teleport in, he lacks the gapcloser necessary to gank after a teleport. Not my recommendation, but many top-laners swear by it.
A key spell when you're going against a Riven or a Jax. In mid to late game, when the teamfights break out, you can shut down the opposing top lane. Very important to shutting down OP bursty bruisers. Instead, you may consider Ignite to shut down lifesteal-reliant champions such as Warwick.
Swift Boots are the default. Since slows will allow the enemy ADC to kite you when you're trying to initiate, being able to ignore them is invaluable. Lack of Tenacity can be remedied with a later Zephyr. If the enemy team is almost entirely autoattack reliant, get Ninja Tabi instead. If the enemy team is all AP and stuns, just rush the Merc Treads. Otherwise, wait before upgrading your boots.
This is your chasing and trading power in top lane, and will stay relevant for the rest of the game. Has the main two stats you need at this point: health and attack damage. More importantly, 40% slow on anyone you're chasing down. Voli's biggest weakness is a lack of sticking power after he burns Q and E, but with Frozen Mallet you'll be able to follow them under tower for the kill with W.
Youmuu's can be built out of a rushed Brutalizer or after farming with Avarice Blade. The attack damage, armor pen, and cooldown reduction are all important, but more important is the passive. 40% more hits with your ult, or security for a chased kill, up every minute and a half. This is your sticking power to apply Frozen Mallet and bring down the hammer in teamfights.
I build these items on Voli in all roles, because they let you chase hard and trade harder. It's a simple combination of stats and specials that scale well and work with your kit.
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Start with Doran's Shield and a potion: raw health and armor for trades and enough regen to stay in lane and farm. The passive will also stay relevant throughout early game. Machete and pots if you're jungler, obviously, and Relic Shield if you're support.
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First and foremost, get boots. Giant's Belt is the next most important, and you should be able to get both by your first return to base. Avarice Blade if you just want to farm, otherwise rush your Frozen Mallet.
Alternatives or Situational Items
|Bit of a classic buy for the bear, it's still one of the best mid-game items. One thousand health. One whole thousand. And you regen all of it in about 5.6 minutes. In less than a minute, he'll regain all of the health from|
|Since the nerfs to this item making it pure MR and no armor, it's become much more of a niche pick. Though, it does still have its uses. If your entire team is getting destroyed by a Ziggs, for example, this item can turn around whole fights.|
|The passive and health regen on this item are significantly overrated. However, the magic resist, CDR, and health are not. This is the first choice for tanks when the enemy mage gets fed. The passive healing is just icing on the cake. If you're considering this, get a Spectre's Cowl to start and perhaps build it into Banshee's Veil instead.|
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Endgame build against an AD-heavy enemy team and average bruiser toplane. Randuin's Omen was for a pesky ADC, to lock them down and prevent their damage. Warmog's simply for tankiness. Zephyr for move speed, attack speed, and Tenacity. Voli now gets 30% move speed and 90% attack speed with Ghostblade, 80% movespeed while charging someone. Couple this with CC reduction, ridiculous health, and Voli's overbearing kit, and you're the perfect unstoppable force.
Item HP is just the health afforded by your build. To measure the effectiveness of percent HP runes we must compare them to other runes at set levels and with X amount of HP from items. Assuming +36 health and +3% health from masteries and 1988 base health at level 18, the equation for %HP or scaling HP runes looks like this:
(1988 + 36 + X) * 1.03 * %HP from runes == (1988 + 36 + X + HP from runes) * 1.03
If you consider scaling HP versus %HP for both seals and quints, the equation looks like this:
(2024 + x) * 1.11 = (2385 + x) * 1.03
Solve for X and you get ~2624 rounded up. This means if you take both %HP seals and quints, for a combined +8%HP, that bonus will be less than the 361 bonus from scaling HP quints and marks until you have 2624 HP from items. To be blunt, %HP seals + quints will never beat scaling HP seals + quints.
However, the effectiveness of these runes is completely disproportional. A comparison of effectiveness in the quints and seals of each type is simple.
23.94 * 9 = 215.46 scaling HP
215.46 / 3.5% HP = 208.17 effectiveness ratio
48.6 * 3 = 145.8 scaling HP
145.8 / 4.5% HP = 139.52 effectiveness ratio
Basically, %HP quints are a lot better than %HP seals, and scaling HP seals are a lot better than scaling HP quints. Thus, we do more math. If we use scaling HP seals, how effective are %HP quints?
(2240 + x) * 1.075 = (2385 + x) * 1.03
Solve for X and you get 1079. This is much more reasonable, Warmog's and a Ruby Crystal will make %HP quints more effective than scaling HP at level 18.
