Warwick Build Guide by Thiros
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Not Updated For Current Season
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So you picked Warwick and you do not want to jungle. Well rest easy, Summoner, you aren't the only one. Just ignore the snarky comments and snickers from the peanut gallery, because when victory drops they're gonna eat their words. Warwick's harassing options early-game and killing power late-game make him a force to be reckoned with.
I credit this build to the user CellOne, but after using his version of Lanewick for a while I began making adjustments and my harassing/killing ability increased exponentially.
Pros / Cons
* Strong Harassing options
* Amazing at chasing down enemies
* Capable of soloing lanes
* Regens health even while being harassed
* Highly Mobile
* Weak against CC ganks late in the game
* Poor escape options
* Very poor mana regen in the early game
* Low range
I have found that maximizing Warwick's ability to chase and finish enemy champions by the early-to-mid game is absolutely key to gaining a gold advantage going into the end-game (Warwick is a gold ***** if you're laning). I take Blood Scent second, and try to make sure I am always harassing enemy Champions so that it is always active. This allows me to get an item or two before having to spend gold on my Boots, which helps me stay in the lane longer. Adding extra points into Hunter's Call only yields a 10% increase per point, which is nice, but that early in the game I find being highly mobile is Warwick's strongest advantage. Often Hunter's Call is of little to no use while chasing a Champion because you're hitting then moving over and over so you do not take full advantage of the haste.
Let me just say right off the bat that I do not like covering a Champion's weaknesses with a Summoner Spell that I cannot already cover with intelligent item, mastery, or rune selection. The timers are far too long for these abilities to be anything other than situational helpers, no Summoner spell should ever be a crutch.
This is a massive help when fighting champions that can heal (Cho'gath, Soraka, Taric, other Warwicks, etc...). It can also be used as a ranged finisher, or as a harassing tool. Ignite is far too versatile to be left out of a Lanewick build. There is no item, rune, or mastery that could ever replicate the usefulness of ignite for this particular champion.
I prefer flash for this build because I use it as a means for escaping CC ganks. When I see one being lined up I flash right out of it before they get a chance to line up on me. You can also use this for chasing enemies, but I prefer to let Blood Scent and the Frozen Mallet cover me for persuit unless absolutely necessary.
This is also a very solid option for getting out of trouble. Even though I prefer Flash, cleanse is another one of those abilities that you just cannot cover for Warwick with anything else.
Only take this ability if you are low level and do not have access to some of the better ones I have listed, this will cover your lack of mana regen from Runes until you reach a higher level.
I do not like ghost for all of the reasons I listed above... it covers a weakness in Warwick that I can cover with items and Blood Scent, and I can cover it better I might add. Now, if you are just starting out with this game and are low level, by all means take it because there are not a lot of other solid options at this point. Ghost is not something you can use regularly with it's long cooldown, and as an escape tool later in the game it is mediocre. This also goes for Exhaust.
I find this very useful for getting back to combat fast after heading back to base to refill my health or buy new items. It is also great for setting up ganks or coming to a teammate's aid across the map. I like to play with this one once in a while for kicks.
We already get a stronger version of this on a shorter cooldown with Hunter's Call. It is simply unnecessary and brings nothing to Warwick.
This belongs in a Jungling spec, and you are not jungling. Do not ever take this if you are focused on Laning.
Any abilities I did not mention are really not worth mentioning.
Greater Mark of Alacrity
With the attack speed items coming in the mid-to-late game, having attack speed runes helps Warwick stay in his lane early in the game.
Greater Seal of Replenishment
He also strongly needs mana regen (this is his biggest weakness with the early game) so anything you can do to alleviate this is great.
Greater Glyph of Shielding
Lastly I find Warwick is exceptionally susceptible to enemy ultimates and ganks later on in the game, so stacking magic resist is helpful.
Greater Glyph of Focus
As a matter purely of personal preference, you may also go with cooldown reduction for your Glyphs. Both are viable, just keep an eye on your mana with the increased CD usage.
Greater Quint of Alacrity
You can go with either attack speed or cooldown reduction here, it comes down to personal preference.
Why not magic penetration like the other guide suggests?
To be blunt, I find attack speed more useful. The very description of Warwick's Hungering Strike suggests that against champions it is always a flat percentage of their health. The magic damage from Madred's Bloodrazor is also percentage based. The damage output of Infinite Duress is fairly low compared to most ultimates (I tend to use it as a gap closer, harassing tool, or stunlock rather than a killing tool). Stacking magic penetration for percentage based attacks and a low damage, easily interrupted ultimate does not sound appealing to me.
Warwick's damage is more magic than physical by the end of the game; however, he is still dealing a significant portion of phsyical damage. Because of this I choose to go for Attack Speed for increased early survivability in the lane, and it has an increase on both his physical and magic based autoattacks for the late-game.
Autoattack is Warwick's bread and butter. I tend to save Hungering Strike for harassment, personal healing, or as a finisher. When you're just autoattacking people tend to stay in longer than they should and it leads to more kills if you're playing your cards right.
So why go with Magic Penetration in my talent build? To be perfectly honest, I find it at least more useful than crit for Warwick because his damage is a steady, fast stream of damage rather than spikey, crit reliant damage. But it is a matter of preference.
You can also go for a 9-0-21 build to get the cooldown reduction if that's your style, but I like the more offensively aggressive build. Honestly you can do just about anything with your mastery, it is pretty forgiving and the bonuses are small enough that it won't be game breaking if you play around with them.
Items are the single most important aspect of building a strong Champion. Warwick's item build is entirely dependent on the situation he is in. What I have posted up top is the one I personally use the most often because the situation usually dictates it, but I do change it up based on what I am facing. Use the following flow chart to determine your item choices. If the answer is "yes" to any of the questions, purchase the items below first, then move to the next question. If the answer is "no" do not purchase the items listed and move to the next question.
1) Did I choose Warwick? Of course I did, he's awesome! (Be aware you will sell both of these items if the game goes long enough)
2) Am I paired with a support that can heal, cleanse, or shield me?
3) Am I solo or paired with a non-support DPS champion?
4) Am I getting harassed or ganked to the point where I can barely stay in my lane? If so, buy this and head straight for #6.
5) Am I solo or paired with a champion that cannot snare, stun, or root regularly? Choose only one of the following:
6) Well I'm here. Time to buy these.
The final items are up for grabs! These are pure preference:
Want to do some AoE damage to minions and champions along with some defense?
Want to become a slicing, dicing, cuisinart of doom?
MOAR MAGIC DAMAGE!!!
Wait! Why did I buy Madred's Bloodrazor so early if I'm not jungling?
Technically if you bought them in the order I usually do, it's your 6th item and by now most champs have well over 2k health, and tanks are rocking over 4k. That's 80-160 bonus damage on every attack, and even though it is more expensive than Wit's End, it provides way more damage so you can burn through a tank at breakneck speed. If you did not need to get a snaring item, go with Wit's End or Malady first. Basically you only want to get Madred's Razor as you enter the late-game and players have huge health pools. I find that it's the perfect 6th item.
I have tried numerous item builds, but so far the one I posted at the top of the page has yielded the best results. For my very last item I like to go with Banshee's Veil if I am getting focused a lot during the end-game phase. Otherwise I usually go with either Stark's or Malady for the damage boost.
Farm farm farm, all day long, farm farm farm, while I sing this song... So. In case you haven't gotten the hint, most of what you're doing should be farming minions for gold and XP with harassment sprinkled in on your Hungering Strike cooldown.
I never use Hungering Strike to farm, I always save it (and my mana) for enemy Champions unless I know for a fact I will regen my mana before a champion comes along. If I absolutely need health and do not have time to wait for my auto attacks to build it back up, then and only then will I burn Hungering Strike on a minion or monster.
Harass and counter-harass your opponents with Hungering Strike, when it is not up try and stay out of their range by killing melee minions first unless you are baiting them into an attempted kill (I will let my health fall a bit and let them think I'm on my heels, if they are playing very aggressively it usually means I get a free kill or two before either of us even hits level 6). Early in the game I try to keep my opponent at half health as much as I can in order to avoid ganks with Blood Scent, but anytime I get the opportunity to kill them I take it. Once you get Infinite Duress you can usually kill them with Ignite and a Hungering Strike to finish them as long as you start your burn when they have half health (and make sure you have enough mana for both abilities).
Once I reach the mid-game I should at least have Phage (building towards a Frozen Mallet) and at this point going 1v1 against most champions I can simply farm them for gold. Without a snare, most enemies are going to escape you even with Blood Scent because Warwick is not bursty enough and a lot of Champs have snares, stuns, or other escape options. I keep an eye out for any Jungler ganks, but generally at this point in the game I still have my turret and I can live long enough to go hug it and get them off my back.
The problems really start if I am facing Annie or Akali: currently the burst they are capable of putting out can kill me from 100-0 if I am not careful. If I am fighting a Champion with that kind of burst, I skip the snare items and go right for Banshee's Veil so I can survive a little better, and pick up Wit's End for the magic resistance before Madred's Razor.
Morgana is really strong right now as well (she is my other solo-laner), but she has no burst, and poor escape options. Keep minions between you and her at all times, while chasing or running you should be able to dodge her skill shots. Snare her death after you pop her bubble (always save teleport for her ultimate, no need to take double damage and a stun).
By now I have Madred's Razor and am Building towards my final item(s). All of the other champions are capable of massive burst damage, and their abilities have reached full power. Now is the time to seriously watch out for ganks, because they will come after you fairly often if you are still solo in a lane. This is where your teammates need to speak up if players suddenly go MIA. But this is also when you can kill just about anyone by yourself, and often survive to kill 2v1's if they aren't very bursty.
If you are going to engage a team fight, lurk in the jungle and wait. Your tank(s) should be engaging first, I usually jump out and go after players who try and take out our supports by opening with a stun and harassing them until they run back to their team. If no one is harassing the supports, I get on whoever the tank is on, and stunlock their highest damage threats when they start into their ultimate (Miss Fortune comes to mind as an optimal target for this).
The key to Warwick is playing in a way where they don't really notice you right off the bat in a team fight. Warwick can tank damage really well as long as he's attacking, but as soon as his attacks are cut off so is his survivability.
So building Warwick is pretty simple.
1) Get your mana regen items, and start farming those minions, harassing those champions, and raking in that gold.
2) Build up Hungering Strike as fast as possible, and Blood Scent right after.
3) Farm enemy Champions with your Frozen Mallet.
4) Adjust your play style to the situation, and your item purchases accordingly.
5) Always remember your core items for any and all variations are: Spirit Visage, Madred's Razor, and Wit's End.
6) Your survivability is linked to your ability to attack (quickly), always keep this in mind.
Good luck out there