The only question left to ask is which runes are more effective at which levels. Certainly %HP runes should scale better the more you're snowballing, but what about early levels? So, we do a quick comparison at level 1. Voli has 526 HP at level 1, plus 36 and 3% from masteries, 80 from Doran's shield, and 12 from our scaling HP seals. Thus:
526 + 36 + 80 + 12 = 654 level 1 HP
8.1 HP per level from quints
(654 + X) * 1.075 = (654 + 8.1 + X) * 1.03
X comes out to -469. Unsurprisingly, percent health quints are stronger at level one, since scaling quints follow a linear equation starting at zero. Where do scaling health quints surpass percent health quints though? This time we assume item HP is zero and set X equal to level, making sure to factor in both the increase in base HP and all scaling runes.
440 base HP + 86/level (including level 1)
12 HP/level seals, 8 HP/level quints
116 HP from masteries and Doran's Shield
(440 + 116 + 98*X) * 1.075 = (440 + 116 + 106*X) * 1.03
X = 6.533 which rounds up to level seven. Thus, even when you get your ult, %HP quints have a distinct advantage over scaling HP quints. Hopefully by then you can at least buy a Giant's Belt. Also, this math only considers raw HP quints and seals. HP marks and glyphs are a waste of gold, but HP/5 runes are worth considering, because they grant significantly more effective HP than either scaling or percent runes. The reason I don't buy them is because Voli with a Doran's Shield has a natural 13.0+.65/lvl HP regen, so you're already healing a lot from the start. Whereas buffing your raw HP means you'll last longer in fights and feed their carries less.
Sunfire Cape, Thornmail, etc.
Just...just read that. Scroll down to conclusions if you're lazy. The gist of it is, Sunfire and Thornmail both get reduced by magic resist, meaning they do so little damage you won't notice either. There are of course exceptions - Sunfire on Amumu with Abyssal Scepter, Thornmail on Rammus - but generally you should be buying Randuin's instead.
Warmog's armor, along with the Core build, gives Volibear 4234.92 health at level 18. 1% of this is 42.3492 health every five seconds. Coupled with his natural endgame regen (18.7 hp/5) gives him 61.05 hp/5, or 732.59 health per minute. If we take his total health divided by health per minute (4234.92/732.59), we find he restores all of his health every 5.8 minutes (5.781...). This is excluding health from his passive, or items other than Frozen Mallet and Warmog's Armor. Spirit Visage cuts this time down to five minutes (4.96 min to restore 4665 HP). Randuin's Omen, which offers no hp/5 and more health, will bump this time up to a solid six minutes (5.987 min to restore 4772 HP).
Let this be a warning - Spirit Visage's passive is less than you might expect. 20% seems like a lot, but it's not saying +20% lifesteal or +20% hp/5. It's saying +20% of your current bonuses in those things. If you have 15% lifesteal, SV gives you a passive bonus of +3% lifesteal. If you have 20 hp/5, SV gives you 4 hp/5. Yes, it's a rather unimpressive passive if it's not on a champ like Warwick. That said, Volibear with lifesteal has three different ways to use it - the lifesteal, his insane HP regen, and his passive. Less money for more health.
Atma's Impaler used to be quite the combo with Warmog's, before both got nerfed due to overuse. The passive AD increase is still quite immense on a full build Volibear. Assuming a well-balanced build geared towards maximizing your health, (boots, Warmog's, Randuin's, Spirit Visage, Frozen Mallet, Atma's Impaler) Volibear's total endgame health would be around...5202.42. Ridiculous numbers, mind you. Multiply this by .015 for Atma's passive and we get 78.04 bonus AD from the spear, on top of 45 more armor. If your team needs a walking, talking WALL, this build is ideal. This comes out to around 229.986 or 230 AD. Not bad - but you've sacrificed all movement speed and attack speed, rendering yourself about as helpful as a wall in teamfights. You'd be left peeling for the carries, relying on your weak slow and Randuin's to keep people off your ADC. Viable, but not my first choice.
Feral Flare is the up-and-coming jungle item for fighter and assassin jungles, and has singlehandedly brought Master Yi back into low elo ranked play. However, I would recommend not using it with jungle Voli. His clear time is just too slow, and even if you're getting the assists, you just won't be clearing enough minions to make it worthwhile.
Wit's End is also a recommended item on Volibear, but ultimately it deals its on-hit 45 dmg as magic dmg. Thus, it's reduced in the same way as Sunfire Cape and Thornmail. Because of this, while Wit's End has some beautiful stats, the effect is lost by endgame. However, Wit's End can potentially grant you more MR than any other item, which is notable considering the cheap price. It can also be handy in 1vs1 duels. For the price, you're better off stacking more AD and armor pen so you can get one guaranteed kill, then attack speed for your ult.